Recipe File: Super Simple Turkey Stock

Finally finishing up all of your Thanksgiving leftovers? Well, don’t toss that carcass – you’re not done yet! Emily Cavanaugh-Spain, San Juan Islander and doyenne of The Wanderlust Whisk shares one of the easiest recipes for turkey stock we’ve seen.

Emily Turkey Stock 1

So I woke up this morning with congestion, a headache and a barely there voice. It seems that my son bestowed his cold onto me via coughing… into my mouth. Motherhood!

With the weather at barely 30º I needed to share something simple and delicious with you that isn’t labor intensive because frankly my body just isn’t capable of doing much of anything else today.

We happened to save our turkey carcass and with the majority of the leftovers having already been devoured, I figured today would be a good day to make some turkey stock. The most intensive part is roughly chopping vegetables and peeling that funky paper-like skin off of the garlic.
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Recipe Files: Peachy Keen

by D.A. Salazar, MG Class of 2009

Vintage Peach
Prunus persica. What a spinsterish name for such a delectible thing. I mean “Prunus”? When did that ever denote luscious juicy sumptuousness? Who ever bit into a peach and thought, “Ahhh, prunus”??

Of course, it’s easy to take the peach for granted: modern peaches come in hundreds of cultivars — a fruit so adaptable we can now look forward to fresh peaches in season all summer long. But la pêche is an ancient and experienced wanderer, inspiring art and culture throughout its history.
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Recipe Files: What About Water?

by Kristen Rezabek, MS, RD, CD; MG Class of 2013

desert-islandStranded on a desert island we could survive about 5 weeks without food, but without water our life expectancy would be reduced to just a few short days. Two-thirds of your body is made up of water, about 40-50 quarts in the average adult. Water has many functions in the body; it flushes away toxins, regulates our body temperature, and carries oxygen and other nutrients to the cells of the body. Every day we lose at least 1.5 to 2 liters of water through urine output, respiration, and sweat. And as the temperature gauge rises in the warm summer months our fluid losses increase.

Waiting until you feel a sensation of thirst is not a reliable way to judge how well you are meeting your hydration needs. Usually when you experience dry mouth your body is already in a state of dehydration. In addition, as you age your thirst mechanism becomes less sensitive and your kidney function is reduced. Instead of relying on thirst to tell you when to drink, gauge how well you are keeping hydrated using your urine color as a marker. Pale yellow (like lemonade) or clear urine means you are getting enough fluids. Darker urine color (more like apple juice) is an indicator you may be dehydrated. If you are taking a vitamin and mineral supplement, particularly one with B vitamins, your urine color may be darker, an indicator your body has not absorbed all of the supplement. A person who is well hydrated should empty at least four full bladders each day. If you go the bathroom at 9 am and then not again until 2 pm you are not consuming enough fluids. On the other hand if you have to get up two or more times a night to use the bathroom you should check with your doctor, frequent urination may be a sign of diabetes or other medical problems.
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Recipe Files: Know Your Fats

Summertime! Time for picnics and pigging out — fresh salads AND ice cream!
Our own Kristen Rezabek (MS, RD, CD; MG Class of 2013) gives us the heads up on the fats in our food.

Saturated unsaturated fatsFat has long gotten a bad rap for its contribution to weight gain, heart disease and certain types of cancer. But not all fats are created equal. And fat does have important roles in the body; it helps protect our vital organs from injury, it insulates to keep us warm, it carries and stores essential vitamins and helps make up certain cells and hormones in the body. So knowing which fats are healthier than others is a first step in controlling your weight and reducing your risk for chronic disease.

Saturated fat, trans fatty acids and dietary cholesterol raise blood cholesterol. Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats don’t. Some studies suggest the mono and polyunsaturated fats might even help lower LDL cholesterol slightly when eaten as part of a low saturated fat diet.

So how can you tell your fats apart?
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Recipe Files: From Poison to Pie

Vintage Rhubarb 1
How did an ancient plant with poisonous leaves and roots become a delicious summertime treat in the U.S.? Blame it on Benjamin Franklin!

This month’s recipes come to us from our fellow Master Gardeners at Skagit County Extension.

Chinese or Turkish rhubarb, a.k.a Rheum officinale or R. palmatum.

Chinese or Turkish rhubarb, a.k.a Rheum officinale or R. palmatum.

Rhubarb has been used as a medicinal plant in China since at least 2700 BC and in Asia and Europe for the last five thousand years; the roots were used as a purgative or laxative for digestive system problems. The first known rhubarb in America came when Benjamin Franklin sent a box of rhubarb from London to a friend here in 1770. Because the oxalic acid in the leaves and roots make them poisonous, people eating them tended to die, thereby reducing its popularity as food. The stalks of the rhubarb plant contain less oxalic acid, although still there is enough to make them very astringent – mouth-puckering in fact! Rhubarb stalks were not used as a food until the 1800s when sugar became more readily available to counter the astringency of the taste. Rhubarb became so popular in pies that it is also known as Pie Plant.
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April Recipe: Searching for the Fountain of Youth

by Kristen Rezabek, MS, RD, CD; MG Class of 2013

Fountain of Youth 2
Our average life expectancy has been climbing steadily over the last century. In the 1900’s life expectancy was roughly 47 years. Now, a hundred years later, it has nearly doubled to 77 years. Part of the increase in years is due to infants and children living longer and of course improved healthcare. Most of us can feel reasonably comfortable that we are genetically programmed to reach at least age 85. And if we play our cards right and combine good genes with a healthy lifestyle, we can add at least 10 good years onto that number.

The New England Centenarian Study is an ongoing research project at Boston University, looking at the characteristics of individuals and their children who are living to 100 years and beyond. Probably the most intriguing part of this study is dispelling the myth that “the older you get, the sicker you are”. Most centenarians in this study spent their lives in excellent health and were able to delay or even escape age-associated diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Almost 90% of those who participated in the study were independent up until the age of 92 years and 75% remained independent at age 95. Research from this study and others suggest a healthy lifestyle, in addition to good genes, are key to keeping your body and mind in good shape.

So with that in mind here are some lifestyle changes that may not only increase your longevity, but also improve the quality of those golden years.
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March Recipes: The Story of E

by Kristen Rezabek, MS, RD, CD; MG Class of 2013

RECIPE Letter E 2What has happened to vitamin E? Once it had a reputation for reducing chronic disease. Doctors regularly encouraged clients to take this antioxidant to prevent heart disease, cancer, and other disorders. An estimated 13% of Americans used vitamin E for its purported health benefits. But now E’s stock as a wonder vitamin has plummeted with new research showing it has little or no effect on these disease states. And for some, the media attention focused on one report showing a slight increased risk of death in those taking a high dose vitamin E supplement, more than 400 IU (International Units) a day, scared them into tossing out their vitamin E bottles altogether.

So what is the real story behind vitamin E?

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