Category Archive for: ‘grain’
Best Food To Eat In Winter

Food For Winter

Winter food.  Winter is a time to refit.  To assess the foundation and structure of our body and make adjustments if necessary.  The first and most important thing to look at is our diet.  If you are the type of person that eats the same things year in and year out or even worse, Monday is salad night, and Tuesday is pizza night, etc.  You are causing a number of problems with your health.  Like any organism the body adjusts to the stimuli that confront it.  Food is a very powerful stimulus to the body.  Did you know that you can lose or gain weight eating exactly the same food, but eating it in different combinations or at different times of the day?


Surprise your body.  Make it adjust to different foods and different schedules.  It is good for you.  God forbid that you might have to actually think about it!

winter landscape


Back to winter.  Everything slows down in the winter.  Your body’s metabolism slows to maintain the fat you have stored in case food becomes scarce.  Your immune system is compromised by the lack of water soluble and sunlight provided vitamins, such as B-complex and C which are not stored by the body and must be replaced every day and while Vitamin D, is stored by the body, it is also harder to come by in the winter because our main source is sunlight.  That is why you are more likely to get a cold or the flu during the winter.

Serotonin, a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain, is lost during the winter causing a winter depression.  All of these negative factors are all increased when you stay on your warm weather diet.



Winter Foods

If you can’t find sunshine to get your Vitamin D, you can get it in abundance from fresh fish not to mention omega 3 fatty acids:  The following is from Ask DrSears ranking seafood by nutrition:

  • Best sources of omega 3 fatty acids: salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, lake trout, Alaskan halibut, sardines, herring.
  • Highest in protein per serving: tuna, salmon, snapper, swordfish. Most fish are similar in protein content. Best source of protein in grams per calorie of fish are: lobster, shrimp, tuna, cod.
  • Highest vitamin B-12 content: clams, mackerel, herring, blue fin tuna, rainbow trout, and salmon.
  • Highest in iron: clams, shrimp, mackerel, swordfish.
  • Lowest in iron: orange roughy, snapper, sea bass.
  • Highest in zinc: crab, lobster, swordfish, and clams.
  • Highest in calcium: canned salmon with bones.
  • Highest in total fat, saturated fats, and calories: mackerel.
  • Lowest in total fat and saturated fat: lobster, orange roughy.
  • Highest in cholesterol: shrimp, mackerel, lobster.
  • Lowest in cholesterol: yellowfin tuna, albacore, tuna, snapper, halibut, grouper.
  • Most risky fish for pollutants: wild catfish, shrimp, lake trout (warm-water fish and those in lakes from agrochemical run-off).
  • Least risky fish for pollutants: deep-water ocean fish, salmon and tuna.

Water Soluble Vitamins

Most important to eat daily are the foods containing your water soluble vitamins, B-complex and C.  Not only are they important to maintain your energy levels, they contribute to your appetite, vision, blood and nervous system.  The following is a table from the Colorado State University extension site about Water soluble vitamins.

Considerable losses during cooking.Uncommon due to availability in most foods; fatigue; nausea, abdominal cramps; difficulty sleeping.

Table 1: Water-soluble vitamins and their characteristics.
Common food sources Major functions Deficiency symptoms Overconsumption symptoms Stability in foods
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
Citrus fruits, broccoli, strawberries, melon, green pepper, tomatoes, dark green vegetables, potatoes. Formation of collagen (a component of tissues), helps hold them together; wound healing; maintaining blood vessels, bones, teeth; absorption of iron, calcium, folacin; production of brain hormones, immune factors; antioxidant. Bleeding gums; wounds don’t heal; bruise easily; dry, rough skin; scurvy; sore joints and bones; increased infections. Nontoxic under normal conditions; rebound scurvy when high doses discontinued; diarrhea, bloating, cramps; increased incidence of kidney stones. Most unstable under heat, drying, storage; very soluble in water, leaches out of some vegetables during cooking; alkalinity (baking soda) destroys vitamin C.
Thiamin (vitamin B1 )
Pork, liver, whole grains, enriched grain products, peas, meat, legumes. Helps release energy from foods; promotes normal appetite; important in function of nervous system. Mental confusion; muscle weakness, wasting; edema; impaired growth; beriberi. None known. Losses depend on cooking method, length, alkalinity of cooking medium; destroyed by sulfite used to treat dried fruits such as apricots; dissolves in cooking water.
Riboflavin (vitamin B2)
Liver, milk, dark green vegetables, whole and enriched grain products, eggs. Helps release energy from foods; promotes good vision, healthy skin. Cracks at corners of mouth; dermatitis around nose and lips; eyes sensitive to light. None known. Sensitive to light; unstable in alkaline solutions.
Niacin (nicotinamide, nicotinic acid)
Liver, fish, poultry, meat, peanuts, whole and enriched grain products. Energy production from foods; aids digestion, promotes normal appetite; promotes healthy skin, nerves. Skin disorders; diarrhea; weakness; mental confusion; irritability. Abnormal liver function; cramps; nausea; irritability.
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine, pyridoxal, pyridoxamine)
Pork, meats, whole grains and cereals, legumes, green, leafy vegetables. Aids in protein metabolism, absorption; aids in red blood cell formation; helps body use fats. Skin disorders, dermatitis, cracks at corners of mouth; irritability; anemia; kidney stones; nausea; smooth tongue. None known.
Folacin (folic acid)
Liver, kidney, dark green leafy vegetables, meats, fish, whole grains, fortified grains and cereals, legumes, citrus fruits. Aids in protein metabolism; promotes red blood cell formation; prevents birth defects of spine, brain; lowers homocystein levels and thus coronary heart disease risk. Anemia; smooth tongue; diarrhea. May mask vitamin B12deficiency (pernicious anemia). Easily destroyed by storing, cooking and other processing.
Vitamin B12
Found only in animal foods: meats, liver, kidney, fish, eggs, milk and milk products, oysters, shellfish. Aids in building of genetic material; aids in development of normal red blood cells; maintenance of nervous system. Pernicious anemia, anemia; neurological disorders; degeneration of peripheral nerves that may cause numbness, tingling in fingers and toes. None known.
Pantothenic acid
Liver, kidney, meats, egg yolk, whole grains, legumes; also made by intestinal bacteria. Involved in energy production; aids in formation of hormones. None known. About half of pantothenic acid is lost in the milling of grains and heavily refined foods.
Liver, kidney, egg yolk, milk, most fresh vegetables, also made by intestinal bacteria. Helps release energy from carbohydrates; aids in fat synthesis. Uncommon under normal circumstances; fatigue; loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting; depression; muscle pains; anemia. None known.


 Bottom Line

If you want to get the message without doing the reading, eat the following in larger quantities during the winter months:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Water – stay hydrated year round
  • Chocolate – has many mood elevators
  • Citrus – especially oranges, limes and lemons
  • Nuts and Seeds – they contain selenium which will help you avoid the winter blues
  • Whole gains – remember whole grains
  • Cultured Yogurt – will help maintain your digestive system
  • Dark Green Vegetables – spinach, peas, kale all have iron which will help your blood
  • Legumes
  • Turkey
  • Cranberries
  • Winter Squash


Eat healthy and feel better.  Click on the highlighted links above for much more information on each subject and as always please ask me anything you’d like – jughandle



Basic White Bread By James Beard Recipe

James Beard is a legend in the food world.  The yearly “James Beard Awards” are the Oscars of the culinary business.  I haven’t yet tried Mr. Beard’s white bread recipe but I though some of you might be interested. – jughandle

