Category Archives: Food

Quinoa – Do We Really Know What We’re Eating?

Thank you to Julie R Thomson of Huffington Post for a fantastic yet simple article. See below. I will past it here in case the link becomes inactive. Have fun reading. I did!

 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/19/what-is-quinoa_n_7612836.html

Bolivia Quinoa Dispute

Second only to maybe kale, quinoa is the health food star of our time. The Food and Agriculture Organization named 2013 the International Year of Quinoa, after all. This tiny grain-like food is full of good-for-you nutrition and tastes great in just about anything: salads, omelettes and even cakes.

We’re willing to bet you’ve eaten a good deal of the stuff, but do you know what it really is? It’s okay if you don’t, because not many of us do. Today’s the day we change that with a few fun facts and photos that tell us about where quinoa comes from.

Here are 8 important things everyone should know about quinoa:

1. First, it’s pronounced KEEN-wah. Let’s just all get that straight.

BOLIVIA-QUINOA

2. The part of the quinoa plant that we eat is the seed — it’s not a grain. It grows from a plant in the goosefoot family, which also produces edibles such as chard and spinach. So although we treat it like a grain, it is not in fact a grain.

A quinoa field in Cotimbora, Oruro, Boli

3. It’s a complete protein — meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acidswhich cannot be made by the body and therefore must come from food. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, so it’s perfect for healthy eaters. Bonus: This is great news for vegetarians looking to up their protein intake.

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4. Cooked quinoa looks like it has a little curly “string” coming out of it. This is not something that should gross you out — it’s just the seed’s germ.

BOLIVIA-QUINOA

5. There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa out there. The white, red and black are the most widely cultivated.

BOLIVIA-QUINOA

6. While we’re just getting hip to this healthy seed, quinoa has long been a staple ingredient, dating back to pre-Columbian civilizations in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia.

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7. Quinoa is one of the few crops that not only survives but thrives in harsh, unpredictable climates. After all, it originated in the Bolivian Altiplano, known to have over 200 frost days and severe droughts. While many countries are jumping on the quinoa train trying to ramp up production — including the U.S. and Canada — results have yet to be as good as Bolivia or Peru’s quinoa.

8. Bolivia and Peru are at odds about quinoa farming practices. Bolivia used to dominate quinoa exports, but recently Peru has been climbing the scales. Bolivian farmers are unhappy about the way Peruvian farmers are ramping up production, using factory farming practices and heavy amounts of pesticides while driving down the price of the crop.

Enjoy! Now Google some yummy quinoa recipes! 😉

 

 

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A Climate Tax on Red Meat? One Country is Trying To Do It!

cattle

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/news/a-climate-tax-on-red-meat-one-country-is-trying-to-do-it/

This is a re-blog of a very information-filled article on http://www.onegreenplanet.org. Please take a read. Link above is to the original article. 

While countries around the world have started setting up regulations for major companies contributing to greenhouse emissions and in turn, climate change, this week, the Danish government voted to take a different approach. Instead of trying to tackle the monumental climate change crisis solely by collaborating with major industry players, the Danish Council of Ethics, an independent body that advises parliament, ministers and other public authorities on ethical issues, has proposed a “climate tax” on products with the greatest negative impact on the environment, namely meat.

As we saw last month when the Netherlands recommended a lower meat intake, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council is not happy about this proposal. More surprisingly, not every politician in Parliament is gung-ho about the idea either, with one going as far as to say, ”Maybe [the tax] would get beef consumption to fall in Denmark, but it wouldn’t do much of anything for the world’s CO2 emissions.”

We, respectfully, disagree. And considering 14 of the 16 members of the council support the tax, we’d say we are not alone. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of allgreenhouse gas emissions, more than the total exhaust from all forms of transportation worldwide. So, to remark that the world’s CO2 emissions would not be changed at all from less meat consumption is not only ridiculous, it’s downright irresponsible.

As proponents of the tax stated, the Danish people are, of course, responsible for making climate-friendly choices on their own. However, after six months of deliberation the Council felt it was imperative to push people in the right direction. They hope to extend this tax on other products with a negative impact, but felt that starting with meat would be the smartest move considering its immensely destructive environmental impact.

When we look at how the meat industry and government have worked together in the past, this Danish approach makes total sense, in fact the US could learn a thing or two from Denmark. After all, the animal agriculture industry and the US government have been in cahoots for years now, we can’t expect them to lead the change. Look at government subsidies for example. Despite the fact that meat consumption has come down by a thirdsince the 1970s,  the US government hands out $38.4 billion a year to ensure that people have an easy time entering the industry, and that production continues to grow. Nice work,lobbyists. The worse part about this system is that these hand-outs aren’t coming from the pockets of government officials. If only! The government actually takes tax dollars from its citizens to pay off the very industry that is destroying the planet. If you’re trying to figure out how that makes sense, we’ll save you the time, it doesn’t.

While we can’t deny that the US government has begun to make strides in addressing climate change, the destruction will become unmanageable if we continue at this snail’s pace. Although this new Danish tax hasn’t been set into motion yet, the US government should definitely consider implementing a similar law. After all, the first way we should be fighting climate change is with our forks, a connection our government needs to make, and soon.

tax

 

 

Weight Watchers-Friendly Websites

Hello! Welcome to the blog today! I thought I’d list a few points-friendly websites for my Weight Watchers friends and those who just want good taste with fewer calories.

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1. http://www.emilybites.com/

2. http://www.skinnytaste.com/

3. http://www.cookinglight.com/

4. http://www.thegraciouspantry.com/

5. http://www.dedmed.com

 

I hope you enjoy reading through these. I got some great ideas for meals and snacks. There is a lentil soup recipe I want to try on the dedmed.com site. 😉

7 Quotes of Encouragement

Reblogged from lossesaregood.com

feet_tired

I’m exhausted from working all day! My feet hurt, and I am hungry.

No, I won’t go the “easy” route. I didn’t pick up a burger on the way home. I’m having tuna with a side of chopped cucumber, some sliced tomato, and crunchy red apple. It sounds tasty, AND I won’t beat myself up about eating something high calorie in a moment of fatigue.

So, I hope you are also hanging in there on those days you find yourself tired and hungry. Stay the course. You can do it, too!

 

7 encouraging quotes below:

“We can’t be afraid of change. You may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it, you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean, a sea. Holding onto something that is good for you now, may be the very reason why you don’t have something better.” ― C. JoyBell C.

 

“Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

“It’s just that in the Deep South, women learn at a young age that when the world is falling apart around you, it’s time to take down the drapes and make a new dress.” ― Karen Marie Moning, Faefever

 

“You can’t expect victory when you behave as though you’re already defeated.”  -Lea Milford

 

“Come friends, it’s not too late to seek a newer world.” ― Alfred Tennyson

 

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and he will become as he can and should be.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

“The greatest act of faith some days is to simply get up and face another day.” ― Amy Gatliff

 

Is Weight Watchers the Plan For You?

ww3 This is a Weight Watchers-friendly salad. See it here: http://pinterest.com/pin/230176230928088557/

I am following the Weight Watchers Points Plus Program and love its versatility. A point is figured by the amount of calories, fat, protein, fiber, and carb in a food. There is an online Weight Watchers app for your smartphone that offers you a points calculator when you are on the go or in your own kitchen. Don’t have a smartphone? Weight Watchers also sells Points Calculators on their website. http://weightwatchers.com

The best news? Fruits and non-starchy vegetables are zero points! You’ll never have to be hungry on this plan.

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I don’t go to meetings but am a member of Weight Watchers (WW) Online. I keep track of my foods and exercise on their site. They’ve got delicious recipes and informative message boards. You just weight yourself once a week on the same day and then record it online. Easy.

Here is a review of the Weight Watchers program from the WebMD website:  http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/weight-watchers-diet

You’ll have plenty of resources and support with this plan. I’m here to work it, too! Don’t forget that my new video log http://lossesaregood.com will be my official weight loss journey! Day 1 onward!  Please join me, and comment often!

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Eating Hostas

Eating hostas

Posted on 07/05/2012by Alan Carter

One of my favourite seasonal treats from the forest garden are the hostas. No, no spelling mistake: hostas are really edible. In fact, they are a near perfect forest garden crop. Woodland is the natural habitat of many hosta species, so they like moist soil with plenty of organic matter and tolerate a considerable amount of shade. A friend tells me that they have a positive allelopathic relationship (i.e. they secrete chemicals that help each other) with apples, and since the research on it is published in Russian I’ll have to take her word for it. Hostas are no novelty nibble: they have the potential to be a major productive vegetable.

hosta clump

The best part of the hosta is the ‘hoston’, the rolled up leaf as it emerges in the spring, although many varieties are still pretty good even once they have unfurled. The best way of cooking them depends on the size of the hostons. Small ones are delicious if you fry them for a few minutes, then add a little light soy sauce and sesame oil. The slight bitterness of the hostons complements the saltiness of the soy sauce very well. Similarly, they go very well in stir fries. The chunkier hostons are better boiled briefly and used as a vegetable. In the picture below, the hostons on the right are bound for frying, those on the left are for boiling.

hostons

Hostons are best cropped by gripping them firmly near the base and snapping ones off the edge of the clump. If you can snap them off right at the base they will hold together as a whole instead of falling apart into individual leaves. The short leaf scales around the base are bitterer than the larger leaves so they are worth removing. It is much easier to harvest the hostons if the crown of the plant is a little above ground level when it is planted.

Later on, the open leaves can be used as a general pot herb or substituted for spinach in recipes like ‘hostakopita’. The flowers and flower buds are also edible: the Montreal Botanical Garden lists all species as edible and Hosta fortunei as the tastiest.

It seems to be an open question whether every single species of hosta is edible and therefore whether it is a good idea to try any unidentified hosta that you may happen across. The only species I have eaten regularly myself is Hosta sieboldiana. Martin Crawford lists H crispula, longipes, montana, plantaginea, sieboldii, sieboldiana, undulata and ventricosa, which covers all the common ornamental species. Plants for a Future addH clausa, clavata, longissima, nigrescens, rectifolia and tardiva and list no known hazards for the genus as a whole. On the basis of that I’m happy to try any hosta myself, but if you’re going to do that, remember to try only a small piece first and test for a skin reaction by rubbing a piece on your skin before putting anything in your mouth.

Picture by ‘dcarch’ on the Seed Savers’ Forum

For more on eating hostas, there is a discussion and some astonishingly beautiful pictures of hosta dishes on the Seed Savers’ Forum. There was also a very useful article inPermaculture Magazine No. 58. It isn’t online unfortunately, but you can buy the back issue if you are really keen. A fellow wordpress blogger has also been writing about eating hostas here.

In Japan, hostas are prized as sansai or ‘mountain vegetables’, a class of plants that are usually gathered wild from the mountain and are considered to be particularly strong in vitality. There’s a great blog post about sansai at http://shizuokagourmet.com/sansai/.

Reblogged from source below:

http://scottishforestgarden.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/hostas/?blogsub=confirming#subscribe-blog

Vlogging – A New Endeavor

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m visiting my parents in East Texas. I needed a get-away badly, and this was just the trip.

I’ve had a busy week, and it’s only Thursday. I say busy but it’s not been busy as in physical work but in life decisions. I’ve been organizing my thinking and the way I approach things – a much needed spring cleaning. 😉

I have decided to start with the most pressing issue – that most affects my day-to-day life – major weight loss. I have 100-lbs to lose and haven’t been able to face it. Denial of it hasn’t worked for me (duh). So, I’m beginning a vlog next week and will take interested viewers with me on the journey. I’ll post my YouTube channel when I begin the trek, so any of you who want to follow may do so. I actually look forward to it. I see where my being accountable to someone else could keep me going.

Something has to be done because I’m making my boyfriend’s life unbearable with my hormone fluctuations, unhappiness with ill-health, and general fatigue that makes me moody. Sooo, it’s time to get fit (I’m grumbling at having to do it but know I’ll be happy later).

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Stop Missing Out on This Fruit!

pomegranate_juicemaking

 

Pomegranates: Have you eyed these gorgeous fruits but either didn’t know “how” to eat them or thought it would be too difficult to extract the seeds? I’m here to tell you that you have no reason to put it off any longer. It’s pomegranate season, and the luscious seeds are popping with flavor!

Here’s how! Cut off the crown off of the pomegranate

pomegranate_removecrown

 

 

 

 

 

and then score it with a knife and break it open

pomegranate_score

 

 

 

 

 

The the arils (seed casings) can be separated from the peel and internal white pulp membranes. Separating the red arils is easier in a bowl of water because the arils sink and the inedible pulp floats. Freezing the entire fruit also makes it easier to separate. Another very effective way of quickly harvesting the arils is to cut the pomegranate in half, score each half of the exterior rind four to six times, hold the pomegranate half over a bowl and smack the rind with a large spoon. The arils should eject from the pomegranate directly into the bowl, leaving only a dozen or more deeply embedded arils to remove.

pomegranate_arils

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pomegranate aril juice provides about 16% of an adult’s daily vitamin C requirement per 100 ml serving and is a good source of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), potassium and natural phenols, such as ellagitannins (tannins with free-radical scavenging properties) and flavonoids. Pomegranates are listed as high-fiber in some charts of nutritional value. That fiber, however, is entirely contained in the edible seeds, which also supply unsaturated oils. People who choose to discard the seeds forfeit nutritional benefits conveyed by the seed fiber, oils and micronutrients.

In preliminary laboratory research and clinical trials, juice of the pomegranate may be effective in reducing heart disease risk factors. Also, this fruit may inhibit viral infections and has antibacterial effects against dental plaque. And don’t forget its antioxidant claims.

The pomegranate is regarded as a symbol of fertility in China, so be careful!

pomegranate_china

 

 

Cool-Weather Coffee House Drinks . . . at Home!

 

 

 

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Recipe:
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar or sugar substitute
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1-2 shots espresso (about 1/4 cup of espresso or 1/2 cup of strong brewed coffee)

Combine milk, pumpkin and sugar in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until steamed. Remove from hit and stir in vanilla and pumpkin spice. Transfer the mixture into a blender and process for 10 seconds or until foamy. Or you can simply whisk the mixture until foam appears
Pour into mug, add espresso and enjoy. (www.thejavamama.com)

 

 

Peppermint Mocha
Recipe:
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 tablespoons powdered cocoa
3 tablespoons warm water
1/2 cup hot espresso
1 1/2 cups hot milk

Stir the water and sugar in a saucepan until sugar dissolves and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add peppermint extract. Allow mixture to simmer for 20 minutes.
Mix cocoa and water in a mag until paste forms. Add espresso and 1 1/2 teaspoon of the peppermint syrup. Finally, add the milk and serve hot. (www.thejavamama.com)

 

Caramel Brulée Latte
Recipe:
2 oz. espresso or strong coffee
8 oz. steamed milk
1 oz. vanilla bean syrup
2 tbsp. caramel ice cream topping

Brew coffee or espresso. Line mug with caramel topping, add syrup and then espresso. Steam milk and pour into cup.  (www.thejavamama.com)

 

Thanks Java Mama!

 

 

Simple Homemade Picante Sauce

 

Do you like the fresh taste of homemade picante sauce, but dislike the idea of multiple steps and lengthy time in the kitchen? Try this recipe!

(Thanks to eHow.com)

 

What you’ll need is below:

6 large tomatoes

1/2 cup of chopped onion

2 jalapeno peppers

1 bell pepper

Cilantro (to taste)

Salt

Garlic powder

Blender (or food processor)

 

Thoroughly wash all vegetables.

Slice each tomato into four parts. Remove the core or the hard center part of the tomato. Place your tomato pieces in the blender and mix thoroughly, to a consistency you prefer. Pour the tomato mixture into a medium size mixing bowl. Depending on whether you like thick, chunky salsa or a more blended, uniform sauce, you decide by how long to blend/chop.

Chop onion and place it in the blender. Blend thoroughly. Pour onions into the mixing bowl with tomatoes.

Prepare bell peppers and jalapeno peppers for chopping by removing stems, cutting in half and removing the seeds. Leave the jalapeno seeds in to make a hotter sauce. Place the peppers in the blender and blend thoroughly. Add to the mixture in the mixing bowl.

Stir all vegetables together, mixing well.

Enhance the flavor of your sauce by adding garlic powder, cilantro, sea salt and any other seasoning you desire.

Store your homemade sauce in an air-tight container and refrigerate.