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Monthly Archives: July 2012

Recipe Redo – Zucchini bread

We still have plenty of zucchini here, so I decided to try zucchini bread again.  Unfortunately it can be pretty high in added fat and sugar – not exactly what we’re looking for in a healthy diet.  I took a recipe I found in an old cookbook I had on the bookshelf called America’s Best Recipes – A 1989 Hometown Collection, and since I’d already made it as written I decided to try a few changes.  The original recipe had good flavor, but was a bit greasy and pretty high in sugar.  So I worked with it and reduced the amount of added sugar and oil, and substituted whole wheat flour for some of the all-purpose flour.  All in all these changes saved 40-60 calories, and 3-6 gm fat per slice – depending on how many slices you cut.  Changes in sugar and carbohydrate was small, only about 2-4 gm.  The resulting bread had good flavor and texture, and was much less greasy. I may change it further still to reduce the amount of sugar a little more, but here is the current recipe.  Enjoy!

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

3 eggs

3/4 c. granulated sugar

3/4 c. packed brown sugar

1/2 c.+ 2 Tbsp.  canola oil

1/2 c. applesauce

1 tsp. vanilla extract

6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

3 c. shredded zucchini

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 c. almonds, chopped

Beat eggs in a large bowl until well beaten.  Add sugars, oil, applesauce and vanilla, beating well.  Combine cocoa, flours, soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.  Add flour mixture to egg batter, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Fold in zucchini and almonds.

Pour batter into two well-greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  Let sit for 10 minutes while oven preheats.  Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of each loaf comes out clean.  Let bread cool 10 minutes and then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.  Yields 2 loaves.

Nutritional info per slice (cut into 1/2 inch slices – 18 per loaf for a 9 inch pan): 118 calories, 5 gm fat (5.2), 17 gm carbohydrate

Nutrition analysis determined using the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.

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Posted by on July 29, 2012 in Cooking, Health, Nutrition, Recipes

 

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But They Just Won’t Eat those Fruits and Veggies

How do I get my kids to eat fruits and vegetables?  Usually the question deals with toddlers and preschoolers.  But this question came from a friend whose child is in the “tween stage.”  And at this stage, toddler tactics don’t work.  After all, her child might just complain if she straps that child into a high chair with a five point harness.  No, at this age there is an amount of freedom with food choices that weren’t always there before.  But I believe there are still things you can do to encourage a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables for your child.  Here are a few that I suggested to my friend:

1.  Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to feeding your family.  If you believe fruits and vegetables are important, but your spouse doesn’t, your children will notice. And if they are inclined to refuse those good-for-you rainbow colored food items – well, all the more reason to not even try.  After all, if dad or mom won’t eat them, why should I?

2.  Take stock of your refrigerator.  Have a good variety of fruits and vegetables ready to eat.  Convenience goes a long way.  If the carrots are cleaned and cut, the grapes washed, and the peppers sliced, it’s one less step for your child to prepare a snack; and the odds of them choosing one of those items over an easily accessible bag of chips increases.

3.  Provide a variety of fruits and vegetable at meals, but don’t push or force them on your child.  Nagging never works, and you will never win a food battle.  Your job is to provide.  Their job is to eat.  For more on this see Ellyn Satter’s Division of Responsibility.

4.  Don’t be sneaky.  It just adds an air of suspicion to your child’s dislike of these foods.  Certainly don’t be afraid to put these things in foods, i.e. shredded carrots in muffins, pureed vegetables in soups, etc., but be open about it and comment on how it makes the food item a little healthier – don’t hide it.

5.  Make it interesting.  Try celery with peanut butter and raisins, frozen chocolate-dipped bananas, frozen grapes, apple slices with caramel, or strawberries dipped in chocolate.  Some may say doing that adds excess sugar or fat.  But let’s think of the goal – getting our kids to eat some of these fruits and vegetables.  Eating strawberries with chocolate is better than eating no fruits at all and may just replace a snack that lacked any resemblance to a healthy food item.

6.  Let them choose.  Take your child to a farmer’s market or local grocery store that allows you to sample some of the produce they have a available.  They may find something they like that they’ve never tried before.

7.  Educate them.  Talk about the benefits of eating healthy, and the possible consequences of an unhealthy diet.  Why is it important?

8.  Enlist other adults.  If your child has a favorite teacher, coach, or other mentor, explain your goal and ask if they could reinforce it in their own teaching.  For example, if your child is on a swimming team the coach could encourage a healthy intake of fruits and vegetables and relate it to performance.

9.  Be a good example.  Take a look at your own eating habits.  Do you eat the foods (fruits and vegetables) that you’re encouraging your kids to eat?  Or maybe you have a fruit or vegetable that you don’t like.  Why not try eating it while your child tries something they don’t like.  You may both be pleasantly surprised and find they’re not as bad as you thought.

Those are just a few ideas I had for my friend.  How about you?  If you have or know of a child who dislikes fruit and vegetables, how do you get them to try and eat these healthy food items?

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2012 in Family, Health, Nutrition, Parenting

 

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Basil and Tomatoes with Bruschetta

It’s midsummer and my basil plants outside are big, bushy, and beautiful.  I love fresh basil and look for ways to use it in the summer when I have a lot of it around.  Combine with tomatoes and a couple other ingredients, and bruschetta is on the menu.

I don’t really have a recipe.  It’s more of a “method” of making it.  Place thinly sliced french bread on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan.  Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic powder.  Place under the broiler and toast till golden brown.  Remove from oven and flip over.  Repeat the olive oil and garlic process on the plain side and then top lightly with shredded parmensan.  Return to broiler until golden and remove from oven.

For the topping dice up fresh roma tomatoes into a bowl.  I used seven roma tomatoes last night.  Add a few cloves of fresh garlic, minced.  Add sea salt per your taste preferences and mix in a bit of virgin olive oil.  A generous amount of chopped fresh basil goes in next. To finish it off, add a few splashes of basalmic vinegar.  Serve with the bruschetta slices and top with shredded parmesan.  Enjoy!  My family did. 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2012 in Cooking, Recipes

 

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Zucchini, zucchini, and more zucchini

Zucchini.  Mention it to any gardener and the first thought is “What will I do with all of it?”  Zucchini is easy to grow; and it’s prolific – very prolific.  Dare to grow more than one and you may end up feeding your neighbors as well as yourself.

One hill of this abundant squash can produce more than even one family might eat by themselves.  But don’t let that deter you.  Low in calories, fat, and sodium, and filled with other good-for-you nutrients – zucchini is a healthy choice.

So what can you do with zucchini?  Here are a few ideas for using that bountiful summer squash:

  1. Raw – dice and add it to fresh salads, or cut in strips to enjoy as a finger food.
  2. Zucchini bread – tastes great, but watch the amount of added oil and sugar.  Too much and a healthy vegetable turns into a high calorie alternative.
  3. Stuffed – stuff it with your favorite fillings and bake.
  4. Sautéed – lightly sauté strips or slices in olive oil with peppers, onions, and other types of summer squash.
  5. Freeze – shred it and freeze to use later in the year in zucchini bread, quiche, or other mixed dishes.
  6. Grilled – lightly brush both sides with olive oil.  Season as desired.  Grill and enjoy.
  7. Share – give some to your neighbors, friends, family, and co-workers and let them enjoy this versatile summer vegetable.

Here’s what I tried at home last night:

Grilled Zucchini with Pesto

1 medium sized zucchini, cut lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices

Pesto (I used homemade, but you can find and use store bought)

Slice zucchini length wise into ¼ inch slices.  Rub enough pesto on both sides of each slice to coat.

Grill on low to medium heat, 5-7 minutes on each side, until tender.  Enjoy!

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2012 in Nutrition, Recipes

 

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Keeping it Cool with Mint Water

It’s midsummer and hot outside – really hot. Keeping cool and staying hydrated on these hot days is important.  And that can be challenging if you’re not inclined to drink water regularly during the day. A refreshing way to add interest to your water is to flavor it. One of my favorites is mint water. It’s healthy. It’s refreshing. And best of all, it’s easy to make!

Chocolate Mint

Apple Mint

I usually grow several different kinds of mint each year and combine them to make a mint infused water.  Here’s how:

1.  Select a large handful of leaves from your favorite mint plant. I used a combination of chocolate mint, apple mint, and mint mojito. Wash thoroughly. Slightly bruise or tear the leaves and place on clean square of cheesecloth.

2.  Tie with a clean length of kitchen string.

3.  Place in a clean glass pitcher or jar and fill with cold water. Cover tightly and place in the fridge overnight or place outside in the sun in a safe location. I usually place mine on the front porch and let it sit for a couple of hours in the hot sun.

4.  Bring inside and serve immediately over ice, or chill in the fridge untill ready to serve. Plan to use it within a day or two.

5.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Nutrition, Recipes

 

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