Saturday, January 31, 2009

HFPE Idea-Eating Healthy, Produce buying and storage, smoothies Plus a recipe for Roasted Broccoli

We just had an HFPE on making smoothies and bread sticks. I have been so inspired by the smoothie class that I have had a smoothie every day since and plan on continuing that forever! Its a burst of healthy goodness that makes you feel good and tastes great!

One of the things I have been doing lately is buying a lot of fresh produce. However, it is hard to know how to store all this stuff! Some things need refrigeration and some do not. I think this could easily be put into an HFPE night about healthy eating. I think you could do 3 classes and have one on storing and buying fresh produce (including which things are best bought frozen), one on cooking with fresh produce (like how to roast pr steam vegetables), and one on making smoothies. I also think it would be good to have a class on budget grocery store buying or how to use coupons effectively because, let's face it, its more expensive to eat healthier....but its worth it!

Here is a great listing of where to store things, how long to store things, and if you can freeze them. I found this very helpful as I started purchasing all this good healthy stuff and my fridge is busting at the seams!

And Martha Stewart recommends the following when it comes to storage:
The fresh taste and nutritional value of summer produce will last longer with these storage tips.

In the Bag
Most refrigerated vegetables do best in a perforated resealable plastic bag (make 6 to 8 holes in a 1-gallon bag). The bag holds in moisture; the holes help release compounds that produce spoilage while letting in oxygen so the vegetables can "breathe." If vegetables were sprayed with water at the market, lining the plastic bag with paper towels will help absorb excess moisture. Wait until just before using to wash vegetables.

Room Temperature
Keep avocados, eggplants, and tomatoes at room temperature. Once fully ripe, use within a day or two.

In the Crisper
This is the coldest and moistest section of the refrigerator and the best place to store the produce below. Place in a perforated resealable plastic bag.
Corn (with husk)
Green beans

On the Top Shelf of the Refrigerator
The vegetables listed below keep best in the warmest part of the refrigerator -- the top shelves near the front. Place them in a perforated resealable plastic bag.
Summer squashes

For the how to cook with produce class, I would do my roasted broccoli recipe...I swear its the best way to eat broccoli! The same method can be done for sweet potatoes, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, or onions.

Roasted Broccoli


Broccoli (its shrinks down, so get more than you think you will need)

1-3 Tablespoons of Olive Oil (Olive oil is best but vegetable oil works fine too) Just enough to make it appear shiny but not heavily coated.

Salt and Pepper


Take Broccoli and cut it in to small florets. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil (you don't have to line the pan with foil, I just do it to save on clean up) and spread broccoli out on cookie sheet. Lightly pour or spray olive oil over the broccoli and toss to coat the pieces so they are shiny. Spread out on pan in one layer and salt and pepper to taste. Put in a 450 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until the ends look brown and toasty, then turn over add salt and pepper to taste, and roast for 5-10 minutes more. This has become one of our favorite vegetables and we eat it like its popcorn! You can also do the same technique with sweet potatoes, tomato slices, onions, carrots, green peppers , cauliflower, and potatoes.

I like to make this when I am already going to be cooking something else in the oven, like roasting chicken breasts. I will just take chicken and toss in olive oil, add salt, pepper, and Mrs. Dash and roast for about 40 minutes until done. When there is about 30 minutes left, I just add the broccoli on a cookie sheet on the other shelf in the oven so that everything is done about the same time.

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