Dec 28, 2011

Dutch Baby Pancakes

2 c freshly ground spelt, kamut or whole wheat flour (I use a 5-7 grain mixture)
2 c buttermilk, kefir or yoghurt
8 eggs
2 t vanilla extract
1 t sea salt
1 c filtered water
6-8 T butter
pinch of nutmeg and/or cinnamon (optional)

Soak flour in buttermilk (I make my own buttermilk using a good quality plain yoghurt and pure water (about 50/50 ratio)).  Leave this mixture in a bowl with a dish towel over the top and in a warm place for 12-24 hours.  The longer you leave it, the more sour it becomes so I prefer 12 hours because I haven't acquired the taste of sourdough completely yet.  This soaking of the flour will make it a lot easier for your body to digest the whole grains...yeah!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Beat eggs for several minutes.  Add flour mixture, vanilla, water, and salt and process another minute.  Get 2 13x9 inch pans (I use glass) and 1 9x9 inch pans ready and cut/distribute the butter between all 3 dishes.  Place all 3 pans in the oven to melt the butter and when the butter starts to sizzle and the dishes are heated well, pull them out.  Pour the batter in the hot pans and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  I like to turn the temperature down to 375 after putting them in so the edges don't brown as much. 

After they are done, I often sprinkle them with a cinnamon/sugar mixture and serve them with fresh berries and a little pure maple syrup.  YUMMMMM........... 

Dec 23, 2011

Cranberry Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberries (approx. 4 cups)
1 orange (peeled, segmented)
1 sm. apple (cored, sliced
3/4-1 cup sugar

Blend in a food processor or heavy duty blender until smooth.  Adjust amount of sugar to your liking.
Serve with your turkey at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner!

Dec 21, 2011

Zuppa Toscana

This recipe is similar to the Olive Garden soup, but I've tweaked it a little...

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
4 slices bacon
1 onion, diced
1 T. minced garlic
2-3 stalks celery (optional)
8 cups chicken broth
1 can white beans (2 cups cooked dried beans)
1 cup carrots, diced
2 cups milk (or 1 cup cream for thicker)
1/4 bunch kale leaves (or spinach)
salt to taste, if desired
  1. Cook the Italian sausage and red pepper flakes over medium-high heat until crumbly, browned, and no longer pink, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. Cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain,  but reserve 2 T drippings. Stir in the onions, garlic and celery with the drippings; cook until onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the chicken broth into the bacon and onion mixture; bring to a boil over high heat. Add the pwhite beans and carrots and boil until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the milk and cooked sausage; heat through. Mix the kale or spinach into the soup just before serving.               

*The original called for potatoes, but I prefer the change with beans and carrots. But this recipe is super flexible. It's mostly the bacon and sausage flavors that make the soup. Someone said they just add in milk with cornstarch for thickness, but I don't mind it thin. As long as you eat it with our good artisan bread!

Simple Wassail

4 c water (or to taste)
2 sticks cinnamon
2-4 cloves
1 orange, sliced
46 oz. apple juice
optional: splash of cranberry juice (or handful of cranberries)

Throw everything in the crockpot and simmer for a few hours.

This is GREAT for the holidays and simple...makes your house smell wonderful!

Dec 12, 2011

New Foods Adventures: Pumpkin & Seeds

Ok, so this might not exactly be "new," persay. But, maybe you don't have it very often or don't have it fresh. Well, I recently looked up pumpkin seed vitamin properties because I have some, but haven't been eating them much. And wow! They're full of goodness. So here's some info on Pumpkin and it's seeds....

Pumpkin Nutrients
Pumpkins on the whole are very high in potassium, and have good amounts of beta carotene and vitamin C. They are also a good source of calcium and fibre. It also has vitamin E, vitamin A, alpha-carotene, zinc, beta carotene, and lutein.

Pumpkin seeds are one of nature's almost perfect foods. They are a natural source of beneficial constituents such as carbohydrates, amino acids and unsaturated fatty acids. They contain most of the B vitamins, along with C, D, E, and K. They also have the minerals calcium, potassium, niacin, and phosphorous.

Snacking on ¼-1/2 cup of pumpkin seeds can deliver the nutrients mentioned at the outset of this article, as well as calcium, vitamin K, protein and important omega-3 fatty acids. Just one serving gives you almost half the recommended daily amounts of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, vitamin K, and zinc. Pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and monounsaturated fats.
 Pumpkin seeds can be eaten raw, baked, roasted or toasted (with a little salt).

Preparing and Eating Pumpkin
If you're not use to having cooked, fresh pumpkin, just cut the top off and scoop out seeds, then replace the top back on and put it in the oven for about 1 hour on 400 or so (depends on size). When it's cooked through, pull it out. (careful, it drips and sags, so put a tray under). Then I scoop out the inside and mash it up. You can put it in ice cube trays and then pop the frozen cubes into a bag to use later. I use them in sauces, brownies, bread, pancakes, soups, etc.--and for baby food. Or instead of mashing, cut into cubes and throw into chili or curry. Tip: large pumpkins are really wet and not as well flavored, so either use small pumpkins for baking, or be prepared to cut back on some of the other liquids. And 1 can of pumpkin is about equal to 2 or 2 1/2 c. pumpkin. You can substitute pumpkin for many things (like the fat in baked goods). Have fun with it.

You can buy a bag of pumpkin seeds at health/nutrition stores (don't buy the expensive name brand fancy bag stuff). Throw them in your granola or ganola bars or chop up and throw in a topping or on a salad.

Try Some Recipes
Spinach Feta Stuffed Pumpkins
Pimpkin Pancakes
Pumpkin Risotto
Pumpkin Spice Cookies

*info from articlesbase

Dec 7, 2011

Stuffed Onions

4 lg. onions2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 c cooked brown rice
1/4 c crispy pine nuts (soaked and toasted as noted below**)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 c parmesan cheese, grated
2 tsp. parsley, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

*soak pine nuts in filtered water with a little sea salt for 7 hours, drain in a colander and put on cookie sheet to bake in a warm oven-no hotter than 150 degrees for 24 hours or in a dehydrator till completely dry. Store the rest in an airtight container

Cut onions in half along the equator and remove all layers inside except the last 2.  Brush the inside of each onion half with a butter and place them on a buttered glass casserole dish ready to fill.  You can cut the very bottom of them to help them stand.

Chop the onion taken from the centers and saute in olive oil until tender.  Add rice, pine nuts, oregano, cheese and parsley and mix well.  Remove from heat, stir in the egg and season to taste.  Fill the onion shells with the stuffing.  Add a little water to the baking pan and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour. 

This dish (taken from the book, Nourishing Traditions), goes very well with fish and some green sauteed vegetables! 

from charise

Nov 22, 2011

Granola Bars

  2 c. rolled oats
  1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. flax seed, ground
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. white flour
1/2 c. wheat flour
1 c. raisins/craisins
1/4 t. salt
1/2 honey
1 egg beaten
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. applesauce
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c chocolate chips (opt.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease 9x14 pan. 
In large bowl mix oats, sugar, flax seed, cinnamon, flour and raisins.  Make a well in center of mix and pour in honey, egg oil and vanilla.  Mix well using hands. Add chocolate chips if desired.
Now pat mixture evenly into pan, leaving 1/2 inch of space to scrape out bars.
Bake 30-35 minutes (til golden edges).  Cut into bars while still warm and let cool.

*Submitted by Chantel, from her friend

Nov 21, 2011

Spicy Black-Eye Peas N' Ham

6 c. chicken broth (or water with a little chicken seasoning)
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas, sorted and rinsed (or canned)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
1 jalapeno chile, seeded and minced (opt.)
8 oz. diced ham
4 slices bacon, chopped
1/2 t. cayenne pepper
1 1/2 t. cumin
salt and pepper to taste
QUICK METHOD (using canned beans): Sautee onion, garlic and pepper in oil. Add seasonings. Then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until done. Pretty easy.               
SLOWCOOK METHOD (using dried beans): Put everything in the slowcooker with beans on the bottom. Cover and cook on Low for 10 or so hours until the beans are tender, or half the amout for high. If beans are still hard 30 minutes before needing to eat, pressure cook everything according to instructions for black-eyed peas.

*This is not a soup. It's more like pork and beans, but my husband said it's way better. It tastes delicious as a side, served with a big warm slice of corn bread! And if you're worried about the cholesterol from bacon, just eliminate it or only do one piece, pre-cooked and grease removed and then crumbled in to simmer with the rest of the ingredients. And I frequently don't have jalepenos, so we don't always put that in and it still tastes delicious.


Nov 18, 2011

Honey Dijon Baken Fish

2 T butter, melted
3 T Dijon mustard
1 T honey
1/4 c. dry bread crumbs
1/4 c. finely chopped pecans
4 t. chopped fresh parsley
4 (4 ounce) fillets salmon
salt and pepper to taste
1 t. lemon juice (opt.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
In a small bowl, stir together butter, mustard, and honey (and opt. lemon juice if you're not using salmon). Set aside. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, pecans, and parsley.
Brush each salmon fillet lightly with honey mustard mixture, and sprinkle the tops of the fillets with the bread crumb mixture.
Bake salmon 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until it flakes easily with a fork. Season with salt and pepper.

*This was great! We tried it on flounder with lemon juice and it was just as good as with salmon. Also, I was low on bread crumbs so I also added in flax seed meal. And if you don't have pecans, try another nut or seed (I've used hemp seed before which works). The colors of this meal are great when served with slightly crunchy asparagus! We didn't even need anything else on our plate besides these the fish and greens.


Nov 16, 2011

Moist Turkey

1 (18 lb) whole turkey, neck and giblets removed
2 c. kosher salt
½ c. butter, melted
2  onions, peeled and chopped
4  carrots, peeled and chopped
4 celery stalks, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 c. dry white wine (or chicken broth)

  1. Rub turkey inside and out with kosher salt and place in a large stock pot and cover with water.
  2. Place in the refrigerator and allow turkey to soak overnight in the salt and water mixture.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly rinse the turkey and discard the brine mixture.
  4. Brush the turkey with ½ the melted butter. Place breast side down on a roasting rack in a shallow roasting pan. Stuff the turkey cavity with 1 onion, ½ the carrots, ½ the celery, 1 sprig of thyme and the bay leaf. Scatter the remaining vegetables and thyme around the bottom of the roasting pan and cover all with the white wine.
  5. Roast uncovered 3 ½ to 4 hours in the preheated oven, until the internal temperature of the thigh reaches 180 degrees F.
  6. Carefully turn the turkey breast side up about 2/3 through the roasting time and brush with remaining butter.
  7. Allow the bird to stand about 30 minutes before carving!

*Recipe by Julie Haltiner

Nov 9, 2011

Egg-free Egg Nog

7 cups milk
1/2 c. raw cashews (soaked for 4 or more hours)
2 T. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c raw honey
3/4 t. cinnamon
3/4 t. nutmeg
3/4 t. powdered ginger

Blend all together. Serve cold.

*I enjoy using this to cook my oats in for a yummy morning oatmeal recipe: 1 cup oats to 1 3/4 c eggnog. Just boil egg nog and then add oats. Cook three minutes and then let sit for 3 minutes. Voila. I sometimes add in raisins when I add the oats, so they're more plump and warm too.

*You can also add this to nut milk instead of regular milk, but I didn't want to make our nut milk recipe...although it'd be easy if you soak more cashews and just make it at the same time. You can use pumpkin pie spice instead of these listed. Or add a tiny dash of clove and also tiny dash of tumeric (which gives a little yellow color).

Oct 6, 2011

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe is very versatile. Add in whatever vegetables you have on hand in whatever amounts you prefer.

2 c. flour (white, or wheat, or combo)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 t. salt
6-8 T cold water

1/4 c. butter
1/2 c. onion
1 c. carrots
1 c. celery
2 T flour
1 c. potatoes, cubed
1 c. corn
1 c. cooked chicken
1 1/2 c. chicken broth (plus additional milk as desired)

1. Make the crust in one bowl: cut the butter into the flour/salt until crumbly.
2. Add cold water little by little until desired pastry consistency.
3. Roll into two balls and flatten to 1/4 inch. Line a pie plate with one (save second for the top).
4. In a pan, sautee onions, celery and carrots in butter until soft.
5. Add flour until everything coated, then add potatoes, corn, chicken and broth and cook 30 minutes.
6. Put filling into pie pan and cover with top pie crust. Cut slits on top and bake in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

*I added a cup of milk to the filling at the end, and cooked until bubbly and thickened so it was a little creamier and not too thick. Otherwise your pot pie could be too thick and dry.


