Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Dietary fiber helps boost immune health

You may be able to reduce flu symptoms by including more fiber in your diet, according to a recent study in mice.

My Takeaway: Eat more fiber for a healthier gut microbiome.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Foods are not drugs

Foods are not drugs, but they can possibly, over the lifetime of consumption, alter the development of certain diseases
So says Jessica Cooperstone in an article about her research into whether eating tomatoes reduces skin cancer.

My Takeaways:

  • Men and women are different
  • Prefer whole foods to nutrients (It's not just lycopene)
  • Eat more tomatoes!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Reducing Food Waste One Apple Peel at a Time

Apple Dirt


I prefer to peel my apples and pears prior to dehydrating them for a softer (more kid and tooth friendly) treat. Until 2 years ago I dreaded the pile of unused and nutrient dense peels, but then I came across a brilliant idea on the internet for apple dirt! Rather than throwing out your apple (and pear) peels, dry them along with the apple slices and then blend them for a natural sweetener full of vitamins and fiber. My two year old daughter will attest that this, combined with thawed frozen berries and almonds, is the perfect match for hot cooked oatmeal. Make sure to store unused apple dirt in an airtight container preferably in the freezer.

Step 1: Dry the peels until crisp
Step 2: Blend until crumbly
Step 3: Top or stir into oatmeal


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Reducing Food Waste One Seed at a Time

Roasted Winter Squash Seeds

It took producing a garden of volunteer squash following the composting of our squash seeds for me to realize that like pumpkin seeds, butternut, acorn, carnival and many other winter squash varieties produce seeds that make a delicious and healthy snack.

Directions:

  • Remove seeds from squash and rinse seeds under cold water removing squash strings/pulp. 
  • Pat dry for immediate roasting or lay out on baking sheet until ready to bake (the longer they dry the faster they cook; typically I bake all of the seeds from 1-2 weeks worth of squash at once).
  • When ready to roast, preheat oven to 275 degrees
  • Toss seeds in small amount of olive oil and garlic salt to taste
  •  Bake for 10-15 increments. Stir and continue baking until lightly browned. Finished seeds should taste similar to popcorn, may literally be starting to pop and will have a crunchy outer shell easy to eat without a woody texture. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Homemade Condensed Soups

I've ended my search for recipes for Condensed Cream of Mushroom and Cream of Chicken Soups with these delicious, quick, and freezable recipes inspired by Simply Scratch*! Making your soups from scratch allows you the ability to decrease fat, sodium and preservatives as needed and saves you a trip to the grocery store.

Cream of Mushroom Soup


1-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup onions, minced
1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, minced
2 1/2 Tbsp flour
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:
  • Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they begin to change color. 
  • Add mushrooms and continue cooking 2-3 minutes. 
  • Sprinkle with the flour (wheat flour works just fine) and cook for another minute or two. 
  • Whisk in the milk and broth until smooth. 
  • Simmer until it has thickened, 5-8 minutes. 

Yield: 1 "can" condensed soup
Total Time: ~15 minutes

Cream of Chicken Soup


1-3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup onions, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 1/2 Tbsp Flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Directions: 
  • Melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until tender. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. 
  • Sprinkle with the flour (wheat flour works just fine) and cook for another minute or two. 
  • Whisk in the milk and broth until smooth. 
  • Simmer until it has thickened, 5-8 minutes. 

Yield: 1 "can" condensed soup
Total Time: ~15 minutes

*Recipes were adapted from Simply Scratch allowing for greater variation. If adding soups to a full flavor casserole already high in fat and sodium decrease the butter, use a lower fat milk and add less salt. For recipes in which full flavor is needed follow her original recipes with 3 Tbsp butter, whole milk and salt to taste. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Bean and Rice Burritos

When life gets in the way of homemade dinners here's an idea for something quick and easy. Make sure to plan for cooking the rice (rice cookers are a great hands-off approach that allow you to be flexible in timing) or use minute brown rice. Once the rice is cooked you can whip up the rest in about 15-20 minutes!

Bean and Rice Burritos

1 1/2 cups brown rice, cooked according to package directions
1 medium green pepper, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, optional
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup salsa
8 whole wheat tortillas, warmed (homemade version)
Grated cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream, optional 

Directions:
  • In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in oil for 3-4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in chili powder, cumin and pepper flakes until combined. 
  • Add beans, rice and salsa and cook 4-6 minutes or until heated through.
  • Spoon about 1/2 cup filling onto each tortilla; top with desired toppings. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. 
Recipe adapted from Taste of Homes 2012.


Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

In the event you wish to save money on tortillas and you have the time (about 50 minutes), here is a quick and easy recipe found online.

2 cups whole wheat flour
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup warm water

Mix flour, oil and salt. Slowly add water. Knead 2 minutes. Let rest 20 minutes. Cook on each side about 1 minute per side. Use within 1-2 days or freeze.

Tip: I live in an exceptionally dry climate and I found that you need to cover the dough while resting.