Early morning sunrise photography
Food, History & Traditions

Cook Eat Repeat Challenge – Healthy Breakfast Eggnog

I have been following Moons’ blog, Bits and Pieces for some time now and read her post on a traditional form of Chai style tea that originated from Calcutta, as well as the beautiful traditions that surround this drink and its preparation. She’s challenged the blogging community to write about a drink that is a favourite or one that has a special meaning, for you.

sverige
Stockholm

I do like drinking tea and now I have access to tea suppliers selling specialised leaf teas, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that I enjoy a cup of ‘Stockholm blend’ tea – (goodness, even my house is called the ‘Stockholm Design’ by the Builder). But it is not tea, that I will be writing about today, but a nutritious drink that makes a great breakfast food – a powerhouse of nutrition on the go. Perfect for busy people and kids.

craft
Placemat upcycled to a teapot cosy

Traditional Juletime Egg Nog

For many European and Americans, Eggnog is a popular drink to have at Christmas. Harking back to a 14th century concotion called Posset – a kind of curdled milk mixed with ale, Eggnog and cold, winter days just seem to go together. Maybe that’s the added whisky or rum that warms the body and the soul, perhaps? The link below is for the traditional Christmas Egg Nog recipe from Jamie Oliver, but my drink is altogether different.

As most know, or might suspect, I live in a warm climate and as such we don’t have the need to have warming drinks to get us through a snowy morning.

My take on EggNog is completely non-alcoholic, is chocked full of nutritional goodness and makes the perfect start to your morning, especially if you don’t have to time to cook, or eat, a hearty breakfast.

eggnog
Photo Credit: best-eggnog-recipe/

My version of Egg Nog looks the same as in the above picture but is way easier to prepare, packs a punch nutritionally and is suitable for children as well as adults, as there’s no alcohol added.

Healthy Breakfast Drink

Many of the working population are rushed! There’s no time to prep a cooked breakfasts. Others might not feel like eating early in the morning and can only face black coffee! This twist on the traditional egg nog prepares your body and mind for the day, fills the tummy and takes seconds to prepare.

Kid Friendly Breakfast Egg Nog Recipe

  • 1 – 2 Eggs depending on your mug size
  • 1 teaspoon Sugar – Caster sugar dissolves faster
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Milk – can be almond/coconut/full fat/skim or soy
  • Whole Nutmeg * – freshly ground from the whole nut*
  1. Break the egg in a large mug and whisk vigorously with a fork.
  2. Add the sugar and whisk again until the sugar dissolves.
  3. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract and mix through.
  4. Add milk and whisk thoroughly until combined
  5. Grate nutmeg on top to cover with a small grater
  6. Enjoy!

*One of my kids used to get a little confused calling nutmeg – egg mut. Whatever works we thought – regularly calling it ‘egg mut, ‘ until they became teenagers.

Breakfast Egg Nog Variations

Fruit Egg Nog: -Add raspberries or strawberries, even mango and pulse in a Nutribullet or blender, for a fruity, vitamin filled hit!

Choc or Mocha – Add 1 teaspoon cocoa powder and/or coffee diluted with a little boiled water for those with a really sweet tooth or coffee cravings.

strawberries

Nutritional Benefits of Egg Nog

As well as the milk component contributing to the dairy and calcium RDA components in your diet, ingredients such as eggs and spices round out the benefit of a daily Egg Nog drink, (without the alcohol).

One egg has only 75 calories but 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, and 1.6 grams of saturated fat, along with iron, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids. The egg is a powerhouse of disease-fighting nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin.

Nutmeg is low in Cholesterol and Sodium, is a good source of Fibre, and Manganese and support mood, digestion, sleep, good skin and brain health. It may also lower blood pressure. But don’t binge on it. Too much may not be so helpful.

Start the day with a Breakfast Egg Nog or Egg Nog Smoothie! This drink works equally well in filling up children’s tummies at afternoon tea time. This stops them snacking on junk before dinner!

Join in with Moon’s Cook Eat Repeat Challenge here:

Food

Work Lunch Done – Quinoa Salad

This salad has something a little different for ingredients and looks great on the table due to its intense color and flavour. All the more perfect and refreshing, if it is summer, in your part of the world!

If you are looking to make a quick lunch, possibly to take to work, and still have leftover that can double for a light and healthy dinner, then this Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad, I’ve adapted from Lorelle’s recipe might be a perfect option. [After all who likes a soggy sandwich for lunch, or has the energy to make a nutritious gourmet meal, when work finishes late.]

