Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Attain and Maintain

We all know that eating vegetables is so very important…in fact, how many billions of times did we hear out mothers tell us to “eat your vegetables” as we were growing up.

Yet 84% of Americans do not eat the recommended four daily servings of vegetables each day…including yours truly.

But instead of taking days and days to blog about the details of all the remaining leafy greens, let’s simply take a look at why you should consider adding leafy greens, and other vegetables to your breakfast planning…assuming that you do eat breakfast in the first place.

But how many of us are actually eating breakfast, and how many of us think of veggies as the shining star of the breakfast buffet? Who want veggies when there are tastier things such as donuts and bagels within arm’s reach also?

Eating leafy greens and veggies first things in the morning allows you to run out the front door…or garage door…and down your driveway with a grin on your face….

Well, actually not that…

But eating leafy greens and other veggies for breakfast can play an important role in helping you attain and maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Eating a healthy breakfast that includes leafy greens, and other vegetables, will…

  • add vitamins and minerals to your diet
  • curb morning carb cravings
  • encourage you to use veggies in your other meals also
  • help you meet your daily fiber, protein and protein needs
  • help you stay alert and full of energy all day long.
  • keep you from feeling less hungry later and running to the nearest vending machine or fast food place

Half the battle of being able to grab and go as far as breakfast is concerned is to plan ahead.

Look here at my previous post for a list of breakfast ideas and recipes.

But what are some more ideas for breakfast…and what are some ways to add veggies to your breakfast repertoire?

Keep reading!!!

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Leaf Season All Year Round

I find the idea of eating three cups of mustard greens or collard greens still repulsive, but my Mom would be so glad that I actually do eat them now instead of feeding them to the dog while she wasn’t looking.

Why did I even consider adding these leafy greens that I once found repulsive to my diet?

Mainly because leafy greens are packed with important and powerful nutrients,

Also because most leafy greens are available fresh all year round…making adding them to your weekly menus quite an easy task.

 

 

**************

Nutritional Value

All leafy greens are typically low in calories and fat…high in protein per calorie…and contain such important nutrients are dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese,  vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron, and antioxidants.

Health benefits of adding leafy greens to your diet include…

  • Alzheimer’s disease…leafy greens can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Antioxidants...leafy greens contain the antioxidants need to fight the effects of free radicals in the body…which reduces your chances of getting such major illmesses as cancer, heart diseasem  high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.
  • Blood.,,,leafy greens have been shown to helping your blood clot normally….leafy greens also stimulates production of antibodies and white blood cells
  • Bones…leafy greens have been shown to imporove the health of your, bones by helping prevent osteoporosis and boosting bone strength
  • Diabetes…leafy greens have been shown to lower your risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 14% 
  • Eyes…leafy greens have been shown to improve your eyesight…leafy greens also help prevents eye disorders such as muscular degeneration and cataracts….they can also lower your risk of developing night blindness.
  • Immune System…leafy greens Help strengthen the immune system
  • Skin…leafy greens have been shown to maintain skin elasticity

In fact, the Department of Agriculture recommends that adults consume at least three cups of dark green vegetables each week.

 

 

********************

Varieties of Greens

 

Thankfully, there are several varieties of leafy greens out there…so that you don’t have to feel obligated to simply eat the “required”  bowl of bagged salad every single night, night after night…

These options include…

1.Beet Greens

  • Leaves…green…veins of the leaves correspond to the color of the beet root
  • Scales…Beets with round, scaly areas around the top surface will be tough, fibrous, and strongly flavored.

2.  Boy Choy

  • Leaves…smooth, dark green leaf blades that form a cluster similar to mustard greens or celery—resembling Romaine lettuce on top and a large celery on the bottom.
  • Flavor…light and sweet
  • Texture..crispy, crunchy

3. Butterhead Lettuce

  • Also called…butter lettuce, Boston, bibb (limestone)
  • Leaves…soft and smooth like buttee

4. Cos Lettuce

  • Leaves…dark green, long, narrow
  • Taste…..sweet and tangy
  • Texture…crispy and crunchy texture

5. Cress

  • Leaves…tough, fibrous stem and small green leaves
  • Taste…peppery taste
  • Varieties…watercress, upland cress, curly cress, and land cress

5. Dandelion Greens

  • Leaves…the green leaves from the so-thought-of “weeds” in your yard…stiff leaves with pointy, fine “teeth.”
  • Taste…sharp bitter flavor
  • Uses…a classic French bistro salad, salads with roasted beets

6. Endive

  • Color…off-white center with loose, lacy, dark green outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Leaves..loose, lacy, dark green oval-shaped outer leaves which curl at the tips
  • Taste…slightly bitter
  • Texture…soft and satiny
  • Uses…salads and soups
  • Uses…scoop-like shape makes for serving small appetizers

7. Escarole

  • Color…various shades of green
  • Head…loose, elongated heads
  • Leaves…broad, wavy leaves with smooth edges
  • Other Names…Batavian endive, scarole, broad-leaved endive
  • Taste…darker green leaves are lightly bitter and spicy; but the paler interior leaves are milder
  • Uses…soups and beans…popular in Italian cuisine.

8. Frisee

  • Color…pale green
  • Leaves…feathery leaves tinged with yellow and green
  • Other Names…curly endive, chicory, chicory endive, curly chicory
  • Taste…bitter

9. Iceberg

  • Leaves…tightly packed leaves on dense, heavy heads
  • Water Content…contains more water than most other leafy greens

19, Kale

  • Nutritional Value…high in fiber
  • Taste…earthy, slightly grassy taste
  • Uses…salads, soups, pasta, and smoothies
  • Varieties…include curly, baby, and lacinato

11. Lacinato Kale (a.k.a. Dino Kale)

  • Other Names…Tuscan kale or black kale
  • Leaves…very dark blue-green or black-green leaves
  • Taste…earthy and  nutty flavor

12. Leaf Lettuce 

  • Color…can be either green or red
  • Leaves…large, frilly-edged
  • Taste…mildly sweet and delicate taste
  • Uses…sandwiches, burgers, popular lining for hors d’oeuvres platters

13. Mâche

  • Other Names…Field salad, lamb’s lettuce, corn salad, field lettuce, fetticus
  • Taste…mild and slightly sweet flavor
  • Leaves…very small
  • Notes…expensive, very delicate, will bruise easily

14. Mizuna

  • Leaves…petite elongated leaves with spiky edges similar to miniature oak leaves
  • Origin…Japan
  • Other Names…Japanese greens, spider mustard, xue cai, kyona, potherb mustard, and California Peppergrass
  • Taste…peppery

15, Oak Leaf Lettuce

  • Color…reddish-purple
  • Leaves…very similar to leaf lettuce, but with more of an oak leaf shape
  • Taste…super-mellow, sweet

16. Radicchio

  • Color…burgundy-red leaves with white ribs
  • Other Names…Chioggia, red chicory, red leaf chicory, red Italian chicory
  • Taste…mildly bitter with a subtle spicy undertone
  • Texture…quite firm but still tender
  • Uses…in salads, as a cooked vegetable, and grilled or roasted and mixed with other grilled vegetables

17. Romaine

  • Nutritional Value…particularly rich in folic acid and vitamin K
  • Taste..light, almost grassy taste
  • Texture…a satisfying crunch
  • Uses..Caesar salads, wraps

18. Spinach

  • Color…dark green leaves
  • Leaves…smooth, sturdy, deep green
  • Taste…mild, lightly herbal
  • Uses…salads, wraps, and smoothies

19, Sweet Potato Greens

  • Taste…lovely, almost sweet flavor with no discernible bitterness
  • Uses…soups or stews

20 Tatsoi

  • Leaves…small and rounded much like little spoons, hence its other name, spoon cabbage
  • Other Names…Tat soi, spoon cabbage, rosette bok choy
  • Taste…mildly peppery and sweet, with only the faintest hint of cabbage flavor.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Ask the Waiter for Some Water

So how did I embrace the habit of drinking two liters of water per day?
Why  has it become just another step in my daily routine?

 

 

**********************

Tools and Techniques

First of all there are different tools and techniques can I use to help me start drinking the suggested amount of  water each day?

 

1. Carry a small refillable water bottle with you everywhere you go.,,,Using a  reusable water bottle does not create the litter that typical water bottles do, is environmental-friendly, makes you a smarter consumer, saves water, and saves you money.

What factors should you consider when choosing a water bottle?

The first factor to consider is what material the bottle is made from. Water bottles can be found in many different materials—including aluminum, stainless steel, plastic, polyethylene, and copolyester.

  • Glass…bottlesUP, Life Factory, Love Bottle, Takeya

  • Metal…Earth Lust, Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen
  • Plastic…Fit & Fresh, GOBIEH20, Nalgene

In addition to the material that the bottle is made from, you also need to recognize how easy the bottle will be to both carry and to clean, how easy the bottle will be able to fill with ice cubes and water, what type of drinking valve the bottle has, how big the bottle is, and whether or not the bottle has a filter.

