Posts Tagged ‘winter’

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

Ingredients:

• 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

Instructions:

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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For more information on locations and services, visit the MediLodge website.  Find us on Facebook for up-to-date pictures or watch our YouTube channel for videos of events and activities.

MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe

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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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For more information on The MediLodge Group, visit our website, find us on Facebook or tune in to our YouTube Channel.

MediLodge of Howell

MediLodge of Howell

Ten Tips For Safe Snow Shoveling

From the MediLodge of Rochester Hills Therapy Department

With winter now upon us, and snow covering many regions of the United States, millions of people are shoveling snow to clear their sidewalks and driveways. While most people recognize that snow shoveling is very hard work, and can put severe stress on your heart, fewer people recognize the stress and strain that is places on your back. In a study published by Dr. Brad Coffiner, the author noted “when handling heavy snow with a shovel, the L5/S1 disc (i.e. the lower back) has been identified as the weakest link in the body segment chain. The most severe injuries and pain are likely to occur in this low back region.”

So, as winter gets underway, the Colorado Spine Institute has outlined

Ten tips for how to keep your back healthy when shoveling snow.

shovel1. If you experience pain of any kind, stop immediately and seek assistance.

2. Choose a snow shovel that is right for you!

• Be sure that your shovel has a curved handle, as this enables you to keep your back straighter when shoveling.

• Obtain a shovel with an appropriate length handle. The length is correct when you can slightly bend your knees, flex your back 10 degrees of less, and hold the shovel comfortably in your hands at the start of the “shoveling stroke.”

• A plastic shovel blade will generally be lighter than a metal one, thus putting less strain on your spine.

• Sometimes, a smaller blade is better than a larger one. Although a small blade can’t shovel as much, it avoids the risk of trying to pick up a too heavy pile of snow with a larger blade.

1. Push the snow, do not lift it. Pushing puts far less strain on the spine than lifting.

2. Be sure your muscles are warm before you start shoveling. Cold, tight muscles are more likely to sprain than warm, relaxed muscles.

3. When you grip the shovel, make sure your hands are at least 12 inches apart. By creating distance between your hands, you increase your leverage and reduce the strain on your body.

4. Your shoveling technique is very important. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons recommends: “If you must lift the snow, lift it properly. Squat with your legs apart, knees bent and back straight. Lift with your legs. Do not bend at the waist. Scoop small amounts of snow into the shovel and walk to where you want to dump it. Holding a shovel of snow with your arms outstretched puts too much weight on your spine. Never remove deep snow all at once; do it piecemeal. Shovel an inch or two, then take another inch off. Rest and repeat if necessary. In addition to these comments, remember to move your feet rather than twisting.

5. Never throw snow over your shoulder.

6. Remember that wet snow can be very heavy. One full shovel load can weigh as much as 25 pounds.

7. Pace yourself by taking frequent breaks to gently stretch your back, arms and legs.

8. Consider buying a snow blower. When used correctly, a snow blower will put far less strain on your back than show shoveling.

By following these tips, you are far less likely to be injured while shoveling snow.

Finally, for those of us who are able bodied, it is always worth remembering neighbors on your block who might not be able to remove the snow from their sidewalks. A few minutes of help can make the world of difference to the well being of a less able bodied person as well as make you a good neighbor!

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For more information on locations and services, visit the MediLodge website.  Find us on Facebook for up-to-date pictures or watch our YouTube channel for videos of events and activities.

MediLodge of Rochester Hills

MediLodge of Rochester Hills

December is National Fruit Cake Month!

By Chris Burchell, Executive Chef, MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe

Hello again to all MediLodge friends and family! Has everyone put away all the summer clothes, and broke out all the sweaters and long underwear? It is admittedly a dismal time in the Burchell household. But fear not! The joys of the holiday season are nearly upon us. December is both an end and a beginning… the end of another year and the beginning of winter (although technically speaking this doesn’t happen until Jan. 21, tell my body that when the temperature is below freezing and the car needs scraped before heading to work).

December is also National Fruit Cake Month! Yay! The fruit cake…given as gifts during the holiday season, it would seem, has been around since time immemorial. Some like it, some absolutely hate it. There isn’t a whole lot of in between on this one. I used to be in the hate category, but I do believe that had a lot to do with public opinion at the time, which really hasn’t changed in the few decades that I’ve been aware of this holiday confection. Now however, I really do like fruit cake. But not your run of the mill, very dry almost stale types, that get re-gifted 3 times over. There does exist in the world very moist, dense, and superbly flavorful fruitcakes.

The oldest reference that can be found regarding a fruit cake dates back to Roman times. The recipe included pomegranate seeds. Pine nuts, and raisins that were mixed into barley mash. Honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added during the Middle Ages. Crusaders and hunters were reported to have carried this type of cake to sustain themselves over long periods of time away from home. Mail-order fruit cakes in America began in 1913. Some well-known American bakers of fruit cake include Collin Street Bakery in Corsicana, Texas, and The Claxton Bakery in Claxton, Georgia. Both Collin Street and Claxton are Southern companies with access to cheap nuts, for which the expression “nutty as a fruitcake” was derived in 1935.

