The Finest Chefs

Author - Andrea Skye

Getting Slutty Over Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

spaghetti-2

As the name suggests in Italian it literally means “Spaghetti a la Whore”! Was this dish then created to allow ladies of the night to have a quick meal in between jobs? There are a lot of stories as to how it got its name, but one of the most common is that it was a dish that the working girls could quickly prepare between customers. Another version is that is was cooked in brothels so customers would be lured in by the enticing aromas.

Here’s the seductive recipe:-

PREP TIME 20 Mins
COOK TIME 10 Mins
TOTAL TIME 30Mins

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Large Zucchini
  • 1 can of cherry tomatoes
  • 100g anchovy fillets (salted or in oil)
  • 100g good quality olives, rinsed. The recipe calls for Gaeta olives, which of course can be green or black. You can leave them whole or stone them and roughly chop. Can always try half green and half black.
  • 50g capers, rinsed and roughly chopped. The salted variety taste better.
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves finely chopped
  • 4 sage leaves, shredded thinly
  • 50g or a good handful of chopped fresh oregano
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed
  • 1 chilli or a good pinch of chili flakes)
  • Chopped parsley to garnish
  • Generous serving of Parmesan

INSTRUCTION

1. Using a spiralizer cut your zucchini into long ribbons.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan with the garlic, rosemary and sage and cook gently for about 1 minute without browning.

3. Add the chili, canned cherry tomatoes, capers, olives, anchovies, oregano and some black pepper and leave to simmer gently for 10 minutes.

4. Tossed the sauce through the spiralized zucchini.

5. Served with the chopped parsley and generous serving of fresh Parmesan. Serve straight away, with plenty of red wine.

KITCHEN GADGET

 

How to Plan the Perfect Breakfast

healthy-breakfast

Make no mistake about it – breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. Serving up a delicious and nutritious breakfast is a great way to control food cravings throughout the day and give your body an instant boost of nutrition at a prime time when it needs replenishment.

Breakfast is a great opportunity to provide your body with lean proteins, plenty of dietary fiber and a high dose of antioxidants. Let’s have a quick peek at planning the right breakfast so that you make the most of this meal every morning.

The Details

Consider your calorie intake. Breakfast should account for 25–30% of your total daily calorie requirements. Make sure that you are eating enough quality protein at this morning meal, whether from lean meat, fresh eggs, beans or even protein powder.

Factor in prep time. How much time do you have available first thing in the morning to prepare your breakfast? If you regularly rush out the door in the morning, find breakfast options that take 10 minutes to prepare, not 30.

What will fuel your daily activities? Maybe you need an extra dose of carbs in the morning for energy to run errands, or vegetables and fruit will suffice since you spend your day at the office.

Keep your personal taste preferences in mind. Which foods will you look forward to eating to ensure that you do actually take time out for breakfast? This one seems obvious, but many dieters make the mistake of forcing in foods that make them grimace.

Think about how various foods impact you. Eat a carb-dense breakfast one morning, and notice if you start to feel sleepy mid-day. If so, a lower carb breakfast may be a wiser choice.

Think about satiety. Will it be a long time before you eat lunch? If so, load your breakfast as full of fiber as possible to increase total digestion time.

Assess your body weight goals. Do you need to create a calorie deficit during breakfast? If so, a leaner option such as an egg white and vegetable omelette will be a smarter choice than a carb-filled bowl of cereal.

The Bottom Line

Taking the time to plan the right breakfast will be well worth your effort, no matter what your nutritional or weight-loss goals. It’s one of the best ways to ensure that you can stick with your diet plan and are going to move toward the results that you desire.

Remember that you don’t necessarily have to eat breakfast types of foods at your morning meal. You can just as easily eat other foods that you would normally enjoy for lunch or dinner, if you prefer. Look to international breakfasts for ideas on how to get creative with your morning meal.

Curried Chickpea & Veggie “Noodle” Salad

curried-chickpea

A light and healthy salad of vegetable “noodles”, chickpeas, and a creamy curry dressing. Vegan and gluten-free!

Prep Time 15 mins
Recipe type: Salad, Main
Cuisine: Indian

Serves: 2-3

Author: Angela @ Vegangela.com

Ingredients
  • 1 cup green cabbage, cut into thin strips
  • 1 red bell pepper (capsicum), cut into thin strips
  • 2 carrots, spiralized or julienned
  • 2 medium zucchinis, spiralized or julienned
  • ¼ cup green onions (or 1 clove garlic), chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro (or mint), chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • red chili flakes (optional)
Dressing
  • ⅓ cup tahini (or other nut butter)
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (or agave)
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1 tsp dried ginger)
  • 2-3 tbsp water (as needed)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix all dressing ingredients, adding just enough water to thin it out to a thick dressing consistency.
  2. Add veggies and chickpeas and mix until well-coated with the dressing. Season with salt and pepper, and red chili flakes (if using).

