Posts Tagged Nutrition & Recipes
In spite of all the news about overweight Americans, the truth is that we are also bombarded with news about better ways to take care of ourselves and we truly care about how we feel and what we eat. Sometimes, it takes a little while to get back on track. That’s all. It also takes the right approach. Not every trick works for everyone and healthy eating habits come in every size and shape, just like people.
We think, “I’ve tried this and that and everybody says it works for them, but it never works for me.” Then we give up. I believe that the best food choices are those that are tailored to fit and we can only find the right fit the same way we find clothes that feel comfortable, by trying them.
Opting for healthy snacks is one way to ease into comfortable eating habits. Nuts fall within this category, so we buy nuts. Within 48 hours (longer if you are lucky) of returning home with the groceries, the nut jar is empty. One handful leads to another. It is better to indulge in nuts than in donuts, right? But though nuts are a great source of fiber and protein, as well as good fats, they remain high in fat. Nevertheless, it is quite frustrating when you go to the cupboard for your healthy snack and it is already gone. Also, let’s face it, nuts can be expensive.
Then there is guilt. For me it usually kicks in after a fourth handful of cashews or walnuts. So I had to trick myself into stretching the nut supply. First thing to do before putting the bag, jar or box of nuts away? Run the entire contents through a grain mill. Then store in a jar or store right back in the original container.
The handful-o-nuts attacks are not possible anymore. Try it once. The little pieces scatter all over the place. It is quite annoying. But wait. Now you have opened the door to possibilities, for by its right of passage through the grain mill, the nut becomes more than a mere nut; it becomes a crunchy texture to add to yogurt, vegetable salads and fruit salads. One generous tablespoon suffices and there will be plenty left to add to bread recipes, muffins, cakes and cookies.
Cakes and cookies? I thought you were talking about healthy food choices! Yes. I am. It is a matter of ingredients… and dessert is a constitutional right! ha! ha!
Transforming nuts from a finger food to a dish food, by grinding them as soon as you bring them home (we do not want temptation now, do we?) changes how you eat them. They are more likely to be used in small quantities in healthy desserts and main dishes and thus will vanish more slowly.
The weekend is a good time for grazing. This is a summary of some of the delightful Blog articles I have been reading during the week. I invite you to graze through these, and also through the archives of the creative writers who wrote them.
Food canning equipment, tool carts, compost bins, growing kits, cider and fruit presses, the Squeezo Strainer, food dehydrators, juicers, smokers, cold frames, greenhouses and so many more innovations contribute to making our lives organized and healthier and to turning our homes and properties into an oasis where the living is good.
All of these things exist because we are creative and because we have a unique ability to adapt to our environment. In truth, foodies, homesteaders and gardeners who write about their experiences are telling the ongoing story of our inventive spirit. On their pages, every tool and appliance is like a paint brush; ready to express a new vision.
You can access the entire Weekend Highlights series to date by clicking on that category in the sidebar at left.
I am always amazed by the wealth of unique creative ideas at Inner Child Fun. The site is crisp and professional and each project idea is presented in a way that makes even adults want to jump in and play along. We have visited this Blog before and it is a pleasure to return to it now and again.
Summer is here and we want the children to make good use of their time. Here is just one of many ideas for hours of creative fun. Who wants a computer screen or video games when the “Cloud Dough Ice Cream Shop” is open for business? [Read Full Article]
I believe it has been a while since we’ve popped into Sharyn’s kitchen, at The Kale Chronicles. I enjoy every single Blog I follow equally, but each for a different reason. It is a lot like enjoying the character of a friend. One will stand out due to their humor, another because of his or her wisdom, another yet because of his talent. Each has something unique to offer.
I suddenly realize something as I read “Daring Bakers’ May 2012 Trolls’ Challah.‘” It was as though I consciously noticed the unique character of this Blog even though I had sensed it all along. This is precisely what led me to return to it frequently.
That the article pertains to braided bread is rather apropos. The author conveys her recipes as though she braided her thoughts, daily activities and the very act of baking or cooking into the process, bringing a true glimpse of a moment of life in each of the recipes she shares.
