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.

7 Healthy Foods to Eat to Increase Your Vitamin E Intake

Your body needs vitamin E to work properly and it’s important to pay attention to your vitamin E intake on a regular basis. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant, which helps combat free radical damage and prevent a great number of health issues, including heart disease and cancer. This nutrient also plays an important role in gene expression, cell health and immunity. The great news is that there are certain foods that help boost vitamin E intake. Without further ado, here are seven healthy foods you can eat to increase your vitamin E intake.

1. Kiwi
Kiwi contains around 10% of your daily requirements of vitamin E, and it’s also rich in fiber and vitamin C. Kiwis are sweet and tart at the same time and I usually have one kiwi for my breakfast with my favorite cereal. I also love adding sliced kiwis to my smoothies, fruit salad and Greek yogurt. I think kiwi is one of the best fruits to eat to increase vitamin E intake.

2. Sunflower seeds
Eating sunflowers seeds is one of the best and easiest ways to increase your vitamin E intake. An ounce of sunflower seeds contains over one-third of your daily requirements. Eat them plain or add some to your vegetable salad. Sunflower seeds also work well in trail mix combined with raisins, dried cereal and chocolate. Every time I go on a road trip, I always take a bag of sunflower seeds to boost my vitamin E intake.

3. Mangoes
Who doesn’t love mangoes? I’m sure most of you love this amazing fruit! Now that you know mangoes can help you increase your Vitamin E intake, you might love them even more. A ½ cup of chopped or diced mango contains about 5% of your daily Vitamin E needs. While it may not be enough to satisfy the whole day’s need, it’s definitely a great and tasty way to contribute. You can add mangoes to your yogurt, smoothies, or mix them with diced red onion, chopped jalapenos and avocado for a delicious salsa.

4. Tomatoes
Whether cooked or raw, tomatoes are also a good source of vitamin E. Again, eating tomatoes isn’t enough to satisfy your whole day’s quota, but still you can get a bit of essential vitamin. Put tomatoes on burgers and sandwiches, or add them to your vegetable salad. Whip up some spaghetti sauce or salsa or mix several tomatoes with fresh basil, mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar for a delicious side dish.

5. Almonds
Like sunflower seeds, almonds are a good source of Vitamin E. You can eat almonds as a snack or put some in your oatmeal, cereal or batch of muffins. Almonds are also a wonderful choice for your trail mix and plain yogurt with some fruits and honey. Since almonds have many calories, make sure you don’t consume pounds of them daily, or you could gain a few unwanted pounds.

6. Spinach
Another healthy food to eat to boost your vitamin E intake is spinach. Half a cup of spinach provides 10% of your daily vitamin E needs. You can use fresh spinach in your salad, vegetable soup or put spinach into your turkey sandwich. The options are endless. Spinach is low in calories, so you don’t have to worry about your weight.

7. Peanut butter
You know, seeds and nuts are great options for increasing vitamin E intake. Peanut butter is another great option because it works for numerous things. Spread peanut butter on toast at breakfast or eat a jelly and peanut butter sandwich for your lunch. You can also mix it with soy sauce and olive oil for a yummy peanut sauce on your favorite pasta. You may also like peanut butter on pancakes and waffles. If you don’t want to eat peanut butter, whole peanuts are the perfect choice too.

Add a few of these vitamin E rich foods to your diet to ensure you’re getting enough of this essential vitamin. What are your favorite foods on this list? What do you eat to boost your vitamin E intake?

9 Best Health Benefits of Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse that provides incredible health benefits when included in your daily eating plan. Tomatoes are rich in vitamins A, C, K, vitamin B6, potassium, folate, thiamin, magnesium, niacin, copper and phosphorus, which are all essential to maintain good health. One of the best things about tomatoes is that they are naturally low in cholesterol, saturated fat, sodium and calories. You can use tomatoes in your sandwiches, salads, sauces, smoothies and soups. Read on to discover a few reasons to eat tomatoes every day.

1. Improve vision
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C which help improve your vision and can also help prevent night blindness. A recent study shows that the high vitamin A content of tomatoes can help prevent macular degeneration, a serious eye disease. Moreover, tomatoes can lower your risk of developing cataracts. Tomatoes are also packed with the phytochemical antioxidants lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect your eyes from light damage.

2. Help fight cancer
According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, consuming more tomatoes can help combat prostate cancer. Tomatoes can also help reduce the risk of some other cancers such as stomach, lung, cervical, pharynx, mouth, throat, rectal, colon, esophagus, and ovarian cancer. That’s because tomatoes are high in the antioxidant lycopene. If you want to boost the anti-cancer benefits of tomatoes, try cooking them with olive oil.

3. Clear skin
Eating tomatoes regularly can help clear your skin and make it look perfect. Tomatoes contain lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that protects skin from sun damage and makes your skin less sensitive to UV light, one of the causes of wrinkles and fine lines. You can use tomatoes to heal acne and rashes and minimize large pores. Rub the pulp of tomatoes on your dull skin to restore its healthy glow.

4. Reduce blood sugar levels
Tomatoes contain very little carbohydrates and they help reduce blood sugar levels. Tomatoes also contain chromium that helps control blood sugar, and fiber that helps keep the blood sugar levels from getting too high. A few studies have found that the powerful antioxidants in tomatoes protect the bloodstream and kidneys, the areas which are often affected by diabetes.

5. Promote good sleep
Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene and vitamin C that can help you sleep better. So, if you have trouble falling asleep, consider adding tomatoes to your daily diet. You can use tomatoes in your soup or salad, or add one to your smoothie.

6. Keep your bones healthy
Tomatoes contain vitamin K and calcium which help keep your bones healthy. Therefore, eating tomatoes can help strengthen and repair your bones. It has been shown that the antioxidant lycopene can also improve bone mass and help fight osteoporosis, a serious disease that can cause bone fractures, deformity, and disability.

7. Relieve chronic pain
Due to the presence of anti-inflammatory agents such as carotenoids and bioflavonoids, tomatoes can relieve chronic pain. People who frequently suffer from mild or moderate pain usually have inflammation. A research show that drinking a glass of tomato juice every day can lower blood levels of TNF-alpha that causes inflammation, by about 34 percent. Thus, tomatoes are good for people who suffer from chronic health issues such as heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

8. Good for your hair
Tomatoes are also good for your hair. They are packed with vitamins and iron that help strengthen your hair and can even add shine to damaged and lifeless hair. Moreover, tomatoes have the acidity that balances the pH levels in the hair. If you have a dandruff and itchy scalp, apply fresh tomato juice on your hair and scalp after shampooing, and rinse with cold or lukewarm water after 4 to 5 minutes. Don’t use tomatoes on your hair too often because their acidity can dry out your hair.

9. Help lose weight
If you are trying to drop those unwanted pounds, make sure you include tomatoes into your everyday diet. They are low in fat and don’t contain cholesterol. Tomatoes contain plenty of fiber and water, so they will help you feel full without an unnecessary amount of calories. You can eat tomatoes raw or add them to your casseroles, salads, and other diet-friendly meals.

Whether fresh, sun-dried, stewed, pureed or juiced, consider adding more tomatoes to your everyday diet and reap all their health benefits. Do you love tomatoes? Did you know about their health benefits?

10 Essential Beauty Foods for Women

The food we eat affects us in many ways. Many foods enhance us on the inside with their composition of vitamins, minerals, and anti-oxidants. Yet many foods can also impact the way we look on the outside. While we already know that eating greasy foods, for example, can negatively impact our skin, there are actually many foods that support the beauty of our exteriors. The following ten foods are ideal for enhancing our outer beauty in healthful ways.

1. Strawberries

The cleansing potential of strawberries is perfect for enhancing the beauty of the skin. Eating strawberries helps your body flush out dead skin cells as well as other impurities. The vitamin C power of strawberries is also essential for repairing damaged skin; a single cup a day can help you support the body’s ability to repair damaged skin tissue.

2. Walnuts
Walnuts have the ability to enhance both skin and hair. Rich in vitamin E, protein, and omega-3s, these nuts pack a healthy punch for your tresses. Walnuts also help the skin retain its youthful glow by promoting the body’s natural detox ability and offering some skin protection from harmful UV sun rays. Delicious and healthy, walnuts are a great beautifying snack on the go.

3. Red Peppers
Red peppers are great for perfect skin. They help keep your skin nourished with the nutrients it needs to thrive and provide added protection from free radicals and harmful UV rays. They are also rich in vitamin E and beta-carotene which enhances the beauty of the skin. In fact, one of the best things you can do to keep your skin looking youthful is to include more red peppers in your diet. They are versatile and can be added to various types of cuisine for delicious results.

4. Greek Yogurt
Not only is Greek Yogurt a great part of any diet and can enhance your fitness plan, it can support the beauty of your hair, nails, and even skin. This yogurt’s natural enzymes and lactic acid helps nourish and protect the skin as well as the nails and hair. Moreover, because it promotes a healthy digestive tract, it allows the body to more regularly get rid of waste and other toxins naturally which can certainly enhance the look of your body.

5. Eggs
The rich protein content in eggs can enhance anyone’s tresses! Your hair needs protein to grow and for strength. Additionally, eggs have a high iron content which is also important for a healthy mane of hair. Iron promotes the body’s ability to deliver important oxygen to hair follicles; without it, there is increased risk for hair loss.

6. Olive Oil
Olive oil is loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. While many ancient as well as modern sources have written on the ways olive oil can be used topically to enhance the look of skin and hair, it is also a great beautifying agent when part of a diet. With its many health benefits, including its ability to promote heart health, olive oil is a must for a healthy diet as well as one designed with beauty in mind.

7. Salmon
The omega-3 fatty acids in salmon are essential for the body in general, but they also support hair growth. If you want to grow long and healthy tresses, be sure to include salmon in your diet. The omega-3s in salmon are found in your scalp as well as in the natural oils of your hair which are essential for keeping it moisturized. Well-moisturized hair is less prone to breakage and certainly helps the hair look beautiful and healthy too.

8. Blueberries
Blueberries are noted for their anti-aging benefits. They can help keep the skin looking healthy and youthful with their anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant protection. They can even help your eyes look bright! Convenient and delicious, a snack of blueberries is always a good idea; add them to your morning cereal or oatmeal to benefit from their beautifying effects.

9. Oysters
Since hair loss can be linked to a lack of zinc in the diet, eating zinc-rich foods like oysters has the potential to promote a thick and luscious crop of hair. Interestingly, oysters can even promote eye-lash growth! While other foods contain zinc as well, oysters also have a high protein content which is an essential building block for your hair.

10. Tomatoes
Tomatoes have the unique ability to bolster skin cells so they are better able to guard against damage from UV rays. They are rich in vitamin A which the skin needs to prevent dryness. Well moisturized skin appears particularly attractive and youthful. The antioxidant power of tomatoes also helps keep the skin in excellent condition by providing protection from free radical damage. Ramp up their power by cooking them first; cooked tomatoes have even more unlocked nutritional power than fresh ones!
Incorporate these beauty foods into your eating plan and you will always look beautiful. What are your favorite beauty foods?

The Fake Watermelon Slice Salad Recipe

Many of us are sick and tired of all those boring salads like strawberry spinach salad and crave something more creative that no one has tried and made yet. Experimenting in the kitchen always leads to successful results. Today, I am going to share a super creative salad recipe that you will certainly love.

The watermelon salad that does not contain watermelon will wow your family, friends and guests. The ingredient list is rather affordable and simple.

Fake Watermelon Slice Salad Recipe
Ingredients:

1-2 onions, chopped
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked, diced
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions
1 bunch dill
1 pound mushrooms, diced
2-3 hard boiled eggs, peeled and sliced
3/4 cup mayonnaise
2-3 cucumbers, grated
4 tbsp cheese, grated
2-3 pitted black olives
butter
Directions:

Heat butter (or olive oil) in a skillet over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms, and cook stirring until golden brown and soft.

Now that you have all the ingredients ready, start layering your salad. Begin with a good layer of cooked and diced chicken breasts on the bottom, followed by a layer of mayo, them mushrooms with onions, followed by a layer of mayo, then eggs, and again a layer of mayo. Make sure you create a watermelon slice.

Use chopped tomatoes, grated cheese, cucumbers and dill to decorate your salad. Slice the olives to create watermelon seeds. Voila! A quick, easy and creative salad that only dieters may hate.

Authentic Homemade Pasta Sauce (Fresh or Canned Tomatoes)

I married into an Italian family, and as such, several things are a given:

Family gatherings will be loud
There will always be a faint aroma of basil and garlic in the house
Learning to make a delicious and authentic homemade pasta sauce is high on the to-do list for a new wife
Why Homemade Pasta Sauce?

When I married into the family, I became privy to Nonna’s (my husband’s grandmother) pasta sauce recipe that uses pre-canned tomato sauce and diced tomatoes (that she probably canned herself). One year I attempted to mimic the recipe using fresh tomatoes since we had an abundance from our garden and came up with my own pasta sauce recipe.

I’m sharing my variations of both today:

How to Make Pasta Sauce from Fresh or Canned Tomatoes

I you are working from fresh tomatoes, use the first recipe. If you are using canned tomatoes, use the second.

While “Nonna’s Recipe” is still the gold standard of pasta sauce in our family, I’m not sure I’m allowed to share the secret recipe so I’m sharing my variations instead. I know that I can share one part of her secret, which is to throw a piece of a carrot into the sauce while it is cooking to absorb the acidity of the tomatoes and create a sweeter sauce. This also removes the need for a sweetener to cut down the acidity.

Homemade Pasta Sauce from Fresh Tomatoes

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Homemade Pasta Sauce Recipe

prep 10 mins

cook 2 hours

total 2 hours, 10 mins

author wellness mama

yield 6 -8

Authentic tomato marinara sauce from fresh tomatoes, basil and garlic.

Ingredients

5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, peeled and seeded (to peel, cut a small “x” on the top and drop in to boiling water for 10 seconds and drop in to an ice bath. Skin will easily peel off)
1/4 cup olive oil (or tallow)
3 medium onions, diced
8 cloves of fresh garlic (or more to taste), finely minced
1/3 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 sprig of fresh thyme leaves (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1 sprig of fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano)
2 bay leaves (remove when done)
2 sprigs of parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 carrot (1/2 should be grated and added to sauce, the other half should be added at the end of cooking and then removed)
Optional: 1 tablespoon honey
Instructions

Pour the olive oil into a large stockpot over medium heat.
Add diced onions, garlic and grated carrots.
Saute for 6-8 minutes or until onions are translucent and tender.
Add tomatoes, chopped basil leaves, oregano, thyme bay leaves, parsley and sea salt.
Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours or until cooked down and starting to darken.
Add carrot piece for the last 30 minutes to absorb acidity.
Remove sprigs of herbs and piece of carrot.
Optional: Use an immersion blender to puree sauce until smooth (for a thicker sauce, skip this step.
Use fresh or store in the fridge up to 1 week, or can it according to your canner’s instructions for tomato products.
courses sauce

cuisine italian