Wednesday, December 25, 2013

An Easier Way to Organize Your Meals and Improve Your Health

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NOTE: this article is a part of Real food Wednesdays, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

An easy Chinese-style breakfast


I recently went back to trying out the structure of China's meals. With hundreds of years or more of meal planning, and China's emphasis on balance, I found a system that lets you make a healthier and more organized structure. The key here, after all, is to work smarter, not harder; the more organized your meals are, the less work there is. On top of that you will learn how to eat healthier without the clich├ęd stereotype of depriving yourself of food and enjoyment.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Champion of Savoury Dishes: Carmelized Onions

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Note: this post is part of Real Food Wednesdays.
Do you like caramelized onions? They taste sweet and savoury at the same time. They are very delicious and can be added as pizza toppings; try them over grilled chicken; or anywhere else regular onions would be used. This article will consider two methods for caramelizing onions—fast and slow.

First, we will now consider, what caramelization is, and how it should be handled.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Organic Basil in the works, and how to protect your plants from illness

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I have been growing plants for some time now, and it is time for me to start my next season of Basil. I grow organic, heirloom Basil. But what does organic mean? It's important to understand if you want to grow plants in an environmentally friendly way. Do you want to learn how to grow organically?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Suggestions for an article about sourdough?

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I would like to cover an article about a topic—though spoken of often—needs great attention: sourdough. This is an interesting topic that applies to people who want to make bread and save money. Alas, I am in need of some help. If you have suggestions for what to cover in my article, please let me know below.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Cheaper Source of Protein

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Do you want a frugal source of protein? Then legumes is your bet. Beans are well-known for being a good source of protein. But they're hard to digest in their cooked state, unless you take this one, simple step. What is it?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A cheaper, healthier way to make bread

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UPDATE Wed Nov 6 12:02pm CST 2013

Would you like to learn about sourdough bread? This bread preserves better than regular bread because of naturally produced compounds. Plus, the name "sourdough" actually refers to a method of capturing wild yeasts and causing them to proliferate in your jar. So by learning to make sourdough bread, you can actually avoid having to buy yeast. For those who make sandwiches and other bread-like meals, know this: making bread is cheaper than making it—healthier too!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Salad Mixes and Basil

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This is a blog post about my attempt at growing Mesclun Salad Mixes, a seed package I bought from Seeds of Change. This post also contains my attempt at growing a new Basil plant from seed.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Update Wed Oct 23 11:58:08 CDT 2013

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ANNOUNCEMENT I will be writing a new article sometime this month, or the first two weeks of November. It will be about a traditional bread-making technique. This technique breaks down gluten for those who are sensitive to it; then this bread develops a sour taste to it. And this bread has an extended shelf life. What am I talking about? I am talking about the wonders of sourdough bread!

This will actually be a two-part article about sour-dough and non-kneaded dough techniques. After I make such a dough I will start writing an article about it. What this means is that you can make dough without ever kneading it. This is nice to know because sour-dough is a pain for me to handle.

On Wikipedia it says that bread can be risen without any kneading. I intend on doing further research into this subject. So to summarize, here are the two main subjects of my next article on John's Corner: sour-dough and bread without kneading.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Recipe: Rice porridge

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  I got into Real Food Wednesday today and wanted to add a recipe I had done this morning. It's not much, just some rice porridge with sprouted lentils. I also added pieces of mushroom, as well as green onions. Here is the recipe and how I made it.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Basil article update

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My newest article on Basil is up!

Tuesday October 15 12:30:02am Central, YEAR 2013

I have finished my Basil article! The link is above, but you probably knew that already. In any case, this Basil article will be my last for a while. I do not make articles very often because I'm not naturally driven. I need inspiration before I am willing to put out the time and effort. The next time I write an article, it will have nothing to do with herbs. It's time to branch out! I also want you to check out my homepage. Every post I write on this blog has a link to my central website on Angelfire. The changes I've made might surprise you.

In other news, I have an exciting announcement to make. I have come up with a central theme to my website: the sharing of practical and fun knowledge! My index page's introduction will fill you in. Basically I will teach things from gardening to cooking and even non-related topics such as speed reading and study techniques. But these are just a few examples.


Lastly, I have something to say to a friend of mine whom I talked to the other day. I told her I was going to make Thai green curry. This is how it turned out: I made a homemade chicken stock using only turmeric, onion powder, and garlic powder. I then cooked up some chicken to put in my curry, and steamed some vegetables to go along with it, as well as slices of a portabella mushroom.

In a quart-size stainless steal pan I made a 1/4 cup Jasmine rice. First I parboiled it, dumped the water, then cooked it as if to make it sticky. I made the stock in this same pan before doing the rice, so the turmeric powder ended up colouring my rice yellow. For those who don't know, turmeric has a lot of health benefits, and it can even help you with various health issues. So that was a good occurence for me.

A word of advice: don't use a lot of turmeric, if any, when you want your curry anything but yellow. When I made the actual green curry, I took a homemade green curry paste--really just a bunch of cut up green chili peppers--and fried it in a wok for several seconds. That was a horrible experience for my lungs and larynx. *Cough*

I then poured the stock into the outrageously hot carbon steel wok--that might have been a bad idea. It's generally not good to thermal shock any cookware, even if it's metal; in which case, at least it doesn't crack. It just warps instead, as I have had the pleasure of finding out. I added powdered sassafras leaf and coconut flour because they are natural and healthy sauce thickeners. I also added some of my home-grown sweet Basil leaves. As I mentioned in my previous post, I failed to germinate some lemon basil seeds, so I can only use sweet basil--not that this plant is bad or anything...

