Make Classic French Onion Soup

Start with 3 or 4 large onions, preferably of the sweet variety. Other types will do, but the sweet ones are my favorites to work with. Slice them thinly, and toss them into a soup pot with some melted butter and olive oil. Why both oil and butter? The butter adds flavor, and the olive oil stops the butter from burning. Next, add a bit of salt, some sprigs of fresh thyme, two or three crushed garlic cloves, and a splash of water, and turn up the heat.

Starting with high heat and a little extra water will help drive the moisture out of the onions. This is the first step to getting them to that beautiful golden brown color that you are aiming for. Until the water is mostly gone you won’t be able to get to the temperature you need to start the camelization process, because evaporation cools them down too much. However, once the onions are reduced in size and there isn’t much liquid around them, you will need to turn down the heat to prevent them from burning. This is really the only tricky part to making French onion soup, and it is better to err on the side of caution and keep the heat low. That way the only bad thing that happens is that it takes longer to cook the onions.

After the onions reach the desired color (darker is sweeter), you will need to deglaze them. This just means adding a liquid to the pot and then scraping off the cooked bits from the bottom of the pot. White wine is the best for this recipe, and what I do is toss a quarter cup of it in and use a wooden spoon to get the dark bits off the bottom. After the wine has been absorbed or evaporated, I repeat the process three times. This infuses a lot of flavor into the onions.

After the deglazing, add the remaining ingredients. First, stir in a tablespoon or so of Dijon mustard, then add in another half cup of white wine. Last, add 2 quarts of beef stock, or if you want a lighter taste add one quart each of beef and chicken stock. Bring the soup up to a simmer and leave it there for about 15 minutes.

If you want to stop at this point, you will have a wonderful soup just the way it is. But if you want to go all-out you can add the baked cheese topping without too much trouble. First, slice some nice French bread (we may as well stay on theme, right?), and some Gruyere cheese. You can use Swiss cheese instead if you like, but Gruyere is the classic choice. When the soup is done simmering, ladle it into oven-proof onion soup bowls that are sitting on a baking sheet. Add a slice of bread to each bowl and top with some cheese. Put everything under the broiler for a minute or so until the cheese is melted and is just starting to get brown on the edges. Be careful! Burning yourself on one of the bowls would be bad enough, but pouring piping hot soup down your front is altogether unpleasant.

Serve the soup with some extra slices of bread. Make sure to put the bowl and the bread on a plate to prevent burns to either fingers or place mats.

Here are the ingredients listed again for convenience:

3 or 4 large onions;
2 or 3 cloves of garlic;
butter and olive oil;
salt;
a bit of water (maybe a quarter cup);
sprigs of fresh thyme;
cup and a half of white wine;
2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard;
2 quarts of beef stock, or 1 quart each of beef and chicken stock;
French bread and Gruyere cheese (optional)

Vegan Chocolate Cake

With that in my mind and having had to deal a few times in the past with some very nice vegan customers, I came up with a real vegan recipe that I will share in this article. It is a nice and moist vegan chocolate cake that can be eaten on its own or with some sort of garnish like vegan chocolate or vanilla sauce or even raspberry jam:

Here below are the ingredients needed for around 4 to 5 cakes of this delicious recipe:

Light whole-wheat plain flour: 220g
Plain cake flour: 225g
Sweet potato flour: 100g (to keep the cake moist)
Baking powder: 18g
Bicarbonate soda: 10g
Cocoa powder: 165g
Salt: 5g
Soya milk: 500g (rice or oat milk can also be used instead)
Corn oil: 260g
Rice malt syrup: 1000g
Apple cider vinegar: 7g
Vanilla essence: 10g

Method:

First turn the oven on as always with the temperature dial set to 180ºC (356ºF). Spray-grease around 4 or 5 cake tins then place a round piece of grease-proof paper on the bottom of each of them. Then start by sifting the plain flour, potato flour, baking powder and bicarbonate soda together, then add the whole-meal plain four last without sifting it. Mix thoroughly. In a saucepan heat the soya milk on low heat. When it is slightly bubbling, add the sifted cocoa powder and whisk well until it is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Combine the other liquid ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the cocoa mixture and combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

