BEETS are in the house! 2 recipes to knock your socks off…

My first experience with beets happened years ago as a teenager. One of my dearest friends LOVED eating canned or jarred beets. Naturally, I tried them and did not share in her love. At all. My next experience, years later, was with beet juice. It was mixed with other veggie juice and maybe a fruit or two and I decided these ghastly but beautifully colored roots weren’t so bad. AND, I have learned that beets come in more shades than the vibrant red that is well known. There are golden beets which shine orangish yellow and Chioggia which resemble peppermint candy swirl of red and white stripes. Now, we have seeds to grow in our garden. The only constant is change!
These root vegetables are intriguing for many reasons. #1 They are practical. The bulbs and greens can be eaten. Rather than discarding the green leafs, try steaming or sauteing and adding to an array of leafy greens. #2 They are the most vibrant color (sometimes causing pee and poop to turn color as well). #3 They can be consumed raw, cooked, juiced, steamed, roasted, etc.
Largely known for cardio-vascular health, beets are an excellent source of heart-healthy folate & potassium (when eaten RAW) and a very good source of the antioxidants manganese and vitamin C. Beets are a good source of digestive-supportive dietary fiber, free radical scavenging copper, bone-healthy magnesium, and energy-producing iron and phosphorus. While research is largely in the early stage with respect to beet antioxidants and their special benefits for eye health and overall nerve tissue health, we expect to see study results showing these special benefits and recognizing beets as a standout vegetable in this area of antioxidant support. The unique phytonutrients in beets provide antioxidant support in a different way than other antioxidant-rich vegetables. These phytonutrients pertain to betalains (mainly found in red variety). Be warned though, these betalains tend to loose power with heat.
It’s interesting to note that humans appear to vary greatly in their response to dietary betalains. In the United States, only 10-15% of adults are estimated to be “betalain responders.” A betalain responder is a person who has the capacity to absorb and metabolize enough betalains from beet (and other foods) to gain full antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and Phase 2 triggering benefits. (Phase 2 is the second step in our cellular detoxification process). information cut from http://www.whfoods.com
Something that must be mentioned when dealing with beets is beeturia (a reddening of the urine and sometimes of the bowels).
An estimated 10-15% of all U.S. adults experience beeturia after consumption of beets in everyday amounts. While this phenomenon is not considered harmful in and of itself, it may be a possible indicator of the need for healthcare guidance in one particular set of circumstances involving problems with iron metabolism. Individuals with iron deficiency, iron excess, or specific problems with iron metabolism are much more likely to experience beeturia than individuals with healthy iron metabolism. For this reason, if you experience beeturia and have any reason to suspect iron-related problems, we recommend a healthcare consult to follow up on possible issues related to iron status. information cut from http://www.whfoods.com
Nutrients in Beets
1.00 cup raw (136.00 grams)
Nutrient%Daily Value
folate  37%
manganese  22.5%
fiber  15.2%
potassium  12.6%
vitamin C  11.1%
tryptophan  9.3%
magnesium  7.8%
iron  6%
phosphorus  5.4%
copper  5%
Calories (58)3%
To cook beets or to not cook beets….that is the question:
Studies have shown that the amount of folate can be dramatically decreased when heated. The difference between 15 minutes of steaming versus 25 minutes of steaming, or 60 minutes of roasting versus 90 minutes of roasting can be significant in terms of betalain damage. For these reasons, we recommend that you keep beet steaming times to 15 minutes or less, and roasting times under an hour.
Here are 2 recipes using beets (red) that we enjoy in our home:
PINK PANCAKES (from Jessica Seinfeld’s Deceptively Delicious)
Serves 3 or 4 little kids
Ingredients
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup beet puree *SEE BELOW FOR INSTRUCTIONS
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup pancake mix (could be done with gluten free mix)
1/4 cup grated apple
Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
Pure maple syrup, fresh fruit, or jelly/preserves for serving
Directions
*BEET PURÉE
PREP: Leave them whole and unpeeled (trim stems to 1 inch)
COOK: Wrap in foil and roast at 400°f for about 1 hour (done when they can be pierced with tip of fork or knife)
PUREE: Peel after cooled enough to handle. Place in a food processor or blender for about 2 minutes.
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1. In a blender or food processor, combine the water, ricotta cheese, beet puree, vanilla, and cinnamon and blend. Dump the mixture into a medium bowl, add the pancake mix and apple, and stir until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX – the batter will be a little lumpy.
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2. Coat a griddle or large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and set it over medium-high heat. When hot, add the oil. Spoon the batter onto the griddle or skillet, using about 1/4 cup batter for each pancake. Cook the pancakes until bubbles form on top and the batter is set. Then flip the pancakes with a spatula and cook until golden brown on the other sir. Serve warm, with syrup or fruit.
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BEET SALAD WITH FENNEL AND MINT
Prep time: 20 minutes  Cooking time: 30 minutes
Prep notes: may want to wear gloves when dealing with beets
Yields:
6 people
Ingredients:
2 beets
1 small fennel bulb
1 bunch mint leaves
2 oranges
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Directions: 
  1. Place beets in a pot, cover with 1 inch with water and boil for 20-30 minutes, until a fork pierces easily through the middle of each beet.
  2. While beets are cooking, wash fennel and slice very thin.
  3. Chiffonade mint (chop into thin ribbons).
  4. Zest oranges and juice them into a bowl.
  5. When beets are cooked, drain them in the sink and rinse under cold water.
  6. Peel the skin off beets with hands and chop beets into1/4-inch thick, quarter rounds.
  7. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well.

