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RA Natural Way

Sharing what I have learned about treating chronic pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia and indeterminable autoimmune disorders in the most natural way possible while maintaining a positive attitude. Hope. Faith. Love. Yoga. Travel.

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Food

Caldo verde (gf) (df)

Today was the last day of my Christmas vacation and it was hard to get moving this morning. While the Arctic Outbreak hasn’t reached Florida yet, I decided it was best to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather! For the first time in years, I rode my bike to the nearest Publix shopping center. It was 6 miles round trip and I found that it was a lot more challenging to balance the bike when the basket was loaded up with food!

I did find a new Publix Aprons recipe to try! Caldo Verde is a popular Portuguese soup, traditionally made with collard greens and meatless. Pubix has their version and now I’ll show you mine!

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Time: 40 mins

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 links of Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
  • 1 (32 oz) container reduced-sodium chicken broth (I used a vegetarian version)
  • 3 large potatoes, chopped
  • 1 lb kale
  • I added: 1/2 cup of diced yellow onions and 1 cup of sliced portobello mushrooms

Cut sausages into 1/2-inch pieces and cook 4-5 minutes on medium in a stock pot. Add broth and chopped potatoes (and onions if you choose). Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 18-20 minutes or until potatoes begin to soften.

Stir in kale (and optional mushrooms); salt and pepper to your liking, and cook 10-12 more minutes or until kale and potatoes are tender.

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This made so much food! I decided to freeze some and save it for a cold winter night!

Stay warm America!

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Ultra Healthy Dinner

After eating pancakes for dinner last night, I decided to be a bit healthier today!

Typically, I cook enough food to leave plenty of leftovers for the week. As a teacher, I need to pack a lunch every day. When I finish cooking, I divide the leftovers into lunch size portions and put them in the fridge. Each morning, I can easily pop a tupperware into my lunch box!

Tilapia, kale and a brown rice, quinoa mix. Full of vitamins and Omega 3s!

tilapiaeditSOC006_XlI put the tilapia in a bowl with lemon juice, salt, onion pepper and garlic seasoning. Let it sit, while I sautéed the kale with olive oil until it wilted. This Seeds of Change mix is wonderful because it’s so easy to prepare and Organic. I dumped the whole package in a pot with a little olive oil and warmed it up on low. Finally, I sautéed the tilapia on medium until fully cooked.

This is a quick, healthy meal and with leftovers, it is also inexpensive!

Before eating this meal, I went for a long walk and did my yoga stretches! This is exactly what I need to be doing every day!

For changes to be of any true value, they’ve got to be lasting and consistent,” -Tony Robbins.

Pancakes for New Years Day

This year I took responsibility for my pain and made some big changes! I also made big promises to myself, including setting lofty goals. Starting this blog was a huge part of my plan to educate others on RA and the necessary changes I’ve had to make for my health. It has been a slow and difficult process, with lots of trial and error, but progress has been made!

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2014 is full of possibilities with so much to look forward to! I’m happy that 2013 has come to close. It was a wild year, full of uncertainties and huge obstacles to overcome. Looking forward to the future, now more than ever…

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I’m planning a long road trip this summer and I look forward to writing all about it! The Trip will begin at the Grand Canyon and hopefully continue west for at least month! I have lots of training to do if I’m going to hike down to the bottom and camp the canyon with my boyfriend! Setting goals and achieving them is something I take very seriously. Over the years, I have achieved some challenging goals, but these will probably prove to be the hardest yet!

More about that later…

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It was a very rainy, yucky January 1st at my house! Therefore, I prepared a treat for dinner to cheer myself up! I used the same mix from the delicious banana bread I made a few weeks ago. The recipe called for 1 cup of mix, 1 large egg, 3/4 cup of water and 1 tbsp of oil. I used an organic egg and vegetable oil. After mixing up all of the ingredients, I decided to add a little more of the Mix to thicken it up. It should make four pancakes about the size of the ones below, but I only made 3 to ensure that I would have enough room to flip them. It’s been a while since I made pancakes! I cooked them slowly on low-medium heat and topped them off with a little butter/olive oil spread, organic maple syrup and sliced bananas.

The pancakes turned out to be delicious but rather filling! From this meal, I consumed about 3.5 grams of saturated fat, which is something I constantly have to monitor. Sugars are also on the bad list and must be monitored. These were a real treat and I’m glad I made them for this special day! Tomorrow begins the hard work… cutting down on my sugar intake and making this body stronger!

Happy New Year everyone!!

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Oh my Omega 3’s!

Everywhere I look lately, I see labels saying things like “Great source of Omega 3’s!” This is wonderful news because they are excellent for an RA diet!

What can high-omega-3 foods do for you?   Here are a few benefits that I found on whfoods.org

  • Reduce inflammation throughout your body
  • Keep your blood from clotting excessively
  • Maintain the fluidity of your cell membranes
  • Lower the amount of lipids (fats such as cholesterol and triglycerides) circulating in the blood stream.
  • Decrease platelet aggregation, preventing excessive blood clotting
  • Help prevent cancer cell growth
  • Reduce the risk of becoming obese and improve the body’s ability to respond to insulin by stimulating the secretion of leptin, a hormone that helps to regulate food intake

Many foods listed on my Green List contain Omega 3’s like these:

  • Salmon, Halibut, Sardines, Tuna, Trout, Swordfish
  • Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Butternuts
  • Tofu, Soybeans
  • Collards, Kale and Spinach
  • Oils: Flaxseed, Walnut, Soybean, Canola

This is a list that I compiled from the book Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis. It has a lot of great information in it, but there are many more updated sources available.

Tonight’s inexpensive but extra healthy dinner: salmon, kale, quinoa and brown rice.

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The kale was purchased at the local farmers market. The salmon came from the grocery store and the quinoa and brown rice package was picked up at my local discount grocery store. The whole meal cost around $7 and only a few minutes to heat up. *the kale in this picture had been previously sautéed with olive oil, salt and pepper.

I’m eating as little packaged food as possible these days, but when you’re on a budget, sometimes you don’t have a choice.

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These are some healthy brands and options:

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Amys-Soup           PinkSalmonPouch-lg

If you aren’t eating Quinoa yet: Read about this > Super Food!

I’ve been eating pastas made with quinoa, cereals and rice mixes such as the one above. Quinoa provides antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients that are super for fighting RA! It also contains heart healthy fats and protein to help us build strong muscles!

Quinoa, kale and salmon are must haves when it comes to flushing harmful toxins from our bodies and growing stronger every day!

Gluten Free Cookies

My first attempt at gluten free cookies was not as successful as the chocolate brownies… but I learned from my mistakes and the second batch turned out ok!IMG_3024 copy

Making these cookies is much harder than any other cookie I’ve ever baked! The batter is so sticky that I had to ask my boyfriend to scrape off my hands for me. It says to roll the batter into little balls and this proved to be most difficult. Even using a spoon was futile. But once my hands were clean, I kept them wet and was able to to get the dough rolled…

They cooked faster than the box said and the first batch burned really fast! It’s a good idea to always do a test batch when baking something for the first time!

I used dark chocolate chips and the second batch turned out yummy!

Closer to Christmas, I will try more brands and combinations so that I can get my holiday cookie fix and remain gluten free!

Chocolate Brownies (Gluten Free)

These are the first gluten free chocolate brownies that I have ever made! I have seen this brand at many stores, but found this particular box at my local discount grocery store! It was a little banged up, but the contents were delicious!

IMG_2987editI went online and read reviews before baking. With all the gluten free baking I’ve been doing, I appreciate good tips! Many people said to let them cool on the counter, slice into bite size pieces, then cover and put in the freezer until needed.

Instead of using 1/3 cup of oil, I used part water, part oil. This cuts down on calories a bit. Real butter was used in these as well. Even though I cook from a lot of Vegan recipes, I am not one.

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I’m finding that most gluten free products are best served warm or right out of the freezer. The frozen brownie bites were a big hit at my book club meeting last week!

At my local farmers market, I found pecans and chopped them up to add a little crunch. At least I can still enjoy these favorite nuts!

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They turned out wonderful! Not too shabby for a gluten free product! I definitely recommend keeping them in the freezer unless you are going to eat them right away!

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Pizza! The gluten free way!

I love pizza. Pizza is probably my favorite food and yet everything on a traditional pizza can cause inflammation in my joints… Did that stop me from trying to make the best gluten free pizza possible? Nope. I used turkey pepperoni and part-skim mozzarella.

Note: If I make this again, I will probably go even further and find imitation cheese because I paid the price after eating this! But it was delicious and a real treat! I used Bloomfield Farms for this one but Bob’s Red Mill makes a great whole grain crust as well!

This is actually my second attempt, following the thick crust recipe. I thought it turned out perfect.

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The mix is very sticky and it takes wet hands to get it smoothed out onto the pan. I tried other methods and tools but it was easiest to just use my hands.

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Thanksgiving Firsts

This was a particularly challenging Thanksgiving due to the fact that I am trying not to eat gluten, dairy or red meat. Every day is a challenge but holidays are the worst! My friends prepared a gigantic feast for 15 of us, which included two turkeys, a ham, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, rolls and many different desserts.

Knowing ahead of time that I could only eat the turkey, I prepared sweet potatoes and corn bread. I also baked a vegan, gluten free apple pie. The crust didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, but I learned a lot in the process. I included the recipe in this post.

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What a feast!
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So much food!
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pre-baked apple pie

This is what most plates looked like!

Lots of yummy goodness!

Here is a recipe for apple pie filling:

Ingredients:

  • Granny Smith Apples (5-6)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar *I used organic cane sugar
  • 3 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice

We peeled and cored the apples first. Then cut them into smaller pieces. I went back later and added a few more pieces to hold up the crust. The more apples the better! They will shrink down to mush in the oven.

We put all the ingredients in a bowl, and mixed them together. This proved challenging because there wasn’t a lot of moisture. But there will be plenty once the apples are baked.

We baked our pie at 400F for 15 minutes while covered. Then lowered to 375F, removed foil and baked for 30 minutes, while watching carefully to make sure crust did not burn. Depending on the crust you choose to use, these temperatures and times may vary. Let pie cool for a few hours before eating.

Next time I will make my pie crust from scratch instead of buying a mix. The filling turned out really yummy though and I look forward to trying this again!

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Cornbread!

Yummmm! Just what I’m craving when the weather turns chilly!

I used this brand for Thanksgiving! Once
again, like most gluten free products, they are best served warm with real butter! 🙂 But that’s just my southern opinion!

20131201-190533.jpg They are super easy to make and only require eggs and water! I have received nothing but good reviews so far!

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of yummy food!

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