I’ve definitely paid my dues to stay skinny over the years. I lived on bunny food (three lettuce leaves a day), and hated being hungry all of the time. Maybe that is why I usually avoid salads like the plague. I like curves, and I have no desire to go back to being as anorexically thin as I needed to be when I was modelling.

The “three lettuce leaves a day” thin years

However, after having been laid up recovering from surgery, with a little too much fine dining, followed almost immediately by a broken ankle… I’m a little too voluptuous for my liking at the moment, so it’s time once again to say “what’s up Doc?”
Fine dining with Marc Marmel, Sean Borg, and friend
Summer’s bounty makes it infinitely more inviting to stick to healthy choices.

Marinated Artichokes & Dip

A tasty, yet really low calorie-high nutrient appetizer, side or snack to stick to in restaurants, or at home is always marinated grilled artichokes. I’m a virginal kind of gal when it comes to eating artichokes. I love the natural nutty flavor of the artichoke on it’s own – especially with the kick of a marinade and smokiness of the grill added into the equation (see video bellow), although I suggest serving it with dressing on the side for your guests to either dip or dive into, depending upon how decadent they care to be.
Beet Carpaccio with Mozzarella & Pine Nuts

Thankfully summers bounty is much more visually appealing and creative today, than days of yore, when faced with a huge wedge of iceberg lettuce and a limp sliver of tomato topped with some disgusting bottled dressing.

Tossed Baby Greens with Spelt & Smoked Salmon

Dressings are so quick and easy to make, so no excuses accepted here – plus YOU control the type and amount of fat content. Remember salads should be dressed, not doused in dressing.

Spinach with White Peaches, Marcona Almonds, Shaved Pecorino, & Aged Balsamic

Sometimes I’ll opt for a heartier salad with grilled seafood, poultry, or meat on top. The mango here added just enough hint of the exotic to keep it from being dull. In fact many types of fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, apples, pears, strawberries, etc.) can go a long way towards adding depth to a dinner salad, and making your taste buds pop with the unexpected.
Chicken Mango Salad
What meal is complete without dessert? That doesn’t mean you have to sabotage all your good intentions. A plate full of fruit salad tossed in a little bit of honey and lime will satisfy most sweet tooth’s.
Five Spice Fruit Salad
Add a pinch of five spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla bean for a more distinctive twist, and you can always add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream for your less discerning guests.
Dancing it off with Giovanna Cantone

I’ll leave you with a little visual information for making your own marinated grilled artichokes. Experiment with different herbs and spices in the marinade to keep it interesting. Artichokes, like potato chips, could be viewed as vehicles for different flavors and dips… although just plain steamed on it’s own is still A-Okay by me.
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  • July 26, 2010
    11:25 pm

    Those look amazing. I can't wait to try to Artichoke hearts. What is the Beet thing? Looks good. I eat salad all the time. I could live on salad if it's good enough. My favorite is just what we had tonight…Romaine, Radicchio, grilled chicken, grated carrot, fresh basil leaves, red bell pepper and topped with olive oil and vinegar. I've been trying to get down to my ideal weight, which means losing 122 pounds. I'm down 20 of those pounds so far since the start of June — mostly exercise and salads (and blogging 'bout it — my accountability LOL).

    Reply
  • July 26, 2010
    11:32 pm

    These videos are fabulous – the food looks absolutely amazing and showing precisely how … love it.LOVE artichokes, had no idea it was this easy.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2010
    11:33 pm

    Hi -Congratulations on the first 20! It's just boiled beets sliced paper thin on a mandolin, shredded romaine tossed in vinaigrette, and fresh buffala mozzarella and toasted pine nuts on top. Simple, but yummy. The exercise is what is really key, and that is what I've been missing out on. Apart from more curves than I want – I just feel yucky mentally without it. Anxious to start physio therapy this week so I can get back to normal.

