Living Alone? Loaded with Work? No time for Cooking? Fed up with Fast Food and Chocolate?

Most of us nowadays are loaded with work, live alone or at the dorms… The mother is not there to provide us with the healthiest homemade yummy foods.

We mostly live on delivery, fast food and chocolate. If we want to have a change we go out for some unconventional types of food that are usually unhealthy and unaffordable for our daily living. We’re stuck in a circle loaded with lack of time, lack of money and a tragic routine.

Here are some basic tips and fast healthy cooking ideas that can be performed anywhere from the office to the dorms room.

Go for Healthy Shopping

Stock your freezer with some healthy breads

A variety of Healthy Cheese (Akkawi, Halloumi Cheese, Majdoule, Low Fat Yellow Cheese) and Luncheon Meats (Turkey Ham)

A variety of Vegetables

Have a stock of healthy canned Grains and Meats such as Tuna

Never forget the Spices and Condiments

And some healthy ready made Sauces (Tomato Sauce, Pesto Sauce etc…)

Now your mini kitchen is ready to rock… Yet, how to use the Microwave for some easy fast healthy cooking?? Check some examples…

Add the pasta or some cut vegetables (ex. sliced carrots) in a microwavable plate or plastic container with water…

Cover the plate with cling film…

Set in the microwave for 5-7 minutes (every 2 minutes check on the plate because it contains boiling water).

You can also bake potatoes or make baked vegetables (zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper etc…) in the microwave, just slice the potatoes or the vegetables and put them on a plate in the microwave for few minutes…

Remove from the water, or from the plate and serve with meats, grains and a salad… Here you go simple healthy easy to prepare…

Check some samples below: Preparation time: Not more than 10 minutes…

Tuna with Baked Potatoes and Season Salad…

Healthy Grains with Salad (you can add some garlic, lemon and olive oil to taste)…

Microwave Boiled Vegetables, Shredded Low Fat Cheese and Salad…

Microwave Boiled Pasta and Carrots with Ready to Eat Tomato Sauce…

A light easy Yoghurt Snack for the overnights (with pasta and mint), can also be eaten as a dinner with a salad…

Why Not have a Fruit as a Snack…

Never forget the dessert… A whole cereal Toast with Jam and Fruits (makes up around 70kcal)

Important Tips

Becareful of instant meals found in the supermarket, they are usually rich in Saturated Fats and Trans Fats (those are the bad fats).

Do not eat DIET snacks unless you make sure that their content is suitable (usually they are low is simple sugars yet high in fats).

Always read the labels on the food product you are buying.

A Lebanese Queen Honeycomb…


I was given a Queen Honeycomb filled with golden honey, as a gift, gathered from the mountains, in North Lebanon.

Honey, is one of the oldest sweeteners used in villages. Back then it was gathered from rocks, tree trunks, old jars where the bees used to form their honey. Later on most Lebanese villages start to develop beehives, thus most rural households kept bees. Then after beekeeping evolved to become one of the most luxurious hobbies, as an inherited experience of our grand old families.

Bees make honey by harvesting the nectar of plants and flowers; Lebanon is very well known of its enormous variation of flowers and plants, thus Lebanese bees tend to form several kinds of honey with different colors, smells and tastes.

For example, dark honey from oaks, amber spicy honey from thyme, amber wooden taste honey from cedars, light amber citrus honey from orange blossom flowers and so on… Each type of honey is made in different times of the year depending on the season in which the flowers and plants grow.

In many Lebanese villages, honey is said to be “sacred”, where it’s mentioned in the Bible and in the Qur’an. Traditionally, it was used for medical purposes, specifically throat problems and coughing, cosmetic purposes for the skin and as a natural sweetener instead of sugar.

In the Lebanese cuisine it’s used in hot beverages such as coffee and tea, in cooking, salad dressing etc.

A Traditional Misconception:

A traditional misconception about honey; most villagers used to think that honey, because it’s a natural sweetener fits for diabetes. Yet, in fact, honey has more or less the same chemical structure as table white sugar or brown sugar, with the same amount of calories too. Thus, it should not be consumed by diabetic patients, unless it’s incorporated correctly within the diet plan.

Caution:

Honey Bees harvest the nectar from plants and flowers thus, it can carry on with it bacteria named Clostridium botulinum, that should not be consumed by children below the age of 2 years, because at this age the digestive system is not completely developed to digest and kill such a bacteria leading to a severe infection (the infection in this case is called: Botulism).

“Remman”… Pomegranate Overview, Health Benefits and Nutrient Content…

Overview

Pomegranate is a tree (like a shrub) that produces a round brownish to dark colored fruits. The fruit contains small pink seeds covered with a juicy watery layer. Pomegranate grows in several varieties that range between sweet and sour. During processing the inner seeds are pressed and the juice is used to either produce juices, syrups such as the grenadine, jam or boiled and reduced to produce molasses.

Pomegranate juice is usually consumed with fish, turkey, meats (ex. Turkish kabab), and also included in iced tea products. Pomegranate molasses is widely used in salad dressing, marinades and sauces ex. fattouch, chicken liver, sausages, wings etc. Grenadine syrup is consumed as a cold drink or used in cocktails; some also use it in several recipes such as the Duck Recipes ex. Goose Liver with caramelized pears or apples, cinnamon and grenadine sauce).

It’s used to enhance the flavour, give a pinkish color to the food and to improve appetite.

Health Benefits

Pomegranates provide antioxidant (punicalagins) and anti-inflammatory protection (for sore throat), support healthy cholesterol levels, and help maintain a healthy blood pressure levels, thus improves the health of the arteries.

Moreover, it improves hormonal imbalances and hormonal shifts specifically during menopause, used in curing anemia (antioxidants and iron content).It also contains anti-aging components that nourish the skin and antibacterial effects against dental plaque.

Several studies were also done on the health benefits of pomegranate, several have shown a positive relationship with respect to cancer (prostate), infant brain health, colds and kidney disease.

Nutrient Content

Pomegranate is a rich source of antioxidants and a good source of vitamin B (riboflavin, thiamin and niacin), vitamin C, calcium and phosphorus.

Artichoke Overview and Health Benefits

Overview

Artichoke is the unopened flower of a Thistle (a flowering plant characterized by leaves of sharp tips).
Artichoke is well known in the Mediterranean region.
In Lebanon, it is widely served as a cold “mezza” (Lebanese cold appetizers) with Lemon, garlic, and olive oil dressing. The Artichoke hearts can be processed into pickles, or cooked (Meat and Artichoke Stew or with white sauce or with tahina: sesame paste).

Health Benefits

– Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL Cholesterol)
– Contains “inulin” a carbohydrate that stabilizes blood sugar levels in diabetic patients
– Improves liver functioning
– Relief Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) symptoms
– Helps improve digestive problem such as dyspepsia and helps the digestion process
– Reduce risk of cancer (ex. Breast cancer)

How?

Artichoke is an excellent source of dietary fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin A, potassium, and manganese. Moreover, it contains compounds that help the flow of bile from the gallbladder (bile is essential for cholesterol regulation, liver and digestive functioning).

Sumac and Lebanese Cuisine

Sumac is the berries of a shrub that mainly grows in the Mediterranean area. It is well known in all regions and harvested from almost all the mountains of Lebanon.

The sumac hangs on the branches of the shrub as clusters of dark red balls.

Sumac is harvested during the month of August, they are harvested during this season and then they are sun dried, the drying process can take several days up to weeks, when the sumac is completely dried; it is then grounded into a coarse powder. The main purpose of drying the sumac is to be able to use it during winter times.

The grounded sumac has a strong astringent acidic taste, where it’s used as a seasoning and a souring flavouring agent in the Lebanese cuisine, mainly in the “meza”. For example, the traditional Lebanese salad “fattouch” is characteristically served with sumac sprinkled on top. Traditionally, it was used with fried eggs, kabab, in stuffing { Fatayer ex. Fatayer Sulik}, and the famous Lebanese thyme mankoushe, others also add it to the tabboule salad.

Moreover, it is can be used as a substitute for lemon juice in salad dressing, and can also be added to meat and chicken marinades.

Sumac has considerable amounts of potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, some antioxidants (such as Tanin), and around 140Kcal per 100g. Some say it’s used as a herbal remedy for urinary disorders (yet I still don’t have any scientific evidence).

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