The Frozen Chosen: Eating More Fruits and Veggies

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“New Yorkers really ARE friendly!”

For my oldest daughter’s sixteenth birthday she asked if I could take her to NY city instead of having a sweet sixteen party.  We stayed with a friend in NJ and took the train and subway in and out for five days of visiting.

Since my oldest is on the autism spectrum, I wanted to make sure she knew what to expect on our trip, and the first thing I did was to tell her that despite the stereotype, New Yorkers were actually friendlier than folks in Boston.  She, of course, was doubtful — until she experienced their friendliness on our trip.

She learned that if she smiled at a New Yorker on the street, they smiled back, whereas in Boston if you smile at someone, they look at you funny and cross the street.  She reaped the benefits of helpful pedestrians who pointed out when we were going the wrong way to Broadway as opposed to someone saying, “If you don’t know how to get there, maybe you shouldn’t be here.” (True response to me when I was lost in Boston once!)  When I missed a curb and went sprawling across the pavement, purse and souvenirs flying here and there, she marveled as twelve different people came to our aid, helping me up and returning every item including my purse — all monies and credit cards in place — whereas the one time I tripped in Boston, three people walked over me!   (Again, honest to goodness truth!)  She even chatted with fellow travelers on the subway as folks made conversation with us on every trip in and out of the city.

At the end of our visit, her perceptions about the folks of NY City had changed, and I was glad.

Similarly, I hope to change perceptions about the types of ingredients people can use for their own healthier eating.

Using Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

One of the best things we can do for our health is to eat more fruits and vegetables, but with the price of groceries going up by the minute, especially fresh items like vegetables and fruit, people are actually cutting down on the amount they eat.

But you don’t have to do so.  You can invest instead in frozen fruits and vegetables which are just as good as the fresh.  Because the fruits and vegetables are flash frozen, they retain the nutrients you find in fresh produce, but they are cheaper and also have the benefit of being ready when you need them without going bad.

Frozen Vegetable Ideas

People are always amazed when I tell them that the roasted vegetables they are eating were frozen, but it’s true.  If you roast frozen vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, etc… with a little bit of olive oil, garlic and herbs, you’ll have a dish delicious and pretty enough to serve to company.  The trick is to roast the veggies from their frozen state, not thawed.  Similarly, you can throw frozen vegetables into soups and stews.  You can add thawed, frozen vegetables to dips. You can even puree thawed, frozen vegetables to put into your cake recipes.

Frozen Fruit Ideas

Frozen fruits are wonderful to use, too.  You can replace fresh fruit in cobblers and crisps.  (Simply make sure you coat them with a 1/4 to 1/2 cup more flour than your recipe calls for because the fruit will be juicier.)  You can puree them into smoothies for a hot summer day.  You can even chop them up while frozen to add to that favorite muffin recipe.

However you choose to eat your fruits and veggies, know that you’re not limited to fresh produce only, nor relegated to having to eat it canned.

Gluten Free Peach Cobbler

Ingredients:

4 16 oz bags of no added sugar frozen peaches

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 cup Agave

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 cup  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour*

2 cups additional Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour**

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup soy free vegan butter (or another type you’d prefer)

2 beaten eggs***

1/2 cup Agave

1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum

Baking Instructions:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat the bottom of a 11 x 15 pan with an oil such as grapeseed or safflower oil.  (You can use vegan butter or another type of oil or Pam spray if you prefer.)

2.  Put the peaches into a very large mixing bowl and toss with the lemon juice.

3.  Blend together the Agave, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.  Coat the peaches with the mixture.

4.  Sprinkle the flour over the peaches and toss to coat.  Carefully put the peaches into your prepared pan.  Set aside.

5.  Mix the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt.

6. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or with a couple of forks or knives until the flour mixture is crumbly.

7.  Mix the beaten eggs with Agave and add to the flour mixture, mixing just until everything is moistened.

8.  Sprinkle the xanthan gum evenly over the batter and mix in well.

9.  Drop the batter by small spoonfuls on top of your peaches.  It will not completely cover the peaches, but don’t worry, because the batter will spread when it is cooking.

10.  Bake for 50 minutes or so until the the topping has spread, is golden brown, and fully cooked through, which means it’ll be firm to your touch and not soft in the center.

100% whole wheat flour can be substituted if you don’t need it to be gluten free.

** 100% whole wheat flour can be substituted if you don’t need it to be gluten free.

*** If you’re not making it gluten free and need to omit eggs, you can mix 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed with 6 tablespoons of water.  Let it sit for 5 minutes, and then add it in place of the eggs.

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