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Homemade Hummus Is Easy

Homemade Hummus Is Easy

healthy-hummus-recipes  This is such a delicious hummus you’ll want to eat it plain with a spoon, or at least lick your fingers taking out of the blender. We did1 (Watch those blades though!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (or even better, dried chick peas, aka garbanzos. If you use dried soak them over night, or at least 12 hours and then cook up before use) – about 2 c
  • ½ c of good quality extra virgin olive oil (always, but always use extra virgin, first cold pressed, and if possible organic – this is worth the extra expenditure.)
  • Juice of 2 organic lemons
  • 3-4 garlic cloves (4 is very garlicy, I use 2 smaller cloves and 2 big cloves)
  • Sea salt – a few grinds, can be pink Himalayan sea salt for best nutrients
  • ½ tsp of cumin
  • Sprinkle a shake of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Splash (1 tbs at most) of apple cider vinegar – (The best and most healthful is Braggs organic unfiltered raw with the mother). A bit unconventional I know, but just a splash gives a nice enhancing dimension.

Directions:

Rinse the chick peas well in a strainer, make sure they are all good and there are no stones. If you don’t rinse them in cold water before you use them they tend to give you gas.

Put all of these ingredients into a blender and pulse until blended, and we like it a little chunky. If you prefer totally smooth, you may need to open the blender up and give a stir or two before you finish the blending.

Then, I like to add a finishing drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and enjoy with your favorite raw veggies like cucumbers, carrots, sweet peppers, celery. Other great accompaniments – olives, nice toast, pita triangles, whatever you prefer!

Bon appetite!

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My Take On Borsht

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My take on borscht ~ With ages old Russian heritage on my side, my improvisation was pretty tasty if I do say so  myself.  It can be vegan or not, up to you.

Ingredients:

  • Onion – ½ medium yellow onion
  • Garlic – 2-3 cloves chopped
  • Celery – 2-3 stalks chopped
  • Olive oil – 2 tbs
  • Chicken broth (I do part broth and part h2O, or all water if vegan) 5 cups
  • Basil (dried ok) – ¼ tsp
  • Oregano (dried ok) ¼ tsp
  • Sea salt and pepper (a few grinds of each)
  • Beets (peel and chop into med. chunks) (about 3 small beets)
  • Carrots (peel and slice into med. chunks) (2 carrots)
  • Sweet potato (peel and chop into med. chunks) (1 potato)
  • Kale bunch of leaves, washed and sliced thinly
  • Cilantro bunch of leaves, separate from stems and chop
  • Parsley, bunch of leaves, separate from stems and chop
  • Lemon – optional (squeeze juice from half a lemon into soup before serving)

Directions:

Cook down the onion, garlic, and celery in some olive oil, when translucent stir in basil and oregano and heat for a moment before adding liquid.

Add water or chicken broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil.

Add chopped beets, carrots and sweet potato, and turn down heat to med-low.

Simmer for 30 mins. (check after 30 and if all root veggies are fork tender – add the kale and cilantro.)

Simmer for another 3-5 mins. Can serve with a squeeze of lemon and add parsley and a little more salt and pepper to taste.

Bon appétit! Or the Russian equivalent, Приятного аппетита! (Prijatnovo appetita!)

Miraculous Miso = Anti-Aging Power (Part 2)

Miso Benefits
Many studies have been done on miso demonstrating the following benefits:
• Reduces risks of cancer including breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer.
• Protection from radiation
• Immune strengthening
• Antiviral — miso is very alkalizing and strengthening to the immune system helping to combat a viral infection.
• Prevents aging – high in antioxidants, miso protects from free radicals that cause signs of aging.
• Helps maintain nutritional balance – full of nutrients, beneficial bacteria and enzymes, miso provides: protein, vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin E, vitamin K, tryptophan, choline, dietary fiber, linoleic acid and lecithin.
• Helps preserve beautiful skin – miso contains linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid that helps your skin stay soft and free of pigments.
• Helps reduce menopausal complaints – the isoflavones in miso have been shown to reduce hot flashes.

