Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My version of Cold-Eeze

So, I used to take Cold-Eeze when I got sick or felt a cold coming on.  The other day, I just decided to make one of these:

Nope, I haven't turned into a vampire.  It's beet juice!  I was feeling a little under the weather a couple of days ago and thought I would juice a bunch of produce I had in my fridge in hopes that it would recharge my body.  Success!  I have been feeling pretty good since I drank this beet juice and took a couple of zinc.  I am going to try this combo every time I get sick.  :)

Here is some nutritional information on my beet juice:

Beets are high in vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and C.  They are also a good source of choline, folic acid, iodine, manganese, organic sodium, potassium, fiber and carbohydrates. Beets have been shown to help fight acidosis, gastric ulcers, cancer, toxicity in the liver, among many other things (source).  Who wouldn't want to eat (or juice) them?

Carrots are high in thiamin, niacin, vitamins A, B6, C, K, potassium, folate, and manganese (source).  They also contain falcarinol, which may help to prevent cancer (source).  Carrots have been shown to be effective in ridding the ears, nose and throat of mucous (source), which is especially helpful when feeling a cold coming on.  Carrots can also help to boost the immune system and decrease inflammation.  Excellent!

I also threw in a couple large handfuls of mustard greens and arugula.  Greens help to decrease inflammation, speed up healing, and relieve respiratory issues.  They have large amounts of live enzymes, as well as iron, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous.

If you're interested in this lovely, tasty, immunity-boosting, drink, here's the recipe:

Beet Juice
3 small and 1 medium beet
2 large carrots
2 large handfuls of greens
approximately 1/4 cup fresh apple juice (my husband had just juiced apples that morning)

Juice all your produce and enjoy!  This yields about 12 ounces of juice.  You could split it or keep it all for yourself.  :)  Happy juicing!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

Another Monday has arrived.  Is it just me or do they come around way too quickly these days?  I have LOTS of Christmas crafting left to do, so I think the time is seeming to go by especially quickly.  This week's meals will have to be fairly simple because I don't have a lot of time to be cooking meals. 

Monday - Shepherd's Pie with Turkey (carryover from last week)
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Potluck at church...I think I will bring chili or soup/stew
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Homemade pizza with sauce
Saturday - My husband's great aunt's 90th birthday party...someone else is cooking.  :)
Sunday - Visiting family, which means another night of not cooking.

Breakfasts will be smoothies, cereal, toast with almond butter, muffins, and yogurt with banana and wheat germ...the usual.  :)
Lunches will be leftovers, more smoothies, raw cookie dough (uncooked oatmeal, heaping spoonful of almond butter, dash of vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon, and drizzle of maple syrup), PB&J and salads.
So this week isn't too bad...the chili takes more simmering than prep and our shepherd's pie will be the most labor intensive.  Hopefully I've made it easy on myself.  :)  I have Christmas baking to do too.  Oy!  Anyone else feel a little behind this year?  :)
To check out more menu ideas, visit Orgjunkie and Fit Meals Monday.  Hope everyone has a great week!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Mexican Inspired Lentil Scramble

The last couple of days, I have been indulging in a plate of this:

It probably doesn't look like much, but I assure you, it's delicious.  It probably took me ten minutes to prepare (including chopping the veggies) and it is FULL of stuff that's good for you.  :)  Here is the recipe:

Mexican Inspired Lentil Scramble
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 clove garlic
3 egg whites 
4 medium fresh kale leaves, stalk removed and leaves chopped
1/4 cup cooked lentils
1/4 cup salsa
1/2 tsp cumin
Couple dashes of cayenne pepper (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium low heat.  
2. Add onions and garlic.  Saute until onions become soft and translucent.
3. Pour egg whites into the skillet and cook thoroughly.
4. When the eggs are fully cooked (approximately 3-4 minutes), add the rest of the ingredients.
5. Incorporate all the ingredients into the egg. Cook until lentils are warmed through and kale has wilted (approximately another three minutes).
6. Devour!  :)

You could surely make this recipe using a combination of egg whites and yolks.  I didn't use any yolks because, frankly, I don't like them.  :)  This recipe is fast, easy and delicious!  Let me know if you decide to try it!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Menu Plan Monday

It's Monday again!  :)  How was everyone's weekend?  Ours was pretty relaxing and uneventful.  My husband is trying to finish painting our living room so we can actually put our tree up.  What a hassle!  Hopefully it will be the last time something needs to be sanded for a long time in my house.  :) 

Anyway, I am not sure what we ate last week, but I don't think I made anything that I had planned.  I whipped up a turkey stew with some leftover turkey and then another night I made an Indian inspired dish with some turkey in my freezer.  Basically, even though I planned my meals, I still couldn't seem to stick to them.  I think there will be a lot of repeat meals this week that I never actually made last week. 

