Friday 20 April 2018

Delicious Celery Seed Salad Recipes for the Summer

Try making one of these delicious celery seed salad recipes.

Celery seed is an ancient ingredient with a plethora of health benefits. To skim the surface, some of the potential health benefits of celery seed are:

1. Celery seed helps maintain healthy blood pressure

A study published by the National Institutes of Health concluded that “celery seed extracts have antihypertensive properties, which appears to be attributable to the actions of its active hydrophobic constitutes such as NBP.”

2. Celery seed supports liver health

Another study examined how a variety of herbs, including celery seed, affected hypertension. Celery was noted as an herb that is helpful for those with hypertension, as it “acts upon the liver; one type of HTN is associated with the liver. In Mainland China, celery was useful in reducing HTN in 14 of 16 patients … it has also been reported to reduce systolic and diastolic BP.”

3. Celery seeds are packed with flavonoids, antioxidants, and more.

Celery seeds may be tiny, but they are absolutely packed with power. One tiny celery seed contains the following: flavonoids, volatile oils, coumarins, omega-6 fatty acids, antioxidants, and phenols. It is because of these compounds that celery seeds may support healthy blood pressure and maintain liver health.

When it comes to antioxidants, a study found that in comparison to onion, parsley, and dill leaves, celery leaves “exhibited the highest total phenolic content.”

How to Add Celery Seeds to Your Diet

With all of the potential health benefits of celery seeds, you may be looking for ways to incorporate them into your diet. One of the best (and most delicious) ways to increase your celery seed intake? Celery seed salad and celery seed salad dressing. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite recipes for celery seed salad (and salad dressing). Check them out below!

A Fruity Celery Seed Salad Dressing

The Sisters Cafe blog has a perfect celery seed salad for springtime. This celery seed salad dressing is for anyone with a sweet tooth. To make this dressing, you’ll need:
  • 1.5 - 2 cups of sugar
  • ¾ cup white vinegar
  • 1.5 tsp celery seed
  • 1.5 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup prepared mustard
  • 1.5 cups vegetable oil
Mix all the ingredients in a blender, and you’ll have a full quart of this dressing. The Sisters Cafe recommend serving this dressing over a salad of mixed greens, toasted pecans, red onion, feta cheese, and your favorite fruit (anything from strawberries to mangoes, peaches or nectarines).

Celery Seed Dressing on a Celery Leaf Salad

This salad uses celery roots, celery leaves and celery seeds -- a total win. The base of this Cooking Light salad uses 5 large stalks of sliced celery, 3 cups of shaved carrots, a 6 oz. package of cremini mushrooms, ½ cup of celery leaves, and ½ cup of packed parsley.

The celery seed salad dressing is made by whisking together the following ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tsp honey
  • ⅜ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

A Classic Celery Seed Salad Dressing

We had to include this one because it comes from the Farmers Almanac. This is another great spring and summer salad dressing, as the almanac recommends it with fruit salads. This is a simple celery seed salad dressing recipe, too. It requires:
  • 1 tsp grated onion
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ½ cup salad oil
  • 2 TBSP honey
  • 3 TBSP vinegar
Combine all of the ingredients into a jar, shake, and enjoy!

Do you have a go-to celery seed salad dressing recipe? What’s your best recommendation?

Four Healthy Desserts for Spring

Ignore those last stray dustings of snow on the ground; it’s Spring! And while that means many things, like going to the park, wearing white, baseball season, digging out strappy sandals, and opening the windows come to mind. One of the most important things that spring brings? Spring desserts! Warmer weather and sunnier days call for their own special desserts.

Say goodbye (or at least “see you later”) to the savory spices and filling warmth of winter desserts. Desserts for spring are light, bright, and (often) citrusy! Is your mouth watering yet? If it isn’t, it will be soon. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite healthy desserts for spring.

Banana Mousse

This recipe comes approved by If you’ve never made mousse before, you might associate it with two things: one, chocolate, and two, sounding difficult to make. This recipe is neither. You’ll only need five ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 medium banana, cut into quarters (and 8 additional quarter inch banana slices for garnish)
  • 1 cup plain yogurt, low fat
If you liked there only being five ingredients, you’ll love that there are only two steps.

Blend the milk, sugar, vanilla, and banana for about 15 seconds or until smooth.

More the blended ingredients into a bowl and fold in yogurt. Chill, garnish with banana slices, and serve!

(And if “mousse” has you thinking chocolate anyway, a few chocolate sprinkles or chocolate chips would go perfectly as a topping to this creamy treat.)

