Quercetin: A Flavonoid in Onions

Onions are a staple in my kitchen. If I am frying a portion of salmon. I like to have sauteed onions in the pan. Onions add flavor to almost every kind of meat. I place onions in the cavity of a chicken or a turkey before roasting. I have a nice recipe for a skillet cornbread with onions.

The Bible mentions onions also. The children of Israel recalled the food they had enjoyed in Egypt and missed as they traveled through the wilderness.

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions and the garlic. Numbers 11:5

What is the nutritional value of an onion? According to my Nutrition Almanac cooked, mature onions are a source of minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium) and a little vitamin A and C.

They also contain a flavonoid, quercetin, that has been discussed in relation to covid-19.

Molly Knudsen, MS, RDN wrote an article titled, What Makes Onions So Healthy? It’s Quercetin. Click here to read about the health benefits of onions and quercetin.

I have read that quercetin assists the absorption of zinc into cells, assisting the immune system to fight off viral infections. 

An article on web MD lists six foods that contain quercetin. I was happy to see apples and blueberries on the list.

Although the practice of medicine offers many treatments for disease, I believe my role as wife and mother is to encourage diet and nutrition that supports the immune system. God has designed our body with an intricate immune system and has given us resources in fruits and vegetables. 

My husband and I are in the age bracket more susceptible to covid-19. We are taking vitamin supplements in addition to having a healthy diet. 

A large percentage of people in the United States have an inadequate level of vitamin D. A few years ago, my doctor noticed that my vitamin D level was low (insufficiency) and prescribed a supplement. Since then, I have continued to take a vitamin D supplement. 

A blood level of 30 to 100 ng/mL is considered sufficient. Greater than 100 ng/mL is toxic. Over the past three years I have been able to bring my blood level up to 49 ng/mL and have noticed improved health of my mouth/gums. I have less bleeding gums and improved dental appointments.

Some studies have shown that people with a good blood level of vitamin D are more likely to recover from a covid-19 infection. 

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist , Hearth and Soul link party and Inside Me Monday with Anita .

Herbs in My Bay Window

During the summer I have a bounty of fresh herbs. Sage, chives, oregano, mint, lavender and lemon balm are perennials in my yard. Sometimes thyme survives the winter and it comes back for a second or third season. Each summer I plant dill and basil.

I am fortunate to have a southern facing bay window. Some herbs continue to thrive in pots on the window ledge. The Italian basil has flowered and produced seeds.

Italian Basil

In another post I wrote about the different types of basil with links to recipes.

Lavender is also flowering indoors.

Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs.

In the featured picture at the top of this post, you can see that it has flowered in my window. When I make broth I add rosemary, thyme and parsley along with other ingredients. The broth is a healthy base for soups. In another post I provided directions for making broth–and for freezing or canning it. Find the post by clicking here .

This weekend I made a batch of broth. I canned some and used some to make a delicious pea soup.

Do you have a favorite herb? Or a favorite nutritious recipe for this winter?

I’m sharing this post with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday, The Hearth and Soul and Inspire Me Monday.

3 Kinds of Basil for Soups and Salads

One of the many blessings from a home garden is having fresh herbs readily available. This year I have three kinds of basil.

I planted sweet basil from seeds.

I purchased a bush basil plant at a farmer’s market.

My neighbor gave me a lettuce basil plant.

Basil is nice with any tomato dish. Diced cucumbers and tomatoes with basil is a quick and easy salad. Tear the fresh basil leaves into pieces and add to the cucumbers and tomatoes with salt to taste.

Basil is also nice in soups. I found a couple of good recipes online.

Creamy zucchini soup

Creamy pea and basil soup

Sharing this post with You’re the Star, Sue’s Wordless Wednesday and Tuesdays with a Twist

A Meal to Spark Memories

My mother’s birthday was last month. We celebrated her 98 years. She is cared for in a nursing home in Michigan. She has significant memory loss and is wheelchair bound.

She recognizes family as familiar people and is happy to see us. Sometimes she reverts to the language of her childhood, Finnish. I can only catch the drift of what she is saying.

When she was a child her mother made pasties—meat, potatoes and rutabaga wrapped in pastry. It was a typical meal for miners. My mother’s father worked in the copper mines.

This Upper Michigan specialty was passed on to us. Mom made pasties for our family. We had summer vacations in Upper Michigan and visited relatives there. On a sunny day we would take a picnic basket full of warm pasties, some soda or juice and a thermos of coffee for a picnic lunch at a park along the shore of Lake Superior.

