Citrus Zester : Recipe

Do you want to add more flavor to your dishes? No problem since all you need is a citrus zester on hand. For those not familiar with the kitchen utensil, it’s a small grate that’s used in cooking to release small bursts of concentrated flavor from things like citrus rinds, nutmeg and cinnamon sticks. It’s more slender than a rasp grater and has smaller holes, allowing it to make hundreds of fine cuts on whatever item you want to get a burst of flavor from. Used for added flavoring, freshly-grated lemon or orange zest can easily transform an ordinary recipe into a savory dish.

8978666921_38ddf063b9_z

Many use them for lemons and limes, making them idea to get the flavor without adding the pith (the bitter white part of the skin of the lemon or lime). Citrus zesters feature five or six holes and are great for making lemons curls for things like espresso or even martinis. One medium-sized lemon is approximately one tablespoon of lemon zest, which is the same as two to three tablespoons of lemon juice. When using a lemon for both zest and juice, make sure that you grate the zest first before you squeeze out the juice.

Here’s a fast and easy trick to make it easier to zest: cover the zest side of the grater with some plastic wrap and then grate the citrus (lemon, lime or orange) over the plastic wrap, without grating the bitter white pith. The zest will stay on the plastic wrap and won’t stick in the holes of the zester. Then simply pull of the wrap and shake the zest into your recipe or a plate.

Here’s a delicious recipe that requires some lemon zest!

Lemon Sugar Cookies

8978666301_44c261f4e8_z

Ingredients:

  • 4 Sticks Butter, Softened (or 2 Cups of Butter)
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 2 Tsp Lemon Extract
  • Zest from 4 Large Lemons
  • Juice from 2 Large Lemons
  • 4-1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Lemon Sugar (Mix 1 Cup of Sugar with Zest of 3 Lemons)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degree and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Mix together butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy with a hand or stand mixer.
  3. Add in the lemon extract, juice and zest from the lemons and eggs one at a time. Mix until it’s smooth.
  4. In a separate bowl, mix baking powder, sea salt and flour.
  5. Combine all the wet ingredients to the dry and fold together. Mix until it’s all combined.
  6. Make balls of cooking dough using a 1 Tbs scoop. Roll the ball in the lemon sugar to coat and place on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Press lightly on the cookies with the back of the spoon to smash down.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes or until they start to get brown.
  8. Allow to cool for about 3 minutes before moving to cooling rack.

Amazing Health Benefits of Drinking Sweet Potato Juice

When you say “healthy juice drink,” what usually comes to mind? For most people, natural juice cleansers are usually made from carrots, broccoli, kale, oranges, and blueberries, among many others. However, have you ever tried a glass of sweet potato juice?

sweet-potato-juice

Because of its starchy quality, this root vegetable is commonly used for cooking and baking. However, you can also juice sweet potatoes and add them to your regular diet. Rich in beta-carotene and essential vitamins, it’s a must-have for people who want to have healthy-looking skin and a strong cardiovascular system. Check out this post and learn the other amazing benefits of drinking sweet potato juice.

1. Protects the Skin

Sweet-potatoes are rich with beta-carotene, especially the variant with the orange pigment. According to a blog post from Nutri-Facts, “beta-carotene, alone and in combination with other carotenoids or antioxidant vitamins can protect the skin from sun damage.” Furthermore, it also reduces the risk of acquiring heart disease and lung cancer.

2. Fends Off Free Radicals

Antioxidants defend the body from free radicals – harmful compounds that can oxidize proteins and cause cell damage. Additionally, sweet potatoes contain defensin, a protein that spots the free radicals from damaging DNA. This root vegetable can also be mixed with carrots if you want to boost your antioxidant levels further.

3. Improved Eye Health

If you want to improve your eye health or avoid eye-related diseases caused by old-age, then you should add this root vegetable to your regular diet. Since it is replete with Vitamin A, the surface of your eyes will remain healthy for a long time and will be more efficient at repelling bacteria that might cause infections. Furthermore, Vitamin A found in sweet potatoes helps fight age-related macular degeneration, night blindness, and dry eyes.

4. Reduces Blood Pressure

Since sweet potatoes are root crops, they are filled with potassium. This mineral is essential for improving cardiovascular health. Potassium decreases blood pressure and helps fight hypertension. Adding the right amount of this mineral can also prevent you from acquiring kidney stones.

5. Prevents Cardiovascular Complications

Aside from giving us smooth and healthy-looking skin, Vitamin E also prevents cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients and reduces asthma attacks.

6. Energy Booster

Iron is known for giving us adequate amounts of energy. It also produces red and white blood cells, reduces stress, and ensures that your immune system is functioning properly.

7. Stress-reliever

Had a very stressful day at work? A glass of delicious sweet potato juice can help relieve your weariness. This root vegetable is replete with magnesium – a mineral known for relaxing and stress-relieving properties. Magnesium is also necessary to keep your blood, bones, heart, and muscles in good condition.

8. Therapy for Alzheimer’s disease

This healthy drink contains quercetin that protects the body against cancer and can be used as a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. 

Final Notes

With all the amazing health benefits found in a glass of sweet potato juice, you’re probably excited to concoct your own drink today. But before you make one, below are tips to make sure you get the most out of your drink.

When buying sweet potatoes, search for the ones that have a darker color because they contain a higher amount of vitamins. Its skin should be smooth and shouldn’t contain any brown spots. If you want to improve the flavor and palatability of your drink, you can also pair it with carrots, oranges, and pineapples. A touch of ginger can also enhance the aroma of your juice (as well as give added health benefits).

Do you know some tasty sweet potato juice recipes? Feel free to share them below in the comments!

Food Your Kids Love and How To Turn Them Into Healthy Meals!

Serving meals to kids can be challenging at times. Kids are one of the pickiest eaters in the world, and getting them to eat one full meal can make parents feel like they’re in a game show, trying to persuade, using every technique possible just to feed their kids. What’s even harder is trying to get them to eat vegetables. So if you’re wondering what food kids love to eat and how you can squeeze some healthy stuff in it, here’s the list:

PIZZA

Pizza is one of the food favorites among kids. Most kids love anything with cheese. When making pizza at home, ask your kids to help you out. This can turn into the perfect bonding time for the family, and an opportunity to get your kids to work in the kitchen. Let them choose the toppings they want for their pizza, and this will get them really excited to eat the pizza they made on their own. You can buy fresh or frozen pizza crust from your local grocery, or make it even more fun by making your own dough from scratch.

pizza

You can make pizza with vegetables on it, and kids will hardly notice the taste of vegetables in pizza. An example of this is the Spinach and Artichoke Pizza from Sally’s Baking Addiction. Artichoke and spinach are party favorites, and this pizza gets these veggies into your kid’s stomach with ease.

FINGER FOOD

Finger food is one of the easiest, foolproof food choices especially for toddlers and kids who are active most of the day. These are bite-sized pieces of food that kids can bring with them and eat even while they’re playing. Remember that your little ones don’t really eat much in one sitting;, this is what makes finger food a good alternative to full meals. They offer nutrition and replenish the energy of your hyper and active kids. With a little creativity, you can even serve them in many unique ways. Check out Lil’ Luna for a list of 10 Kid Approved Finger Food served in fun, colourful, and creative shapes and ways.

Chicken nuggets also ranked on top of the list of favorites for kids. They are easy to eat, and they are a great source of protein that growing kids need in their diet. Opt for baked chicken nuggets rather than the fried ones. If you’re feeling like a chef today, try making your own nuggets from scratch, and choose the white meat part of the chicken instead.

SANDWICHES

Every kid likes a good sandwich. They can have it as a snack, or as a part of their meal. Peanut Butter and Jelly is a classic lunchbox staple. It is loaded with protein and whole grains, and can be a perfect snack for kids. According to Sarah Krieger, a dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, “It’s more important for kids to eat a snack that keeps their blood sugar regulated. That’s one way to prevent diabetes.” To make this sandwich healthier, opt for natural peanut butter or the ones made with reduced-fat, and use whole-wheat bread to get that daily fibre in your kid’s body.

sandwiches

Grilled Cheese Sandwich is another favorite among kids (and even kids at heart). Most kids like, if not love, cheese. Most parents may think that cheese is a good substitute for milk. While it’s true that cheese is a good source of calcium, cheese also contains high amounts of fat and cholesterol. When making grilled cheese sandwiches for your kids, choose cheese made with reduced or low-fat milk.

Hamburgers are a classic favourite for almost everyone. Most fast food chains serve hamburgers, and although burgers are packed with protein, and served with vegetables, burgers are also loaded with calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Try making your own burger patty at home, that way, you can control the amount of salt that goes into the patty, and even choose the kind of meat to use. Make your patty even healthier while adding flavour by using condiments and fresh herbs such as arugula and spinach, and using whole-wheat bun as much as possible.

Hotdogs are another classic favorite and a common snack choice for most people. Hotdogs are easy and quick to cook, making them one of the go-to food when kids are hungry. Unfortunately, hotdogs aren’t the healthiest of snacks to eat. According to Michelle Coyle, a Registered Dietitian, “An ordinary two-ounce hot dog usually has around 200 calories, 16 grams of fat, and 600 mg of sodium! Not only is the fat and sodium a concern, but nitrate, an ingredient found in many hot dogs, has been linked to serious, life-threatening diseases.” So how can your child still have his or her favorite hotdog without all these unhealthy and potentially dangerous ingredients? Read the label. Check if the total fat is over 5 grams, and then look at the sodium content. Any amount of sodium over 600 mg is too much. Finally, check if nitrate is included in the ingredients. Nitrate can be labelled as sodium nitrate, nitrite, or sodium nitrite. Itis an ingredient used to increase shelf life, and any hotdog which has this in their ingredients should be tossed out – for good! Best choice would be to buy organic brand hotdogs because these brands don’t have nitrates.

 

MAC and CHEESE

Macaroni and cheese is another favorite food for kids whether dining out or eating at home. Although it’s considered as comfort food, each plate is a fest of carbs and fat. Every small serving of macaroni and cheese has 290 calories with 1,760 mg of sodium. That’s more than half of the recommended daily amount of sodium! But don’t fret! If you want to make macaroni and cheese for dinner, without having to serve your family this much fat, sodium, and calories; try making them with whole-wheat pasta, and sneak in some veggies into the sauce. Check out this Healthy Macaroni and Cheese Recipe from Jessica Goldman Foung, author of Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook. This recipe uses pureed cauliflower as a substitute for cheese and coconut milk as a substitute for full cream milk in pasta dishes.

macandcheese

Do you have any kid-friendly recipes? Share with us in the comments!