Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Ratatouille

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Baked Eggplant

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Eggplant…The How

Eggplant has slightly bitter flavor and spongy texture that many people say that they don’t care for, but how many of these people have had eggplant dishes that have been prepared so that the eggplant becomes tender when cooked and develops a rich, complex flavor…so that the eggplant absorbs cooking fats and sauces to enhance its flavor.

Eggplant can be cooked many different ways, including…

  • baking
  • barbecuing
  • currying
  • deep frying
  • grilling
  • pan frying
  • pickling
  • roasting
  • steaming
  • stewing
  • stir-frying

We have already discussed several of these cooking methods in previous posts…such as this posts about Facts to Never Forget about Frying Foods and Pan-Frying 10

In the next few posts we will be looking at the other cooking methods mentioned above as well as some recipes using eggplant….recipes including\ Eggplant Parmesan and Ratatouille.

But before you can make any of these dishes, you must obviously have an eggplant, right?!

When choosing an eggplant, look for one that is firm and somewhat heavy for its size…with smooth, glossy skin and an intense purple color….stay away from any eggplants that are withered, bruised, or discolored.

Once you get your eggplant home, stick it in the refrigerator until ready to use it.

And before you start cooking with eggplant, there are two important facts to remember.

First of all, you need to remove any bitter taste from the eggplant that you can. You can do this by first washing the eggplant, trimming off the green end, and perhaps peeling the skin. This will keep your eggplant from being as bitter and also will keep the eggplant from absorbing too much oil as it is being cooked.

Then slice the eggplant into 1/2″ disks and set them in a colander or on a cooling rack set over baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. This process is known as “sweating.” Before you start cooking, remove any moisture from the surface of the eggplant,

Another way to keep the eggplant from being so bitter and to help the eggplant maintain its shape as it is being cooked is to soak the eggplant in salt water. This process is called “brining,”

Also always use only a stainless steel knife to cut your eggplant. This will keep the eggplant from turning black.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Eggplant…The Why

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Brain Power

The skin of the eggplant can make you smsrter and keep you that way by…

  • acting as an antioxidant
  • facilitating blood flow to the brain
  • helping to carry nutrients into your brain cells
  • helping to prevent memory loss and other age-related mental decline
  • moving waste out of your brain cells
  • protecting brain cell membranes from damage
  • serving as an anti-inflammatory

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Cancer

Eggplant contains polyphenols, anthocyanins, and chlorogenic acid….all of which help prevent and fight existing cancer by…

  • acting as a anti-inflammatory
  • blocking the enzymes that help cancer cells spread.
  • preventing new blood vessels from forming in an existing tumor
  • serving as an antioxidant

 

 

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Cholesterol

The fiber found in eggplant…(2.4 grams per 1C) may help control cholesterol levels.

Eggplant also contains chlorogenic acid, a key antioxidant that lowers the levels of “bad” cholesterol and reduces your risk of liver disease.

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Eye Health

Eggplant contains two specific antioxidants—lutein and zeaxanthin—which are hrlp prevent age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.

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Heart

As far as the heart, eggplants can lower your risk of high blood pressure and heart disease because of the fiber, antioxidants, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and many other nutrient that it contains

Eggplants…

  • act as an anti-inflammatory
  • help prevent heart-threatening plaque from buildup up around the walls of your arteries.
  • relax artery walls

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Weight Control

Eggplants can contribute to weight management because of their fiber content and low calorie count. The fiber found in eggplant supposedly helps you feel fuller for longer.

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Eggplant…The What

Eggplant has had an interesting part in folklore around the world for many centuries,. For example, eggplant in India, the eggplant was believed to cause people to go insane….yet according to the Kama Sutra eggplant is erotically stimulating when rubbed onto the penis…male organ. or whatever yuou wanna call it, so much so that is causes a month-long erection.

The poor eggplant was also accused of causing health problems—such as liver problems, inflammations of the mouth, leprosy, fever, headaches, and even cancer. 

As far as to whether eggplant is a vegetable or fruit…kinda like with the tomato….it’s actually neither.

Technically eggplant is a berry…but at the same time as being a berry, it is also related to the tomato and potato…which makes it even more confusing.

Eggplant has a spongy, absorbent that makes it the perfect base for all sorts of dishes from all sorts of different cuisines around the world….(more on this later)…

As far as how eggplants are grown, they are tropical plants with a typically spiny stem, large leaves that can grow to eight inches,  and white or purple flower that grow up to four feet tall.

And when you think about eggplants, you probably picture this glossy purple long and egg-shaped thing…

But actually eggplants, like we learned with just like we learned with pumpkins, can be a variety of sizes and shapes and colors, including…

  • black…as the Burpee Hybrid
  • dark purple…the typical eggplant…which is a long football shaped vegetable that is about…that can range anywhere from 4 12″–10″ long and 2 123 1wide
  • green with white stripes,,,Louisiana Lon Green
  • multicolored…such as white at the stem and then bright pink, deep purple or even black on the actual vegetable
  • orange and the size of Ping-Pong balls
  • purple…ranging from faint purple-pink to reddish-purple and dark purple
  • white…smaller and egg-sized…also known as Easter white eggplants, garden eggs, Casper or white eggplant
  • yellow and round

So let’s start looking at why how to add eggplant to New Year health resolutions..

Feathering the Nest, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Corn Smoothie

Combine all ingredients in a blender jar. Blend for thirty seconds or until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated and the smoothie is perfectly smooth.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Chowder

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Elote…(Mexican Street Corn)

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making the Perfect Corn on the Cob

Choosing Fresh Corn

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.

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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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… 

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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.