A to Z of Vegetables: C is for Carrot

And we’re back with another article in our A to Z of Vegetables series. We are up to C – and C is for Carrot. The humble, cheap, buy a bag of them, carrot. I personally love carrots. We always have a bag in the fridge, and then form part of my weekly meal prep every week without fail. I prepare carrot sticks for snacks, and I prep sliced carrots for steaming during the week. Roasting them adds a delicious caramel flavour and makes them even sweeter.

The Empowered Cook shares the A to Z of Vegetables: today is C for Carrot - including health benefits and recipes that you can make for your family.

They are also high up my favourite list because they are CHEAP. A bag of carrots will only set you back a dollar or so – and you can make so many different options out of that one bag.

The risk is the monontony of course. Simply having carrot sticks every day can be boring. Or just boiling them for dinner is just… well… boring.

The carrot needs some love. It needs to be dressed. To be dipped. Seasoned. Roasted.

Fun Fact: Carrots were not originally orange. They were purple and yellow. Keep an eye out for some different varieties at your farmers market. They might just bring a little something extra to your plate.

Carrots contain antioxidants (may protect against cancer) and they are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre. All good things for our bodies. This Medical News Today article provides links to specific studies for several types of cancer (lung cancer, colorectal and leukemia) that have positive effects from eating carrots. I personally think that choosing to eat more vegetables in our daily meals is always a good thing – but targeting the ones you eat to help your specific health concerns is just smart.

Bonus Toddler Tip: My little one loves orange and apple juice. I will make this for him in our cold-pressed juicer – but I will sneak in a couple of carrots. They don’t change the colour of the juice – and they simply add some more sweetness – along with a whole heap of good nutrition.

Carrot Recipes to Try:

Harissa Roasted Carrots from Naturally Ella – add a little spice to your carrots

Scallion Roasted Carrots from Naturally Ella – another way to serve carrots as a side dish

Sweet Glazed Carrots from Jamie Oliver – this a great way to serve carrots with the evening meal, but with a twist to keep them interesting

Carrot Dip (yoğurtlu havuç)  – a delicious Turkish recipe from SBS Food. This would be a great one for little ones to try.

Spiced Carrot Muffins with Millet from Naturally Ella – I know this is the third recipe I have shared from this website, but I love it. And this recipe is too good not to share. The little crunchy millet balls in these are just right.

 

Want to read more in the A to Z of Vegetables series? You can – just click here to see the other articles.

 

 

A to Z of Vegetables: B is for Broccoli

Welcome back to the A to Z of Vegetables series. You can read the rest of the series here. Today – we’re up to the letter B, and I’ve chosen Broccoli. Why? Because very few people in my house love broccoli – and I feel it needs some extra love and attention.

The Empowered Cook shares the A to Z of Vegetables: today is B is for Broccoli - including health benefits, recipe ideas and a personal loved recipe for broccoli.

We buy a head of broccoli every week. I eat it for breakfast with scrambled eggs, in my salad at lunch and in a multitude of ways for dinner. My toddler on the other hand, not so much. He will find the tiniest little floret of broccoli hidden in his mash potato. It is like he has a super power for finding this stuff. But – I persist. I always serve it to him, in the hope that he’ll eat it.

Health Benefits

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable – just like cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. It is now a commonly held understanding that these sorts of vegetables are high in cancer fighting properties. Broccoli in particular, is also reported to have many other health benefits like better wound healing, liver protection, and improved fertility. Not to mention, it is delicious and versatile in the kitchen. And – you only need to eat about 2 spears to have this count as one serve in your 5-vegetables-a-day quota.

Have I convinced you to add this to your shopping list yet?

Recipes to Inspire

Cheesy Broccoli – this combo is fast and delicious

Green Curry Broccoli Soup – I know this might sound weird. But really – give this a try. Please. And then let me know how much you love it.

Broccoli Noodles – I think this could be a great recipe for young kids. I haven’t made this – but I love everything that Heather at Beauty That Moves makes, so I’m confident this is a winner. Will be adding to my meal plan soon!

My Favourite Broccoli Recipe

I have always loved broccoli. And when I discovered roasted broccoli – oh my. A whole new level of love opened up for me. This recipe now forms part of my weekly prep. I use the roasted spears in my salads for lunch and I throw a few in with my scrambled eggs in the morning. Roasting the broccoli adds a wonderful depth to the sometimes bitter broccoli – and once you add a few extra spices, it takes on a life of its own. Enjoy.

Roasted Broccoli Recipe
Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 

  2. Chop your broccoli into individual florets. You might like to chop the larger ones in half or quarters - until they are all about the same size.

  3. Scatter these onto your baking tray and drizzle with olive oil.

  4. Season with the onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Then, using your hands, gently toss the broccoli to coat it with the oil and seasonings.

  5. Place in the oven and cook for 20-30mins. Keep an eye on it - and when it is nice and brown around the edges, remove from the oven and serve immediately.

  6. Note: you can store this in the fridge for about 3 days. Add to salads or reheat for a later dinner. 

 

 

A to Z of Vegetables: A is for Asparagus

A is Asparagus in the A to Z of Vegetables. Do you like it? Do you eat it? How often? It occasionally makes its way into our house – primarily on my breakfast plate. I am the only fan of asparagus in this household – but it is such a powerhouse, that I chose this for my first A to Z of Vegetables candidate. Join me as I explore the alphabet of vegetables. 

The Empowered Cook shares the A to Z of Vegetables: first up: A is for Asparagus - including health benefits, recipe ideas and a personal loved recipe for Asparagus.

Health-wise asparagus is packed with vitamin A (think eyes, skin and immune system), C and K (think bones). It also contains folic acid – great for pregnant mummas. Asparagus is also a natural diaretic – and as a result is nature’s way to rid the body of unwanted toxins through an increased urine output.

According to BBC Good Food, 5 spears of asparagus will count as one portion of your 5-a-day. In Chinese Medicine, asparagus “helps to cleanse the arteries of cholesterol and is useful in vascular problems such as hypertension and arteriosclerosis”. (Healing with Whole Foods, pg. 536*).

David Wolfe references the fibre in asparagus, and also the thiamine which acts as a natural energy boost. He has 10 great health benefits over here, if you need more reasons to give asparagus a try.

Looking for some ideas? You could try this Creamy Chicken Asparagus Braise – a delicious and hearty option for asparagus lovers. 

The recipe that I will share with you today is one that is close to my heart. It is a simple recipe, but it has served a purpose in my life. When I was caring for my Mama, there wasn’t much that she liked to eat. Chemotherapy made everything taste metallic and the nausea was sometimes just too much. There were a few things that I made, and those few things were on repeat for weeks. Chicken Soup, Savoury Mince and these Boiled Eggs with Soldiers and Asparagus. I’m not quite sure why these worked – you would think the runny egg would turn anyone off – but Mum devoured them. I think it was the nostalgia – everyone loves a toast solider. It was bitter sweet for me – as I buttered the toast, I remembered how she would make me a boiled egg and toast soldiers when I was little and unwell. She taught me how to do this – to care for another. And here I was, caring for her. I do recall the smile as she pretty much licked her plate clean at the end. That made my day.

A simple boiled egg can be somewhat tricky – so read the recipe below for my (or should I say, Mum’s) tried and tested method.

Also, I stir-fry the asparagus on the stove top – but you could just as easily steam it or grill it, or even pop it in the oven. Whatever you like – just as long as they are fresh and still have a little give – so you can dip them in the runny egg.

A Simple Recipe - Boiled Egg, Soldier Toast and Asparagus
Ingredients
  • 1 piece bread (preferably dark rye)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 spears asparagus
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Begin by preparing your egg. You want a boiled egg with a 'runny' yolk so that you can dip your toast and asparagus. To do this - start by placing a small pot on the stove filled with cold water. Add your egg to the water and place on a medium-high heat. 

  2. Carefully watch your pot - and when it comes to a rolling boil (i.e. a lot of bubbles), remove from the heat. Put a lid on and wait 6 minutes. Once 6 minutes have passed, remove the egg and place in your ice water bath for about a minute. Remove and pop your egg in your egg cup - ready to serve. 

  3. Now, heat a small fry pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil.

  4. Add the asparagus to the pan and stir-fry for a few minutes until al-dente. Tender but still with a little bite to it. 

  5. Toast the bread and lavish it with butter. Slice into toast soldiers. 

  6. Assemble the egg, asparagus and toast soldiers on a plate. (You can also add other things at this point, some grilled mushrooms, bacon, mashed pumpkin). Enjoy. 

 

 

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