Romesco Sauce

Romesco sauce is so versatile, it is easy to get creative and find all kinds of ways to use it. Here are a few suggestions. Use Romesco Sauce to garnish roasted potatoes or pasta, spread on toasted bread or grilled vegetables, use as a sandwich spread or in wraps, as a dip for fresh vegetables or pita crisps, or toss in a vegetable salad. I like to spread it on avocado, lettuce and tomato sandwiches (ALT’s) with shredded carrots and sprouts. One taste of this easy to make sauce will have you hooked.

THE TWIST

The roasted red bell peppers in Romesco Sauce are extremely rich in vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C is beneficial to individuals whose immune system is weak due to being over stressed and it also helps reduce the risk of lung infections. Individuals who have a higher intake of foods rich in vitamin C have a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance and instead have a more youthful appearance. It is the first nutrient to be depleted in alcoholics, smokers, and obese individuals, which makes it an ideal marker for overall health. The vitamin A in the roasted red peppers is linked to good vision and preventing macular degeneration, cataracts and glaucoma. It enhances the function of the immune system, is associated with cancer prevention and helps maintain beautiful skin free of blemishes. Proper levels of vitamin A have many health benefits but never take a vitamin A supplement as too much vitamin A can cause health problems and the chances of too much vitamin A from your diet are extremely rare.

Almonds are a very nutritious tree nut with great medicinal value. The are good for the brain and have been considered an essential food item for growing children. They help regulate cholesterol and are good for the heart. Almonds help reduce inflammation, wear and tear on the arteries and the potassium in almonds helps to regulate blood pressure. They improve the movement of food through the colon thereby helping to prevent colon cancer and they also protect against diabetes by minimizing blood sugar spikes after a meal. They are rich in folate making them good to eat during pregnancy to reduce the likelihood of birth defects. They assist in energy production and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The fresh garlic in this sauce provides benefits to the cardiovascular system, and has anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic qualities. It also has proven to  be an effect antibacterial and antiviral remedy and has shown to improve the metabolism of iron from other foods among many other benefits.

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=88519
http://eyes.emedtv.com/vitamin-a/benefits-of-vitamin-a.html
http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/health-benefits-of-almonds.html
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=60#

ROMESCO SAUCE

1/2 cup raw almonds
4 cloves garlic
1 (16 oz.) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained
2 T balsamic vinegar
1 T Bragg’s amino acids
1/4 t cayenne pepper

Begin to heat a heavy skillet on medium-high heat. Place almonds in a food processor fitted with the chopping blade and pulse 7 to 10 times to chop, then pour the almonds into the heated skillet. Toast the almonds in the skillet while keeping them moving for about two minutes, then return them to the food processor. While the food processor is running drop all four cloves of garlic through the chute to finely chop. Stop the food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Process briefly to create a thick consistency.

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Kale Salad

This is an easy go-to salad that everyone loves. The other night when my son, Ben, saw that I’d made this salad he informed some of his friends. His phone was lighting up with texts asking him to share the salad! Be prepared for a surprising new favorite in your kitchen as well!

THE TWIST

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a non-profit consumer advocacy group, set out to find the most nutritious vegetable. And the winner was…..drum roll please… Kale! This powerhouse is not only a complete protein but is packed with cancer fighting phyto-chemicals and antioxidants.  It is one of natures most abundant sources of vitamin K which is important for the blood. A sign of vitamin K deficiency is bruising easily and heavy bleeding. Kale is chock-full of other nutrients as well such as vitamins A and C as well as several from the B-complex group. Kale has a nice balance of several minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus and copper.  Whats more, it contains omega-3 fatty acids which are important for neurological function, reducing the symptoms of depression and ADHD among many other things. The combination of nutrients in kale are perfect for maintaining strong bones and connective tissue, healthy blood, clear skin, muscular coordination, healthy immune function, maintaining proper vision, brain health and the prevention of degenerative diseases, regulate metabolism, control blood pressure and promote youthfulness.

The purple in the cauliflower indicates that this vegetable is a forceful cancer fighter. It is also far more tender than other varieties of cauliflower. Since it is very low in calories and high in fiber is a perfect food for anyone watching their waistline. It contains folate, necessary for proper development of an unborn child’s brain and spinal cord, warding off depression and dementia, and supports a healthy cardiovascular system.

A little ginger goes a long way! Just a tiny bit of ginger in the salad dressing adds a bunch of flavor and health benefits as well. It is known for reducing nausea associated with pregnancy and motion. It helps the digestive system by reducing the effects of heartburn and gas and increases the production of saliva and digestive enzymes.

Another flavor booster in the salad dressing is the sesame oil. It is a natural source of COQ10, a highly revered nutrient to help maintain the qualities of youth. It is an excellent source of vitamin E and antioxidants and research has shown that sesame oil may have a positive effect on blood pressure.

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/kale.html
http://alternativemedicinenow.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/ratings.pdf
http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2461/2
http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/002399.htm
http://www.newsmax.com/FastFeatures/folate-health-benefits-foods/2011/01/13/id/369432
http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ginger-root-benefits-of-ginger.html
http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4610945_what-benefits-sesame-seed-oil.html

KALE  SALAD

1 bunch kale, stemmed (any variety)
1/2 head purple cauliflower, florets chopped small
2 large carrots, shredded
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 finely diced shallot
1 (8 oz.) pkg. seitan, chopped (optional)
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

For the dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable based mayonnaise (Vegenaise)
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup water
2 T Braggs amino acids
1 T rice vinegar
2 t minced fresh ginger root
1 t sesame oil

Chop the kale into small pieces using a sharp knife. Place in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Combine the ingredients for the dressing and either whisk or blend with a hand blender until smooth. Add additional water to the dressing if it seems too thick. Toss the dressing into the salad to evenly coat all the kale. Serve immediately. Serves 8. ©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

Variations:
Use purple cabbage in place of the cauliflower.
Yellow or orange bell peppers work just as well as the red.
Replace the seitan with 1 can cannellini or other beans.
Instead of almonds, use pumpkin seeds, walnuts or other nuts
The kale can easily be swapped with Swiss chard.
Add a touch of sweetness with a 1/2 cup of raisins or dried cranberries.
©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Cranberry and Coconut Trail Mix

In response to Alex’s request, here is something simple and easy to make that transports well and is highly nutritious for a student on the go. It provides needed energy, brain boosting power and much immunity to many diseases, which could be found among college students. Enjoy this delicious and guilt free snack!

THE TWIST

When making a trail mix of any kind be sure to include coconut. Research indicates that it helps kill all kinds of viruses, bacteria, fungi, yeast and parasites which include those that cause influenza, herpes, AIDS, ulcers, urinary tract and bladder infections, gum disease, athletes foot, eczema, lice, tapeworms and even some sexually transmitted diseases and many other infections. Coconut improves the absorption of nutrients in other food including vitamins, minerals and amino acids while it also helps reduce risks associated with diabetes, malabsorption syndrome, cystic fibrosis, gallbladder disease, Crohn’s disease, osteoporosis and many other diseases. Coconut helps the body produce energy in preference to being stored as body fat which in turn helps prevent obesity. Coconut promotes healthy skin and hair, prevents wrinkles and age spots and provides protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Dried cranberries not only help prevent bladder infections by decreasing the ability of bacteria to stick to the walls of the bladder, they prevent bad cholesterol from sticking to the walls of arteries which helps increase good cholesterol levels and they block bacteria from sticking to teeth preventing the formation of dental plaques and tooth decay. For overall health, cranberries fight against bacterial and viral infections that can occur anywhere in the body and help strengthen the immune system.

Walnuts are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids which help lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol which helps to prevent heart disease and strokes. They also support better cognitive and motor performance as they support the brain and central nervous system and because they boost melatonin levels they can help cure restless nights. Walnuts are full of protein which provides satiety, an important aspect to any trail mix.

Almonds are a source of many nutrients which help in development of the brain and they are considered to induce high intellectual levels. They are good to eat during pregnancy because they contain folate which helps to reduce the incidence of birth defects. The presence of manganese, copper and Riboflavin in almonds contributes to energy production making them perfect for people on the go.

CRANBERRY AND COCONUT TRAIL MIX

1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coconut chips*
1/2 cup walnut halves
1/4 cup whole almonds

Combine all. Serve as a snack for any occasion. Coconut chips are often available in grocery stores but if not they are easy to make by following this simple recipe for coconut chips or shredded coconut could be substituted.
©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

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Protein Bars (Three Ways)

I’ve updated the way I do my sources. Instead of having to go to the sources page I’ve put a link on the ingredients in each recipe to find the source. I’ll still keep my sources page as a reference to easily find all these ingredients and list the benefits of each one.

A friend stopped by right when I was mixing these up in the kitchen and was amazed at the idea of making protein bars. I’ve created several variations and flavors and here are protein bars three ways! After trying these flavors if you would like other variations please send me a request, the possibilities are endless.

THE TWIST

The mixed rolled grain that makes up the base of these bars provides an excellent source of protein and fiber as well as several vitamins and minerals for sustainable energy and better overall health. They contain all the essential amino acids necessary for the body.

The flaxseed in them may have a protective effect against cancer, particularly breast cancer, prostate cancer, and colon cancer by blocking the growth of tumor cells. Flaxseed also helps prevent hardening of the arteries and helps reduce the inflammation that accompanies illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and asthma. The activated barley is made of complex carbohydrate chains that break down slowly over a period of 2-3 hours, providing a steady supply of calories to the blood and helping avoid blood glucose spikes making it a safe food source for those with diabetes and a preferred food source for athletes.

The turmeric in these bars is a natural antibacterial agent. It may prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide. It reduces the risk of childhood leukemia and is a natural liver detoxifier. Turmeric may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory working as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects making it a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. It is a painkiller. And it may stop the growth of  blood vessels in tumors.

The almond butter is an excellent source of vitamin E which is a powerful soluble antioxidant that may help protect skin from harmful free radicals. Almonds are also packed with many of the B-complex group of vitamins which may aid in cellular metabolism. Almond butter is an excellent source of calcium, providing 8% of the recommended daily allowance in a mere 2 tablespoon serving. Also, almonds are a very anti-inflammatory food source and a good way to reduce internal inflammation. The benefits of reducing low level inflammation throughout the body are immense. They range from reducing the risk of heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression to younger looking skin with less wrinkles, improved allergy symptoms and less joint pain.

PROTEIN BARS (THREE WAYS)

2/3 cup pea protein powder
1/3 cup brown rice protein powder
3 cup mixed rolled grain (or regular rolled oats)
2/3 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup activated barley powder
3 T stevia (Sweetleaf)
1 t turmeric
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*
1/4 t citric acid
1 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup apple juice
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut oil*
1/2 cup almond butter
1/3 cup dates (finely chopped)

Be sure to also use ingredients for desired flavor, altering ingredients as listed. Mix dry ingredients together, mix wet ingredients together until well blended, mix the two together. Oil a large baking sheet. Spread mixture evenly on pan and bake at 325° for 30 minutes. Turn onto a flat cookie sheet with no lip, cut into 24 squares or rectangles. Individually wrap each bar to eat on the go! Keep bars refrigerated until ready to eat.
©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com

See Sources*

CRANBERRY

2 cups chopped walnut
1 1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup coconut chips*
zest of 3 large oranges
1 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 cup fresh orange juice (use instead of apple juice)
1 T vanilla extract
1 t orange extract

Sprinkle an additional 1/4 cup dried cranberries on baking sheet, then spread the Cranberry Protein Bar mixture over the dried cranberries.

PUMPKIN

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin (use instead of applesauce)
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apples, chopped
2 T cinnamon
1 t nutmeg
1 t ginger
1/2 t ground cloves
1/2 cup maple syrup (use instead of agave)

CHOCOLATE HAZELNUT

1/2 cup raw cacao powder*
2 1/2 cups chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup instant Pero*
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, melted (reduce agave to 1/4 cup)
2 T vanilla extract
2 t hazelnut extract (or almond extract)
1 t butter flavor

See Sources*

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