Spinach Almond Stuffed Mushrooms

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After work yesterday I had a fun trip to town to do some shopping at the Salvage Store. This is a great place that sells dented, overstock and almost expired products. I know some people have issues with shopping for food at these kind of stores, but I have no hangups at all. It is a great place for food shopping for cheap! All you have to do is take the time to look at the dates on packages. Being that I spend extra time looking at sodium content anyways, I don’t find it cumbersome at all to check dates if it means I get good deals.

One of the things I love about our local Salvage store is that they have a produce section. Every Wednesday they get in various vegetables, bags of salad, fruit, and yogurts. It is always different items, so it is hit and miss as to if they will have things I want or need.  This week was a great week! They had tons of packages of spinach for 99 cents each, 3lb bags of apples 2 for $3, and 5 lb boxes of mushrooms for $3! I also scored crumpets that I like to toast for breakfast, that have only 90 calories and 100mg sodium. Great alternative to english muffins. The freezer section was also a wealth of Steamables, microwave veggies and rices., I am fully stocked with white rice, peas, corn, and brussel sprouts that will be easy to toss in the microwave at work or on the inevitable nights i work late.

Since I now had 5lbs of mushrooms to contend with, it quickly became a day of cooking mushroom dishes! I did a wonderful pot of mushroom vegetable soup. I used low sodium vegetable stock, all spice and coconut milk to make a great broth with a lovely asian flavor, added snap peas, baby carrots, and large chunks of mushrooms. Simmered for 2 hours and added a whole bag of kelp noodles. This whole pot of soup only used about one pound of the mushrooms, so I moved on to a fun new stuffed mushroom!

Spinach, Bell Pepper, Almond Stuffed Mushroom.

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I started with 1 tbsp unsalted butter, 1 cup chopped vidalia onion, 3 tbsp chopped garlic. Saute the onions and garlic in a skillet until nicely browned.

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Remove tops and seeds from approx 10 mini sweet bell peppers and chop or put in a food chopper to get a fine chop texture.Add to the skillet of garlic and onion and continue to saute. While this is cooking wash and remove the stems of mushrooms. My mushrooms are father large so I used 24 of them. If you have smaller button mushrooms you can prep as many as you want to and adjust the mixture accordingly.

I placed the mushroom stems and 1 1/2 cups of raw unsalted almond slivers in the food processor and make a fine ground. Place in a bowl and put to the side.

Add 3 cups fresh spinach in the skillet with the onion and pepper mix and cover to let the spinach heat and begin to wilt. You can also stir it all together to speed the wilting process. When the first 3 cups have wilted and there is room in the skillet add another 3 cups of spinach and repeat the wilting process.

While the spinach is cooking, mix 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/8 cup salt free herb seasoning mix, 1 1/5 cups matzo crumbs (i use matzo farfel because it is sodium free, you can use bread crumbs or panko if you like). Grind in the food processor to a fine crumb mixture and put in the bowl with the ground mushroom and almonds.

Add the hot spinach and pepper mix to the bowl and mix all the ingredients together to make a nice stuffing texture..

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Use a spoon ans generously stuff your clean mushroom caps and place in a casserole dish, I made a large batch so I filled 2 lasagna trays. Sprinkle the tops of the mushrooms with Parmesan cheese.

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Cover the dish with foil and place in a 300 degree oven. If cooking large mushrooms like mine, they will take about 1 1/2 hours. If you stuffed smaller mushrooms they will only take about 45 minutes. Just keep and eye on them and cook until the caps are cooked all the way through. When they are almost finished cooking, remove the foil and let brown in the oven for the last 15 minutes.

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I was very happy with the outcome of this dish. The large mushrooms I did consist of about 75 calories each and only 45mg of sodium! You can eat a whole plate full and feel no guilt!

I paired 3 of them with freshly roasted brussel sprouts and broccoli for dinner!

Hope you enjoy this mushroom as much as I do! I love a good stuffed mushroom. I have so many variations on stuffed mushrooms, I could do a cookbook just on mushroom stuffing!

Enjoy all the flavor, with none of the salt! Your taste buds and heart will thank you!!

Oscar Night Guilt Free Nachos

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Oscar Night Guilt Free Nachos

I was walking this morning and trying to decide on something fun to make to snack on tonight while watching the Oscars! I usually will just do white air popped popcorn with salt free seasoning. But I think tonight needs a fun snack!

I decided on some yummy guilt free nachos! Super easy and of course low in sodium!

Depending on the size you are feeding just adjust portions accordingly. I am just cooking for me so I baked it in a small loaf size pan.

First I put in a layer of low sodium tortilla chips. I use Marine Coast Vegetables Sea Chips, they get their slight salt flavor from seaweed and kelp instead of salt, so they are only 65mg sodium per 17 chip serving.

Top the layer in 1/2oz of finely shredded Swiss cheese. Then add another layer of chips and 1/2oz of Swiss cheese.

Place in 250 degree oven for approx 10 min to heat and melt the cheese.

While the chips are in the oven, chop 1/4 cup fresh tomato, 1/4 cup low sodium sour dill spears, and 10 Santa Barbara Olive Co. Low sodium black olives.

Take chips out of the oven and top with chopped mixture and spoon on top 2tbsp Walden Farms Bacon Vegetable dip.

The tray I made is about 2 servings, calories per serving is 245, and even better is the low sodium of 227mg per serving!!

I dare you to find a low sodium nacho with this much flavor and fun for you next snack night!!

If you find one be sure to let me know ;)

Let the countdown begin…

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Let the countdown begin…

It was a really good activity day today. I think it was due to the nerves driving me to get in as much cardio as I can before my tests. Started the morning with a nice mile walk with Sammie dog. Managed to take time at lunch to get in another 3/4 mile. And even got in an after work walk with Sammie dog again. According to my FitBit tracker, I got in 7600 steps so far today! Not bad at all, and I feel great!

I have had a great food day as well. Yummy crumpet and egg whites that I posted for breakfast. Salad for my mid morning, and homemade no salt added chicken veggie and rice soup for lunch. For dinner I decided to cook a good size plate of food since I have to fast after midnight. (So there is also room for a late snack)

Tonight’s creation is 98% lean turkey patty, topped with creamy Swiss cheese, sautéed mushroom spinach and Vidalia onion, on a bed of kelp noodles.

The meal is super simple, spray a sauté pan with cooking spray and start to cook onion and mushroom on low heat so they sweat and make a nice moisture in the pan. Add fresh spinach and mix. Cover pan so the spinach will sweat and cook down.

In a skillet, spray with cooking spray and cook turkey patty until fully cooked, turning half way through to evenly cook both sides. In the last 2 min top the patty with Swiss cheese and cover skillet to help steam melt the cheese.

While the Swiss in melting, go back to the mushroom and spinach mix and take a spoonful and put on top of the Swiss turkey patty. With the rest add a handful of rinsed kelp noodles and 1 tablespoon low sodium Worcestershire sauce and mix thoroughly until noodles are warmed through and softened.
You can add any no salt spices you would like to taste. I love just the natural flavor of mushroom and spinach so I don’t add any spices to this dish.

Place the noodle mix on the plate and top with the turkey patty and enjoy!

Healthy and filling dinner for only 256 calories, 10 carbs and 211mg sodium! Thanks to the kelp noodles we cut approx 200 calories that traditional spaghetti noodles would add, as well as cut approx 35 carbs!

Grab a big plate, eat up and feel no guilt! Your heart will thank you!

The eve of the check in…

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The eve of the check in…

The day is almost upon us. Tomorrow is my 6 week check in with the cardiologist. 9am respiratory tests, 10am ex ray and blood work, 11am echocardiogram. Praying that everything shows enough improvement that we can stop talking about another cardio version and this new toxic medication.

I am going to remain firm on my decisions. I do not want to take a drug than gas a high likelihood of causing liver, lung and vision problems. Especially at 35 years old! It is already a risk on my liver and kidneys to take the 9 medications I am on now. I don’t want to add one that is known to be highly toxic.

I can’t seem to get any weight to drop off right now, been holding steady at 305-307. I have been walking a lot and I can feel my endurance growing. Hopefully this will com through in the test results!

Started this morning with a long walk with Sammie dog and a super yummy breakfast of low sodium crumpet topped with egg whites, spinach, and mushrooms! Let’s get through this day and get great test results tomorrow!!

Saturday Afternoon Veggie Roast

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Saturday Afternoon Veggie Roast

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On a lovely Saturday afternoon, with the breeze blowing through the open windows and the sound of cows in the back ground, it is a great time to toss and roast a variety of fresh veggies to snack on!

I have found this to be the easiest salt free healthy snack to give me the sensory crunch that is can snack on all day without guilt. I do a whole tray full and then put in a Tupperware container and just leave on the counter to snack on all day as I do stuff around the house.

What can be easier than this:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cut fresh veggies to medium chunks. You can use anything you like. Today I did baby carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts!

Toss the veggies in 1tbsp of oil, I prefer coconut oil but you can use any oil you like! I have used peanut oil also for a fun taste.

Once the veggies are coated lightly in oil, I like to sprinkle with salt free seasoning. Today I used Mrs. Dash Caribbean blend. There are so many good salt free blends that it is almost limitless possibilities of flavor.

Spread the coated seasoned veggies on a cookie sheet in a single layer.

Place in oven and roast until desired doneness. I like a little crisp on mine, so I leave them in for about 30-40 min, until the smaller pieces start to blacken on the edges.

Take them out and let cool until you can eat them. I like them just by themselves, but you can use any dip also if you like! Walden farms make a couple good calorie free, carb free, gluten free dips, but they do contain sodium so best to use just a little bit of them if your diet is very sodium restrictive like mine.

HAPPY SATURDAY AND ENJOY!!

Out of the Darkness and running towards the Happiness!

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Well, It has been a little over a year and a half since I have updated and I am very sorry for that! There really are no excuses to anyone following or even to myself. There have been a multitude of happenings in my life…,New job, lost my home in hurricane Issac, taking shelter with friend, new house, end of relationship, and medical ups and downs peppered in between. These are all things we can delve further into as we go along this ride together!

I have resolved myself to get back into the swing of things and share myself here on this blog that in the past has been so helpful and cathartic.

Through all the ups and down over the last 18 months, I have come out stronger and more self assured. I am learning how to live my life healthier and happier all on my own. It is an adventure of culinary experiments, and mind expanding self examination.

Hope everyone enjoys sharing in my transformation and exploration as much as I enjoy sharing with anyone who can take my trials and contributions to use them to benefit their lives.

Glad to be back and ready to live my life out from under the dark rock I had hidden myself!

Rick’s Pickles

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I have managed to find an amazing selection of low sodium pickles!!! You can find them at Ricks picks. They are out of New York and a little pricy but totally worth it if you love the taste of a deli dill pickle but without all the sodium that is so bad for you!!

Here are some of my favorites from their selection!!

sliced dill pickles
low sodium pickle

slices of life

sliced dill pickles

$9.99 | 15 oz.
Here’s a simple pleasure: our traditional sliced dill pickle in an aromatic brine. These crispy slices are made with the freshest kirby cucumbers and premium spices, so treat yourself to this classic with your next sandwich. Slices of Life are a popular craving of expectant mothers … celebrate your life with the pickle ofpregnancy!
whole dill pickleslow sodium pickle

kool gherks

whole dill pickles

$9.99 | 22 oz.

Kool Gherks are our aromatic take on the traditional whole dill pickle. Crunch them whole or slice them up thin and serve with cheeses, charcuterie, even on bread and butter. We use a lot less salt than most picklers, so the brine is great for sipping, and a wonderful aid to digestion. Kool Gherks were prizewinners at the Rosendale International Pickle Festival.

our everyday, anytime pickle.low sodium pickle

classic sours

our everyday, anytime pickle.

$7.99 | 24 oz.

We all puckered up to simple, classic flavor of deli spears as kids. Now we can revisit delicious past with these crunchy, all-natural pickles… minus gunk of artificial ingredients.

Calculate Heart Attack Risk

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Do you know how these controllable risk factors affect your risk of heart disease, stroke and metabolic syndrome?

  • smoking
  • high blood pressure
  • high blood cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • being overweight or obese
  • physical inactivity

It’s essential that you measure your risk of heart disease and make a plan for how to prevent it in the near future. Use this tool to help you assess your risk of having a heart attack or dying from coronary heart disease in the next 10 years. It will also check to see if you may have metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that greatly increase your chances of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke and diabetes. This Risk Assessment can be use by people age 20 or older who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.

After you have finished using the tool, you can print a copy of your risk assessment results, risk factor summary report, metabolic syndrome assessment and action plans for those areas you need to work on in order to reduce your risk.

Learn your Risk Graphic Text

 

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/HeartAttackToolsResources/Heart-Attack-Risk-Assessment_UCM_303944_Article.jsp

One of my favorite snacks

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

Posted by Elise on Apr 16, 2007

How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

I can imagine, that if you didn’t grow up eating artichokes and if you were encountering them for the first time, they might seem a little intimidating. How one cooks and eats an artichoke is not obvious from its appearance. If you’ve always wondered how to cook and eat the darn things, here are the steps:

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How to Cook and Eat an Artichoke

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 35 minutes

METHOD

How to Cook an Artichoke

1. If the artichokes have little thorns on the end of the leaves, take a kitchen scissors and cut of the thorned tips of all of the leaves. This step is mostly for aesthetics as the thorns soften with cooking and pose no threat to the person eating the artichoke.

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2. Slice about 3/4 inch to an inch off the tip of the artichoke.

3. Pull off any smaller leaves towards the base and on the stem.

4. Cut excess stem, leaving up to an inch on the artichoke. The stems tend to be more bitter than the rest of the artichoke, but some people like to eat them. Alternatively you can cut off the stems and peel the outside layers which is more fibrous and bitter and cook the stems along with the artichokes.

5. Rinse the artichokes in running cold water.

artichoke-3.jpg6. In a large pot, put a couple inches of water, a clove of garlic, a slice of lemon, and a bay leaf (this adds wonderful flavor to the artichokes). Insert a steaming basket. Add the artichokes. Cover. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 25 to 45 minutes or until the outer leaves can easily be pulled off. Note: artichokes can also be cooked in a pressure cooker (about 15-20 minutes cooking time). Cooking time depends on how large the artichoke is, the larger, the longer it takes to cook.

How to Eat an Artichoke

Artichokes may be eaten cold or hot, but I think they are much better hot. They are served with a dip, either melted butter or mayonaise. My favorite dip is mayo with a little bit of balsamic vinegar mixed in.

1. Pull off outer petals, one at a time.

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2. Dip white fleshy end in melted butter or sauce. Tightly grip the other end of the petal. Place in mouth, dip side down, and pull through teeth to remove soft, pulpy, delicious portion of the petal. Discard remaining petal.

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Continue until all of the petals are removed.

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3. With a knife or spoon, scrape out and discard the inedible fuzzy part (called the “choke”) covering the artichoke heart. The remaining bottom of the artichoke is the heart. Cut into pieces and dip into sauce to eat.

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Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

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Cardiovascular Disease and Fitness

In addition to following a healthy diet and incorporating important heart nutrients, you must also exercise to maintain the health of your heart. Exercise can help you prevent as well as reverse heart disease.

According to the American Heart Association, you should include a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, three to four days a week.

Why is exercise important?
Many studies have proven conclusively that making improvements to and maintaining your physical fitness will significantly lower your risk of developing heart disease and all other illnesses. Put simply, regular exercise keeps your body in a healthy condition, and a healthy body can ward off disease much better than an unconditioned one.

Let’s take a look at the various types of exercise and why it can improve your health:

Aerobic Exercise
The word aerobic means “oxygen-producing”, and as such aerobic exercise stimulates the production of oxygen. Aerobic exercises include those where you are in motion including walking, running, biking, swimming, etc., exercises which make your heart rate increase for an extended period of time.

When your heart rate increases, this means more blood is being circulated around your body, providing necessary oxygen to your cells and tissues. Regular aerobic exercise is very important for maintaining heart health.

Anaerobic Exercise
Anaerobic exercise comprises short-lived, intense bursts such as sprints and weight lifting. Whereas aerobic exercise is best for cardiovascular strength and endurance, anaerobic exercise is best for muscle strength and flexibility. This will help you maintain your health and avoid injury.

Should you do aerobic or anaerobic exercise?
Although it depends on the time you can allot to exercise each day, we recommend a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise if possible. This way you can improve your cardiovascular health as well as increase your muscle strength. Adding stretching to your routine will also warm up and loosen your muscles so you can avoid injury.

Following are the many benefits of a regular exercise routine. It’s easy to see why exercise is so important:

1. Improving cardiovascular efficiency – heart & lung functioning.

2. Improving strength and endurance.

3. Increasing energy levels and metabolism.

4. Relieving stress and tension.

5. Increasing range of motion and flexibility.

TIPS AND TRICKS

1. Before you start any exercise program, consult your physician to make sure you don’t have any heart conditions or other health problems that might prevent you from safely performing certain exercises. Your physician also might be able to recommend a program that is right for you.

2. Set aside time each week to exercise, and make sure you are consistent. Try to work out at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week, with a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities (i.e. running on the treadmill and lifting weights).

3. Start slow! Don’t rush into an exercise program. Rather, take your time and ease into it, increasing your time, intensity and/or weights gradually as you go along. You will see much better results like this, rather than going overboard with it.

4. Make sure you stretch before and after exercising. It is important that you warm up before you begin any activity, and cool down once you are finished. if you do not adequately stretch your muscles before and after you exercise, you will be much more susceptible to injury or muscle tearing. We recommend 5-10 minutes of warming up before you begin, and at least another 5 minutes of cooling down post workout.

5. Keep water with you at all times, make sure you are hydrated throughout your workout.

6. Maintain a steady workout regimen. Sporadic workouts are not the way to go about it. Stick to a schedule. Also, make sure you maintain a heart healthy diet and include important heart nutrients to improve and maintain your heart health.