Saturday, July 30, 2011

You Can't Beat the Beet!

I picked up a recipe card the other day from my local health food store, Everman's ( in Pensacola, Fl. for Brown Sugar Glazed Beets. I have been on a quest to add healthy foods to my diet that may be unfamiliar to me as a way to have a larger palette to choose from in preparing foods. Beet Root* had been on my radar so I gave this recipe a try. It was delicious!

1 1/2 lbs fresh beet root, peeled and cut into wedges
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1 tbsp. melted butter
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted - I used walnuts because that was what I had on hand
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375 ° F. Line a baking sheet with foil then parchment paper**, spray with non stick cooking spray. Place beets on baking sheet. Roast 25 to 30 minutes or until tender; let cool.

In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice and butter. PLace over medium-low heat and cook stirring until sugar dissolves. Drizzle over beets; toss to coat. Top with pecans and parsley, and serve.

Serves 4 - per serving: 180 calories (38% calories from fat). 8g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 10mg cholesterol, 130g sodium, 25g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 3g protein.

*Nutritional & Health Benefits Of Eating Beetroots - from
  • Beetroot is an excellent source of iron, which serves to regenerate and reactivate the red blood cells and supply fresh oxygen to body. The copper content in beetroot facilitates the absorption of iron by the body.    
  • The juice obtained from beetroot acts as a powerful solvent for inorganic calcium deposits in the body that result in the hardening of arteries. Therefore, it helps maintain the elasticity of the body.
  • Beetroot possesses healing and medicinal values, which work effectively in normalizing blood pressure. It also helps lower high blood pressure and elevates low blood pressure.   
  • It contains an important amino acid, Betaine, which has significant anti-cancer properties. Studies have put forward that beet juice is very effectual in inhibiting the formation of cancer-causing compounds in the body and also protects it against colon or stomach cancer.
  • The cellulose content of beetroot facilitates bowel movements and fights constipation. Drinking beetroot juice on a regular basis helps relieve chronic constipation.
  • Beetroot juice, when coupled with carrot juice, is very effectual in combating gall bladder and kidney ailments. Its cleansing properties are exceptional in curing ailments related to these two body organs.
  • The chlorine present in beetroot works as a detoxifying agent. It detoxifies the liver and also the entire system, of excessive alcohol abuse.
  • Beetroot is also a potent source for healing liver toxicity or bile ailments, such as jaundice, hepatitis, food poisoning, diarrhea and vomiting.
Consumption & Storage Tips
  • When buying beetroots, choose the ones that are firm and free of wrinkles. The beets can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days, with the greens attached. Without the greens attached, they can be stored for a couple of weeks.
  • Beets that have round bottoms are sweeter than the ones with flat bottoms. They should be consumed fresh to enjoy the flavor better.
  • Take care not to overheat the beets when cooking, as all the essential nutrients are destroyed due to over-cooking. Also, remove the skin before cooking.
  • Those who have a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should regulate their consumption of beetroot.
  • Being very potent, beetroot juice should not be consumed in large quantities. Beginners should start with the juice of half of a medium-sized beetroot once a week. Gradually, the intake can be increased to one whole beetroot in a week.
  • Dizziness may be experienced during the cleansing perpetuated by beetroot. This is because the toxins are being eliminated from the body. The process may cause some discomfort.
**Parchment Paper

I use parchment paper as a shield between aluminum foil and my food. I do this because of the information out there about possible toxic effects of cooking with aluminum. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plastics, Canned Goods, Food...and You

This video (link shown above) is a great video from National Geographic regarding plastics. Please watch and educate yourself on the dangers lurking in many plastics. I wish I could figure out how to add the video link here for you to just click on but alas, my technology challenged brain strikes again! 
I have been buying glass containers to store food for some time now as I have wanted to get away from using plastic storage containers due to the possibility of plastic leaching into my food. I use Culligan 1 gallon reusable water jugs which are #5 plastic and although I am somewhat uncomfortable with that, I have not come up with solution yet - although I am working on it. It does comfort me to know that prior to recycling, reusing these 1 gallon containers and filling them once a week or so at a filtered water location had saved our family from contributing to the amount of plastic in the landfill by about 400  1 gallon water containers a year.

Below is a portion of an article on the subject of plastic from Web MD web site:

Plastics and the BPA Story    Bisphenol A is a material used in hard, lightweight plastics called polycarbonates. Some baby bottles and water bottles are made from bisphenol A. Enormous amounts of BPA are produced each year -- about 6 billion pounds.

Although bisphenol A came to fame on the nightly news as a potential poison in our water bottles, our main exposure comes from the linings of canned foods, according to Vandenberg, who studies BPA.
"Over a dozen studies clearly show that BPA is not only leaching from cans, but it reaches the food stored inside," says Vandenberg.
The BPA we ingest gets into our bloodstream. Regular monitoring by the CDC shows that more than 90% of us have detectable levels of bisphenol A in our bodies.
Among all the other plastic substances that get into our food, BPA stands out, according to Vandenberg, for its ability to disrupt the functions of hormones -- especially estrogen.
Hundreds of studies show that high doses of BPA disrupt reproductive development and function in laboratory animals. Levels in humans were thought to be too low to be of concern, but more recent research has challenged that perception, Vandenberg tells WebMD.
"Several animal studies suggest that BPA has effects at much lower doses than previously believed," says Vandenberg. "The levels of BPA in people frequently exceed the levels shown to have effects in rodents in these studies," she adds.
Chemical industry sources are quick to point out that this "low-dose hypothesis" has not yet been proven. They cite studies that have not shown harm from BPA at low doses in rodents. However, a new study in a prestigious journal also shows the low-dose BPA effect not just in rats but in monkeys, whose systems are more like humans.
One large, well-conducted study in humans showed that people who had high levels of BPA in the urine had a higher rate of diabetes, heart disease, and liver toxicity.
Altogether, Vandenberg believes a "fragile consensus" exists among scientists that BPA might be harmful. "Looking at the data we have, there is no reason to conclude we are all safe from BPA's effects," she tells WebMD.
The FDA recently repeated its previous statements that current BPA exposures are safe. However, the National Institutes of Health's latest review voiced "some concern" about BPA's effects.
If you want to reduce your exposure to BPA, there are some steps you can take:
  • Eat less canned food, and more frozen or fresh food. In addition to avoiding BPA, you'll also get more nutrients and less sodium -- both steps toward a healthier diet.
  • Breastfeed your baby, or use powdered formula instead of cans.
  • Avoid bottles and plastic containers that are made from polycarbonate (usually marked with a  number 7 or the letters PC) and if you want to reduce exposure to phthalates, avoid polyvinyl chloride (marked with a number 3 or PVC).

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alien...Human Beings

After posting the photograph yesterday of Rajiv Thiaga Rajah smiling so beautifully during the naturalization ceremony this past Friday in Pensacola, Florida - I had a dream last night about a visitor to the United States from another country and how grateful he was to have a conversation with me, in my dream. So when I woke up I decided to research in my bible what has been written about aliens, which is the word used to describe immigrants  in the Old Testament version I was reading. I found this following passage:

"When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap* to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings** of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God".  Leviticus 19:9-10

I found those words very moving as to the sensitivity required by God for each individual when they go about their business and daily lives. It speaks to me of a lifestyle of charitable awareness. How that translates into national policy, I have not a clue  - on a personal level, I hope to retain the meaning of those words in my life.

*Reap - to cut with a sickle, scythe, or reaping machine
**Gleaning -  to gather grain or other produce left by reapers
(The photograph above was found on the internet and was not created by me)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


from Pensacola News Journal

This is Rajiv Thiaga Rajah. He took part in the naturalization ceremony held at the federal courthouse in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, July 15, 2011. What a beautiful smile and I thought I'd share this happy image. I love it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Garden Paths

Stepping stones,
garden paths,
long walks,
certain thoughts.

garden benches -
complicit skies -
hesitant insects -
wondering why.


I love fresh sprouts on salad, sandwiches, and in stir-fry. It is very easy to make your own sprouts. What you need are the seeds which can be found at health food stores, and a container to grow them in. I use a quart size, large mouth Mason jar with a plastic lid designed with holes to drain liquid from.
First soak your seeds for 6-8 hours. 1 cup seeds equal 5 cups sprouts.
That is a lot of sprouts! Best to keep it to about 1/8 of a cup seeds.

After placing the soaked seeds in the growing container, they MUST be rinsed and drained well 2-3 times a day and need to be in a dark place. I invert my Mason jar at a slight angle inside a dish to allow drainage. I also keep a jar of seeds somewhere I will see them as I work in the kitchen or those poor soaked and sprouting seeds will most likely be forgotten by me. When I see my jar of seeds it reminds me to rinse the ones hidden in the cabinet. Expose the seeds to a few hours of light a day to develop color. To rid the sprouts of the hulls, immerse the sprouts in cool water and let the hulls rise to the surface, then drain. Let your sprouts drain very well before putting in the refrigerator. I put a napkin under them for the first day or so to soak up extra water. Slimy sprouts are not my favorite. The directions on the package of sprouts I just bought at Everman's Co-Op in Pensacola, Florida says to rinse them while you have them in the refrigerator 2-3 times a day. I have NEVER done that and I don't plan on it. I like making the sprouts, they are so crisp when you eat them this fresh, but I don't want to have to think about sprouts all day, know what I mean? The blend I am using now has alfalfa, broccoli, Mung, lentil, and radish. They blend very well together. Try it! Your own little garden, in a jar. Another simple food for a natural lifestyle.

For more information on sprouts and their nutritional benefits, take a look at:

Making a Earth Oven - Mother Earth News - By Dick and James Strawbridge

Earth Oven Materials and Tools

Tape measure
Garden sieve
Rolling pin
Clay (dig your own if possible)
Bricks or cinder blocks
Stone slabs

Earth Oven Instructions

Build the Stand 
1. Build a firm base. We used some spare cinder blocks. Keep it level and build the structure up to a comfortable working height for cooking.
2. Prepare a solid floor for your oven. It must have a smooth surface. We used a couple of old paving slabs.
3. Mark the center of the oven. Make it as large as possible. Ours is about 2 feet in diameter.
4. Draw two circles, one 3 to 4 inches inside the first, to show the thickness of the walls. Note the radius of the inner circle.
Prepare the Clay 
5. Sift the clay to remove pebbles and debris if you dug your clay from the ground.
6. Lay a big tarp on the ground and mix your clay — best done with bare feet.
7. Add sharp sand (about a bucketful) and some water if the clay is very dry. Mixing takes time and effort. Don’t slip!
8. Keep turning and mixing the clay.
9. Test the clay to see whether it is ready to work with. Make a clay sausage.
10. Hold it with half in your palm and the other half dangling over your hand. If the clay bends but doesn’t break, it’s ready to use.
Make the Oven Base and Walls 
11. Roll out a circular layer 1/2-inch thick on the internal circle of the base. Trim the edges with a trowel.
12. Wet the clay, then smooth it with your hands. This will serve as a smooth base for sliding whatever’s being cooked in and out of the oven.
13. Cover the circle with a layer of moist newspaper to stop any sand from sticking to it.
14. Pile on moist sand and sculpt the shape of the earth oven, making a dome that is a few inches taller than the internal radius of the oven.
15. Measure the height of the sand dome, which will be the interior height of your oven. Multiply this by 0.63 to get the height of the door.
16. Cover the sand dome with wet newspaper to stop the clay from sticking to it.
17. Shape the clay into sausages, then flatten and squash them into place. Start at the base and work around and up, to cover the dome.
18. Use the width of your hand as a rough measurement: the layer of clay should be around 3 to 4 inches thick.
19. Try to push the clay against itself, not against the mound of sand, as you add each piece. Cover the entire dome with clay, making sure it is still the same thickness at the top as the bottom. Wet your hands and smooth the surface of the finished dome.
Make the Door 
20. Mark out the height of the door using measurements you made earlier. Our sand dome is 15 inches tall, so the door is just less than 9 1/2 inches in height. Mark the width of the door. Ours measures 10 inches — half of the oven’s internal diameter and perfectly big enough for a small pizza to slide in and out.
21. Draw the shape of the door freehand with a pen. Use a sharp knife to cut out the door. Do this in two sections, cutting down the midline of the door.
22. Slide the knife under one half of the door. Slide the excess clay out. Repeat for the other half of the door.
23. Cut away the excess clay on the inside of the door to enlarge it slightly. Leave the oven for a few days to a week.
24. Remove the sand when the walls of the oven resist denting when you poke them.
Finishing Touches 
To repair any cracks that emerge on the oven as it dries: Wet the surface, then score it with a cross-hatch pattern. Apply more clay to the cracked area. Repeat if cracks appear after the oven has been used.
To fit a wooden door: Use a paper template to get the shape right. It doesn’t need to be a perfect fit, however.

Read more:

somewhere i have never traveled - e.e. cummings

"somewhere i have never traveled, gladly beyond
any experience, your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully, mysteriously) her first rose

or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully, suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility: whose texture
compels me with the colour of your countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens; only something in  me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands"

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Aluminum Free Baking Powder

Rumford Aluminum Free Baking Powder, 8.1-Ounce Canisters (Pack of 6)
One of the least expensive, and most effective, things you can do to improve the taste of your cakes, quick breads, cookies, and muffins is to switch to aluminum-free baking powder right away. Baking powder a leavening agent, and it’s usually called for in recipes where there are alkaline (as opposed to acidic) ingredients. In actuality, baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is one of the ingredients in baking powder, which, when moistened, releases carbon dioxide, which causes baked goods to rise. Even though no definitive correlation has been found regarding health problems arising from using regular baking powder and cooking with non-anondized aluminum pots and pans, I use it for the taste. If you’ve ever experienced a bitter, “tinny” flavor when biting into a muffin, that’s because of the baking powder used—and often the overuse of it.
The most popular brand is Rumford, named after Count Rumford, although there are likely others. (If anyone knows one that’s sold in small, airtight containers, I’d be interested in knowing about it. Leave any info the comments.) Oddly, it’s made by the same company that makes Clabber Girl baking powder. Baking powders without aluminum cost just a couple of cents more than standard baking powder, and the flavor of your baked goods will improve substantially.
You can also make your own single-acting baking powder: for 1 teaspoon of baking powder, mix 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar with 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda and1/4 teaspoon cornstarch. This can be scaled up or down, proportionally. Or you can make a little jar of it, not too much, and use it as needed. If you do make your own baking powder, be sure to pop whatever you’re making right in the oven after it’s mixed as it’ll start to react once you’ve added the liquid to your muffin or quick bread recipe.
Baking powder can lose its oomph and doesn’t last forever. To prevent that, buy the smallest container you can find and store it with the cap firmly in place in a cool, dry place…but not the refrigerator, whose air is too moist. Although I’m always looking for ways to cut down on excess packaging, I find it best not to buy baking powder that’s sold in bulk, as it sometimes is at health food stores, since it loses its vigor quickly when exposed to humidity in the air.
When in doubt if your baking powder is still good, add a teaspoonful to a half cup of boiling water. If it boils vigorously, the baking powder is still good. If nothing happens, chuck it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Flax and Sunflower Seed Bread for Bread Machine

This recipe is DELICIOUS! I originally found it on
Use bread machine, setting for 1.5 Lb loaf, Basic Bread with Medium Crust. Put the ingredients in the machine in the order listed. When your at the grocery store picking up what ingredients you may not have to make this, go to the bread aisle, pick the loaf of bread that looks the most natural (no fair looking in the refrigerated section of a health food store), and read the list of ingredients that are in this "natural" bread.

1.1/3 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Butter, softened
3 Tablespoons Honey
1.1/2 Cups Unbleached Bread Flour
1.1/3 Cups Whole Wheat Flower
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Milled Flax Seed
1/4 cup Whole Flax Seed
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 cup sunflower seeds - only put the sunflower seeds in after the alarm sounds from bread machine.

Such a simple food for a natural lifestyle.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Pecan-Crusted Trout

South Beach Recipe

Pecans add protein, good monounsaturated fat, and taste to this easy bake trout dish. (I think it could be used on a variety of fish types). Serve with grilled asparagus with a little garlic and extra-virgin olive oil.

1/2 cup pecans
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 garlic clove
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
4 whole trout (about 12 ounces each), cleaned and boned
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a food processor, pulse pecans, rosemary, garlic, and cayenne until finely chopped. Transfer mixture to shallow dish.
Place each trout, opened and flesh side up, on baking sheet.
Season flesh side of trout with salt and brush with egg white.
Sprinkle nut mixture over egg white and press to adhere.
Drizzle evenly with oil and bake until trout is opaque and tender inside, about 20 minutes.

Make 4 servings

Per serving: 382 calories, 24 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 3 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 248 mg sodium

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Necessary Food Staples for a Healthy Kitchen

To eat healthy it is important to understand that eliminating as many man-made chemicals from your diet is the crucial first step. I am striving to eat simple food for a natural lifestyle. You will find that to do this, you will have to make an effort to keep all the ingredients on hand that will enable you to make meals without the boxed foods that line the grocery store isles. In fact you will find that if you begin to think this way, cook this way and shop this way, it will certainly speed up your time in the grocery store! I don't even buy canned soups anymore, preferring instead to use either broth I have made and frozen or boxed broth that contains no MSG. Regarding the chemicals that we easily ingest because they are declared "safe" - how do we really know that they don't contribute to illnesses and the current obesity epidemic in the USA by forcing your body to deal with an addition that God never intended to be in your body? Man has come up with many inventions that have certainly proved to be detrimental to mankind, why not some of the food additives? Since we can't possible research all the additives that are out there, it is plain to me that we should stay as far away from as many of them as we can. You can do a first good step towards that by not drinking soda's of any kind. Make your own bread with a bread machine - you can make a delicious loaf of bread with nothing but honey to sweeten it, and all you have to do is follow the recipe and put the ingredients in the bread machine and turn it on. Even making a cake - you can make a white cake with about 5-6 ingredients that should always be on hand. Next time you're in the store, read the ingredients on the boxed cake mixes. Do you know what each ingredient is?...But I could go on and on...I'll get down to making this list.

I thought it might help for me to make a list of what I have found to be the items that I need to always have on hand. Sometimes I plan my meals, sometimes I don't. I want to be able to prepare something healthy, and fairly quick, so I make sure that I keep the following items on hand.

salt, pepper, and all the dried herbs and spices you think you will use. I personally use a lot of cinnamon, basil, thyme, rosemary, cumin, cayenne, red pepper flakes, chili powder, parsley. I use a lot of fresh herbs but I'll cover that on another post.

Liquid seasonings - white and red wine vinegar, white and red cooking wine, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce,

Baking Supplies - yeast, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, vital wheat gluten

Sugars - turbino, white, confectioners, brown, honey, molasses, stevia

Oils - canola, olive and sesame oil plus olive oil spray.

Grains, Seeds, Nuts - unbleached all purpose flour, unbleached bread flour, whole wheat flour, rolled oats, wheat germ, wheat bran, milled flax seed, whole flax seed, pearl barley, millet, wild rice, brown rice, long-grain white rice, couscous, whole wheat pasta's or any vegetable or whole grain pasta. Walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds (raw). Cornstarch.

Beans (dried) - red, black, lentil (brown and red), chickpeas, white. (Beans do not take all that long to cook if you have a cast iron pot with lid and you think ahead). I try to avoid using canned beans whenever possible, not that I think they are so bad but because I believe that the fresher the food, the more nutrients it retains. I bring my beans to a boil then turn off and let sit and hour or two - drain them, rinse them, then cook the beans in either vegetable or chicken broth.

Fresh produce - onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, celery, kale - I keep these on hand for soups and stock.
- lettuce (anything but iceberg), sprouts (health food stores have seeds you can sprout your own), and just about any other fresh vegetable you enjoy. Have a steamer on hand and in a very short period of time you have your vegetable side.

Fruit - anything! Kiwi's and apples are great to have on hand if you make your own juice as they will add a nice touch of sweet to a celery carrot juice. (Did you know that celery can lower high blood pressure and has a slight diuretic effort? Ironically, although it is made up of 90% water, celery helps rid the body of excess fluid by stimulating urine production with the right combination of sodium and potassium needed).
I like to keep blueberries on hand, either fresh or frozen because I have found that blueberries are versatile for a nutritious snack - muffins, shakes, etc. Banana's getting old? Make a banana nut bread loaf.

Dairy - eggs*, milk, cheeses (grated Parmesan, white cheddar, Feta, mozzarella, ricotta), butter, I use unsalted - (I never use margarine), yogurt, sour cream. Whipping cream instead of those other frozen dessert items.

*Explanation regarding different types of egg labeling:
1. Free-Range Eggs – The eggs come from chickens that have continuous access to the outdoors and food, unfortunately there are currently no standards to what “outdoors” means. This could be interpreted as a fenced in basketball court or an open field, it is up to the farmer because there are no government requirements. If you are getting your free-range eggs from a reputable source it will mean “pasture-raised” but be warned, some of the less-than-honest companies may not be so forthcoming.

2. Pasture-Raised – These are considered the best type of egg because the chickens are allowed to roam open fields and peck at vegetation and bugs. This results in a superior egg that is full of lutein, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A & E. In addition, these eggs have a tendency to have less saturated fat and cholesterol.

3. Vegetarian-Fed – This means that the chickens that produce the eggs can only be fed vegetarian foods with no animal byproducts. This is not a significant improvement over conventional eggs because they can be fed corn and other grains that fatten them up but do not improve the nutrition of the egg.

4. Organic Eggs – These eggs must meet strict guidelines that include keeping the chickens outdoors, no antibiotics and all vegetarian feed that is produced without the use of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. An improvement over conventional eggs, however, if the chicken is fed organic corn then it may not result in the same kind of nutritious qualities associated with pasture-raised eggs.

5. Natural Eggs or Naturally Raised Eggs – This means NOTHING because eggs are non-processed and thus are considered natural.

6. Omega-3 Eggs – These eggs come from chickens that are fed food sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Such sources include algae and flaxseeds. This does improve the nutrition of the eggs by increasing their omega-3 content.

7. Hormone-Free/Antibiotic-Free – All eggs must be hormone-free and if they are USDA graded eggs they must be antibiotic-free as well.

8. Pasteurized – Most eggs that are available to supermarkets are pasteurized. This process heats the eggs to a point that is just below the “cooking point” to kill bacteria.

Does the color of the egg make a difference?

No, the color of the egg has no impact on the nutritional qualities of the egg and should not come into play when choosing your egg.

Dr. Ray’s Notes:
I personally prefer pasture-raised eggs and get mine from Springfield Farms. The eggs are much more nutritious and they taste better! There are some more conventionally available eggs such as Eggland’s Best which are also good quality. In my book though, you just cannot beat the eggs produced from chickens that live a happy life on the pasture pecking away at grass and bugs! Now THAT is an incredible, edible EGG! - AUTHOR - Blythe Alberg

London Broil and Marinade

South Beach Diet Recipe : Marinated London Broil


1 1/2 pounds top round or eye round London broil

For the Marinade:

2 tablespoons Olive Oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 cup dry red wine
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 tsp. dried
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (optional)

Preparation Method

In a small mixing bowl whisk together all the ingredients except the meat. Place the steak in a deep bowl; pour on the marinade, and turn once to coat both sides. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour, preferably overnight.

Preheat the broiler or prepare a charcoal grill. Broil or grill the meat for about 5 minutes on each side, or until done to taste.

Cut meat into thin diagonal slices across the grain. Serve warm or cold.

Makes 8 servings, approximately 3 ounces each.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mindful Eating May Help

Mindful eating may help with weight loss - (Health Beat - Harvard Medical School)

A small yet growing body of research suggests that a slower, more thoughtful way of eating could help with weight problems and maybe steer some people away from processed food and unhealthy choices.

This alternative approach has been dubbed “mindful eating.” It’s based on the Buddhist concept of mindfulness, which involves being fully aware of what is happening within and around you at the moment. Mindfulness techniques have also been offered as a way to relieve stress and alleviate problems like high blood pressure and chronic gastrointestinal difficulties.

Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food. Some elements of mindful eating hark back to Horace Fletcher, an early 20th century food faddist who believed chewing food thoroughly would solve many different kinds of health problems.

The mind–gut connection

Digestion involves a complex series of hormonal signals between the gut and the nervous system, and it seems to take about 20 minutes for the brain to register satiety (fullness). If someone eats too quickly, satiety may occur after overeating instead of putting a stop to it. There’s also reason to believe that eating while we’re distracted by activities like driving or typing may slow down or stop digestion similar to how the “fight or flight” response does. And if we’re not digesting well, we may be missing out on the full nutritive value of some of the food we’re consuming.

A treatment for bingers

Several studies have shown mindful eating strategies might help treat eating disorders and possibly help with weight loss. Psychologist Jean Kristeller at Indiana State University and colleagues at Duke University conducted an NIH-funded study of mindful eating techniques for the treatment of binge eating.

The randomized controlled study included 150 binge eaters and compared a mindfulness-based therapy to a standard psychoeducational treatment and a control group. Both active treatments produced declines in binging and depression, but the mindfulness-based therapy seemed to help people enjoy their food more and have less sense of struggle about controlling their eating. Those who meditated more (both at mealtimes and throughout the day) got more out of the program.

The NIH is funding additional research by Kristeller and Ruth Wolever of Duke on the effectiveness of mindfulness-based approaches for weight loss and maintenance. Several other studies on mindful eating are under way around the country.

A starter kit for mindful eating

Experts suggest starting gradually with mindful eating, eating one meal a day or week in a slower, more attentive manner. Here are some tips (and tricks) that may help you get started:

1. Set your kitchen timer to 20 minutes, and take that time to eat a normal-sized meal.
2. Try eating with your non-dominant hand; if you’re a righty, hold your fork in your left hand when lifting food to your mouth.
3. Use chopsticks if you don’t normally use them.
4. Eat silently for five minutes, thinking about what it took to produce that meal, from the sun’s rays to the farmer to the grocer to the cook.
5. Take small bites and chew well.
6. Before opening the fridge or cabinet, take a breath and ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Do something else, like reading or going on a short walk.

Good Eye!

What is the 'Bad Eye' in Matthew 6:23?
By: John Piper

A verse in Matthew is somewhat difficult to understand. It seems to dangle in the Sermon on the Mount with little connection to what goes before and after: "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23 but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" (Matthew 6:22-23).

Before it: the familiar saying about not laying up treasures on earth: "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21).

After it: the equally familiar saying about not serving God and money: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money" (Matthew 6:24).

Therefore, the sayings before and after Matthew 6:22-23 deal with treasure or money. In fact, the first would flow really well into the second if we simply left out the intervening verses 22-23. The gist would be "Treasure God in heaven, not money on earth . . . because you can't serve two masters, God and money." So why does Jesus link these two sayings about money and God with a saying about the good eye and the bad eye?

The key is found in Matthew 20:15. Jesus had just told the parable of the workers in the vineyard. Some of them had agreed to work from 6 am to 6 pm for a denarius. Some the master hired at 9 am. Others at noon. Finally some he hired at 5 pm. When the day was done at 6 pm he paid all the workers the same thing--a denarius. In other words, he was lavishly generous to those who worked only one hour, and he paid the agreed amount to those who worked twelve hours.

Those who worked all day "grumbled at the master of the house" (Matthew 20:11). They were angry that those who worked so little were paid so much. Then the master used a phrase about "the bad eye" which is just like the one back in Matthew 6:23. He said, "Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?" (Matthew 20:15).
Unfortunately that last clause is a total paraphrase, not a translation. "Or do you begrudge my generosity" is a very loose paraphrase of "Or is your eye bad because I am good (? ho ophthalmos sou pon?ros estin hoti eg? agathos eimi?)" The "bad eye" here parallels the "bad eye" in Matthew 6:23.

What does the bad eye refer to in Matthew 20:15? It refers to an eye that cannot see the beauty of grace. It cannot see the brightness of generosity. It cannot see unexpected blessing to others as a precious treasure. It is an eye that is blind to what is truly beautiful and bright and precious and God-like. It is a worldly eye. It sees money and material reward as more to be desired than a beautiful display of free, gracious, God-like generosity.

That is exactly what the bad eye means in chapter six of the Sermon on the Mount. And that meaning gives verses 22-23 a perfect fitness between a saying on true treasure (vv. 19-21) and the necessity of choosing between the mastery of God and the mastery of money (vv. 24).

So the flow of thought would go like this: Don't lay up treasures on earth, but lay up treasures in heaven. Show that your heart is fixed on the value that God is for you in Christ. Make sure that your eye is good not bad. That is, make sure that you see heavenly treasure as infinitely more precious than earthly material treasure. When your eye sees things this way, you are full of light. And if you don't see things this way, even the light you think you see (the glitz and flash and skin and muscle of this world) is all darkness. You are sleepwalking through life. You are serving money as a slave without even knowing it, because it has lulled you to sleep. Far better is to be swayed by the truth--the infinite value of God.

So if you are emotionally drawn more by material things than by Christ, pray that God would give you a good eye and awaken you from the blindness of "the bad eye."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great Word from C.H. Spurgeon

C.H. Spurgeon's Morning Devotional
Wednesday July 6, 2011

"Whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil."-Proverbs 1:33

Divine love is rendered conspicuous when it shines in the midst of judgments. Fair is that lone star which smiles through the rifts of the thunder clouds; bright is the oasis which blooms in the wilderness of sand; so fair and so bright is love in the midst of wrath. When the Israelites provoked the Most High by their continued idolatry, He punished them by withholding both dew and rain, so that their land was visited by a sore famine; but while He did this, He took care that His own chosen ones should be secure. If all other brooks are dry, yet shall there be one reserved for Elijah; and when that fails, God shall still preserve for him a place of sustenance; nay, not only so, the Lord had not simply one "Elijah," but He had a remnant according to the election of grace, who were hidden by fifties in a cave, and though the whole land was subject to famine, yet these fifties in the cave were fed, and fed from Ahab's table too by His faithful, God-fearing steward, Obadiah. Let us from this draw the inference, that come what may, God's people are safe. Let convulsions shake the solid earth, let the skies themselves be rent in twain, yet amid the wreck of worlds the believer shall be as secure as in the calmest hour of rest. If God cannot save His people under heaven, He will save them in heaven. If the world becomes too hot to hold them, then heaven shall be the place of their reception and their safety. Be ye then confident, when ye hear of wars, and rumours of wars. Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon His promise; rest in His faithfulness, and bid defiance to the blackest future, for there is nothing in it direful for you. Your sole concern should be to show forth to the world the blessedness of hearkening to the voice of wisdom.

Herbs at a Glance

Psalm 104:14a - "He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate - bringing forth food from the earth"

The following list is taken from Herb Guide and Prescription for Nutritional Healing. If you don't already use fresh herbs in cooking, but would like to, this may help.
Sweet Basil
Red Leaf Basil

Basil - Minty, spicy, sweet - Pesto, sauces, tomato salads

Chives - Oniony, mild - Butters, cheeses, eggs, salads, sauces, soups

Dill - Light, fresh, and faintly anise - Eggs, fish, poultry, salads, sauces

Lavender - Floral with evergreen notes, sweet - Cakes, cookies, fruits, jellies
HEALTH BENEFIT - Relieves stress and depression. Beneficial for the skin. Caution - should not be used during pregnancy. Lavender oil should not be taken internally.

Lemon Balm - Citrusy, refreshing - Drinks, fruits, salads, teas

Lemon Verbana - Citrusy, sweet - Desserts, marinade, salad dressing, teas

Lemongrass - Citrusy, warm - Asian dishes, curries, fish, seafood soups

Marjoram - Slightly minty and citrusy, sweet - Butters, cheeses, eggs, meats, soups, vegetables

Mint - Cool, sweet and refreshing - Desserts, fruit salads, jellies, teas

Oregano - Balsamic, peppery and assertive - Cheeses, eggs, salads, sauces, meats, vegetables

Parsley - Grassy, fresh - Butters, garnishes, pestos, sandwiches
HEALTH BENEFIT - Contains a substance that prevents the multiplication of tumor cells. Expels worms, relieves gas, stimulates activity of digestive system, and freshens breath. Helps bladder, kidney, liver, lung, stomach, and thyroid function. Good for bed-wetting, fluid retention, gas, halitosis, high blood pressure, indigestion, kidney disease, obesity, and prostrate disorders.*
Ancient civilizations have used parsley in medications, on wounds, poultices, boils, cysts and to draw pus out of an infected cut. Parsley is very high in chlorophyll, which acts similar to iron to oxidize the blood. Parsley juice added to vegetable juices will enter directly into the bloodstream - (get a juicer!!! - and use it but add parsley with hard vegetables when making juice as parsley can be hard on the juicer)
Flat and curled parsley have the same nutritional value.

Rosemary - Piney fresh, and strong - Breads, poultry, marinades, meats, vegetables
HEALTH BENEFIT - Fights free radicals, inflammation (COX-2 enzyme), bacteria, and fungi. Relaxes the stomach, stimulates circulation and digestion, and acts as an astringent and decongestant. Improves circulation to the brain. Also helps detoxify the liver, and has anticancer and anti-tumor properties. Good for headaches, high and low blood pressure, circulatory problems, and menstrual cramps. Can be used as an antiseptic gargle.
Rosemary is an intense flavoring agent, so a little goes a long way.
Strip fresh leaves from the stem and mince them with a chef's knife. Thick, stripped stems make savory skewers, too. Whole sprigs can be placed on grilling meats and fish, or even tossed onto coals to add flavor. Crush dried rosemary leaves before adding to your recipe. Substitute one teaspoon dried for one tablespoon fresh. From

Sage - Camphorasceous, woodsy, and faintly bitter - Cheeses, jellies, poultry, meats, stuffings

Tarragon - Hint of licorice, strong and a bit bitter - Cheeses, eggs, poultry, sauces, salads, vinegars

Thyme - Hint of lemon and mint: warm and pungent - Casseroles, cheeses, salads, sauces, soups, vegetables

*Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Cool Soup

Green Gazpacho - South Beach Recipe
A simple food - a natural lifestyle

2.1/2 pound cucumbers (3-4 medium) peeled, seeded and roughly chopped (I use European cucumbers and do not seed them)
2 cups red leaf lettuce (about 6 leaves)
1 small green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
2 scallions, white and green parts, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1 small avocado - (I usually don't dice avocado and garnish serving with. It's also great without this addition)
In a blender, puree cucumbers, lettuce, pepper, scallions, garlic, lime juice, water, oil, salt and cumin in batches until smooth.
Season with additional salt and add cayenne to taste.
Chill at least 2 hours or overnight. Makes four servings. Sprinkle avocado over soup and serve.
138 calories, 11 g. fat, 1 g saturated fat, 2 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber, 156 mg sodium.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Breakfast Ideas - simple foods - natural lifestyle

Psalm 90:14
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

These breakfast ideas come from either South Beach Diet or Six Week Body Make Over. I personally don't think that we have to follow a strict plan as long as we eat healthy, watch the calories and exercise. I have heard that to stimulate a sluggish metabolism, you must eat breakfast.

South Beach suggestions:
Option 1) - 6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail (buy the low sodium for extra advantage), Ham and Cheese Omelet with chives*, Coffee or tea with 1% or fat-free milk and sugar substitute**.

Option 2) - 6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail, Vegetable Quiche Cups (recipe following), Coffee or tea

Option 3) - 6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail, 2 eggs scrambled with chopped onion and roasted red peppers (from a jar), turkey bacon, coffee or tea

Option 4) - 6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail, Asparagus and onion omelet (cook asparagus and onion in olive oil before filling), coffee or tea.

Option 5) - 6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail, Portobello breakfast stack (top a portobello mushroom with a slice of tomato and broil 3 minutes; top mushroom with scrambled eggs and chopped chives), coffee or tea

Option 6) - 6 oz. vegetable juice cocktail, Chunky Vegetable Hash (recipe below), 2 scrambled eggs, coffee or tea
If you are preparing this for one, it really can be used two days in a row.

Option 7) - Wake Up Energy Shake (blend 1/2 cup low-fat, low sugar artificially sweetened vanilla soymilk, 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 3 ounces firm silken tofu, and 1/4 cup dry-roasted almonds until frothy), coffee or tea

Option 8) - Morning Mocha Smoothie - (blend 1/2 cup fat-free milk, 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, instant coffee powder to taste, 2 tablespoons sugar free chocolate syrup and 6 ice cubes until frothy), coffee or tea


Option 9) - 1/2 cup Oatmeal, 6 slivered almonds, 2 tablespoons raisins, 1% milk, coffee or tea

Option 10) - 1 sunny side up egg (use olive oil cooking spray), 1 slice light whole wheat bread (ever check out all the chemicals that they put in bread, even the ones that seem so healthy? I have a great, EASY recipe for bread for the bread machine I'll post in a later post), 1 tsp. butter, 1% milk, 1 small orange

Option 11) - Puffed Rice Cereal 1.1/2 cups, 1% milk, 2 Tablespoons raisins, 1/2 banana, 1 tbsp. sunflower seeds***

Option 12) - 1/2 cup oatmeal (add cinnamon, tastes great), 3 scrambled egg whites.

VEGETABLE QUICHE CUPS - I'm not sure how I feel about this recipe. I like that you can make it and freeze it but I made it with the egg substitute that it calls for and I did not like the taste so if your going to make it, figure out a way to substitute real eggs for the amount of egg substitute if you agree with me.
1 package (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach (I use fresh, just microwave or steam it first)
3/4 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar or Jack cheese
3/4 cup egg substitute
1/4 cup diced green pepper (you could use another color pepper I'm sure)
1/4 cup finely diced onion
3 drops hot pepper sauce (optional)
Heat over to 350 degrees. Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray (I always use olive oil including in the spray version unless I absolutely have to use another type). Cook spinach and drain/squeeze out excess liquid. In large bowl combine spinach, cheese, egg substitute, bell pepper, onion and pepper sauce. Mix well. Divide evenly in muffin cups. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Freeze extra.

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion chopped
Pinch dried thyme
Pinch paprika
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 small red bell pepper, diced
4 large button mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 small zucchini, diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, and paprika, reduce heat to medium-low and cook stirring occasionally, 7 minutes or until onion is softened. Stir in salt, bell pepper, mushrooms, zucchini, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, 4 minutes longer. Remove from heat and serve hash by itself or with a poached or scrambled egg.

* Chives/Herbs - GROWN YOUR OWN! I'm going to post later how I have been very successful in having fresh herbs on hand.
**Sugar Substitute - Don't use artificial sweeteners if you can avoid them. That is for another post though. I don't really have a problem with this because I do not drink soda's and never diet sodas and I drink my coffee and tea unsweetened. I use honey in the bread I make. But my husband drinks his coffee sweetened and he uses Stevia. Stevia is a plant and you can buy the powdered version in packets at health food stores - Wal Mart sells it on the bottom shelf in the vitamin section, at least that is where it is here in Gulf Breeze. I have no idea about all the variations in packaging and what one company might add to it that another does not but to be on the safe side, I usually by it at Everman's, our local health food store.
***Buy raw sunflower seeds. Our health food store sells in bulk. I use the larger size Mason jars to store items like this so I can see them and remember I have them!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Healthy Snacks: Roll-Ups

The South Beach Diet has some good recipes and snacks. I don't like everything they have but I do like quite a few of the recipes. I thought I'd make my first post for SSSC on these snacks because sometimes you just get hungry between meals and to eat something healthy and low calorie to take the edge off is a good idea to keep your metabolism up AND to keep from eating too much and too fast when you do sit down to a meal.

CALIFORNIA ROLL UP: use red or green leaf lettuce (use green leaf, it doesn't tear as easily as red leaf). The South Beach diet suggests a quantity of 4. Top each leaf with 1 slice each turkey breast and boiled ham (lunchmeat - Hormel Natural Choice is *nitrate and nitrite free), 1 thin slice tomato, 1 thin slice avocado (it tastes just as well without if avocado's are too pricey), 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice, a few leaves of either watercress or arugula (I think you could arrange some thin radish slices here to give it a bite as the arugula does) and 1 tablespoon Ranch (Paul Newman's Ranch Dressing does not have MSG but it is hard to find. The Maria's brand in the refrigerated produce section does not have MSG**). Roll up and secure with toothpicks.

GRILLED CHICKEN AND ROASTED RED PEPPER ROLL-UP: using the same lettuce and rolling up when finished, use thinly sliced boneless, skinless grilled chicken breast, roasted red peppers from jar, top with reduced fat feta cheese and sliced scallions.

TEX-MEX SMOKED TURKEY ROLL-UP: same lettuce rolled up, combine all together 8 slices chopped smoked turkey breast, 1 diced avocado, 1/4 cup diced reduced fat pepper Jack cheese, 3 tablespoons salsa, 1 tablespoon lime juice. Mix together and divide amongst leaves.

*Nitrates - Sodium nitrate preserves the color of meats. It reacts with your stomach acid to produce nitrosamines. In large quantities, nitrosamines has been sown to cause cancer in animals.

**Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) - The Mayo Clinic posts the following regarding warning signs of negative reaction to MSG: headache, flushing, sweating, sense of facial pressure or tightness, rapid fluttering heartbeat, chest pain, shotness of breath, nausea, weakness.