homemade

Spice it Up: 2 of my Favorite Indian Dishes!

Who doesn’t love Indian food? With their array of spices and flavors, Indian food is not only super tasty, but those spices do more than just tingle your tongue and excite your taste buds. The spices used in Indian food have many benefits. Here are the benefits of just a few:

Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, a natural liver detoxifier, a natural pain killer, speeds up wound healing (hmm maybe that’s why my burn from the other day is almost healed), and has been known to aid with Psoriasis (something I myself have) and other skin conditions.

Cayenne Pepper promotes heart health, supports weight loss, has anti-bacterial properties, stimulates your circulatory system which aids in detox, helps prevent migraines, and aids in digestion.

Curry helps burn fat, boosts immune system, helps reduce the risk of heart disease, reduces blood pressure, increases energy and also aids in blood circulation.

Coriander is a good source of Vitamin C, is high in Iron, has anti-bacterial properties, aids in digestion, contains Calcium, Folic Acid, Riboflavin, Manganese and Potassium.

Cumin also contains Iron, Manganese, Calcium and Potassium, helps with weight loss, and also aids in digestion.

My two favorite Indian dishes are Chana Masala and Cabbage Subzi. Both are Vegan dishes and are normally served on Basmati Rice but I substituted that for WIld Rice because it contains protein and is not processed. There are a lot of recipes for these dishes out there, I made them my way.. which is always the fastest and easiest way. I had to take a trip to the local Indian Spice store (which is great because I love supporting local small businesses) and bought myself the ready to go spices. They have already combined most of the spices you need for Chana Masala and other Indian Dishes.

Image

Chana Masala

– About 2 1/2 Cups Cooked Garbanzo Beans (or 2 cans)
– 2 Medium Tomatoes
– 3-4 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Shallots, Peeled and Chopped
– 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cumin Powder
– 1/4 Teaspoon Tumeric Powder
– 1/2 Teaspoon, Red Chili Flakes
– Juice from half a Lemon or Lime
– 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
– 1 Teaspoon Chana Masala Blend (pictured above)

Image

Method:

Add tomatoes, garlic, red chili flakes, salt and lemon/lime juice to a blender and blend until liquid or paste. Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat and then add Garbanzo Beans and tomato sauce/paste. Cook for about 15-20 mins, stirring occasionally. Top with cilantro for garnish and enjoy!

Image

Cabbage Subzi:

– 2 cups Red Cabbage
– 2 cups White Cabbage
– 1/3 Cup Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
– 5 Cloves Garlic, Peeled and Minced
– 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
– 1 Teaspoon Salt
– 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
– 1 Teaspoon Kitchen King Spice Blend (pictured above)

Image

 

Method:

Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add Garlic and reduce heat to medium, let the garlic cook for a bit and then add your cabbage. Cook those together for a minute or two while stirring and add all of your spices and the salt. Let cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and you are all done. Top on your wild rice and enjoy!

Image

Note: Wild rice requires 4 parts water to 1 part rice, boil the water first, add the rice and let cook for about 45 minutes.

 

Advertisements

Vegan Taco Boats

Here’s a filling and yummy meal with variety that you can tweak to your own needs and likes. 

This week with my Abundant Harvest Organics delivery we received a type of Japanese lettuce called Komatsuna. This is the first time I had heard of this vegetable and tried it. It turns out that Komatsuna contains calcium, Vitamins and Minerals. I decided it should be eaten raw, as a taco boat. 

Here is what you need:

1 Bunch Komatsuna (or another similar leafy lettuce of your choice)
2 Cans Black beans (or about 3 cups if you are cooking them yourself)
2 Avocados
3 Raw Chopped Jalepenos
2 Chopped Shallots
3 Cloves Minced Garlic
1 Bunch Chopped Cilantro
2 Limes
1 cup Chopped Red Cabbage
1 Cup Chopped Green Cabbage
1 Cup Spinach Leaves
1 Cup Chopped Kale
1/4 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
1/2 Cup Farro
Salt & Pepper to taste
Crackers or your choice

Image

So these taco boats include a homemade bean dip and guacamole:

For the bean dip:

Add black beans, cumin, chilli powder, salt, pepper, 1 garlic, half of the chopped Cilantro, 1 Jalepeno, 1 Shallot and juice of one lime to a food processor and blend until smooth. 

