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Around the Home: Tastes evolve and so should your same old recipes
Find clever ways to add vegetables, fruits to everyday dishes
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When I was growing up I didn't care too much for squash, black-eyed peas or cabbage.

And I couldn't quite understand how a plate full of veggies could be count as a satisfying meal.

Back then I wasn't interested in tomato sandwiches, either, but that has changed.

Today, I don't mind including squash, black-eyed peas and cabbage in a meal.

Over the years, I've discovered, thank goodness, that a plate with cornbread and vegetables such as fried okra, sliced tomatoes and pinto beans is quite tasty and satisfying.

If you're looking for new ways to serve fruits and vegetables, remember to check your cookbook collection.

There are never enough recipes for people who love to cook. There's a special excitement about trying something new.

Your friends and family may have reservations sometimes, but new recipes keep mealtimes interesting.

Visit your local library and take a look at the selection of books and magazine available for children and adults. New and used bookstores also are treasure boxes for hungry, adventurous cooks.

By the way, the Friends of the Hall County Library System's annual book sale is coming up next month. For more information, visit www.hallcountylibrary.org.

A wide range of online resources also are offered by magazines such as "Better Homes and Gardens," "Good Housekeeping," and "Cooking Light," just to name a few.

Be sure to check food labels and packages for recipes and new websites to visit.

A variety of free recipes are available through the Centers for Disease Control website. Click on "Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight." Then click on "Healthy Recipes." Scroll down and click on "Fruits and Veggies."

The "My Cookbook" feature gives consumers an option to create a cookbook from the recipes on the site.

I've used this to create a quick recipe collection for gift baskets and care packages.

Don't overlook the people that you interact with on a regular basis. We're talking about neighbors, relatives, church family and co-workers.

They probably have some great salad and main dish ideas. A weekly or monthly recipe exchange is a great way to build a family or team atmosphere at work or in your neighborhood.

Here are some more tips and ideas from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension:

• Keep cut up vegetables in your refrigerator for quick snacks. Try carrot sticks, celery sticks, green pepper strips, radishes or cauliflower pieces.

• Add vegetables to sandwiches. Tomato slices, spinach leaves, lettuce or cucumber slices taste great on sandwiches.

• Add shredded or leftover vegetables to salads, meat sauces or meat loaf.

• Use shredded vegetables, such as zucchini and carrots, in breads, muffins and other baked goods.

• Serve raw vegetables with an easy-to-fix dip, such as ranch-style dressing or plain yogurt seasoned with minced onion, herbs or a little dry soup mix.

• Add chopped or mashed fruits to quick breads, muffins and other baked goods.

• Top hot or cold cereal, pancakes, waffles, yogurt or salads with fruit.

• Mashed ripe fruit can be mixed with milk for a quick shake. Freeze mashed fruit until it is slightly thickened for a fruit slush.

Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the Hall County Extension Office 770-535-8290. Her columns appear biweekly.

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