Month: February 2014

Weekly Challenge: Abandoned

Weekly Challenge: Abandoned

I took this photo in Chania town in Crete. Something about this picture, the weather and the old man just makes me think of the word abandoned. It was not tourist season and Chania was abandoned in a sense.

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Brussel Sprouts and Radishes

Yesterday I made two very easy dishes using Brussel Sprouts and Radishes. These are two veggies that I have found really hard to work with, but yesterday’s plate was delish! The recipes are simple, don’t take up much time and are very healthy.

For the Brussel Sprouts:

– 1-2 cups Brussel Sprouts

– Olive Oil OR Cocunut Oil (just to toss with or spray on the veggies)

– Sea salt to taste

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For the Radishes:

– 1 bunch of Radish (I used Black Spanish Radishes)

– Olive Oil OR Coconut oil to toss in or spray on veggies

– Crushed red pepper flakes to season with

– Sea salt to taste

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Method:

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees

– Cut the Brussel Sprouts in thin slices, then either toss with oil, or spray and sprinkle with salt.

– Peel and chop radishes to equally sized pieces. Either toss with oil or spray, and season with pepper flakes & salt

– Place veggies in oven, about 10-12 minutes for Brussel Sprouts and 20 minutes for Radishes

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I really enjoyed eating these two veggies this way, the best part for me was the fact that neither one gets over-cooked, so they maintain most of their nutritional value and still taste great. 

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Radishes are known to reduce risk of Cancer, help control high blood pressure, aid in digestion and eliminate toxins among other things. 

Brussel Sprouts contain Fiber, Vitamin C, Antioxidants, Folate (or Folic Acid), Protein, Iron. They help regulate Cholesterol and also help prevent Cancer. 

You are what you eat! 

 

Yummy Hummy!

I have tried out many different hummus recipes and most of them simply don’t taste that good, or don’t have the right texture. As an Armenian, I’m pretty serious about my hummus… so I finally got a great recipe from my best friend (with a couple of my own tweaks):

What you need:

          -1 ¾ Cup OR 1 Can of Garbanzo Beans 

          -1/3 cup Tahini (I make mine at home to avoid buying anything processed)

          – 4 Garlic Cloves

          – Dash of Cumin (I don’t always add)

          – Juice from 2 regular sized lemons or 1 large lemon

          – Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

 

If using raw garbanzo beans:

         – Let beans soak in water at room temperature, over night or for 6-8 hours

         – Add beans to a pot of water and let simmer for 1-2 hours until cooked

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To make the Tahini at home, here is what you need:

         – 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

         – ½ teaspoon sesame oil (I used Olive Oil instead)

         – ¼ Teaspoon Salt (Preferably Himalayan)

         – ¼ cup lukewarm water

First, add Sesame seeds to blender and blend until smooth.  Then Add olive oil and the salt and blend again, until combined. The last step is to slowly add in the water, as the blender is on until smoothed out.

To Make Hummus:

Combine all ingredients in your blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. ( I prefer mine a little chunkier, so just blend until you get the texture you like best).

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NOTE: Add a pinch of Cayenne Pepper & Paprika and top with a drizzle of Olive Oil for an even tastier snack.

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 LAVOSH CHIPS:

To Make your own Lavosh Chips to go along with the hummus just cut lavosh bread into bite size pieces, preheat your oven to 425 and spray olive or coconut oil on the bread, leave it in the oven for 5 mins, then flip, spray again with oil and after another 5 minutes in the oven, they are ready for dipping.

 

Why make hummus at home?

Everyone knows hummus is a generally healthy snack. Making it at home is the best way for your body to get all the greatness that hummus has to offer.

Garbanzo Beans:

            -Have lots of fiber

           – Antioxidants

           – Helps regulate blood sugar

           – Helps with digestive support

           – Good source of protein

Sesame Seeds:

           – Great source of Calcium, Dietary Fiber, Magnesium, Iron, Vitamin B1, Maganese

           – One of the few vegetables with Zinc (great for bone health)

           – Has Copper, which is good for Rheumatoid Arthritis and helps reduce pain & swelling)

If you read the ingredients of the hummus sold at stores, ALL the brands use everything other than olive oil to make their hummus… hummus is supposed to be made with olive oil, not canola, safflower, sunflower, or any of that. The sad truth is that all of these oils are processed and FULL of chemicals. When shopping for olive oil make sure to only buy Extra Virgin and nothing containing the words “pure” or “purified”.. this is a trick to make you think it’s true olive oil when in reality it is the olive pits left over from making actual olive oil, that big refineries buy from olive oil farms and refine, process, add chemicals for extraction until they can call their product olive oil too, they just have to mention purified on the label, which can be VERY misleading. 

