The ABC’s of Strawberries — September 27, 2020

The ABC’s of Strawberries

Before we jump ahead and talk about more interesting things like berry picking and berry recipes that will make you merry, I thought that it might be helpful to look at the benefits of including berries in your diet…

So let’s look closely at the ABC’s of strawberries…

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A…Antioxidants…Berries are a great source of antiIoxidants. Antioxidants are important for helping to prevent heart disease, cancer and age-related blindness. The berries that contain the most antioxidants are blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries.

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B…Blood Pressure…Berries contain antioxidants that help prevent high blood pressure.

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D…Diabetes….Berries are a good option for diabetics because they typically have less sugar than other types of fruit.

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F…Fiber…Berries are a good source of fiber, particulary the soluble fiber that helps slow down the movement of food through your digestive tract so that you are less hungry and feel full faster. Here are the fiber and carb contents for a cup of different types of berries…

  • Blackberries: 10.2 grams of carbs, 5.3 of which are fiber
  • Blueberries: 14.5 grams of carbs, 2.4 of which are fiber
  • Raspberries: 11.9 grams of carbs, 6.5 of which are fiber
  • Strawberries: 7.7 grams of carbs, 2.0 of which are fiber

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H…Heart Health…Berries can reduce your chances of having a heart attack.

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I…Insulin Levels…Berries may protect you from having high blood sugar levels and improve your insulin response.

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M…Mental Health…Berries contain anthocyanins, the flavonoids that give them their color. These flavanoids help keep your mind sharp as you age. People can postpone mental decline by about 2 ½ years by eating berries. Berries can also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease because berries protect you from the damaging build-up of toxins over time.

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P…Parkinson’s…Eating at least two servings of berries per week can decrease your chances of developing Parkinson’s disease by twenty-five percent.

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P…Potassium…Berries, especially currants and gooseberries, are great sources of the mineral called potassium that helps lower blood pressure.

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V…Vitamins and Minerals…One cup of strawberries contains an entire day’s worth of heart-healthy vitamin C …in fact one cup of strawberries provides 150%RDI for vitamin C….as well as a high content of the vitamin B, which is important for helping keep arteries clear.

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U…Urinary Tract Infections…Berries, especially cranberries, can help prevent urinary tract infections.

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W…Weight Control…Berries help make you feel fuller faster.

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Have a Berry, Berry Christmas and a Happy New You — September 24, 2020

Have a Berry, Berry Christmas and a Happy New You

  • We all know what berries are…those small, soft, round, brightly colored fruits that make the produce section actually seem more inviting…juicy
  • The varied taste, colors, and textures of berries makes them one of the most popular fruits. The gamut runs from black currants to grapes…blueberries to gooseberries…cranberries to gooseberries…grapes to goji berries…and so on and so forth.
  • Some fruits that we typically think of as berries actually are not berries according to the “smart people”…including raspberries and strawberries…
  • While other fruits that we would think shouldn’t be classified as berries actually are… such as 
  • The most popular berry is the strawberry. In fact, twice as any strawberries are produced around the world as the sum of all other berries combined.
  • In the next few posts, we will be talking about the reasons that you should include berries in your diet, the different types of berries that might be adding color to your local produce aisle, and a few basic recipes to get you in a berry, berry good mood.  

The Scoop on Drupes — September 20, 2020

The Scoop on Drupes

I debated whether or not to jump to another category or talk about the different types of fruit in this post, but I think that breaking the fruit category into smaller categories will help you as you plan your grocery list and hit the store.

So let’s begin by talking about the scoop on drupes…

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What is a Drupe?!

  • One type of drupe is the stone fruit, those fruits that are composed of a skin that surrounds a fleshy fruit part with a hard seed or pit in the middle.
  • There are two different types of stone fruits—freestone fruits, those where the seed can be taken out with no problem—such as nectarines, peaches, plums, prunes, and cherries.
  • And then clingstone fruits, those where the seed is a pain in the butt to take out—such as peaches, plums, cherries, olives, apricots, and mango. 
  • Another category of drupes is the tryma. These are nut-like drupes that actually grow within an outer husk—such as walnuts, coconuts.almonds, and cashews.
  • Finally there are bramble fruits—such as the blackberry and the raspberry—fruits that consist of what are known as drupelets, small or large clusters that have a small hard seed inside.
  • Nutritionally speaking, drupes are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The nutritional value will vary from fruit to fruit. We will look at these fruits and their nutritional value in future posts…right now I just want to break down our shopping list for our next road trip to Sprouts or Whole Foods into as many little categories as possible.

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Which Fruits are Classified as Drupe

Almonds

Apricot
Avocado
Bayberry
Blackberry
Cashews

Cherry
Coconut
Coffee
Damson
Date
Hackberry
Jujube

Loquat

Mango
Nectarine
Olive
Pecans

Peach

Pistacho

Plum
Raspberry

Walnuts

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Let’s Start By Hitting the Fruit Aisle with Great Style — September 16, 2020

Let’s Start By Hitting the Fruit Aisle with Great Style

Obvioiusly fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, but how many of us stumble into the fruit aisle only to look at the pretty colors and then walk away because it would be so much easier simply to grab yet another granola bar out of a box and call it a day.  

But fruit is God’s candy…and far too many of us are missing out on one of His greatest gifts….not to mention foods that rank high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients.

Botanically speaking, a fruit is classified as a drupe as long as that fruit has seeds. So surprisingly, that means that tomatoes, eggplants, peas, beans, and wheat grains are actually all fruits.

In the next few posts, we will be talking about the different classifications of fruit so that we can start hitting the fruit aisle with style.

Fruit is typically classified into five different categories…

1.  BerriesWe probably can all figure out which fruits are berries—those fruits that are small  and juicy and do not have a stone or a pit. Typically when you think about berries, you think of…

  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • cranberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

2.  Citrus…These are those fruits that have a thick tangy rind and sectioned pulp inside. Typically when you think about citrus, you think of…

  • lemons
  • limes
  • oranges

3, Drupes…These are fleshy fruits that have a large seed. Typically when you think about drupes, you think of…

  • apricots
  • cherries
  • peaches

4. Pepo…These are those fruits that have multiple seeds throughout the flesh or grouped together in the center. Typically when you think of pepeo fruit, you think of melons.

5. Pomes…These are those fruits that have a fleshy area surrounding a core containing seeds. Typically when you think of pomes, you think of apples and pears.

6. Tropical fruits….Typically when you think of tropical fruits, you think of…

  • bananas
  • guavas
  • mangoes
  • papayas
  • pineapples

In the next few posts, we will keep exploring the grocery store with me…so let’s go shopping…shall we?!

The Ultimate Plant-Based Grocery List — September 14, 2020

The Ultimate Plant-Based Grocery List

  • Perhaps I’m not the only one totally not excited about making this change in diet and lifestyle, but the benefits are far too many to simply ignore…
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  • After all, I do want to keep my diabetic husband around for a while…not to mention that I want to be able to feed my wholeheartedly devoted vegetarian daughter when she comes over for Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  •  
  • So right now, I am throwing out the bad and ugly…and replacing these nooks and crannies in my fridge and pantry with those foods that are uncooked, unprocessed, typically organic foods…those foods that have not been pasteurized or homogenized…those foods that have not been produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.
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  • If you’re like me, you don’t want to all of a sudden completely change your ways, and there is actually no need to totally ditch your old ways completely overnight. Your goal should be to gradually start eating more and more unprocessed whole, plant-based, and preferably organic foods. Raw food should ultimately make up three-quarters of your diet.
  •  
  • Since your goal is not to cook food at temperatures above 100 degrees, you will need to explore alternative cooking methods which will gently cook your foods—such as steaming, juicing fruits and vegetables, sprouting seeds, using your Crock-Pot, germinating, making smoothies for breakfast, eating salad for lunch, dehydrating fruits and perhaps vegetables, soaking beans and grains in water,…instead of eating the fast food you’ve been shoving down for years.
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  • For me, it has been fun to explore specialty stores and websites to expand my food choices beyond our usual grocery store as I learn more and more about raw foods and healthy living.
  •  
  • It has also helped to fill my bookshelves with and actually start reading nonfiction books on nutrition and diet…as well as raw and vegan cookbooks…(more on this later)…
  •  
  • Before we start crawling back up the Raw Foods Pyramid though, I thought it might be handy to go ahead and start a Raw Foods Grocery Shopping List so that we can all get our gears working and not get hungry as we explore these options more closely.
  • After all, I do want to keep my diabetic husband around for a while…not to mention that I want to be able to feed my wholeheartedly devoted vegetarian daughter when she comes over for Easter or Thanksgiving or Christmas.
  •  
  • So right now, I am throwing out the bad and ugly…and replacing these nooks and crannies in my fridge and pantry with those foods that are uncooked, unprocessed, typically organic foods…those foods that have not been pasteurized or homogenized…those foods that have not been produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives.
  •  
  • If you’re like me, you don’t want to all of a sudden completely change your ways, and there is actually no need to totally ditch your old ways completely overnight. Your goal should be to gradually start eating more and more unprocessed whole, plant-based, and preferably organic foods. Raw food should ultimately make up three-quarters of your diet.
  •  
  • Since your goal is not to cook food at temperatures above 100 degrees, you will need to explore alternative cooking methods which will gently cook your foods—such as steaming, juicing fruits and vegetables, sprouting seeds, using your Crock-Pot, germinating, making smoothies for breakfast, eating salad for lunch, dehydrating fruits and perhaps vegetables, soaking beans and grains in water,…instead of eating the fast food you’ve been shoving down for years.
  •  
  • For me, it has been fun to explore specialty stores and websites to expand my food choices beyond our usual grocery store as I learn more and more about raw foods and healthy living.
  •  
  • It has also helped to fill my bookshelves with and actually start reading nonfiction books on nutrition and diet…as well as raw and vegan cookbooks…(more on this later)…
  •  
  • Before we start crawling back up the Raw Foods Pyramid though, I thought it might be handy to go ahead and start a Raw Foods Grocery Shopping List so that we can all get our gears working and not get hungry as we explore these options more closely.
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  • Dairy
    • cashew milk
    • club soda
    • coconut milk
    • coconut water
    • kombucha
    • macadamia nut milk
    • oat milk
    • raw eggs
    • soy milk 

 

32 Real Reasons Not to Cook Dinner Tonight — September 12, 2020

32 Real Reasons Not to Cook Dinner Tonight

Advocates of the raw foods diet believe that heating food above 104° destroys the natural enzymes needed for proper digestion and reduces the nutritional value of the food. They also believe that cooked foods contain harmful toxins which can cause various chronic diseases….

People who embrace the raw foods lifestyle believe that heating foods over 112 degrees destroys its nutrients and natural enzymes that are necessary for boosting digestion and fighting chronic disease. Many people actually believe that cooking your food makes the food toxic.

Embracing a diet that consists of more raw foods will help prevent the damage caused by environmental pollutants, stress, processed and refined foods, lack of nutrients, and mineral-deficient water.

Benefits of switching to a raw foods diet supposedly can also help prevent or control the following health issues…

  1. allergies
  2. arthritis
  3. autoimmune disorders
  4. blood pressure
  5. cancer 
  6. constipation
  7. diabetes
  8. digestive problems
  9. fatigue
  10. food allergies
  11. gallstones or gall bladder disease
  12. headaches
  13. heart failure
  14. high blood pressure
  15. high cholesterol
  16. hormonal imbalance
  17. immune system
  18. inflammation
  19. joint pain 
  20. kidney disease
  21. liver function
  22. memory
  23. muscle aches and pains
  24. nutritional deficiencies
  25. obesity
  26. osteoporosis
  27. Parkinson’s disease
  28. PMS
  29. skin problems
  30. stomach cancer
  31. stroke
  32. weight

And not only that, you’ll also reap nutritional perks by eating more foods that are high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease-fighting phytochemicals.

Let’s All Get Naked Together — September 9, 2020

Let’s All Get Naked Together

I’m from the deepest part of the Deep South…a part of the United States quite famous for fried foods and excellent homemade desserts consisting of the Holy Trinity of Southern cooking—cream cheese, Cool Whip, and heavy cream—and big huge breakfasts consisting of lots of bacon and pancakes smothered with lots and lots of syrup.

But my husband was recently diagnosed as a Type 2 diabetic…and then had to spend a week in the hospital for congestive heart failure.

Needless to say, his doctors are now recommending that he start eating a plant-based diet.

So in the days ahead, I want to study and share what I learn about embracing this now-dreaded meal planning and new eating habits that come from eating  more of the  unprocessed and possibly even uncooked foods that we should have been eating all along.

Since this is such a drastic change in our eating habits, I am going to focus on the total opposite of what we eat now—instead of the crispy crunchy diet that we now eat, I will begin our journey to a raw food or plant-based diet…a diet where about eighty percent of what we eat each day are plant-based…and mostly foods that were never heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit.

I plan to also start cutting out any and all foods that are refined, pasteurized,  homogenized, or produced with the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, industrial solvents or chemical food additives…foods such as breads, bottled condiments, cereals, crackers, cheese, refined oils and processed meats.

Celebrating Life-September…Labor Day Menu — September 6, 2020

Celebrating Life-September…Labor Day Menu

  
Being an Army wife, the Fourth of July has aways been a special holiday for our family…and, of course, being from the Deep South, our celebration centers around food.

So today I’m sharing with you the menu that I have decided on for Labor Day this year.

Growing up within spittng distance of Memphis, Tennessee,  I grew up eating “dry ribs” as part of each picnic or deck party.

The most important step in making “dry ribs” is making the “dry rub,” that special mixture of herbs and spices that define the flavor of the meat.

Just about every family in my “neck of the woods” has its own “secret family recipe” for dry rub…commonly consisting of various proportions of allspice,black pepper, brown sugar, cayenne, cumin, dry mustard, celery salt or celery seed, chili powder, dried oregano or rosemary, ginger, or white pepper.

The following recipe is the dry rub recipe that I have been using since I crossed over the Mighty Mississippi into the Texas frontier twenty-five years ago. I like to make it in bulk to keep on hand…also great on chicken, pork chops, and anything else that doesn’t eat you first.

 Memphis-Style Dry Rub

4Tbsp black pepper
2C brown sugar
3Tbsp cayenne
2tsp celery seed
3Tbsp cumin
2tsp dried oregano
1Tbsp dry mustard
4Tbsp garlic powder
3Tbsp salt
1C sweet paprika

  

 I

Labor Day Ribs...Rub dry rub all over 2 St. Louis-cut or spare rib racks. Marinate in fridge overnight. 

Start with a 200-220°F grill or smoker. Lay the ribs down so that are not directly over the heat source. Cover the grill or smoker. Let ribs cook for six hours, turning and rotating every hour.

  
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad from Yellow Bliss Road
  
Basic Potato Salad from The Baker Upstairs

  
Overnight Slaw

  • 1 medium head cabbage, shredded
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced pimiento-stuffed olives
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seed

Combine cabbage, onion, peppers and olives. In a large saucepan, mix remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Cook and stir 1 minute. Pour over vegetables, and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Mix well before serving. Yield: 16 servings.

  
SUMMER BERRY SPARKLING SANGRIA

To make.…Combine 1 bottle Colavita Pinot Grigio Wine, ½ cup vodka, ¼ cup elderflower liqueur, ⅔ cup sliced strawberries, ⅔ cup blueberries, ⅓ cup raspberries, ⅓ cup blackberries. Refrigerate.

To serve...muddle a few of the berries in each glass. Add ice, fill two-thirds full with wine mixture, and top with club soda. Serve with fresh mint sprigs.
  
Paula Deen’s Classic Apple Pie 
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
7 medium green apples, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp butter, cubed
2 unbaked pie crusts
egg wash for brushing on crust

1.  Preheat oven to 375ºF.Mix together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and nutmeg.Place the apple slices in a large mixing bowl. Toss with the dry ingredients mixture to coat.

2.  Press a pie crust into a 9-inch pie dish. Fill with the apple mixture.Drizzle the lemon juice over the apples. Sprinkle the cubed butter over top as well.

3. Place the second pie crust over the filling (you can make a lattice top or simply cut slits to vent the steam). Press edges to seal.

4.  Bake for 55-60 minutes. Let cool before slicing.