I put all the chicken, vegetables and mushroom slices inside the wok, along with some coconut milk I bought from Fox Farms. I somehow managed to take what was previously yellow in colour and make it look closer to green, instead. Probably because I had a butt-load of green vegetables, basil leaves, and sassafras leaf powder in it. I forgot to mention, I even added kaffir lime leaves and lemongrass, since they are a staple in Thai cuisine.

What people may not know is that Thai cooking is not just mindlessly throwing in different ingredients together and chancing upon a tasty dish. Acknowledged Thai food expert David Thompson even said that the dishes are a deceptively simple combination of flavors. Thai food specializes in a well-balanced combination of three or four basic flavors: spicy, salty, sweet, and sour.

I combined the sweetness of the creamy coconut milk and coconut flour, the saltiness of Tamari soy sauce I bought(brand is San-J), the sourness of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, and two laco-fermented carrots, along with the spiciness of the chili peppers. And even though I was not exactly scientific about it, I still managed to come up with a pretty decent menu. I am not as precise as the Thai cooks, but I am experienced in home cooking.

But I ultimately want to make a dish as good as the ones I've tasted in restaurants twice. Man, that was good. I had only red curry both times. They really know their food well!





That's the end of this post. When I have anything else to tell you I will do so. Until then...!

If you have any questions or comments, please use the comment form below! As long as it has value, and it doesn't make parents cringe, I will allow it.

Friday, October 11, 2013

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UPDATE Friday October 11, TIME 10:14:46pm Central, YEAR 2013
I am currently working on an article about Basil. It is nearing completion and I eagerly await its publication! Even though I use a lot of stiff language here, my article uses more casual language, and it is very easy to understand! It is truly an article worthy of your consideration!

In other news, my Lemon Basil seeds failed. When I am able to germinate some more I will give you all an update as to its progress. I've decided that, at least for the moment, this blog will serve to enlighten you all on gardening!

Changing the subject, I germinated some lettuce seeds. They are packaged by Seeds of Change and I got a variety where you don't know what you're going to get. They grow in at most a month and I will get free lettuce for quite a while!

In conclusion, I have also propagated my Sweet Basil, but it is progressing rather slow. Basil is a plant that needs some sort of boost, so that may have something to do with it. Or maybe it's because of the cooling climate--whichever comes first. When I see progress in one or more of my plants, I will come back. Until then...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Future theme of this blog

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I am currently confused about what to make my site about. For the moment it looks like this blog will  be centred around gardening and health. Right now I am germinating lemon basil seeds in a small cup filled with Mircale Gro rooting mixture. I am not able to afford more organic options like certain people that will try and go the natural route no matter what. Any information on whether I should trust Mircale Gro for chemical purity is appreciated.

I don't use commercial insecticides like other people because it is not a good idea. It will go into your body when you eat it(unless it is an inedible flower), and they can harm good insects as well. For Basil, insecticide may not really be necessary. I did not even have to kill anything that attacks my Basil. Sometimes a small section of a leaf gets eaten, but that is about it.

Basil plants that belong in the same family as the original basil have more or less the same growing requirements. Like Sweet Basil is from the ocimum family, Lemon Basil is actually a hybrid between Basil and African Basil, which is classified as a different species. Lemon basil's scientific name is Ocimum × citriodorum. It would seem though that in spite of the difference in names, they're actually quite similar to each other and may even be in the same genetic family. After all, you can't mate a dog and a tiger, right? Actually, original basil is ocimum basilicum. African basil is ocimum americanum. Even though it obvious contains a reference to America, it is commonly called African Basil for some reason.

For the moment it looks like this blog will revolve around gardening, and if I'm smart enough to pull it off, I may even tackle some health related topics. Not that I'm really qualified, but I don't get caught up in pointless debate about these things. I do like debating things once in a while, but if it doesn't measure up to my standards I don't participate. That may sound arrogant, but if I don't do this, I can caught up in hot debates and stress myself out as a result. And stress is bad for the body, that I know.

My knowledge of Basil is backed by experience, but only about one or two growing seasons. I am new at this somewhat. But basil really is one of--if not the easiest the plant to grow.

Basil has many purported health benefits, and alternative media has a broader field of view, if you will, about how potent herbs are in general. Basil is also a very productive, if not greedy, plant because it takes all the nutrition you give it and asks for some more, at least according to one blog I read.

But enough of that--I have one announcement to make respecting my main site. John's Corner will see another article soon about Basil except it targets people who haven't grown it before. It will focus on why you should grow it and how easy it is. This blog will be used to frequently provide details on what I've learned so that you all can benefit.

In the end, I just grow plants as a hobby and to grow my own food and medicine. If I find anything else useful I'll post it. Until next time!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How I've been growing Basil

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A quick follow up on my Basil article. I actually started growing some of my own Basil in my apartment balcony. I ordered my seeds from Granny's Heirloom Seeds. These were large leaf Italian Basil.

So far into September, I am still harvesting leaves. I sowed the seed around April 4th, 2013. I used a woven basket-looking pot with a plastic lining to prevent water damage, and to keep the dirt inside and trap moisture. I sowed the seeds and it took 30 days to start growing harvest-able leaves. This has to be the fastest herb around!

Let me clarify something: the article I've posted is a tad dated and in need of touching up. On top of that, I will eventually redesign the website by editing the CSS and the actual html in order to reflect changes in the mark-up itself. I'm currently in the process of converting to HTML5.

Meanwhile, here is what I've been doing during my absence. Aside from a lot of stuff that's happened, I started getting into gardening a lot more. Right now, I have one Basil plant and one strong French Marigold plant. In spite of its fungal infection, it is still blooming like crazy.

I will post a follow up article on how to grow Basil. It will be simpler, more to the point, and will not allow for any distractions. I'll also post my newfound knowledge o Basil.