Cooking Great Meals In A Small Kitchen

Small simple kitchen - Cooking Great Meals In A Small KitchenIt can be a little perplexing to bake or cook in a small kitchen with limited space. Whether you’re in an apartment, condo, or just a house with a kitchen that isn’t quite as big as you’d like, cooking fantastic meals in a small kitchen is altogether possible.

How nice it would be, but you don’t need a big kitchen to make a big meal, no rather all you need is a little knowledge and creativity for working in a small kitchen with limited space.

Organizing Your Kitchen Space

The key to having a small kitchen with limited space, is organization. Keeping your limited space organized can actually give you more space to work with when preparing to cook or bake.

Organization can also save you money and a trip to the store. How so? Consider this. Say you’re making an “Apple Spiced Cake,” how many occasions have you opened the pantry to see if you have a certain spice, and it is no were to be found.

small kitchens

Image credit: Decoralia

As you need the spice, you end up going to the store to buy some more, only to find a week later the spice you we’re looking for hidden in the back of the pantry.

Cooking and baking in a limited space kitchen with organization can save you money.

Before you start cooking, pull out all the ingredients you’ll need for the meal, and keep them all on the counter in one place. Spreading out all over a small kitchen isn’t an option, so watch how much room you’re using for your ingredients. What ever you are done with, put it back right away.

Being organized before you start preparing food to eat, as well as while you are cooking will save you from becoming frustrated, because not knowing were items required for the meal preparation are could quit well discourage you from preparing meals.

Keep ion mind that small spaces and frustration are not a good combination.

Keeping your pantry, cupboards, fridge, freezer, and any space where food is stored, is essential to cooking in a small kitchen.

Keeping Your Small Space Clean

To start, a clean kitchen means prepared meals without food-born infections. Since you have a small kitchen, why not make recipes that only require the use of one mixing bowl or one pot recipes.

The less cooking and baking utensils you can use, the more counter space available and less clean up.

washing dishes

Image credit: Food52

Instead of grabbing a new bowl, pot, or mixing utensil, try to use the ones that are already dirty.

While you’re waiting for something in the oven or on the stove, wash the cooking utensils, and the ones that you don’t need anymore, put them away, and the ones you will keep using, leave them on the counter out of the way.

Also while you are waiting, put away ingredients you are done using at that time, as well.

This will help free up space and create less work in cleaning up after the meal has been enjoyed.

One Cook Kitchens

Kitchens that are small, and don’t have enough elbow room, as they say, is really a one cook kitchen. The best idea in a small kitchen is to kick everyone out while you’re cooking.

If you barely have enough room to turn around while you’re cooking, you’ll need as much space as you can get. Don’t let anyone in your kitchen while you’re preparing the meal, unless you want someones help to chop vegetables or round up and put away no longer needed ingredients.

There’s never anything wrong with asking for a little help, but if someone just wants to chat while you’re cooking, they’ll probably just get in the way.

A Small Kitchen – Buffet Style Or Plate and Serve

plate and serve - small kitchenWith limited counter space, it’s probably not the best idea to have a buffet style meal.

If you don’t have room to chat with people while you’re cooking, you probably don’t have enough room for guests to line up and get their food.

If you have the counter space to plate the meal yourself for each guest, that’s probably your best bet.

Otherwise, you can always pass serving dishes at the table and store them on the counter for people to get second helpings if they want.

Wouldn’t you agree these are great suggestions to follow in every kitchen, small or big?

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Natural Bug Repellents

Natural Bug Repellents

happy romantic couple outdoorsSummer is a time to get outside and enjoy the garden, go to the park, camping, or the beach. We may even choose to put on a swim suit, shorts, or maybe nothing at all (if you’re a practicing nudist) to enjoy the summer warmth and sun.

midge to drink blood from hand of the personBut there is one pesky creature we have to also worry about, the bugs and insects, and most of them like to attach themselves to our skin. Therefore, out comes the bug repellent.

Poisons or chemicals that you would not ordinarily consume, doesn’t make since to apply them to your skin either. Many bug repellents have such non-eatable chemicals.

They may work at repelling bugs, but your skin is absorbing the repellent as well, and your liver is working hard to metabolize the toxins once they pass the epidermis and enter your blood stream.

