Tag Archives: nutrients

Beer and ball

5 Jan
Local beer1  YUM!

Local beer1 YUM!

 

Fact: I am of german descent.  Fact: I like beer, especially a microbrews made from a small brewery. And with football hitting the end of season frenzy, lots of people will be getting together, watching football, eating fun nibblers, and drinking beer. Good thing beer is good for you! Who knew?

Beer has been around for a long time. It was a beverage of ancient Africa and Egypt. Some beer that Egyptians made came from unbaked bread. (Some beer today is known as a “sandwich” for that reason). Beer pretty much stayed the same from the ancient times until the Germans started working on it.

What influence did Germany have on beer? Germans had been brewing beer for hundreds of years, but could not do so in the warm months because the beer would spoil. They began to brew only in the cold months and store their brewed beer in caves in the Alps. The climate in the mountain caves were cool, and they discovered in doing so that the beer did not spoil. This was the fermentation process at work, but they did not know that at the time.

It was called the lager method. They did not know why it worked, but it produced a better beer, so onward and upward! An advancement in the beer we love today.  Some unlikely scientists also contributed to beer.  Like who you ask?  Even the genius of Louis Pasteur influenced beer in the mid 19th century. What? Louis Pasteur and beer? You bet!

Louis Pasteur, famous French chemist and biologist, contributed advancements in science with yeast and fermentation. Fermentation is a chemical process involving sugars turning into alcohol. This method was used to preserve beer long before it was applied to milk and other foods. This was his contribution to beer and brewing. We only know the french for their wine. Now we can thank them for our beer too! Anyway, Pasteur also discovered the relationship between heat, fermentation, pasteurization leading to better beer. Thank you to theAfricans, Egyptians, the Germans,  French scientists as well.

I particularly enjoy microbrews and “craft” beers. The brew masters of smaller craft breweries play with the recipes and flavor a bit. For a foodie like myself, beer can be every bit as much fun to match with food

Watermelon beer.  A refreshing summer treat!

Watermelon beer. A refreshing summer treat!

as fine wines. Alterations in recipes and ingredients can provide interesting flavor variances, which is a lot of fun to taste. Beer from small breweries can also be interesting to taste regionally. In addition to local food, it can provide another way to sample local flavors while traveling. There are dozens of variations of beer, maybe even hundreds, so it can really be a celebration of the palate to go beer tasting!

Believe it or not, beer does have health benefits. Any alcohol, when consumed in moderation, will lower “bad” cholesterol , reduce the risk of blood clots, has been associated with lowering the risk of kidney stones and heart disease, and decreases the risk of other diseases. Beer is made with natural ingredients including plant sources, so it is nutritional.  As far as vitamins and minerals go, beer has niacin, folate, calcium, potassium, and even fluoride! So when you flash that dazzling smile,  you can thank your local brewer!

But again, beer, like all alcohol, only has health benefits when consumed in moderation, so be mindful

A delicious classic beer to enjoy,

A delicious classic beer to enjoy,

when drinking. Grab some classic beer,  like Guinness, or go local, like I sometimes do when trying new neighborhood small brewries.   Start enjoying local influences in food, wine, and even beer when traveling.  Or grab some great local brews and support local entrepreneurs.  Bon Voyage!

 

This ‘n That

16 Jul

The weather is hot.  Summer is in full swing.  It is hot outside, and the air conditioning is blasting inside.  That adds up to one thing…time to take the cooking outside.  Fire up that grill!  Marinate and toss some tuna, chicken or tofu on the grill.  Cook a meal without heating up the house.  Oh, but wait.  There has to be a side dish to go with the delicious grilled food.  Hhhmm.  What is an easy cold refreshing summer side dish?  I have the answer and I just made it!  Try it!

Amy’s Summer Side Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced free onions including green tops
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped arugula
  • 1 cucumber peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 4 ounces feta cheese

Vinaigrette:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Mix vinaigrette and set aside.   In large bowl, combine quinoa through cheese.  Stir.  Add vinaigrette and stir to combine thoroughly.  Cover and refrigerate.  Next step..enjoy!

This is an easy recipe to quickly toss together as a side dish. I had the leftover salad for breakfast the following morning after my morning workout.  It is a nutrient packed salad, and the ingredients can be easily substituted with any veggies on hand. Toss in some of this, a little of that.  Make a this ‘n that salad!  So go ahead!  Keep the energy bills low and take the cooking outside.  Toss this fabulous cold salad together and enjoy!

 

Fresh summer side dish.  Yum!

Fresh summer side dish. Yum!

Salsa. Its not just for vegetables anymore!

21 Jul

That’s right.  I said it.  Hey, I love salsa and chips as much as the next guy, but with the bounty of beautiful summer fresh fruits, I just have to take my salsa recipe and change the ingredients from veggies to fruit.  I do this every summer.  My fresh fruit salsa is now a requested summer staple.  A salsa of any kind is usually raw cut or chopped vegetables or fruits.  Typically a salsa is used as a condiment.  It can also be used with corn chips as an appetizer or snack.

This fruit salsa is delicious with meats, but it is just great with corn chips too!  It has bold flavor, so a little goes a long way.  A flavorful salsa is easy to make, and extremely versatile.  It is easily customizable to suit your own personal flavors.  I make this fruit salsa with cilantro for a little kick, but I would substitute it if my mom was going to eat it.  She doesn’t like cilantro.  But that is the beauty of a recipe like this.  It is packed with flavor, has good nutrients, and is very colorful.  And so easy to alter to please your crowd!  Here it is.  But remember…I consider recipes a “jumping off point” if you will.  Recipes that I develop, like this one, can be changed to suit changing taste, available ingredients,  or budgets as often as your like!

Fresh Summer Salsa:

  • 1 cup chopped cantaloupe
  • 1 cup chopped honey dew melon
  • 2 freestone peaches, chopped
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 bunch chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper
  • 1 lime cut in half
  • pinch of salt

Mix everything except the lime together. Stir. Squeeze the fresh lime over the top.  Give the salsa another good stir  This is best if it sits for a few hours in the fridge before serving.  I have used this as a topping for grilled pork tenderloin and with low fat corn chips as a starter.  Go for it!  Grab up some fresh summer fruits and make a delicious salsa of your own!

Chop up some melons.  About a cup of each should do!

Chop up some melons. About a cup of each should do!

Next, chop up 2 peaches, mix with the melons and add the black berries.

Next, chop up 2 peaches, mix with the melons and add the black berries.

Toss in some diced red onion and some cilantro.

Toss in some diced red onion and some cilantro.

Give everything a good mix.  Then squeeze the fresh lime over it.  Give it another good stir and into the fridge it goes!

Give everything a good mix. Then squeeze the fresh lime over it. Give it another good stir and into the fridge it goes!