Fresh Ideas for the Table, FREE

By Charlotte on April 8, 2011 6:50 AM

H-e-l-l-o spring! Our favorite farmers' market has opened for the season, promising fresh tomatoes, strawberries, blackberries and more.


To celebrate, Bob and I have found three, new idea-packed resources offering delicious ways to do more with fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs:




We're giving away three Garden-Fresh Cookbooks, a collection of One-Pot Dishes for Every Season and five All-Seasons Garden Guides ... FREE.


Read on for details on how to enter. Contest ends April 21!


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The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook


Whether you buy produce at a local market or grow it yourself, The Garden-Fresh Cookbook can help bring a wholesome harvest to your table.


Overflowing with tips for growing, choosing and using fresh ingredients, this 336-page guide includes more than 325 new and classic recipes featuring vegetables, fruits and herbs. That's 14 chapters of yummy suggestions for breakfast and brunch (Watermelon Basket with Honey Lime Dressing), poultry and meats (Braised Chicken Breasts with Raspberry Sauce), desserts (Praline Peach Pie) and everything in-between.


gardenfresh_cookbook_cvr-250.jpgIn addition to mouthwatering recipes, you'll find:

  • Canning and preserving instructions for making relishes, chutneys, butters, jams and jellies.

  • Advice for growing vegetables, kitchen herbs, edible flowers and berries. (Who knew spraying cucumber vines with sugar water would attract bees and set more fruit?) 
  • Ripeness recommendations that'll help both in the garden and at the market. Thanks to these tips, Bob knows it's better to pick the mint leaves for his tea in the morning, after the dew dries, because that's when their oils are the strongest. 
  • Helpful hints for storing, freezing and handling produce. Alright! You can prevent tears when peeling onions by cutting them under running water. Now, maybe I won't have to invest in so much waterproof mascara.

Gardening and the timeless tradition of sharing food with family and friends are at the root of The Old Farmer's Almanac Garden-Fresh Cookbook. For a taste of this colorful collection, try the recipes for Italian Vegetable Popover Pizza and Strawberry Crunch Muffins below.


Italian Vegetable Popover Pizza - The "crust" is on top.


9 servings                                                                                                                                


  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 2 cups sliced zucchini
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 1 cup sliced carrots
  • 1 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/3 cup diagonally sliced celery
  • ½ cup chopped broccoli
  • 2 cups homemade tomato sauce or 2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
  • ital_popover_pizza_400.jpg2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup red wine
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • ¾ teaspoon chopped fresh marjoram or ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 12 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.


Grease a 13x9-inch baking pan.


In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the zucchini, green pepper, carrots, mushrooms, celery and broccoli and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until soft; strain, if needed. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, oregano, basil, marjoram, garlic and ¼ teaspoon of salt and stir well. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.


Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Set the pan in the oven to keep warm.


In a large bowl, combine the eggs, milk and remaining tablespoon of oil and beat to blend. Add the flour and remaining ½ teaspoon of salt and beat until smooth. Remove the vegetable mixture from the oven and pour the egg mixture over it, covering the ingredients completely. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Bake for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown.  


Strawberry Crunch Muffins - Makes 12 muffins.



  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup oatmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 


  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt teaspoon
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For topping: Combine all of the topping ingredients in one bowl and mix well. Set aside.


For muffins: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper baking cups. Sift the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon into a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix the beaten egg, melted butter, vanilla and milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once and stir until just combined. Quickly stir in the strawberries and lemon zest. Pour into the prepared muffin cups, filling them two-thirds full. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the muffins. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


Editor: Janice Stillman

Publisher: Yankee Publishing (March 16, 2011)

Time Out: 336 pages

On the Shelf: Amazon and most book retailers

Out of Pocket: $19.95 (Hardback)



One-Pot Dishes for Every Season


Want simple ways to incorporate fresh, in-season ingredients in your menus? One Pot Dishes for Every Season could be the answer. Author Norma Miller says the secret to using a seasonal approach is to "be inspired by the best of whatever is available."


Thumbnail image for One Pot Dishes for Every Season 150.jpgWith this 100-recipe primer, even beginning cooks can easily create gourmet dishes using just one pot, frying pan, steamer, wok or microwave container. One-pot recipes are designed to keep salt to a minimum, save energy and effort, use less space, streamline the cooking process and reduce cleanup (bonus!). Written for both U.S. and U.K. cooks, they use our standard teaspoon, tablespoon and cup measurements as well as metric sizes. You'll also see both the British and American names for many common ingredients throughout the book. (I would never have guessed that courgettes are zuccini.) 


Organized by season, recipes include soups, light meals, main dishes, pastas, beans and desserts. The spring selections revolve around young salad leaves and early vegetables. Here you'll find delicate Asparagus and Chervil Omelet; lively Chorizo, Broad Bean and Bulgur Wheat Salad, and luscious Lemon and Lime-Backed Cheesecake. But that's just the beginning. There's also a full slate of dishes for summer (Salmon with Capers and Tarragon), fall (Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Prosciutto and Blue Cheese) and winter (Mandarin Orange, Ginger and Walnut Upside-Down Pudding).


One-Pot Dishes for Every Season proves you can keep cooking simple and save time without sacrificing flavor or freshness. To sample one of the book's best options for spring, try this warm oat, almond and rhubarb medley.


Oat and Almond Rhubarb Crumble - Juicy young, pale pink stems of rhubarb with a nutty sweet topping. Serve with thick yogurt, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.


4 servings


  • 1 pound, 2 ounces rhubarb
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons clear honey
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


  • 9 tablespoons whole-wheat flour
  • 2 ounces oatmeal
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds


Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the rhubarb stalks into bite-sized pieces. Pour the orange juice into a small bowl and stir in the honey and cornstarch. Place the fruit in a shallow oven-proof dish about 1 1/2 pint capacity. Top with the blended cornstarch mixture.


For the topping, put the flour and oats into a bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the flour/oat mixture. Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the sugar and almonds.


Sprinkle the topping thickly and evenly over the fruit, pressing down lightly. Put into the hot oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked and golden.


Author: Norma Miller

Other Works: The Juicing Secret

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (November 2010)

Time Out: 192 pages

On the Shelf: Amazon and most book retailers

Out of Pocket: $12.95 (Paperback)



The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Season Garden Guide


Say goodbye to chips and pretzels. Think sweet alpine strawberries, tender sugar snap peas and crunchy sunflower seeds. No matter how green your thumb, you can grow nutritious snacks like these with help from The Old Farmer's Almanac's All-Seasons Garden Guide.

garden-guide-2011-rgb 350.jpgThe 2011 edition contains 128 pages of advice for growing both edible and ornamental plants. You'll find:

  • Selected recipes from The Old Farmer's Almanac All-Season Garden Guide.
  • How-to's for making feathered friends. Hint: There's more to it than putting out some seed.

  • 10 houseplants that help clear the air, eliminating toxins that can cause headaches, fatigue, even bad moods.

  • The nine easiest perennials. These superstars aren't demanding, grow almost anywhere and, unlike their annual cousins, can flourish for decades. That's my kind of plant!

Plus, this issue includes handy tips for growing vegetables in containers. With a little know-how, tomatoes, peppers, even beans can easily be grown in pots.


On the Shelf: Anywhere magazines are sold

Out of Pocket: $3.99



You could win the Garden-Fresh Cookbook, One-Pot Dishes for Every Season or the All-Seasons Garden Guide.


To enter the contest, email your name and mailing address (no PO Boxes please) to Enter@BoomerBrief.com by April 21 and put "Fresh Idea Giveaway" in the subject line.



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Diabetes-Friendly Chicken Burrito Bowl

ChickenBurritoBowlEverydayDiabetes 600.jpg

By Laura Cipullo and Lisa Mikus, authors of Everyday Diabetes Meals
Image credit: Colin Erricson

Prepare your own Mexican quick fix with this Chipotle-inspired bowl. Carbs are moderated by filling the bowl with beans, extra veggies and chicken. No need for rice, since the beans count as carbs.


If you love tomatoes, increase the quantity to 1/2 cup, but note that the carbohydrates will also increase.

If preparing this recipe for one person, cut all of the ingredients in half. Or simply prepare the full recipe up to the end of step 2 and store leftover chicken and vegetable-bean mixture in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat in the microwave on High for 1 to 2 minutes, or until heated through, and continue with step 3.

Health Bite: The iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc in black beans help to keep bones strong and healthy.

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