As the main ingredient was “Quinoa,” one of those buzzy superfoods that everyone is talking about, and I noticed a bag of tricolour Quinoa just begging to be used in my pantry, I thought I’d try it out.

In addition, this recipe has pomegranate and I do like pomegranate!

But first a little about Keen-wah, or Quinoa!

Forgot to edit out the brand name – sorry.

“Quinoa is gluten free, high in folate and Magnesium, and Manganese. Quinoa is (also) high in fiber, protein and has a low glycemic index. It has been linked to weight loss and improved health.

Red quinoa (which takes on a brownish hue when cooked) has a richer taste, slightly chewier texture, and somewhat nuttier flavor compared to white quinoa. It’s often the quinoa of choice for cold salads as it holds its shape better during cooking. “

“Quinoa is also high in B vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.

These important molecules have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animal studies. “

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-quinoa

Potassium has the added health benefit of, “protection against loss of muscle mass, preservation of bone mineral density and reduction in the formation of kidney stones.”

vegetables tomato salad

Problem #1:

Lorelle’s wonderful recipe suggested using Pomegranate Molasses as an ingredient for the salad dressing. But where would I find that?

Not in the mainstream supermarket, that’s for sure.

Lorelle suggested I try to source it from a Middle Eastern Grocer. That required finding one first, and getting a free day to go there, so instead, I decided to adapt Lorelle’s recipe using some extra honey in place of the Molasses and adding a few of my own ingredients, that I had in my pantry.

Recipe on the go.

NB. I have included the usual way to prepare Quinoa at the bottom of this post.

Then I encountered another problem I had not anticipated –

Problem #2 –

How do I peel the pomegranate, and get those beautiful juicy capsules out?

How do you do that, I thought? Anyone have a suggestion?

There was a somewhat aborted attempt, by me, to cut the pomegranate in quarters and then scoop out the seeds with a teaspoon.

Those in Club Pomegranate ‘knowhow’, can probably imagine the slightly shocking scene that soon confronted me:

Tens of dozens of small ruby red pomegranate capsules flinging about in all directions over my kitchen bench and floor as I tried valiantly to scoop them out. To which, my son who had just arrived hoping for something to eat stood at the door of the kitchen, with his mouth gaping, pointing quizzically towards the floor.

What’s happened here? he said, his face aghast.

I looked down at the ruby red smears on my hands and all over the kitchen floor – quickly realizing the creamy-white tiles were now reminscent of a scene from a B grade Murder Movie. “I was trying to remove the pomegranate seeds,” I said. “But I am not quite sure how.”

The look of his face made me think he remained totally unconvinced I wasn’t killing some poor creature, for its meat.

Luckily for me, and somewhat late to the party, Youtube came to my rescue.

This is how I should have approached the task.

Easy, right?

Only when you know how!

So Helter Skelter Scene averted, and tiles duly mopped clean, I was back to the salad.

I did add some other minor variants to the Lorelle’s ingredients list, so I do hope she doesn’t mind.

Here is how it turned out:

Looks pretty scrumptious and I am happy to recommend it.

Instead of sharing it with my family, who are prone to turn up their noses at strange new dishes, I took it to work, for lunch.

Work lunch – Done!

Here is the full recipe:

Chickpea & Quinoa Salad†

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup uncooked Tri-colour Quinoa

¼ cup toasted sunflower seeds

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

1 ½ cups chicken stock*

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

1 can corn kernels, rinsed and drained

1/2 punnet Gourmet Pecorina tomatoes,

(I used yellow and red ones for contrast)

½ cup chopped parsley

¼ cup chopped mint

1 cucumber, [diced]

½- 1 cup pomegranate seeds

Dressing Ingredients:

¼ cup olive oil

4 tablespoons lemon juice

¼ teaspoon cumin

2 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon salt

Method:

  • In a medium saucepan heat the Olive oil.
  • Add garlic and sauté lightly
  • Add Quinoa and stir over low – medium heat for a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock* or water and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 mins or until water is absorbed.
  • Cool completely. Once cool, fluff the Quinoa to separate the grains.
  • Mix cucumber, herbs, and the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl, before adding the cooled quinoa and toasted nuts and seeds.
  • Mix all ingredients for the dressing together. Pour over Quinoa salad and mix well.
  • Serve on a bed of spinach* leaves for an extra nutritional boost of Magnesium, potassium, Vitamin K, A, and Iron.

