Yesterday I gave the lowdown on two drinks our family have incorporated into a healthier lifestyle, along with the recipe for lemon water and a promise that one for golden milk would soon follow.
I won't give you the whole why this is awesome for my family spiel again (you can read yesterday's post here), instead here are the benefits of golden milk, and my own personal recipe.
This is another drink that is causing a lot of buzz on the internet. South Asia has known about the powers of turmeric forever and we in North America are just catching on. Turmeric is the spice (or root) that gives golden milk it's rich colour and one of the components that make it so great for your body.
Google 'golden milk' and you'll get a plethora of hits, most giving you the standard recipe of: coconut milk, turmeric powder and honey. On it's own, this combination has some benefits, but with the addition of a few simple ingredients, you can pack so much more punch into your evening drink.
About 90% (if not more) of the recipes call for turmeric powder. It is a fantastic spice and can be used that way if you prefer or if you do not have access to fresh. I will always choose the fresh option, picking up a whole bag of the root whenever I find it, however I do have ground turmeric in my spice cabinet and will use it when fresh runs out. Same goes for the ginger, although it is really easy to find in most stores.
A note about the ingredients: feel free to use cow, goat, coconut, almond, soy, or whatever type of milk you prefer. We started out with coconut milk, but we moved to cow's milk, as I find that we get a richer, creamier drink. The black pepper is added in because with it your body is able to absorb an astonishing 2000% more of the available curcumin in turmeric. Shocking, I know, what that little tiny addition will do. If you read yesterday's post you'll already know this, but I'm saying it again just in case: it is really important to mix the honey in after the milk has cooled slightly. High temperatures will kill the beneficial bacteria in it. Also, try to use raw, unpasteurized whenever you can. The difference in benefits is astounding when you remove the pasteurization (high heat...) process. To see yesterday's chart regarding this topic, click here.
2 cups milk
sliver fresh ginger
1/2" chunk fresh turmeric
2 whole black peppercorns
pinch cayenne pepper
2 tsps honey
1/4 tsp maca powder
1/2 cinnamon stick
(*note* I use a nutribullet for the first part. You can forgo the blending part and just chop smaller pieces and put everything together in your saucepan as is)
Add 1 cup milk to blender.
Add ginger, turmeric, peppercorns, cayenne and maca. Blend for 30 seconds.
Place this along with remaining milk and cinnamon stick into a saucepan.
Allow to cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about a half hour. Do not boil.
After a half hour, remove from heat and allow to cool about 10 minutes.
Strain into 2 cups and stir in 1 tsp honey each. Drink warm.
Why drink this? Once you read all these benefits, you're going to wonder "Why am I not drinking this?"
Yesterday we learned about the benefits of ginger and honey:
Ginger improves the absorption of essential nutrients, helps relieve gas, bloating & nausea, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Honey helps prevent cancer & heart disease, reduces ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders, has anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties, reduces coughs & throat irritation, regulates blood sugar, gives you great skin and is a probiotic.
In addition to those benefits, in each cup of golden milk you'll get these boosts also:
Turmeric boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, & analgesic properties, boosts immunity, is an anti-carcinogenic, helps maintain cholesterol levels, promotes digestive health, detoxifies livers, regulates metabolism, lowers triglycerides, helps give you beautiful skin, and can help with high blood pressure, and improve memory & brain function.
Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, & E. It provides calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous & amino acids. It can boost to your libido, balance your hormones & increase fertility. Can alleviate cramps, body pain, hot flashes, anxiety, mood swings, & depression. Energy levels may increase, along with an increase in mental energy & focus. It helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia & cardiovascular diseases. May help clear up acne.
Cayenne has the ability to ease upset stomach, ulcers, sore throats, spasmodic and irritating coughs, and diarrhea.It's an anti-cold and flu agent, has anti-fungal properties, can help prevent migraines, anti-allergen, digestive aid, helps reduce atherosclerosis, detox support, joint-pain relief, anti-bacterial properties, boosts metabolism, help balance LDL cholesterol & triglycerides, & helps prevent tooth & gum disease.
Cinnamon helps with heart health, blood sugar regulation, better brain function, & improved motor function.
So I ask you again, why aren't you drinking this? Trust me, your body will thank you!
