Category Archives: Tips

Simple guidelines to enhance your Vegan lifestyle

How To Prepare Dried Red Beans For Easy Cooking

We’ve all been there.  A recipe calls for beans and we reach for the can.  Each time we do it, we promise ourselves that the next time we would use a healthier alternative.

It’s no secret that canned beans come with a high sodium content.  Canned beans also tend to have less flavor than their dried or fresh versions.

I bought a pack of dried red beans and tried a mini experiment.

I rinsed them and then soaked them in a pot overnight and by the next day they basically doubled in size.  It yielded the equivalent of about 4 regular cans of red beans.  Talk about savings!

Cooking was done for the day and therefore I didn’t need to use the beans right away.  After rinsing and straining them I decided to place them in a freezer bag and pop them in the freezer.

The next day I had a craving for Trini Oil Down.  I quickly pulled out my beans and tossed about 2 cups worth in the pot.  The result was absolutely delicious.  I like some texture to my beans and don’t like them at all mushy so they were perfectly cooked and had the texture that I wanted.

These steps can be followed for almost all kinds of beans and peas as well.  If you have access to fresh beans and peas, however, then you can wash them, shell them (if needed), place them in a freezer bag and keep them in the freezer.

Here are the simple steps:

1. Rinse and strain your desired about of dried red beans

2. Place in a large bowl or container and cover with water

3. Let these soak overnight.  By the next morning you’ll notice that they would have most likely doubled in size

4. Rinse and strain again

5. Place in large freezer bag or freezable bowl/container.  Seal tightly and place in freezer.

You’ll now have fresh red beans whenever a recipe calls for it

Frozen red beans
frozen Red Beans in freezer bag
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Helpful Tips For Making Your Meatless Mondays Extra Special

roastedvegetables

Meatless Mondays are increasing in popularity across the globe.  Typically, even though it’s the second day of the week, Monday tends to be the day when most persons seek to implement positive changes to their lifestyle.  So, what better Day to start enjoying the benefits of a meat-free diet than on Monday?

But just what can you do on a Meatless Monday to make it fun and to ensure that the positive effects of it are lasting?

Here’s some helpful tips that will make your Meatless Mondays extra special:

1.  Plan ahead – You’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy by doing this.  Set a menu, from Breakfast to Dinner, and start pulling together a list to shop around for the items.

2.  Have a Variety – Don’t confine yourself to just salads.  Vegan recipes are aplenty, from Vegan soups to Veggie Burgers, Veggie Sandwiches, Vegetable Pilafs and more.  And for your Vegan Desserts?  The choices are endless: choose from Vegan Ice-creams, Vegan Cheesecakes and so much more.  Meatless Mondays are not just about abstaining from meat for a day, but, enjoying the wide and delicious variety found in non-meat fare like your fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains.

3.  Make it a group event – Invite friends and family to bring a Vegan dish and have a Vegan Lime/Vegan Party.  That way you’re not alone and you can enjoy sharing funny stories of your Vegan adventures or misadventures in the kitchen.  You’ll be surprised to find that some of your family and friends are also trying to make healthier decisions when it comes to eating.  When it’s done in a special circle of friends or family you’ll also get the support and encouragement needed to make better lifestyle choices.  And, everyone, including you, will be looking forward to the next Meatless Monday.

4. Give it a theme – “Caribbean Vegan Monday” or “Mediterranean Meatless Monday”.  Take your pick.  Themes help take Meatless Mondays from bland and boring to fun and exciting and help guide your menu choices.  It also helps you to save on your food bill since you can use some of the same ingredients on your themed shopping list to come up with a variety of dishes.

The Salty Truth – Fast Food in Trinidad

The Salty Truth About Fast Food in Trinidad

If you regularly eat at fast food outlets, chances are that you are consuming way too much salt.

If you are frequently consuming too much salt, then you are likely setting yourself up to develop hypertension and chronic kidney disease.

Studies have shown that the recommended daily allowance for sodium in healthy adults should be no more than 2,300mg per day.  However, if you are elderly, hypertensive, diabetic, or have chronic kidney disease that amount is significantly lowered to 1,500mg.

So, just how much sodium is in your fast food?

In recent times, major fast food chains such as Mc Donald’s and KFC have posted the nutritional content of their products online and also have them prominently displayed in their restaurants.

Let’s look at some of their facts.

Mc Donald’s

According to Mc Donald’s nutrition facts, one portion of small French fries has a sodium content of about 160mg.  That doesn’t sound half bad, right?  Only if all you are going to consume is one small portion of French fries.

The average person tends to upsize their portion to Large which yields 350mg.  Throw in a Big Mac (970mg) and together you have a combined total of 1,320mg of sodium in one meal and you haven’t eaten dinner yet!

Burger King

Burger King is not that far behind, if not ahead, of the competition.  A Whopper ® Sandwich, without mayo and cheese, can have as much as 840mg of sodium.  Slap on some mayo and a slice of cheese and you could be consuming a whopping 1,380mg of sodium in one sandwich.

If you like to live dangerously you could throw in a large portion of their French fries (710mg) and you’re looking at 2,090mg of sodium.

KFC

And now, KFC!

Sorry folks, I have to do this.

One individual side of KFC wedges can have as much as 810mg of sodium.  And the meat? One breast piece (Original recipe) alone yields 1,130mg of sodium.  Fly in a whole wing (Original recipe) and you just bought yourself a 2,390mg sodium “Death Pack”.

 

How do I cut back?

1. Try swapping your fries/wedges for a salad, without dressing and without cheese

2. Make your wedges and/or fries at home.  You will not only cut down on the sodium content in your potato snack but you’ll also cut back on fat as well.  Click here for an Easy Crisp Golden Potato Rounds recipe.

3. Avoid fast food meats.  These are often over-processed, over-salted and over-saturated with fats.

How to De-Seed a Pomegranate

Pomegranates are fruits native to Mediterranean territories but also found in some parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.

They are large and round in shape and are often red on the outside.  When cracked open,  they have multiple red seeds which are surrounded by a white membrane.  The seeds have the appearance of red kernels of corn and are the edible part of the fruit.

Pomegranate seeds are a wonderful addition to salads as they add a pleasant tang and crunch.

De-seeding a Pomegranate is a lot easier than thought.  Pomegranates can be scored and then broken open or have the tops cut out (as you would the stem of a strawberry) and then broken open.

Here’s how:

Step 1: Taking a knife, carefully core out the top (as you would the stem of a strawberry)

Step 2: Taking your hands, gently pull the pomegranate apart

breaking open the Pommegranate
breaking open the Pomegranate

Continue until you have broken the pomegranate into about three pieces (this makes it easier to get the seeds out)

 

 

 

Pomegranate - broken apart
Pomegranate broken open

Step 3:  Using a spoon, carefully scoop out the seeds into a bowl or measuring cup

 

 

 

spooning out the Pomegranate seeds
spooning out Pomegranate seeds

Step 4:  Using your fingers, carefully remove any bits of the white membrane.

 

Step 5:  Use your fresh Pomegranate seeds anyway you’d like in your favorite recipe

Quinoa – The Complete Protein

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a small grain food that was originally popular in South America.  It was commonly referred to as “the mother grain” among the Incas.

What does it look like?

Quinoa has the appearance of little round, flat discs.

Quinoa - uncooked
Uncooked Quinoa

When cooked, it appears translucent and the germ ring can be seen around the edges.

Quinoa - cooked
Cooked Quinoa

 Why should I eat it?

This superfood is a “complete protein”, containing all of the essential amino acids, making it a must-have in Vegan and Vegetarian diets.

It is also a great source of dietary fiber, providing as much as 13% of your recommended daily dietary fiber intake in one serving.

How can I use it?

This grain can be used in the same way you would use oats and rice and can also be included in veggie burgers, breakfast cereals, soups and more.

Check out my Oat Quinoa Peanut butter Breakfast Cereal recipe.

Where can I buy Quinoa?

Quinoa is produced by a number of different brands.  The brand featured in my photo below can be purchased at both Hi-Lo Foodstores and Tru-Valu supermarkets, specifically the Westmoorings and Diamond Vale branches respectively.

where to buy
O.A Quinoa Brand – can be bought at Tru Valu and Hi-Lo Foodstores

Low-Sugar Chewy Granola Bars for Kids

Chewy granola bars are a popular snack with the kids.

Most store-bought bars promise to provide heart healthy nuts and whole grains in a snack-form that kids will love.  These come, however, with very high sugar content.  When reading labels, normally the first three ingredients are the major components.  Most of these store-bought bars have sugar in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.  Then, further down the ingredient list, sugar appears at least one more time.

In the wake of an upsurge in the incidences of Juvenile Diabetes, some of the popular cereal brands promised to have less sugar.  Even the popular Quaker Oats chewy granola bars at one point promised that it contained “25% less sugar” than before.  I bought those a while back and still found them to be too sweet.

A short while afterward I found that I could no longer purchase the store-bought chewy granola bars at all.  Not only were they too sweet, they also contained whey and other milk-derived ingredients.

So, I decided to make my own chewy granola bars at home.

After a couple experiments, and prayer, I came up with this Chewy Peanut Butter granola bar recipe.  I used peanut butter as I found it to be a great binder that kept the bars together as opposed to using large amounts of syrups and sweeteners.  This enabled me to keep the sugar content low.

I also used sunflower seeds, walnuts and cranberries which are great sources of dietary fibre.

Try this easy, heart-healthy snack.

Click here for recipe.

How to Make Vegan Ice-cream Without an Ice-cream Maker or Food Processor

Gradually, I gave up all dairy and ultimately had to give up on ice-cream as well, or so I thought.  I decided to try making ice-cream with soy milk, almond milk, etc and along with much prayer I found much success.

As time progressed, I discovered an easier way to make ice-cream without using a food processor or ice-cream maker or blender.

So, just how to make ice-cream without a food processor or ice-cream maker?

Take your pick of

Super Rich Chocolate Ice-cream 

vegan ice-cream - Chocolate

OR

Rich Creamy Peanut Butter and Ginger Ice-cream

and discover how.

And yes, they are all Vegan!!!

Enjoy!