I am always looking for tasty, easy and healthy ways to serve veggies. Partly for my family’s health and tastebuds but also because I get bored of the same old roasting, steaming or stir-frying veggie routine. Especially in the winter when our local vegetable varieties are somewhat limited to having root veggies many times a week.
This wonderfully fresh, clean tasting carrot salad is a popular dish in France.
Salade de Carotte Rapee
(adapted from David Lebovitz’s blog:’Living the Sweet Life in Paris”)
7-8 carrots, peeled and finely grated
Fresh parsley, cleaned, thoroughly dried and coarsely chopped
2 lemons, juiced
2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tsp honey
freshly ground pepper
Lightly mix the carrots and the parsley.
Prepare the dressing by mixing all of the ingredients.
Mix the dressing into the carrot mixture.
Taste and adjust seasonings. Then move the whole mixture into a bowl that sets off the gorgeous color of the carrots!
You can add other raw grated veggies such as broccoli stems or celeriac. I think a little finely grated fresh ginger would be nice also.
Because parsley comes in such a huge bunch – use it all and add a bunch to a smoothie and salads
Brussel Sprouts aren’t the most popular veggie in town – but I’ll bet if you make this quick and easy warm salad that you will change some minds about the poor miniature cabbage!
This is just a recipe I threw together cuz I had purple cabbage and brussel sprouts in the fridge…so it is not an exact recipe. Feel free to use different cabbages or raisins instead of cranberries. And I wouldn’t blame you a bit if you decided to add a little crisp bacon or pancetta!
Winter Vegetable Saute
1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Grapeseed Oil
Garlic cloves, minced
Purple Cabbage, cut into bit sized chunks
Brussel Sprouts – take a slice off of the bottom and cut into quarters
pinch of salt
1. Add oil to a large saute or stir fry pan over medium heat
2. Throw in onion and garlic and stir for 1-2 minutes.
3. Add the cabbage and brussel sprouts – stir gently and saute for 10 minutes – you want the cabbage to be tender but to still have a slight crunch.
4. Add walnuts, cranberries, a splash of balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt.
5. Stir and saute to warm and let flavours blend.
My teenage boys eat a lot of cereal. They sometimes eat it for breakfast, for snacks between meals and for snacks between snacks. We have oatmeal porridge or eggs for breakfast several times a week – so I try not to be too strict about the cereals – but I do insist that they have a good amount of fiber (at least 4 grams per serving) and not too much sugar (less than 8 grams per serving). But 8 grams of sugar per serving is still 2 tsp of sugar. So recently when my oldest son asked for low 0r no sugar added cereals… I was thrilled!
Here are some choices I came home with…there are not a lot out there!!
Jordan’s Super Berry Muesli and dorset cereals muesli are on the expensive side and Lauchlin will probably polish them off in 2 or 3 days – so I will opt to make our own muesli with oats, dried fruits, nuts and seeds and see how he likes it as a cold cereal.
I love to make my own muesli by mixing oats with yogurt, a little milk and blueberries and put in the fridge overnight! Lauchlin finds that a little too mushy.
Red River Cereal is a porridge-like cereal that has been around since the 1920′s. It is Canadian and is made up of rye, wheat and flax.
Oatmeal porridge – whether it is steel cut, large flakes or Scottish – it is all so good. We make ours in the rice cooker and flavour it up with cinnamon and raisins.
Speerville Flour Mill has many wonderful products – one being their porridge-like 12 grain cereal.
A few other options are: Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, Kashi Go Lean and Raisin Bran (most of the sugar is from the raisins).
So now it is your turn to find some low sugar or no sugar added cereals that you and your family will enjoy.
Look at the ingredient list to see if a form of sugar is near the top of the list – this is a sure sign that there is a lot of added sugar. Forms of sugar: glucose, fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, corn sweetener, barley syrup, brown rice syrup, honey, brown sugar, molasses, cane sugar. If several forms of these sugars are on a label – it is also a sign of a high sugar product.
Look for the # of grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts Label: Try to aim for under 4 grams of sugar per serving or less.
4 grams of sugar = 1 tsp of sugar.
Dried fruit will be included in this sugar – so looking at this and the ingredient list is helpful
For more information – read this report by the Environmental Working Group (American)
You may have already planted your tulip and daffodil bulbs…but what about your garlic bulbs?
Garlic has been a successful and easy crop for me – so I urge you to try it for yourself!
Start a Veggie Garden Now! Plant Garlic!
Step 1: Start with locally grown garlic. Your best bet is to buy it at a Farmer’s Market or from a local seed catalogue.
Step 2: Find a sunny spot in your garden (can be in the flower garden too as they are an interesting and pretty plant!.
Step3: Divide the garlic heads into individual cloves – take care to keep the papery skin on them. (Each clove will produce one full garlic head)
Step 4: Loosen up the soil and plant the individual cloves pointy side up – about 3 inches deep and 6 inches apart.
Step 5: Cover with soil and top that off with leaves to keep them cozy for the whole winter.
Your garlic will be one of the first plants to push through the soil in the spring. You might not think that will be exciting now- but just wait! After a long winter you will be thrilled to see the green shoots!
In early summer you will notice long curly spikes – these are Garlic Scapes – it is best to snap these off so that the energy goes into the bulb. But don’t compost those…..chop them up and use them like garlic in your recipes. Great in pesto! I store them in water in a vase on the counter. It looks like an exotic bouquet!
You can harvest your garlic in the mid summer. Let them dry in a single layer in a shady, dry spot in the house for about 2 weeks to ‘cure’. Rub the dirt off of them and store in a dry spot in your kitchen (not the fridge). You will love the fresh flavor of your very own garlic!
Look at this little clove tucked in for the winter!
Bella camouflaged near the brook. Can you see her?
Now that Halloween is over you can haul those little pumpkins inside and prepare them for the freezer for future use in muffins, cakes, cookies, soups and pie! In fact…you can do this for many winter squashes that are available now.
Use Pie Pumpkins as they are the sweeter and less watery than the ‘Jack -O-Lantern’ variety.
WARNING: When you start preserving fresh pumpkins and using the puree in baked goods and soups – you won’t be able to go back to the canned version. You just won’t – seriously – I tried!
It is a little bit of an operation but so worth it – here goes:
Wash and cut the pumpkins in half with a very sharp knife – careful!
Scoop out the seeds with a metal spoon.
Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 – 60 minutes (it will be ‘fork tender’ when it is cooked)
Let the pumpkin cool a little – then scoop out the flesh and puree it in a blender or food processor.
Divide the puree into freezer – friendly containers in portions that work for your recipes.
To spoon pumpkin into freezer bags – put the empty bag into a bowl or jar and fold the bag over the sides…less messy!
Pick up a couple of small pie pumpkins or another winter squash.
Prepare it as above and store in your freezer to use in winter soups and muffins.
You will be happy you did!
This week I am working on getting some Kale into the freezer. Kale is one of those vegetables that I have had a lot of luck with in my garden. It is pretty hardy and does well in our Nova Scotian climate. There is some thriving under a hoop tunnel and it is doing well in the cold frame also. Check out my hero of ‘winter gardening’: Niki Jabour
I will use this frozen kale mainly in smoothies – but will also add it to soups and stews at the end of their simmering.Do you have any suggestions as to how to use frozen Kale?
Kale has been called a super food and is actually being eaten now – rather than just being the frilly green used on fruit and veggie platters. It certainly is a healthy food – but remember – it takes MANY foods to make a healthy diet. And overdoing it with Kale has its own drawbacks - Read this article on Kale.
HOW TO FREEZE KALE
Rinse and spin the Kale in a salad spinner.
Strip or cut off the tough rib or ‘spine’ of the Kale.
Lay it out in single layers on a cookie sheet.
Put it in freezer to freeze for about 30 minutes.
Take it out and crumble with your hands into a freezer storage container – freeze immediately.
Visit a local farmer’s market (or harvest from your garden) and choose a veggie or fruit.
Preserve it for the winter by freezing, canning or dehydrating this week.