Something light for Tea

You may have heard me espousing the benefits of almonds and walnuts in recipes such as salads, or the Almond and Walnut Muffin recipe, I have previously posted, but what about  the benefits of incorporating cinnamon in our diet?

cinnamon almonds.jpg

I have to confess to being quite a fan of the cinnamon, especially in the crumble toppings you might find on a apple rhubarb dessert or a gourmet muffin. Combining cinnamon with almonds and walnuts, which are a fantastic source of Vitamin E and Magnesium, was a way of creating a light, and more importantly, HEALTHY cake recipe that if cut into bite-sized servings, is only a teeny bit decadent. Altogether a Perfect combination for a healthy morning or afternoon tea. Find the Recipe below.

cinnamon walnut streusel cake
Cinnamon Nut Streusel Cake

What are the Health Benefits of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is astonishingly good for you. Would you believe that a mere teaspoon of cinnamon contains 28 mg of calcium, almost one mg of iron, over a gram of fiber, and quite a lot of vitamins C, K, and manganese?

[Source:cinnamonnutrition.com/index

In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used for its mild anti-inflammatory effects, and to treat digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas and bloating, and diarrhea. As little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control.  Improving insulin tolerance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease.  Read More here.

Streuselkuchen

Cinnamon Nut Streusel Cake

Ingredients

Base:

  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup (55grams) soft Butter
  • 1/2 Cups Milk
  • 1egg
  • 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 cups Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Top Layer:

  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoon Flour
  • 2 Teaspoons (or more), of Cinnamon
  • 2 Tablespoons soft Butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts – I used a combination of walnuts and flaked almonds

Method

Base:

  1. Preheat Oven 175 ° C and Grease or line a 9″ x 12″  or 20 x 30 cm slice tray
  2. Cream butter and sugar in mixer
  3. Add remaining base ingredients and mix well
  4. Spread out evenly in the tray.

Streusel Topping:

  1. Mix Streusel topping ingredients together
  2. Spread about 1/4 of the Streusel topping onto the base layer and lightly swirl through with a skewer or knife.
  3. Spread the rest of the Streusel topping thinly over the top of the base.
  4. Bake for 20 – 35 minutes or till cooked through, when pierced with a skewer
  5. Allow Cake to cool and cut into small squares to serve.

 

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Something healthy and delicious to savour about

~ Amanda

 

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Pumpkin – Eat Yourself to Good Health

Showing signs of fatigue, dark circles or puffiness, allergies, nasal congestion?

Then pumpkin is for you.  It’s contains 245 % of  the average person’s daily needs of Vitamin A, as well as antioxidants, alpha and beta-carotenes, and it’s a fantastic source of vitamins C, K, and E. Furthermore, it has magnesium, potassium, and iron, and fibre.

PicsArt_04-22-02.39.13

Being such a fantastic source of good nutrition, one has to wonder why the humble Pumpkin is so maligned?  Children often turn up their noses at the thought of it and the Irish once considered it only good for pig food! Perhaps it is a little boring: after all, there is only so much roast Pumpkin one can eat. 

Here are a few creative ways for incorporating Pumpkin into your diet.

Ways to Eat Pumpkin

  • Once you roast it,  leftover Roast Pumpkin goes well in a Spinach and Rocket Salad sprinkled with a bit of Feta and balsamic vinegar. Delicious!
  • Incorporate it into a Roast Vegetable Frittata – Find that recipe here
  • Add some diced Ham, Mushroom and Caramelised onion pieces to a Roast vegetable pie.
  • Replace Pumpkin in any recipe that needs squash.
  • Dice into small 1 inch pieces and roast with Rosemary and Thyme til crisp. Sprinkle with Sea salt and eat as a healthy alternative to  Hot Chips.
  • Pumpkin seeds called Pepitas can be used to make Crispbread, Salads, Muffins or as a healthy afternoon snack.
  • Being a sweet vegetable it is great to use in Cakes, Scones or Pumpkin Pie.

When talking sweet Pumpkin recipes, my absolute favourite is Pumpkin Scones. Here is how I make them: –

Pumpkin Scones Recipe

scones

Ingredients:

  • I cup of mashed Pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • pinch of Salt
  • 2 cups Self-raising Flour

Method

  • Beat first three ingredients together.
  • Add Egg, Salt and Flour and mix gently.
  • Add a teaspoon or two of Milk*, enough to make a wet Scone Dough that you can easily roll out to a floured board. * Often it is already of a good consistency and no milk is needed.
  • Roll out to 3/4 inch or 3 cm thickness on a floured board and cut into circles.
  • Place on a greased tray and brush tops of Scones with a little dab of Milk.
  • Bake in Hot Oven 250 degrees for 10 minutes

Hint:

To make Pumpkin puree to use in Scones:

Prepare to roast a whole Pumpkin by stabbing it with a knife once or twice to vent the steam, put the whole Pumpkin on a baking sheet, cook in a moderate oven at 175 C for an hour or so, until you can easily stick a knife into it.  Cool, then scoop out the seeds and string middle or pull out with tongs.

pepitas

Pumpkin Seeds

(Pepitas)
Pumpkin seeds, called Pepitas, are loaded with minerals, and it’s claimed they have an anti-inflammatory effect, as well as help to protect against prostate cancer and osteoporosis. A quarter cup of seeds has about 1.5 grams of fibre.

Hint: To prepare the seeds:

Let them dry on paper towels, then oil and salt them (add any other seasonings you want) and slow roast them in a 150 C oven until they smell good – about 45 to 60 minutes.

Stir them every 15 minutes or so. Cool and Store in an airtight jar.

Selection and Storage

  • Choose a Pumpkin that has firm skin, (no wrinkles), and feels heavy for its size. Knock on it with your knuckles.  If it sounds woody, it is ready to eat.  Stay away from the larger pumpkin, as a smaller and denser is better, in this case.
  • Whole Pumpkins should keep for up to 6 months, if kept in a cool, dry place.
  • A sheet or two of newspaper underneath the Pumpkin will absorb any dampness.
  • Once cut, Pumpkin will only keep for a few days, unless you remove the seeds and stringy centre and leave unwrapped in the lower part of your fridge.
  • Cooked Pumpkin will keep in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days.

To read nutritional information about Pumpkin, click here.

Grow Your Own Pumpkin plants

The plant is a fast-growing vine, in my yard; it self-sows from my compost bin, creeping along the ground surface.  But throw a few Pumpkin seeds in the garden and nature will do the rest for you. You may have to water them as the vines do get thirsty.

PicsArt_04-22-02.38.29.jpg

 

Pumpkin’s health benefits are Something we should all Ponder About

 

StPA

Healthy Afternoon tea:-Almond and Walnut Muffins

If you could find a way to incorporate  a food that provided you with magnesium and Vitamin E, could lower your blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol you would eat it, wouldn’t you? And what if that food could also reduce hunger and assist with weight loss? It would be a miracle!

But it is not. This ‘miracle’ food is almonds and unless you are allergic to nuts, this is a great way to incorporate almonds into your diet, even if you don’t like eating whole almonds themselves.

Almond and Walnut Muffins

Ingredients:
  • 150g Anchor Lighthouse Self Raising Flour
  • 50g Almond meal (ground almonds)
  • 85g brown sugar
  • 1 tsp Mixed Spice
  • 55 g chopped nuts – I use a mix of walnuts and pecans
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup (125mL) milk
  • Pinch salt
Method:
  1. Sift all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine butter, eggs and milk.
  3. Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Line muffin tray with paper muffin cases.
  5. Fill cases to 2/3 full
  6. Bake at 170ºC  for 20-25 minutes or until inserted skewer comes out clean

Sprinkle with cinnamon for an additional health benefit!

Something delicious and healthy to Ponder About

 


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Acidosis? Examining our Modern Diet

Scallops and waldorf salad
Scallops and Waldorf salad

Recently I have been wondering about how the modern Western diet can be extremely acidic and what implications this has for our bodies?

Our bodies try to maintain a natural acid and alkaline balance. If it doesn’t, our body would not function. This is true, as I once was called on to resuscitate an elderly citizen who had suffered a heart attack, due to prolonged acidosis.

However, our incredibly complex bodies have a variety of back up plans in order to maintain our pH balance.

Lemons, while acidic can be alkalinising once ingested

In the presence of a lot of acidic foods, the body will:

  1. Use up all the available alkaline reserves in the body.
  2. he body will attempt to eliminate excess acids from your blood.
  3. Acid will be stored in your body’s fat cells.  This then has implications for anyone attempting weight loss. Why? Because the body reacts to avoid the influx of acid that might be released during sudden weight loss. An acidic body holds onto excess weight, making dieting extremely difficult. Explains a lot, doesn’t it?
  4. Swiss cakes
    Sweet cakes in a Patisserie in Switzerland

    Your body finds an alkalinising agent, such as calcium. It will try to redress the pH imbalance by leaching calcium from your bones, which can be a contributing factor to osteoporosis.

