Consumer Connections-September/October 2011
Posted: August 18, 2011
No need to be a vegetarian or vegan to enjoy a healthy meal of vegetables without meat or seafood. The new MyPlate Guide that replaces the Food Guide Pyramid shows a plate full of vegetables and fruit with similar portions of grains and protein. We don’t need grains and protein at every meal but to get the 5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day you’ll need some at every meal. For breakfast be sure to add melons or berries, peaches or apples. Turn your lunch sandwich into a salad with a variety of vegetables, a sprinkling of nuts and maybe a little cheese. If you choose cheese carefully, it becomes a serving of dairy, but many sliced cheeses for sandwiches are mostly fat. It’s not a good choice. Instead try grated cheddar, crumbled feta or a number of other good quality cheeses. A little cheese provides flavor. A lot of cheese provides too many calories. Choose salad additions carefully. Use sliced nuts instead of salty croutons. Olives are a good food but provide a lot of sodium. Go easy on them. Keep the salad dressing on the side, dip your fork into it then into the salad. Most restaurants use an exorbitant amount of dressing.
For dinner your plate should resemble the MyPlate picture here with far more vegetables and fruit than grains and meat. Meat should be no more than a 3-ounce serving, the size of the palm of your hand or smaller. Choose lean cuts of meat and poultry to reduce the fat levels. Make half your grains for the day whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, barley, couscous, etc.
Children never seem to get enough vegetables in their diet but you can add pureed vegetables to their favorite foods and I’ll bet they won’t know it.
Barbara Rolls, Penn State Professor of Nutritional Sciences, modified three children’s favorite meals—pasta with tomato sauce, chicken noodle casserole and a vegetable-based bread for breakfast. By adding pureed vegetables of broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini or squash to their favorite meals she found that the children ate just as much of these modified dishes as the regular menu, yet they nearly doubled their vegetable intake and lowered the calorie content by 11%. Serving vegetables within entrees is a great way to enhance the child’s vegetable intake. The same may be true for adults.
Think of the types of pureed vegetables you could add to tomato sauce such as carrots, zucchini, onions, celery, and cauliflower without changing the taste of the tomato sauce. Even finely chopped cooked vegetables can be added to the sauce. I dare you to pick out the pieces you don’t like. Even a child won’t do that.
Be adventurous, try some new vegetables from the Farmer’s Market. Recipes abound online. I’m sure you can find something to your liking.
Pasta & Broccoli with Creamy Spiced Tomato Sauce
2 cups chopped tomatoes or equivalent of canned, diced
¾ cup light sour cream
¾ cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 (4¼ oz.) can chopped black olives
¼ cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon salt
Several grinds of pepper
2 cups chopped or equivalent of frozen broccoli pieces
1½ cups uncooked pasta spirals
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
Put several quarts of water on to boil for the pasta. In a medium saucepan, combine the tomatoes, sour cream, yogurt, olives, cilantro, chili powder, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Meanwhile, trim off and discard the tough stem ends of the broccoli. Peel the remaining stalks if they are particularly thick-skinned. Chop the stalks and heads into small, uniform pieces. Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente, adding the broccoli for the last 4 minutes. Drain well and toss with the hot sauce and Parmesan. Serve immediately in warmed bowls. Serves 6
Zucchini Apple Slaw
1 pound zucchini (3 medium)
1 tablespoon salt
¼ teaspoon celery seed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons light sesame oil
Several grinds of pepper
1 pound green apples (2 medium)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
Wash the zucchini and remove the stem ends. Coarsely grate them and place in a colander. Sprinkle with salt and allow to sit for 30 minutes. Rinse well, then squeeze gently in a tea towel to remove as much liquid as possible. Place in a medium bowl. Meanwhile, crush the celery seed with a mortar and pestle. Whisk together the vinegar, oil, pepper, and celery seed.
Peel the apples and coarsely grate them, discarding the cores. Place in a separate small bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice, then add to the zucchini, along with the celery. Pour the dressing over the salad, cover, and chill for 30 minutes or longer before serving. Yield: 8 side-dish servings
Asian Style Carrot Salad
1 tablespoons dark sesame oil
6 tablespoons rice wine or white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup fresh-squeezed or bottled orange juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
3 large carrots
1 pound Napa cabbage
3 green onions, minced or desired amount
1 package ramen noodles—any flavor
Whisk together the dressing ingredients and set aside at room temperature. Wash, peel, and grate the carrots and place in a large bowl. Wash the cabbage leaves, spin them dry, and cut into ¼-inch crosswise strips. Add them to the grated carrots, along with the minced green onions, and toss well to combine. Break the noodles into about 1-inch sections and add to the salad. Pour on the dressing, toss well to combine, and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes before serving. Yields 8 side-dish servings.
Pasta with Cauliflower, Mint, Raisins, and Pine Nuts
¼ cup pine nuts
2 tablespoons dry sherry or apple juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium yellow onion, minced
7 cups cauliflower, chopped
1 cup golden raisins
12 ounces no-yolks egg noodles
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
½ teaspoon ground cumin
⅛ teaspoon cayenne
1 cup low-fat milk
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, minced
½ cup plain nonfat yogurt
Bring several quarts of water to a boil for the pasta. Place the pine nuts in a single layer in a dry, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Shake the pan or stir frequently until the nuts are golden brown and emit a wonderful roasted aroma. Remove immediately from the pan and set aside until needed.
Put the sherry, garlic, and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stir to combine, and cook 3 minutes. Stir in the cauliflower, then pour in ¾ cup of hot water. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook 6 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in the raisins, reduce heat to low, and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork tender. The cooking liquid will evaporate, so stir frequently to prevent scorching. Turn off the heat, stir, cover, and set aside while you cook the pasta and complete the sauce.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente. Meanwhile melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Stir in the flour, cumin, and cayenne and cook for about a minute. Gradually whisk in the milk and continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens. Stir in the mint and turn off the heat. Drain the pasta well and place it in a large, warmed serving bowl. Add the cauliflower mixture and yogurt and toss to combine. Pour the mint cream sauce over the pasta and cauliflower, toss to combine, and top with the pine nuts. Serve immediately along with a salad. Serves 6
Sautéed Pepper Medley with Sherry, Oregano, and Almonds
2 tablespoons raw unsalted almond slivers
1½ pounds (3 large) sweet peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
⅛ teaspoon salt
Few grinds of pepper
¼ cup dry sherry
Lemon wedges, one per serving
Toast the almonds in a dry, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Shake the pan or stir frequently until the nuts are lightly browned and emit a roasted aroma. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Cut the peppers in half lengthwise, discard their stems, seeds, and pithy membranes, and cut the halves crosswise into ¼-inch strips. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed skillet that has a tight-fitting lid. Sauté the garlic for a minute, then add the peppers and stir. Add the oregano, salt, and pepper and sauté, stirring frequently, for 6 to 7 minutes, until peppers are beginning to brown. Add the sherry, stir and immediately cover the pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the peppers to a serving bowl or platter and top with the almonds. Serve hot or at room temperature, with lemon wedges alongside. Can be served over rice, pasta or couscous. Serves 4
2 onions, chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 celery ribs, chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
2 small to medium zucchini, sliced
14-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
2/3 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 teaspoon each hot chili powder, ground cumin and ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Plain yogurt and cayenne pepper, to serve
Sprigs of cilantro, to garnish
Put the onions, garlic, celery, pepper, mushrooms and zucchini in a large saucepan and mix together. Add the kidney beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste and ketchup.
Add the spices, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Serve with plain yogurt, sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Garnish with cilantro sprigs. Serves 4
Butternut Squash and Sage Pizza
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed, about 1 pound prepared weight
Ready-to-use large pizza shell
8 fresh sage leaves or 2 teaspoons dried rubbed sage, divided
14-ounce can chunky tomato sauce
2 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced
4 ounces firm goat cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a large pizza pan according to pizza crust directions. Put butter and oil in a roasting pan and heat in the oven for a few minutes. Add the shallots, squash and half the sage leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage. Toss to coat. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until tender.
Raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Spread tomato sauce on pizza crust, leaving a ½-inch border all around. Spoon the squash and shallot mixture over the top.
Arrange the mozzarella over the squash mixture and crumble the goat cheese on top. Sprinkle with the remaining sage and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the crusts are golden.
Fooled by “Sea Salt”
Sixty-one percent of Americans erroneously think that sea salt is a healthier, lower sodium alternative to regular table salt. In fact, sea salt is the same sodium chloride, harvested from sea water rather than mined. Sea salt usually has larger crystals than table salt resulting in a lower sodium amount per teaspoon just because there are larger spaces between the crystals, hence a lower sodium amount per measure.
A significant number of people also blame the salt shaker for incorporating most dietary sodium in the diet, when actually it is processed foods that add the most sodium to the American diet.
American Heart Association Survey
Is Your Child’s Best Friend a Bad Influence?
Does your child have a playmate that seems to bring out the worst in your child? It is tempting to think that the other child is the only source of problems but most children experiment with bad behavior. Sometimes children dare each other to misbehave. In other words, “They’re in it together.” One child is no worse than the other. Your child might even be the ring leader but blaming the trouble on another child. There must be something attractive about the other child that brings these two together. So before you blame the other child for all the misbehavior, consider ways you as the parent might alter the situation and change your child’s
Encourage your child to think about the consequences. Tell your child what misbehavior you observed and ask them how they might think about the consequences before committing bad acts again. For instance, “You were told not to throw the ball from the street, yet you constantly run into the street to catch and throw the ball. What are some things that could happen to you or your friend?” The child will probably remember your warning of being hit by a car or causing a driver to lose control if the ball hits the windshield. At this point it is time to remind your child how terrible it would be to lose him if hit by a car. How would you feel if your friend lost his life? Where could you play ball safely? Help your child to understand the consequences and how to be protective of self and playmates. Encourage him to be the leader who says, “We could play ball safely in the park and there is more room too. Let’s go there.”
If you observe your child and a playmate bullying another or just generally being unkind ask your child how he could have been nicer to the other person or turn it around to ask how he would feel if the other two ganged up on him. Give your child some statements to use like, “Let’s take turns shooting baskets so we each have a chance to practice our skills.” Instill the thought that it is easier to have friends and be a friend if you are always nice to each other and I hope that is the kind of friend you are. When another child is being unkind, teach your child to say, “This isn’t fun for me and walk away.” Do you think you could find someone else to play with or something else to do?
You could also talk to the parents of the other child for suggestions, but be careful not to accuse their child of mischief because they may consider your child at fault. Instead, talk about how “Our kids seem to be getting into mischief together. What do you think we could do to help them?”
Ask the teacher or after-school caregiver to seat the children apart and pair them with someone else to encourage new friendships. Ask your child to plan a one-on-one play time with a new child or invite a new child to a parent supervised event like a sporting event, fair or amusement park and watch your child’s interaction. Be ready with a helpful hint to keep the two of them actively engaged in something together.
Adapted from parenting press www.ParentingPress.com
Help Your Child with Those Angry Moments
Everybody gets angry sometimes. It’s normal. You can teach your child how to deal with angry feelings without hurting themselves or anyone else.
* Talk with your child about what they are feeling. Ask what it is that made them feel angry.
* Set a good example. When you are angry about something, talk about it and why you are feeling that way.
* Be sure to be clear that you are angry about what happened and not angry with your child.
* Teach your child words to use when they become angry, such as when another child takes a toy away. He can say, “Don’t do that. I was playing with it.”
* Calming activities can help your child work out angry feelings. Some examples are exercising, dancing, shaking fists, stomping feet, finger painting, scribbling with crayons on paper, playing with play dough, or digging in the dirt.
Berks County Farm Tour
Saturday, October 22, 2011
“Farming in the Heart of Berks”
The annual Berks County Farm Tour will be held October 22, 2011 featuring farms and agricultural businesses in central Berks County. Sponsored by the Berks Agricultural Resource Network (B.A.R.N.), the tour will include a dozen stops for participants to visit at their own pace from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour participants will need to purchase a tour booklet the day of the event for $10.00 which contains a map of all the host agricultural enterprise locations along with restaurants, sponsors, and B.A.R.N. information.
The tour booklet goes on sale the morning of October 22nd at 8:30 a.m. at the following locations: Reifsnyder's Ag Center, 7180 Bernville Road (Route 183), Bernville, PA 19506, 610-488-0667; Geissler Tree Farms, 1051 Cross Keys Road, Leesport, PA 19533, 610-926-4264; and the Berks County Heritage Center, 1102 Red Bridge Road, Reading, PA 19605, 610-374-8839.
For more information about the Berks County Farm Tour, contact Sheila Miller, Berks Agricultural Coordinator, 610-898-5482, or email email@example.com.
Joan D. Cook
Family Living Program