Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkin…The Why?!

Pumpkin is not only a highly low-calorie, nutrient-dense food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, but also help you have a healthier complexion, healthier hair, and more energy.

So let’s take a look at the specific nutritional level of pumpkin and how eating more pumpkin could be beneficial for diabetics…

First, a few nutritional facts…

Beta-Carotene…Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that gives orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color. Beta-carotene is easily converted into vitamin A…which in turn triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.

This is important because consuming foods that are rich in beta-carotene may reduce your risk of developing certain illnesses, such as

  • age-related macular degeneration
  • asthma
  • certain types of cancer, including prostate and colon cancer
  • degenerative damage to the eyes
  • diabetes
  • heart disease

Calories...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 49 calories.

Carbohydrates...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 12.01 grams of carbohydrates.

Cholesterol…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains no cholesterol.

Fat…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 0.17 g of fat.

Fiber…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 2.7 g of fiber. Canned pumpkin provides over 7 grams of fiber.

Although the recommended daily fiber intake is between 25 and 30 grams, most Americans typically only get 15 grams of fiber per day.

Fiber is important for slowing the rate of sugar absorption into the blood and promoting regular bowel movements, and supporting the digestive system in general.

Protein…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains
1.76 g of protein.

Vitamin A…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains more than 200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A.

Vitamin C...One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 19% of the RDA of vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for the immune system, especially important on days like today when the temperature is lunging from 85 degrees today to about 50 degrees tomorrow.

Other Nutrients…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 10% or more of the RDA of vitamin E, riboflavin, potassium, copper, and manganese… as well as at least 5% of thiamin, B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, niacin, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus.

Finally, what benefits do pumpkin, pumpkin oil, and pumpkin seeds have to offer type 2 diabetics?

Pumpkins can lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, and help control diabetes, because of the powerful effect that plant compounds found in both pumpkin seeds and pumpkin pulp have on the absorption of glucose into the tissues and intestines.

Not only that, pumpkin also helps balance levels of liver glucose.

In fact, these plant compounds found within the pumpkin seeds and pulp have such an impact on diabetes that there is research being done as to using them in anti-diabetic medication.

So now I am headed out the door and to the nearest Starbucks for a grande PSL with extra sugar…after all, pumpkin is healthy, right?

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Sweet, Sweet Sunday

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year…

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The other day I found myself surfing Netflix to see if Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin episode was on there and making a special trip to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte.

Yes…it’s time for the great pumpkin….not to mention Pumpkin Spice latte.

 

And needless to say, the pumpkin is great indeed…

 

Great for great recipes…

Great for great coffee…

Great for decorating your home not only for Halloween, but also for fall…

Great for “kitchen beauty” concoctions such as hair masks and facials…

Great for nutrition…

 

No other vegetable, other than perhaps the sweet potato, has the same sweet, cinnamon-y taste that nostalgically reminds us of Halloween and Thanksgivings long ago.

But have you ever thought about the health benefits that this great pumpkin, not to mention pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil have to offer…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cruelty-Free and Vegan Dental Care Products Review—Don’t Forget to Floss

As I have been making this lifestyle change over the last six months, I have learned to check the labels of products for certain keywords—such as certain ingredients that you want to avoid, and certain other ingredients that you are actually looking for.
As far as ingredients found in dental hygiene products, here are a few to avoid and why…

  • Artificial Colors, Flavors, Sweeteners
  • Benzoic Acid
  • BPA
  • Fluoride
    Glycerin
    Gluten
  • GMO
  • Parabens
  • Preservatives
  • Saccharin
  • SDS
  • SLS
  • Sorbitol
  • Sugar
    Sulfate

