Archive for July 23, 2009

Today at Naked Apartments: The Fight Against Kitchen Illiteracy

 Cross posted from the Naked Apartments blog today, adapted from one of my earlier Cake & Carrots posts:

July 23rd, 2009 by Amanda Goldfarb

goldfarbpost3photo

 It’s almost impossible to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you don’t cook.  Believe me, I’ve tried. Unfortunately for most of us, as take-out obsessed New Yorkers, are kitchen illiterate. We store wine glasses in our stoves! (If we even have a stove). A major perk is to have a dishwasher. Some of have never even had that luxury in our small apartments. 

So, we’re faced with a dilemma. We know we need to cook in order to maintain and improve our health (since we control the ingredients we use). Even more, we need to rekindle our romance with food. And remember that the taste of a home-made meal is so much more nourishing and nurturing than anything that comes in a take-out box. Let’s start a revolution, New York, and take back our kitchens!

To help you, here are a few very basic, inexpensive gizmos that I love and use around the kitchen. Even better, they don’t take up a lot of storage space!

*Blender: Smoothies galore! Mix any fruit combination and you’ve got breakfast or a snack.  Try putting in some spinach or kale, too, for a sneaky way to add your veggies. I promise you won’t taste it!

*Scale: How on earth do you figure out what an ounce of nuts and dried fruit looks like? Or 3 ounces of tofu, meat, or fish. I had no clue, so I bought a scale and started weighing my food. Now I know exactly what portions are supposed to look like. Now I just have to work on eating one portion instead of three!

*Graters: Box grater: I use this to grate apple for my meusli in the morning, or zucchini for turkey meatloaf.    Microplane grater: everything from hunks of cheese to chocolate, nutmeg, zest.

*Cuisinart Food Prep: I have a large and small, but we use the smaller one more often as it’s portable and easier to clean. I’m a pretty lazy chef.

*Silicone: LOVE this stuff! I have a spoon, measuring cups, colander, tongs, pot holders. I love how the measuring cups can be stored flat. And a major plus is that silicone is so easy to clean.

*Misto: (insert like www.misto.com) After years and years of spending money on crap PAM spray (complete with chemicals and propellant) I discovered the Misto. I fill it with organic cold pressed EVOO and use it instead of Pam spray. And I can use it on veggies and salad. Way healthier.

*Crock Pot: I know this gadget takes up a lot of counter space, but it’s a life saver! Perfect for the time-pressed (which we all are) and you can make some fabulous meals.  Few things are more satisfying than getting home after work and having dinner warm and waiting for you. I suggest buying a healthy slow-cooker cookbook, since most typical recipes are heavy on fatty cuts of meat, cheese, and sauces.

*Steam Basket: You might not use one, but I’m sure you’ve seen it. The simplest, greatest tool ever to make veggies.  Be careful not to overcrowd the basket and make sure the water level does not rise above the perforated bottom of the steamer. You don’t want to steam until your veggies are a bland mush…1-2 minutes for leafy greens, 3 minutes or so for heartier veggies like carrots and broccoli– Remember that they’ll continue to cook a little after you take them out.

So, now you have no excuses… Get into the kitchen and get cooking!

July 23, 2009 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Hemp-The Gateway Seed

Yesterday I enlightened you on the wonderful nutritional value of mushrooms. Keeping with this theme (it is summer concert season, after all), today is all about hemp. I’m sure memories of college bong sessions come rushing back, or images of hippies dancing around in hemp clothing with hemp bead necklaces. Ahh, nostalgia.  But did you know you could eat hemp too?

Eat it, don't smoke it.

Eat it, don't smoke it.

First off, let me make this point clear: you do not get high from eating hemp seeds. Sorry for the let down. But what you DO get when you eat this superfood are incredible nutritional benefits. They are packed with loads of amino acids, protein, vitamins, and essential fatty acids (EFA) which are wonderful for your health.

 Let’s take a closer look at Essential Fatty Acids (EFA). These are fats that your body cannot produce on its own, and therefore needs to get these fats from an outside source. You can think of these particular fats as the “good” guys (yes, there ARE good fats, much different from the saturated fats in they typical American diet). The two types are linoleic acid (Omega-6) and linolenic acid (Omega-3).  These EFAs are found in hemp seeds and in the perfect proportion that you body likes (Note that we get more than enough Omega-6 in our diet, which is why you hear a lot about Omega-3s ie. fish oils, which are not as prevalent in our diet and hence we need to consume more of them)

 Another important aspect of hemp seeds are amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein.  One of the proteins in hemp is globulin, which helps to manufacture antibodies in your body, aiding your immune system. The hemp seed has 65% globulin, the most of any plant source.

 They also contain plant sterols which have been known to lower cholesterol. They also contain vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium. 

 Not only are hemp seeds super healthy, they are delicious! They have this wonderful nutty flavor, making them a perfect addition to almost everything from your morning oatmeal to salads. Matt makes mean vegan hemp seed chocolate chip cookies. Ask him for his recipe!

 Hemps seeds can be found in any health food store, as well as hemp oils.  Because of their high fat content and tendency to spoil quickly (remember walnuts?), it’s best to store them in the refrigerator.  I highly recommend you picking up some hemp seeds on your next shopping trip and experiment with these tiny superfoods! 

 Here’s a recipe I found online at www.hemp-guide.com to get you started:

Hemp Pancakes Recipe

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why not start it with yummy hemp pancakes recipe! This recipe combines the goodness of whole wheat flour, the nutrition of hemp and the added option of super foods such as blueberries. What better way to kick start your morning!
Ingredients

1 cup of shelled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)

3 Tbsp Hemp Seed Oil

1 cup organic whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons HONEY (optional)

4 eggs, slightly beaten

1 cup plain organic yogurt

1 cup water

2 tablespoons vanilla

Berries (optional)

Directions

Combine flour, shelled hemp seed, baking powder & soda, and salt in bowl. Combine eggs, yogurt, and water. Whisk in butter. Pour into dry ingredients. Use blender to mix to smooth consistency. Cook on (buttered) pan / griddle (medium heat). Cook until tops are bubbly – turn and cook until browned.

Makes about 16 pancakes – can be frozen and heated up in toaster afterwards.

Optional: add in Berries while cooking!

Makes: About 16 pancakes

July 23, 2009 at 2:02 pm Leave a comment


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