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Archive for March, 2009

EggplantHave you ever wondered about the nutritional value of eggplant?  Does it have any?  Well let’s find out. 

 

Eggplant is the deep purple, glossy skinned, pear shaped egg vegetable which grows hanging from the vine of a plant.  Eggplant, a native of India, is described as being pleasantly bitter and with a spongy texture.  This vegetable comes in a wide variety of colors including, lavender, green, orange and yellow-white.  Eggplants are in season August through October.

 

Eggplant is a very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin B1 (thiamin), potassium, manganese, and copper.  It also is a good source of folate, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) and magnesium.  Eggplant is also rich in antioxidants which, as we already know, are essential disease fighting compounds. 

 

Choose eggplants that are firm and heavy for their size.  Their skin should be smooth and shiny, and their color, whether it be purple, white, or green, should be vivid.  Keep eggplants unwashed and uncut in a plastic bag in your refrigerator crisper for up to two days.

 

You can prepare eggplant with or without the skin.  To tenderize the flesh’s texture and reduce some of the naturally occurring bitter taste, you can sweat the eggplant by salting it.  After cutting the eggplant into the desired size and shape, sprinkle it with salt and allow it to rest for about 30 minutes.  Rinse the eggplant after sweating to remove the salt.  Eggplant can be sautéed, baked, roasted, grilled, steamed, stewed, or pureed into a dip. 

 

Try this easy side-dish;

 eggplant-recipe

Thyme and Lime Marinated Grilled Eggplant Slices

Serves 6

 

1 medium globe eggplant – unpeeled, cut into ¼ inch slices.

 

Marinade:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon fresh thyme ( ½ teaspoon dried thyme)

½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup olive oil

 

Combine marinade ingredients.  Add eggplant and let sit in marinade for 30 minutes per side.  Grill slices for about 4 minutes per side, or just until light char marks appear.  Serve immediately.

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We were having dinner at my mother’s house recently.  As grandmothers typically do, she had multiple dessert items to choose from and even helped my son make an additional dessert (chocolate pudding) per his request.  When we sat down to eat, my son was armed with his arsenal of sweets and an appropriate amount of dinner foods on his plate.  He ate his buttered dinner roll, tasted a fork tine of meat, declared that he was finished and asked to eat his desserts.  The dietitian in me knows and preaches that in order to maintain the division of responsibility in feeding kids, my job was done.  A variety of foods had been provided at a set dinner time at my mother’s family table.  It was his job to decide how much and if he ate anything from the offering.  All was going according to plan.  However, the mother in me stepped up to the plate and told him promptly to taste a bigger bite of meat and drink his milk first – then he could eat dessert.  His response?  He grabbed the proverbial power struggle rope and pulled me into the pit.  No, he did not want any more supper and he was planning to drink his milk with his dessert. Did I forget that he had told me this already?  We went back and forth with him on solid feeding relationship ground and me trying to climb out of the pit I jumped into by digging a deeper hole.  All of this as my mother and my husband silently ate and watched.  Of course I lost the fight (as I always do when I cross the line); my son ate his desserts and asked to be dismissed.

 

My mother then promptly and politely reminded me of the errors of my parenting ways.  She pointed out that the control I was trying to exert on my son’s food choices would not get him to willingly eat those foods.   She also told me that my sister still remembers when she was little, the time that my mother forced her to eat her mixed vegetables.  My sister now likes mixed vegetables.  She also has this unpleasant memory.  Had my mother just remained neutral and silent about the mixed vegetables, the outcome would be the same – that my sister eventually started to eat and enjoy mixed vegetables-except without the unpleasant memory. Had I just remained silent, it was likely that he would have had dessert and probably more dinner.  It’s not that he enjoys the struggle for power any more than I do, but he is reminding me that I am trying to do his job too.  If I trust him to do his job, he will push himself along and eventually learn to like and eat a wider variety of food.

 

It is a slippery slope when we try to control those things with our kids that are their jobs to control. Raising kids to be confident, competent eaters requires us parents to be vigilant in our respect of our kid’s abilities to regulate their food intake and thus their physical growth and health from the foods that we offer. 

 

Black Bean Brownies

browniesThis may sound unusual, but is very good – high in fiber, antioxidants and low in fat!

1 box any commercial prepared brownie mix
1 15.5-ounce can black beans

Open can of beans.  Drain, rinse, put beans back in can and fill again with water.
Place can’s contents, including liquid, in blender. Blend.
Mix thoroughly with brownie mix. (No eggs, oil or other ingredients needed.)
Place in oiled baking pan. Bake according to package directions. Cool and serve.

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Meatless Monday is a national public health campaign encouraging Americans to move the meat off their plate one day a week to make room for healthier alternatives. Many Americans eat a diet high in meat and low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This puts us at higher risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and stroke. The main goal of this campaign is consistent with the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, U.S Department of Agriculture, and the American Heart Association. The goal is to help Americans reduce their consumption of saturated fat 15% by 2010. “Going meatless” is defined by the campaign as staying away from red meat, poultry and high fat dairy products. Fish and seafood high in omega-3 fatty acids are highly encouraged. Practicing meatless Mondays is a great way for children to learn simple and healthy eating habits.

Try your Monday dinner, meatless with this recipe:

Grilled Veggie Sandwich

meatless-mondays1Makes 4 servings

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/8 cup olive oil

1 cup red bell peppers, sliced

1 small zucchini, sliced

1 small red onion, sliced

1 small yellow squash, sliced

2 (4-x6-inch) focaccia, sourdough or Italian bread pieces, split horizontally

Freshly ground black pepper

Stir In a bowl, mix the mayonnaise, minced garlic, and lemon juice. Set aside in the refrigerator. Preheat the grill for high heat. Brush vegetables with olive oil on each side. Brush grate with oil. Place bell peppers and zucchini closest to the middle of the grill, and set onion and squash pieces around them. Cook for about 3 minutes, turn, and cook for another 3 minutes. The peppers may take a bit longer. Remove from grill, and set aside. Spread some of the mayonnaise mixture on the cut sides of the bread. Place on the grill mayonnaise side up, and cover with lid for 2 to 3 minutes. This will warm the bread, and slightly melt the mayo mixture. Watch carefully so the bottoms don’t burn. Remove from grill, and layer with vegetables. Sprinkle with black pepper. Enjoy as open faced grilled sandwiches.

Source: http://www.meatlessmonday.com/site/PageServer?pagename=a_index

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asparagus2Asparagus belongs to the lily family which also includes onions, leeks, and garlic. Its name is Greek and means “sprout” or “shoot”. Asparagus grows in three different colors; green, white, and purple. The green and most common type is slightly sweet in flavor with a tender and crisp texture. It is grown in sunlight where photosynthesis makes its color green. White asparagus is grown in the dark, thus requires specific procedure to yield its white color. Purple asparagus is deeply fruity flavored with 20% more sugar than the green.

Asparagus has many health benefits. It is helpful in reducing constipation, bowel disorders, and symptoms of diabetes. The vegetable contains glutathione, an antioxidant which is believed to prevent some forms of cancer. Asparagus is rich in vitamin A, C, and E, and fiber.  It is the leading vegetable source of folic acid or folate.

Keep fresh asparagus clean, cold and covered. Trim the stem end about 1/4 inch and wash in warm water several times. Pat dry and place in moisture-proof wrapping. Refrigerate and use within 2 or 3 days for best quality. To maintain freshness, wrap a moist paper towel around the stem ends, or stand upright in two inches of cold water.

Mexican Asparagus and Cheese Tortillas

4 yellow corn tortillas.
16 pieces of asparagus, grilled.
¼ cup of Monterey Jack cheese, shredded.
¼ cup of white Cheddar cheese, shredded.
Salt and pepper, to taste.
Olive oil, for brushing.

Prepare grill.
For each taco, spread one quarter of the cheeses and 4 pieces of the asparagus on each tortilla, then season with salt and pepper. Fold in half and lightly brush the outside with olive oil.
Grill for 3 minutes on each side or until the tortilla is crispy and cheese has melted.

For this and more recipes check out: http://www.asparagusrecipes.net/

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