Tag Archives: honey

Raspberry Yogurt Parfait

 

As spring brings fresh berries to fruit, you may find yourself with a huge bounty and need ways to eat them all up before they go bad or the season ends (tear…).

Not to worry, I love berries and love to find ways to enjoy them. First of all, snap up deals now while you can. Don’t bother thinking you’ll buy too much, that’s not possible. Freeze any you can’t eat within a week in a single layer, then put into a freezer bag.

These frozen berries will last for months, and will be great mind-winter in a smoothie, a fruit crumble, on top of oatmeal, as ice cubes/garnish in cocktails, or in a pie. Try raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries.

But while they are still fresh and at their best, my favorite way to eat them (other then just washed, by the handful) is in a yogurt parfait. The perfect start to the day, healthy snack at any time, or after-dinner treat, a parfait is just tasty.

And with fresh biotic-boosting yogurt, seasonal berries and fiber-rich granola, it is also a super healthy choice. Just steer clear of sugar-laden yogurts or granolas. Best to make it yourself, but if not choose organic, pasture-fed yogurt if you can, and granola with whole ingredients like oats.

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup fresh berries
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/3 cup raw granola
  • 2 tbsp (local if possible) honey
Step 1: Add the yogurt to a bowl, and sprinkle berries on top. You could put it in a blender and pulse a few times if you want the berries incorporated.
Step 2: Sprinkle the granola on top. You can use plain raw oats too, or a healthy cereal.
Step 3: Drizzle your honey on top. You could also use agave nectar, maple syrup, or no sweetener at all.
Enjoy your bowl full of happiness!

Honey, you’re so sweet

 

“Honey honey, how you thrill me, ah-hah, honey honey”… ABBA had it right. Honey is thrilling, and delicious. Produced by the humble honey bee, it is an ancient sweetener and medicine.

How is honey made?

Honey begins as flower nectar. The flowers make a sweet, sugary liquid for the purpose of attracting insects, like the honeybee, to them. In this symbiotic relationship, the bee gets a treat and the flower gets its pollen spread. The pollen sticks to the bee’s furry body, and it can carry the pollen miles away to fertilize another flower.

The worker bees bring the nectar back to the hive, where they store it in the honey combs. The sugars are naturally broken down, and evaporation turns the liquid into the thick, gold goodness we know as honey. Humans have found ways to harvest excess honey while not harming the bees and leaving more than enough for the hive. Good news for us all!

Watch this clip from How It’s Made, in less than 5 minutes, explain how honey is made, harvested, and bottled in our modern world. You could also check out Ford’s Honey Farm, or the National
Honey Board website for more info.

What can you do with honey?

Honey is a versatile thing. Honey is a great, natural sweetener. Thus, you can use it to replace sugar or other sweeteners in many things. It can be used as a sweetener in beverages and baked goods, such as a sweetener and binding agent in granola bars, or mixed with balsamic vinegar and drizzled over strawberries.

A teaspoon of honey in warm milk will help rid you of insomnia, at least I believe so. A tablespoon (or four) of honey makes a warm cup of tea positively sing. Honey can be used in cooking as part of a tropical marinade, in a dressing for coleslaw, or as a snack like putting honey on a sweet potato.

I got my awesome honey from Bjorn’s Colorado Honey at the Cherry Creek Farmer’s Market which I recently reviewed. You can find them in Boulder, CO at 845 Mohawk Dr. or many Colorado farmer’s markets. The woman running the stand was very kind, and passionate about bees and the good they do in the world.

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Her company not only sells local raw honey, but also makes many beeswax products and proplis based cosmetics. What is propolis? you may ask.

According to Wikipedia, propolis is a resinous mixture bees collect and use to seal small gaps in their hive. Larger gaps are usually sealed with wax. Beeswax is used in many cosmetic products, but propolis largely has gone to waste. Until now.

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I tried a sample of this hand cream, and it truly is wonderful. It instantly makes your skin feel smooth and supple, and smells clean without any perfumy fragrance.

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The honey itself was only $10 for a 16 oz jar. To order some yourself, email pontus. jacobson @ gmail. com. The viscous liquid gold is wonderful on just about anything; particularly drizzled over yogurt, granola, and fresh seasonal fruit.

