Super Simple Meatless Monday Recipe: Beets & Goat Cheese

Today we are talking Beets. I know that they don’t look enticing or they might not be fun to cook with or even that great tasting for most people. But let me tell you that this is a fabulous super food and you should try to incorporate it into your diet.

Here is why it’s healthy:
Beets belong to the same family as spinach and chard. It’s a rich purple color, but can also be white or golden. Think of beets as red spinach.

Beetroot is of exceptional nutritional value mainly Vitamin C, Folate & Betaine. All of which are exceptional for the human body. From lowering blood levels & helping with cardiovascuar health, to immune boosting & liver detoxification, as well as cancer fighting benefits and of course high in antioxidants.

You should really try them. You can eat them raw, pickled but mainly they are eaten steamed.

Here is a quick recipe that packs a bunch of flavor and will keep you coming back for more of this little overlooked vegetable.

Ingredients: Serves 2

2 Beets, cooked

2 Caprino (goat) soft cheese sticks*

4 Bibb Lettuce leaves

2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

Cayenne (optional)

Tumeric (optional)

S&P to taste

Wash your lettuce and place 2 on each plate. Slice your beets and lay them on top of the lettuce.

Slice your cheese and place on top of the beets.

Drizzle 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive oil, sprinkle remaining ingredients and enjoy!

*check how they sell the soft goat cheese in your country here in Italy I find them like this at the grocery store

Beets and goat cheese

 

 

Light, Healthy, Skinny Recipes to help you get that Summer Body

Summer is right around the corner and if you are scrambling to get that latest diet or what have you to help you get in shape I suggest you to just start eating healthy.
This means more seasonal fresh foods, like vegetables, fruits, lean meats and nuts. I live and eat these food groups; and I seem to be doing just fine. The thing about this lifestyle is that you don’t have to constantly be thinking about what you can eat  and what you can’t, how you are going to feel the next day, if your shorts are a bit too tight (or if you’re bulging out of your bikini).
The summer is tough enough already trying to keep yourself hydrated, cool, comfortable, tanning, hair, skin, etc… the last thing you need is to be stressed out about some sort of diet! How many calories, carbs, fat, non-fat, this n’ that. Just eat healthy fresh foods. They provide you with the energy, hydration and beautiful radiant skin to show off; not to mention a smaller waist.

I have a lot of different salads and ways I like to eat my vegetables and of course it’s not hot yet so a salad might not be something that you want to eat. If you start eating healthy now and leave out as much junk food as possible (i.e. artificial sweeteners, sodas, chips, fried foods, prepackaged foods & sweets, along with anything you can’t pronounce) you are going to be in fantastic shape by the summer. It’s really simple you just need to train your body to eat healthy. It’s a chain reaction; once you cut out the bad stuff your body will not crave it anymore. Trust me!

There are billions of ways you can make salads or healthy foods. They aren’t complicated and they don’t have to be boring. I know that the winter isn’t quite over yet and I know a salad might not always give you that warmth of comfort food that you are craving so I have a nice warm healthy recipes here that are simple and delicious.

Warm Bibb Salad w/ Roasted Asparagus and Feta

  • 1 medium head of Bibb salad, washed and pulled apart
  • 10 Asparagus
  • 1/2 lb Feta
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • E.V. Olive oil
  • Crushed Red Pepper (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Pre-heat your oven at 400°F (200°C). Get a baking dish lay out your Asparagus, drizzle with a little e.v.o. and sprinkle salt and pepper and red chili flakes. Place baking tray in oven and bake for 15 min.
In a medium pan, drizzle some olive oil, allow to heat over medium heat and then add your garlic; once golden add your bibb lettuce season with salt and pepper and carefully mix. You don’t want it to burn or break, just allow it to wilt and then turn off.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your asparagus, top with some wilted lettuce and then sprinkle feta evenly on top and enjoy!

Warm bibb salad with roasted asaragus and feta

Pulled Chicken Breast with Pinto Beans and Avocado
Serves 2

  • 1 Avocado
  • 2 cups Pinto Beans, boiled *
  • 2 Chicken Breasts, steamed & shredded**
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 1 Chilli, fresh & diced (optional)
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • Handful Parsley and Cilantro, washed
  • 2 tbsp. E.V.O oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a medium pan add the e.v.o. heat over medium flame and then add the garlic; cook to golden add your tomatoes, chili and beans. Simmer for about 5 minutes then add about 1/2 of your parsley and cilantro then salt, pepper and continue to cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat.

Let’s begin plating. Lay your chicken and add the beans on the side. Cut your avocado in half and slice lay on top of food and serve with remaining parsley and cilantro. Sprinkle some salt over avocado. Enjoy!

*You can use a canned beans, just make sure to drain and rinse well. ** For the Chicken, Place in steamer and cook until fork inserted and liquid runs clear. Cool and pull apart. You can boil it too. Season with some salt and pepper.

Pulled Chicken w/ Pinto beans and avocado

Sesame Crusted Tuna on a bed of Cucumber & Arugula topped w/ Avocado
Serves 2

  • 2 6-8 oz Tuna Steaks
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 2 cups Arugula
  • Sesame seeds, (enough to coat tuna)
  • E.V.O. oil
  • 1/2 Lemon, squeezed
  • Drizzle of Light Soy sauce (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Salt and Pepper your Tuna steaks, now coat in sesame seeds and set aside.
Grab a mandolin and slice you cucumber, peel and all. (You can peel if you want I liked the texture of it on). Place on the plate one by one creating a nice flat base pattern.

Place a medium pan over medium flame, drizzle some e.v.o and when hot add the tuna steaks, cook for about 2 minutes on each side and quickly on the corners as well. Remove allow to sit for 2 min and then slice or leave whole.

Get you Arugula and toss in some e.v.o, 2 tbsp. of lemon juice, salt and pepper. Place a bit at the center of each dish. Place the Tuna steak on the bed of arugula.
Slice Avocado in half, slice again into thin pieces and place on top of tuna topping with a drizzle of soy and remaining lemon. Enjoy!

Sesame crusted Tuna over cucmber and arugula topped with avocado

Shaved Asparagus & Radish w/ Shrimp in a Multi-Lettuce Salad
Serves 2

  • 1/2 lb Shrimp, cooked and deveined
  • 8 Asparagus, washed
  • Handful Radishes, washed
  • 4 Mushrooms, cleaned
  • 5 cups Italian lettuce, (radicchio, romaine, arugula, etc…)
  • 4 tbsp. E.V.O. oil
  • 1 lemon, squeezed
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Place your salad in a large bowl. Grab a mandolin start slicing your asparagus long-wise, now start slicing your radishes and mushrooms, add all these ingredients to salad bowl as well as shrimp.

Whisk together last 4 ingredients, drizzle over salad and toss until completely combined and serve. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus and Shrimp salad

And there you have it. Options for your healthy eating. It seems so hard to eat healthy, but in all reality it’s easy and a pleasure. I hope that you enjoy these recipes and feel free to substitute with other vegetables or protein. They are simple, fun, delicious but most of all light and nutritious. They will give you energy and help you feel great and ready for the summer. Happy cooking. Let me know what you think and also try to incorporate a little physical activity to give you that extra boost you need to get you feeling sexy. Ciao

P.s. remember I am not a nutritionist, dietician so please consult your doctor before you go on any diet or change any lifestyle.

Homemade Cesar Salad with Polenta Croutons and grilled Chicken

It was something that we were both craving: a nice cesar salad with a twist, I wanted to make it a little healthier with still the delicious flavor. It’s such a heavy salad and with all the heavy ingredients I feel like you could just eat a plate of pasta instead. So, yes I tweaked it and it was delicious. I decided that polenta was going to replace the white flour bread croutons that famously go with this salad, and the dressing was going to be lighter and healthier. Yum!

Here in Italy we obviously don’t have Cesar salad contrary to the popular opinion of people thinking that this salad is Italian. It’s actually originally from Mexico, Tijuana named after the Chef Cesar Cardini an Italian immigrant who invented it in 1924. The original recipe doesn’t contain anchovies. However there are many variations of this salad with some recipes including different ingredients such as mustard, egg, avocado, tomato, bacon bits, garlic cloves or anchovies. I do like this salad and so I added an ingredient of my own. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of Polenta Croutons (recipe below)

2 Chicken breasts, grilled and chopped

1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped*

1/3 cup 0% Greek yogurt

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 tbsp Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

1 clove Garlic, minced

Juice form 1/2 a lemon

2 Anchovies, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Place your chicken breasts on the grill, and allow to cook for about 15 minutes turning once, or until the juice from inside the chicken is clear.

Meanwhile place your chopped romaine in the bowl. Whisk the yogurt, olive oil, parmigiano, garlic, lemon, anchovies and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Add salt at the end and be the judge of how much you need.

Get your chicken slice it into strips. Toss the lettuce with the dressing and start plating.
Place the salad down first, then the chicken strips followed by the polenta croutons. If you choose, shave some parmigiano on at the end.

For the polenta croutons:
Follow the recipe on the box for one serving. Once ready pour onto something flat and lay out evenly about and inch thick. Allow to cool. Slice into cubes. Place a nonstick pan over medium flame and drizzle some olive oil place the cubed polenta and allow to get golden, flip and allow the other side to get golden continue with all sides. Set aside and then serve. Simple as that.

* Instead of Romaine you can use whatever you like. I used 3 different versions of radicchio

 

 

Healthy Side Dish Alternatives for Christmas

Christmas, Yet another holiday is among us and life is at its ultimate stress mode. There is so much to get done, so many things to decide and so little time to do it.
First of all I want to tell you the one secret, Breathe! No one is expecting you to perform the way you are expecting yourself to perform. You are your biggest judge, and Christmas is a time of Love, Forgiving and no Judging. So just breathe, it’s not like if you stress you are gonna get anything extra accomplished. It actually might just do the opposite.

I am one of those girls that like to occasionally spice up a Holiday Tradition; what I mean by this is sometimes I like to make roasted potatoes vs. mashed potatoes, or throw in a lasagna, or just make something different to add to the Turkey or Chicken and all the other standard side dishes that go along this festive late lunch/dinner.

Vegetables, yes I pretty much name this food group in every single one of my posts because I simply love them and can’t imagine my meals without them. So I have just a few simple and fast side dishes that will keep your dinner lighter but still delicious.

Lets start off with something I came up with that ended up being a success not to long ago when I had to bring something to a lunch. It can be served as an appetizer, finger food or main course if you’re going all vegetarian. Really simple.

Ricotta and Pesto Stuffed Artichoke Cap

Ricotta and Pesto Artichoke

Get your Artichoke cap*, scoop a 1/2 tbsp. of Pesto** and a dollop of Ricotta***, sprinkle some Pepper. Place in a baking tray drizzled with a little olive oil and  bake in the oven at 320° for 20 minutes.

*For the Artichoke: I found some frozen artichoke caps, I boiled them for 10 minutes and let them cool. You could try to do with fresh artichoke just remember to clean correctly and boil for approx. 20 minutes. You could also substitute with mushrooms caps.
**For the Pesto: I used a fresh store-bought version. I think in the USA you could probably find the Barilla version, if it’s to thick? Take it out if the container, put in a bowl add some olive oil mix until a little more creamy.
***For the Ricotta: Put the ricotta in a small bowl, add a drizzle of olive oil, some salt and 2 tbsp. of either Parmigiano or Pecorino. Incorporate all ingredients and that’s it.

Now for Side dishes I have a few delicious options:

Roasted Cauliflower

Roasted Cauliflower

Put your clean and chopped Cauliflower in a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and bake at 350° for 20-30 minutes. It tastes so good you would’ve never thought that so little ingredients could make Cauliflower taste so darn good.

Roasted Cabbage with Pancetta

Roasted cabbage with Pancetta

Grab a head of cabbage and slice it in 4 or 8. Get out 4 or 8 big enough piece of aluminum foil to cover each piece of cabbage individually. Lay out 1 pc. of foil, place 1 slice of cabbage facing up, drizzle olive oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, get about 1 tbsp. of diced pancetta and sprinkle on top. Cover the cabbage completely with the foil, to where no holes (like if you were to steam). Repeat the same steps with remaining cabbage. Place in the oven and bake at 380° for 25-30 minutes. Leave in foil so each person can open in their own plate.
Be careful when you open as steam may let out.

Artisanal Flat buns

You can also try out these Artisanal flat buns recipe here, so delicious and perfect to accompany your dinner, or for a sandwich with the leftover Turkey.

And last but not least I always prepare a salad, it’s fresh and perfect for accompanying a heavy meal. Here are some recipes:
My Light Grilled Corn and Mushroom Salad
Elegant Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
No-Carb Grilled Veggie Stack

Well, I hope that I gave you some yummy and healthy ideas for this Holiday feast or for any other day. Happy Holidays!

Ciao

 

Light summer Salad with Grilled Corn and Mushrooms

Salad, Salad, Salad. It seems to be something that I always crave. Whenever I go a day or so without a salad that is all I start to crave; not at all a bad thing might I add!
My husband and I love to have a nice big salad for dinner at least once or twice a week and we try to come up with different ways of making it, we always add something different, the possibilities are endless as to what you can add to a salad and also to the way you prep it.

I especially love to grill some of the ingredients and when it’s hot out and you just feel like using the grill it’s perfect. Grilled vegetables are amazing and add so much flavor to what might seem like a boring meal. In this recipe we had found some nice big mushrooms and corn and so we decided to add that to the salad, it married so well together I had to post the recipe so that you all could try it at home. I hope that you enjoy it as much as we did. You can serve it on the side or as a main dish (which is what we did..) Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 bag mixed salad (I like Italian)

1 handful of arugula

1 handful of Baby Spinach

2 ears of corn, cleaned

4 big sized mushrooms, or 2 Portobello’s

6 grape Tomatoes, sliced in half

1 can quartered Artichokes, drained

4 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive oil

2 tbsp. Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 Lemon, squeezed

Salt and pepper, as needed

Preheat your grill. Wrap your corn in aluminium foil and place on the grill for about 20-30 minutes, turning over after 10 minutes.

In the mean time clean you mushroom caps and sprinkle salt and pepper and 1 Tbsp. of Extra Virgin olive oil, set on the grill and allow to cook until golden brown, flipping once; about 10-15 minutes.

Place your salad, arugula, baby spinach, tomatoes and artichokes in a large salad bowl. By now your corn and mushrooms should be ready so turn your grill off and set aside. With a knife remove the corn from the cob or husk and add to your salad. Add the remaining olive oil, the vinegar, lemon, salt and pepper mix together well and serve. Once plated place the mushroom caps on top of the salad and eat. Yum!

Low Fat Cooking – Simple Steps to Follow

Cooking and eating is the topic of most of my days, but the thing that I like to share with you today is how to manage cooking in a healthier manner that doesn’t require you to give up on flavor and still help you stay healthy and fit. I know that the word low-fat is not so attractive to some of you; and then again to some of you it might be just what you are looking for. I love that you can actually cook and eat low-fat and all you are giving up is the extra fat that your body doesn’t need. Now, I think that your body does need fats, but there is a difference between good fats and unnecessary fats. Let’s discuss this.

For instance, I think that grilled fish and chicken is more tastier than it cooked in a pan with oil, you give up on the fat because when you grill it the fat drains, hence making it less fat and the taste is delicious.
I also love lactose-free non fat or low-fat milk vs. the whole regular milk, the flavor is pretty much the same and all I am giving up on is fat.
Also I like to make my own buttermilk at home, by using the low-fat milk and lemon, it works exactly the same way but way less fat.

This is what I mean by giving up on fat but not on flavor. Things are yummy cooked the right way, we don’t have to get scared of fat, but we can learn to select it.
For example, I love almonds and walnuts, they are high in fat but all extremely good for you, so I eat them.
I love avocados, also fat. I love to use olive oil, also fat and I do like some good old Parmigiano Reggiano and will never eat any fake low-fat version, the real one is good for you and there is no substitute in my book.

So to follow are some tips on how to cook low-fat. Enjoy!

1) Grill, broil, bake, braise, steam, poach, slow-cook, and microwave foods instead of frying them. Sautéing is ok with minimal amounts of oil (preferably extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil), or use nonstick spray.

2) Choose chicken or turkey sausages or burgers instead of pork or beef sausages or burgers.

3) Choose extra-lean meat and skinless chicken breasts, and remember to trim all visible fat from meats.

4) Substitute most meat dishes each week with fish or vegetarian meals.

5) Use one egg and two egg whites per person in your favorite egg dishes or cakes; or cut fat and cholesterol completely by using egg substitute. Or also substitute 2 egg whites for one whole egg or 3 egg whites for 2 eggs.

6) Substitute whole milk for non fat or low-fat milk.

7) Oven-fry, bake or boil potatoes instead of making or buying French fries.

8) Choose reduced fat sour cream or yogurt instead of full-fat versions for stews, dips, spreads, and dressings.

9) Replace some of the fat in baked goods with applesauce, plain nonfat yogurt or low-fat buttermilk. (to make your own buttermilk: 1 cup low-fat milk mixed with 1 tbsp. lemon juice fresh).

10) Use reduced fat or fat-free cream cheese instead of the regular version for cheesecakes.

11) Use evaporated skim milk in place of light or heavy cream in soups and sauces.

12) Use fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk in mashed potatoes, soups, gravies and stews

13) As a healthy alternative to frying, coat meat or veggies in egg whites then use bread crumbs and bake in the oven.

14) Cook fish in parchment paper or foil to seal in the flavor and juices.

15) Instead of eating potato chips, substitute pretzels, pita chips, or raw fruits and vegetables.

16) Rinse canned foods such as tuna, beans, and vegetables before using to wash away excess sodium or oil.

17) Thickening the sauce with cornstarch instead of a traditional butter-flour mixture.

18) Season vegetables with herbs and spices rather than sauces, butter or margarine.

19) Cook with lemon juice or herbs — these add flavors to food such as vegetables without adding fat.

20) Use mustard as a sandwich spread in place of margarine or mayonnaise. Or use healthy fats such as nut butters on your toast.

 

Eating Habits of Naturally Thin People

I know that we all have ways we like to eat. But sometimes it’s our eating habits that can cause us to feel unhappy with our bodies and ourselves, we form these habits without even knowing that it’s a habit and maybe not such a good one at that. Eating is an essential part of our daily lives and who doesn’t love to eat?! But, we do have to watch at times how we eat. This is why I want to share with you the (secret) actually; known but not practiced eating habits of thin people.
They are simple steps we all know about and actually not that hard to follow if we make them our habits too, it will help our over all mood and way we look. Let’s see:

 

Naturally Thin Habit #1 – Don’t Overeat

Have you ever noticed that naturally thin people don’t over stuff themselves with excess amounts of food? They rarely eat larger portions or go back for seconds, but more often than not they have a natural awareness of their bodies and stop eating when they recognize that little signal that says, “Thank you, I’ve had enough to eat for now.”

Start applying this habit in your own life by paying close attention to how your body feels as you eat. When your body starts communicating that it is now satisfied, stop eating.

Naturally Thin Habit #2 – Get Rid of Guilt

Naturally thin people don’t beat themselves up for eating something they shouldn’t have – in fact, there are no forbidden foods in their world. They eat what they want, but they don’t overdo it. If they do eat something they would consider to be more fattening than their normal food choices, they don’t obsess over it for days. They don’t beat themselves up for eating it, and they don’t jump to conclusions like they are out of control and can’t be trusted to make wise decisions. They simply accept that they ate the food, and move on. No regrets, no guilt.

How freeing would it feel to adopt this habit yourself? Give it a try and notice how much better it feels to not have to carry such a heavy burden of guilt on your shoulders all the time.

Naturally Thin Habit #3 – Fill Up On Greens

Eat a side salad or green vegetable like broccoli to help fill your stomach. This gives you the volume of food that you’re used to without a lot of calories. Then, eat something that will satisfy your taste buds. An example would be an appetizer of a side salad to tame my hunger, then an appropriate portion of whatever sounds good to you. Maybe it’s a juicy steak or a pasta dish that looks good. A smaller portion of pasta will go a long way when you’re already partly satisfied from the greens.

Naturally Thin Habit #4 -Don’t be Obsessive

Don’t Get Obsessive About Losing Weight. When you first decide that you want to start losing weight it’s really easy to get obsessed with it. You may find yourself spending a lot of time thinking about what you’re going to eat or Googling weight loss topics online. This will only backfire on you. What goes up must come down. The key is to fit your “diet” into your life instead of trying to fit into your “diet.” Naturally thin people don’t obsess about working out and burning calories. They think positive and maintain a healthy exercise routine, if they miss one day there is always tomorrow.

Exercise is good, just don’t over do it. Almost all of your weight loss will be a result of your “diet.”

Naturally Thin Habit #5 – Find What Works for You

Naturally thin people eat what works with their body type. They listen to their body, some can stomach grapefruit, other can’t. Some can stomach soy milk, other can’t. Some eat dairy, other don’t. Some eat beans, others don’t.

You have to listen to your body and know what makes you feel good, some food bloat certain people and others don’t so you really have to learn to listen to your body and notice what is working for you in that moment. With this being said, we can all agree that too much sugar, junk food, sodas or artificial stuff doesn’t work great for anyone.
This is just some personal habits that I find to work for me, my husband and all the fellow Mythineaters out there.Thin people shouldn’t have to worry about what they eat, because they know themselves well and don’t feel controlled by food. Have a wonderful day!! Cheers to better eating habits from my Husband and I