Kitchen Gadget

Roasted Corn & Zucchini Salad With Chili Lime Vinaigrette

zucchini

Grilled, charred corn is paired with spiraled zucchini, crisp red onion and tossed with a simple chili lime vinaigrette for a fresh, make ahead, summer salad!

PREP TIME 1o mins
COOK TIME 10 mins
TOTAL TIME 20 mins
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 6
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 ears of corn
  • 2 large zucchini, spiralized with the smallest blade
  • ½ large red onion, diced
  • Optional: Queso Fresco or Cojita
  • Salt and pepper to season corn

Vinaigrette:

  • .5 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp honey
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Prepare grill.
  2. Pull husks down on corn. Spray with non-stick cooking spray and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Grill until slightly charred.
  4. Meanwhile prepare vinaigrette; combine all ingredients and mix well. Toss with spiralized zucchini noodles , red onion and cheese, if using.
  5. When corn is done and cooled slightly. Cut kernels off. Top salad with corn and serve!

KITCHEN GADGET

 

Get Healthy: How To Remove Junk From Your Diet

fat-woman-eating-a-hamburger

Just as the name suggests junk food is junk. Junk food is full of calories that do absolutely nothing for your body. These are called empty calories because they have no or very little nutritional value. The truth is that most of these calories come from sugar and fats and they will do nothing but increase weight and body fat.

Junk food can also cause you to retain water which will make you feel bloated and sluggish. This causes you to feel tired instead of having the energy to get up and move around. The long term effects of eating junk food can be extreme from causing you to be overweight to causing the clogging of arteries that leads to heart attack.

Why do people love junk food? The truth is that our brains have very positive reactions to fatty and sugary foods. It induces “feel good” hormones in the brain that actually mimic the effects of powerful addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin. It is no wonder that we need them.

How many people have cravings for spinach?

But, cravings for ice cream, chips, soda and cookies is a whole other matter. In order to overcome these perilous food addictions, you must retrain your body, change old habits and change tastes. It takes time and effort, but, it can be done.

Did you know that there are thousands of fitness conscious people who NEVER touch any junk food? Yes it’s really true!

Removing junk food from your diet is an important way to become proactive when it comes to your health.

How To Remove Junk Food From Your Diet

It starts with some common sense.

Many people say that it is cheaper to eat junk food than it is to eat healthy food. Or they use the excuse that they just don’t like the way healthy food tastes.

First you will have to reprogram your taste buds to get used to eating healthy foods. You have been eating junk food all of your life, this is what your body is used to and what it will crave but it is up to you to retrain your body and your mind to crave healthy foods.

It is not cheaper to eat junk food!

Let’s forget about the fact that you will save thousands on medical bills by eating healthy and let’s look at what you are spending right now.

Potato Chips Versus Oranges

A bag of potato chips costs about $3.99 this will usually last a family of four one day, if that long.

Now let’s look at a bag of oranges. One bag of oranges costs about $4 on average. When you buy a bag of oranges you will get 8-10 oranges. This can make as many as 16 snacks which can last up to four days for a family of four.
Now you have to look at which you would rather your family or yourself eat.

Potato chips are loaded with fat, salt and a lot of calories. 1 ounce of Lays plain chips has 160 calories, 1 grams of fat and 170 grams of sodium (7% of daily allowance).

An orange has 0 fat, 0 salt and only 45 calories. Plus, it’s loaded with essential nutrients, like vitamin C (a whopping 85% of the daily recommended allowance), plus potassium and fiber.

When eating a bag of potato chips you may be watching television, letting all of that fat attach itself to your body, but, when you eat that orange, you are energized simply by the smell of it.

And, this is just one example of how junk food compares to healthier options. Next time you go to the market do some comparison shopping and you will see that the prices of healthy food are not so different from junk food.
There are also plenty of healthier snack options available that can fill kid’s lunch boxes with healthier alternatives.

Planning

It may take some planning when you are removing junk food from your diet, but, it is possible to eat healthy on the same budget you have right now.

Healthier Substitutions For Junk food

When you remove junk food from your diet you will find that you suffer from cravings. Here are a few substitutions you can use to get past the cravings.

• A square of dark chocolate instead of a chocolate candy bar
• Unsalted pretzels or no butter popcorn instead of chips
• Baked vegetable strips instead of chips
• Raw nuts instead of chips for a crunchy snack
• Plain yogurt with fruit, honey, or nuts instead of ice cream
• Flavored sparkling water instead of soda
• Fresh fruit instead of cake and cookies
• Raisins instead of candy
• Cherries instead of candy

Substituting In Recipes

There are also ways that you can alter your favorite recipes to create a healthier version. For example instead of using butter in your cakes and cookies you can create a healthier version by substituting the butter with apple sauce.

