Category Archives: Misc

Nutmeg

Nutmeg 101 – The Basics

 

Nutmeg 101 – The Basics

About Nutmeg
Nutmeg is a spice that is made from the seed of the tree, Myristica fragrans. The tree is native to Indonesia and is an evergreen tree. The tree actually is the source of two spices, nutmeg and mace. Nutmeg is the inner seed, whereas mace is the red, lacy-type substance that surrounds the seed.

There is historical evidence dating nutmeg back to the first century, A.D. It was a treasured spice and commanded a high price. Nutmeg was even the cause of war, when the Dutch took over the Banda islands to monopolize the nutmeg trade. This ultimately gave birth to the Dutch East India Company, a conglomeration of several Dutch trading companies.

To make nutmeg, the seeds are slowly dried in the sun over six to eight weeks. As they dry, the seed shrinks away from its coating. The seeds are ready to be harvested when they rattle in their shells when shaken. Nutmeg seeds are then separated from their outer coating, which is then sold as mace. The inner seed is sold whole or ground up as powdered nutmeg.

Nutmeg has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor with a distinct aroma. It is an intense spice with a distinct flavor, so a little goes a long way. Nutmeg is synonymous with fall since it is often used in fall and holiday desserts and beverages. It is also used in savory dishes such as butternut squash soup. Nutmeg is also known to pair well with cream- or cheese-based dishes. Eggnog is typically flavored with nutmeg.

Nutrition and Health Benefits
Although we don’t consume a lot of nutmeg at any one time, there is an impressive list of nutrients supplied by this spice. Nutmeg contains a lot of manganese, copper, magnesium and fiber. It also supplies potassium, phosphorus, iron, calcium, zinc, folate, thiamin and even omega-6 fatty acids.

The leaves and other parts of the nutmeg tree are used for extracting nutmeg essential oil. The oil contains a variety of compounds that have medicinal properties and has been used in traditional medicine to relieve a variety of ailments.

Pain Relief. Nutmeg essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used for pain relief. Just a few drops of the essential oil applied to the affected area has been used to treat inflammation, swelling, joint pain, muscle pain and sores.

Helps Treat Insomnia. Nutmeg seems to have a calming effect and has been used since antiquity for calming and inducing sleep. Enjoy a warm glass of milk with a pinch of ground nutmeg before bedtime and it will help you to relax and fall asleep easier.

Helps Digestion. Nutmeg has been shown to help relieve intestinal gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Add a pinch to soups and stews. That small amount will help to promote the secretion of enzymes, thereby helping with digestion. The fiber in nutmeg will help keep things moving in the digestive tract, relieving gas and preventing constipation.

Brain Health. Nutmeg has been shown to stimulate nerves in the brain. It was commonly used as a brain tonic by ancient Greeks and Romans. It has been shown to be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety, calming emotional stress. The essential oils in nutmeg have been found to work as “adaptogens” by acting both as a stimulant and sedative, depending upon the needs of the body at the time. When we’re stressed, it can help to lower blood pressure. If we’re down, it can help to lift the mood, acting as a stimulant.

Promotes Detoxification. The compounds in nutmeg have been found to help clear toxins from the body via the liver and kidneys. The essential oils in nutmeg have anti-bacterial properties. Some toothpastes have nutmeg essential oils in them to help control harmful bacteria in the mouth that can lead to bad breath. Also, the essential oil in nutmeg contains eugenol, which is known to help relieve toothache.

Promotes Healthy Skin. Not only does nutmeg have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, but it also has been found to remove blackheads, and treat acne and clogged pores. An easy home remedy is to mix equal parts of ground nutmeg and honey into a paste. Apply it to pimples, leave it on for 20 minutes, then wash it off with cool water.

A paste can also be made with ground nutmeg and a few drops of milk. Mix into a paste and massage it into the skin, then rinse with cool water.

Nutmeg may also be added to facial scrubs with oatmeal, orange peel, etc.

Blood Pressure and Circulation. The minerals in nutmeg make it a wonderful ingredient for helping to regulate blood pressure and circulation. The stress-reducing properties help blood vessels to relax, lowering blood pressure and aiding in cardiovascular function.

Caution! Nutmeg should be used sparingly and limited to any amount you would normally use in a food. When used in high doses (well beyond what you would normally use in any food), nutmeg has hallucinogenic properties. It can also cause nausea and palpitations. Such high dosages can be very toxic, and in rare cases, even deadly. In the case of accidental overdose, especially with children, seek medical attention immediately.

How to Select Nutmeg
Nutmeg may be purchased as a whole seed or ground up. Either version will be available in the spice isle of the grocery store. Some stores do not carry whole nutmeg, but most will carry the ground spice.

Many chefs prefer the whole spice and grind it as needed. The flavor of the freshly ground nutmeg will be more intense than the pre-ground powder.

How to Store Nutmeg
Store whichever type of nutmeg you have (whole or ground) in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place such as your pantry. It should be kept away from heat sources and sunlight.

The whole spice will keep fresh and maintain its flavor longer than the pre-ground powdered nutmeg.  Whole nutmeg seeds will maintain their freshness for about 4 years. Ground nutmeg will stay fresh and flavorful for at least six months, and up to two years. As long as nutmeg is stored properly, it will be edible beyond that, but the flavor may dwindle over time.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Nutmeg
* When grating whole nutmeg, avoid doing it over a hot pot or one with steaming liquid. This will make the seed moist which can cause it to spoil. The heat can cause it to age fast. So, it’s better to grate it onto a plate or small bowl on the counter rather than directly over hot food.

* When you use nutmeg, if you notice it has little aroma, it may be getting old. Feel free to taste it if there’s no sign of mold or decay. If it has little flavor, it’s past time to replace it. It’s still safe to consume, but won’t give the flavor you’re expecting.

* Nutmeg has a strong, distinct flavor. Use it sparingly. You can always add more, but it would be hard to counteract the flavor if too much is added.

* Try a sprinkle of nutmeg as a garnish on eggnog or cappuccino.

* If you don’t have nutmeg on hand and a recipe calls for it, the best substitute is mace. Since it’s part of the seed itself, the flavor is close. Otherwise, the flavor outcome will be different, but you could use a touch of pumpkin pie spice, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, or ground cloves.

* Nutmeg goes well with baked or stewed fruit, so try it as a garnish when you cook fruit.

* Sprinkle nutmeg on custard for added flavor and a nice garnish.

* Add a sprinkle of nutmeg to milk-based sauces.

* Try a sprinkle of nutmeg on steamed, stir-steamed, or sautéed spinach or a spinach soufflé.

* One whole nutmeg seed yields 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground nutmeg.

* Add nutmeg to fillings for cannelloni, ravioli or tortellini.

* Add a pinch of nutmeg to mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Nutmeg
Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, lemongrass, mace

Foods That Go Well with Nutmeg
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, chicken, eggs, ham, meat (in general), pecans, pork, sausage

Vegetables: Carrots, greens (dark leafy), mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, yams

Fruits: Apples, bananas, fruit (in general; fresh and dried), lemon, pumpkin

Grains and Grain Products: Rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Cheese (cheddar, Gruyere, pecorino, ricotta), coconut milk, cream, milk

Other Foods: Chocolate, vanilla

Nutmeg has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Baked goods (biscuits, cakes, cookies, pastries, pies), cereals (hot, breakfast), cheese dishes (fondues, soufflés), desserts (cheesecake, custards, puddings, drinks (esp. cream or milk-based, i.e. eggnog), egg dishes (quiches), French cuisine, ice cream, Indian cuisine, Italian cuisine, noodle dishes (i.e. macaroni and cheese), pastas, puddings (i.e. rice), sauces (barbecue, béchamel, cheese, cream, pasta, tomato), soups (i.e. cream based), stews (vegetable)

Recipe Links
Classic Custard Pie with Nutmeg https://www.thespruceeats.com/classic-custard-pie-with-nutmeg-3052755

Quick and Easy Drop Cookies with Nutmeg https://www.thespruceeats.com/quick-and-easy-drop-cookies-3059058

Spiced Apple Juice with Cinnamon and Nutmeg https://www.thespruceeats.com/fall-spiced-apple-juice-3051541

Easy Spiced Peach Cobbler https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-spiced-peach-cobbler-3058942

Garam Masala Spice Mix https://www.thespruceeats.com/garam-masala-spice-mix-recipe-1809291

Pumpkin Banana Bread https://www.thespruceeats.com/pumpkin-banana-bread-recipe-1806113

Carrot Cake with Pineapple https://www.thespruceeats.com/carrot-cake-with-pineapple-3052454

Deep-Dish Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato and Chicken Curry https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-deep-dish-shepherds-pie-with-sweet-potato-and-chicken-curry-228115

Make-Ahead Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-make-ahead-ham-and-cheese-breakfast-casserole-43364

Super-Soft Snickerdoodle Cookies https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-super-soft-snickerdoodl-115237

My Favorite Spice Rub (Amazing on Meat and Seafood) https://www.thegarlicdiaries.com/my-favorite-spice-rub-amazing-on-meat-and-seafood/#tasty-recipes-6003

20 Ways to Cook with Nutmeg https://www.epicurious.com/ingredients/our-best-nutmeg-recipes-cake-bread-desserts-spice-gallery

 

Resources
https://www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-nutmeg-1328522

https://www.doesitgobad.com/nutmeg-go-bad/

https://www.thespruceeats.com/nutmeg-recipes-and-cooking-tips-1809314

https://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/7-incredible-nutmeg-benefits-from-inducing-sleep-to-relieving-pain-1464121

https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/spices-and-herbs/195/2

https://www.thekitchn.com/inside-the-spice-cabinet-nutmeg-69844

https://www.saveur.com/article/Techniques/Seven-Things-to-Do-with-Nutmeg/

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.

Whole Dried Peas vs. Split Peas

Dried Green Peas – Whole vs. Split: A Comparison

If you’re wondering what the difference is between split peas and whole dried peas, the following article should help! It covers what they are and their differences in soaking needs, preparation methods, cooking times, texture when cooked, and whether they will sprout. Below is a video covering this topic. The written article is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Split Green Peas vs Whole Dried Peas: A Comparison

About Dried Peas
Dried green peas are in the same plant family as beans and lentils, but are usually grouped separately since their preparation is different. Whole dried peas and green split peas are from the same plant. Although we usually associate dried peas with being green, there is also a yellow colored variety. The yellow variety has a milder flavor than the green peas.

Researchers have discovered that dried peas have been eaten since prehistoric times. Peas were even mentioned in the Bible. They were prized in ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. It appears that the Chinese were the first to eat both the seeds and pods as vegetables. Peas were brought to the United States soon after the colonists arrived. Today, the largest producers of peas are Russia, France, China and Denmark.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Peas
Dried peas are small, but mighty when considering their nutritional value. They are rich in fiber, including soluble fiber, which is known to lower cardiovascular disease risks by removing bile (and thereby cholesterol) from the body. They also contain a lot of molybdenum, B-vitamins (folate, Vitamin B1, and pantothenic acid), copper, manganese, protein, phosphorus, and potassium.

In addition to helping to remove cholesterol from the body, the fiber in dried peas helps to prevent constipation, and bowel disorders like irritable bowel syndrome and diverticulosis.

The soluble fiber in peas also helps to stabilize blood sugar. This is especially helpful to people with insulin resistance, hypoglycemia, or diabetes. Legumes like dried peas can help to balance blood sugar levels while providing a steady flow of energy. Studies have shown that diabetics who consumed high fiber diets (of about 50 grams of fiber a day) had lower blood glucose and insulin levels, along with lower levels of blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and very low-density lipoproteins (VLDL). These factors help to improve overall health along with reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

What is a split pea?
Split green peas are a field pea variety that is grown specifically for being dried and split. These are different from “garden peas” that are grown to be eaten fresh. Dried peas are used mostly in soups, stews, and casseroles.

Some people wonder if split peas are the same thing as lentils. Even though split peas and lentils are very similar in size and shape, they are not the same thing. They are different varieties of legumes. Split peas are a field pea, grown specifically for drying. Lentils are the dried seed of a different plant. They are not interchangeable legumes.

Split green peas are the same plant as whole dried green peas. The whole peas were not peeled and split before being sold, like the split peas.

Should peas be soaked?
Split Peas. Split peas can be soaked before being cooked, but it’s not mandatory. Most resources don’t suggest soaking split peas.

Whole Dried Peas. Whole dried peas need to be soaked for at least 8 hours or overnight before being cooked.

How to Prepare Peas
Split Peas. To prepare dried split peas, simply sort through the peas to remove any debris. Then rinse them in a colander and transfer them to the cooking pot. Follow your recipe from there. To cook them alone, place your rinsed peas in a pot and cover them with cold water. The usual ratio is 1 cup of peas to 2 or 3 cups of water. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat to simmer, cover the pot, and allow them to cook for about 30 to 45 minutes, until they are tender. Note that many recipes for split pea soup will require a longer cooking time, making the peas mushy so the soup can have a creamy texture.

Whole Dried Peas. To prepare whole dried peas, first sort through them and remove any debris. Then rinse and drain them. Please them in a large bowl or pot and cover them with enough water to allow them to expand and still remain submerged. After soaking, drain the water and cover them with fresh water for cooking in a pot with a lid. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat, cock the lid on the pot, and simmer the peas until they are tender. This usually takes about one hour, but can take longer depending upon how old the peas are and how soft you want them to be.

About the Foam. White foam can form on the top of your water when cooking dried peas and beans. It can simply be skimmed off and discarded. Of, if preferred, it can be left alone and it will eventually dissolve and be incorporated back into the cooking water. There is no harm either way you go…discarding it or leaving it in the water. The choice is yours!

Texture When Cooked
Split Peas. Split peas will usually become mushy and disintegrate when cooked completely. With this, they will provide the rich creamy texture characteristic of pea soup. If you prefer, split peas can be cooked until they are just tender so they will somewhat maintain their shape.

Whole Peas. When completely cooked, whole dried peas will remain intact. However, if you want to use them for pea soup, simply take an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor, and blend them up to make a creamy foundation for any soup.

Will They Sprout?
Split green peas will not sprout since the whole seed is not intact. Whole, dried peas will sprout. They can be jar sprouted in only 2 or 3 days. They can also be tray sprouted and grown into microgreens. There are many resources on the internet that give details on how to jar sprout or tray sprout whole dried green peas.

Resources
https://www.aaaai.org/ask-the-expert/relationship-split-pea-green-pea

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=56

https://www.camelliabrand.com/about-the-bean/about-green-split-peas/

https://www.cooksinfo.com/split-green-peas

https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/cooking-cookware/cooking-with-legumes-dried-peas/

https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-split-peas-and-lentils-word-of-mouth-214986

http://sprouting.com/product/549/Peas%2C-Green.html

https://www.bobsredmill.com/recipes/how-to-make/basic-preparation-instructions-for-green-split-peas/

https://startcooking.com/how-to-beans-split-peas-and-lentils

 

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.

Orange Cream Beverage

Orange Cream Beverage (Non-Alcoholic!)

If you strive to eat the healthiest options you can find, yet you sometimes miss the flavors of “yester-year,” this fast and REALLY simple beverage recipe may help you out. The first sip instantly reminds me of a Creamsicle popsicle I used to enjoy in my youth. Although I haven’t had one for countless years, it’s a flavor I haven’t forgotten. When I think of those popsicles, many fun memories come to mind. Well I recently recreated the easiest and healthiest version of that flavor that I could possibly concoct. TWO ingredients! That’s it.

Below is a video demonstration of how to make this delicious beverage. The written recipe is below the video.

Enjoy!
Judi


Orange Cream Beverage
(Non-Alcoholic!)

2 parts orange juice
1 part extra creamy oat milk

Add ingredients to a glass, stir, and enjoy!

Tip: To make this even more creamy, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yogurt may also be added. Coconut milk or any milk desired may be used in place of the oat milk, but the flavor will change.

 

Apples

About Autumn Glory Apples

 

Apples 101 – About Autumn Glory Apples

Origin
Autumn Glory apples are a cross between Fuji and Golden Delicious apples. They were developed and have been grown exclusively by Superfresh Growers in Washington state. The apples were first sent to market in 2011.

Nutrition Facts
The nutritional aspects of Autumn Glory apples would be roughly equivalent to that of other sweet apples. One average Autumn Glory apple has about 100 calories. They are high in Vitamin C and fiber. They also supply potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin K, manganese, riboflavin, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, thiamin, Vitamin A and Vitamin E.

It is worth noting that a lot of the nutrients found in apples are in the skin. So, it’s worth eating the peel of apples, if possible.

Characteristics of Autumn Glory Apples
Appearance. Autumn Glory apples are somewhat asymmetrical. They have yellow skin with red coloring over the yellow.

Flavor and Texture. The flesh of Autumn Glory apples is yellow, crispy, and juicy. It has a cider-like aroma with a sweet flavor. It is described as tasting like apple pie with caramel and cinnamon notes. Some describe the flavor as being like applesauce. Autumn Glory apples have low acidity.

Storage/Shelf-Life. Autumn Glory apples can be stored in the refrigerator or another cool, dry place for several weeks.

Best Uses for Autumn Glory Apples
Fresh. The flavor and texture of Autumn Glory apples makes them an excellent choice for snacking and eating out of hand. They would also be a good addition to fruit and green salads of all types. They pair well with strong flavored cheeses. When juiced, the flavor of Autumn Glory apples makes an excellent cocktail base and blends well with rum, whiskey, and white wine (for sangria).

Baking. Autumn Glory apples are sweet with a hint of cinnamon and spice. This makes them an excellent flavor for baked apples, or an addition to assorted baked goods like pies, crisps, muffins, and crumbles.

Cooking. Autumn Glory apples make a sweet applesauce, especially with the hint of spice already in their flavor. The flavor of Autumn Glory apples pairs well with savory foods like fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, sage, and basil), pork, and nuts (especially almonds and peanuts).

Recipe Links
Autumn Glory Apple Bread https://www.delishknowledge.com/autumn-glory-apple-bread/

Easy, Healthy Apple Recipes with Autumn Glory Apple https://www.healthygrocerygirl.com/blog/easy-healthy-apple-recipes-with-autumn-glory-apple/

Crustless Apple Pie https://www.thefoodhussy.com/recipe-crustless-apple-pie/

Autumn Glory Apple Crumble Tart https://www.theproducemoms.com/2015/02/25/autumn-glory-apple-tart-recipe-crumble/

Autumn Glory Apple Slab Pie https://superfreshgrowers.com/recipes/autumn-glory-apple-slab-pie

Rustic Autumn Glory Apple Galette https://cafejohnsonia.com/2016/11/rustic-autumn-glory-apple-galette.html

Apple Recipes Featuring Autumn Glory Apples https://www.healthygrocerygirl.com/blog/apple-recipes-featuring-autumn-glory-apples/


Resources

https://specialtyproduce.com/produce/Autumn_Glory_Apples_10166.php

https://www.producebluebook.com/2020/01/13/autumn-glory-apple-outpacing-other-apples/

https://theproducenews.com/headlines/autumn-glory-apple-season-begins

https://superfreshgrowers.com/our-fruit/apples/autumn-glory

https://superfreshgrowers.com/the-bite/autumn-glory-apples-quickly-become-the-craze-on-social-media

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/peeling-fruits-veggies#TOC_TITLE_HDR_2

 

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.

Turmeric

Turmeric 101 – The Basics

 

Turmeric 101 – The Basics

About Turmeric
Dried turmeric comes from the root (rhizome) of the plant Curcuma longa. Before being processed, the root looks a lot like ginger root. That’s no coincidence, since they are in the same plant family, Zingiberaceae (also known as the “ginger family”). Turmeric is sometimes referred to as Indian saffron since it has as very deep yellow-orange color like the prized spice, saffron. Sometimes turmeric is referred to as “curcuma” in reference to its highly praised component, curcumin. Because of these unique and special qualities, turmeric has been used throughout history as a culinary spice, herbal medicine, and dye for fabrics.

The flavor of turmeric is unique and all its own. The flavor is peppery, warm, and bitter. Its fragrance is mild and somewhat like a blend of orange and ginger.

People in the United States are mostly familiar with the dried, powdered form of turmeric, but the fresh variety is growing in popularity. When purchased fresh, it looks very similar to ginger root. But when cut, the flesh is bright orange and very different than that of ginger root.

Turmeric is native to India and Southeast Asia, where it has been used as a culinary spice for thousands of years. Additionally, turmeric has remained a mainstay in traditional medicine, going back thousands of years in the Ayurvedic tradition. In recent years in the United States, turmeric has become more popular for its natural medicinal properties. The vast majority of the world’s turmeric is grown in and exported from India.

Nutrition and Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is an excellent source of iron and manganese. It is also a good source of Vitamin B6, fiber, copper, and potassium.

Turmeric is well known for its many health benefits. The health-promoting phytonutrients in turmeric include curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, tumerones, and tumenorols. However, many of the health benefits of turmeric appear to be due to its special compound, curcumin. In fact, most research on the benefits of turmeric actually are centered around curcumin and not the spice itself. The amount of curcumin in turmeric is actually small, only 2 to 5% of the weight of the root. The amount can vary depending on the species, growing conditions, and timing of growth and harvest. However, when possible, use the whole spice to flavor food, rather than its single component, curcumin. Even though the other healthful components in turmeric have not been studied as much as curcumin, there is almost always greater value in consuming the whole food rather than its isolated parts.

Decreased Cancer Risk. Many research studies have demonstrated an overall reduced cancer risk from curcumin. These effects seem to be due to curcumin’s antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-regulatory, enzyme-related, cell signaling, and cell regulatory mechanisms. These benefits apply to a wide range of types of cancers including cancer of the prostate, pancreas, lung, colon, cervix, breast, mouth, tongue, and stomach. Clearly, you can reduce your overall risk of cancer with regular consumption of turmeric.

Detoxification. Research has well-documented the detoxification effects of curcumin. It stimulates Phase II detox activity by allowing cells to bind toxins together with other molecules so they can be excreted from the body. As more toxins are bound and excreted, our risk for cancer decreases.

Cardiovascular Benefits. Adding turmeric to food helps to control blood fat levels after a meal. This effect was seen when individuals remained relaxed after their meal. When engaged in stressful activities post-meal, their blood fats were more elevated.

Animal studies have also shown that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin from turmeric improve blood pressure and lower the overall risk of cardiovascular disease.

Improved Production of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid). Curcumin appears to stimulate the production of DHA from ALA, the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid. ALA and DHA are omega-3 fatty acids with proven health benefits, improving cognitive function and protecting the nervous system. Many foods contain small amounts of ALA, but preformed DHA is found in only a few foods (mostly fatty fish like salmon and sardines). Largely, the body is responsible for converting some ALA to DHA. However, the conversion rate is small and many people aren’t good converters. Curcumin has been found to stimulate the enzymes needed to make that conversion, helping to increase our level of DHA. This, in turn, helps to promote proper brain function and wards off neurodegenerative problems like Alzheimer’s disease.

Helps to Preserve Beta-Carotene in Cooked Foods. Including turmeric as a spice in cooked foods helps to preserve the beta-carotene in some foods, such as carrots and pumpkin.

Protection of the Digestive Tract. When curcumin is broken down in the digestive tract, it releases vanillin and ferulic acid. These are well-studied antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that may help to protect the digestive tract from cancer and other conditions known to afflict the bowels. Animal studies have shown that Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and inflammatory bowel disease may all improve with the use of turmeric.

A little goes a long way! Researchers have found that the benefits of turmeric and its compound curcumin can be realized without ingesting huge amounts of the spice. While many studies have looked at the amount of turmeric that may be ingested in India, where turmeric is used a lot, studies have shown that in some situations, as little as 50 mg of turmeric (as little as 1/50th of a teaspoon) when ingested regularly can have beneficial effects over several months.

Helps Prevent the Formation of Heterocyclic Amines in Grilled Meats. Heterocyclic amines are harmful compounds that can form when meats are cooked at high temperatures, such as in grilling and pan frying. Such compounds have been shown to cause assorted cancers in animal studies. Researchers have found that meat that was marinated in a spice mixture containing 1-2 teaspoons of turmeric per 3.5 ounces of meat were less likely to form heterocyclic amines when grilled, than meat that was not treated with the turmeric-laden spice mix.

How to Select Turmeric
Most grocery stores carry dried, powdered turmeric in the spice isle. The color of turmeric is not the best indicator of freshness because it can vary from yellow to orange. Aroma is the best indicator of freshness, but it’s not possible to smell the powder when purchasing the powder prepackaged. Look for a “Best by” date stamped somewhere on the container and use that as your guide for freshness.

Some stores are carrying fresh turmeric, which can be found in the refrigerated produce section, often near ginger root. Many people prefer the flavor of fresh turmeric over that of dried, powdered and will opt for fresh roots if they are available. When buying fresh turmeric, choose firm roots and avoid those that are soft, wrinkled, or shriveled.

How to Store Turmeric
Store dried, powdered turmeric in an airtight container in a cool, dry, dark place such as a cupboard or your pantry. Use it within a year.

Fresh turmeric root should be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a plastic bag or in an airtight container. It should be used within a week or two. If you cannot use it all within that time, the remainder may be frozen for several months.

Dried vs Fresh Turmeric
Dried Turmeric. Dried turmeric is relatively easy to find in the spice isle of most Western grocery stores. Dried turmeric comes from the same rhizome (root) as does fresh. It was simply dried first and ground into a powder.

Fresh Turmeric. Turmeric is not used in Western foods as heavily as it is used in Asian and other cultures around the world. Because of that, many grocery stores do not carry fresh turmeric root. If they do stock it, the rhizome would be found in the refrigerated section of the produce department, often near ginger root. If your store does not carry it, try finding it in a specialty store that specializes in ethnic foods, such as Asian or Indian cuisine supplies.

Shelf Life. Fresh turmeric can last a few weeks in the refrigerator. Powdered turmeric can last for years when stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from light. However, for best flavor, use dried turmeric within six months to a year.

Flavor. When compared in cooked dishes, both dried and fresh turmeric are indistinguishable, lending a mild flavor to the food. In an uncooked dish, fresh turmeric may impart a gingery heat to food if a lot of it is used.

Nutrient Availability. Turmeric has a lot of antioxidants that prove to be extremely health-promoting. Those found in fresh turmeric are more easily absorbed and used by the body than those found in the powdered form. For the best nutrient absorption, use turmeric with black pepper and a little added fat in a food. The compounds in turmeric are fat-soluble and the piperine in black pepper makes compounds in turmeric more bioavailable.

Interchangeability.  The flavor of fresh turmeric may be a bit brighter when used in a raw food application. However, when used in a cooked food, the flavors of fresh and dried turmeric are considered to be indistinguishable. When substituting one for the other, use three times more of fresh, grated turmeric than you would the powdered version (1 tablespoon of freshly grated turmeric = 1 teaspoon of dried, powdered turmeric).

Which Application for Which Food? Use fresh turmeric when making a fresh or raw food, such as a smoothie or pickles. You will get the full benefit of the flavor and nutritional components that way. When using turmeric in cooked foods or when making a dry rub, use powdered turmeric.

How to Prepare Fresh Turmeric
Just like when using fresh ginger, fresh turmeric should be peeled first. Some people use the edge of a teaspoon to peel the rhizome since it won’t cut into the flesh as much as a paring knife. Then cut off whole pieces or grate it with a microplane grater. Wrap any unused portion with plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator for up to 7 to 10 days.

Quick Ideas and Tips for Using Turmeric
* When substituting fresh for dried turmeric (or vice versa), the equivalents are as follows:  1 inch of fresh turmeric = 1 tablespoon freshly grated turmeric = 1 teaspoon dried, ground turmeric powder

* Try adding a pinch of turmeric to scrambled eggs. The color will blend in and the flavor will be subtle.

* Toss a little powdered turmeric onto vegetables before roasting them. This works well with cauliflower, potatoes, and root vegetables.

* Try adding a pinch of powdered turmeric to rice. It will give it some color and a little flavor.

* Sprinkle powdered turmeric on sautéed or braised greens like kale, collards, and cabbage.

* Add a pinch of powdered turmeric to chicken or vegetable soup.

* Try a slice of fresh turmeric (or a pinch of powdered) in fresh juice or smoothies.

* Fresh turmeric stains very easily and quickly. To avoid stains on your hands, wear kitchen gloves when working with it. To remove stains from cutting boards and counter tops, try soap and water as quickly as you can after the stain appears. You may also use diluted bleach, Soft Scrub, or a paste made with baking soda and water. However, to be sure the chemicals won’t harm your counter top, try them in a very small, inconspicuous area first just to be sure!

* Add a little turmeric powder to egg salad to give it a deeper color.

* Try mixing cooked brown rice with raisins, cashews and a little turmeric, cumin and coriander.

* To give salad dressings a yellow hue, add a pinch of turmeric powder.

* Add a little powdered turmeric to macaroni and cheese.

* If you’re not used to adding turmeric to foods, use a small amount at first. The flavor is distinct, and the color is very concentrated and may impart a yellow color to your food. Too much may make a food look somewhat muddy or give it a flavor you don’t want. When not sure, start with 1/8 teaspoon at a time.

* To make the nutrients and healthful compounds in turmeric more bioavailable, include some black pepper and a little fat in the same food as the turmeric. The piperine in black pepper makes the antioxidants in turmeric more useable by the body, and the fat increases absorption.

* Make golden pancakes! Add ½ teaspoon of powdered turmeric to dry pancake mix. This will give your pancakes a deep golden color.

* Add freshly grated turmeric to marinades for meat, fish, or poultry.

* Add grated fresh turmeric to your favorite stir-fry.

Herbs and Spices That Go Well with Turmeric
Cilantro, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, curry powder, ginger, lemongrass, mustard and mustard seeds, pepper (black)

Foods That Go Well with Turmeric
Proteins, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds: Beef, chicken, chickpeas, eggs, lamb, lentils, nuts and seeds (in general), peanuts, peas, tofu

Vegetables: Carrots, cauliflower, chiles, garlic, ginger, greens, kohlrabi, okra, onions, potatoes, scallions, shallots, spinach, squash (winter), sweet potatoes, vegetables (root)

Fruits: Avocados, coconut, cranberries, currants, lemon, lime, raisins, tamarind

Grains and Grain Products: Grains (in general), noodles, quinoa, rice

Dairy and Non-Dairy: Coconut milk, yogurt

Other Foods: Oil (esp. olive), sugar (esp. brown)

Turmeric has been used in the following cuisines and dishes…
Curries, dals, stewed greens, Indian cuisine, Middle Eastern cuisines, Moroccan cuisine, mustard (prepared), pickles, salad dressings, salads, sauces, soups, Southeast Asian cuisines, stews, stir-fries, tagines, Thai cuisine, tofu scrambles

Suggested Flavor Combos Using Turmeric
Add turmeric to any of the following combinations…

Basmati Rice + Dried Fruit + Garlic + Lemon + Pistachios + Scallions
Black Pepper + Lemon Juice + Olive Oil
Carrots + Chickpeas + Cinnamon + Couscous + Saffron + Zucchini
Cilantro + Cumin + Garlic + Onion + Paprika + Parsley + Pepper
Coriander + Cumin

Recipe Links
DIY Curry Powder https://minimalistbaker.com/diy-curry-powder/

20 Tasty Turmeric Recipes to Spice Up Your Life https://www.thekitchn.com/recipes-with-turmeric-223795

The Best Ways to Cook with Turmeric https://www.mashed.com/51847/best-ways-cook-turmeric/

Sunshine Smoothie with Coconut, Clementine, and Turmeric https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-sunshine-smoothie-with-coconut-clementine-and-turmeric-recipes-from-the-kitchn-199347

Cauliflower Steaks with Ginger, Turmeric, and Cumin https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-cauliflower-steaks-recipes-from-the-kitchn-195541

The Superfood Baked Potato https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-the-superfood-baked-potato-recipes-from-the-kitchn-201261

Turmeric-Ginger Tea https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-turmericginger-tea-104084

Southwestern Tofu Scramble https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-southwestern-tofu-scramble-recipes-from-the-kitchn-183466

Mixed Bean Masala with Fragrant Yellow Rice https://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-mixed-bean-masala-with-fragrant-yellow-rice-177562

5-Minute Vegan Golden Milk https://minimalistbaker.com/5-minute-vegan-golden-milk/

Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk) https://downshiftology.com/recipes/turmeric-milk-dairy-free/#wprm-recipe-container-32718

 

Resources
https://www.thekitchn.com/recipes-with-turmeric-223795

https://www.mashed.com/51847/best-ways-cook-turmeric/

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78#descr

https://www.thekitchn.com/whats-the-difference-between-fresh-and-dried-turmeric-ingredient-intelligence-203090

https://www.spiceography.com/fresh-turmeric-vs-powder/

https://www.today.com/food/how-cook-turmeric-super-healthy-trendy-root-t43536

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turmeric-and-black-pepper#health-benefits

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.

Sweet Mustard Dressing

Sweet Mustard Dressing (Oil-Free, Vegan Option)

Here’s a yummy sweet mustard dressing, made without added oils. It can be vegan, if desired, by using maple syrup in place of honey. Either option will lend a different flavor, but either way is delicious and works well on any green salad or in any food calling for a honey mustard dressing. Below is a video demonstration of how to make the dressing. The written recipe follows the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Sweet Mustard Dressing (Oil-Free, Vegan Option)
Makes About 3 Cups

1 cup of cooked or canned (and drained) white beans of choice
1 avocado, diced
½ cup water
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ cup Dijon mustard
¼ cup maple syrup or honey

One-Half of the Recipe (Makes 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 cup of cooked or canned (and drained) white beans of choice
1/2 avocado, diced
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp maple syrup or honey

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Enjoy! Store extra in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.

Fruits and Vegetables

Easy Ways to Add More Fruits and Veggies to Your Day

We all know we need to eat more plant foods…more fruits and vegetables, in particular. Most Americans don’t eat the recommended number of servings of these important foods yet they know they should. If you’re among that crowd and are looking for ways to include more plant foods into your day, I have some easy ideas for you to try.

Effective Way to Make Changes
First, remember that long-time habits cannot all be changed overnight (at least not permanently). The easiest way to make permanent change is to do it a little at a time. (Remember the saying, “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch; yard by yard, it’s hard.”) Pick something that’s do-able for you (such as always adding some type of fruit to your breakfast), make the change, and stick with it until it becomes second-nature to you…until you do it without thinking about it, and then you’re there! You’ve achieved that goal!

Next, keep that new habit and find something else to change in a positive way. Maybe find another way to add a vegetable to your lunch or to a snack food. Repeat the same process. Keep moving forward with this tactic, adding new changes when the others become a habit to you and they are “automatic.” Over time you’ll find that you’ve transformed your life (or at least your diet) for the good. Here are some ideas for adding more fruits and vegetables to your foods…

Breakfast
* Add fruit to cereal.

* Add fruit to yogurt and make it part of your breakfast.

* Add vegetables to an omelet. Mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, shredded carrots, greens (like kale), and tomatoes all blend well with eggs.

* Add fruit and greens (such as spinach) to a breakfast smoothie.

* Try a savory vegetable pancake. Sauté onions, carrots, spinach, and even mushrooms, then add them to a savory (not sweet) pancake batter. Cook as usual and enjoy (without the maple syrup). If you really want a topping, try unsweetened applesauce.

* Add diced apple to hot oatmeal or other porridge.

* Make a 100% fruit puree in advance to have available in the refrigerator. Top morning oatmeal with it.

* Is your morning time short? Try overnight oats with added berries. Add other fruits in the morning and you’ll have breakfast in no time.

* Try a loaded sweet potato for breakfast. Bake or boil it in advance, then warm it on the stove or in the microwave. Or, if time allows, pierce it and microwave it until it’s soft. Split it and fill the cavity with chopped nuts or your favorite nut butter and chopped fruit.

* Or fill a cooked sweet potato with scrambled eggs cooked with veggies such as sautéed onions, carrots, and chopped spinach.

* Sauté assorted vegetables such as kale, carrots, broccoli florets, mushrooms, and butternut squash. Add some beans, or top them with a soft-boiled egg. Have some toast, a side of cooked grain or even oatmeal.

* Add some sautéed vegetables to a breakfast burrito.

Lunch or Supper
* Enjoy a vegetable salad with your lunch (or supper), or as the whole meal. Add some fruit for sweetness, flavor and variety.

* Add as many vegetables as you can to a lunchtime sandwich. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sprouts, avocado, and spinach would all work well.

* Have some veggie sticks with or without dip on the side. Jicama, carrots, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, grape tomatoes, radishes, and even sugar snap peas and snow peas. Most offer great crunch and chewing experience while the dip can add variety in flavors. This is a healthful alternative to chips.

* Enjoy a piece of fresh fruit for dessert.

* Top meat, chicken or fish with a salsa of choice.

* Add shredded carrots, zucchini, or yellow squash to meatloaf, casseroles, and burgers (both meat and meatless).

* Add shredded vegetables to pasta sauce as it cooks. Carrots, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and yellow squash all blend well in tomato sauce.

* Add vegetables as toppings to your pizza.

* If you’re a meat eater, plan a meatless meal for one or two days a week. Plan a meal around a vegetable-based soup, stir-fry, or casserole. Add beans or legumes of choice for added protein.

* Use fresh vegetable or fruit slices as a garnish on your plate. Make a point of eating them rather than just enjoying their looks next to other foods.

* Stuff acorn (or other) squash, bell peppers, hollowed out zucchini, or spaghetti squash with a vegetable-bean mixture and enjoy that for supper. Be sure to eat the “bowl” along with the stuffing!

* Add vegetables to lasagna layers. Fresh spinach, finely shredded carrot, thinly sliced yellow squash or zucchini, and finely chopped steamed kale would all work well.

* When cooking rice or another grain for a side dish, add some frozen peas and even finely shredded carrots during the last few minutes of cooking time. Your grain will be embellished with vegetables for added color, nutrition and flavor. Not a fan of peas? Try finely shredded kale or spinach or something else that sounds good to you.

* Need a meal in a hurry? Make a quick quesadilla by stir-steaming or stir-frying some veggies (use a pack of assorted frozen (and thawed in a colander under running water) vegetables to make it even faster). Add in a handful of cooked beans, if desired. Place them on a tortilla and sprinkle with cheese of choice. Fold the tortilla, heat the tortilla on a frying pan to crisp it up some, and enjoy!

* Try cauliflower rice as a way to add more veggies to your meal. We’re not knocking rice here, just adding veggies. If you want the real thing (rice, that is), you could make a mixture of half rice and half cauliflower rice.

* Add finely chopped vegetables to polenta.

* If you’re not a huge fan of vegetables, yet want to add more to your meals, try dressing them up with your favorite salsa, glaze or sauce.

* Add pureed cauliflower, winter squash, sweet potato, or even bell peppers into sauces, mashed potatoes and even pot pies for added flavor, nutrition, and color.

* Try thickening soups and stews with vegetables instead of cornstarch. Okra will thicken, as will starchy vegetables like potatoes. Blended corn, mashed white or sweet potatoes, and pureed cooked root vegetables such as carrots may also do the trick. Although not “vegetables,” pureed beans in liquid can also be used to thicken soups. Blend equal parts of beans and soup broth. Add the slurry back to the pot and your soup should thicken.

* Try adding mashed, roasted cauliflower to mashed potatoes. This will make the potatoes healthier and creamier.

* Try a lettuce wrap. Make your usual taco, tortilla, or sandwich filling (but of course, with added veggies), then wrap it in a stack of lettuce leaves instead. Or take it one step further and try large collard green leaves, turnip green leaves, or flat-leaf kale leaves. Yet another way to add more veggies to your meal!

* Try a fish-less sushi. Use mushrooms, cucumbers, and avocado along with the sticky rice.

* Add some finely chopped spinach to your favorite risotto. Add it toward the end of cooking time since spinach cooks really fast.

* On a cold winter day, start your meal with a small warm bowl of vegetable soup as an appetizer. You’ll get veggies in and also curb your appetite so you don’t overeat.

* On a warm summer day, start your meal with a side salad or veggies and dip. Like with the soup, you’ll get more veggies in and curb your appetite a bit.

Salads
* Add vegetables to tuna, chicken, meat, or bean salads. Tomatoes, radishes, bell peppers, onions, would all work well. Serve on a bed of lettuce or spinach (and EAT the greens!).

* Include a green salad as a side dish with lunch and/or supper. Eat this, in addition to your “side” vegetable.

* Add variety to green salads by adding other vegetables such as red or green cabbage, spinach, carrots, green peas (frozen, thawed), mushrooms, celery, radishes, cucumbers, yellow squash or zucchini, broccoli and/or cauliflower, sprouts, sugar snap peas, snow peas, bell peppers, cooked green beans, scallions, tomatoes, radicchio, or any other vegetable you want.

* For a little sweetness, add some fruit to your green salads, such as pineapple, orange slices, grapes, berries of any sort, diced apples, diced pears, diced peaches, or mango cubes.

* Embrace “slaws.” Cole slaw doesn’t have to be limited to cabbage and mayonnaise. Red cabbage, green cabbage, shredded Brussels sprouts, grated kohlrabi, grated carrots, pineapple tidbits, grated apple, peanuts, hazelnuts, dried cranberries, raisins, celery root, beets, radishes, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, and even citrus fruits can all be incorporated into assorted vegetable slaws. Experiment and get creative with this one!

* Don’t get stuck in a rut with your salads. Vary your greens. There are plenty to choose from: iceberg, romaine, green leafy lettuce, red leaf lettuce, specialty lettuces, spring mix, baby green mixes, spinach, kale, shredded cabbage, even shredded collard greens…explore what’s available in your local store or farm market!

* Don’t just vary your bed of greens, but vary your toppings too! There are lots of possibilities including tomatoes, shredded carrots, celery, bell peppers, broccoli pieces, cauliflower pieces, cucumbers, cooked green beans, frozen (and thawed) green peas, sliced olives, raw yellow squash or zucchini slices, beet slices (pickled, steamed, or raw), asparagus (raw, steamed or sautéed), parsnips (raw, steamed or sautéed), roasted Brussels sprouts (or even raw), corn (canned, raw, frozen and thawed, steamed or boiled), shaved kohlrabi, jicama, shaved celery root, natural sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables (homemade is mild tasting and less pungent than the canned variety), onions (all varieties), butternut squash (raw, cubed and roasted, steamed, or sautéed).

* Don’t toss the broccoli stems! They’re perfectly edible. If the outer layer is too tough for you, shave it off with a vegetable peeler and save it for vegetable broth. Slice the remaining stalk into your salad for an added vegetable. They are crunchy but not tough, and taste like broccoli. Why toss them???

* Try making a vegetable salad without the greens, just for something different. Load it with tomatoes, shredded carrots, onions, bell peppers, cucumbers, sugar snap peas for sweetness, and any other veggies you want. Top it with your favorite dressing and enjoy!

Snacks and Other Foods
* Have some fruits and/or vegetable pieces available to snack on whenever you have a hunger urge. Sliced bell peppers, carrot and celery sticks, sliced radishes, sliced jicama, broccoli or cauliflower florets, whole cherry or grape tomatoes, raw sugar snap peas, raw snow peas, and sliced yellow squash or zucchini would all work well. Include some whole baby cucumbers for an easy grab and go, crunchy snack. For fruit, peeled Clementine oranges, grapes, apples, pears, sliced kiwi, cubed mango, diced pineapple, strawberries, plums, peaches, cherries (when they’re in season), and bananas would all work well for a quick and handy snack. On the run? Pack them in a to-go bag and you’ll have them whenever your “snack-attack” hits you.

* Boil a whole sweet potato with the peel on. Allow it to cool then store it in the refrigerator. When hungry, cut off a slice or two and enjoy it just as it is…plain and simple. When you get used to eating foods without added sugars, a boiled sweet potato will actually taste sweet to you.

* Add shredded fruits and vegetables to baked goods like quick breads and muffins. Shredded apples, carrots, yellow squash, and zucchini would all work well.

* Use a fruit puree as a dip on a fruit and cheese tray. Pureed raspberries and/or pineapple would be good.

* Use a vegetable puree as a dip on a vegetable tray. (Example: Roasted red bell peppers blended with a little balsamic vinegar.)

* Spread your favorite nut butter on apple or pear slices for a delicious, satisfying snack.

* Add mixed berries to some vanilla yogurt for a filling snack.

* Stuff celery sticks with your favorite nut butter.

* Enjoy a slice of cantaloupe topped with cashew cream or yogurt.

* Try spreading a tortilla or flatbread with your favorite nut butter, top it with thinly sliced banana and a few raisins. Roll it up and enjoy it right away, or wrap it for a to-go snack.

* Add fresh vegetable/fruit juice to your day, not as a meal replacer, but as a supplement.

Desserts
* Instead of making overly sweetened desserts like pie, cake and cookies, enjoy a piece of fresh fruit for dessert. When your taste buds get used to not being overrun with excess sugars, a piece of fruit will actually be refreshing and taste sweet.

* Puree fresh fruit to use as a dressing over another dessert such as cake, pie, pudding, and ice cream.

* Include fruit pieces or fruit puree into desserts like parfaits and puddings.

* Stew or poach pears with a little sweetener (sugar, honey, or maple syrup) and spice (ginger, cinnamon, cloves, star anise) for an elegant dessert.

* Try banana “nice cream” by blending a frozen (peeled) banana. Period. It’s delicious as it is, but can be embellished any way you want. When blending, add in a little vanilla extract, cocoa powder, or another fruit. It can be sweetened with whatever you want, if desired. Top it with chopped nuts, dried coconut, chocolate chips or your favorite fruit puree and you have a delicious, healthy, fruity dessert ready in very little time.

* For a refreshing dessert on a hot day, swirl a freshly made fruit puree of your choice into your favorite yogurt. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

* Make a parfait layering pudding or yogurt with 100% fruit puree, chopped fresh fruit of choice, and granola.

* Top your favorite pudding with a fruit puree (unsweetened, of course!), or small chunks of fresh fruit of choice.

* Make a refreshing fruit salad with whatever fruit you have available. Add a topping of 100% fruit puree, or stir in some pineapple tidbits with juice, then sprinkle with unsweetened coconut.

Plan Ahead
* If you know your time will be short during the work week, take some time on the weekend or one evening to prepare some fruits and veggies in advance. For instance, salad greens can be washed, spun dry, chopped, and stored in the refrigerator, ready for fast salad assembly any time you need it. Other salad vegetables may also be chopped in advance and stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for faster salad making.

* On a day off, make a large pot of soup that’s loaded with assorted vegetables. In fact, double the veggies (or at least increase the amount) called for in the recipe (if possible). This will increase the “hearty factor” of the soup along with the nutritional punch. Divide it into containers for grab-and-go lunches for the week, or for quick suppers when time is short.

* “Ditto” the above suggestion for making a large casserole with extra veggies on a day off. You’ll have lunches (or easy suppers) ready to go for the week.

* If you’re cooking something in the oven and have space, add some sweet potatoes wherever there’s room so they can bake at the same time. Enjoy them with meals during the week, or save them for special, sweet and satisfying snacks when needed.

* Keep frozen vegetables in the freezer. They can be ready at a moment’s notice to be used in a number of ways. Add them to soups, casseroles, stir-fries, quiches, pasta dishes, and rice or grain dishes. Thaw frozen vegetables like peas and carrots and add them to a green salad for extra nutrients, flavor, and variety.

* When grocery shopping, look for something new that you haven’t tried before in the produce isle. Make a point of including that in at least one dish during the coming week.

* Keep frozen assorted fruit in the freezer. This is handy especially when they’re out of season or you don’t have time to get to the store. They can be included in smoothies, blended into desserts, or thawed and used in whatever way needed.

* If you’ll be going off somewhere for the day, pack ready-to-go snack bags of easy to munch on veggies, like baby carrots, grape tomatoes, cucumber slices or baby whole cucumbers, sugar snap peas, snow peas, celery sticks, bell pepper strips, and maybe some easy to eat fruit like grapes, a plum, or a banana.

With all the suggestions above, I hope this gives you some ideas as to what will work for you in adding more fruits and vegetables to your day. If you have suggestions not mentioned above, please feel free to share them below! I’d love to hear from you!

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.

Vegan Mayonnaise

Vegan Mayonnaise (Oil Free)

Here’s a great substitute for traditional mayonnaise, if you’re looking for something that’s vegan and free of added oils. It’s easy to make and blends up quickly. Below is a video demonstration of how to make the mayo. The written recipe is below.

Enjoy!
Judi

Vegan Mayonnaise
(White Bean and Avocado Mayo)
Makes About 2 Cups

1 (15 oz) can of white beans of choice OR 1-3/4 cups cooked white beans of choice
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 Avocado, diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp water or aquafaba (reserved bean juice from the can)

One-Half of the Recipe (Makes about 1 cup)
1/2 (15 oz) can of white beans of choice OR ½ cup + 3/8 cup cooked white beans of choice
1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 Avocado, diced
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
1 Tbsp water or aquafaba (reserved bean juice from the can)

One-Fourth of the Recipe (Makes about ½ cup)
1/4 (15 oz) can of white beans of choice OR Scant ½ cup cooked white beans of choice
¾ tsp Dijon mustard
¼ Avocado, diced
¾ tsp lemon juice
¾ tsp white wine vinegar
½ Tbsp water or aquafaba (reserved bean juice from the can)

Rinse and drain the canned beans, reserving the liquid from the can, if opting to use it. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Use as you would any mayonnaise. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.

Cook’s Note: Since this is made with avocado, it will have a pale green tint, which is unlike traditional mayonnaise. However, the flavor is very similar to that of traditional mayonnaise.

Blended Creamy Orange Dessert

Blended Creamy Orange Dessert

Here’s a FAST and easy refreshing dessert or snack to make on a hot summer day. It’s simple to make, with few ingredients and can easily be tailored to your preferences. It reminds me of the Creamsicle popsicles I used to eat when I was young! The recipe makes 1 hefty serving or 2 modest servings, but can easily be increased to accommodate however many you need to feed. Below is a short video demonstration of how to make this dessert. The written recipe follows the video.

Enjoy!
Judi

Blended Creamy Orange Dessert
Makes 1 to 2 Servings

6 each (about ½ cup) frozen mango chunks
6 each (about ½ cup) frozen papaya chunks
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup coconut milk (canned, unsweetened, full-fat variety)

Place all ingredients in a small blender or food processor. Process briefly until smooth. Enjoy immediately!

Note: Sweetener can be added to this, if desired. This recipe can EASILY be increased to make whatever amount you need!

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Homemade Vegetable Broth

Making your own vegetable broth is not hard. Yes, it does take a little time, but it’s a great way to use up some vegetable scraps and can save a lot of money over time if you use a lot of it when cooking. Why not give it a try? You can make a small amount just for starters to see how it goes for you. When you’re comfortable, make a big pot of it, divide it into containers holding the amount you expect to use at one time, and freeze it. It should keep for up to 6 months in the freezer. What you add to your vegetable broth can vary according to what you have available and your personal preferences. There are few “hard and fast” rules to making it, so why not make some? If nothing else, add it to homemade vegetable soup and you’ll be glad you did!

Below is a video demonstration of how I make my own vegetable broth. The written recipe is below that, followed by ideas on ways to use the leftover vegetables from the broth.

Enjoy!
Judi

Homemade Vegetable Broth

1 onion, chopped (or 4 tablespoons of dried minced onion)
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 carrots, sliced
4 to 6 cups chopped greens of your choice (i.e. kale, collards, cabbage, bok choy, turnip greens)
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 Tbsp dried parsley
4 Bay leaves
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper (to taste, optional)*
Water to fill the pot

Optional add-ins of choice:
Bell peppers
Mushrooms
Corn cobs
Any vegetable scraps you saved in the freezer for making broth
Sugar
Garlic
Nutritional yeast
Marjoram

Place all ingredients in a large pot with a lid. Fill the pot with water. Cover the pot and bring everything to boil. Lower the heat, and allow everything to simmer for at least 1 hour (2 hours or more is preferable to get the most flavor out of your vegetables). When the vegetables are well cooked and flavors blended, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool some. Strain out the vegetables and place the broth in covered containers and label with the date made. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Note: When freezing broth, it is helpful to store it in containers that hold the amount you anticipate needing (or in increments of that amount). For instance, storing it in 1, 2 or 4-cup increments can be helpful when making soups calling for broth. Simply remove one or two containers and you’ll know you have the right amount of broth needed for your recipe.

* Adding salt, pepper, and other seasonings (such as garlic) is actually optional. Remember that your broth will be used in future recipes to add flavor to foods. It is generally not used alone as a soup in itself, but added to soups for flavor. Being conservative on seasonings allows you the freedom to season future dishes appropriately without having to take into consideration what was already added to the broth.

Ideas for using the vegetables from making the broth…
Yes, the flavor of the vegetables WILL be diminished after cooking them to make broth (at least, that’s the goal). But they are still OK to eat and there is still some nourishment left in them, along with their fiber. So, why not use them somehow? Here are some ideas.

* Season them with your favorite herbs and maybe a little salt and pepper, and simply eat them as a side dish with a meal. If the flavor is still too bland, combine them with some vegetables that were not used in making the broth. Cook the “new” vegetables however you want and add in the broth vegetables at the last minute, just to heat them up.

* Add them along with fresh vegetables to soups (especially vegetable soup), stews, and casseroles.

* Add them along with sautéed mushrooms and onions to an omelet.

* Puree them and add them to a Sloppy Joe mixture for bulk and thickening.

* Season them and serve them over rice or another grain.

* Add them to quinoa salad.

* Puree them and add them to chili as a thickening agent.

* Freeze them for later use.

* Squeeze them through a colander, in cheesecloth, or through a nut milk bag to get yet more broth out of them. Make pulp crackers with the pulp or add it to your compost pile.

* Puree them and add them to tomato or marinara sauce.

* Puree them and add them to burger patties or meatloaf (both meat or meatless).

* Puree them in a food processor, season the mash to your liking, spread onto dehydrator trays and dry them into veggie crackers.

* Puree the vegetables and stir them into softened cream cheese, cashew cream, or another base. Add whatever seasonings you like and use it as a vegetable dip.

* Puree the vegetables and use them as a base for creamy potato soup.

* If nothing else appeals to you, add them to a compost pile.

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began h
er 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.