Cooking with Spice. I love cooking with spices and fresh herbs the aroma puts me in such a good mood. Both spices and herbs help create food traditions or helps the cook, like me, change a dish. While still using the same basic ingredients, you can move from one cuisine to a different one simply by changing the a key spice. For example have you notice how if you use ginger, turmeric, coriander seeds, chili, cardamom and cumin you start to think of India, now add chicken and you have a base for a chicken curry. Now replace some of those spices with Sumac, and you have created a Lebanese or Turkish chicken dish. Oh you didn’t know you could cook with Sumac. Its s a wonderful plant seed and it imparts a tangy lemony flavor along with a red tint that makes lamb, chicken, fish and vegetables so tasty.
My first exposure to this wonderful spice was with Ian Hemphill of Herbie’s Spice. I was taking a spice blending course and we made the best slow roasted tomatoes I have ever had and the star spice was Sumac. What a treat and I still make them to this day – 17 years later.
Yet this lovely spice is more then just flavor and color. It also imparts medicinal properties. I was actually surprised and please to learn of all it adds for our health. Sumac is the common name for Rhus plant that contains over 250 individual species of flowering plants in the family Anacardiaceae. These plants are found in temperate and tropical regions worldwide, and have a long history of use by indigenous people for medicinal and other uses.
Recent studies done on some varieties show that sumac has exceptionally high antioxidant properties, improved glycemic control, reduced cholesterol levels and better cardiovascular health! Bonus attributes for this lovely seed! Sumac berries may well turn out to be the next super food!
Cooking with spice is about tradition, creating flavor, loving what you prepare, and maybe HEALTH also! Dig a little deeper the next time you use a spice or herb and learn more about what you are cooking with. To your good health!
Hello, I have a project for you to start on Sunday and enjoy for a week!
I am referring to salads in a jar and creating a grab and go meal.
Creating great salads for an easy grab and go lunch couldn’t be easier. What you need are some great jars, ideally with a wide mouth like Ball or Mason jar, fresh vegetables, protein options and salad leaves. Each jar will have 3-4 layers – starting with dressing and finishing with softer salad leaves.
Begin by selecting what you think you will want in your salad – washing all the ingredients and cutting the vegetables. Choose a few vegetables that will be the same across each of the salads. It is good to have a few hard veggies to layer at the bottom of the jar.
- Base or layer one vegetables should be harder, raw items like green beans, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, onion, radishes, and capsicum.
- Once you’ve decided on your base ingredients, you can add different ingredients to one or two salads to make them a bit more interesting. Some great ideas are tinned bean, tuna, left over roast chicken, leftover cooked grains (rice or quinoa).
- The real fun is putting whole jar together. The key to the jar salad is to layer. Start by placing the salad dressing on the bottom – about 1-2 tbsp. of dressing at the bottom of each jar. Next, add some hard vegetables that won’t soak up the dressing. I like green beans, and cauliflower or sugar snap peas. The next layer is protein like white bean or chicken. I’ve also found it helpful to place your onions at the bottom because the salad dressing helps take some of the strong onion taste away. Your final layer should be your salad greens. If you want you could add cheese to the very top.
- Close the lid of each jar, place in the fridge and now you have easy grab and go salads for the week. Who said there wasn’t time for a healthy lunch.
- When you are ready to eat, simply tip the contents of the jar into a bowl or plate…ENJOY!
Note: to make this process easier, it helps if you have some items already prepared like cooked grains, tined items on hand and left overs.
The start of any week can be so hard when you need to plan the family meals, AND ITS MONDAY. I have an idea for you consider, why not try adding at least one NON-MEAT meal per week. Yes really; going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity; going meatless once a week can also help reduce our carbon footprint and save precious resources like fossil fuels and fresh water. Gee all that just by making a choice to replace meat one or more days per week. To me totally worth it…but only if the meals are tasty and NOT to hard to make.
Good news, I have the answer for you, my upcoming cooking class on May 8th will focused on creating meatless meals. We will create 3 core recipes plus a main meal salad – perfect for winter. If you are interested please book your ticket here.
And now a bit of history – The concept of “Meatless Monday” is not new NOR is it a modern trend. This concept was hatched during WWI in the US to help conserve resources needed for the war effort. I love it – was is new once more.
I look forward to seeing you,
Back in 2013 I was looking for the best foods to eat for better joint health, and I stumbled over Selenium. I really didn’t know too much about this mineral but I did work out I should start eating Brazil Nuts. I left it at that and went on my marry way. I didn’t go beyond my joint health so I missed out on understanding what else this mineral does in our bodies and all the wonderful food sources. So, I went looking for more about Selenium and want to take you with me. Here we go.
So, what is Selenium?
Selenium is a trace mineral found naturally in soil and in certain foods and there are even small amounts in water. For us, Selenium plays an important role in our bodies by increasing immunity – less colds and flu, takes part in antioxidant activity that defends against free radical damage and inflammation, and plays a key role in maintaining a healthy metabolism.
According to studies, consuming plenty of naturally occurring selenium has positive antiviral effects, is essential for successful male and female fertility and reproduction, and also reduces the risk of cancer, autoimmune and thyroid diseases.
Wow that’s a lot for a mineral we don’t pay too much attention to.
What are some signs that your body MIGHT be low in Selenium:
|Sudden hair Loss and skin and fingernail discoloration
||Hair loss comes on relatively quickly and is evenly distributed and or heavy whitening of the fingernail beds
||Pick up colds and flu easily and frequently
||There are many causes for fatigue, Selenium can be a cause and is normally not looked at as the cause. So, if your iron and potassium levels are normal, check your selenium as a possible cause.
|Brain Fog and Poor Concentration
||There are many causes of brain fog – Gluten, Sugar, low potassium, low magnesium and it seems low levels Selenium can also be a root cause.
|Reproductive Issues – Men and Women
||Low levels of Selenium can impact a woman’s cycle and men’s sperm production. Checking your Selenium levels is place to look when you have exhausted all other possible causes.
||Great Resource HERE
Here is how you add Selenium back into your diet
You have some easy choices to make here, eat a balanced diet and ensure to include #REAL #FOOD that contains Selenium or you can add a supplement. My personal view on this is to just eat the real food. Eating the food sources also enables your body to get all the other wonderful nutrients that food has to offer. However, if you are feeling like you want to boost your intake a supplement can help. I would suggest you speak with your health care professional to be sure it is safe for you.
The daily recommended amount for selenium depends on your age and is as follows, according to the USDA – I am not sure what the other Countries site:
- Children 1-3: 20 micrograms/day
- Children 4-8: 30 micrograms/day
- Children 9-13: 40 micrograms/day
- Adults and children 14 and up: 55 micrograms/day
- Pregnant women: 60 micrograms/day
- Breastfeeding women: 70 micrograms/day
Best Sources of Selenium
Here are the top 15 foods naturally high in trace mineral selenium (percentages based on RDA of 55 mcg/day for adults):
||1 cup: 607 mcg 1,103% DV
|Try eating a few per day as a snack or adding them to your smoothies or look for Almond/Cashew/Brazil Nut Nut Butter – nick named ABC butter.
|1 medium egg: 146 mcg (265% DV)
|You only need one to meet y our daily requirements
(sesame and Flax also)
|1 cup: 105 mcg (190% DV)
|I have a great recipe for Sunflower Seed Falafel and a dip made with Sunflowers. I have recently started to eat Sunflower Butter and I add a table spoon to my smoothies or spread it on toast.
|Liver (from lamb or beef)
|3 oz.: 99 mcg (180% DV)
|I wish I had a recipe to support this, but you could try Pate using lovely herbs to help add extra flavor.
|3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)
|3 oz: 64 mcg (116% DV)
|3 oz: 39 mcg (71% DV)
|3 oz: 33.2 mcg (58% DV)
||Best sources is dark meat – from the back and legs
|3 oz: 31 mcg (56% DV)
|Canned or fresh. Look for wild Salmon. You can make fish cakes/baked or grilled fish
|3 oz: 25 mcg (45% DV)
Roasted Turkey – best source is the dark meat.
|1 oz: 15.6 mcg (28% DV)
|Chia seed jam
add to smoothies
Use as and egg replacement
|1 cup mixed: 15 mcg (27% DV)
|So good sautéed and served with eggs. Or as a risotto or soup.
Shiitake and white button mushrooms are best.
||1 cup contains 19 mcg, 35% of DV
||Replace white rice full stop and add in brown rice.
|Lima and Pinto Beans
||1 cup cooked contains 10 mcg 17% DV
||Pinto beans are great for RE-fried beans and in Chili
|1 cup broccoli contains 2.5 mcg 4% of DV
1 cup cabbage contains 3.5 mcg 6% of DV
1 cup spinach contains 3 mcg 5% of DV
I think you would agree, there are so many #REAL #FOOD options to help you maintain your selenium levels in your diet. Unless your health care professional thinks otherwise, dig into some lovely fresh food. I have also included a recipe for you to try, Sunflower Seed Falafel. I hope you enjoy it.
Until next time… Be Warmly Nourished – body and soul
This recipe was inspired by my research into selenium and the desire to ensure I was consuming a diet rich in this mineral. Normally, Falafel is made with Chickpeas, which are lovely also, and fried. This recipe replaces the chickpeas and you bake it in the oven, tasty and healthy too – #REAL #FOOD.
Sunflower Seed Falafel
I love this recipe as do most of the people I have introduced to it. You serve them as part of a brunch, lunch, dinner or finger food for a party. They are easy to make and freeze well. I love that you bake these in the oven instead of frying.
I hope you enjoy!
- Ingredients for Falafel
- 75 g (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
- 80 g (1/2 cup) macadamia nuts
- 1 tablespoon organic nut butter, softened, can use almond butter, cashew nut, combination like Almond/brazil /cashew (ABC)
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves, chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 teaspoon chopped coriander leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped red capsicum
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 shallot, chopped (green onion)
- pinch of Celtic sea salt
- 80 g (1/2 cup) sesame seeds, for coating
- Lettuce leaf, to serve and serve with Tahini dipping sauce
- Tahini dipping sauce
- 3 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon honey or REAL maple syrup
- pinch of Celtic sea salt
Make it like so....
- Make it like so....
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- To make the tahini dipping sauce, place all the ingredients in a food processor with 2 tablespoons of filtered water and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Place all the falafel ingredients, except the sesame seeds and lettuce, in a food processor and pulse until thoroughly blended (yet still with texture).
- Use your hands to shape into round balls. Roll in the sesame seeds, transfer to the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes, or until crispy.
- Serve in a lettuce leaf and dress with the tahini dipping sauce.
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E and a very good source of copper and vitamin B1. In addition, sunflower seeds are a good source of manganese, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamin B6, folate and niacin.
Tahini is rich in minerals such as phosphorus, lecithin, magnesium, potassium and iron, a good source of Methionine, which aids in liver detoxification, one of the best sources of calcium and is high in vitamin E vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B15.