Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe: A Warming Winter Dinner Idea (Plus Heart Healthy Bacon Alternatives)

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Need a warming winter dinner idea? This easy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners with family or a weekend dinner with friends. Plus easy and healthy alternatives to using bacon if you’ve made heart health a priority!

Winter Dinner Ideas: Mushroom and Bacon Risotto Recipe (Plus Heart Healthy Bacon Alternatives) Need a warming winter dinner idea? This easy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners with family or a weekend dinner with friends. Plus easy and healthy alternatives to using bacon if you've made heart health a priority! This creamy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is accented with the flavor of grated parmesan and fresh thyme. You can make this winter dinner idea healthier by either omitting the bacon called for in the recipe or by substituting it with one of the healthy alternatives to bacon.

I’ve really been trying to eat healthier the past few months. My dad somehow miraculously avoid a heart attack at 72. However, he also had three heart surgeries over the course of a year. He’d been tired a lot and had been falling asleep when he’d sit down. Not being one to talk the doctor about his concerns, on top of having a super shitty primary care doctor, when he finally addressed what was going on, it wasn’t good. Tests revealed that one artery was completely blocked and another wasn’t far behind. When clearing out his arteries roto-rooter style at UVA didn’t fix the issues, he went back for stints. My parents didn’t even tell me about the third surgery. (My mom somehow thinks I’m fragile.) I heard about it, much later, through an off handed comment my brother made.

My family, on both sides, have a history of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So it’s a real concern for me, especially as I’m headed through my mid-forties. Luckily, I’m doing okay on both counts. However, I’ve tried to eat healthy and take care of myself. Unfortunately, the past two years were rather tumultuous for me emotionally. Like most things, this affected not just my emotional health, but my physical health as well. My energy levels and my weight both took a hit. 

Not only did I change the situation I was in (and more than once) I also changed my eating habits. I stopped drinking gin and (high fructose corn syrup) tonic on the reg (to deal with chronic pain) and found a supplement regimen that worked for my fibromyalgia. I gave up the muscle relaxers I’ve used for years to cope after going cold turkey off pain killers and started taking valerian instead. Then I started eating better. I moved toward (or rather closer than I’ve ever been) a more vegetarian diet with fish, seafood and eggs – with meat only occasionally and very much in moderation. I started doing push ups and going dancing again. Basically I started living with intent rather than just existing. 

Since doing these things, I’ve gone down 16 lbs. I look great and I feel better. My emotional state is much improved and my focus, though still wildly ADHD a few days a week, is better.

Sauteed onions with mushrooms, olive oil and thyme for risotto

And yet, here I am, sharing a freaking mushroom risotto recipe – with bacon. 

Bacon is delicious. Healthwise I’m totally okay with indulging every now and then. Friends and family make that practically a must on special occasions, holidays and dinner dates they host. Intellectually, I realize that pigs are pretty smart animals. As someone with a dog who I consider family, it does bother me that I enjoy pork as much as I do. So I try not to think about it for too long. But then, I remember that pigs can eat people and leave zero trace behind. That helps ease the guilt. 

In the end, I’ve found there are more reasons not to eat pork than there are to gorge myself on a plate of baby back ribs. However, food, like most things in our lives, is a personal choice. Therefore, because I enjoy treating myself from time to time, this recipe has bacon. If, however, you’d like a healthier approach to my mushroom bacon risotto recipe, feel free to substitute the bacon for a healthier alternative. 

Heart healthy alternatives to bacon in mushroom bacon risotto. Bacon is delicious. Like all things, however, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Especially where heart health is concerned. So if you've given up beef and pork, have gone totally vegetarian, or are simply taking a break from bacon because it's impossible not to overindulge, here are a few healthy alternatives for the bacon in my mushroom bacon risotto recipe. Try my warming winter dinner idea for mushroom bacon risotto now.

Healthy Alternatives to Bacon for Mushroom Bacon Risotto

Bacon is delicious. Like all things, however, too much of anything can be a bad thing. Especially where heart health is concerned. So if you’ve given up beef and pork, have gone totally vegetarian, or are simply taking a break from bacon because it’s impossible not to overindulge, here are a few healthy alternatives for the bacon in my mushroom bacon risotto recipe.

