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Celebrate food this National Nutrition Month

 This has been the winter of my discontent and I am so glad that spring has arrived. My off-season started off feeding my love of traveling. Then Bam! I had two surgeries that threw me off my normal game plan for two or three months. I am so thankful for the technologies of today with wireless Internet, direct TV, laptops, tablets, phones and wireless printers. My fetish of infomercials, and love affair with online shopping is not a good thing for a confined woman with Amazon, Wayfair and a plethora of merchandise at my fingertips. Please don’t tell Paul, he’ll see the bills soon enough. So thankful it was the winter season where I could binge watch Netflix, HGTV, Hallmark, Food Network and where March Madness became winter madness. I am also thankful for my friends for coming to my rescue as chauffeurs, cooks and errand runners. Everyday tasks such as grocery shopping and being in the kitchen were out the door as I was confined to a recliner with limited mobility — pretty hard for a dietitian and farmer with itchy feet and mind.

Technology is good, bad and ugly. It is good, because it enabled me to set up a wireless office around my recliner. I was able to binge write my OCJ Food for Thought articles and get caught up on my dietitian continuing ed. It kept me up to date on the Facebook, Google feed and media craziness that influence this world. The ugly showed up in the form of fake agriculture news, elaborate food marketing strategies and fairy tale nutrition information that floods consumers today. It is UNREAL! My education tells me to preach evidence-based nutrition and believe the science. I can see how this is becoming increasing difficult to decipher for those not in the world of agriculture and nutrition. There are those that want to believe something and have found their “expert” to back them up. There are also those that just want safe, affordable food for their families and are confused and scared by what they read on the labels and hear from their “sources.”

Following facts and not fear is easier said than done. It’s important for us to continue to share our ag stories with those we meet. You never know the seeds that will sprout from an everyday conversation. It continues to amaze me that we live in a country with the world’s safest and most diverse food supply and the new trend is worry about food waste. Life is good.

Technology was better than good for Paul because I was able to try the new “Click It” online ordering system from Kroger. I was able to save him time perusing the aisles. The best kept secret is that it keeps you from impulse buying! So maybe we did help in the food waste issue, though there is still an abundance of choices to be made. Even a simple Bob Evans mashed potatoes item had nine choices! You were unable to choose the exact produce you wanted but what we received was great. I would highly recommend online grocery ordering if available in your area. It’ll make you plan, save you time and probably money as well. Paul has expanded his horizons in the kitchen, however I am sure he is anxious for me to return to normal function. I can’t wait either. I’ve been collecting new recipes to try that I’ve collected from Facebook, Food Network and my new favorite, Giada. Who needs recipe books when you have the web and a wireless printer at your fingertips?

Celebrate National Nutrition Month and Agriculture day this March. Celebrate that we live in this country where the food is safe, plentiful and affordable. Celebrate the technology that not only helps us do our jobs better and easier but allows us to share our stories with others. I can’t wait to get back into the kitchen to celebrate the abundance of American agriculture. Enjoy a few of these newfound favorites I can’t wait to share with my friends and family.

Eat well & healthy,


Carrot and Radish Salad Kroger.com


1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1½ Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. chopped dill

1 Tbsp. chopped chives

1 tsp. honey

¼ tsp. salt

⅛ tsp. ground black pepper

2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

1 bunch radishes, thinly sliced



In a medium bowl, combine the vinegar, oil, honey, salt, and pepper and whisk to mix well. Toss in the carrots, radishes, chives, and dill and serve immediately. Serves 4


Chickpea Curry with Rice foodnetwork.com Ree Drummond

Perfect for meatless Monday. If a beef farmer Ree Drummond can eat a meatless meal we can too!


2 cups basmati rice

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

salt & freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons curry powder

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup vegetable stock

2-15-oz. chickpeas, drained& rinsed

One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk

1 to 2 tablespoons honey

1 to 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce

Naan bread, for serving

Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish.




 Cook the basmati rice according to the package instructions.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper and cook until the onions are dark brown and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Pour in the vegetable stock and stir to scrape up all the brown bits in the pan. Add the chickpeas, coconut milk, honey and a squirt of sriracha. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Warm the naan in the microwave. Serve the curry over the rice with the warmed naan. Garnish with the cilantro.


Mozzarella Fonduta foodnetwork.com Giada De Laurentiis


28-oz jar tomato-basil sauce

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

4 oz thinly-sliced prosciutto

7- to 8-ounce ball fresh mozzarella

salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyere

Grilled ciabatta bread or bread sticks



Roll prosciutto up and then slice into ½ inch slices. Slice mozzarella ball into 6 ¼ to 1/3 inch thick slices.

In a small saucepan, bring the tomato-basil sauce and red pepper flakes to a simmer over medium heat. Cook uncovered until thick, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil.

Preheat the broiler. Place six 5-ounce ramekins on a baking sheet. Divide the sauce equally among the ramekins. Divide the prosciutto among the ramekins. Place the slices of mozzarella between 3 paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. Place the slices of mozzarella on top of the prosciutto. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the Gruyere on top.

Broil until the cheese is melted and golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Serve with grilled bread or bread sticks.

Note: Special equipment: six 5-ounce ramekins. I think you could probably also make this in a 2 qt. baking dish.


Gingerbread Whoopie Pies The Magnolia Journal


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup molasses

2 large egg

4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coarse or granulated sugar


8 oz. cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. vanilla


 Preheat oven to 350°. Grease or line baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in molasses, baking soda and spices. Add eggs; mix well. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour.

Shape into 1 3/4-in. balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool 1 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For filling, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth and fluffy.

Spread filling on the bottoms of half of the cookies,top with remaining cookies. Cover and chill assembled whoopie pies for 24 hours Yield: about 1 dozen.

Note: Try making smaller cookies with 1 Tbsp. scoop and adjust baking time accordingly.

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