Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saturday Update and Artichoke Facts

Artichoke Facts:

As many of you have noticed I love my artichokes and have long said it is an Italian thing which makes sense since they are Mediterranean in origin. ;-) This was a vegetable that I wasn’t crazy about as a child (just because it was a vegetable I am sure) but now I can’t seem to get enough of them.

Artichokes have long been considered a delicacy and are actually the unopened edible flower bud of a thistle plant. If you have ever cleaned a mature artichoke you have seen the purple flower starting to form inside the plant. Did you know that the globe artichokes are one of the world’s oldest cultivated vegetables?

Globe artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, magnesium, chromium (a trace mineral), folic acid, niacin, and Vitamin A to name a few. It provides these and many other micronutrients for approximately 60 calories each. The calories in artichokes are so low because much of the carbohydrate is inulin which has been shown to improve blood sugar control in those with diabetes.

Ancient healers have long used artichokes for liver problems. Science now also supports this folk history as artichokes contain caffeoylquinic acids (like cynarin). Some studies have shown that artichoke leaf extracts helps to protect the liver and lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

If you have pollen allergies you should be aware that artichokes are related to daisies and could cause reactions. Please be cautious with artichokes if you react to daisies, yarrow, calendula, chamomile or dandelion.

The food:

Dan had to go to his office downtown to work today. *boo hiss* I was less than thrilled about having Saturday to myself but decided to make the best of it.

Breakfast for was a bowl of savory oatmeal with the usual suspects: oats, water, wheat germ, freshly ground flaxseeds, nutrition yeast, cumin, oregano, no-salt seasoning, broccoli, salsa and raw sunflower seeds. Dan had his usual oatmeal with wild blueberries and walnuts, etc.

My lunch was a giant salad with hummus, salsa, artichokes, mushrooms, cucumbers, tomatoes.

After lunch I decided to make a batch of flax crackers/bread. This time I added dry oats to the crackers to see what that would do to the texture. As soon as the crackers are ready to eat I will let you know how that worked out but suspect it will be fine.

Since the dehydrator was on I also decided to make a small batch of cookies. These cookies contained banana, reduced-fat peanut butter, dry oatmeal, cinnamon, stevia and chia seeds. They came out pretty darn good for my first batch which really surprised me given that I used so little peanut butter in them. I am going to tweak the next batch just a little and then I think it will be ready to share.

I had a snack of banana, prunes and reduced-fat peanut butter.

Dinner for both of us was a bowl of vegetable barley soup with mushrooms that I seasoned with traditional southern Italian flavors of: fennel, oregano, hot peppers and saffron.

After dinner we went for a walk around the neighborhood before bed. I am sure the neighbors were wondering who was crazy enough to be walking after 11pm and I can’t say I blame them. I intentionally didn’t go out for my walk earlier in the day so that we “had” to go together. Obviously I didn’t expect Dan to work so late but that is still okay. I want him to get back into the habit of daily exercise and if that means at 11pm than that is what is going to be.

Happy thoughts:

• We had beautiful blue skies today and temperatures in the low 70’s. It was a lovely spring day. The irises are starting to bloom and they are always so pretty.

• I was happy with my cookie experiment today and Dan really seemed to enjoy them too. It just goes to show you that fat and sugar aren’t as necessary as you think they are once you get over the addition.

• It was good to get Dan outside for a little activity before bed. I would like him to get home earlier from work but I also know that he has deadlines that aren’t negotiable so I am trying to be supportive which I assure you isn’t easy for me. ;-)

• Sunday we have a nice day planned and I am looking forward to that. It will be good spend some time with my sweetie this weekend since Saturday was mostly a bust.

• Today I was able to read another library book which was a good thing. I am flying through my book backlog now and that makes me happy. One of the things I love about the library is that I get to read more books than I do not have room to own. Even books that aren’t worth buying still typically contain something that I am happy to be introduced to or reminded of. I rarely feel like I have wasted my time after I finish reading a book on health or nutrition.

• I am also grateful for the nice comment to yesterday’s post here and on the Facebook page. Please know that your kind words mean a lot to me.

Signing out:

It is very late here now, but that is because we didn’t get back in from our walk until almost 11:45 pm and I still needed to finish writing this post. I have definitely been in a procrastination mode today.

I hope you had a good Saturday and were able to enjoy a little time outside today. I will talk to you again tomorrow. Good night, or should I say good morning given how late it is? ;-)


  1. i love artichokes! i get a bag of frozen artichokes at trader joes and then steam them for dinner. i love hearing all the amazing facts of the foods i love to eat. vegetables are little miracles ;)

  2. Your food is totally inspiring. A wonderful example of Nutritarian eating and the concept of Volumetrics for those that are unfamiliar with it. I am going to point out this post to some people that are new to this way of eating to show them what a typical day looks like. Thanks!

  3. Hi Ali, I really like the look of your snack today.
    Also good to hear about the nutrition of artichokes! I don't eat them too often (though that might change) but I love them as well. We're having a dinner party today with an orzo salad that has artichokes in them!

  4. I just bought an artichoke on Friday. I've never cooked one before and have to research it. I figured the quickest way would be in my pressure cooker. I love artichoke hearts, but this will be my first time eating a fresh one.

  5. Hi Ali,
    I am assuming that you buy your artichokes frozen? I can't find frozen artichokes where I live. They only sell them in the can or marinated. I do like artichokes.

  6. Do you mostly use fresh or frozen artichokes?

  7. Caitlin,

    Nice to know i am not the only lover of artichokes. Vegetables really are little miracles. :-)


  8. Wendy,

    Awww, thanks! You made my day.


  9. Food Feud (M),

    I hope your dinner party went off without a hitch. I adore artichokes, as you may have noticed by now. I really could eat them every day. LOL


  10. Lori,

    I hope your first artichoke cooking experience went well. They are a little intimidating the first time you make them but they get very easy and quick to prepare with practice. Now I will have to pressure cook some since I always steam them. Thanks for the sugestion.


  11. Louise,

    I prefer to buy them frozen but I will also buy them canned or marinated in pinch. If they come in oil you can drain that off in a colander and rinse them in hot water and it removes most of the oil. If they are marinated you can soak them to remove a little of the salty flavor. But frozen is the best quick option. They are also wonderful fresh when it is artichoke season (like now). ;-)


  12. Elisabeth,

    When it is artichoke season I buy fresh because I love both the large long stemmed ones and the tiny ones. However most of the year I opt for the frozen ones.


  13. I love artichokes! Bought fresh, cooked and eaten with some vinaigrette or herb butter and boiled-in-skin potatoes! The best I had in Bretagne/Britanny where they were fresh from the field!
    Don't like the canned ones and have never seen them frozen (exept on frozen pizza...)
    tina in germany


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