French Onion Soup/Dip

Rainy weather plus overabundance of onions = French onion soup!
This is a very versatile recipe dependin gon preferences.

2-4 onions, thinly sliced (depending on your like of onions)
2 T butter
1 T sugar (I used rapudura)
1-3 T balsamic vinegar (or apple juice or something similar)
8 c beef broth
swiss cheese (for topping soup and/or bread)

1. Sautee onion in butter for 12 minutes until brown and limp.
2. Add vinegar or juice for one minute until evaporated (to flavor and help the pan not blacken from sauteeing)
3. add sugar and cook one more minute.
4. Add Broth and simmer for 15 minutes.
5. ladle into soup bowls and top with some grated cheese and even sliced cheese if you want to then put bowls in the oven to broil the sliced cheese over the soup bowl.

*Tastes great using garlic butter french bread toasted/broiled with swiss cheese on top to dip/break into the soup! The original recipe called for sherry instead of vinegar, but I used pomegranite flavored vinegar and it tasted great.

Sep 2, 2011

New Food Adventure: Eggplant

Ok, so many of you may already have eaten eggplant and think, "This is a new food for you?" But although I've had it before...I've never sought it out at the store to use in recipes. This is my fourth time cooking with it and I can finally say I'm enjoying it. The first time I tried it roasted, which wasn't bad. I even tried it breaded to dip with a marinara sauce...but it didn't work out for some reason. But this week I've been baking it in the oven (wash, cut in half length-wise, place cut side down and bake on 450 for 20-30 minutes). I've scooped out the cooked flesh and used it in a curry or soup, or flipped it over and used it whole as a boat (Zucchini Sausage boats recipe --in place of the zucchini and switched a few things by using mozzerella, tomato sauce and italian flavorings). It's a very versatile recipe.

Nutritional Info
Eggplants are related to tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. The fruit of eggplants is often large and decidedly egg-shaped, although there are varieties that are long, curved and slender. The eggplant skin color can range from creamy white to deep purple. Eggplant tends to be less nutritious than other vegetables, but does have some redeeming qualities, including offering high dietary fiber and low calories and fat.

Eggplant originated in India where they grow wild. By the fifth century, eggplant was cultivated in China, later spreading to Africa and Europe. Because of eggplants' tendency toward bitterness in early varieties, it was assumed that it could change one's personality to a bitter attitude, and so, was often ignored as a food. Later, varieties that were not bitter were developed increasing the popularity of eggplant. Eggplant eventually came to the United States and is grown widely in many regions both commercially and in home gardens.


Eggplant should be firm and feel relatively heavy, with smooth, shiny skin. While it does come in many colors, eggplant should be strongly colored and not have bruises or discoloration. Eggplants spoil easily and should be stored intact and cut only when ready to be prepared for eating.


A 100g serving of eggplant provides around 35 calories, with only 2 calories coming from fat. Eggplant provides 9g carbohydrates, 1g of protein, and less than 1g of fat per serving. The same serving is also an good source of vitamin K, B6 and thiamin. Eggplant also provides manganese and is a good source of dietary fiber and phytonutrients.


Eggplants are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help improve cardiovascular and digestive health, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Copper


Eggplant contains oxalates, chemicals that can crystallize in the body when levels are high enough. This can cause kidney or gallbladder stones. Oxalates can also inhibit calcium absorption. Those with a history of gall bladder or kidney disease or osteoporosis may want to limit their intake of eggplant.

*info from

Aug 22, 2011

Creamy Spinach & Cheese Quiche

2 frozen, prepared pie crusts
10 eggs, beaten
1 block pepper jack cheese, grated
6-8 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 package frozen spinach (well drained)
1 large onion diced
1/2 cup cream

Sautee the diced onion in some oil for 3-5 minutes over med. heat until softened.

Mix all the  ingredients together & pour in prepared pie crusts. Cover edges of crust w/foil & bake @ 400 for 15 minutes.

Remove foil & continue baking @ 350 for another 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown on top and lightly set. Cool for approximately 10 minutes and serve. Enjoy!!!

Submitted by: Shauna

Aug 17, 2011

Swiss Chard & Cheese Casserole

1 lg. head of Swiss Chard
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 lg. onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 c well drained canned tomatoes, diced
1/2 c mushrooms, diced
1/2 c olives, sliced
12 oz. pasta shells
3/4 c crumbled feta cheese
1/2 c kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c sour cream

1. Cook the pasta to package directions, drain, rinse and set aside.
2. Rinse chard, drain well and chop in to rough pieces.  Heat 2 T of oil in a lg. heavy skillet over med. heat.  Add the onion and saute until slighty tender.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute then add the tomatoes, mushrooms, and olives and cook about 8 minutes until the chard is just wilted.  Do not over cook the chard because it will cook more in the oven. 
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 
4. Remove the chard mixture and stir in the feta, kidney beans, parmesan and sour cream.  Fold in the pasta and season with salt and pepper.
5. Pour the mixture in a 1 or 2 quart casserole dish and sprinkle with any extra parmesan or some mozzerella.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cooked all the way through. 
6. Serve warm with some artisan sourdough bread and a fresh salad for a complete meal...enjoy!

Recipe was adapted from website.

Aug 8, 2011

Chili Verde/Salsa

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed
2 garlic cloves
1-3 jalapeno peppers (according to spicy-ness level desired)
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1/4 c water, or as needed
salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven's broiler. Arrange the whole cloves of garlic, tomatillos, and jalapenos on a baking sheet. Place under the broiler, and cook for a few minutes. Remove garlic cloves first, as soon as they are toasted, to avoid developing a bitter flavor. Continue to roast jalapenos and tomatillos until evenly charred, turning occasionally. Set aside to cool. Don't remove the charred parts of the tomatillos or the peppers (unless desired). They add a really nice flavor.                
  2. Place peppers and tomatillos in a blender with the garlic and cilantro. Add a little water to the mixture if necessary to facilitate blending. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

*We use this as a salsa for chips/nachos, or as an enchilada mothering sauce. :) I used more than one jalepeno and thought it was too spicy, so I added some lemon/lime juice. My husband didn't think it too spicy, but just right. (he likes spicy! I don't care for it, but this recipe worked well)


Aug 6, 2011

Parmesan Sausage Zucchini Boats

4 medium Zucchini
1 lb sausage
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c seasoned breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan, grated (opt.)
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c water

1. Cut zucchini lengthwise and scoop out insides, leaving 1/4-inch shell. Chop the pulp.
2. In large skillet, brown the sausage. Add onion, garlic and chopped zucchini pulp; sautee 5 minutes.
3. Remove from heat. Add breadcrumbs, 1/2 c parmesan cheese and egg; mix well.
4. Sprinkle salt in each zucchini shell and fill with meat mixture. Top with additional parmesan if desired.
5. Place shells in ungreased baking dished and pour 1/2 c water into bottom of each dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
6. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes of until zuchini is tender.

*I used turkey burger seasoned more like sausage (cumin, ginger, cayenne, oregano, fennel, etc.) and used left over bread crust for bread crumbs. I always add two eggs, although the original recipe just calls for one. I also like broiling for a minute or two for a slight crunch, once fully cooked.

*from LDSliving

Aug 4, 2011

Homemade Sorbets/Herbal Ices

There are two basic methods to extract the herbal flavors. One uses a blender and the other a saucepan. Aside from an ice cream maker, which is  not required for granitas, a fine-meshed strainer is the only special piece of  equipment you’ll need (to guarantee a smoother texture).

Measure the sugar,  water and lemon juice into the blender container, add a generous quantity of  herb leaves, and blend for a minute or so until smooth. Pour the liquid through  the fine strainer and immediately freeze it in an ice cream maker. Although you  can use ordinary granulated sugar, fine sugar (also known as baker’s sugar) is a  better choice because it will dissolve faster in the syrup without heat. This  method works best with lemon verbena, lemon geranium, tarragon and mint. It also  works well with basil, but you’ll get the best color if you blanch the basil  leaves first (a quick dip in boiling water followed by a cold-water  bath).

As easy as brewingherbal tea. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a  saucepan, toss in a bundle of herb sprigs (stems and all), cover the pan and  take it off the heat. Let the herbs steep for 15 minutes or so and then strain.  The syrup will carry the flavor and fragrance of the herb while the green  vegetal flavor of the leaf, along with the stems, will stay behind. Next, add  citrus juice and freeze. This is the more versatile method because it works with  nearly any herb. The infused syrups also can be mixed with fruit purees like  berry, melon or peach, creating endless combinations of herb and fruit  sorbets.

If you make a sorbet with nothing but sugar, water and an herb, it will taste cloying and flat; but add the correct amount of lemon juice and the flavor will be bright and refreshing. Fruit purees each have their own level of sweet and tart, so the proportion of sugar syrup  may vary with each particular fruit.

Too much sugar will  make a sorbet that is too soft; too little sugar will make a sorbet that is too icy. You’ll need to rely on your taste buds or a recipe.

Standard Formula
1 cup  of sugar
3 ¼ cups water
¼ cup lemon/lime juice

Although there is no firmly defined difference between a sherbet and a sorbet,  sherbet often is made with dairy or egg whites. Here are two recipes to try....

Lemon-Verbena Yogurt Sherbet
• 2 cups lemon verbena leaves, lightly packed 2 cups whole-milk  yogurt
• 1½ cups fine sugar 1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 1½  cups water
1. Puree lemon verbena, sugar and water in blender on high speed.
2.  Whisk together yogurt and lemon juice in a mixing bowl.
3. Strain lemon  verbena syrup through a fine sieve into yogurt; whisk until smooth. Freeze  immediately in ice cream maker until slushy-firm. Scoop into storage container  and freeze until firm enough to scoop.

Basil-Lime Sorbet
• 3¼ cups water
• 2 cups basil leaves, gently packed
• 1 cup fine  sugar
• ¼ cup fresh lime juice
1. Bring water to a boil in small saucepan. Add basil leaves; cook 10  seconds. Drain and plunge basil into cold water. Drain again.
2. Puree  sugar, water, lime juice and blanched basil leaves in blender on high speed for  about 1 minute, or until you have a smooth, bright-green liquid. Pour through  fine-meshed strainer.
3. Freeze immediately in an ice cream maker until  slushy-firm. Scoop into a storage container and freeze until firm enough to  scoop.
Read more:

Aug 3, 2011

Eggs 101

Egg Varieties
  • Brown eggs: Eggshell color can vary but it has nothing to do with the quality, flavor, nutritive value, cooking characteristics or shell thickness of an egg. The eggshell color only depends upon the breed of the hen.
  • Omega 3 enhanced eggs are from hens fed a diet flax seed or fish oils. Omega 3 enhanced eggs contain more omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E than the regular eggs (almost 7 times more than regular supermarket store eggs)
  • Organic eggs are produced by hens fed certified organic grains without most conventional pesticides and fertilizers. Growth hormones and antiobiotics are also prohibited. Organic eggs have the same nutritional content, fat or cholesterol as regular eggs.
  • Free-Run or Cage-free eggs are produced by hens that are able to move about the floor of the barn and have access to nesting boxes and perches. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
  • Free-Range eggs are produced in a similar environment as cage-free eggs but hens have access to outdoor runs as well. The nutrient content of these eggs is the same as that of regular eggs.
  • Processed eggs such as liquid egg whites or dried egg whites are shell eggs broken by special machines then pasteurized before being further processed and packaged in liquid, frozen or dried form. Process egg products may also contain preservatives and flavor or color additives.
Basic Nutrition Info and Facts
Eggs are nutrition powerhouse. Rich in folate, vitamin B12, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, eggs also provides a good source of lutein, a type of antioxidants.

Yolk: 75 calories/213 mg. of cholesterol
Egg White: 16 calories/0 mg. cholesterol

According to the Egg Nutrition Center, the nutritional value of an egg is affected ONLY by the feed. In other words, specialty eggs such as organic eggs, or cage-free eggs provide the same nutritional value as the regular varieties if their feeds are the same.

