Friday, January 31, 2014

Meatless Fridays : Spinach and Lentil Soup

Spinach is loaded with Vitamin A, K, D, and E . It is a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. It also strengthens our bones, a cup of fresh spinach contains twice your daily vitamin K needs.

 As for these small ( but wonderful) small lentils, they are very healthy and excellent for our hearts.
 It aids in lowering your cholesterol ( with a consistent , balance healthy diet and exercise of course), a good source of calcium, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Lentils are high in protein and can replace the red meat in your diet without sacrificing all the nutrients. One meatless meal a week is a good baby step for every family to achieve healthy habits.




Ingredients:

1 tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 diced garlic cloves
1 8oz tomato sauce
1 10oz green tomatoes with green chilies
2 cups Chicken broth
5 cups hot water
a bag of fresh spinach
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 cups of green lentils
Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large pot , warm the olive oil. Add the onion first , then the garlic. Saute for about 2-3 minutes.



Stir in the diced tomatoes with green chilies , tomato sauce , broth and hot water. Mix in the spinach. Bring to a boil.


Add the Lentils and white rice and bring to a boil.



Reduce heat and cook for about 15 minutes. If you like it to be a little thicker cook for about 20 minutes.

How easy can this healthy meal can be..






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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Homemade Bread Loaves

    Does your family loves a good bread? Mine does. I don't always bake homemade bread , just once in a while and when I do , I ask myself why I don't always do this all the time? No doubt about it , the homemade bread taste is much better and economical too. You feel good knowing that there are " no hard to pronounce ingredients" , you know whats in your bread..you know what you are feeding your family.

    This is an easy recipe for a homemade bread . It involves minimal kneading , so if you don't have a stand mixer, mixing it by hand is just fine! It is a little crunchy on the outside ( If you prefer to bake it that way, we do) , soft and fluffy inside.




Ingredients:

2 packages of active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/2 cup low fat milk ( can use evaporated milk)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tbsp salt
6 cups of flour , I use all purpose. You can also use whole wheat or bread flour. You may need more if your dough is sticky.


Directions:

Pour 1/2 cup of warm water into a bowl , sprinkle yeast over it. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. Until they are bubbly.



Melt butter . Add in honey and sugar. Stir it and let it cool slightly.


Combine the butter mixture , salt , 2 cups water and yeast in the bowl.


Add in the flour. Adding one cup at a time. You'll know your dough is ready when it is not sticky anymore. You may add 1/2 cup of flour at a time if you need some more flour. Place the dough in a floured surface and knead until all the flour is incorporated. ( If using a stand mixer , use your dough hook ,speed 2)


Place the dough back in the bowl ( or just leave the dough in your mixer's bowl) , Cover it with a clean kitchen towel . Let it sit for 1 hour until it doubles in size.


After an hour , Punch down the dough and let it rise again for 45 minutes.


Separate the dough into 2 equal balls. With floured hands , Shape or press the dough ball into rectangle , tuck the ends under. Place the loaves on greased loaf or bread pans.

Cover and let it rise for 30 minutes, until the dough is on top of the bread pan.

Still with me? I promise you , it is worth it :)


Bake at 350 deg for 25 minutes. or until the breads are golden brown.

Let it cool before slicing. Serve with warm soup or just with butter.


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Friday, January 24, 2014

Meatless Fridays : Black Bean and Corn Quesadillas


I have previously mentioned that I like to serve at least one or two meatless meals in a week. We'd like to eat more healthy , more vegetables and more real food if possible. Just like what hubby always tells me anything in moderation is the key . We just can't go cold turkey on meat :)

This Black bean recipe is both healthy and budget friendly. It is a win-win for me.  They are very easy to make . Jumping bean and Big sister didn't eat a whole lot ( because of the red onions I think , it is too strong for the kiddos) , but the hubby loved it

Black beans are rich in fiber , which helps in lowering cholesterol.  The black color of black beans is because of the presence of antioxidant called anthocyanins. It the same powerful flavonoids, that are found in nutritional foods like blueberries, red cabbage, cranberries, and red beets.( Source: Benefits of Black Beans )

Adapted from : Budget Bytes   love her recipes and site , can't wait for her cookbook. 



Ingredients:

2 cups Homemade Black Beans  ( can use canned black beans)
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 chopped garlic clove
2 cups shredded cheese ( mexican blend or mild cheddar cheese)
10 flour tortillas

Directions:

Combine the beans and the corn in a large bowl.


Add the garlic and onion ,


add the taco seasoning ,


and the cheese ,


Stir everything until they are very well mixed .  Spoon the mixed filling to the other half of the tortilla and fold over. Cook it , on both sides until they are crispy and brown. If you see the cheese melting , you should be done cooking it too.



They are so good and tasty!


 Why make your own taco seasoning ?

Because the ingredients to make a batch of taco seasoning , are ingredients that you already have in your pantry. They are very cost effective , much healthier than store bought. And you don't have to worry about the ingredients that you can't even pronounce when buying a store bought packet of taco seasoning.


See here for : Make your own Taco Seasoning   (and other mixes too!)


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