Thursday, March 15, 2018

Go Further With Food at the Farmers Market

Even during the winter season, I find foods I want at the local farmers market.  There are fresh eggs with dark orange yolks, shallots and onions just the size I need.  I find garlic with large, easy peeled cloves and golden potatoes.  There's celery root that's tasty in beef roasts from pasture raised cows.  There are dried beans, good for eating and planting with directions from the original grower.  There's popcorn when popped that's better than any you've ever tasted!  

The greens and spinach didn't wait till the official calendar said it was time for "spring" greens.  I found large beets to make red velvet cupcakes and brussel sprouts for roasting.  There are pork tenderloins that make any meal special.  

I can always find a sweet treat from the baker who's even sweeter than the goods she sells.

What I value most from the Farmers Market are the friends I have made.  The lines may be long at the individual tables, but everyone smiles, thanks you and remembers your name.  I'm lucky that the farm families I'm close to have a nearby store, where I stop weekly, talk, learn and shop.

What began with food goes further with friends and learning.  Fresh, nutrient rich nourishment and social interaction-I accomplish all these at the winter market.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Book Review: 150 Best Waffle Maker Recipes

I have enjoyed giving my 80s style waffle maker new life, cooking omelets, potato crisps and even crab cakes on the device.  I like the crispiness of the end products.  When I was asked to review this cook book, I didn't hesitate, knowing I'd find even more products to make.  

The authors, Marilyn Haugen and Jennifer Mackenzie have written several other cookbooks using other common kitchen appliances. The book "expands the usefulness of waffle makers beyond the traditional" with chapters featuring breakfast recipes and chapters on lunch, snacks and main dish entrees. The products are all quick cooking.

My favorite recipe is in the "Breakfast/Brunch" chapter for Cinnamon Rolls.

I modified the recipe to include 1/2 whole grain wheat flour and 12 Tablespoons added sugar versus the 20 Tablespoons in the book.  The result was still delicious.  The waffled rolls were not doughy.  The crispy cinnamon-brown sugar filling that oozed onto the grids was delicious.  

The cookbook has many versions of the classic breakfast waffle.  I loved the Multigrain Waffles, made with whole wheat and barley flours, oats, flaxseed and yogurt.

There are vegetarian and vegan recipes.  Here's my Veggie Quesadillas with black beans, corn and cheese, sandwiched in corn tortillas.

Also for lunch was the tuna melt sandwich featured at the top of the page.  

For the Veggie Tot recipe, I ground broccoli, brussel sprouts and zucchini to form these tasty dinner bites.

My favorite recipe of all was the one for Grilled Shrimp Skewer, featuring a delicious Honey Barbecue recipe.  I will try this one again!

Thank you Robert Rose for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of creating meals and eating! 

Now home cooks can enjoy scrumptious restaurant-quality sweet and savory waffles.

To say that that waffles are enjoying a moment is an understatement. The Waffle House sells 145 waffles per minute — 877 million waffles and counting since they opened — and almost 10% of North Americans eat waffles at least once a week. But the really hot trend in waffles is taking the experience beyond breakfast to create savory sandwich-style meals. If the lineups outside waffles-only restaurants are any indication, waffles are here to stay.
Bestselling authors Marilyn and Jennifer have created 150 delightfully delicious and inspired waffle recipes, from delectable breakfast and brunch options to snacks, burgers and sandwiches to tantalizing desserts and treats.

MARILYN HAUGEN is passionate about cooking and entertaining and has turned this passion into a very successful cookbook career. She is the bestselling author of 150 Best Spiralizer Recipes, 175 Best Instant Pot Recipes and 175 Best Superfood Blender Recipes.
JENNIFER MACKENZIE is a professional home economist and is in constant demand for her incredible recipe development skills. She is the bestselling author of The Dehydrator Bible, The Complete Trail Food Cookbook and Sous Vide Basics.

208 pages total • 7" x 10" • Index
16 color photographs
ISBN 978-0-7788-0589-2
$19.95 CA / $19.95 US / £14.95 UK
Publication date: February 2018

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Go Further With Food at Breakfast

Breakfast is a time for building up muscles, stamina and frame of mind. This is the meal when protein intake is emphasized.  Breakfast is especially important for seniors and those recuperating from illness or injury.   While most Americans eat the bulk of the daily protein later in the day, it's best to to space the intake throughout the day.  

I aim for 20-24 grams of protein at breakfast.  That's more than a cup of milk or a container of yogurt-though that's a place to start. Soy and pea milk each have equivalent amounts of protein per cup (8 grams) as cows' milk.  Almond, rice and coconut milk do not.  Greek yogurt has twice the protein as regular milk.

Like other meals-include a fruit or vegetable and a whole grain with the protein foods. 

Fennel Muesli pictured above is paired with Greek yogurt (higher in protein than regular yogurt), strawberries and a glass of milk.
Bulgur Breakfast Bowl bolsters protein with peanut butter, ricotta cheese and yogurt.

A slice of Ricotta Frittata (leftover from dinner) has more than one egg and a serving of ricotta cheese.  To this meal, I'd add a slice of whole grain toast and a glass of milk.

This Quinoa Pancake with Lemon "Crema" bolsters high protein quinoa with egg, milk, yogurt and walnuts.   

Hard cooked eggs paired with spinach pesto pairs the ideal protein of eggs with cheese and nuts in the pesto.  This is an "egg-cellant" breakfast item to make ahead.

Try making an "Effortless Egg Salad" on the weekend to make a breakfast on the run sandwich Monday morning.

Nut butters spread on a muffin adds protein to this smoothie bowl breakfast.

Fennel Muesli

12 (1/3 cup) servings

Mix pepitas, almonds, pecans and seeds (It is fine to substitute other nuts). Toss on a wide rim baking sheet.  Toast in a 350 F. oven for 7 minutes.  Reduce oven to 275F.
1/3 cup pepitas
1/3 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup pecans
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Mix honey, peanut butter, oil, orange and vanilla until smooth.  
1/3 cup honey
3 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 tablespoon vanilla

Toss peanut butter sauce with nuts and seeds and oats.  Mix until completely covered.
2 cups old fashioned oats
Spread onto parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Stir.  

Chop apricots and berries in a food processor.  Mix with partially roasted granola.  Bake in oven for another 30 minutes.
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup fresh berries, chopped (I used wild black raspberries picked last season and frozen)

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Go Further with Food-Reducing Food Waste in Cafeterias

Americans throw away 90 billion pounds of food each year.  We see that in our homes when cleaning the refrigerator.  Compare that to the refrigerators in food service establishments!  Many cafeterias serve hundreds of meals a day, offering a wide variety of choices.  What do cafeteria managers do to control food waste?

Plan wisely.     
Store leftovers in assigned places.  Require all staff members to check that cooler at the start of the shift to plan and use of leftovers. 
Plan cycle menus to utilize leftovers.  Plan "potato soup" the day after "baked potatoes" are on the menu, and "barbecued chicken pizza"  the day after "barbecued chicken". 
Keep detailed sales records with number of each item sold.  Note time of run-outs.  Keep seasonal sales records.  Use these to forecast for the next cycle.

Prepare wisely.
When practical, prepare foods the day of service.
Check dates when unloading deliveries.  
Rotate stock, using first in, first out. 

Serve wisely.
Practice portion control.  Limit self serve items to salad bar and fountain drinks.

Store and utilize leftovers safely.
Cool quickly in shallow layers.  Some foods, like baked potatoes and roasts require cutting in half to cool properly.
Monitor cool down temperatures of hazardous foods 2 and 4 hours later to comply with health department rules. 

Partner with a local soup kitchen.
Arrange for scheduled pickup of items.  Some cafeterias operate weekdays only.  Schedule a pickup on Friday of foods that can't be saved till Monday.
Keep records of donations with the goal of reducing overall leftovers.  Non profit operations can use the value of these donations to maintain their status.
Ask your facility attorney and health department representative to assist in the planning of these donations.  Many successful partnerships have existed for years.

National Nutrition Month® is a nutrition education and information campaign sponsored annually by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Buckwheat Treat

We enjoyed these whole grain and gluten free waffles for dinner with a sunny-side egg on top.  This morning, I enjoyed these with Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries and a sprinkling of buckwheat granola.  I'm certain these would make a great dessert topped with vanilla ice cream.  The recipe is based on one from Bon Appetit.  Mine has less sugar, less fat and a some homemade applesauce.  Here's how I made these:

Buckwheat Waffles

(8 Servings-2 waffles each)

Beat eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl.
2 eggs
2 tablespoon brown sugar

In a separated bowl, mix flour, cocoa, flaxmeal, salt, baking powder, baking soda and chocolate.
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa (not the Dutch processed kind)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 ounce 60% cacao chocolate chips, broken in a food processor

In a mixing cup, mix milk, juice, melted buttery spread, vanilla and applesauce.
2 cups skim milk
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 cup buttery spread, melted
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 

Alternately add dry and liquid ingredients to mixing bowl, beginning and ending with dry flour mix.  Stir just until mixed.

On a hot waffle iron greased with olive oil spray, portion 1/4 cup batter into each square.  Cook until baked.  Remove to a platter or cooling rack.

Best served hot or toasted.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

A Potpourri of Whole Grains

Whole grains, like vegetables, present unique nutrient profiles.  Why eat a variety? Just as spinach offers different nutrients than cauliflower, oats afford different nutrients than popcorn.  Variety is good!

Any grain, when cooked, is the starting point for stir fry and grain bowls.  Grains serve as the chewy component of soups,  When roasted, they provide the cereal block in muesli. Cooked whole grains offer unique tastes and textures to hot dishes and cold salads.

You've probably noticed the variety of grains ground into flours and pastas on the grocery shelves.  Cooking directions vary.  Make sure the first ingredient is "whole".  When purchasing rice varieties,  look for brown or colored rice.

Because gluten forms the structure in shaped breads, gluten free flours work best in batter breads, muffins, cookies and pancakes.

Ezekiel Flour

(4 cups)

1 1/4 cups wheat berries
3/4 cup spelt berries
1/4 cup whole barley
2 tablespoon millet
2 tablespoon dry lentils
3 tablespoon assorted dry beans

Combine grains and beans in a flour mill and thoroughly grind into flour.

No access to a flour mill?  Some recipes say grains can be ground in a high speed blender. Millet and lentils ground fine in a spice or seed grinder.  Here is a recipe for mixing purchased flours to produce the same results:

Ezekiel Flour

(2 1/4 cups)

1 cup 2 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/2 cup 2 tablespoon spelt flour
2 tablespoon barley flour
2 tablespoon bean flour
2 tablespoon millet, ground in a spice mill or seed grinder
2 tablespoon lentils, ground in a spice mill or seed grinder

This flour mix is good in batter breads, muffin and cookie recipes.  The flour has less gluten than all wheat flours and does not hold its shape well without the pan.  Use the paddle blade of the mixer and do not knead as long an all wheat dough.

Ezekiel bread is based on a passage in the Bible, where the prophet Ezekiel was instructed to make bread from wheat, barley, beans, lentils and spelt.  It was the fasting bread eaten for a year while on exile in the desert.
Whole grains are heart healthy and lower the LDL bad cholesterol.  They help us feel fuller longer and control blood sugar.  They are a valuable source of fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins, Vitamin E, magnesium and iron.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Exploring Food as Medicine Concepts

"Five flavors and five colors" was my challenge as I planned this meal according to the traditions of Chinese Medicine.  In the book, Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine,
Ellen Goldsmith details the principles of Chinese medicine and how these can be easily applied to our day-to-day lives.  In the second half of the book, Maya Klein's recipes (+175) brings the concepts into your kitchen.

The prescription is not complicated.  Whole foods, simply prepared, locally sourced and in season.  The recipes are ingredient focused and put the theories into practice. Foods are divided into 5 groups.  

Land and Sea Animals are part of the Animal Foods group, along with eggs and dairy. The above recipe, trout with peas and red rice was made with local sustainable sourced seafood. 

The seasonal recipes are made with many colorful foods from the Vegetables group, as in the fish with lemony greens, millet, corn and cauliflower. Millet is one of many whole grains featured in the recipes. While wheat and all whole grains are a part of Chinese dietary therapy, Maya's own restrictions from wheat led to extensive experimenting with other whole gains. 

This delicious apple honey cake is made with brown rice flour.  Maya explains the importance of accurately measuring the shredded apples in this very moist dessert.  The Fruits group is represented in recipes throughout to include many dried and seasonal fruits in season.  The Asian pears in rose hip sauce in the top photo was cooked in fruit juices.

Nuts and seeds are part of the Whole Grains, beans, pulses and other legumes group.  A different recipe for seed and nut porridge appears in each of the 4 seasons chapters.  The seed and nut mixture can be stored dry and sprinkled on yogurt or over salads.

The pumpkin custard was steamed with just a few ingredients and spices.  Spices and herbs play a major role in flavor and balance.  They are part of the fifth group called Condiments along with salt, sweeteners, tea, alcohol, vinegar and fragrant flowers.  There are medicinal herbs, including cinnamon, ginger and goji berries and culinary spices, like nutmeg and cloves.  Simple culinary spices and herbs are therapeutic agents that add flavor and enhance dishes and meals.  

While there are no recipe pictures in the book, the instructions are easy to follow and the ingredients easily obtained.  The author has simple tips, like "Make sure your kitchen is clean and ready to go" along with the best times to eat "Don't eat heavy meals late at night". Most whole foods are included and high sodium, sugar. deep fried and processed meats excluded.  

Thank you Robert Rose for the complimentary review copy.  The above post and pictures are my own.  I received no other compensation for this review, other than the pleasure of creating meals and eating!


Nutritional Healing with Chinese Medicine: + 200 Recipes for Optimal Health

East meets West in the kitchen with the nourishing treasures of Chinese Medicine.
Food can be the most powerful medicine. This outstanding book introduces and teaches how to apply the ancient wisdom and traditions of the healing that comes through food according to Chinese medicine. This is a new way of thinking about what foods are needed to achieve balance and ultimately improve health.
Goldsmith provides a keen and comprehensive understanding behind the basic principles of Chinese medicine so they can be easily applied to day-to-day lives. She takes these same concepts, expands on them for the food to eat in order to maximize the benefits of Chinese dietary therapy.
Eating well is essential to good health and Chinese medicine believes that food truly is medicine. In an easy-to-understand and straightforward manner, Ellen explains how and which combination of foods and flavors act upon the body to move qi (energy) and how they act on the body to warm or cool. Many of the modern day chronic health problems caused by lifestyle, genetics and stress can be helped by distinctive and long lasting changes in the way we eat.
200 enticing recipes organized by season put the theory of Chinese medicine into practice. There are meals that are appropriate for each season from breakfast to dinner, including beverages and desserts. All the recipes are super straightforward, easy to assemble and easily adapted to meet your needs, desires and tastes.