If you’re looking for a great holiday gift to buy for a foodie friend or family member, we’ve rounded up some fantastic ideas to give you some inspiration. Personally, we’d be delighted to receive any of these and are especially fond of the last one (wink wink).
Make Your Own Rules Cookbook – This cookbook by Strala Yoga founder Tara Stiles beautifully presents over 100 delicious recipes that include plant-based meals, smoothies, salads, side dishes, and desserts. With a philosophy that healthy living should be made easy and effortless for everyone, Tara’s cookbook provides a ton of creative ideas that will help the foodie in your life cook nutritious foods, and have fun while doing it.
Ambatalia Linen Dish Covers – Made by textile artist Molly de Vries, these charmingly simple (and washable) dish covers make an aesthetically appealing, yet practical, gift. Each set includes five covers of varying sizes that are made from American grown and woven organic cotton and unbleached Russian linen. Fitted with elastic around the edges, these covers fit snugly onto dishes, protecting foods such as prepped veggies, salad greens, casseroles, dressings, and more. Whether put in the fridge or left on the counter, these covers perform exceptionally well and would make a lovely addition to any kitchen.
BUILT NY Bento Box – A bento box is a terrific way to organize lunches that consist of more than just a sandwich. The compartments keep salads, fruits, sandwiches, and other foods from spilling over into each other and making a mess. And the BUILT NY bento box has an added bonus – a neoprene sleeve that keeps food hot (or warm) for up to four hours. Machine washable and available in a variety of patterns, this bento box is a great idea for anyone that packs their own lunch on a regular basis.
Macarons from Dana’s Bakery – Have a macaron lover or dessert aficionado in your life? Dana’s Bakery has quite a few gift options First, the “Build-A-Box” lets you choose from more than a dozen delicious flavors so you can customize a box to suit your loved one’s palate. Second, you can gift a subscription to the “Macaron of the Month Club”, with options of month-to-month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months available. And for those who would enjoy making their own macarons, there are “Macaron Making Kits” as well. All macarons are gluten free, made with almond flour, and certified Kosher Dairy!
Great Grains Gift Box – The Great Grains wooden gift box from Many Kitchens brings together four healthy and delicious grains from Napa Valley’s esteemed Rancho Gordo: Pozole/Prepared Hominy, Quinoa, Wild Rice, and Amaranth. Each set comes with a wooden or cardboard gift box, as well as general instructions and recipe ideas.
Ghee Sampler Pack – Last, but certainly not least, is our very own Ghee Sampler Pack. With adorable 1.5-ounce sample jars of Simply Ghee, Honey Ghee, and Black Garlic Ghee, all of our yummy flavors can be enjoyed. This makes a perfect hostess gift, stocking stuffer, or special treat for yourself!
We wish you a joyous and healthy holiday season! If you’d like to give any of our ghee products as a gift, or use them to prepare holiday meals, visit our online store for purchasing information.
With the holiday season around the corner, it’s time to start planning a healthy eating strategy. Although the holidays already involve enough planning – from scheduling and decorating, to shopping and cooking – it’s important to plan ahead for ways to handle all the extra food and drinks that will inevitably come your way throughout the season.
Follow our tips below and you’ll be well prepared to celebrate guilt-free.
Avoid Skipping Meals
Many people make the mistake of skipping meals on the day of a holiday party so they can consume more calories at the event. But skipping meals isn’t only unhealthy; it leads to overeating and making poor food choices.
Consuming small meals and snacks throughout the day is part of a healthy eating plan on any given day, party or no party. By eating this way, your blood sugar levels remain stable and your appetite is kept at bay, enabling you to practice restraint when needed.
The most important thing to practice is being mindful whenever you’re making food choices, as well as while you’re eating. It’s perfectly fine to indulge here and there – it’s the holidays after all – but if you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to do so in a smart way.
You’ll choose a portion just big enough to be satisfying, instead of mindlessly piling up your plate. And you’ll actually taste and appreciate your food, instead of eating a ton and then realizing you didn’t even enjoy it.
Search Out Healthy Offerings
When you first arrive at a party, take the time to survey the food options before digging in. Although there may be plenty of unhealthy foods, there are also likely to be healthier choices available. Load up on salad and fresh fruits and vegetables, while taking smaller portions of richer foods.
Choose Ingredients Wisely
When you carefully choose ingredients for your holiday food preparations, you’ll be able to keep your dishes on the healthier side. For example, prepare traditional stuffing with whole wheat or whole grain breads, rather than white bread. Substitute whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour in your favorite baking recipes. And cook with healthy fats, like ghee, instead of butter.
Limit Cocktail Consumption
We all know how quickly the empty calories in alcoholic beverages add up. To be able to enjoy a few cocktails throughout the season without overdoing it, add some mineral water or seltzer to your favorite cocktail – or have a glass of water or seltzer in between cocktails.
Treat Yourself to Dessert
Although there are some individuals who just aren’t “dessert people”, most of us enjoy a sweet treat now and then. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t deprive yourself over the holidays! Opt for healthier dessert options that are centered around fresh fruit, or take a small portion of a must-have dessert.
Enjoy the Season!
Don’t forget to enjoy all that the season has to offer. While food and drinks are certainly a great part of the festivities, holiday celebrations are not just about eating. Focus on the cheerful, giving spirit of the season and enjoy spending time with your family, friends, and colleagues.
For a delicious, healthy addition to your holiday meals, try our 100% grass fed ghee. Visit our holiday blend tips for more information.
All butter isn’t created equal and that is true even among the different grass fed butters currently on the market. Here at Simply Ghee, we’re proud to be able to say our products are made from 100% grass fed butter.
What is 100% Grass Fed Butter?
Grass is a natural source of food that cows are meant to eat. But the majority of cows producing milk today are given a lot of grain-based feeds that contain soy and corn. And with corn, there’s always the possibility of harmful GMOs (genetically modified organisms).
Cows fed in this way produce huge quantities of milk that is lower in butterfat and other important nutritional elements. And this is the milk used in the production of regular butter.
100% grass fed butter, on the other hand, is made from the milk of cows that are fed grass, as nature intended, rather than grain-based feeds. And in the winter, when these cows are moved inside, they are either fed hay or haylage (haylage refers to grass that’s baled and stored at a higher moisture content than dry hay).
100% Grass Fed Butter: An Important Distinction
“Grass fed” is not the same as “100% grass fed”, and the distinction between the two is critical. Most grass fed butter isn’t actually 100% grass fed because the cows eat some grain in the winter. When cows are 100% grass fed, whether given hay or haylage in the colder months, they are never given any grain-based feeds.
According to Dale Stoltzfus, General Manager of Oasis at Bird in Hand in Pennsylvania, there are too many unknowns with a general “grass fed” label. Questions remain open, such as:
• How often were the cows fed grass? One week? One month? The entire summer?
• And if they weren’t fed only grass, what else were they fed?
While you can easily find “grass fed” products, only a “100% grass fed” label is one that guarantees the cows aren’t fed any grains. These are the cows that produce milk, and therefore butter, that contains the highest possible nutritional benefits.
Benefits of 100% Grass Fed Butter
The health effects of butter vary greatly depending on the diet of the cows it comes from. Cows that eat fresh vegetation that’s rich in nutrients will produce dairy products that are more nutritious and better for our consumption. In countries where cows are mostly grass-fed, dairy fat is associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
The butter from 100% grass fed cow’s milk, like the milk itself, is superior to other butter in many ways:
• It contains much higher levels of Vitamin K2, a nutrient that is extremely important for heart health.
• The Omega-3 fatty acid content, another critical component of a healthy heart, is greater.
• Levels of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) are higher. CLA is a naturally occurring, good trans-fat (as opposed to the bad trans-fats produced in a factory) that’s been linked to positive health effects, such as superior heart health and tumor suppression. It has been shown that pasture feeding leads to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle.
• There are higher levels of Vitamin A and Carotene, giving 100% grass fed butter its rich yellow color.
Aside from all the nutritional benefits, 100% grass fed butter tastes exceptionally better too. Ultra creamy and smooth, you simply can’t beat the satisfying flavor of butter that comes from cows that are free to roam outside and graze on what nature provides them.
For a delicious addition to a healthy diet, try our 100% grass fed ghee. Visit our website for more information.
On a recent trip to the grocery store, I was at the check out line and noticed that the person in front of me was buying several bags of not very healthy items. Her order came to under $40. My one bag of healthier foods, on the other hand, totaled around $50.
This got me thinking. Many people don’t eat healthy on a regular basis because they don’t believe they can afford to. And, while it is generally cheaper to eat junk foods than whole foods, what does unhealthy eating really cost us?
The Hidden Costs of Unhealthy Eating
Though unhealthier foods may be less expensive at the register, when you look at the whole picture, there are hidden costs to buying these foods that can’t be overlooked.
Short-Term Health – An unhealthy diet can lead to stress, fatigue, depression and other low-grade health complaints, making us less productive and unable to enjoy life in the present moment. These are some of the non-economic costs of eating poorly.
Long-Term Health – Eating heavily processed foods and foods with high amounts of sugar, sodium and fat can contribute to a variety of health issues and serious illnesses, both mental and physical.
Medical Expenses – When you eat unhealthy foods and develop health problems as a result, the costs of medical visits, prescription medications and other health services escalate. These increased medical expenses will quickly surpass any amount of money saved by buying cheaper, unhealthier foods.
Global Health Concerns – Poor diets largely contribute to the global obesity epidemic and food-related public health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This results in higher health insurance costs, not to mention less healthy, productive and happy societies.
Look Beyond the Price Tag
The total cost of unhealthy food certainly isn’t reflected in the price tag. Next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t just compare the immediate price of cheaper junk foods to more expensive organic foods. Look past what costs less now and remember the cumulative affects the hidden costs can have on your health, and pocketbook, over the course of your life.
When you look at the cost of buying junk food from a health perspective, no one can really afford not to maintain a healthy diet. The saying that prevention is better than cure couldn’t be truer. You can’t put a price tag on good health.
For a great addition to a healthy diet, try our delicious ghee products. Visit our website for more information.
If you’re just discovering the nutritional benefits (and great flavor) of ghee, you may be looking for ways to incorporate it in your daily diet. Ghee can be used in the kitchen many different ways.
As clarified butter, having the moisture and milk solids removed, ghee makes a wonderful (and healthier) replacement for butter in any dish. It’s especially fantastic for sautéing, stir-frying and deep-frying at high heats because it has a higher smoking point than any oil (485 degrees Fahrenheit, to be exact). It can also be added to a dish to increase its taste and texture. Yum!
In addition to this great list, here are some wonderful ideas to get you started using and experimenting with ghee in your kitchen:
1) Blend into a healthy smoothie.
2) Use in your favorite casserole or rice dish.
3) Mix with herbs and seasonings and use as a rub for chicken.
4) Use in this recipe for Eggplant in Curry-Coconut Sauce.
5) Drizzle over fish or seafood, such as scallops.
6) Spread on sourdough bread or naan. Mix with a high quality salt before spreading for a really intense flavor.
7) Mix into hot maple syrup and serve over your favorite French Toast
(or try this recipe for Sausage & Swiss Stuffed French Toast).
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it’s a great start! We definitely encourage experimenting with ghee in the kitchen to discover the many delicious possibilities it brings.
And here’s the recipe we promised – Parmesan Pasta with Ghee using our newest product, Black Garlic Ghee. Both delicious and healthy, it’s a must try! Be sure to let us know your thoughts if you make it!
Simply Black Garlic Ghee with Parmigiano Reggiano Pasta
This is so simple yet so good! The caramelized, slightly nutty taste of the ghee plus the smoky flavor of the black garlic adds a taste sensation you will savor. The intensity of the Parmigiano Reggiano makes it a cheese like no other. Treat yourself to some quality pasta while you are at it!
Total Time to Prepare and Cook: 20-30 minutes
• 4 tablespoons Simply Black Garlic Ghee
• 1/2 pound good quality pasta. Hint: the dish will look even more appealing with spinach pasta or colorful pasta.
• ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
• Ground black pepper
• Himalayan salt
• 1 generous tablespoon of oregano, basil, and chives
• Red pepper flakes to taste
1. Start with a large pot and cook the pasta following the package instructions.
2. Melt the ghee in a small saucepan at a very low heat. Add the dried herbs.
3. Grate the Parmigiano Reggiano and add the freshly ground black pepper and salt to taste.
4. Using tongs or wooden spoons, toss lightly until all ingredients are mixed well and coat the pasta.
5. Top with additional herbs. Serve immediately with a glass of your favorite red or white wine!
To purchase our new Black Garlic Ghee or any of our other deliciously healthy ghee products, visit our website for a list of retailers.
We’ve repeatedly heard from various sources, whether a doctor, a teacher or a health enthusiast colleague, about the dangers fats pose to our health and the importance of minimizing our fat consumption. But what these caring information providers weren’t aware of was a very important fact:
It isn’t so much the amount of fats in our diets, but rather the types of fats we consume, that really impact our overall health.
All Fats are not Created Equal
Unhealthy, or “bad”, fats increase cholesterol and your risk of certain diseases, whereas healthy, or “good”, fats help to protect your heart and support overall health.
So, how do you know the good from the bad? There are four main types of fats, each present in different types of foods:
1) Trans Fats
Trans fats are found seemingly everywhere, from vegetable shortening and fried foods, to many prepackaged snacks. In order to give products a longer shelf life, the chemical makeup is modified, transforming the naturally occurring fats into ones our bodies don’t recognize. As unnatural as these are, it’s no surprise that consumption of trans fats has been associated with many health issues.
2) Saturated Fats
Present in whole-fat dairy products, butter and animal products, saturated fats have received a bad rap, often being cited as an unhealthy fat. When consumed in moderation, they are actually part of a healthy diet, enhancing calcium absorption and immune function, along with providing other benefits.
3) Monounsaturated Fats
Monounsaturated fats are in many oils, including olive oil and corn oil, as well as avocados and nuts. They are considered a healthier fat, and can be beneficial to your heart when part of a well-balanced diet.
4) Polyunsaturated Fats
Polyunsaturated fats, also considered heart healthy in moderation, are found in grain products and fatty fish like salmon and tuna.
Healthy fats are essential to both our overall wellness, serving vital roles in both our physical and emotional health. While trans fats should be avoided as much as possible, the other three types of fats all provide different health benefits and should be mindfully consumed as part of a regular diet.
Is Ghee a Healthy Fat?
Since it’s derived from butter, ghee does have a fairly high fat amount of saturated fat, however, it has many benefits that make it a healthy alternative to butter or oil. And the butter used in making ghee is from grass fed cows. Why does this make a difference? Butter from grass fed cows is so much healthier than butter from cows fed hay, as it contains many more nutrients.
Ghee, just like butter, can be used to add rich flavor to many dishes, but without the unhealthy effects associated with butter. While butter has been found to increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol, studies on both animals and humans have shown a decrease in levels of unhealthy cholesterol as a result of frequent consumption of ghee. This could be due to the results of a 2013 study, published in “Lipids in Health and Disease”, which found that ghee is useful in preventing heart disease because it protects the arteries from hardening by removing unwanted cholesterol.
The Healthy Choice
Forget what your well-meaning colleague preached to you about needing to completely cut out all fats from your diet. Instead, replace the not-so-good-for-you fats with healthy ones that promote overall health. While you’re at it, try including ghee as a regular part of your diet for additional healthy heart benefits!
Want to learn more about the health benefits of ghee? Check out our website or Facebook page for more information on our unbelievably delicious ghee products.
There has been a lot of buzz about Bulletproof Coffee across the country but so far, we haven’t heard a lot about it in Lancaster County. But get ready, because it’s been a growing trend, especially among Cross Fit people and Paleo dieters and its supporters say the touted benefits are increased energy, stamina and even help some folks stay satiated so they can keep their hunger at bay.
Bulletproof Coffee was conceived by Dave Asprey, an entrepreneur who was inspired to create the drink after he claimed to have a significant increase in energy and no problems with altitude sickness after he consumed a cup of yak butter tea at 18,000 feet on a Tibetan mountainside. His recipe is combining black coffee with unsalted grass-fed butter and MCT oil in a blender for a frothy, latte-like drink.
Of course, this ghee gal is wondering why we haven’t heard of replacing the butter with organic, grass-fed ghee for an even healthier version? How about mixing it up with some our Honey Ghee to add a pinch of sweetness?
I’m here to tell you, I’ve tried it and it is delicious! Some reports say it’s best to have it in place of the usual breakfast. I’m going to drink it as my breakfast for a week and see how I feel. More to come later!
What’s in it For YOU??
I was talking with a friend and mentioned that I frequently read the labels before I buy food at the grocery store. He is more of an “I see it, it looks good, so I buy it” type of guy so he couldn’t understand why anyone would take the time to do such a thing.
Now that I’m in the food product business, I was curious about the popular “butter spread” type products and looked at the labels of 2 of the top brands which are marketed as heart healthy choices.
Here you go:
INGREDIENTS: WATER, VEGETABLE OIL BLEND (CANOLA OIL, PALM OIL, PALM KERNEL OIL, SOYBEAN OIL), WHEY (MILK), MODIFIED CORN STARCH, SALT, MONO AND DIGLYCERIDES, SOY LECITHIN, (POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, CALCIUM DISODIUM EDTA) USED TO PROTECT QUALITY, LACTIC ACID, VITAMIN A PALMITATE, BETA CARATENE
INGREDIENTS: Vegetable Oil Blend (Liquid Soybean Oil, Liquid Canola Oil, Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil), Water, Sweet Cream Buttermilk (Adds a Dietarily Insignificant amount of cholesterol), Salt, Soy Lecithin, Vegetable Mono and Diglycerides, Potassium Sorbate (Used to Protect Quality), Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Vitamin A Palmitate, Beta Carotene (for Color).
It’s like a foreign language! Mono and Diglycerides? Dr. Mercola’s website (mercola.com) says: Mono- and di-glycerides: These contain trans fats that manufacturers do not have to list on the label. They are used in high amounts in so-called “low-trans” spreads.
EDTA? It’s the abbreviation for Ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid. I decided if it has more than 20 letters, I’m putting it back on the shelf.
Why not just eat butter or better yet, ghee? Here is the Simply Ghee ingredient list:
INGREDIENTS: 100% organic, unsalted sweet cream butter from grass fed cows
How simple is that?
Definition: Ghee is the pure butterfat left over after the milk solids and water are removed from butter. It’s used widely in Indian cooking, and the word ghee is the Hindi word for fat. Ghee might as well be a synonym for clarified butter, although there is one slight difference.
Like clarified butter, ghee is made by melting butter, cooking off the water and separating the clear, golden butter fat from the milk solids. The only difference is that in some traditions, ghee is simmered for a little while, thus browning the milk solids and adding a slightly nutty flavor to the finished product. Not all ghee recipes necessarily specify the browning of the milk solids, however, so for all practical purposes ghee is clarified butter with an Indian name.
Ghee is better for high-heat cooking than butter since it has a smoke point of between 450°F and 475°F, as compared with about 350°F for ordinary butter.
Another advantage of ghee is that it has a longer shelf life than ordinary butter and, when stored in an airtight container, can be kept at room temperature.
Pronunciation: GEE (with a hard G)