Tempeh Bacon for Vegetarian Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Tempeh bacon is a vegetarian alternative to bacon. It contains less fat and has zero cholesterol. While traditionally made from slightly fermented soybeans, tempeh bacon can be made using any type of bean including black-eyed peas, black beans and chickpeas. Not only is tempeh bacon a good source of fiber, it’s also high in both vitamin B6 and magnesium. To prepare, simply slice then cook in oil over medium-high heat about four minutes each side.

Turkey Bacon for Healthier Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Turkey bacon is most definitely not bacon, but it’s not a bad substitute if you’re still eating meat. While still not totally healthy – I mean it IS still processed meat – it’s white meat rather than red meat. It also has HALF the amount of saturated fat as the real deal.

A similar alternative to turkey bacon is duck bacon. Just be aware that duck bacon doesn’t get quite as crispy as the real deal.

Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe: A Warming Winter Dinner Idea (Plus Heart Healthy Bacon Alternatives) Need a warming winter dinner idea? This easy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners with family or a weekend dinner with friends. Plus easy and healthy alternatives to using bacon if you've made heart health a priority! This creamy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is accented with the flavor of grated parmesan and fresh thyme. You can make this winter dinner idea healthier by either omitting the bacon called for in the recipe or by substituting it with one of the healthy alternatives to bacon.

Vegetable Bacon for Heart Healthy Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Eggplant, and other veggies properly seasoned, can take on that smokey flavor you get from bacon. Simply add some smoked paprika, dried Chipotle chili peppers or a savory sweet sauce to your vegetable of choice then grill, smoke or roast. Additions such as fresh, grated parmesan cheese as garnish once the dish is plated can make up for the loss of the “beefier” bacon texture. To prepare a healthy alternative to bacon using eggplant, simply slice the eggplant then roast at 225°F for 20 to 30 minutes, or until crispy.

Tofu Bacon for Vegetarian Bacon Mushroom Risotto

Tofu bacon is another healthy alternative to bacon. It’s processed a bit more than tempeh bacon, however it’s high in protein. In addition, tofu bacon also contains all eight essential amino acids, and a notable amount of both calcium and iron.

To make it, you’ll need to start with really thin slices of tofu. (Otherwise you won’t get that bacon-like crunch.) Then marinate the tofu in a blend of 1 cup soy sauce, 2 Tablespoons tomato paste (you can freeze the rest in Tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray), 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (Annie’s makes a vegan alternative), 2 Tablespoons maple syrup, 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke and 2 cups water. Mix to combine than marinate thinly sliced tofu at least four hours to overnight.

Once you’re ready to cook your bacon tofu, simply strain the tofu slices from the marinade. Then fry the tofu in a skillet over medium high heat until crispy. If desired, you can reserve the marinade for another veggie dish later.

Now that you know you can make substitutions for the bacon if desired, here’s my mushroom bacon risotto recipe. I hope you enjoy it in your very favorite way as an easy, warming winter dinner idea.

Mushroom bacon risotto recipe. Need a warming winter dinner idea? This easy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is perfect for weeknight dinners with family or a weekend dinner with friends. Plus easy and healthy alternatives to using bacon if you've made heart health a priority! This creamy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is accented with the flavor of grated parmesan and fresh thyme. You can make this winter dinner idea healthier by omitting the bacon or by substituting it a bacon alternative.

Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe

This creamy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is accented with the flavor of grated parmesan and fresh thyme. You can make this winter dinner idea healthier by either omitting the bacon called for in the recipe or by substituting it with one of the healthy alternatives to bacon, mentioned above.

Ingredients:

1 ⅔ cup arborio rice
7 cups of warmed chicken or vegetable broth
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil, divided
½ to ¾ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
1.5 cups freshly chopped mushrooms of your choice
1 Tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons quality salt
Fresh sage
Fresh thyme
5 pieces of very crispy (but not burnt) bacon (or bacon alternative)
2 Tablespoons of bacon fat to cook the mushrooms (or heart healthy olive oil)
Fresh ground black peppercorns

Ingredients for making mushroom bacon risotto

Instructions:

Begin by warming the chicken or vegetable broth in a medium sized pot. While the broth is warming, you’ll start a second pot on the stove. 

