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Shea Butter – Whip it Good

Whip It

Shea butter, it’s edible, you’ve probably eaten it before in chocolate. Mmmm – fat derived from the Shea tree nut, coming from Africa – even Cleopatra used it in her cosmetics… and who knows what else. If it was good enough for Cleo, then it’s good enough for me!

Shea butter is a triglyceride, high in the saturated fatty acid stearic acid – it acts as a softening agent. It also contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid, which is an emollient that improves skin hydration by reducing evaporation.

If you have skin issues, why not go for one of the best natural choices available? Just whip up some raw 100% pure Shea butter and add your own favourite scented oils!

Scented Whipped Shea Butter
1/2 cup Raw 100% Shea Butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
8 drops Lemongrass Oil
8 drops Rosemary Oil

Whip it Good, on high for 5 – 10 minutes

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Store your whipped Shea butter in opaque glass jars if possible. Light and oxygen exposure will reduce nutrient loss, so keep that in mind when storing your foods too. I used a mini-mason jar so I can bring it along to work, and I’m using this tinted brown recycled yeast container for at home. Happy Whipping!

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Pottery by Eve Yantha

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Moosewood Cookbook = Vegetarian Bliss

moosewood cookbookAges ago in Toronto, my former roommate Mariana introduced me to the Moosewood Cookbook.  That was almost a decade ago, and now it’s finally part of my own collection.  It’s vegetarian and world famous – dating back to 1973.  In fact, The New York Times named Moosewood a top 10 bestselling cookbook of all time!

Moosewood was is an Ithaca, New York restaurant and many of the recipes came straight from their menu, which must have been truly ahead of it’s time. Consider how niche vegetarianism was in the early ’70s compared to today.  On the other hand, as I learned in Anthropology of Gastronomy class, vegetarianism has trended on and off since ancient Greece and India!

I am considering pulling a Julia & Julia with this cookbook – devoting myself to tryingcampbells mm salt every single recipe and blogging about it.  So far, I made the Spicy Tomato Soup, but couldn’t resist modifying the recipe to include half a cup of parboiled rice, in homage to the crappy Campbell’s Condensed Tomato Rice Soup I liked as a kid!

Moosewood’s Spicy Tomato Soup
Ingredients

  • Olive Oil, 1 tbsp IMG_0659
  • Onions, raw, 1 cup, chopped 
  • Garlic, 3 cloves 
  • Salt, 1 tsp 
  • Dill weed, dried, 1 tsp 
  • Pepper, black, 1 tsp 
  • Red Ripe Tomatoes, 800 grams 
  • Water, tap, 2 cup (8 fl oz) 
  • Honey, 1 tbsp 
  • Sour Cream, reduced fat, 1 tbsp 
  • Red Ripe Tomatoes, .5 cup, chopped or sliced 

Directions

Saute onion and garlic in oil with spices.  Add tomato and honey, simmer over low heat 20 – 30 min.
5 minutes before serving, whisk in sour cream, fresh tomatoes and top with minced herbs (like parsley or basil).
6 Servings

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Soup Review

To be honest, I didn’t see in the ingredient list what was so ‘spicy’ about this soup, so besides the half cup of rice, I added two chili peppers and a bit of cayenne.  Because the can of tomatoes was labelled with no added salt, I did add a pinch while sauteing the onions, (but beware – generally canned foods have high sodium content.)

I also used homemade mushroom stock instead of tap water.  Why not fortify your soup with extra nutrients?  Homemade stock also ensures a richer taste to soups, stews, or sauces, so every once in a while I make a huge pot of stock and store it in litre containers in my deep freeze.

The tablespoon of honey was delish in this soup and cut the tomato acidity nicely. The rice and chunky slices of onions gave this soup a hearty feel and texture, the aroma was lovely, the colour was pleasing, and “delicious as usual” was how my squeeze described this soup.  Hehe!

Naturally, this soup left Campbell’s Tomato and Rice in the DUST!

NutritionLabel - spicy tomato soup moosewood

The Mellow Pomelo

pomeloOh lovely pomelo, earlier this year I saw you in a bin at the Asian Market, looking like a giant grapefruit, wrapped in that plastic and red netting – I took a chance on you – you didn’t disappoint! No bitterness, not like a grapefruit at all.

The pomelo’s pith is a piece-of-healthy-cake to peel, the flesh breaks free effortlessly, and inside are big chunks of juicy pulp. It’s a quick job to peel a quarter, pack it pith-free for lunch, and not have to deal with messy peels or composting later on in the day.

The pomelo, or Citrus Maxima, also known as shaddock, is one of the four original citrus fruits, the other three being the citron, mandarin, and papeda. The pomelo is the progenitor of the grapefruit and tangelo, in fact, popular citrus fruits such as lemon, lime, and orange are all hybrids of the four originals.  pomelo nutrition facts

As you could already guess, the pomelo is full of vitamin C which boosts the immune system, and regular consumption decreases the chances of developing UTIs, since high urine acidity levels will inhibit bacteria growth. The potassium found in the pomelo promotes heart health by reducing bad cholesterol in the body and regulating blood pressure levels.

The pomelo is popular is asia, indonesia and thailand, and fortunately, becoming more widely available in North America. A friend informed me they can also be found at Zehrs Markets, and since then I’ve also spotted them at Metro grocery store here in Ontario.

Thai Pomelo Salad

pomelo salad 2

This lovely little Thai salad is inspired by the refreshing mango salads that can be ordered at so many different Thai restaurants. It’s chilies, peanuts, and lime sauce will stimulate your salivary glands!

Portion size 4

Ingredients

  • 1 pomelo
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) finely chopped unsalted peanuts
  • 1 small sweet red pepper
  • 1 lrg carrot, grated
  • 1 cup (250 mL) chopped mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) thinly sliced green onions
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) coarsely chopped fresh mint

Dressing:

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) grated lime rind
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lime juice
  • 1 tbsp (15 mL) soy sauce or fish sauce
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) honey
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) minced hot pepper
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) fresh grated ginger
Preparation

In skillet, toast peanuts over medium heat until fragrant and dark golden, about 5 minutes.
Set aside. Peel, remove pith and break apart the pulp of the pomelo. Seed, core and thinly slice red pepper. Grate carrot. Chop mixed greens and mint. Set aside.

Dressing: In large bowl, whisk together lime rind and juice, soya/fish sauce, honey, hot pepper, and ginger. Add pomelo, red pepper, carrot, mixed greens, and mint; toss to coat. Serve sprinkled with peanuts.

Enjoy!

Home Made Yogurt… So Good!

fresh  yogurt and muesli
After receiving a yogurt maker for Christmas from my darling parents, we’ve all been enjoying some very consistent batches of fresh and creamy yogurt each morning. Sure, I had tried making yogurt before by leaving the oven light on and using a thermos wrapped in a towel, but my new Deni 5600 makes the process much more enjoyable!

There are several benefits to consuming home made yogurt; it is definitely higher quality than store-bought yogurt, and we’re joyfully avoiding all of those processed additives like preservatives, stabilizers, fillers and sweeteners.

Cell repairing proteins and other nutrients are found in yogurt, like calcium, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-12, potassium, and magnesium.

Probiotics are the helpful bacteria that are naturally found in yogurt and these bacteria have been shown to help boost the immune system and promote a healthy digestive tract. Yogurt actually helps both constipation and diarrhea, and many lactose intolerant people can enjoy it without problems.  Yogurt with active bacteria discourages Candida and yeast infections, and due to a high calcium content, yogurt is recommended to help prevent osteoporosis (Caucasian and Asian women are in the highest risk groups). Yogurt makes you feel fuller, so it can be an natural and healthy way to watch the line too!


Here’s how easy it can be to make using a yogurt maker!

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The first step is to bring 1 litre of 2% milk to a slow boil. Slowly bring it to a boil is of utmost importance in order to achieve the best texture and consistency. The milk will begin to foam up as it reaches a boil, immediately remove from heat and let it stand until it reaches room temperature.

 

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Next, it is a good idea to put the milk into a pouring container, and then add a half a cup of yogurt, making sure the yogurt you use has active bacteria in it, preferably organic. I used Astro Balkan yogurt. Mix it well with the room temperature milk.

 

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The third and final step is to pour the mixture into yogurt maker’s sterile glass containers (each holds 2/3rds a cup), and place inside.

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So far I’ve been setting the timer for 10 hours, which is very handy for overnight.

 

 

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After 10 hours the yogurt came out thick and creamy. It should be refrigerated for a few hours before enjoying. I crumbled some home made granola over it and threw in some big red strawberries before realizing that I just GMO bombed my wonderful Slow Food breakfast!

Make Your Own Power Bars

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“Crispy-Chewy Cherry-Flax Pucks” from the cookbook Power Hungry by Camilla V. Saulsbury

These homemade Power Bars resemble cookies at first glance, but they were baked in a muffin tin, and there were no flours (gluten) or baking powder used.

Packed full of energy, these 12 babies (I ate one before I took the picture!) contain 2/3rds a cup of ground flax seeds which are loaded with fibre, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, potassium, and magnesium.  B6 is needed for brain development/function, and helps our bodies produce serotonin and norepinephrine – these influence mood.  So not only do these bars taste great, but they put you in a better mood!

Since I just happened to have a batch of freshly made Vitamix peanut butter at hand, I modified the ingredient list out of Camilla V. Saulsbury’s book Power Hungry by replacing the almond butter with peanut butter.  Other than the peanut butter and flax, the ingredients include dried cherries, almond milk, and maple syrup.

After the success of these power bars, I will gladly try out more of the recipes from Power Hungry!

Fruit Leather

wpid-20140907_150449.jpgI picked up a dehydrator so jumped on making some fruit leather using my fantastic Vitamix.

Here is my first batch:
Bananas, strawberries, apple, peach, and unsweetened coconut flakes as garnish.

There are four trays, so if you divide each tray in four, the contents of one piece of fruit leather is:
¼ banana, 2 strawberries, 1/6 apple, 1/12 peach, 1/4 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes

Using the Nutrient Value of Some Common Foods guide by Health Canada I was able to calculate the nutrient value per serving of fruit leather.

Banana Strawberry Apple Peach Coconut TOTAL
Calories (kcal) 26.25 7.7 12 4.65 110 160.6
Carbohydrates (g) 6.75 1.7 3.17 1.1 4 16.72
Fat (g) 0 0 0 0 10 10
Saturated fat (g) 0 0 0 0 9 9
Sodium (mg) 0.25 0.285 0.16 0  0 0.695
Sugar (g) 3.5 1.14 2.33 0.98  1 8.95
Protein (g) 0 0.285 0 0.12  1 1.405
Fibre (g) 0.525 0.54 0.43 0.23  2 3.725
Vitamin C (µg) 2.5 14 1 0.73  0 18.23
Vitamin A (µg) 1 0.285 0.66 1.96  0 3.905
Iron (mg) 0.0075 0.01 0.03 0.002  0.4 0.4495
Calcium (mg) 1.5 3.7 1.33 0.73 0 7.26
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Mmm – Fruit Leather

Fruit Leather label

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is a handy-dandy online nutrition label generator that is quite handy for making your own labels and calculating the daily nutrition values for the average 2,000 calorie-a-day diet.

Here is a chart with the recommended daily values of intake that we should be aiming for each day regarding nutrients – it comes from healthycanadians.gc.ca

Daily Values
Nutrient Daily Value (DV)  
Fat 65 g
Saturated and trans fats 20 g
Cholesterol 300 mg
Sodium 2400 mg
Carbohydrate 300 g
Fibre 25 g
Vitamin A 1000 RE
Vitamin C 60 mg
Calcium 1100 mg
Iron 14 mg

 

Too Hot to Cook? Make a Spicy Lentil Salad

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Spicy Lentil Salad – packs a flavourful punch

Yesterday the kitchen was too hot to turn on the stove, but my squeeze was coming over for dinner and I knew he would be heat-exhausted after working his manly-man job all day.

So, alongside some other carbs, I whipped up this cold and spicy lentil salad, because – as everybody knows – lentils are FULL of protein.  A slightly lesser known fact is – lentils lower cholesterol.  Of all legumes and nuts, lentils are third highest in protein (after soya and hemp).

nutrient value imageIn this dish I used parsley, but plan to try cilantro next time. Parsley is highly nutritious, so I try to fit it in where I can.  Chock-full of vitamin K, with good amounts of vitamin C, A, and iron — parsley has become a blasé plate garnish, but don’t ignore it! I like to make pesto with parsley replacing the basil, and using walnuts instead of pine nuts.

The Nutrition Facts of this Spicy Lentil Salad were found using the Nutrient-Value of Some Common Foods PDF guide from Health Canada.  It’s handy if you’re interested in calculating and tracking your personal calorie and protein intake.


Spicy Lentil Salad

NutritionLabel for lentil salad sm

Created at onlinelabels.com

Ingredients:
1 19 oz can of lentils
1/3 cup crumbled feta
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cold pressed, virgin olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. agave (or other sweetener)
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. cayenne
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

Directions:
Drain and rinse lentils well.
Combine all ingredients in a serving bowl and toss until mixed.
Serve immediately, or chill in the refrigerator for up to three days.

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