Produce of the Month Feed

Produce of the Month: Rutabagas


Yeah, you heard me -- rutabagas.

This root vegetable is the butt of many a joke and they are butt ugly, but they were half price at the farmer's market last weekend so I picked up a few.

"How do you cook them?" I asked.

"Beats me!" the farmer replied.

I flipped through a few cookbooks and couldn't find anything that looked appealing, so I turned to and found a rutabaga-carrot puree and made my own version. After peeling and cutting the rutabagas, I had around 2 pounds. I put 'em in a big pot with five carrots, cut into big chunks, then covered everything with salted water and boiled the vegetables for around 45 minutes until everything was pretty soft.

I then drained out the water (I use one of those pasta pots with the draining lids) added a couple tablespoons of butter and a couple tablespoons of honey and a little more salt. Then I pureed everything with a stick blender (only one pot to clean).

Rutabaga_mash Those lowly rutabagas turned golden when cooked, and the carrots added to the orange mash.

I didn't know what to expect when I tasted the finished product, but it was really nice, a bit like mashed sweet potatoes but a little less starchy.

Rutabagas are a pretty good source of vitamin C, folate and fiber. A cup of rutabagas is only 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber, so the rutabaga-carrot mash is a good sub for mashed potatoes.

And the next time someone's trying to unload a bushel of rutabagas, I'll be buying.

Shrinking Sisters 2.0: Now with actual shrinking!

"What a stinking fraud I am. I have a blog called Shrinking Sisters, and I'm not losing any weight!"

(I'm not going to comment on my sister's weight loss; I'll leave that up to her.)

That's what I was thinking a couple weeks ago leading up to last week's Fitbloggin' convention in Baltimore.

So I took that weekend to recommit myself to do some actual shrinking because by next year's convention I want jaws to drop -- or to at least go slack a little bit.

So I'm happy to say that from the Monday after I got home to this past Monday, I dropped 4 pounds.

Scaleillo And I'm keeping track of my weight by stepping on the scale every morning.

Scales drive some people crazy and evoke all sorts of hatred but after not weighing and weighing once a week, I find that stepping on the scale every morning keeps me aware of the little fluctuations and serves as a signal to keep going.

I decided to weigh every day because I'm the kind of person who can step on the scale once a week and see it swing wildly up and down 3 or 4 pounds at a time. I want to be able to see where things start going south (north, really). 

I'm really not eating any differently, but this past Sunday's episode of Ruby had me thinking about that. Ruby's scale has been stuck and she wants to get below 300 in the worst way, so she decided to make five changes in her life -- things like taking the stairs, changing her workout and dumping the diet soda.

So I thought about what five changes I could incorporate. Here are mine (cue the trumpets):

  1. Cereal will only be eaten with a bowl and a spoon, not by the handful out of the Tupperware container.
  2. If I'm eating for recreation (yes, it happens sometimes), I'll do it with raw vegetables. My trip to the new green market in town will keep the fridge stocked with good-tasting produce.
  3. Exercise will not be negotiable. Something will be done every day, even if it's as small as the 12-minute strength-training DVD workout I did on Monday. That little bugger still has my butt sore from the squats and lunges.
  4. Coffee, tea and water will be my liquids of choice. I don't have a diet soda issue (I can quit anytime!). Seriously, I drink maybe two a week, but that carbonated science project has been shown to trigger sweet cravings in people so when I'm out and about (because it's easy to control at home), it'll be an unsweetened iced tea or water for me.

Eeek! I've only come up with four!

What should be my fifth change? Is there a "rule" you incorporate for weight-loss success?

Produce of the Month: Asparagus

Grilled asparagus asparagus recipes grilling vegetables

The Food Channel photo

Back in the day, we did a Produce of the Week, where we'd spotlight new or favorite fruits and vegetables.

I'm bringing the feature back but it's Produce of the Month, lest we deplete the produce section of the grocery store.

And this month, we shine a spotlight on asparagus, those slender stalks that pop up this time of year.

I've been buying asparagus every week and doing the same thing with it -- snap, rinse, microwave. But I got an e-mail from The Food Channel that had a delish photo of grilled asparagus. And since it's always grilling weather down here and becoming grilling weather around the rest of the country, I'm eager to slap those green guys on the grill. Grilling vegetables caramelizes the sugars in the vegetable and gives them a smoky sweetness.

Here's all you do:

  • Place a pound of trimmed asparagus in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  • Place asparagus in a grill basket and grill until just tender and lightly charred, about 5 minutes.

Boom -- that's it.

Beriosprays A drizzle can sometimes turn to a downpour if you're not careful with the oil bottle. I often use an olive oil spray from Filippo Berio, which is cool because it's nothing but olive oil. No propellants, no lecithin, no additives. It's not aerosol, so it's more of a spritz than a spray, but it's a great way to evenly and lightly coat things with olive oil. I found it at my local grocery store (Publix). 

I'm planning on checking out the new weekly farmers' market in my town this weekend -- something I've been longing for. And perhaps I'll find something cool for next month.