Grapefruit Brulee

Another great part about spring is that there are new, delicious fruits that are in season for use. And as long as you’re making desserts for spring … why not have desserts for breakfast? Making a simple grapefruit brulee can let you do just that.

Grapefruit is an amazing food that keeps you fuller longer, can lower cholesterol, and is full of fiber. For these reasons, it’s frequently considered one of the best foods to eat for breakfast. If you’re already a grapefruit fan, it’s easy to cut one in half and enjoy it for breakfast. But if grapefruit is a little sour for you, if you want a way to mix up your breakfast, or if you want to serve it as a full dessert, grapefruit brulee is the way to go.

Bon Appetit recommends cutting the grapefruit in half, letting it dry for five minutes on a paper towel, sprinkling a tablespoon of sugar over the flesh of each grapefruit half, and then either:
  1. Using a kitchen torch to melt and caramelize the sugar, or 
  2. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, using your oven’s broiler for about eight minutes to caramelize the sugar.

Pineapple and Coconut Frozen Yogurt

Have a frozen yogurt craving, but don’t want to shell out the money at one of those (amazing, but sometimes pricey) frozen yogurt chains? Enter the pineapple and coconut frozen yogurt. This is another easy “toss it all in the blender and it’s practically finished” recipe.

You’ll add two cups of frozen pineapples, 2 tablespoons of honey or agave nectar, ¼ cup plain yogurt (any variety), and a ½ tablespoon of lemon juice to your blender or food processor and blend until creamy and smooth (about 2-3 minutes). Once you’ve reached the right texture, stir in 2 tablespoons of toasted coconut, transfer to an airtight container, and freeze overnight (or for at least 6 hours). Voila! Instant (well, almost) frozen yogurt.

One Bowl Upside Down Cake

This one might be stretching the limits on “healthy,” but if you’re craving an easy cake to add to your “desserts for spring” list, this one is easy and delicious. You’ll need:
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 10-ounce bags frozen sweet cherries or blueberries (no need to thaw)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar; plus more for serving
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups sour cream or whole plain yogurt, room temperature, divided
For easy step-by-step instructions for this recipe, head over to Bon Appetit.

What’s on your list for healthy desserts for spring? Did you try any of these recipes? Tell us about it!

Best Cheeses to Turn Your Taco Dinner into a Fiesta

What’s the best cheese for tacos? If you’ve been making your tacos with cheddar, mozzarella, or a three-cheese blend, you might not have any complaints. After all, a mediocre taco is still a taco; which is to say, better than most foods anyway. But if you’ve become tired with your Taco Tuesday routine, or if you want to elevate your taco into something a lot more appetizing, then your cheese choice might need to be adjusted. There’s an entire world of cheeses that can elevate your taco from mediocre to miraculous.

History of Cheese on Tacos

According to Jeffrey M. Pilcher, a history professor at the University of Minnesota, tacos were likely invented in the 18th century by Mexican silver miners (and then reinvented by Mexican Americans in the southwest). The basic taco that many Americans are familiar with - hard shells, ground beef, cheddar cheese or queso, iceberg lettuce, and tomato - is a reinvention of the Mexican dish using more American ingredients.

Authentic Mexican tacos are a little different. They use small, soft corn tortillas (usually lightly grilled or steamed), meats (anything from beef to pork and chicken to seafood), and herbs and vegetables. These might include avocado, salsa, onions, and cilantro. Cheese isn’t necessarily a typical ingredient on an authentic Mexican taco. However, if it is used, it’s almost certainly not the bagged three cheese blend you find in the grocery store.

Best Cheese for Tacos

If you aren’t concerned with authenticity (or if you just love cheese), you’re probably still interested in the best cheese for tacos. There are a variety of fresh white cheeses that not only will give you a more authentic Mexican taco experience, but you might also find that they taste better.

Below, find a few of our suggestions of authentic Mexican cheeses that will make your taco night the most popular taco night in town.


Oaxaca is a semi-soft, stringy white cheese with a mild flavor. Its mellow and buttery notes make it a popular choice for quesadillas. Its texture and flavor are comparable to Monterey Jack. Oaxaca is a great choice for kids because of its mild flavor.


Cotija is a hard, crumbly white cheese from the Parmesan family; it is similar to feta cheese in appearance. Cotija has a strong, salty flavor and doesn’t melt. Not only is it a good cheese for tacos, it also can be sprinkled on chilis, salads, and soups.

Anejo Enchilado

Anejo Enchilado is one of the best cheeses for tacos, burritos, or enchiladas. It can be made from either goat milk or cow milk, but the result is a semi-hard, cheese with a strong, spicy, salty flavor. Some of the flavor notes of anejo enchilado are owed to the process of rolling aneja enchilado in paprika, meaning that the cheese wheel has a distinct, bright red exterior. The more this cheese ages, the more it is easy to shred or grate, which is when it becomes ideal for baking or grilling tacos, burritos, or enchiladas.

Queso Fresco (Adobera)

Queso Fresco is another popular choice for kids because of its mild, salty flavor. In some regions of Mexico, the cheese is also flavored with pepper or adobo (making it a bit more spicy), but overall, queso fresco is a mild, fresh cheese that’s an easy crowd pleaser.

Chihuahua (Menonita)

Chihuahua (or Menonita) cheese is similar in flavor and texture to mild, white cheddar or Monterey Jack. Unlike many Mexican cheeses, which are white, chihuahua cheese has a light yellow color. It melts well and has a mild, buttery taste that makes it ideal for tacos.

There are countless more varieties of cheese, Mexican and otherwise, that may make the perfect pair with your taco. Which cheese will you try on your next taco night? Are there any cheeses that you would never use on a taco?

Monday 16 April 2018

Get The Most From Turmeric Root With These Foods

Turmeric root is a plant in the ginger family, and in the culinary world it is best known for adding a rich golden color and flavor to Indian and Chinese cooking (especially curry). But even though turmeric is delicious, there’s another reason that turmeric root gets a lot of attention: its many purported health benefits.

Turmeric root is used to support the body’s “many disorders involving pain and inflammation including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), acute injuries to the muscles and joints, headaches, and fibromyalgia.” Science supports this, backing up that turmeric root has “proven properties like anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective, immunostimulant, antiseptic, and antimutagenic.”

A tumeric root post typically contains one of two things: a list of the herbs touted potential health benefits, or a list of recipes that utilize turmeric root so that you can add it to your diet. With this turmeric root post, we’re going to split the difference: we’ll talk about the best ways that you can take turmeric root to access its health benefits.

Method Matters

The reason we’re focusing on how you take turmeric is because if you’re looking for health benefits, the way that you take it matters. This all has to do with the “active ingredient” in turmeric, the flavonoid that’s behind the health benefits. The name of that flavonoid is curcumin.

Curcumin lends a lot to turmeric root, not least of which is its bright yellow color. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that composes about 0.3-5.4% of raw turmeric. Curcumin does a lot of the heavy lifting for turmeric, as it has the therapeutic properties of “antioxidant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic activity, and anticarcinogenic activity.”

But there is a downside to curcumin: it’s quite difficult for the body to absorb it. Curcumin metabolizes quickly; in fact, so quickly that it can be hard for your body to absorb it. Here are some ways to take turmeric root in a way that your body can absorb the curcumin (and, by extension, all of its potential benefits)!

Turmeric Root + Pepper

Turmeric root and black pepper are a match made in heaven, at least in terms of curcumin absorption. Melissa Rifkin, RD, a bariatric dietitian at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City tells Time Magazine, “If you pair the turmeric with the piperine, it improves the bioavailability of curcumin by 1000 times.” She recommends a simple recipe - chicken prepared with turmeric and black pepper. It’s that simple.

Turmeric + Fats

Curcumin is also fat soluble, meaning that it dissolves in fats. So to help your body better absorb the curcumin in your turmeric, try it with a fatty meal. A dish like Indian Butter chicken -- which is typically made with butter and heavy cream -- fits the bill, and is the perfect context for turmeric anyway.

Or, you might try a high fat version of golden milk. Golden milk is a traditional Ayurvedic recipe that has recently gained popularity in the West. Golden milk is a milk-based herbal tea: usually made with milk of any sort (dairy, almond, pecan, coconut), turmeric powder, black pepper, ginger, cayenne, and an optional sweetener like honey or maple syrup. The black pepper usually recommended in this tea will help your body absorb the curcumin, but if you really want to help the process (and you aren’t following a low-fat diet), then try using whole milk.

Curcumin Supplements

To access a higher amount of curcumin, it may be best to consider taking a turmeric extract as a supplement. This is an easy way to guarantee a higher concentration of curcumin than is found naturally in turmeric. This will free you up to use turmeric root in your cooking in any way you please -- from curries to chickens to golden milk, and all the possibilities beyond that.

What’s your favorite way to use turmeric?