VITAMIN C: cabbage


How many of you have given thought to the food you eat and its impact on your body and health? Is it something you think about? If yes or no, please share.

Until recently, I did not give much thought to the food I ate. One reason is because I had no connection to my food. I didn’t prepare it and I was not taught about food and health or food and my body.

Would it surprise you to know that food and nature can provide the daily vitamins and minerals your body needs to stay healthy, to have energy and to not have aches and pains?

What would it take for you to have a deeper tie to your food? I know – corny right – today things are meant to be easier?! But what if I shared that cooking can bring a sense of peace and calm to a world of chaos?

If I am honest, at first cooking will not feel calm or peaceful, it will probably feel overwhelming. Why?

Because we are scheduled to death with no down time. Cooking provides down time. It isn’t for everyone but before you poo poo it, try it. Find some time to just be with you and your food. Redefining time can help you find the time you need to regenerate and heal. And cooking could be the one thing that allows you to find your time.

I didn’t always cook, in fact, I hated it but I hated it because I never had the time. Now that I cook, I am always learning and my connection to food, my body and my health is much deeper. I even journal food and its effect on my body. For example, processed food leads to headaches and neck aches, whereas, nutrient rich foods lead to better energy and focus for me. What is your experience? How do you connect the dots?

When you see cabbage or hear the word cabbage, what is your first thought? Is your first thought tied to St. Patty’s Day? Or Ireland? Do you think of it as an Irish food?

Would it surprise you to know cabbage was domesticated some 3000 years ago? This surprised me – domesticated isn’t a word I associate with food. This link provides some additional interesting and fascinating facts about the history of cabbage:

Cabbage varieties 

What color comes to mind when you hear the word cabbage? Would it surprise you to know that cabbage is also purple? And White? And Red? Would it surprise you to know there are 400 varieties of cabbage?

The number is hard for me to wrap my head around but it is a challenge I willingly accept – to learn about the varieties and tastes and benefits. The colors are also exciting. I love the color purple.

I grew up with cabbage but it was always green and I am pretty sure always one variety. Cabbage was a March tradition because I am part Irish and that is the only time we enjoyed cabbage, along with corn beef. But since I am a vegetarian, I haven’t partaken of that tradition for some time and last year started a new tradition centered on learning new recipes for cabbage. Now I am going to add learning about the different varieties.

For recipes, Cooking with Grams shared cabbage piroshky.

Yum Yum Yum!

And here are a few others and a favorite of mine:

I slow cooked cabbage with onions and mushrooms in a veggie broth with cumin and coriander. It is a wonderfully warm delicious dish.

Cabbage is a brilliant way to get your daily vitamin C.

On cold days, there is nothing better than something warm.

Cabbage not only has Vitamin C but it also has ZERO fat and just 6 calories.

“Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin that serves many important roles in the body. For instance, it’s needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen gives structure and flexibility to the skin and is critical for the proper functioning of the bones, muscles and blood vessels.

Additionally, vitamin C helps the body absorb non-heme iron, the type of iron found in plant foods. What’s more, it’s a powerful antioxidant.”

DID YOU KNOW?! Cabbage is packed with nutrients?

“1 cup (89 grams) of raw green cabbage contains (2):

Protein: 1 gram

Fiber: 2 grams

Vitamin K: 85% of the RDI (recommended daily)

Vitamin C: 54% of the RDI

Folate: 10% of the RDI

Manganese: 7% of the RDI

Vitamin B6: 6% of the RDI

Calcium: 4% of the RDI

Potassium: 4% of the RDI

Magnesium: 3% of the RDI

Cabbage also contains small amounts of other micronutrients, including vitamin A, iron and riboflavin. As you can see in the list above, it is rich in vitamin B6 and folate, both of which are essential for many important processes in the body, including energy metabolism and the normal functioning of the nervous system.”

Purple and Red Cabbage offer different levels of the vitamins and nutrients.

Red Cabbage offers 30% more Vitamin C.

Cabbage will help with digestion.

This crunchy vegetable is full of gut-friendly insoluble fiber, a type of carbohydrate that can’t be broken down in the intestines. Insoluble fiber helps keep the digestive system healthy by adding bulk to stools and promoting regular bowel movements.

Cabbage offers a wealth of nutritional and health benefits. It is also an exciting vegetable to cook with and offers a variety of different tastes. Your challenge this week, if you accept it, is to cook and/or eat cabbage and share your story. I’d love to hear from you!

My final #Food4Thought is to share this with you:
Life happens when you least expect it and you can get the most out of life when you are happy and healthy. Two weeks ago, I lost my brother. It is a journey I never thought I would have to experience – I thought he and I would be sitting on a porch – grey and weathered but happy – recalling our memories – good, challenging and bad. Never did I expect to figure out a way to live my life without him in it.

The memories flood in every day.

There is a lot I will learn from his untimely death – many lessons I do not know but there is one I am aware of now – my brother lived life – he lived it large, on the edge and the way he wanted despite protests. It is time for me to take a little more risk, in his honor, and it is easier for me to do that when I have energy and feel happiness. It does not mean I will not go through the stages of loss, but at each turn I will hear him encouraging me to live more.

I share this because on my food journey I have learned and experienced that the food nature provides in its original form, which is nutrient rich, keeps my brain free of fog, my muscles free of aches, my energy high, and it surrounds me in a bubble of happiness.

I have been a vegetarian for years but I ate a lot of processed foods and chocolate. These last two weeks, when I have eaten, I have consumed sugars and foods without nutritional value. My body is protesting. So today I return to healthy eating so I can live life the way my brother encouraged me in life and the way his memory supports me now as I learn from others the way he positively impacted them.

Until next Monday, cheers to healthy eating and a life lived.
And please share your experiences with food.


4. Healthline Article above

Cooking with Grams – Cabbage Piroshki

Cabbage is amazing. :)

It is easy to make, delicious to taste and incredibly nutritious.
No wonder it’s our go to ingredient for this Russian dish called piroshki.

If you give it a try and find that you like it, let us know.

And if you want to try other ingredients, go wild, the sky is the limit.

Good eating!
Grams + Hoki


  • two eggs (to cook)
  • one egg yolk (for piroshki)
  • one cabbage
  • one onion
  • cooking oil (your choice)
  • a can of dough
  • some flour
  • turmeric
  • salt & pepper


  1. boil some water and add salt
  2. place the cabbage to boil
  3. take the eggs and boil them as well
  4. chop the onion
  5. drain the cabbage
  6. mix the cabbage and the onion
  7. sprinkle with salt, pepper and turmeric to taste
  8. dice the eggs and top them with the rest
  9. open up the dough and roll it out with flour
  10. wait for the cabbage to cool and scoop on the dough
  11. fold it up and stack it up on the baking sheet
  12. brush some egg yolk on top of piroshki
  13. bake at 370F until golden
  14. enjoy!

VITAMIN C: butternut squash


When you close your eyes and hear butternut squash, what is the first thought that comes to mind?

Is butternut squash part of your diet …. nourishment? What are some of the ways you have enjoyed butternut squash? Do you have a favorite restaurant that serves butternut squash? Do you have a favorite butternut squash dish?

How many reading this know if butternut squash is a fruit or a vegetable? Would it surprise you to learn it is a fruit?

Do you know why?

That’s because fruits have seeds and vegetables do not. Squash is commonly thought of as a vegetable, but it is actually part of the fruit family.

As a child, I don’t remember eating butternut squash. I really don’t have a memory of it until a few years ago. It seems as more and more people are focused on healthy eating; butternut squash is becoming known as a versatile ingredient lending creativity and taste to food. I love it as a sauce and I love it in my chili, as part of my salad or as part of just about anything I can create in the kitchen.

My dog Emma loves butternut squash. She is a smart dog and she’d bark in agreement.

Did you know? Butternut squash provides 23 to 31 mg of vitamin C? Or that it has more potassium than a banana? Or that it is a good source of Vitamin A and Fiber?

Women require 75 mg of vitamin C daily and Men 90 mg. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database, one cup of cooked, cubed butternut squash, of about 205 grams, contains:

1.8 grams (g) of protein

0.18 g of fat

6.6 grams of dietary fiber

582 mg of potassium

31 milligrams of vitamin C


More fun facts:

– Vitamin C helps reduce skin wrinkles.

–  Vitamin C is important to our immune health along with tissue growth and health.

– Though butternut squash is a winter squash it is grown in the summer and harvested in the fall.

– Butternut squash is called Gramma in Australia and New Zealand.

And with flu season on the horizon, I am finding it fun to learn which fruits and vegetables offer the vitamins and nutrients my body needs. I never thought of butternut squash containing vitamin C and potassium, but it is a great source for both.

Have you thought about growing butternut squash yourself?
If so, check this out for some helpful tips:

Have you thought about making your own butternut squash recipe? If so, please share!

If not, here is a yummy recipe from Cooking with Grams for Butternut Qutab.

And here is a link to some other fun recipes:

A personal favorite of mine is to use butternut squash in place of meat in chili – it is delicious and savory.

Until next week, thank you for being a part of this journey. Please feel free to share your thoughts or ideas.


2) See footnote above – Medical News Today – it is high in other nutrients as well (i.e. magnesium, phosphorous …. Butternut squash is also a good source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, and manganese.)

Cooking with Grams – Butternut Qutab

Today we have a delicious Azerbaijani dish!

The closest thing to compare it to is an empanada.
And like any empanada, the type of fillings you can add are endless.

As we are focusing on seasonal food, the ingredient we chose was butternut squash.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

Good eating!
Grams + Hoki


two butternut squash
one onion
two packs of moo-shu shells
cooking oil
salt + pepper
sumac (by preference)


1. chop and peel the butternut squash
2. steam the squash on low fire
3. when soft, mash it up, adding salt + pepper for flavor
4. chop and sauté an onion
5. mix the squash and onion in a bowl
6. open up the moo-shu shells
7. brush some water on the shell
8. add one spoon of topping
9. close it up and place on griddle
10. flip when golden
11. butter it up (and add sumac if you prefer)
12. enjoy!

VITAMIN C: zucchini


What is Vitamin C?
Why is it important?

Have you thought of the flu vaccine and more Vitamin C in the same thought or sentence? Do you get enough Vitamin C?

When I think of Vitamin C, I think of oranges!

Because I grew up with orange juice and it seemed all around me, so orange juice is synonymous with vitamin C. The other strong message was that vitamin c was important to stave off the flu bug or sickness. If orange juice was the beacon of vitamin C, then as a child, I got plenty. But as I became a teenager and was focused on sugar and weight, I drank less and less and I am not really sure that I replaced vitamin C with another food option, or in this case, another drink option.

At times, if I remembered, I would take a Vitamin C vitamin but my taking of those ebbed and flowed with the latest weight loss trend. My focus, since I was 13, was weight loss not the nutrients or vitamins my body needed to stay healthy. My lack of knowledge, because let’s face it, we are not taught about the importance of food and bodies, changed in 2013.

That year, I started a journey that I enjoy daily because there is nothing more rewarding, in both taste and health, than food …. yummy, delicious, savory, mouth-watering food.

Sounds a little corny, but if you take this journey with us, you will find that food is the start to a healthy, happy and fun life. It won’t cure everything, but you’d be surprised at how if you eat healthy, real food, your aches, pains, allergies, headaches, muscle aches, and …. will be a little less bothersome and you’ll find you have less brain fog throughout the day and more sustaining energy that does not come from the sugary drinks or powders added to water.

Organic is way much better than conventional because many of the nutrients our bodies need come from good soil, but conventional food has pretty much depleted the soil’s health through repeated use of monocrops, pesticides and other chemicals.

I know, I know, just a lot of buzz words but to share all I have learned will take more than this post so I hope you will keep joining us each week and will also try the recipes shared in our episodes of Cooking with Grams.

I am not going to overwhelm with facts today but I do want to challenge you to think about Vitamin C and then to look at what you eat to see if any of it contains Vitamin C.

I also want to challenge you to try a recipe (one of ours or your grandmother’s favorite) and then share how you liked it? How you might have tweaked the recipe? Even share your random thoughts or questions. Let me know if, you too, think of Vitamin C and orange juice? Or if Vitamin C makes you think of something else! It is important to us to hear from you because there is so much we can learn from each other.

Fun facts about Zucchini and Vitamin C:

Zucchini is an October seasonal DC food.

Zucchinis were first brought to the United States in the 1920s by the Italians.

April 25th is National Zucchini Bread Day.

The flower of the zucchini plant is edible.

Zucchini is a good source of potassium. (think banana)

Plecos (Plecostomus) love Zucchini. They are a bottom-feeder fish found in many individual aquariums.

If you enjoy fried food, this may be of interest:

Vitamin C plays an important role in our growth and tissue repair. It is essential for life and in healing wounds and maintaining the integrity of gums, bones, and teeth.

There are mammals that make their own Vitamin C but humans are not one of them.

Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine.

Wow – who knew – many of the above facts I just learned as I researched for this article, others I knew and there are many others to still learn. The pleco I learned about because I got one for my brother’s aquarium and wanted to make sure it had what it needed to grow.

Something else I thought you might find interesting because until reading this I hadn’t heard of the idea/concept of culinary anthropology but it peaked my interest and so did this article. There is so much we can learn from our indigenous brothers and sisters. Happy reading:

Who knew food could be such an exciting area to explore!? – it touches on many different disciplines, schools of thought and delectable ways to prepare it.

Until next Monday, enjoy your week and I welcome any ideas, thoughts, questions, and/or comments you might have about this topic or something else food, vitamin, minerals, weight loss, recipe related. I would love to hear from you because I know you have many interesting things to share that are equally as interesting as the information I find when researching!

Elizabeth Fischer


I got the Pleco for my brother in early 2014. Since then, and through my own journey of enlightenment, I have come to question whether fish tanks/aquariums are fair to the fish. Personally, I no longer support having fish stuck in tanks/aquariums because they seem cruel – very little space for the fishes to explore and be challenged and most fail to honor the local environments the fish normally live. The Pleco is full grown and it just seems wrong to have him in a small space. As I look for a new home, one where the Pleco can swim and hide with lots of space, one where he won’t be killed (because many do not keep Plecos after they grow), I make sure Sam (that is the Pleco’s name) gets the nutrients he needs to stay healthy. It is a personal choice but one I share as #Food4Thought.


Cooking with Grams – Zucchini Patties

This fluffy and easy dish is EPIC!

You can take an ordinary vegetable, like a zucchini, and turn it into something extraordinary.

Give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Grams + Hoki


2 zucchinis
2 eggs
2 tablespoons of flour
oil to cook with
salt & pepper


1. chop the sides of the zucchini
2. peel their skin
3. grate the zucchini
4. add eggs and flour
5. mix all together
6. heat the pan and scoop in the mixture
7. flip the patties when golden
8. enjoy the yumminess!



What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word beets? Have you eaten a beet? Lately? Ever?

When I think of beets … I think of Thanksgiving.

The Jell-O tube of cranberries (the ones in a can) – strange, I know, but it was my 2nd thought!

And elders (old people), the past, history …. a relic of our past lives.

Beets are underutilized. Beets aren’t flashy, they aren’t mainstream, they aren’t the latest trend (yet); but they are red, seen during the holidays and good for you (can’t you just hear your mom saying: “now eat your beets because ….”). Beets are not only high in electrolytes but they are a good source of potassium too.

Can you remember the last time you had a beet? (that is beet not beer ☺) For me, it was last week and before that …. childhood. It was forced upon me, as most foods are when you are a kid. I don’t remember disliking or liking it. So, when I tried beets again last week, I had a scowl on my face because I was certain the taste would turn me off.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed the beet’s earthiness. I know, I know, you are thinking earthiness is code for dirt but seriously they were yummy. The earthiness wasn’t a turn off and I attribute that to the flavors I am rediscovering by eating organic.

Since I am a newbie to beets, I am looking forward to the journey of exploring recipes and researching different and unique ways to add beets to my meals. What are some ways that you enjoy beets?

In last week’s Cooking with Grams, she made a beet salad and it got me thinking, could beets be toasted and used as a salad topper? Maybe toasted for a snack? Perhaps pair them with toasted pumpkin seeds? What about shredded beets as a salad topper? Maybe add them to a smoothie? As I write this, I am thinking – uh – why not – give it a try.

I am also thinking, hydration is so important. It matters to our skin, our muscles, our internal organs and it prevents headaches. Water is a source of hydration. Did you know? Our body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste, and lubricate our joints.

I drink plenty of water, most days, but I do not always feel hydrated and sometimes I’m just bored with water. I’m not a fan of sugary drinks. And I try to limit what I put in my body to ingredients I can read and understand. Natural flavor appears to be code for chemicals.

And even though I get bored or want something easy, I just can’t forget all I am learning on my journey away from processed to organic because natural has been hijacked by big business. I share this because I once deferred to others as the experts on my health but as I take control of my health reins, I am finding so many delicious fruits and vegetables, varieties I hadn’t even thought of, that provide the hydration – electrolytes (and other important vitamins and minerals) my body craves. And while I’ve been a vegetarian for a lot of years, it didn’t mean that I ate healthy or that I understood what fruits and veggies offer. Now I have another source of hydration provided by nature – beets.

Fun Facts

Detroit Dark Red, Early wonder, Sangria and Sweetheart are not horse names, or a favorite drink, but are some of the beet varieties!

Other varieties include:
Avenger, Big Red, which matures in 55 days and is one of the best late season producers, Gladiator, Pacemaker, Red Ace and Warrior. There are also miniature varieties of beets such as Little Ball and Little Mini Ball. And some specialty beet varieties grown for specific characteristics such as: Golden, which has a lovely buttery yellow color and a sweet, mild flavor and Di Chioggia, which is an Italian heirloom known for its striped red and white interior, sweet, mild taste and early maturation.

Did you know? You can plant beet seeds directly in your garden about eight to 10 weeks before the first expected frost and harvest them in time for the holidays. Beets harvested in fall have stronger colors than spring-planted beets and fall beets often have higher sugar levels as well.

Did you know?
The beet was initially cultivated around 2,000 BC in the Mediterranean region. When harvested, the entirety of the plant is edible, from the tips of its leaves, down to its long pointed root. And that Beetroot juice is one of the richest dietary sources of antioxidants and naturally occurring nitrates. Nitrates (not to be confused with nitrites!) are compounds which improve blood flow throughout the body—including the brain, heart, and muscles.

Also, beets are seasonal and regional.
September is a good month for beets and beets are local to DC.

Other interesting information:

For growing –

For recipes –

Until next week, enjoy beets! I look forward to hearing your stories and adventures with beets plus any holiday recipes you wish to share.

Elizabeth Fischer


1 – Mar 27, 2017 – Hydration: Why It’s So Important –

2 – Gardening Know How: Types Of Beet Plants: Learn About Different Beet Varieties

3 –

4 –

Cooking with Grams – Beet Salad



Thanks for coming to another edition of Cooking with Grams.
This week, there is something red and delicious to try.

Beet Salad 
This beetroot salad is easy to make, and can be very healthy, especially if you substitute the mayonnaise for yoghurt.

– two beets
– handful of nuts
– 7 plums
– a garlic clove
– mayo (or yoghurt)
– salt and pepper

1. boil beets for 40-50 minutes
2. peel and grate the beets
3. add minced garlic
4. chop plums and mix in
5. top with grinded walnuts
6. 1 1/2 table spoons of mayo (yoghurt)
7. salt and pepper to taste

The recipe can serve 5-6 people.
This salad is fresh and goes with many things.
A wonderful side dish.


Electrolytes: Spinach


When I think of spinach…
I think of an extra green to add to my smoothie or salad.
I think of Popeye.
I do not think – electrolytes.

How about you?

What is the first image that comes to mind? Is this a go-to-food for you? A staple? An afterthought? Is it something you eat without much thought? Or the why? Or how it impacts your body? Do you smile or crinkle your face when you think about spinach?

If you eat Spinach – do you eat it raw or cooked? Do you have a favorite recipe?
If you exercise, do you eat spinach to replace your lost electrolytes?

I love the taste of spinach and it has become a staple for me, but that wasn’t always so.

The journey to present

As a child, I ate vegetables and knew on some level that they were important but as I became an adult, hit my teen years, my focus changed to calories and fat, and as a result my nutritious food was replaced with processed food that looked awesome on the package, promised nutrients, was low in fat and calories (yet high in sugar and hidden sugars), but in reality, did damage.

College was about how little I could eat.

Calorie and/or fat counting, or how to eat cereal and other foods that were cheap, and not gain weight. College was little to do with internal health and wellness, and a lot to do with shortcuts and fast, cheap food, plus a sprinkle or two of exercise.

Shortly after college, I became a vegetarian and at least started eating more veggies and fruits, but I also ate more chips and chocolate. I exercised often but later learned …. exercise is only one part of wellness and health, with the other part being food.

So, in 2013, I invested in internal health and wellness, and decided to cook.
I bought cookbooks, spices and real food.

Leafy greens, such as spinach, became a staple. At that time, I still didn’t think about spinach as something other than a green food I liked and that I added to my salads, smoothies and warm winter pot dishes.

I knew it was good for me but I didn’t know why. And while I’d never thought of it in terms of vitamins, minerals or electrolytes, I did start to become aware that it kept me regulated …. (think poop – 💩).

And somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind there was this inkling of thought but it lacked words, description, frame of reference, or connection. Today that inkling is turning into awareness and understanding about the link between my body and its health to nutritious food. Spinach is just one food that satisfies and strengthens that link.

A seasonal vegetable 

Did you know?

September is the month to buy Spinach because, in DC, it is in season! September is a good time to learn about electrolytes because of fall sports. September is also the month Say No To Food Waste launched Cooking with Grams.

Grams made it easy, quick and yummy to cook with spinach and eggs.
The detailed recipe is in the post above, but you can see the video below.

Electrolytes Facts 

Did you know they keep you hydrated? That exercise and illness are two ways your body loses electrolytes? And that spinach is a food high in electrolytes?

Electrolytes regulate nerve and muscle function, hydrate the body, balance blood acidity and pressure, and help rebuild damaged tissue. The seven major electrolytes are:

  1. Sodium (Na+)
  2. Calcium (Ca++)
  3. Chloride (Cl-)
  4. Potassium (K+)
  5. Magnesium (Mg++)
  6. Phosphate (HPO4–)
  7. Bicarbonate (HCO3-)

I was always aware of sodium but because of drinks to replenish electrolytes thought sugar was also one. It isn’t.

Also – Bloomsdale Long Standing, Anna, Tyee, Crocodile, Avon, Renegade, Palco, Giant 157, Space, and Regiment are all varieties of spinach!

Here are some other facts:
– half a cup of raw spinach counts as 1 of the 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables
– spinach is a member of the goose-foot family, making it a relative to beets and chard
– medieval artists extracted green pigment from spinach to use as an ink or paint
– spinach is best eaten fresh because it loses nutritional properties with each passing

For more, check out:

For recipes, check out:

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the most famous Spinach Icon –

Hint: “He’s …. the sailor man, he’s …. the sailor man and he is strong to the finish because he eats his spinach, he’s …. the sailor man.”

Seems strong to the finish is more than muscle bulk, it is also about muscle hydration.

Answer ….



Two fun facts about Popeye:

1) In the 1930’s U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption.

2) The spinach growing town of Crystal City, Texas, erected a statue of Popeye in 1937.

Until next week, enjoy your spinach and please share your recipes or thoughts on spinach and/or electrolytes.

By Elizabeth Fischer

1 –
2 –


Cooking with Grams



Making delicious meals – quickly and easily!


– a bunch of spinach
– two eggs
– one onion
– salt and pepper
– oil (your choice)


1) Dice the onion and simmer in the skillet with oil
2) Take the bunch of spinach and boil in water for 2 or 3 minutes, then strain
3) Chop the strained spinach
4) Break and mix the two eggs
5) Mix the spinach and onions together
6) Pour the eggs on top
7) Add salt and pepper to taste


Serves one or two people, depending on how hungry you are. :)
Enjoy this quick and delicious meal.

Healthy and fast dishes.