What’s All the Hype About Jackfruit

Hi I am Linda and I am so blessed to be able wake up each day and come to work doing something I love. Cooking and Creating in the kitchen at Intelligent Gourmet is my  innamorato, Italian for passionate love.

Getting Vegans and Vegetarians more protein is always a challenge, and something I spend a lot of time contemplating, then I heard about Jackfruit. To say that jackfruit is a big thing is a big understatement. It is the largest tree-borne fruit on the planet – it isn’t unusual to come across beasts weighing up to 70 lbs. in South America and South-east Asia.

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This all-natural, non processed ingredient has a wonderful fibrous flesh that can take on flavor from most anything. Green jackfruit can replace carnitas in tacos, braised beef in burritos, spiced lamb for gyros and more.

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As we try to come out with new creative ways to provide clients protein without using any actual meat. Jackfruit, is just one of the ingredients we are playing with.  Jackfruit’s natural flavors  give you that meaty texture and taste that so  many crave, even though it’s just a fruit with some amazing health benefits.

Interested in giving this fruit a try?  Check out this recipe:

bbq-pulled-jack-fruit-tostada

2 jalapeños, finely chopped

2 tbsp vegetable oil

6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 tbsp chilli powder

2 tsp cumin

0.5 tsp cayenne

6 ounce of ketchup

4 ounce lime juice (adjust with a bit for a little more tanginess )

1 cup coconut palm sugar

4 tins of jackfruit in brine

2 tbsp of your favor nut oil or avocado oil

1 tbsp dijon mustard

Fry the garlic & jalapeños in oil for a minute. Add all the spices, stir and cook until fragrant (a minute or so). Add ketchup, lime and coconut palm sugar. Stir until all the sugar has melted. Partially cover and keep cooking on a low heat until sauce has thickened to the consistency of ketchup.

Drain and thoroughly rinse the tinned jackfruit. Use your hands to tear the strands of jackfruit from the harder core. The fruit will come apart very easily. Put the pulled jackfruit into a bowl and put the cores into another bowl. Once everything has been pulled apart use a knife to finely chop the harder cores. It doesn’t matter if these are still a bit chunky once chopped as it adds more texture to the dish.

Heat oil in pan and add the pulled jackfruit. Cook until it gets a bit grey and loses some moisture. Add the dijon mustard and stir in. Add a little water if it starts to stick to the pan.

Add about half the BBQ sauce (more if you want a very sticky dish) and stir in to coat. Cook until it’s almost starting to get a little crispy and sticking to the pan a little.

Spoon on top of warm corn tacos and top with chopped lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and a squeeze of fresh lime

 

Halloween Treat Ideas

Animation Domination High-Def trick or treat cute fox halloween

There are plenty of individual portion treats to satisfy even the most discriminating Ballerina , or Pokemon. So why not opt in this year to some healthier choices to hand out?

  • Raisins
  • Pretzels
  • Juice boxes
  • Mini water bottles (they need them to stay hydrated while trick or treating)
  • Fruit snack packs, packaged in their own juices
  • Kettle Baked chips, baked tortilla chips
  • Popcorn
  • Low sugar granola or cereal bars, like enjoy life brand
    ( many of these items can be purchased at Aldi’s Market, or in bulk through amazon.com)

Keep your eye out for small inexpensive gadgets and things that kids love

  • Decorative pencils
  • Small rubber balls
  • Erasers
  • Rubber ghosts, goblins, witches
  • Waxed lips
  • Glow sticks
  • Stickers
  • Key chains
  • Marbles
  • Tic-tac-toe or other small games
  • Bubbles
  • Chalk
  • Coloring books
  • Crayons

Women’s 5 Flavors of Health Problems

From the purely anecdotal perspective of a nutrition expert and chef who talks with women on a daily basis, I’d say women’s most frequent health issues come in 5 Flavors: Lack of sleep, low energy, auto immune disorders, inflammation, and adrenal fatigue.
From my extensive study of nutrition and food, I know that these are problems that food is uniquely able to solve. In fact, just as food is the most likely cause of these issues, food can also be the solution.
Lack of Sleep may be caused by an overly demanding schedule, but it’s probably more due to feeling “wound up” in bed at the end of the day. That feeling comes from a nutritional imbalance, most likely caused by too much caffeine and too little vitamin B6 (used to make melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone), calcium (calcium deficiency is linked to insomnia), and magnesium.

hot summer sleep cant sleep jk my life is amazing right now
Your Food Solution: Try cutting out the coffee and replacing your hot morning drink fix with Yerba Mate (which also has caffeine but doesn’t leave you buzzed at bedtime), and incorporate melatonin- rich tart cherry juice and almonds (high in calcium and magnesium) into your daily diet. Together they make for an energy-boosting afternoon snack – that will help you sleep later on.
Low Energy in women can be caused by many things including low thyroid, heart trouble & clogged arteries, iron deficiency, low blood sugar, and stress.

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Your Food Solution: Support your thyroid with foods rich in iodine like eggs, cow’s milk, low fat yogurt, and seaweed. Make your diet heart-healthy by eating foods that help lower cholesterol, like oatmeal with cinnamon. Ensure your body gets enough iron by eating more beans, tofu, pumpkin seeds, broccoli, cashews and almonds (don’t take iron supplements without a doctor’s supervision since 1/200 people genetically cannot process iron and can overdose). Keep your blood sugar level by snacking on foods that balance fat and carbs, like nuts, when you need a boost. And, increase your vitamin C – which not only helps reduce feelings of stress, but returns blood pressure and cortisol to normal levels. Also, try drinking coconut water – it’s been linked to increasing energy and the metabolism!
Auto Immune Disorders like Hashimotos, Lupus and Chronic Fatigue can be caused by environmental toxins, oxidative stress, increased free radicals, fatty acid imbalance, bacterial problems, and vitamin D deficiency. While genetics are frequently to blame, they’re not the main determinant – in fact, most research points to environment and diet as the primary causes.

juice detox dance
Your Food Solution: Your digestive tract is your first line of defense against autoimmune illnesses, which means if you boost your digestive health, you’ll improve or prevent your condition. Try juicing to give your digestive system a much-needed break, and go easy on the protein (which can contribute to inflammation). Juicing is an easy way to substantially increase your intake of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage), which when combined with Fish oil and adequate vitamin D (sunlight!) can reduce inflammation and symptoms.
Inflammation is the body’s attempt to protect itself – it’s part of the immune system. However, inflammation can become a chronic condition, like having the switch to your immune system stuck in “On” mode. The key is in your digestive system, which when bombarded with an inflammatory diet, can wreak havoc on your body. Diarrhea, constipation, gas, heartburn and acid reflux are early signs of inflamed digestive tracts.

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Your Food Solution: An anti-inflammatory diet will do a lot to reduce pain and discomfort, not to mention the health risks associated with constant inflammation. Cut out fast food, processed foods, white flour, sugar, and alcohol for starters. Then, increase Vitamin A (pumpkin, carrots & sweet potatoes), healthy fats (avocado, nuts, wild salmon), Vitamin C (oranges, papaya, mangoes), and selenium (Brazil nuts, salmon, oatmeal). You might even try adding turmeric to your daily diet – it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory that Ayurvedic healers have used for centuries to reduce arthritis pain (and if you hate Indian food, it comes in capsules too).
Adrenal Fatigue – So many women come in saying they have adrenal fatigue, but what does that even mean? Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands lose their ability to function normally, usually in response to prolonged stress or long-lasting infections. Sleep doesn’t help, caffeine won’t work, and you may feel more energetic after 6 p.m. than you have all day.

work vacation real housewives of orange county rhoc stress
Your Food Solution: To understand adrenal fatigue, you have to understand how cortisol behaves in your body. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and its peak hours are between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. – and from there it declines throughout the day. It’s at its lowest level during the night. Spikes in cortisol can be triggered by stress, and when that happens, your adrenals are too pooped out to give you energy to deal with it – which means that feeling stressed leads to feeling tired. Can’t seem to get up in the morning? That’s the cortisol spiking. Feel better at night? That’s because the cortisol has stopped asking your adrenal glands to work. To help even out your energy, you have to work with this cycle. Keep your blood sugar steady by eating a protein and carb-balanced breakfast as well as healthy snacks throughout the day – but stay away from caffeine, sugar and simple carbs, which can over- stimulate the adrenals.

Re-Vamp Your Breakfast Recipes, try a Quinoa Bowl

Why try a quinoa bowl for breakfast? Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 10 essential amino acids, and a high fiber content. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 5 grams of satiating fiber, having it for breakfast will help to arm your body with the tools it needs to get through the day and stay fuller longer. As an added bonus, quinoa is packed with health boosters like zinc, calcium, iron, riboflavin, heart healthy fats and antioxidants that have been found to reduce inflammation.quinoa bowl

Recipe: Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
Prep Time: 5
Cook Time: 15
Yield: 2 bowls

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry quinoa, rinsed
3/4 cup canned lite coconut mylk + more for drizzling
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon + more for sprinkling
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened dark cherries
1 tablespoon of toasted pecans
1 tablespoon of toasted pumpkin seeds

Preparation:
Combine quinoa, coconut milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 15 minutes until quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
Divide quinoa into two bowls then cover with dried fruits, pecans, + pumpkin seeds and a few extra drizzles of coconut milk.

Chef Notes:  You can use a shelf stable organic Coconut mylk available at Aldi’s Markets. Or you can make your own Almond mylk but that’s for another blog.  Option to add  sweetener of choice,  we find it sweet enough with the coconut milk and fruit.

#Kidfriendly #addtoppingsofyourchoice #mixandmatchfruitsnutsandseeds #yearroundmeal

Nutrition: 302 calories, 10.3 g fat (4.9 g saturated fat), 99 mg sodium, 34.6 g carbs, 5.3 g fiber, 7.9 g sugar, 8.2 g protein

21 Change of Routine Challenge- Checklist

As our 21 day Change of Routine Challenge comes to a close, here are a few questions to ask yourself to see what areas you still need to work on.

Are you eating a colorful and healthy breakfast as well as drinking at least 2 liters of water a day?

Are you eating a big lunch and smaller dinner and starting your day off with a warm cup of lemon water instead of coffee?

Are you doing your morning stretches and spending at least five minutes in meditation in the morning and at night (I found the “Headspace” app to be super helpful)?

Are you drinking your “golden milk” at night and eating vegan for at least one meal?

Are you turning off all electronics before bed and tidying up your place before you head out for the day?

Are you saying a positive affirmation every morning and having some “me time”?

Are you eating at least 90% whole foods and 10% or less processed foods and making sure snacks are whole foods?

Are you knocking off even the hard stuff on your to do list and doing one act of random kindness a day?

Are you limiting your social media and getting 8 hours of sleep?

Did you write down your goals and put them in a place where you can see them everyday?

 

 

21 Day Change of Routine Challenge

We all have our daily routines… some healthy, some not, here at Intelligent Gourmet we strongly believe that small healthy changes can make you feel, look, do and be BETTER!  So we put together this 21 day challenge to help motivate you to make small changes in your life each day that will lead you to a healthy daily routine!  Each day builds on the next, so at day 21 you will be doing all these things every day!

*Tips and Tricks- Post your daily task on social media.  It will make you feel more accountable!  Don’t forgot to tag us in your posts @intelligentgourmet! *

Day 1.  Eat a healthy and colorful breakfast.

Day 2. Drink at least 2 litters of water (That’s only four normal sized water bottles)

Day 3. Eat a BIG Lunch and smaller dinner .

Day 4.  Don’t drink your coffee first thing, instead go for a warm cup of lemon water.

Day 5. Go for a morning walk or do some morning stretches.

Day 6. Drink Golden Milk before bed  (1 cup Coconut Milk, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger,  pinch of pepper, and honey).

Day 7.  Eat at least one vegan meal (Stop by Intelligent Gourmet and check out all our vegan meals, who said vegan has to be boring?)

Day 8. Spend 5 minutes in meditation first thing in the morning.

Day 9. Spend 5 minutes in meditation last thing before bed.

Day 10. Turn off electronics an hour before bed (and put another room besides the bedroom if possible).

Day 11. Tidy up your place before leaving for the day.

Day 12.  Write an affirmation and place it on your mirror (start repeating affirmation every morning while getting ready for the day)

Day 13. Eat 90% whole foods today and 10% or less of processed foods.

Day 14.  Enjoy some “me time” (read a book, take a bath, paint, do yoga, do something that makes you happy).

Day 15.  All snacks should either be veggies, fruits, or nuts.

Day 16. Do a random act of kindness today.

Day 17.  Knock that one thing off your to do list you have been avoiding.

Day 18. Get 8 hours of sleep.

Day 19.  Limit social media (You don’t need to check it every hour, I promise).

Day 20. Write down all your goals for yourself this year.

Day 21. Print this list and do your best to do each of these things every day!

 

The Daily Routine- Drinks

School is starting up and everyone is affected.  Whether you are a parent, student, or commuter (who is bound to notice the increase in traffic) when school starts back up it is important to start a daily ritual to keep yourself on track.  Here are the two drinks I suggest to add to your daily routine that will help your body keep up with the change of schedule.

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Morning Alkaline Drink- This will wake you up and it helps bring your body’s pH level to alkaline which is proven to prevent cancer from forming in the body.  The drink is simple to put together.  Its just warm water, lemon juice, and apple cider vinegar. Try it instead of your cup of coffee first thing and feel the difference.  If you still need your coffee try a cold brew cup of jo instead because it isn’t as acidic.

Recipe: Warm water (you can dilute it as much as you want), 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar, Juice of 1 Lemon, 1-2 tbsp honey *optional, and  1/8 tsp cayenne pepper *optional

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Evening Golden Milk-  Golden Milk is a combination of coconut milk, coconut oil, turmeric, ginger, honey, and a pinch of pepper.  This drink burns fat while you sleep, reduces inflammation, and is a great drink for detox. Drinking this an hour before bed will prevent bloating or upset stomachs in the mornings which will make sure you are ready to take on the day ahead.  Plus the warm milk will make you nice and sleepy allowing you to fall asleep easily.

Recipe:  1-2 cups coconut milk, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tsp turmeric, 1 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1-2 tbsp honey for taste. Combine contents and heat until blended.

Keep Your Mind Sharp the Mediterranean Way.

Zucchini pasta
If I told you I had a pill that had no downside whatsoever and it helped reduce age related memory loss, would you take it? Guess what, it’s exercise! Open your door and walk 15 minutes in one direction and 15 minutes back.

You’ve probably heard of the Mediterranean diet and entertained visions of mounds of pasta drizzled in olive oil. Make that whole-grain pasta, and you’ve got yourself a deal. But the fresh fish, in-season produce, olive oil, wine, and yes, pasta, of the Mediterranean isn’t the whole story. Europeans walk. Everywhere.

It’s this balance of healthy whole foods (no Mediterranean mama would serve you out of a box or can) and exercise that is the real key to a healthy lifestyle – and long memory.

Let’s break down the diet first. Seafood and olive oil are everywhere and are both sources of Omega-3 fatty acids that help your brain function better. In Mediterranean cuisine, fresh green olive oil is often drizzled lightly over vine-ripened tomatoes from the morning market, with basil leaves picked minutes before from the terra cotta pot in the garden. The concentration is on eating whole fresh foods, and walking to and from that morning market!

  • Try grilling white fish lightly brushed with oil and served with a squeeze of lemon on top of fresh asparagus, or serve on top of zucchini “pasta” with cherry tomatoes and pine nuts.
  • Diets rich in leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale and chard also help memory function. Try Greek Spanikopita (cooked spinach wrapped in phyllo) or Turkish Cacik – a spinach yogurt dip with garlic, lemon juice, dill, parsley, mint and EVOO.
  • And let’s not forget coffee. Greek coffee, Italian espresso, or French café latte – caffeine has been shown to slow memory loss (black tea works just as well). Unfiltered coffee can raise your HDL cholesterol though, so if that is a concern, stay away from espresso and French Press methods. Check with your doctor before adding caffeine to your diet if you have high blood pressure, IBS, or Crohn’s disease.

But most importantly – remember to walk every day. Remember that, and you’ll be amazed at how much more you remember for the rest of your life.

Sweet (Healthy) Treats This Summer…

It’s the middle of summer and the heat is on full blast (and so is your air conditioner). A popsicle is the way to go if you’re looking to cool down. But instead of going out to the grocery store and picking out a frozen form of high fructose corn syrup, try doing it yourself and making healthy popsicles that you won’t regret later.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Freezes

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These sweet-tart popsicles are great for a hot picnic or cooling dessert. Dark chocolate and raspberries are high in antioxidants and are known to fight heart disease. Blend ¼ cup dark chocolate into 1 cup raspberries and 1 cup greek yogurt. Add raw honey to sweeten. Dish into popsicle molds and freeze overnight.

Dark Chocolate Kiwi Pops

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This one’s easy. All you have to do is slice kiwi fruit into bite-size pieces, put them on a popsicle stick, dip them in molten dark chocolate, and freeze. These pops will knock your ice cream man’s socks off. They’re super healthy and everyone loves them. The dark chocolate and kiwi combination lowers blood sugar and builds beautiful skin.

Watermelon Ice-Cubes

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Who doesn’t love cold lemonade on a hot day. But ice-cubes melting in the glass waters down those sweet n’ sour sips. Try pureeing a small watermelon (without the rinds, of course), mint leaves, and 1 teaspoon agave. Then freeze overnight in an ice-cube tray and add to your lemonade. Watermelon has a surprising amount of antioxidants, vitamin A and C, and can lower blood pressure. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that is healthier than normal sugar. Together, they boost the immune system and fight harmful bacteria in your body.

Vanilla Peach Popsicles

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Peaches are in this month, so why not use fresh, ripe peaches in your next popsicle? Fiber, vitamin C, and potassium in peaches promotes heart health and healthy skin and hair. Blend together 3 medium, pitted peaches, ⅓ cup organic orange juice, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract. Add a small amount of stevia if you want it to be more sweet. Chop another peach and add the pieces into your mix. You can also add greek yogurt to the mix for a creamier consistency. Distribute the mix into popsicle molds and freeze overnight