Archive | Recipes RSS feed for this section

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – THE COLOR PURPLE, AND ORANGE, AND YELLOW, AND …..

18 Mar nature-1319505

When I think of a stew, I usually think of a stew with meat. This, however, is a meatless stew. It’s unusual in that one of the ingredients is coconut milk. This recipe is taken from the book, “Eating By Color.” It’s a beautifully illustrated book and categorized by the color of the fruit or vegetable. I’ve been trying to increase the vegetables in my diet which is why this is my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

This stew is a curried dish but I didn’t make it very hot or spicy because I cut back on the amounts shown below. Maybe next time I will use the full amounts. This dish makes a generous sauce and I just love a juicy, saucy dish. You can serve it over rice. If you’re worried that it’s going to taste like a coconut, don’t worry. It doesn’t. You won’t notice the coconut flavor at all.

Ingredients

3 T butter

½ cup chopped onion

2 carrots chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and chopped

1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped

½ head cauliflower, chopped into florets

1 ½ tablespoon flour

Salt and Pepper

1 ½ teaspoons coriander seeds crushed

1 ½ teaspoons fennel seeds crushed

1 ½ teaspoons ground turmeric

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon cumin

¼ cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 can (14oz) coconut milk

Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish (optional)

 

Sauté the onion in the butter-2 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnip, sweet potato, and cauliflower and continue to cook-10 minutes. I used a whole head of cauliflower because it was a small one.

 

In a small bowl, mix the flour, coriander, fennel seeds, turmeric, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle all over the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the flour mixture begins to stick to the bottom of the pan and brown-3-4 min. (But don’t burn it!) Add the chicken broth and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot, then stir in the coconut milk.

 

Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover. Place in the oven and bake at 400° until the vegetables are tender – about 25 minutes. Serve hot and enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – RUTABAGA

19 Feb stock-photo-2650963-rutabagas

You’ve probably heard of rutabaga and you may have even tried it a time or two. Well, it’s time to revisit rutabaga because I found a recipe combining rutabaga and sweet potato and it’s delicious!  So, guess where it’s going? That’s right, in my February New Food Friday Flash post!

 

I came across the creator of this recipe while watching a cooking show on PBS. The chef’s name is Annabel Langbein. She combines foods in a way that you wouldn’t think of and the final product turn out great! I found several books in my local library containing her recipes. Her rutabaga sweet potato combination is uncomplicated, delicious, and good for your health too.

 

Rutabaga can sometimes be confused with turnips but rutabaga is typically larger. If turnips grow as large as a rutabaga, you should not buy them because they will be a bit woody. Not so with the rutabaga. It is a relative to the mustard family. It is sometimes called Swedish or Russian turnip, or swede and is widely cultivated in cool, moist regions of the northern hemisphere for its large, elongated roots, with solid yellow or white flesh, eaten not only by us folks but also enjoyed by livestock. Like the turnip, the rutabaga contains about 90 percent water so if you are on a diet, you can eat as much rutabaga as you like!

 

The rutabaga has a somewhat mildly bitter taste, but when combined with sweet potato, the bitter and the sweet contrast well together. If you want to make this recipe really low calorie, omit the butter and cream. I omitted the cream but not the butter.

 

Ingredients

½ lb rutabaga, cut into 1” slices

1 lb orange-fleshed sweet potato, cut into 1” slices

¼ cup Chicken stock (or more)

1 teaspoon fresh minced thyme

2 Tablespoons butter (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste

Cream (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350°. In a baking dish, combine the sweet potatoes, rutabaga, and chicken broth. Slice the rutabaga and sweet potato into 1” slices or smaller if you have the time and the patience. The smaller the pieces, the quicker it will cook. The first time I made this, I used less sweet potato and tasted more of the rutabaga. The second time I made it, I used the recipe amount of sweet potato and didn’t taste the rutabaga at all. So, if you like it sweeter, go with the recipe version. If not, reduce the amount of sweet potato.

 

Sprinkle with the thyme, salt and pepper and turn to mix well. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake until vegetables are tender, about 1 ½ hours. (I raised the heat so it didn’t take as long.)

 

Add the butter, and cream if you are using it and mash with a potato masher. I used my immersion blender and added a bit more chicken stock. Beat until fluffy. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. After you taste it, try not to eat the whole thing! It will be a challenge!

 

I can’t wait to make this again. Try it. I think you will like it too!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – BOBOTIE

15 Jan apricot-halved-1329341-1598x1067

I was tossing out old magazines and I stopped short when I saw this recipe in a magazine called Journey. I don’t often see a recipe that comes from South Africa but when I saw this one for Bobotie, I knew I had to post it in my blog. I’m not sure of the pronunciation because I’ve seen it pronounced several ways on the Internet, but I’m going with “Bobootie.”  South Africans enjoy spicy Eastern flavors, including Indian curries and Malayan spices, Dutch and English foods, and traditional African dishes. This Bobotie is one of South Africa’s most-loved dishes. It’s a combination of sweet and savory served casserole style. Note that there are no vegetables in this recipe, only fruits! Maybe your children will like it! In any case, it’s my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

Ingredients

2 large onions

2 Tablespoons butter

1 thick slice white bread

1 cup milk

2 lbs ground lamb or beef

2 ½ Tablespoons strong curry powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons apricot jam

¼ cup sliced almonds

¼ cup lemon juice (or vinegar)

2 teaspoons salt

½ teaspoon white pepper

¼ cup seedless raisins

1 green apple, grated (or substitute carrots)

10 dried apricots, soaked & diced (or ¼ cup raisins)

4 dried bay or lemon leaves

2 eggs

 

Directions

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. lightly fry the onions in the butter. Soak the bread in half the milk and mash with a fork.

 

Mix the meat with all of the ingredients except for the eggs, the rest of the milk and the bay or lemon leaves.

 

Put the mixture in an oven proof dish. Push the bay leaves into the top of the mixture. Cover and bak for about 45-60 minutes, depending on size of dish.

 

Beat the eggs and remaining milk together and pour over the meat. Slightly lift it to allow the egg to run into the bobotie.

 

Bake until brown on top (about 15 – 20 minutes.

 

Garnish with additional bay leaves.  Serves 8 – 10.

 

This recipe is a great way to get more fruit into your diet. Traditionally this is served with yellow rice made with rice, turmeric, raisins, almonds, and cloves. A tasty, different meal that is very good for your health!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – MANGO CHUTNEY

21 Dec mango-1327290

 

We all know that salmon is good for us. We want to get that Omega-3! But sometimes the flavor of salmon is too strong. It may turn you off or prevent you from enjoying your meal as much as you could. Bears don’t seem to have this problem but last time I checked, I wasn’t a bear. I have, however, come up with a solution for us homo sapiens. Mango chutney. It’s a topping you dollop on your cooked salmon. It’s delicious and nutritious. It’s pretty, especially in combination with the salmon-colored salmon. That is why it is my choice for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

Yes, I know I’m a few days late publishing this but once in over three years is not a bad record! I knew I had written it. I just forgot to post it! I’ve been dealing with a house emergency. My smoke alarm kept going off every time I did my forth load of laundry. So, I replaced the plastic duct hose with flexible metal ductwork and vacuumed out the lint. How did I do that? Long story made short: I opened up the wall. Well, somebody had to do it. It might as well have been me! According to a Sears repairman, I saved myself between $700-$800! Then I did four loads of laundry to see if my smoke alarm would go off. It didn’t. Problem solved! You can find flexible, metal dryer ductwork at the Home Depot. It’s metal. Not plastic, not aluminum. Peace of mind is good for your health!

 

But back to the Mango Chutney. One of the things I like about this recipe is that you can vary the ingredients without much difference in the taste. The main flavor is the citrus taste of the mango. The more ripe the mango, the sweeter the chutney will be and it keeps well, covered in the fridge.

 

This chutney recipe is so delicious that you will want to add another dollop as soon as you finish the first dollop! I’ve also eaten this chutney with chicken. It would work well with pork too.

 

Ingredients

4 ripe mangoes

1 medium red onion minced

1 teaspoon cumin

juice of 2 limes

¼ cup cilantro

 

Wash then peel the mangoes. Dice each mango being careful not to waste the juices. A ripe mango will have a lot of juice and make it slippery so be careful! Mince the onion and add to the mangoes. Add the cumin and the juice of two limes. Chop the cilantro and add to the dish.

 

I usually buy one very large mango for this recipe. I don’t always have a red onion so I substitute a white or yellow onion. You don’t taste the onion in this dish but it has a very pleasant crunch so don’t leave it out! A red onion adds to the pretty colors of the dish. I use cumin seed instead of powder. Either will work but the powder might darken the bright color of the mango. I add as much or as little as I like. Then I use the juice of ½ lime. Taste as you go along because too much lime will make you pucker! Chop the cilantro and add to the dish. I like cilantro as it has a mild lemony flavor and the green herb adds another dimension of color. You eat with your eyes! It’s a festive dish and a healthful choice for the holidays: slimming rather than fattening!

 

Prepare your salmon the way you like it. I baste mine with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake until it flakes with a fork, about 20 minutes depending on how thick the piece of salmon. When cooked, either place a dollop of the mango chutney on top of the fish and serve it or bring the chutney to the table and let guests serve themselves. I know I always want more. This is my favorite way to eat salmon. Now there is no excuse not to eat salmon! Buon appetito!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – GREEK CREAM CHEESE

20 Nov Peppers

I’m always looking for foods that contain calcium. One new product is a cream cheese, the other is an old standby, buttermilk.

Let’s do the new product first. Green Mountain Farms has created “Greek Cream Cheese & Greek Yogurt” for the conscientious consumer: you and me!  Where most cream cheese has only 2 – 4% calcium (I know, you would think there is more calcium in cream cheese), Green Mountain Farms’ cream cheese contains 8% calcium.

NOTE: In case of any confusion, this cream cheese contains Greek yogurt. It is one product. The full name is Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese & Greek Yogurt.

Bonus: when you buy Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese, the package contains a $.55 coupon inside so be careful when you open it. I’ve torn the coupon each time and had to tape it together. An 8 oz bar costs $2.18 at Wal-Mart. Make sure you use your coupon!

Coupon

Coupon for Greek Cream Cheese

Two tablespoons of Green Mountain Farms Greek cream cheese is only 60 calories. Compare that to butter where two tablespoons is 200 calories! The cream cheese is a much healthier choice.

I couldn’t tell you what it tastes like plain because I “doctor” it up. Here is a delicious dip recipe that I created using most of the ingredients from the Philadelphia Jalapeno Cream Cheese label.

Ingredients

8 oz bar of Green Mountain Farms Greek Cream Cheese

¼ teaspoon onion powder

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

1 finely chopped Serrano pepper (I prefer Serrano to Jalapeno)

1 teaspoon vinegar

dash salt (optional)

dash sugar (optional)

Mash all together well. If the consistency is too thick, add a bit more vinegar. I didn’t add the salt or the sugar the first time I made it. I did the second time I made it and didn’t think there was any improvement so I will be leaving them out from now on. If you like things very hot, add the ribs of the Serrano pepper. When you’re done chopping, wash your hands very well. I washed my hands twice after making this dish. Later on, while watching TV, I rubbed my eyes and yes, they started burning from the pepper! I continuously rinsed my eyes with cold water until the burning stopped. Boy, that was a surprise! So heed the warning!

This cream cheese dip goes great with Sweet Potato and Onion Brown Rice Triscuits.

Now for the buttermilk news.

Did you know that a one-cup serving of Kroger’s Low Fat Buttermilk contains 40% calcium? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think of calcium when I think of buttermilk. And yet, I should! We should!

Alas, even low fat buttermilk contains 120 calories in a one-cup serving, more than Deans fat free milk which contains 90 calories. But the flavor can’t be matched. This product contains 25% Vitamin D, the same amount in Deans Fat Free Milk. But Deans Fat Free milk contains only 30% calcium, 10% less than the buttermilk.

What can you do with buttermilk? You can make buttermilk biscuits. You can make buttermilk pancakes. (Oh, yum!) You can soak chicken in buttermilk which will tenderize it. And, you can make my Irish Soda Bread with it. Lately, I have been omitting one cup of flour from the Soda Bread recipe and adding 1 cup of Old Fashioned Oats instead. The oats have less calories than the flour and the taste is better. It’s also better for you with more fiber and more vitamins.

I now make the Oat Soda Bread recipe weekly. When I slice it, I slice 14 slices from one 9×5 loaf. Yes, I now use a loaf pan to make it. The calories vary depending on how much flour and buttermilk I use. This last time I used about 4 cups of flour, 1 cup of oats, and 2 cups of buttermilk. I buttered the pan with ½ T of butter. So, each slice was approximately 156 calories. I want to get the calories down on this recipe so I will be using less flour and less buttermilk next time and omitting the tablespoon of sugar.

It’s fun to play around with recipes, especially when it improves your health! I hope you enjoy good health with these calcium containing foods!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – SLIMCADO LITE

16 Oct Slimcado

I’m always on the lookout for new food products and I came across this one at my local Kroger. For those of you who love avocadoes but hate the fat and the calories, this Slimcado has 50% less fat and 35% less calories than a regular avocado. Therefore, it is my choice for this month’s NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH.

A Slimcado tastes just like a regular avocado. It looks just like a regular avocado.

Slimcado

Slimcado Lite

But it is much bigger than a regular avocado. The skin stays green, it does not turn black like other avocadoes.  I paid $1.00 for this “medium” sized “avocado.” The cashier must have keyed it in wrong because there is no way this is a medium avocado.

Once home, I let it ripen for four days. In my haste to try it, apparently I didn’t let it ripen enough so it was still a bit too firm even though it had some give when I pressed it. I decided to wrap the remaining Slimcado in plastic wrap to see if it would ripen further.

Here are the nutrition facts from the www.brookstropicals.com website:

 1 cup             276 calories

Total Fat:        23.1g

Sat Fat:            4.5 g

Mono Fat:       12.7g

Poly Fat:         3.9g

Omega 3:        221mg

Omega 6:        3634mg

Cholesterol:    0

Sodium:           4.6mg

Carb:               18.4g

Fiber:               12.9g

Sugar:             5.6g

Protein:           5.1g

Vitamin C:       40mg

Potassium:      807mg

I know people like to add sliced avocado to their sandwiches and salads, or to make guacamole, but I like to eat avocado straight from the skin with a spoon as a snack. I halve it lengthwise, cover the remaining avocado with the pit still intact then wrap it in plastic wrap for another day. I won’t be doing that with the Slimcado. It’s too big!

Slimcado Avocado

I cut about 1/4 of the Slimcado to try it but you can see how big it was compared to my garden gloves!

However, a Slimcado would make an ideal vessel for stuffing! An ice cream scoop of shrimp or crab salad perhaps? Their website gives detailed instructions on how to cut up this Slimcado including photos. Click on the How to cut up a Slimcado link.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Slimcado. I think these are going to become a big hit!

If you would like more information about the Slimcado, go to www.brookstropicals.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – ARABIAN PIZZA or LAHMA bi AJEEN

18 Sep Baked Lamb Pizzas

I hope you don’t get tired of my excitement with James Beard’s bread book, but every recipe I’ve tried is very good. Here’s another one. It’s called Lahma bi Ajeen and as you might guess, it’s made with lamb. I love lamb and I love pizza so it sounded like a unique combination and I wanted to share it with you for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

Beard’s recipe calls for pine nuts but I substituted pecans that I had on hand and they were a very good substitution. It also called for tomato paste but I had two tomatoes that were going to go bad if I didn’t use them so they were also a good substitution.

Beard wrote that these “pizzas” were fun to make. I have to disagree; they are more fun to eat! My only criticism of his book is that his instructions aren’t always crystal clear although it’s never ruined my finished product so I can’t complain too loudly. For example, he writes that these pizzas make 8 servings and that you should divide the dough into walnut-sized balls. Well, he must use some pretty big walnuts because I ended up with 16 walnut sized balls.  

Pizza Dough

Pizza Dough Balls

Did he mean that each person should get two pizzas? I don’t think so. At any rate, if you’re going to go to the trouble of making pizza, it’s much better to have 16 than 8 of them.

***

For the Dough:

1 package active dry yeast

pinch of granulated sugar

scant 1 cup warm water (100° to 115°)

1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 ¾ cups)

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ½ cup of the lukewarm water and allow to proof for 10 minutes. Put the flour and salt in a large, warm mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the oil and the yeast mixture. Work the dough vigorously adding the remaining lukewarm water gradually to make a soft dough. Knead in the bowl about 15 minutes (I thought I was the only one who kneaded in bowls!) until the dough is pliable and elastic. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside in a warm place for 2 – 3 hours or until doubled in bulk. (I use my microwave turned off.) Lightly oil the top of the dough to prevent a crust from forming.

