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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to Use and Freeze Grapes For Winter

There is no need to be concerned with eating seasonally when you have done some leg work to preserve some of the fresh produce harvested in the summer and fall months. Recently, we were invited to enjoy the “fruits” (yes, this pun is intended) of our neighbor’s labor by indulging in her numerous red and white grape vines. It was amazing to see the sheer number of grapes waiting to be harvested. We grabbed our recyclable grocery bag and scissors and scored almost a half of bag full of grapes as well as enjoying a sweet grape or two between every snip.

Our first plan was wine, but that seemed a bit involved for our first batch of grapes. We do have a plan for grape jelly (with no added sugar) which we will share when we embark on that recipe in a week or so. But the quickest and simplest way to preserve grapes for consumption throughout the winter months is by freezing them. It is super easy and it preserves their deliciousness perfectly.

How to Freeze Grapes

     Step 1: Remove all grapes from stem and place in a colander. 
Throw away any over-ripe or damaged grapes.

Step 2:  Rinse grapes well. (We picked grapes that were absolutely free of any sprays. If you are unsure of the exposure of your grapes to pesticides, rinse very well and consider allowing them to soak in water and a solution designed to remove pesticides.)

    Step 3: Spread grapes (1 layer thick) on cookie sheets to dry in a warm, dry place. You can speed the process along by placing on paper towels and gently rolling them around to dry,

Step 4: After drying, place the grapes (still on the cookie sheets) into the freezer. Let them freeze overnight. This will allow you to store the grapes without them clumping together.

Step 5: The next day, remove the grapes from the freezer and place in gallon freezer bags.
How to Use Frozen Grapes

  • They are delicious by themselves as a treat. Just pop into your mouth and enjoy. 
  • Use as “ice cubes” for your favorite drink. This is great for parties.
  • Add into smoothies, especially green smoothies for a refreshing added sweetness.
  • Spoon onto sorbet and add some fruity wine or juice for a delicious slushy treat!

Grapes are mostly water and therefore will quickly thaw. If you are not a fan of super cold things on your teeth (like me), place some frozen grapes in the refrigerator and they will quickly become softer and cooler. Enjoy!

**Be sure you join as a follower of our blog to get our recipes for grape jelly and cinnamon pears!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Healthy Crab Cake Recipe!

I love crab cakes, especially healthy crab cakes! Who doesn’t? My husband and I recently moved to a small beach house right on the water of the Puget Sound and we have the thrill of catching live Dungeness Crabs just a short boat ride from our front door. It is the most amazing feeling to pull those cages up and look over the boat into the water and see it floating up through the water swarming with crabs. Let’s just say that we did “very well” for ourselves and found ourselves with an overabundance of crab. We started to get creative with the crab to avoid eating the same thing day in and day out, although fresh crab is quite delicious.

Here is one of my favorite healthy crab recipes that I swear I will never get sick of! I have made this for my husband and I as well as a group of girlfriends and everyone has ranted and raved about it!  I realize many people don’t live near the water and have the luxury of fresh Dungeness crab, but next time you are at the store, think about this recipe and GO FOR IT! Your family and/or guests will LOVE you for it and they won’t even know that it is a healthy crab cake recipe.

Healthy Edge Style Crab Cakes
 *Makes 8 large crab cakes. 

*Cut crab meat to 1 ½ cups for 4 crab cakes or 8 small crab cakes. This recipe is gluten-free and can easily be made dairy free by following the suggestions in the ingredients.

·         3 ½ cups crab meat
·         ½ cup chopped scallions
·         1 organic egg
·         ¼ cup organic Greek style yogurt or Veganaise
·         2 Tbsp. chopped basil
·         1 cup oatmeal flour (make by grinding whole oatmeal in food processor or coffee grinder)
·         ½ cup shredded organic cheese or vegan cheese substitute
·         1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
·         2 tsp. ground black pepper
·         1 organic Roma tomato, diced small
·         ½ cup basil, chopped
·         2 Tbsp. lemon juice

1.       Combine all ingredients in a large bowl using a fork to stir, shredding the crab meat as you stir.
2.       When all ingredients are well combine, make sure hands are washed and begin scooping approximately ½ cup of mixture into hands and form into patties. Repeat until all of mixture is gone.
3.       In a large skillet, drizzle olive oil and heat under medium-high heat. Use a spatula to cover the bottom of the skillet evenly with olive oil.
4.       Once skillet it hot, place patties in skillet. Cook for approximately 4-5 minutes on one side and flip and cook 4-5 minutes on other side. Patties should be lightly browned.
5.       To make topping, combine all ingredients together and stir.

This is a beautiful dish for healthy crab cakes can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish for dinner. The topping adds beautiful color and a fresh taste to the healthy crab cakes that there will be no need for any thick sauces.

Note: You can use whole oatmeal in this recipe instead of grinding it, but the cakes hold together a bit better when it is ground like flour. You could also substitute a different whole grain flour for this ingredient.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Help! I Need to Trade In Some Junk Food!

School is back in session and as I watch my child get on the bus and leave for the day I just pray that she will be safe and or course pleasant to her teacher all day. It can be very sad to sit and realize how little control I have around my child's behavior on the bus or at school for the day. However, I do know one thing I have control over with my kids... FOOD! I have control over what they eat for breakfast, lunch, after school and dinner! HOW? You might ask. Because I am the one buying the groceries! I don't know how many times I have taken my kids to the grocery store and hear "Can we get this?" or "Mommy, so and so's mom puts cookies in her lunch!".  This use to bother me and I would usually give in.  Until I learned a very wonderful word, "NO!"  And when the big "WHY?" comes, without hesitation I say because I love you and that's the end of it. 

So much of the junk food that our children consume happens because we let it.  When you bring home chips, ice cream, pop, etc. you are enabling your kids to eat unhealthy.  But when you set up a "Safe Environment" for them, they eat foods that are going to benefit there growth (physically and mentally), energy level and attitude.  And it also makes those Friday night ice cream runs more special.  Without it in the house, the kids will be jumping for joy at the chance to go out and have family time while enjoying a special treat.  Why is it a special treat?  Because it is not available to them whenever they want.

Here are a few Snack Replacement Ideas.

Water                                    instead of        Pop  (Cheaper and Healthier)
Nuts/Raisins                           instead of        Crackers 
Homemade Popsicles              instead of        Ice Cream
Stovetop Popcorn                   instead of        Microwave Popcorn
Oatmeal Power Scoops           instead of        Cookies
Homemade No-Bake Bars       instead of        Store Bought Bars
Carrots with Hummus or     
Celery with Peanut butter        instead of        Chips and dip

For more after school snack ideas, SuperSupper Meal Plans and more, join The Healthy Edge's Subscription FREE for 14 days!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sweet Suprise for After School

When I see my sweet little girl getting off the bus and running towards the house, I almost always know the first thing that is going to come out of her mouth, "I'm hungry".  Now since she eats lunch at 11:30 and gets off the bus after 3:00, I can't blame her!  I like to prepare things that I know she will love and I know I will love to see her eat.  

Home-made Frozen Fruit Pops fit this category.  By making them myself, I know that there is no added sugar, food-coloring or other ingredients in them.  She is getting actual natural flavors and the smile I see on her face when I pull them out of the freezer is totally worth the effort to make them myself!

Here are two of our favorites: 

 Watermelon Pops

Ingredients (YES! Only Two!)

Remove seeds from watermelon.  Put the watermelon flesh and 3-5 strawberries into a blender and blend.  Put into Popsicle molds with sticks in them and freeze.  

Coconut Yogurt Pops


Coconut Yogurt
Assortment of fruit of your choice

Blend up fruit and yogurt
Put in Popsicle molds with sticks.

*Coconut yogurt is a great substitute if your child has a dairy intolerance.  Feel free to use regular plain, organic yogurt too!

Be creative and find a combination that your kids love! You can also find molds that have bottoms with handles.  Super easy!  They will be so thrilled to have such a special treat and you will not mind them eating it before supper! 

We would love to hear what combinations works for your kids! 
For more healthy after school snack ideas, check out The Healthy Edge’s Back to School Healthy Edge Style series, FREE to all Healthy Edge Subscribers! 

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