Through My Kitchen Window – A Nutritional New Year

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Iím not big on New Yearís traditions, which may surprise you considering how much I throw around the T word this time of year. I donít stuff myself with black-eyed peas in hopes of striking gold in the new year. I donít make pork and sauerkraut for my family. I know, Iím a grinch. And to top it off, I donít even make New Yearís resolutions. Gasp!

What am I doing writing an article on New Yearís Day?? Please know that what you eat today wonít make you lucky or rich in 2013, but it will determine if youíre healthy or not. Iíve gathered a few tidbits of culinary wisdom from my 2012 musings, in hopes that you will apply (or at least ponder them) in 2013. If you want to see any of the original articles visit www.tricountyrecord.com or email me at ThroughMyKitchenWindow@gmail.com. Enjoy:

Try growing your own sprouts. They are incredibly good for you and super easy to grow. Check out www.johnnyseeds.com or www.mountainroseherbs.com for supplies and seeds. And no, they donít taste like grass.

Check out MyPlate.gov for help with portion control and planning your meals.

Corn is a grain comprised of mainly starch and sugar. Not a vegetable. Letís get that right.

Wrap potatoes in tin foil before baking if you like them to have a soft skin. Brush in olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt for crispy skins. Always remember to poke holes in the potatoes first to avoid minor explosions.

Remember the Pa Dutch proverb, ďKissiní wears out, cooking donít.Ē and always be donkbawr (thankful) for your family heritage.

Plant heirloom instead of hybrid veggies in your garden this year. You will enjoy their interesting history and wild and wonderful colors. Visit www.SeedSaversExchange.com for reasonably priced and excellent heirloom seeds.

Iodized salt is best for baking and kosher salt best for cooking.

Make your own yogurt! Itís not hard. And itís much cheaper than store-bought.. You just need a few ingredients, a few minutes, and a healthy appreciation of how amazing you are.

Dried and fresh Mexican oregano has a zesty taste and European (regular) oregano has a floral taste.

Itís so important for you to fill your body with nutrients from fresh non-processed foods instead of the chemicals found in preserved (boxed, bagged, or canned) food. Your body will thank you for it.

Probiotics found in yogurt, cheese, kefir, fresh produce, and unpasteurized sauerkraut are good bacteria that live in our intestines. They help with absorbing nutrients, keep bad bacteria in check, improve our immune system, and keep things regular. So eat up!

Garlic is a natural antibiotic known to kill bacteria such as salmonella and staphylococcus (causes pneumonia). When heated, garlic has blood-thinning qualities, which can protect against heart attack and stroke.

When chopping veggies keep the peels and ends from onions, garlic, carrots, cabbage, tomatoes, squash, and celery. Save them in a ziplock bag in the freezer until you fill the bag. Then simmer in a pot of water for an hour or so to make veggie broth. The stems from carrots and herbs make excellent additions, as well as pear and apple rinds. Add bones to make chicken or beef broth.

A Santoku knife is slightly shorter than the chefís knife with a scalloped edge. The scallops keep veggies from sticking. It is excellent for chopping, dicing, and mincing.

Itís easy to make your own instant oatmeal. For 1 serving mix 1 cup hot water or milk, Ĺ cup quick-cooking oats, and any add-ins (fruit, sugar, cinnamon) you want. Microwave 1 Ĺ minutes.

Before shredding cheese, freeze your grater for a few minutes to keep the cheese from sticking.

Both onions and potatoes need to be stored in a cool, dark place. But keep them separate or they will cause each other to rot.

Parsnips look like big white carrots, and can be substituted for a carrot in most dishes. They are best roasted in the oven, but can also be steamed and mashed like potatoes. Peeled parsnips will turn dark, so cook them right away or place them in lemon water. Add them to soups near the end of the cooking time.

Your body is continually replacing and renewing itself. Blood cells are replaced every 120 days. The fat layer underneath your skin is replaced every year. Your skin is every seven years, and the lining of your digestive tract is renewed every three days.

Consider all youíve learned in the past and use it to better your future. Blessings of health and vivacity to you in 2013!

Davina Weinholdís ĎThrough My Kitchen Windowí column appears weekly in the Tri County Record. Find the Tri County Record on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TriCountyRecord, on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/TriCountyRecord, and search for Berks-Mont News, our six-publication newsgroup, on Google Plus.