The question arises, are there natural bug repellents that can work as well as chemical-induced repellents? Yes there is. Let’s examine a few ways you can keep obnoxious insects from invading your home and your body this summer.

 

Natural Bug Repellents and How to Make Them

Fleas

Spray cedar oil on carpets, floors and in your pet’s bedding.  d-Limonene, produced by the citrus industry, can be sprayed safely to prevent fleas.

Man with his dogWhat about your best friend, the dog that is? They can also be invaded by fleas, which can in turn be bothersome for you.

Try diatomaceous earth or powdered pyrethrum (purchased at any natural foods and herbal store) and sprinkle on your pet’s clean bedding and carpets in your home.

Herbal extracts such as rosemary, citronella, wormwood and pennyroyal are all natural treatments to repel fleas as well.

Mosquitoes

Marigolds, an annual flower are great at repelling mosquitoes. Plant them in around your garden and the areas were you sit, like the deck or patio.

Clove oil is effective against mosquitoes, but use sparingly as it may irritate the skin. Citronella (rose geranium), eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender and cedar oil are some of the most common insect repellents.

Flies

 Citronella can be diluted in oil, such as almond oil, and can be rubbed on the skin to keep almost any flying insects away. Eating herbs like basil, and mint on a regular basis will repel flies. Your skin will ooze the odor of the herbs which the flies do not like. Tansy as well as the smell of pennyroyal oil will keep flies away.

You can also use coconut oil to dilute the citronella, and hit two birds with one stone as they say:

  1. Repel the insects
  2. Retain the Moister of Your Skin and Make it More Youthful

Lemon and limes with cloves - natural insect repellent If your out in the yard enjoying family and friends with a meal, camping, picnicking at the beach or park you can naturally repel bugs and insects with lemon or lime slices stabbed with cloves.

All bugs and insects do not like the odor of cloves, it might be for the the oil it contains, which is eugenol oil, also found in cinnamon, basil, and bay leaves.

spray bottle Any of the natural herbal extracts noted in this article can be used in the following fashion.

Using a spray bottle, add an organic liquid detergent mixed with white wine vinegar and the plant extracts, like eucalyptus, lavender or tea tree oil, and any of the others noted above, and apply to skin.

Try some of these homemade natural bug repellents to repel bugs and insects before purchasing the extremely harmful products that contain poisonous chemicals that can only harm your health and the environment.

 

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Growing Your Own Health Promoting Herbs

Growing Your Own Health Promoting Herbs

Growing Your Own Health Promoting Herbs

The more natural your food that you eat the better it is for your health. When you cook your meal using prepackaged box or canned foods, there is really no nutritional value. Also considering the food has been processed, and doing so leaves little to none of the original nutrients.

Whole fresh food on the hand, prepared by nature to meet your body’s nutritional needs, is a lot better choice. You receive more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients for optimum, if not better health, including better energy levels, weight management, and disease prevention, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.

Plant foods are the best sources of vital nutrition, and the more you eat the higher your chances of ageing gracefully, as they say.

Herbs are part of the plant food choices. They can provide a number of health benefits, as they are used for medicinal purposes, while adding natural flavors to a variety of prepared dishes, including desserts for those with a sweet tooth.

Grow your own ptted herbs and plants on your balcony or patioIf you love gardening, and if you don’t have a plot of land, maybe you like having potted plants on your patio or balcony, or even a sunny window that can accommodate potted plants, then you could possibly grow your own.

Just think of the Italian dishes you can make with the fresh sage, rosemary, and thyme you would be harvesting from your garden or potted herbs.

Or the peppermint tea you can make for when you have an up-set stomach or the basil to add to your pitcher of watermelon juice or sliced tomatoes.

Herbs are really easy to grow and as we mentioned are dense in nutrients. More commonly grown herbs include basil, sage, thyme, mint, and rosemary. But let’s talk about some other herbs that you might already have in the garden, or buy as a tea when you’re not feeling well.

Healthy Herbs You Can Grow In Your Garden

Echinacea

echinacea flowersEchinacea also referred to as a “Purple Coneflower,” grows from 1-2 feet tall. It was used in ancient cultures as a way of reducing the symptoms of viral infections due to a cold or the flu, and other infectious illness.

