Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Before and After Frankenstorm



The storm is over, and we are safe and feel very lucky.

We weathered through the long high wind storm without any major problems. Miraculously, my neighborhood has power despite power failures in almost all neighborhoods for miles around. Traffic lights are out  and most stores are closed in all of the neighboring towns!. Most of our friends do not have power, the schools and most people's place of employment still  lack power as of Thursday!

The Sprint Towers are out , so we do not have cell phone power.

Other than that, we only lost a tree, which is minor compared to what happened to some  of our neighbors.

A part of our tree split and broke off and will require some major clean up, but many of our neighbor's trees ripped out of the roots and dug up the entire area of their yard. Scary!!

                          
                               
My neighbor's tree!!Scary, missed the house


Our tree split down the middle and fell

another scary one..




Just for the fun of it, I took a picture of my neighbor's tree before the storm , then I took a picture this morning after the storm. It is still in one piece, but most of the leaves are gone overnight!
My neighbor's Tree Before Frankenstorm


Same  Tree After Frankenstorm
I know that many people have not been as lucky. Many are without power, some are flooded, many in deep snow..
Our thoughts are with you, and we pray for your safety and that all will be well soon.!

                                    Please let us know how your are...

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Shaved Carrot Ribbons and Cranberry Salad




Two simple vegetables, the carrot and the cranberry ( a berry) create a fabulous fall salad!

Low calories, yet in high fiber and nutrition, carrots have a rich orange color that is especially appealing in the fall and add a subtle sweetness to so many recipes.

For lunch today ( trying to make healthy choices), I decided to shave a few carrots ( I used a regular vegetable peeler)  into carrot ribbons ( shavings)  and create a salad around it. My creation was absolutely delicious, simple, raw and vegan. I made the salad for "one" and ate it as my lunch,  You can double or triple it for a side dish with dinner.

 I bought a container of organic cranberries last week, so all of my salads this week have boasted a splash of cranberries. Not only do these seasonal berries add color to the salad , they add a welcome tartness. I also love the contrast of the orange carrot with the cranberries.

Since, cranberries are also great for your health. I try  to take advantage of the short season when fresh organic cranberries are available in the supermarket.

I dressed my salad with my sweet cranberry dressing from last week's post and really enjoyed  the combination.

When it comes to cranberries, a little goes a long way!

Health Benefits of Cranberries: ( Quoted from a website called Meals Matter )

" Cranberries contain a powerful cocktail of protective phytonutrients, plant chemicals that contain protective, disease-preventing compounds (flavonoids and phenolic acids) that act as antioxidants in the body.

Cranberry extracts have been shown to inhibit the growth of oral, colon, and prostate cancer cells, in addition to inducing cell death of breast cancer cells. Phytonutrients in cranberries may also be involved in inhibiting the spread of cancer cells throughout the body.
In addition to its anti-cancer properties, cranberries may also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol, inhibiting LDL oxidation (one of the first steps in the progression of coronary artery disease), lowering blood pressure, and inhibiting the formation of blood clots."   end of quote from Meals Matter

Shaved Carrot Ribbon Salad Ingredients: 
1 large fat organic carrot ( large wide carrots are easier to shave with your
vegetable peelers 5 white mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/2 tomato, diced
5 fresh organic cranberries
1/4 cup of plump organic raisins ( optional)
10 raw cashews

Directions: Using your vegetable peeler, shave the carrot into ribbons ( peelings) and place on a plate. Add sliced mushrooms, diced tomato, and fresh cranberries and raw cashews. Add dressing and enjoy.

Use any vegetable peeler to shave down the carrot 

                           
Variation: If you do not want your salad completely raw, saute the shaved carrot peeling in a little bit of oil spray for a minute or two until the carrots become a little soft and start to wilt. This will make the orange color even more vibrant, the taste a little sweeter, and it will feel like you are eating a vegetable spaghetti texture.
sauteed in a little olive oil spray for 2 minutes

May be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals
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Sunday, October 28, 2012

The calm before the storm ( Frankenstorm??)


We are buckling down ( literally)  in anticipation of the storm.

My husband tied down all of our chairs, we put the rest of the outside furniture in the garage, and moved lots of small herb planters inside.

We received a telephone recording from our township telling us that tomorrow on Monday, no cars are allowed on the road. That means we are in a state of emergency and of course no one can go to work.

We have lost power many times in previous storms, so we bought some bottled water and some items that can be eaten without refrigeration or cooking.

I went to the supermarket and was surprised to notice that all the avocados ( usually they have a large display) were wiped out. A woman next to me commented that she thought that it was a bizarre item to be wiped out. As we started talking, we both said, you know green avocados will last a few days before ripening and are actually healthy and filling. In another area we noticed a four bag avocado item and both of us rushed over to buy it. It was the last thing I thought I would be buying. ( Power of suggestion).

In an effort to buy things that don't need refrigeration, I also bought some gluten free pretzels,some pistachio nuts, some bananas, and we already have a few cans of beans.

We are set with candles, a first aid kit, flash lights and hope we won't have to use any of them.

I took some pictures of the before the storm. I'll take a picture of this same tree after the storm.

Before the Storm!
The farm at my corner before the storm.


Let's hope and pray that everyone will be safe and make it through the storm safe and sound.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

3 Course Gluten Free Dinner ( vegan)


Being a gluten free vegan, I can't tell you how many times people ask me, "what do you actually make for dinner?"Although it changes with the season, this is a typical dinner.

( Those who know me are probably thinking, "Vegan???" .. it's true!  I have always been a vegetarian, but I took the plunge over the summer and for mostly health reasons, I am now eating vegan. It's easier than I thought, and actually when I looked through my last two year's recipe posts on this blog, they were 80 % vegan.

This dinner was delicious and filling ( maybe too filling). It might have been better for a weekend lunch..
I made soup ,which is perfect dinner choice for fall, a salad full of fall greens ( kale, dandelion) ,  some roasted Brussels Sprouts and cauliflower and steamed rich orange sweet yams over black beans.

Soup:
Red Lentil Soup with red potatoes and carrots ( very easy, fast and delicious, very filling, and high in protein)

Salad: Sweet and Bitter 
Bitter Fall Greens ( really good for you; helps cleans and detoxify your system), raisins, cashews, and a homemade sweet cranberry dressing..

Vegetables and Yams over Black Beans
I chose fall veggies . According to many ancient traditions ( Ayurveda (Indian) , Chinese  medicine, etc., it is always healthiest to eat what grows locally.It makes sense, it supplies the vitamins and minerals that you need for that season.
 I love my veggies roasted; there is nothing better than roasted Brussels sprouts( recipe)- in fact it's the only way I like them..( You couldn't get me to eat a boiled one!!)
Fresh Brussels Sprouts on the stalk 
Crunchy and creamy on the inside roasted  Brussels sprouts
                             
We didn't actually end up eating the black beans. The lentil soup was very filling and a good source of protein, so we saved the black beans for the next day.


Soup Ingredients: 
1 package of red lentils ( available in the supermarket; " Goya" or in the health food isle, the health food store, or an ethnic store- middle eastern, Indian, Spanish)
2 small red potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 organic carrots, washed and sliced
Water to cover everything
Hilmaylian salt and pepper to taste
Trader Joe's salt-less 21 Salute seasoning ( or Mrs. Dash or add your own spices)

Instructions: 
Wash lentils well, add to pot , add potatoes, carrots, and sufficient water to cover all. Bring to a boil and then simmer, stirring very frequently ( will stick and burn if you don't) and skim off any foam ( this is like a split pea soup) allow to cook until everything is soft and well blended ( about 1 hour)



Salad Ingredients: 

Organic romaine lettuce, 2 cups chopped
organic kale , 1 hand sized bunch or 1 cup ( remove veins and rip into bite size pieces)
dandelion greens ( 1/4 cup) very bitter, chopped ( optional)
1/4 of organic cranberries ( raw) chopped
1/2 cup of organic raisins
1/4 cup or raw organic cashews
1 cup of red cabbage, chopped
1 red apple, cored and diced
2 organic radishes, sliced


Dressing: 
1/4 cup of raw organic cranberries
1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup of fresh squeezed orange juice ( optional)
1/4 cup of Grade B organic  maple syrup ( Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup of water
Blend in blender until well blended

Yams: 

I bought 2 varieties; a bright orange and a light orange..
I steam them in their skin until tender ( about 20 minutes) watch that your water doesn't evaporate and burn the pot ( like I did ) The skin will come right off after steamed.

Slice and arrange on top of plain black beans..

Roasted Veggie ( recipe)-

That's our meal- gluten free, vegan, healthy, delicious, filling!! ( the soup, salad, and dressing are fat free)

shared on the following carnival  links:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why I Only Buy Local Honey



I have always bought local honey because I have always heard that honey is a powerful immune system builder and that eating the honey from your local area provides the best immunity  for people in that area. But now there is a new reason to make sure your honey is local. A reason that you may not like. 
However, before I get to the honey, I want to take a minute to ramble about my morning out and bumping into this real live turkey!!  



About twenty minutes from our house there is a roadside nursery ( Carousel Village in Bucks County, Pa - Writghtstown) with fall attractions for families that include hayrides, family train rides, corn mazes and a little zoo which includes turkeys! I have to admit that I don't think I have ever really seen a real turkey before, especially not one that looked like this one. I have seen  a few packs of wild turkeys running around some of our road sides , but they are dark in color, not very feathery, and don't have the beautiful fan. This authentic bird really did make gurgling noises that sounded like, " Gobble Gobble" .. 



Before I get to the honey, I want to mention that  there was an ice cream store ( Wow Cow )  on the premises. I was delightfully surprised to find out that their ice cream is made from only organic milk from a local farm and all of the flavors are made with organic raw local honey, organic berries, and even some organic vegetables ( they had flavors like butternut squash). They also had flavors like lavender/honey, rosewater cardamom, blueberry lemon, in addition to the more common flavors.


I test tasted the rosewater cardamom and was instantly in heaven.

What a great find! They make ice cream cakes to order ( somewhat pricey, but absolutely beautiful and given that  everything is organic and natural, it is well worth the price. ( if you are in Bucks County 215-598-3248)

They also sell raw local honey.
I recently read an article which suggests that you only buy local honey because most other honey sold in the US is actually  from China ( and could be tainted)  and  is only packaged in the US. China removes the pollen from the honey so it can't be traced to the country of origin and it's mostly smuggled out to India who then sells it to us.

When I googled " honey and China" lots of articles came up. The consensus of the articles  seemed to be that the laundering of honey from China to India who then sells it to the US is well known.

According to one article from Nov 2011 :  ( click to go to article


The following is excerpts from the article about honey



Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News: 
76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.
100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.
77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out. 
100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald’s and KFC had the pollen removed.
Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and “natural” stores like PCC and Trader Joe’s had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen. 
The FDA — either because of lack of interest or resources — devoted little effort to inspecting imported honey. Nevertheless, the agency had occasionally either been told of, or had stumbled upon, Chinese honey contaminated with chloramphenicol and other illegal animal antibiotics which are dangerous, even fatal, to a very small percentage of the population.
 Mostly, the adulteration went undetected. Sometimes FDA caught it.
In one instance 10 years ago, contaminated Chinese honey was shipped to Canada and then on to a warehouse in Houston where it was sold to jelly maker J.M. Smuckers and the national baker Sara Lee.
By the time the FDA said it realized the Chinese honey was tainted, Smuckers had sold 12,040 cases of individually packed honey to Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Sara Lee said it may have been used in a half-million loaves of bread that were on store shelves.
Sounds like a good reason to buy local honey. 

I was thrilled with my new find for raw local honey, fabulous organic ice cream, and some interesting zoo animals. It was a fun morning out with my grandchildren (and their parents). We took a hayride, played in the corn stalk maze and picked pumpkins.The weather was sunny and the temperature was a pleasant 60. A beautiful fall day!



What have you heard about honey? Do you buy local.

Will be shared on the following blog carnivals: 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

5 Healthy Halloween Party Ideas

These are Fabulous Finds that I found around the Internet. They all have a Halloween or pumpkin theme. Enjoy!

Fabulous Find # 1 and photo is a Caprese Salad that looks liek Spooky eyeballs for Halloween from a blog called Divine Dinner Party . Great Healthy Appetizer for a Halloween party!

                                                  Eyeball Caprese Halloween Recipe


Fabulous Find # 2 and photo is from Taste of Home This was one of my favorites last year, and  I repeated it. It's a healthy party snack for Halloween
                                             Pumpkin Veggie Tray Recipe



Fabulous Find # 3 and photo is " Pumpkin Bowling" from Jeanetics.net  it can be a great idea for a Halloween party




Fabulous Find # 4 is "Baby's First Pumpkin" and photo posted on Clever Nest  . This is so cute, think of all the possibilities!




Fabulous Find # 5 is an oldie but goodie from Last Year- leave out the candy corn for a cute Halloween theme healthy snack.
Click to learn how to make Creepy Popcorn Hands Picture belongs to Aunt Nubbys Kitchen

                                   




Fabulous Find # 6


Fabulous Find # 4 is from a wonderful blog that I follow called
Oh She GlowsAngela says her blog is, "healthy vegan recipe blog chronicling my life" Isn't that the cultist idea for a Halloween or  Thanksgiving place setting. 
20101002IMG_4115_thumb

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Food is my passion. I am gluten intolerant, busy. and strive for a healthy balanced lifestyle. It has taken me many years to develop and discover easy healthy recipes that meet gluten free, vegetarian and real food standards. On my blog I share my journey, my struggles, my discoveries, and my new recipes. I hope you find ideas, resources, and recipes that will be helpful to you. Come Back soon.



Author: Judee Algazi
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Cranberry, Apple, and Cashew Broccoli Slaw and Dressing


 


This nutritious cranberry, apple, cashew broccoli slaw salad is easy to make, looks really pretty, and tastes sensational.


Tonight is my book club meeting and pot luck dinner. I volunteered to bring a salad, but I didn't want to just bring an ordinary salad.

As usual, I went to the market, looked at the produce and waited for inspiration.
First, I selected some broccoli slaw which is made by Dole and comes in a clear bag.
It's just shredded broccoli stalks and carrots. Nothing else. ( tastes great)



Next,  I bought organic red Delicious and Granny Smith apples, 1 large navel orange, some organic cranberries ( only available in the season) ,
and some green organic romaine lettuce.

 I started to imagine a kind of sweet and tangy salad.

When I got home, I assembled the salad, added some organic raw cashews, organic raisins,  and started to experiment with a dressing.

I made a very light dressing, but you could use any dressing  or add some avocado to mine in the blender.

Ok , I confess that the raw cranberries in the salad are really tart, but I only used a handful for color in the salad,  and I like the  tartness .. Also, the tartness is balanced by the sweet raisins and the raw honey in the dressing..

This could make a great salad for Thanksgiving, especially if you are looking for a raw dish or are vegan.

Salad Ingredients: 
1 bag of broccoli slaw ( other brands make it too)
2 cups of organic romaine lettuce, cut up for salad
1 organic granny smith apple, cut into bite size chunks
1 organic red delicious apple, cut into bite size chunks
1/4 cup of organic cranberries, chopped ( adds beautiful color)
1/2 cup of organic raisins
1/2 cup raw organic cashews ( I get mine in Trader Joe's) or use walnuts or cashews
Optional: 4 sprigs of fresh mint, washed and chopped




broccoli slaw





Directions:
Assemble all ingredients and toss in a large salad bowl

Dressing Ingredients
2 Tablespoons of raw organic honey ( or maple syrup grade B)
Juice and the fruit of one large navel orange
1/4 cup of organic cranberries
2 slices of fresh ginger ( a must)
1 TBsp lemon juice
1/4 cup of water


Making this dressing was really easy in my new Nutribullet
I made this dressing in seconds in my new  Nutribullet

You've probably seen the commercials for the new Nutribullet , a high powered blender that blends even flax seeds, nuts, etc. I have a Vitamix, so I really hesitated to buy another product. I love the Vitamix, but it is very cumbersome, and when I make something that is not liquid, I have a hard time scooping it all out from the blades on the bottom and often loose some of my recipe..

After watching the commercials for the Nutribullet, I was hooked. I love the idea that I mix everything and then remove the blades and everything stays in the jar. I'm enjoying my new machine because it is small and I keep it on the counter or it actually fits into my deeper kitchen drawers. Also, the clean up is a cinch because I'm basically cleaning only the blades and everything else stays in the jar.


Do you need both? No!
Would you use both? Probably
Which would I buy if I could have only one?

You can buy the  Nutribullet for under $100- my Vitamix was over $400.. I do like it, don't get me wrong. I can do just about everything in my bullet as I can do in the Vitamix  except for making soup ( which I don't like making in plastic anyway).

Both machines use plastic containers; the bullet is BPA free.

Do you have one? Leave a message about your thoughts about it.

