Category Archives: Food

Fast Sauteed Spring Mix

Fast and Easy Sauteed Spring Mix

Spring Mix greens are found in most grocery stores. They are packed with baby greens that are extremely healthful and delicious, and are usually added to salads. But did you know you can cook Spring Mix? Below is a video demonstration of a REALLY fast and easy way to cook Spring Mix. The written recipe is below the video. The recipe calls for only one small tub of the mix. But it can easily be increased so you can use whatever amount of greens you need to. I hope this helps! Let me know if you try this method…I’d love to hear from you!

Enjoy,
Judi

Fast Sautéed Spring Mix
Makes about 2 Servings

1 (5 oz) tub Spring Mix*
Garlic powder**
Salt and pepper
1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 or 2 lemon wedges, or 2 teaspoons vinegar of choice

Rinse the Spring mix and spin it in a salad spinner to remove excess water. If you don’t have a spinner, place the rinsed mix in a colander and allow it to drain well. Do not dry the greens with a towel. Do not skip this step because the little bit of water on the greens helps them to cook.

Transfer the Spring mix to a bowl and sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper, all to taste; toss it to disburse the seasonings. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add oil and allow it to heat briefly. Add Spring mix and sauté it for about 1 minute, just until it starts to wilt. Remove from heat and drizzle with lemon juice or vinegar. Enjoy!

*This recipe can EASILY be increased to using any amount of Spring Mix that you want. Just be sure your pan is big enough to handle the fresh greens at the beginning.

**If you prefer to use fresh garlic, omit the garlic powder. Chop garlic cloves (any amount you want) and place them in the skillet immediately before adding the greens. Proceed with instructions from there.

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.

Basil

Basil 101 – The Basics

Basil is a delicious herb that has been used since ancient times. It has been so highly revered that its name stems from a Greek word meaning “royal.” It’s commonly used in many cuisines around the world and has some very important health benefits. If you’re just not sure what to do with basil, or are looking for some very specific information about this herb and its uses, hopefully you’ll find what you need here. Below is an extensive article all about basil. I hope this helps!

Enjoy
Judi

Basil 101 – The Basics

About Basil
Basil is a very fragrant annual herb with leaves that are used to flavor a wide array of foods. Many of us are familiar with basil since it’s a main ingredient in traditional pesto that most people enjoy. It is popular in Italian, Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian cuisines.

Basil leaves are rounded to oval, usually with a point opposite the stem end. It is in the same plant family as mint. There are over 60 varieties of basil, all with a slightly different appearance and flavor.  The colors are usually a bright green, but can also have hints of red or purple in the leaves. The flavors can vary a lot, from sweet basil with its slightly sweet, spicy flavor, to anise, lemon, and cinnamon basil with flavors reflected in their names. Thai basil is spicy and often used in Southeast Asian and Chinese dishes. Sweet basil is not to be confused with holy basil. They are both in the mint family, but they are different plants with very different uses. Holy basil is used more for medicinal purposes whereas sweet basil is used in culinary applications.

Basil appears to be native to India, Asia and Africa, but is now grown around the world. The name “basil” stems from a Greek word meaning “royal,” which tells us that ancient cultures highly regarded this plant and considered it to be sacred. Some of that tradition lingers today, as in India, the basil plant represents hospitality, and in Italy, it is a symbol of love.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Although we usually don’t eat huge amounts of basil at one time, it is an excellent source of Vitamin K, with ½ cup of basil providing 98% of our DRI (Dietary Reference Intake). That’s extraordinary! Basil also contains good amounts of manganese, copper, carotenoids (precursors to Vitamin A), Vitamin C, calcium, iron, folate, magnesium, and even omega-3 fatty acids.  It also contains small amounts of an array of other nutrients.

Protection from cellular damage: Basil has unique health benefits due to its flavonoids and volatile oils. The flavonoids in basil have been found to protect us at the cellular level by protecting cell structures and chromosomes from radiation and oxygen-based damage.

Antibacterial effects: The volatile oils in basil have been shown to have antibacterial properties against unwanted pathogens. The oils have also been shown to restrict the growth of harmful bacteria including Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli O:157:H7, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. If that’s not enough, the oils in basil have been shown to inhibit some strains of bacteria that have become resistant to some commonly used antibiotic drugs. These bacteria include Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Pseudomonas. They are widespread and pose a real threat to those who become infected with them.

Interestingly, studies published in the February 2004 issue of Food Microbiology reported that a weak solution of only 1% of basil or thyme essential oil reduced the number of Shigella, a bacteria that triggers diarrhea, to a level so low that it was not detectable. This factor alone is an excellent reason to include some fresh basil and/or thyme in foods like salads that are not cooked. Not only will these herbs flavor our food, but they can also help to ensure it is safe to eat!

Anti-inflammatory effects: Eugenol, a component in basil’s essential oil, has been found to block the activity of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX), the SAME enzyme that is blocked by many over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and to a lesser degree, acetaminophen. This shows that, if taken in a high enough amount, basil can be used as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions.

Cardiovascular benefits: Basil is a very good source of pro-vitamin A through its carotenoid content. Carotenoids are powerful anti-oxidants that help protect our blood vessels and circulating cholesterol from free radical damage, helping to ward off heart disease. Basil is also a good source of magnesium, a mineral known to help relax the blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure and improving blood flow, and also reducing our risk for cardiovascular disease.

With all things considered, we have plenty of reason to include basil in our foods!

How to Select Basil
Dried basil is available in just about any grocery store. When selecting dried basil, opting for organic basil ensures that it was not irradiated, which reduces its Vitamin C and carotenoid content.

Many grocery stores also carry fresh basil in the produce department. When opting for fresh basil, look for bright, deep green leaves. Avoid those with dark spots or yellowing leaves.

How to Store Basil
Store all dried herbs in air-tight containers, away from light, heat, and moisture. When kept properly, dried herbs will keep for a long time, years in fact. However over time, the flavor will diminish. Dried basil will retain good quality in your pantry for 2 to 3 years.

To tell if a dried herb such as basil is too old and needs to be replaced, place some in the palm of your hand. Rub it to release the oils, then smell it. If it’s aromatic, it’s still fine. If there’s little to no aroma, it has seen better days. It’s time to get a new jar.

Fresh basil should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel and placed loosely in a plastic bag. Basil can also be stored like fresh flowers. Cut a small piece off the end and store it cut side down in a shallow glass of water. Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. Change the water every day or two. Basil should keep up to a week in the refrigerator.

Some people prefer to keep fresh basil like described above (cut side down in a shallow glass of water), but on the kitchen counter rather than in the refrigerator. In this case, do not cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Just leave them exposed to the air and enjoy their beauty. Change the water every day or two. Stored like this, you may see roots sprouting from the cut end after a week or so. If this happens, the sprig can actually be planted and you’ll have your own fresh basil plant.

How to Preserve Basil
Fresh basil can be frozen, covered with water, in ice cube trays. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag or container. Such cubes can easily be added to soups, stews or sauces.

Basil may also be frozen whole or chopped in airtight containers.

Frozen basil will have its best quality if used within 4 to 6 months. However, when properly frozen and stored at 0°F, it will keep indefinitely.

Dried vs Fresh Basil
Both fresh and dried herbs have their own best applications. Dried herbs work well in cooked foods. Cooking allows time for them to re-hydrate and their flavors to blend with other foods. Dried basil works exceptionally well in cooked sauces, soups, stews, and on meats.

Fresh basil has a milder flavor than its dried counterpart. When cooked, the flavor tends to dissipate rather quickly, so fresh basil is usually added at the end of cooking time. Fresh basil works very well in cold, uncooked foods like salads. The delicate flavor shines when paired with other fresh foods, yet it doesn’t overpower them. The conversion rate is 1 part of dried basil is equivalent to 3 parts of fresh basil.

How to Prepare Basil
Simply give your fresh basil a quick rinse right before using it then pat it dry. Remove the leaves from the stems and cut them as desired. Many chefs roll the leaves and slice them (chiffonade) for use in just about any dish. Some resources suggest tearing basil leaves with your fingers, or cutting the leaves only with a ceramic knife to prevent oxidation which causes them to turn dark.

Quick Tips and Ideas for Using Basil
* Make a dairy-free pesto by combining chopped basil with garlic and olive oil. Add ground pine nuts, if desired. This can be used as a topping for pasta, salmon, and bruschetta.

* Top fresh tomato slices with mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle with chopped fresh basil leaves.

* The oils in fresh basil are volatile, so many chefs add the herb toward the end of cooking time. It will retain the most fragrance and flavor that way.

* Using a ceramic knife when cutting basil leaves can help keep them from oxidizing and turning dark after being cut.

* Try adding basil to a stir-fry of eggplant, cabbage, chili peppers, tofu, and cashews for a Thai flare to your meal.

* Flavor tomato soup with a puree of basil, olive oil and onions.

* Try a basil tea by infusing leaves in hot water for 8 minutes. OR try flavoring a cup of black or green tea with some fresh basil leaves for a mild spicy addition.

* The basil leaves are the main part of the plant used in foods. The smaller stems may be used, but the thicker stems and stalks can be bitter. Also, the stems and large veins have compounds that can turn pesto brown and dark, so it’s best to stay with just the leaves.

* If you grow basil, the white flowers of the plant are edible.

* One tablespoon of fresh basil is equal to one teaspoon of dried basil. This ratio applies to all fresh vs dried herbs.

* Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and garlic for a nice vinaigrette salad dressing. Increase the basil and add Parmesan cheese for a basil balsamic pesto.

* Are you looking for something really different? Basil not only pairs well with strawberries, but also watermelon, oranges, mango, lemons and lime. You can get creative making this into an interesting fruit salad!

* Try a healthful smoothie by blending together kale or spinach, banana, strawberries, basil leaves, milk of choice, some chia seeds and a few dates for sweetener.

* Basil and mint are in the same plant family. So each can be added to recipes calling for the other. For instance, if a recipe calls for basil, mint can also be added for a different flavor dimension. If a recipe calls for mint, basil can be added for a little flavor depth and spiciness. Adding basil to a fruit salad that calls for mint would be a delicious flavor enhancement.

* Add fresh basil leaves to a green salad for a sweet yet peppery flavor addition.

* Basil not only goes well with peanuts, but also peanut butter. Some people actually add fresh basil leaves to a peanut butter and jelly sandwich! Basil can also be added to many recipes calling for peanuts or peanut butter.

* When adding fresh herbs to a cold dish, add them a few hours in advance, if possible, to allow the flavors to blend.

* If you have a sunny window, you can store fresh basil there. First cut a small amount off the bottom end of the stem. Then stand the basil up in a shallow glass of water. Change the water daily. In a number of days, you may see roots developing. Those stems can actually be planted for your own fresh basil plant.

* Basil, oregano, and thyme work well together giving food an Italian flare.

* When in doubt with flavoring a dish, remember that basil and lemon always go well together. Add in some garlic and onion for a savory flare.

* Basil goes well with broccoli. The sweetness of basil helps to balance the strong flavor of broccoli. For a quick side dish, simply sauté broccoli and basil together. Drizzle with a little lemon and you’re done!

* Try a summer salad with strawberries, avocado and basil.

* Basil is known to compliment blueberries. Try adding a little basil to a blueberry crumble dessert.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Basil
Capers, cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, pepper, rosemary, sage, salt, thyme

Other Foods That Go Well With Basil
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (fava), beans (in general), beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, fish, hazelnuts, lamb, nuts (in general), peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pistachios, pork, tofu, walnuts

Vegetables: Artichoke hearts, artichokes, asparagus, beans (green), bell peppers, broccoli, broccoli rabe, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, greens (salad), jicama, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onions, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini

Fruit: Avocados, blueberries, lemon, lime, mango, nectarines, olives, peaches, strawberries, watermelon

Grains and Grain Products: Bulgur, corn, couscous, millet, noodles (Asian rice), pastas, polenta, quinoa, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (esp. mozzarella, Parmesan), cottage cheese, cream

Other: Oil (esp. olive), vinegar

Basil Has Been Used In: Aioli, beverages, breads, Cuban cuisine, curries, egg dishes (frittatas, omelets), French cuisine, gazpacho, Greek cuisine, Indian cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, pasta dishes, pestos, pizzas, ratatouille, risotto, salad dressings, salads, sandwiches, sauces, soups, Southeast Asian cuisines, stews, Thai cuisine

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Combine basil with…
Capers + tomatoes
Chiles + cilantro + garlic + lime + mint
Chiles + olive oil + pine nuts + sun-dried tomatoes
Corn + tomatoes
Cucumbers + mint + peas
Garlic + olive oil + Parmesan cheese + pine nuts
Garlic + olive oil + tomatoes
Mozzarella cheese + olive oil
Mushrooms + tomatoes
Tomatoes + white beans

Recipe Links
25 Basil Recipes Featuring the Fresh Summer Herb https://www.thespruceeats.com/basil-recipes-to-use-up-fresh-herbs-4688303

40 Easy Ways to Use Up Fresh Basil https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/25-fresh-basil-recipes/

91 of Our Favorite Basil Recipes https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-best-basil-recipes-gallery

33 Basil Recipes So You Can Eat and Drink It at Every Meal https://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/slideshow/basil-recipes

29 Fragrant Basil Recipes We Love https://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/basil?

Shrimp and Basil Fettuccini https://producemadesimple.ca/shrimp-basil-fettuccini/

Fresh Ontario Greenhouse Tomato-Basil Soup https://producemadesimple.ca/fresh-ontario-greenhouse-tomato-basil-soup/

Snap Peas, Basil, Tomato and Cucumber Salad https://producemadesimple.ca/snap-peas-basil-tomato-cucumber-salad/

Strawberry Basil Lemonade https://producemadesimple.ca/snap-peas-basil-tomato-cucumber-salad/

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=85

https://www.thespruceeats.com/basil-cooking-tips-1807985

https://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/foods-that-pair-well-with-basil/

https://www.strongertogether.coop/food-lifestyle/cooking/using-fresh-herbs

https://thecookful.com/flavors-compliment-basil/

https://producemadesimple.ca/basil/

https://thecookful.com/fresh-v-dried-basil/

https://www.thekitchn.com/quick-tip-when-to-use-dried-he-133710

https://www.cooksillustrated.com/how_tos/11228-the-differences-between-thai-and-italian-basil

https://www.hunker.com/12532651/the-difference-between-basil-holy-basil

https://www.wideopeneats.com/mccormick-spices-expire/

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

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.

Easy Baked Beans

Easy Baked Beans

Here’s an easy way to make baked beans. This can be made with canned beans or your own beans already cooked from dried beans. It can be made with or without added bacon, so it’s vegan without the bacon. Below is a video demonstration of making the beans. The recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Easy Baked Beans
Makes 4 Main Dish or 6 Side Servings

2 (15 oz) cans great northern beans (or beans of choice), rinsed and drained
OR 3 to 3-1/2 cups cooked beans of your choice
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1-1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp dry mustard powder (or 1 Tbsp prepared mustard)
1 Tbsp dried onion granules (or ¼ cup chopped fresh onion)
2 Tbsp molasses
¼ tsp salt
1/8 tsp paprika
½ to 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, optional

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Place the tomato paste, broth and seasonings (not the oil) in a bowl and stir to combine well. Stir in the beans. Coat an oven-safe casserole dish with the oil, if desired. (This step is not mandatory, but helps to keep the bean mixture from sticking to the dish.) Pour the bean mixture into the prepared casserole dish.

Cover the dish and place it on the middle rack in a preheated 350F oven. Bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and check to see if the beans are too juicy for you (see note below). If so, remove the lid and allow it to bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or more, if desired, until the sauce is moderately thickened. If the amount of sauce is to your liking, leave the lid on the casserole and continue baking another 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and serve.

Note: A little sauce/juice in with the beans is needed. The beans will continue to soak it up and the sauce will thicken some as it cools, so don’t bake them until the liquid is all soaked up or the beans will end up being too dry.

Suggestion: If you want the smoky, meaty flavor typical of baked beans, feel free to add some cooked chopped bacon to the mix before baking.

How to Reduce the Sweetness in a Food

Oops! You’ve tasted your food and it’s too sweet! That’s a mishap that can happen to anyone. So, is there something you can do about it? Yes, there is hope. You can’t remove the excess sweetener, but you can balance it out with other flavors. Try whichever option below that will work best with your overly sweetened dish.

Below is a link to a video where I discuss this topic. My notes detailing this follow the video.

I hope this helps!
Judi

Add more liquid. Diluting the sweetener in the dish might be an option if it’s a water- or milk-based soup or sauce. Try adding more of the main liquid and see if that cuts the sweetness enough. Of course, by adding more liquid, you also may need to add more of the other ingredients that flavor the dish, EXCEPT for the sweetener (and possibly salt…see below).

Another example, if it’s a tomato sauce that has too much sweetener, add more tomatoes (and possibly more of the herbs to bring the flavor to where it should be). If your chili is too sweet, add more beans or ground beef, and possibly more tomatoes and spices.

Add some acid. Adding a little acid, such as citrus juice (lemon, lime, orange), vinegar (white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar, and apple cider vinegar are good options), or even red wine may also counteract the sweetness. Avoid balsamic vinegar since it can be a bit sweet. For instance, if you’ve over-sweetened a sweet potato dish, sprinkle a little lemon or even orange juice on it to counter the sweetness. That may add more depth of flavor and a slight twist that enhances the entire dish. It’s worth a try! Here’s a tip…take a SMALL amount of the dish and add a very small amount of the acid, then taste it. If it works, add it to the entire dish.

Add something milk-based. Adding a little milk, cream, sour cream, cheese, whipped cream, or unsweetened yogurt to an overly sweet dish can help to balance out the flavors. Coconut milk or your favorite plant-based milk may also work.

Avoid adding more salt. Salt tends to bring out the sweetness in a dish, so adding more salt may not be the best option in this case. After adjusting the recipe, even if you need to add more of your other ingredients, hesitate and taste before adding more salt.

Make it spicy. Sweet and spicy tend to balance each other out very well. If adding some heat or strong spice would work well in your dish, go for it and give it a new flavor dimension! A little hot sauce, chiles, or crushed red pepper may do the trick. Just don’t add so much that it transforms your dish into something extra-hot or you may be reaching for something to counteract the heat!

If it’s a dessert that’s too sweet, adding a little cinnamon or cloves, if appropriate, will cut the sweetness a bit.

Add some herbs. Some herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, herbs de Provence, tarragon, and basil, are known to balance sweetness in foods. Add only a small amount at a time and taste as you go.

Add some fat. Adding a bit more fat to the dish, like olive oil, butter, or avocado, can help to balance out extra sweetness.

Add a little bitterness. Yes, bitterness. Even though bitter is a flavor that many people avoid, just think of dark chocolate and how sugar balances out the bitterness in the chocolate. Adding a SMALL amount of unsweetened cocoa powder to your dish may be an option. Just be sure it’s a small amount, so you don’t make your main dish taste like a weird chocolate dessert. Another option here would be to add a bitter vegetable, if applicable. Adding some kale, arugula, or radicchio may do the trick.

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.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/fix-common-seasoning-mistakes/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-save-a-dish-thats-too-sweet-4174554

https://www.spiceography.com/too-much-sugar/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/524910-how-to-neutralize-sugar/

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Tomato Sauce

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce

Here is a delicious pasta recipe that includes a flavorful combo of zucchini and mushrooms cooked with herbs and aromatics, all topped with your favorite tomato sauce and cheese, if desired. It can be made into a meatless meal or served with meat of your choice. A video demonstration is below. The written recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Tomato Sauce
Makes About 6 servings

1 lb pasta of choice
1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
About ¾ cup chopped onion
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup chopped bell pepper
2 medium zucchini, chopped small
1 (8 oz) pkg mushrooms of choice, sliced small
1 (15 oz) can white beans (or beans of choice), rinsed and drained, optional*
1-1/2 Tbsp dried parsley flakes
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 large lemon
Tomato sauce of your choice
Parmesan or grated mozzarella cheese, optional topping

Place tomato sauce in a small pot with lid, and warm it over medium-low heat. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.

Prepare the vegetables: In a large pot, briefly heat the olive oil. Sauté the onion and bell pepper for 1 to 2 minutes; add garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the zucchini, mushrooms, beans, spices and water; stir to combine. Cover and allow the vegetables to cook until the zucchini starts to soften, stirring occasionally. This may take from 5 to 9 minutes, depending upon how cooked you want them to be. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice; stir to combine.

When the pasta is cooked and drained, and the vegetables are cooked, your dish is ready to serve. Place some pasta on the plate and top with some vegetables. Top with some tomato sauce, and sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

* The added beans are optional, but make a nice addition for a meatless meal. If meat is preferred, omit the beans and serve this dish with the meat of your choice. A piece of chicken would go well. Also, if you want to add ground beef or sausage, browned and drained meat can be added to the tomato sauce. Ground meat can also be added to the vegetable mixture. In your large pot, brown the meat first, then drain the excess fat. You could omit the added olive oil in this case. Proceed from there with sautéing the vegetables, etc.

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.

Almond Rice Crackers

Almond Rice Crackers

If you’re looking for an easy, fast, gluten-free and vegan cracker to make, you’ve found it! These crackers are a favorite in our house and they are simple and quick to make. A win-win for us! Below is a video showing how to make them. The written recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Almond-Rice Crackers

Makes enough for 1 sheet pan (30 to 45 crackers)
½ cup almond flour
½ cup brown rice flour
1 Tbsp flax meal
¼ tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup milk of choice, or more if needed*

Makes enough for 2 sheet pans (double the recipe)
1 cup almond flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 Tbsp flax meal
½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ cup milk or choice, or more if needed*

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Stir until well combined. Cover bowl and allow mixture to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour (can be placed in the refrigerator during this time) to allow flour to soak up moisture. Check the dough after it has rested for about 15 minutes. If mixture does not hold together well, add more liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well after each addition. It has enough liquid when it is slightly moist and holds together well without being crumbly.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Transfer the cracker dough onto a silicone baking mat or a sheet of parchment paper large enough to cover a baking sheet. Cover the dough with a sheet of waxed paper about the size of the baking mat or parchment paper. Roll the dough into a rectangle shape no more than 1/8-inch thick. Remove the top waxed paper and discard it. With a pizza cutter or a butter knife, score the dough into roughly 1-1/2-inch squares for crackers.

Place the sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp and golden. Crackers along the outer edges will brown first, so remove them as they bake and return the rest to the oven. When all are baked remove the pan from the oven and cool remaining crackers on a wire rack. Serve or store in an airtight container at room temperature.

* If preferred, water may be used in place of milk, but the crackers will not have as much flavor as when made with milk.

If you want to add extra flavors to your crackers, go ahead!
Here are some possibilities:

Black pepper, rosemary, finely chopped cranberries and pepitas (or other dried fruit, nuts or seeds), garlic and Italian herbs, rosemary, thyme, chives, and parsley, Italian seasoning and Parmesan cheese

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.

Parsley

Parsley 101 – The Basics

Yes, parsley seems to be one of those “mundane” herbs that some recipes call for. We’ve used it so long that we hardly think of it. Yet, it is the world’s most popular herb and has been used for thousands of years. Not only does it provide flavor to foods, but it has valuable health properties as well. If you need to know a little something about parsley, hopefully you’ll find your answer below!

Enjoy!
Judi

Parsley 101 – The Basics

About Parsley
Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. We often see a sprig of parsley as a garnish on the plate in restaurant meals, not only for its color, but also as a breath freshener. Despite its popularity and common use, it is often underappreciated.

Parsley belongs to the Umbelliferae family of plants. Its Latin name is Petroselinum crispum. The two most popular types are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. There is another type of parsley, turnip-rooted parsley, which is cultivated for its roots. Botanically, parsley is related to anise, caraway, carrots, celery, celery root, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, and parsnips.

Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of southern Europe. It has been cultivated for over 2,000 years, but was used as a medicinal plant long before it was used in foods. The turnip-rooted variety is relatively new, having been cultivated for only a couple hundred years. It is slowly gaining in popularity.

Nutrition Tidbits
Parsley contains two types of unusual compounds: volatile oils and flavonoids. These give parsley unique health benefits. The volatile oils in parsley, particularly myristicin, have been shown to inhibit the formation of tumors (especially those in the lungs) in animal studies. The volatile oils in parsley qualify it to be categorized as “chemo protective,” meaning it can help to neutralize carcinogens, cancer-causing agents. The flavonoids in parsley function as antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents.

On top of its special compounds, parsley is an excellent source of Vitamin K and a good source of folate and iron. Parsley is also rich in Vitamin C and beta-carotene, and other carotenoids. This further enhances the antioxidant properties of parsley in helping to ward off heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. So, the next time you’re offered a sprig of parsley as a garnish, remember to eat it too for its many healthful properties!

The special combination of nutrients in parsley helps to ward off cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, supports bone health, and helps to protect your eyes against age-related macular degeneration. Studies have shown that parsley extract may also have antimicrobial properties. With all things considered, we should all add parsley to our foods when we can!

How to Select Parsley
Parsley is available both dried and fresh in most grocery stores. As with most foods, the fresh variety will have a better flavor than the dried version. Choose parsley that is rich in color and looks fresh and crisp. Avoid options that look withered or yellowed, as they are older and not your best choice.

How to Store Parsley
Keep fresh parsley in the refrigerator wrapped in a paper or kitchen towel, placed in a plastic bag. If it is slightly wilted, either sprinkle it lightly with some water or wash it without completely drying it before storing in the refrigerator. Fresh parsley will keep up to two weeks.

How to Dry Parsley
Parsley can easily be washed then dried by patting it with a paper towel. Remove the leaves from the stems and place the leaves in a clean paper bag. Close the opening of the bag and lay it down in a dry area. Once or twice a day gently shake the bag and turn it over, allowing the leaves to shift around so they all get exposed to air. Check them from time to time to see if they are all completely dry. When dry, transfer to an air-tight container and store in a dark, cool, dry place.

How to Freeze Parsley
Parsley can easily be preserved by freezing. Simply take the leaves off the stems and place them in a freezer bag and store in the freezer. Use them in cooking without thawing.

Fresh parsley leaves can also be chopped, mixed with water, and then frozen in ice cube trays.

Any way it is prepared, parsley will keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.

How to Prepare Parsley
Fresh parsley is fragile, so it should not be washed until you are ready to use it. Simply rinse it under running water, or (if it is really dirty) swish it around in a bowl if cool water until all dirt is removed. Repeat the process if needed. Shake off the water, or pat the leaves dry, then use it as desired in your recipe.

The stalks and leaves are all edible, however, the stalks may be a bit tough, depending on how large/thick they are. Those may be best used in stocks or soups.

Cooking/Serving Ideas and Quick Tips for Using Parsley
Italian flat leaf parsley has a stronger and somewhat sweeter flavor than the curly variety, and holds up better with cooking. With that, most chefs prefer flat leaf parsley when adding it to cooked dishes. It is helpful to add it toward the end of the cooking process for better color, flavor and nutritional value.

Quick serving ideas and tips for using fresh parsley:

* Combine chopped fresh parsley with bulgur wheat, chopped scallions, mint leaves, lemon juice and olive oil to make tabbouleh, a classic Middle Eastern dish.

* Add parsley to classic pesto to add more texture to its green color.

* Use a combination of chopped parsley, garlic and lemon zest, as a rub for chicken, lamb and beef.

* Add parsley to soups and tomato sauces.

* Try a salad of fennel, orange, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsley leaves.

* Sprinkle chopped parsley on different foods such as salads, tomato dishes, baked potatoes, egg dishes, vegetable sautés and grilled fish.

* Try making an herb butter by kneading 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley leaves into ¼ cup of softened butter.

* The stems of parsley are edible, but of course, are more coarse and chewy than the leaves.

* Parsley tea has been used throughout history for its medicinal purposes: to improve digestion, increase urine flow, soothe asthma, remove mucous due to coughs and colds, and ease inflammation. Steep ¼ cup fresh parsley leaves (or 2 teaspoons of dried parsley flakes) in 8 oz boiling water for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the leaves and enjoy. It may become bitter and strong flavored with longer steeping times.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Parsley
Basil, bay leaf, capers, celery root, chervil, chili pepper flakes, chives, cilantro, cumin, fennel seeds, garlic, ginger, lovage, marjoram, mint, pepper (black), rosemary, salt, savory, sorrel, sumac, tarragon, and thyme

Foods That Go Well With Parsley
Proteins, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans, chickpeas, eggs, fish, legumes, lentils, pine nuts, poultry, veal, and walnuts

Vegetables: Artichokes, beets, bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery root, chiles, chives, cucumbers, eggplant, endive, fennel, greens (salad), mushrooms, olives, onions, parsnips, peas, potatoes, radishes, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash (summer and winter), sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini

Fruit: Apples, avocados, lemon, orange

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bread crumbs, bulgur, corn, couscous, noodles, pasta, and rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter and cheese

Other: Oil (olive), stocks, and vinegar

Parsley is commonly used in: Baba Ganoush, bouquets garnis, chimichurri sauce, dips, fines herbes, hummus, Mediterranean cuisines, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, pasta dishes, pestos, pizza, salad dressings, salads, salsas, sandwiches, sauces, soups, stews, stocks, stuffings, and tabbouleh

Suggested Flavor Combos:
Parsley + artichokes + garlic
Parsley + bread crumbs + butter + garlic + shallots
Parsley + bulgur + lemon + mint + tomatoes
Parsley + capers + garlic + lemon + olive oil
Parsley + chili pepper flakes + garlic + olive oil + vinegar
Parsley + garlic + gremolata + lemon
Parsley + garlic + lemon + mint + olive oil + walnuts

Recipe Links
25 Ways to Use Parsley https://www.cookingchanneltv.com/devour/2013/06/25-ways-to-use-parsley

11 Delicious Ways to Use Up a Bunch of Parsley https://www.thekitchn.com/10-delicious-ways-to-use-up-a-bunch-of-parsley-246217

40 Different Ways to Use Up That Big Bunch of Parsley https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/ways-to-use-up-parsley/

Parsley and Lemon Pesto Recipe https://www.foodrepublic.com/recipes/parsley-and-lemon-pesto-recipe/

The Best Ways to Use a Plethora of Parsley https://food52.com/blog/11157-the-best-ways-to-use-a-plethora-of-parsley

40 Parsley Recipes, from Meaty Dinners to Herbaceous Salads and Sauces https://www.epicurious.com/recipes-menus/how-to-use-up-all-your-leftover-parsley-gallery

Our 10 Best Parsley Recipes https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/05/parsley-recipes-10-best

Chicken Breast With Garlic and Parsley https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/chicken-breast-garlic-and-parsley

Walnut Parsley Pesto https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/walnut_parsley_pesto/

Mediterranean Parsley Salad https://ethnicspoon.com/mediterranean-parsley-salad/

Resources
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=100&tname=foodspice

https://www.herbinfosite.com/herb-information/herb-profile-parsley/

https://www.spicesinc.com/p-510-what-spices-go-with-what-meat.aspx

https://www.herbinfosite.com/herb-information/herb-profile-parsley/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/all-about-parsley-2355733

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Parsley-Tea

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/parsley-benefits#section1

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

Mindell, Earl. (1992) Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.

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.

Honeynut Squash

Honeynut Squash 101 – The Basics

Honeynut squash are pretty new on the market, so you may or may not know what they are. They look like small Butternut squash, and they are related, but not the same plant. They are a hybrid of a Butternut squash and a Buttercup squash. They are sweet and delicious, so let me urge you to at least give one a try! The following is a comprehensive article about these beauties, from what they are to how to enjoy them. I hope this helps!

Enjoy,
Judi

Honeynut Squash 101 – The Basics

About Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash are relatively new on the market, having been available for only a few years. They look like a small butternut squash, but are only up to 6 inches long. They were developed as a friendly challenge between a food scientist, Michael Mazourek, an associate professor in Plant Breeding and Genetics at Cornell University, and Dan Barber, chef and co-owner of the Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant in Pocantico Hills, New York. The challenge resulted in a hybrid squash variety of Cucurbita moschata that looks like a mini butternut, but with a sweeter flavor. It is actually a cross between a Butternut and Buttercup squash. Honeynut squash are available in the fall through winter months.

A specific trait that makes the Honeynut different than Butternut squash is that the Honeynut is green like a zucchini until it ripens, when it turns its characteristic honey-orange color. The flesh is firm, moist, and orange with a small cavity in the bulbous end of the squash filled with stringy pulp and a few flat, cream-colored seeds. When cooked, Honeynut squash is tender and creamy with a flavor described as sweet, nutty, caramel, and malt-like.

Honeynut squash can be used interchangeably with any other winter squash in most recipes.  Mazourek describes the flavor of Honeynut squash as, “starchy with a smooth, even texture, and a flavor that gets sweeter as you eat it.” Since the flesh is sweeter than that of Butternut squash, he also suggests that you reduce sweeteners in a recipe when substituting Honeynut for Butternut squash. The skin is edible like that of a delicata squash, so peeling is optional.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Honeynut squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene, and is a good source of B-complex vitamins like folate, niacin, and riboflavin. It also contains iron, zinc, copper, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Butternut squash are well known for their beta-carotene content. Honeynut squash top their Butternut cousins by having up to three times the beta-carotene.

Since Honeynut squash are relatively new in the food market, little information is available about their health benefits. However, there is ample information about the benefits of eating winter squash (in general), so the benefits are well worth mentioning. Chances are that they also apply to Honeynut squash.

Blood sugar management. Winter squash are classified as low to medium on the Glycemic Index. This means they help to control the release of sugar in the digestive tract. This effect can help to ward off the spike in insulin and blood sugar levels that we commonly experience from some foods, such as potatoes. It is believed that the pectin content of winter squash causes this effect. Studies have shown that pectin in foods has antidiabetic effects by slowing the release of sugars in the digestive tract. The B-Vitamins found in winter squash also have important roles in regulating carbohydrate metabolism. So with all nutrients considered, including winter squash in your diet may be very beneficial for everyone, but especially for those who have issues with blood sugar control.

Antioxidant protection: We know that winter squash are high in beta-carotene, a well-known antioxidant. The Vitamin C and minerals copper and manganese also found in winter squash are known to aid in the activity of antioxidants. Together, these nutrients help to protect us from harmful molecules that can form in the body, protecting heart health and helping to ward off cancer and other diseases.

Eye protection: It is a well-established fact that the leading cause of blindness world-wide stems from a Vitamin A deficiency. Winter squash are known to be rich in Beta-carotene, and Honeynut squash are no exception, with them containing two to three times the Beta-carotene as Butternut squash. Beta-carotene is a precursor in the body for Vitamin A. So there is no doubt that consuming Honeynut squash as well as other winter squash can help to ward off eye diseases including blindness through its Beta-carotene content.

How to Select Honeynut Squash
Look for ones with the least green and most orange color. The orange color indicates ripeness, more intense flavor, and greater nutritional benefits. Opt for those with smooth skins, few blemishes, and no signs of wrinkling (which indicates age and dehydration).

How to Store Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash can be stored for a month or more if kept in a cool, dry place. The ideal temperature range for storing winter squash is 50-68°F, according to The World’s Healthiest Foods website at http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63.  Note that the skin of Honeynut squash is not as thick as that of other winter squash, so it may not keep quite as long as expected. (Some winter squash may keep for as long as 6 months within that cooler temperature range.) If you notice that your squash has started to wrinkle, use it right away. Wrinkling is a sign that it is drying out and won’t keep much longer.

Of course, once your squash has been cut or cooked, it should be placed in the refrigerator in a covered container, and used within several days.

How to Preserve Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash can be frozen like any other winter squash. Roasted, baked, or boiled squash can simply be removed from the peel, mashed or pureed (if desired), and placed in a suitable freezer container or bag. Flatten the bag and remove the air. Seal, label, and freeze flat. Smaller amounts can be frozen in ice cube trays, muffin tins, or in specific amounts placed on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Transfer frozen lumps to a freezer bag, label, seal, and return to the freezer. (If the frozen squash pieces are stuck to the pan, just wait a couple minutes and they should release without too much effort.) Properly frozen cooked winter squash will keep up to 12 months in the freezer.

When it’s time to use your frozen squash, it may be used frozen or thawed overnight in the refrigerator, or on a thaw setting in the microwave. The freezer container may also be placed in a pan of warm tap water. Change the water often. Do not heat the water on the stove unless the freezer container was designed to withstand such heat.

Honeynut squash may also be blanched before being frozen. This method would be helpful if you intent to cook your squash in a casserole or soup where you want the cubes to be further cooked later. Cut the squash into cubes and blanch them by placing them in boiling water for 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the cubes to a bowl of ice water and allow them to chill for another 3 minutes. Remove from the ice water and drain them well. Place them into a freezer container or on a tray to freeze individually. Place container or tray in the freezer. Transfer frozen cubes from the tray to a freezer container, label, and return them to the freezer. They should wait for you up to 12 months.

Honeynut squash that was cut and frozen raw will keep in the freezer for up to three months. To prevent having one big lump of frozen squash cubes, place your cut squash in a single layer on a tray. Place the tray in the freezer until the squash is frozen (about an hour). Transfer the cut squash to a freezer container or bag. Label the container, remove air if possible, and return the squash to the freezer.

Once cooked, Honeynut squash will keep in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

How to Prepare and Cook Honeynut Squash
Honeynut squash can be cooked like any other winter squash. The best way to enjoy and intensify the flavor would be to roast the squash. Wash the squash well and slice it in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon and place cut side down in a baking dish. The dish can be clean and dry, or lined with a silicone sheet or parchment paper to make cleanup easier. It is not necessary to coat the squash with oil. Roast it in the middle of the oven at 375°F or 400°F until a sharp knife can easily pierce the flesh. The skin of a Honeynut squash is edible, so the peel does not have to be removed. However, it may be a bit tough after being roasted in this manner, so removing the peel is optional.

Honeynut squash can also be boiled, steamed and sautéed. They can also be microwaved by using the “baked potato” setting.

Quick Ideas Using Honeynut Squash
Here are some simple ways to include Honeynut squash in your meals…

* Roast one squash for a simple side dish. Their small size allows them to be put on a plate for an attractive inclusion in any meal. Use one squash for two people. Cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then place cut side down on a baking dish. Roast at 375 to 400°F until you can easily pierce it with a fork. Remove from oven and season as desired. Flavor suggestions: (1) Drizzle with sesame oil, then sprinkle with sesame seeds and cayenne pepper. (2) Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon; add maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey to taste. (3) Top with feta cheese, nuts of choice, and a sprinkle of coriander, cumin and mint. (4) Drizzle with melted butter, honey and chopped pecans.

* Add roasted (and cooled) Honeynut squash to your favorite smoothie. Season with cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and ginger (or just use pumpkin pie spice) for a Fall pumpkin pie flavor.

* Use roasted, mashed Honeynut squash in place of mashed potatoes. Simply roast, remove flesh from the shell, mash and stir in some butter and salt, if desired.

* Use Honeynut squash in place of Butternut when making a squash soup.

* Add cubes of roasted Honeynut squash to a spinach or kale salad.

* Spiralize your Honeynut squash into noodles. Sauté onion and garlic in a small amount of your favorite oil. Add the noodles and sauté until just tender. Sprinkle with some salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese.

* Add a little roasted and pureed Honeynut squash to pancake batter. It’ll add a nutrient boost, beautiful color, and a sweet flavor to your pancakes.

* Make a delicious salad with a mixture of kale and salad greens, avocado, diced apple, shredded carrots, and steamed or roasted Honeynut squash cubes. Top with a honey mustard dressing, or other dressing of your choice. Add a protein of your choice (meat or poultry, cheese, nuts/seeds, or beans) for a complete meal.

Herbs/Spices That Go Well with Honeynut Squash
Allspice, basil, bay leaf, cardamom, cayenne, chili pepper flakes, cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, parsley (flat-leaf), pepper, rosemary, saffron, sage, salt, savory, star anise, tarragon, thyme, vanilla, za’atar


Other Foods That Go Well with Honeynut Squash
Proteins, Nut, Seeds:
Bacon, beans (in general), beef, black beans, chestnuts, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, nuts (in general), pecans, pine nuts, pork, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini, tofu

Vegetables: Artichoke (Jerusalem), arugula, cabbage (savoy), carrots, cauliflower, celery, celery root, chiles, chives, fennel, greens, kale, leeks, mushrooms, onion, radicchio, shallots, spinach, tomatoes

Fruits: Apples, apple juice, berries, coconut, cranberries, dates, lemon, lime, orange, pears, pomegranate seeds, raisins

Grains and Grain Products: Barley, bulgur, corn, couscous, grains (whole), farro, millet, quinoa, rice, wheat

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Butter and browned butter, Cheese (in general), coconut milk, cream, milk (dairy and non-dairy), Parmigiano Reggiano, yogurt

Other Foods: Honey, maple syrup, miso, oil, stock (vegetable), sugar (brown), tamari, vinegar (esp. balsamic, cider, red wine, sherry)

Winter squash such as Butternut and Honeynut have been used in…
Baked goods (i.e. muffins), casseroles, curries, gratins, pasta (i.e. gnocchi, lasagna, ravioli), pies and tarts, pizza, purees, risottos, soups and bisques, succotash

Suggested flavor combos using Honeynut squash
Combine Honeynut squash with…
Apples + cinnamon + ginger+ maple syrup + walnuts
Cilantro + curry powder + lime + yogurt
Coconut milk + lemongrass
Fruit (i.e. cranberries, dates) + nuts (i.e. pecans, pistachios)
Orange + sage
Quinoa + walnuts
Rosemary + tomatoes + white beans
Sage + walnuts

Recipe Links
Twice Baked Honeynut Squash http://dishingupthedirt.com/lifestyle/favorites/twice-baked-honey-nut-squash/

Vegan Butternut Squash with Chili Risotto http://wallflowerkitchen.com/vegan-butternut-squash-chilli-risotto/

Roasted Honeynut Squash with Za’Atar and Pomegranate Molasses http://tastyoasis.net/2014/11/06/roasted-honeynut-squash-with-zaatar-and-pomegranate-molasses/

Honeynut Squash Risotto http://eatupnewyork.com/honeynut-squash-risotto-recipe/

31 Butternut Squash Recipes That Will Make You Wonder Why Pumpkin Gets All The Attention https://greatist.com/eat/butternut-squash-recipes-31-ways-to-enjoy-it-at-every-meal#Desserts

Stuffed Honeynut Squash https://www.nutmegnanny.com/stuffed-honeynut-squash/

Savory Stuffed Honeynut Squash https://www.garlicandzest.com/savory-stuffed-honeynut-squash/

Vegan Wild-Rice-Stuffed Butternut Squash https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/vegan-wild-rice-stuffed-butternut-squash-3362734

Resources
https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/honeynut-squash/

https://www.bonappetit.com/story/honeynut-squash-history

https://www.specialtyproduce.com/produce/Honeynut_Squash_14090.php

https://www.cookinglight.com/food/in-season/what-is-a-honeynut-squash

https://spoonuniversity.com/how-to/how-to-freeze-butternut-squash

https://www.thekitchn.com/two-ways-to-freeze-winter-squash-178166

https://www.livestrong.com/article/449831-what-does-butternut-squash-go-with/

https://www.mvtimes.com/2015/10/14/the-local-ingredient-honeynut-squash/

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia. (1993) So Easy To Preserve. Athens, GA: Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

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.

Yukon Gold Parsley Potatoes

Yukon Gold Parsley Potatoes

Yukon gold potatoes are delicious and hold their shape well when cooked. Here’s an easy and delicious way to prepare them by boiling them first, then sauteing them with seasonings. To speed things up, simply boil them in advance when it’s convenient, store them in a covered container in the refrigerator, then saute them at mealtime. Simple! Below is a video demonstration of this recipe. The written recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Easy Yukon Gold Parsley Potatoes
Makes 2 Servings

1 large (or 6 very small) Yukon Gold potato
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp butter
Salt
Pepper
Parsley flakes (dried or fresh)

Wash the potato well; do not peel it. Boil the potato whole with the peel intact, until a sharp knife or fork can easily pierce the potato. Remove it from the hot water and allow it to cool enough so you can handle it without getting burned.

When the potato has cooled, cut it into bite-size pieces. The peel can be left on or removed, as desired. Heat a skillet over about medium heat. Add the olive oil and butter and allow them to heat briefly. Add the potato pieces. Sprinkle the potatoes with salt, pepper and parsley flakes, to your taste. Allow the potato pieces to sauté, turning occasionally with a spatula, until they begin to brown. Serve immediately.

Tip: To save time, boil the potatoes in advance and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator until needed. For best results, use them within 2 days, but they will keep for up to 5 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.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds 101 – The Basics

Hemp seeds are interesting little seeds that have a strong nutritional punch to them. If you want an easy way to boost the health benefits of your foods, include some of them in whatever you want and your body will thank you for it. The following is a comprehensive article covering all about hemp seeds.

Enjoy!
Judi

Hemp Seeds 101 – The Basics

About Hemp Seeds
Hemp seeds are the seeds of the plant family, Cannabis sativa. They are the same species classification as the cannabis/marijuana plant, but are a different variety. So, they are completely different plants. Hemp seeds do not cause any mind-altering effects.

Hemp seeds have a mild, nutty flavor and the hulled seeds are sometimes referred to as hemp hearts. They can be eaten raw, cooked, or roasted. Hemp seed oil has been used as food and medicine in China for over 3,000 years.

Nutrition Tidbits and Health Benefits
Hemp seeds are very nutritious. They are about one-third fat, being rich in the omega-6 fat, linoleic acid, and the omega-3 fat alpha-linolenic acid. They have a ratio of 3:1, omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered to be the optimal ratio for health.

They are also a great source of protein, Vitamin E, and the minerals phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc. About one-fourth of the calories in hemp seeds comes from protein. Furthermore, the protein in hemp seeds is considered to be almost a complete protein, containing all the essential amino acids, which is unusual in plant foods. (They are a little short in the amino acid lysine to have the complete balance of amino acids that humans need to be considered “complete.”) Two to three tablespoons of hemp seeds provides about 11 grams of protein. They are also a very digestible protein, being better than many grains, nuts and legumes.

Hemp seeds may help reduce your risk for heart disease. They are rich in the amino acid arginine, which produces the gas nitric oxide in the body. This gas makes your blood vessels relax and dilate, thereby reducing blood pressure. Increased arginine intake has been shown to correspond with lower levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammation marker associated with increased risk for heart disease.

Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil may also improve skin disorders such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, and acne. Studies suggest that the immune system works at its best when the omega-6 and omega-3 fats are properly balanced. Recent research has shown that eczema is actually an autoimmune condition. Because of the optimal balance of essential fatty acids in hemp oil, studies have shown that the oil may relieve the dry skin and itchiness of eczema, reducing the need for skin medications, and helping to correct the condition internally.

Studies have shown that the high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) in hemp seeds may reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) in women. Women experienced reduced breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability, and fluid retention associated with PMS. Studies indicate that the high GLA content of hemp seeds may also reduce the symptoms experienced during menopause. The oils in hemp seeds produce prostaglandin E1, which reduces the effects of prolactin, the hormone that appears to cause the symptoms experienced during PMS. During menopause, the oils in hemp seeds may help to regulate hormone imbalances.

Whole (unhulled) hemp seeds are also a good source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which helps to improve digestion and cleanse the colon. Whole hemp seeds are crunchy and are more shelf-stable than the hulled version. It is noteworthy that sometimes the hull can get stuck in teeth or dental work. Hence, some people avoid the whole seeds for this reason. Hulled hemp seeds do contain some fiber, however, they do not have the colon-cleansing effect of the whole seeds because the outer hull which contains most of the fiber has been removed.

How to Select Hemp Seeds
When buying hemp seeds, look for those packaged in air-tight, opaque containers that will protect them from light and air. Look for a “best by” date and opt for the freshest you can find.

How to Store Hemp Seeds
Once opened, store your hemp seeds in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer, where they will keep for about a year. If kept on the pantry shelf, they may last only three or four months before starting to go rancid. If you notice any “off” smell to them, throw them away, as they have started to spoil and should not be eaten.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Hemp Seeds

Here are some simple ways to include hemp seeds into your diet…

* Sprinkle whole or shelled hemp seeds onto cereal, hot or cold.

* Add a spoonful of hemp seeds to yogurt for a nutty flavor and nutritional boost.

* Add hemp seeds to a smoothie.

* Add some hemp seeds to baked goods when mixing dry ingredients.

* Sprinkle some hemp seeds onto a salad of any type.

* If using whole hemp seeds, grinding them in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle can help to make them more digestible.

* Hemp seeds are completely gluten free, so those who are sensitive to gluten can freely eat them.

* Add hemp seeds to breading mixture when coating foods for frying or baking. Or, simply use hemp seeds in place of bread crumbs when mixing breading ingredients.

* Make hemp seed milk in the same way you would make your own almond milk.

* Use hemp seed oil only as a “finishing” oil, rather than cooking with it or heating it in some way. This will maintain the quality of the fatty acids, and avoid breaking them down from the heat. Use hemp seed oil to make salad dressings, add flavor to cooked vegetables, and drizzle over popcorn, pasta dishes, cooked grains such as rice, or even pizza.

* Sprinkle hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds) on cooked vegetables of any type.

* Add some hulled hemp seeds to burgers of any sort, meat or meatless.

* Add some hulled hemp seeds to soups, sauces, stews, tomato sauce, pesto, and casseroles for a little nutty flavor and nutritional boost.

* Add hemp hearts to any chia seed pudding.

* Add hemp hearts to pancake or waffle batter.

Foods That Are Known to Go with Hemp Seeds
Protein, Nuts, Seeds: Almonds, beans (white), cashews and cashew butter, eggs, walnuts

Vegetables: Bell peppers, cabbage, carrots, celery root, mushrooms, onions (green), squash (winter), vegetables (in general), watercress

Fruit: Avocados, berries (in general), blackberries, lemon, lime

Grains and Grain Products: Baked goods, breading (for meats, fish, poultry), cereals, grains (whole), noodles, oatmeal, popcorn, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (cottage), yogurt

Other Foods: Chocolate, oil, vinegar (esp. white wine)

Herbs: Cilantro

Hemp seeds have been used in…
Baked goods (breads, cookies, muffins, piecrusts, quick breads), cereals (hot and cold), chili (vegetarian), dips, granola, pestos, pilafs, salad dressing, salads (green), smoothies, soups, spreads (i.e. chickpea), stir-fries, trail mixes, and veggie burgers


Recipe Links

18 Creative and Delicious Hemp Seed Recipes https://ohmyveggies.com/hemp-seed-recipes/

Hemp Seed Recipes: How to Use Hemp Seeds https://www.thespruceeats.com/hemp-seed-recipes-3376948

39 of the Best Hemp Recipes Ever (and Why Hemp is a Super Healthy Food) https://www.kindearth.net/39-of-the-best-hemp-recipes-ever-and-why-hemp-is-a-super-healthy-food/

11 Delicious Hemp Seed Recipes https://hempseedhealth.com/hemp-seed-recipes/

Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Hemp and Chia Seed Bars https://thehealthyfamilyandhome.com/raw-hemp-and-chia-seed-bars/#wprm-recipe-container-143126


Resources
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-health-benefits-of-hemp-seeds#section1

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/study-proves-eczema-is-an-autoimmune-disease-010515#1

http://www.benshemp.com/wholehull.htm

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323037.php

https://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/ingredients/article/hemp-seeds

http://www.purehealingfoods.com/hempHeartsFAQ.php

https://manitobaharvest.com/blog/5-tips-for-cooking-with-hemp-hearts/

https://www.wellandgood.com/good-advice/blue-zone-power-9/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/486854-are-hemp-seeds-a-good-source-of-protein/

https://greatist.com/health/complete-vegetarian-proteins#Close-but-not-quite

Page, Karen. (2014) The Vegetarian Flavor Bible. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

 

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.