Mar 31, 2011

Flax Seeds- An Egg Substitute

So, for those of you who don't like eating too many eggs, or if you've run out and it's baking time....just use flax seeds. IF you don't have flax seeds in your house, then now's the time to get some. They're loaded with omega 3's, like fish and such. Good source of soluble fiber and especially good for those with high cholesterol. Eating 1 T a day is a recommendation from the mayo-clinic.

Use 1 T ground flax seed with 3 T water as an egg substitute for baking. Just mix that in with the liquid ingredients and it starts to form a type of gel (I've heard you can use this gel for hair gel, but haven't tried it). I've had success with cookies and muffins so far.

When you don't need it for a substitute, get your extra omega-3's by sprinkling flax on your hot morning cereals or your cottage cheese, or on your sandwich, etc. Or even add it to your homemade granola.

Tip: store flax seeds in your fridge or freezer. And it's best to grind them when you use them, so as to maximize the nutrients (which diminish more quickly if stored ground). You can use a coffee grinder to grind them, but they are hard on pepper mills and too oily for many wheat grinders, so be careful. (If you don't have any of these, you can just buy the pre-ground...but remember to store in your fridge.)

Mar 30, 2011

Curried Cous Cous Salad

1 box of curry flavored cous cous (cook as directed; or cook cous cous and add curry powder)
1 diced red bell pepper
1 thinly sliced green onion (green tops only)
couple handfuls of frozen peas
 Cook the cous cous and then throw in the remaining ingredients in the pan until everything is warm.

*from Shauna Nebeker

- sautee the vegetables first and then add on top of cous cous (can add onion if you want)
- add feta or parmesan on top!
- use quinoa instead of cous cous (or another grain), and just add curry powder when cooking it (cook in chicken broth for extra yummy flavor)
- switch up the vegetables with zucchini (although the red pepper is delicious!)
- throw it in a tortilla with some chicken and or spinach and cheese

Slow Cooker Chicken Burritos

1 clove garlic, minced
1 small red onion(s), chopped
14 1/2 oz canned diced tomatoes, with chiles
15 oz canned kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. table salt
1/4 t. dried oregano, crushed
1/4 t. black pepper
1 lb. chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 c chicken broth
12 whole wheat tortillas
3/4 c Mexican-style cheese

Place garlic, onion, tomatoes, beans, chili powder, salt, oregano and pepper in a 3-quart slow cooker; stir well. Add chicken and broth. Cover and cook on low setting for 5 hours; drain off liquid (there should be about 6 cups of burrito mixture).

To serve, spoon about 1/2 cup of burrito mixture down center of each tortilla; top with 1 tablespoon of cheese. Fold bottom 1/3 of tortilla to center. Fold left side to center; fold right side to center, covering filling. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

*submitted by Jenny Kosin (and Caroline) from

Mar 28, 2011

Health benefits of Amaranth

It is not a true cereal grain at all, but is a relative of the pigweeds and the ornamental flowers we know as cockscomb. It's grown not only for its seeds, but for its leaves that can be cooked and eaten as greens (looks a little like spinach leaves).  The grains can be milled as-is, or the seeds can be toasted to provide more flavor. 

The flour lacks gluten, so it's not suited for raised breads, but can be made into any of a number of flat breads. Some varieties can be popped much like popcorn, or can be boiled and eaten as a cereal, used in soups, granolas, and the like. Toasted or untoasted, it blends well with other grain flours.  

It’s high in protein, particularly in the amino acid, Lysine, which is low in the cereal grains. In fact, Amaranth has the highest lysine content of all the grains in this study with Quinoa coming in a close second. To make your whole wheat bread a complete protein, substitute about 25% of your wheat flour with Amaranth flour. Amaranth, by itself, has a really nice amino acid blend. Just 150 grams of the grain is all that’s required to supply an adult with 100% of the daily requirement of protein! 

Amaranth is one of the highest grains in fiber content. This makes it an effective agent against cancer and heart disease. It also is the only grain in this study that contains significant amounts of phytosterols which scientists are just now learning play a major part in the prevention of all kinds of diseases. Amaranth is also rich in many vitamins and minerals.

Sweet & Sour Tofu

Recipe courtesy of

1 20oz can pineapple tidbits or chunks, packed in juice
3 T rice vinegar
2 T ketchup
2 T soy sauce
1 T brown sugar (or whole cane sugar)
1 14oz package extra firm water-packed TOFU, drained, rinsed and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tsp. cornstarch
2 T canola oil, divided
2 T garlic, minced
1 T ginger, minced
1 lg. red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips
1 lg. green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips

1.  Drain and set aside pineapple, reserving 1/4 cup of juice.  Whisk the reserved pineapple juice, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and sugar in a med. bowl until smooth.  Place tofu in a large bowl; toss with 3 T of the sauce.  Let marinate for at least 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes.  ( I prefer the longer time)
2.  Meanwhile, add cornstarch to the remaining sauce and whisk until smooth.
3.  Heat 1 T oil in a lg. nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Transfer the tofu to the pan using a slotted spoon; whisk any remaining marinade into the bowl of reserved sauce.  Cook the tofu, stirring every 1-2 minutes until golden brown, about 10 minutes total.  Transfer to plate.
4.  Add the remaining oil to the pan and heat over medium heat.  Add garlic and ginger and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add red and green bell peppers, and cook stirring often, until just tender, 2-3 minutes.  Pour in the reserved sauce and cook, stirring until thickened, about 30 seconds.  Add the tofu and pineapple and cook, stirring very gently until heated through, about 2 minutes more.  Serve over rice. 

I double the recipe for my family of 7 people.

Mar 21, 2011

Seven Foods We Eat, But Need to Be Aware About

Julie Slagle just sent us a link about Seven foods that aren't good for you.

If you don't want to change your eating habits, then you don't need to read's very informative about the chemicals used on some foods we're all familiar with that aren't organic. But if you're curious and trying to make implemental changes, like a lot of us who use this blog, then feel free to read. It's important to be aware and to make changes over time. Afterall, there are a ton of bad things out there that are widely accepted as being "food" that aren't doing any good for your body, and yet we still survive. Just choose wisely and slowly make healthier substitutions where needed and are practical.

Here's the article...

Just another reason I buy organic apples at Costco. And I will make sure I'm doing organic potatoes too. The tomato one will be more difficult. But, for those who know how to garden and bottle you own, you have a great summer project--should you choose.

Charise has been a good example of ordering the Organic Bountiful Basket. A little higher price to pay, money-wise, but a safer price to pay health-wise.

Feel free to comment on practical ways you are changing what you eat.

Mar 7, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala

2 lbs boneless chicken, cubed
1/2 c. olive oil
1 med. onion, minced
1/4 c. minced ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, minced
8 oz. can tomato sauce
3/4 c. water

Spice Blend:
1/4 c ground sunflower seeds
1 t. salt
1 t. ground coriander
1 t. cumin
1 t. sugar (optional)
1/2 p. black pepper
1/2 t. chili powder
1/8 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cloves
1/8 t. cardamom

Heat oil in a large saucepan for 1 minute.  Add onion, ginger, and garlic; cook until softened.  Then add spice blend, stir constantly for 1 minute and then add the tomato sauce- cook for 2-3 minutes.  Add chicken cubes, stirring frequently for 8-10 minutes.  Finally add 3/4 cup water, stir and cover for 8-10 minutes more.  Remove from heat, garnish with cilantro.  Serve with rice.  Serves about 6.

This was from a friend and neighbor of mine, Ann Schraedel.  I mixed black, white, and brown rice together, added a little extra water and cooked it a little longer and it really tasted GREAT with the sauce on top.   Thanks for this DELICIOUS recipe Ann! 

Mar 1, 2011

New Food Adventure: Purple Sweet Potatoes

Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes, also known as Okinawan potatoes, are native to the Japanese island, Okinawa.

These unique sweet potatoes are richly nutritious as they're fat-free and low in calories, high in fiber, great for diabetics and people who are carbohydrate sensitive, and loaded with antioxidants.
A one cup serving of Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes has only 140 calories, yet is packed with 4 grams of dietary fiber. Antioxidants help to prevent diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. They boost immunity, are anti-inflammatory, and keep bones and skin healthy.
The most powerful antioxidants are phytochemicals.  
Anthocyanins are the phytochemical that give Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes their distinctive rich color.  Anthocyanins are flavonoid compounds responsible for the beautiful bright purple flesh of Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes. Anthocyanins from sources such as blueberries and Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes have been shown to be powerful antioxidants, exhibiting greater antioxidant activity than either Vitamin C or Vitamin E.  Studies demonstrate that neither the anthocyanin content nor the antioxidant activity of the purple flesh was affected by common cooking methods. Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes pigments offer protection from cancer and other diseases!

Studies show that Hawaiian Purple Sweet Potatoes have 150% more anthocyanins than blueberries, that’s 2 1/2 times the punch per serving!

My sister and I were shopping at a Thai Market in Layton, Utah and found these delicious and nutritious sweet potatoes that were imported from Hawaii.  You can probably find them at any specialty or health food store in the winter months.  I like to eat  these plain after steaming them for about 40 minutes because they are naturally sweet already!  Try them and you will not be disappointed!