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Posts Tagged ‘anti-cancer’

My family LOVES lentils. They’re one of our favourite legumes because they taste so great, they’re cost effective and you can use them in so many dishes. Lentil patties, vegetarian lasagna, vegetarian Shepard’s Pie, various casseroles and the list goes on…

A bag of green lentils (not cooked or canned) cost $2-4 depending on where you shop. One bag of lentils could potentially make enough meals for a family of four (eating lentils once a week) for a month! They also provide a great source of protein, fiber, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium. Combined with rice, lentils are a complete protein meaning that they provide the body with all essential amino acids (building blocks of protein) making them an ideal protein source.

lentil rice
I made this casserole for the first time a few weeks ago and everyone loved it. It’s so simple to prepare yet so amazing! The one thing to note is the cooking time (2 hours 20 minutes).

Recipe:
Curried Lentil and Rice Casserole
2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh ginger
1 TBSP finely chopped fresh tumeric, or 1 TSP dried
2 TSP curry powder
1 TSP ground cumin
1 TSP ground coriander
1/2 TSP cinnamon
2 TSP sea salt
4 carrots, chopped
1 1/2 cups French Lentils or black beluga lentils
1 cup long grain brown rice
5 cups water
1 cup coconut milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and onions, saute for 5 to 6 minutes. Add ginger, tumeric, spices, and salt. Continue to saute for another 2 minutes until fragrant.

Place onion-spice mixture into a large casserole dish. Add carrots, lentils, rice, water and coconut milk. Mix together well. Cover and bake for 2 hours.

After 2 hours, turn oven temp up to 425 degrees F. Remove cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes to let excess liquid cook off. Stir and serve.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

This recipe is compliments of the cookbook called “Nourishing Meals” by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre. I use this cookbook at least once a week. It’s $24.95 and can be found at most book stores.

If you have not eaten lentils lately this is a great weekend meal. The bonus is you will have leftovers for the work week ahead!

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It seems that BROCCOLI is one of those vegetables many people have a love/hate relationship with. It’s possible you were forced to eat it as a young child, but have grown to love it as an adult. BROCCOLI is part of the cruciferous family of vegetables and has similar properties to things like cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts. Cruciferous vegetables are very important for many health reasons, including lowering bad cholesterol, reducing inflammation in the body and reducing your risk for certain types of cancer.

Aside from helping to protect us from prostate, colon, breast, bladder and ovarian cancer, BROCCOLI has also been found to reduce our risk of coronary heart disease, help prevent cataracts and aids in the repair of sun-damaged skin. The high level of phytonutrients that BROCCOLI contains support the body by activating, neutralizing and eliminating unwanted contaminants that may enter our system. BROCCOLI is one of the richest sources of folate, soluble fiber, and vitamins C, K, and A.

Now how many of you eat BROCCOLI more than 3 times a week?

If you do, that’s great! If not, you should really consider adding more of this vibrant, green, nutrient dense “super food” into your meal plan. To get the most benefit from BROCCOLI you should aim to eat at least 3-5 servings (1 & 1/2 cups = a serving) every week. It’s hard to believe something so simple can provide us with so many benefits.

Like myself, many people I talk to have a difficult time digesting raw BROCCOLI since it is gas-forming and difficult for the body to breakdown. An alternative is adding BROCCOLI SPROUTS to fresh salads so you gain the health benefits without the pain. If you choose to eat BROCCOLI cooked, the most important thing to remember, as with most vegetables, is to steam it on low heat in a double boiler for five minutes or less. Timing and heat are both very important factors in maintaining BROCCOLI’s abundant vitamin content. There is nothing worse than mushy, bland BROCCOLI. Microwaving veggies is the worst cooking method because it kills many of the vitamins and nutrients as it cooks at such a high temperature. In addition to temperature, food cooked in a microwave is often done in plastic containers which allow Bisphenol-A, aka BPA, to leach into our food. BPA’s are basically cancer causing agents that are harmful to the human body and leech into our food from plastics such as cooking containers and water bottles.

If you have never really found a way to fully enjoy BROCCOLI, here’s your chance. I’ve included a healthy and delicious recipe for this week’s meal plan… bon appetit!

Lemon-Dill Chicken, BROCCOLI and Feta Bake

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Roasting Time: 20 minutes

Makes 4 Servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) chopped fresh dill or 1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried dillweed
  • 4-oz (125-g) block of feta, preferably light
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) whole skin-on almonds (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment or lightly oil. Finely grate peel from lemon into a bowl. Stir in dill and pinches of salt. Cut feta into thick wedges. Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally. Place feta and chicken on parchment. Lightly drizzle both with olive oil, then sprinkle with half the seasoning mix.
  2. Roast in center of preheated oven for 10 min. Meanwhile, cut broccoli into large florets. When chicken has roasted for 10 min, add broccoli and almonds. Sprinkle with remaining seasoning and stir. Continue roasting until chicken is cooked through, from 10 to 15 more min. Squeeze juice from lemon over top.

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Why Kale you ask?

Black Lactina and Purple & Green Kale

Black (Lacinato), Purple & Green Kale

For those of you who are not familiar with kale, it’s a leafy green vegetable abundant in many vitamins and nutrients. Kale is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables and is similar to collards, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli. It provides the body with 45 different flavonoids and carotenoids that have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Kale is highly abundant in many essentially nutrients, especially vitamins K, A and C as well as manganese and dietary fiber.

I like to think of kale as a “superfood” due to its’ cardiovascular support, it’s ability to lower cholesterol and its’ anti-cancer properties (specifically bladder, breast, colon and ovarian). Kale also supports our bodies natural detoxification systems which are very important in eliminating free-radical damage from the body. Free-radicals are those elements that enter our bodies from the environment; things like exhaust fumes, pesticides on foods and second hand smoke, to name a few. Free-radicals are highly destructive once inside the body and capable of causing numerous health issues, so that’s why eating vegetables containing antioxidants like kale, is so important.

To achieve maximum benefit you should aim to eat cruciferous vegetables 4-5 times each week (1-2 cups per sitting). Kale, like most cruciferous vegetables, should only be steamed lightly- less than five minutes to maintain their optimum nutritional value. Kale is best when added to salads and soups or even used as a topping for pizza and nachos. I also like my kale raw in my morning smoothie (the smooth, “black” or Lacinato type is best). I hope you try the recipe I’ve included for Yam and Kale salad. It’s delicious and of course, nutritious!

YAM AND KALE SALAD

  • 2-4 jewel yams, cut into 1-inch cubes with skin on (depending on the number of servings you need)
  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 red pepper chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil + 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1 tsp Bragg’s Liquid
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • handful of unsalted cashews (optional)
Directions
1. Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the onion and garlic until the onion has caramelized to a golden brown, about 15 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, using a double boiler, steam yams for approximately 8 minutes. Add red peppers and shredded kale and continue steaming until yams are fully cooked, 3-5 minutes.
3. Mix oils, Bragg’s, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
4. Once veggies are cooked place in a bowl and coat with oil mixture.
5. Add sesame seeds and cashews. Serve warm.
Enjoy!

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