Archive for the ‘Beverages’ Category

Noni Leaf Tea – Detoxes and Boosts Immunity

October 28, 2012

Noni grows throughout the South Pacific and Caribbean islands.  For centuries the natives used the leaves of the noni plant for medicinal purposes.  Today the fruit and its juice are more commonly known, though I can’t understand why that stinky stuff would appeal to anyone.  The leaves, however, are pleasantly fragrant when dried and steeped for an herbal tea.  It really tastes like another green tea.  Noni Leaf Tea is naturally caffeine-free and to quote http://nutritionwithsonia.com :

Studies have shown the leaf to be the most nutrient-rich part of the plant, containing health promoting nutrients including phyto-chemicals, antioxidants and bio-flavonoids. Rich in a number of vitamins and minerals – phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin K1, niacin and more. Noni leaf is rich in plant sterols, protein, glycosides, and anthraquinones.

The leaf has many benefits when taken regularly – will protect us from toxins and pollutants, encourages the body to detox, helps prevent the premature onset of age-related diseases, boosts our immune defences, reduces our risk of developing cancer, aids in better digestion and assimilation, helps to cleanse our intestinal system in a very mild way, reduces inflammation and eases pain, has mild anti-bacterial properties, and helps to maintain normal blood sugar levels.”

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Homemade V-8 Juice and Canned Tomato Variations

June 5, 2009

V-8 juicecanned tomatoesTomatoes are abundant now and inexpensive especially if purchased in quantity.  Unlike hot-house tomatoes that the supermarkets carry in the winter,  fresh summer tomatoes are full of flavor that you can smell.   They’re a good source of vitamins A and C, and lycopene, a powerful antioxidant.   Cooked tomatoes actually have more antioxidants than fresh tomatoes, the exact opposite of other antioxidant rich foods which lose their potency when cooked.  Researchers believe a person who drinks one glass of tomato juice everyday will live a very long healthy life.  

Tomato pulp with milk powder makes a wonderful facial mask that will actually help heal acne and defoliate skin.  Idea of Beauty claims vitamin C and potassium found in tomatoes help heal the skin.  We know the vitamins and minerals in tomatoes are internally good for our bodies so if you’d rather absorb  those nutrients in a pampered facial mask, than eat them, so be it.  Certainly anything good to eat will not harm your skin unless you’re allergic to it.

There are dozens of varieties of tomatoes.  Beef steak tomatoes are good for salads, sandwiches, salsas, and stuffed with chicken salad, tuna salad, herbed cottage cheese, tabbouleh or couscous. 

Roma tomatoes are more fleshy and make excellent Italian sauces, canned whole tomatoes, or dried tomatoes.  Even the sauce can be dehydrated for tomato paste. 

Cherry tomatoes and salad tomatoes on the vine are wonderful roasted and preserved with olive oil for antipasto, meze plates, and everything in between.   

There has got to be at least one new dish created everyday that uses tomatoes.  Try a few of the recipes given here.  Add your own herbs and spices, make them your own.  And while tomatoes are at their peak, preserve some for winter.

Homemade V-8 Juice:

  • 4 lb tomatoes, washed, cored, and chopped 
  • 1 stalk of celery, washed and chopped with leaves  
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small red beet, peeled and chopped  
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped 
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, washed, seeded and chopped 
  • 1 onion, chopped 
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  •  2 tsp of Old Bay Spice (or 2 basil leaves and 1 sprig thyme)
  • 1 Tbsp horseradish 

Method:

  1. In a stainless steel pan, cook vegetables and seasoning about 20 minutes or until they are tender. 
  2. Puree in a food processor.
  3. Add sea salt and sugar to taste.  Chill.
  4. Follow the method for Canned Tomato Juice for larger quantities.

Here are a few ways to preserve them: 

  1. Frozen Tomatoes:  Wash and core, place in freezer bags whole and freeze.  They thaw out in a flash and are excellent in bolognese sauce and stews or soups.
  2. Canned Tomato Juice:  Wash, core, quarter and cook (without added water) over medium heat in a stainless steel pan just until tender and juicy.  Run through a food mill or press through a fine mesh sieve (chinoise) to remove skins and seeds.  Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, salt to taste and 1 Tbsp lemon juice for every quart of juice.  Pour tomato juice into hot sterilized jars up to 1/2 inch from the rims, seal and process in a pressure cooker for 25 minutes. 
  3. Canned Whole or Diced Tomatoes:  Wash and core tomatoes, slice an X into bottom of each tomato, dip into boiling water for 2 minutes then remove the skins.  Pack whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes into quart sized sterilized jars with 1 tsp sea salt (0r taste) and 1/2 tsp citric acid.  Pour hot tomato juice into jar up to 1/2 inch from rim of jar, seal, and process in pressure cooker for 35 minutes.
  4. Dried Tomatoes:  Use Roma or cherry tomatoes.  Wash and slice in half.  Place on trays in an electric dehydrator and dry per manufacturer’s instructions.  Or, place on racks over cookie sheets and dry in a 250° F. oven, turning ocassionally, until tomatoes are leathery.  Place dried tomatoes in sterile jars and store in a cool, dark pantry.  Or, add basil leaves, garlic, salt, and pour in hot olive oil up to 1/2 inch from the rims.  Seal immediately and place in a cool, dark  pantry for 1 week before using.  Refrigerate, after opening, up to 6 weeks.
  5. Tomato Caper Tapenade:  3/4 cup of dried tomatoes in oil, 1/4 cup drained capers, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves.  Process all ingredients until smooth.  Spoon into an 8 oz hot-sterilized- jar, top with 1/4 cup hot olive oil, seal immediately.  Refrigerate, after opening, up to 6 weeks.

Watermelon Batida de Coco

June 5, 2009

watermelon smoothieBatida is Portuguese for shaken or milkshake.  de Coco is coconut milk and watermelon with coconut milk is a cool drink on a hot summer’s day.  In Tonga they call this ‘Otai (oh-tie).  Its low in calories, high in nutrition and can be made with mango, quava, peach, pineapple, papaya, soursop or a combination of fruit like strawberries, watermelon and red grapes.   Garnish with little umbrellas and fruit for a festive look.

If you add cachaca, Brazilian sugarcane liquor which is distilled sugarcane syrup, you’ll have a Brazilian cocktail.  Cachaca should not be confused with rum which is made from sugarcane molasses.  

Ingredients for 2 servings:

  • 1 cup of watermelon flesh, seeded
  • 1 cup of coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice (or Roses Lime)
  • cup of ice

Method:

  1. Place watermelon, coconut milk and lime juice in a blender and whirl for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice and whirl until smooth.
  3. Pour over ice in tall glasses and garnish.

Cranberry Banana Smoothie

May 5, 2009

cran-smoothieAbout mid-afternoon yesterday I had this incredible craving for something fruity and cool. The only thing in the house was a little bit of frozen cranberries and bananas. With a sense of urgency, I popped a banana, 1/2 cup of frozen cranberries, a drizzle of honey, and a healthy splash of half-n-half into the food processor.  Turned it on high, puttered around for a few minutes, went back to check on my concoction and voila! It was mousse more than smoothie, lovely hot pink with flecks of cranberry, not too sweet and definitely not tart, with mild banana after tones, perfectly refreshing, filling, and I ate it with a spoon.  Finally got rid of the cranberries from thanksgiving and now I’ll have to buy more because I think I’ll want another one of these smousses (smoothie-mousse). 

Las Vegas is heating up, 91° F. today, and it won’t be long before the temp is over 112° F.  Cold salads and cold refreshing drinks will be everyday fare.  Most sane people only come out at night like bats and vorles.  Only golfers and suntanners venture out after sun-up.  The air-con will be whirring non-stop along with the jacuzzi and swimming pool pumps… and I will dream of those precious moments of near silence in 86° F. weather with only the sound of the surf, sand between my toes, and a mango/pineapple Mai Tai.