Showing posts with label natural ingredient replacements. Show all posts
Showing posts with label natural ingredient replacements. Show all posts
Last night we hosted Hannah’s movie party.  We often plan a party on any date, for her group of friends and urprisingly she wasn’t as high strung as she usually is about food and décor.  She just wanted to have a few of her friends over for a sleepover and watch some new movies that just came out.  I was very surprised when she told me this, so unlike her, but easier for me.

We did decorate a little bit with big paper movie reels and old fashioned popcorn containers.  We also found some really great big bean bags and pillows that were on sale so we agreed they would be part of the decoration of ther room.  She picked out so many movies that she wanted to get for that night but we realistically narrowed it down to 3 movies. 

She didn’t want a cake for this party because it was not her birthday party but, she just wanted an assortment of ice cream and fun popcorn for when they were watching movie.  I let her go crazy in the ice cream isle at our co-op.  She picked out lots of fruity flavors and of course chocolate.  She found fun recipes for popcorn on Pinterest and we made them our own.  I had to laugh at her and her friends, they ended up putting some of the popcorn on their ice cream…crazy girls! :)

The popcorn recipes she found were actually really delicious, my husband and I were munching on them too.  Here are the three fun flavors of popcorn we made.

Cookies and Cream Popcorn 🍿

Ingredients-
•    4 ½ cups popped popcorn
•    10 Oreos, pulverized
•    12 oz. vanilla almond bark

Instructions-
•    In a microwave safe bowl melt the almond bark until smooth.  Pour over popped popcorn and immediately pour the pulverized Oreos on the mixture.  Mix with a wooden spoon so the almond bark and Oreos are distributed.  Let the bark cool and harden, enjoy!

In case the cookies and cream popcorn wasn’t enough,

S’mores Popcorn 🍿

Ingredients-
•    About 5 cups of popped popcorn
•    2 cups chocolate chip melts
•    1 package of Duncan Hines Chocolate marshmallow frosting creations mix
•    1 cup mini marshmallows
•    12 graham crackers, crushed

Instructions-
•    Combine the popcorn and marshmallows in a large bowl.  Melt the chocolate chips and mix in the frosting packet.  Drizzle over the popcorn mixture and immediately pour the graham cracker crumbs over the mixture.  Let the chocolate cool and harden, enjoy!

And to get the savory with the sweet popcorn,

Parmesan Basil Popcorn 🍿

Ingredients-
•    4 cups popped popcorn
•    2 tbsp. coconut oil
•    ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
•    ¼ tsp. salt
•    4 tbsp. chopped basil

Instructions-
•    Melt the coconut oil and pour over the popcorn.  Add the cheese, salt and basil immediately and toss so it coats the popcorn.  Serve and enjoy you savory popcorn!

I was so surprised how much fun the girls had just watching movies and being girls.  The popcorn and ice cream bar turned out great.  The girls loved it and were getting really creative combining the flavors.  It was nice to see them have fun without doing something big or expensive.  Hannah had a great birthday, she said it was the best one yet.  Luckily for me, I don’t have much cleaning to do today since they were so calm.  It has been such a great weekend!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie
Last month at Liam’s birthday party one of his good friends mothers hung around for a little bit when she dropped her son off.  It had been a while since we chatted about something other than the boy’s school or crazy nonsense.  We were talking about gardening and growing different plants.  She had recently been adding turmeric to her foods because of all the wellness properties and encouraged me to as well.

I had heard of turmeric but never really gave it much thought.  I don’t think I have ever used it to cook or as a wellness supplement in recipes.  I am sure somewhere in the back of my spice rack I have a bottle of the dried stuff lurking.  After listening to my friend rant and rave about this plant, I had to do a little research for myself.

Turmeric contains anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, AND anti-inflammatory properties….man, there are a lot of good “anti’s” there.  Turmeric also contains curcumin, a power substance that has been linked to cancer prevention.


Curcumin has been shown to slow the growth of preexisting cancer tumors and destroy cancer cells.


On top of all the “anti’s” and cancer prevention, turmeric also can relive arthritis, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the risk of heart disease, liver detoxification, reduce cholesterol, reduce weight gain, regulate insulin levels, reduce cramping, and strengthen the immune system…just in case you needed any more reasons to consume turmeric.

After my research it was clear that I needed to consciously start adding turmeric to my diet.  Instead of digging around in the back of my spice rack I decided to go out and buy some fresh roots, I found some at my local Whole Foods.

I had an idea how to prepare this root but wasn’t 100% sure so I jumped back onto the internet.  I found that peeling it and either slicing, chopping, mincing, or grating it works depending on the recipe.

I found countless recipes to add turmeric to like: smoothies, green juices, marinades, sauces, dressings, pots of rice, homemade veggie burgers, added to tofu scrambles, stir fries, in soups and stews, and so many more.  It is clear that turmeric can be added to just about anything.


I made my first turmeric added soup this afternoon and can’t wait to try it tonight.  I am surprised I haven’t experiment with this fabulous and healthy root before.  Do you use turmeric in your recipes, what are your favorites?

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

Have you tried Turmeric?

by on 5/09/2016
Last month at Liam’s birthday party one of his good friends mothers hung around for a little bit when she dropped her son off.  It had been...
Today is such an exciting day for me, it is my 6 year anniversary of being vegetarian!  6 years ago today was one of the most important days of my life, when I decided I would commit to something I wanted to for a while, a new healthy vegetarian lifestyle.  Thinking back, becoming a vegetarian wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be.  Although, there were ups and downs along the road where I would crave meat and think about giving up; once I got over those bumps and knew how to control cravings, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.



 I have always been an animal lover.  6 years ago, after a Saturday afternoon spent on the internet reading and watching documentaries about animal-based diets and the meat industry, it wasn’t a hard to change my of thinking and switch to a plant-based diet.  I knew it would be good for my heath, the animals, the environment, and those around me.

In the beginning social events were difficult but after 6 years, my friends and family understand my lifestyle and have been dabbling in it as well.  I love seeing how my small dietary change, changed my entire extend family and friends outlook on food.  It is awesome going to a party and seeing a variety of fresh vegetarian options, not just put out for me, but because my family and friends genuinely enjoy them and understand the benefits of plant-based foods and diets.


Becoming a vegetarian isn’t something that changes over night, it is a full body transformation.  October 27th, 2008 was a huge day in my life.  My commitment to my health and my love for animals have helped me reach my goal and stick with it. 

I hope that with popular culture beginning to embrace a vegetarian and now vegan lifestyle, more people will try to commit to see the benefits of vegetarianism; I don’t want to keep the greatness a secret all to myself! :)  I am very proud I stuck with something for 6 years that helped change my life.  I can’t wait for many more great anniversaries and years full of learning and new food!   I wouldn’t change it for the world, I love being a vegetarian!


Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie

On Friday I went to a good friend’s house to meet up with the girls.  It was so nice, we all brought little hor d’oeuvres and chatted over wine.  They loved the tropical popcorn balls I brought and were amazed I used agave nectar instead of honey and they tasted so good. (find the recipe below!)



As you know whole foods and farmers markets are my thing.  I am always finding ways to make recipes unique using natural ingredients.  Managing a restaurant has given me so many opportunities to learn and try new things.  Now, when I’m at home I create recipes on the fly and spice it up differently every time depending on my mood.

I use agave nectar all the time at home and in the restaurant.  We use it in a lot of the desserts and even some main courses.  There are many natural ingredients that can be used to substitute common processed ones.

Here are my favorite natural additives and replacements:

•    Agave nectar is the extract from the wild agave plant.  It is low in glycemic levels and is a natural alternative to white sugar and other sugars



•    Cacao butter is the raw pure oil from the cacao bean.  It has a rich chocolate aroma.  I love to use it in smoothies, desserts, and in just about any chocolate creation I am making.  It is easy to use because it is raw, it melts easy and blends into any type of recipe.


•    Coconut oil has become very popular recently with its many health benefits.  It is commonly used as a food product and skin moisturizer.  It has a rich buttery taste that is great for cooking.


•    Miso is a salty flavored paste made from soybeans, rice, or barley.  It is high in protein, vitamins, and minerals.  I like to use it in soups and adding it to salad dressings and sauces.


•    Tamari is a natural soy sauce made from fermented soybeans and tastes wonderful.



I believe that cooking should be a fun and freeing experience.  I take pride in making food that is good for you and delicious.  Real sustainable food nourishes not only your body but the environment as well.  Try some new substitutes and let me know what you like.

Here is the recipe for the tropical popcorn balls my friends loved.

Ingredients-
•    6 heaping cups of popped popcorn
•    ¼ cup agave nectar
•    ¼ creamy natural almond butter
•    ¼ cup finely chopped macadamia nuts
•    ¼ cup unsweetened coconut

Instructions-
•    Cover a baking sheet with wax paper to put the balls on
•    Mix the agave nectar and almond butter in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat while constantly stirring.  Keep heating until the mixture lightly bubbles and remove soon after.
•    Immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn and macadamia nuts and mix until well coated.
•    Quickly press small handfuls of the popcorn and macadamia mixture into balls and roll in shredded coconut until coated then place on baking sheet and let cool and harden.
•    Enjoy!

Go Green and Stay Keen,

Julie