Coconut Oil

 

Coconut oil

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Add natural, nutritious, exotic flair to your next dish

This delicious superfood will change the way you cook forever. It can be used for oven roasting, pan frying, and in place of butter in many baking recipes. In addition to its exotic flavor, coconut oil has an endless list of health benefits. Still not impressed? Incorporate this diverse product into your beauty regimen and enjoy various cosmetic benefits as well.

Click to learn more    10c-d__Coconut Oil Facts Sheet

 

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http://www.mywildtree.com/pws/wendywilkes/tabs/coconut-oil.aspx

 

 

Unique Ways to Use Extra Tomatoes

Unique Ways to Use Extra Tomatoes

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If you have planted a garden in the past, you know tomatoes are often prolific. Before you know it, you have an over abundance of tomatoes. You don’t want to can them. Freezing isn’t such a good idea. And you can only eat so much spaghetti. If you’re looking for unique ways to use extra tomatoes look no further.

1. Slice them up – Use slices for hamburgers and sandwiches. In the South, people have tomato slices as a side dish. If you’ve never tried that, now would be a perfect time.

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2. Make salsa – There are so many different salsa recipes available in cookbooks, magazines and on the internet. Try different recipes with your extra tomatoes. If you’re tired of store-bought salsa, can some for the colder months. An unusual salsa recipe you can enjoy with fresh from the garden tomatoes also has mangos, onion, jalapenos and avocado.

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3. Eat them while they’re green – Many Southerners love fried green tomatoes, some people from other areas of the country do, too. Slice the tomatoes, bread them and then fry them up for a tasty treat.

4. Stuff them – Slice the top of the tomato off, scoop out the seeds and fill with your favorite egg, tuna or chicken salad. Not only will this be a great way to avoid having to wash an extra dish, it will look wonderful and you can eat it when you’re finished with the salad.
5. Make tomato soup – Canned soup from the store might be good in a pinch but homemade tomato soup is super! Use your family’s favorite tomato soup recipe and can it for the winter months.

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6. Break out the dehydrator – Tomatoes are easy to dehydrate. Cut off any bruises, slice them up, put them on the dehydrator rack and turn it on. Before long you’ll have dried tomatoes which can be used in various recipes throughout the year.
7. Add them to salads – Cut the tomatoes into cubes along with onions and cucumbers. Add a nice vinaigrette dressing and you’ll have a different salad. Of course, you can also cut them up and add them to typical tossed salad, as well.
8. Make homemade ketchup – Ripe tomatoes, garlic, cider vinegar, brown sugar, cinnamon and cloves make awesome ketchup your family will love.

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9. Shish kabob them – The next time you get a nice cut of meat that is the perfect size for a shish kabob, skewer the meat along with tomatoes, red onion and mushrooms. Brush them with olive oil and grill them.

The above are a few of the many unique ways to use extra tomatoes from your garden. If all else fails and you still have too many after trying these ways, give them away to friends, family or local food banks. They’re sure to be appreciated

Herbs: Cooking With Nature’s Perfect Plants

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Herbs are some of the most nutritious and important parts of a healthy diet. It is a known fact that eating a plant heavy diet benefits your health, waistline and helps you to enjoy delicious flavor in all your recipes.
There are many herbs to choose from, all of which offer very low calorie ways to add flavor to you cooking. Cooking with herbs can seem overwhelming. Learning how to buy, prepare, store and cook with fresh herbs seems like a lot of work, not to mention figuring out what herbs go with which dish. However, cooking with fresh herbs is not reserved for gourmet chefs.
The following tips and tricks are going to have you elevating your dishes to the next level in no time.
Which Is Better Fresh Or Dried?
For the most part, choosing between fresh and dried herbs is a matter of choice. That being said, there are times when one is better than the other. Dried herbs have the best flavor when they are added during cooking. This gives enough time for their flavor to infuse into the dish.
A good time to use dried herbs would be in a homemade soup or sauce that is going to be simmering for at least 45 minutes after you add the dried herbs. If you add the herbs too soon, to when you are going to be serving the dish, the herbs tend to taste dusty.
Fresh herbs are best when they are used at the end of cooking. A good example of this would be adding ribbons of basil to a pizza just before serving it, or using fresh herbs in a sauce if you are not going to be letting it simmer for a long time.
How To Buy Fresh Herbs
If you are going to purchase your herbs from the grocery store, wait until as close to when you are going to be cooking them as possible. Choose bunches of herbs that have a vibrant color and aroma. If you can’t smell the herb, you aren’t likely going to be able to taste it either. Avoid any herbs that are limp, or have any sort of discoloration.
If you aren’t going to be using your herbs immediately, there are some steps you can take to extend their longevity and flavor. First, remove any fastening there may be on the herbs. Next cut the root ends off of as they will draw moisture away from the leaves which will cause wilting.
How To Store Fresh Herbs
The next thing you need to do with your herbs is to wrap them in a slightly damp paper towel and put them into a zipper seal bag. Ensure you leave a little bit of air in the bag. You are going to want to place the herbs in the warmest part of your fridge, which is typically the door, or the top shelf. The shelf life of fresh herbs isn’t very long.
You are going to want to use them as soon as possible. When you take them out to use them, cut away any wilted or discolored leaves before you use them.
Washing Fresh Herbs
Only wash your herbs right before you use them. You don’t want to wash them before you store them in the fridge. To wash them fill a bowl with cold water and place your herbs inside. Gently swirl them around in the water to remove any dirt that is on the leaves.
Once is usually enough, but if you find there is a lot of sediment at the bottom of your bowl, you can give the herbs another rinse. Gently pat the herbs dry with a paper towel and you are ready to chop them.
How To Chop Fresh Herbs
The first thing you need to ensure when you are cutting your herbs is to use a sharp blade. You can use a knife, food processor or even scissors, as long as they are sharp. To maximize the flavor of the herbs you want to cut them as finely as possible.
Chop your herbs right, as you need to put them on the dish to maximize the flavor and aroma you are adding to your dish.
Ensuring You Are Using The Best Quality Dried Herbs
If you are choosing to use dried herbs, you want to ensure you are still adding the best to your dishes. Dried herbs lose their flavor over time. Buy herbs in smaller quantities to ensure you are able to use them before they have lost their flavor.
It is also a good idea to store your herbs in an air-sealed container to maximize their flavor. If you open the container and cannot smell the aroma of the herb, there won’t be any flavor left to the herb either.
Cooking with herbs doesn’t need to be confusing. As long you know how to work with them and when to add them to your dish, you can soon be serving dishes to your family that are as flavorful as what you would get in a restaurant.

 

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Choosing the Right Cooking Oil

By now you are probably well aware that not all cooking oils are equal.  While some oils have nutritional value, others do not, and finding the right oil for the particular use is important too.

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Blood cholesterol levels are connected to heart disease and are usually the main concern when considering fats.  Because all oil consists of various types of fat, it’s important to know how a certain fat is going to affect the body. Fat types either lower or raise both good (HDL) and bad (LDL) cholesterol levels.  Ideally, we want the lower the LDL while raising the HDL.

  • Saturated Fats – Raises both good and bad cholesterol levels
  • Trans Fats – Raises bad and lowers good cholesterol levels
  • Polyunsaturated Fats – Lowers both good and bad cholesterol levels
  • Monounsaturated Fats – Lowers bad and raises good cholesterol levels

From the chart, we see that monounsaturated fat should be our goal.

So what oils are high in monounsaturated fat?

Tea Seed 485 Extra Virgin Olive 375
Canola 468 Peanut 471
Avocado 520 Safflower 446
Corn 453 Sunflower 464
Soy 453 Flax Seed 225
Sesame 350 Macadamia Nut 413
Grape Seed 435 Cottonseed 420

When it comes to cooking with oils their properties change once heat is added.  So while it may be healthy in its natural form and maybe even at low temperatures, it may not retain that state if submitted to high heat.

All oil has a property changing temperature and this is referred to as the smoking point.  Once this smoking point has been reached, healthy characteristics begin to break down through a process called oxidization. When food begins to oxidizes, it can produce toxic substances.  Think of how a cut apple left to the air will turn brown.  The smoking point of oil ranges between 225 and 520 degrees Fahrenheit. See the smoking point of the monounsaturated fats in the above chart and keep the cooking temperature below the given number.

A Shocking Twist to Common Beliefs

The best oils for cooking are those that remain stable during heat changes.  I admit to being a bit shocked to find that the oils having the most stability are the saturated fat oils!  So now what? I thought saturated fat was the culprit we’re told to avoid. Well, while that’s partly true, it turns out that our bodies do require some saturated fat to achieve optimum health.  The good news is that there are healthy saturated fats.

The most stable and healthy oil is coconut oil  . Although it’s 92 percent saturated fat, it is the type that brings health benefits. Coconut oil is digested very quickly and used up as energy quite rapidly.  Because the body uses it so quickly, the saturated fat does not linger in the body and cause the damage that other saturated fats do.  Coconut oil also contains lauric acid which combats damaging free radicals, acts as an immune system booster, and fights infection!  It is present in the milk of cows, goats, and humans and is an ingredient in many traditional medical remedies.  Learn more about it here:  http://www.mywildtree.com/pws/wendywilkes/tabs/coconut-oil.aspx

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Here is a list of the 4 best cooking oils ranked from best to worst. 

Coconut Oil

Macadamia Nut Oil

Canola Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

Keeping oil to its closest natural form gives the best benefit to the human body. Therefore, be very aware of the amount of heat to which the oil is exposed when cooking. Stay below that smoking point!

 

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