Common symptoms of Acidosis or high levels of Acid*

NB these symptoms can also indicate another medical condition so always see your Doctor or health professional for further investigation

  • fatigue, and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • fatigue or weakness after eating meals
  • frequent colds, low immunity
  • poor circulation (cold hands/feet)
  • low blood pressure
  • burning sensation during urination
  • kidney stones
  • headaches
  • pallor
  • Gastro intestinal issues such as stomach cramps, reflux, diarrhoea, ulcers
  • agitation, nervousness anxiety, depression
  • lack of joy
  • lack of ambition
  • dental problems, bleeding or inflamed gums, cavities,cracked lips, loose teeth,
  • muscle cramps and spasm,
  • tension in neck and shoulders
  • joint pain, (arthritis like)
  • nail and hair problems
  • vaginal discharge (candida)
  • tendency to insomnia, restless sleep
  • tendency to itchy skin, acne
  • tendency to allergies, runny nose, chronic bronchitis
  • Minestrone soup – Tomatoes  and mushrooms are higher in acid compared to other similar foods

How Acidic is your diet? Find more info here

This post is not meant as a health guide, just sharing information, and giving us Something to Ponder About

What’s for Dinner? – Salmon [Fiesta Friday]

salmon pie

I think it must be a common family scenario, but I’m not sure?

Location: A suburban family kitchen. Time: 5pm, any day of the week. The pantry door swings open and shut several times; a low groan is emitted from a junior family member, quickly followed by a, “There’s nothing to eat,” kind of mantra.  As the cook of the house, my first reaction, to hearing this mantra, is to ignore it and keep working. I find that is best.

But as each family member wanders into the kitchen, clearly starving and desperate for a crumb of sustenance after a long day at work, my resolve wavers.  Collectively, their next move is to inspect the pantry, a second time, with the due diligence of police detectives at a crime scene, and it is then they hit me with the ‘kicker’, that eternal question, the one that makes me inwardly cringe………..

This is me inwardly cringing
This is me inwardly cringing

“What’s for dinner, Mum?”

And it is not only them. So attuned to hearing the ‘What’s for dinner?’ mantra, the canine members of my family become edgy at this hour too, and begin to pace up and down at the kitchen entrance, chiming in, in their own special way, to pressure me for food.

It is at this point, I have to steel myself and feign deafness, [clearly unsuccessfully], as I am always asked a second time, a little more urgently, “Hey, Mum. What’s for dinner?”

“Salmon,” I have to say, on this particular day, albeit through slightly gritted teeth, to which the response is anything from a contorted grimace, (coming from the fish-hating child), to unenthusiastic moans/yawns from the adolescent man-child/children.

canned_salmon_l1
Source:http://img.thrfun.com/img/089/862/canned_salmon_l1.jpg

Salmon!

It may be the ‘Steak and three veg’ of the hipster movement,  and it’s almost certainly still a popular dinner for both the weight-conscious and the seafood lovers of the world, but in my family, salmon is, ostensibly, boring and unappetizing, for dinner. [I can’t understand this, myself.] Now, thanks to a dear friend sharing her treasured family recipe with me, I can serve a seriously good Salmon Pie, that effectively nips the ‘What’s for Dinner’ groans, in the bud.

I hope you feel tempted to try it for yourself. It may just be something you ponder about for dinner.

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Salmon Pie

[Salmon is considered by some to one of the world’s healthiest foods, and contains Vitamin B12, D, Niacin, Omega -3 fatty acids, Phosphorus and Vitamin B6]

To make the Pie Crust:

1 and 1/2 cups of Plain All Purpose Flour

1/2 Teaspoon Paprika

1 cup Grated Cheese (I use tasty)

125 g Butter

Method:

Rub butter into flour, until it is well mixed. It should still be crumbly at this point, not mixed up together into a dough*

*[A food processor is the easiest way to do this, especially if the butter has not yet softened].

Press 3/4 of this mix into a greased pie dish with your fingers, to form the base and sides of the pie. Reserve the remaining 1/4 of the mix for the topping.

Pie Filling:

220 grams Salmon (flaked and boned)

I Onion, finely chopped

3 Eggs

375 g Sour Cream

1/2 cup Grated Cheese

2 drops Tabasco Sauce (optional)

Combine all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl and pour on top of the base.

Crumble the remaining 1/4 of  the pie crust mix over the pie filling.

Bake for 40 – 50 minutes at 180° Celsius or until slightly browned.

Allow to cool and serve warm with a Garden/Greek salad or cold.

 

 Linking to FiestaFriday.net

For more fantastic menu ideas visit:

hostessatheart

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