By: Leanne Ely
Fresh mint is a common sight in the summertime and today you’re going to get a tip, a trick and a recipe featuring this pretty little leaf!
I have mint growing in my garden and let me tell you, when you plant mint, you have mint for life! Really. Mint can take over so you really have to be vigilant about keeping this plant in line.
But if you can manage a mint crop it’s well worth growing! (If you don’t have a green thumb, fresh mint is a relatively easily fresh herb to get your hands on.) Mint is quite high in Vitamin A and it also contains Vitamin C, iron and manganese.
There are many uses for mint leaves. While you see it most often used as a garnish, you can add mint leaves to your smoothies for a minty kick (can you say chocolate mint?!), make yourself a cup of peppermint tea, or even flavor your water with them!
Now, it’s time for your Trick
When you’re freezing a tray of ice cubes, try adding a mint leaf to each one for a pretty (and refreshing) way to keep your lemonade or cocktails cool!
If you wish to plant your own mint, I recommend planting it in a container. This is probably the best way to keep that mint under control.
And your Recipe
Mint Chip Smoothie
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 to 3/4 cup water (or more coconut milk)
2 tablespoons mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1 scoop Perfect Paleo Protein Mix (chocolate preferred for this recipe)
2 teaspoons Saving Dinner Fibermender (optional)
1 tablespoon Just Juiced Greens (optional)
In a blender, place coconut milk, water, mint leaves, cacao nibs, Saving Dinner all-in-one smoothie mix, Saving Dinner Fibermender and Saving Dinner Just Juiced Greens (optional); blend until smooth and enjoy! It’s ok to add a tad more milk of your choice, if a thinner smoothie is preferred.
Speaking of smoothies…I LOVE Perfect Paleo Protein–dairy free, creamy yumminess and anti-inflammatory to the 10th degree! Highly recommended!
By: Leanne Ely
I don’t know about you, but I have a really hard time buying produce that I can easily grow myself. At my house, we eat a lot of salad. As many of you know, I serve a large green salad with almost every meal that goes on the table. All of those heads of lettuce can add up!
So, I recently started looking into some ways to grow my own lettuce indoors and I thought I would share what I’m learning with y’all.
All you need is:
• A large round pot, about 6 inches deep (or a container of some sort with roughly the same depth)
• Organic potting soil (look for the kind with perlite in it—thats those little round white balls)
• Mesclun mix seeds (or whatever lettuce you like best)
• A sunny window
You’ll need a window that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day. If your lettuce doesn’t get enough sun, it will get tall and spindly and that isn’t what you want.
To grow your lettuce:
1. Fill your container to the halfway mark with soil. You can sprinkle some fertilizer on there if you want to. Moisten the soil and sprinkle a couple pinches of seeds on top. Sprinkle a little more soil over the seeds and spritz the surface with more water.
2. Water daily and keep the pot in the sun or under a grow light. The seeds should sprout up in about seven days and your first harvest should be ready in about a month.
To harvest your lettuce:
After you cut your lettuce the first time (leave the growing crowns alone!), you’ll only have to wait another two weeks for a fresh crop.
And it’s pretty much just that easy!
Fresh lettuce greens are just the best, aren’t they?
PS – The 21 Day Knock Out starts TODAY!!! I’ll sneak you in, but you gotta come right now!!
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: MUSTARD
It’s been mentioned in Sanskrit writings from 5000 years ago and in The New Testament. It was used as a food source and medicinally in ancient Greece and in ancient Rome.
It’s available ground and whole. Oh, and also as a condiment.
We’re talking about mustard! The Romans are believed to have been the first to make a paste from ground mustard seeds and the hotdog hasn’t been the same since 🙂
Mustard seeds come from the mustard plant—a cruciferous veggie related to Brussels sprouts and cabbage—so you know that means mustard seeds are very good for us.
These little seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids and a slew of minerals including phosphorous, copper, manganese, vitamin B1 and magnesium. Mustard seeds have an anti-inflammatory effect in the body and they contain compounds believed to help protect against gastrointestinal cancer.
Now for your Trick:
Make your own mustard by soaking mustard seeds in organic vinegar or wine. After they’ve soaked for a day or two, grind them into a paste with any herbs and spices you might like to make your very own homemade mustard. (Try pepper, garlic and turmeric!)
