Holiday Cranberry Mimosa!

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Hi friends! Thanksgiving has passed and if you’re like me, you have lots of leftover cranberries. I like cranberries sauce more and more every year, and I make a very delicious and easy cranberry sauce. I came across a Food Network show about the holidays, and in it they discussed mimosas. I had a eureka moment and thought, “Wow, what if I use my delicious cranberries to make a mimosa!” Well, I have to tell you that we have enjoyed them so much that we drink them frequently (but responsibly)! 🙂 I have included the recipe for my cranberry sauce and cranberry mimosas. They are so pretty and festive, besides being really darn good. They make a nice centerpiece to your holiday table. The cranberry sauce itself is so flavorful and bright, and with no added sugar is a healthy addition to your meals. Bon appetite!

Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 -8 ounce packages cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 cinnamon stick

Put all of the ingredients into a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens, about 15-20 minutes. serve at room temperature or cool and refrigerate. Remove the cinnamon stick before serving.

Cranberry Mimosa

  • 1 teaspoon of cranberry sauce
  • 1 glass decent quality champagne

Put the cranberry sauce into a champagne flute. Add the champagne to the glass and give it a quick stir. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

My Oh My, Healthy Pie!

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Hi friends! Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving here, and in my third video blog I demonstrate how to make a super delish and healthy pie crust recipe that you have to try! There’s no flour, so it’s gluten free and low carb. In the video I show you how to make the crust, but I also am including my healthy pumpkin pie filling recipe that has NO SUGAR! Top it with some cinnamon whipped cream and you’ll have a wonderful Thanksgiving dessert that is easy to make! Here we go!

Gluten free, low carb pie crust

1 cup walnuts, ground

1 cup pecans, ground

4 tablespoons organic butter

2 teaspoons organic cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind the walnuts and pecans in the food processor, and add the cinnamon. Melt the butter in the microwave, then add it to the food processor and pulse for a few more seconds until combined. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown.

Pumpkin Pie Filling

2 cans organic pumpkin purée

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup REAL maple syrup

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon each of ginger, cloves and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk eggs together and then add the rest of the ingredients. Beat until combined and bake for 15 minutes at 425. Reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 45-60 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let sit until cooled. Garnish with cinnamon whipped cream and enjoy!! Happy Thanksgiving to all my wonderful readers!!

Creamy, Healthy, and Easy Soup du Jour!

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Hi friends! My second video blog is here for you today. I made a delicious, healthy, and easy soup that you will enjoy making almost as much as you’ll enjoy eating! Here’s the recipe:

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

4 cups chicken stock

1 cauliflower

1 brick cream cheese

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

4 oz butter

Salt and pepper

1/2 lb bacon

Paprika

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Chop the cauliflower into small florets, add to the stock and boil until tender. Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy. Drain and set aside. Add the mustard, cream cheese, and butter to the cauliflower in the stock. Use a hand mixer or a blender to combine until smooth. Add the bacon crumbles, paprika and walnuts as a garnish. It’s creamy and has so much flavor. You’ll love it! Eating low-carb soups like this will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie!

Gun Hay Fat Choy! Happy, Healthy Chinese New Year!

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Delicious (and healthy) Chinese food!

Delicious (and healthy) Chinese food!

Gun Hay Fat Choy, everyone! This is the English translation for Happy Chinese New Year in Cantonese. Chinese food has always been my favorite type of ethnic food. As a child, when my mom asked where we wanted to go out to eat I always voted for the local Chinese restaurant. It’s flavorful and satisfying, and there’s such a variety of items from which to choose! It’s just all so good!

Typical Chinese menu.

Typical Chinese menu.

Well, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had to be more careful about the choices I make at Chinese restaurants and in general. I want to share my healthy Chinese restaurant choices with you so that you can make good choices too.

 

The always flavorful and healthy Egg Drop Soup!

The always flavorful and healthy Egg Drop Soup!

 

1. Healthy appetizers- I always order the Egg Drop Soup instead of an egg roll or crab Rangoon. A cup of egg drop soup has about 50 calories but it contains protein from the egg contained in it. Refer to my past blog post, “An EGGceptional Protein” for more information about the health benefits of Egg Drop Soup, and other egg dishes. An egg roll doesn’t contain egg, but it does have 240 calories and 45 grams of carbs. Definitely not the way to start your meal. Also, one crab Rangoon has 67 calories and 4.2 carbs which doesn’t sound that bad but have you ever eaten just one of them? A usual order has 3-6 in it and eating at least 2 or 3 is pretty customary, which would be almost 200 calories and 12 grams of carbs. That’s just the START of your meal, too

 

 

My favorite healthy Chinese dish, Moo Goo Gai Pan!

