Who says we have to suffer...to live a healthy happy vibrant life?

Red wine and dark chocolate... might seem decadent...but these guilty pleasures also might help us live longer...and healthier lives. Red wine and dark chocolate definitely improve an evening..but they also contain resveratrol..which lowers blood sugar. Red wine is a great source of catechins..which boost protective HDL cholesterol. Green tea? Protects your brain..helps you live longer..and soothes your spirit.

Food for Thought, the blog, is about living the good life...a life we create with our thoughts and our choices...and having fun the whole while!

I say lets make the thoughts good ones..and let the choices be healthy...exciting...and delicious! Bon Appetit!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

A spicy delicious recipe for roasted vegetables from one of my favorite food blogs.

Chili Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Coconut Sauce

Photo credit to floatingkitchen.net

For the Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas
1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 1 cauliflower head, cut into bite sized florets
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 - 2 tablespoons Harissa (North African Chili Paste) Recipe follows.

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh mint, roughly chopped
For the Coconut Sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk (I recommend the full fat version) 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of salt 

For the Coconut Sauce
1/2 cup coconut milk (I recommend the full fat version) 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. ground coriander
Pinch of salt 

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. On a large rimmed baking sheet toss the cauliflower and chickpeas with the olive oil, salt, pepper and cumin seeds. Roast for about 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven. Add the harissa and toss gently until everything is evenly coated. Start with 1 tablespoon of the harissa, adding more for your taste preferences (I used almost 2 tablespoons). Set aside.

In a small bowl whisk together all of the ingredients for the coconut sauce.

To serve, drizzle the coconut sauce over the warm harissa-coated cauliflower and chickpeas.
Sprinkle with the fresh mint. Serve immediately.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days.

Harissa North African Chili Paste

Photo credit to floating kitchen.net

3 ounces dried Mexican chiles 1 tsp. caraway seeds
3/4 tsp. coriander seeds
3/4 tsp. cumin seeds

1 tsp. fresh mint leaves 1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
5 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon

3-5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Remove and discard the stems and the seeds from the chiles. The easiest way to do this is with your hands (I recommend wearing disposable gloves). The stems should just snap right off and the seeds will easily shake out. Place the chiles in a medium bowl and cover them with boiling water. Let them soak in the water for about 30 minutes. 

Toast the caraway, coriander and cumin seeds in a small dry skillet over medium heat, about 2- 4 minutes or until they become fragrant, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Once cooled, grind the toasted seeds along with the mint in a spice/coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. 

Drain the soaked chiles. Place them in the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment along with the ground spices, salt, garlic cloves, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until a smooth, thick paste forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. It will take a couple minutes, so be patient. You can also add another tablespoon of olive oil to keep things moving. 

Transfer the paste to a small, seal-able jar (I like mason jars). Drizzle a thin layer of olive oil over the surface. Seal the jar and transfer it to your refrigerator. The harissa will keep for up to a month. As you use the harissa, add a fresh layer of olive oil to keep the surface covered. 

Recipe from www.floatingkitchen.net


The Cancer Fighting/Promoting Power of Foods.

No single food can reduce your risk of cancer, but the right combination of foods may help make a difference. At mealtimes, strike a balance of at least 2/3 plant-based foods and no more than 1/3 animal protein. This "New American Plate" is an important cancer fighting tool, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Check out better and worse choices for your plate.

Fighting Cancer With Color
Fruits and vegetables are rich in cancer-fighting nutrients - and the more color, the more nutrients they contain. These foods can help lower your risk in a second way, too, when they help you reach and maintain a healthy body weight. Carrying extra pounds increases the risk for multiple cancers, including colon, esophagus, and kidney cancers. Aim for five to nine servings a day, prepared in a healthy way.
The Cancer-Fighting Breakfast
Folate is an important B vitamin that may help protect against cancers of the colon, rectum, and breast.  You can find it in abundance on the breakfast table. Fortified breakfast cereals and whole wheat products are good sources of folate. So are orange juice, melons, and strawberries. 
Folate the rest of the day.
Other good sources of folate are asparagus and eggs. You can also find it in chicken liver, beans, sunflower seeds, and leafy green vegetables like spinach or romaine lettuce. According to the ACS, the best way to get folate is not from a pill, but by eating enough fruits, vegetables, and enriched grain products.