* “Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium and magnesium, two very important electrolytes necessary for maintaining human health. Spinach provides a whopping 839 milligrams of potassium per cup (cooked). As a comparison, one cup of sliced banana has about 539mg of potassium.” 

https://www.livescience.com/51324-spinach-nutrition.html

*Lorelle’s Vegan option: Substitute water for chicken stock and omit honey in dressing.

How to Prepare Quinoa

Rinse Quinoa under running water prior to cooking to get rid of saponins, which are found on the outer layer and can have a bitter flavor. Some brands may have already been rinsed.

2 cups (240 ml) of water/chicken stock in a pot, turn up the heat.

Add 1 cup (170 grams) of raw quinoa.

Boil for 15–20 minutes.

stpa logo

Superfood Salads are Something to Ponder About for Work Lunches

Community, Food

Nutty Rice

I was recently asked for a way to get folks and children to eat brown rice. “Disguise it with yummy additions,” I said. Or use the recipe below:

So far it hasn’t met with rejection.

[Just don’t tell anyone this is actually Brown Rice for then staunch haters of brown rice will gobble this up!!]

Brown rice is a great source of magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, thiamine, manganese and B group vitamins as well as fibre s it is quite disappointing to see folks/children reject it based on its taste. This recipe complements its nutty flavour.

Nutty Brown Rice

saute onion and celery
saute onion and celery

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
  • 50 g pine nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable stock or water
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Season to taste
  1. Heat oil in heavy saucepan and saute onion and celery fro about 3 minutes till onion becomes transparent.
  2. Add pine nuts and cook over low heat for 2 minutes or until they are lightly browned.
  3. Add the rice, stirring well until the grains are well coated with oil.
  4. Add the Stock, Thyme and Bay leaf and bring to the boil .
  5. Cover saucepan and simmer until rice is tender and all the vegetable stock is absorbed. This will take about 45 minutes.
  6. Season if desired.

Variations: –

  • Add 1.4 tsp cumin or Turmeric towards end of cooking.
  • Leave to cool, then add beansprouts and serve as a cold rice salad.
stpa logo

leaves
Community

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

Community

Blueberry Muffins with Brown sugar

Blueberry muffins with fresh blueberries

We must take advantage of blueberries when they are in season. They are cheap as chips and so good for you, protecting against diseases and ageing, as well as helping to metabolise carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which is excellent if you are wanting to loose weight. Not yet convinced? Read more nutrition facts below:

Thus, I will share with you my recipe using brown sugar and a little butter. Nutritious, easy on the waistline, simple and quick to make, and very few dishes to wash up. That is the kind of recipe I like to ponder about on Tantalizing Tuesday.

BLUEBERRY MUFFIN RECIPE

2 cups Plain flour ( this means general all purpose flour)blog pictures 002

3 teaspoons of Baking powder

3 Tablespoons of Brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/4 cup ( 55 grams) melted butter

1 punnet fresh blueberries (that is around 125 g)

1 tablespoon brown sugar, (extra)

Method:

Mix flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl.

Melt butter in separate bowl, let cool slightly, then add milk and egg and mix well.

Add wet and dry ingredients together and stir gently for 30 seconds, or until well mixed.

Gently fold in blueberries. Don’t fuss too much. You don’t want to smash them like at Cold Rock.

Fill muffin cases 2/3 with mixture. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of each muffin and press down lightly.

A 12 muffin baking tray requires a moderate oven (190 degrees) for 12 – 15 minutes.

Test them close to the end of the cooking time to see if they bounce back when lightly pressed.

This is a good sign to say that they are cooked through.

Enjoy with a dob of sour cream or cream. ( if you are not counting calories, or course)

Makes 12 Muffins

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Blueberries nutrition facts

From: http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/blueberries.html

Sweet, juicy blueberries are rich in pro-anthocyanin natural pigment anti-oxidants.

These tiny, round blue-purple berries have long been attributed to the longevity

and wellness of indigenous natives living in the subarctic regions in the Northern hemisphere.

