Fruit and Vegetable Highlight: Spinach & Pears

Fruit and Vegetable Highlight: Spinach & Pears

Hello ladies!

This week we will be highlighting spinach and pears.  Our recipe this week will include Spinach in a delicious Healthy Lasagna Rollup.  Read on to get the highlights and the food demos :)!




  • Spinach is very rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin K1
    • Vitamin A is important for normal vision, proper functioning of the immune system, and reproduction.  Vitamin A also has a role in keeping a healthy heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs2.
    • Vitamin K is necessary for blood clotting and the maintenance of healthy bones3.

Season: Spring & Fall4

Cooking Tips: Spinach can be eaten raw or lightly cooked through sauteing or steaming5.

Buying Tips: You want the spinach leaves to be loose and not stuck together, crisp, and a solid color5.

Storing Tips: Store spinach in an unwashed plastic bag or container that is lined with a dry paper towel5.




  • Pears are good sources of Vitamin C and Potassium6
    • Vitamin C has been highlighted with other vegetables several times in the past week so I’m going to skip right over all the amazing roles it has in our bodies!
    • Potassium has also frequently been highlighted with other FV so we can skip the recap this week.

Season: Winter & Fall4

Cooking Tips: Pears are great raw, roasted, sauteed, or used in baked goods8!

Buying Tips: Make sure that the pears are free of gashes and firm (to tell if they are nice and firm press down with your thumb where the stem and the top of the pear meet if it gives slightly the pear is ripe8).

Storing Tips: Put in the refrigerator, they can last 3-5 days9.

The food demonstration for this week is Healthy Lasagna Rollups10 by FitMenCook!


The highlighted skills for this recipe include how to chop an onion, chiffonade spinach, and dice a tomato.  Watch on to your better cooking self!

How to cut an onion11:

How to chiffonade spinach12:

How to dice a tomato13:

Happy cutting!

P.S. If you make the recipe please try to post and share on our Facebook Page!



  1. United States Department of Agriculture.  National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28.  May 2016. Internet: (accessed September 2017).
  2. National Health Institute. Vitamin A.  June 2013.  Internet: (accessed 6 July 2017).
  3. National Institutes of Health. Vitamin K. April 2016. Internet: (accessed 6 July 2017).
  4. United States Department of Agriculture. Seasonal Produce Guide. June 2017.  Internet: (accessed 27 June 2017)
  5. Naturally Ella. Internet: (accessed 6 July 2017).
  6. Self Nutrition Data. Internet: (accessed 7 July 2017).
  7. University of Maryland Medical Center. Potassium. August 2015. Internet: (accessed 7 July 2017).
  8. Naturally Ella. Internet: (accessed 6 July 2017).
  9. Food Safety. Food Keeper App. Internet: (accessed July 7 2017)
  10. Youtube.  Healthy Lasagna Rollups/Rollos de Lasana.  June 2015.  Internet: (accessed September 2017)
  11. Youtube.  How To- Chop an Onion with amie Oliver’s mate Pete.  May 2010.  Internet: (accessed September 2017).
  12. Youtube.  Baby Spinach Chiffonade.  April 2011. Internet: (accessed September 2017).
  13. Youtube.  How to Dice a Tomatoe-chef.  April 2012.  Internet: (accessed September 2017).


Header: Pixabay. Green, Plant, Food.  Internet: (accessed September 2017).

Image 1: Pixabay.  Spinach Plant.  Internet: (accessed September 2017).

Image 2: Pixabay. Fruit Pear. Internet: (accessed Semptember 2017).


Knife Terminology

Knife Terminology

Hello ladies!

This post is to help you decipher some cutting terminology when reading recipes and it can also help you feel ~fancy~ next time you are talking to other culinary fans.

Basic Knife Terminology1:

This post focuses mainly on how to use a knife and different techniques for cutting up FV. Learning how to use a knife and different ways to cut up FV makes cooking easier and faster.  Like everything else in life, the first few times you attempt doing these techniques it might feel awkward or difficult, but with practice, you will be chopping away like a pro!

