Dec 31, 2013

Asian Quinoa Salad

This salad is similar to my lettuce wraps, but a variation that is easier to take to a potluck or something. And my 3 year old eats it up every time, no problem; unlike other lettuce-based salads (that don't have ranch).

Cooked quinoa
colored bell peppers
edamame, shelled
cucumber (opt)
carrots, shredded (opt)
asian flavored ground turkey (opt)
extra-virgin olive oil
sesame oil
rice vinegar
soy sauce
sweet chili sauce (opt.)
sesame seeds

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

My parents went to the Steel Grass Chocolate Farm on Kauai during their Christmas vacation. When they got back my Dad shared a handout with me that he got there about dark chocolate. (Lucky also involved taste testing tons of types of chocolate...yummmm!)

Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate

1.       Cacao has one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants of any food.
Antioxidant levels are measured by Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC.)
Here's a list of ORAC levels (per roo grams) found in common foods and chocolate:
·         broccoli - 890
·         alfalfa sprouts - 930
·         plums- 949
·         Brussels sprouts - 980
·         Raspberries - 1,22o
·         spinach - 1,26o
·         strawberries - 1,540
·         kale - 1,77o
·         blueberries - 2,400
·         raisins - 2,830
·         acai berries - 4,5oo
·         prunes - 5,770
·         milk chocolate - 6,740 *
·         dark chocolate - 11,120
*The milk in milk chocolate blocks antioxidant absorption.

2.       Dark chocolate contains significant amounts of minerals essential to
healthy metabolism such as Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Calcium.

3.       The fat in better quality dark chocolate is cocoa butter, one of the components
of the cacao bean. Cocoa butter has a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels
because it consists mainly of stearic acid and oleic acid. Stearic acid is a saturated
fat but unlike most saturated fatty acids, it does not raise blood cholesterol. Oleic
acid, a monounsaturated fat, does not raise cholesterol and may even reduce it.

4.       Chemicals in dark chocolate called theobromines act as mood-elevators,
and can produce a pleasurable sensation of alertness and well-being by boosting
serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Dark chocolate does contain caffeine,
but not much: you'd have to eat five average-size bars to ingest as much caffeine as

you get from a single cup of black coffee.

Dec 11, 2013

Curried Butternut Soup

I've tried a few basic butternut soup recipes and never seem to quite get it right. This one finally tastes like a good blend of flavors. It's not the most amazing butternut soup ever, but it sure is a good base butternut soup recipe if you don't have one. It's from Mark Bittman.

1 onion, diced
2 c butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 c broth
1c coconut milk
Salt to taste

1. Sauté onion. 
2. Add butternut squash and seasonings.
3. Add broth and coconut milk. Simmer 20 minutes.
4. Blend until creamy.

african: add 2 T peanut butter or crushed nuts
Indian: add cilantro
...serve with garlic bread

Homemade Marshmallows

1 c water
1 c honey
4 T gelatin (grass-fed is best)

1. Boil water in pan.
2. Pour 1/2 c water into gelatin powder in a separate bowl.
3. Put honey into the pan with remaining 1/2 c water and bring to boil. Boil until softball stage (240 degrees...about 10 minutes).
4. Slowly pour hot mixture into gelatin mixture (which will be very gelatinous by now) while beating on low until soft peaks form (about 8 minutes).
5. Pour out onto greased tray and spread about 1 inch thick.
6. Let sit for at least 4 hours. Then cut in cubes and place in sealed container. Do not freeze!

Other Ideas:

  • Infuse the water with 1 T. marshmallow root for healthier option (make a tea of it, then strain)
  • use juice
  • add orange zest, mint essential oil, or other extracts/flavorings
  • add cocoa powder into hot mix
  • roll in crushed candy canes
  • add probiotic powder at the end, while mixing to give nutritional boost
  • put in little bags for Christmas gifts ("snowman poop"???) :)

original idea from wellnessmama