Another option would be a specially designed fruit infused water pitcher with an infusion chamber.

They work great, the large pitchers look fantastic on a dinner table and encourage your family to drink more water, and the travel bottles help keep you hydrated all day long.

You can refill the pitcher or travel bottle several times before it starts to lose flavor.
You can even eat the cucumber slices if you like, but discard your batch after 24 hours.

 

 

2. Decide when you want to drink your water. A few suggestions are…

  • Before Meals...makes you feel full and helps you eat fewer calories.
  • Certain parts of your daily routine—such as when you first get up, just before leaving the house, when you sit down to work, whenever you get up from your desk at work to take a bathroom break, after your brush your teeth in the morning, and right before you eat lunch.
  • Hourly...ensures that your water quote is met by the end of the day.
  • Morning…gives you more energy to face the day ahead.

 

3. Enlist other people to help you reach this goal.

 

4. Fill a larger pitcher or bottle with the amount of water you want to drink each day.

 

5. Invest in a filter.

 

6. Make your own carbonated water with the help of a home “seltzer” machine.

 

7. Use a straw so that you drink faster, and drink more at one time.

 

 

 

*******

“Recipes”

Cucumber Water…One way to make water a little less boring is to add fruit and veggies. The first one that we are going to consider is cucumber.

 

To make the perfect cucumber water, add 1/2″ slices of cucumber to your ice water. Top the cucumbers with more ice so they won’t float up to the top.

In addition to the cucumber, you could also add…

  • lemon
  • lime
  • mint
  • pineapple
  • herbs—such as tosemary or rhyme

 

Water-rich foods….One sneaky way to increase the amount of water you consume on a daily basis: eat your H2O. Addfruits and vegetables with a high water content to your grocery shopping list. Some top picks include cucumber (96% water), zucchini (95% water), watermelon (92% water), and grapefruit (91% water).

Spicy foods…Garnish your meal with chili flakes or fresh peppers and you’ll be reaching for more water in no time. Another benefit of adding heat? Some studies show that spicy food may help boost your metabolism.

Sparkling Water…Choose sparkllng or mineral water instead of Cokes…( yes, I am from the Deep South, so every single carbonated beverage know to man is referred to as Coke)…Sparkling or mineral water is just as good for your body as regular water…and much more interesting..

Other water-based beverages….Gee, both hot tea or unsweetened iced tea contain water. You could also reach your water goal for the day by drinking juice, lemonade, or iced coffee.
acne all purpose cleaners aromatherapy baking soda bath beauty cellulite cocoa colds dangerous ingredients detoxification dry skin brushing energy essential oils Exfoliation facial masks Featured flu gifts ginger green cleaning healthy beverages herbs immunity laundry lemons massage meditation natural beauty recipes natural skincare nutrition pumpkin salt scrubs skincare recipes smoothie spa treatments spa water spring stress reduction sunburns tea Vinegar water weight loss
Facebook Feed

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Perfect Pumpkin Treats To Please Peter Piper Pumpkin Eater

Now for a collection of pumpkin recipes that I have posted previously on my blog…just in time for pumpkin season…

———————————

Pumpkin Energy Bites

  • 1C old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked)
  • 1/4C pure pumpkin puree
  • 1/2C wheat germ
  • 1/3C honey
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/3C white chocolate morsels

Combine all ingredients. Chill 30min. Roll into 1″ balls, Store in airtight container in fridge.

 

****************

Pumpkin Muesli

Making your own muesli is more of a math formula…4C grains…to 1-1/2C nuts/seeds…to 1/2C  dried fruit.

 

The Grains…4CGrains make up the base of your muesli. Typically rolled oats are used to make muesli because they have a nice texture and thickness, but you could also use any other grain—including wheat bran, whole rye, whole barley, sorghum flakes, quinoa flakes, millet puffs, and millet flakes. The grains will become soft when combined with milk or yogurt.

The first thing that you will need to do when making your muesli is to toast the grains in your at 350 for a few minutes. This will make your oats more aromatic and crispier.

 

 

The Nuts/Seeds…1C,,,Nuts not only give your muesli a delicious crunch,. but also make your muesli healthier because of their omega-3 fatty acids and protein content..

Choose any nut, seed, or combination that you like…or omit them altogether if you’re allergic to them or simply don’t like them.

 

The more nuts you throw in, the crunchier (and more expensive) it will be.

Not only do you want to toast your grains before stirring all of your ingredients together, you also want to toast the nuts to give them extra crunch and flavor.

As you are toasting them, never add oil, butter, or any other liquid to the pan. Toasting the nuts will release the natural oils in the grains…so adding anything extra will make your muesli greasy.

 

Nuts and seeds that you might consider using include…

  • Brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • chia seeds
  • coconut flakes
  • hazelnuts
  • macadamias
  • peanuts
  • pecans
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • pistachios
  • poppy seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sliced almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • unsweetened coconut flakes.
  • walnuts

The Dried Fruit…1C…Dried fruit will add both sweetness and chewiness to your muesli….

The more fruit you add, the sweeter and chewier it will be. Add only enough fruit to make your granola taste sweeter…but not so much that your granola is too sweet.

Do not add fresh fruit to your muesli because this will make your muesli too soft and make it “turn bad” faster. Use only dried fruit at this point. Save fresh fruit for when you actually get ready to eat your muesli.

Avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar.

Chop up your dried fruit into bite-sized pieces before adding to your muesli.

There are no set-in-stone rules as far as what fruits to add…simply choose whatever fruits that you and your family like. A few ideas as far as what fruits you could add…as long as they are dried or dehydrated…are…

  • apple chips
  • apricots
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • currants
  • dates.
  • figs
  • mango
  • papaya
  • raisins
  • strawberries

The Spices…If you would like your muesli to have even more of a taste that your family will enjoy, feel free to add spices—such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and ginger.

Once you finish making your meusli, add some spices—such as a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, or a vanilla bean—in the container with your muesli to infuse your meusli with even more flavor.

 

Do not add any additional sugar to your muesli. You shouldn’t need it…and as we already know…it’s not good for you.

 

Stirring Your MuesliNow that you have chosen your ingredients, put all of them into a container. Close the container. Shake until everything is combined.

 

Storing Your Muesli…Store the muesli in an airtight glass jar or plastic container. Your muesli will stay good for  up to two months as long as it stays dry.

 

Serving Your Muesli…Soaking or cooking your muesli will break down the oats, making them easier to chew and digest…and making the muesli more nutritious becsuse the nutrients—such as the fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants. vitamins, protein, omega 3 and minerals found in muesli—are more easily absorbed by your body.

The easiest way to enjoy your muesli is to add milk or stir it into some yogurt.  Waiting for about ten minutes to half an hour before eating it will soften up the grains a little.

You could also soak your muesli in milk overnight….at a 1:1 ratio. To make overnight oats, combine 2/3C muesli with 2/3C milk in a small lidded container. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy cold in the morning.

A third option is to heating your muesli in the microwave before serving.

 

***********

Pumpkin Bread

  • Flour…2C…
  • Baking Powder……2tsp
  • Salt…1tsp
  • Sugar…1C granulated or brown sugar (or combination of both)
  • Eggs…2…
  • Fat….1/4C  butter, olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • Milk…1C milk or buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Line one 9″x5″ loaf pan or three 6″x3″ mini pans with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides so that you can easily remove the bread from the pan once it finishes cooking. Coat well with cooking spray.

Mix dry ingredients together. Make a well in the center.

Combine liquid ingredients. Add them into the well that you made in the dry ingredients.

Mix the ingredients together. Mixing the ingredients by hand gives your bread batter better texture and appearance than using a mixer…but be careful not to over mix your batter so that you bread won’t turn out tough. Your goal in whisking is to to break up any clumps in the flour and aerate the mix for a lighter loaf….so leave the batter lumpy and even with a few streaks of flour still showing.

*********************

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

  • 1C sugar
  • 1/2C water
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • 3/4C green pumpkin seeds
  • 3/4C bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds
  • large-flake sea salt

Bring first three ingredients to a boil. Cook until candy thermometer reads 238ºF. Remove from heat. Stir in green pumpkin seeds with a wooden spoon. Stir 5min.  Return pan to medium heat. Cook stirring constantly, 5 minutes.

Pour hot mixture onto parchment paper covered surface. Cover with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll mixture between these two sheets of parchment paper as thinly as possible with rolling pin.

Let cool until firm. Break into pieces. Cool brittle completely.

Melt chocolate chips in microwave. Dip cooled brittle in chocolate.  Sprinkle with 1/4C chopped pumpkin seeds and large-flake sea salt. Let cool until chocolate is firm.

**********************

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Collecting the Seeds…As you are carving or cutting the pumpkin to use for whatever else, collect the seeds of your pumpkin in a colander as you get them out. Once you have collected the seeds, rinse them under cold running water to remove any pulp and fiber. Pat them dry with paper towels as you spread them out on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Seasoning the SeedsToss the seeds with salt and either melted butter or olive oil.

A few more ideas for adding even more flavor to your pumpkin seeds are….

  • Italian…2Tbsp melted butter, ¼C grated Parmesan, ½tsp Italian seasoning
  • Savory…2Tbsp melted butter, 1tsp seasoned salt, 1tsp white vinegar (add vinegar after roasting)
  • Spicy…2Tbsp olive oil, ½tsp Cajun seasoning, ½tsp fresh lime zest (add zest after roasting)​
  • Sweet…2Tbsp melted butter, 1Tbsp brown sugar, ½tsp cinnamon

Prepping the Oven…Preheat oven to 350°F.

Pre-boiling…Many people boil their pumpkin seeds before roasting them in order to make them extra crispy, but this can be skipped if you need to.

Baking…Roast the pumpkin seeds at 200 degrees for 20min…until light golden brown and crisp, stirring once.

Cooling...Cool at least 10min before serving.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

The Great Pumpkin…and What’s So Great About It?

So are pumpkins merely for setting by your door every Halloween…and perhaps using a can of pumpkin to make pumpkin pie every Thanksgiving?

Actually no…they have far too much nutritional value to keep on the back burner…or out of your oven…

Pumpkins are actually packed with vitamins and minerals such as…

 

 

 

1.Antioxidants.…Pumpkins contain antioxidants—specially the carotenoids alpha-carotene and beta-carotene—as evident by their bright orange color.

Beta-carotene is especially important because it is easily converted into vitamin A…which in turn triggers the creation of white blood cells that fight infection.

As far as health, antioxidants 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

As far as beauty, antioxidants help reverse UV damage and improve skin texture.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

6. Fiber…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 2.7 g of fiber, while canned pumpkin provides over 7 grams of fiber….helping you reach the recommended daily allowant for fiber intake of between 25 and 30 grams.

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

 

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

 

 

 

8. Vitamins

Vitamin AOne cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains more than 200% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A….whicv is very important if you don’t want to grow bald before you’re fifty.

Vitamin B…Pumpkin is a good source of most of the B vitamins—such as niacin, riboflavin, B6 and folate. This makes pumpkin great for treating acne, improving circulation, and increasing cell turn over and renewal.

Vitamin C…Vitamin C helps prevent wrinkles and skin cancer, promotes collagen production, and improves skin tone and elasticity….also strengthens hair follicles….

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….

Vitamin E…Vitamin E stimulates blood circulation in the scalp, which then promotes hair growth also.

 

 

 

9. Minerals…Pumpkin contains extensive amounts of two vital minerals—potassium.. and zinc.

Potassium helps promote healthy hair and regrowth….while zinc prevents and treats flaking, irritation, and itching scalp.

Other Nutrients…One cup of cooked, boiled, or drained pumpkin without salt contains 10% or more riboflavin…and 5% of thiamine, folate, and pantothenic acid,

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Pumpkins…The Which

Ghosts and goblins, squash and pumpkins

Found on every aisle

As the shippers rush home with their treasures

Hear the whispers, see the costumes

Sitting there on display…

And above all this bustle you hear

 

 

Halloween, Halloween…

It’s creepy time in the city.

Hslloween, Halloween…

Soon it will be Halloween.

 

City sidewalks, busy sidewalks

See the kids walking by

At each door they will ask for some candy.

Hear them all say “Please” and “Thank You”

As they say “Trick or Treat”

Soon it will be Halloween.

 

Halloween, Halloween…

It’s creepy time in the city.

Halloween, Halloween…

Soon it will be Halloween.

(Original poem written by yours truly…think of it as corny or creative…your choice)

 

 

This is the only time all year that you will see the color orange plastered everywhere you look. Suddenly you look up, and there’s almost as much orange to be as you look around as there is green.

I personally love this time of year because pumpkins are about the only food out there with such a sweet, cinnamon-y taste…a taste that reminds of us Halloween and Thanksgivings as we were growing up.

Read the next few posts for some ideas for great homemade gifts to give your  neighbors, teachers, and whoever gives me an unexpected gift during the upcoming holiday season.

These posts will highlight ways to cook with pumpkin…make awesome coffee…decorate…and stir up your own DIY beauty concoctions, such as hair masks and facials.

But first let’s take a brief look at which pumpkins to buy so that you don’t end up leaving the produce section with a lemon.

Going to the closest pumpkin patch to pick out your pumpkin(s_ can actually end up being more stressful than you would think.

Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by all of these small round spheres in all  sorts of colors and sizes…

Which one should you actually buy?

Let’s take a quick look at your options, and your best bets.

 

 

 

***************

The Gray Ones

Kakai...These are the gray ones with orange stripes or ribbing…even though these pumkins are edible, they are better known for their blue seeds, which can be roasted.

***************

The Green Ones

Fairytale…These are the flat, dark green ones with deep vertical ribbing that are about 15″ around and 6″ high and weight anywhere from twenty to thirty pounds. Use these for cooking, especially for baking pumpkin pies.

******************

The Orange Ones

Baby Bear…These are the flat orange ones out of this grouping…and are best for…pies, roasted pumpkin seeds, and using as a bown to serve soupf, stews, and chili.

Baby Pam…These are the deep orange, ir yellow if immature. .very smooth ones. These supposedly have a sugary, starchy, string-less, and dry flesh…choose these if you are willing to spend the extra time prepping the pumpking.

Long Island Cheese…These are the pale yellow or orange ones that .have light vertical ribbing on their exterior.

Musee de Provence:…These are the yellow-orange ones with deep and distinct vertical ribbing. These are great for snacking on because they have a rich, sweet, creamy, taste. In fact slices of this pumpkin are often sold in French markets.

Tiger…These are the flat yellow ones that have orange mottling that are about 5″ around and 3″ high in size. They have a recessed stem and deep vertical ribbing the top that fades at the bottom

Winter Luxury…These are pale orange round ones with a unique netted-looking

*************

The Red Ones

Lakota…These are the red ones with green and black markings and light ribbing…and supposedly they taste like butternut squash.

 

 

 

**************

The White Ones

Baby Boo…These are the bright white palm-sized ones out of the group. Supposedly their flesh is inedible…so use these only for…decorating.

Casper…These are the bright white ones that are .more round than squat…and have slight ribbing on their exterior.

Lumina…These are the bright white., smooth ones.

Marina Di Chioggia…These are the squat green ones that have a thick and warty​ skin. They are actually a favorite for cooking because they have such a sweet flavor.

White Ghost…These are the pure white, squat ones.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Visions of Veganism—Butter

Butter is important in baking because it gives your foods color, flavor, and acts as an emulsifier.

Yet butter is one of those products that is looked down and frowned upon my vegans…

So what I am supposed to use instead so that I can make my sour cream pound cake where my vegan daughter can eat it also…after all this pound cake does call for two whole sticks of butter…definitely a Southern recipes, right?!

 

1.Applesauce…Applesauce can be used in baking…(more on this next post)…Applesauce can be usedf as alternative for butter. Applesauce makes your baked goods have a very  moist. texture.  Other “politically correct” options worth checking into include avocado and nut butter…(more on these later also)…

 

2. Coconut Butter or Margarine…These both can be used in recipes instead of butter. Neither of them contain cholesterol. Choose coconut  butte if you want your cookies, cakes, and so forth to have a  richer flavor, margarine adds a milder taste. Two goo options are Artisana Foods Coconut Butter and Earth Balance Soy Garden Buttery Spread..

 

3, Coconut Oil…Organic coconut oil often gets a bad rep, but if used in moderation this is a good alternative. Coconut oil usually works great  for nearly all baking needs as a substitute for butter.

.Coconut oil has a fairly mild, neutral flavor and is much more cost effective than most other vegan butter substitutes. When substituting coconut oil, you will want  to use the coconut oil as a solid at room temperature and substitute it cup for cup.

To use coconut oil as a substitute, replace the original ingredient amount with 3/4 coconut oil and 1/4 water. Mix the coconut oil and water together before adding to your recipe.

 

4, Homemade Vegan Butter…Trtue vegans that have enough,  if not perhaps too much,  time on their hands often try making their own homemade vegan butter This can be quite a time-consuming project though.

Non-Hydrogenated Butter Substitute….such as Earth Balance Buttery Sticks or a similar vegan butter substitute…

How many of us keep these products on hand on a regular basis…or else are also avoiding over-processed foods…or refuse to pay the extra money to buy these products.

 

5. Oil…Oil is typically not a good ingredient in baking recipes because it has low nutritional value and too many calories….but if the recipe the recipe that you are making does call for oil instead of butter, choose a “neutral” oil, such as rapeseed oil, so that the oil does not leave a strong, strange flavor.

You could also try EVVO…extra-virgin olive oil…but this will probably give your baked goods a funky taste.

 

6. Vegan Margarine…Margarine is another option for a butter substitute. You can find vegan margarines in almost all supermarkets these days…

Most vegan margarines are soy-based, but be careful because often these soy-based margaines contain whey, which is a dairy product and totally defeats your efforts in turning a recipe into a vegan recipe.

Margarine can also be bad for your health due to the hydrogenation….so bad that you would actually be better off using butter instead….if you’re going vegan primarily for health reasons and can do so without a “guilty conscience.”

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making Marvelous Muesli

So now that we know what muesli is…how do we make our own…and what do we do with it once we have it made?!
Making your own muesli is super easy and takes only about five minutes to go…a perfect combination of nuts, seeds, and oats that is perfectly healthy and perfectly filling.

 

 

*********

The Math

Making your own muesli is also more of a mathematical formula…than a method that must be mastered….a matter or proportions and personal preference…
Typically you will want to use about…
  • 4 cups grains
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts/seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit

Start with a ratio of four parts grain + one part nuts/seeds + one part dried fruit.

Keep in mind that the more fruit you add, the sweeter it will be. The more nuts you throw in, the more expensive your grocery bill. Remember, also, that the grains will become soft when combined with milk or yogurt. Muesli with extra nuts will be overly crunchy; muesli with lots of fruit will be very chewy.

 

 

 

 

***************

The Grains

***************
Nuts/Seeds…1 cup

 

Nuts and seeds—such as…
  • Brazil nuts
  • cashews
  • chia seeds
  • coconut flakes
  • hazelnuts
  • macadamias
  • peanuts
  • pecans
  • pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • pistachios
  • poppy seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • sliced almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • unsweetened coconut flakes.
  • walnuts

will give your muesli a delicious crunch,,,not to mention te fact that nuts and seeds will make your muesli even healthier because they contain omega-3 fatty acids and protein.

Choose any nut, seed, combination that you like…or omit them altogether if you’re allergic to them or simply don’t like them.

 

Before mixing your ingredients together, also take the time to toast your nuts in the same way that you do your grain. This will not only give the nuts a little extra crunch, but also make them more flavorful.

Don’t add oil or any other liquid to the pan when toasting your grains and nuts. Toasting the nuts release their oils, so anything added will make your muesli taste a little greasy.

**********

The Fruit…1C

 

The third ingredientw that you will want to add to your muesli—now that you have stirred together your grains and nuts/seeds, is/are fruit(2)…Dried fruit will add both sweetness and chewiness to your muesli.

This can be any fruit that you like…as long as it’s dried and not fresh. Adding fresh fruit will make your muesli too soft and cause it turn bad much more quickly.

There are no set-in-stone rules as far as what fruits to add…simply choose whatever fruits that you and your family like.

A few ideas as far as what fruits you could add…as long as they are dried or dehydrated…are…

  • apple chips
  • apricots
  • bananas
  • blueberries
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • currants
  • dates.
  • figs
  • mango
  • papaya
  • raisins
  • strawberries

Here are a few things to remember…as far as adding fruit to your muesli…

  • Add only enough d  to make your granola taaste seweter…but nout so much that your granola is too sweedt.
  • Avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar.
  • Chop up your dried fruit into bite-sized pieces before adding to your muesli.
  • Do not add any additional sugar to your muesli. You shouldn’t need it…and as we already know…it’s not good for you.
  • Experiment until you find the “perfect” recipe.Avoid dried fruit that contains added sugar.
  • Make sure that any dried fruit that you use does not contain dded sugar.
  • Save fresh fruit for when you actually get ready to eat your muesli.

 

 

************

 The Spices

If you would like your muesli to have even more of a taste that your family will enjoy, feel free to add spices.  Spice (that are often used to make your muesli more flavorful include cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, and ginger,

Store a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves, or a vnanilla bean with your muesli to infuse different flavors.

 

 

******************

Stirring Your Muesli

Now that you have put all of your “stuff” into a container, put the lid on the container and shake until everything is combined.

 

 

******************

Storing Your Muesli

Store the muesli in an airtight glass jar or plastic container. Your muesli will stay good for  up to two months as long as it stays dry.

********************
Serving Your Muesli

 

The easiest way to enjoy your muesli is to add milk or stir it into some yogurt.  Waiting for about ten minutes to half an hour before eating it will soften up the grains a little.

You could also soak your muesli in milk overnight….at a 1:1 ratio. To make overnight oats, combine 2/3C muesli wotj 23C milk in a small lidded container. Refrigerate overnight. Enjoy cold in the morning.

A third option is to heating your muesli in the microwave before serving.

 

Soaking or cooking your muesli will break down the oats, making them easier to chew and digest…and making the muesli more nutritious becsuse the nutrients—such as the fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants. vitamins, protein, omega 3 and minerals found in muesli—are more easily absorbed by your body.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Amaranth…The Why

So now that you know what amaranth is, why should you care…what is the nutritional benefit…why should you add amaranth to your diet…why is amaranth considered a superfood?

Amaranth is a “relative” of other extremely healthy foods that you probbly already have added to your diet, possibly from birth—such as beets, spinach, and quinoa,

Amaranth is a great source of protein, fiber, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

Let’s look at the nutrients that amaranth provides…

 

********************

The Numbers—Key Nutrients

Based on one cup serving of amaranth, here are some important uumbers…

Calcium...112% DV…116 mg…The calcium that can be found in amaranth is important for bone repair and strength. Not getting enough calcium in your diet causes your bones to become weak and pliable….increasing your risk of breaking a bone and developing osteoporosis.

Fiber…20% DV…Amaranth contains more fiber than any other gluten-free grain, even more than superfoods such as quinoa. The fiber in amaranth is good for your digestive system….(need I elaborate…fill in the blanks yourself)…

 

Folate…14%DV…54.1 mg…The folate in amaranth helps the body copy and synthesize DNA, which is especially important for pregnant women, because a folate deficiency can keep the growing baby’s cell from growing properly…possibly resulting in  birth defects as spina bifida or causing heart and limb malformations.

 

 

Manganese …105$ DV….This is over 100$ DV of manganese,…Maganese is especially important for diabetics because it helps reduce high blood sugar levels by helping your body converrt amino acids into sugar and maintain the balance of sugar within the bloodstream.

Protein…The protein found in amaranth is important for…
  • aiding in digestion
  • building muscle mass
  • controlling mood swings
  • decreasing exercise-induced muscle damage
  • helping to naturally balance hormones
  • making you feel full quicker and requiring more work for the body to digest than fast-acting refined carbs
  • preventing weight gain by
  • supporting neurological function

———————–

Other Nutrients

  • Caroohydrates….48 grams
  • Copper…18%DV…0.4 mg
  • Far… 3.9 grams
  • Iron…25%DV …5.2mg
  • Magnesium…40% DV…160mg
  • Phosphorous…36%DVC…364mg
  • Potassium…9% DV…352 Mg
  • Selemium…19% DV…13.5mg
  • Vitamin B6…14% DV…0.3mg
  •  Zinc…14%…2.1 mg

 

 

———————————–

Other Health-Related Issues

In addition to all of these nutrients, amaranth also provides each of the he nine essential amino acids and aantioxidants.

Now let’s look at what all of these nutrients mean as far as your health…your muscles, bone, and skin…your cardiovascular health…your mmune system.

1. Controlling Cholesterol Levels…Amaranth is a considered a cholesterol-lowering food…having been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol…even by up to 50%.

2.  Controlling :Your Weight…Amaranth can help you maintain your goal weight for many reasons, including…

  • amaranth strengthens your bones, which means that you can exercise without having to worry so much about breaking a bone
  • fiber found in amarant keeps your digestive system regulated and reduces inflammation
  • high levels of lysine, an amino acid, helps your body produce carnitine, a nutrient that is important for converting fatty acids into energy and helping lower cholesterol
  • protein keeps you full longer and increases endurance levels

3. Dealing with Gluten Sensitivity…Many people are either allergic or sensitive to gluten, the protein found in wheat…but amaranth is gluten-free. Problems associated with gluten could include…

  • arthritis
  • bone and joint pain
  • celiac’s disease
  • depression
  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • infertility
  • miscarraige
  • poor memory.
  • skin rashes

4. Keeping Your Bones Healthy…The calcium that can be found in amaranth is important for bone repair and strength. Not getting enough calcium in your diet causes your bones to become weak and pliable….increasing your risk of breaking a bone and developing osteoporosis.

5. Reducing Inflammation…Inflammation is caused by the accumulation of dietary and environmental toxins in the body…making your immune system so overworked and weak that it can no longer defend  body tissues against damaging defense cells and hormones.

Inflammation is associated with just about every health condition, including…

  • leaky gut syndrome
  • arthritis
  • fibermyalgia
  • irritable bowel disease
  • gout

Amaranth helps reduce this inflammation.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

A Watched Pot Never Boils