High Fructose Corn Syrup (A Natural Sweetner?)

This ingredient has become very controversial over the few years. The marketers in the food industry are actually trying to pass this cursed poison off as a “natural” sweetener because it comes from corn; however, the refining process that is necessary to convert corn to high fructose corn syrup creates something quite deadly. One article that I read called it the “new silent killer”. The food industry embraced this substance because it found the product cheaper to manufacture than table sugar.
I believe that high-fructose corn syrup is even worse than sugar. First, all of the corn syrup that is made starts off with genetically modified corn. Second, HFCS goes straight to the liver, causing significant fat buildup in the liver. It is also said that fructose interacts with birth control pills and can elevate insulin levels in women who use them. Fructose also inhibits copper metabolism, which leads to a bodily deficiency in copper. This can cause bone fragility, anemia, ischemic heart disease, and so many other problems. Please, Please, Please, read your labels and avoid this ingredient like the plague. Choose foods without this ingredient and when you're able make your own. It allows you more control over what your family eats.
My alternative for recipes that call for corn syrup would be brown rice syrup. It is a little expensive, but far better for your health.

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1/4 white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 cup half-and-half
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
1 pinch salt
1 pinch black pepper

1 tablespoon peanut oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and paste, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
Cook 10 minutes longer to thoroughly cook chicken and mix flavors. Serves 4

Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers - Bell peppers are very rich in vitamins C and A, which makes them an excellent source of antioxidants. High levels of beta carotene help to fight off cataracts. Bell peppers also help fight blood clot formations, thus reducing the chances of heart disease and strokes. Red bell peppers have a higher content of nutrients than green and provide the body with lycopene, a carotene that fights against cancer and heart disease.

Are You Drinking Yourself to Death???

Did you know that drinking sodas on a regular basis can lead to obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, tooth decay, kidney damage, impaired digestive system and many other health problems? Despite the deleterious effects of this beverage, the United States ranks first among countries in soft drink consumption. It is estimated that the average American drinks 57 gallons of soft drinks each year. For a healthier alternative, make your soda at home. Combine your favorite all-natural fruit juice. (No Sugar added) and carbinated water and make a fruit spritzer. Alot healthier without all the negative ingredients.

Dijaaj Bi Summak/Chicken with Sumac (Arab)

4 loaves Arabic Bread
1 cup onions, slivered in thin crescents
Salt and Pepper to taste
5 TBSP or more ground sumac
3-4 pounds chicken cut into 6 pieces
1/4 cup or more olive oil

Open up breads so they are one layer thick. Tear into bite sized pieces.
Line a 10x14 inch baking pan with 2/3 of the bread. Spread onions over the bread. Salt and pepper the onions and bread liberally. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp ground sumac over it all.
Place chicken pieces on top of the bread. Generously sprinkle 3 Tbsp or more ground sumac over the chicken. Add more salt and pepper. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken. Cover with remaining bread pieces and drizzle with additional olive oil. Bake at 450-500 degrees for 1 hour. Check every 15 minutes as it bakes; if the bread on top begins to get too dark, cover it loosely with foil. Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken pieces and the oven temp. Serves 4

Bravo For Basil!

Basil is a wonderfully fragrant herb that has many benefits. Its leaves aid in digestion, and help control flatulence, nausea, and stomach ache. Basil has flavonoids that provide protection on a cellular level. The volatile oil in basil provides antibacterial properties. This useful herb has anti-inflammatory properties as well, which can provide relief from such ailments as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. Basil also contains a generous amount of vitamins A and antioxidants.

Cheese 'N Chicken Enchiladas

1 medium onion, chopped
2 Tbsp butter or olive oil
1-1/2 cup shredded cooked halal chicken or turkey
1 jar (12 ounces) picante sauce, divided
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cubed
1 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups shredded extra sharp chedder cheese, divided
8 whole wheat tortillas (6-inch)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook and stir onion in butter or olive oil in a large skillet until tender. Stir in chicken, 1/4 cup picante sauce, cream cheese cumin; cook until thoroughly heated.

Stir in 1 cup cheese.

Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture in center of each tortilla; roll up. Place seam side down in 12x7 inch baking dish. Top with remaining picante sauce and cheese.

Bake 15 minutes. Makes 4 to 6 servings. Great with a side of spanish rice and/or salad.

An Apple A Day...

So they say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Apples are rich in boron, a trace mineral that is essential for bone health. Thus eating apples helps to fight osteoporosis. Also apples help to prevent strokes and to keep the heart healthy. It is noted that Jabir b. ’Umar al-Saksaki narrated from Muhammad b. Isa from Ayyub b. Faddala from Muhammad b. Isa from Ayyub b. Faddala from Muhammad b Muslim said: “Abu Abd if people knew what there was in apples; they would treat their sick only with it. Surely it is the quickest thing to benefit the heart, particularly its exudation (al-nuduh)” (Islamic Medical Wisdom, pp.178-179).

Vegetable Egg Foo Young (Chinese)

Vegetable Egg Foo Young
3 cup halal chicken broth
2 Tbsp minced onions
1/3 cup flour
3 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1/8 tsp ground pepper
5 eggs
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 green onion sliced thin
½ tsp. salt
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup cooked mixed vegetables (use frozen or leftovers)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil (sesame, peanut, or olive)

1. In a medium saucepan add a cup of broth and saute the onions in it.
Then add the flour and whisk vigorously. As the mixture starts to thicken add the remaining broth and turn up the fire to medium high. Also add the soy sauce. When gravy obtains desired thickness turn fire down low and keep warm.

2. In large bowl beat eggs well. Add remaining ingredients except oil. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of oil.

3. Drop egg mixture by ¼ cup full into the skillet. Fry for about 3 minutes until golden on bottom; turn and brown other side. Add additional oil to skillet if needed and fry remaining mixture. Top with gravy to serve, or add patties to gravy which ever you prefer. Add a side of rice.
Makes 4 servings

The Benefits of Almonds

Almonds are widely considered the healthiest of all the nuts. They help to build healthy teeth and bones because they are high in phosphorus, calcium, and magnesium. The high levels of vitamin E found in almonds help to lower blood cholesterol levels and promote a healthy heart. It has been noted that almonds eaten after meals help to reduce blood sugar levels and the amounts of insulin that the pancreas must produce. Thus it can be said that eating almonds helps to protect the body from diabetes. Also, it’s good to know that almonds are high in antioxidants, which protect our bodies from cancer, as well as ailments caused by an increase of free radicals.

South African Spicy Chicken

1 cup chicken stock
1 1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 Tablespoons frozen apple juice concentrate
2 teaspoons light (low salt) soy sauce
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp sugar
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 teaspoons powdered cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1 4 pound chichen cut into 8 pieces
1 tsp olive oil
1 large onion chopped
salt and white pepper to taste

1. Prepare the sauce by blending all sauce ingredients in a food processor or a blender

2. Dry the chicken pieces and season with pepper. Brush the bottom of a large skillet with oil to coat. Heat the oil and when it becomes hot, add the chicken and brown on both sides. Then brown the remaining pieces. Brown well, at least 10-15 minutes on each side over medium-high heat.

3. Once all pieces have been browned add them to a large 9x13 baking dish.
Then add the sauce. Bake chicken in a 375 degree oven for an hour and a half or until the chicken completely tender and nearly falling off the bone. Also the sauce should appear thickened. Serve over brown rice.

Non-Dairy Chicken Pot Pie

I adapted this recipe from a potpie recipe I received from a dear sister of mine. It's great for those who are reducing or eliminating their dairy intake.

4 ½ Tbsp flour
1 ½ cups almond milk
½ cup chicken broth (you can substitute a can of mushroom or celery soup)
2 ½ cups diced cooked chicken (Precooked with a pinch of basil, oregano and thyme - or marjoram - salt, pepper and celery salt
1 tsp salt
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp thyme
Pepper to taste
2 ½ cups celery
1 cup carrots
½ cup onions
2 9-inch deep dish pie crusts (I make my own)

1. Cut up and wash chicken thoroughly. Do not remove the skin. Cover chicken with water and boil with basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper and celery salt until cooked, about ½ - 3/4 hour. Take pieces out of water and cool. Debone chicken thoroughly, removing fat, skin, gristle. Cut chicken into small pieces.
2. In a large skillet (frying pan), melt oil, blend in flour, cook and stir for 1 minute. Gradually add almond milk and chicken broth. Cook and stir until thick, about 3 minutes. Add chicken, salt, thyme, paprika and pepper. Cook 1 minute. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 425.
3. Wash celery and carrots and cut up into small pieces. Take skin off onion and chop into small pieces. Cook celery, carrots and onions in small amount of water until crisp-tender, about 7 minutes. Drain. Add vegetables to chicken.
4. Pour mixture into 9-inch deep dish pie crust. (You can make your own crust or use frozen ones.) Cover with another pie crust and use a fork to seal edges together. Prick about 3 holes in top of pie crust using a fork to allow steam to escape.
Place chicken pot pie on cookie sheet and bake for about ½ hour or until crust is brown.
Serves up to 6 people.
(You can cook the chicken the day before and store in refrigerator. One chicken could be used for 2 pies. I usually make 2 pies for my large family, which would mean doubling the recipe.)