Walking Is Important

WalkingHave you ever wondered why people say that Walking Is Important? Well if you are already a walker I am sure that you the health benefits that a daily walk can bring you. But if your knew at it or about to start a walking program, here is a couple of reasons you might not of thought as to why Walking Is Important There are so many reasons why walking is important beyond the very obvious: it’s fun and great exercise. While the majority of the people that spend time walking do it for fitness, there are several reasons why we should all walk as much as possible.

A Healthier Environment

A large portion of the air pollution in the world comes from motor vehicles. According to the EPA, 55 percent of nitrogen oxide emissions and 80 percent of carbon monoxide in the United States is caused by transportation. Even though cars are being made better and cleaner every year, they’re still contributing to the deterioration of our overall air quality. In addition, millions of barrels of oil, which is a non-renewable source of energy, are burnt every day by cars and trucks. We all pay a price for that in the air we breath.

Less Roadway Congestion

We seldom stop to realize how short some of the trips we make in our cars really are. Approximately 40 percent of all trips made in the U.S. are under two miles, which is equal to a 30-minute walk. Many of the highways and streets are carrying more traffic than they were meant to handle, causing wasted energy, time, driver aggravation, pollution and an overall congested roadway. Two pedestrians walking take up a lot less space than two people driving a car or truck. These small trips are part of the little tricks to walking that help some of us reach our 10,000 step goal. For more about the 10,000 step goal see my article at http://www.healthyfoodanddiet.com/walking-10000-steps.

Healthier Life for All

Walking is so good for our health. The benefits it can provide are extraordinary. Physical activity has always been recommended for good health, even if you can only manage 30 minutes a day, and walking is exceptionally good for many health benefits including:

Reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and other chronic diseases
Provides you a stronger heart
More positive mental outlook
Lower health care costs
Overall improved quality of life
From our house in Wisconsin, it is a one mile walk (15 minutes for a casual walk) to lake Michigan. There is a nice little park there that has benches looking out at the lake. I like to

The lake one mile from my house

The lake one mile from my house

take an early morning walk to the park, set on the bench for about 10 minutes and then walk back home. There are 5280 feet in a mile so depending on your stride, you will have the better part of 10,000 steps complete in such a walk.I started this when I read a doctors report about how great for the heart a simple 30 minute walk each day can be for your heart.  The doctors said the walk could be one 30 minute walk or two 15 minute walks, I chose the later.
Economics

Walking is free! It doesn’t get much more economical than that. With the rising costs of fuel as well as wear and tear and regular maintenance on your vehicle, owning and operating a car is very expensive. In fact, transportation takes up a lot of your income each year. The more walking you can do, the more money you’ll save that can be spent on other things. There are some situations where you can’t walk but why not take advantage of the times when you can and get out there and walk! It just makes good sense!

Weight wont wait to return

My wife and I spend our winters in sunny Mexico. There we walk everyday. We only takethe car if we are going more that a few miles. Anywhere within two or three miles and we walk unless we need to carry something that requires a car. When we returned north this past spring it was still very cold outside so I just relaxed the walking and stayed indoors. Before I could say N000000 I had gained back 10 pounds of weight I had lost while walking daily. I’m back into the habit of daily walks and my goal is 10,000 steps a day level. I’ll keep you posted as to my progress.

If you are just starting, please check with your medical professional first. Don’t set big goals for yourself at first. As little as walking one block and turning around and walking back will be helpful to a person that has not exercised for a while. Set your first goal to walk a block each day for two weeks, then reset your goal to walk 2 blocks each day for two weeks. Now you have been walking 28 days in a row. How long can you keep the daily record going. Challenge yourself and it adds extra joy to the walk every day because everyday becomes a new milestone. Soon you will be up to the 10,000 steps per day that is recommended by medical professionals as being best for overall health.

Enjoy the summer by walking each day….

Posted in Anti-aging - Slowing The Process, Mind and Body tips | 3 Comments

Flour Choices For Gluten Free Cooking

Gluten Free cookingsToday we will talk about the best Flour Choices For Gluten Free Cooking. While you don’t need to do your own baking you will soon find that it is much less costly to bake your own gluten free items than to purchase them already made. Plus we all like to make our own desserts and this makes the choices almost endless. So if you like to bake at all, this article is for you.