For the Filling:

1 pound finely chopped onion

olive oil

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 ½ pound finely ground shoulder of lamb

½ cup pine nuts

½ six-ounce can tomato paste

1 teaspoon granulate sugar

¾ teaspoon ground allspice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 teaspoons salt, or to taste

1 teaspoon cracked peppercorns

2 dashes of Tabasco sauce

3 tablespoons chopped parsley

Sauté the onions in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until wilted but not browned. Remove from heat and add garlic. Then add it to the ground meat along with the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Make a small sample patty, fry in ½ teaspoon olive oil and taste. Correct the seasonings if needed. Set aside while you roll out the dough.

Turn out the dough on a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Divide into walnut-sized balls and allow to rest for a few minutes, then roll each piece with a lightly floured rolling pin into a circle 5 to 6 inches in diameter. Spread the prepared filling generously over each piece. Transfer each piece to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 450° to 500° for 8 – 10 minutes. The patties should be well done but still pale in color.

***

The other interesting thing to note is that even though I spread a generous serving of the lamb mixture on each pizza dough as he says you should do, I still had about ¾ of a cup of the lamb mixture left over. AND, I didn’t use 1 ½ lbs of lamb as the recipe suggests; I only had a 1 lb package. Go figure! As usual, I baked them in my convection toaster oven.

Lamb Pizzas

Lamb Pizzas in my Convection Toaster Oven

With the leftover lamb mixture, I added it to some store-bought Classico basil and tomato sauce and poured it over pasta. It was very good! If you have leftover as I did, you could also stuff zucchini or an eggplant with it.

Lamb mixture

Lamb Mixture Cooking

Beard says you can cut these pizzas into wedges and serve them with cocktails. I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing worse than eating cold, ground lamb – it’s too greasy. I wouldn’t recommend them for eating with cocktails or as hors d’oeuvres. These pizzas are best eaten hot.

Baked Lamb Pizzas

Baked Lamb Pizzas Hot from the Oven

I ate 5 and froze the rest. They freeze well and reheat in a toaster oven very well.

Storing Lamb Pizza in Container

Storing Lamb Pizza in Container for Freezing

Also, they cool off pretty quickly. If I make them again, I will be sure to really load on the lamb mixture so I don’t have any leftover and so that the pizza will stay hot longer. Those are my words to the wise. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – BLACK TEA SHAMPOO

21 Aug Hair style

As I wrote about in last month’s New Food Friday Flash, I would be writing more about foods to put on your body and not just in your body for good health. This month’s post is for a recipe for a great shampoo that you can make yourself with simple ingredients. You can find these ingredients in a health food store or online at Amazon.com for example. I was able to find all the ingredients at my local Meijer supermarket and that is why I selected it for this month’s New Food Friday Flash.

 

Black Tea Shampoo Recipe

1 cup distilled water

6 bags black tea (regular tea)

½ cup liquid unscented, baby mild Castile soap

1 Tablespoon vegetable glycerin

10 drops Ylang essential oil

 

Directions

Boil water and steep tea bags 30 minutes.

6 Black Tea Bags

Boil 6 Tea Bags

Cool. Combine with remaining ingredients. Put in a clean, bottle (an old washed, shampoo bottle works well). Label the bottle. Shake bottle before each use. Shampoo, and let sit in hair for 2 minutes. Rinse. You will not get as much lather with this shampoo as with store-bought shampoos. Condition as usual.

 

I chose not to use Ylang essential oil and instead used Peppermint essential oil. The Peppermint oil has more uses. Many times these essential oils are interchangeable – but not always! Lavender essential oil could also be used in this shampoo as it is beneficial in fighting dandruff and stimulates hair growth.

 

NOTE: Black Tea shampoo is for brunettes. Blondes can substitute chamomile tea for the black tea as it has a natural blonding effect. However, I did not test the chamomile myself.

Chamomile flowers

Chamomile Flowers

 

I created a list of all the recipes I thought I could use from all the books I had read. I also selected ingredients that were most often used. I did not want to spend a fortune making my own shampoos, conditioners, laundry detergents, body lotions, cleansers, bath soaks, makeup removers, lip balms, insect repellents, car washes, tub and tile cleaners, window washes, and a few others! This was research I wanted to do to find a way to avoid allergy-causing ingredients that manufacturers use in their products. Their ingredients also cost us more. In theory, making your own products should cost less in the long run.

 

One of the benefits of using this shampoo that was not mentioned in any of the books I read is that it makes your hair more manageable. When I use it, I don’t use a conditioner afterwards. My hair has never looked so good! I don’t curl it; I don’t blow dry it. If that doesn’t make it all worth it, then I don’t know what does. How’s that for an unsolicited testimonial?

 

As much as I like this particular shampoo recipe, I have found another that I like that contains the juice of a grapefruit. As soon as I finish this Black Tea Shampoo, I will be making the grapefruit shampoo. If it is as good, I will be reporting back here to you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

NEW FOOD FRIDAY FLASH – BODY FOODS

17 Jul Hair style

You may have noticed that I recently posted a New Food Friday Flash a week earlier than usual. That’s because I had allergy brain, otherwise known as fog brain due to allergies. My allergies have really been acting up lately and I’m not just talking about my respiratory allergies. Let me tell you how I got Angelina Jolie lips due to an allergic reaction.

 

Angelina Jolie Lips

Sunscreen Lips!

I always wear lipstick outdoors to keep my lips moist and prevent cracking and bleeding. I’ve been wearing Chapstick with sunscreen to do the same when I’m doing yard work. Over a gradual period of time recently, my lips began to swell. Then they developed cuts or ulcers at the corners of my mouth. It hurt when I ate and they bled. I thought, “What the heck is going on here?” I finally figured out it was due to the sunscreen in my Chapstick. I stopped using the Chapstick and the next day, no more ulcers. My lips returned to normal although I rather enjoyed their puffiness!

 

The moisturizer I use on my face when I’m outdoors also contains sunscreen. When I stopped to think about it, I had seen a dermatologist six years ago for red blotches on my face and a scalp rash. He gave me all kinds of drugs which helped my scalp but didn’t do anything for my face. The blotches were still there. After the recent lip incident, it dawned on me that my moisturizer also contained sunscreen and that it was probably what caused the blotches on my face. I stopped using the sunscreen moisturizer on my face. No more blotches on my face. Now I use a non-sunscreen hydrating moisturizer.

 

I felt good about finding the causes of these allergic reactions until I developed yet another allergic reaction and rash on my arms and legs! This happened at the same time that a Measles outbreak occurred in Indianapolis which worried me even though my inoculations are up-to-date and I had Measles when I was young.

 

I suspected my laundry detergent because I had bought a new one – one I had never heard of before. I had also been adding more detergent to the wash than I usually do. So, I stopped using that brand altogether. I bought a mild, perfume and dye-free detergent. I’m sure you’ve heard of it: ALL. I also now use less detergent than the manufacturers recommend. I’ve had this rash about three weeks at the time of this writing and still have not rid myself of it although it is much improved. I cut back on the detergent due to the advice from one of the authors listed below.

 

Right around this time, I had been watching a program on the Livewell Network called Steven and Chris. I have to commend them on their wonderful, knowledgeable guests. Nutritionist Joy McCarthy caught my ear on one of their programs. I was lucky in that my local library had her book, “Joyous Health.” She was the spark that ignited my desire to find the underlying cause of my recent skin reactions.

 

Cancer-causing Ingredients

Her book lists ingredients to avoid in cosmetics, such as: BHA, BHT, DMDM, (a formaldehyde-releasing preservative; formaldehyde causes cancer) and PEG (may cause cancer), and many others. These ingredients are not only harmful to us, they are harmful to fish and other wildlife.

Fish and Wildlife

Save the Fish!

 

Sulfites

She also writes that people with asthma or who suffer from allergies, are especially sensitive to sulfites, commonly found in:

 

wine

dried fruits

potato chips

frozen fries

fruit snacks

frozen dinners

Nitrates and nitrites (which cause cancer in animals)

 

I had written a post a while back about sulfites. They can also be listed as celery root extract in an ingredients label. The good news on dried fruits: she says you can soak the dried fruits in filtered water and then use them without suffering a reaction! 

 

After I read her book, I went back to the library and reserved books on natural products. I learned a lot and am still reading and learning!

 

A Growing Intolerance to Chemicals

According to author, Melinda Coss who wrote, “Natural Soap,” there has been a sharp increase in the number of people suffering from skin allergies due to our growing intolerance to chemicals in household products. So, this is not just a female problem. Men use household products and cosmetics too. Men wear sunscreen and men do laundry! Isn’t that right men?

Incredible Hulk

Strong Men!

 

Hair Care

Each of the books I borrowed and read had something to offer, including one that was focused more on African-American women, written by Lisa Akbari, “Every Woman’s Guide to Beautiful Hair at Any Age.” Although her tone was scolding, I figure I needed to be scolded! I am much gentler to my scalp and hair thanks to reading her book.

