Banana bread

Here is an easy to make banana bread recipe.  You can serve it plain, with honey or jelly.

-3 ripe bananas (the riper the better)
-1 beaten egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/4 cup melted butter or vegetable oil
-1/2 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup honey)
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
-1 cup whole wheat flour
-1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour (I use King Arthur’s brand)
-1 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-Add optional 1/2 cup walnuts or pecans to add some crunch.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a bread pan with butter.
Mash the bananas then mix in the egg, vanilla, butter (or oil) and brown sugar (or honey). Separately mix together dry ingredients. Combine the dry and wet ingredients together and fold in the nuts if using them. Pour into your bread pan and cake for 50-60 minutes until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes or so. Slice, serve and enjoy.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has been around for a some time and has been used to treat many ailments in the past.  Hippocrates (considered the father of western medicine) was a firm believer in the healing powers of ACV and regularly prescribed it as a health tonic.  American soldiers during the civil war would use ACV to alleve symptoms of indigestion, scurvy and pneumonia.

ACV has many uses that may be of benefit to you.  ACV can be used as a skin toner/cleanser.  The actress Scarlett Johansson uses it to prevent acne breakouts.  In addition to the fact that it can help heal acne it can also help heal scars more quickly in part due to its acidity and pH balancing nature.  Don’t apply pure ACV directly though as that can irritate your skin.  Instead try a dilution of 1-2 parts of ACV to 10 parts water and apply with a cotton ball or a cotton swab directly to the affected areas.

ACV has reported benefits for weight loss, diabetes, cholesterol, colds, allergies and more.  Feel a sore throat or cold coming on?  Add a few teaspoons (upto 2 tablespoons should be ok) of ACV and some honey to an 8 ounce glass of warm water and sip.  The ACV should help heal the sore throat quicker and loosen up mucus caused by the cold resulting in less overall congestion.  The acidity in ACV disrupts the bacteria that can cause a sore throat.

You can drink ACV on a daily basis, but as with anything in excess too much is not good for you.  Do not drink undiluted ACV from the bottle as it can burn your throat.  If you want to consume ACV as a daily preventative routine then start off with 1 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water.  Bragg’s maker of organic unfilitered ACV suggests you can drink 1-2 teaspoons of ACV with 8 ounces of water 3 times a day.    I personally drink 2 tablespoons of Bragg’s unfiltered organic ACV with 8-10 ounces of water and a splash fr orange juice (for taste purposes) every day.  The best type of ACV to drink is the unfiltered kind with “mother”.  The “mother” refers the “strand like substance” you will find in an unfiltered bottle of ACV and contains most of the nutrients.  I also use a mixture of ACV and water to treat any acne breakouts and scar healing.

If you have some positive experiences to share with us regarding your use of ACV please do so in the comments section.

Pass (on) the soda…

We posted in the past on the benefits of maintaining proper hydration.  Often times people reach for a soda for rehydrating as well as an energy boost to get them through the day.  I knew this one person who would consume and entire twelve pack of soda within the 8-9 hours we were at work to keep awake and alert.  I personally keep with me a stainless steel bottle that I fill from my filtered tap at home and drink throughout the day.  Once I broke myself off the caffeine cycle I found my energy is consistent throughout the day without the need for sugar and caffeine boosters.

Danish researchers have reported that drinking one serving of soda every day dramatically increase fat buildup around your liver (increase of 132-143%) and skeletal muscles (increase of 117-221%).  Even diet sodas have been shown to increase weight which is counter intuitive.  There have been a number of studies confirming the problems with diet sodas, one study found a 70% increase in waist circumference for diet soda consumers versus non consumers.

Drinking too many cola based sodas can lead to bone demineralization.  Bone demineralization basically means you will have weaker bones which are more prone to breaks and/or fractures.  This affects women more than men.  The reason for the bone demineralization is the excess phosphorus in the cola soda causes the phosphorus to calcium ratio to get off balance resulting in lower calcium absorption.  The extra phosphorus found in all sodas can also lead to premature aging.

So for your daily drink, break the habit of grabbing a soda.  Whether for energy or to accompany your meal that soda you drink is putting unneeded stress on your body.  Pass on the soda and drink water instead.

Unhealthy foods?

Here is a good article about dietary guidance put out by so called “experts”.  The truth of the matter would appear to be different than what is presented to us by the experts, but that should be common sense.  The bottom line is that non-processed natural foods are better for our health.

The real nature of processed bread.

Our day to day diet can often include over processed foods that lack needed vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies healthy. Many of these same processed foods add harsh ingredients to act as preservatives or flavor and texture enhancers. The ingredients are items like high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) for sweetening, azodicarbonamide to relax the dough and for color, and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) as a preservative just to name a few.

Take a look at the ingredients list for the breads you normally buy. Unless organic I am sure you will at least find bleached flour, HFCS, and something called dough conditioners. Those dough conditioners can be azodicarbonamide (linked to asthma and recently removed from the product of a big sandwich chain), or bromide (possible link to cancer). Bleached flour is flour that has been bleached using a chemical process to whiten the flour for looks purposes, thats it. To bleach flour potassium bromate, benzoyl peroxide (acne anyone), ascorbic acid or chlorine gas can be used used. In the United Kingdom all bleaching agents in bread use, with the possible exception of ascorbic acid, are banned. Natural ascorbic acid can be derived from citrus fruits but also can be made synthetically.

The bleaching process also strips out essential vitamins from the flour leaving you with nothing. In order to counter the lack of vitamins the bread “manufacturers” add back in synthetic vitamins which are poorly absorbed by the human body. The bread “manufacturers” bleached the flour to make it look pretty and now add a few token synthetic vitamins in to make us think it is nutritious. Gee thanks.

It may be time to visit your local bread maker and ask them how they make their bread, look into making bread at home with wholesome fresh ingredients, or consider organic.

Pomodoro Diavolo

Pomodoro Diavolo, an original recipe I came up with because I enjoyed a garlicky and spicy arriabiata, but wanted a lighter dish and liked Pomodoro.

Begin heating water for pasta, slightly salt water. Add pasta when boiling. Use approximately one package for this, I prefer angel hair as it cooks quickly.  If you use a heavier pasta, heat the water and start cooking before beginning the sauté below.

Heat 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil to smoking. Lower heat and add garlic to taste. A half-head of real garlic, or 3-4 T of pre-chopped garlic should be added to the oil and slightly browned (this is done to taste, I love garlic). While cooking, add pepper flakes, about 1 T depending on desired heat. If you have dried basil and not fresh, add it here in the oil as well to soften and add flavor.

Chop to small consistent pieces 4-6 medium to larger tomatoes. Add into garlic and oil and cook on medium heat.

When pasta is just below al dente, drain and add into tomato mixture. Stir, allowing pasta to finish cooking in juices from tomatoes and oil. This will only take a few minutes. Serve and enjoy.  Put fresh basil on top here if you have it.

A nice small salad or garlic bread (sauté oil and garlic like above and melt into butter onto bread – homemade garlic bread is by far the best.)

Broccoli cheese soup

While the weather has yet to warm up, why don’t you warm yourself up with some broccoli cheddar soup:

2 tablespoons cooking oil (olive oil or vegetable oil)
1 cup chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups chicken broth (you can use low sodium or fat free broth for a more healthier soup)
1 (16-ounce) package broccoli florets
2 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
8 ounces cubed or shredded cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, colby or similar)

Heat a large saucepan coated with the cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic; saute until the onions turn light brown. Add the broth and broccoli to the saucepan. Bring broccoli mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
In a bowl combine the milk and flour, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add the milk mixture to broccoli mixture. Cook 5 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Stir in pepper. Remove from heat; add cheese, stirring until cheese melts.
Place one-third of the soup in a blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Return pureed soup mixture to pan.

Add organic ingredients where desired. Makes about 6 servings.

Pesticides and food production

Pesticides are commonly used to grow food since they are a cheap way to control weeds and insects that can damage food crops.  Those pesticides are also harmful to the farmers and workers who work in the fields harvesting crops and to the end consumer of the food products.  Studies have shown higher incidence of cancer rates in farmers and farm workers with direct exposure to the pesticides.  Cancer is not the only concern from pesticide exposure additionally there are reports of higher incidents of immune disfunction, sterility and neurological damage.

Children are more sensitive to pesticide exposure since their bodies are not fully developed and still growing.  The EPA states “Pesticides may harm a developing child by blocking the absorption of important food nutrients necessary for normal healthy growth. Another way pesticides may cause harm is if a child’s excretory system is not fully developed, the body may not fully remove pesticides. Also, there are “critical periods” in human development when exposure to a toxin can permanently alter the way an individual’s biological system operates.”

Pesticides also have risk for adults as well.  As one gets older ones skin gets thinner allowing for more potential pesticide exposure.  As we age our kidneys and liver lose some ability to remove pesticides from our bodies resulting in potential buildup of pesticide toxins.

The bottom line is pesticides are harmful to human health and should be avoided as best possible.  Purchase organic foods when possible and when not possible make sure you wash your produce to reduce pesticide consumption.  Use organic pest control methods for your own home garden as well.  In the long run our bodies will thank us for it.


Free Kindle Books

This is a  nice resource page of free Kindle ebooks.  This page is updated daily as the Amazon deals change constantly.  If you check it daily you will find nice books of recipes, cooking, storage, and different homesteading resources.  While Amazon offers many free books each day, this page focuses mostly on those who are or want to be self-sufficient. Before purchasing check to make sure they are still free as links may expire.

While this is not an endorsement of the site nor the books,  it should prove to provide some interesting free ebooks.  Enjoy, and happy reading!

Social media

We occasionally post small blurbs and articles on Facebook. Like us on Facebook at our Truganic Facebook page to see those postings as well.

Here are a few links copied here from our Facebook page:

Foodbabe asks Is Subway Real Food?

A humorous look at advertising “natural foods”.

An article about the FDA looking into the carmel coloring used in sodas and their potential cancer causing effects.

Thanks for reading.