Monday - Lentil sloppy joes on whole wheat rolls
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Falafel on whole wheat pitas with tahini sauce
Thursday - Leftovers
Friday - Shepherd's pie with turkey
Saturday - Leftovers
Sunday - Pumpkin, potato and carrot soup...inspired by a blog I follow, but sure to be much different.

Breakfasts will be plain yogurt with banana and wheat germ, smoothies, cereal, or muffins.
Lunches will be leftovers, PB&J, raw cookie dough cereal (uncooked oats, a heaping spoonful of almond butter, sprinkle of cinnamon, dash of vanilla and drizzle of maple syrup) and more smoothies.

Didn't get any fresh ideas by checking in with me?  Check out Orgjunkie or Fit Meals Monday.  Happy meal planning!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I have been wanting to play with chocolate a bit since finding a recipe for chocolate on a blog that I follow. I saw a recipe for peanut butter cups and thought it would be just as easy to use almond butter. Then, it looked like Megan at Healthy Hoggin' (a blog that I love, FYI) had the same thought process and she looked like she had a pretty easy time. I would wait no longer to try my hand at making chocolate.

Chocolate???? What? Isn't this website supposed to feature stuff that is good for you? Well, my friends, chocolate can be beneficial...if you eat the right stuff (if you are interested, you can read a couple of articles here and here). I don't recommend you consume mass quantities of chocolate, in spite of the health benefits. Moderation is key.

Many of you have asked me for the recipe for the almond butter cups that I made last week. They were super easy and delicious. I made my own chocolate, but I am sure that you could use chocolate chips or baking squares (organic and at least 70% cacao) and that would make this even easier. So, first the chocolate recipe. Here is what you will need:

Raw Vegan Chocolate

1 Tbsp coconut oil (for those of you who think that coconut oil is a no-no, see here and here)
1 Tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp raw cacao powder

1. Put the coconut oil and agave into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds to soften.
2. Thoroughly combine coconut oil and agave until mixture is purely liquid.
3. Add vanilla and cacao powder (you could also use cocoa powder, but it's not as good for you).
4. Whisk until completely incorporated.

Your chocolate should look something like this:

That's it! You will need two batches of this recipe for your almond butter cups. This recipe came from Averie over at Love Veggies and Yoga. Have I mentioned that I love her blog? :)

So, now onto the almond butter cup assembly. First, you will need a mold...or you might be able to make it work by just using the paper cups. I found the white paper candy cups at the craft store for around $2. The mold wasn't expensive either and makes my life a little easier. Also, you may be able to use just the mold, but I have read a couple experiences where the chocolate gets stuck in the mold and then falls apart. I didn't want that problem, so I used both.

Start by placing a paper cup in each cup mold. Then, spread a thin layer of your homemade chocolate into each cup, like so:

Once you have successfully (yet very messily...I need to work on being neater with this process) filled the bottom of each cup, you should put the mold in the refrigerator for a few minutes. This time I only had to leave them in the fridge for 10 minutes before they were firm and lost their sheen:

Now, for the almond butter (or peanut butter, if you feel like). You want to put a generous amount of almond butter in each cup. Maybe a heaping 1/4 tsp-ish? Try not to let the almond butter migrate all the way to the edges...this is the tough part. If you do, it's not the end of the world, but you will end up with dark chocolate almond butter sandwiches, as opposed to cups.

Once each cup has a sufficient layer of almond butter, then pour a thin layer of (another batch) of dark chocolate on top. When you have each cup with its successful three layers, now the cups are ready for the freezer! I pop the cups into the freezer for a couple of hours (you can take them out earlier, the almond butter will just still be a little oozy). This is what the final product looks like:

I am still trying to figure out how much chocolate to put in the bottom and top layers to make a nice sized almond butter cup. When I made these the first time, I made six cups. The chocolate layers were awfully thick making only six. This time I tried twelve...some of them I thought the chocolate layer was too thin. So, next time, I think I will make nine. :)