Sunday, December 27, 2015

Monday, December 14, 2015

Record high warm temps today in our NJ December Garden #gardenchat

Hanging Baskets with Petunias continue to bloom here in Jersey!
Today in Our Gardens
December 14, 2015


It was 70 degrees here at home in South Jersey today. Mom and I went out Christmas shopping without coats. And, at church yesterday, children of parishioners were in shorts and short sleeves! 

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Is Junk Food to Blame for Obesity? hell yeah #getreal

Is Junk Food to Blame for Obesity?

Hell, yeah - get real. And so are excess portion sizes. As an outpatient dietitian working with patient after patient across the lifespan struggling with obesity, it is no surprise that when it comes to being truthful in verbal diet recalls or written food diarys, individuals simply do not report all that is consumed when first asked. It takes many visits before an individual or family shares their real eating patterns. When I read studies published by PhD's stating that intake of fast foods, soft drinks and candy is unrelated to body mass index of 95% of American adults, it reminds me of headlines in the past (1988-1990 in particular) that touted the anticholesterol benefits of oat bran.

Professionals need to use common sense and discretion before making confusing claims to the public based on data reported to the CDC's National Health and Examination Survey. Do you think that those interviewed by strangers were truthful with regards to frequency of eating fast foods, soft drinks or candy? 

Furthermore, studies that suggest that clinicians and practitioners examine overall eating patterns of their clients are preaching to the choir. Any RDN involved who counsels obese patients would be following professional protocol and evaluating food intake, including snacking, as well as physical activity.

Those in healthcare and academia should strive not to confuse people, but rather to help prevent and treat diseases such as obesity by encouraging eating less junk food and limiting excess portions.

Happy Holidays! And, best wishes as you strive for a healthy diet and lifestyle in the New Year. You can do it. Exercise as medically able and eat a balanced diet of lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and calcium rich foods and beverages.

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

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Zucchini Noodles Alfredo #GardenCuizine #Zoodles

Zoodles Alfredo
This new family favorite Zoodle side dish was inspired from I just made a few adjustments to their recipe including adding more olive oil and less salt and saturated fat. It's creamy goodness will give all ages across the lifespan a good reason to eat their veggies! Besides being tasty and quick to prepare, it is low in cost making it another Cooking Healthy on a Budget recipe.

Yields 3 regular servings: or 6 bariatric smaller servings

2 medium Zucchini
2 Tablespoons Olive oil
1 teaspoon minced Garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup Ricotta Cheese

pinch hot peppers, minced

Putting it all together
1) Spiralize the zucchini into Zoodles onto a plate. Use culinary sheers and snip the pile in 3rds to shorten the zucchini strands.
2) Heat the oil in a skillet. Add hot peppers and garlic. Add zucchini 'Zoodles' and stir to combine.
3) Stir in cheeses. Add fresh ground black pepper and a pinch sea salt. Turn off heat and cover until ready to serve. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Enjoy as a healthy veggie side dish

Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Zoodles Alfredo Nutrition Data:  
Good Source: Protein, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Folate and Potassium
Excellent Source: Vitamin C and Calcium

1/3 recipe regular serving: Calories: 193; Total Fat: 15g; Saturated Fat: 5g (24% DV); Monounsaturated Fat 8.2g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.3g; Sodium: 192mg; Total Carbohydrate: 7g; Dietary Fiber 1.4g (6% DV); Protein 9g; Vitamin A 456IU (9% DV); Vitamin C: 22mg (37% DV); Riboflavin: 0.3mg (18% DV); Vitamin B6: 0.3mg (15% DV); Folate: 44 mcg (11% DV); Calcium: 224mg (22% DV); Potassium 404mg (12% DV)
Blog post and photo collage Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Herald the Holidays with fresh Hawaiian, Maui Protea #Gardenchat #SeasonofAloha

Hawaiian Holiday Wreath
made with fresh Protea from Maui

Besides the alluring, fragrant smell, my excitement over a recent arrival of a Christmas table centerpiece lured Mom into the kitchen to take a peak. Being so petite (less than 5-feet tall), she needed to grab a stepping stool to raise her up to better see this creative wreath from Maui, Hawaii. 

I fell in love with Protea (Protea cynaroides) at first sight this year. A fellow church member took some in to our Flower Guild for a special farewell dinner arrangement we were making for our retiring Rector and his wife. One of our very special friends remembered that I loooooved it and sent us a Protea wreath for the holidays. The blooms look quite unusual and will make an exquisite holiday centerpiece.

The Maui florist grows 25 different varieties. Some must be fragrant, because the wreath has a very pleasant aroma. 

I'm learning the names of some of the varieties. King Protea's look large and urchin-like (shown above). Ours measures 6-inches. 

Pink Mink (shown) is another unusual Protea bloom. Pink Mink feels soft and has feathery black tips; we've never seen anything like it. 

Proteas grow native in South Africa and must grow pretty well in Hawaii too, which is where ours were grown. Our beautiful wreath was handmade by - the second largest Protea farm in Maui. The arrangement included flower buds, eucalyptus and textured greens picked from their farm in Olinda on the slopes of Haleakala.

Blog post and photos Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved. Thank you Audrey, Helen and Rachel!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Diana's Italian Pizzelles recipe #holidaybaking #GardenCuizine

Diana's Italian Pizzelles

It's hard to believe it is still Thanksgiving weekend, but today does kick off Advent and all across America families are putting up their Christmas trees, holiday decor and baking Christmas cookies! I prefer to bake Italian holiday cookies because Mom loves them, they are delicious and they tend to be more wholesome than the average cookie. 

In general, Italian cookies call for high quality, natural ingredients such as butter, figs, nuts and seeds with just enough added sugar so they are not sickeningly sweet. Anise seeds work well in pizzelles.

Pizzelles, an Italian wafer cookie, appear during Christmas time (or Easter, or at Italian weddings!) and are one of Italy's oldest cookies. Pizzelles were originally made for the Feast Day of San Domenico in Abruzzo, which is not celebrated in December, but is celebrated May 1st.

To make pizzelles, you will need a good pizzelle iron to make the snowflake design. There are many types of pizzelle irons on the market; I'm partial to a nonstick iron. Some pizzelle irons can make 4 at-a-time; ours only has space to make two at-a-time. I purchased ours on a trip to Philadelphia's Italian Market and bought it at Fante's.

Recipe Yields: 50 pizzelles

2 tablespoons (Tbl sp) (28g) unsalted butter
2 Tbl sp (26g) vegetable shortening (trans fat free)
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl sp Canola oil
1 tsp (2g) anise seeds

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 Tbl sp (15g) baking powder
1/8 tsp (dash) salt

6 eggs
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp anise oil (oil vs. extract - look for at your Italian Market)

Putting it all together
use the same method that I posted for my Cioccolato Pizzelles 

Buon Natale!

Related Links
Fante's Pizzelle Recipes
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Quick homemade Cocktail Sauce #GardenCuizine #recipe tastes great with crab cakes!

Homemade Cocktail Sauce
Cocktail sauce tastes great with seafood dishes such as crab cakes or shrimp. It's super easy to prepare. This is another GardenCuizine freestyle recipe; meaning you don't really need to measure the ingredients. Use your judgement and make it to your taste preference. Here is my recipe if you need a guide. You will only need 4 ingredients:

1 cup Ketchup (we use organic)
2 Tablespoons Horseradish
1-2 Tablespoons Lemon juice (fresh squeezed tastes best)
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce (or more or less as desired)

Putting it all together

Simply combine all the ingredients together; taste and adjust proportions as desired.

Buon Appetito!

We served homemade Cocktail Sauce last night on Crab Cakes
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Crab meat: 
Excellent Source: Lean Protein, Zinc
Good Source: Vitamin E, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium
High in Cholesterol - all shellfish is high in cholesterol similar to the amount found in meat. The American Heart Association recommends limiting your total dietary cholesterol intake to no more than 300 mg/day. 4 ounces of crab meat provides 100 mg cholesterol

Canned 4 oz blue claw crab meat only: 112 calories; Saturated Fat 0g; Total Fat 0g; Protein 23g; Vitamin E 2 mg (12% DV); Folate 48 mcg (12% DV); Magnesium 44 mg (12% DV); Potassium 420 mg (12% DV); Zinc 4.4 mg (32% DV);   
Blog post and photo Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanks @Healthykids for the Healthy Fun Thanksgiving #GardenCuizine @Kidseatright

Thanksgiving Veggie Dip
Turkey Appetizer

Thanks to social media and sites like Pinterest and Twitter, you can find fun, creative, ideas for all seasons. I spotted this colorful fella posted from Super Healthy Kids. I knew as soon as I saw it that I was going to try to make it for our adult dinner guests who are all kids at heart. 

My version of Mr. Pepper Turkey was quickly carved from a yellow bell pepper and stuffed with veggie dip made of hummus mixed with plain Greek yogurt. Kids would love to help make this.

His eyes were made from Cheerios and capers with a carrot slice for a beak and wattle. A green accent piece behind his head was made from a thin slice of acorn squash that I happened to have from preparing Baked Nutty for Thanksgiving.  

And, even though turkeys raised for Thanksgiving have mostly white feathers, this gobbler boasted colorful red and orange pepper feathers that were a good source of Vitamin A and high in Vitamin C.

Related Links
For Carving Directions
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Brussels Sprouts - Great flavor and Nutrition #GardenCuizine #Thanksgiving

Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts are sprouting on restaurant menus across the country. And, in case you haven't noticed, they are a popular selection for Thanksgiving too.  

Brussels sprouts provide the body with important nutrients such as dietary Fiber, Folate and Vitamin A. We often think of citrus for vitamin C, but Brussels sprouts are also an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Our favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts is to saute them with a little butter and/or olive oil, salt and pepper; sometimes we add chopped onion. You could also roast them in the oven after tossing them in olive oil, salt and pepper. The key is to cook the small cabbages until their outer leaves get brown and caramelized. And, when they do, the taste is out-of-this-world delicious!

You will see Brussels sprouts sold on the stalk during Thanksgiving in super markets across the country. Being known as a cruciferous or brassica vegetable, Brussels sprouts are among the most beneficial of veggies to eat because they also provide a source of sulfur-containing compounds known as glucosinolates. Glucosinolates are phytochemicals that scientific studies have shown may help prevent diseases such as cancer. 

Eating cruciferous vegetables like: Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, collard greens, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, turnips, radish, watercress, bok choy, horseradish and arugula will benefit your health. Try a taste of caramelized Brussels sprouts, you just may discover another veggie to add to your favorites.

Happy Thanksgiving!

GardenCuizine Brussels Sprouts Nutrition data: 

Excellent Source: Vitamin C, Vitamin K
Good Source: Vitamin A, Folate
1/2 cup 78 grams: total carbohydrate 6g; dietary Fiber 2g  (8% DV); Vitamin A 604 IU (12% DV); Vitamin C 48 mg (81% DV); Vitamin K 103 mcg (137% DV); Folate 47 mcg (12% DV); Potassium 247 mg (7% DV)

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

"Mashed Potaga" you heard it first on @GardenCuizine low-carb Thanksgiving side dish #EatWellAmerica

Mashed Potaga
low-carb, low-fat side dish
perfect for holiday meals
I created the name "Mashed Potaga" since it's a combination of potato and rutabaga. Mashing rutabaga is nothing new. Since rutabaga is not a starchy root vegetable, straight up mashed rutabaga isn't as comforting and creamy as mashed potatoes. By adding just a little potato to mostly rutabaga, the texture becomes comparable and even better because of the distinct, indescribable, good flavor. Mom loves this recipe!
In comparison to mashed potatoes, Mashed Potaga's have less than half the carbohydrates and less than half the calories. And, by making it yourself, you control how much salt is added. This recipe has half the sodium found in typical mashed potatoes.
This recipe is another example of healthy cooking on a budget. The approximate cost per person is less than 50 cents. Enjoy!

Yields: 6, one-cup servings

1 large rutabaga (also called waxed turnip)
1 medium potato (can be any kind; we've used Russet)
2 Tablespoons Smart Balance (or butter)
1/2 cup milk (we use 2%)
1 teaspoon horseradish minced
1/2 teaspoon salt

Putting it all together

  • Wash, peel and cut rutabaga into small chunks. 
  • Place in stockpot, cover with water and bring to boil. Cover and simmer 25 minutes or longer depending on how big you chopped the rutabaga. When rutabaga chunks are getting soft, peel and chop the potato into chunks. Add to the same pot. Cook until both potatoes and rutabaga are fully cooked and ready to mash. 
  • Remove the well cooked root vegetables with a slotted spoon. Mash using a ricer or food mill into a bowl. Use a potato masher to mix in the remaining ingredients. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Place in covered serving dish. 
  • Can be made in advance and stored for several days in the refrigerator. Reheat in microwave or oven just before serving.
GardenCuizine Nutrition Data Mashed Potaga: 1 cup
   Excellent Source: Vitamin C
   Good Source: Dietary Fiber, Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamin B6
Calories 107; total fat 3g; saturated fat 1g; trans fat 0; sodium 256 mg (11% DV); total carbohydrates 18g; dietary Fiber 3g (11% DV); Potassium 574mg (16% DV); Magnesium ~38.3mg (~10% DV); Vitamin B6 ~0.3mg (~13% DV); Vitamin C 24.8 mg (41% DV)

Photos, Mashed Potaga comparison chart and recipe Copyright (C)Wind. *Mashed Potaga is a name created by GardenCuizine. All rights reserved.

Carving Carbs at Thanksgiving #GardenCuizine #EatWellAmerica @eatright

Carving Carbs at Thanksgiving
If a person had lung cancer from cigarette smoking, what would you think if they wanted to smoke just for the day on Thanksgiving? It's not a good idea, right? Like cancer, obesity is a disease. Overeating during the holidays, or any day for that matter, can be harmful to the health of adults and kids, especially those with diabetes and/or obesity.

If you are not sure you weigh more than you should, calculate your body mass index (BMI) on a free online app. Adults with a BMI greater than 30, and children and teens with a BMI percentile greater than the 95th percentile, should pay attention to diet and lifestyle choices to prevent obesity-related diseases like diabetes.

Diabetics and those overweight or obese know that it is hard to portion control carbohydrates on holidays - especially when you see food overflowing in the environment. The environment can be either at home, at a friend or family member's, or at a restaurant. No matter where you go, holiday feasts can be tempting to over indulge. The good news is that you can still enjoy a holiday feast while portion controlling carbohydrate foods at the same time.

Carbohydrate foods are important for energy, but excess can lead to high serum glucose levels and/or obesity. Excess carbs can come from sugary pies, cakes, cookies and drinks, or in classic Thanksgiving menu items such as cranberry jelly, starchy mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, stuffing and corn.

There are all kinds of ways to carve carbs on Thanksgiving. One way is to rethink candied sweets; you may be able to drastically cut the butter and brown sugar in your recipe and still find it fabulous. Or have you ever tasted rutabaga? Rutabaga can replace most of the potato in mashed potatoes. We made this and got thumbs up from kids and adults at a recent Inspira Health Network’s Diabetic Cooking Class. 
Some diabetic Thanksgiving recipes for cranberry jelly use sugar-free jello or artificial sweetener. I’m not a fan of artificial sweeteners, so I prefer to use pure sugar and eat a smaller portion. Knowing the nutrition data can also be helpful. For example, the GardenCuizine recipe for whole cranberry jelly uses 12 oz cranberries, 1/2-cup sugar and 1/2-cup orange juice, which yields 12 servings at only 12 grams net carbohydrates per serving.
Drink preferences easily put one at risk for consuming excess carbs. Depending on age, holiday drinks often include alcohol or sugary beverages such as sports drinks, soda, juice and sweet teas. Try substituting iced-water with sliced fruit. You may be surprised to see who drinks more calorie and carb-free water instead.
Another strategy to avoid eating excess carbs this Thanksgiving is to keep cookies and sweet treats out of sight until dessert time. Adults need to take the lead and not serve or allow children to eat excess carbohydrates. Keep dessert portions as small as possible. And, don’t forget to include fresh fruit. 
Did you know that stress increases blood sugar levels? So don’t stress out this holiday season and don’t skip or forget to eat breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Eating breakfast may prevent overeating at dinner.  
Blessings for a Happy Thanksgiving from our kitchen to yours!

Related Links
Carve Carbs at Thanksgiving

Navigating the Holiday Feast
Photo and blog post Copyright (C)Wind. All rights reserved.