Pour the mixture into the prepared cake moulds. Each cake mould should be filled to around 2/3 of their height. Insert into the pre-heated oven and bake for around 40 minutes. If your oven has a ventilation duct, keep it closed during the 1st half of the baking and then open it for the 2nd half. When a small knife inserted in the chocolate sponge comes out clean, take them out of the oven and let them cool down for a few minutes. When they have cooled down take them out of the tins and turn them over on cooling wire.

Spanish Rice Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups long grain rice
  • 4 cups of water, hot
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 2 heaping T salsa (red or green)
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • 1/2 t salt & pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1 medium onion, diced

Heat a large, deep skillet that has a lid over medium high heat and when the pan is hot then add the olive oil. When oil is hot add the rice and the onion and saute until the rice is toasted and lightly brown and the onion is soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add the tomato sauce and the salsa and saute for 3 minutes, the tomato sauce will start to stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the first 2 cups of water and while you are waiting for it to start boiling add the bouillon cubes, parsley, salt, pepper and garlic. Continue stirring uncovered to reduce the water and to distribute the bouillion cube and spices. When there is only a small amount of water left in the pan, add the second 2 cups of water and bring that to a boil again. When it finally comes to a rolling boil, give the pan a stir and turn down the heat to low and simmer covered for approximately 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Stoves vary so check it after 15 minutes and continue to cook until all the water is gone. Remove cover, stir to fluff the rice and let it rest of a few minutes before serving.

This rice is a great leftover and worth making extra for other meals. It can be turned into a completely different dinner idea by adding a poached egg on top or pieces of grilled chicken.

You can add additional vegetables to this dish to make it your own. Add some green peppers when sauteing the onion or some roasted corn at the end to add a new and unique flavor to your dish.

Basmati Rice

Let’s look at the issue in detail to decide once and for all whether you should consume Basmati Rice or not as a regular diet. Basically there are numerous schools of thoughts which contradict one another while discussing Basmati Rice nutrition and calories content. One major group believes that the Indian Basmati is full of starch and has very little amount of nutrients to offer, hence they should be avoided especially by those who are looking to eat healthy and lose weight.

Contradicting them are those who believe that basmati is a rich source of carbohydrates and necessary minerals and hence must be consumed regularly. Both of them aren’t entirely wrong and neither entirely correct.

The Asian Heritage Argument

This argument mainly challenges those who claim rice is fattening. Basmati Rice is the staple food of many Asian countries who have been consuming it for generations after generations. Even then, they have managed to remain healthy and slim. Hence, it slightly proves that Basmati, in itself, is not entirely fattening.

Eating Rice in the Evening Makes you Fat

There are people who believe that consuming Rice in the evening causes the body to store excess fat. This fat is not burned off due to inactivity during sleep. But the truth is entirely different than that! The weight gain is not entirely due to the Rice you consume but it is an accumulation of all the calories you consume during the day. Rice Calories do add to that total but does not make the majority of it. If you consume more calories in total than the amount you burn off each day, you will gain weight irrespective of whether you consume Indian Basmati Rice or not.

Bad for Gluten-sensitivity

Another myth about Basmati Rice Nutrition is that it is a source of Gluten which causes health disorders. But the Indian Basmati Rice is inherently gluten-free. So if you’re suffering from celiac disease or NCGS (non-celiac gluten sensitivity); you can still consume Basmati without any fear. Rice does not need gluten protein unlike dough to make them stick together. Hence, even if you’re gluten-intolerant, Basmati Nutrition will not affect your health in any way.

The Bottom Line

The next time you go to the supermarket to buy Indian Basmati Rice, you can add them in your cart without any regret. If everything else is going great for you like insulin sensitivity, regular activity, absence of metabolic deranging foods like fructose, lectins and excessive linoleic acid etc., then Basmati Rice Nutrition and Calories are not going to affect your health drastically.