  • Blueberries are very low in calories. 100 g fresh berries provide only 57 calories. However, they possess notable health benefiting plant-nutrients such as soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment anti-oxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness.
  • Blueberries are among the highest anti-oxidant value fruits. In addition, these berries have other flavonoid anti-oxidants such as carotene-β, lutein and zea-xanthin.
  • Altogether, the phyto-chemical compounds in the blueberry help rid off harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the body, and thereby, protect the human body against cancers, aging, degenerative diseases, and infections.
  • Further, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus condition.
  • Fresh berries contain a small amount of vitamin C, vitamin A and vitamin E. Altogether these vitamins work as potent anti-oxidants, which help limit free radical mediated injury to the body.
  • The berries also contain a small amount of B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates and pantothenic acid. It contains very good amounts of vitamin B-6, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and folic acid. These vitamins are acting as co-factors help the body metabolize carbohydrates, protein, and fats.
  • Furthermore, they contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Copper is required for the production of red blood cells. Iron is required for red blood cell formation.
savoury muffins
Community

Savoury Muffins – School Lunch Recipe

620-x-400-frazzled-mom

Summer in Australia means school aged kids are under their parent’s feet at home, yet, paradoxically, many parents actually look forward to School holidays. Why? One reason is that holidays means a slower start to the day, no school run stress, no juvenile screaming they can’t find their hat/maths homework/bus-card, and most significantly, no need to prepare school lunch boxes, each and every morning.

 

workingmother

 

Day after school-term day, many parents over-stress and almost tear their hair out trying to provide a nutritious, yet appealing school lunchbox for their kids, particularly during the high school years. As any parent with teens knows, asking adolescents to consume anything remotely wholesome and not packaged in four layers of plastic or laced with half a salt mine, is tantamount to offering them a piece of buttered cardboard and likely to be received with this enthusiastic response:

yukkyfood

[Source -dailymail.co.uk]

So how does home-cooked food, originating from the household pantry or fridge, compete with the highly addictive products of multinational food companies or their derivatives, with the myriad of flavourings, salt and sugar content? How did we get to this situation?

What society thought school lunch should look like –

foodpyramid

What teenagers thought school lunch look like –

junk food

What parents think school lunches are like –

 

mum lunchbox

With the impending start of the school work year, I  decided the school lunchbox had to be not only visually appealing, but tasty as well and, it had to tick most of the ‘healthy lunch’ boxes, (no pun intended!) So I studied a few basic muffin recipes and came up with my own savoury muffin that I am confident even the fussiest teen would be hard-pressed to refuse, (and if he/she does, there is always bribery and corruption as Plan ‘B’….)

The real secret to this recipe is that it looks like a sweet cake in appearance, (first duplicitous manoeuvre) and, secondly, it tastes like the junk food on offer at most food outlets, (but is actually good to eat).

Enter the Savoury Muffin to Die for……

savoury muffins
Amanda’s Savoury Muffins

The rosemary and sea salt topping really stimulates those adolescent taste-buds and once your teen has shown a positive interest such as, “What’s that you are cooking, Mum?” comments, and eats a few here and there:   then and only then might I suggest slowly, (over a few batches), decreasing the amount of sea salt used as topping, to improve the nutrition levels further. Easy does it though: Teen noses and taste buds can easily detect the covert operation you might have in mind.

The list of suggested fillings, is one that you can add as many or as few of these as you have on hand, or in the pantry, without unduly affecting the outcome of the recipe.

Experiment to see which flavors teens like best.

Savoury Muffins

[Makes 12 serves]

Ingredients:

2 cups Self Raising Flour

(or 2 cups Plain flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder added)

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

80 g Butter, melted

1 tablespoon good quality Olive Oil

1 Egg

1  cup Milk ( I use low-fat)

1 slice Ham – diced

1/3 cup grated Zucchini (courgette)

1 clove Garlic, minced

1/3 cup Baby spinach, diced

1/3 cup cooked Pumpkin (roasted or steamed)

1/3 cup Capsicum strips, roasted (can use jarred variety)

80 g Feta cheese ( crumbled)

Toppings:

savoury muffins20 g Feta cheese ( crumbled), extra

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon Rosemary

Sea salt

Optional extra or substitute fillings:

1 tablespoon Olives, sliced

1 tablespoon Parsley

1 teaspoon Mint leaves

2 sticks Spring Onions, sliced

1/3 cup Sun-dried Tomatoes

grated carrot

Pineapple Pieces – (drained well)

Method:

Pre-heat Oven 200 degrees

Mix Flour and Baking powder in large bowl.

Mix melted Butter, Oil and Egg and Milk in separate bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix gently with a wooden spoon.

Fold in the rest of the ingredients only until just mixed and no lumps of flour remain.

Fill a Muffin pan that has been lined with paper Muffins cases to 2/3 capacity.

Sprinkle Parmesan, extra Feta and a mixture of Rosemary and Sea salt on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or till golden brown on top.

