Monday, March 30, 2015

Snack Attack or just Dehydrated? Enjoy Cucumber Water for Hydration #NNM #GardenCuizine

Snack Attack or just Dehydrated? 
Cucumber Water 
for Hydration

On several occasions, I've had people tell me how they drink cucumber water rather than soda or juice as a way to cut out unwanted calories. And, I've noticed that sometimes people misinterpret thirst for hunger and may grab a snack when their body was really in need of a drink of water instead.

We all know water is the best beverage you can drink and that water is essential for life. Enhancing water with a squeeze of fresh citrus or sliced cucumbers is naturally good for your body. I decided to make cucumber water for a recent Inspira Health Network cooking class and at a social event at church. The refreshing taste was a hit at both events. 

Cucumber water makes everyday water special for you, your family and your guests. Here is all you do to make cucumber water:

Water - enough to fill a favorite pitcher
1 Cucumber

Stevia natural sweetener drops (plain)- optional
Fresh Mint - optional

Putting it all together

  • Fill a clean glass or clear plastic pitcher with cold water.
  • Wash and prepare cucumber slices. You can peel the entire cucumber or just a portion (stripes) down the length of the cucumber.
  • Cut into 1/4 inch round slices. Cookie cutters can be used to cut out shapes in the center.
  • Add the sliced cucumbers to the water and refrigerate until serving to allow flavor to infuse.
Relax and enjoy a glass!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data: One cucumber adds trace amounts of water soluble vitamins: Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Potassium
Related Links
Water: Meeting Your Daily Fluid Needs
Fit Facts, Healthy Hydration 
Rethink Your Drink
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

@cheezit @GoldfishSmiles @Quaker Quick Whole Grain Family Snack Mix @kidseatright #NNM

Dietitian Approved
Quick, Whole Grain 
Family Snack Mix
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, Snacks and Sweets are a major contributor to added sugars and saturated fat intake. What's the solution? Plan ahead and make healthy snacks for your family to help prevent eating unhealthy snacks. 

This affordable, healthy family snack is under 200 calories and is a good source of dietary fiber. The best part is convenience - it can be made in just a matter of minutes. Make a large batch and teach your family how to portion out a handful.  

Portion Control Tip: keep a small Dixie cup in the storage bowl to use as a 2 ounce serving scoop.


2 cups whole grain cereal (Quaker Oat Squares, Cheerios, etc)
1 cup low salt nuts (almonds, peanuts, cashews or mixed nuts)
1 cup raisins
1 cup whole grain Cheez-It® crackers OR whole grain Goldfish® crackers

Putting it all together
Easy - Put all ingredients in a bowl. Gently mix to combine. Store in an airtight container.


Nutrition Data: one handful (30g) made using Quaker Oatmeal Squares cereal, whole almonds and whole grain Cheeze-It crackers: 151 calories, 11g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0 zero trans fat, 25mg Sodium, 3g (12% DV) dietary Fiber, 5g Protein, 11g total Carbohydrates, (6% DV) calcium, (8% DV) iron

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

Monday, March 16, 2015

Homemade Low-fat Ranch Dip or Dressing #GardenCuizine #NNM

Low-fat Ranch
Preservative free ~ No artificial flavors
    Ranch dressing continues to be a favorite of just about everyone I talk to. As a dietitian, my challenge is to steer individuals towards a healthier diet and lifestyle. Commercial Ranch dressings are loaded with over 20 ingredients including MSG. Here's how to quickly prepare a much healthier Ranch dressing with less than half the calories and fat as commercial Ranch. Even your picky eaters will enjoy the garden fresh and delicious flavor.

Yields: 10-12 ounces (about 24 tablespoons)
Suggested Serving Size: 1 to 2 tablespoons


1 cup lite mayo
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) apple cider vinegar added to 1/2 cup low fat milk)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 clove garlic - finely minced
1 Tablespoon dried parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh dill - chopped
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder

    Putting it all together

  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl or jelly jar. I like using a jelly jar (less clean up!).
  • Whisk or shake well to combine.
  • Refrigerate 1 hour before serving. Shake again before serving.
    National Nutrition Month Snack Tips: Keep washed and cut veggies such as carrots, celery and sweet peppers stored in baggies on a visible shelf in your refrigerator. Have homemade Ranch in a container nearby as a healthy snack dip.  
Also, note that dill weed freezes well. A fresh bunch of dill can be rinsed (shake off excess water) and stored in a freezer baggie and used as needed in recipes.

Enjoy as a dip for raw veggies or as a salad dressing. Note: for a thinner consistency - simply add more milk as desired.

GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Low-fat Ranch Dressing: 1 Tablespoon (15g): 34 calories, 3 g total fat, 0 saturated fat, 101 mg sodium, 1g total carbohydrate 
Photo and blog post recipe Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

@PhilaFlowerShow Great job to all for another fabulous #flowershow #gardenchat

2015 Philadelphia Flower Show
Congratulations to The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) for presenting another great Philadelphia Flower Show. The show attracts over 200,000 visitors each year. We mingled among the masses and really enjoyed this year's "Lights, Camera, Bloom" show.

Thanks to the snow, we spent the morning digging out, which cut our day short. I was sorry to miss the Garden-to-Table speaker and whole foods advocate, Sloane Six, of Quarry Hill Farm. The Flower Show offers too much to see and do in one visit; a 2-day-pass would be ideal. Is there even such a ticket?

The Flower Show grand Entrance Garden featured an Art Deco theater facade with a marquee covered in flowers and lights. Spotlights of color accented tall juniper and palm trees. 

Waves of red blooming roses and red salvias provided a red carpet of color near fountains with balls of multi-colored roses. Mass plantings included over 1,000 calla lilies and ferns. 

We enjoyed taking photos and videos along a Hollywood themed, star-studded rose garden located near the entrance. The only thing missing was fragrance.
Roses included: Henry Fonda, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Barbara Streisand. 
Stunning, grand ceiling chandeliers dripped with dried flowers, moss and colorful amaranth accented by long jewel strands.

Behind the entrance marquee visitors could view a huge 36-by-16-foot screen featuring classic movies.

My favorite gardens included a PHS Gold Medal Landscape winner by Inchscape called The Persian Garden,
inspired by the Disney film “Prince of Persia.” A mogul pavilion sat on the edge of a moat surrounded by tropical plants. Some of the tropical plants staged in this garden design by Michael Petrie's Handmade Gardens will be featured in my next "chocolate" garden article that I'm writing for Dave's Garden.
Cymbidium Mighty Tracey 'Moonwalk'
Another favorite exhibitor was South Jersey's Waldor Orchids - winner of a PHS Silver Medal. Their amazing orchids and exotic garden display was inspired by Disney's magical movie Peter Pan. I especially admired their green and chocolate-colored orchids.
Cymbidium Amesbury 'Green Sunlight'
University of Delaware received a PHS Silver Medal in Education for their Forest-to-Pharmacy display, Medicinal and Edible Plants of the Amazon Rainforest, which highlighted vital resources of The Amazon rainforest - reminding us that the Amazon rainforest is the “lungs of the world.” Almost half of the world’s medicines are derived from rainforest plants.
We especially enjoyed a presentation by Beekeeper Jim Bobb of Worcester Honey Farms. He discussed interesting facts about honey bees, calling bees "the most fascinating insects on earth." We learned about bee behaviors, their contribution to PA agriculture and about bee anatomy. Did you know that bees have 5 eyes?
With so much to see, we missed a lot, but nobody could miss Robertson’s Flowers and Events presentation of A Fairy Tale Ending – Cinderella’s Wedding. Their display featured a huge, white, French-style dining table setting with columns of hydrangeas and blooms directing attention to Cinderella's glass slipper. 
Special thanks to PHS, their sponsors, presenters and all the fabulous floral and landscape designers and gardeners that put together such a wonderful show.
Photos and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.
We missed the stars of our families: Mom and Helen. Best for speedy recoveries ladies!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Today in our Garden #GardenCuizine #NNM @PhilaFlowerShow

Today in Our Garden
Snow Melt today
Nothing like Boston's tally of snowfall (second snowiest since 1891 with 104.1 inches so far), but South Jersey's largest snowfall of this season was Thursday. We had 7 inches. Harry cleared out our driveway yesterday. Some snow melted today.
Wintering birds have been all over the seeds we've been putting out. The second heated water bowl has been a popular feature for wildlife. 

Philadelphia Flower Show
It's still not too late to attend the Philadelphia Flower Show for a taste of Spring. Did you go? Watch for my Philadelphia Flower Show post; plus, another Dave's Garden Chocolate Garden article featuring decadent plants from the show. 
Our Garden
The vegetable and herb garden is still completely covered under snow at this point... the focus now is indoors and getting ready to start growing veggie seeds under grow lights.

Seed Starting during National Nutrition Month® (NNM)
March marks NNM and the time to start growing seedlings like tomatoes and other garden annuals. We start ours on St. Patty's Day so they don't get too leggy and overgrown. Vegetables with longer germination times can get started even earlier, such as peppers. I hope to plant both sweet and hot pepper seeds under grow lights indoors next week.

Happy National Nutrition Month - have fun Garden Planning!
Related Links
NNM Bloggers
Starting Seeds Indoors
Photos and blog post Copyright ©Wind. All rights reserved.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Chia Pudding Parfait #HealthySnacks #NNM
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that During National Nutrition Month® Make Sensible Snacks Part of Your Healthy Eating Plan. And, that's just what we plan to promote too, both where I work - at Inspira Health Network in Vineland, NJ - and here on my GardenCuizine blog.

Our second cooking class, "Make Your Own Healthy Snacks" is scheduled during National Nutrition Month (NNM). I'll be blogging and tweeting healthy snack recipes during #NNM.  

Make now the time to take a bite into a healthier lifestyle.
The taste is so good, guaranteed you will want more! 

For starters, Chia Pudding Parfait makes a sensible snack. You can find my Chia pudding recipe posted here on GardenCuizine. Simply layer chia pudding in a clear glass, cup or bowl with your favorite healthy granola and fresh fruit to create a parfait.

Now that's Sensible Snacking! 

For more about Chia check out my Dave's Garden Articles:
Chia Seed Nutrition
Chia is a nutritious seed from a salvia plant that you can grow in your home garden. 
Blog post Copyright (C)2015 Wind. All rights reserved.