f4ba68c1cbedb0122ea82653afbd56f3b53077b88b4c4a5f31 Uncomplicated Healthy Living: March 2015 http://www.freesearchenginesubmission.infoher-libido.com

Monday, March 23, 2015

Enchiladas With Bean and Rice Filling

As promised here is the enchiladas made with Tex-Mex Beans and Rice as a filing.  I have friends that are vegan.  They asked me to bring something for a group gathering that would go with vegan chili.  So I had to come up with an enchilada sauce that did not have chicken broth in it, as so many of the recipes have in them.  So I came up with this recipe.  I hope you like it.  I don't even buy enchilada sauce anymore.  This recipe is better than any we can purchase in my area.  I served them with broccoli slaw.  Broccoli slaw is made with shredded broccoli stems, carrots and red cabbage. 

Enchiladas with Bean and Rice Filling

Filling - Tex-Mex Beans and Rice posted on March 18, 2015
Corn Tortillas (see note)
2 cloves Garlic
1/4 small Onion
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Flour
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Cumin
1 Cup Tomato Sauce (organic if you can get it)
1 1/2 Cups Water
1/2 tsp. Salt
Shredded Colby-jack Cheese (optional)

To make the sauce; place the garlic and onion in a food processor and process to pulp.  You can also mince as small as you can get them.  Heat oil in pot and add garlic onion mixture.  Saute three to five minutes or until partially cooked.  Add flour, chili powder, and cumin.  Stir around for two to three minutes to cook flour and release oil in seasonings.  It will be clumpy.  Add tomato sauce and water; whisk till smooth.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep from burning.  Add salt.  If you want it spicier; you can grind a chipotle in with the garlic and onion.

To assemble the enchiladas; Pour just enough sauce in the bottom of a baking dish to coat.  Using one tortilla at a time; warm the tortilla in a frying pan.  So not fry till crisp.  Just warm it, so it will be pliable.   Place some of the beans and rice down the center of the warmed tortilla and fold the sides in over it.  Place seam side down in baking dish.  Leave a small space between each enchilada.  When you have as many as you want in the dish; pore the rest on the sauce over the enchiladas to coat.  If you don't want to use cheese, you can put them in the oven as is.  Or you can top them with shredded cheese.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes.  Or until completely heated and the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Eat and enjoy!

Not:  I can not make tortillas to save my life.  If you can make yours, do so.  If you purchase them; read the ingredients closely.  Some are made with lard.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tex-Mex Rice and Beans

Rice and beans are a classic combo.  You can make it a million different ways.  This one uses brown rice and black beans.  You can eat it as is or you can use it as a filling for burritos or enchiladas.  I'll post a vegan enchilada sauce on March 23 for you and show you the finished enchiladas.  For now though enjoy the rice and beans.

Tex-Mex Rice and Beans

1 Cup Brown Rice
2 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
1 Can Rotel (Tomatoes and Green Chilies)
1 small onion, diced
1/2 green sweet pepper, diced
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Can Black Beans
1 Cup Whole Kernel Corn

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil in the bottom of your pot.  Heat over medium heat and add onion and green pepper.  Sweat onions and peppers until onion is translucent.  Add rice and toast rice for a few minutes.  Add Vegetable broth, rotel and salt.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to low.  Put a cover on the pot and allow to steam for 30 minutes.  While the rice is cooking place beans and corn in colander, rinse and allow to sit and drain.  When 30 minutes are up quickly remove cover from pot, pour in beans and corn, replace cover.  DO NOT STIR.  Allow the rice to continue cooking for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until rice is tender.  When you add the bean and corn if you see that the rice is becoming dry and a little more broth.  When the rice is tender stir to thoroughly mix.  Eat and enjoy!

Tortilla chips and a salad to great with the Rice and Beans.  You can change what kind of beans you use.  If original rotel is to spicy for you, use the mild.  As always make this your own and let me know what you think.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Disinfect Your Kitchen Naturally, Without Chemicals

You want to keep your family healthy don't you?  We all do.  Companies take advantage of that desire and convince people that the only way to do that is to use their product.  They try to use fear and paranoia to sell you said product.  So what is the problem?  The majority of the products cause more harm than help.

Bleach for example.  Clorox has people believing that it is the only product that disinfects.  As a result people pore it everywhere and on everything.  The result, they are poisoning their families, killing their immune systems, damaging their homes and destroying the environment.  I could write pages on the harmful effects of bleach.  But, I won't.  What is important is that you know there are things you can use to disinfect without harming your family, house or environment.

So what can you use?  Any grain alcohol, such as vodka (vodka is made with potatoes, but is still considered a grain alcohol), whiskey, bourbon, etc.  Also 91% isopropyl alcohol and even hydrogen peroxide all disinfect.  None of these items are toxic or harmful to you, your family, your house or the environment.  How can you use these effectively in you kitchen?

Disinfecting Solution Recipe

1/4 Cup Vodka
2 Cups Water
2 or 3 drops of your favorite essential oil

Mix the three items together in a clean spray bottle and there you have it.

I use vodka because it adopts the scent of the essential oil.  Other alcohols overpower the scent.  The essential oil is not a necessity.  It is there just to make things smell pleasant.

How do you use it?  Spray the surface you want to disinfect thoroughly.  Let sit 5 minutes.  Wipe dry.  If you need to clean the area, spray the disinfecting spray, let sit 5 minutes and then sprinkle with baking soda.  Scrub the baking soda over the area.  Rinse and wipe dry. 

The following is a spray solution you can use for windows, mirrors, electronics or to do quick disinfection of your bathroom.

General Purpose Disinfecting Solution

1/4 Cup 91% Isopropyl alcohol (you can use vodka also)
1 Tbsp. Ammonia
1/8 tsp. Dish Wash Liquid
2 Cups Water

Mix all items in a clean spray bottle.

If you want to use this on windows or mirrors, just spray and wipe.  To disinfect surfaces in your bathroom, spray the surface and let sit 5 to 10 minutes.  Wipe dry.

You can also use this to disinfect electronics, door handles, etc.  How?  Spray the surface of a microfiber cleaning cloth till damp with the solution.  Wipe down with the microfiber cloth.  Allow to air dry.

I hope this has given you some ways to protect your family without the harmful effects of chemicals.  Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Buckwheat Pancakes and Your Choice of Fillings

Pancakes are always a favorite.  These Buckwheat Pancakes can go sweat or savory.  Below the recipe I've listed ten different ways to top your pancakes.
Choose your favorite or try them all.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 1/4 Cup milk 
4 eggs, separated
1 Cup Buckwheat Flour
Dash of salt
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In another bowl whisk together milk and egg yolks.  In another bowl Whip egg whites until stiff and not dry.  Pour milk in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Gently fold in egg whites.

Heat griddle to medium high heat.  Brush with oil or spray with non stick spray.
Add batter to griddle by spoonful and spread evenly.  Cook until browned on the bottom and flip cooking the other side until brown.  If you need to keep them warm, put them in a 200 degree oven.

Ten Fillings

The amounts given are all for one pancake.  For all of them, spread the toppings down the center of the pancake and fold the sides over.

  1. YOGURT AND BERRIES:  Spread 1/4 cup Greek Yogurt.  Top with 1/2 cup lightly sweetened berries.
  2. RICOTTA AND STRAWBERRIES:  Spread 1/4 ricotta cheese down the center and drizzle with honey.  Top with 1/2 cup sliced strawberries.  Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
  3. GO BANANAS:  Spread you favorite nut butter (mine is almond) down the center and top with one half of a banana, sliced.
  4. TROPICANA:  Spread 1/2 cup chopped pineapple down the center.  Top with unsweetened shredded coconut and chopped toasted macadamia nuts.
  5. PEAR AND BRIE:  Place slices of one half of a pear down the center.  Top with one ounce of diced brie.  Sprinkle with chopped toasted walnuts.
  6. BACON, APPLE AND CHEDDAR:  Fry one slice of bacon till crisp.  Remove from pan and pour out access bacon fat.  You want just enough left in the pan to coat the bottom.  Add thin slices of one half of a granny smith apple.  Cover the pan and heat over low temperature for 10 minutes.  Open and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.  Cover heat another 10 minutes or until tender.  Place the apple down the center of pancake, crumble the bacon on top.  Sprinkle with one ounce of shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese.
  7. BREAKFAST BURRITO:  Spread a scrabbled egg down the center.  Top with salsa and one ounce of shredded pepper jack cheese.  If you want if spicier sprinkle chopped jalapeno peppers on top.
  8. HAM AND SWISS:  Spread some Dijon mustard down the center.  Top with two ounces of shaved Virginia Baked Ham and a slice of Swiss cheese.
  9. EAT YOUR VEGGIES:  Place slices of 1/4 of an avocado down the center.  Top with chopped grape tomatoes.  Lightly salt the veggies.  Add alfalfa sprouts and toasted sunflower seeds.
  10. CLASSIC:  I can't leave out this one.  Butter the top of your pancake and drizzle on maple syrup.
However you eat them,  you will love these pancakes.  Have another way to top them?  Let me know.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Whole Foods Every Woman Needs

Supplements and fortified foods can be helpful with our busy schedules, but all women need to eat a variety of whole foods to maintain health.  Below are four whole foods groups women need.

  1. Fruits and vegetables:  Everyone knows the benefits of eating your fruits and veggies.  They can help lower blood pressure, fight heart disease, lower your risk of stroke and lower your risk of cancer.  I'm sure you have heard the saying "eat a rainbow".  Each color of fruit or veggies had its own set of antioxidants and phytonutrients.  You want them all.  There is no down side to eating plant based nutrients.
  2. Low fat dairy:  You get substantial servings of calcium and vitamin D when eating your dairy.  You want to choose low fat or nonfat options.  When choosing a cheese remember the softer it is, the more fat it has.  If you are vegan and don't eat dairy, make sure your milk substitute or orange juice is calcium fortified.
  3. Whole grains:  These are a good source of fiber which helps fight cancers.  They also contain zinc that aids your immune system and B vitamins.  You want whole grains which are complex carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are what your body burns for energy.  Complex ones are harder to digest and will not spike your blood sugar levels.  They will give you sustained energy by burning at a slow consistent level.  As with the fruits and veggies, you want to eat a variety.
  4. Lean meats:  Our bodies absorb iron best from animal sources.   Remember saturated fats come from animal sources so choose lean cuts of meat and include fish.  Meats are rich in zinc which boosts our immune systems.  If you are vegetarian or vegan pair iron fortified foods with foods containing a lot of vitamin C to boost absorption of the iron. 

While we all want to make healthy food choices, remember, there isn't any one food that can guarantee perfect health or an illness free life.  Be reasonable and balanced.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Buckwheat Biscuits

Every southern women is expected to know how to make biscuits.  However, the traditional recipes are made with vegetable shortening or lard and bleached wheat flour.  I wanted to make a healthier version that still had the texture and flavor of the traditional.  After trial and error, this is it.  It is as close as you can get to the traditional, without the traditional ingredients.  Try this recipe for yourself.

Buckwheat Biscuits

1 Cup Buckwheat flour
1 Cup Spelt flour (all purpose flour can be used see note #1 below)
4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Cold Butter
2/3 Cup Butter Milk (see note #2 below)

Stir together buckwheat, spelt, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt together in a bowl.  Cut butter into pieces and add to to butter mixture.  Cut butter into flour with two knives or pastry cutter until it resembles small peas (picture below).

Add butter milk and stir together until milk is absorbed.  Pour out onto floured surface.  The mixture will still be crumbly (see picture below).

Knead mixture until it forms a smooth sticky ball.  Pat out onto a floured surface until 1/2" thick.  Using a biscuit cutter cut into rounds (see picture below).

