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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH WITH SAGE AND CRANBERRIES

Roasted Butternut Squash
 
 
 
 
This side dish gives off an inviting warmness and a bit of a holiday feel.  It's perfect to eat for the cold weather season.  Butternut squash is a hardy winter squash and can last on your counter (table) for a long time.  The squash is very firm and hard.  It can be a pain and tedious task in cutting into it.  The squash will give your wrist and hands a bit of a work out.  It's worth the hassle!  You will need to use a good knife in cutting into any of the Cucurbita family.
 
The first time I tasted this combination of ingredients with the butternut squash was when I visited Whole Foods supermarket at the cooked food station.  I tried a sample several samples they were giving out to the customers.  It was really good the dried cranberries balanced the sweetness of the squash.  I wanted more than just a small sample cup.  But, I didn't want to pay $8.99 lb for it- very expensive. 
 
What did I do?  Well, I looked at their ingredient card they had in front of the butternut squash dish and memorized the ingredients - simple!  If you like something, just read the ingredients and recreate it.  Your taste buds can be your guide as well.
 
Ingredients
 
2 Butternut Squashes
(chopped)
 
Dried Cranberries, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Nutmeg, Shallots and fresh Sage
 
*Only six ingredients to make this warmness dish.
  • 2 medium size butternut squashes
  • 2 medium size shallots or 1 large sweet yellow onion or *one of each
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh sage - chopped
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of ground nutmeg
Directions
 
Thoroughly wash your squash.  I like to use equal parts of water and vinegar to soak the squashes in for a few minutes.  Then wash off and remove the skin.  Split the squashes in half lengthwise and remove the seeds.  Cut into medium chunks (same sizes).  Remove the outer skin off your onions and wash them.  Cut the onions in large chunks.  Wash your fresh sage and chop up 2 tablespoons.  Combine all ingredients together - the nutmeg, cranberries, olive oil, onions, sage, and squash.  Place the squash in a casserole or baking sheet.
 
 
Ready to be roasted!


Place in the oven at 400 F for about 40 minutes until tender and lightly browned (depending on your oven).  Toss the squash halfway through roasting.


Roasting away!

  Ready to be served.

Eat time!

Enjoy the foods that loves you...

  


 



 
 
 
 
 



Friday, January 16, 2015

GUESS WHO STOPPED BY FOR MANY DINNERS?

"The Cucurbita Family"
 
 
Butternut Squash, Spaghetti Squash, and Pumpkin
"We are still in season"

Hopefully, everyone is eating the foods that are in season.  If you haven't invited the Cucurbita Family to your home as of yet, then do so now while they are visiting your local supermarkets and farmer's markets.




                                                                                 Extend the love with welcome arms!






Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TURMERIC TONIC WATER

 
"The Elixir of a Long Life"
 
Turmeric Tonic Water
"The Anti-Inflammatory Water"
 
 
Lengthen your years and reduce your pain with this pure natural tonic water.  Don't you think it's time to live for the good life?
 
I was grateful enough to be able to harvested some turmeric roots and a nice big cayenne pepper for winter 2015.  Long and behold, Oh Meyer has grant me a ripe lemon!  She had produced only two lemons this past season which took a long drawn out six months process to grow.  But, I see Oh Meyer is blossoming more sweet fragrance flowers - hopefully can it be over a dozen strong healthy flower buds?
 
Meyer Lemon Tree Plant
"The Gift that Keeps on Giving"
 
 Oh Meyer will contribute to a good tonic water.
 
Turmeric Tonic Water Ingredients

*For a more potent tonic the ingredients can be doubled.
  • 6 cups of purified or distilled
  • 1 half of organic lemon
  • 1 cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of ground green cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon of raw honey *optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt *optional
  • 1 piece of ginger root the size of your little (pinky) finger
  • 3-4 pieces of fresh turmeric roots (nice sizes) or 1 tablespoon of ground turmeric powder

Organic Meyer Lemon
 
I'm savoring every piece of this lemon because it will be a while for the next batch to be produced again.  I used a small piece with the skin and all!  That is why I highly recommend you use an organic lemon.
 
I used my mortar and pestle to grind up the cardamom.  First I put about 8-11 green cardamom pods in the mortar and smashed them with the pestle.  Then removed the tiny black seeds.
 
Fresh Ground Cardamon
Almost got a teaspoon
 
Then I pulled out my juicer.  I haven't utilized it in a long time.  A shame because it's sitting right on my counter.  *Note to self - please use or remove it from counter.
 

Add the turmeric roots, ginger roots, cayenne pepper, lemon and peel
in the juicer chute
 
Let the extraction begin...
 
Wow not much but it's something
 
Then add the water, the root juice, sea salt, and honey to the water.  Stir well.  It's ok if there are stuff at the bottom of pitcher- just shake and mix before pouring.
 
Turmeric Tonic Water
Can be served chilled.
 
Frugal Tip:  Save the pulp.  It can be utilized for soups, baking goods, etc.
 
Pulp
"I'm useful"


Live it.  Love it.  Enjoy it.

                                                                                                   Namaste


                                 
 
 


Monday, January 12, 2015

TURMERIC AND CAYENNE PEPPER HARVEST

"The Winter 2015 Harvest Begins"
 
Organic Turmeric Roots and Organic Cayenne Pepper
"Winter Harvest 2015"
 
 
It doesn't have to be summer or fall in having a harvest.  A harvest can happen anytime and anywhere.  Every Monday, no matter what, Daphne gives gardeners a chance to link their posts on what they harvested Daphne's Dandelion

The turmeric plant was ready to be harvest for a while.  The plant showed many signs that it needed to be out of the pot.  For instance, the pot was bulging at the sides (sign of needing more space) and the leaves died and no longer sprouting up.
 
 
1st sign the plastic pot is expanding at the side
 


Look closely see the turmeric root bulging at the side


Time to unravel the roots


Separated turmeric roots

Soaking the turmeric roots in equal parts of water and vinegar
Washed
 
Washed again



Finally cleaned and separated from its stringy roots
 
Bright yellow turmeric roots

Repotting some of the turmeric roots again


Cayenne Pepper
"Ready to be Harvest"

 
What a tedious task in harvesting the turmeric roots but it was all worth it!
 
 
 
                                                                                               Anti-Inflammatory harvest!



Friday, January 9, 2015

PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED

 
"Weather Newscasters Got It Wrong Today"
 
 
 
 
 
 
    Last night the local news said today will be just a dust of snow nothing heavy.  Well, when I stepped out of my house this morning it sure felt and looked like a snow blizzard.  The suburbs in New York got hit with heavy falling snow at a rapid pace with temperatures just about hitting 28F.  The past few days we were in a deep freeze hitting 8F and below in some areas.  Deadly temperatures that can cause frostbite.
 
  When there are days like this, please dress and care for yourself and family appropriately.
 
  • Layer up - were thermal garments under your clothes.  Sweaters and boot socks are a must.
  • Hats, Scarfs, Face masks, Earmuffs, and Gloves - essential items you must have.  Hats protects your head.  Body heat escapes right from your head.  Scarfs protects your neck and face as well.  Earmuffs protects those ears.  No one likes when their ears are cold because it sure does hurt.  Gloves protects those "working hands."  You do not want to have frostbite on those fingers.  Fingers are sensitive to extreme cold.  So, wear insulated, thick, or wool gloves.  All these accessories will help keep you warm and comfortable.
  • Drink fluids - When you are outside in the cold usually you tend to breathe hard, so you lose a lot of your body's water through your breath.  Warm soups and drinks will help you keep hydrated.  The warm fluids will help warm you internally.
Warm up a pot of herbal tea!
 
     Listen and watch out for your body's signs in letting you know the weather is too much for you to handle.  The alert signals are:
  • Shivering
  • Teeth chattering
  • Dizzy
  • Weak
     And last of all, be alert, drive carefully, walk carefully, and slowly in the snow.  Plus, watch out for black ice!
 
 
                                                                                                Keep Warm!
 
 
 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

PECAN MAPLE SWEET POTATO

"Alternative Sweet Craving"
 

 
Pecan Maple Cinnamon Sweet Potato
It will satisfy that sweet craving

Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice in reaching for when you have that sweet tooth craving.  Eating sweet potatoes will not give you that guilty feeling of "why did I eat that."  The orange potato is super beneficial and can be eaten as a snack, vegetable side, and can be added to main dishes.

Why are the sweet potatoes beneficial?

Sweet potatoes plays an important role in our health.  Those tubers are high in vitamin B6 (crucial in breaking down a substance known as homocysteine- contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood vessels), vitamin B5, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, calcium, and manganese.

Wait, these are not all the beneficial nutrients sweet potatoes provides us.  Other nutrients are:
  • High in potassium- very heart friendly.  It helps lower blood pressure eliminating the body of excess sodium and regulate fluid balance.  Therefore, regulates the natural rhythm of the heart, central nervous system, and the brain.
  • High vitamin A (antioxidant)- anti-aging and eyesight friendly.  It encourages glowing skin and collagen growth.  The vitamin A nutrients sweet potatoes provides helps the surface of the eye, mucous membranes and skin be effective barriers to bacteria and viruses reducing the risk of eye infections and respiratory problems.
  • Fiber-  digestive tract friendly.  Regulates the digestion.
  • Beta-carotene- cancer fighting friendly.  Studies have shown sweet potatoes may reduce the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.  However, purple sweet potatoes have shown to have better advantage cancer fighting abilities.
  • Low glycemic index- carbohydrate metabolism friendly.  It helps steady the levels of blood sugar.  Therefore, it will not spike sugar levels but gives you energy.
  • Magnesium- low stress friendly.  It promotes relaxation, calmness, and a good mood.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Vitamin C- immune system friendly. 

 Are there other varieties of sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes comes in white, yellow, pink and purple varieties.  The orange sweet potatoes are more popular in the United States.  Purple sweet potatoes have the greatest antioxidants.

Are there misconceptions with sweet potatoes?

Some people believe yams and sweet potatoes are the same.  Sweet potatoes and yams are totally different and not related to the same family.  Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family.  Yams are related to the lilies and grasses and native to Africa and Asia.  Yams are starchier, drier, and comes in many varieties. 

Here are examples of the different varieties of sweet potatoes
http://www.farm-fresh-produce.com/spvarieties.html

Can sweet potatoes help you lose weight?

Sweet potatoes are low in calories and high in water content.  Therefore, makes it an excellent weight loss food.

What are the beneficial ways in cooking the sweet potato?

You can steam or bake the potato. 

Pecan Maple Sweet Potato

Ready to Bake

I like to steam my sweet potatoes. 

Ingredients
  • 1 medium size sweet potato
  • Cinnamon
  • 100% pure maple syrup ( no artificial syrup)
  • Pecans
Directions

Steam the sweet potato until it is tender and soft.  About 35-45 minutes depending on the size of the sweet potato.  Then slice in half the sweet potato.  Dash some ground cinnamon on top.  Sprinkle of few pieces of pecans.  Then drizzle the maple syrup.  Place in toaster oven or conventional oven for about 10 minutes.

Sweet Potato baking away!


Then indulged in your guiltless pleasure!


Thursday, January 1, 2015

NEW YEAR'S DAY 2015

Happy New Year's 2015

CHEERS!!!

     A day to reflect, recuperate, and take time out to think on what will be your New Year's Resolution goals whether it will be long or short term.  Recommending everyone to learn something new.  It helps the brain.


                                                                                                Namaste



Wednesday, December 31, 2014

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015!

"Toasting To You All A Peaceful, Prosperous, And Good Health 2015"


Choya Umeshu
"wu-meh-shoo"
(traditional aperitif/dessert Liqueur made from the ume fruit)



     Happy New Year!!!  May the New Year 2015 bring love, luck, fortune, peace, happiness, and good health.

My 12 grapes for GOOD LUCK and PROSPERITY

And more GOOD LUCK

My roasted seasoned black eyed peas for GOOD LUCK

Here is to you all HAPPY NEW YEAR - PEACE, LOVE, & HAPPINESS!  BE SAFE IN YOUR TRAVELS AND MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL 2015!

                                                                      
Be happy and stress free!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A NEW YEAR IS COMING AND THE NEW YEAR'S EVE TRADITIONS BEGINS

"The Clock Is Ticking"

Tick Tock...Tick Tock



It's already New Year's Eve in some parts of the world at this time.  Many are just about getting ready to set in motion his or her New Year's Tradition once that clock strikes midnight 12 AM.

Some people doing last minute errands
December 30, 2014
  

Here are some very interesting traditions that will be taking place across the world, such as, opening all windows, doors, and cabinets before the struck of midnight to vanish out any evil or negative spirits so new positive energy can enter, eating 12 grapes before the struck of midnight to bring good fortune, and the first person who enters one's home must bring a gift, such as, salt, whisky, coins, bread, or coal to represent financial prosperity.   



Keep in mind of the powerful colors you should wear or place around you:
  1. red
  2. green
  3. yellow
  4. white

                                                                              Peace and be safe!



Monday, December 29, 2014

BAKED EGGNOG CINNAMON RAISIN FRENCH TOAST

"A Holiday Breakfast"
Baked Eggnog Cinnamon Raisin French Toast
with Apple toppings and pure 100% Maple Syrup





It's the holidays! Let the feast of good foods begin.  When major holidays, such as, Christmas and New Year's come around many people tend to cook up a breakfast or dinner feast.  The holidays brings family and friends to the table.  So, why not cook something that has the taste of the holidays and utilize the food items that are in season, such as, eggnog.  Eggnog is mainly sold in stores during the holiday times.  Those who enjoy eggnog and do not know how to make it start stacking up and freeze it!

Waking up to the warm heavenly smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, apples, and eggnog will really get you jumping out of the bed and rushing down the stairs to the table.

French Toast Ingredients


Ingredients

  • 8-10 slices of your favorite cinnamon raisin bread
  • 3 large brown organic eggs with omega 3 - (if you do not have regular eggs will do)
  • 1 cup and 1/2 of eggnog of your choice
  • 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract - (use bourbon if you do not have vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • some unsalted organic butter - (use coconut oil if you do not want to use butter) *To grease the pan to prevent sticking
  • two yellow apples, prefer organic - (conventional ok if you do not have but remove the skin and core)
  • 2 tablespoon of brown sugar - *optional
  • 1/2 of one lemon or lime
     

 Instructions
  1. Grease a baking dish or casserole with the butter or coconut oil.
Rub some unsalted butter or coconut oil

    2.  Stir together the eggs, eggnog, cinnamon, nutmeg, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a bowl.

Wisk away!
 

     3.  Assemble the bread slices.
Assemble the bread to fit even if you need to cut in half
     
     4.  Pour a little of the egg liquid on top. Then assemble again. Repeat.
Assemble slices and pour some of the egg liquid
     5.  Slice and peel the apples. Squeeze some lemon or lime juice.  This prevents the apples from turning brown quickly and it gives a nice tang.
Squeeze fresh lime or lemon on apples to prevent oxidation
     6.  Top the bread with the apples, sprinkle the remainder of 1 tablespoon of cinnamon and sugar on top.  *Optional you can add some slices of the unsalted butter on top.

Ready to store overnight

     7.  Cover it and place it in the refrigerator.  Let the bread soak in the eggnog custard overnight.  If you cannot wait until the next day to cook it then let it set in refrigerator for 2-3 hours.  But, it's worth the wait for the next day.  This helps the liquid mixture absorb into the bread and the flavors mingle together.

     8.  Next day - preheat oven to 350 F degrees. 

     9.  Place the French toast casserole in the oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour for a softer texture, or longer for a firmer, crisper texture, or until center is set and apples are tender .  Cover with foil for the first 30 minutes of baking, then remove it from the remaining baking time.


Ready to eat!
   
 Serve with maple syrup.   


                                                                                                           Enjoy!