News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Valley Life

July 13, 2014

What will you bring to the table?

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be hard; recipes, classes, even the Farmers Market, can help you and your family get started

Summer provides a great opportunity for families to focus on health. Not only is the summer a big grilling season, but a season of fresh fruit and vegetables, which can be found at the Downtown Farmers Market each Saturday, June through October. The market provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time together as a family, learning about local produce, fresh-baked breads, granola and even dog treats.

Now, every person in the Wabash Valley may not be experienced in the culinary arts, and the very thought of cooking at all can send some running for the nearest fast food restaurant, but with a few simple tricks of the trade and maybe a class or two to get started, everyone can improve their health through what they choose to eat this summer.

One of the easiest ways to make a positive, healthy change is by simply cooking meals yourself. Fresh ingredients can be found at the local grocery store or on Saturday mornings at the market. Farmers and bakers gather downtown (weather permitting) to sell a variety of homegrown produce and homemade products.

Cathy Furr, a yoga teacher and baking enthusiast, sells her ever-so-popular homemade granola. “I love to bake, but so many recipes are fattening and unhealthy and I wanted something that was better for me,” she said.

Her granola is a mixture of locally sourced products including oats, almonds, cranberries, pecans, coconut, canola oil, honey, cinnamon and her specialty — fresh, grated nutmeg. “If you want a healthy, delicious alternative to processed food, this is a great treat,” Furr said.

Along with Furr’s homemade granola, consumers will find a variety of homemade breads, muffins, jams and jellies, and of course vegetables that can be incorporated into almost every meal.

It is never a bad idea when thinking about a lifestyle change to start small. Each meal doesn’t have to be ground-breaking. It can be as simple as grilling chicken breast for dinner and serving it with a side of steamed rice and broccoli. Seasoning is a wonderful creation that allows a basic piece of meat to be turned into something delicious and nutritious. Culinary novices may be surprised by the amount of flavor that can be found in a simple piece of chicken with a little Italian seasoning sprinkled on both sides and grilled up to perfection.

For those looking for something a little more challenging, try Cedar Plank Salmon. Wild-caught salmon (typically better quality than farm-raised due to chemicals used in the production of farm-raised product, as stated by the National Nutrition Database) can be found at grocery stores, along with cedar planks. This pairs great with parmesan asparagus risotto.

Cedar Plank Salmon

1 cedar plank (6-inch by 14-inch)

2 salmon filets (around 1 1⁄2 pounds total)

Salt and pepper

2 tbsps spicy brown mustard

2 tbsps crumbled (light) brown sugar

• First, soak the cedar plank for about two hours. Otherwise it will catch on fire when it is put on the hot grill. Wash and pat dry the salmon. The skin can be removed, but it can also add moisture and flavor. Season the salmon with salt and pepper on both sides and place skin-side down on the plank.

• Next, spread the mustard over the top and sides then follow with a little brown sugar. Set the grill for indirect grilling, which means whichever side of the grill is turned on, the salmon will be on the opposite side.

• Cover the grill and cook for 20 to 30 minutes or until the fish is nice and flaky and the temperature reaches 135 degrees.

Parmesan Asparagus Risotto

About 8 cups reduced sodium chicken broth

2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

1⁄2 tbsp minced garlic

1⁄2 white onion, finely chopped

2 cups Arborio rice

3⁄4 cup white cooking wine

1 1⁄2 pounds chopped asparagus (woody ends removed)

1⁄2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Dash salt and pepper

• Bring the chicken broth to a simmer in a large sauce pan then reduce the heat to low.

• Heat the EVOO in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for a couple minutes, until onion is soft.

• Add the rice and sauté briefly, then stir in white wine and cook for an additional three minutes. Add a cup of chicken broth and stir until it is absorbed. Continue adding the chicken broth until it has all been absorbed, about 20-22 minutes.

• Add the chopped asparagus and cook about two minutes or until done. Remove from heat and add in parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Top with additional parmesan if desired.

For dessert, make it a family event and ask the kids to help. Clabber Girl Corp. offers classes throughout the summer that can give kids the chance to learn their own recipes to bring to the table.

“Our kids’ classes give children the opportunity to be hands-on in the kitchen,” said Clabber Girl marketing and event coordinator April Osburn. “When kids are involved in preparing food they are more open to trying new foods and tend to become healthier eaters. Cooking and baking are also great confidence builders.”

Some upcoming kids’ classes include:

• Fantastic Fruit (ages 8-10): 10 a.m. to noon Tuesday

• Sweet Strawberries (ages 5-7): 1 to 3 p.m. July 19

• Yogurt and Granola (ages 5-7): 1 to 3 p.m. Aug. 1

For a healthier desert recipe, this Clabber Girl Granola would be great atop any frozen yogurt or greek yogurt for a higher protein-content dish.

Clabber Girl Homemade Granola

3 C rolled oats

1 C slivered or sliced almonds

1 C walnuts or other nut

3⁄4 C shredded, sweetened coconut (optional)

1⁄4 C + 2 tbsps brown sugar

1⁄4 C + 2 tbsps maple syrup

1⁄4 C olive oil

3⁄4 tsp salt

1 C raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, or other dried fruits (or a mixture)

• Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

• In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut and brown sugar. Then, in a separate bowl, combine the maple syrup, oil and salt. Combine both mixtures together and pour onto two sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer to a large bowl; add raisins and mix. Finally, store in an airtight container or bag.

Those interested in learning more can view information about what will take place during the classes at www.clabbergirl.eventbrite.com. The classes do not include adult/parent participation.

The opportunities are endless when it comes to a healthful diet. In this day and age, everyone is busy and on the go, but that doesn’t mean health should come last. As one of the unhealthiest states in the country, help Indiana improve one meal at a time by starting at home. Take time this summer to make a change and improve the health of your family with a few simple recipes.

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