How to cook vegetables – Cook Smarts

veggies

This infographic and the videos below teach you our favorite cooking formulas (or techniques) for enjoying a wide variety of vegetables: sauteing, steaming, roasting, boiling, microwaving, including in salads, pureeing into soups, and turning into zucchini noodles. Enjoy them in season for the tastiest (and least expensive results).

Read more at How to cook vegetables – Cook Smarts.

Heart healthy: The benefits of fish

eat-fish

 

Eating fish 2-3 times a week can benefit your heart.

The American Heart Association has recommended consuming fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week for the benefit of your heart.

Yes, omega-3 supplements are popular nowadays, and are easily accessible in any supermarket or nutrition store. However, it is best to consume omega-3 through food rather than supplements for the best results.

Read more at  Heart healthy: The benefits of fish | NJ.com.

It’s Fruit and Veggie Season Again :)

hippocratesfoodquote

 

Federal health officials estimate that nearly 48 million people are sickened by food contaminated with harmful germs each year, and some of the causes might surprise you.

Although most people know animal products must be handled carefully to prevent illness, many don’t realize that produce can also be the culprit in outbreaks of foodborne illness. In recent years, the United States has had several large outbreaks of illness caused by contaminated fruits and vegetables—including spinach, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Glenda Lewis, an expert on foodborne illness with the Food and Drug Administration, says fresh produce can become contaminated in many ways. During the growing phase, fruits and veggies may be contaminated by animals, harmful substances in the soil or water, and poor hygiene among workers. After produce is harvested, it passes through many hands, increasing the contamination risk. Contamination can even occur after the produce has been purchased, during food preparation, or through inadequate storage.

FDA says to choose produce that isn’t bruised or damaged, and make sure that pre-cut items—such as bags of lettuce or watermelon slices—are either refrigerated or on ice both in the store and at home. In addition, follow these recommendations:

  • Wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm water and soap before and after preparing fresh produce.
  • Cut away any damaged or bruised areas before preparing or eating.
  • Gently rub produce while holding under plain running water. There’s no need to use soap or a produce wash.
  • Wash produce BEFORE you peel it, so dirt and bacteria aren’t transferred from the knife onto the fruit or vegetable.
  • Use a clean vegetable brush to scrub firm produce, such as melons and cucumbers.
  • Dry produce with a clean cloth or paper towel to further reduce bacteria that may be present.
  • Throw away the outermost leaves of a head of lettuce or cabbage.

 

Lewis says consumers should store perishable produce in the refrigerator at 40 degrees or below.

This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page, which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.

Recipe: Herb Roasted Vegetables

A single week's fruits and vegetables from com...

A single week’s fruits and vegetables from community-supported agriculture share: peppers, okra, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, garlic, eggplant, squash. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

We have belonged to a CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) Farm for 13 or so years.2013-04-30 21.03.21

We originally joined Great Country Farms so our son could see what farm life is like.  Our son has long left home but we still love the farm, now more than ever.  They deliver each week during the growing season and we can go out there whenever to pick our own.  Sometimes, we go just to walk around in the country air.

By chance, I also found a winter CSA that I’ll join next fall and a buy-as-you-go farm that delivers each Thursday, if you want what they have on offer each week.

I originally found East Side Produce through a half-off deal on Groupon.  We got $40 worth of fruits and veggies for only $20 – including delivery.  You can’t beat that!

We’ve only had one of the East Side boxes so far, but the dog was very interested in the pineapple they brought us along with all kinds of wonderful things.  She even looks like she’s licking her lips!

With all these fruits and veggies coming into the house, we’ve started eating more healthfully.

This is one of our newer recipes when I have the time to heat up the oven.

 


veggiesHerb Roasted Vegetables

Oven roasting concentrates the flavors of the vegetables resulting in a flavorful side dish that’s still low in sodium.

6 cups assorted cut-up vegetables (1 1/2-inch chunks), such as red onion, potatoes, red bell pepper, yellow squash or zucchini (I also add green peppers when I have them)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Thyme Leaves

2 tablespoons Mrs. Dash

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss vegetables with oil in large bowl.

Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables; toss to coat.

Spread vegetables in single layer on foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

Roast 30 minutes.

Monday, 12 Weeks Post-Op

falling-behind

Looks like I’m falling w-a-y behind again.  That’s a pretty good thing since that means normal life is resuming.

When we started rehab, DH was the only student – now there are 5 and they seem to get along pretty well.  Slowly but surely, the challenges are getting greater.  Today (or soon) he will start using weights.

Today’s hav is 14 of 36, just over 1/3 of the way through.

He’s been driving pretty normally for a few weeks but still can’t walk the dog.  Maybe that will come after the weights get started.

We had our class with the dietician and there was only one other woman in the class so it was more of a private session.  At the end, 3 of the guys from Mended Hearts came in to see if we had questions.  One said that he liked having me in the meetings and talking about the role of the caregiver!  This is just not me, talking in any group!

Last week, we had out one-on-one with the dietician.  I’d pretty much already learned most of it from online and books but it was good to check.

This week, on Tuesday, we have a class on how the surgery is performed.  I’ve seen videos but it will be nice to see what they have to offer.  We can also observe a live surgery.  We’ll see!

Last week, on Tuesday, we had the privilege of attending a Congressional Caucus on Rare Diseases.  I took the opportunity (of course!) to say a few words about Cushing’s.  If you’re interested, my write-up is here:  Cushing’s on Capitol Hill.

I have an opportunity for a conference in San Francisco in June.  I happened to have airplane credits so I, without thinking, I got 2 tickets.  Hopefully, DH has the go-ahead to fly by then!

I’m amazed at how well things are going at the 3 month mark.  Hopefully, it’s smooth sailing from here on out!

Starting Cardiac Rehab

cardiac-rehab-fairfax

 

It’s started finally!   Tuesday, March 26, 2013 was DH’s first day in Cardiac Rehab, just over 8 weeks post-op.  This was an “intake appointment”, and much longer than the normal ones will be.

We got to choose when the future class would be – either Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 7:00 am or Monday-Wednesday-Thursday at 1:00pm.  Anyone who knows me knows that I chose the afternoon class.  I just didn’t want to get up that early and have to deal with early morning rush hour each of those days.

Diana, the intake nurse was very nice – in fact, everyone we met was.

First things first – money.  We found out that his insurance would pay for most but that there would be a $15 copay each session.  However, we did get a parking voucher saving us $5 on the parking garage.

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Description unavailable (Photo credit: pennstatenews)

We got a packet of information on all kinds of things, including food guides – what to eat, what not to eat.  Hooray!

I noticed a poster showing the image (right) for choosemyplate.gov.  I looked at that site when it first came out – and I’m looking again!

Diana was the one who set up the class times, as well.

Next was Claire, a nurse.  She checked all the meds and vitamins that DH takes.  She said that saw palmetto interfered with one of  his prescriptions and she suggested we take the list to CVS so that they can look for other interactions.

She did an EKG,  checked pulse in several locations, looked at the  scar, checked blood pressure on both arms (sitting and standing), listened to the carotids.

BP was  136/64 right,   112/60 left,   119/70 standing left.

She made an appointment with the dietician for Wednesday April 17 at  2:30, after a rehab class.

Turns out that there are patient meetings on the second Tuesday of each month.  We’re getting very busy with patient meetings, Mended Hearts and rehab plus doctor appointments!

 

They were out of t-shirts his size so we got one that was very large.  Another one will be forthcoming…sometime.

These shirts are special because they have a pocket for the portable EKG machine over the heart in addition to the obligatory logo on the back.  As luck would have it, DH was wearing a t-shirt with a pocket.

DH was hooked up to the EKG.  I gathered that he’ll do that himself in the future.

Next up – Shelly, an exercise physiologist.  She talked a bit, asked DH how often he got new shoes.  She said that it should be every 6 months.  Who knew?

She said to drink water every 15 minutes while exercising.

DH started off slow – Treadmill 5 minutes; Bike 15 minutes; Walked on indoor track for 4 laps

When he was done, we went to the Healthy Heart Cafe for a bit of lunch.

Wednesday, Day 2

We got there in plenty of time.  DH turned out to be the only person in this class, at least for now.

He did his exercises but was told he needed to eat breakfast in the future – his blood pressure was too low.

It’s becoming a habit – when he was done, we went to the Healthy Heart Cafe for another bit of lunch.

I had bought him a Groupon for a local garden shop as a Christmas gift.  Of course, I had no idea then that he wouldn’t be doing much gardening this year.  In any event, it was going to expire on March 30, so we went there after rehab and got a few things 🙂  They may all become house plants – we’ll see!

Absolute exhaustion by the time we got home.