Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Vegetables’

Many people forget how important it is to start your day with a fueling breakfast. We often forget to include this meal due to lack of time and planning around hectic schedules. One versatile breakfast item that my family and I enjoy is a veggie egg muffin. This simple dish has fresh ingredients, is easy to make with only a few ingredients, and is packed with protein from the eggs and fiber from its veggies. One large egg has 6 grams of protein, including essential amino acids and only 70 calories. Eggs also provide a rich source of vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin and selenium. Additionally, eggs are very economical to make; one egg has an average cost of approximately 8.5 cents in today’s market.    .

Vegetable Egg Muffin on a Plate

Veggie Egg Muffins

I like to make many versions of this recipe, depending on what I have available in my refrigerator. I always start with 10-12 eggs, and add milk and various veggies on hand. I also add additional spices to enhance the flavor. Spices include fresh garlic (or garlic powder), onion powder, parsley flakes, and sometimes fresh or dried basil.

Here is an egg muffin recipe that I would to share to get started. This can be modified based on your veggie preferences and items you have on hand.

Veggie Egg Breakfast Muffins
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 12 large eggs
  • ¼ cup nonfat milkEggs in a bowl. Peppers, onion, spinach, broccoli, and mushrooms on cutting board
  • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • ½ cup shredded cheese
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 3 medium-size mushrooms
  • ½ cup broccoli
  • 2 peppers, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Cooking Spray

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, nonfat milk and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir in the spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, diced peppers and onions. After vegetables are mixed together, add your cheese to the bowl.Egg mixture with veggies in a bowl

Divide the mixture evenly between the 12 muffin pan cups and bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the egg is fully cooked. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan then use a knife to loosen the muffins from the cups.
*Adapted from Just a Taste

These healthy egg muffins taste good by themselves, but I often will make it into an egg sandwich to add more fiber. I start with a whole grain sandwich thin, and then add guacamole, taco sauce, 1 slice of cheese, and sometimes a thin slice of deli turkey. After I’ve assembled my sandwich, I warm it up in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds. This is a great sandwich to start the day. They can be made the night before and put in a sandwich bag for a quick grab-and-go breakfast or afternoon snack. My husband likes to have it as a mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack.

If they will not be used in 5 days, plan to put them in the freezer for a later date.

Why not give it a try this week, and leave a reply in the comment box below to share other ideas for a healthy breakfast egg muffin.

Resources:
http://www.eggnutritioncenter.org/egg-nutrition-basics/

http://www.aeb.org/news-trends/incredible-breakfast-trends/new-consumer/millennial-evolution

https://www.justataste.com/healthy-breakfast-egg-muffins-recipe/

 

Written by:  Susan Zies, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, zies.1@osu.edu and Shannon Smith, RD, LD, Program Coordinator IGNITE Grant, Ohio State University Extension, Wood County, smith.11604@osu.edu

Reviewed by:   Dan Remley, Field Specialist, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension,   remley.4@osu.edu

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

 

Fruits & Veggies

We are entering that wonderful time of the year when local farmers’ markets are open, roadside stands pop up and even local grocery stores offer plentiful displays of fresh, local fruits and vegetables. With all of this bounty, sometimes the question arises on how to choose the most flavorful, ripe product. You will want to choose fruits and vegetables at the peak of their freshness for the best flavor and nutritional value.

Here are some helpful hints to remember when you are shopping:

  • Look for fruits or vegetables that have the shape, size and color that are usually thought of for the item. Remember though, they don’t have to be perfect to be good! That tomato or pepper that is slightly misshapen should be just as tasty and nutritious as its perfect neighbor.
  • Avoid fruits/vegetables with obvious bruises or discoloration. These spots will spoil quickly. If you notice a spot after you bring the produce home, cut out the bad spot and use as soon as possible.
  • Feel the item. If it is very soft it may be overripe; if it is too hard, it hasn’t ripened enough to eat yet. Melons can be especially difficult to choose. Here is great information on choosing ripe melons.
  • Smell! Fruits/vegetables that have the characteristic aroma associated with the item should be ready to eat. Think fresh peaches!

