Pumpkin

This post was researched and written by my Mentee, Ashley Langston. Check back each month for more posts by her.

Background Info:

  • Pumpkins are a type of squash in the Cucurbitaceae family, and the cultivar originated in Mexico approximately 10,000 years ago.
  • The modern day version of the Jack-O’lantern is based off of the Irish myth of Stingy Jack and the Jack O’Lantern. Using pumpkins for Jack O’Lanterns became popularized by Irish immigrants who came to America in the 1800’s.

Health Benefits:

  • The bright orange color of pumpkins come from a high beta-carotene content, and in the body, beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A.
  • High in dietary fiber.
  • Good source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and folate.
  • The seeds, pepitas, are high in protein, fiber and other nutrients. They may be eaten with or without the hull, and roasting or drying are popular methods of preparing them.

Nutrition Information: (1 cup, cubed)

  • Calories: 30
  • Fat: < 1 gram
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 1 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Cholesterol: 0 grams
  • Sodium: 1 milligram
  • Vitamin A: 2650 IU
  • Vitamin C: 12 milligrams
  • Calcium: 23 milligrams
  • Iron: 1 milligram
  • Folate: 21 micrograms
  • Potassium: 395 milligrams

Taste:

  • Sweet

Season:

  • Fall and Winter

Choose:

  • Firm pumpkins, that have a slightly hollow sound when gently knocked on.
  • No soft spots or bruises.
  • Firm bases.
  • Do not carry a pumpkin by the stem, as it can break off and damage the pumpkin.

Store:

  • Cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
  • Do not leave cut pumpkins outside if there is extreme heat, a threat of frost, or rain.
  • May be frozen for up to 1 year in a non-metallic container. Thaw in the refrigerator before using.
  • Pumpkin may be canned using a pressure canner, making sure to follow recipe directions carefully.
  • Pumpkin may be dried using a dehydrator and low oven, and kept in an air-tight container.
  • Pumpkin may also be used in chutneys, butters, and preserves. These items cannot be pressure canned, and may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Cook:

  • Pumpkin rinds range from thick to hard, and peeling the pumpkin may be challenging.
  • To bake: Cut pumpkin into quarters with the rind on. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until fork tender.
  • Steaming or boiling: Cut pumpkin into chunks, and steam or boil until fork tender.
  • Make sure to scoop out the fibers and seeds beforehand.
  • Once cooked and cooled, the rind may be peeled off or the flesh scooped out.
  • The cooked flesh may be used as is, mashed, or pureed.
  • Pepitas may be seasoned, and roasted or dried for a healthy snack.

Serve:

  • Add cooked and peeled, cubed squash to salads, casseroles, soups, stews, and stir-fries.
  • Cooked pumpkin makes a great main dish if stuffed and baked with vegetables, rice, and ground meat.
  • Pumpkin is a popular pie filling, and may be used in several desserts.

References:

 

Cherry

Background Info:

  • Cherries were brought to the U.S. by ship in the 1600s
  • Cherry production began in the 1800s in Northern Michigan
  • States that produce the majority of cherries in the U.S.:
    • California, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Utah

Nutrition Information (1 cup without pits):

  • Calories: 97
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 25 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 20 grams
  • Calcium: 20 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Potassium: 343 mg
  • Sodium: 0 mg
  • Iron: 1 mg
  • Vitamin C: 8 mg
  • Vitamin A: 97 IU
  • Folate: 6 mg

Taste:

  • Sweet or sour/tart
    • Sweet varieties include Bing, Stella, Van, and Rainier
    • Montmorency is a tart variety

Season:

  • Summer
    • Sweet cherry season is from May to August
    • Tart cherry season is from June to August

Choose:

  • Select firm cherries that are uniform in color and glossy with stems attached
  • In general, the darker the cherry, the sweeter its flavor
    • There are exceptions such as yellow cherry varieties
  • Avoid soft, shriveled, or blemished cherries

Store:

  • Refrigerate fresh ripe cherries up to 10 days in loose plastic wrapping to allow exposure to oxygen
    • Do not stack too many or the weight can crush the cherries on the bottom
  • Keep canned cherries up to 18 months at 70°F
  • Frozen cherries should maintain high quality for 1 year
  • Dried cherries can be held for 24 months at 70°F
  • Jams should keep for a least 1 year

Prep:

  • Stem & wash thoroughly just before using
  • Handle carefully to avoid bruising
  • If desired, remove pits

Cook:

  • Can cherries to create a cherry pie filling or jam
  • Dry for cherry raisins or fruit leather
  • Add to salads, oatmeal, yogurt, or trail mix
  • Mix into smoothies
  • Garnish meat dishes or create a glaze for ham
  • Make into a syrup to top pancakes, waffles, or French toast
  • Bake into cakes, cookies, and muffins
  • Enjoy cherry ice cream
  • Dip into melted chocolate for dessert or a garnish
  • Enjoy cherries Jubilee
  • Make a cherry vinaigrette

References:

Ricotta, Berry, and Goat Cheese Bread

It’s summertime which means berries are in season! And remember, when a fruit or vegetable is in season it means it will be at its peak freshness for tons of delicious, juicy flavor plus it’s cheaper. I found ricotta and goat cheese were also on sale so I came up with an easy & quick sweet treat using what I had on hand at home as well.

Makes: 2 pieces of bread

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Materials:                   

  • Plate
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Measuring cup

img_5943Ingredients:

  • 2 slices multigrain toast
  • 4 Tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 cup total of berries of your choosing (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)
  • 2 teaspoons honey

Directions:

1. Set 2 pieces of multigrain bread on a plate

2. Spread 4 Tablespoons of whole milk ricotta on the bread (2 Tablespoons for each piece of bread)

3. Place 1 cup of berries on top of ricotta (1/2 cup for each piece of bread)

4. Sprinkle on 2 Tablespoons goat cheese crumbles (1 Tablespoon for each piece of bread)

  • If you have a goat cheese log you can make your own crumbles

5. Drizzle 2 teaspoons honey over everything (1 teaspoon for each piece of bread)

6. Enjoy!

You can mix and match berries or use just your favorite one. This is a great breakfast option or a healthier dessert full of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I did not toast the bread to make it quicker but if you prefer a warmer, crunchier version then go ahead!

img_5944

*Nutrition for 2 pieces of ricotta, berry, and goat cheese bread using blackberries & raspberries:

  • Calories: 478
  • Total fat: 16 g
    • Saturated fat: 7 g
    • Polyunsaturated fat: 3 g
    • Monounsaturated fat: 2 g
  • Cholesterol: 44 mg
  • Sodium: 407 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 70 g
    • Fiber 14 g
    • Sugar: 24 g
  • Protein: 21 g
  • Potassium: 306 mg
  • Vitamin A: 13%
  • Vitamin C: 51%
  • Calcium: 26%
  • Folate: 24%
  • Iron: 18%img_5952

You can sub part-skim or fat-free ricotta cheese for less calories, fat, and cholesterol but more sodium.

You can also use half the amount of Truvia Nectar in place of honey for less calories, carbohydrates, and sugar.

Eat only 1 piece for half the calories if you want a snack instead of a meal.

 

Fad Diets – Ketogenic Diet

 

History

Ketogenic diet, also called the keto diet, has been used by many in the past but not always for weight loss. A major use of the diet is to help treat epilepsy in children that do not respond to medication.

The Diet 

The point of the diet is to put the body into ketosis by reducing the amount of carbohydrate consumed to below 20 grams per day.

Physiology

Your body needs glucose for energy but if you don’t take it in through your diet your body will create another form of energy. First, your liver & muscles will use up extra stored glucose called glycogen. When that is depleted you are in ketosis. During ketosis, your body will make ketone bodies for energy and reduce storing fat & glucose. These ketone bodies are made from breaking down fat.

Pros

  • May help control hunger & improve fat metabolism which would reduce body weight
  • Can help reduce lipid levels which are associated with high intakes of sugar and refined carbohydrates

Cons

  • During the first few days of the ketogenic diet, there are complaints of lethargy, headaches, nausea, and irritability
  • Those with renal insufficiency and kidney transplant patients have a potential of worsening kidney problems from high levels of nitrogen excretion during protein metabolism
  • You will be reducing whole grains and fruit which will lower your fiber intake and can result in constipation plus when you omit whole food groups it puts you at risk for micronutrient deficiencies
  • It can cause social isolation as it can be difficult for some to adhere to when you are out with friends and see them enjoying indulgences such as ice cream, rice, pasta, creamy soups, etc.

Researchers Say

  • It is not exactly known why someone following a ketogenic diet will lose weight. Below are some of the hypotheses:
    • Since you are using glycogen stores from your muscles to create fuel you can lose muscle mass which will result in weight loss, although not the desired kind. As you continue on the diet glucose is derived more from fat resulting in a more desired weight loss.
    • Some claim that you will be more full from eating higher protein foods in place of higher carbohydrates resulting in decreased overall energy intake which causes weight loss.
    • Others suggest a reduced appetite from the ketone bodies created
  • It is also believed that a ketogenic diet can have benefits others than weight loss.
    • As mentioned previously, it helps with children who have epilepsy that does not respond to medication
    • May have a positive effect on mood in overweight individuals
    • Can improve glycemic control, HgbA1c, and lipid markers
    • Reductions in insulin and other medications
  • We need long-term studies to show if the weight loss is maintained

Bottom Line

With the help of a dietitian to ensure you have adequate protein, calories, and micronutrients and the approval of your primary physician, you could lose weight in a healthy way while also improving lipid levels and glycemic control but it could be hard for most to sustain this lifestyle change long term. You cannot have a “cheat day” or even a cheat meal on the ketogenic diet because it will put you out of ketosis.

References

Noble Crust – St. Pete Location

Website: http://noble-crust.com/

Address: 8300 4th St N, St. Pete, 33702

Phone: 727-329-6041

Parking: They just added extra free parking lots so you should be able to find a spot

Seating: There’s indoor tables and high tops and some half booth/half tables along with bar seating. It gets crowded for brunch to get there early or make a reservation

Service: Quick at first then gives you some uninterrupted time during the meal so if you need anything ask for it when they bring your food

Drinks:
IMG_0961

Mimosa Bucket – $25

2 Zonin Prosecco, 1 Zonin Rose Prosecco, and 1 Charles De Fee Cuvee, with orange juice, peach nectar, and fresh sliced strawberries

This is perfect if you’re with a group of 3 or more as it makes about 9 mimosas. It’s fun to get to make your own combinations.

 

 

 

Appetizers:

IMG_0767Deviled Eggs – $8

Upgrade on your traditional deviled eggs with pickled mustard seeds and chives added.

Again, great to share if you have 3 or more people. The filling is very creamy and smooth and the pickled mustard seeds add a bit of a pop.

 

 

 

 

Brunch Plates:

served with salad, potatoes, grits, or fruit

IMG_9972Southern Benny – $14

Poached eggs, country ham, fried green tomatoes, brown butter hollandaise, buttermilk biscuit

It’s a huge portion of ham with large slices of fried green tomato. Tons of great flavor. A fun Southern twist on a classic dish

 

 

 

 

IMG_1634

 

Short Rib Benny – $15

Poached eggs, caramelized onions, bearnaise, crispy shallots, buttermilk biscuit

You will leave feeling stuffed after this rich dish. Make sure to come hungry!

 

 

 

IMG_3346

 

Spinach & Goat Cheese Frittata

Asparagus, caramelized onion, hollandaise

A great option if you want something a little lighter but still get your brunch flavors in.

 

 

 

 

They usually have the same menu with a few different options that come out seasonally. Sometimes the veggies that come with the dish may change.

Overall an excellent brunch place. You get what you pay for and will leave feeling full, you may even need a to-go box.

Eggplant

Background Info:

  • Glossy back vegetable that has white flesh and meaty texture
  • Member of the nightshade or potato family
    • Also includes tomatoes and hot peppers
  • Can be purple, green, white, or striped
  • May be  pear-shaped or cylindrical
  • Size can vary from the size of golf ball to a football

Nutrition Information (1 cup cubed and cooked):

  • Calories: 35
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 5 grams
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 3 grams
  • Calcium: 7 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Potassium: 188 mg
  • Sodium: 2 mg

Taste:

  • Smaller ones are often less bitter than larger eggplants

Season:

  • Summer

Choose:

  • Look for shiny, smooth skin without bruises or blemishes
  • Pick ones that are heavy for their size
  • Find a green stem that is free of mold

Store:

  • Keep whole until ready to use
  • Store in the refrigerator crisper drawer
  • Use within 5-7 days

Prep:

  • Wash and cut off ends
  • Leave the skin on
  • Sprinkle with salt after cutting into piece and let sit for 30 minutes
    • This pulls out some water and prevents eggplant from absorbing too much oil while cooking
    • Rinse afterwards to remove most of the salt

Cook:

  • Bake, roast, steam, or saute
  • If baking whole, pierce the eggplant several times with a fork
    • Remove the flesh from the skin and mash or puree and combine with other ingredients
  • Often used as a meat substitute

References:

  • “Eggplant”. (2018, August 24). Retrieved from https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/cauliflower
  • “Eggplants”. Retrieved from http://eatfresh.org/discover-foods/eggplants
  • “Eggplant: Nutrition. Selection. Storage”. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/eggplant
  • Kirkland, Louise. (2009). “Eggplant”. Retrieved from https://extension.umaine.edu/publications/4307e/

Peaches

Background Info:

  • Originally came from China
    • In the early 1600s, Spanish explorers brought the peach to the new world
  • There are 2 main types of peaches
    • Freestone – the flesh doesn’t stick to the pit
    • Clingstone – the flesh “clings” or sticks to the pit, usually sold for canning
    • The oval pit needs to be remove before eating
  • Skin is slightly fuzzy
    • Nectarines are a type of peach which have smooth skin without fuzz
  • Size of a baseball
  • Flesh inside is usually yellow but may be white

Nutrition Information (1 medium peach = 1 cup fresh sliced peaches):

  • Calories – 60
  • Protein – 1 gram
  • Carbohydrate – 15 grams
  • Fat – 0 grams
  • Calcium – 9 mg
  • Cholesterol – 0
  • Fiber – 2 grams
  • Potassium – 285 mg
  • Sodium – 0 mg
  • Sugar – 13 grams

Season:

  • Summer

Choose:

  • One with a golden hue beneath the blush that is firm and fuzzy
  • They are ripe when they yield to gentle pressure 
  • Avoid blemishes
  • Green peaches means they were picked too early
  • You can also purchase canned or frozen

Store:

  • If ripe:
    • Store a room temperature for use within 1-2 days
    • Store in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for up to 5 days
  • If unripe:
    • Room temperature, stem side down until ripe
    • o speed ripening, place in a paper bag for a day or two
  • If cooked:
    • Store in a tightly closed container not made from metal in the refrigerator

Prep:

  • Wash in cold running water to remove any dirt
  • Keep cut peaches from turning brown by sprinkling with lemon or orange juice
  • To easily peel, dip peaches cut into halves into boiling water for 30 seconds or until skin loosens
    • Remove the peaches with a spoon and dip into cold water, the skin will then slide off

Cook:

  • Eat as a tasty snack whole, sliced, or chopped
  • Add to yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal
  • Mix into batters for pancakes, waffles, muffins, or bread
  • Blend into a smooth
  • Can also be baked or grilled

 

References

  • Glisan, Maggie. “Prime Time.” Better Homes & Gardens. August 2018. 98.
  • “Peaches”. (2018, July 16). USDA. Retrieved from https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/peaches
  • “Peach: Nutrition. Selection. Storage”. Retrieved from https://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/peach
  • “Peaches”. (2012, December). USDA. Retrieved from https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/factsheets/HHFS_PEACHES_FRESH_900205Dec2012.pdf
  • “Peach”. SNAP-Ed, Iowa Nutrition Network and Iowa Team Nutrition. Retrieved from http://idph.iowa.gov/Portals/1/Files/INN/Peach.pdf