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Thursday, December 21, 2017




The oat (Avena sativa) is a member of the grass family of plants sometimes called the "common oat".Oats are suitable for human consumption as oatmeal and rolled oats.  Oats are a nutrient rich food associated with lower blood cholesterol when consumed regularly
Oatmeal is made of hulled oat grains - groats - that have been either milled (ground), steel-cut, or rolled.  Ground oats are also called "white oats".  Steel-cut oats are known as "coarse oatmeal" or "Irish oatmeal" or "pinhead oats". Rolled oats can be either thin or thick and may be called "old fashioned", "quick" or "instant".
The oat grains are dehusked by impact, then heated and cooled to stabilized the oat groats - the seed inside the husk.  The process of heating produces a nutty flavor in the oats,  These oat groats may be milled to produce fine, medium, or coarse oatmeal.  Steel-cut oats may be small and contain broken groats from the dehusking process (these bits may be steamed and flattened to produce smaller rolled oats.)  Both types of rolled oats may be eaten uncooked as in muesli, or may be cooked with water to make porridge.  Rolled oats are steamed and flattened whole oat groats.  Old fashioned oats can be thick and take a while to boil into a porridge.  Quick-cooking rolled oats are cut into smaller pieces before being steamed and rolled.  Instant oatmeal is precooked and dried often with a sweetener such as sugar or flavoring.


Ancestral wild oats are believed to have multiple centers of origin including one center in Southwestern Asia, as well as a center in the general area of the Mediterranean Sea.  As a family of plants, grasses (including  oats) evolved ten's of millions of years ago.  As a cultivated food, the planting of oats still goes back in time several thousand years.  
Today the Russian Federation remains the world's largest producer of oats with Canada coming in second.  Oats are grown throughout Europe and the Middle East.  Oats are also grown in the United States and Australia, and also in parts of South America and Mexico. 


Unenriched oatmeal cooked by boiling or microwave is 84% water, and contains 12% carbohydrates, including 2% dietary fiber (7.5 grams) and 2% each of protein and fat.  In a 100 gram serving cooked oatmeal cooked oatmeal contains 17 calories and 29% of the Daily Value for manganese and moderate amounts of phosphorus and zinc.  In the phytonutrient category oats provide valuable amounts of beta-glucan and saponins.

Health Benefits:

Consuming oat bran or whole rolled oats can lower the risk of heart disease when combined with a low fat diet via the effect of oat beta glucan to reduce levels of blood cholesterol.    Oatmeal has proven ability to curb bad (LDL) cholesterol due to a type of fiber called beta-glucan.  The fiber in oatmeal helps you feel full and eat less later on during the day.  Fiber also eases constipation and helps control blood sugars.  Both oats and oatmeal may provide digestive benefits in connection with their ability to increase the viscosity of our digestive tracts.  Viscosity refers to the thickness of the contents and their likelihood to flow too quickly or too slowly through the digestive tract..  Intake of oats and oatmeal has been associated witah optimal levels of viscosity in which it becomes easier for food to pass through our upper digestive tract and improve our blood sugar regulation.  Healthy passage of oats through the digestive tract has also been associated with an increased feeling of fullness.  Smaller waist circumference, lower body mass index (BMI), and decreased risk of metabolic syndrome in adults has been associated with oatmeal intake.  The beta-glucan found in oats helps prevent abrupt increase in blood sugar levels after consumption.  Intake of oats and oatmeal has been shown to improve post-prandial blood sugar and insulin levels and also healthy levels of A1c.

Selecting and Storing Oats:

 Buy small quantities of oats at one time, since this grain has a slightly higher fat content than other grains and will go rancid more quickly.  Oats are generally available in prepackaged containers and bulk bins.  If buying from a bulk bin make sure the bins are covered, free from debris and that the store has a good turnover to insure the store has a good turnover to insure maximum freshness.  Smell the oats to make sure they are fresh.  When purchasing oats in bulk or packaged containers, make sure there is no evidence of moisture.  
Store oat in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark place where they will keep for approximately two months.  It buying prepared oatmeal products check the ingredients to insure the product does not contain any salt, sugar, or other additives.  

So, eat up.  Oats are good for you.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Celery Seed

Celery Seed:


 Celery seed is the dried fruit (seed) of Apium graveolens L.  The light brown seeds have a characteristic aroma and warm bitter taste.  Celery seed is the dried fruit (seed) of a wild variety of celery called "smallage" which grows to a height of about 18 inches.  It is not derived from the vegetable of the same name. 

Celery seeds and its oil have been used for thousands of years in the treatment of many ailments. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, calming , and diuretic activity.
It has been used to treat the following problems and conditions:
  • Stomach and digestive issues such as dyspeptic/poor digestion, irregular bowel movements (IBS) , loss of appetite, flatulence.
  • Water retention
  • Arthritis/gout
  • Joint pains
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hysteria and nervousness
  • Exhaustion
  • Insomnia
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI).
  • Hypertension
  • Low libido
  • Menstrual problems.

