Tag Archives: Food

I Love Ghee and Here’s Why

I Love Ghee and Here’s Why

In my journey and constant research on healthier living, I kept seeing this stuff called ghee while researching grass fed butter information. We started using grass fed butter but had not yet jumped on the ghee wagon.

Last weekend at our local grocery store that has the most extensive organic, healthy food section we found a jar on the shelf labeled GHEE. Did you read that? Jar on the shelf! I had to check this out for myself.

Ghee is a form of butter that is an integral part of traditional Indian cuisine. It is clarified butter, which means that the water and milk solids (mostly proteins) have been boiled off, leaving just the rich, golden butterfat. 

Ghee is a simple word for ‘clarified butter’ actually. If you have ever ordered lobster or crab legs at a reputable restaurant, you were most likely served a little cup of clarified butter. That very golden, translucent and rich butter in a cup. So guess what, you’ve probably had ghee before but just didn’t know it.

Ok so we know what it is but why should you care? Read below for the Top 10 Reasons to get to Know Ghee.

I bought the exact brand below, Purity Farms. It’s paleo, lactose and casein free, kosher, non GMO, organic, pasture raised (grass fed) and salt free.

ghee grass fed butter good fat paleo clarified organic

I found this great post by lahealthyliving.com about ghee and what makes it’s so awesome. Here are their Top 10 Reasons To Get To Know Ghee

  1. Outstanding Cooking Oil. Ghee’s smoke point is 485°F which makes it an excellent cooking oil.  Unlike butter, ghee can tolerate high temperatures.
  2. Supreme Taste.  Ghee has a more creamy texture and nutty flavor than butter since most of the liquid is skimmed off during the clarification process.
  3. Long Shelf life. Because of its low oxidation rate, ghee can be kept unrefrigerated for a long time.
  4. Easy to Digest. Ghee aids in a healthy digestive process as it stimulates the secretion of stomach acids thus increasing the absorption of nutrients.
  5. Boosts the Immune System. Modern research found that ghee also contains phenolic antioxidants which boosts the immune system.
  6. Lowers cholesterol. CLA ( conjugated linolenic acid) contained in ghee, not only lowers cholesterol, but also reduces total cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) and triglycerides. (source)
  7. Improves Eyesight. According to Ayurveda practitioner, Dr. Vasant Lad,  eye disorders such as glaucoma, can benefit from adding ghee into the diet. Ghee improves our vision by helping our bodies properly digest fat-soluble vitamins such as Vitamin A.
  8. Body Detox. Ghee is the perfect tool for body detox. Ghee penetrates the body tissues dissolving any toxins found in them. Then it gets rid of the toxins in the body through the intestines.
  9. Anti-inflammatory. Ghee has been proven to reduce leukotriene secretion and reduce prostaglandin which are both responsible for  inflammation.
  10. Aids in weight loss. Due to the conjugated linolenic acid contained in Ghee, it aids in weight loss (especially belly fat). Being easily digestible, it helps to develop a faster metabolism.

So now we have an opened jar of ghee sitting on our counter. I love cooking with it. It gives foods a richer taste. I also cook veggies in it and because of the properties, allows the body to absorb more of the goodness of the organic vegetables we eat.

ghee grass fed butter good fat paleo clarified organic

Our eating philosophy is to consume as much “whole foods” as possible into our diet. Seems like every week we are finding a food in a more natural state and incorporating it into our lives. Why don’t more people use this and why aren’t people talking about it, constantly?

Well I say “WELCOME TO FAMILY, GHEE”.

 

 

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Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy

Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy

I’m sure you are trying to wrap your head around the idea of red and orange bell peppers being candy. They aren’t EXACTLY candy but they are very candy-like.

Only 2 ingredients, sweet, crunchy, healthy, full of nutrients, paleo and gluten-free. Holla!

