Thursday, February 10, 2011

Raw Honey vs. Honey

Until yesterday, I thought that honey was honey...and then I was faced with the phrase "raw honey". What do you mean raw honey...isn't honey just...honey? I noticed the double in price as I looked from the 5.99 jar of raw honey at Trader Joes to the 2.99 clover honey that was sweetly packaged in a plastic bear jar. Could whatever benefits from raw honey be worth the extra 3 dollars?

1. Taste. Last night as I got a snack craving, I took out some crackers, peanut butter and my new raw honey jar. The difference in taste was immediate. It is hard to put into words, but it taste more PURE. More rich in flavor. Much BETTER than the usual honey I bought before.

2. Health. RAW honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. Research has shown cancer preventing and anti-tumor properties. It has been shown to be an effective alternative treatment for symptomatic relief of nocturnal cough and sleep difficulty. It is a prebiotic - possessing a large amount of friendly bacteria and in addition, it boosts immunity. Honey may promote better blood sugar control.

3. Athletic Performance. In a study, honey helped athletes maintain optimal blood sugar levels throughout two hours following a workout. In addition, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration (carbohydrates stored in muscle) was favorable in those individuals consuming a honey-protein combination.

4. Protective Antioxidant. Studies have shown that there is a direct link between the subjects' honey consumption and the level of polyphenolic antioxidants in their blood.

5. Helpful with Cholesterol & Type 2 Diabetes. In a series of experiments involving healthy subjects and those with either high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes, honey has proved itself the healthiest sweetener and is a source of vitamin B2, vitamin B6, iron and manganese.

Regular honey (not "raw") IS pasteurized which means that it is heated up and then rapidly cooled so that it looks cleaner, smoother and more delicious on the store shelf. This process of pasteurization kills the yeast and enzymes which are responsible for activating vitamins and minerals in the body system. For these reasons, raw honey is considered more nutritious than honey that has undergone heat treatment.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Strawberry Orange Guava smoothie

Today's smoothie:
2 guava
5 strawberries
1/2 orange
1/2 banana
1 plain yogurt
1 tsp sunflower seeds + 1 tsp flax seeds blended to a powder
a handful of spinach

Blend until smooth. Filled with loads of vitamins and delicious flavors.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Smoothie of the day: Pear-Walnut

Smoothie of the day:
a red pear

1/2 banana

1 tsp walnut pieces and 1 tsp of flaxseeds blended into a powder

1/2 cup plain yogurt

a handful of spinach leaves

a dash of soymilk

Sweet, filling and satisfying!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Smoothie Recipes

Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to incorporate lots of nutrients in one meal. Most everyone has tried a strawberry banana smoothie and I agree, they're tasty, but why not think out of the box? There are so many vitamins out there that you are missing if that is all you try - and we all know we need a multi-vitamin right now during the winter/cold season. Try switching up the fruits you use. Use yogurt or banana as your base and add one or as many fruits as you like, fresh or frozen. For example:
- blueberries (easily thickens your smoothie)
-pineapple (gives a frothy texture)
-oranges ( a juicier smoothie)
-mangoes (make a really smooth, thick consistency like a malt)

OR what about incorporating nuts/seeds? Use your blender/magic bullet to grind your nuts or seeds down to a fine powder and then put it in with your banana, fruits, yogurts, juices and milks. Yesterday I made a banana walnut smoothie. (Banana, walnut powder made from a TBSP of walnut pieces, yogurt and soymilk). Healthy AND delicious!
And if you're daring, add some green leaves into your smoothie. Spinach leaves are tasteless so you'll get the green color and all the nutrients but no change in flavor. I have also added romaine lettuce and kale.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemade Bread

When it turns cold out, I like to use the oven. I tend to make a lot of soups during the winter and nothing accompanies soup better than warm bread. I have never made homemade bread before, but I found this recipe online for a bread that uses rice or soy milk rather than cow's milk, which makes this bread vegan. The reviews for this recipe were good, it seems relatively easy and honestly, there is nothing like bread right out of the oven...

Whole Wheat Bread Recipe (vegan)
The bread comes out crispy on the outside and soft, slightly sweet, and both fluffy & firm on the inside. Yum.
Ingredients (Yields one loaf)2.5 teaspoons yeast1 tsp sugar1.25 tsp salt1 cup warmish water (not burning hot, but warm)1/4 cup honey, molasses, or maple syrup1/4 cup oil (I use olive, but probably other veggie oil will work)1/4 soy or rice milk3.5 cups flour (whole wheat and regular white mixed) --I recommend 2.5 cups whole and 1 cup white
Directions1. Mix first four ingredients in a big bowl. The yeast will start to come alive (bubble and get all excited and stinky).2. Let that sit for a few minutes (or 10).3. Dump the remaining ingredients into the yeast mixture.4. Stir with a wooden spoon until it gets all weird and tacky.5. Then roll up your sleeves and start working it with your hands.6. Time for Bread Knead #1. Dump the dough out on an oiled clean counter. Knead the dough for 7 minutes or until it is smooth and supple like a butt.7. Time for Rising Session #1. Dump the dough into an oiled bowl. Cover with a cloth and put into a "slightly" warmed oven for 1 hour or until dough is fluffed.8. Time for Bread Knead #2. Put the dough back on the counter. Only Knead it once or twice. Then shape the dough into the size of your bread pan. And plop it into the oiled pan.9. Time for Rising Session #2. Put the bread pan (with dough) back into the warmish oven. Let it rise for another 30 mins. to 1 hour (or until it dough rises above the edges of the pan).
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (make sure bread isn't in the oven yet!).11. Bake for 40- to 1 hour (or until bread is lightly browned). "Experts" say if you hit the back of the bread and it sounds hollow, it's ready. BUT THE BREAD IS TOO HOT!! DO NOT ATTEMPT! No way you can test the bread by slapping it on the back. You just have to "know" when it is done.12. Let it cool! I know it smells good and bready...but it'll be weird and crumbly unless you let it cool for about a half hour. To slice: always turn the bread on its side and then go at it with a serrated knife.It may take a time or two until you get the dough just right, i.e., not undercooked. ENJOY!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Vegan Nutella (Not-tella)

Nutella has dairy in it? Why? Its just a hazelnut spread with chocolate... Sometimes I have a hard time understanding why whey is added to things when it would be perfectly fine without it.
If you are a chocolate peanut butter lover and you don't eat dairy (or want to be healthier) have I got good news for you! I have found a blog which contains a dairy free recipe for Nutella...or as they call it "Not-tella". Sometimes its better to rely on yourself in making goodies - that way you know exactly whats in it! Enjoy!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ingesting Aloe Vera for Internal Healing

We've all heard about the healing benefits of aloe vera. We grew up rubbing it on cuts or sun burns, but research these days is showing that it can help with miraculous healing internally as well, if ingested. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and helps with digestive ailments and disorders, heartburn, ulcers, acne, asthma, and its a general tonic for the immune system. It also apparently helps you take in more nutrients and minerals from the foods you eat. Why would I NOT want to give this a try???
So, I bought an aloe vera leaf today and had no idea what to do with it. After looking it up online, I learned that you are NOT suppose to eat the actual leaf, just the "gel" that you find inside the leaf after slicing it open from the side. Take a knife or spoon and scrape down the leaf until you get all the gel off. Cut it into squares and put it in a left over container to use as needed.
I used about 1/4 cup of it in my smoothie today. I also read that in other cultures, they often juice it or use small cubes of it in salads. Don't expect any tastes like nothing...that is why adding it to a smoothie or juice works well. It just blends into the flavors of the other ingredients.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recipe: Portobello Burger

I found this mouth-watering recipe through Vegnews Magazine today. I think vegetarians and meat-lovers alike will enjoy this one. I definitely know what I'll be grilling the next time I'm at a bbq...

What You Need:
4 sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons hot water
2/3 cup freshly chopped basil, divided
2 tablespoons minced garlic, and divided
3/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
6 portobello mushrooms, de-stemmed
6 hamburger buns or rolls
Choice of toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, avocado, vegan cheese, etc.

What You Do:
1. Preheat the grill. Place the sun-dried tomatoes in a small bowl, pour the hot water over them, and set aside for 15 minutes to rehydrate. In a food processor, place the sun-dried tomato mixture, 1/2 cup chopped basil, 1 tablespoon garlic, and the mayonnaise, and process for 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining chopped basil and garlic, olive oil, vinegar, and tamari, and set aside. Dip each of the mushrooms in the marinade and place on the hot grill, stem-side down. Grill the mushrooms for 5 minutes, carefully flip them over, and grill an additional 4 to 5 minutes or until tender.

3. Slice the buns and lightly toast on the grill. Serve the grilled mushrooms on buns with your choice of toppings and a few spoonfuls of the flavored mayonnaise or other condiments of choice.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Homemade Spring Rolls

Some days it is just way too hot out to turn on the stove or oven. During those times, a perfect dinner option is homemade spring rolls! Don't feel like asian? That's okay, spring rolls don't HAVE to be like the traditional ones you order at your favorite chinese/thai restaurant. Get creative! Tonight my spring rolls are made with canned salmon, avocado slices, cucumber and roasted red pepper and I'm dipping them in balsamic vinegarette. Last night my spring rolls had turkey strips and romaine lettuce in one and chicken meatballs slathered in bbq sauce in the other. Dip them in anything - salad dressing, marinade, spaghetti sauce, mayo, whatever you like.
Up until now, I hadn't made spring rolls because I was intimidated by using the spring roll wrappers but they couldn't be easier to work with. I found them at a local asian grocery store (in St. Paul I went to Star Dragon Grocery off of Dale). To use spring rolls, you just dip them in warm water for a couple of seconds and then lay them flat on a working surface. Put your fillings in on the lower half of the wrapper as though you were making a burrito and then roll it up, tucking both sides in before you finish the roll. I'd love to hear what sorts of combinations you try!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recipe: Quinoa-stuffed Avocados

Since I am on my avocado kick, here is another recipe I found from VegNews...Quinoa-stuffed avocados. Not only is this going to be delicious, its going to be very healthy for you too. Remember, avocados may be fatty, but its the GOOD fat!

What You Need:
1-1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1 ripe tomato, chopped
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon minced parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 ripe avocados
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 large butter lettuce leaves

What You Do:
1. In a mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, tomato, scallions, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined.2. Carefully halve avocados lengthwise and remove the pit. Running a small knife between the avocado skin and flesh, remove pulp, keeping shells intact. Cut the avocado pulp into 1/2-inch dice and add to quinoa mixture.3. Add the lemon juice and olive oil and toss gently to combine. Taste to adjust seasoning.4. Spoon the mixture into reserved avocado shells and serve immediately on salad plates lined with lettuce leaves.