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Uzbek Vegetable Stew

After dining at the Russian Tea Room in Chicago I just had to have the Domlama again. Now that the weather is turning cold and have been craving heartier cooked dishes. I created this version for Uzbek Vegetable Stew and changed things up a bit from the original recipe. This version has no added oils and keeps things simple and low maintenance by using my slow cooker.

Download and Print Recipe

Equipment Needed:  

Sharp knife
Cutting Board
Slow Cooker

1/2 head red cabbage, raw, shredded
4 medium carrot, raw, medium, sliced
1 medium Daikon radish, sliced
2 beets raw, peeled and sliced
2 small turnip, raw, peeled and sliced
3 potatoes, russet, peeled and sliced
1 medium red bell pepper, sliced into rings
2 onions, sweet, raw, sliced
10 cloves garlic, raw, peeled
1 whole tomato, red, ripe, raw, sliced
2 cup kale, raw, chopped
2 cup vegetable broth, organic, low sodium
1 tbsp coriander seed, ground
1 tbsp cumin seed, ground
1 tbsp salt, kosher
1 tsp pepper, black, ground
1 tbsp cayenne pepper, ground

Recipe Directions:
Layer all vegetable ingredients in a slow cooker.   Pour in vegetable broth.  Add spices.   Cook on low for 8 hours.
Serves 4
Nutrient Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 329.3
Total Fat: 1.9
Saturated Fat: 0.3
Trans Fat:  0.0
Polyunsaturated Fat:  0.0
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0
Cholesterol: 0.0
Sodium: 1084.2
Carbs: 74.1
Fiber: 13.2
Sugars:  23.7
Protein: 10.5


Spicy Garlicky Greens

This recipe was born out of necessity.  Necessity to eat something quick, easy, and use up greens that I bought earlier in the week.  Spicy and Garlicky Greens can be served as a one dish meal over rice or millet or served on its own as a side dish.  For those who are trying to avoid added oils, I offer two variations in this recipe, one with olive oil and one with vegetable stock.

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, sweet
2 cloves garlic
3 cups Swiss Chard
1 cup   Arugula
1 tsp    Aleppo pepper
1 tbsp  crushed red pepper flakes
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
Equipment Needed
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife
Large Skillet
Serving bowl

How To
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Chop onion and garlic and add it to the pan.  Cook until softened.  While onion and garlic are cooking, remove ribs from Swiss Chard and chop.  Add ribs to onion and garlic mixture.  lice the greens.  When onion, garlic and chard ribs begin to soften layer the Swiss Chard greens and arugula on top to steam.  Add the Aleppo pepper, pepper flakes, salt and pepper to taste.  When the greens begin to wilt,  stir well and serve hot or at room temperature.

Healthier Variation
Eliminate olive oil and use vegetable stock to steam the onion and garlic until soft.

Serving suggestion
Make it meal and serve it over steamed millet or brown rice.

Serves 1

Nutrient Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 128.5
Total Fat: 5.0
Saturated Fat: 0.7
Trans Fat:  0.0
Polyunsaturated Fat:  0.0
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0
Cholesterol: 0.0
Sodium: 529.9
Carbs: 19.6
Fiber: 3.8
Sugars:  10.0
Protein: 4.2

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Pasta and Mint Pesto With Peas – Quick and Easy

Mint is the first herb that begins growing in our garden and is the first sign of spring.  I planted a small portion of mint in my garden three years ago.  It is taking over the garden and is almost impossible to kill, its kinda like the cockroach of herbs.  I do love mint so I use it in so many different recipes, from Asian to Middle Eastern to American.

My husband and I came up with this recipe of Pasta and Mint Pesto and Peas one evening after work.  It is quick and easy or should I say “easy peasy” to make. You may easily substitute another shape of pasta with a shape like shells. This recipe was inspired by Italian cooking in the sense we are using what is fresh and available and mixing it with pasta.   Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups fresh basil
1 cup   fresh mint leaves
1/3 cup almonds, sliced and toasted
3 tbsp  extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp  fresh lemon zest
1 tbsp  fresh squeezed lemon juice
5 cloves fresh peeled garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup frozen green peas
1 lb whole wheat bow tie pasta

Equipment Needed
Food Processor
Large Pot

How to Pesto
Add the basil, mint almonds, olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary to reach desired consistency.

How to Peas and Pasta
Cook Pasta in according to package directions. Defrost the peas under cold running water.

In a skillet gently warm the pesto and add the peas.  When pasta is al dante, remove the pasta directly from the boiling pot and add it to the pesto pea mixture and stir until coated with pesto.  It is okay and good to add a bit of the cooking water from the pasta to the pesto mixture to make it a little more saucy a tablespoon or two should do the trick.

Serves 6

Nutrient Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 394.7
Total Fat: 10.7
Saturated Fat: 1.4
Trans Fat:  0.0
Polyunsaturated Fat:  0.0
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.0
Cholesterol: 0.0
Sodium: 145.8
Carbs: 65.8
Fiber: 3.6
Sugars:  2.3
Protein: 15.0

Download and Print Recipe



Have you been wondering?

You may have been wondering why I haven’t posted anything in a while. Well, to tell you the truth, I have been busy developing new recipes so I have many more to post in the near future. I also migrated my site from Blogger to WordPress and it has been a lot more involved and beyond my skill level for a blogging beginner such as myself. So here I am trying to update the visual stuff and not getting to the good stuff. I promise we have a lot of new and exciting recipes and tips coming your way very very soon. Stay tuned for the latest……..

Is it time to divorce your sweetener?

Sugar is a quick energy source to the body
and is used in several processed foods from candy to juice to crackers and
bread.  Sugar is a carbohydrate but contains empty calories since it does
not contain any protein, vitamins or minerals necessary for its own metabolism.
[1] Excessive
consumption of sugar also leads 
to obesity, therefore it is a contributing
factor to heart disease, type II diabetes and cancer.  In order to lose or maintain a healthy body weight it is important to avoid added sugars
most commonly found in processed foods.  Hidden sugars may be found on food labels marked as
cane sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn sugar, beet sugar, evaporated cane
juice and barley malt.  

There are many different artificial
sweeteners or sugar substitutes on the market today.  Sweeteners such as aspartame (aka
Nutra-Sweet), Saccharin, and Splenda may seem like viable alternatives but may affect your body in a negative manner. 
Aspartame is an
artificial sweetener and sold under the label of Nutra-Sweet.  It is highly processed and consists
of 2 amino acids, asparic acid and phenylalanine.  Studies published by Italian researchers
suggested that very high doses of aspartame might increase the risk of some
cancers such as leukemia in rats.  Claims have
been made that aspartame is related to health effects ranging from mild
problems such as headache, dizziness, digestive symptoms, and changes in mood,
to more serious health issues such as Alzheimer disease, birth defects,
diabetes, Gulf War syndrome, attention deficit disorders, Parkinson disease,
lupus, multiple sclerosis, and seizures. However, studies done to date have not
found any consistent evidence of harm. Research into the safety of aspartame
is another popular artificial sweetener that is a basic substance called
benzoic sulfilimine which is a chemical compound consisting of sulfur to
nitrogen double bond.   It has been in
existence for over 100 years and is used in sweetening products such as
cookies, cakes, and beverages.   Studies in laboratory rats during the early
1970s linked saccharin with the development of bladder cancer. For this reason,
Congress mandated that further studies of saccharin be performed and required
that all food containing saccharin bear the following warning label: “
of this product may be hazardous to your health. This product contains
saccharin, which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals
.” [4]
Splenda is a popular
newcomer in the artificial sweetener world. 
Splenda is a derivative of sugar (sucrose) and is a multi step process
that selectively substitutes three atoms of chlorine for three hydroxl groups
on the sugar molecule.[5] According to ” The study in “The Journal of Toxicology and
Environmental Health” also states that the use of Splenda may result in
the pH elevation of the fecal material. According to a study published by
“Preventive Medicine” in November 1990, the alteration in fecal pH
may be a risk factor for the development of colorectal cancer.
Positive alternatives to
consuming highly processed sugar and artificial sweeteners may be to consume
alternate natural unprocessed whole foods such as fresh fruits. 
Fruits taste sweet and contain natural sugars
and are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. 
Another option may be to sweeten beverages
or foods with a natural sweet tasting extract from an herb leaf called stevia.  Perhaps raw agave nectar or raw sugar in very
small quantities may be an option.  Like
an intimate relationship, only you can decide what is right for you.  Just remember to be present when you eat. Ask yourself if it is worth the potential negative health consequences to consume these highly processed artificial foods. 

Nutrition Almanac, Fourth Edition, Gayla J. Kirschmann and John D. Kirschmann,
McGraw Hill, c 1996
[5] Personal
Nutrition, Sixth Edition, Marie A. Boyle and Sara Long, c 2007 Thompson

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9 Tips on how to deal with your child’s “picky eater syndrome”

My son is now six years old and like most kids he does not like to sit down for a big meal but prefers to graze all day long.  Since he was very young has always had issues with textures, or disliked the way certain foods appear on his plate.  He also has a cow’s milk dairy allergy so we are limited as many processed foods contain some sort of dairy protein in the form of casein or whey.  In order to save time, I came up with these simple tips that have helped my child with “picky eater syndrome”.  

  1. Let your child has some say and control over what they eat.  It is your job as the parent to provide healthy options.  I found I don’t really care what he chooses to snack on because I provide nothing but nutritious options.
  2. Try putting several shelf stable snacks into a big basket that sits on the counter.  Snacks may include dried fruit, dried goji berries,  nuts and seeds, freeze dried vegetables, and fresh whole fruit.*   She can then help herself or you can lower the basket down to eye level and let them choose. (We actually refer to dried fruits such as dried mango or pineapple as nature’s candy).
  3. Prepare (or purchase) pre-cut fresh fruits and vegetables such as grapes, carrots, cucumber melon and berries, and keep them in the refrigerator. This makes getting the youngster a snack quick and efficient. 
  4. Be an example.  Children learn by what they see you do.  Make sure you snack on healthy foods too.  An adult version of an apple may be with a bit of cinnamon almond butter and smoked sea salt.  Try this adult version of watermelon
  5. Deconstruct the child’s meal.  If you are having cooked carrots or sauteed spinach, try serving it to the child plain and raw.  Set the food up on the plate in a fun and colorful manner.  I have actually hear my son say “wow this plate is so colorful!” My response, “it is fun to eat the rainbow, isn’t it?”.
  6. Let the child play with his food.  My son likes to pretend he is a dinosaur eating raw leaves (spinach, lettuce, and raw Bok choy) off the tree.
  7. Get children involved in the shopping process. Bring your child to the grocery store with you.  During the summer months I bring my son to the farmer’s markets and let him pick out items he would like to  try.  Last year he helped me pick out Brussels sprouts and we took them home, took them off the stalk, cleaned them and roasted them with garlic.  Roasted Brussels sprouts with garlic are now one of his favorite vegetables.  
  8. Start a garden. We started gardening three years ago.  My son is more likely to eat the foods we plant together grow.  I have found the only problem with this is getting enough food from vine to dinner as my son eats the pea pods and mint straight out of the garden. 
  9. Cook with your child.  Have your child peel the garlic, roll out the pizza dough, and play with the food.  
These tricks have helped me get my son to eat healthy.  I would love to hear how you get your child his veggies.  

*I love the brand Just Tomatoes as they make freeze dried peas, freeze dried corn, freeze dried strawberries and several other varieties of freeze dried fruits and veggies.  I find mine at my local Whole Foods Market or my local health food store.  

Costco also carries a different brand of freeze dried fruits that are really good too.

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Is your life your own?

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.” ~Bob Moawad

According to the report Health, United States, 2010, the leading causes of death for individuals between the ages of 45 – 64 years of age in 2007, was heart disease and cancer followed by diabetes and stroke.  Major risk factors for these diseases include obesity, lack of regular physical activity and smoking.  

If you smoke, quit now.   I know it is hard but if you like to breathe you need to quit.   There are several resources to help here is just one:  American Cancer Society.

Don’t become a statistic, there is a way to avoid these illnesses.  We don’t necessarily have control over what happens in our lives but WE DO HAVE CONTROL over what choices we make and how we live it.  No excuses.  It is time to choose nutritious food, prepare healthy meals, bring mindfulness into our lives and become aware of what our bodies are saying to us and move a little bit each day.  

Healthy foods are those found in nature.  No packages, no chemicals, just plain food.  No foodlike stuff.  Keep it simple. No fried foods. 

First we need to get educated, consciously choose to change, practice awareness and find dicipline .

How do we stop this cycle of misery?  There is a very simple solution.  It begins with the foods we choose to consume, how we prepare them, our awareness of what our bodies are telling us and moving our bodies a little each day.   

I believe we all want the same things in life and that is to be healthy and happy.  It truly is up to each individual to choose how happy we can be.  

The foods we choose to consume has a huge affect on the chances of developing or dying from these diseases.  

What are we doing wrong?  

It is time to take control of our health.  

Heart disease, cancer,  and diabetes can all be considered diseases of affluence.  

We have the ability to get educated.

It is not about death but how we live our lives during the short time we are on this earth.  Are we waiting for disease to take control of our lives before we make the change in our dietary, physical and mental exercise practices?

Do we really not know, do we remain ignorant do we just live in denial or remain ignorant so in taking responsibility to take our own health into our hands.  There are steps we can take right now, this very moment.  Gather information and become educated.  Take action. Take the time. 

Are we really living if we do not make the conscious effort to promote a healthy body which carries us through this one and only life? 

It can be different.  It is your best.  Not defined by anyone else. You know what your best could be. 

Living with awareness internally and then connecting externally.  Living happy and healthy to our own individual potential. No excuses.  Take responsibility.  

Make a conscious decision to live life.  You can learn and get educated.  Then its in your control to make a change.  

“Everyone must choose one of two pains: The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.” ~Jim Rohn