It is also available at your local co-op or Whole Foods Market as a tea, supplement form or as a tincture. If you have this herb or flower in your garden, you can make a tea with the plant parts whenever you feel a cold coming on.

 Echinacea contains antioxidants called phenols which help to regulate certain enzymes and human cell receptors in the human body. The herb also has alkylamides, and this compound directly affects the immune system when confronted with invading infectious bacteria.

Cilantro

Cilantro has become a popular herb to grow in home gardens. The herb is also commonly recognized as leaf-coriander in Asia and quite similar to dill in culinary terms, as the leaves and seeds are used in many culinary dishes, such as in the Mediterranean and Latin American countries.

cilantro The herb bolsters many plant derived chemical compounds that are used as disease preventing and health-promoting properties. It also contains minerals such as potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.

Potassium is an important for cell and body fluids that help control the heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is needed for red blood cell production, and manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

The American diet lacks the very essential mineral magnesium that has many uses in the body, from sleeping well, digestion, elimination, muscle and bone health just to mention a few.

It is also rich vitamins, which include folate, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, and vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum health.

Chamomile

This plant has white daisy-like flowers and is best grown near the house where you have ready access to it. The flowers are used for their health benefits including the management of colic, indigestion, skin irritations, inflammation, and anxiety.

It can be infused as tea using the plants leaves, stems, and roots or worked into a salve that can be directly applied to the skin to relieve irritations, as the plant has natural anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, and helps in clearing up skin irritations like eczema, acne, and allergies.

In medical studies chamomile tea was noted to raise urine levels of glycine, a compound that calms muscle spasm.

What a great plant to have around after working in the garden all afternoon. Make a tea in the evening and your muscles are relaxed.

Feverfew

This plant is best grown in flower gardens because they produce nice yellow daisy-like flowers with yellow-green leaves that resemble those of chamomile, for which it sometimes is confused. The herb plant is also known as Midsummer Daisy, and Wild Chamomile.

FeverfewBoth the leaves and flowers of this plant or herb can be brewed into a tea or chewed directly for the relief of various kinds of uncomfortable symptoms, like:

  • Headaches or migraines,
  • Pain due to arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Constipation
  • Dermatitis
  • Earache
  • Fever
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Insect bites
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Psoriasis
  • Muscle spasms

It can also be made into a salve so that it can be directly applied to skin irritations.

Lavender

This plant or herb produces lovely purple flowers, you may have seen it, and referred to as French Lavender.

Lavender is used as an essential oil for aromatherapy. The aroma or the smell of lavender is relaxing and calming to the mind and body.

It is also used as a natural pain reliever, and it can be prepared as a tea, or directly applied as a salve to bruises and cuts on the skin, to help relieve pain and inflammation of these affected areas, and also works as a natural antiseptic when applied to affected areas of the skin.

An Herb Garden Year After Year

There are several benefits to having these herbs as well as others we did not refer too. Those that produce flowers are a beautiful display for the garden.  Many are perennials, meaning they come back year after year to give you the health benefits you need.

Others are annuals, like basil and the cilantro we mentioned. They can be reseeded by allowing the plant to go to seed. Just remove the flowers after the petals have faded, alone the seeds to dry and put them into a labeled envelope culinary and medicinal herbs prepared for dryingand date it.

The following season you will have new seeds to start your annul herb garden to once again reap its health benefits and culinary flavors.

You know the best part of growing your own herbs, is you can pick them fresh as you need them, and you are assured they are grown in organic soil without the use of pesticides.

An added benefit to using culinary herbs from your garden is you can feel doubly joyful, for not only preparing your own whole food fresh meal, but you also grew the herbs in your garden.

 

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Benefits of Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden

Benefits of Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden

Benefits of Growing an Organic Vegetable Garden

Most of us go to the nearest grocery store to purchase fruits and vegetables. Most of the produce we buy is brought in from faraway places, like blueberries are brought in from Columbia during the winter months in the northern hemisphere (in the N.H. of the earth fresh blueberries are available May thru October).

You also take the chance of buying fruits and vegetables that have been grown with the use of dangerous pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides, unless of course you buy organic produce. But even then, most people will not, as they consider organic produce too expensive.

