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Holiday Stressors

Six Holiday Habits That Cause Heart Attacks  

Some traditions make for merriment and fun – but these six can literally stop your heart. 

BY DR. DARRIA GILLESPIE, MD 

“Christmas Coronary.” It sounds festive, doesn’t it? Like something you’d hear in a holiday movie. Unfortunately … no. The term was coined by doctors who noticed a disturbing patternHeart attacks and heart-related problems peaking every year over the winter holiday season — specifically on Christmas, the day after Christmas and on New Year’s Day.  Of course, health emergencies at this time of year seem to stick out more in our minds — the dad who had a heart attack just after the family dinner or the grandfather who experienced severe chest pain after shoveling snow. But it’s more than just anecdotal. Studies show that the number of heart attacks increases by over 30% in the winter. This number holds true for all ages (young people can manifest as having dangerous heart rhythms) and genders.
 

What’s behind this increase? These six stressors specifically surrounding the holidays put us at greater risk: 

  1. Cold temperatures. Cold weather causes your blood vessels to constrict in your arms and legs, making your heart work harder. It can also cause the blood vessels to your heart to spasm, temporarily depriving the heart of oxygen.
  2. Overexertion. Even those who are sedentary during the rest of the year may increase their physical activity over the holidays — shoveling snow, trudging through snowdrifts or going sledding with the kids. Suddenly becoming active in the cold weather causes a spike in demand on your heart. In addition, the mere act of lifting a heavy snow shovel increases your blood pressure, which makes someone with heart disease even more at risk of having a heart attack. 
  3. Nonstop food feasts.A study from Switzerland showed that in the winter, people had higher blood pressure and cholesterol — the very factors that drive a heart attack.
  • What to do: I know—the parties, family gatherings and treats are half the fun! And we all need a little fun. You can still enjoy the festivities, albeit with some caveats. Give yourself some boundaries—for example, you’ll only eat two pieces of mom’s special fudge or one piece of apple pie. Or maybe you’ll allow yourself to indulge at one party, but not the other. I try to keep my nutrition in check on weekdays and then allow myself to cheat a little on the weekend. That works for me, but everyone is different so try some strategies to see what works for you. 
  1. Alcohol. Holiday spirits can lead to “Holiday Heart Syndrome” if you’re not careful. I remember last holiday season taking care of a 34-year-old guy who had come home for the holidays, gone out with his friends and noticed that his heart was suddenly racing. His heart rate was 180 when EMS brought him in. It took hydration and medications to stabilize his heart rate.
  2. Ignoring symptoms. It’s a common excuse: “All the family is here right now” or “I don’t want to spend Christmas Eve in the ER” or “I have 30 guests coming this evening.” Health problems never come at convenient times, and the holidays make those surprises seem even more inconvenient.
  3. Catching a bug.‘Tisthe season for gifts, family — and the flu. A disease like the flu can put excess pressure on your heart — especially if you already have heart problems — increasing the risk of a heart attack. 

With a little extra caution, you can enjoy the holidays while staying your healthiest.  

 

May you keep the holiday spirit in your heart year ‘round, avoid “Holiday Heart Syndrome” and always and forever remain young at heart. 

 

This week’s newsletter is excerpted from an article that can be read in its entirety at https://www.sharecare.com/health/heart-attack/article/6-holiday-habits-that-cause-heart-attacks 

 

Let’s commit to a good food strategy that is heart healthy this holiday season.  

Tristan

your farmer and health activist

 

  • 1/4 cup lime juice 
  • 1 Tbsp. agave nectar or honey 
  • 1 tsp. sea salt 
  • 1/2 cup olive oil 
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley 
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 2 fresh pears, cut into chunks 
  • 1/2 cup dried wild blueberries (optional) 
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped 
  • 1/2 cup shaved carrots 
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber 
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red pepper 
  • 1/4 cup red onions, diced 

DIRECTIONS: Mix lime juice, honey, salt, olive oil, and vinegar in a bowl; set aside. 

  1. In large bowl, mix together quinoa, fruit, vegetables, nuts, dried blueberry, then pour over dressing. 
  1. Place in refrigerator to chill, then serve cold! (Optional to serve with chicken.) 

All images and text ©Sandy Coughlin for Reluctant Entertainer. 

Recipe Permalink: https://reluctantentertainer.com/pear-quinoa-salad/ 

 

 

 

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How to Eat Your Box! (Week of 2/18/18)

Italian (Lacinato) Kale:

Kale is just wonderful and it’s so good for you!

Try it: in the Tuscan soup (recipe below), or, in a salad. One great thing about kale as a salad is that it keeps well in the fridge, so you can make ahead of time and not worry about it wilting. To prevent kale from becoming bitter, make sure to make sure to remove all large ribs and stems (They make a great addition to a stir-fry though!). Chop the leaves small; Sprinkle with salt to cut the bitterness; “Tenderize” the leaves by massaging them with your hands (only takes about half a minute); And lastly, massage in the olive oil or salad dressing. This turns the kale bright green and keeps it evenly covered. Use an olive oil & vinegar combination for the dressing.

Toppings: try with apple or pear slices. Cashews, almonds and dried cranberries also taste great with this combination!

Broccoli:

Baked broccoli is one of my favorite dinner sides. I like it best roasted to crispy perfection with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Try tossing chopped broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and seasonings of choice. Bake on a cookie sheet at 450° for about 20 minutes, until edges are crispy and the stems are tender. For extra flavor, drizzle with lemon juice or top with parmesan cheese.

Broccoli is also great in salad, stir-fry, soup, or raw with your favorite veggie dip.

Bosc Pears:

Bosc pears are firm when ripe but you can tell when they are ready to eat when the area around the stem yields to light pressure and are lightly fragrant—usually after 2-3 days on the counter top. Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).

 

Featured Recipe: Zuppa Toscana

Serves 6

Ingredients:

 

1 tablespoon Olive Oil

1 lb. Italian Sausage (or sub 15 oz. Cannelloni Beans for vegan option)

¼ teaspoon Red Pepper flakes (or to taste—we advise don’t skip these!)

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1 Onion, diced

4 cups Chicken Broth (or, sub Vegetable Broth for vegan version)

3 Russet Potatoes, thinly sliced

2 cups Italian Kale, finely chopped

1 cup Heavy Cream (feel free to sub Half and Half or Whole Milk OR sub Coconut Milk OR Coconut Cream for vegan version)

salt and pepper to taste (note, because potatoes are salt-stealers, you’ll need more than you think you will)

Instructions:

Place a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Brown the sausage until no longer pink (if using cannelloni beans, skip this step and add in along with the potatoes). Add the red pepper flakes and onion and cook, stirring often for about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook, stirring often until the onions a translucent and the garlic is fragrant, about 2 more minutes. Be careful not to let the garlic burn or it will add that flavor your soup.

Add in the chicken or vegetable broth and potatoes. Bring the broth to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

At the end of cooking, add in the kale so that it just wilts and turns bright green—no need to overcook it.

Remove the soup from the heat, stir in the cream or cream substitute of your choice (whole milk, half and half, coconut milk or coconut cream), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into soup bowls and serve.

 

Adapted from recipe by alaskafromscratch.com

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How to Eat Your BOX! (Week of 12/18/16)

How to Eat your BOX

Yams:

If it were up to me I would put yams/sweet potatoes in the boxes every week! 😉 They make one of my all-time favorite snacks and are also a great side for any meal. I like to slice them into quarter inch rounds or strips (a mandolin comes in handy here), toss them in a little olive oil and any desired seasoning (sage, rosemary, and thyme are great with yams) and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes, until tender. You can also bake them whole. Make sure to thoroughly clean first and pat dry. Prick with a fork and bake for about 40-60 minutes at 425°.

Beets:

Beets can be cooked just about any way you like. They are great boiled or baked, sautéed or stewed. Usually I cut them into bite size pieces to bake in the oven because I love roasted beets! Simply coat in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake at 375° for about 35 minutes (try adding some parsley when they’re done). But they can just as easily be cooked in a frying pan along with other veggies. The beet greens are great sautéed as well so don’t throw them out! Try cooking the greens in a little olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper on medium heat until bright green. Don’t let cook them too long though or they’ll get ‘slimy.’ Check out this recipe for sweet potato and beet chips!

Pears:

Try adding pears to a salad this week! Cut into wedges or cubes they would make a great addition to this week’s salad mix. For dressing, try mixing a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar with a little bit of Dijon mustard and about an eighth cup of maple syrup. Mix together with a wire whisk and beat in an eighth cup of olive or avocado oil. I would probably double the recipe if serving more than 3 people. Can also be topped with Gorgonzola, feta, or goat cheese and pecans (or walnuts).

Mushrooms:

Mushrooms are in a class all their own. Literally, they are quite distinct in nature and classified as their own kingdom, separate from plants and animals. But, they are packed with nutrients and make a great addition to a healthy diet. Mushrooms are good raw on salads or in an array of cooked dishes. You can dice them and sauté with onions as a base for scrambled eggs or stir fry or in soup. They also blend well with ground beef, enhancing the flavor and making the meat go farther. Great for tacos or in pasta.

Parsnips:

Parsnips have an almost peppery sweet flavor to them that comes out nicely when roasted. They make a great addition/alternative to the more traditional baked or sautéed root vegetables! Try these diced into bite size chunks or julienne, drizzled with olive oil and tossed in a bowl with a little salt and cayenne(or other spices). Bake on bottom rack at 450° for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until edges are browned and crispy.

Papayas:

Papayas are ready to eat when they take on a yellow/orange-y color and are slightly soft. Leave on the counter in paper bag for a few days to ripen. The skin looks like it is going bad when ripening, but don’t throw it because it looks bad. Opening a rough-looking papaya often reveals a perfectly good piece of fruit. Once ripe, store in the refrigerator but try to eat within day or two for best flavor. Unripe/green papaya can be eaten it green salads or cooked dishes. After washing this fruit, cut it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and eat with a spoon. For a little extra zest, squeeze lemon or lime juice on top. Cut papaya into smaller pieces for fruit salad or recipes, but first peel it with a paring knife. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. If you are adding it to a fruit salad, you should do so just before serving as it tends to cause the other fruit to become soft. (Thanks to all those good-for-you enzymes.)

While most people discard the big black seeds, they are actually edible and have a peppery flavor. They can be chewed whole or blended into a creamy salad dressing.

Try a mix of diced papaya, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and ginger together to make a unique salsa that goes great with shrimp, scallops and halibut.

Or try adding papaya to your smoothie. Combine with strawberries and or other fruit and yogurt in a blender. The papaya gives it a wonderfully creamy texture.

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To 2017 and Beyond!

Week of April 17, 2016

Yes, I am looking ahead. On the farm I always have the past, present, and future on my mind. I am referring back to previous years, concentrating on the weather windows to do things on the farm the current year, and preparing for future years. So this year, with an eye towards the future, we are planting more plums, pears, raspberries, and strawberries again. Here is a little update on what we are growing for the future.

Plums.  The Yellow Egg plum, is a European plum that produces an abundance of large, oval, freestone, golden yellow fruit with a golden interior that tastes like honey. The Yellow Egg has juicy flesh and is very sweet and is grown for the outstanding quality of the fruit which is excellent for dessert, cooking, and canning. This addition to the Italian plums and Green Gages will round out our plum plantings. We will have Italian and Green Gages in September, but look for the Yellow Eggs in 2018.

Pears. This year we relocated our Stark Crimson pears and added some Orcas pears and a few Asian pears for pollination. The Orcas pear was discovered by horticulturalist Joe Long. He discovered this tree growing on his property on Orcas Island, Washington and it has become a regional favorite. The fruit is large, flavorful, scab resistant, and loaded each year with yellow fruit with a carmine blush. The pears are great for canning, drying, or eating fresh. Look for them in 2018. We will have Bosc and Conference pears this fall.

Raspberries. Tulameen is the “go to” choice for fresh market farmers. These fresh market berries are large, have good sugar content, and are bred for hand picking. We pick them every two days during the season. Our new plantings will produce in 2017, but really come on in 2018. For this season we will have Tulameen from our plantings in 2014.

Strawberries. Albion is an ever-bearing type with long, conical, symmetrical, and firm fruit bursting with sweetness. This strawberry produces from June to October. We love this berry because it is sweet, but also does well in August (when there is less rain!). Look for these in August 2016, with them really producing in 2017.

I have selected these fruit varieties for three reasons: 1) they grow well in Stanwood, 2) they work with my organic approach to farming, 3) I personally like the flavor and am excited to eat them!

Lastly Tomatoes. There’s nothing like a tomato fresh from the garden. We are planting hundreds of them, but for you home gardeners we will be offering plants very soon! These plants are grown by our friends at the Rents Due Ranch. We will start selling tomatoes (slicers, pears and cherries) and pepper plants in early May. The May window to plant tomatoes will be perfect this year, given the colder and wetter spring we have had. Stay tuned for more information!

Back to the farm, I am sure I can find something to do. 🙂

Tristan Klesick

 

Recipe for this week’s box menu.

Sautéed Parsnips and Carrots with Honey and Rosemary

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into slices 3 inches long by ¼ inch thick

1 pound parsnips, peeled, halved lengthwise, cored (if large), cut into same size as carrots

Coarse kosher salt

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey (such as heather, chestnut, or wildflower)

Preparation:

  1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
  1. Add carrots and parsnips.
  1. Sprinkle with coarse kosher salt and pepper.
  1. Sauté until vegetables are beginning to brown at edges, about 12 minutes.
  1. Add butter, rosemary, and honey to vegetables.
  1. Toss over medium heat until heated through and vegetables are glazed, about 5 minutes.
  1. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, if desired.

 

Know Your Produce 

Radishes

Benefits: Radishes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, folate, riboflavin, and potassium, as well as many other trace nutrients. Due to their dietary fiber and diuretic properties, radishes promote healthy digestion and purify the kidney and urinary systems.

Storing: Remove the green leaves and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Preparation: Wash radishes and trim the roots just before using. You do not need to peel radishes. Soak red radishes in ice water for one hour to crisp before serving. You can grate or slice them for salads, or add as a garnish.

Search online to find new ways that you can add this power vegetable into your diet.

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Peas and Pears

As I spend more and more time in the field, I love that the farm is coming alive. Spring is like a magnet – it draws me from a deep restful slumber to a “Yes, I am ready for spring” experience. These daily spring walks invigorate my soul. I know what is about to happen. It has been the cycle of my life for the last 18 years, yet it is always fresh, always new, and always CRAZY!

If we are going to maintain or increase our health, what we eat will be important. And, let’s face it, we are going to eat. Why not eat the good stuff? I am a huge proponent of, “If we eat better, we will feel better.”

As spring marches forward, so does the bounty of the local harvest! Every day, as I wander through my fields, taking mental notes, noticing the garlic, fruit buds, dandelion blossoms, honey bees and other insects, the signs are clear. Soon I will be orchestrating a beautiful symphony of local, organic, and nutrient-rich food.

Bon Appétit

tristan-sign

Tristan Klesick

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Apple Blossoms

I love seeing blossoms on my fruit trees. It means that I have a chance to harvest fruit this fall. It means that there will be food for a whole bunch of pollinators like Honey bees, Mason bees, Bumble bees. Now, I just need them to show up! Of course if they do show up in droves, I will be thinning fruit like crazy because there are a bazillion flowers this year, and if all of them set fruit –WOW!

Ideally, from a farmer’s perspective, about 50% pollination would be great. It would take less time to hand thin and the fruit would be able to “size” up quicker! Hand thinning takes a ton of time and is very monotonous; however, thinning translates to larger fruit because there is less competition for the nutrients!

This year our neighbor is no longer raising Honeybees and so I am trying Mason bees. Mason bees (from all the information I have been reading) are excellent pollinators. The challenge with this spring is that it has been really erratic and the blossoms on the trees are out in front of the pollinators. It will be interesting to see how much fruit actually sets, based on the earlier bloom time this season.

In our pear block, the Kosui Asian pears were way out in front of the Conference pears. Normally, they are supposed to cross pollinate each other. It looks like the Bosc Pears will be blooming with the Conference pears though – something else that normally doesn’t happen. These last two might cross pollinate each other which rarely happens.  Farming!?!?!?!

It is the most beautiful and disheartening thing to see all the blossoms but not have pollinators out in force. As a farmer, I really have very little control of the environment. I can prune on time, I can fertilize, I can even plan for my neighbors exit from beekeeping, but in the larger picture, I humbly submit to you that my part is very small. I tend to roll with what nature brings me, I do plan and I will mitigate, but for the most part I am working with nature and its natural laws.

Really, no matter what I do and probably what you do, we shouldn’t put too much emphasis on our part, but do the best we can with what we got and leave the rest to the Lord.

May there be fruit to harvest this fall!

 

tristan-sign

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Pear Crisps with Vanilla Brown Butter

Makes 6 servings
For topping
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole almonds with skin
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For filling
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 lb firm-ripe d’Anjou or Barlett pears (about 6), peeled and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons pear brandy or eau-de-vie
Equipment: 6 (8-ounce) gratin dishes or shallow ramekins
Make topping: Pulse together flour, almonds, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor until nuts are finely chopped. Add butter and pulse just until blended. Coarsely crumble in a shallow baking pan and chill at least 1 hour.
Make filling and bake crisps: Preheat oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into a small heavy saucepan, then add pod and butter and cook over medium-low heat, swirling pan occasionally, until butter is browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
While butter browns, stir together sugars, flour, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Add pears and brandy and toss to combine.
Discard vanilla pod, then toss butter with pear mixture. Spoon filling into gratin dishes and sprinkle with topping, mounding it slightly in centers. Put in a shallow baking pan and bake 30 minutes, then rotate baking sheet and bake until topping is golden brown and filling is bubbling, 10 to 15 minutes more. Cool to warm or room temperature on a rack.
Do ahead: The topping can made in advance, chilled and covered for up to two days. The crisps can be assembled (but not baked) 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring them room temperature before baking.
Recipe from: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/12/pear-crisps-with-vanilla-brown-butter/. Adapted from Gourmet, October 2007
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Fresh This Week Tips – June 7, 2011

PEARS

Store: Stand pears, unwashed, on their bottoms and let them ripen at room temperature for up to 5 days. When they’re ready to eat, the flesh on the neck will give a little when pressed. Refrigerate ripe pears for up to 5 days.

Use: Pears take well to baking, roasting, sautéing, or poaching in wine; when cooking, use the pears that are still most firm.

Prep: If you’re serving uncooked pears, cut them just before using; sprinkle the flesh with lemon juice to prevent browning.

PEACHES

Store: Even firm, unripe peaches are delicate, so handle them carefully to avoid bruising. Ripen hard fruits at room temperature, stem-side down, until the flesh feels soft when pressed and they begin to emit a subtle fragrance. Refrigerate peaches only after they’ve ripened, which can prolong freshness for up to 5 days.

Use: Grilled or roasted peaches make an excellent accompaniment for pork, fish, and chicken.

Prep: If baking, look for freestone peaches, whose pits are easier to remove. To slice, cut through to the pit all the way around the seam, twisting each half to dislodge the stone. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice can prevent sliced fruit from browning. To remove the fuzzy skins before baking, submerge whole fruits in boiling water for 10 seconds, then slip off the skins.

STRAWBERRIES

Store: Pick through the berries and discard damaged or moldy ones. Wrap the container of remaining unwashed berries loosely in a plastic bag or paper towel and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Use: Strawberries are perfect in pies, just right in jams, and a sweet-tart touch in salads. But they’re at their best raw, served at room temperature, topped with freshly whipped cream.

Prep: Wash the berries and trim the caps just before using.

STRAWBERRY PEACH SMOOTHIE Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened sliced peaches
  • 1 cup plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar (For a healthier approach we recommend substituting 1-2 tablespoons of raw honey.)
  • Dash ground cinnamon

Directions

  • If desired, set aside a few strawberry slices for garnish. Place the remaining berries in a blender; add peaches, yogurt and sugar or honey. Cover and process until smooth.
  • Pour into chilled glasses; sprinkle with cinnamon. Garnish with the reserved berries. Serves: 2.

*Recipe taken from Taste of Home

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Basic Upside Down Pear Cake

Adapted from http://chocolateandzucchini.com

Ingredients:

1 stick plus 1 Tbsp salted butter
4 large pears or 6 small ones (substitute apples, apricots, plums…)
3/4 C Sucanat, organic whole cane sugar, or ½ cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 C all purpose flour
2 Tbsp ground almonds (or try using ground flax seed)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder1/2 teaspoon ginger (optional)

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Melt the butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool. Butter a non-stick 8-inch cake pan.
Wash, peel and cut the pears into slices. Lay the pieces of fruit at the bottom of the pan.
In a food processor or a medium mixing-bowl, blend the sugar with the eggs until the mixture whitens slightly (if using honey, results will differ, just blend it well). Add in the flour, almond powder and baking powder, and blend well. Pour in the butter, and blend again. Pour the batter evenly over the fruit, and put into the oven to bake for 40 to 50 minutes.
Let the cake settle on a cooling rack for a few minutes. Invert it on a plate (the fruit side will be on top). If any bit of fruit has stuck to the bottom of the pan, simply scrape them and place them back where they belong on the cake. Use a second plate to invert the cake again (the fruit side will then be at the bottom). Let cool and serve slightly warm or at room