The binding agent zybicolin in miso is effective in detoxifying and eliminating elements that are taken into the body through industrial pollution, radioactivity and artificial chemicals in the soil and food system.

Miso has been a staple in Chinese and Japanese diets dating back approximately 2,500 years.

1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.

3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.

5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12). I know I said this above, but I am saying twice because this vitamin gives us energy!

6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.

7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.

10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.

Sources: http://bodyecology.com/articles/miso_health_and_anti-aging.php; http://planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/benefits-miso.html

Miraculous Miso = Anti-Aging Power (Part 1)

I can remember my mom making me miso soup for breakfast when I was little. I didn’t eat cereal very often due to my allergy to dairy products. I think she was looking for ways to sneak in added calcium any way she could. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, this soup is eaten as breakfast in Japan as well.

WHAT IS IT?
Miso is a traditional Japanese seasoning produced by fermenting rice, barley and/or soybeans, with salt and the fungus kōjikin, the most typical miso being made with soy. The result is a thick paste high in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, with incredible immune system boosting, anti-cancer, and anti-aging health benefits.

I find that it is one of those fabulous cooking staple items that can be used in oh so many tasty ways. It can flavor sauces as a seasoning, be its own sauce, the base for a soup, make a nice salad dressing… it’s very versatile.

Miso played an important nutritional role in feudal Japan, and is still very widely used in Japan, both in traditional and modern cooking. The taste is typically salty, but its flavor and aroma depend on various factors in the ingredients and fermentation process. Different varieties of miso have been described as salty, sweet, earthy, fruity, and savory.

Miso soup is so easy that it is virtually impossible to mess up. It can be made with whatever seasonal vegetables, mushrooms, tofu, meat or seafood is at hand. Miso soup can be as light, (with just a few blocks of tofu and some green leafy vegetable or seaweed), or heavy which is almost like a stew.

The other good news is it skirts out of the soy controversy because it’s fermented. Just make sure it’s non-GMO soy, (genetically modified organism) is not healthy. Miso is very easy to purchase in little tubs in the refrigerated section at most regular grocery stores.

RECIPE
4 cups filtered water
1 strip of dried kombu* (*You can do with kombu, or without)
3 tbs miso (white is recommended to start, it’s light)
1-2 sprigs of green onion/scallion (chopped)
1/2 block of tofu cut into bite size cubes the size of dice (firm, non-GMO – also in the refrigerator area of most grocery stores)
1/2 cup wakame another seaweed (also optional, purchase from health food store or Japanese food shop)

I’m going to share both the traditional miso soup recipe first, and then a creative version I made (depicted below).
Dashi option – a kombu stock which serves as a basis for so much of Japanese cuisine, is loaded with glutamates, and infuses everything it touches with a savory deliciousness. Kombu (kelp) is low in calories and high in calcium, minerals and iodine. It can be found in most health food stores, or definitely any Japanese food shops.

*WITH KOMBU TO MAKE “DASHI” – The Broth Base for Traditional Miso Soup
Place the kombu (a seaweed) in the 4c water, and place on a burner set to medium. The longer the water takes to get to hot, the better. Watch the pot carefully, as the kombu should be taken out when it floats to the surface and before the water boils. You’ll notice little bubbles forming at the rim of the pot. After removing the kombu and just as the dashi starts boiling, take the pot off the heat.

Tip: As an alternative, you can also use powdered dashi as a shortcut. Many of Japan’s modern home cooks do! Powdered dashi comes in little foil packages, and has quite a strong flavor. Simply add the powder to anything you are cooking.

While you are making the dashi, (or bringing your plain water to a boil) – Soak ½ cup wakame in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Rinse the reconstituted wakame, roughly chop it, and then add it, along with the tofu, to your 4 cups of hot (dashi, or) water.

