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
  • ————————————————-
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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?

 

 

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Finish the Dish

But what?

But what if you go to all this trouble and simply find your soup one great big inedible or at least tasteless mess…

Then what?

There are still some things that will help rescue your failed soup and to also make your soup one that you would even be happier to feed your family.

Such as what?

1.If you like crumbly cheese, add some crumbly cheese such as…

  • feta
  • goat cheese
  • ricotta salata

2If you like grated cheese, add grated cheeses such as…

  • Asiago
  • Parmesan
  • pecorino

3. If you want to add some creaminess, add… 

  • crème fraiche
  • sour cream
  • yogurt

4. If you want to add some crunch, add…

  • croutons
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • toasted sesame seeds

5. If you would like to give you soup more of a kick, add one of the following, depending on which tye of sou you are making…

  • apple cider vinegar
  • beer
  • white wine

6. If you want a brighter flavor, add a squeeze of lemon juice or a dash of vinegar.

7. If you want a savory flavor, add one of the following…

  • anchovy paste
  • fish sauce
  • miso
  • soy sauce
  • Worcestershire

8. If your soup is too salty, add one of the following and then boil for about twenty minutes more…

  • raw otato
  • finely shredded cabbage
  • cooked beans
  • rice
  • pasta

9. If your soup is too watery or simly boring, add… 

  • canned or frozen mixed vegetables
  • cooked kidney or white beans
  • corn
  • drained canned tomatoes
  • finely shredded cabbage

10. If you want to add even more flavor, add some fresh herbs, such as…

  • basil
  • chives
  • cilantro
  • dill
  • parsley

11. If the bottom of the dish has scorched…Leaving the heat on too high or not keeping an eye on the sou as it cooking often means that your sou will burn at the bottom. If this haens, salvage whatever liquid you can from the to without scraing the bottom cra into the sou, but do not scrape the burned meat and veggies into the rest of the remaining good sou, or you’ve just wasted your time and your ingredients for nothing.

12. If you would like to reduce the fat content in your soup, make the soup a day or two before and refrigerate. When you get ready to serve it, simply scrape off the fat that will rise to the top and reheat.

13. If you want your soup to taste even better, cooking and refrigerating like this makes them also taste better.

And if your soup is too hot, take a walk around the block…

Who knows…you might even find Goldilocks at your house when you get back?…Just hope that you don’t see a bear…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Mastering Ministrone

So now that we’ve bought the perfect pot, found the perfect recie, bought the best veggies, sliced and diced, and so forth…

Now what?

1.Constantly keep an eye on your soup while it is cooking. This will allow you to  adjust the spices and cooking temperature as needed.

2. Cook on low heat. Don’t think that cooking your soup at a higher temperature will ensure that everything will actually get cooked instead of being raw or hard when you are ready to serve the soup.

Doing this will instead turn your meat into tough, hard-to-chew pieces…not to mention possibly ruining the bottom of that expensive soup pot that we all went out and bought after reading a previous article, right?

Instead bring your soup slowly to a boil and then allow the soup to simmer for the rest of the cooking time.

This will allow the ingredients to maintain their structure and integrity, while at the same time combining all of the ingredients into a flavorful soup.

3. Cover or not?…Depending on the finished product that you want,  leaving the soup uncovered or covering the soup with the lid is a matter of personal  reference. Leaving the lid off will make the soup base evaporate faster, creating a thicker and more flavorful soup.

4, Dig in Deep…There are many soup recipes out there that  require taking some of the soup as it is cooking and blending it and then adding it back into the soup in order to thicken the soup. Using an immersion blender will reduce the risk of your getting burned and make this job easier and neater.

Here is a list from Good Housekeeping of some of the most highly recommended immersion blenders available…

5. Use your brain when using grains…Pasta and grains that are called for as ingredients will often overcook. Avoid this by cooking them separately and then adding them into the soup just before serving.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Making Stock

    This last year I’ve been trying to cut back on how much processed food our family eats and also to save money on groceries.
    And being that I make lots of sous and stews during the months of January and February, I’ve decided to start making my own broth and stock for sous.
    No other ingredient makes as big of a difference in the result of your soup making than its liquid. If the liquid is not very good, even the bst ingredients cannot be enjoyed either.

 

Store Bought Options…Sure, you could buy your broth or stock straight off the grocery store shelf in the standard can or paper container

But making your own is well worth the time…

 

Why?

  • Making your own stock is less expensive.
  • Most store-bought versions contain way too much salt.
  • Most store-bought versions  contain too many preservatives.
  • Most of these contain ingredients that you yourself would never want in your stock in the first lace.

If you do choose to use store-bought stock, you can add more flavor by adding extra meat, herbs, and spices…and then simmer for at least twenty minutes.

 

So now it all comes down to the how…and the how much…

As far as how much, most soups will require about eight cups of stock or broth as the liquid base, or one cup per serving.

There are four basic tyes of stock that should be in your recie reertore…

  • Beef…adds lots of richness to pasta-based soups…Martha Stewart
  • Chicken…your basic stock for almost every recie there is…Simply Recipes
  • Fish…obvious choice for chowders and soups that need extra savory flavor, such as tomato…The Spruce Eats
  • Vegetable…for soups that require some complexity such as curries and for vegetarians…Martha Stewart

Regardless which stock you make, you can always make it and freeze it for later. I like to freeze the stock in old 32-ounce yogurt containers.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee—The Why

But perhaps the biggest advantage of adding kimchee to your diet is the fact that is has been fermented.

Fermenting foods involves converting a carbohydrate into an acid or an alcohol, Food that has been fermented has a high content of lactobacilli, “good” bacteria also known as probiotics.

Probiotics are important to our overall health in many ways, including…

Health benefits of fermentation include…

  • helping you lose weight by helping to control your appetite
  • keeping our digestive systems healthy
  • preventing stomach ulcers
  • preventing yeast infections
  • reducing inflammation
  • reducing your blood sugar levels 
  • treating various skin conditions

Kimchee and Vitamins/Minerals

Kimchi is a rich source of vitamins and minerals.

Not only does kimchee provide over 50% RDA of vitamin C, kimchee is also rich in vitamin A, vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, and iron.

The vitamins and minerals in vitamin C specifically help with anti-aging, increasing longevity, lowering bad LDL cholesterol levels, preventing plaque buildup in the artery walls, helping your immune system, and reducing the risk of cardiac disorders—such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, or stroke.

Kimchee and Fiber…The high concentration of dietary fiber found in kimchee can help by…

  • cleaning out the intestines
  • helping to lower their body fat and body mass index
  • helping to prevent a drop in blood sugar
  • keeping you satisfied and full for a more extended period
  • lowering your chance of developing metabolic syndrome.
  • preventing constipation
  • promoting digestion
  • slowing down carbohydrate metabolism 
  • stimulating the body to absorb nutrients better

Kimchee and Antioxidants…The antioxidants found in kimchee protect your body against harmful free radicals and oxidative stress. These antioxidants also hel give you better looking and stronger hair and nails.

But enough about the health benefits of kimchee, let’s move on the more fun and functional stuff—like how to make our own, where to buy our own, and what to do with it once we do buy or make it…

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Kimchee-The What?

Forget cigarettes…Give me kimchee.

Forget making cookies in the weeks before Christmas…Let’s all make kimchee.

Forget quilting bees and craft nights…Let’s all get together to make kimchee.

Forget cheese…We want kimchee.

Supposedly this can all be said of the Korean nation, where the average person consumes about fotty pounds of kimchee per year. To put that in better perspective, that’s more than the typical American consumes of coffee or cocoa or nuts. cheese, eggs, shellfish, or fish.

ve-american-average-food-consumption1

Why even bring up the topic of kimchee at this point?

Because we’re talking about cabbage and refrigeration, and I always seem to have at least one jar of kimchee in my fridge at all times…and found some yesterday as I was cleaning out my fridge.

So what exactly is kimchee?

Kimchee, the traditional Korean dish, is a condiment of salted and fermented vegetables such as napa cabbage and daikon radish, sices such as chili powder and ginger, and salted seafood.

Kimchee, the national dish of both North and South Korea, is do revered by Koreans that during the Vietnam War, negotiations were made by the Korean and American government to ensure that kimchee was available to the Korean troops.

Koreans have been eating kimchee in some sort of fashion way back since 37 BC.

During this timeframe Buddhism, and the related vegetarian lifestyle, became important factors in the Korean lifestyle.

These ancient Koreans were highly skilled in the art of fermenting and pickling  vegetables in order to help preserve the lifespan of certain foods.

Koreans can, and do, actually make kimchee out of anything edible.

This fact leads to infinite possibilities and preferences depending on what region you may be and what season it is and what ingredients you have close at hand.

In fact, today there are over 180 recognized varieties of kimchee available.

The most typical type of kimchee available today is “mak kimchi,” or simple kimchee…a type of kimchee typically made with cut cabbage, radish, and scallions and a seasoned paste of red pepper, garlic, ginger, sugar, and fish sauce, salted shrimp, or kelp powder.

More than 70% of the kimchee sold on the market today is mak kimchee.

But here are a few more ingredients to consider as you would like to make kimchee yourself…

Vegetables...Even though napa cabbage is the vegetable most commonly used to make modern versions of kimchee, the cabbage was only introduced to Korea at the end of 19th century.

Other vegetables used to make kimchee can include…

  • Celery
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Mustard greens
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes (Korean radishes, ponytail radishes, gegeol radishes, yeolmu radishes)
  • Scallions
  • Soybean sprouts
  • Spinach
  • Sugar beets
  • Sweet potato vines
  • Tomatoes

Spices…

Chili Pepper…Even though chili pepper is now the expected spice in kimchee, chili pepper was not used until much later than the early days of kimchee. In fact, chili peppers were introduced to the Korean people around the year 1614 by Portuguese traders.

Gochugaru, or red pepper powder…This spice gives kimchee its expected spicy flavor. You can find this spice in Korean grocery stores and online…and in different grades of coarseness and spiciness…more on this later…

Other spices used to make kimchee include garlic and ginger. Garlic wasn’t used as a spice to make kimchee until the early seventeenth century.

Fish…

The most common fish used to give kimchee its authentic flavor is saeujeot, Korean salted shrimp. These shrimp are very small and naturally fermented.

You can find these shrimp in the refrigerator case of Korean markets….more on this later.

Two more options as far as the “fishy” part of kimchee would be kelp powder and salted anchovies.

But First…

But before we go and buy the first jar of kimchee that we see and look at recipes for making our own kimchee and finding ways to kee it from rotting in the back of our fridge, let’s see why we should eat kimchee…and all fermented foods…in the first place.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Bok Choy…The Why?!

 

1. The Serving Size…The first thing to consider when starting to weed out your pantry or fridge in the game called “What Not to Eat” is the “Serving Size.”

Serving Size cannot be ignored…sad, but true…

Knowing all of the nutritional value in the Serving Size given on the actual package does not do a bit of good if you’re not actually eating the size that they supposedly tell you that you’re supposed to be eating. If you eat the whole entire box of Cap’N Crunch cereal, you have obviously eaten way more calories than the number of calories that they had expected you to have eaten. And not only have you eaten way more calories, you have also jacked up all those other supposedly important nutrient numbers also…

The nutritional value of bok choy here is based on a serving size of 1/2C.

 

 

2. Calories...Calories provide a measure of how much energy you get from a serving of this food. Needless to say, far too many Americans consume way more calories than they could ever actually need. Yet they hardly ever even come close to meeting the “official” recommended intakes for the many different nutrients that our bodies need.

As a general reference for looking at calorie content when looking at a Nutrition Facts label, remember that…Any food item containing somewhere around forty calories is considered to be a low-calorie food item…Any food item containing somewhere around a hundred calories is considered to be “average” or moderate…Any food item containing four hundred calories or more is considered a high-calorie food item.

One-half cup of bok choy contains 13 calories.

 

3. “Limit These” Nutrients...The next section of the nutrition label details the specific nutrients contained in the food item.

The actual specific nutrients listed first are those nutrients that all of us generally eat in adequate amounts. These are shown as a percentage, showing what percentage of the amount of the recommended nutrients that food item contributes to your daily diet.
The nutrients included in this section are carbohydrates, fat, protein, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar.

  • a,  Carbohydrates…One-half cup serving of bok choy contains two grams of carbohydrates.
  • b. Fats…No daily recommendation has been formally established by the FDA at this point, so your main goal is to limit “bad” fats and get enough “good” fats…Bok choy contains absolutely zero fat.
  • c. Protein…Unless a food item makes a claim regarding its protein content—such as being “high in protein” or is marketed specifically for infants and children under four years old, this nutrient is often now shown. This is not a big deal because studies show that most of us actually do get enough protein in our diets already.
  • d. Sugar…No set-in-stone daily value has actually been established for sugar either, but obviously it’s important to limit the amount of sugar you consume each day.
    The amount of sugar shown will include both any naturally-occurring sugar and those sugars actually added to a food or drink. Check the ingredient list for specifics on added sugars…

 

 

4. “Get Enough of These” Nutrients…The nutrients listed next are those nutrients that hardly any of us generally eat in adequate amounts. These nutrients include fiber, vitamins,

a. Fiber…Fiber helps keep the digestive system running smoothly—bulking up stools, ensuring the smooth passage of food through the intestinal tract, stimulating gastric and digestive juices so nutrients are absorbed in the most efficient and rapid way, promoting healthy bowel function, and reducing the symptoms from conditions like constipation and diarrhea.

The recommended daily amount of fiber that each of us should be eating each day is 25 grams.

Bok choy provides one gram, or 4%DV of dietary fiber.

 

 

b.  Vitamins…Bok choy contains about half of your daily requirement for saeveral different nutrients—including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, and vitamin B6.

  • Vitamin A…89%…essential for a properly functioning immune system.
  • Vitamin B1…(Thiamine)…3%
  • Vitamin B2)…Riboflavin…6%
  • Vitamin B3…Niacinn…3%
  • Vitamin B5…Pantothenic acid…2%
  • Vitamin B6…15%
  • Vitamin B9…Folate —prevents certain birth defects like spinal bifida and neural tube defects….may also help prevent strokes….17%
  • Vitamin C…75%…vitamin C is an antioxidant that shields the body from free radicals.
  • Vitamin K…..44%…Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and maintaining strong bones and teeth.

 

 

c.  Minerals…

  • Calcium…11%…The recommended daily value for calcium is 1,000mg.
  • Copper…Copper helps strengthen your bone density and your blood vessels, helps keep your nerves healthy, and boosts your immune system.
  • Iron..6%…A diet low in iron can make you feel tired and have little or no energy. The RDA for iron is…13.7–15.1 mg/day in children aged 2–11 years…16.3 mg/day in children and teens aged 12–19 years…19.3–20.5 mg/day in men…17.0–18.9 mg/day in women older than 19
  • Magnesium…5%
  • Manganese…8%
  • Potassium…5%…essential for healthy muscle and nerve function, strengthening your bone density, helping relax your blood vessels and arteries and reducing your risk of circulatory problems—such as blood clotting, heart attacks, hypertension, high blood pressure, strokes.
  • Sodium…4%