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

Monday, August 31, 2015

Cheddar and Corn Spoon Bread

Spoon bread is a lighter, fluffier version of corn bread.  By adding fresh corn and cheese you can make it the star of your meal.  As you look at the ingredients, you will notice it contains milk, eggs and cheese.  As a result you have protein and calcium along with your whole grains.  The most important factor is that it is delicious!  So use the last of your fresh corn and make spoon bread today.

Cheddar and Corn Spoon Bread

1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1 1/2 cup fat free milk (you can use your favorite type)
1/4 tsp. salt 
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 eggs, separated, whites in one bowl, yolks in another
1 cup fresh corn cut from the cob (approximately two ears of corn)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Place the cornmeal, milk, salt and pepper in a pot over medium heat.  Allow to come to a boil, whisking to keep from burning.  Cook until thickened, three to five minutes.  Whisk egg yolks lightly.  Add a spoonful of the cornmeal mixture to the yolks, whisking continuously to keep yolks from cooking.  Add the yolks to the cornmeal mixture in the pot, again, whisking to keep the yolks from cooking.  Set the pot aside and allow the mixture to cook to room temperature.

Grease and dust a souffle dish or casserole dish with cornmeal. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.  stir the corn and cheese into the cooled cornmeal.  Carefully fold in the egg whites.   Pour batter into your prepared dish and bake in a preheat oven at 375 degrees for 60 minutes or until set and the top is lightly browned.  Enjoy!

Be sure to look for organic cornmeal.  If it is organically grown then it is from organic seed.  If you find one that specifically state it is GMO free, grab it.

Enjoy your week and have fun in the kitchen!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cocoa Buttons

Chocolate cravings can be difficult to ignore.  Chocolate itself, in moderation, is heart healthy.  The things that are added into chocolate are what get us into trouble.  These little cookies are a way for you to satisfy your craving for chocolate without destroying your healthy living routine.  Check out the ingredients, almonds, oats, monounsaturated fat sweetened with pure maple syrup.  A natural sweetener.  Maple is a simple sugar and absorbs quickly.  That is something to keep in mind if blood sugar levels are a concern.

Cocoa Buttons

3/4 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cup oat flour from steel cut oats (see note below for making it)
1 1/4 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/3 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup canola oil

Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Add syrup and oil.  Stir until all ingredients are combined and nothing is dry.  Take a heaping teaspoon full and form into a small disk or button.  Place on a greased cookie sheet.  Repeat this process with the rest of the dough.  It should make approximately 24 cookies.  Bake the cookies in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until set.  Cool and enjoy!

These cookies do not have any leavening.  As a result they do not rise or spread on the cookie sheet.  That means you can crowd them on the sheet if you want to.

Note:  It take approximately double the amount of oats to make the amount of oat flour you need.  So for the recipe above you would take 2 1/2 cups of steel cut oats and place them in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until a coarse flour or meal is created.  You can make it as fine as you wish and substitute oat flour for part of you all purpose in any of your recipes.  Try it out and experiment for yourself.

Enjoy a little chocolate today!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Limping Susan

Limping Susan is an okra and rice dish.  The original southern recipe has been changed to fit a healthy lifestyle.  It still keeps the original flavor of the dish with much less fat and more okra.  I also use brown rice instead of the traditional white rice.  I do give fare warning, if you don't like stickiness of okra, you will not like this.  The okra makes the brown rice sticky.  This does not bother me, but, I know it can bother other people.  This has become one of my favorite ways to eat okra.  Try it out and it may become one your favorites also.

Limping Susan

3 slices of bacon, diced
1 cup brown rice
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 minced basil leaves (dried works best)
1/8 to 1/4 tsp. tobasco sauce
1 lb. okra, cleaned and sliced into 1/2" pieces
salt and pepper

Place the bacon in a pot and fry till crisp.  Drain fat till you have 1 tbsp. left in the pot.  Add the brown rice and saute till rice is toasted.  Add broth, basil and tobasco.  Bring to boil and reduce heat to simmer.  Cover the rice and steam for 20 minutes.  Lift the cover and add okra.  Do not stir and cover again quickly.  Steam for another 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is cooked and liquid is gone.  Mix okra into rice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth if you want to.  However, this is not a vegetarian recipe with the bacon being used.  You can try making this without the bacon, but, it will not have the flavor of the original southern recipe.

