Seasonal Eating and Asparagus Quiche

Local Foods:

When you choose local and organic food, the food hasn’t traveled across the country, or world for that matter, and again is more nutritious and certainly tastes better. You are also supporting your local farmers and local economy. Many farmers offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. This is a system whereby you receive food directly from the farmers that produce it. If you are a member of CSA you will either pick up or have delivered a weekly box of produce that was picked fresh that day for you right off the farm. You receive what is seasonal, taking the guesswork of what is available in your area.

Spring: focus on tender, leafy vegetables that represent the fresh new growth of this season. Foods such as the tender greens Swiss chard, arugula (makes great pesto,) Romaine lettuce, spinach, fresh parsley, nettles, and the bastion of springtime, asparagus, just to name a few.

Summer: enjoy light, cooling foods, higher in water content for the warmest season. These foods include zucchini and other summer squash, corn, peppers, broccoli, eggplant and so many more.

Autumn: more warming foods are appropriate such as carrots and other root vegetables, yams, onions, and garlic. The harvest season in your area may still be in full-force, so you may still have many summer vegetables.

Winter: foods that take longer to grow are generally more warming than foods that grow quickly. Root vegetables, including carrots, potatoes, yams, onions and garlic as well as the winter squashes are good choices.

Asparagus Quiche

Serves 12

1 cup Swiss cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

1 1/2 cups asparagus, chopped

1/3 cup green onions, white parts, chopped, or shallots

1 cup mushrooms, sliced

12 whole eggs

2 cups milk, dairy or non-dairy

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375º degrees. Grease a 9 X 13″ pan. Spread cheese on bottom of pan and top with vegetables.

Whisk together eggs, milk, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour over cheese and vegetables. Bake about 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley, if desired

A Basic Sauce and Biochemical Individuals

Béchamel Sauce with Variations
The sauce everyone should know how to make

Serves 4
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or olive oil
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup warmed milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 pinch nutmeg, freshly ground, optional

Heat the butter or oil in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour, mixing thoroughly as you go. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes.
Slowly whisk in a small amount of milk to form a smooth paste. Continue until all the milk has been whisked in and the sauce is thick. Add sea salt & nutmeg to taste.

Variations:
Mornay Sauce
Add 1/2 cup grated cheese to 1 cup of hot sauce; stir over low heat until cheese is melted. Season with a little mustard or Worcestershire sauce to taste.

Velouté Sauce
Substitute chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable broth for the milk.

Herb Sauce
Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped herbs or 1/2 teaspoon dried herbs to 1 cup of hot sauce. Cook for a minute or two longer to get more flavor from the herbs.

Cream Sauce
Add 2 or 3 tablespoons of heavy cream to the finished sauce. For an onion flavor, add an onion slice to the milk when heating; remove onion slice before adding milk to flour and butter mixture.

Mustard Sauce
Combine 1 teaspoon dry mustard to flour used in sauce. This sauce is especially good with fish and chicken.

Biochemical Individuals:

We are all biochemical individuals and therefore nutrition information as well as exercise programs and health advice should be altered to suit your particular needs. The intake percentage for fats, carbohydrates and proteins are estimates based on the “average” person of good health. Some people need slightly more protein to feel their best, some need less. An individual with, for instance, diabetes, might consume fewer carbohydrates.

Growing children might require increased protein and good fats, etc. Most food guides use a base of a 2,000-calorie a day diet though an individual’s calorie requirements depends on their stature, level of physical excursion and any health anomalies. Recommended portions are based on this caloric number. Portion sizes have increased dramatically over the past 20 years and a portion of brown rice might now be 1-2 cups, when, for most, it should be 1⁄2 cup. Do be cognizant of your portion sizes.

There are certain constants for all
; antioxidants, natural body chemicals that reduce the oxidative damage caused by free-radicals, are necessary for everyone’s health. A free radical is an unstable molecule with an unpaired electron, which can cause oxidative damage to cells or tissues. Antioxidants scavenge and destroy free-radicals and are found in leafy green vegetables such as kale and chard, as well as the carotenes such as carrots, yellow squash and sweet potatoes, etc. Free-radicals are created by such health-diminishing activities as smoking, alcohol consumption and exposure to toxins, to name a few. Vitamin and mineral supplements can be a useful tool to help maintain health and a good-quality multivitamin is recommended to boost anti-oxidant levels and other important nutrients.

A whole food is a foodstuff that is in its natural, unaltered state, unrefined state, i.e., brown rice, not white rice. Whole foods offer the health-supporting nutrients required for optimum health and should be a part of everyone’s diet. Avoid processed foods and consume nutrient-dense whole foods.

The glycemic index is a system, which measures the extent of which various foods raise blood sugar levels. The benchmark is white bread, which has a GI (Glycemic Index) of 100: the higher the score, the greater the extent of the rise in blood sugar. A starchy vegetable such as a potato or yam has a higher GI score than that of a non-starchy vegetable such as kale or spinach. Diets full of high-glycemic foods can lead to insulin resistance, obesity, unhealthy levels of blood fats and possibly adult-on-set diabetes.

Whole-grains, as an example, have a lower GI than their refined counterparts (again, the example of brown rice to white rice) as the fiber in the whole grain slows the absorption of sugar into the system.

creamy mushroom stroganoff

Macronutrients: Protein and Chicken Noodle Soup

Macronutrients:
Macro means large and nutrients are needed for your body’s survival. There are three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Protein
Protein is from the Greek word, ‘proto’ meaning first or of first quality. Protein is an umbrella word for the twenty-two organic amino acids, of which thirteen are non essential to our diet, meaning our body can synthesize them. The other nine are essential amino acids meaning it is essential that we obtain them from our diet.

Proteins build and maintain our body tissues, help produce antibodies, enzymes and hormones such as insulin. Protein is the primary component of muscles, skin, nails, hair and internal organs, especially the heart. Each gram of protein releases four calories or units of heat or energy for the body. Your intake of protein should be approximately 25% of your daily caloric intake.

The average woman needs fifty to sixty grams of protein a day and the average man needs sixty to seventy grams of protein a day. These are very general, as lactating women need additional protein, as just one example. For children the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for protein is based on body weight and included age-related adjustments. Multiply your child’s weight in pounds by the number of grams of protein needed per pound of body weight to calculate their daily protein requirements. Remember that everyone is a biochemical individual so your protein requirements might not fit into the ‘average’ category.

Ages 1 to 3 – 0.81 grams (child’s weight in pounds x 0.81 = daily grams of protein)
Ages 4 to 6 – 0.68 grams
Ages 7 to 10 – 0.55 grams

Sources of protein are fish, meat, poultry, tofu and eggs, which are complete proteins, meaning they have all the essential amino acids. You can combine various ingredients so as to have a complete protein: rice and beans, grains and legumes, and nuts or seeds with dairy.

Chicken Vegetable Soup with Noodles

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 Cloves garlic, minced
2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2″ thick slices
2 ribs celery, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2″ thick slices
1 cup broccoli, cut into small pieces
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 1/2 quarts chicken broth
4 ounces dried wide egg noodles
1 whole bay leaf
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
1 large tomato, chopped
1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, stems removed, finely chopped
Sea salt and pepper

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, broccoli, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken broth and bring the liquid to a boil.

Add the noodles and let simmer for about 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken and fresh tomatoes and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Variations for eating seasonally:
Spring: Peas, asparagus, beet greens, carrots, celery, collard greens, chives, parsley, green garlic
Summer: Tomatoes, green beans, corn, red pepper (not too much,) summer squashes, basil
Autumn: Potatoes, corn, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, broccoli, pumpkin, shallots, turnips, parsnips
Winter: Broccoli, cabbage, chard, kale, parsnips, winter squashes, turnips, yams

Pan Sizes and Garden Cake

The importance of pan sizes:

You just made your favorite brownie recipe, which calls for a 9” X 9” pan. If you cook brownies that call for a 9” X 9” pan in a 9” X 13” pan, the batter will be thinly spread across the pan and the brownies will end up more like a cookie. You’ll be disappointed in the results. Pan size is a very important part of baking and cooking.
As an example of how to alter some-not all- recipes; if you are making a cake and it calls for a 11 X 4 1/2 X 2 ¾” pan, which by the below chart is 50 square inches, and you don’t have such a pan, then you can use the 8 X 1 ½ “ round pan as it is the same square inches. Cooking time might have to be adjusted, as a greater surface area would take less time to cook. Pans are measured across the top of the pan between the inside edges.

Square and rectangular pans
7 ¾ X 3 5/8 X 2 ¼”…….28 sq. inches
8 X 8 X 1 ½” ……64 sq. inches
9 X 5 X 2 ¾” ……45 square inches
9 X 9 X 1 ½” …..81 sq. inches
11 X 4 ½ X 2 ¾” …….50 sq. inches
11 X 7 X 1 ½” …..77 sq. inches
13 X 9 X 2” ….117 square inches
15 X 10 X 2”….150 sq. inches
15 ½ X 10 ½ X 1”……163 sq. inches
16 X 5 X 4 “ …..80 sq. inches

Round pans
8 X 1 ½”…….50 sq. inches
9 X 1 ½”……..64 square inches
10 X 1 ½”…….79 square inches

Another note regarding cake pans is that the type of pan it is has an effect on the end result. A glass or enamel pan or pans of a dark color will hold more heat and make for a browner crust. If you have these pans, but do not want the darker crust, you can reduce the heat by 25 degrees, but use the same baking time. If you have shiny metal pans, your crust will be thinner and less brown.

Garden Cake
This delicious cake is full of vegetables and we’ve found it’s a favorite. Dense, gooey and delicious!
Serves 12

1/2 cup walnut oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup raw grated carrots
1 cup raw grated zucchini
1/2 cup raw grated beets
1 cup chocolate chips, optional
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 X 13″ pan.

In a large bowl mix the oil, eggs and sugar, beating well with a hand mixer or whisk for 3-4 minutes.

Wash the vegetables well, but there is no need to peel any of them. Grate all the vegetables and set aside. Place the beets in a separate bowl so the other veggies don’t turn pink.

In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir into wet ingredients.

Add the shredded carrots, zucchini, beets, chocolate chips and walnuts. Stir until blended and pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

D5’s gift to our kids and their families

For six years now, we have been teaching kids and their families nutrition, health and cooking classes with great success. We have done before and after surveys for most of our courses, so we know that the kids we teach learn our programs, and since we often teach the same kids year and after year, we know they retain the information. Yes, we are very proud!

Our goal has always been to improve the health of our kids and now six years later, we – Patty James, founder and director, Board of Directors, and our team of advisors- have made the decision to allow everyone access to our tried and true lesson plans and recipes. Whether you are a kid, teacher, parent, or school, you can look at our blog and receive a lesson and appropriate recipe. Yes, it’s our gift to the world!

Check back often and spread the word! DirectionFive is the place to go for tried and true health and culinary lessons.
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Quiche

An Easy Breakfast….

Here’s an easy breakfast that we’ve found all kidd like! You-or better yet the kids- can put together in about one minute at night, for an easy breakfast.

Oats and Chai Breakfast

For one serving, place in a Mason jar or bowl:

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 tablespoon old fashioned oats
10 raw walnuts, or other nuts, lightly chopped
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
1 cup almond or other milk

Stir together, place in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours, or over night.

In the morning, stir in fresh berries.

Enjoy!

Oats and Chia

Intersession at Sonoma Academy

We love our 8-day course with the kids at Sonoma Academy College Prep School in Santa Rosa every January. In this amount of time, we can teach them so many aspects of health, besides teaching them knife skills, safety and sanitation, and how to cook! They make 4-5 recipes per day and by the end of 8 days, they’re starting to feel confident, and when we ask, do you think this recipe needs something else?-instead of saying salt, which is the easy fix for many, they’ll add a splash of lemon, or will be talking about balanced flavors.

Needless to say, we are very proud of these kids and how much they learned. That, and we all had such fun!

We also want to thank La Tortilla Factory, Sonoma Cutlery, Tierra vegetables and Patisserie Angelica for the awesome field trips and in-class lessons. We appreciate you!

Dylan. Sonoma Cutlery
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Don’t forget our Knives!

If you need new knives-the most important tool in your kitchen-be sure to purchase great knives at a discount and help D5 at the same time. We can offer you this because of our good friends at Sonoma Cutlery!

Here’s the link to order online or if you’re local to Sonoma County and shop at their store, be sure to tell them you’re there for D5!

Thanks!Just click on the Shop tab on our web site.

http://directionfive.org/shop/

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Cells: The Basis of Life

searchCells:

Read this aloud to your kids, or if they are of reading age, have them read it to you.

Cells are the basic and smallest unit of life. The word cell comes from the Latin cellula, meaning a small room. There are cells that are organisms onto themselves, such as bacteria cells. Some organisms are made up of many cells that only function when they are part of a larger organism, such as the cells that make up your body. In the body, there are brain cells, kidney cells, skin cells, liver cells, stomach cells; several hundred distinct human cell types, each with its own function. Each type of cell has recognizable differences and similarities. Each body system is dependent upon the harmonious interaction of organs and tissues, and it is at the cellular level where we learn the basis of normal functioning as well as disease states, so it’s important to begin with the cell.

All cells are surrounded by plasma membrane, which is a thin layer of protein and fat that protects the cell from the outside environment. The cell membrane is semi-permeable, allowing some substances to pass into the cell while blocking others. The cell membrane regulates the movement of water, nutrients and wastes into and out of the cell.

Inside of the cell membrane are the working parts of the cell. At the center of the cell is the cell nucleus. You can think of the nucleus as the cell’s brain. The cell nucleus contains the cell’s DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, the hereditary material or genetic code that determines if you are born a human or an elephant with brown or blue eyes. The combinations are endless! DNA contains the instructions needed for an organism to develop, survive and reproduce. DNA produces RNA or ribonucleic acid, which is a very long complicated molecule made up of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. Just remember that DNA strands store information, while RNA takes the information from the DNA and transfers it to different places in the cell, to decode and read the information.

http://www.xvivo.net/the-inner-life-of-the-cell/

There are many organelles inside of the cell – small structures that help carry out the cell’s day-to-day operations. Organelles are located in the cytoplasm, a jellylike material outside the cell nucleus. One important cellular organelle is the ribosome. Ribosomes are protein builders or protein synthesizers and all cells require proteins. They can float in the cytoplasm or attach to endoplasmic reticulum (ER). There are two types of ER, rough and smooth. Rough ER creates and packages proteins. Smooth ER is important in the creation of steroids and ions and acts as a storage center both. ER also works with RNA and the Golgi Complex.

The Golgi complex (also called the Golgi apparatus) is located near the nucleus and is a sac-like organelle that looks like a stack of pancakes. The Golgi complex gathers simple molecules and combines them to make more complex molecules. After gathering the molecules, the Golgi complex packages them in vesicles and stores them for later use or sends them out of the cell.

Another cellular organelle is the mitochondrion. Mitochondria (in the plural mitochondrion) are often referred to as the power plants of the cell. They take in nutrients, break them down and create energy for the cell. Also important in the life of a cell are the lysosomes. Lysosomes, built in the Golgi Complex, are organelles that contain enzymes that aid in the digestion of nutrient molecules and other materials.

The cell waste is stored in what is called a vacuole. The vacuole fills with food being digested and waste material that is on its way out of the cell.

Types of Cells
• The egg is the largest human cell. Once it is fertilized, all other cells begin forming.
• Bone cells help build your skeleton by secreting the fibers and minerals from which bone is made.
• Fat cells store fat. They can shrink or grow. Once you have them you can’t get rid of them.
• Muscle cells are organized into muscles, which move body parts.
• Nerve cells pass nerve messages around your body.
• Red blood cells carry oxygen around your body.
• White blood cells fight disease.

Good health and poor health begins at the fundamental level; cell health.
To maintain cell health:

• Consume whole, natural, fresh foods while avoiding refined foods
• Exercise to improve circulation as circulation helps to remove toxins and bathes cells in nutrients
• Drink adequate pure water and ideally breathe fresh air outside and inside. The water we drink and use to bathe and the air we breathe affect each cell in our bodies.
• Get enough rest, learn how to manage stress and have a positive attitude. It has been scientifically proven that a positive attitude makes you feel better and helps you fight disease.
• Avoid exposure to toxins, including pesticides, radiation, and other contaminates, including alcohol and drugs.