Posts Tagged ‘cranberries’

A Greener Thanksgiving

As we give thanks for family, friends and delicious and abundant food this Thanksgiving, take a moment to appreciate this beautiful earth we live on too.  Why not make your Thanksgiving a “green” one and try the ideas below.

Image by Ilrena Flickr.com
  • For your holiday dinner, support local farmers and organic produce. The average food travels 1500 miles from farm to plate, consuming large quantities of fossil fuels and generating major CO2 emissions. Local food by contrast is usually transported 100 – 200 miles, has fewer pesticides and can be picked when ripe.  It is obviously fresher and better.  Farm stands and supermarkets have an abundance of local winter squash, carrots, potatoes, greens, herbs, apples, and pumpkin. Don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bags.
  • Try a locally grown, free range organic turkey available at local farms and Whole Foods.  Fresh turkeys are not treated with antibiotics and growth hormones and are moist and delicious.  You won’t believe the difference.  For the vegetarians at your table, try a Tofurkey (available from Trader Joe’s).  It come with its own vegetarian gravy and is really good!  If you can find them, use organic cranberries for your cranberry sauce –  cranberries (and other thin-skinned fruits) are grown with a lot of pesticides.
  • Consider serving organic wine along with your meal. Organic wine is made from certified organically grown grapes, meaning grown without pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Conventionally grown grapes are another heavily sprayed crop, and the chemical residues can end up in the wine.  Organically grown grapes are better for the soil, the plant and the wine drinker.
  • China, silver and cloth napkins are obviously better for the environment than throwaway paper plates and plastic utensils.  They look better too!  If you are expecting a big crowd and need to opt for disposable, get the biodegradable and compostable plates and utensils.
  • We eat way too many sweets from Halloween through Christmas.  Try using less sugar in your pies and cakes or substituting with honey or maple syrup.
  • Thanksgiving dinner generates a lot of leftovers and food waste.   According to earth911.com, “at least 28 billion pounds of edible food is wasted each year – more than 100 pounds per person.” Careful planning and portion control is a good way to avoid waste. With what leftovers you do have, donate them to a local food pantry or homeless shelter.                                         Use Less Stuff created the handy guide below of approximate food portions per person for Thanksgiving dinner:
    • Turkey- 1 pound
    • Stuffing- ¼ pound
    • Sweet potato casserole- ¼ pound
    • Green beans- ¼ pound
    • Cranberry relish- 3 tablespoons
    • Pumpkin pie- 1/8 of a 9 inch pie
  • After the big feast, don’t forget to recycle cans, cartons, plastics and bottles and compost kitchen scraps.

With your healthy and “green” holiday feast, you won’t feel so badly about overindulging!  Happy Thanksgiving!

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.

Making Jam The Old Fashioned Way

Last weekend my friend and I spent a fabulous morning at a jam making class at the Green Briar Nature Center in Sandwich on Cape Cod.  This post isn’t exactly a green tip, but rather a description of class that is a true throwback to an era when life was slower and simpler, a time when you cooked with ingredients you or your neighbors grew, a time when people took the time to talk to one another without smart phones, without Facebook, without Twitter.

The Green Briar Nature Center is located in a charming old house near a pond and adjacent to the famous Briar Patch of the Thornton Burgess’s children’s stories.  There are nature trails, a spectacular wildflower garden and a natural history library.  The center also offers year round weekly jam making classes in an old-fashioned, turn-of-the-century (and I mean the 20th century!) kitchen.   The recipes are the originals from the early 1900’s; we made cranberry hot pepper jam. The cranberries were local and came from the farm next to ours in East Sandwich.  The ingredients and jam making utensils were nicely laid out for each participant.

photo

My friend is an expert jam maker, but even for a novice like me it was easy.  Friendly volunteers guided us through each step, making sure when the jam was ready to be jarred, we did it correctly.   Lined up one right after the other, we chopped and stirred, talked and learned about each other’s lives, and asked questions of the more experienced jam makers.  It reminded me of the old quilting bees when woman would gather and sew and chat.  In this jam making class, men participate too.

Making Jam at the Green Briar Nature Center

What a pleasant respite from the hustle, bustle of the holiday season and a special way to spend time with a friend.  What a lovely gift homemade jelly makes!  The center also has a gift shop with more homemade jams and jellies as well as other handcrafted items.    I can’t think of a greener holiday gift than a morning at an authentic jam making class!  Visit www.thorntonburgess.org for more information.

 

 

A QUOTE ABOUT EATING

“To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy Meals.”

Benjamin Franklin

The holiday season doesn’t have to be a time of overindulging on fattening, processed, nutrient-poor foods.  You can serve healthy, organic, delicious and satisfying holiday treats instead.  Here are a few recipes for foods that are actually good for you.

Spicy Carmelized Pecans

From Jane Brody’s Good Food Gourmet

Use this healthful and easy to prepare treat in a salad, as an hors d’oeuvres, for a snack, or a homemade holiday gift.