Not all vegetables and fruits will continue to ripen once they have been harvested.

  • Tomatoes, unripe melons, and tree fruits such as pears, peaches and nectarines should be kept at room temperature to ripen. They will get sweeter and more delicious.
  • Grapes, berries, and cherries won’t get better while sitting out, so they should go into the refrigerator right away.
  • Other fruits, like citrus, could sit out for a day or two but then should also be put in the refrigerator.
  • Most vegetables should be refrigerated when harvested or purchased. Some exceptions would be onions, garlic and potatoes.

Don’t forget about food safety with your fresh produce!

  • Always wash your fresh produce before using.
  • Some fruits and vegetables are better stored in the refrigerator before you wash them. Items such as beans and berries are more likely to spoil if stored damp. Be sure and brush off as much dirt as possible before storing. Place them in bags to keep them from contaminating other food in your refrigerator and them wash well when you are ready to eat them.
  • All produce should be rinsed under cool running water. Do not use soap or bleach as the residue left on the produce could make you ill.

Fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet. By buying fresh, seasonal items at the peak of their freshness and having them available to eat makes it easier to incorporate them into our daily diet.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Franklin County. Rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by:  Michelle Treber Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension, Pickaway County. treber.1@osu.edu

https://articles.extension.org/pages/19886/storing-fruits-and-vegetables

http://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5523

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/washing-food-does-it-promote-food-safety/washing-food

Read Full Post »

June is moving right along which means the summer growing season is upon us. June is also National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month.  It is a great time to focus on eating more fresh fruits and vegetables. June is a good time to remind ourselves to make half of our plate fruits and vegetaveggiebles since most Americans don’t eat enough of either.

Locate a farmer’s market in your area and make it a point to visit to see what locally grown produce vendors have to offer.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with the nutrients our bodies need for healthy growth and development. They provide many important vitamins and minerals as well as dietary fiber. Since most fruits and veggies have a high water content, they help keep us hydrated. Snack on some watermelon on a hot day to help cool you off and to hydrate you!

By eating a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, you can help reduce the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke and protect against certain types of cancers.

Vegetables are divided into subgroups based on the different combinations of nutrients they provide. It is important to eat a variety of vegetables and to eat from all of the subgroups throughout the week.  The table below breaks vegetables into subgroups to assist you with choosing a variety to eat.

veggie subgroup chart

 

As I mentioned earlier, very few Americans eat enough fruits and vegetables as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines. Below are some suggestions to help you make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

  • Serve salads or a vegetable as a side dish at dinner.
  • Choose a fruit instead of dessert.
  • Create or order mixed dishes like casseroles or stir-fry.
  • Snack on fresh fruits or vegetables, like grapes, bananas, carrots, or cucumbers.
  • East a piece of fruit with breakfast every day.
  • Build your meals around fruits and vegetables when meal planning.
  • Cool off this summer with a fruity homemade smoothie or popsicle. You can even get adventurous and add some veggies to your recipes.

fruits

 

Did you know……fruits and vegetables consumed in almost all forms count towards your daily total?  These can be canned, dried, frozen, or fresh.  Canned and frozen foods are processed within hours of being harvested so their nutritional value and flavor are preserved.

 

Author:  Tammy Jones, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Pike County

Reviewer: Misty Harmon, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Perry County

Sources:

Brooks, A. (2014).  All About Smoothies.  Virginia Cooperative Extension.  http://blogs.ext.vt.edu/eatsmart-movemore/2014/04/03/all-about-smoothies/

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/fresh-frozen-canned-dried-and-100-juice

Fruits & Veggies More Matters.  http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/key-nutrients-in-fruits-and-vegetables

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.  https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/a-closer-look-at-current-intakes-and-recommended-shifts/#table-2-1

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-nutrients-health

United States Department of Agriculture.  https://healthymeals.fns.usda.gov/features-month/june/national-fresh-fruit-and-vegetable-month

