Archive for ‘Vegetables’

September 1, 2012

Benefits of Gardening

Samantha Cianci, Gardener, Dancer

Samantha Cianci, Gardener

By: Dana Baardsen

I invite you to explore Samanciland, an abundant oasis of green which would make any organic gardener wiggle their toes. Though the name might sound playful, Samanciland is more than just a pretty garden. It’s a source of nourishment and “therapy” for it’s owner.

Meet Samantha, an inspiring gardener and dancer who executes her ability to care for her plants extremely well.

I’ll let you be the judge!


gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardeninggardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

gardening, organic garden, green thumb, healing garden, benefits of gardening

Not only does Sam grow and harvest the plants in her whimsical garden, but she cooks with them too! …Pretty impressive, huh?

gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb
gardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumbgardening, organic garden, benefits of gardening, green thumb

Samantha is definitely onto something, as scientific research supports the benefits growing a garden at home.

Here are five reasons why you should start:

1.Sweet Serenity: Planting and gardening elevates the  levels of “happy hormones” in our bodies as well as decreasing feelings of stress and anxiety.

2. Gets the Blood Flowing: Maintaining a garden is actually a relaxing yet effective form of exercise. Burning those extra calories is definitely a plus!

3. Veggie Heaven: Gardeners are more likely to indulge in a diet rich in fruits and vegetables.

4. Earth is My Mother: Working with floral, fruit, herbal, and vegetable plants will strengthen your precious bond with nature.

5. Ah, Satisfaction Baby: Wouldn’t it feel nice to know that your centerpiece or meals actually came from something you planted, grew, and harvested?

…So what are you waiting for? Go out there and plant something! Even if you don’t have the space outdoors, you can grow potted flowers and herbs indoors. Just remember, the most fruitful and rapidly growing plants are those grown with healing and loving hands. 🙂 NB

All photos in this blog were provided by Samantha! To check out more from Samantha’s garden– view her gardening and cooking albums.

June 30, 2012

What is Yucca?

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freshfruitfarm.com

By: Dana Baardsen

Yucca is a root vegetable which grows naturally in Southwestern United States and South America.

This unique veggie can be compared to having the same consistency of a potato, yet blander in flavor. Aside from being a staple in several South American dishes, cooked yucca holds health benefits which trace back to the Native Americans.

Not only are there claims of yucca healing arthritis symptoms, but this root vegetable contains resveratrol which prevents blood vessel damage. Another powerful healing property of the yucca is it’s saponin content. Saponin particles attach to cholesterol and prevent the body from absorbing it. Incorporate yucca into your diet if you consume foods high in cholesterol!

The yucca plant actually develops beautiful edible flowers which are high in thiamine and some b vitamins. Check out this quick cooking demonstration:

You should also note the flour produced from the root, is gluten-free!

Step out of your comfort zone and enjoy this yummy earth food! You can serve yucca instead of bread, or even make yucca fries. Have fun! NB

June 15, 2012

You Are What You Eat…

Food, Diet

June 14, 2012

What the heck is Jicama?

Jicama

By: Dana Baardsen

Alright, so you may or may not have heard of the South American root vegetable- Jicama. Either way, you should know that it is a great food to incorporate into your diet. Here’s why:

First of all, it’s delicious. Jicama has a crispy sweet flavor which is somewhere in between the flavors of an apple and water chestnut.

Secondly, It’s easy. Jicama can be eaten raw or cooked. It is easy to slice, chop, julienne, or whatever you feel like! You just have to peel off the outer layer first.

Thirdly, Jicama is low-cal, fat-free and nutritious. It provides lots of fiber and Vitamin C.

There are three main nutritious qualities about Jicama which actually contribute to weight loss:

  • Jicama contains Vitamin C which utilizes glucose for energy rather than storing it as fat.
  • There are significant amounts of fiber in Jicama. Fiber is what helps your body eliminate waste. Without fiber your body would begin to harbor harmful toxins and it would also become more difficult for you to lose weight.
  • The most unique quality about Jicama is that it contains significant levels of ellagic acid. Ellagic acid actually will help you control and lose weight because it takes the calories from food and helps the body use those calories for energy, rather than storing the unwanted cals as fat.

My favorite way to eat Jicama is to either chop it fresh and toss into a salad, or make Jicama Fries. It’s so simple, all you have to do is coat your chopped Jicama with a small amount of olive oil, and let them bake in the oven. You can season the fries with whatever you like…the flavor of Jicama is so versatile you could season the fries with anything from garlic to cinnamon. NB

May 6, 2012

Japanese Vegan “Jello”

Wagashi, Japanese, NY

By: Dana Baardsen

Nestled in Rockefeller Center, Minamoto Kichoan, is a small formal hiatus for Japanese confections. Rushing through New York, not too many sights catch my eye on the side of the street. Regretfully, I often whiz past some of the most beautiful and unique boutiques on my rushed journeys through Manhattan, as I make my way to work or meetings.

This day in particular, the meeting I had to attend was in the 30 Rock building. A building which is absolutely stunning in itself. You can find Minamoto Kichoan right around the corner at 49th St. west of 5th Ave. What caught my eye was the gorgeous perfection of each confection adorably resting on the other side of the glass window. I knew exactly where I would be upon the completion of my meeting.

In entering the Japanese “bakery” you feel a calm, cool energy which is complimented by the cleanliness and relaxing interior design. Feeling inspired, I admired the artistry which goes into each confection, and then I realized something which made me even more thrilled.Wagashi, Japanese, NY

The confections were all vegan! And not only that, they were made from the fibers of healthful foods. The Wagashi contains barely any fat.

I was pleasantly surprised as I tasted the chilled cherry Wagashi. There is a certain delicate sweetness which undoubtedly makes this treat a Japanese staple.

The ingredients used in Wagashi are, “legumes such as azuki beans and kidney beans, grains such as rice, rice flour and wheat flour, sacharride, potatoes, fruits, nuts such as chestnuts, sesame, agar, and sugar. All of these ingredients are derived from nature. Wagashi includes vegetable protein, vegetable fiber, various vitamins and minerals.” -Minamota Kichoa

Need I say more? Check out the store locations and try some Wagashi near you! NB

March 20, 2012

Top Five Spring Diet Foods!

By: Dana Baardsen

Spring has officially sprung as fog rolls over the New York area. De-fog your diet by snacking on these top five picks:

1. Sugar Snap Peas: Fresh and crunchy these ohhh so sweet snap peas will allow you to snack, guilt-free. Throw some of these high-fiber bites into a zip lock baggie for a perfect on-the-go snack!

2. Carrots: Much on these for a snack high in antioxidants and low in calories. Carrots make a great spring snack…just don’t forget to save some for the Easter bunny!

3. Okra: I hope you’ve heard of this little veggie-like fruit. If not, pick some up in the frozen food section of your local supermarket. Okra is a powerful fruit with anti-cancer and age defying effects you just can’t ignore!

4. Artichoke: So filling yet surprisingly low-cal, artichokes make a great family style spring snack. This potassium packed treat can be enjoyed with yummy low fat dips.

5. Strawberries: Juicy, sweet and irresistible, strawberries can actually help curb your appetite and fuel your metabolism…not to mention whiten your teeth! Indulge in these sweeties this spring and don’t hesitate to stick some in the freezer for a hard-candy-like treat.

Photo Credits: Shape.com

NB

February 27, 2012

VertiCrop

verticrop.com

Hey, check out this fairly new method of farming. It was featured in 2009 by TIME Magazine as one of the World’s Greatest Inventions. What do you think?

“This patented technology was developed to grow food naturally in bustling urban environments and represents a paradigm shift in farming and food production. Providing up to 20 times the yield of normal field crops, while using only 8% of the water typically required for soil farming.

Utilizing a unique, suspended tray configuration on a moving conveyor system, VertiCrop™ provides optimal exposure to either natural or artificial light along with precisely measured nutrients for each plant. Designed to grow healthy, leafy green vegetables in closed loop and controlled environments, VertiCrop™ eliminates the need for harmful herbicides and pesticides, while maximizing taste, nutrition and food value.” -VertiCrop.com

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