Friday, October 17, 2014

Stay Healthy With Honey

Stay Healthy With HoneyI live in Wisconsin and let's face it, brandy cures everything! Rub a little on sore gums, drink a bit to help a stomach ache or a cough and sore throat ... the list goes on. While this may help, most of the time it's just plain luck. While I do still like to use brandy as a cure, lemons and most of all honey are my go-to cure alls.

Honey has been used since the ancient times for medicinal uses both externally and internally. A wonderful benefit to honey, as opposed to antibiotics, is that it doesn't give you a resistance to bacteria so you don't develop 'super bugs' that many people get once they have been exposed to an antibiotic repeatedly. Honey can protect against damage caused by bacteria. It also has an inflammatory which can help reduce pain. Just like anything else, not all honey is created equal. Some honey can be 100 limes more potent than others!

Raw Honey: There is a lot of honey out there, so what's the difference? I like using raw honey. Other honeys (the little honey bear in the grocery store) are pasteurized at a very high heat which kills off a lot of it's natural enzymes and minerals that make honey the awesome home remedy that it is. However, some large brand 'raw' honey still go though a process to be able to be sold in stores so it's best to find a local brand at your health food store or find your neighborhood beekeeper to ensure it's really a raw honey.

Manuka Honey comes from New Zealand bees. I was recently introduced to this honey from one of Paul's coworkers. He and his family swear by it to help with common colds to even curing a foot rash that he had in which nothing else seemed to work. I had to do my research and see what all the fuss was about and I quickly learned that it was worth purchasing. Manuka flowers have more concentrated methylglyoxal in them than other flowers. Methylglyoxal gives manuka honey a higher antibacterial quality.There is a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) rating on every jar. Depending on the honey type and style is the antibacterial quality. When using Manuka honey for it's healing qualities, go for the +20 is you can. There is a lot of research out there and being done so studies aren't completely clear but all signs seem to show that it is an extremely powerful honey. It has been used to help treat diabetes, eye, ear, and sinus infections, gastrointestinal issues and even cancer!  It appears to be quite the magical honey that has been used for ages for its healing properties.

*Do use honey with caution, it is a powerful natural remedy. It is said that honey should not be consumed by infants, some studies show until the age of 1 and others the age of 2.

Stay Healthy With Honey

6 Honey Helpers

1. Common Cold: Honey helps suppress a coughs. Help soothe a sore throat by gargling honey water or mix your honey with lemon to help relieve a cough.

2. Soothes Burns & Heals Wounds: Honey absorbs moisture from the air and helps get that right to your sore spot. It is also antibacterial which helps you fight off infections. Manuka honey has the most antibacterial properties so for wound care, use Manuka honey.

3. Fight Allergies: Your local honey will help sensitize you to the pollen in your area. Having a little everyday can help relieve hay fever and its symptoms.

4. Fight Fatigue: Add some honey to a warm glass of milk or chamomile tea before bed to get a few extra zzzzzz's.

5. For Your Face & Hair: Honey is a great moisturizer. Add a little to your shampoo or rub some on your face for a refreshing mask.

6. Boost Your Immune System: It's antiviral and antibacterial ... A little a day can help keep the doctor away!

It's time to get a jar of honey out of the pantry and into your first aid kit!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Curried Chickpea Salad

I know I've said this before, but why don't I make curry dishes more often? It must be those kids of mine, as they loved curry in their baby food, right now, they're still not the biggest fans of it, so I end up making them a separate meal (which I never like doing, simply out of principal ... and yes, I do put curry in their baby food).

Since I was having my curry craving and I knew I would be spending time making a separate meal, I decided my curry one had to be a quick one. I went super quick with this one ... one dish, no cooking and done in 10 minutes. You simply chop and mix. Plus, since my kids love chickpeas, they got plain chickpeas on their plates. Everyone was happy and cooking these two meals was faster than when I usually make one. Okay, so I'm really going to have to make this curry dish more often.

Curried Chickpea Salad

Another great feature for my family ... Since just Paul and I ate it for dinner there was plenty leftover for lunches the next day. We did sandwiches for supper and salads for lunches. I would even like it as an appetizer on crackers. It's the meal that keeps on giving. Can't they all be like this?!

Curried Chickpea Salad

Makes 4 cups

2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c veganaise
1/3 c red onion, diced
1/3 c celery, diced
1/3 c almonds, sliced
1/4 c radishes, diced
1/4 c cilantro or parsley, chopped
1 T lemon juice
1 T curry powder
1 t garlic powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Curried Chickpea Salad

Smash chickpeas with a potato masher. Mix curry, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper in a dish then mix in remaining ingredients. Adjust salt and pepper to your liking.

Curried Chickpea SaladCurried Chickpea Salad

Curried Chickpea Salad

Serve it on a bed of greens, with your favorite bread (sourdough ... mmmmm) or just grab a spoon and dig in!

Curried Chickpea Salad
I served it on toasted sourdough with a little julienned savoy cabbage ...YUM!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

Acorn Squash is my favorite squash. I do enjoy other squashes, but the flavor of acorn squash has a special place in my heart. I can't really pinpoint what my reason os for this love, but you'll just have to make more acorn squash and find out yourself! Maybe it's the seeds ... whenever I make acorn squash, I always rinse, dry and roast the seeds in a little garlic, chili powder and salt. They are amazing!

Since Mexican is one of my favorite styles of cooking, it's only appropriate that I would have an acorn squash mexican meal ... and I make it all the time in fall! Luckily, the rest of the family humors me and they enjoy eating it all the time too (or at least they don't complain about it!)

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

Don't forget to save your seeds!

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

Makes 8

1 acorn squash
1 head of garlic
8 oz portobella mushrooms
1 small red onion
1 jalapeno
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper

6 pieces Kale
2 c monterey jack cheese,shredded, divided (optional)
8 10 inch tortillas
2 cups Salsa Verde (Tomatillo Salsa)

Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Make slices in the squash with a knife and lay face down in a pan filled with 1/2 in of water. Roast them at 375º for 40-45 minutes. Roast your garlic at the same time with a little olive oil and wrapped in tin foil.

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

In a pan, saute onion, mushrooms, jalapeno until juices are gone and mushrooms have started to caramelizze.

Scoop out the acorn squash and garlic once it's cooled and mix it so that there are no chunks. Add onion and mushrooms to acorn squash and garlic.

Next, it's time to assemble. On each tortilla, divide your kale, then 1 cup of your monterey jack cheese. Top with acorn squash mixture and roll up the tortillas. Put 1/2 cup of sauce in a sprayed baking dish then then line-up your enchiladas next to each other.

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

Top with tomatillo sauce and remaining cheese. Bake at 375º for 20 minutes or until cheese on top is getting bubbly.

Roasted Garlic, Acorn Squash & Mushroom Enchiladas

When I will make these ahead of time, before baking I put them covered n the fridge. Since the acorn squash mixture cools down, I will bake them for up to 30 minutes.