Monthly Archives: June 2012

Summer Squash Boats

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This is my first time ever trying turnips, that I can remember anyways. Both of these are new recipes I am trying out. I usually wait for the weekend to try new things since I have the time.

Summer Squash Boats Recipe

1 zucchini squash
1/2 c. marinara sauce
1/2 yellow squash, diced
1/4 lb. of ground beef or Italian sausage
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1 large mushroom, chopped
2 tablespoons coconut oil

Keep in mind most of my recipes are for a single to 2 person serving size.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut your zucchini in half, long ways, or as teacher like to call it hotdog style. I was a teacher at one point! Next take a spoon and scoop out the zucchini insides but leave some. Don’t scrap all the way to the skin. Place them face down on a cookie sheet and cook in the oven for 15 mins or till slightly tender.

While you zucchini is cooking, heat your skillet to medium high heat. Add your coconut oil. Next add your onions, meat, squash and mushroom. Cook until meat is fully cooked. Then add your marinara sauce. Let it simmer for about 3 – 5 mins.

Your zucchini should be ready by now. Take our your little boats and fill them with the mixture you just cooked on the stove. Then place the boats back into the oven for another 10 mins to let everything simmer and for the zucchini to be completely cooked.

Now take them out of the oven and enjoy! This could be a good way to get children to eat summer squash. I also wanted to add cut up carrots to the mix but was out at the time. Next time I will definitely add that. Also, try to find a marinara sauce that has chucks of tomato. I found that this adds a nice texture.

Recipe was inspired by: Caveman Zucchini Boats

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Grains Silent Fight Against Human Consumption

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Grains are great because the USDA food pyramid says so and because they give us fiber! Or are they? Well besides fiber, grains also have anti-nutrients. What are anti-nutrients you ask? Well here is the definition I found that about sums it up,

“Anti nutrients are substances to which we are all exposed through food and water that antagonize nutrients needed for health. Some anti nutrients bind to other nutrients, making them useless. Others tie up enzymes needed in digestion and other body functions. Some cause problems by creating a greater need for certain nutrients. Others cause nutrients to be excreted more rapidly from the body. In our world of high technology, the level of anti nutrients to which we are exposed is surprisingly high. Many of the anti nutrients have either a direct or indirect effect on immune function. Anything you can do to reduce exposure to anti nutrients will be helpful in preventing recurrent illness. “

Whoa, whoa, that is in grains? Turns out so! But why are they there you ask? 2 words… Defense Mechanism. I know that this sounds funny but hear me out. What do all living things want to do the most? Thrive, survive and reproduce. From what I remember from biology in high school and college, grains are plants… plants are living things. In order to survive, thrive and reproduce, living things develop defense mechanism to survive. Anti nutrients are plants’ defense mechanisms.

So what does this mean to humans when they consume anti-nutrients?

So there are 3 harmful anti-nutrients in grains – letchins, gluten and phytates. Each one has their own ways they fight back when consumed by humans.

Letchins – “Lectins are not broken down in the digestive process and bind to receptors in the intestine, allowing them and other food particles to leech into your bloodstream. Nothing like pre-digested food circulating the blood stream! The body views these lectins and the food they bring with them as dangerous invaders and initiates an immune response to get rid of them. This immune response to particles of common foods explains the allergy creating potential of grains.”

Gluten – Ahh now this sounds familiar huh? “Gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley, is a composite of the proteins gliadin and glutenin. Gluten and similar grain-based proteins work to break down the microvilli in your small intestine, eventually letting particles of your food leech into your blood stream (a lovely term called “leaky gut syndrome”) causing allergies, digestive disturbances or autoimmune problems. And to think, most Americans eat this stuff on a daily basis.”

Phytates -If that was bad enough here is one more to add to gains defense mechanisms. “Phytates make minerals bio-unavailable(so much for all those healthy vitamins and minerals we need from whole grains!)” This includes calcium, can you say osteoporosis?

Yes, I know this is a-lot to take in and really goes against everything we grew up knowing about grains but really think about this. We have a rising epidemic of obesity, cancer and other diseases. Obviously we need to take a step back and really think about what we are fueling our bodies with. Ultimately, you have control over what you eat. Don’t just believe everything you hear. Find out for yourself and make an educated decision. You only get one body, make sure you treat it right.

On a personal note, I’ve been off grains for 2 months now… okay on occasion I’ll have a beer or some chips and salsa but grains are by no means a part of my daily intake of food. As a result, so far my acne has cleared, my oily skin is under control, my headaches are almost non existent, my fatigue has diminished and my moods have improved. During the past 2 months I have also been taking supplements to support my kidneys and adrenal glands but without a well balanced diet I don’t see how that could of improved all my syptoms. If you are not feeling your best, I challenge you to limit your grain intake.

I really recommend reading the articles below for a better understanding of my blog topic. This post just scratched the surface. There are books and tons of articles just on grain consumption and it’s effects on our bodies.

Articles used to write this blog post and for further information:
Why are Grains Unhealthy – Mark’s Daily Apple
How Grains Are Killing You Slowly – Wellness Mama

Making the best of leftovers – homemade salad dressing

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Last night we house sitted for my parents while they went out of town. For a late dinner we decided to BBQ. Luckily there was leftovers, I love leftovers.  Sometimes the best thing to do with leftovers is to put it on a salad… so I’ve learned. One of my favorite leftover salads is bbq leftover salad. Grilled veggies, fajitas and sausage make for a delicious salad topper. One thing I always put on my salads is a homemade salad dressing. It takes literally minutes to make and is a great healthy alternative to store bought salad dressing.

