Shamrock Skewers

No, I didn’t take the time to shape my kiwis into actual shamrocks, BUT this is a fun little activity you can do with the fam!

So simple, yet so satisfying and a great snack option to add to your St. Patrick’s day festivities.

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Shamrock Skewers

  • Servings: 10 skewers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 8 kiwis
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple
  • 1 cup green grapes, washed

Directions: 

  1. Wash kiwis, peel using a small knife. Cut into 1 inch round pieces.
  2. Using a skewer, alternate kiwi, pineapple, and grapes until you reach the top of the skewer.
  3. Serve at your St. Patty’s day party or as a snack at home!

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Such a simple little festive treat!

How are you celebrating St. Patrick’s day this weekend?

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on social media!

Facebook, Pinterest, & YouTube: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @livebetterwithkatdetter

Fun, Family-Friendly Fall Activities

By this point, many of you are hopefully enjoying the fall air and colorful leaves…but fall is a GREAT season to set some family traditions.

After all, strong relationships are a vital part in well-rounded wellness, so get your family involved in some fall festivities!

 

1. Take a Hike

Regardless of what area you live in the US, fall generally means cooler temps…I am just lucky enough to live in an area that experiences BEAUTIFUL leaf color changes. Being about an hour from the Blue Ridge Parkway in the mountains of NC, I make frequent visits to Boone, NC during the fall months.

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While I hike, I get to enjoy the seasonal changes as well as get some nice, relaxing exercise in with my loved ones. Last year, my friends made a trip to NC for my wedding, so I took them to Rough Ridge on the Parkway to experience the beauty of changing leaves…they had never seen anything like it! During this time, we were able to spend quality time together and soak up nature’s beauty.

Not up for a drive to the mountains? Visit your local park or go for a neighborhood walk for a nice after-dinner activity. Enjoy the cool weather while it lasts!

2. Take a Bike Ride

Yes, you can bike all year round…but I had something specific in mind…

The Virginia Creeper Trail! If you aren’t on the East Coast, you’ve probably never heard of it, but it is a 35-mile multi-purpose rail trail that stretches from Abingdon, VA all the way to Mount Rogers National Recreation Area in the Southwestern part of Virginia.

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I have been here several times, all in the fall…while it would be pretty any time of the year, in the fall you can enjoy the pretty colors and cool air.

Not near the Creeper Trail? No worries! Hit up your local green-way and enjoy a nice stroll outdoors.

3. Visit a Corn Maze

What fun would this be! To be honest, I have never done this but always wanted to! A corn maze seems like a fun way to get your family outdoors and enjoy the season.

Not only would it be enjoyable for the group, but it would also be a great team building experience. In order to make it through the maze, you would need strong communication skills with each other.

 

photo of corn field
Photo by Peter Fazekas on Pexels.com

 

4. Build a Bonfire

Ah, the smell of the great outdoors and feeling the warmth of a nice bonfire…that is the definition of fall! The temperatures are cooler, nights are clearer, and far less humid (in the South).

photo of bonfire
Photo by rasik on Pexels.com

It is also super fun to cook over the fire…you could do the standard hot dogs-s’mores feast (which I am totally pro…in fact we are doing that this weekend!), or you could get a little creative! I have wrapped washed, sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and let sit in the coals for an hour or so, allow to cool, and enjoy! There is something about food being cooked in the coals of a bonfire that makes it taste so good! You could do the same method for apples, white potatoes, or any other root vegetable.

5. Carve Pumpkins

This is something I look forward to every year! If you are feeling even more adventurous, take your family to a local pumpkin patch. A few years ago, my friends in California and I went to a pumpkin patch in Oak Glen–a gorgeous mountainous land that made me feel like I was at home only I was still in SoCal.

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Luckily, nowadays there are carving stencil kits available so your pumpkin comes out looking flawless. Though we do not have kids, my husband and I still enjoy carving pumpkins together as adults…quality time!

Don’t know what to do with the pumpkin seeds? Rinse them off to get all of the pumpkin pulp off and sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden.

6. Visit a Local Apple Orchard

Nothing screams fall like an apple orchard! It’s even better when it’s a “pick-your-own” apple orchard. It is a fun way to get your family active and set good examples of eating fresh, whole foods. There are several pick-your-own orchards in the North Carolina mountains that have a lot of kid-friendly activities, as well.

