Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Happy Summer!

For those of us who bide our time through the cold weather months in anticipation of sunshine, warmth, and abounding greenery, we are in our glory with the arrival of summer. The signs are all around. These include

  • Fantastic vegetables at the Farmers Market. Green beans, new potatoes, zucchini, garlic, greens, lettuce, kale...and very soon tomatoes! Keep checking the produce each Saturday morning at the market and treat yourself to homegrown, local goodies!
  • The lovely flora and fauna. Flower gardens are at their peak during these early summer days. Take time to literally smell the roses, and the lilies, and the petunias.
  • Opportunities for enjoying fresh air, lightning bugs, and fresh fragrances everywhere!
Be sure to stop by the Petersburg Branch of the Pike County Library Saturday mornings from 9-noon for the Farmers Market. Interested in becoming a seller yourself? All you need to do is stop by the Extension Agency office and pick up sellers agreement.

Here's to summer and all the wonderful gifts it brings!

Friday, June 13, 2014



And now...for a little easy to make/great tasting pasta recipe for the weekend. Saute one large onion and one large bell pepper (chopped) in a mixture of olive and coconut oils. Add LOTS of Italian seasoning and let simmer. Add sliced mushrooms. Once everything is tender, add some pre-cooked shredded chicken and no-salt tomato sauce (small can). Once everything is combined, add a generous amount of Mozzarella cheese. And...while all this is simmering away, boil some water, add a little oil, and then cook up some great quinoa spaghetti. Combine when it is al dente. Sit back and smile and enjoy your really good meal and be happy with yourself that it's low sodium and healthy, healthy healthy!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

"Orange" you Glad you Read this?

It's not yet summertime, but the citrus-y smell of orange caught my attention the last time I was at the grocery store. And, of course, it resulted in a really low sodium (and tasty) dessert!

To make: Roll one navel orange until the juice is released from the pulp. (It will feel squishy.) Before slicing in half, use a zester to remove 1 T. of zest from the rind. Slice the orange in half, and squeeze out 1 T. of juice. Combine 2 T. honey to the zest and juice. Then add 6 ounces of mascarpone cheese. Blend together until everything is smooth and combined.  Slather onto a banana, a rice cake (really good on carmel ones), or even use as a dark chocolate dip.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Out in the Garden

Even during these rainy days, the garden is virtually brimming with a great variety of spring plants. Nothing like picking things from the garden and having them for lunch or supper. I love it when I can just walk a few feet and, with a little picking time, can enjoy fresh greens, peas, radishes, kale, onions, etc. 

What have you grown this spring so far? Did you have a good growing season so far?

Here's a recipe I saw earlier today on Facebook that is a great way to enjoy fresh cabbage from the garden:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Slice a head of cabbage into 1/2 inch rounds. Season with garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, and a spray of olive oil to get these goodies to stick. Spray cookie sheet or sheet cake pan with olive oil, too. 
Bake until tender and enjoy! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

More Adventures in Low Sodium Land

I was back at the grocery store today for another adventure in low-sodium/no-sodium foraging. Even though I have been on this new adventure for the past few weeks, it still never ceases to amaze me just how hidden this little culprit can be...

However, this is a happy story about finding some more "fun" things the keep good foods on the table and sodium-laden foods at bay.

Rice cakes--yep, but not the rice cakes of old that resembled compacted saw dust. The "new and improved" Quaker rice cakes in chocolate and caramel corn. Yum and only 40 and 30 milligrams of sodium, respectively.

Greek yogurt/cream cheese mixes in various flavors. Cream cheese by itself is, unfortunately, a sodium trap. But...add some good Greek yogurt to it and suddenly it's a great indulgence with only 60 milligrams per 2 tablespoons. Toss a little of this goodness on one of those rice cakes and who needs regular salty old cake? You can be good and eat good. 

No-salt potato, this is not an oxymoron. No one ever said that potato chips have to be salty...nope, not at all. The crunch is the good part. Need a little dip? Mix a little onion powder and and dried chives in with some sour cream. You're good to go!

Hope these give you some happy low-sodium quality time with snacks--enjoy!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Happy June--Welcome Warm Weather and Fresh Vegetables and Fruits!

Happy June to one and all...and where did May go? Isn't it interesting how the pretty, warmer days seem to go faster than those frigid, gloomy ones?

Now that it is June, there are several good things that we can all do to help ourselves in the healthy eating department. 

--Start a little salad garden. Now that the danger of frost has passed, you can plant a little corner of your yard (or use a container) to plant some radishes, some mixed greens, and maybe some onions to use as scallions. It's hard to beat the taste of freshly picked vegetables. And, besides, it's really fun to watch them grow.

--Watch your sodium content. Our son, since being diagnosed with liver failure, has been put on a low sodium diet. One word of advice to everyone who is watching sodium--read those labels! I was amazed that something as bland as cottage cheese has 410 mg of sodium per 1/2 cup! On a 1500 mg daily limitation, that takes a big chunk of the daily allowance. It has really opened my eyes. Of course, as always, fresh is best for low sodium counts. There are good sources of fish, fresh meat, and not overly-processed chicken that is lower in sodium as well. The areas to really watch include things like tomato juice (as much as 680 mg per 8 oz serving), canned goods (unless they are labeled as no salt), condiments (unless labeled no salt). It's a practice in patience that pays off to really read the labels. Some mustards, for example will have 120 mg, whereas others will have as little as 10 mg.
Don't give up hope, however; there are still lots of really good things to eat...and think how happy your blood vessels will be! 

Happy June to you and Happy Healthy Eating!
Be sure and check out the items that will be at the Opening Day of the Pike County Farmers Market this Saturday, June 7, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Petersburg Branch of the Pike County Library.
Stay tuned throughout the month of June for many new recipes using fresh produce from the Farmers Market as well as a number of new low-sodium recipes!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Don't Let Hectic Times Set You Back on Good Eating Habits

I know many of you out there are taking a serious look at what you eat...hooray for you! That's a great thing! Your body will thank you for years to come.

If you're like me right now, times are extremely hectic with holidays, pretty weather and outdoor chores to do, responsibilities that fill our days, etc. Unfortunately, it's these hectic times that tend to wreck any really good eating habits. It's easy to just grab anything that's handy---don't! If you're on the right track of eating well, be sure to think ahead a little and prepare for those times when you need to eat and can't get home to do it.

If you can eat nuts, they are a great traveling food source. I seldom leave home without a zip lock snack bag of raw almonds, walnuts, cashews, and pecans. Throw in some sunflower seeds and maybe a couple of dates. You'll have a good source of protein with just enough sweet to carry you over and stave off hunger pangs that lead you otherwise to grab anything handy.

Remember the best travel fruit on earth...a comes in its own neat little package and is a nice, filling source of potassium to get you going. 

If you find yourself in the middle of fast food alley away from home, seek out a grocery store. There you will be able to pick up snack sized packages of fresh veggies, cheeses, and fruits.

Don't sacrifice all your successes during hectic times. You'll find that your good habits will give you the extra endurance to get through the too-busy times and give you the willpower needed to stay on the healthy eating track.