Sunday, June 13, 2010
Well I am having a ball with my container gardening. My basil plants have already yielded multiple zip lock bags of basil in my freezer not to mention what I have been enjoying fresh. I needed to look up basil to find possible smoothie recipes because I just have so much basil. Good thing I love basil. I found out some other things as I was researching smoothie recipes.
There are 3 health reasons below that I never knew basil could take care of. Stress, boosting your memory, and kidney stones are reasons for me to eat more basil. It is well worth reading the sources below for the information on each reason.
1. Healing Power
2. Fever & Common Cold
4. Sore Throat
5. Respiratory Disorder
6. Kidney Stone
7. Heart Disorder
8. Children's Ailments
10. Mouth Infections
11. Insect Bites.
12. Skin Disorders
13. Teeth Disorder
15. Eye Disorders
16. Purifies the Blood
17. Sharpens the memory
19. Basil is also a good source of magnesium
20. Very good source of iron, and calcium, and a good source of potassium and vitamin C.
My recipes I use for basil.
Linguine with Clam Sauce
want to WOW them the next time you make linguine with clam sauce. Forget the parsley and use basil. One day I had no parsley on hand so I substituted basil. I have never used parsley again in this dish. Everyone always asks me why my Linguine with Clam Sauce tastes so much better than any other they have ever had. The secret ingredient is basil.
Cucumber and Tomato Salad
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt,pepper, and garlic powder to taste
No particular amounts/ measurements here. Depends on how many cukes and tomatoes you use. I leave the skin on the cuke for extra vitamins - your preference. I can eat a huge bowl as a meal. I will also add raw corn to this mixture as well.
Watermelon Feta Salad with Basil and Red Onion
3 cups seedless watermelon, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup feta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
8 slices red onion, thinly sliced
4 handfuls baby arugula or other greens
15 large basil leaves, thinly sliced
For the vinaigrette:
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Whisk the balsamic vinegar into the olive oil until emulsified, and set aside.
Arrange the arugula or other greens onto 4 separate plates. Top with the watermelon, feta cheese, red onion slices and sliced basil. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the salads, garnish with basil sprigs and serve.
No Cook Tomato Sauce - one of my summer favorites
5 or 6 large really ripe tomatoes
3 cloves of minced garlic
1/4 olive oil
handful of fresh basil
salt/pepper to taste
You need a big bowl.
Take the 1/4 olive oil and add the minced garlic and microwave it for one minute just till the garlic gets translucent. I do mine raw but it may be too strong for some of you.
Mince up the tomatoes and throw into the bowl with all of their juice as well.
Chop up the basil and season with pepper. Mix really well then add the salt to the top. Place bowl on your kitchen counter and walk away. The longer it marinates the better it gets. When you return you will have this really juicy raw sauce to put over a pound of your favorite cooked pasta. I sometimes do this before I go to work in the morning. When I come home I just have to cook the pasta. Voila dinner is done. Serve with salad, some nice crusty bread.
***You can also just use this as bruschetta and put on crusty bread in ;lieu of pasta
Raw Zucchini Paste and Sauce
I just make zucchini ribbons
I use the above No Cook Tomato Sauce over my raw zucchini pasta
I use what ever raw veggies I have on hand but always use fresh tomatoes and a red
pepper as my base
add clove of garlic
add fresh basil
Tomato and Basil Smoothie
1 cup lossely packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 fresh lemon - squeezed
5 large frozen cored, seeded, and diced ripe tomatoes
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Salt/pepper to taste
Place in blender and then blend away.
I found these basil smoothie recipes for my Raw Foodies
Banana Basil Smoothie
2 ripe bananas, peeled, chopped
10 fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons agave (or raw honey)
1. Blend the ingredients in a blender until liquefied and smooth.
2. Serve immediately or chill the smoothie in the refrigerator for an hour or until ready to serve.
*** I am not going to add the agave, the bananas will add enough sweetness
Green Smoothie and/or Raw Soup
1 small avocado
some basil leaves
salt to taste
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. turmeric
few sprigs parsley
handful coral lettuce leaves
cherry tomatoes (as many as want to eat with the soup)
Blend all ingredients except tomatoes with a little water until smooth.
Pour over halved cherry tomatoes.
Serve and enjoy!
Sweet Basil Smoothie
1 cup mango
1 cup fresh squeezed pineapple juice
1 handful of basil
pinch of salt
***Again I am leaving out the dates as it should be sweet enough
Friday, June 11, 2010
Oh man I was on a roll. I was leaving work on time and made some ' me" time every night except tonight. I only just got home from work a little while ago. I was so tired my dinner consisted of freshly popped corn in1 Tbsp of olive oil. Still within my calories though.
We had a training in our office today and that set me way back in my workload. Next week we have all day trainings on Mon - Tues- and Wed. I guess I stayed to get ahead of my work for next week.
Am I a workaholic or just stupid? Maybe a little of both. I am sending myself some
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Or are you just sitting on the sidelines? If you are you are doing yourself such a disservice.
I honestly miss it when I can not get in all of my Sparking. I try to take advantage of all that Spark People has to offer. The very basics I do everyday is track my food, water, and fitness. No matter how busy I am with work or whatever I make sure I jump on to take care of that.
There is just oh so much more here on Spark People. We have the many Challenges you can take part in, the Teams to participate in, exercise demo videos, recipes, articles, and tutorials. I really hope you subscribe to their various daily emails they send out.
Yesterday 2 of those Spark emails hit me smack in the face. It was as if they were just speaking to me. Now I know that weren't but it is almost like magic; when I need to be reminded of something the article or email suddenly appears for me to read.
The 1st one was the Exercise Tip of the Day. I sit at a desk all day long in front of a computer. The evenings after work when my computer decides to behave I am sitting in front of it all night till I go to sleep. I am constantly looking for stretches to do to relieve the tension in my neck and shoulders. Yesterday's topic was the Neck Stretch. Like I said it was talking to me, calling my name.
The 2nd one was Healthy Reflections. I love this daily email, it always make you think. I have read this one before months ago but yesterday it really got my attention. It was titled, "Are you a good friend to yourself?"
Stop laughing for those who know me. I am trying! I am getting better at it. It was talking about if you met yourself would you want to make friends with person. The 2nd part of it dealt with whether or not you cut yourself as much slack as you do your friends. This is what caught my attention. Not the idea of cutting myself slack because i don't think I beat my self up or go negative on myself. But I don't cut myself slack by making time for me. I am always taking care of others instead of taking care of me. I am getting better at this though.
I learn something new on Spark People everyday either through their articles, members blogs, team threads, or the daily emails I get sent to me that I subscribe to. Stop sitting n the sidelines and jump into all Spark has to offer and subscribe to these emails.
It is simple. Go to your Start Page. Underneath where it says Welcome and then your screen name
Click on email preferences
Click on Email tab.
Check all of them. They are a wealth of information.
It really is true, the more you Spark the better you do. One reason why is because the more you Spark the more you learn. The more you learn, the better equipped we are to be successful on our journey to health.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
It actually feels strange not having that albatross around my neck. Stress is finally taking a backseat in my life. It almost feels eerie. I am sleeping so much better and am in a better mood.
This week my computer at home has taken on a life of it's own. Monday I think I was on the computer for 5 minutes before I decided it was not worth the battle. I was afraid that perhaps it had been hit by a virus but I did not have time to sit on the phone with my Service Provider to iron it out. Last night was not much better so I just turned it off and relaxed for the night. Normally all of that would have put me in a tailspin.
I take my Sparking serious. I feel bad and I feel guilty when I am not on Spark People. I really feel bad when I am not current and up to date in my Friend Feed. I stress when I am behind in my Sparking. I feel as though I am letting my Spark Buddies down.
Not sure what is going on but I really have been feeling calm and taking things in stride. I am quite sure the new team I am on, the Stress Busting Challenge has a lot to do with it. Debbie, thanks for inviting me and if you have stress in your life I invite you to go take a look at the team.
Another team I recently joined, Fierce, Fabulous, and Unstoppable Spark Warriors has had the same effect. That Team is always having us face issues that can cause stress in our lives and gives us challenges to combat those issues. The Team shows us different ways to handle or deal with clutter, yes clutter causes stress, money issues, organizational skills, etc. To me this team is like one big destressing workshop where we face these issues headon. We have all the support of our fellow Spark Warriors there to encourage us and share with us how they overcame their "monkeys " on their backs.
I know that it certainly helps that I now have a steady paycheck coming in. It feels like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders. Money issues were a huge source of my stress. Money is often the root of most people's stress.
I am proud of myself for not throwing my computer out the window. I am proud of myself for taking time off this weekend for ME time. I am proud of myself for not obsessing on how far behind I am.
I know I will catch up once these computer issues are resolved and worrying about that will not get me anyplace. I think I am most proud for that - worrying less.
Monday, June 07, 2010
Spelt has a light, slightly sweet, nutty flavor. The use of spelt dates back to about 5000 BC, when it was first cultivated in the region now called Iran. A kernel of spelt looks like a large grain of rice; it has a tough outer husk that protects its nutrients. Removing the husk makes spelt costly to process, so this ancient grain all but vanished in the United States until it was rediscovered about 12 years ago by a grain purveyor in the Midwest. Even though it does contain gluten, spelt seems to be tolerated by most wheat-sensitive people. Please check with your Doctor 1st if you are allergic to wheat.
Spelt is found in cereals and in baked goods, such as crackers, cookies, and breads. It is also available in flake form, or as a whole grain or flour.