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki noodles are made from flour ground from the bulbous root (or corm) of the Konjac plant. This flour is known as konjac flour and is not a carbohydrate like traditional flour. It is 100% soluble fiber which is combined at a ratio of 3% to 97% water to create a solid gel. When left in blocks this gel is called konnyaku. When formed into noodles it is called shirataki which means ‘white waterfall’. Traditional konnyaku is grey in color from the addition of seaweed to the mix.

Konnyaku and Shirataki are effectively calorie free since the human body is incapable of converting fiber into energy. Even if konjac flour were a traditional carbohydrate, a 100 gram serve of shirataki would contain only 12 calories based on the three grams of fiber it contains and the fact that one gram of carbohydrate contains four calories.

Most of the health benefits of shirataki are derived from the fiber content. The American Dietetic Association recommends 20-35 grams fiber per day. The average American only consumes around 15 grams of fiber per day.

Health Benefits of Shirataki

One serving of shirataki noodles per day;

  • Helps prevent ‘spikes’ in blood sugar levels by stabilizing them.
  • Are gluten free.
  • Are carbohydrate free and ideal for low carb diets like Atkins.
  • Reduces cholesterol levels by around 10% and LDL (bad cholesterol) by 7.2%.
  • Reduces tryglycerides by 23%.
  • Reduces Systolic blood pressure by 2.5%.
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Reduces inflammation and helps prevent polyps from forming in the colon.
  • Aids in vitamin and mineral absorption.
  • Increases healthy bacteria in the colon.
  • Helps prevent colon cancer.
  • Effectively contains zero calories making it ideal for weight loss. Compare this to an average of 210 calories per cup of traditional pasta or noodles.
  • Fiber acts as an appetite suppressant by slowing digestion and keeping you full for longer.

Disadvantages of Shirataki

  • Contain zero nutrients other than fiber
  • Too much shirataki may result in diarrhoea.
  • Some people may find the odor of shirataki unpleasant. (Simply rinse shirataki to remove odor).
  • Shirataki has a gelatinous texture similar to rice noodles and some people don’t like this texture, especially if they hope to replace traditional pasta.
  • Shirataki noodles have little flavor so must be combined with other tasty foods.
  • Insufficient other food at the same time as shirataki will result in malnutrition.

Warning: In the 1960’s, a Japanese writer named Soichi Ohyake is rumored to have died of malnutrition after eating nothing but konnyaku and shirataki in an effort to lose weight.

Drinking Hard Water

Hard Water Defined

“Hard” water is water that contains high traces of dissolved mineral content, such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and more. These dissolved mineral ions accumulate over time in the form of scale, which is a thin white film that has several negative effects on plumbing fixtures, pipes, and appliances, as well as, hair, skin, nails, laundry, and dishware. But these minerals will not negatively affect your health in anyway, other than some dry, itchy skin and dingy hair. What you need to worry about is the effects on your home.

The degree of “hardness” varies on a spectrum. Water can be anywhere between marginally hard to very hard. It depends on where you live, how you obtain your water, regional soil conditions, crops, farming, and more.

Origins

Water is naturally soft when it falls to the earth in the form of rain. But once it permeates the ground and trickles through layer after layer of soil and rock, it picks up mineral contaminants as it makes it way down. This is why well water and underground water is harder than rain water. The two most common culprits are calcium and magnesium, as mentioned before.

Signs

You will be able to determine if you have a hard water problem by looking for the signs. Filmy white scum or spots on clean dishes, white film on faucets and shower doors, dingy laundry, greasy hair, poor soap lather, funny-tasting coffee and soup, metal-like odor in tap water, dry skin, and more are all tale-tell indications that your water is hard.

Solutions

Install a water softener to get rid of hard water! The technology in water conditioners are extraordinary these days, and they are highly-effective at eliminating hard mineral ions at an affordable price. You can then take it a step further by installing a water purification system, such as water filters or a reverse osmosis system. Again, talk to your trusted plumber for help choosing a water softening plan for your home or office. They have the knowledge and resources to provide accurate assistance.

