An Inside Look at Healthy Living...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Beef Birria


Beef Birria

(Stewed Meat for Tacos, Burritos and Tostadas)

Courtesy of The Spruce

What You'll Need 

  • For the Chile Paste:
  • guajillo chiles
  • 3 ancho chiles
  • 3 cascabel chiles
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • For the Meat Rub:
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme or 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • For the Meat:
  • 3 to 4 pounds goat meat, mutton, beef, veal, and/or pork, with or without bones
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • For the Garnish:
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup chopped onion


How to Make It 

Make the Chile Paste
  1. Toast the chiles on a hot griddle or skillet over medium heat until browned, but not burned.
  2. Remove the seeds and veins, then place the chiles in a bowl and cover them with very hot water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. When chiles have rehydrated, drain them.
  4. Process chiles and vinegar in a blender to make a paste.
Make the Meat Rub 
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, pepper, cloves, oregano, cumin, cinnamon and thyme.
  1. Rub the meat well with this mixture.
Marinate the Meat
  1. Coat the meat with half of the chile paste.
  2. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Cook the Meat
  1. Pour the water into a Dutch oven or deep casserole dish and add the coarsely chopped onion, bay leaves, diced garlic and the remaining chile paste.
  2. Place meat on a rack that sits just above the water mixture. Place lid on the pot, making sure that it covers tightly, and bake for 4 hours at 350 F (176 C).
Finish and Serve the Birria
  1. Remove the meat from the Dutch oven and distribute it among 6 to 8 bowls.
  2. Finish the birria and serve with broth (as a soupy stew) or as a saucy taco filling with corn tortillas.
Brothy Birria Variation
  1. After removing the meat from the Dutch oven, let the liquid cool slightly and remove the bay leaves.
  2. The broth can be left as is or it can be blended into a smooth sauce.
  3. Add enough hot water to the broth to make at least 2 cups. Ladle the liquid over the meat and top with chopped cilantro and onion. Serve with a spoon and warm corn tortillas.
Saucy Birria Variation
  1. After removing the meat from the Dutch oven, remove the bay leaves from the liquid. If liquid is watery, reduce it by boiling in a small pan to thicken.
  2. Break the meat into chunks and coat them with the reduced liquid. Fill warm corn tortillas with the filling and top with chopped onions and cilantro.
-Edited by Robin Grose

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Oven Roasted Sunchokes

Oven Roasted Sunchokes



Ingredients

  • 1 lb. small unpeeled sunchokes, scrubbed and cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
  • 1 Tbs. garlic oil
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper



Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with foil.
2. Toss together all ingredients in large bowl. Arrange sunchokes in single layer on prepared baking sheet, and bake 15 minutes. Flip chips with tongs, and bake 15 minutes more, or until crisp and golden. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Pan Roasted Grape Tomatoes

Pan-Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Herbs
Courtesy of:

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pint multicolored grape tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

NUTRITION INFORMATION 

  • calories 34 
  • caloriesfromfat 66 %
  • fat 3 g
  • satfat 0.4 g
  • monofat 1.7 g
  • polyfat 0.4 g
  • protein 0.7 g
  • carbohydrate 3.1 g
  • fiber 0.9 g
  • cholesterol 0.0 mg
  • iron 0.2 mg
  • sodium 149 mg
  • calcium 10 mg

How to Make It

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes; cook 3 to 4 minutes or until tomatoes begin to blister. Remove from heat; stir in 1 teaspoon oil and remaining ingredients, tossing gently to combine. Let stand 5 minutes.
Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast


Organic Landscaping

Organic Landscaping

Organic landscaping is the practice of planting edible plants and trees in a space where you would normally grow grass or plants that can not be eaten.  Organic landscaping also involves the use of natural fertilizers such as compost and discontinuing the use of pesticides and herbicides for pest control.   Organic landscaping has many benefits and serves an important role in sustainable and organic living.   It is also has a positive effect on healthy living.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

What is Organic Food?

What is Organic Food?


Courtesy of Sustainable Baby Steps

What is and isn't organic food, via SustainableBabySteps.com
Knowing what is organic food and what isn't is important to help you understand and make the best health choices for you and your family.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity."
Um yeah, but exactly what is organic food? Simply put, organic food is any food that has been grown using accepted organic practices. Those organic practices include:
  • No chemical pesticides: Pesticides have been linked to numerous cancers, diseases and disorders in adults and children. They also create superbugs that are resistent to pest control and create more problems for farmers and gardeners alike. Read more about the dangers of pesticides here.
  • No chemical herbicides: Keeping weeds at bay is important to the gorwth of food, but petroleum-based herbicides disrupt plant hormones, impacts the natural balance of habitats and has an effect on our health. Read more about herbicide toxicity here.
  • No chemical fertilizers: Fertile soil is necessary for plant growth, but chemical fertilizers contaminate the groundwater, contribute to cancers and other diseases and can actually lead to soil infertility. Read more about the effects of chemical fertilizers here.
  • No genetically-modified organisms: GMOs are still highly untested, although we know they can contaminate organic fields quickly and easily with their seed. GMO seed can also be patented, meaning companies can actually own a farmer's crop, or even the contaminated farmer's crop. Even if GMOs seem safe or healthy, they certainly don't seem ethical. Read more about GMOs here.
  • No artificial additives: This includes artificial colors, perservatives, flavors, taste enhancers, etc which have been shown to have an adverse affect on our health.
  • No hormones or antibiotics: Any organic animal products should be raised without growth enhancers or antibiotics which reach our own systems. Animal feed must also be organic so no trace substances reach our systems.
  • No other strange or gross practices: No irradiation, no sewer sludge, and nothing else that goes against common sense or Nature.
No farmer or manufacturer is permitted to use the term "organic" on their label without being certified. They may however specify if certain ingredients are organic, or if the grower or producer follows organic practices without certification they will often highlight the practices they follow, such as "Grown with Pesticides" or "Raised with Hormones or Antibiotics".
Organic food is instead grown with organic pesticide and herbicide methods, using only natural fertilizers, organic or heirloom (traditional) seeds, no or all-natural perservatives and holistic animal husbandry practices.
So, how do you tell what is organic food and what isn't? Well, you can look for the certification from multiple private or governmental agencies, such as USDA Organic or Quality Assurance International (QAI). Or you can get to know your local farmer's at the farmer's market, ask them about their practices or visit their farm to know more.

What is Organic Food NOT?

Although knowing what is organic food does guarantee you certain things, there are several things that the "Certified Organic" label can't guarantee:
  • May not be humanely raised: Just because someone is raising organic meat or dairy doesn't mean they are doing it for humane reasons. Organically-raised animals may still be housed in small living areas or treated poorly. This is more rare since poor or inhumane living conditions and treatment often lead to animals that need antiobitics, which means they can't be certified organic.
  • May not be naturally raised: Seems contradictory right? But just because your milk says organic, doesn't mean the cows ate grass, their biologically-appropriate food. Feeding organic corn and grain to cows, chickens or other animals is unhealthy for them and unhealthy for us.
  • May not be eco-friendly: Organic doesn't always mean eco-friendly. Manure runoff may still contaminate areas, improper growing practices may still strip the topsoil, etc.
  • May not be local: Food grown or raised on the other side of the Earth and shipped to you is not only unhealthy for the environment, it also means less nutrition for you as the food is either older or was picked before fully ripen and at peak nutrition.
  • May not be sustainable: All of these points lead to one conclusion: Unsustainability. If our food system is not sustainable, organic or not, it's not going to be good for us or the environment.
  • May not be 100% organic: There is a lot of controversy over whether farmers can use small amounts of non-organic practices or manufacturers can add certain non-organic additives. For instance, according to the USDA, manifacturers using less than 70% of what is organic ingredients can't use the USDA Organic seal. But does that mean 30% of the ingredients CAN be non-organic and still use the seal? Complicates things doesn't it?
Understanding what isn't doesn't change what is: Organic food is still a better choice, especially when you're shopping at the grocery store and don't know your farmer, and CAN stil be just as affordable
But knowing your farmer, shopping the local farmer's market, visiting the farm and even growing your own organic garden will always help you to know for sure what is organic food and what is organic AND sustainable.

Grow Your Own Garlic

Grow Your Own Garlic 


One of the foods I find expensive to buy in the supermarket today is garlic.  The price of garlic has risen tremendously over the past few years!  For 5 roses of garlic,  I pay $ 2.50.  To combat this, I don't let garlic go to waste.  Sometimes you will find cloves that start to sprout if you haven't used garlic in a while.  I take these cloves and immediately plant them in a planter with potting soil.  The sprouts can be used as garlic chives and the cloves themselves will develop into garlic bulbs.  You can harvest them as babies, wait until they mature, or harvest them anywhere in between.  Either way, you will prevent your garlic from going to waste.

Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids



Omega 3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats with numerous health benefits, particularly regarding cardiovascular health. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is a type of Omega 3 fat found in plant foods which cannot be manufactured by the human body. Once consumed, ALAs can be converted into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPAs and DHAs are also typically found in seafood.

Foods High in Omega 3 Fatty Acids include flaxseed oil, fish oil, chia seeds, walnuts, fish roe (eggs), fatty fish, seafood, soybeans, and spinach. Below are the top 10 foods high in Omega 3 fatty acids, for more, see the extended list of foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids, and the list of foods with a high omega 3 to omega 6 ratio.

#1: Flaxseed Oil (Cold Pressed) 
Omega-3 100g Per cup (218g)Per tablespoon (14g)
53449mg 116519mg 7483mg
Other Vegetable Oils High in Omega-3 (per tablespoon):Canola Oil (1279mg), and Soybean Oil (950mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#2: Fish Oil (Salmon) 
Omega-3 100g Per tablespoon (14g)Per teaspoon (5g)
37044mg 5186mg 1852mg 
Other Fish Oils High in Omega-3 (per tablespoon): Menhaden (4114mg), Sardine (3611mg), Cod Liver Oil (2763mg), and Herring (1876mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#3: Chia Seeds 
Omega-3 100g Per 2oz (56g)Per ounce (28g)
17830mg9984mg 4992mg
Flaxseeds are also high in Omega 3s providing 6388mg per ounce or 2281mg per tablespoon. Click to see complete nutrition facts.


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#4: Walnuts & Walnut Oil (Walnuts) 
Omega-3 100g Per cup, pieces (120g)Per ounce (28g)
9080mg 10896mg 2542mg
Other Nuts High in Omega-3 (per ounce): Butternuts (2441mg), Black Walnuts (750mg), Beechnuts (476mg), Hickory Nuts (293mg), Pecans (289mg), Pine Nuts (220mg), Pistachios (73mg), and Macadamia Nuts (58mg). Walnut Oil contains (1456mg) per tablespoon. Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#5: Fish Roe (Caviar) 
Omega-3 100g Per ounce (28g)Per tablespoon (16g)
6803mg 1905mg 1088mg 
Fish Roe from most species provides 342mg of Omega 3s per tablespoon (14g). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#6: Cured & Canned Fish (Smoked Salmon) 
Omega-3 100g Per fillet (108g)Per ounce (28g)
2880mg 3110mg 806mg 
Other Cured & Canned Fish High in Omega-3 (per ounce):Salted Mackerel (1504mg), Kippered Herring (705mg), Canned Anchovy (609mg), Canned Mackerel (403mg), Canned Salmon (375mg), Canned Sardines (310mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


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#7: Oily Fish (Mackerel) 
Omega-3 100g Per fillet (112g)Per 3oz (85g)
2789mg 3124mg 2371mg 
Other Fish High in Omega-3 (per 3oz): American Shad (2396mg), Farmed Salmon (2234mg), Salmon (2151mg), Wild Salmon (1545mg), Herring (1564mg), Anchovy (1827mg), Tuna (1457mg), Halibut (1242mg), Trout (1065mg), and Swordfish (913mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#8: Seafood (Oysters) 
Omega-3 100g Per 3 ounces (85g)In a medium oyster (25g)
1584mg 1346mg 396mg 
Other Seafood High in Omega-3 (per ounce):Mussels (762mg), Squid (470mg), and Clams (357mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#9: Soybeans (Roasted) 
Omega-3 100g Per cup (172g)Per ounce (28g)
1694mg 2914mg 474mg
Other Soy Foods High in Omega-3 (per ounce): Dried-Frozen Tofu (Koyadofu) (567mg), Fried Tofu (377mg), Raw Firm Tofu (163mg), and Fuyu (Fermented Tofu) (150mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.


#10: Spinach (Cooked, Boiled)
Omega-3 100g Per cup (190g)1 cup raw (30g)
371mg 704mg 41mg
Other Vegetables High in Omega-3 (per cup, cooked without added oil): Winter Squash (664mg), Brussels Sprouts (270mg), Cauliflower (208mg), Kale (163mg), and Broccoli (151mg). Click to see complete nutrition facts.See the nutrient ranking for 500 vegetables high in Omega 3s. (Note some vegetables are cooked in high omega 3 oils and should not be taken into account.)