Tag Archive | Selenium

Nacho Average Cheese Dip

Jalapeno Nacho Cheese Dip (2)

Jalapeno Nacho Cheese Dip (1)

What would cashews have to do with jalapeno nacho cheese dip? Let’s consult my handy dandy 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth by Jonny Bowden… it says “A lot.” Cashews are in fact the base of this dip and before you dismiss this as hippie quackery I urge you to give it a try.

Cashews and nuts in general have been scientifically shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and attacks. It does this through its monounsaturated content which raises good cholesterol (HDL) and lowers the bad (LDL). Cashews are rich in minerals like magnesium, calcium, copper, manganese and selenium. Add to that 5 g of protein and 1 g of fiber per ounce. Have I mentioned that it’s delicious? Just ask my meat-eating-Sarah’s-a-crazy-hippie friend who said “Frito Lay Jalapeno Dip? Yeah I love that stuff! Oh but this is waaaay better.”

Jalapeño Cheese Dip (adapted from Amy Healy)

  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped (fresh or roasted)
  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked for a few hours then drained – optional step)
  • 1 medium slice of fresh onion, diced (or 2 tsp onion powder)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp pink salt
  • 2-3 T nutritional yeast (try it!)
  • 4 T water +/-
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice (~1/2 lemon)
  • 1/2-3 jalapeño pepper with seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

Directions:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a VitaMix, blender or food processor until smooth. Refrigerate.

Put it on some of these recipes or try it on any of your own:

For a comparison to Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar Dip let’s look at the obvious. The Frito Lay Jalapeno Cheddar dip lists MSG twice in the ingredients; once as monosodium glutamate and the other as autolyzed yeast extract (yep, that’s MSG!).

Pass the Poupon Please!

There I am at the store, and I need ONE more thing to get my cook on this weekend…Dijon mustard.

But…where is it???

Yeah. None. OH SNAP. I have a full cart and I NEED Dijon. It is a requirement and those 2 teaspoons will make a difference in my recipe, I know it! Plus, I am now recalling that they have never carried Dijon mustard at this store, and I really don’t want to make a special trip and buy a chemical-y mustard (so NOT French) from a chain grocery!

Deep breath. Google! Thank you google! Homemade Dijon? Piece ‘o cake! There IS a reason for everything!

Homemade Dijon Mustard
(barely adapted from here)

  • 2 cups dry white wine (I used a local Dry Riesling)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup mustard powder (4 oz, 1/4 lb-same thing)
  • 4 T honey
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp pink salt
  • Few shakes of pepper

Directions:

  1. In a non-stick saucepan combine the wine, onion and garlic; heat to boiling, simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Cool, and discard solids (onion/garlic).
  3. Add the dry mustard to the cooked liquid, stirring constantly until smooth. (I didn’t sift in my mustard and I wish I had. It’s hard to smooth out the chunks and they are HOT!).
  4. Blend in honey, oil and salt; heat slowly until thickened (keep nose away; fumes are strong!), stirring constantly. Don’t overcook! I did and it’s not super spreadable, but still tastes fine.
  5. Pour into a glass jar; cool, let sit on counter at room temperature overnight.
  6. Refrigerate for 2-8 weeks to age flavor before using. I saw on another blog, she uses it right away, so I did! She also suggests giving it as a gift. For the mother who has everything? Genius!

After grabbing a quick taste before it was thickened, the insane spice/heat opened my nose right up, I remember that mustard powder is how I made Chinese hot mustard a while ago.

Mustard as a health food? YES!! Mustard seed is actually from the brassica family like cabbage and kale. The ancient Chinese considered it an aphrodisiac, as well as a symbol in the Christian faith representing something small turning into something of great strength. Good mustard can stimulate circulation and help neutralize toxins. Hippocrates – Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food – also used used mustard in poultices and medicines (which was its primary function for awhile!). It’s also a good source of Selenium-protection against inflammation!

Bookmark this for use in tomorrow’s recipe, Kale and Apple Salad!

Taco Tuesday on a Friday

Jon and I couldn’t remember the last time we had tacos. Seriously. We haven’t purchased ground beef, or turkey in at least a year, and the ground bison we buy is usually for the chili. It’s almost like we had forgotten it was a dinner option. Almost. Plus Jon loves flour tortillas and I love hard corn shells so we compromised.

