Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Kidney Beans in Chili - Dinner on "K" Day

So it's dinner time on "K" day and I'm using KIDNEY BEANS

I made Chili. This is my favourite Chili recipe, so full of flavour, very satisfying, nutritious and filling without being overly spicy. Yummy!

Servings: 16 (if putting in small bread bowl)


1 lb lean ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 (398 ml) can tomato sauce
1 (796 ml) can tomatoes, halved
2 tsp Chili powder (or more, if you like more heat)
2 (540 ml) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Pinch of S & P


1. In skillet, cook ground beef until browned.
2. In a medium soup pot, heat oil and sauté garlic, onion, green peppers and celery about 5 minutes.
3. Add ground beef, tomato sauce, tomatoes and chili powder. Cook 10 minutes on medium heat and add beans.
4. Bring to a boil and season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

Serve and Enjoy!

You can freeze any extra portions


These beans get their name from being the shape of a kidney. These, among other beans, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber and prevent blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal.

Kidney beans provide virtually fat-ree high quality protein. They are also an excellent source of the trace mineral, molybdenum, an integral component of the enzyme sulfite oxidase, which is responsible for detoxifying sulfites (a type of preservative commonly added to prepared foods).  

Kidney beans are excellent for heart health and that's not just because of their fiber content, but because they have significant amounts of folate and magnesium. When there is enough magnesium around, veins and arteries breathe a sigh of relief and relax, which lessons resistance and improves the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. 

Kidney beans help replenish your iron stores. The thiamin (Vitamin B1) in these beans is needed for synthesis of an important neurotransmitter essential for memory and when you lack this Vitamin, it can contribute to age related impaired mental function. 

Kidney Beans, cooked
(1 cup)

Molybdenum  295 %
Folate  57.5 %
Fiber  45.3 %
Copper  42.2 %
Manganese  38 %
Phosphorus  34.8 %
Protein  30.7 %
Vitamin  B1 23.3 %
Iron  21.8 %
Potassium  20.4 %
Magnesium  18.5 %

Have you bean eating Kidney Beans?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Kale in Minestrone Soup - Lunch on "K" Day

It's lunchtime on "K" day and I'm using KALE

I made Kale in Minestrone Soup. This is from one of Jamie Oliver's recipes and has to be one of my favourite recipes using Kale. I omitted the bacon (for less fat), and yet it still remains oh so full of flavour and body with all the hearty vegetables in it. Yummy!

Servings: 4


50 g small pasta shells
1 potato, diced 
3 small red onions, diced
2 small carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
150 g Kale 
4 slices thinly sliced smoked bacon 
1 small bunch fresh italian parsley
2 x 400 g cans diced tomatoes
750 ml chicken stock
20 g Parmesan cheese (optional)
Olive oil
sea salt
black pepper


1. Peel and mince the garlic. Thinly slice the parsley stalks and reserve the leaves. Set aside in a bowl.
2. Peel the onions, scrub the carrots and potato and trim the celery. Chop it all into 1/2-inch dice, adding the onion, carrot and celery to the same bowl as the garlic and keep the potato seperate.
3. Put a large pot on medium heat and add a little lug of olive oil. Finely chop the pancetta.
4. Once pot is hot, add the chopped pancetta and fry gently for a couple of minutes, or until turning golden and starting to smell fantastic.
5. Add the garlic, onion, carrots, celery and parsley stalks to the pot. Cook slowly for 15 - 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables have softened and are just starting to caramelize.
6. Add the canned tomatoes, diced potato and 2 1/2 cups of broth to the pot. Turn the heat up to medium-high and slowly bring everything to a boil.
7. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer over a low heat. Put a lid on slightly askew and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potato is tender.
8. Thoroughly wash the kale in plenty of cold running water then drain well in a colander. Roughly chop (or rip apart) leaves, getting rid of any tough bits of stalk.
9. Add the pasta, kale and 1/2 cup more broth to the pan. Turn the heat up to high and bring back to a boil.
10. Reduce to a simmer over a low heat and cook for a final 10 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the kale is tender.
11. Roughly chop the reserved parsley leaves. Check consistency of your soup and if you think it could be a bit looser, add some more broth. Have a taste and tweak with a bit of salt and pepper.
12. Lastly, I promise, stir through the chopped parsley then ladle the soup into bowls. Add a bit of parmesan cheese in each bowl, if you like.



Kale is loaded with Vitamin K and is one of the healthiest vegetables around, when cooked properly. It is recommended to steam kale for no longer than 5 minutes. 

It's nutrient richness stands out in three categories - antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and anti-cancer nutrients. You can count on kale to provide valuable cardiovascular support in terms of its cholesterol-lowering ability.

I have to inform you of the fact that when kale is eaten on a very regular basis, and especially in raw form, it can cause iodine-related problems, leading to thyroid disease. To avoid this, make sure you are getting enough iodine from different foods and also incorporate selenium, iron and Vitamin A to further boost your bodies capabilities of keeping hormone levels balanced and avoid an under active thyroid. 