 

Other changes I am making due to my readings are to use natural products on my hair like coconut oil instead of store bought cream rinses and shampoos which contain harmful ingredients like sulfates, parabens and artificial fragrances that cause inflammatory skin reactions and are suspected to cause cancer.

 

Coconut oil is useful not just for sautéing foods, but also as a conditioner for your hair, a lip balm, and a shaving oil, just to name a few things. It conditions and soothes skin, so says DK publishers of the beautifully artistic book, “Natural Beauty.” You can find coconut oil in the same aisle as the olive oils. Buy the organic, oil-pressed jar.

 

A Light Bulb Moment

  • All these years I have been a fervent believer in caring about what I put into my body without enough thought as to what I put ON my body. What can I say? It’s never too late to teach an old dog new tricks! Arf!

 

Food for Face

Bananas and avocados will not just be going in my mouth; they will be going on my face, in my hair, and on my hands. A mixture of avocado and honey makes a great hydration hand mask for dehydrated hands according to author Elizabeth Tenhouten, author of “Natural Beauty Homemade Recipes for Radiant Skin and Hair.” Bananas contain pantothenic acid which strengthens the hair.

 

Hair Growth

Mix half a banana with one egg, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and one tablespoon of honey. Shampoo then apply the banana mixture to your scalp and hair; leave on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and condition. Author Annie Strole claims this mask is great if you want to grow your hair and prevent it from breaking. Promise me you won’t ring my doorbell when I’m doing this! 

 

Hair Buildup

Kelly Reno, author of Soaps, Shampoos & Other Suds says you can remove soap build-up from your hair by combining ½ cup water and two tablespoons of lemon juice in a bottle. Shake thoroughly and gently massage it in. Then rinse with warm water. There are many variations to this recipe. Some authors recommend apple cider vinegar instead of lemon juice.

 

More in Future Posts

More on this topic will be posted on my blog in the future. These books have really enlightened me. I have already made my own shampoo and lip gloss. Some of these ingredients were not readily available in supermarkets although they did have many of them. It has taken me about a month to get all the ingredients that I need without breaking the bank.

 

An Investment in Safe Products

I should be able to make my own laundry detergent, hand lotion, shampoos, rinses, conditioners, facial masks, hand masks, lip gloss, lip balm, and more. I am in the process of extracting the best recipes from each book using the most popular ingredients like avocado, lavender essential oil, castile liquid soap, and aloe vera gel just to name a few. I stayed away from the harder to find, more exotic ingredients like calendula oil or apricot kernel oil or the endless variety of oils that are either online or at health food stores (even though I did find a health food store nearby that stocks EVERYTHING!) I don’t know how involved I will get into this. If I see more promising results as I did from my homemade lip gloss, I may invest in more of these products.

 

An Investment in Time

I haven’t seen any noticeable results from my homemade shampoo except that my hair looks thicker and is easier to manage. I know, those are good results, but the shampoo is hard to work with when my hair is wet. I’ve tried two different shampoo recipes with one being better than the other. I have a third that I want to try before deciding that homemade shampoo can take the place of unsafe, store-bought shampoo. I’m also having trouble with homemade hair conditioners. They seem to be too oily. The third recipe for shampoo I want to try, contains some oil whereas the other shampoos didn’t. That might be the one! Third time’s the charm! Stay tuned!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

New Food Friday Flash – Sweet Potato Rolls to Die For!

19 Jun Pull apart Sweet Potato Rolls

Can we all agree that we all love hot, buttered rolls? But they’re not the best for our health or waistline. Since I am always looking for ways to improve my diet, I have tried another James Beard bread recipe that I am addicted to! Again, it’s from the “old” book I found at the library. The man knows bread! I’ve also read his book on fish. It wasn’t nearly as good and disappointing in comparison. But I wasn’t disappointed with his Sweet Potato rolls recipe!

 

Has anybody not heard that we should stay away from white potatoes? Why? At the risk of repeating what you already know, they’re not as nutritious as other vegetables; they contain a high amount of pesticides (they’re in the “bad” 15 category), and we tend to fry or slather them in butter or sour cream which is not good for us. What’s a potato-loving girl (or guy) to do? Substitute your potato craving with a sweet potato.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

 

Sweet potatoes have more nutrients, they’re high in fiber and they’re low on the pesticide scale (they’re in the “good” 15). We can make a “pumpkin” pie with them. We can bake them in the skin and serve with a pat of butter. And, we can make sweet potato rolls with them! I’ve tried several recipes making rolls with white potatoes and they have hardly any flavor and little nutrition. You’ve got to try these sweet potato rolls!

 

I’ve made sweet potato rolls five times now. When I’m down to my last one or two rolls, I start baking a sweet potato. I like the sweet potato skin to show some blackened areas from baking because that caramelizes the potato and brings out the sweetness.

 

I knew that yesterday I was planning to do lots of yard work and would be too tired to make the rolls, so I started the night before. I put the dough ingredients and sweet potato together (I had baked the sweet potato the night before that) and put it in the fridge overnight. I wasn’t sure this would work, but happily, it did!

 

The next morning before I went out in the yard, I took out the bowl of dough. It had risen beautifully as you can see in the photo.

Sweet Potato Dough

Sweet Potato Dough well-risen

 I rolled the dough into 24 balls and put them in two cake pans as I usually do. I placed them in my microwave oven (turned off) with a hot cup of water, and left them there to rise while I did my yard work. When I came in exhausted, at 4:00 pm (I began at noon), I checked on my rolls. Look at how much they rose! 

Sweet Potato Dough Rolls

Big, Puffy, Sweet Potato Dough Rolls

 

I then baked the rolls in my convection toaster-oven. For me, it takes 17 minutes at 350° but I will give you the original recipe below.

 

They say we “eat” with our eyes. Look at the color on these beauties!! They’re gorgeous! They’re moist! They’re fluffy! When you put them in cake pans, they pull apart like cotton candy! 

Pull apart Sweet Potato Rolls

Beautiful Color on these fluffy Sweet Potato Rolls

 

The final result: they tasted the same as the sweet potato rolls I made without putting the dough in the fridge. The only difference is that they raised more, and were bigger than usual. What’s not to love about that? Isn’t it great to know that you can do this recipe in steps if you’re short on time? Plus, if you use the refrigerator method, you don’t have to knead the dough at all.

 

I enjoy them with breakfast and with dinner. They reheat very well in the microwave and they keep in the fridge very well. I keep them in the cake pan.  After they’ve cooled on a rack, cover them with aluminum foil. I also put the foil-covered rolls in a clean, plastic bag in the fridge just to ensure that they don’t get stale. This works very well. I keep the other cake pan with rolls covered the same way, and put them in the freezer. So, when the first batch is nearly all eaten, I take out the frozen batch and put them in the fridge. Easy-peasy.

 

Beard says you can substitute the sweet potatoes with canned sweet potatoes (without the liquid), or winter squash, like butternut squash or acorn squash. I tried acorn squash rolls yesterday but I prefer the sweet potato.  Either would make an excellent substitution since they are equally nutritious, high in fiber, and low in pesticides and a good way to sneak a vegetable into your family’s meal.

 

Sweet Potato Roll Recipe

2 packages dry yeast

4 Tablespoons sugar

½ cup water (100° – 115°)

3 Tablespoons melted butter

1 Tablespoon salt

2-3 eggs (one for basting rolls)

3-3 ½ (or more) cups flour

½ – ¾ cup cooled, mashed sweet potato

2 Tablespoons cream

 

Combine the yeast with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar and the ½ cup water in a bowl. Let it proof 5 minutes. Add the remaining 3 Tablespoons of sugar, the melted butter, salt and 2 eggs. Stir well to blend. Stir in the flour one cup at a time with the potatoes. (I prefer to add the potatoes before adding the flour.) Knead 2-3 min. Add enough additional flour to prevent sticking. Dough will be soft. Shape it into a ball. Put in a buttered bowl, turning to coat all. Cover with plastic wrap and keep in a warm place about 1 hour. Then punch dough down, shape into a ball again and let rest 2 minutes. Form into golf ball size balls and place on a buttered cookie sheet or 2 cake pans. Let rise until doubled in size. Brush with the last egg mixed with the cream. (I prefer using only an egg white mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and 1 Tablespoon powdered dry milk which I always have on hand. I never have cream in the house!) Also, I brush the rolls before I let them rise. If you brush dough after it has risen, it tends to deflate the dough.

 

Bake at 375° for 20 minutes depending on your oven. Makes 24 rolls or two loaves. Bet you can’t eat just one!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 452 other followers

%d bloggers like this: