Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What are grains and who needs them? Everyone.

These great tasting little beauties are an essential part of healthy eating.  There are many health benefits to grains.  First, grains are seeds taken from grasses and have been used all over the world as a staple in meals.  Today we use a lot of wheat and rice, but we have a great deal of choices like barley, buckwheat, brown rices, wild rices, rye, quinoa, sourghum, oats, and millet.
  • reduces heart disease
  • reduces hypertension
  • reduces type 2 diabetes
  • reduces inflammatory disease
  • reduces risk of certain cancers
  • great source of fiber
  • aids in weight management
  • and more
The grain is broken up into 3 parts bran, endosperm, and germ.  The bran is the coarse outer layer that protects the inner portion.  It is high in fiber, trace minerals, and vitamin B.  The Endosperm makes up the middle of the grain.  This provides energy for the growth of the plant and is mostly a carbohydrate.  The germ is the core of the grain kernel.  It contains vitamin E and B healthy fats, and antioxidants.   When the grain is used in its complete, complex, state it is most nutritious.   Unfortunately with processing at a peak most of the nutrients are "refine" right out of the food.  The bran and the germ are removed in most processed foods.  Some of their vitamins and minerals may be added back after the milling process, but refined grains still have fewer nutrients and fiber than the whole grain.  Take a look at white and whole wheat bread.  They have about the same calorie count but the wholewheat has significantly more fiber and protein.  The white bread will contain empty calories.  The fiber in the whole wheat will also aid the carbohydrate in a slower release of sugar into the blood stream.  It is always better to eat complex carbohydrates than refined.

In a natural unprocessed form, whole grains contain vitamin E, Vitamin B, iron, and protein.  Grains can be easily stored to last between harvesting.  This would provide a continual food and energy source for people.   I can't help but think about Joseph and how God told him of a great famine was coming.  He instructed the King to store grain for 7 years to get ready for this great famine, Gen 41:49.  The people of Egypt kept from starving because of the food stores.  This grain was unprocessed meaning it still contained all three parts of the grain.  They would crack the grain, ground into flour, and soak.  Man can not live by bread alone but it was used as a major energy source to the workers.  Beer and bread were the staple of the workers diet.  Occasionally they would have a few things like onions, garlic, and dates.
What was in the Beer? Millet, Barely, corn sugar, yeast, and a few herbs.  This beer was considered to be a source of energy, non intoxicating, and one of our first antibiotics.  See a great article on The Medicinal Beer of Ancient Egypt.

If you would like to attempt to make this beer see Beer Recipe here.

9 grain cereal

9 Grain cereal
This is a mixture of 9 grains contains hard wheat, soft wheat, pearly barely, oats groats, corn, millet, flax, rye, and hulled barley.  This array of grain will give you lots of energy and  be filling to the appetite. This cereal would be used to help warm you up and start your day.  Almost like a oatmeal, but with so much more flavor.  We made some today and my kids kept asking for more, recipe was super simple.

5 cups water
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup 9 grain cracked cereal mix
1 cinnamon stick
dash of salt
fruit for top, optional

Bring 5 cups of water to boil and add milk, grains, cereal, and salt.  Simmer for 30-45 minutes string regularly.   Serve with cut fruit of choice or by it self.  Kids loved both ways.

Grains allow us to cook simply with great nutrition.  I found my kids absolutely loved this cereal, and it is more nutritious than 80 percent of cereals on the shelves today.  Meaning this grain cereal has not been altered, it contains all three nutritious parts.  Nothing was added back in to replace nutrients lost.  I will be making this into a bread as well.  See up coming post on grain bread and rolls.
"Live simply so that others can simply live", Mother Teresa 

Project for today

A catholic how to draw step by step.  This is the sacred heart of Jesus.  This can be drawn and they give a color guide as well. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

How far back can we place Almonds, with Moses!

Number 17:8  When Moses went into the tent of the covenant on the next day, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted.  It put forth buds, produced blossoms, and bore ripe almonds.