What's the difference between a brown and a white egg?
Nothing except the color of the shell. And this is determined by the breed and color of the feathers of the hen that laid the egg: white feathered hens lay white eggs, and brown hens, brown eggs.

Should I always buy grade AA eggs?
Eggs are graded AA, A or B based upon the quality of the egg's interior and exterior when it left the farm. AA is the better option, for this reason. Yet, the grade doesn't have anything to do with freshness or size and grade A is commonly found in our markets. What matters more than grade is freshness, so if you have a choice between a very fresh grade A and a less fresh grade AA, choose the fresher A.

What size eggs should I buy?
Most recipes/nutrition info are based on large sized eggs.
jumbo = 30 oz
extra large = 27 oz
large = 24 oz
medium = 21 oz
small = 18 oz
*weight ranges are based on minimum size

How should I store eggs?
Always refrigerate your eggs and keep them large-end up in their original store cartons instead of transferring them to those useless egg-holding trays in your refrigerator. Egg shells are porous so if you expose eggs to the air inside your refrigerator, they easily can absorb food odors.

How long do eggs keep?
Raw eggs can usually be kept in the fridge up to a month (from the day they were packed).  If you  keep eggs at room temperature they lose more quality in one day than if stored in the refrigerator for a week.

A hard-cooked egg can be kept in the refrigerator for up to one week. If you open a carton and any eggs are cracked, discard them because the protective shell has been violated and it could cause the egg to spoil.

*Tip: If you don't know how old the egg is, do a simple test: If the egg sinks, it's good; if it floats, it's bad (which means it may give you a lit of stinky gas, should you choose to eat it).

Can I freeze eggs?
Egg Yolks = NO
Egg Whites = YES
Freeze beautifully and can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. Just put them in a sealed plastic container. You can also use an ice cube tray to freeze individual eggs whites, transferring the individual "egg cubes" into a sealed plastic bag after they've frozen.

Why are some egg yolks different shades of yellow?
The color of the yolk will depend upon the hen's diet. Wheat-fed hen's yolks will be a paler yellow than those fed a diet of alfalfa, grass or yellow corn.

What if there's a spot of blood on a yolk?

It's just a natural residue on the yolk that occurs when the egg is formed. Some say it's a sign of freshness because this kind of spot will fade as the egg ages. But if you have any question about the condition of an egg, discard it.

What about salmonella? Are raw eggs too risky to use?
Salmonella is a bacteria that causes an illness that can be dangerous to the very young, the very old, and anyone with a compromised immune system. Today it is extremely rare (some say 1 in 20,000 eggs) but if you have concerns, especially if there has been a recent egg recall, you should partially or completely cook your eggs. To kill the bacteria, cook an egg to 140º F for 5 minutes (the yolk will stay runny) or to 160º F (the yolk will harden) for 1 minute. The alternative is to purchase pasteurized eggs (they're more costly) which have been heated enough to kill the bacteria without cooking the eggs (pasteurization/high heat generally kills many nutrients/vitamins).

Also remember that eggs come from chicken farms, not exactly sanitary places. So handle eggs as you do raw chicken -- keep the eggs in their carton and separate from other food, discard any that are broken, and wash your hands after handling them.

Easy-to-peel Hard Boiled Eggs
1. Place eggs into a pot with cold/lukewarm water covering atleast an inch above the eggs.
2. Bring the water to a full, rolling boil at a high temperature.
3. The very minute the eggs reach that full rolling boil, remove the pot from the stovetop to a nearby waiting trivet and IMMEDIATELY put the cover on the pot TIGHTLY and allow the eggs to continue to cook in the hot water (right on your tabletop, yes, without any flame underneath it) still in the pot for EIGHTEEN minutes.
4. After the 18 minutes, remove the cover and pour out the still very very hot water and refill the pot with the coldest water you can get your tap to produce.
5. Let the eggs just sit in the very cold water for a minute or two and then refill the pot again with more of the coldest water you've got.
6. Peel oh so easily (because the immediate rinse with cold, cold water). :)           
*adapted from and

Jul 28, 2011

Creamy Whole Beet Pilaf

1 beet, peeled and quartered
1-2 c beat greens, stems trimmed/shredded
4 c water/broth (up to 7 c. if using brown rice instead)
2 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, minced
1 c Arborio rice (I rarely use arbirio, but most often brown rice)
salt and pepper to taste
1 T lemon juice (opt.)
2 T butter (opt.)
grated Parmesan cheese  (opt. for top)          
  1. Sautee onion in the oil until tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the rice; cook and stir another 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in the beet and beet green mixture, cooking another minute.
  4. Pour in the broth mixture 1 cup at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding each batch, stirring continually. Do this for the amount of time the rice normally takes to cook, but allow the water to absorb until tender--may have to periodically taste for doneness. (I do brown rice and cook it for a whole hour with seven cups of broth/water)
  5. Continue stirring until creamy and thick, about 3 minutes more. Add lemon juice, butter and salt if desired. Top with Parmesan cheese if desired. ]

*found this recipe at and it's a great way to use the whole beet/greens. I tweaked it a little by not adding any cheddar cheese, using brown rice and adding the lemon juice. It's very creamy with the brown rice and 7 cups water! And I've used pumpkin and feta, in place of beets. Adding pureed vegetables makes it healthier. So this recipe is my modified version. Enjoy!

Jul 27, 2011

Ukrainian Red Borscht Soup

1 (16 oz) pkg pork sausage, cooked (opt.)
3 medium beets, peeled and shredded
3 carrots, peeled and shredded
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 T oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 -1 (6 oz) can tomato paste (or ketchup, to taste)
2 quarts water
1/2 medium head cabbage, cored and shredded
1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained (opt)
3 cloves garlic, minced (opt)
salt to taste
1 t. sugar (opt, but not needed)     
1 t vinegar, any type (opt. -- if you didn't add in ketchup)   
  1. Heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until tender. (add meat now if desired)
  2. Fill the pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook 10 minutes.
  3. Add the carrots, beets, cabbage and tomatoes; cook 10 more minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste to the soup, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Taste, and season with salt (and sugar if needed).


Jul 19, 2011


Try this simple twist on regular and boring oatmeal!

1 c rolled oats
1/4 c raw almond slivers
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 cup warm filtered water plus 2 T whey, yogurt, kefir or buttermilk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c filtered water
1/4 c raisins
1 T flax seeds, ground
fresh berries, optional but good!

Mix oats with almonds, cinnamon, and coconut.  Combine oat mixture with warm water mixture, cover and soak at room temperature for at least 7 hours and as long as 24 hours.  (I find it easy to start soaking my grains just before going to bed or right after dinner.)  Bring an additional 1 cup of water to boil with sea salt.  Add soaked oats and raisins, reduce heat, cover and simmer several minutes.  Serve with butter, flax meal and either Rapadura, date sugar, pure maple syrup, maple sugar or raw honey.  You'll feel SO good after eating such a healthy and delicious breakfast!

recipe from: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
*see post: awesome heath benefits of soaking flour

Jul 18, 2011

Beef 101: From Cuts to Cooking

In case you're like me and get overwhelmed at the Meat section of the grocery store or feel like you're constantly at battle with your beef in the kitchen--turning out chewy and dry, here's a little info on what the different cuts of meat are and how to cook them.

The Best Cuts & Cooking Methods
Grilling, broiling, and pan frying
The best cuts of meat are rib eye steaks, strip or shell steaks, and T bone, which contains both the strip and tenderloin steaks. Sirloin and round steaks will be tough and dry. Flank steaks and flat iron steaks are good when quickly cooked and sliced across the grain, as described above.

Top sirloin, tenderloin, standing rib roasts, and top rump roast are good candidates.

Stir frying
Flank, top round, and sirloin steak are good. These cuts are best cooked quickly, and since elastin is broken because the meat is cubed, they are more tender.

Tenderloin is the best bet. This mild cut absorbs flavors easily and it is very tender.

Pot roasting and braising
Chuck and rump are the best cuts. These cuts have more collagen and need long, slow cooking in a wet environment to reach their optimum tenderness. Chuck has the most flavor and is the most tender.

Ground beef, chuck is the way to go. It has optimal amounts of fat and is tenderized mechanically by the grinding action. Most lean ground beef is chuck, but if you're not sure, ask!

Read more to find out why and for extra tips...

Basic Cuts of Beef
For beef, there are eight 'primal cuts'. At the top of the animal, starting near the head and going back toward the tail, they are chuck, rib, short loin, sirloin, and round. Underneath the animal, from front to back, they are brisket, plate, and flank. The tenderness or toughness of the cut depends on how much the animal has had to use the muscle. Therefore, cuts near the shoulder or leg, which are used often for movement, are going to be tougher. The muscles that are not used as much, in the center of the animal, include the rib, plate, and loin. 

Protein, Water, Fat, Sugar, and Collagen

  • When meat is cooked, protein molecules, which are tightly wound and connected to other molecules, first unwind. This is called 'denaturing', and all it means is that the proteins are relaxing and separating. Because proteins are attracted to each other, they almost immediately pair up with other proteins, forming bundles. This is called 'coagulating' or cooking. As more heat is applied, the bundles of protein shrink. Up to 120 degrees F, the bundles shrink in width. After 120 degrees F, the bundles begin to shrink in length as well. 

  • Water is also present in the muscles. Some of it is bound up with the proteins, fats, and sugars, and some is 'free water'. The amount of liquid left after the beef is cooked is directly related to the juiciness of the finished dish. As the protein bundles shrink and fat melts in the muscle, water molecules are squeezed out. Not too much water is squeezed out as the protein shrinks in width. But as the temperature increases over 120 degrees F and the bundles become shorter, more and more water is squeezed out and evaporated. That's why a well done piece of beef is so dry. Cooking times and temperatures must be controlled when cooking beef.

  • Fat is flavor! A good cut of meat will have specks of white fat evenly distributed through the meat. Leaner cuts of beef, such as flank and round, have less fat and can benefit from marinades and dry rubs.

  • Sugar plays an important role in beef, its finished color and flavor. Sugar and protein, when heated in an acid-free environment, combine to form complex molecules in a process called the Maillard Reaction. The wonderful crisp crust with its rich caramel flavors that form on a seared piece of beef are all from the Maillard Reaction. High heat is required for this reaction to occur; grilling and broiling are the best methods. You can also brown meats before cooking to start the Maillard Reaction, and you can broil roasts at the end of cooking time to achieve the same result.

  • Other substances in meat include collagen and elastin. These are present in the hard working muscles of the animal. Collagen will melt as it is heated, turning into gelatin and becoming soft and melty. Elastin can only be broken down physically, as when you pound a cube steak before cooking or grind meat for hamburger. These compounds are found in the brisket, shank, chuck, and round primal cuts; in other words, the beef we cook as pot roasts and stews and hamburger.

The Two Methods of Cooking

There are two methods for cooking meat:
Dry heat: grilling, broiling, sauteing, roasting, stir frying, and deep frying.
Wet heat: braising, pot roasting, stewing, steaming, poaching, and slow cooking. 

You choose the cooking method depending on where the meat was located on the animal. Steaks, cut from the little-used center area of the animal, are naturally tender with little collagen and elastin, so they cook best using dry heat and short cooking times. Rump or round roasts have more collagen so they need wet heat, and longer, slower cooking in order to melt the collagen.

Most solid cuts of beef are cooked in a two stage method.
quick high heat produces the Maillard reactions and forms a flavorful crust on the surface.
slower cooking at a lower temperature will evenly cook the meat through without overcooking the outer edges.

If you are grilling a steak, divide your grill into a hot side and cooler side by controlling the number of briquette. Start the steak on the hot side to form a crust and pull it over to the cooler side to finish cooking.
Roasts and stir fries use the same two stage method; first browned over high heat, then cooked with lower heat until the correct inner temperature is attained. You can also cook a roast with low heat in the oven, then turn on the broiler for the final few minutes to create a crisp flavorful crust.

TIP: After cooking, cover the beef to retain heat and let it stand for 5-10 minutes. This will let the water redistribute throughout the cut.


New Food Adventure: Figs

We got figs in our basket last week. So it was the first time I'd had fresh figs--not like Fig Newtons or anything. I had to post on it. I actually just ate them fresh. You peel them and eat the inside.

Figs grow on the ficus tree (Ficus carica). Native to the Middle East, figs were one of the first fruits ever to be cultivated. Currently, California ranks third in the world in fig production after Turkey and Greece.

Figs tend to be more popular in their dried form because fresh figs are very delicate and tend to deteriorate quickly. When choosing fresh figs, select those which are plump and tender, have a rich, deep colour, are free from bruises and are not mushy. Ripe figs should not be washed until ready to eat and should be kept covered and refrigerated, where they will remain fresh for approximately two days. Unripe figs should be kept at room temperature and out of direct sunlight.


Figs are high in natural and simple sugars, minerals and fibre. They contain good levels of potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and manganese. Dried figs contain an impressive 250mg of calcium per 100g, compared to whole milk with only 118mg.

The health benefits of figs include promoting healthy bowel function due to the high levels of fibre. Figs are amongst the most highly alkaline foods, making them useful in balancing the pH of the body. They are a good source of potassium, important in helping to regulate blood pressure.

10 Tips for Incorporating Figs in your Diet

  1. Eat dries figs as a healthy energy snack. For extra flavour and nutrients, stuff them with nuts and a little honey
  2. Add figs to baked goods such as muffins, cakes and muesli bars.
  3. Add dried or fresh figs to porridge, oatmeal or breakfast cereals.
  4. Stew dried figs in fruit juice with other dried fruits to make a delicious fruit salad. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg before serving
  5. Poach figs in red wine or fruit juice and serve with Greek yogurt or creme fraiche.
  6. Add quartered fresh figs to a salad of fennel, rocket and parmesan cheese.
  7. Stuff fresh figs with goat's cheese and chopped almonds and serve as an appetizer or dessert.
  8. Make a fig butter by boiling dried figs in fruit juice until soft. When all the liquid has been absorbed, place the mixture in a food processor and blend until smooth. Use to spread on rice cakes, toast or crackers.
  9. Add chopped fresh figs to rice, quinoa or couscous dishes.
  10. Make a fig tart by grinding two handfuls of walnuts in a food processor. Add one packet of dried figs, 1/2 packet raisins,3/4 c. apple juice, 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Process until the mixture is the texture of a sticky paste. Press into a pastry case and bake at a medium heat for 35 minutes.

Read more at Suite101: Health Benefits of Eating Figs: Nutrition Facts and Tips for Serving Figs |

Jul 11, 2011

Renaissance Pears

both sweet and savory --won a Recipe contest
6 bosc pears
3 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
6 slices of cheddar cheese
1/3 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 c. + 1-2 T. rapadura sugar (Portuguese name for dried sugarcane juice)
1/4 c. water
dash cinnamon

Make candied walnuts:
Place 2 T sugar in a mini-pan on medium heat and melt. Add walnut pieces and coat. Quickly take out and seperate pieces to harden on silcon mat.

Cut pears in half, long-wise and cut out the core and stem.
In a larger pan, combine 1/2 c. sugar with 1/4 c. water and place in pears cut-side up.
Cover pan and simmer pears on medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes--until pears are cooked through.
Remove cooked pears from pan and place on dish. Put the slice of cheese, bacon crumbles and candied walnuts on each pear.
Meanwhile, increase heat to medium and bring remaining sugar water in large pan to a boil until sugar turns from light color to dark and just starts to thicken a little (about 5-7 minutes). Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Remove from heat immediately and drizzle over pears; sugar will harden fast. Add tiny dash of cinnamon on top.
You're done! Eat and savour every bite.

Jul 9, 2011

Brownie Pudding Cake (soaked)

I made this for my son's birthday cake. His first. Excellent with strawberries.

1 c brown rice flour (grind your own if you have a good grinder)
1/2 c thin coconut milk
2 T cocoa powder
1/2 T raw apple cider vinegar (or kefir)

1 T chia or flax seeds
3-4 T water
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
2 T melted coconut oil or butter
½ c sweetener of choice

1 1/2 c boiling water
1/3 c cocoa powder
dash of salt
½ c sweetener of choice

1-Mix together the flour , cocoa powder and coconut milk and apple cider vinegar, if using. Leave covered in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

2-When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the chia seeds in the water and let sit for 15-20 minutes, until thickened. Put the water on to boil. Then mix the baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract and salt, oil or butter and sweetener, and the chia seed mixture in with the soaked flour mixture.

3-In another, heat safe bowl, combine the boiling water, cocoa powder, dash of salt and honey. Mix until combined.

4- Scrap the batter into the pan 8 x 8 x2 or pie dish. Then pour the boiling water mixture over it.

5-Baking for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when poked into the cake topping. Then remove from the oven. Let rest at least ten minutes and up to 45 minutes before serving. The longer it sits the thicker the sauce will become.  My husband actually likes this best cold. But most enjoy it warm with some ice cream on top.


Jul 8, 2011

How to Eat More Fruits

1. Make it a rule: Every breakfast or Lunch includes a piece of fruit
It's the perfect morning food, filled with natural, complex sugars for slow-release energy, fiber, and nutrients galore. Cantaloupe, an orange, berries--all are perfect with whole wheat toast, cereal, or an egg.

2. Make another rule: Fruit for dessert at least three nights per week
A slice of watermelon, a peach, a bowl of blueberries--they're the perfect ending to a meal, and are so much healthier than cookies or cake. Like your desserts fancier? How does chocolate-covered strawberries, poached pears in red wine, peach and blueberry crisp, or frozen fresh raspberry yogurt sound? They count too.

3. Every Monday, start your week with a fruit Smoothie
Add one cup fresh fruit, 1/2 cup fruit juice, and one cup ice to a blender and liquefy. That's two servings of fruit before 8 a.m.! If you'd prefer a creamier smoothie, toss in 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt.

4. Substitute fruit sorbet for ice cream
One scoop (1/4 cup) contains up to one serving of fruit, says Carolyn Lammersfeld, R.D., who leads the nutrition team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern Regional Medical Center in Chicago. To whip up your own, try freezing peaches packed in their own juice for 24 hours, then submerge the can in hot water for one minute. Cut the fruit into chunks and puree until smooth.

5. Or substitute frozen fruit bars for ice cream
Buy pure-fruit versions that don't add extra corn syrup or sugar. Feel free to have one every single day. Or better yet, make your own. Do blended fruit by itself, or add yogurt and/or sugar. You can freeze bananas and then spread peanut butter on them and refreeze, and then dip in melted chocolate and nuts before going in for one last freeze for scrumptious snacks.

