White bean soup for winter!

White bean soup for winter!



  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil. Cook onion and celery in oil for 5 to 8 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic, and cook for 30 seconds, continually stirring. Stir in beans, chicken broth, pepper, thyme and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. With slotted spoon, remove 2 cups of the bean and vegetable mixture from soup and set aside.
  3. In blender at low speed, blend remaining soup in small batches until smooth, (it helps to remove the center piece of the blender lid to allow steam to escape.) Once blended pour soup back into stock pot and stir in reserved beans.
  4. Bring to a boil, occasionally stirring. Stir in spinach and cook 1 minute or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lemon juice and remove from heat and serve with fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top.


Salmon with Fennel

Salmon with Fennel

From June until November, I enjoy going to the local farmer’s markets. I have been doing this for the past few years and have enjoyed supporting the local farmers while trying different fruits and vegetables. However, this was a learning process. At first I would buy too much not only spending too much money but also throwing out fruits and vegetables that were not eaten. Now I go with a budget and try to buy less than I think I will use.SAVE YOUR PRODUCE FROM PERISHING

Knowing which vegetables belong in the crisper and keeping the temperature of the fridge between  35 and 38 degrees is a good start. Use one crisper for fruits and the other for vegetables. The exceptions to this are onions, sweet potatoes, hard rind squashes, eggplant and rutabagas.  Tomatoes and avocados can be placed in the crisper once they are ripe.
Crispers slow the dehydration of fresh vegetables, however, too much moisture can destroy lettuces and spinach. Lettuce can be washed, dried and wrapped in paper towels to keep it fresh and easy to use in salads and on sandwiches.
If you have are lucky enough to have an over abundance of vegetables try making soups or sauces to keep in the freezer. The internet is a great source for new recipes.


Incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet will help prevent hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers and give you a longer and healthier life.


Serves 6
1 medium fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1 blood or navel orange, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 lemon, thinly sliced, seeds removed
1 chile or jalapeño pepper, with seeds, thinly sliced
4 springs dill, plus more for serving
Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper
2 lb. skinless salmon fillet
3/4 cup olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 275 degrees
Toss fennel, orange slices, lemon slices, chile, and 4 dill springs in a shallow 3 quart baking dish; season with kosher salt and pepper.  Season salmon with kosher salt and place on top of fennel mixture. Pour oil over.
Roast until salmon is just cooked through (the tip of a knife will slide through easily and flesh will be slightly opaque). 30-40 minutes for medium rare.
Transfer salmon to a platter, breaking it into large pieces as you go. Spoon fennel mixture and oil from baking dish over; discard dill sprigs.  Season with sea salt and pepper and top with fresh dill springs.

How to Feed Your Child

How to Feed Your Child

For the past few years, I have been volunteering in a program called Cooking Up Energy, which is a program designed to teach children healthy cooking and eating skills and lower the rates of childhood obesity. Since then, so many mothers have been asking me for advice on cooking healthy meals for their families on a budget. Some of the obstacles mothers face are budget, time and the fact that their children do not like vegetables.

The first tip for working on a budget is to buy fresh produce in season and shop at local farmers markets. By buying what is in season and shopping locally, you are saving transportation costs and benefiting from eating produce in its freshest state – farm to table. The second tip is once the produce is home use it as soon as possible.

Some good tips for saving time are to wash and cut the produce when you are home from shopping. Although, you may have heard that once cut the produce loses some of its nutrients, however, having your vegetables ready to use will make it easy for a fast dinner preparation. The idea is to use all your fresh vegetables and throw them away because of lack of time. The next tip is to cook extra, make soups, or use a crock-pot. This is great for busy days when car poling and other errands are over whelming.

So now you are thinking, “This sounds great, but my children do not like vegetables and this all sounds like a waste of time and money.” Eating a diet of fresh vegetables and fruit along with lean protein is the best way to absorb vitamins and minerals. There are some easy creative ways to get your children to enjoy doing this. By teaching your children to shop and cook for the wonderful foods that someone took the time and effort to grow and raise is a fabulous way to teach children the life skill of preparing meals. Being part of the meal preparation gives children pride in what they have put together for the meal and gives them a desire to enjoy it. Children love to help cut up all the vegetables (I recommend knives that are made for children) and then arrange them in a salad or stir-fry. Also, enjoying family meals together and sharing all of the day’s events is a great way to end the day.

Although this may all sound like one more job to do, the benefits will far out-weight the extra effort. You and your children will be healthier by eating better quality foods, your family will have the opportunity to spend more time together and your children will learn a life skill.

Happy Cooking!

From: Dianne Cochrane




Read the Label!

Read the Label!

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2014), there are proposed changes to the Nutrition Facts Label on the majority of packaged foods sold in this country. The idea behind this is for consumers to be better educated about the nutritional contents of their foods. One area of interest is added sugars. There will be an additional line on the food label that will state the number of grams of added sugars in the food product. Added sugars are sugars that are found in foods in addition to those naturally occurring in the product. The reasons for noting added sugars on the food label were based on recommendations to decrease intake of sugars from the American Heart Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Institute of Medicine, and the World Health Organization. The recommendation to decrease calorie intake from solid fats and added sugars comes from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This recommendation was made because people today are consuming too many calories and not eating enough nutrient rich foods. From added sugars, often referred to as “empty calories,” Americans are obtaining 16 percent of their total, daily caloric intake. These added sugars provide no nutritional value to people’s diets. Another area of interest on the new nutrition facts label is calories from fat. The new nutrition label will no longer have “Calories from Fat” on it, but “Total Fat,” Saturated Fat,” and Trans Fat” will still appear on the label (U. S. Food and Drug Administration (USDA), 2014).

A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association (2010), found that for children ages two through eighteen, the majority of the calories in their diets came from pizza, grain desserts, soda and fruit drinks; these products account for 40% of the calories consumed by this age group. The recommended amount of discretionary calories for all age groups is eight to 20 percent of total calorie intake. Therefore, children are consuming between two to three times the amount of discretionary calories recommended. The researchers of this study concluded that the environment needed to change and provide children with more low calorie, healthy food choices (Reedy & Krebs-Smith, 2010).

In an effort to discover effective strategies to decrease the prevalence of  childhood obesity,  a 2005 national cross-sectional study of schools and students participating in the National School Lunch Program looked at the amount of calories children were consuming in sugar-sweetened beverages  at school and at home. The results of this study were that students were consuming the majority of their “empty calories” from sugar-sweetened drinks at home. Since childhood obesity has such an impact on the mental, physical, and social health of the young people in our country, researchers from this study are recommending increased education for parents that would focus on the benefits of switching from sugar-sweetened beverages to unflavored, low-fat milk at meals and giving children water between meals (Briefel, Wilson, Cabili, & Dodd, 2013).

Overall, the concept of adding additional sugars and fats to foods seems illogical and unhealthy.

Both children and adults are consuming a considerable amount of empty calories every day, many of which are coming from sugary beverages and foods that are not nutrient rich. By taking away the calories from fat line on the nutritional labels, it seems that the FDA no longer thinks that calories from fat is important for consumers to note. The addition of the added sugars line, however, is a positive change on the nutritional labels because it informs consumers that these sugars were not originally in the product.

On both the current and proposed nutrition label, Total Fat, Saturated Fat, Cholesterol, Sodium, Total Carbohydrates, and Dietary Fiber are given for 2,000 calorie and 2,500 calorie diets. This may be confusing to consumers and lead them to thinking this is the amount of calories they should be consuming. A surprising fact written by the weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic is that the majority of women are only burning 1,700 to 2,000 calories a day and the majority of men burn 2,000 to 2,600 calories per day (Jensen, 2012 p.113) These figures show that the majority of people are burning far less than the 2,000 calorie and 2,500 calorie amounts noted on food labels. Granted, the amounted calories stated on food labels are based on what people are actually eating, and not what they should be eating; this only makes it that much harder for us as nutritionists to educate people on how many calories they really should be consuming per day.

The serving sizes on the current food labels are actually based on what people ate 20 years ago, before we had an obesity epidemic. To increase the amount of serving sizes to what people are actually eating today will only give people permission to eat more. This will happen because the majority of people do not know that these amounts are what they are actually consuming not what they should be consuming. According to the weight-loss experts at the Mayo Clinic, facts that we as nutritionists already know 1 vegetable serving = 1 baseball, 1 fruit serving = 1 tennis ball, 1 carbohydrate serving = 1 hockey puck, 1 protein/dairy = 1 deck of cards or less, and one fat serving = 1 to 2 dice (Wolf, 2012 p. 81).

The new food label proposal left me with some propelling thoughts. A positive thought is that the new food label is larger in size and easier for consumers to read. This may make consumers more aware of what they are eating. A negative thought is will the increased serving size be giving people permission to eat more? Even with the immediate costs for food companies to redo the food labels, will  uneducated consumers be buying more products and increasing profits for the food companies and motivating them to manufacture more foods with added sugars and increased amounts of fats? With obesity on the rise, is it really the right move to increase the amount of serving sizes on food labels?


Reedy, J., & Krebs-Smith, S. M. (2010) Dietary sources of energy, solid fats, and added sugars among children and adolescents in the United States. Journal of the Dietetic Association,110(10), p. 1477. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.07.010

Briefel, R. R., Wilson, A., Cabili, C., & Dodds, A., H. (2013). Reducing calories and added sugars by improving children’s beverage choices. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 113(2), p.269 doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.10.016

Jensen, M. (2012). Understanding nutrition and weight control. In P. P. Good (Ed.), The Mayo Clinic Diet (p. 113). Intercourse, PA: Good Books.

Wolf, S. (2012). No food scales of calculators needed. In P. P. Good (Ed.), The Mayo Clinic Diet (p. 81). Intercourse, PA: Good Books.

Nutrition Labeling Assignment

Dianne Cochrane

NTR 221 Food Technology Trends

April 14, 2014