To Your Health: Check out a Farmer’s Market This Summer

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Posted Tue, Jun 4, 2013

A large crowd piles in at the Cherry Creek farmer’s Market every Saturday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Located at 1st Avenue and University Boulevard in the Bed Bath and Beyond parking lot (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

A large crowd piles in at the Cherry Creek farmer’s Market every Saturday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Located at 1st Avenue and University Boulevard in the Bed Bath and Beyond parking lot (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

 

DENVER — There’s been a recent shift in thinking about food in the U.S. Many doctors, nutritionists and scientists have told us we need to eat healthier as a nation to prevent disease and obesity. Now, people are seen buying the latest fat-free, gluten-free or sugar-free versions of old products. Suddenly cleanses and detox regimes have become even more popular because they claim to help people lose weight.

However, the answer to being healthier, as well as losing weight, is not by ingesting the quick-fix product of the month. The answer is cooking. Many of us have forgotten about the importance of cooking. Advertising partners to “corporate America” tell us we don’t have time to cook or that it’s too hard. Then, they turn around and sell us a variety of products loaded with preservatives and additives in order to make our lives “easier.” It’s no wonder our nation is in a health crisis.

Rule one: If you can’t pronounce an ingredient listed on a box, don’t eat it.

Many people can improve their health by simply eating fresh foods and cooking their own meals. By preparing your own food, you can control how much salt and fat is added, as well as the quality of the ingredients used. More often than not, the amount of salt and fat is significantly lower if prepared at home versus the food from of a take-out box or a fast-food restaurant.

Rule Two: If you think you can’t cook, you’re wrong! Try out one of the recipes below.

Many farmer’s markets host local vendors who provide freshly prepared lunch and snacks for consumers, and don’t forget all the free samples. Many people bring their kids and dogs to enjoy a nice afternoon outdoors (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Many farmer’s markets host local vendors who provide freshly prepared lunch and snacks for consumers, and don’t forget all the free samples. Many people bring their kids and dogs to enjoy a nice afternoon outdoors (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Some folks worry about the cost of fresh foods. No one has to surrender to the expenses of natural grocer chains to get good quality foods. Rule three: Farmer’s markets are your best friend, especially for produce. During the spring and summer months, farmer’s markets can be found weekly all over Colorado. They provide better quality ingredients for your dollar.

Attending a farmer’s market can also be a fun afternoon out for singles or families who want to enjoy free food samples and the outdoors. Local vendors provide a variety of products from homemade skincare, to gluten-free option and even homemade dog treats. There’s something for everyone. For a list of the closest farmer’s markets in your area, go to www.coloradofarmers.org.

Lots of fresh and vibrant produce is sold by local farmers at a great price (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Local farmers sell fresh and vibrant produce at a great price (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Roasted Whole Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Carrots (Recipe by Stephanie V. Coleman)

2-3 servings  Fool proof! This entire meal is made in one pan. A great weekend recipe. Throw it in the oven and forget about it. Looks and tastes impressive. Double up the recipe to feed the whole family.

Roasted Potatoes and Carrots

  • 1/2 bag baby golden potatoes, cut in half
  • 3 large carrots, peeled and cut in large pieces
  • 2 celery sticks, cut in large pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Roasted Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 small white onion, cut in half
  • 4 whole garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/4 cup of butter, softened
  • salt and pepper
  • kitchen twine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a large baking sheet or roasting pan, combine the potatoes, carrots and celery. Coat them with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Toss and arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. (*If using a roasting pan, arrange veggies along the sides of the bottom portion of the pan.)

Chicken: Remove any remaining parts from the cavity of the chicken. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Stuff onion, garlic, lemon and 4 of the sprigs of thyme into the cavity of the chicken.

Butter: Chop the leaves of the remaining 2 sprigs of thyme. Add to the butter and mix. Smear butter mixture on the outside of the chicken, placing some underneath the skin as well. Tie the two legs together with kitchen twine if needed. Add a small pinch of salt and pepper to the chicken. Place entire chicken on top of the vegetables already laid out on the pan, or on the rack of a roasting pan. Bake in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours.

Spicy Zucchini Quinoa (Recipe by Stephanie V. Coleman)

4 servings  This is an adaptable recipe. Use your favorite veggies or whatever you have on-hand. Leave out the chili pepper  for a non-spicy version. Vegan and Gluten-free.

  • 1 cup Quinoa (can find at local grocery store)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 4 – 6 zucchini, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 – 1 chili pepper, finely chopped (Good pepper choices: red jalepeno (mild), green jalepeno(medium), serrano chili (hot) No chili pepper? Use crushed red pepper flakes.
  • 2-3 scallions, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Rinse quinoa in a bowl of water and strain before cooking it. Add the rinsed quinoa to a small saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Once it begins to boil, turn the heat to low and simmer for 25 minutes, covered. Run a fork through the quinoa when done.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add about 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Turn heat to med-high. Add garlic, zucchini, red bell pepper and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until veggies start to brown, about 10 minutes. Add chili pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Add scallions and toss. Turn off heat. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.

In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa and veggie mixture. Taste and add more olive oil, salt and pepper as needed.

Serve hot, cold or room temperature.

Cheese makers offer customers free tasters of all cheeses before they buy (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Cheese makers offer customers free tasters of all cheeses before they buy (Photo by Stephanie V. Coleman).

Caprese Crostini (Recipe by Stephanie V. Coleman)

Servings vary. A crowd pleaser! Vegetarian-friendly snack or appetizer. Can make as little or as many as you need for any occasion. 

  • french baguette, sliced into 1/4 – 1/2 inch slices
  • mozzarella, shredded or sliced (one pinch of shredded or one slice, per slice of baguette)
  • basil, one per slice of baguette
  • cherry or grape tomatoes, one per slice of baguette
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange slices of baguette on a baking sheet. Drizzle each with a little olive oil. Top each with mozzarella, then a basil leaf and then the tomato. Add a tiny pinch of salt and pepper to each. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

About Stephanie V. Coleman

Stephanie V. Coleman is a creative writing student at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Her interests include music, culinary arts, traveling, and sports.

View all posts by Stephanie V. Coleman

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