How About a Fruit Salad Contest?

Doesn’t this beautiful photograph of fruit make you want a fruit salad…right now? When it’s a hot day, and you don’t want to heat up the kitchen in the morning, place a lot of fruit on the kitchen counter, and let your kids have at it! Wash the fruit, cut up when necessary, and then the fun part, of making a bowl gorgeous! Perhaps offer a prize for the prettiest? Consider too saving some fruit and later in the day, place in a mason jar and cover with mineral water.

Perfect!

A Class for 6-9 Year Olds

Here’s Day 1 of a 5-Day Camp for 6-9 years olds. We have taught this class to many, many kids and they love the food, and especially love knife skills.

Day 1

Introduction:

Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives is the mantra for this program.

When you understand the foods that support your health, and then you learn to create sumptuous meals for you and the people in your life, you feel satisfied and contented.

In the Kitchen:

Kids, like most adults, simply want to jump in and make homemade pizza, but there are basics that need to be learned first, for safety and sanitation reasons, of course, but also so one knows how to measure properly, what size and type of pan to use and other basic information needed for a successful kitchen experience.

Safety and Sanitation:

Before you enter the kitchen, tie your hair back if you have long hair, and if you’re sick, stay out of the kitchen altogether. Next wash your hands in warm, soapy water. If you have any cuts or sores, be sure to cover with a bandage. While you’re in the kitchen, if you sneeze, cough, touch your hair, nose or any other body part, or eat, please wash your hands again. You obviously wash your hands well after you use the restroom. If you handle raw meat or fish, please wash your hands before touching any other food. Ideally your clothes and aprons should be clean.

Here are some very important tips to always keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

  • When you work with food, keep raw foods away from cooked foods.
  • Keep food away from cleaning products.
  • Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before preparation.
  • Rinse off your meats and fish as well, pat dry and leave in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Raw and thawing meats and fish should always be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid dripping and contamination.
  • Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in a proper container in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze food after it’s been thawed.
  • Food needs to be held at proper temperatures to avoid the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuffed meat and reheated leftovers should be kept at 165 degrees, beef and other hot food, 140 degrees, fish and poultry, 145 degrees and cooked pork, hamburgers and eggs, 155 degrees.

Kitchens can be dangerous places, with sharp equipment and hot stoves! It was my experience when I had my cooking school that, in order of accidents, potato peelers, graters, knives, and hot stoves and ovens, were the major culprits. With some very basic and very important rules, well learned, accidents rarely happen.

A tip for adults working with kids in the kitchen is to try not to hover. I understand the nervousness about watching an eight-year hold with a knife, but hovering only makes them nervous and makes the kitchen a stressful place, when it should be a warm, nurturing place. When they understand basic kitchen safety and the proper use of equipment such as knives, they’ll be fine.

There is one basic rule when working in the kitchen-stay focused on the job at hand! If you are grating or chopping, your eyes are on that knife and cutting board and nowhere else. When this is learned, accidents rarely happen.

Let’s begin with knives. When choosing a knife, how does it feel in your hand? A ten year old with relatively small hands wouldn’t be comfortable using a twelve-inch chef knife. A good knife can last a lifetime, so choose your knife carefully. A knife store with salespeople who really understand all the intricacies of knives is an invaluable source of information. Here are some basics:

The knife has a blade, which does the cutting. The example, below, is a typical western knife that is sharp on both sides. Japanese knives have blades that are sharp on only one side, as they believe they cut more effectively.

There are various types of blades:

Carbon steel- Our ‘knife –guy’s’ favorite knife because it takes a great edge but discolors when they come in contact with anything acidic like tomatoes or citrus fruit. A carbon knife will rust so be sure to clean and dry them after every use.

Stainless Steel- They don’t rust so taking care of them is much easier, however, they are difficult to keep a good sharp edge.

High carbon stainless steel – Tough, holds an edge and they don’t discolor. The carbon adds strength to stainless but also more cost. A good choice.

Titanium- Much lighter than steel, holds its edge, and is also flexible, so it is a better choice for boning and filleting knives.

The spine is opposite the blade and adds weight and stability. The tip of a knife is at the point and is used for inserting the knife into something and for cutting small items. The tang is that piece of metal that extends from the blade to the back of the knife and the handle attaches to. The tang also gives a knife some weight and balance. Better knives have tangs.

The bolster is that little collar that separates the blade and the handle and adds strength and balance. The bolster can run from the spine to the edge or just part way. You hold onto the handle and it’s important for the handle to feel good in your hand. It can be made out of wood, plastic, composite or stainless steel.

Knives are blocked, forged or sintered.

  • Blocked knives are cut from a single sheet of metal usually of the same thickness. Think of using a cookie cutter on rolled dough. The blades are then ground to form the edge and handles are added to the tang. They typically don’t have bolsters and are less expensive to make and therefore buy.
  • Forged knives, as the name suggest, are forged, and not stamped. The manufacturer takes metal, heats it up and pounds it into the correct shape using a drop forge machine. These knives typically have bolsters, more weight, and thicker bolsters and cost more to produce. They are better balanced knife that when taken care of properly, can last a lifetime.
  • Sintered knives, or Eastern-style knives, is a process where they take a separate blade and fuse it to a separate tang.

Whatever type of knives you choose, you must frequently sharpen them, as a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife. With a dull knife you exert more pressure on the knife, which generally means more accidents. Always hand-wash your knives, dry properly and store where they won’t rub against other knives. Besides a chef’s knife, you will also need a paring knife, which has a short blade and is used for small jobs, a bread or serrated knife, a boning knife for removing meat from joints and a carving knife, for carving and slicing meat.

A few last tips: never try to catch a falling knife! When you carry a knife it should point down and the blade should face backwards. Carry it close to you but not against your body. When you carry your knife to the sink, carry it by itself and not on your cutting board where it could fall. Do not place knives in a sink full of dirty dishes as in retrieving them; you could grab the blade by mistake.

Cutting boards can be made of any number of material, wood, plastic, bamboo or composite, which are various material fused or glued together. Wood boards are the easiest on your knives, but cannot be put in the dishwasher, plastic boards and composite boards can be washed in the dishwasher, but gouges can harbor bacteria, bamboo is a sustainable wood product; whichever you choose, wash it carefully between uses.

Now that you understand more about knives, you need to learn basic knife cuts. The proper knife cut affects cooking time and visual appeal.

Basic Knife Cuts:

Julienne: A stick cut. Strips 2-2 ½ inches long. 1/8” X 1/8”

Brunoise: A dice cut. 1/8” X 1/8” X 1/8”. Made from cutting a julienne.

Batonnet: A strip cut. Strips 2-2 ½ inches long. ¼” X ¼”

Small Dice: A dice cut. ¼” X ¼” X ¼”. Made from cutting a Batonnet.

Medium Dice: A dice cut. ½” X ½” X ½”.

Large Dice: A dice cut. ¾” X ¾” X ¾”

Mince: Small cut with no specific dimensions made by rocking the knife back and forth.

Chiffonade: Stacked leaves, rolled up, then sliced thinly.

Roll Cut: Slice vegetable on the diagonal, roll vegetable 90 degrees and slice gain

Diagonal Cut: Oval shaped slices. Made by cutting the ingredient at an angle. The knife is held at an angle–the more the angle the shorter the cooking time.

Slice: A thin, flat piece of something, such as a slice of bread

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Today we will practice our knife skills doing the following:

Medium and large dice using strips of watermelon. Slice bananas and apples. Mince a little mint for a lovely Fruit Salad.

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Ready to begin!

You are almost ready to begin, but before you do so, read the recipe completely to make sure you have all the ingredients. Next mise en place (meaning everything in its place) your ingredients, get out all necessary equipment and you’re ready!

Recipe Tips:

  • Read through the recipe carefully to make sure that you understand the ingredients and directions. Make sure all ingredients meet your dietary needs.
  • Make sure that you can perform all the techniques.
  • Look at the recipe yield and decide if the number of servings is what you need. Check that you have all the necessary equipment and ingredients.
  • Make sure that you have adequate time to prepare and cook, if needed, the recipe.
  • Check whether you can (or need to) make any part of the recipe ahead of time.
  • Check whether an ingredient is divided, so that you don’t make the mistake of using that ingredient all at once.
  • Find out whether you need to preheat the oven.

 

Recipe grammar is important! One cup chopped nuts is not the same as 1 cup nuts, chopped.  Sometimes you measure an ingredient and then prepare it and sometimes you prepare the ingredient and then measure it.

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Turkey Meatloaf

Can be made with ground beef or ground chicken

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Serves 10

3 pounds ground turkey

3 large eggs

1 cup oatmeal

1 medium red pepper, chopped fine

1 medium yellow onion, chopped fine

1 small carrot, grated

1 stalk celery, chopped fine

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard

Place the all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. I find it easier to use my hands for the mixing. Place the mixture in the 9X9 pan and shape into a loaf. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until light brown.

Substitutions

If you are sensitive to oats you may substitute leftover brown rice or brown rice breadcrumbs.

So many choices!

You may form the turkey into meatballs and place on a cookie sheet to bake. Cooking time for meatballs is about 30 minutes, depending on the size. You may also sauté them in a large frying pan in a little olive oil. After they have browned on all sides, remove them from the pan and keep them warm on a plate in the oven. Into the pan drippings add one tablespoon flour and cook for one minute. Whisk in 1/2 cup of white wine (or broth) and 1/4 cup of freshly minced parsley and cook for about 3 minutes, or until some of the wine/broth have evaporated. Season with sea salt and pepper, as desired. Pour over meatballs and serve.

For a beautiful presentation, try stuffing the meatloaf with additional vegetables. After you have prepared the meatloaf, place a 18″ piece of waxed paper or parchment on a hard surface. Press into a 9 X 12″ size. Into the center of the mixture place some grated carrots, cooked and drained spinach and whatever else you choose. Using the waxed paper roll up the meatloaf and place in pan, seam side down. When you slice into it, you will se spirals of colors. You may also sprinkle your stuffing mixture with about 1/2 cup of grated cheese if you like.

Basic Brown Rice

We will double this recipe

1 cup brown rice, long grain, short grain or basmati
2 cups water or stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tb olive oil

Place olive oil in a pan and turn heat on to medium. Add brown rice and stir for a minute or two to coat rice. Add warm liquid. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cover. Let cook, undisturbed until done about 40-50 minutes.

Long grain rice cooks to a fluffier texture and short grain to a stickier texture.

We’ll make a salad and dressing while the meatloaf and rice cook.

Mustard Vinaigrette

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons shallots, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 lemon, juiced

3/4 cup olive oil, can also use flax oil

Place the mustard, shallots, garlic and lemon in a bowl and slowly whisk in the olive or flax oil. Or….throw it in a jar and shake!

We’ll use this basic salad dressing on a simple green salad.

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Nutrients:

 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 and 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. Phytonutrients (phyto means plants) are nutrients found in plants and are protective against many diseases, including cancer. 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, also known as an intact 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kids and Climate Change Class

The purpose of the Kids and Climate Change Class was to educate kids about aspects of climate change, and then empower them with information so that they know that what they do to help matters. This happened while they learned how to make Minestrone Soup with Farro. Kids always enjoy cooking, and love knife skills. They especially loved eating their delicious, nutritious soup at a communal table. Such a great class!

Carrot Apple Walnut Muffins

Carrot Apple Walnut Muffins

No sugar and non-gluten

These muffins contain stevia, which is the dried powder of the Stevia plant. Be careful to purchase Stevia without artificial sweeteners.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Makes 12 muffins

2 eggs

¼ cup olive or coconut oil

1/3 cup mashed banana

1/8 cup dried stevia See Note: *

1 medium apple, grated

1 cup grated carrot

½ cup milk-dairy or non-dairy, unsweetened

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2/3 cup old fashioned oats- See Note*

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour- See Note*

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

1/3 cup chopped raw walnuts

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

 

In a large bowl, place the eggs and whisk slightly. Add the mashed banana, stevia, apple, carrot, milk and vanilla and mix well. Next stir in the oats and let sit for 2 minutes. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices and add to the bowl, stirring briefly. Lastly stir in the walnuts and poppy seeds.

Place in well-greased (use olive oil or coconut oil) muffin tins or use muffin tin liner. Even with liners, I recommend greasing the bottom slightly as non-gluten flour seems to stick a bit more than other types of flour. Bake in preheated 375 oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before trying to remove paper liners.

*Note: Use non-gluten oats if you are making this as a non-gluten recipe. Use non-gluten flour mix or flour made from the ancient wheat, Einkorn. To make this a vegan recipe, use egg substitute and nut milk. If you don’t want to use Stevia, use ¼ cup non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or coconut sugar.

Creativity: Feel free to change spices. Chinese 5-Spice is a nice choice. Perhaps add nutmeg or cardamom. You could use raw almonds instead of walnuts and use almond extract instead of vanilla.

IMG_8494

Physical Fitness

If you’re teaching a class in the winter months and perhaps it’s pouring rain, you might do what we do. Make a nice pot of soup, and while it’s simmering, have the kids stand against the wall, and see who can last the longest. We’ve had many a laugh over this one!

What is physical exercise?

Physical activity simply means movement of the body that uses energy. Most experts agree that there are five basic components of fitness:

1) Aerobic Exercise

The definition is the ability to do moderately strenuous activity over a period of time. It reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during exertion and exercise.

2) Muscular Endurance

This is the ability to hold a particular position for a sustained period of time or to repeat a movement many times. This could be the capability to hold a push-up for five minutes, or to do fifty sit ups.

3) Muscular Strength

The ability to exert maximum force, such as lifting the heaviest weight you can move, one time. It is possible to have muscular strength in one area, say your arms, while lacking the strength in another area such as your legs. Please do not try to lift heavy weights without someone advising you!

4) Flexibility

This is the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion showing the elasticity of the muscle. This is how limber you are.

5) Body Composition

The proportion of fat in your body compared to your bone and muscle.

The above five are the most recognized, but there are other components as well, below.

 

  • Speed – How fast a distance can be traveled, whether it is the whole body or just a part of the body like the hand.
  • Power – Is the strength and speed combined, as in a punch, a fist has no power without speed.
  • Reaction Time – Amount of time to initiate an action.
  • Agility – Ability to move under control.
  • Coordination – Ability to synchronize movement of different body parts.
  • Static Balance – Ability to balance while not in motion.
  • Dynamic Balance – Ability to balance while in motion.
  • Fun! If it’s fun for you, you’re more likely to make it part of your lifeMovementWalking, running, climbing the stairs, playing soccer and dancing are all good examples of being active.Moderate physical activities include:
    • Walking briskly (about 3 ½ miles per hour)
    • Hiking
    • Gardening/yard work
    • Dancing
    • Golf while walking and carrying clubs. Do kids golf?
    • Bicycling (less than 10 miles per hour)
    • Light weight training

    Vigorous physical activities include:

    • Running/jogging (5 miles per hour)
    • Bicycling (more than 10 miles per hour)
    • Swimming (freestyle laps)
    • Aerobics
    • Walking very fast (4 ½ miles per hour)
    • Heavy yard work, (yeah, right)
    • Weight lifting (vigorous effort)
    • Basketball (competitive)

    Some physical activities are not intense enough to help you meet the recommendations and do not count toward your total exercise. These activities can include grocery shopping and light housework, something kids don’t often do anyway!

Life on a Farm

Life on a Farm is part of DirectionThree: how our Earth’s health affects our health and vice versa.

Kids love this Life on a Farm lesson. If we teach this in the morning, we might make a veggie scramble with farm fresh eggs. If this is part of a farm tour that’s even better; purchase some goods from the farm and have a no recipe- recipe when you return to class.

Life on a Farm: Then and Now

In the 1930’s, a family farm raised several kinds of animals, selling some and butchering a few to feed their family. Other animals were a source of income and food. Cows provided milk and meat, while chickens provided eggs and meat.

Horses and mules were used to plow, plant and harvest the crops. Tractors were beginning to replace horses, but even by 1940 only 23 percent of the nation’s farmers had tractors. As more farmers traded their horses for tractors, they planted their rows of corn and other crops closer together. Instead of rows that were wide enough for a horse to walk through (42 inches), the rows were 30 inches apart. Production increased.

In 1900, almost all farms – 98 percent – had chickens, 82 percent grew corn for grain, 80 percent had at least one milk cow, and pigs. Most of the farms were diversified, growing multiple crops and raising various animals.

By 1992, only 4 percent of farms reported having chickens, 8 percent had milk cows, 10 percent had pigs and only 25 percent were growing corn.

Grasshoppers were picked by hand in the fall. Farmers used manure from farm animals, gypsum, ground animal bones and crop residue to fertilize their fields.

Today, more than 98 percent of the U.S. farmland planted in corn is chemically fertilized.

Pesticide residues from industrial agriculture enter our bodies through food, water, and air, and they raise risks for certain cancers as well as reproductive and endocrine system disorders

1 billion pounds of pesticides are used per year in the U.S.

35 percent of food is contaminated with pesticides

5 billion pounds of pesticides are used per year worldwide

Federal agricultural programs launched during the 1930s changed how and what farmers planted by paying them to plant certain crops or paying them not to produce a crop at all and allow the land to rest or lie fallow. Farmers who signed up for federal programs agreed to limit the number of acres planted with corn and wheat which depleted the soil, and increased the number of acres with legumes and grasses which helped renew the soil.

Farmers began rotating their crops on a regular basis in the 1930s, but the practice lost popularity as farms got larger and specialized equipment became more expensive and needed to be kept in use. Farmers now concentrate on growing just one crop such as corn, soybeans, or wheat.

In the 1940’s, America entered World War II. More and more farm workers left for the cities or serve in the military, and a tractor became the only way to get things done on the farm. The beginning of the war coincided with the end of the 1930s drought, but farmers remembered the dry years and irrigation systems were built.

There was greater demand for farm products; American farmers were feeding the world. The war effort produced new technologies that revolutionized agriculture and effected urban and rural life. New technology created a dramatic increase in productivity as farmers could do much more work in fewer hours.

  • Post-WWII fertilizer production has increased yields, but also nitrogen and phosphorous pollution.
  • High resource use (soil, water, energy, etc.)
  • Environmental consequences and changes include land and water degradation, pollution by fertilizers and pesticides and soil loss.
  • Artificially inexpensive fuel and water
  • Agricultural subsidies (the farm bill)
  • USDA has dueling roles:  To promote U.S. agricultural products and to offer nutrition education.
  • Threatened biodiversity

One of the continuing themes of American agriculture in the 20th century was a decline in the number of farms, farmers and rural residents coupled with an increase in farm size and specialization.

In the 1950’s to the 1970’s the number of farm declined by half before leveling off. More farms were consolidated or sold during this period than in any other period in our history. The number of people on farms dropped from over 20 million in 1950 to less than 10 million in 1970. The average size of farms went from around 205 acres in 1950 to almost 400 acres in 1969.

  • ·      In 1900, 41 percent of workforce employed in agriculture
  • ·      In 1930, 21.5 percent of workforce employed in agriculture;
    Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP, 7.7 percent
  • ·      In 1945, 16 percent of the total labor force employed in agriculture;
    Agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP, 6.8 percent
  • In 1970, 4 percent of employed labor force worked in agricultureSource: Compiled by Economic Research Service, USDA. Share of workforce employed in agriculture, for 1900-1970, Historical Statistics of the United States; for 2000, calculated using data from Census of Population; agricultural GDP as part of total GDP, calculated using data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Land in farms peaked in 1950 at 1.2 billion acres. Today, land in farms has dropped to around 0.95 billion acres. Most of the lost farmland was converted to suburban and urban sprawl. However, land that is devoted to actually raising crops has remained relatively constant. In other words, as some farmland is taken out of production, farmers convert other land from pasture or lands once considered marginal for crops into cropland by installing irrigation systems, and applying fertilizers and pesticides.

Garden Cake

We all know that kids eat way too much sugar, so at DirectionFive, we encourage healthy eating, with desserts being an occasional treat. When we do have desserts we ‘tweak’ recipes so that they contain healthier ingredients. That said, we don’t beat anyone over the head with a carrot, and kids love to pipe frosting on that beautiful cupcake they made. It’s all about balance.

Garden Cake

This delicious cake is full of vegetables.

Serves 12

1/2 cup walnut oil

1/2 cup applesauce

2 eggs

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 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Safety and Sanitation. Oat Bran Muffins

Safety and Sanitation:

Before you enter the kitchen, tie your hair back if you have long hair, and if you’re sick, stay out of the kitchen altogether. Next wash your hands in warm, soapy water. If you have any cuts or sores, be sure to cover with a bandage. While you’re in the kitchen, if you sneeze, cough, touch your hair, nose or any other body part, or eat, please wash your hands again. You obviously wash your hands well after you use the restroom. If you handle raw meat or fish, please wash your hands before touching any other food. Ideally your clothes and aprons should be clean.

Here are some very important tips to always keep in mind when you’re in the kitchen:

• When you work with food, keep raw foods away from cooked foods.
• Keep food away from cleaning products.
• Wash all raw fruits and vegetables before preparation.
• Rinse off your meats and fish as well, pat dry and leave in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use them. Raw and thawing meats and fish should always be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to avoid dripping and contamination.
• Do not thaw foods at room temperature; thaw in a proper container in the refrigerator. Do not refreeze food after it’s been thawed.
• Food needs to be held at proper temperatures to avoid the growth of bacteria that can make you sick. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuffed meat and reheated leftovers should be kept at 165 degrees, beef and other hot food, 140 degrees, fish and poultry, 145 degrees and cooked pork, hamburgers and eggs, 155 degrees.
Kitchens can be dangerous places, with sharp equipment and hot stoves! It was my experience when I had my cooking school that, in order of accidents, potato peelers, graters, knives, and hot stoves and ovens, were the major culprits. With some very basic and very important rules, well learned, accidents rarely happen.

A tip for adults working with kids in the kitchen is to try not to hover. I understand the nervousness about watching an eight-year hold with a knife, but hovering only makes them nervous and makes the kitchen a stressful place, when it should be a warm, nurturing place. When they understand basic kitchen safety and the proper use of equipment such as knives, they’ll be fine.
There is one basic rule when working in the kitchen-stay focused on the job at hand! If you are grating or chopping, your eyes are on that knife and cutting board and nowhere else. When this is learned, accidents rarely happen.

A Tip for ‘quick breads’:
Carbon dioxide is necessary for leavening, or causing tiny air pockets in, the pancakes or muffins. Excessive blending of the batter causes early formation and escape of carbon dioxide gas. Over-mixing can overdevelop the gluten (a protein) in the flour. While some of this protein is necessary for the normal texture of pancakes, too much gluten can produce tough, chewy pancakes and muffins. For best results, stop mixing the batter before all the tiny clumps of flour are gone.

Oat Bran Muffins
Serves 12

2 cups oat bran
1/2 cup sugar*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup milk or other liquid. We used Chai once.
3/4 cup applesauce or pumpkin puree or prune puree
2 eggs
1 cup apple, grated
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/3 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and lightly oil the muffin pan or use paper muffin cups.

Mix together first 5 ingredients. In a small bowl mix together the milk, applesauce and egg; stir well and add the grated apple. Stir briefly into the dry ingredients with the pumpkin seeds, almonds and raisins.
Spoon into prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-17 minutes.

Notes:
* Use non-refined sugar such as Sucanat or Rapadura
You may use walnuts instead of almonds and dried apricots, cranberries or cherries instead of raisins. I have also added 1 tablespoon of sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of chopped sunflower seeds.

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