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home : health : health November 19, 2018

10/23/2018 1:21:00 PM
Healthy kitchen essentials
By Andrew Loscutoff

Eating well requires some assembly, but it need not be tedious or frustrating. A savvy kitchen helps create easy and delicious healthy meals, thanks to time-saving tools and techniques.

Everyone has read the advice to limit processed foods and pre-packed because of the sugar, salt and caloric content. Why not make some of the things one would typically buy off the shelf in the kitchen?

Enter the food processor, one of the leading tools in any kitchen where people are serious about eating well and enjoying it, too. Want some hummus? Leave the tub on the shelf. Grab a can of garbanzo beans, some lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Whip it in the processor until smooth. Pesto, a sauce of bright, herby and rich flavor, also can be processed faster than it takes to boil pasta. Basil, pine nuts, olive oil, and a little parmesan cheese go into the bowl and let it rip.

In a rush and need some nutrition? Look at a smoothie as a viable option to meet the need of fruits and veggies on the fly. In order to make a smoothie a proper blender is an essential. It's worth spending the money on, to throw some fruits and veggies into the container and be left with a treat that's both quick and easy. Try a banana, a few strawberries, some coconut milk, spinach, and a piece of ginger, along with a scoop of protein powder. This smoothie has healthy fats, protein, and fiber along with the digestive and anti-inflammatory benefit of ginger.

Next, the healthy dinner that you might think takes all day to make actually can be automated. Going to work or for an adventure and want something ready when returned? The crock-pot will prepare this meal with ease. Look for a programmable pot with timer, and multiple temp settings. Try some autumn chili: A couple of cans of beans, a diced sweet potato, diced green bell pepper, a can of diced tomatoes, a diced onion, 2 T. chili powder, 2 tsp. cumin, and 2 cups of water. At the end, add some tomato paste to thicken. Enjoy this warm bowl of goodness with cilantro and diced avocado toppers (a few tortilla chips wouldn't hurt, either).

Next is the microwave. Yes, this machine can be used for healthy foods, and will not give off nuclear radiation. Needing a quick baked sweet potato to slice an avocado on and top with salsa? Half a sweet potato, place in a baking dish with a little water on the bottom and microwave on high for 6 to 8 minutes. That's it. Another example is a poached egg: Crack an egg into a heat-safe ramekin with enough water to submerge it. Microwave for 60 seconds maybe a little more (careful - there's explosive results if overdone). Add this to the sweet potato for a good source of protein. A note on microwaves, use glassware to heat up food, plastics and other vessels may off-gas chemicals into food.

Always check packaging for microwave safety.

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