zucchini bread

Zucchini Bread

Zucchinis are members of the summer squash family. They are a very versatile vegetable. And eaten raw or cooked, zucchinis offer great taste and texture to many dishes, both savory and sweet. Their skins are thin and delicate and as such you really don’t need to go to the trouble of peeling them off. They are not considered to be high in fiber content, about 1.3 grams per 100 grams, but they are an excellent source of Manganese, a good source of vitamin C and contain lutein and zeaxanthin, two phytonutrients that belong to the carotenoid family. For those who count them, zucchinis are very low in calories providing only 17 calories per 100 grams.

This recipe always results in a moist and flavourful bread and is a nice alternative to banana bread.

Zucchini Bread (makes 2 loaves)

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar
1 cup coconut oil
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup homemade applesauce*
1/3 cup orange juice
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Mix sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla in large bowl
Stir until well blended
Add zucchini, applesauce and orange juice.  Mix well.
Combine flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon

Add to zucchini mixture
Add nuts
Pour in to 2 loaf pans lined with parchment paper
Bake 60-70 minutes until toothpick comes out clean
Cool in pans 10 minutes then transfer to cooling rack

*Applesauce

Peel, core and slice 2 apples
Put in small saucepan with a touch of water and 1/4 tsp lemon juice
Cover and cook over low heat until tender
Use hand blender and blend to smooth consistency

Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles

Traditionally, fermenting foods was done for food preparation and preservation. We know today that along with these benefits, the fermentation process allows for greater bioavailability of nutrients and provide probiotic benefits enhancing our digestive health. It’s a great time of year to take the plunge and begin fermenting at home. Fermented dill pickles are easy to prepare and a tasty way to introduce fermented foods in to your daily diet.

Thanks to Lorene Sauro for this recipe. You can find more great recipes on her site www.facebook.com/digestersdilemma.net

Lacto-Fermented Dill Pickles Using Apple Cider Vinegar As A Starter 

Equipment Needed
1 litre Mason jar with lidCutting board and knife
Measuring cup and measuring spoons
Strainer or colander (for rinsing the cucumber)
Paper towel (for drying the cucumbers)

To Make the Pickles:
6-7 medium small cucumber (as many as will fit in the ajar standing)
2 cups spring water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (with mother*)
1 tsp dill seeds
2 tbsp fresh dill
1-2 two large garlic cloves (cut into three pieces each) – optional
1/8-1/4 tsp black tea leaves
Chili flakes (optional)

Wash and dry the cucumbers. Cut off both ends of the cucumbers. Place the cucumbers into the Mason jar, standing them up. Wedge them in there. Mix the sea salt and spring water together to make the brine. Let the salt dissolve. Pour the brine in the jar and cover most of the pickles. Add the apple cider vinegar and if this does not cover the pickles then add more water until the pickles are covered. Leave one inch space at the top of the jar. Add the dill, garlic (if using), tea and chili flakes (if using). Place the lid on tightly and let the cucumber ferment for at least 5 days. Leaving it for two weeks will make it more flavourful. Try them at this point and decide if you want to ferment them longer. For the first three -five days, turn the jar upside down at least once a day to keep the cucumbers covered in brine if they have floated to the top. Once gas builds up inside, this is no longer necessary.

When the pickles have the taste and texture that you like, put them in the fridge to slow down the fermentation process and they will keep for several months.

Tip # 1: The tannins in the tea helps keep the pickles crunchy
Tip # 2: If leaving the cucumber whole, make 3-4 little cuts in the skin with a knife as this will help the flavours absorb into the pickle

*What does “with mother” mean? It refers to the residue of the fermented apple that real apple cider vinegar will have. It usually appears as a brown sludge at the bottom of the bottle. You may also see brown bit when as you use the vinegar. 

Glutamine

Going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments can take a toll on your body in many ways. Most doctors will verse you in the common side effects of these treatments but simply cannot give an exhaustive list of all possible symptoms. One such example of a side effect of treatment with many symptoms is Mucositis. Mucositis defined is inflammation and ulceration of the mucous membranes that line the digestive tract and is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation. Within this broad scope however are many symptoms such as dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, halitosis, loss of sense of taste, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloating to name a few. Finding relief from symptoms of Mucositis may come in the form of adding nutrients such as Glutamine to your daily diet. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our body. Among its many functions, Glutamine is important for detoxification, supporting our immune system and for nourishing the cells of our intestinal lining. In good health, our bodies can synthesize enough Glutamine. However, under duress, it may need to be added to our daily intake. Foods such as kefir, bone broth, beets, spinach, parsley, organ meat, beans, legumes, nuts, cabbage, eggs and seafood are among the highest for Glutamine content. Supplementing, with your doctor’s consent, may also be beneficial. It is imperative to keep in close contact with your Health Team during treatment informing them of any new symptoms that you are experiencing. But do keep in mind that in many cases symptoms are the result of your prescribed treatment not the underlying disease.

almond milk

Almond Milk

almond-milkI must admit that I am not a fan of store bought Almond Milk. But I do love my homemade stuff! I love the texture. I love the taste. And I love the fact that I am in control of the ingredients. Added to this is the fact that making it at home is not only cost effective, it’s simple. Almond milk is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and is a great alternative to cow’s milk. I use it in smoothies, lattes and every once and awhile just enjoy a cool glass of it on its own.

As a heads up, preparation starts the night before and once made should last in your refrigerator for about 3 days.

Ingredients:

•1 Cup Organic Almonds soaked in water overnight
•3 Cups of water
•1-2 dates
•½ tsp vanilla
•Pinch of Sea Salt

After soaking nuts overnight, drain and rinse.
Put in blender and add water, dates, vanilla and salt.
Blend until liquified.
Pour mixture through a nut bag or cheesecloth into container.
Squeeze nut bag until liquid is all in container.
Refrigerate and enjoy!

 

Homemade Sauerkraut

Homemade Sauerkraut

The humble cabbage, a member of the cruciferous family, offers many health benefits. It is high in vitamins A and C and provides a rich source of phytonutrient antioxidants. In addition, it has anti-inflammatory properties, and in some studies has been shown to exhibit anti-cancer properties. But when you ferment this already nutritious food, you turn it in to a Super food. The fermenting process turns cabbage into what we call Sauerkraut and in this process breaks down the cabbage in to a more digestible form making its nutrients much more bioavailable to us.   Sauerkraut is also loaded with a host of beneficial bacteria aiding in our gut health. Store bought Sauerkraut is often pasteurized and therefore does not provide the beneficial bacteria so important to us. For best results use a fresh cabbage. This should provide you with plenty of fluid and ensure great success to the fermenting process. A little arm work is needed too!

Ingredients:

Homemade Sauerkraut jar•1 large head cabbage (save 2 leaves)
•2 peeled carrots
•1 TBSP Sea Salt

1.Chop cabbage
2.Add carrot
3.Sprinkle with salt

With hands tamp down until fluid is released and covers vegetables.
Put in Mason jar.
Place saved cabbage leaves on top.
Cover tightly.
Leave in jar for about 2 weeks