    Reply
  • July 26, 2010
    11:34 pm

    Are you serious about 3 lettuce leaves?! MISERABLE. How did you avoid being the world's biggest bitch when you were hungry constantly? My husband knows the exact minute I turn hungry. I get wild, short-fused and half crazy. Tonight I plan to make polenta medallions topped w/ pesto, a slice of heirloom tomato, fresh mozzarella and a touch of haved parmesan cheese,warmed in the oven. Summer perfection. :) My curves are kicken a little extra today too! Too many birthday parties… What's a girl to do???Kim Phillips Cuccia

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  • July 26, 2010
    11:35 pm

    I'm kind of glad to hear that you aren't three lettuce leaves a day … that is just plain SCARY!! I can't believe your family stood by and let that happen to you … if they knew about it, that is … the things we do for Jessica Rabbit dresses … Keep the curves, you look better with a healthy glow and those killer curves!!Justine Owls

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  • July 26, 2010
    11:43 pm

    OK Justine, so I exaggerated. I had one meal a day – usually grilled fish, spinach, and new potatoes. Nick road me like a drill sargent when it came to keeping my weight down. I was HUNGRY all the time, and yes Kim – it turned me into a raving bitch at times!

    Reply
  • July 26, 2010
    11:49 pm

    I am still trying to get the baby weight off over a year later. My mother never made me eat vegetables so I never developed a taste for them. I want to eat healthier but everytime I try a veggie I don't like the taste. Is there any veggie's you can recommend for a veggie hater?BTW I think you're more beautiful now with curves:)Thanks,Regina

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  • July 27, 2010
    12:07 am

    Regina – I wouldn't eat many vegetables growing up either. It wasn't until I had Sunday lunch at my in-laws for the first time, and I was too embarrassed to say I don't like vegetables, so I ate them. Now I couldn't live without them, but our taste buds change with time.Start with roasted green beans, asparagus, or broccoli. It is easy to do, just preheat your oven to 425 F. Wash, trim, and dry the veg, then toss in extra-virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and roast for 20-25 minutes. Roasting brings out the natural sugars in the veg, and I find kids will usually eat roasted veg (even big kids).Then once you get used to eating them – try other flavorful recipes (other than just plain stemmed vegetables) like stir-fry or marinated vegetables. There are some greta vegetable recipes on my website www.therovingstove.com (under recipes, then sides), and I'll be adding more over the next few months.

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  • July 27, 2010
    12:21 am

    One thing I always have hated: "You're to skinny!" I have heard that my whole life and drives me nuts, actually happy I weigh 135 lbs (the most aside from being 155 when I was preg. w/ Caleb). You have a great figure but you sure pulled off your wedding dress well being that thin. Nick wanted you that thin? Boo hiss (so there is a flaw I see in him)Carly Guerrero

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  • July 27, 2010
    12:22 am

    Hey hey i saw giovanna on full article…If i remember well she was Roger taylor wife is'nt she ? it's funny thinking you still have friendly relation with all this personn who met few years ago… About your article i'm so surprised and chocked ! i know models have to have a look on what they eat but…. it's so cruel ! i need to loose some weight but when i fell bad i need to eat (and whan i feel well too lol)…eating is an important part off life what's better than having a good meal with friends ? But don't worry julie you're still a wonderfull woman and i hope you're more happy in your life now ! (sorry for my english hope u understand all )Angélique Goury

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  • July 27, 2010
    2:21 am

    Angelique, as long as you are happy with yourself is what matters :)Carly Guerrero

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  • July 27, 2010
    2:22 am

    Thank you… Yess i'm well ! But i took lots off weight in a little Time but i know i can loose if i want…Angélique Goury

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  • July 27, 2010
    2:29 am

    Yes Angelique – Giovanna was Roger's first wife. She has been in LA for a class, and we've had a blast hanging out together. I adore all of my friends, but there is something really special about spending time with those you have so much history with.Don't worry about the weight – let's lose it together. I promise all healthy recipes and menus until the holiday's begin, so we can get on top of it before there is another round of temptation.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010
    2:51 am

