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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Well, gee. I didn’t know Willie Nelson had his own Sirius satellite radio station. The old timer’s radio spot is called Willie’s Place and you can find all of his favorite music, including his own.

Help Willie Nelson in his campaign to save farms. Photo from 1019rxp.com.

Help Willie Nelson in his campaign to save farms. Photo from 1019rxp.com.

Tomorrow, Willie will be playing all of Farm Aid 2009 in its entirety on the station. The event will kick off at 2 pm, so make sure you’re near your satellite radio (or your friend’s or family member’s). Some of the featured performances will be from Willie himself, along with Neil Young, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews, and Wilco.

So what is Farm Aid, you may ask. The concert is put on every year to promote awareness for farming communities and local farms. Too many farmers are forced to sell their land or cannot farm during hard times, especially like the hard times we have experienced this year. 

This will be the twenty-fourth concert since the idea was first brought to light in 1985. The concert was originally started by Willie, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp.

Willie Nelson also has his own thoughts on Farm Aid. Give his Farm Aid letter a read.

The Farm Aid website (linked above as “Farm Aid 2009”) also has information on how you can donate, if you’re so inclined to do so. What these musicians are doing is a great thing to help give back to a community that needs help. Without farms, where would we get our delicious fruits and veggies, milk and cheese, hamburgers and hot dogs? (OK, I’m going a little overboard, but you get the point.)

Tune in to Willie’s Place tomorrow at 2pm for a great bunch of performances. It’s all for a good cause!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

For my next recipe, I want to encourage you to try something a little different — a little healthier, perhaps. With help from Barbara, the master of healthy cooking, I have whipped up a nice, crunchy concoction that all veggie lovers will love.

Goodness, look at those wheat berries, veggies, and tofu! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Goodness, look at those wheat berries, veggies, and tofu! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

First, let me introduce you to the wheat berry. Say it with me…wheat. berry. Good. That’s where that crunch is going to come from. Wheat berries are the truest whole grains you can find out there. Because their kernels are still together, none of the nutrients have been removed by the time you dig in. Here’s a whole wheat berry fact page.

 

The cool thing about this recipe is that you can follow it very loosely. There are a few staples that you must have, but other than that, the options are limitless.

MUST HAVE Ingredients:

  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup cider vinegar (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup scallions, minced

OPTIONAL Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon salt*
  • fresh black pepper, to taste*
  • 1/4 cup minced dill (or 2 teaspoons dried)*
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced*
  • 1/2 cup finely minced parsley*
  • 1 cup cottage cheese or mashed tofu*
  • 1 medium carrot, minced*
  • 1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, and minced*
  • a little bit of minced bell pepper*
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli flowerets*
  • 1 can garbanzo beans or black beans*
  • celery
  • fresh alfalfa sprouts
  • sliced radish
  • minced red onion*

See? There are so many choices. Pretty much, we’re just talking wheat berries and a ton of minced veggies here. And if you want that extra kick of protein, definitely add the tofu. (That is exactly what I did with mine. The asterisks [*] are the ingredients in the picture above.) Anyway, here’s what you do…

Step 1: Heat wheat berries in 2 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil and stir once or twice. Cover and simmer 50 to 60 minutes or until the wheat berries are tender, but still firm. Drain.

Step 2: Toss wheat berries and remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Now that’s a healthy dose of vegetables and protein!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

As promised, today I will be giving you a review of the Bethel Woods Harvest Festival and Mountain Jam. Now, if only it had been nicer weather! The entire day, it misted rain, which made things a little harder to navigate, but still great. Luckily, everything was under tents.

Well let me start by saying that Bethel Woods is such a beautiful place to go. Even if you’re not going to the Woodstock museum, you can walk the site of the original Woodstock. It’s expansive and you’ll be hiking around the hills of Yasgur’s farm for hours. By the way, the museum costs $13! (But worth every penny, I’m sure.)

It must have taken quite some time to graffiti this Bug! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

It must have taken quite some time to graffiti this Bug! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The Harvest Festival was very much like a large farmer’s and artisan market. There were displays of handcrafted quilts made by local seamstresses, an auction for some pretty neatly painted tables, and many interesting things to look at. My favorite was a painted VW Bug sitting in the middle of the field.

The tables of farmers was far more than I expected. Here’s a brief list of what was being sold that day: lettuce, cheeses, wine, peppers, apples, pumpkin, apple cider, soups, breads, squash, gourds, candies, sauces, and flowers. There were even some cool looking sugar cookies in the shapes of peace signs. How appropriate.

The farmer’s market portion of the Harvest Festival actually happens every Sunday. Here is a complete list of vendors.

Not only did the Festival have good food. It also had activities, too. There was a fun little corn maze to get lost in, which I definitely had to do. The corn was so tall I felt like I was in the jungle. There were also musician workshops and mini jam sessions for those interested.

Pumpkins, gourds, and veggies, oh my! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Pumpkins, gourds, and veggies, oh my! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

The shuttle bus ran from the Harvest Festival area up to the museum. The ride along the way was great! Our groovy bus driver pointed out famous Woodstock spots, like the skinny dipping pond and the area where the original stage once was.

Thank goodness for those tents — the bluegrass bands that played needed the cover to perform. They managed to grab the attention of many festival-goers, and some even sat out in the rain to watch them play. Unfortunately, the audience seating was not under a tent, so some people were deterred from the music.

To wrap this up, I highly recommed checkout out the Farmer’s Market next Sunday. You’ll be so glad you did because of all the wonderful fruits and vegetables you’ll come home with. Also, do the museum, too. Any Woodstock fan would be highly stoked, maaaan.

 

 

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Kate Langenburg/A &E Groove

I know, the title to this blog post has a really weird name. It’s okay. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean that it has to be completely alien and strange. Give this yummy HungryGirl recipe a shot, then make your decision.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package House Foods Tofu Shirataki Fettucine Shaped Noodle Substitute
  • 1/2 cup small broccoli florets
  • 1/2 cup red pepper chunks
  • 1/2 cup large zucchini chunks
  • 1 wedge Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese
  • 1 tbsp. fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tsp. reduced fat grated parmesan style topping
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Optional: garlic powder, chili powder (I STRONGLY recommend the garlic powder)
Yum! Deliciousness. Photo from hungrygirl.com.

Yum! Deliciousness. Photo from hungrygirl.com.

Step 1: Place all the veggies in a medium sized microwave-safe bowl with 2 tbsp. water. Cover bowl and microwave for 2-3 minutes until the veggies are fully steamed. Then drain the water and set aside.

Step 2: Drain and rinse noodles well. Dry the noodles thoroughly, using a paper towel to soak up any excess moisture. Then slice up the noodles a bit to make for easier eating! 

Step 3: Place the noodles in a microwave safe bowl and top it all off with the cheese, sour cream, and parmesan topping. Microwave for one minute.

Step 4: Take it out, stir, then microwave for another minute. Mix in the veggies and season well with salt and pepper. Add the garlic powder!

Might I add that you don’t have to stick to just the veggies in this recipe. I added different kinds and even took out the zucchini the last time I made this. (I’m not much of a zucchini fan.)

Also, I have to say a quick word about tofu shirataki noodles — they don’t really taste like pasta. I just want to get that out there. Don’t expect it to taste like a homecooked italian fettucine meal. It does taste very good, but it has a little different flavor and texture happening. It’s good in a different kind of way.

However, the entire recipe is only about 150 calories…and you don’t have to share. It makes one serving and is very filling. Bon appetit!

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Enjoy this great summer salad!

Enjoy this great summer salad!

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

This new recipe I just found on the Hungry Girl website. It’s a healthier form of a three bean salad because it uses less oil in the dressing and a few less beans.

The best thing about the dressing is that it is made mostly from fresh squeezed orange juice! When you dig into this summer salad, you’ll absolutely love the citrus flavor on your beans and veggies.

Please go and rock this at your next summer bash. It will put smiles on the faces of many! (I recommend using basil in this…especially fresh picked. It makes it taste fresher.)

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 15 ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch segments
  • 2 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
  • 1 red or yellow pepper, sliced into 1 inch segments
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp chopped parsley (or basil works well)

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for that water to boil, fill a large bowl with cold water and ice, then set aside.

Step 2: Add green beans and broccoli to the boiling water, and cook for 5 minutes until tender. Drain water from the pot and then transfer the vegetables to the ice water quickly!

Step 3: To make the dressing, squeeze the juice from the oranges into a medium bowl. Remove any seeds. Add all the other ingredients and mix well. Set aside.

Step 4: Drain ice and water from the large bowl. Add kidney beans, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, onion, and parsley (or basil) to the veggies. Coat with the dressing and coat well.

You should let the bean salad marinate in the fridge for at least an hour before you eat it. It’s so much tastier and crisper when it’s cold.

Good news—the recipe makes 10 servings with each one having only 125 calories each!

You will enjoy stuffing your face with this for sure.

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

This is one of my favorite recipes from Hungry Girl. It’s a spoof on potato skins, but they’re actually healthy. Ooooooh. Don’t worry. The flavor is still all there. This recipe lacks nothing but the starchy potato.

Ingredients:

  • 2 very large bell peppers (the larger, the better)
  • 6 slices extra-lean turkey bacon
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (preferably reduced-fat)
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream (optional for topping)

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Cut the peppers in half, remove stems and seeds, and cut each one into quarters. Set aside.

Step 3: Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Place peppers on the sheet cut side up. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes to soften them up a little.

Step 4: Bring a large pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Cook the turkey bacon until it is nice and crispy. After they cool down a bit, cut the slices into small pieces.

Step 5: Remove peppers from oven when they are done and blot away any excess liquid.

Step 6: Sprinkle the peppers evenly with cheese, scallions, and turkey bacon pieces. Return to the oven and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

You can add sour cream to this recipe if you like. This makes for a great appetizer for anyone who is on a diet, but I would never limit it to just ‘diet food.’ It is full of flavor and definitely does not taste like a diet food. Although, each serving is only 120 calories. That’s a plus!

Yum, yum. Eat ’em up.

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