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Honey nutritional facts

Honey is more than just sugar. Per 1 tbsp, it has about 60 calories, zero fat and cholesterol, 17 g of carbs (16 of which are sugar), but also has trace vitamins and minerals, as well as antibacterial properties which may help the healing process for cuts or bites.

Honey also has beauty benefits. The Huffington Post lists 9 “sweet” ways you can use honey in your beauty routine for frugal fixes, from dry hair to chapped lips.

It is a popular belief that honey can help cure seasonal allergies. The logic behind this claim is that bees use nectar and collect pollen from the flowers which are blooming in your area. Thus the honey will contain small amounts of this pollen. When you eat local honey, your immune system recognizes these foreign particles and fights them. Then when you encounter them again in nature, you should be fortified with pre-made anti-allergens.

The problem is, that is false. Simply eating small amounts of local honey cannot cure allergies. Reasons include the fact that bees carry back many types of pollen and contaminants, so you cannot have honey made from say only ragweed pollen. Also allergies are typically caused by allergens blowing in the wind, not the kind the bees collect on their bodies. This just means honey belongs in your kitchen, not your medicine cabinet.

For official information, visit the Mayo Clinic website, WebMD.com, or How Stuff Works: Health page.

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 What is your favorite way to use honey?

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Less than 5: Honey Sweet Potato Snack

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Happy almost 4th of July! Whether you are having a small family get-together, a backyard BBQ, or going out to a picnic-and-fireworks party, enjoy our independence from the Crown and be safe! I’m sure there are overwhelming amounts of recipes involving burgers, apple pie, and anything red white or blue flooding the internet. So I went another way: to highlight a simple, humble veggie that I think doesn’t get enough attention.

Little bright orange jewels, so good for your health, sweet potatoes are more than a Thanksgiving side dish. Any time of the year, they can add nutrients and fiber to your diet and become an easy side dish or snack, even a main dish or dessert.

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Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s best sources of beta-carotene, the provitamin-A carotenoid. And an adequate supply of Vitamin A ensures¬† proper growth and development, immune system function, and healthy eyesight. Vitamin A deficiency is estimated to affect roughly 1/3 of children under the age of 5 worldwide, leading to developmental problems, eyesight deficiencies, and blindness. However Vitamin A is fat-soluble, not water-soluble, which makes it harder for your body to get rid of excess, leading to the possibility of toxicity if over-supplemented. Always ask a doctor or physician before starting a supplement regimen.

Not all sweet potatoes are orange, they can also be purple due to anthocyanin pigments. These molecules have important antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory properties. World’s Healthiest Foods states: “Particularly when passing through our digestive tract, they may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals.”

They also clear up the common confusion: sweet potato vs. yam. They can be very similar in terms of size, shapes, and skin colors, though they both come in a variety of flesh colors. Turns out, sweet potatoes are FAR more common in the US than are yams, so at a store it is pretty safe to assume you are buying a sweet potato, even if a sign says “yams”.

Anywho, sweet potatoes were on sale, and I wanted to incorporate more into my diet, so I bought a few. Luckily they keep for a long time so I could figure out what to do with it. Turns out, these can be the simplest snack ever. Simply take one to work with you, and whenever you need a tide-me-over between lunch and quittin time, or breakfast and end-of-board-meeting, pop it in the microwave, top as you please, and you have a filling, healthy snack. This is a sweet treat, though you could go savory instead with, say, goat cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small-med sweet potato
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • -or- 1 tbsp sugar + 1 tsp cinnamon

So simple, just stab the potato a few times with a fork to let steam escape. Microwave the potato for 8-10 minutes, until soft. Break it open, drizzle on some honey, and enjoy! With about 100 calories per cup, this is a super healthy choice all around.

Try using sweet potatoes anywhere you would use regular potatoes for extra fiber and vitamins. Make sweet potato chips, roast chunks in the oven as a side dish, boil and mash them with some brown sugar and butter (just be careful of amounts, it’s easy to overwhelm the health benefits with sugar and fat!), throw some into soups, stews, and curries. See how you can creatively add some sweet potatoes into your 4th of July festivities!

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