When I was a little girl, we lived across from an Apple Orchard–and we still do…it’s just a wedding venue now instead of a pick your own apple orchard…(click here to read about “Memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue”…)

apple tree
Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

Anyway, I can remember my dad taking us up to the orchard in his tractor to pick apples. There is something about picking an apple straight off the tree, wiping it off on your shirt, and taking a bite…that is the BEST way to eat a raw apple in my opinion.

Of course you can enjoy your apples raw, but fall is also a great time to make homemade applesauce while apples are in season. Cook the apples with cinnamon and honey, and if you’re feeling spunky, can some for the upcoming year.

 

There are tons of things you can enjoy in the fall, but these are some great ideas to get outdoors and enjoy the season with your family. My challenge for you: Pick at least one of these six ideas to spend time with your family…I promise you will make unforgettable memories! As always, fall is a time for being thankful for what you have. While we should always be grateful, spend a little extra time over the next few months to count your blessings.

 

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Follow me on Social Media!

Facebook: Live Better with Kat Detter

Instagram: @betterwithkatdetter_rd

 

Memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue

Happy fall, y’all! Bring on those cooler temperatures, crunchy leaves, and fall fashion! Autumn is my favorite season for many reasons, but more so now because it is the season that I married the love of my life.   If you have been following me for a while, you know that my family just opened a wedding venue in a little town in the foothills of North Carolina.  It was at this venue that I married my dream man!

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Located in western Alexander County, NC, Hill Top Orchard Venue is an apple orchard turned into event venue complete with a beautiful mountain-top view perfect for an outdoor ceremony, a covered pavilion with outlets and protective rain walls just in case a storm passes by, and a refurbished apple house with a 2 dressing room suites, kitchenette, and restrooms. What more could you need for your perfect, outdoor wedding?

 

Flashback 2 years ago on a warm, August day, when a dashing man proposed to his loving girlfriend. After saying yes, it was soon after that operation wedding mode commenced.

Ever since I was 10 years old, my dream was to get married in a grassy pasture in my parent’s backyard. A wedding at home, how quaint!

Imagine having your house re-painted so it can be presentable and moving all the things you considered saving for “hard times” around the old, rusty barn just so your daughter can have her dream wedding…it even looked like fall had exploded in my old bedroom because we were doing a lot of “diy” decorations for my special day…

I spent 9 months planning a wedding to get married on my perfect sledding hill location with a backup plan at a local church, but I just knew the weather would be perfect so I could have the outdoor wedding I always wanted—it never rains in October!

During this time, my parents purchased an apple orchard just across from my wedding pasture with the intentions of making it into an event venue. It is such a beautiful location. With countless weekends of picking up rocks, digging holes, sowing seed, building buildings, trimming trees, and picking up branches Hill Top Orchard Venue was ready just in time for my brother’s wedding in September 2017—yes…we got married 3 weeks apart. Why wait, right?

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My brother’s wedding was perfect on the mountain, beautiful weather, amazing views, fun reception…now it was time to focus on my wedding.

Exactly a week before my wedding, the extended forecast was showing rain all week leading up to my big day. I was not too worried at this point because weather constantly changes…and like I said before…rain in October is just not a typical thing…

I really wanted an outdoor wedding…I love nature, autumn’s breeze, clouds…but the Friday before my wedding, I had to make a decision: Rainy wedding or Church wedding? Then I began thinking, hey…we conveniently have a covered pavilion across the way—let’s just call everyone and tell them the wedding was moved! So that is what we did!

It sprinkled all morning and had a high percentage of downpours at 2:00pm (when my ceremony was), however, through the power of prayer, the rain held off until 6:00pm that evening–long after Bobby and I left for our honeymoon. Though the weather was not what we had planned on, my day could not have been any better! And thank goodness for Hill Top Orchard Venue having a backup plan for rainy weather!
Better yet, Hill Top Orchard Venue now has clear rain walls that can be set up for rainy weather making it a perfect place to get married rain or shine!

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Though it was not my plan to get married under a pavilion, it was so magical I could hardly believe it! I cannot imagine my wedding in any other way.

