Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part One

As my love affair with all things spicy cools off, I have to find ways to live in between.  I am between my love of food relationship exploration and the need for it not to kill my stomach.  Creole food is one of those perplexing situations for me. About a year ago on a pinning spree I took on gumbo and LOVE it.  I love the earthy and fiery flavors with the simple base.  Recently, a more palatable version found my bowl as tweaking to remove shellfish allergy and reduce reflux triggers.  This reworking of a Creole icon reduces the spice, lowers fat content, and switches to a low acid tomato.   Make your shopping list, grab your pots, and find the zydeco music.  It’s time to channel that not so spicy but spiced up food encounter.

Gumbo/Stew

Ingredients and Prep

Roux

  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of all purpose flour or all purpose gluten free flour

Gumbo

  • 2 garlic cloves diced
  • 1 tsp of Creole Seasoning (cayenne will do in a pinch)
  • 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (1 tbsp dried parsley can be substituted)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 2 stalks of celery sliced
  • 1 lb of chicken cooked and diced
  •  oz of smoked turkey sausage (if you can handle the spicy go for chicken andouille sausage)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth or chicken broth
  • 9 ounces of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • Optional add ins: crawfish or shellfish

Cooking

  1. Roux: this mystical beast is the wonderment base.  The key is to never leave it alone and constantly stir.
    • Heat skillet to medium heat then add in oil.  Gentle stir in flour with a whisk and keep stirring.  The goal is a medium to medium dark brown.  Once you reach the desired color, give your arm a break and head to step 2.
  2. Add in: garlic, red bell pepper, celery, and tomatoes.  Cook for 10 minutes
  3. Add in broth, meat, and spices
  4. Simmer on low for about an hour

How you address or dress this dish when it’s done is up to you.  The classic is with rice.  We went for corn polenta (pictured), but it’s up to you and any idea you dream of.  Classics like this have staying power as it carries tradition, memories, and iconic flavors.  It doesn’t mean you can’t mess around a little in your food relationship.

Namaste

Check out part two next week!

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Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part Two V/VEG, GF, DF, Lower Acid

Health Foodie: Messing with Iconic Dishes Part Two V/VEG, GF, DF, Lower Acid

Simply because cannot take “no” for an answer- I had to find answer to this pasta dish and my every changing food life.  Largely because of the sauce.  So what’s wrong with the sauce? Puttenesca is a tomato sauce with a specific combinations of plants, veggies, and (most of time) anchovies.  I HATE anchovies. If I was desert and had a choice between those greasy, tiny fish and bugs.  I choose bugs. Then there is the acid factor in tomatoes.  With a few quick switch outs with some veggies, I have a delicious alternative.   I opted for campari tomatoes as they are sweeter with lower acid.  To reduce acid more, you can add in some carrot puree.  The tomatoes didn’t irritate my reflux.  Since the anchovies got to go- I went with capers to give that briny, salty taste.  Best part, is more concentrated veggies means more nutrition.  The instructions are for the sauce, your base is dealer’s choice. As complex carbs can help absorb stomach acid, I opted for a brown rice/ quinoa gluten free pasta but zoodles are just a good. 

Ingredients and Prep

  • 3 Garlic cloves, diced
  • Oregano 1 tablespoon dried
  • Olive Oil 1 tablespoon
  • Campari tomatoes, 16 oz, quartered
  • Green or black olives sliced (2.25 oz can or I eat a specific green type, about 10 olives)
  • Capers 1-2 tablespoons
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon of carrot pure

Cooking

  1. Put in diced garlic and olive oil and gentle stir for about 5-7 minutes on medium.
  2. Still on medium heat, place in diced tomatoes and oregano and cook until tomatoes have broken down plus a few minutes (25 minutes). In the last 5 minutes you can put in optional carrot puree to lower the pH level.  
  3. Put in olives and capers for additional ten minutes.  1 1/2 tablespoon of capers is enough for me. Start with 1 tablespoon and add to taste.  Do let it cook for a minute before adding. 