 

 

Read Full Post »

For many of us in the health or nutrition field, the month of March is a time when we remember how important nutrition – what we eat and drink – is for our health. For me, it is a time when I try to:

  • Explore new foods
  • Ramp up my veggie and fruit intake
  • Make healthier beverage choices (try infused water instead of soda)
  • Try new recipes

What can you do this month to make positive nutrition changes? Have you heard the chatter about “cauliflower rice”? If you are on the internet, you may see recipes for this new food idea.  I love vegetable stir-fry and decided to try this instead of my usual brown rice. I found a bag of cauliflower rice pearls that was cheaper than a head of cauliflower. It was also very convenient.  I sautéed it with garlic and olive oil and used it as the base for my vegetable stir-fry. It was tasty and a way for me to add another vegetable to my day.  Toasted slivered almonds made a nice addition.  This bag featured recipes for cauliflower pearls fixed these ways: mashed, as rice and steamed.

bag

Cauliflower Pearls

Are you looking for other ways to fix cauliflower? One of my favorite ways is to roast cauliflower.  I use olive oil, garlic and smoked paprika – its sweet smoky taste makes it a family favorite.

roast

Roasted Cauliflower

 

Need a fun recipe for the kiddos? Check out the hiding rabbit recipe with their snow-white bunny tails peeking out from peanut butter celery.  Another creative, kid-friendly cauliflower recipe is pizza with a cauliflower crust.

Rabbitcrop

Hiding Rabbits

Why should you eat more vegetables? Most of us know that vegetables are low in fat and calories, and rich in fiber and vitamins and minerals. If you wonder how many you need each day, visit ChooseMyPlate for specifics. Click here for tips to help you get more veggies in your diet.  This great website can also help you plan a healthier lifestyle by exploring the SuperTracker feature.  You can log in and create an account to track your nutrition, physical activity and weight.  This free tool can be helpful in you in your quest for a healthier lifestyle.

What will you do to celebrate National Nutrition Month? Share your ideas in the comments.

Sources:

Danielson, L. (2017). 3 Unique Ways to Enjoy Cauliflower. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/3-unique-ways-to-enjoy-cauliflower

eatright: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (2017). Put Your Best Fork Forward: National Nutrition Month 2017. http://www.eatright.org/resources/national-nutrition-month.

Powers-Barker, P. (2015). Ohio Local Foods Infused Water Experiment. https://u.osu.edu/powers-barker.1/2015/07/06/ohio-local-foods-infused-water-experiment/

Steed, M. (2017). Cauliflower! Iowa State University Extension and Outreach: Answer Line. https://blogs.extension.iastate.edu/answerline/2017/02/20/cauliflower/

USDA (2016). Tips to help you eat vegetables. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/vegetables-tips

USDA (2017). MyPlate. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate

USDA (2017). SuperTracker. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/tools-supertracker

Written by: Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State Univeristy Extension, Franklin county, lobb.3@osu.edu

Read Full Post »

 

Do you recall this childhood playground song?  In celebration of National Bean Day, take a minute to learn why you should be eating bebean-1684304_1280ans.

Although beans are not a fruit, they may be magical because they fit under not one, but two food groups. Within USDA’s MyPlate they are found under the vegetable and protein groups because they are so packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber.

Beans are a mature form of legumes. They include kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, and garbanzo beans (chickpeas). All are available in dry, canned, and frozen forms. These foods provide other nutrients such as iron and zinc and are excellent sources of plant protein. They are similar to meats, poultry, and fish in their contribution of these nutrients.  Thus, they are considered part of the protein group. Many consider beans a vegetarian alternative for meat. However, they are also considered part of the vegetable group because they are excellent sources of dietary fiber and nutrients such as folate and potassium.

The high nutrient content makes consuming beans recommended for everyone, including people who also eat meat, poultry, and fish regularly. The USDA classifies beans as a subgroup of the vegetable group. The USDA also indicates that beans may be counted as part of the protein group. This allows individuals to count beans as either a vegetable or a protein food.

Beans are convenient and cost effective. They are available in the dry form in sealed bags and precooked in cans. A can of cooked dry beans can easily be used in dips, main dishes, soups, or salads.

How do canned beans compare to dry-packaged beans?

Canned beans are convenient since they don’t have to be presoaked and cooked. They can be eaten straight from the can or heated in recipes. According to the American Dry Bean Council, one 15-ounce can of beans equals one and one-half cups of cooked dry beans, drained. For most recipes, one form of beans can be substituted for the other.

Unless canned without salt, precooked canned beans generally are higher in sodium than dry-packaged beans. Always thoroughly drain and rinse canned beans in a colander or strainer under cold running water before using them in a recipe. This may help lower the amount of sodium by 41% and may help remove some of their potential gas-producing properties.

Bean Benefits

  • Beans are low in fat and calories and high in dietary fiber and protein. The fiber in beans provides a sense of fullness that helps keep food cravings down. Depending on the variety, a half cup of cooked dry beans is only about 120 calories.
  • Because of their high fiber, low glycemic index, and high nutrient content, eating beans may help reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some cancers.

Recipes and Uses

Navy beans are great for soups, stews, or baked beans. Kidney beans are used in chili and three-bean salads. Pinto beans are used refried in stews and dips.  Black beans are used in casserolechili-bean-dip-bean-blogs, soups or baked bean

dishes.  Great northern beans and lentils are used in soups and stews. Garbonzo beans are used in salads and hummus.  Check out these “no recipe required” bean meals and snacks.

 

Writer: Tammy Jones, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pike County, jones.5640@osu.edu

Reviewer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Sources

The Bean Institute, http://beaninstitute.com/no-recipe-required-pdf/

The Bean Institute, http://beaninstitute.com/volume-6-number-2-2015-dietary-guidelines/

Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/eat_more_dry_beans_enjoying_their_health_benefits

United States Department of Agriculture, https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_BEANS_BLACK_110020.pdf

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, http://food.unl.edu/chili-bean-dip

US Dry Bean Council, http://www.usdrybeans.com/

 

Read Full Post »

roasted-vegetablesWhen I was growing up, my mother served most of our vegetables hot and moist. That’s because we ate a lot of home-canned veggies. When you open up a Mason jar filled with garden produce, the vegetables are “pre-softened” from the liquid and the canning process.  So that was how we ate most vegetables.  As a consequence, I grew up disliking the taste of many of them.

As an adult, I have changed my status to vegetable “lover” by utilizing a different cooking method, which is roasting. Hallelujah! What a difference roasting makes to the taste and appearance of a vegetable (mothers out there—take note of this for your picky eaters).

Roasting is a little more time-consuming than boiling or microwaving a vegetable, but the extra minutes are worth the effort. Roasting vegetables in the oven caramelizes the outside of the veggie, giving it a sweet, but crispy, taste.

What Vegetables to Roast?

Root vegetables such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots are the most common choices, with broccoli, cauliflower, squash, and brussels sprouts coming in a close second. But don’t be afraid to try other vegetables such as summer squash, peppers, green beans, asparagus, onions, or even tomatoes.

If you want, you can mix two or more veggies together. Just make sure they are compatible, time-wise.  For example, roast cauliflower with broccoli, or butternut squash with potatoes.

Roasting Pointers

First cut the vegetables down to bite-sized pieces, then toss with your favorite oil or seasoned oil mixture. Generally a tablespoon or two of oil will suffice, unless you have a large amount of veggies to roast. The oil helps the vegetables crisp up in the oven and adds a rich flavor.

I like to use olive oil when roasting vegetables, but any oil will work. Use a couple of large spoons to mix or just stick your (clean) hands into the bowl and combine until everything is evenly coated.

Spread the vegetables onto a baking sheet that’s been lightly coated with cooking spray. They need lots of space, so use two baking sheets if necessary. Crowding will make the vegetables steam instead of roast. Once the veggies are on the baking sheet, sprinkle with a little seasoning—salt, pepper, or other herbs. I like to use sea salt for extra crunch.

Roast Until You See Toast

Make sure the oven is good and hot before you put the vegetables in to roast. 425°F is ideal for roasting most vegetables–if the oven temperature is too low, the vegetables will overcook before they’ve had a chance to brown.

Roast your vegetables until they are tender enough to pierce with a fork. Don’t worry if you see charred bits. Those crispy brown bits are the best part of the vegetable!

General Roasting Times for Vegetables

Cooking times are for roasting vegetables at 425°F.

  • Root vegetables (beets, potatoes, carrots): 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how small you cut them
  • Winter squash (butternut squash, acorn squash): 20 to 60 minutes, depending on how small you cut them
  • Crucifers (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts): 15 to 25 minutes
  • Soft vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, bell peppers): 10 to 20 minutes
  • Thin vegetables (asparagus, green beans): 10 to 20 minutes
  • Onions: 30 to 45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like them
  • Tomatoes: 15 to 20 minutes

http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-roast-any-vegetable-101221

http://www.bhg.com/recipes/how-to/cooking-basics/how-to-roast-vegetables/

Written by: Donna Green, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County

Reviewed by: Melissa Welker, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County

 

Read Full Post »

Is your garden overflowing with zucchini or another type of summer squash? Lucky you!  Summer squash is a warm season vegetable that can be grown throughout the frost-free months.  Varieties of summer squash can be found in grocery stores year round, but they are most plentiful during June, July, and August.  Summer squash is harvested while the vegetable is still immature.  As a result, the skin of the squash is tender and is edible, unlike its fall and winter counterparts.

zucchini-1637435_640

 

What are the health benefits?

  • Summer squash is low in calories with only 16 calories per cup of raw squash. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables is high in fiber and low in calories which can help you maintain a healthy weight.
  • Summer squash is free of sodium and cholesterol. A diet low in sodium and cholesterol decreases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Summer squash is high in vitamins A and C. Vitamin A is important for healthy skin, vision, cell growth, and fighting infections. Vitamin C helps to fight infections, build new body tissue, heal wounds, and eliminate cancer causing substances.
  • Summer squash also contains potassium, manganese, folate, riboflavin, and vitamin B6. These help the body turn food into fuel as well as ensure proper contraction of the heart and skeletal muscles.

How do I select a summer squash at the grocery store?

  • Choose summer squash that has a firm, glossy/shiny skin that is free of cuts, bruises, and blemishes.
  • The summer squash should be heavy for its size. If comparing two of the same size, buy the heavier squash.
  • Choose small to medium varieties. Smaller squash is more flavorful than larger ones.

How do I store summer squash?

  • Store summer squash unwashed in plastic bags in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Any water on the squash will promote decay while in storage.
  • Summer squash can be stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.

How should I prepare summer squash?

  • Summer squash should be washed well right before it is used in a meal.
  • Cut off both ends of the summer squash, but do not peel off the skin. Most of the vitamins and minerals are found near the skin. The skin of summer squash is very tender and easily eaten.
  • Summer squash can be enjoyed either raw or cooked.
  • Slice the squash and sauté, grill, steam, boil, roast, or microwave.

Top 5 ways to enjoy summer squash:

  1. Grate zucchini using a cheese grater and use it to make delicious zucchini bread or zucchini muffins.
  2. Chopped, raw summer squash can be added to a salad of lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, and chickpeas to make a colorful, refreshing dish on a hot summer day.
  3. Use squash as part of a summer chili.
  4. Use summer squash to make a delicious veggie lasagna.
  5. Use summer squash to make vegetable kabobs on a summer night. Toss summer squash, red bell peppers, and onions in olive oil, add salt and pepper, place on a skewer, and grill to perfection.

Sources:

https://extension.illinois.edu/veggies/ssquash.cfm

https://www.whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_SUMMERSQUASH_900151Dec2012.pdf

http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/summer-squash-nutrition-selection-storage

Author: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewer:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences/EFNEP Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »