Flour Power

I figured if I’m starting a feature called “Savvy Substitutions” and it focuses heavily on baked goods, it might be advisable to explain different types of flour and their ratios in baking compared to the ‘other white stuff.’  Of course you know it begins with whole-grains, and organic whenever possible.  Wheat is one of the most pesticide laden crops in America, so it truly pays to buy the purest product available.  This way you can go right to your pantry when a recipe calls for spelt (a cousin of wheat) or another alternative and know how it might affect the taste and texture of your creation.

Click to continue reading »

Summer is Sprouting

Everything around us is bursting with energy and color.  Are you?  If there is hesitation in that answer, I have a healthful hint that will put a little ‘spring’ in your step.

You’ve probably noticed that sprouts aren’t just for granola crunchers from the old days when so called ‘health food’ tasted like cardboard.  (I should invite them over to persuade them otherwise, and why is poor granola picked on?  That is a staple around here…) ANYway, the process to grow your own sprouts is SO easy, SO healthy and SO economical.  It just takes a few minutes and maybe one trip to the health food store. Click to continue reading »

Mediterranean Guacamole

Guacamole is one of those foods that doesn’t photograph well, but then it doesn’t last long, either.  This dish came about as I was playing with different flavors while trying to expand a classic favorite.  The extra ingredients offer more fiber, protein and texture. Scoop out an avocado and save the shell as a serving dish.  Mix together as follows…

Click to continue reading »

Support Your Local Farmers

Laddie Hall - Long Meadow Ranch

Laddie Hall – Long Meadow Ranch

Most of you know this is my favorite time of year because…our farmers’ markets are open again!  I feel like its Christmas in the Napa valley four times a week.  The bounty of produce is just beginning to bloom, but there are already so many marvelous gems ripe for the picking.  Fresh greens, luscious apricots and cherries, and herbs to cultivate in our own gardens.

How else do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

Click to continue reading »

Salad Bowl to Dust Bowl?

In his first major interview since becoming U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu did not ‘mince’ words with regards to the status of California’s agriculture.  The state is in its third year of drought, which is compounded by higher global temperatures preventing snow accumulation.  That runoff is what feeds our rivers and reservoirs, ultimately leaving our farms high and dry.  With California as a producer of half of all U.S. vegetables, the future of our food chain could be severely impacted by the end of this century. How can we help? Click to continue reading »

Cheaper by the Dozen

Even with a new administration, we are still feeling the squeeze buying every day necessities, especially at the supermarket.  But saving time rarely means saving money – we do pay for convenience.  So when you’re shopping for food, try to plan ahead and get creative with your own recipes for saving your health – and your wallet.

Click to continue reading »

Food Levity

HEALTH QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION

Q: I’ve heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?

A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that’s it… don’t waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that’s like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?

A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. Click to continue reading »

Ch Ch Ch Chia!

Recently I’ve been making the rounds discussing healthy foods for the new year and featuring an item which I use in my everyday diet.  Loaded with Omega 3s, it’s a great alternative to flax seed when I’m short on time to pull out the grinder.

If you missed the ads in the late seventies, I’ve attached a picture of the Chia pet for your viewing pleasure.  (Actually it started out as a ram, but morphed into many other types of animals after breeding:)

What does this have to do with nutrition, you might ask?  An amazing amount as you will see… Click to continue reading »

Correction and Update

One of my faithful readers reminded me that hachiya persimmons are fine to eat raw – they just need to be fully ripened first.  You can determine that when they become mushy on their own – not just from cooking.  The inside flesh becomes jelly-like and can be added to smoothies, cookies, even marinades for chicken or pork.  (Sounds like a recipe is in the works…)

And for those of you who are still searching for the answer to last week’s question about that odd looking fruit – it’s name is atamoya.  It is a hybrid of the sugar apple and the cherimoya, both of which are grown in tropical areas on a limited basis due to the cost of land, but thankfully their popularity is rising.  The atamoya is an incredibly delicious custard-like fruit eaten right out of the ‘shell,’ but only after removing the seeds.  It is high in potassium and magnesium and is often found as a flavor of ice cream.  It’s worth the price of a plane ticket to Hawaii, but then again…that’s not a bad enticement.