Pass on the Table Salt 

Much talk has happened recently regarding salt. We’ve probably all grown up with a salt shaker on the table, that probably contained something called Morton Ionized Table Salt. As you got older, you mostly likely heard in your high school health classes that salt is deterimental to your cardiac health. You might of even seen your parents use Mrs. Dash on their food in attempts to use less salt when flavoring their food. When I worked in the hospital I remember countless times bringing a patient their meal tray with Mrs. Dash packets instead of salt. So it’s no mystery that although salt is necessary in our diet, it needs to be limited. Salt can contribute to water weight and high blood pressure creating potential problems and harming our health. But is all salt one in the same? Does all salt harm our health in the same way traditional table salt can?

If you’ve been to the grocery store to buy salt in the last year you’ve probably seen more than just one option. On the shelves are Sea Salt, Pyramid Salt, Black salt, Himalayan pink salt, Keltic salt, Real salt…etc. As creatures of habit, most of us probably pick what we know unless there was a reason to try something new. Hard to take chances with something like salt, it is necessary to flavor so many of our meals. Can’t eat popcorn without it!

I’ve been using Himalayan Pink salt for a few years and completely love it! It is relatively inexpensive, tastes just like the table salt that I’m used to, and it is a pretty color. I switched to this salt after hearing the lack of nutrient value table salt offers compared to other less refined salts. So let’s talk Himalayan salt benefits…

Minerals are an important part of our health. Himalayan pink salt contains 84 minerals and trace elements. The body needs minerals and trace elements to operate properly and provide balance. Table salt falls short, it consist mainly of sodium chloride and chemicals like anti-caking agents to allow salt to flow smoothly out of a shaker. Himalayan pink salt also contains less sodium than traditional table salt, which can be helpful to those who need to limit sodium intake.

According to a clinical study, Himalayan Pink salt provided benefit in “normalizing of mineralization in the human body” and was “effective in helping to stabilize pH and Oxidative Stress numbers in the human body.”

One theory claims that a proper pH balance (more alkaline) is a way of fighting disease. Supporters of this theory believe that acidity is the mother of all diseases and that we can reduce acidity in the body and promote our health when we consume alkalizing foods. Himalayan pink salt is a food that promotes an alkaline environment in the body.

According to an article on globalhealingcenter.com, Himalayan pink salt offers benefits such as decreasing signs of aging, promoting bodily water levels, aiding in respiratory and sinus function, aiding in proper sleep, promoting bone health, and stabliizing blood sugar. I’ve never heard of table salt making such claims!

But there is one good thing about traditional table salt. It has added iodine. The government added iodine to promote health. One health benefit is it decreases the number of thyroid issue i.e. Goiters, an enlarged thyroid. But since I don’t have table salt in my home, I have to make sure my family and I consume iodine in another fashion. Sea weed is one food that is high in iodine. Since it’s not likely that my husband will ever let any sea weed near his mouth, I buy Braggs Sea Kelp delight. This seasoning is high in iodine and has a mild flavor. I add it to pastas, soups and salads often.

Now go on, go flavor your food with some Himalayan pink salt and add some minerals along with color and flavor to your plate!

 

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Quinoa Enchilidas

This recipe is for those who love quinoa, and also those who love Enchilidas! This dish is a healthier spin on the traditional Mexican dish we all love. My sister introduced me to the idea of quinoa casseroles with sweet potatoes. I don’t love sweet potatoes, but in this recipe I think they make all the difference. These Enchilidas are fun because it’s only a few ingredients, it’s filling, healthy, and tasty. My picky husband approved! (Win!)

To start, wash sweet potatoes under warm water and poke multiple times with a fork. Instead of wrapping individually with tin foil, place on a cookie sheet and cover the cookie sheet with tin foil. Aren’t sweet potatoes so beautiful…?

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Place two sweet potatoes in oven and cook for 45-60 minutes at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweet potatoes are done when they can be easily pierced with a fork. I cooked three because I was making one for my 6 month old son, can you tell which one is for him 🙂 It was his first time trying sweet potatoes and he loved it!

While potatoes are in the oven rinse, cook two cups of quinoa on the stove top. Bring quinoa and 4 cups of water to a boil and then reduce heat to medium until all the water has diminished and the outer rings appear on the individual grains. Once cooked, remove from heat and add approximately one Tbs of coconut oil to give quinoa a softer texture.

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In an 8×8 casserole dish dip five corn tortillas in 8 ounces of your favorite enchilada sauce. I use frontera brand. Let sit while sweet potatoes continue baking to allow sauce to soften tortillas.

Once sweet potatoes are done, cut open long ways and mash insides with a fork, place insides in a separate bowl with cooked quinoa. Combine potatoes and quinoa together, mix well- you don’t want any sweet potato chunk. A this point you should have a even texture throughout….Kind of looks like cookie dough!

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Add a dash or two of salt to quinoa mixture. The great thing about combining quinoa with sweet potatoes is that it softens and sweetens the quinoa but, doesn’t add a strong sweet potato flavor.

In your 8×8 dish fill soaked tortillas with quinoa mix, corn, black beans, and onion. Once sufficiently loaded, roll tortillas closed and repeat with all five tortillas

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Once all have been stuffed and rolled then squeeze half a lime onto tortilla tops. At this point you’ll probably have some tortilla stuffing ingredient left over. Place left over beans, corn, onion, and quinoa mix on top of tortillas and pat down. We’re trying to get the most bang for our buck here, or yummy food per serving. Add remaining 8 ounces of enchilada sauce to top of dish and place in oven.

Cook enchiladas at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes, just until dish is heated through. My sauce was spilling over… I do love sauce! image

Once your timer goes off your dish is now ready, hooray! Serve with favorite salsa, Perfect Guacamole or both! Enjoy!

 

Ingredients

  • 2 Sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 16 ounces enchilada sauce
  • 5 corn tortillas
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1/2 lime
  • salt to taste

How To

Begin with baking sweet potatoes. I washed and poked with holes then placed on a tin foil covered cookie sheet. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 45-60 minutes, until inside is soft. While sweet potatoes are baking begin cooking quinoa. Place 2 cups of quinoa and 4 cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil, once boiling reduce to medium heat and continue to cook until water is gone. Mix in coconut oil, remove from heat and set aside.

Place five corn tortillas in the 8×8 casserole dish you’re going to use later and cover with 8 ounces of enchilada sauce. Let soak while sweet potatoes are baking. Once sweet potatoes are ready cut in half long ways and place soft insides in a separate bowl with cooked quinoa. Mix and mash until completely mixed. You should have a soft even texture.

Now it’s time to stuff your tortillas, open tortilla and place quinoa mix, corn, beans, and onion inside then roll tortillas in a traditional enchilada fashion. Once you’ve completely stuffed and rolled all five tortillas squeeze half a lime onto dish.

With the remaining tortilla stuffing ingredients place on top of tortillas and pat down.  Pour remaining sauce on dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes, just until dish is heater throughout. You beautiful enchiladas are now ready to be serve, serve with favorite salsa, Perfect Guacamole or both! Enjoy!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 40 minutes 

Enjoyers: 5-6 

 

Veggie & Bean Soup 

When it’s cold outside, there isn’t anything much better than a warm bowl of soup to get you through winter nights. Soup hasn’t been one of my favorite meals for long, I used to be disappointed whenever I ate it because I never felt full. This colorful dish is packed with protein and veggies, it’s healthy, harty, and delicious! There is something so satisfying about taking 8 plus fresh ingredients and making a beautiful dish from scratch, that also happens to be tasty; so get to it!


Ingredients

  • 32 ounces of vegetable broth
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of great northern beans
  • Half a yellow onion
  • 2 cups of kale
  • 1-2 zucchini
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1/2 cup of Parsley
  • 2 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1/2 Tbs oregano
  • 1/2 Tbs  basil
  • 1/2 Tbs of Braggs sea kelp delight (for nutrition)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How To 

Chop, chop, chop all veggies and place in crock pot. Add in drained and rinse beans and spices. Now add vegetable broth and stir. Set crock pot to high for three hours or low for five. Stir occasionally to integrate spices evenly into soup. Yep, it’s that easy! Serve, sip and enjoy!

Prep time: 2o minutes 

Cook time 3-5 hours 

Enjoyers: approximately 6 

Garlic Potato & Chipotle Black Bean Tacos

If I had to pick only one genre of food to eat for the rest of my life it’d probably be…Mexican. My husband and I have spent many days in Mexico working at a church our home church in California is affiliated with. One of the highlights of our trip, other than serving the people, would be the food! Is there anything better than an authentic street taco? Sadly, I’m sensitive to gluten and dairy (I know, lucky me). My food problems can keep me from enjoying some of my favorite, so I’m happy when I can create a Mexican inspired dish that doesn’t make me sick.

Chipotle and garlic don’t normally go hand in hand in my mind, but in these tacos they compliment each other perfectly. These tacos are healthy, juicy, and muy rico!

Start by washing, skinning, and chopping three russet potatoes and place in a separate bowl. I try to chop potatoes into smaller bite size pieces. Once in a bowl, top with salt to taste and three cloves of minced garlic. (After this step, I let the bowl sit on the counter for one hour because I wasn’t ready to bake. Consequently, some pieces turned brown. This was okay because it was just a product of the potatoes being exposed to oxygen).

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Place potatoes on a cookie sheet covered with path net paper and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. Check occasionally to assure potatoes don’t get overcooked.

While your beautiful garlic potatoes are going from ivory to golden brown, take a break until your timer reads 15-20 minutes left.

Now that your potatoes are nearing their end in the oven, turn your attention to the stove. Place a large skillet over medium heat and dump bag of spinach. Turn spinach with a utensil until spinach becomes soft. Once soft, empty one can of drained black beans into pan and mix together. Once warmed pour 8 ounces of your favorite chipotle sauce over the beans and spinach and mix together. Keep skillet over low heat for about ten minutes to let the flavors marinate!

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Your yummy juicy, crunchy tacos are now ready to be served. On a corn tortilla fill with potatoes and top with chipotle mixture. Tacos are tasty as is or topped with Perfect Guacamole. Go eat and enjoy!

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Ingredients

  • 3 Russet potatoes chopped into bite size cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • salt to taste
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 bag of spinach
  • Favorite Chipotle sauce (I use Frontera)
  • Corn tortillas

How To

Wash and peel potatoes then chop into cubes. Place all potato cubes into bowl, add minced garlic, salt and stir together. Place potatoes on top of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour. Check potatoes occasionally to make sure they reach desired level of crispness. Depending on size of cubes might need more or less than an hour.

In a skillet, heat spinach and drained beans over medium heat. Once spinach softens add chipotle sauce and let simmer for approximatly ten minutes. Your tacos are now ready to eat. Place cooked potatoes in warm tortilla and top with chipotle mix. Serve with Perfect Guacamole! Enjoy!

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 1 hour, 20 minutes 

Enjoyers: 4

Elderberry, The Sniffle Cure?

Not sure about you, but for me it seems recently that everyone I know is under the weather. Their symptoms are congestion, headaches, runny noses, sore throats, coughing, etc. I’m sure you’ve tried to steer clear of these people but, what happens when you can’t? What happens when, even though you take vitamin C and use hand sanitizer, someone sneezes near you? Will the germ still wins? Is there more one can do to help speed up the road to recovery? There might be!

Elderberry is a flowering shrub that grows well in the United States and Canada. It has been used for centuries to help cure those with colds. According to an article in the Journal of Dietary Supplements, research revealed that patients who had exhibited influenza (flu) symptoms found relief from their illness in less than half the time. That sounds pretty great to me! The power to promote healing in elderberry juice comes from Bioflavnoids and other proteins which inhibit the illness from infecting the host.

This berry has a strong power which promotes our immune system and is even being used for treatments beyond the cold and flu. According to Herbwisdom.com it is used in treatment for cancer and HIV patients. As a bonus, this berry can go beyond strengthening our immune system; research also supports that this plant has promise in lowering cholesterol and improving vision!
As you can see this wonderful berry has many strong health benefits and can be helpful with these pesky winter germs.

Disclaimer: You should never eat elderberries in any form other than food grade supplements that can be found on a grocery store shelf. When not prepared properly berries can be poisonous. Buy from a reliable source.

 

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Perfect Guacamole

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One of my all time favorite lunches! Yep you heard it, I sometimes make guacamole as my main dish for lunch. I will also make it in the morning, for an afternoon snack, late night snack, side with dinner… You get the picture.

Having ready to eat avocados in our home is a must! You can make guac in many different ways and some of them are are not so good. I can tell you from experience it’s a bad day when things go south. But, thankfully, I’ve mastered a guac recipe that I’m excited to share with the world. It’s simple, yet perfect!

Ingredients

2 ripe organic avocados

one half of a lime (lemon will do as well)

1-2 cloves of minced garlic (3 if small)

about seven cherry tomatoes

salt to taste (I use aproximately 2-3 tsp of Himalayan pink salt)

How to 

To start, peel avocados rather than cut, this way you don’t lose some of the greener part of the avocado that is sometimes hard to get when you scoop with a spoon. The greenest part of the avocado has the most antioxidants, let’s make sure to eat it!

Once avocados are peeled and placed in bowl- mash, mash, mash. Once mashed add lime, garlic, tomatoes, and salt.

Scoop with favorite chips and enjoy!

prep time: 5 minutes 

Enjoyers: 2-4