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Nourishing Mondays: Veggie Lovers’ Pot Pie

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It’s pot pie time!

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 large russet potato (1 lb), peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14 oz) vegetable broth
1 bag (1 lb) frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, thawed, well drained
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated garlic butter crescent dinner rolls (8 rolls)

Directions:

Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 9- or 10-inch glass deep dish pie plate with cooking spray. In 12-inch nonstick skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add potato, onion, thyme, salt and pepper; cook and stir 10 to 12 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned.

Sprinkle flour over potato mixture. Cook and stir 1 minute. Stir in broth; heat to boiling. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are almost tender. Remove from heat. Stir in thawed vegetables, milk and cheese. Spoon mixture into pie plate.

Separate dough into 8 triangles. Starting at short side of each triangle, roll up triangle halfway. Carefully arrange over vegetable mixture with tips toward center; do not overlap. Place pie plate on cookie sheet with sides.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Servings: 8

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Guest Post: The Benefits of Eating Locally

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Shopping and eating locally is becoming a huge food trend that has even sparked some to refer to themselves as “locavores”. Besides supporting the community and local farmers, shopping locally can provide boosts to your health and the environment as well. Read on for the potential benefits of localizing your diet!

Health Improvement

When you buy freshly picked produce, you may notice how the flavor is much richer. Well the nutrients are also richer when fruits and vegetables are at the peak of their freshness. Once harvested, fruits and vegetables begin slowly losing their nutrients – so if they have to be shipped to a far-off grocery store, they will continue losing their amazing vitamins and minerals during the entire journey. But when you shop at your farmer’s market or opt for CSA boxes, then it’s likely that your produce has a higher value in nutrients since they are fresher.

Economic Boost

By shopping locally, you are supporting your nearby farmers, which in turns boosts your local economy. According to Whole Foods Market, “Minimizing handling and transportation costs gives farmers, ranchers, growers and producers maximum return on their investment.” You’ll not only be benefiting the farmers, but your community as a whole as well.

Sustainability

Some grocery store foods may travel up to 1,500 miles just to get there, according to Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture. That means you’ll be leaving a huge carbon footprint just by buying the imported food. When you shop locally, you know that the food didn’t have to travel a far way to get there, which in turn reduces pollution.

Building Community

When you buy from the same local farmers each week, you form a relationship. It’s a great feeling knowing who has handled your food before you and where exactly it came from. You’ll form a deeper connection with the food on your plate by being equipped with this knowledge. Plus, you’ll look forward to seeing your local farmer and find out what they’re harvesting next!

Try incorporating more local foods into your diet by visiting your weekly farmers market. Look out for local restaurants that support the “farm to table” movement. They’ll be serving up food that has either been grown themselves or grown locally. If you find you don’t have the time to visit the farmers market each week, sign up with your local CSA. You’ll receive a box full of produce on a weekly or monthly basis delivered right to your door or picked up at a weekly market. Support the local movement by signing up for a CSA box or visiting your local farmers market today!

(Photo Source: Jules)

About the Author:

Ashley Ward is a freelance writer and regularly contributes apartment living posts to The Granary’s blog.

 

Guest Post: Does Your Diet Include Enough Foods with Vitamin B12?

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Many people are focused on healthy eating—getting enough antioxidants, avoiding trans fats, limiting salt intake, and all those other things that can impact our health in a good or bad way.

And all that attention to detail can be exhausting! Unfortunately, we are going to make things even worse.

In addition to everything you are already thinking about, you should also pay close attention to your vitamin intake—especially vitamin B12.

Who Cares About B12?!

Vitamin B12 is an essential nutrient. Its primary responsibilities include maintaining the health of the circulatory and nervous systems.

It is very easy to become deficient in this nutrient. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products—like beef, pork, lamb, dairy products, eggs, etc. So, if you aren’t getting enough of those foods, you can quickly see a decline in your overall health.

Since B12 is responsible for things like our nerves, brain and blood, you can image how detrimental a deficiency is! Early-stage symptoms are mild but left unchecked, a deficiency can lead to mania, depression, suicidal thoughts, trouble walking, heart disease and more.

Vitamin-Rich Foods

A deficiency sounds scary, right? Few of us would choose those side effects! Therefore, it is important to get enough foods rich in vitamin B12.

Here are some fun and tasty ways to infuse B12 into your diet.

Goose Liver Pate

In addition to several other key vitamins and minerals, one tablespoon of goose liver pate contains nearly one fifth of your recommended daily value of vitamin B12.

Emu Steak

Emu steak is both tasty and low in fat. Just a few ounces of this meat will supply more than enough of your daily requirement for vitamin B12.