  • 2 cups pecan halves
  • Water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons butter (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tablespoons organic sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon or more cayenne, to taste

1.  Place the pecans in a large skillet or saucepan with water to cover.  Bring the ingredients just to a simmer over high heat.  Drain the nuts immediately, and set them aside.

2.  Melt the butter in a large skillet.  Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar, salt and cayenne.  Then add the nuts.

3.  Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook the nuts, tossing them constantly with a spatula, until they are a caramel color.  Remove from the pan to a platter, and let them cool in a single layer.  Store the nuts in layers separated  by wax paper.


Swiss Chard, Hummus and Avocado Hors d’oeuvre

I sampled this creative and oh so healthy hors d’oeuvre at Whole Foods the other day, and was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was.

Smear fresh swiss chard with hummus and add slices of ripe avocado.  Roll us and slice into bite-sized pieces. Simple!

 

Cranberry-Banana Bread

From The Wilson Farm Country Cookbook

Quick breads are just that, as well as nutritious, and make a perfect holiday gift or a delightful addition to a holiday brunch, luncheon or dinner.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

  • ¼ cup butter or coconut oil, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  •  1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup mashed banana (one)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped organic cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup water
  •  ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  •   ½ cup chopped nuts

Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat in the eggs with an electric mixer.  Stir in the banana, cranberries, water and vanilla.  Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together and stir them into the batter.  Add the chopped nuts.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 55 minutes.

Dark Chocolate

Fill your  Christmas stockings or your bon bon dish with dark chocolates – the health benefits  are becoming well known.  Click here to read more.

You can indulge this season with the right foods!  Enjoy!!!

AUTUMN AND THE HARVEST

Cranberry Harvest – Image by Tony Libby 

Autumn’s crisp blue sky and the brilliant reds, yellows and oranges of the trees make it a special time of year.  Fall is also harvest time when the growing season ends and mature crops are gathered.  The cranberry harvests on Cape Cod are a sight to behold. CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and Farmer’s Markets are winding down and farmers put their fields to bed and get some much-needed rest from the busy season.

This year, think about eating locally as much as possible throughout the fall and winter.  Stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farmer’s Markets, mostly root vegetables, apples and cranberries in New England,  and store them in your basement or cold storage area.

Canning and freezing are great ways to extend the life of fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have a garden, you probably already know how to make and can fresh tomato sauce, applesauce, jellies and jams with the abundance of summer fruits. Herbs freeze well too, so gather some before the first frost. “Fresh” herbs are a welcome surprise to winter dishes.

Eating locally all yearlong is getting easier with winter CSAs and winter Farmer’s Markets.  Many communities now offer them.

Eating locally grown food is important for many reasons – it’s fresher, grown organically or with fewer pesticides, more nutritious, supports local farmers, and has a much smaller carbon footprint because it is not transported from far.  As Barbara Kingsolver says in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (a wonderful book about her family’s experience eating only seasonal and local food for one year – I highly recommend it.),  “If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. …  Becoming a less energy-dependent nation may just need to start with a good breakfast.”

Celebrate autumn and the harvest this year and enjoy great food all year long.

For more green living tips, visit greenwithbetsy.com.


CELEBRATE WITH A GREEN THANKSGIVING!

As we give thanks this Thanksgiving, why not make it a “green” one?  Try the ideas below.

Image by Ilrena Flickr.com

  • For your holiday dinner, support local farmers who grow organic produce. The average food travels 1500 miles from farm to plate, consuming large quantities of fossil fuels and generating major CO2 emissions. Local food by contrast is usually transported 100 – 200 miles, has fewer pesticides and can be picked when ripe.  It is obviously fresher and better.  Farm stands and supermarkets have an abundance of local winter squash, carrots, potatoes, greens, herbs, apples, and pumpkin. Don’t forget to bring your reusable shopping bags.
  • Try a locally grown, free range organic turkey available at local farms and Whole Foods.  Fresh turkeys are unbelievably moist and delicious and not treated with antibiotics and growth hormones.  You won’t believe the difference.  For the vegetarians at your table, try a Tofurkey – it’s really good!  Make sure you use organic cranberries for your cranberry sauce – cranberries are a heavily sprayed crop.
  • Add freshly baked local artisan bread and rolls.
  • Consider serving organic wine along with your meal. Organic wine is made from certified organically grown grapes, meaning grown without pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers. Conventionally grown grapes are one of the most heavily sprayed crops, and the chemical residues can end up in the wine.  Organically grown grapes are better for the soil, the plant and the wine drinker.
  • China, silver and cloth napkins are obviously better for the environment than paper plates and plastic utensils.  They look much better too!  If you are expecting a big crowd and need to opt for disposable, get the biodegradable and compostable plates and utensils.
  • After the big feast, don’t forget to recycle cans, cartons, plastics and bottles and compost leftover kitchen waste.

With your healthy and “green” holiday feast, you won’t feel so badly about overindulging!  Happy Thanksgiving!