Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Must Have Kitchen Appliances

When I started this health journey about 5 years ago, I quickly learned if I was going to make this stick, I was going to need in the kitchen. Thought it would be fun to invite you into my kitchen so you can see what appliances and tools make my life so much easier!

My most prized and favorite possession in the kitchen is my high speed blender. Hands down the Vitamix is my best friend. I use it everyday whether its for smoothies, dressings, soups, gluten free pancakes, or grinding gluten free grains, nuts, or seeds. I have the 5200. It's not the newest version, and it does quite well. It will blend just about anything and comes with an 8 year warranty. How many appliances do you know come with a warranty that long? By the way, their customer service, labor, and parts are all from the USA, not outsourcing.

After my Vitamix, I use my Cuisinart food processor all of the time. Some people would say you only need a food processor or a blender, but I disagree. Depending on the recipe really dictates which on I will use. Certain recipes have a viscosity that can be kind of a pain to get out of a blender. Also I have more control with the pulse button on my food processor. There are much cheaper food processors out there, but Cuisinart has been a round for a long time. It's not a fly by night company, so if you need to replace a part after some time, you have the assurance that it will be available.

I learned a long time ago the value in slow cooking. It saves time, energy, and you can throw just about anything in the things to cook. What I didn't know years ago was how toxic most of them can be. Slow cookers have lead in the ceramic paint. That's right lead. While there have been several reports and blogs done on this matter, I decided that when it comes to my family, I didn't want to play around. Through doing a little research, I found a great solution, The VitaClay! It's a clay pot that is completely non-stick chemical free and can cook anything a regular slow cooker can in less time.

When I got into eating healthy I quickly became aware of the health value in consuming raw foods. While I don't believe the following appliance is a must buy at first, I do adore the Excalibur. So this is the best dehydrator on the market. You might ask, what do I need a dehydrator for exactly? Well, the cool thing about dehydration is that you can dry foods at an extremely low temperature. That's keeps all of the health value in tact, like enzymes, minerals, and vitamins. Many raw foodies have these in their kitchens.

If you are on the hunt for one, this is it. Honestly, I can say I purchased by reviews and friends' comments. Truth be told, there are several much less expensive dehydrators on the market. Everything that I read said not to waste the money. I'm a single parent on a budget, so I totally get the hesitation in such a huge purchase.  I am also not the type of person that likes to just get by, I'd rather save up, and purchase the right item, the first time. I'm not into aggravation because I was trying to be cheap.

Going gluten free it can be difficult to give up certain foods, like crackers. You'll be hard pressed to find a gluten free cracker on the market that isn't fairly junky. Dehydrating allows me to make my own crackers with healthy, simple ingredients. Be aware dehydration does take quite a bit longer than oven cooking due to the low temperature. My favorite treat to make in the dehydrator by far are cheesy kale chips. I use it a lot also to dry out my nuts and seeds that I soak overnight. Why would I do that? Read my post next week. :)

Tell me your favorite kitchen appliance below! Be healthy, be blessed, and be a good steward!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

What's In Your Spice Cabinet?

So do you use your spice cabinet to it's full potential? Did you know most of you have a powerhouse of ingredients sitting right there? Herbs and spices add flavor and nutrition to your meals. They can turn a boring bland dish into an adventure. Experiment and have fun with them! For those of you that have been following me for a while and consistently, then you know I've advised you on purchasing organic herbs and spices. 

FYI: I do not recommend organic because it is cool or trendy. Organic is simply natural and normal, although sadly, not yet the norm. Almost all plants as you probably know are sprayed with tumor causing, brain disorder causing herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides. More and more plants are becoming genetically modified (GMO), and more specifically many conventional herbs and spices are getting a large dose of radiation, that's right our herbs are being radiated. This is very, very dangerous to our bodies.

 Dried herbs and spices are an awesome time saver too. If you don't have any fresh herbs and spices prepared, these babies can save your meal. Do you do smoothies? I love adding herbs and spices into my smoothies dry and fresh! They make changing up a smoothie really simple and delicious! Do you ever switch around your spices in your favorite dishes to give them a new twist?

Another reason I love dried herbs and spices is you can magnify their medicinal benefits by using them  in a homemade tincture or salve.

My Dried Favorites and Why

Turmeric: awesome root that has super anti-inflammatory properties for the entire body from the component curcumin.

Garlic: well first of all it adds incredible flavor, now while dried it doesn't have a the anti-bacterial properties of raw garlic, it does help the body absorb iron, and is a source of manganese and phosphorus.

Ginger: oh such a yummy spice; it contains gingerol, this component helps the body stay warm, and is magnified highly when dried. Gingerol also helps control opportunistic or non-beneficial bacteria in the body.

Cayenne: has super great anti-inflammatory properties, and great for a healthy heart.

Cardamom: great for digestive issues, uplifting mood, mouth ulcers, lowering blood pressure

Cinnamon: great for balancing blood sugar, always put this in desserts if you can, natural sweet and spice to it, immune boosting, antibacterial (less effective when heated, helps mental concentration, can fight certain cancer cells (probably most effective through an essential oil)

Rosemary: stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, improving digestion, and  improving/increasing blood flow to the head (probably most effective as an essential oil)

What is your favorite spice? Share below!