Tag Archives: lazy cook

Just how healthy is watermelon?

It’s watermelon season and I thought it might be nice to discuss this giant member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Although watermelons are sold year ’round, summer is their season and that’s when you get the best tasting ones. It is aptly named because a watermelon consists of 92 percent water. Can you say super-hydrator?

Full disclosure: Mr. Lazy Cook loves watermelon. What’s not to like? It is utterly simple to deal with and tastes delicious. Below is a photo of my first watermelon this year. Yum.

My first watermelon of the season

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Filed under calorie counting, calories, healthy eating, lazy cook, watermelon, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Mr. Lazy Cook Makes a Quick Tasty Panini

My grown daughter and her husband gave me a panini maker as a gift some years ago. It was great fun and I made panini sandwiches regularly for a while. Then I got tired of it and moved the appliance off my counter. It has now been around five years since I made a panini.

This billboard truck started it all

I was out on a bike ride yesterday and happened upon a billboard truck with a picture of a panini on it. They were advertising for a local eaterie. As it happens, I passed the truck several times. By the third time, my mouth was watering and I had determined that I would make myself a panini when I got home. Theirs looked so good. I posted about it for willingwheeling. One picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, a tasty 283 calories. Continue reading


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How can I include more nutritious food in my diet?

One of our problems in this junk food filled world is that our taste buds get distorted by those over-sugared, over-salted, over-fatted foods. Not only fast foods, but also most processed foods are loaded with these ‘extras’ to extend the food’s shelf life and to take a cattle prod to our taste buds.
Check out my post – A Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s – NOT for more details on this.
Trying to get off these foods can be frustrating because unprocessed healthy foods don’t create the same reaction in our mouths. We bite into fresh fruit and it doesn’t explode on the palate like McDonald’s Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. We need to guard against the erroneous conclusion that the fresh fruit doesn’t have much taste. I don’t mean to single out Mickey D’s except that they are the biggest fast food chain and sell the most.

I wrote about why you shouldn’t drink their Frozen Strawberry Lemonade. You can click the link to read the entire post, but one main item is that the drink contains ” … 67 grams of sugar … 15.95 teaspoonfuls. Are you ready for that? In terms of a cup, that amounts to 1/3 of an 8 ounce cup.” It’s hard to compete with that kind of taste jolt.

Green Tea looks beautiful and imparts wonderful benefits to the body. I just don’t care for the taste, but I find a way to include it in my daily diet.

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Can Food Be Both Delicious and Nutritious?

On its face the answer appears to be affirmative. Of course there is delicious and nutritious food. But not all food. I think food both delicious and nutritious is in the minority. For the most part food is a greater or lesser amount of either quality.

For me, a good example is apples. A while back I posted a suggestion to add blue cheese crumbles to a fresh apple to really spark up the taste. Delicious and nutritious. The cheese makes it more so, but the apples taste great on their own.

The dark side of apples that is, apple pastries, like apple turnovers, apple pie and apple cobbler are also delicious, but not very nutritious. They are packed with a lot of empty calories and bad fats for those few seconds of taste delight.

On a personal basis, I eat apples every day, but I don’t have an apple turnover every day. If I haven’t ridden my bike 20 miles, I don’t even consider eating an apple turnover. That way, at least I have put some calories ‘in the bank’ so I don’t exceed my calorie budget for the day. I also limit myself to half an apple turnover.

But what about other popular taste treats like cheeseburgers, french fries and pizza, that are also delicious, but not nearly as nutritious as other foods less tasty.

I think it is a balancing act. I indulge in all of the above foods, but sparingly. I try for the most part to get my protein from nuts and seeds rather than animal sources. This slashes the amount of bad fats going into my blood stream.

I can give you an example from my own experience. Normally, I start the day with a smoothie from my Vita-Mix machine. But sometimes, I will buy a scone and consume it instead for my breakfast. The smoothie is around 400 calories, but mostly carbs with a lot of protein. The scone has only 190 calories, but they are empty ones compared with the smoothie. One morning that I had a scone instead of a smoothie, I took the bike out for a ride. I managed 20 miles, but found that I was wiped out at the end. I often ride 20 miles after a smoothie breakfast and feel fine. I attribute my lack of energy to having put bad fuel in my tank in the form of the scone. I chose delicious over nutritious.

I have posted a number of my ‘Mr. Lazy Cook’ recipes that are very simply prepared, but offer good nutrients along with the calories. You can click on the lazy cook tags at the right or just search lazy cook and you will find a number of tasty and nutritious items.

When I was writing the blog items on the brain I was particularly impressed with the function of the frontal lobes. They make up our conscience – our director – our impulse control. We need to exercise our frontal lobes when confronted with these tasty treats that are just empty calories. French fries is a good example. They taste great, but are cooked in fat and have lots of empty calories. A small handful of peanuts is a healthier snack.

I talk a lot about exercise here in the blog. I think exercising the frontal lobes is an especially good one. Decide in favor of nutritious over delicious even if you have to give up something in terms of taste. At least you can feel good about the fact that the food isn’t going to waist (yours).



Filed under healthy eating

7 Five Minute Dinners Nutritionists Eat – Infographic

We haven’t heard much from Mr. Lazy Cook lately, but this infographic is right up his alley. Some very simple and healthy food combos here. The simple illustrations suggest nice portion sizes, too.




Filed under infographic, simple nutritionist dinners

Healthy Cooking Tips From the Mayo Clinic

Besides eating less to control our weight, we can also prepare our food in such a way as to minimize empty calories and at the some times add nutrition as well as taste.

Herewith several easy cooking methods that can promote healthier eating from the desk of Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.
 •    Invest in nonstick cookware — Instead of pouring oil in a pan, use nonstick cookware and vegetable cooking sprays. One tablespoon of vegetable oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, but a one-second spray has negligible calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

•    Think flavor, not fat — Sauté vegetables such as onions, mushrooms or celery in a small amount of wine, broth, water, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. Keep a supply of onions, fresh garlic, ginger root, Dijon mustard, fresh lemons and limes, flavored vinegars, sherry or other wines, cornstarch (to thicken sauces), and plain fat-free yogurt.
•    Try different cooking methods — Microwave or steam vegetables. Then dress them up with flavored vinegars, herbs and spices. Cook fish in parchment paper or foil to seal in flavors and juices.

A while back I bought the Pasta Boat (Mr. Lazy Cook Cruises on the Pasta Boat) for fixing my pasta. It is also excellent for Steaming Broccoli in the Pasta Boat.
 •    Modify recipes — In most recipes, you can reduce sugar, salt and fat by one-third to one-half without sacrificing taste.
   •    Minimize meat — Decrease the amount of meat in casseroles and stews by one-third and add more vegetables, rice or pasta. Or, replace meat with beans, nuts, eggs or low-fat cheese. Buy lean cuts of meat.

Want more great health information? Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.


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What are Some Good Reasons to Use Apple Cider Vinegar? – Infographic

Apple cider vinegar is one of those foods that “a little goes a long way.” If you want to include it in your diet, a simple way is to mix a tablespoon of it with a tablespoon of honey and add to water or drink like that.

Mr. Lazy Cook includes an ounce in his daily morning smoothie.

Last, but not least, apple cider vinegar helps to suppress appetite and can assist in weight loss.




Filed under apple cider vinegar

Easy Homemade Trail Mix

The mixes that you see in many stores are made with roasted and salted nuts or seeds and sugar added dried fruits, and many times M&M’s or chocolate, or whatever! You get the idea! Sometimes, it’s much harder to find a “clean” trail mix than you may think.

Mr. Lazy Cook heartily endorses this mix – fun, tasty, healthy and quick and easy to fix.


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What is a Super Low Calorie High Energy Breakfast From Mr. Lazy Cook?

Here is a breakfast you can put together in a snap that will hold you through the morning hours with solid nutrients and totals below 500 calories from Mr. Lazy Cook. That leaves you a full 1500 calories to supply your next two meals with, not counting any subtractions for exercise.

Here is the utterly simple and fast breakfast – Avocado Walnut Toast.

Avocado spread over toast ready for the next step

Avocado spread over toast ready for the next step

One slice whole grain bread
One medium avocado (5 ounces)
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
One tablespoon hemp seeds.

Toast the bread and spread the avocado across the slice. Add the chopped walnuts and sprinkle with the hemp seeds. Voila, Avocado Walnut Toast!

The nutritional breakdown is:
Calories 472
Fat 34.5 grams
Saturated fat 4.6
Carbs 81 grams
Fiber 17 grams
Protein 12 grams

I am very impressed with the nutritional value of this simple dish. That 17 grams of fiber is nearly half what you need to get all day. It gives you a running start on good digestion. Most folks have a hard time getting their full requirement of fiber every day.

The protein, at 12 grams, amounts to about a quarter of what you need in a day. Avocados provide all essential amino acids necessary to form complete protein. Not many breakfasts furnish that much protein.

Protein also helps to keep your blood sugar up and protects you from the hungry feeling around mid-morning.

Regarding the nearly 35 grams of fat. “Avocados provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocados boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs, according to NaturalNews.

If reading this has suggested to you that maybe avocados are some kind of super food, I think you are on the right track. I have written several posts on them. Are avocados good for you?, All fat grams are not created equal, Avocados may improve satiety and reduce snacking, What is a tasty summer salad from Mr. Lazy Cook?



Filed under avocados, calories, Weight, weight control, weight loss

How Healthy is Lobster Tail?

I love the taste of lobster tail, but since I live in the Midwest the cost of flying them in has always added to their already relatively high price to put them almost out of reach of my purse strings. My personal economics has not favored eating a lot of lobster tail except on birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  That is to say, once or twice a year. However, I recently got lucky and was gifted with some frozen lobster tails (thank you, Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino!). As I looked forward to preparing them I also wondered just how much food value lobster tails have.

Here is what I found out. The USDA puts the nutritional breakdown as follows: Serving size: four ounce tail (113.4 grams) Calories 105, Fat 1.1 grams no saturated or trans fats, Cholesterol none, Sodium 340 mg, Carbohydrates 1 gram and protein 22.7 grams. You need protein to build and repair tissues. The average man needs about 55 grams of protein a day so this small tail provides nearly half his daily protein requirement.

Going into the pot for steaming

Coming out of the pot from steaming

That’s the basics. Here are some further observations I picked up. Livestrong says, “Lobster tail is not only lower in fat and calories than pork, beef, and chicken, but it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Adding Omega-3 fatty acid into one’s daily diet will lower your risk of heart disease.”

The DailyBurn noted, “High levels of Vitamins A, B2, B3, B6 and B12. There are also sources of potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and amino acids. Lobster tail would be a good healthy addition to add to your next meal menu.” Continue reading


Filed under health, lazy cook, lobster tail, sodium, Weight

Super Simple High Energy Snack – Mr. Lazy Cook

This is such a simple snack it can only be a Mr.Lazy Cook concoction. I previously wrote about my high energy de-caf coffee drink.

I use it occasionally as my first food of the day before I set out on my morning bike ride before sunrise.

Mr. Lazy Cook has since evolved into the following high energy snack that is instantaneous and utterly delicious – at least to me.

Because I ride my bike first thing in the morning, before I walk my dog, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on food prep. I started taking a heaping tablespoon of Peanut Butter as a mini-meal about a half hour before heading out.

The upgrade that pushed it into a high energy snack is that I now dip the tablespoon of peanut butter into my jar of virgin organic coconut oil. As a peanut butter lover, I find this snack to be fantastic.

Dr. Mercola says that coconut oil is easy on the digestive system and does not produce an insulin spike in your blood stream. It is immediately converted into energy instead of being stored as fat.

Keep in mind that when I get up in the morning, my body has been on at least an eight hour fast, so I need something that sticks to my ribs. I think the peanut butter in coconut oil is just the thing.

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Filed under biking, Exercise, fat, Weight

What is a High Energy De-Caf Coffee Drink?- Mr. Lazy Cook

A couple of things to lay out before we start here. First, I don’t drink coffee with caffeine as I try to keep drugs of any kind out of my system. Second, I am a regular bicycle rider and am always on the lookout for new sources of energy.
The other morning I had a new situation. I had a date for early afternoon to attend a play. In addition, we had reservations for brunch at noon. From this schedule, I was not going to have a lot of time to get in a bike ride. So, I thought I would rise at first light and take out the bike for a ride ahead of walking the dog and my social schedule for the day.

Normally, I start the day with what I call my rocket fuel. It is a smoothie that contains all my vitamins. You can read about it in A super breakfast smoothie.

On the morning in question, my reservation about my smoothie was that it takes 15 minutes to make and another 15 minutes to drink. I didn’t want to spend 30 minutes doing that. I wanted to be riding my bike. On the other hand I was concerned that having just awakened from a night’s sleep, my energy reserves were low. I sure didn’t want to black out. I hadn’t eaten in over nine hours.

So, what to do instead to give me a quick shot of energy. I like my coffee in the morning, but since it is decaf, I don’t expect a boost from it. Here is the beginning of a light bulb going off in my head. As recently as April, I got turned on to coconut oil as a wonderful source of nutrition. Check out Why should I try coconut oil? for more details. Since that time I have been using coconut oil in every way I could think of to cook in, shave with, etc. Coconut oil has a lot of healthy fat in it which provides energy. I decided to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my coffee. Continue reading

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Filed under biking, coffee, endurance sports, energy, Exercise, health, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook

Mr. Lazy Cook Makes Pasta Hawaiian Style

What is Hawaiian style Pasta? In  the case of Mr. Lazy Cook it is something he concocted for a friend when she told him she was allergic to olive oil. After all, what goes better with pasta than olive oil?

This is a simple variation on my recipe for shrimp pasta.
I use the Pasta Boat to cook my pasta. I wrote up my purchase of it
a while back. Whatever way you make your pasta, this recipe starts with it in the cooked form.

I wrote up coconut oil less than a month ago and have integrated this very healthful ingredient into my cooking and my life. I know the cliche about saturated fat, but please read my blog post on it before jumping to judgment.

Okay, let’s make some Hawaiian Style Pasta.

Take a serving of the cooked pasta, instead of olive oil, add coconut oil to taste. Mix well.

Cut up some pineapple wheels. I have a store that sells fresh cored pineapple and keep on in my fridge at all times. I probably eat about one to two pineapples a week, just cutting wheels off it and snacking. (A wheel of pineapple amounts to 42 calories. Just out of the fridge I prefer it to ice cream.).

Depending on how many you are cooking for, I suggest about one wheel per serving. Remember a serving size of pasta is around a cup full. Pasta is a high calorie dish so you need to be vigilant about this. (In the bad old days when I was overweight, I naively thought a serving of pasta was a plateful. No wonder I was heavy!)

I cut each wheel into around eight to 10 pieces. Mix these into the serving of pasta and microwave for around a minute, depending on your microwave.

When this comes out of the microwave, I top it with parmesan cheese and serve it up.

I thought it tasted great. Not like any pasta I could remember. The coconut oil also adds a nice flavor element.

One serving of pasta amounts to 200 calories, one wheel of pineapple 42 calories and two teaspoons of coconut oil 87 calories, so one serving of this Hawaiian Style pasta amounts to 329 calories.


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Filed under coconut oil, health, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook

Mr. Lazy Cook Tweaks a Meal

Since I started writing this blog, I have made some major and minor changes in my life, exercise and eating habits. In this, the second month of my fourth year of blogging, I am down 15 pounds from where I started the blog and 70 pounds from my worst weight and physical condition ever. You can see me at my worst in the post How I Lost 50 Pounds in 52 Weeks.

My latest tweak is to stop eating a half slice of pizza daily at lunch. I am trying to cut back on the gluten and dairy I consume because I think I may have a food sensitivity to them and they are aggravating my arthritis and post nasal drip.

The idea hit me at Costco

The idea hit me at Costco

So, I am now eating a salad at lunch along with my high fiber parfait. One of the things that has always given me pause about making salads is what to include. There are so many options, I would just freeze up. Maybe that’s why I am Mr. Lazy Cook. I like it quick and dirty.

I have been able to buy salad greens at a local fresh market that included baby spinach, arugula, kale and other green goodies. But, what about the rest of the salad? All those choices!

You can read the ingredients on the package

You can read the ingredients on the package

As so often has occurred in the past, I happened to be in Costco when the answer hit me. The Kirkland brand Fruit and Nuts! As you can see from the photos, the first was at Costco, the second, a close up of the package, it included dried cranberries, dried cherries, almonds, walnuts and dry-roasted pistachios. What wonderful additions to a salad!

Here is the nutritional breakdown of one ounce (30 grams):
Calories 150
Total Fat 8 grams
Saturated Fat 1 gram
No Cholesterol
No Sodium
Carbohydrates 15 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 4 grams

Sometimes I add some avocado because I love what avocado adds to a salad besides being terrifically healthy. I advocate avocados.

Now I have a wonderful, quick fix, stick to the ribs salad at lunch time. Also, this is a simple stepping off point. I can add some quinoa or other goodies for even more nutritional benefits.



Filed under calories, healthy eating, lazy cook, men's health, Weight

Are Avocados Good For You?

Many folks refuse to eat avocados because of their high calories and fat content. However, there are significantly more reasons to consume them than to avoid this heart healthy fruit.


Infographic from Project Wellness Now

NaturalNews says that avocados boost health in at least five ways:

1. Protein “Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.

2. Beneficial Fats “Avocados provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocados boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage causeavocado1d by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs.

3. Carotenoids “Avocados are an excellent source of carotenoids. Although many people associate carotenoids only with red and orange produce, avocados are also an excellent source of this phytonutrient. Avocados, also known as alligator pears, offer a diverse range of carotenoids including not only the better known ones such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, but also lesser known varieties of this type of phytonutrient such as neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, chrysanthemaxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin and violaxanthin. Every time you consume foods rich in carotenoids, you deliver high quality vitamin A to your body, thereby protecting eye health. Carotenoids also enhance the functioning of the immune system and promote healthy functioning of the reproductive system. Since carotenoids are fat soluble, eating avocados optimizes the absorption of these nutrients.


4. Anti-Inflammatory
“The combined effect of the deluxe package of nutrients contained in avocados offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Avocados’ unique combination of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids helps guard against inflammation. This means avocados can help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Heart Health “To get the most nutritional value from avocados, avoid those which have become over-ripe. You can identify these at the store because they will have dents and feel overly soft when you hold them. A ripe avocado should have no dents in its skin and will feel slightly soft when squeezed. You can also buy unripe avocados, which feel very hard when gripped, and permit them to ripen at home. The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most dense in nutrients, so be sure to scrape the skin clean before discarding it.


Lastly, Joe Theissman step aside, avocados are a super source of beta-sitosterol which is very positive for men’s prostate health.

Mr. Lazy cook advocates avocados. When I was in London, many restaurants served a half of an avocado cut lengthwise, pit removed, filled with vinegar and oil salad dressing. I got to really love these and fix them at home often. What could be simpler?



Filed under arthritis, avocados, calories, carotenoids, carotenois, cholesterol, fat, HDL Cholesterol, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook, LDL Cholesterol, protein, Weight

What is Another Way to Handle Dietary Restrictions?

As regular readers know my former blogging partner, John, has severe dietary restrictions following his angioplasty and near heart attack. He has posted a number of items detailing his journey in dealing with this life-changing situation. As his former good friend, I was stunned by the news of his hospitalization and situation. Of course, I immediately imagined myself in his place and considered what I would do if confronted with an 80 percent blockage of a major artery and a stent being placed inside to facilitate my circulation. I find that I would handle it considerably differently than John. I don’t pretend to be a doctor. I don’t know that my way is better. I just know that my actions and ideas going forward differ sharply from John’s. I am more than 10 years older than he is and I have no dietary restrictions. I am presently enjoying the best personal health of my life. The National Institutes on Health considers me one of its success stories.

To begin with my first reaction would be gratitude. I would be thrilled to be still alive and feel that I had cheated death at least this one time. I would also make a firm purpose of amendment about my eating habits to guarantee that I would never put myself in this vulnerable situation again.

A near death experience like this is what I think of as a ‘square one’ situation. That is the same as when you go from grade school to high school and change from being a big shot at school to a little freshie in the new school. Ditto high school to college. Same kind of transition. I think square one situations are tremendous growth opportunities. Very challenging, to be sure, but they offer huge opportunities for real growth and discovery.

So, instead of looking back at the situation and feeling bitter over what I could no longer eat and whining about it, I would look forward to the chance to learn a whole new way of eating and making my dietary decisions. Previously, I chose things for taste with no consideration for the consequences on my body. Going forward, the health benefits would be way up there on my priority list. Of course, taste matters, but I would no longer limit my choices to taste alone as I did when I was a child. I don’t think a grown up should be making decisions on that basis.

Secondly, I have certain foods I like and foods I don’t like, but going forward, I would put everything back on the table (so to speak) and start from scratch. I would absolutely try to open my palate and my mind to new tastes including foods I might not have liked previously.  Nuts are a superb foodstuff. If I didn’t like nuts, I would make a point of trying a number of different kinds, maybe a few at a time and find a couple that I enjoyed and could integrate into my diet. As my former major protein source -meat- is nearly off the menu, it would be very effective to add the rich protein of nuts to my menu. I could start with a few on my salads. Nuts also happen to be a great source of EFAs, Essential Fatty Acids, which are necessary to every diet. That’s why they’re called essential.
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Filed under aging, blood pressure, fat, healing, heart problems, lazy cook, life challenges, recipes, Weight