Are you getting enough iron in your diet? Many people don’t get enough iron in their diet. It’s an important element because it carries oxygen throughout your body. It’s required for digestion and many functions on a cellular level. Without enough iron in your diet, you will feel fatigued and can get sick easier. Women and children are particularly susceptible to iron deficiency and supplementation is often recommended to help them prevent anemia.

Red meat and shellfish are both easy sources of iron. However, there are many vegetable options, too. The following are a few of the vegetable choices that are richest in iron:

Seeds

Squash and pumpkin seeds are among the highest in iron. One ounce contains 4mg of iron or 23 percent of your recommended daily value. An ounce of sesame seeds also contains 23 percent of your daily value, sunflower seeds have 11 percent and flax seeds have 9 percent of your daily value. As you can see, a handful of seeds can help you get the daily iron you need.

Nuts

Nuts including cashews, pine nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, and almonds all have a good amount of iron. An ounce of cashews has 1.7 mg or 9 percent of your daily value. An ounce of pine nuts also contain 9 percent of your daily value. Hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, and pistachios all have 7 percent plus Macadamia nuts have 6 percent of your recommended daily value of iron in your diet.

Beans

Lentils and white beans have a good amount of iron in them. A cup of cooked beans has 6.6mg or 37 percent of your daily iron in your diet value. Other beans that are high in iron include soybeans, kidney beans, chickpeas, Lima and navy beans, black beans, pinto beans and black eyed peas. For many, a diet of beans and rice is a staple because it also provides a complete protein.

iron in you diet

Whole Grains

Whole grains also have iron. Quinoa is the highest with 15 percent of your daily value in one cup. Oats, barley and rice also provide iron for your diet and fortified grains plus many cereals contain more. Read the ingredients on their box to choose one high in iron for your diet.

Finally, let’s not forget dark leafy greens like spinach, beet tops, collards and chard which have 36 percent of your daily iron needs, per cup. The next time you make a pot of vegetable soup, drop in 3 or 4 handfuls of the leafy greens to enrich the iron in your diet. The goal is to make sure that you get enough. If not, your doctor may recommend supplementation to keep your body supplied with the right amount of iron it needs to run properly.

Beets, The Forgotten Vegetable

There are many great vegetables we enjoy during the winter months. While the foods we probably most think about during that time are the turkey, the ham, and the desserts, the vegetables really play an important role, both in that holiday meal and for the rest of the winter.

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Beets In The Garden

Everyone has their must have vegetable at the dinner table but rarely do you see beets on the family table. Beets are a great vegetable to enjoy all winter long. Fall to spring these are in season. They are sweet, especially when roasted, and make a great addition to any salad. So enjoy that garden salad all winter long with some fresh roasted or pickled beets on top.

Mixing beet tops in with your favorite salad greens is another way to get more vitamins and nutrition into your everyday dinner salad. They are packed with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. Beets also contain Folic Acid, Iodine, Manganese, Potassium, Iron, Calcium, Copper and Phosphorus. All these things are needed for a healthy body.

You can eat beets that have been boiled, steamed, sauteed or roasted. Select beets that are firm to the touch. Older beets become spongy with age. Beets that are between 3 and 4 inches are best for roasting and cooking but smaller ones can be pickled for use in salads and relishes.

Store your fresh beets in the refrigerator until ready to use. Beets have an outer skin that needs to be removed before eating. If you roast the beets, their skin will slide off easily but if you are boiling or using them raw, peel them with a vegetable peeler first.

Beets go well with other root vegetables, can be added to soups but one of my favorite ways is to make chips that are healthier for you than the regular potato chips.

Beet Chips

3-4 Small Beets

Oil for frying

2-3 Tablespoons of flour

Sea Salt to taste

Peel the beets and slice into thin pieces, using a mandolin. Heat the oil on medium high heat. Add the beets to a ziploc plastic bag, sprinkle the flour over the beets and shake to cover. Add the beet slices to the hot oil, shaking off any access flour first and fry until slices are a golden brown, about 4 minutes. Sprinkle the salt over the top. Eat and enjoy while still warm.

 

Cooking Meals and Saving Money on Winter Comfort Foods

The cold weather months are excellent for hearty comfort foods that warm you up and keep you full. Delicious soups, stews, and hot casseroles abound, most so good, that you almost don’t miss the warmer weather. Even better, many wintertime comfort foods can be made without spending a lot and they go a long way.  Often, you can feed a big family or make enough for a week’s worth of meals, and spend very little money on each serving.

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Save Time

Most people tend to slow down during the winter. Maybe it’s the cold, or maybe it’s the layer of ice or snow which is keeping everyone in the sloth mode, but people tend to move slower and take their time.  All that extra time spent bundling up and thawing out means you don’t have a lot of extra time to cook a gourmet meal. Luckily, winter is the best time for some simple meal ideas.

Slow Cooked

Slow cookers, or “crock pots” as they are also called, are the perfect solution for family meals on the go. Simply put your ingredients in the cooker in the morning, turn it on, and then come home to a delicious hot meal waiting for you. Most recipes are so simple you just throw everything in and go, while others may require very little prep.

cold weather comfort foods

Fix It and Forget It

Winter cooking is a great time to make use of some super easy “fix it and forget it” type meals. For example, a pot roast with some chopped veggies can be thrown into the oven and a timer set, cooking to perfection while you relax or get some other tasks done.

Savory Staples

To save money and keep your tummies full and satisfied, look to stocking winter staples. Root vegetables like carrots and potatoes go well in just about any savory winter dish, keep for quite a while, and are almost always some of the cheapest produce your grocery store has to offer.

Pantry Perfection

For simple, delicious, and hot meals of your favorite comfort foods, to warm you up when the weather gets cold, look no farther than a stocked pantry. Canned goods, rice, and pasta make for fast, easy, and cheap casserole ideas that cost even less than the time it takes to throw them together.

Extra Tips

Keep it simple – The simplest meals are often the most delicious, especially during the winter when anything hot and savory really hits the spot. Very few ingredients can go a long way.

Prep ahead – A little extra prep in the morning, or even spending time to prep once a week, can make meal times easy in the wintertime. For example, chopping up veggies and putting them in bags in the freezer cuts down on time and makes it super simple for you to just grab them whenever you need to.

Coupons – Most coupons tend to be for canned and boxed goods, so winter is the best time to make use of these pantry staples and save a lot of money.

Cooking is easy when you utilize some of these simple solutions. Not only can you make hot, satisfying comfort foods, but you can also save money in the process.

To me, there is nothing better, than opening my front door and smelling the aroma of my dinner cooking in my slow cooker or crock pot.
When I had five children at home, it was the most used cooking utensil in the kitchen, and still is. Although I am a single person now, I still use my tried and true friend, the crock pot.

Over the years, I have found, these few tips improve my crock pot cooking joy.

cold weather and hot food
[1] Using the right size crock pot, for the job.  I have three different size crock pot cookers, because I never want to over fill the cooking insert.  It would only cause spillage or under cooked food.
[2] Planning ahead by doing the chopping of your vegetables the night before and storing them in the refrigerator is the secret to quickly getting the meal together before leaving for work.  DO NOT, store the vegetables in the crock pot insert.  Starting with a cold insert will only add to the cooking time. So store the chopped veggies in an air tight container overnight, then place them in the cooker in the morning.
[3] You should prepare your meat before hand, too.  Remember you are cooking with low heat, so you do not want to have you meat to be too thick, as it may not reach a safe cooking temperature.  A piece of meat no more than 2 inches thick, should work great.  Keeping your whole chicken or chicken parts to about 2-3 pounds works well, also.  Do a spice rub on your meat of choice, cover or wrap, then place it in the refrigerator with your vegetables.
[4] DO NOT lift the lid on your crock pot, until you are within the last 30-45 minutes of the cooking time.  It will only release the heat and interupt the cooking process.
You can check for doneness or add spices in the last 30 minutes of so but at any other time, you are doing more harm than good.
[5] If time permits, add more flavor to your meal by searing your beef.  Heat a heavy skillet to hot, add a tablespoon of oil, then place the meat in the hot skillet, listen for the sizzle.  Cook on both sides about 1-3 minutes each, depending on the thickness of your meat.  Then place the piece of meat into your crock pot cooker and add any juices from the skillet before placing the lid on the slow cooker and starting your cooking time.  You will get a richer broth and fuller flavor from the beef by doing this extra step.

Cooking Summer Corn

Summer Corn

Summer Corn Makes Any Meal Complete

If you have never tried cooking your fresh summer corn on the cob in your microwave, well, it might be time to try it. Your corn will taste delicious and keep it’s beautiful coloring, too.

It’s simple and easy to do. Pull back the shucks, remove as many of the silks as you can, by gently rubbing a damp cloth over the corn. Pull the shucks back up over the corn and completely cover in plastic wrap. Cook 6-8 minutes on high for 2 pieces of corn, turning every couple of minutes, so all sides are in the up position at least once.  If you have not done this before you may have to try a couple before you get the texture and taste that suits you.

Roasting Summer Corn On A Grill:

Cookouts are a family favorite all year round but especially in the summer time.  Corn is one of the easiest veggies to make, to go along with all your grilled meats.

Shuck and remove the silk from 6 ears of summer corn. Lightly wash each ear.  You will need six 12 inch pieces of foil to wrap your corn cobs.  Lay each of them on one sheet of foil and spread your favorite topping around the cob, making sure all kernels have been coated.  Cover the corn cob with the foil by rolling and twisting the ends to make a package. Lay the packages over the indirect heat side of the grill and close the grill’s lid.  Grill for about 15 minutes, turning every 3-4 minutes.  Take care when opening the package and not burn yourself from the steam and hot liquid.

Toppings For Your Summer Corn

[1] Place an equal amount of butter and cream cheese into a bowl and mix until you have a soft spreadable mixture.   Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of Chili Powder while stirring.  Spread on your hot corn. Leave at room temperature when serving.  Refrigerate between uses.

[2] 1 teaspoon of finely chopped fresh basil, 2 teaspoons of grated fresh garlic and  3 Tablespoons of Virgin Olive Oil.  Place all ingredients in a lidded jar [mine is an old jelly jar] and shake to incorporate the flavors.  Brush the mixture over your hot freshly cooked summer corn for an unusual favorable taste.

Corn is the vegetable that is served most often, all over the world, with our meals but there is no match for the flavor of fresh summer corn, straight from the farmer or you and your home garden.

No matter the size of your garden, you will always have some excess.  You can give it away, just let it go to waste or you can learn to preserve it by canning.  Easy canning is one way to stock your pantry with foods that you love and had a hand in growing.  If you are new to the idea of canning and preserving, hopefully, this article will give you an overview of what the process is all about and help you understand how you can preserve delicious food items to eat later.

Canning Your Fresh Food

What is Canning?

Canning is what we call the process of preserving foods in glass jars for eating later. We all realize that our Summer fare won’t last forever, so learning how to preserve by canning is one way to keep enjoying the taste of summer berries and vegetables throughout the winter months. Canning was the main way people living in remote locations in the early days were able to survive the long harsh winters, when getting to a grocery store or trading post, wasn’t possible.

The Benefits of Canning

Canning does take a while to do until you get the hang of the process. So, why can at all? Canning offers many benefits for you and your family.

  • Canning is economical

It saves money on groceries. When you want strawberry preserves or green beans, you go to the pantry instead of heading to the grocery store.

  • Canning cuts out food waste

Fruits and vegetables that you have grown in your garden don’t have to be given away or thrown away because you can’t eat them all before they spoil.

  • Good for you

Canning uses the natural fresh ingredients without preservatives or additives. This is better for our bodies, and also, allows the natural flavor of good food comes through for a better tasting meal.

 

What’s for dinner?  Here are some menu helping tips for busy a Mom.

Dinner being the last meal of the day, becomes a time when families can get together and talk about their day. It is also a hectic meal time for most moms who are just getting off of work.  If you are a busy mom, here are some menu planning tips to help make the age old question What’s for Dinner?, easier to answer and even have fun.

Schedule your meals a week in advance.

What's For Dinner

This is one of the most important planning tips for “What’s For Dinner”? Knowing what you are going to eat throughout the week means less chance that you will stop off at the closest fast food joint for a convenient, but unhealthy meal. Decide on the last day of the previous week, what the menu will be for the following week. Create your shopping list from the list of your on hand ingredients, to avoid buying what you don’t need at the grocery store.

Look for bargains.

Clip, share or trade coupons.  Read advertising circulars to decide where the best grocery to shop is for your menu items. If one ingredient is a common denominator in many meals, consider buying in bulk to save money. Common staples like milk, eggs, bread and sugar can be bought in bulk as well. Some stores will have double or triple coupon days when you can save even more.

Search online.

Don’t get into a rut, your family will get tired of chicken and rice every Thursday.  Use the Internet to search for new and exciting What’s for Dinner? recipes.  You can also learn to put a new twist on an old recipe for a new taste.

Have a leftover night.

After cooking meals for five or six days, there is bound to be left over food.  Choose one night a week to be leftover night and let everyone mix and match for dinner. It will save you money and keep your food waste to almost nothing.

Cook your meals in advance.

After deciding on your, What’s For Dinner? menu question, go ahead and fix as many of the meals, as you can. Choose a day when you will have some help on hand.  Each person can take one meal and fix it for the following week. Once everything has cooled, store it in sealed containers or casserole dishes to be frozen until the night it is needed.

Do prep work in advance.

In most cases, all of the meals can’t be cooked at once time. Some foods just taste better, cooked fresh. For them, do as much prep work as you can, in advance.  Get your kids to help chop but let them use the kitchen shears instead of knives. When you have the vegetables chopped and the cooked meat, diced, place them into air tight container and refrigerate, until needed.  Mix together the dry ingredients and do likewise. The night of the meal, add the wet ingredients and cook.

What’s for dinner?, does not have to be a question that only mom can answer. The entire family can help with dinner so it is a relaxing meal for everyone.

Here is one of my favorite places to get family dinner ideas:

 

Healthy Organic Juicing has many benefits.

Most of us, at one time or another are looking for ways to eat healthier. Here’s a way to do just that, even if you do not have time for a good healthy organic meal, you will have time for healthy organic juicing.

You will need:

1/2 of an eight inch cucumber, halved length ways, seeded
3 six inch young tender carrots, washed and peeled
3 celery stalks, washed and chopped, leaves included
1 medium apple, cored and cut into 4 pieces
healthy organic juicing

Add all ingredients in a juicer and turn on high until you have a drinkable mix. If need be add a little apple juice.

Fruit and vegetable juices are great for your overall health, especially the organic ones. At first it takes a little time to get used to the taste, but stick to it and eventually you will be enjoying, not only the health benefits, but the taste of success.

Fruit & Veggie Facts:

All of these fruits and vegetables have great benefits for your health, when eaten daily or at least 4 times a week.
Cucumbers are a strong diuretic and may help lower blood pressure. Ladies, it’s perfect for when your body is retaining water.
Celery contains healthy compounds which helps regulate your blood pressure, also. It too, is a good diuretic and as everyone knows Carrots are great for the your skin and eyes with their vitamin K and beta carotene.

You will want to use the freshest product you can get to insure that you get all the vitamins available in using them. The deeper the color of your choice products the more benefits you will find you get from using them. If you have the space in your yard to grow your own, you can become the supplier of your healthy organic juicing foods.

Juice according to the juicer’s instructions and enjoy drinking your way to a better you through organic juicing!