Cooking with Liz

Super Food – Almonds

Almonds are a perfect way to stave of those hunger pangs. This super food is convenient, easy to carry, cholesterol free, gluten free and packed with good nutrients. The standard serving of twenty three almonds provides 3.5 grams of fiber, 6 grams of energy packed protein and healthy monounsaturated fats for a measly 160 calories. These factors have proven to significantly reduce coronary heart disease risk factors. That’s good news for everyone since cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.

These little antioxidant powerhouses contain vitamin-E that helps the body neutralize free radicals by immediately donating the needed electron. The standard serving provides 7.4 milligrams or 35% of the Daily Value of vitamin-E. It also contains a similar amount of polyphenols as a cup of green tea or a cup of steamed broccoli.
Read More

Asparagus 101

>For about 2500 years people have been cultivating and debating the medicinal effects of Asparagus. All debates aside, this is definitely a Super Food. It is one of the most nutritionally balanced vegetables on the planet. It has a wealth of nutrients and benefits like fiber, very low sodium and low calories. An asparagus spear has less than four calories, no fat or cholesterol less than a milligram of sodium, lots of potassium and folic acid, vitamins A, C, B6, Folacin and Thiamin. It also contains Glutathione (GSH) which is one of the best antioxidants and anti-carcinogens found in the body.

Asparagus can be steamed, sauteed, roasted or eaten raw. You can even cook it in the microwave. You can store it in the refrigerator for two or three days and even freeze it (after blanching) for up to eight months. Canned, it can be kept on the shelf for up to a year.
Read More

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day

March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day, time to hoist a Guinness and eat some corn beef and cabbage. How much do you really know about this Irish Holiday? It was observed as a religious holiday in Ireland for thousands of years.  It is now celebrated as more of an international secular holiday showcasing Ireland’s customs and culture.  St. Patrick’s Day became a national holiday in Ireland in 1903. Even though it is named after St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, he was not born Irish. St. Patrick was born in England but at the age of 16 was kidnapped by Irish raiders and spent 6 years in captivity.  While in Ireland it is said he dreamed of converting the Gaelic Irish who were then mostly pagans, to Christianity. St. Patrick escaped captivity, returned to Britain and after several years of study, returned to Ireland as a missionary. He did indeed convert the Irish.

What is the significance of the shamrock? St. Patrick is said to have used the shamrock, a three-leaved plant, to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish.
Read More

Fabulous Holiday Side Dishes

Sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing and vegetables are called side dishes but for me they are the main attraction of the holiday table. I have included some of my favorite side dish recipes.

5     medium-size sweet potatoes
1/2  cup butter
1/2  cup maple syrup
1/4  cup sour cream
1     tablespoon chives, finely chopped
1/2  cup oven-roasted whole pecans
Read More

This Thanksgiving Be Food Safe – USDA Lists Top Five Turkey Day Tips

What government agency is open on Thanksgiving Day? The United States Department of Agriculture, on the job to protect public health through food safety. For 25 years, the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline has helped Turkey Day cooks weather a variety of culinary storms and travails. In recent years, the Hotline has developed the innovative “Ask Karen” feature (www.AskKaren.gov) on the Web that allows consumers to type questions online and receive an immediate reply from USDA’s virtual representative 24 hours a day. And from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time, users can “chat” with a food safety expert.

These efforts are just part of a long-running campaign by USDA’s food safety educators to teach Americans about the dangers of foodborne illness and the importance of adopting safe cooking and food handling behaviors. The statistics show that approximately 5,000 Americans will die each year due to a foodborne illness – that’s almost 14 people a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Read More

It’s Pumpkin Time

October is here; time to visit the pumpkin patch. This annual trip in the crisp autumn air when my children were little holds many fond memories for me. With the kids grown and gone I now walk two blocks to the farmers market.

When my children were toddlers I made all of their baby food. Of course when pumpkin was in season that was one of the baby foods I made.  Pumpkins contain the antioxidant, beta-carotene and are rich in vitamin A so they are extremely good for you. My oldest son loved the pumpkin puree so much that with a little help from my grandmother ate so much he started turning orange.
Read More

Save and Savor

Are you looking for a creative way to use that bumper crop of tomatoes or zucchini? Have you ever wished for the taste of summer berries during a long, cold winter? If so, learning how to preserve foods just may be the thing for you.
Read More

What To Do With A Zillion Zucchini

Ah, mid-summer and the garden is really going strong. We’ve had plenty of rain this year and the veggies are looking great. One of the most prolific and versatile of all crops is that gorgeous squash called zucchini in the US and other countries or courgette in the UK, France and others. We treat the zucchini as a vegetable in the kitchen but botanists know it is really a fruit. These beauties come in numerous shapes, sizes and colors as well. They are normally green or yellow, long cylindrical fruits; but they can be round balls and both shapes come in white as well.
Read More