Just like certain other SUPER FOODS - eat Kale in MODERATION, NOT EVERY DAY  

Kale, steamed
(1 cup)

Vitamin K  1, 062 mcg - WOW!
Vitamin A  885.36 mcg
Vitamin C  53.3 mg
Manganese  0.54 mg
Copper  0.20 mg
Vitamin B6  0.18 mg
Fiber  2.60 g
Calcium  93.6 mg
Potassium  296.4 mg
Vitamin E  1.11 mg
Vitamin B2  0.09 mg
Iron  1.17 mg
Magnesium  23.4 mg
Vitamin B1  0.07 mg
Omega-3 fats  0.13 g
Phosphorous  36.4 mg
Protein  2.47 g
Folate  16.9 mcg
Vitamin B3  0.65 mg

That's a lot of NUTRIENTS!

Are you incorporating Kale into your diet?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Kiwi Parfait - Breakfast on "K" Day

Well it's breakfast time on "K" day and I'm using KIWIS

I made a Kiwi Breakfast Parfait. Kiwis have just the right amount of sweetness and pair so deliciously with strawberries in this parfait with yogurt and granola. Yummy!

Servings: 1


4 strawberries, sliced or cut up
1 Kiwi, sliced into small pieces
1 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup Honey Granola
Honey (optional, for sweetness)


1. In a small cup or dessert cup, start by layering with a couple of Tbsps of yogurt at the bottom. Continue layering with strawberries, followed by yogurt, kiwi, and then granola. Add yogurt again, strawberries, kiwi and granola.

2. Add a drizzle of Honey for added sweetness, if you like.


Along with being so pretty looking, kiwis are packed with more Vitamin C than an equivalent amount of an orange. These emerald delights contain numerous phytonutrients as well as well known vitamins and minerals that promote your health. 

In the world of research, scientists are fascinated with kiwifruit for its ability to protect DNA in the nucleus of human cells from oxygen-related damage.

The fiber in kiwifruit has also been shown to be useful for a number of conditions, such as reducing high cholesterol levels, which may reduce the risk of heart disease and heart attack. Fiber-rich foods are also good for keeping the blood sugar levels of diabetics under control.

Eating Vitamin C-rich fruit such as kiwi may offer a significant protective effect against respiratory symptoms associated with asthma such as wheezing. 

(100 grams)

Potassium  312 mg
Dietary Fiber  3 g
Sugar  9 g
Protein  1.1 g
Vitamin C  154 % - WOW!!!
Calcium  3 %
Vitamin B-6  5 %
Magnesium  4 %
Vitamin A  1 %

Have you eaten Kiwis lately?

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Juniper Berries "Calico Carrots" - Dinner on "J" Day

It's dinner time on "J" day and I'm using JUNIPER BERRIES

I made Calico Carrots. Calico carrots are calico because they are mixed with potatoes making them a calico colour. This side dish is so aromatic with a foresty fragrance and a woodsy flavour. It would make a perfect accompaniment to roast lamb or pot roast. Yummy!

Servings: 4


3 medium carrots, trimmed and peeled
2 medium potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold (or another yellow variety), peeled
1/4 cup olive oil
1 shallot, halved and sliced thin (1/4 cup)
1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme, divided
4 Juniper berries, crushed fine
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice or 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste


Arrange a double-boiler over simmering water. Cut carrots and potatoes into similarly sized pieces so that they will cook evenly. Transfer to steamer basket; cover and cook until the tip of a knife will pierce the centres with ease, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots, half the thyme and the juniper berries. (The oil mixture will be used to dress the carrots and potatoes, so don't be alarmed if it seems like too much oil). Cook slowly, stirring often, until the shallots are very soft and golden, about 5 minutes. Set aside, but keep warm.

When the carrots and potatoes are cooked through, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the lemon and season with the salt and pepper. Use a potato masher or large fork to smash the vegetables into a rough texture. Taste the mixture for salt and pepper. Adjust if necessary.

Stir the remaining thyme into the cooked shallot mixture and pour the dressing over the carrots and potatoes. Mix thoroughly but lightly, to preserve the separate orange and white colours. Serve hot. 



These berries are the medicinal part of a juniper berry plant and are actually not true berries, but the dark blue-black scales from the cones of the shrub. Junipers are mainly used for their volatile oils, which contain tannins, sugar, flavonoid glycosides, resin tar and terpenes. Other nutrients of the juniper berry include copper, chromium, calcium, iron, lomonese, phosphorous, magnesium, potassium and Vitamin C. 

They are used as a diuretic and due to their antiseptic effect, are often used in cases of chronic urinary tract infections. They are also helpful if your kidneys are moving sluggishly and urine isn't flowing freely. (But not to be consumed if you have kidney infections or disease) Another use of these berries has been to treat weakness of the bladder or urethra muscles. 

Juniper berries are also recommended for joint pain, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, and nerve, muscle and tendon disorders. 

As these berries are potent, it is only recommended to consume them for about a month at a time and abstain for a week to 10 days before restarting again. 

Juniper's oils have been concentrated and used topically for coughs and lung congestion. They have also been used by herbalists to to improve uterine tone and late or slow-starting menstrual periods. 

As if this wasn't enough, Juniper Berries also relieve gas in the digestive system and increase stomach acid when insufficient. 

Have you cooked with Juniper Berries?