Here is my easy salad dressing recipe:

2 big tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 half of a lemon squeezed
sea salt
pepper
rosemary
basil
garlic
thyme

Add all ingredients in a small cup, stir and pour over your salad. You can put whatever seasonings you like. The main thing is to make sure it is one part olive oil and one part lemon juice. The rest is optional. Another salad dressing I like to make is one part olive oil one part raspberry vinegar. It’s perfect for a cranberry and walnut salad with grilled chicken. The goal is to be creative with your salads or you will get bored with them fast.

Acorn Squash Antioxidant Porridge

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It’s the weekend! Regardless that I have been off for most of the week, I am still happy it’s the weekend. This past week I went to a beautiful weddings. Congrats to Jorrel and Alisha. So though I had a great time this week with friends… the long nights and drinking really wore me down. So yesterday I came home and did some chakra yoga and meditation and this morning I make a great breakfast packed with antioxidants to help my body recover from all the toxins and not so good for me food I ate.

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Recipe

1 half of an acorn squash
1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons coconut milk (preferably vanilla flavor)
1 tablespoon almond butter
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 tablespoon chai seeds
1 tablespoon dried goji berries
1 handful of fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 400. Take you acorn and scoop out all your seeds. Next spread the tablespoon of coconut oil on it. Place face down on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender. Mine took about 20 mins.

After your acorn is cooked till tender (you can test this by poking it with a fork) take out of the oven and scoop out all the insides into a bowl. Mash the acorn meat till it reaches a nice smooth consistency. Add the 2 tablespoons of coconut milk. Then the tablespoon of almond butter and mixed till blended.

Next add the cinnamon, vanilla extract, honey and goji berries. Stir well. Top with blueberries and chai seeds. Then savor and enjoy 🙂

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Don’t feel like you have to have every ingredient in order to do this. The main thing that is needed is the acorn meat… once you have that add what you want! Make it your own porridge. Other ideas of things you can add is a mashed banana, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, dried cherries, fresh fruit, maple syrup, coconut crystals, shredded coconut, nuts, natural jams, etc. One thing I have learned with my new found love for paleo foods is that you have to experiment. It helps you to not get bored with the foods you can eat. When you don’t eat anything processed that really limited your ingredients when you go to the grocery store. We have become accustomed to easy and available but I have found joy and peace in cooking foods I know that are good for me. Now time to go workout with my new kettlebell! 🙂 Hope everyone has a great weekend! Remember to do something for yourself this weekend! The weekend is the best time to rejuvenate and re-energize for the week… so how are you going to do that this weekend?

Recipe was inspired by: Paleo Table

Coconut Shrimp on Greens and the Harms of Vegetable Oils

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You know that usual saying… an apple a day keeps the doctor away… well my saying is starting to go a little like… a salad a day keeps me feeling good all day. I just feel better when I have my salads but having the same salad over and over can get quite boring. Here a new salad variation I have made… coconut shrimp… sorry guys this shrimp isn’t like the shrimp you get at Joe’s Crab Shack or Red Lobster… I will admit though they are tasty but anything fried in conola and vegetable oil is no bueno. They have high levels of omega 6, which omega 6 is not horrible but you do have to keep a balance with a ratio of 1:1 omega 3 and omega 6. The bad news is most of the food we consume is high in omega 6. Omega 6 is easily oxidized with heat or light exposure which can cause all kinds of problems… read more about it in this interesting article “Why You Should NEVER Eat Vegetable Oil or Margarine” I much prefer cooking with coconut oil which has tons of benefits… that’s another article in it’s self! Anywho on to the recipe!

Bare with me! I don’t do measurements, I remind you.

This recipe is for a serving of 1

Hand full of small devained, detailed shrimp
3 tablespoon almond meal
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
splash of coconut milk

Heat a pan on high medium heat. Add coconut oil.

Put the almond meal and shredded coconut in one bowl, you can add seasoning if you like… like curry or salt and pepper. Put the coconut milk and 1 egg in another bowl, then whisk.

Defrost your shrimp by putting them in a bowl of cool water. Once they are defrosted dry them off. Next dip them in the egg mixture and then in the almond meal and shredded coconut mixture.

Place in pan and cook for a couple minutes on high medium heat then turn down to medium heat. Cook till the coconut starts to slightly brown.

Place on a bed of greens and devour!

Energy Balls

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It’s Saturday and my day to relax! Even though I don’t eat processed foods, I am human and I do get cravings! Here is the after math of a craving… energy balls! I am going to try to relay the recipe in measurements but one thing about my cooking is I rarely measure anything. I guess-amate and just go with how things look. The good thing about this recipe is you don’t have to have it right on and you can add to it. Other things I want to try to add are dried berries and protein powder. Think of it as a trail mix in a ball.

Recipe:

5 dates, pitted
a dash of water, about 1 tablespoon
4 tablespoons almond butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil, liquified
1. tablespoon almond or vanilla extract
1/2 c. walnuts
1/2 c. almonds, slices preferably
1/2. unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 c. dark chocolate or semi sweet chocolate chips

Optional: roll in shredded coconut, take about 1/3 c. of shredded coconut.

For this recipe you will need a handy dandy food processor, got mine for Christmas and love it!

1 .Pit the dates, take out the seed in them. Place them in a microwaveable bowl with the dash of water. Microwave for about 45 secs.

2. Place dates in food processor and process for a couple of seconds, till almost smooth.

3. Add almond butter, coconut oil, extract and process till smooth, about 20 secs.

4. Add the rest of your ingredients… nuts and chocolate chips. Pulse process a couple of times until nuts are chopped.

5.  If you like, which I prefer, roll your balls in shredded coconut.

6. Put in a container and set in the frig to set. Also, keep them stored in an airtight container in the frig and enjoy when you like!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe is inspired by Paleo Table’s Raw Crunch Ball recipe