Spelt can increase your energy level
Spelt is easier for your body to digest than other grains
Spelt is highe in protein than wheat
You will not eat any harmful pesticides with your Spelt - it is grown naturally (pesticide free)
If you are gluten-sensitive, you may be able to include spelt based foods in your diet
Spelt reduces the risk of Atherosclerosis
Prevent Heart Failure with a Whole Grains Breakfast
Significant Cardiovascular Benefits for Postmenopausal Women
Spelt and Other Whole Grains Substantially Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk
Fiber from Whole Grains and Fruit Protective against Breast Cancer
Homemde Spelt Pasta
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 cups 100% Spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Water, as needed
Combine flour, eggs and salt. Add water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough becomes firm (not sticky). After each tablespoon of water, check to see if dough has firmed. Amount of water will vary depending on your flour.
Form a rectangle and roll dough as thin as you can. If dough starts to spring back when rolled, let the dough rest for ten minutes then resume rolling.
Trim the edges of the dough and roll the flat sheet of dough into a jelly roll. Using a very sharp knife, slice the roll into small rounds. Unroll the rounds into long noodles, and toss them with flour on a baking sheet to dry, or cook immediately.
Fresh noodles will only take about 4 minutes to cook - they are done when they float to the top of the water.
Sweet and Hearty Spelt Bread Recipe
To cook this Spelt bread recipe you will need a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and patience. Unlike white bread this recipe for Spelt bread will take twice as long to leaven. From start to finish, it will take 2 - 3 hours.
Ingredients (Makes 1 Loaf)
1 1/2 cups warm water (just barely hot to the touch)
1 package active dry yeast (1/4 ounce)
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon whole flaxseed (optional)
2 1/2 cups whole spelt flour
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 3/4 cups whole spelt flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted
In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, 2 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of flaxseed (optional). Mix in 2 1/2 cups of spelt flour. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.
Mix in 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar, and salt. Stir in 1 3/4 cups of spelt flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with spelt flour until it pulls away from the counter but is still sticky to touch. This may take an additional 1 to 2 cups of spelt flour. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel. Let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 30 minutes).
Punch down and place in greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Allow to rise until dough has topped the pan by one inch. Depending on your yeast this will take between
1 - 2 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes; do not over bake. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 1 tablespoon of melted butter when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk (see substitutes)
No buttermilk? just add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to milk and let stand 5-10 minutes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or melted butter)
1 cup spelt flour
5 tablespoons ground flaxseed (optional/see substitutes)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon butter
In a medium bowl, combine buttermilk, egg, and oil.
In another bowl, mix together spelt flour, ground flax, sugar, salt and baking powder. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet buttermilk-mixture. Stir until lightly mixed.
Heat a griddle or large frying pan to medium-hot. Add 1 tablespoon of butter. Form 4 inch pancakes out of the batter. Once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over, and cook them on the other side for about 3 minutes. Continue until all the batter has been made into pancakes.
Soy milk or yogurt can be substitutes for the buttermilk.
Wheat germ, almond meal, or ground teff can be substituted for the ground flaxseed in the spelt flour recipes.
Spelt Pizza Dough
Spelt Flour Recipes : Pizza
Ingredients (Serves 8-10)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110F, just barely hot to the touch)
4 1/2 cups spelt flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup pizza sauce
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, diced
10 basil leaves, torn into small pieces
In a large bowl combine yeast and warm water and let proof about 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
Using a wooden spoon, mix-in flour, 1 cup at a time, to yeast mixture until everything is well mixed.
Lightly flour a surface and knead dough on prepared surface 8-10 minutes.
Lightly oil large bowl. Place dough in prepared bowl, cover, and allow to rise in a dry, warm place until doubled (about 90 minutes).
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and lightly grease a large pizza pan.
Once the dough has doubled, punch it down and knead in olive oil and salt. Allow dough to rest for 5 minutes.
Roll dough out and place on pizza pan. Crimp edges to leave a small lip.
Spread sauce over pizza leaving a 1/2 inch space at the edges. Top with mozzarella.
Bake for about 8 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.
Remove pizza from oven. Brush the exposed crust with a little olive oil to maintain moistness, and sprinkle fresh basil over the top.
Spelt Cake with Apples
Ingredients (Serves 12)
5 apples, cored and peeled
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon white sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1 1/2 cups spelt flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground flaxseed (or guar gum)(both are optional)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 inch cake (bundt) pan.
Place apples, cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon sugar in a food processor and pulse until you have coarsely and fine chopped pieces.
In a large bowl, using a whisk to mix the eggs. Then whisk in the ½ cup sugar and vanilla until everything is frothy. Stir in the olive oil, juice, flour, flaxseed, baking powder, salt, and 2 teaspoons cinnamon until everything is mixed thoroughly. Fold the apple mixture into the batter. Pour mixture into the prepared baking pan.
Bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Spelt Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients (Makes 24 Spelt Cookies)
1 3/4 cups crunchy peanut butter
1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups spelt flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces of semi-sweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped (or 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Place peanut butter in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high about 45 seconds or until the peanut butter is melted. Stir once as it heats. Using a spoon, stir in brown sugar and vanilla.
In large bowl, add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly. Add peanut butter mixture and stir until well blended. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Drop dough by 2 tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake 8 - 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow cookies to cool 3 - 5 minutes before removing and placing them on wire racks
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