Spicy Shredded Pork Tacos

Pulled Pork Tacos (7 points for 2 tacos)
3 oz pulled pork (4 points)
2 small tortillas (3 points)
salsa (o points)

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Ingredients:

4-7 lb. pork shoulder

1 onion, quartered

1 tsp. chili powder or (2.5 habeneros without seeds – excellent flavor)

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. ground cumin

¼ cup brown sugar

3-4 garlic cloves

1-2 tbsp. salt

ground pepper

3 tbsp. olive oil

2-3 tbsp. white wine vinegar

1 1/3 cups water (I’ve reduced it to ¾ cup because I end up with too much liquid in my clay pot if I do 1 1/3 cups).

Directions:

Rinse and pat dry the pork shoulder. (I also cut the pork shoulder into sections so it’s easier to pull apart later and so that it fits better in my clay pot)

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In blender/food processor:

Combine the onion, spices, brown sugar, garlic, salt and pepper to taste in the bowl of a food processor.  Add the olive oil and white wine vinegar.  Blend mixture until totally combined.

Pour over the pork shoulder.  Rub over the whole surface of the pork, being sure to cover any folds or crevices.

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Place the pork in a Dutch oven, roasting pan, or clay pot and add the water to the pan.  Cover tightly and roast at 300° for several hours, turning once every hour (I never turn it and it’s fine).  When it is fork tender turn the heat up to 425°, remove the lid, and roast skin-side up for 15-20 more minutes until crispy (I don’t do this either because I’m not that into the dried-out crispy pork).  Let rest 15 minutes.

Shred the pork shoulder using two forks.  Pour some of the juice from cooking over the shredded meat to keep it moist.  Serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges, sour cream and pico de gallo/salsa. (I’ve also served it with queso fresco and crema fresca)

Recipe from Annie’s Eats: http://annieseats.wordpress.com/2008/09/30/spicy-shredded-pork/

Groupon from E-Meals for 12 months of meal plans!

  • $29 for 12 months of weekly online dinner plans (a $58 value)
  • $39 for 12 months of weekly online lunch and dinner plans (a $106 value)
  • $49 for 12 months of weekly online breakfast, lunch, and dinner plans (a $142 value)

eMeals offers several types of meal plans from Paleo, Low Fat, to Gourmet.  I’m thinking about getting the 12 month Paleo plan… get myself into shape from all the Holiday eating.

New Year, New You – Are You Eating These 10 Healthiest Foods?

1. Fermented Vegetables

Fermented, or cultured, vegetables are teeming with essential enzymes and good bacteria needed for optimal digestion and they are easier to digest than raw or cooked vegetables. When you eat raw cultured vegetables loaded with enzymes, you give your body an opportunity to use its bodily stores of enzymes to rejuvenate itself instead of exhausting them trying to digest overly processed and otherwise dead food. Cultured foods also offer a multitude of medicinal rewards by:

  • Alleviating digestive disorders – the flora in living cultured foods form a “living shield” that covers your small intestine’s inner lining and resists pathogenic organisms like Escherichia coli, Salmonella and an unhealthy overgrowth of yeast
  • Strengthening immunity with increased antibodies that fight off infectious disease
  • Helping pregnant and nursing mothers transfer beneficial bacteria to their infants
  • Effectively impacting the behavior of children with autism,ADD/ and ADHD
  • Regulating weight and appetite by reducing cravings for sugar, soft drinks, bread and pasta — all foods I strongly advise against

Fermented foods are also among some of the best chelators available. The beneficial bacteria in these foods are very potent detoxifiers, capable of drawing out a wide range of environmental toxins, including pesticides and and heavy metals. And you don’t need to consume huge amounts either. Caroline Barringer recommends eating about a quarter to a half a cup of fermented vegetables, or cultured food such as raw yoghurt, per day. In the following video, she discusses the process of fermenting your own vegetables in some detail, so for more information, please listen to that interview.

2. Kale

Kale contains fiber and antioxidants, and is one of the best sources of vitamin A, which promotes eye and skin health and may help strengthen your immune system. A one-cup serving has almost as much vitamin C as an orange and as much calcium as a cup of milk. It’s simply an excellent source of multiple vitamins and other nutrients.

3. Kefir and Other Fermented Beverages

Kefir is a fermented milk beverage that contains beneficial probiotics that may help give your immune system a boost, amongother health benefits. One of the best and least expensive ways to get healthy bacteria through your diet is actually to obtain raw milk and convert it to kefir yourself. All you need is one-half packet of kefir starter granules in a quart of raw milk, which you leave at room temperature overnight. By the time you wake up in the morning you will likely have kefir. If it hasn’t obtained the consistency of yogurt you might want to set it out a bit longer and then store it in the fridge.

