Grit Blogs > As My Garden Grows

The Healthy Eating Resolution

By Debbie Nowicki

Tags: resolutions, food, recipes, grain,

With the echo of the New Year still ringing in our ears we firmly vow to keep our resolutions. We raise our glasses, now filled with water and green tea, to a healthy New Year! Champagne sounds so much more elegant, but we have a new vision and what perfect timing … as we plan our garden for the new season, we envision ripe red tomatoes, green leafy spinach and our fit and trim waistline all the by-product from the homegrown goodness in our own backyard.

Along with many carefully chosen vegetables to grow, I am planning a special healthy herb garden.  I have a location in mind and the idea is to construct raised beds and hope the sun is not too hot in this location.  In the past I have grown herbs and used them in recipes fresh and have also dried them for future use.  Most air dry very well and add a nice taste of flavor to any dish.  I will be sharing recipes as the season moves along.  What inspired this herb garden-healthy eating notion was the fabulous Rosemary Cookies I made during the holidays.  Along with the usual Christmas cookie baking I wanted to incorporate herbs for healthy snacking.  I have to admit these cookies used the herb Rosemary but they really aren’t that healthy, they are extremely delicious though!  What makes them so good is the combination of light airy dough with the strong taste of rosemary … Superb!

Rosemary Cookies

Rosemary Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
4 cups flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary

Combine all ingredients, except rosemary and mix thoroughly.  Now gently mix rosemary into the batter.  Form dough into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Flatten each one.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as they bake since you don’t want to overcook them – a pale golden brown is the desired color.

The intent to bake healthy cookies was there and I am getting closer to fulfilling that intent.  Today I baked up these Flaxseed Cookies as my first hope to conquer the “Healthy Eating” resolution.  The recipe makes a nice huge batch that the family can munch on all week long as we withdraw from the continual stream of eating … and more eating, that possessed us during the holiday season.

Flaxseed Cookies 

Flax Cookies

1 1/3 cups butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups lightly packed brown sugar
2 1/3 cups flax seeds
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
3 cups oatmeal

Cream butter, sugars and flaxseed. Add beaten eggs and vanilla to mixture. Blend flour, baking soda and oatmeal and combine with other ingredients. Form dough into 1 ½” round logs and chill in the freezer. Cut into slices and place on cookie sheet in 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

I have also decided to try growing some grains this year and I found it very interesting and frustrating searching for the seeds to purchase.  I have received many of the 2009 seed catalogs and have enjoyed reading through every page and description of listed offerings. A few do have some grain seed to purchase.  I am aware of my need to research grain growing for the small gardener.  Ideally, I would like several areas with wheat, oats, quinoa, millet and various other grains.  Farmers throughout the country grow acre upon acre of all the grains we consume in our daily diets.  Is it feasible for a small gardener to grow enough grain to be worth the effort?

My “Healthy Eating” resolution is taking shape and the research continues as I raise my glass wishing a healthy New Year to all!


1/13/2009 2:55:19 PM

By the way, Mother Earth News has had some articles about growing oats as a cover crop, so you might search their site and see what you can find. Apparently it's easy to grow, since it's basically a grass. Of course the Johnson grass out where I live has seedheads big enough I always wonder if it's edible ...

1/13/2009 2:53:37 PM

I have some quinoa I haven't gotten around to cooking yet. (Jean, it's at the Merc, in the bulk section.) I've been meaning to try it since I first edited a story about it several years ago. It's just not something I think of .... But maybe if I see an irresistible recipe ...

1/12/2009 4:37:02 AM

Jean - The recipe makes a huge batch and since our son is still home from college, there's no problem they will get eaten! Next time I may half the recipe or try freezing half the dough. I did order a grain book "The Book of Whole Grains: The Grain-By-Grain Guide to Cooking, Growing and Grinding Whole Cereals, Nuts, Peas and Beans" and there is another out there by Gene Logsdon which is out of print, but it looks like you can pre-order so he must be printing another edition. I think grains are important to the diet especially since they seem to fill me up so I don't constantly pick on other foods all day long! I know it's not easy finding information on this Lori - I did pick up some flax seed and wheat grain yesterday and am going to experiment and plant to see what happens ... gotta start somewhere! I did find Homegrown Harvest online that has different grain to purchase so may go that route.

1/11/2009 10:18:24 AM

Hi Debbie! I have been interested in growing some of our own grain too. I tried to find info on how to harvest, hull, and dry when the grain is ready, and it was not easy to find! I still don't have much. Everything is done on a large scale today. I would even buy grain with all these processes already done from local farmers, but that isn't so easy either! A lot of it still needs cleaned, and if it has been cleaned for seed crop, it has also been treated with various chemicals! If you find any info in this arena, I would love it if you could pass it along! My husband and I make an effort to eat healthy. It is very hard to stay on track over the holidays, with sooo many goodies about! It is also difficult because eating healthy usually means a longer preparation time for the food, and more planning. We live in a world of fast food and fast lives. Making something healthy is not always convenient and fast, but worth the effort in the long run!

jean teller
1/9/2009 10:17:46 AM

oh, I love recipes! Thanks, Debbie. I'm definitely printing out the flaxseed recipe. While I won't be growing any of my own grains, I did look for quinoa during my last grocery run. Haven't found it yet, will have to check the organic food store. I, too, made the resolution for a more healthy 2009 - adding more exercise and eating better. Hopefully I can stick with it this time around! Good luck to us both!