Monthly Archives: May 2012

The old Food Pyramid, and now MyPlate, have no affect on the food choices in my home. They do affect the greater good of my community, as these guidelines influence food programs in our schools.

As I review the new guidelines, I remain disappointed by what I call the “ORs”.  For example;  Recommended 2 cups of fruit, “or” fruit juice.  Whole grains, “or” processed food containing grams of whole grain.

In the future, as our national desire to feed ourselves and our families for health and well-being grows, the USDA guidelines will give whole foods recommendations without the “ORs”.

Applause to the MyPlate site, for including a link to a darn good Farm Market Search tool.

excerpt: by Kristen Wartman- Civil Eats
“The USDA finally did away with the much-maligned Food Pyramid and replaced it with MyPlate. Many in the food world are calling it progress. It’s certainly a clearer and more concise image and deserves some credit for the fact that half of the plate is comprised of fruit and vegetables.
“This is a step in the right direction,” Marion Nestle wrote in an email. “It’s the best they could come up with and some education needs to go with it, as always.”
In my view though, when you look a little deeper, you see that beyond the clearer image not much has really changed.
The five food categories indicated in the image are: Fruits, Vegetables, Protein, Grains, and Dairy. At first glance the MyPlate image appears to eliminate many problematic sugary, processed foods, but when you actually click on the categories a host of unhealthy foods are revealed.”read more…

I think it’s important to remember that each of us, in the roll of “Mom”, has the power to influence the relationship our children form with food that is greater than the USDA nutrition posters in their school cafeteria.  I listen for ideas for cooking with my kids that are new to me; and moms are generous with their ideas for bringing kids into the kitchen. I love the honesty in the voice of Eve Fox as she writes about cooking with kids.

Nearly every Spring, my kids and I enthusiastically attend our local perennial exchange. The kids love to “exchange.” We fill our red wagon with divided iris, hosta, coral bell, and anything else that is overgrowing it’s allotted space in the yard, and trade for things we think are interesting. This year we came home with Pussy Willow and Lambs Ear. Apparently our theme was “fuzzy.”

In addition to the perennial swap, the event hosts The Master Gardener Heirloom Tomato Sale. The growers are happy to share everything they know about each of the varieties. Because of their help, we’re confident we’ll be eating some yummy home-grown tomatoes in August, maybe sooner.

As we need to grow tomatoes in containers (for maximum sun), we only considered varieties that could thrive in containers (determinate). There is far more variety in “indeterminate” tomatoes than “determinate.” Or, at least this is true in my area. I could have been disappointed that Brandywine, Caspian Pink, and all the cherry size tomatoes were outside of my specific garden limitations; instead I found there were five, highly prized varieties that are suitable for my space. I brought home a Burbank Slicing and a Glacier.

It’s not too late to meet with the remarkable people passionate about growing and preserving heirloom plants. MGWWC – Master Gardeners of Western Wayne County supports additional sales this Spring:

May 19, 2012 | 9am – 1pm
Wayne County Extension Office parking lot
5454 Venoy Road, Wayne, Michigan

When I bake potatoes, I bake all I have on hand. The oven is going to be on for an hour – I can bake four or fourteen, it’s still an hour.


Heat oven to 350º. Arrange potatoes in a large baking pan, loosely cover with aluminum foil, and bake. When the potatoes are soft, scoop the centers out and mash. The food mill is the quickest way I’ve found to make smooth mashed potatoes. Add salt, pepper and butter (I sometimes add cream cheese too) to the spuds, then return the mashed potato to the hollowed potato skins.
Top with steamed broccoli and sharp cheddar cheese. Bake some of your stuffed potatoes at 350º; to warm them and melt the cheese. Wrap the remaining stuffed potatoes in freezer paper and store for an easy meal another day.

To heat frozen potatoes:

  • Allow potatoes to defrost in the refrigerator before baking. (though, I’m not sure this is necessary)
  • place them in a baking dish, loosely covered with foil, bake at 350º for 45-60 minutes.
  • The potatoes can also be heated in aluminum foil on a outdoor grill. Pierce holes in the foil so that steam can escape.
Real Time Farms
Local Food and Local Farms
Gardener's Supply Company