See the big guy in the back? That’s Sumo. A Sumo Citrus that is. Again I am led by research into finding out just how lucky I am. It’s a rare fruit that is a California citrus making it out in the world. The weird foods always do that! I thought that maybe in the citrus department, the sumo wouldn’t be the only other “weird food” in my fridge. I wondered if many people associate the waning of winter with the abundance of citrus? It’s my favorite time of year don’t you know!
Left to Right:
- Cara Cara navel orange: a fantastic beauty with dark pink juice and pulp. It’s an amazing combination of sweet and tart with few seeds.
- Meyer lemon: Originally Chinese, this thin-skinned non-acidic sweet lemon is amazing.
- Sumo Citrus: fabulous easy to peel, sweet and seedless orange with a funky exterior.
- Kumquat: A fun little guy who’s no stranger to the weird food category. A tart citrus you eat skin on – it has some seeds but it’s worth it!
- Minneola Tangelo: My sturdy favorite due to its more predictable availability, it’s a hybrid grapefruit tangerine that’s sweet-tart, easy to peel with minimal seeds.
I feel like this line-up is my Spring collection! But I love citrus and the crazy benefits that I get from eating something I love (and puts the sweet tooth down for a nap).
Citrus is famous for its Vitamin C properties. Let’s break it down shall we?
- One medium orange has nearly 3.5 g of fiber, versus the 0 g in Dole chilled orange juice with pulp
- One medium orange has 18 g carbs, versus 27 g in Dole
- One medium orange has 70 calories, versus 120 in Dole
- One medium orange has 12 g of sugar, versus 23 g in Dole
- To further blow your mind, a child’s Sprite at McDonald’s has 110 calories with 28 g carbs and 28 g sugar
That should settle the “but fruit has more sugar” mumbo jumbo right? Whole foods like a whole orange have fiber – that sugar is naturally fortified with fiber to coordinate with the sugar; and fiber keeps you full (& happy).
And the deal with Vitamin C is that it’s an important antioxidant nutrient that enhances the absorption of iron. Immune support? Heck yes! I rarely get sick! It’s works to prevent damage from harmful free radicals (aging and cancer) in the fluid inside and outside the cells of the body. In areas of the body where cell turnover is particularly rapid, like the digestive system, vitamin C helps prevent damaging changes (mutations) in the DNA – which can lead to the abnormal cellular growth (cancer). Lemon peel in black tea in particular has been shown to reduce skin cancer risk by 30% according to a University of Arizona study. Lemons and oranges also have a phytochemical limonene, which have been shown to prevent cancer. It’s also an antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, antineoplastic and antimalarial agent. Did I also mention that 1/2 cup of lemon juice a day raises citrate levels which help fight kidney stones? I use a whole lemon in my smoothie every day. It masks the veggies so I can cram as much spinach as possible in there.
Ange, this upcoming spurt of recipes is all thanks to you! Thanks for your question about other gluten-free stuff for on-the-go peeps!
Kale is probably a “weird-food” for a lot of you. I know it sure was for Jon and I one year ago!
Dino Kale. Cool name right? I’ve also seen it for sale as Lacinato or Tuscan kale. I guess it’s actually in season during the colder months as it can survive frost, but it’s such a super food, eat it when you can get it!
This kale looks weird, and has an interesting texture, but there are actually quite a few varieties with different looks. Kale is from the cabbage family and it’s a nutritional powerhouse! The oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) rating (you may have heard how blueberries rank very high in their ORAC) ranks kale at #1 for veggies. This means that it has the ability to work with other whole foods as a team and reduce the free radicals in your body. Kale comes in at 1770, with spinach at 1260. Kale is ridiculous! It is LOADED with fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamins A, C and K. Cancer- doesn’t stand a chance!
Raw Kale Salad with Apples, Sunflower Seeds, and Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette (serves 2)
- 1 bunch Dino Kale (or baby/any kale variety)
- 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large apple, sliced
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard (my homemade recipe!)
- 2 tsp agave nectar
- 1 tsp red wine vinegar (or white balsamic)
- 2 T + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
- Cut away the rib/spine in each leaf and chop the kale into bite-sized pieces*. Place in a bowl and massage with 1 tsp olive oil. Just gently rub the oil in to the pieces to soften the kale.
- Mix together the vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, and agave, and then whisk in the olive oil to make the dressing. Place half of the dressing on the kale.
- Core the apple, cut into slices, and cut each slice into chunks. Put apple pieces in with the kale toss with the rest of the dressing, making sure each piece of the apple is coated with dressing.
- Top with sunflower seeds and toss again.
The basic recipe is simple, but really delicious! Even the next day the apples stayed fresh and still had crisp. It’s probably best eaten within 2 days. You can add dried unsweetened cranberries, pine/walnut/almonds or other nuts, feta cheese, and a variety of other toppings. Have fun with it and give kale a chance! All told, this salad would probably run you around $5. The kids might even try it just because of the name! The sunflower seeds are also great additions to salads, especially for those with nut allergies/sensitivities.
*I HAVE to put a plug in for my ceramic knife. It has made chopping, cutting and slicing a joy, especially kale and carrots! It is the second most-prized item in my kitchen, second only to my VitaMix. I only have the small knife and it has paid for itself already!! I will be buying the large one for sure!
Cowboy Cavier Bowls (serves 4)
- 1 cup dry black beans prepared (yields 2.5 cups cooked) or 2 15 oz cans
- 1/2 lb frozen corn, cooking is optional
- 1/2 red, yellow, green or orange bell pepper, diced
- 1 vine-ripened tomato
- 1/4-1/2 onion diced
- 1 avocado
- cilantro dressing (see below)
- chipotle chili powder
- taco bowls (see below)
- Optional: jicama, green chilies, hot peppers, jalapeno, lime juice
- Prepare beans by soaking 1 cup of dry beans for 6-8 hours, rinsing and then boiling lightly for 50 minutes. Prepare the night before and keep in the fridge.
- Cook corn according to directions or thaw frozen corn for extra crunch.
- In a bowl, add beans, corn, peppers, tomato, onion and cilantro. Add seasonings if desired or make cilantro dressing (see below). The measurements are arbitrary really!! Have fun with it!
- Add avocado at the end before serving.
- Serve with chips or scoop into homemade (almost) taco bowls!
Taco Bowls (makes 3 at a time)
- Corn tortillas soft taco size (this brand is the best!!) read labels for sure and look for ones that are refrigerated.
Sonoma: “water, stone ground organic corn masa flour, contains less than 2% of each of the following: organic guar gum, lime.”
Mission tortillas: “Ground Corn Treated with Lime, Water, Cellulose Gum (wood!), Propionic Acid (to preserve freshness), Benzoic Acid (to preserve freshness), Phosphoric Acid (preservative), Dextrose, Guar Gum, Amylase.”
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Basting brush (trust me on this! Necessito!)
- Muffin pan
- Baking pan
- Preheat oven to 450°.
- Oil sections of the muffin pan as they would touch the tortillas as you see above.
- Take tortilla in hand and LIGHTLY brush with oil. Place the tortilla on a baking sheet in the oven (once preheated) for a min until it barely starts bubbling. Using your basting brush (remove excess oil) press the tortilla as you see above into the upside-down muffin pan. If your tortilla isn’t malleable enough, add a bit more oil and heat it so it’s flimsy and fits easily in the mold.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until nice and golden and slightly brown. Allow them to cool. You may need to bake a bit longer or place on hi broil for a minute or two if the bottoms are chewy. That’s how you would reheat as well.
- If you mess up? Break it into chips! or Cut tortillas into strips, bake and use for soup.
Use this recipe or the one below
- 1 huge bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (try to remove stems as best you can, but not necessary I don’t think)
- 8 cloves garlic, minced (yes 8!)
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 lime juiced)
- 1/2-1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or chipotle chili powder
- Blend all ingredients and adjust seasonings to taste. This dressing in particular should sit for a while as it may seem mild or bland at first, but once the flavors “marry” the flavors come alive.