Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy and Healthy 4th!

OK - so how can a Happy 4th of July celebration be Healthy and still feel like a celebration? Stay with me here - it really is possible.

We are seeing a huge trend recently away from the biggest health offenders (high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, over-processed foods, artificial sweeteners...) and toward more natural foods.
Think back to the days of the first Independence Celebration. I don't think they had diet cola, potato chips, dips full of chemicals or artificial whipped cream to top the dessert. But they DID have a great time with really yummy food.

Do you know how easy it is to make baked beans from scratch? The taste is so much better than canned, and you can be really creative while saving $$$.  If you have a crock pot, great, otherwise a big old pot on the stove works well. Buy your favorite brand of dried beans ( we like pinto, black or navy), rinse them in a colander and cover them with water and a little salt in a big pot. Bring to a boil, boil for 2 minutes, cover and take off the burner. Let sit for 2 hours while you have fun doing something else.

Then drain and rinse the beans, put back in the pot or crock pot. Add water to cover and your favorite seasonings ( I often use salt, pepper, cumin, onions, garlic, jalapenos, etc) but do not add tomatoes or tomato sauce until beans are finished as it will impair the cooking process. Simmer on low for a few hours. Check a few times to make sure water is not gone. Add tomato sauce, bbq sauce, sugar if desired near the end of cooking. You can also finish the beans in a big cast iron pan on the grill for a great, smoky flavor.

Serve with burgers made from grass fed beef on whole grain buns with a good organic cheese and tomatoes, iced tea or fresh lemonade, a big salad with home made dressing of cider vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil.

For dessert, how about some berries from your local farmer's market with fresh cream you whip up yourself (it only takes a minute) or fresh icecream you and the kids make. FUN!

I'm getting hungry.
Have a safe and happy 4th of July celebration.

Be well ~

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