Vinegar’s are used for pickling, de-glazing pans, marinating meats, making sauces and is found in some desserts. White or cider vinegar’s are even used for house cleaning and disinfecting as well.
Commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine is red wine vinegar, and is a common staple in most French homes. Most red wine vinegar’s can be matured up to two years. White wine vinegar is tangy in flavor and can be used in place of lemon juice in sauces like, Hollandaise and Bearnaise sauces, can also be used in making vinaigrette’s, soups, and stews.
It’s also an excellent base for homemade fruit or herb vinegar’s. Wine or white distilled vinegar’s are flavored with herbs, spices or other seasonings, like garlic, basil and tarragon, making a tasty and aromatic addition to dressings. As for fruit infused vinegar’s, they are that commonly done with balsamic vinegar’s, like raspberry, blueberry or pomegranate.
From the kitchen to cleaning house, doing the laundry, and even used for medicinal purposes, vinegar is the most versatile of products, and versatile is defined as “capable of turning with ease from one thing to another.”
Our featured recipe is – Roasted Herb Chicken In Red Wine -, and yes it uses red wine, and red wine vinegar. Here is what you will need.
2/3 cup red wine
6 tablespoons tomato paste
3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked from steams
3 sprigs marjoram, leaves picked, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
½ cup red wine vinegar
3 1/2 pounds of chicken parts, legs, thighs, or breast, with bone and skin
Mix together the wine, tomato paste, thyme, marjoram, and vinegar. Season the chicken with salt and pepper (optional), then place in a large bowl with the wine mixture. Coated the chicken pieces well, and set aside in the refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or overnight.
Place the potatoes in a medium to large saucepan of cold water, cover, and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 to 2 minutes, drain.
Arrange the onions, carrots, and cooked potatoes in a large glass baking dish and pour in the water. We were not able to purchase the tri-colored baby potatoes, so we used small red potatoes cut in half.
Arrange the chicken pieces skin-side up on top of the vegetables. Pour the marinade over the chicken-vegetable layer. Cover with tin foil and roast for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and baste the chicken with the cooking liquid. Roast another 15 minutes, uncovered, or until the skin is crisp.
According to Food History asparagus has a long history as far back as the first century. There are records of it growing in ancient Greece and Rome. History even records Egyptians over 2,000 years ago cultivated asparagus for medicinal reasons (Kitchen Project)
Of course most eatable plants were first discovered growing wild, and asparagus is no exception. A wild asparagus has thin shoots thinner than a pencil and is much different than the asparagus that we find in the market.
Through selective breeding and growing techniques, a modern non wild asparagus has a thicker stem with more edible flesh.
Asparagus is even a low carbohydrate food, and a 15 on the glycemic index, which is the rating of plant food and how it effects your blood glucose or insulin in the body (0-35 is low).
Now for our featured recipe, and here is what you will need.
8 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining. Return the pasta to the pan that you cooked it in, and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the bacon until browned, but not crispy. Remove and place on paper towel lined plate to drain.
Remove all but 2 tablespoons of grease from the skillet, and return to the stove. Add the chopped asparagus to the pan, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic to the skillet, and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the cooked asparagus, garlic, bacon, and Alfredo sauce to the pot of cooked pasta. Toss to combine. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit of the saved pasta water to thin it out. Season to taste with Himalayan salt and pepper before serving (optional).
Many people who my be over weight or obese, are concerned about how to lose weight. When combined with exercise, a healthy diet that consists of complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein, can help you lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, also lowering your cholesterol levels, controlling blood glucose, and improving any other body functions on a daily basis.
There are so many ideas that my be complex or complicated when it comes to the word diet. Our bodies are anintricatemachine, and it needs a variety of whole foods to maintain good health, and vegetables are an interrelated part of that process.
A diet should not consist of demonizing some foods or limiting what you eat. Your diet should be a life style.
We have here a video presentation on the importance of including fresh whole vegetables everyday as part of a life style diet that doesn’t limit you access to foods. As we mentioned our bodies are anintricatemachine, and are a part of earth’s nature.
The way food was meant to be naturally seeded, grown, and harvested meets the body’s needs for nutrients, including vitamins and minerals.
When we don’t feel good, most of us might turn to the medicine cabinet. As it may have pain relievers for sore muscles or a headache, stomach ache, fever or even diarrhea. The medicine cabinet and what it may offer to you in times of failing health is only temporary.
Why not look to your kitchen to relieve your aches and pains? Are we crazy asking that question, you may say. There is only food in the kitchen. That is the point. Our health is dependent on what we are eating.
When you choose to start living a healthier lifestyle and look for alternative ways to better your health, have you ever considered what the kitchen has to offer you in this respect?
There are particular food ingredients, and there are many of them that have positive health benefits, that are actually good for your aches and pains.
What are they, you are asking? They are herbs and spices.
Here are a few of those healthy spices and what they can do for you.
Cayenne Pepper– This is known as a spice with a zing to it. Many spicy dishes contain cayenne pepper, and for this reason some shy away from eating it.
But actually, you should embrace it and use it more often. It’s known to increase your fat burning metabolism so you help shed pounds by as much as 25%. It also is an anti-inflammatory spice, reducing pain.
Ginger – Ginger is known for its ability to help with nausea, but can also calm an aching stomach, as well as reduce acid reflux.
Cinnamon – This is an excellent spice to help aid the bowls with diarrhea attacks and an upset stomach. It coats and sooths the stomach and digestive lining.
Garlic– Garlic can help keep lower cholesterol levels and it can decrease your blood pressure. Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory, relieving pain.
Allspice– Allspice is a natural stimulant that can help relieve problems in the stomach with indigestion and gas. It works much like cinnamon, coating and soothing the digestive lining, relieving pain and inflammation.
Mustard – This is an excellent spice for those who suffer from respiratory problems. It’s another stimulant that is a helpful aid in squashing respiratory ailments.
Peppermint – This is a pleasure-filled spice that is tasty and helps with insomnia. As an added benefit, it can help with digestive disorders and also bouts of tension.
Turmeric – This is an antioxidant that defends against free radicals. It is a great anti-inflammatory and reduces pain throughout the body.
Herbs and spices are more commonly known as methods used to liven up our food. What most don’t realize is that there are certain spices that actually help you lead a healthy life while making your food taste good.
The next time you’re planning your dinner menu, think to yourself, “What can I be doing for my health when I spice up our favorite recipes tonight?”
Breakfast has always been referred to as the most important meal of the day. Breakfast can make a big difference when it comes to your health. The Mayo clinic has said that eating a healthy breakfast means that you are more likely to consume more vitamins and minerals, and less fat. You can have better concentration and productivity all day long.
There is a material call ‘gelatinous’ and it is found in foods that are rich in soluble fiber, which forms during digestion and slows the absorption of nutrients from these foods. Foods high in both soluble fiber and complex carbohydrates, break down more slowly as a result of their fiber content, which prolongs the conversion of carbohydrates into glucose, a crucial source of energy for your brain and muscles.
A slower release of glucose results in a sustained release of energy and a less significant increase in your blood sugar. Eating foods that contain soluble fiber helps you keep your blood sugar stable, which may reduce your risk of type II diabetes.
Sunny Side up Eggs with Mixed Vegetables
As several studies have reported, if we eat breakfast on a daily bases we can lose and maintain weight better than those of us who skip breakfast. The prior chapter spoke on protein for sustained energy to start your day. In addition to protein a complex, unrefined carbohydrate is also needed. It also provides energy and helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. Our brains are unable to function without a steady flow of carbohydrate-rich foods.
The carbohydrates not to include in your morning breakfast are donuts, sugary cereals and pastries, these are fast acting and do not provide the energy needed. Instead, they cause peaks in energy levels, followed by a sudden crash. Good carbs called complex carbohydrates to eat for breakfast prevent these energy peaks and sudden dips.
It has always been suggested to have a fruit with your breakfast, but now it is being advised to include vegetables instead. Fruit is a carbohydrate that gives you energy much faster than protein and vegetables, making fruit better to use as a snack in between meals.
Keep in mind that cookies, chips, candy bars, considered a snack will give you energy, but it will spike your glucose levels to only drop off fast. Your energy goes down as well, and the cycle starts again, because you will eat more. Stick with fruit for your snacks between meals.
Scrambled Eggs with Apple Chicken Sausage and Mixed Vegetables with a Slice of Toasted Sourdough Bread
It is also good to note, juice is not the same as eating the fruit in its whole form. If you do drink fruit juice , it is better to juice it fresh from fruit you buy at the market. All bottled juices that state 100% juice, is true. But the juice has been pasteurized or heated to over 235 degrees and therefore killing the vitamin C. They re-fortify the juice, but it is not the same as in its original form.
If there some days in the week you are rushed for time, it can still be possible to get your protein and complex carbohydrates with two pieces of 100% whole grain toast and a hand full of almonds, about 24 whole almonds equaling 1 ounce.
There have been studies over the years on breakfasts, and the reports show that people who have a healthy breakfast will tend to follow healthy eating habits.
Sugar is a tasty ingredient that enhances everything by making it ‘sweet,’ and everyone now and then craves sweets.
It goes without saying, however, that anything in moderation is better, including sugar, because when sugar is consumed to excess it can wreak havoc with the way your body processes it, which leads to a rise in blood sugar levels and insulin secretion from the pancreas.
After a while the pancreas stops producing insulin because of extreme sugar consumption, and that’s never a good outcome for anyone. High sugar foods are also very fattening, and loaded with calories and is a culprit increasing the risk of type II diabetes and heart disease.
For the sugar-health-conscious, there are quite a few sugar substitutes that people have been using for years to counter the effects of an over consumption of white processed sugar.
Sugar is used in so many food products that it can be difficult to avoid. However, there are many healthy choices that can be substituted for sugar when cooking. All the sugar substitutes listed below are viable, practical and health-wise alternatives to processed sugar.
The difference in nutritional value alone should make anyone at least want to try to begin substituting and hopefully after a while sugar alternatives will become a way of life. It only takes a little bit of time to get used to living a sugar free lifestyle, and once you kick the habit, your body will love you for it.
Pure Maple Syrup – This is an excellent substitute as it is wholly natural, tapped straight from its source, the maple tree and it has a boat load of antioxidants to keep your body in-tune while it fights off those nasty buggers called free radicals as they roam the body. Be sure, however, it is 100% pure maple syrup and not a ‘white sugar’ laden substitute.
Honey – An obvious choice, as it too is loaded with antioxidants and has been used for years by tea lovers around the world, but, don’t stop at your teacup. This gem can be added to anything that calls for plain white sugar and is undeniably a better choice. To get the most out of your honey, you may want to consider buying some that is locally and organically produced without any additives or preservatives. This will give you the best nutritional value from the honey in your cooking.
Pureed Fruit: Fruit has sugar, but, it is a natural sugar and so not nearly as harmful as the processed variety. Using pureed fruit in baking instead of sugar is a great option for healthier baking. Bananas, apricots and berries work great.
Apricot Puree: Apricots are high in nutrients with vitamin C, fiber, and iron. Add to baked goods in lieu of sugar, also eat it as a snack by mixing with plain non-fat Greek yogurt or enjoy it with hearty whole-grain bread.
No Sugar Added Applesauce: Another excellent substitute, as it’s sweet, natural and some bakers even prefer it to processed sugar because baked goods such as cookies are more because of it.
Raisins: Perhaps raisins used as a sugar substitute may not be your first plan but think about it. They’re sweet wholesome and delicious and when broken down in a food processer and added as a sugar substitute to your favorite dishes you may be pleasantly surprised how good your recipe tastes using raisins instead.
Cinnamon: This spice is grand for flavoring your favorite drink, hot or cold and many baked goods that you would normally add sugar to. Plus it has no calories and is great for an immunity boost, too.
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder: This one is another great sugar alternative, plus it satisfies the chocolate craving. If you want to kick it up a notch create your favorite beverage, unsweetened, and toss in cocoa powder with a dash of vanilla. It will soothe the senses without the extra sugar buzz.
Cranberries: If you love cranberries this is the sugar alternative for you. They’re tart and sweet at the same time. Enjoy delicious multigrain pancakes, scones or muffins loaded with cranberries instead of sugar. Cranberries, too, are loaded with antioxidants, so give your taste buds a treat and remember cranberries aren’t just for the holidays.
Dates & Figs: Both add flavor, dimension and tons of nutrition as a sugar substitute to a slew of recipes. Baked goods such as cakes, muffins, even hearty breads will soon become a staple in your breakfast, lunch or dinner regimen using figs and dates as a substitute for sugar.
Orange, Lemon or LimeJuice: If you love citrus you’ll do well to squeeze a handful of either into your next hot or cold drink and forego the sugar, besides your body will show its appreciation, especially around flu season, as citrus is loaded with vitamin C.
Coconut Sugar: One great alternative to refined sugar is coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is made by heating the sap from coconut palms until it has been reduced to granules that can be used in the same way as regular sugar.
It has a similar flavor to brown sugar, but a lower glycaemic index, which means that it has less effect on blood and insulin levels within the body.
If you adore coconut, here’s a way to enjoy some without the guilt. Simply swap out the refined sugar with coconut sugar added to your favorite smoothie and clothes your eyes. You’ll think you’re on a tropical island and best of all it’s full of potassium, and let’s face it, are any of us really getting enough potassium in our diet, chances are a big ‘no.’ This also makes a great substitute in several baked goods.
Erythritol: This is a sugar alcohol that comes in powder form and made from a plant. It has been deemed safe and approved by the FDA.