Cancer Fighting Tomatoes.
Whether it's the lycopene -- the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color -- or something else isn't clear. But some studies have linked eating tomatoes to reduced risk of several types of cancer, including prostate cancer. Studies also suggest that processed tomato products such as juice, sauce, or paste increase the cancer-fighting potential.

Tea  especially green tea, may be a strong cancer fighter. In laboratory studies, green tea has slowed or prevented the development of cancer in colon, liver, breast, and prostate cells. It also had a similar effect in lung tissue and skin. And in some longer term studies, tea was associated with lower risks for bladder, stomach, and pancreatic cancers.

Grapes and grape juice, especially purple and red grapes, contain resveratrol. Resveratrol has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In laboratory studies, it has prevented the kind of damage that can trigger the cancer process in cells. There is not enough evidence to say that eating grapes or drinking grape juice or wine can prevent or treat cancer.

Water not only quenches your thirst, but it may protect you against bladder cancer. The lower risk comes from water diluting concentrations of potential cancer-causing agents in the bladder. Also, drinking more fluids causes you to urinate more frequently. That lessens the amount of time those agents stay in contact with the bladder lining.

Beans are so good for you, it's no surprise they may help fight cancer, too.  They contain several potent phytochemicals that may protect the body's cells against damage that can lead to cancer. In the lab these substances slowed tumor growth and prevented tumors from releasing substances that damage nearby cells.

Cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, and kale. These members of the cabbage family make an excellent stir fry and can really liven up a salad. But most importantly, components in these vegetables may help your body defend against cancers such as colon, breast, lung, and cervix.

Dark green leafy vegetables such as mustard greens, lettuce, kale, chicory, spinach, and chard have an abundance of fiber, folate, and carotenoids. These nutrients may help protect against cancer of the mouth, larynx, pancreas, lung, skin, and stomach.

Curcumin is the main ingredient in the Indian spice turmeric and a potential cancer fighter. Lab studies show it can suppress the transformation, proliferation, and invasion of cancerous cells for a wide array of cancers.

How you cook meat can make a difference in how big a cancer risk it poses. Frying, grilling, and broiling meats at very high temperatures causes chemicals to form that may increase cancer risk. Other cooking methods such as stewing, braising, or steaming appear to produce fewer of those chemicals. And when you do stew the meat, remember to add plenty of healthy, protective vegetables.

Strawberries and raspberries have a phytochemical called ellagic acid. This powerful antioxidant may actually fight cancer in several ways at once, including deactivating certain cancer causing substances and slowing the growth of cancer cells.

The potent antioxidents in blueberries may have wide value in supporting our health, starting with cancer. Antioxidants fight cancer by ridding the body of free radicals before they can do their damage to cells. Try topping oatmeal, cold cereal, yogurt, even salad with blueberries to boost your intake of these healthful berries.

Sugar may not cause cancer directly. But it may displace other nutrient-rich foods that help protect against cancer. And it increases calorie counts, which contributes to overweight and obesity. Excess weight can be a cancer risk. Fruit offers a sweet alternative in a vitamin-rich package.

Limit alcohol to slash cancer risk. Cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, and breast are all linked with drinking alcohol. Alcohol may also raise the risk for cancer of the colon and rectum. The American Cancer Society says that even the suggested daily limit of 2 drinks for men and 1 for women elevates the risk. Women at higher risk for breast cancer may want to talk with a doctor about what amount of alcohol, if any, is safe based on their personal risk factors.