Turkey Liver

Next time you’re cooking turkey, make sure you don’t get rid of the liver. It contains very high amounts of vitamin B12 and even larger doses of vitamin A.

Caviar

Eating caviar isn’t simply a way to make yourself feel fancy; it’s also good for you. This luxurious dish is packed full of essential nutrients.

Feta Cheese

Want a yummy meal idea? Add some crumbled feta cheese to a salad of dark greens and fresh berries. This simple salad addition will provide nearly half of your daily B12 needs.

Sardines

If you can tolerate them, this nutrient-dense food is super healthy. Sardines have plenty of B12, but also vitamin D, calcium, and omega-3 fats.

Clams

A mere three ounces of clam meat provides ample amounts of B vitamins, chromium, and iron.

Because we are foodies, we naturally gravitate towards the fun, unique, and interesting foods. But in reality, any food that came from an animal will have high levels of B12. If all else fails, grab a glass of milk and you’ll be well on your way!

When Diet Isn’t Enough

Those who are passionate about food (like us!) sometimes think it can do no wrong. However, the sad reality is that even our most favorite foods sometimes let us down.

Some people—no matter how many B12-rich foods they eat—can still be deficient. Sometimes, our bodies have a hard time absorbing the nutrient. This problem is extremely common in the older generation.

Other individuals have health issues that prevent them from utilizing the B12 in food. A vitamin B12 deficiency is common among pernicious anemia, Crohn’s diese, lupus, and Graves’ disease patients.

In these cases, vitamin B12 supplementation is essential. It helps replenish the body’s storehouse of B12. The most effective form of supplementation is injections (because people with absorption issues would have the same problem with oral pills as they do with food).

In fact, some people prefer supplementation. Vitamin B12 shots ensure adequate levels—even when our healthy diet seems to slip a little. Plus, a slight surplus of vitamin b12 can help prevent health issues and minimize undesirable side effects.

We know closely monitoring the foods you eat can be tiring. But really, the alternative is much worse!

Check to make sure you are getting at least a little bit of vitamin B12 each day. Your taste buds—and overall health—will be glad you did!

Lindsey Dahlberg, guest post author, was recently diagnosed with a vitamin B12 deficiency. Now, more than ever, she is especially attentive to the foods she eats. When she isn’t online sharing her health tips with the masses, Lindsey is probably in the kitchen, experimenting with new recipes.

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Nourishing Mondays: Sweet Potato, Quinoa, Spinach and Red Lentil Burger

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Enjoy these colorful, nutritious, and hardy burgers!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup quinoa (blond or black), rinsed
1/2 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 2/3 cups water
Salt to taste
1 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, baked
3 cups, tightly packed, chopped fresh spinach
3 ounces feta, crumbled (about 3/4 cup)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
¼ cup minced chives
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1 cup panko or chickpea flour (you will not use all of it)
¼ cup grape seed oil

Directions:
1. Combine quinoa, red lentils, water and salt to taste (I used a rounded 1/2 teaspoon) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, until quinoa is tender and blond quinoa displays a thread, and lentils are just tender. Drain off any water remaining in the pot through a strainer, tapping strainer against the sink to remove excess water, then return quinoa and lentils to the pot. Cover pot with a towel, then return the lid and let sit undisturbed for 15 minutes.

2. Skin sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Mash with a fork. Add spinach and mash together (I use my hands for this). Add quinoa and lentils, feta, mint, chives, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together well. Mixture will be moist.

3. Take up about 1/3 cup of the mixture and form into a ball (you can wet your hands to reduce sticking). Roll the ball in the panko or chickpea flour, then gently flatten into a patty. Set on a plate and continue with the rest of the mixture. Refrigerate uncovered for 1 hour or longer (the longer the better).

4. When you’re ready to cook, place a rack over a sheet pan. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch, heavy nonstick frying pan over high heat. Swirl the pan to coat with the hot oil. Lower heat to medium. Place 4 to 5 patties in the pan (do not crowd), and cook until well browned on one side, about 4 minutes. Turn and brown for about 4 more minutes. Remove to rack. Heat remaining oil in the pan and cook remaining patties. Keep patties warm in a low oven until ready to serve. Serve with a salad and your choice of toppings, such as the usual (ketchup, mustard, relish), or yogurt raita, garlic yogurt, or chutney.

Servings – 10

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Sustainable Saturdays: Positive Food Trends

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The world has a long way on the war on poverty and doing this in a sustainable way however there are many positive trends that we can celebrate and build on.  To reduce global hunger and create a more sustainable system, we will need a mix of new technology and improved behaviors.

Technology Trends:

Algae farms:

By tapping the vast ocean, companies are starting to grow algae in vast quantities.  Don’t worry this isn’t for our dinner plates. The algae will be used as a sustainable animal feed source giving our current grazing pastures a break from the decades of over use.  The algae farms could have additional benefits such as being a source of biofuel and even cause a reduction in global CO2 levels.