For Guacamole:

First cut avocados and place into a medium bowl. Mash the two avocados with a fork just a little bit. Then add the 1 chopped shallot, 2 minced garlic, other half of chopped cilantro, 2 chopped jalapenos to the avocados and mix a little bit with a fork. Finally, add the juice of one lime (or lemon, it honestly tastes the same) salt and pepper to taste and mix one final time to get a tasty and chunky guacamole. 

Farro:

Farro is an ancient grain that has fiber, Protein, Vitamin E, B3,  Zinc, Magnesium and tastes great! In order to get the most benefit from Farro, you should soak it before cooking for optimal absorption of things like Zinc. To cook, you simply add the 1/2 cup Farro to a pan with 1 Cup water and cook on Medium for about 10 minutes.

For the taco boats, just take a Koratsuna leaf and fill it up with the bean dip, guac, kale, spinach, cabbages, farro and enjoy! The cucumbers in the picture were just a side item and the crackers can be used to make sandwiches with all the ingredients as well. 

Image

Image

Image

 

 

The Coffee Struggle

I have had and am still having a coffee struggle. I know a lot of people go through these ups and downs with coffee as well. One minute you hear that it has antioxidants and you should have a cup or two a day, and the next you hear that coffee should be avoided. In my opinion, it should be avoided. When I drink coffee I enjoy it at the moment, but usually find myself feeling jittery and uncomfortable, and sometimes even a bit short of breath. I do have quite a sensitive body and this experience might not be the same for everyone. I know some people can have 5 cups a day and feel totally normal.

But have you actually tried quitting? Once you do, you will notice just how dependant your body has become to coffee, or rather – caffeine. I gave up soda years ago and that was actually pretty easy. Giving up coffee on the other hand, is still a struggle. When I first decided to quit, I experienced withdrawal symptoms like heavy headaches, moodiness and fatigue! It was very hard and not pleasant at all, especially when you have to be at work and on point! That was around 2 years ago. Today, I have made progress because I used to drink one or two cups a day and now it’s not a daily thing anymore, but I still haven’t reached my goal of cutting it out all together.

The first thing to do if you want to quit coffee is find out the facts. Knowing why you are quitting and how it will benefit you is what’s going to keep you going. According to Dr. Mercola, coffee is one of the most heavily researched commodities, and a lot of the research is conflicting. He does however state that it has been associated with stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, and can raise blood pressure. Coffee is not as bad as soda or fruit juice, but eliminating is recommended. You have to weigh your options , the pros and cons, and decide if it will better your daily life if you do give up coffee.

The second thing to do, is figure out what you are going to drink in the place of coffee. As something that is consumed usually every single day by those who drink it, quitting will be easier with a coffee substitute to fill in that gap. Some people might start drinking decaf everyday, which is exactly what I was doing. I later found out, decaf is probably worse than regular coffee!

The problem with Decaf:

Since coffee beans already have caffeine, companies use chemicals in order to remove the caffeine from the bean. So, if you are drinking decaf that means it went through even more processing than regular coffee. I know not all companies handle their products the same, but as for the big companies I do know that they are the ones that use chemical extraction, it is approved by the FDA to be safe and all that jazz but then again there are so many horrible things out there approved by the government. The bigger companies such as Nestle use the method involving Methylene Chloride which is also an ingredient found in paint remover and fire extinguishers. Yikes! The other problem with decaf is that it’s not caffeine free, there is usually 1-3 % caffeine in decaf.

So, here is what you can try:

Dandy Blend – This is a coffee substitute I have been using for a few years. It’s the closest tasting thing I have found to actual coffee and it can be used to make all the same drinks. The ingredients in Dandy Blend are extracts of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root and sugar beet. So it’s all natural, and actually good for you! It’s also safe for pregnant or nursing women J You can order a big bag from Amazon.

Here is a Link:  http://tinyurl.com/qhyh3tv

There are other coffee substitutes to try as well such as Roostaroma and Genmaicha.

Whichever one you choose, it will definitely help you get past that coffee struggle and you’ll save money.

This picture shows Dandy Blend in 3 different ways:

Iced Latte, Warm cup of coffee, and Armenian style coffee

Image

Homemade Tea Tree Deodorant

Why make deodorant at home? Well, because it’s easy, works better than store bought, and you know exactly what’s in it… no surprises! Some people may be surprised to hear that store bought deodorant contains some things that should be no where near your body, especially not being rubbed on sensitive parts of your skin, like the armpits. 

As humans, we are trusting and don’t think twice about most of the things we put on our body, including deodorant, which most people use multiple times a day. In the morning, after a shower etc. Sadly, deodorant and antiperspirants include Aluminum (in antiperspirants the aluminum blocks your pores from sweating) which is obviously not ok. According to Dr. Mercola “Aluminum is widely recognized as a neurotoxin, which has been found in increased concentrations in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease”. For women, he also mentions that toxins like aluminum can be an even bigger problem, women shave their underarms, apply deodorant or antiperspirant and more of the aluminum is absorbed due to the damaged skin from shaving. Antiperspirants are worse than deodorant but deodorants still have things like parabens which have been linked to breast cancer. 

Here is the full article on his website: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/02/16/aluminum-lurks-in-crystal-deodorants.aspx

This deodorant made at home feels great on your skin and you don’t need to use much for it to do it’s job. 

Image

 

What you need:

– 6 Tbsp Arrowroot Powder 
– 3 Tbsp Shea Butter
– 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil 
– 1 Tbsp Baking Soda/Powder
– 2 Tbsp Bentonite Clay
– 10 drops essential oil (I used Tea Tree)

Image

Method:

Melt the coconut oil, then with a mixer mix shea butter in with coconut oil. Mix the dry ingredients in another medium sized bowl. Then, with the mixer on low, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the shea/coconut oil mix then another 1/3 and another until they are combined. Then scoop into a ball, put in a glass jar and store away from sunlight. Once settled, the deodorant will set and be ready to use!

Image

Image

Another reason, I don’t buy deodorant or toothpaste from the store is because I do not want to support big companies like Proctor and Gamble, that do Vivisection which is defined as surgery on a living organism, usually an animal. I know that these labs and animal tests created are usually done for the purposes of money. Companies like this get governments grants to open these labs and conduct these tests, which in this day and age where we can send a huge robot machine to Mars, is ludicrous. Unfortunately, Proctor and Gamble has pretty much a monopoly on items like deodorant and toothpaste. At the store, you see many different brands to choose from, but the reality is they are all an extension of Proctor and Gamble, who is the parent company of these brands. If you look at the back of the product the label should show the parent company, if it is Proctor and Gamble chances are some rabbits and monkeys and even cats and dogs are being tortured for that product. 

After making this deodorant for the first time, my husband came out of the shower and said this was the first time he’s had virtually no chemicals on his body, because our face wash, toothpaste and deo are all homemade and natural. What a great feeling. 🙂

Try this homemade deodorant. You will love it! 

St. Patty’s Day with Green Sparkly & Homemade Dark Chocolate!

Everyone has heard of green beer for St. Patrick’s day, how about some green sparkly? 

Image

 

Just juice some spinach and add a dash to your glass for a bright green and bubbly delight! 

Homemade dark chocolate is easy, tasty, and the perfect match for some champagne or sparkling wine.

1/4 cup of Coconut Oil (melted)
2/3 Cup Cacao Powder
4 Tbsp Agave Nectar
Cashews or any nuts of your choice

Mix them all together, Spread on parchment paper and let sit in fridge. Once hardened, cut up little pieces of heaven and enjoy!

Image

 

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY! 

Don’t Throw Away your Almond Pulp!

Hopefully, you have already made some almond milk at home or are planning to make it soon. Here is the link to my homemade almond milk post in case you missed it https://redwhiteandsparkling.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/almond-milk-how-to-make-it-yourself-and-why/

I mentioned in that post, to keep the leftover almond pulp because there are many things you can do with it! Isn’t it great that you can have some of the tastiest and freshest almond milk made at your own home and then use the leftovers for much more? It’s all about doing it yourself, getting the most nutrition out of your food, keeping the waste level as low as possible, and saving money.

The first thing you need to do is let your almond pulp dry. I just spread it out in a wide pan and let it dry, it usually dries overnight.

Image

1. Almond Meal Pancakes

I tried this one yesterday for breakfast and I loved it.

