Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cool off ~ Stay hydrated ~ Make your own Vitamin Water! @SweetLeafStevia #GardenCuizine

 Fruit Infused Vitamin Water
Went out today and bought a few Fruit Infusion Water Pitchers to take to my out-patient nutrition counseling offices. Many people I meet for weight management are looking to replace sugary sodas and juices with zero calorie beverages. Fruit infused vitamin water is fun to make and when lightly sweetened with natural stevia is ZERO calories! It's a cool and refreshing way to stay hydrated in the summer heat.

This is our first recipe. We used orange and strawberry; you can be creative and combine fruits that you have available. 

Try pineapple, mango, kiwifruit, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, watermelon, oranges, limes or lemons. Fresh cut herbs make a great flavor addition too. Try lemon balm, basil, rosemary, mint or monarda blooms. 

Fresh fruits add a subtle flavor and Vitamin C, which is water soluble and naturally infuses into your water along with other water soluble nutrients.
Strawberry Orange
  • half an Orange
  • one Strawberry
  • 1-2 SweetLeaf Stevia packets
Putting it all together
First, wash your new fruit infusion pitcher and wash the fruit you plan on using. 
  1. Cut the fruit small enough to fit in the center infusion cylinder. 
  2. Fill the pitcher with cold tap water and add 1-2 packets of SweetLeaf stevia
  3. Give it a quick swirl to stir and refrigerate to infuse hints of natural fruit flavors 
Rethink your drink
Sure beats 130 calories in a 12-ounce soda! Two sodas = 260 added calories. It only takes an extra 500 calories a day to slip on an extra pound of weight gain per week. And, if you're diabetic, just one 12-ounce soda or one cup of sugary lemonade counts as 2 to 2 1/2 carbohydrate servings respectively. Vitamin water has zero carbs with zero glycemic index.

SweetLeaf® Stevia products available also include Liquid Stevia Sweet Drops™ that come in 17 natural fruit, nut, cola, cinnamon or chocolate flavored drops that make a great addition to non carbonated beverage drinks, dessert sauces or foods such as yogurt or oatmeal. Ask for them at your local health food store.

Strive for a healthy body weight. Avoid sugary foods and beverages!
Related Links
Vitamin Water The Yummy Life blog
Using Herbs and Fresh Fruit to make Flavored Water Dave's Garden article by Melody Rose
Rethink Your Drink
Hydrate Right
How Much Water do Kids Need? 
Make Better Beverage Choices
Photographs and blog post Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Creative, Vitamin C-rich version of Peppers and Eggs #GardenCuizine

Bell Peppers and Eggs
Low Sodium ~ High Vitamin C

This morning we cooked sweet bell peppers with eggs over easy; a creative and tasty way to add vegetable nutrients to breakfast. Sweet bell red peppers are an excellent source of Vitamin C and a good source of Vitamin A. In the past we've made peppers and eggs using sweet banana frying peppers with scrambled Egg Beaters, this was something different.

The idea was inspired from a recent Pinterest post. They weren't as picture perfect as the Pinterest post; the egg whites ran out a little from under the pepper rings, but it added interest to the creation. Everyone enjoyed them! 

Growing Bell Peppers Health Tip
Remember if you're growing bell peppers, let them ripen to yellow, red or orange for sweeter flavor and higher Vitamin C!

Free range eggs (1-2 per person)
Bell Peppers sliced in 1/2 inch rings from the widest ends of the peppers for the number of eggs you plan on cooking
Paprika and/or fresh ground black pepper - optional 

No salt needed!

Putting it all together

  • Lightly spray a hot griddle or cooking pan with vegetable oil
  • Cook the pepper rings first, turning on each side
  • Crack eggs sunny side up into each ring
  • Cover and cook until the whites are cooked. If you don't want to overcook the yolks, flip the egg in the pepper ring as you would for eggs over easy and serve.
Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis Bell Pepper slice (without the egg): Serving Size 20g 1 ring 1/2-inch thick: Calories 6; total Fat 0g; Sodium 0.4mg (0%DV); Cholesterol 0; dietary Fiber .4g (2%DV); Vitamin A 326IU (12%DV); Vitamin C 26mg (42%DV); Vitamin E 0.4mg (2%DV)
Related Links
Growing Bell Peppers
Blog post and photo collage Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Adopt a healthier lifestyle, reduce Coronary Artery Disease by 82% #GardenCuizine

Living with and Managing 
Coronary Artery Disease

YOU have the power to prevent or delay Coronary Artery Disease. Take Control!! Lower your risk factors:
  • Eat a healthier diet
  • Exercise with doctor approval
  • Medications may be necessary
  • Don't Smoke...and if you do, QUIT!
  • You can do it!
Follow a Heart Healthy eating plan.
  • Eat a variety of Whole Grains
  • Eat more Fruits and Vegetables
  • Avoid Saturated Fats and Trans Fats
  • Eat a diet Low in Cholesterol
  • Prepare foods with Less Salt
  • Avoid Sugar Sweetened Drinks
Do what you can to maintain a healthy body weight. Exercise most days for at least 15-30 minutes. Take your recommended medications as needed.
  • Diabetes is a major CAD risk factor
  • A Registered Dietitian can help!
Related Links 
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes, TLC diet

Friday, June 22, 2012

Echinacea Blooms Brighten up the World's Gardens #gardenchat

Eastern Purple Coneflower, Echinacea purpurea blooms brighten up the world's herb gardens. The photo above was taken today in our garden. Some of my personal favorite perennials are members of the Aster family. There are 9 species of Echinacea. The cheery blooms come in a wide variety of colors too; birds, especially goldfinches, and butterflies, just love it.

Echinacea is hardy to USDA zones 2a to 9b. The USDA lists Echinacea as an endangered species in Florida. Our east coast native, pink blooming Echinacea grows back for us every year in South Jersey as a carefree perennial.

Dave's Garden lists over one hundred cultivars (types) of Echinacea. Surely you can find a coneflower in a height and color perfect for your garden.

Echinacea for Cold Prevention
Echinacea has been sold in health food stores for many years. In fact, I sold it too in my store years ago. Common and popular Echinacea products today include: herbal Echinacea teas, throat lozenges, root extracts, and Echinacea tablets and capsules. Many products often combine Echinacea purpurea with other species, such as E. angustifolia, as well as with other natural, immune boosting ingredients such as zinc, spirulina or vitamin C.

Clinical studies have been variable in their statistically significant results proving the effectiveness of Echinacea purpurea in preventing rhinovirus colds. 
Related Links

Cultivars of Echinacea Dave's Garden Plant Files
Echinacea University of Maryland Medical Center 
Echinacea MedicinePlus, NIH
Photo and blog post Copyright(C)2012 Wind. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Have you gotten a copy of the First Lady's new #garden book yet? #GardenCuizine @LiveKelly

Iron Chef
Cooking with Veggies 
from the 
White House Garden
We will have to try Iron Chef Forgione's recommendation for slicing broccoli or cauliflower after the heads are chopped off to a grain-like texture similar to cous cous - sounds delicious! As for the candied rhubarb...sounds amazing too! We better get more rhubarb planted!

All proceeds from the sale of Michelle Obama's new book American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America go to the National Park Foundation. We have the book and I can't wait to read it.

Related Links  

Day by day tour of Sicily #FCPDPG : Capo Market, Palermo #GardenCuizine

Sicilian Culture and Cuisine
Palermo, Sicily - day 2

Our excursion to Sicily with the Food and Culinary Professionals' Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics gave us an even greater appreciation of the richness of Italian culture and cuisine.  

Our 10-day, fully packed trip was especially designed to provide us with opportunities to learn and see as much as possible in our brief time there. Day 2 for us was actually the first day for others in the group, since we arrived a day early to get acclimated to the time zone change. 

This day, our group was lead by the Duchess of Palma, Nicoletta Polo, who showed us what she looks for when selecting fresh fish and vegetables. In the morning we shopped for greens, fennel, strawberries and swordfish to cook in our Italian, hands-on cooking class held later that day at her historic seaside palazzo.
Palermo boasts several markets. We visited the famous Capo Food Market, the oldest market in Palermo, which reminded us of Philadelphia's Italian Market in some ways. As we walked around Capo Market, we heard the traditional cries of food vendors trying to attract us to their displays.
Vendors had stands full of fresh, locally grown vegetables, fruits, olives, herbs, nuts, meats and fish typical of the Mediterranean region. Even cucuzza Italian squash was displayed - the garden beast that my family banned from our garden last year after its vigorous growing vines nearly covered everything in sight!

In Sicily, early spring is the peak of artichoke season; artichokes could be found everywhere. 

On the side streets at Capo Market dogs could be seen lying around. Did they have owners? They appeared to be homeless.
The home of the Duke and Duchess of Palma was simply gorgeous - complete with a garden balcony featuring a goldfish pond and breathtaking tropical plants surrounded by Italian artisan tile-work. I'll be sharing more details of their luxurious garden in an article coming soon on Dave's Garden. The terrace view overlooked the Palermo coastline and the bay on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lavender wisteria was in full bloom, cascading beneath the windows.
The beautifully restored 18th century palazzo by the sea was the last home of Prince Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, who wrote the famous novel “The Leopard”. We gathered in one of the kitchens used for cooking classes. The walls were lined in blue and white tile with a central window that looked out upon a garden courtyard. Under Nicoletta's direction we all shared tasks in preparing dinner.
Green Olive, Almond, Caper and Basil Tapenade
Sun-dried Cherry Tomato, Pistachio and Almond croutons
 Fusilli with Pistachio Pesto sauce 
Swordfish rolls
Orange and Fennel Salad, Sicilian Style
Mixed Baby Greens with Citron, Nasturtium Blossoms and Orange, Honey Vinaigrette
Tangerine and Orange Jelly with Spiced Strawberry
served with Sicilian wines: Leone Tasca d'Amerita 2010 - Reagaleali Rosso d'Amerita 2009 and Veechio Florio Marsala Superiore 2007
We were divided into two groups: some dined with the Duchess; our group dined with her husband - the Duke of Palma. The gala Sicilian dinner was served in a magnificent dining room with book-lined walls. Many of the books he recalled reading as a child. 
Our day ended with a gaze out the window and a toast to a wonderful evening with new food and culinary professional friends. It was truly a memorable day!

grazie a tutti

watch for Sicily day 3 post coming soon...
Related Links: Cooking with the Duchess
Duchess for a Day
Blog post and photos copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quick Quinoa #Recipe Gluten Free 100% Whole Grain #GardenCuizine

Quick Quinoa
~ Low Fat, Low Sodium, Good Fiber ~
Whole Grain Side Dish
For a quick whole grain side dish, try organic quinoa (pronounced keen-wa). Quinoa cooks faster than rice and is a refreshing change. Quinoa is gluten and wheat free, and it's very nutritious and versatile, lending itself to many recipes that can be served either hot or cold. 

The ancient, golden grain of the Incas, can be jazzed up by preparing it pilaf-style and adding nuts, fruits, herbs and seasonings. It can also be served plain. Quinoa makes great summer salad dishes too. I first tried it many years ago back when I had my health food store; it was served cold with grapes and cashew nuts and tasted so good; I've been cooking it ever since. 
Quinoa plants remind me of amaranth, bright and colorful with red tones among beige and more neutral browns the color of wheat. Quinoa has been a staple in South America for thousands of years, especially in regions of the Andes - the longest continental mountain range in the world that travels through seven countries, including Boliva, Peru and coastal regions of Chile.

Quinoa boasts a terrific nutrition profile too, providing all of the essential amino acids, making quinoa a good protein and iron source for a plant food. A typical way our family enjoys quinoa is making it with added sweet curry and coriander seasonings, which give it flavor with a yellow hue. I made it tonight and served it with grilled Teriyaki Atlantic salmon and steamed broccoli. Delicious, quick and easy!

Quinoa is becoming more readily available in stores. You can find it in bulk in grocery markets like WholeFoods or in bulk 4lb bags in stores like Costco. For a dark color variation, look for red quinoa.
And mark your calendars... 
The United Nations declared 
2013 the International year of Quinoa!
Quinoa Pilaf (serves 6)

1/4 Onion, chopped
dried hot chili pepper, minced (from your garden)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 heaping tsp (2 cloves) Garlic, minced
1 tsp (2g) Sweet Curry powder 
1/2 tsp (1g) ground Coriander

1 cup (170g) organic Quinoa
2 cups water
1/4 cup (41g) raisins or other chopped dried fruit
pinch salt (no more than 1/4 tsp) and black pepper 

Putting it all together
  • Saute the onion and hot pepper in oil over medium high heat. 
  • Add the garlic and spices, stir
  • Add the quinoa, stir
  • Add the water and fruit, stir
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Cover and reduce heat. 
  • Simmer on low until water is evaporated. Turn off heat. Let sit 5 minutes covered. Fluff with fork or serving spoon before serving. Enjoy!
Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis Quinoa - calculated from USDA nutrient values:
Good Source: Dietary Fiber, Folate, and Magnesium
Low Sodium, Low Fat
Serving Size 115g (1/6 of recipe): Calories: 128, Total Fat: 2g (3%DV), Sodium 103mg (4%DV), Total Carbohydrate 24g (1.5 CHO servings), Dietary Fiber 2.4g (10%DV), Cholesterol: 0mg (0%DV), Potassium 221mg (6%DV), Protein: 4.3g (9%DV), Thiamin 0.1mg (7%DV), Niacin: 0.5mg (3%DV), Vitamin B6: 0.2mg (8%DV), Folate: 53mcg (13%DV), Iron 1.6mg (9%), Magnesium: 60mg (15%DV)
Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a caloric intake of 2,000 calories for adults and children age 4 or older
Related Links
Eat More Whole Grains 
National Whole Grains Council 
Healthy Grains
Photo and recipe Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All rights reserved. Quinoa plants photo taken near Cachora, Apurimac, Peru - compliments of Wikipedia.

Monday, June 11, 2012

#GardenCuizine #Recipe: Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie
Mama's favorite all time dessert is Key Lime pie. I always make this for her in honor of her June 11th birthday as her "birthday cake".  Light and delicious, Key Lime pie has just enough tart and sweet to please just about anyone's taste-buds. Fresh lime juice offers high Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, folic acid and iron. And, pectin found in citrus, may also help lower cholesterol.

You can squeeze your own Key Limes (Citrus aurantifolia) or Nellie and Joe's famous Key Lime store-bought juice works great too. Key limes are smaller than regular limes and can take longer to juice so I often use Nellie and Joe's for convenience. Key limes are also very seasonal and can be hard to find, depending on when you want them. I found key limes in the market today (June) with no problem. Juicing Key limes is fun, but can be labor intensive. A ricer (used for making mashed potatoes) can help to speed up the pressing and squeezing.

Quick and Easy
Key lime pie is quick and easy-to-make. Nellie and Joe's famous Key lime pie recipe is printed on their bottle label as well as on their website. Their tried and true recipe makes actually more of a tart, since it fills a 9" pie plate about halfway. But I like it because it leaves room around the top for garnishing the pie with either meringue or rosettes of fresh whipped cream.  

A few mouthfuls of Key lime pie's creamy, sweet and tangy taste is a sensation that keeps Key lime lovers coming back for more. And from a health standpoint, one modest size serving of this dessert seems to satisfy most people without the excessive high calories and fat typically found in over-sized, portions of commercially made fruit pies with crust. 

Chefs tip: Green food coloring is a No No!!! I used to add a teeny tiny dab of Kelly green icing color to mine and one time I accidentally added to much, needless to say, it was noticeable and I was booed from my culinary friends and family. Traditional Key lime pie is NEVER colored, it should be pale yellow.

Pie Crust 

1 pkg graham crackers (low-fat crackers; 8 full cracker sheets) OR 20 ginger snap cookies mixed with 1 cup Grape Nuts Cereal 

4 Tablespoons melted no-salt butter or Smart Balance spread OR for a low fat crust, use 2 tablespoons melted Smart Balance and about 1/4 cup (or less) orange juice.

Key Lime Filling (the recipe on Nellie and Joe's is a winner)
zest of ~5 Key limes (optional)
1/2 cup Key West Lime juice fresh squeezed or Nellie and Joe's
one, 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk 
3 egg yolks

Whipped Cream
1 cup whipping cream
powdered sugar to taste
zest of one lime  

Garnish (optional)
1 Kiwifruit peeled and sliced
2 Key limes sliced seeds removed
edible blooms hand selected from your garden (shown: we had yellow mizuna blooms and purplish leaves of red shiso perilla; I couldn't find our mint, which may have been nice too, really anything edible from the garden adds a nice touch.)
Putting it all together

First make the Crust:

Of course, for convenience, you can buy a ready made graham crust, but beware of high fructose corn syrup and other non-desirable ingredients. Homemade gives you choice and control of the ingredients; plus, making your own allows you to use your own pie plate. 
  • In a food processor blend one package of graham crackers to fine crumbs or ginger snaps with or without grape nuts cereal. If you don't want to use grape nuts cereal, just use more ginger snaps, or you can use any cookie. Over the years I've tried Oreo's and Nilla Wafers too.  I usually use whatever we have around. The pie I made today, for Mom's birthday, had 20 ginger snaps and one cup of grape nuts cereal ground up in a food processor. Our food processor was bouncing away...I think we may need a new food processor - the snaps and grape nuts were both crunchy and gave our old processor a workout!!
  • Put ground crumbs or whatever you decided to use into a medium size bowl; add the melted butter or Smart Balance. Use your hands to mix it well. Crumbs should hold together when squeezed. If not, simply add a tiny bit of orange juice or water and mix with hands; then squeeze-test again. This avoids adding more butter, which adds fat. 
  • Press crumbs firmly and evenly into the bottom of a pie plate and up the sides.
  • Pre-bake crust for 5-7 minutes so it isn't soggy when you add the filling.
  • Technically, a graham cracker crust does not need to be baked, but I like to bake it in a 350°F oven just until the edges begin to lightly toast.
  • Cool on a wire rack while preparing the filling.
Key Lime Filling:
  • Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth and well blended. I use a plastic spatula to mix and usually mix together the yolks and condensed milk first before stirring in the lime juice.
  • Pour filling into cooled prepared crust. Spread evenly.
Keylime pie was originally a no-bake pie, but over the years, because of concerns about food safety and enough coagulation of the eggs, most people (myself included) prefer to bake it.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes
  • Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack
  • Refrigerate until ready to decorate
  • Decorate: I usually add a border of whipped cream rosettes and garnish with fresh lime slices after the pie is baked and chilled.
  • To make whipped cream, just whisk together the cream, sugar and zest until piping consistency. Fill pastry bag with a star tip and have fun!
Related Links
Thinking About Key Lime Pie's Beginnings 
Mexican Key Limes
Kiwifruit Dave's Garden article by Diana Wind

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)2012 Wind. All Rights Reserved. Revised 6/22/14.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

#GardenCuizine #Recipe: Cajun Country Cornbread with Chia Seeds and Garden Chile Peppers @American_Heart @nih_nhlbi

 Cajun Country Cornbread
with Chia Seeds and Chile Peppers

Garden fresh Jalapenos or any of your favorite hot peppers will spice up this wholesome country cornbread recipe. Mom does not like foods too hot or spicy, but she loves this recipe

This Cajun Cornbread recipe was inspired by Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen cookbook's Cornbread/Cornbread Muffin recipe. Chef Paul's cuisine is classic New Orleans style food at its best. We love NOLA foods, but as we do with any recipe, to optimize it for good heart health - always look at the sodium and fat content and reduce it if necessary. 
  • Studies have shown that reduced sodium intake can lower blood pressure and prevent and control hypertension and prevent cardiovascular disease. 
  • The current Dietary Guidelines recommend that individuals consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day. 
  • The American Heart Association recommends even less, to no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. 
  • Using salt in baked goods can jack-up your sodium intake. 
  • Just one teaspoon of salt contains 2,300 mg of sodium! 
  • Bottom line: use less salt in recipes, no added salt at the table, read food labels when buying foods, and beware of high sodium in restaurant meals and fast foods.
This recipe was adjusted to increase whole grains and keep the natural corn flavor and cornbread taste, while omitting excess sodium and fat. Fresh corn kernels can be added in addition to fresh herbs and/or fiber and omega-3-rich chia or flax seeds.
Putting it all together
Serves 8-10 
1 cup (125g) unbleached all purpose flour
2/3 cup (81g) cornmeal
1/2 cup (58g) corn flour
1/3 cup (40g) white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup (67g) sugar
1 Tablespoon (15g) baking powder
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
1/3 cup corn kernels (optional)
1 1/3 cups 2% reduced fat milk
1 large egg
Dried or fresh minced hot peppers (Thai, Jalapeno, etc) 
2 Tablespoons (28g) butter, no salt
3 Tablespoons olive or canola oil
  • In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  • In a small pot melt the butter with the oil. Stir in the hot peppers to infuse their flavor; simmer one minute. Stir in the milk. Set aside to cool.
  • Whisk the egg into the cooled milk and oil mixture.
  • Make a well in the dry mixture; add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir gently using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Be careful not to over mix.
  • Spread into a lightly sprayed or buttered 8-10-inch baking dish or 10-inch cast iron skillet. Bake 350°F until done, about 30-50 minutes; time will vary depending on size of your baking dish.
  • Serve with hot pepper jelly
Buon Appetito!
GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis Corn Bread made with whole corn. Calculated from USDA nutrient values. 
Good Source: Whole Grains, Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Calcium, Selenium 
Serving size 1/10 of recipe (84g); Calories 228; total fat 9g (13%DV); saturated fat 2g (12%DV); Omega-3 582mg; cholesterol 30mg; sodium 226mg (9%DV); total carbohydrate 33g (11%DV, 2 CHO exchanges); dietary Fiber 2.5g (10%DV); sugars 8g; Protein 5g (10%DV); Thiamin 0.2mg (12%DV); Riboflavin 0.2mg (11%DV); Calcium 134mg (13%DV); Selenium 12mcg (17%DV)
Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a caloric intake of 2,000 calories for adults and children age 4 or older

Related Links:  

Check out Chia - A Super Salvia by Diana Wind
Chia - Super Seed Nutrition
Chia - An Indigenous Food 
Homemade Ground Pepper Spices Grow your own Hot Peppers!
Reduce Salt and Sodium in Your Diet