Nutrition News You Can Use
September 2009
Low Carb Cooking Class
Wednesday, September 23, 2009 6:30-9 PM
See below for details. Register today! Space is limited.
fun Kara

It's the end of summer in central Texas, and that means that the farmer's market has many of the main ingredients for the best vegetarian/pasta-free lasagna you may ever have. That is what this issue is all about. Those ingredients; tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and basil team up with a plethora of delicious herbs, spices, nuts and cheese to form a truly divine combination that is sure to make your taste buds perky and inspire you to pat yourself on the back for using all the local goods available now.

The other great thing about the dish in this month's is that you can eat it raw or cooked. My friend Blair and I discovered this dish when we challenged ourselves to two weeks of eating mostly raw foods. With all the intense heat we have been feeling this summer a cool lasagna dish served with a salad will hit the spot. Raw dishes are full of beneficial enzymes that have many wonderful affects in the body. I make a point of trying to consume about 50% of the fruits and vegetables I eat in their raw form to reap the benefits of these valuable enzymes.

This dish is a bit ingredient heavy but it is definitely worth it. It actually does not take too long to prepare because there is not a lot of intense cooking or cutting involved. Most of the ingredients are just thrown into the blender and/or the oven.

Whether you cook it or eat it raw, add a little extra crushed red pepper to cool yourself off as well. The sweat produced by spicy foods cools our skin and lowers our body temperature.

This dish is also a great way to build up your spice collection. I always recommend buying bulk spices for a number of reasons. The first being that it is cheaper and the second being that you can buy them in moderate batches that won't sit around forever and lose their potency. There is nothing worse than old tasteless spices to make a dish, well tasteless. Let's keep it fresh people! Any left over spices can be used for quick marinades or salad dressings by mixing with a little vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil.

The naturally sweet and rich tomato sauce in this dish is also loaded with medicinal value. See the magnificent tomato fact list below to see how you can nourish your body using this sauce. It's a good idea to make extra and keep it in the freezer for future use over spaghetti squash with some ground turkey or as a base for a soup.

On another note, for the past three months, it has been my good fortune, to work in the commercial kitchen and in many "make-shift" kitchens on local farms, with Chef Jesse Griffin, owner of the Dai Due Supper Club.
At each event we prepare, plate and serve 4-10 course dinners with only locally produced, seasonal ingredients, grown with sustainable agricultural methods which are purchased from Farmers' Markets or directly from local farms. These dinners are held at local farms, private residence, or at various locations like the Hotel St. Cecilia (the San Jose's sister hotel). Jesse takes great care in sourcing his ingredients and building relationships with the local growers in our area. At some of the dinners, if a river is near the dinner location, Jesse will fish for the meal. Jesse started his business three years ago and it has grown to be one of the most renowned supper clubs in the nation.

Dai Due (pronounced Die-Dewey) also offers cooking classes. These classes are focused on using traditional ingredients and methods, i.e. doing things the way our grandparents did. In these classes we learn how to use the whole animal, organs and all to gain the most nutrients without waste. We cover things such as canning and charcuterie making (cured meats and pate). I cover the nutritional benefits of the foods we are learning to cook with. These classes are so much fun and a great way to learn to make really simple things that taste fantastic.

Dai Due events are a unique and tasty way to spend an evening or celebrate a special occasion. For a list of dates and to reserve a seat for these dinners or classes you can visit the Web site at Hope to see you at some of the dinners or classes.

Kara Kroeger
Certified Nutritionist & Herbalist 
Knowledge to Nourish & Sustain

The Marvelous Health Benefits of the Tomato!

Cancer Prevention
Lycopene is a carotenoid found in tomatoes that functions as an antioxidant. Lycopene has recently been heavily studied and has shown to help protect against cancers such as prostate, breast, intestinal and pancreatic.

Due to the fat-soluble nature of this nutrient, tomatoes are best consumed with healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, nuts, and mozzarella to best absorb this valuable nutrient.

There seems to be a large difference in the lycopene content in non-organic tomatoes versus organic. A study done by the USDA Agricultural Service showed that organic tomatoes yielded 183 mcg of lycopene per gram compared to only 100 mcg per gram in non-organic tomatoes.

