Are you a risk taker?

It occurred to me this past weekend that I am a bit of a risk taker.  At least when we are talking recipes.  Oh, and anything related to gardens or flowers.

I very rarely follow written recipes completely, modifying them with favorite, gluten-free, or on-hand ingredients. For family dinners I usually try out at least one new recipe, and this past (Canadian) Thanksgiving dinner was no exception.

I made the perennially favourite pumpkin pie as well as cherry and butter tarts, but instead of apple pie or crisp,  I tried a strawberry rhubarb crisp.  My brother had commented on Facebook a while back that he was craving strawberry rhubarb pie and no one would make one for him, so as he was hosting dinner this past Sunday I took the bait.  One of my clients donated the rhubarb and I had frozen strawberries on hand.  The recipe called for fresh strawberries, so I just let mine thaw on the counter before using them. I do believe the dessert was a favourite at the table; the bit that was left in the pan was scooped up by my nephew to take home for later.

 

Tired of the popular vegetable dishes this time of year too, I decided to try roasted zucchini as my vegetable contribution.  It too turned out delicious; I will definitely make it again.  I simply sliced 3 yellow and 3 green zucchini lengthwise into about 6 spears each (you could slice them into coins instead) placed them on a greased cookies sheet, drizzled them with olive oil, sprinkled them with a parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano and dried basil mixture, and baked then broiled them to perfection.  Yummy!

 

pictures from Pixabay and Pexels (forgot to take some of my own)

 

Someone asked me after I volunteered to make my daughter-in-law’s wedding bouquets if I wasn’t nervous they wouldn’t turn out.  My new daughter-in-law is wonderfully laid back, so I knew if the bouquets weren’t exactly perfect, she would not stress over it, otherwise, I might have been more nervous and (probably) would not have offered my services.  All five were different and definitely unique creations…

 

I consider cooking or baking and gardening to be artistic adventures, and I think most will agree that artists of any kind have to take some risks to be unique.  I guess I do tend to fly by the seat of my pants (as I call it) or like to take (some) risks, but it is (almost) always worth it!

 

 

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Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgiving

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  We celebrate the second Monday in October, while other countries celebrate in November.  I believe the reason for that is the fact that our winters arrive sooner here, so our harvests are earlier.   Afterall, Thanksgiving did originate as a celebration after harvest was complete.

Regardless of when you celebrate Thanksgiving, be sure to remember all the things you are grateful for.  This previous post listed the things I was grateful for two years ago.  All of these still apply, with the wonderful addition of my sons’ significant others and two (with a third one on the way) grandchildren.

With the arrival of grandchildren comes a new addition to my dining room furniture, just in time for Thanksgiving…

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Carter approved: Mum Mums

As I spend a lot of time talking about my grandson, I thought I would post a series called “Carter approved”.  My first Carter approved product is Mum Mums, a rice-based teething biscuit that comes in various flavors…

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Mum Mums are free of the most problematic allergens, (gluten, wheat, eggs, milk, soy, sesame, peanuts, shellfish, tree nuts and fish)a as well as verified non-GMO. Mum Mums are baked and contain minimal amounts of salt, sugar, fats and oils.  Rice has always been considered an ideal first solid food for babies as it is easily digestible, yet contains many vitamins and minerals.

 

 

We all know how teething babies want to put everything in their mouths; these biscuits are no exception. They literally melt in the mouths of babies, although their claim to be mess free is suspect…

 

The banana flavor of Mum Mums is Carter approved!  Buy your Mum Mums

 HERE

 

Sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread

Did you know that sweet potato slices make a great alternative to bread for those of you on a gluten-free diet?  Even if you are not eating gluten-free, slices of sweet potato make a much healthier and lighter alternative than bread.

Simply slice a sweet potato length wise as thin as you can slice it, pop the slices in the toaster (keep the slices long enough so you do not lose them in the toaster), toast until they soften and start to turn brown at the edges and voila!  You could also roast them on a BBQ rack or matt.  I brush them with olive oil and crushed garlic before BBQing them. Of course, I omit this step if using a regular toaster to prevent a fire in my toaster!

I made a hamburger last weekend:

sweet potatoes

As the meat part of the hamburgers were cooking on the BBQ, I made my sweet potato “bun”   I cut the meat patty in half to accommodate the shape of the sweet potato slices. The results were delicious!

I also tried some toasted sweet potato slices topped with peanut butter and jam for breakfast recently.  I was so eager to eat my concoction, I forgot to take a picture!

I am addicted now and can’t wait to make:

  • toasted tomato sandwiches
  • pizzas
  • wraps and any other kind of sandwich
  • eggs benedict
  • egg mcmuffins

 

I would love to hear any other ideas; please share your suggestions!

 

Omega 3 vs omega 6 fatty acids

 

When researching a previous post about healing fats, I learned that the balance between omega 3 fats and omega 6 fats is another health concern.

First of all, you have to know the difference between omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Both are important for maintaining a healthy body and neither are manufactured by our bodies, so must be obtained from our diets. While omega 6s are found in the foods within a common modern daily diet, omega 3s are usually supplemented.

omega 3s:

  • cold water fish (sardines, salmon, herring etc) and fish oil
  • fresh fruit and vegetables
  • garlic, flax seeds,  walnuts
  • extra virgin olive oil

pictures from Pixabay and Pexels

 

omega 6s

  • wheat, whole-grain bread, and cereals
  • grain fed chicken and their eggs
  • refined vegetable (soy, corn, sunflower, safflower) and grape seed oils
  • nuts
  • meat from grain fed animals
  • processed and fast foods

 

pictures from Pexels and Pixabay

 

Both omega 3s and omega 6s have health benefits and drawbacks.  While omega 6s are helpful in treating the symptoms of arthritis, diabetic nerve pain, menopause,  high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, eczema, and even allergies, too much omega 6s can cause depression, dyslexia, obesity, hyperactivity, and other health problems.

Omega 3s are crucial for our brain, hormone, and immune function,  good vision and hair, skin, cell and tissue growth.  They are helpful in treating symptoms of lupus, asthma, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, breast and colon cancers and irritable bowel disease.  A deficiency in omega 3s can result in conditions such as depression and mood swings, poor memory, fatigue, poor circulation, dry skin and more.

The problem comes when too much omega 6s, especially from vegetable oils and grain fed (as opposed to grass-fed) meat, outweigh and overtake the benefits of omega 3s.  This happens because the omega 3s and omega 6s compete for the same enzymes to aid in their metabolism.  Although a ratio of 1:1 between omega 6s and omega 3s is the ideal balance to strive for, studies have shown modern diets to be as high as 16:1   This higher proportion of omega 6s is leading to the increase of many disease states within our modern societies including arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and other inflammatory processes, as well as numerous types of cancer.

Start paying attention to the ratio of omega 6 fatty acids to omega 3 fatty acids in your diet and make some changes before your health takes a turn for the worse!

Try the Foody Hug in your kitchen

I ordered three sets of these FOODY HUGS recently through a Facebook advertisement, kept one set for myself and gave a set to each of my sons that no longer live at home.

I love them, have tried them on onions, tomatoes, avocados, and lemons so far.  I even put one on the top of a water bottle I had poured my homemade almond milk into to store in the refrigerator.

Foody hugs are easy to use, clean and store.  They are inexpensive and better for you than using saran wrap on your cut fruits and vegetables.

Watch the video using the link above.  If you think these foody hugs will make your life easier in the kitchen,  order some using the link below.

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The many benefits of coconut oil

Coconut oil has many benefits, some well known, some not so much.  I have read about its wonders in the weight management/diet category recently, but when I researched further I found lots of other great reasons to use it.

photos by pixabay

 

Coconut oil contains healthy saturated fat and three medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) called capric, caprylic and lauric acid.  Upon ingestion, instead of being stored as fat, MCFAs are processed by the liver immediately forming ketones which supply energy.

Research is hopeful that this energy from the ketones can actually help repair brain function in Alzheimer patients whose brains have lost the ability to produce insulin which formerly supplied the energy.  Another interesting and hopeful theory is that this energy produced by the ketones cannot be used by glucose dependant tumors in cancer patients.

The MCFAs in coconut oil also exhibit anti-fungal, anti-microbial, analgesic (pain killing) and antioxidant properties.  These properties are beneficial in the treatment and prevention of many health issues including:

  • stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, digestion problems
  • urinary tract and yeast infections
  • kidney stones
  • arthritis
  • skin problems like eczema, rashes, psoriasis, cradle cap, dandruff, dermatitis, burns
  • high blood pressure and heart disease
  • tooth decay and gum disease*
  • liver damage
  • thinning hair or hair loss
  • osteoporosis.  coconut oil reduces bone loss and increases bone volume
  • type II diabetes
  • anti-aging and hormone balance
  • weight loss, losing body fat, building muscle, improving energy and endurance
  • low milk production in breastfeeding moms

*Oil pulling is a simple detoxification procedure used in the treatment and prevention of tooth decay and gum disease that involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out.

A simple way to add coconut oil to your daily routine is to replace the sugar in your diet with coconut oil, especially when you are fighting a cold or infection.  Remember, sugar is your enemy!  It enhances and encourages the growth of bad bacteria, viruses, fungus and even parasites while coconut oil shuts them down. Buy some coconut oil and try it, let me know what you think.