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Fast Cheap and Easy February 5, 2013  RSS feed

Fast, Cheap, Easy.... and Healthy part 4

By Sherry Matney

Beginning week 4 and the scales say 151.5!! That is one pound down from last week and two and a half down from the start. Only 2 1/2 pound to be within my healthy weight range. The reason I am excited about the 16 ounces this week, is because my husband, Paul, and I went out to eat with my sib- lings on Thursday, celebrating my brother’s birthday and then spent the weekend with our son and his family, celebrating his birthday and the Super Bowl. So the best I was hoping for was the same weight!!

I’m not writing down what I eat anymore because I tend to eat the same things, except for the special celebrations and then it’s vegetables with fruit for dessert. Only walked about eight miles last week, and gave in to a piece of fried chicken from Brookshires, but plan to do better this week. Hmmmm, does that sound familiar?

So, how are you doing? Are you staying consistent? Are you moving around? Are you drinking water? I’ve got to tell you, knowing that I have this column to write on Monday morning, telling the world how much I weigh, is keeping me extremely focused on how much food I put into my mouth.

For instance, do you have any idea how many calories you consume if you nibble while you cook? Or what about “take-out”? Do you ever break off a wing or drumstick from the Brookshire Brother’s chicken before you get it home and then eat as much for supper as if you hadn’t already snacked?

What about the candy dish at work, or in my case, in the choir room at church; those soft peppermints are so good and so small, they can’t do much harm. Not so! And it all adds up to extra weight or at the very least it will sabotage your weight loss plans. My point of that rampage is, this column is helping me notice those many times I eat without acknowledging what I am doing.

There has been excellent response to this column, some from friends I know and will comment no matter what, but some from new friends who have commented on leoncountytoday.com. Facebook alerts me when you post but I have not been able to read what you post because I can’t find it, but Mac promises it will be fixed this time. So please go to the website and leave a comment, I do want to know your thoughts and input. My hope was that one or two of you might join me and we could support each other. I have nine more columns after this so it is not too late.

In the previous two columns I talked about foods that are considered to be rather humble, but extremely high in nutrients and fiber, cabbage and beans or peas, all ranking high on the “good for you” scale.

This week we have another traditional southern vegetable, the sweet potato, not to be confused with the yam. The sweet potato is a root vegetable in the morning glory family. Although yams resemble sweet potatoes they are grown primarily in Africa and Asia and are in a different root family. Yams have been known to grow up to 130 pounds.

The sweet potato is another food that brings back memories of my mother. We grew sweet potatoes in the garden and she would slather the skins with bacon grease and bake them in the oven and leave them on top of the stove for a wonderful after school snack. I still love them today and make them very much the same as she did. However, I put Canola oil on the skin rather than bacon grease. This softens the skin and makes it very soft and tasty to eat.

Sweet potatoes are extremely high in nutrients and, depending upon whom you read, are ranked #1 in nutrition. According to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the single most important dietary change for most people, including children, would be to replace fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes. CSPI ranked sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables.

One cup of sweet potatoes contains 65% of the minimum daily amount of Vitamin C and 700% of Vitamin A. Your skin, blood sugar levels and potassium levels also benefit from ingesting this wonder-food. And don’t throw away all that peel, or skin or shell, whichever you call it, because that is where much of the healing value lies.

Most of us think of sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving and Christmas when we smother the nutrients with sugar, marshmallows, butter and all sorts of other, not so healthy additives. By the way, some studies show that the nutrients from sweet potatoes are best absorbed into the body if eaten with a small amount of oil. Totally different from what we have been told to this point.

The recipes I have are pretty basic but add very little to the vegetable. Sweet Potato and red pepper salad 2 tbsp olive oil ¼ tsp. salt ¼ tsp. black pepper 2 pounds sweet potatoes, scrubbed and sliced 2 large red bell peppers, sliced 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1-pound spinach, torn

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large roasting pan, combine oil, salt and pepper. Add the sweet potatoes and bell peppers and toss to coat well. Roast, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven and stir in the vinegar. Place spinach in a large serving bowl and add the potato mixture.

Sweet potatoes cook great in a microwave. You can cook the whole potatoes in about 6 minutes, n high, while you are stir-frying the peppers on top of the stove. Cut up the cooked potatoes and add to the peppers and follow the rest of the recipe. Roasted Sweet Potatoes 2 tbsp. butter 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary or 2tsp dried 3 medium sweet potatoes 1 tsp. salt ¼ tsp. pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a small saucepan, melt the butter with oil over medium heat and stir in rosemary. Cut the sweet potatoes in wedges and place in a bowl. Cover with seasoning mixture then arrange on a cookie sheet. Bake in over third of the oven for 20 minutes.

A faster way to cook this dish is to cook the potatoes in a microwave for about five minutes, cut into wedges, season then pop into oven for about five more minutes. Don’t be afraid to leave off rosemary if you choose. My grandkids love this one. Mashed sweet potatoes 4 large sweet potatoes ½ cup fresh orange juice 1 tsp orange zest 2 tbsp brown sugar 2 tsp ground cinnamon 1 tsp chili powder

Cook the sweet potatoes in microwave until soft. (usually about six minutes on high) remove and let cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together five ingredients with a dash of salt..

Scoop out potatoes and mix together in a large mixing bowl. ( Be sure to save the skin and eat them as a snack.)


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