Sunday, June 29, 2014

Steaming Foods Without a Steamer

Hi everyone! Do you like steaming food but do not have a vegetable steamer? Here's a quick and easy solution that uses what you already have in the kitchen.

1 - Take two plates that fit into a large dutch oven or stock pot pan.
2 - Put a small amount of water into the pan. About a 1/2 inch will do.
3 - Turn one plate upside down and place it into the pan.
4 - Place the second plate, eating-side up, on the overturned plate.
4 - Add your veggies or whatever else you want to steam.
5 - Turn the heat on.
6 - Cover the pan.
7 - Steam until food is poked done.

Plates are much easier to clean than those sometimes troubling commercially-made steamers.

Good luck!

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Sunday, May 18, 2014

Some Processed Foods Are Good For You

Ok, I know you purists are probably gasping. With so much type today about the evils of processed food, it is important to realize that there are some good ones. Here's a little history...

Back in the 1970's (a fantastic time of life, by the way)...there was something known as brown rice syrup. It was purported to be a wonderful alternative to high fructose corn syrup and other commercially prepared sweeteners. Only the “peace-loving hippies” and natural food enthusiasts knew about it. You could only find it in “health food stores”, food co-ops and similar places.

Well...fast forward to the 2013 year. While perusing the syrup aisle at my local food franchise chain, I find an interesting bottle with an “ALL NATURAL” printed on it. Underneath this description is a smaller print stating “table syrup.” Hmm...My curious is sparked.

I pick up the attractive container and notice Log Cabin is the manufacturer.

The front label clearly states...”No hugh fructose corn syrup.” Upon reading the ingredients, I notice that brown rice syrup is the number one ingredient! Combine that with added sugar and brown sugar and you have a healthier syrup substitute. (I could do without the added sugar and brown sugar, though...)

Anyways, I purchased the bottle. And...it tastes DELICIOUS!! It must be kept refrigerated. The cost is not that much more expensive than high fructose syrup-containing versions.

So...here is a processed food that is actually a viable option for those needing to satisfy their sweet tooth in a healthier manner.

Kudos Log Cabin!!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Butter


If you're like me, you freeze pumpkin for year-round use. If you don't, you need to start doing this. You won't regret it. Doesn't pumpkin butter sound delicious? You can make your own for much less than the cost of buying it in the store. Plus, you control the ingredients. What more could you want? You may be surprised how cheap it is to make your own. And, it's not that difficult.  Read on....

Pumpkin contains a wealth of antioxidants, the most notable being beta carotene. The beta carotene is what gives this delicious squash its vibrant color. Once in your body, this vital nutrient is converted into Vitamin A. Numerous studies reveal that this essential antioxidant plays a key role in reducing degenerative diseases such as heart disease, some types of cancer, and arthritis.

Plus, pumpkin does not contain any fat. It is perfect for those wanting to lose or maintain their weight. Who doesn't love a NO FAT food?


It's low in calories. As a plant-based food source, calorie counting is not a concern when enjoying this tasty delight. You can fill yourself up with minimal calories. Nice.


The high potassium content found in pumpkins helps regulate your heart beat, reduce muscle cramping, and keep your musculoskeletal system operating at optimal levels.

Enough for the nutrition information...let's get down to using this delectable food.

Every year I like to steam up pumpkin, let it cool and peel it. Then, I freeze it for later use throughout the remaining year. It's a great beginning for any pumpkin recipe, including my pumpkin butter. You could probably used canned pumpkin, but I cannot guarantee the final result. I can attest to FRESH pumpkin as providing superb taste, though.

You can make pumpkin butter either on the stovetop or in a crockpot. I started making my recipe on the stovetop. Then I noticed I needed to stir it too frequently, even while cooking it on low heat. So, I transferred everything to a crockpot and let it cook. How easy is that?

This recipe relies on the natural taste of spices and the sweetness of pumpkin instead of heavy refined sugars. Most commercially prepared or online recipes, you will notice, use an inordinate amount of sugar. Not mine. You will receive the pure, natural taste of ingredients. My tasty recipe only uses minimal refined sugar. 

And, you could easily substitute unsweetened apple or white grape juice for the white and brown sugars. Of course, you can add more sugar as you like.

So....

You will need:

3 cups pumpkin, cooked and peeled
1 T. cinnamon
¼ t. nutmeg
½ t. ginger
2 t. white sugar
2 T brown sugar

Place all ingredients into a crockpot and stir thoroughly. Turn on high heat. Cook for 3-4 hours. Stir as needed.

Wasn't that easy?   Now.....
 Have you been wondering about what to do with pumpkin butter besides spreading it on your morning toast? Well....after making another tasty batch, I discovered other uses that I believe are worthy of sharing....

Use it as a topping over ice cream, muffins, rolls and croissants. 

Use it in your sandwich. Instead of traditional jelly or jam, substitute some pumpkin butter. You'll increase the nutritional value and may find the taste addicting. 



Jar some and give as gifts. Everyone loves homemade items, especially as holiday gifts. After making a batch, remove it from the heat and let it cool. Place the pumpkin butter into your favorite jar. Secure tightly. Label it and present it as a gift.

Use in recipes instead of pure pumpkin. Most baked goods recipes call for pumpkin, cinnamon and spices. That is exactly what pumpkin butter is. Save yourself the time and effort of mixing individual ingredients.

These are some ideas, and uses, that work particularly well to highlight the versatility of pumpkin butter. Can you think of any others?


Find interesting? Kindly share....

 













   



Monday, March 03, 2014

Quick, Easy, and TASTY Pistachio Shortbread

Who doesn't love pistachios? These versatile taste delights can be used in a number of nontraditional ways. Have you ever thought about expanding their usage to the cookie world? You can satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy kind of way. 

Make some pistachio shortbread cookies. My recipe is full of flavor and will have everyone reaching for more!



Here is a recipe I developed that is quick, easy, and oh..so tasty!

1.5 cups unbleached flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 cup pistachios, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 F. 
* Place butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. 
* Thoroughly mix until a puree consistency is reached. I like using a fork for this step.
* Add the flour and blend together. 
* Add the pistachios. (You can save time by chopping the pistachios in a food processor.)  
* Mix until the ingredients form a ball. You may need to use your hands to speed the process along.

* Divide the ball into halves.
* Roll each half into a tube, about 1" thick.
* Cut into 1/2 inch slices.
* Place slices onto ungreased cookie sheet.
* Bake until edges are lightly browned.
* Remove from cookie sheet and place onto paper towels.

Store cookies in airtight container. 

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Strawberry Romanced Shortcakes

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers! This is the day of chocolates, red-colored foods and heart-shaped delights. So, let's make it quick and easy.

Buy a heart-shaped cookie cutter or you can simply use a knive.

Strawberry Romanced Shortcakes

You will need:
Frozen strawberries and juice
(You can make your own juice by simply using a fork to squash some strawberries until the juice runs out..)

Biscuits;
Either bake up some biscuits or buy some baked ones.
You can also use plain scones as your base.
Cut them into heart shapes.

Whipped cream..

Place the biscuit bottom onto a serving plate.
Scoop some strawberries and juice over the bottom.
Place the top on.
Put a dollop of whipped cream on top for a finishing touch.

Serve for dessert or a healthy romantic snack.


How quick and easy is that?


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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting Your Veggie Juice The Homemade Way


Hi everyone! If you're like me, you like an occasional drink of healthy vegetable juice. Consuming the commercially prepared version, however, will provide a plethora of unwanted ingredients. Granted, there are food manufacturers that concentrate on making all-natural versions. Still, you need to be weary for a number of reasons. 

Canned or bottled versions usually contain too much sodium, which can be labeled as any number of things. It can contain veggies you may be allergic to. The spices may be a mystery. The cost is always more expensive than a homemade version, too.  



Here's an EASY and quick homemade version that will satisfy your juicy needs. You can make it with cooked or raw veggies. The choice is yours.



3 large tomatoes, diced or 1-24 ounce canned tomatoes

2 slices onion, diced

1 cup spinach or kale, rinsed and chopped

¼ cup zucchini, diced and peeled

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 t ginger, chopped

1 medium carrot, peeled and diced



Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor. Or, use a hand blender. Blend until a puree consistency is reached. Add water, if necessary.



Adjust spices per your liking. Serve immediately.



Store leftovers in airtight container in the fridge.



NOTE: Increase the protein content by adding some cooked beans prior to pureeing.



Enjoy!



Find this recipe interesting, tasty and simple? Good! Kindly share so others can enjoy it, as well....Thanks!












Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Quick, Easy & All-Natural Egg Nog

Hi everyone! It's that time of year when holiday traditions take over. This includes a variety of foods and beverages. One of the most popular beverages is egg nog. Believe it or not, there is a healthy way to enjoy your egg nog. It doesn't contain any additives, preservatives, colorings or other harmful ingredients.

Traditional egg nog is made with cream. This, of course, adds extra fat and calories. Instead, substitute the cream with lowfat or nonfat milk. You will get used to the taste. I started drinking home made egg nog as a kid. It always contained lowfat milk, so I became accustomed to the taste. You can do the same.

Here's what you'll need for one serving:

1 cup lowfat or nonfat milk
1 egg
cinnamon
nutmeg
1 T. sugar or honey

Combine all ingredients in a blender, shaker, or food processor. Process until a thick consistency is reached and ingredients are all blended together. Taste and add additional sweetener, if needed. Blend again.

Pour into a chilled glass. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon for some extra color, if desired.

Store leftovers in airtight container in the refrigerator.

Since so many LOVE alcohol in their egg nog, you can add whichever type you prefer. Me...I enjoy the nog au natural.

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