Archive for Nutrition

Salads from the Garden

Salads are always a good go to meal when the garden is flourishing.

August 2, 1884

I haven’t had much time for trying out new recipes or thinking up a topic for Eating Naturally. The garden here has been over producing. We ate roasting ears for 3 solid weeks and are now on a cucumber, tomato and zucchini diet with a pot of green beans thrown in for good measure.

With all the fresh vegetables available it’s easy to put a pan of garden- fresh vegetables on the stove and overcook them. This results in a once vitamin- rich food reaching the table with most of the vitamins gone.

So eat all the vegetables raw that you can. Try cucumber sticks crisped in ice water as an out- of-hand snack. Zucchini slices are a good addition to a tossed salad. And don’t forget the old reliables, green onions, radishes, carrots and celery that have long been favorites eaten raw.

If you cook the vegetables try gourmet cooking techniques to preserve the vitamins and minerals. To retain the nutritive content, decrease the cooking time.

Also, vitamin leaching (the dissolving of the nutrients into the cooking liquid) is particularly serious, so it’s wise to use the smallest amount of water possible when cooking vegetables.

Water soluble vitamins, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and C, are preserved by cooking leafy vegetables using only the water clinging to them after they are washed. Be careful they don’t burn. The night we had our last pitch party I cooked Swiss Chard this way for supper. After turning the burner on high, I got busy chasing some dirt that had eluded me and forgot the Swiss Chard until the odor of charring greens permeated the whole house. The smell was overpowering but was even worse after I tried to get rid of it by spraying room deodorant all around. The smell lingered on through the whole party and for several days afterward.

For green beans, peas, carrots or beets a fourth to a half cup of water is suggested for best results. Cook only until crispy tender for maximum vitamin retention. Here, too, care is needed to avoid burning them.

A garden salad is a super way to use raw vegetables. Croutons are nice served with them but they are expensive. Here is a recipe for home made croutons. Of course, you can use white bread if you prefer.

Whole Wheat Croutons

Cut 3 slices whole wheat bread in 1/2 inch cubes. Spread out in a pan and toast in oven until crisp, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with herbs or with curry powder. Put in a plastic bag and seal.

This recipe produces a product similar to Eagle Brand that is called for in so many recipes and is so expensive.

Condensed Milk

1/2 cup boiling water

1/4 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup powdered milk

Blend or beat until smooth. Will thicken later. Makes 1 pint.


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Eat Fresh

This article from July 1982 discusses the dangers of eating processed food. Eat fresh whenever possible.

July 1982

“Eat, drink and be wary” summarized the nutritionist on the last segment of Channel 10’s series on food additives that was aired last month. “I wouldn’t panic if my child ate a weiner now and then, but I wouldn’t give him wieners everyday,” was another piece of her advice.

Perhaps it is time to re- evaluate what is in the food we serve our families. Since 1972 we have been buying more processed foods than fresh foods. We spend more than 60 billion dollars annually for convenience foods including TV dinners, snack foods and pop.

With these foods Americans consume on the average 4 pounds of chemicals, preservatives, stabilizers, colorings, flavorings, and other additives each year. Their use has doubled in the last 15 years. Today, more than 3,000 chemicals are deliberately added to our food.

How much do we know about the hazards to human health from these chemicals? They may be affecting our health but, even more scary, they may affect the health of future generations. Presently, more than a thousand of these chemicals have never been tested for chance of causing cancer, genetic damage, or birth defects.

The FDA is in charge of the purity of our food. In 1960 the “Generally Regarded as Safe” or GRAs list of substances was formulated. There were 674 substances on this list. They had been in use for some time and were generally regarded as safe. They were exempted from the Delaney Amendment passed in 1958 which said, “no additive shall be deemed safe if it is found to produce cancer when ingested into man or animal or if it is found, after tests which are appropriate for the evaluation of the safety of food additives, to induce cancer in man or animal.”

At the present time no tests are required for the mutagenic testing of food additives.

Because of testing, several of the substances on the original GRAs list have had to be removed. It is difficult to know what to do about the problem of food additives.

What is a mother to do to insure food as safe as possible is on her family table? Remember, you are in charge in your own home. You are the expert. Do not allow TV commercials to determine what your children eat. It is up to you to teach your children what to eat.

They are growing and need to eat more often than adults. They should be given nutritious snacks such as vegetables, fruits, popcorn, or bread and butter.

For the main meals serve simple, unprocessed foods as much as possible. Grow your own vegetables and fruits. Save some wheat and grind your own cereal. Make your own bread using whole wheat flour. Cook your own soup and make your own granola. Grow your own beef and pork and have them butchered, cut and wrapped the way you want them. Make your own jams and jellies, pickles and relishes.

When shopping for groceries at the store, select unprocessed items such as beef, pork, fish, lamb, chicken, turkey, simple cheeses, milk, butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, dry milk powder, plain breads, soda crackers, oatmeal, shredded wheat, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables, fresh fruit and vegetables, and frozen juices.

As much as you possibly can, avoid buying foods such as: fish sticks, wieners, lunch meat, potted meat, pot pies, frozen dinners, and other entree type food, chocolate milk, breakfast supplements, ready made topping, canned puddings, nondairy creamer, snack crackers, colored or sweet cereals, toaster tarts, sweet rolls, pizzas, cakes, cookies, 20% fruit chunks, Tang, Kool- Aid, jams and jellies, prepared salads, maraschino cherries, potato chips, snack crackers, pickles, sauced frozen foods, most salad dressings, sandwich spread, canned or frozen fried soups, seasoned salts, curing salts, jello, pop, MSG, pies, and candy.

If, as mothers we could have one wish for our children we would probably choose a good life. Teaching them what to eat can help them have a full, active, healthy life.

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Make your own flour

If only I had the space to grow my own wheat…

July 1979

So much field work is being done by local farmers that the landscape along the road changes each time I go to town. What was a gold plated expanse of wheat in the morning is nothing but a short stubble by early afternoon and then transformed to a soft brown carpet of disced earth by nightfall. Resounding in the air is the throb of trucks, tractors and combines as working hours are extended almost indefinitely in order to take advantage of favorable weather conditions.

Now in the middle of all the other household and garden work pressing to be done is the time to take some covered containers to the field to fill with wheat fresh from the combine. If it is kept in a fairly cool place the wheat can be used for flour and cereal until next harvest. The flavor of products made from home grown wheat is excellent and the nutritive quality is unsurpassed.

It would be great to have a home flour mill, which is available on the market, but if you don’t, a good blender can make both wheat cereal and flour.

To do so, wash a quart or two of wheat. Remove the chaff that floats to the top and dry thoroughly. It usually requires several hours to dry.

If you want to make whole wheat flour, put ½ cup of dry wheat in a blender and turn to a high speed. You will get almost 1 cup of flour. Feel the texture with your fingers and continue until the flour feels quite smooth but with some crunchiness left in it. Continue making flour until blender gets hot, then stop and wait for it to cool down. Make only enough for immediate use, since this flour will be free of preservatives. Consequently, its shelf life is short. The finished product is not as fine textured as whole wheat flour in the stores but it makes bread with a wonderful satisfying flavor.

To prepare wheat to eat as a cereal proceed the same way as for flour but stop the blender when the grains have been cracked several times. Some will be fine and some coarse. Stir into boiling salted water and simmer for twenty minutes. Serve warm with light cream and brown sugar. This can also be enjoyed at dinner or supper as a paste or potato replacement.

Whole Wheat Bread Sticks
2 cups white flour 2 cups milk
1 cup oatmeal 2 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar 2 tablespoons fat
2 teaspoons salt 2 tablespoons molasses
1 pkg. dry yeast 4 cups whole wheat flour
Mix first five ingredients in large mixing bowl. Scald milk. Cool to 115 to 120°. Add milk, eggs, fat, and molasses to dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed 10 minutes. Remove beaters. Add more wheat flour stirring it in with a spoon until too stiff to handle. Turn out on bread board and knead for 5 minutes. Set to rest in a bowl. Cover with damp towel and keep at about 80° for 1 ½ to 2 hours. Punch down. Divide in 3 or 4 parts. Cover with damp towel. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll each piece out on a lightly floured board to ½ inch thickness. Cut in strips 5 inches long and 1/3 inch wide. Put on greased cookie sheets. Let rise at room temperature for 1 hour. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes or until brown. Remove from pan and cool on cake racks. Eat as is or return to 325° oven and bake until hard and crisp. Store in air tight containers or plastic bags.These are good served with cheese, fruit and milk. As a snack for children they are tops in nutrition. Kids will eat them instead of cookies which are too full of fat and sugar to be eaten as a regular part of the diet.

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Healthy Family Eating

This article from June 1979 contains advice that is still very relevant today, avoid processed junk foods and stick to whole foods as much as possible. There is also a nice chicken stew recipe at the end.


June 1979

Balancing the food budget and a family’s nutritional needs can be a tricky proposition these days. If you add family food preferences the balancing act becomes even more precarious. Complicating the problem even further are the TV hucksters who convince the kids that this overpriced, highly sugared cereal or that chemical ridden soft drink is essential for them to eat or drink if they are going to pass the third grade and become a fourth grade beauty queen or football hero.

What is a mother to do short of jumping off a bridge, running away from home or letting the offspring consume what they want until their hair and teeth fall out from malnutrition? First, decide that you are the family’s nutritional food expert in charge of the food budget in your own household. Be sure to check your credentials and see that they are in order for this big assignment. Remember if junk food is not in the refrigerator and cupboards, it will not be eaten – at least while the kids are home.

Of course, if you take the family off junk food you have to cook good meals 3 times a day. One plan for a nutritional main meal is to use a pattern of serving broiled, grilled or baked meat, a potato prepared without grease or oil, a plain or cream cooked vegetable and a leafy salad accompanied by whole wheat bread with milk for a beverage.

At the present time potatoes are cheap and contain high grade carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Canned vegetables are less expensive now than frozen. Fresh carrots are much better buys than canned or frozen ones. Celery and lettuce supply food fiber at low cost. Of course, home grown products are the best of all.

Another way to serve a good meal at a reasonable cost is to use a casserole for the main item containing ingredients from all 4 food groups such as meat or fish, complementary vegetables, cheese topping and a crust of pasta base.

There is a pitfall to beware of in casserole recipes in popular cookbooks. Many of our current recipes were originally put out by soup companies and feature cans of prepared soup which increase the cost and at the same time reduce the food value. Try to find recipes using basic ingredients. A homemade white sauce can be substituted for cream soups in casseroles.

Farmer’s Chicken Stew or Pie
2 ½ cups chicken stock 1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped celery 1 cup diced potatoes
½ cup chopped onion 1 package, 10 oz. frozen peas
1 teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper
2 cups milk ½ cup flour
2 ½ cups cooked cut up chicken
Bring chicken stock, carrots, celery, potatoes, onion, salt and pepper to a boil and cook 5 minutes. Add peas. Cook 5 minutes. Slowly add flour beating to remove lumps. Slowly add flour mixture to hot chicken stock and vegetables stirring constantly until thickened. Add chicken.

As a chicken stew this can be served plain or over toast, cornbread squares or biscuits.

2 ½ cups cooked beef and 2 ½ cups beef stock may be substituted for the chicken if desired. For a chicken pie prepare this topping:

½ cup all purpose flour 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup rolled oats
1 egg, beaten 1 tablespoon melted shortening
½ cup milk
Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add oats, egg, shortening and milk. Pour stew in a 2 ½ quart casserole. Spoon topping over hot base. Bake at 425° 20 to 25 minutes.

This is a complete meal and a strawberry sundae would be a perfect ending.


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