Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dehydrated Mangoes

Dehydrated Mangoes - A lot of work but they were so yummy!  Kim is always begging me to buy mangoes at Costco but they have added sugar so I refuse to buy them.  Instead I made my own.  They were really yummy but were gone way too fast!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vidalia Chop Wizard Shout Out

Finally an As Seen on TV product that actually lives up the hype!

I absolutely love this new tool. April at the Health for Life cooking class swore by her Vidalia Chop Wizard.

Since we've been eating a lot of vegetables in stir fry and soups lately it seems like I've been endless chopping vegetables. I tried the slap chop and while it is a fun tool and great for small jobs it is too much work to make a huge pot of soup or stir fry. My hand was sore after the last batch of salsa I made with it.

I made a huge amount of stir fry vegetables yesterday and was seriously surprised at how well the Vidalia Chop Wizard worked. I easily chopped twice as many vegetables as I usually do in half he amount of time. So worth the $20 I paid for it!

My only warning is the blades are super sharp. I tried to flick a small piece of vegetable off the blade and sliced my finger. Next time I'll use the tool they included for cleaning off the blades, it worked much better than my finger did.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kale & Quinoa Salad

My husband and I loved dinner last night. The kids on the other hand were not so impressed.

I decided to try a recipe from the Health for Life Cooking class I went to last week. It was my favorite thing that April made: Mediterranean Kale & Millet Salad.

I had to modify it a little because I didn't have any millet and could not find any at Wal-mart. And I forgot to grab a red pepper so I left it out. I substituted quinoa for the millet. It still turned out so yummy.

The only problem is I forgot how much this makes. There were 7 adults at the class and we only ate half the salad. So with just my husband and I and 5 kids who each ate a couple bites it meant we had alot of leftovers. I took some to 2 of my neighbors who I thought might actually eat it and put the rest in my fridge. It was still delicious even day old when I had it for lunch today.

So here is the original recipe by April Ashcroft

Mediterranean Kale and Millet Salad
1 cup uncooked millet (I substituted quinoa and couldn't tell the difference)
6 oz. or more of kale
1 14 oz can black olives
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup tightly packed basil leaves, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper diced (I forgot to buy this so it got left out)
1 red onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 cups white beans (great northern or navy)
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
more lemon juice if needed (I had only bought 1 lemon and would have added more lemon juice if I had another lemon)
1/2 tsp salt

Boil 2 cups water in a medium sauce pan. Add millet, reduce heat to low and simmer until millet is tender. Let cool.
Finely chop kale and transfer to a large bowl. Chop olives and add to kale along with the lemon juice. With both hands massage kale, lemons and olives very well until bright green and tender (like kneading bread). Mix in basil, remaining vegetables, beans and corn.* Add salt and more lemon juice if desired.
*Mix in the frozen corn with the cooked millet to thaw corn and cool the millet before adding to the salad.

RX Reformer - Gwen Olsen

The more I read the more turned off I am by drug companies...


Another great video with Gwen can be found HERE.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Composting + Recycling + Whole Foods = No Trash?

It's garbage day tomorrow. I just went to take our garbage out to the street and it was empty.  There was one bag of garbage in the kitchen trash can that I put in the bin and took out.  Our recycle bin on the other hand is overflowing and it is not even pick up week for recycling. Recycling is only picked up every other week.  We used to fill 2 full garbage cans every week.  I think we would do better now with recycle pick up weekly and trash pick up every other week.

Utah is not the "greenest" state, at least not down south. You have to pay for curbside recycling. Thankfully it's not that expensive so I finally broke down and signed up for pickup. It makes it so I actually recycle. It is just too much work to haul it all to the recycle bins by the grocery store so I never did it.

All the kitchen scraps are going in to the compost bin and all the cardboard, plastic, cans, paper, etc. are going into the recycle so that leaves very little to go in the actual garbage can.  Since we're not eating much processed food we have very little that is actual trash.

Sugar Blues

Another post on sugar...

I was checking out a few blogs today and came across this quote that was posted on The Nourishing Gourmet

Refined sugar is lethal when ingested by humans because it provides only that which nutritionists describe as empty or naked calories. In addition, sugar is worse than nothing because it drains and leeches the body of precious vitamin and minerals through the demands its digestion, detoxification, and elimination make upon one’s entire system. So essential is balance to our bodies that we have many ways to provide against the sudden shock of a heavy intake of sugar. Minerals, such as sodium (from salt), potassium and magnesium (from vegetables) and calcium (from the bones) are mobilized and used in chemical transmutation; neutralizing acids are produced which attempt to return the acid-alkaline balance factor of the blood to a more normal state. Sugar taken every day produces a continuously overacid condition and more and more minerals are required from deep in the body in the attempt to rectify the imbalance. Finally, in order to protect the blood, so much calcium is taken from the bones and teeth that decay and general weakening begin.
~ From The Sugar Blues by William Dufty

It was really good timing because I was starting to feel weak. My daughter and I just got back from the grocery store and while there I was ready to buy some candy at the checkout stand. I resisted but it reinforced what I already knew... shopping while hungry is not a good idea and refined sugar is bad for us.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Giveaway Winner


Congratulations to Nicole Sender!

She won my Freedom Giveaway.

The Ultramind Solution by Dr. Hyman

Another great book:

The Ultramind Solution by Mark Hyman.

I'm really impressed with Dr. Hyman and the information he has on health & diet.  There are lots of videos on youtube & on his website.

http://drhyman.com

Glutathione - I'd never heard of it until Dr. Schneider put my son on it.


More info that goes right along with the book Gut & Psychology Syndrome.


Since changing the way we eat neither my husband nor I have heartburn anymore.


Got Milk? versus Don't Drink Your Milk!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Slap Chop & Homemade Salsa



I succumbed to one of those As Seen on TV ads... I bought a Slap Chop.  At the current price of $8.90 on Amazon.com with free super saver shipping it is not a bad deal. I don't think it is worth the $20 plus shipping that it is advertised for, but I needed another item to hit $25 for free shipping so I added a Slap Chop to my order.

I used it to make homemade salsa today.  I chopped up the onion and then my 11 year old daughter came in and thought it was cool and wanted to try it.  She chopped up 3 tomatoes for me.  The advertisement said it was easy enough for a child to use but I think a young child would have trouble chopping up some items.  You really have to whack it to get it to cut all the way through the tomato skin.

So here is the results:

Black Bean & Corn Salsa
1 large red onion
3 tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of organic frozen corn
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
sea salt

I'm looking for a healthy alternative to chips.  We used Costco's organic corn chips but they are a fried food and thus not a healthy choice.  I've come across a couple recipes but it seems like a lot of work to make them from scratch.  The easier option being baking or drying corn tortillas.  I hope the healthiness of the salsa partly counteracts the unhealthiness of the chips.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Another Day Gone By... Meals & Azure Standard

Today's meals:
Breakfast was oatmeal with honey &/or green smoothies
Lunch was left over stew & salad with sprouts
Dinner was beef stir fry served over quinoa & rice
Snacks were fresh fruit, bread and non-dairy chocolate frosties

It was almost all "whole food" and everyone got lots of "raw" food so overall I'd say it was a good day.   Once again it felt like I spent forever in the kitchen and I'm once again behind on my dishes.

I decide to place an order with azurestandard.com.  I heard from 2 people recently that it is a good source for  bulk natural foods.  I ended up spending a couple hours looking through their website and comparing prices before deciding that their products seem like a good deal.  I placed a large order for everything from nuts and grains to fruit and beans.  At least I'll feel like some of my food storage has been restocked since I gave away almost everything that was refined & processed.

Non-Dairy Chocolate Frosty

One of the recipes from the VSU demo last week was for a Non-Dairy Chocolate Frosty.  It is a hot day today and the kids were out in the backyard playing in the hot tub and on the trampoline so it seemed like a good day to try this recipe on them.

It was a hit with 4 out of 7 of the members of my family.  My husband didn't really like the taste but he drank it.  My oldest son tasted it and screwed up his nose at it.  My youngest didn't want to drink it. 

Amazingly enough my picky eater actually drank it. I even have proof in a picture!

I liked this treat although I think it would be better if I had a high powered blender because it would have been a little smoothier. 

Non-Dairy Chocolate Frosty
Recipe by Lisa Mickelson

1 cup raw almonds soaked 8 hours
2 cups water
2-3 Tbls cocoa powder
3 frozen bananas
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/3 cups agave nectar (I used raw honey instead)
2 cups ice

Put all ingredients in blender and blend about 15-20 seconds (I used my regular blender which is not a high powered one so I blended for at least a minute).

Makes 6 servings - 161 calories 43% fat, 47% carbs, 9% protein

The Body Ecology Diet

I got a copy of The Body Ecology Diet in the mail this week and am very interested in what I'm reading in it! Hopefully it will give me some new ideas and continued motivation.



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cooking Class

Wow was tonight's cooking class awesome! Seriously I watched what went into each of these recipes and wondered if it would be edible. So many vegetables and other ingredients I've never used before.

I was pleasantly surprised that everything was delicious! I'll definitely be going back to another one of April's classes.

Photos are from April's blog Health for Life Cooking

Cucumber Tomato Salad - I'm not a cucumber fan but still enjoyed this salad with yummy dressing.

Eggless Salad Wrap - I was sure I wouldn't like this one but was proven wrong.  It was really good.

Millet & Kale Salad - This was my favorite - I'll be making this for sure!

Red White & Blueberry Parfait - Delicious dessert, I think my kids will eat it.

Vegetable Beef Stew

Dinner is neither vegetarian or raw but it tastes good.  It is gluten & dairy free so at least it has some merit.

Olive Oil
Stew Meat
Onion
Carrots
Potatoes
Peas
Water
Salt, Pepper & Spices

I won't be eating it since I'm off to a Health for Life cooking class hoping to find at least 1 new recipe that everyone will eat.

Stir Fry & Homemade Pomegranate Lemonade

Today's Lunch:
Homemade Pomegranate Lemonade
Juice from 3 lemons
1 cup 100% Pomegranate Juice
5 droppers of Stevia extract
Enough water to make a 1/2 gallon

This is my healthy alternative when the kids want juice to drink. We normally just drink filtered water but sometimes it's nice to have an alternative. This is really good!  We have made it without the Pomegranate juice by using 1 cup of lemon juice, stevia & water.  It doesn't last long.

Chicken Stir Fry
Olive Oil
Onion
Red Onion
Chicken
Celery
Carrots
Broccoli
Sugar Snap Peas

Served over Rice & Quinoa

I simply start with Olive Oil and then add the ingredients in the order listed. While the onions are starting to cook I cut up the chicken, then while the chicken is starting to cook I chop the celery, etc.

When it's served we add salt &/or soy sauce for flavor.

This is a huge hit with my teenage boys.  Everyone in my family will eat it and likes it except for my picky 11 year old daughter.  She eats the required one small serving and then fixes herself something else.

It turns out a little different each time because I use what vegetables I have on hand.  This version was very heavy on the vegetables on light on the chicken.  I'm not a huge vegetable fan but I love them fixed this way.

Fermented Foods - Sauerkraut

I've read tons about the importance of eating fermented foods. I've made homemade yogurt and kefir but my son's doctor wants him off of all dairy. He's on a high quality probiotic to introduce the good bacteria into his system but I want to add them through his diet too. Yesterday I learned how to make sauerkraut.

I've never even eaten sauerkraut! But we are going to try it.

I started out with just one jar.  I had 2 heads of cabbage from bountiful baskets so I used 1 1/2 heads to make a jar of sauerkraut.  It was fairly simple to do.
There are tons of recipes online so I read several of them and then cut the recipe down so I could make just one jar.

All you do is shred the cabbage, add salt and mash it down.  Really simple.

Sprouting

I've read a lot about the benefits of sprouting so I decided to give it a try.  I bought 2 sprouters - one was just a glass jar that was cheap and the other was a Sprout Master.  If you are going to sprout I highly recommend the Sprout Master - it is so much easier than a jar.

This is the Sprout Master with my sprouts.  This is a little over 24 hours after I got them started.  Tomorrow we'll be eating them.  I'm not sure what we'll do with them.  My 5 year old just sampled them and through they were great plain.
This is the jar I bought.  I doubt I'll be using it again because the Sprout Master works much better.  I can't figure out how to rinse the sprouts properly.

There are lots of sites that go into great detail on how to sprout.  Just do a google search and you'll find a wealth of information.

Apple Cider Vinegar

I've been reading about the health benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. I don't doubt the benefits but boy is it nasty tasting to drink.

The basic recipe:
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. honey
8 oz. water

It was suggested to get our son drinking this so I tried it this morning before giving it to him. There is no way he will drink it! I managed to get half the glass down before I gave up and gave the rest to my husband to drink.  Perhaps it is an acquired taste and I'll get used to it.

Here are some of the touted benefits from ehow.com

Kill Or Be Killed
One of the biggest things apple cider vinegar is known for is its ability to kill free radicals in the body. Free radicals are the cause of many deadly illnesses such as cancer, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.

Balance Is Bliss
Alkalinity is a very important aspect of good health. When the body becomes alkaline, a lot of ailments tend to disappear. Some of these would include headaches, chronic fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, and joint pain. Drinking apple cider vinegar will turn up the body alkaline and help reduce and even eliminate these symptoms altogether.

Toughen the Bones
When apple cider vinegar is mixed with fruits, vegetables and meats, it ends up extracting calcium from them. This helps increase bone mineral density. This is beneficial for older people, especially women with osteoporosis.

Fruit and Fiber
Apple cider vinegar has a substance in it called pectin, a fruit fiber. This helps to reduce elevated cholesterol levels. To make matters better, it even helps to regulate blood pressure.

Twice As Nice
Apple cider vinegar has potassium. This has a two fold benefit. First of all, it helps to strengthen nails and teeth. It stimulates hair growth. It helps alleviate sinusitis and a runny nose. The other thing it does is help eliminate toxins from the body. People who are trying to cleanse or detox their systems can really benefit from this fact.

Natural Weight Loss
Apple cider vinegar also aids in weight loss. This is very important to the obese population. It actually emulsifies and helps break down fat cells, causing natural weight reduction as opposed to resorting to more riskier extremes.

I've checked several Vinegar books out of the library so perhaps I'll find a way to incorporate it into our diet that is more appetizing.