Gluten is a complex protein found in wheat, rye and barley and for some people that spells trouble. A gluten-free diet (GF diet) is one that excludes any type of food that has gluten, which is a particular protein composite found in wheat, rye, barley and triticale.

For those who are diagnosed with Celiac disease and Dermatitis Herpetiformis food having wheat, rye or barley in it is no longer an option. Without becoming too technical or medical, wheat, rye and barley wreaks havoc on their small intestine. To avoid that scenario gluten must be avoided over the course of a lifetime, which is a long time, but, it does not mean you have to give up your favorites. Some people, like myself who do not suffer from Celiac Disease or DH find that we  feel better when we go Gluten free

It just means modification and using the right flours.

However, it is important to realize that foods labeled as being “gluten free” are not necessarily healthy. Some of them are high in carbs, calories and fat, and so can be a concern for healthy weight management.

Flours That Contain Gluten and Should Be Avoided

•    Farina
•    Graham flour
•    Kamut
•    Rye
•    Bulgur
•    Durum
•    Semolina
•    Spelt
•    Triticale
•    Wheat

Gluten Free Flour Options For Cooking And Baking

We live in exciting times where the most creative minds have discovered ways for the gluten-free to have, to hold, and to eat cake too, as long as it is made of flour that is not ground from wheat, rye or barley.

In the market place, more flour selections than ever before are available to accommodate the gluten-free diet.

Brown Rice Flour

This is a supplementary flour, and works great when blended with teff, buckwheat or sorghum flours. It is great for cooking and works for both sweet and savory dishes.

Millet Flour

This is a light in color and drier flour than others are and is best when mixed with heartier flours, like, Teff, Hemp, or almond, but, it should not be used by itself.

Teff Flour

Teff is an all-around flour that works great for baking in gluten free diets. It is loaded with Breadnut breadgood nutrients and has a nutty flavor and darker color. This flour is not easily found in traditional markets, but can be found online.

Buckwheat Flour

This is an ideal gluten free flour alternative for use in muffins, cakes and pancakes. In fact, buckwheat pancakes are much healthier as far as weight management than the traditional white flour varieties. In order to get dough that rolls well, add something starchy, such as, cornstarch or tapioca flour.

Sweet White Rice Flour (aka Mochiko)

This is a great choice to add moisture and density to baked goods. It has a slightly milky taste, and it’s a little sweet. It is typically used to make Japanese desserts such as Mochi. It works well for both sweet and savory recipes.

Almond Flour

This is a great choice for baking. Made from ground almonds, it is also a great choice for very low carb baking. Using 1/4 of this in any flour mixture will add moistness, binding, a light almond flavor, and a good amount of density to muffins, brownies, cookies, breads, dehydrated snacks and cake recipes.

Corn Flour

Corn flour can be added to many gluten-free flour mixes, pastas and flatbreads.

There are Commercial Gluten Free Flour Choices available at your local grocery stores, and perhaps that is for you. However, if you are creative and enjoy baking we will explore an option or two.

Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour

One offering is Bob’s Red Mill,  http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-all-purpose-baking-flour.html, which is a fine blend using as its base garbanzo beans, potato starch, and tapioca, to name a few of the ingredients.

Another option, King Arthur Flour, is an inexpensive alternative at $7.95 for a 24-ounce box. This flour is a blend of white rice and whole grain brown rice flours, along with tapioca and potato starch, but what’s great about this product is that ‘it’s multi-purpose’ and can therefore be used for both baking and cooking, cup-for-cup, the same as any gluten-laden flour product. (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/shop/items/gluten-free-multi-purpose-flour)

But if your like me, you want to Make Your Own Flour Blend. It isn’t hard to do and has become a popular alternative, especially among those who like to cook/bake and do not have an unlimited budget.

I want to share a video with you. This lady is my kind of home cook/chef, after all, be honest, we have all used our fingers once in a while when we knew nobody was watching, so take a look, enjoy and take notes.

This is perhaps one of the more fun videos on mixing your own flower, I hope you enjoy it..

In the video, she explains her recipe using sorghum, millet and sweet rice flours, along with potato starch. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? All the recipes contain flour and starch, as the whole grain flour is chockfull of protein, the added starch to the blend is what holds it all together, plus it adds a ‘white’ component to the mix, appearing more like most gluten-based flour, so your recipes, too, will come out looking like you used ‘regular’ flour.

Gluten free guidelines4 Tips For Beginners Of Gluten-Free Cooking

1.    Experiment, experiment and experiment. There is a learning curve when you first start with Gluten free cooking, but, once you get some practice and experience you will become an expert about what works and what does not.

2.    Stay with it and don’t get discouraged. There will be failed recipes because you have to learn which flour combinations work best, but, it just takes practice and testing. It’s best to get guidance from recipe books or online guides when first starting out so you don’t waste time re-inventing the wheel.

3.    Begin with simple recipes and learn the basics. As you get more experienced and master those, you can move onto the more complicated dishes.

4.    When you pinpoint the perfect flour combinations to match your taste, stick with, likely it will work for all your cooking and baking needs.

Important Update: One for our visitors shared the following information about yesterdays blog post, “most pharmacies with a up to date processing system have a field where they can enter in gluten allergy on a persons profile. That will generally catch any meds that have gluten in them. But it is still important to double check.,” Jillian is a pharmacy tech so that is good information if you have gluten allergies. Thank you Jillian for sharing that with us.

So now that you have a little information about gluten free flour, it is time to start baking some interesting breads and desserts. Let us know about your progress.

Posted in Gluten Free Lifestyle | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Hidden Sources of Gluten

Going gluten freeGoing Gluten Free is a hot food trend at the moment so here are a few Hidden Sources of Gluten that might interest you. I will also be writing a little about going gluten free and weight loss in a coming article. There are a lot of “Belly Buster” books on the market that stress that going gluten free will rid the world of those bellies that no longer taper along a slim body but instead stick out in front of us as we walk down the street. Well maybe and maybe not. We will go into more detail in our next article on living gluten free, which is scheduled for this next Tuesday. Be sure to check back to learn more.

Gluten can hide in many places that you may not think about looking at which makes it even more difficult for those that are on a strict gluten-free lifestyle. It’s important to know where to look for hidden gluten so you don’t harm yourself and then wonder what you ate to cause a reaction. If you are trying to avoid gluten but are not doing it for medical reasons, it is still worth knowing where it can be lurking. Hidden gluten can be found when multiple things are put together to make one food. This makes it difficult when you’re reading the label, but if you know what to look for, you’ll know what you can have and what you can’t have.

Not only is gluten in foods, but it’s also in other items we would ingest or come in contact with, so it’s important to pay attention to everything you purchase and read all labels on things you would put in your mouth or on your skin. Here is a short list of some of the items you must read labels for each time you purchase.

1. Soups prepared by a restaurant or in a can could contain gluten. Often times soup base is Wild Rice and Chicken Soupmade from flour and unless you’re for sure it’s a gluten-free soup, it’s not a good idea to even try eating it. Stay away from creamed soups for sure because unless it states “gluten free” on the label, there is a very good chance it contains some. The only way it’s sure to be safe is if you make it 100% yourself and from scratch. That can be fun and you can always make a little extra and freeze it so that you have it on hand on those days you don’t feel like cooking.

Butter2. You’d think cooked vegetables would be safe, but that’s not the case when they’re made by someone else. Some butters contain gluten, so that’s the first thing to watch for. Finding a butter that is marked gluten free can be a challenge but it can be done. Cross contamination can also occur if the vegetables are steamed in the same water or pan that was used for the pasta it would normally go on. Cross contamination doesn’t affect everyone, but if it does you, it’s important to make sure the pan is thoroughly washed before the vegetables are cooked.

3. Handmade potato chips or tortilla chips can also have cross contamination when cooked tortilla chipsin a fryer that was used to cook breaded foods like fish or chicken. This also happens a lot in restaurants because they don’t have the time or room to dedicate one fryer to gluten-free items only. Be careful in Mexican Restaurants, those tortilla chips they serve you are often made from left over corn tortillas at the end of the day. Corn tortillas are not bad, but the frying process is.