In a separate medium-large pot, heat one tablespoon of either avocado or olive oil over medium heat. Then sauté the onions in the oil until fragrant. (Alternately you can also Continue to cook until the onions have browned.

Next, add two additional Tablespoons of oil to the pot with the sautéed onions. Then stir the rice into the pot of sautéd onions and oil.

Cooking Risotto Rice in Broth

Stir the rice for about a minute in the oil. (It will seem like a lot of oil to start, but it will help the rice cook.) After a minute, ladle in one cup of warm broth.

While the rice cooks, stir often. The more you stir the risotto, the creamier the final version of the mushroom bacon risotto dish you serve will end up being.

Once the rice shows signs of having absorbed the liquid, add a second cup of broth. Continue stirring the onion and risotto mixture, as in the previous step.

Sauteed mushrooms with thyme

As the risotto is cooking, sauté the mushrooms in a nonstick pan with either bacon fat or olive oil and a couple sprigs of thyme. Once sautéed, set aside.

Continue adding more broth to the rice, stirring often. Partway through stir in the salt and add some fresh sage to the pot. I used one small sprig of fresh sage with about eight leaves on it.

Creamy cooked risotto rice.

The risotto is done cooking when the rice grains are plump, creamy and completely cooked through. At this point you no longer need to add additional broth. Instead, stir in most of the freshly grated parmesan cheese, while reserving the rest for plating.

Spoon the mushroom bacon risotto into bowls or plates for serving. The top the risotto with the crispy bacon or bacon alternative, sautéd mushrooms and additional parmesan cheese. Serve immediately, while stir warm.

If desired, you can serve this warming winter dish of mushroom bacon risotto with a light bodied glass of pinot noir. Enjoy!

Yield: Serves 5-6

Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe

Mushroom Bacon Risotto Recipe

This creamy mushroom bacon risotto recipe is the perfect warming, winter dinner idea. Accented with the flavor of grated parmesan and fresh thyme, you can make risotto dinner recipe hearty healthy by either omitting the bacon or by substituting it with one of the healthy alternatives to bacon.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ⅔ cup arborio rice
  • 7 cups of warmed chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2-4 Tablespoons of olive oil or avocado oil, divided
  • ½ to ¾ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1.5 cups freshly chopped mushrooms of your choice
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons quality salt
  • Fresh sage
  • Fresh thyme
  • 5 pieces of crispy bacon (or bacon alternative)
  • 2 Tablespoons of bacon fat to cook the mushrooms (or heart healthy olive oil)
  • Fresh ground black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Warm your broth of choice in a medium sized pot on the stove. Set aside.
  2. Heat one Tablespoon of either avocado or olive oil over medium heat in a medium-large pot. Sauté the chopped onions in the oil until fragrant, then continue to cook until the onions have browned.
  3. Add two additional Tablespoons of oil to the pot of sautéed onions. Then stir in the rice.
  4. Stir the rice for about a minute in the oil. After a minute, ladle in one cup of warm broth.
  5. Stir the rice often to ensure a creamy risotto.
  6. Once the rice has absorbed most of the liquid, add a second cup of broth. Continue stirring the onion and risotto mixture occasionally.
  7. While the rice cooks, sauté the mushrooms in a nonstick pan with either bacon fat or olive oil and a couple sprigs of thyme. Then set aside.
  8. Continue adding more broth to the rice as it cooks. Partway through stir in the salt and about eight leaves of fresh sage.
  9. Once the rice grains are plump, creamy and completely cooked through it's ready. Stir in the bulk of the freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  10. Spoon the mushroom bacon risotto onto plates or into bowls for serving. Top with the crispy bacon, sautéd mushrooms and remaining parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 650 Total Fat: 42g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 27g Cholesterol: 167mg Sodium: 1210mg Carbohydrates: 21g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 2g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 45g

Warming winter dinner ideas.

More Warming Winter Dinner Ideas

If you enjoyed my mushroom bacon risotto recipe, then you may also like these other warming winter dinner ideas.

For more warming winter dinner ideas, be sure to visit my Food Recipes Pinterest board. You can also find and follow me on Blog Lovin‘, facebooktwitter and instagram. Or sign up for my newsletter. 

My Daily Supplement Regimen for Managing Fibromyalgia Naturally (Without Prescription Medications)

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Learn how to naturally manage fibromyalgia symptoms with herbal supplements to prevent and reduce pain without prescription medications.

How to Treat Fibromyalgia Without Drugs or Pain Killers. Learn how to naturally manage fibromyalgia to prevent and reduce pain symptoms without prescription medications so you can get back to living an active and healthy lifestyle again! #fibromyalgia #healthyliving #chronicillness #naturalalternative #nutrition #supplements #painrelief #healthyliving #healthylifestyle

Life is a journey, as they say. However, if you live with a chronic illness, that illness is an entirely separate journey in itself. And like all journeys, this journey has turns we can never predict. Answers we might not ever find. It’s when you learn how to manage your chronic illness that you’re able to take the reins and curb your journey into more positive results.

Living with Fibromyalgia

Hi, my name is Rebecca. You can’t tell by looking at me, but I have a chronic illness. I have fibromyalgia.

While I have fibromyalgia, I consider myself lucky. My brother, Aaron, has lupus. His autoimmune disease, which attacks his organs, could kill him. Mine will not.

In the beginning, I had days where my pain was so excruciating I would have done almost anything to make the pain stop. And that is how my journey with fibromyalgia began. It started with unending pain that plateaued in the evening to become unbearable by nightfall. I remember waiting for hours in the emergency room hoping for answers. I didn’t want drugs. I wanted to know what was wrong with me. How could I fix it? What could I do to get my life back?

As part of my journey to relieve the pain, that there was no medical answer for, I discovered something else. That discovery was wellness.

For years I’d been plagued by gut issues that I never even realized were a problem. That is, until they were. So when I was diagnosed with fibro, I took the route my physician gave me. One that included pain killers, muscle relaxers and off-label use of anti-seizure drugs.

I didn’t get better. In fact, while the drugs offered relief while I was on them, my symptoms actually got worse. I also became addicted to the pain killers I was prescribed. So as they wore off, I’d have increasing pain in addition to symptoms of withdrawal. Not a fun combo.

Making Changes to Naturally Treat Fibromyalgia

So I came off of the drugs. (Which was not fun.) The aftermath including enduring several months of hell, but I did it. I followed the withdrawal (because I’m a F-ing masochist and went cold turkey) with steps to repair my gut health.

I learned to love kombucha and developed a taste for apple cider vinegar. I started eating things that had been pickled and fermented. I added superfoods to my diet and dark, leafy vegetables. Overall, I treated my fibromyalgia like something else entirely. I approached my illness the way a nutritionist would and I treated it like leaky gut syndrome.

As part of my process there was a lot of trial and error. I discovered that switching to an aluminum free, natural deodorant really made a difference. I learned that processed foods made me sluggish and left me in a fog. I found out that stress triggered a physical response that caused my brain to respond with pain. I also learned that hormone changes suck extra hard if you have fibro.

Once I improved my gut health, I started trying different supplements to manage the remaining symptoms. The following supplements are the ones I finally settled on to treat and prevent the symptoms of my fibromyalgia, drug free, and that I am still currently taking.

Natural Supplements for Managing Fibromyalgia Symptoms

New Chapter Zyflamend Whole Body

Packed with inflammation busting ingredients like turmeric and ginger, this natural whole body supplement also contains skullcap which I’ve found not only helps to calm anxiety, but overactive muscles as well. This proprietary 10-herb blend is 100% vegetarian and non-GMO certified and also contains other wellness boosters from around the world including Chinese Goldthread, Hu Zhang, barberry, oregano, rosemary, green tea and holy basil. (Where to buy it.)

Lovebug Here’s the Skinny Daily Probiotic

In addition to pain, fibro makes you SOOO tired. This probiotic – and I’ve tried a LOT of them – not only helps keep my gut in check, but it also helps with energy levels. Like most probiotics, Here’s the Skinny works to improve your digestive health.

It contains 8 targeted probiotic strains that work in tandem to aid with digestion, work to reboot your metabolism and help to elevate energy levels and mood. While this helps to combat unwanted digestive issues like bloating, constipation and leaky gut, Here’s the Skinny also includes prebiotics – a natural fiber that feeds the probiotics! (Where to buy it.)

Ancient Apothecary Fermented Multi Mushroom Complex

Packed with powerful adaptogens, this mushroom complex helps to boost your body’s immune defense and fight the effects of stress and anxiety. It also helps to naturally increase increase energy levels, reduce fatigue and promote a healthy mood.

This full-spectrum fermented mushroom complex contains Turkey Tail, Reishi, Shiitake, Lion’s Mane, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Maitake mushrooms in addition to a fermented warming botanical blend (that includes ginger and black pepper,) organic ashwagandha extract and an organic fermented bitter botanical blend (with milk thistle and dandelion.) (Where to buy it.)

Hemp Fusion Stress Full-Spectrum Phytocomplex

Like the fermented mushroom complex, this hemp based supplement also contains ashwagandha extract which helps to promote a healthy stress response. HempFusion Stress features Sensoril™, a clinically studied and patented form of Ashwagandha, which has been demonstrated to possess potent stress-reducing and mood supporting properties.

This natural supplement also contains a unique full-spectrum phytocomplex oil extracted from nutritional hemp, black pepper fruit and clove oil for those seeking occasional stress support in addition to daily Endocannabinoid System support. (Where to buy it.)

Thrive Market Vitamin B-Complex Food Cultured

Another natural energy booster, this B-Complex is a group of eight essential vitamins designed to help your body convert the food you eat into energy. Sourced and cultured from whole food ingredients like organic spinach and turmeric, along with other specialized blends, this supplement also contains ginseng to help get your body moving without that extra cup of coffee. (Where to buy it.)

Nature’s Bounty Vitamin D3 25 mcg (1000 IU Rapid Release Soft Gels)

Vitamin D is a MUST for anyone with fibromyalgia as well as women over 40. When I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia I had extremely low levels of vitamin D which caused worsening pain symptoms. Maintaining the levels of vitamin D in your body not only helps to reduce severity of fibro pain, it also supports a strong immune system and healthy bones. (Where to buy it.)

Charlotte’s Web Hemp Capsules +Plus 35 mg

Charlotte’s Web is one of the oldest and most trusted brands to create product that harness the wellness benefits of CBD and phytocannabinoids. When used daily, I have lower stress levels, reduced anxiety and zero back pain (from tension) upon waking each morning. It also helps with focus and concentration.

I’ve tried various brands of CBD and I’ve always come back to Charlotte’s Web as my fibromyalgia responds best to this brand’s formula. I also love that this is a capsule rather than an oil. I take 1-2 capsules per day depending on my pain level and find this works best when taken on a daily basis. (Where to buy it.)

When experiencing significant pain levels, I really like Flower Child’s CBD 1400 tincture which contains 47 mg of CBD. (I recommend sticking to the peppermint.) I also highly recommend their CBG oil. CBG oil increases my focus and clarity (bye-bye fibro fog) and helps to reduce my muscle contractions that accompany the fibromyalgia. You can use coupon code: ref0716498 for $10 off a $30 purchase. (Where to buy it.) Alternately I also like the CBD oil infused MCT oil available from Spark Naturals. Like Flower Child they also offer a sample size.

Nature’s Bounty Magnesium 500 mg

This gluten free magnesium supplement works well in combination with a vitamin B complex at helping to prevent my visual migraines. It also supports bone and muscle health, while maintaining bone mineralization, and helps to keep my pain levels at a minimum. (Where to buy it.)

Gaia Herbs Mental Alertness

Fibro fog straight up sucks. While it’s nothing like dealing with pain, it stills affects my life, and more importantly, my work. This supplement works wonders at conquering my fibro fog. I can literally sit down and write for hours when I take this without having to stand and pace every 5-10 minutes to gather my thoughts.

Formulated with plant-based antioxidants to help support the integrity of vessels that deliver blood to the brain, this organic supplement also enhances cognitive functions with concentrated herbal extracts that support memory, concentration and clear thought. (Where to buy it.)

Due to the high cost of natural supplements, I try to save money where I can. Therefore I purchase all of these supplements through Thrive Market with the exception of the probiotics, which I purchase from Grove Co., and the vitamin D & magnesium which I procure locally.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that just because something works for me, doesn’t necessarily mean it will work the same way for you. Everyones body and response to treatments can vary. However, my hope is, that you are able to use the information I’ve provided to help forge your own path to wellness.

Just remember, when you cut corners on a project or a job, that project suffers. The same goes for your health. So don’t forget to stay active and practice self care on a daily basis in addition to addressing your body’s nutritional needs!

This natural pain relief salve recipe with arnica and ginger essential oil is made with just four simple ingredients to relieve inflammation and ease pain associated with muscle pain, arthritis, sprains, fibromyalgia, bruises and carpal tunnel. Make this natural home remedy in just ten minutes or less!

Explore More Health And Wellness Options

If you found the information in this post helpful, then you may also be interested in these other health and wellness articles.

Natural Deodorant Recipe with French Green Clay! Whether you prefer a stick or a cream deodorant, this versatile lavender bergamot deodorant recipe with French green clay offers some of the best wetness and odor protection yet! And it's completely 100% natural. #deodorant #diy #health #wellness #skincare #recipe #natural #beauty #lifestyle

Like my pill box? You can buy it here.

If you’d like to receive notification of new articles from Soap Deli News blog, be sure to follow me across all of your favorite social media platforms. You can find me on G+PinterestFacebookTwitterBlog Lovin’, and Instagram. Or, alternately, you can also subscribe to Soap Deli News via email for future updates, DIY projects and recipes.

This article is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Information on products mentioned are based on my own personal experience and have not been evaluated by the FDA. Please consult a physician prior to making any changes that may impact your health.

Homemade White Bean Salad Recipe

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Homemade Lunch Recipe - Easy White Bean Salad in Mason Jars

Looking for a healthy, nutritious and crazy delicious lunch? This simple to make white bean salad bean recipe from Nature Box has got your number and it gives you yet another use for your fantastic collection of mason jars! Grab the recipe via the Nature Box blog here.

Interested in getting your favorite healthy snacks in the mail once a month? Try the Nature Box subscription program. I’ve been a member for several months now and am totally in love. Not only are the snacks delicious and cost conscious, but you get to choose what goes into your box each and every month so you always get the products you love! Each monthly box contains five snacks for $19.95 with free shipping. Add extra bags of your favorites for just an additional $3 each. Sign up here and get $10 off your first order.

Or if you prefer smaller snacks, give Graze a try. They send small boxes of snacks for just $6 twice monthly with free shipping – although you can choose to receive the boxes less often. Plus the first and 5th boxes are free! Visit Graze here to sign up and use friend code:THPXHL7MP to join. I also like that I can send one off boxes as gifts.

For more great food ideas and recipes, be sure to follow my Recipes board on Pinterest!

Indoor Gardening and DIY Sprouts

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Now that Scott and I have moved into our new home we’re already thinking ahead to some spring gardening. The back yard has to be cleaned up, obviously, and a few plots tilled before we can any sort of planting. But in the meantime we’ve taken up a little indoor gardening. Yesterday I visited our local city market, and in addition to buy some local raised meats and vegetables, I also bought a potted herb garden from Tim of Rolling Meadows Farms.
These pots are great for both growing indoors or outdoors. But I like to keep mine handy in the kitchen by a sunny window so it’s convenient for everyday cooking. Plus, Tim will refill this pot with fresh herbs every year for just $20. And many of these plants can be sectioned and transplanted outside as they grow. There’s rosemary, sage, peppermint and thyme – all of which will come up year after year. There’s also several cold sensitive herbs that could potentially survive the winter indoors – basil, parsley – though this sometimes comes back up from seed – and oregano. I’m still itching to plant an herb garden outdoors though so I can expand my selection and have herbs for teas. I have a lavender and rosemary plant that can be transplanted from my mom’s house, and I’d really like to plant more herbs like chocolate mint, pineapple mint, lemon balm, bergamot, stevia and others.

sprout_bagAt the same time I was  considering my options for growing food indoors, I received Mountain Rose Herbs‘ monthly newsletter which lists their specials for the month. One of their specials for the month of March is 15% off their sprout bags. Sprout bags are an easy solution to growing sprouts helps to prevent 1-2 day spoilage like you get from growing sprouts in jars or solid containers. The sprout bag not only provides critical root circulation, but it’s made to last year after year and is easy to use. This bag is made from 100% hemp. To grow your sprouts, you simply add the desired amount of seed, dip the bag in water and allow to sprout.

What makes this even more fun is the cool selection of organic sprouting seeds Mountain Rose Herbs offers for sale. My interest was particularly peaked by the broccoli, brown mustard, red lentil and radish sprouting seeds. (Did you know the stalks or sprouts of radishes taste similar to turnip greens?) Mountain Rose Herbs also offers these additional sprouting seed varieties: Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Crimson Clover, Fenugreek, Red Clover, Wheatgrass, and even Chia Seeds – yes! the one used on Chia pets – whose sprouts contain Essential fatty acids alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, mucin, strontium, 30% protein, Vitamins A, B, E, and D, and minerals including calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, iodine, copper, zinc, sodium, magnesium, manganese, niacin, thiamine, silicon, and anti-oxidants. You can even create a Chia Seed gel and use it in place of part of your meal to help suppress your appetite to reach weight loss goals. (Visit Mountain Rose Herbs for more ways to prepare Chia Seeds for your dietary needs and learn more about it’s nutritional and medicinal properties.)

I mentioned to Scott about growing sprouts in our home to tie in with his culinary forte and he was very interested. So this may be something we’ll be testing in our home soon. What about you? Do you like eating sprouts? Have you ever tried growing your own?


Currently on my Wish List for New Apartment:

Chocolate Bark with Pistachios and Pink Himalayan Salt Recipe

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One of my facebook friends recently posted a delectable photograph of some chocolate bark she made with pistachios and Pink Himalayan salt. So I went hunting for a recipe to make my own for multiple reasons. One, I get chocolate cravings from time to time that must be fulfilled. Two, dark chocolate is good for your soul. It helps to prevent depression, anxiety and stress and it has all those great anti-oxidants. The darker, the better. Three, pistachios are so good for you. Nuts like peanuts, almonds and pistachios are a much healthier snack than potato chips and they help keep your blood sugar where it should be while blessing your diet with fiber and antioxidants. They may be high in fat, but it’s good fat so you’re not likely to pack on pounds snacking on nuts. Plus, it’s been found that consuming potatoes causing a rise in blood sugar and regular consumption over time actually adds weight. So if no one is treating you to chocolates this Valentine’s Day, make your own! Or better yet, make a batch for yourself and your female friends to remind them they are awesome!

chocolate-bark

Bon Appetit has a recipe for Chocolate-Almond Bark with Sea Salt. I improvised on this to get just the chocolate bark recipe I was looking for.
Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups pistachios minus the shells
1lb. finely chopped, unsweetened dark chocolate (62%–70% cacao)
Coarse Pink Himalayan Salt 
 
Follow the instructions on Bon Appetit for making your Chocolate-Pistachio Bark with Pink Himalayan Salt.
 
There’s also a great alternative to this recipe at With Style and Grace Blog that skips adding the butter and uses sweetened dark chocolate instead of adding sugar. Or, you could even consider adding dried cranberries!
pink-himalayan-sea-saltYou can save on your purchase of Pink Himalayan Salt by buying it in bulk along with any other spices and culinary salts you like to use. Not only is Pink Himalayan Salt great for cooking – it  is one of the purest salts available for culinary, therapeutic and cosmetic uses – and it contains a quantifiable amount of 84 trace elements & iron. Buy some for cooking and use the extra for your favorite bath salt recipes! I highly recommend Mountain Rose Herbs for your bulk purchases.
What are some of your favorite ingredients to add to chocolate?