Mixed Greens Salad

A salad would seem to some to be an insignificant, boring side dish and depending on the type of lettuce and dressing used, of little nutritional value. With the addition of a few ingredients, a simple salad can be a powerhouse of health. Start with the following:

Leafy greens such as baby romaine, arugula and chard are excellent sources of magnesium, potassium and folate(vitamin B).

Red onions are full of antioxidants. According to research from by Rui Hai Liu, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of food science,Cornell University, “Onions are one of the richest sources of flavonoids in the human diet,” Liu points out. “And flavonoid consumption has been associated with a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. Flavonoids are not only anti-cancer but also are known to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory.” This research was published in the 2004 October issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Vinegar for weight loss? Current research suggests that vinegar may help a person lose weight. In a study conducted by Tomoo Kondo and other researchers,one group of mice was given acetic acid(vinegar) and another group was given water via a stomach tube. Analysts found that the mice that received the vinegar gained 10% less body fat than those mice that were given only water. Both were fed a high-fat diet. “Findings suggest that vinegar turns on genes that produce proteins that help the body break down fats. Such an action helps prevent fat buildup in body, and thwarts weight gain”. This study was published in the July 8, 2009 issue of Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

No longer is salad a sad excuse for a side dish but the superhero of the meal.


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February 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm 1 comment

Dinner’s Ready!

My husband and sixteen year old daughter are forever bickering about her food choices. As she approaches adulthood we want to make sure that she understands that what she chooses now can impact her later. If you think like my husband and I do about your children’s food choices let me offer you this bit of hope.

According to an article in the March/April 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, children from the ages of twelve to eighteen benefitted from regular family meals together. “Researcher Teri L. Burgess-Champoux, PhD, RD, LD, states, “These findings suggest that having regular family meals during the transition from early to middle adolescence positively impacts the development of healthful eating behaviors for youth. Findings from the current analysis, in conjunction with similar findings from a longitudinal analysis of older adolescents transitioning to young adulthood, strongly suggest that regular family meals have long-term nutritional benefits…The importance of incorporating shared mealtime experiences on a consistent basis during this key developmental period should be emphasized to parents, health care providers, and educators.”

As parents it’s nice to know we’re doing something right.

The article is “Are Family Meal Patterns Associated with Overall Diet Quality during the Transition from Early to Middle Adolescence?” by Teri L. Burgess-Champoux, PhD, RD, LD; Nicole Larson, PhD, MPH, RD; Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, MPH, RD; Peter J. Hannan, MStat; and Mary Story, PhD, RD. It appears in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 41, Issue 2 (March/April 2009) published by Elsevier.

February 1, 2010 at 8:58 pm Leave a comment

Springtime Dreaming

As soon as the holidays are over I am ready to get my house in order. I throw things out and clean those often neglected areas such as the top of the fridge and under the couch. It’s a winter/spring cleaning. Certainly this makes me long for spring and saying goodbye to dreary fog as well as enjoying a reverie of me gardening in the warm sun.

Gardening is like decorating my home. It all starts in my brain as I visualize the plan. I say to myself, “I’ll put this plant here and that flower there.” If I don’t like the layout I simply move the plants around like I would a couch or a chair. The best part is I can start my day dreaming while the weather is cold and inhospitable. In fact this is the perfect time to plan because I can start plants from seed indoors or order bare root plants on-line. When the last frost is over the plants are ready to go in the ground.

January 14, 2010 at 1:52 am 1 comment

Fruits, Nuts & Healthy Snacks

After all those holiday parties and high calorie eating it is tough to resist the desire to continue over eat. One practical tip I have learned is to eat smaller meals through out the day. For example, in the morning I’ll have a piece of toast with an egg. About 2 hours later I’ll have a mid morning snack such as apples with peanut butter, cottage cheese or dried fruits and nuts. This way I’m not ravenous when lunchtime comes around and I make better choices regarding what I eat and how much. Another useful suggestion is to package dried fruits and nuts in small baggies to take with you when you’re out and about. Consequently, you won’t be tempted to stop for fast food.

FromTheFarm.com has a variety of options for healthy snacks. Here they are:

Nuts:

Walnuts: rich in Omega 3

Almonds

Dried Fruits:

Dates

Prunes

White Peaches

Nectarines

Pears

Angelino Plums

Yellow Peaches

All Natural Fruit Bars: 100% all-natural. Contains two servings of fruit and is gluten, dairy, wheat and nut free! No preservatives or additives. Comes in 4 flavors: Marionberry Blueberry, Marionberry Strawberry, Marionberry and Marionberry with Dark Chocolate. These are the consistency of a thick fruit leather. Convenient for after sports snack, on backpacking trips, pocket or purse. My favorites are the Marionberry and the Marionberrry with dark chocolate.

January 4, 2010 at 11:30 pm 1 comment

Gourmet Jams and Syrups

Oregon Hill Farms started with the intention of bringing that “fresh from the field flavor” into their gourmet syrups and jams. Their products are made with all natural ingredients, using only pure cane sugar. Genuine ingredients are used, adding nothing artificial – no low quality fructose corn syrups, preservatives, colors, gums, or thickening agents. As a consumer who is concerned about my health and what I put into my body I appreciate the attention to quality, natural ingredients.

Oregon Hill Farms gourmet jams and syrups taste just like homemade. The flavor of the fruit is concentrated and intense. I like the syrup on pancakes and the jams on buttermilk biscuits although you could use it on ice cream, p b & j and in jam thumbprints. I especially love the marionberry syrup.

December 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm Leave a comment

Organic Coffee

Bay Coffee & Tea Company is an artisan, organic coffee roaster and retailer of organic coffees and specialty teas.  The coffee is roasted in small batches to capture the unique qualities of each bean’s country of origin. All of the company’s coffees and teas are either fair trade or organic.

I have had the occasion to try some of the coffees from Bay Coffee & Tea Company. Normally, I prefer a dark roast but I decided that I could be converted to a medium roast drinker after tasting some of the medium bodied coffees from Bay Coffee & Tea Company. My favorite medium roast was the Organic Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and as for my favorite dark roast it was the Organic Papua New Guinea.

For more information on Bay Coffee & Tea go to FromTheFarm.com and click on meet the farmer.

“On the eight day God created coffee.”

December 7, 2009 at 6:01 pm Leave a comment

Persimmon Cookies

I can’t think about this recipe for persimmon cookies without thinking of the home where I grew up and especially our persimmon tree. I have vivid memories of how it looked in the late fall on a landscape devoid of color. The leafless tree stood out against a drab backdrop. Its blazing orange fruit dangling on its branches like holidays bulbs hung from a Christmas tree.

persimmon tree

When I was a child I never paid much attention to the tree with the strange looking, orange fruit. I had tried to eat an unripe persimmon once. Once. It was a lip puckering experience that I never want to repeat. However, I overcame my fear when I tasted my mom’s persimmon cookies.

Persimmon Cookies

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup shortening

1 egg

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup Hachiya persimmon pulp(see below)

1 cup raisins, I prefer golden

1 cup walnuts, optional

Oven Temperature: 375 degrees

Combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. Cream together the shortening and the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the egg, beat until well combined on medium speed. Add the dry ingredients and the persimmon pulp alternately to the shortening mixture. Mix until combined. Add raisins and nuts. Stir on low speed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.

Persimmons: There are two different type of persimmons. The Hachiya which is predominantly used for baking and the Fuyu for eating. When you are selecting the Hachiya persimmon make sure that it is very soft. If there is any firmness at all freeze them for a couple of days. When they thaw they will be soft enough to use. In order to puree the pulp pull the green blossom off the top of the persimmon and scoop the contents into a food processor or blender. Feel through the pulp for any seeds, remove and process the persimmon pulp until smooth. For this recipe use 4 persimmons.

November 16, 2009 at 12:58 pm 1 comment

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