Vegan Friendly Ingredients to Look For

  • Aloe Vera…Aloe vera gently cleans the gums and soothes any irritation or infection which may be present
  • Baking Soda…This is used in many DIY types of mouthwash and toothpaste and is great for getting rid of stubborn plaque and also acts as a whitener for your teeth.
  • Cinnamon…Cinnamon freshens your breath and keeps the mouth clean.
  • Clove…Clove is used by dentists as a painkiller as it contains eugenol, and they will usually apply this to the teeth while pulling a tooth or applying a filling. As well as an anesthetic, it is also an antiseptic so wipes out germs.
  • Echinacea…Echinacea is a natural antiseptic that fights off nasty bacteria and prevents gum disease.
  • Grapefruit Extract,,,Grapefruit extract prevents tartar build up and bad breath.
  • Myrrh…Myrrh is used to help prevent bad breath, as well as providing a powerful soothing agents for any irritation or inflamed gum problems.
  • Pomegranate Extract….Pomegranate extracti helps prevent iplaque.
  • Peppermint…_Peppermint also provides a fresh, minty taste, fights halitosis, and prevent  bad breath.
  • Perilla Seed Extract…Perilla seed extract prevents  tartar build up and bad breath.
  • Spearmint…Besides from providing that fresh, minty taste we all know and love- these oils are great for fighting halitosis and preventing bad breath.
  • Tea Tree Oil,…Tea tree oil acts as a natural antiseptic, fights harmful bacteria, and leads to a healthier smile.

 

Most of your typical toothpastes—including .Aquafresh, Colgate, Crest, Aim, Sensodyne—–are not vegan or cruelty-free.

Toothpastes that actually are cruelty-free and vegan include…

  • David’s Natural
  • Dessert Essence
  • Dr. Bronner’s
  • Hello Oral Care
  • JASON
  • Nature’s Gate
  • Simply Sooney
  • Uncle Harry’s
  • VITA-MYR

 

 

Mouthwash

Even though the most common toothpastes are not vegan, most mouthwashes are. Yet many of the most popular brands of mouthwash are owned by companies that do still test their products on animals.

Here is a list of available mouthwashes that do not have any link to animal testing and byproducts.

  1. Dale Audrey’s Oral Pulling Rinse…The active ingredients in this mouthwash are neem and myrrh, both natural antiseptics that help protect your teeth and prevent infections.
  2. Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse…The active ingredients in Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse are twelve different essential oils, echinacea is used as a natural antiseptic to fight off nasty bacteria and prevent gum disease., and baking soda.
  3. JĀSÖN Healthy Mouth® Tartar Control Cinnamon Clove Mouthwash…The active ingrefdients in this mouthwash are grapefruit and perilla seed extracts, both of which prevent  tartar build up and prevent bad breath….clove and cinnamon, both of which freshen your breath and keep the mouth clean….aloe vera, which gently cleans the gums and soothes any irritation or infection which may be present…tea tree oil, which acts as a natural antiseptic, fights harmful bacteria, and leads to a healthier smile.
  4. Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse…The active ingredients in Eco-Dent Ultimate Daily Rinse are twelve different essential oils, echinacea is used as a natural antiseptic to fight off nasty bacteria and prevent gum disease., and baking soda.

Floss

Most dental flosses are not vegan for two reasons…first of all, many dental care products are tested on animals and therefore are not “cruelty-free”…secondly many brands of dental floss are coated with beeswax, which isn’t considered vegan because it’s made by exploiting honey bees.

Alternatives that are cruelty-free include…

  1. Eco-Dent…Mint, Cinnamon…No Beeswax, No Mineral Wax
  2. Nature’s Answer…Wintermint, Cool Mint, Cinnamint….Alcohol Free, SLS Free, Fluoride Free, Gluten Free, Soy Free, Perservative Free
  3. RADIUS…Mint, Cranberry…Gluten Free, Paraben Free, non-GMO, No Artificial Colors, Sweeteners, Perservatives, Phthalates
  •  

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Cruelty-Free and Minimalistic Makeup for Fall

I admit, I’m definitely not a makeup artist or fashionista, but I am a woman from Mississippi…

And being a woman from Mississippi, there are two things that all of us, or at least all of us that were born in my generation in my neck of the woods were expected to learn…

First of all, how to cook…which I’m having to unlearn all of the bad habits and cooking techniques that I grew up with now that my husband has been diagnosed as having type 2 diabetes…

And secondly, how to always look your best….even when you’re simply going to Walmart…

After all, you never know who you might run into…

 

This year one of my main goals has been to live a simpler and more minimalistic lifestyle…in all aspects of my daily routine, starting with my daily makeup routine.

