Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Corn…The Why

As we have been climbing our way slowly up the raw foods pyramid, we honestly should be talking about leafy greens still at this point…but I got sidetracked on smoothies…which got me sidetracks on the health benefits of particular kinds of smoothies…landing me right now on the topic of antioxidants and which foods offer the most antioxidants.

We started out by talking about alfalfa sprouts…and then talked about broccoli…and now we are talking about corn.

Nutritionally corn can be very beneficial to the health of anyone…especially those who are concerned about maintaining the health of their eyes.

 

 

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

Nutritional Facts

Corn contains lots of fiber and many vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.f

Let’s look more closely at how much nutritional valuer there is in about 1/4C boiled yellow corn.

1.Antioxidants…Corn boasts higher amounts of antioxidants than most other common cereal grains.

2. Calories: 96

3. Carbs…21 grams…Carbs are the main component of corn, as with all other cereal grains….particularly in the orm of starchm, which makes up anywhere from 1/4 to 3/4 of corn’s dry weight.

4. Fat: 1.5 grams

5. Fiber: 2.4 grams…Corn contains a fair amount of fiber, varying from one type of corn to another variety…but typically around 9–15% of the dry weight

6. Protein…3.4 grams…10–15% RDI…Zeins comprise anywhere from one-half to one-thired of the total protein content…and these zeins do not contain some of the essential amino acids…making corn not one of the best foods to choose it you are concerned with the overall protein quality of your diet.

7. Sugar…4.5 grams…Corn typically has a sugar consistency of 1–3% sugar…and despite of its name, sweet corn consists of only 8% of the dry weight.

 

 

 

**********

Eye Health

But let’s take a look at one jparticular benefits of corn…

Eye Health

Because of the high level of antioxidants—particularly carotenoids—corn is great for maintaining the health of your eyes and preventing eye disease—such as macular degeneration, eye infections, and cataracts.

Corn gives you about 70% of the caratenoids that your body needs.protect your eyes from oxidative damage, especially damage caused by blue light,mpaign for seniors ages 65 and up that can qualify for a free eye exam. .

And while we are on the topic of eye health, let’s look at a few ways to keep your eyes looking…and then looking good.

 

Having regular eye exams is important for the following reasons…

1.  To detect eye conditions… An optometrist can spot early onset signs of diabetes, high blood pressure, glaucoma, cataracts, hypertension, and high cholesterol just by conducting an eye exam.

During your exam, your eye doctor will look for eye muscle imbalance, vision disorders, and eye disease that could potentially cause future problems.

Having your eyes examined on a regular basis can help detect these problems before they escalate and affect not only your vision, but also your overall health.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that you have a baseline eye exam at age 40, the time when the early signs of disease or changes in your vision may occur.

This baseline screening can help identify signs of eye disease at an early stage, when treatment can have the greatest impact on preserving your vision.

 

2. To determine if you need a stronger prescription, or if you need eyeglasses or contact lenses….Your eyes obviously change over time, especially after the age of 40. Having a current prescription reduces eyestrain and helps you see better.

 

3.   To improve your children’s school performance…Eye exams are an important part of healthcare for everyone, but especially for children.
According to the Vision Council of America, one out of every four children in the U.S. has an undiagnosed vision problem.

It is also estimated that 48% of parents with children under the age of 12 have never taken their children to see an eye care professional.

Vision problems and poor vision are two of the most common reasons why children fall behind in school each year.

Eye exams ensure normal vision development and can detect any vision problems that could contribute to possible learning and reading difficulties.

Early identification of such problems is crucial because children are more likely to respond to treatment when problems are diagnosed early.

 

4.  To keep from having headaches... If you have been having unexplained, constant headaches, the problem could lie with your vision. An eye care professional may be able to pinpoint the cause behind your headaches and help give you the relief you deserve.

5.   To prevent eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or cataractsMany serious conditions like these often have no symptoms, but an optometrist can detect early signs of such diseases, helping to prevent serious damage.

Now…not that I am a “fashion and beauty” expert and blogger, bur as someone who used to never wear my glasses anywhere because I thought that I looked ugly, and now feel comfortable wearing them anywhere…let’s look at a few makeup tips for women who wear glasses… 

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

Makeup Tips for Women Who Wear Glasses

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.

1.  Primer…Use a primer, such as NARS’ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. This will create a canvas to prevent eyeshadow from flaking off throughout the day.

2. Concealor… If you wear glasses, your under-eye area is one of the first things people see on your face. Be sure to apply an under-eye concealer like MAC’s Pro Longwear Concealer.

3.  Eyeshadow…A full-out smoky eye would look slightly overwhelming. Stick to neutral shades. Get your color from liner, not eyeshadow.

4.  Eyeliner…Eyeliner is also essential. The thickness of the liner should correspond with the thickness of your glasses. If your frames are thick, apply a thick line of liner to the upper lash line…If your frames are thin, apply a softer line.

Wear colorful liners-greens, blues, or purples-such as these Urban Decay’s 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencils in a shade that is darker than your natural eye color.

5.  Mascara
…Finish with two coats of waterproof mascara.

6.  Highlighter…
Apply a highlighter like Benefit High Beam to the inner corners of your eyes.

7.  Brows….Eyeglass frames draw attention to the brows, so keep your arches well groomed. Pluck or trim and scraggly hairs. Fill in any sparse spots with a brow pencil or powder shadow.

8.  Lips…Go bold with your lips.

9.  Face…Keep blush and bronzer minimal.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Corn…The What

Corn was first introduced to European settlers cultures by several

Native American tribes, such as the Iroquois of New England and the Pawnees tribes of the Great Plains.

And if we look back at what we learned in elementary school…or what our kids and grandkids are learning now…corn was introduced at the first Thanksgiving feast back iin 1779…(quite timely post since Thanksgiving was two days ago…and we all remember the story about the first Thanksgiving, right?!)

This corn which had been Native Americans had been cultivated in this continent as far back as 1000 BC.

 

 

 

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

Facts Abour Corn

One interesting fact that I learned while doing research for the following posts is that corn always has an even number of rows of kernels.

Another interesting fact that I learned about corn is that the eat of the corn is the “female” part of the plant…while the tassel of the corn is the “male” part of the plan.

 

 

 

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

Uses for Corn

Many products available on our grocery store shelves…or on the Instacart shopping list are refined or processed corn products…such as…

  • corn chips
  • corn flour
  • corn oil
  • corn syrup
  • cornbread
  • cornmeal
  • cornmeal flour
  • jpolenta
  • taco shells
  • tortillas
  • tortilla chips

 

 

 

 

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

Types of Corn

There are currently hundreds of different types of corn, including these

 

 

1.Dent Corn…this is a type of corn that has small indentation (or “dents”) at the crown of each kernel that is typically grown for grain and animal food.

Actually there are two types of dent corn…white and yellow.

White dent corn is typically used to make masa, tortilla chips, snack foods, and grits…as well as producing food-grade starch and paper.

Yellow dent corn is the most commonly grown corn in the United States today…and is the corn mostly used to make cornmeal flour, corn chips, tortillas, taco shells….and even plastics,

 

 

2.  Flint CornFlint corn is called flint corn because the corn is as hard as flint, since each kernel of corn has a hard outer layer that protects the soft inner part of the kernel…. kernels that do not have the same “dents” that dent corn does at the end of each kernel.

The kernels of flint corn can range all over the color spectrum…not only from various shades of white and yellow,

This is the corn that many of us refer to as Indian corn and use to decorate our homes during the fall and especially and Thanksgiving.

 

3. Popcorn.,,Everyone who has been to a movie…or breathes in America knows what popcorn is, but in the next post we’ll learn even more about one of our favorite snacks…

..Ev
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Broccoli…The Why

So now that we know what broccoli is, let’s take a look at why you should be eating broccoli.

What nutrients does broccoli contain…What health benefits does it offer…

 

 

 

 

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

1.Anti-inflammatory

Whenever our bodies are threatened with dangerous levels of potential toxins or overly-reactive, oxygen-containing molecules, it sends signals to our inflammatory system….telling our brain to “kick in” and help protect from any possible  damage….(more on this later)…

Certain nutrients help slow down the damage to joints, such as arthritis,..such as kaempferol, a flavonoid that especially works within our digestive tracta by  (by lowering your immune system’s production of allergy-related substances…and omega-3, another nutritent that prevents the inflammatory system from going bonkers.

Two cups of broccoli contain about 400 milligrams of omega-3…actually in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA—as much as one soft gel capsule of flax oil

 

 

 

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

2.  Antioxidant

Btoccoli also contains vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that can act as an antioxidant—such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and beta-carotene.

This means that broccoli can help your body fight against the many toxins that pose a risk to our cells.

 

 

 

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

3. Aging Process.

No, broccoli can’t keep us from getting older…even though that would be nice.

But it can help prevent age-related diseases because of these same antioxidant functions.

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, and just like any other neighborhood…and just like any other neighborhood, the produce bin neighborhood has several families.

Although these families are primarily designed for crop rotation, these families will be a great asset as we start discussing the fruits and vegetables segment of the Raw Foods Pyramid…

…and since we talked about broccoli as being a crucifer…(no, George Bush, not Lucifer….I thought that this might be a good time to go ahead and introduce you to the rest of crucifer’s tribe.

 

 **********************

 THE ASTERCEAS FAMILY

This, at least to me, seems to be the miscellaneous category where those vegetables do not belong to any other family all hang out…If you’re a farmer, and know differently, then tell me…but for the purpose of making vegetables in the Raw Foods Pyramid easier to categorize, I’m using this family for my “junk pile.”

Members of this family include…

  • artichokes
  • lettuce
  • tarragon

 

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

CHENOPODIACEAE FAMILY

The chenopodiaceae family are typically plants without petals, such as…

  • beets
  • spinach
  • Swiss chard

 

 

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

CRUCIFER FAMILY

The crucifer family consists of those vegetables with four petals arranged in a cross shape …with six stamens, including two smaller ones, such as…

  • arugula
  • Asian greens
  • broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • cauliflower
  • Chinese cabbage
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • mustard greens
  • radishes
  • turnips
  • watercress

 

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

CUCURBITACEAE FAMILY

The cucurbitaceae family, also known as the gourd family, includes those plants that typically run rampant, climb, or have spiral tendrils. Each of these plant produces their fruits on a long vine with seeds running through the center, usually protected by a hard rind.

This family not only has vegetables as members, but has also welcomed melons and some other large to join their gang…and includes…

  • cantaloupes
  • cucumbers
  • gourds
  • melons
  • pumpkins
  • squash
  • watermelon
  • zucchini

 

 

 

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

FABACEAE FAMILY

The fabaceae family, also commonly known as legumes of pulses, includes…

  • beans—all beans…including fava beans, lentils, soybeans
  • peas
  • peanuts

 

 

 

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

LAMIACEAE FAMILY

The lamiaceae family are those highly fragrant plants that are often used to make essential oils and herbal teas, such as…

  • lavender
  • lemon balm
  • marjoram
  • mint
  • oregano
  • sage
  • thyme

 

 

 

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

LILIACEAE FAMILY

The liliaceae family includes plants with leaves that usually have vertical and very long leaves and flowers with six colorful petals, including…

  • asparagus
  • chives
  • garlic
  • leeks
  • onions
  • shallots
    ********************
    NIGHTSHADE FAMILY

The nightshade family includes…

  • eggplant
  • peppers, both sweet and hot peppers
  • potatoes,  but not sweet potatoes
  • tomatoes

 

 

 

 

)

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

POACEAE FAMILY

This family consists of nearly 12,000 species of  “grasses” or grains that are so very important to our every diets, including…

    • barley
    • corn
    • rice
    • rye
    • wheat
    • A few examples: corn, rice, wheat, barley, oats, rye, and millet.

 

 

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

ROSACEAE FAMILY

The Rosaceae family consists of herbaceous, woody plants with alternating leaves and pink flowers, such as…

  • apples
  • blackberries
  • cherries
  • pears
  • plums
  • raspberries
  • strawberries

 

 

 

 

 

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

UMBELLIFERAE FAMILY

The umbelliferae family consists of those vegetables that produce the vcegetable part that we eat under the ground. Members of this family include…

  • carrots
  • parsley
  • dill
  • cilantro
  • fennel
  • celery
  • parsnips
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

Pumpkins…The Why

Not only does pumpkin make such awesome treats to eat and enjoy, pumpkin can also be enjoyed as a treat to help you feel pampered and relaxed.

Why should you consider using pumpkin in your “beauty routine” in the first place?

Pumpkin is packed with vitamins—such as vatima B, vitamin C, and vitamin E… as well as beta-carotene. This means that it helps promotes healthy skin and hair.

Other ingredients commonly found in these products…or used when you’re making your own…include…

 

1.Coconut or Olive Oil…These both moisturize the skin, act as an antioxidant, and keep your skin looking younger.

2. Spices…Not only is the “aromatherapy” of the spices rejuvenating, awakening, warm, and comforting…cinnamon also stimulates better blood circulation all over the body and brings blood to the surface of the skin…resultting in plumper skin with a healthier glow, as well as healthier hair.

3. Sugar…Sugar helps the skin retain moisture and gently exfoliates dead skin away.

4. Vitamin E…Vitamin E not only benefits your skin, but also extends the shelf life of your ingredients.

 

 

Not only that…these cosmetics and concoctions will enable you to enjoy the sweet, nostalgic aroma of pumpkin all year long.

 

 

So first let’s look at what I call OTBC products…those Over the Beauty Counter products…and then we’ll talk about a few ideas that you yourself can make at home.

 


Acure-Energizing Body Wash,,,availabile at Target or Kroger…ungredients iunclude organic Argan oil, sea buckthorn oil, Moroccan Argan stem cells, coq10, and pumpkin seed oil

*

Desert Essence Organics Hand & Body Lotion–Pumpkin Spice—…available at Sprouts…other fragrance options—Island Mango, Italian Lemon, Tropical Coconut, Coconut Lime, Bulgarian Lavender, and Spicy Vanilla Chai

 One Love Organics,,,available at Nieman Marcus…ingredients include pumpkin seed oil, sunflower seed oil, green tea seed oil, kelp extract, sea buckthorn oil, chia seed extract, rosemary leaf extract, and rooibos tea extract

 

 

 

Other OTBC products containing pumpkin in some form of fashion include…

 

—Bath & Body Works Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte Super Smooth Body Lotion…available at Bath and Body Works…(go figure)

 

—Burt’s Bees® Burt’s Bees Lip Balm, Pumpkin Spice with Beeswax, $2.97, available at W-almart

—EcoLove Shampoo Orange Collection

Ecosevi Pumpkin Seed Shampoo-

—Good Earth Beauty Shampoo Pumpkin Chai Natural…available at Amazon

—Hempz Pumpkin Spice & Vanilla Chai Body Moisturizer…available at Ulta

—Native Deodorant Kit…available at Native

—Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Enzymatic Dermal Resurfacer…available at Sephora

—Sara Happ Pumpkin Spice Lip Scrub Kit…available at QVC

 

 

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

Now as far as DIY ideas…

Pumpkin Body Scrub…Combine…

    • 1C brown sugar
    • 1/2C coconut oil, room temp
      1Tbsp cinnamon
      1 vitamin E capsule
    • ½C pumpkin puree

Scoop body scrub into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to four days. Before using, let the mixture come back it warm up to room temp and stir if needed.

This scrub is best when used immediately because the longer it sits, the more the sugar will dissolve and the less exfoliating the body scrub will become.

The scrub will last for about two months as long as the airtight container hasn’t been opened.

 

 

Pumpkin Hair Conditioner…Combine the following ingredients…

  • 1/2C pumpkin puree
  • 1/4C yogurt
  • 2Tbsp honey
  • 1Tbsp coconut oil

Pumpkin Hair Serum…This hair serum helps repair dead ends and control “fly-away” hair.  Using apricot seed oil instead of pumpkin oil keeps the pumpkin oil from making your hair feel so weighted because the oil is so much lighter.

To use the serum, lightly spritz water in your hair…and then comb the pumpkin serum through your hair.

Pumpkin Hot Oil Treatment…Combine equal amounts of coconut oil and pumpkin puree. Heat on top of your oven over low heat. Let cool slightly. Apply to soaking wet hair, working from the ends to the roots. Wrap hair in a hot towel, Wait twenty minutes. Rinse well.

Pumpkin Oil Hair Vitamin Mist…Fill a spray bottle with two ounces of pumpkin seed oil and 1Tbsp coconut oil. Fill the bottle with distilled water. Shake before each use.

Pumpkin Puree Hair Mask…Mix together…

  • 1tsp argan oil
  • ½C pumpkin puree
    2tsp coconut or olive oil (unrefined)
    1tsp cinnamon
    1 Vitamin E capsule

Apply the concoction on your hair, making sure to cover your strands from tip to roots. Put on a shower cap to keep the goop from dripping all over while you wait. Wait at least 25 minutes before shampooing your hair. Use this mask once or twice a week to help make your hair soft, shiny and silky.

Pumpkin Seed Oil Hair Mask,,,Another option as far as a hair mask would be to use…

1 Tbsp. pumpkin seed oil
1/2 apple puree
1 tbsp. shea butter
1 egg

Process half of the apple in your blender. Add shea butter and pumpkin seed oil. Whisk egg by itself. Stir the egg into the mixture. Apply to freshly washed hair. Leave in for twenty minutes. Rinse out.

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

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

I Don’t Even Know How to Boil Water

Yeah, I know…I said that we would crawl our way up the Raw Foods Pyramid one food at a time…one tier at a time…

But…

My family will never be content to eat nutritional yeast and raw sweet potatoes for the rest of their lives.

So instead I have been getting acquainted with all the different cooking methods…what foods work best for which technique…how to use each method in creating not only meals that are healthier, but also more delicious.

I began looking at these different cooking methods by starting with what I thought were “moist cooking methods”…specifially sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

Let’s consider a few characteristics that make certain cooking methods “moist” cooking methods…

  • 1. Moist-heat cooking methods involve cooking food with, or in, some type of liquid—such as steam, water, stock, or wine. Lately I have learned that many people do not consider these three methods to be “moist” cooking methods because…but, hey, we’ve already talked about it…so let’s move on and not join in on that debate.
  • 2. Moist-heat cooking methods involve using lower temperatures—ranging from 140°F to 212°F—(yeah, I know, we just talked about frying foods at 300-ish degrees…just go with it)…
  • 3. Moist-heat cooking methods soften tough fibers—such as meat protein or plant cellulose….which can be good or bad depending on the food that you are figuring out what to do with.
  • 4. Moist-heat cooking methods are typically simple and economical.
  • 5. Moist-heat cooking methods are more likely to preserve and maintain the water-soluble vitamins and other nutrients of the food, taking advantage of that food’s nutritional potential.
  • 6. Moist-heat cooking methods preserve and even add moisture to the food as it is cooking…important for cooking foods that need softening—such as hard vegetables, tough meat or dry grains and beans….
  • 7. Moist-heat cooking methods bring out more of the natural flavor in the food.

We have already looked at sauteeing, pan frying, and deep frying.

Some more common moist-heat cooking methods are…

  • boiling
  • braising
  • poaching
  • simmering
  • steaming
  • stewing

So let’s get boiling mad together in these next few posts, okay?!

You probably alreadty know how to do this cooking method called boiling…most of us have been boiling stuff since we were making our own macaroni and cheese out of a box when we were teenagers…assuming that you were borb before they started making macaroni and cheese is single-serving microwavable cups.

Yet boiling is a cooking method…and our goal at this point is to learn about all of the most commonly used cooking methods…

So let’s talk about boiling for a while.

 

 

 

What is boiling?

Boiling is a moist-heat cooking method that involves immersing food in a liquid that has been heated to 212 degrees F. This hot liquid then transmits its heat to the food being cooked.

This temperature is called the boiling point…the point where the pressure of the liquid equals the pressure exerted on the liquid by the surrounding atmosphere.

As liquids boil, you will see bubbles forming and then exploding on the surface of the liquid.  These bubbles are caused by water vapor rushing to the surface.

The food that you boil should be sturdy enough to withstand the aggressive water without being damaged…because the rough agitation of the water can actually damage the food.

 

Commonly  boiled ingredients include pasta, grains, green vegetables. dried pasta, dried legumes, rice, noodles, potatoes, and eggs.

 

How long you boil the ingredient depends on several facttos—such as what the ingredient is, your personal preference,  how you were brought up….(for example, back in Mississippi we cook our peas along with some bacon practially all day before serving)…how important maintaining the food’s original color, texture, and flavor…whether or not you care if you deplete the nutrients of the ingredient…and so forth…

Ingredients an either be added to cold water and heated along with the water…ior added to the water once the water has already started boilling…depending on the characteristics, of what it is that you are cooking…(more on this later)…

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Onion Rings

So our next recipe in our discussion of deep frying is how to make the perfect onion rings to serve with ‘kid-friendly foods” such as burgers…or as an appetizer…or simply because they’re so dad-gum good…(but probably not too good for you, right?)

The perfect onion rings have been double dipped in a batter that is seasoned to perfection. …the outside is crisp…while the onion itself is tender and sweet….accompanied by your favorite condiment—such as mayo, fry sauce, ranch or ketchup.

 

 

——————-

Ingredients

2 large Vidalia onions, sliced into 1/2″ rings

Oil for frying

Batter Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • egg, lightly beaten
  •  1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. fine cornmeal
  • 3/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

 

————————————

Prep

Fill your Dutch oven pan with 1″ oil. Heat, over medium heat, until  375°. Line a large plate or baking sheet with paper towels.

 

 

———————

Batter

Whisk together your dry ingredients—such as your flour, cornmeal, cornstarch, baking powder, and spices.

Whisk together your wet ingredients—such as your egg, buttermilk, and seltzer.

 

——————-

Breading

Slice and separate the onion rings.

Dip each ring first in your dry inredients and then in your wet ingredients…as we’ve already learned in this previous post about breading.

Repeat the dipping process.

Place the finished onion rings on a cooling rack until ready to fry..

 

 

—————————

Cooking

First make sure that your oil is hot enough.

If so, place the battered onion rings into the hot oil. Do not overcrowd your onion rings. This will keep them from cooking correctly.

Do not add salt while you are cooking your onion rings. This will help keep the batter on the onion instead of falling apart  in your frying pot. Wait and salt your onion rings after they have cooked.

Cook for about four minutes…until they turn a light golden brown color.

After they’ve finished cooking, take them out of the oil and set them out on paper towels to cool and drain. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve hot with ketchup and mayonnaise, if desired.