No match for Matcha

When I was studying at University in Japan, I would go on holiday to the typical tourist attractions throughout the country.

In Nara, I once went to a traditional green tea ceremony. I remember the girl in Kimono whisking the Matcha powder in hot water. It was served with a hard sweet cookie to offset the Matcha’s bitter after taste. A distinct flavor I have never forgotten.

Now Matcha seems to be very popular in the US as a super-antioxidant.  A powerhouse of ingredients that can aid in your over-all well being.

  • Burns calories
  • Natural detoxer
  • Rich in fiber
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Lowers blood sugar

You can add the powder to smoothies or your yogurt or even bake with it.

I buy it in a tea bag from Salada. Brew it and then put in a pitcher and keep it cool in the fridge.

Beans beans good for your heart…

Beans (Legumes) are an excellent source of protein, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients.

Their health benefits can be attributed to colon health and helping maintain blood sugar levels.

Once the kidney bean is digested it goes through a fermentation process in your colon that create short-chain fatty acids (butyrate) which have been linked to reducing colon cancer.

This fermentation of the starch in the bean slows down the digestion and absorption of carbs in your colon (digestive tract). These starch blockers have been linked to weight loss.

Here is a tasty simple recipe I have developed to use as a side salad in my weight loss journey;

1 can kidney beans

1 can cannelli beans

1 red, 1 yellow and 1 orange sweet pepper diced into small pieces

1 medium red onion diced into small pieces

Cilantro chopped

2 Tbsp. of olive oil

1 Tbsp. of red wine vinegar

Salt & Pepper to taste

Meat Loaf-Comfort Food

OK, I know meatloaf doesn’t scream healthy, but it’s not all that bad. Meat, vegetables and herbs baked together. You can use leftovers for sandwiches the next day. I’d stay away from the gravy though.

I always mix a pound of beef with a pound of pork. I add finely chopped celery, fresh parsley, lots of pressed garlic, unseasoned bread crumbs, 1 egg, I will grate a small onion which I know is labor intensive and some basil, a little oregano. Then get down and dirty, mixing it all with your fingers. Form in to a loaf and place in a baking dish.

You could put bacon strips on top, but it creates a lot of fat. Or BBQ, but that has a lot of sugar. I just leave it plain.

Pop in in the oven at 375 F for about an hour. Use a meat thermometer to be safe, should be around 160 degrees.

Just Mayo

Just Mayo from Hampton Creek is a tasty healthy mayo alternative. ‘Just’ as in the adjective meaning fair or reasonable, is behind the name of this product. They have a whole line of sauces and salad dressings that I can’t wait to try, but this post is about the Just Mayo.

I’ve been eating healthy whole wheat wraps lately and I smear about a tablespoon (=100 calories) of the Just Mayo on the wrap before adding my meat, cheese and vegetables. I am no Mayo connoisseur, but it tastes and smells like mayo. They don’t use any artificial stuff to achieve that either.

·         Egg Free

·         Non-GMO

·         Dairy Free

·         Gluten Free

Ingredients: Canola Oil, White Distilled Vinegar, Pea Protein… no chemicals.

You can find this line at Sprouts, Costco, Kroger and Safeway stores.

Did I mention 0% Cholesterol?

Happy eating!

Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla

On this weight-loss journey, I ate a few sandwiches last week with Sourdough bread and I was feeling a little too full after eating and it definitely didn’t not help me burn my 1 pound a week goal.

This week I used Whole Wheat Flour Tortilla and I am feeling satisfied and skinny.

Take some mayo and mustard and spread it on the tortilla, I add  1/2 of a sliced avocado, I ‘salt’ the avocado with Bragg’s Amino Acid sauce, then I add 3 slices of deli meat and 1 slice of cheese, roll it tightly, then cut it down the middle. These tortilla’s are a great bread substitute.

They have Calcium and Iron with only about 80 calories, if you are counting.

Braised Carrots and Cabbage

St. Patrick’s Day, my wife was preparing a cabbage dish for a dinner party when the lid of the sea salt came off and a bunch of salt fell in the pot. Panicked and with only a couple hours until the party we Googled quick cabbage recipes. We looked for the best possible combo of recipes and really delivered a great dish. Everyone was taking seconds and even thirds on this tasty dish.

We served 5 adults and two kids.

Carrots: cut into medallions or anyway you like them  –  set aside

Cabbage: cut it into wedges around the core  –  set aside.

Applewood Uncured Bacon: cut in half and add to a hot skillet (the fattier the better). Remove cooked bacon from skillet and set aside.

Add Carrots to bacon fat and cooked for about 15 minutes, browning them a little. Remove and set aside.

Place cabbage wedges in browning each side for about 15 min.

Add browned carrots to the skillet with the cabbage. Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces and add to the skillet. Toss everything, breaking up the wedges a little. Then add 1 can of low sodium chicken broth, cover the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for about 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Then remove the skillet top and let the liquid reduce to almost nothing.

