Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Celery, the Boring Yet Underestimated Vegetable

By Chris Burchell, MediLodge of Monroe Executive Chef

Well, this is a winter for the annals! We are near breaking the record for most snow recorded in one winter and we still have a month and a half to go. Oh Spring, where are you??? I suppose there is no good in lamenting over things beyond our control. March is National Celery Month. Celery is a vegetable often perceived as, well, boring! I mean it has to be boring, if it is the favorite staple for those wishing to shed a few pounds doesn’t it? Well my friends, while it may be a somewhat boring vegetable, celery has been important to us humans for quite some time.celery

Celery is believed to be originally from the Mediterranean basin. Ancient literature documents that celery, or a similar plant form, was cultivated for medicinal purposes before 850 B.C. During ancient times physicians used celery seed to treat the following conditions: colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, various types of arthritis, and liver and spleen ailments. The Italians domesticated celery as a vegetable in the 17th century resulting in selections with solid stems.

There are two types of stalk celery varieties, self-blanching or yellow, and green or Pascal celery. In North America green stalk celery is preferred and mainly eaten raw although it is also eaten cooked. Celeriac, grown for its large bulb (commonly but incorrectly called celery root), is very popular in Europe where it is eaten cooked or raw. Currently California harvests about 23,500 acres per year, Florida 3,500 acres per year, and Michigan 3,000 acres per year. I absolutely love celeriac! Its flavor is made to be partnered with roasted meats, so I’m including a recipe I hope you’ll use with your next pot roast or leg of lamb.

Mashed Celeriac


• 1 celeriac, peeled

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• 1 handful fresh thyme, leaves picked

• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

• sea salt

• freshly ground black pepper

• 1/4 cup vegetable or beef stock


1. Slice about ½ inch off the bottom of your celeriac and roll it on to that flat edge.

2. Slice and dice it all up into 1/2 inch cubes. Don’t get your ruler out – they don’t have to be perfect.

3. Put a casserole-type pot on a high heat, add olive oil, then add the celeriac, thyme and garlic, with a little seasoning.

4. Stir around to coat and fry quite fast, browning a little, for 5 minutes.

5. Turn the heat down to a simmer, add the water or stock, place a lid on top and cook for around 25 minutes, until tender.

6. Season carefully to taste and stir around with a spoon to smash up the celeriac.


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MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe


Ten Tips for Winter Wellness

Cold WeatherMediLodge of Howell is happy to share these ten tips for winter wellness.

1. Go for a walk even when the weather is really cold – your body has to work overtime to get warm and you may burn up to 50% more calories than you would on the same walk in summer! But remember, go a little slower until you get warm and keep up the hydration.

2. If you find it hard to get motivated to exercise in winter… just think of spring and how much harder it is to get back into shape rather than maintain your fitness throughout the winter.

3. Be aware of tendonitis and stress fracture if you don’t exercise in winter and expect to pick up where you left off after a whole winter with no exercise.

4. Instead of picking up a cup of hot chocolate to keep yourself warm, try a herbal beverage.

5. Gain an interest in indoor sports as opposed to cycling and jogging outdoors. Don’t forget that swimming at an indoor pool is an option for a great cardio workout!

6. The cold air and indoor heaters can dry out your skin. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water each day and use moisturizers throughout winter.

7. Buy some indoor plants to soften up the dry atmosphere caused through heating. Indoor plants give off moisture and oxygen and the col­ors will brighten up a dull day outside.

8. Caught a cold or flu? If the infec­tion is above the neck (nose, throat) you could be OK to complete a low intensity workout. However, if you have symptoms that are worse than an average cold (chest congestion, muscle aches), exercise will only make you worse and delay your recovery. Rest is the best medicine.

9. Wear the right clothes when exercising in winter. Polypropylene is the perfect fabric to wear underneath a tracksuit, which will provide great insulation but minimize moisture loss. Gore-Tex is a fabric used widely for providing protection from the rain and wind.

10. Feel like sitting on the couch with a video and snacking on a cold, wet day? Reach for a protein bar or packet of soy nuts instead of high energy, high fat snacks.

MediLodge of Howell

MediLodge of Howell


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MediLodge of Howell

MediLodge of Howell

MediLodge of Monroe Celebrates National Barbecue Month This May

By Chris Burchell, Executive Chef at MediLodge of Monroe

Well, I believe that I can say officially Spring is here (insert sound of knocking on wood), and I couldn’t be happier!  With Spring many exciting things begin to come about, not only warmer weather but also gardens and farm fields being MediLodge BBQplanted.  I can’t wait to begin harvesting fresh produce from the garden. And let’s not forget about outdoor cooking.  May is National Barbecue Month, and boy oh boy I do love a good barbecue!  Let us not however confuse anything…grilling meat is NOT barbecue.  While novices may believe that anything covered in KC Masterpiece counts as barbecue, the real thing is cooked over indirect heat — usually a wood fire — for a really long time (sometimes for as many as 18 hours).  The resulting flavor is a combination of smoke, meat juices, fat and whatever spices or rub have been added.  (Oh man, I am getting hungry just writing about this!) U.S. barbecue traditions have its roots in the south.  The roads of the Southern United States are lined with a succession of grinning pigs, advertising the availability of barbecue in countless restaurants.  The origins of barbecue in the South, however, are traceable to a period long before the smiling pig became a fixture on Southern roadsides.  The etymology of the term is vague, but the most plausible theory states that the word “barbecue” is a derivative of the West Indian term “barbacoa,” which denotes a method of slow-cooking meat over hot coals.

Barbecue varies by region, with the four main styles named after their place of origin: Memphis, Tenn.; North Carolina;
Kansas City; and Texas.  Memphis is renowned for pulled pork-shoulder doused in sweet tomato-based sauce (eaten on its own or as a sandwich).  North Carolina smokes the whole hog in a vinegar-based sauce.  Kansas City natives prefer ribs cooked in a dry rub, and Texans love beef.  Although local specialties and the time-intensive nature of barbecue preparation have insured that real barbecue (as opposed to defrosted and micro waved meat) will never be a staple at chain restaurants, barbecue has endured.  Aside from its succulent taste, delicious sauces and the inimitable, smoky atmosphere of an authentic barbecue joint, barbecue has become a Southern icon, a symbol that is cherished by Southerners.

Pulled Pork BBQ
5 pound pork butt
1. Bring a 5 pound pork butt to room temperature and rub it with salt, black pepper, and a half-and-half mixture of vinegar and hot-pepper sauce.
2. Build a charcoal fire in a kettle grill and let it burn down to low heat.  Have a separate bed of warm coals nearby to replenish the main fire.  Add some water smoked hickory chips to the main fire to create heavy smoke.
3. Put the shoulder meat on to cook, turning every 30 minutes to assure uniform cooking.
4. Damp the fire and meat with a water-vinegar solution (7 to 1) if it gets too hot.  Strive for a slow, steady fire.
5. After about 3 hours, the meat should be getting tender.  Cook it between 3 and 4 hours, basting once in the last hour with your choice of sauce.  Have more warm sauce available for individual application at the table.  This much meat should make 8 to 12 sandwiches.

Basic Memphis BBQ SauceMediLodge BBQ

1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup vinegar
5 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 small onion, chopped
Dash black pepper
(more if you want it hotter)
Dash cayenne pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup water
Mix all ingredients together in large sauce pan, bring to a quick boil, reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Figure out your own secret ingredient and dump it into the mix.


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Get Out And Move For Good Health

Now that spring is here, it’s time to get outside and get moving.  Moderate-intensity exercise can bring a lot of health benefits.  No matter your age, exercise can help improve your health.  It can help you lose weight (when combined with a healthy diet), improve bone health and reduce your risk of heart problems – and even cheer you up.


According to St. Joesph Mercy Oakland Internal Medicine and Pediatrics specialist Steve Z. Kallabat, MD, exercise also is beneficial for muscles.  “Increasing muscle mass helps to burn calories, even while asleep,” Dr. Kallabat says.  “Each pound of muscle burns 50 calories per day.”  But, he warns, “each year, we lose a half pound of muscle when we do not exercise.”

Exercise also can:MediLodgeOlympics007

  • Boost your energy level
  • Prevent or delay some health issues such as diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer
  • Speed your recovery from serious illness
  • Make everyday tasks easier
  • Beat stress
  • Build strength, balance and flexibility
photo courtesy of Federico Stevanin

photo courtesy of Federico Stevanin

Moderate exercise is the best way to go.  Examples are:

  • Washing and waxing your car for 45 to 60 minutes
  • Gardening or raking leaves/shoveling snow for 30 minutes
  • Walking briskly, take the dog for a walk or push your child or grandchild in a stroller
  • Riding a bike or swimming
  • Stair-climbing, working inside or outside the house

Try to do some activity for at least 30 minutes a day.  However, if you’ve injured yourself during exercise, Dr. Kallabat urges you to seek medical attention.  “If you are cleared to return to exercising, then slowly get back to your normal routine,” says the physician.  “Visit your doctor if you feel any relapse of your symptoms.”

The original article was published in Michigan Medical Report from the Physicians at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland.



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