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Mushroom Tagine

I don’t know why, but when I make Middle Eastern or Asian food I get the best results. Since the first time I made a tagine, I was in love with the mix of spices and how the correct balance of sweetness, acidity, sour, salty and umami can create something truly special. I have tried this recipe …

My top 5 go-to foods

Consistency is the key to weight loss and maintenance. Trust me, I learned this the hard way. Time and time again I lost weight, and once I was satisfied with the results, I would slip back into old habits and gain it all back. It wasn’t until I drastically changed the way I ate, that I was able to lose weight and keep it off.

I can’t stress this enough, but you will not lose weight by eating these once in a while. They will, however, give a boost to any well-balanced diet or help you to get back on track after splurging a little. Here are my favorites:

Oats

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This is my go-to food. Whenever I feel bloated, overweight or when I eat what I’m not used to – sugary, fatty or fried food – I recover by eating a bowl of oats and honey twice a day.

They are also my favorite breakfast, as they are rich in fiber and they keep me satiated for the whole morning. Whenever I know I won’t be able to eat for a long period, I eat a bowl of oats and honey.

Of course, eating the same thing every day can be quite boring, so I always add nuts, fruit, and my new favorite cacao nibs. Don’t forget: variety is key to a healthy diet.

Cacao Nibs

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I don’t know why it took me so long to try these, but the first time I tried them I saw the difference. My stomach was flatter and I felt great. Now I can eat ‘chocolate’ without the sugar, which is the best thing ever.

As always, I jazz it up with some nuts and honey, because in their raw state they are as bitter as it gets, but they will give you amazing results!

Dates

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Dates are nature’s gift to all recovering sugar addicts out there. They are extremely sweet, yet rich in fiber, leaving room for some indulgence. If that wasn’t enough, they are also very cheap and versatile.

I use them as a replacement for sugar in many recipes, but I also eat it on its own. Whenever I am craving something very sweet, that’s my go-to snack.

Seeds + grains mix

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Seeds and grains are very rich in nutrients and fiber, however, they can be challenging to add to the diet. That’s why I make and store small batches of a mix of seeds and grains and I add them to my food. I either add it to my baked goods batter or I sprinkle it over my food. You can’t taste it and have it consistently it’s a great way to add important nutrients, such as omega 3, 6, 9, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, to the diet.

It might not sound like much, but the body needs nutrients to work properly. If it has all necessary nutrients, the body will work better, leading it to an improved metabolism and a reduction of cravings and binge eating.

Juices

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The first rule for juices is using the entire fruit. To ensure that, I use a single serve blender and I usually add some spices and greens to it. Another golden rule: never add sugar or sweetener. Fruits are naturally sweet, so try to get used to how things taste naturally, instead of camouflaging the flavor with sugar.

My favorite recipe is very simple: one apple, one lime, a slice of ginger, kale, and cold water. I often add different fruits and vegetables to it and change the spice accordingly. Basically, just use what you have at home. Pears, pineapple, beets, mangoes are also great for sweetening the juice – although depending on the combination, you might have a weird color…

What do I do with that?

Maintaining a healthy diet is all about variety. Trying different things and combinations, slowly inserting nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and removing as much processed food as possible are the key to having a healthy diet and lifestyle

Pickled grapes

Pickles can be fermented – when the natural microbes present in the fruits, vegetables or plants grown under certain conditions, thus preventing the growth of harmful microbes that can cause disease or the food to spoil, or unfermented – when the protection from microbes comes from the addition of an acid. Since fermented pickles can take a few months to be ready to be consumed, I decided to use grapes to make an unfermented pickle.

They key for unfermented pickles is the use of wine or vinegar as acid, which must be heated to prevent spoilage. Although its flavor is not as strong if compared to a fermented pickle, spices and sugar are often added as a flavor enhancer. Salt is also an important element, as it can reinforce the crispness of the fruit or vegetable and is also a very important preservative.

The original recipe can be found at this location.

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Pickled grapes

Servings 3 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb red or black grapes, preferably seedless
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 2 1/2-inch cinnamon stick cut in half
  • ¼ tsp salt

Instructions
 

  • Wash and dry the grapes, then pull their stems out. Using a paring knife, cut away the stem end of each grape, exposing a little of the grape’s flesh. Place them in one or two clean and dry canning jars.
  • In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar, and the spices. Put it over medium heat until it boils.
  • Pour the liquid over the grapes. Once it is cool, place the jar in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Serve it cold.

So, is it good?

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This is not the typical recipe I would make, as it has a lot of sugar, but I decided to give it a try because I was very curious what it would taste like. After I finished preparing the recipe, I was a little skeptical about the result. The brine – the mixture of acid and spices – left the kitchen with a wonderful spices aroma, but once I got close to smell it, I got a very pungent smell of vinegar. I also had no idea of what to expect from it, being something I had never tried before.

One thing is for sure, it sure looked very good. Just as good as the original recipe, which was a relief. After 48 hours, I opened the jar and the strong acid smell was even stronger. But once I tasted it, it exceeded my expectations. The texture of the grapes was still crisp and firm, but the inside seems to melt in the mouth. Of course, it is a bit sweeter than the raw grape, but not overly sweet. Maybe because of the acidity, maybe because of the delicious mix of spices. Somehow, the combination of all the ingredients works very well.

I ate it with cream cheese and bread, and that was a wise choice. Once you bite into the bread, you can hear the grape pop in the mouth. The acid taste is very subtle and pleasant. It helps to balance the heaviness of the bread and the texture of the cream cheese.

As stated before, the pickling flavor is not very strong, as in fermented pickles, but I believe it will intensify the longer it sits in the refrigerator. As it is now, it could be a great option as an aperitif. It is uncommon and surprising, as it appeals strongly to many of our tastes, but in the end, all that matters is that it is delicious.

Raspberry Soup

Soups have never been a significant part of my life. I can remember my mother and my grandmother having soup, but it just never was something I actually liked. Since last week was all about soups, I decided to do a soup that had something I love: Fruit. This recipe doesn’t have any special story. …