Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Green Stuff!

St. Patrick's Day is coming up on Sunday and that started a thought process about green. The color green and I have always had a love-hate relationship. There are so many colors of green that honestly just aren't that pretty. But when you get just the right one well, it can be gorgeous. When we moved into our current home several years ago, I wanted our kitchen to be green. So I looked at the bazillion paint swatches that are out there and finally decided to go with a sagey-sort called Rosemary Sprig by Benjamin Moore. I'm not sure if it was the color or the name that appealed to me most but at any rate, I loved it. I even painted our rear foyer and the laundry room the same color. Okay, so you get the picture, I like this color of green.

Stay with me, I really will get the point of this post in a minute, I promise.

Update to this story: Last year, after seven years of Rosemary Sprig, I painted my kitchen a raspberry color and changed the color of our living room and dining room to green (both had previously been red). Many of you know that I am a closet-wanna-be interior decorator so that means that nothing stays the same in my home for long. But one thing that did not change was the color of the laundry room. Because I believe that if you have to do laundry, you must enjoy your surroundings. And I enjoy the laundry to be surrounded by Rosemary Sprig.

So what is the point of all this? Spinach. You might not have seen that coming. Spinach is the Super Hero of food. But I guess you all know that. In my opinion, we all should have some spinach in our diet every day. In the South, we fry everything. Some things that are currently trending: fried Oreos, fried butter and fried Twinkies. Oh by the way, I heard this morning the good news that Hostess Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Cupcakes will live to see another day. The failed Hostess company has been purchased and these American icons of junk food will rise again. Amen and amen.

So back to spinach. The point is that do you ever see fried spinach even in the South? I really don't think so. Spinach can be incorporated in a lot of recipes and adds fiber and nutrients to the diet with really very little effort. So ... I thought y'all might enjoy some fun nutrition facts about and uses for spinach. Popeye was smarter than we thought!

* Spinach nutrition is amazing. The calcium content in spinach and other dark, leafy vegetables strengthens bones.

* The A and C vitamins in spinach plus the fiber, folic acid, magnesium and other nutrients help control cancer, especially colon, lung and breast cancers. Folate also lowers the blood levels of something called homocysteine, a protein that damages arteries. So spinach also helps protect against heart disease.

* The flavonoids in spinach help protect against age related memory loss

* Spinach's secret weapon, lutein, makes it one of the best foods in the world to prevent cataracts, as well as age related macular degeneration, the leading cause of preventable blindness in the elderly. Foods rich in lutein are also thought to help prevent cancer.

Fresh or frozen, add these greens to your food menu as often as you can. Here are some ideas to incorporate these into your diet:
1. Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to lasagna to up the nutrient content.
2. Add chopped or frozen spinach to your favorite vegetable soup recipe.
3. Sauté spinach with a bit of garlic and olive oil for a tasty super food combination. Try it on top of a baked potato.
4. Make quick and easy spinach dips to eat with crunchy raw vegetables and whole grain breads.
5. Use fresh spinach instead of lettuce to add a twist to your favorite sandwiches.
6. Add chopped fresh or frozen spinach to omelets and frittatas. Make sure frozen spinach is thawed and well drained.
7. Always, add a little fresh spinach to your salad.

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