Home Made Steak and Cheese

You will need

  • 1 sub roll (I use Fantini sub rolls. They are 10″ rolls and you can get them from any supermarket)
  • Shaved steak (Most people don’t know this but you can get the same exact shaved steak that every sub shop uses right in the meat cooler at your local supermarket. If you don’t see it there the butcher on duty will gladly assist you. Just ask and you shall receive. The amount needed will greatly depend on how full you like your sub and what you add. If you like to add fixings to your sub you will need much less than normal.
  • An electronic or cast iron skillet (I use a non stick electronic skillet)
  • 2 spatulas

That’s actually all you NEED to make a steak sub, the rest will depend on what you like on yours. Let’s get started.

The first thing you want to do is preheat your skillet to 350 degrees. I use an electronic skillet to make judging temperatures easy. If you only have a cast iron skillet, you can tell its preheated to the proper temperature by dropping a bead of water on it. If it immediately sizzles and evaporates it should be hot enough. Next you want to prepare your sub roll. When cutting, you don’t want to cut all the way through. You want to make a pocket in the roll by starting your cut about 1/2 an inch in and cutting down 90% of the way through the roll. Having a good bread knife really makes life easy but if you don’t have one you can manage with a steak knife. You want to take the next few minutes to prepare what your going to put on you sub. There are so many combinations of ingredients it’s almost endless, for this post we’ll keep it simple and just add some mayonnaise.

Next you want to start cooking your steak. Take whatever you prepared and drop if on your skillet all at the same time. The cooking process is pretty fast and there is a bit of a technique to it. To break up the steak into small chunks like you see coming out of your local shop, hold one spatula upside down so the top is facing the cook surface. You’ll use this spatula to hold the steak in place. Next hold the other spatula on its side so you can use the edge as a blade. Hold the steak with the first spatula and use the second to break up the steak. See the actual blog post for a demonstration.

You want to make sure the steak is in very small chunks, if it is, you can add some spices(salt, pepper etc.) if you like. If all the meat is brown then it is done, you can add cheese at that point and let it melt before you place it in the roll. Cut the roll in half and there you have it! A fresh, home made steak and cheese sub. This recipe is extremely cheap. An average package of shaved steak goes for about $5 and yields 2-3 subs. The sub rolls are about $2.50 and some cheese from your local deli for $1-$2. That’s an incredible price of about $3 per sub! The steak and cheese from a local or chain sub shops cost upwards of $10 each.

Great steak and cheese ideas:

Steak Bomb- Add diced green peppers, onions, mushrooms, salami and provolone cheese
Atom Bomb- Add diced green peppers, onions, mushrooms, salami provolone cheese and jalapenos (I use habanero peppers for an extra kick, I like it spicy!)
BBQ steak- After the steak cooks, add just enough of your favorite BBQ sauce to coat the steak and use white American cheese.
Steak wrap- Use a sandwich wrap for a low carb alternative, it’s usually less messy as well.
If you have a great idea I’d love to hear about it! Post it on our Facebook.

Nutritional Healthy Products

Losing weight

These nutritional Healthy Products play an indispensable role in shedding the extra kilos. Extensive studies reveal the fact that using these products along with the consumption of healthy diet help in losing weight in an effective manner. Excessive weight is considered to be the cause of hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Hence, it is indispensable to use these products for losing weight.

Balancing the hormones

These ayurvedic products are integral in balancing the hormones in a natural way, thereby resulting in a healthier menstrual pregnancy. In a study which is conducted at the University of Colombo by Institute of Indigenous Medicine, it has been revealed that use of essential oils is beneficial to balance hormones.

Reduce inflammation

Inflammation is the result of poor digestion, deficient diet and an inadequate amount of sleep. The ayurvedic form of medicine is really effective in the reduction of inflammation which aids in the regulation of cardiovascular system of human body. These products are also helpful in improving the digestion of human body. Consumption of these products along with effective exercise boosts the metabolism of human body. These products boost energy and reduce inflammation.

