Eating Healthy Isn’t All THAT Bad!

My husband has some dietary concerns so I’ve spent my almost 34 years with him evolving our meal menus to keep him in good health. In the course of my research and new recipes, we have learned to enjoy a lot of vegetables, etc., we never thought we’d ever find in our kitchen.

When I was growing up, frozen vegetable started appearing in the markets. If you are of an age to have tasted the first attempts a frozen peas, you will understand why a lot of us grew up hating anything with the word ‘vegetable’ in it!

Fortunately, I had somewhat discerning children who usually ate their vegetables without TOO much complaint especially if said meal was followed by cake or ice cream. These days, it is a rush to serving yourself vegetables as my children will take the majority of them. It only took years of me experimenting and finding ways to make the dreaded vegetable portion of dinner tasty.

These days, everyone’s favorite cooking method for vegetables is cutting squash, cabbage, broccoli, etc., into chunks, tossing them with olive oil, salt, pepper, and any other herbs and spices that sound good to you. (Want a really good source of great herbs and spices? https://www.thespicehouse.com/). You lay the prepared vegetables out on a parchment paper line baking sheet and bake for about 10-15 minutes or until there is a slight browning and they are JUST tender. You can have grated Parmesan on the table for a tasty addition.

I never ate Kale until about five years ago. Now it goes into salads, soups, stews, and often gets roasted for a fun, vegetable side dish. Easy, too! Just tear the leaves in large pieces from the woody stem and soak in a bowl of water with a fourth cup of vinegar for about five or ten minutes, rinse, and pat dry. You can do this ahead and roll the rinsed Kale in paper towel, cover in saran wrap, and refrigerate until needed. In a large bowl, toss the leaves with enough olive oil to give it a LIGHT shine. You don’t want to drown it. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc. So many choices to be had from the spice shelf! Arrange the leaves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until the leaves are crisp to the touch.

When Salad Isn’t Healthy . . .

Seems to me that with the general lack of discipline in the world, why are we surprised when some of our healthy groceries are not always grown, prepared for market, and placed in the stores for sale in the most humanly best condition? That’s when we have to get proactive on our own behalf and either raise such vegetation for ourselves or make sure we clean what we purchase far and above what we think it will need.

My rules are:

Nothing goes into my refrigerator that isn’t washed.

No bagged greens and lettuce. Yes, the packages claim they have been washed two or three times . . . but no mention about whether the water was changed all those times.

Always disinfect salad greens and vegetables.

If the fruit or melon has a skin, actually soap and water wash the outside before cutting through to the inside. Think about it! When the knife goes through a tainted skin, it could be dragging whatever germs, etc., that are sure to be on the outside across the fruit you are going to eat on the inside.

Ever think about washing a banana before handing it to your child? Why not? The peel protects the banana but what will protect you from the peel that has been around while and touched and handled in shipping and in the store.

Easy Thanksgiving Side Dish!

Okay, I’m old school in that no matter the reason for the meal, there will be either a salad or some sort of vegetable dish in attendance. I recently realized that the lowly and often misunderstood Brussel Sprout can claim a place of note at the dinner table.

Welcome Brussel Sprout Dish

2 pounds of cleaned and trimmed Brussel Sprouts
2 large green apples, unpeeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 medium red onion, peeled and diced in medium pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil . . . or more depending on your tastes
1 tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar (check the vinegar aisle at the store)
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
Zest of one lime and one orange
Salt and Pepper to taste

Tose the sprouts with all the ingredients making sure everything gets a shiny coat of olive oil. Place in a baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are just tender. Taste for seasonings and serve.

Seamlessly Blending Carrots Into Meals

When my children were in their formative years, ur budget was such that getting ten pounds of carrots for under three dollars made them a fixture on my weekly shopping list. Unfortunately, my children didn’t sympathize with me on this aspect of saving money. I had several unsuccessful attempts in disguising carrots at mealtimes. My children had radar when it came to sensing a carrot in their vicinity. I am sharing my failures with you so you can avoid the same dinner-time pitfalls. For some reason, they just didn’t work.

1. I tried passing off steamed carrots as hot dogs. One attempt at the subterfuge and relish and ketchup were never applied after that until the children tested the contents of the bun on both the dog and cat.

2. I tried something trendy. I told them it was orange sherbert but the unsuccessfully pureed carrot bumps cued them in.

3. Mixed mashed carrots into their liver and they still wouldn’t eat it!

4. Told them it was actually hashed, orange rutabagas, not carrots. They threatened to call 911.

5. Painted red stripes on carrots and put them into their Christmas stockings. Told them Santa left the candy canes. You don’t want to know.

6. Tried honesty . . . told them carrots taste like chicken.

7. Found a recipe for ground carrots and cottage cheese that was suppose to fry up ‘just like a hamburger patty’. My children’s first question was, “Mom, why are you frying cottage cheese and carrots?”

8. Told them they couldn’t have dessert unless they ate all their carrots at dinner. Almost had a mutiny when they discovered dessert was Carrot Cake.

9. Told them they weren’t carrots but odd-colored zucchini. Actually refused to believe me!

10. Chopped up the carrots into cubes and told them it was tofu in their stir fry.

What To Do With a Brussel Sprout!

I never even saw a Brussel Sprout until I was in my teens. At that point in my life, vegetables were something to either avoid or craftily hide before  escaping the dinner table. I asked a friend once what Brussel Sprouts tasted line and he grimaced and said, “They taste like nasty, little cabbages . . . only worse!”

After years of marriage, I found a recipe that called for Brussel Sprouts and decided to try it . . . and the family loved them!

Although I have several ways to prepare them these days, my go to recipe is simple and tasty – never a problem with leftovers! Simply put, you trim the sprouts removing the wilted leaves and stem, slice them in halves or quarters (Your call here!) and put them all in a big bowl.  Splash in about a quarter cup of olive oil, salt, pepper, and any spice or herb you have in your cupboard that sounds good. I also put in a tablespoon of nutritional yeast for the mild cheesy taste it imparts. Add a tablespoon of either cinder vinegar or  Balsamic vinegar. Toss the sprouts so they are coated with the oil and spices, etc. and place in a baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until they are browned around the edges and tender.

The ending result should look like this:

 

Nationwide Listeria Outbreak

The modern world still has it’s problems with food and safety. Since this one deals with vegetables and prepackaged vegetable mixes, it could have far-reaching effects. The stores are listed along with what could be a problem item.

http://thedailypatriots.com/alert-nationwide-listeria-outbreak-affects-vegetables-trader-joes-walmart-safeway-complete-list/