Creative Cooking with Cauliflower

Although it’s actually a member of the same family as broccoli, most cauliflower lacks the familiar green color shared by its relatives because it is shielded from the sun during growth by the leaves of the plant. In spite of the absence of chlorophyll, which is what gives broccoli, cabbage, and other green vegetables their color, cauliflower is still an incredible source of nutrients. Although traditionally seen in white, there are actually green, orange and also purple varieties of this vegetable. With a milder, almost sweet flavor, it might be easier to get your kids to give it a try.

On its own or mixed with other vegetables, cauliflower offers a flavorful, nutrition packed serving of healthy vegetables your family will love.

The Nutrition in Cauliflower

Just like broccoli, cauliflower contains enzymes and compounds that are known cancer fighters. These phytonutrients common to cruciferous vegetables help to eradicate free radicals and eliminate carcinogens from the body. New research on these incredibly healthy vegetables is uncovering more health benefits all the time, but there is already enough known to make them a must-have on your plate.

Cauliflower is packed with nutrients. It is an incredibly good source of Vitamin C, and also a good source of Vitamins K and B6 as well as folate. Cauliflower also provides dietary fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids. It also offers a number of other vitamins and minerals.

How to Serve Cauliflower

Cauliflower makes a great side dish simply oven roasted with a little garlic, but it can also be cooked and served in a number of different ways. It’s great added to a salad or even served on a vegetable platter with dip. It can be cooked and mashed just like potatoes, or even mixed in with potatoes. Cauliflower is also delicious with a cheese sauce – instead of macaroni and cheese, try serving baked cauliflower and cheese with a crumb topping for a delicious and very healthy twist on a kid’s favorite dish. They might even like it better than the original!

Cream of cauliflower soup is a delicious new twist on the same old cream soups you eat all the time – try it instead of cream of mushroom. Cauliflower is also a great addition to a stir-fry instead of or right along with broccoli.

Because it bakes up very nicely, cauliflower works wonderfully in casseroles. It’s especially good with creamy sauces and pairs very well with chicken, eggs and pork. Add some to fettuccine alfredo to boost the nutritional content and compliment the creamy taste. Because it has a mellower taste than broccoli, it won’t overwhelm delicate flavors in your favorite dishes. Try it in an omelet with cheese, or in a quiche.

Because it has a similar flavor and texture to potatoes, without the starch, cauliflower makes a great replacement for them in a number of dishes. You can cook cauliflower in just about any manner you would potatoes. They’re a great change to the same old meat-and-potatoes meals!

For a versatile food that offers an incredible number of nutrients and health benefits, cauliflower just can’t be beat. Because it’s generally at its best during the cooler months, it also translates into a great comfort food for a cold winter’s day; but it’s equally at home at a summer picnic in a fresh tossed salad or all by itself!

Add Apples for Good Health

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, or so the old saying goes – and for once there might just be something to the old wisdom. Apples are packed with nutrition and will help keep everyone in your family healthy.

With so many varieties of apples to choose from, the hardest part might be picking your favorite. Luckily, you don’t have to! Although some apples are better for certain culinary uses, choosing an apple to munch on as a snack can provide a new taste every time as you try all the different types on the market.

The Nutrition in Apples

Apples provide a good source of Vitamin C as well as dietary fiber. They also offer small amounts of many other vitamins including B vitamins. As most of the vitamin content is found in the skin, it’s best to eat the apple with the skin, and to cook with the skin intact as often as possible.

Because they are high in fiber, apples will help to keep you full, preventing overeating and helping to keep a healthy diet on track.

How to Enjoy Apples

Apples are a perfect snack to eat fresh and raw, either whole or cut into slices. They also pair beautifully with a sprinkling of cinnamon, or a delicious vanilla yogurt dip. Apples are easily portable and make a wonderful addition to a bag lunch or just a quick snack. Sliced apples are great in tossed salads, especially with a slightly sweeter dressing, and make a tasty addition to a chicken salad sandwich. Try apple slices instead of potato chips as a side dish to any sandwich for a crunch that’s healthier and more flavorful too! Raw apples, once sliced, are subject to the process of oxidation, which causes the flesh to turn brown. Eat them right away, or simply toss them in a small amount of lemon juice to stop the oxidation process.

Apples can be cooked in many different ways, both for sweet desserts and also savory dinner dishes. Of course the apple pie is a famous American favorite, and with only a little sugar and spice, it can actually be one of the healthier pie choices you can make. Skip the pie crust in favor of a crumbly topping mixed with oats for an apple crisp instead to bring down the calorie content a little.

Apples are also a top choice for mixing with oatmeal, as they cook nicely into soft bites and work well with the brown sugar and cinnamon flavors often added to hot cereals. They can also be added to muffins and quick breads.

Applesauce is a favorite first food for babies and also a healthy snack for older kids. You can easily make your own at home, and it freezes well for later use. Applesauce is often paired with pork chops, and a homemade chunky applesauce will always beat anything that comes from a jar!

Apples also go great with sweet potatoes, carrots, rice and raisins, opening up a whole new world of side dish possibilities. There is much more you can do with apples than just slice and eat, so be creative and bring apples to the dinner table more often. Adding their sweet flavor will have kids asking for seconds!

An apple a day may not be enough to keep you healthy, but it sure does help, so make apples a regular part of your diet.

Cooking with Cranberries: Healthy Treats

Although cranberries don’t get the same kind of buzz as other fruits, they are nutritional powerhouses that deserve a second look. Many people pass up cranberries due to their tart taste, which can make it difficult to convince children to eat them. But the tart flavor is perfect for taking the sweet edge off of other berries and fruits, and makes a great addition to a number of recipes your kids will love.

The nutrition in Cranberries

Cranberries are an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K, and E. They also provide calcium, potassium and phosphorus. They are low in fat and provide a good source of dietary fiber. Compared to many other fruits, they are low in sugar as well. Cranberries are one of the best sources of antioxidants, which are known to fight cancer, offer anti-aging properties, and generally promote good health.

Cranberry juice has long been popular as a preventative as well as a treatment for urinary tract infections, as it helps to fight the bacteria that cause the infection and prevent them from sticking to the inside of the urinary tract.

Great Ways to Eat Cranberries

While raw cranberries are by far the best choice, the most popular format for consuming cranberries is via cranberry juice, or the sweetened, dried version of the berry. Use caution with either of these last two options, as they will usually have extra sugar added, especially the dried version. Cranberry sauce or jellied cranberries are particularly popular around Thanksgiving as they are usually served with turkey.

100% cranberry juice is a good source of all the nutrition cranberries have to offer, but kids might find it too tart. Try a mixed juice like cran-apple or cran-grape, as long as it is still 100% juice and doesn’t have added sugar. Remember that one serving of juice per day is enough for a child.

Sweetened dried cranberries can be used anywhere you might usually use raisins. Add them to hot cooked cereal like oatmeal or cream of wheat, or simply offer a handful as a snack. Remember that they do have added sugar, however, so use them in moderation.

Raw cranberries are a very versatile berry, and the tart flavor compliments many other fruits in baked goods. Cranberries are a great addition to berry smoothies, and can also be added to muffins, pancakes, and other baked goods. For a delicious treat, an apple-cranberry pie can’t be beat.

Cranberries are also a wonderful addition to applesauce that can be served with pork or even just eaten as a snack. Use raw cranberries to make a homemade cranberry sauce you can serve not only with your Thanksgiving turkey, but with chicken or other poultry at any time of the year. You can also make cranberry preserves at home, for a tasty and healthier alternative to store-bought jams.

Adding cranberries to your diet as well as your child’s will add a real punch of nutrition with a unique flavor that is versatile in both sweet treats and with meat dishes. The tart cranberry is a great way to steer your child away from foods that are too sweet and full of sugar. Although they are probably too tart to eat the way you would other berries, by the handful, they compliment many other flavors and are well worth the effort for the incredible health benefits they offer.

Sweet and Healthy Cherries

Cherries are such a delicious treat; it’s hard to believe they are so good for you. Their bright red color is the result of powerful antioxidants that offer a number of important health benefits, and they are also a great source of vitamins. Available in sweet and sour (or tart) varieties, cherries offer something for everyone. Whether you eat them raw or bake up a special treat, you can’t go wrong with cherries for nutrition and taste.

Although they have a short growing season, cherries freeze well, making them available year round for cooking and baking.

The Nutrition in Cherries

Anthocyanins, the pigment that makes cherries red, have recently been shown to reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and also fight free radicals to prevent cancer. Research into the health benefits of cherries continues to uncover new information.

Cherries are a good source of Vitamins C and K as well as dietary fiber, potassium and magnesium. They are low in fat and cholesterol, and although they contain sugars, the fiber makes up for the simple carbs with more complex carbs too.

Serving Up Cherries

The most popular method of eating cherries is fresh and uncooked. Use caution when serving them to your children, however, as they do contain pits that could present a choking hazard. Fresh sweet cherries while in season are so tasty, your kids will think you are serving up candy, and they will certainly never guess how healthy they are!

Dried cherries are a great addition to trail mix, hot cooked or cold cereal, and pancakes. They’re also a great snack all by themselves. You can also use dried cherries anywhere you might use raisins, from oatmeal cookies to scones. Dried cherries also work great as a sweet touch to dinner recipes like risotto or pasta. The sweet fresh taste of dried cherries is fabulous in tossed salads too.

Use cherries as a replacement for blueberries in your favorite recipes, like cherry muffins instead of blueberry ones. You can also use sour cherries wherever cranberries are called for. Try a delicious cherry sauce in the place of cranberry sauce with turkey or other poultry dishes, or even with pork.

Cherries make a great smoothie – mix them with yogurt all by themselves, or add other berries such as strawberries or blueberries for a more complex flavor and even more extra nutrients. Cherry juice is a great beverage as well, filled with healthy antioxidants and a quick serving of fruit.

There is no way to talk about cherries without a mention of cherry pie. While not a low-calorie choice, if you are going to have dessert, you might as well make it a choice filled with healthy and delicious fruit like cherries. Make your pie filling from scratch with fresh cherries rather than using a filling from a can, to preserve nutrients and keep control of the sugar that is added. Tart or sour cherries are the best choice for pies and other sweet baking applications, as they won’t taste overly sweet when sugar is added.

When using frozen cherries, be aware that the machines that pit the cherries sometimes miss a pit, so look them over just in case, to avoid a painful tooth or choking hazard.

With an incredible flavor and a long list of benefits for your health, there is no reason not to add cherries to your diet. Look to them as a fresh snack or a great way to make baked goods healthier.

Preparing Body, Mind and Home for a Twin Pregnancy

Being pregnant with twins is very exciting, but it can also be more than a little bit scary. There are several things to keep in mind during your twin pregnancy. Not only are you going to have double the babies and double the things to buy, but you are also going to have double the pregnancy symptoms. It is important to take care of your body and mind while preparing your home during a twin pregnancy.

Preparing Your Mind

First, do not let your fears rule your life. Every parent has worries and fears about the outcome of the pregnancy, getting ready for the baby, and being a good parent. Being pregnant with twins means you will probably have even more fears than most. You should talk about your concerns with your doctor and your spouse, then put them aside. Learn about the risks that come with multiple births so that you can prepare for them and avoid them with doctor’s orders, but do not dwell on them. There is much to do, and you cannot waste any time being too afraid to do it.

Preparing Your Body

Pregnancy takes a lot out of your body in the way of stored fat, proteins, and nutrients, and a twin pregnancy takes even more. It is vitally important that you get all of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, as well as what both of your babies need. A woman pregnant with a single child needs to nearly double her calcium intake and eat twice as many fruits and vegetables. A woman pregnant with twins needs to nearly double this again. It may seem like you are eating all the time, but eating many frequent meals or snacks throughout the day will ensure you are getting all the nutrition you and your babies need.

A twin pregnancy also comes with twice the symptoms. You may have worse nausea, worse heartburn, worse everything. Saltines, rest and fluids are the best remedies for most of your discomfort. You will experience more back pain than a single pregnancy, so invest in a good heating pad or back massager. You should also expect more stretch marks and dry skin, so get some really good cocoa or shea butter lotion.

Preparing Your Home

Do not become overwhelmed thinking you have to have two of everything right off the bat. If you are having a boy and a girl, try to buy mostly unisex clothing in light greens and yellows. If you don’t know what you are having this works well also. The more clothing your children can share, the better off you will be. There will always be lots of laundry, so focus more on quality than quantity. You should also consider using cloth diapers rather than disposable, as the average family with twins goes through 140 diapers a week.
It is okay to start out with one crib in the beginning, giving you a few months to purchase a second one. The babies will be small enough to share a bed, and they will draw comfort from each other as well. You will need two car seats, however, and a good quality double stroller is an absolute must.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is needed for blood clotting. Vitamin K deficiency in adults is extremely rare because vitamin K can be synthesized in the intestines.

Sources of Vitamin K:

Vitamin K is widespread in food in small amount. The best sources are the skins of fruits and dark green leafy vegetables such as:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss Chard
  • Cabbage
  • Kale
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprout

How Much Vitamins You Need?

Dietary reference intake (DRIs): recommended intakes for infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E, an antioxidant that,

  • protects cells from oxidation damage
  • assists neurological function
  • prevents anemia
  • protects against ageing
  • encourages skin healing and reduce scarring

Vitamin E deficiency is rare. Excess vitamin E rarely causes any problems

Sources of Vitamin E:

Food / 100g Amount (mg)
Wheatgerm oil 136
Sunflower oil 49
Safflower oil 41
Polyunsaturated oil 38
Sunflower seeds 38
Hazelnuts, shelled 25
Sun-dried tomatoes 24
Almonds 24
Rapeseed oil 22
Cod liver oil 20
Mayonnaise 19
Corn oil 17
Soya oil 16
Groundnut oil 15
Pine nuts 13.5
Popcorn, plain 11
Peanuts, plain 10
Brazil nuts, shelled 7
Low-fat spread 6.3
Sweet potato, baked 6
Potato crisp 5.8
Peanuts and raisins 5.7
Tomato puree 5.4

How Much Vitamins You Need?

Dietary reference intake (DRIs): recommended intakes for infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is needed metabolism of nutrients. It is needed to prevent anemia. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause pernicious anemia and nerve damage. Vitamin B12 overdose appears to have no toxic effects.

Sources of Vitamin B12:

Food / 100g Amount (µg)
Lamb’s liver 54
Nori seaweed, dried 27.5
Steamed mussels, shelled weight 22
Oyster, shelled weight 17
Sardines, canned in oil, drained 15
Grilled herring 15
Anchovies, canned, drained 11
Rabbit meat 10
Steamed scallops 9
Cooked prawn 8
Grilled skate 8
Steamed salmon 6
Tuna, canned in oil, drained 5
Eggs 2.5
Lean beef 2
Cheddar cheese 1.1

How Much Vitamins You Need?

Dietary reference intake (DRIs): recommended intakes for infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is also called Pyridoxine. Metabolism of nutrients is its primary role. A deficiency of vitamin B6 often occurs in association with other vitamins of the B complex. Vitamin B6 overdose can cause nerve damage.

Sources of Vitamin B6:

Food / 100g Amount (mg)
Wheatgerm 3.3
Grilled turbot 2.5
Lentil, dry 0.9
Grilled salmon 0.8
Turkey, light meat 0.8
Squid 0.7
Walnut, shelled 0.7
Beef steak, lean 0.7
Grilled chicken breast, without skin 0.6
Hazelnuts, shelled 0.6
Grilled swordfish 0.6
Baked potato 0.5

How Much Vitamins You Need?

Dietary reference intake (DRIs): recommended intakes for infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 is also called Niacin. It is needed for tissues repair and metabolism of nutrients. Vitamin B3 deficiency can lead to pellagra (severe deficiency), slower metabolism and decreasing cold tolerance. An excess of vitamin B3 (over 3g a day) can cause liver damage, dilation of the blood vessels and kidney damage.

Sources of Vitamin B3:

Food / 100g Amount (mg)
Yeast extract 73
Chicken breast, without skin 22
Lamb’s liver 21
Tuna canned in oil, drained 21
Grapenuts 20
Roasted turkey, light meat, 20
Peanuts, plain 19
Pork fillet, lean 18
Tuna, fresh 17
Shiitake mushroom, dried 15
Grilled swordfish 14
Grilled mackerel 13

How Much Vitamins You Need?

Dietary reference intake (DRIs): recommended intakes for infants, children, pregnant women and breastfeeding moms.

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