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January 2010 - Kasha
it has two names, it is essentially the same. In the stores, usually
kasha is the grain in its whole form, while buckwheat
is in a flour form. Although not a true cereal grain, it is used
like a grain and has similar properties of grains. And even though it
is in the name, it is not a wheat at all, in fact it is gluten free.
Many people with food allergies get confused and stay away from buckwheat,
however they will find it is an excellent grain to start including in
it is a good blood building food, it can neutralize toxic acidic wastes.
In Chinese Medicine it is known for feeding and nurturing the kidneys
and reproductive organs. Also known as the signature grain of the winter
time, it is medicinal to capillaries and blood vessels and can increase
circulation to the hands and feet. Buckwheat has the longest transit
time in the gut which makes it excellent to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Also rich in vitamin E, very high in vitamin C, and contains almost
the whole range of B-complex vitamins.
kasha, it is best to pot boil it using a two to one ratio (one part
grain, two parts water). Some people like to pan roast it before pot
boiling it. You do this by simply putting the grain in a skillet and
cooking it until in starts to brown. Then pot boil it for about 25 minutes
or until the water has all been absorbed. I hope you try this wonderful
grain and here is a recipe for you to make.
grain was a topic of The Dr. Oz Show!
For more info on kasha, see January
2013 food of the month.
2010 - Cookies
one of my favorite desserts, maybe not a food category but lets devout
the whole month to cookies. Is there anything better than a warm cookie
just out of the oven? They are still kind of doughy and gooey and just
melt in your mouth. I have been making cookies since I was a little
kid, with my moms help, and I never grow tired of them or creating
a new kind. Growing up I was taught to make them using the traditional
ingredients; butter, sugar and white flour. When I started eating healthy
I had to convert my favorite cookie recipes to use better ingredients.
I am proud to say I have successfully converted almost all my favorite
childhood cookie recipes to a healthier version and along the way created
many more new and interesting cookies.
and favorite sweetener to use in dessert recipes is brown rice syrup.
It is made from whole grain brown rice that is cooked down to create
a thick syrup. Being that it is predominately maltose, the least reactive
sugar there is, it does not spike your blood sugar level. Regular sugar
is sucrose, the most disruptive sugar, that wrecks havoc with your whole
system. White sugar has no nutritional value and it spikes your blood
sugar level, eaten over time this is detrimental to your health. It
has been linked to such diseases as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure,
migraine headaches, tooth decay,
hypertension, digestive diseases and many more.
ask "Is there a one to one conversion to substitute brown rice
syrup for sugar in a regular recipe?" The answer is no. Brown rice
syrup is a liquid, white sugar is a dry ingredient, so in order to substitute
you have to make many changes to the recipe. Most of my childhood favorite
cookie recipes I took and changed a lot. And it took a few tries to
get the taste and texture similar to the original.
carrots all the time and they are our favorite vegetable on the veggie
tray, but do we realize they are power packed, medicinal roots? I think
maybe we are drawn to them because of their beautiful color or their
signature sweet taste. Old varieties came in dark red, white, purple
and yellow colors. If lucky, sometimes you can find the multi-colored
variety at the store, make sure you buy them when you see them, they
are extremely delicious.
have anti-carcinogen properties and help improve night vision. They
contain B vitamins, high in vitamin A, phosphorus and calcium. They
contain the phenol coumarin, which helps prevent blood clotting and
has anticancer properties. Carrots tonify the kidneys, support the spleen,
pancreas, liver and lungs. They help treat indigestion, lower blood
sugar levels, purify the blood and support the elimination of waste.
carrots, always buy organic, they are so much more sweeter and flavorful.
Also leave the skin on them, most of the vitamin and minerals are located
just below the skin. Look for carrots that still have the greens on
them if at all possible, that means they are the freshest. Try to get
the ones that are not too big in size, the bigger they are the less
taste they have.
my favorite ways to cook carrots is with parsnips, they complement each
others tastes. A soup is made so much sweeter by adding carrots,
and no stir fry is complete without colorful carrots. Another way carrots
can be used is in desserts such as carrot cake. I can think of no better
dessert at Easter time than a moist, sweet carrot cake.
a hardy plant in the cabbage family. It is easy to grow and can even
survive in your garden after a frost. Recognized by its dark green leafy
appearance, kale is lightly sweet and bitter to the taste. Known for
its high protein and iron content, kale also contains calcium, vitamin
A and C and chlorophyll. It helps ease lung congestion, heals the liver
and immune system and benefits that stomach. Energetically it feeds
and nurtures the heart, brain, small intestines and blood.
the plant is so hardy, when you eat this food you impart the strength
into your body. Indole-3-carbinol, which may protect against colon cancer,
is found in kale. Along with the nutraceuticals lutein and zeaxanthin
which protects the eyes from macular degeneration.
so wonderful you can see why everyone is saying to get more into your
diet. I use kale often in my cooking but one of my students, Jane, asked
if I could incorporate even more in my dishes, so I created what I now
call the Jane Technique. Buy a bunch of organic kale at
the store. Look for a firm stalk and dark green color. You do not want
any yellow color on the kale, that means it is old. Get it home and
wash it really good. Fill a dish pan full of water, soak the kale and
swish it around. Remove kale and check to see how much dirt has come
off. Sometimes you have to wash it two or three times to get all the
dirt off. Then let dry. Put into a food processor and puree until the
kale is cut up in very small pieces. Add a little of the minced kale
to everything you eat. Just a pinch here and there, and you are getting
all the health benefits from the kale everyday in your diet.
- Delicata Squash
all the winter squashes, one stands out as being the sweetest, most
tender and delectable, delicata squash. It is my favorite and after
you taste one, I hope it will be yours too. Not familiar with it? It
is the smallest of the winter squashes. It looks like a large, oblong
cucumber that is yellow with green stripes. It is in stores only for
a short period of time, usually starting in September. By late November
it is hard to find. To enjoy this wonderfully sweet squash, I would
highly recommend when you see them in the store, buy them.
squashes, like delicata, feed and nurture the spleen, pancreas and stomach.
They impart warmth into your body and improve energy circulation. High
in complex carbohydrates which helps stabilize your blood sugar levels
and aids in digestion. Also very high in carotenoids which gives it
anti-carcinogenic properties. Squashes provide potassium, riboflavin,
magnesium, iron and vitamin A and C.
way to enjoy delicatas sweetness is to bake them. Cut the squash
in half, length wise, place flat side down on an oiled cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until a fork goes into the flesh
easily. Scoop the seeds out and discard them. Serve as is, or season
with some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. The squash will melt in
your mouth. It is as creamy as butter and as sweet as a dessert. The
skin is so soft you can eat it as well.
- Shiitake Mushrooms
mushrooms are one of the most flavorful mushrooms. They have a robust,
earthy, slightly bitter flavor and a chewy texture. They come fresh
or dried. I prefer to use the dried ones because the soaking water has
a tremendous amount of flavor. The most important thing about cooking
dried Shiitakes is that they have to cook for at least 15 minutes.
If not cooked enough they are tough. You can use them in soups, stir
frys, bean dishes, and cooked along with your grains.
have healing properties, in nature they have the ability to grow and
find life from dead decaying things. They will do the same thing in
your body. The power packed shiitakes are one of the most medicinal.
They contain the most active compound found in mushrooms called complex
immunopotentiating polysaccharide. This compound gives the shiitake
anti-cancer effects, anti-tumor benefits, and can improve resistance
to bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. These superior mushrooms
also contain a substance called eritadenin, which can quickly
lower serum cholesterol levels and breaks down fats, cists, and tumors.
Here are some more wonderful things found in shiitakes :
fatty acids, such as linoleic acid
-Enzymes and Vitamins that do not appear in other plants
-All 8 essential amino acids
-High in leucine and lysine amino acids
-Vitamins B1, B2, B12, D, niacin, pantothenic acid, calcium
-Immune regulating effects
-Helps protect the liver
-Positive cardiovascular effects
to North America, the pecan is one power packed, great tasting nut.
Energetically they are warming for your body, which makes them a good
food to consume at this time of year. They contain good quality fats
and omega 3 fatty acids. Pecans are known in Oriental medicine to feed
and nurture the brain. They are high in Vitamin E, a natural antioxidant,
that promotes heart health, neurological protection, and can decrease
L.D.L., bad cholesterol. Pecans contain more than 19 vitamins and minerals
such as; Vitamin A, several B, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron,
zinc, potassium and phosphorus. Their natural sweet flavor lends them
to be ideal for candies, cookies, cakes and pies.
is one of my favorites. A traditional one made many years ago would
have either brown sugar, corn syrup, or molasses. Because pecans grow
abundantly in the south, it is no surprise the pecan pie originated
there. I offer for you here my healthy version of a classic recipe.
I use whole grain sweeteners, brown rice syrup and barley malt, instead
of sugar. Made by malting the whole grains, they are not refined and
a healthier choice. Both brown rice syrup and barley malt have high
components of complex sugars which means they have a slower, gentler,
more balanced effect on the bodies metabolism. The kind of sugar in
whole grain sweeteners is maltose. Maltose is the least reactive of
all the sugars on your body. It does not spike your blood sugar levels.
Brown rice syrup and barley malt come in jars and have a thick, sticky
consistency. Amazake, also in the recipe, is another whole grain sweetener,
maltose. It is made from fermented brown rice. You can find it in the
freezer section of your health food store. It is thick, like a malt.
different flavors. For the pie you can use the original, vanilla pecan,
or almond flavors.