Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Did you know that the 70 trillion bacteria that call our bodies home, not only launch group behavior using signalling molecules, much like an organ releases hormones (or pesky stinging fire ants use pheromones), but also speak two different "languages"?
Didn't think so.
Watch the amazing Bonnie Bassler explain it all much better than I ever could, with humor no less!
Monday, March 19, 2012
This was so easy... its a little sad how excited I am over it! LOL
After writing my lentils and rice blog a few days ago, I decided to see if I could get some to sprout... and they did, with almost no help from me! AND no fancy equipment, either!
* a clean recycled yogurt container...
* a lid from one of my pots, cuz the yogurt container's lid was AWOL
* the mesh strainer, that I use to filter my tea leaves out of my pot of tea
Added about a half cup? of lentils into the container.
Ran tap water in there, squished it around, dumped the water.
Covered lentils with distilled water so that they were all submerged.
Left them there overnite, washed em and soaked em the following morning.
Later that afternoon, I bit one and found both the taste and texture had changed.
Instead of being hard and bitter, it was sweet and crunchy.
Not crunchy like potato chips, crunchy like an apple.
So I decided enuf with the soaking, drained and washed them again, but did not cover them with water.
Next day I looked and they all had tails.
So they got another bath.
The basic schedule I used was:
Soak about 24 hours with several washes and water changes.
Drain and don't refill with water... let grow the next couple of days, giving them at least two baths a day.
Day 4? not really sure... is today and Voila here they are! Beautiful, dontcha think?
And tasty too, I just invited some of them into my bowl of luncheon chili to play!
Friday, March 16, 2012
So I have a new addiction... and its all JLuvs fault!
JLuvs (aka Jenn) is a Sparker that planted the"Let's make Kale Chips!" seed sometime last year with her recipe. She thought I "fergot". I did not. ha
I'd lost her recipe... but I was determined to try them.
So I did what I usually do when in doubt... troll the internet for ideas, cobble together common elements, come up with a recipe based on what I'd discovered.
Thankfully... they're low in calories and high in nutrition.
And how else could you eat an entire head of Kale/days worth of veggies in one sitting?
So here goes...
TOOLS YOU NEED:
*Large pot to wash Kale in
*Scissors, knife or some sort of cutting tool
*Colander to drain it
*Salad spinner or paper towels
* Cookie sheet or roasting pan
*Plate, bowl or glass to present chips to the masses
INGREDIENTS YOU NEED FOR BASIC RECIPE:
*Large Bunch of Kale (preferably organic as Kale is otherwise pretty high in pesticides...washing will take some of it off but not all)
OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (flavorings... not necessary, believe me!)
*red cayenne pepper
* sesame seed or sesame oil
1. FLAY YOUR KALE~
Kale has a hard, lighter green "rib" running up it like a spine. You're going to want to remove this. This can be done with a knife, your fingers and pulling, or a scissors. Point is, remove it.
2. DETERMINE THE PRESENTATION~
Long and slender, or short and bite sized?
* leave the leaf intact and when its cooked, stand it up in a tall glass for eating
* tear or cut them in pieces for a "bowl of chips" presentation
3. SOAK & WASH~
I've got a huge stainless steel bowl that I wash all my greens in. Here's Ms Hand filling it up and adding a bit of powdered vitamin C to the water. In case you missed my incessant ramblings on the subject, I add C to my tap water to remove the chlorine and chloramines... and I suggest you do to!
I generally let the Kale soak in there about 15 minutes, then push it up and down, drain rinse, and fill the bowl up again with water and vitamin C, let it sit for 5 MORE minutes.
4. DRAIN AND DRY~
Drain in a colander, use paper towels to dry as best you can... or better yet use a Salad Spinner. The Salad Spinner is fabulous, if you don't have one, you might want to consider putting it on your wish list or better yet, just buying one. They cost waaay less than a Mercedes.
5.OIL IT DOWN~
Put dried Kale back in your dry Washing bowl, sprinkle on about a tablespoon of olive oil. Toss, Toss, Toss until its all coated. I also added a bit of Sesame Seed oil for flavor but a good Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is just delicious, too.
6.POSITION IT FOR TOASTING~
Place on cookie sheet, or roasting pan... one layer thick. OVEN preset at 325.
I needed to do this in two batches, because I only have one cookie sheet.
Its okay if the cookie sheet is a bit overcrowded, because the Kale winds up like an extra in "Honey, Who Shrunk the Kids? by the time its been toasted.
If you start double- deckering them though, don't claim I didn't warn ya!
Here's what they look like after 20 minutes at 325. NOTE: One half had cayenne put on it, the other sesame seeds. You can see this in the photo.
7.REMOVE FROM OVEN~
After about 20 minutes at 325. Remove a chip to test for crunchiness. It should melt in your mouth like an angel flake... be light and airy. If you left your leaves intact, you can stand them up in a tumbler glass, if not, pile onto a waiting plate.
they are now, drumroll please...
READY TO EAT!
Okay, so you're saying: Well what about all those Toppings, Mzzchief, what are we going to do with those?
Here's some suggestions:
1. you can make salt, pepper and vinegar Kale chips. Just add these ingredients along with the olive oil, after you're returned the Kale to the Mixing bowl once its been spun dry. You only need a SMALL amount of vinegar, so go easy
2. Parmesan cheese can be sprinkled over the top of the chips as they lay on the cookie sheet, before they go into the oven
3. Sesame seeds can be added while Kale is on cookie sheet, as can red pepper and salt. The olive oil will help it to stick
4. Use sesame seed oil at the same time you use olive... use less olive oil.
Okay, Sparkers! I think that just about covers this cooking adventure!
Big thanks to Jluvs as the motivating force driving this adventure to fruition!
GREAT IDEAS FROM SPARKERS!
Imleeny sez : try it with a dehydrator, look for flat "dinosaur kale" and try nutritional yeast as a topping (added selenium, B vitamins, iron and parmesan cheese taste).
Strings sez: Be careful thyroid sufferers as Kale is a goitrogen... use moderation. (I have a bit of seaweed that day as Kale can block iodine and seaweed is a good source of that mineral). Also that smoked Paprika is a hit on these chips.
Check out GIRANIMAL's tip for getting a light even coating of olive oil on your kale chips (or anywhere's else for that matter).
Its a device called the Misto, which is an empty spray bottle for olive oil. I just saw them for sale a few days ago at Ross or Marshalls, in their home department. Sorry, I can't remember which store... they run about $9.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Here's a healthier solution, to a fluffy bed of rather bland low nutritional white rice!
I make a pot of this in the beginning of the week, in the morning.
Keep it in my fridge, covered in the pot I cooked it in.
Use a handled measuring cup to scoop out a half cup at a time.
Add it to my stir fried veggies and flesh (chicken, meat or fish)
Its fast, cheap and easy.
Here's what I do.
*A clear glass
*A pot with a tight fitting lid
*A Stovetop ( mine's an electric slab)
*Red "cargo" rice or some other brown variety
Fill the glass half full of rice.
Fill the other half with lentils.
Its doesn't have to be perfect. Close will do.
Dump filled glass into pot.
Fill glass up with pure water to the level that the bean/rice mixture occupied... dump into pot.
Repeat with second glass of water.
Basically, your lentil/rice mix to water is 1:2.
Your pot should be large enuf so that there's a good deal of space between the contents and the lid.
Bring mixture to a boil... boil about a minute.
Turn off heat.
Leave pot on burner, put on lid
Now forget about it until lunch.
The mix will have cooked completely by then on the heat from the range and the captured steam from the previous boiling.
CAVEAT: I don't know if this energy saving technique will work on a gas range.
Use as you would white rice. Only with this one, you'll have more fiber, iron and protein than you would if you were simply cooking white rice.
Finished product... all the lentils have risen to the top...
Added in response to Sparker's comments on 3/16/12:
Some people have problems with the Lectins and Phytic Acid that pulses (fancy for beans) contain.
If you are someone that has problems with beans, but would still like to try this recipe, you can soak the lentils in hot water overnite, toss the water, rinse, and make it using the same proportions and technique.
Its just one more step and bother, but if its the diff between them agreeing with you, or not, it may be worthwhile!
In regards to how I came up with this low-cook technique for lentils/rice, like many good things, it was by applying observations and happy accident.
First... I noticed when I was making soups, that the lentils and rice I put in my soup seemed to get soft and edible in about the same amount of time.
So when I ran out of rice, I experimented with cooking them together in the same pot. How I did that, was to bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat and cook an addition 20 minutes.
One day, instead of lowering the heat, I turned the heat off completely. I had to be somewhere else and didn't have time to monitor the cooking process. On my return several hours later, the lentil/rice mix was cooked thru! YAY!
So now I choose this energy saving way of making them.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
In 2011 California added 4-methylimidazole on its list of known carcinogens...
This info dropped into the collective pond of public information without causing a ripple.
Until it turned up in caramel coloring... the stuff that give colas their signature deep brown color, the stuff that turns Cola beverages into "liquid gold" for the Cola Beverage Industry.
Bottom line : Colas were now required to carry a warning label before they could be sold in the Fair State of California.
The ever responsible Coca-Cola responded swiftly by requiring its caramel suppliers to lower the amounts of this toxin in their product in order to meet California Law... um... and to avoid the warning label.
Sure... the tests were conducted on rodents, they were given more of the stuff then a human could possibly consume.
But what causes cancer... does it come from one vector, or a toxic soup, little things that add up over time to cause one big challenge for our bodies that we cannot overcome? Methinks the latter.
Why is there any carcinogenic stuff AT ALL in these beverages, why did it take a law to get them to change?
If you're here on Spark, striving for good health and weight loss... why are you drinking this non-nutritive stuff in the first place? Even without the low dose carcinogens?
Chances are the Devil's in the Sales Pitch... here's an excerpt of an email "Forward" I got this week... Ads that We Won't See Again... that's germane to this very subject and the punchline to this blog:
Have a fun day!
Remember your brain isn't just there to move you around.
Here's the copy that's barely visible on this advert:
How soon is too soon?
Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher changes of gaining acceptance and "fitting in" during those awkward pre-teen and teen years. So do yourself a favor. Do your child a favor. Start them on a strict regiment of sodas and other sugary carbonized beverages right now, for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness.
The Soda Pop Board of America
1515 W. Hart Ave Chicago, Ill
The three lines by the bottle:
Promotes active lifestyle!
Gives body essential sugars!
I know you're thinking: How could people be so dumb to have believed this twaddle?
The answer... if you're a soda drinker... is that its the same message... they've just got better at delivering it... and you're proof:
You actually think you're drinking that soda, because you WANT it.
That's what a billion dollar advertising budget will buy.
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