Mixing dry mustard with water gives this mild powder a bit of a kick. When you mix dry mustard with water, it causes an enzymatic process that punches up the heat. This also essentially makes a homemade hotdog mustard!
And your Recipe from our new 21 Day Knock Out:
BLT Skillet Stir Fry
8 slices bacon, chopped
½ cup chopped red onion
2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
2 large ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and diced
4 small heads bibb lettuce, chopped
2 medium cucumbers chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons mustard
1 large lemon, juiced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
COOKING INSTRUCTIONS: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the bacon and onion and stir.
Cook for 5 minutes, until bacon is almost cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon onto a paper towel lined plate. Discard the bacon fat from the skillet. Transfer bacon mixture back
into the skillet and add the tomatoes and basil. Cook mixture for 5 more minutes, until bacon is very crisp and vegetables are tender.
In a large bowl, add the avocado, lettuce and cucumbers. Spoon the bacon mixture over the top.
To a small bowl, add next 4 ingredients (olive oil through lemon juice). Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Whisk together dressing.
Spoon the dressing over the bacon mixture and gently toss. Serve warm.
If you want more tasty recipes to help you stay on track, join me on our new 21 Day Knock Out only through Take Back Your Body!
By: Leanne Ely
There is a good deal of confusion around which oils are good for cooking and which are not.
Fat is essential for human health. We need fat in our diets for hormone health, cell building, energy, and even for keeping our skin in good shape. There are certain vitamins (A, D, E and K) that require fat to help us absorb them as well.
Unfortunately, however, the average American’s diet today is high in poor quality fats, specifically, vegetable oils. Vegetable oils are relatively new to the human diet (within the past hundred years or so), and they are actually doing more harm than good in the human body. Especially when they are used in cooking.
Canola oil, corn oil and margarine are all examples of vegetable oils that increase inflammation and free radical damage in the body.
The majority of your fat intake should be coming from healthy oils like coconut and olive oil (the main two oils I personally use), and whole foods like avocados, salmon, grass fed animals, nuts and seeds.
With all the oils that look up at you from store shelves, which one should you use for what so that you get the most that you can out of those good fats?
• Coconut oil
• Olive oil
• Avocado oil
• Fish oils
• Walnut oil
• Macadamia nut oil
• Grass-fed butter
• Flax oil (but needs to be kept refrigerated and is very unstable so not recommended)
Fats to avoid
• Margarine and other artificial trans fats
• Vegetable oils
• Oils made from GMO grains
• Grape seed oil (it’s very high in Omega 6 fatty acids which we need to be consuming less of)
You want to cook with stable cooking oils like avocado oil and coconut oil.
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) should never be heated up because doing so not only destroys the benefits of the olive oil, but it can also turn that healthy oil into a damaging trans fat that will actually harm your health.
This may be the first time you’ve heard of there being a significant difference between olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. EVOO is what you get after the first press of the olive. The result is a rich, pungent oil, best for drizzling over salads or breads.
When the oil is pressed multiple times, you have a lighter oil that is best for cooking. The more the olives are pressed, the lighter the oil.
I wouldn’t recommend cooking with nut oils, they’re so expensive they aren’t really a reasonable option anyway. Flax is excellent for you, but I don’t recommend buying it in a liquid oil form because of how unstable it is. It goes rancid very quickly.
At the end of the day, you need to know that vegetable oil is to be avoided at all costs (margarine, canola oil, corn oil). Save those fancy nut and seed oils for salad dressings and use coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee for cooking.
Did you know you are allowed good fats on our NEW 21 Day Knockout? Check it out here!
By: Leanne Ely
While getting regular exercise and reducing the amount of stress in your life are key components to reducing the inflammation in your body, we can also add certain anti-inflammatory foods to our diet, (all the while cutting out sugar and processed food), to optimize our health.
The following seven foods are anti-inflammatory super heroes and you should eat them frequently, or at least three-four times per week:
1. Cold water fish. Cold water fish like wild salmon, cod, sardines, haddock and sole are all high in fats that have great anti-inflammatory properties. Keyword: WILD (skip the farm raised)
2. Vegetables. Surprise! Vegetables are good for you. However, most North Americans aren’t getting enough plants into their diets. You should be eating at least 8 or 9 servings of veggies every day. That means you should have vegetables with each meal. Make them bright and colorful, and leafy and green!
3. Seeds and nuts. Walnuts, sesame seeds and almonds all contain omega-3 fats that reduce inflammation.
4. Fruit and berries. Blueberries, pineapple, raspberries, cherries, strawberries and apples are all examples of fruits that may help reduce inflammation within the body.
5. Turmeric and other herbs and spices. Turmeric, ginger, garlic, basil, oregano—take your pick because all of those herbs and spices are very very high in nutrients and fight inflammation. Try chopping a bunch of herbs and combining with garlic and olive oil for an anti-inflammatory meat marinade!
6. Chocolate. Every once in a while some good chocolate is a great thing to eat. I’m talking about chocolate that’s at least 70% pure cocoa and no more than one ounce at a time. Make sure it’s organic!
7. Green Tea. Whether it’s hot or cold, green tea sort of acts like a liquid vegetable, putting up an inflammatory fight within your body. And please make sure that tea is organic.
Now that you know what foods you should eat to reduce that inflammation, here’s what you should avoid!
The top foods to avoid in order to reduce inflammation:
• Margarine and other trans fats
• White flour
• Deep fried foods
• Excessive alcohol
As you know, anti-inflammatory foods have been a hot topic lately here at Saving Dinner. That’s a big reason why we added the Autoimmune Menu, which is high in anti-inflammatory foods, to Dinner Answers! Click here to learn more
By: Leanne Ely
Not all bell peppers are created equal. First there are the colors – red, orange, yellow, and green are the most common. Second is the flavor – from sweet to hot. It is all from the same plant. The only difference is when they are picked. As the pepper gets riper, it gets not only a better taste, but it also gets more nutritive value. A red pepper is actually a fully ripened green pepper with a milder flavor.
Here’s Today’s Trick:
Bell peppers freeze well without being blanched, but it is better to wash them first. For maximum flavor and nutritional value, store them whole. Sweet peppers lend themselves well to drying and keep at least 1 year when dried. They are also good marinated.
Here’s a Tip:
Red pepper has more vitamin C than oranges and are also high in beta-carotene.
And your Recipe:
Chicken Verde Fajitas
1 1/2 pounds green tomatillos, husks removed
1/2 small onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 medium limes, juiced
2 small jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 pounds bone-in chicken breasts
2 tablespoons cumin
3 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons paprika
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
Preheat broiler to high.
Slice the tomatillos in half lengthwise, and place cut-side down in a baking dish. Roast under the broiler 6 to 8 minutes, until skin takes on a darker color. Remove from the oven and let cool.
In a food processer, add cooled tomatillos, chopped onion, garlic, lime juice, jalapeños, salt, pepper, and cilantro. Blend until a puree is formed. Pour this mixture into a small freezer bag, remove excess air, and seal.
In a small mixing bowl, mix together cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Sprinkle this mixture evenly over chicken breasts. Place seasoned chicken in a freezer bag, remove excess air, and seal.
In a final freezer bag, place sliced onion and bell peppers, remove excess air, and seal.
To prevent freezer burn, place the filled bag in a second 1-gallon freezer bag; carefully squeeze the bag to force out any air, then seal. On the outside of the bag, label with the recipe name and date of preparation; place it in the freezer
Defrost your freezer meal the night before in the fridge. If you don’t have a full thaw at cooking time, remove it from the holding bag and place it in a sink of water to speed-thaw your food. New rules allow for thawing in hot water (100 degrees) with no issues regarding quality or safety (old rules said to use cold water for thawing, but this is no longer necessary – hot water is fast, effective and safe).
At time of cooking ingredients:
2 ripe avocados, sliced
1 head romaine lettuce
In a large crock cooker, add half of the tomatillo puree. Place chicken breasts on top of tomatillo puree. Add all vegetables and the rest of the tomatillo puree.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from crock cooker. With two forks, remove chicken from bone and shred. Return chicken to crock cooker and mix well.
Serve in romaine lettuce cups topped with fresh avocado.
Dinner Answers will give you what you need to get all your meals on the table, pronto. Click here!