You can also use non-fat plain yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. If you are a real lover of mayonnaise than try replacing it with avocado on your sandwiches. It has the same texture and you never miss the empty calories of the mayonnaise.

Bottom Line

These are just a few things that you can do to remove the junk food from your diet. There are so many other options that you can do, but, rest assured it is possible to remove the junk food from your diet and replace it with much healthier alternatives. This will ensure your good health and the health of your family.

Hearty White Bean Soup Recipe

hearty-vegetable-soup

Everyone loves a good soup recipe – and better yet one that is not just good, but good for you. We have all been there – the temperature is starting to drop, autumn is coming on, bathing suits are packed away and we start to crave – and I mean crave – comfort food. Why? Because it is good! And it is so satisfying when there is a chill in the air That’s why I love hearty comfort food that is still healthy – like this wonderful white bean soup recipe. It is amazingly rich in flavor and yet when you look at the ingredients it is all good for you. If you want to make this even a little more interesting you can add a green like kale or my favorite, escarole.

If you use this bean soup recipe as your base – and it is great just the way it is – then you can try little variations on the theme. You could try a green like I suggested or maybe a few potatoes. Lots of options, but all great. When you do, post a picture on our facebook page and let us know how it was.

Hearty White Bean Vegetable Soup Recipe
Serves: 6
This healthy soup is hearty enough to be comforting on a crisp fall night, but it is wonderfully healthy too.
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 2 celery ribs, diced
  • 1 large leek, sliced into ½″ rings, washed well to remove any sand and drained in a colander
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ cups cooked white beans, rinsed (one 15 ounce can or homemade from dry beans)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 6-8 cups vegetable or chicken broth, or water
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 4-5 kale leaves, ribs removed, roughly chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. In a large soup pot heat the oil. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onions starts to soften. Add the carrots, celery, and leeks. Continue cooking, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds, being careful not to let it burn.
  2. Next add the tomato paste and stir well. Let cook for 30 seconds then add beans, diced tomatoes, broth, thyme, and butternut squash. Add salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste. (It might not need much salt if the broth is salted.) Bring to a simmer and let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
  3. Add the chopped kale and let cook for another 5-10 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if needed.
  4. Ladle into bowls and serve hot with warm rolls or bread on the side.

 

How I Got A Toned and Sexy Butt with these 5 Workouts!

sexual-beautiful-hipster

The butt is the object of many of our weight loss efforts. For some of us, it’s the one thing that just doesn’t seem to get smaller even when the rest of our body does. The good news is that there are some exercises that can help tone your butt, if you use them alongside regular exercise.

Make sure to perform the exercises below with dedication 3 to 4 times a week. Every alternate day is a good schedule, since the day off will help your butt muscles recover and strengthen. The exercises below should each be repeated for 15-20 times at least for some effectiveness, and of course more repetitions are a good thing.

#1 Lunges

You can perform a lunge by stepping forward with one foot and bending both knees to come into a lunge position. Variations of the forward lunge include the side lunge and backward lunge. If you want to increase the intensity of your lunges, hold light weights in both hands while doing them.

#2 Squats

Squats are performed by standing with your feet still apart and bending your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the floor, bringing you into a position that looks as though you are sitting in an imaginary chair. When performing a squat, hold both your arms straight in front of you for balance.

#3 Kickbacks

The starting position for this exercise is you being on your elbows and knees on the floor. To do a kickback, lift one leg so that it is parallel to the floor (be careful not to lift too much as this may strain your back). Squeeze your glutes as you do this and pulse your foot slightly upward. Repeat again for your other leg.

#4 Step Ups

Step ups are simple moves that really work your buttocks. Get a platform that is high enough to work out your butt effectively, and after placing one foot on the platform, push up with the same foot and step onto the platform, bringing the other foot up on the platform as well. Repeat again, this time stepping first with the other foot. If you want a simple version of this exercise that doesn’t use a platform, climbing stairs as much as you can is just as good. Step aerobics is also a more interesting way to perform this exercise.

#5 Butt Squeezes

While not technically an exercise, the butt squeeze is a great move that you can do no matter where you are. Just squeeze in your butt muscles and hold for a few seconds, then release. You can do this daily multiple times, at any time. Why not do butt squeezes when you are waiting in line, in the car stuck in traffic or even at the office sitting at your desk all day?

Do remember that, besides the strength training exercises above, you should also incorporate a daily dose of cardio exercise such as running, walking, cycling, dancing, and so on into your exercise regime as well. This is to ensure that the fat layers on your butt are burnt away, showing off the beautiful butt muscles you have underneath that give off the toned look. With some persistence, you will have a butt that everyone will envy!

Share your own secrets to great looking butt at the comments as well.

 

How to Get Started Running For Fitness

runners-shoe

Running is a great way to exercise for cardiovascular fitness, overall health, and to lose or maintain your ideal body weight. Running is also enjoyed by many as a great stress reliever, especially when choosing to run outdoors. Getting fresh air after working indoors all day and enjoying the beautiful outdoor scenery is a nice perk of running.

If you want to experience all these benefits, or even just a few, there are some steps to take to get you started in the world of running. It takes time and dedication, but with patience, you will easily begin to accumulate miles on your running shoes.

Set Your Goals

No matter if your goal is to increase your physical activity level or to lose weight, the first step to starting a running program is to set goals specific to you. When you set goals that are personal to you, and are achievable, you will be more likely to stick to obtaining your goal.

Obtain Medical Clearance

If you have never exercised, it is important that you make an appointment to see your medical doctor. Ask for a complete physical, and let your doctor know that you are considering starting a running program. He or she will be able to tell you if a running program is appropriate to your current health.

Plan Running Days

You should make a commitment to schedule time in your busy calendar for a running session. Anywhere from three to five times a week, beginning with a minimum of 10 minutes, is great to start a running program. You can slowly build up this time, but in the beginning, your focus in on making that commitment to running.

Purchase the Right Running Shoes

With each sport, there is certain equipment that is needed to protect you from injury. Running is no different. When it comes to running shoes, ensure that you purchase shoes that are designed specifically for running – not walking or cross-training – just running.

Running shoes have more cushion and support that is needed for this kind of exercise. If you are unsure as to which running shoes are good for you, visit a sporting store that sells running shoes and speak to a professional sales person. He or she will be able to guide you in your particular needs.

Build Your Endurance

Now that you are prepared, it’s time to begin your running program. Don’t start off by thinking that you have to run fast and run many miles. In the beginning, focus just on time spent running. If you start off running too fast, too soon, you could be setting yourself up for injury, which will ruin your running goals.

To begin, start with a brisk walk for about two minutes and run slowly to moderately for one minute. Keep repeating this process until you have completed 10 minutes. You can slowly increase this time to 20 minutes as you feel stronger. Once you are at 20 minutes, try increasing your running time to your walking time. For example, run for four minutes and walk for one minute.

You can then slowly increase this time to 30 minutes. Once you are running more, you will notice that you are covering more distance. This is a great time to start re-analyzing your goals if you just want to keep running just for weight loss or weight maintenance at 30 minute sessions, or whether you want to get into long-distance running and races.

3 Ways To Reduce Emotional Eating

emotional-eating

Emotional eating is a big issue that needs to be dealt with right away if you plan to lose weight. While it is possible for emotional eaters to lose weight, if the issue is not resolved, you’ll almost always put the weight right back on again. It isn’t easy, but here are 3 ways to reduce your emotional eating.

Eat Only When Really Hungry

The first step to prevent emotional eating is to learn to distinguish between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Physical hunger is when your body really needs food, and emotional hunger is when you are stressed (or bored) and feel like distracting yourself with food. If you just had a big lunch and something at work upsets you and you are magically hungry again, that’s not physical hunger.

Don’t forget that thirst can also be mistaken for hunger. So if you feel you are hungry at a time when you shouldn’t be, just drink a large glass of water. If that doesn’t help, do something to distract yourself instead of eating.

Find Other Ways to Manage Stress

Of course, the best way to manage emotional eating would be never to get emotional at all. But since that isn’t possible for most of us (though you should try and stay away from triggers like fighting with your spouse or reading the newspaper when it makes you feel bad), the next best thing is to manage those emotions in other ways.

Think about it this way: if you eat something because you are emotional, you will feel better for a minute, and afterwards feel awful that you broke your diet. This will lead to more stress and more eating, and it is a vicious cycle. Instead, use other methods to channel your emotions, such as writing down your feelings in a journal, talking to a friend, going for a long walk, dancing to some music, or watching a feel-good movie. This way, you won’t be breaking your diet, and you’ll learn new ways to help yourself feel better. It’ll get easier over time.

Don’t Deprive Yourself Too Much On Your Diet

Sometimes when you are on a rigid diet, it’s easy to think that completely cutting out the foods you love is a good idea. The thing is, if you are an emotional eater, these are the very foods you will eat too much of to make yourself feel better when you are down. Instead, eat the foods you love in small quantities occasionally. This way your willpower is stronger when you feel like eating, because you don’t feel totally deprived.

These steps can help you manage your emotional eating when you are on a diet, but do remember that to maintain your weight loss later on, you will have to nip this bad habit in the bud and develop a healthy approach to managing stress instead of emotional eating. As mentioned in the second tip, this means finding ways to manage your stress permanently through other channels.

What do you think of these strategies? Do you have one you would like to share ? Please leave a comment with your ideas and empower others.