Mary’s Memo – May 11th


Who says you can’t eat fabulously well on a budget? In her newest book, Good Cheap Eats: Everyday Dinners for $10 or Less by Jessica Fisher (Harvard Common Press, September 2014, $16.95/softcover) Fisher shows readers how easy it is to eat well without breaking the bank. In over 200 recipes complete with full color photos she offers a delicious alternative to familiar weeknight take-out with nourishing, from scratch meals that save time and money. As the creator of two very popular blogs, Life as Mom and Good Cheap Eats, as well as the mother of six, Jessica Fisher is both a seasoned cook and someone who lives by her hard-won wisdom for budget-friendly cooking. Continuing our “eat more carrots” theme, here is Fisher’s recipe for Buttery Dill Carrots. Although her mom probably added sugar or honey to the carrots, Fisher prefers to let sweet carrots “speak for themselves.”


• 6 medium carrots, peeled & sliced thick on the bias
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/4 teaspoon dried dill
• Kosher salt and ground fresh pepper
• Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place the carrots in a steamer basket in a medium-size stock pot with 1-inch water. Bring water to a boil, cover, and steam the carrots until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain carrots and transfer them to a serving dish. Add the butter and dill and season with salt, black pepper and cayenne. Toss gently to coat. Recipe serves 4.
Source: Good Cheap Eats by Jessica Fisher, Harvard Common Press. Cookbook is available from


Organic farro (pronounced FAHR-oh) is an ancient hulled grain with a chewy texture and slightly nutty flavor. It can be cooked and used in a variety of recipes such as soups and salads. Farro can also be ground into flour and used in place of wheat flour to make bread, pasta and other baked goods. A member of the wheat family, it is not gluten free. Used in Italy for centuries, farro recently became popular when French restaurants started serving it in hearty vegetable soup. Farro is a common ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes. It can replace rice in pilaf or risotto recipes.
Source: Olive Nation, Your Secret Ingredient.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be updated later this year and cholesterol, one of the most closely monitored ingredients in food due to its links to heart disease, will no longer be listed as a “nutrient of concern.” Apart from this, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (the basis for the Dietary Guidelines), published February 19, 2015, encourages a dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate in low and non-fat dairy products and alcohol; and low in red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2015.


Another risk posed by “belly fat”: It may weaken bones and muscle, according to a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Most studies have linked obesity to better musculoskeletal health because of the greater mechanical demands put on bones and muscle simply from having to maneuver a larger body. But when researchers at the University of Michigan examined CT scans of torsos of 8,800 people ages 18 to 65, they found that greater visceral fat deposits (fat deposited around organs in the abdomen) were associated with worse bone density and poorer muscle, regardless of age, sex and body mass index. Visceral fat may infiltrate muscles and bones and thus weaken them, researchers suggested.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, May 2015.


Among the cookbooks I really treasure are ones published by the food editors of Farm Journal magazine eons ago. Their America’s Best Vegetable Recipes is still a favorite. I mention this because it includes a recipe for Whipped Turnips that according to taste-testers was the best turnip recipe they ever tasted! Daughter Mary Ann and I agree! It makes a lot so feel free to halve it.


• 4 cups mashed cooked turnips
• 2 cups soft bread crumbs
• 1/2 cup melted butter
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 4 eggs, slightly beaten

Combine turnips with bread crumbs. (To prepare soft bread crumbs, remove crust from fresh bread; cut or tear into tiny cubes.) Blend in remaining ingredients. Place in greased 2-quart casserole. Bake in moderate 3500F. oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set. Makes 8 servings.

Download PDF