Looking back a year later at the whole process, it is neat to know how involved my husband and I were in establishing Hill Top Orchard Venue. While the venue was still in the construction stages, I was upset that it took up so much of our time…picking up rocks and branches, mowing grass…my now-husband spent all his free time helping my dad building the pavilion instead of spending time with me–seems petty, I know…but girl gotta see her man!

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Seeing the venue complete and open for business is a great accomplishment…we have happy memories at Hill Top Orchard Venue from the beginning stages, to our wedding, and now–seeing couples devote their love and become one. We have had a total of 5 weddings at Hill Top Orchard Venue this far and look forward to the weddings to come.

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Know anyone engaged, getting married soon, or just want a venue for an event? Contact Hill Top Orchard Venue on Facebook or visit their website at https://www.hilltoporchardvenue.com/ . Follow them on Instagram @hilltoporchardvenue.

What memories do you have from your wedding day? I’d love to hear them!

Until next time,

Happy Chewing,

Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

 

 

Seek Adventure

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Badlands National Park, South Dakota (2015)

One important part of well-rounded wellness is the sense of adventure.  Many people have different ideas of adventure…for example…

My husband’s idea of adventure is going to Carolina Adventure World for a weekend with his buddies to ride dirt bikes 24/7 for 2 days straight. He gets the thrill of excitement and it makes him happy.

For me, my idea of adventure is being out in the wilderness surrounded by trees, pine cones, and a nice breeze. I spent a lot of summers going on outdoor excursions as a child, and I still enjoy them to this day.

 

 

I want you to think about your favorite adventure spot…imagine what you would be doing there right now…

And I will tell you mine…

When I think of adventure and true bliss, I think of the time my parents and I visited Mount Rainier in Washington state in September 2015. The first day we arrived, I was not too impressed…it was rainy and gloomy, we had no cell reception, and I missed my boyfriend…

 

The next day, I woke up to a cold breeze and ready to see what this place was all about.

As I hiked up the mountain, I was surrounded by a mystical land that looked like it came straight out of a fairy tale book. To make the experience even more magical, it began snowing…it felt like Christmas in September! Soon, the enchanted forest became covered in the fluffy snow making our hike unbelievably beautiful.

 

Though on our hike we did not get to see the panoramic views due to the clouds, snow, and wind, we still had an amazing adventure–and one that I consider my favorite.

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Do you ever find yourself overwhelmed with stress? As humans, we tend to stress about all sorts of things–relationships, school, work, health…but stress can shed years off your life. My mom used to tell me to “go to my happy place” when I am feeling down or overwhelmed…it is a tactic I have implemented in my life that I truly believe improves my well-being.

Mount Rainier is an adventure that I experienced and is now my “happy place” that I visit often. I encourage you to think of your happy place and visit it when it seems like things just aren’t going your way…it happens. We can stay organized and make plans for things, but sometimes things just don’t pan out the way you want them to. When this happens, go to your happy place.  Counting your blessings can help with stress and depression too.

Seek adventure in your life so you can re-visit them when times get tough.

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

Pumpkin, Anyone?

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Who is excited this fall season? I know I am! When I was younger, I never got excited about fall…however, the older I get, the more I absolutely LOVE autumn—leaves falling, temperatures cooling, holiday baking…

…and of course: Pumpkin.

I know what you are thinking…pumpkin is so basic. Yeah, basically delicious! And guess what? Not only is pumpkin delicious, but it also comes with fun historical facts and healing nutrition.

Pumpkins are a part of the Cucurbitaceae family along with gourds and squash. Wait, aren’t they all virtually the same thing? Well, they do belong to the same family but have different characteristics.
For one, gourds are ornamental–meaning used for decoration. I remember making bird houses out of gourds in my childhood…we never ate them!
Squash is an edible Cucurbitaceae crop that includes summer, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti varieties. These are great when roasted and pureed, and typically you can find different squash varieties year round.
There are over 45 different varieties of pumpkin that are typically harvested in the fall and can be both ornamental and edible–that is what makes them so unique! We use this fruit to enjoy in fall dishes as well as creative decorations. Did you know that back in the day, the Irish used turnips and potatoes to carve jack-o-lanterns? Weird, right? It was not until Irish immigrants moved to America that they discovered pumpkins were better for carving.

Now onto the nutrition! How do pumpkins benefit our health?

To begin with, pumpkins are 90% water, meaning they are low in calories and high in fiber. In one cup of plain and cooked pureed pumpkin, there are 50 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrate—3 grams from fiber, 2 grams from naturally occurring sugar, and 7 grams of complex carbohydrates.

Micro-nutrients? Pumpkin is rich in beta-carotene which is the precursor to Vitamin A that helps us maintain healthy vision, teeth, and skin. One cup of pumpkin provides 87% of the daily recommendation for Vitamin A.

In addition to beta-carotene, pumpkin contains vitamin K (for gut health), copper (helps body form collagen and absorb iron), vitamin C (immunity boost), magnesium (bone health and calcium absorption), iron (healthy blood), and potassium (protects muscle mass and preserves bone density).

Whew! That was a mouth full of how pumpkin can benefit our wellbeing this fall. It isn’t just about being trendy, but pumpkin has true healing benefits to our bodies, so let’s incorporate it into our diets this season!

Bonus: Did you know that pumpkin can be used as an oil replacement in baking? Though this ingredient is usually the “star” of a baked good, it also serves as a 1:1 ratio to substitute oil. This means that if a recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, you would use 1 cup of pumpkin puree as a replacement. To substitute pumpkin puree for butter, multiply butter by ¾ and that will be the amount of pumpkin to use. Cool, huh?
Below is my Pumpkin-Nut Bread recipe that is refined-sugar free, wheat free, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face! A few pointers: I love “stuff” in my quick breads—nuts and dried fruits. Since I do not use much sugar, it also sweetens up the bread. If you are not a fan, you can veto those goodies. Enjoy!

Pumpkin-Nut Bread

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 15-oz can Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup chopped nuts (I like using walnuts or pecans)
  •      1/4 cuppitted dates, chopped
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • Baking Spray

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a blender, pulse 2 cups of oatmeal until a smooth, flour-like texture.
  3. In a mixing bowl, smash 1 banana until smooth. Add pumpkin puree to banana, mix well. Mix in eggs one at a time. Stir in honey, vanilla, and cinnamon.
  4. Mix in half of the ground oatmeal and stir. Once incorporated with the wet ingredients, add the other half of ground oatmeal. Stir in salt, baking soda, nuts of choice, dates, and raisins.
  5. Grab greased bread tin and fill up about ¾ the way up, allowing to rise some while baking. Bake bread for 35-45 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

 

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

References:
  1. Verywell Fit. (2018). How (and Why) to Include More Pumpkin in Your Diet. [onling]. Available at: https://www.verwellfit.com/pumpkin-nutrition-facts-calories-carbs-and-health-benefits-4165492 [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
  2.  Nutritious Life. 2018. What’s the Difference Between Gourds, Squash, and Pumpkins?. [online] Available at: https://nutritiouslife.com/eat-empowered/whats-difference-gourds-squash-pumpkin/ [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].
  3.  Good Housekeeping. (2018). 16 Pumpkin Facts That’ll Make You Say “Oh My Gourd”. [online] Available at: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/health/diet-nutrition/a22544/facts-about-pumpkins [Accessed 2 Sep. 2018].

Pickin’ Up Pawpaws

Put ’em in your pocket…

Texture like a ripe avocado, mouthfeel of a banana, and taste of mixed tropic fruit, this “hillbilly mango” is native to 26 states in North America ranging from northern Florida all the way up to Ontario, Canada and go as far west as Nebraska.

Also called the “poor man’s banana”, this indigenous fruit provided nutrient dense food for wild animals, Native Americans, and even European explorers and settlers back in the day. Pawpaws are still cropped in the US today and enjoyed in many rural areas. They bloom in the spring and then harvested in late August through mid October, making pawpaws a seasonal fall crop.

Several years ago, my father planted some pawpaw trees on his farm in Western North Carolina, and this year they are producing gobs of fruit. The first time I tried a pawpaw, I did not really know what to think…the texture was like a very ripe avocado but flavor was like an earthy banana with a faint taste of mango and blueberry…weird combo, right? It is by no means a favorite fruit of mine (doesn’t even make my top 10), but it is still fascinating to learn about fruits our ancestors cultivated and ate for proper nutrition.

That brings me to the nutrient facts of a pawpaw! Pawpaws are fruit, so they are full of similar nutrients like a banana, however they are higher in protein and fat content.  One pawpaw has 80 calories, 1.2 grams of fat, 18.8 grams of carbohydrate, and 2.6 grams of dietary fiber.

