3 Home Staples: Taco Seasoning, Onion Soup, and Ranch Dressing.

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Make your own Taco Seasoning, Dry Onion Soup Mix, and Ranch mix and store in small mason jars. These are healthy alternatives to those in the store. I have made the taco seasoning and kept it for a while, it is amazing! These are often seen on FB and other sites.

Recipe from Metabolic CookbookTaco Seasoning:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
Put ingredients into a jar and shake.

Dry Onion Soup Mix:
2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake. I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.
Use 4 tablespoons in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.

5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix together and store in an air tight container.
For dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.
For dip: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend.

In my opinion, since I love to cook, these can also be used as seasonings for other dishes like a ranch chicken, taco seasonings can be used in chili, and onion soup mix is good to season beef or fish as well. And, you can mix a few tablespoons of them together to create a whole new flavor profile and add some lemon or lime zest for a little kick.


Look out for new blogs! I’m firing it up!

Categories: Baking, Cooking, Holistic Health | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Sea Salt…Benefits Made Simple.

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Straight from the pages of Health magazine comes information that I sorta knew, but am now paying attention to because I’m on my Phyne ‘n’ Forty quest. The list I originally wanted to share was about the hidden saltiness of certain foods and with the way I write it turned into “benefits of sea salt”. Go figure.  I’m no nutritionist, dietician, and I’m not going to make this a blanket statement because you may not be a 6′, 200lb., Black female, whose had hypoglycemia, asthma, or, to make it simple, you aren’t me. Best course of action is to know your body and what’s good for you, I’m just sharing information for those who are interesting in making healthy choices.

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So, salt. My friend salt. Salt of the earth. Are you salty? All of that. I like salt to a certain degree because it add to the taste of certain things. Butter without salt is just good for baking, in my opinion. I started using sea salt about 9 years ago, before there was a big fad around its use. It was all because I wanted to cook, eat, and live healthier. Sea salt is obtained naturally from the sea, and does not go through any processing that alters the natural make-up of the salt. It’s because of this that sea salt has a variety of essential  minerals that the body needs to be healthy. Tessa Pennington of Ready Nutrition shared these 10 benefits of sea salt.

Strong Immune System – Sea salt naturally helps you to build up a strong immune system so that you can fight off the cold virus, the fever and flu, allergies and other autoimmune disorders.

Alkalizing – Sea salt is alkalizing to the body, as it has not been exposed to high heat and stripped of its minerals, nor does it have any harmful man-made ingredients added to it. Thus it can help you to prevent and reverse high levels of acids in the body, which in turn eliminates the risks for serious and life-threatening diseases.

Weight Loss – Believe it or not, but sea salt can also help you in weight loss. It helps the body to create digestive juices so that the foods you eat are digested faster, and it helps to prevent buildup in the digestive tract, which eventually can lead to constipation and weight gain.

Skin Conditions – A sea salt bath can help to relieve dry and itchy skin as well as serious conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. The bath naturally opens up the pores, improves circulation in the skin and hydrates the tissues so that your skin can heal.

Asthma – Sea salt is effective in reducing inflammation in the respiratory system. Thus the production of phlegm is slowed down so that you can breathe easier again. Some say that sprinkling sea salt on the tongue after drinking a glass of water is just as effective as using an inhaler. But the great thing about sea salt is that it has no side effects when taken in moderation.Screen Shot 2014-03-05 at 7.06.00 AM

Heart Health – When salt is taken with water it can help to reduce high cholesterol levels, high blood pressure and help to regulate an irregular heart beat. Thus sea salt can help to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.

Diabetes – Sea salt can help to reduce the need for insulin by helping to maintain proper sugar levels in the body. Thus the salt is an essential part of the diet if you are diabetic, or at risk for the disease.

Osteoporosis – Just over 1/4 of the amount of salt that is in the body is stored in the bones, where it helps to keep them strong. When the body lacks salt and water it begins to draw the sodium from the bones, which then eventually can lead to osteoporosis. Thus by drinking plenty of water and consuming salt in moderation you can prevent osteoporosis.

Muscle Spasms – Potassium is essential for helping the muscles to function properly. Sea salt not only contains small amounts of potassium, but it also helps the body to absorb it better from other foods. Thus it is effective in helping to prevent muscle pains, spasms and cramps.

Depression – Sea salt also has shown to be effective in treating various types of depression. The salt helps to preserve two essential hormones in the body that help you to better deal with stress. These hormones are serotonin and melatonin, which help you to feel good, and relax and sleep better at night.

I hope this helps you in your journey in the kitchen and gives you some facts you might not have known.

