Archive for October, 2018

October 29, 2018

Veggies in the Oven Make the Kitchen Toasty Warm

Veggies in the oven make the kitchen toasty warm and I love that on a cool fall day! Whether you roast or bake, the oven is a wonderful place to cook vegetables!
cabbage
Before the advent of microwave ovens, pretty much everyone baked potatoes and sweet potatoes in their full size, conventional oven. It wasn’t as common to roast or bake other vegetables unless they were cut up in some kind of casserole. A quick look at the 1953 edition of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book advises boiling most vegetables in a small amount of water.

cookbookMy grandmother fried okra, but boiled carrots, broccoli, corn, cauliflower, cabbage, squash, turnips, and green beans. She even made stuffed bell peppers in her pressure cooker, not in the oven.

I’m not sure why I started cooking vegetables in the oven, but I love the results! Cauliflower is one of my favorites to roast. I cut it into small florets, then toss it in olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. I roast the florets until they have some black edges. Yum! I wish I had some right now.

My newest favorite is baked red cabbage with herbed butter. If I start by making extra butter, I can easily turn this into a sheet pan meal by adding pork chops and red seedless grapes. I place the pork chops in the center of the pan and salt and pepper on each side. Then I alternate grapes still on stems and cabbage wedges around the edge of the pan and drizzle all of it with butter. The baking time is the same, but I turn the pork chops halfway through.

Here’s the recipe for enough butter for a sheet pan meal:

6 tbsp salted butter
4 – 5 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 – 2 sprigs fresh mint
3 cloves garlic, peeled
Sprinkle of salt

Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add rosemary, mint, and garlic. Sprinkle with salt. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Remove herbs & garlic.

To bake one head of red cabbage, cut it into small wedges and place on aluminum foil in a sheet pan or other baking pan. Lightly salt, then drizzle with herbed butter. (You’ll need 1/4 to 1/3 of the butter for the cabbage.) Place in preheated 375 oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. Serve hot!
oven cab
If you decide to try this recipe, make sure to purchase red cabbage rather than radicchio. While they look similar, the two are not the same. Radicchio is a member of the bitter-flavored chicory family along with Belgian endive, frisée, and escarole.

When the cabbage bakes, the color becomes an even deeper purple. It’s a beautiful addition to a plate. And when cooked this way, I prefer the flavor to that of green cabbage. That may be a good thing during cold and flu season. A cup of red cabbage contains 85% of the daily value of vitamin C.

A toasty warm kitchen. A beautiful, delicious, healthy baked vegetable and left-over herbed butter to use on pork chops or include in pasta sauce. OMG! Does it get any better than this?

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2373/2

http://www.farmerfoodshare.org/veg/cabbage/

http://www.farmerfoodshare.org/veg/radicchio/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/types-of-chicories-4040928

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/dont-like-peeling-butternut-squash-then-dont/

October 22, 2018

Allergen Free Halloween Treats You Can Share With The Class

If you’re looking for allergen free Halloween Treats you can share with your child’s class, we have a few for you to consider. It can be hard to find treats that are free of all the major allergens, but when it comes to sharing with classmates, you don’t want anyone to be left out. Luckily, this year there are some fun options available!

Sweets Indeed has packaged various forms of candy in vials with Halloween themed names. The vials come in packs of 12. Some are a mixture of liquid and pellet candies. Some have crystals and powder. All of them look like great fun!

At this moment, it’s less expensive to purchase these items from Amazon than it is direct from Sweets. A 12 pack is $14.95 on Amazon and $19.95 from Sweets.
blood
Blood Sweet Candy

The Blood Sweet Candy set includes 6 vials of Blood Sample Sour Cherry Liquid Candy and 6 vials of Blood Clots Wild Cherry Candy Pebbles

The vials look gruesome and gross just like kids prefer! With sugar, corn syrup, and fructose as the main ingredients, I won’t say these are healthy treats, but few Halloween treats are.

Ingredients
Candy Pebbles: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

Liquid Candy: Corn Syrup, Fructose, Water, Sugar, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/products/bloody-sweet-candy-12-pack

monster
Monster Fun Candy

The Monster Fun set is comprised of 2 vials of Vampire Blood Black Cherry Liquid Candy, 2 vials of Monster Slime Green Apple Liquid Candy, 2 vials of Witches Potion Grape Liquid Candy, 2 vials of Jack’s Ashes Orange Candy Powder, 2 vials of Devil Dust Strawberry Candy Powder, and 2 vials of Werewolf Dandruff Root Beer Candy Powder.

Ingredients
Candy Powder: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

Liquid Candy: Corn Syrup, Fructose, Water, Sugar, Malic Acid, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/collections/halloween/products/monster-fun-candy-12-pack

Ghost
Ghost Fun Candy

If you choose Ghost Fun, you’ll get 6 vials of Ghost Toot Dust Vanilla Candy Powder plus 6 vials of Ghost Boogers Vanilla Candy Pebbles.

Ingredients
Candy Pebbles: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

Candy Powder: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/collections/halloween/products/ghost-fun-candy-12-pack

undeadZombie Fun Candy

Can candy be undead? I guess it can. Order Zombie Fun and get 6 vials of Zombie Toot Dust Sour Apple Candy Powder and 6 vials of Zombie Boogers Green Apple Candy Powder.

Ingredients
Candy Pebbles: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

Candy Powder: Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors, Natural Mica based Titanium Dioxide Pigments

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/collections/halloween/products/zombie-fun-candy-12-pack

unicorn
Unicorn Boogers

What kid hasn’t eaten boogers? Now it can be a parent sanctioned activity! Unicorn Boogers include Fruity Candy Pebbles along with Sugar Crystals. The candy pebbles flavors are key lime, lemonade, watermelon, wild berry, tangerine and blue raspberry. Then there are glimmer white sugar crystals. Apparently Boogers come at a premium. They’re $21.95 for 12 vials from either Sweets or Amazon.

Ingredients
Sugar, Dextrose, Dextrin, Malic Acid, Corn Syrup, Artificial Flavors & Colors

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/products/unicorn-boogers-8-pack

Zombie Bawlz

Your treats don’t have to come in vials. Zombie Bawlz Chewy Fruit Sours come in a bag filled with Cherry, Watermelon and Green Apple chewy flavors. They’re $10 per bag from Sweets. On Amazon, you can get two bags for that amount of money.

Ingredients
Corn Syrup, Sugar, Dextrose, Malic Acid, Citric Acid, Modified Corn Starch, Sodium Citrate, Carnuba Wax, Bees Wax, Confectioner’s Glaze, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Caramel Color, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 Lake, Red #40, Red #40 Lake, Blue #1, Blue #2 Lake

https://www.shopsweetsindeed.com/products/zombie-bawlz

If none of these treats appeal to you, Sixlets® offers 3 flavors of gluten-free, nut-free, kosher candies that contain no artificial colors or sweeteners. It should be noted that these candies do contain milk and soy.

A box of 72 tubes can be purchased from Amazon for $13.07 and is eligible for Prime shipping. Each tube has 23 calories. Choose from Original Sixlets Chocolatey Candies, Chewy Sixlets Fruity Flavored Candies, and Fruity Sixlets Chocolatey Candies.

The original flavor features a chocolatey center containing cocoa and carob and a crunchy candy coating. Chewy Sixlets Fruity Flavored Candies come in Lemon, Orange, Cherry, Blue Raspberry, and Green Apple. You can enjoy Fruity Sixlets Chocolatey Candies in Blueberry, Strawberry, Raspberry, Banana, Orange flavor.

https://sixlets.com/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6rXeBRD3ARIsAD9ni9AQfHbJuL0jMrH1pPCZ4aeIMDxXnpGtY0N95QZE2CMVhoggoFGW0QwaAgSnEALw_wcB

With Halloween more than a week away, there’s plenty of time to get your treats ordered and delivered in time. Choosing treats with fewer allergens is a thoughtful and kind gesture for you to make to your child’s allergic classmates.

Happy Halloween!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/halloween-treats-dont-candy/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/trick-or-treat/

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October 16, 2018

Soup’s On!

Cooler weather is finally here, so soup’s on – literally! When that first blast of cold air hits each fall, everyone I know starts to clamor for soup. From chili to chowder, hot thick soup fills and warms your tummy and is the perfect antidote for a chill.
tomato soup
Soup preference is often determined by the base of the soup. Some prefer broth or stock, some tomato, and some cream. This is reflected in the top five soups sold in America – chicken noodle, tomato, clam chowder, potato, and minestrone.

Of course the choices don’t stop there. There’s tortilla soup, French onion soup, chicken and rice, chicken chili, split pea, lentil, butternut squash, corn chowder, beef stew, ham and bean, lobster bisque, gumbo, vegetable, Thai chicken coconut soup, and phở. The possible combinations are seemingly endless.

My grandmother made her own chicken stock and canned her own tomato juice. These became the base for soup at her house. Most of us don’t feel like we can spend 2-3 hours in the kitchen prepping the base for a soup. That doesn’t mean the only way to have a delicious soup for dinner is to pop open a can or have some delivered.

A great soup can begin with ingredients you usually discard. Vegetable broth from fresh green beans, black beans, butternut squash, cabbage, greens, and even sour kraut can serve as a flavorful base.

You can also boil potato skins, and asparagus, mushroom, broccoli, and cauliflower stems that would normally go in the trash or composter in a separate pot at the same time you prepare those vegetables. You’re using veggie pieces that result from prep you’re already doing and you’re cooking during a time you’ll already be around the kitchen. That makes for a time friendly, budget friendly practice.

Put the resulting broth in a large glass jar in the refrigerator and save it for soup. You can add broth from multiple vegetables over several days to deepen the flavor and nutritional value.

Your broth can also include chicken skin, hearts, livers, and gizzards, or fat trimmed from beef, pork, or chicken. If you prefer, you can place these in a slow cooker with some water, onion, seasonings and vegetables to create broth while you’re at work. You’re going to discard everything but the liquid so don’t worry that the ingredients are ugly things you wouldn’t eat on their own.

When I am too taxed to have the capacity for planning soup in advance, I use prepared items from the grocery to get me started. My favorites are Pomi Tomatoes, Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth, and milk. I always have these items around.

pomiPomi Strained Tomatoes are just that. Tomatoes. There’s nothing added – no water, no salt, no preservatives. For a healthy soup base with a long shelf life and no prep time, it doesn’t get much better than that.

Imagine Free Range Organic Chicken Broth is available from any store at which I shop. It comes in a low sodium version. The ingredients are: organic chicken broth (filtered water, organic chicken), organic onions, organic celery, organic carrots, natural chicken flavor, organic spices, sea salt. The only thing suspect here is “natural chicken flavor”, but there’s no MSG, no sugar, no yeast extract and the natural chicken flavor isn’t at the top of the list of ingredients. Truthfully, I don’t always buy the low sodium version.

I don’t always have cream on hand, but with a 2-year-old around I consistently have whole milk. It may not be quite as rich as cream, but it gets the job done in potato soup or corn chowder.

I also keep rice in the pantry, curry in the spice rack, onions and garlic on the counter, and herbs growing in pots on the back porch or in the house. All of these can be used to flavor or enhance soup.

The temperature in my house has dropped 10 degrees in the last hour, but I’m in luck. I have chicken breasts in the refrigerator, chicken broth and rice in the pantry, an onion and fresh garlic, some English peas and some rosemary. With those and some salt and pepper, I can make soup for dinner.

It won’t be long before soup’s on!

https://solesoups.com/2017/02/17/top-five-bestselling-soups-america/

https://www.pomi.us.com/en-us/products/#strained-tomatoes

https://www.fooducate.com/app#!page=product&id=9EBAF56C-E113-11DF-A102-FEFD45A4D471

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/why-did-your-grandma-make-chicken-soup/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/dump-soup-perfect-for-a-lazy-day/

http://www.cooking2thrive.com/blog/travel-tip-12-cold-soups-vary-different-countries/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

October 8, 2018

New Studies on the Health Benefits of Alcohol are Making Me Want a Drink

Two new studies indicate that alcohol consumption may not have as many (or any) health benefits as research previously indicated; these studies are making me want a drink! Try to figure out the health benefits or harm of consuming coffee, fat, carbohydrates, chocolate, or even bananas can be confusing at best. Now that they’re messing with happy hour, I think I’ll mull over the evidence drink in hand.

I’m not here to defend alcohol consumption. Alcohol has had devastating effects in my family. My grandfather drunkenly stumbled on the concrete front steps of his house, fell, hit his head, and eventually died from his injuries. The psychological effects of his drinking left my dad angry and violent. I understand on a visceral level that the detrimental effects of alcohol may not be quantifiable without including their contribution to psychological and physical trauma within families.

I’m not here to rail against alcohol consumption either. I know there are many people who have a drink occasionally or regularly and that’s it. They don’t overdo, drink and drive, or engage in other high-risk behaviors. Some of these people are genetically predisposed to alcoholism and yet they never develop the disease.

barrelsLike other dietary decisions, drinking alcohol is a lifestyle choice fraught with religious prohibitions, social implications, and conflicting evidence regarding health benefits. The path to making the best choice in such a situation is to have clear intentions, be informed, tell yourself the truth, own your choice, and give yourself permission to change your mind.

The older I get, the less it suffices to wait for someday to fully enjoy life. It is increasingly important to me to have a few moments each day that are pure pleasure. These moments don’t have to be big or monumental, but I intend to lean into them.

Last weekend, one of those moments was tasting a delicious coffee liqueur at the end of an impromptu distillery tour with friends. If I made a blanket prohibition against consuming alcohol, I would have missed that moment.

I chose to embrace it knowing there was no health benefit, but also knowing that I do not suffer from alcoholism. I am happy with that choice. If in a month I find myself spiking my coffee or milk with liqueur every morning, it may be deliciously pleasurable, but it will also be time to reconsider my choice.

There are so many pieces of life over which we have no control that we can feel quite powerless at times. It is easy to get lost in that feeling. Making deliberate choices to improve the quality of life in small, consistent ways can greatly increase a feeling of purpose and well-being which in turn can improve our health.

Each of us will have a unique path to wholeness, happiness, and health. Each of us will find obstacles on that path, naysayers who discourage us, cheerleaders who encourage us, and examples that inspire us. We will find pleasure and comfort in different ways.

I cannot say what the journey should look like for you. I do know that intention and practice can propel each of us toward becoming our best selves while enjoying life fully. Sometimes for me, that means watching the sunset while sipping a Hendrick’s and soda garnished with a cucumber.

Here’s to you loving the path you’re on!

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(18)31310-2/fulltext

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/15300277

https://www.cosmopolitan.com/uk/body/news/a45281/bananas-bad-breakfast/

https://zenhabits.net/wholeness/


Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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