Best selling author, seventh generation Texan, Jolene’s life, much like her stories, is filled with faith, family, laughter, dirty dishes and all of life's wonderful messiness. She knows that, as much as the world changes, people stay the same. Good and evil. Vow-keepers and heart breakers. Jolene married a vow-keeper who showed her that holding hands and dancing in the rain never gets old. When not creating strong heroines and wounded heroes, she teaches art at an inner city high school. She shows her students the world and they teach her about life. Writer of romance. Mother of four. Teacher of art. Jolene is a lover of life.
Today is M and I’m going to tell you about a great MEAL deal at My H.E.B. Okay so I might be stretching the M part a little much. but I wanted to tell you about these meals I found at My local H.E.B. In the Texas Hill Country there is one grocery store. It started in Kerrville and grew from there, with a huge heart for non-profit work and giving back. They also pride themselves in local and healthy choices. I buy my organic bulk seeds and grains at My H.E.B.
Once I started making so many smoothies I needed to keep fruit in the freezer. I wasn’t looking for pre-made mixes but found the HEB Blendables. The best part? They were $1.50…Yes, that’s right. One dollar and fifty cents. That is cheaper than a happy meal. You could just add water and call it good, but I like to add my own little touch. It is still the cheapest meal you could get for the nutritional value.
Here is one of My favorites.
The Powerhouse Smoothie
Handful of fresh spinach
3 tbs hemp
half juice of a lemon
1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk
Plus there are the Spurs commercials.
Do you have a fast go to for an easy morning meal?
Lemons are happy fruits. I love just having them around the kitchen. They bring sunshine indoors. Lemons are to bring joy and happiness. Even Judy Garland as Dorthy, sings about troubles melting like lemon drops in Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Lemons bring happiness. The home remedies that use lemons are endless. They are one amazing little fruit. I’m going to freeze some lemon juice to add to my ice cold water.
The health benefits of lemons are due to its many nourishing elements like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorus and protein. Lemon is a fruit that contains flavonoids, which are composites that contain antioxidant and cancer fighting properties. It helps to prevent diabetes, constipation, high blood pressure, fever, indigestion and many other problems, as well as improving the skin, hair, and teeth. Wow, I need to start putting lemon in my water everyday.
Studies conducted at the American Urological Association highlight the fact that lemonade or lemon juice can eliminate the occurrence of kidney stones by forming urinary citrate, which prevents the formation of crystals.
Next time you make a smoothie, cut a lemon in half and squeeze some juice to perk it up.
Do you add lemon to your fish and chicken or maybe your water? What is your favorite healthy L food?
No surprise that Kale and Kiwi are on the list of healthy foods. Kale is a dark green that packs more iron in a serving than beef (calorie for calorie). It’s rich in carotenoids lutein & zeaxanthin.
Okay, and that means???
Kale delivers these to the retinas and they absorb the sun’s damaging rays. The nutrients in kale have been shown to help bone health, aid in natural (non-stressful) detoxification and it may lower the risk of cancer.
It can get a little tough and bitter, so I take the stems off and with a little almond milk with smoothies or oil for salads you can “massage” the leaves to soften them. I also like the baby kale. Adding a fruit such as strawberries or kiwi helps too.
The fuzzy skin of a kiwi can be eaten the same way the fuzzy skin of a peach can be eaten. It’s great when mixed with other fruits such as strawberries, pineapple and banana.
It is actually a giant berry and has more vitamin C than an orange. It’s loaded down with fiber, vitamin E, polyphenolis, potassium, magnesium & zinc. And it is my nephew, Kennan Ward’s favorite fruit. (Kennan is another great thing that starts with K).
Kale, Kiwi & Banana Smoothie
2 kiwi, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 cup of kale
1 banana, peeled and chopped
quarter of avocado (love the color)
handful of sliced almonds
Half a lemon squeezed into mixture
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
And there you have K – as you can tell I substituted spinach for kale (I didn’t know I was out of kale). I think this might be one of my favorite smoothies. What about you? Do you have a favorite kale or kiwi recipe or maybe another food in the K family?
These mild peppers come with only 4 calories and just 0.91 gram of carbohydrates in a serving. If you looking for low-carb you can’t get any better. They also have less than a gram each of protein and fat.
What they do have is a rich amount of vitamin C and A. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that works to project cells from damage. Vitamin A is known for helping keep skin and eyes healthy.
Capsaicin is the stuff that makes your eyes water if you get too much. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
If you want the milder peppers avoid the older one with the white wrinkles. The older a pepper gets the hotter it gets. Just like us girls. 🙂
At first I was just going to give you a pepper popper recipe, but I thought there has to be a way to add them to my smoothie list. I have to confess when it comes to heat I’m a baby.
But with yogurt, vanilla and a bunch of blackberries a touch of zap is fun and refreshing. If you have a problems with the all the seeds in blackberry switch them out with cherries.
Blackberry & Jalapeno Smoothie
1 cup of frozen blackberries (or cherries)
1 medium banana
1/2 jalapeno (scrape out insides and chop)
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 pure vanilla extract
1 Vegan Smart Vanilla nutritional shake
I couldn’t think of any other J healthy foods. Can you and do you love jalapeno peppers or avoid them?
I LOVE ice. Crushed ice is the best. When I’m sick or sad I want ice. Ice helps me wake up in the morning. I eat ice the way some people need coffee. At work I start my day getting a large cup of ice.
If I start feeling sluggish I refill my mug of ice.
My favorite ice is from Sonic. I’m thinking many other people like it too because they started bagging it for sell. If I have good ice I will drink twice a much water.
So when I saw that drinking cold ice water could help with fat loss – well, I printed that baby up and put it in my healthy food file.
The science behind this claim? When the body is exposed to cold tempertures it will go into over drive to keep the core temputure at a nice warm 98.6 degrees. Metabolism will rev up it’s internal heater to get your body back to toasty happy tempture.
For every 16 ounce of ice water you can burn and extra 17 to 18 calories. It doesn’t sound like much, but for not getting on the bike it is extra calories you wouldn’t have burned otherwise. So yes, drinking ice waters burns more calories than are in the water & ice (hint: there are no calories in water or ice which iswater in solid form. More ice is more water). So if you are changing your diet and moving more, drinking ice water can give you a little edge. I love it when something I crave has good benifits.
Do you love ice, crushed ice? I couldn’t think of any other I foods once I saw ice was good for you.
First of all you can not get high from hemp. Even though hemp and marijuana are both made from the Cannabis plant, hemp seeds contains less than a trace of THC which is the psychoactive substance in marijuana.
What hemp does have is a complete source of protein, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom. Quinoa is the only other example of a complete, plant-based protein I can think of. Hemp seeds are also rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 along with good amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron and zinc.
Whole hemp seeds are high in fiber, both soluble and insoluble. This is great stuff for your digestive health. I made the mistake of buying shelled hemp seeds. They have less than 1g of fiber, but all the other good stuff.
Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in the gut. It is a valuable source of nutrients for the beneficial digestive bacteria, and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber adds bulk to fecal matter and may help food and waste pass through the gut. Consuming insoluble fiber has also been linked with a reduced risk of diabetes.
This is great stuff for your digestive health. I made the mistake of buying shelled hemp seeds. They have less than 1g of fiber.
This week I will be adding three tbs of hemp seeds to one of my smoothies every day.
This is one I had today:
Three tbs of hemp
one cup kale
one cup red & black grapes
one cup frozen blueberries
one cup unsweetened almond milk
I threw it all in my Ninja for about 40 seconds. I like the bites of graped you can see in the smoothie.
I had a hard time finding healthy foods that start with H. Did I miss one? Do you know of any healthy H foods
Let’s all pretend it is still April 8 and we can talk about healthy foods that start with the letter G. Yes, in today’s A to Z Blogging Challenge it is all about the G. In my research for the perfect G food, I came across a receipe that had a sauce of ginger and grapes over garlic chicken. I added fennel and Greek yogurt and claimed it as my own. I tested it on my teenage sons. They ate it and came back for more! They said they liked the “sweet” flavor of the chichen.
First let’s look at Garlic. If my parents were cooking on the stove or over the fire pit, garlic was on the menu. We grew our own garlic. (well, they grew garlic and I ate it) They used it like other people used salt. You should too.
Garlic has some serious health benifts. It is credited with bolster immuity and keeping joints healthy. It is well documented that garlic is cardioprotective along with being an
Now ginger is new to me. I’ve always thought it was interesting, but had no idea what to do with the twisted root. A little will go a long way and you can store it in the freezer. Use it with fish, chicken, salad dressing. Anywhere you want to put a little snap to the flavor of your dish. It can be tasty in a smoothie also.
I love my Triple Zero Greek Yogurt in my smoothies so I thought it might make a good base for the chicken to keep it moist. That is when I discovered that my large 32 oz of yogurt was empty! This is very telling people. In the past when I would buy yogurt we never ate the whole thing – it would end up going bad. So to find it all gone, well that is evidence to our life style change. I ran to my H.E.B and found they were out also. So after ten minutes of reading and comparing lables I went with Stonyfield Organic Nonfat Greek Yogurt. Why did I spend so much time reading the lables?
Yogurt has been marketed as a health food and in it’s basic for it is. Conventional yogurt is rich in protein, calcium & potassium. The Greek varieties knocks it out of the park with double protein but half the sodum and carbohydrates of regular yogurt.
Now a word about this HEALTHY food. It is healthy as long as compnies are not adding to the natural yogurt. Look at the sugar amount on the lable if it is 10g or higher put it back on the shelf. Yogurt might naturally have up to 9g of sugar, if it has more than that the healthy food has been contaminated. You have to read the lable.
The good thing about raw fruit? You don’t have to worry about the added ingrdeents (well other than pestacides). The main stay of this sauce was organic seedless grapes (green, red and black)
Grapes are a healthy choice for people who are looking to cut calories or reduce fat. Each 1-cup serving contains only 62 calories and less than 1 gram of fat. A cup of grapes also provides you with some protein, fiber, and has only 15.78 grams of carbohydrate.
Dark grapes have anthocyanins. It’s what gives them their color; the darker the fruit, the higher the anthocyanin content. A natural antioxidant, anthocyanins protect your body from damage from free radicals produced as your body breaks down food, reducing the risk of cell damage and death and potentially slowing down the aging process. A study published in the 2010 “Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” found that anthocyanins may help reduce inflammation and cancer activity, alleviate diabetes and control obesity. Yes, I will be adding more grapes to my diet.
Antioxidents: We hear that word a great deal. A study published in “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine” in July 2013 said that grapes may prevent oxidative damage because of the antioxidants and antiglycation that are found in the little fruits. Glycation is a protein cross-linking process that leads to harmful consequences, which may contribute to the development of many age-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Man, grapes are sounding better and better.
So I made this Glazed Chichen with Grapes, Ginger, Garlic & Fennel
6 thinly sliced skinless, boneless chicken breast
1 TBS olive oil
Freshly ground Himalayan Pink Salt & Black Pepper
6 cloves garlic, sliced
1/5 cup of nonfat organic Greek yogurt (no sugar added)
3 cups of seedless grapes ( 1 c. red, 1 c. green 1 c. black)
TBS fresh Fennel
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 TBS honey
1 1/2 bold spicy mustard
Make sauce: The yogurt, grapes, ginger, fennel go into the blender. It will be a beautuful pink color. Whisk in honey and mustard.
.Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Run chicken with the oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Place in the roasting dish with 1/2 cup of the sauce. Marinate for ten minutes.
Heat oil in saute pan ( I actully used cocunut oil here) over medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides. Return the cooked chicken back to the pan (I use a stone roaster from Pampered Chef)
Cook for fifteen mintes, uncovered, until chicken is cooked and tender.
In a clean saute pan heat remaining sauce over low heat until thickened. Drizzle over cooked chicken and serve. (confession – It was getting late so I just poured the remaining sauce over the chicken for the last 10 minutes in the oven.) The drizzling probably looks better.
So I’m looking for more ginger recipes. Do you have one? What about G…what’s your favorite healthy food that starts with G?
If I hurry this post will be for April 7th, the day of F in the A to Z Blogging Challenge. For our healthy foods there is one that brings to mind sweet childhood memories and another that is all new to me.
When my parents moved us back to the Texas Hill Country the twenty-seven acre property they bought, included a fig and peach tree. I remember people coming to fill bags of fresh fruit. My mom would make preserves, but they still produced so much fruit she was always giving it away. Along with their quarter acre garden and chickens we always had fresh food. Any heath issues I have now I can not blame on my childhood. Memories like these make me wish I could thank my parents for so many things I took for granted, but I digress.
Figs: These little fruits are high in vitamin A, K & C along with a gram of fiber in one fig. Just a few can give you about 20% of the RDA. For their size, figs are one of the most nutritious fruits you can eat. Not only are figs high in fiber, but they deliver potassium and magnesium also. Figs and fig leaves a have been shown to help prevent chronic diseases and help in weight management. Be careful if you are on a low sugar or low carb diet. To much of a good thing can be bad for you. You might need to limit their intake or you will lose the health benefits of eating figs. (Fig Newtons do not count as a health food. just FYI).
Oh, flaxseed. How did I not know about you? So so tiny yet so full of good stuff. The flaxseed has one of the largest nutrient payoff for it’s size. Did you know they have over 100 times more phytonutrients than oats, wheat bran, or buckwheat? What phytonutrients? ( I had to look it up).By Laura Dolson Low Carb Diets Expert, says, “Phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals, are compounds found in plants (apart from vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients) that have a beneficial effect the body. There are over 30,000 of them, yet only 100 have been analyzed and tested. Phytonutrients are what defend and protect our trillions of cells from disease. They have similar effects as an antioxidant, boosting the immune system, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, and cellular repair. Along with flaxseed, highly colored vegetables and fruits tend to be highest in these chemicals, but tea, chocolate, nuts, and olive oil are also great sources of phytochemicals as well.”
So throw some in your smoothie! Make sure you blades chop them so they don’t wash straight through you. You can also grind them right before you eat them to make sure all the nutrients are easily available to your system.
While it’s not technically a grain, it hangs out well with them in the vitamin and mineral data, while the amount of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids in flax well, doesn’t compare.
To make it even better, flax seed is very low in carbohydrates, making it ideal for people who limit their intake of starches and sugars. All of this makes it a great food for weight loss and maintenance.
But wait there is more! Flax Seed is Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
I add a couple of tablespoon to almost all of my smoothies. Here is one I tried with figs! It was delicious, maybe even one of my favorites.
1.5 cops of fresh Spinach
1 cup of frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons Triple Zero Greek Yogurt
one cup of unsweetened almond milk
Okay, so bring on the F foods I forgot and if you have a favorite flaxseed or fig smoothie share please!
Today in our A to Z blogging challenge we have E. Eggs come in a perfect package that can even help your garden grow (composting). Eggs have gotten a bad reputation for causing high cholesterol. It’s been claimed that because of the level of cholesterol in the egg, they must be bad for the heart.
There has been several research projects in recent years that examined the relationship between egg consumption and the risk of heart disease.
Guess what they found? Yep, they found no association between egg consumption and heart disease or stroke. Even with the yellow part. Go figure.
What we do know is that eggs are a high protein food and protein is the most fulfilling macro-nutrient.
This little package has only 77 calories, but delivers 6 grams of protein and 5 grams of the good fats.
Eggs are the beginning of life and contain a little bit of almost every nutrient we need. This just might make them the perfect food.
Along with all that protein, a single egg contains
Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.
Folate: 5% of the RDA.
Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.
Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.
Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.
Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.
Selenium: 22% of the RDA.
Eggs also have decent amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc.
Eggs contain all the essential amino acids in the right ratios, so our bodies are well equipped to make full use of the protein in them.
Getting enough protein in our diet is tough and there are some studies that indicate that the current recommendation may be too low. Eating adequate protein can also help with weight loss, increase muscle mass, lower blood pressure, optimize bone health and keeping eyes healthy. Proteins are the main building blocks of the human body. So eat an egg.
Go ahead and get a couple of eggs, scramble, boil, poach or fry them. My favorite might be served in a breakfast taco (corn tortilla) turkey bacon and avocado.
This sounds like the beginning of a great adventure. Day four in the A to Z Blogging Challenge brings us the letter D. At first all I could find were Dandelion Greens. (Yes, I’m making a face) If you like them, well… that’s good and you should keep eating those bitter green stems. I hear they’re good with eggs. (My mother taught me not to gag.) I would rather spend time talking about dragons, dry wine and dark chocolate.
I had seen dragon fruit in the store but it looks so exotic I had no idea what to do with it, so I waked right past. With the challenge I wanted to take pictures of it and I went to on-line videos on-line. What did I find? It is one incredible fruit that is easier to use than it looks. It also has a very mild flavor (between a kiwi and melon).
Before we get the knife and dig in, lets look at everything this gorgeous fruit can do for you.
Dragon fruit is rich in vitamin C and fibers that help provide an overall healthy body. Dragon fruit boosts immune system and promotes healing of wounds and cuts.
Because of the richness in fibers, Dragon fruit aids in the digestion of food. We have learned how important this is to a healthy body and weight loss. Studies also suggest that Dragon fruit promotes the growth of pro-biotics.
Dragon fruit can help lower blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes. Studies also suggest that the the glucose found in Dragon fruit aids in controlling the blood sugar level for diabetes patients.
Dragon fruit prevent formation of cancer causing free radicals.
Dragon fruit helps to control cholesterol level. Dragon fruit is also rich in flavonoids that are known to have favorable effects against cardio related disease.
Dragon fruit improves eye sight.
Dragon fruit improves memory.
Wow! So why have I waited do long to try it?
With the mighty dragon flying into my kitchen you would think I’d be done with the Dd, but there is more! I am loving my smoothies, but enjoying a meal is still important. Remember I’m in this for the long haul so I need to be able to sustain this new lifestyle.
This evening when I got home the sun was just starting to set and the breeze was cool, so we grabbed a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon along with some dark chocolate, strawberries and raspberries. Now set back and relax. Yes, wine (the dry kind has the most health benefits.) It does have to be a dry. Here’s a list:
In the Mediterranean diet, wine has also long been considered one of the key health-promoting components.Some population-based studies point to a relationship between wine intake and improvements in insulin sensitivity. When your body is more efficient at using carbs, you will have better health and easier fat loss.
It’s not about red or white, it has more to do with dry or sweet. Dry wines have a lower sugar count. Sorry to say for many of the fruity wine lovers that dry wines generally have less than 1 gram (g) of carbohydrates (sugars) per ounce while the carb content of sweet wines can be upwards of 1.5 to 2g per ounce. Yes, it seems the dry wine is the good guy.
Healthy living in not about starvation and denial – it’s about finding balance and moderation. Pour a glass of your favorite wine, and munch on some berries with the dark chocolate. The mix of flavors on your taste buds is divine.
So when it comes to Dds what did I miss? Any favorite treats or places that just make life better?