Basic White Bread

By James Beard


James Beard’s Basic White Bread Makes 1 large loaf or 2 small loaves


Step 1

  • In a small bowl mix the yeast and the 1/4 cup warm water; add the sugar, stir well, and set aside until proofed. It is proofed when fermentation is apparent: the mixture will swell and small bubbles appear on the surface. (If it doesn’t proof at all, it means the yeast is not fresh or it is dead.)
  • Step 2
  • In a small saucepan heat the milk with the salt and stir in the butter until it melts. Set aside to cool until it is no warmer than the yeast mixture.
  • Step 3
  • Put 2 cups of the flour in a large mixing bowl and stir in the milk mixture. Beat well with a wooden spatula, add the yeast mixture, and continue beating the dough until it is smooth, adding an additional cup of flour to make a firm dough.
  • Step 4
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and begin the kneading process, which evenly distributes the fermenting yeast cells through the dough.
  • Step 5
  • There are several kneading methods, but the basic one is to flour the dough and your hand lightly, then push the heel of your hand down into the dough and away from you. Fold the dough over, give it a quarter turn, and push down again. Repeat pushing, folding and turning until the motion becomes rhythmic.
  • Step 6
  • Knead for about 10 minutes, kneading in additional flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, and blisters form on the surface.
  • Step 7
  • To test whether the dough has been kneaded enough make an indention in it with your fingers; it should spring back. If blisters form on the surface of the dough and break, this is another sign that the kneading is sufficient.
  • * Note: If you have a heavy-duty electric mixer with a dough-hook attachment, knead the dough with the hook and finish it off on the board.
  • Step 8
  • Butter a large bowl, transfer the dough to it, and turn the bowl until the dough is well coated with butter on all sides. Cover the dough with a dish towel and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, until it is doubled in bulk. A good, warm, draft-free place is inside your room temperature oven.
  • Step 9
  • To test further if the dough has risen properly, make an indentation in it with two fingers: if the dough does not spring back, then it is ready.
  • Step 10
  • Butter a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan, or two pans that are about 8x4x2 inches. Punch the dough down with your fist to deflate it; transfer it to a floured board and knead it well for about 3 minutes. Pat it into a smooth round or oval shape and let it rest for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Step 11
  • Then form into 1 large or two small loaves, by shaping the dough into an oval the length of your bread pan, then gently stretching, rounding, and plumping it in the palms of your hands, tucking the edges underneath and pinching them together.
  • Step 12
  • Lift carefully; drop the dough into the pan or pans and smooth out. Cover the dough with a towel and let it rise again in a warm draft-free place for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until it is double in bulk.
  • Step 13
  • Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Brush the egg wash over the top of the dough.
  • Step 14
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes; reduce the heat to 350 dF and bake for 20 to 25 minutes longer, until the crust is well browned and the bread sounds hollow when removed from the pan and tapped on the bottom with the knuckles.
  • Step 15
  • If you like a crusty loaf, remove it from the pan about 5 to 10 minutes before the end of the baking time and let it finish baking on the oven rack. It will get brown and crusty all over.
  • Step 16
  • Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool on a rack before slicing.
  • The bread may be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator after it has cooled. If you seal it in a bag before it is completely cooled, the crust will become soft. Stored bread will keep about 1 week. It also freezes well if wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and sealed in a plastic bag and can be kept for up to 3 months.


Things You’ll Need

1pk Yeast; active, dry

1/4c Water; warm (110-115 degs)

2ts Sugar

1c Milk

3ts Salt

3tb Butter

3 3/4c Flour; All-purpose

————–EGG WASH——————

1md Egg White; beaten slightly

-in 1 tbspn warm water.

via Basic White Bread By James Beard Recipe | Garden Guides.

Soak Your Nuts

I was given a heads up by a friend on an article about eating and soaking nuts grains, seeds and legumes before eating them.  The following is a loose synopsis of the article

Natures way

No, not the “Spirit” song.  Nature is one smart old broad.  And I mean that in the nicest way.  Nature includes some digestive and decay resistant chemicals in nuts and seeds, etc., to keep them viable until they have the opportunity to sprout and grow.  It only make sense that these chemicals would be toxic to animals and wash off easily with water.

Why soak nuts, grains and seeds?

1. To remove or reduce phytic acid.

2. To remove or reduce tannins.

3. To neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.

4. To encourage the production of beneficial enzymes.

5. To increase the amounts of vitamins, especially B vitamins.

6. To break down gluten and make digestion easier.

7. To make the proteins more readily available for absorption.

8. To prevent mineral deficiencies and bone loss.

9. To help neutralize toxins in the colon and keep the colon clean.

10. To prevent many health diseases and conditions.

“Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. Soaking in warm water also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors, present in all seeds, and encourages the production of numerous beneficial enzymes. The action of these enzymes also increases the amount of many vitamins, especially B vitamins. During the process of soaking and fermenting, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.”

What to Soak them In and how long?

Now, I’ve always soaked my dried beans overnight in water to make them easier to cook, but I didn’t know about the seeds and nuts and grains.  There are many methods suggested, but the simplest is plan old warm water.  Soak for 7 to 24 hours to neutralize the enzyme inhibitors.

