How to Hide Healthy Veggies in Yummy Green Tomato Pie

 

A few green tomatoes are to be expected at the end of the gardening season. If you just have a few, it’s no big deal. You put them on the windowsill to ripen, and when they do you use them as you would tomatoes that ripened on the vine.

But what about if you have bushels of unripened green tomatoes?

Of course, there are green tomato pickles and relishes. You can use green tomatoes in soups, spaghetti sauces, or even chili. You can substitute green tomatoes for zucchini, carrots or even bananas in your favourite spice cake or muffin recipe. And of course, there’s the classic fried green tomato!

But have you ever thought of making a green tomato pie?

Green Tomato Pie

Apparently, green tomatoes can be substituted for apples and made into a very tasty pie. The green tomato pie recipe I read says you can’t tell the difference I plan to spend some time later this evening chopping up ingredients for this pastry but once baked I won’t be telling hubby and the kids what it is until after I’ve heard their reactions! If you want to try it too, use the linked recipe or just substitute green tomatoes for the apples in your favourite recipe. Let me know how it turns out!

 

Green Tomato Nutrition

Green tomatoes have a lot of the same nutrients as ripe red tomatoes, though in slightly lower proportions. But I imagine they’d pass for apples a lot more easily than red tomatoes would!

What’s interesting is that cup for cup, tomatoes have fewer than half the calories – 22 calories for one cup of sliced green tomatoes, compared with 57 calories for the same amount of apple slices. Green tomatoes are rich in vitamin C. They also provide potassium, vitamins A and K, as well as several of the B vitamins. By comparison, apples have less protein, fewer vitamins, and more carbs.

 

My Adventures with Green Tomato Recipes

Our little valley is bear country, so this time of year it’s really important for people to pick their fruit and glean their gardens. That can often mean that by the end of summer a gardener will have so much produce they really have no idea where to put it all!

A few days ago, a neighbour sent my husband home with three big boxes of tomatoes, most of which were green. So far we’ve made stuffed tomatoes, sandwiches, and school snacks from the ripe ones. And we’ve made a beautiful green and red tomato soup that I will most definitely make again. I have more tomatoes cut up for a different tomato soup recipe.

This weekend, I am going to attempt to make a zucchini brownie recipe with green tomato instead. I also found a lovely green tomato cake recipe I want to try. I want to make some for our house, some for my girlfriend’s family, and some for the lovely neighbour who sent the tomatoes home. I saw an interesting savoury green tomato cobbler recipe that uses cheddar biscuits – well, you can see I have a lot of stuff I want to make! And luckily we have more than enough tomatoes for our household and several others!

 

Green tomato pie is a healthy alternative to apple pie – and they’ll never taste the difference! | #healthy #desserts #applepie
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Peanuts are Forbidden? Don’t Be Nuts!

A peanut butter sandwich was once a staple in sack lunches – whether it was for a child attending school or for an adult heading out to work for the day. Peanut butter has traditionally been an inexpensive food, and a little goes a long way. One serving is 2 tbsp – about 32 g. So a 1 kg jar of peanut butter contains more than 30 servings. That makes a lot of sandwiches!

A lot of more glamorous and expensive foods exist these days, many of them developed as a peanut butter substitute at the peak of the allergy craze. Between the broader options and concerns over peanut allergies, peanut butter sandwiches are not nearly as common as they used to be. But please don’t get the idea that you should give up on peanuts altogether!

Peanut: Humble but Heart-Healthy!
The humble peanut offers the same health benefits as more expensive tree nuts
(Image: sponchia/Pixabay/CC0)

The Vilification of the Humble Peanut

But the poor peanut has been a dietary pariah for decades now. First, doctors told heart patients to stop eating peanut because of concerns over the saturated fats it contains. But later, it was absolutely vilified because of the severity of some people’s peanut allergies. Schools banned any food containing peanut, parents of small children were told to withhold peanuts until age 3 or 4, and doctors even advised pregnant and nursing women to avoid eating anything containing peanut for fear it would promote the allergy in their babies.

These days, research shows peanut avoidance may actually have contributed to an increase in peanut allergies. It also shows that there is no scientific basis for the belief that someone with a peanut allergy can be triggered just by smelling or being in the same room with peanuts. All of the extreme measures schools took for a while are probably unnecessary too, and we are seeing a more relaxed approach that focuses on better hygiene rather than on complete banning of peanut products. This all falls in line with the decision to rescind recommendations of peanut avoidance for pregnant and nursing women, as well as for infants and toddlers.

 

Avoiding peanuts? You may not have to! | #hearthealth #allergies
Peanuts are no longer the evil we once considered them to be!
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Peanuts and Heart Health

When I was in my teens my father had a heart attack. During diet counselling afterwards, the doctor and the dietitian both expressed concern about the fact that Dad loved to eat peanuts. He was told this food was too fatty, and that he could no longer eat roasted nuts for a snack. I remember it being a pretty big deal for him, as this was one of the few foods he really looked forward to as a treat.

The good news is that health experts today aren’t telling people to stop eating peanuts anymore.

Whereas the lowly peanut was to be avoided a few decades ago, new research suggests that a peanut possesses a lot of the same health benefits as more expensive tree nuts like almond, pecan, or walnut. The heart-healthy monounsaturated fats in peanuts help to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol without causing weight gain, and may also help lower high blood pressure. A diet rich in monounsaturated fats may also prevent type II diabetes and help you fight belly fat. Peanuts also contain linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid that our bodies need.

So I’m snacking on a handful of peanuts as I write this, and I am definitely going to continue enjoying my peanut butter! Next time I write about peanuts and peanut butter, I’ll talk more about the other nutrients and about how these groundnuts are actually more similar to legumes like Lima beans than they are like tree nuts.

 

Featured image credit: Peanuts by forwimuwi73/Pixabay (CC0 1.0)

 

How Many Calories are in a Carrot?

Carrot sticks are good for you. We’ve known that forever. Right?

I can remember when I was just a little girl, being thin was really the “in” thing. I mean uber thin. Like Twiggy thin.

All the women were dieting so they could be thinner – even though most of them were pretty darned thin by today’s standards. It seems like half the teenage girls and women at that time were living on “diet platters” consisting mainly of carrot sticks, celery, and cottage cheese.

Carrot sticks were a dieter’s best friend. Everyone knew that they were low in calories, even though most of us had very little idea what a calorie was! Most of us didn’t understand that a calorie is just a measurement of energy. And we had no idea how many calories were in a healthy meal, let alone how many we needed to consume in a day.

We just had this vague idea that eating too many calories made you fat. So, of course, the best possible thing was to consume as few calories as we could. (Notice that nobody ever talked about our minimum caloric needs. But then again, this was before most of us had ever heard of eating disorders like anorexia. And malnutrition was something that happened in faraway places like Ethiopia – wherever that was!)

But let’s get back to the carrot sticks.

Carrots were supposed to be really low in calories. Nobody talked about them being very healthy (even though they are.) It was just important that, as food goes, they were low-cal. So eating lots of carrots was good for you. It could help to make you really skinny.

Girls as young as 7 or 8 were being asked if they could “pinch an inch” and were bombarded with messages about dieting to get thinner. Carrot sticks were one of the few foods we didn’t feel guilty about eating. So inevitably, they became the stuff of urban legends.

Some people said one carrot stick had only 5 calories.

I heard people say a carrot had 15 calories.

I even heard rumours that it took more calories to chew and digest the carrot than the vegetable actually supplied! This “negative calorie” myth was applied to several other veggies that are commonly eaten as a raw snack, though nobody ever came up with any actual support for it.

Never mind, though! The dieters wanted to hear stuff like this. It made them feel better about passing up the foods they really wanted to eat, in favour of their platters of rabbit food and curdled milk. And it made all the little girls feel there was at least one “safe” food that we wouldn’t be chastised for eating.

Carrot sticks are a dieter's friend (Image: cocoparisienne/Pixabay/CC0)
Carrot sticks are a dieter’s friend. They are low in calories, fat and sodium, and have no cholesterol. They are also packed with nutrients, and they taste great!
(Image: cocoparisienne/Pixabay/CC0 1.0)

 

The Truth About Calories and Carrots

Despite all the hype, those carrot sticks really are good for you. A medium carrot has just 25 calories – a bit more than legend had it in the 70s, but still very reasonable. It has just the teensiest amount of polyunsaturated fat, no cholesterol or trans fat, and low sodium. It also supplies enough vitamin A for two whole days!

Carrots are a source of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins C and B6. And one medium carrot fulfils the daily requirement that we eat one dark orange vegetable or fruit.

Carrots are one of the least expensive vegetables on your grocer’s shelf. They are versatile and they store well, and they are really easy to prepare. Raw carrots are the easiest, of course. Just wash them well and cut off the ends before eating (keep these for your soup bag, instead of throwing them away.) There’s no need to peel them unless the skins are really thick and nasty.

Carrot sticks are a great thing to have in your fridge. If they’re already prepared, you’ll be more likely to reach for them instead of an unhealthy snack like chips. And your kids are more likely to pack them in their school lunches or to grab a handful when they’re hungry after school.

Some people worry that cutting carrots ahead of time will rob the carrots of vital nutrients. But actually, it’s not that bad. Prepare what you need for a few days at a time and store in an airtight container in the fridge. As long as you keep your carrots cool, and away from water and light, they’ll hold their nutrients pretty well.

 

 

Carrot sticks are the ultimate diet food. But is it true it takes more calories to digest a carrot than that carrot actually supplies? Learn how many calories are really in a carrot – and how many nutrients too! | Kyla Matton Osborne (@Ruby3881) | 24 Carrot Diet
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