Friday, April 15, 2011

Pineapple Express

What does pineapple and pine cones have in common? You probably figured it out since they both have pine in their names, but if you didn't, let me tell you.  The word pineapple was first recorded in 1398 to describe the reproductive organs of conifer trees which is now called pine cones according to Wikipedia.

Ok, all my educational friends, I know that Wikipedia is not a credible source in your eyes but we are going to use it for this purpose because it is interesting.  I did not even make the connection between the two but maybe my spanish speakers did because pineapples are called piƱa "pinecone" in Spain.

Pineapples are supposedly great for digestive issues and have been said to help with inflammatory issues by either eating or applying topically.  I have not tried the topical route but I think I will find out more about this and share later.

What I really want to show you is how I cut up a pineapple.  It is really easy and a cheap fruit to buy when in season, which is right now, April & May but can be March through July.

First when you select your pineapple you want to not get one that has a strong, sweet smell. This is too overripe.  The one that I took photos of, is really too ripe. I let it go about four days too long.  Look it over and make sure no soft spots or visable damage, then grasp one of the inner crown leaves and gently tug straight up from the top of the fruit.  If it comes out easily, your pineapple is ripe and ready to go. So once you pick your pineapple, you will take it home and rinse it off.

Then cut off about 1/2 inch of the top and 1/2 inch of the bottom.  You can see that the bottom core of this pineapple is brown.  They is telling you again that this is overripe.

Next you are going to slice the outer skin off by cutting downward on the pineapple. You can see that I sort of create a hexagon.

Then cut into slices. I usually do about a quarter inch thick.

Then cut your slices into quarter pieces. Sometimes you will notice that the core part of your pieces is too hard to eat.  You just need to cut this part off or do not eat.  Some people actually core the pineapple before cutting into pieces.  You can also cut wedges by just cutting the pineapple into four long pieces and then cutting these wedges into little chunks.  Whatever you choose, just try one.  It is easier than you think. I will say that I like the wedges because they are easy to eat and also easy to use on the grill on skewers.

So get to the store and buy a pineapple while they are in season and cheap. If you do buy one, enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Celery, Is It Worth the Hype

A friend of mine asked me to do a post on celery because he wondered if it was worth eating so I told him lets see what I can find out. The thing I found most interesting is celery can be found referenced in as far back as The Illiad. The book talks about the horses of Myrmidons grazing on wild celery in the marshes of Troy. This is pretty cool but lets see if it has nutritional value.

Did you know that celery is in the same family as parsley. I didn't. According to the New World Encyclopedia, celery is not only food for humans but also food for animals.  Celery's stalks are probably what most of us eat, but the leaves, root, and seeds are also used.  As I was reading about celery, I found out that in the past, the seeds were used in pills to relieve pain.  World Encyclopedia also discusses that the root is used as a diuretic and can help with urinary disorders.  It is said that by juicing celery, it can be used to reduce inflammation, such as arthritis, cystitis, gout, or nervous exhaustion.  Boy do I need to eat more celery if all of this is true.

I have also heard that celery has negative calories.  What this means is that it takes more calories to eat a piece of celery than the celery has in the first place. Dang, I am going to eat more celery. Maybe these negative calories will deduct from that hot fudge sundae I just ate. Just kidding!

Some of the things that I know are true for me in regards to celery, is that I love the crunch.  My favorite way to snack on celery is with a wedge of Laughing Cow Cheese. Yum!

I also like using celery in recipes especially soups. This is probably were most people think to use celery. My friend likes it with pimento cheese and I know lots who enjoy peanut butter on a little stalk of celery. No matter what you like about celery, remember that it is easy to prep this vegetable once you bring it home. I usually go ahead and break the stalks apart, then wash them. After washing and drying with a paper towel, I take half the stalks and cut them down for snacks and the other half I dice up to use in recipes.  One recipe that I love to use celery in is Turkey Meatloaf Muffins.  There are so many recipes that celery can be used in and enjoyed.  I encourage you to try one today.  Here are a couple to check out:

Cream of Celery Soup

Wild Rice Salad with Celery and Walnuts

Waldorf Salad

Bloody Mary

In another post, I will talk about selecting and cleaning celery in more detail.  If you have a favorite recipe, please share or a creative idea on using celery as a snack, I would love to hear it.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Going Bananas

Photo courtesy of Rabbit Food
Why don't bananas snore? 

Because they don't want to wake up the rest of the bunch.

I thought this was funny and wanted to share because my topic today is bananas.  I think sometimes bananas get a bad rap because they are higher in calories than a lot of other fruit but bananas have so many great qualities.  Some of these qualities are listed below:

  1. Bananas contain amounts of Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium, and Potassium.  They are best known for potassium.
  2. Bananas are loaded with a resistant starch.  This is a healthy carb and can help reduce your appetite.
  3. Bananas are believed to help with muscle cramps because of the potassium.
  4. Bananas are believed to reduce of strokes according to a study in the Journal of American College of Cardiology.
  5. Bananas are easy to eat because you can bring them anywhere and you just need to peel and eat.
  6. Bananas are great in smoothies because they add a sweetness so you do not have to add some kind of sweetener.
  7. Bananas are now 0 points on the Weight Watchers Points Plus program.  

Why do you like bananas?  Would love for you to share any banana secrets or recipes.  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Meditating Monday

My grandfather and I on our birthdays! We were both born on April 2.


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