Friday, August 24, 2012

Maple Mustard Chicken

This recipe was deee-licious. And, it was super simple, which is always good. The sweet maple perfectly complements the savory mustard and tangy vinegar. I made this over brown rice, which made it nice and hearty. There was plenty of sauce to spoon over the top, which is always key in dishes like this. I followed the recipe pretty closely, only subbing apple cider vinegar for rice wine, because that's what I had. The only beef (har har...that's what happens when you were raised by a punster and then somehow managed to marry one...) I had with it was that it was a tad bit dry. That could have just been the chicken itself, but I think this recipe would be a perfect crock pot recipe. Next time I think I'll try low and slow all day, to make it nice and tender.Since I really didn't change the recipe, I'll just send you to the original site:

For the brown rice, I simply cooked it in my rice cooker with some extra water (brown rice always takes more than white), 1/4 cup of butter, and 1/4 cup of the marinade (reserved before I added the chicken.)

Heart Health:

Chicken- Poultry is a rich source of selenium, vitamin B12, and vitamin B6, which may help protect against heart disease. It also contains vitamin B12, which helps lower homocysteine levels.

Maple Syrup- maple syrup is a great form of sugar to use, rich in natural minerals instead of empty calories. Always remember to use in moderation though! After all, sugar is still sugar.  

Brown Rice- The complex carbohydrates in whole grains contain indigestible oligosaccharide carbohydrates, which are linked to helping prevent cardiovascular disease. They also contain flavonoids, which are antioxidants also linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and help bolster blood vessels. Lignans and plant sterols may help lower cholesterol, and vitamin E is an antioxidant that may also help prevent heart disease.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Cashew Honey Butter

Cashews are my all time favorite nut. I could eat them every day of the week. Of course, they're also one of the more expensive nuts. I have always had expensive taste. I was reading a blog post the other day on how to make homemade peanut butter, and I thought that Honey Cashew Butter sounded fabulously tasty. So, I tossed some cashews and honey in the food processor and started experimenting. I ended up with a perfectly delicious, delightfully simple cashew butter. As my daughter would say, "Nuuummy!" The great thing about homemade is the control you have over it. You can make it chunky or creamy, liquid or more solid, in bulk or in smaller amounts. You also have control over the ingredients- I used coconut oil, nuts, and honey and that was it. This gives me a great, tasty, healthy snack that I can give my daughter and not think twice about whether it's really good for her or not. I tried to find unsalted nuts, because I think that might taste just a little bit better, but was only able to find incredibly expensive ones. So, I settled for "lightly sea salted" ones. I still love the way it tastes, but would really like to try it without it sometime. My first batch I made perfectly creamy, stored it in the pantry, and put it on pancakes.

The second batch I actually made a little stiffer (less oil) and keep it in the fridge. This is nice because I can just scoop chunks of it right out of the jar and put it on the high chair tray for the munchkin. It is much less messy than sticky peanut butter that way. It's still able to be spread as well, you just have to microwave it for a few seconds.
Do some experimenting yourself to come up with your favorite balance, and enjoy the control of homemade!

Heart Health:

Nuts- Nuts are rich in Vitamin E. This antioxidant vitamin is thought to help prevent heart disease. They also contain amino acids and B vitamins, which are cardio-protective.
Cashews specifically have the same type of fatty acid (oleic acid) that is found in olive oil and is considered very heart healthy.

Coconut oil- Although a saturated fat, it is composed mostly of medium chain fatty acids, which actually increase good cholesterol and help protect the heart. In some studies, coconut oil was also found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as prevent the oxidation of cholesterol (which leads to atherosclerosis- the depositing of fats on the artery wall) (

Honey is often considered a super food, and is nutrient dense and full of enzymes- a great choice for sweetener whenever possible. Local, raw honey has even been suggested to help with allergies. 

 Honey Cashew Butter

2 cups roasted cashews 
1/2-3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut oil

Blend all in the food processor for about ten minutes, or until as smooth as you'd like it. For creamier, more liquid butter, add more oil. Taste and add more honey as desired.