Saturday, November 26, 2016

Garden Greetings ~ Fountain love #gardenfountain #gardendream #gardenchat

From the Kitchen 
to the Garden
Thanksgiving was a day for the kitchen, today was a day for the garden. How do you like my priorities? Kitchen-Garden.
Today we unpacked (or I should say, the guys from the Garden Center unpacked...) our long awaited for 3-tier fountain! It was worth the wait. What a nice surprise for it to arrive Black Friday weekend.
I'm not crazy about the fake crack design on both sides of the base. Of course, in the Massarelli's catalog the crack was not shown; but even so, I'm still in love. A 300+ pound concrete fountain is something a garden girl can get excited over! Mom even got up to take a peak at this fabulous water feature being installed.
Hopefully the temperature here in South Jersey will be above freezing for this coming week, but I know that pretty soon we'll have to drain the water and patiently wait until springtime to  hear the waterfall sounds again.

And, as for the caryopteris shrub that was in that spot? Well, after we dug it up it easily pulled apart into several clumps; three were added to the butterfly garden and another got planted nearby our rain barrel.

Garden Greetings!

Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Today in Our Fall Garden #GardenCuizine #HappyThanksgiving

Today in Our Fall Garden
South Jersey 
USDA zone 7a (formerly zone 6b)
Yesterday felt like the last warm Fall day here in South Jersey. With the exception of red, orange and yellow, the blue, pink and pale colored Summer blooms are starting to look out of place - yet they'll continue to bloom until the first hard frost:
  • Salvias (Pineapple sage, Lady-in-Red, Coral Nymph, Black and Blue, Guaranitica), Cosmos, Firecracker plant (shown), trailing Abutilon (shown) and Nicotiana.  
Even Mom had a chance to sit and read the paper on the front porch while enjoying some fresh air and sunshine. 
And, what a difference a day makes; today became windy and 20 degrees cooler! 
Our gardens linger on and have not completely succumbed. Prolific red currant tomatoes and long hot peppers appear to glow against brown dying vines.

Once we get a killing frost we'll dig and store canna and dahlia tubers in peat moss to over winter as always.
Haven't the leaves been especially vibrant and beautiful this fall? Fall leaves make great compost when chopped up. A simple run over with a lawn mower will allow the leaves to return valuable nutrients to your grounds.
We wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving!

Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 14, 2016

@@InspiraHN Program this Friday #Fall Apple #dessert: Crisp, Cobbler or Crumble? #GardenCuizine @EatRightNJ @FCPDPG

Apple Dessert
Crisp? Cobbler or Crumble?

Good Source Fiber and Vitamin C
What's the difference between an Apple Crisp, Apple Cobbler or Apple Crumble? Come find out and join us this Friday at Inspira Health Network's Senior Health Program that includes a catered lunch and guest speaker, who is guess who?... yours truly! I'm looking forward to it and will be joined by three dietetic interns.  

Serves 15
Cranberry Apple Crisp
12 Gala Apples
3 cups cranberries
12 graham cracker squares
3/4 cups brown sugar
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cups margarine, melted 
Cooking demo featuring Diana Wind, RDN presented to Inspira Health Network Senior Health Program 
Putting it all together
  1. In a plastic baggie, use a rolling pin or your hands and crush the graham crackers to desired texture.
  2. Peel, core and slice apples and place on bottom of 9 " x 13" baking dish. Add cranberries and combine.
  3. Mix dry ingredients together, then add the melted butter. Combine.
  4. Spoon the crumbs over the fruit and bake at 350 deg F. for 45-60 minutes.
Recipe compliments of Inspira 2016 Dietetic Interns
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Apple Crisp: 1/15 of recipe: about 130g
Good Source: Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C
Calories: 241; Total Fat 7g (10% DV); Saturated Fat 2g (9% DV); Trans Fat 0; Cholesterol 0; Sodium 126 mg (5% DV); total Carbohydrates 45 g; Dietary Fiber 4g (15% DV); Net Carbs: 41 CHO (about 3 Carb servings); Vitamin A (9% DV); Vitamin C (13% DV); Thiamin ~0.1mg (~10%DV)
Related Links
What's the Difference between a Crisp, Cobbler or Crumble?

Photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

@AmDiabetesAssn Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes #GardenCuizine #diabeticrecipe #lowcarb #Thanksgiving

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
low carb - fat free
high Vitamin C 
According to many parents I've spoken with, mashed cauliflower tastes so good that even children who don't eat their veggies will eat this. Pureed veggies add good nutrition for adults too, especially those on bariatric diets and anyone needing soft, pureed food

Nutrient dense cauliflower is considered a brassica or cruciferous veggie, which scientific studies show as being important for disease prevention. This recipe is quick and easy to prepare and is low in carbohydrates making it a healthy choice for diabetics, especially on Thanksgiving - a day known for excess carb consumption. 

Serves 6
Cauliflower 1 large head (840g)
2 cups water
1/4 cup dried potato flakes
salt and pepper

Putting it all together
  • Wash and chop cauliflower into florets. Place cauliflower in pot and add water. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and steam cauliflower in covered pot. Cook until really soft. Strain saving liquid.
  • Puree in blender OR drain out some of the liquid and puree and mash the cauliflower right in the pot, adding back more liquid if needed. 
  • Sprinkle in a little potato flakes to add desired texture. In my opinion, straight up cauliflower tends to lack the thicker, creaminess of potatoes; adding just a little potato flakes seems to perfect the recipe without adding any excess carbohydrates to worry about.  
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Note: no butter, milk or added fat needed if serving with gravy. If serving plain you may wish to add a tablespoon of butter, grated Parmesan cheese or Smart Balance spread.
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes  
Serving size 1/6 recipe (147g)
Excellent Source: Vitamin C and Folate
Good Source: dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6, Potassium
44 Calories; total fat 0; total carbohydrate 9g; dietary fiber 4g (15% DV); net carbs: only 5g; Vitamin C (112% DV WOW!); Vitamin B6 0.3mg (18% DV); Folate 81mcg (81% DV); Potassium 452mg (13% DV); beneficial plant sterols 25mg
Related Links
November is American Diabetes Month

Recipe and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Comfort food: Beef Pot Roast w/ garden veggies #GardenCuizine #crockpot #recipe

Slow Cooker Comfort Food
Pot Roast Dinner
Beef braised with Carrots,
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes 
and Gravy
Lately studies have been pointing to excess refined carbohydrates and not fat as being problematic for good health. Red meat, all cuts, can be part of a healthy diet when portion controlled in moderation and counterbalanced with foods found mainly in a Mediterranean Diet

Nutrient dense, healthy meals include vegetarian proteins, such as soy, legumes, nuts, seeds and other nutrient-rich plant foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. And, healthy meal plans limit sugar and excess salt.

Eat Better by Planning Ahead
Planning ahead enables individuals and families to prepare healthy balanced meals. A 2 1/2 lb. piece of beef chuck yields high quality protein for several meals depending on the size of your family. And, although chuck is not considered a lean cut, a lot of the excess fat seen marbled throughout the beef will dissolve into the cooking liquid and can later be strained out. The reduced fat beef broth can be made into gravy

Crock-pot slow cooking allows for home cooked meals when you are busy at work or busy at home. Leftover pot roast can be frozen for use in other recipes such as: Black Bean Chili, Cottage Pie, Fajitas, Tacos and roast beef sandwiches.

Look for quality beef that is antibiotic and hormone free.
  • A 3-ounce serving of beef provides 26 grams of protein plus essential nutrients, including iron, B vitamins and zinc.
  • Evenly distributing daily protein intake at meals and snacks throughout the day (~20 to 30g/meal) helps maintain a healthy body weight and support a healthy metabolism.
2 1/2 lbs. boned Beef Chuck (we cooked USDA Choice*)
Olive oil
fresh ground black pepper
1 large onion, peeled and cut into wedges
4 carrots, cut into thirds
2 celery sticks, cut into thirds
1 hot pepper (we used one thin Thai pepper)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (I used dehydrated)
3 bay leaves (grow your own tree!)
4 sprigs Italian parsley
few thyme sprigs (optional)
3 cups water
few twists fresh grated black pepper

3 cups broth from crock-pot after meat is cooked (strain fat)
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Worcestershire
Salt and black pepper

Putting it all together

  • Sear the beef to add flavor - brown the outside. If your crock-pot is small like ours, cut the beef in half before searing so it fits. Sear each piece separately. Heat a large cast iron skillet* over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom of skillet. Have a splash guard ready to prevent splatter. Add meat just long enough to brown the outside and not cook the meat. Use a spatula and turn to brown the other side. Remove and place beef directly into crock pot set on low. 
  • Drain any excess oil from skillet.
  • In skillet, brown carrots and onion. Add water, bay leaves, garlic and pepper. Turn off heat and stir to scrap up any brown bits on bottom. 
  • Remove veggies to crock pot and ladle in liquid and cover
  • Braise the beef by slow cooking until very tender when pierced with a fork - about 8 hours.
note that NO salt was added - with all the flavor you'll never miss it
  • Separate solids from liquid in crock-pot. I use tongs to put meat on a plate; strain the broth into a pot separating the cooked veggies. Pour into a gravy fat separator. Allow to rest while the fat floats to the top.
  • In a clean pot, melt butter. Stir in flour. Stir in Worcestershire. Add broth. Season with salt and pepper to taste; stir. Simmer, uncovered about 5-10 minutes.
  • Return gravy to crock-pot with beef and carrots; keep warm until ready to slice and serve.

    Serve with a side of Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
    Buon Appetito!

    * USDA Beef Grades include Choice and Select.

    GardenCuizine Pot Roast Nutrition Data beef only: serving size 3 ounces (85g) - Calories 257; Protein 26g; total fat 16g (25% DV); Saturated fat 6.5g (32% DV); Monounsaturated fat 7g; Sodium 42 mg; Niacin 3.6 mg (18% DV); Vitamin B12 1.9mcg (31% DV);  Iron 2 mg (12% DV); Zinc 6 mg (40% DV); Selenium 24 mcg (34% DV)

    Related Links
    Saturated Fat Not So Bad? or Just Bad Science?
    CookingLight Slow Cooker Favorites 
    Recipe and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

    Saturday, October 29, 2016

    Cooking Calabaza Squash #pumpkin #pumpkinpuree #GardenCuizine

    Cooking Calabaza
    (Pumpkin Puree)
    Nutritious Calabaza squash (West Indian Pumpkin) grows in several parts of the world including: Central America, South America, parts of Africa and North America and throughout Caribbean tropical areas. Ours may have come from Costa Rica, we bought it at ShopRite. The squash was beautiful with streaks of green throughout the melon color. We usually prefer to buy and support locally grown Jersey Fresh produce. 

    Locally grown Pumpkins or other varieties of large squash can be cooked in the same way described below. Simply wash and roast whole. There is no need to waist time and try and cut into a hard-as-a-rock, large pumpkin and risk getting cut; when cooked it slices like butter.

    1 Calabaza squash


    • Before cooking, wash and rinse outside of squash. 
    • Place the whole squash on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake in a pre-heated 375 deg.F oven for about 1 hr, 15 min. Take out and check to see if done. When cooked the flesh will feel soft when pressing on the sides.  Let it cool before touching so you don't burn your finger!
    • Let cool on baking sheet another 10-minutes or so. 
    • Cut out and remove top stem and cut the squash in half. 
    • Allow to cool another few minutes and spoon out the seeds. 
    • When cool enough to handle, spoon out flesh into food processor.
    • Process until smooth.
    • Store in freezer containers and freeze or refrigerate and use in recipes calling for pumpkin puree as needed.
    Happy Fall Baking and Cooking!
    Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

    Monday, October 24, 2016

    "But, I can't afford to eat healthy..." Cooking Healthy 101 #GardenCuizine pinto #beans #legumes #pulses

    Cooking Healthy on a Budget
    Cooking Pinto Beans
    Frijoles Pintos
    Yields 2 quarts of cooked beans!
    • Start with a 16 ounce bag of Goya Pinto Beans, Frijoles Pintos for about $1.39 at your local supermarket. Rinse the beans in a strainer. Place in a stock pot. Cover beans with an inch or so of water. 
    • I like to add a 2-inch dried piece of Wakame sea vegetable (available at Asian markets and natural foods stores). But, beans cook fine without it, if you don't have it.
    • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover leaving a small opening for steam to escape; simmer until beans are cooked to taste.
    • No need to pre-soak the beans. Cooking time only takes about 30-45 minutes.
    • Also, no need to salt or season the beans. Wait until you use them in your recipes. 
    Note: don't worry if you overcook them - pinto beans are delicious mashed with a little salt, pepper, onion and olive oil as refried beans, or as a spread in fajitas or mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic as a bean dip.
    • When cooked, strain and save the bean liquid. Divide beans into two quart storage containers. Top with bean liquid and refrigerate until ready to use in recipes. Any extra bean liquid can be tossed or used in recipes. I used our extra bean liquid in a quinoa recipe.
    Buon Appetito!

    Related Links
    Take the Pulse Pledge
    Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

    Sunday, October 23, 2016

    Fall side dish: Quinoa with #garden tomatillos and yellow split peas #GardenCuizine #recipe #healthycooking

    Tomatillo Arvejas Partidas 
    Amarilla Quinoa
    whole grain side dish
    Serves 6
    2 T olive oil

    1/4 cup chopped onion (or however much you want to add)
    2 garden tomatillos skin removed, rinsed and chopped

    1 T chopped sweet garden pepper
    1/2 tsp curry powder
    1/4 tsp dried thyme
    1 cup dry quinoa grain
    2 cups water or left over bean water (we just cooked a pound of pinto beans that yielded 2 quarts of beans with liquid and had some leftover bean liquid)

    1/4 cup dried yellow split peas
    1/4 tsp dehydrated garlic
    1/4 tsp dehydrated ginger
    pinch salt and black pepper

    1 T fresh parsley or 1/2 tsp dried parsley 
    1-2 Tblsp of your favorite hot salsa
    Putting it all together
    In a medium-sized pot with lid: heat olive oil, saute onion and tomatillos
    Stir in curry powder, thyme then quinoa
    Add remaining ingredients and stir
    Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to a simmer
    Cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes)
    Stir in parsley and hot salsa
    Keep covered until ready to serve

    We served this nutritious side dish with Harry's (his mom's recipe) homemade crab cakes and steamed broccoli.

    Buon Appetito!
    Recipe and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

    Saturday, October 15, 2016

    Harvesting Passon Fruit. When are they ripe? Freezing the pulp #GardenCuizine #JerseyFresh

    Harvesting Passion Fruit
    Stage 2
    Stage 1: Grow Passion Flower vines.  

    Stage 2 brings us to yielding and harvesting Passion Fruits.

    We allowed our passion fruit vines to take over Mom's tomato raised bed. Their spiral tendrils gripped the San Marzano supports allowing the vines to quickly grow up towards the sky. Throughout the summer we enjoyed a spectacular show of extraordinary purple blooms. Passion flowers last for just a day before developing into fruit.  

    The vines grew to the top of each tomato support and formed a huge canopy. We soon discovered abundant, lime-sized, green fruits dangling beneath the vines. Unlike limes, passion fruit skins were smooth.

    At first, we weren't sure how to tell when they were ripe. But, it didn't matter once I heard the weather was going to dip to our first frost. I decided to pick all that I could gather before they were ruined. Some fruits were small, but I picked them anyway. Ideally, a longer growing season would have been nice. It would have been best to allow the fruits to ripen on the vines and fall to the ground.

    Our passion fruit harvest filled 2 large colanders! The majority of fruits were firm so I left them out on the kitchen counter this past week. As they ripened, the skin color changed from lime green to a paler, yellow-green and the skins got crinkly and soft. And, the flesh around the small, watermelon-like seeds was juicy and translucent when ripe.

    Today, I decided to sacrifice a fresh picked firm fruit to see if there was a difference between the pulp of a paler, soft fruit vs a greener firm one. Test for ripeness by pressing the outside of the fruit with a finger - like poking a finger into yeast-risen bread dough to check readiness. Soft, ripe fruit will leave an indent; those are the ones I've been washing and cutting in half first. 

    The pulp easily scoops out with a spoon leaving 3 rows of pithy, weird-looking bands along the inside walls of the fruit, which I imagine taste bitter like the pith of a lemon or lime. I tossed the skins in the compost and saved the juicy seeds in a storage container and froze it. I've been adding more to the container as the fruits ripen. 

    There are different types of flamboyant passion flowers that yield different tasting fruits. For example, purple, more juicy fruits from Passiflora edulis, known as liliko╩╗i in Hawaii, and some yield more banana-like shaped fruits. Ours is commonly known as Maypop - Passiflora incarnata.

    Stay tuned for Stage 3 - Passion Fruit Recipes and Nutrition Data! 
    Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.