Month: February 2014
What you are is what you drink
Looking for a healthier alternative to soda’s, sugar sweetened drinks, vitamin water, and drinks with artificial colors and flavors? Below are some pretty simple infusions that you can do and what they are good for!
1. Green tea, mint, lime – fat burning, digestion, headaches, congestion and breath freshener.
2. Strawberry, kiwi – cardiovascular health, immune system protection, blood sugar regulation, digestion.
3. Cucumber, lime, lemon – water weight management, bloating, appetite control, hydration, digestion
4. Lemon, lime, orange – digestion vitamin C, immune defense, heartburn, (Drink this one at room temperature)
So now what is an infusion and how do you go about doing this?
Take these fruits and cut them into nice slivers. Put them in nice tall glass mason jars or any container that you have that is large enough for a lot of water and a lot of fruit (glass if you want to add essential oils to them), and let them sit for 30 minutes. An infusion is letting the plant or fruit steep in a solvent (in this case water) in order for the fruit/herbs to release their phytochemicals, minerals, taste, and chemical compounds. For fruit, it is better to do this without heat, because heat will destroy some of the volatile chemical constituents which are therapeutic. It is very refreshing if you have this in the fridge and pour yourself some in the morning.
Some essential oils you might want to add to boost the flavor:
- Lemon or Lime (same properties, slightly different flavors) – Great for detoxification and flushing out the system. Wonderful for kidney health.
- *Cinnamon – Another blood sugar regulator (perfect if you want to add it to the strawberry kiwi) and extremely effective antibacterial and antiviral.
- Ginger – One of my new favorites! Great for digestion, and nice bitter taste to it. Helps clear sinuses, aids in nausea, helps with joint pain and cramping.
- Grapefruit – Helps curb your appetite, mood lifter, and helps increase metabolism. Great addition to the cucumber, lemon, lime infusion.
- Peppermint – Need that pick me up in order to get you nice and awake? Peppermint is a great stimulant and wonderful cognitive essential oil that helps improve concentration. Will also leave you with fresh breath, and helps with breathing.
Footnote: *Regarding Cinnamon essential oil – It is one of the more highly researched essential oils, and studies have been published in order to prove the efficacy of these antimicrobial properties. Here is a recent study done in 2014 regarding Cinnamon: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0956713513004155
Gluten Free Brownies? Yes Please!
One of my co-workers has a gluten intolerance. I always feel bad because there are a high amount of goodies that float through work – whether it be cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins, or other forms of baked goods. If she wanted to eat them or not, she can’t because she knows the repercussions she would be responsible for. So what did I try? Baking gluten free brownies! They actually aren’t that bad.
I found the recipe here on the Trader Joe’s website. I love that store, can buy so many things there that are on the healthier side.
The original recipe called for dark chocolate covered espresso beans. I don’t know about you, but I’m not really a fan of espresso beans or coffee, so instead I substituted them with chocolate chips! (Not to mention the fact that I am a squirrel and squirrels tend to go supernova when introduced to caffeine) I also didn’t have grapeseed oil, but I did have canola oil instead. I also added flax seed, which is a really great bran that is high in omega 3’s. So here is the modified version:
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 1 can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
- 3 Large Eggs
- 3 Tbsp Canola Oil
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 3/4 cup Organic Sugar
- 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 cup Flax seed
I made the mistake of adding everything into the same bowl and trying to mix it with a mixer. Wrong choice. The black beans didn’t get ground up quite as well as I wanted it to. I didn’t have a food processor handy, so instead I used an old fashioned blender! It worked great, and everything was mixed to a nice consistency.
The next step would be to grease the pan with canola oil. I just put a tablespoon onto the pan and then rubbed it around with a paper towel. You could get fancy and spray a non-stick spray onto it, but I don’t like aerosol, and I’m klassy with a Capitol K, so I just stick with the simple stuff.
The whole time I’m mixing, I have the oven preheating to 350 degrees. After greasing the pan and making a hot mess of myself, I pour the batter from the blender into the pan (from my experience, the blender tends to make less of a mess when the lid is actually on. Not going to admit if I was the one that did that or not).
Pop it into the oven for 30-45 minutes and voila! You have your gluten free brownies!
Regarding the texture and flavor – it’s not that bad. It has a slight bean after taste, but it’s rich and moist. It tastes nearly like a regular brownie, but you can tell it has more protein in it. Try it at home with your own variation! Let us know how it goes!