Garlic: You’re Doing it Wrong

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“I smell but I’m good for you.” – Garlic

We all know that garlic is good for you. But did you know that if you prepare garlic improperly, you may be destroying many of its health benefits?

Luckily, the fix is easy. And interesting. Because…..science.

Alliin + Allinase —> Allicin.

Fresh garlic contains a compound called alliin and an enzyme called allinaseThese two work together to produce a magical ingredient called allicin. If you aren’t a complete toolbag you probably want some  allicin in your life.

Allicin has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties. Allicin even has antiprotozoal properties! I hear that vampires fear allicin. In nature, allicin protects the plant from a host of pests.

But Here’s the Problem

Unlike your terrifying stalker, allicin isn’t always  just there.  To produce allicin, you must smash together the two precursor ingredients (alliin and allinase). You can do this by chopping or crushing the garlic. Crushing is better.

From an evolutionary standpoint this makes sense. It’s physical distress which causes the anti-pest ingredient to kick into gear.

So when fresh garlic is chopped or crushed, allicin will form.

Heat Destroys Allinase 

Allinase, the enzyme needed to produce allicin, is destroyed by heat.  So if you crush garlic and throw it immediately into a hot pan or oven, you won’t get allicin.

Before you know it, you will be sad, old, and lonely – simply because you didn’t do garlic the right way. No one will be your friend, and no one will invite you to Mahjong.

The Fix

Raw Garlic
If you eat raw garlic, you’re fine. The mechanical action of your mechanical teeth is enough to crush the garlic. And because you are not exposing the allinase to high heat before the allicin has a chance to form, you are not ruining your whole life by preparing garlic the wrong way.

But if you cook your garlic, Behold!
Simply crush or chop your garlic, then let it sit for ten minutes at room temperature before exposing it to heat.

During this time, the allicin will have time to form. Once the ten minutes are up, you can prepare your garlic however you want without destroying the health benefits. Just don’t complain to me about your bad breath because I will pretend I do not know you.

Enjoy 🙂

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Caribbean Jerk Shrimp and Sweet Potato Avocado Mash

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No offense to Paula Deen or my Russian ancestors, but we do not need to use butter in everything! “What do you mash with your potatoes to make them moist and flavorful?”
::insert heavy Russian accent::

 

Say hello to my little friend, Avocado.

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I promise I will get to the recipe in a second but first lets see the difference between avocado and buttah:
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Ingredients for one serving:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cayenne pepper optional
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tbs minced garlic
  • 1 tbs evoo or coconut oil
  • Walkerswood Jamaican Jerk Seasoning
  • Lemon juice for the avocado and shrimp
  • 3 oz shrimp (I used Target’s Market Pantry small shrimp): 60 cal/13g protein

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F
  • Pierce holes around sweet potato and bake for 45-1 hour or until soft or microwave for approx 10 min turning sides once
  • Soak shrimp in cold water for about 15 min
  • Once shrimp have defrosted place in ziploc bag and mix with jerk seasoning. Cook on pan for about 3-5 minutes or until translucent
  • Chop onion and garlic, saute for approx 3 to 4 minutes until translucent
  • Drizzle half avocado with lemon juice, salt and pepper
  • Mash baked potato and avocado together and mix in onions and garlic
  • Serve with cooked shrimped and lemon wedge

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Weekend + free time = wanting more food

Ahhh, Friday. Sweet, sweet, Friday. We impatiently wait for the weekend to come and while it’s awesome that we get two days to do whatever, I have a huge problem when it comes to food! Over time, I’ve learned self control (only took about 27 years), but I am human and I still love food and the temptation is always there.

So what do I do to control myself?

In my opinion, the most important thing to do is to keep ROUTINE.  Of course it’s ok to sleep in but I suggest staying as close to your daily routine as possible. The first thing I do when I wake up (besides brushing my teeth) is drink a bottle of water and about an hour later I have breakfast, usually a hard boiled egg with a serving of nuts or a Greek yogurt with a serving of fruit. Both options high in protein and not overly filling or time consuming to make! Let’s get real, time is precious and I don’t want to waste it.

Don’t graze. Grazing is the worst! Visualize this scenario… you are binge watching something awesome on Netflix, like, The Arrow (That Oliver Queen… isn’t he so dreamy?) and you want some popcorn. A cup or two is fine, but once you start, you can’t stop and now you binge watched a whole season of The Arrow and downed an entire bag of popcorn and life is sad because you finished the season and the bag and you feel guilt that you ate a whole bag of popcorn. My solution- keep a weight by you (kettle bell is totes my obsession right now) or a resistance band or even a chair.. wait, even better, you don’t need any equipment, just a wall (hamstring blasters, walk planks, wall squats). Your heart will be racing for more reasons other than Ollie… I mean, Oliver Queen aka The Arrow ::swoon::

I like to go to the gym first thing in the morning after my pre work out of walking my dog, Marty. He’s my best pal. And hey, if you guys don’t have a gym membership or don’t feel like going to the gym, go for a long walk with your four legged friend or take a shelter dog for a walk—adopt don’t shop! They will be happy and you’ve burned calories. That’s a win win in my book.

