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Mom2Mom

Here’s a fun fact: According to the USDA, each American eats 112 pounds of potatoes each year.  Pretty impressive, right?  I suppose that’s one reason why February is Potato Lover’s Month.  The potato is really an amazing veggie–it’s incredibly versatile, filling, and quite nutritious.  Potatoes are fat free, sodium free, cholesterol free, high in Vitamin C, and a good source of potassium.

potatoes
Courtesy of U.S. Potato Board

 

One popular potato recipe is potato soup.  The traditional version uses milk, heavy cream, and bacon or ham.  While the flavor is terrific, this is obviously not a low calorie/fat meal option.  If you’re looking for an alternative, I’ve got a great recipe you’ll want to try.  An added bonus is that this recipe is vegan–great for those who want to eliminate the meat and dairy completely. Plus, you’ll add some chopped kale–more flavor and more nutrition.

 

Creamy Dairy Free Potato Soup with Kale

 

Potato-Kale-Soup-683x1024
Courtesy of Veggie Inspired Journey

 

Ingredients:
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
4 cups peeled and diced potatoes
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
salt/pepper to taste
1 cup chopped kale
1/4 cup coconut milk
few dashes hot sauce

Directions:

  1. Saute onion and garlic with 1-2 tablespoons of water in a soup pot for a few minutes until they soften.
  2. Add carrot and celery and saute 3-4 more minutes, adding more water if necessary.
  3. Add vegetable broth, potatoes, dill, celery salt, salt, and pepper.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree 1/4-1/3 of the soup to create a thick, creamy base.
  6. Add the corn and kale, stir to combine, and simmer 5 more minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add coconut milk.
  8. Top off with a few dashes of hot sauce.

 

I’ll be back next week with some great recipes featuring pineapple.

 

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We celebrate Valentine’s Day this month but even more importantly, February is American Heart Month.  Here’s an elegant, delicious, heart-healthy meal for two that will be sure to impress your significant other.

 

Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has the perfect dinner entrée: Pan Seared Salmon and Apple Salad.  Salmon is known to be a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which, according to the Mayo Clinic, helps to lower your risk of heart disease.  In addition, this recipe features whole wheat pasta, fresh greens, apples, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, as well as a dressing made from heart healthy olive oil, cider vinegar, apple juice, and spices.

pan_seared_salmon_apple_salad_500
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

Berries are an excellent source of antioxidants, so treat your heart with this delicious dessert–Heart Healthy Fruit Crisp.  In addition to the berries, you’ll add apples, oats, honey, coconut oil, spices, and chia seed, which is also a source of omega-3 fatty acids.

fruit crisp
Courtesy of Thank Your Body

 

I’ll leave you with a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control to help make your heart as healthy as it can be:

  • Schedule a visit with your doctor to talk about heart health (regular check ups are important!)
  • Add exercise to your daily routine
  • Increase healthy eating (this includes eating at home more frequently and choosing lower sodium options)
  • Take steps to quit smoking
  • Take medication as prescribed (for high blood pressure and cholesterol, specifically)
 

I’m back next Monday with a hearty, yet low-cal potato soup recipe to celebrate Potato Lover’s Month.

 

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We all know fruit and vegetables are an important part of our healthy lifestyle.  They provide much needed vitamins, minerals, and heart healthy fiber to our diets.  However, without proper storage, you’ll end up with more waste than benefits.  For the best fruit and veggie storage advice, I turn to the experts–Fruits & Veggies–More Matters.  One key rule to remember is FIFO: First In First Out.  And, this applies to all forms of fruit and veggies–fresh, frozen, canned, and dried. 

storing_1011
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

In addition to this rule, there are some other tips to keep in mind when dealing with specific forms.

 

Frozen:

  • Store at 0°F or less
  • Use before the “use by” date on the package
  • As a general rule, use within 6 months

Canned:

  • Check the “use by” date on the can
  • Most canned goods have a shelf life of about 2 years
  • Store at room temperature (75°F)

Dried:

  • Store in a cool, dry place (warmth makes the dried produce spoil faster)
  • Some dried foods may be refrigerated, check the package
  • Use before the “use by” date on the package
  • Most will last 4 months to a year

Fresh:

  • Specific fruit and veggies have specific storage requirements.  Fruits & Veggies–More Matters has created this printable handy chart to help you determine how to keep your produce fresh as long as possible
  • As a general rule use within a few days
 

By following these simple guidelines you’ll end up with fruit and veggies that are at their very best flavor and less waste, which means saving money!  I’ll be back next Monday with a heart healthy Valentine’s menu for your sweetheart.

 

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One of the few things I like about winter is the fact that citrus fruit is in season, budget friendly, and at its peak of flavor.  I think it’s Mother Nature’s way of adding a little sunshine into our mostly gray, cold days.  A personal favorite of mine are tangerines.  They are refreshing and so sweet, plus they are easy to peel and section, making them the perfect on-the-go snack food.  Like all citrus fruit, tangerines are high in Vitamin C.  In addition, they are fat free, sodium free, and cholesterol free.  And, one medium tangerine is only 50 calories, so indulge!

 

Tangerines make a terrific after school snack.  Creamy Honey Tangerine Bites are ready in minutes and sure to be a hit with your kids.  Top a shredded wheat cracker (like Triscuit) with a teaspoon of cream cheese and one tangerine segment.  Drizzle with a bit of honey and serve.

Honey_Tangerine_Cream_Cheese_Triscuit
Courtesy of The Gunny Sack

 

Tangerine, Chocolate, and Vanilla Salad sounds decadent, but comes in at only 209 calories per serving.  Sliced tangerines are served in a syrup created from their own juice, sugar, and a vanilla pod.  Chopped almonds, fresh mint leaves, and chocolate shavings are served on top.

Tangerine chocolate
Courtesy of Jamie Oliver

 

Tangerines aren’t restricted to desserts and sweet offerings.  Beet and Tangerine Salad with Cranberry Dressing is a great example of the sweet and savory flavor blend.  For the salad you’ll use cooked, fresh beets, tangerines, sliced red onion, and watercress.  The dressing is made from olive oil, frozen cranberry juice concentrate, grated tangerine peel, and red wine vinegar.

Beet and Tangerine Salad
Courtesy of Jose Picayo for Bon Appetit

 

Grab some tangerines at your local grocer while they’re in season–now through February/mid-March.  I’ll be back next week with some storage tips for keeping your fruit and vegetables at their freshest.

 

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