Summer’s Best…

Summer's Best~

Even the best of things end, change direction or simply move on to better.
The summer gardens are proof of this….
Even though I’m a seasonal eater…I go through fresh tomato and cucumber withdrawal for 2 weeks after production stops.
Nature knows this will happen…so, look around your garden, your neighbors garden or the best local market you have…..pick from the veggies that are still producing and available to you.
This is true “Eating In Season.”

This transition allows our bodies to adjust to a little heavier diet with fall and winter looming around the corner.

Enjoy…

Sunday+National Ice Cream Day=My Bliss~

The heading says it all!! Well…not quite ….the real bliss comes when you can easily make and enjoy guilt free ice-cream…

If you are a family member deals with health issues such as diabetes…this method of a sweet treat is blissful for certain…

Makes about 1 quart…

Give it a try and share your thoughts.

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Raspberry/Banana

4 frozen bananas cut into pieces
1 cup fresh/frozen raspberries
4 Tbsp coconut milk
2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

Optional if more sweetness is desired.
(Agave Nectar, honey, Maple syrup or Stevia )

1 Tbsp if using agave, honey or syrup
1/2 to 1 teaspoon of Stevia
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In a heavy duty blender or food processor…blend all ingredients until smooth.

Pour into a freezer container and freeze for at least 3 hours.

Enjoy!!

Note: Using the same ingredients you can pick your own fruits or combination of….

Splenda-a small dose of death!

Sweeteners

We all know or should…how the media and advertising heads can take any idea or thought and spin it quickly into a rave that runs viral through society for decades.

Artificial sweeteners are prime examples…

Splenda…..used by a vast numbers of people with expectations of avoiding calories and other fallout of sugar…..but do you know…

One small packet of Splenda instantly kills off 50% of the good microbes in the gut. Add to that all the other negatives from an unbalanced diet and the gut ends up totally sick and not working…Leaky gut , digestive issues, heartburn, acid reflux, low to no energy, bad complexion….most all the issues we see running rampant through the masses today are directly related to the diet.

There are alternatives to refined white sugar without opting for the artificial ones…Raw honey, agave, pure maple syrup, Black Molasses and Stevia.

The largest concentration of artificial sweeteners are found in pre-packaged processed foods, fast food, colas and commercial baked goods….bar candy of all description is loaded with a plethora of artificial ingredients, cereals are another heavy laden item …..read labels before purchasing!
Many of these items are marketed heavily to children…they deserve better…as we all do!!

 

A Cucumber is a Cucumber-waiting to be a Pickle~

 

Pickling CucumbersSweet Bread & Butter Pickles

Pickle relish is one of those items that must be carefully scrutinized when purchasing at the super-market…most have High Fructose Corn Syrup, and very high Sodium content…mine will have neither.
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Mothers Pickle Relish~no doubt my grandmother’s too~
( I’ve adjusted the amount to a smaller batch )
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5 pounds-small to medium size cucumbers
1 large sweet onion
1 Tbsp Pickling Salt
3 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups cider vinegar-5% acidity
1 Tbsp whole Allspice
1 Tbsp whole Cloves
1-3″ cinnamon stick
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Wash cucumbers and remove the darkest end of the cucumber( blossom end ) this is usually bitter.
Chop cucumbers and onion by hand or in a food processor-combine in a large -non reactive bowl-Sprinkle with pickling salt-mix well-cover and let stand overnight. ( refrigerate )

Next day…Drain well, tie all spices in a cheesecloth bag
In a 6/8 quart saucepan combine vegetable mix, spice bag, and all other ingredients.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat-stirring occasionally.

Boil for 10 minutes-stirring often to avoid sticking.
Remove from heat and remove spices.

Fill hot jars with mixture leaving 1/2 inch space between jar rim and lid.
Carefully run a non-reactive spatula around the inside of jar to release air bubbles. Wipe jar tops and threads clean.

Place hot lids on jars and screw bands on firmly.

Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes.

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I use pint size jars and an open top canner…place jars in canner-cover with boiling water to just over the lids…this will assure sealing and the proper action to avoid spoilage….

TIP: Jars that do not seal in a few hours should be left in the frig to eat or thrown out…never store unsealed jars. The content will spoil.

Accolades To Spinach~and good health~

Spinach

According to Sage Hill Farms and Popeye 🙂

Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet.

Spinach is native to ancient Persia (Iranian regions). Arab traders carried spinach into India and China. Traders also brought this green leafy vegetable to the Mediterranean regions of Europe and ultimately to the US. Today, there are three primary varieties of spinach available on the market. Typically the most popular is baby spinach, but you could also go for smooth-leaf or Savory (has curly leaves). ( Sage Hill grows and prefers the curly leaf…buttery and smooth.)

Powerful Plant-based Steroids
Spinach contains its own type of vegetable steroids called phytoecdysteroids. These are similar to insect molting hormones and have been proven to dramatically increase glucose metabolism. This keeps blood sugar levels stable and minimizes the requirement for the critical fat-storage hormone insulin.

Spinach is filled with blood purifying chlorophyll.
This chlorophyll is quickly metabolized and used to develop new red blood cells and pull out carcinogenic substances from the body. Chlorophyll has magnesium which acts to strengthen the blood-brain barrier and protect the neurological system from environmental toxins. Spinach is really an amazing source of glycoclycerolipids that protect the digestive tract from inflammatory damage. These are the main fatty acids that makeup the cell membranes of light-sensitive organs in chlorophyll containing plants.

Helps Boost Immunity
Spinach is also an important source of copper, zinc and selenium which help boost immunity. Spinach also contains some very newly studied carotenoid anti-oxidants called eposyxanthophylls. The epoxyxanthophylls that have been researched to show remarkable anti-cancer properties include neoxanthin and violaxanthin.

Vision and Brain Function
Spinach is also filled with the powerful carotenoid anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These phytonutrients are extremely important for healthy vision & brain function. The carotenoids act to protect chlorophyll from intense UV radiation. Under intense sunlight, chlorophyll can convert into an excited form called triplet chlorophyll along with singlet oxygen molecules which act as potent free radicals. The more carotenoids a plant maintains the greater the degree of survivability it has and the enhanced nutritional bio-availability provides.

Why Buy Organic?
When purchasing spinach be sure to choose organic, as the non-organic commercial varieties are considered the most heavily sprayed edible plants on earth. Also, look to buy it fresh to avoid chemical preservative agents and aluminum found in the cans. It’s also quite simple to grow in areas of mild temperatures–it grows beautifully for me in the spring and fall.

Spinach will also grow very well in a large/wide container.-you can grow enough in a old wash-tub or whiskey barrel for 2 to 4 people and if harvested about twice a week will give you an abundant crop all season.

Immune Building…key to a healthy body~

Herbs
Herbs to build a strong Immune system.

1. Honey

2. St.John’s Wort

3. Sage

4. Garlic
5. Shitake and Reishi mushrooms
6. Hyssop

7. Oregano

8. All the warm spices…cinnamon, clove, cayenne pepper, black pepper, Sea salts, cumin,ginger, etc.

Any tea/tisane herb can transformed to medicinal by steeping longer than for tea. (10 minutes at least)

A cup of warm/hot water with 1/2 freshly squeezed lemon juice daily will help balance the pH level of the body.

(Apple Cider Vinegar and 1/3 tsp of baking soda will work also)

Drinking Water is best at room temperature, cold water slows and can stop the digestive process .

Eating In Season is the what our body is designed to function best with.

Eat Well-Be Well~

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Food is the tool that can sculpt works of art….understand it, appreciate it, and use it with care~

Vitamin A

If you add a cup of chopped green cabbage to your diet, you’ll get 3 percent of your daily value of vitamin A. But if you opt for a cup of chopped red cabbage, you’ll add 19 percent of your daily value of vitamin A to your diet for. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient that helps maintain your teeth, skeletal tissue, skin and mucous membranes.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a necessary vitamin that your body needs to promote new tissue growth. Your body uses vitamin C to repair wounds and to keep your bones, cartilage and teeth healthy. Both red and green cabbage are good sources of vitamin C, but you’ll get a super boost from adding red cabbage to your diet. While a cup of chopped green cabbage contains 47 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, eating a cup of chopped red cabbage will get you 84 percent of your daily value.

Iron

Vegetables aren’t the best sources of iron, but cabbage does offer a small amount of this essential mineral. Eating a cup of shredded green cabbage will add 2 percent of your daily value of iron to your diet, while a cup of shredded red cabbage contains 3 percent. Your body needs iron to keep your red blood cells functioning properly, carrying oxygen to all of your cells. If you don’t get enough iron in your diet, you could suffer from anemia, which can lead to fatigue.

Anthocyanins

Red cabbage boasts an extra nutrient not found in green cabbage. Anthocyanins are the antioxidants that give red cabbage its purple color. These flavonoids are known for their health-boosting benefits including cancer-fighting and memory improvement. Anthocyanins may contribute to healthy weight loss by helping your body release hormones that metabolize fat and suppress your appetite.

Fun and Fattening-Appetizers.

Fun~

Doesn’t have to be…fattening~

 
Appetizers should be mainly for fun, the function is to titillate the appetite, not to satisfy it.

Unless you put some real thought into them they will likely have a wicked lot of calories.

The French picked up the habit of pre-dinner snacking from the Russians, who call such tidbits “zakuskis.” The Italians will serve little plates of “antipasto.”
Scandinavians tend to do a “smorgasbord” and make a complete meal of it.

To maintain a somewhat healthy guideline around appetizers, think about them two ways.

One, always consider what the main meal will consist of….if plenty and well balanced, then make your appetizers as light as possible and few.

If , on the other hand dinner will be light, you can feel justified in serving something a little more filling on the Hors d’ oeuvres table.

Another point to consider is the balance of the flavors from appetizers to dinner fare.

Two of my very favorite things to work around for the pre-snacking time is ; turkey meatballs, baked in the oven and boiled/seasoned shrimp.

Both can be served with the same sauce and neither is laden with calories/fat.

Making meatballs and boiling shrimp isn’t rocket science, so I’ll not insult you with simple how to’s. Plus it’s a waste of time for me to pass on something you already know how to do…don’t you?

Cocktail Dip For Shrimp and Meatballs.

Adjust amounts according to the number of guest you will be serving.

This amount serves about 4.

1/2 cup catsup
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp horseradish
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine and chill if preferred…it’s also very good heated just a bit, especially for meatballs.

A big plus with this sauce…all the warm flavors will add a big dose of protection to your immune system.

Enjoy the party!


Healthy Cooking/Eating Tips~

 

Healthy Tips

Try these tips from Bea’s own kitchen to add health and flavor to all your favorite recipes.

The Worlds 7 Healthiest Oils

Olive oil

The health benefits have been well-documented for years as our understanding of the Mediterranean Diet has grown. In summary, this monounsaturated fat can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, while increasing life expectancy and quality of life.

 Grape-seed oil

A less popular oil, grape-seed, is made from- grapes, and it’s thought to have the same powerful disease-fighting properties as wine, also from grapes. Grape-seed oil has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, reduce the risks of cancer, improve diabetes and vision problems, and act against the aging process.

Avocado oil

Avocado. perhaps the world’s fattiest fruit, is also one of the most healthful. Virgin avocado oil is green and delicious, and it’s extremely high in vitamin E and chlorophyll. As a bonus for every home chef, it also has a much higher smoke point than other vegetable oils (at a whopping 500°F), so you may feel more comfortable using it as a sautéing, frying or grilling oil.

Walnut oil

Walnuts, along with many other nuts, have been shown to be very powerful against cardiovascular disease, in large part due to their high concentration of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linoleic acid. Walnut oil in particular is rich in antioxidants and contains strong amounts of heart-healthy, disease-fighting fatty acids.

Sesame oil

Sesame oil, while strong in flavor and intensity, is also rich in antioxidants, as well as minerals like magnesium, copper, iron and calcium. The darker the oil, the more disease-fighting antioxidants – as well as heart-protecting vitamin E – are present.

Flaxseed oil

Commonly used by vegetarians seeking an animal-free way to ingest omega-3 fatty acids, flax-seeds are a rich source of the disease fighting fat. The oil, while not as powerful as the full seeds, has been shown to treat heart disease, lower cholesterol and aid with certain autoimmune disorders.

 Fish oil

Fish oil taken for years by grandmothers around the globe, has been used in households to prevent disease. We now know that the high concentration of DHA and EPA, two omega-3 fatty acids, are what’s responsible for making fish oil so powerful in fighting heart disease, strokes, mental decline and other aging disorders.

Herb and Spice Chart

While cooking with herbs and spices really have no hard and fast rules, there are some time-honored ways of using them that seem to be traditional.

Allspice – Stews, peaches, apple dishes and tomatoes.
Anise – Baked Goods, fruits, and some vegetables.
Basil – Tomatoes, fish, lamb and soups.
Bay Leaf – Stocks, stews, soups, chicken & tuna.
Cardamom – Baking, good cinnamon substitute.
Chervil – Asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms, fish, poultry.
Chives – Eggs, salads, baked potatoes and soups.
Cinnamon – Baked goods, rice pudding, coffee, Mexican food.
Clove – Sweet baking, sweet potatoes, apples, hot teas.
Coriander – Indian and curried foods, rice pilaf, chicken.
Cumin – Chili, curries, brown rice, black beans.
Dill – Fish, eggs, potatoes, pasta salads and squash.
Fennel – Seafood, pork, squash, beets and pasta sauces.
Ginger – Winter fruits, Oriental dishes, carrots, hot teas.
Marjoram – Vegetable soups, fish, poultry, most meats.(oregano substitute)
Mint – Roast lamb, hot/cold teas, fruit dishes and salads.
Nutmeg – Spinach, sweet potatoes, squash, cream soups, baked goods.
Oregano – Tomato dishes, vegetable juices, broiled fish, Greek dishes.
Parsley – Eggs, meats, fish, cream cheese.
Paprika – Egg salad, pasta salad, fish, Cajun cooking.
Rosemary – Lamb, beef, roasted potatoes, grilled foods, eggplant, tomatoes.
Sage – Pork, stuffings, squash, cornbread, stewed peaches.
Tarragon – Eggs, chicken, crab, mushrooms, herb vinegars, French sauces.
Thyme – Chowders, soups, stews, stuffings, meatloaf, cheese & grilled food.


Egg Substitute

This works very well for those who wish to use less eggs:

1 Tablespoon flax-seed (ground well)
3 Tablespoons water (other liquid can be used)
A large batch can be made and stored in the frig for up to a week or 10 days.


Sugar Substitutions

Warning: Sugar is a slow killer! Take as much as you can from your diet. This is vitally important for children. Try these hints to reduce sugar intake:

  • Stevia is a natural sweet herb, great for tea, coffee and simple dishes, and can be used in baking with some adjustments to ingredients.
  • Use a lot of nuts, raisins and other dried fruits in your baking.
  • Insist on healthy munch foods and save the “Dessert” for special times.

Remember, just a small amount of will-power will pay off in feel good ways!

Using Honey in Place of Sugar is a Healthier Alternative

While calorie counts are pretty much the same, honey is a natural substance and your body uses it in a different way. Sugar is a chemical and adds nothing but empty calories to your system and has long term side effects in many ways.

Cooking with honey is fun and beneficial…give it a try.

  • 3/4 cup of honey for one cup of sugar, up to one cup
  • Reduce all other liquids in the recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of honey
  • Lower baking temperature by 25 degrees to prevent over browning

Wednesday Wellness~

Wednesday Wellness
The Power Of Greens~
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Eat a few or eat a lot…you will reap great benefits either way.
 
Most all “experts” agree that eating lots of green vegetables and fruits will lessen our chances in a big way of avoiding heart disease and many types of cancer…maybe all.
 
Dark leafy greens are a direct -delivery system for vitamins, minerals, and other crucial nutrients we get only from plants.
 
The big key to harnessing all those nutrients is how fresh the ingredients are when eaten…if we are blessed to be gardeners/farmers, straight from the soil to the table is perfection…
 
If…one is dependent on the outside market , know this…all good nutrients began to fade the moment they are harvested from the mother plant….if not cooked/consumed within at least twenty four
hours…sadly, they are void of any benefits worthy of note.
 
So…check your area within a radius you can work with…buy as fresh as you can find…work out a deal with a farmer to buy a large amount…take that home, pre-cook and freeze…you now have the next best thing …quick frozen retains all the nutrients of fresh if frozen with a few hours of harvest.
 
My research finds that Swiss chard, kale, turnip greens, Purple cabbage, spinach, and romaine lettuce delivers the best nutritional punch per serving.
 
When combined with colorful peppers, fruits and onions…anything else can only be lagniappe ! (a little extra)