Almost Paleo Tacos (serves 4)

  • Organic corn tortillas (probably not paleo, but they’re gluten free and deeelicious)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 lb bison
  • 1/4 c water
  • Chipotle chili powder, minced fresh garlic and cumin-you can also buy taco seasoning, but they can have loads of sodium and possibly MSG and other junk
  • Onion, diced
  • Raw milk cheddar, shredded (possibly not paleo…but I don’t care)
  • Lettuce, chopped (salad lettuce worked just fine)
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Salsa (a common offender in the “why is there sugar in this?” category)-try to get the kind that only has food in it
  • Cilantro, diced
Directions:
  1. Corn tortillas work best when they are fresh because moisture buildup can make them stick. No holes in tacos please! You want to warm a small pan and slap a tortilla in there for a few seconds on each side when you’re almost ready to serve.
  2. Heat 1 T olive oil in a medium-large pan over medium low. Add bison and cook until no pink remains. Drain the excess liquid from the pan and add seasonings and water. Simmer for a few minutes until well mixed. Add more water if necessary.
  3. See number 1!
  4. Serve with onion, cilantro, cheese, salsa and lettuce.

I know that there is not really a one-size fits all approach with the paleo diet, but I like the premise. Obviously most successful diets (meaning nutrition not weight loss) contain a large majority of fresh foods and very little if any prepackaged food. Foods like dairy show up as a yes and no, but I really love the idea of  raw milk.

What’s raw milk? Johnny Bowden’s 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth says:

“I’m a huge fan of raw, organic, unpasteurized, nonhomogenized milk from grass-fed cows that graze in small farms devoted to sustainable agriculture. In fact, I think milk-raw, whole milk from the cows I’ve just described is one of the best whole foods in the world. But I can’t say the same about the milk we find in the typical supermarket. …Even calves probably wouldn’t touch the stuff we get in supermarkets.” (pg. 173)

Of course we’ve all been told milk prevents osteoporosis and it’s good for us and a low-fat snack… but is it really? The traditional milk supply has a lot of problems. Problems many of us find hard to swallow. Some of the myths about milk that exist are:

  • My milk/dairy products don’t have growth hormone in it.
    Unfortunately, unless it states “rBst/rBGH free”, “organic” or along those lines, it does. An article in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded “We found a positive association with acne for intake of total milk and skim milk. We hypothesize that the association with milk may be because of the presence of hormones and bioactive molecules in milk.” The article? High school dietary dairy intake and teenage acne. Interestingly, European cheese is free of hormones since its use is banned. The leading manufacturer of the hormone in the U.S. is the same company who created DDT, Agent Orange, PCBs, Roundup, and is pushing GMOs. Additionally, there isn’t a lack of studies linking dairy to cancers, particularly ovarian and prostate. You will also find studies to the contrary.
  • I get essential vitamins and minerals that I wouldn’t get elsewhere.
    Pasteurizing and homogenizing dairy destroys enzymes and diminishes the nutritional value of the once-whole food. That’s why vitamins are added back in. Same goes for orange juice, cereals and bread (enriched product anyone?). You can get vitamin D in salmon and in some fish oil supplements. Vitamin C and A from spinach (in your smoothie!). Magnesium-In fact, one study that had rats who were fed (human equivalent) one side serving of steamed spinach showed a blood-pressure lowering effect in 2-4 hours. Greens (spinach, dandelion, broccoli) also have calcium!
  • I’ll get osteoporosis if I don’t drink milk, since I don’t eat greens.
    Sugar, caffeine and too much protein have devastating effects on calcium levels, and so does too much milk. This link has pros and cons, and it’s interesting that several studies mentioned in the pro side are Dairy industry people. In fact, protein is being linked to hip fractures more and more. Of course you will find articles to the contrary, such is science.
  • Raw milk is dangerous! It’s practically illegal.
    There will always be two sides to every story. Spinach is a super food no doubt; spinach was also the cause of very serious food-borne illnesses a few years ago. Same with cantaloupe, and beef. There may be a danger in ingesting raw milk, and that debate wages fierce. Proponents are adamant that it is a life-altering elixir. The choice is quite personal, especially since its sale is banned in several states. Raw milk cheese is ok by FDA standards as long as it’s aged for 60 days. While I can’t guarantee the safety of raw milk, I certainly encourage education on the topic.

David Gumpert’s book The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America’s Emerging Battle Over Food Rights is simply astounding, as is his blog. It exposes the unfair treatment farmers receive trying to make a living selling a product, and the lengths people will go to for a food they cannot live without. Most people just want a choice, which is being taken away with little explanation. You can create fear for just about anything, raw milk is no different. While I recognize the possibility of getting sick, I also recognize the benefits of unadulterated food. You take a chance when you rely solely on scientific studies. The study must serve a purpose and of course it needs to be funded. I love that studies are readily available to me, but I also recognize that there is little industry benefit in studying the health benefits of competitive foods. This is the other side of the coin, and the choice should always be yours.

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