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…

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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

Kimchi—The What Else—Spices—Dried Chiles

fn the last post I gave a list of sites where you could buy kimchee…

But some of these sites I found quite interesting.

So being the foodie that I am, I did some research on other spices and ingredients that you might be interested in so that browing through these Korean sites might not seem so overwhelming…

Let’s begin this shopping trip through the Asian market or Korean website by discovering the spices commonly used in Asian cuisine, beginning with dried chilies.

Chile peppers are a key ingredient in Asian cuisine.

But there are literally hundreds of varieties of chile peppers available, so how do you know which chile to use for what recipe?

Here are a few of the most common varieties typically found in Asian markets and on websites.

 Aleppo

  • Character…sweet and fragrant, fresh and fiery on the nose, but they’re not too hot
  • Country Most Relate….Syria and Turkey
  • Form…only available ground
  • Uses…great on pizza

Ancho

  • Taste…mild, smoldering heat
  • Same as…dried Poblanos
  • Texture…meaty texture
  • Flavor…rich
  • Uses…sauces

Árbol:

  • Also called ..Kung pao chiles
  • Form…usually found and used dried
  • Size…small, short, thin, and needle-like
  • Taste…intensely hot chiles
  • Uses…homemade hot sauces and spice mixes

Bird

  • Color…either red or green
  • Shape…very small and slender
  • Size…usually less than 1″ long
  • Taste…incredibly spicy

Guajillo

  • Form…:long and thin
  • Color…dark-red
  • Taste…hotter than anchos

Japanese

  • Color…rusty orange-red color with a bright sheen
  • Shape…slender and narrow with a pointed tip
  • Size…about 2″ long

Morita

  • Color…dark
  • Texture…like raisins
  • Flavor…-rich, sweet, and smoky

Pasilla

  • Shape…long and thin
  • Color…dark to the point of being jet-black
  • Taste…spicier than anchos, with a more brooding, chocolate-like character
  • Uses..moles and with beef

Urfa

  • Flavor…not-too-hot
  • Source…Turkey
  • Taste…dark, smoky, and redolent of prune and raisin
  • Uses…kebab mixes and with yogurt

 

Here are a few tips to remember when buying dried chiles…

  • Avoid peppers that are totally dry or look old or shriveled.
  • Buy small amounts when trying differenyt kinds of peppers to not only see which type of pepper you like best, but also to make sure that they stay fresh before you use them.  Note that chile actually have a much shorter shelf life than the eight months to a year stated on the package.
  • Darker colors—such as black and purple—typically mean richer flavors, as opposed to the more fiery red-hued specimens.
  • Look for dried chile that are floppy and moist, like raisins and other dried fruit in the market.
  • Make sure that you can bend and flex the peppers without breaking them.

 

 

De-Seeding…Before you can use your chilies in a recipe, you must de-seed them in order to make them less intensely hot.

The hottest parts of the pepper are closer to the stem, in the seeds,  and along the white membrane on the inside of the pepper

To de-seed the peppers, cut the stem off of the pepper and then simply remove these areas.

 

 

Other Forms…You may also find chile in other forms, in addition to these chiles that we’ve been talking about that can be found in packets or in the dried fruit section.

A few of these other options that will probably be available are chile flakes, chile paste, and chile oil.

 

Chile Flakes...Chile pepper flakes allow you to control the amount of heat in your dish and add small doses of pure heat.

To make your own chile flakes, toast árbol or pequin peppers over medium-high heat, tossing frequently, for about a minute and then pound them into a fine powder with a mortar and pestle.

 

Chili Oil…To make your own chili oil, heat canola oil unti it’s almost smoking, then add whole árbol chilies, Sichuan peppercorns, and ginger. Remove it from the heat. Set the oil in a jar once it cools.

Heat and add more oil and more chilies whenever the jar starts to run low.

 

 

Chili Paste...Chili paste is a spicy concoction consisting of chiles, garlic, oil, and salt. The paste is mor versatile than actual chiles, as well as more convenient because it is ready to be used without any chopping or heating.

Chili paste allows you to get more flavor and heat in every mouthful without any ground-chili grit.

To make your own chili paste, soak dried chilies until they’re soft, and then blend them into a paste.

 

 

Chile Salsa…Soak chiles in a bit of hot water and blend them up into a salsa or hot sauce. Adding inegar or citrus juice extends shelf life.

 

Chile Vinegar...Add a few whole árbols or pequin chiles into your favorite bottle of vinegar. Let sit a week or two before using

 

 

 

Tips on Using Chiles in Cooking…

  • Add them to the oil before adding the other ingredients.
  • Be careful how many dried chiles you add. The more dried chiles you use, the hotter your food will be.
  • Chiles are usually not meant to be eaten whole, just to add flavor…kinda like bay leaves…

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

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%
Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Senoritas with Pepitas and Margaritas

Fresh pumpkins, like fresh coconuts, can often be a “pain in the butt” and is something that most of us are going to do very rarely…like probably once a year at Halloween.

So the very few times that we do actually chop the head off and then dive into its “skull” with a metal object, let’s be sure to take full advantage of this moment.

By gathering the seeds and roasting them.

(Sure, I know you can buy pumpkin seed all year long, but we are trying to progress into a zero-waste country, so how dare you simply throw them away?)

Those pumpkin seeds that so many of us simply throw away actually make a healthy, delicious snack…not to mention a key ingredient in many gourmet entrees—especially in countries of Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

1.Choosing Your Pumpkin…You can roast the seeds of any pumpkin, but if you’re actually going to cook with the pumpkin, be sure to read my previous posts.

2. Finding the Rest of the Stuff That You Will NeedIn addition to the obvious pumpkin, you will need a sharp knife, an ice cream scoop, a colander, and a towel..

3. Prepping the PumpkinHow you get your seeds out of your pumpkin depends on what you are planning to do with the pumpkin itself.

Attack the pumpkin from the top If you’re planning on carving your pumpkin to make a jack o’ lantern. Slice the pumpkin in half if you’re planning on roasting it.

Regardless of how you dive into your pumpkin, now use an ice cream scoop to start scraping out the pumpkin guts. In order to get all of the seeds, you’re probably gonna have to actually get your hands into the gooey mess also.

Collect the seeds in a colander as you get them out.

Once you have collected all, or at least most, of the seeds, rinse your seeds under cold running water to remove any pulp and fiber.

Pat the washed seeds dry with paper towels as you are sreading them out on a ungreased 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan.

Toss the seeds with melted butter, Himalayan or other natural salt, and pepper.

If you want youtr pumpkin seeds to have more flavor, you could also sprinkle them with grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, brown sugar, cinnamon, Cajun seasoning, and/or whatever else you want.

Stir to coat.

4. Prepping the Oven…Preheat oven to 350°F.

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

6. Baking…Roast the pumpkin seeds at about 200 degrees for about twenty minutes, or until light golden brown and crisp, stirring once. You could also “roast” your pumpkin seeds in the microwave . To do this, place them in a single layer in a glass pie plate. Microwave them for about two or three  minutes, stirring after each minute, until the seeds are dry and crunchy.

7. Cooling…Cool at least ten minutes before serving.

8. Storing…Once you have roasted your pumpkin seeds and allowed them to cool, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The seeds are usually best within the first two months, even though they may stay edible for several months.

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Purely Pure Pumpkin Puree

Since this year I have tried to stay away from processed and prepackaged foods, I decided that it would be fun to take advantage of the millions and billions of pumpkins that are available this time of year.

I had read that there was something different about the texture and flavor of pumpkin pies and other baked goods made from pureew.

At first I thought that pumpkins are a pain in the butt, and the only people who would ever take the time to make their own pumpkin puree would be those over-achievers who pretend that they are Martha Stewart and are lost in the dark ages.

But then I remembered my mom always telling me that the secret to making awesome food is to have awesome ingredients, and there is no way that I would ever eat the pumpkin puree that you can buy in a can.

Making pumpkin puree while pumpkins are available on just about every street corner makes total sense and allows you to enjoy better, especially when you take the time to make enough pumpkin puree to stock your freezer. All year long you will have a much better pumpkin ingredient available as you are baking such things are pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin dip, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin butter, and so forth.

1,  Choose your pumpkins…You can roast as many small pumpkins at a time as you want. Tyically each pound of uncooked pumpkin will yield one pound of mashed and cooked pumpkin.

Make sure that the pumpkins that you use are the small “sugar” or “pie” pumpkins that are “bred” specifically for baking and cooking…not the larger pumpkins grown specifically for carving jack-o-lanterns.

These larger pumpkins are not the right texture and do not taste nearly as good.

 

 

2.  Prepare to cook it…

  • Slice a small piece of skin off one side of the pumpkin so when laid on its side, the pumpkin will lay flat without rolling.
  • Remove the stem,
  • Slice the pumpkin in half.
  • Scoop out the seeds and pulp from the center with a large metal spoon, ice cream scoop, or melon baller. Place all the seeds into a bowl for roasting later.
  • Repeat until all the pumpkin pieces are largely free of seeds and pulp.
  • Rinse the pumpkin under cool water to rid the skin of any residual dirt. Dry well with a clean towel.
  • Place pumpkin halves, cut side down, in a roasting pan,
  • Add 1 cup of water to the pan.
  • Rub the cut surfaces with oil.
  • Sprinkle the pieces with kosher salt.

 

 

3.  Cook your pumpkin….At this point you are ready to cook your pumpkin. This can be done in at least three different cooking methods—boiling, roasting, and steaming.

 

a.  Boiling your puree..Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pumpkin to the boiling water, Cook for about 25 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

b.  Steaming  your puree,…Place the pumpkin pieces in either a steamer or a metal colander placed over a pot of boiling water. Cover. Let steam for about 50 minutes or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a knife.

c.  Roasting your puree…Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pumpkin halves until you can easily insert a paring knife into the pumpkin, This can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on just how large your pumpkin halves actually were.

 

 

4.  Preparing the Puree…

Now that your pumpkin has cooked, your goal is to squash it…until the entire pumpkin has basically turned into baby food.

Let the cooked pumpkin halves cool for at least an hour.

Use a large spoon to remove the roasted flesh of the pumpkin from the skin.

Now smoosh it into smithereens…

This can be done using a food processor, blender, immersion blender, potato masher, or even a fork.

Continue pureeing until all the pumpkin is totally smooth.

If you want your pumpkin more watery, add a few tablespoons of water at a time.

If you want your pumpkin less watery, strain it over a fine mesh strainer to get rid of some of the liquid.

 

 

 

5.  Now what?

At this point you have a choice to either refrigerate and use the pumpkin within the next seven days or to freeze it in Ziploc bags, where it will keep for three months.

If freezing it, store about one cup of pumpkin in each bag.

I honestly find that a smarter idea would be to go ahead and start holiday baking with the fresh pumpkin puree. These five days of baking can save you much needed time later on in the holiday season.

 

After, it’s the most wonderful time of the year…to be getting ready for the most wonderful time of the year…

My how quickly this year has flown!!!

Sweet, Sweet Sunday

How to Pick the Very Best Apples

Regardless which apple you are picking your apples from—Honeycrisp, Empire, Golden Delicious, Ambrosia, Spartam Mitsu, Jonagold, Ida Red , Fuji, Granny Smith…

And regardless which recipe you will be making with the apples that you have chosen…

There are always certain things to keep in mind when picking apples.

These things to keep in mind when picking apples include…

 

1.Quantity…Avoid those pre-bagged bags of fruit. They think that they are doing you a huge favor bagging the fruit for you so that you won’t have to inconvenience yourself, right?!

Wrong!!!

How long does it take to bag fruit, in the first place??!

Exactly?!

They just want to fund a way to sell apples that are still in good enough shape to be sold in a bag with more of the motley crew, but would never make it to the cart if you actually had to  pick that apple up with your own hand.

 

 

2. Season…It is important to buy your fruits and vegetables while they are “in season” in order to find the best quality.

Fruits and vegetables that are available “out of season” have been typically traveled quite a while from where they have been grown to where they are being sold, meaning that these fruits and vegetables usually, if not always, lacks the flavor of fruit in season.

We are now in the peak few months of apple pickin’ season—August until October.

After October, most of the apples that you will find available have been harvested in October and stored so that there can always be a supply of apples available, but these are hardly ever as good as the apples that you can find now…

 

3. Maturity…Another factor to consider when selecting apples is maturity, how ripe the apple actually was when it was picked from the tree.

Maturity is important because once an apple has been taken off the tree, that apple will not continue to ripen.

If the apple is not actually ripe when taken off the tree, the apple will not have a good flavor, texture, or color.

If the apple is not actually ripe when taken off the tree, the apple will not have the same storing capability and the skin will start looksing wrinkled after being kept only a short time in storage.

 

 

4. Texture…To tell if an apple will have a good texture, simply pick it up and make sure that it feels firm , and not squishy.

Another way to check the texture of the apple and make sure that the apple is ripe would be to flick the apple near the stem and listen for a dull thud.

 

5. Blemishes…Check the apple for any markings—such as bruising, blemishes, holes where insects may have entered, and any other -obvious signs of decay.

 

6. Weight...Pick the fruit up. If it’s heavy for its size, then you have successfully found yourself a good piece of fruit.

 

7. Color…Even though color is not always the best indicator of great produce, color can still be important.

Buy only apples that are brightly colored., not dull.

Brightly colored fruit has absorbed lots of sunlight, important for developing the  flavor of the fruit.

Dullness may indicate that the apple ss past its prime..

 

 

8. Smell…Smell the apple to make sure it smells fresh, not musty.

Note that not all apples will smell the same. The scent of the ale will vary between one variety and another. For example, Gala apples will have a stronger fragrance than most other varieties. Just make sure that the apple doesn’t stink.

Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Not Only Can You EAT Water…You Can Also DRINK Mushrooms

 

 

In the previous posts of the different types of coffee, one stood head and shoulders above the rest as far as most interesting…one that I had never even heard of—mushroom coffee.

As I said in that post, mushroom is simply regular coffee that has been infused with medicinal mushroom extract powders.

Mushroom extract powders can be created by isolating and spray-drying different types of medicinal mushrooms—such as Cordyceps, Chaga, Lion’s mane, Turkey tail, and Reishi.

Sounds extremely weird, but according to several of the reports that I read, mushroom coffee actually is prepared and tastes like regular coffee, not like mushrooms at all…with about half the caffeine found in regular coffee.

Scientific studies have shown that these medicinal mushrooms—such as chaga, reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps—are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, gut-friendly. These mushrooms also contain more than acai, blueberries, and cacao.

Although mushrooms have been used in Oriental medicine for millenniam, mushroom coffee has been around since World War II. Coffee was scarce, and many things were used as a substitute for coffee beans, including mushrooms, out of necessity. Mushrooms were first used as an alternative to coffee in Finland.

Mushroom coffee provides the health benefits of coffee, as well as the health benefits of the mushrooms…meaning that mushroom coffee contains extra nutrients and minerals.

  1. Antioxidants…Mushroom coffee contains many antioxidants—perhaps more than green tea, black tea and herbal tea.
  2. Brain Power…Mushroom coffee contains high levels of antioxidants and other compounds that may enhance your focus and thinking capabilities.
  3. Cancer…Elements found in certain mushrooms, such as the ergosterol peroxide found in chaga mushrooms, stimulate the immune system and has the ability to stop cancer from developing.
  4. Digestive System…Mushrooms contain high levels of special polysaccharides, more specifically those called beta-glucans or homopolysaccharides, that act help boost digestive health in various ways—such as decreaseing glucose levels, cholesterol and triglycerides.
  5. Nerves…Most mushroom coffee consists of a mixture of half coffee, half mushroom extract. This means that whenever you switch to mushroom coffee, you are probably only consuming  half of the caffeine that you normally do. Drinking less caffeine will improve focus and decrease the likelihood of having nervous energy after drinking a cup.
  6. Respiratory System…Mushroom coffee enables the body to use oxygen more efficiently.
Getting Healthy, Sweet, Sweet Sunday

When Life Gives You Way Too Many Lemons

Sometimes life gives you lemons…then there are times when life gives you more lemons than you can handle.

Just like when you buy one or lemons at a time, you’ll probably end up using them before they go bad, but if you try to save money and buy the big bag of lemons, you’ll probably end up throwing out how many?!

Anyway, what should we, or can we, do when life gives us more lemons than we could possibly handle?!

Those answers will be shared later, but first I wanted to share a little bit more about the nutritional value of lemon water and tips on how to use/make/keep more lemon water on hand.

Nutritional Value

Lemon water can quench thirst better than any other drink, but lemon water also provides our bodies with plenty of vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, and vital trace minerals—such as iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

1.Vitamins…One cup of fresh lemon juice provides 187 percent of your daily recommended serving of vitamin C and 6% DV of vitamin B6.

Vitamin C...Vitamin C is important for many different reasons. These include…

  • decreasing the severity and duration of respiratory infections like the common cold
  • helping to produce collagen, which is important for smoothing out fine lines in the face and keeping your skin healthy
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing the health hazards that are a result of stress
  • reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • strengthening your immune system

2. Antioxidants…Lemon juice contains powerful antioxidants that helps protect cells from damaging free radicals….keeping your skin looking fresh, and helping slow down the aging process, and strengthening your immune system.

3. Electrolytes…Electrolytes are hydrating minerals—such as calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

4. Citric Acid…Lemons are loaded with citric acid. Citric acid provides many health benefits. These benefits include helping your body with digestion by interacting with various enzymes in your body and stimulating the secretion of gastric juice…and preventing kidney stones by increasing urine volume and hydrating you enough so that your body can flush out kidney stones quicker.

Finally, that same one cup of lemon juice contains…

  • 61 calories
  • 21 grams carbohydrates
  • 0.9 gram protein
  • 1 gram dietary fiber
  • 31.7 micrograms folate (8 percent DV)
  • 16% DV of copper.
  • 5% DV thiamin (5 percent DV)

Thirteen Tips on Filling Your Tumbler

  1. Add even more flavor to your lemon water by adding a few springs of mint, a teaspoon of maple syrup or raw honey, a slice of fresh ginger, a dash of cinnamon, slices of other fresh citrus fruits such as limes and oranges, cucumber slices, and so forth
  2. Always use fresh lemons, not artificial lemon from a bottle.
  3. Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning gives the body a chance to absorb these vitamins effectively and can provide a little immune boost….
  4. Drink lemon water at warm or room temp water to avoid shocking your system.
  5. Drink lemon water consistently in order to reap any health benefits.
  6. For a sore throat, gargle frequently with lemon juice, diluted half and half with pure water.
  7. For the relief of heartburn, taking a teaspoon o lemon juice in half a glass of water.
  8. Juice several lemons at one time into an ice cube tray. Freeze. Pop a few cubes in a glass of water to have fresh lemon juice at the ready anytime.
  9. Keep your breath sweeter by drinking a glass of lemon water after meals and first thing in the morning.
  10. Replace your morning coffee with a cup of hot lemon water.
  11. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into ice cube trays and freeze. Use instead of “regular” ice.
  12. Use more than just a single wedge of lemon in your mug.
  13. When buying lemons, choose lemons that are fully yellow and, if possible, organic. If the fruit is still green, it isn’t fully ripe. Avoid lemons that look dull or wrinkled or that seem excessively hard.

There are many uses for lemons around the house other than their simply lounging in sweet tea glasses with their best friend, ice…or squishing them in the juicer to make fresh lemonade…or drinking as lemon water.

So what to do with those extra lemons that are sitting there slowly rotting on your countertop?

 

Here are a few options…

1.  Air Freshener…Cut a few lemons into quarters. Put them in a pot of boiling water to release citrus-infused steam into the air.

2.  All-Purpose Cleaner…Fill a Mason jar with lemon peels and white vinegar. Shake. Put in a cool dark place for about two weeks. Drain the liquid into a spray bottle.

3.  Ant Repellant…Squirt lemon juice on door thresholds and windowsills. Squeeze lemon juice into any holes or cracks where the ants are getting in. Scatter small slices of lemon peel around the outdoor entrance.

4.  Clogged Tub and Shower Drains...Boil a big pot of water on the stove. Pour it down the drain. Wait for the water to drain. Slowly pour 1C baking soda down the drain, using a spoon or funnel. Add 1C lemon juice. Use your tub stopper or a rag to cover the drain. Wait 30min. Uncover the drain. Pour more boiling water down the drain. Repeat until your drain is no longer clogged. Do this once a quarter to prevent those big clogs from building up again.

5.  Coffee Pot…Stir together a few tablespoons of lemon juice, a tablespoon of Kosher Salt, a few ice cubes, and a tablespoon of water in the pot..Rinse with warm water once the stains are removed.

6.  Cutting Boards…Clean after each use by scrubbing 2tsp salt onto the board with a lemon half and rinsing.

7.  Faucet Polish…Rub faucets with lemon peel. Wash, dry, and buff with microfiber cloths.

8.  Fridge…Add the juice of a lemon to a sponge. Place it in the fridge overnight.

9.  Fruit and Vegetable Spray...Mix together 2Tbsp fresh lemon juice, 2Tbsp apple cider vinegar, and 1C water in a spray bottle. Spray on fruits and veggies and then rinse. This will keep apples, avocados, and other fruits and veggies their natural color and avoid browning.

10.  Garbage Disposals...Cut three or four lemons in half. Remove the pulp. Fill each empty rind with a few tablespoons of baking soda. Place the rinds in a bowl in an out-of-the way spot. Keep the lemon halves there for a few days or until you don’t notice the citrus smell anymore. Then, if you have a garbage disposal, send the rinds down it — they’ll clean and freshen your drain on the way.

11.  Laundry Detergent Booster.…..Add 1C lemon juice to the washing machine during the wash cycle.

12.  Microwave…Combine 3Tbsp lemon juice with 1 1/2C water in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High for 5-10 minutes. Wipe away the softened food with a dishrag.

13.  Mosquito Repellant...Break block of 100% organic beeswax into pieces. Place in a glass bowl over a pan filled with simmering water. Melt over medium heat. Stir citronella oil into the melted wax.

14.  Pots and Pans…Rub the cut side of half a lemon all over them, inside and out. Buff with a soft cloth.

15.  Roach and Flea Repellant.…..Mop your floors with the juice and rinds of four lemons and 2 liters water.

16.  Stain Remover..First try to get as much of the dirt out as possible. Next cover the stain well with lemon juice, scrub it with some Kosher salt, and throw it in with the next load of laundry.

17.  Tarnished Silver…Dip a cloth into lemon juice. Rub the tarnish off. Rinse.