Goodies – The Easiest Jam you will Ever Make

The jam I used for my uncles gift box was strawberry, but today I made Raspberry jam with Chia seeds.

It’s all RAW and only 3 easy steps

Here is what you need:

–          1 cup raspberries 

–          1 tablespoon Chia Seeds (you can add more if you want)

–          Stevia to taste (optional)

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3 EASY STEPS:

  1. Blend raspberries in blender until liquefied
  2. Add contents of blender to a jar and then add the chia seeds and optional sweetener
  3. Mix everything together well, and let sit in refrigerator overnight

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This is what it should look like after you have blended the raspberries and added the Chia seeds and optional sweetener. 

 

That’s it! The next morning you should have a healthy, raw, all natural jelly/jam ready to be spread on your morning toast or eaten on its own! You can make this same jam with strawberries, blueberries and more!

You should have this thicker consistency the next day:

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Why make this at home, and why raw?

Store bought jelly or jam is usually, well a sham! When you think of something made of pretty much just fruit. It’s supposed to be good for you right? Well not when the fruit has been cooked, second ingredient is sugar (or even worse, cornstarch!), has other additives/preservatives and has been sitting on a shelf for God knows how long. Here are some benefits of having berries on a regular basis:

–          Great for your skin

–          High in antioxidants

–          Contain vitamin C

–          Aids in weight loss

–          They taste great!

 

Making this jam at home is also a great way to eat raw chia seeds which are an excellent source of OMEGA-3. So instead of spending your money on fish oil that are likely not even doing their job unless you take like 6-10 of those huge pills a day (read the instructions people)… just add more chia seed to your diet.  

 

Here are some other ways of incorporating raw chia seeds to your diet:

 

–          Add them to ANY soup, they are practically undetectable

–          Make drinks (you can add them to any juice or smoothie or even an iced coffee and they only enhance the texture)

–          Make a chia seed dessert:

  • 1 cup Almond Milk
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Chia Seed
  • Cinnamon and Stevia to taste

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Add the Chia seeds, cinnamon and stevia to the almond milk in a glass cup. Stir well, and leave the cup in the fridge for 15-20 mins for a sweet and healthy, jell-o like desert!

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Goodies

My uncle’s birthday was this week, and I decided to do something different. What are the usual gifts a man gets… a shirt, sweater, a wallet maybe cologne etc. I figured he would be getting those things from everyone else, so I’ll do something made at home, from the heart and that I think a single man will appreciate. I made a gift box full of goodies… mostly all homemade items. It was easy, fun and the best part is that he loved it!

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Most of the items in here are things I make on a regular basis… Here is how:

1) Peppermint Toothpaste:

– All  you need is 2/3 cup BAKING SODA, 1 or 2tsp PEPPERMINT EXTRACT/OIL, WATER (preferably filtered), and optional salt. Just add all the ingredients together and mix, add water at the end until you get the consistency you like! I am working on an alternative for a toothpaste tube… will update soon.

2) Almond Facial Scrub:

– The best thing about  making Almond milk at home is that you get leftover almond pulp. There is so much you can do with almond pulp (which I will touch on in another post) but here we’ll just go over the face scrub. It is again, super easy to make at home.

– Once your leftover Almond Pulp has dried (you can either leave it over night to dry or put it in the oven on the lowest temp) you just add the pulp to your food processor or blender, and add ingredients that are good for your skin (I added coconut oil and chia seeds). There are many other options too like Avocado oil, mint etc.

-There is really no correct amount or recipe to making the scrub, you just add all the ingredients to your food processor or blender until you get the consistency you want. Add water later to make the scrub softer and easier to use.

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The Jam and Hummus will be uploaded in the next posts.

The Welcome

Hi everyone! My goal here is to share information, ideas and ways to get creative at home. I am almost 100% free of commercial buying and relying on the pre-packaged mass produced items for all my family’s needs. If it’s at the store, or being sold on TV ads etc. you can pretty much bet that there’s a safer, more natural and cheaper way to make it at home. That doesn’t mean it has to be very time consuming or difficult… for the most part it’s actually fun to D-I-Y!  To me, “RedWhiteandSparkling” is an American woman, that’s not exactly Americanized, she is moving forward like many other woman these days to better the life of her family and not rely on pre-packaged, processed, and mass-produced items.  She’s always looking for new ways to improve on the daily home life for everyone in the family whether it’s food, pets, gardening and most importantly herself… because the truth really is – Happy Wife, Happy Life!

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