Have you given it thought to growing your own fruits and vegetables on your own piece of land, and if not possibly claiming a small plot for yourself in a community garden?

You can grow your own produce without using any chemicals that are used in growing traditional commercial produce. Growing your own food supply also saves you money and allows you to contribute to a more healthy earth for all living things.

An Organic Vegetable Garden Is Threefold

How is having an organic vegetable garden threefold? Consider the following.

When you decide to grow organic, or even buy organic foods, you are committing to growing and eating food in its natural state.

An Organic Vegetable Garden Is ThreefoldWhat would you use in place of chemicals? You would use mulch, chicken manure (can be used all season long as it will not burn the plants roots, like cow manure can), or compost to fertilize the garden.

Having an organic vegetable garden will require weeding, watering, and harvesting the vegetables and fruits when they become ripe. But don’t think of weeding as work or time consuming. Think of it as exercise, which your body needs in the first place to stay healthy.

Having an organic vegetable garden is threefold,

  • Growing and enjoying your own food
  • Doing so without chemicals
  • Getting in exercise at the same time

Organic Vegetable Gardening with Your Health In Mind

As an organic gardener, you will learn how to grow foods holistically and with health as a priority. Your own grown organic produce will contain valuable nutrients, such as more phytonutrients (less are found in chemical grown produce) for better health.

Stepping out of your home to the garden affords you picking and harvesting fresh produce at its peak. Having an organic garden doesn’t only give you food, it also gives you better health.

Composting for a Healthier Organic Garden

Composting for a Healthier Organic GardenYou will need to have a compost pile, which contains leaves, grass clippings, other plant debris, and kitchen food scraps. All of this once it has decayed, forms the best soil and fertilizer available for your organic vegetable garden needs, and it’s free.

Worms and other garden creatures will eventually get in action of converting your compost heap into raw matter, which is a pure, black, healthy earth.

How Organic Gardening Can Help Us

Organic farming and gardening has many positive effects on our lives, benefits that range from physical to social, and to our emotional wellbeing.

Once you start gardening you will find it a stress relieving adventure.

You can spend more time out in the sun tending your organic garden, and getting the vitamin-D which your body needs to keep your skin and bones healthy. You will become more physically fit by working in an organic garden.

You get to use your muscles on a regular basis and you will be growing food that is actually healthy to all parts of our body.

You can feel comfortable that you are not adding to the destruction of the earth and its valuable soil. Putting your hands in the dirt can be soothing and can bring satisfaction of eating your own grown and harvested food.

Starting an Organic Garden

Potted tomatoes cultivated in town on a balconyIf you don’t have a lot of land, or live in an apartment complex with a small patio or balcony that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun, you can grow your own produce using pots, to and grow vegetables like tomatoes, herbs, and peppers.

If you have your own home and land, be sure to always have a compost heap so you always have a ready supply of rich soil.

Find a sunny spot in your yard and till it, making room for several rows of whatever type of vegetable you like.

In conclusion, if you don’t find gardening is for you, then make it a point to always buy organic foods at the store (in season produce is cheaper).

Doing so, you can do your part in keeping the earth, its soil, animal life (bees and other pollinators) healthy, including yourself.

 

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Satay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Growing Lima Beans and Enjoying the Benefits

Satay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Now is the time to plant lima beans. They are easy to grow, and they provide an excellent source of many different nutrients. They are a starchy vegetable that are sometimes known as butter beans because of their smooth, buttery texture.

You can buy lima beans dried or canned, but fresh lima beans are harder to come by, and therefore a great vegetable to grow in your garden.

Lima bean podsAs the lima bean grows it looks a lot like a green bean, although the pods are flatter, much like a sweet pea.

They ripen and are ready for harvest in the late summer and autumn.

When you harvest the beans, you will need to shuck the beans out of the pods, and each pod will yield between 3 to 4 fresh lima beans.

Christmas or ChestNut lima beans

Christmas or ChestNut lima beans

 

 

 

The color of the bean you may be familiar with is usually green or cream colored, but there are other colors, which include red, purple, black, brown, and white.