Reduce symptoms of illness and diseases

It is essential to get exposed to the sun, eat a healthy diet, breathing in and out for helping the person to eat better. These products are also helpful in treating the symptoms of diseases as well as illness. Metals such as iron are known to have healing properties which aid in keeping the diseases away. These products decrease the chances of falling ill to a considerable extent.

Cleanse the body

These nutritional Healthy Products improve health by the promotion of internal cleansing. These medicines remove toxins from tissues as well intestines. These products are beneficial in improving the functions of the body in an effective manner.

Assists in curing insomnia

There may be an aggravation of nervous system and disruption of sleep. These products also help in inspiring peaceful sleep by curing insomnia.

Fun Korean Recipes

Korean recipes are very similar to their Japanese counterparts, though they are often distinguished by extra flavor and kick. Korean foods can be some of the spiciest in the world.

The national food of Korea is Bibbimbap, or, rice mixed with vegetables. This food comes from the ancient city, Jeonju, in North Jeolla province. The best Bibbimbap is still said to come from this region. It is rice covered with assorted vegetables, chili paste, and occasionally diced beef. Korean mixed rice can also be served in a searing stone bowl lined with sesame oil. The rice gets crispy, and a whole raw egg can be cracked over the rice. The heat from the stone bowl will cook the egg when it is mixed. A steaming pot full of color and savory scents is delivered to the table, and diners must mix all the ingredients together.

A favorite Korean recipe is Kimchi Fried Rice. White rice is mixed with sliced kimchi and served with a fried egg on top. Authentic Korean dishes include corn, ham, and occasionally bean sprouts.

Koreans typically eat miyokguk, or, seaweed soup, on their birthday. This soup is believed to bring good luck. The salty mixture of seaweed, soybean paste, and tofu is believed to be a natural medicine for women who have recently given birth. As a tradition, everyone drinks this soup on their birthday.

Samgyetang is a popular soup in the winter months. It consists of a whole small chicken stewed in broth. The chicken is stuffed with rice, ginseng, and Korean dates. This satisfying meal signifies the bounty of the harvest and always leaves diners happy. In Korean culture, guests are encouraged to lift the large soup bowl with both hands to drink the delicious broth to the last drop.

Summer Snacking

Nuts

Nuts are your friend. They pack a good deal of calories, so portion accordingly, but they also have healthy fats, fiber and protein. Pick your favorite and parcel into plastic baggies or just tote the whole darn bag and share with your travel mates.

Dried Fruit

Yeah, I know dried fruit has carbs. They have a lot of carbs. But they also have vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants. If you portion them correctly you do not have to be afraid of dried fruit. It too is your friend and makes a great travel companion. They pair fantastically with nuts or other protein options.

Dried Vegetables/Legumes

Dried vegetables? Indeed, I have been seeing more dried veggie options in the stores these days. From kale chips to crispy beets to baked chickpeas, there are more savory dried options that are travel friendly. While some may contain oils and flavorings that might be less than ideal, we are still doing better than chips, candy and fast food, right?

Bars

Bars can be risky. I always hesitate and clarify when I recommend bars. Many are loaded with sugar and beefed up with cheap protein fillers and poor quality vitamins. That being said, there are actually some decent options out there with high quality ingredients and actual nutrition. What do I look for? First off, I check the ingredients. Does the list run 4 lines long and contain many unpronounceable words? Put it back. For me, the less ingredients the better.

Also check the nutrient label. How’s the calorie count? Protein content? Fat? In a perfect world I’m looking for 200kcal or less (could be more if substituting for a meal), 8g of protein or more, and a fat content that does not seem obscene (less than 15g, perhaps?). Then I’m looking for simple, whole foods ingredients that I know are providing my body with nutrients and don’t require the manufacturer to add in a host of artificial vitamins to make sure it’s well balanced. I like to see nuts, seeds, grains, fruit, etc. Some might add whey or plant-based protein to pump up the total protein content, which I am fine with. Avoid soy protein isolate.