Monthly Archives: April 2019

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash (Sweet and Savory)

This recipe for stuffed acorn squash is not only attractive, but it’s delicious too. It makes a wonderful side dish that would go with many types of meals. It can also make a nice main dish, perhaps with more nuts or seeds, or even beans added to it. Give it a try! The recipe is below the video links.

To see how to roast acorn squash (with no added oil), watch this video!

To see a video demonstration of this recipe, watch here…

Enjoy the recipe below!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Sweet and Savory Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash
Makes 6 Servings

3 acorn squash

Filling
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
½ cup chopped onion
½ cup chopped bell pepper (green or red)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium apple, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
¼ cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
½ tsp salt, or to taste
3 cups cooked rice of choice
Optional garnish, fresh or dried parsley flakes

Roast squash
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash and cut the squash in half from stem end to point. Scoop out the seeds and place the halves, cut side down on the parchment paper lined baking sheet (it is not necessary to oil the squash halves). Place baking sheet on oven rack in the middle of the oven and roast the squash for about 30 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the squash. Remove from oven. [See note below]

Cook rice
You will need cooked rice for this dish. The rice may be cooked while the squash is roasting. Or, the rice may be cooked in advance and held in the refrigerator. If cooking it in advance, see the note below.

Prepare the stuffing
While the squash are roasting, prepare the stuffing. Heat the oil and butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and bell pepper until they begin to soften; add garlic. Sauté briefly, then stir in the chopped apple, cranberries, chopped pecans and salt. Allow the added ingredients to briefly heat through. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice. Cover and set aside until the squash are done.

Fill the squash halves (when everything is hot and freshly cooked)
After the squash are roasted, remove them from the baking sheet and fill them with the hot, prepared filling. Top with optional garnish. Serve any extra filling on the side. Enjoy!

Fill the squash halves (when the squash and/or rice were precooked and are cold)
If the squash and/or rice were precooked and need to be reheated, place the filled roasted squash halves on a clean dry baking sheet or pan (parchment paper is not needed). Scoop filling into the squash halves. Follow reheating instructions in the note below. Top with optional garnish and serve.

If any filling is left and needs to be reheated, place it in a greased oven-safe bowl and cover it with foil. Place in oven at 375F or 400F for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until everything is heated through. Sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley flakes for optional garnish, if desired.

Reheating Note: The squash and/or rice may be cooked ahead of time and held in a covered container in the refrigerator. If doing this, stuff the cold squash with the prepared filling. Place the filled squash halves in a clean, dry baking dish and cover the dish with foil to help retain moisture. Place in oven at either 375F or 400F until heated through. The time will depend upon how cold the squash is and if the rice was also cooked in advance and is still cold.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Guava

Guava 101 – The Basics

If you’re new to guava and are just not sure what to do with it, check out the info below. It should help!
Judi

Guava 101 – The Basics

About Guava
Guava is the fruit of a relatively small tree that appears to have originated in southern Mexico through Central America. There is historical data about guava dating back to the 1500’s but the tree probably originated earlier than that. It is now grown around the world in warm climates.

The fruit can be round, oval, or pear-shaped, and 2 to 4 inches long. There are as many as 150 varieties, differing in color, seediness, and flavor. The flesh can be white, pink, yellow or red. The entire fruit is edible–seeds, peel and all. However, the seeds are very hard and many people cook the fruit then strain out the seeds. The better varieties are soft when ripe, with creamy flesh, and a rind that softens to be fully edible. The flavor of the pulp may be sweet or sour, depending on its ripeness. It has been described as sweet-tart, like that of a strawberry, pear, and pineapple combined.

Nutrition Tidbits
Guava is known for being rich in Vitamin C, which is found mostly in the rind, but also to a lesser degree in the flesh. It has a good amount of fiber and is low in sugar.

Immature fruits are astringent. That property has been used in the tropics to aid gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery.

How to Select Guava
Look for guavas that are free of bruises, blemishes, and soft spots. Avoid fruit that is spotted, mushy, or very green. A just ripe guava will give to gentle pressure like an avocado, and will have a floral aroma. Firm guavas should be ripened before being eaten. An unripe guava will be astringent.

How to Store Guava
If the guavas you purchase are hard and not ripe, keep them at room temperature out of direct sun until they begin to soften, like an avocado. Once they are ripe, place them in the refrigerator in a plastic or paper bag and use as soon as possible within 2 to 4 days. Ripe guavas bruise easily and are highly perishable.

To store cut guava, wrap it tightly in plastic and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you need to keep it beyond that, it would be best to wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer.

How to Preserve Guava
Ripe guava can be pureed and frozen in an air-tight container. Frozen guava will keep for about 8 months.

How to Prepare Guava
Wash the entire guava under cold water. Pat it dry with a towel. Place it on a cutting board and cut it in half. The seeds can be scooped out if desired, but they are completely edible, although they are hard to chew. The pulp can be scooped out and used, or it can simply be sliced and eaten, or cooked as needed. If you cut into a guava and the flesh is brown, it is spoiled; discard it.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Raw guava is often sliced or cubed and served in desserts like you would use pears, simply eaten out of hand, or added to a tropical salad.

They can be puréed and strained to flavor poultry or pork sauces or as flavoring for mousses, ice cream bases, whipped cream or custards.

In cultures where guava is eaten on a regular basis, the fruit is more often cooked or stewed. The seeds are usually removed, strained, then the pulp and rinds are stewed in a sugar syrup and served with cream cheese.

Rich guava paste, guava cheese, and guava syrup are sweet staples in cultures where guava are common. Guavas are also often used in pies, cakes, puddings, sauces, ice cream, jam, butter, marmalade, chutney, relish, catsup, and other products.

Dehydrated guavas may be ground to a powder and used to flavor ice cream, confections and fruit juices, or boiled with sugar to make jelly, or utilized as pectin to make jelly of low-pectin fruits.

Other ideas for using guava:
* Add to juices or smoothies

* Poach guava in wine or a spice syrup in place of pears

* Add sliced guava on top of cakes or meringues

* Cook guava into a compote or sauce and use it to top pancakes, desserts, or oatmeal

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Guava
Basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, juniper, lavender, mint, poppy seeds

Other Foods That Go Well With Guava
Fruits: Apples, bananas, citrus fruits, coconut, huckleberries, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, papaya, pear, pineapple, plum, star fruit, strawberries

Proteins: Cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts

Vegetables: Onion, salad greens

Dairy: Cream, cream cheese, goat cheese, yogurt

Sweets and Other: Honey, olive oil, phyllo dough, rum, sugar, vanilla, white chocolate

Recipe Links
Agua de Guayaba (Guava Drink) https://mexicanfoodjournal.com/agua-de-guayaba/

Guava Recipes https://www.foodnetwork.com/topics/guava

How to Eat and Cook with Guava (4 Recipes) https://www.laweekly.com/restaurants/how-to-eat-and-cook-with-guava-4-recipes-5122914

Guava-Stuffed Chicken with Caramelized Mango https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/guava-stuffed-chicken-with-caramelized-mango-234806

Roast Pork Loin with Pickled Caramelized Guava https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/roast-pork-loin-with-pickled-caramelized-guavas-234804

Guava Recipes (268) https://cookpad.com/us/search/guava

For the Love of Guava: Easy Guava Oatmeal Bars https://parade.com/276672/vianneyrodriguez/for-the-love-of-guava-easy-guava-oatmeal-bars/

Banana Guava Smoothie http://www.dole.com/recipes/b/banana-guava-smoothie

Strawberry, Mango, Guava Smoothie https://www.spoonfulofflavor.com/strawberry-guava-smoothie-2/

Guava Pineapple Smoothie https://www.runningtothekitchen.com/guava-pineapple-smoothie/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.crfg.org/pubs/ff/guava.html

https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/guava.html

https://harvesttotable.com/guava_serve_guava_slices_on/

http://www.unlockfood.ca/en/Articles/Cooking-Food-Preparation/How-to-store-fruit-to-keep-them-fresh.aspx

http://www.halfyourplate.ca/fruits/guava/

https://www.foodsforbetterhealth.com/what-does-guava-taste-like-35734

https://www.wikihow.com/Eat-Guava

https://producemadesimple.ca/what-goes-well-with-guava/

Bell Peppers

How to Pick a Sweeter Green Bell Pepper

Most of us know that red, orange and yellow bell peppers are truly ripe and much sweeter than green bell peppers. However, they are about twice the cost of the green peppers. Hence, money talks and most of us opt for the green variety. But, have you noticed that sometimes they taste pretty good, where other times they’re bitter and not sweet at all? I’ve discovered a really easy way to select sweeter green bell peppers. Learn this simple trick in the video below!

I hope this helps!!
Judi

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Yellow Squash

Yellow Squash 101 – The Basics

Yellow squash is a very popular summer vegetable that most of us enjoy. Through the wonders of our modern-day food supply system, many of us can find it in our local grocery store year-round. If you’re not sure what to do with yellow squash, the video below is for you. I cover the basics from what it is, to nutritional aspects, to how to select, store, prepare and preserve the squash. Links to many recipes are also included. So enjoy!

My video notes are available for your personal use. See below the video link.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Yellow Squash 101 – The Basics

About Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is a member of the gourd family or Cucurbitaceae, sometimes called “cucurbits.” Winter squashes and melons are also members of this same family. Yellow squash are close cousins with zucchini and the two are easily interchangeable in recipes. There are both straight neck as well as crookneck varieties of yellow squash. Summer squash is native to North America, specifically to what is now the central and southern regions of the United States. Cultivation quickly spread, and is now available worldwide.

Nutrition Tidbits
Yellow squash contains an array of important nutrients: copper, manganese, vitamin C, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, potassium, B-vitamins and more. It also contains the important antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which help to ward off eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts. Although it contains very little fat, what fat it has includes omega-3 and monounsaturated fats. There are only about 20 calories in 1 cup of sliced, raw yellow squash, yet that amount has 1.62 grams of protein. Yellow squash is humble, yet packs a good nutritional punch!

How to Select Yellow Squash
Choose ones that are heavy for their size, and have shiny, unblemished skins or rinds. Also, the rinds/skins should be tender, not tough, which would indicate they are over-mature with hard seeds and stringy flesh. Opt for medium-size squash, as the larger ones will be tough to eat. Very small squash may not be developed enough and may have an inferior flavor.

How to Store Yellow Squash
Store unwashed squash in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

How to Preserve Yellow Squash
Yellow squash is best when used fresh. It may be frozen, but it will be very soft when cooked. To freeze yellow squash, it is preferable to steam it rather than boil it, to help preserve its texture. Steam blanch squash slices for three minutes, then allow it to cool before placing it in freezer bags or containers. Avoid the usual ice bath as this will add more water and make it mushier when being used later.

Fresh vs Frozen
Fresh yellow squash is tender, but versatile, since it can be used raw or cooked in a number of ways. Frozen yellow squash will become very soft once thawed. It should be cooked in a quick method that involves the least amount of water possible to maintain texture and prevent mushiness.

How is it usually eaten…raw or cooked?
Yellow squash can be eaten raw or cooked, although it is likely to be cooked more often than eaten raw.

How to Prepare Yellow Squash
Wash yellow squash well under cool running water. Remove both ends, but do not peel it. Then cut it into desired size pieces.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Yellow squash may be enjoyed raw in salads, spiralized into noodles, grilled, sautéed, steamed, boiled (briefly), roasted, stir-fried, stuffed, added to casseroles, added to egg dishes, and baked into breads or muffins. It may be used interchangeably with zucchini in just about any recipe. Uses for summer squash abound and are only limited to your imagination!

Here are some easy serving ideas for yellow squash, provided by http://www.whfoods.com:

* Sprinkle grated summer squash on top of salads and sandwiches.

* To Healthy Sauté summer squash, heat 3 TBS of broth (vegetable or chicken) or water in a stainless steel skillet. Once bubbles begin to form add sliced squash, cover, and Healthy Sauté for 3 minutes (1-1/2 minutes on one side, and then 1-1/2 minutes on the other side) on medium heat. Remove from heat and use as desired. Here’s a suggested recipe using either zucchini or yellow squash with this sauté method: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=318

* Enjoy an easy to make ratatouille by sautéing summer squash, onions, bell peppers, eggplant and tomatoes and then simmering the mixture in tomato sauce. Season to taste.

* Serve raw summer squash with your favorite dips.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Yellow Squash
Garlic and olive oil, chives, dill, basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, rosemary, parsley, mint, thyme

Other Foods That Go Well With Yellow Squash
Pasta, tomatoes, onion, roasted or grilled meat, chicken, seafood, lemon, eggs, bacon, cheese, mushrooms, bell pepper, corn, and more!

Recipe Links
Primavera Verde http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=166

5-Minute Healthy Sautéed Summer Squash http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=318

Anytime Frittata http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=recipe&dbid=124

Sautéed Yellow Squash with Fresh Herbs https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/sauteed-yellow-squash-fresh-herbs

100+ Ways to Use Zucchini and Yellow Squash https://www.cookinglight.com/cooking-101/essential-ingredients/healthy-squash-zucchini-recipes

Summer Squash Casserole https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/summer-squash-casserole

Roasted Vegetable Gnocchi with Spinach-Herb Pesto https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/roasted-vegetable-gnocchi-spinach-pesto

Baked Summer Squash https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/sauteed-baby-squash

41 Sensational Summer Squash Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-best-summer-squash-recipes-gallery

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=62#descr

https://www.livestrong.com/article/439004-seasonings-for-squash-zucchini/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/349229-the-nutritional-value-of-yellow-squash/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/349229-the-nutritional-value-of-yellow-squash/

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2632/2

Green Beans with Mushrooms

EASY Green Beans with Mushrooms

Looking for easy ways to use frozen vegetables? Try this simple recipe using frozen green beans and canned mushrooms. You can’t get much easier than this! Below is a video demonstration and the written recipe follows the video. I hope this helps!

Enjoy!
Judi

EASY Green Beans with Mushrooms
Makes About 6 Servings

1 (1 pound) bag of frozen cut green beans, NOT thawed
¼ to 1/3 cup chopped leeks, scallions, or onions of choice (use more if desired)
1 (4 oz) can mushroom pieces, drained
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or 1 to 2 Tbsp vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried dill weed, or to taste
1 or 2 lemon wedges, optional

Heat a skillet (that has a lid) on just over medium heat. Add the oil or broth and allow it to heat very briefly. Add the leeks or onions of choice, and mushroom pieces and allow to sauté briefly. Add the frozen green beans, salt and pepper as desired, and about half the dill weed you want to use. Stir to combine and cover with lid until mixture starts to bubble/sizzle. Turn the heat up briefly if needed to get this process started. Once the mixture is hot, reduce heat to medium and keep the lid on the skillet when not checking on the mixture. Stir occasionally as the beans defrost and cook, adding a small amount of water or broth (1 or 2 tablespoons at a time), as needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until beans are as tender as you like. Cooking for about 6 to 8 minutes should make them crisp-tender.

Remove from heat and sprinkle with additional dill weed, to taste. Squeeze one or two lemon wedges over the mixture, drizzling the lemon juice into the vegetables. Stir briefly to combine and serve.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Parsnips

Parsnips 101 – The Basics

We usually see parsnips in the grocery store, often near the carrots. They look like white carrots, but they are not, although they are cousins with carrots. If you’ve never tried them and are not quite sure what to do with parsnips, the information below should answer your questions!

Enjoy!
Judi

Parsnips 101 – The Basics

About Parsnips
Parsnips are root vegetables native to Eurasia. They are closely related to carrots and parsley, and have been enjoyed since ancient times. They look like cream-colored carrots, yet they are not carrots. If you should decide to grow them in your garden, note that the leaves, stems and flowers are NOT edible…they contain a toxic sap that can cause severe burns. However, the taproot is very edible and even nutritious.

Parsnips have a high sugar content and in the 16th century, Germans used it to make wine, jams, and flour. Many resources say parsnips have a nutty, earthy flavor. I also found that they have a hint of a honey undertone, hence the natural sweetness the Germans found so long ago!

Nutrition Tidbits
Parsnips are a good source of fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, folate, and other nutrients along with antioxidants. Their nutritional profile helps to protect our eye health, improve digestion and immune function, and support our overall health including heart function. One cup of parsnips has 100 calories.

How to Select Parsnips
Choose parsnips that are small to medium size. Larger ones tend to have a woody core. Look for ones that are pale, firm, smooth and well-shaped. Try to avoid those that are browned, limp, shriveled, blemished or have soft spots. Parsnip season begins after the first frost, so fall and winter is when you’ll get the freshest parsnips.

How to Store Parsnips
Store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, just like you would carrots. Depending upon how old they are when you purchase them, they can keep for up to three weeks.

How to Preserve Parsnips
Parsnips can be frozen. Wash, peel then cut them into 1/2-inch cubes and blanch them for 2 minutes, drain and cool them in an ice water bath. Or steam parsnip pieces for 3 to 5 minutes then cool them in an ice water bath. Pack into containers, and freeze for 8 to 10 months. Fully cooked parsnip puree may also be frozen for up to 10 months.

Raw vs Cooked
Parsnips can be eaten raw, but are most often eaten cooked.

How to Prepare Parsnips
Scrub parsnips well and peel them with a vegetable peeler. Smaller ones may not need to be peeled. Trim both ends. You may need to cut out the woody core of larger parsnips as it can be tough to eat. They can be used whole, sliced, cut into large chunks, diced, or grated.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Parsnips can be used just like carrots, so they can be enjoyed raw, shaved thin and added to salads. They can also be boiled, roasted, sautéed, steamed, mashed, pureed, added to soups, stews, and casseroles.

Cooking Tips:
* Overcooking parsnips will make them mushy, which is excellent if you’re going to puree them. Otherwise, cook them only until tender.

* Cut them into small pieces if you will be sautéing them with other vegetables. That will help everything to cook at about the same rate.

* Like a potato, parsnips can turn brown if left exposed to air after being peeled and cut. If you need to hold them for a little while after preparing them (before cooking), place them in a bowl of water or sprinkle them with a little lemon juice.

* Small, younger parsnips are more tender than larger ones and would be a better choice if grating them into a salad or eating them raw in some way.

* Carrots and parsnips are interchangeable in most recipes.

Parsnip serving ideas provided by https://producemadesimple.ca

* Add boiled parsnips to your mashed potatoes for a subtly sweet flavor.

* Try roasted parsnips over a warm quinoa salad. Bring out their nutty flavor by adding some walnuts or pecans as well.

* Parsnips and apples are such a classic flavor match: try using it in soups, pies, or even breads.

* You can grate small, young parsnips for salad to enjoy them raw.

* Add some crunch to soups or softer foods: use a vegetable peeler to shave off ribbons of parsnip and flash-fry them in oil until crisp. Remove from oil and let drain on some paper tower. They’ll naturally add texture to your dish.

* Enjoy roasted parsnips as a delicious side dish and then use any leftovers in soup.

* Try making healthy chips with them (the recipe link is below).

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Parsnips
Basil, dill, parsley, sage, thyme, tarragon, maple syrup, brown sugar, nutmeg, ginger, garlic, pepper, honey and mustard

Other Foods That Go Well With Parsnips
Carrots, apples, potatoes, pears, spinach, pork, chicken

Recipe Links
Oven Roasted Parsnips and Carrots https://producemadesimple.ca/oven-roasted-parsnips-and-carrots/

Carrot, Apple, Parsnip Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/carrot-parsnip-apple-salad/

Parsnip Chips https://producemadesimple.ca/parsnip-chips/

Maple Roasted Root Vegetables https://producemadesimple.ca/maple-roasted-vegetables/

19 Awesome Parsnip Recipes for Mains, Sides and More https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/parsnip-recipes

Roasted Parsnips with Lemon and Herbs https://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/roasted-parsnips-lemon-herbs

25 Ways to Use Parsnips https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/2014/02/how-to-use-parsnips

Roasted Parsnips and Carrots https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-parsnips-and-carrots-recipe-1949073

Maple Orange Glazed Roasted Carrots and Parsnips https://bakeatmidnite.com/maple-orange-glazed-roasted-carrots-parsnips/

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.care2.com/greenliving/farm-to-table-the-dirt-on-parsnips.html

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/parsnips.html

https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/how-to-use-parsnips/

https://draxe.com/parsnip-nutrition/

https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/what_to_do_with_a_parsnip

https://producemadesimple.ca/goes-well-parsnips/

https://producemadesimple.ca/parsnips/#respond

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/parsnip#section2

https://www.thespruceeats.com/parsnip-storage-and-selection-1807788

https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/12-vegetables-you-didnt-know-you-could-eat-raw-article

Broccoli Sprouts

How to Grow Broccoli Sprouts

Growing jar sprouts is not hard. It’s something I’ve been doing for well over 20 years! Yet, if certain steps are not followed, you will not have a successful harvest and your sprouts may spoil along the way. That’s a waste of your time and hard-earned money. So, follow the simple steps discussed in the video below and read through the tips for successful sprouting following the video. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Tips for Growing Jar Sprouts

* Although any type of glass jar will work when growing sprouts, a quart-size wide-mouth mason jar is easiest when rinsing, draining and removing grown sprouts, so start with this type if you have one. Be sure your jars are well washed. Some people prefer to sanitize them in boiling water first.

* Whatever lid you use, be sure it will allow for air flow because your seeds and growing sprouts need air. If you don’t have a sprouting lid, use cheesecloth or a piece of clean nylon screen secured around the rim of the jar with a rubber band. Also, a piece of needlepoint mesh can be cut to fit inside a metal mason jar rim and used in place of a purchased sprouting lid.

* Use seeds only intended for sprouting. Although any seeds can be sprouted, seeds intended for soil planting are often treated with chemicals. This makes them undesirable for eating. Seeds designated for sprouting are not treated and are thereby safe to eat.

* Seeds will last the longest with the best germination rate when kept in a cold environment. Store seeds in your freezer for the longest life.

* When sprouting small seeds such as broccoli or alfalfa seeds, use 1 to 2 tablespoons of seeds. More will overcrowd the jar, not allowing them to grow to their fullest potential.

* When sprouting large seeds, such as lentils or mung beans, you could grow ¼ cup to ½ cup of seeds at a time in a quart-size mason jar.

* Rinse seeds well at the start of the sprouting process to remove any dust, debris and/or pathogens. Then cover them with cool filtered water and allow them to soak in a cool location according to the directions on the seed package (different types of seeds need different soaking times).

* Rinse and drain your growing sprouts twice a day with cool water at roughly 12-hour intervals. (Some growers prefer to rinse/drain sprouts 3 or 4 times per day. See the recommendations that came with your seeds.) Seeds may grow better being rinsed 3 or 4 times a day when in a warmer climate, especially in the early stages of growth.

* Prop your sprouting jar at a 45-degree angle to allow water to completely drain out before laying the jar on its side. Laying it on its side allows air to flow in and out of the holes in the lid while also exposing your sprouts to as much light as possible.

* For optimal growth, after your seeds/sprouts are rinsed and drained, place the jar in a sunny or well-lit location that is cool, not warm.

* Sometimes during the growing process you may notice white fuzzy areas in your sprouts. It looks like mold, but more likely is simply root hairs reaching out for water. If this happens, your sprouts are thirsty. If you rinse and drain them, the fuzzy root hairs should disappear.

* Different types of seeds may take different timeframes to grow, usually ranging from 2 days to about a week. See your seed package to know about how long you should allow your seeds to sprout.

* If your sprouts develop a foul odor or peculiar, wilted appearance, do not eat them. They need to be discarded and the jar and lid should be sanitized before starting over.

* Don’t water your grown sprouts right before storing them in the refrigerator. The excess water may cause them to spoil. Although it is not mandatory, some people prefer to remove ungerminated seeds before storing the sprouts. To do this, place all the jar contents (your grown sprouts) in a large bowl of water. Swish them around and the ungerminated seeds will float to the top. Scoop them off and discard them. Drain the sprouts very well to be sure there is no excess water left in them, as it will cause them to spoil. Store them in the refrigerator in a container with a lid. Line the container first with a cloth or paper towel to soak up any extra water. To help avoid the possibility of excess water in your storage container, you could simply rinse sprouts in a bowl of water, removing the ungerminated seeds, as you need them for your salads or snacks.

* Put a paper towel or napkin in the bottom of your storage container for your finished sprouts. That will soak up any extra water yet help to maintain a humid environment, which will keep the sprouts from drying out. Store them in a container with a lid, in the refrigerator. They should be used within a few days.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Okra

Okra 101 – The Basics

Okra seems to be one of those vegetables that you either love or hate. Despite its delicious flavor, many people dislike okra because of its gelatinous nature. Yet, that gel can be used to our advantage if we know how to use it (and how to minimize it). I cover a lot of the ins and outs of dealing with okra in the video below. My notes are below the video for your personal use. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Okra 101 – The Basics

About Okra
Okra is a member of the mallow plant family, and is grown in tropical and warm climates. The seeds contain a lot of mucilage, which gives okra its reputation for being “slimy” when cooked. The seeds release a sticky gel, so okra is commonly used in Southern cooking to thicken stews and gumbos. It is also used in Indian, Middle Eastern and African cooking.

Nutrition Tidbits
Okra is abundant in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. These combined factors make okra valuable in supporting cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol, improving type 2 diabetes and digestive disorders with its fiber content, improving eyesight with its beta-carotene, and even helping to fight some cancers. Its abundant calcium and magnesium helps to support strong bones. Furthermore, its amino acid content makes it an additional source of protein in the diet.

How to Select Okra
Look for smooth, unblemished pods with bright color. The stem ends will brown quickly after being cut from the plant, so a little browning on that end is fine. Avoid pods with large brown spots, dry looking ends or any shriveled areas.

Pods are usually harvested when they are between 1 and 4 inches long. Pods longer than that will be tough. However, the tougher ones can still be used for long cooking in soups and stews.

How to Store Okra
Store okra loosely wrapped in a plastic bag or in the plastic container it was packed in from the grocery store. Use it as soon as possible after buying it. Store it dry; do not wash okra until you are ready to use it. If they become soft and/or brown, it’s time to toss them.

How to Preserve Okra
Okra can be frozen, but it should be very fresh when frozen. If the pod snaps easily, it’s still good for freezing. Wash them then cut off the stem ends. Blanch whole small pods for 3 minutes, large pods for 4 minutes. Quickly cool them in ice water and drain well. The pods can then be frozen whole or sliced then frozen, depending upon how they will be used later. Use frozen whole okra within one year and sliced pods within nine months.

Some people will slice and bread okra before freezing it so it can be baked or fried later. When doing this, slice your blanched okra then dredge it with cornmeal or whatever flour mixture you prefer. Place the breaded okra on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and place that in the freezer. Once frozen individually, they can be placed in a freezer bag or container for later use.

Okra can also be dried and ground into a powder that is used as a thickening agent. According to the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, okra does not need pretreatment before being dehydrated. Wash, trim, slice crosswise in 1/8 to ¼-inch pieces, and dehydrate for 8 to 10 hours at the temperature recommended by your dehydrator’s manufacturer.

How to Prepare Okra
Wash the pods well, and allow them to dry before cutting them (to minimize the release of the gel which happens when it comes in contact with liquid). Cut off the stem end, then use as needed, whole or sliced.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Okra can be eaten raw or pickled. However, it is more often cooked than eaten raw. As stated earlier it is often sliced and added to soups and stews as a thickening agent. It can also be roasted, boiled, steamed, battered and fried, sautéed, and grilled.

To reduce the “slime” cook okra whole, or slice it into big chunks. Quick cooking methods like sautéing, grilling or frying okra makes it crispy rather than slimy. Some cooks recommend soaking okra in a mixture of vinegar and water for 30 to 60 minutes before cooking it. Some chefs recommend adding some lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or tomatoes during the cooking process to reduce the gel.

Embrace the “slime” by taking advantage if this property to thicken soups, stews, or gumbos.

Boil: Cover okra with 1 inch of water and boil just until tender when pierced (5 to 10 minutes). Drain.

Steam: Arrange whole okra on a steaming rack. Steam until just tender when pierced (8 to 15 minutes).

Grill: Toss okra with a bit of oil and place them on the grill for about 10 minutes. The charred bits of grilled okra highlight the flavor of the pods.

Serving Ideas:
* Top hot cooked okra with butter and a drizzle of lemon juice. Sprinkle with chopped chives and/or parsley.

* Add cooked okra slices to an omelet with chopped tomatoes and ham. Sprinkling this with a little shredded cheese would be like “icing on the cake.”

* Top cooked okra with a pesto made of cilantro, toasted pine nuts, and fresh lime juice.

* Blanch and cool okra, and serve as (or with) a salad with French dressing.

Tips:
* Do not cook okra in cast iron, tin, copper or brass pans. Although it will be safe to eat, the metals will discolor the okra.

* Okra will get a sticky texture when overcooked.

* Okra does not puree well.

* The flavor of okra is similar to that of eggplant and has been used as a substitute for eggplant.

* Salt okra after being cooked, just before serving. Salting the cooking water or the okra itself during cooking will bring out the slimy texture. To enhance the flavor of okra, cook it with onions and/or garlic.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Okra
Oregano, sage, basil, garlic, curry powder, salt, and thyme all go well with okra. Southeast Asian cooks will often flavor okra with cumin, turmeric, coriander, or garam masala. Cooks in the American South will often pair okra with chili, cumin, and ground black pepper.

Other Foods That Go Well With Okra
Onions, lamb, beef, pork, shrimp, corn, rice, peppers, tomatoes, dried apricots, eggplant, coriander, lemon, celery, garlic and vinegar all pair well with okra.

Recipe Links
Easy Roasted Okra http://foodandnutrition.org/blogs/stone-soup/making-case-okra-multitasking-southern-staple/

Zesty Roasted Okra https://www.aspicyperspective.com/zesty-roasted-okra/#comments

Roasted Okra, Corn, and Tomato Salsa http://www.mjandhungryman.com/roasted-okra-corn-tomato-salsa/

Lemon and Parmesan Grilled Okra https://www.5pointsblue.com/the-play-book-lemon-parmesan-grilled-okra/

Okra with Tomatoes https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/okra-with-tomatoes-recipe-2103770

Roasted Okra https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/204478/roasted-okra/

The 10 Okra Recipes That Will Showcase the Best of the Southern Delicacy https://www.wideopeneats.com/10-okra-recipes-that-even-okra-haters-will-love/

Sautéed Okra with Onions and Garlic http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com/recipes/166/sauteed-okra-with-onions-and-garlic

Garlic Sautéed Okra https://www.thespruceeats.com/garlic-sauteed-okra-2217555

Fried Okra https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/22176/fried-okra/

Skillet Roasted Spiced Okra (with 3,178 5-star ratings) https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/skillet-roasted-spiced-okra

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.

Resources
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/vegetable/health-benefits-of-okra.html

https://www.thespruceeats.com/all-about-okra-2216751

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/garden-to-table/how-to-freeze-okra

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/311977.php

https://producemadesimple.ca/?s=okra

https://producemadesimple.ca/okra/

https://draxe.com/okra-nutrition/

https://living.thebump.com/should-use-season-boiled-cut-okra-8811.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/19-high-protein-vegetables#16

Oil Free Roasted Acorn Squash

No Oil Roasted Acorn Squash

Here’s an EASY way to roast acorn squash without any oil or nonstick cooking spray. See the video demonstration below. Written directions follow the video. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!
Judi

No Oil Roasted Acorn Squash

Preheat oven to 400F.

Wash acorn squash and cut in half, either lengthwise (from stem end to the bottom point) or around the middle (the width area). If the squash halves will be stuffed and/or served by the halves and you also opt to cut around the width, cut a small amount off the bottom point of the squash first so the bottom half will sit upright after being cut. Also, cut off any amount of the stem needed so the top half will also sit flat after being roasted.

With a spoon, remove the seeds and discard them. Place the squash cut side down on a parchment paper lined rimmed baking sheet. If you prefer to roast the squash without parchment paper, place them cut side down on a clean, dry baking sheet or glass baking dish. Place in preheated oven and roast for about 30 minutes*, or until a knife inserts easily through the skin into the flesh of the squash.

*Important note! If you are not using parchment paper, about 15 minutes into the baking time, remove the pan from the oven and move the squash around. They will be starting to stick. Moving them around will loosen them from the pan and the juices they release should prevent further sticking.

Oven Potato Fries Oil vs No OIl Test

Oven Potato Fries – Oil vs No Oil Test

Potato fries are an American favorite. Yet, these things are often loaded with fat and sometimes unwanted chemicals. With the trend toward roasting vegetables without added oils, I decided to do a comparison test of roasting potatoes with and without oil. The results were truly interesting and even unexpected! See the video below for the results. My test notes are following the video. Enjoy!

I hope this helps!
Judi

Comparison Test – Oven Roasted Fries Oil vs No Oil

White potatoes were peeled and cut into average French fry size pieces. The potato pieces were divided into three groups and different treatments were applied to each group:

Group #1 – These were roasted raw with a light coating of extra virgin olive oil. A relatively small amount of oil was used, with no more than one teaspoon of oil on 9 potato pieces.

Group #2 – These were roasted raw without oil.

Group #3 – These were first boiled for about 5 minutes, until not quite fork tender, then roasted without oil.

The three groups were placed on their own sheet of parchment paper and all placed on the same baking sheet. They were roasted in a preheated 400F oven with the rack in the middle of the oven. All three groups were baked for 32 minutes then removed from the oven.

The test results are as follows:

Time
All samples were baked at 400F for 32 minutes at the same time on the same baking sheet.

Appearance
Group #1 had the most browning with the browned areas being relatively spotted along the pieces. This probably reflects the areas where oil was actually coating the potatoes, with more browning on the oil-coated areas.

Group #2 browned, but not as much as Group #1. The browning was more evenly disbursed along the length of the potato pieces.

Group #3 had the least amount of browning, probably due to the added water content. It appears they may have browned more if they were left to roast for a longer amount of time.

Texture
Group #1 had the texture one would typically find in a French fry. The outside had a crispy crunch to it, while the inside was soft.

Group #2 was slightly dry on the outside, while the inside was tender. It did not have the usual “crunch” of a typical potato fry. It was not rubbery nor hard to bite into.

Group #3 turned out very much like Group #2. The outside was slightly dry while the inside was tender. It had no noticeable crunch. It was very difficult to tell the difference between Groups 2 and 3.

Flavor
Group #1 had an excellent flavor…exactly what you would expect from a homemade potato fry. It did not taste oily even though it had a light coating of oil.

Group #2 tasted like dry potato with some moisture inside. The flavor was slightly different from that of Group #1, resulting from the omission of oil.

Group #3 had a very slightly better potato flavor than Group #2, although the difference is flavor is hardly noticeable.

Preference Ranking [Note: The following is the opinion of the tester (Judi). Your opinion may differ based on your own preferences and test results.]

First place: Group #1 ranked first overall. It had the most browning so the appearance was what you would expect of a potato fry. The flavor and texture were excellent, with the outside having a crispy crunch, and the tender interior being what we look for in a quality potato fry.

Second place was tied: Groups #2 and #3 tied for second place. With the exception that Group #3 needed a little extra oven time for browning, the texture, appearance and flavor were extremely close and hard to tell apart between the two groups.

Conclusion
If you want to avoid using added oils when making homemade oven-roasted potato fries, either method (roasting raw without oil or boiling first then roasting without oil) would be acceptable regarding texture, appearance, and flavor. There is little difference between the two except that when boiled first, the potatoes will need a little more roasting time for browning to occur, and the boiling seems to add a slight more potato flavor.

It is important to note that peeled and cut potatoes will oxidize (turn dark) quickly. If opting to roast potato fries without boiling them first, it will be helpful to place them in a bowl of water to prevent them from turning dark, if they will not be used immediately. Boiling the potatoes before roasting eliminates this potential problem.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.