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Monday, June 29, 2015

Surprising Features and Recipes for Organic Red Lentils

Surprising Features and Recipes for Organic Red Lentils


Organic Red Lentils (ORL) are orange, not red.



This is a photo of dried organic red lentils (ORL) in a strainer, ready to be picked over and rinsed. This is an important step in making any kind of lentil recipe.

ORL are a bit sweeter and nuttier than other lentils.

ORL readily absorb a variety of flavors from other foods and seasonings. Adding veggies, spices, and herbs make lentils abound with flavor.

ORL are a good source of gluten free plant-based fiber.

ORL are naturally fat and cholesterol free

ORL are a good source of protein and fit in with a vegetarian, vegan, and conventional eating plans

ORL can be sprouted easily and added to salads.  The link below is for sprouting green lentils, but the method can be used with whole red lentils as well. With red lentils, rinse at least twice a day. Red lentils take only a day or 2 to sprout (depending on how fresh they are). Here's Cassie to show you how. How to Sprout Lentils/.

When cooked in a recipe, ORL are ready to eat in about 20-30 minutes. The cooking time varies, depending on whether you use whole or spit ones. Cooking times are influenced by the cooking method (boiled, baked, slow cooker, or pressure cooker), amount being prepared, and kinds of ingredients in the dish you are preparing (ex. tomatoes and tomato sauce increases the amount of time needed to thoroughly cook lentils). When you want a shortcut, use canned lentils, but remember this type of lentil is fully cooked.

ORL are relatively inexpensive (prices usually range from $2.99-3.99 per pound). Cooking (boiling) lentils expands their volume. Lentils supply many important nutrients and using them in recipes is a frugal way to eat smart.

ORL can be a comfort food. It is for me. Their slightly sweet taste and ability to fill you up, without fat, is certainly a healthy way to satisfy even the heartiest of appetites.

ORL are versatile. You can cook them, as part of a pilaf using fragrant Basmati rice or enjoy lentils as a flavorful pureed side dish called Dahl, as they do in India. Lentils have an earthy flavor that enhances soups, stews, chili dishes, and lentil loaf or patties.

ORL can be an important part of meal planning throughout the year.

One portion of ORL (1 cup of cooked lentils) contains 90% of the Daily Value (DV) for folate, a natural food source of this B vitamin that helps cell growth and metabolism. Red lentils also contain 63% of the DV for fiber, and 36% of DV for protein. To understand Percent Daily Value see this. Info from Mayo Clinic about Percent Daily Value

Now to the delicious part of this blog post...


I couldn't find a Red Lentil Soup recipe that worked for me online, so here’s my original recipe that I adore. I make it at least once a month for my family and friends. I freeze any leftover soup in individual containers and heat and serve, when I'm rushed for time or don't have the ingredients on hand to start from scratch.

Nancy A's Hearty Red Lentil Soup Recipe



Ingredients:

1 pound whole organic red lentils(clean them well)
6 cups fresh water or half organic low sodium vegetable broth and half water
1 large yellow organic onion chopped fine
4 organic carrots chopped
4 stalks organic celery chopped (use the leaves too)
1 organic turnip chopped
1/2 cup cooked organic rolled oats (or cooked brown rice, if you need to eat gluten free)
1 lg. bay leaf
1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 cloves organic garlic
1 pinch of non-salt seasoning and freshly ground black pepper to taste
a sprig of fresh parsley, a spring of fresh basil 

Optional Ingredients: any cooked vegetables or cooked beans you enjoy. For instance, you can add zucchini, spinach, kale, butternut squash, string beans, pinto beans, or parsnip. When I made this recipe the last time, I included the contents of a can of organic pumpkin. Then, I needed to add an extra cup of water, because the pumpkin made the soup too thick to stir. When adding extra veggies, remember to add extra spices and a little water. Dried herbs go into the pot right away. Fresh herbs go in at the end of the cooking process.




What to do:

1. Pick over and rinse dried lentils. Pour water and/or water and broth into a dutch oven or other large pot that has a cover. Add lentils into the pot and place on the stove. Set control to boiling temp. 
2. While contents heats, clean and chop all veggies, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs. If you have a food processor, chop all veggies well. If you don't have a processor, do the chopping by hand.
3. Add onion, carrots, celery, turnip, bay leaf, Bragg Liquid Aminos, chopped garlic, and a pinch of salt-free seasoning blend to pot. Let ingredients come to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for at least 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. This kind of soup has a tendency to stick to the bottom of the pot so take care (Notice: I used no oil). Cook until lentils and veggies are tender, and begin to get mushy. 
4. Add chopped parsley, basil, and any cooked veggies you have decided to add. Also add the oats or rice, and heat thoroughly for approximately 10 minutes. Ta Dah! You're good to go. Season with more salt-free seasoning and pepper at the table. Soup stores well, in the fridge (for about 4 days) or freezer (for a few months). It's an easy, delicious, and nutritious way to eat more veggies and legumes. Make it often and enjoy!

While you're at it, check out additional recipes below that feature red lentils. They sound fabulous to me. During the next few months, I'm going to try each and every one.


Here's a flavorful recipe from Susan Voisin Berbere Spiced Red-Lentil Hummus

Want to make a Fat Free Vegan Curry? Recipe is from Veronica Grace Red Lentil Tarka Dal Curry/

Chef AJ from the Forks Over Knives Website shares Red Lentil Chili Recipe

How simple and flavorful can lentil dishes be? Let me know which red lentil recipes appeal to you. Would you like to share one of your favorite red lentil recipes with us here? I sure would like to learn new ideas from you.

Thanks for visiting today. If you can, post a link to this blog on social media and like and pin it. Why not become a follower? If you do, you'll be notified the moment I post again. I'd love to get your feedback. Send comments and questions to me by clicking on the white envelope. My email is obloggernewbie@gmail.com. Let's get social.

Nancy Andres, is a Health and Lifestyle Writer, Author, and Tucson Wellness Blogger. For a peek at the her 12 week interactive self-care journal program, Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery Balance and Bliss check Colors of Joy on Amazon Books.  Colors of Joy provides unique activities that help women get in touch with their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations and experience more joy in daily living. See Colors of Joy on Nancy's Website.

I found the quote for today at www.QuoteGarden.com

When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. ~Laiko Bahrs

This post appears at Healthy-Happy-Green-Natural-Party-Blog-Hop-73/

This post appears on the Mommy Meetup Mondays Week #29

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye and Taste Appeal

Vividly Colored Plant-Based Dish Has Eye 

and 

Taste Appeal




Bring the vibrant colors of the fields and farmer’s markets to your table. Learn how easy it is to create a main course dish that looks and tastes great, smells delicious, and is healthful too. 

Before I share my recipe, I'd like to introduce the colorful components of this dish to you.

AsparagusFresh Green

Asparagus is a sweet tasting vegetable, and one of the first to be harvested in the spring. Lucky for us; it's available in markets during most of the rest of the year too. The tender stalks are rich in vitamins K, C, and A as well as folate, which is a B vitamin. These vitamins are good for blood, eyes, and the immune system to help you ward off illness and stress. Asparagus contains the amino acid asparagine, one that cleans out toxins from your body. That is the reason, after you eat them and urinate, you may notice that your urine may smell strange. Asparagus info

Red Bell PepperBright Red

Red bell pepper is a fruit not a vegetable. It's a good source of fiber, folate, vitamin K, and the minerals molybdenum and manganese. Red peppers are mature green peppers and have more carotenoids and vitamin C than the green variety. See more about red pepper benefits from Annie Stuart at WebMD. Red Pepper Benefits

Carrots-Vibrant Orange

Almost everyone knows that carrots are rich in beta carotene, an organic compound that is good for your vision, immune system, and general well-being. Perhaps you don’t realize carrots are the root portion of the carrot plant. When the taproot reaches about 1 inch in diameter, it is harvested. This is the time when the root is most juicy and tender.  Carrot Facts

Quinoa-Ivory, Brown, Red, and Tricolor

Quinoa is high in protein and comes from the seed of a plant. It isn’t a grain or cereal grass, but is a member of the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. Many researchers refer to quinoa as a "pseudo cereal." This term is typically used to describe foods that are not grasses, but can still be easily ground into flour. In any case, this product is a powerful plant-based building block for health and comes in several hues. Pick the color that calls to you. They're all nutritious. Here's more information for you. Quinoa info from USDA


Here’s my recipe. It takes only 15-20 minutes to prepare.


Steamed Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Carrots with Quinoa

Note: Make an effort to buy and serve organic produce, as conventionally grown fruits and veggies often are heavily sprayed with harmful pesticides and may be genetically modified. Organic, non-GMO products are better for you and the health of our planet. 

Ingredients:
1 Cup organic quinoa of any color
2 Cups Water (for quinoa)
Optional- 2 teaspoons Bragg Liquid Aminos or 2 teaspoons of Coconut Aminos
1 lb. slender asparagus stalks. They require no peeling and taste sweeter than the chunkier kind.
2 Cups carrots scrubbed and sliced into 1 in. x 1 in. strips
1 Cup red bell pepper, cut into 1 in. x 1 in. strips
¼ teaspoon salt (leave this out if you use Bragg Liquid Aminos)
1 Tablespoon fresh chopped dill and 1 Tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
2 Cups water (for steaming asparagus, red pepper, and carrots)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

Part 1

Wash asparagus, red pepper, dill, and parsley. Cut off dry or tough ends of the asparagus and cut asparagus into 1 in. pieces. Core and slice the pepper into 1 in. strips. Scrub the carrots (leave the skin on) and slice into 1 in. strips.

Pour 2 cups water in the bottom of a 3-4 qt. saucepan and insert a steamer basket above. The amount of water you need depends on what size pot you have on hand. Add enough water to allow it to boil, but not rise above the steamer basket. The idea of steaming veggies is to cook them, but not let the produce soak in water and boil away nutrients. Place asparagus, red pepper, and carrots into the steamer and cover. Steam (simmer) for 5-8 minutes or until produce is tender, yet still brightly colored.


 Part 2




Rinse quinoa well and cook according to package directions. An option is to add 2 teaspoons of one of the following to water for an extra dimension of flavor: Bragg Liquid Aminos, Coconut Aminos, low sodium soy sauce, or vegetable broth. You'll know the quinoa is cooked, when all the water is absorbed. It takes about 15-20 minutes for it to expand and look like each circle has a circle within a circle.

Fully cooked quinoa

Fluff the cooked quinoa lightly with a large serving fork or spoon and transfer to a serving dish. Top with freshly steamed produce. Drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle on the chopped dill and parsley, add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a splash of lemon juice. That's when you'll know you’re good to go.

This simple yet flavorful dish is fabulous when served hot, accompanied by a tossed salad to feed four. It tastes great, served chilled, on a bed of romaine as an entree salad. Get creative. Add additional veggies like kale, squash, and red cabbage, and steam them as well. If you prefer, garnish with raw veggies like celery, cucumbers, turnips, or jicama for added crunch. Your family and guests are bound to cheer, when you serve this whole food plant-based dish at brunch, lunch, or dinner. It's also a colorful way to pack nutrition and taste into a Meatless Monday meal.

I'd love to get feedback. Send comments and question to me by clicking on the white envelope. If you become a follower, you'll get automatic updates whenever I post. My email is obloggernewbie@gmail.com. If you can, talk up this blog on the social media outlets you use. 


Nancy Andres, Health and Lifestyle Writer, Author, Blogger lives in Tucson, where she appreciates the high desert colors of a city surrounded by mountains. For a peek at the 12 week interactive self-care journal program, Colors of Joy: A Woman’s Guide for Self-Discovery Balance and Bliss check Colors of Joy on Amazon Books.  Colors of Joy provides unique activities that help women get in touch with their feelings, thoughts, and aspirations and experience more joy in daily living. See Colors of Joy on Nancy's Website.


The quote for today is from Cesar Chavez

"If you really want to make a friend, go to someone's house and eat with him... the people who give you their food give you their heart."


Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/cesarchave393564.html#RtFvtVaCLtOB1FEP.99

This post has been shared at Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up 48

This post has been shared at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #70




Monday, May 11, 2015

Organic Oven Baked Cottage Fries To Live For



We love potatoes at our house, but I don't eat those highly salted, greasy, and less nutritious processed (peeled) ones that are the customary kind sold in supermarkets. Learn my secret recipe that keeps it simple, economical, healthful, and delicious. It's a home rendition of an old time favorite that's easy to prepare and will bring raves when it's served. 

I shop organic, because it's important to me that our food comes from a source that hasn't been genetically modified. I know organic food has higher nutrient value and tastes better too. A local health food store and farmers’ market are two of the best places to buy organic potatoes.

The organic label means produce like tomatoes, grapes, potatoes, and kale hasn't been chemically sprayed, irradiated, or injected with additives. I make the conscious choice to eat organic foods, because they are in the original state Mother Nature intended. Each time I shop or grow organic I save a small spot of the planet by not polluting the ground, water, air, or my body. 

I suggest you serve your cottage fries as a snack, a mouthwatering replacement for store bought potato chips. Commercially manufactured chips can be expensive and loaded with oil and/or contain preservatives and additives. 

Here are photos of the main ingredients


Organic Russet Potatoes, Knife, and Scrub Brush



Organic Rosemary (bottom left), organic thyme (top left), organic oregano(right)

Organic Garlic
Organic Olive Oil


Ingredients:

8 Organic Russet Potatoes 
1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary (hold stalk in hand, and snip leaves into little pieces, making them about 1/4 inch long) 
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme (slide or run fingers along stem to remove leaves and chop leaves into fine pieces)
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (run fingers along stem to remove leaves and chop them into fine pieces)
3 cloves fresh organic garlic minced
3 Tablespoons organic extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to Taste 

How to Make Oven Baked Cottage Fries:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. While oven is heating, wash and scrub 8 medium russet potatoes. Do not peel potatoes as the skin is high in fiber. Baked potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, vegetable based protein, and important nutrients like Vitamin C and antioxidants. See more at Washington State Potato Commission. Slice, chunk, or cube potatoes into a size and shape you like best. Place in a large bowl filled with cold water, until ready to put in the oven. This prevents potatoes from turning gray (from oxidation).

2. Mix the herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a small mixing bowl or cup. If you don't have fresh herbs on hand, use dried ones. Dried herbs are more potent than fresh ones, so use half strength. If you don't have these herbs on hand, substitute basil, parsley, or tarragon. Each one tastes great on potatoes. Try combos of any or all of them instead. 

3. Coat the bottom of a flat baking sheet with 1 Tablespoon of organic olive oil. I dip a corner of a paper towel into the oil and use it to spread the oil out evenly.

4. Drain off potato water, coat potatoes with herbs, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss. Then pour potatoes onto baking sheet, so they are spread out in one layer.

5. Drizzle the rest of the oil on the potatoes and bake for 10 min. Stir to loosen any potatoes that have stuck to the pan and bake for another 20-25 minutes or until you can easily pierce potatoes with a fork, and outside is golden brown. Cooking times vary depending on how thick the pieces of potatoes are, your oven calibration, and what the total weight of potatoes actually is. 

Cottage fries look appetizing on a platter or alongside a hummus sandwich or veggie burger. Serve with a green tossed salad to create a plant-based meal everyone will love. A portion is approximately one potato for each person. I always make much more than I need, because I like to freeze individual portions to use later on.

Please let me know if you're going to try your hand at making this dish or if you like this recipe. At my house, it's a fantastic accompaniment for dishes like scrambled tofu, lentil and veggie loaf, or pinto beans with broccoli. 

Send comments to obloggernewbie@gmail.com and if you can, talk up this blog on any social media outlets you use. Here's a link for Pinterest and one for Facebook.

While you're at it, follow this link to my Website. Learn how my woman's interactive journal,
Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self Discovery, Balance, and Bliss can help you use color, journal writing, affirmations, and reflection to improve self-care practices and increase your sense of well-being.

The quote for today is:

"What I say is that, if a fellow really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow."A. A. Milne Read more at brainyquote.com/

This post has been shared at The Healthy, Happy, Green and Natural Party Blog Hop 68


This post has been shared at Real Food Friday #90
Real Food Friday #90

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The Homestead Blog Hop 32!

Homestead-Blog-Hop-32




This post has been shared at Share the Food and Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #44

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Tuesdays with a Twist #110


This post is featured at the Link Up Party #45. See the other great posts there as well.Food and Fun at the Plant Based Potluck Party Link Up #45

Saturday, April 18, 2015

How Will You Celebrate Earth Day 2015?

Earth Day 2015


Here are my ideas for honoring our glorious planet on April 22, 2015 and all year long.

Enjoy Nature and Plant a Tree

Walk More, Drive less, and Carpool or Take Public Transportation

Respect All Living Creatures and Eat Plant-Based Foods

Recycle, Reuse, Conserve

Live in Harmony With Our Environment by Buying Organic

Divest from Fossil Fuels/Invest in Environmentally Friendly Concerns

Support Solar, Wind, and Thermal Energy Sources and Use Energy Efficient Appliances

Before you go, please let me know how you honor Our Extraordinary Planet and what measures you are taking to conserve, re-use, and recycle natural resources. If you prefer, please share earth day memories with us.

The quote for today follows:

"When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."

-- John Muir


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This post is the Green Feature at Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #63

Live It Up at the Healthy, Happy, Green & Natural Party Blog Hop #63



Sunday, March 29, 2015

15 One-Minute Health Boosters

15 One-Minute Health Boosters




Do you want to improve your health, but lack ideas and motivation? Perhaps you feel sluggish and want to restore your enthusiasm for daily living. Try out these 1 minute health boosters and see how little time and effort it takes to nurture your mind, body, and spirit.

1.Drink a tall one, an 8 oz. glass of water several times during the day. This will keep you hydrated, helps digestion, and makes skin dewy fresh.

2.Eat a half cup of beans, an excellent source of protein and fiber, to help you rev up energy, maintain regularity, without fat.

3.Splash your face with cool water to revive yourself, instead of drinking a cup of coffee and jarring your nerves.

4.Plan daily goals for exercise. It takes less than a minute to reserve time for this self-care practice on your calendar. Exercise pays off by reducing stress, helps keep you fit, and elevates mood.

5.Take a deep breath. Deep breathing eliminates anxiety and sends nourishing oxygen to all parts of your body.

6.Snack on a serving of fresh sweet peas for a change of pace treat. This healthy veggie has more vitamin C than 2 large apples and more protein than a whole egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter.

7.Take a 20-20-20 break. Every 20 minutes disengage from your computer screen by standing up and looking at what’s going on 20 feet away from you. Do this for at least 20 seconds. This saves eyesight and prevents eye and body strain.

8.Use eye drops to refresh your eyes at least two or three times a day.

9.Say “no” when you need to. Bowing out of tasks you really don't want or need to do enables you to prioritize your time, energy, and resources. It allows you to focus on meeting your own needs more effectively. In the long run, setting boundaries avoids building up resentments and stress.

10.Set water to hot (above 140 degrees F) when washing sheets, pillow cases, and towels to kill dust mites. Hot water washes can remove pet dander and pollen residue and makes laundry fresh smelling as well as clean.

11.Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen which is non-nano (SPF 30 or above) to face and body every day to reduce chances of getting skin cancer and sun damage. Wear UV protected sunglasses to cut down on exposure to radiation and protect sensitive skin around your eyes.

12.Shed shoes at your front door. Discover how easy it is to keep carpets cleaner and cut down on the amount of environmental pollutants you track into your home.

13.Hug a bud to get those good feelings flowing. Kiss your significant other, and compliment your kids to spread the love and nurture each other. Laugh often. It reduces stress and prevents "dis-ease."

14.Stretch by reaching for the sky, bending over to reach for your toes. Stand tall and roll your shoulders. Stretching relieves sore muscles, reduces tension, and relaxes shoulders, neck, and body.

15.Create a mental gratitude list. Give thanks for your blessings and see how fast it improves your mood and sense of well-being.



Wishing you good luck as you follow through on these one-minute health boosters. They have worked really well for me, and can work for you too. Begin today to increase your health quotient by adopting these 15 wellness techniques gradually. Please let me know which ones are in your daily routine already. Are there any you're reluctant to try? Let me know about those too. When you follow this blog, you'll be updated when a new post appears. Thanks for your interest. I so appreciate you!

Before you move on, please check out this link to my website. Find out how activities in my woman's interactive journal, Colors of Joy: A Woman's Guide for Self Discovery, Balance, and Bliss can enliven your spirit and improve your sense of well-being.

The quote for today follows:


"Good health is not something we can buy. However, it can be an extremely valuable savings account."




Read more at Brainyquote.com



This post has been shared at

 Natural Family Friday 3/27/15


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Thanks for Visiting

Hope you enjoyed your visit and will return again. Be well. Live well. Lead a colorful life! Warm regards, Nan