So what’s up with the letter’s in the title? As I began typing this recipe I realize how many dietary concerns this addresses. Basically it is a flag for whatever need you have.  Vegan- follow the V, no animal products were used in the making of this meal.  Vegetarian? VEG means no meats.  If you are gluten free, then GF.  Dairy free or watching the lactose? DF is for you because cow’s milk didn’t want to get involved.  This recipe is all of them with an low acidic conscious. Plus it’s an easy yum.  

My soul honors your soul’s individuality in your food relationship 

Namaste

Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

Health Foodie: Using Nature and Nutrition to Subdue the Head Monkeys

 

 

Here me now- I am not claiming total head monkey control.  However, there are ways to quite them and get them mananged.  This has been HUGE for my daughter and I.  We have monkey riots in our heads often and they just needed to settle the hell down.

When the head monkeys are out of control they need to be fed.

First in a head monkey’s diet is sleep.  Lack of sleep makes them louder or controlling them harder. I am not sure which. Either sucks.  Set a iron clad routine.  For adults, around 10 P.M. and up around 6 P.M. following the rhythm of nature. If that time frame not possible, seven to eight hours where you are able.  Uninterrupted.  My kids and I are still in negotiations on that part.  Settle into a non engaging activity thirty minutes before bed time.  I absolutely CANNOT read  before bed.  Book are engaging and insomnia inducing for me. My daughter it’s the opposite effect. As a  matter of fact it can put her to sleep in the middle of the day, so she claims.  Find a relaxing activity you can walk way from.   Listen to your body. I have been sleeping in an extra when possible due to my iron deficiency and children.  I need the extra sleep.  I am not against sleep aids and if you need them use them with care.

Head monkeys love food.  What you feed them either fuels crazy or appeases them.  Avoid high fats, sugar, dyes, chemical/processed foods.  It reeks havoc on your nervous system and incites head monkey riots.    Caffeine needs to be on a short lease.  There are some studies showing restrained amounts of coffee in the A.M. help rev those brain engines, possibly- POSSIBLY- helping those with ADHD.  It’s not conclusive.   However, in small amounts I find it helps.  The best thing you can feed yourself is water. HYDRATE. Don’t give them a fighting chance.  Head Monkey grub should rely on protein and not just meat protein.  Even  good-for-you lean meat protein in high amounts taxes your kidneys.  Nuts, beans, lentils should be mingling with your chicken, turkey, and lean beef. Frequently. YOU NEED CARBS. Actually, the head monkeys do.  But carb responsibly.  Whole grains like oats, amaranth, brown rice, quinoa, barley are the bread/pasta ingredients to look for.  Avoid processed, refine, and white flour.  Especially bleached. Saying “bleached flour” out loud just literally tasted nasty.  Bleached?! Whole fruits and veggies are smart head monkey carbs and nutrients. Eat them. In abundance. Then watch those head monkeys quiet down.

What you eat is as important as how and when.  Breakfast needs to be a protein punch and the afternoon follows suit.  Afternoon is when you start to drop in your energy rhythm and wish for those kindergarten naps.  Eat a light protein snack.  Small meals space about two to three hours apart regulate your blood sugar, showing those head monkeys who’s boss.  Drink water all in between.

You may want to consider supplements depending on your head monkey issues. LISTEN CAREFULLY KIDS AND HEAD MONKEYS.  Supplements are not for all ages and can negatively interact with other medications.  Check and double check with professional input.  Vitamin Bs (“S”-plural) in a multivitamin for kids, multi or just B complex form for adults is great. The Bs work the nerve system with magnesium, its a head monkey massage.  Omegas are for all ages, stages, and reasons.  We are plant based omega takers but cold fish omegas are VERY helpful in head noise reduction.  If you deal with anxiety, depression, focus issues, etc safely used and effective supplement can help your extra head monkeys. Even if you take medication.

Now that the head monkeys are rested and fed.  Give them a run.  You need to get active- daily and through out the day. Simple stretches, standing up and down a few times when you have desk duty makes a difference. Commit to getting that heart pumping.  It doesn’t matter how you do it, just do. Then get hands on.  Head monkeys like creativity.  Everyone is creative and not everyone is a Picasso.  Coloring books are just as effective as a Pollock inspired endeavor.  Cooking is creative. Yay food! Working on cars. LEGOS! Just be open and get something in your hands.  If the monkeys are especially loud then meditate while hands on- shameless previous post plug on meditation .  A daily meditation practice is a great preventative for crowd control.  You need to empty the junk drawer but you may worry about the ability focus for so long.  Take five minutes as a starter and if you can go longer great, if not, that’s great.   It’s all about being intentional to help you focus on what you are creating for animal head control.

As of now my head monkeys are on a leash.  While I embrace their quirks and noise at times, the clock is ticking so I am going to go cook something.

My head monkeys namaste your head monkeys.  Find mental peace friends.

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

That Gut Feeling: Recipe Add Ons

Summer time is our busiest; however, for many this is the reverse when school starts.  To keep that amazing gut feeling in your food life we have a couple of recipes to add to the food relationship.   These recipes at substance, healing power necessary to sustain you, but not weigh you down either.   I find veggies and herbs are an excellent way to get the nourishment without a heavy gut discussion afterwards. These recipes of my favs in the food relationship, nourishes well and not complicated.

Mediterranean Inspired Pasta Dish- aka “I’m obsessed with olives and herbs”

Feed approximately 4 people

Ingredients

  • Pasta or “Pasta”: (pictured) g-free linguine or zoodles, linguine, fresh pasta, etc.  12 oz pasta or 2 zucchini
  • Olive oil 2-3 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves: 3 cloves, diced
  • Fresh parsley: about 1/2 cup chopped (optional add in dried parsley 2 tbsp)
  • Green olives: 1/2 cup diced
  • Roma tomatoes, 3 diced
  • Shredded parmesan cheese

Cooking

  1. For packaged pasta cooked as directed and set aside.  For zoodles, saute in 2 tbsp of butter for about 5 minutes or soft and firm.
  2. In a skillet pour in olive oil, garlic and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes
  3. Add in diced tomatoes, green olives (if using dried parley add here) and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Add in pasta or “pasta” and fresh parsley.  Cook for about 3 minutes
  5. Plate and mix in parmesan cheese in preferred amounts (I love cheese, no judgement from me)

Pasta and veggies are a favorite combo but I love tzatziki like none other, that with grilled veggies and flat bread, it’s an upbeat gut feeling.

Grilled veggies with Rosemary Flat Bread, Tzatziki Sauced

Feeds 4-5 people

Minus picky veggie eaters

Ingredients

Rosemary Flat Bread

  • Gluten free all purpose or Bob’s Red Mill 1:1 flour (g free),  all purpose flour (for g)
  • Dried Rosemary  2 tbsp
  • Garlic, 2 cloves diced
  • 1 egg
  • Baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • Olive oil

Cooking flat Bread

  1.  Preheat oven to 400ºF
  2. Mix dried ingredients first (flour, rosemary, baking powder, garlic)
  3. Stir in egg and milk
  4. Slowly pour half the water in to mix.  Each flour is different and some absorb water more that others.  As you mix, slowly add in the rest of the water.  Stop when the ingredients are mixed well but the dough isn’t sticky.  If it does’t become sticky, add a touch more flour.
  5. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet (it can be placed on a baking stone with no oil)
  6. Take a 1/2 cup size portion, roll into a ball and press flat.  All of this can be done with your hands.  No other tools required.
  7. Bake flat bread for 8-10 minutes on each side.

Just the Basics Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • plain Greek yogurt 5 oz
  • Dill, dried  1 tsp
  • lemon juice 1 12 tsp

Cooking

  1.  Mix all ingredients together and let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours

“Grilled” Veggies

Ingredient

  • Zucchini  2, sliced long ways
  • Yellow squash 2, sliced long ways
  • Tomatoes on the vine 4, cut into quarters
  • Mushrooms 8 oz
  • Fresh oregano  1/2 cup chopped
  • Fresh parsley 1/2 cup chopped
  • olive oil
  • Optional addtions: olives (yes plz), red onion, eggplant, bell peppers, carrots

Cooking

There are two options here.  Throw it on the grill or bake.  Since our grill is O-3 (out of order) these directions are for baked.  I know the ultra professional tip is to give temperatures but if I’m honest-  I forget half the time (ADHD). Much of our relationships don’t have measuring tools, cooking veggies can be one of those instances.

  1. Oven preheated to 375ºF
  2. Drizzle olive oil on a baking sheet then lay out veggies on baking sheet(s).  Zucchini and squash cook the fastest, place them together.  Place tomatoes and mushrooms together as well.
  3. Sprinkle chopped oregano and parsley over veggies.
  4. Put in tomatoes and mushrooms first.  They need a good 15 minute head start.
  5. After 15 minutes place zucchini and squash. Cook an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Check veggies to make sure they are soft but firm to touch with a fork.  Or knife. Please don’t use your fingers.  Trust me.

Now.

Throw it all together in any combo you like.

Cooked veggies are easy to digest.  With herbs, vegetables reduce inflammation from gut to brain.  Grain sustains and adds fuel.  It’s a food relationship to satisfy and provide great gut feelings.  Come back next week for simple ways to deal with the aches and “pains in the neck.”  Subscribe and then your tools for an exceptional life comes to you. 🥘💌

Namaste 🥙🥐🍽

P.S. I am not a fan of spam- the “meat” or email.  Pinky-promise for only the good stuff- no email, app, or phone invasions.

Aside

The Fluidity in Your Food Life

celebration close up hand illuminated
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

This morning I checked out the 4th forecast and out came a deep groan.  Today hit over 100 ° F by eleven am; the festivities in a couple of days are predicted to be the worst.  The solar energy, vitamin D boost, sweat cleanse, and family time are the positives I am desperately going to hold on too.  Cling on too.  We will be armed with tons of sunblock, light clothing, and hydration for the negatives.  The state of dehydration affects your entire body and mind.  We must be prepared. However,  hydration is more than just the intake of fluids.  It’s how much, what you take, and what you eat.

How much water should you drink? National Academy of Science Engineering Medicine   gives guidelines on how much fluids you should take in at the very least.  According to the site, I just carry around a bottle all day because I need to take in around twelve eight ounces per day.  Food can count!  Some conditions require more fluid intake such as activity and heat,  Center for Disease, Control, and Prevention outlines other reasons.  Know and watch your fluid intake.

lime cocktail drink with two straws
Photo by EVG photos on Pexels.com

What about what you drink?  Plain water for the most part is best but doesn’t have to be the only means of fluids.  There are some you need to limit or completely avoid.  Sugary drinks such as juices and sodas needs to be limited in down, cool periods all the time.  In hot temperatures or activity, it needs to be avoided.  This goes for caffeine and alcohol too.  A non- synthetic dye water flavor may help you achieve your hydration goal.  I love herbal teas and I have been drinking lot on ice lately.  Infused water is an excellent way to make fluids enjoyable and reach those next goals in what to eat for hydration.

 

What can I eat to hydrate?  Your food life is two fold on hydration.  You can eat foods loaded with water.  You need to eat consistently to help your body absorb, hold, and use water better.

These foods have a considerable amount of water in them

  • oranges
  • zucchini
  • cucumbers
  • tomatoes
  • cantalope
  • strawberries
  • watermelon
  • celery
  • grapefruit

sliced fruits on tray
Photo by Trang Doan on Pexels.com

Sports drinks are known to help with hydration and keeping hydration in short periods.  The main reason are electrolytes.  In a simplistic term, electrolytes are salts in the form of minerals that help with hydration and cleanse your bodily systems.  The electrolytes you need are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, calcium, phosphates.  You can eat these easily.

Foods rich in most or all needed electrolytes

  • White beans
  • Dairy- yogurt/ kefir particularly
  • Fish- especially salmon
  • Dark chocolate
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds
  • Nuts- especially almonds and walnuts
  • Dark greens- notably kale, broccoli, edamame, bok choy, spinach, chard
  • Tofu
  • Baked goods with baking soda
  • Fruids: Bananas, water melons,
  • Avocado
  • Sweet potato
  • Coconut water
  • Tomato
  • Egg plant

Each of these foods offer it’s unique contribution.  A rotation/combination of each offers the best impact.  Drink and eat to keep your body and mind at it’s best, certainly in the scorching sun.

close up photography of eyeglasses on pineapple
Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

Namaste and be fluid

 

Aside

Health Foodie, the Moody Eater

Your mental health to function at it’s best requires a multi-faceted care routine.  Physical activity is one essential part.  The input of human connection is another.  Your brain needs creative exercises.  Self care is important.  Proper sleep is crucial.  Professional support may become part too.   Our food relationship plays into our mental well being too.    At times our emotions start to over ride the food choices we make, “eating your feelings” or “moody eating.” This can lead to body and mental harming decisions.  Or it could be telling us something important we need.  What if you could flip your food life and eat for your moods?  Give your brain and nerves what they need ahead of time and enhance their function.

When you eat for your brain,  think “whole rainbow.” If it doesn’t require an ingredient list or has very few ingredients, eat it.  Avoid chemical, dyes, etc as much as possible.  They can harm your physical body then affect your mental health.  Then aim for variety in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains.  Super food is a gimmick.  There are some foods like avocados, spinach, kale, berries that are dense in nutrients.  More bang for your buck.  But their impact on your health is limited if you limit what you eat with them.  The variety doesn’t have to be daily and balance is key.  Eat seasonal or rotate.  For us this week it’s mangoes, pineapple, tomatoes, carrots, cauliflower, green lettuce.  Next week will be a different story.  Go “whole rainbow.”

This is where my food life gets serious.  I LOVE herbs and spices. Recently, a well meaning comment was made on a food item not having any flavor because it didn’t have salt.  No salt doesn’t have to mean no flavor. We have much work to do in our food life if we believe that.  Seasoning is more than flavor.  Just as your food is rich in brain and nervous system nutrients, herbs can do the same.  The herbs used in the recipes/ideas below have a variety of key nutrient players for mental wellness.  We will cook with chives, parsley, ginger, dill, and garlic.  These offer magnesium, iron, choline, potassium, calcium, vitamin C,  copper, and zinc.  All of these are important for your mental functionality.   I come across magnesium and zinc often as natural options people use for mental wellness.   Three out of six of our household members take magnesium for mental focus and help with migraines as a part of our medical conversations and care routines. Do caution with mixing with other meds and zinc should by food digestion only; just because it’s on a OTC shelf doesn’t mean it’s safe.  Other herbs and spices help with brain and nerve function: rosemary, basil, cinnamon, peppermint, lavender, bay leaf, etc.

Let’s start with the A.M.  Eggs and I have a love hate/relationship.  I love eggs, the yolk hates me back.  Pictured are egg whites due to this relationship but this works with scrambled eggs/omelet too.  It’s as easy adding a teaspoon of dill/ teaspoon of chives to your eggs while cooking.  You can do fresh herbs.  In this case I did dried dill and 3 chive stalks chopped.   Chives give a onion taste (similar to a green onion)  with dill adding lively flavor.  Another way to take your A.M. lightly.

This dish can go so many ways.  The base consists of lightly cooked veggies such as zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, onion, bok choy, etc.  I cooked them in a tablespoon of butter with two cloves of garlic chopped and 2 teaspoons of ground ginger.  Not all veggies require the same amount of cooking.  Carrots, onion, mushrooms take longer.  After cooking five to seven minutes, add in things like zucchini and bok choy to cook a few minutes more.  You can add rice, I chose rice noodles.  Often I leave meat out of this part of the food relationship.  However, meat can be added.  I broke the routine by adding teriyaki marinated chicken in this case.

In all honesty, I thought all my children would hate this following meal.  Redreignofterror did not disappoint but the feedback I got wasn’t half bad.  The adults loved it.  This adult loved the simplicity and cheese.  Watching fats and getting in the good fats are important.  This was part of a day with very low fat.  A creamy, cheesy meal was well deserved.  Herbs make the encounter interesting with a balanced, light flavor.

A couple of notes about the recipe.  Dried herbs can replace fresh ones. I seriously did put in a packaged food.  I truly did not feel like cooking and chopping bacon, I don’t like grease or touching grease.  However, bacon can be cooked and chopped instead of the suggested ingredient. Dealers choice.

cheesy herb cauliflower and blt salad

I am currently glued to culinary videos and trying out new recipes.  Look out for more recipes and ways to liven up your food life soon.

Namaste in your mental health and food life journey