Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings

Thanks to their distinctive smokey flavor, canned chipoltle peppers really bring this recipe to life, but they can be a little intimidating if you haven’t worked with them before.

map of MexicoThe chipotle pepper is not actually a pepper, but rather the process of smoking jalapeño peppers. Such process is said to have originated in the area surrounding Mexico City.

The chipotle pepper, once smoked and dried, tends to be brown and shriveled. It loses very little if any, of its heat or spiciness through the smoking process. It is enjoyed by many for its spiciness and the natural wood smoke taste that accompanies it.

You can remove some of the heat from a chipotle pepper by carefully cutting the pepper in half down the center and gently removing the seeds and membranes that hold the seeds to the inside of the pepper. There will still be a little heat, as the flesh of the fruit also contains capsaicin, the compound that makes chilies hot and spicy.

Be assured though, with the seeds removed, most of the heat is also removed.

A word of caution, if you choose to remove the seeds, be careful not to touch your eyes during the removal, as the pepper can be extremely irritating to the eyes and skin. If you want, just wear some gloves while removing the seeds.

Because of the chipotle pepper’s spiciness, only a small amount of the pepper needs to be used in a recipe, large or small to provide flavor without creating a dish that is too hot.

Freezing Canned Chipotle Peppers In Adobo Sauce For Later Use

can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauceMost recipes call for a very small amount of the chipotle, which means you will end up with an almost full can when you finish. To get around this, remove the peppers from the can and pour all of the flavorful liquid into a food processor.

If you don’t have one, use a small glass bowl. Cut the peppers in half and scrape out and discard the seeds. The seeds pack a lot of heat, so keep some of them if you like extra spice.

Place the peppers in your food processor and pulse them until a paste is formed. If you don’t have a food processor, finely mince the peppers with a knife and add them to the bowl of reserved liquid. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Next, line a large plate with plastic wrap and scoop the pepper paste in 1 teaspoon measurements onto the plate, leaving enough space between them that they don’t run together. Place plate in the freezer to harden.

Once set, wrap the edges of the plastic wrap around the now-firm pepper paste portions and place in a freezer-safe bag and freeze. Pull out 1 or 2 teaspoon-sized portions and use in your favorite recipe that calls for a little heat.

Start small with the amount of chipoltle peppers you use. You can always add more if you like a little more heat.

Our featured recipe is Sweet and Spicy Chicken Wings, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients

3 pounds chicken wings
2 teaspoons himalayan salt
2 teaspoons frsh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
3-4 fresh garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
2 teasapoons from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

spicy chicken wingsLine a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Next add chicken wings to baking sheet in a single layer. Make sure wings are not touching.

Season wings with salt and pepper, then place in oven. Bake until skin is crisp, approximately 45 – 50 minutes.

About 20 minutes before the wings are done, add garlic and butter to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until garlic becomes translucent.

Reduce heat to low and add ginger, chipoltle peppers, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the liquid becomes syrupy.

Transfer the sauce to a glass bowl and add the cooked wings. Toss until coated and either serve immediately, or place on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place under broiler for two minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve with a side salad.

What Others Are Reading:

Greek Yogurt Dill Spread with Ham and Red Cabbage On Wasa Crisp Bread

Greek Yogurt Dill Spread with Ham and Red Cabbage On Wasa Crisp Breadmultigrain Wasa crackersWasabröd is a Swedish company that is the largest producer in the world of Scandinavian style crisp bread.

Wasabröd produces a wide variety of crisp breads, with the original crisp bread made of rye. Other additions since 1919 include sesame,wheat, oats, flax seed, and other grains. Like matzo, Wasa is noted for its shelf longevity.

Wasa crisp bread is popular during the EuropeanOktoberfest‘ (a festival that takes place from mid-September through October).

Oktoberfest comes once a year, with vibrant music, over-flowing beer, sausage, and colorful German costumes. It is a festival held every Fall to celebrate German heritage, and includes lots of great finger foods.

Our featured recipe is an inspiration of the German festival and the Wasa crisp bread: Greek Yogurt Dill Spread with Ham and Red Cabbage On Wasa Crisp Bread. Here is what you will need.

Prepartion per serving:

1 multigrain Wasa crisp bread

2 teaspoons Greek yogurt dill spread

1/4 cup chopped red cabbage

1 fresh basil leaf, medium to large

1 slice uncured lunch meat, your choice, without nitrates

steps to preparing food ingredients with Wasa crisp breadYou can find the recipe for the Greek yogurt dill spread by linking here: Greek Marinated Chicken with Butter Leaf Lettuce Salad.

Prepare the yogurt-dill spread. Cut basil leaves from stems and wash (pat dry). Spread yogurt-dill onto a piece of Wasa crisp bread. Next top with a slice of lunch meat. We used a smoked black-forest honey ham. Next top the meat with a fresh basil leaf, and top that with the red cabbage.

multigrain wasa with cabbage - ham - and a greek yogurt dill spreadYou don’t need to wait util the next Oktoberfest to enjoy this healthy and awesomely delicious finger food. When making your shopping list be sure to include a package of Wasa Crisp Bread (your favorite), and the accompanying ingredients. Oh, and it makes a great party favorite finger food.

For more great ideas to topping Wasa Crisp Bread link here: Wasa – Since 1919.

What Others Are Reading:

Apple-Berry Topped Sourdough French Toast

Apple-Berry Topped Sourdough French Toast

Fresh organic foods are a great way to start your day. GMO foods compared to organic  foods has a lot of conversation. It is true the vitamins maybe the same, but the phytonutrients  are not. Phytonutrients are produced in the vegetable or fruit to combat insects and infections, the more phytonutrients the better.

Plant foods contain thousands of natural chemicals. As we noted they are called phytonutrients or phytochemicals.”Phyto” refers to the Greek word for plant. These chemicals help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats.

But genetically modified plants have been compromised. How? With glyphosate engineered into the seed, the plant has no reason to fight of infections, and insects. In turn, the plant becomes lazy so to speak, and the phytonutrient production in the plant is much less, meaning less nutrients.

There are more than 25,000 phytonutrients found in plant foods. When you eat or drink phytonutrients, they help prevent disease and keep your body working properly.

Some of the important ones include:

These nutrients act as antioxidants in your body, meaning they tackle harmful free radicals that damage tissues throughout your body. GMO foods compare to non gmo have much less antioxidant abilities.

It only makes since to eat all natural non gmo foods, that have been seeded, grown and harvested organically. To learn more about glyphosate link here to read, What Do You Believe About Glyphosate.

Now for our featured recipe: Apple-Berry Topped Sourdough French Toast.

2 apples, color is your choice

1/2 cup blueberries

2 large eggs

2 large or 4 small slices Sourdough bread

1/4 cup coconut milk

8 ounce coconut water

1 teaspoon tapioca-root

1-2 teaspoons coconut sugar

pecan pieces

large shredded dried coconut pieces

Ingredients above make for 2 servings

straining apple juice pureeCore one apple, leaving skin on and add slices to a Nutri-Bullet, food processor, or blender. Add the coconut water and processes.

Next, over a medium sauce pot strain the pureed apple. Once the juice has drained, save the puree in a glass bowl. Add some lemon juice, and coconut sugar, and you have fresh homemade applesauce. Save in the refrigerator and eat within 3 days.

With the other apple, leaving skin, core, remove seeds, and slice thick pieces into thin slices.

Add apple slices to the sauce pot. Bring apple slices to a soft boil. Next, add tapioca-root to a little water, and stir into sauce pot. Continue stirring until juice thinks some. Do not over boil the tapioca, as it can loss its thickening ability.

Next add coconut sugar and stir in until well combined. Remove from heat and set aside.

eggs and coconut milkBreak eggs into a dish and add coconut milk, and mix together.

cooking sourdough french toastHeat a large ceramic coated skillet over medium heat. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of grass fed butter, and melt. Coat both sides of sourdough slices and add to pan. Cook both sides until golden brown, but not burnt.

Apple-Berry Topped Sourdough French Toast

On individual plates, add 2 slices of cooked bread, and spoon on cooked apples with syrup. Top with 1/4 cup blueberries, pecan pieces, and shredded coconut. Enjoy the start of your day with this all organic breakfast.

What Others Are Reading:

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.

 

What Others Are Reading:

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad

Fennel which is sometimes confused with Anise, is one of the ingredients in this fresh salad.

Fennel is a hardy perennial plant, that is documented as an herb, and all parts of the plant are eaten, were as with the Anise, only the seeds are used for consumption.

The fennel has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a native plant to the shores of the Mediterranean.

Because of its highly aromatic smell and flavor, it has found its way, becoming naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Fennel has found its way into culinary dishes and the medicine cabinet, as it has medicinal uses as well.

The seeds are used whole or are ground into a powder and used in many culinary dishes of India, Pakistan, Ground fennel seedAfghanistan, Iran, and the Middle East.

Fennel seeds are the primary flavor component in Italian sausage.

Chinese Five Spice PowderThe Chinese also use the seed in their Five Spice Powder, which we personally use for our desserts that call for pumpkin pie spice.

Now for our featured recipe: Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad, and here is what you will need.

4 cups of red leaf salad, or leafy spring greens

4 cups basil, fresh

1 fennel, thinly sliced

2 cups raspberries, fresh

1 medium red onion, sliced

6 to 8 ounces goat cheese

1 cup farro or wheat berries, cooked

Raw Honey Vinaigrette

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon raw honey

Make the vinaigrette by adding vinegar, oil, and honey to a jar, cover and shake to combine, and set aside. Next take the goat cheese and shape into small balls, about 1 inch round, and set aside.

Wheat Berry cooking in olive oilToast cooked wheat berry in one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until fragrant, about 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Building the Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese SaladStart building the fresh salad by first spreading the leafy greens over a salad platter. Next add the sliced red onion, then the sliced fennel, and lastly the chopped basil.

illustration of chopping basilChop the basil last as it can brown after the inner parts of the leaf act with the air. It is better to tear the leaves apart, but if you act quickly, you can use a knife to cut several at a time. As shown in the image, we collected together three leaves, rolled them up and made 4 or 5 slices across the rolled basil. The process can go fast, and the basil will not brown. Make sure though, the knife you will use to cut the basil is sharp.

Fresh Basil Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad - close up

After building the salad take the goat cheese balls, and roll them in the toasted wheat berries and arrange them on the salad platter. Next add the raspberries, and drizzle the Raw Honey Vinaigrette over the salad. Plate and serve.

What Others Are Reading:

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.

 

What Others Are Reading:

Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

 

Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

When we don’t feel good, most of us might turn to the medicine cabinet. As it may have pain relievers for sore muscles or a headache, stomach ache, fever or even diarrhea. The medicine cabinet and what it may offer to you in times of failing health is only temporary.

Why not look to your kitchen to relieve your aches and pains? Are we crazy asking that question, you may say. There is only food in the kitchen. That is the point. Our health is dependent on what we are eating.

When you choose to start living a healthier lifestyle and look for alternative ways to better your health, have you ever considered what the kitchen has to offer you in this respect?

There are particular food ingredients, and there are many of them that have positive health benefits, that are actually good for your aches and pains.

What are they, you are asking?  They are herbs and spices.

Here are a few of those healthy spices and what they can do for you.

Cayenne Pepper – This is known as a spice with a zing to it. Many spicy dishes contain cayenne pepper, and for this reason some shy away from eating it.

But actually, you should embrace it and use it more often. It’s known to increase your fat burning metabolism so you help shed pounds by as much as 25%. It also is an anti-inflammatory spice, reducing pain.

Garlic - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet Ginger Ginger is known for its ability to help with nausea, but can also calm an aching stomach, as well as reduce acid reflux.

Cinnamon – This is an excellent spice to help aid the bowls with diarrhea attacks and an upset stomach. It coats and sooths the stomach and digestive lining.

Garlic – Garlic can help keep lower cholesterol levels and it can decrease your blood pressure. Garlic is also an anti-inflammatory, relieving pain.

Allspice - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet

 

Allspice – Allspice is a natural stimulant that can help relieve problems in the stomach with indigestion and gas. It works much like cinnamon, coating and soothing the digestive lining, relieving pain and inflammation.

Mustard – This is an excellent spice for those who suffer from respiratory problems.  It’s another stimulant that is a helpful aid in squashing respiratory ailments.

Peppermint - Improve Your Health in the Kitchen Not the Medicine Cabinet Peppermint – This is a pleasure-filled spice that is tasty and helps with insomnia.  As an added benefit, it can help with digestive disorders and also bouts of tension.

Turmeric – This is an antioxidant that defends against free radicals.  It is a great anti-inflammatory and reduces pain throughout the body.

Herbs and spices are more commonly known as methods used to liven up our food. What most don’t realize is that there are certain spices that actually help you lead a healthy life while making your food taste good.

The next time you’re planning your dinner menu, think to yourself, “What can I be doing for my health when I spice up our favorite recipes tonight?”

 

What Others are Saying Across the Web: