Time to make HERBS the  Hero in your Cooking

Time to make HERBS the Hero in your Cooking

Its time to make room for Fresh Herbs in your Kitchen, no longer a garnish!

During a recent Herb webinar, I explored  the wonders of fresh herbs. To be honest I wanted to do some research about the herbs I use most in my kitchen.  What I have always thought and now KNOW is that herbs are the  HERO  in my cooking.   Along with spices, your food can take on a whole new level of wonderful!

Spice or Herb, what’s the difference?

YES, there is a difference between herbs and spices.  Herbs are the fresh leaves of the plant and spices are created from the root, bark and seeds of the plant.  In cooking it does make a difference which and how to use.  For long slow cooks, spices are used to build in the flavour profile you want create.  Then at the end or near the end, the fresh herbs are added to freshen the dish and add colour.

And herbs are more then just adding flavour or colour to your cooking.  They are outstanding HEROS in their own Leafy Goodness!  Here is what I mean… there are more reasons, these are just my top 3.

Here are 3 reasons why I think  fresh herbs are HEROS:  
  1. Immunity most are loaded with Vitamin C
  2. Heart Health and Cardo Health due to all the antioxidants 
  3. Support Bone Health due primarily to the high levels of Vitamin K 

    Very powerful, right?

I think so too.  Why not explore some fun ways to add more herbs to your daily diet.  And NO, not as a garnish.  Herbs are heroes and along with spices really help bring out the best in all meals.  Ideas!!  As I was sharing this information I added ways to increase YOUR use of fresh herbs.  Great ideas to add more zing to your day could include….  

Fresh Herbs as Tea, simply steep fresh leaves in hot water for 5-8 minutes.  The amount of leaves and water will vary based on how much tea you are making.  Here is my rule of thumb – 8-10 leaves or 1 stalk or 1/3 cup of herbs to 1 250 ml cup of hot water.

Fresh Herb Presto/sauces – I like basil pesto and I like parsley pesto.  Simple and a great use of herbs.

Fresh Herbs in Salads – many of the herbs we use can easily be added to salads.  There is no rule that salad can’t contain wonderful herbs.

Fresh Herbs in Salad dressings and Marinades’ – wonderful way to added a burst of freshness to meals.  Simply choose the right herb, chop and add to the base of a home made salad dressing or a marinade.  Really added a layer of pure fresh.

And what about SPICES.

I have  included 3 simple SPICE BLEDNS you can use in your cooking anytime – Chile blend, a warm porridge blend and baking dessert blend.  Creating your own spice blends help you explore the magic of what spices to add to your cooking and also you control the end result in terms of flavour you want.

1.  Chili spice.  You can use this in your next batch of chili or use it as a dry rub for chicken, beef or pork.  Wonderful balance.
combine the following

1  tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
Salt and Pepper to your liking NOT more then 1/4 tsp of salt

2.  Warm Porridge Spice Blend.  I love using this blend for may hot porridge  instead of adding sweeteners.  Combine the following:

1/4 tsp ground cardaum
1/4 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground cinnamon

3.  Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend – No there isn’t any pumpkin in this blend.  Its used to make the wonderful  pumpkin pie or more recently spiced coffee drinks.  Combine the following:

3 tsp  ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp ground cloves

What is simple, colorful, flavorsome and used in cooking & baking?

What is simple, colorful, flavorsome and used in cooking & baking?

The Stunning Carrot!

Do you see carrots as a hero vegetable?   You could say they have super powers yet how would you know without a label to tell you.  What a shame, if carrots did come with a nutrition label PLUS marketing messages here is what I think you would see;


Carrots are a good source of vitamins and minerals!
Carrots are extremely low in fat!
Carrots are a component of a healthy diet.

 

Now turn the carrot over and lets see what is on the back panel:

The nutrition facts for two small-to-medium raw carrots (100 grams) are:

  • Calories:                 41
  • Water:                    88%
  • Protein:                  0.9 grams
    • Carbs:          9.6 grams
    • Sugar:          4.7 grams
  • Fiber:                     2.8 grams
  • Fat:                        0.2 grams

    Carbs
    in the form of – starch and sugars
    Sugar in the form of sucrose and glucose
    Fiber in the form of pectin { a soluble fibre} and cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin {insoluble fibre}@
    @Soluble fibre helps lower blood sugar levels by slowing down your digestion of sugar and starch.
    Insoluble fibre helps reduce constipation

And the vitamin and mineral content is also worthy of mention, look at all you get in just two carrots!

Vitamin A promotes good vision and is important for growth, development, and immune function
Biotin: A B vitamin plays an important role in fat and protein metabolism
Vitamin K1 important for blood coagulation
Potassium important for blood pressure control
Vitamin B6 involved in the conversion of food into energy


W
ould agree, carrots are a rather good vegetable to have on hand.

However, I don’t think there are enough recipes that allow carrots to show off.  Carrots are still seen as things to hold dip, add to recipes for flavour, used as a side dish, but never as the star of its own show.    What if there was a recipe that allow the humble carrot to be the star.  I recently found such a recipe – Carrot Sung Choi  Boa.  The recipe was perfect for a party I  hosted over the weekend.  The guests loved it, I loved it and my husband loved it.  I know you will love it too, so I have included the recipe here for you!

Now that you know what a kick *** vegetable carrots are, will you use them more in your daily cooking?  Maybe you need some ideas to help your own creative juices going – here are some ways I use carrots:

  • Roasted whole to be use as a side dish or for salads
  • Grated, to be added to any thing like meat loaf, pasta sauce, and salads (adding fibre ).
  • Cut into different shapes for different uses – coins, baton (carrot sticks), spiral (for noodles), thin match sticks, diced (mirepoix) for stocks and stews.
  • Healthy snack.
  • You can turn them into soup, dips, or juice, bake into a cake, turn into fritter, or plant-based filling for Sung Choi Bao
    I discovered this recipe while looking for a menu item for a party. The original recipe I came across was by Jacqueline Alwill from her website The Brown Paper Bag. The photo I used here is also from that same website. The changes I made were to swap out the quinoa for cauliflower and broccoli rice with minced mushrooms added. The Topping was changed from peanuts to hemp and sesame seeds in an effort to keep this nut free.
  • Or use with other left over vegetables, like cherry tomatoes and zucchini and create a whole meal like I did after my party.
    I was left over veggies - Now I am a main meal

    Am I going to be a soup, pasta sauce, or…..

     

    I turn 500 grams carrots + one onion + garlic + 2 zucchinis + 300g of cherry tomatoes and 1 tin of chickpeas into a vegetable tagine. All  vegetables were saved from going to waste!

    Pantry creation

    Stunning vegetables saved from going to waste!

 

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The Pure Joy of Peanut Butter Bliss Balls!

The Pure Joy of Peanut Butter Bliss Balls!

photo credit to wholesome yum.
I love SIMPLE – WHOLE – CREAMY – CHEWY – BLISS BALLS.  The pure joy of Peanut Butter Bliss Balls!

Ah the pure delight  of a great bliss ball is truly a wonderful thing.  My favorite is usually made with peanut butter.   What I do know peanut butter is its one of my go to snack creators, I love it on slices of crunchy apple , down the middle of celery sticks (yes really), in a banana smoothie, in over night oats and as the perfect dip for dark chocolate must be bitter with very little sugar (85 to 100%), and last but not least in a peanut butter bliss ball.

I have included a very simple recipe for you here.  Honest, just a couple of ingredients and you are in business!  If you don’t like peanut better or can’t eat it, you can use other nut or seed butters.  I think almond butter is great in this recipe as is sunflower seed.  Additionally you can coat the bliss balls with melted chocolate for an extra special treat.

 

Simple to make and easy to enjoy Bliss Balls!

 

 

Black bean Burger that will rock your taste buds! New recipe from Patricia of Warmly Nourished.

Making a burger with black beans is so easy and so yummy. If you don't want to serve them as a burger, you could use them as a base for a salad, or as a wrap. I am sure you will think of so many ideas to create meal ideas. They also make a great addition as a lunch box meal for kids and adults - can can be eaten cold.

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Healthier Green Smoothie With Essential Oils

Healthier Green Smoothie With Essential Oils

To be honest, I really like to chew my food, so having a smoothie can sometimes put me off.  That’s not the case with this lovely smoothie. I call it my Healthier Green Smoothie.

Elegant Serving a smoothie in a wine glass!

Make every meal special, why not serve your fresh and healthy breakfast smoothie in a wine glass!

Well balanced using fresh spinach, fresh apple -with peel, good fats with flax seeds, hemp seeds, tahini and a medjool date for hit of sweetness wrapped up with fibre and iron.  But what I really love is the addition of essential oils.  For this recipe I choose lemon, lime and ginger.  The lemon and Lime help with your metabolism in the morning and the freshness wakes me up.  I used Ginger for the warming touch it gives and for digestion.

What a perfect breakfast smoothie!

Bright, well balanced Smoothie that will suit the whole family.

With Essential Oils

So balances…so fresh…loving the essential oil addition!