Place rounds onto a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Note #1:  Spelt is a cousin to wheat.  While is does contain gluten, the molecular make up is different.  The gluten is more water soluble and fragile.  As a result it breaks down easier in our bodies.  It also is not genetically modified life wheat that we purchase today.  

Note #2:  If you do not have butter milk, you can use any other milk you have on hand.  I have used sour milk, almond milk and coconut milk.

Tip:  If you don't have a biscuit cutter you can use a glass to cut them.  Or you can pat the dough into a 9" x 9" square and cut into 9 squares.  Place them onto your cookie sheet and bake.  Or you can pat the dough into a 9" x 9" square pan; cut through the dough to form 9 squares.  Bake, then brake squares apart before serving.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What is Buckwheat and It's Nutritional benefits?

What is buckwheat?  It is not wheat.  It is not even a grain.  It is a fruit seed from a plant in the rhubarb and sorrel family.  We see it in two main forms.  One is buckwheat groats which is also known in the US as Kasha.  The second is buckwheat flour.

Why should it be part of our diets?  There are several nutritional benefits that come with making buckwheat part of your diet.
  1. It is known to lower the risk of high cholesterol and heart disease.  This is because of the phytonutrients it contains.  One serving of of buckwheat contains 34% of the manganese you need on a daily basis.  this helps protect your heart.
  2. Unlike processed wheat buckwheat will not raise your blood glucose levels quickly.  It digests slowly and releases glucose at a steady rate.  One serving contains 21% of your daily needed magnesium which helps control blood glucose levels.
  3. It contains insoluble fiber that helps prevent gallstones.  One serving contains 4.54 grams of fiber.  Not only does that fiber prevent gallstones, it also helps prevent colon cancer.
  4. In addition to the above, one serving contains 28% of the copper you need on a daily basis.  Also potassium to control water and acid in your blood and tissue.  Zinc to boost you immune system.

It has a higher level of protein than grains you may use.  However, the protein is not easily assimilated by our bodies.  So it can not be viewed as a significant source of protein.

Not only is eating buckwheat good for our health, it is also good for the environment.  How?  Buckwheat is sown among other crops to help control weeds. That means chemical weed control is diminished.  It is also sown in areas to control soil erosion.  The most important aid it gives to the environment, is that it provides food for honey bees.  If we feed the honey bees with buckwheat, they help with the pollination of other plant life.  Plant life we need.

I will be posting recipes that use buckwheat in the future.  Watch for them and you can easily make buckwheat part of you balanced, healthy diet.

INTERESTING YET USELESS FOOD FACT:  100 lbs. on dry cleaned buckwheat gives us 60 to 75 lbs. of flour and 18 to 26 lbs. of hulls.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pasta With Spicy Tomato Sauce

I love fresh tomato sauce on pasta in the summer time.  In the winter the fresh tomatoes in our area are from hot houses and have no flavor.  So when I crave tomato sauce I turn to this recipe.  Let me know what you think.

Pasta With Spicy Tomato Sauce

12 ounces Angel Hair Pasta
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 large Onion, sliced vertically
2 cloves Garlic
2 14.5 ounce cans Organic Diced Tomatoes with Italian Herbs
3/4 tsp.  Tabasco Sauce
1/4 tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Minced Flat Leaf Parsley 

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and reserve 1/4 cup cooking water.  While water is heating for the pasta, in a large sauce pan, heat oil.  Add the onion and garlic.  Saute over low heat until tender, about 10 to 12 minutes.  Add tomatoes, tabasco sauce and salt.  Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until liquid is slightly thickened.  Return the pasta to the pot it was cooked in.  Add sauce, flat leaf parsley, and part of the reserved cooking water.  Toss to combine.  Add additional cooking water if needed.  Pour into serving dish and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Tomatoes have lycopene, which may reduce risk of certain cancers.  However, our bodies can't use the antioxidant unless the tomatoes are heated with oil.  This recipe is a way for us to get that lycopene and it you will enjoy eating it!  Make it for your family and let me know what you think.