Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Five Healthier Alternatives to Your Favorite Junk Foods #Healthy2021 #healthysnacks #eatwell #healthyfood

Face it: most of us enjoy eating fast food now and then! While it's fine as an occasional treat, a steady diet of fast food is definitely not healthy. As part of my #Healthy2021 series, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing five healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. Making a few key changes can allow you to enjoy your favorite foods in a much healthier way. This article may contain affiliate links.

Did you know that 53% of men and 42% of women report eating fast food regularly? While junk food may be delicious and easy to consume, it also comes with a few negative consequences. Most of your favorite junk foods are classified as not so healthy due to specific unhealthy ingredients. Fortunately, you can easily replace unhealthy junk foods with healthier alternatives. Here are some ideas to get you started.

(1) Use Gluten-Free or Whole Wheat Flour for Your Pastries and Baked Foods

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Baked foods are generally high in fat and cholesterol. They also tend to be hard to digest due to their high gluten content. To make your baked foods healthier, you can replace the recipe's regular flour with gluten-free options like brown or white rice flour...and coconut flour. You can also replace butter and oil with lower-fat options to reduce fat and cholesterol.

(2) Healthier Snack Replacements

Research shows that cravings sometimes arise because the body needs particular nutrients it may be lacking. Healthy foods contain nutrients that our bodies search for in junk foods. For example, chocolate cravings usually occur because of a drop in a person's magnesium levels. Understanding this, you can consume raw nuts in place of chocolate to provide your body with needed magnesium. Low potassium levels can also result in a craving for potato chips and other salty foods. Bananas are a healthy source of potassium.

(3) Bake Instead of Frying 

Chicken wings are a go-to foods to enjoy while watching ballgames and binge watching TV shows. However, they may not be helping your waistline. Most people love the crispiness of wings, but traditional fried wings are high in unhealthy fat. A better option is to bake your chicken wings; they'll come out just as tasty, with all the flavors you know and love. You can also make cheese fries with a lowfat cheese sauce and bake your fries in an oven or air fryer instead of frying them.

(4) Replace Soda and Soft Drink Beverages 

The best replacement for soda and soft drinks is water. The transition to water may not sound great, because water does not give the same satisfaction as a fizzy, sweet beverage. Fortunately, this satisfaction can be achieved by using sparkling water. Simply squeeze in a bit of citrus or other fruit juice for a naturally sweet drink -- without chemicals and dyes, which are bad for the body.

(5) Choose Healthy Options for Pizza and Burgers

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When it comes to pizza, you can easily replace your regular crust with one made from cauliflower -- resulting in few carbs and calories. You can also make healthy burgers by using extra-lean ground beef or turkey breast as substitutes for fatty ground beef. To up the health quotient, finish the burger with a whole wheat bun. Even if you can't make whole wheat buns yourself from scratch, most grocery bakery sections sell them. Also try to buy the leanest ground beef you can find, then cook healthy burgers at home using a grill.

It's okay to occasionally treat yourself to your not-so-healthy cravings during your transition to healthier eating. That's because outright denial/deprivation in the beginning may actually cause you to return to eating junk food nonstop. The key is to create a healthy balance -- also known as moderation -- and know when to give yourself a treat while you still eat healthily overall.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Turning Your Foodie Passion Into a Business #foodielife #dowhatyoulove #findyourpassion #foodbusiness

Are you a food lover with a passion for creating delicious dishes? Then, you might be an ideal candidate to start a food-based business! Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing vital information regarding steps you should take to turn your passion for food into a business. This article may contain affiliate links.

It’s one thing being into the finest cuisine and all things gourmet...but it’s another to morph this passion for food into a business. With so many jobs being made redundant during this global pandemic, people are looking for new entrepreneur opportunities. That means some people have chosen to follow their passion for food in an effort to create a catering, street food. or restaurant business. Sound appealing to you? Think about how you can use your business acumen...and your culinary prowess...to become a food industry business owner.

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Develop a Business Plan

Like any new business, you need to have a solid plan. A business plan shouldn’t be generic. Instead, it should be a customized, well-reviewed working document. You need to focus on the financial forecasts for your business for at least the next three (3) years. This means looking closely at your business model. For example: Is your venture going to cater to external events...or are you going to be attached to a venue? Hone your business model and consider all potential risks you could face. Even the most successful startups in the world have to consider risks. It's how you mitigate the risk(s) that will enable you to seek outside investment. A generic business plan is meaningless, but a customized plan will help you streamline your vision and ethos you stand for.


Secure Funding

As a food business, you need to secure funding for your venture. This might mean an initial cash injection for your premises, staffing, or marketing. Think about venturing to a "business angel" and flaunting your knowledge of the food services industry. By knowing your sector, you're displaying a deeper understanding of your venture. If you're not familiar with the term, a business angel is an expert within their field who's willing to invest their own cash to startup businesses. Pitch your idea...and be sure to know your gross from your net. Be prepared to be scrutinized, and ensure you're enthusiastic and passionate about your business idea. Finally, ensure you can attract potential investors to secure the funding your food business requires.

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Your Food Product

After business acumen, you need to ensure you have a clear vision for your food product. Consider the food you love to cook and eat. F0r example: authentic food from your heritage is all the rage at the moment. Check out Instagram, and you'll notice fusion food is also on trend. If you don’t want to tied to one location, consider starting a mobile eatery/food truck. This approach will allow you to feed hungry crowds at food festivals, weddings, and corporate events. Doing so means you can be flexible with your business model -- and adapt your dishes based on instant feedback. If you're eager to develop your knowledge within the culinary field, think about attending a few foodie events. Identify what foods and process work...and which don’t? You can find great inspiration and implement successes you discover into your startup business.


If you've been struggling to figure out how to make your foodie business dream a reality, then the advice is a good place to get started. Be bold...and smart...and follow your entrepreneurial foodie dreams!



Celebrating National Popcorn Day...Featuring Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark #NationalPopcornDay #popcorn #toffee #gamedaysnack

 

Art from NationalDayCalendar.com
I am SO EXCITED that is January 19th is National Popcorn Day -- a day dedicated to celebrating one of our favorite snacks! Per information found at factretriever.com
Americans eat nearly 17 billion quarts of popcorn every year...an amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times! Further, 70% of popcorn sold in the U.S.  is eaten at home; the other 30% is eaten in theaters, stadiums, school, etc. When I saw a recipe for a quick popcorn-based toffee bark in Bon Appetit, it immediately caught my eye. I tweaked their recipe a bit to create my addicting Touchdown Popcorn Toffee Bark. With the NFL playoffs in full swing...and the Super Bowl on the horizon...this is a perfect recipe to have on hand for game day snacking!!

A crunchy graham cracker base is topped with popcorn and a few other tasty toppings. Before baking a quick homemade salted vanilla-cinnamon toffee is poured over the top. After a few minutes in the oven, the toffee is topped with a generous amount of semisweet and white chocolate chunks. After the bark cools, it's broken into pieces to serve. Trust me: this sweet-salty snack will score a touchdown with your hungry friends and family on game day...nobody can eat only one piece!

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Gearing Up for Game Day...Featuring Maxed Out Jalapeno Pepper Dip #gamedayfood #jalapenopopperdip #chipsanddip #spicy #appetizers


 January is officially time for the NFL playoff postseason...leading up to the Super Bowl Sunday on February 7th! Even though my Texans aren't in the playoffs this year, we're still watching most playoff games -- and it's much less stressful than watching your home team play! This year, playoff season means smaller at-home celebrations instead of typical larger watch parties...but one thing remains the same: game day food! At my house, we love eating appetizers when we watch sports. Today, I'm sharing my personal spin on a recent appetizer classic: jalapeno popper dip. There are tons of variations of this baked dip on the Internet, but I went there and added all sorts of fun ingredients to make my Maxed Out Jalapeno Popper Dip! The end result is smoky, cheesy...and has a mid-range amount of heat. Best of all? It takes minutes to mix up...and it can be made a day ahead and refrigerated until you're ready to heat and serve!