Health Benefits of Lima Beans

Lima beans are one of the few vegetables that contain molybdenum about 141 mcg, which is a part of an enzyme called sulfite oxidase. Sulfites are commonly found in wine, pickles, processed meats and dried fruit.

Sulfite oxidase helps to eradicate and detoxify our bodies of sulfites. A person can be sensitive to sulfites if there is not have enough sulfite oxidase enzymes in the body. As was noted earlier, this enzyme is essential for detoxifying sulfites.

When sulfites are not properly broken down in the body, a person may experience rapid heart rate, headache and confusion.

Lima beans would be a great addition to your vegetable garden as the bean can help control and eradicate sulfites from the body.

The butter bean or lima bean is a source of minerals and B-vitamins, they help to control blood sugar levels and help to lower blood cholesterol levels.

If you are vegetable gardener that is diabetic or has high cholesterol, the lima bean would be a great addition to your garden.

Dietary Fiber and Lima Beans

Lima bean plants in a vegetable gardenLima beans are a starchy vegetable, and are also a great source of soluble fiber, which as we noted helps to lower blood cholesterol, sweeping away any excess buildup of cholesterol.

Because of the fiber, there is no need to worry a lot about the starch. Fibrous vegetables digest slower and do not spike blood glucose.

That is why it is encouraged to eat a potato with its fibrous skin, if not the starch can cause a spike in your sugar levels.

Fiber also binds with the bile acids in the duodenum. It is bile acids that process and make cholesterol.

This is why it is important to consume fiber on a daily basis. Not eating enough fiber can cause your cholesterol to rise to a dangerous level.

Therefore as fiber binds with the bile acids, it passes right through the digestive system without being absorbed and made into cholesterol.

Lima beans are also rich in insoluble fiber, meaning that it bulks up the stool and allows for regular bowel movements and less constipation. Insoluble fiber is excellent for people who suffer with diverticulosis or irritable bowel syndrome.

Lima Beans Can Reduce the Risk of Heart Problems

Lima beans can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular problems. Lima beans also provide a complete protein if you combine them with whole grains, such as whole grain rice.

Lima beans are a type of legume and legumes have been extensively studied as sources of heart disease protection. One 25 year study involved over 16,000 male participants across the world that was at risk for heart disease. The study found that those who ate more legumes had a reduced risk of heart disease.

Another 19 year study in the U.S.A involved male participants who ate high fiber foods, including lima beans. The study noted that those who ate 21 grams of fiber per day had a 12% lesser chance of coming down with heart disease when compared to people who ate less than 5 grams of fiber per day.

Water-soluble fiber was determined to have the best protection against heart disease, and legumes, including lima beans alone decreased the risk of dying from heart disease by 82%.

Magnesium And Folate

Lima beans contain high amounts of magnesium, manganese, iron, and folate per serving. The folate is a vitamin that lowers the quantity of homocysteine in the bloodstream, which is a risk factor for all forms of heart disease, including stroke, heart attack, and peripheral vascular disease.

The magnesium in lima beans acts as calcium channel blockers, which lowers blood pressure and improves the flow of nutrients and oxygen within the bloodstream. A lack of magnesium in the diet can lead to heart problems and the liberation of oxygen free radicals in the body, which are dangerous to all cells of the body.

The Best Way To Eat Lima Beans

You can eat them alone, salted, or incorporate them into soups and casseroles.

With their buttery flavor, lima beans are a great addition to soups, stews, casseroles. Cooked, cooled  lima beans are an excellent addition to green salads.  You can eat lima beans fresh in their pods in the summer, but only if you have a vegetable garden.

Try this great recipe with your fresh harvested lima beans.

Satay Lima Beans in Peanut SauceSatay Lima Beans in Peanut Sauce

Sauce:

1 (10 ounce) can coconut milk

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

1/2 small onion, grated

1 tablespoon dark soy sauce

2 teaspoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine coconut milk, peanut butter, onion, soy sauce, brown sugar, and pepper flakes. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and keep warm.

If you are allergic to peanuts, use almond butter instead.

Next dice up one each of a green and red sweet pepper, and one small white onion, and set aside. Chop a bunch of  your choice of chard or kale, and mix with the sweet peppers, white onion, and 16 ounces of cooked lima beans in a large bowl. Next add the warm satay sauce, mix until well coated. Plate and serve.

Enjoy this recipe as a warm salad, side dish, main protein dish, and even as a vegan dish.

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Good For Your Health Household Chores Inside and Out

 Good For Your Health Household Chores Inside and Out

Most of us know that losing weight makes for a healthier body and in order to lose or maintain a healthy weight you must burn more calories than you consume. The amount of calories any one person requires really depends on their activity level, because the more active you are, the more calories will burn.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money and time to get a good workout. Why not get a great workout while at home without any gym equipment., how you ask? Doing household chores. You get the best of both worlds, that is the house gets cleaned and you’re burning calories in the process.

According to Health Status, an individual who might weigh 150 pounds will burn about 99 calories every 30 minutes of doing housework. Were as an individual who weighs 200 pounds, will burn about 131 calories in the same amount of time.

Keep in mind finding an easy way to clean your home could be less advantages to you burning calories. The harder you work, the more calories you will burn.

Let’s examine two areas of your home that can help burn calories, inside the home and out side the home, in your garden area.

Inside Calorie Burning

Here are some great ways to burn calories without ever leaving the house. These are especially good rainy day jobs that help keep you fit:

Vacuuming

Unless you have an ultra-lite vacuum cleaner, most vacuums are pretty heavy and lugging them around is a workout in and of itself. Take your time to really get the rooms clean. Move furniture that has been sitting in the same spot for a long period of time. That way you’ll get the aerobic activity of walking and pushing the vacuum cleaner plus the anaerobic activity by moving furniture around.

vacuuming burns caloriesBy the way, all these moves are considered functional movement, which is exercise that mimics everyday life activities and allows us to perform better in our daily tasks.

A person that is about 150 pounds will burn up to 120 calories in 30 minutes of vacuuming, or about 150 calories if you weigh around 180 pounds.

According to Live Healthy the following activities will help you burn between 235 and 310 calories in one hour. Your gender, weight, and age will determine the amount of calories you burn.

Cleaning Windows

You might have heard many house cleaners say, “I don’t clean windows”, but they do need to be done and this is a job best reserved for nice sunny days so you can see if you’re missing any spots through the window.

cleaning floorsGet a stepladder and a wad of paper towels or regular towels plus some good glass cleaner.

The act of climbing the ladder to get to the tops of the windows is great aerobic exercise and you get to tone your arms wiping the glass cleaner off the windows.

If you have windows that tilt in for outside cleaning, do both sides to burn twice as many calories.

Mopping the Floor

You can do it standing up with a mop and broom or you can get down on your hands and knees for close up scrubbing.

Either way, you can cover a lot of territory on your wood, ceramic, or vinyl floors, getting clean shiny floors and burning calories in the process.

Cleaning Curtains Blinds and Light Fixtures 

People generally don’t do this job enough and it really needs to be done once or twice a year. You’ll need a blind cleaner and a step stool. The up and down of getting on and off the step stool will burn aerobic calories and cleaning light fixtureyou’ll be able to tone your arms in the act of cleaning the blinds.

This is true of cleaning light fixtures hang from the ceiling as well.

Curtains need to be removed and either dry-cleaned or washed in the washing machine depending on the fabric. The act of climbing ladders to unhook the curtains burns calories as well.

Cleaning Out Closets

Think about having a garage sale and begin by cleaning out all your closets to find merchandise you can sell. Take everything out of each closet and dust or sweep the closet now that it’s empty. Then put back in the closet only those things you definitely want to keep. Everything else needs a place to store until you decide to have your sale.

Now let’s take a look at burning calories outside the home.

Outside Garden Calorie Burning

If you own or rent a home, there is always going to be outside work to do. Here are some activities that can burn calories in the process.

Mowing the Lawn

Manual grass mowerMowing the lawn benefits you from both aerobic exercise and resistance exercise. Mowing the lawn burns a little more calories then work done inside the home.

According to Fat Burn if you weigh 160 pounds you can burn up to 153 calories with 20 minutes using a manual reel-type push mower, and one hour of mowing burns 458 calories.