Continue with instructions:

Mix all dressing ingredients in any blender until smooth . Allow to sit in refrigerator for about 2 hours for flavors to mingle well before serving. The dressing will have a beautiful pink hue and hint of ginger taste.

Variation for a thicker dressing. add 1/2 avocado, or 1/4 cup of raw cashews ( wont be good with toasted cashews) or both and a little more ginger.


May be shared on a few of the following blog carnivals




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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to make Pumpkin Seeds ( 3 step tutorial)




It's pumpkin season in Bucks County, Pennsylvania ( and everywhere??)  and families are enjoying the  yearly ritual of  flocking to local farms to pick out their Halloween pumpkin

Pumpkin Farm 1 block from my house
In addition to serving as a decoration, pumpkins are really versatile.  Many varieties can be cooked and used for pies, ( Gluten Free chocolate chip Pumpkin Pie Tart)  pumpkin breads ( Grain Free Banana Pumpkin loaf) )  or be eaten as a vegetable. Pumpkin is a rich source of Beta Carotene ,fiber , and are low in fat and calories.

sugar pumpkins are good for pies
Did you know that those gooey stringy seeds inside of your pumpkin are actually very tasty and good for you? ( contain significant amounts of magnesium, iron, zinc, and Vitamins A, B Vitamins and Vitamin K)  The seeds can be quickly and easily removed from the inside of the pumpkin, washed, and toasted to make a crunchy, delicious and nutritious treat that even kids will love .


             

                                 


Just follow these 3 easy steps

1. Slice the top off of the pumpkin and scoop out the inner seeds. Place the seeds in a colander and wash and remove strings.  Pat dry with paper towels.

2. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray and spread the pumpkin seeds in a single layer. Then respray the seeds.

3. Sprinkle with salt and bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, checking and moving them around after 10 minutes.

   Cool and store in an air-tight container.

Variations: Spray seeds with oil and then choose one of the following seasonings to use before baking at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes.
  • sprinkle seeds with cinnamon
  • Sprinkle seeds with garlic powder and salt
  • Sprinkle seeds with Chipotl



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Monday, October 15, 2012

Black Bean, Avocado, Butternut Squash, and Raw Corn Salad SRC



Perfect mixture of fall vegetables and black beans

Black beans are hearty very flavorful! Combined with fresh corn off the cob, avocado, and roasted or steamed butternut squash, this fall salad is colorful, nutritious, filling and bursting with antioxidants and other health giving vitamins. Gluten free and vegan,  it is easy to make and requires mostly assembly. It is perfect if you want to include more meatless meals in your menu ( and who doesn't??)

You'll love it because the seasoning has a mild  Latin flavor that is flavored with cilantro, cumin, and fresh lime juice.

Wouldn't  it feel good to eat a dinner that is is not processed and is good for you?

Although it's officially beginning to feel and look like fall, fresh corn on the cob is still available at the local farm stands.  So, when I saw this recipe on Erin Lerner's blog Wholesome RD , my Secret Recipe Club assignment for October, I knew it was the recipe I would be making.

Secret Recipe Club'

Each month I mention how much fun it is for me and my readers to be introduced to a new blog and blogger through the Secret Recipe Club. Erin is a registered dietitian in the Chicago area who prides herself on healthy recipes. I was tempted by many of her recipes including ,Homemade Almond Butter ,  but the black beans and corn recipe won out..

Although her recipe calls for canned beans ( which are convenient and nutritious), my husband and I need to watch our salt intake, so I cook my beans in the crock pot overnight without any salt. In addition, I try to avoid eating from cans when I can.

Also,  since it is mid October and the local farms have lots of butternut squash,  I decided to cook some and add some t to the salad. There is just something about black beans and butternut squash ( agree?)

Erin, your recipe was a delicious;  not a bite was  left!

My recipe  with a few additions or choose the original recipe

2 cups black beans , cooked
2 cups fresh corn, cut off the cob ( add it uncooked to the salad)
1 Haas avocado, peeled and chopped
1 cup cooked and cubed butternut squash ( optional)
1 lime , juiced
1 Tablespoon cumin
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste (  I did not use salt) 
Directions: 
Combine all ingredients together. 



Assemble the salad with fresh corn cut off the cob (I use it raw no cooking)
 raw corn is sweet and crunchy. Then add remainder of ingredients.
I halved,  peeled and cubed and steamed some butternut squash in a steamer basket

I added remainder of ingredients
                             
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