Thursday, April 6, 2017

Watermelon Cooler

By: Heidi Finger

When its a warm sunny day, I like to soak in some sun while sipping on a cool drink. It is in the mid-70's here today and sunny. I am so getting excited about wearing shorts and tank tops but not quite warm enough for that yet. It needs to be at least in the 80's for me to be comfortable sporting my summer apparel. Today I whipped up a perfect summer treat, a watermelon cooler. Try it and I know you will be begging for shorts weather.

Watermelon is mostly water but it is also packed with nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin C, A, and B6. But don't forget about the antioxidants, potassium, and dietary fiber.

Mint is also a very good source for vitamin A, C, potassium and dietary fiber. It is also a source for calcium, iron, and magnesium.

So, while you are sipping away on this cool, sweet drink you can feel good about the nutrients going into your body.

Watermelon Cooler
Vegan and Gluten Free
Make 1 serving

Ingredients:
2 cups cubed fresh watermelon
5-7 ice cubes
8 mint leaves
1/2 cold water

Directions:
Put all ingredients in blender. Mix until smooth. Drink up!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Peanut Butter Fruit Plate

By: Heidi Finger

It is no secret, I hate doing dishes. When I cook, I don't like to clean up after myself, I just want to eat. This drives my husband absolutely bonkers. To ease his pains, I do a lot a fresh food meals. Bonus, fresh fruit and vegetables have more nutrients than cooked. Plus, they are faster to get to the table. Only the cutting board needs to be washed up and I think I can manage that.  Your welcome husband.

This peanut butter fruit plate is a great go to lunch or breakfast idea. You can substitute any fruit and use any nut butter. I just happened to have a very thin, creamy peanut butter, perfect for drizzling. If your nut butter is too thick to drizzle, just heat in a small sauce pan or microwave. The nut butter is a great way to get some protein into your meal to make your belly feel full.

Peanut Butter Fruit Plate

Ingredients:
2 cups cubed melon
1 cup halved strawberries
1 medium banana
2 tablespoons thin peanut butter

Directions:
Arrange fruit on plate. Drizzle with peanut butter. Eat up!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Juicing Celery


By: Heidi Finger

Celery was on sale at the grocery store, so guess what? I bought a "bunch". Ok, well more than one bunch. I bought several. You have to jump on the deals when you can. But, I know what your saying, celery gets caught in my teeth, the kids won't eat it, I hate those strings. If you have a problem, solve a problem. Time to juice it!

Celery has so many health benefits. It is an important source of vitamin K, folate, potassium, manganese, vitamin C, beta-carotene, phenolic acids, flavones, flavonels, and much more. Celery helps to improve your stomach lining and decrease the risk of stomach/gastric ulcers. It can also act as a diuretic, prevent inflammation, and decrease risk of cardiovascular disease.

This celery juice I made is straight up celery, nothing else. It took me about 1 and a half bunches of celery for 2 cups of juice. Enjoy!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Cinnamon Banana Berry Smoothie

By: Heidi Finger

With our abundance of strawberries, I decided it was time to whip up a fruit smoothie. In this smoothie I added cinnamon because I love the flavor with fruit. Cinnamon has multiple health benefits according to an article on Health.com. It can help lower triglycerides, increase blood antioxidant levels, help regulate blood sugar, enhance cognitive processing, and even improve motor functions in Parkinson’s (Cynthia Sass, 2014). Here is the recipe, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Cinnamon Banana Berry Smoothie
Vegan and Gluten Free
Makes 1 serving

Ingredients:
4 fresh or frozen strawberries
1 fresh or frozen banana
¼ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup water, more or less depending on your desired thickness

Directions:
Add all ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy!



References

Cynthia Sass, M. R. (2014, November 21). 5 Reasons to Love Cinnamon. Retrieved from Health.com: http://www.health.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-cinnamon


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stocking Up on Seasonal Produce

Photographer: Heidi Finger
By: Heidi Finger

It’s true what some say, eating healthy can be expensive.  But, it can also be affordable. One of the tricks is to buy what is in season. For example, right now it is early spring, if you go into any grocery store you will see strawberries on sale.  At two of the grocery stores in town they are priced at $1 per pound this week and another store have them as low as $0.77 but limit 4. This is the time to stock up!  We have bought almost 50 pounds of strawberries, and we will use them all.  We are eating a lot of fresh strawberries for snacks, in packed lunches and for dessert. We also freeze bags and bags of them.  Because, really, who can eat 50 pounds of strawberries without them going moldy. My husband has a smoothie at breakfast every single day and his favorite ingredient is frozen strawberries. The kids and I also like an occasional smoothie as well.  Right now is the only time to get the strawberries this cheap so we get as many as we can to last until next spring.

Bananas are also a good one to stock up on. Some stores have a discount corner or bin where they put the perfectly brown spotted aged bananas.  These bananas are perfect for freezing and later use in smoothies or to make nice cream. Another way to process the ripe bananas is to dry them and make chips. If you are drying them yourself when they are ripe there is no need to add sugar like many drying companies do.  Yours will be healthier and cheaper!

One of the traps you might get in if you start getting excited about stocking up on fruits and vegetables is buying the wrong types.  For instance, if you buy a whole bunch (pun intended) of lettuce, there is no way to preserve it for future use. You can go for a walk through the grocery store in the frozen and canned isle. If you see it canned or frozen, go ahead and stock up on the fresh produce and process it at home.  If you are processing it yourself you will keep more nutrients in the produce and won’t have all of the extra chemicals and sodium that canning companies put in.

You can do an internet search or check Pinterest for charts of when a particular crop is in season. They are available for all areas of the country or world with easy access. At these times of year, check with different grocery stores or farmers markets for the best prices.