Thursday, August 30, 2012

Forever Fresh Basil!

SO cool -- store your fresh herbs in a vase (or beer mug!)!
They may NEVER go bad!

Seriously!  Thanks to my cousin, Kim, for sharing her delicious fresh basil!  She gave me LOTS and sent it home with the bottom wrapped in a wet paper towel and told me to keep it in water.

Oh my goodness, so awesome!

I feel like I am going out and picking fresh basil from my yard each night from this one great supply!
It's a few weeks later, and I still have some!!

Tomatoes came from another friend with a green thumb -- you should see the bold redness inside those delicious babies!!

Since then, I've bought some cilantro, and popped it in another cup, and it looks better than it did the day I purchased it!

While I have even recommended this tip in the past, putting the tip to like an exciting discovery, and money saver!  Like with avocados! here avocado storage tips, as well as other quick tips for the kitchen!

Try your fresh basil in this Penne Italiana!

Or in a nice caprese salad (fresh mozzarella and tomatoes olive oil and salt and pepper) or Tomato Cashew Soup (COMING SOON!)

Also, while you've got all this delicious summertime fresh basil, you really ought to try PRACTICAL PESTO contains a nutritional bonus in there if you dare!  In the pesto post, I suggest freezing some pureed basil and nuts, and you could also freeze basil on its own!  Like Dorot products!


If you like this post, or the website, I really appreciate when you "LIKE" and 
SHARE with your friends and family!  It helps me HELP others :)  Good night!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Cashew Cookie Laraballs

Larabars are awesome!  Cashew Cookie was one of the original flavors!  It's also one of the first Laraball flavors I tried to recreate (Check out all the yummy flavors!).  Now you can too!

Buying Larabars is great for CONVENIENCE; ready INSTANTLY, if you don't have 3 MINUTES to make up a batch! Additionally, the sealed up in a wrapper offers ready-to-go-ness, and hardly ever goes bad-ness! Not that we have ever had a Laraball hang around long enough to have a chance to "go bad".

Cashew Cookie Laraballs

1 c roasted cashews
1 c dates
optional: dash of salt

Combine nuts and dates in a food processor* until mixture is moldable into balls (this batch makes twice as many balls as other Laraball recipes, ~3 dozen), OR you can shape them with cookie cutters like these cute hearts that my daughter made on her own!, OR you could make sandwiches with apples!

*If you only have a mini, use 1/2 c of cashews and dates each to make ~16 balls.

Apple sandwiches with these Cashew Cookie Laraballs taste like caramel covered apples!
(Apple Brownie Sandwiches are also pretty fabulous!)

 COMMENTS: What do you pack for "treats" in your lunch, or your kids' lunches?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's So Big about BROWN Rice?

Most of us now know that BROWN is a BETTER option than white when we think about grains, and here is a chart so you can VISUALIZE the huge difference!


The image below from Whole Grains Council compares fiber, vitamin, and mineral content in"white rice" (white bars) and "brown rice" (brown bars). The longer arrows indicate "enriched"* nutrients.

*ENRICHED sounds so fancy!  Hardly. It means that there are SO many nutrients REMOVED from the grain (flour, bread, grain, rice, etc.) that the government REQUIRES that A FEW of them be added back!

Click to ENLARGE.
Thanks to 100 Days of Real Food who shared the visual by the Whole Grains Council!
Plus, you've gotta quickly see all the GREAT Benefits of WHOLE GRAINS!

Here is a post called "Grains Galore" that shows you a huge variety of WHOLE GRAINS to choose from, besides brown rice!

Finding the word WHOLE before wheat, as in "whole wheat" at the BEGINNING of the ingredients list is SO important! If you do, then you'll be getting all the nutrients of the BROWN BARS up above, naturally!

BROWN RICE Preparation: use directions on the package OR to SIMPLIFY...if you dare :)

Fill wide a pot with some water (3 or so inches) and dump some rice in the middle (pour roughly enough rice so the middle of the pile is dry, above the water). Bring to boil and reduce heat to a gentle boil for about a half hour. Done when chewy! If any excess water remains, simply use a straining spoon to serve!

What to do with your brown rice?

My kids actually love it plain!  Here are some other ideas!

You can try it some delicious and simple Indian food!

Add simply some celery, carrots, and pepper 
to your brown rice for a veggies and rice dish, and add more liquid for soup!

If you have the rice ready, it can even be a "2-Minute Friday Night Dinner"!

Coming soon: Tomato Cashew yummy!, Garlic Challenge!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Love at First Bite -- in a Box!

A CONVENIENT meal in a box that is QUITE healthy!

Do you enjoy Indian food?  If you haven't ever tried it, then you can't say no!

Yum!  I had it for the first time in my life, after college, on my first date with my hubby!  I have been head over heals ever since!  With my husband too!  Indian food has amazing flavors!

This lovely image came from Kitchens of India.
This cuisine is so packed with flavor that you will never miss the meat (see why this is good!) in a delicious Indian meal!  Note, while vegetarian eating is common in Indian society, they also make dishes that contain meat, especially poultry.

These are 2 awesome products / companies:

Kitchens of India promises all products contain NO Preservatives!  

And here is the Trader Joe's Label Promise:

Click to ENLARGE
No artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, MSG, 
genetically modified ingredients, or artificial trans fats!

These dishes are Palak Paneer (a delicious spinach sauce with large cubes of cottage cheese...which we now don't eat) and Punjab Eggplant (we were on an EGGPLANT kick this week: we also grilled eggplant with other veggies another day and made Easy Eggplant Parm yesterday!).

There are many other Kitchens of India dishes and sauces available from at a fraction of the cost found locally.

Trader Joe's is known for offering so many great deals, and their Indian fare is just another example!

Now, why are these packaged items so great?
Click on the image below to view the ingredients in each product!

The large print for the ingredients is a good sign, and check them out: veggies and spices mostly!
The spices are are a bonus because Indian spices are often costly.

The SPINACH dish contains ginger and cashews!
The EGGPLANT dish contains TURMERIC, among other awesome ingredients :)

BE SURE to watch for animal products close to be the beginning of the list like butter and cream!

Click here for some FOOD LABELS tips!

The Kitchens of India products are made in India! While I've never been to India, the Trader Joe's dishes taste impressively authentic, according to my experience dining out and eating home cooking of Indian friends!

Traditional Indian cuisine uses mostly long grain white rice, but we still with BROWN RICE! Check out the benefits of WHOLE WHEAT ... similar to brown rice.

Since these packages take just a few minutes to warm up -- as easy as making a can of soup -- on the stove or in the microwave. FIRST, make some BROWN RICE (cooks for about 30 min)!  While you can't eat this meal in five minutes, it takes maybe 90 seconds of "actual effort"!

Or check out Grains Galore to try another substitution for white rice!

COMING SOON: healthy chai tea, simmering sauces, other Trader Joe's favorites, and brown rice benefits.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Dig into Dark Chocolate (Homemade) in a Dash!

Aaah, TOTALLY amazing!!! Thank you Chocolate Covered Katie for her brilliance :) She got me started with yummy chocolate from home!

Ok, so this chocolate is made with coconut oil and agave nectar, so it is a TREAT for sure! Still, no long list of ingredients/chemicals added!

Here is all you need for Healthy Dark Raisinets Hearts!

Raisins (unsweetened)
Unsweetened cocoa
Coconut oil
Agave nectar
Dash of salt (optional)

Melt 1/2 c oil (microwave ~60 sec in a microwave (or with a candle warmer, another Chocolate Covered Katie trick), then stir in 1/2 c cocoa, and 1/4 c agave (it's still sugar, so try using with even less for an even healthier treat) until smooth.  Then mix in a cup or so raisins, fill resealable plastic bag, plastic container, or candy molds (I often use silicone bakeware as shown below), and freeze for ~15 min. Enjoy!

Candy stores really well in freezer.

No stove top worries, and so easy your kids can definitely make the recipe!

A delightful treat! Click here for the Health and Happiness Benefits of Chocolate!

Chocolates shown are huge, so just part of one is super-satisfying! The chewy raisins, frozen, almost give the texture of chocolate-covered caramels!

Also try: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Other TASTY ADDITIONS to Dark Chocolate (many work for Chocolate Fudge too!): mint extract, cashews, dried cherries, natural peanut butter, Low-Fat Triscuits or other healthy crackers, whole wheat pretzels, cereal, shredded coconut, Laraballs, grapes, strawberries, banana slices dipped, ....

COMMENTS: what will you do with your own MELTY HOMEMADE DARK CHOCOLATE?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Seven Super Snacks -- Our Most Favorites!

We (me AND the kids) love these snacks and have them often, most of them, nearly daily!  They are THAT yummy and THAT nutritious!!

In case you have kiddos too, we love this album: Snack Time is a great children's CD (and song) by Bare Naked can listen to some of it here!

#1 Popcorn!

#2 Chocolaty Goodness -- mashed ripe banana, and unsweetened cocoa!  Add chia, or whatever you like!

#3 Avocado and Triscuits (or on toast or in a wrap, or just cut an avocado in half long ways and grab a spoon!) For the Health Benefits of Avocado, click HERE :)

#4 Laraballs! ...really yummy, healthy, no-bake cookies!  HERE you can learn about these tasty snacks!

These are delicious No-Bake Brownies!

#5 Fresh Fruit! (actually we love frozen, freeze dried, and dried too!)

We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE "juice down your elbow" peaches, cherries, and watermelon in summer!

#6 Trail mix (combine any kind of nuts with some raisins and Cherrios), or just nuts as a snack!

#7 Dark chocolate!  Click on the image below to read about the Health Benefits of Chocolate!

We make it ourselves in no time!  Here is a Recipe!!!

Besides the above healthy snacks, here is a link to my Savory, Salty, and Sweet Snacks Page! ...and you could use anything from Dreamy Desserts as a snack, or Delightful Dips , and Sandwiches and Salads :)  Ha!  I guess most of my recipes would work as a nice snack!  My hubby thinks I am nibble, nibble, nibbling all day long anyway, maybe he is right! Oh, and even Delicious Drinks are always a fun snack!

Plus, 100 Days of Real Food wrote a post with 85 yummy snacks!  Check them out, plus, all of the other super-useful posts!!

COMING SOON!  Dark Chocolate made at home and Meal Timing!

COMMENTS: What are your favorite snacks?  What do you want to get recipes for, or learn about?  If you like what you see here on, "like" the FB page to tell a friend, or just TELL a friend!  THANKS!


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