Usage  Tips:

  • Use in making pickles
  • Add to cole slaw, potato salad, macaroni salad, egg salad, and fruit salad dressing.
  • Use in meat loaf, salmon loaf, and chicken dishes
  1. Beware that celery seed has a very strong taste.  Treat it like a highly concentrated celery.
  2. Use celery seeds in vegetable dishes and sauces.  Give these dishes a touch of celery flavor with the addition of just a few seeds.
  3. Use celery seeds in pickles, mustard, and chutney.  Toss in a few seeds when preparing the pickles or chutney.
  4. Use celery seed in homemade bread or bread rolls.  Use it both to decorate and flavor the bread.
  5. Add to soups and stews.  The celery seeds will give an oomph of celery flavor.  Try them sprinkled over thick soups such as chowder.
  6. Add to fish dishes.  For a strong flavored fish celery seeds can make an interesting tasty addition to the marinade or poaching sauce.
  7. Sprinkle over sandwich fillings to give them a strong flavor. 
  8. Make Celery seed tea by pouring one cup of boiling water over one teaspoon of freshly crushed celery seeds.  Steep for 10 = 20 minutes, strain and drink.

Health Benefits:

  1. Celery seeds have cancer fighting ability.  They contain tumor fighting polyacetylenes and phthalides
  2. They help manage blood pressure.
  3. They protect against  and reverse the bad effects of acetaminophen on the liver.  Daily consumption of celery seed helps balance the harmful effects on the liver.  
  4. Celery seeds have the ability to reduce cholesterol levels and are used to cure circulatory system problems.
  5.   Celery seeds contain flavanoids, linoleic acid, coumarins, and several volatile oils which are helpful ion curing many diseases.
  6. Celery sees have anti-inflammatory agents which with daily consumption help in treating pain and inflammation of the joints and help in curing inflammation related to gout, rheumatism, and arthritis.
  7. Celery seeds stimulate the uterus and help in easing muscle spasms especially related to the female reproductive system.
  8. Celery seeds are diuretic and cause excess urination which helps to flush out toxins with extra water host importantly uric acid along with the urine.
  9. Celery seeds are recommended for people with kidney stones, water retention , and gout.  Celery seeds do not permit extra accumulation of uric acid and fluids.
  10. Celery seeds are antibiotic and antiseptic in nature.  They are essential in curing infections of the urinary tract.
So, that's the info about Celery seed. 

Eat up.  Enjoy.  Get Healthy!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tofu or Not Tofu



Tofu is also known as bean curd.  It is made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into a soft whi8te block.  It is an ingredient in East Asian and Southeast Asian cuisine.   Tofu can be soft, firm, or extra firm.  It has a subtle flavor and can be used in savory and sweet dishes.  It is often seasoned or marinated to suit a dish. 
The production of tofu essentially consists of :
1.  Preparation of soy milk;
2.  Coagulation of soy milk to form curds;
3.  Pressing the soybean curds to form cakes.

In Asian cooking tofu is eaten raw, stewed, stir fried, in soup, cooked in sauce, or stuffed with fillings.  Using tofu as a meat substitute is uncommon in East Asia. 


Tofu making was first recorded during the Chinese Han dynasty some 2000 years ago.  Its production techniques were introduced into Korea and then Japan.  Ben Franklin was the first American to mention tofu in a 1770 letter to John Bartram. 


Tofu has a low calorie count and relatively large amount of protein.  It is high in iron and can have high calcium or magnesium content depending on the coagulants used in its manufacture.

A 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of tofu contains:

Protein:  8 grams
Carbs:  2 grams
Fiber:  1 gram
Fat:  4 grams
Manganese:  31% of the RDI
Calcium:  20% of the RDI
Selenium:  14% of the RDI
Phosphorus:  12% of the RDI
Copper:  11% of the RDI
Iron:  9% of the RDI
Zinc:  6% of the RDI

70 calories.

Health Benefits:

Many of the health benefits of tofu are attributed to the high isoflavone content.  Isoflavones are natural plant compounds found in soybeans.  The 2 main isoflavones in soy are genistein and daidzein. 
 Research indicates that soy has a  protective effect against breast, digestive, and prostate cancers .

Potential Health Benefits of Tofu Due to high isoflavone content
Bone health:  80mg of soy isoflavones per day may reduce bone loss especially in early menopause.
Brain Function = soy isoflavones may have a positive influence on memory and brain function, especially in women over 65.
Skin Elasticity - taking 40 mg of soy isoflavones per day significantly reduces wrinkles and improves skin elasticity.

Tofu may reduce the risk of Heart Disease:
Research has shown that high intake of legumes, including  soy, is linked to lower rates of heart disease.  We know that soy isoflavones can reduce blood vessel inflammation and improve their elasticity.
One study fouynd that supplementing with 80 mg of isoflavones per day for 12 weeks improved blood flow by 68% in patients who are at risk of stroke.
Taking 50 grams of soy protein per day is associated with improved blood fats and estimated 10% lower risk of heart disease.
In post menopausal women high soy isoflavone intake was linked to several 


Tofu can be purchased in bulk or individual packages, refrigerated or non-refrigerated.
You can also find dehydrated, freeze dried,jarred or canned tofu.

Generally, not a lot of processing is necessary to make tofu, so choose varieties with short nutrition labels. 

Once opened tofu blocks need to be rinsed before being used.      

Tofu can be frozen, in its original package for up to 5 months.

Contra Tofu:

According to Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of "The Whole Soy Story" soy is not a health food, does not prevent disease, and has not even been proven safe.   Numerous scientific studies link soy to digestive troubles, malnutrition, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders as well as heart disease and cancer. 

Dr Josh Axe, nutritional guru and blogger lists 8 Reasons to Not Eat Tofu

  1. Genetic Modification:  Today at least 90% of all soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified and GMO foods are linked to so many health problems, because they kill off good bacteria in your gut and damage the working of your digestive system
  2. Phytoestrogens and Breast Cancer:  tofu contains phytoestrogens that have an estrogen - like effect on the body which blocks normal estrogen production and have been linked to breast cancer.
  3. Thyroid Disruption:  Goitrogens that are in soy products are thyroid hormone blockers that can interfere with thyroid hormone production and cause hypothyroidism.
  4. Antimutrients:  Soy products like tofu contain several antinutrients that can lead to leaky gut, gas, kidney stoines, vulvodynia, malnutrition, poor protein digestion, poor growth, digestive distress, pancreatitis, and nutrient deficiencies.
  5. Cognitive Problems:  soy tofu has been linked with dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
  6. Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D Deficiencies:  tofu contains B12 analogs that stimulate vitamin B12 but can't be used by the body the way it uses real B12 while soy foods increase your vitamin D requirements which means eating tofu can make a vitamin D deficiency even worse.
  7. Digestive Difficulty:  Most people lack the enzymes to digest the unfermented soy food which causes indigestion, gas, bloating, and other gastrointestinal issues.
  8. Potential Heart Issues:  Research on animals has shown that a soy rich diet can potentially have a profound negative effect on heart health.

Good Tofu Alternatives:

  • Fermented soy superfood
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals
  • Contains good bacteria and nattokinase which produces vitamin K
  • Made from fermented soybeans 
  • Uses whole soybeans, giving it high protein, vitamin and mineral content.
  • Reduces cholesterol
  • Increases bone density
  • Reduces menopausal symptoms
  • Promotes muscle recovery.

So..... Eat up.  Enjoy.  I'll show you how.

Serving Ideas for Tofu:

  • Blend together soft tofu , olive oil, garlic and lemon juice to make a tofu aoli dip
  • Scramble soft tofu together with your favoritevegetables and the spice turmeric to give it a yellow egg-like color.  Thisdelicious dish can be served as is or can be used as a basis for tofu rancheros by being wrapped in a tortilla and served with black beans and salsa.
  • Stior fry firm tofu with your favorite vegetables and seasonings. 
  • Blend soft tofu with your favorite fruits (and honey or other natural sweetner) and blend  .  Serve fora breakfast or dessert. 
  • Add cubes of tofu to miso soup. 

Friday, September 8, 2017



Honey is a sweet viscous food substance produced by bees and some related insects.  Bees produce honey from the sugary secretions of plants(floral nectar) or other insects through regurgitation, enzymatic activity and water evaporation, and store it in wax structures called honeycombs,  Honey is collected from wild bee colonies, or from hives of domesticated bees, by a practice known as beekeeping. 
Honey gets it sweetness from mono saccharides and glucose, and has about the same relative sweetness as granulated sugar.  Most micro=organisms do not grow in honey, so sealed honey does not spoil even after thousands of years.  Honey contains 64 calories in a typical serving of 1 tablespoon.  It has no significant nutritional value.  
 As of 2014, the world's largest producer of honey was China, followed by Turkey and third the U.S. 


Honey use and production have a long and varied history as an ancient activity as depicted by a cave painting of humans foraging  for honey at least 8000 years ago in Valencia, Spain. Over its history  as a food the main uses of honey are in cooking, baking, desserts, as a spread on bread and as an addition to various beverages such as tea and as a sweetener in some commercial beverages.  Honey barbecue and honey mustard are other common flavors used in sauces.

Shelf life:

The shelf life of honey is due to an enzyme found in the stomach of bees.  Glucose oxidase is mixed by the bees with nectar previously consumed by the bees which creates two by-products: glucosic acid and hydrogen peroxide which are responsible for honey's acidity and ability to suppress bacterial growth.  

Characteristics of Honey:

Most commercially available honey is blended , meaning it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density, or geographic origin.   Adulteration of honey is the addition of other sugars, syrups, or compounds to change its flavor or viscosity, make it cheaper to produce, or increase the fructose content to stave off crystallization.  In the US according to the National Honey Board which is overseen by the USDA,' honey' stipulates a pure product that does not allow for the addition of any other substance including water or other sweeteners.
Most commercially available honey in blended, mean it is a mixture of two or more honeys differing in floral source, color, flavor, density or geographic origin.  
Mono floral honey is made primarily from the nectar of one type of flower.  Different mono floral honeys have a  distinctive flavor and color because of differences between their principle nectar sources.  Typical examples of North  American mono floral honeys are clover, orange blossom, blueberry sage, tupelo, buckwheat, fire weed, mesquite and sour wood. 

Indications of Quality:

High quality honey can be distinguished by fragrance, taste, and consistency.  Ripe, freshly collected high-quality honey at 68 degrees F. should flow from a knife in  a straight stream without beading into separate drops.  After falling down the honey should form into a bead.  In jars fresh honey appear as a pure consistent fluid and should not set into layers. 

