Hicka-what? And Other Under-Appreciated Vegetables

I recently took a vegetable tray to a church function instead of my usual plate of goodies.  I know…gasp!  What is to become of me.  Who knew what a stir it would cause.  Any of you recognize this little veggie?  Everyone kept asking me what it was and seemed even more confused when I told them.

jicama

It is usually in the part of the grocery store with all the less popular vegetables.  Broccoli, asparagus, potatoes, all get their spotlight out in front but these stay tucked in the corner with turnips, rutabagas, beets, etc.  If you are still clueless, I will just give you the answer.  It’s a jicama!  Pronounced Hick-a-ma, and though people were leery to try it, everyone that did liked it.  It was one of the random foods that we got well acquainted with during Aaron’s cleanse and I just wanted to post about it to encourage all of you to give it a chance.

Just peel it, cut it into matchsticks, and dip it in hummus or ranch or whatever your favorite is.  Or toss it on salads and it will add a nice sweet crunch with minimal calories.  Honestly I even just love it plain for a nighttime snack when I don’t want to eat too much before bed.  Of course there are real recipes you could try it with, but so far that’s all I have done and I’ve loved it.  I’ll report back when I take it to the next level.  Or you could.

parsnip

 

Speaking of parsnips, this is another vegetable you should add into your rotation.  You can use them in place of potatoes for a similar consistency with a sweeter taste but fewer carbs and calories.  They are terrific mashed, as oven baked fries, or roasted as a medley with some other neglected vegetables.

coconut collard greens

The last lucky vegetable for today’s spotlight is Collard Greens.  Even though I am from the South, I can’t say that I have eaten too many of these in my day.  Of course, Aaron says Texas is not really the South, so maybe that is why.  I also can’t say that I love these straight up like I do the last two veggies, but since they are REALLY good for you and this recipe below, from Aaron’s cleanse, took the bitterness out of them and made them yummy, I thought I would share.

What are your favorite random veggies?  Or favorite random ways to cook “normal” veggies?

Coconut Collard Greens

  • 1½ tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ medium onion, diced
  • ½ bunch collard greens, stems removed, cut into ½-inch strips
  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1 dash Himalayan salt (to taste; optional)

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook, stirring frequently, 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and very soft.
  2. Add collard greens and coconut milk; cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until greens are very tender.
  3. Add salt (if desired)
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Those Last Ten Pounds

Looks like I made it through a whole week without a post.  I did, however, have PLENTY of sleep deprivation…and I wonder why I have been having more difficulty reaching my health and fitness goals these days!!!  I learned at General Conference that

Being in good physical condition comes at a price, and that price is dedication, perseverance, and self-discipline.

I know, maybe not spiritual, but maybe it IS because our bodies and spirits are connected!  So it is time for me to step up my perseverance and wanted to invite any of you to join me.  I have been haphazardly working out and haphazardly eating healthy, but I need some more structure and definitely more accountability.

So I am going to officially start the Beachbody Challenge and hope some of you ladies will do it with me.  I am thinking about Insanity, but am up for your suggestions.  Then we can have a Facebook fitness group where we can keep each other motivated by sharing our workout experiences and healthy recipes.

motivational_words_decide_commit_succeed_postcard

So comment, email, text me whatever if you are interested and we can help each other meet our goals!!!

P.S. Sorry if you got a message on Facebook and here and feel stalked, but I am ready to get going on this (maybe November 4th??) so talk to me soon.

 

Conquering Cravings Part III

Remember The Land Before Time?  I was 8 when it came out and LOVED it.  Did you know that it was followed by TWELVE direct to video musical sequels?  They are pretty much all on Netflix right now and my kids are loving them.  I, on the other hand…not so much.  As with all too many sequels these days, they definitely should have quit while they were ahead (Tokyo Drift, anyone??).  Hopefully this conquering cravings issue does not take the same path.

cravings

 

I will readily admit I am not the most technically savvy person, nor am I up on the latest trends by any means.  I mean, don’t judge me but I don’t even have a smart phone!  So it took me awhile to realize I was not utilizing Pinterest to its fullest capacity.  I was pretty much just following my friends, but then one day I wanted to pin a recipe I saw in my Cooking Light magazine instead of ripping out the page and sticking it in my overflowing expandable file of recipes to try.

And it dawned on me…Cooking Light has its own Pinterest!  With almost 5,000 pins!  What a better method for organizing recipes!  So I quickly followed them, Health, Fitness, Clean Eating, and Eating Well magazines.  So many recipes to try, all digitally and more cleanly organized than my file, PLUS no monetary investment and no wasting of trees!  I am loving it.  Seriously.  Awesome.  I try to go to one of those when I want to avoid all the amazing looking baked goods people are pinning that have me salivating.

So tonight while looking at Health’s pins (avoiding lingering on a recipe for Salted Browned Butter Snickerdoodles), I saw an article, How the Pros Curb Cravings and figured I ought to share it with you since we have been talking about it so much.  They had some good ideas that we hadn’t talked about yet.

What non-friends have you found helpful to follow?

Trading Screaming for Serenity

 

Are your mornings anything like mine have been lately?  Kids waking up way too early?  What about your afternoons?  Kids not going down for their naps?  What about your evenings? Kids shouting mommy mommy mommy instead of going to bed?  What about your nights?  A baby crying for food or comfort every few hours?

I hope this doesn’t sound like I am complaining, or that I don’t love my kids, but sometimes my inner chi just needs a little TLC.  In order to better love and better help those kids, I need to get away from them for awhile.  A massage has been just what the doctor ordered lately.  As I laid on that massage table listening to the soothing music, I felt a peace wash over me and I knew this needed to be a regular part of “living to last.”

If the description at the beginning matches your life but the picture below hasn’t been you in awhile, I really think you should make an appointment today.

Massage

 

Not only does massage have great restorative power, it has also been shown to help with the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Digestive disorders
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Myofascial pain syndrome
  • Paresthesias and nerve pain
  • Soft tissue strains or injuries
  • Sports injuries
  • Temporomandibular joint pain

Okay, so I don’t know what all those things are, but maybe it will help give you a few more reasons to get a massage.  If you live around here and aren’t sure where to go, my massage therapist just moved to a new place and has a 20% off special for new clients.  It is a gorgeous and peaceful setting out in Boston Harbor.

What are some of your techniques for staying sane through the chaos of kids?

Tastier Tacos

I have heard from several friends lately that tacos are one of their go-to meals.  Mine too!!  I love them and could probably eat them every day.  Well, I know I can actually because that is exactly what I have been doing while Aaron is on his cleanse.  Well, a taco salad actually.  But that is what is great about this meal…you make up a few basic ingredients and you end up with lots of options: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, tostadas, yum!

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But if you eventually get sick of those tacos, here are a few great ways to spruce them up.

#1 – FRESH Pico de Gallo

I don’t think there is anything that adds a better flavor that homemade salsa.  At least that has so few calories and so many vegetables that is.  I had a pile of tomatoes from the garden that I needed to use up fast so I busted out my college roommate’s recipe and got to work.  You still make this recipe Erika Loveland??

7 large tomatoes
1 onion
1 bunch cilantro
2 green chilies (seeded, unless you are ready for some heat of course!)
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp garlic salt
1 TBSP vinegar
1 TBSP sugar
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp dried red chili
1 tsp dried basil

Chop, Mix, Chill, and enjoy!  It also tastes good with eggs or a baked potato; what else do you put your salsa on??

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Peppers are another great add-in, and another healthy vegetable!  Instead of just frying them on the stove, try roasting them or grilling them for more ooomph.  And for an even deeper flavor, ditch your usual bell pepper and go for the poblano.  It is not spicy (unless you leave those seeds in!), but rich and smoky.  Just pop it in the oven at 400, using tongs to rotate it every 5 minutes until ll sides are slightly charred.

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My all-time favorite topping is the caramelized onion.  I could probably eat it on everything.  It and the peppers are a great way to jazz up burgers and homemade pizza.  Contrary to popular belief, you do not need a pile of butter or oil to get a tasty caramelized onion.  Just get a sweet onion (Walla Walla are the best, in my opinion, but maybe if you are in the south you would argue for the Vidalia)!

  • Set your frying pan on medium heat, spray it with olive oil, then add the onion.
  • Cook until it is starting to get pretty brown on one side.
  • Give it a good stir and then add enough water to cover the bottom.
  • Cook until it is starting to get pretty brown on the other side.
  • Give it a good stir and then add enough water to cover the bottom.
  • Are you getting the picture?  Keep doing this until the onions are as soft and sweet as your taste buds desire.

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For this week I just used ground turkey with the Costco Taco Seasoning.  I like the flavor of that and it doesn’t have any MSG like a lot of packaged seasonings.  Do any of you purists have a good recipe for Taco Seasoning that you like to use?

With all this deliciousness you don’t even need to add cheese or sour cream! My cheese loving family may disagree though.  Of course you may want to toss in some healthier fats like avocado or a dab of greek yogurt.  Yum!  What are your favorite ways to jazz up tacos?