Turkey Meat Loaf4. Meatloaf is another food that has hidden gluten in it. Most times this meal is prepared with crackers or breadcrumbs and those contain gluten. It’s best to make your own using gluten-free oats or crushed nuts. If you need a recipe for a gluten free meatloaf just leave me a note in the comment section and I will add on in about a week. I publish a Meatless Monday recipe each week that I try to keep gluten free (It will say so if it is) I publish a gluten free recipe on Fridays  that is gluten free every week and I publish Mexican recipes on some Wednesdays which are often gluten free. Again the recipe will say gluten free when it is.

5. Certain vitamins contain wheat and not many people think about looking at the label for Gluten free vitaminsgluten. You ingest these vitamins so it’s important to watch the label and only purchase ones that are gluten-free. Here again it might be a little tricky until you find a brand that you can stick with,

6. Medications are another area you must be careful with because there are some on the market that contain gluten. These could cause problems you may not think would be from them, so you may take the time searching for the food that caused it, when it was really the medication you were taking. A lot of these medications have fillers that hold them together so read the labels carefully

gluten free makeup7. Makeup is another item you must look into when it comes to gluten. They may be natural, but may also contain wheat or other gluten ingredients. It’s best to read the label or contact the manufacturer just to be safe. A little extra work for the ladies I know, and you each have your favorite makeup company. I’m giving you a heads up as to what might be in that makeup, but be prepared because gluten isn’t the only thing you might find in that make up that could be a turnoff.

Gluten is in a lot of the products we use daily. It may be hiding so to speak because of other ingredients used to make them. This is why it’s important to read labels for all things you’d ingest or may come in contact with your skin. It’s better to be safe than sorry if it is for medical reasons. Even if not for medical reasons, you want to know where the Hidden Sources of Gluten are if you are to take this lifestyle seriously. It could take you a month to six weeks to get the program completely together, but if you are going gluten free, it is worth the extra effort.

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Turmeric Shrimp Salad

grilled shrimp saladToday we are making Turmeric Shrimp Salad using Wild Caught Shrimp which are much taster than the farm raised shrimp that most Americans purchase at their local grocery store.When family health is concerned, knowing where your ingredients come from can be just as important as knowing what ingredients to use.

That’s one reason food such as certified Wild American Shrimp has become popular. They are caught fresh in their own natural environment from the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico-and they are a health-conscious choice for consumers. A typical 4-ounce portion has just 112 calories when served steamed, boiled, grilled or baked and provides 23 grams of protein-47 percent of the daily value for protein. When purchasing, knowing how many you can serve per pound is as easy as reading the size on the package. If it is 16-20 that means you will get between 16 and 20 per pound, so if you are serving 4 per person, that means you can can count on 4 servings. !6-20 is usually the size served in a shrimp cocktail at most restaurants. If it is an outdoor cookout and you can afford it 10-15 is a nice sized shrimp and you can get by with about 3 per person unless they are big eaters.

Most shrimp sold in American stores are pond-raised imported, so be sure to ask for Wild shrimping on the high seaAmerican Shrimp caught by fishermen. You’re choosing the best-tasting seafood possible, and you’re also helping to support an entire industry and way of life.

After the big oil spill a couple of years ago, many of the people that make their living catching and processing shrimp went through some pretty heard times. Now that they are back and bringing in the wild caught shrimp, we once again can be sure that we are getting the freshest, wild caught shrimp anywhere. Never buy farm raised when wild caught is available. You just don’t know what chemicals are used to grow farm raised seafood.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Turmeric Shrimp Salad
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Lunch/Dinner
Cuisine: International
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Wild American Shrimp, cleaned
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ⅔ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • ⅓ tablespoon fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 21/2 cups water
  • ⅔ teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • pinch turmeric
  • ⅓ tablespoon red chili powder
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 16 ounces mixed salad greens
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, cored, cut into 8 wedges each
  • 2 limes cut into 8 wedges each
  • fresh dill for garnish
  • Salad Dressing - see chefs notes below recipe.
Method
  1. Place the peeled garlic cloves in a food processor with the salt and mince. Place in a large bowl and toss with the shrimp and set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil with the bay leaf, ⅓ tablespoon lime juice and the ⅔ teaspoon turmeric. When the water is boiling, add the shrimp, stirring, and cook just until opaque, about 2-3 minutes at most. Do not overcook! Drain. Overcooked shrimp become tough and rubbery.
  3. Immediately spread the shrimp onto a large baking sheet to cool, as they will continue to cook. Mix the additional lime juice, red chili powder and additional turmeric together and pour over the warm shrimp. Toss until well-combined. Add the chopped cilantro leaves to the cooled shrimp.
  4. To Serve;
  5. Place about 4 ounces of mixed greens on a salad plate or bowl
  6. Top with a serving of the cooked shrimp
  7. Garnish with tomato wedges, lime wedges, and fresh dill
  8. Offer salad dressing on the side.

