Delicious and Nutritious Raspberries

Red, purple, or gold – raspberries are always delicious and nutritious! I just ate a handful of perfectly firm, sweet red raspberries. Yum! I love them enough that I’ve decided to try growing my own.


I’m familiar with blackberries, huckleberries, and strawberries. All of them grew wild near our farm. Raspberries did not so this experiment feels like foreign territory.

Research tells me raspberries grow well in zones 5-9. I’m in 8a so the climate should be friendly enough. I’m planting in a raised bed, but chose a variety that can also thrive in a container. It should grow to a height of 2-3 feet and width of 3-4 feet. I’m not sure whether I’ll get fruit this year, but I’ll be excited to have healthy growth this year and fruit the next.

The idea of walking out to the back yard to pick fruits and vegetables appeals to me for many reasons. The first is freshness. This seems especially relevant for raspberries. Because the torus remains on the plant, the fruit is hollow in the center. This makes the berries delicate and easy to damage. Fresh will mean a longer shelf life.

Fresh will also mean more vibrant flavor. Any fruit is best when it can fully ripen in place then be picked and eaten quickly.

Nutrition is also highest in freshly picked fruit. Raspberries are packed with nutrients. One cup contains 1.5 grams of protein and 54% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C.

These gems also contain:

  • Manganese: 41% of the RDI
  • Vitamin K: 12% of the RDI
  • Vitamin E: 5% of the RDI
  • B vitamins: 4–6% of the RDI
  • Iron: 5% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 7% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 4% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 5% of the RDI
  • Copper: 6% of the RDI

And they’re full of fiber – 8 grams per cup or 32% of the recommended daily intake for men and 21% RDI for women.

The goodness doesn’t stop there. Raspberries are high in antioxidants and tannins that may help control blood sugar and prevent arthritis and cancer.

You may not be able to eat enough raspberries to fully prevent a given disease, but including them in your meal plan has many benefits.

Grabbing raspberries off the back porch for breakfast in the summer sounds divine! And I like knowing the berries have been grown without chemical sprays.

And while I prefer eating them right off the plant, raspberries can also be enjoyed in sorbet, cookies, tarts, brownies, coffee cake, and atop yogurt, ice cream or cheesecake.

Don’t hesitate to reward yourself with a sweet, colorful treat! Raspberries are always delicious and nutritious.



Pa-pa-paprika! My favorite spice right now is smoked pimetón. That feels a little odd because most of my cooking life I’ve only used paprika as a garnish on deviled eggs or potato salad. Now, I’m allowing it to star in lots of dishes.

This trend began when I used the spice on some baked chicken legs a couple of weeks ago. The smokiness added that little something that makes you come back for another bite. Since then, I find myself repeatedly reaching for the tin of Pimetón de la Vera.


Made from dried and ground red peppers, paprika can be used to add color to a dish without overpowering other flavors. In the US, the peppers used for this spice are primarily grown in California and tend to have a mild flavor.

The paprika I’m using, Pimetón de la Vera, is the most common Spanish variety. It’s dried using wood which gives it a distinct smoky flavor. I’ve chosen a spicy (picante) version for a little kick, but Spanish paprika is also available in mild (dulce) and medium spice (agridulce). I’m loving the smokiness, but if that’s not your thing look for Pimetón de Murcia. It’s made with bola or ñora peppers that are sun or kiln dried.

Paprika most commonly uses peppers of the capsicum variety that were originally cultivated from wild peppers native to Central Mexico. Because of trade between the New World and Old World, they arrived in Spain in the 16th century. The peppers and resulting spice then made their way to Central Europe through the Balkans during the Ottoman conquests. By the 19th century, paprika had become quite popular in Hungary.

Hungarian paprika tends to be milder and sweeter than Spanish paprika and comes in several grades. Regional varieties in Hungary are not all bright red.  Some lean toward muted orange or brown. Paprika is included in Hungarian goulash (gulyas) and paprika gravy (paprikash).

I’m intrigued by paprika gravy which is made by combining meat or chicken, broth, paprika and sour cream. That sounds yummy and may be on the menu for next week in the form of Chicken Paprikash!

There are so many versions of paprika that its flavor can’t be described with a simple word or two. In fact, you may want to taste what you have on hand before you include it in a dish to make sure its particular flavor is compatible with your dish.

And while it’s easy to end up wasting spices, it would be fun to experiment with multiple paprikas to determine which works best for what. It could be a good ingredient to include in a cooking challenge basket.

Add paprika to spice rubs, use it as a garnish, or sprinkle it in hot oil when you fry. While you’re spicing things up, you’ll be adding vitamin A. One half teaspoon of paprika provides 21% of the daily recommended value.

It’s easy for paprika to become one of those spices that are constantly overlooked or limited to a single use. That really doesn’t do this spice justice. Perhaps it’s time to move paprika to the front of the spice cabinet and let it have its day in the sun!

Grown-Up Nutrition

Bok choy packs grown-up nutrition into a few tiny calories. I’ve been eating a lot of baby bok choy the past few weeks. It’s the one thing in my garden that hasn’t been stressed by the heat.

Before this summer, I may have eaten bok choy a few times in stir fry, but I was generally unfamiliar with this green. Thanks to my sister providing seeds, I’m having the opportunity to discover how much I enjoy it.

I’m harvesting leaves rather than waiting for larger stemmed groupings. The leaves are tender and sweet – not exactly what you expect from a cabbage. As the plants grow larger, the aroma becomes more cabbage-like and the stems become tougher.

Whether you eat them raw or cooked, a one cup serving has a mere 9 calories. Of course, the cooked version will gain calories if you add meat or fat to the pan. And a salad may have added calories from other vegetables and dressing. Even so, with a little attention to ingredients you can get a remarkable amount of nutrition packed into a minimal number of calories.

Bok choy is high in antioxidants as well as cancer-fighting compounds like vitamins C and E, beta-carotene, folate, and selenium. It’s also a good source of the inflammation reducing flavonoid quercetin. And the good stuff doesn’t stop there. Bok choy contains many of the essentials for maintaining strong healthy bones – calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, and vitamin K.

Including greens high in folate (like bok choy) in your diet during pregnancy can help prevent complications like spina bifida and anencephaly, a severe congenital condition in which a large part of the skull is absent along with the cerebral hemispheres of the brain.

I love a food that promotes good health without a load of calories, but the best thing about bok choy is it’s delicious! I read something recently that called it a gateway green. I can see how that’s an apt description. The mild sweetness makes it appealing for the consumer who isn’t yet accustomed to the bitterness found in many greens.

The mild, pleasant flavor makes a great background for prominent flavors like arugula and dried bing cherries, but it also blends well with more subtle flavors like red bell pepper, celery, cucumber, and carrots. Because I’m harvesting early, the stems are delicious chopped into a salad.

If you enjoy cooked greens, bok choy is great stir fried or sautéed. You can also cook it like more traditional mustard, collard, or turnip greens.

The other day, I filled a pot with chopped bok choy and a cup or so of chopped Swiss chard. I filled the pot with water to the top of the greens. Then I added about a cup of chicken broth, a chunk of onion, a jalapeño pepper with stem and seeds removed, a spoonful of chili garlic sauce, a dash of tamari, and some salt & pepper.

I brought the pot to a boil, then simmered the greens for about 20 minutes. You can vary the cooking time to fit your preferences. I’m from the south where we overcook things.

The result is flavorful, but mellow and just what I was looking for. I’ve eaten it as a side with both chicken and steak and have not been disappointed. Not to mention, I feel as happy as a child when I enjoy grown-up nutrition from baby bok choy!

Heat Wave Relief

I need heat wave relief! Today, it feels like 112˚ and it’s not yet officially summer. Planes need a longer takeoff roll, outdoor workers struggle to stay hydrated, and I need something cool and refreshing to enjoy!

Perhaps I’ll steal a play from my grandkid’s playbook and have an ice cream sandwich! But I can’t have dairy or gluten. And while I have an ice cream maker, I won’t have a chance to make my own today.

Hmmm, what are my options?

Coconut Bliss Madagascan Vanilla Cosmic Bliss Frozen Dessert Sandwiches are plant-based, dairy-free and certified gluten-free. That sounds promising. They are available at my local Natural Grocers and feature coconut milk ice cream speckled with vanilla beans sandwiched between two oat choc-chip cookies.

Reading the label, I have some hesitation about these because they contain sprouted oat flour that is not specifically identified as gluten-free. The fact that the oats are sprouted does not ensure that they have not been contaminated in transit. The GF certification should take care of this, but I won’t feel comfortable without additional research.

I hate it when reading a label leads to the need for more research, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

goodpop® is sold at my local Whole Foods as well as Natural Grocers. Their ice cream sandwiches are round with a generous ratio of GF oatmilk frozen filling to chocolate cookie. The website offers online orders. I’m assuming the product is shipped in dry ice.

Jolly Llama has two flavors of gluten-free, dairy-free ice cream sandwiches available: Premium Vanilla and Cool Mint Chocolate Chip. The non-dairy ice cream is sandwiched between two chocolate cookies. It appears these would be good choices, but they’re not sold in my area. The website has a tool to see if they’re stocked where you live.

Nana Crème offers Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches. As the name suggests, the frozen dessert part is banana-based. All Nana Crème products are free of the top eight allergens. This might make these a good choice for a party if you can find them in stock. They’re currently sold out on the website.

If gluten weren’t a problem, I’d opt for the So Delicious® Vanilla Bean Coconutmilk Sandwiches. While I haven’t eaten those, I have had the filling and it’s delicious. The cookie looks like a traditional ice cream sandwich cookie. And the size is small which appeals to me.

With such a short list of local choices, I may opt for a dairy-free ice cream bar instead. Or I could dummy up my own sandwich using a tub of gluten-free, dairy-free ice cream and cookies from a box. Now that I think about it, gluten-free Oreos would make really cute mini sandwiches. Maybe that’s what I’ll go with.

The key is to find something C-O-L-D that adheres to my diet and gives me heat wave relief!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”