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I Heart Artichokes!

Posted Apr 08 2010 12:01pm
Spring has sprung! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the artichokes are blooming! That's right, the artichokes are blooming! Did you know that artichokes are actually flowers? They are the flower bud to a thistle plant. Each spring along with the daffodils, ducklings, and warmer weather artichokes season begins. Artichokes are packed full of potassium, Vitamin C, calcium, protein and high in fiber. They're also an antioxidant power house hosting more antioxidants than red wine or chocolate.

I had an artichoke craving yesterday I could not resist. I hit up the grocery store after work and I stumbled upon a $3.99 price tag! I nearly walked away, but I wanted an artichoke for dinner so I coughed up money and left with my expensive, rather large, flower. Many people I have encountered fear the artichoke. Most likely because they don't know how to prepare it or how to eat it. Here's a simple step-by-step for choosing, prepping, preparing and eating an artichoke!

When picking an artichoke at the store look for one that is mostly green with the outer leafs in good condition. The artichoke should feel firm when you squeeze it and feel heavy for it's size, a sign that it fresh and still retaining water. The bottom leaves should snap off. If the bottom leaves feel rubbery, the artichoke is probably old.

Once you get your artichoke home you should peel off the leafs around the base and cut and 1/2" to 1" off the top and the steam depending on it's size. Also, if there are thorns on the tips of the leaves you might want to clip these off with scissors.

Once your artichoke is prepped you are ready to steam it. You can either fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil or use a steamer basket. Cover the pot with a lid and set the timer.  Depending on the size of the artichoke it will need to cook for 30-45 minutes. This particular artichoke was rather large.

While it is cooking I recommend you pour yourself one of these.

You will know your artichoke is done when the leaves easily pull off and meat of the leaf is tender.

The outer leafs will have less meat but as you get closer to the center you'll notice more and more of the leaf is edible. Use your teeth to scrape off the edible part of the leaf.

Once you reach the center, you can pull off these soft petals and eat them. Watch out for prickles on the tips though.

Once you get to the furry middle you can use a spoon to clean the artichoke. Don't eat this!

Mmmmmm... the decadent artichoke heart! Truly the best part of the artichoke. You can eat the entire base including the stem. Some people don't like the stem because it can be bitter, but I don't like to waste a precious bite of a delicious artichoke.

And when you're all done this is what you'll have left. I think next time I would like to weigh the artichoke before and weigh what is left after just too see how much was actually edible. This was delicious and very filling though. My whole dinner was this large artichoke, Greek yogurt dill dip and 2 glasses of chardonnay.

Artichoke & Greek yogurt dip, 118 calories, 2g fat, 22g carb, 12g protein
10 oz white wine, 240 calories, og fat, 8g carb, 0g protein
Do you have any foods you have a fear of cooking? What types of foods have you avoided at home because you did not know how to prepare it? I avoided tofu for a long time, but now I love it!

My other eats for yesterday included a breakfast of 1/2 c. plain yogurt with a banana, scoop of flax seed and 1/4 c. Bear Naked Granola. I also had a cup of coffee with half & half and Truvia.

 372 calories, 10 g fat, 63 g carb, 13 g protein

I had a doctor appointment at lunch to have a potentially cancerous "beauty mark" removed (refer back to my ABC's post) so I grabbed this sandwich from Subway on the way back to the office. A 6" veggie on wheat with pepper jack cheese and honey mustard sauce and a bag of BBQ Baked Lay's. 

464 calories, 9 g fat, 77 g carb, 12 g protein

Also had this little guy

25 calories, 0 g fat, 6 g carb, 0 g protein

Mid afternoon I was starving and had NO snacks!! It was horrible! I munched on 1/4 cup of Bear Naked Granola and then stole a handful of almonds from a coworker.

120 calories, 2 g fat, 23 g carb, 4 g protein

104 calories, 9 g fat, 4 g carb, 4 g protein

Day Total: 1,444 calories, 32 g fat, 203 g carb, 45 g protein

When I got home I made sure to put some Kashi bars and Just a Handful packs in my purse so I would have them later on!

I'm off! Have a great Thursday!
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