How to Pick a Good One

We want to feed our family the best quality fruits and vegetables to balance your plate. When you are at the grocery store or farmers’ market, how do you pick fresh fruits and vegetables? Here are some ideas to help.

How to pick a good one

Watermelon:

  • Pick a watermelon that has a yellow belly. These large yellow spots indicate the watermelon is ripe and ready to eat.

Tomatoes:

  • If you are wanting the tomato for immediate use, pick a bright red tomato, but if you are wanting the tomato for future use, pick a pale pink/orange tomato.
  • Don’t store your tomatoes in the fridge. The colder temperature from the fridge causes the tomato to undergo a change that weakens the flavor and texture, which in turn causes it to ripen faster.

Peppers:

  • Store peppers in the fridge, unwashed in a plastic bag. Typically, red, yellow and orange peppers can last 4-5 days and green peppers last about a week.

Sweet Corn:

  • Feel the cob to see how tight the husk is on the cob. When the cob feels tight, it usually means there is a high water content in the corn kernels. This means the corn is fresh. Also, older husks will start to brown and have a more wrinkled texture.

Cantaloupe:

  • Look for a golden-colored melon with a clean, round hole where the stem was.
  • A little fact about melon: 1 cup of honeydew melon provides the same amount of potassium as a banana.

Asparagus:

  • Avoid purchasing asparagus with ‘woody’ ends. A sign of aging is dry, split ends. The ends should be compact, firm and dry.

Mango:

  • Give the mango a squeeze. If it is ripe, the mango will give a little without being squishy.

In the end, if unsure about the produce item, ask the vendor to share the tips and tricks for that particular fruit/vegetable.

Visit us this summer at the Illinois Products Farmers’ Market!

Megan Klemm

Off to the Farmers’ Market

Off to the Farmers Market

Last night we kicked off another year of the Illinois Products Farmers’ Market at the Illinois State Fairgrounds! Time and time again, we share how important a well balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables is to you health. What better way to stock your shelves with fresh, local produce than by taking a trip to your local market?

The Farmers’ Market offers not only produce, but organic meat, eggs and plants for your own garden. Come on out and enjoy a night of fun and health. Stop by the Springfield Clinic tables on the following dates to meet us! For more information on the market, visit our website.

June9   |   July 14   |   Sept. 8   |   Oct. 13

Healthy Recipe – Creamy Baked Pumpkin Risotto

CreamyBakedPumpkinRisotto

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, small diced
  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup medium yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 400oF and arrange a rack in the middle.

2. Combine broth, rice, squash, puree, and onion in a 3-quart baking dish, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to evenly combine.  Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake, stirring occasionally, until most the water has been absorbed and rice granules are puffed, about 35 to 30 minutes.

3. Remove from oven, stir in remaining ingredients, season to taste and serve. Serves 6.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 269.Total Fat: 11 g. Saturated Fat: 4 g. Sugar: 3 g. Fiber: 2.5 g. Cholesterol: 12mg. Sodium: 253 mg. Total Carbohydrate: 36 g. Dietary Fiber: 2 g. Protein: 9 g.

-www.foodnetwork.com- Recipe courtesy of Aida Mollenkamp; 2012 Television Food Network G.P.

 

Back In Action- Farmer’s Market Kick-Off Today

After a two-week hiatus from the Illinois Products Farmer’s Markets for the Illinois State Fair we are back in action at the market. Join us tonight from 4-7 pm at the Illinois State Fairgrounds for fresh produce, sweet treats, and more. Tonight we will be giving away salad shakers to the first 100 visitors to our booth. shaker1 shaker2 Complete with fork and a special compartment for your dressing of choice. Also tonight you can visit with our Orthopedic Group and pick up our Healthy Recipe of the Week: Chicken Pasta Salad with Creamy Poppy Seed Dressing.

Notes from Amanda Figge,” This recipe has already been approved as delicious. The Channel 20 news studio gobbled it up and when I brought the leftovers up to Lincoln this morning; they were completely gone in 30 minutes (by 8:15am!).”

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup fat-free, sugar-free vanilla yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 ounces dried whole-grain penne
  • 12 ounces cooked skinless chicken breast, cooked without salt, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3 ounces spinach, cut into long, thin pieces or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, halved and slivered
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, dry-roasted
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free milk (optional)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. Set aside.

2. Prepare the pasta using the package directions, omitting the salt. Drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool. Drain well.

3. In a large bowl, stir together the chicken, pasta, spinach, bell pepper, and onion.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad, tossing to coat (using two large spoons works well). Sprinkle with the almonds or cover and refrigerate for up to 4 hours, sprinkling with the almonds just before serving. If the salad seems dry after refrigeration, toss with the milk at serving time to add moisture.

chickenpastasaladcreamypoppyCook’s Tip – For a hearty side salad, omit the chicken and add some shredded carrots, chopped cucumber, or other vegetables.

Nutrition Information: Calories: 358.Total Fat: 7.5 g. Saturated Fat: 1.5 g. Monounsaturated Fat: 3.5 g. Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g. Trans Fat: 0 g. Cholesterol: 75 mg. Sodium: 233 mg. Carbohydrate: 37 g. Fiber: 7 g. Sugars: 4 g. Protein: 35 g.

-American Heart Association, Recipes for the Heart

Recipe of the Week

Don’t forget to join us today at the Illinois Products Farmer’s Market at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, IL from 4 -7p.m. The Illinois Products Farmer’s Market will be taking a two-week break following this week for the Illinois State Fair and will resume again on August 22. Come out and buy fresh local produce, enjoy a beverage, and grab some delicious BBQ.

This week’s healthy recipe is Mediterranean Vegetable Strata from Springfield Clinic’s health library.

Vegetable strata

Ingredients

  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small Vidalia onion
  • 1 red or green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 large whole-wheat roll
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 4 ounces garlic and herb feta cheese

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly oil or spray a cookie pan with olive oil. Slice vegetables and roast for about 20 minutes, turning once. Onions and peppers will take longer than mushrooms, which can be added when you turn the vegetables. While vegetables are roasting, cut roll into small cubes (less than an inch). Spread cubes evenly over the bottom of a two-quart baking dish. Layer vegetables on top of bread. Spread crumbled feta cheese evenly over vegetables. Beat eggs with sour cream and cream cheese. Pour egg mixture over vegetables. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serves eight

Each serving contains about 178 calories, 11 g protein, 10 g fat, 90 mg cholesterol, 9 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, and 326 mg sodium.

Farmer’s Market Week 3

This week at the Illinois Products Farmer’s Market you can meet with our Endocrinology Department’s Registered Dietitian, Melissa S. Schleder, RD, LDN. Melissa will be sharing how to make low sodium seasoning and controlling your sodium intake.

You also can pick up the delicious recipe of the week. This week the recipe is Confetti Wraps. Don’t forget to collect all 22 of the recipe cards and bring them back to the last market day for a chance at the grand prize drawing. Also pick up the recipe card, make the recipe, take a picture, and post it to our facebook page to be eligible for INSTANT market bucks!

recipecard_003_Page_2

We hope to see you there!