04  Apr
C is for…Carrot

Hi everyone,

After a frantic March, I am back on track, so here goes!

C is for Carrot, Cucumber, Cilantro and Coconut –  our April “C” foods.

Starting with carrots… the “good for your eyes” food.  Carrots are a root food and grow underground. California grows carrots year around, however, the very best tasting carrots will be those grown locally and fresh in their season, which is summer and fall.

Carrots are a member of the Umbelliferare family, which includes parsnips, fennel, caraway, cumin and dill. That is due to the umbrella-like flower clusters that are part of the plant. They come in the familiar orange color, as well as purple, red, white, yellow and black.

Carrots are a superior source of Vitamin A and have many anti-oxidant properties, which benefit anyone’s diet. Beta-carotene helps with vision, particularly night vision, and carotenoids promote good colon and lung health. They are also rich in Vitamin K, C, B6 and dietary fiber.  One cup chopped carrots contain 52 calories with 428% of your Vitamin A requirement, 13% of Vitamin C and 14% of your recommended dietary fiber. The minimal amount of fat and sodium occur naturally.

When selecting carrots, look for firm, smooth, straight carrots with bright color – the more orange in color, the more beta-carotene in the carrot. Storing carrots is easy. They will keep longer than many other veggies. Simply store them in the coolest part of the refrigerator wrapped in a paper towel or plastic bag. Don’t store them with apples, pears, potatoes or fruits or veggies that produce ethylene gas. If the green tops are attached, cut them off before storing.

Want to grab a quick snack, peel a carrot and enjoy. Carrots are a wonderful (and to me necessary) addition to stew or that roast in the crock-pot. They do well in soups also. I also like to serve them with my Buffalo Chicken tenders. I like the sweet contrast of the carrot to the spice in the chicken.

Food52.com had a recent carrot showdown and here are the recipes and links for the two finalists: Roasted Carrot Soup and Glazed Carrots with Braised Bibb Lettuce. Check out the blog and the recipes. Go ahead, try them and vote for your own favorite.


Check back next week and we’ll talk about another “C is for….” food.

Take care,



Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Healthy Food, Local Food Connections, Vegetables. Date: April 4, 2011, 11:36 am | Comments Off on C is for…Carrot

Hi everyone,

I love basil – its clean, fresh and intoxicating aroma just fills my head with ideas for using it in my cooking. It has such a wonderful taste and I can’t imagine a Margherita pizza without fresh basil. The dried basil just doesn’t impart the same wonderful fresh taste.

I wrote an article a while back about basil…. here is the link if you would like some ideas for using basil in  your cooking http://ezinearticles.com/?Basil—5-Ways-to-Use-the-King-of-Herbs&id=1429712

Be back soon with another “B” veggie or fruit!

Take care,


Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Herbs, Local Food Connections, Random Recipes. Date: March 12, 2011, 10:57 am | Comments Off on B is for…. Basil – The King of Herbs

Hi everyone,

Continuing on with our A is for month…. the Artichoke!

If there is a specific vegetable season that I wait for in MN, it is artichoke season because then we can actually afford to buy them. They are a favorite with everyone in the family. (I am serious, including our 4 year old grandson, who actually asks for them). With five in the house at one time, it was a real treat and a dent in the grocery budget, but worth every bite!

Artichokes need a cool climate for optimum growth and that is why you will find them primarily along the coastal areas of California in the spring and summer and inland areas for winter growth. Artichokes, a member of the thistle family (sunflower plant),  are hardy plants and produce their crops for about ten years. The artichoke we eat is actually the plant’s flower bud.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Healthy Food, Random Recipes, Vegetables. Date: February 20, 2011, 10:58 am | 1 Comment »

Hi everyone,

While grocery shopping with my grandson, who is 4 years old, we started playing the alphabet game in the produce department. It gave me a great idea for my blog. I am going to select a letter of the alphabet each month and cover a fruit, vegetable or an herb or spice. Just sounded like fun, so let’s get started.

A is for Avocado and a favorite in our house. After living in California for most of my life and, at one time, having avocado trees in my backyard, I check the grocery sales each week for specials.  Although Haas avocados can tolerate cooler temperatures, it is just a bit too cold in MN, so we, obviously, look to outside sources.

The Haas is probably my favorite avocado and that is partly because they are available all year.  Because the avocado has a seed, it is considered a fruit, not a vegetable. It has the nickname of “Alligator Pear” because of the skin on the outside and the shape of the avocado resembles a pear.

Despite the bad rap about the fat, avocados contain a healthy fat that should be included in your diet, possibly as a substitute for other fats you might eat. Avocados also have lutein, which is great for the eyes,  lots of vitamins and minerals and contain more fiber than any other fruit.

San Diego County produces about 60% of the avocado crops in California and Fallbrook, CA (San Diego County)  calls itself the “Avocado Capital of the World”. Each year they have an Avocado Festival, which I think would be a not only fun, but some pretty good avocado tasting too.

There are several resources for more information on avocados, so check them out:

Get creative, enjoy that avocado and check back for our next “A is for….” post.

Take care,



Posted by admin, filed under Alphabet Posts, Fruits. Date: February 10, 2011, 5:37 pm | Comments Off on A is for ….Avocado