Raw Slaw

I have been on a kale kick lately.  Sounds pretty strange, doesn’t it?  Ah, but the reward is how good I’m feeling!  So while I may preach ‘all things in moderation’…I’m actually OK with indulging in a bit of healthy greens for a spell.  And truth be told, the dishes I’ve been making are uber delicious.

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Support Your Local Farmers

Laddie Hall - Long Meadow Ranch

Laddie Hall – Long Meadow Ranch

Most of you know this is my favorite time of year because…our farmers’ markets are open again!  I feel like its Christmas in the Napa valley four times a week.  The bounty of produce is just beginning to bloom, but there are already so many marvelous gems ripe for the picking.  Fresh greens, luscious apricots and cherries, and herbs to cultivate in our own gardens.

How else do I love thee?  Let me count the ways…

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When Life Gives You Apples

…I would say make applesauce but that’s so obvious.  So let’s look at how how delicious and healthful they are, in many iterations.  Of course, I always promote the whole food first.

‘Tis the season for this heart-healthy fruit in Northern California, beginning with the harvest of Gravensteins, to over 7,500 varieties today.  Commercially we have access to about 100 types, but if you scour the farmers’ markets you can find some pretty unique selections – all of which have great nutritional benefits.

Health Bennies
Apples are super high in fiber, providing 15% of our daily value when eaten with the skin. (If eating the skin make sure the apple is organic, as this is one of the fruits which absorbs pesticides the most. (Source: www.FoodNews.org) Apple skins are loaded with antioxidants – such as quercetin – in the form of a phytonutrient.  Quercetin provides cardiovascular protection, helps prevents cataracts and has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergenic and anti-viral properties.  It also prevents ulcers, kidney stones, and herpes simplex.   The fiber in apples latches onto LDL (the Lousy cholesterol) and moves it out of our bodies.  Eating just two apples a day can reduce cholesterol by up to 16%!

In addition to high fiber, apples are a good source of vitamins A, C and K. Vitamin K combats osteoporosis like calcium-rich foods and keeps cell damage at bay.

Right now you can find luscious apple varieties at your local farmers markets. The best way to store apples is in the refrigerator for about seven days.  We’ll review tips on keeping other produce soon but suffice it to say, the longer you wait, the less the nutritional bennies will wait for you.

Fun Facts
Here are some silly teasers for your kids or your friends (the big kids):
•    Apples float because 25% of their volume is air.
•    An apple tree must grow four to five years before it will produce an apple.
•    The “Delicious” apple variety is the most widely grown in the U.S.
•    The apple belongs to the rose family.
•    In ancient times, apples were thrown at weddings instead of rice or birdseed.  No wonder the bride had to change her clothes:)

Healthy Hints

Welcome to Cook4Seasons!

Your resource for fun facts on nutrition, health, farmers’ markets, the environment…and delicious recipes which celebrate the seasons.  My premise is ‘SOUL’ food: Seasonal, Organic, Unrefined and Local ~ and I will continually prompt thee to get thyself to the nearest farmers’ market on a regular basis.

Some examples from my treasure trove of topics will include:

  • support your local farmer
  • the benefits of wild vs. farmed salmon
  • how to store fresh produce
  • why diets don’t work
  • foods for the brain

I will also highlight seasonal foods and provide nutritional components, identify sustainable fish, and compare organic vs. conventional produce.

It is my intention to feed you with enough information to whet your whistle, while being mindful of busy schedules and internet overload.  The framework will be simple, timely and user friendly.  And I’ll always provide you with links to additional resources.

Of course these formats are only as good as their audience, so I highly encourage input from you. I’d love to know what subjects are of interest and how I can keep you coming back for more tasty tidbits. Comment soon – and often! Within weeks you’ll see the evolution as we explore new horizons together and give fresh meaning to the term “whole foods wellness.”

Once you sign up to receive these healthy hints, just leave the research to me and you’ll be on your (easeful) way to optimal health for your body and your mind.

Thanks for jumping on the bountiful bandwagon.  Until we eat again…

Karen