I've been asked to begin a blog that shows a "how-to" for the things that bring pleasure to my life. So, the intent of this blog is to share recipes, gardening, composting, sewing, crafts, art, everyday projects and even psychology tips to aid in healing wounds and living the life you're meant to live, a life with purpose!
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Friday, March 23, 2012

Barley, healthy grains, vegetables; Vegetarian meatless main dish ideas coming up

I was asked by a friend for information regarding grains, particularly Barley, and of vegetarian vegetable ideas for cooking meals.
Salads at summertime are always a great idea:
Grilled vegetables are amazing on an Arugula Lettuce salad bed. Arugula is a peppery lettuce that is my favorite lettuce. ;-)

First, why choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and Grain Products?
Grain products and many vegetables and fruits are emphasized especially for their complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates are: whole-grain breads, cereals, pastas, rices like brown, and legumes like beans or lentils, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, Lima beans or corn. Great sources of fiber come from: the whole-grain products, legumes, fruits with their skins, edible seeds like sunflowers, nuts, vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, raw onions in salads, pumpkin, spinach, turnip greens, Kale's (any green leafy veggie), Brussels sprouts, parsnips, beets, okra, and broccoli. Dietary fiber is important for healthy bowel functioning and can reduce symptoms of chronic constipation, diverticular disease, and hemorrhoids.
As far as losing weight issues, high fiber food means you will stay full longer, as the body takes longer to digest the complex carbohydrates, keeping your blood sugar steady and hunger at bay. The opposite occurs whenever we consume simple carbs, like white bread products or simple sugars like donuts. The blood sugar drops as soon as these are quickly digested, leaving us craving and hungry. This is when we get upset with ourselves because it seems our judgment power of what to eat is no longer with us. Unrefined complex starches products are unlike the white flour products, they are not over-processed on their pathway into the grocery stores, to the point of taking all that is good out of them, they contain fiber, vitamins and minerals, especially zinc, vitamin B6, and folacin. Clients have avoided complex carbohydrates with the misconception that they are fattening. Owing their low fat content, they are also low in kilocalories. Studies that were done --beginning in 1989, showed that a diet high in complex carbohydrates were more slimming than a diet of comparable kilocalories high in fat or simple sugars (the body breaks down simple carbs into simple sugars). Foods containing complex carbs are usually being eaten with added fats or sugars. For example, sugar is usually added to cereal, and butter to bread or potatoes.

Another reason to eat well:
Additionally, foods rich in vitamins A and C may help lower the risk for cancers, again studies have shown this for some time now. Cruciferous vegetables help reduce cancer susceptibility. Good sources of vitamin A and C and cruciferous vegetables are: Acorn Squash, Apples, Apricots, Avocados (good fat too), Bananas, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbages, Cantaloupe, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Collar Greens, Grapefruit, Lettuce, Kale, Kiwi Fruit, Kohlrabi, Oranges, Papaya, Peaches Prunes, Spinach, Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, and Tomatoes.
I own many nutrition books from my dietary planning nurse days, so I looked it up. In regard to nutrition, barley sits right in the middle of the recommended grains; it’s minerals worth mentioning are Potassium, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Manganese, and a bit, 13.5mcg, of Selenium (which is an important one for any with low thyroid issues). The vitamins it holds the most of are: Choline and Niacin. Barley holds 3.5g’s of protein per serving of 1 Cup. It holds 303mg’s of Omega 6 fatty acid, and 33mg of Omega 3 fatty acid, which is great. Calorie and Carb count are 193 calories, from which 175 calories are from good carb, 12.6 are from protein, and 5.8 are from good fat. Total carb is 44.3g with 6g of Fiber. Sugar is a low .4g and its glycemic load is 19. For obvious reasons, I’d also try some of the other grains mentioned in the Food Facts on Best Grains: (http://lisakramerartlifestyle.blogspot.com/2011/01/food-facts-with-best-grains-to-include.html ). J
Diet Ideas and Meal Planning in regard to Protein: I imagine if you are going off of meat for protein, your protein levels will level off very quickly; leaving you to eat a healthy vegetarian diet that considers its protein when planning meals. Otherwise, you will find yourself deficit in this important fuel. Even if you’re too high with protein in the urine now, after a month of very low protein intake, look into high protein grains, beans, nuts, tofu, milk and etc.;0) If you’re just cutting out red meat (which is what I usually do), then your protein count will be fine with the much healthier fish, chicken, turkey and fish options. Lol, yes, I mentioned fish twice, because ideally, we will eat it three times a week for those precious Omega’s. ;-)
Favorite Veggie recipes: Basically, grilled anything on the grill -with a bit of olive oil- and salt to taste is amazingly tasty and healthy: Eggplant, asparagus, fennel, zucchini/ green squashes, or red peppers to just name a few. I love to add the sweet fruit of cherry tomatoes to that list; combining several together can be a meal if you place it on a bed of grain like Amaranth or Farro. Or just grill a lemon and lime with the vegetables, cut in half for squeezing onto the grilled yummies. Serve with a Greek yogurt dip, or make a Greek dip --even better! 

Veggie Meals Coming Up:
 I will be taking photos coming up of the vegetarian meals that I like to make. Once my Spring-Summer garden is in full bloom (and it has begun nicely this year), I do a lot of cooking out of it. I have so much fun this time of yr! It will not be any trouble to just snap a few images as I make the dishes. –And, sharing even makes the cooking more fun. ;-)
I love to cook with produce straight out of the garden!
In the meantime:
  • Good tips on natural foods that make you feel better:
  • One of my fav recipes using Quinoa (one of the higher protein grains):

So, stay tuned in for the upcoming vegetarian meals;-)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What we had for St. Patty's Day

Happy Green Day, St. Patrick's Day comes just once a year, so why not make it a fun holiday? ;-) In case your kids want to know, here's a link describing what it's all about: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Patrick%27s_Day

 Around here, we like the breaks of fun holidays throughout the year and won't miss an opportunity to celebrate. A few friends wanted to know how I cooked our corned beef this year, so here goes...
This is the finished cut up corned beef.
The first step that I took was to desalt the corned beef. I put the beef into a large pot of water with three cut up potatoes and brought it to a boil. Then I strained the meat and potatoes from the water in a colander, tossing the salt filled potatoes and started the same process again. I did this three times. Then, I let the meat soak in a mixture of water and one can of 7 Up.
3 lbs of corned beef (found in a package)
17 whole cloves
2/4 Cup hot sweet honey mustard or sweet honey mustard w hot sauce or cayenne pepper. (Divide mustard into two 1/4 cup portions).
2 heaping Tbsp's of brown sugar

Brown Soda Bread is what I serve with this meal. You can make it homemade (ask me for the recipe if you want it) or ask for it at your bakery section. ;-)

Cabbage, onions, garlic (optional), potatoes, carrots and etc. ;-)
Instructions for cabbage:
To make your boiled cabbage, just simply cut up your veggies and add enough chicken broth to cover them, bring to a boil and simmer them until tender. During cooking, add garlic (optional), salt and pepper to taste.
*Note: do this when the meat has only 30 min's left to cook. ;-)
This year I took pictures of a new method of sauteing them and I did not like it nearly as well as this much easier way. It was many more steps and just not as good. If anyone wants that recipe just ask because I did snap a few images of the process. ;-)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Take the corned beef from pkg and discard the liquid it came in. (Save the spice packet for another meal, bc you will not need it for this recipe).
Lay corned beef, fat side up, on a folded heavy duty aluminum foil piece. Poke your whole cloves into the meat covering it evenly spaced.

3.Mix together your honey mustard and hot sauce if you did not purchase the hot honey mustard:

4. Spread the top of meat with the honey mustard mixture. (Remember you are only using half of your mustard for this first coat).

5. Add the brown sugar on top of the mustard.

6. Make a type of basket with the bottom foil:
The ends of the foil are simply folded toward the middle on each end.

Then just fold that piece down to seal the top side, making a rectangular bowl for the juice to rest in.

7.Take a second piece of foil and make a top lid to your foil bowl (no need to fold it in half making a double layer like the bottom one).
View of side of your rectangular foil bowl with lid:

8. Make sure you have a puff, you don't want the foil touching the top of your meat, or you will loose it's very yummy topping.

9. Now place this foil package into a shallow roasting pan, without a lid and bake for 2 hours.

10. Your timer rings, take out meat and separate your top from your bottom by preying up on one end. Be careful of the burning steam!
11. Spread your reserved honey on top of beef and broil it for 3 minutes. Do not leave, watch it carefully, because it could burn fast. You want a golden browned look.

12. Meat before cut after tearing off foil.Let it rest 5-10 minutes. Then cut across the grain of the meat into 1/2 thick slices, cutting diagonal would have been preferred (Patrick cut it "acrossed" before I noticed; he did, however cut across the grain the meat).

13. Let your guests or family know to not eat the cloves; they can remove them prior to taking a bite. I like to leave them in because they decorate the meat nicely. ;-)
    Enjoy! ;-)     Not sure why                                                   these above photos look so bad (kinda green, or something). I just clicked in a hurry, as we were about to eat. ;0)

Of course we had to put green food coloring into our beer. ;-D
To finish off the green theme, make yummy green velvet Woopie Pies! Just Red Velvet cake mix with green food paste added and icing in between (you can also use ice cream, or white custard; you can make the stuffing green as well).

Make green cake pops, Cake balls, or you can name them cakesicles! Starbucks has recently made these little tasty fellas the current rave. The thing is, they are so easy to make! Simply take a cake (out of a box mix, or your favorite recipe) tear it into small bits, add some icing and make little balls that fit into the palm of your hand. Poke sticks into them (I like the rounded ones. One long one can be cut into two. Or have them look like little truffles (like in picture below). Then dip them into icing! You can also sprinkle them with whatever you like: colored sugars, sprinkles, coconut, nuts, etc. Place on wax paper. They only look like they are hard to make!

Here are some great ideas of desserts using green tea. I will be looking into making some of these ideas myself: