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Freezing herbs and other methods to make them last all winter

The cool, fall weather has been here long enough that most gardens are finally on their last leg. For many, the biggest draw of a home garden is the easy access to fresh herbs. But soon it will be too cold, and there won’t be any herbs left to pick straight from the garden — they will have all bolted for the winter months. So what can you do to prolong access to your herb garden? Each herb favors different types of treatments, so Doug Oster, garden editor for the Tribune-Review and Everybodygardens.com gave us the dirt on how to best save each of the common herbs in the coming winter months. Move Indoors If you grew herbs in containers this summer, some of them may continue to thrive if you bring them indoors. “There are certain herbs that will happily keep going on the window sill,” said Oster. “Rosemary, thyme, sage, mint, lemon balm. Those will be happy to limp along near…

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce

It’s a classic combo that never disappoints: Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic and fresh mozzarella. This modern variation on those Old-World flavors is easy to make, but tastes like something you would order at your favorite Italian restaurant. Be sure to serve with some slices of crusty bread to soak up the creamy mozzarella sauce. The fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. Since it’s summer, definitely go for fresh basil — maybe grown in your own yard. And pro tip: always spring for fresh cheeses, particularly parmesan. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce Serves 3-4: 30 minutes Ingredients 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes separated from oil (I like to visit my local grocer’s antipasto bar for freshness) 2-3 tbsp oil (drained from sun dried tomatoes, see above) 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 big handfuls of spinach (about 3-4 ounces) 1 and 1/4 cup half and half…

New American Heart Association Study Warns Against Coconut Oil

Superfood fans take caution. The American Heart Association recently released a report advising against consuming coconut oil. Coconut oil has seen a growing following in recent years as fans viewed it as an almost miracle-like fat and butter alternative, particularly with the paleo set. Touted as a superfood, cooking with the waxy white solid was said to burn fat, kill harmful microorganisms, curb hunger and improve cholesterol levels. But researchers recently found that coconut oil increased LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in seven out of seven trials, and they failed to see a difference between coconut oil and other popular oils high in saturated fat like butter, lard and beef fat. In fact, 82 percent of the fat in coconut oil is s saturated, while butter (63%), beef fat (50%) and pork lard (39%) contain less. Frank Sacks, lead author on the report, said he has no idea why people think coconut oil is healthy — I’s almost…