1 1/2 Cup Almond Pulp/Meal
1/4 Cup Almond Milk
1/4 Cup Water (filtered)
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Egg
1 Tsp Chia Seeds
1 Tsp Flax Seeds

Image

Mix everything together and drop batter into lightly greased pan on medium heat. This should make about 10 small sized pancakes. Top with whatever you like, syrup, agave nectar, strawberries, blueberries, and so on.

Image

Image

2. Almond Meal Crackers

If you have a good food processor or blender, these crackers will be perfect for you.

What you need:

1 cup Almond pulp
2 tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil (melted)
3/4 Tsp Salt
1-2 tbsp chopped herbs (optional)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350. Add almond pulp to a food processor or blender until fine. Melt the coconut oil, then mix everything together in a bowl. Roll almond dough in a ball, then place in between parchment paper and roll out with a roller into a thin sheet. Cut into squares then take a fork and poke each square. Let cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.

3. Almond & Oat Face Scrub

I have been trying to find a simple face scrub that will last a long time and this one is it. All you need is:

1/2 Cup Almond Pulp
1/2 Oats
Water

Blend/grind almond pulp until fine, then do the same with the oats. Mix items together and store in a glass jar. The face scrub will be kept in dry form so it should like for months. When you are ready to use, just take some in your hand and add a little bit of water, then start scrubbing.

Image

These are only 3 things you can do with the almond pulp. There are many more as well. So make sure to keep the almond pulp!

You’ll never go back to store bought toothpaste.

20140313-171428.jpg

If you haven’t already, try making toothpaste at home. It’s so easy that there’s no reason not to!

All you need is:

1/2 cup Coconut Oil
2 tablespoons Baking Soda
2 packets Stevia
about 10-15 drops essential oil (I use peppermint)

Melt to oil then mix in remaining ingredients. Store in a glass jar and let cool.

I love it, and my teeth have never been so sparkly!

Get your Beet on! 3 ways to enjoy beets.

You don’t have to be Dwight Schrute to enjoy beets. I don’t own a beet farm but I am just as enthusiastic about them as Dwight! Beets are awesome! I love them but I know they can be difficult to work with at times. There are many health benefits of beets, and eating them raw is the best way to get all that goodness!

Image

Here are a few ways to prepare beets and enjoy them:

1. Juicing – Try these two juices:

Juice 1 – Beets, carrots, and apple – one of the easiest juices with very few ingredients

Juice 2 – 1 Beet, 1 batch of carrots (usually about 4-5), 1 stalk celery, 1 apple, 1 lemon, 1 lime, about half an inch ginger – This juice is tasty and a great way to also enjoy celery which I find very hard to eat. You can’t taste the celery at all 🙂

TIP:  Swish the juice around in your mouth a little to mix your saliva to get more out of your juice. Saliva has enzymes that will help break down the ingredients to better absorb them in your body, it gives your heart a break from doing all the work of moving everything through your bloodstream.  It helps expand your veins, this is called Vasodilation.

Image

2. Salad and Salad Dressing

– Juice one beet, add the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 cup olive oil, some salt and pepper and mix them all together for a delicious salad dressing. I created the following salad to pair perfectly with the beet salad dressing.

Here’s what you need for the salad:

– 1 Avocado, chopped (not too small)
-1 cup chopped Kale
– 1 cup chopped Lettuce ( I used the lola rosa kind)
– 1/2 cup chopped Green Onions
– 1 cup chopped Green Cabbage
– 1 cup chopped Red Cabbage
– 1/4 cup Walnuts
-1/4 cup Kalamata Olives

Just mix everything together in a bowl and top with beet salad dressing. You can add more walnuts or less if you like.

Here’s a better picture of the salad once everything was mixed in:

Image

3: Slice them thinly and eat with pretty much anything!

What I did was take one beet, slice it with my veggie pasta cutter (this was about a $35 investment that has come in handy) then combine it with some sweet potato chips (homemade, just preheat oven to 350, slice thinly and roast for 30 mins), 1/2 cup of quinoa and 1/4 cup lentils.

Drizzle some olive oil on top and just eat together, with a spoon, sandwich style or however you like.

Image

Almond Milk: How to make it yourself, and why.

I’ve been making almond milk for a while and after some trial and error I have finally perfected it. Here are the exact steps I take to get the most out of my money and the almonds.

Image

What you need:

– 2 cups raw (preferably organic) Almonds
– 6 cups filtered water
– Cheese Cloth
– Blender

Step 1:
I always soak my almonds over night. Soaking nuts is very beneficial, and helps absorb its nutrients better. All nuts contain anti-nutrients. These anti-nutrients are removed during soaking and leave you with a better version of nuts, nutritionally and taste wise.

This picture shows the almonds before being soakedImage

This picture shows the almonds after being soaked. As you can see the water is murky, so make sure you rinse well and get rid of the bad stuff.

Image

Step 2:
After you have soaked your almonds, drain and rinse them well

Step 3:
Take 1 cup of almonds and transfer to blender, add 2 cups filtered water and blend on high speed

Image

Step 4:
Pour almond milk through cheese cloth into a bowl, strain the almond pulp through the cheese cloth to get all the milk out

Image

Image

Step 5:
Repeat steps 3 and 4 with remaining 1cup of Almonds and another 2 cups of the filtered water

Step 6:
Pour the almond milk into the container you will use to store it. Add the remaining 2 cups of filtered water to the almond milk and you should have a creamy, flavorful almond milk that will last 3 to 4 days.

Image

You will have some leftover almond pulp from making milk, I usually use the leftovers to make a face scrub or almond crackers, and many other things. I will update my blog in the next few days with what you can do with almond pulp.

 

Why you should make it at home:

I used to buy organic almond milk all the time and thought it was providing me with an alternative to cow milk that was as healthy as can be. It’s still better than cow milk, but the truth is that pretty much anything on a store shelf is processed and has additives. If you read the ingredients for almond milk, it doesn’t look like there is anything bad in there right? Well, if you do some research into it you will find that is not the case and the big manufacturers managed to trick us yet again!

Some of the additives in store bought almond milk are Calcium Carbonate, Tocopherol Acetate, and Vitamin A Palmitate. All of these additives are synthetic and do no good for you but I want to focus on just one of them for this post: Vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is not Vitamin D, it’s again, synthetic and toxic! There is an entire study done here: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/84/4/694.full 

 The most shocking thing I’ve read is that experts are finding that Vitamin D2 may actually be a cause of Vitamin D deficiency by desensitizing the D3 receptors in our body! And to think Doctors even prescribe this to patients! Vitamin D3 is vitamin D created by our bodies through exposure to the wonderful sun.

So, if you’re buying almond milk from the store, try making it at home instead and get your vitamin D from other places like mushrooms, eggs and the best vitamin D comes from our power and life source, the sun! Get outside, get some sun and let your body do the rest. 🙂

Swiss Chard Wraps with Rutabaga

Image

 

This was actually the first time I have ever tried raw Swiss Chard and Rutabaga… and I have to say, I loved it! This recipe is my take on a vegetarian wrap, made with a simple and easy cashew cream.

Cashew Cream:

– 1 cup Cashews

– 2 tablespoons Almond Milk 

– 1 Tablespoon juice from a lemon

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

Method for Cashew Cream:

Bring a pot of water to a boil, then add Cashews to a glass or heat proof bowl and pour the boiling water on top. Put the lid on and let sit for about 30 minutes. 

Drain the Cashews and transfer to a food processor, add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Add more almond milk if you would like a thinner consistency. 

Image

Swiss Chard Wraps:

– 1 bunch Swiss Chard

– 1/2 cup Quinoa (Already cooked)

– 1/2 Cup Lentils (already cooked)

-1/4 cup cherry tomatoes (optional)

– 2 cloves of Garlic (chopped)

– 1 Rutabaga (peeled and chopped)

– 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds

– 1/4 cup Goat Cheese crumbles

– Coconut Oil

Method:

Saute Rutabaga, Pumpkin Seeds and Garlic together in a pan with Coconut Oil for 5-7 minutes. Once cooked, add Rutabaga mix to Quina, Lentils and tomatoes in a bowl and mix together. Take your Swiss Chard leaves and cut off the stems, carefully cutting the leafy part away from the stem. Add mixture to each leafs center then top with goat cheese and finally the cashew cream. Wrap leaves up and secure with a toothpick. 

NOTE: I usually have Quinoa and Lentils ready to eat but if you have to cook them, it’s very simple. Quinoa is cooked just like rice 1 part Quinoa to 2 parts water, and boil. You can also use a rice cooker. Lentils also just boil on the stove top until tender.

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Take a BIG bite into this healthy dinner and enjoy! Healthy food IS easy and delicious!