Being an empty nester and frequent traveler I find myself cooking less and less. And when i do, I’ve become quite lazy at it, although I do still try and keep it healthy.
Fermented foods are all the rage now and when I received some samples of Cleveland Kraut, my creativity juices started flowing.The flavors of the kraut come in Gnar Gnar which features jalapeños and peppers, Curry with turmeric and ginger, Whiskey Dil, Classic Caraway, Beet Red featuring fermented beets, Roasted Garlic and Cabbage and Cukes.
Cleveland Kraut Gnar Gnar
For some reason, I am obsessed with street tacos, and usually order them when we go out to a restaurant that has them. I also have found the chicken street taco kit from Costco. I’m thinking what I really like about them is the slaw that is always on top and the Cleveland Kraut flavors reminded me of slaw toppings you see on tacos so I took a stab at creating my own
Costco Taco Kit
First off when I buy the Costco taco kit, I freeze the shells and use these egg thins crepes by Crepini, also found at Costco. They come made with cauliflower or plain and help keep the carb count on these tacos a little lower.
Crepini Egg Thins with Cauliflower
So to create my Lazy Street Tacos, I heated up some of the chicken from the kit, and topped those crepes with a scoop of chicken and the gnar gnar kraut featuring peppers and jalepeños which gave them a great kick. The Costco kit also comes with a cilantro lime creme which is yummy to drizzle on top.
Lazy Chicken Street Tacos
Lazy Chicken Street Tacos
Another lazy idea I had was using the precooked Frontera Grill brand barbacoa and chicken made by Rick Bayless which you can also find at Costco. I’m kind of a Costco junkie if you can’t tell.
Now, I am certain you can always cook your own chicken, beef, fish or protein of choice and season it however you like, and they still would not take that long to whip up. I’m thinking what really takes the most time in preparing street tacos is making the slaw and with Cleveland Kraut, the works is done for you!
Some other fun ideas I have using the other flavors of kraut would be topping a burger with the whiskey dill or cabbage and cukes and making a cauliflower rice bowl with the curry kraut and lentils.
I’ll add a link to these recipes once I tried them out!
To find Cleveland Kraut near you, order online or just read the cool story of how they got started, visit clevelandkraut.com
This salad is a breeze to whip up. Massaging the dressing into the leaves and then letting it marinate before serving is the key to making it tender and delicious. The recipe recommends 10 minutes. But this is a hearty salad and can even be made early in the day or even the night before. I could almost argue that it is actually better the next day!
If making ahead of time, wait until just before serving to add the additional cheese and walnuts.
This should yield 8 one cup servings. Add your favorite protein to make it a main dish
fresh lemon juice
crushed red pepper flakes
extra virgin olive oil*
finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
bag chopped kale
toasted walnuts, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
*If you like to use avocado, walnut or a different kind of oil, decrease olive oil to 1/4 cup and add 1/4 oil of choice.
Prepare dressing by adding garlic, lemon juice and red pepper flakes in bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil and one cup of the parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Add chopped kale to to large mixing bowl. Top with dressing mixture and thoroughly coat leaves. Using hands massage the dressing into the kale leaves. Let sit 10 minutes at room temperature.
Chop walnuts and add to dry skillet over medium heat. Stir constantly until light toasted.
Once kale has sat in dressing mixture for 10 minutes, transfer salad to serving dish and top with 1/4 cup additional parmesan cheese and walnuts.
These nuts will wake up your taste buds! They are spicy, sweet and savory all at the same time and truly addictive.
I came across this recipe on Food Network while searching for something completely unrelated but when I saw the words rosemary and chipotle, two of my favorite things, I had to check it out. I’ve tweaked the recipe slightly. You can find the original here.
I decided to make them for the holidays and they were a huge hit. I make them all the time for special occasions and when hosting events and sometimes when I’m just craving them.
They are a hit at any party and make a great hostess gift when wrapped in a decorative cellophane bag or mason jar.
Candied Chipotle and Rosemary Mixed Nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
7 1/2 cups nuts of choice (This can be tailored to any ratio you like. I like the following)
3 cups whole roasted salted cashews
1 1/2 cups whole walnut halves
2 cups whole pecan halves
1 cup whole almonds
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
2 teaspoons ground chipotle powder
4 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves, divided
4 teaspoons course sea salt, divided (l like using Maldon sea salt flakes)
You will need some parchment paper to lay them out to cool on.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the cashews, walnuts, pecans, and almonds on large baking sheet.
Drizzle olive oil and maple syrup over nuts then sprinkle on brown sugar, orange juice and chipotle powder. Add 2 tablespoons of the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of salt and toss. Toss to coat the nuts evenly. (I like to use 2 rubber spoon shaped scrapers for this, but your hands work fine too.) Spread the nuts over pan in one layer.
Roast the nuts for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring twice while baking with a large metal spatula, until the nuts are glazed and golden brown. I would stir at the 10 minute mark and 19 minute mark.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with 2 more teaspoons of salt and the remaining 2 tablespoons of rosemary. Toss well to coat all of the nuts.
Remove just from baking sheet and spread nuts onto a sheet of parchment paper. Taste for seasoning and sprinkle additional salt or rosemary over top while still warm if desired. Serve warm or cool.
Once nuts have cooled completely they can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature.
Next time you go to grab a Gatorade to replace lost electrolytes from a workout, hangover or whatever else you might use it for, try a switchel instead. I know you might be asking what in the heck is switchel?
Actually, switchel has been around long before Gatorade was even a thought. It was used to fuel and rehydrate farmers and workers in the hayfields during Colonial times.
Although farming has modernized quite a bit since those times, a farmer can still work up quite a thirst out in the fields. Just think how much thirstier a job it was for the Colonials when the grass was hand-cut with a scythe. I’m sure if Iron-Man races were a thing back then the athletes would have used it too!
Gatorade type drink were not around during that time as electrolytes were not even discovered until the 1900’s. And there were no scientific studies showing our bodies needed them replaced after exertion.
Somehow our ancestors knew what they were doing and what our bodies needed and created switchel to nourish them. To bad we didn’t listen and let preservatives and sugar take the place of this natural re-hydrator.
Switchel contains water, apple cider vinegar, ginger and a sweetener. The sweetener can be either molasses, maple syrup, honey or brown sugar.
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) is all of the rage now and is great for digestion and gut health. Many people incorporate ACV into their diets to aid in weight loss.
With the exception of water, all the other ingredients in the switchel contain potassium which is an electrolyte. Which we now know our bodies need to function properly.
I recently received a sample of switchel from a company called Up Mountain Swizzle, who make a sparkling switchel with fresh ginger, real maple syrup and apple cider vinegar
I have to say the maple syrup definitely makes it sweet and the ginger adds quite a bit of flavoring. It is also fizzy so it feels like you are drinking a soda. You could think of it as a healthy ginger ale! I never drink pop so this definitely feel a like a treat!
I’ve been drinking a concoction I call wetter water for about a year and half which has apple cider vinegar in it. I do it first thing in the morning to get my gut ready for the day.
I like that the Up Mountain sparkling switchel is a little sweeter than my wetter water and definitely more travel friendly. I can just toss a can in my bag or suitcase. I tried traveling with a bottle of apple cider vinegar once. It really did not work out so well.
If you are a Gatorade junkie, I would encourage you to make the switch to switchel. If you have been curious about all the health benefits of apple cider vinegar drinks give Up Mountain sparkling switchel a try.
We have all been there and know that spike and then crash and burn feeling we get after eating a high carb meal. But how can we avoid it while still enjoying some of the foods we love like pasta, bread and even cocktails.
I know it sounds to good to be true, but the makers of Good Idea Drinks, have found a solution. I had the chance to get a sample of these drinks and chat with founder Björn Öste. Keep reading to get the scoop on this sparkling water that can lower blood sugar.
Good Idea Drink
In a nutshell, researchers found a connection between the intake of dairy and a relatively high insulin response. They found that the intake of whey before and with a meal rich in fast carbohydrates could substantially lower the blood sugar spike following a meal.
The effect was also observed with protein that contained the presence of five specific essential amino acids. Repeated meal studies confirmed that the effect on insulin and glucose response from whey could be mimicked by serving a drink containing a proportion of the five essential amino acids before and with the meal.
Good Idea Drinks
As an additional development of the concept, a small quantity of chromium was added. Chromium is well known by scientists to have an important role in blood glucose regulation. Taken together, it was hypothesized that a combination of amino acids and chromium would have a synergistic effect that would further improve the effect on blood sugar rise.
After creating this dink the researchers studies results consistently showed a typical reduction of 25-30% in blood sugar rise following a meal rich in carbohydrates, compared to placebo.
Good Idea Drinks Nutrition
To get the full details of all of the science behind the drink and results of the study can be found on the Good Idea website as well as answers to some FAQ’s.
I had a few FAQ’s of my own and after my chat with Björn here is our Q&A session.
1. How did you come up with the idea for Good Idea Drinks? After learning of the research results from Lund University our company formed a collaboration to create the dink.
2. Can it help people with diabetes? Although it is not specifically targeted for that, it would be something to ask your doctor about to see if it might be a “good idea” to include it into your diet.
3. I have heard chromium can be used as a weight loss supplement. Can Good Idea drinks be used for weight loss? It is not marketed as a weight loss tool. However, studies have shown that chromium has shown to reduce the glycemic index which makes you eat less therefore could cause weight loss.
4. Why does it taste sweet when there is no sugar in it? It is flavored using natural flavor.
5. What exactly is “Natural Flavor”? How do you make it? Where do you get it? Great question.
6. Would it be helpful to drink while eating a dessert? Yes.
8. Would it be good to use as a mixer in cocktails, as alcohol is considered a sugar and most drinks are made with sugary mixers or juices? Yes.
This sparkling water is a little sweet and definitely has the flavor. I loved the idea of making a cocktail with it and had a bunch of limes on hand so thought I would take a stab at creating a “Good Idea” Mojito.
Although, this mojito recipe does not have any actual sugar in it, this flavored sparkling water will help the spike caused by the sugars in the alcohol or added sugars should you decide to sweeten it up yourself. Details on how to do that are listed in the directions of the recipe.
The Good Idea Mojito
I wish to thank Good Idea Drinks for the sample. For more information on the drinks or how to purchase them visit the Good Idea website.
Cover photo from Good Idea.
This skinny mojito recipe is free of sugar and sweeteners and is perfect for those wanting to watching their diet or have blood sugar issues.
Speaking of blood sugar, this mojito cocktail just might lower it. I know it sounds crazy but I came across this sparkling water called Good Idea. It contains amino acids that have show to lower blood sugar when eaten with a high carb meal or sugar. So, with alcohol being considered a sugar I am using it as a mixer in this cocktail.
Here is the scoop on Good Idea Drinks and how they work.
This recipe is free of sugars and sweeteners so it is a little tart. If you like your cocktails a little sweeter you could add a drizzle of agave nectar or sweetener of choice. I like using pure lime juice which you can find jarred or make your own by juicing fresh lime. Here is where you can purchase the Good Idea Drinks.
Fresh Lime Juice
Good Idea Sparkling Water
Lemon Lime Flavor
Fresh Mint Leaves
In cocktail shaker add 2 sprigs of mint and 6 lime slices. Muddle until juice is released from limes and mint is aromatic.
Add rum and lime juice and 1/2 cup ice cubes. Shake well.
Divide remaining ice into two glasses. Using cocktail shaker strainer divide mojito mixture into two glasses. Top off with desired amount of Good Idea sparkling water.
Garnish with remaining lime slices and mint. Enjoy!
If you would like your mojito a little sweeter add sweetener of choice in with the limes and mint and muddle until sugar or sweetener is mostly dissolved.