Commercial fruit cakes are often sold from catalogs by charities as a fund raiser. Most American mass-produced fruit cakes are alcohol-free, but traditional recipes are saturated with liqueurs or brandy and covered in powdered sugar, both of which prevent mold. Brandy- or wine-soaked linens can be used to store the fruit cakes, and some people feel that fruit cakes improve with age. If a fruit cake contains alcohol, it could remain edible for many years. For example, a fruit cake baked in 1878 is kept as an heirloom by a family (Morgan L. Ford) in Tecumseh, Michigan. In 2003 it was sampled by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. To lengthen the shelf life of a fruit cake, wrap the cake in alcohol soaked linen before storing. I actually think I would enjoy sampling this fruit cake! Now I have never had the opportunity to make a fruit cake, so I am going to include a recipe from the Food Network. I have examined this recipe, which is from one of my favorite chef ’s, Alton Brown, and do believe it has the makings of an excellent holiday gift!

Free Range Fruitcake

Ingredients:Alton Brown Free Range Fruitcake
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup currants
1/2 cup sun dried cranberries
1/2 cup sun dried blueberries
1/2 cup sun dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
Zest of one lemon, chopped coarsely
Zest of one orange, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1 cup gold rum
1 cup sugar
5 ounces unsalted butter
(1 1/4 sticks)
1 cup unfiltered apple juice
4 whole cloves, ground
6 allspice berries, ground
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/4 to 1/2 cup toasted pecans, broken
Brandy for basting and/or spritzing

Directions:
Preheat oven to 325°F.
1. Combine dried fruits, candied ginger and both zests. Add rum and macerate overnight, or microwave for 5 minutes to rehydrate fruit.
2. Place fruit and liquid in a nonreactive pot with the sugar, butter, apple juice and spices. Bring mixture to a boil stirring often, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool for at least 15 minutes. (Batter can be completed up to this point, then covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring to room temperature before completing cake.)
3. Combine dry ingredients and sift into fruit mixture. Quickly bring batter together with a large wooden spoon, then stir in eggs one at a time until completely integrated, then fold in nuts. Spoon into a 10-inch non-stick loaf pan and bake for 1 hour. Check for doneness by inserting toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake another 10 minutes, and check again.
4. Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack or trivet. Baste or spritz top with brandy and allow to cool completely before turning out from pan.
5. When cake is completely cooled, seal in a tight sealing, food safe container. Every 2 to 3 days, feel the cake and if dry, spritz with brandy. The cake’s flavor will enhance considerably over the next two weeks. If you decide to give the cake as a gift, be sure to tell the recipient that they are very lucky indeed.

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For more information on The MediLodge Group, visit our website, find us on Facebook or tune in to our YouTube Channel.

MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe

MediLodge of Monroe Celebrates National Cherry Month!

By Chris Burchell, Executive Chef, MediLodge of Monroe

Hi again to everyone out there!  I hope you are all making it through the winter.  I still keep the hope that it will end mildly during the last couple of months…fingers crossed.  My newsletter articles deal with food holidays for the month ahead.  If there is any topic you might like to see me write about, please do not hesitate to leave me a message at the facility.  February happens to be National Cherry Month.  This strikes me a bit odd due to the fact that cherry trees don’t even blossom until Spring.  Maybe Spring was already chocked full by the time someone decided to give the cherry its own holiday month.

Cherries are one of nature’s healthy fruits.  Cherries are high in vitamin C, carbohydrates, and water, and include trace amounts of fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), niacin, calcium, phosphorus, iron, and potassium.  Cherry trees offer products other than the fruit itself.  The lovely, fragrant cherry blossoms are a rite of spring and are actually a tourist draw in places such as Washington, DC, and Door County, Wisconsin.  In addition, parts of the tree itself have long been used for medicinal purposes. The bark, leaves, and seeds of the cherry trees contain cyanogenic glycosides—poisons that are lethal if ingested by children or animals.  Native Americans and others use the leaves and carefully prepare teas with them for the treatment of colds or coughs.  Others have experimented with cherry stalk tea in the treatment of kidney diseases.  Basically the cherry is an amazing fruit.  It tastes delicious, its blossoms are beautiful and fragrant, and the plant as a whole offers benefits outside the arena of nourishment.

cherries

Cherry Cobbler

By Chris Burchell, Executive Chef, MediLodge of Monroe

Yields 8 servings

Ingredients:

4 Cups Tart Cherries, stemmed and pitted

2 oz. white sugar

2 oz. brown sugar

2 pinches ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cups all-purpose flourmonroe

2 oz. white sugar

2 oz. s brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 oz. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

2 oz. boiling water

Mix together:

3 tablespoons white sugar,

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

1. Preheat convection oven to 375°F (220°C).

2. In a large bowl, combine cherries, 1st white sugar, 1st brown sugar, 1st cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Toss to coat evenly, and pour into baking dish.  Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, 2nd white sugar, 2nd brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips, or a pastry blender, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

4. Remove fruit from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

 

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