This was as far back as I could place this very beneficial food.  In Hebrew, almond means "diligence" and happens to be the first tree of the year to flower in Palestine.  The ancient Israelites valued the nuts for food and the oil when pressed.  Along with olive oil, almond oil was used for burning in lamps and ceremonial oils.  Through out Jews customs you will see the almond branches, flowers, and nuts being used.

Christian and Catholic everywhere use this oil even today and understand its importance. Anointing with oil dates back from the Old Testament times.  Today anointing are used  in baptism, confirmation, ordinations, and anointing of the sick.  Depending on Eastern, Western, Roman, or Latin anointing are used in various ways.  Jesus used anointing throughout his ministry after his own baptism.  I found so many uses here that it would be a posting of it self.  I wanted to briefly touch on how important almond oil is in times past and present.
Oils and their uses 

Almond oil was also used in lamps for ceremonially purposes.  The Old Testament Tabernacle used a Gold Lamp-stand.  Under Gods instructions the almond was used in designing the lamp, Leviticus 24: 3-4.
Read more of this here. 

This oil was also used in ancient body perfumes and treatments.  You can read more on how the Egyptians use oils here. 

Nutritionally the almond is a great source of protein, fat, fiber, Vitamin E and B.  It contains minerals of potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, calcium, selenium, and zinc.  Benefits are energy, protection and conditioning of the skin and hair, antioxidant, lowers cholesterol, and many more.

Almonds are used in many dishes as a substitute for meat and milk.  Vegans, those with a meatless diet, use almonds as just one of many protein sources.  Almond milk is widely used for those Lactose intolerant along with those who want to have a variety of milk source. 

This is just a glimpse of the many wonderful uses for the amazing little nut.  I am going to be including recipes for dishes, skin care, oils, and breads.

Almond Meal Cleanser
1/2 cup almond meal.  (I grind whole almonds until a coarse powder.)
water, milk, or heavy cream

Mix 2 teaspoons of almond meal with just enough liquid to form a paste.  Spread onto moistened face and throat and gently massage for 1 minute.  Rinse with warm water and follow with Almond oil.  I love Aura Glow.  It has a wonderful sent and I use it as a base oil.

Ancient Skin Softer with Almond Oil- From "Herbs of the Bible" by James A Duke  Ph.D.
1/4 cup of almond oil
1/4 cup aloe vera gel
1 tbsp rose hip seed oil
2 tsp vitamin C powder, you can grind this from tablets as well.
5 soft gel s of 400IU vitamin E (squeeze out)
8-10 soft gels of 1,000 milligrams evening primrose (squeeze out)
 8 soft gels of 10,000 IU of vitamin A and D (squeeze out)

Add and store in a air tight container.  Keep refrigerated or cool place. 

Almond Milk
1/2 cup raw almonds
2 cups water

Place almonds in blender and grind to a fine powder.  Add 1 cup of water and blend.  Add additional cup of water and blend until smooth milk.  You could add rice syrup to sweeten if needed.  
For those wanting a whiter and smoother milk, you can blanch the almonds the night before.  Place almonds in 1 cup of boiled water and soak until skins easily slip off.  Then use almonds in above recipe.

Read more about benefits and reasons people drink it here. 

Almond Loaf
2 cups finely ground blanched almonds
2 cups water
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 tsp chicken-like seasoning
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 cups bread crumbs
salt to taste

Saute onions and celery until tender.  Blend almonds until very fine.  Combine all ingredients and place in a casserole dish.  Bake for 1 hour at 350.

Project for today.  
Make a offering gift.  We received an already made one from church to send to a local Mission.  You can make your own out of Foam.  Cut a cross out of Purple foam and then make 40 cuts through out the cross to hold a coin for each day.  Easter weekend you can take your offering to a local mission, shelter, or offering plate. 
See Pinterest board for Purple Cross Instructions and picture.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Recipe for today, Lentil-Rice stew

Lentil- Rice Stew

5 cups water
1 cup of Lentil of choice
1/2 cup brown rice
1 cup chopped celery tops
1 med onion, chopped
2 cup potatoes, cubed
2 cups carrots, sliced
1/4 cup parsely, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot add water, lentils and rice.  Bring to a boil and then simmer Lentils and brown rice until nearly cooked.  Add in the remainder ingredients.  Cook over medium heat until vegetable are tender.  I also like to add a 1/2 tsp if dried oregano, this is up to you while vegetable are softening you can taste and see.  We love oregano in this house and is very good for you.  It will be in one of the post next week.

Project for today.                

Thanksgiving Jar and/or Count your Blessings.  This is a time to be thankful for all our family, friends, faith, and health.  Chose a jar in the house to collect beans and lentils in.  Every time someone in the house does something nice for someone else, add a bean or lentil. You can also add beans for Blessing, be creative.   At the end of Lent, or Easter weekend, we will make up a stew of good deeds that will taste oh so good!   Let us watch the jar fill up and then we will fill up our belly's.  See a pretty way to decor your Good Deeds Jar or Blessing Jar here.
If you would like a invite to Pinterest, I would be happy to send you one.  Just leave your email in comments or send me a email asking for Invite.  I will be posting lots of crafts and recipes from here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The history of the Pretzel and recipe.

I was really excited about the information I found over the last two days.  I think it is very interesting to see how much our food has changed over the years.  Our Lent practices now are to refrain from meat on fasting days and every Friday during Lent.  At one time the practice was to not eat all animal products, including milk, butter, and eggs.  This dates back to the Roman Christians in the fourth century!  This started the custom and practice of Fat Tuesday also know as Strove Tuesday.  The week before Lent you would find every house using their butter, eggs, meats, and creams making dishes so the items do not go to waste.  Fat Tuesday or Marti-gra started as a celebration to finishing off all the rich and fatty dishes to start a season of self denial and cleansing of the Spirit and body.  During the weeks of Lent this would mean a lot of oat cakes along with wheat, peas, potatoes, and beans which were a staple food.  Countries that were surrounded by water, Ireland and Italy, used plenty of seafood  including salmon, scallops, lobster, mussels, and oysters to make hearty stews and soups.
Going back to Strove Tuesday I found a wonderful article on the Pancake and  it's use on this day.  Also, the history of the cross buns and pretzel.   You can read this wonderful article here.  During Lent they would still make breads, but with water, flour, and salt.  To remind themselves that Lent was a time of prayer they would make the bread to look like arms crossed in prayer, the pretzel!  The early Roman Christian called this bracallae meaning "little arms".  Later, the monks introduced the bread to northern countries.  The Germanic people used the word bretzel from the Roman bracellea, then calling it pretzel. 

Mixing the ingredients and then Kneading dough.
Rolling out the dough to make form the pretzel.

Lay roll out like a smile and then bring up sides to crossover.
Once crossover then bring ends down and pinch to bottom. 

Pretzel Recipe
1 packet of dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
4 cups whole wheat flour

In a mixing bowl place dry yeast and add warm water.  Stir until yeast is dissolved.  Add salt and sugar to bowl and stir.  Then add flour and beat egg.   Knead dough until combined and then separate in half.  I separated into balls until no more than 2 inches wide.  Then take each ball and roll out until you form a line.  (See captions and picture above for forming the pretzel.)  Lay roll out like a smile and then bring up sides to crossover.  Once crossover then bring ends down and pinch to bottom. Bake in oven at 425 for 12 minutes. 
If you would like to make a cute card to go with pretzels for friends or family see Catholic Icing for fun Printable!

What is for dinner tonight?
Garden Salad, Talapia,  Acorn squash soup, and our Pretzels

See A Sweet chief for the recipe I am using.  I have made this before and It taste amazing!

Project for today.  See Pinterest Board for ideas, recipes and crafts!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What is Lent?

In short, Lent is the Liturgical year from Ash Wednesday through Easter Sunday.  This season is observed by many religions such as Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Methodist, Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Baptist, among others.  This is usually a time of preparation of Holy Week.  Ash Wednesday starts the 40 days of preparation through pray, penance, repentance, observation, self denial, and alms-giving.

It is customary for people to give-up something for Lent, a self-denial or sacrifice.  It varies from person to person or some may take on more during this preparation time to bring themselves closer to God. 
I am taking this time during the 40 days to give you  health information, history, and recipes.

Ash Wendesday
This is day one of Lent and it is a day of fasting and prayer.  Usually the person will fast for two of their meals and have a normal meal for the third.  The meals given up are a representation of the sacrifices done for them through Jesus physical sacrifice.  This physical sacrifice in fasting also helps us to better understand and experience the sufferings and hardships of many who are oppressed by hunger, poverty, and/or separation.  It brings an understanding of those in need and the suffering and Passion of Christ Jesus.

One of my favorite quotes come from Father Slavko Barbaric, "Through fasting our hearts become pure.  We find it easier to see what we have, what we need, and what we don't need".

Fasting is not just about self denial.  It is a big part, but it is very helpful to the body as well.   Over time our bodies build up toxins as a result of of chemicals in foods, water, pollutants in the air, and other means.  The body then tries to rid itself of these toxins and releases them from the tissues.  The toxins get released into the bloodstream and we experience effects such as erratic emotions, low energy, and more.  We feel symptoms of diarrhea, headaches, depression, unable to focus, and irritability just to name a few.  One of the fastest and safest ways to clean out these toxins is during a Fast.  Fasting has always been a natural recommendation for illness to allow the body rest and recover.  While fasting can help with illness, it is very beneficial to do on a regualr basis to allow the digestive origins a rest. 

What happens when we fast?
  1. The toxins continue to release while the toxins coming into the body are reduced. 
  2. Energy usually used for digestion is channeled to the immune function, cellular growth, and elimination   process. Inflammation is reduced throughout the body.  
  3. Tissue oxygenation is increased due to fewer fats and white blood cells can be moved around more freely.
  4. Fat-stored chemicals that you find in pesticides and herbicides are released as well.
  5. As toxins release and are eliminated from the body we experience a clarity of mind and body.  
 In short, Fasting speeds up healing time and allows the liver, kidneys, and colon to rest.
 That sounds like a nice benefit to me. I bet next time you miss a meal you will be think a bit more positive about it. 

My menu for today.  I will be drinking water all day.  This is a great chance to really replenish my body with this much needed resource.  Our bodies are 2/3 water and we tend to deny it this resource in exchange for coffee, soda, juices and such.  I will be spending my morning meal in prayer and reading. (I am curious as to the traditional Lental meals that where practiced hundreds of years ago.) 
For lunch I am having a vegetable salad and side of fruit.  This is my meal for the day.  I will be giving up Breakfast and Dinner for my mind, spirit, and body to cleanse.  I will take the time to allow my body to heal, my spirit to be refreshed, and mind to focus on what I truly need and what I can do without. 

I hope that through this 40 days you will be enlightened to the history and understanding of this wonderful event.  I can not think of a better time in all the year to cleanse our mind, body, and spirit than Lent.  

Mixed bean Greek Salad!

Serves 4
1 cup cooked Garbonzo beans
1 cup cooked red Kidney beans
2 sprigs green onion, chopped
1 vine tomato, chopped
1/2 medium cucumber, chopped
4 tbsp Greek Vinaigrette
Green Leaf Lettuce, Shredded

In mixing bowl add all ingredients together and mix with dressing.  Over a bed of green leaf lettuce add the mixed bean salad.  Absolutely delicious.
Calories 231, Carbohydrates 35, Fat 7, Protein 9.

For Roman Catholics we also have a special Mass of distributing the ashes.  You can read more about it here. Ash Wednesday

Fun Projects
I have a few posted on my Pinterest Board and will be adding more through out 40 days.    Kelley-Lent/Eastern Board
Color Pages for Ash Wednsday
Additional Family fun Projects