Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Now What?

Now it is time to add some sort of oil to your skillet and actually start cooking your onions.

As far as which oil, that’s left to you…but some choices include olive oil, butter

You want to coat the bottom of the pan. Use 1tsp per onion. If you use too much oil, the onions will fry instead of caramelizing.

And now it’s time to actually start cooking…

You should have the following ingredients…

  • Onions—how ever many onions you want to cook—one large onion will make about makes about a 1/2C caramelized onions.
  • Fat—such as olive oil or butter
  • Salt—this will season the onions and help pull out some of the moisture.

Once you’ve gathered these ingredients, you need to…Add half of the onions that you are going to cook, instead of dumping all of them at once so that the pan will not be too hard.

Season the onions with salt.

Stir the onions gently

How long you cook your onions will be based on how dark you want them to be, what you are going to use them for, and how many onions you are cooking.

As the onions cook, check them every five to ten minutes. As you do this, stir the onions and scrape up any fond that forms on the bottom of the skillet. Adjust the heat if you’re afraid that they’re going to burn.

If the onions start sticking to the bottom of the pan, add a tablespoon of liquid—such as red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or wine. This will not only deglaze your pan, but will also add more flavor.

Taste an onion once they start looking the color that you want them to be. If they do not taste as caramelized as you would like, continue cooking.

Now deglaze your skillet…Now that your onions have finished cooking, pour 1/4C liquid—such as wine, broth, balsamic vinegar, or water. As the liquid bubbles, scrape up the fond and stir it into the onions.

Now pour this sauce over your caramelized onions.

Storing

  • Caramelized onions can either be stored in the fridge for about a week or frozen for about three months.
  • Let the onions cool in the pan before transferring them to a storage container.

Making Caramelized Onions in the Slow Cooker…You could also caramelize your onions in a slow cooker. Thank goodness…because I think that a slow cooker is the greatest invention since sliced bread.

Once you have finished slicing and dicing your onions, add the onions to your slow cooker along with 2Tbsp olive oil. Stir to coat the onions evenly with the oil. Now add 1/2 tsp salt. Cook the onions for ten hours on low, stirring  occasionally to help them cook even more evenly.

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Creating a Home, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

9 More Cooking Oils to Stick Under Your Kitchen Sink Also

So we’re getting our oil ready to start cooking—finally—but as you grab under the sink, you’re met by how many choices of oil—not to mention whatever other bottles might be down there…so choose your bottle carefully.
In the last article, we looked at olive oil and almond oil as two choices…
Here are a few more oils that would be good choices…

1 Avocado Oil 

  • Benefits…Avocado oil promotes healthy cholesterol levels and enhances absorption of some nutrients.
  • Nutrition…Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids.
  • Use…Avocado oil has a high smoke point and is one of the best oils for high-temperature cooking—such as stir-frying, sautéing, and searing.

2 Canola Oil

  • Benefits…Canola oil helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the body, reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and stabilize blood pressure levels, The FDA agrees that 1-1/2Tbsp canola oil each day could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease when used instead of saturated fat.
  • Nutrition…Canola oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, such as the alpha-linolenic acid, as well as monounsaturated fat, a type of fat that is considered healthy for diabetics. At the same time, canola oil is low in the unhealthy saturated fat that mostly come from animal products like meat and dairy.
  • Uses…Canola oil can be used safely at high temperatures because it has a higher smoke point than most other oils, but doesn’t have as much flavor as some other oils that are available and is not your best choice for certain things such as making your own salad dressing.

3 Coconut Oil

  • Benefits…Coconut oil contains minerals and vitamins that serve to lowering triglycerides levels, control levels of bad cholesterol, and help stabilize the blood pressure of the diabetics.
  • Nutrition…Coconut oil is a saturated fat, but not the same artery-clogging saturated fat found in red meat. The fat found in coconut oil is harder for the body to convert into stored fat because this fat consists of such a higher amount of medium-chain fatty acids than the normal fat found in hamburgers.
  • Use…The American Heart Association warns those with high cholesterol levels to avoid or limit their use of coconut oil because of its saturated fat content. High levels of coconut oil in your daily diet can make your diabetes worse.

Flaxseed Oil

  • Benefits…As a diabetic, flaxseed oil slows digestion, which in turn helps maintain stable blood glucose levels and improves the sensitivity of the body towards insulin. Flaxseed oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation, a fact that could lower your risk of getting cancer and reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
  • Nutrition…Flaxseed oil is a rich source of both fiber and ALA—alpha-linoleic acid—one of three omega-3 fatty acids that your body cannot make on its own.
  • Use…Flaxseed oil should not be heated..instead use as a salad dressing or add to smoothies

 

5 Grape Seed Oil

  • Nutrition…this is a rich source of both polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids, and is very low in saturated fat
  • Use…nutty but mild flavor that can be used for all sorts of cooking and grilling and also works well in salad dressings or drizzled over roasted veggies

6 Rice Bran Oil

  • Benefits….Rice bran oil will reduce your levels of bad cholesterol, and so is great for diabetics and those wanting to keep heart disease at bay.
  • Nutrition…Rice bran oil is rich in both monounsaturated as well as polyunsaturated fats.

7 Sesame Oil

  • Benefits…Sesame oil reduces levels of bad cholesterol and stabilizes blood glucose levels.
  • Nutrition…Sesame oil contains monounsaturated fats and is listed as one of the most ” heart-healthy” cooking oils by the American Heart Association.
  • Uses…Light sesame oil is often used for stir-frying. Dark sesame oil, on the other hand, is great for making dressings and sauces.

8 Sunflower Oil

  • Nutrition…Sesame oil has high levels of the “good” polyunsaturated fats and very low levels of the “bad” saturated fats.
  • Uses…Sunflower oil can be used for all cooking methods—such as sauteeing, frying, and roasting,

9 Walnut Oil

  • Benefits…Walnut oil helps maintain a good balance of triglycerides, improves the sensitivity of your body towards insulin, and reduces your risk of several cardiovascular conditions.
  • Nutrition…Walnut oil is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, as well as a good source of polyunsaturated fats.
  • Uses…Walnut oil is great for adding a nutty flavor to whatever you are cooking—such as desserts.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Best Cooking Oils to Use for Diabetics

  • The next step in our learning how to saute food is choosing which oil we would like to cook in.
  • There are at least a dozen choices out there…each of which not only affects the final taste of your food, but also your health—even more so as a diabetic.
  • Let’s take a look at some of these choices, starting with the most commonly used—or at least the most commonly used cooking oil in my own house—olive oil. 

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Olive Oil

The What

  • Most of us think that about huge bottle of olive oil that we hide under the sink with the other bottles—such as rum and vodka—that we might want to have close at hand.
  • And most of us think that olive oil is olive oil—never having any variety as far as flavor–ranging in flavor from fruity to peppery,, viscosity, and color.
  • Some of the olive oils found around the world that can make you change your mind about all olive oil’s tasting the same include…
  • Badia, ..a great, inexpensive well-rounded olive oil from Spain, found in many supermarkets.
  • Ravida…a brightly-colored green Italian olive oil with a pungent taste that stands up well to the robust flavor of Sicilian cooking
  • Terra Medi…a smooth, well-rounded, and not too heavy olibr oil from Greece
  • Unió…a mild and fruity olive oil from Spain with a soft peppery finish

The Why

  • Olive oil is considered by many to be the healthiest of all the cooking oils, mainly for helping to reduce the risks of heart-related conditions.
  • As far as diabetics are concerned, olive oil is a good choice because olive oil helps improve the sensitivity of the body towards insulin.
  • Olive oil is also rich in antioxidants and monounsaturated fats.

Almond Oil…Another cooking oil that can be used to saute your foods is almond oil.

Nutrients...Almond oil is not only a good source of monounsaturated fats, but also a rich source of nutrients—including potassium, zinc, vitamin E, manganese, and magnesium.

Benefits…

  1. can help you lose weight and prevent weight gain
  2. can reduce your risk of colon cancer.
  3. decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease
  4. helps fight inflammation in the body
  5. helps naturally regulate blood sugar levels
  6. keeps you feeling full, which helps to prevent snacking and overeating
  7. may also work as a natural laxative, relieving constipation and IBS
  8. naturally reduces cholesterol levels
  9. promotes the flow of oxygen and nutrients through the blood
  10. reduces the risk of heart disease
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Oh “Huck,” Where Have You Been

Okay, I just told you to dry your food that you are going to be sauteeing off with a paper towel…and many of you cringed at the thought that I would even dare to have them in my house…aren’t we all “going green” these days?

Even though you might be much better off using this on the food that you are going to be sauteeing…after all, do you really want to risk making your family sick by drying foods such as raw chicken on something that you might then wash and use to clean your mirrors, windows, and wood furniture? 

But right now I am taking a break to look at all the other things that can be used as alternatives to standard paper towels so that we can do one more thing to be “eco-friendly” and do our art in saving the environment.

Basically in the school of “green thinking,” there are three trains of thought—find something similar, use something else instead, or use something that you already have on hand.

So let’s first look at “Something Similar”…

When it comes to ordinary paper towels, the next something similar would have to be other towels and napkins that are made of a fabric that can be washed and re-used. Examples of this include Huck towels, microfiber cloths, and napkins from such materials as chambray, cotton, and linen.

1. Huck Towels

  • Color…may be white or dyed different colors…designate a specific color for each specific use
  • Commercial Uses…to clean surgical instruments…also used by rofessional window washers, car detailers, and cleaning companies
  • Durability…long-lasting, tend to hold up well even after many washings
  • Fabric….pure cotton…whenever buying Huck towels, make sure that the towels are 100% cotton because blended fabrics are not as absorbent.
  • Household Uses…window cleaning, drying dishes, dusting and polishing furniture, wiping down furniture on the patio and porch
  • Source…Rag Lady…looks like an excellent source for all sorts of recyclable, well…rags…
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

On the Chopping Block

The first step in sauteeing your food is to cut whatever you’re going to saute into uniform, bite-size pieces…

And unless you totally want to ruin both your countertops and your knives, it is very important to invest in a decent cutting board.

As you are shopping for your new cutting board, it is important to consider several things—such as size, maintenance, material, and cost.

Size…As far as size, I have found that it is smart to have at least two different sized cutting boards—a small one for cutting up fruit and small vegetables—such as strawberries, lemons, and limes…and a larger one for everything else.

As far as the larger cutting board, a general rule of thumb is to buy a board that measures 15″x20″. 

You should be able to lay your knife diagonally on your cutting board and have at least 1″-2″ on either side of the knife.

Buying such a large board is great for several reasons, including…

  • allowing you to better control the board as well as the knife
  • being more comfortable in general
  • giving you plenty of room to work safely and effectively
  • making cutting both easier and safer
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Back to Bok

Okay, the last few articles have been an attempt to start writing about home organization, but lately I have been thinking more about this and have decided that the one thing I want to accomplish as I write is to teach, if only to myself, better cooking methods and the raw foods….especially now that my beloved souse has been diagnosed with diabetes this year.

So I am now back to bok…bok choy.

 

I thought that this would also be a great time to start talking about the various cooking methods and how to make each of these methods more healthy before moving higher on the Raw Foods ladder.

 

There are basically three categories of cooking methods. These are..,

  1. Dry-Heat Cooking Method
  2. Moist-Heat Cooking Methods
  3. Combination Cooking Methoda

 

 

Dry heat cooking methods involve applying either direct or indirect heat to the food, and include…

Baking and Roasting

  • Broiling
  • Deep-frying
  • Grilling
  • Pan-frying
  • Sautéing

Moist heat cooking methods involve submerging food directly into a hot liquid or exposing it to steam, and include…

  • Boiling
  • Poaching
  • Simmering
  • Steaming

Combination cooking methods involve using a combination of both dry-heat and moist-heat cooking techniques, and include…

  • Braising
  • Stewing

 

In this next series, I would like to go into detail about each of the cooking methods and the tools needed or that are useful for each method.

Then having this list in hand of the different tools needed for each method, I am going to share my efforts on organizing my own kitchen.

Join me for the journey…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Here’s to a Super Bowl

Now that we’ve learned that there are way more salad greens to choose from than the ordinary iceberg lettuce, let’s talk about the good stuff that actually makes salad good.

One major difference that makes a salad that you actually enjoy eating better than the salad that you dread seating is using just as many vegetables as your do leafy greens.

Raw veggies and other add-ins will give your salad texture as well as more surface area for dressings and toppings.

Here are some of the most common choices as far as salad add-ins…

Note…I was going to be more detailed when I first started this, but decided that since one of my goals is to finish working my way through the Raw Foods yamid, thought that this would be rather redundant, and for making salads, this would be more useful instead…

Vegetables…

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Baby Carrots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Black Olives
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Corn kernels
  • Cucumbers
  • Green bell pepper…
  • Green olive…
  • Heirloom Tomato…
  • Jicama
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  •  Pickled beets
  • Portabello mushroom
  • Radishes
  • Red bell pepper
  • Red onion
  • Tomato
  • Zucchini

Fruits

  • Apple
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Strawberries

Legumes

  • Chickpeas.
  • Kidney beans

Carbs

  • Nuts and Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Chia seeds
    peanuts

    pumpkin seeds,
    Sesame seeds,
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • xsummer squash, hot peppers, possibilities are endless!

  • minced garlic,
    garlic powder,
    cayenne pepper,
  • oregano,
  • cumin,
  • paprika,
  • onion powder
  • salt
  • pepper 
  • black beans,
  • lentils,
  • pinto beans
  • Herbs
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Oregano

Meats

  • Bacon
  • Chicken
  • Ham
  • Steak
  • Turkey
  • ————————————————-
Uncategorized

Raising the Bar at the Salad Bar

If you’re gonna eat lettuce and carrots like a rabbit because you’re on a diet or a diabetic or health nut…you will very quickly get sick and tired of the average bagged salad that sits in your fridge drawer quickly forgotten until it starts smelling bad or you stumble on it when looking for something else behind the mayo and mustard.

If you’re gonna eat lettuce and carrots like a rabbit, you must learn to raise the bar on your home salad bar…otherwise eating salad will become just another health food to log into your food diary.

But before we talk about all of the different leafy greens that are available, let’s learn a few basic rules that you should remember…

Nutrition…As far as nutrition goes, all leafy greens are good for you—being great sources of folate, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, iron, and calcium…but not all leafy greens are as healthy as the rest of the family.

As a general rule, the darker the green, the healthier the green.

Kale and spinach are always better choices than iceberg lettuce or endive.

Lettuce is about 95 percent water…and gives you half as much of the recommended daily value of vitamin K and vitamin A.

Selecting Leafy Greens...Make sure that the leafy greens are buying to make your salad are fresh and crisp… not wilted, limp, and withered.

Avoid any leafy greens that have brown or yellow edges, or dark or slimy spots.

If you are buying bagged greens, always check the use-by-date.

Storing Leafy Greens..Always rinse your leafy greens before using because the folds in leafy green vegetables easily accumulate dirt.

The best way to store your leafy greens is to wash and dry them, layer the leaves in wet paper towels or a kitchen towel, place in a plastic bag, and refrigerate in the crisper drawer.

Never store greens near fruits, such as apples or bananas, Fruit gives off ethylene gas as it ripens and will cause the greens to develop brown spots and decay rapidly.

Drying Greens…Always make sure that the greens are bone-dry before using them in your salad. Otherwise the dressing will not cling to the leaves and you’re more likely to have a soggy salad.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Let Us Talk About Lettuce

  • Whether you are a diabetic or on a diet or a vegetarian or raw foods advocate, it might seem like you are eating salad night after night after night…not to mention for lunch also.

  • But the same old salad made the same old lettuce can get extremely boring…extremely…
  • So why not add some variety to your mandatory salad by adding more leafy greens to your instacart order?
  • There is a wide range of leafy green vegetables to choose from other than lettuce…
  • But these can seem to overwhelming, and you’ve only been eating lettuce for how long…
  • So let’s now take a look at the various leafy greens vegetables that are available—starting with the basics of selecting, storing, and using them in salads. ..as well as the nutritional value of different varieties…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Sing A Ballad to the Salad

So now that we all know how to make the perfect soup…

Now what?

 

 

Well, since my goal is to work my way through the Raw Foods pyramid in an effort to learn how to cook more healthy for the sake of my newly-diagnosed diabetic husband,

and the base of the Raw Foods yramid is leafy greens…

 

It only goes to reason that eventually we’d talk about salad, right?

 

…but salad can get so very boring…especially when you are constantly eating  bagged salad night after night after night.

 

So let’s see what’s required to make a salad actually worth eating, and then sing ordinary baggad salad a farewell ballad.

In the next few posts, we’ll be taking a look at…

  • Leafy green
  • Vegetables
  • Add-ins
  • Dressing your salads
  •  

So let’s get ready to all raise the bar on our at-home salad bar, ready?