6. Keep a fruit bowl filled wherever you spend the most time. This could be at work, near your home computer, or even in the television room. And keep five to eight pieces of fresh fruit in it at all times, such as bananas, oranges, apples, grapes, or plums. Most fruit is fine left at room temperature for three or four days. But if it's out and staring at you, it's not likely to last that long. A piece of fruit makes a perfect snack--as often as four times per day.

7. Get your fruits dried
Dried fruits are very portable and have a long shelf life. Take them to work, on shopping trips, or even on vacation. Raisins and prunes are classic choices. Also try dried cranberries and blueberries, which are extremely high in phytonutrients, or dried apricots, which are chock-full of beta-carotene, says Mary Gregg, R.D., director of Human Care Services for NutriSystem, Inc. Other options include dates, figs, dried peaches, dried pears, and dried bananas.

8. Bring fruit with you anytime you go out and about for more than an hour
Once you are on the highway cruising along or walking step after step along a path, an apple or a nectarine tastes great and helps break the tedium.

9. Substitute fruit puree for oil in baking
Prunes work particularly well for brownies, or applesauce for lighter cakes and muffins, etc.  You can even make your own by blending it up and freezing in ice cube trays and then just use the cubes  as needed, so you always have some on hand.

This list of foods NOT to eat has been sorted into food group categories. You should takes steps to minimizing these types of food, realizing that it may take time, energy and substitutions to old recipes, or even new recipes. It's easy to get overwhelmed, so think of this as the IDEAL. Maybe set a goal which food group to work on this month, or to try the goal during the week, but allow a little splurging on weekends.

· Refined Sugar: Besides staying away from table sugar and candy, watch for added sugar hidden everywhere. Learn the many different sugar names and check all packaged, canned and processed foods, such as cereals, prepared meats, bakery goods, jams, etc.

· Grain Products: Try to stay away from refined grain foods. These include most breads, crackers, pasta and breakfast cereals. Also eliminate cakes, pies, doughnuts, cookies, croissants, muffins and all pastries and snack foods such as chips, most snack mixes and buttered popcorn.

· Fats and Oils: Limit saturated fats and refined vegetables oils. Eliminate food with trans fats and other bad fat. This includes margarine, lard or partially hydrogenated oils found in cookies, cakes, pastries, doughnuts, chips, fried foods, candy and most chocolate.

· Meats, Poultry and Fish: - Limit red meats high in saturated fats and other fatty cuts of meat – ribs, bacon, sausage, hot dogs, pepperoni, salami, bologna and other packaged meats, plus most hamburgers. Also avoid deep frying anything.

· Dairy and Eggs: Limit cream products, such as full-fat cream cheese, sour cream, cream sauces, whipped cream and ice cream. Also limit the use of butter, eggs and full-fat cheeses and whole milk, 2% reduced fat milk and whole milk yogurts.

· Beans, Nuts and Seeds: Stay away from any bean soups or chili that contain sausage, bacon, ham or other high fat meats. Also avoid all salted nuts and seeds, as well as those roasted in oils.

· Fruits and Vegetables: Eliminate fried vegetables and fruits, vegetables with butter, cheese or cream sauces and fruits with cream or whipped cream. Also avoid fruit drinks and high sugar fruit juices. One cup of fruit juice has no fiber and up to 10 teaspoons of high glycemic sugar.

· Excess Salt: Average salt consumption in the U.S. is 10-15 grams a day. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 3-8 grams. To cut your salt intake in half, limit table salt and avoid chips, salted nuts and popcorn and most prepared, canned and packaged foods.

· Liquids: Avoid all sodas, milk shakes, fruit juice and fruit drinks and greatly limit or totally eliminate caffeine and alcoholic beverages.  

·  Vegetables: When picking from the vegetables list, go for the bright colors with the most vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Choose dark green, orange and red vegetables, like broccoli, kale, carrots, squash, red peppers and tomatoes. And garlic and onions are powerful natural antibiotics that strengthen immunity and help prevent disease. Go for organic if possible (especially for the top "dirty dozen" that are most affected by pesticides).
·  Fruit: From the fruits list, choose whole fresh, frozen or, in limited amounts, naturally dried fruits. Pick berries, oranges, red grapefruit, cantaloupe, apples, apricots, plums and other brightly colored fruit that's low on the glycemic foods index, rather than canned fruit or fruit juices. Go for organic if possible (especially for the top "dirty dozen" that are most affected by pesticides).

· Whole Grains: Choose 100% whole wheat or rye breads, crackers and pastas, sprouted grains, brown rice, oatmeal and other whole grain high fiber foods instead of refined grains, like white bread and white rice. Try grinding your own gerain and making combination flours of various whole grains so it's not just wheat (which can be hard on some peoples' bodies). 

· Beans, Nuts and Seeds: Beans (legumes), such as lentils, soy beans, garbanzo, and kidney beans are good sources of both protein and fiber. They can be added to salads, home made burritos and soups. Good choices of nuts and seeds are raw, unsalted almonds, walnuts and sunflower seeds. If you’re watching calories, keep portions small.

· Fats and Oils: Good quality food fat from olive oil, fish oil, beans, whole grains, raw nuts and seeds provide important, healthy fatty acids. Using butter is just fine, just don’t use it for everything. Use extra virgin olive oil for salads, stir-frying and baking (unless the tempurature is really high). Remember, fats are high in calories, so eat sparingly for good weight management.

· Dairy and Eggs: Choose only healthy fat-free or low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream. If you drink milk, make sure it's fat-free. And don't overeat butter, cheese and eggs.

· Fish, Poultry and Meats: Healthy high protein foods are important. Have omega 3 fish, such as salmon, trout or sardines at least twice a week. Also include poultry (without the skin), beans, low-fat dairy, nuts and seeds. If you eat meat, pick lean cuts and limit portion sizes.

· Water and Other Liquids: Since your body's mostly water and you use and lose about 9 cups of it a day, fluids are essential. And here's the bottom line. Pure water is the healthiest thing to drink. So stick with water, mild herbal teas without caffeine and plain lemon water.