Healthy Recipes
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Low Fat Recipes
Stock your pantry with low fat snacks - popcorn and baked potato and corn tortillas chips.
Make sure to keep plenty of fresh fruits and cut veggies in the refrigerator for snacking.
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Week of August 26, 2007

Tips on Cutting Down Sodium

Salt is a traditional flavour enhancer, but research suggests that a high salt diet could contribute to a range of disorders including high blood pressure. Suggestions include:

  • Don’t automatically salt your food - taste it first.
  • Add a splash of olive oil or lemon juice close to the end of cooking time or to cooked vegetables - it can enhance flavours in the same way as salt.
  • Choose fresh or frozen vegetables, since canned and pickled vegetables tend to be packaged with salt.
  • Limit your consumption of salty processed meats, such as salami, ham, corned beef, bacon, smoked salmon, frankfurters and chicken loaf.
  • Choose reduced salt bread and breakfast cereals. Breads and cereals are a major source of salt in the diet.
  • Iodised salt is best. A major dietary source of iodine is plant foods; however, there is emerging evidence that Australian soil may be low in iodine and this results in plants that are low in iodine. If you eat fish regularly (at least once a week), the need for iodised salt is reduced.
  • Avoid salt-laden processed foods, such as flavoured instant pasta, canned or dehydrated soup mixes, chips and salted nuts.
  • Margarine and butter contain a lot of salt but ‘no added salt’ varieties are available.
  • Most cheeses are very high in salt so limit your intake or choose lower salt varieties.
  • Reduce your use of soy sauce, tomato sauce and processed sauces and condiments (for example mayonnaise and salad dressings) because they contain high levels of salt.
  • Use herbs, spices, vinegar or lemon juice to add extra zing to your recipe and reduce the need for salt.

Week of August 19, 2007

Tips for using and storing Parsley

Parsley: Fresh parsley can be dried or frozen for later use. For either method, wash and dry parsley then chop.

To freeze, simply pace in a plastic zipper bag and freeze.

To dry, spread chopped parsley evenly on a baking sheet and place in a 200 degree oven with the door slightly ajar. Check occasionally and remove from oven with completely dry. Store dried parsley in an airtight container.

It is very common in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (which is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although it has a milder flavor. Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf and Italian, or flat leaf (P. neapolitanum). Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish

When selecting parsley, remember that the curly-leaf variety has a milder taste and the flat-leaf (Italian Parsley) has a bold taste.

Italian Parsley

 

Curly Leaf Parsley

Week of August 12, 2007

Storage Methods for Fresh Herbs

Freezing: Cut stems or leaves of the herbs, rinse, pat dry and freeze in resealable bags. The small ones work well or if you would like to cut whole sprigs use the large gallon size. Label and freeze-later pull out what you need and replace the unused portions. You can also freeze chopped herbs in ice cube trays with water. After they freeze remove them and store in bags. This is good for using in soups.

Drying: Cut whole branches of the herb plant and tie with string or rubber bands. Hang in a dry, clean place such as an enclosed shed or attic. You can place paper sacks over the herbs as well while they are hanging to avoid dust. When they are dry, crumble into a glass or plastic container and store in a dry, cool location. I have dried entire plants this way-if they are annuals-just pull up and dry. Peppers will dry nicely with this method too. You can also dry herbs by laying on clean screens until dry. If you harvest large leaf herbs such as lovage, comfrey or large leaf basil, remove the leaves and place on screens. If using this method, turn the herbs during the first few days. You can also dry in a very low temperature in the oven on cookie sheets. Watch carefully and turn often.

Herb Salts: In a 250 degree oven spread a layer of free running salt on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs on top of the salt, and bake for 10-20 minutes, stirring and checking often. When they are dry enough to crumble, then let cool and crumble the herbs into the salt, stir and place in a jar. You can use this as a seasoning salt; especially good with vegetables! Herbs that work well are chives, oregano, thyme, lemon balm or lemon thyme, parsley rosemary or basil.

Microwave:You can dry herbs in your microwave, but it's slow and time consuming. However, it does work! Line the turntable with paper towels. Place the herb leaves on the table so they aren't touching. I microwave for one minute-check and then try 30 seconds at a time until they are dry to the touch. Some herbs take less time, some more. When dry, crumble into containers. I like this method for trying different tea combinations. Mint and lemon balms worked well. I dried and put equal amounts of both into a tea bag and sealed for using later, or you can store in small plastic bags.

Some herbs do not dry well, such as chives or fennel, but try freezing, or using the herb salt method.

Week of August 5, 2010

How to Choose the Best Tasting Strawberries

There is nothing that says summer than eating a juicy vine-ripened strawberry.

Naturally the best strawberries are the ones you pick yourself from your local strawberry fields. In the stores, always choose locally grown strawberries during the harvesting season (they are sweeter and juicier than those that are bred for shipment). Remember, your local strawberry season only lasts 3 to 4 weeks

When purchasing berries from the grocery store, shop with your nose. Always pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright, and fresh looking with no mold or bruises, and fresh green caps. The caps should be bright green, fresh looking and fully attached. Berries should be dry and clean; usually medium to small berries have better eating quality than large ones

Strawberries do not ripen after they have been harvested, so choose strawberries that have been picked fully ripened.

Select berries that are in dry; unstained containers (stained containers may indicate oversoft berries that are not freshly picked). Mold on berries spreads quickly. Never leave a moldy berry next to a good one.

One pint of fresh strawberries equals about 3 1/4 cups whole berries, or 2 1/4 cups sliced berries, or 1 2/3 cups pureed berries.


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