Breakdown of a Smoothie – Health benefits of it all

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So today I made my very first attempt ever at making a smoothie.  While I found a few things I should have changed, I did do some research while I drank it about the benefits of each component I put in.  So I’d like to share some of my findings, but not my recipe.  Believe me, you’d understand why.  Flavor:  good.  Consistency:  bad.  Anyhow, on to my findings…

Strawberries

  • best fruit source of vitamin C
  • contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers
  •  help with cardiovascular health and help prevent cardiovascular disease
  • can decrease risk of Type II Diabetes
  • phytonutrients ellagic acid and ellagitannins have been shown to prevent breast, cervical, colon, and esophageal cancer  (wow, right?!)
  • improve cognitive abilities and motor skills

Pears

  •  anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers
  • lower the risk of Type II Diabetes and Heart Disease
  • cinnamic acids lower risk of cancer, particularly stomach and esophageal
  • low acid and easy to digest
  • low allergy risk to those that may be sensitive to some fruits

Raw Honey

  • anti-viral
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • antioxidant
  • builds up the immune system
  • lessens allergies
  • stabilizes blood pressure
  • helps balance blood sugar levels
  • promotes good bacteria growth in intestines
  • soothes and heals skin injuries
  • calms and aids in sleep
  • cough suppressant, and can help with upper respiratory infections, asthma, etc
  • tastes amazing!

Almond Milk

  • low calories
  • glow glycemic, better for diabetics/preventing diabetes
  • high calcium, vitamin d, vitamin a, vitamin b
  • great alternative for those that have a dairy allergy

Plain Lowfat Organic Yogurt

  • boosts immunity
  • lowers bad cholesterol
  • increases loss of fat
  • helps prevent and heal arthritis
  • helps prevent ulcers
  • lowers risk of colorectal cancer
  • can freshen breath and reduce plaque

Oatmeal

  • lowers cholesterol
  • antioxidants
  • lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
  • boosts immune system
  • stabilizes blood sugar
  • lowers risk of Type II Diabetes
  • fiber helps prevent breast cancer
  • lowers risk of childhood asthma

Bee Pollen

  • reduces allergies (this is so true for me!)
  • reduces digestive issues
  • prevents anemia
  • helps with arthritis
  • helps with skin conditions like acne (my dry skin has improved!)
  • aids with depression (also true for me!)
  • boosts energy level (true!)
  • prevents/reduces hemorrhoids
  • boosts immune system

Ice… well, I won’t bother with explaining the benefits of frozen water.  🙂

There you have it.  Lots of info on what I had for breakfast/lunch.  It’s really intriguing to sit down and look at why you should eat what you eat.  Real food has so many healing properties, I find it ridiculous that all of these fake, packaged, frozen, fast food meals are pushed on us… but that’s a discussion for another day.

I hope you enjoyed learning as much about my breakfast as I did!  For more detailed information, please visit my sources:  http://www.whfoods.comhttp://www.draxe.com/the-many-health-benefits-of-raw-honey/http://www.naturalnews.com/035493_raw_honey_health_benefits_antibacterial.htmlhttp://www.3fatchicks.com/6-health-benefits-of-almond-milk/http://www.naturalnews.com/027165_pollen_bee_health.htmlhttp://www.benefits-of-honey.com/bee-pollen-health-benefits.html

 

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Some proof

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Some proof that I really was a cake artist.  Notice that you see no cupcakes here… because, well.. I hate cupcakes.  😉

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Cupcake’s Homemade Taco Seasoning

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I love tacos.  But no taco is good without great taco seasoning!  After looking at the ingredients in the packets I used to buy at the store without thinking about it, I was mortified.  And thus, I set out to create my own taco seasoning.  Here’s what I came up with!

Taco Seasoning

Cupcake’s Homemade Taco Seasoning

For a single serving:

  • 1 T Chili Powder
  • 2 t Onion Powder
  • 1 t Cumin
  • 1 t Garlic Powder
  • 1 t Paprika
  • 1 t Ground Oregano
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1/4 t Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

Or if you’d like to make up a 12 oz jar like I do:

  • 1/2 C + 1 T Chili Powder
  • 1/4 C + 2 T Onion Powder
  • 3 T Cumin
  • 3 T Garlic Powder
  • 3 T Paprika
  • 3 T Ground Oregano
  • 3 T Salt
  • 2 1/4 t Cayenne Pepper (Optional)

Brown your ground beef, turkey, or chicken.  Also works well with shredded chicken!  Drain excess grease.  Add 3 T of Cupcake’s Taco Seasoning and 1/2 cup of water for every pound of meat.  Stir.  Simmer on med/low until water is gone, stirring occasionally.

I didn’t think to get a photo, but I must say this is gorgeous in the jar before you shake it all up – you’ll see lovely browns, reds, and greens in beautiful cascading layers… It would make a lovely gift for someone.  Just put it in a jar with a ribbon on top, add a label with ingredients and cooking instructions, and you’re all set.  🙂

As you can see, it makes a lovely taco salad… large bed of lettuce, black beans, ground turkey taco meat, freshly grated cheese… Yum!

Taco Salad

 

Spinach and Feta Egg Puffins

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So I’ve seen similar things on Pinterest lately.  You throw meat (normally bacon) into a muffin pan, fill it with eggs and cheese and such, and you have a tasty breakfast muffin-type thing.  It looked interesting, but I wanted to put my own spin on it, of course.  Love bacon, but it’s not always necessary for a tasty breakfast, and it doesn’t exactly fall into my “all natural, no crap” diet.  And I’ve been obsessed with my newfound love of spinach and feta lately.

I had a hard time figuring out what to call them.  “Muffin” screams carbs to me.  “Protein cake” doesn’t work because it’s not a cake.  “Protein muffin” is a maybe, but it’s boring, and still not carby.  But “puffin”.  The protein muffin “puffin” works for me.  Almost went as far as to call it an “egg puffin”… then “egg mcpuffin” came to mind, but I hate McDonalds and want nothing to do with it whatsoever.  😉

So there you have it, folks.  The Spinach and Feta Egg Puffin.  It’s pretty simple:

 

Next, bake those suckers at 350º for 15-20 minutes.  20 gives you a hard-boiled egg consistency.  15 gives you runny yolks.

And look what happens!  Oh glory!

 

 

As you can see, I cooked mine for 20 minutes because I’m paranoid about getting runny whites, but next time I’ll put my paranoia aside and only cook these for 15 minutes.  Either way though, they taste amazing!  They puff up some as they bake (thus “puffins” was even more appropriate) and the flavors somehow all meld together.  Something this good shouldn’t take just 5 minutes prep time, but guess what!  It does!

If you try my puffins, let me know what other ingredients you try with them!

Today’s Menu: Red Pepper Hummus with Bell Peppers

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I’ve been looking into the health benefits of what I’m eating while I eat it lately.  I’ve been astounded at what I’ve learned!  I’ll share in a minute what I’ve learned about hummus (chickpeas, really).  First I have to share how great this hummus tastes!  I found it at Aldi last week.  It’s their Grandessa brand Red Pepper Hummus.  This will find its way into my shopping cart every time I’m there from now on!

Now for the wonders of the chickpeas, aka garbanzo beans, in hummus:

  1. full of protein
  2. high fiber content helps lower cholesterol and prevent colon problems including colon cancer
  3. studies show that people that regularly eat chickpeas feel more satisfied and eat less
  4. help control blood sugar and insulin secretion
  5. contain antioxidants including concentrated amounts of phytonutrients
  6. full of manganese

(much information found from whfoods.org)

I’ll get into health benefits of bell peppers next time 🙂

Fleas Away, the Natural Way

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I have to share with you all about an incident we had with the popular Advantix II flea treatment for dogs.  We have 3 wonderful dogs and we certainly don’t want one of our critters bringing in fleas to infest one another and our house!  Though I hated using chemicals to treat them monthly, I decided it was ok since it was only monthly and it kept fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and such away.  So I dutifully all 3 of them as any good rescue mom would do.

Every time I treated them, they would start scratching for a few days afterward – I always assumed it was just a few fleas that had jumped on near the end of the month when the Advantix was starting to wear off.  We also had a problem with the dogs trying to lick it off one another, so for the first couple of hours, we had to keep an eye on them.  These things concerned me some, but I didn’t think too much about it.  After all, I was preventing nasty fleas, so some discomfort was ok.  …Until Enzo had a spot that he couldn’t stop licking and trying to scratch, even after a few days.  Upon closer examination, the poor guy had raw red skin in the middle of his back.  Then it he lost his hair in the silver dollar sized patch on his back.  The Advantix had given him a chemical burn that was eating through his skin.

The poor guy was miserable and we could tell he was in pain.  We washed it thoroughly with warm water and treated it with neosporin and tried to keep it bandaged around his waist.  The other dogs could smell his wound too, and tried to clean it for him since he couldn’t reach it, so keeping it bandaged was tough.  We eventually had to put a doggie tshirt on him to cover the bandage and that worked much better.  He did heal up after about a week and a half, leaving a large scab.  It’s been a few months, and while he’s all healed and his hair has grown back, it came back in a darker color.

I felt horrible.  It was my fault for ignoring the signs that it irritated their skin.  Now I knew for sure it wasn’t fleas bothering them at all – it was the chemicals.  I knew I couldn’t do this to my dogs again.  I had to find a better way.  So after much research, we came across Only Natural Pet’s Herbal Defense Oil Blend and decided it was definitely worth a try.

As it turns out, it’s amazing!  The smell is very citrus/citronella, but I’m ok with that.  I simply add several drops to my palm, spread it over my fingers, then rub the dogs all over with it.  Repeat a few times to ensure the whole dog gets a good covering of it, but a little does go a long way.  And instead of applying toxic chemicals that sink into their pores to kill bugs on contact, this just hangs out on their topcoat and encourages pests to keep away with it’s fruity smell.  And they get a nice rubdown when I apply it, instead of me not wanting to touch them for days after applying chemicals.  Oh… and IT WORKS!!!

During the height of flea season, I had to apply twice a week, just to be sure, but even then, this is SO much cheaper than the chemicals that work – Frontline, Advantix, Advantage… you get the idea.  And the smell, if you don’t care for citronella, dies down after the first day to where I didn’t even notice it again until time to reapply.  I was skeptical at first, but so desperate it was worth a shot, and I’m so glad I ran across Natural Defense.  I ordered 4 bottles to save on shipping, and I’m so glad I did.  Now there’s no more itching scratching in my house, and my sweet puppies aren’t absorbing toxic chemicals into their skin once a month.  If you’re looking for a natural flea remedy, I strongly recommend Natural Defense.  And I encourage you to want to look for a natural remedy if don’t currently.  Safer for you, safer for your pets, safer for the environment.  (Oh, and it comes in glass bottles, instead of plastic packaged in cardboard.)

Cupcake’s Chunky Turkey Chili

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So I’ve made a drastic change in my diet lately.  I’m no longer eating processed foods.  Only real, natural food for Trevaesa from now on.  This means I’ve been cooking more lately, of course.  And I recently created a masterpiece, even if I do say so myself.  😉

I’ve never made chili… didn’t have the slightest clue even how to make chili… but I just started adding things to my crock pot to see what happened, tasting as I went.  Fortunately, I thought to write it all down so I could reproduce it later if it was any good.  Turns out, it was!  What is scary though is to look at the large quantity of spices I used to get the amazing flavor as compared to the small packet of chili seasoning you can buy at the grocery.  Gives you a pretty good idea of how fake everything in that little packet is (let’s not forget the silica!), for something so small to contain as much flavor as my pile of spices.

Now for the recipe!

Belligerent Cupcake’s  Homemade Turkey Chili
 
1-1.5 lb Ground Turkey, browned and seasoned to taste with salt, red pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, and cumin
56 oz Crushed Tomatoes
15.5 oz Kidney Beans, drained
30 oz Black Beans, drained
3 T Chili Powder
1 t Paprika
2 t Onion Powder
2 t Cumin
1 1/2 t Cayenne Pepper
2 t Minced Garlic
4 t Coarse Sea Salt
2 t Black Pepper
2 t Raw Sugar
1 t Liquid Smoke, Hickory
 

Mix all ingredients in crock pot and cook on low for about 4 hours (you want to see a slow simmer).  This makes great leftovers for the week and it’s one of those things that only gets better with time.  I like to grate a bit of fresh cheddar or colby jack on top when I serve it.

Happy Chiliing!