Treat yourself to a plate of parsnips

Treat yourself to a plate of parsnips

Healthy-Foods
Treat yourself to a plate of parsnips

By: Leanne Ely

If you’ve not tried parsnips before-those white root veggies that resemble carrots-you don’t know what you’re missing!

Parsnips are similar to carrots in shape and they are related to carrots, but they don’t taste anything like them or any other root vegetables you might be familiar with for that matter. Parsnips are very mild in flavor and, because they’re a bit starchy, they’re great roasted or mashed in with your favorite root veggies.Parsnips, root veggies, vegetable,

There’s also a lot of good nutrition in a parsnip.

Fiber. Parsnips are full of fiber. A cup of sliced parsnip provides you with 6.5 grams of fiber.

Vitamin C. Eating a cup of parsnips gives you 25% of the Vitamin C you need in a day, and Vitamin C is essential for the production of collagen (important in bone, tendon, blood vessel and ligament formation).

Vitamin K. That same cup of sliced parsnips gives you 25% of the Vitamin K you need each day. Vitamin K is important for cell growth and it might actually help prevent you from developing osteoporosis.

Folate. Parsnips are an excellent source of folate; a cup of the vegetable gives you almost a quarter of your daily recommended amount of this important vitamin. Folate is responsible for helping with DNA and RNA manufacturing, and it can prevent anemia.

Parsnips also contain B vitamins, calcium, zinc and potassium.

While parsnips are often the star of the show in Europe, they haven’t quite gained the attention they deserve here in North America.

Parsnips make a wonderful stand-in for potatoes in a creamy mash, provide a delicate sweet base for a soup and, shredded raw into a salad, they offer a refreshing crunch.

Pick up a bunch of parsnips the next time you’re at the market and try them a few different ways. Or plant them yourself! I’ve added parsnips to my fall garden and there’s nothing to it.

Whether you buy them or plant them yourself, I’m sure you’ll enjoy parsnips!

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Lovely Lavender

Lovely Lavender

By: Leanne Ely

Lavender plants produce vast amounts of pretty and beautifully scented flowers. Not only are these purple flowers a common ingredient in bouquets and potpourri, but lavender flowers (fresh and dried!) are edible. They’ve actually been used in home kitchens since the Middle Ages. My bees love lavender so their honey has a wonderful scent and a taste of lavender. Mmm!

This pretty herb with an unmistakable scent has been used as an aphrodisiac, a cure for flatulence (maybe that’s why it’s an aphrodisiac! ha ha), a treatment for migraines and as an antidepressant.

When steeped into a tea, lavender can relieve anxiety and stress. Essential lavender oil in a bottle of cool water can be misted onto burns to relieve pain. Topically, lavender oil can even help with breakouts!Lavender, How to cook with Lavender, Organic Lavender

If you have room in your garden for a patch of lavender, go on and grow your own. It’s dead easy and you’ll find yourself reaching for it constantly.

As with all edible flowers, only consume lavender if it’s organic!

Now, it’s time for your Trick:

In cooking, lavender can be substituted for rosemary. (You’ll need to use twice as much lavender as you would rosemary.)

Your Tip:

When grilling, toss lavender flowers, leaves and stems over the hot coals to infuse the food you’re cooking with aromatic lavender smoke. This works best for salmon, pork or lamb.

And your Recipe:

Lavender Roast Chicken
Serves 6

2 cups Chardonnay (or use 2 cups white grape juice with a splash if cider vinegar, or 2 cups chicken broth)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
5 cloves garlic, pressed
1 (4-lbs.) whole chicken
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together first 7 ingredients (Chardonnay through garlic). Add chicken; cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow it to marinate overnight, turning every few hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Remove chicken from marinade and place it in a large baking dish or roasting pan, breast side up. Pour remaining marinade over the chicken and season it evenly with salt and pepper. Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours* or until juices run clear. Serve sliced chicken topped with pan juices.

Nutritional: Per Serving: 612 Calories; 44g Fat; 38g Protein; 3g Carbohydrate; trace Dietary Fiber; 159mg Cholesterol; 229mg Sodium. Exchanges: 0 Grain(Starch); 5 Lean Meat; 0 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 5 1/2 Fat. Points: 15

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Lovely Lavender
Lavender, How to cook with Lavender, Organic Lavender
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Big health bang delivered by liver

Big health bang delivered by liver

Healthy-Foods
Big health bang delivered by liver

By: Leanne Ely

Few things can raise as many “I’m not eating that” and “eew! Disgusting!” reactions from the dinner table as liver, but that’s too bad because the nutrition found in organ meats is unbelievable!

The liver is a storage organ for vitamins A, B12, D, E and K, as well as copper, iron and other essential minerals, so it’s literally a nutritional powerhouse.Liver and Onions, Beef Liver, How to cook liver, Nutritious Liver

Yep, there’s a reason why your mother made beef liver, and there are multiple reasons why you should be eating it. Let’s examine a few . . .

• Iron. Whether it’s pork liver, chicken liver or beef liver, liver is a tremendous source of iron. For best iron absorption, cook your liver in a cast iron pan!
• Vitamin A. Liver contains a ton of Vitamin A, which is essential for many bodily processes, in addition to regulation of blood sugar, protection from environmental toxins, and overall hair and skin health.
• Brain function. Liver contains a high amount of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which leads to higher brain function and visual acuity.

Beef liver is cheap, amazingly good for you, easy to cook and, believe it or not, delicious.

When you add liver to your diet, you’re providing your body with some of the key tools it needs to rid itself of toxins and preserve your good health.

Buying beef liver

When buying liver and any other organ meats, it’s very important to look for pasture-raised liver, free of antibiotics, hormones or commercial feed. There is more nutrition in pasture-raised animals than their commercially raised counterparts.

Cooking beef liver

Beef liver is quite tender, especially compared to pork liver. It also has quite a mild taste.

Liver and onions is a classic dish for a reason. Here’s how to prepare it:

First, if you bought a whole liver from a farmer, you’ll need to remove its thick outer membrane, as well as the veins. I prefer buying the liver already prepared and sliced for me. That’s not such an easy thing to find when you’re dealing with grass-fed animals, though, so prepare yourself to have to do some of the not-so-nice prep.

Slice the liver in slices about a quarter inch thick.

In a cast iron or stainless steel pan, cook sliced onions in butter until they’re nice and soft and golden brown.
While the onions are cooking, dredge your liver a mixture of flour, salt and pepper. (Buckwheat flour will work well if you’re avoiding gluten.)

Remove the onions from the pan, add more butter and fry your coated liver slices. When the slices of liver are golden brown, add the cooked onions and enough beef or chicken broth to half cover the contents of the pan. Cover and cook on medium low so that the liquid is at a nice simmer.

The dish should be ready in about thirty minutes. You’ll know when the liver is done as it will no longer be pink in the middle.

Bon appetite!

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Big health bang delivered by liver
Liver and Onions, Beef Liver, How to cook liver, Nutritious Liver
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How to make great cocktails that aren’t bad for you

How to make great cocktails that aren’t bad for you

Dinner Diva
How to make great cocktails that aren’t bad for you

By: Leanne Ely

What’s better on a hot summer night than a cold drink? Most of our favorite “adult” summertime drinks are, unfortunately, full of sugar and chemicals and nasty artificial ingredients. But don’t worry! I’m not going to tell you that you have to live the rest of your life without cocktails. I’m just going to tell you how to make cocktails that aren’t all that bad for you.great cocktails that aren’t bad for you, Lighter Cocktails, great summer cocktails

How to lighten up your cocktails

• For recipes that call for soda, try substituting with carbonated water. Instead of a vodka and tonic or gin and tonic, for example, mix your alcohol with seltzer, a touch of homemade simple syrup and a lemon wedge.
• Speaking of simple syrup . . . make your own. Regular simple syrup is just sugar water. It’s hummingbird nectar, basically! Make your own simple syrup by mixing half a tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of warm water. That measure will give you enough for one sweet cocktail.
• Drink a serving of fruit or veg with each drink by muddling some fresh produce in the bottom of your glass. Strawberries and basil are a wonderful sweet combo. A tomato and some parsley is good for a Bloody Mary. Mango and mint makes another great cocktail combo.
• Stick to one shot per drink. That will keep the calories down and it will also prevent you from overdoing it too quickly.

Some cocktails ideas to try

• Mint Julep. Put a tablespoon of your homemade simple syrup into a glass and muddle it with a dozen or so fresh mint leaves. Add a shot of bourbon and top the drink up with seltzer water.
• Tequila Sunrise. Fill a glass with ice and a shot of tequila. Add in a couple shots of fresh squeezed orange juice and pour a splash of real cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail) on top.
• Lime Rickey. To your tablespoon of homemade simple syrup, add the juice of one lime and a little more than half a shot of bitters. Top with a cup of seltzer water and enjoy!
• Spiked Lemonade. Muddle a quarter cup of frozen berries with the juice of a lemon and a tablespoon of simple syrup in an 8 ounce glass. Stir in a shot of vodka and top up the whole thing with seltzer.
• Grapefruit Margarita. Put some ice cubes in your favorite margarita glass. Add a shot of tequila, the juice of a lime and the juice of half a grapefruit. Top it up with a shot of orange liqueur.

Cheers!

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How to make great cocktails that aren’t bad for you
great cocktails that aren’t bad for you, Lighter Cocktails, great summer cocktails
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Get set for good health with gelatin

Get set for good health with gelatin

Healthy Foods
Get set for good health with gelatin

By: Leanne Ely

You know those jellied salads your mother and grandmothers used to put on the potluck table? As it turns out, the gelatin that makes those molded salads stand up like they do is extremely healthy for us. Well, without all the sugar that Great Aunt Martha used to add in there of course!Gelatin crystals, bone broth, healthy gelatin, gelatin

Gelatin is an animal protein—a form of collagen—that comes from the bones and marrow of cows. If you’ve ever cooked up a pot of bone broth, you know the way it gels in the refrigerator—that’s the gelatin that was released from those great bones.

Gelatin is absolutely packed with nutrition. Containing essential amino acids, gelatin is an excellent source of protein. It’s great for joints, it will heal your gut, it’ll make your hair shiny and your skin smooth, and it will tighten up that loose skin on your belly.

Gelatin naturally binds with water to help food and mucus pass easily through your digestive tract. Rumor has it that gelatin can even help reduce cellulite!

It’s easy to add gelatin into your diet. You can mix it with broth to make a gorgeous gravy. Put it into your daily smoothies, or add to your juices, dips, and desserts.

To get the most out of your gelatin, try to purchase unflavored gelatin from grass-fed animals. You can find this easily on the Internet.

Do you take gelatin for your health? Do you have any recipes to share? Let us know on our Facebook page!

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Mary had a little (grass fed) lamb

Mary had a little (grass fed) lamb

Tricks, Tips and a Recipe
Mary had a little (grass fed) lamb

By: Leanne Ely

It’s time once again for Tricks, Tips and a Recipe. Today you’ll learn a tip, a trick and you’ll get a great recipe to try it out with. Neat, huh?

Today’s focus is on: LAMB

Lamb meat comes from a sheep that is under a year old, whereas “mutton” is sheep older than 2 years old, and any age in between is referred to as “hogget.” Lamb is definitely sweeter and more tender than those other older meats.

If you have a hard time with the idea of eating a young sheep, remember that lamb meat isn’t coming from those fluffy little baby sheep. A one-year old lamb is essentially fully grown and when grass fed, has lived a good happy life. To put this in perspective a bit, many beef cows are slaughtered between one and three years of age.Lamb Chops, Lamb meat, Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine recipe,

When you buy your lamb from a local farm, you can speak with the people who raised the meat to be sure of the humane manner in which the animal was raised and brought to market.

You really should make an effort to find a local sheep farmer to buy your lamb from, but lamb is relatively easy to find at meat counters year round. Not only is lamb a mild, sweet protein, but it’s absolutely chock full of minerals and vitamins.

A serving of lamb provides you with more than half of your daily recommended intake of protein along with all kinds of B vitamins, niacin, iron, zinc and riboflavin.

However, when it comes to selecting and cooking, lamb can be an intimidating meat. In fact, I think one of the reasons why Americans eat so little lamb, compared to beef and pork, is that we’re not sure how to cook it.

I’m not sure why lamb is perceived as being so difficult to work with because once you get the hang of it, working with lamb is simple. All you need is a good cut of meat and the right cooking method.

How to select the right cut:

First of all, buy only grass-fed lamb. There is no comparison. From there, the cut you want will depend on your budget and what you’re doing with your lamb meat. Let’s look more closely at these cuts:

Ground lamb. This is probably the most inexpensive cut of lamb. Generally coming from the breast or shoulder of the animal, ground lamb can be used as you would ground beef or pork.

Loin roast. If you want to impress a small group of dinner guests, go for a loin roast. A good sized roast of lamb will feed roughly four people.

Leg of lamb. Still impressive, and generally much more meat than a loin roast, a roasted leg of lamb is great for a dinner party.

Rib racks. You won’t get a lot off of a roasted rack of lamb, but lamb racks sure are pretty! Be sure to save the bones for your next pot of bone broth!

Lamb shank. You will want to braise this cut. It is one of the toughest cuts of meat you’ll get on a lamb, coming from the lower legs of the animal.

Lamb leg steaks. One of my favorite cuts of lamb, lamb leg steaks are full of flavor, are good and meaty, and they’re not difficult to cook. Just cook them as you would any steak. For best results, marinate them beforehand, especially if you plan to grill them.

Shoulder chops. Often chewy and fatty, shoulder chops aren’t expensive, but they are quite tasty. Lamb chops are best grilled or pan fried.
Maybe because lamb is traditionally served in the spring, it pairs perfectly with fresh spring vegetables.

Now that we’re all salivating…

It’s time for your Trick:

If you don’t have a local lamb farm to buy your meat from, go to a good meat market and select lamb that is pinkish-red with a good amount of marbling. Avoid dark red cuts of lamb which is an indication of older, less tender meat.

Your Tip:

If you purchase your lamb frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator. When it has thawed, it will be safe stored in the refrigerator for up to five days before you cook it.

And your Recipe:

Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:
1/3 teaspoon olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced
3/4 pound lamb meat, cubed
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup water
2 pears, cored and cubed
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons slivered almonds

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS:
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; saute onions and lamb until lamb is browned (don’t worry about cooking it through, you just want to brown it on the outside).

Remove skillet from heat and sprinkle lamb with seasonings; transfer to slow cooker and cover with the water. Cover and cook on low heat setting for about 3 hours, or until meat is fork-tender.

Thirty minutes before serving, add pears, raisins and almonds. Raise heat setting to high and continue to cook until pears are soft and raisins have plumped slightly.

NUTRITION per serving: 602 Calories; 39g Fat; 28g Protein; 37g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 105mg Cholesterol; 91mg Sodium. Exchanges: 4 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 2 Fruit; 5 1/2 Fat. Points: 14

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Mary had a little (grass fed) lamb
Lamb Chops, Lamb meat, Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine recipe,
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Lamb Chops, Lamb meat, Slow Cooker Lamb Tagine recipe,