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When I have no time and no food, I like to make this quick and easy pasta. It’s relatively cheap and healthy, too! It requires a jar of sundried tomatoes in oil. I always have one in the pantry, as it’s uses are endless. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Whole wheat of quinoa pasta, 1 cup, dry

Broccoli florets, 1/2 cup

Sundried tomatoes in oil 1/4 cup

Salt, paprika

optional: basil and garlic to taste

optional: 1/4 cup of pine nuts

Parmesan or soy cheese , 1/4 cup

Bring a pot of water to a boil and throw in the pasta. Three minutes before it’s cooked (after about 8minutes in the pot,) throw in the broccoli. When the pasta is al dente, strain it together with the broccoli and put it in a large bowl. Add the sundried tomatoes in oil, the salt and the spices. Serve hot or cold with parmesan or vegan cheese.

My friend Erica sent me a link to Counting Coconuts, an amazing blog for mothers of small children. The blog is full of creative ideas, projects and inspirations. I especially liked their “sensory tub” ideas. Sensory tubs, are, in essence, plastic boxes filled with stuff joined by a unifying theme. The lady behind Counting Coconuts Blog is very organized. She writes detailed lists and instructions for every tub and project. I  hate lists, can’t follow instructions and love to feel moved by inspiration, even though I admire those that are better organized than I am. Like my husband, for example. He puts everything in files.

Anyway, this is how we got the idea to do The Earth Project.

Firstly, we got a large plastic box. Then we went on a treasure hunt. While the twins were sleeping, my boy and I went outside in search for interesting Earth-themed” items, like pine cones, twigs, tree branches, rocks, dry leaves, etc…We put all of these treasures in the box. Then, we raided the Dollar Store. We bought gummy worms, caterpillars, rubber snakes, fake flowers, a tiny shovel and a fork.We also bought some green paper and cut leaves out of it. Then, we put some of our dollar-treasures into the box, filled with earthy items and – voila! Project Earth was ready.

My son loved digging in the box for hours and finding the same worms over and over. He loved wrapping the rubber snakes around the twigs and putting a plastic caterpillar on the rock, so that “he can sunbathe.” If you want to try something like that, remember that nature and a Dollar Store are a winning combo.

 

 

 

 

Even after making the zucchini casserole yesterday, we were left with extra zuchinis. Here’s what I threw in the blender today:

1 zucchini

7 ice cubes

1 banana

1 cup orange juice

1/2 avocado

It turned really yummy and the yield was 2-3 servings.

Next time, I will try this interesting smoothie.

What else can I do with zucchinis?

 

Hummus is a chickpea-sesame dip that works really well on a  sandwich or with veggies.  It is also a good source of  vegetarian protein and fiber. It is rich in monounsaturated fat,  if  made with olive oil.  Hummus also contains calcium, iron,  magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and a few other trace minerals. It  contains a little of the B vitamins, including a good  amount of folic acid and a little vitamin A.

Most people buy hummus in the store and get a bunch of preservatives and artificial ingredients with their chickpea dip. I  make my hummus myself, since I spent quite a few years in Israel, where hummus is eaten every day and the standards for hummus are quite high.  Very few recipes are as easy as the homemade hummus one.

My hummus can be fed to babies, because its protein will help them grow and all of its ingredients are completely natural.  Older children love dipping veggie sticks and crackers into the hummus. You can cook your chickpeas or use canned ones, if pressed for time. You can add things to hummus to keep the dip new and exciting every day: adding whole chickpeas to the finished hummus gives it an interesting texture, cilantro or parsley or chives or garlic or even curry or paprika or pesto sauce change its flavor. Mashed carrots or sweet potatoes add sweetness, while avocado makes it more subtle-tasting. You can even be as adventurous as I am sometimes, making this hummus into a completely different dish altogether, using white beans, instead of chickpeas.

Ingredients:

2 cups of cooked or canned chickpeas

1/3 cup tahini paste

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4- 1/3 cup of olive oil

Sea salt to taste

Process everything in a blender until smooth and taste. Some people like their hummus to have a more pronounced sesame flavor (add tahini) and some want its consistency to be more liquid ( add 1/4 cup warm water.) Add the spices I mentioned above if you feel like it and serve on a plate with some more olive oil, poured on top (but not mixed in.) You can also serve it with a pinch of paprika on top. Hummus can stay fresh in the fridge for about 4 days.

 

My husband bought some whole wheat bread today.  He doesn’t like the taste of the sprouted grain bread I buy ( the one that needs to be stored in the freezer.) After quickly glancing at the list of the ingredients in this new whole wheat bread, I became as determined as ever to buy a bread maker and start using it! Preservatives, dough conditioners, vegetable shortening, aluminium sulphate  –  are some of the ingredients of  the bread, which is marketed as a “healthier” choice!

 

Do you know of any links to good healthy bread recipes I can use?

Healing Cream

With a complete overabundance of “natural treatments” available on the market, it’s very hard to tell which ones work and which ones don’t. A lot of herbal creams do not have the herbs, listed as ingredients, in high enough concentration, to make a difference. Coyote’s Natural Medicine products are as pure as they can get. They are made with loving care from pure organic herbs and this is why they work like magic. I have been using them myself and advertising them to all of my friends ( without being paid for it.) These natural remedies are made form organic herbs that my midwife and her husband grow in their beautiful garden in Florida. Their Coyote’s Natural Medicine line offers  baby products, ointments, vitamins and more. Their “healing cream” is probably my favorite product and I believe everyone should have a jar. I used it post-partum and it helped my sore bottom like the best anesthetic. I also used it on my kids’ bruises, burns and cuts.

Remember the carrot ginger soup recipe I posted recently? What would you do with the pulp that’s leftover from juicing 3 cups of carrots? I made a casserole that turned out pretty good.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

3 cups carrot pulp (or grated carrots)

1 medium onion

1/2 cup olive oil

4 small zucchinis, sliced

1 cup of grated cheese ( I used the almond cheese variety)

2 eggs or chia gel substitute

a few drops of tabasco

1 tsp curry

1/3 cup parsley, chopped

Sea salt to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sautee the onion in 1/4 cup of olive oil. add the carrots to the onion and some more olive oil. Saute, mixing periodically, for about five minutes. Add the parsley and the spices and sautee for another minute or two. On a separate pan, sautee the zucchinis in some more olive oil for about 3 minutes. Add the zucchinis to the carrots and mix well. Mix in the cheese and the eggs. Oil the baking dish and (optionally) sprinkle some breadcrumbs on it. Put the casserole mixture in and bake for about 35-45 minutes.

I served this casserole with quinoa and  a salad with avocado in it. Avocado’s moisture balanced this casserole’s flavors really well.

I have a few recipes of healthy cookies that I like to use. This one I found on a Russian website a year or so ago. It’s simple, gluten-free, can be made vegan and always turns out fabulous! Occasionally, I add raisins or almond slices to this recipe.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs (or chia substitute)

1/3 cup buckwheat honey

1 tsp coconut oil

Warm up the oven to  325°F. Mix the eggs or the chia gel with the powdered sugar, add honey, добавить мед and flour and mix well.  Cover the dish with the dough with a kitchen towel and let stand in  a cool dry place for thirty minutes. Cover the baking dish with parchment paper and oil it up with coconut oil.  Put the dough on the parchment paper, using a tablespoon. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes. Optopnal :sprinkle with powdered sugar prior to serving.

  1. Plantains contain high levels of vitamin A, potassium, calcium, iron and fiber. They are also low in sodium, have no cholesterol and contain natural mood enhancers. Nutritionally, plantains are similar to bananas. I like plantains as an interesting potato alternative once in a while. I buy black plantains (they are sweet inside) or let the plantain ripen and turn black on my windowsill.

    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat the baking dish with some olive oil. Slice the plantains lengthwise into skinny strips that are about 3 inches long. Place the plantain slices in the baking dish, sprinkle them with some more olive oil  and  place them in a hot oven. Bake for about 10 minutes. Using a spatula, turn the fries over and bake for about 20-30 minutes, or until the fries are crispy. Lightly salt the plantain the minute it comes out of the oven. You can also sprinkle the plantain with spices, such as curry, cayenne or garlic on these fries.

    Salsa and lime juice work well as an accompaniment.

    photo credit: healthbent

As I was continuing my exploration of Asheville’s healthy food scene, I visited Greenlife supermarket. A supermarket with a special section, devoted to prepared raw food items can definitely be considered healthy, don’t you think? I bought a container of raw carrot ginger soup at Greenlife. The soup proved to be so unbelievable, that I had to spend two hours browsing the web for just the perfect recipe, which matched it and another hour trying to perfect the recipe even further. If you like spicy food, this Carrot Ginger Soup would taste completely out of this world to you! I don’t even like cold soups, but this one totally got me. Perhaps, because of all the warming spices in it, I didn’t even crave for it to be warm. If you do, serve it in  a warm bowl. You can also drink this soup as a smoothie, if you are into salty and spicy drinks.

 

 

 

Ingredients:

3 cups fresh carrot juice
1 small ripe avocado
1/3 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
1tbsp.  fresh ginger, minced or juice an inch of ginger with the carrots.

1/2 tsp. cilantro, minced

Puree all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth.  The sweetness of the carrots will determine how much agave nectar you need to use, if at all.

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