Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dry Rub Seasoning Wedding Favors #GardenCuizine

A Wedding Favor with Flavor

Peppers add great flavor to foods. Easy to grow, they like the summer heat and can survive occasional neglect. Fresh picked peppers add nutrients and flavor to meals and garden salads. Abundant harvests can be dried for uses in spice rubs and seasoning mixes. This summer we plan on growing Alma peppers, to dry for paprika. 

Reduce Salt with Dried Seasonings
The recent 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (about 1 teaspoon of salt) a day. And for salt sensitive populations* - over half of all Americans - the amount of sodium recommended per day is less than 1,500 milligrams. 
*Salt sensitive populations include African Americans, those over age 51 and people with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney problems. 
Dried herbs and spices serve as a good substitute to high salt in prepared foods. The American Dietetic Association supports using herbs, spices and spice rubs in cooking in place of salt. And the American Heart Association recommends preparing foods with little or no salt to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Wedding Favors with Flavor
Last summer my cousin Kristine got married. Their wedding favors were adorable little containers of homemade gourmet spice rub. She said they had a lot of fun making them too! Here is a recipe that we use for a tasty low salt dry rub:

Spicy Dry Rub
1 Tablespoon (T) paprika

1 T brown sugar
1 teaspoon (tsp) ground black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp hot pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cumin

1/8 tsp celery seed
1/8 tsp salt

Combine ingredients and store in an airtight container kept in a dark place. For use in wedding favors, make a large batch and portion into small containers labeled with the names of the bride and groom and their wedding date. They may opt to add a personal note on a color coordinated card attached with ribbon. The message on the back of Kristine and Matt's Spice Rub card said, "Thank you for celebrating with us!" 

Enjoy on barbecued ribs or chicken. 

Note: Many of our homemade spice rubs are adapted from spice rub recipes found in the Jack Daniel's BBQ Cookbook. Be creative in your cooking and don't hesitate to reduce the salt called for in the recipe or to add or delete ingredients. 

Related Links
Homemade Ground Pepper Spices 
American Heart Association on Sodium
Blog Article and Photograph Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Family Mealtime Improves Child Nutrition #GardenCuizine

Cooking and Eating as a Family

The Family Mealtime bulletin board pictured above was created for the Tri-County  Women, Infants and Children's (WIC) office in Vineland, NJ during my dietetic internship at South Jersey Healthcare. The nutrition lesson plan was titled 'Family Mealtime: Take a New Look'. Families and their children contributed to the board by coloring, gluing and sticking on the hearts, eyes and colorful letters to make the personalized art shown. The cut-out figures represented children and their families sharing mealtime together. The star burst illustrated five points to keep in mind when planning family mealtime:

  1. Make Mealtime Fun
  2. Make Mealtime a Priority
  3. Be Creative and Flexible
  4. Minimize Interruptions (from cell phones, TV, etc)
  5. Keep Meals Simple 
Family Mealtime   
Planning family meals can be more of a challenge for some than others, especially for parents who work at night. Family members share responsibilities. The grocery shopper has the responsibility for contributing to their family's health with the quality of the food selections bought at the store (fresh fruits and vegetables may be more affordable than you think). The person doing the cooking has the responsibility for the amount of added fat and salt in the finished prepared foods. Too much fat and sodium can lead to poor health - obesity, heart disease and hypertension.

Healthy Choices
Cooking methods can influence the fat content in the foods. Baking, poaching and steaming are more healthful cooking methods, compared to frying foods. Reading product labels is also helpful for choosing foods with lower fat and lower sodium. 

Family Mealtime Improves Nutrition
Improved nutrition happens when young and old eat planned meals served at the family table. Home cooked meals are more likely to be healthier than fast foods grabbed on-the-go.

Researchers of 18,177 adolescents in a National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health found that the presence of a parent(s) at dinner is positively linked to higher consumption of fruits, veggies and calcium-rich dairy foods. [1]
  Another study found similar results: young adults who ate meals with their families, had statistically significant higher intakes of nutritious fruits and dark-green and orange vegetables, and lower intakes of soda, according to a 5-year longitudinal study in Minnesota that studied 946 female students and 764 male students in high school. The researchers concluded that eating family meals during adolescence may have a lasting positive influence on healthy diets and meal patterns. [2]

Benefits of family mealtime include:

  • Improved Nutrition
  • Better Communication
  • Shared Learning
  • Stronger Family Bonds
  • Shared Cultural Heritage 
Does your family eat meals together?    
Although eating meals with family has been shown to be an asset in adolescent development, many obstacles can stand in the way of planned family mealtime. Several books have been written about this. The good news is that many parents have reported that with some extra effort it was possible to plan enjoyable family meals at home.  

Related Links
Family Meals linked to improved Asthma
Kids Health Family Meals 
Correlations Between Family Meals and Psychosocial Well-being Among Adolescents
What is WIC?
Healthy Meals and Snacks for Families
[1] Videon TM, Manning CK; Influences on adolescent eating patterns: the importance of family meals, Journal of Adolescent Health, May 2003, Vol 32, Issue 5, p365-373
[2] Larson NI, Neumark-Sztainer D, Hannan PJ,; Family Meals during Adolescence are Associated with Higher Diet Quality and Healthful Meal Patterns during Young Adulthood, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Sept. 2007, Vol 107, Issue 9, p1502-1510

Blog Article and Photographs Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Eat More Plant-based Foods #GardenCuizine

Plant-based Foods can Improve Lacking Nutrients in American Diets

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently reported that kids (and teenagers and adults too) have diets lacking in dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium and potassium. Eating more plant-based foods can offer more of these important nutrients. For example, just 1 cup (121 grams) of grilled Dole® brand portabello mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light prior to packaging, can provide an excellent source of Vitamin D (100% DV) and a good source of Dietary Fiber 2.7 grams (11% DV) and Potassium 529 mg (15% DV). Try portabello mushrooms cooked in veggie stir fry's or marinated and grilled as a 'burger'. 

Eating more plant based foods, at least once per week, is the focus of a pilot program called 'Kids Cook Monday', which was launched in Harlem, NY. The children reap the added benefits from cooking and eating together as a family.

Related Links 
The Family Table
Kids Eat Right 
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers 
Dole Mushrooms
Blog Article Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors #GardenCuizine

Get a jump-start on your Garden
Start Seeds Indoors

As winter blankets the outdoors we are reminded that January and February is a good time to determine which vegetables, flowers and herbs would benefit by starting them indoors before the last frost. Starting healthy vegetables from seeds offers great personal satisfaction to those who enjoy gardening. Seeds are far less expensive than plants, plus you can grow varieties that might not be available at your local garden centers in the Spring. All of our home garden annuals, with the exception of a few spontaneous purchases here and there, are grown from seeds.

For more information about starting vegetable seeds indoors and to learn how to save hundreds of dollars by making your our own seedling grow light rack - check out my Dave's Garden article, 'Starting Seeds Indoors'.

Have fun planning your garden and if you have kids - get them involved. Studies have shown that children who garden eat more fruits and vegetables.

Related Links:
Starting Vegetable Seeds Indoors Rutgers Cooperative Extension 
Starting Seeds Indoors University of Minnesota Extension 
Blog Article Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.
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