Friday, March 12, 2010

Oriental Gingered Vegetables

Oriental Gingered Vegetables

        I had made this meal for dinner tonight and it was so amazing that I had to share it. This is a vegetarian meal that I served with a side of wheat couscous with a stirfry of green onions, carrots, broccoli, and ginger. I calculated the cost of all the ingredients and it is less than $10 for this meal with plenty of vegetables left over to make more. Including prep time, this recipe only took me about 30 minutes to make. It's healthy, affordable, quick, easy, and delicious; there is no down side to this recipe. Enjoy!

1c sliced green beans

1c broccoli florets

1c thinly sliced carrots

1c sliced asparagus

1c thinly sliced mushrooms

1/2 c julienned sweet red peppers

1 Tbs peeled minced gingerroot (I used ½ tsp fresh ground ginger)

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbs Sesame oil

1 Tbs low-sodium soy sauce (I used Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids)

*Steam the beans, broccoli, carrots, and asparagus until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

* In a large, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, sauté the mushrooms, peppers, ginger, and garlic in the oil until light brown, about 3 minutes.

* Add the steamed vegetables and soy sauce. Stir fry for 1 to 2 minutes.

* Enjoy!

Note: I used fresh vegetables for this recipe and that greatly effects the flavor. If you are concerned about the affordability of fresh vegetables then please read my blog Tips for Spending Less on Produce.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Natural Ways to Beat the Flu Blues

It's that time again! Tis the season to be stuck in the house with yet another nasty cold. Here are some ways of beating the flu blues and getting back on your feet naturally.

Drink Plenty of Liquids

Your body uses more water when you are sick because it flushes out your lymphatic system that helps your immune system to work; therefore, you need to drink more fluids to help provide your body with the necessary water it requires to get you feeling better. Dehydration could become a problem if you are not getting enough, as well.

Don't Only Rest

Rest is good in a small degree, but spending most of your time sleeping and lounging around the house is actually bad for you. A few minutes outside a day can do wonders if you have a cold, and being active causes your lymphatic system to be more productive in fighting off your illness. Sweating is another way of ridding your body of toxins; therefore, moderate movement can be helpful.

Steam and Eucalyptus

This makes for a wonderful combination! I recommend putting a few drops of eucalyptus oil into a warm bath and soaking in it or putting a small amount in a vaporizer in your room while you sleep. It can also be applied to your chest and under your nose and throat; this is a soothing affect that will also help break up some of the mucus. If you are having a hard time sleeping because your nose is stuffed up, you can apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a warm washcloth and let it rest over your nose and mouth while you fall asleep.

Say No to Drugs

Unless you or your child has a fever that is steadily increasing to dangerous levels then I suggest you try the natural approach before medicine becomes necessary. Medicine only serves to treat the symptoms rather than the whole illness, so you're not doing very much by feeding yourself pain reliever and fever reducer. As long as you maintain a healthy immune system, it will work hard to fight off this illness quicker; give your body the chance to fend for itself before deciding to take medicine.

Here are a few suggestions for naturally treating those irritating flu symptoms.


Fever is your body's natural reaction to fighting off illness, and it is a good sign that your system is working properly; granted temperatures above 104 degrees needs to be watched closely to ensure that there is not a more serious illness. Here is a website that tells a little more about fevers if you are still concerned Since high fevers can be painful, I recommend reaching for the vinegar instead of the Tylenol since vinegar can help to actually draw out the infection versus treating the symptoms. Take a warm (not hot) bath with about 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar and soak in it for about 20 minutes then rinse. You may also soak a washcloth and your socks in vinegar water and rest with the washcloth over your forehead while wearing the socks on your feet; sounds odd but it does help.

For Sore Throats

There are a few options that you can try to help to alleviate a sore throat. Honey is very good in coating a sore throat and it tastes wonderful. Take one teaspoon by itself or you can put it into some hot tea for an added soothing trick. Hot liquids are wonderful for soothing a sore throat. You may try tea and honey, hot water and lemon, or mix all three! Green Tea and chamomile are wonderful choices of tea when you are sick because they have a powerful soothing aroma and they taste great. Another trick is to gargle with a little bit of salt water; add just enough that you can taste it but it shouldn't be like gargling the Dead Sea.

Ear Infection

This can become dangerous if an ear infection goes untreated for a long period of time; they are usually a result of an upper respiratory infection and are a common flu symptom. Here is a link to an eHow that explains all the steps to naturally get rid of an ear infection and it starts to work almost immediately

Chicken Soup for Your Health

Chicken soup is great when you're sick, but try to stay away from those high priced, high sodium, bad for you soups that are in your grocery store. Most soups today have high levels of sodium regardless if they say that they are reduced or not. Also, the ingredients in most soups are so highly processed that they aren't even healthy any longer. Here is a link to a recipe that I came up with for wonderful homemade chicken noodle soup.


It's no secret that vitamin C is good for you, but getting your nutrients from the source is a lot better than those concentrated ones that you get from the store. Juice your own or eat it plain, either way an orange works well with boosting your immune system as well as making a tasty treat.


The best form of protection from the flu is prevention through eating right and exercising. While the flu may be inevitable sometimes, your recovery depends on how well you've been taking care of yourself. Drink plenty of fluids regardless of how well you feel and try to stay away from a lot of sugar and salt that breaks down your immune system.

Tips for spending less on produce

The biggest reason that people do not eat healthy is primarily because of the high cost of produce. While it does cost a little more to live healthier, it is still a great investment. I provided a few tips on some ways that you can try to save money by buying more natural foods.

* I will always suggest the local farmer's market as the best bet because you are guaranteed freshness and the prices are significantly more affordable. As an added bonus, you interact with the farmers yourself so you may ask questions regarding how the plants were grown and harvested.
* Grow a small garden yourself; if you stick to simple plants such as tomatoes and green beans then that will save you a little bit of money during the months that they are in season. You may even have enough to share with neighbors and friends. It is not difficult to grow your own garden and you will save a little money in the process.
* Check out your local health food store. While a majority of the items in a health store are highly priced, some may offer sales at certain times in the month. Ask if they have any ads that display items that are on sale or ask if they have any specials or discounts. Especially find out when they get new produce and breads in. Because everything is natural and free from preservatives, a lot of items can't stay on their shelves for long so they lower the prices to get rid of them before they spoil.
* Buying fresh produce from the grocery store is not always as nutritious as people may believe. If fruits and vegetables have to be transported from great distances then the nutritional content of that produce is less than that of freshly picked produce. For this reason, frozen fruits and vegetables are sometimes better choices. Most of the frozen produce was picked and then immediately frozen to maintain freshness. The purity of the produce is maintained greater during the freezing process. It's also easy to prepare and you may use as much as you like and store the rest. It will save you money because you won't have to constantly throw away the produce that goes bad.
* If you are buying from the grocery store, then try to shop between Monday and Wednesday because the grocery stores tend to restock around the middle of the week and prices go up closer to the weekend. Always check your sale ads and it pays to have a membership card for items that go on sale to valued customers. I also checked out a website that compares prices of local store items that go on sale in your area. It's and all you need to do is input your zip code and choose the stores that you would like to browse. I called one of my stores to verify the prices and they were all correct. If you are in doubt, call ahead so you don't waste a trip.

It's easy to be seduced by the inexpensive canned fruits and vegetables; however, they offer no nutritional value because of the sodium and other preservatives. Anything that is heavily processed will only cause more harm then good which is why eating fresh fruits and vegetables will benefit your health greatly. Not to mention, fresh produce tastes a lot better too!