Anti-Cancer Lemony Kitchen Cleaner

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

Ingredients

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

 

Directions

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

10. April 2012 by admin
Categories: Other | Leave a comment

Whole wheat buttermilk biscuits

Happy Easter!

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

Ingredients

  • 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

 

Directions

  1. 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)
  2. The next morning pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees.
  3. Add the salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the dough.
  4. Knead the dough by continually folding the dough over onto itself (about 10 times)
  5. Roll out the dough to ¾ of an inch thick .
  6. Cut into 12 squares.  (Note that if you want your biscuits to really rise you can’t roll them too thin.)
  7. Place the squares on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until brown.
  8. Serve with honey or butter.

What are you going to be making for Easter dinner this year?

03. April 2012 by admin
Categories: Breakfast, Side Dishes, Starters, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , | 4 comments

Healthy Chocolate Mousse

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Chill the mousse for at least 1 hour, but up to 8 hours or overnight.
  5. Serve the mousse in dessert dishes and garnish with strawberries and mint.

This post was shared at Simple Lives Thursday.

 

27. March 2012 by admin
Categories: Desserts, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 comments

Salmon and Omega-3 fatty acids

Wow, I can’t believe how warm it has been the last couple of days.  We aren’t even into April and it’s in the 80’s here in Charleston, SC.  The azaleas are in full bloom and it has me wondering what they are going to do for the azalea festival this year that isn’t for another 3 or 4 weeks!  This kind of weather makes me want to eat pretty light.  I had my share of soups this winter season, but this weather has put me in the mood for lighter fare.  I decided salmon would be a great compliment to my purple potatoes and asparagus from my CSA order this week.

Salmon and any fish that contains omega-3 fatty acids are great for you.  For more about omega-3 fatty acids and cancer prevention go here.  That aside salmon tastes great and is very easy to prepare.  I prepared this salmon and sides in under 30 minutes and the salmon was frozen!   Aren’t the purple potatoes pretty!  These taste just like regular potatoes, but are loaded with antioxidants. Here is more on the purple potatoes and their possible anti-cancer value.

Salmon with Rosemary

Serves 2

Ingredients

8 ounces wild Alaskan salmon, fresh or frozen

1 sprigs rosemary,  coarsely chopped

½ tablespoon olive oil

salt and pepper

garnish with lemon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brush the pan lightly with olive oil and brush top of salmon with olive oil.  Lightly salt the salmon.  If you are using frozen salmon bake for 15 minutes.   Then place salmon under broiler and broil for 3-5 minutes until done.  Remove from oven and add pepper and chopped rosemary.  Garnish with lemon wedges for serving.  (If using fresh salmon place salmon on a baking sheet and broil 7-9 minutes.)

 

 

 

17. March 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes | 5 comments

Almond Joy Smoothie

I love smoothies.  I usually have one everyday as either a meal replacement or post workout.  I usually make them with a variety of fruit and use a vanilla whey protein base.  Since I am out of vanilla protein powder it has inspired me to come up with smoothies that I could make with a chocolate whey powder.  This is what inspired the almond joy smoothie.  The dark chocolate in the cacao is loaded with antioxidants.  Go here for more details on that.

Here’s the Recipe for the “Almond Joy” Smoothie

Ingredients

1 cup coconut water

½ cup almond milk

2 T flaked coconut

½ tablespoon cocoa nibs

10 ice cubes

½ teaspoon coconut extract

1 heaping scoop of chocolate whey powder

 

Directions

Combine the ingredient in a blender and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.

 

 

07. March 2012 by admin
Categories: Beverages, Breakfast | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Blueberry Empanadas

I tend to get creative when I feel the craving for a dessert coming on, and this is the perfect example of that.  I had some empanada dough in my freezer that I needed to use up, so I created this dessert.  I promised in my introduction, on my about me page, that I would feature all types of recipes including an occasional dessert.    I mostly feature healthy recipes, but In order to be healthy you have to occasionally indulge in something sweet and tasty!  That is what allows me to eat healthy the rest of the week.

I’m not going to write a lot of information here on the antioxidant power of blueberries, because this is a dessert!  If you do want more on that topic go here.

 

 


Blueberry Empanada Recipe

  • package empanada dough, thawed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
  • 2 T flour
  • ¼ cup organic sugar
  • A sprinkle cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ tablespoon lemon juice
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted or cooking spray
  • Serve with vanilla ice-cream or sifted powdered sugar

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt.  Add blueberries and toss with mixture.  Add vanilla and lemon juice and gently combine.  Place about 2 tablespoons filling on empanada round.  Fold in half creating a moon shape.  Press around the edges to seal the dough and then crimp with a fork.  Place the empanadas on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet.  Brush with melted butter or spray lightly with cooking spray.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until golden.  Serve with powdered sugar or vanilla ice-cream.

 

 

 

 

27. February 2012 by admin
Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Kale Chips

 

Kale Chips  are a great way to get more kale into your diet.  I especially like this recipe if I need to use up a bunch of kale — like when I get two bunches from my CSA — because it uses up a whole bunch pretty quickly.  Kale chips are crunchy and strangely additive once you have had them a couple times.  I reach for these when I am craving a salty and crunchy snack.  I have several variations of the kale chip recipe.  The first recipe has a salt and vinegar flavor.  I have also include 2 variations — one spicy and one garlic — that are also very tasty.   Kale is very nutritious and a top superfood to fight cancer.  For more information about kale go here.

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20. February 2012 by admin
Categories: Starters | Tags: , , , , | 2 comments

Green Tea Soup

I usually highlight a particular ingredient in a recipe that has breast cancer prevention properties.  This recipe has two ingredients that have been shown in studies to reduce breast cancer risk.  Many of the recipes here also have antioxidant properties that are good for other types of cancer prevention too.

This particular recipe I selected because the broth is made of green tea.  Green tea has been shown in many studies to reduce breast cancer by 50%!  Green tea contains antioxidants know as polyphenols.  Doctors recommend consuming 7 to 10 cups a day, so that’s why I thought this soup was a great idea.  It’s a great way to work some more green tea into your diet.

I learned from Dr. William Li, on the doctor OZ show, that lima beans are also great at reducing breast cancer.  He said that they make breast cancer cells die by cutting off blood supply, and lima beans can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer by 24%.   He suggested that you consume 1 cup per day.  Dr. Li said that you could use frozen lima beans.  He recommended that you check the beans when you buy them to make sure they are not stuck together.  This means they have melted and re-frozen and it causes them to lose their beneficial properties.  They also contain fiber, which is also good for cancer protection.

Cooking Note:  Feel free to use decaffeinated green tea if you plan on consuming this late in the evening, so you won’t have insomnia from the caffeine.  Also if you plan to serve leftover store soba noodles separate from soup to keep them from getting too mushy.

Green Tea Soup

Ingredients

  • 5 Green tea bags
  • 1 sliced lemon grass stalk, optional
  • 1 ½ cups lima beans
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked
  • 1 can chicken stock
  • ½ package soba noodles, cooked
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 green onions sliced, tops and bottoms
  • 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili oil, optional
  • Bean sprouts for garnish

Directions

Bring 5 cups of water to a boil; remove from heat and add 5 green tea bags and the lemon grass if using.  Steep for 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove the solids, and bring to a simmer.  Add lima beans, salt and pepper, and shitake mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the cooked chicken and stock.  Cook the soba noodles according the package instructions (decrease time by 1 minute.)  Set aside; add sesame oil, green onions, tamari or soy, and chili oil.  Heat for an additional 2 minutes.  Place noodles in bowls and top with soup mixture.  Garnish with bean sprouts and serve immediately.

 

 

 

 

 

13. February 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Soups | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 comments

Kale is a Superfood!

Kale is a wonderful anti-cancer superfood.  In studies, kale has been shown to reduce rates of breast cancer.   There are several different types of kale.  The types I use most often are curly kale and Lacinato (also called dinosaur kale, Tuscan kale, or black cabbage)

Okay, here are the nutrition details:  Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, bok choy, arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower watercress, tatsoi, radishes, and kale) are considered to be Super vegetables.  They are rich in both antioxidants and glucosinolates. Glucosinolates break down and release sulfur-containing molecules know to reduce the risk of certain cancers.  The isothiocyanates molecules reduce  inflammation which has been associated with many types of cancer.  They also regulate the life cycle of cells so that growth (i.e. cancer) is stopped.  Kale also contains vitamin A, K, folate, sulforaphane, fiber, vitamin C, manganese, potassium, copper, and calcium.

Kale can be consumed in a variety of ways.  It can be eaten raw or cooked (steamed or sautéed.)  Be sure not to boil the kale as it loses it sulforaphane.  I enjoy sautéing kale in olive oil and garlic as a side dish.  It can also be added to soups and stews.  Here is a recipe using raw kale in a simple but tasty salad.

Kale Salad

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • ½ bunch kale, washed and torn into bite sized pieces
  • 2- 3 tablespoons toasted walnuts (pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, or almonds are also good)
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds

For the dressing

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (I used a Meyer lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Splash (about 1 tablespoon) pomegranate juice
  • Salt and pepper

 Directions

Wash kale and dry and tear into bit size pieces.  Make the dressing by combining the olive oil and lemon juice.  Whisk in the Dijon mustard, pomegranate juice, and salt and pepper.  Toss kale in dressing.  Place kale in a serving dish and top with toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds.  Enjoy as a light dinner or lunch.

04. February 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Salads, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , | 2 comments

Winter CSA and Tania’s Antioxidant Vegetable Soup

When my husband and I moved to Charleston I first became aware of CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture).  I learned about CSA — from one of the money saving blogs I visit  — as a great way to save money on produce.  Most of the time this produce is organic, but check your local CSA for details on their farming methods.

If you are not familiar with this concept here are the basics.  CSAs are farms that you invest in. Most allow you to choose a level of participation or Share.  The schedule is divided by season:  winter share, spring share, and fall share.  For a certain amount per week—this varies by CSA — you get whatever is being harvested that particular week.  We pay about twenty dollars for a small share and this is more than enough vegetables and fruit for two people.  I went onto localharvest.org to search for a CSA near me that I could participate in.  Our CSA has various delivery points.  All you do is select the one most convenient for you, and that is where you go to pick up your share every week.  Our pick up point is about a mile or so from our house, so it’s very convenient.  Often times you can add on other things to your weekly order for an additional charge.  Our CSA offers raw milk, pastured eggs, shrimp, wine, pecans, and honey to name a few.

Needless to say I am able to work in plenty of vegetables into my diet this way.  Many days I eat vegetables and fruit for the majority of my meals and snacks.  I came up with this soup recipe as a way to use a bunch of vegetables in one dish.  For variety you can change any of the vegetables.  Use what vegetables you have on hand.  You could also add beans or whole grain pasta to this soup to make it heartier.

 

Antioxidant Vegetable Soup

  • 1 small onion, sliced crosswise (opposite the rings)
  • 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
  • 3 stalks celery with leaves, 1/2 inch dice
  • 2 large carrots, 1/2 inch dice
  • 4 to 5 stalks bok choy, 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 jalapeño with seeds, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 T umami paste or tomato paste
  • 1 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 quart organic vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • White truffle oil for drizzling (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, shaved for garnish

 

Sauté the onion and shallot until tender; add the celery, carrots, bok choy, and jalapeno and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until slightly tender.  Deglaze the pan with the white wine.   Add the umami paste or tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.  Add the tomatoes, stock, and spices.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat to low and cover and simmer for 25 minutes.  Ladle into bowls and drizzle with the white truffle oil.  Garnish with shaved or grated parmesan cheese.

 

 

31. January 2012 by admin
Categories: Main Dishes, Soups, Vegetarian | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 comments

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