Supply Chain Improvements:

While local sourcing is great, we are still a long way from achieving a majority of local food sourcing. Studies show that over 40% of the American food supply is never eaten due to spoilage with much of that due to inefficiencies in the supply chain.  As the costs of RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tags have plummeted, transportation companies can now affordable track their food shipments in real time down to an individual boxes sitting on a pallet.  The real-time information eliminates bottlenecks and reduces transit times which in turn will cut spoilage.

locally grownTrending Behaviors:

Local Sourcing:

The customers have spoken and the restaurants have heard.  According to a 2014 National Restaurant Association survey, 4 of the top 10 hottest trends related to locally sourcing their ingredients.  Sourcing produce continues to be most common but restaurants are also starting to look for local sources of meat, seafood, and even alcohol!

Micro Urban farming:

Micro Urban farming is a movement to utilize unused urban space to grow food for people in need.  Organizations such as Urban Farming work globally to support local efforts to create small farms.  The farms are supported locally with donations for supplies and the labor is provided by the families that will receive the fruits and vegetables from the local farm space.

About the Author:

Chris Wimmer writes at HealthSmartLiving.com. Read more about how he uses his juicer to make sure he gets a few extra fruits and vegetables into his diet.

(Photo 1, Photo 2)

Nourishing Mondays: Curried Spinach and Lentil Bake

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Looking for a quick, healthy and filling dish to whip up? Look no further; this recipe for curried spinach and lentil bake is sure to please.

Ingredients:

1 cup(s) chopped yellow onion
1 clove(s) garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoon(s) olive oil
1 cup(s) basmati rice
2 teaspoon(s) curry powder
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
2 package(s) (10-ounce) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and liquid squeezed out
2 cup(s) cooked brown lentils
2 can(s) (13 1/2-ounce) coconut milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook onion and garlic clove in olive oil in a large heatproof skillet over medium-low heat until translucent. Stir in rice, curry powder, salt, and pepper; cook 2 more minutes. Add spinach, lentils, and coconut milk. Cover and bake, 30 to 40 minutes.

10 servings

(Resource)

(Photo Source)

Sustainable Saturdays: Saturday Smoothie

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A few weeks ago, I wrote about drying your garden harvest in a food dehydrator for later fall and winter enjoyment.  Today, I wanted to share a great smoothie recipe that I recently concocted using some of my dried fruit.

The key to using dried fruit in a smoothie is to rehydrate the fruit before blending.  This can be accomplished by pre-soaking the fruit in water for an hour or pre-soaking your fruit in one of the liquid smoothie ingredients.  In this recipe, I use the orange juice to rehydrate the strawberries.

Strawberry-Orange Smoothie Delight

Ingredients

8 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
4 oz Almond Milk
½ cup dried strawberries
1 cup ice

Directions

Combine orange juice and strawberries in a bowl and let stand for 1 hour.

Pour orange juice, strawberries and milk into the blundered. Pulse until strawberries are well broken down. Add ice and blend for another 10 seconds to achieve a good consistency. Serve and enjoy immediately!

About the Author:

Chris Wimmer writes at HealthSmartLiving.com. Read more about smoothie makers and food dehydrators because if he can do it so can you!

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Guest Post: It’s Not About “How” We Eat, It’s About “What” We Eat

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Increasingly more people are chasing after more active lifestyles, merging hectic daily activities with a constant need to stay strong and healthy. Although “how” we eat is important, we should also focus on “what” we eat if we want to see a good change in our bodies.

Consumer considerations about supplying the right amount of vitamins and minerals and their blends in suggested quantities to the body are escalating. Even though people finally understand the great importance of healthy foods, it’s still difficult to include these principles into our lifestyles. As human beings, we simply love how delicious food can be; and we’re particularly referring to junk food.

In the United States, 65% of the people are struggling to lead a healthy lifestyle; in spite of all their efforts, junk food tastes a lot better. Fortunately, we’re constantly pressured by society to eat healthy. The media keeps highlighting the bad effects of unhealthy foods, and this affects our perceptions. We want to live longer, we want to stay healthy, and we want to feel good. To achieve all that, we must stay away from unhealthy foods.

People’s attitude towards weight and health

Not many people realize that their eating habits may lead to vitamin deficiencies. It’s literally impossible to stay healthy by eating just food. In some cases, vitamin supplementation may be required as the body cannot produce all necessary nutrients for a vigorous, strong immune system. Our agitated lifestyles don’t allow us to have regular balanced meals. Thus, our only solution is to take supplements in order to keep our bodies healthy.