So for her birthday we had a pasty lunch. I brought pasties that I had made at home. My sister and our husbands were able to set a table in the activity room at the nursing home. Mom was more alert and talkative than she has been lately. It was a lovely day.

Here is my recipe for pasties:

Pastry:

3 C. flour

½ tsp. salt

2/3 C. shortening

1 egg yolk,  reserve the egg white

½ C + 2 Tblsp. cold water

1 Tblsp. cider vinegar

     Combine flour and salt.  Cut in the shortening until it appears as coarse crumbs.

Mix the egg yolk, water and vinegar.  Gradually add this to the flour mixture, stirring with a fork.  Add the water slowly and stop when all is moistened. Mix just until it holds together.  If needed added additional water a tablespoon at a time.

     Divide the dough into six portions and roll out each portion to a 9” circle.

Filling:

1 lb. round steak, diced or coarsely ground

1 C. rutabaga, chopped

½ C. finely chopped onion

4 large potatoes, peeled and diced

1+ ½ tsp. salt

   Place a generous cup of filling on half of each dough circle.  Fold the other half of dough over the filling and crimp the edges.  Place the pasties on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Whisk the reserved egg white until it is a little bubbly; then brush the pasties with the egg white.  Bake at 350 degrees for one hour.  Serve hot.

NOTE: Optional additions to the filling include chopped carrots, shredded kale, garlic, herbs.

This post is shared with the Five Minute Friday writing community. Today’s prompt is: TABLE

Making and Canning Healthy Broth

Whenever I cook a naturally raised chicken or turkey I want to make the best use of it. After the turkey (or chicken) has been carved and served I save the bones to make broth.

The procedure is simple. I put the bones, a few vegetables (a carrot, an onion, a couple stalks of celery), slices of lemon, garlic cloves and fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary and thyme) into a large crockpot. The lemon provides acid that will leach calcium from the bones.

Then I add water to cover. It is important the crockpot lid does NOT have a vent, because the broth is going to cooks for 20 to 24 hours. All the ingredients contribute to a mineral rich broth.

Throughout the day the crockpot is set at high, and then overnight at low. 

Around 24 hours I turn the crockpot off and ladle the broth through a strainer. The bones, vegetables, lemon and herbs are discarded. The broth goes into a large pot  and is allowed to cool down. If there is fat in the broth, I place the broth in the refrigerator for several hours and skim the fat off the top before beginning the canning process.

NOTE: If you don’t want to can the broth, you can freeze it. Pour the broth into a canning jar, leaving head space. (The broth expands a little when it freezes.) Place it in the refrigerator to chill, and then place it in the freezer.  

Berries and applesauce can be preserved with water bath canning, but broth requires pressure cooker canning.  A couple years ago I wrote about my first experience with the pressure cooker.

I read the farm journal cookbook’s information on canning broth. I read the pressure cooker user’s manual from beginning to end twice. I read the directions for using the pressure cooker to can. I washed the canning jars in the dishwasher and the canning lids by hand in soapy water.

Then I placed the lids with their rings in hot water (that had recently boiled). While preparing the lids and jars, I reheated the broth on the stove top. Then I filled the pint size canning jars with hot broth leaving one inch of headspace. I put the lids on and tightened the bands and then did a quarter turn to loosen the band a little.

I placed a wire rack at the bottom of the pressure cooker to keep the canning jars from touching the bottom of the pot and put 2 + ½ inches of boiling water in the pressure cooker. Then I put my 3 jars on the rack—the water was just under 3 inches deep with the jars on the rack. 

Following the directions that came with the pressure cooker I put the lid on and set it to pressure-cooking, making sure that pressure lock button was set. I turned the burner on high under the pressure cooker. When the button on the lid of the cooker indicated that the pot had achieved pressure I began to time the process. The broth needed to be processed for 75 minutes with 10 pounds of pressure. (The Fagor pressure cooker reaches 15 pounds of pressure.) 

I stayed in the kitchen the whole time. Occasionally the pot began to hiss with lots of extra steam escaping and I adjusted the burner a little, feeling a little anxious. I like to see what is happening, but the only thing I could see was steam escaping from the safety valve. Were my jars breaking? Were the lids allowing extra air to escape and no liquid? I had to just wait and see.

When the 75 minutes was complete the pressure cooker needed to cool down on its own. The directions warned me not to open the cool down vent, not to try opening the lid. It took a full half hour for the pot to cool down and the pressure button indicate that the pot was no longer under steam pressure. With a little trepidation I opened the pot and saw that I had successfully processed my jars of broth.

Since then I have become comfortable with the process. I am able to insert the steps of this process into the day as I accomplish other things. The benefit is having a broth that is healthy—I know what is in it. I can to add it to soups, to chili, and use as the liquid for preparing rice.

Sharing this post with Inspire Me Monday and Tuesdays with a Twist

The Best Blueberry Pie

Blueberries are appearing in the grocery store. They are from the southern states–it will still be a while before the Michigan berries are ripe. Even though they are not from Michigan the blueberries are lovely, and so I made a family favorite pie.

Pastry:

1 cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1/3 cup butter (5 +1/3 Tblsp.)

1 Tblsp. + 1 tsp. vinegar

Cold water

Mix flour and salt. (I sometimes will use 1/4 cup rice flour and 3/4 cup unbleached white flour to reduce the amount of gluten.) Cut in the butter until mixture is crumbly. Mix vinegar in 1/2 cup of cold water. Add water with vinegar a tablespoon at a time, mixing with a fork. You want the dough to just hold together. Roll out and line a 9″pie dish. Preheat oven to 375°.

Filling

4 + 1/2 cups blueberries

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon minute tapioca

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

1/4 cup honey

Mix the blueberries, sugar, tapioca and lemon juice. Pour into pastry lined pie dish. Drizzle the honey over the berries. Then prepare topping.

Topping:

¾ cup flour

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ cup brown sugar

5 + 1/2 Tablespoons butter

Mix flour, salt and brown sugar. (Rice flour works well in this topping.) Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle this over the pie. Bake at 375° for 50 to 60 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned and berries are beginning to bubble.

Blueberry Pie

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Practice Makes the Perfect Pie Crust

Meals and special desserts are a part of family life. In our home we enjoy pies, especially fruit pies. I have practiced and tweaked my recipe for pie crust until I was satisfied. The shortening in pie crust should be 1/3 the amount of flour. (I don’t remember where I learned that.) 

So when I am making a two crust pie I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt to 1 + 1/2 cup of flour. Then I cut in 1/2 cup of butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. A little bit of vinegar acts as a conditioner to the pastry dough, so I add a tablespoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of cold water. As I add the water slowly to the flour, I am mixing it in with a fork. It is important to add just enough water—might not need the full 1/2 cup— mix only enough to have the dough hold together.

Then roll out half the dough on a lightly floured board to line the pie plate. Roll out the remainder for the upper crust. My mother would always fold the this top piece in half twice (so it resembles a triangle) and then make decorative cuts in the dough before laying it in place. And so I do too.

Once the pie is ready for the oven I brush the surface of pie crust with a few drops of water and sprinkle a teaspoon of sugar over it.

You can find a recipe for the best blueberry pie here.

The prompt for the Five Minute Friday writing community is: PRACTICE

Spring is Here : Looking Forward to Flowers and Herbs!

It is the first day of Spring and I am looking forward to the appearance of flowers and herbs. The snowdrops are up, and the robins have returned. The hyacinths are beginning to poke through the thawing soil.

Before long the violets will be blooming. I plan to gather these delicate flowers from an area of the yard that has not been sprayed with any chemicals to make candied violets. See a recipe here.

Every year I add another herb to my gardens. Herbs are a source of vitamins and minerals that support health. Rosemary, thyme and sage all grow easily. Here is a recipe for potatoes with rosemary and thyme.

I have planted some stinging nettle seeds in a container. I hope to plant them in a corner of the yard that has little traffic. The leaves of this plant sting—similar to stinging ants. The young leaves must be harvested carefully (gloves). When the leaves are boiled they lose their sting. The benefit of this herb is the rich mineral content. Nettle tea is sold in health food stores. I first noticed a recipe for nettle soup in a Swedish cook book. Here is an on-line recipe for nettle soup.

In a time period when many worry about infectious disease, it is a good idea to think about ways to improve the nutritional support of our immune system. Herbs are a source of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. At one time I thought the purpose of herbs was flavor, but now I know they enrich our food.

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Coffee and Warm Cinnamon Rolls for the Melody of Life

On New Year’s Day we like to sip coffee and enjoy cinnamon rolls while we watch the Rose Parade on TV. I have a recipe that allows me to make the dough the afternoon/evening before, and then in the morning I shape and bake the rolls. 

My dear husband makes the coffee, flavored with cardamon. See the recipe in this post.