Then take a 3 tbs. of your miso of choice and dissolve with just a tablespoon or 2 of the just heated dashi/or water in a bowl. Stir until it’s dissolved completely. You don’t want to boil miso, because it can kill the live beneficial microflora and enzymes.

Then add the tofu, wakame, and rest of the the boiled water (or dashi liquid) to the bowl with your dissolved miso. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serves 4

* * * *
The soup creation depicted below: I didn’t use dashi, nor did I use any of the above ingredients. I made a shitake mushroom broth from boiling some dried shitakes* for a few minutes, added it to the miso broth – no kombu this time – just red miso, which you use less of because it’s stronger tasting and more salty and pungent.

Then I added left overs: chopped broccoli (1/3-c blanched), baby peas (1/3-c blanched), an amazing super grain called quinoa (1/2-c already cooked), and a few cubes of an non-GMO soy cheeze (this is very mild and sweet tasting variety). Voila!

*Shitake mushrooms are packed with flavor but surprisingly low in calories, they also are high in fiber and vitamins B and D. While available fresh, the dried variety has a concentrated, rich mushroom flavor, and a little goes a long way.

You can use miso as the soup broth for many yummy combinations adding great nutrition, especially if you are vegetarian or vegan.

H.E.A.R.T. – Welcome 07-11-11

Hi and welcome to the H.E.A.R.T. Program,

I’m very excited to have you participate in the launch of Healthy Eating Always a Real Treat with me!

Growing up in Greenwich Village, the heart of New York City, I’ve long considered myself a foodie due to my sincere love of food of all types, from all cultures. My experience of New York City is truly as a melting pot of delicious tastes and flavors, where social interaction is nearly always punctuated by sharing a bite, a brunch, a schmear of this or that. Sometimes dining is fancy to “see and be seen,” other times it’s people watching at tables squeezed along peripheries of bustling sidewalks, and many times it’s in a hole in the wall accompanied by families speaking in a foreign native tongue.

New York City is one reason I love food, the other is my mother. She is also a “native NYer,” she grew up in St. Albans, Queens and has been in NYC her whole life. She taught me most of what I know about food. The rest we shared learning from some of the classic greats on TV, like Julia Child and Jacques Pepin. This was before the Food Network became just another aspect of revenue-generating showbiz. I remember these shows as kind of white noise backdrop, when home from school I’d be doing homework and the shows would be on. I had an education on food and cooking by osmosis as I divided my listening to them with my school studies on a regular basis.

In our household, tasty and healthy food was the norm. Our refrigerator didn’t contain soda and our cupboards didn’t contain much in the way of junk food. That’s not to say I didn’t try it at friend’s homes. I had my fair share of chips and chocolate chip cookies, and given a choice I’d take a Ring Ding over a Twinkie hands down. Although my preference was for David’s Cookies – housed in a store front franchise near 34th Street and Macys. It was guaranteed every time you’d walk past it you’d smell the fresh baked cookies and just had to go buy at least a couple. Somehow the cookie was always warm, and the chocolate chips were chunks of melting gooey decadent chocolate, so big that it was like eating a cookie dough chocolate bar!

Overall though, my upbringing around food has been very health-full, and always with an eye for the artistic and enjoyable. So my goal for H.E.A.R.T. is to impart this love of food in such a way that you can find fun, creativity and healthy eating as simple and affordable as I do.

I will be communicating with you weekly through email, and a H.E.A.R.T. Blog. The blog will contain the database of our lessons, tips, and recipes. I’ll also be sharing information from “H.E.A.R.T. Contributors,” whom I am interviewing to bring you the best value from food experts on topics such as:

juicing
smoothies
detox
professional chefs
living foods
raw living
spiritual nutrition
and more!

Stay tuned for an email on our first exercise. We will all take the Ayurvedic Dosha test and post our results on the H.E.A.R.T page in the Invigorate U Community on Facebook. This way those in the same group will know who each other are.

Invigorating U,
Valerie
www.invigorateu.com