    I like the lose it together attitude. Especially before the holidays come upon us. Thanks for helping me get of the grilled chic and romaine rut Ive been in :-)

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  • July 27, 2010
    4:12 am

    I won't get started on ranting about the different "acceptable standards" for men and women … Be toned, be healthy; but keep the curves. Most men enjoy that … and if they don't … well … point out their OWN love handles firstly. *winkJustine Owls

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  • July 27, 2010
    5:27 am

    Oh, how I love artichokes and beets!! When artichokes aren't in season, I buy the frozen hearts of artichokes, marinate them and add to salads. So scrumptious! The beet carpaccio…YUM! I am such a veggie lover…I like to think it balances out my love for sweets. Ok, I know I'm fooling myself but…I do it anyway!Great post! I really, really enjoy your blog. So glad you take the time to share bits of your life and passion for food with people you don't know! Thanks!Alison Sherman

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010
    11:12 am

    This time last last year I was huge, about the largest I have ever been in my life – a UK size 22 /24. I've never been thin, always consigned to the plus sizes and always "the fat one" but a year ago I go that awful swine flu" and couldn't face food for a month and I lost weight and have managed to keep it off. I'm now in a UK 18 and I am happy. I would love to exercise but I have a medical issue and I can't exercise without pain but I am considering gentle pilates off a DVD to try and at least help matters and to make me a little more mobile.I actually think you look really healthy Julie Ann.Loved the beet recipie, one of my neighbours has just dropped off about 4lbs of allotment grown beet for me and my Nan so that's on the boil and I'm going to eat that later with some fresh green beans from the garden. Its so much easier to eat healthily in the summer :)

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  • July 27, 2010
    12:08 pm

    Love the pictures! Thanks for the video, I have watched a few times and I think I can do this, will look great cooking and serving.

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  • July 27, 2010
    4:41 pm

    OK Baby………..I LOVED THE GRILLED ARTICHOKES !………I didn't feel like starting my charcoal barbeque so I did them in my George Forman Grill !………Fantastic…….made my dip with low fat mayo/fresh garlic/ smoked habenero powder and lemon zest……….LOVED IT !!! ThankyouthankyouthankyouxxxxxxxxxxBeth Bovaird

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010
    4:47 pm

    Artichokes are not the easiest to work with, but once you get past your fear of trying they are soooooooooooooo worth it! Beth – so glad you mentioned the George Forman – I'm getting mine out! When are you headed to LA next?

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  • July 27, 2010
    4:50 pm

    Hey Little Amanda – that is terrific that you have kept the weight off! Is there anywhere with a pool near you? Water aerobics or just swimming is a great way to exercise without as much pain (not sure where your pain is, and you do need your doctor's OK before starting any exercise plan).More later guys – running really late today.

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010
    4:51 pm

    Wow, the weight thing….being pressured by a mate to lose/gain weight is never something that is pleasant…..the one person who should love you through 'thick and thin'….For me it's a bit opposite, I went through major major post partum depression after my son and packed on HUGE weight…..it seemed a spiral to me, the more I put on the less I cared enough to change it. When I married my present partner 3 1/2 yrs ago I felt relieved that he loved me despite my weight….but that didn't HELP me.About a year into the marriage I got fed up and decided if I didn't change something my kids could be motherless. So now 73 lbs are gone and I'm slowly shedding the last 25-30 to get to goal. I'm going by how I look and feel rather than by how much I weigh.Trouble is…now the husband isn't happy (shrugs) There are just as many men out there that pressure women to gain/keep weight as there are ones who pressure to lose it. Control issues? I don't know.Sorry for rambling, Jewels…. your recipes are SUCH an inspiration to me and these WILL go very nicely with my eating plan. Thank you!!!Brittany Shai Harper

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010
    4:52 pm

    Thats a nice picture:)Adelle Medberry

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  • July 27, 2010
    5:59 pm

    Thanks I'm going to give it a try. I am extremely embarrassed to say I don't eat vegetables and my mother-in-law always chides me about it. I'll let you know my verdict.Regina

    Reply
  • July 27, 2010
    6:01 pm

    To Regina and anyone else who is leery of vegetables, I have a few suggestions to re-train your taste buds. In addition to Jewels' wonderful cauliflower mash (http://www.therovingstove.com/recipes/purple-cauliflower-mash), you might enjoy this: on a baking sheet, grate some good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese onto cauliflower florets and roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.Some of my other favorite vegetable dishes include baked sweet potatoes with a touch of cinnamon and/or maple syrup, asparagus grilled in a foil pouch with a squeeze of lemon and a bit of black pepper, and mushrooms sautéed in a splash of oil and either soy sauce or white wine.

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:48 pm

    Fantastic photo of you two!Tina Beeman

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:49 pm

    You two look great!!!!!MariFer Cruz Ortega

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:49 pm

    Awww! What a wonderful picture! You two are so beautiful!Rhonda Davis Crombie

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:50 pm

    I don't see any excess, but 2 beautiful ladies having fun :)Nicoletta Appodia

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:50 pm

    Now you just need Yasmin, Tracey, and Amanda! LOLRenee Young

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:51 pm

    you look fabulous! dancing must suit you! curves? well hell babe, they are women are made of!Marella Oppenheim

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:51 pm

    Two beautiful ladies.Dorah Caulfield

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  • July 27, 2010
    10:52 pm

    I promise I was not fishing for compliments, but I'll take them where I can get them – thanks y'all!

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  • July 28, 2010
    8:48 am

    Julie Anne, You don't have to fish. I think all of the people here will agree with me that you are truly a beautiful lady inside and out! I enjoy complimenting people as much as I like receiving compliments! Enjoy it!~April

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  • July 28, 2010
    3:10 pm

    Jewels, I think you look great! Seriously, in some of the older pictures you look much too thin.I agree about exercise. I had carpel tunnel surgery and knee surgery this summer, and all of this sitting on my heiny has really set me back on the dieting. I'm slowly working up to it.

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:26 pm

    oh beautiful.Madeleine Gallay

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:27 pm

    OMG that looks SOooooooo GOOD! :0)Kathy Kendall Kimak

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:27 pm

    My new kitchen is ready for these wonderful salads!Thankyou so much Julie Anne!:-)Carmen Ronsisvalle

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:29 pm

    Kimberly – get well quick. Ouch! The worst part is not the excess baggage, but the mental slump when you get no exercise. I start seeing the glass half empty instead of half full, and have to try to reprogram the brain daily.

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:34 pm

    Hey Kathy – At least 99% of my clients say they hate beets when I do my initial consultation with them. I can convert them if I can convince them to TRY them. Yours are my favorite words to hear – "OMG that looks SOooooooo GOOD! :0)"

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:56 pm

    I love love love beets! grew up on pickled beets and have married into a Ukrainian family that prepares a beet and mushroom salad/side dish that I can't get enough of. I'm also obsessed with adding pine nuits to my salads so you've totally hit the spot for me with this dish! Yummo!Kathy Kendall Kimak

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:57 pm

    What is the trick to beets?I like the texture but can't get past the "dirt" taste. Kinda like to I hate ketchup but love tomatoesCarly Guerrero

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  • July 28, 2010
    4:59 pm

    Love beets!! That looks absolutely divine!!Tina Beeman

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  • July 28, 2010
    5:02 pm

    I liked beets when I was little because:a). they were red (my favorite color)b). my mom hated themNow I just plain love them. Always try every recipe I can find for them.Carly – WASH them and peel the outside off before roasting or boiling them.

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  • July 28, 2010
    5:09 pm

    very pretty but don't eat beetsCindy Robinson

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  • July 28, 2010
    5:10 pm

    THAT looks gorgeous AND delicious!Rhonda Davis Crombie

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  • July 28, 2010
    5:25 pm

    I wasn't one for veg when I was little. Salads then were iceberg lettuce, a few bits of tomatoes, carrots, etc. Not very exciting. When I moved out on my own and shopped for myself I found a whole new world of veg and salad fixings to explore. Thirty odd years later, I mainly eat veg and little if any meat. This just seems to make me feel better and I'm not complaining that the weight has come off slowly, though mainly due to health issues. Vegetables are not the nasty bits we grew up with. If we all take the time to experiment and try these wonderful recipes, I suspect there will be a run on fresh produce across the nations. Now, how do I get my meat eating sister to try a few days of vegetarian eating when she comes to visit? Thank you again for a new take on veg and making them take center place and not pushed to the side as they usually are. Happy to hear you are starting therapy! That's a good sign!

    Reply
  • July 28, 2010
    5:30 pm

    Hey Ruthee – try the eggplant Parmesan recipe on both the blog and my website – I'm not a huge fan of eggplant, but love it in this dish. Anything Italian and veggie usually crosses the divide that keeps carnivores from trying vegetarian food.

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  • July 28, 2010
    5:42 pm

    Jewels, are these roasted beets? I think most people convert with roasting things like beets, brussel sprouts, etc. Yum…this looks delish!Kris Etze

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  • July 28, 2010
    5:44 pm

    Hey Kris – these are actually just boiled and sliced thin on a mandolin, but I agree – I can usually convert people when they try them roasted. Great to hear from you – hope all is well. J xo

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  • July 28, 2010
    8:25 pm

    Wish I could crawl through the screen and get me a big spoonful of that delish looking fruit salad!Lara Coker Hayes

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  • July 28, 2010
    8:26 pm

    I love beet salad! Hmmm…I just made some pesto and have some pine nuts left..I am going to try this!Kathy Caslin Mullen

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  • July 28, 2010
    8:27 pm

    As a foodie, I'm embarrassed to admit that there are still a few foods I refused to eat as a child that I won't try as an adult. Beets and brussel sprouts(all cruciferous veggies) are on that list. However, it does look pretty and I'd eat the other ingredients.Michelle Gordon Noon

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  • July 28, 2010
    8:28 pm

    I like beets anyway you make them! My husband wouldn't eat beets until he tried canned beets my dad had. Now he loves them.Dorah Caulfield

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  • July 28, 2010
    9:51 pm

    I love beets!!!! I can't get enough. I find them delicious and beautiful too. In fact, when I was a kid I used to sun bleach my hair with Sun-In (remember that stuff) and then I'd soak my hair in beet juice. It gave me a lovely pink color. This was back before you could buy fun hair-color at your local store! haha Beets are wonderful on several levels. ;)Kim Phillips Cuccia

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  • July 29, 2010
    1:35 am

    You reel me in everytime you have beets in a recipe Jewels. OMG……love, love the beet carpaccio with the pine nuts….gotta try that one for sure. Gosh…. all these lovely fresh dishes have me salivating.By the way, I totally agree with everyone else in cyberland Jewels. You look gorgeous curvy and you are a beautiful woman. You look more sensational as the years go by. I think I would have died with one meal a day…..how on earth could Nick let you eat that way.God knows I could never go hungry. I love food too much. All in moderation of course!Aussie Mum

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  • July 29, 2010
    4:06 pm

    I am not a big fan of beets, but that salad looks yummy…..:-)Bj Nelson

    Reply
  • July 29, 2010
    5:21 pm

    my fave beet recipe is a roasted beet dip…….roasted beets in the cuisinart, along with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, cumin and salt ……I bet you would dig it Jewels ! xxxBeth Bovaird

    Reply
  • July 29, 2010
    5:21 pm

    I'll be BATHING in the stuff Beth – thanks!

    Reply

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