Anyway, if I work out in the morning, I am less inclined to cheat because that work out is not going to waste. No way, Jose.

Eat before you go out to dinner. “What do you mean eat before going out to eat… that’s what an appetizer is for!” No, no, no. You got it all wrong! Gosh, would you just listen to me! I think we are all visually hungry more so than physically. Those loaded cheese fries look appetizing, don’t they? Not anymore! Just stop, ok! Have a snack before you go out so you are just enough satisfied till the main course. Phew! look, we made it through the appetizer part of the dinner. I always lean toward the meats and substitute fries with veggies or a sweet potato but if you decide to indulge, upon receiving the food, cut your meal into 4 parts and have them doggie bag three out of the four parts. PORTION CONTROL!

I’d say you had a pretty successful weekend if you follow some of the pointers above.

Do you have any additional tips? I am always open to new suggestions.

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Take a pizza my heart

Let me preface this by saying dinner was so easy to make and Hubby approved ::two thumbs up::

I introduce to you my cheat clean dinner for the week…drum roll please!!!!

*Tortilla pizza*

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Be still our hearts… friends, our pizza days are not over…just modified.

As you get to know me, you’ll see I focus on high protein-low carb meals. Carbs have always been a big problem for me. Unfortunately they don’t go straight to my ass, more like my stomach and thighs 😦 Ok, less about me and more about this pizza.

One Mission tortilla= 6 carbs Trader Giotto’s Rustica sauce = 4 carbs per 1/2 cup (trust me, you won’t need to use that much for one slice) and zero carbs for cheese and Hormel turkey pepperoni. Max carbs for this meal is 10 grams.

Here’s what you got to do:

Preheat oven to 350 F

Spray your baking sheet with cooking spray

Lay your heavenly wrap on the sheet

Spread sauce, cheese, and pepperoni on top (remember, you can substitute with any topping or no topping at all…ain’t nothing wrong with the ol’ reliable cheese and sauce)

Pop it in the oven to desired crispiness. Personally, the crispier the better. I love the crunch! – This was about 10 min.

Serve with a side salad and I’d say you got yourself a gourmet Italian dinner 😉

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Avocado Toast On Fleek

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GET INSIDE ME.

So I tend to get a bit teary-eyed when I talk about avocado toast. And fine, it’s true – I might be a Trader Joe’s fangirl.

But I want you to experience this toast.

I swear to you I am not sponsored by Trader Joe’s (if only!). But Trader Joe’s 100% Rye Bread, in particular, is my favorite for this recipe. If you have access to it, you should definitely use it for this recipe.

This toast is so simple and SO good. It’s perfect if you’re cooking for yourself or for two people.  Like many of my other recipes, you can make it all in one pan.

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Don’t stare directly into the pit.

You’ll need:
1. small amount of onion
2. one or two eggs
3. 1/2 avocado
4. one slice Rye (Preferably Trader Joe’s 100% Rye)
5. Optional but recommended: Tomato and/or Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Do whatever you do to make your pan not stick. I use Trader Joe’s Coconut Cooking Spray
  2. Cut up onions, throw them on one corner of the pan. You’ll want to do these first, because they’ll take the longest.
  3. Once the onions have been cooking for a bit, begin toasting the Rye on another portion of the pan. At some point you should flip the Rye.
  4. Crack an egg somewhere on an unused portion of the pan. I cook it sunny side up or scramble it, but wtvr works.
  5. Dump everything from pan onto a plate. Spread avocado on toast, add onions and egg on top.  Nom nom
  6. Optional: cut up the tomatoes and cook them lightly in the span. Add them to your toast. SO good!
  7. Double Optional: Drizzle a little olive oil on the whole concoction. MMMmmmMMMMmm.
  8. Mandatory: ENJOY!!!

Let us know how you modify this recipe to fit your own tastes 🙂

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Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili

Let me be blunt. I modified this recipe from here.

But without the modifications, it’s a bit bland.
And the modifications work. And by work I mean WEEEERK.

If you’re a single lady, this recipe will make men love you. And if you’re a single guy, it will also make men love you.  So I hope if you’re a dude that you’re gay or at least open to exploration.

OK so go to that link. Put those exact things in the slow cooker, and then add the following:

  1. SALT! I don’t like salt, but without any salt at all this recipe is bland
  2. 1/8 cup of brown sugar, I added it a few hours into the slow cooking process
  3. A few table spoons of balsamic vinaigrette! Also added late in the slow cooking process. This is the secret key!! Oh my goodness.

Also. The recipe says slow cook for 2 hours. I don’t think that’s nearly enough to get the full flavor.

I slow cooked on high for 4ish hours. I turned it to low towards the end.

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Heavenly chili, obscured by a ton of other delicious ingredients: spring mix, bruschetta, avocado, egg

BONUS POINTS:
You get bonus points from a higher power if you serve this chili on top of mixed greens with an egg on top. If you’re feeling naughty, a dollop of sour cream won’t hurt.

ALERT!!! Burrito Potential alert!:
I try to avoid carbs. But if you’re feeling feisty, add one egg, some mixed greens, some avocado and/or tomato.  Throw it all together in a wrap to make the world’s most wonderful burrito. You won’t be disappointed.

STAY WARM! And Happppppppppy Chili Nomming 😀

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The Infamous Egg Thing

What is “Egg Thing” you ask?

Egg Thing is elusive… like a dove.
Egg Thing is a feeling more than a recipe. It’s like homespun wool, perfect precisely because of its imperfections.

Egg Thing reminds me of babushka’s cooking – it comes out a little bit different every time. Cooking Egg Thing is like replicating DNA over and over again. The mutations add up. Sometimes they are disastrous, sometimes miraculous – but they always code for Egg Thing.

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Egg thing. Pictured here with besties Butternut Squash Puree and Beet Juice

The Two Foundational Premises of Egg Thing: 
1] The presence of three main ingredients
– mixed veggies
– a cut up veggie burger (but specifically, Morning Star Chik Patties are the most delicious)
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2] The eggs are always added last, and left slightly wet and yolky. DEAR GOD I WANT EGG THING RIGHT NOW!!

Egg Thing changed my life because:
– It can be made in a single large pan
– It’s easy, bc it can be made with microwave steamable veggies
– It’s crazy filling, and you can make many portions at once
– It’s a great intro for someone who is new to healthy eating

Here is How I Generally Make My Egg Thing

Ingredients:
1. Bag of Steamed Vegetables (I usually Bird’s Eye Mixed Vegetables)
2. 1 or 2 veggie burgers (I usually use either Morning Star Original Chik Patties OR Buffalo Chik Patties. I highly recommend trying with these)
3. 2-3 eggs (I try to stick with Organic, Cage Free…yada yada)
Optional: Soy or teriyaki sauce. Or any sauce for that matter.

Directions:
1. Steam veggies according to directions on bag.  I steam them in the microwave for slightly less than the recommended time.
2. Do whatever you do to your pan to make it not stick. WARNING: Egg thing WILL get sticky. I use a ceramic pan and Organic Coconut Oil Cooking Spray from my beloved Trader Joe’s.
3. If you keep your veggie patties in the freezer, defrost them slightly – just until you can cut through them easily. Cut each patty up into 8 or more pieces.
4. Throw patty pieces on pan on a LOW FLAME! Flip them regularly and wait for them to brown slightly.
5. Add steamed veggies to same pan, turn it up a little bit. Wait a bit for everything to cook.
6. Crack eggs directly into the pan. Scramble things around a bit. My egg thing is finished when the egg is still slightly wet and yolky. This makes things so delicious!!

OPTIONAL: Add salt, spices, whatever you want. Almost anything will taste great. I especially love adding a bit of teriyaki sauce. It tastes AMAZING. I usually use Soy Vey Veri Veri Teriyaki.

Egg Thing tastes great hot or cold.
I usually make enough to last me a few meals.

Let us know how you personalize your egg thing!!

Happy Nomming 🙂

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Sweet Potato Avocado Smash

 

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Can I still call it a “recipe” if it only requires two ingredients and a microwave?

Healthy eating for one is hard. Fresh produce goes bad quickly, and buying small quantities isn’t always possible.

Avocados and Sweet Potatoes to the rescue. Here is a quick and healthy recipe that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

You’ll need:
1 or 1/2 avocado
1 sweet potato
salt
Optional: 1 egg, any style

  1. scrub the sweet potato, especially if you intend to eat the skin.
  2. pierce sweet potato with a fork 5-10 times, then wrap sweet potato in a lightly moist paper towel
  3. microwave sweet potato 5-7 minutes, depending on strength of your microwave. Let it cool for a few minutes once its done
  4. cut sweet potato in half, scoop out insides.
  5. smash sweet potato insides together in bowl with avocado and salt to taste
  6. Optional: throw an egg on top for a filling and nutritious meal

 

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YUM!

 

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