Heart Protective
Tomatoes also decrease blood platelet aggregation to keep the blood from unnecessary clotting and provide nutrients such as vitamin B6 and folate, which reduce homocysteine levels. Elevated homocysteine can damage blood vessels and contribute to heart disease and stroke.

Lycopene is also well known for its ability to prevent oxidation of LDL (the less helpful variety) cholesterol and protect against atherosclerosis.

Tomatoes lower the secretion of one of the primary inflammatory chemicals in the body called TNF-Alpha. This inflammatory chemical is linked to many degenerative diseases like heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, and cancer. One glass of pure organic tomato juice per day can lower this inflammatory marker by 35% in one

Bone Building Vitamin K
Tomatoes provide 17% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin K. Vitamin K1 activates osteocalcin, the major non-collagen protein in bone. Osteocalcin anchors calcium molecules inside of the bone. Therefore, without enough vitamin K1, osteocalcin levels are inadequate, and bone mineralization is impaired.

Vitamin C
A Tufts University study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that daily consumption of gazpacho (two bowls of 250 mL/day, corresponding to 72 mg of vitamin C, for two weeks) significantly increased blood levels of vitamin C and decreased biomarkers of oxidative (free radical) stress and inflammation. Vitamin C is also a major component of collagen formation and is helpful for the skin and joints. Additionally, as most people know, Vitamin C is vital to optimal immune function.

Tomatoes are relatively high in potassium, which help your muscles and nerves function properly, maintains the proper electrolyte and acid-base balance in your body and helps to lower your risk of high blood pressure.

Seasonal Recipe of the Month
Raw or Cooked Pasta-Free Lasagna
Sun Dried Tomato Marinara Sauce

4 fresh tomatoes
2 oz sun dried tomatoes, soaked
4 cloves garlic
25 basil leaves
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. oregano
1 tsp. fennel
1/2 tsp. fresh marjoram
1-2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. sea salt

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes for about 20-30 minutes or until hydrated enough to be blended easily. Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until well blended. Refrigerate until the lasagna is assembled.

"Ricotta" Seed Cheese

2 cups pumpkin seeds, soaked
1 bunch parsley de-stemmed
1 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 jalapeņo (optional, makes lasagna more spicy)
1/3 cup olive oil

Soak seeds in water for 15 minutes. Drain. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until creamy or about the consistency of ricotta cheese. Refrigerate until the lasagna is assembled.

Lasagna Layers

4 zucchini sliced lengthwise
1 large eggplant or 4 smaller Asian eggplants sliced lengthwise (skin may be peeled or    left on)
1 package of Full Quiver fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or pine nuts

If cooking the lasagna preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When slicing the vegetables I prefer to use a mandolin to get evenly sliced thin strips. These can be purchased inexpensively at most kitchen stores and makes slicing and fine chopping much faster. Once all the components of the lasagna have been prepped, begin layering a 9"x15" pan first with a layer of zucchini and eggplant followed by a layer of ricotta seed cheese. Add an additional layer of vegetables and top this with a layer of the sun dried tomato sauce. On top of the tomato sauce evenly space the mozzarella squares over the assembled lasagna. Sprinkle the top with the chopped nuts. If cooking place the lasagna in the oven for 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the nuts have browned. Allow cooling slightly before serving so that the pieces stay intact. If eating raw, slice and enjoy as is.

Low Carb Cooking Class
Low Carb Cooking Class
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
6:30-9 PM
.Have you been trying to cut down on starchy carbohydrates.? Do you feel like your low carb options are limited or their is a lack of variety in your food choices? There are many delicious gourmet low carb options out there that can help with weight loss, diabetes, and overall improve your health. This class will show you the multiple options out there for low carb gourmandism. Come learn some new tricks in the kitchen that will not only taste amazing but also help your health and get you out of your food rut.
Come learn
  • Alternatives to chips, bread and tortillas
  • Quick low carb snack ideas
  • How to incorporate more non-starchy vegetables in tasty ways
  • Low carb sauce and dressing ideas that make dishes shine
  • How to prepare free-range meat options

You don't want to miss this! It's going to be a very fun and informative class. 

Please join us and see what it's all about.This class is limited to 8 spaces so please register early by calling Kara to reserve your spot.

For further info on Kara Kroeger please visit  

Contact Information
phone: 512-567-5206
Join our mailing list!