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Four Incredible Ways Your Smartphone Can Help Your Health #Healthy2021 #bewell #healthgoals

Thanks to the ongoing COVID pandemic, many of us are experiencing two phenomena simultaneously: (1) decreased overall fitness and health and (2) extra time spent on our smartphones and other devices. As The Weekend Gourmet correspondent shows today, it's easy to use that extra screen time in a positive manner to help promote our health while we're spending more time at home due to the pandemic. This #Healthy2021 article may contain affiliate links.

 

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Are you spending more time on your smartphone now that you have fewer tasks during the day? If so, does it help you pass the hours? If you're spending more time on your smartphone, there’s a good chance you’re worried about the amount of screen time you're using. After all, every study seems to indicate too much screen time is bad for your health and has zero benefits. Therefore, using your phone to regulate your well being -- both physically and mentally -- may seem counterintuitive. However, there are plenty of benefits smartphones offer that can outweigh potential negative outcomes. Sadly, not many people know about these benefits due to the intense focus on reducing the use of mobile devices. Yes, too much screen time is unhealthy. However, smartphone use is like anything: it has benefits when you use it reasonably. The key is determining which actions are helpful and which are harmful.


Regular Exercise

Spending extra time at home during the COVID pandemic has had a negative impact on some Americans. For example: before COVID, one-quarter of American men and women were getting the recommended weekly amount of exercise. During the pandemic, 32% of people sampled in a survey said they work out less now than they did before the virus hit last Spring. If you fall into this category, you need to find a way to get your blood pumping for the sake of your mind and body. That can be challenging when you can’t go outside as much, or if your local gym is closed. Your smartphone could be the answer to your dilemma! There are many workout-from-home apps that tailor fitness sessions to your home environment. For example: low-impact home exercise workouts are a great option you can perform anywhere in your house. All you need is a little bit of free space. Considering how much exercise helps the body...and the brain...it’s well worth using your smartphone to continue your exercise routine from home during the COVID pandemic.

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Medical ID

COVID has definitely put the fragility of life into perspective. Previously, you may have felt indestructible. Even if you didn’t, you probably weren’t as fearful for your physical wellbeing as you are now. COVID has shown that a single interaction can lead to contracting a very powerful illness that has resulted in wide-reaching side effects for millions of people. That means having a safety net in place for the worst case situation is paramount. Step forward to your iPhone! An iPhone 4 or better can turn into what's known as Medical ID. Essentially, you note everything from your medical conditions, allergies, and blood type to your emergency contacts. This vital data is then accessible to doctors and nurses, who can tap and hold the emergency button on your iPhone home screen to read all of your vital health information. You need an iPhone to take this action. As of March 2019, there were 193 million iPhones in the U.S., so there’s a healthy chance that you can utilize the Medical ID function.


Hearing Loss

Hearing loss -- no matter how small -- can be problematic. In normal times, hearing loss can make you feel lonely and isolated when you can’t do simple tasks like follow a group conversation with friends. However, during a pandemic -- when restrictions reduce the number of interactions you have -- emotions will intensify. Thankfully, hearing aids are able to help by magnifying the sounds your ears struggle to pick up. Even better, Bluetooth hearing aids connect to your handset to offer greater control and accountability. For instance, you have access to the volume buttons on your smartphone, meaning you don’t need to adjust the hearing aids themselves. You can also turn the volume up on your hearing aids without increasing the sound from your TV or portable speaker. As a result, the whole family can spend extended amounts of time together in peace. Lastly, running diagnostics on your smartphone enables you to easily maintain your hearing aids.

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Relaxation

Chilling out has never been more important than at this very moment. With all the bad news on TV and perhaps the feeling of impending doom getting closer, it’s crucial to wind down when you can. Your stress levels will bubble over if you don’t find a way to relieve the tension. Listening to music, watching videos, or scrolling through social media all have the potential to reduce your cortisol levels -- and these options are mainly available via smartphone apps.


