Today... & Rethinking Winter Veggies


Rethinking Winter Veggies:

Here are two questioning comments I hear often around changing the diet to a whole food and seasonally based one:

  1. There are no vegetables that grow in Northern NY in the winter time. I have to purchase kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vegetables that are grown in Florida and California. Otherwise, what would I eat?
  2. OK, so I am getting to know the local vegetables that are available in late fall and winter but what do I do with them?
My root veggie picture,     inspiring me from the kitchen wall!

My root veggie picture,

inspiring me from the kitchen wall!

A list of winter storage vegetables available in Northern NY:

  • cabbage: red and green
  • winter, hard squash (there are many varieties)
  • beets
  • carrots
  • turnips
  • rutabaga
  • celeriac
  • radish
  • salsify
  • burdock parsley root
  • parsnip
  • potato
  • onion
  • garlic

Farms and stores to purchase local (winter) vegetables in Northern NY: (I am certain this is not an all-inclusive list; investigate and find a farmer who grows good food near you!)

CSA Farms for Winter Veggies: (Again, not an all-inclusive list BUT to find more, go to, Gardenshare's Local Food Guide and find a farmer near you who offers what you are looking for.)


OK, now for the cooking part. I am not going to put recipes here. I am more in favor of people learning to improvise in the kitchen: grab what you have and be creative based upon time honored methods of cooking and seasoning. Trust me, it is easy. Take a deep breath and just relax and let the cooking flow!

  1. Mashed potatoes are yummy! Try any of these root veggies in the mashed version, adding milk and butter. Try several root veggies steamed up and mashed together. Hint: When you steam, simmer, or boil the root veggie: use the least amount of water necessary and simmer gently. Maybe an inch of water in the pot, depending on the pot size and the amount of veggies. (Do not "rolling boil" them to death; it kills the flavor and the nutrients. As you boil off the nutrients you are boiling away the flavor!)  Pour the "simmer" water off into a coffee mug and drink it. There will be just a little bit of water left by conservatively adding water and simmering gently.
  2. Roast any or all of the root veggies. Chop into bite size chunks, coat with your favorite oil sturdy enough to handle the oven heat, and roast for 35-45 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes and stab with a fork after 30 to test for tenderness. You want to create crunchy, cooked veggies, not mushy veggies.
  3. Soups, stews, stir fries are always good options.
  4. Squash, well... it is squash, roast it up. Steam them if you are short on time. Oven roasting can take 1 hour or more, steaming takes 20 minutes. A butternut squash, raw, grates up nicely into a winter veggie slaw. Just add chucks of apples, maybe a few raisins, and an olive oil - apple cider vinegar dressing seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg.
  5. Cabbage is yummy in soups, stews, and stir fries. Saute' a pan of onions, potatoes, and cabbage and serve with your favorite protein.
  6. Make cabbage and grated root veggie slaws. (If you click that link back there, you will get one recipe from me! But... it is one I have given you many times!) This is my nightly favorite to add a "raw" salad to the winter meal fare: good fiber, good nutrients, and good enzymes from raw foods!

The above slaw is grated: red and green cabbage, celeriac, purple and orange carrots, and a Braeburn apple. The apple was so juicy I only added a bit of olive oil, a dash of cinnamon, and called it "dressed!"




    Weeds, To Eat or Not To Eat!

    Holistic Hugs & Peaceful Blessings!

    Paula M. Youmell, RN, MS, CHC

    Holistic Health, Nutrition & Fitness Counselor      

    (315) 265-0961

    "Just lift the corner of the clouds and the sun is 

    ALWAYS shining!"          Eli Schechter

    Spring Nettles poking out of my home garden plot,  Spring 2014

    Weeds to one person are another person's medicine!

    I love spring for the wonderful green plants shooting out of the earth around my home, in the woods and fields.  These plants remind me of the ever changing and newness of life, the bounty of good food right outside our doors, and the nutritional value and healing properties of what many people consider weeds.  I personally await the spring's wild leeks, dandelion greens, first nettle shoots, plantain leaves, rhubarb shoots, and so many more spring edibles.

    These spring edibles awaken our taste buds, livers, digestive tracts, and each and every body cell.  The incredible amount of nutrients in the plants adds to our nutritional stores and cleans our winter blood, liver, and digestive tracts.

    What a relief to move away from my beloved winter root veggies (beets!) and begin incorporating our natural spring foods.

    For more thoughts on the whole food-ness of herbs (weeds) click here.

      Dandelion greens and flowers; good for liver health!

    Fun Food Focus

    Spring Greens Soup

    I gather several kinds of spring greens: dandelion, plantain, lambs quarters, nettles, mustard greens, sorrel, violets... the list goes on.  (Learn to identify them, pick and enjoy!)

    I gently wash them, throw them in my blender with some raw goat's milk and wild leek shoots and leaves.  Blend into a puree and warm gently.

    You can also saute' the wild leek, ever so gently, then toss in the green and saute' for 1-2 minutes before blending.

    Easy greens to start with are dandelion, plantain, nettles and violets.

    Another idea:  mix them in a salad with local, mixed baby greens - they should be available soon!  Dress with raw - apple cider vinegar, organic - extra virgin olive oil and a few dried spices.  Yummy!


    This picture taken today, 5-16-14.  The nettles are getting larger!

    Bonus information:  Check out Martin's Farm Stand website, you can pre-order your fresh, local, seasonal produce, on-line!  Cutting edge - local food access!

    Winter Food Blues

    It is that time of year... I am sick of winter root veggies, squash, and cabbage.  I know, on the tail end of it, there IS good things coming.  I get impatient. I long for the green things sprouting out of our local soil.  To survive until the local farmers and my garden has some stuff to offer up, I play around with food. (Truthfully, I play around with food all the time.)

    I am waiting, very impatiently, for the wild leeks.

    I do have tiny stinging nettle tops poking up in my garden.  I have popped off a couple of nettle tops and indulged in the raw green-ness of it.  They are so young that they leave no sting behind on the tongue or in the throat.

    Dandelion greens are out there too.  All survival food to nourish my cells and my soul!

    So a dear friend turned me on to Balela, a Mediterranean salad. Immediately I thought: "What a fun idea and release from winter food."


    David's recipe, displayed above:

    Ingredients:  all ingredients are organic

    • 1 15-oz can black beans
    • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans
    • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 2 stocks green onion, chopped
    • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar (white or apple vinegar should suffice)
    • two organic tomatoes chopped into bite-sized pieces
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 1 tbsp chopped mint
    • unrefined sea salt & pepper to taste



    My improvised Balela, using what I had on hand:

    Ingredients: again, all organic

    • 1 15-oz can kidney beans (no black beans in my cupboard)
    • 1 15-oz can garbanzo beans
    • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1/3 cup organic lemon juice, Lakewood Organic from the Potsdam Coop
    • Chopped chives from my herb garden
    • 1 1/2 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar from Martin's Farm Stand
    • about 25 frozen cherry tomatoes from The Kent Family Growers winter CSA, thawed and chopped in 1/2
    • 2 tbsp chopped oregano from my herb garden (no parsley yet!)
    • 1 tbsp lemon thyme from my herb garden (no peppermint, deer ate it!)
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • red pepper flakes to taste
    • unrefined sea salt & pepper to taste

    Just before I indulged, I placed pine nuts on top and some sheep milk feta.     Very YUMMY!

    I know David is eating and enjoying Balela, as well, in LaFayette!

    Stay tuned for tomorrow's Winter Food Blues Recipe... how I Spring up the root veggie kraut to make my taste buds sing (instead of them whining about more winter food and thinking the green stuff will never grow!).

    Hang in there... local, spring food is right around the corner!

    Celeriac LOVE Update!

    Celeriac LOVE Update


    I am determined to create celeriac lovers out of you!  The below saute' was made with 100% Kent Family Growers veggies and Kerry Gold butter from Ireland (not very local but I am having a tough time finding local butter from grass fed cows!).


    1.  Gently saute' onions in much yummy butter, 2-3 minutes.

    2.  Add grated celeriac and saute' gently for 2-3 minutes.

    3.  Pop in some chunks of frozen red peppers and green beans (Thank you Megan Kent for putting these veggies up!).

    4.  Crush one large clove of garlic and stir it all up.

    5.  Cover cast iron pan & turn off heat.

    6.  Finish making my root veggie slaw, the rest of dinner selections, and serve up the yummy celeriac dish, see below!

    My Advice:  LOVE your celeriac.  It will LOVE you back!


    Check out the Kent's interview on North Country Public Radio!

    PS  For those of you who have been following my lust of root veggies, fear nothing, I have not abandoned my love for the humble beet!