Tuesday, 17 March 2015
It's lunch time on "P" day and I'm using POMEGRANATES
I made Pomegranate and Couscous Salad. This is a delicious and nutritious alternative to rice or salad, making an exceptional side dish for any main dish. Couscous is a soft grain that puffs up like the texture of tiny rice. The sweet tang of the pomegranates balance nicely with the subtle bite of mint and onion. The lemon brings it all together. Yummy!
1 large pomegranate, seeded
1 cup (just shy of a cup) couscous
250 ml (or 10 oz can) boiling chicken stock or water
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, juice only (I only used 1/2 of 1, as that's all I had on hand, sadly)
3 to 4 Tbsp olive oil
3 to 4 Tbsp chopped, fresh mint
3 to 4 Tbsp chopped leeks
**Start slow and adjust to your own liking
1. Place the couscous in a bowl (or large pot). Pour the boiling stock or water onto the couscous and mix in the olive oil and lemon juice. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
2. Cover tightly with cling film and allow the couscous to sit in a warm place for around 10 minutes, or until the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cling film and fluff the grains with a fork. Allow the couscous to cool completely.
3. Stir the chopped herbs and pomegranate seeds into the couscous. Add more olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs to taste.
This fruit is packed with nutritionally rich, sweet, plumpy seeds. Punicalagin, an antioxidant, is found abundantly in pomegranate juice and it is effective in reducing heart-disease risk factors, improving circulation, and reducing inflammation.
Pomegranates have more antioxidants than other super foods like acai berry juice or green tea.
Among being rich in Vitamin C, they are also full of soluble and in-soluble dietary fiber. Regular consumption of pomegranates has been found to be effective against prostate cancer, diabetes and lymphoma.
It has a good supply of B-complex Vitamins, folates, Vitamin K and minerals.
(100 g - nearly 1 cup)
Protein 1.67 g
Fiber 4 g
Folates 9.5 %
Pantothenic Acid 3 %
Pyridoxine 6 %
Riboflavin 4 %
Thiamin 5.5 %
Vitamin C 17 %
Vitamin E 4 %
Vitamin K 14 %
Potassium 5 %
Iron 4 %
Magnesium 3 %
Manganese 5 %
Phosphorus 5 %
Zinc 3 %
Have you amped up healthy eating with Pomegranate seeds?
Wednesday, 11 March 2015
It's breakfast time on "P" day and I'm using POLENTA
I made Polenta with mixed Berry Compote. This is a delicious alternative to oatmeal or cereal. With the consistency of porridge along with the sweetness from the warm berry compote, it becomes a comforting healthy breakfast treat. Yummy!
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
dash of ground cinnamon
12 oz frozen assorted berries
3 cups milk
1/2 cup quick-cooking polenta
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1. For the compote, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add honey, juice, cinnamon and berries; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes; or until thoroughly heated. Keep warm.
2. For the polenta, bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. Slowly add polenta, stirring constantly with a whisk. Stir in sugar and salt, and cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Serve with compote over top.
Polenta, (also known as corn grits), used to be known as poor people's staple food since it was made from grains and legumes. Today this dish is popular not only in Italy but also in many European countries. This is such a versatile grain that can be used for breakfast, lunch or dinner and is a great alternative to rice, potatoes or pasta.
Because it is made from corn, polenta is also gluten-free.
Polenta contains traces of the minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium and zinc. There are also small amounts of Vitamins B, A and E.
Amp up the nutritional value of polenta by adding eggs, fruits, vegetables and other super foods!
Fiber 2 g
Protein 3 g
Iron 8 %
Carbohydrates 27 g
Have you indulged in some traditional polenta lately?
Monday, 9 March 2015
It's dinner time on "O" day and I'm using ONIONS
I made French Onion Soup. This is surely comforting and warm on any cool night. The sweetness of the caramelized onions gives this soup an all around savoury goodness, without being too rich. This soup does not taste like onions at all. Yummy!
4 large yellow sweet onions, peeled and sliced into half moon slices
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp fresh Thyme, chopped
1/2 cup Sherry (Dry, with alcohol - it cooks away so no worries)
4 cups no or low sodium Beef stock
1 cup grated sharp cheddar or Swiss cheese
4 Slices of crusty bread, cut into bite size chunks and toasted in oven
Salt and Pepper to taste (about 1/2 Tbsp of salt or so)
1. Preheat a large pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter, let the butter melt and add in the onions, sugar and salt and pepper. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes stirring frequently or until the onions develop a beautiful deep caramelized brown colour.
2. Add the sherry and thyme and cook for about 1 minute, turn the heat to medium high, add the beef broth and season with salt and pepper again. Let it come to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Preheat your broiler to high.
4. Ladle the soup in some oven safe bowls and top them with the bread and cheese, pop them under the broiler for just a couple minutes or until the cheese melts and its all bubbly and golden brown.
With their unique combination of flavonoids and sulfar-containing nutrients, the onion, belongs in your diet on a daily basis. The high content of flavonoids in onions tend to be more concentrated in the outer layers of the flesh. You should always peel off as little as the outer layer as possible to maximize your health benefits.
The nutrients in onions can lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and improve cell membrane function in red blood cells. Eating onions along with vegetables will aid in the prevention of heart attacks.
Onions can also help increase bone density and lower risk of hip fractures in post menopausal women, when eaten on a regular basis.
The flavonoid, quercetin, contained in onions, helps prevent bacterial infection. Especially in regards to tooth cavities and gum disease bacteria. But is mostly beneficial when eaten in freshly cut raw form, on a regular basis.
By using a low-heat method for preparing onion soup, you can preserve the health benefits that are associated with this flavonoid.
Onions were highly regarded by the Egyptians. They used them as currency to pay the workers who built the pyramids and they also placed them in the tombs of kings, such as Tutankhamen, as a gift.
Onions, chopped, cooked
Biotin 27 %
Manganese 16 %
Copper 16 %
Vitamin B6 16 %
Vitamin C 15 %
Fiber 12 %
Phosphorus 11 %
Potassium 10 %
Vitamin B1 8 %
Folate 8 %
Are you indulging, daily, in the goodness of Onions?
Tuesday, 18 November 2014
Well it's lunch time on "O" day and I'm using ORANGES
I made Orange Chicken. This sweet fast food delicacy is made healthy and nutritious with this home made rendition. The orange juice shines through in the sauce without overpowering any of the overall chicken dish goodness. Yummy!
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 cup cornstarch (*you could omit this, if you wish)
3/4 cup orange juice (use freshly squeezed)
1 tsp orange zest
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
5 tsp sugar (or Splenda grunalated sugar)
4 tsp honey
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp lemon juice
Pinch red pepper flakes
2 tsp cornstarch
Salt (to taste)
Sliced green onions (to garnish)
Marinade: In a medium bowl combine orange juice, orange zest, soy sauce, olive oil, and salt. Add chicken chunks and stir to coat. Allow to marinate for 25 - 30 minutes.
Sauce: In a small saucepan combine freshly squeezed orange juice, orange zest, chicken broth, sugar (or Splenda), honey, soy sauce, oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; lower to a simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by 1/4. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes and season with salt to taste. Stir the 2 tsp cornstarch with a small amount of cold water and add to the sauce. Bring back to a boil and cook for 1 - 2 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside, but keep warm.
Chicken: In a large bowl or ziplock bag add the 1/2 cup cornstarch. Drain the chicken and toss with the cornstarch, shaking off excess. *The cornstarch helps the chicken brown easily on the outside and stay juicy on the inside, plus it helps thicken the sauce. In a large skillet heat 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil over medium-high. Add chicken and cook until golden and meat is cooked through. Gently toss chicken with the sauce and serve over a bed of white rich with sliced green onions as garnish.
Citrusy, juicy, sweet and renowned for their concentration of Vitamin C, oranges make the perfect snack and add a special tang to many recipes.
Aside from Vitamin C, oranges have an important flavanone, herperidin, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol, and hold strong anti-inflammatory properties. Most of this phytonutrient is found in the peel and the inner white pulp of the orange, rather than the juicy orange centre.
Vitamin C prevents free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and by doing so, it reduces the severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Vitamin C, which is also vital for a healthy immune system, prevents colds and may be helpful in preventing recurrent ear infections.
Citrus offers the most significant protection against esophageal, orophaygeal/laryngeal (mouth, larynx and pharynx), and stomach cancers.
The fiber in oranges can also help keep blood sugar levels under control, and thus prove oranges are a healthy snack for people with diabetes. The natural sugar, fructose, can help keep blood sugar levels from rising too high after eating.
Vitamin C 93 %
Fiber 13 %
Folate 10 %
Vitamin B1 9%
Pantothenic Acid 7 %
Copper 7 %
Potassium 7 %
Calcium 5 %
Have you been enjoying Oranges?
Wednesday, 5 November 2014
Well it's breakfast on "O" day and I'm using OATS
I made Oatmeal. The blueberries and orange zest in this oatmeal, gives it a very fresh and delicious flavour with the blueberries bursting in your mouth after each bite. Not your typical bowl of oatmeal. Yummy!
1 1/3 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp honey
2/3 cups of quick oats, rolled oats or oatmeal
1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
1/2 cup milk
1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium size saucepan. Add the salt, cinnamon, honey and oatmeal. Reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for five minutes or until most of the water has been absorbed.
2. Add the blueberries, orange zest and milk. Bring to a simmer, and simmer five more minutes or until the oatmeal is thick and creamy and the blueberries have begun to pop.
3. Turn off heat, cover and and let stand for five minutes, then serve.
Oats are a hardy cereal grain and a perfect way to start your day, especially if you're dealing with heart disease or diabetes. The special fiber in oats has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels.
Antioxidant compounds in oats help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol (the good kind).
Eating a serving of whole grains, such as oats, at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease.
The fiber, beta-glucan, in oats significantly enhances the immune system's response to bacterial infection, by helping the neutrophils navigate to the site of an infection more quickly and eliminate the bacteria they find there.
Among being great for the heart, immune system, and diabetes, it also significantly reduces woman's risk of getting breast cancer.
Oats, unprocessed and dry
Manganese 96 %
Molybdenum 64.1 %
Phosphorus 29.1 %
Copper 26.6 %
Biotin 26 %
Vitamin B1 25 %
Magnesium 17.2 %
Fiber 16.5 %
Chromium 15.3 %
Zinc 14 %
Protein 13.1 %
Have you been enjoying oats?
Tuesday, 28 October 2014
It's time for dinner on "N" day and I'm using NAVY BEANS
I made Navy Bean Soup. This soup is oh so filling and comforting on a cold evening. It is certainly savoury and can also be easily altered for additional yumminess, by adding spinach, peas, or kale. Yummy!
1/2 - 1 lb dried Navy Beans (approx. 3 cups of soaked beans)
2 cups of smoked ham, cubed small, and trim outer skin off
1 large onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 carrots, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 796 ml can of diced tomatoes
800 ml Chicken Stock (adjust as needed to ensure navy beans are covered in pot)
1 tsp dried basil
5 small fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
small pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 - 1 tsp sea salt, taste and adjust accordingly
few good grinds of black pepper
juice of half a lemon
*freshly steamed peas, to garnish over top, if desired
1. Soak the dried beans in water in a large pot, with about 1" - 2" of water covering the beans, and place in the fridge overnight (or for at least 8 hours of soaking time).
2. Heat a little dab of butter in a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the onions, carrots, celery, dried basil, red pepper flakes and dried thyme. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 10 minutes.
3. Add the cubed ham and stir through, heating for about 2 minutes.
3. Add the diced tomatoes, navy beans, and chicken stock. Stir and bring to a boil. Turn down to a low simmer and with lid on a skew, simmer in 30 minute intervals, checking that the beans are always covered with liquid and stirring soup each time you check.
4. Add more chicken stock, if needed and continue simmering with lid fully on at times and on a skew, at times. My beans were soft enough in 1 1/2 hours. Beans may take up to 2 hours to be soft enough. Time depends on type of pot, climate, and other factors, I imagine.
5. Take approx. 3 large "ladlefulls" to an additional big pot or bowl and blend with immersion blender until thick and smooth. Transfer that back into the soup and stir in. (This adds to the creamy texture of the soup) Add lemon juice, salt and pepper and taste/adjust, to your liking.
6. Steam some peas and garnish over top, if desired. Or add in a couple good handfuls of baby spinach to soup while still on stove and cook through, for about 5 minutes.
NAVY BEANS BEANS
Navy beans are an excellent source of cholesterol-lowing fiber, that will also prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal. When combined with whole grains, navy beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.
These beans are a very good source of folate and manganese, and a good source of protein and Vitamin B1, along with the minerals phosphorus, copper, magnesium and iron.
In addition to providing slow burning complex carbs, having beneficial effects on the digestive system and the heart, navy beans can increase your energy by helping to replenish your iron stores. Particularly for menstruating women.
The navy bean originated in Peru and derived it's current popular name because it was a staple food of the US Navy in the early 20th century.
Navy Beans, cooked
Fiber 19.11 g
Folate 63.7 %
Manganese 48 %
Copper 42.2 %
Phosphorus 37.4 %
Vitamin B1 35.8 %
Protein 14.98 g
Magnesium 24.1 %
Iron 23.9 %
Have you bean eating Navy Beans?
Friday, 24 October 2014
It's lunchtime on "N" day and I'm using NORI
I made Nori Veggie Rolls. Rather than going the traditional sushi roll route, I opted for an all around veggie one, without the sushi rice or raw fish. The nori's subtle salty sea taste accompanies the veggies and hummus so well, resulting in a savoury and fresh flavour. I absolutely love these rolls, even more than I already thought I would. Yummy!
1 ripe avocado, sliced
1 carrot, julienned
1 cucumber, julienned
1 cup hummus (see recipe on "H" day lunch meal)
leaf lettuce, torn into big pieces
4 Nori sheets
1. Place down one sheet of nori (dull side facing up) and place your washed and dried leaf lettuce covering entire nori sheet, just till about the edges, but not touching. Spread a few good Tbsp of hummus over the lettuce (this way the nori sheets won't get so soggy, as hummus directly on nori, would make it too soggy).
2. Place your julienned cucumbers, carrots and avocado along the long side, near edge, but not at edge. You can add whatever veggies you like for these rolls - they are so versatile!
3. Gently roll up with sushi roll mat, or your fingers, being careful not to break the nori.
4. Slice into approximately 6 rolls per nori sheet.
*These are best enjoyed fresh, as nori will get soggy from sitting with moist foods.
Nori is like an edible crunchy piece of paper. The Japanese have been drying and roasting this sea vegetable for 1,300 years. Nori is rich in nutrients, especially, iodine. Essential for your metabolism, if your body is lacking in this nutrient, you can suffer from hypothyroidism.
Nori is also a good source of Protein, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin A, and magnesium.
Potassium 356 mg
Protein 6 g
Vitamin A 104 %
Vitamin C 65 %
Iodine 57 mcg
Iodine 57 mcg
Calcium 7 %
Iron 9 %
Vitamin B6 - 10 %
Are you indulging in foods from the sea - Nori?