This salad is famous for converting non-beet eaters into beet lovers!

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Celebrating Earth Day in our homes. A few tips to a more conscious way of living…

On the night of what is represented on a calendar as Earth Day, my family and I evaluate what this means and how we can better cherish this ground that holds so much. In prehistoric times, goddesses were often worshipped for their association with fertility and agricultural bounty. Images are often drawn from the root terms of “mother”, “nature”, and “earth”; displaying the life-giving and nurturing aspects of motherhood. As we continue to tread, let us keep these nurturing images in our minds, thoughts, and actions. See below for a few of the adaptations we have made in our home that are simple AND accessible AND in the long run save $:

TO BUY ORGANIC OR CONVENTIONAL…THAT IS THE QUESTION:

The #1 thing that comes up with this topic is the cost of eating mostly an organic, plant based diet. It is a commitment and one must come to to terms that if shopping in a grocery store setting, organic will most likely be a bit more. HOWEVER, it is more than possible to make conscious purchases that don’t require a box, bag, or plastic sleeve (although bagged frozen fruit and vegetables are a great alternative). Not only will Mother Earth thank you, your body will too! As much as this blog entry is not about the debate of organic vs. conventional, I felt compelled to share this image to urge those who are the least bit curious to do their own research.

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  1. Shop at local farms or farmers markets. Produce is not only found in mainstream grocery stores. Think of where it all comes from. Start there and see the $ signs for your own eyes! (HINT-buying from local farms saves mucho dinero because there are less things to factor in. Like transportation to start!) For those of us in Sarasota, we are blessed with more than a handful of options. To start: http://www.kingfamilyfarmandmarket.com, http://www.wordenfarm.com, www.detwilermarket.com, www.jessicasorganicfarm.com.
  2. Grow your own herbs. Herbs are expensive in the store. Period. When I planted my first basil plant a few years back, I was amazed at how much $ I threw away buying it from the store. And it is so nice to just walk outside, pick a few leaves and flavor a meal. No one can deny the enhancement in flavor by adding herbs to a dish. It is a trial and error process so try not to get discouraged and give up completely. We have been able to keep alive basil, rosemary (SUPER EASY), and mint.
  3. For the big kicker, start a garden! If you know yourself and yourself likes tomatoes in a variety of forms and dishes…why not try growing your own? If carrots are the only vegetable your picky child will eat…why not look into growing your own? And if you are scared out of your mind to start this project, talk with neighbors or friends and maybe start up a community garden! I get it, growing a garden is incredibly time consuming. So only attempt this step if you are ready and willing!

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REDUCE, REUSE, RECYLE:

Jack Johnson says it well in his song Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Another ”r” I like to add to the bunch is replace. As you begin to think about this more, you will be amazed at the amount of daily “stuff” that can be reused, refurbished, etc.

  1. Glass jars. If and when we have to buy pasta sauce because we don’t have time to whip up our own, the sauce most likely comes in a large glass jar. Well…this jar can be cleaned and reused as a water bottle, vase, storage container, etc! For those of you that like to snack on pickles, think about saving the glass jar for another use or recycling it! Reusing and/or recycling glass is a very simple and effective way to reduce the amount of waste going into our landfills. Other examples of glass jars we have in our cupboards that were once one thing and now being used for another: spice bottles, marinated artichokes, juice or tea bottles, nut butters, jelly. Another great use for the handy dandy jars is in the garage. Throw nails, screws, drill bits into individual jars for an organized garage space. 
  2. Replace plastic bags with reusable, washable bags. There are certain needs for plastic bags- lunches, school projects, storage, travel, etc. However, what if I told you the last time I purchased a box of bags was over a year ago? Would you believe me? Well, it’s true. As a family, we made a conscious decision to reduce our garbage contribution. It is so possible to replace those costly plastic bags. BUT if you must, when applicable, wash/air dry and reuse them. Although I am sure there are more companies that provide reusable bags, I have personally used dillybaby. http://www.dillybaby.com/products/butterful-snack-bag
  3. Replace paper with cloth. This idea began with my love to old things that can be used over and over again. I came across cloth napkins that were my grandmothers and soon discovered cloth napkins being sold at antique stores. So family mealtime is now wiped away (or stained) with cloth. For large parties we try to use up the collection of cloth yet have probably purchased paper once or twice over a year, just in case. Another way to do this is to replace sponges (or any other scrubbers) with cloth rags. I purchased from Target over a year ago, a pack of 4 cloths (www.fullcirclehome.com) and have not had to buy sponges since. We go through about 2 cloths a week. Washing them with a load of towels or sheets. But if you must, this company also carries walnut scrubber sponges. The plant-based cellulose sponge is absorbent and durable, while the abrasive side is made from – you guessed it- walnut shells!

So take this week to pay attention to the ins and outs of your household. Can one of the above tips come to life in your home? Do you have some to share? And may we remember:

thelorax

2013’s day of birth

I meant to post something on my birthday, Friday, April 5, 2013. The weekend was jam packed with activities so this post will include thoughts from that day as well as the days following.

So today is my birthday. Around this time, 32 years ago, the forces of nature kicked in and pushed (with the help of my o-so-incredible momma and daddy) me into this world. Birthdays tend to be an odd tradition to me. One day out of the year to be celebrated, loved, showered, etc. What about greeting each day we wake with the thought “HEY! I woke up again! Let’s get this day started!”. How about greeting each day with celebration for who we are, loving all the parts and pieces, showering ourselves with true self-love and care.

I often wonder how the tradition of celebrating birth days began. And now in the 2000’s a birthday is celebrated with a themed party, goodie bags, pressure of offering full meals, cake or cupcakes or both, ice cream, and presents. Leaving parents, guardians, loved ones, stressed and financially strapped. Great example of this is the MTV show My SUPER Sweet 16. This show debuted in 2005, as I approached my son’s 1st birthday. I admit, in the wee hours of night breast feeding, I watched a handful of episodes. In amazement. In disgust. It reminded me of an imaginary scene of a swarm of sharks being tantalized by shiny objects. Not to get into criticizing television but there is this aspect of “whatever the birthday boy or girl wants, the birthday boy or girl gets” that has tainted my experience with birthdays. Not that there is anything “wrong” with celebrating being born. I am merely sharing my wonderment with a popular tradition.

This year I discovered what this birthday girl really wants, more than anything in the world. I want to be free to be me. What does that mean? On Friday, April 5 2013, that meant the following, in no particular order (HA! the cake being the first thing that came to mind):

  • to bake a delicious and healthy cake (see below for recipe and pics)
  • to go to the salon and play with my hair (cut & bit of color change)
  • to have a party with delicious & nutritious food, hysterical & fun games, and groovy people
  • to reflect on what has been, in order to prepare for what is to come
  • to dance around like a child
  • to feel free enough to not worry about what someone may think if I do this or say that
  • to love and be loved
  • to give and receive

Cheers to another year of living!

Check out this delicious cake recipe and look around at the site. Truly inspiring! Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake with Maple Glazed Walnuts by My New Roots, Sarah Britton http://mynewroots.org/site/2012/09/chocolate-banana-birthday-cake-with-maple-glazed-walnuts/

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Also, please check out this link that will connect you to a recipe of a cookie that will ROCK YOUR WORLD! And they are gluten free! My dear friend Leah Verier-Dunn whips up recipes that will help anyone seeking a wholesome, delicious way of life. She comes up with innovative ways to incorporate healthy foods into a busy life. I begged her to bake these cookies for the party. And they were a hit!

http://www.mayihaveapeace.com/this-ginger-is-making-snaps/DSCN2800

Spring is in the air, is it in your step?

Ahhhh…spring is definitely in the air! And the reason I have been m.i.a. the past week is because there is definitely spring in my step. Busy busy here getting our garden underway, collaborating on upcoming health programs, as well as planning a trip to NYC! This post will have a dash of all 3.

1) First off, the household garden. If you remember me mentioning in January, our home has been looking forward to this garden for a while now. Digging & planting are becoming a few of my favorite things! A lot of hard work put in and a lot still to do. Here is the site BEFOREImageImage

First step was to clear out last springs garden. Yes, you read correctly. We skipped out on the summer months for a variety of reasons (time & money the main). Once the area was ready, we looked at the seeds left from the freezer and made a trip to the store to purchase a few new additions. Planted the following: sunflowers, cucumbers, carrots, spinach, lettuce variety, green peppers, pole beans, and perennials that attract butterflies. Oh, and a cantaloupe vine was started indoors and will be transplanted soon!

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2) Be on the lookout for upcoming lectures featuring myself and Angela Rauter. Angela is an Acupuncture Physician, Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Licensed Massage Therapist and Certified Pilates Instructor. Also, she is on faculty at the Sarasota School of massage therapy where she teaches Anatomy and Physiology, Pathology and Shiatsu Bodywork. Angela and I are joining together to create lifestyle plans that will keep clients focused and empowered in all aspects of life. Working with habits, challenges, desires, dreams, and goals while supporting transformation into living one’s optimal ideal. Health coaching AND acupuncture, massage, pilates and yoga…YES PLEASE! For the time being, check out our individual websites for more about us and what we do. A collaborative website is in the works.

http://www.five-petal.com

http://awholesomeapproach.com

3) While putting together a few ideas for our trip to NYC, I came across this New York Wellness Guide- 40 places to Eat, Breathe, Move, Heal and Shop in NYC. http://www.mindbodygreen.com/wellness-guide-nyc-2012-2.html Although nothing beats recommendations from people who live there…definitely worth checking out as it is an easy to follow guide with map and all. This helped narrow down the large list of restaurants we’d like to try to 3.