This doesn’t mean we should replace food with supplements, as supplements are just meant to fill in the gaps. A recent study performed in 2011 indicates that the people can understand the importance of exercise and diet. However, very few are willing to commit. People want to eat and feel full rather than cut back on their carbohydrate intake even that means gaining weight.

Our bodies need proteins

Proteins are the link between weight management and active food. Proteins derived from dairy products play a vital role in nutritional performance and dietary supplements, due to their superior taste and dietary profile, natural character, and versatile functionalities. As for mass produced proteins, they are valued for their solid purposeful qualities.

Milk proteins are the most important; they’re essential in both dietary supplements and performance nutrition. There’s no secret that dietary proteins have a positive effect on our bodies. We can include proteins into our systems in 3 different ways: hydrolyzed, intact protein, and pre-digested protein. From a functional and nutritional point of view, these nitrogen sources have both advantages and disadvantages.

Whey and casein are the two most important proteins found in milk. They’re absorbed and digested differently by the human body. Apparently, to regulate protein anabolism, everything depends on the protein digestion rate. Unlike casein, the whey protein is absorbed much faster by inducing a shorter, more dramatic boost in blood plasma amino acids. Thus, whey proteins are commonly employed for fast recovery products.

Milk also contains calcium, which plays a vital role in the body. It strengthens the bones and teeth, and it is excellent for weight management. Several arthritis supplements contain calcium, among other ingredients, to make sure that the whole body stays strong, energetic, and pain-free.

Benefits of weight management supplements

Including tasty active foods into our diet is certainly good for the health. However, it’s not enough to lose weight. Did you know that supplements have a lot of benefits, too? HCA for example, is in fact a salt that from a dried fruit’s rind. It is found in Southeast Asian plants such as Garcinia Cambodia and bridal berry. Research shows that HCA boost fat metabolism and inhibits appetite; apparently, it also lowers “bad” cholesterol.

Chitosan is another weight loss supplement that helps the body burn fat faster. It comes from the chitin fiber, a primary component found in shells and crustaceans. Holistic practitioners recommend Chitosan, as it claims to lower cholesterol and diminish the absorption of fat into the body.

There are many other nutrition & weight management supplements available in the marketplace. However, prior to starting a treatment, make sure to include healthy foods in your diet, too. Focus on proteins from dairy, white meat, fruits and vegetables, and never forget that what you eat is just as important as how you eat.

(Photo Sources 1, 2, 3)

Nourishing Mondays: Fall Vegetable Curry

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Fall typically brings out the urge to cook full, hearty meals; dishes that will satisfy you and bring warmth on chilly nights. This Indian-inspired dish is the perfect example. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup diced peeled sweet potato
1 cup small cauliflower florets
1/4 cup thinly sliced yellow onion
2 teaspoons Madras curry powder
1/2 cup organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add sweet potato to pan; sauté 3 minutes. Decrease heat to medium. Add cauliflower, onion, and curry powder; cook 1 minute, stirring mixture constantly. Add broth and next 3 ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with cilantro; serve with yogurt.

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Sustainable Saturdays: The Right Way to Enjoy Pomegranates

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In the mid-2000’s pomegranate juice was today’s kale. It was touted at the magical elixir that could improve your cardiovascular health, treat your painful arthritis, and even restore your skin to a more youthful appearance.

While pomegranates are still believed to provide many positive health benefits, the news has changed from health benefits to lawsuits and deceptive advertising. The original POM Wonderful manufacturer is suing Coca-Cola for selling pomegranate juice that contains less than 0.5% pomegranates.  But that’s not all, the USFDA and FTC are also investing the POM Company about overstating the health benefits of their POM Wonderful juice. Well at least their juice is 85% pomegranate!

With the negative news about advertising practices dominating the talk about pomegranates, I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone about some great ways to enjoy pomegranates beyond the grocery store juice.

Ways to Enjoy Pomegranates

Hand Fruit – Cut a fresh pomegranate in half and enjoy the process of eating the little capsules of goodness.  If you have never eaten a fresh pomegranate, it’s much like eating un-shelled nuts as it givens your hands something ‘to do’ while snacking. (Eat a pomegranate like a pro)

Salad Topping – Pomegranate seeds are a great way to provide a unique flavor and texture to your salad.  It should also let you reduce the amount of dressing required cutting your calories too.

Ice Cream Topping – Skip the M&Ms and opt for pomegranate seeds. The seeds are just as sweat as candy and even have their own candy ‘crunch’.

Party Cocktails – Pomegranates make great additions to Champaign and party punches. A few of my favorites are on serious eats.

About the Author:

Chris Wimmer writes at HealthSmartLiving.com. Read more about possible pomegranate health benefits along with other great foods to include in your daily diet.

(Photo Courtesy: Shai Barzilay)