If they start to sprout, all the better for you.

There you go.  You can then dry them in the refrigerator or eat them wet.  What ever you deside to do you’ll be a little healthier for doing it -thanks B – jughandle

To get the full article – click here


Chia Seeds – Find it, Eat it now!

What Are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are one of the most powerful, functional, and nutritious superfoods in the world.  The chia seed is an amazing source of fiber and protein.  It is full of antioxidants and vitamins, minerals and is the richest plant source of omega-3. Yes, even better than flaxseeds.

A member of the mint family the plant is Salvia Hispanica and grows in southern Mexico.  Chia seeds were a daily component of the Aztec and Mayan diets.  It was thought that 1 T of the seeds could sustain a person for 24 hours.  Aztecs also used chia medicinally to relieve joint pain and skin conditions. It was a major crop in central and southern Mexico well into the 16th century, but it was banned after the Spanish conquest because of its association with the Aztec “pagan” religion.

Easy to grow

Over the past few decades, commercial production has resumed in Latin America.  Insects don’t like the plant, so organic seeds are easy to obtain but since there are no pests on the plants, almost all Chia is grown organically or without chemicals.  Where flaxseed has a very sort shelf life, Chia can be stored for years without getting rancid and the seeds don’t require grinding like the flaxseed, to be able to digest.


2 tablespoons or 25 grams–give you 7 g of fiber as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, niacin, and zinc.  More antioxidants than Blueberries.  More omega-3 than salmon.  More Fiber than bran flakes, more Calcium than 2% milk, more Protein, Fiber & Calcium than flax seeds.  These humble seeds give you a boost of energy that lasts also providing stamina and endurance.  Chia Seeds Reduce Cravings because they absorb so much water and have high soluble fiber levels, they help release natural, unrefined carbohydrate energy slowly into the bloodstream.  They are easy to digest and the fiber content actually helps in that digestion.

Chia is 16 percent protein, 31 percent fat, and 44 percent carbohydrate of which 38 percent is fiber. Most of its fat is the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid or ALA, according to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20 (2007).

The Chia seed has gotten very little press and only a little research since it’s revival, but expect much more soon.

In a preliminary study from the University of Toronto, researchers fed 21 diabetics either a supplement made from chia or grains with similar fiber content.  After 3 months, blood pressure in patients taking chia dropped (10 points diastolic, 5 points systolic) while the grain group’s BP remained steady.

Taste & Uses

The Chia seed has a nutty flavor.  Use them whole on cereal, yogurt or salads.  Mix them into your trail mix.  They can be ground and mixed with flour when baking as their nutritional content isn’t effected by heat.

The seeds have a natural affinity to water and when soaked in water create a gelatinous liquid which is just the soluble fiber releasing,  that can be used as a kind of binder in cooking.  In Mexico, Chia is used to create a drink called Chia Fresca.  Stir 2 T of Chia seeds into 8 to 10 oz of water.  Add lime or lemon, sugar to taste and you have a nutritious health drink.

Nutritious Chia Seed Gel

Chia Seed Gel

ways to prepare and use the seeds

1. Make Chia Gel -Chia Gel can be a healthy substitute for milk, eggs, butter, or oil.

  • Mix 1/3 cup of chia seeds with 2 cups of water.
  • Whisk together briskly.
  • Let the mixture rest for about fifteen minutes.
  • Whisk one more time.
  • Put the mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate.
  • Chia gel will keep 3 weeks in the fridge.
  • 1 egg = 3 T water and 1 T chia seeds either whole or ground

2. Chia Flour

You can also enjoy the health benefits of chia seeds when you grind them into flour. You can do this yourself or purchase ready-made chia flour. Use chia flour to bake pizza crust, pies, bread, cookies, biscuits, and anything else. Combine it with whole wheat or barley flour. Experiment with the ratios until you get what you like. Of course you can also use chia flour alone, but it might take some practice. Chia is gluten-free so there isn’t a problem with that.

3. Chia Butter

Chia butter is a great low-fat, high-protein alternative to regular butter. There is still real butter in the recipe but it’s only half. So you get the creamy flavor of butter, but only 1/2 the fat, and you get the additional health benefits of chia.

  • Take equal proportions of chia gel to softened butter.  Around 3 to 4 oz  of each.
  • Combine them together in a blender or food processor until smooth.
  • Put in an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Use the chia butter anywhere you would use normal butter – on toast, for cooking and baking, or as a sandwich spread.
  • Try adding some fresh herbs and spices for a savory butter
  • Try adding a teaspoon of agave nectar and a handful of ground almonds, spread on toast and sprinkle with cinnamon
Don’t buy Chia oil because all the preservative antioxidants are in the seed shells, therefore making the oil very perishable.

Recommended Dosage

Nutrition experts recommend you take 1-4 tablespoons per day of chia seeds. You can receive the health benefits through chia ingested raw or cooked. Try and take a little chia every day so that your body experiences long-term benefits from the regular intake of omega 3, vitamin B, calcium, potassium, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and many other fundamental nutrients.

I have read that there is no need to worry about “overdosing” – chia is a 100% natural food and presents no damaging side effects.  Any extra nutrients should simply pass through your body. So you should be able to eat as much chia as you like!


 I conclude that everyone needs Chia seeds in their diet.  If you are wondering, the old Chia pets are these same Chia seeds.  You should be able to find Chia seeds in white or black at least in the health food department of your store for around $10 -12 per lb.  If you can’t find it, it will be available through the Fat Farm Store with links below. – jughandle

1 lb of Chia seeds – $8.40

 3 lbs of Chia seeds – $13.65

6 lbs of Chia seeds – $21.99


Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa)

If you aren’t familiar with Quinoa you are in for a treat.





Quinoa is a grain from South America that can be prepared like rice.  Unlike rice, Quinoa is a whole balanced protein and is high in fiber and is gluten-free.  In its raw state it can be spouted in as little as 2-4 hours activating its natural enzymes and multiplying its vitamin content.

To prepare Quinoa buy the pre-rinsed variety which has the hull or saponins removed. Rinse the grain briefly in cold water.  Cook as you would rice.  One cup of grain for 2 cups of water or other favored liquid, such as stock or even vegetable juice.  Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook 10 -15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed.






With any satisfying meal it is important to not only have good flavors, but combine different textures and even different temperatures.  The crunch of the pepper with the mouth texture of the quinoa and the spice of the tomato mixture and topping provide depth of flavor, texture and spice that is hard to find in any dish.  For a whole meal serve with a cold tossed salad.  This recipe is an original Fat Farm creation.  Let me know what you think. – jug

Stuffed Pepper Directions – Recipe

1. Bring a large pot of water (1 to 2 qts) to a boil.  Put spinach into boiling water for 30 sec. then remove and quickly place in cold water to stop the cooking process.  Reserve.

2. Heat olive oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 additional minute. Stir in spinach and  Ro Tel brand tomatoes & green chilies (reserve juice). Cook 5-10 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Stir in kidney beans, quinoa, carrots, and 2 cups water. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender. Stir in 1 cup crumbled extra firm tofu. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.

4. Cut the top off of each bell pepper and with a spoon remove the seeds and as much of the white membrane as possible, then rinse.  Fill each bell pepper with heaping amount of the quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, top with 1 T of tomato spread and bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and sauce each with seasoned pan juices before serving.

Note: any remaining stuffing can be frozen for later use.



4 large bell peppers (use multiple colors)

3/4 c of uncooked Quinoa

1 medium onion finely chopped (1 cup)

2 T olive oil

2 ribs of celery, finely chopped (1/2 c)

1 T ground cumin or 1/2 T cumin seeds

2 cloves of minced garlic (2 tsp)

1 cup of extra firm tofu (optional)

1 lb of fresh spinach, blanched and squeezed dry

1 – 10 oz can of RoTel brand Diced tomatoes & green chilies 





1 15 oz can of kidney beans.





4 T Tomato Spread or similar *


*This topping can be cheese which would be very tasty but would change the dish from vegan to vegetarian.  For my vegan friends, Tofutti brand foods have some acceptable dairy substitutes.  Try the health food section of Whole Foods or your local store.



These stuffed peppers can be made and frozen for several months.  Frozen peppers make a very fast meal, just put in a 350 deg oven for 30 mins or until completely heated through. – jughandle