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Mrs. Samurai's Kitchen



Feeding time for the Samurai Pets

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Around the house 12 February 2012 · 1,122 views

I was working at the kitchen sink, and suddenly felt 4 pairs of eyes upon me. I turned and this is what I saw.




Let's Hear it for Healthy Fats for a Healthy Body!

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Nutrition 02 February 2012 · 865 views

Once upon a time the local medical establishment was concerned that the Samurai's cholesterol levels were too high. Rather than follow their advice, he followed the more cutting-edge nutritional advice we'd been reading on our own questioning the popular "cholesterol theory" of heart disease. He reduced the amount of processed and/or carbohydrate foods he was eating, and increased consumption of good quality fats, meats, and eggs. His cholesterol numbers went down, and he was pronounced very heart healthy. (Of course, any of you who know the Samurai knows he has a good heart :wub: )

Note that you can't just add any old fat to your diet and expect good results - there are some that should be avoided.

Read on...

From Dr. Mercola's website:

A new study from the Netherlands has aroused a great deal of interest, especially as it comes immediately in the wake of an ill-conceived Danish tax that unfairly targets saturated fats.

The study found that dietary intake of saturated fatty acids is associated with a modest increase in serum total cholesterol -- but not with cardiovascular disease.

However, replacing dietary saturated fats with carbohydrates is associated with an increase in cardiovascular disease risk.

Let me repeat that:

Replacing saturated fats in your diet, like those from healthy grass-fed beef, raw organic butter, and other high-quality animal foods, with carbohydrates like bread, bagels, pasta, rice and doughnuts will increase your risk of heart disease.

Saturated Fats Are GOOD for You

I can't stress this point enough, as I realize it may take some of you reading this by surprise.

Unfortunately, this is the result of misguided and downright incorrect information that has been widely circulated from public health agencies, as well as further "cemented" in people's minds with the introduction of saturated fat replacements like trans fats and vegetable oil, which are far worse for your health.


Read the rest of the article here! Then go enjoy some good quality saturated fats.


Parmesan Crisps

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Snacks 31 January 2012 · 442 views

Yum! I just saw this blog post and thought I would pass it along. Do you love crunchy, salty snacks, but are trying to avoid carbs and/or fried foods? How about some crispy disks of parmesan cheese? Sounds good to me. I used to do something similar to this with smoked provolone, but I think this would have a little more punch and crunch. Let me know if you try it, and what you think.

This is from the excellent Food Renegade blog (click that link to see the whole entry).


Parmesan Crisp Recipe

The Players
  • Parmesan Cheese, grated
The How-To
Simply spoon the grated Parmesan cheese into chip-sized, relatively thin dollops on a hot griddle. The cheese will melt, then turn crispy. At this point, use a spatula to flip the crisps over and lightly brown the other side. Then remove from the griddle onto a plate.
The end.
If you don’t have a griddle, you can spoon the Parmesan cheese into chip-sized, relatively thin dollops on a cookie sheet or two. Place the cookie sheets in your oven under the broiler and watch them melt and lightly brown. At this point, remove them from the oven and use a spatula to transfer them onto a plate.


Salsa-Dijon Chicken Stew

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Main dish, Recipes 21 January 2012 · 750 views

Here's a simple but very tasty quick chicken dish! It's fairly saucy, so plan to serve it with mashed cauliflower or potatoes, rice, or something else to sop up the yumminess.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup dijon mustard
  • juice from one lime (about 4 T.)
  • 3-4 pounds of chicken, skinless, boneless white or dark, whole pieces or cut up into bites
  • butter, unsalted
  • 1-2 bags frozen veggies, your choice, optional
  • sour cream or yogurt
  • lime
Directions

In a glass dish, combine salsa, mustard, and lime juice, then add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or more. (If more, refrigerate.)

In a large skillet (with a lid) or dutch oven (depending on the amount of chicken you have), melt butter over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade, and cook for a few minutes, turning to lightly brown on both sides (this may require 2 batches). Add the rest of the marinade to the pan with the chicken and simmer for at least 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through - time may be a little longer if you left the chicken in big pieces. (Marinade needs to simmer that long in order to cook any raw chicken still in it.) If you want to add some veggies, just throw in a bag or two of mixed frozen veggies of your choice at the end and cook until they are heated through.

Serve with sour cream and extra lime if desired.

This makes enough for about 8 people. You can adjust the quantities up or down pretty easily - just keep the ratios of salsa/dijon/lime fairly consistent.


Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Thighs

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Main dish, Slow Cooker 07 January 2012 · 594 views

The Samurai and I had this for dinner last night, and it was so good I had to get it up here to share with the rest of you! It's loosely adapted from a recipe from the online "Menu-Mailer" service.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chipotle Chicken Thighs

Ingredients:
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 medium carrots, diced
  • 4 pounds chicken thighs, boneless, skinless
  • salt, pepper
  • 1 can/jar crushed tomatoes, 14-15 oz., or tomato sauce
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • 2 chipotles (canned in adobo sauce), minced
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce (from the can of chipotles)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  • 1 bag frozen green beans
  • sour cream, avocado, optional

Directions:

In a skillet (with a cover), cook the onions, celery, and carrots in a little oil and salt for 5 minutes over med-low heat, covered, until soft. Do not brown. Scrape the contents of the skillet into the bottom of your slow cooker. (You can skip this step and just place the raw veggies in the cooker if you are really short on time, but I think this step helps the flavor and texture a lot.)

Cover the veggies with half of the thighs, sprinkle with some salt and pepper. Then layer the remaining thighs and sprinkle those with salt and pepper.

Combine the tomatoes, lime juice, chipotles, adobo sauce, and garlic in a bowl, then pour over the chicken.

Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or high for 3-4. Add the frozen green beans during the last hour of cooking (you can just throw them right on top of everything and sort of push them into the liquid a bit).

Once everything is done, remove the thighs from the slow cooker and set aside. Stir the cilantro into the liquid and veggies remaining in the cooker. Serve by placing 2-3 thighs in a shallow bowl then topping with veggies and liquid. Serve with optional sour cream, avocado, etc.

Serves 6 (at least!)


It's Cold and Flu (shot) season! Here's some info to consider

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Health 02 January 2012 · 504 views

Here's some thought-provoking information to keep in mind when considering getting the flu shot:


Story at-a-glance
  • A new study revealed that the flu vaccine prevents type A or type B influenza in only 1.5 out of every 100 vaccinated adults … but the media is reporting this to mean “60 percent effective” – the difference is due to a semantic sleight-of-hand: confusing the meaning of relative vs. absolute risk reduction
  • Media reports that the flu vaccine is 60 percent effective does not mean that 60 out of 100 people who get the flu shot will be protected against influenza; separate research shows 100 people must be vaccinated to prevent one case of type A or type B influenza.
  • Vaccine-acquired immunity is temporary, which is why even though the influenza viruses included in this season’s flu vaccine are the same viruses that were selected for the 2010-2011 influenza vaccine, the CDC is still recommending you get vaccinated again, even if you got the vaccine last year. The immunity you get by recovering from influenza naturally is qualitatively superior and longer lasting.
  • Lifestyle changes will generally be far more effective at preventing type A or type B influenza or other types of flu-like respiratory illnesses than the flu vaccine.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as "the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses."
This advice applies to everyone 6 months of age and older, and the CDC stresses that you "should get a flu vaccine as soon as [they] are available."
With a promotion this strong, you might assume that getting a flu shot is a "sure thing" to protect you from all flu-like illness this year, but actually it's not.
Not even close.

Keep reading:
http://lewrockwell.c...mercola167.html


Childhood vaccines - a thoughtful, dissenting view

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Health 15 December 2011 · 822 views

One of the health-related issues I've been paying more attention to in recent years is vaccination. It tends to be a controversial topic, with vaccine opponents often portrayed as hysterical mothers who don't understand science, but here is a very thoughtful video of a medical doctor discussing her concerns about vaccines after spending 3 years researching them. It's worth adding her thoughts to the conversation! Many in the medical field treat vaccines as a "done deal" - they are safe and effective, etc. But, they cannot explain the skyrocketing rates of allergies, asthma, autoimmune disorders, ADD and other chronic diseases, especially in our youth. It seems to me that we shouldn't remove anything from the table of possible suspects, especially a medical treatment that is being done to nearly every child in the US.



What do you think?


Some old-fashioned, healthy civil disobedience

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Food Politics 08 December 2011 · 445 views

Many people aren't aware of the growing "raw milk" movement going on in North America, and the resulting political fallout. Basically, many folks have come to realize that drinking milk in its natural, non-pasteurized state has many significant health benefits (plus the flavor is far superior). For many thousands of years, of course, humans drank milk this way and thrived on it. The only reason milk became a health problem in the late 19th-early 20th centuries is that as more people moved to cities, dairies were also moved to the city. Cows were kept penned up in unsanitary conditions and often fed things like liquor mash, rather than grass. The milk quality was so poor that they often had to add white powder to make it look normal. Combine that with the lack of sanitation and refrigeration, and no wonder there were problems.

Now, with stainless steel and electricity, there's no reason we can't safely consume milk from healthy cows (i.e., they hang out in a pasture or a clean barn and eat grass and hay) that hasn't been pasteurized. The FDA feels differently, however, and has been increasingly performing raids (often with guns drawn) on farmers suspected of selling raw milk illegally. (Every state has its own law about raw milk sales, but there is a Federal prohibition against transporting it across state lines. Sheesh - you'd think they'd have better things to worry about.)

So - today there is a great protest happening by a group of (mostly) moms called the Raw Milk Freedom Riders. Check it out here. What do you think?

For more basic information on raw milk, see here.


Honey Laundering!

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Nutrition 09 November 2011 · 458 views
food safety, honey
Of all the products on the grocery store shelf, would you suspect simple, golden honey to be controversial? Unfortunately, few food stuffs are beyond the reach of corruption, as this story illustrates.

Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey

Ultra-filtering Removes Pollen, Hides Honey Origins

BY ANDREW SCHNEIDER | NOV 07, 2011


More than three-fourths of the honey sold in U.S. grocery stores isn't exactly what the bees produce, according to testing done exclusively for Food Safety News.

The results show that the pollen frequently has been filtered out of products labeled "honey."
The removal of these microscopic particles from deep within a flower would make the nectar flunk the quality standards set by most of the world's food safety agencies.

The food safety divisions of the World Health Organization, the European Commission and dozens of others also have ruled that without pollen there is no way to determine whether the honey came from legitimate and safe sources.


In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration says that any product that's been ultra-filtered and no longer contains pollen isn't honey. However, the FDA isn't checking honey sold here to see if it contains pollen.

Ultra filtering is a high-tech procedure where honey is heated, sometimes watered down and then forced at high pressure through extremely small filters to remove pollen, which is the only foolproof sign identifying the source of the honey. It is a spin-off of a technique refined by the Chinese, who have illegally dumped tons of their honey - some containing illegal antibiotics - on the U.S. market for years.

Food Safety News decided to test honey sold in various outlets after its earlier investigation found U.S. groceries flooded with Indian honey banned in Europe as unsafe because of contamination with antibiotics, heavy metal and a total lack of pollen which prevented tracking its origin.

Food Safety News purchased more than 60 jars, jugs and plastic bears of honey in 10 states and the District of Columbia.

The contents were analyzed for pollen by Vaughn Bryant, a professor at Texas A&M University and one of the nation's premier melissopalynologists, or investigators of pollen in honey.

Bryant, who is director of the Palynology Research Laboratory, found that among the containers of honey provided by Food Safety News:

76 percent of samples bought at groceries had all the pollen removed, These were stores like TOP Food, Safeway, Giant Eagle, QFC, Kroger, Metro Market, Harris Teeter, A&P, Stop & Shop and King Soopers.

100 percent of the honey sampled from drugstores like Walgreens, Rite-Aid and CVS Pharmacy had no pollen.

77 percent of the honey sampled from big box stores like Costco, Sam's Club, Walmart, Target and H-E-B had the pollen filtered out.

100 percent of the honey packaged in the small individual service portions from Smucker, McDonald's and KFC had the pollen removed.

Bryant found that every one of the samples Food Safety News bought at farmers markets, co-ops and "natural" stores like PCC and Trader Joe's had the full, anticipated, amount of pollen.

And if you have to buy at major grocery chains, the analysis found that your odds are somewhat better of getting honey that wasn't ultra-filtered if you buy brands labeled as organic. Out of seven samples tested, five (71 percent) were heavy with pollen. All of the organic honey was produced in Brazil, according to the labels.


Click here to read the whole, sordid story.


Mashed Cauliflower

Posted by Mrs. Samurai, in Side dish, Recipes 05 October 2011 · 657 views
cauliflower, vegetable, side dish
This has become a favorite side dish in our house, and the only way the boys really enjoy eating cauliflower. This is super, super easy - if you have a food processor, especially. I started hearing about people using mashed cauliflower as a substitute for potatoes when I began to eat more low-carb this summer, and this is the recipe I came up with. I think it tastes great, and the mouth feel is creamy and amazing. And it's much healthier than potatoes! It's yummy on its own, or with some kind of sauce or gravy on it. One of my sons was very suspicious of it the first time I made it, but after the first few bites he said, "You need to make this a LOT!"

Ingredients

1 medium to large head of cauliflower, washed and trimmed, then cut into chunks (approx. 1 1/2 to 2 inches in size)
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into a few chunks
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into a few chunks
salt (about 1/2-3/4 tsp.)
pepper to taste

Extremely Helpful Equipment

Steamer basket
Food Processor

Directions

Place the cauliflower in a steamer basket over boiling water, and steam for about 15-20 minutes until very tender. (Don't have a steamer? Boil it until tender, then drain VERY well.)

Put the cooked cauliflower into a food processor and run it until the cauliflower is partially mashed, then add the cream cheese, butter, salt (start with 1/2 tsp., then add to taste), and some pepper to taste. Run the processor until the cauliflower is a uniform, creamy consistency. Sometimes it wants to be stubborn and not really start mashing up, but be patient and let the machine do its thing - the cauliflower will yield to the might of technology.

Serves about 6 or more, depending on the size of the cauliflower. It's great left over, too.

NOTE: my mother makes this and does not have a food processor, so she just mashes it all up by hand. She says it is still good, but not quite the same creamy consistency as you get with a machine. She also finds she has to boil the cauliflower a bit longer to get it soft enough to do by hand.

Equipment Notes:

I have something like this for my steamer setup - much sturdier than the collapsable baskets.

My food processor is a Kitchen Aid - powerful and easy to use!






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