One food that we're especially excited about this Spring is the now-in-season artichoke. Besides tasting great, it's also good for you: one medium artichoke contains important minerals like iron and calcium, along with over 20 percent of your daily fiber needs, which may help the body burn more fat. From salads to pastas and everything in between, here's what healthy artichoke dishes we'll be cooking up this Spring.
Spring has almost sprung, and that means a whole new crop of nutrition powerhouses at your local market. Here are three of my favorite mouthwatering picks, how they’ll help you get ready for bikini season, and simple ways to gobble them up:
Artichokes: One medium choke packs some important minerals like iron and calcium, along with over 20 percent of your daily fiber needs. One study in Brazilian dieters found that over a 6-month period, each addition gram of fiber resulted in an extra quarter pound of weight loss. I love them steamed in lemon water with fresh mint and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
New potatoes: When spuds are cooked and cooled they’re one of the best sources of resistant starch, a fiber-like substance linked to a boost in fat burning during the hours after a meal. Cube, cook, and chill them and serve lightly dressed in a mixture of cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, minced red onion, celery, and scallions.
Strawberries: One cup provides just 50 calories with over 150 percent of your vitamin C needs. Studies show that a higher blood level of vitamin C results in burning more fat, both at rest and during exercise. Enjoy these gems as is, dipped in melted dark chocolate, or tossed into a fresh spinach salad — and if you have leftovers snip off the stems and freeze them for your smoothie stash.
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I love artichokes from the bottom of their little hearts. There is no vegetable I crave more — even down to the décor. The leafy blooms are divine with hollandaise sauce, but their purple and green hues can add the perfect amount of flavor and warmth to any room. Modern or traditional, there's a way for every home to have its way with the delicious artichoke.
Shopping in one of my favorite local consignment furniture shops, I fell hard for this pair of white wooden artichoke finials, originally meant for the ends of a curtain rod or bed posts. I really have no use for them as curtain rod finials, but I instantly realized they'd make great bookends! They have a regal, statuesque shape that's practically destined for bookshelf styling. And their wooden form gives them enough heft and stability to parenthesize a literary collection of nearly any width and weight. Want a pair for yourself? Check out the wide selection of finials on ShopStyle!
Obviously embodying a form that's been inspired by nature, the Lily.mgx lamp ($502 for small table lamp shown here), is the type of small, precious object that could make an otherwise sparsely decorated room glow. Designed by Janne Kyttanen for Materialise, the lamps are said to resemble a lily-pad flower, though I think they look a lot more like an artichoke myself. While the lamps may look simple, apparently they were designed using a 3-D material printing process that sounds rather geeky and complicated. But hey, if you're going to geek out, you might as well make it as impossibly chic as this lamp.
Artichokes in the home — not dipped in hollandaise sauce — are not exactly trendy; John Henry Dearle designed his artichoke wallpaper for William Morris before 1900, as part of the Arts and Crafts movement. But I have spotted the healthy, in-season vegetable in a variety of fab forms as of late, which I would willing to welcome into my home. These faux-tichokes have made their way to classic finials, pillows, plates, wreaths, vases, and even an ultra-modern chandelier. To find one for your digs, check out my widget below, or just whip some up in the kitchen.
If you're looking for something new to add to your dinners, I know they may look weird, but you've got to give artichokes a try.
They're in season until May, so you should have no problems finding them at the grocery store. They're low in calories (only 60 in an entire medium-sized artichoke), but they've got a pretty decent amount of fiber — 6.5 grams! Artichokes are also a great source of folate, as well as potassium and calcium. I was surprised to find that one artichoke also will give you 4.2 grams of protein. Many studies have also shown that artichokes can help keep your liver healthy. I had no idea such a weird veggie could be so chock full of goodness.
You've probably eaten artichoke hearts before (you know, the ones that come in a little jar or on your pizza), but the leaves of this veggie can also be eaten and they're just as delicious. So are you ready to give them a try? They're really easy to cook. To find out how read more
Let's face it: being a domestic diva whose prowess ranges from expertly baking a cake to masterly manhandling a chopping knife is hard. There is so much to learn and it's easy to feel overwhelmed.
Take a deep breath, I'm here to help. One thing that is super important, often overlooked, and not necessarily common knowledge is how to select groceries. We've all read tons of articles on how to pick the perfect pair of jeans, but where's the 411 on how to choose the correct fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats? Right here in my new feature Perfect Pickins. I'll explain how to maneuver gracefully through the grocery store so you'll walk out with only the ripest and best tasting foods.
When shopping for artichokes look for those with bronze or frost marks on the leaf tips. People usually avoid these ones because they appear a little damaged, but those in the know jump at the sight. The damage is minimal and the flavor maximal and more delicate. Pick artichokes that feel heavy for their size (fresh artichokes will be heavy for their size due to their moisture content) and have tightly closed buds. Open leaves indicate that they are too mature. The leaves should be a soft green or purple in color and squeak when pressed. Avoid moldy or wilted leaves and stay away from any that are purple in color. These are signs that the artichoke is overripe. For a tasty artichoke treat, serve them steamed with basil mayonnaise.