Easter in Greece

By Kevann Jordan A Recent ASU Nutrition Student

In Greece, Easter is one of the most celebrated holidays. While we know it as the celebration of Christ’s resurrection, in Greece it is also the end of Lent and directly after the huge celebration of Apokreas.  In Greece, many celebrations combine Eastern Orthodox celebrations with the traditional pagan Greek celebrations. Apokreas is in honor of the Greek god Dionysus, which is the god of rebirth.

Many desserts are served at this time including Koulourakia, which combines both the Orthodox Greek and the pagan beliefs. The cookies shaped into a hairpin twist, a wreath, or coiled. The wreath represents the wreath placed on Christ’s head during his crucifixion and the coil represents the snake which is worshipped for its healing powers.

This was the first time I had heard of these cookies, which was one of the reasons that I decided to try the recipe. The Greek desserts that I have tried in the past were always delicious, but, very different from anything I had ever eaten before. I was curious about the flavor and the texture of the cookie.

After reading a bit about the cookie and its meaning I really wanted to try the cookie as a treat and a learning experience for my family. It was fun to show different cultures and various ways of celebrating Easter. The cookies were so sweet and soft. The flavor was not what I expected, but they were a delicious surprise.

My family loved this recipe. My youngest took the sesame seeds off, to be expected (but worth the attempt). I did have them out cooling alongside baked penne, but they do have more of the appearance of bread than a cookie. I hope to find them at a traditional Greek bakery and compare them with one another. The recipe was very simple and easy to follow. The dough was very soft, which made it nice to work with. I think next time I will make use of smaller strands to make the twist or crown shape, but, overall I think the recipe is a hit. We will add them to the recipe file and have them at Easter time. This might become a new tradition for our household.

Koulourakia (Greek Easter Cookies)

1c butter

1½ c sugar

3 eggs

½ c orange juice

6c flour

½ tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 egg beat w/milk

7 Tbs. milk

Sesame seeds

 

Cream butter. Add sugar gradually. Add eggs one at a time, alternating with orange juice. Add flour that is sifted with baking powder and baking soda, a little bit at a time. Should be a soft dough.

Shape a desired. Brush with egg-milk mixture and top with sesame seeds.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 375 to 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

 

 

For more fun recipes like this check out our recipe section. Check out the Fill Your Plate Blog for articles about healthy eating. Ever wonder what produce is in season? Check out the Arizona Produce in Season section.

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Posted in Cooking, Desert, Fill Your Plate, Food, Holidays, In Season, In the Kitchen, Just For Fun, Kids | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arugula Pasta

By Alexandra Pettit AZFB Communications intern

Hanging out in the kitchen with my mom was something that I have always loved to do. Cooking was a way for us to spend time together and to test new recipes. This one was my older brother, Jordan’s, favorite. He would always ask for it for his birthday or any special occasion. My mom loved this because it was not only super simple but very healthy as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. chopped walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp. table salt
  • 6 oz. of uncooked bow tie pasta
  • 2 cups baby arugula, stems removed
  • 2 Tbs chives
  • 1 Cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tbs white wine vinegar
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • ¼ black pepper
  • 3 tbs blue cheese, crumbled
  • Optional Steak or chicken, Grilled and sliced or diced

Cooking instructions:

Place walnuts in a small skillet. Toast over medium-high heat until light brown color. Remove from skillet and set aside. Boil 3 quarts of water and ½ Tsp of salt in a large pot. Stir in pasta and cook until done, follow the directions on the box. Remove 1 tablespoon of pasta water and save for later. Drain pasta and put in a large bowl. Add arugula and toss well. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until arugula is limp. Stir in chives and tomatoes. Stir together vinegar, oil, and pasta water, and remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper in a cup. Pour the dressing over the pasta.  Toss well, and sprinkle in the blue cheese crumbles. Serves 4.

 

This recipe is perfect for even the pickiest of eaters in your home. To make it a well-rounded meal you can always add some grilled steak or chicken. This will add a little extra protein into the mix.

 

Looking for some yummy recipes like this one? Check our recipe section. Looking for some fresh produce? Find a farmers market near you.

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Composting: In Your Home

By: Alexandra Pettit, AZFB Communications Intern

Composting is a fun and easy way to reduce your carbon footprint as well as to give plants a healthy organic source of fertilization. There are many ways one can compost but for someone who is living in an apartment or an urban area, outdoor composting might not always be your best option.

Bokashi is a form of indoor composting that is very easy and extremely nutrient rich for plants.  Bokashi was invented by Dr. Teruo Higa in Japan. In Japanese bokashi means fermented organic matter.

This method is eco-friendly and can be done easily in one’s kitchen.  Bokashi is actually an anaerobic fermentation process which means it thrives on the absence of oxygen. The whole process takes about two weeks. The process of setting up your own Bokashi composting system is extremely simple and will only take a couple of minutes. There are kits that you can purchase online that help make this whole process easier.

The steps

The first thing that you need is an airtight container of some sort that has an easily accessible drain or tap at the bottom (this will help you get all of the “tea” or compost when your bokashi is complete).

The second thing you will need is Bokashi mix, this usually consists of wheat bran with a special mixture of microorganisms. You can typically buy this product on amazon or sometimes it is even included in a bokashi kit. There are also several recipes online so that you can make it yourself.

Lastly, you need to collect food scraps. The types of food products that can be used are things such as meat products, dairy products, fruit and veggies, egg shells, bread and pasta. Unlike other composting methods Bokashi can recycle almost 100% of your food waste. When thinking about the food waste to put in your bucket try to steer clear of greasy foods, greasy foods are not always the best foods when it comes to composting.

How to Put Together

Take your bucket and place it somewhere in your kitchen or anywhere in your home that is easily accessible, making sure that the grate is firmly placed in the bottom and that the tap is in the off position. Then you will place all of your food waste in the bucket, take one handful of the mix and stir it in with the food scraps. Keep in mind about 1 tablespoon of mix for about every cup of food waste. Then take a plastic bag and press down on all of the scraps, you are trying to get as much air out as possible. Leave the plastic bag on to and make sure the lid is securely shut, keeping out any extra air. Try to avoid opening your bucket every time you have food scraps, your best bet is to place your scraps In once a day adding more of the mix when needed.

Make sure that you are draining the “Tea” about once a week. This is what you will use for your plants. Take about 1 cup and add it to 1 gallon of water to water your plants.

This is what the “Tea “will look like. It will have a sweet tangy smell to it.

The Results

After about two weeks your bucket should be pretty full and ready to sit. After about two weeks of draining let your bucket sit in a dark cool place to continue to break down. After about two weeks you can transfer the food scraps into a bigger compost system or dig a hole in your garden and use it as fertilizer. When this process is complete rinse out your bucket and starts all over again.

Keeping the Organic Tea Flowing

I recommend keeping two Bokashi buckets going alternating weeks, so you have a consistent flow of “tea” for your plants. If your bucket ever begins to have a foul smell, then something has gone wrong and you need to start the process over. Don’t be discouraged as this happened to me a couple of times.

 

Overall, this is a fairly easy process and in the long run, is beneficial in lowering your carbon footprint and making your plants very happy.

Editor’s Note: This is one of a three-part composting series.

For more articles like this check out the Fill Your Plate Blog. Looking for some fresh produce? Check out our Farmer’s Market tab to find one near you.

References:

https://www.bokashi.com.au/Bokashi+One/How+it+Works/Step+by+Step+Guide.html

https://www.compostguy.com/bokashi-resource-page/

https://waytogrow.net/blogs/articles/8-steps-to-diy-bokashi-composting

http://thebokashibucket.com/can-put-bokashi-bucket/#comment-1945

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Make Your Own Granola Bars

By Alexandra Pettit, AZFB Communications Intern

Since the age of ten making homemade granola bars has always been a favorite activity of mine. It’s super easy, and you can change up the recipe as much or as little as you want. There are endless combinations to keep you making more for years to come.

This recipe is extremely simple. When making the bars you need to stick to the main mix but you have the freedom to add in the extras.

Ingredients for Main Mix:

  • 2 ½ Cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ Cup nuts, roughly chopped
  • ¼ Cup honey
  • ¼ Cup unsalted butter
  • 1/3 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¾ Cups extra add in’s

 

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9- inch baking dish with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  • Place the oats and the nuts on the baking sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Place oats and nuts in a large mixing bowl.
  • While your oats and nuts are in the oven, in a small saucepan add honey, butter, and brown sugar. Cook over medium heat or until the butter melts and the sugar is dissolved. Stirring occasionally. When the butter mixture is ready stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Then pour the mixture over the oats and nuts.
  • Add in the add in’s of your choice.

Quick tip: if you are adding chocolate wait about 15 minutes for the mixture to cool down a bit before adding.

When making the bars you can either put them on a cookies sheet to set or in a muffin tin. I prefer a muffin tin because they seem to stick together better that way. The best place to store these tasty treats is in the fridge.

 

Ideas for Add In’s:

  • M & M’s
  • Peanut Butter
  • Chocolate chips ( Milk, White, or Dark)
  • Dried Fruits
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Candies
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Coconut

 

For more fun recipes like this check out our recipe section. Check out the Fill Your Plate Blog for articles about healthy eating. Ever wonder what produce is in season? Check out the Arizona Produce in Season section.

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Energy Peanut Butter Balls

By: Stephen Gunner a Recent ASU Nutrition Student

Energy balls are often eaten by people before a workout because they help keep you full and energized. They are also full of health benefits like fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They are a great source of fiber, zinc, and vitamin B1. Peanut butter contains vitamin E which is an antioxidant that provides benefits to the skin. Several recipes for energy balls exist, but the ones that I am going to share with you are simple and cost-effective. Many college students enjoy making these because the ingredient cost little and may already be around the house. They are easily stored in the fridge in a container. This makes consumption easy and quick for people who are on the run!

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 2 cups oats
  • ½ cup coconut shavings

Steps:
1. Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.

  1. Roll dough into individual balls
  2. Stick them in the fridge and wait 20 minutes before serving!

Very simple! The recipe can be personalized and ingredients can be exchanged. During the holidays, people like to add dark chocolate chips to the mixture. Some people even put in red and green M&Ms!

For more recipes that you will love check out our recipe section. For more fun articles like this check out our Fill Your Plate Blog.

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