Yogurt Bread

Yogurt Bread

In my last year of college, one of my housemates and best friends was a guy who knew how to make the best potato breads I’ve ever tasted. That was my introduction to bread making, and I’ve loved it ever since. Making bread at home is a pretty basic DIY skill that anyone can master with a little practice, and basic bread requires few ingredients – flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast. Check the store brands you buy – most have added ingredients, and if you see a lot more ingredients in that list than the ones I’ve named above, then you know the bread is over-processed, full of preservatives, and possibly contains chemical substances – like phosphates -- that have been linked in clinical studies with intestinal inflammation, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and heart problems when they are eaten on a regular basis. Store-bought breads are also not cheap, and a single artisan loaf or “healthy” brand can cost $5 or more.

So learning to make bread at home can not only save you money, it can also help you avoid some of the health problems that come with regularly eating processed foods.

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Honey-roasted carrots with sesame seeds

Honey-roasted carrots with sesame seeds

This is one of my go-to quick and easy recipes for busy weekday nights. My kids love it, and it goes from the oven to the table in about 20 minutes. If you have kids who aren’t crazy about vegetables, this one might win them over with its sweet and salty taste. It goes well with rice and chicken, fish, or potatos. Alternatively, use it to add a light and sweet balance to heavy entrees. You can also make it a day ahead of time.

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Turkish lentil soup

Turkish lentil soup

This fast, easy, and healthy recipe for kırmızı mercimek çorba, or (Turkish) red lentil soup, is one of my family’s favorite. My 8-year old requests it every week. It’s one of several ways that this soup can be made: you can omit the carrots and Hungarian paprika if you prefer, or take more time and strain the soup through a sieve if you like, creating a thinner consistency (which is the way you will usually find it being made in Turkey). You can also add more water to make it less thick and hearty.

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creamy potato-sweet potato soup (recipe)

creamy potato-sweet potato soup (recipe)

(vegan option)

This is a thick, rich, and creamy soup that is perfect for the cold season. Even better, it is quick and easy to make – 45 minutes from start to finish! It has a number of different variations you can try to suit your particular tastes, variations that range from the sweetness to the thickness to spices used in this soup. You can even choose to make it vegan by skipping the last part, that adds a dollop of plain yogurt to the finished soup.

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Jeff's Luscious Red Pepper Sauce

Jeff's Luscious Red Pepper Sauce

This was a recipe invented by my ex-husband Jeff, who besides being a gifted gardener and landscaper who could revive even the saddest-looking plants, is also a great cook. This recipe is fast and easy to make, and the sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in in the freezer for up to 3 weeks.

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Paprika chicken wings (recipe)

Paprika chicken wings (recipe)

This is one of my favorite go-to recipes for a quick and healthy dinner. It doesn’t require any marinating beforehand (although you can do that if you like for richer flavor), and with a few simple ingredients you can have it on the table in under an hour! It’s a favorite with my kids, too, and we rarely have leftovers!

The real secret to the rich taste, though, is good-quality Hungarian paprika. Hungarian paprika is one of several kinds of paprika (including sweet, smoked, and Spanish pimentón) used in cooking. It has a complex flavor (with at least 8 varieties) and ranges from mild (flavor) and bright red (color) to spicy and pungent with a pale orange color.

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What Everyone Needs to Know about Arsenic in Rice

What Everyone Needs to Know about Arsenic in Rice

Exposure to arsenic is a growing global health problem, but there’s a lot that scientists and health workers still don’t know about the extent to which it is affecting the health of vulnerable populations.

What exactly is arsenic, and how does it affect your health? Is there anything you can do to reduce your exposure to arsenic in rice and other food you eat? These are a few of the questions that this week’s blog post aims to answer.

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