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Archive for June, 2009

Frozen-Strawberries

The time is here for all your favorite fruits to ripen and hit your local farmer’s market fresh and full of flavor.  Don’t always eat a whole basket of berries before they start to get slimy?  Freeze them and use them later!  Here is how:

  • Wash fruit thoroughly.  Peel, slice, cube and cut stems off fruit as needed.
  • Lay out on counter to dry
  • Place fruit on a cookie sheet making sure that they are not touching one another.
  • Put in freezer until each piece is frozen
  • Pull from freezer and put in a zip lock bag, mark the type of fruit and date on the bag, and put it back into the freezer for later use.

This freezing technique guarantees that when you pull the bag from the freezer, you won’t have a large frozen clump of fruit.  You can pull out as many or as few individual pieces as you need.  Use this technique on most any fruit.  Keep frozen fruit for up to one year.

What do you do with frozen fruit?  Make a fruit smoothie!  This is a great way to get a variety of fruit and all the fiber and other nutrients into your child. Make it with yogurt for a calcium kick or without.  Here is a basic smoothie recipe:

Fruit Smoothie – Makes around 2 – 8 ounce glasses

1 banana, peeled

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup orange juice

1 cup ice cubes

1/2 cup plain or fruit yogurt (optional) 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Add frozen blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango chunks or any other frozen fruit you like.  Substitute any other citrus juice or 100 % juice combinations.  Add any other fresh fruit you like, such as pineapple, pear, apple, nectarine, and/or peaches. This is a good way to use up fresh fruit that is ready to go to the compost pile.

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Spring and summer are great times of the year to have a cookout!  Cookouts do not have to consist of your typical high-fat “tail-gating” foods.  Grilling is actually a low-fat way to cook and can make healthy food even tastier.  Here are some healthy tips and suggestions to make your next cookout a healthier one.

  • Grill more than just burgers and hotdogs.  Try grilling fish such as salmon or grilling chicken.
  • Use whole wheat buns.
  • Always have water.  Don’t drink all your calories!
  • Bring or provide a vegetable platter, a fruit salad, or mixed nuts.

Want to add more flavor without adding all the fat and salt?

  • Marinate the vegetables as well as the meat, poultry, or fish.
  • Brush on light oil-based sauces early in grilling.  For less charring baste sauces containing sugars (fruit puree, honey preserves) toward the end of cooking.
  • Grill vegetables.  Brush them lightly with oil and herbs beforehand.
  • Brush on a little liquid smoke.  It adds more outdoor taste and is safe to eat.
  • Toward the ending of grilling, sprinkle flavorful fresh herbs, citrus or apple peels, even whole, unpeeled garlic cloves on your coals.

Supermarket shelves carry many premixed rubs for meat, seafood and poultry. Or you can make your own at home.

Combine flavors that taste good together. Apply the rub by pressing the mixture onto the surface of the meat, seafood or poultry before cooking. The food usually becomes more flavorful the longer the seasoning mixture is on.

 

Citrus-ZestTry these rubs, or make one based on your favorite flavors:

  • Citrus rub: Combine grated lemon, orange or lime peel (or all three) with minced garlic and cracked black pepper.
  • Pepper-garlic rub: Mix together garlic powder, cracked black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Italian rub: Combine fresh or dried oregano, basil and rosemary with minced Italian parsley and garlic.
  • Herb rub: Use fresh or dried marjoram, thyme and basil.

Always wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat, seafood and poultry.

Adapted from: http://www.eatright.org

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Extend the summer growing season by freezing fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro, and oregano.  Then use them to liven up recipes for months to come. Herbs and spices add a healthy flavor to many dishes which can help you cut down on the amount of fat and salt in your family’s diet.

How to:Basil

Remove the leaves from the stems, chop finely, and place into a bowl.  Add just enough vegetable or olive oil to cover, and then pour the mixture into an ice-cube tray and freeze.  Once solid, place the cubes in a resealable plastic bag.  Store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you are ready to use in a recipe, just drop a cube or two into soups, sauces or stews.  You can also defrost the cubes first, strain out the herbs and use the seasoned oil in your home made salad dressings or drizzle over steamed vegetables.  1 cube equals about 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs.

 

Basil Pesto

1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
1 large garlic clove
1 cup fresh basil leaves or 16 frozen basil cubes in olive oil, thawed
1 tablespoon (1/4 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoons lemon juice
1 ½  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (omit if using frozen basil cubes with olive oil)

Preparation

Drop pine nuts and garlic through food chute with food processor on, and process until minced. Add basil, cheese, and lemon juice; process until finely minced. With processor on, slowly pour oil through food chute; process until well-blended. Spoon into a zip-top heavy-duty plastic bag; store in refrigerator.

Yield: 1 cup (serving size: 1 tablespoon)

 

Garden Tomato and Basil Pesto Pizza

1 (12-ounce) prebaked pizza crust (such as Boboli)
 Cooking spray
2 tablespoons pesto
1 cup (4 ounces) thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
2 cups chopped tomato (about 2 large)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°.

Spray crust with cooking spray.

Place crust on a baking sheet; bake at 450° for 10 minutes. Spread pesto evenly over crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Top with mozzarella cheese slices and tomato; sprinkle with pepper. Bake at 450° for 5 minutes or until cheese melts and crust is golden. Sprinkle with basil.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1/4 pizza)

 

Source:  Everyday Food Magazine; July/August 2007

Recipes: www.cookinglight.com

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In the U.S we have the luxury of enjoying different kinds of foods all year round.  Spring is the time of year to enjoy foods that are fresh and locally grown.  Farmers Markets are so readily available all over the city! 

Fresh produce has better flavor, higher nutritional value, and less environmental burden due to less fuel used in transport.  Farmers Markets also provide you with a chance to try a fruit or vegetable you have never had before.  So stock up on these locally grown foods and create meals based on what is in season.

Here are a list of some spring fruits and vegetables in season in Ohio:

BeansAsparagus

Beans

Broccoli

Carrots

Spinach

Rhubarb

Strawberries

Herbs such as parsley, oregano, rosemary, etc.

 

Try this recipe for a healthy, delicious snack that kids are sure to love!

 

Strawberry Nilla Nibbles

 Prep Time: 5 minutes    Makes: 1 serving

 

Ingredients:Strawberries

4 Reduced Fat Nilla Wafers

2 Tbsp. thawed Cool Whip Lite Whipped Topping

2 medium strawberries, halved

 

Directions:

Place wafers on small dessert plate.

Top each with 1-1/2 tsp. of the whipped topping and 1 strawberry half.

Serve immediately.

 Nutritional Information: Calories 90, Total fat 2 g, Saturated fat  1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 60 mg, Carbohydrate 17 g, Dietary fiber 1 g, Sugars 9 g, Protein 1 g, Vitamin A 0 %DV, Vitamin C 25 %DV, Calcium 0 %DV, Iron  2 %DV

 From Kraftfoods.com

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As summer draws near we feel it’s important to re-post this information on the National Summer Food Service Program to make sure no child goes hungry this summer.

During the school year, your child has access to nutritious meals through the School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. But when school is out for the summer, access to these programs comes to an end. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, you can make sure your child has healthy meals in the summer.

The Summer Food Service Program reimburses sponsor sites for healthy meals and snacks they serve in their area throughout the summer months. The program is administered by the Ohio Department of Education and site sponsors vary but may include schools, community centers, public or private nonprofit agencies, and public or private nonprofit colleges or universities with National Youth Sports Program activities. Sites must meet one of the following criteria: 1) Location is in an area served by a school where 50% or more of the students are enrolled in free or reduced-price meals, 2) Location is in an area where 50% or more of the population earns less than 185% of the federal poverty level, 3) Income eligibility information gathered from all children verifies that participants live in households that earn less than 185% of the federal poverty level.

To sign-up for summer meals, call 1-800-481-6885.

To sponsor a Summer Food Service Site, call 1-800-481-6885.

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