summer tomato salsa

What to do with all the gorgeous tomatoes from the market…of course they’re wonderful on their own with a little salt, some basil and mozzarella di bufala, but here’s another summer favourite of mine. Tomato Salsa. It’s great served with grilled chicken or salmon, or you can use it to make bruschetta. Yummy!

Here’s what you need:

5 very ripe tomatoes, diced

1 red onion, chopped into medium sized pieces

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/4 cup fresh chopped coriander

juice of 1 lemon

pinch of course sea salt

my secret ingredient – 1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon (optional)

Gently mix everything together in a big bowl and serve!

let’s make ice cream…in a bucket!

making ice cream in a bucket

Today we made ice cream in a bucket!

Oh what fun we had, kids, a dog and a bucket…

Here’s how we did it:

Ice cream ingredients:
Ice cream version 1:
fresh strawberries
coconut milk

Ice cream version 2:
cocoa
coconut sugar
coconut milk

Put your ingredients into a shallow cookie tin and seal it well with duct tape so that it’s totally ‘leak proof’.

Put some ice and salt into the bottom of the bucket that will hold the cookie tin.

Here’s why we add the salt to the ice:
Because plain ice can only barely cool something to the freezing point of water, we will need to do something to make it much colder than that, since our ice cream mixture freezes at a lower temperature than water.
The ice cream freezes because the salt and the ice mix to make a substance with a lower freezing point than ice alone. This means that the ice and salt mixture must get even more heat from somewhere in order to melt.
Salty water freezes at a lower temperature than plain water. But the ice is made of plain water, so it melts at 0 degrees Celsius. Since the ice keeps melting, but the water no longer freezes (because there is only salt water, which doesn’t freeze at 0 degrees), the temperature goes down.
The heat gained by the ice as it melts is no longer offset by the heat given up by freezing water (since the water is no longer freezing back onto the ice). The heat gain has to come from somewhere else. It comes from the ice cream.

Place the sealed cookie tin into the bucket, setting it on top of the ice.
Add more ice and salt on top of the cookie tin.
Add the lid to the bucket and seal it well.
We sealed it on all sides, all around the bucket just to keep everything in place.

Now comes the fun part!

Kids and dog passed and kicked the bucket for 10 minutes.

We opened the bucket, and then the tin.

To our amazement – ice cream!

Everyone tried it and it was a hit. Even though it was made of only a few ingredients and no white sugar!

Even Romeo the dog got to have a taste!

Can wait till next year when we make it again!

get your vitamin D from the sun…but be careful

It’s that time of the year, beautiful sunny days – get outside and get some sun. Nature’s source of vitamin D.

But be careful, too much sun on unprotected skin can be harmful.

Due to the changing angle of our sun and the absorption of solar radiation by the atmosphere, the intensity of ultraviolet radiation hitting the surface of the earth is twice as strong at noon as it is in the early morning and late afternoon.

Ensure that you wear a hat and sunscreen. I recommend natural sunscreens such as Soleo, Green Beaver or Badger brands, they’re available at health food stores and they’re made with natural ingredients. If you find them to be too thick when applying, try wetting your skin. Goes on a lot easier and smoother!

Why go for a natural sunscreen? Our skin, which is our largest organ, absorbs what you put on it. What it absorbs goes directly into your bloodstream. The skin is permeable to all chemicals. Think about it – this makes sense. People who wear a skin patch on their arm, like a nicotine patch – those substances in that patch don’t just sit there superficially, they are meant to go into the bloodstream. Medical research shows that significant amounts of cosmetic ingredients, including carcinogenic substances, penetrate the skin and end up in our bloodstream. Many chemicals in cosmetics don’t cause obvious signs of toxicity on the skin, but imagine the build up of toxins over time. Give some thought to what you are putting on your skin and the skin of your children.

Next, I wanted to talk a bit about melanoma, also known as skin cancer. Did you know:

– it is slightly more common in women than in men

– risk factors include: excessive exposure to sunlight, tendency to freckle in the sun, hormonal factors such as pregnancy, a family history, red hair, fair skin, blues eyes and susceptibility to sunburn

Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma:

A – Asymmetrical lesions

B – Border irregularity of lesions or moles

C – Colour of lesion varies with shades of tan, brown or black and possibly red, blue and white

D – Diameter is greater than 6mm

E – Elevated or enlarging lesion (shape and size is changing)

Also look for changes to pre-existing skin lesions or moles, such as inflammation or pain, itching, ulceration, bleeding and changing of texture.

Take note of any lesions or moles over time, or have your mate or friend check for these signs on your back.

If you notice any of these signs, consult your health care practitioner.

Be informed, stay safe and enjoy the beautiful summer sunshine!

blueberry crisp

Blueberries are here!

Pick some up at your local farmer’s market to make this delicious, dairy and gluten free blueberry crisp.

Ingredients for the filling

3 cups fresh blueberries

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp coconut sugar

juice of half a lemon lemon zest finely minced

1 tbsp arrowroot flour

Ingredients for the topping

3 tablespoons coconut oil melted (just keep the coconut oil in your measuring cup on top of the stove as it preheats and this will melt your oil)

3 tablespoons coconut sugar

1 cup quinoa flakes

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and coconut sugar together in a bowl
  • Let stand a few minutes, then mix in arrowroot starch
  • Pour this mixture into a 9″ round, oven proof baking dish
  • Make crisp topping by combining coconut oil, coconut sugar and quinoa flakes together and mix until crumbly
  • Spoon on top of blueberries
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Bake until nicely browned on top, about 15 minutes
Enjoy!

popular green tea drinks – good or bad?

Commercial Green Tea Drinks

Many green tea drinks, based on the ingredients found on their packaging, contain green tea, water and lots of sugar.

One popular drink I investigated stated that there were 2 servings of the beverage in their 16 oz. can. Many people may not be aware that this is 2 servings and consume the beverage in one sitting. That’s an awful lot of sugar to consume from a drink; 36 g. for the drink I looked at.

The beverage I investigated listed high fructose corn syrup (a cheap, highly processed sweetener), sugar and honey as it’s second, third and fourth ingredients after green tea essence and water.

Sugars have been proven to suppress the immune system.

It is said that 1 tsp. of sugar can suppress the immune system for 30 minutes.

The 36 grams of sugar found in the 16 oz. can I looked at is equivalent to 7 teaspoons of sugar (based on what I said above, that would suppress the immune system for over 3 hours). As sugars are refined carbohydrates, they cause blood glucose levels to spike. This makes you feel energetic as your glucose levels rise, and tired and lethargic as your blood sugars quickly go down.

Also keep in mind that any sugars that are not used up by the muscles will be quickly converted into fat and stored on the body.

Note, also, that green tea contains caffeine, which acts as a stimulant.

 All that being said, it’s important to be aware of the ingredients in the foods and beverages you are consuming so that you can make wise decisions on how often to have them. I am in no way promoting these beverages as healthy, but sometimes if you really feel you need to consume one as a ‘treat’ once in a while, please ensure that the majority of your diet includes a well balanced mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes; nuts and seeds; healthy fats and oils; good quality proteins and plenty of fresh water and that you incorporate exercise into your lifestyle.

Better alternatives to quench your thirst could include:

               ·       plain water

               ·      if you find plain water ‘boring’, squeeze in some fresh lemon and sprigs of mint to add a little zing

               ·       I like to steep mint or lemon balm leaves in hot water (I do this by boiling water and taking it off the stove, adding my leaves and putting a lid on the pot). After letting this sit for a while, I add it to a jug of water and keep it in the fridge to enjoy throughout the day. If you need a bit of sweetness, add a little honey. (unpasteurized, raw Canadian honey is best as it contains lots of minerals; imported honey is sometimes mixed with lesser quality honey. There are plenty of Canadian, even Ontario sources to choose from, including Dutchman’s Gold)

 Herbal infusion tea alternatives for green tea, with no caffeine
 ·      Rose Hip tea – very high Vitamin C content

·       Rooibos – very high anti-oxidant tea, similar to green tea and black tea but is 100% caffeine free.

·       Raspberry – contains powerful anti-oxidants

·       Blueberry – contains potent anti-oxidants, is heart healthy and is said to improve circulation

·       Ginkgo – has anti-oxidant properties, and is a circulatory stimulant