Bottom line: you don’t have to worry excessively about your screen time spent doing constructive tasks -- since research highlights that people who use digital devices have better social and emotional skills. Of course, you should be mindful not to go too overboard with screen time, because everything is unhealthy in overly large doses.


Does your health need a boost? With a smartphone, you can do any of the above health-boosting tasks easily and consistently!


Hearing Loss: Four Things You Should Do In a Pandemic #hearingloss #hearinghealth #Healthy2021

Living with hearing loss is always difficult, but doing so during the current COVID quarantine requirements can be especially challenging! After years of procrastination, I finally started wearing hearing aids a little over a year ago. It's hard to overstate the difference this decision has made to my daily life -- it's literally one of the best decisions I've ever made. As part of my year-long #Healthy2021 series, today's feature is sharing four great strategies for dealing with hearing loss while practicing COVID social distancing. This article may contain affiliate links.

 

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If you suffer from hearing loss, you may have found that life in a pandemic isn’t a piece of cake. It’s not the sort of underlying health issue that puts your safety at risk, but it definitely isn’t pleasant. For one thing, hearing loss requires a lot of careful treatment and understanding, two features that aren’t available when health services are overwhelmed. Hearing loss side-effects can be incredibly damaging -- from making your hearing worse (maybe permanently) to exacerbating feelings of isolation and loneliness. The COVID lockdown down is tough enough without added pressure dealing with very real, prominent health issues. However, all is not lost! Experiencing hearing loss during a pandemic is challenging, but it isn’t a game changer -- especially if you heed the following advice. Here are four actions you can help to help your ear health and hearing.


(1) Preserve Your Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are excellent tools that make your lifestyle much easier by improving your ability to hear. Whether you turn the volume up or down, you're in control -- something that isn’t true when you rely solely on your unassisted hearing. However, hearing aids aren’t infallible, which means it’s essential to maintain them as much as possible. You should start by treating them with care. That means not putting them down on the nearest uncovered surface, because bacteria and dirt will build quickly. Once contaminants get under the case, hearing aids can malfunction. Instead, it’s important to put hearing aids back in their storage box and close the lid to provide an extra layer of protection. Don’t forget about the batteries either! To make your hearing aid batteries last longer, leave the battery door open when you're not using your hearing aids (i.e., when you're sleeping). This trick could stop the batteries from losing around 3% of their power every year. Taking care of your hearing aids is vital when you don’t have the option to see you audiologist due to COVID restrictions.

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(2) Wear a Mask

Most people are wearing masks indoors and outdoors to stop the spread of the COVID virus. However, a mask isn’t the only way to keep yourself and others safe when you’re in an enclosed space. Some people prefer to wear a balaclava or scarf. These options are workable backup plans in case you forget to bring a traditional face mask, but they aren’t ideal for people with hearing loss -- because any extra fabric around the ears can cause reduced hearing. This can make it difficult to understand what people are saying when you’re in a supermarket or store. Traditional masks connects to your face via two small, thin pieces of string. With these masks, there are no hearing obstacles to contend with.


(3) Cut Screen Time

At first thought, staring at a device screen isn’t necessarily bad for your ears. Excessive use of mobile devices won’t do your eyes any good...but it can also harm your hearing under specific situations. Mobile devices are potentially harmful to your ears if you use them to listen to music. Spotify and Apple Music have made streaming songs very straightforward, which is why Americans listened to music for more than four hours a day before the current health crisis. Stats show the use of streaming services is only going up, so you may find you’re using your earbuds and headphones more. High volume or pitch can lead to hearing damage, and a build-up of ear wax can make your predicament even worse. Therefore, it’s imperative to cut down on your mobile device usage if you spend a lot of the day using it to listen to music.

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(4) Reach Out

Don’t let your ego get in the way of your health! It can be considered rude to ask people to speak louder or repeat themselves. However, it may be the only way you can connect with your loved ones. If you let your hearing loss silence you, you may become another statistic of the loneliness epidemic that's occurring due to COVID. Your support network is likely much smaller due to social distancing restrictions. This is rough, but it’s even worse when you can’t hear the people you are able to interact with. Therefore, it’s essential to put your ego aside and reach out. If you’re self conscious, explain why you need those in your inner circle to repeat themselves. Not only will they understand, but they’ll likely be understanding, patient, and appreciative of your request.


You shouldn’t underestimate the impacts of hearing loss during an ongoing health pandemic like we're currently experiencing worldwide. If in doubt, contact a hearing specialist via remote channels to discuss your available treatment options.


Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Low-Cost Tips for Healthy Living #Healthy2021 #healthyliving #livewellsavemoney #costsavings

It's a new year...so many of us are taking steps to lead a healthy, fit lifestyle. However, many people believe that eating healthy and getting physically fit has to cost a great deal of money. That's simply not true! By implementing a few key cost-saving measures, everyone can eat healthier and become more fit. In my latest #Healthy2021 feature, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing some excellent tips to save money on healthy food and fitness. This article may contain affiliate links.

 

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People often assume that living a healthy lifestyle is costly...but it doesn’t have to be! If the thought of expensive fresh produce or costly gym memberships is getting you down, you’ll be excited to know that living healthily doesn’t have to mean blowing your budget. To embrace a new way of life in 2021 and enjoy optimal well-being, take a look at the following low-cost tips for healthy living.

(1) Switch to Frozen Fruits and Veggies

Buying fresh produce can be a great way to improve your diet, but the costs can add up quite quickly. Fresh fruit or vegetables can go bad relatively quickly, which means you may end up wasting more food than you actually consume. Frozen fruits and vegetables are a great alternative. When they’re frozen straight after being picked, frozen produce retains their vitamins and minerals -- so you can get the same health benefits as buying them fresh. Further, frozen produce can last for weeks or months at a time, so you won’t need to worry about them going bad before you can eat them.

(2) Access Reduced-Cost Healthcare

If you’re on a reduced income, access to low-cost healthcare can be an effective way to take care of your health. Many physicians offer fees on a sliding scale, which means you’ll be charged based on your income and savings. You can alternately inquire if you can spread the cost of healthcare services via a payment plan. With an interest-free repayment plan, you won’t necessarily pay more overall...but you will be able to stagger a series of scheduled payments to match your funding availability.

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(3) Exercise at Home

Throughout 2020, we saw just how effective at-home exercise can be. That means giving up your gym membership can be a great way to save money. With plenty of free and low-cost virtual workouts to explore, you can create customized workouts at a fraction of the cost of going to the gym. Taking this approach further, investing in home exercise equipment can also be more cost-effective than paying for an expensive gym membership. If you have the space, consider dedicating an area of your home to fitness...and start creating your own custom routines.

(4) Take Out Medical Insurance

With the right medical insurance, you’ll have peace of mind that you’ll be able to access funding for medical appointments and treatments -- if and when you require them. Many U.S. employers offer their employees health insurance as part of their benefit plans. You can also opt to take out private medical insurance or secure insurance from the Health Insurance Marketplace. Other government-run insurance programs -- like Medicare and Medicaid -- can be a viable way of accessing health insurance. Before you purchase any health insurance policy -- or join a program -- it’s important to ensure you have the right level of coverage. For example: if you want to access financial aid for hearing aids, dental treatment, and eye health, you may need particular add-ons or policy extensions. Further, choosing a high level of coverage could reduce your deductibles, so weigh the pros and cons of every option before you decide which one is right for you.

(5) Start Meal Prepping

Cooking from scratch allows you to enjoy many healthy meals, but it can also be time-consuming and costly. If you buy fresh ingredients to prepare dinner every day, for example, you’re probably spending more money than you need to. By prepping your meals for the week in advance , you can reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen and cut your food budget too. Thinking strategically about your diet and weekly meal plan allows you to make healthy choices and minimize spending -- which makes it the perfect low-cost way to improve your health.

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(6) Use Different Cuts of Meat

If you’re a meat eater, you can reduce your grocery bill by experimenting with different, less-expensive cuts of meat. For example, chicken thighs typically cost less than chicken breasts...and chuck steak is more budget-friendly than sirloin. By adjusting your cooking methods and also trying new recipes, you can enjoy a whole new repertoire of meals -- while also saving money.

(7) Boost Your Health On a Budget

If you’ve been feeling unmotivated about your health and fitness plan because of your budget, there’s no need to be! Although some aspects of a healthy lifestyle can be expensive, you don’t need a lot of money to live healthily. In fact, incorporating healthy habits into your regular routine can save you a considerable amount of money in the long run. By thinking outside the box, exploring new options, and learning more about nutrition and fitness, you can find cost-effective and sustainable ways to live a healthier and happier lifestyle.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Delicious Eating Plans That Can Boost Your Health #healthyeating #eathealthy #Healthy2021

Every January...like clockwork...most people's focus changes from holiday indulgence to losing weight and getting healthy! After a crazy 2020, these changes seem to be more popular than ever as 2021 starts. Everyone wants to lose weight and maximize their health...but deprivation is a huge turnoff. Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing the first in this year's #Healthy2021 features...focusing on four eating plans that let you enjoy tasty foods while still losing weight and optimizing your health. This post may contain affiliate links.

We all understand that what we eat has a profound effect on our health and wellbeing. The problem is that many of us also get a great deal of pleasure and enjoyment from food, which means changing or restricting what we eat can be a challenge. Fortunately, some eating plans allow us to indulge in delicious food and still maximize our health! Keep reading to find out more information about these four dietary options.

Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is certainly a treat for anyone looking to maximize their health and overall eating experience. After all, it promotes a diet rich in fish, poultry, veggies and fruits, grains, legumes, and virgin olive oil. 

 

You can even indulge in a few glasses of red wine each night, which has been proven to be excellent for the cardiovascular system. Indeed! One of the biggest draws for people vacationing in the Mediterranean is the delicious food they get to sample while visiting there. Delicious and healthy is a great combination! 


Keto Diet 

The next dietary option is to go keto. The Ketogenic "keto" diet is all about reducing starchy carb-laden foods while upping your intake of fats and protein. The great thing about this is that foods that are high in protein and fat can be incredibly delicious. For example, a totally acceptable meal on the keto diet is a meaty pork chop -- with the fat left on for extra flavor -- finished in creamy blue cheese sauce. The pork chop would be served with non-starchy vegetables like leeks and broccoli on the side. It's worth noting that there are different approaches to doing the keto diet. Some choose to eat processed food like cured meats and cheeses, which can contain excess sodium. Others prefer a clean keto approach, which focuses on whole foods, good fats, and more scratch cooking. The latter approach allows you to eat great tasting food -- but also takes care of your health and wellbeing in the long term. 


Raw Food Diet 

You may not currently consider raw fruits and vegetables the most delicious eating option, but a week or two eating the raw food diet can really change your mind! After all, consuming raw fruits and vegetables is the way humans originally ate. Most of us are used to the taste of cooked and processed food. However, many people who take a more mindful approach to what they eat report that the subtle flavors and complexity of raw fruits and vegetables are more exciting than the overpowering tastes of cooked alternatives. 

 

Vegan Diet 

Finally, when it comes to delicious and healthy meals, why not consider a vegan approach? This is a way of eating that eliminates all meat, fish, and other animal products like eggs and dairy. However, that doesn't mean that you can't cook and eat some wonderfully exciting dishes on this plan! For example, consider vegan sausage rolls, Asparagus & lemon spaghetti with peas, and even Beet & Red Onion Tarte Tatin. 


Monday, January 11, 2021

Three Ways to Find New Recipes In 2021 #recipes #newfood2021 #upyourcookinggame

In 2020, many people used the extra time spent at home during COVID social distancing to improve their cooking and baking skills -- homemade breadmaking even caused a shortage of yeast on many grocery shelves! The end result was that many people are entering 2021 with a newfound love of cooking! These people may wonder where to find new, proven recipes to try. In addition to the recipes found here at The Weekend Gourmet, today's feature shares a trio of go-to sources for finding new recipes to whip up in your home kitchen. This feature may contain affiliate links.

 

Image credit: pexels.com


Face it...thanks to COVID-19 quarantine requirements, 2020 was essentially a stay-at-home year. Although it's now a new year, the stay-at-home rule seems to be continuing into 2021. If you took up cooking as a hobby during the 2020 COVID lockdown, you may be hoping to continue developing your skills and trying new recipes in 2021...and beyond! Even if your routine is starting to return to normal, you can keep enhancing your cooking skills...and maintain your awesome cooking sessions at home! Some people become stuck in a cycle of making the same dishes over and over. Demanding career and family routines can get in the way of experimenting with new foods and recipes, so you begin to repeat the same five-meal cycle over and over again. If you feel stuck in this rut, here are three greats ways to find delicious new recipes in 2021!


(1) Utilize Instagram

Instagram is definitely one of the best sources for finding new recipes. Many chefs and food channels post recipes to Instagram in both video and text form, making it easy for any level of cook to follow along. You can scroll through your Instagram with the tag #recipe and find dozens of delicious, easy recipes to make throughout 2021. These recipes will range between in difficulty between easy and hard, different types of cuisine, and dietary requirements. Two great Instagram accounts to follow are @deliciouslyella and @mobkitchen -- for veggie and vegan recipes in particular!


(2) Discover Local Food Bloggers 

If you want your recipes to come from a specific cuisine or locale, why not get specific? You can find food bloggers local to your area -- or ANY area -- or specific to any cuisine you enjoy. You can access these blogs via a search engine; you can also use social media to find bloggers who inspire you to cook more and try new recipes! Not only will local food bloggers like Barrio Queen create gorgeous recipes for you to try, they might also review local restaurants for you to visit and find even more cooking inspiration! Food bloggers -- including myself --are typically regular people with a passion for cooking, just like you! This means they provide accessible, simple recipes for you to follow when cooking for the whole family. Finally, food bloggers often provide recipes with varying preparation times, meaning you can pick ones that best fit with your schedule!


(3) Ask Friends and Family

There’s nothing like a family recipe that's been passed down through generations to really warm your heart...and your belly! Even if you don’t come from a particularly culinary family, there are bound to be a few recipes that have been passed down so you can learn. If you have children, teaching them cherished family dishes is a great way to keep family traditions alive in the next generation. For example: in my family, we make my maternal great grandmother's signature yeast rolls for our holiday meals. This is a great way to honor tradition, while discovering something new to cook that you may have enjoyed eating as a child! Finally, you can ask friends who love to cook if they have any recommended recipes. There are so many places to source for new cooking inspiration...if you only look hard enough!


Overall, cooking is a fabulous hobby that can nourish your body...and your soul. So, make sure to keep up your cooking skills in 2021 -- and beyond! Doing so will yield great rewards as you feed yourself and your family delicious new recipes.


Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Simple Ways to Use Maca Root In Your Diet #healthyeating #macaroot #eatbetterlivebetter #focusonwellness

It's a new year, so many people are focusing on incorporating new health goals starting this month! Have you tried maca root? If not, you should definitely consider incorporating this natural plant-based supplement to your eating plan. It provide a nutty, earthy flavor to smoothies and other recipes...and it claims to boost energy and endurance. Today, The Weekend Gourmet correspondent is sharing five great ways to incorporate maca root in your daily diet. This article may contain affiliate links. Please keep in mind that I'm NOT a medical professional, so make sure to get your personal doctor's approval before adding ANY new supplement to your diet.

Image by Pixabay


It's a new year...2021 is here, and it is a time for us all to make positive changes to our lives! Sadly, the COVID pandemic is still at large...but we can look forward to the promise of a brighter year. One key step anyone can make is to take proactive changes to get healthy and strong. Maca root is a plant that can be used for many different purposes, and it boasts numerous positive benefits for the body. Maca is incredibly nutritious and packed with vital nutrients our bodies needs to thrive. Many around the world use Maca in whole or powdered form in their diet. Maca has a nutty, earthy taste. Many people use it in a range of recipes to add an extra punch of nutrition to their meals. Today, we're sharing some of the meals you can make using Maca root. 


(1) Add Maca to Your Morning Smoothie 

When talking about maca and maca root benefits, one of the main ways people like to add maca to their diets is via a scoop of maca powder added to their morning smoothie. Here's a great smoothie recipe to get you started. 


Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • 1 Tbs maca powder 
  • 1 tsp cacao

  • 1 handful pitted dates
  • 1 handful fresh raspberries
  • 1 Tbs chocolate protein powder 

  • Ice


Blend until smooth for a sweet, healthy start to your
morning. 

(2) Make an Açai Bowl 

If you're looking for a new way to eat your fruit and vegetables during the day, an açai bowl is the perfect answer! Açai berries are packed with vitamins and minerals, making this bowl a perfect refreshing breakfast or lunchtime treat on a busy working day. 


Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen açai berries
  • 1/2 cup frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, berries etc,)
  • ½ banana
  • 1 Tbs yogurt

  • 1 Tbs coconut shavings

  • 1 Tbs mixed nuts or seeds 
  • 1 Tbs maca root powder

  • Fresh fruit for garnish

  1. In a blender, mix açai berries, frozen fruit, banana, yogurt, and maca root powder until smooth and thick. 
  2. Pour the mixture into a bowl and top with the rest of the ingredients.
This is a brilliant healthy lunch for anyone that provides a burst of energy -- along with essential vitamins and minerals -- that will last for the rest of the day.

(3) Create Your Own Healthy Frappuccino 

There’s nothing better than a good cup of coffee in the morning. However, hen you're trying to be healthier, you may feel like you can’t enjoy your favorite drinks. However, this healthier version of a frappuccino is the ideal start to a productive day that won’t pile on the pounds.


Ingredients

  • Handful of dates, pitted and soaked in hot water
  • 1/4 cup espresso
  • 1 cup Ice 

  • 1 cup milk alternative (oat is a good choice)

  • 1 Tbs maca root powder 

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbs honey or agave

  • 1 tsp cocoa powder

  • Coconut whipping cream 


  1. Blend the ice, espresso, milk, dates, cocoa powder, and maca root until thick and smooth. Taste for sweetness, and add honey or agave as needed. 

  2. Once you're happy with the taste, add to your favorite glass and top with sweetened whipped cream.


(4) Add Maca to Infused Water

There are many brilliant ways to use roots for your health. Ginger is great for improving circulation, turmeric is used for joints, and maca root is used for performance and mood. To add a dose of maca to your day as soon as you wake up, take the following steps. Source whole maca root, which can be chopped into small pieces. Then add the maca a pitcher of water that also contains sliced lemon and strawberries...for a simple detox drink to start your day off right. 


(5) Make a Maca Mousse

A fun way to spice up your meals with a sweet treat is to make a healthier mousse you can enjoy after your meal. For this, you'll need the liquid from a can of chickpeas (aka aquafaba) maca root, and a few other simple ingredients. 


Ingredients

  • 1 cup aquafaba
  • 1 tsp lemon juice 
  • 1 Tbs maca root powder 
  • 5 ounces dark vegan chocolate, chopped or chips

  • 1 Tbs cane sugar


  1. Melt the chocolate safely by placing it in a bowl over a pan with simmering water. NOTE: Ensure the water does NOT touch the chocolate!! Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool. 

  2. Drain the chickpeas to access the liquid -- aka aquafaba; add lemon juice to the aquafaba to stabilize it. 

  3. Use an electric mixer to whip the aquafaba to stiff peaks. This will take a few minutes. but it's vital to the success of the recipe. 

  4. Carefully add the sugar as you continue to whip, ensuring there is no movement in the whipped aquafaba. 

  5. Pour in the melted chocolate and maca root powder to the whipped aquafaba, and stir to combine. Chill the mixture in the fridge for a few hours to thicken...garnish each serving with a fresh raspberry!