 

Chefs Notes:  Salad Dressing; My wife likes to use a lite Rance dressing with this salad, which is alright but I did not list it in the recipe because when I make this, I prefer to use a mango dressing that I whip up but taking a little mango salsa in a blender, adding just a splash of lime juice and water to make it the consistency desired. Mango and Turmeric shrimp salad are a natural fit. Recipe here: http://www.healthyfoodanddiet.com/mango-salsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Eating Healthy - Living Longer, Gluten Free Lifestyle | 3 Comments

Quelite For Breakfast

Breakfast eggsToday we are going to use Quelite for Breakfast to make a different version of the dish known as Eggs Florentine. We will keep it gluten free by replacing the regular English muffins with a gluten free English muffin but use what works best for you.

Way back in 1533 when Catherine de Médicis of Florence married France’s Prince Henry, she brought with her new foods such as spinach as well as her own chefs. Anything they made from spinach was called “a la Florentine” after her home town.

Today, for a change in flavor, we are going to remove the cultivated spinach and replace it with Quelite, which is an annual wild edible plant that your will recognize as wild spinach or perhaps Lambs Quarter, fat hen, goosefoot, or pigweed. Quelite is the name given it in Mexico and because I live in Mexico at least half the year, and that’s all I ever hear my wife call it, I’ll call it Quelite. If you enjoy leafy greens such as kale, collards, and spinach then you should have no problem with Quelite. The leaves contain vitamins A and C as well as calcium, and good amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and iron.

To keep the recipe gluten free, we are going to replace the standard English Muffin with a gluten free English Muffin. I get these in the Gluten free section of a local market. They are about a third thicker than the average English Muffin and to date I have not found a sour dough gluten free English muffin  but I’ll keep looking. Having lived a good deal of my younger life in and around San Francisco, Sour dough is a favorite “bread” flavor of mine, but to remain gluten free I may just need to bake my own. When I do, I will be sure to post the recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Quelite For Breakfast
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: International
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 gluten free English muffins, split in half horizontally, lightly toasted, buttered
  • 2 large handfuls quelite, sauteed in butter
  • 4 free-range eggs, poached or fried over easy
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • ½ ounce grated Cheddar cheese or cheese of your choice
Method
  1. Place the buttered muffins onto a warm serving dishes
  2. Arrange the cooked Quelite on top of the muffins, top with the poached or fried eggs,
  3. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Sprinkle with grated cheese or your choice and serve.

 

Another change I have made is to replace the hollandaise sauce with grated cheese. We are

lambs quarter

Quelite

already eating 2 eggs so to top this with a sauce made with egg yolks seems to be a little “over kill” to me. If you use hollandaise sauce, you will be serving 4 egg yolks per order so you might want to follow my lead on this one and save the hollandaise sauce for the pouched asparagus that you will serve at a later date.

In this and the last two articles I have written, you might have noticed that I have used items from the area around my garden that are often overlooked. My challenge to you is for you to visit your local farmers markets and Talk to the people on the other side of the tables. Ask them about items you see but have never tried.  If you ask, they will tell you how to prepare these items. Try at least one new item each week. By the end of the growing season you will have discovered a new way to enjoy your meals.

You can find the other two articles at: http://www.healthyfoodanddiet.com/verdolaga  and at: http://www.healthyfoodanddiet.com/squash-blossom-omelette so give them a visit and rediscover foods you may have looked at but not used before. Discovering new foods can be a lot of fun.

In my book Herbs In The Kitchen  I review Rosemary, Garlic Thyme, Basil and 10 other kitchen herbs with recipes such as “Shrimp with basil, asparagus and pasta” Rosemary flavored steak ” and “Dandelion wine” plus some other great recipes. The book is available at : http://chefwilliamlikes.me/The Herb Book

Posted in Gluten Free Lifestyle, Meatless Mondays - Healthy Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Squash Blossom Omelette

Squash Blossom OmleteMy first culinary encounter with a Squash Blossom Omelette was some 20 years ago while visiting my wifes family in Mexico. Her mother lived in a quaint little town just outside of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific ocean. About two blocks from her house is the farmers market where the locals can purchase what they need for the day and not a lot more.

Their referigators are never full of produce that is going bad, and they have very little leftovers to be used at another time. Instead they will get up in the morning, have a light breakfast then visit the market for the planned dinner meal. The meat market is right next door, so they can also purchase what they need, fresh each day. They don’t need or want a large freezer to purchase items they can not afford. Life is simple in that area and they have a simple rule, if you have the pesos, you buy the products, if you don’t have the pesos you visit a friend or other members of the family just before meal time. When ever you visit someone around meal time, you are always offered something to eat. Often times it will be simply some beans with a fresh tortilla or two and perhaps a small pinch of home made cheese. When you have not eaten for a while, that can be a mighty fine meal.

When I saw these delicate little flowers on our visit to one of my favorite stalls at our weekly farmers market yesterday, it brought back memories of that visit to Mexico,long ago when I enjoyed my first Squash Blossom Omelette.

Squash Blossom Omelette

For 2 Omelettes:
5 Farm fresh eggs
1 Tbsp Butter
1 sweet Onion, Sliced Thinly
Pinch of Sea Salt
4 Squash Blossoms, washed and drained
2 Oz Mexican or Feta Cheese
1 Tbsp Chopped Cilantro
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste

In a medium sized bowl beat the eggs with a fork until well mixed

In a 9 inch skillet melt the butter. Once melted, toss in the onions, sprinkle in a pinch of salt and allow them to cook over medium high heat until they are caramelized (about 5 mins) remove from the heat and set aside on a small plate.

Clean the skillet and wipe it dry. Set it heating over medium heat and spray it with a bit of non stick spray. Pour in half of the egg mixture, allow it to cook for about 30 seconds and stir, allowing the runny bits on top to fall below the already cooked base. Springle some onions on top followed by the cheese, two or blossoms, and the cilantro. Cover immediately and allow to cook for another couple of minutes over low heat before lifting the lid, check the omelette for doneness  Sprinkle on a liberal pinch of pepper.

Delicately fold the omelet in half and gently tip it out onto a plate. The is A Gluten Free Omlette.

These blossoms are also used in other Mexican Dishes.

Posted in Eating Healthy - Living Longer, Gluten Free Lifestyle, Mexican Recipes, Recipes From Around The World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Independence Day Cookout

avocadoIn the United States today is all about the Independence Day cookout. It is on a Friday this year which means a long weekend and lots of parties everywhere. We are invited to a party this year for a change. In the past, we have hosted the parties but this year, I get to set back and relax while someone else mans the grill. While I won’t need to do anything at the party, it is potluck and I am going to bring a salad. The salad I have chosen to make is a Savory Citrus Avocado Shrimp Salad which I will be making about a half hour before leaving for the party. The recipe I am using is:

5.0 from 1 reviews
Independence Day Cookout
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: International
Ingredients
  • ½ cup light olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled and sliced
  • 8 cups fresh salad greens
  • 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled and sectioned
  • 1 pear, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup green grapes, cut in half
  • ¼ cup chopped Pecans
  • 16 medium sized shrimp, shell and tail removed, grilled
Method
  1. In a small bowl, Whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, and salt, then add avocados and shrimp and toss together gently.
  2. In a large salad bowl, toss remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour the avocado/shrimp mixture from the first bowl over the salad and gently toss to coat.

 

Chefs Notes: You really do not need to grill the shrimp if you don’t want to, just add cooked shrimp and you will have a nice salad. I like to marinate the shrimp in a little lime juice with fresh ground black pepper, ground chipotle chile pepper and a pinch of salt, then grill them on a small grill over hardwood charcoal because it adds a secret flavor that everyone seems to love. I always grill a few extra, just for making taste tests to be sure I have them “just right”.

Enjoy your Independence Day cookout, and all the fireworks that will fill the sky tonight and maybe for a day or two more. If you are handling fireworks please do be safe. I talked to the brewers, and they promised that there would be more beer available tomorrow, so relax and enjoy the weekend.

Posted in Recipes From Around The World | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Food And Sun Damage.

Food and Sun damageToday, we are going to take a look at food from a different angle, Food and Sun Damage. As a chef, I get asked all sorts of questions about food, but when I was writing about anti-aging a couple of weeks ago I was asked if what we eat had anything to do with Sun damage. It was a good question so I “hit the books” to get some information for them. What I found is interesting enough that I though I would pass it along to you also.  There are certain foods that contain chemical compounds which not only protect your skin when you’re out in the sun but they can also repair your skin and reverse sun damage. The good news is that the foods I will be sharing with you are also very tasty as well as healthy.

1. Cherries – Cherries are a good source of melatonin which is an antioxidant and a chemical that helps protect your skin against UV rays. The Montmorency cherry has the cherrieshighest level of melatonin. Ingredients in cherries have also been shown to repair sunburned skin by stimulating new skin cells to grow. They’re high in vitamin C too, which is a building block of collagen, nature’s wrinkle preventer. The Montmorency cherry is bitter-sweet and ripens in late July, so be sure and treat yourself while they are available.

2. Tomatoes – Lycopene is the helpful ingredient in tomatoes and it is highest in heirloom tomatoes. This antioxidant has been shown to reduce UV-induced free radicals by half. You will need to look around for heirloom tomatoes but a good place to start is your local farmers market.

sun damage3. Watermelon – This tasty summertime fruit is also quite high in lycopene. They also contain Vitamins A, B-6 and C. In Mexico we make Agua Frescas from watermelon, it is so refreshing on a hot day, it goes as fast as we can make it.

4. Crimini mushrooms – These lovely little mushrooms are high in selenium and vitamin B. Selenium is required to make the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase, which fights free radicals that are created in your skin when it’s exposed to the sun. Sauteed  Chimini mushrooms go well with a nice grilled steak. Just saute they in a little olive oil and butter, season them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and thyme. When they are ready, remove them from the pan, deglaze the pan with a little red wine, pour that over the mushrooms and top the grilled steak with a couple before serving,

5. Green tea – Green tea, hot or iced, contains high levels of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). This is an antioxidant that fights inflammation in the skin and reduces free radicals. How about keeping a gallon of green tea in the refrigerator every day, ready when you are.

6. Peppers – Sweet or hot, the capsiate in peppers decreases UVB-induced skin damage hot peppersand fights inflammation from sun damage. So, when you make a Mexican Dinner for the family that includes peppers, you get the extra reward of fighting sun damage.

7. Pomegranate – Pomegranates contain polyphenols that protect your skin from UVA and UVB free radicals. Pomegranates have also been shown to boost the SPF of your sunscreen by up to 25%. They are fun to eat, and also make a nice fruit juice.

8. Wild caught Salmon – The omega-3 fats in salmon fight inflammation from UVB rays. They also block the enzymes that are released by UV light and cause collagen depletion. A nice item for the summer cook out, and the Sauteed  Chimini mushrooms make a nice side dish for salmon as well as steak

9. Carrots – The antioxidant beta carotene found in carrots protects and repairs cells with sun damage. Summertime is a great time to make a carrot salad with raisins and pineapple.

sweet potatoes10. Sweet potatoes – These lovely tubers are also high in beta carotene. Why not bake some while you have the grill going. They are also a great source of vitamins A, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-6 and C as well as potassium, and fiber.

There is a connection between Food and Sun Damage so add one or more of these foods to your daily diet during the long days of summer and help keep your skin beautiful and healthy. They’re all easy to find and delicious. Summer time is party time and these can all be party foods that will help protect you from sun damage while you are enjoying the great outdoors.

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What Are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods?

CornIf you follow my blog for a while you will find that I write about GMO’s every few weeks, But What Are Genetically Modified (GM) Foods and why should you care? Well I hope to answer that question in this article because they really should be of concern to everyone that likes to eat.

Genetically Modified (GM) Foods are food, typically crops, that have been created by altering their DNA with various organisms to engineer the plant to avoid some kind of pest or disease. The plants that are mostly likely to be GM are soybean, corn, canola, and cottonseed oil. But, there is also GM livestock coming on the market soon.

The very first GM plant was the tobacco plant, which was created to make tobacco resistant to antibiotics. Then they started using recombinant chymosin for cheese making Tomatoesin the 1990s. Later came the GM tomato which was called the Flavr Savr tomato, approved for sale by the FDA in 1994. This tomato didn’t start getting ripe until after picking, allowing farms to lose fewer crops to the natural ripening process. Later, canola used in oil production was modified, as was cotton to resist herbicides. Finally came potatoes, soybeans, and golden rice.

At the time most people widely believed that GM foods were not dangerous to the population. People did have concerns that the GM food, once created, became the intellectual property of corporation which produced it. Meaning, you cannot save the seeds from GM crops to use in a future crop. You have to buy the seeds all over again. Plus, due to the nature of plants, the GM plants can theoretically invade other plants nearby, and a farmer may end up with GM crops without meaning to.

PapayasToday we have GM papaya, created to save Hawaii’s crop from the ringspot virus. By 2014 we have zucchini, potatoes, apples and more (all grown in the USA) that are genetically modified to resist various pests or herbicides. The largest GM crop is corn, which is produced as human food and made into many different products, and finally the waste is used for livestock food. Soy is more likely to be GM than corn, with 90 percent being GM. From soy, many other products are made, including food for human consumption as well as food for livestock. The largest GMO crop in the USA is sugar beet.

While GM cattle and salmon exist, they still do not have approval for sale as human food. But some GM animals are used in the production of medicine and drugs. Even with the current climate around the world being against GM foods, there is still a good chance that GM animals will be legalized for sale soon. The corporations would like to get approval to put them on the market and with there man as the head of the FDA they more or less have government in their pocket unless you and I make it a point not to purchase GMO Foods.

Corporations like Monsanto Company spend a lot of money, over 5.3 million dollars in one year, on lobbying the government to get their crops and livestock approved. In addition, ex-Monsanto executive Michael R. Taylor is now head of the FDA.

There is a way to let those companies know that you do not want Genetically Modified (GM) Foods for your family. local farmers marketNow is the season do purchase your fruits and  vegetables from your local farmers markets. These people work hard to bring you good wholesome food and the only way they can continue to do this is with your support. So visit a farmers market this week and purchase foods that have been harvested this week and not a month or so ago. As for the papayas, purchase papaya from Mexico, they are not a GMO product.

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Verdolaga

Verdolaga OmeletAn often over looked green vegetable by many, Verdolaga grows wild almost everywhere. Most people with a garden, pull it up and discard it as a weed. It is a prized green in some areas of Mexico and can be found in Mexican groceries there and across the USA. In Wisconsin it is also available in many farmers markets at the stands that are owned my the Hmong’s.  They have found that it is a no work cash crop, just harvest and sell.

A few years ago, when my wife and I would plant a couple of acres of vegetables, She took

Verdolaga greens

Fresh from the field

me into the field and we started pulling up the Verdolaga. I had no idea what she planned to do with it, but I was sure we were not going to be eating it. Well, as the saying goes, live and learn. She has a few ways that she prepares it, and we know a couple of areas where we can get all we want just by going out and pulling it up, cleaning it and cooking something for breakfast or dinner.

cooking verdolagaThis week we made a Verdolaga omelet or perhaps pancake would be a better word to discribe it. Not only was it a great and healthy breakfast, it is also gluten free.

This plant hugs the ground and if you find a little there are be more near by. After we clean it, we rake the roots into some soil to be sure to have another crop shortly.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Verdolaga Omelet
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 2 farm fresh eggs,
  • 4 ounces Verdolaga, cleaned, stems removed
  • 2 ounces onion, fine diced
  • 1 ounce jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, finely diced, (optional)
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Sea salt to taste.
Method
  1. In a no stick pan, saute the onion and jalapeno until they are soft
  2. add the Verdolaga and continue to saute until it is wilted
  3. add the eggs, salt and pepper and continue to cook until eggs are cooked to your liking
  4. Fold into an omelet or serve pancake style.

We often serve this with refried beans on the side, fresh made tortillas and perhaps some fresh avacado and some cheese.

Verdolaga has a nice amount of Potassium, Vitamins A and C plus calcium, Iron and Magnesium. Not bad for a vegetable that many people have never heard of or walk past in the stores and never give a second look.

Posted in Gluten Free Lifestyle, Mexican Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments