Bananas…The Why

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  • Heart Health…
  • Bananas are very beneficial for the health of your heart because they contain potassium and magnesium—two nutrients that are impotant for the health of your heart.
  • Potassium carries a small electrical charge that causes nerve cells to signals for the heart to beat regularly and muscles to contract…as well as maintain a healthy balance of water in cells…and offset the effects of excess dietary sodium.
  • to beat regularly and muscles
  • to contract. Potassium
  • is also needed
  • to maintain a healthy balance of water in cells, and
  • offsets the effects of excess dietary sodium. An imbalance in the diet of too little potassium and too much sodium
  • can lead to high blood pressure. Excessive sodium
  • can lead to a buildup of fluid in the blood,
  • placing pressure on the walls of blood vessels and eventually
  • causing damage. Potassium
  • helps the body
  • to flush out extra sodium in the urine, and
  • eases tension in blood vessel walls.
  • Bananas, rich in potassium and fiber and low in sodium,
  • are an important component of
  • heart-healthy diets like DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) that
  • aims for about 4,700 mg dietary potassium daily.
  • bananas…Resistant starch
  • escapes digestion and
  • ends up in your large intestine, where it
  • becomes food for the beneficial bacteria in your gut
  • Heart health…
  • Bananas
  • contain fiber, potassium, folate, and antioxidants, such as vitamin C. All of these
  • support
  • heart health…A 2017 review 
  • found that people who
  • follow a high fiber diet
  • have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those on a low fiber diet. Those who
  • consumed more fiber also
  • had lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad” cholesterol.f cardiovascular benefit from
  • bananas
  • is related to their potassium content.
  • Bananas
  • are a good source of potassium, an essential mineral for
  • maintaining normal blood pressure and
  • heart function. Since one medium-sized
  • banana
  • contains a whopping 400-plus mg of potassium, the inclusion of
  • bananas in your routine meal plan
  • may help
  • to prevent high blood pressure and
  • protect against atherosclerosis…The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods such as
  • bananas in
  • lowering blood pressure
  • has been demonstrated by a number of studies. For example, researchers
  • tracked over 40,000 American male health professionals over four years
  • to determine the effects of diet on blood pressure. Men who
  • ate diets higher in potassium-rich foods, as well as foods high in magnesium and cereal fiber,
  • had a substantially reduced risk of stroke.
  • We’ve also seen numerous prospective clinical research trials
  • showing substantial reductions of blood pressure in individuals
  • eating the potassium-rich DASH Diet….A second type of cardiovascular benefit from
  • bananas
  • involves their sterol content. While
  • bananas
  • are a very low-fat food (less than 4% of their calories
  • come from fat), one type of fat that they
  • do contain in small amounts
  • are sterols like sitosterol, campesterol, and stigmasterol. As these sterols
  • look structurally similar to cholesterol, they
  • can block the absorption of dietary cholesterol. By
  • blocking absorption, they
  • help us keep our blood cholesterol levels in check…A third type of cardiovascular benefit from
  • bananas
  • involves their fiber content. At about 3 grams per medium
  • banana, we
  • rank bananas as a good source of fiber. Approximately one-third of the fiber in
  • bananas
  • is water-soluble fiber. For one medium-sized
  • banana, this amount
  • translates into 1 gram of soluble fiber per
  • banana. Soluble fiber in food
  • is a type of fiber especially
  • associated with decreased risk of
  • heart disease,
  • making regular intake of
  • bananas a potentially helpful approach
  • to lowering your
  • heart disease risk.
  • Heart health…
  • Bananas
  • are good for your
  • heart. They
  • are packed with potassium, a mineral electrolyte that
  • keeps electricity
  • flowing throughout your body, which
  • is required
  • to keep your
  • heart
  • beating.
  • Bananas’ high potassium and low sodium content
  • may also help protect your cardiovascular system against high blood pressure, according to the FDA…A 2017 animal study
  • conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama 
  • found that the potassium in
  • bananas
  • is also linked to arterial effectiveness; the more potassium you
  • have, the less likely your arteries
  • are
  • to harden. In the study, mice with lower-potassium diet
  • had harder arteries than mice
  • consuming a normal amount of potassium. Arterial stiffness in humans
  • is linked to
  • heart disease. 
    • Insulin Sensitivity…Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for many of the world’s most serious diseases, including type 2 diabetes…Several studies reveal that 15–30 grams of resistant starch per day may improve insulin sensitivity by 33–50% in as few as four weeks…Unripe bananas are a great source of resistant starch. Therefore, they may help improve insulin sensitivity… However, the reason for these effects is not well understood, and not all studies agree on the matter…More studies should be conducted on bananas and insulin sensitivity…Unripe bananas are a good source of resistant starch, which may improve insulin sensitivity. However, more research is needed
    • Kidney Health…Potassium is essential for blood pressure control and healthy kidney function….As a good dietary source of potassium, bananas may be especially beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys…One 13-year study in women determined that those who ate bananas 2–3 times per week were 33% less likely to develop kidney disease…Other studies note that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney disease than those who don’t eat this fruit…Eating a banana several times a week may reduce your risk of kidney disease by up to 50%.protecting your eyes, maintaining normal vision and improving vision at night, according to the National Institutes of Health. Vitamin A contains compounds that preserve the membranes around your eyes and are an element in the proteins that bring light to your corneas. Like other fruits, bananas can help prevent macular degeneration, an incurable condition, which blurs central vision
    • Weight Control…looked for associations between reported intakes of specific fruits and vegetables and weight changes in 133,468 U.S. men and women followed for up to 24 years. [3] The results were adjusted to account for other factors that can contribute to weight changes like smoking and physical activity. Though higher intakes of apples, pears, and berries tended to more strongly show a link to less weight gain over time, bananas were also There is no evidence that bananas contribute to weight gain, despite popular belief. In an analysis of three large prospective cohort studies, researchersBananas are a fascinating fruit in terms of their carbohydrate and sugar content. Even though bananas are a fruit that tastes quite sweet when ripe—containing 14-15 grams of total sugar—bananas receive a rating of low in their glycemic index (GI) value. GI measures the impact of a food on our blood sugar. This low GI value for bananas is most likely related to two of their carbohydrate-related qualities…First, as mentioned previously, a medium-size banana contains about 3 grams of total fiber. Fiber is a nutrient that helps regulate the speed of digestion, and by keeping digestion well-regulated, conversion of carbohydrates to simple sugars and release of simple sugars from digesting foods also stays well-regulated…Within their total fiber content, bananas also contain pectins. Pectins are unique and complicated types of fiber. Some of the components in pectins are water-soluble, and others are not. As bananas ripen, their water-soluble pectins increase, and this increase is one of the key reasons why bananas become softer in texture as they ripen. As their water-soluble pectins increase, so does their relative concentration of fructose in comparison to other sugars. This increase in water-soluble pectins and higher proportional fructose content helps normalize the rate of carbohydrate digestion and moderates the impact of banana consumption on our blood sugar. The bottom line here are some surprisingly digestion-friendly consequences for a fruit that might be casually dismissed as being too high in sugar to be digestion-friendly…Similar to the importance of their water-soluble pectins is the digestive importance of fructooligosaccharides (FOS) in bananas. FOS are unique fructose-containing carbohydrates that are typically not broken down by enzymes in our digestive tract. Instead, they move along through the digestive tract until they reach our lower intestine and get metabolized by bacteria. This process helps maintain the balance of “friendly” bacteria (for example, Bifidobacteria) in our lower intestine, and as a consequence, it also supports our overall digestive health…In one study involving female participants, eating two bananas each day for two months led to significant increases in Bifidobacteria. Along with these increased levels of Bifidobacteria, participants also experienced fewer gastrointestinal problems and more regular bowel function when compared to other women in the study who drank a banana-flavored beverage that did not contain any actual banana….Weight Loss…No study has directly tested the effects of bananas on weight loss. However, bananas do have several attributes that should make them a weight-loss-friendly-food…For starters, bananas have relatively few calories. An average banana has just over 100 calories — yet it is also very nutritious and filling…Eating more fiber from vegetables and fruits like bananas has repeatedly been linked to lower body weight and weight loss…Furthermore, unripe bananas are packed with resistant starch, so they tend to be very filling and may reduce your appetite…Bananas may aid weight loss because they’re low in calories and high in nutrients and fiber…Digestion and weight loss…Bananas are high in fiber, which can help keep you regular. One banana can provide nearly 10 percent of your daily fiber requirement. Vitamin B6 can also help protect against Type 2 diabetes and aid in weight loss, according to Flores. In general, bananas are a great weight loss food because they taste sweet and are filling, which helps curb cravings…Bananas are particularly high in resistant starch, a form of dietary fiber in which researchers have recently become interested. A 2017 review published in Nutrition Bulletin found that the resistant starch in bananas may support gut health and control blood sugar. Resistant starch increases the production of short chain fatty acids in the gut, which are necessary to gut health.Bananas May Help You Feel More Full…Resistant starch is a type of indigestible carb — found in unripe bananas and other foods — which functions like soluble fiber in your body…As a rule of thumb, you can estimate that the greener the banana, the higher its resistant starch content…On the other hand, yellow, ripe bananas contain lower amounts of resistant starch and total fiber — but proportionally higher amounts of soluble fiber…Both pectin and resistant starch offer appetite-reducing effects and increase the feeling of fullness after meals…Depending on ripeness, bananas harbor high amounts of resistant starch or pectin. Both may reduce appetite and help keep you full and is able to pass into thenage your weight better as you stay full for longer. That said, bananas can help you beat gastrointestinal issues such as constipation,stomach ulcers, and heartbur*******************************large intestine. Such bananas help you ma
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  • re at room temperature away from direct sunlight.Do not refrigerate green bananas as this can disrupt normal ripening. To speed up ripening, store in a brown paper bag or place near ripe fruit, which emits ethylene gas that causes ripening. On the flipside, if you wish to slow ripening, store bananas away from other ripe bananas or fruits. Do not store in plastic bags as this traps excess moisture and may promote rotting.Fully ripe golden yellow bananas may be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed produce drawer. Refrigeration will preserve the flavor for another week, even if the peels continue to darken.If the banana peel has ripened to a mostly brown color, remove the peel and chop or mash the pulp to include in baked goods or freeze to be added into smoothies.Slice ripe banana into a fruit salad. Squeeze a bit of acid like apple cider vinegar, orange juice, lime, or lemon onto the bananas to prevent darkening too quickly.Substitute an equal amount of mashed banana for butter for dense baked goods like muffins, quick breads, and cookies. Using banana may cause the product to bake faster, so check for doneness several minutes earlier than usual or reduce the oven temperature by 25°F. The bananas will also add sweetness, so reduce the amount of added sugar in the recipe by one-quarter to one-half.For a frozen treat, slice a peeled ripe banana in half (in the middle) and insert a popsicle stick or skewer into the flat end. Dip banana into yogurt and coat evenly; sprinkle with nuts, chopped dried fruit, cinnamon, or other favorite toppings and freeze for several hours.For an easy dairy-free ice cream alternative, peel, chop, and freeze two medium bananas. Place into a blender or food processor and add a few tablespoons of liquid (water, dairy or plant milk, or coconut water). Blend until smooth. Add extra liquid if additional creaminess is desired. For a different flavor, add 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder or nut/seed butter, a splash of vanilla extract and cinnamon, or ½ cup frozen berries.organically grown foods, and bananas is no exception. Repeated research studies on organic foods as a group show that your likelihood of exposure to contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals can be greatly reduced through the purchased of certified organic foods, including bananas. If you are shopping in a large supermarket, your most reliable source of organically grown bananas is very likely to be bananas that display the USDA organic logo….While bananas look resilient, they’re actually very fragile and care should be taken in their storage. They should be left to ripen at room temperature and should not be subjected to overly hot or cold temperatures. Unripe bananas should not be placed in the refrigerator as this will interrupt the ripening process to such an extent that it will not be able to resume even if the bananas are returned to room temperature…If you need to hasten the ripening process, you can place bananas in a paper bag or wrap them in newspaper, adding an apple to accelerate the process. Ripe bananas that will not be consumed for a few days can be placed in the refrigerator. While their peel may darken, the flesh will not be affected. For maximum flavor when consuming refrigerated bananas, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to come back to room temperature. For the most antioxidants, eat fully ripened fruit…Bananas can also be frozen and will keep for about 2 months. Either puree them before freezing or simply remove the peel and wrap the bananas in plastic wrap. To prevent discoloration, add some lemon juice before freezing.

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    salads

    baked goods

    peanut butter and banana sandwich drizzled with honey

    chopped bananas, walnuts and maple syrup to oatmeal or porridge.
  • deep fried,
  • baked in their skin in a split bamboo, or
  • steamed in glutinous rice
  • wrapped in a banana leaf.
  • fruit preserves.
  • Banana pancakes
  • Banana chips 
  • banana flour.
  • Philippine cuisinemaruyaturón, and halo-halo or saba con yelo
  • South-Indian state of Keralasteamed (puzhungiyathu), made into curries,
  • fried into chips, (upperi)fried in batter (pazhampori).[117] Pisang goreng,
  • bananas fried with batter similar to the Filipino maruya or Kerala pazhampori, is a popular dessert in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia
  • banana fritters
  • Add a sliced banana to your morning cereal or oatmeal for a more nutritious breakfast.
  • Mash ripe bananas and use to replace butter or oil in baked goods.
  • Add mashed bananas to muffins, cookies, and cakes for a naturally sweet flavor.
  • Add bananas to a smoothie.
  • yogurt
  • cereal and smoothies. You can even use them instead of sugar in your baking and cooking…Furthermore, bananas rarely contain any pesticides or pollutants due to their thick protective peel…Bananas are incredibly easy to eat and transport. They are usually well-tolerated and easily digested — they simply have to be peeled and eaten…It doesn’t get much easier than that…Bananas make an excellent snack food, dessert or breakfast. Their versatility makes them easy to add to your diet…Bananas are a popular fruit that happens to provide numerous health benefits…Among other things, they may boost digestive and heart health due to their fiber and antioxidant content…They may even aid weight loss, as they’re relatively low-calorie and nutrient-dense…Ripe bananas are a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth. What’s more, both yellow and green bananas can keep you healthy and feeling full…a bit of confusion surrounding bananas. Some people consider this iconic golden fruit a healthy choice while others avoid it, after seeing it on Internet lists of “5 Worst Foods.” Unfavorable claims suggest that bananas cause weight gain and constipation. An article from 1917 published in the Journal of the American Medical Association defended the nutritional value of bananas, citing rumored beliefs during that time: “The banana is a cause of indigestion and a treacherous dietary component…”The scientific name for banana is Musa, from the Musaceae family of flowering tropical plants, which distinctively showcases the banana fruit clustered at the top of the plant. The mild-tasting and disease-resistant Cavendish type is the main variety sold in the U.S. and Europe. Despite some negative attention, bananas are nutritious and may even carry the title of the first “superfood,” endorsed by the American Medical Association in the early 20th century as a health food for children and a treatment for celiac disease.
  • Since bananas are picked off the tree while they’re still green, it’s not unusual to see them this color in the store. Base your choice of bananas depending upon when you want to consume them. Bananas with more green coloration will take longer to ripen than those more yellow in hue and/or with brown spots…Bananas should be firm, but not too hard, bright in appearance, and free from bruises or other injuries. Their stems and tips should be intact. The size of the banana does not affect its quality, so simply choose the size that best meets your needs….At WHFoods, we encourage the purchase of certified
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    Alpha carotene (mcg) 29.5 No data

     

Bananas…The Why

Before we move on to much more interesting and fun things to do with bananas—such as which bananas to choose and what to do with them once you get them home, let’s take a look at the health benefits that bananas provide.

Asthma…Bananas help prevent wheezing in children with asthma because of their antioxidant and potassium content.

Athletic Performance…The unique mix of vitamins, minerals, and low glycemic carbohydrates…easy portability…low expense…and great taste have made bananas a favorite fruit among endurance athletes.

Bananas especially provide excellent nutrition before endurance exercise. Distance cyclists have found that eating half of a banana every fifteen minutes of a three-hour race keep their energy levels steady just as well as drinking a processed sports beverage.

Not only that we’ve all been told to eat a banana if we have cramps. This is because of their bananas are a good source of the potassium that can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness cauaws by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Bones…Bananas do not contain high levels of calcium, but they do contain an abundance of a certain carbohydrate, called fructooligosaccharides, that help the body absorb calcium.

Cancer…Bananas contain lectin and vitamin C, two antioxidants that help keep cancer cells—especially lukemia, kidney, and colon cancer cells—from growing. Eating four to six bananas per week can cut your risk of developing kidney cancer in half. Bananas are also fairly rich in fiber and resistant starch…both of which may feed your friendly gut bacteria and safeguard against colon cancer.

Depression…mood…memory…Bananas contain three nutrients that may help preserve memory, boost a person’s ability to learn and remember things, and regulate mood. These nutrients include tryptophan, an amino acid that the body converts to serotonin, the mood-elevating brain neurotransmitter…vitamin B6 that help you sleep…and magnesium to help your muscles relax.

Diabetes…The American Diabetes Association recommends eating bananas because of their fiber content. Diets that include high levels of fiber can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and help lower blood sugar in those who are diabetic.

Digestive Health…Bananas contain water and fiber, both of which promote regularity and encourage digestive health. One medium banana provides about three grams of fiber, about 10% of a person’s fiber needs for a day. Fiber found in bananas can also improve bloating, gas, and stomach cramps.

For years, we’ve heard about the BRAT diet…eating only bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast…whenever you have diarrhea. Bananas help replace any water, electrolytes, and potassium that are lost with diarrhea or vomiting.

Let’s Go Ape Over Bananas

Bananas chopped up in a bowl

Of course we all know what a banana is…

In fact, we all seem to go apes over bananas…so much so that in the United States, each person eats about eleven pounds of bananas per year…making it Americans’ favorite fresh fruit.

Bananas in fact are a favorite fruit worldwide…having first been grown in Southeast Asia, they are now grown in many warm parts of the world.

The perfect banana is wonderfully sweet with firm and creamy flesh.

Contrary to your grocery store produce aisle may have you to believe, there are actually several different types of bananas—varying in color, size and shape.

The most common type is the Cavendish, a type of dessert banana. These bananas are green when unripe…and then yellow as they mature.

Banana plants vary in height…anywhere from ten to twenty-six feet. The leaves are arranged spirally and may grow to be about nine feet long and two feet wide. The leaves of the banana tree are easily torn by the wind, resulting in the familiar frond look.

Bananas can also vary in taste from starchy to sweet, and texture from firm to mushy…depending on what variety you choose and how ripe the bananas are.

Greener, less ripe bananas are more starchy…whereas yellow bananas taste sweeter because they contain more sugar.

The actual bananas are gathered into bunches…made up of anywhere from three to twenty tiers. The bunch itself can weigh anywhere from sixty-five to one hundred pounds.

Some of the edible varieties, ranging in color from yellow to red, pink, purple and black…varying in both flavor and texture…include… 

  • Blue Java Banana…Blue Java bananas are also known as the ice cream banana due to their sweet vanilla flavor and extreme creaminess. They feature a beautiful blue peel and a white flesh. They’re actually pretty hardy and can grow in colder regions….
  • Blue Java. Also called “ice cream” bananas because they’re said to taste like vanilla ice cream, these have a bluish-silvery peel that turns pale yellow when ripe.
  • Cavendish. The most widely exported banana in the world, the Cavendish has a sturdy peel that travels well. Almost all bananas sold in the United States and Europe are this variety.
  • Goldfinger. This newer variety from Honduras has a sweet and slightly apple-like flavor.
  • Gros Michel. Also known as Big Mike, this was the top-exported banana until much of the crop was wiped out by a fungus in the 1950s. It’s similar in taste and size to Cavendish and still available in some places.
  • Lady Finger Banana…Lady Finger bananas, also known as baby bananas, are sweeter and smaller than Cavendish bananas. They’re usually around three inches in length and feature a creamy texture and sweet flavor with notes of honey.
  • Manzano. Also called “apple bananas,” these short, chubby fruits have a hint of apple and strawberry. They’re fully ripe and taste best when the skin turns black. Manzano is the most popular dessert variety in the tropics.
  • Mysore. This small fruit is the most important banana crop in India. It has a thin skin and a hint of tartness.
  • Praying Hands. You’ll recognize this variety by the two adjacent “hands” that grow fused together, giving the fruit its name. It’s less sweet than other types and has a subtle vanilla flavor.
  • Red. The thick skin of red bananas starts red or maroon but turns yellow-orange when ripe. The flesh is sweet and tinged with pink or orange.      

Making the Perfect Chowder

Don’t Be a Dumbo About Making Gumbo

If I were to talk about both choosing the perfect ingredients for your gumbo and using the perfect method, this would be an extremely long post.

Instead we’re gonna talk about the perfect ingredientsw…and talk about method in the next.

Making the perfect gumbo is about like decorating a Christmas tree. There are an umpteen thousand different ways to do it, and every one has their own opinion of what your finished project should look/taste like.

But regardless your personal preference, there are some tips about choosing ingredients that remain the same regardless what type of gumbo you may be making.

 

 

 

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Mear

A few things to keep in mind as far as the meat are…

1. If you are making chicken gumbo, use the legs becacuse they will give the best flavor.

2. Buy bone-in chicken, and then cook your chicken on the bone, but take off the skin if there’s any on it.. This will add extra richness to your gumbo. Just make sure that you carefully remove all bones from your gumbo before serving…especially if you are serving it to your Cajun grandmother.

3. Brown your meat over high heat before sticking in into the pot. This will add more flavor to your gumbo.

4. If using a sausage, such as andouille or kielbasa, wait and add them at the end of your cooking time…otherwise they get get rubbery.

 

 

Now for a few recipes as to which meat can be used and some recipes to try…

 

 

 

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Vegetables

In a  previous post we learned that The Cajun Holy Trinity consists of onions, celery, and bell peppers—not carrots, as in the classic French mirepoix which consists  of onions, celery, and carrots,

As in most cooking, it is always best to use fresh ingredients instead of the frozen stuff…even though the frozen stuff is so much more convenient…

Tomatoes…Tomatoes are typically found in Creole gumbo recipes,..not Cajun…(so not going to get into the specifics of this, just trust me on this one)…versions of the dish

Okra…Okra is often used as a thickener. Okra is often used as a thickener and While there are many gumbo recipes that do not call for okra…and many people do not like adding the okra because they claim that it makes their gumbo slimy…,the word “gumbo” is actually derived from the West African word for okra.

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Liquid

You can use either water or stock/broth to create the base of your gumbo., but using water will mean that your gumbo will end up having much less flavor…so I wouldn’t recommend it.

And of course you can buy stock/broth from the grocery store, but it’s also easy to make your own…and perhaps cheaper.

So how you make your own stock?

The stock or broth that you use depends on the type of gumbo you are making, but here are three basic recipes…

All About Avocado Oil

Salad made with avocado oil

 

 

 

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Nutrition

  • Calories: 124
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 0 grams
  • Fiber: 0 grams
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Avocado oil is a good source of:

  • HDL Cholesterol
  • Lutein…a type of vitamin found as the yellow, orange, and red pigments in certain plants which gives these fruits and vegetables their colors…
  • Oleic Acid
  • Vitamin E…1Tbsp avocado oil contains about 23% of the DV of vitamin E.

 

 

 

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Health  Benefits

Antioxidant…If you’ve been following my blog at all…or if you have any interest in nutrition in the first place…you should know by now that antioxidants are important for fighting off free radicals. Antioxidants are important for preventing diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Arthritis…Arthritis, painful inflammation of the joints, is very common… and in fact affects millions of people worldwide. Studies have shown that avocado oil may reduce the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis…especially arthritis in the hips and knees.

Heart…Avocado oil may be helpful to the health of your heart because of the oleic acid that it contains. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid that can help lower blood triglycerides, LDL cholesterol levels, and blood pressure.

Skin…Avocados and avocado oil both contain fatty acids, vitamin E, and lutein contained in avocado oil can provide the following benefits…

  • helping soothe dry, chapped, or damaged skin if used topically 
  • improving symptoms of psoriasis
  • increasing collagen production 
  • decreasing inflammation
  • promoting skin health
  • helping wounds heal faster

In the next post we will look at how avocados can be used to make “bathroom beauty recipes” that might come in handy if there is another coronavirus shutdown.

 

 

 

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Uses

Mastering Ministrone

So now that we’ve bought the perfect pot, found the perfect recie, bought the best veggies, sliced and diced, and so forth…

Now what?

1.Constantly keep an eye on your soup while it is cooking. This will allow you to  adjust the spices and cooking temperature as needed.

2. Cook on low heat. Don’t think that cooking your soup at a higher temperature will ensure that everything will actually get cooked instead of being raw or hard when you are ready to serve the soup.

Doing this will instead turn your meat into tough, hard-to-chew pieces…not to mention possibly ruining the bottom of that expensive soup pot that we all went out and bought after reading a previous article, right?

Instead bring your soup slowly to a boil and then allow the soup to simmer for the rest of the cooking time.

This will allow the ingredients to maintain their structure and integrity, while at the same time combining all of the ingredients into a flavorful soup.

3. Cover or not?…Depending on the finished product that you want,  leaving the soup uncovered or covering the soup with the lid is a matter of personal  reference. Leaving the lid off will make the soup base evaporate faster, creating a thicker and more flavorful soup.

4, Dig in Deep…There are many soup recipes out there that  require taking some of the soup as it is cooking and blending it and then adding it back into the soup in order to thicken the soup. Using an immersion blender will reduce the risk of your getting burned and make this job easier and neater.

Here is a list from Good Housekeeping of some of the most highly recommended immersion blenders available…

5. Use your brain when using grains…Pasta and grains that are called for as ingredients will often overcook. Avoid this by cooking them separately and then adding them into the soup just before serving.

Making the Perfect Avocado Salad

  •   Bowl of avocado salad The perfect avocado salad is simple—fresh avocado, thinly sliced red onion…different from standard guacamole in that it has way more depth of flavor and creamy chunks of avocado.

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Ingredients for Salad

  • 3 large avocados…peeled, pitted and diced
  • 2C English cucumbers…chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 2C cherry tomatoes or 1 large ripe tomato, chopped
  • ½C radish, halved, cut into ⅛-inch thick slices
  • ½C red onion, cut into thin slices
  • 2tsp minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1/3C corn
  • 2Tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 3/4tsp salt
  • 1/8tsp pepper

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Ingredients for Salad Dressing

  • 2Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4C olive oil
  • ¼C lime juice
  • 1Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2Tbsp honey

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Instructions

  • Make the Dressing…Stir all of the dressing ingredients except for the olive oil. Now very slowly drizzle in the avocado or olive oil, constantly whisking to break the fat into small droplets. This will help create a thicker salad dressing.
  • Combine salad ingredients…Stir your salad ingredients together in a second bowl.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the avocado salad.

Making the Perfectly Rockin’ Guac

The perfect guacamole is simple to make and like anything else that you make requires using only the freshest, highest quality ingredients—the perfect avocado…the perfect onion…the perfect tomatoes…and the perfect seasonings—such as cilantro, jalapeno pepper, lime juice, garlic and salt.

The perfect guacamole should be plain and simple….the perfect blend of high quality ingredients melded together beautifully.

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The Avocados

The perfect avocados for making guacamole should be ripe, but firm….not soft and mushy avocados.

You can know that you are picking the best avocados by only choosing those that still have the stem attached. Avocados with the stem still attached are less likely to have brown spots on the inside.

If you gently press one end of the avocado, it should be firm, yet have a slight give to it.

Here is a tried and true guacamole recipe that’s easy to make, uses fresh ingredients and is loaded with flavor. 

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The Ingredients

3 avocados, ripe

1/2 small onion, finely diced

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

3Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and finely diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2tsp salt

1 lime, juiced…(Note that using fresh limes instead of bottled lime juice will make a huge difference)…

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Instructions

Slice your avocados in half. Remove the pit and skins. Put the flesh of the avocado in a mixing bowl.

Mash the avocados gently with a fork until you get them as chunky or smooth as you’d like.

Add the onions, tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno pepper, garlic, lime juice and salt.

Place any leftover guacamole in a storage container…(yeah, right…as my house there is never any leftover guacamole)…Pat down firmly with a spoon so it’s nice and flat on top. Add about 1/2″ cold water on top. Place the lid on the storage container. Stick the container in the fridge.

The water will help keep the guacamole from oxidizing  and turning brown as quickly.

Once you’re ready to devour the rest of the guacamole, drain the water off the top and stir.

Making the Perfect Chili

The perfect chili will depend on your own person preferences…beans, not beans…beef of chicken…plain or served as chili dogs… burgers topped with chili… (usually without beans)….chili fries…chili mac…or Frito pie and flavored to perfection…(more on this later)…

As we all probably know by now, especially if you live in Texas, chili is a type of spicy stew that not only is great to serve alone…or as

And speaking of chili, chilii made in New York City may taste good…and chili made in Texas may be better…the best chili is made in your own kitchen because you are the boss, and you can choose what ingredients you actually like best, not what somebody thinks you’ll like.

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THE INGREDIENTS

The recipe that you actually end up using for your chili will probably vary from one person to the next…based on where you live and what you actually want to be in your chili…(such as beans or no beans)

Since the perfect chili is a matter of person preference, instead of simply giving you one single recipes for the perfect chili, let’s consider some of the ingredients that you could use in chili…so that you can tweak the recipe until you find the perfect chili that is perfectly perfect for you and your family.

 

 

 

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THE MEAT

Beef…Most of us like our chili to be good and hearty…probab ly stockpiled with lots of meat…chili con carne…as most of us already know, you can always substitute ground turkey for the ground beef.

Chicken,,,one of my favorite meals is white chicken chili…kinda like my favorite lasagna contains white sauce and chicken…instead of the typicaxl ground beef and red saucer.

No Meat…my daughter has decided to embrace the vegetarian era…meaning that I often have to disappointment my Mississippi husband by making meals that do nit contain any meat…

Pork…Chili can also be made with pork…such as chili verde…a ‘green chili that is made from chunks of pork.

 

 

 

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THE PEPPERS

Chili peppers, often in the form of chili powder…which we will talk about later)…is commonly used to spice up your chili.

What makes chili peppers so hot is an ingredient called Capsaicin, the same stuff that’s used to make pepper spray, many pain relief creams, insect-repellentproducts…(yum)…

 

Remember that the white part of the pepper is where most of this capsaicin…especially the seeds.

Five types of  chili peppers rhat you can consider using are…

  • Bell pepper
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Habanero pepper
  • Jalapeno pepper
  • Poblano pepper
  • Serrano pepper
  • Thai prepper
  • Wax pepper

As far as if the word is actually “chili” or “chile,” there is no clearcut answer. “Chili ” is typically what most of us call it here in the US, but “Chile” is the the word more often used in Mexico and several other Latin American countries.

Other people prefer to use the word “chile” whenever referring to the pepper, and chili to talk about the stew.

 

 

 

 

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THE VEGETABLES

Vegetables, other than tomatoes, can also be good ingredients in your chili—vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, corn, squash, and beets…which is why I thought I could get by with a chili recipe while talking about the raw food pyramid, while talking about leafy greens, while talking about smoothies, while talking about antioxidants…if that made any sense)…

 

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THE  BEANS

The use of beans in chili has been debated for a very, very long time…especially here in Texas.

In fact the society that “governs” most of the chili cookoffs so populat around America have banned the use of beans in their cook-offs.

Here in Texas. supposedly we eat our chili without beans…(sorry…that doesn[t include me…I like my chili as heartless…I mean hearty…as possible).

While everyone else supposedly like their chili with beans, any type of bean—including

  • black beans
  • blacked-eyed peas
  • great Northern beans
  • kidney beans
  • navy beans
  • pinto beans
  • white beans

As far as chili beans, these are actually pinto or kidney beans that have already been spiced…which will obviously change the taste of the chili from what it would have been if you had used them by themselves.

When using beans, be sure to rinse them first to to remove the extra salt and starches.

 

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THE TOMATOES

 

The use of tomatoes…just like the use of beans…whenever making chili has been a topic of debate for a very, very lnog time.

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THE SPICES

What actually makes chili chili…at least to me…is the spices that you add…

Without the perfect blend of spices, you simply have another meat dish that contains tomatoes, vegetables, and perhaps beans…

NOT chili!!!

The spices that you use are what give chili its complex flavor.

Recipes exist with all sorts of different spice blends to flavor the chili….but the four most common spices are when making chili are…

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • Other spices that I’ve seen in chili recipes include cayenne pepper, cinnamon,  dry mustard, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and onion powder.

Any by the way, chili powder is not actually a spice in and of itself…and you can make your own without making a special trip to gT

 

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THE TOPPINGS

Toppings that you can add to your chili once it’s finished cooking include…

  • Cheese—such as Monterey Jack, cheddar
  • Cilantro
  • Crackers—such as saltine crackers or oyster crackers
  • Croutons
  • Diced avocado
  • Diced red or green onion
  • Jalapenos
  • Lime wedges
  • Sliced green onions
  • Sour cream
  • Tortilla chips
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THE MENU

Foods that go great when served with chili include cornbread,  tortillas, tamales, rice, and pasta.

 

 

 

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THE RECIPE

Meat

  • 2# ground beef or turkey

Vegetables

  • 1/2 large white onion, chopped

  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 green bell pepper seeded and diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion -diced
  • 1 jalapeno seeded and finely diced

Spices

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder…OR…2Tbsp cumin, 1/4tsp cayenne pepper -optional, 1tsp oregano, 1/2tsp paprika
  • 2Tbsp sugar or brown sugar
  • 1Tbsp garlic powder or 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2tsp salt
  • 1/2tsp pepper

Tomatoes

  • 2Tbsp tomato paste…OR…8oz tomato sauce
  • 28oz diced tomatoes with juic

Beans

  • 19 oz kidney beans canned, drained & rinsed

Other

  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth…OR…beer
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Toppings as desired

Cook for 6-7 minutes.

Just thought that I would throw that in there before you smart making chili for tonight’s dinner…it would be much better if you make it today and serve it tomorrow.

Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes.

Add the onion. Cook five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the beef, onions, garlic and some of the chili powder…cook for about seven minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.

Drain any fat.

Add remaining ingredients…making sure to stir until well combined.

Bring the liquid to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low or medium-low.

Simmer uncovered for at least twenty minutes….again stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon…the lower your cooking temperature and the longer you cook your chili, the more flavorful it will be.

Simmering you chili uncovered will allow the chili to naturally thicken without having to add cornstarch or flour.

Remove the pot from the heat. Let the chili rest for at least five minutes before serving.

Top with cheddar cheese, green onions, cilantro or other favorite toppings.

Leftovers…assuming there are any…will last from three to five days.

Freezing Chili…Chili can be frozen either in single sized portions for lunches or in freezer bags for a quick and easy weeknight meal.

Remember…If all else fails, you can always run back to Kroger or Albertson’s or Tom Thumb…or order from Instacart…to get some canned chili…people have been doing this since 1908 when chili first started being canned and sold in New Braufels, Texas…