Pawpaws contain 1.2 grams of complete protein…that’s right! Pawpaws contain all of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Pawpaws are one of the few plants that contain all essential amino acids. Other complete protein plants include soy and quinoa…that is what makes this fruit so unique and interesting!

Now, of course you can eat this fleshy plant raw off the tree, but there are numerous other ways to utilize this fruit! The fruit is ripe when it becomes soft on the tree and can be eaten right away or stored in a refrigerator up to one week. It is a little difficult to process as it contains many big, black seeds, but I found that peeling the fruit with a knife and pressing it through a strainer works well. At that point, you can use the flesh in baked goods or freeze it for a later use. Because the fruit is naturally fatty and creamy, it would make a great base for a smoothie or custard.

When my dad gave me pawpaws last week, I had to get in the kitchen and experiment!  I ended up making “Pawpaw-Nut Muffins” with the recipe below. Try it out and let me know how ya like ’em!


Pawpaw-Nut Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pitted and chopped dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup smashed pawpaw fruit (1 large pawpaw)
  • 3/4 cup of nuts (I used English walnuts)
  • baking spray

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, add water, dates, and cranberries and bring to boil. Stir in applesauce and honey and allow to boil for 1-2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a blender, pulse together the oats, AP flour, eggs, baking soda, and nuts–roughly. Then pour into a mixing bowl and combine together well, making a dough-like texture.
  3. Mix in the cooled applesauce mixture and pawpaws to dough. Put in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes.
  4. Spray muffin tins and fill with batter 3/4 of the way up, allowing room to rise. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

What do you think? Are you curious to try a pawpaw now? Check your local farmer’s market to see if they’ve got any in stock and let me know how you like them!

Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

References: 
Cooking with Pawpaws. Axonopus affinis. hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/ksu-pawpaw/cooking/html. Accessed September 9, 2018.

 

5 New Ideas for Summer Crops

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It is officially summer, if you couldn’t tell by the sweltering heat and humidity (if you are on the east coast), which means our gardens will be spitting out fresh produce for us once again. I have to be honest, I get excited about summer produce initially, but by the end of the season, I am sick of corn and zucchini! Have no fear! I have chosen 5 popular summer crops to research the history, nutrition, and cooking ideas to beat the boredom this season.


…Summer Squash


Fun fact: Did you know that all squash in general are native crops of North America? The Wampanoag Indians cultivated winter and summer varieties in the early stages of America. Summer squash such as yellow squash and zucchini are relatives of winter squash such as butternut, acorn, and pumpkin.


Nutritionally, summer squash are rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant which aids in collagen production, wound healing and iron absorption. In just one ½ cup serving, squash contains 15% of the daily recommendation for vitamin C. In addition to that, summer squash contains 1 gram of fiber per ½ cup serving.  Fiber aids in digestion and helps you have a healthy colon. 


Make no mistake, I love some squash, but I get tired of eating it sautéed for 2 months straight. You can grate squash and add to your baked goods or salads for some extra nutrition and flavor. Or, you can boil, microwave, sauté, roast, and of course-fry this delectable veggie. Most recently, my favorite way is grilled, thanks to my husband.


Directions: First, prep your veggies. Wash the squash and cut the ends off. DO NOT PEEL! Most of the nutrition is in the skin. Chop your squash in whatever form you like best. I prefer circles. Second, grab some aluminum foil and make a “foil packet” as shown above. Add another sheet of aluminum foil to the top forming a pouch to enclose the veggies. Add in your chopped veggies with a little drizzle of canola, grape-seed, or avocado oil. Sprinkle some salt and pepper over the top. If you want to get a little creative, add herb of choice: rosemary, oregano or basil would be good options for a burst of flavor. Third, place foil pack on your grill for about 20 minutes or until tender. You will be AMAZED with how delicious this is. I could eat a mountain of grilled summer squash!

…Basil


An herb used in many Italian and Thai dishes, basil is another fun summer plant.  The origination is debatable as the plant has been cultivated in many different areas for many years, but it is thought to originate in India6. Oddly enough, in ancient Egypt times, basil was used as an embalming agent and has been found in tombs and mummies since then.
With virtually no calories, basil is a great addition to foods to achieve flavor without extra sodium.  Adding fresh basil to soups, pastas, curries, and even fruit can add a burst of flavor. Below is my take on basil pesto.

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Photo by monicore on Pexels.com

Directions: Gather your fresh, clean basil (1 cup) and add to food processor or blender. Add: ¼ cup olive oil, 3 tablespoons of walnuts or pine nuts, a dash of parmesan cheese, and 2 fresh garlic cloves. Pulse mixture together until smooth. Serve over pasta, spread on toast or sandwiches, or use as a dip for veggies. Make a double batch to have on hand for whenever you want it!


…Watermelon

“How do you put water in a watermelon?”

“You plant it in the spring!”

(go ahead, laugh at my corny joke.)

It’s a hot summer’s day, you are chilling at the pool and want a refreshing snack.  What better way to enjoy a nice chunk of watermelon! Watermelon is the definition of summer, and quite possibly my favorite summer crop.

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Cultivated in South Africa, watermelon quickly made its way to Egypt, to Europe, to the Mediterranean, then to India and finally to China. Interestingly enough, China is the world’s largest producer of watermelons5. Watermelon later made its way to America through the slave trade.


Watermelon is a very nutritious fruit made mostly of water (91%) with 6% sugar. This fruit is loaded with vitamin C while low in fat and sodium. Another fun nutrition bit on watermelon is that it is full of fiber! Yes, fiber which we know aids in digestion. One cup of watermelon contains about 50 calories and 1 gram of fiber.


Recipe time! One thing I think pairs well with watermelon is feta cheese-you get a little bit of salty/sweet action. Below is my recipe for Watermelon-Feta Salad.

Directions: First, prep your watermelon by cutting it in half and using a melon baller to form melon-balls. You will want to spoon out about 3-4 cups of watermelon. To the watermelon, add ¼ cup of feta cheese crumbles. Mix together.  If you want to get a little spunky, add some freshly chopped basil. This fruit salad is a great dessert option for a patriotic holiday cookout.


…Beets


Did you have that one vegetable growing up that you absolutely loathed and begged your parents not to make you eat? Yeah, beets were that vegetable for me, and of course my father made me eat at least one each time it was on the menu. They say your taste buds change every seven years-must be true because I love them now!


Originally from the Mediterranean, the actual beetroot was generally used medicinally.  That’s right, people generally ate the greens from beets before discovering the fleshy, earthy part many of us enjoy today7. Due to their strong staining effect, beets were used to dye clothing in the olden days.
Beets are highly nutritious for the fact they are good sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are generally in substances containing vitamin C and remove potentially harmful oxidizing agents in a living organism, which potentially can decrease the amount of cancer cells8. Per 1 cup of beets, there are about 60 calories, 13 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fiber. Beets are rich in vitamin C and potassium, which help maintain our natural acid-base balance in the body.


Beets are mostly canned or pickled, but my favorite way to cook beets is by roasting in the oven.

sliced red beets
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Directions: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and wash your beets. Chop beets into bite sized pieces. Drizzle oil of choice-I choose one with a high smoke point like canola or grapeseed oil. Add: ½ tablespoon of honey, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon of onion powder, and 1 teaspoon of garlic salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until tender. Add to a nice spinach salad with your favorite goat cheese for some extra flavor. Roasted butternut squash or carrots would be a nice addition to that salad, as well.


…Corn


When I think back to my childhood and helping my dad in his garden, corn was always something we had an abundance of, and to be honest it was my least favorite summer crop (and still is). However, the history behind it is very neat!


Corn was actually nonexistent in the wild until it was cultivated in Central Mexico many, many years ago. Eventually when the Mexican culture migrated to America, they cultivated this crop in the Americas. Later when the Europeans came over, it was the Native Americans job to teach them how to cultivate many grains-especially corn. There are many varieties and colors of corn out there-blue corn, yellow corn, sweet corn, popcorn…which is your favorite? Corn can then be processed into many things we eat today from chips to grits (if you are a Southerner like me) or polenta.

corn kernel
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Though is does contain calories and carbs our bodies need, corn is actually one of the least nutritious grains. It contains poor quality protein (mainly because it is incomplete, as most grains are) and there is no niacin in this grain. Niacin is the precursor to tryptophan, an essential amino acid in our body. Essential amino acids are those that are not naturally made by our bodies. We have to eat foods that contain essential amino acids to make proteins in our body. Without niacin, our bodies will not make tryptophan. Corn does have some benefits though as it contains numerous vitamins and minerals to aid in processes in our bodies.

Wanna fight the boredom with this starchy grain? You can do many things with it-saute, boil on the Cobb, creamed…the recipe I am sharing with you is corn salsa. If I have to eat it, I prefer it with the Mexican flavors.


Directions: First, obviously, get to shuckin’! Once you have gotten all the silk off the corn, wash thoroughly. Next, cut corn off the Cobb and add to a bowl. Add: 1 can of black beans (drained and rinsed), ½ cup of diced tomatoes (I like using Roma or grape), a bundle of finely chopped cilantro, lime juice, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon of cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Then just mix it all up!  Refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to integrate. Serve with your favorite tortilla chip or top a salad with it for some extra flavor.


What’s your favorite summer crop?

Jumpstart your mindful eating journey by downloading my 6 Steps to Mindful Eating guide here – it’s free!

Until Next Time,
Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN
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References:
1.    Horttech.ashspublications.org. (2018). [online] Available at: http://horttech.ashspublications.org/content/6/1/6.full.pdf [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
2.    National Museum of American History. (2018). From the Victory Garden: American history told through squash. [online] Available at: http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/2011/11/from-the-victory-garden-american-history-told-through-squash.html [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
3.    Whatscooking.fns.usda.gov. (2018). [online] Available at: https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_SUMMERSQUASH_900151Dec2012.pdf [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
4.     Encyclopedia Britannica. (2018). Corn | History, Cultivation, Uses, & Description. [online] Available at: https://www.britannica.com/plant/corn-plant [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
5.    Vegetablefacts.net. (2018). History of Watermelon – Origin of Different Types of Watermelons. [online] Available at: http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-history/history-of-watermelon/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
6.    The Spruce Eats. (2018). The History of Basil From Food to Medicine to Religion. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-basil-1807566 [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
7.    The Spruce Eats. (2018). With Their Earthy Flavor, Beets Fan a Love ‘Em or Hate ‘Em Debate. [online] Available at: https://www.thespruceeats.com/the-history-of-beets-1807568 [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].
8.    Nutritionfacts.org. (2018). beets | Health Topics | NutritionFacts.org. [online] Available at: https://nutritionfacts.org/topics/beets/ [Accessed 27 Jun. 2018].

What Kind of Tree are You?

I had a professor, one very near and dear to my heart, ask us this question in class last quarter.  “If you were a tree, what kind would you be and why?”

That is an interesting question, and one that I have never thought about.   I would like to think of myself as some really extraordinary, cool tree.  Something like a glorious, majestic cedar tree that smells like winter, or even an evergreen—Christmas trees make families happy and in the spirit of giving—but the truth is, I am neither of those; nor am I any other spectacular tree constantly bringing joy to others.  I think I relate to a persimmon tree.

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You may be thinking, huh, a persimmon tree.  I know—odd tree to choose.  However, when I think about it, a persimmon tree is very much my “spirit tree”.  The tree grows up to produce fruit.  This fruit that it produces has a prime season when it is ripe and delicious (if you like persimmons).  However, when the fruit is not ripe, it leaves a very astringent aftertaste.

Just like the persimmon tree, I have grown up to “blossom” into my intelligence, wisdom (kind of), and experience.  I have produced fruit—both good and bad.  My fruit is my characteristics.  I have good ones, but I have some bad ones too.  Just like the unripe persimmon, I can be very bitter and negative, making others think I am “astringent”.  On the other hand, and hopefully more times than none, I would like to think I produce the good fruit—the ripe fruit—the fruit that is sweet, sensitive, and refreshing—a positive fruit.

I think we all have times that we are proud of and times that we are not.  I will strive my hardest to produce more “good fruit” than bad that way my tree will survive and be successful.

Matthew 7:16 says, “You will recognize them by their fruits.  Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes  or figs from thistles?”  

So, think about it.  What kind of tree are you?  What are some things you could change to better yourself?  How can you inspire others and yourself to be the “good” fruit?

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Until Next Time,

Happy Chewing!
Katrina Detter, RD, LDN

 

Resources:
Bible NLT, Translation TNL, Translation NL.  The Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers; July 1, 1997.