Cheesy Spinach Balls

Standard

Screen Shot 2018-10-29 at 12.10.07.png

 

How to drain the liquid from your vegetables

If you’ve made nearly any of my zucchini recipes, you know how important it is to drain the liquid out of your vegetables when you’re baking with them. This recipe for spinach balls is super quick and easy. The how-to video I created doesn’t even clear 45 seconds.

When you’re baking with high-moisture vegetables like zucchini, cauliflower, and spinach, you’ll need to spend a few minutes removing the liquid. The easiest way that I’ve found to do that is by placing the chopped and thawed spinach (or grated cauliflower or zucchini) into a nut milk bag (affiliate link—feel free to shop around).

There is a ton of nutritional value in that liquid, and it is best for your health to eat unprocessed whole foods. But the amount of moisture in these vegetables varies tremendously, and draining the liquid allows you to control for the amount of moisture in the recipe. It’s also very difficult to bake with all of that moisture and make anything with any crispness.

These are a great make-ahead appetizer if frozen once formed and before baking. Just freeze the balls separated on the baking sheet, and, once frozen, place in a freezer safe ziptop bag and store until you’re nearly ready to serve them.

There’s no need to defrost these spinach balls before baking. Just bake them right from frozen. They may need a few extra minutes in the oven, but you’ll be able to tell. You simply can’t ruin this appetizer unless you outright burn them, which takes quite a while.

These are super cheesy, but not in the ooey gooey mozzarella sort of way. There’s no cheese pull photograph here. Spinach balls are a firm appetizer, and they’re best when made and eaten soon after. If you’re going to freeze them, freeze them raw.

INGREDIENTS

1 pound (16 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted & cooled slightly

3 eggs (150 g), at room temperature

6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated

3 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or grated

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tablespoon dried parsley

2 cups (240 g) coarse gluten free bread crumbs

3 tablespoons (27 g) tapioca starch

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.

  • Place the thawed spinach in a few layers of cheesecloth, a fine mesh nut milk bag or some paper towels, and squeeze until as much of the liquid as possible is removed. Set the dried, chopped spinach aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the butter and eggs, and whisk to combine well. Add the cheeses, oregano (pressing the dried herb in between your fingers to release the oils), parsley and bread crumbs, and mix until just combined. Add 2/3 of the tapioca starch, and incorporate into the mixture. The mixture should hold together easily when a portion is squeezed tightly in your palm. Add the remaining tablespoon of starch only if necessary for the mixture to hold together.

  • Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls between moistened palms, and place on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart from one another. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake, for about 15 minutes or until the balls have begun to brown on the bottom & are cooked through, rotating once during baking. They will expand a bit during baking because of the eggs in the mixture. Serve warm.
Annunci

BRYANNA’S GLUTEN-FREE YEAST BREAD

Standard

Makes 2 loaves

Grease two 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ pans really well–this dough sticks easily.

Mix and let stand 5 minutes:

1 and 3/4 c. warm water
1 packet regular active baking yeast (2 1/2 tsp.)
OR 1 3/4 tsp instant yeast
1 tsp. sugar

Meanwhile, blend in the blender:
1 c. water
1/4 c. flaxseeds

When frothy, with just bits of flaxseed hull in it, add and blend:

2 T. plus 2 tsp. Ener-G Egg Replacer powder
1/4 c. olive oil or melted Earth Balance
1/2 tsp. agar powder OR 1 T. agar flakes
1 and 1/2 tsp. vinegar
4 tsp. molasses

In a bowl, mix well:

4 c. Bryanna’s Gluten-Free High-Fiber Flour Mix
1/4 c. instant mashed potato flakes
6 T. unbleached sugar
3 T. soy or rice milk powder
1 T. plus 1 tsp. xanthan or guar gum
1 T. salt

Add the frothed-up yeast mixture to the blended flaxseed mixture and blend briefly. Dump this into the bowl of a stand-up electric mixer. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until it is all mixed in. Beat for 3 and 1/2 minutes. Scrape dough (it’s actually a really thick batter) into the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Cover and let rise in a warm place 1 hour, or to the tops of the pans.

Have the oven preheated to 400 degrees F. Bake the breads for 20 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F and cover the breads with foil. Bake 30 minutes more. Loosen the edges with a knife and carefully remove from pans top a rack to cool before slicing.

This really looks, smells and tastes like bread! You can toast it and make bread crumbs out of it.

Homemade mac and cheese

Standard

Screen Shot 2018-10-28 at 19.33.47.png

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook elbow macaroni in the boiling water, stirring occasionally until cooked through but firm to the bite, 8 minutes. Drain.
  2. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat; stir in flour, salt, and pepper until smooth, about 5 minutes. Slowly pour milk into butter-flour mixture while continuously stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbling, about 5 minutes. Add Cheddar cheese to milk mixture and stir until cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.
  3. Fold macaroni into cheese sauce until coated.

Come sostituire il lievito di birra nelle ricette

Standard

CHE COS’È IL LIEVITO DI BIRRA

Il lievito di birra è la tipologia di lievito più diffusa per la panificazione e altri lievitati. Solitamente si trova nel banco frigo, venduto in cubetti dal peso di 25 g l’uno, si può mantenere per  circa 20 giorni e va conservato in frigorifero. È possibile trovarlo anche disidratato, tra gli scaffali, in bustine che hanno lunga scadenza. Una confezione di lievito secco equivale ad 1 cubetto di lievito di birra fresco. La differenza è che, mentre il cubetto deve essere sciolto in un po’ d’acqua, quello disidratato può essere aggiunto direttamente agli ingredienti secchi. I tempi di lievitazione variano in base alla quantità di lievito, che a sua volta deve essere proporzionato alla farina. Ogni 500 grammi di farina dovrete usare 5 g di lievito di birra. Mettendone di più i tempi di lievitazione diminuiranno, mentre diminuendo il lievito si dovrà aspettare più tempo per la maturazione dell’impasto.

lievito di birra

COME SOSTITUIRE IL LIEVITO DI BIRRA NELLE RICETTE SALATE

Esistono diverse tipologie di agenti lievitanti per le ricette salate. Pasta madre solida e li.co.li sono i più naturali, ma in alcuni casi ci si può anche aiutare con il lievito chimico istantaneo. Vediamo cosa sono e quali caratteristiche hanno.

PASTA MADRE SOLIDA

Nasce dall’unione di acqua e farina con uno starter, ossia un ingrediente che dia il via alla fermentazione, come frutta, uvetta, yogurt. Realizzare il lievito madre da zero è un’operazione lunga che richiede pazienza e un lavoro quotidiano per almeno 15-20 giorni. Se non avete tempo vi suggerisco di andare dal vostro forno di fiducia e acquistare 50 grammi di lievito madre. Vi costerà solo pochi centesimi ma se siete attenti a conservarlo e rigenerarlo potrà durare per sempre. Per riuscirci basterà fare dei rinfreschi settimanali con questa modalità:

  • Prendete 50 g di lievito, aggiungete 50 g di farina e 25 g di acqua. Impastate fino a ottenere un composto liscio e omogeneo e trasferitelo in un vaso di vetro alto e coperto da una pellicola trasparente.
  • Segnate il punto di partenza con un pennarello e, quando avrà raggiunto il raddoppio, sarà pronto. Tenete presente che mentre in estate potrebbero essere sufficienti un paio di ore per il raddoppio, man mano che le temperature si abbassano potrebbero volercene anche più di tre.
  • L’aspetto risulterà areato, con delle bolle, appiccicaticcio e dall’odore leggermente acidulo.

Come vedete, i tempi di lievitazione sono nettamente superiori rispetto a quelli richiesti dal lievito di birra, ma il risultato è decisamente migliore: ne guadagnerete in digeribilità e in gusto.

pasta madre

LI.CO.LI

La sigla li.co.li sta per lievito in coltura liquida, e si tratta quindi di un impasto molto più idratato rispetto alla pasta madre solida. Partendo da quest’ultima si può arrivare a creare un li.co.li facendo dei rinfreschi ravvicinati, ogni 4-6 ore per due giorni, in cui si aggiunge gradualmente sempre più acqua, fino a ottenere un ’aspetto cremoso e un odore simile allo yogurt. Si conserva in frigorifero ed ha bisogno di rinfreschi ogni 15-20 giorni, quindi necessita di meno attenzioni rispetto alla pasta madre solida. Un altro vantaggio è che non serve aspettare il raddoppio quindi i tempi si accorciano: basterà estrarlo dal frigo, lasciarlo a temperatura ambiente, mischiarlo un po’ e, non appena si formano le bollicine in superficie, sarà pronto per essere usato. Per ogni 500 grammi di farina mettete 100 grammi di li.co.li, ma riducete di 50 grammi la quantità di acqua della ricetta, se presente.

LIEVITO ISTANTANEO

Se volete velocizzare i tempi dell’impasto potete usare il lievito chimico istantaneo, solitamente venduto in bustine disidratate con una scadenza di 2-3 mesi. Rispetto agli altri, ha un processo di lievitazione molto breve che si attiva immediatamente con l’inizio della cottura, senza necessità di aspettare i tempi di raddoppio dell’impasto. Indicato per alcuni tipi di focacce, ma non per il pane o la pizza che richiedono una lunga lievitazione, ha il vantaggio di tempi brevi, che, tuttavia, potrebbero andare a scapito della digeribilità..

COME SOSTITUIRE IL LIEVITO DI BIRRA NELLE RICETTE DOLCI

Anche nel caso dei dolci, come brioche,cornetti o panini al cioccolato, è possibile sostituire il lievito di birra con delle valide alternative: vediamole nel dettaglio.

sostituire il lievito di birra nei dolci

IL LIEVITO PER DOLCI

Si tratta del più comune lievito usato nelle cucine casalinghe per preparare un dolce che non richiede una lunga lievitazione. Venduto in bustine dal peso di 16 g, il lievito per dolci ha una lunga scadenza, è in polvere e può essere aromatizzato alla vaniglia. Basta scioglierlo in un goccino di latte e aggiungerlo all’impasto: il dolce crescerà durante la cottura senza bisogno di tempi lunghi.

CREMOR TARTARO

Meno noto ma molto buono, il cremor tartaro è un sale acido con potere lievitante che in passato si trovava solo in farmacia o nei negozi specializzati, ma che negli ultimi tempi sta prendendo piede, tanto da trovarlo comodamente negli scaffali del supermercato. Si vende in polvere in bustine, può essere utilizzato da solo o assieme al lievito per dolci, come nel caso della chiffon cake, che proprio grazie a questo ingrediente raggiunge una grande sofficità. Si può aggiungere direttamente agli ingredienti secchi, senza bisogno di scioglierlo.

cremor tartaro

BICARBONATO

Vi abbiamo già parlato dei molti usi del bicarbonato in cucina. Tra i vari trucchi c’è anche quello di aggiungerlo agli impasti per renderli più morbidi. In caso, dobbiate fare una pasta frolla, ad esempio, un cucchiaino di bicarbonato contribuirà a rendere l’impasto più friabile. Tuttavia, questo ingrediente da solo non è in grado di sostituire il lievito. Per essere attivo ha bisogno di una componente acida, come il limone, l’aceto di mele o lo yogurt, che libererà delle bolle di anidride carbonica in grado di far crescere l’impasto. Per sostituire il lievito di birra in una ricetta utilizzate la stessa quantità di bicarbonato e limone in dosi uguali.

AMMONIACA ALIMENTARE

Detta anche carbonato d’ammonio, l’ammoniaca per dolci (che è ben diversa, attenzione, dall’ammoniaca chimica utilizzata per le pulizie domestiche!) è particolarmente indicata per impasti a lenta lievitazione. Viene venduta in bustine ma per trovarla dovrete andare in negozi specializzati. Al momento dell’utilizzo bisogna stare molto attenti alle dosi perché un uso eccessivo potrebbe rilasciare un retrogusto amaro. Prima di aggiungerla all’impasto va sciolta in un po’ di latte tiepido, avendo cura di usare un contenitore piuttosto capiente in quanto la reazione è immediata. Perfetta per preparare biscotti e pasticcini.

 

Vi sono state utili queste informazioni su come sostituire il lievito di birra nelle ricette dolci e salate?
Se avete problemi di intolleranze alimentari, provate a sbirciare nel nostro archivio dove troverete altri articoli per utilizzare ingredienti alternativi, senza rinunciare al gusto.

How do Essential Oils Alleviate Depression?

Standard

Depression is associated with changes in brain chemistry including corticotropin releasing factor (CRF), serotonin (5-HT), and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH). There is evidence that inhaling the dilute, diffused volatile oils of certain essential oils can influence brain chemistry in several ways.

These compounds enter the blood circulation system through the lungs and effect brain chemistry when they are carried by the blood to the brain. Another path that volatile oil compounds travel to affect the brain’s limbic system is through its connection to the olfactory (sense of smell) system where they bind to olfactory receptors. From there they reach the deeper parts of the brain that control things like stress and emotional responses through a fascinating journey that is beyond the scope of this post but worth a read!

Which Essential Oils for Depression Should I Choose?

With the growing popularity of essential oils, many people have strong opinions regarding which oils may help your symptoms. Clearly, an essential oil guide cannot replace the advice of a knowledgeable medical professional.

Use of the following essential oils for depression symptoms is backed by stringent studies demonstrating their effectiveness. As with any home treatment options, always use common sense and follow safety guidelines as well as the advice of your medical professional.

1. Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot may help you avoid the side effects of anxiety drugs while providing many of the benefits. It was shown in this rat study to normalize and balance brain chemistry. Aromatherapy best practices acknowledge a similar effect in humans that bergamot is a great essential oil to reach for use as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety).

2. Cedarwood Essential Oil

This essential oil is a powerful tool if your depression or anxiety symptoms are negatively impacting your work performance—this applies to schoolwork and housework, too! The woodsy aroma not only seems to improve performance in stressful working conditions, but may be useful for a variety of depressive symptoms.

Keep in mind that the study above doesn’t state which cedarwood was use but the most likely candidates are Cedrus atlantica or Cedrus deodara. Aromatherapists are most likely to use Atlas Cedarwood for these purposes. This essential oil for depression helps you leave work worries behind and transition to a peaceful, stress-free after work routine.

Australian red cedar essential oil is the specific oil hailed in this rat study as a “new candidate for curing depressive disorders”. As you can see, the cedar family has a lot of potential in this arena and you may try experimenting to see which works best for you and your specific symptoms.

WHAT IF I’M SENSITIVE OR HAVE ALLERGIES?A few people are sensitive to cedar, so if you have cedarwood allergies try one of the other essential oils for depression from this list instead.

3. Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary Sage demonstrates mood-enhancing activity even when the mood is altered due to hormonal changes associated with menopause. Clary sage essential oilinfluences brain chemistry to help restore more normal levels of key brain chemicals responsible for thyroid function and depression.

4. Frankincense Essential Oils

It is obvious why frankincense essential oil is a favorite when dealing with depression, particularly for women. It helps balance hormones and brain chemistry with a heavenly, deep and resinous aroma.

In this 2008 study it was used alongside two other essential oils for depression, lavender and bergamot, to ease depression in terminally ill patients. Not only did it improve their depression but the mixture diminished their pain levels as well.

LEARN MORE ABOUT FRANKINCENSE USES, BENEFITS FOR CANCER, AND MOREGiven the results of this and other studies, it’s no surprise to anyone that frankincense essential oil is a favorite for many purposes. But one of my favorite uses for frankincense essential oil is for cancer support.

5. Geranium Essential Oil

This study used geranium during other depression treatments such as massage. Geranium essential oil increases the antidepressant impact of other oils synergistically. The rosy scent is immediately mood-enhancing and relieves anxiety.

7. German Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile is known to be calming and soothing to numerous body systems, as this review highlights! Used both internally and externally, German chamomile and Roman chamomile have destressing compounds present in both forms.

Chamomile essential oils also significantly decrease symptoms of depression when diffused during times of stress or low motivation. When choosing from essential oils for depression, choose chamomile if your anxiety symptoms are also causing digestive upsets. You’ll be surprised how much it can help!

8. Lavender Essential Oil

If you can use only one of the essential oils for depression, lavender is one of the best. It has a long and well-documented history as a calming and healing agent.

THE POWER OF LAVENDER IN ESSENTIAL OIL RESEARCH Lavender essential oil has been used in a variety of studies both in mice and humans and seems to show an ability to: relieve stress and anxiety by acting directly on brain chemistry, protect brain cells from neurotoxins in vitrorestore normal function after caffeine excesses, relieve stress, offers possible protection to the brain from chemical damage up to and including Alzheimer’s Disease, treat anxiety disorders, treat inflammation, headache, stress, and depression, and to ease some premenstrual tensions.

While everyone must address the cause of depressed feelings, it’s safe to say that lavender essential oil can improve some mood upsets or restore motivation level, and support your other healing efforts.

9. Lemon Essential Oil

All citrus essential oils have a role in addressing depression, but lemon’s brightening effect may be the most powerful of all. Not only is lemon essential oil great at improving mood, it also can help lift the brain fog which frequently accompanies symptoms of depression.

10. Lemon Balm/ Melissa Essential Oil

Melissa helps to relieve agitation, reduce social withdrawal, increase time spent on constructive activities, improve brain chemistry, and it works synergistically with lavender.

Lemongrass essential oil has been used to treat stress disorders in addition to lemongrass tea being a traditional remedy for depression and agitation. Lemongrass essential oil’s neuroprotective properties are so powerful, it may even help treat epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

Best Essential Oils for Depression and How to Use Them

11. Nutmeg Essential Oil

Nutmeg essential oil when diffused, closely resembles the intended results of antidepressant medications without the dangerous side effects in this rat study. The benefits seem to be increased if the nutmeg essential oil is combined with Thai black ginger extract (a variety closely related to common ginger root). It’s warming and stimulating – perfect for beating the blues!

12. Orange Essential Oils

Both the sweet and bitter orange trees produce essential oils that have antidepressant benefits. Neroli essential oil, distilled from the flowers of the bitter orange tree, demonstrates significant anti-anxiety effects. We see people use it successfully with hormonal mood swings and stress.

Sweet orange essential oil offers solutions for some of the most pressing problems surrounding depression. It significantly improves the ability to visually concentrate on tasks, making it ideal for use with young children. Its sweet aroma is pleasant and appropriate for all settings.

Orange essential oil was consistently found in this rat study to be helpful for treating anxiety and to have a tranquilizing, destressing effect. Diffusing sweet orange upon the family’s return home sets the stage for calm, enjoyable evenings together.

13. Palmarosa Essential Oil

Palmarosa is a sweet-smelling grass in the lemongrass family. It has been proposed as a potential natural source of MAO inhibitors without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals. It’s one of the recommend ingredients in our sleep spray essential oil blends!

14. Peppermint Essential Oil

One of our favorite oils in the Z house! Peppermint essential oil tangibly energizes you when you are fatigued and lack motivation. It has been found to increase motivation, vigor, cortex stimulation, mood, relaxation, and alertness.

15. Rose Essential Oil

One of the most precious oils, rose essential oil is associated with subjects feeling more relaxed, comfortable, or natural. It protects the brains of depressed subjects from oxidative stress in rat studies.

Rose essential oil also relieves depression and feelings of distress. We often use it in our Heavenly Scent Essential Oil Spray as a homemade body spray or room freshening spray. Not only does this minimize the dangers of synthetic air fresheners, but you get to enjoy the benefits of this precious oil.

16. Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil is shown in this 2017 study, and this 2013 study to have potential mental health benefits. These findings are in alignment with historic use of rosemary and accepted aromatherapy practices.

Rosemary essential oil is shown to exhibit antidepressant activity within two weeks when diffused for 30 minutes per day. Rosemary improves stress response, helps clinical depression, and protects the brain. It’s a powerful essential oil for depression.

17. Sandalwood Essential Oil

Sandalwood essential oil demonstrates a powerful, grounding, antidepressant activity when inhaled or diffused. Some people find quality sandalwood essential oil to be cost prohibitive; however, it can be seen as a worthwhile investment in your long-term health.

It’s well-established history of health benefits, and being a useful essential oil for depression, make adding sandalwood to your collection a wise decision. Use sandalwood for diffuser blendsbody care recipes, and sleep support blends.

18. Vetiver Essential Oil

The effects of breathing diffused vetiver essential oil make it a start on the list of essential oils for depression. This study shows action in rats similar to anti-anxiety drugs; however the harmful side effects wouldn’t be there compared to traditional prescription drugs.

The scent is calming, grounding, and earthy—another good choice for young people who have trouble with focus or attention due to anxiety. At least one researcher claims it is superior to other essential oils in reducing symptoms of ADHD. In fact we recommend it in the Focus and Calm Blend Essential Oils Roll-On for Kids!

19. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang ylang essential oil has historically been used to balance the central nervous system and for mental relaxation. You could call it the queen of essential oils for depression. Ylang ylang works directly on brain chemicals to reduce anxiety and depression.

Modern researchers have found it to be sedative and calming, to impart a harmonizing effect, and reduce symptoms of both anxiety and depression. Many people struggle with finding appropriate care when they experience symptoms of both anxiety and depression together; ylang ylang may be the answer.

Married couples who find their intimate time is negatively impacted by depression will be excited to hear that research confirms ylang ylang can help. Inhaling diffused ylang ylang essential oil can help improve positive feelings regarding sexuality in general. Additionally, ylang ylang is one of the most sought-after scents for perfumery, so men and women alike will appreciate adding it to their routine.

MORE ESSENTIAL OIL USES & RECIPES! For 150+ effective recipes & natural remedies, get a copy of my national bestselling book, The Healing Power of Essential Oils. Buy today to get instant access to $300 in digital bonuses (videos, guides & more) to help you learn how to use essential oils safely & effectively! HealingPowerOfEssentialOils.com

Essential Oils for Depression Healing Blends

Now that the top essential oils for depression have been examined individually, let’s look at a couple ways they can be used together to maximize their effectiveness. Many essential oils work synergistically and these are two blends you can pre-mix for addressing some of the symptoms you may be dealing with as you struggle with your depression.

Mood Lifting Essential Oils for Depression Blend

These essential oils can be combined into a unique blend just for you. The amounts below should fill a 5ml amber glass bottle so you can have your own master blend to use with your favorite aromatherapy techniques!

Ingredients: 

  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 15 drops ylang ylang essential oil
  • 15 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 20 drops lemon balm (Melissa) essential oil
  • 30 drops lavender essential oil
  • A 5ml amber glass bottle with dropper insert

Directions:

1. Combine the essential oils by rolling gently to combine. Amber bottles are best as they protect oils from ultraviolet light damage, and dropper inserts mean you can dispense your blend safely and accurately.

Help Me Focus Essential Oils for Depression Blend

If brain fog, inattentiveness, or ADHD/ADD are a struggle for you, you might find this blend below very helpful. The oils should be the perfect amount to fill a 5ml glass bottle and create your own unique essential oil blend. Use it any time you find your depression causing you to lose track of what you are trying to do.

Ingredients: 

  • 10 drops neroli essential oil
  • 10 drops rose geranium essential oil
  • 15 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 15 drops German chamomile essential oil
  • 20 drops vetiver essential oil
  • 30 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 5ml amber glass bottle with dropper insert

Directions: Combine the essential oils in the 5ml glass bottle and roll gently to combine.

Depression has so many elements and symptoms can come in clusters. And it can make you feel isolated and alone sometimes. But you aren’t alone – and there is hope!

These essential oils for depression can help you manage your symptoms naturally, when appropriate. And we are, as always, praying for you to experience the abundant life!