Monday, January 31, 2011

Ginger Cookies

This time of year, when it is cold and wet outside, nothing says comfort like fresh baked cookies hot out of the oven.  Especially when those cookies have ginger, allspice, and cinnamon.  The warm scent envelopes my senses and brings comfort to my soul.  I know...a little carried away for a cookie post.  It is true though.  I made these little Ginger Snaps last night, turned the fireplace on (gas cutting wood), and enjoyed the ambiance.  Not so sure if my husband got the same effect from the aroma, but he definitely enjoyed the finish product.   

A major bonus of theses cookies is the spice combination is very anti-inflammatory.  I try to only  cook and bake food that will enable my body to heal.  I have such a sweet tooth that I search for recipes to enjoy as a treat while not causing my body harm.  If you have any great recipes to share, I would welcome them!  In the meantime, try these out and let me know what you think.

Double-Ginger Ginger Snaps

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup finely chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup of olive oil/butter spread
1/4 cup applesauce
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Combine flour, soda, ground ginger, cinnamon, allspice, and candied ginger in large bowl.
Combine sugar, molasses, butter spread, applesauce, and egg in medium bowl.
Add sugar mix to the flour mix and combine well.  The dough will be stiff.
Roll the dough into 30 tablespoon size balls and place on greased cookie sheets about an inch apart.  Flatten each ball to approximately 1/4 inch with the bottom of a glass dipped in organic sugar. 
Bake for about 15 minutes or until brown and crisp.

Recipe adapted from 400 Calorie Fix.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chili Con Carne

Last night I started out making a vegetarian chili for my husband to enjoy when he got home from work.  I mixed the ingredients, put them in a crock pot and waited.  As it turned out, he had to work until much later than he had anticipated.  I cooled the chili and put it in the refrigerator for the night.  This morning we both decided we wanted some meat in the chili.  I cooked up ground turkey and put it all back in the crock pot.  The end result was simply amazing.  Here is the recipe for you to try. 

Mix the following ingredients in a crock pot:

2 cans of kidney beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 pound of cooked ground turkey (rinse and drain it before adding to cut out excess fat)
1 1/2 cups of diced onions
1 diced red bell pepper
2 cups of water
2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
3 Tablespoons of chili powder
1 Tablespoon of paprika
1 Tablespoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of minced garlic

Heat in the crock pot on low for 8 hours.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Best ever sweet and sour meatball recipe

My neighbor, Nate McKinley, makes these traditional meatballs using a recipe handed down from his grandmother.   I have made just a couple of changes to keep them anti-inflammatory but still so yummy!  Give them a try!

Nate’s Sweet and Sour Meatballs

The first step is to cook the meatballs. The recipe for the meatballs requires the following ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
2/3 cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped onion
2/3 cup of canned evaporated milk
1 teaspoon of seasoning salt (Lawry's, Johnny's, etc.)
Flour (For rolling meatballs in)
3-6 tablespoons of canola (For frying the meatballs in)

The directions for cooking the meatballs are as follows:

1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Mix lightly, but thoroughly with your hands.
2. Cover a dinner sized plate with the flour - deep enough to roll the meatballs in.
3. Place and heat the oil in a electric skillet or frying pan over medium heat. If using an electric skillet - 325-350 degrees.
4. Shape and roll the meat mixture into numerous spoon sized balls and roll them in the flour until they are covered.
5. Brown the meatballs in the skillet or pan until brown on all sides. They do not need to be fully cooked. 6- 10 minutes total.
6. Remove the meatballs from the skillet or pan and drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

The second step is preparing and cooking the Sweet - n- Sour sauce. The recipe for the sauce requires the following ingredients:

1 Large can of Pineapple chunks (Nate prefers pineapple tidbits)
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1/2 cup of white vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup coarsely chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon pimentos

The directions for cooking the sauce are as follows:

1. Drain the pineapple and save the juice.
2. Measure the conserved pineapple juice and add water to make 1 cup of liquid.
3. Ina medium sized pot, add the pineapple/water mixture and the cornstarch. Blend with whisk until smooth.
4. Stir in the next 4 ingredients into the pot of pineapple mixture.
5. Place the pot of mixture on the burner and cook over medium heat until thick and clear. 3-5 minutes. ( Do not boil)
6. Add the pimento, green pepper and pineapple chunks to the pot.
7. Cover the pot and simmer over low heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes.

In the mean time, heat the oven to 350 degrees and add the meatballs to a 9x13 baking dish. Once the pineapple sauce mixture has simmered for the fore mentioned 15 minutes, remove from heat and evenly pour the mixture over the meatballs. Place the baking dish of meatballs and sauce in the oven, uncovered, and heat for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. While the meatballs and sauce are cooking in the oven, prepare 1 to 2 cups of brown rice. Make a bed for the meatballs and sauce on the serving plates by placing the cooked rice evenly on the plate. When the meatballs are done cooking, place 2-3 meatballs on the rice and spoon the sauce over the meatballs and rice. Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Butter Spread

One of the things I have done in an effort to cut back on inflammatory foods is to make my own butter spread. My friend, Mrs. Mac, gave me this super easy recipe.  It works out great in our home because my husband loves those fake butter spreads that are full of garbage (Strong opinion...yes).  I love olive oil.  This is a fantastic compromise. 

 Mix 1/2 cup butter (not fake margarine...strong opinion again) 1/2 cup olive oil (make sure to use light....otherwise I think the flavor is too strong) and 1/2 tsp. salt.   Soften the butter and whip together with the olive oil and salt.  Pour into a container and refrigerate.  After about an hour or so you have soft butter spread. 

One of the great things about this spread is the fact that it does have anti-inflammatory olive oil.  Anything I can do to add this type of food to my diet is always a benefit.  So try it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Walking in the winter wonderland

Now that it is time for all to begin living up to their New Years resolutions, I must say, I did not make even one.  I have thought about this and wondered why I didn't.  First, I don't think it really occurred to me.  Second, I already have so many goals that there is not enough room for a resolution.  One of my all time goals is to get healthy inside and out.  Eating healthy and exercising are imperative in order to get and stay strong.  Walking is at the top of that list.

I feel a bit guilty going to the gym to walk on a treadmill since I have two dogs at home that  love to get out and walk.  So, this morning I decided to bundle up and take my Goldendoodle  Gracie for a walk.  The snow was falling peacefully to the ground with a fresh covering of white fluffiness. Underneath that beautiful whiteness, was ice.  Clumps of ice ready to take down a well meaning walker.  I am happy to say that this time I stayed upright.  Not by my sure is because I was wearing the correct footwear.  I purchased some fantastic snow boots from Cabelas.  They really keep my feet warm, have great traction, and give the support that my sore feet need.  In fact, there is no pain at all when I walk in these boots.  They are Snow Runners and are on sale right now for $52.49. 

Since there has been some conversation regarding RA and painful feet, I wanted to be sure to share this about these boots.  Let me know if you get some or even have shoes that work well for you too.  In the meantime, enjoy walking in the beautiful outdoors. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Lesson In Legumes

Many diets such as vegetarian, vegan, and Mediterranean, suggest eating legumes.  I always tend to look past that word and get to other points of interest about the recipe or article.  Today I stopped and decided to pursue further knowledge of the word legume. 

Now that I know legumes are defined as, "plants with seed pods that split into two halves", I am a bit embarrassed that I did not figure this out earlier.  I have been eating legumes my entire life.  Go figure!  So that would include kidney beans, split peas, black beans, navy beans, and the list goes on. 

With the particular diet I try to  follow  in order to keep inflammation away, legumes are very important.  They are high in fiber, protein, calcium and packed with vitamins.  They are low in cholesterol, which makes them a perfect addition to a low fat diet.  They are also lower on the glycemic index.  This means that your body processes them slower,  leaving you feeling fuller longer.  Since I do not eat much red meat anymore, nutritionally speaking, these are perfect replacements.

A few ideas for adding legumes into your diet:
These dishes are especially comforting and filling during the cold months.  Add some legumes into your diet and reap the benefits!