YOU ARE INVITED…. join me on FBScreen Shot 2014-02-24 at 6.43.42 PM

Categories: Baking, Cooking, Holistic Health | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In the Kitchen: How to Make French Toast from Banana Bread

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There’s something about french toast that makes it one of the perfect breakfast foods. When made correctly it’s divine. I happened to be watching s cooking show one day and they made french toast from banana bread or something along those lines. The light bulb went off for me because I had made it from wheat bread, white bread, and even cinnamon raisin bread, but thought that banana bread would be too porous and it would be soggy. Apparently, it is one of the best ways to make french toast because it is porous. The inside stays moist while the outside get a little crisp to it. That set off all kinds of creative ideas of making french toast from pumpkin, apple, apple cinnamon, apple chocolate chip, zucchini, and other breads! Why not? Bake a loaf, or two, and have a french toast feast with homemade breads!

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I remember making french toast with my Mom. And it took me a while to get it when I left home. It’s like a slight science. Who likes soggy french toast? What about french toast without enough batter? Awkward.

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 2.00.45 PMIt seems to take the perfect combination of eggs, milk/cream, cinnamon, and vanilla to make the batter just perfect. Let’s not forget to have the skillet that the right temperature. Too hot, it’s going to be a problem. Too cool, it takes forever, and we end up with…soggy french toast.

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The end product is definitely worth it. And it doesn’t take that long to whip a batch up. Using different kinds of bread it can be an adventure n the kitchen.

French Toast Batter (for 6 slices)

3 large eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

butter or oil for the pan

Slice banana bread to desired thickness. In a bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, cream and cinnamon, whisking until combined. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat and brush with butter.  Dip each slice into the egg mixture for about 30 seconds to coat completely, then place on the buttered/oiled surface. Cook until golden and somewhat crispy, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with sliced bananas, fresh whipped cream, syrup and a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs. For a drizzly chocolate, combine 2 tablespoons chocolate chips and 1/4 teaspoon coconut oil in the microwave for about 45 seconds, mixing once during cooking time, until melted. WAHLAH!

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In the Kitchen: Help! I’m a Bean Pie Addict.

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My oldest sister is 10 years older than me and I use to love hanging with her. She would take me on adventures around Cleveland, or Chicago when she lived there, and I loved it. One day, while in Cleveland, she took me to Muslim restaurant for lunch, we ordered sandwiches, and she bought me a piece of bean pie. I’d never had it before, but because she said it was good I trusted her. And, she was right! I’ve loved it since then.

What is the origin of the bean pie? Followers of the Nation of Islam sold Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 10.30.13 AMthem to raise funds for the group. The group is still well known for their bean pies, but their numbers and notoriety aren’t as strong as they were when my parents and grandparents were with them. Although many of its original members left the Nation after the death of Elijah Muhammad and became Muslims, the influences of the bean pie are still strong in the African-American Muslim community. If you were to visit most Sunni masjids with a sizable African-American population and some Muslim businesses, more than likely, you’ll find some bean pies for sale or someone there can tell you where to find the pies or who bakes them.

The crust is usually perfectly flaky, but firm and not sloppy, with just the Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 10.24.40 AMright amount of sweetness and combination of seasonings. Some people eat the bean pies right out of the aluminum pan it came in with no fork necessary. I prefer to slice mine in quarters. You simply peel off the plastic wrap and bend away the thin foil pan it came in to expose the crust to take a bite. If you taste a pie that is made right, the taste is absolutely delicious. If it doesn’t taste that great, don’t blame the pie, rather blame the recipe. There are a lot of them out there and some are vastly different than others. Some may prefer to take it home to heat and eat, although I’m partial to the cold refrigerated pie. As with other foods, higher temperature makes the pie taste different, similar to how room temperature milk is tastes different compared to cold milk right out of the fridge.

With all my baking I had never made a bean pie until Christmas when I made pie for my cousin Derek, I tasted it and I must say I did a good job. MLK weekend I got the chance to make pie for my SisterFriend Michele, and a friend of hers, and she asked for the recipe! So, of course I must oblige. Who am I to deny the power of the bean pie?

If you decided to make the recipe and have questions feel free to contact me! It’s super easy, and yummy too! *NOTE: You need 2 deep crusts for this recipe because it makes enough for 2 pies.

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Best Tasting Traditional Bean Pie
2 cups navy beans (cooked according to package instructions or two cans!)

Note: You’ll want to make sure that you have planned ahead to make this pie because you need to pre-soak the beans before you can cook them.

1 stick butter

2 tablespoons flour

4 eggs

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups sugar

1 14oz. can evaporated milk

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons vanilla

Cook beans until soft. Preheat oven. to 350º degrees.

In electric blender, blend beans, butter, milk, eggs, nutmeg and flour about 2 minutes on medium speed. Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Add sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Pour into pie shells. Bake about one hour until golden brown. Makes 2 or 3 Bean Pies.


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Categories: Baking | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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