Corn on the cob is sweet & satisfying, especially in the summer!
The History of Corn
Corn on the cob has been a favorite of mine since way back. What about you? Did you know that corn originated thousands of years ago in central Mexico? Today, it is a major food staple around the world.
Ways to Prepare Corn
Corn is a colorful, nutrient-rich, versatile grain that lends itself to hot and cold recipes. Here are 2 quickies:
1. Corn Pancakes: Make a simple pancake batter from baking mix or scratch ingredients. Before cooking, add a cup of corn kernels. Cook.
2. Grilled Corn: Peel off corn husks. Sprinkle a little water onto each ear and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Grill, turning, for 6-8 min.
Family-Pleasing Corn Recipes
Try these in your household for ‘wow’ flavors and great nutrition, too:
1. Roasted Corn, Poblano and Cheddar Pizza
2. Spicy Corn
3. Corn and Yellow Squash Chowder
Take A First Step
Invest in your good health and the good health of your family -beginning today! I have easy-to-use meal plans and recipes. And, I offer ongoing ideas, tips and tiny recipes to create a healthy kitchen.
How will you use fresh corn in your healthy kitchen?
A stew made from 5 fresh ingredients adds homemade flavors to dinner!
Cooking with Eggplant
I’ve always thought eggplant has a kind of mystique surrounding it. Is it the deep purple color? Is it the name? Or, is it that many people are confused with how to cook eggplant? If you’re confused, then it’s time to get to the grocery store or local farm market, buy an eggplant and give it a try!
To Peel or Not to Peel
It’s not hard to prepare and cook eggplant. First, rinse eggplant well with cool water. The next step is to peel or not to peel it and either way works. Next, cut eggplant into chunks or rounds and cook it. Some chefs give eggplant a striped look by peeling it part-way. Here’s a fun video showing the stripes and a simple grilled eggplant recipe.
Easy Stewed Eggplant Recipe (ingredients in photo)
1. Wash and cut into chunks: 2 Japanese eggplants, 6-8 inches long (or 1 large globe-shaped eggplant); 2 green Bell peppers; 2 large or 3 medium tomatoes; 1 medium onion. Set aside.
2. In a stewing pot, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and heat to medium. Add 2-4 cloves garlic, minced. Cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add prepared veggies from step #1 to pot and cover with lid. Cook 10-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.
4. Add 1/2 cup tomato sauce or tomato puree to pot ingredients. Stir.
5. Cover pot with lid, reduce heat to low and cook stew for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
6. Serve over cooked pasta and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Note: For more flavor, add chopped fresh herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, mint and/or thyme half way through.
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What light & healthy eggplant recipe will you try this summer?
Local, tree-ripened peaches can make your taste buds dance!
Caring for Fresh Peaches
It seems simple. Pick-your-own or buy fresh peaches and then eat them. But, wait – there’s more! By following these 3 steps, your summer peaches will reward you with more flavor, more sweetness and more enjoyment.
Step 1. At home, store peaches on the kitchen counter.
Step 2. Twice a day, check for ripeness by very gently squeezing the peach with your thumb and index finger.
Step 3. When peach is slightly soft to the touch and smells ‘peachy’, eat or store in the fridge (for up to one week.)
Peaches & Cinnamon in Meals and Snacks
Sprinkling cinnamon onto a fresh peach is something you must try! Here are 3 ways to make this winning combination add flavor and creativity to your meals and snacks.
1. Peaches & cinnamon over yogurt. Wash and cut up the peach, sprinkle it with cinnamon and stir up. Dish up some vanilla or honey yogurt and top with peaches.
2. Peaches & cinnamon over breakfast cereal. Wash and cut up the peach. Pour your bowl of cereal (go for high fiber varieties). Top with peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon.
3. Peaches & cinnamon on the grill. Wash and cut peach in half. Brush cut side very lightly with oil. Cook on the grill, cut side down, for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
Take the Challenge
If you are not already eating at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables every day, then it’s time for a change. Take the challenge by keeping track of your intake of fruits/veggies with the goal to consistently eat about 2-1/2 cups per day. For kids and everyone, here’s a fun tune as a good nutrition reminder!
What’s your favorite way to eat summer peaches?
Patty pan squash mixed with corn off-the-cob, onions and fresh herbs is a treat for the taste buds!
Mix it Up!
Are you are slipping into a rut using the same vegetables over and over and over? You’re not alone. Most of us put one of 3-5 different choices on the family table because we like them, our families will eat them and we believe in vegetables.
Climb out of that Rut!
It’s time to branch out and climb out of that rut with summer vegetable mixtures. The best part about mixing veggies together is that anything goes and all flavors blend. Not only that — the colors are brighter and the family perks up to eating superior nutrition.
Try One of These!
Here are a 3 summer veggie mixtures to try. They can be easily steamed on the stove top or in the microwave. Or, grill them on a special veggie grill pan or in a small aluminum foil ‘tent’ alongside the rest of the grill meal. Season lightly with olive oil.
1. Sliced zucchini and onions + red Bell pepper chunks
2. Green beans and chunks of tomatoes + chopped fresh garlic and basil
3. Corn off-the-cob, green Bell pepper chunks and onions + chopped parsley and thyme
Shop, Cook, Enjoy!
Now, gather your ideas, shop at the market and bring your family into-the-loop. Do it for the wonderful flavors and for the nutritional advantage that veggies offer all of us. Who can come up with a signature summer vegetable mixture to try at your meal table?
Cherokee purple tomatoes are unique and delicious, from my local Farmer's Market!
It’s Fun Trying Many Varieties of Tomatoes!
I used to think a homegrown, local tomato was heavenly — and, I still do! But, lately I’m getting more fun out of summer tomatoes by trying different varieties. The Cherokee Purple tomato, shown at left, is actually purple-ish on the outside and inside. Amish Paste is another to try as is Brandywine. I suggest your local Farmer’s Market if you are ready to have some fun with tomato varieties!
Making Easy Meals with Tomatoes!
1. Cold Tomato Sandwich Meal: Spread fresh sourdough or whole grain bread with light mayo or mustard. Cut a fresh, local tomato into thick slices and layer onto bread. Top tomatoes with minced, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano or mint. Make a meal by adding sliced cucumbers and a wedge of cantaloupe or watermelon.
2. Cold Pasta & Tomato Salad Meal: Mix together cooked pasta with chunks of fresh, local tomatoes. Use several kinds if you can. Add your signature ingredients such as olives, black beans or cheese. Dress simply with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir. Make a meal by adding warm corn tortillas wrapped around sliced avocado or salsa and a peach.
3. Cold Tomato Gazpacho Soup Meal: Here’s a tasty recipe for Tomato Gazpacho Soup. Make a meal by adding simple, grilled chicken or fish and fresh plum tart.
Make it Healthy and Tasty in Your Kitchen!
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Wake up your taste buds with something new!
Can you believe that 1/3 of all Americans skip breakfast? Are you one of them? Are your kids? If breakfast is a hard meal to ‘muster’ in your household then listen up for some nutritious and delicious options. Because…breakfast is a most important meal of the day!
Thinking out of the (cereal) box is a good starting point for breakfast. There are many, many options and no rules about what to put on your plate. Maybe traditional morning foods don’t excite your taste buds and that’s OK. Choose what’s appealing with good nutrition to power you, and yours, every morning.
Breakfast Combinations to Try
1. Black beans with ready-to-serve brown rice + sliced tomato and/or avocado + fresh peach + 1% milk
2. Ready-to-serve brown rice + scrambled or fried egg + fresh apple + 1% milk
3. Walnuts and diced peach or nectarine + low fat yogurt + ‘light’ or homemade granola + tea/coffee
4. Hard boiled egg + black beans + cabbage-tomato salad + 1% milk
5. Cottage cheese + pineapple tidbits + crunchy granola bar + 1% milk or yogurt
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Which tomato is your favorite?
Tomatoes hit the spot in July! There are more than 100 varieties to learn about, and to grow yourself. No matter which variety you try, you’ll notice a rich flavor plus a nutritional prize of vitamins A and C along with fiber and very few calories. Just for fun, play the guessing game below and Name That Tomato!
Name the 5 tomato varieties.
Think of 3 ways to add tomatoes to a meal or snack.
Here are the 5 tomato variety names, out of order: Celebrity/Early Girl; Green Zebra; Sunkist; Curly Red; Sungold Cherry
Time to Name That Tomato (front to back):
1. Curly Red 2. Green Zebra, right 3. Sungold Cherry, left 4. Sunkist 5. Celebrity/Early Girl
Tomatoes in Meals & Snacks:
1. Add sliced tomatoes to your breakfast omelet or lunch wrap sandwich.
2. Nibble on sweet cherry tomatoes for a morning or afternoon snack.
3. Stuff a whole, cored tomato with tuna or chicken salad for dinner.
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My car's passenger seat is full of good nutrition!
1. Look at what I bought at my local Farmer’s Market yesterday.
2. Try to name everything.
3. Try to work each fruit/veggie into a healthy meal or snack.
1. Fresh fruits can be a part of breakfast, lunch or dinner…or, a snack. One easy way to prepare them is to wash in cold tap water, peel (depending on the fruit) and eat.
2. Fresh veggies can be eaten raw, in most cases, or cooked. One easy way to cook them is to wash in cold tap water, cut and microwave.
Solution to the Game (left to right):
1. Santa Rosa Plums – Very sweet and a tiny bit tart. Wash and eat for dessert.
2. Athena Cantaloupe – Sweet, juicy and flavorful. Wash, peel and eat as a refreshing snack.
3. Jimmy Nardello Peppers – Sweet, not hot, flavorful peppers. Wash and cut into a pasta salad for lunch or dinner.
4. Aristocrat Zucchini – Mild, fresh squash flavor. Wash, slice lengthwise and grill with a little olive oil for dinner.
5. Elephant Garlic – Mild flavor with large cloves. Peel and mince, then sprinkle onto a homemade pizza for lunch.
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Many healthy meals and snacks start here!
Summer Fruits & Veggies are Here!
It is an awesome time of year to go shopping for local, seasonal fruits and veggies. You can find them at your local farm market, roadside stand or supermarket. Stock up now while the summer harvest is ‘rolling in’ and you’ll be glad you did.
What to Do with Summer’s Bounty!
Shopping for healthy summer produce is one thing and figuring out what to do with it once you get home is another. Buy too much? Lacking inspiration to get into the kitchen and cook? Confused how to use it all up? Here’s some help.
Summer Ideas for Your Healthy Kitchen!
Corn on the cob – Rip off the husk and silk first. Option 1: Wrap in aluminum foil and roast on the grill for 7-10 min. turning twice. Option 2: Wrap in waxed paper and cook in microwave. Option 3: Carefully cut raw kernels off the cob using a sharp knife and cutting board. Cook in microwave with 1/2 inch water, a pinch of sugar and ground cumin.
Eggplant, zucchini, yellow summer squash – Wash and remove ends. Slice lengthwise into 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with about 2 tablespoons olive oil and Italian herbs of choice. Grill about 6-8 min, turning twice.
Tomatoes – Wash, remove core and discard it. Option 1: Slice into 1/4 inch thickness. Layer with chickpea hummus and top with chopped fresh parsley. Option 2: Chop into bite-size pieces. Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Option 3: Chop and add lots of them to your favorite pasta salad.
Fresh peaches – Wash, remove seed and discard it. Option 1: Slice into small wedges, sprinkle with ground cinnamon and a pinch of sugar. Option 2: Chop and mix into your chicken or turkey salad. Option 3: Chop and mix with vanilla yogurt.
Ongoing Ideas for Your Healthy Kitchen!
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