BUT…

I have found myself with three different trains of thought as to buying makeup…

  1. Brand Loyaty
  2. Cheap as Dirt
  3. Cruelty-Free

Regardless which of these three options I continue to pursue in the months, and even years, ahead…

There is one main thing that I want to be consistent…My one big “key word” for the year…

Minimalism

 

So in this post I am going to talk about what makeup trends I have spotted this fall,, the different stess involved in each category, and which products I am considering adding to my makeup bag sometime soon.

 

1.  Face Primer..Primers seal in your skincare products, help fill in pores and fine lines, create a smooth surface on which to apply your foundation, and help your makeup last all day. Look for an oil-free, water-based primer…Cruelty-Free Pick…Vapour STRATUS SOFT FOCUS SKIN PERFECTING PRIMER

2.  Foundation..Opt for an oil-free foundation. Oil-based products improve the risk of your makeup “sliding” out of place. Use a beauty blender to apply light layers to create a smooth, natural look…Cruelty-Free Pick…Mineral Fusion Pressed Powder Mineral Foundation

3.   Concealor…Concealor should be lightweight and actually help get rid of undereye dark circles, allergy-induced redness, and occasional breakouts…not simply hide them…And of course, a natural concealor should contain no skin-irritating synthetics, chemicals, wax, preservatives, parabens, phthalates, or talc…all without looking dry or cakey.

Which concealor you use depends on what problem you are trying to cover…

  • To cover bluish undereye circles, use a yellow-tone concealer.
  • To cover brown or yellowish circles, peach-tone concealers are best
  • To cover fine lines around your eyes, pat moisturizer all around the eyes, using your ring finger. Allow it to sink in for a few minutes before applying concealer. Creamy, hydrating concealers work best for the delicate and dry skin around the eyes.
  • To cover redness, choose a concealer that matches your skin exactly.
  • To cover pimples, dot a pigment-rich, opaque concealer directly on the pimple. Sweep the brush around the base of the pimple, using tiny strokes in order to precisely blend the concealor without using your fingers.

Using Concealor..

  1. Place three tiny dots of concealor under the eyes from the inner corners to the centers, using a synthetic concealer brush. A synthetic brush is best for applying concealor. Applying concealer with your fingers results in creasing and caking. Applying concealer with a natural bristles results in applying too much color..
  2. Blend in with your fingertips.
  3. Apply a lightweight, loose translucent powder to set the concealor and prevent any shimmer and shine…Pressed powder can draw attention to fine lines by settling into creases.

4. Powder...A lightweight translucent pressed setting powder sets your makeup for longer wear and can easily be taken with you and used to soak up any excess oil throughout the day….Cruelty-Free Option.. Jane Iredale pure Matte Finish Powder.

5. Setting Spray...Setting sprays seal your makeup for a very natural look that lasts all day and refresh your makeup throughout the day…Cruelty-Free Option …Dr. Axe’s DIY Makeup Setting Spray with Lavender Oil

1.  Mix together…

  • 1Tbsp aloe vera gel 
  • 1Tbsp witch hazel
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 2½Tbsp purified water

2.  Funnel into glass spray bottle. Shake well.

3.  To use…Hold the bottle a few inches away from the face and mist the face with one or two pumps of this spray after applying your makeup…Allow it to air dry.

6. Blotting Papers...Blotting papers may soak up oils during the day, but often take off more of your makeup than you would probably like. Try using Beauty Blender’s Bloterazzi Sponge instead.

7.  Blush…As far as blush goes for this fall, the two colors to look for are “earthy” tones”—more specifically peachy-pink and orange….This is great for those of us who want to embrace a “no-makeup” look.

To apply…Concentrate the color on the highest points of the cheekbones to give the face dimension and a more angular shape. Placing blush on the high points of the cheeks instead of the apples.

 

EYES

Eyeshadow

This year there seems to be several trains of thought as to eyeshadow…

  • Glitter
  • Pink
  • Shimmer
  • Statement
  • Tan

1. Glitter…Glitter eyeshadow may be the perfect way to transition from your everyday minimalistic makeup look to a more decadent look that is perfect for the upcoming holiday festivities.

2. Pink…Pink eyeshadow can range from a subtle and practical “neutral” to a wild statement piece. The best way to wear these, or at least for real women walking sidewalks instead of runways would be to think of this as if it were a tan eyeshadow and not a big deal.

3. Shimmer...Shimmer eyeshadow is another festive choice and is way more conservative than glitter eyeshadows.

4. Statement…Focusing on one area, such as your lips or eyes, and keeping the rest of your face with a neutral “no-makeup” look is almost always better than a full armor of makeup. This look offers a tension and contrast that adds interest to your overall look.

Just as higher hair doesn’t make you any closer to God, neither does a full face (“armor”) of makeup indicate that you have put on the “full armor of God.”

5. Tan….Another eyeshadow trend for this fall is tan shadow.  Tan eyeshadow is a practical and classier choice that flatters every woman,

These “tan” shadows offer several great options—such as deep golden tan, deep camel, golden brown, or pale cappuccino.

 

Eyeliner

Black

  • Black eyelinmeri is to eyes what classic red is—well, classic…
  • Black eyeliner has been used ince the days of Cleopatra and is always an excellent choice amd can run the gamut of looks—from dainty and sophisticated, to bold and daring000seductive.
  • Make sure that the black eyeliner that you choose is a deep midnight black.

Colored Eyeliner

  • For minimalists who actually take the time to still ut on makeup, there are two basic choices as far as eyeliner—black, obviously, and colored for those brave minimalists out there…
  • Colored eyeliners brighten your eyes and bring out your natural eye color.
  • Colored eyeliners are also an unexpected way to add some color into a minimalistic everyday makeup look.
  • As far as color, certain colors look better for certain eye colors.
  • Blue eyes look best with blue, pink, purple, and orange
  • Brown eyes look best with light purple, deep green, and navy blue….
  • Green eyes look best with purple, burnt pink, and light blue shades.

Waterlining

  • Waterlining and tighthlining your eyes will help define their natural shape.
  • Waterlining…Waterlining involves using eyeliner to line the tiny, little sliver of skin underneath your eyelashes.
  • Tightlining…Tightlining involves using eyeliner to line the skin above your lower lashes. Tightlining makes your lashes look even thicker.
  • These techniques can be done along with your normal eyeliner, or instead of your normal eyeliner.
  • BUT…
  • Waterlining and tightlining can both make your eyes look smaller….so if you want your eyes to look bigger, forget the idea.

White Eyeliner

  • Using white eyeliner to line your lower lashes, on the other hand, can make small eyes look bigger, and tired eyes look more awake.
  • Regardless if you are waterlining with a colored eyeliner or a white eyeliner, the product and technique will be exactly the same.
  • First of all, what type of eyeliner should you use?
  • Use either a waterproof pencil or waterproof gel/cream, not a liquid> Liquid  liners are too fluid and will not stay on your waterline.
  • If you’re brave, you could dip an angled brush into an eyeshadow that’s the same color as your liner, and press this over the liner that you applied to your waterline. Not sure as a contact wearer, that I’m quite that brave.

 

 

Mascara…As far as mascara for this fall, it run from one extreme to the other…

  • Colored mascara—such as blue or green—may seem a little bit of a very unexpected stretch for minimalists.
  • No Mascara…For minimalists, this is awesome news. ou don’t absolutely have to wear mascara to complete your makeup look. In fact, too much mascara can actually make your makeup look too “made up.”

 

Brows…Thank goodness that pencil-lined arches and bold painted silhouettes are now a trend that has come and gone. Fortunately the latest “trend” calls for undone, au natural, “textured,” bigger-is-better brows….filled in with an eyebrow combs and  brow gel.

 

 

Makeup Tips for Women Who Wear Glasses

Lately I have been walking around barely able to see. I ran out of contacts, so I had to wear my glasses…

But being cheap I had not ordered the bifocals that I should have ordered, and having glasses on, I obviously couldn’t put on reading glasses.

It took about three weeks for me to finally order my contacts and for them to come in.

But in the meanwhile I felt very self-conscious in my glasses, especially at first.

Eyewear makes your eyes the immediate focal point of your face, so it’s imperative to apply your makeup in a way that’s flattering to both your frames and your face.

Less is definitely more. Applying makeup to wear with glasses is not a matter of piling on more and more makeup. Instead it’s about using the right makeup and techniques…things like keeping your eye makeup simple, using a light hand, blending everything carefully, and keeping your makeup tidy, well-defined and as close to “perfect” as possible.

Yet putting on eye makeup can not be thought of as merely a waste of time because any makeup that you apply will simply be hidden behind your glasses.

 

 

LIPS

So in this second segment of trasitioning to  fall, I thought it would be fun to share a few tips on lips…

Even though choosing lip colors is a very personal thing…

When choosing your lip-whatevers, it’s important to consider at least five things…

  • Eye Color
  • Hair Color
  • Lip Color
  • Personality
  • Skin Tone

And being a minimalist, it would be so incredibly easy to stay stuck in a rut and simply wear the same neutral color of Burt’s Bees for the entire rest of my life…

So even though I am becoming more and more minimalistic with each and every trip that I make to Mission Arlington, I still feel a need to have more than one magic wand in my arsenal—including lipsticks, glosses and hybrid lip stains—to help create different looks for both everyday life and special occasions.

Typically lip “stuff” falls into the following four color groups…

  • Clsassic Red
  • Colorful
  • Neutrals
  • Pinks

 1.Classic Red…Bold red lips are the classic icon of everything from being the perfect go-to accent for the LBD to being the most-important accessory of Hollywood legends.

Red lips are magical and mysterious, are great for waking up a tired look, brightens up your smile, and giveyou the appearance of whiter teeth.

All that being said, my three choices for “classic red” lips this fall are…

2. Colorful…Bold and colorful lipsticks—such as fuchsia pink, bold orange, or coral—are always fun, sassy, and playful.  Look for a richly pigmented creamy coral lipstick that has the following characteristics…

  • applies opaque in just one coat
  • basically an orange lipstick, yet very close to a neutral
  • bright, bold, and brilliant
  • gives good staying power
  • super hydrating

One of the best ways to wear the look this fall would be with the rest of your makeup having that “no–makeup look” that all minimalists love. The bold lips serve as a stark contrast with your bare skin.

  1. Brand Loyalty…Best 7 Clinique Options
  2. Cruelty-Free…Pacifica Lipsticks
  3. Discount Bin…Best Drugstore Red Lipsticks

3. Neutrals

One of the biggest trends this fall as far as makeup is concerned is the neutral lip. This means that even Mississippi women can dare to go to Walmart without wearing any liner, gloss, lipstick, or anything like that at all.-

So how’s that for true minimalism?

Neutral lipstick—such as matte shades of browns, light pinks, mauve, tan, and caramel—are the go-to lip choice for everyday life.

And needless to say you always take your own lips with you everywhere you go—with or without makeup.

Make sure that the neutral lipstick that you choose is not too matte or too beige…and one that you can apply even without a mirror.

  1. Brand Loyalty….Clinique
  2. Cruelty Free…Best Cruelty-Free Lipsticks
  3. Discount Bin…Best Drugstore Neutral Lipsticks

4. Pinks…Pink lips supposedly make you look younger….So from now on, I think that I will simply always wear pink lipstick.

And if pink lipstick makes you look younger, why not go for pink hair also?

Pink lipsticks truly run the gamut—from blush to magenta to burgundy to purple and beyond. This fall the “pink” lipstick of choice is wine. Wine lipstick is compelling, mysterious, and intriguing. Wine lips work great with dark eyes and messy curls or bare skin and nude eyes…

So go ahead and invest in a quality wine lipstick….Brand Loyalty…7 Best Clinique Lipsticks

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

One Bad Apple Actually DOES Spoil the Entire Bunch

Okay, you’ve picked the very, very best apple out of the entire bin of apples to choose from…

Congratulations on a job well done…

 

But, wait…

Choosing the very best apple will not matter at all if you neglect to take care of it properly when you get it home.

So what exactly are you supposed to do with your apples?!

 

There are actually three options as to where/how you could store your apples…

  1. Cool, Dry, Dark Space…Perhaps the best way to store freshly picked apples for the  longest period of time would be to  wrap them in paper, place folded-side down in a single layer on a tray, and store in a cool, dark, dry place—somewhere between  32°F and 40°F.
  2. Refrigerator…Sprinkle your apples with water and then store them in a perforated plastic bag in the coldest area of the refrigerator, They should stay fresh for two or three weeks.
  3. Room Temperature….Apples can be stored at room temperature for a short period of time, but check  apples stored at room regularly, because apples stored at room temperature will ripen faster than if were stored in the refrigerator.

 

Now for a few more quick tips on storing apples…

—Do not allow the individual apples to touch, because it is actually an established fact that one bad apple actually does spoil the entire bunch.

 

Keep your apples away from other fruits and vegetables if storing them in the refrigerator. Apples produce and emit ethylene gas, a gas that causes fruits and vegetables stored anywhere near them to ripen and spoil more quickly.

Even though this interaction between apples and other produce is usually considered a bad thing, you can also take advantage of this fact if you do actually need to speed the ripening of other fruits,

In order to do this, place an apple, with the unripe fruit, in a paper bag. Seal and make a few slits in the bag. Allow the bag to stand at room temperature for 2 to 3 days

 

Finally, regardless of how your apples are being stored, check them quite frequently to see if any apples have begun to rot.

Because one bad apples spoils the entire bunch.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Pick the Very Best Apples

Regardless which apple you are picking your apples from—Honeycrisp, Empire, Golden Delicious, Ambrosia, Spartam Mitsu, Jonagold, Ida Red , Fuji, Granny Smith…

And regardless which recipe you will be making with the apples that you have chosen…

There are always certain things to keep in mind when picking apples.

These things to keep in mind when picking apples include…

 

1.Quantity…Avoid those pre-bagged bags of fruit. They think that they are doing you a huge favor bagging the fruit for you so that you won’t have to inconvenience yourself, right?!

Wrong!!!

How long does it take to bag fruit, in the first place??!

Exactly?!

They just want to fund a way to sell apples that are still in good enough shape to be sold in a bag with more of the motley crew, but would never make it to the cart if you actually had to  pick that apple up with your own hand.

 

 

2. Season…It is important to buy your fruits and vegetables while they are “in season” in order to find the best quality.

Fruits and vegetables that are available “out of season” have been typically traveled quite a while from where they have been grown to where they are being sold, meaning that these fruits and vegetables usually, if not always, lacks the flavor of fruit in season.

We are now in the peak few months of apple pickin’ season—August until October.

After October, most of the apples that you will find available have been harvested in October and stored so that there can always be a supply of apples available, but these are hardly ever as good as the apples that you can find now…

 

3. Maturity…Another factor to consider when selecting apples is maturity, how ripe the apple actually was when it was picked from the tree.

Maturity is important because once an apple has been taken off the tree, that apple will not continue to ripen.

If the apple is not actually ripe when taken off the tree, the apple will not have a good flavor, texture, or color.

If the apple is not actually ripe when taken off the tree, the apple will not have the same storing capability and the skin will start looksing wrinkled after being kept only a short time in storage.

 

 

4. Texture…To tell if an apple will have a good texture, simply pick it up and make sure that it feels firm , and not squishy.

Another way to check the texture of the apple and make sure that the apple is ripe would be to flick the apple near the stem and listen for a dull thud.

 

5. Blemishes…Check the apple for any markings—such as bruising, blemishes, holes where insects may have entered, and any other -obvious signs of decay.

 

6. Weight...Pick the fruit up. If it’s heavy for its size, then you have successfully found yourself a good piece of fruit.

 

7. Color…Even though color is not always the best indicator of great produce, color can still be important.

Buy only apples that are brightly colored., not dull.

Brightly colored fruit has absorbed lots of sunlight, important for developing the  flavor of the fruit.

Dullness may indicate that the apple ss past its prime..

 

 

8. Smell…Smell the apple to make sure it smells fresh, not musty.

Note that not all apples will smell the same. The scent of the ale will vary between one variety and another. For example, Gala apples will have a stronger fragrance than most other varieties. Just make sure that the apple doesn’t stink.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

It’s Apple Pickin’ Time

Okay, now that we’ve established the fact that in order to take care of an awesome type 2 diabetic husband, “resident four year old,” and whoever else may be surrounding our tables or grabbing whatever food they can find to eat in surplus===such as my college daughter….

…we’ve also decided that one way that we can start converting all of our collected Southern Living and Paula recipes into healthier alternatives is by baking with applesauce…

And now that another goal of mine is to start slowly weeding out all processed foods from our diet, I’ve also decided to make and can my own applesauce…and apple butter…

Wait, did I say that I was gonna actually “can” something?!

My mom will be so shocked—kinda like the day that I told her that I had bought my very first sewing machine and she thought to herself that I’d never sew a straight stitch in my life…(now quilting is my favorite hobby…more on that later)…

But if I’m ever going to actually make applesauce or apple butter, there’s obviously one very important ingredient that I’m gonna need…

APPLES!!

Big Deal…So go get you some apples…

Wish it were that simple…wish apples came with two options—red or green…

But it isn’t?

If I send my daughter out to get apples, she’d soon be calling me to ask which ones…

If I order apples from Instacart, ,I’ll have to first surf and see which apple variety to order.

So my goal in these three upcoming posts are to show…

  1. How to select apples
  2. How to store apples
  3. Which variety to choose for what

…,and then share a few of my very favorite apple recipes…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Applesauce…The Why?

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So if you’re going to start baking with applesauce more frequently, there is obviously one very important thing that you must keep on hand…
Applesauce!!!

 

Obviously there are two options when it comes to keeping applesauce on hand—buy it from the grocery store ready-,made, or make it yourself..

Why even consider making your own applesauce when it’s so easy just to get cheap applesauce, even if you do have to squat in the Walmart aisle in order to get to the cheap stuff.

That’s probably the problem. When it comes to food products, there are certain items where cheap simply means cheap…cheap quality, cheap texture, cheap ingredients, cheap manufacturing methods.

The best applesauce—both as far as taste and nutrition—is homemade, unsweetened and made from unpeeled apples.

Plus this is coming upon the time of year when apples are relatively cheap and easily available…

If you’re buying two thousand apples already for the upcoming PTA Halloween carnival, why not also buy another thousand and see how much homemade applesauce you can make ahead of time and sell at the food booth also.

 

Finally, so why even bother with applesauce in the first place…check out these nutritional facts…

 

Applesauce contains…

  • Calories…A cup of unsweetened applesauce contains around 100 calories.
  • Fat…Apples0auce contains no fat, assuming that your applesauce is unsweetened and does not contain high-fructose corn syrup or sucrose..
  • Fiber…Applesauce is an especially good source of soluble fiber, the type that dissolves into a gel-like substance and helps maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Yet store-bought applesauce is typically made without the apple peel, which means that buying your applesauce instead of making it yourself does not take full advantage of the amount of fiber that those apples originally contained.
  • Pectin…While we’re on the topic of fiber, applesauce also contains pectin, a special type of soluble fiber, a vital nutrient in  helping to lower your cholesterol levels.
  • Vitamin C…Applesauce can supply as much as 80% of your daily allowance of vitamin C.
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Baking with Applesauce

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Being the wife of a type 2 diabetic makes you reconsider the old ways that you have learned to cook, not only in WHAT you cook, but also in HOW you cook.

You become more aware of the amount of saturated fats, sugar, and calories contained in your baked goods.

For example, check out these facts about the nutritional value of Paula Deen’s Sour Cream Pound Cake found in my last post. I’ve been making this cake for about thirty-five years my self and eating it for about fifty, but never stopped to really think about the ingredients until here lately.

But still, being from the Deep South, I absolutely love to bake and would gladly put my sour cream pound cake in competition with anyone else’s at any upcoming state fair this fall.

But how do I still manage to make moist, delicious baked goods that will rival any competitors while also keeping my type 2 diabetic husband’s blood sugar and cholesterol levels in line?

One way is by replacing some of the fat called for in cookie and cake recipes with applesauce.

So this holiday baking season, I plan on making at least some of my traditional recipes using applesauce so that at least some of my offerings will contain less sugar and perhaps even healthy(?!)…since apples have been shown to have great health benefits.—such as helping to prevent cancer, reducing your risk of cardiovascular difficulties, acting as an antioxidant, and diminishing the effects of bad cholesterol.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sorry, Paula Dean…But…

Now that our family is having to change our eating habits and stop cooking like the Southern Baptists from the deepest of the Deep South, all in the name of middle age and type 2 diabetes, are we to live the rest of our lives totally without the Trinity of Deep Southern Cooking—cream cheese, powdered sugar, and butter?!

 

So not happening!!!

Nothing makes my husband smile nearly as much as a Sour Cream Pound Cake fresh out of the oven.

But we have been trying to limit how many caloriess and how much added sugars and saturated fat we consume since becoming more health-conscientious.

Thankfully there are a few suggestions out there that will make your baking supposedly healthier, while keeping it delicious…techniques that will help cut heart-harming fats, refined sugars, and empty calories.

So just in time for the upcoming holiday season, and in time to start completing this year’s Christmas Notebook, here are some ideas…

 

But first, the recipe for Sout Cream Pound Cake, the one and only recipe that I have actually memorized after my thirty-plus years of having my own kitchen, not to mention my very own KitchenAid miser.

Three cups of sugar, six eggs, one cup of sour cream…perhaps a type 2 diabetic from the Deep South’s greatest temptation ever…

 

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Sour Cream Pound Cake

  • 3C flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2tsp baking soda
  • 1C sour cream
  • 3C sugar
  • 2C butter

Preheat oven to 350 °F….Cream the butter and sugar together…Add sour cream…Sift the baking soda and flour together…Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating in each egg 1 at a time…Add vanilla…Pour the mixture into a greased and floured loaf pan…Bake for 1 hour.

Now taking all of the ingredients in this cake, let’s see if and how we can hopefully make this cake a little less deadly, while keeping it delicious…

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Flout

Time and time again, I have read to simply replace the white flour called for in a recipe with the same amount of whole wheat flour. While whole wheat flour is not as heavily refined and processed as regular white flour, I just don’t want to end up with a sour cream pound cake that tastes like rye bread.

Honestly, I don’t even know that I could replace up to half, or even a spoonful of the all-purpose flour in this recipe with whole-grain flour, That almost sounds like the ultimate kitchen sin.

If you are willing to start using whole grain flours instead of white flour, try first substituting whole gtrain flour for only half of the flour originally called for in the recipe.

Another option is to try  experimenting with flours that are a little more our of the ordinary—such as chickpea or almond flour.

But perhaps the best way to reduce the amount of fat in baking recipes is to use high-quality, low-gluten flour—whole wheat, oat, brown rice––such as King Arthur Brand.

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Sugar…So many baked goods contain completely and entirely way too much sugar in the first place. So as a general rule, you can typically go ahead and reduce the amount of sugar called for in a given recipe by about 25% right out of the bat.

Two other options to help reduce the amount and impact of sugar in your baked goods would be to…

Increasing the amount of other spices—such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg—to make up for any sugar that you may be taking out of the recipe will often allow the finished product to still taste good.

Try other sweetener alternatives—such as honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar, pitted dates, or molasses.

 

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Butter…A few substitutes for the “bad fats” often called for in recipes—such as butter, stick margarine, and shortening—would include

  1. Canola oil or any other type of “heart-healthy oil”
  2. Greek yogurt
  3. Ground flax seeds
  4. Ground nuts
  5. Low-fat sour cream
  6.  Prepared all natural nut butters

 

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Egg

Eggs…As far as eggs go, try one of the following ideas…

  1. Replace one whole egg in any given recipe with ¼C zero-fat, zero-cholesterol egg product substitute, such as ConAgra’s Egg Beaters.
  2. Use two egg yolks instead of one complete egg.