I use red and orange bell peppers because they are naturally sweeter than the green ones. I hardly ever eat the green ones, I just prefer the flavor of the red, yellow or orange peppers better.

bell pepper red orange candy maple syrup organic vegetable fiber antioxidant dehydrate crunchy snack

Once again I used my most favorite of all kitchen appliances, my trusty dehydrator. I love this thing. I not only like it because I can make all natural snacks like my dried citrus slices, but if you are a “prepper” in any capacity, the opportunity to dry and store food is there too.

This tasty snack is not only easy but is:

  • Paleo
  • Gluten-Free
  • High in vitamin C and vitamin A
  • Contains a significant amount of vitamin B6
  • Good source of fiber
  • Low Calorie
  • Good source of lycopene (has been shown to lower risk of certain cancers)
  • Has antioxidants
  • Contain lutein (a phytonutrient that has been proven to have a protective benefit against macular degeneration)

Those are pretty impressive stats for a simple snack. That’s the way good food should be.

Because dehydrating is done at such a low temperature, the foods dried retain most of their nutrients whereas food heated at high temperatures tend to lose a lot of nutrients.

bell pepper red orange candy maple syrup organic vegetable fiber antioxidant dehydrate crunchy snack

Such a simple recipe packed with nutritional value. I can easily eat 2 bell peppers in one snacking episode. That’s a lot of nutrition in a crunchy sweet treat. Now that’s MY kind of snack.

I only had 2 bell peppers to use but my dehydrator could have easily dried 6 which would have given me a lot more snack inventory. You can adjust the recipe very easily to make as much as you would like.

If you have a lot of little hands in the house, make as many as you can because they are addicting and they will go fast.

Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Red and Orange Bell Pepper Candy
Author:
Recipe type: Snack, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • 1 organic red bell pepper
  • 1 organic orange bell pepper
  • 3 tablespoons organic maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Wash bell peppers and slice into strips about ⅓ to ¼ inch.
  2. Place sliced peppers in a dish and pour maple syrup over it. Massage syrup into pepper strips.
  3. Cover and marinate in fridge for a couple of hours.
  4. Place strips on dehydrator trays without them touching each other and set temperature to 125 degrees for 24 hours.
  5. Check on them after about 20 hours by taking one out and letting it cool to see how dry it is. They should be crunchy and brittle, enough that someone else can hear it when you eat it. If they are not dried enough, the moisture trapped inside can go rancid so you want to make sure they are good and dried.
  6. If they aren't all the way dried, continue drying for as long as necessary. Mine took the whole 24 hours.

 

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Sumo Citrus – The Ugly Orange

Sumo Citrus – The Ugly Orange

On my latest trip to Whole Foods I was browsing the produce area and saw this ugly bumpy looking orange with a little knob on the top. I had to find out what it was.

(They are only in season Feb through May)

sumo orange citrus fruit sweet japan california tangerine clementine hybrid mandarin

Here is another example of not judging a book by it’s cover because this is the most deliciously sweet mandarin orange I’ve ever tasted. I originally bought them for my hubby to try because he loves oranges but after I had a section of it, I was in love too.

Not only are these delicious but they are the perfect “to-go” snack because they are so easy to peel that a small child can do it, there will be no drippy sticky hands and they are seedless.

To test for the best tasting Sumo, I give them a little squeeze. Gently squeeze, if it “gives” a little, it means it’s at its optimum taste and ready to eat.

I needed to find out the stats on this incredible fruit. I found Sumocitrus.com where they explain it all.

Grown in California’s Central Valley to the same exacting standards of the original Kumamoto farmer. It is the biggest mandarin you’ve ever seen. It has a distinctive shape with a prominent “top-knot.” The peel is bright orange, bumpy and loose so it peels effortlessly. The delicate sections separate easily. It’s seedless, juicy without being messy, and it is quite probably the sweetest citrus you’ll ever eat.

sumo orange citrus fruit sweet japan california tangerine clementine hybrid mandarin seedless vitamin

Size & Appearance

  • Easy to identify with the unique shape, bumpy rind and knob on the top that we like to call the SUMO’s ‘top-knot.’
  • Handle with care – Don’t let the rough exterior fool you. While the fruit looks tough and indestructible on the outside, it is somewhat delicate.
  • Gently squeeze, if it “gives” a little, it means it’s at its optimum taste and ready 
    to eat

Easy to Peel

  • One-piece peel – The SUMO’s ‘top-knot’ makes the fruit fun and easy to peel.
  • The bumpy and loose rind is characteristic of the variety and contributes to the easy peeling.
  • “Eat in the Car Test” — Unlike other citrus varieties, SUMO CITRUS® is ‘neat’ meaning no sticky mess, and hands stay dry.
  • SUMO CITRUS® has very little albedo or rag (the white part of citrus), allowing the fruit to section easily with less of the white “netting” sticking to the fruit.

Get your hands on a Sumo Citrus before they are out of season. They are available February thru May so you still have a couple of months to enjoy them.  Your mouth will thank you.

 

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Recycling Numbers – What do they mean?

Recycling Numbers – What do they mean?

Ever wonder what the different numbers on your plastic products mean? They range from somewhat safe to downright unsafe when used for food and drink products.

bpa plastic recycling poison hormone bottle container canned food health

Why should you even care what number is on your plastic container? Because some plastics are worse for your health than others. Some can leach harmful chemicals like BPA which have been linked to infertility, hyperactivity, reproductive problems, and other health issues.

 

Here is the definition of BPA per the Mayo Clinic.

BPA is found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastics are often used in containers that store food and beverages, such as water bottles. They may also be used in other consumer goods.

Epoxy resins are used to coat the inside of metal products, such as food cans, bottle tops and water supply lines. Some dental sealants and composites also may contain BPA.

Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children.

Just like we want to know what is in the food we eat and the products we use, we should know what the containers include because they are touching our food.

Here is a breakdown of what the numbers mean so you can make a better decision on what numbers you choose to use.

bpa plastic recycling poison hormone bottle container canned food health

#1 PETE or PET – Found mostly in soda bottles, water bottles, beer bottles, salad dressing containers, mouthwash bottles, and peanut butter containers. Some consider it safe, but this plastic is known to allow bacteria and flavor to accumulate.

#2 HDPE – Found mostly in milk jugs, household cleaner containers, juice bottles, shampoo bottles, cereal box liners, detergent bottles, motor oil bottles, yogurt tubs, and butter tubs, milk jugs, detergent bottles, juice bottles, butter tubs, and toiletries bottles are made of this.  It is usually opaque. This plastic is considered safe and has low risk of leaching.

#3 V or PVC (Vinyl) – Used to make food wrap, plumbing pipes, and detergent bottles. These plastics used to, and still may, contain phthalates, which are linked to numerous health issues ranging from developmental problems to miscarriages. They also contain DEHA, which can be carcinogenic with long-term exposure. DEHA has also been linked to loss of bone mass and liver problems. Don’t cook with or burn this plastic. This plastic is best to be avoided.

#4 LDPE – Low density polyethylene (LDE) is most found in squeezable bottles, shopping bags, clothing, carpet, frozen food, bread bags, and some food wraps. This plastic rests among the recycling symbols considered to be safe.

#5 PP – Typically found in yogurt containers, ketchup bottles, syrup bottles, and medicine bottles. This plastic is also one of the safer plastics to look for.

#6 PS – Polystyrene (PS) is Styrofoam, which is notorious for being difficult to recycle, and thus, bad for the environment. This kind of plastic also poses a health risk, leaching potentially toxic chemicals, especially when heated. Most recycling programs won’t accept it. This plastic is best to be avoided.

#7 OTHER – All of the plastic resins that don’t fit into the other categories are placed in the number 7 category. It’s a mix bag of plastics that includes polycarbonate, which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA). These plastics should be avoided due to possibly containing hormone disruptors like BPA.

Bottom line – Remember this rhyme

“With your food, use 4, 5, 1 and 2. All the rest aren’t good for you”

After learning about the differences of all the numbers, the hubby and I went frantically looking at every single piece of plastic for the numbers. We checked our remaining plastic containers and every plastic bottle in our fridge and cans in our pantry.

Turns out we had a #7! I was horrified lol. I was like “how did a #7 get in our house??” It was a gallon jug bottle for one of our favorite teas. Boo.

Look for a more in depth article on BPA and the dangers not only to our health but to the environment.

For more information visit Nation of Change.

 

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Grass-Fed Bison Stuffed Peppers

Grass-Fed Bison Stuffed Peppers

If you’ve never had grass-fed bison or grass-fed beef, do yourself a favor and try it. Bison cooks up similar to ground beef but has a richer almost buttery taste to it.

(You could absolutely substitute grass-fed beef for this recipe.)

When I’m in the area I’ll pick some up at Whole Foods. They are the only store I know of besides going to a local farm that carries grass-fed bison or beef. This is what Whole Foods says about their grass-fed bison.

“Bison (buffalo) is slightly more flavorful than beef, with generally less fat and more protein. Extremely nutrient dense, a single serving provides good amounts of iron, zinc and the antioxidant selenium. Plus, our bison spend the majority of their lives at home on the range. Give bison a try the next time you’re looking for an alternative to beef in your favorite recipes — your taste buds will thank you!

With our bison, you get great-tasting meat from animals raised with care:

  • No antibiotics — ever

  • No supplemental growth hormones*

  • No animal byproducts in feed

  • Raised on pasture or range for at least 2/3 of the animal’s life”

I found this great Bison Stuffed Pepper recipe at Bisonbluff.com and tweaked it to make it gluten-free and optional paleo friendly. It’s also loaded with low-fat protein from the bison, the quinoa and the egg.

 paleo gluten free protein grass fed bison pepper vegetable healthy

 

Grass-Fed Bison Stuffed Peppers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Grass-Fed Bison Stuffed Peppers
Author:
Recipe type: Paleo, Gluten-Free, Protein
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. grass-fed ground bison (or grass-fed ground beef)
  • 4 red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • ½ cup chicken broth (to cook the quinoa in)
  • ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1 can drained fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 large egg whisked
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • **Optional: 1 cup mozzarella cheese (this would make it non-paleo)**
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. In a medium saucepan cook quinoa using ½ cup of chicken broth in place of the water. Bring quinoa and chicken broth to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so not to let it burn.
  3. In a large bowl combine uncooked ground bison and whisked egg. I mix this with my hands to make sure everything gets combined well.
  4. Add diced onions, Italian seasoning, ¼ cup of the drained fire roasted tomatoes to the quinoa. Combine and add to the ground bison/egg mixture.
  5. Place bell peppers in a baking dish and fill each one equally with the bison mixture.
  6. Top each bell pepper with the remaining fire roasted tomatoes.
  7. Cover each pepper with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
  8. **Optional: If using cheese, top each pepper with ¼ cup mozzarella after the 45 minutes and put back in oven uncovered until cheese melts. It should only take 3 - 5 minutes.**

Notes:

  • The reason I add the onions, seasoning, tomatoes to the quinoa is so the hot quinoa is cooled off before adding to the bison/egg mixture so not to cook the egg prematurely.
  • If you would like to make this true paleo, sub the quinoa with additional egg. The purpose of the quinoa is to replace normally called for bread crumbs which binds everything together. So if you do not want to use quinoa or don’t have any, an extra egg will provide the binding.
  • Leftovers reheat very well. Just cut stuffed pepper in half if already cooked and microwave for 1 minute.
  • Serving suggestion: top with tomato sauce, green salsa, more fire roasted tomatoes or sprinkle with cheese of your choice.
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