Have a great week and have fun in the kitchen!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Warm Eggplant and Tomato Salad

I love fried eggplant.  It is not the healthiest way to eat eggplant.  So I have been trying new ways cook it.  This was the first time I have ever put it under a broiler.  It will not be the last!  It tasted like it was fried, only it didn't have the breading or the fat of frying.  Try this out for yourself.

Warm Eggplant and Tomato Salad

1 medium sized eggplant, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2 or three slices of red onion 1/4" thick
olive oil
fresh basil leaves, torn

Place the eggplant slices on paper towels or a lint free towel.  Salt the slices, turn over and salt the second side.  Allow to sit 30 minutes and then pat dry.  Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with olive oil.  Brush both sides of the onion slices with olive oil.  Place both the eggplant and onion on a broiler pan.  Broil 6 to 8 inches from heat for 6 to 8 minutes.  The eggplant should be brown and starting to blister.  Remove from under the broiler, turn over and repeat the process.

While the eggplant is broiling, place the tomatoes in a frying pan over medium high heat.  Drizzle some olive oil over them and stir them around.  Allow them to cook, stirring every minute or two, until soft.  Using a fork break them open and cook for another minute.

When the veggies are cooked, lay the eggplant slices out on a tray and top with the tomatoes.  Pull the onion rings apart add them to the tray.  Scatter the torn basil leaves over the veggies.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Eat!

I know this is go to way to cook eggplant from now on.  Even if I just want to eat it by itself.  Have fun in the kitchen everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Avocado - A Smart Swap for Saturated Fat

By now everyone is catching on.  Avocados are good for you.  They are high in fiber and have 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.  Yes, they are high in fat.  Two thirds of the fat they have is monounsaturated fat, which helps lower bad cholesterol and boost good cholesterol.  Monounsaturated fat also helps your body fight the buildup of unwanted fat around you organs.  

Their high fat content makes them an ideal substitution for saturated fats that you don't want in your diet.  Here are a few ways you can use them.

  • Make a better sandwich:  Instead of using mayo. use mashed avocado.  Using 2 tablespoons of it instead of mayo, you save 54 calories and 7 grams of fat.  You also lower the amount of sodium you are taking in.
  • Build a better salad:  Potato salad, chicken salad, tuna salad or egg salad.  You would normally use mayo.  If you substitute 1/2 cup of mashed avocado for mayo you save 616 calories and 71 grams of fat in the salad.  Again you also lower the sodium you are taking in.
  • Better than butter:  Do you butter your toast?  Do you butter an english muffin or bagel?  Use Avocado instead.  You save 22 calories by subing 2 tablespoons of avocado and 4 grams of fat.
  • Do a dollop:  Instead of doing a dollop of Daisy, as the commercial says, do a dollop of avocado.  Two tablespoons on your tex-mex or your potato saves you 14 calories and 2 grams of fat.
  • Bake healthier:  This takes some experimentation.  You can substitute mashed avocado for butter in cake, cookies, muffins or quick breads.  It works great in chocolate recipes.  You do have experiment with how much you can substitute and which recipes it will work with.  Have fun with your successes and failures.
 You can eat healthy and have tasty food at the same time.  You don't have to feel deprived.  Just make smart choices.  Cooking is a creative outlet.  Enjoy it and still meet your goals!
Has this been helpful?  Leave a comment and let met know.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Vegetable and Pasta Salad

Summertime vegetables, beans and pasta all come together to form a salad for a warm summer evening.  I know school has started, but, temperatures say it is still summer and so do the veggies!  Go gather your tomatoes and your cucumbers and make this salad tonight.

Vegetable and Pasta Salad

8 ounces chunky pasta (I used farfalle)
2 medium sized tomatoes, cleaned and diced
2 cucumbers, cleaned and quartered lengthwise, them sliced
1/2 cup finely diced red onion
1 cup freshly made tomato juice, seasoned to taste
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp. tobasco sauce 
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp. minced fresh flat leaf parsley

Cook the pasta according to package directions leaving out the oil.  Drain and rinse under cold water.  Allow to sit to drain some of the water off.  Place the next 7 ingredients in a large bowl, tomatoes through beans, and season to taste with salt and pepper.  Add the pasta, top with the parsley and toss together.  How easy is that?

I used a white heirloom cucumber as well as a green.  Use what you have available.

Choose a pasta that has some added nutritional value.  Whole grain or spinach pasta.  Use what suits you.  I have tried making pasta salads with gluten free pasta and found it does not work.  When you use pasta made with wheat it remains soft and pliable in the salad.  Gluten free pasta does not, it become hard and crunchy no matter how much sauce is on it.

If you don't have a juicer to make you own tomato juice, you can use bottled.  Be sure to use one that does not have added sugar or salt.

Have fun in the kitchen and have a good week everyone!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Peach Tarte Tatin

Don't be intimidated by the name.  This is quite easy to make.  Peaches are going strong right now, as a result I choose to use them.  You can use whatever fruit is in season.  By using a sweet fruit you are able to limit the amount of sugar you use and still enjoy a dessert.  Eating items like this in moderation can fit into your healthy lifestyle.  Enjoy the sweet fruit of summer!


Peach Tarte Tatin

5 or 6 peaches, peeled and sliced (leave one half of a peach whole)
2 tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup coconut sugar
1/2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
pastry crust for a single crust pie (use you favorite recipe)

Heat a 9" frying pan with an oven proof handle over medium heat.  Add the water, lemon juice and sugar.  Stir and bring to a simmer.  Allow to simmer, without stirring, for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Place the peach half in the center on the pan cut side down.  Arrange the sliced peaches around the peach half.  Return to the heat and bring to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.  Cover the peaches with the pastry crust and tuck it in around the peaches.  Place in an oven that has been preheated to 425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until deep golden brown.  Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the edge of the crust to make sure it does not stick to the pan.  Place a plate over the pan and carefully flip the tarte tatin onto the plate.

It can be eaten warm, room temp. or cold.  You can top it with frozen creek yogurt, coconut cream or eat it plain.  Just enjoy it!

You can use another sweetener.  Just keep in mind it will not caramelize the same as what you see in the photo.  Also, if you use a fruit that is not as soft as peaches, you need to allow them to simmer longer on the top of the stove.

This is a photo from my favorite place to get peaches in our area.  Take advantage of your local produce. It is fresher and as a result more nutrient dense.  These peaches are so good!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Quinoa and Zucchini Patties

Zucchini being so prolific in our area, I continue to try out new ways to use this vegetable.  Paring these patties with other fresh veggies you get everything you need for a healthy nutritious meal.  Quinoa and eggs give you protein.  Quinoa also serves as a whole grain, a healthy complex carbohydrate, that will gives sustained energy.  The veggies give multiple nutrients.  Try these out and enjoy them!

Quinoa and Zucchini Patties

2 medium sized zucchini (about 3 cups shredded)
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup breadcrumbs (your choice of what kind, I use gluten free)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt, divided use
3 tbsp. minced green onions
3 tbsp. minced fresh flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Shred the zucchini onto a lint free towel and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. salt.  Allow to sit 20 to 30 minutes.  Gather the towel around the zucchini and squeeze out as much moister as possible.  Place the zucchini in a bowl along the rest of the ingredients, including the other 1/2 tsp. of salt.  Mix thoroughly.  Heat a griddle or frying pan to medium heat.  Oil the griddle or pan.  Place a heaping spoon full of the mixture on the griddle and form into a 3" patties approximately 3/4" thick using the back of the spoon.  Cook 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn over and cook the other side 4 to 5 minutes or until browned and patties become firm.  

The mixture that makes up these patties is very soft.  As a result they do not do well on a grill.  I have also tried topping the patties with cheese when I turn them.  The addition of a mild cheese is yummy!  Find the combo you like and make them your own.  Enjoy you time in the kitchen!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Corn and Okra Salsa

I know this sounds really odd.  Trust me, it tastes wonderful!  Serve it with chips, top a taco or use it as a side dish. It's all good.  Something about this combo and the way it is prepared keeps the okra from being slimy.  Try it out for yourself and you will have a new way of using okra.

Corn and Okra Salsa

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut from the cob
2 cups fresh sliced okra, slices about 1/8" thick
4 ounces fresh spinach, cleaned, stems removed and torn in pieces
1/4 cup minced pickled jalapeno
1 medium tomato, diced
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 black pepper

Heat oil in frying pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and corn.  Saute for 5 minutes.  Add sliced okra and saute for another 5 minutes.  Add the spinach and jalapeno continue sauteing for 2 to 3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.  Remove from heat add tomato, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix them in and serve it up!

I served it with blue corn tortillas.  I used tostitos brand chips.  They are certified organic and non GMO.  They only contain 3 ingredients, corn, oil and salt.  The only choice that would be better is making them yourself.

You serve it as you wish.  Just get in the kitchen and have fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Workout Pain - Is It Serious?

It doesn't matter if you work out in a fitness center, at home or get your physical activity in some other way, we all have aches and pains.  I've known people who run to the doctor because they think they are blinking their eyes to often.  I've known people who refuse to go to the doctor and say "I'll tough it out.".  What is the reasonable approach?  When should you consider going to the doctor?  I'm offering just a few thing to think about to help make the right decision.

  • Train yourself to monitor your own body.  Compare past experiences with pain with newer ones.  Are the pains similar?  What was the outcome of your experience last time?  Recognizing warning signs is a skill that is learned by each person.  Don't rely on others to know your body.
  • Muscle soreness is the most common post workout pain.  You can recognize it by the fact that it is noticeable the following day.  The best thing you can do is keep the muscle moving.  Also, lactic acid in the muscle causes the soreness.  Messaging the muscle helps disperse the acid.  Muscle soreness lasts approximately 48 hours.  If your pain persists and becomes unbearable see a doctor.
  • When a new pain appears it is a warning sign.  Pains in your joints, knees, lower back or hamstrings mean something is wrong.  Get help.  Are you using proper form?  Are you using to much weight?  Are your shoes broken down and not giving proper support?  Are you using the equipment in the proper manner?  All these things can cause you to have new pains.  Do not continue working out until these questions are answered.  If there is a problem in any of these areas it needs to be corrected so permanent damage does not result.  
  • Sharp pains that strike suddenly and are different than anything you have ever experienced before need to be taken seriously.  They can indicate chronic overuse or a serious injury.  The pains may not be continuous.  An example is Achilles tendinitis.  It starts as an on again off again pain and can result in a torn tendon.  For these types of pains seeing a doctor is advisable.
These are just four simple thing to keep in mind.  They certainly do not cover the entire topic.  Let me know if this was helpful.  I want to hear from you!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Garlic and Herb Marinade/Sauce

Everyone's herb garden is going strong at this time of year.  You can dry your herbs for later use.  You can also take advantage of their vitamin K right now. Herbs can also have medicinal benefits. In the photo below I marinated chicken strips, skewered the strips and grilled them. I kept part of the marinade separate to use as a sauce after the chicken was cooked.  The bright green color might put some people off.   Also, the taste of raw garlic is not a favorite of some.  Personally, I like garlic in all forms and as long as I know the reason for the color, I don't care what the color is.  I just like good food that I know is good for me!

Garlic and Herb Marinade/Sauce

4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 cup packed fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup packed cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1 tsp. salt

Place the garlic, parsley and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse two times to chop and combine the items.  Sprinkle with the salt.  With the processor running on low drizzle in the oil and vinegar.  Process until it becomes a well combined sauce.

If you are going to use this as a marinade, keep in mind the tip I gave on Food Safety in my July 22, 2015 post.  If you are going to use it as marinade and sauce, keep what you want as sauce separate from the marinade part.  This sauce can be used in multiple ways.  Use it on pasta instead of pesto, on bruschetta, marinade different types of meat, sauce different types of meat.  Use it as a salad dressing.  Food is creative, so let your creativity and imagination free.  Enjoy your time in the kitchen!