Saturday, September 10, 2016

Leader Enterprise - Sept. 7, 2016 - Veggie Up!


Goodbye August - Hello September!

As farmer's markets begin to wind down, I want to encourage you to veggie up! Fresh fruits and vegetables are popular now at local farmer's markets, so eat more of them while they are readily available. They are flat out the healthiest foods you can eat. Naturally high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and low in calories, the only way you can go wrong is by NOT eating them. 

Keep a bowl of fruit on the counter instead of hidden in a drawer. If you and your family see it more often, you'll get into the habit of reaching for it. 

Put some soup on! It's an inexpensive way to get veggies into your family. Plus you can make a big batch and have leftovers or freeze some for another time. Soups are always tastier when reheated. 

Roast vegetables for an unbelievably rich flavor. Winter veggies tend to have a lot of sugar, so they caramelize when baked. Cut into chunks, coat with olive oil so they don't dry out, sprinkle on some salt or pepper and bake until tender. Be sure not to crowd pieces as they bake so they don't steam, but caramelize. 

Think beyond fresh fruit in the winter. Cook dried fruits are great for warmups. They can be a sweet treat at the end of the meal; stir into yogurt or oatmeal. Toss raisins into muffins or salads.

CREAMY ZUCCHINI & CARROT SOUP

1 medium onion, chopped
3 Tb. butter
3 c. grated zucchini 
(about 2 medium) 
1 medium carrot, grated
1 c. water
1 (10.75 ozs) can cream of chicken soup
1 c. milk
1 c. 1/2 & 1/2 creamer
1 tsp. dried basil
salt & pepper to taste 

In a large saucepan, saute onion in butter for several minutes. Add zucchini, carrot and water. Simmer about 10 minutes, or until veggies are tender. Mash with potato masher in pan. In medium bowl, combine soup, milk, creamer and basil, and spices.  Stir into soup in saucepan; heat to simmering.  Serve with cheese if desired. Yield: 4 - 5 serving 

When a friend recommended this soup to me, I wasn't so sure I would like it.  I was pleasantly surprised. 

TORTELLINI VEGETABLE SOUP 

2 Tb. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small zucchini, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
5-1/2 c. chicken stock
1 tsp. dried basil (more if fresh)
1 bay leaf
1 c. (canned or fresh) crushed tomatoes
1/2 tsp. salt
8 - 9 ozs. fresh or frozen tortellini
(cheese or meat filled)
Parsley and black pepper, to taste

Heat the olive oil in medium soup pot or large saucepan.  Add onion, garlic, zucchini and carrot.  Saute over medium heat for 8 - 10 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft and translucent. Add the stock, basil, bay leaf, tomatoes and salt to the pot.  Increase heat and bring to low boil. Add tortellini and bring the soup back to a low boil. Cook for 2 minutes, then reduce heat and let simmer for 5 - 6 minutes longer. Gently stir in parsley and pepper during last minute or so. Yield: about 5 - 6 servings 

I love hiding veggies in desserts. 

MOIST LOWFAT ZUCCHINI COOKIES 

1 c. sugar
(I use 3/4 c.)
1/4 c. butter, softened
1/4 c. applesauce
(or coconut oil)
1 egg
2 c. flour
1 c. quick oats
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 c. zucchini, peeled or unpeeled, grated fine
1 c. mini chocolate chips

Cream together sugar, butter, applesauce and egg. Next add flour, oats, baking soda, salt, ground cloves and cinnamon until combined. Add in zucchini and chocolate chips.
With cookie scoop lay on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for exactly 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks and ENJOY! Makes about 2.5 dozen

I have so enjoyed the show of support at my own baked goods farmer's market stand here in Pioneer.  My last day will be the last Friday in September.  Would love to see you there!

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about" - Angela Schwindt