“Although I have made pretty challah many times, I was tired this morning,” she begins. “I have recently undertaken a vigorous exercise program, involving walking up hills at the crack of dawn. I … set the bread to rise… Then I gratefully escaped upstairs for an hour and lay on my bed reading my copy of The Sun… True to form the tea was steeping, the toast was toasted and I had just spread the cashew butter on the warm bread when the challah once again threatened to overflow its mixing bowl… In its fervor the yeast had risen magnificently but unevenly, bursting out in bulges… [Read Full Article]
We visited with The Pocket Farmer not too long ago when she found an abandoned goose egg and took it under her wing. No pun intended. If you remember, this little orphan proved to be a fighter and his human savior had great plans to ensure its well-being and eventual return to the wild, with assistance from proper authorities in such matters. Then, the phrase “circumstances beyond our control” revealed the harshness of its meaning.
Lucky is a little hen. She is also a key witness. In an attempt to make sense of incomprehensible events, The Pocket Farmer turned to her writing, lending her voice to Lucky, in Lucky’s Story. It begins, “So, the Farmers went a little crazy today. And actually it’s been weird all week. First, the dogs left for a while and the lady farmer was calling and calling for them…”
Pocket, as I like to call the author, has found a poetic way to make sense of heart-wrenching events. We think, most likely wrongly, that we shed our innocence as we become adults. In fact, we think this is necessary. Yet it is perhaps only with the eyes of innocence that we can embrace tragedy, like the little hen that observes, knows something is deeply wrong, but remains calm nonetheless. [Read Full Article]
Thank you for stopping by to read this Weekend’s Review. Please take a moment to leave a few words on the Blogs you enjoy, if you feel so inclined that is.
They can be seen on country roads. They park the car in the shade – usually the type with hatch back – pull easel, chair and supplies from the back and set up in a precise spot. They have driven up and down this road before and know exactly what angle, what location, what precise orientation to capture on canvas. The chair is for lunch, for resting the mind and the eyes and mostly for settling the body so that the senses may remain sharp.
The work begins. Layer by layer, the composition takes shape. One must think in reverse with paint, applying the background colors first and moving toward the foreground. The artist sees contour, light and shade before seeing things, trees and mountains. To the observer, and even to the novice, it seems an impossible task. So many hours into each painting. It requires so much patience, so many steps, so much accuracy. I do not have that patience, we think. Painting is at once art and science. Both demand adherence to a rigorous process.
The artist is not impatient about the outcome because the joy of the outcome is so intricately linked to the experience of the process. The final work reaches its full flavor, its full intensity and spirit, only by virtue of the steps that led to it. Every step still exists in the final image, but the image does not exist without the steps, nor does it speak with vigor to the observer who does not recognize and appreciate the steps.
Suddenly, I feel like I am writing a parable. In a way, I am, for the above observations, as you have guessed by now, apply to the art of food preparation, and particularly to the art of canning.
Canning cannot be done hastily and it does not tolerate shortcuts. This is the beauty of the process, that it requires one set aside some time. This is not time we take lightly. It is art; not an art, but art itself. We take raw materials from the garden and transform them into rich nourishment. There is a lot of the artist invested in this process and the fact that necessary steps are required between harvesting and finally placing each color-filled jar on the shelf is a sort of rite of passage, every time.
First, the jars and lids are washed, rinsed and sterilized in a large pot of boiling water. The very precision of this process makes it a sort of sacred and very personal ritual. The produce was carefully selected, cut and prepared and each jar is filled to precisely the right level. Then they are sealed; not corked or closed or topped, sealed. This is a powerful word. Like a wax seal on an official letter, bearing the mark of its noble author. Finally, the jars are heated again. It is a clean, impeccable process.
Canning is truly an act of taking life into our own hands. The artist fills the canvas with color and life that inspires and satisfies the observer’s hunger for beauty and a fresh perspective. The cook, professional or foodie, fills glass receptacles with color and life that both inspire and provide vigor.
There is a reason food photographers take so many pictures of canning jars filled with every imaginable fruit and vegetable: Beauty. Two reasons actually: Beauty and bounty. These remind us of our heritage. Even if we know little about farming and the old ways, the vibrant colors in each jar, which somehow always catch the light in a manner that mesmerizes the eye, speak volumes about the miracle of each harvest.