How to hold a knife:

  • Use a sharp knife on a sturdy surface (the sharper the knife the safer it is!)
  • Place a damp cloth or paper towel under the cutting board to prevent it from moving
  • Tuck your fingertips under your knuckles and rest the blade of the knife against your knuckles as such:


  • The other hand should be holding the blade with your thumb on one side of the blade and all of your fingers on the other side as such:


View from the other side…


Here is a video in case it helps you visualize things better!

Now that we know how to hold our knife we can focus on cutting. When reading a recipe, you might come across something like this:

“1 small zucchini, 1-inch-diced” or “2 teaspoons of minced garlic”

These basic cuts come from classic French cutting techniques and they represent a standard measurement.  It is helpful to be aware of these sizes because different sizes of the chopped veggies can mean different cooking times3.


  • Small dice (Macedoine): cut measuring about ¼”small dice
  • Medium dice (Parmentier): cut about ½medium dice
  • Large dice (carre): cut about ¾” large dice

If you would like more detailed instructions on how to master these cuts I have attached a video on how to cut an onion in many different ways! This video includes how to secure your cutting table and hold your knife. The part of dicing starts at minute 8, however, I recommend that you watch all of it because there are very useful techniques he covers4!

Julienne: AKA allumette or the matchstick cut1


Follow this link for a helpful video on how to julienne 6:

Chiffonade: This type of cutting is usually done when slicing greens and fresh herbs 1


Follow the link to this video to see how to chiffonade green leafy vegetables8:

Mince: very small chop1


Follow this video link to learn how to mince garlic10:

Additional resources:

Happy cutting!! 🔪 😀


  1. Cooperative Extension Service. Winning Ways In the Kitchen.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017)
  2. Serious Eats. Knife Skills: How to Hold a Knife. 2017. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  3. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Cooking Basics.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  4. Youtube. How To Cut Onions Like A Pro-Different Ways To Chop An Onion-Basic Cooking.  August 2016.  Internet:
  5. Babble. How to prepare julienne carrots. Internet: (accessed 27 July 2017).
  6. Youtube. Learn How Now: How to Julienne Vegetables. April 2011. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  7. Google Search.   Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  8. Youtube. How to Chiffonade.  September 2008.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  9. Provide Network. December 2015.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  10. How to Mince Garlic-Tips To Crush, Chop And Dice Garlic Cloves.  August 2013.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  11. Institute of Child Nutrition. Basics at a Glance.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  12. Purdue Extension Consumer and Family Sciences. Substitutions and Equivalents in Food Ingredients.  April 2001. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  13. The Ohio State University Extension. Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  14. Virginia Cooperative Extension. Herbs and Spices. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  15. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Flavor that Food! Internet:–%20Spice%20%26%20Herb%20Chart.pdf (accessed 3 July 2017).
  16. American Heart Association. Top 10 Cooking Tips for Caregivers.  June 2017.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  17. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Healthy Cooking and Snacking.  February 2013.  Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  18. University of Nebraska Lincoln Extension. Fresh Herbs: a Picture of Healthy Eating. Internet: (accessed 3 July 2017).
  19. Header: Buns in my Oven.  October 2014. Internet: (accessed 27 July 2017).
  20. Youtube.  How to Hold a Knife-Properly Using a Chef’s Knife.  September 2010.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2010) 21



Basics to Cooking

Basics to Cooking

Hello ladies!

In this post, we will be discussing the following cooking techniques and equipment: skillet cooking, baking, roasting, slow cooking, moist cooking, grilling, broiling, pressure cooking, and microwave cooking. Below are some of the cooking definitions, I will provide recipe links so you can try any of these cooking techniques and end up with a delicious healthy meal! If you have a preference for any of these cooking techniques feel free to scroll on down!

Skillet Cooking1


A skillet is a very versatile piece of kitchen equipment and can be used for many different dishes. Due to its multi-purpose, you should try and purchase a higher quality skillet.

So what kind of skillet do you need/want?

Tip: There are several different types of skillets, and thus it can be difficult to choose which one is best.  Generally,  an 8-12″ skillet (with a lid) is the most versatile and easy to handle type of skillet1.  But, there’s more than size to consider when buying a skillet…

What types of skillets are there?

  • Stainless steel: durable, easy to clean, and non-reactive to acid foods1   (this would be my choice).


  • Cast iron: these can be heavy and require extra care to keep them seasoned. However, they are good for non-stick cooking and for use in the oven/stovetop. How to season this skillet is explained at the end of this blog post1.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 9.50.27 AM.png

  • Teflon: great for non-stick cooking, but one must be sure to not scratch the surface. Not desirable for high heat cooking1.


  • Electric skillet: heated by plugging it into an outlet rather than being placed on the stovetop1.


Skillet cooking methods1:

  • Sauté: to cook quickly in small amount of fat on medium-high heat

Zen & Spice.  Sauteed Garlic Green Beans.  May 2016.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)23

  • Stir-fry: to cook covered in small amount of fat on medium-high heat while stirring constantly

Kalyn Brooke. Easy Chicken Veggie Stir-Fry.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)24

Braise: to cook covered in a small amount of liquid after browning or searing (extremely hot) first

RasaMalaysa. Italian Braised Chicken. October 2016.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)25

  • Pan-broil: to cook quickly, to brown either with a small amount of fat or without fat on high heat


There are endless products for baking that can make it easier, however, they all are not necessary. below I have listed those that you truly need:1

Mixing bowls                                        Wooden spoon                                        Rolling pin

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 8.16.49 AM.pngspoon       rolling pin

Dry and liquid measuring cups          Measuring Spoons                              Electric Mixer

measuring cups                              measuring spoons                                electric mixer

Baking sheets

baking sheet

Tips for baking1:

  • Make sure you follow the specific order and way that ingredients must be added together
  • Place the item in the center of the oven to allow even distribution of heat
  • Preheat the oven as the recipe directs about 10 minutes before
  • Do not open the oven during baking
  • Cool properly

Benefits of baking: baking at home allows you to substitute ingredients to make baked goods healthier.  For example, substitute butter for avocado.

Heres a fun recipe that has substituted all the “unhealthy fats” with healthier ones!

The Healthy Maven.  Healthy Avocado Brownies.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)26


Cooking something (meat or veggies) in an oven or over an open fire.

Tips when roasting meat:

  • Place meat in a shallow pan with the fat side up. Insert a thermometer into the thickest part of the meat
  • Set the oven temperature to 300-350F and cook the meat until the meat has reached the minimum safe temperatures:
    • Beef: 145 F
    • Pork: 160 F
    • Poultry: 165 F
  • After cooking, allow the meat to sit for at least 15 minutes to prevent the juices from running out

The Food Charlatan. Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork.  April 2015.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)27

Tips when roasting vegetables:

  • Cut vegetables into a uniform size to allow even cooking (about 1” cubes)
  • Combine vegetables with olive oil and herbs and spices as desired
  • Distribute veggies in a single layer
  • Put veggies near the edge of the sheet, they will brown better.
  • Stir the vegetables every 10-15 minutes
  • Cook vegetables at 400 F

The Mediterranean Dish. Italian Oven Roasted Vegetables. Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)28

Benefits of roasting:

  • Food does not require much work once they are in the oven — you can go and do other things!
  • Brings out sweet flavor of vegetables
  • Enhances the color of many foods

The following vegetables are very delicious when roasted: summer squash, asparagus, garlic, root vegetables (rutabagas, potatoes, turnips, beets, and carrots)

Slow cookerslow cooker

Using this method generally, involves a quick preparation and a slow cooking time. One of the most important things to consider before purchasing a slow cooker is the size. Sizes can vary from 1-7 quarts.  Filling the cooker between ½ to ⅔ full will produce the best results.

  • 5-4 quarts provides approximately 4 servings
  • 5-7 quarts for approximately 5 or more servings


  • The order that food is placed in the slow cooker can affect the end results of the food product. Vegetables should be placed in the bottom and around the sides of the slow cooker. This allows the juice from the meat to drip over the vegetables and enhance their flavor.
    • Except for the following veggies: tomatoes, mushrooms, and zucchini– these vegetables should be added the last 45 minutes of cooking time.

Simply Quinoa.  Slow  Cooker Coconut Quinoa Curry.  February 2016.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)29

Benefits of slow cooking:

  • Makes cheap cuts of meat tender and delicious
  • Not much attention needed

Best foods for slow cooking: meats, poultry, and wild game; fish and shellfish, vegetables, dried beans, and lentils.

Moist cooking1

Immersing food in a liquid.  The following terms are different cooking techniques that are considered “moist” cooking:

  • Poaching: heating water at low temp (160-180F) when water is hot but not bubbling

Dash Diet Collection.  Poached Salmon with Mustard-Dill Sauce.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)30

  • Simmering: water temp 185-205 F when water has gentle bubbles rising to the top of the pan, but not fully a rolling boil. Generally used for soups, stocks, and starchy items like potatoes
  • Boiling: water temp is 212 F
  • Steaming: water is past boiling temperature and turns to steam. Steaming is a gentle way to cook foods
    • An ideal method to cook seafood, vegetables, and other delicate food items. Steamed food cooks quickly and retains many nutrients

Kitchn.  Eight Ways to Make Steamed Vegetables Taste Amazing. October 2014.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)31


  • Poaching:
    • For tender foods like eggs or fish
    • Poaching liquid can be used as the base for a sauce
  • Simmering:
    • Do not allow vegetables to get soft or lose their color, this means nutrient loss
  • Boiling:
    • Used for foods like pasta
  • Steaming:
    • First, bring water to boil in the bottom part of a double boiler
    • Place vegetables in the steamer and cover until tender


Food is placed on a preheated metal grate and dry heat comes from below the food at temps of over 400F.  The following equipment is needed for grilling:

Food thermometer                                  Grill Brush                                   Tongs

thermometer.png                                          brush           Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 9.07.25 AM.png




Blissful Basil. Grilled Cilantro, Lime + Paprika Corn on the Cob.  Internet: (1 August 2017)32


Food is placed on preheated broiler pan and placed under the heat source.

  • Tips for successful grilling and broiling:
    • Before cooking coat grill racks with vegetable oil
    • Preheat grill or broiler 10-15 minutes before adding food
    • Leave ¾” between food items
    • Do not pierce meat because this can cause the juices to run out
    • Use a dry spice rub to flavor
      • Heres a recipe for an all-purpose dry rub21:

New York Times-Cooking.  All-Purpose Dry Rub.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017)

Benefits of grilling/broiling:

  • Fats tend to fall away during the grilling process
  • Grilling vegetables makes them sweeter and very tasty!

Best foods to grill/broil are meats, poultry, vegetables, fruits, pizza, and fish.

Pressure cooking1

Cooking food using water or other liquid in a sealed vessel. There are two main types of pressure cookers:

  • Stovetop cooker: manually control the amount of pressure built up. Much less expensive than an electric cooker


  • Electric cooker: plugin, set the pressure and time and leave the rest to the machine


Gluten Free Pressure Cooker.  Pressure Cooker Company Pot Roast.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)33


  • Retains nutrient of food
  • Does not require fat for cooking

Best foods to pressure cook include chicken thighs, pork chops, rump roast, brown rice, bulgur, dried beans, or vegetables like beets, carrots, potatoes, or winter squash.

Microwave Cooking1

Only use cookware made for the microwave oven:

  • Glass, ceramic, and all plastic containers should be labeled for microwave use, however, check the item or packaging to make sure
  • Wax paper, cooking bags, parchment paper should be safe
  • Plastic storage containers like margarine tubs and take out containers should never be used in the microwave
  • Do not use plastic storage bags, brown paper, plastic grocery bags, newspaper, or aluminum foil
  • Pierce foods covered with a skin or outer membranes like potatoes or egg yolks

How to season a cast iron skillet:

To season a cast iron skillet, use a combination of fat and heat.

  1. Wash and dry the pan
  2. Set the oven to 350º F
  3. Heat the pan on the stove over low heat
  4. With a paper towel, spread about one tablespoon of vegetable oil all over the inside of the pan. Do not leave any excess oil in the pan.
  5. Place the warm pan in the oven and bake for one hour.
  6. Turn the oven off and leave the pan in until it is cool.
  7. To maintain the seasoning, always dry the skillet thoroughly after each use.
  8. Every once in a while, place the dry pan on the stove, heat it on low, add a little oil with a paper towel, and let sit on low heat for a few minutes. Wipe out any excess oil, cool, and store.
  9. Eventually, the pan will darken, become very smooth on the inside, and be perfectly non-stick!



  1. Extension Utah State-Food $ense. Skillet Cooking. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  2. The Cooking Jar. Honey Garlic Chicken Skillet. February 2016. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017).
  3. Copper Cookware Info. Why Copper is the Best Metal for Cookware. 2014. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  4. Cast iron skillet. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  5. Good HouseKeeping. Best Nonstick Cookware. Febuary 2016. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  6. Oster.  Internet:  (accessed 29 June 2017)
  7. Bed Bath and Beyond. Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  8. Wal Mart. Rachel Ray Cucina Tools Wooden Spoon. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017).
  9. Amaco Brent. Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017).  (rolling pin)
  10. The Sweet Home. The Best Measuring Cups.  July 2015.  Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017).
  11. Natizo Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons.  Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  12. Good HouseKeeping. Stand Mixer Reviews.  May 2012.  Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  13. Bed Bath and Beyond. Wilton Cookie Sheets.  Internet: (accessed 29 June 2017)
  14. Family Circle. Slow Cooker Recipe.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017)
  15. Stainless Steel Instant Read Thermometer.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  16. Grill Brush Pro.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  17. Kitchen Warehouse. Cuisipro Tempo Serving Tongs 30cm. Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  18. Outback Safe Guard Silicone Tipped barbecue Spatula. Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  19. New York Times-Cooking. All-Purpose Dry Rub.  Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017)
  20. Pick Your Own. Pressure Canner and Water Bath Canner Instruction Manuals (free downloads) Reviews, prices, and support. Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  21. Hip pressure cooking. The difference between stove top and electric pressure cookers. Internet: (accessed 30 June 2017).
  22. Header image: Pixababy.  Cooking Ingredients.  Internet: (accessed 27 July 2017).
  23. Zen & Spice.  Sauteed Garlic Green Beans.  May 2016.  Internet:
  24. Kalyn Brooke. Easy Chicken Veggie Stir-Fry.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)\
  25. RasaMalaysa. Italian Braised Chicken. October 2016.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)
  26. The Healthy Maven.  Healthy Avocado Brownies.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)
  27. The Food Charlatan. Cuban Mojo Marinated Pork.  April 2015.  Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)
  28. The Mediterranean Dish. Italian Oven Roasted Vegetables. Internet:  (accessed 1 August 2017)
  29. Simply Quinoa.  Slow  Cooker Coconut Quinoa Curry.  February 2016.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)
  30. Dash Diet Collection.  Poached Salmon with Mustard-Dill Sauce.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)
  31. Eight Ways to Make Steamed Vegetables Taste Amazing. October 2014.  Internet: (accessed 1 August 2017)
  32. Blissful Basil. Grilled Cilantro, Lime + Paprika Corn on the Cob.  Internet: (1 August 2017)
  33. Gluten Free Pressure Cooker.  Pressure Cooker Company Pot Roast.  Internet: