When the colors of Autumn beg us to return to the golden hues of root vegetables, the first in line to blossom is the beet. From the crimson-red sugar beet to the pink-and-white striped Chioggia, these root vegetables come in a range of stunning, jewel-toned hues. They add a punch of color — and a sweet, mildly buttery flavor when cooked — to just about any course and are at their most tender during the Fall months, peaking in October. To find out how to select, store, and enjoy these versatile veggies, keep reading.
Fruits and veggies are full of vitamins and nutrients, but eating them can do some funky things to your body. We all know that beans can make you gassy and onions can cause bad breath, but here are some of produce's effects on the body that might not be as familiar.
- Asparagus: After eating some grilled spears with dinner, you may notice an odoriferous effect when you use the restroom. Does everyone experience smelly urine after eating asparagus? No, but if it happens to you, it's completely harmless. Mercaptan is the culprit. This compound found in the green stalks causes the ammonia- or sulfur-like smell to be released when you relieve yourself.
- Beets: You enjoyed some delicious beet salad at your friend's barbecue and hours later a visit to the powder room has you reaching for your phone to dial 911. Don't be alarmed! Many people experience reddish-colored urine after they eat beets. It's either caused by a genetic condition known as Beeturia (that's the real name!) or an iron deficiency. A trip to your doctor for a quick blood test will let you know if you need to include more iron-rich foods in your diet.
- Carrots: A person needs 2,310 international units (IU) of vitamin A a day. One carrot contains 10,255 IU, half a cup of red pepper has 2,333 IU, and half a cup of sweet potato contains 15,740 IU. If you're a fan of these foods, it's easy to overdo it on vitamin A. Your skin can become saturated, which results in an orange glow. This symptom alone isn't harmful, but if it's coupled with blurred vision, nausea, irregular periods, and hair loss, you've probably overdosed on vitamin A and it's time to cut back. Sadly, getting too much vitamin A while pregnant can also cause birth defects, so don't ignore that orange tint!
When it comes to Thanksgiving, the humble salad is not one of the spectacular standout sides. It's overshadowed by more showy dishes like creamy mashed potatoes with rich giblet gravy or melt-in-your-mouth stuffing with juicy sausage. However, with interesting ingredients and a proper homemade vinaigrette, the salad can be transformed into a side worthy of competing with the best potatoes and stuffing.
Follow this recipe for a beet and butternut squash salad and you'll end up with a remarkably textured and flavorful salad that's pretty to look at and satisfying to eat. The dried cranberry dressing that coats the vegetables, leafy greens, and crunchy pumpkin seeds are sheer perfection, and the liberal shaving of salty parmesan is the ideal garnish. To check out this seasonal salad recipe, keep reading.
I love beets and I love walnuts, but the healthy nuts don't seem to need much of a hard sell. Beets, on the other hand, are shunned by many, and unrightfully so in my opinion. This recipe by former Google chef Charlie Ayers is a great way to work beets into a meal for folks that have no love for the red tuber. At a recent event celebrating the health benefits of the California walnut, I overheard many guests exclaim that they never liked beets until eating this very dish. When I say "Try it, you'll like it," I really mean it.
This flatbread recipe is like a Mediterranean pizza with no tomato sauce. Serving the arugula on top of the cooked dough layered with beets and cheese is another creative way to work greens onto your plate. The dish feels fancy.
To check out the recipe, keep on reading.
My son can find a security camera in any public location from shops to restaurants to stoplights in a matter of minutes. Until he pointed them out, I never realized that Big Brother really is everywhere. I take my three kids out by myself fairly often, and since my middle guy is a bit of a wild card, I use the cameras to my advantage. When he inquires about what they are watching, I tell him his behavior. We went to a formal dinner event that lasted about two and a half hours last weekend, and he sat at the table eating and talking the entire time. Every so often, he'd entertain hopping out of his chair and then look up at the camera, smile, and stay put. The tactic works rather well, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time before he figures things out and calls my bluff. FitSugar told me she's got a trick to getting her daughter to eat her veggies. She recently tweeted:
Should I be ashamed for taking advantage of my daughter's girly stage by convincing her to eat beets since they make her pee pink?
As it turns out, letting her little girl borrow one of mommy's shirts to wear to bed if she bathes also works! Some women grab their wallet or promise candy to get their lil ones to do what they want, but kids are getting smarter — have you become more inventive?
Kale is one of Winter's most common greens and it's usually enjoyed cooked. But did you know that raw kale actually makes an amazingly delicious salad? When tossed with a flavorful dressing like the raspberry, mustard, apple cider vinaigrette in this recipe, the kale tastes crisp and healthy. Shredded beets, sliced radishes, and roasted pumpkin seeds add crunch, heft, and salt to the salad. Serve a piece of crusty bread slathered with creamy goat cheese, and you've got a satisfying and light meal. Look at the recipe after the break.
This Valentine's Day, don't bother with restaurant reservations and overpriced three-course menus. Instead, cook up a deliciously decadent dinner for two in the comfort of your own kitchen. Light candles, turn on mood music, and pour glasses of wine.
As for the menu, start with classic crab cakes — this variation highlights the meaty, pure flavor of crab. For the main course serve a luxuriously rich fettuccine Alfredo. Yes, it's fattening, but it's a special occasion! On the side, offer a mixed green salad with heart shaped beets. For these simple yet stunning recipes, read more
The other night while roasting up some beets with the mister, I nearly panicked because he tried to throw away the leafy tops. Deal breaker! Well not really, but didn't he know the power of beet greens? Obviously not and he's not alone. Even though more and more folks are handling raw beets in the kitchen, beet greens are still viewed as being disposable.
If you're a fan of Swiss chard, then you'll love beet greens, as they are pretty much synonymous in look, taste, and use. When using beet greens, I'll rip the leaves from the stems and toss them raw in a salad or cook them up as a warm side dish. Because the stalks take a little bit longer to cook, I remove the leaves first and blanch the stems before sauteing everything together with olive oil, sea salt, chili flakes, lemon juice, and garlic. Beet greens also taste great in a hearty soup or in a veggie lasagna.
Besides tasting good, beet greens are packed with vitamins A and C and have a good amount of iron and calcium too. They're also pretty low in calories and don't contain any fat. The next time you buy beets, snap off the tops as soon as you can — this helps your beets retain moisture — and store the greens in a plastic bag in the fridge. They'll keep pretty well for about four days. One trick I learned is to ask for discarded beet greens at the farmers market. Since most people don't use the tops, the farms have a lot of beet greens that are just going to be thrown out. I usually end up with a ton for free!
How do you feel about beet greens? If you love them, tell me how you like to prepare them.
Over the weekend, when the cold, wet drizzle refused to let up, I developed an undeniable desire to load up on starchy, al dente pasta. I couldn't just ditch my resolve to eat only nutrient-rich, wholesome fare, so I came to a compromise by preparing a healthful pasta with root vegetables.
In addition to being full of protein, fiber, and more vitamins than I have room to list, this speedy recipe requires less than an hour from start to finish. The turnips, beets, and yams take advantage of the stovetop, rather than the oven, for timesaving yet tender results. Hoping to scout out a good-for-you comfort dish? You've come to the right place. Get the recipe when you read more.
Much to my dismay, my sister and girlfriends are going on a 10-day detox where they'll eat vegan and give up alcohol. Since I'm not participating (what can I say? I can't live without cheese and a glass of wine!), I'll get in on the fun by hosting a vegan dinner. This flavorful meal that's chock-full of vegetables starts with a chickpea, mint, and parsley spread slathered on pita bread. For the first course I'll offer a colorful beet salad with tangerines.
The star of the show is a curried red lentil stew with vegetables and rice. It's a menu that's hearty, healthy, and downright scrumptious, so get the recipes after the break.