Mowing with a self-propelled gas or electric power mower uses fewer calories, and you will burn 115 calories in 20 minutes and 244 calories in one hour. Keep in mind your gender, weight, and age determines the calories you will burn.

Add some trimming around the trees and fences for added calorie burning and building arm strength and muscle.

Gardening

Simple gardening, including hoeing, planting, seeding, and pulling weeds burns calories and is something you can do all summer long. Make as big a garden as your yard space allows. You’ll have the added advantage of adding homegrown vegetables to your dinner table.

Digging holes for plants burns as much as 500 calories per hour (depends on gender, age and weight). Weeding involves the need to bend and use the arm and ab muscles; both serve muscle building and functional movement.

Health Benefits of Gardening 

Other added benefits of gardening include easing stress, improving your mood, and it’s great for your brain as well.

clean healthy earth is good for your health Two separate studies (16 year span) that involved seniors in their 60’s and 70’s found that those who gardened regularly had up to a 47% lower risk of dementia than those who don’t do any gardening, even when a range of other health factors were taken into account.

Digging in the dirt is great for your lungs as well. Healthy soil is full of bacteria. Gardeners inhale the bacteria, or have topical contact with it and getting it into the bloodstream when there is a cut on the skin.

These microbes in soil are a natural antidepressant, as they cause cytokine levels to rise, which results in the production of higher levels of serotonin, the high levels of serotonin produce happiness, better sleep, and better eating habits.

No you know the health benefits of household chores, they should be a chore anymore.

 

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Reaping the Benefits of Gardening Your Own Onions

Reaping the Benefits of Gardening Your Own Onions

Onions have great nutritional value and are a perfect addition to so many of your favorite lunch, dinner, salads, and side dish recipes. Onions can be stored in a cool dark area of the kitchen for several weeks, though they should not be stored with potatoes.

If you like vegetable gardening, then onions is a great addition as they are easy to grow.

Planting Onions

planting onionsYou can plant onions as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring, which for most areas  it can be late March or April (make sure the temperatures are not dropping below 20 degrees F).

Plant the onions sets 1 inch deep, with about 4 to 5 inches between each plant, depending on the size of the onion when mature, and in rows 12 to 18 inches apart.

Meet the Allium Family

The Allium family of vegetables includes the onions, scallions (green onions), chives, leeks, shallots, and garlic. The onion along with its cousin the garlic are grown and used both for medicinal properties and for cooking.

The Rainbow of Onions

There are many types and colors of onions. There are the smaller green onions, yellow onions, purple onions, red onions, white onions.

Depending on the color of the onion, they can have a sweet flavor or can have a spicy, pungent, and sharp flavor.

The Health Benefits

Onion bulb with green leaves and rootsOnions are so ubiquitous in cooking that it is hard to remember that they also have medicinal properties. The health benefits of onions include:

  • High in fiber, help with digestion and do not spike blood glucose
  • They have about 15 grams of plant carbohydrates per onion and no raw sugar.
  • Onions have no fat
  • Onions contain no cholesterol
  • Their mineral content includes iron, folate, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium
  • Onions are high in antioxidants, including sulfur and quercetin
  • Help to improve emotional wellbeing, and are healthy for your hair and skin
  • Reduce colon cancer risk
  • Onions can help fight obesity
  • Any onion because of its nutritional content can reduce the risk of metabolic syndrome, which includes heart disease, and diabetes

Now let us examine in more detail some of the onions health benefits.

The Onion – Your Allie Against Cancer

It is the sulfur compounds of onions help reduce the risk of several different cancers. They inhibit cancer through several different methods. They can prevent oxygen free radical formation by being a potent antioxidant.

Animal and human studies have shown that all the Allium family of vegetables inhibit tumor growth and reduce the risk of stomach cancer, esophageal cancer, and prostate cancer.

The sulfur compounds can help block the growth of tumors and can prevent normal cells from mutating into cancer cells.

Antioxidants

Onions are rich in the antioxidant vitamin-C, which is important for cellular health as it can help stop the cascade of oxygen free radicals that are a by-product of cellular metabolism. Oxygen free radicals can damage or compromise the cell wall structure if they are not, neutralized by an antioxidant.

Your skin, bones, and ligaments, all rely on the vitamin-C, which helps to make collagen and maintain its health. Use vitamin-C rich onions in your salads or other dishes for the best in connective tissue health.

Folate for Mood and Sleep

Onions have a beneficial effect on your mood and sleep, as onions are rich in folate. This B-vitamin has shown to reduce the risk of depression by Eating fresh onions from your garden decreasing homocysteine levels in the body. High levels homocysteine has shown to conflict with the production of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, all of which are essential for emotional wellbeing.

Onions have the most nutrition in them, when freshly harvested, and you cannot really say that about the onions you purchase at the market.

This means it is best to start your own organic garden, incorporating a row of onions you can pick all season long.

 

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Blanching and Freezing Your Garden Vegetables

Blanching and Freezing Your Garden Vegetables

Do you have a garden? Maybe you have a lot of vegetables that you are giving away to family, friends, and neighbors through the growing season.

Usually when the season comes to an end, a gardener with a medium to large vegetable garden will still have an abundance giving your extra garden produce to family and friendsof vegetables, and after giving them away all summer, the receivers are all “vegetated out”, so to speak. So what do you do with all that extra produce you have harvested? Why not blanch and freeze them?

The blanching of vegetables or a termed use for this process is “to whiten”, is an easy technique of boiling vegetables for а short while and then immediately chilling them in ice-cold water.

Blanching can also be used to remove strong flavors from foods like onions as an example. What is being “whitened” or blanched out is the unpleasant flavor of tannins found in onions.

Wikipedia says that McDonald’s Restaurant in Charlotte, North Carolina in the early 1960’s, used a process on the potatoes called ‘blanching.’ The potatoes were first mechanically peeled and then manually pushed through a slicer producing raw French fries, they were batch-soaked in room-temperature water for 3–5 minutes to remove starch, and after this process the sliced potatoes were declared as having been blanched.

Vegetables ѕhоuld  bе blanched bеfоrе thеу аrе stored іn thе freezer. Thіѕ helps іn retaining thеіr nutritive value, but аlѕо helps іn preserving thеіr color, flavor аnd texture.

How tо Blanch Vegetables?

Fill а large pot with water, add sea salt or Himalayan salt and bring іt tо а raped boil. Add еnоugh salt ѕо thаt the water tastes salty.

Whіle thе water іѕ heating to a boil, fill а large bowl with three quarters оf ice аnd add еnоugh cold water.

Add thе vegetables іn small amounts tо the boiling pot to ensure thаt the water dоеѕn’t loses іtѕ boil.

Boil thе vegetables untіl thеу аrе barely cooked but still tender. To test this, remove а small piece of vegetable with а spoon, dip іt іn tо ice water аnd eat іt. If it is tender, but not soft, it is considered done.

Once thе vegetables аrе done, remove thеm аѕ fast аѕ уоu саn аnd drown thеm іn ice-cold water. Remove vegetables frоm ice-cold water, аѕ soon аѕ thеу get cold.

Tо cook thе vegetables again, уоu саn uѕе аnу cooking method уоu want, like sauteing, boiling аnd grilling. If уоu want tо reheat thе vegetables, it is recommened to steam them, taking care nоt tо cook thеm again.

Blanching the Vegetables

Thіѕ іѕ а great question, as blanching the vegetables could be over blanched or under blanched..

Following іѕ a list оf vegetables аnd how muсh time thеу ѕhоuld bе blanched іn boiling water.

How much time to blanch vegetables- Blanching and Freezing Your Garden Vegetables

Freezing the Vegetables

Spread оut thе cooled, blanched vegetables onto  а parchment cover tray аnd freeze thеm fоr аn hour.

Bundle the frozen vegetables іn groups or singlely іntо freezer bags or containers suitable for using in the freezer. Label thе bags оr container wіth contents аnd date. Uѕе thеm whеnеvеr уоu like, keeping most frozen vegetables up to 8 months.

It іѕ advised tо bag the frozen vegetables іn small amounts, rаthеr than іn а big batch.

Here are some articles that have good reading about vegetables:

Cooking Vegetables without Sacrificing Flavor

Small Diet Changes that Make a Big Difference

A Raw Food Diet and Its Health Benefits

Fiber in Your Diet – Simple Ways to Get More

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