How to Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally

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Omron Evolv blood pressure monitor
Omron Evolv blood pressure monitor

They call high blood pressure, or hypertension if you will, the silent killer. That’s because there are no outward symptoms. If you have it you’ll only know if your doctor slaps the arm cuff on and tests it. Your dentist might do it as well.

If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first thing your doctor will do is tell you not to smoke, exercise more, and possibly lose weight. And then comes the inevitable medication. The problem with BP meds is that they all have side effects.

For example, I take Lisenopril and one of the side effects is that it makes me lethargic. I could tell you a thing or two about blood pressure meds and running. It also gives me a persistent cough. Luckily, there are some non-med things you can do to bring down your BP naturally.

Lower Blood Pressure by Slowing Your Breathing

Sounds like magic, doesn’t it? Well it’s not. The Resperate device has been proven to lower blood pressure. The idea is that using ear buds , a chest sensor strap, and the small device, it guides the user to breathe ever more slowly using guiding tones. The sensor monitors breathing and slows the tones accordingly. This has the effect of relaxing the blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. Using the device over time has a cumulative effect. It is the only FDA-cleared device on the market to do this.

Foods to Lower High Blood Pressure

  • Watermelon. The important component here is citrulline . Once consumed, it’s converted to  L-arginine which is the precursor to nitric oxide. In the body nitric-oxide relaxes the blood vessels which causes the blood pressure to decrease.
  • Ginger- Cinnamon – Cardamom Tea. Ginger and cinnamon are both warming spices that improve circulation. Cardamom is an herb used to treat many conditions. In addition to high blood pressure, it is also effective with liver and gallbladder issues, bronchitis, urinary issues, and more.
  • Onions. The key ingredient is a powerful antioxidant known as quercetin. Quercetin helps lower blood pressure. It also helps to treat chest pain, and angina. It effectively lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack. The best way to get as much of this enzyme as possible is eating your onions raw or lightly cooked.
  • Hibiscus Tea. And you thought it was just a pretty flower! Tufts University conducted a study during which participants sipped three cups of a hibiscus tea daily. They lowered systolic blood pressure by 7 points in a 6 week period on average. These results are on par with many prescription medications.
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  • Pomegranate Juice. This fruit contains natural ACE inhibitors. These prevent those enzymes from damaging your circulatory system. The juice of the pomegranate performs like the medications doctors prescribe for high blood pressure.
  • Dark Chocolate. Good news for me and perhaps for you too! A Harvard study found that consuming just one small square of dark chocolate daily can assist in lowering blood pressure. The higher the cacao percentage the better. Look for over 70%. This study concurs with the growing body of research into the heart-healthy benefits of flavonoids. These compounds present in unsweetened chocolate cause dilation of the blood vessels.
  • Flaxseed. In 2013 a study was published in Hypertension that reported that flaxseed consumption lowers blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Over 100 patients that had been diagnosed with peripheral artery disease were in the study. This condition is associated with hypertension. The patients were assigned to either the flaxseed group or the placebo group. The former ate 30 grams of flaxseed every day for 6 months. There are many ways to add flaxseed to your diet. I even add it (milled of course) to my homemade hot sauce. Omelets? Oatmeal? Salad dressing? Yes, yes, yes.
  • Beetroot Juice. Although some of pressure-lowering effects are due to the minerals it contains, like potassium and magnesium, the real powerhouse here is the high concentration of nitrates. Consuming beetroot juice results in these nitrates being rapidly converted into nitrites by bacteria that live on the surface of the tongue, and in saliva. Next the nitrites are absorbed into the circulation system. Here they make a gas called nitric oxide (NO). This is a cell-signaling molecule which has a powerful relaxing effect on the small muscle fibers in your blood vessels. Consequently, the blood vessels dilate and your blood pressure falls.
  • Nuts. Who doesn’t like nuts? Pistachio nuts seem to have the strongest effect when it comes to reducing high blood pressure. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 21 clinical trials, all carried out between 1958 and 2013 bore out this conclusion.

This list will get you started on a delicious way to control your high blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with it (or just are interested in tracking your health, like you do your weight), it’s a good idea to monitor it on a regular basis. Personally, I use the Omron Evolv Blood Pressure Monitor

It is very accurate and eliminates all the hoses and units. It’s just the cuff that has its own readout. It communicates to your phone by a Bluetooth app if you want to keep a running record of your results.