Cool on a wire tray covered with a fresh tea towel to prevent muffins drying out.

These muffins freeze well wrapped individually or in a seal-proof container.

The perfect morning tea or lunch snack for those on the go.

P.S. If you are really daring or have one of those ” I’ll eat anything as long as it’s food,” kind of kids: Round off the lunch box offerings with some hummus, hard-boiled eggs and fruit.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

Filling the lunch box give parents ‘Something to Ponder About’

 

 

Community, Food

Apple and Cinnamon Bread

Apple and Cinnamon Bread

Delicious and nutritious apple and cinnamon cake you can make in a jiffy

We all know how good apples are for you. An apple a day…. etc. but did you know Cinnamon is also beneficial, not to say, delicious and tasty. That’s why I  am sharing the recipe for this delicious Apple and Cinnamon bread with you. ( well, it is more like  a cake, but bread sounds better!)

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? It’s true. It also contains about half a gram of “usable” (non-fiber) carbohydrate. Scientifically speaking, there is only one true cinnamon, which is most commonly called “Ceylon cinnamon,” and comes from the plant Cinnamomum Zeylanicum. An alternative scientific name for Ceylon Cinnamon is Cinnamomum verum, which simply translates as “true cinnamon.”  [Source:http://cinnamonnutrition.com/index.html%5D

Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood glucose control by taking as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help in weight control as well as decreasing the risk for heart disease. This food is very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. It is also a good source of Vitamin K and Iron, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Calcium and Manganese. Read More here.

In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used for digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas and bloating, stomach upset, and diarrhea. More recently, modern medical research has turned its eye on cinnamon and is coming up with some intriguing results. It has a mild anti-inflammatory effect.

APPLE and CINNAMON BREAD

Ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (you can use more if you like)
2/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (softened) – about 110 g
2 eggs
1  1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1  1/2 cups Plain Flour
1  3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
1 apple, (peeled and chopped)

Preheat oven 190 degrees Celsius and grease a 240 x 120mm loaf pan

1389660889973
Mix brown sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together
Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Combine flour and baking powder in a separate bowl and add to the mixture.
Finally add the milk and mix well.
Pour half the batter in the pan, then layer half the apple and half the brown sugar and cinnamon mix.
Pour remaining batter on top and then the rest of the apple and sugar/cinnamon mix.
Swirl the brown sugar mix and apple a little through the mix.
Cook 30 – 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.
Delicious served warm with a cup of tea!
1389663918191
Call it bread or cake, it is something to ponder about.
Community

Dark Circles under your Eyes- Is the simple cause sleep deprivation?

Image0003

I have always had dark circles under my eyes, and put it down to some Northern European heritage, but is that just the simplistic view. Highly allergic people are also suspected of always having dark circles or bags, and  they sure appear when one is sleep deprived. But could there be other causes for chronic sufferers?

I found a few articles here that suggest alternative causes to explore. Something those of us that look like death warmed up ( on our worst days) might ponder about.

http://voices.yahoo.com/vitamins-remove-dark-circles-under-eyes-1634261.html states:

Having dark circles under your eyes can really lower your self-esteem. When people look at you the first thing they see is your face and meeting people while you have dark, puffy bags under your eyes can be quite embarrassing. You want to make a good impression and put your best face forward, so to speak, but the bags around your eyes keep weighing you down. So, what are you to do then?

Well, that all depends on the cause of the dark circles under your eyes. The appearance of dark circles under eyes can be caused by a number of things. Some common causes of dark circles under eyes are not enough sleep, allergies, an hereditary trait, pregnancy, menstruation, exposure to sun, dehydration, poor blood circulation, kidney or liver problems, cold or sinus infections, poor nutrition, certain medications and age. It is best to know what causes the dark circles under your eyes so you and your doctor can treat it effectively.

Still, all these causes do not mean that you have to suffer with the appearance of dark circles under your eyes. In fact, there are many topical creams on the market that will remove or significantly lessen the appearance of dark circles under eyes over time, no matter what the cause of your dark under-eye circles.

Vitamins that help remove dark circles under eyes are Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Iron. Most topical creams are made with these vitamins, so you can apply them under your eyes and watch them keep those bags in check.

http://persephonemagazine.com/2012/01/dark-circles-under-the-eyes-causes-and-solutions/ states:

  • Kidney Issues: Chinese medicine attributes dark circles under the eyes to any deficiency or challenge in kidney function. Although dark circles under the eyes can’t be used to diagnose kidney issues, dark circles under the eyes often accompany kidney issues.
  • Food and Environmental Allergies: More than one mum has seen that food allergies cause dark circles under the eyes. This effect is known as “allergy shiners.” Seasonal and environmental allergies can also cause dark circles under the eyes. The basic effect is that the allergy causes congestion which creates increased blood flow to the nose. Because the skin under the eyes is somewhat thin, the increased blood flow creates a purple tint created by the increased blood flow. The congestion caused by allergies can also cause enlarged blood vessels around the eyes and cause the dark tint. Many people with allergies sleep poorly and have adrenal fatigue, both of which can also contribute to dark circles under the eyes.
  • Adrenal Fatigue: Dark circles under the eyes are a primary indicator of adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are tiny glands located on top of the kidneys  that produce a multitude of hormones. The adrenals control the balance of electrolytes in our system, control metabolism, and control the production of many sexual hormones. Having adrenal fatigue can negatively impact every body system. The adrenals are also our “flight or fight” glands and respond to stress by excreting hormones. Because we live in a world that creates constant excess stress, many of us have adrenal glands that have become fatigued. Dark circles under the eyes, fatigue, poor sleep, weight gain and many other symptoms may be indicators of adrenal fatigue. Most mainstream practitioners don’t acknowledge that adrenal fatigue exists, but it is a very real condition that negatively impacts many people’s lives. I find that women have adrenal fatigue more frequently than men

Vitamin K

Now, Vitamin K is the best vitamin that removes dark circles under eyes. Vitamin K removes dark circles under eyes and the puffiness that comes along with it by healing the damaged capillaries and arteries in the skin and helping the blood circulating around the eyes to clot. As the skin under the eye is very thin, when blood passes through the veins next to the skin’s surface it becomes important that the blood clots properly. The thinner the skin near the eye the more visible the dark circles will appear if this is not done. Vitamin K, therefore, helps the blood flowing through the veins of the skin to clot and prevent seepage, which is how dark circles under eyes are formed.

To boost the results of topical creams and prescriptions from your doctor, you can supplement your diet with more food containing Vitamin K. Vitamin K is found in most green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale and is also found in avocados and kiwi fruit. Be sure to talk to your doctor about supplementing your diet with vitamins to make sure you are not over doing it.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A removes dark circles under eyes by maintaining and repairing skin tissue around the eyes. Vitamin A has many anti-aging benefits for the skin, helping to protect against wrinkles, skin thinning. Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant that fights against harms to the skin such as

infections and general wear and tear of the skin. Foods rich in Vitamin A include liver, carrot, pumpkin, spinach, leafy vegetables, apricot, mango, peach, eggs, papaya and cantaloupe.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is also potent in removing dark under-eye circles. Vitamin C increases collagen, removes free radicals from the skin and protects the skin against damage from the sun. All these things work to reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles. It is important to note, however, that topical Vitamin C is unstable. This means that once it is exposed to the air it will oxidize, become ineffective and increase free radicals instead of remove them. Studies done conclude that topical Vitamin C is unstable because of this reason and that buying a topical cream containing Vitamin C in its pure form is risky. However, L-ascorbic acid a form of Vitamin C combined with Vitamin K in a topical cream will work wonders for removing dark circles under eyes. Vitamin C can be found in most fruits and some vegetables.

Vitamin E

Well, Vitamin E helps to remove dark under-eye circles by regulating Vitamin A in the body; Vitamin A is a potent vitamin that is used against dark circles under eyes. Vitamin E not only regulates Vitamin A in the body, but it like Vitamin C also protects the body against free radicals

that destroy the natural glow of the skin; Vitamin E is an antioxidant that protects the skin against ultra violet light, pollution, drugs and other harm. Vitamin E is found in asparagus, avocado, olives, nuts, kiwi, mango, vegetable oils, wheat germ, corn, sunflower and leafy vegetables.

Iron

A lack of mineral iron and poor nutrition are the causes of some cases of dark under-eye circles. During pregnancy and menstruation the body loses iron. This lack of iron causes the skin to look pale and in turn the paleness of the skin will highlight the veins under the eyes. Therefore, during these times for women, there is a tendency for the veins under the eyes to become more visible and dark circles to appear. Supplementing your diet with iron will reduce the appearance of dark circles under eyes and improve your overall health.

You can take iron tablets or add iron rich food such as prunes, raisins, spinach, kidney, kale, leafy vegetables and liver among many others. Be careful though; do not take more than the daily recommended dose of iron as this may lead to iron poisoning.

By supplementing your diet with vitamins you can get rid of dark under-eye circles in no time. This time when people meet you they will be just looking at you and nothing else.

Community

Calcium intake and your child

It is important to maintain good nutrition for adequate growth and development according to Dr Peter Rhodes, Nutritionalist.To achieve this the child’s intake needs to be high in calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals he said.

Calcium in particular has been shown to be important in the development of strong bones and teeth. We all know that I guess. But low levels of calcium during the younger half of life, and continued through adolescence may contribute to the development of osteoporosis in later years ( significant for females). Calcium is also important for other bodily functions according to http://www.fatfreekitchen.com/nutrition/calcium.html

Calcium Use

Vitamin D helps to absorb and properly consume calcium.

How much Calcium do children need?

Calcium Consumption recommendations for Australian children:

1- 7 years and boys 8 – 11 years at 800 mg per day

Boys  12-15 years    – 1200 mg
16 – 18 years  – 1000 mg

Girls  8 – 11 years     –   900 mg

12- 15 years     – 1000mg

16 -18 years      – 800 mg

Adult women  700 – 1200 mg
Adult men       300-  500 mg

Previous Australian surveys have insisted that the average children’s intake is much lower than this. Many years ago children were given free milk to drink at morning tea. Whilst this was good for most, it made others more sensitive to this, feel quite sick..

We can not store calcium in later life, we have to continually replenish it. The best time for calcium intake is youth…..

Sources of Calcium
The most common source of Calcium comes from dairy foods, particularly  milk cheese and yoghurt.

Milk and yoghurt contain significant levels of lactose which tends to enhance calcium absorption. Most cheese also supply significant calcium although they do lack lactose.
the fat content of milk does not affect the level of Calcium.
See Calcium rich foods below:

Does Soy milk a substitute as a calcium source?

It is also worth remembering that not all soy  milk contains calcium. Always check the label for added calcium. Calcium in soy milk is added inorganic calcium.Generally it will have poorer absorption qualities. This is not to scare consumers away from these products, but make them aware that the Calcium is not the same as that found in cows milk.


How can I determine how much calcium a child is getting?

Construct a food diary for a week containing all the foods consumed and present this to your local dietician who will be able to do a complete analysis of the chlid’s diet.

Calcium is a mineral that can be easily neglected…. Toddlers generally should consume aobut 3 serves of dairy foods per day to reach the daily recommendations for calcium consumption.

1 serve = 200 ml milk or 1 cup yoghurt or 35 g cheese

http://www.healthyeatingclub.org/info/books-phds/books/foodfacts/html/data/data5c.html
has this info:

During periods of growth the demand for calcium is greater than usual, although some calcium is incorporated into bone at certain other stages of life. Thus children, adolescents and pregnant and lactating women need additional calcium. Adults continually need to replace calcium that is lost from the body in urine and faeces and to a lesser extent in sweat.

CALCIUM RICH FOODS

Dairy foods are very high in calcium, see the values given in the following table.

Food Calcium
mg
Calcium in Dairy Products
Skim Milk 1 cup 301
Whole Milk 1 cup 290
Plain Low fat Yogurt 1 cup 415
Cow Milk Cottage Cheese (Paneer) 1 cup 208
Baffalo Milk Cottage Cheese (Paneer) 1 cup 480
Feta cheese 40 g 144
Whipped Cream, 15 g 13
Calcium in Beans & Grains
White beans 3/4 cup 120
Navy beans 3/4 cup 94
Black Turtle beans 3/4 cup 75
Chickpeas (Chhole) 3/4 cup 58
Tofu 150g 350
Soy bean curd slab 150g 310
Cooked Soy bean 1 cup 130
Instant oats, 1 pkt 165
Calcium in Nuts
Almonds roasted 1/4 cup 93
Brazil Nuts 20 g 34
Hazlenuts 20 g 28
Walnuts 20 g 19
Almonds butter 2 Tbsp 88
Sesame seeds 12 g 80
Rice, plain, boiled 180 g 32
Calcium in Vegetables & Fruits
Cabbage/bok choy 1/2 cup 190
Turnip greens 1/2 cup 104
Broccoli 1/2 cup 33
Okra 1/2 cup 65
Orange 1/2 cup 52
Orange juice fortified with calcium 1/2 cup 165
Calcium in Fish
Sardines in oil, tinned, 100 g 500
Salmon, tinned, 100 g 91
Fish paste, 35 g 98
Calcium in Breads, Pizza
White bread, 1 slice 30 g 53
Wholemeal bread, 1 slice 30 g 32
Muesli, Swiss style, 50 g 55
Lasagne, 400 g 400
Pizza, cheese & tomato, 410 g 873
Pasta, plain, cooked, 230 g 85

From the above list you can chose foods high in Calcium.
Following is a list of foods that give you more than 300 mg of calcium per 100 gm of that food.

  1. Milk and milk products
  2. Cereals and Grains
  3. Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables are an excellent source of calcium. Beetroot greens, Drumstick leaves, Fenugreek leaves, Turnip greens, Lotus stems, Curry leaves
  4. Spices:Cumin, Coriander, Cloves, Asafoetida (Hing), Oregano (Ajwain), Mustard seeds
  5. Fish

Well I think I will go and have a drink of milk… skim milk of course, in up my daily intake. As someone who has always had a protein intolerance to dairy products, I am at risk for developing the aforementioned diseases, particularly osteoporosis… so I continue weight bearing exercise as an adjunct to calcium supplements.
The daily requirements are something for me to ponder about, particularly at mealtimes….

Community, Food

Reducing salt intake: what can we do?

Do you get affected by salt? After trying to reduce my salt intake for several years, I now suffer a bad headache the day after a meal that is heavily salted, such as pizza with olives, or anchovies, or fish n chips!

jennovafoodblog

Not a whole lot is new with me… just continuing to write a lot for the new magazine I’ve been working for while climbing as much as possible in Kentucky. Feeling quite a bit stronger lately- happy to see some performance improvements :). I was also featured as a ‘weekend warrior’ on the Glacier National Park website! Pretty cool I think :)! Here’s the link! http://www.glacier-national-park-travel-guide.com/weekend-warriors-july-24th-2013.html

Here’s a picture of me climbing at Torrent Falls in the Red :).
rrg 152

This article can also be found on the Sunwarrior website 🙂 http://www.sunwarrior.com/news/reducing-salt-intake-what-can-we-do/

Sodium chloride, aka salt, is the most commonly consumed mineral by humans. It is required daily for survival (approximately 500mg), with an exquisite system to ensure its consumption: cravings. Since virtually everyone has about one to two times more salt than what’s needed, the above cravings are unlikely to be driving the current consumption levels, which can be largely…

View original post 1,012 more words

Community, Food

Hot or cold: Crab Dip – Awesome Appetizer!

Image

I have had this small tin of crab meat in my pantry for (mumble,mumble) quite some time now. I really did not know what I was going to use it for. I think it was originally destined for a party, with other Swedish sandwich cake ingredients, but things did not work out between them, and so the crab meat, was left on the shelf… literally!

So, inspiration hit me one night when hubby and I were on our own, no family to cook for and decided on a light meal to end the week.  And I was blog hopping, and found Will Cook for Smiles : Hot Crab Dip.

http://willcookforsmiles.com/2012/07/hot-crab-dip.htm

As one always does, I have altered the recipe slightly, serving it cold, and adding some extra vegetables for crunch. I like crunchy celery, cucumber and capsicum eaten fresh. Plenty of Vitamin C and fibre this way.

But credit goes to Will Cook for Smiles for the essence of the recipe. She baked hers in the oven, whilst I often prefer my seafood cold, so I didn’t. It is totally agreeable either way.

It is just your own preference….

Here is what I mixed to make this superb light meal/appetizer/dip/wine & cheese accompaniment.

Ingredients:
130 g crab meat
40g spreadable Philly cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayo

2 stalks of spring onion, finely chopped and diced.
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tblspn lemon juice

1/4 cup of shaved Parmesan cheese, to mix in
1/4 cup of shaved Parmesan cheese, for topping
salt & fresh cracked pepper

Optional Extras if serving it cold:

1/2 medium Yellow and Green Capsicum, chopped & diced.

1/2 small Lebanese Cucumber, chopped & diced.

Celery – only if you like it very crunchy

Method for serving cold:

Mix all ingredients together. Serve with crackers, fresh bread or baguette.

To serve Hot:
1. Preheat the oven to 170 degree celsius
2. Combine all the ingredients, top with the second 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Bake  20 minutes

Delish!  It was hard to stop nibbling this more-ish mix with my water crackers!

Next time I will serve it hot with some fresh salad and a secondary dish, but that is something to ponder about later.