This year the theme of the Rose Parade was The Melody of Life. The great array of flowers, seeds, beans and vegetables used to make the beautiful floats are a testament to life created by God.

From my perspective mothers have a significant role in the melody of life and I was hoping that there would be some reference.  Towards the end of the parade a float sponsored by Mrs. Meyer’s natural household products went by.  I have used Mrs. Meyer’s lemon verbena and lavender scented dish detergents.

The ABC commentator mentioned that Mrs. Meyer, mother nine children, was on the float. I was pleased, but it didn’t dispel the sadness that we are missing so many children.

Babies and children are also part of the melody of life. Life News has reported that abortion was the leading cause of death in 2018. It is a great tragedy. Education about abortion will continue through organizations like Students for Life. The March for Life will take place again this month.

Here is my recipe for cinnamon rolls.

Ingredients:

2/3 cup butter (10 tablespoons)

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot mashed potatoes

1 cup milk (almond, coconut or rice milk)

1 Tablespoon dry active yeast

1/2 cup warm water

2 eggs well beaten

5 -6 cups unbleached white flour (sometimes I reduce the amount of white flour, substituting one cup of spelt, barley or oat flour)

Add the butter to the mashed potatoes and mix to melt and combine. Add milk, honey and salt. Set this mixture aside and add the yeast to the warm water. Allow the yeast to begin to bubble and then add to the potato mixture (which should be lukewarm). Blend thoroughly and add the eggs, mixing well. Add flour to make a stiff dough.

I mix the dough in a large bowl and test the stiffness by kneading with my hand. If the dough is too sticky I add a little more flour. The dough should become elastic, a little sticky but holding together.

Then I place the dough in a large lightly greased bowl (with room to allow the dough to cool rise). Cover the bowl with a plate or waxed paper.

Ingredients for preparing cinnamon rolls:

1/2 cup butter

6 Tblsp. brown sugar

6 Tblsp. maple syrup

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 + 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. 

Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Roll out 1/2 of the dough into a rectangle—approximately 16” x 9”. Melt butter and spread 2 tablespoons over dough. Sprinkle dough with cinnamon sugar. Roll up the dough, beginning with long side of rectangle. You will have a roll-up that is 16 inches in length.

Prepare three 9” round cake pans for rolls. Place 1 + 1/2 tablespoon melted butter in each pan. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of brown sugar in each pan. Add 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to each pan and gently spread and mix.

Cut the rolled up dough into 2 inch pieces and place them cut side up in the prepared pans—about six rolls per pan. Repeat process with 2nd half of dough to fill the pans. Allow to rise for 20 to 30 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until rolls are beginning to brown. Turn out of the pans right after taking them from the oven. Let cool for as long as you can wait and enjoy!

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Rosemary and Tansy in the Garden

Spring seems to be on hold as cold temperatures persist in Illinois. But I am beginning to think about my herb garden.

I recently read that Tansy is a deterrent for Japanese beetles. I have seeds to plant, hoping that it will help get rid of the throng of beetles I have seen the past couple years. I have also read that tansy is invasive–so I will have to plan carefully where I plant it.

Herb Garden
Tansy

My rosemary plant seems to have survived the winter in a sunny window, but it is looking somewhat listless. It needs more sunshine! I am hoping it will revive.

When we were in New Mexico in March the rosemary bushes were in full bloom. New Mexico has the perfect climate for this herb.

Rosemary Bush
Rosemary Bush

I have become particularly fond of rosemary and enjoy the legends about it. A story in Spain claims that the Virgin Mary was fleeing from soldiers on her way to Egypt. She spread her cloak on a rosemary bush and hid behind it. When she lifted her cloak the flowers had turned blue.

Rosemary flower
Rosemary flower

Fresh rosemary has many uses.   I  like to make  Rosemary & Thyme    potatoes. When ever I am adding fresh herbs to a recipe I mince them into little pieces. Here is my recipe:

Potatoes with Rosemary and Thyme

2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced

2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced

¼ teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

3 Tablespoons olive oil

5 medium size potatoes

Combine the thyme, rosemary, salt, lemon juice and olive oil.

Peel potatoes and steam them until fork tender. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and cut each potato into several pieces. Pour the herb & oil mixture over the potatoes and cover.  Allow the potatoes to marinade like this for 2 hours or even overnight.

Spread the potatoes on a jelly roll pan or a rimmed baking sheet. Bake uncovered at 425° for 30 minutes.

I came across this site with 39 ways to use rosemary.

Do you have a favorite recipe with rosemary? Have you had any experience with tansy?

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