I hope you enjoyed this article on lowering high blood pressure naturally and found it helpful. If so, please share the link with friends and social media. And if you have some related ideas please share them with our readers in the comment section below. Thanks for visiting!


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About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


Low Carb Egg Noodles Pasta Recipe



Low carb egg noodles with basil
Low carb egg noodles with basil

Low Carb diets are very popular these days. The main problem is that they can be quite restrictive. People love their pasta; it seems like we are hard-wired for carbohydrates. Pasta is very high in carbohydrates so even one “cheat meal” can set a weight loss program way back. Oh, the guilt! But thanks to this low carb egg noodles pasta recipe, all is not lost.

Note that this recipe is not gluten-free but it boasts 0 carbs per serving (unless you add something else. And with just three basic ingredients it is not a very difficult dish to prepare.

Egg Noodles Pasta Ingredient List (2 smallish servings)

  • 2 eggs at room temperature
  • 1 ounce cream cheese at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon wheat gluten; this is optional but it creates a better texture
  • A dozen or so fresh basil leaves or spice/herb of your choice (basil adds only about 1 carb but 6% RDA of vitamin A)
  • Broth of your choice

Gluten is not the villain it is made out to be. In reality it is a protein and it is the “glue” that holds bread together, especially homemade bread. But if you are sensitive to it just leave it out of the recipe.



Preparation Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Add the cream cheese, eggs, and gluten to a  blender jar.
  3. Blend on high until smooth, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour the mixture out onto a silicone mat that has been placed on top of a heavy baking pan.
  5. Smooth mixture out into a rectangle shape while keeping the mixture very thin.
  6. Bake at 325 degrees F until set; about 15 minutes but your time may vary.
  7. Remove from oven and let it set and cool for a few minutes prior to cutting into strips.
  8. Next,  gently simmer in the broth for about 6 minutes minutes. The broth can be retained for soup or another use. Waste not, want not.

Low carb noodles with Pace Picante Sauce
Low carb noodles with Pace Picante Sauce

Enjoy your low carb egg noodles with the topping of your choice. I enjoy it with Panamanian style ceviche once in a while but each to his own I always say. In the photo above the noodles are slathered with Pace Picante Sauce (hot).

I suppose that makes it like a breakfast burrito minus the tortilla.

 


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10 Most popular Diets


Healthy food for weight loss
Healthy food for weight loss

It’s interesting to note that out of all book genres, cook books and diet books rank so high. It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? Yet it makes sense that people want to eat well and stay in shape and be healthy all at the same time. Fair enough.

Most diets are associated with weight loss but some are more lifestyle, part of a religious faith, or as part of a periodical detox program. Let’s look at 10 of the most popular diets (as of this writing; fad diets pop up all the time).

  1. Atkins Diet. This is one of the big ones. In fact, it was the number one diet of 2017. Oddly, when it was first developed it wasn’t even meant to be a weight loss program; it was designed to benefit folks with cardiovascular risk. This diet relies on restricting carbs. The result is controlled insulin levels so that fat is burned for energy rather than carbs.
  2. Gluten Free. Gluten is a naturally-occurring protein in grain plants such as wheat. Anyone who bakes homemade bread for example knows that gluten is the “glue” that holds bread together. Unfortunately, many people are sensitive to it. Many others adhere to this diet because they just believe it to be healthier. It can result in weight loss because, like Atkins, it restricts some carbs. It can be expensive though.
  3. Ketogenic. This is another one that was developed for other purposes. For example, it has been used for decades as a treatment for epilepsy. It’s basically the same at Atkins in that it reduces carbohydrate intake (less than 10% of daily calories) and raising fat intake. Many researchers are looking at using this diet for  diabetes management and general metabolic health.
  4. Whole 30 Diet. This program relies on abstaining from most processed foods (there is a list of permitted items) along with grains, dairy, alcohol, legumes and sweeteners for 30 days. It has been described as a “nutritional reset program that emphasizes whole foods.” Meat, eggs, fruit, and vegetables are allowed as part of the diet. Dairy products, grains, legumes, alcohol, and sugar are not allowed.
  5. Vegetarian Diet. This diet comes in many flavors: living food diet, vegetarian, lacto-vegetarian, fruitarian vegetarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pesco-vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian, and semi-vegetarian just to name more than a few. Studies have demonstrated that vegetarians suffer less from diseases, enjoy a lower body weight,  and may have a longer life expectancy than people who eat meat.
  6. Vegan Diet. Veganism is considered more of a way of life and a philosophical outlook than a diet per se. Vegans will not consume anything that is animal-based. This includes eggs, dairy, and honey. Vegans don’t always get into veganism simply for health reasons, but in addition for environmental, ethical, and compassionate reasons.
  7. Mediterranean Diet. This diet has been around for quite a while and as might be guessed it is modeled after, well, the Mediterranean style of eating. In a nutshell, the fare is high in monounsaturated fats from nuts and oils, vegetables, whole grains, and seafood. It also includes token amounts of fruit, dairy, eggs, and a bit of red meat every now and then. It is thought by many to be one of the most beneficially ways to eat for overall health, especially for the cardiovascular system.
  8. The Raw Food Diet. Sometimes referred to as raw foodism, it is defined by consuming food and drink that has not been processed. This diet is completely plant-based, and organic whenever possible. The four basic categories of raw foodists are raw vegetarians, raw vegans, raw omnivores, and raw carnivores. This last one scares me.
  9. The DASH diet. This diet was was developed with the idea of lowering high blood pressure. Its hallmark is consumption of a mix of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. In addition, it is important to avoid saturated fat, sugary beverages, sweets, full-fat dairy, and some oils, and as might be guessed, less salt overall.
  10. The Volumetrics Diet. This one puts the focus on the energy density in various foods. This is the number of calories in a certain amount of food. Foods that rate a high-energy density have lots of calories per a little amount of food, and low-energy density foods have fewer calories for more food.

There’s certainly a lot of options to choose from which is a good thing. Certain lifestyles are palatable to one person and not to another. In many cases it is possible to mix and match. The important thing when taking on one of these popular diets is dedication.

 


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Top 10 Ways to Go Green

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Have a green home and lifestyle
Have a green home and lifestyle

Going green is as trendy as ever but did you know that it will save you money as well? You can do more than recycle; you can make small changes in all areas of your home and life that really add up. Here are the top 10 ways to go green on our list.

  1. Go Organic in your garden and lawn. First of all, stop it with all the pesticides. Monsanto’s Roundup is in trial right now for allegedly causing cancer. The active ingredient glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to the World Health Organization. Stop it with the “weed and feed” products as well. Sure, the herbicide ingredient will kill some weeds but they can also kill shrubs and trees if applied in the drip zone. Just broadcast organic fertilizer and agricultural dried molasses in the spring and fall. This will encourage deep root growth of your lawn grass which means less watering, saving money. It is also recommended to apply beneficial nematodes to eliminate fleas in the larval stage.
  2. Green Your Kitchen. Back off with the chemical cleaning products. Instead, use non-toxic or plant-based cleaning products. They perform just as well as your chemicals but they are safer for your family, better for the environment, and save money. For example, baking soda is non-toxic and can be combined with a bit of water to clean tubs, sinks and other surfaces. Vinegar is great for cleaning glass. Got bugs? Use orange oil spray instead of pesticides.
  3. Improve Your Energy Efficiency. Anything you can do to lower your electricity bill is a good thing. Today’s homes are built with tighter exteriors than older homes so strive for that. Spring for an energy audit to identify problems if you want; otherwise just do common sense things like adding insulation and caulking windows. This will really save you money when utility costs spike.
  4. Go Green in the Bathroom. Wasting water is not only bad for the environment but is also costly. Switch to low flow toilets. Next eliminate the drips; a single dripping water faucet can waste 212 gallons of water a month. Ka-ching! And, there is no point in leaving the water running while you brush your teeth. On, off, on, off.
  5. Make Some Energy Tweaks Around the House. One of the easiest things to do is to contact the Direct Marketing Association to take yourself off many companies’ mass marketing mailing lists for up to five years. Unplugging things when not in use stops “phantom loads” with most appliances that use power such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, chargers, computers, and kitchen appliances.
  6. How to Save When Shopping. Most people don’t realize how they can save and go green when out and about. First, don’t load up on bottled water for drinking when you are out doing your chores. Instead, carry a reusable water bottle. You will save money and create less scrap plastic. For the grocery store take your own reusable bags. When the industry went from paper to plastic they didn’t do the environment any favors. Also consider buying things in bulk. This saves on both packaging and money.
  7. Focus on an Environmentally-Friendly Workplace. Being green isn’t only possible at home; the workplace is important as well. Encourage workers to have a plant or two in their space; they act as natural filters to improve indoor air quality. If your company ships products, use environmentally-friendly packaging materials and reuse boxes when possible. Set your office printers to print double-sided. This is an simple way to reduce paper consumption by up to half.
  8. Traveling the Green Way. If you are only going a short distance, consider walking or riding a bike. If you can run to work and shower there, even better. Compared to driving a car, this will save money and improve your health. Use public transportation or carpool when possible. Not only will you have a greener commute but you can catch up on some reading.
  9. Food can be Green too. We all have to eat so why not do it the green way? Buying locally grown food is a good start. Did you know that food generally travels between 1,500 to 2,500 miles from farm to your kitchen? Moving food that distance results in high energy consumption and less local agricultural investment. If you took our advice on going organic in tip #1 above, grow your own veggies, fruit, and herbs.
  10. Consider Passive Solar ConceptsPassive solar has been getting quite a bit of press lately but many people don’t really understand it. Basically it means considering the sun’s energy when building or modifying your home. With new home construction, it is important to position the structure so that you get the morning and afternoon sun where it benefits you the most. Thermal mass is also an important concept. In colder climates materials such as concrete and brick hold heat well and can be used in living areas to reduce heating costs. Solar collectors, both passive and active can be incorporated into a home’s design. Solar water heaters can vastly lower your energy bills and your impact on the environment.

These tips on ways to go green can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and save you money. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in global warming or climate change; who doesn’t enjoy extra cash?


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Panamanian-Style Ceviche Recipe



Panamanian-style ceviche and tortilla chips
Panamanian-style ceviche and tortilla chips

Ceviche (alternatively known to a lesser extent as cebiche, seviche or sebiche) is a seafood dish popular in most Latin American countries. The exact preparation location dictates the exact ingredient list but the one we will consider here is the Panamanian-style ceviche recipe since that’s what I grew up on.

This dish can be eaten as an appetizer before your homemade pizza or other main dish although I don’t see any reason not to just go ahead and make a meal of it. Although some people have have characterized it as raw fish like sushi, nothing could be further from the truth. The fish undergoes chemical cooking (from the acid in the lime juice) rather than thermal cooking.

For the purpose of this article I’ll give the ingredients for a small batch, as pictured above. If you’re making more just keep the ratios the same, to your liking. Try to use organic ingredients where possible.

Ceviche Ingredient List

  • 1 filet of fish, approximately 8″ long, cut in 1/4″ – 1/2″ cubes. Use any white-flesh, non-oily species. In Panama corvina is used but I can’t get it here so this time I used cod. I used shark once. Only the hot pepper bit back.
  • 1/2 large onion, diced. Any type will do; I use red onions because they taste superior and they add color to the dish.
  • 3 sticks of celery, sliced about 1/4″.
  • Kosher salt as desired; I leave it out because of blood pressure.
  • 2 carrots, cubed or sliced.
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/2″ chunks.
  • 1 large tomato, diced.
  • 2 large serrano or jalapeno peppers, finely diced. Habanero pepper is traditional if you dare.
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro.
  • Sufficient lime juice to cover ingredients. (Lemon juice can be used in a pinch.) Save yourself some work by buying a bottle at the store rather than squeezing them yourself.

Ceviche Preparation

Panamanian-style ceviche ingredients
Panamanian-style ceviche ingredients

Cut up all ingredients and combine in a glass container. Never metal! Keep in mind that the fish is much easier to work with if it is frozen. Add the lime juice until it just covers the mixture.

Cover the container and store it in the refrigerator for a minimum of 24 hours. This will give the fish and vegetables in the ceviche time to cook and combine flavors.

One of the best things about Panamanian-style ceviche is that it is so versatile. The list of vegetables is up to your taste and imagination.  Some areas of Mexico substitute scallops for the fish; Colombians prefer shrimp.

Enjoy it with a spoon or over homemade oatmeal flax seed bread or scoop it with tortilla chips! Have you experimented with any interesting twists to this recipe? Share them with our readers in the comment section below.


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The Sad Demise of Michelle and Barack Obama’s Legacy

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Article updated on 09/19/18

A presidential legacy is a term that is often bandied about as an indicator as to what kind of impact the president had on society and global policy. This is also true, albeit to lesser extent, with first ladies and their “pet projects.”

For most presidents the jury remains out for a while, sometimes as long as a decade, in order to give the dust time to settle. But with the Obamas, it is happening almost overnight. There is no way to sugar-coat this—the initiatives were bold but they were doomed to failure.

One problem is that Barry Obama never really had any real world experience to prepare him for office. Even the most lowly congressional aide knows that the president of the United States doesn’t bow to a Saudi king.

Or deliver pallets of cash to the Iranians like some mafioso, just to avoid banking channels and legitimate procedure.

Even had he been the best community organizer in that economic crackerjack city of Chicago, that doesn’t really qualify as the executive experience that a job such as the Presidency demands. And nothing he did was even original; it was mostly cobbled together from the ideas of his mentor Frank Marshall Davis and Saul Alinsky.

If it can be called a component of a legacy, the establishment of a highly-effective shadow government was brilliant. His loyal civil servant followers continue to soldier on long after that last trip on the tax-payer’s dime.

And Michelle? Meh. She may have been a competent lawyer, who knows? But for someone to utter, “This is the first time I have been proud of my country,” only after she has landed the fattest plum of a spousal job on the planet? Oy vey! What a total lack of decorum.

Barack Obama’s Failed Programs

Although Obama delved into many social and economic experiments consistent with his progressive agenda, only three have the dubious honor of taking center stage.

For example, venturing into the clean energy game might have been a laudable goal but doing it with no real scientific justification and rolling the dice with taxpayer money was just a bad move; there is no other way to put it. Remember Solendra? They left taxpayers liable for $535 million in federal guarantees. This kind of speculative investment is best left to the private sector because they can conduct business much more effectively and realistically.

The next failed initiative is Obamacare. Granted that it’s inception was perhaps done with the best of intentions, but it was unworkable from the beginning. Now it is collapsing under it’s own weight; the last of the huge insurance companies are bailing and Grandma can’t afford her meds.

Finally, the Iran deal brokered by John Kerry was doomed to failure from the get-go. This was a bad deal and it resonates with the Neville Chamberlain mindset when dealing with Hitler—you know; just give them a bit of appeasement and life is good. It’s not playing out so well with the emboldened Iranians now that they have cash-in-hand and an Obama absolution for all things done.

Obama’s Transgressions Just Keep On Coming

Unlike past ex-presidents, Obama hasn’t had the good grace to bow out and let the new president go about his business. He keeps his hand in it, partially some think by guiding his own shadow government with the help of his old allies and minions who are still in government employ (and are the prime suspects of carefully-planned leaks under the Trump administration).

It turns out that it is a two-edged sword. Yes, he can continue as a radical organizer on a grand scale to try to topple Trump but it also keeps him under public scrutiny. His misdeeds keep surfacing.

  • Sam Westrop of the Middle East Forum tells us that following the civil war in Sudan, ” The Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer money to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Sudan — a decade after the U.S. Treasury designated it as a terrorist-financing organization. More stunningly, government officials specifically authorized the release of at least $115,000 of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.”

Michelle Obama’s Failed Legacy

Michelle Obama had a laudable goal of getting American children in shape and eating right. The problem is that she approached it too scientifically and in too much of a heavy-handed manner.

Schoolchildren would hardly eat the industrial slop they were fed to begin with, but at least it was things they liked such delicacies as pizza, burgers, fries, etc. When all of this was replaced with “healthy” industrial slop the kids rebelled and most of the victuals ended up in the trash.

She also failed to take into account that kids that participated in after-school activities like sports and cheerleading were running on empty when expected to perform since they were not allowed to pack snacks on school property; many schools were instructed to frisk the kids and to dispose of “unauthorized” food items, leaving the parent’s wishes completely out of the loop.

Her stance today is summed up as, in her words, “So consumers out there – again, I don’t care where you’re from, what your party is – I would be highly insulted by that thought. ‘You want to talk about nanny state and government intervention? Well, you just buy the food and be quiet. You don’t need to know what’s in it.’ That’s essentially what a move like this is saying to you, mom. They think you don’t care because what they hear from are the people who want their kids to eat whatever they want to eat.”

Her legacy on this issue is doomed because parents don’t want to be preached to, don’t want to be told that the government does not approve of the way they handle their private and personal family relationships.

Barack and Michelle Obama's failed accomplishments
Barack and Michelle Obama’s failed accomplishments

The Bottom Line

The joint Obama legacy will not likely be one that is a long time in the making. Just five months into a new administration all these lofty ambitions have crumbled into the footnotes of history. Is this good or bad? That is your decision to make, dear reader.


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About the author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation and financial and energy trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at I Can Fix Up My Home Blog where he muses on many different topics.


And Coming Up to the Mid-Term Elections

Homemade Oatmeal Flax Seed Bread Recipe


I can safely state that one thing I cannot tolerate is store-bought white bread. It’s full of crap ingredients and air. If I can’t buy some good stuff, I just prefer to make my own. The good thing about homemade bread is that I get to control the ingredients.

So, that being said, here is the recipe for the oatmeal flax/chia seed whole wheat bread that I baked today. I like to pair it with a bowl of Panamanian-style ceviche but it works fine by itself or toasted. Enjoy!

Oatmeal Flax/Chia Seed Whole Wheat Bread Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic milk
  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • Enough whole wheat flour for mixing and kneading
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup flax seeds
  • 1/8 cup chia seeds
  • 2.25 oz. pecans, finely diced
  • 1/4 cup wheat bran
  • Rapid-rise yeast

Assembly and Baking

  • The oats are not as as processed as the instant kind so mix them with the milk and allow them to soak for an hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  • Mix in the yeast, egg, seeds, bran, pecans, and enough whole wheat flour to where you have to turn it out and knead it.
  • Knead the loaf, adding flour, until you have a proper consistency. The more you knead it, the better texture it will have.
  • Butter the loaf pan and press the dough down into it.
  • Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  • Let the loaf cool on a rack.
  • Enjoy!

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Delicious Pizza Margherita Recipe

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This article was updated on 8/10/18.

The pizza Margherita is something of a minimalist pizza pie (in my opinion). That doesn’t mean you can’t tweak it by adding anything that floats your boat.  Word has it that in June of 1889 Neapolitan pizzamaker Raffaele Esposito created it to honor the Queen consort of Italy, Margherita of Savoy. He garnished it with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil to represent Italy’s national colors as they are on the Italian flag.

Despite the simplicity of the recipe, there are a number of variations. For example, some recipes call for the basil to be added after the pie is done. I prefer to put it under the cheese before baking so the herbs flavor cooks into the cheese and sauce.

Optional Pizza Making Equipment

If you really get into making your own pizzas, I recommend:

  • A pizza stone. This is essential if you want top-notch pizza. A good pizza stone does wonders for your crust development because, unlike a baking sheet, it’s completely heated before the pizza is placed upon it. and that, my friend, is how you achieve a crisp and chewy crust that you can’t get out of a box. As you can see above, mine has some serious mileage on it.
  • A pizza peal. This is one of your best friends when using a stone. The one in the image below is typical. You build the pie on it, you transport the pie on it, and you can cut the pie on it. No muss, no fuss.

Pizza Crust Considerations

You basically have two choices. If you have the time and inclination, make your own. Check out this pizza crust recipe. If you are pressed for time, simply buy a crust in the grocery store. Don’t go for the really cheap ones.

The good thing about making your own crust is that you can add in just about anything—herbs, flax seeds, you name it. Use organic ingredients whenever possible. If you don’t have issues with glutin, toss in a teaspoon. Glutin is a wheat protein that holds breads together.

Pizza Topping Ingredients

  • 7 roma tomatoes. You can use the big slicers but the romas are much more economical. Cut up the tomatoes and chop them up in the blender.
  • Mozzarella cheese. How much you use is up to you. Slice it about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick and place it randomly (see the video in the link below under Preparation to see what I like).
  • 1/2 cup chopped basil.

That’s pretty much it for the basic ingredient list. Have fun with it and throw on anything that suits your fancy.

Preparation

This is very easy. Spread the tomatoes out evenly leaving about 1/2 inch around the edge “naked.” Add the basil. Add the cheese randomly. Watch the video. Have patience; it takes a while to load.

Bake that Baby

Preheat your oven (with the pizza stone on an oven rack) to 500 degrees. Bake it until the dough is crisp and browned and the cheese is golden and bubbling in spots. This will usually be from 13 to 16 minutes; just keep an eye on it.  Slide your pie off the peal onto the stone.

Let it rest about 5 minutes and then slice and enjoy!
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