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Posts Tagged ‘onion’

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Recently, I have started a quest to find a healthier diet. I’ve decided to take the popular phrase ‘you are what you eat’ to heart and give my body a dose of food that is truly good for it. If you haven’t noticed, eating sweets and sugary things will make you feel more lethargic. Who wants that? Why not kickstart your health by making a healthy change?

So far, my quest has led me to the organic produce section of the grocery store. I stocked up on fresh fruits and veggies. Now, I want to give you one of my favorite soup recipes, but I’ve changed it a bit to give it more of an all natural quality. Meet chicken soup with lentils and barley. This recipe comes from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sliced leeks or chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic red or green sweet pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons light butter
  • 2 14.5 ounce cans of chicken broth (I recommend using organic low sodium free range broth, like the brand Imagine makes.)
  • 1.5 cups filtered water
  • 1/2 cup dry organic lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed (all the herbs can be store bought or picked and dried from your herb garden)
  • 1.5 cups chopped cooked free range organic chicken or turkey
  • 1.5 cups sliced organic carrots
  • .5 cup quick cooking barley
  • 1 14.5 ounce can organic tomatoes, cut up

Step one: In a large saucepan, melt butter. Then cook leeks or onions, pepper, and garlic until tender.

Step two: Add broth, water, lentils, basil, oregano, rosemary, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step three: Stir in the chicken pieces, carrots and uncooked barley. Cover and simmer another 20 minutes. Add the undrained tomatoes and heat.

This recipe makes about 8 cups of soup. I know you may be thinking that you can’t afford to buy all those organic ingredients, but you can surely substitute whatever you need to fit your lifestyle. This soup is still very healthy even if it isn’t completely organic. However, it’s nice to try to throw at least some organic ingredients into your soup pot. The environment and your body will thank you later. Here’s to healthy eating!

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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

Yummy little veggies. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Yummy little veggies. Photo by Kate Langenburg.

As of late, I have been getting into making a lot of cold mediterranean salads. I must admit, I like the feta cheese! But every time I open a new container of feta cheese, there lurks another wonderful recipe on the back of the lid.

Last week, I decided to make a special kind of green bean salad from the back of one of my feta cheese lids, so I went down to the local farmer’s market and picked up a few pounds of the locally grown veggie.

After reading a little bit about how I was going to make this salad, I got to work. I recommed using the basil and tomato flavored feta cheese for this one. Here’s my recipe for green beans and feta cheese with dill:

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill

Step 1: Cook beans in water seven minutes or until tender and crisp. Drain. Rinse with cold water

Step 2: Toss beans with dressing, cheese, onions, and dill in a large bowl.

Step 3: Refrigerate for several hours until chilled. (You can serve this immediately, but I don’t think it tastes as good as it does when you let it sit in the fridge for a while.)

After making this great concoction, I fed it to my room mate, family members, and I ate a whole bunch, too. This recipe is easy, and a must have for anyone who likes dolled up green beans.

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Mine is the anti-tomato version. It's still delicious! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Mine is the anti-tomato version. It's still delicious! Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

As some of you may know, family gatherings are a great opportunity to bring different kinds of foods for everyone to enjoy. Well, as luck would have it, I recently had one of those kinds of family gatherings, at which I tasted the best pasta salad I’ve ever had.

I would like to introduce you to Mediterranean Pasta Salad, courtesy of Norma. In a span of about two hours, the huge bowl she had made completely disappeared, and the reserve stock in the fridge was eaten later that night!

The greatest thing about this dish is its versatility. As Norma herself said it, she never follows a recipe and she always puts her spin on it. That, my food loving friends, is highly recommended with this pasta salad. You can throw in new veggies, take out what you don’t want, or even include some other form of dressing other than the oil and vinegar suggested.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounce) package of spiral or curly noodles, cooked and drained
  • 3 ounces feta cheese, diced into 1/2 or 3/4 inch pieces
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 medium sized cucumber, peeled, seeded, halved and thickly sliced
  • 1/2 cup pitted ripe olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tbsp finely sliced red onions, optional
  • 2 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Step 1: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Toss gently until well mixed.

Step 2: Refrigerate several hours before serving. That’s it!

If I were you, I’d double the recipe. It makes a smaller amount, so if you like to keep eating leftover pasta salad all week like me, doubling is the way to go. This stuff goes great with a sandwich and transports easily for lunches on the go!

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Kate Langenburg/A&E Groove

Does this Southwest Black Bean Salad look great? Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Does this Southwest Black Bean Salad look great? Photo by Kate Langenburg.

Scanning my cookbooks for something tasty I could make in abundance and take for lunch, I came across a recipe for this Southwest Black Bean Salad. It comes from the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook and boy, is it zesty and delicious.

It calls for one jalapeno pepper. I used one that I grew in my container garden. (Apartments leave little space for real gardens.) It was definitely zippy, but if you are a real fan of spicy things, I would recommend using two jalapenos. That way, you’ll get a little more bang in your salad.

Ingredients:

  • One 16 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup diced roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn kernels
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, deveined, and finely chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Step 1: In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients, then toss. Let stand, covered, until the flavors are blended, at least 1 hour.

Step 2: There is no step 2. It’s that easy!

This recipe would go great at a bbq or similar function. You’ll have all the guests on your invite list asking you for more when it disappears! In that case, of course, you might want to double the ingredients.

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