My favorite healthy Chinese dish, Moo Goo Gai Pan!

2. Avoid thick sauces and breaded fried meat- When looking at the menu at a Chinese restaurant, it’s important to read the descriptions of the dishes before making your choice. Look for words like, “fried” “Coating” or “thick, glossy sauce”– these are words that mean your entrĂ©e is going to be breaded and fried, definite health no-no’s. Also, when dishes come in thick sweet/spicy sauces know they will contain SUGAR, which is another healthy no-no. My favorite dish to order is Moo Goo Gai Pan. It consists of chicken and vegetables in a light chicken broth. Even though the sauce is light it is very tasty and delicious. I add a bit of soy sauce to mine because I like that salty flavor, but you definitely don’t have to because it’s great either way. Another dish I like is either beef with mixed vegetables or pork with mixed vegetables. Both are similarly made with a beef broth, meat and vegetables. Again, no thick sauces, breading, or fried meats are present in these entrees. Again, both are flavorful without all the unhealthy ingredients that can exist in some dishes. And the calorie differences are considerable too. General Tso’s chicken has 414 calories per cup and Moo Goo Gai Pan has 272. It also doesn’t contain unhealthy ingredients so you know you’re providing your body with the fuel it needs to perform optimally.

 

 

Brown rice instead of white. Always.

Brown rice instead of white. Always.

3. Brown Rice- Choosing brown rice instead of white will not save calories, this decision is all about nutrition. Brown rice is a whole grain and has more fiber so it will take longer to digest thus making you feel more full, and it is more nutritious because of the whole grains. Where it will save you calorically is in comparison to fried rice. 1/2 cup of chicken fried rice has 200 calories versus a cup of brown rice which contains 218 calories. I prefer the nutty taste of brown rice over the bland white rice or the greasy fried rice. That’s an easy choice for me!

 

Love me some tea!

Love me some tea!

4. Don’t forget the tea- I spoke about the benefits of Match green tea in my post, “A Healthy Start for the New Year! Drink Matcha Green Tea!” but any tea has health benefits. Tea is full of antioxidants and vitamins, and it can fill you up too, so you don’t eat as much of your meal. Cheers!

5. As always, it’s about portion control- Remember, no matter how healthy the choices you make are, if you eat too much it will become an unhealthy meal. PAY ATTENTION TO PORTION SIZES! Most restaurants serve a tremendous amount of food, far more than any one person can eat. I usually portion off my meal when it comes to me, and know that I will only eat the portion I pulled to the side of my plate. I take the rest of it home and can enjoy it the next day for lunch, so it’s a win-win. Two meals for the price of one!

So that is how I eat in a healthy way at a Chinese restaurant. I love me some Chinese food and I have learned how to eat it and still stay on my lifelong health journey. Let me know what healthy choices you make when eating Chinese food! Eating healthy will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie!

 

A Healthy way to Drink in the New Year!

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A good glass of wine makes everything fine- Thanksgiving 2013!

A good glass of wine makes everything fine- Thanksgiving 2013!

So the holidays are upon us, aren’t they? 9 more days until Christmas and a little over two weeks from the big drinking holiday, New Year’s Eve. Pretty much every adult I know over 21 will ring in the new year with a cocktail or two. Being an advocate for healthy living, I wanted to let you know what I feel are the five healthiest alcoholic beverages to drink, not just on New Year’s Eve, but any time of the year. Now, healthy to me means that not only is the cocktail low in calories, but it also has positive health benefits, and it tastes good too. That’s why you won’t see VODKA TONIC on my list. Yes, it is low in calories, but other than that it basically has no nutritional value and no flavor. Hence it is not a healthy cocktail in my book.

Here’s the thing though, QUALITY IS BETTER THAN QUANTITY when it comes to the healthiness of an alcoholic beverage. No cocktail is healthy if you have more than 2 of them, and if you get to four or more than it becomes toxic to your body. So my advice to you is, BE A MODERATE DRINKER. That’s the best thing you can do for your health. With that in mind, I will share my healthy cocktail list with you.

Number one healthiest alcoholic drink and my personal favorite- WINE!

Number one healthiest alcoholic drink and my personal favorite- WINE!

1. Red or White Wine- This one is one of the healthiest and my favorite so I’m going to call it the number one on the healthiest cocktail scale. First, it contains 5% of your daily nutritional requirements for iron, 9% potassium, 5% magnesium, and antioxidants like flavonoids and nonflavanoids. Resveratrol, which is a nonflavanoid, reduces blood clots and lowers bad cholesterol. Calories range from 110-130 per glass so it’s not a highly caloric option. Taste wise you have many options in flavor. Whether you like dry or sweet, red or white, you can find a flavor that pleases your palate.

Michelada- a recently tasted cocktail and a good one too!

Michelada- a recently tasted cocktail and a good one too!

2. Michelada- I recently tried one of these cocktails at a delicious Mexican restaurant near my daughters’ university and I loved it. It’s a much more interesting and flavorful twist on a Bloody Mary (which is also a healthy cocktail option for you!). It’s spicy, salty, and so refreshing! The ingredients are beer, limes, Worcestershire sauce, Valentina hot sauce, black pepper, sea salt, and ice. Now, beer is not the healthiest ingredient in a cocktail (beer= carbs), but if a light beer is used it’s not too bad since most come in at under 100 calories. The Michelada I had was made with Modelo Especial which though it isn’t a light beer is really delicious, and I only had one cocktail. I don’t even like beer but I really liked this alcoholic beverage. It also contains lime juice which has tons of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps your immune system and neutralizes free radicals that damage our tissues. The hot sauce in this cocktail is made from chili peppers, which contain capsaicin (helps in fighting certain cancers). Chilis are used to aid digestion, reduce appetite, and increase metabolism. The sea salt in the drink helps replenish electrolytes, and the Worcestershire sauce has vitamin B6 (builds red blood cells and maintains nervous system function) in it from the molasses, garlic, cloves and chili pepper extract contained within the sauce. It also has antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K (protects against hemorrhaging and bone loss), and niacin, which aids in digestion. Try it, you’ll like it!

Manhattan- not the city but the cocktail!

Manhattan- not the city but the cocktail!

3. Manhattan- I’m not much of a mixed drink girl, but I know many of you are out there so in honor of all of you mixed drink fans, I’ve included the Manhattan as one of the best tasting and healthiest mixed cocktails. The ingredients are bourbon, sweet vermouth and Angostura Bitters. Bourbon is flavorful and only 97-110 calories per 1.5 ounces, vermouth is a wine fortified with herbs and contains 45 calories per ounce, and bitters are alleged to have restorative properties and are used to calm an upset stomach. It’s strong so only one cocktail will be plenty in this case. If you like a mixed drink, this is the one for you!

Mmmm Mimosa!

Mmmm Mimosa!

4. Mimosa/Bellini- Mimosas are champagne and orange juice, and Bellinis are champagne and peach juice. Now these are not particularly low cal drinks because of the juices, but they are delicious and satisfying, therefore one cocktail will be plenty. I had a cocktail while in Las Vegas that contained an Italian champagne called Prosecco, berry puree, and lemon juice that was delicious and so pretty. it was called Berry Prosecco Fizz so I’m including that drink in this category too. All of these drinks contain champagne, which is sweet and slightly caloric at 90-110 calories per glass, but champagne is a wine so it contains a ton of antioxidants. Orange juice and peach juice contain many vitamins and minerals that are great for you. One tip I got was to make the Mimosa with grapefruit juice instead of orange, because grapefruits have more fat burning properties than oranges do. Sounds delish to me!

Guiness is a healthy beer!

Guiness is a healthy beer!

5. Guinness- I’m not much of a beer fan as I said above, but I know many beer fans, so folks this one’s for you! Guinness is low in calories despite how thick it is, 128 calories for 12 ounces. Also, Guinness is made from more whole grains than most regular beers so it’s full of nutrients. Guinness is shown to have similar antioxidant properties to red wine, and a University of Wisconsin study showed that drinking it helps reduce blood clots and heart problems. Good deal!

Some others healthy alcoholic beverages that could’ve made my list are Sangria (wine and fruit), Bloody Mary (vodka, tomato juice, horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, celery, salt, pepper), and bourbon/whiskey and soda, all healthy drink choices. Remember though, that moderation is the way to go here, and please don’t excessively drink on New Year’s Eve or at any time. 2 drinks or less is the way to go, and the drinks that are on my list are so flavorful that you don’t need to drink a lot to get a delicious flavor and be satisfied. Enjoy your holidays with a healthy drink or two at the most. It will help you live a life of vitality- with Valerie! 🙂