Try this out at your next holiday party, it is sure to a success.

Cilantro Garlic Butter

When I was a kid, Dad whose culinary talents were limited, used to grill London Broils for us on special occasions. We used to add Lea & Perrins Worcester sauce or A-1, but overtime, your palate demands a little more.

For the last 10 years, I’ve been using this combination to enhance my steak eating experience. It is a garlic butter with cilantro (if you are not a cilantro fan- sub flat leaf parsley).

2 Tbsp of Butter (per person)- room temperature

3 or more cloves of garlic (pressed)

½ bushel of cilantro- cut

Mix thoroughly in a bowl and leave out at room temperature until steaks are ready, put a dollop or two under the steak when it is resting on your plate or smear it on top. Season with sea salt and cracked pepper. Enjoy.

Butter had a bad rap for a few years, but now is making a comeback. Recent studies have proven there is no correlation between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease.

Schorle

In Germany’s Pfalz wine region a schorle is a refreshing drink you can have either with wine or with juice. In the USA, we call it a ‘spritzer’, but the connotation really doesn’t do it the justice it deserves. This part juice or wine and mineral water or club soda will produce a healthy alternative to that nightly beer.

Wine on its own will dehydrate you, so mixing it with mineral water will help keep you hydrated.

On January 1 of 2017, I started this new food & drink lifestyle and gave up my nightly IPA. Now, I enjoy a juice schorle. Welches make a great Antioxidant Super Berry juice, that is very low in sugar content (36g), 64 oz at Kroger goes for around $4 bucks. I mix it ¼ of juice with ¾ of club soda, consuming about 40 ounces per night.

If you need something with a little more bang after a stressful day, sub the juice with some wine. If you like a drier wine make sure the alcohol content is at least 12%, like a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio.

If you find yourself in Germany’s Pfalz wine region order up a Riesling Schorle! Prost!

Kicks on Kix

The cereal aisle at the market these days is packed with so many different brands, it’s like having to choose what to watch on TV with 180 channels to choose from. The ones with multi-colored labels and different cartoon characters are probably the worst for you, but they are trying to attract your inner child. Then there are the cereals that are trying to target the health conscientious buyer. They use fancy words and illustrations to sell these bland morsels that taste like a bunch of wet cardboard. We’re trained to think, that if it lacks taste it must be really healthy for us, right. We are willing to make the taste sacrifice for some good fiber, right?

50 plus years ago the mothers of 80 million baby boomers, were looking for healthy choices for breakfast and Kellogg did just that. Focusing on marketing a health convenient style of cereal rather than marketing to children they clobbered the competition. The Kellogg’s have been making cereal since 1906. Next time you are in the cereal aisle grab a box of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. Packed with vitamins and minerals, this cereal is a no-brainer;

·         Iron

·         Vitamin C

·         Niacin

·         Vitamin B1, B2, B6, and B12

·         Vitamin A

·         Vitamin D

·         Folic Acid

Another honorable mention and ‘the mother approved’, would be General Mill’s Kix which has also been around for over 80 years. Its healthy components are;

·         Calcium Carbonate

·         Iron

·         Zinc

·         Vitamin C

·         Niacin

·         Folic Acid

·         Vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12

The cereals that are going to better for you will have less than 5 grams of sugar and if that is a problem for you add raw honey or turbinado sugar or fresh fruit.

Congestion – Soup Remedy

Chest Congestion – Soup Remedy

I got hit with this killer cough this week, which eventually led to congestion in my chest. Back in the old days onions used to be boiled and if you drank this onion water it would help break up that congestion.

A more palatable solution is French Onion Soup. I found this recipe on Allrecipies.com. I went to Kroger to gather my ingredients; bag of yellow onions, unsalted butter, thyme, beef broth and a La Brea French Baguette. I stopped by Costco to get a wedge of Jarlsberg (Swiss) cheese. I even went to Goodwill and picked up a couple of the classic little handled crocks that French Onion Soup is always served in.

First, we diced the onions and added them to a buttered skillet until they caramelized. In a large pot we added the broth and thyme to simmer. Then added the caramelized onions to the broth and let it simmer for an hour. Then we grinded some fresh grounded black pepper to it. We cut the baguette into ¼ slices and toasted them on a sheet pan under the broiler on both sides. We removed the toasted baguettes from the sheet pan and replaced them with the crocks and warmed them up in the oven for about 10 minutes. We then ladled the onion soup into up to about ¾ inch from the top.  We then laid the toasted baguettes in, arranging them snuggly. I placed a few shaved Jarlsberg slices on top of the baguette and we returned the pan to broil until the cheese was thoroughly melted and starting to brown on the edges.

About 5 minutes after eating this delicious soup, I could feel the congestion breaking up in my chest, only to wake the next day to feel completely congestion free.

If your congestion continues, you should seek your medical professional.