As I move my family towards a healthier home little by little, we've also started to drink 'concoctions' (as hubby calls them) in the morning and evening as a small step on that path. Currently we drink honey lemon water each morning and golden milk each evening and we've seen a few changes since this has become routine. Hubby has lost a few pounds (ten at last count, I believe) and I have had some success in that area also. To be more specific, at the beginning of this year I caught a particularly nasty bug - one that had me wishing I could just die - and over the course of the four days that I feared leaving my home without wearing an adult diaper (I know, TMI), I lost sixteen pounds. Crazy, right? Well, that's what happens when you're petrified of putting anything into your body (like food), but your body still feels the need to get rid of everything that is still in there. Usually after such an illness, I'll put it all back on (and then some because I'm so happy to be able to eat again) but that was not the case this time around. Four pounds returned, but here I am, a month later, and that is all I've put back on.
We're not eating any differently than before and definitely not getting more exercise (although we both know we should), so we're laying this good fortune at the doorstep of the honey lemon water we drink each weekday morning. Yes, I said weekday. On weekends we all wake up at different times (my teenager just in time for brunch, usually) and since you can't have coffee for an hour after the lemon water, it makes for a tricky situation. So we forgo our 'concoctions' on the weekends. We've been taking our honey lemon water since before Christmas last year.
The second one we drink each weeknight is golden milk. I found out about the health benefits of this drink and a pretty good recipe online and we've been drinking this for about a month. I've tweaked the standard recipe slightly and will give you my version tomorrow. There is one really glaring benefit we've found with this one, and I can only attribute it to the golden milk because we did not have this benefit while drinking only the lemon water, and it happens within days of starting it. We smell better. I know that seems a really odd thing to say, but you don't realize what a benefit it is until you live it. No one likes to talk about personal odor issues, most of us are embarrassed by it, and do our best to mask it. Hubby didn't have much of an issue to begin with, he is blessed to only have to wear deodorant on the stickiest of summer days. I am not so blessed, and my poor son got my genes in this respect. Since he hit puberty, it has been a major issue. People may think he doesn't bathe or wear deodorant, but he does and it still doesn't help. My body is so good to me that I have to put on deodorant the second I get out of the shower or I already smell. Not fun, and not good for a person's self-esteem. I am quite aware of the correlation between deodorant and breast cancer, but it came down to do I want to lose one or both boobs later in life or stink to high heaven now. I did think about it every time I applied deodorant. It sucked.
Here's the fantastic change: we don't stink anymore! I can (and do, lol) actually go an entire weekend without showering or putting on deodorant. I now know freedom, people. It is quite liberating.
So, enough about our family's bodily functions, weight loss and level of stinkiness. I wanted to share my two daily drinks, but there are quite a few new ones that I'd like to try out over the course of 2015 and I may do another post like this one with my happy results.
I'll start with this one because it's pretty much the most widely known drink with health benefits and also because its the one I start my day with.
There are many different variations of this one, and we started with the basic: Hot water with a half a lemon squeezed in. If you google this one, you'll find recipes galore. My suggestion is to start with water & lemon sweetened with some honey. Next, add some mint. Lastly, try out the recipe below.
**note** It is really important to add the honey AFTER the water has cooled slightly. Hot water will kill the beneficial bacteria.
**note** Due to the acidic nature of the lemon, do not drink coffee or brush your teeth for one hour after consuming.
2 cups water
1 lemon (organic if you can, otherwise, wash it with soap & water)
2 tsp honey (organic, raw, unpasteurized is best)
sliver fresh ginger
4 leaves fresh mint
Toss mint leaves into a saucepan and muddle slightly.
Slice lemon and add along with ginger.
Bring to a boil, remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Mix in honey, pour into glasses (use a strainer) and consume warm.
(Quick, simple recipe for busy mornings at the end of this post)
Why drink this? Seriously, this one glass packs a punch!
Lemons are known to replenish body salts, aid in the production of digestive fluids, maintain eye health, helps prevent wrinkles & acne, help balance calcium & oxygen levels in the liver, potassium levels nourish brain and nerve cells, help reduce pain and inflammation in joints, help prevent common cold and some infections & diseases by helping slow the growth & multiplication of bacteria, balance pH levels, flush out toxins, and is a great source of vitamin C, citric acid, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium.
Ginger improves the absorption of essential nutrients, helps relieve gas, bloating & nausea, and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Mint relieves indigestion, gas, morning sickness, menstrual cramps & pain, anti-bacterial & anti-inflammatory properties help fight oral infections, great for skin & clearing up acne, Helps prevent asthma & allergies, boosts immunity, fights stress & depression and helps fight cancer.
Honey helps prevent cancer & heart disease, reduces ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders, has anti-bacterial & anti-fungal properties, reduces coughs & throat irritation, regulates blood sugar, gives you great skin and is a probiotic. Whenever you can, go for raw, unpasteurized honey, there are way more benefits. If you can, find a local beekeeper and purchase your honey from them. You are supporting your community and you know what you're getting. Just so you know, honey technically cannot be called 'organic' in Ontario (I'm not sure about other provinces) because the bees are flying around and can ingest pollen from anywhere.
I have included a graphic I found online which gives you an idea why raw is better:
I highly recommend that you incorporate at least a basic version of this drink into your morning routine. I know it's not easy - we're all so busy and time is at a premium - but it's such a simple way to do something good for your body.
Some mornings are busier than others, and a way to make this quickly (which I do some mornings) is this:
Boil water in your kettle. Pour water into each glass & add juice of one half lemon. Add enough cold water to cool slightly. Mix in 1 tsp honey. This method is per glass.
Here you have the basics: honey & lemon, and it's quick. Don't give up your health to save ten minutes!
Come back tomorrow for my Golden Milk recipe!
The good people at SocialNature and Orange Naturals sent me a full sized package of their ND Shake for women in vanilla flavour to try out.
So let's find out about the product before I tell you how my experience was. Orange Naturals (according to their website):
The shake mix I received to review is a nutrient-dense protein shake overflowing with vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients custom formulated for women's health. it is soy, gluten and nut free, vegan and specially developed by Canadian naturopathic doctors.
Its super easy to use: 2 scoops to 250ml (1 cup) of whatever liquid you choose. You are welcome to blend in any fruit you choose to enhance the flavour and you actually have two flavours to chose from: chocolate and vanilla.
They were also nice enough to send me loads of info on this particular product, along with others they offer. They also sent a chart which gave a lot of information about which items from nature are thought to help with common ailments. I loved it, and will definitely be using it as a reference guide, considering our family's slow shift to more natural foods and way of life in general.
So I tried it and... let's just say I have been trying really, really hard to find nice things to say about it. I know that often times what's healthy doesn't necessarily taste good, but I could not even finish one glass of this. It doesn't taste even remotely palatable to me. Maybe the texture and taste work for some people, people who enjoy those green energy smoothies that taste like grass to me. I, unfortunately, am not one of those people.
Just mixing it into milk with a spoon leaves a grainy, chalky, thick drink that leaves an aftertaste. No matter how healthy or good this is for my body, there's no way I can drink it every day. Do you remember when you were a kid and we had that powdered Nestle Quick chocolate milk mix? Remember how it never mixed in all the way and while you were drinking it you'd get bursts of chocolate powder? That was yummy. You get the same effect here - but in a totally anti-yummy way.
This is my attempt at mixing it in really well over the course of about 10 minutes. I was not very successful.
I did get a smooth consistency when I used the Nutribullet to mix it up. However, because the shake is so thick to begin with, when you use the bullet, you get almost a mousse texture - that is a strange mouthfeel, I'll tell you right now!
Nothing helped the flavour for me, either. I tried adding stevia, instant espresso granules, bananas, strawberries, and actual vanilla. Nothing helped. Each one was almost worse than the last.
Product Rating: 1 smile out of 5
Product Website: orangenaturals.com
Product Type: protein shake
Would I purchase?: no
Would I recommend?: no
ND Shake for Women in vanilla flavour was sent free by the good people at SocialNature and Orange Naturals.
Here's a collection of creepy, sad, weird and unusual valentines from around the web. Enjoy, and send someone some love today!
Feeling rather blah today. I know it's a long weekend, but the older I get, the less I can deal with the cold. We had a really mild start to this winter, but this year so far has been brutal. So I decided to cheer myself up by looking for some funnies to post.
I hope they brighten your day also ;)
What a lovely little treat!
Everytime I open my cupboard, there's a can of pumpkin staring me, crying out to become something other than a can of pureed pumpkin. I start stocking up on canned pumpkin as soon as they start going on sale around Thanksgiving in anticipation of all the pumpkin flavored goodies I'm going to bake, and I inevitably end up with a can or two left over after the season is over. This is one such can, and I was trying to figure out what to do with it.
I am not a huge fan of pumpkin pie, but I can stand it in low doses. I have previously posted my Pumpkin Cheesecake Rounds (click for recipe), which pairs two things I really don't care for into something I can enjoy, but this is almost straight-up pumpkin pie, so I re-worked it just a smidge and used a few pantry items that were kinda' crying out to be used to make something yummy. They're not at all sweet, so if you have a major sweet tooth, I suggest upping the sugar, but pumpkin pie isn't supposed to be super-sweet anyway.
This recipe will make 8 little guys, perfect for a little treat after dinner, or you can use 6 ramekins and make them a little thicker.
Let us begin: (scroll to the end for the full list of ingredients and directions)
Mix all the crust ingredients together and gently and evenly (some of mine were a little more even than others) press down into the bottom of your ramekins.
Bake these for about 5 minutes to set them. Meanwhile, make the filling.
Combine the filling ingredients (add another tsp or two of sugar if you like). Remove the crusts from the oven and spoon filling on top.
With 8 ramekins, you'll use about 2 rounded tablespoons each. Add just enough water to the baking sheet to just cover the bottoms. This helps them not to dry out while baking.
When they're done, remove them and cool on your counter for about 10 minutes. Then, move them to the fridge. They're cool and ready in about a half hour!
Now you can eat them naked (your own clothes are also optional, I suppose), or you can top them with whipped cream or anything else you enjoy. I used whatever I found in my kitchen and they taste yummy!
First layer: Laura Secord Chocolate Hazelnut Spread.
Second layer: Freshly whipped cream.
Finally: Sprinkled with mixture of chopped hazelnuts and crushed hazelnut wafers.
For the Crust:
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup coconut flour
For the Filling:
1/2 brick cream cheese, softened
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp icing sugar
So I guess my self-imposed social media exile wasn't quite as over as I thought a month ago! Truth is, the winter brings me down, it's usually dark and dreary and cold and snowy and slushy and cold. I just really do not appreciate this season. But, I have things to post so I thought I would start with this little gem - my breakfast this morning.
It was freshly baked this morning because I really wanted to bake it last night for dessert, but I was busy all day and started it a little too late. I saw a really delicious looking lemon pull apart cake on Pinterest, but I knew I wanted to incorporate some of the frozen wild blueberries I had leftover from another baking session. And maybe make it a little less complicated, you know, simplify my life.
So last night I made and rolled the loaf and put it in the pan, covered it with plastic and let it slow rise in the fridge overnight. This morning I set my alarm a half hour earlier, got up and popped it into the oven. A half hour later, voila! delicious breakfast!
Without further ado, here is the recipe, which is adapted from Janette's Lemon Scented Pull-Apart Loaf on thewhimsicalcupcake.wordpress.com, I used a lot of her ideas to come up with this easier version.
For the dough:
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup 1% milk
2 oz unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, at room temperature
3 rounded tbsp defrosted wild blueberries, with juice
For the lemon filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
grated lemon zest of 3 lemons
2 oz unsalted butter, melted
For the icing:
1/2 brick cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp whipping cream
juice of 1 lemon
1. In a mixer bowl, stir together the sugar, yeast, salt & 2 cups of the flour. In a small saucepan, heat the cream, milk & butter over low heat just until melted. Remove from the heat, add water, and set aside about 1 minute to cool slightly. Add the vanilla extract.
2. Pour the milk mixture over the flour-yeast mixture and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition just until incorporated. Stop the mixer, add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and resume mixing on low speed until the dough is smooth, 30 to 45 seconds. Add blueberries & juice and 2 more tbsp flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is smooth, soft, and slightly sticky, about 45 seconds.
3. Sprinkle a work surface with 1 tbsp flour and center the dough on the flour. Knead gently until smooth and no longer sticky, about 1 minute, adding an additional 1 to 2 tbsp flour only if necessary to lessen the stickiness. If you add too much flour, just add a little more blueberry juice to soften it slightly. Place the dough in a large greased bowl, cover the bowl with a damp tea towel, and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 45 to 60 minutes. While the dough is rising, make the filling.
4. In a small bowl, mix together the melted butter, sugar and the zest. Set aside.
5. If you're baking this immediately, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg. Lightly butter or spray (I used Pam Coconut Oil spray) a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan.
6. Gently deflate the dough. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a long rectangle. Evenly spread filling, going all the way to one end and leaving about an inch and a half on the other (for rolling purposes).
7. Roll up the dough, starting from the end where you got the filling all the way to the edge. Place in your pan, seam-side down. Loosely cover the pan with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until puffy and almost doubled in size, 30 to 50 minutes. If you're going to make this tomorrow, at this point, cover the the pan tightly with plastic rack and place in the fridge overnight.
8. If you're doing this the next day, preheat oven to 350 deg, remove loaf from the fridge, remove the plastic wrap and allow to come to room temperature before continuing. Bake the coffee cake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Make the tangy cream cheese icing
9. In a medium bowl, vigorously mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the milk and lemon juice until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
10. Slip a sheet of waxed paper under a cooling rack to catch any drips from the icing and remove loaf from pan to rack. Coat the top of the warm cake with the icing to glaze it, add more blueberries if you have them.
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