7 Great Vegetables to Grow Indoors

If you have an indoor garden, you might be interested in the list of the best vegetables you can grow indoors today. Then you can transfer them to the ground when the weather warms up or you can keep them in pots on your patio. In fact, it’s a great idea to grow vegetables indoors because we should eat them every day to get all the necessary nutrients we need to be healthy. Here are seven great vegetables to grow indoors.

1. Mushrooms
One of the best vegetables to grow indoors is mushrooms, which are an excellent source of vitamin D. You can purchase a special soil that has the makings for a fresh batch of healthy mushrooms. To get the best results, keep your mushrooms in a cool dark place. It’s so simple, isn’t it?

2. Lettuce
Typically lettuce grows in compact small bundles, so I think it’s not difficult to keep a few pots of it in your sunroom or kitchen. I love mixing different varieties of lettuce in the same pot. For instance, I mix spinach with arugula. You can also buy mixed greens and plant them in a big pot. One of the best things about lettuce is that it can regenerate so feel free to snip it for your healthy salad.

3. Beans and peas
Bean and pea plants are not big and it’s easy to grow them in the house. You can grow them up in your sunroom, and when summer comes move them outdoors. Don’t forget to set up the trellis. The great news is that many bean and pea plants look amazingly decorative and they can add to your décor during the spring.

4. Carrots
Since carrots grow under the soil you will need a very deep pot. Keep a pot of carrots in your kitchen for a delicious snack that is high in essential nutrients and low in calories. The awesome thing about carrots is that you can grow them year round. Just make sure you keep the containers in a warm area. You can also grow carrots in troughs.

5. Potatoes
Potatoes are probably my favorite vegetable I grow indoors. It’s not hard to grow potatoes in buckets or large pots in your house. But, it’s better to seed them in the containers, and when the weather gets warmer replant your potatoes outdoors. I suggest trying different kinds of potatoes to jazz up your favorite recipes.

6. Tomatoes
Tomatoes are another great vegetable you can grow indoors, especially if your windows are sunny and they face south. Opt for smaller varieties, such as cherry, pear or grape tomatoes that will not take up much space as traditional tomatoes. Since tomatoes like sun and warmth, make sure your kitchen or sunroom is always warm.

7. Green onions
Green onions are rich in beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein and they are one of the best foods to eat every day. Save the white ends with the hairs on the end and plant them into a little pot. Put the roots down, surround with dirt and add water to it. Don’t worry, they’ll regrow on their own. Remember, green onions need a lot of water, so keep your eyes on them.

Start growing the above veggies and enjoy fresh produce every day. Do you grow any vegetables indoors? Share your tips with us, please.

10 Easy Home Remedies for Puffy Eyes

The skin around the eyes is very thin and sensitive and it’s important to care for it every single day. You know, the first thing that other people notice about you is your face. Having dark circles or puffiness under your eyes may not send the message you want to send. Luckily, there are a number of simple, time-tested home remedies that do wonders for puffy eyes.

1. Cold Tea Bags
The best way to do this is to boil water and pour just enough over the tea bags to wet them. Let them cool in a refrigerator and then place them on your eyes to reduce puffiness. It isn’t necessary to use caffeinated tea, but caffeine will help to reduce puffiness to an even greater degree. It can even help to smooth fine lines and wrinkles.

2. Cucumbers
Everyone knows about applying cucumber slices to the eyes to reduce puffiness, but few know that there is a second, even more effective way to use this vegetable for puffiness. A juice, made by blending a cucumber, will act as a highly effective astringent. Just spread it around your eyes and leave it for fifteen minutes before rinsing it away.

3. Potatoes
Believe it or not, potatoes are great for your eyes. They contain an enzyme, called catecholase, that can lighten skin and reduce the dark circles associated with puffiness. If you use cool potato slices, the cooling effect will also help to reduce puffiness. You can also puree the potatoes to create a paste, which is even more effective because it forms to the skin better. This remedy takes about thirty minutes to work.

4. Mint Leaves
Crush a few mint leaves up and set them under your eyes. The natural astringent effect of mint will help to reduce puffiness and lessen dark circles. This treatment only takes five minutes, so it is great for people who are in a hurry. You can mix the crushed mint with a bit of honey or olive oil to create a paste. Honey has its own beauty effects, including antimicrobial properties that can reduce acne.

5. Rose Water
Rose water has anti-inflammatory properties and contains vitamins A and C, which are known to be beneficial to skin. Soak a cotton ball or cotton pad in rose water and place on your eyes for about ten minutes. To make rose water, bring distilled water to a boil and then add rose petals. Let them simmer, in a covered pot, until the petals lose their coloration. Store the water in a cool place.

6. Almond Oil
Almond oil is highly effective at reducing dark circles under your eyes. You can make it by pureeing almonds in a blender with a little milk or you can buy almond oil in the baking aisle at most grocery stores and mix it with baking soda to make a paste. This is an overnight treatment, however, so it won’t work in a pinch.

7. Salt
This one is the simplest of all. Mix half a teaspoon of salt into a quart of warm water. Dip cotton balls or pads into the water and apply them to your eyes for at least ten minutes. The salt will draw water out of your skin and reduce the puffy appearance. If you decide to go longer than ten minutes, which is fine, then change out the cotton balls for new ones.

8. Strawberries
Strawberries contain alpha-hydroxy acid, which is great for reducing aging effects on skin and for reducing under eye puffiness. Use strawberries that have been in the refrigerator to cool the skin and reduce swelling as well. Sliced strawberries can be placed on your eyes for a few minutes. This process is fast and effective, so it is nice to use when you don’t have much time.

9. Aloe Vera
Aloe is great for reducing swelling under the eyes, but it is slower than most of the remedies mentioned above. Plan to use aloe every day or every other day for a week before you see effects. It is a nice way to maintain your appearance over time, which is why many people put a little on before bed each night.

10. Orange Juice
This one also takes some time, so use orange juice as a way to maintain appearance rather than as a quick fix. Most people make a paste by mixing orange juice with glycerine or a little gelatin. They apply it under the eyes several times per week and leave it for several hours or over night. The beauty of orange juice is that it contains vitamin C, which is outstanding for skin health.

Puffiness occurs because lymphatic drainage from the area under the eye can’t keep up with the rate at which fluid is being deposited there. The remedies above work by either reducing the deposition of fluid or by aiding in its removal. For a long term solution to puffy eyes, get adequate rest and avoid excessive salt in your diet as it can cause you to retain water. A little caffeine in your diet will also help by acting as a natural diuretic (removes water from the body.) Dietary and lifestyle approaches are slower, but also more lasting. What’s your favorite home remedy for puffy eyes?

10 Best Antioxidant-Rich Foods

We’ve all been told to consume more foods that are high in antioxidants to achieve optimal health, but do you know which food is rich in powerful antioxidants? In fact, there are many antioxidant-rich foods that you can add to your diet, and below is the list of the best ones that can really benefit your health. Antioxidants are essential for us because they protect us from disease, combat the free radicals in the body and slow the aging process. When you have low antioxidant levels, oxidative stress can happen, making you more susceptible to a great number of diseases including cancer and heart disease. To keep your immune system strong and your body healthy, you should eat an abundance of foods that are high in antioxidants every day. The common antioxidants include beta-carotene, vitamin A, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin C, polyphenols and flavonoids. Read on to discover some of the best antioxidant-rich foods.

1. Beans
One of the best antioxidant-rich foods to add to your eating plan is beans. Beans are an excellent source of fiber and powerful antioxidants your body needs to stay healthy. I suggest you to consume red beans, which contain the highest levels of antioxidants. You can add them to your salads, soups, stews and pasta dishes.

2. Berries
Not only do berries taste great, but they also help prevent a number of diseases. While blueberries are small in size, they boast plenty of health benefits. They can improve your cognitive abilities and boost your immune system. Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and cranberries are great sources of antioxidants as well. Try adding them to your yogurt or oatmeal for a huge health boost.

3. Dark chocolate
I’m sure many of you are happy to see your favorite dark chocolate on this list. Yes, dark chocolate is high in potent antioxidants and it can reduce your blood pressure. When it comes to chocolate, even the dark one, you should eat it in moderation. It’s not recommended to consume white and milk chocolate since they don’t have the same health benefits.

4. Apples
Everyone knows the saying, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but many people often forget about this amazing fruit. Apples are loaded with essential vitamins and powerful antioxidants and they make a great portable snack that will satisfy your sweet tooth in no time. You can also add apples to your fruit salad, smoothies, or even make an apple pie. Opt for red apples, which have the highest levels of antioxidants.

5. Artichokes
Perhaps you are surprised to see artichokes on the list of the best antioxidant-rich foods, but it’s actually no wonder. Artichokes are packed with powerful antioxidants and they deliver a great amount of essential vitamins to the body. You can use artichoke hearts in your salad or as a healthy topping on your vegetable pizza.

6. Potatoes
Although it’s always said to avoid consuming potatoes, especially if you are trying to lose weight, it’s good to incorporate some potatoes into your diet. You can bake up some potatoes and add them to your dinner or you can add some color to your plate with antioxidant-rich mashed sweet potatoes. Just don’t load your meal up with sour cream and butter.

7. Carrots
There are many reasons to eat carrots daily and one of them is because they are rich in beta-carotene that helps the body produce essential vitamin A and combat cancer. Carrots are also great for your eyes and they can even improve your sight. Add them to your vegetable salads, soups, stews, stir-fry, or eat them raw.

8. Red wine and red grapes
Grapes, especially red grapes, are also packed with powerful antioxidants. Red wine (when consumed in moderation!) and red grapes are high in heart healthy polyphenols and flavonoids. But it doesn’t mean you can drink the whole bottle of red wine daily in order to fill your body with more antioxidants. Drink it in moderation, or better, eat some red grapes.

9. Pecans
Pecans are high in a powerful antioxidant that can help to prevent inflammation in the arteries. The thing is, consuming pecans raises the amount of healthy antioxidants in the body, which is essential in helping to prevent development of numerous diseases including heart disease and cancer. Add some chopped pecans to your oatmeal, snack on roasted pecans or eat them raw.

10. Black plums
While red plums are delicious, black plums are higher in powerful antioxidants than red ones. These antioxidants help the body fight a great number of diseases. Black plums are also low in calories and fat free. Add black plums to your smoothies, juices, fruit salads, puree them for quick and tasty fruit sorbet, or make an old-fashioned plum cake. Black plums make a perfect lunch box treat as well. Just make sure you don’t peel your plums since most of the antioxidants contained in plums are found within the skin.

Sure, there are no definite guarantees that you can prevent cancer or other diseases by simply consuming antioxidant-rich foods, but you can significantly lower the risk of developing these diseases. What’s your favorite antioxidant-rich food?

Savory Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

My kids really, really like sweet potatoes. My oldest would eat several in a meal easily, and he loves them with some healthy fats like butter or coconut oil and bit of salt. One of our favorite recipes is stuffed sweet potatoes, because it’s so easy to make and is very filling.

For Any Meal of the Day…

These are surprisingly great for breakfast and you could substitute any meat or leftover meat for the sausage. I make a bunch of these ahead of time and wrap in foil for quick meals. They are also wonderful post-workout meals after weight training to refuel muscles without grains.

If you bake the sweet potatoes, and assemble the toppings, you can also make a “Sweet Potato Bar” to let everyone in your family create their own stuffed sweet potato creation.

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Delicious Stuffed Sweet Potatoes Recipe

prep 10 mins

cook 1 hour

total 1 hour, 10 mins

author wellness mama

yield 4 -6

Delicious baked sweet potatoes with a sausage and vegetable filling. These are a filling and nourishing meal that are easy to make and kid-approved.

Ingredients

1 lb ground sausage of choice
4 handfuls of raw spinach (about one bag or bunch)
2 onions
4-6 medium/large sweet potatoes
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, sage, and basil to taste
Optional toppings- raw, sharp cheddar cheese, sour cream, cream cheese
Instructions

Bake sweet potatoes for 45 minutes to an hour until soft (can be done ahead of time and re-heated)
Brown sausage in a large skillet.
When it is almost browned, dice onion and add.
When onions have started to soften, add the spinach.
Saute until all are cooked and spice to taste.
When sweet potatoes are soft, remove and cut in half lengthwise.
In a large baking dish or on a baking sheet, Flatten the sweet potato a little bit and add a big scoop of the stuffing mixture to the middle of the sweet potato, evenly dividing among them.
Top with cheese (if using)
Return to the oven for about 10 minutes to incorporate flavors and melt cheese.
Top with sour cream (optional) and serve.
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Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Our garden produced a ton of sweet potatoes last year, so I had to get creative to find ways to use them. We fried them in tallow, baked them in the oven and even grilled them on low heat on the grill.

We used them as the “noodles” in homemade lasagna (it was delicious!) and made dozens of different breakfast hash brown recipes with them.

Sometimes, the simplest recipe is the most delicious and my kids love them just baked in the oven and topped with butter and salt. On busy days when we are running errands or working outside I often forget or don’t have time to throw them in the oven an hour before dinner.

Did you know that it is possible to cook sweet potatoes (and regular potatoes) in the slow cooker and have them ready on a busy night?

This has been my go-to method of sweet potato cooking lately and it works incredibly well!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes?

A friend had mentioned cooking sweet potatoes in her crock pot. She might have meant actually peeling, cutting and putting spices on them, but I decided to try it with the whole sweet potatoes…. and it worked…. really well!

This is great if you like sweet potatoes for breakfast because you can cook them overnight. I’ll often slow-cook sweet potatoes overnight and top with leftover chicken or sausage in the morning for a super fast and nourishing breakfast.

I feel bad even calling this a ‘recipe’ because it only has one ingredient and one step, but I was excited to be able to cook sweet potatoes in the crock-pot and wanted to share in case it is helpful to you!

If you love sweet potatoes as much as we do, give this simple version a try!

Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes Recipe

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Crock Pot Sweet Potatoes

prep 5 mins

cook 6 hours

total 6 hours, 5 mins

author wellness mama

yield 6 +

Cook sweet potatoes in your slow-cooker or crock pot with this simple and fool-proof method.

Ingredients

5-6 medium sized sweet potatoes
A 6-quart or larger slow cooker
Instructions

Wash sweet potatoes well but don’t dry.
Put on the bottom of the crock pot, put lid on, and turn on low.
Cook for 6-7 hours or until tender.
Serve with butter and salt or as desired.
Notes

For an easy breakfast, start the sweet potatoes at night and serve with leftover meat or veggies as an easy and nutritious warm breakfast that is ready to go when you wake up!

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How to Make Yummy Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes” (Recipe)

Did you know that when prepared correctly, mashed cauliflower has a very similar texture to mashed potatoes and a sweet and buttery taste?

Most kids won’t flinch at the difference, and you can rest happy knowing you are squeezing in extra protein and nutrients. Top with melted cheese, and even the most adamant of veggie haters will give it a try.

Why Mashed Cauliflower?

I love potatoes, but they are one of the most-consumed foods in the US and most of us are getting way to many of them (fries anyone?). White potatoes are tasty and have some nutritional benefits, but are nothing compared to this nutritious substitute: cauliflower!

This cauliflower mashed potatoes recipe (or fauxtatoes as I like to call it) is a great side dish for Thanksgiving or other holidays, or for a healthy family dinner any night of the week. In fact, this is one substitute that I think actually tastes better than the original recipe and there are endless ways to customize it!

If you have really picky eaters in your house, whip really well, and provide toppings like bacon and cheese- they won’t know the difference! You’ll love that you are serving a healthy vegetable, and they’ll love their “potatoes.” In fact, a friend recently made these for her husband and he asked if she had added cheese or extra butter to the mashed potatoes because they tasted a little different. Yet, he didn’t realize it was actually cauliflower!

Vegetables for the win!

How to Make Mashed Cauliflower:

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Mashed Cauliflower Potatoes

prep 5 mins

cook 15 mins

total 20 mins

author wellness mama

yield 8

A more nutritious version of mashed potatoes made with buttery cauliflower instead!

Ingredients

1-2 head of fresh cauliflower or 1-2 bags of frozen
4 TBSP butter
2 T cream cheese or sour cream (optional)
2 T or more Parmesan (optional)
Salt, pepper, garlic and other spices to taste
Instructions

Bring a couple quarts of water to a boil in a large pan and add cauliflower.
Cook until tender (I suppose you could also use a microwave, but I’ve never tried since we don’t have one and don’t use them!)
When tender, put into large bowl and add other ingredients.
Use immersion blender or hand mixer to blend until smooth and creamy. This is the most important step… chunks of cauliflower are a giveaway!
Sprinkle with extra cheese if desired and serve warm.
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cuisine thanksgiving

This Is The Reason Wendy’s Is the Only Chain That Serves Baked Potatoes

Potatoes are one of the most important and most ordered options on any menu of a fast food chain. The burger and french fry combo are a legendary partnership and have made a lot of chains very wealthy. However, there’s only one chain in America that features the classic baked version of the spud and that’s Wendy’s.

Baked potato has been on Wendy’s menu for 3 decades now and has become one of the reasons for the company’s success. The fast food chain sells about 1 million potatoes a week, which brings in 52 million dollars a year according to a company spokesperson. It’s a wonder that other fast food chains haven’t followed suit. We’re here to tell you just why that is.

Lori Estrada has been Wendy’s VP of culinary innovation for over 16 years and she states, “Originally, we launched the baked potato in 1983 along with our salad bar, to provide a healthy option to sell alongside our hamburgers.” The mid-80s and early-90s were marked by a shift in people’s diets. Saturated fats were discarded which made the potato the perfect option for people looking to slim down.

Estrada explains, “In the mid-to-late 80s, almost everyone in the industry was playing around with healthy options in their menus, so Wendy’s was actually probably a little ahead of the game with the potato.”

To put it into perspective, a baked potato without toppings amounts to 270 calories, while a medium order of french fries contains 420 calories. Even if you load up the potato with toppings including cheese, bacon bits, sour cream etc., it’ll still only reach about 420 calories.

Estrada adds, “Carbs, in general, have fallen in and out of health trends, of course. But these baked potatoes are full of fiber, low in fat, and have a great mineral content. They can still be a healthy vehicle for toppings.”

Best of all, they are filling! Baked potatoes were never meant to be a side. They aren’t a replacement for fries, they are full meals in and of themselves. Even though it is on Wendy’s side menu, Estrada says, “The potato has always been more of a self-contained meal.”

Roasted Sweet Potatoes In Coconut Oil

Roasted sweet potatoes are one of my favorite side dishes. They pair well with many of my favorite meals, they’re rich in flavor and are high in nutrients.Roasted Sweet Potatoes

 

Oven roasted sweet potatoes make for a tasty side dish! They pair well with many meals like baked chicken, roast, pork loin and many other savory meals.

Sweet potatoes are rich in flavor and are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium and potassium. There are many ways to add this delicious healthy food to your diet! I love sweet potato casserole, baked sweet potato crackers (grain free), baked sweet potatoes (sometimes we stuff them with goodies) and roasted sweet potatoes in coconut oil.

Roasted sweet potatoes are easy to prepare and can be seasoned in a variety of ways. My family likes them seasoned with rosemary and sea salt and I like to sweeten them up with cinnamon! You can use any oil to bake your sweet potatoes in but I always use coconut oil. It gives the sweet potatoes a lovely sweet coconut flavor. Plus, coconut oil is the healthiest fat to cook with!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

However you decide to season your roasted sweet potatoes, I’m sure they’ll be a huge hit at your dinner table!

Roasted Sweet Potatoes in Coconut Oil
To get started you’ll need to skin your sweet potatoes and cut them into cubes.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Then you’re going melt a few tablespoons of coconut oil and pour it over sweet potatoes. Toss the sweet potatoes in the coconut oil to ensure they’re evenly coated.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Next you’ll season the sweet potatoes. Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried rosemary and 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Toss to coat and spread the potatoes over a rimmed baking sheet.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Place in the over and bake for 45 minutes to an hour.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes In Coconut OilRoasted Sweet Potatoes in Coconut Oil
Ingredients
2 Pounds Sweet Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Rosemary (or Cinnamon)
Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel sweet potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch cubes.
Place sweet potatoes in a bowl.
Melt coconut oil and pour it over the sweet potatoes.
Toss to coat and add salt and rosemary or cinnamon.
Spread the sweet potatoes over a rimmed baking sheet and place them in the oven.
Roast for 45 minutes to an hour or until they’re golden and slightly crispy.