A quart of kefir has far more active bacteria than you can possibly purchase in any probiotic supplement, and it is very economical as you can reuse the kefir from the original quart of milk about 10 times before you need to start a new culture pack. Just one starter package of kefir granules can convert about 50 gallons of milk to kefir. This is also a far healthier, and far more economical, way to nourish your body with probiotics than buying any of the commercial probiotic beverages on the market, as these typically contain added sugars and are made using pasteurized milk, which I don’t recommend drinking.

Kombucha, a fermented drink, is another great addition to your diet. The key is variety. The greater the variety of fermented and cultured foods you include in your diet, the better, as each food will inoculate your gut with a variety of different beneficial microorganisms.

4. Sardines

These tiny fish are packed with omega-3 fats, which are excellent for your heart, brain, mood and more, and vitamin D. And, because of their lower position on the food chain, they don’t accumulate as many toxins, such as mercury, PCBs and dioxin, as larger fish do, making them among the safest fish you can eat.

5. Whey Protein Concentrate

Whey protein, a by-product of cheese production, was promoted for its health benefits as early as 420 B.C. As you age, your body gradually loses its ability to produce critical amino acids — the essential proteins you need for energy production, immune actions and protein buildup in your muscle. Therefore, the need to supplement with these amino acids increases with age, and increases even more in times of high physical stress, like after a workout, or when recovering from injury or illness.

Whey protein concentrate (not to be confused with the far inferior whey protein isolate) is an ideal choice as it’s a rich source of highly bioavailable amino acids that many are unaware of.

6. Organic Pastured Eggs (Raw)

While many people do eat eggs, many neglect to eat them raw, which is the healthiest way. Raw free-range or “pastured” eggs are an excellent source of high-quality nutrients that many people are deficient in, especially high-quality protein and fat.

A single egg contains:

  • Nine essential amino acids
  • One of the highest quality proteins you can find. Proteins are nutrients that are essential to the building, maintenance and repair of your body tissues such as your skin, internal organs and muscles. They are also the major components of your immune system and hormones
  • Lutein and zeaxanthin (for your eyes)
  • Choline for your brain, nervous- and cardiovascular systems
  • Naturally occurring B12

Why is raw better? Heating the egg protein actually changes its natural biochemical shape, and this distortion can easily lead to allergies. If you consume your eggs in their raw state, the incidence of egg allergy virtually disappears. Eating eggs raw also helps preserve many of the highly perishable nutrients such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which are powerful prevention elements for age-related macular degeneration, which is the most common cause of blindness.

Fresh raw egg yolk actually tastes like vanilla, in my opinion. The egg white is usually what most people object to when they say they don’t like the texture of raw egg. If this is an issue, consider blending the whole raw egg into a shake or smoothie.

Beware of consuming raw egg whites without the yolks as raw egg whites contain avidin, which can bind to biotin. If you cookthe egg white the avidin is not an issue. Likewise, if you consume the whole raw egg (both yolk and egg white) there is more than enough biotin in the yolk to compensate for the avidin binding.

If you choose not to eat your eggs raw, soft-boiled would be your next best option. Scrambling your eggs is one of the worstways to eat eggs as it actually oxidizes the cholesterol in the egg yolk. If you have high cholesterol this may actually be a problem for you as the oxidized cholesterol may cause some damage in your body.

7. Organic Coconut Oil

Often shunned for its high saturated fat content, the naturally occurring saturated fat found in coconut oil has some spectacular health benefits such as promoting heart health, weight loss, immune system health, thyroid function and more. Half of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid—a fat rarely found in nature—that could easily qualify as a “miracle” ingredient because of its unique health promoting properties. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-protozoa properties.

And, because your body sends medium-chain fatty acids like those in coconut oil directly to your liver to use as energy, this makes coconut oil a powerful source of instant energy to your body, a function usually served in the diet by simple carbohydrates.

Coconut oil is also the ideal choice for all types of cooking. In fact, it’s the only oil stable enough to resist mild heat-induced damage. So, whenever you need an oil to cook or bake with, use coconut oil instead of butter, olive oil, vegetable oil, margarine, or any other type of oil called for in recipes.Even though I don’t fully recommend frying foods, if you must fry, by all means use coconut oil — it’s your smartest choice.

8. Avocado

Also shunned by many due to their fat content, avocados are actually incredibly healthy for this very reason. Healthy raw fat is a nutrient many are severely deficient in. I eat a whole avocado nearly every day. Avocados also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including:

  • Fiber
  • Potassium (more than twice the amount found in a banana)
  • Vitamin E
  • B-vitamins
  • Folic acid

9. Raw Grass-Fed Butter

Another type of healthy fat that many people do not eat is butter made from raw organic grass-fed milk. I typically eat about a half-pound to a pound of raw organic grass-fed butter per week, as it’s an excellent source of high-quality nutrients.

10. Pomegranate

The primary source of this fruit’s benefits is its antioxidant content, particularly ellagitannin compounds like punicalagins and punicalins, which account for about half of the pomegranate’s antioxidant ability. The juice and pulp of pomegranates have previously been studied for their potential heart- and joint health benefits.

Aim to incorporate as many of these foods into your diet on a daily or weekly basis as you can, and you’ll be off to a great nutritional start.

From Dr. Mercola

Raw cooking classes at Sun Cafe

Sun Cafe posted the menus for their January classes and it looks oh so yummy.  Last year I took a class on raw breakfast foods and learned how to make proper almond milk that I make to this day.  The classes are $49/class but they offer multi-class discounts.  Contact Sun Cafe.
JANUARY 5 – RAW FOOD BASICS – Healthiest foods, easy meals, equipment
* Nut & Seed Pate (mock chick salad recipe)
* Cheeses (walnut cheddar recipe)
* Sauces (Sunflower Mayo recipe)
* Raw Brownie
* Dehydration (Flax cracker recipe)
* Smoothies (Green)
JANUARY 12 – FILLING RAW FOOD RECIPES
* Herb Sunflower Hummus
* Stuffed Mushrooms or Peppers
* Raspberry Cheesecake
JANUARY 19 – MEXICAN CUISINE
* Avocado Cilantro Soup
* Taco Meat
* Flan w/Date Caramel Sauce

GROUPON – Cooking classes at Raw Done Tastefully in Marina Del Rey

Groupon has a great deal on a cooking class at Raw Done Tastefully.  You can get one 3-hour class for one for $48 and one 3-hour class for 2.  If you partner or friend is into Raw cooking it sure makes a fun activity to do together.

You have to be a member of groupon or sign up for it to get the deal.  Retrieve the Groupon here.  Enjoy!

Baked Chicken with Spinach, Pears and Blue Cheese

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 4 cups (1 large bunch) loosely packed spinach (not baby), washed, dried, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ripe Anjou pears, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 cup blue cheese crumbles
Method:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Generously season each chicken breast with salt and pepper. In a large, oven-proof skillet heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear breasts 2 to 3 minutes each side until lightly golden. Place pan in oven and bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and sauté red onion until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add spinach and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a large platter or divide evenly between 4 plates. Wipe out pan and heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil with vinegar. Add pears and gently heat until warm. Stir in parsley. Arrange cooked chicken breasts on spinach. Top with warmed pear slices and about 2 tablespoons blue cheese per breast.

Nutritional Info:
PER SERVING:380 calories (200 from fat), 22g total fat, 27g saturated fat, 95mg cholesterol, 640mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 34g protein

Organic Skincare by Sprout

 

sprout

 

I’ve been using Neutrogena skincare products for many years but always in the back of my mind wondered how “natural” these products really were.  Then while recently reading Oprah’s favorites for 2012, I discovered Sprout, a truly all-natural, sustainable skincare.  Sprout is no-frills skincare: super-simple blends of whole, high-potency ingredients. They choose organic, fair trade or small-farm sources—healthier for customers, communities, and the planet.

The Brooklyn based founder, Adina, makes the products fresh each week with five or less ingredients that you could find in your kitchen.  Not to mention they are Vegan and have really cool packaging!  I’m a sucker for a well designed product.

In the words of Charlie Sheen: “WINNING!”.    It’s a must try for me.  Must order now!

The top eight anti-aging foods available right now

(NaturalNews) There are certain antioxidant-packed “power foods” that boost, protect, and prime us for a longer, healthier life, both externally and internally.

Here are the top 8 foods withpowerful anti-aging propertiesthat are built to better our health and appearance while alsoencouraging longevity. They should be added to your arsenal of daily health-promoting tools in order to keep you looking and feeling great no matter how many years you’ve got under your belt.

Leafy greens and cruciferous veggies

We’re always hearing natural health experts and nutritionists touting leafy greens – and with good reason. These impressive, nutrition-packed veggies contain folate, calcium and other nutrients that support bone health, protect against cognitive decline and help prevent age-related eye problems (http://chealth.canoe.ca). More significantly, these green veggies boastpowerful anticancer properties.

Diets high in cruciferous veggies like broccoli also help reduce the risk of memory loss. Crucifers and leafy greens like kale, Swiss chard, escarole, beet tops and spinach make delicious additions to all kinds of dishes, including stir-fries, salads, stews and soups.

Apricots

This little peach-like fruit may appear fragile but it packs a potent anti-aging punch. The bright orange exterior of apricots comes from carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help prevent heart disease, reduce bad cholesterol levels and protect against cancer. Our bodies convert the carotenoid beta-carotene into vitamin A, which contributes to healthy eyes, skin, hair, gums and glands.

Years of research has proven that apricots possess thehighest levels and widest variety of carotenoidsof any other food. They are also excellent at regenerating body fluids, detoxifying the body and quenching thirst (http://blog.everythingantiaging.com).

Berries

Scientists have found that berries have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruits (measured as ORAC). Kale and spinach are the only vegetables with ORAC values as high as fresh berries (http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu). Fresh berries are also chock full of phytochemicals and color pigments called anthocyanins that have been associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, urinary tract health, memory function and healthy aging.

Berries are great sources of quercetin, a flavonol that works as both an anti-carcinogen and an antioxidant, protecting against cancer and heart disease. The anti-inflammatory properties of berries is thought toslow down the loss of mental functionthat is often associated with aging. Researchers report that blueberries might even help slow down the cognitive deterioration that comes with Alzheimer’s disease. For an extensive list of scientific studies that document the anti-aging properties of berries, visit this site:http://berryhealth.fst.oregonstate.edu

Olive oil

Italians are known for their long lifespan and ability to age gracefully, and this should come with no surprise considering that olive oil is a huge staple in their Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is packed with the best health-forming fats available in the form of omega-3 fatty acids. These necessary fats not only help to keep you lean and heart-healthy by reducing inflammation, they also lower cholesterol andimprove skin circulation and digestion. All of these factors lead to a healthier body and a longer life.

Wild Alaskan salmon

The huge antioxidant boost you’ll get from wild salmon will get your skin glowing faster than almost any other type of fish. Wild salmon’s pink hue comes from a diet of nutrient-rich krill; this offers a healthy dose of the beneficial pigment astaxanthin, which has notable anti-inflammatory properties. Another antioxidant in salmon, the mineral selenium, protects healthy skin cells byfighting off free radicals. It also helps the thyroid function properly, which keeps both your weight and overall health in check.

Tomatoes

Eating tomatoes may help protect your skin, according to German researchers (http://alternativeremedies.boomja.com/index.php?ITEM=115590). Volunteers swallowed a daily shot of tomato paste mixed with extra virgin olive oil or just plain olive oil for 10 weeks. After daily exposure to UV light, the tomato group had40 percent less sunburnthan those who consumed only olive oil. The magic ingredient in tomatoes is lycopene, which protects skin from the oxidation that results from sun damage and leads to wrinkles. Drizzling tomatoes with a little healthy fat like olive oil helps you better absorb the lycopene.

Raw almonds

Almonds are packed with hard-to-get vitamin E, and just one small handful offers half your daily dose. Raw almonds are the healthiest form of this nut, delivering a higher nutritional content in a pure, unprocessed form.

When researchers from several leading medical schools looked at the impact of different vitamins and minerals on speed, coordination, and balance in people over age 65, the only one that made a difference was vitamin E. Volunteers with the weakest physical performance had the lowest levels of E, whereas more agile participants had adequate amounts of the vitamin in their system. This power vitamin keeps us coordinated byneutralizing free radicals in both our muscles and nervous system.

Avocado

Brimming with the highest quality omega 3s, avocado is one of the most alkalizing foods available. Avocados are also very high in vitamin E, which is essential for glowing skin, shining hair and keeping wrinkles off your face. Have a raw avocado salad or cover some fresh avocado with lemon and sea salt for a nutritious snack.

Learn more:http://www.naturalnews.com/035806_anti-aging_foods_longevity.html#ixzz1uOOveg8Q

Wild Rice with Kabocha Squash & Sage Butter

From Julie Morris

 

 

Serves 4

To save time, make the rice and butter while the squash is cooking. Yams may also be used in place of the kabocha.

½ cup wild rice
½ cup brown rice
2 cups water
1 pound kabocha squash (about ½ medium squash)
3 Tbsp melted coconut oil plus 1 Tbsp (divided)
½ Tbsp chopped fresh sage, packed
1 Tbsp minced shallots
½  tsp sea salt

To make the squash: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the squash in half, then scoop out and discard the seeds. Use 1 Tbsp coconut oil to lightly brush the cut areas of the squash, and place cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until soft when pierced with a fork. When cool enough to handle, cut into large 1-inch chunks (skin may be left on for extra flavor and nutrition or disposed of). Keep warm.

To make the rice: In a medium pot over high heat, combine both varieties of rice with the water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until rice is tender and cooked through (about 25-30 minutes; time varies slightly upon exact type of rice used). Keep warm.

To make the sage butter: In a food processor, blend 3 Tbsp coconut oil, sage, shallots and sea salt until smooth.

To serve: In a large pan, heat the sage butter mixture over medium-low heat for one minute. Add the cooked rice and toss to combine, then cook for one minute longer while stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and carefully fold in the squash. Serve warm.