Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Review Of Cashew, Almond And Coconut Yogurts

There are many non-dairy yogurts to choose from.

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In Search of Dairy-Free Yogurt
Quite a few people have given up or reduced their consumption of dairy. Many are either lactose intolerant or allergic to milk proteins, some are vegans who avoid all animal products, and others may be trying to reduce their cholesterol intake. Whatever the reason may be, the downside is giving up this probiotic-rich food. But luckily today there are many non-dairy options.

Two years ago I posted a recipe on how to make Thick, Creamy Vegan Yogurt with an Instant Pot or Yogurt Maker with 5 Minutes Prep Time. This is one of my most popular posts with over 20,000 views! So I know that lots of you enjoy yogurt and understand its importance in our diet. 

My most popular post - making soy yogurt.

But this particular recipe, that includes no thickeners or added sugar, is soy based and some of you do not consume soy. I don't like making yogurt with other non-dairy milks because they usually come out more like Jello as they require added gums and thickeners. Recently, however, I've tried several ready-made, non-dairy yogurts that are soy free that are absolutely delicious. And although they contain some thickeners, they are super creamy. Here are a few that I recommend.

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This cashew-based yogurt (they call it Cashewgurt) is absolutely divine. 

Forager ProjectCreamy Dairy-free Cashewgurt

Cashew Yogurt Nutrition
One cup provides:
170 calories
11 g total fat
2 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
5 g protein
14 g carbohydrates
2 g sugar
1 g dietary fiber
15 mg sodium
2% calcium
19% iron

It's organic
Very creamy mouthfeel
Flavorless, so you can add to salad dressing, soups, and other recipes
Low in sugar and sodium
Good source of iron
Dairy, soy, and gluten free - vegan
Has 6 live cultures

High is calories and fat
Not very tart like some yogurts
Contains "natural flavor" - whatever that means

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I love all of Kite Hill's products and this one is no exception.

Kite Hill

 Almond Yogurt Nutrition
(The container serving size is only 5.3 ounces so I've converted it to a cup for consistency.)

One cup provides:
211 calories
6 g total fat
3 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
9 g protein
1.5 g carbohydrates
0 g sugar
0 g dietary fiber
0 mg sodium
0 % calcium
0% iron

Very creamy mouthfeel
Flavorless, so you can add to salad dressing, soups, and other recipes
Contains zero sugar and sodium
Dairy, soy, and gluten free - vegan
No artificial colorings or preservatives
Good source of protein

High is calories
Not very tart like some yogurts 
Not organic although the almonds are non-GMO
Only 4 live cultures

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You will enjoy this silky yogurt if you enjoy the flavor of coconut.

So Delicious Coconut Milk yogurt alternative.

Coconut Yogurt Nutrition
(The container serving size is only 5.3 ounces so I've converted it to a cup for consistency.)

One cup provides:
106 calories
7.5  g total fat
6.8 g saturated fat
0 mg cholesterol
0 g protein
10.6 g carbohydrates
0 g sugar
3 g dietary fiber
45 mg sodium
30% calcium
45% vitamin D
53% vitamin B12
0% iron

Very creamy 
Dairy and gluten free - vegan
Low in calories
Has 3 g of fiber per cup
Fortified with calcium, vitamin D and B12
Has 8 live cultures
Low in sugar
Contains organic coconut milk

Plain flavor is not flavorless - tastes like coconut
High in saturated fat from the coconut
Not very tart
Contains zero protein

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These three plain, unsweetened, non-dairy yogurts are all exceptionally tasting, unlike many I've tried in the past. The only disappointment is that none of them had the tartness that I enjoy in a yogurt. When I make my own soy yogurt, I can control the tartness by leaving it to process a bit longer. Also, they all contain some kind of gum and/or starch to thicken them. Once again, home made soy yogurt only contains soy beans, water, and live culture. But I still highly recommend each of these, especially if you are trying to avoid soy and you want to purchase, rather than make, yogurt. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

Instant Pot Helps Make Perfect Breakfast Fried Potatoes With Less Oil

Use your Instant Pot for perfect breakfast potatoes.
Make a healthier breakfast for your Valentine!

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Breakfast Potatoes
I must have been Irish in another lifetime because I adore potatoes. Baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, boiled potatoes, and especially fried breakfast potatoes. Fried breakfast potatoes, however, can take a lot of oil with added calories. They also take a long time to cook, and who has that kind of time in the morning? But the Instant Pot comes to the rescue to help with both of these problems. 

So if your want to make your Valentine some healthy fried breakfast potatoes to go with a tofu scramble or his favorite egg dish, here's a quick recipe for the potatoes. You can always jazz this recipe up by frying some onions or peppers before you add the potatoes, but I like my potatoes as they are.

To save even more time in the morning, you can make the Instant Pot potatoes the night before, refrigerate them, and fry them the next morning.

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Breakfast Fried Potatoes
Vegan, Gluten Free
[makes 3 to 4 servings]

Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker with steamer basket and rack
Large Non-stick Fry Pan

3 cups (1/2" -3/4" inch diced) Yukon Gold potatoes with skin (~ 1 pound)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place the steamer rack and 1 inch of water in the Instant Pot.

Spread the diced potatoes evenly in the Instant Pot's steamer basket. Place on the rack.

Secure the lid, making sure the top vent is closed. Press the "Manual" button and set for 4 minutes at high pressure. When done, do a quick release, carefully open the lid, and immediately remove the potatoes from the Instant Pot. The potatoes should be almost cooked, but a little al dente. They will continue to cook in the fry pan.

Heat the oil in a large, non-stick (I like enamel coated), fry pan on medium heat. Add the potatoes and spread evenly in the pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are fork tender but crispy and brown on both sides, flipping over occasionally, about 10 minutes. 

Serve warm.

Per serving (3): 155 calories, 5 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 49 mg omega-3 and 487 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 3 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, and 3 g dietary fiber. 

Per serving (4): 116 calories, 3 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 37 mg omega-3 and 366 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 2 g protein, 21 g carbohydrates, and 2 g dietary fiber. 

Monday, February 06, 2017

Make Your Own Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap!

This homemade foaming soap avoids toxic
ingredients and is just as effective.

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Download my eBook, Health begins in the Kitchen.

Why you should Stop Buying Antibacterial Products
Everyone should be washing their hands often during flu season. It's one of the most effective ways of avoiding colds and flu. But you shouldn't be using store-bought antibacterial soaps. Here's why.

Most liquid antibacterial soaps, as well as certain bar soaps, wipes, hand gels and more, contained the chemical triclosan. Although this chemical has been used for many years, it wasn't until last September that the Food and Drug Administration banned its use in hand soaps. It gave companies until September, 2017, to remove this chemical from hand soaps and it banned 18 other antibacterial ingredients found in soap products. Triclosan is still used in some body washes, antibacterial dish soaps, and Colgate total toothpaste.

Triclosan can act as endocrine disruptors. Animal studies have shown that this chemical can interfere with the regulation of thyroid hormone. In humans, triclosan could possibly cause infertility, obesity, and even cancer. 

As we have seen time and time again, the overuse of antibiotics can lead to superbugs. The overuse of antibacterial soaps may also contribute to this problem. 

In addition, triclosan containing products are bad for the environment and are frequently detected in streams and some water supplies.

Soap and Water Just as Effective
There is no evidence that these expensive and toxic antibacterial soaps are any more effective that plain old soap and water. So why not use them? Today I'm going to show you a super easy way to make your own foaming hand soap that is safer and just as effective in protecting you and your family from germs.

Essential Oils
Adding essential oils to your liquid soap can boost its a ability to fight germs. There are quite a few that have this ability. Here are a few that I used in my soap today.

Tea Tree Oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. It has been used for treating staph wounds and can eliminate MRSA from the skin. 
Thyme Oil is a powerful antibacterial agent and is effective is protecting against MRSA and staph.
I like adding Lavender Oil to the soap. After all, the name itself comes from the Latin word "Lavare", which means "to wash". But it's also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties and has a lovely scent.
Peppermint Oil also has a nice smell and has antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties.

Other essential oils that have antibacterial properties including basil, bergamot, cinnamon, clover, eucalyptus, lemongrass, oregano, and rosemary. So mix and match as you will with regard to the selection of essential oils and the amounts. 

Moisturizing Properties
When making hand soap, you can also add moisturizing ingredients that can soothe, heal, and soften your skin. This recipe adds a touch of jojoba oil and vitamin E. 

Jojoba oil is one of my favorites. It's actually a liquid wax and resembles sebum, which is produced by our skin glands. Because of this property, it acts as a natural skin conditioner. 
Vitamin E, an strong antioxidant, fights free radicals that damage your skin. Used in this liquid soap, it will help soften and moisturize your skin.

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Antibacterial Foaming Hand Soap

1 BPA-free liquid hand soap dispenser with foaming pump
Scant 3/4 cups filtered water
1/4 cup natural soap (such as Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap)
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
1/2 teaspoon vitamin E
5 drops lavender oil
5 drops thyme oil
5 drops tea tree oil
5 drops peppermint oil

Place the water in the soap dispenser (water ALWAYS goes in first.)

Add the soap, jojoba oil, vitamin E, and essential oils. 

Screw on the pump and shake well to combine all the ingredients. You will have to shake it each time you use it.