Monthly Archives: May 2009

How to Peel a Boiled Egg

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 29, 2009

I coordinate a local food club in my community, and today at pickup, one of our local farmers delivered the largest chicken eggs I have ever seen!    They are absolutely beautiful!    What’s more, the eggs are soy free and very reasonably priced!   I’m glad I bought 5 dozen, but I have a feeling they won’t last the 2 weeks until the next pickup.      

When I got home, there was no doubt that lunch would consist of all things “egg”.    I made scrambled eggs first and was delighted to see that the yolks were nearly as large as duck egg yolks!   My egg pan was completely full scrambling only 4 of these eggs.   Phenomenal. 
My next task was to quickly cook up some boiled eggs for snacks.    I got to thinking that some of you out there may be struggling with peeling them, just like I did for the longest time.    The one minute youtube clip below demonstrates how to peel a boiled egg without really peeling it.     I hope you find this sensational tip as helpful as I have.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist


8 Comments

Panang Curry Recipe: Easy Thai for Dinner

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 26, 2009

panang curry

Tonight, I’m making a real crowd pleaser for dinner … panang steak curry.    For those of you who love thai food as my entire family does, this dish is so simple and easy to make, why bother sitting in a restaurant when you can make it at your leisure at home with quality ingredients?

First, you need quality steak.  I buy grassfed ribeyes from a local co-op for about $6-9/lb when they are on special. When they are on sale, I buy a lot to tied me over for a couple of months until the next special comes around. These steaks normally retail for $15 or more per lb depending on the healthfood store, so join a local co-op and save yourself a bucketload!

Once you have a quality steak procured, slice up 1 1/2 lbs into thin strips about 2 inches long.   Set aside.

Next, slice up some fresh, organic veggies of your choice, preferably seasonal.   Zucchini and yellow squash are seasonal for my local area right now, so these are my choice purchased from a local farmer to ensure maximum nutrition and freshness.   Buying local produce is much more economical than supermarket produce as well.   Once sliced up, set the veggies aside.

Next, get some organic basmati rice cooking.  I use white basmati rice as brown rice doesn’t digest well for my family and isn’t necessarily any healthier.

Set the timer for how long the rice will cook, then move on to the panang sauce.

The panang sauce really makes this meal. If you google panang sauce, you will find many different ways to make this sauce.   This recipe is my own version based on making this sauce for a number of years and refining my approach over time to best suit my family’s tastes.   Feel free to experiment for yourself using this recipe as the basis for your own creativity!

Panang Curry Recipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups homemade chicken, duck, goose, beef, buffalo, or venison stock (the stock you choose will vary the flavor a bit, but they all produce a delicious panang sauce. Do NOT use canned or packaged broth as these are loaded with msg using a msg alias such as “spices”!

1/2 – 1 cup organic, creamy peanut butter (sources)

1-3 tsp red curry paste (sources)

2 TBL fish sauce (you can get this at any Oriental Market .. make sure the ingredients are only fish, water, and salt.   Many brands contain added msg and/or sugar) (sources)

2 TBL sucanat (sources)

14 oz  whole coconut milk(sources)

1/3 cup freshly ground  flour (sources)

Directions

Mix the broth and the coconut milk in a large saucepan and bring to just below a boil.    Add peanut butter, red curry paste, and sucanat and whisk until smooth and blended with broth/coconut milk mixture.     Add the fish sauce.     Very slowly sprinkle the flour into the sauce while continuing to whisk vigorously to mix.     Continue until you have used all the flour and the sauce has thickened nicely. Taste the sauce and add more red curry paste as desired.

Once you have the sauce tasting like you want it, add the steak and veggies to the sauce and slowly simmer them until they are just cooked, about 10 minutes.    By this time, the rice should be ready, so you can serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

10 Comments

The Dangers of Refined Carbs

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 20, 2009

Most people realize that excessive sugar in the diet is disastrous to health over the long term.   This would include sugar in all its forms.   Even natural sugars, such as maple syrup and raw honey, cause health challenges if consumed to excess.    Sugar overconsumption leads to ups and downs in insulin levels which eventually cause chronic blood sugar problems either in the form of hypoglycemia or diabetes.     High fructose corn syrup or any unnatural form of fructose (like agave nectar) is even worse than sugar as it elevates triglyceride levels in the blood and also leads to insulin resistance.    A good rule of thumb is to indulge in a (preferably) homemade treat sweetened with natural sugars approximately two to three times a week.      A daily sweet indulgence is too frequent for vibrant health.    

Refined carbs cause the same type of damage as excessive sugar intake.    Surprisingly, this fact is not commonly known.   Refined carbs just take a little longer to take their toll on the body’s vitality.    By “refined” carbs, I am referring to most grain or potato based foods that are processed.   This would include chips, crackers, cookies, boxed cereals and so on.      I am floored at how many Moms think goldfish crackers or Cheerios are a healthy snack for kids.    They are NOT a good snack choice in any way, shape, or form!    When you provide these types of highly processed carbohydrates to your child on a regular basis as snack food, you are not only fueling addictive eating behavior (these types of foods are extremely hard to eat in moderation and food companies know this fact well), but you are also priming their metabolism for diabetes or hypoglycemia down the road.     Even if your child is a normal weight through the age of 8 or so, they are not yet out of the woods.    Many children, particularly girls, balloon at around ages 9-11.    Boys who are normal weight as children frequently become overweight when the grown spurts stop around 16 if they are regularly consuming processed carbs.     The bottom line is your child is in the danger zone for having lifelong weight problems if you start the habit of eating refined carbs at an early age.
Many parents ask me what to feed their children as a snack if little bags of chips and crackers are avoided.     For my own children, I prefer a snack cup of fresh fruit, homemade cookies (with a glass of milk as the fat in the milk significantly slows down the insulin shock from the sugar), homemade muffins, a bagful of homemade popcorn (don’t pop it in the microwave!), or food bars that are made of whole ingredients with no protein isolates of any kind (I will blog about the dangers of protein bars at a later time).     A small cup of nuts is an excellent snack as well.   If your child won’t eat a healthy snack, then they don’t need a snack at all.    Being “hungry” for chips and crackers and not fresh fruit or nuts is not really hunger, it is a signal of addiction to these highly processed carbs.    Do your best as a parent to wean your child off these dangerous foods.    Your children will thank you profusely when they are grown.
If you open the pantry in my home, the shelves are completely devoid of any bags of chips, boxes of crackers or cereal, and store bought cookies.    These types of foods are so addictive in  my experience, that if you stock them in your home, you will eat them regularly.    Moreover, you will not only eat them, you will most likely overeat them!     I have found that the only sure way to avoid refined carbs the majority of the time is to not buy them.    Also, don’t shop when you are hungry or your cart will be loaded with them.   If you indulge periodically at parties and such, this is not a major issue.   It is when you eat them every day or at least several times a week that the roller coaster ride to weight problems and blood sugar issues begins.     My advice would be to not buy them at all.     Within a few weeks, you will be very glad you took this step.
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist  
3 Comments

Vegetarianism is not Healthy!

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 19, 2009

Vegetarianism, and the extreme version – veganism, seems to be gaining acceptance in Western society as a healthy approach to eating.   This is a worrisome turn of events, especially for our young girls.    Folks who jump on the vegetarian bandwagon are risking their long term health as it is impossible for human beings to get all the nutrients they need from plant based foods alone. Vitamin B12, for example, is completely missing from plant based foods and can only be obtained from consuming animal tissues.   While it is true that Vitamin B12 “analogs” are present in some plant foods, these analogs are not true vitamin B12 and actually increase a vegetarian’s need for the real thing!    The link below discusses how 25% of adults suffer from life threatening B12 deficiency.

The nutritional deficiencies which frequently present in vegetarians are particularly devastating to young women who plan to one day bear children.    Infertility in vegetarians is higher than in girls who eat meat.    In addition, vegetarian women who do manage to get pregnant carry fetuses that are at risk for more birth defects.   Vegetarians are also more likely to have females instead of male babies.    While having a girl instead of a boy is certainly not a problem in and of itself, this statistic does provide evidence that vegetarians are not as well nourished as omnivores.   Boy fetuses are known to be less robust than female fetuses and, as such, require a higher level of maternal nutrition to remain viable.      
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/869696.stm
Someone who is considering the vegetarian lifestyle need only to read the fascinating work of Dr. Weston A. Price and his groundbreaking book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration” to be quickly convinced that this approach to eating is unwise.    Dr. Price traveled the world in the 1930′s and studied all the indigenous cultures that had not yet been affected by what he called “the displacing foods of modern commerce”.   The cultures he studied included the Eskimos from Alaska, the Aborigines in Australia and every group that he could find in between.  Dr. Price carefully examined and took pictures of these healthy peoples who were free of chronic disease, had happy, optimistic outlooks on life, and perfectly straight teeth virtually free of cavities.   The traditional foods that each of these cultures consumed all contained animal foods.   To repeat, none of these cultures was vegetarian.    In fact, Dr. Price was unable to find an indigenous population of vegetarians that exhibited the health and vitality of the meat eating cultures.
While eating meat is clearly beneficial to health, it is also important to choose meat that comes from healthy animals in the first place.    Most of the meat found on grocery store shelves comes from animals that are confined for their entire lives and are subjected to antibiotics and other drugs to control the disease that results from living in such inhumane conditions.   It is in reaction to the negative publicity of these “factory farms” that some folks turn to vegetarianism in the first place.    A better approach to protesting the ill treatment of animals raised in confinement would be to purchase grassfed meats from a local farmer and boycott supermarket meats.    Where to find such a farmer?      A list of such producers is offered free to the public on the website www.eatwild.com.     In addition, the Weston A. Price Foundation supports a system of Local Chapters all over the world.   The Chapter Leader for each local chapter maintains a list of local, grass based producers that can be obtained for free just by inquiring!  Click on the following link to find the Chapter Leader closest to you!
http://www.westonaprice.org/local-chapters/find-local-chapter
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist  
12 Comments

Homemade Pizza Crusts in less than 30 Minutes

by Sarah TheHealthyHomeEconomist May 17, 2009

I’ve spent a good part of the weekend at a soccer tournament, so cooking was really the last thing I had time for.   This evening, with three very hungry kids, I decided to whip up the eternal favorite for dinner:  pizza.     There really aren’t any decent pizza crusts that can be purchased at the store at the moment.  There used to be a great one from French Meadow, but it was discontinued and I haven’t been able to find a satisfactory replacement.

So, here’s my homemade pizza crust which takes basically 15 minutes to both mix up and bake .. then it is ready for topping.   Dinner in less than 30 minutes.   Pizza that is actually healthy and that is prepared faster than Dominoes or Papa John’s can drive one to your house!  I use sprouted wheat flour as it is so much more digestible and nutritious than plain wheat flour.   Plus, sprouting the flour breaks down gluten, that hard to digest protein that almost everyone has trouble with these days even if you are asymptomatic and think you digest it just fine (hint:  you probably don’t digest gluten very well considering that the majority of folks suffer from some sort of digestive complaint and gluten is one of the primary suspects in these cases!).

*Click here for my post on how to make the homemade pizza sauce in only one minute!

Two 13″ Sprouted Flour Pizzas

Ingredients
2 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2/3 cup whole milk (sources)
1/4 cup expeller coconut oil (sources)
2 tsp aluminum free baking powder (sources)
1 tsp dried basil (sources)
1 tsp dried oregano (sources)
1 tsp onion powder (sources)
2 cloves crushed garlic (optional)
1 tsp unrefined sea salt (sources)

Instructions

1. Heat oven to 425 F.
2. Measure ingredients in a bowl.
3. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the side of the bowl.
4. Gather dough together with your hands and press into a ball.
5. Knead dough in bowl 10 times to make smooth then divide dough in half.
6. On lightly floured suface roll each half into a 13″ circle.
7. Place on Pizza pan.
8. Turn up edges 1/2″ and pinch.
9. Brush circles with 2T of olive oil.

10.  Bake pizza crusts for 10 minutes.
11.  Remove pizza crusts from oven.
12.  Add toppings and bake for 5-10 minutes until it looks done.

Enjoy!

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
4 Comments

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