Let’s get green and clean

For the kitchen

Science has never drummed up quite as effective a tranquilizing agent as a sunny spring day.

— W. Earl Hall

Springtime is a good time to find simple ways to improve your quality of life through diet and environment.

Commit to increasing the fresh food that you consume each day. And while enjoying the health benefits, think of food preparation as an art project and try to include as many colours as possible.

Consuming fresh food of various colours provides us with the ultimate antioxidants. Compare tuning up your diet to changing the oil in the tractor to make everything run smoothly.

The following salads are convenient on busy days, since the vegetables and meat can be prepared earlier and tossed together at serving time. Add whole grain bread and the meal is complete. The meat may be served warm or cool.

Peppered Mealtime Salad

This nutritious and tasty main course option contains seven vibrant colours.

  • Prepare the dressing:
  • 3/4 c. balsamic vinaigrette dressing 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. roasted red pepper dressing 175 mL
  • 3/4 c. red pepper jelly (available in grocery stores or canned) 175 mL

Whisk the dressings with the red pepper jelly. Seal in a container.

  • Salad:
  • 4 servings of grilled steak or chicken pieces
  • 8 c. washed and torn romaine lettuce 2 L
  • 1 large English cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes. cut in small wedges (or an equal amount of grape tomatoes)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, quartered and sliced
  • fresh cut strips of yellow and orange peppers
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta cheese, optional 125 mL

Marinate the meat with a portion of the dressing mixture if desired or simply brush on the meat while cooking. Cook the meat to desired doneness.

Fill a large bowl with the romaine lettuce. Add the cucumber, onion, tomatoes, carrots, peppers and toss.

To serve, place greens on a serving plate and top with feta cheese and meat. Pour dressing over top. Serves four.

Drained and rinsed chickpeas can also be added to this meal salad to increase the protein and fibre content.

Easy Taco Salad

This surprisingly filling salad is great after a day outdoors or before an evening ball game.

  • 2 lb. extra-lean ground beef, turkey or chicken 1 kg
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pkg. (35 g) taco seasoning mix
  • 1 c. water 250 mL
  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 c. shredded cheese of your choice 250 mL
  • 1/2 c. Ranch or Catalina dressing 125 mL
  • 2 c. tortilla chips (110 g), crumbled 500 mL
  • 1 green onion, chopped

Brown meat with onions until no longer pink. Drain off the liquid and add the taco seasoning, add water and blend. Bring to boil and simmer for approximately three minutes. Remove from the heat.

Combine lettuce and tomatoes in a large serving bowl. When ready to serve, top with the meat, cheese and chips. Top with dressing. Serves four. Source: www.kraftcanada.com.

Tangy Fruit Salad

Kids love to help prepare this healthy salad that satisfies a craving for something sweet. Mix and match fruit according to what is in season.

  • 1 10 oz. tin of mandarin oranges, not drained (or canned peaches) 284 mL
  • 2 c. each sliced fresh blueberries, raspberries and strawberries 500 mL
  • 2 c. seedless red grapes 500 mL
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 2 kiwi, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 2 bananas, sliced (add just before serving)
  • 1/4 c. sugar (you can use less if desired) 60 mL
  • 2 c. whipping cream 500 mL

In a large serving bowl, combine the oranges with the fresh fruit. Sprinkle with the sugar and blend.

Whip the cream and add a dollop to the top of each bowl. Garnish with a piece of dark chocolate. Store leftover whipped cream and salad in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

Note: To whip cream properly, add the cool cream to a mixing bowl. Add approximately 1/4 c./60 mL of sugar to the cream (depending on your taste) as well as a teaspoon of vanilla.

Whip on medium speed for one to two minutes or until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted.

Tips for going green

White or regular vinegar is high in acidity (five percent), which makes this substance an inexpensive but powerful cleaner.

For the kitchen

  • Deodorize dishcloths and sponges by soaking them for a minimum of four hours in a sink with 1/4 c. (60 mL) of vinegar and just enough water to cover. Rinse and wash as usual for a fresh start.
  • Remove soap buildup and odours from the dishwasher by running an empty machine with one c. (250 mL) of vinegar. This works for the washing machine as well.
  • Freshen the inside of your microwave by bringing a bowl of vinegar and water solution to a rolling boil in the microwave. For a fresh scent, add fresh cut orange, lemon or lime peel to the water/vinegar mix. The microwave can then be cleaned with a simple wipe.
  • Clean the inside of your glass vase by filling the vase half full of water with a touch of vinegar, then drop in two alka seltzer tablets. When the bubbling stops, rinse the clear glass. This works for cleaning thermoses or carafes that need freshening. This method also works on the toilet bowl and sink basins.

For the bathroom

  • For stubborn soap scum in the bathroom, mix one part salt to four parts vinegar, cover the area and let sit for a few minutes. Gently polish with a sponge.
  • Enjoy clear windows by cleaning with equal parts vinegar and water. If the window is really dirty, do the first spray with undiluted vinegar. This combination also works on counter tops and chrome.
  • Soften your laundry, maintain colours and cut static without using a fabric softener by adding 1/2 c. (125 mL) of vinegar to the rinse cycle of your wash.
  • Restore whites, especially dull white socks, by boiling them for approximately 10 minutes in a large pot with water and one c. (250 mL) of vinegar. Shut off the heat, let soak for a few hours and launder as usual.

Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: team@producer.com.

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