Friday, June 29, 2012

Vegetables in the sun, feeling good all day long...

Another day is upon us and I have so many different ideas going through my head that it is hard to keep them organized!! I have been meaning to write about the importance of fresh vegetables for over a week. So today as I am sitting down to write, I promise to not get distracted by ANYTHING else!!
mmmm, look it is a cupcake from Cupcake Mojo...see what I mean, so easy to get distracted by the things around me. It is also yet another reason why I love what I am doing. The world of food is so fascinating and vast it is hard to stay on task with so much to talk about. Vegetables make up a good sized portion of that world. You can write books on what the differences are between fruits and veggies. Try these out and see if you know which is a fruit, a vegetable or maybe neither one..ready, set, go!!

Bell Pepper

These are the kind of things that are great trivia when you are out having drinks with a group of friends. When it comes to dinner at home, the information may not be as valuable...although it does make you think about what you may be able to trick your kids into eating!!

We have plenty of reasons to eat vegetables. Fresher is always better. Vegetables, just like fruit are low in fat but contain a vast array of vitamins and minerals that are healthy for us. Green, yellow and orange vegetables are full of calcium, iron, and magnesium along with vitamins A, C, K and B-complex. All of which are essential to maintaning a healthy body and providing energy to get through our days. For all of the calorie conscious people who are reading, did you know that vegetables are a great source of what is known as negative calorie foods? The body spends energy to digest foods, however when you eat vegetables, the low calorie counts actually cause you to lose even more weight. The body still works hard to digest the foods, the same as it would to digest higher calorie food...We all know that a cupcake has more calories then those carrot sticks, however your body spends energy the same way to digest them. So when you consume those carrot sticks with the lower calorie count, you gain a boost because your body is still spending the same amount of energy.

Take these baby carrots, coat with some olive oil,
salt, pepper & garlic. Toss them into the oven at
400 degrees for about 20 to 30 minutes!
Speaking of carrots, they are an amazing source of Vitamin A and the compounds in carrots help fight certain types of skin and lung cancers. Carrots also have a negligible amount of fat and zero cholesterol. A close friend of the carrot, asparagus is another great idea for the plate. A great source of antioxidants, which help remove free radicals from our bodies, asparagus can help prevent possible cancers, neuro-degenerative diseases and viral infections. It is also a good source of the minerals copper and iron. Copper is a staple for producing red blood cells and iron helps with cellular respiration. Just like carrots, you end up burning more calories eating it then there actually are in the asparagus.

Fresh vegetables can be combined into some amazing recipes as well. This is one of my favorites and allows for adding items into the mix to suit your own tastes. It can also be a full meal instead of just a snack with the addition of some quick oven baked pita chips.

Roasted Red Pepper Salsa

2  Red Peppers, roasted and skinned
2  Vine Ripened Tomatoes
1/2 Sweet Onion, Vidalia
1  Green Pepper
2  Jalapenos
1 1/2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs Garlic
1/4 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Pepper
3 Tbs Fresh Basil

This is a super easy recipe and is full of vitamins, minerals and other great stuff. First off roast the red peppers over an open flame. This is done by simply placing a whole pepper on a grill and turning it as each side begins to blacken. Depending on the size of the pepper it will only take a few minutes for each side. You can also buy the peppers at the supermarket already prepared for you. If you do get the ones in the jar, then eliminate the olive oil in the recipe. In a glass or plastic bowl you are going to add all the ingredients. The red and green peppers are going to be chopped into bite sized pieces. Add to this the onion, tomato and jalapenos, these should also be chopped into bite sized pieces. The garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper go right into the same bowl. Take the basil and cut it into thin strips. Now place the basil into the bowl. Stir it all together and the salsa is done. Do not use a food processor on the salsa, leave the bite sized pieces just the way they are. For some added fun, separate pita bread and cut into triangle wedges. Baste the wedges with a mix of garlic and olive oil. Toast them in a 375 degree oven for about 5 minutes, making instant and flavorful chips that will support the weight of all that salsa goodness.

Starting this weekend is a 3 part series on Mind and Mood Foods. Need some brain energy, boost the metabolism or feeling come some quick and simple solutions along with recipe ideas to help out. I am also going to take everyone on a field trip to the deck outside of my home to chat about planting fresh herbs in containers. Summer is a great time for growing herbs and these containers make quick and easy solutions without spending a fortune.

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