A 1980 study found that mixed floral honey from several U.S. regions typically contains:
Higher sugars.....01.5%
Other undetermined... 03.2%

Classification by Packaging and Processing:

Crystallized honey: when glucose has spontaneously crystallized from solution.  Also called                                               granulated homey, can be returned to liquid by warming.
Pasteurized honey: heated in a pasteurization process (161 degrees F.) Heat affects appearance                                              (darkens), taste, and fragrance.
Raw honey:   As it exists in the beehive or as obtained by extraction, setting, or straining without                           adding heat.  Raw honey contains some pollen and may contain small particles of wax.
Strained honey: has been passed through a mesh to remove particulate material.
Filtered honey:  filtered to the extent that all or most of the fine particles, pollen, grains, air bubbles,                             or other materials have been removed.
Creamed honey: also called whipped honey, spun honey, churned honey or, honey fondant has been                              processed to control crystallization.
Comb honey: is still in the honeybee's wax comb.

Grades of \Honey:

In the U.S. honey grading is done voluntarily.  Honey is graded on the basis of many factors including water content, flavor and aroma, absence of defects and clarity.  Honey is also graded on the basis of color, though it is not a factor on the grading scale.
Honey is graded A, B, or C. 
 A - is for good normal flavor and aroma, free from caramelized flavor or objectionable flavors from fermentation, smoke, chemicals or other causes.  
B - is for reasonably good flavor and aroma . practically free from caramelized flavor.
C - is for fairly good flavor and aroma , and reasonably free from caramelized flavor.

Medical Uses:

Research into medical uses for honey is ongoing, particularly because of antimicrobial resistance to modern antibiotics.

Wounds and burns - to help healing.

Coughs - for chronic and acute coughs

Other - Honey is useful in controlling side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Consumption of honey is sometimes advocated as a treatment for seasonal allergies due to pollen.
Honey contains an antimicrobial peptide effective for certain antibiotic resistant microbes.  Honey has both anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.


  • Natural Energy Booster
  • Immunity System Booster
  • Brain Booster 
  • Remedy for Ailments: cuts and burns, hangovers, sore throats, sleeplessness

Ways to Incorporate Honey in your Diet:

  1. Use honey to sweeten your dressings and marinades
  2. Stir honey into coffee or tea
  3. Drizzle honey on top of toast or pancakes
  4. Mix honey into yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal
  5. Spread raw honey onto wheat toast and cover with peanut butter.

Eat up.  Enjoy.  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good...........

Baked Honey Mustard Chicken:

6   Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. prepared mustard
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp dried parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F,
Sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place into a 9 in x 13 in baking dish.
In a small bowl combine honey, mustard, basil, paprika, and parsley.  Mix well.  
Pour half of this mixture over the chicken and brush to cover.  Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Turn chicken pieces over and brush with remaining honey mustard mixture.  Bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and the juices run clear.  
Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. 


Thursday, August 10, 2017




The pistachio (Pistacia vera) which is amember of the cashew family, is a small tree originating in Central Asia and the Mi9ddle East.  The tree produces seeds which are widely consumed as food.  The word pistachio is from the Medieval Italian "pistaccio".   Pistachio is a desert plant and is highly tolerant of saline soil.   It is reported to growwell when irrigated.  Pistachio trees are fairly hardy in the right conditions.  The shell of the pistachio is a beige color, but it is sometimes dyed red or green commercially.  Originally, dye was applied by importers to hide stains from when the seeds were picked by hand.  Today most pistachios are picked by machine.  Pistacahio nuts have been a symbol of wellnes and robust health since ancient times.  Pistachio tree are planated in orchards, and take approximately 7 to 10 years to reach significant production.  The world's largest producer of pistachios is Iran, followe4d by the U.S., Turkey and China.


Pistachios were a common food as early as 6750 BC.  The pistachio was one of the trees unique to Syria which was introduced into Italy by a Roman Proconsul and at the same time to Hispania.  The modern pistachio was first cultivated in Bronze Age Central Asia.  Remains of the Atlantic pistachio and the pistachio seed along with nut cracking tool were found in ancient Israel..  Pistachios have been commercially cultivaterd more reently in maqnay parts of the English speaking world in Australia and in the U.S. in California and New Mexico where it was introduced as a garden tree in 1854. 
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My Story:

My first memory of pistachios was as a kid in Brooklyn.  They were sold in vending machines and for a penny you could turn the key and get a handful of red pistachio.  That was in the old days when pistachios were picked by hand and the red dye was added to cover up any stains on the natural beige shell.  You would eat the pistachios and your hands would be red from tahe dye.    There was a story that one of the kids in the neighborhood knew how to use a bobby pin and get his penny back and a double size portions of the nuts.  I don't know if it was true but it was a good story.  There was also a soft ice ream stand next to Nathans Famous Hot Dogs in Coney Island that had green colored pistachio flavored soft ice cream.  Delicious!

Uses of Pistachios:

The kernels are often eaten whole either fresh or roasted  and salted.  Pistachio is a popular flavoring for ice cream and is used in kulfi, spumoni,  and historically in Neopolitan ice ceam.  Pistachios are used to make pistachio butter, pistachio paste, and confections such as baklava, pistachio chocolate, halvah, lokum, or biscotti and in cold cuts such as mortadella.  Americans make pistachio salad which includes fresh pistachios or pistachio pudding whipped cream and canned fruit .  Roasted andf crushed kernels can be sprinkled over salads, desserts, sundaes and other ice cream preparations, biscuits, sweets and cakes.  Split pistachios are a great addition to vegetable or fruit salads.  Pistachiop oil extracted is one of the healthiest cooking oils.  It has a pleasant nutty aroma and possessesexcellent emollient properties.  It helps the skin protected from dryness.  It is also employed as a carrier or base oil in traditional medicines in massage therapy, aroma therapy, and in the pharmeceutical and cosmetic industries.


In a 100 gram serving of pistachios they provide 562 calories and are a rich source (20% or more of  Daily Value) of protein, dietary fiber, dietary minerals and B vitamins, thiamin, and especially vitamin B6.  Pistachios are a good sourve (10 - 19% DV) of calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B5, folate, vitamin E and vitamin K.

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Health Benefits:

Regular consumption of pistachios (a handful a day) in the diet may help lowering total as well as LDL Cholesterol levels and increase good HDL Cholesterol  in the blood.  They compose proper amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids like oleic acid and antioxidants which can help reduce coronary artery disease and stroke risk by favoring a healthy blood lipid profile.  Pista kernels are a rich source of many antioxidant phytochemical substances such as carotenes, vitamin E and polyphenolic antioxidant compounds.  These compounds may help remove toxic free radicals from the body and protect it from diseases, cancers and infections.   Pistachios are an excellent source of vitamin E which iS a potent lipid-soluble essential for maintaining the integrity of mucosa and skin.  Vitamin E also works as a scavenger of harmful free-oxygen radicals.  Pistachios are a good source of protein helpful for before or after a workout.


Pistachios are available year round in the grocery store.  They are found shelled, whole (in the shell) roasted, salted, and sweetened or flavored. 

Selecting and Storing:

Look for unshelled (with intact outer coat) whole nuts rather than processed.  They are generally available in airtight packs and bulk bins.  Look for healthy compactuniform off-white unshelled nuts that feel heavy in hand.  They should be free from cracks other than the natural split, mold, spots and rancid smell.
Raw unshelled pistachios can be placed in a cool dry place for many months.  Shelled kernels should be placed in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator in order to prevent them from turning rancid.

So, eat up, enjoy.  Eat some Pistachios.  They're good for you.

Saturday, July 8, 2017




  Chocolate is a typically sweet usually brown food preparation of "Theobroma cacao" seeds roasted and ground.  It is made into the form of a liquid, paste, or a block, or used as a flavoring ingredient in other foods.  Cocoa solids are a source of flavonoids and alkaloids, such as theobromine phenethylamine and caffeine.  Chocolate also contains anandamide.   Chocolate has become one of the most popular types and flavors in the world. 
The seeds of the cacao have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to develop their flavor.  After fermentation cacao beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted.
The cacao tree is native to Central and South America.  Today it is cultivated around the equator and can be found in the Caribbean, Africa, South East Asia and even in the South Pacific Islands of Samoa and New Guin

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Cacao has been cultivated by many cultures for at least 3 millennia in Mesoamerica.  The earliest evidence of use tracks to the Mokaya (Mexico and Guatemala) with evidence of chocolate beverages dating back to 1900 BCE.  Although cocoa originated in the Americas recent years have seen African nations assuming a leading role in producing cocoa.  
Columbus had taken the cacao bean with him back to Spain, but chocolate had no impact until Spanish friars introduced it to the Spanish court. 



Dark Chocolate: so called because it contains less milk than other chocolates and sometimes no milk at all.  It is made by mixing cocoa solids, fat, and sugar.  Usually  chocolate with a cocoa solid component of 35% or more is deemed dark chocolate.  Because of the lack of milk, dark chocolate is far browner in color.  It is often used in baking and cooking.  Dark chocolate is less sweet and has a higher percentage of cocoa soli9ds with more of a bitter taste.

Milk Chocolate: most  likely the most popular kind of chocolate.  It is made by adding milk, most often milk powder, into the traditional chocolate combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar and frequently vanilla flavoring.

White Chocolate: is a very sweet variety made without using cocoa solids.  White chocolate is a mixture of sugar, milk and cocoa butter.  The absence of cocoa solids and the presence of milk gives it an ivory or yellow rather than brown color.

Unsweetened Chocolate is a term often used interchangeably with baking chocolate.  Unsweetened chocolate is made without the addition of sugar which also makes it very rich and also quite bitter.  Chocolate liquor and fat are the 2 ingredients used to make unsweetened chocolate which is primarily used in baking.

Semisweet Chocolate is technically a kind of dark chocolate.  To qualify as semisweet dark chocolate must contain half as much sugar as it does cocoa solids.

Compound Chocolate: is made by combining cocoa solids with a cocoa butter substitute such as vegetable oil, coconut oil and a variety of other hydrogenated fats.  Compound chocolate is often used as a topping or coating for other confectionery goods because it tends to be cheaper to produce and purchase.

Raw Chocolate: chocolate that has not been processed in any way or mixed with any different ingredients.  It is sold as a healthy alternative to traditional chocolate since it does not include sugar or milk products.

Health Benefits:

The latest research backs up claims that chocolate has cardio=vascular benefits.  In a 9 year study in Sweden of 31,000 women, those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week    cut their risk of heart failoure by as much as one third.  Another big long term study in Germany this year found that about a square of dark chocolate a day lowered blood pressure and reduced the risk of stroke by 39%.  Most of the credit goes to flavonoids and antioxidant compound that increase the flexibility of veins and arteries.  
Chocolate is rich in antioxidants.  Potential benefits of eating chocolate are said to include : lowering cholesterol levels, preventing cognitive decline, and reducing the risk of cardiovascular problems.  Chocolate has been said to cause acne and tooth decay, and has a reputsation for being a fattening, non-nutritious food.  On the other hand chocolate is also known for being an antidepressive to an aphrodisiac.   Most of the bad effects of chocolate have been found to be over-stated of just false.  

So, eat up.  Enjoy.  Have some chocolate.  It's good for you!

Saturday, June 3, 2017




Chia (Salvia hispanica) is a species of flowering plant in the mint family.  The word "chia" translates from the Mayan word for "strength".   Chia seeds are grown and commonly used as food in several countries in western South America, western Mexico and the Southwestern United States.  Typically , chia seeds are small oval and mottle colored with brown, gray, black and white.  The seeds are hydrophilic absorbing  up to 12 times their weight in liquid when soaked.  Chia is a naturally gluten-free grain.  


Chia is native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala.  Chia seeds were one of the staples in Mayan and Aztec diets as early as 3500 B.C.   They were used in these ancient cultures as medicine and food.  They were consumed by warriors to produce strength and stamina.


A 1 ounce serving of chia seeds contains:
  • Fiber...............11 grams
  • Protein............4 grams
  • Fat..................9 grams (5 of omega-3)
  • Calcium,,,,,,,,,,18% RDA
  • Manganese.....30% RDA
  • Phosphorus....27 % RDA
Also contains lesser amounts of Zinc, Vitamin B3,  Potassium,  Vitamin B1 and B2.

Health Benefits:

 Chia seeds are considered a super food because of the variety of valuable nutrients in them that give you so many of the daily nutrients your body needs, like protein, calcium, iron, and magnesium.  Chia is grown commercially for its seeds, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.   Chia seeds are  high in antioxidants which fight production of free radicals which can damage molecules in cells and  contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.  Chia seeds are high in protein and omega-3 fatty acid.  They are rich in valuable amino acids, antioxidants, and flavonoids including chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid, myricetin, quercetin, kaempherol.


Chia seeds can be kept for years because their natural antioxidants prevent deterioration of their important essential oils.

Uses for Chia Seeds:

Chia seeds can be eaten alone or added to smoothies, protein shakes, yogurt, cereal, salads, energy bars, granola bars, tortillas, or bread.   They have a very mild flavor that is slightly nutty, but mostly neutral.  When hydrated or mixed with water they form a clear gel.

So..... East up !  Enjoy !  I'll show you how.

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Saturday, April 29, 2017




The cayenne pepper, also known as Guinea spice, cow horn pepper, red hot chili pepper, aleva, bird pepper or when powered red pepper, is a variety of Capsicum annum, which is related to bell peppers, jalapenos, paprika and  others.   It is named for the city of Cayenne, the capital of French Guiana.  
The fruits of the pepper are generally dried and ground, or pulped and baked into cakes, which are then ground and sifted to make a powdered spice called cayenne.  Cayenne pepper has been used for both food and medicine for the last 9000 years.


Cayenne is a very versatile spice that can be added to everything from fish to eggs, soups, casseroles, tacos, and pasta.

 Cayenne is used in cooking spicy dishes, as a powder or in its whole form or in a thin vinegar-based sauce. The cayenne pepper is generally rated at 30,000 to 50,000 Scoville units, the measure of hotness for peppers.  The green bell measure measures zero.  
Cayenne pepper is also used as an herbal supplement and was mentioned by Nicholas Culpeper in his "Complete Herbal, 1653", as guinea pepper , a misnomer for Guiana.

Cayenne is a popular spice in a variety of cuisines.  It is employed variously in its fresh form, dried and powdered, and as flakes.  It is also a key ingredient in a variety of hot sauces, particularly those employing vinegar as a preservative.  Cayenne pepper is often spread on sandwiches or similar items to add a spicy flavor.

Cayenne pepper nutritional value per tablespoon or 5 grams (DV = Daily Value):

Calories17 kilocaloriesVitamin A44 percent DV
Vitamin C4.0 milligrams (7 percent DV)Vitamin E1.6 milligrams (8 percent DV)
Niacin0.5 milligrams (2 percent DV)Vitamin B60.1 milligrams (6 percent DV)
Calcium, Ca7.8 milligrams (1 percent DV)Iron, Fe0.4 milligrams (2 percent DV)
Magnesium, Mg8.0 milligrams (2 percent DV)Phosphorus, P15.4 milligrams (2 percent DV)
Potassium, K106 milligrams (3 percent DV)Sodium, Na1.6 milligrams (0 percent DV)
Zinc, Zn0.1 milligrams (1 percent DV)Copper0.0 milligrams (1 percent DV)
Manganese0.1 milligrams (5 percent DV)Selenium0.5 micrograms (1 percent DV)


Cayenne pepper by weight is high in vitamin A.  It also contains vitamin B6, vitamin E, vitamin C, riboflavin, potassium, and manganese.  Because of the very small amount of cayenne pepper consumed in a serving, the dietary intake of these nutrients is only negligible. 

Cayenne pepper consumption dilates the blood vessels and speeds the body's metabolism due to high 
amounts of capsaicin, which causes the body to produce heat, which in turn causes the body to lose weight.   This increases blood circulation and blood flow to major organs, facilitatimg oxygen and nutrient delivery.  Capsaicin may support a healthy energy balance while suppressing appetite.  Capsaicin has been shown to increase energy expenditure, so acts as a metabolism booster, and is beneficial in long term weight loss. 

Cayenne pepper is also claimed to be an aphrodisiac, because it contains capsaicin.  It has also been shown to aid oxidation of adipose tissue, regulate high blood pressure, promote healthy liver function and tissue production, help the digestive system, and promote healthy mucus production in the membranes that line the internal organs.  Cayenne pepper is high in flavonoids and carotenoids, giving the spice its red color. 

Health Benefits:

Cayenne pepper produces natural warmth in the body and stimulates peristaltic motion in the intestines aiding assimilation and elimination.  This is one of its prime health benefits.
It regulates blood flow from head to feet, equalizing pressure and influencing arteries, capillaries and nerves. 
 It helps alleviate allergies, muscle cramps, improves digestion, gives more pep and energy and helps wound healing with minimal scar tissue.
It is a counter-irritant bringing blood to the surface and allowing toxins to be taken away. 
Capsaicin supports natural rhythm of the viscera and interior actions of the glandular, circulatory, lymphatic and digestive systems. 
It helps alleviate heartburn
It is powerful in helping the body remove toxins from the blood.
It is good for dyspepsia and flatulence.
It eases a toothache and preserves teeth from rotting     

So..... East up !  Enjoy !  I'll show you how.


Incorporating Cayenne Pepper in Your Diet:  

  • Add cayenne pepper to spice mixtures such as curry and barbecue rub
  • Make homemade dressing using part oil, part vinegar, cayenne pepper and other seasonings.
  • Spice up your marinades by adding cayenne pepper. 

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Monday, March 27, 2017




Flax (Linum Usitatissium) , also known as "common flax" or "linseed", is a food and fiber crop cultivated in cooler regions of the world.  
Canada is the world's largest producer of oilseed flax followed by Russia, France, and Argentina. 
In the U.S. and Canada most commercial flax production involves oilseed varieties of flax in which the seeds will eventually be dried and crushed and used to produce different grades of oil.  Flax seeds are small brown, tan, or golden colored seeds that are the richest source of omega-3 fatty acids known.


Sometime between 4000 and 2000 BC flax cultivation became common practice in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and in regions of the Middle East.  From the very beginning the value of flax was both culinary and domestic since flax could be spun into linen     to provide clothing and other textile related products.  
The earliest evidence of humans using flax was as a textile from the present day Republic of Georgia dating back 30000years.  Evidence exists of a domesticated oilseed flax with increased seed size by 9000 years ago in Syria.  Use of the crop had spread reaching Switzerland and Germany by 5000 years ago.  In China and India domesticated flax was cultivated by at least 5000 years ago.  Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt, where the temple walls had pictures of flowering flax, and mummies were entombed in linen..  Egyptian priests only wore linen as flax was considered a symbol of purity.


Flax is grown for its oil, used as a nutritional supplement, and as an ingredient in many wood finishing products.  Flax is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.  Flax fibers are used to make linen.  Flax fibers are taken from the stem of the plant and are 2 - 3 times as strong as cotton.   Flax is grown on the Canadian prairies for linseed oil which is used as a drying agent in paints and varnishes and in products such as linoleum and printing ink.

Flax seed Benefits:

  1. High in fiber, low in carbs
  2. Healthy skin and hair - can improve symptoms of acne, rosacea, eczema , and dry eye syndrome
  3. Weight loss - full of healthy fat and fiber
  4. Lower cholesterol  also gluten free 
  5. Anti inflammatory
  6. High in antioxidants (Lignans) Lignans are known for their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties
  7. Digestive health
  8. Anti - Cancer - proven fighter of breast, prostate, ovarian, and colon cancers
  9. High in Omega-3 fatty acids
  10. Menopausal symptoms 
2 to 3 tablespoons of flax seeds per day are enough to be beneficial.

Flax seeds are best consumed ground as our bodies cannot digest the seeds whole to access the  nutrients.

Adding Flax seeds in your Diet:

  • Add 1 to 3 TBS to a morning smoothie
  • Mix a TBS in with yogurt and raw honey
  • Bake into muffins, cookies and breads
  • Add to granola
  • Can be mixed with water and used as an egg substitute
  • Sprinkle on hot or cold cereal
  • Sprinkle on vegetables

So..... East up !  Enjoy !  I'll show you how.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017




Quinoa (pronounced: keen - wah) is the common name for Chenopodium quinoa of the flowering plant family Amaranthiceae.  It is grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds.  It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal due to its not being a grass.  Quinoa is closely related to the edible plants beetroot, spinach, and amaranth.
When cooked the nutrient composition is comparable to common cereals like wheat and rice supplying a moderate amount of dietary fiber and minerals.  Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest.  2013 was declared the International Year of Quinoa
There are 3 main types of quinoa: white, red, and black.


Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Columbia,m and Chile.  The Incas, who considered the crop to be sacred called the crop "Mother of all grain."  It was domesticated 3000 to 4000 years ago for human consumption.  It has become increasingly popular in the U.S. , Canada, Europe, Australia, China, and Japan.  Quinoa has become popular in the Jewish community as a substitute for the leavened grains that are forbidden during the Passover.  In 2013 the "Orthodox Union", the world's largest kosher certification agency announced it would begin certifying quinoa as kosher for Passover. 


Quinoa is one of the few plant foods that contain all nine amino acids of protein.  It is also high in fiber, magnesium, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various beneficial antioxidants.  Quinoa is gluten free. 

Health Benefits:

  1.  Protein - 8 grams                                                                                                                              Fiber - 5 grams                                                                                                                                Manganese - 58% RDA                                                                                                                  Magnesium - 30% RDA                                                                                                                  Phosphorus - 28% RDA                                                                                                                  Folate - 19% RDA                                                                                                                            Copper - 18% RDA                                                                                                                          Iron - 15% RDA                                                                                                                              Zinc - 15% RDA                                                                                                                              Potassium - 9% RDA 
           Over 10% Vitamins B1, B2, B6                                                                                                                Small amounts calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E                                                                                  Total 222 calories with 39 grams of carbs and 4 grams fat, and a small amount of omega3                     fatty acids.  No GMO, gluten free.

      2.  Contains the plant compounds quercetin and kaempferol which are flavonoids, which are plant antioxidants that have been shown to have all sorts of beneficial effects on health.  Quercetin and kaempferol have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in animals.

     3.  Quinoa is much higher in fiber than most grains
     4.  Very high in protein with all the essential amino acids  

     5.  Has a low glycemic index , however is relatively high in carbohydrates

     6.  High in important minerals like iron and magnesium

     7.  Has beneficial effects on metabolic health.  Studies found quinoa significantly reduced blood                 sugar, insulin, and triglyceride levels

     8.  Very high in antioxidants

     9.  May help you loose weight because it is high in protein which can increase metabolism and                 reduce appetite.


Put 2 cups of water or broth in a pot.

Add 1 cup raw, rinsed quinoa, with a dash of salt.

Boil for 15 - 20 minutes until water absorbed 


Eating Ideas:

  • Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander.  Season to taste.  eat as a salad. 
  • Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as a breakfast porridge. 
  • Add quinoa to vegetable soup.
  • Use quinoa as a substitute for bulgar wheat when making tabbouleh.

So..... East up !  Enjoy !  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:

Quinoa with Black Beans and Corn

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion chopped
1 tsp olive oil
3/4 cup raw quinoa rinsed with cold water
1 1/2 c vegetable broth 
1 tsp cumin 
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste 
1 c cooked kernel corn 
2 cans black beans drained and rinsed
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat and saute onion and garlic until lightly brown (about 10 
Mix quinoa into onion mixture and cover with broth.  Add cumin,  cayenne, pepper, and salt.  Bring to a boil Cover and  simmer until broth is absorbed (about 20 minutes.
Stir in corn and cook about 5 minutes.  Add black beans and cilantro.. 

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Ugli Fruit

Ugli Fruit:


The ugli fruit is a form of tangelo from Jamaica that was developed by crossing a grapefruit, an orange,  and a tangerine.   The name "ugli" is a variation  of the word "ugly" used do to the fruit's unsightly appearance.  It has a rough, wrinkled, greenish-yellow rind with an orange pulpy citrus inside.  The name "Ugli" is actually a registered trademark of Cabel Hall Citrus Limited, which markets the fruit.  
The light green surface blemishes turn orange at the peak of ripeness.  As a  tangelo the ugli is slightly larger than a grapefruit with fewer seeds.  The flesh is very juicy and tends towards the sweet side of the tangerine rather than the bitter side of the grapefruit with a fragrant rind.  The taste is often described as  more sour than an orange and less bitter than a tangerine.
The Ugli Fruit may also be called Uniq Fruit or Unique Fruit 


The ugli fruit was discovered as an accidental seedling in Brown's Town, Jamaica where it was propagated and exported starting in 1914. 

Health Benefits:

There are only 45 calories in a serving of half of one fruit.  A serving contains 70% of the recommended allowance of vitamin C, which is great for fighting infections and important for the formation of collagen and maintaining artery  elasticity.  The ugli fruit has a good supply of calcium as well as vitamin A  with 8% of your daily fiber needs.  The ugli fruit is cholesterol free and has a low glycemic index.


The Ugli is in season from December to April.  It is distributed in the U.S. and Europe between November and April, and occasionally available from July to September.  

Selecting and Storing:

Choose fruit that is heavy for its size.  Do not be concerned about surface scarring, uneven color, or loose skin.  Smaller fruit tends to be more flavorful, and sweeter.  Check for soft or brown spots and press them with your thumb, if  the skin gives through, the fruit is probably spoiled. 
Store at room temperature and use within 5 days, or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. 

So..... East up !  Enjoy !  I'll show you how.

Simple but Good:

Ugli Fruit Smoothie:

1 ugli fruit peeled and quartered
1 banana 
1/4 cup pineapple juice 
1/4 cup milk 
2 TBS sugar
8 ice cubes

Peel and cut up the ugli fruit.  Peel and slice the banana.  Put the ugli fruit, banana, pineapple juice, milk, and sugar into a blender and blend until smooth.  Add ice and blend again. 
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