Happy National Cashew Day!!! – Health Benefits of Cashews

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Cashew Nuts

Here are seven health benefits of cashews.

Cancer Prevention
Cashews are ripe with proanthocyanidins, a class of flavanols that actually starve tumors and stop cancer cells from dividing. Studies have also shown that cashews can reduce your colon cancer risk. Their high copper content also endows the seed with the power to eliminate free radicals and they are also good sources of phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect us from heart disease and cancer.

Heart Health
Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts and most of it is in the form of oleic acid, the same heart-healthy monounsaturated fat found in olive oil. Studies show that oleic acid promotes good cardiovascular health by helping to reduce triglyceride levels, high levels of which are associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Cashews are wonderfully cholesterol free and their high antioxidant content helps lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary heart diseases. The magnesium in cashews helps lower blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Hair and Skin Health
Cashews are rich in the mineral copper. An essential component of many enzymes, copper plays its part in a broad array of processes. One copper-containing enzyme, tyrosinase, converts tyrosine to melanin, which is the pigment that gives hair and skin its color. Without the copper cashews are so abundant in, these enzymes would not be able to do their jobs.

Bone Health
Cashews are particularly rich in magnesium. It’s a well-known fact that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but magnesium is as well. Most of the magnesium in the human body is in our bones. Some of it helps lend bones their physical structure, and the remainder is located on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to use as it needs. Copper found in cashews is vital for the function of enzymes involved in combining collagen and elastin, providing substance and flexibility in bones and joints.

Good for the Nerves By preventing calcium from rushing into nerve cells and activating them, magnesium keeps our nerves relaxed and thereby our blood vessels and muscles too. Too little magnesium means too much calcium can gain entrance to the nerve cell, causing it to send too many messages, and leading to too much contraction.

Insufficient magnesium leads to higher blood pressure, muscle tension, migraine headaches, soreness and fatigue. Not surprisingly, studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps diminish the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure and helps prevent heart attacks.

Prevent Gallstones
Data collected on 80,718 women from the Nurses’ Health Study demonstrates that women who eat at least an ounce of nuts each week, such as cashews, have a 25% lower risk of developing gallstones.

Weight Loss
People who eat nuts twice a week are much less likely to gain weight than those who rarely eat nuts. Cashew nuts are indeed relatively high in fat, but it is considered “good fat.” This is attributable to the ideal fat ratio in the nut, 1:2:1 for saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated, respectively, which is recommended by scientists for tip-top health. Cashew nuts contain less fat than most other popular nuts, including peanuts, pecans, almonds and walnuts. They are dense in energy and high in dietary fiber, making them a very valuable snack for managing weight gain.

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Credit: Health Diaries

 

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Happy National Gingerbread Day!!! (Nov. 21st) – Cholly’s World-Famous Gingerbread Cake

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Cholly’s World-Famous Gingerbread Cake

Ingredients

1 cup dark molasses

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) butter, at room temperature

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 large eggs Unsweetened cocoa and/or powdered sugar (optional)

Fresh mint sprigs (optional), rinsed

Preparation

  1. In a 2- to 3-quart pan over high heat, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in molasses and baking soda. After mixture stops foaming, stir in 1/2 cup cold water; let cool to room temperature, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and cloves.
  3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until well blended. Beat in eggs until blended. Reduce speed to medium-low. Add flour and molasses mixtures alternately until incorporated, then beat on high speed until well blended. Pour into a buttered and floured 9-inch square pan.
  4. Bake in a 325° regular or convection oven until a toothpick inserted in center of thickest part comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on a rack at least 1 1/4 hours.
  5. Pour about 1/4 cup crème anglaise onto each plate. Cut cake into pieces (see notes) and set them in sauce on plates. If desired, lightly sift cocoa and/or powdered sugar over each plate and garnish with a mint sprig. Offer remaining crème anglaise to add to taste.

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Happy National Fast Food Day!!! (Nov.16th) – Tell us your favorite Fast Food Meal…

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In-N-Out Double, Double with fries – Animal Style

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Happy National Guacamole Day!!! (Nov. 14th) – Health Benefits of Eating Guacamole

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Unsaturated Fat

Guacamole provides a healthy dose of unsaturated fat, the type of fat beneficial to your health. Unsaturated fat lowers harmful blood cholesterol, and a diet rich in monounsaturated fat — the kind found in avocados — also lowers blood pressure, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Making your guacamole with one avocado provides you with 19.7 grams of healthy monounsaturated fat.

Vitamin C

Eating guacamole also boosts your intake of vitamin C, as avocado, tomato and lime juice all provide the vitamin. Guacamole made with one avocado, one small tomato and the juice from one lime contains 45.8 milligrams of vitamin C — around half the recommended daily intake for men or slightly less than two-thirds of the daily recommended intake for women, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Getting enough vitamin C keeps your skin healthy, and strengthens your blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and other connective tissues.

Vitamin E

Eat guacamole as a source of vitamin E. This nutrient helps keep you healthy, slowing oxidative damage to your cells — damage associated with aging and disease. Vitamin E also helps regulate cell communication and controls the level of inflammation in your body. Each avocado used to make guacamole contains 4.16 milligrams of vitamin E, or 27 percent of your daily recommended intake, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Eating guacamole helps prevent the nerve damage and muscle weakness associated with vitamin E deficiency.

Preparation and Serving Tips

Get creative to use guacamole for more than the traditional chips-and-dip snack. Guacamole pairs well with whole-grain bread and vegetables for healthy sandwiches, or makes for a nutritious topping for sliced cucumbers, red peppers or other vegetables. For a lower-calorie version of guacamole, try substituting mashed edamame for some of the avocado in your recipe — each cup of edamame contains 189 calories, compared to avocado’s 368. Adding edamame to your guacamole also adds protein, potassium and folate to your meal.

Happy National Sundae Day!!! (Nov.11th) – Beer-and-Bacon Toffee Sundaes

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Beer-and-Bacon Toffee Sundaes

Ingredients 

1/2 cup diced bacon (about 4 slices)

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup stout beer (I like Founders Breakfast Stout)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

2 pints good-quality vanilla ice cream

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Sea salt, for sprinkling

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Directions

Put the bacon in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until very crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels, reserving the fat in the pan.

Add the brown sugar, corn syrup, beer, butter, heavy cream and a pinch each of kosher salt and pepper to the pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until slightly thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Scoop the ice cream into bowls and spoon the toffee sauce on top. Garnish with the crispy bacon bits, toasted pecans and sea salt.

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Happy National Nachos Day!!! – Super Nachos by Rachael Ray

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Ingredients

2 bags corn tortilla chips in 2 colors or different flavors, such as blue corn, red corn, yellow corn, lime flavored, chili flavored or black bean chips — pick 2 favorites

Pico de Gallo Salsa:

4 vine ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped, for medium to hot heat level

1 small white onion, chopped

1/4 cup, 2 handfuls, cilantro leaves, finely chopped — substitute parsley if cilantro is not to your liking

Salt

Beef and Beans Topping:

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound ground sirloin

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons dark chili powder

1 1/2 ground cumin, half a palmful

2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper sauce, giving you medium to hot heat level

1 can black beans, 15 ounces, drained

Cheese Sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups milk

3/4 pound pepper jack cheese, shredded, about 2 1/2 cups

Additional toppings to choose from, optional:

Sour cream

Chopped scallions

Chopped black olives

Diced pimento

Sliced avocado, dressed with lemon juice

Hot pepper sauces

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Directions

Arrange a mixture of 2 varieties of corn chips on a very large platter or use your broiler pan as a platter.

Combine salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside for flavors to marry.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add oil, garlic, onion and peppers to the pan and saute 2 minutes, then add meat and crumble with wooden spoon. Season meat with salt, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper sauce. Cook meat 5 minutes, then stir in beans and reduce heat to low.

In a medium sauce pot, melt butter and add flour to it. Cook flour and butter 1 to 2 minutes over moderate heat, then whisk in milk. When milk comes to a bubble, stir in cheese with a wooden spoon. Remove cheese sauce from the heat.

Pour cheese sauce evenly over the massive spread of chips and top evenly with beef and beans and the pico de gallo. UBER NACHOS! Serve immediately as is or, garnish with your choice of extra toppings from the toppings list.

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

What’s that – Another Donut Day? Yes, please!!! (Nov.5th) – Happy National Donut Day!!!

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 The History of one of our favorite pastry, the Donut, but tell us your favorite donut?!!

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Originally posted on National Day Calendar:

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NATIONAL DOUGHNUT DAY

November 5, of each year, is one of two National Doughnut Days that are celebrated by doughnut lovers across the nation.  The first Friday in June is the other day that doughnuts are the star of the show.

National Doughnut Day, when celebrated in June, see: http://nationaldaycalendar.com/?s=national+doughnut+day

The history of the doughnut is disputed:

  •  There is one theory that suggests they were invented in North America by Dutch settlers who were responsible for popularizing other American desserts including cookies, apple pie, cream pie and cobbler.
  • An American, Hanson Gregory, claimed to have invented the ring shaped doughnut in 1847 while on board a lime-trading ship at the age of 16.  He claimed to have punched a hole in the center of dough with the ship’s tin pepper box and later taught the technique to his mother.
  • Anthropologist Paul R Mullins states that the first cookbook mentioning…

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Happy National Candy Day!!! (Nov. 4th) – Tell us What’s your favorite Candy?

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It’s National Candy Day! Humans have been eating candies and sweet confections for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians preserved nuts and fruits in honey, and the Aztecs and Mayans consumed chocolate during religious rituals as early as 300 AD.

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Today, there are thousands of different types of candy, all with their own unique history. For example, did you know that Tootsie Rolls were created by Leo Hirshfield of New York in 1896? He named them after his daughter, who was nicknamed “Tootsie.” The average American eats twenty-five pounds of candy each year. That may seem like a lot, but the average person in Denmark eats thirty-six pounds each year!

Whether you like chocolate, caramels, hard candy, or marzipan, treat yourself to something delicious to celebrate National Candy Day!

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Happy National Sandwich Day!!! (Nov.3rd) – Tell us your favorite Sandwich with Recipe, we’ll Post it on BLW

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Today is National Sandwich Day, celebrating the birthdate of the John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich and the inventor of the sandwich. After becoming hungry at a 24-hour gambling event but only able to eat with one hand to continue playing, this 18th century English nobleman told his servant to put meat between two slices of bread and… voila! The sandwich was born. 

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Memphis, 1958. The King having lunch on a bench. Presley had fondness for peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

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Happy World Vegan Day!!! (Nov. 1st) – Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers and Baked Crispy Fries

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Spicy BBQ Chickpea Burgers and Baked Crispy Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dry/uncooked chickpeas (or 2 & 1/4 cups cooked chickpeas) + kombu (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dry brown rice (or 1 & 1/4 cup cooked rice)
  • 3 tbsp sunflower seeds + 1 tbsp pepita seeds, toasted
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs, or more as needed (use GF breadcrumbs if necessary)
  • 2-3 tbsp ground flax
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Fine grain sea salt, to taste (I used 1 tsp + Herbamare)

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Directions

  1. Methods to prepare chickpeas: 1) Soak dry chickpeas overnight, or for at least 8 hours, in a large bowl filled with water. When ready, drain and rinse the chickpeas. Place in a medium-sized pot with 3 cups of fresh water. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Remove lid and place a small piece (~1” x 2”) of kombu (optional) into the pot with 1/8th tsp salt. Cover again and simmer on low-medium for about 50 minutes, watching carefully after about 35-40. When cooked, chickpeas will be tender and some may have split open. Drain and rinse. Discard kombu. 2) Alternatively, you can use canned chickpeas or 3) the quick-soak method: Add 3 cups water and 1 cup dry chickpeas into a pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and immediately turn heat off. Keep covered and let sit for 1 hour. After 1 hour, drain and rinse chickpeas. Add into rinsed pot with 3 cups fresh water. Cook the same as method 1) above.
  1. To cook rice: In a strainer, rinse the rice. Add 1/2 cup dry rice into a pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover with lid, and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, watching closely and giving it a stir after 20. Add a touch more water if necessary.
  1. Toast seeds: Preheat oven to 300F. Toast sunflower and pepita seeds for about 12 minutes, or until lightly golden in colour. Set aside.
  1. Chop vegetables. Finely chop the garlic, peppers, onion, and parsley. Grate carrot. Stir in half the salt. Set aside.
  1. Mash chickpeas and rice: When chickpeas are ready, drain and rinse. Add the cooked chickpeas and rice into a large bowl. With a potato masher, mash very well, leaving some chunks for texture. You will need to use a lot of elbow grease to mash this up, but you want it really sticky so it’s worth it! You can also pulse in a food processor.
  1. Mix it all up: Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chopped vegetables into the mashed chickpea/rice mixture. Now stir in the seeds, BBQ sauce, breadcrumbs, and ground flax. Add the salt and red pepper flakes to taste.
  1. Shape patties & cook: Form 6-8 patties and pack dough together tightly. Spray the preheated skillet with oil. Cook the patties for about 4-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat (time will vary based on your temp). Burgers should be browned and firm when ready. You can also try grilling the patties (try pre-baking patties for 15 mins in the oven at 350F before grilling).

Isa Does It: Amazingly Easy, Wildly Delicious Vegan Recipes for Every Day of the Week