It has long been said that “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Apples contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, Vitamin C, flavenoids, phenols, and carotenoids (antioxidants that contribute to cancer prevention). Apples are also praised for their link to decreased heart disease and diabetes. Apples are also good for exercise and endurance. Apples have an antioxidant called quercetin, which aids endurance by making oxygen more available to the lungs. The American Institute for Cancer Research has some great information on Apples and their benefits.
This recipe gives the apples some added flavor and protein from the cream cheese, so it makes a great snack! Pumpkin also has many health benefits. It contains carotenoids like beta-carotene, vitamins, and fiber. Go here for more in depth information on pumpkins nutritional benefits. The American Institute for Cancer Research also has great information on Winter Squash.
For the dip recipe you will need Cream Cheese, canned pumpkin (cooked-see note*), Maple syrup, vanilla extract, stevia, and pumpkin pie spice.
Pumpkin Pie Dip Recipe
- 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Neufchatel cream cheese, softened (You can replace this with any cream cheese of your choice or use a cream cheese substitute like tofutti)
- 1/2 cup canned pumpkin, cooked with ¼ cup water (see note*)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon stevia
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- Sliced apples for serving
Combine all the ingredients in a blender or mini food processor and process until combined. Scrap down sides and process again. Cover and chill 30 minutes before serving.
*Note: I cooked the can of pumpkin with ¼ cup water for about 15 minutes. I have had trouble with a metallic taste when I don’t cook the pumpkin before using in uncooked recipes. Feel free to omit this step if you don’t have an issue with this.
Okay, so I am long overdue posting a healthy anti-cancer breakfast! Breakfast is one of my favorite meals! I especially love having breakfast for dinner .
I’ll admit that in the past I was a big lover of dairy — cheese and ice cream being two of my favorites – but these days I don’t consume a lot of it. I use a small amount of low-fat milk in my coffee and one my favorite breakfasts consists of Greek yogurt with fruit. The truth is most dairy products are pretty high in fat and cholesterol and its intake should be limited. Diets high in meat and dairy are associated with increased risk of all types of cancer. Go here for more on that.
The whole-grain brown rice in this recipe is what makes it anti-cancer. Including more whole grains in your diet and eliminating highly processed grains can help protect you from developing cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research has some great information on whole grains and their anti-cancer compounds.
Cooking note: Feel free to replace the raisins with another dried fruit of your choosing. The chia seeds are added to make this pudding healthier, but they also help thicken the consistency of the pudding and eliminate the need for an egg(s) used in regular rice pudding. For my other post on Chia go here.
This also makes a tasty dessert.
Breakfast Rice Pudding
- 1 can coconut milk (about 1 ½ cups) *I used light coconut milk
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 packets stevia (or sweetener of your choice)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ t ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups cooked brown rice (this equals 1cup uncooked rice)
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds, optional
- Slivered almonds for garnish
Heat the coconut milk and almond milk over medium heat until steaming. Add the stevia, ground cardamom, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, brown rice, raisins, and chia seeds. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly for about 7 to 8 minutes until the mixture thickens. Serve topped with sliced almonds.
Here is the nutritional information.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse. Kale contains vitamin A, K, folate, sulforaphane, fiber, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, copper, and calcium. Here is another post that I wrote about Kale and it’s cancer prevention properties.
Kale Chips are another great way to eat more kale. Snack on them in between meals for a guilt free crunchy snack.
The latest research on kale and other cruciferous veggies and breast cancer go here. For another great article on the effect of “eating to starve cancer” based off the research of Dr. William Li go here. I wrote about Dr. Li previously in my post about Green Tea Soup.
This pasta dish is another fantastic way to enjoy the anti-cancer benefits of kale. I usually get 1 or 2 bunches in my weekly CSA delivery from Ambrose Farm, so stay tuned for more recipes! Please contact me if you have any suggestions for a kale recipe you would like to see featured here on Connoisseur 4 The Cure.
Farfalle with Turkey Sausage and Kale
- 1 to 2 bunches kale, tough stems removed
- 1/2 pound whole what farfalle pasta
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 links turkey Italian-style sausage, casings removed
- 3 green garlic bulbs or 3 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch dried crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 cup reserved pasta cooking water
- Parmesan cheese for serving
Heat the oil over medium heat, and add the sausage and cook. Break up with a wooden spoon into bit-size pieces. Continue cooking until browned or about 12 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes, and sauté about 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the farfalle until done according to package instructions or al dente.
Add the kale to the sauté pan and wilt. Add the pasta to the skillet. Add some of the pasta water and stir for a few minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
After reading a great article in Eating Well Magazine on Phthalates being absorbed into our bodies through packaged food, I have tried to limit my consumption of these types of convenience foods. Phthalates are environmental estrogens and may contribute to risk of breast and other cancers. For more on Estrogen Exposure and Breast Cancer go here.
One of my favorite packaged foods are Larabars! I love the taste along with the fact that I can pronounce everything in the ingredient list. These are my “go-to” post workout snack. It can start to get expensive buying these bars at over a dollar a pop, so I decided to try to make my own version.
Dates are loaded with fiber. There is about 6 grams of fiber in 10 dates. Whole grains and fiber decrease breast cancer risk. It is theorized that by eating more fiber estrogen levels are lowered due to excess estrogen being flushed out of the body. Go here for more on fiber, whole grains, and breast cancer research.
Chocolate Coconut Larabar Recipe
Yield 6 bars
1 cup dates
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut, preferably unsulphured coconut
¼ cup walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons 60% cocoa chocolate chips
Process all ingredients, except chocolate chips, in food processor until smooth. Form the mixture into a ball and place on a large sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and use a rolling pin to roll the bars out into a rectangle shape and to about ½ inch thickness. Place the bars in the freezer for about 30 minutes to firm up for easier cutting. Cut the bars lengthwise into 5 or 6 bars and wrap in plastic wrap.
This no-bake Chocolate Pie is fantastic! You won’t know it’s healthy while you are eating it! This recipe contains tofu which is high in protein. One slice of this pie has about 230 calories, which is about half of the calories in a regular chocolate pie.
Chocolate is believed to have many health benefits from its antioxidant properties. Go here for more on the research of chocolate and it’s anti-cancer properties.
The evidence on the use of tofu for breast cancer patients is very controversial. The isoflavones in soy mimic estrogen, so some doctors advocate it as a means to suppresses the body from making too much estrogen. Others, say that it can be dangerous for women with estrogen receptive breast cancer and they should avoid soy. Here is more information on the soy debate. I am not a physician or dietician. Please consult your doctor, before making any dietary changes, if you have ever had cancer.
This recipe reminds me a lot of the Chocolate Mousse recipe I posted a couple of weeks back. Go here for that recipe. The consistency of the pie is thicker than the mousse which has a more fluffy pudding like consistency.
This chocolate pie is very rich, so it can serve 8 to 10 people. This would also make a wonderful pudding or mousse. Just omit the crust and serve in parfait glasses.
Cooks note: Drain the tofu. Do this by wrapping the tofu in several layers of paper towels. Place on a plate. Invert a plate and place on top of paper towel wrapped tofu. Place a heavy can of top of the plate and allow this to sit for at least 30 minutes. This removes the excess liquid from the tofu.
French Silk Pie
Yield 8 to 10 servings
- 13 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup coffee liqueur
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 12.3 ounce package silken tofu, drained (see cook’s note) I used Mori-Nu Silken Firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon agave
- 1 (9-inch) prepared chocolate wafer crust or homemade if you prefer.
Melt the chocolate chips with the coffee liqueur and vanilla in a metal bowl over simmering water, or in a double boiler. Stir frequently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the tofu, chocolate mixture, and agave to the bowl of a food processor. (You could also use a blender) Process the mixture until smooth. Scrap down the sides of the work bowl as needed to make sure the ingredients are fully mixed. Pour the filling into the chocolate crust and refrigerate for 2 hours.
I love to have a poached egg in the morning over a bed of wilted greens. It’s a great way to start the day with a healthy meal. I have found that by adding vegetables to my breakfast meal, it makes it easier to get in plenty of vegetables every day. I’ll share that recipe sometime in the future.
I came up with this Asian inspired recipe for Seared Scallops. I love scallops. They are a great source of protein, Vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. For more on scallops and their health benefits go here. This recipe is healthy but also very tasty! It has the added benefit of being quick and easy as it can be on the table in under 15 minutes.
Asian Greens with Pan-Seared Scallops
- 2 bunches/ bags mixed Asian greens ( savvoy cabbage, tat soi, bok choy, spinach etc.)
- 1 green garlic stalk or 1 clove regular garlic, minced
- 1 Tablespoon oyster sauce
- ½ Tablespoon sesame oil
- Drizzle hot chili oil, optional for serving
- 2 cups small frozen scallops or 20 large, thawed
Heat pan or wok over medium high heat and spray with oil. Add minced green garlic or minced garlic clove. Sauté over medium high heat until tender about 30 seconds. Add greens and combine with oil and garlic. Cook until the mixture wilts. Add the oyster sauce and sesame oil and stir to combine. Remove the greens to a serving dish or individual plates. Wipe out the pan. Spray with oil and add thawed scallops. Sear scallops on both sides until opaque and cooked through. Serve scallops on a bed of greens and drizzle with hot chili oil if desired.
It’s that time of year that is perfect for a picnic. We have been having wonderful weather and pretty blue skies here in the low country of South Carolina. One of my favorite dishes to pack for a picnic is pasta salad.
It is a side dish goes with everything from classic fried chicken to sandwiches, or could even be served solo. It can be eaten either chilled or at room temperature, so it’s perfect for a picnic. Pack the salad into small Chinese style take-out boxes for easy portioning or you could use pint sized wide- mouth mason jars. Everyone gets his or her own jar or box!
Pasta salad is a creative canvas like pizza and omelets. It is a great dish to use leftovers up or what ever you have on hand. My love of pasta salad goes back to the boxed version in the 80’s. As I recall the vegetables were freeze dried and mixed in with the pasta and dressing – probably loaded with sugar or HFC — and it had very few vegetables actually in it. I loved it as a child, but I created this version that actually tastes 10 times better and is much healthier too. Tomatoes have lycopene an antixidant that fights free radicals and cancer. Olives and olive oil also contain polyphenols that prevent breast cancer.
Greek Style Pasta Salad
Serves 6 (as a side dish)
- ½ box tri-colored wheat pasta, 8 ounces, cooked according to package instructions.
- 1 can organic garbanzo beans, either low-sodium or rinsed in a colander
- ¾ cup of tomatoes, quartered (I used 5 Campari tomatoes)
- ½ cup black or kalamata olives, sliced in half
- 1/3 cup slice deli-style mild pepper rings
- 3 ounces, ½ block, reduced fat feta cheese
- ½ lemon, juiced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 T Italian dressing of your choice or homemade
- Cook the pasta according to the package instructions.
- Add the garbanzo beans, tomatoes, olives, pepper rings, and feta. Note: I mixed all the ingredients in the pot that I cooked the pasta in. I figured it was one less bowl to wash .
- Add the juice of ½ lemon, rosemary, oregano, and dressing.
- Toss to combine.
- Chill for 1 to 2 hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to develop.
This post was shared on Simple Lives Thursday.
Although this isn’t an anti-cancer food recipe per se, it is a healthy way to limit your exposure to cancer causing toxins. Most of the time we don’t even know what the ingredients are in these cleaners, but many of the common ingredients are known carcinogens. One way to protect yourself from environmental estrogens — that have been liked to breast cancer and other types of cancer– is to use homemade or “green” cleaners around the house. The breast cancer fund has information on this here.
I had a bad experience with a great smelling multi-purpose cleaner that shall remain nameless. After using the product to clean my house I felt terrible. My heart was racing and I felt anxious. I assumed that this could not be good for me, so I began researching safe cleaning alternatives. I came up with my own recipe after trying several recipes.
Making your own cleaners is also a great way to save money. You can make your own for a fraction of the cost you’ll spend buying cleaners. This kitchen cleaner makes cleaning your kitchen a more pleasant experience. You could easily make another scent with this recipe by changing the castile soap and essential oil to orange, or even peppermint. I have a peppermint cleaner that I like to use in the bathroom (I’ll share that later if anyone is interested) I personally I like the smell of a citrus cleaner for the kitchen!
Lemony Kitchen Cleaner Recipe
Yields: 4 3/4 cups
2 teaspoons castile soap (I used Dr. Bronner’s citrus castile soap)
¼ cup lemon juice or the juice from about 2 lemons
½ cup white vinegar
½ teaspoon grape seed oil
2 teaspoons borax
4 cups warm water
12 drops lemon essential oil
Combine the ingredients in a bottle or jar and shake to combine. Place the contents in a spray bottle. Use this cleaner for counter tops, stove, fridge, and other appliance surfaces. Be sure to shake before using.
This post was shared on Simple Live Thursday
I can’t believe we are already in to April and Easter is just around the corner!! I talk a lot about healthy eating, but I have never been a believer of trying to eat healthy for holidays. I usually have traditional family recipes that I like to make for holidays. My line of thinking is that they only come once a year, and how much you eat on a particular day isn’t going to make or break your diet or waistline . You do have to be careful when it turns into a week of eating fattening leftovers though.
I thought that this year I might make whole-wheat biscuits to go with the Easter dinner. They are made with coconut oil. Despite coconut oil’s bad reputation there is evidence that it is actually good for you and may help promote weight loss. There is not a lot of research at this point for us to be certain, but several studies such as this one and this one say that coconut oil may be beneficial.
About a year ago, when I first started examining my diet, I discovered several blogs (Nourished Kitchen, GNOWFGLINS, and Kitchen Stewardship) that used traditional cooking methods. Salley Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, is the inspiration behind many of the ideas. The basic premises of her book is that food has become over processed through the manufacturing process and is devoid of any nutrients (i.e. white flour, white bread, white sugar, white rice, etc.) Ms. Fallon explains in her book that eating the way our ancestors ate is much healthier for us. Whole grains are better for you but must be properly prepared in order to make their nutrients digestible by the body. The Weston A Price foundation also advocates the use of traditional preparation methods for grains in order to remove the anti- nutrients that prevent mineral absorption. This is typically achieved by soaking the grain in water and an acid such as vinegar overnight (in this recipe the yogurt and buttermilk acts as the acid) This method neutralizes the phytic acid in the grain and allows it to be more easily digestible by the body increasing vitamin absorption (particularly B vitamins).
This recipe for the soaked biscuits is adapted from a blog that I took an eCourse from early last year called GNOWFGLINS. The blog’s creator Wardeh Harmon has graciously allowed me to use her recipe. Check out her site if you are interested in learning more about Sally Fallon and traditional food methods. For more information about whole grains and breast cancer prevention go here.
Step 1: Start by placing the flour in a bowl and cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter or two knives. Add the yogurt and buttermilk and cover with a towel. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature overnight (8 to 12 hours).
Step 2: The next morning pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees. Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the dough. Knead the dough by continually folding the dough over onto itself in the bowl. I did this about 10 times.
Step 3: Roll out the dough to ¾ of an inch thick and cut into squares. (Note that if you want your biscuits to really rise you can’t roll them too thin.)
Step4: Place the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown.
Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits Recipe
Yields 12 biscuits
- 2 ½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 6 tablespoons coconut oil (I left this out of the original post. Thanks to Terri and Stephanie for letting me know!)
- ¾ cup of buttermilk
- 2 rounded tablespoons greek yogurt
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder (preferably aluminum free)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Place the flour in a bowl and cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter or two knives. Add the yogurt and buttermilk and yogurt and cover with a towel. Allow the mixture to sit at room temperature overnight (8 to 12 hours)
- The next morning pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
- Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the dough.
- Knead the dough by continually folding the dough over onto itself (about 10 times)
- Roll out the dough to ¾ of an inch thick .
- Cut into 12 squares. (Note that if you want your biscuits to really rise you can’t roll them too thin.)
- Place the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown.
- Serve with honey or butter.
What are you going to be making for Easter dinner this year?
Everybody loves chocolate…right? Chocolate ranks right up there with ice cream as one of my favorite desserts. In the last few years I have opted for dark chocolate because it has less sugar and it also contains antioxidants that are really good for you. I don’t make desserts very often. I guess I usually spend so much time cooking meals that dessert seems like a lot of extra work and too many dishes to hand wash . It’s all too easy to go to Bruster’s occasionally to get an scoop key lime pie ice cream or nutty coconut….yum! However, sometimes I do get in the mood to create a dessert at home.
I have been toying with several ideas lately for Chocolate mousse. I know it sounds crazy, but it is made with avocadoes. I promise that you won’t taste the avocadoes if you make it as described.
The first time I made this recipe for Chocolate Mousse I didn’t care for it very much. I vowed to make it again with Haas/ California (bumpy skin) avocados instead of the smoothed skin/ Florida (aka lite) avocados. It was delicious with the Haas avocados! For more on the difference between the avocados go here. The fat in Hass avocados are omega-3 fatty acids. Plus Haas avocados have a much creamier texture and just taste better!
This recipe is inspired by Sheryl Crows’ chocolate-avocado mousse recipe in her If It Makes You Healthy cookbook. Sheryl – like myself—began a new food journey after her battle with breast cancer. Her cancer situation was remarkably similar to my own, so I guess that’s why I have drawn some inspiration from her story and cookbook.
I had a suggestion — from a reader– that I photo journal my recipes instead of just the end results. So here goes…
For this recipe you will need 2 or 3 avocados, depending on size, agave nectar or honey, cocoa powder , vanilla extract, hazelnut extract (or mint extract if you can’t find hazelnut), strawberries, and fresh mint for garnish. Be sure to use cocoa that is not processed with alkali also known as “Dutch processed” cocoa. This makes the cocoa appear darker, but neutralizes the antioxidant properties of chocolate. For a great article on chocolate and the effects of the “Dutch process” go here.
Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. I like to use the blade of my knife to remove the pits easily. Check out this video for a demonstration if you have no idea what I’m talking about
Scoop out the avocado flesh into the work bowl of a food processor and break up with a spoon.
Add the cocoa powder, agave nectar or honey, vanilla extract, and hazelnut extract to the bowl of the food processor. I like the hazelnut extract because I LOVE hazelnuts and chocolate, but you can you any extract you prefer. Peppermint would be very good substitute for the hazelnut if you prefer or can’t find hazelnut extract.
Process the mixture for about a minute. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl and process for another minute. Taste and add more agave to desired sweetness about a teaspoon at a time. Pulse the ingredients a few more times to make sure it is mixed thoroughly.
You could eat this right away, but I really recommend chilling for at least an hour as the mousse tastes much better cold. Either place in the serving dishes and chill in your fridge for 1 to 8 hours or place in another container. I find it easier to chill in another container as my fridge is usually filled to almost overflowing . I just don’t have the room to chill the mousse in the martini glasses in my fridge. If you have the room in your fridge feel free to just chill in the martini glasses or serving dish of your choice.
Serve garnished with fruit and sprigs of fresh mint. Enjoy!
Chocolate Mousse Recipe
Serves 3 to 4
- 2 to 3 large ripe avocados
- ½ cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch processed or processed with alkali)
- ½ cup agave nectar or honey, plus more to taste (I used 2 teaspoons extra)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon hazelnut or peppermint extract
- Strawberry and fresh mint for garnish
- Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits. Scoop out the flesh into the work bowl of a food processor and break up with a spoon.
- Add the cocoa powder, agave or honey, and extracts. Process the mixture for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the processor bowl and processor for another minute.
- Taste the mixture and add more agave or honey a teaspoon at a time until it reaches your desired sweetness. Pulse the processor a few times to make sure that it has been thoroughly combined.
- Chill the mousse for at least 1 hour, but up to 8 hours or overnight.
- Serve the mousse in dessert dishes and garnish with strawberries and mint.
This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday.