Friday, March 17, 2017

#NationalNutritionMonth St. Patty's Cooking Class @InspiraHN enjoyed GREEN foods! #NNM #SaladinaJar

National Nutrition Month®
Cooking Class
Thanks to all who attended Inspira Health Network's National Nutrition Month® Cooking Class in Vineland, New Jersey today. The class focused on vegetarian green foods. 

It warmed my heart to chat with a woman who remembers my health food store and restaurant that was my pride and joy for over a decade! I really enjoy meeting people who remember The Garden - Garden of Eden.
Inspira's cooking class featured GREEN foods in celebration of National Nutrition Month® and St. Patrick's Day. Our menu included a Shamrock Salad featuring blanched asparagus, snap peas, snow peas, shelled edamame, chopped celery, fresh arugula and baby spinach. The Shamrock Salad Dressing was a blend of: garlic, olive oil, rice wine vinegar, lemon juice and whole seed mustard.
Participants learned about nutrition and healthy cooking methods, such as blanching and steaming. Each person made their own Salad-in-a-Jar and tasted a variety of nutritious, green foods that included: steamed whole edamame pods with a green dressing made from avocado, spinach, olive oil, Greek yogurt, garlic, onion powder, lemon juice and salt and pepper. 

Diana Alvarado, RDN, CDE demonstrated how-to-make a green Salad-in-a-Jar. The technique is to start with the dressing on the bottom so the greens at the top remain fresh and crisp.

The dietitian also showed the class how to prepare healthy Shamrock Shakes using coconut milk, avocado, spinach, vanilla extract, fresh mint leaves, banana and ice.

It was interesting to learn more about Mason Jars and the history that began in Vineland NJ thanks to John Landis Mason in 1858!

Special thanks to Inspira dietetic interns who helped us present this NNM cooking class.

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 
Happy National Nutrition Month!
Related Links
Well Preserved Birth of the Mason Jar
John Landis Mason
Who Made that Mason Jar NY Times 

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. National Nutrition Month® is a federally registered service mark of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.Used on GardenCuizine with permission.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Today in Our Garden #winterstormStella damaging ice #frozencherryblossoms #GardenCuizine @BurlcoTimes

Today in Our Garden
Ice Storm Stella
I'd much rather be enjoying the Philadelphia Flower Show right now instead of watching ice topple branches from our pines and shrubs. We prepared for winter storm Stella, a predicted mid-Atlantic nor'easter, but instead of getting 8 to 12-inches of snow, we got much worse - damaging ice. 
Stella's ice has coated everything. Cherry blossoms and pussy willow blooms are completely encapsulated in ice. 
We even had the local Fire Department stop by earlier to remove huge, fallen white pine branches that had landed onto the road. The wrath of this storm may still not be over. Flurries are still falling, ice is not melting and I can hear the wind howling as I'm typing.
The white pines dropped more branches than I can ever remember. The sound of cracking and breaking branches could be heard in our yard and echoing throughout the neighborhood. 

When I strolled around the yard with my camera to survey the damages, I noticed one pine had completely uprooted and tipped over, laying alongside the veggie garden.
lots of pine cones on this uprooted pine tree
there is not supposed to be a tree along side this garden fence!
It is hard to believe that Spring is less than one week away from this cold, wind and ice.
Related Links
Winter Storm Update 
Helping Trees and Shrubs Recover from Snow and Ice
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Grow Turmeric #GardenCuizine #kitchengarden #garden #NationalNutritionMonth #NNM

Grow Turmeric
in your Kitchen Garden

We love cooking with mild and spicy curry seasoning. Turmeric is one of the main ingredients in curry. Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) tubers look similar to ginger. I bought some at Wholefoods quite some time ago with the intention of planting them to see if they would grow.

I placed the finger-like rhizomes on our plant rack until I could find the time to plant them in a pot. Time went by: they were forgotten. The turmeric sat on our plant rack exposed to light and air for several months. 

waiting for the turmeric to grow...
One day, as I was watering coleus cuttings, I noticed a smooth green stem emerging from the wrinkled, old turmeric rhizomes (see above photo). It was a bud! The turmeric was alive and calling me to plant it asap.

The shriveled turmeric rhizomes got planted a few weeks ago. After a good watering and nourishment from the soil, guess what? Our turmeric is growing! A strong green stem is about a half-inch tall already and growing up towards the grow lights.

Ginger and Turmeric like to be shallow planted. I barely covered the rhizomes with soil - they seem to be growing just fine so far.

Ground turmeric (Indian Saffron) adds natural yellow color to foods and may provide some health benefits as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Related Links
About Curcumin
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Make Ahead Meatballs #NationalNutritionMonth #familymeals #planahead #cookathome @kidseatright

Make Ahead Meatballs
Make a batch of Italian meatballs when you have the time and freeze for use in budget-friendly family meals later in the week. Happy National Nutrition Month!

1 lb. lean, grass fed, ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1/4 cup fresh Parsley (or Cilantro), chopped

1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon Cracker Meal
1 clove garlic, minced
several twists (~8) fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Olive oil for cooking

Putting it all together
Combine all ingredients adding water last. Roll into balls and put on plate until ready to cook. Heat oil in skillet. Add meatballs in batches. Cook turning to brown all sides. Do not overcook. Remove and drain on paper towels. When cool, portion into baggies. Label with date and freeze until ready to use.

Enjoy with homemade pasta sauce!

Blog post and recipe Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. National Nutrition Month® is a federally registered service mark of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.Used on GardenCuizine with permission.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Edamame Dill Cous Cous #wholegrain #healthysidedish #GardenCuizine #recipe #NNM

Edamame Dill Cous Cous
whole grain 
serves 6
1 cup water
1 cup Edamame
1/2 cup Whole wheat Cous Cous
1/4 cup fresh Dill* chopped
1/4 cup Onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons (Tbl sp) olive oil
1 Tbl sp Garlic, minced or freeze-dried
pinch salt and pepper
Putting it all together
In a quart pot, saute onion in olive oil. Add garlic and dill, stir. Add water and edamame and bring to boil. Stir in cous cous. Cover and turn off heat. Let sit covered until liquid is absorbed. Serve when ready. Can be easily reheated in microwave.
Great as a side dish during National Nutrition Month®! Serve with additional lean protein such as tofu, salmon, chicken or fish. And, don't forget to add non-starchy vegetables to your meal; such as, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach, bok choy or salad. 

We made this last night for dinner with stir fried tofu and broccoli to keep it vegetarian.

*GardenCuizine Kitchen Tip: Rinse fresh dill and shake off excess water. Store in an airtight plastic baggie in the freezer. You will always have dill when you need it!

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. National Nutrition Month® is a federally registered service mark of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.Used on GardenCuizine with permission.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Happy National Nutrition Month! #NNM #FamilyMeals Eat More Fruits and Vegetables @Fruits_Veggies #GardenCuizine

2017 NNM display board by dietetic intern at Inspira Health Network
Happy National
Nutrition Month®!
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends one way to celebrate National Nutrition Month® is to commit to trying a new fruit or vegetable each week as a family. Don't you think that's a great idea? 

Let us know what you try. My family just tried cactus for the first time and even mom enjoyed it!

Related Links
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Ideas to Get Involved in National Nutrition Month®
Photo and blog post Copyright(C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Low Carb Cactus Salad #GardenCuizine #Nopales @EatRight #diabetes #prediabetes #preventdisease

Low Carb
Cactus (Nopales) Salad
with Cilantro-Lime dressing

Nopales (Nopalitos - chopped, cooked cactus pads) provides dietary fiber along with antioxidants and lots of other healthy nutrients. Prickly Pear Cactus has even been shown to lower blood glucose in people who are diabetic, which I find very interesting since I work with adults and kids with pre-diabetes and diabetes. 

We cooked cactus for the first time on Super Bowl Sunday for use in this simple Mexican salad. The salad tasted so good it didn't last long in our house. Leftover salad was enjoyed wrapped up in warm corn tortillas for lunch the next day.

Have you ever tried it? I wondered what cactus would taste like. After reading posts that cactus tasted similar to green beans, I wasn't sure I'd like it. I'm not a big green bean fan. I was pleasantly surprised how good it was. Nopalitos didn't really have a distinct flavor; the texture was tender-crisp, similar to asparagus. 

This recipe was inspired from a Tender Cactus Salad recipe posted online from McCormick. The recipe does not call for avocado, but some people I've spoken with tell me that they make their cactus salad with avocado in it. 

The Mexican market where we found Nopales was sold out of Mexican oregano, so I made it without oregano; it tasted good. I imagine it would be even better with the traditional herb. I didn't substitute Italian oregano because Mexican oregano is not the same. 

We've grown Italian oregano for years; now, I look forward to growing Mexican oregano

When you try Prickly Pear Cactus, let us know how you liked it and how you prepared it. Here is my recipe:
Serves 6
1 1/2 cups cooked Nopales (2 Prickly Pear Cactus pads)
3/4 cup diced fresh tomatoes
1 cup crumbled Queso Fresco* Mexican cheese
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1/8 teaspoon (tsp) salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
1 tsp Mexican Oregano

Putting it all together
Cook Nopales: refer to below link on how to prepare cactus for cooking: slice prepared cactus pads. Add to soup pot and fill with water. Bring to a gentle boil and cook 25 minutes. Drain, saving cactus (juice) liquid for other recipes.

Combine cooled cooked cactus and remaining ingredients. Let sit room temperature before serving for flavors to blend. Stir a few times before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

* Queso Fresco is an unaged mild cheese that can be found in a Mexican market.  
Excellent Source: Vitamin C* 
Good Source: Protein and Calcium

GardenCuizine Prickly Pear Salad Nutrition Facts: this information is based on the only USDA Nutrient Data for Cactus Pears. *The green cactus paddles may not be as high in vitamin C as the pear buds.
1/6 of recipe (107 g): 84 calories, total fat 5g, saturated fat 3g, trans fat 0, cholesterol 11mg, Sodium 210mg (9% DV), total Carbohydrate 6g, dietary Fiber 2g (8% DV), sugar 1g, Protein 5g, Vitamin C ~12.9mg (~22% DV), Calcium 135mg (13% DV), Magnesium ~36.8mg (~9% DV)

Related Links
Preparing Nopales
Oregano: Mediterranean and Mexican
Photo and blog post Copyright(C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

@Eatingsoulfully Preparing Nopal Cactus for salad #GardenCuizine #MexicanCooking #Diabetic #Nopales

Preparing Nopales
Prickly Pear Cactus
Fresh Prickly Pear Cactus pads

I knew I wanted to cook nutritious Prickly Pear Cactus after reading Constance Brown-Riggs' article about it's health benefits in Today's Dietitian magazine. Our first recipe was a Cactus Salad. This popular Mexican dish tasted better than you may think! But, finding the cactus may be a little tricky.  

First, we went to our local ShopRite. They only had Cactus Pears, which is the fruit of the Prickly Pear Cactus. Then we tried Wegman's, another supermarket. One of their produce guys told us they have not carried Nopales since October. I asked him if it was a seasonal item; he said he didn't think so. I did a quick search for local Mexican markets on my iPhone... we took a short drive and found it at Mi Ranchito in Moorestown, NJ - success!

We lucked out, the moist, green paddles were already prepared and ready-to-go in plastic baggies with 4 paddles per baggie. The cactus was in the stores refrigerated section next to a batch of fresh cilantro. 

To prepare Prickly Pear Cactus pads, carefully trim the thorns off and slice off the nubs too. To do it, run your chefs knife along each side; then trim around the outer edge (see above photo).

Cactus can be cooked several ways. One way is to brush each side with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and grill. We cut ours into bite sized pieces and boiled it for use in Cactus Salad. The cooking liquid reminded me of Aloe Vera juice so I saved it to add to smoothies. Even Mom loves this high fiber nutritious food. 

GardenCuizine Cactus recipes coming soon....

Related Links
Dynamics of Diabetes: Prickly Pear Cactus 
Cactus Pears

Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Quick and easy to prep Lentil Soup #GardenCuizine #nutritious #recipe

Lentil Soup
low sodium, high fiber 
low carb, low fat
Yields 3 quarts
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 celery sticks
3 carrots
1 medium onion
1 Tablespoon Bryani Paste*
2 teaspoons dried thyme
3 small tomatoes (or one small can diced tomatoes with liquid)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
10 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 cup whole lentils, rinsed 

1 teaspoon mild hot sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Putting it all together
Wash and chop celery, carrots, onion and tomatoes. Set aside. Heat olive oil in a soup stock pot. Add chopped celery, carrots and onion; stir. Simmer the aromatics letting them cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally for at least 10 minutes. Stir in the Bryani Paste and thyme. Stir in chopped tomatoes and garlic powder. Stir in water. Add lentils and bay leaves. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are soft. 

When the soup is finished cooking: remove the bay leaves. Stir in cheese and hot sauce. Puree some, not all, of the soup. Serve or store in quart containers - label, refrigerate or freeze.
  • Serve with extra hot sauce and grated cheese (rather than salt) and a 1/2 sandwich, whole grain crackers or crusty bread
  • Experiment with soup variations adding: potatoes, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, Asofoetida, ginger, coriander or fresh garlic minced vs powder
*Bryani is a paste blend of curry, ginger and tasty spices. Ask for it at your supermarket.

Excellent Source: Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A and Folate
Good Source: Vitamin C and Thiamin
If you're counting carbohydrates: Only 9g net carbs

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Homemade Lentil Soup: 1 cup (281g): 122 calories; total fat 4g; saturated fat 1g; trans fat 0; cholesterol 2mg (1% DV); Sodium 137mg (6% DV); total carbohydrate 16g; dietary Fiber 7g (29% DV); protein 6.5g; Vitamin A 2806 IU (~56% DV); Vitamin C 6mg (~10% DV); Thiamin 0.2mg (~13% DV); Folate 108mcg (27% DV) plus other nutrients...

Related Links
Cooking Up Legumes Guide  
Recipe and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Healthy Dinner: Baked Flounder with butter, lemon and capers #GardenCuizine #recipe

Baked Flounder 
with butter, Lemon and Capers

I'll never forget the good 'ole days of family fishing outings in "Spirit the Boat" here in Jersey. Dad loved to fish, like my cousin Bob. I especially remember fishing for flounder. One time we were reeling in flounder so fast, Dad could not keep up with baiting our hooks! Locally caught flounder was often seen on menus back then. 

Now, decades later, commercial fishing and polluted waters has lead to Seafood Watch (a program that helps consumers make healthy, sustainable choices) recommending that we do not buy or eat Flounder from the US East Coast. If Dad were still alive, he may have been shocked to learn that our wild-caught Flounder for dinner tonight came all the way from Iceland.

Flounder is a flat fish similar to sole and fluke. Seafood Watch recommends getting Flounder from Alaska, the U.S. West Coast or British Columbia for the best choices. They don't recommend buying Flounder caught anywhere on the US East Coast unless it is from a "Good Alternative" source. The Seafood Watch uses science-based criteria before making their recommendations to the public.

Compared to other fish, the market price of flounder is among the highest. Even so, the protein in our meal only cost us $4.99 per person. Our veggie and grain side dishes added minimal cost. You can feed a family of three with less than one pound of flounder. We purchased ours at Wegman's supermarket for $14.99 lb. ShopRite was selling it for about the same price, $15.99 lb.

Even cooking one of the most expensive fish, a home cooked meal still costs less and far outweighs the nutrition of a fast-food meal. For example, Filet-O-Fish at McDonald's, has 560 mg of sodium, 38 g total carbohydrates (from the bun), 390 calories and 4 g of saturated fat, and that is just for the fish sandwich without adding in the added salt, fat and carbs coming from fries and soda. The Filet-O-Fish meal costs about $5.79

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish a couple times per week for good health. This is one of my "freestyle recipes", meaning that you can use a slightly different amount of the ingredients as desired and you won't ruin it.


Serves 3 
3 Fillets of Flounder
Olive oil (to coat bottom of baking dish)
1 Tablespoon butter

lemon juice (fresh squeezed, about 1 Tablespoon)
capers (as desired)

pinch dried thyme (or other herb(s) of choice)
pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper 
preheat oven to 350 degrees
Putting it all together
Add olive oil and butter to baking dish. Melt butter - we put the baking dish briefly in the microwave to melt the butter. Add fish and toss to coat in the oil blend. Season and add capers as desired. Cover and bake in preheated oven until fish is fully cooked and no longer translucent - about 25 minutes.

To complete your meal, serve with a portion controlled grain and a generous side of a vegetable. We served our flounder dinner with leftover quinoa and a side of asparagus
Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.