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The lowly cauliflower has gained respect, devotees

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Though cauliflower is native to Asian countries, it made its way to North America in the late 1600s. Two hundred years later, Mark Twain called it “cabbage with a college education!”

Cauliflower is so smart it can grow by the light of the full moon almost as well as during the day. It’s sometimes called the “moon crop.”

People who eat cauliflower are smart too. At the Foundation for Preventive Oncology in New York, they say it is one of the best healing foods you can buy, especially when it’s eaten raw.

The carotenoids in cauliflower make it a powerful defender against cataracts.

Its sulforaphane helps prevent cancer by increasing the production of enzymes that sweep toxins out of the body before they can damage cells and make them cancerous.

Its other cancer-fighter, I3C, works as an anti-estrogen. It reduces harmful estrogen levels that can cause tumor growth in the colon, breast, and prostate.

But cauliflower does more than fight cancer and protect the eyes. It’s rich in vitamin C and folate, nutrients that keep the immune system working well. Just three florets of uncooked cauliflower can supply two-thirds of your daily value for vitamin C.

Cauliflower gratin with ham

Divide a 2-pound cauliflower into florets. Cook in salt water 5 or 6 minutes. Drain it and run cold water over it.

Carefully brown 3 tablespoons of bread crumbs in 1/2 tablespoon butter and set aside.

In a small pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add 2 tablespoons flour, blend. Cook 1 minute, then add 3/4 cup milk, 3/4 cup chicken broth, a bay leaf, and a clove of garlic. Stir and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Remove bay leaf, garlic.

Cut florets to similar sizes. Put in a buttered baking dish, salt, and pepper. Pour sauce on florets. Tear 1-ounce thin ham slices apart and scatter on top.

Finally, top with a cup of shredded cheddar. Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees. Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

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Maple matcha tea latté

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
10 minutes

Cook time

5 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• 4 cups of milk
• 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
• 2 tablespoons maple sugar

Directions
1. Pour milk into a saucepan. Warm over low heat until simmering.
2. Put matcha green tea and maple sugar into a teapot and mix together well.
3. Pour in half of the heated milk and stir into a creamy latté.
4. Froth the other half of the milk with a whisk.
5. Serve in attractive cups, garnished with foam.

This tea can also be served cold.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Maple zucchini ricotta roll-ups

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Servings

4

Ingredients
• 2 zucchinis (about 2 inches thick), green or yellow
• 1 cup ricotta
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less)
• 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
• Ground pepper, to taste
• Espelette pepper

Directions
1. Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons about 1/16 inch thick.
2. Place the zucchini ribbons onto a clean cloth and allow them to dry.
3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, maple syrup, parsley, chives, and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit.
4. Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture onto each zucchini strip. Roll them up and place them vertically onto your serving plate. Sprinkle with Espelette pepper and garnish with sprigs of parsley or chives.

Created by Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Maple mania: How to turn your home into a sugar shack

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

As the ground slowly begins to thaw in the weeks leading up to spring, the starches stored in maple trees during winter turn into sap. In Quebec, Vermont and other maple producing regions, this period of warming signals the start of the sugaring-off season.

Far more than your average agricultural event, the making of maple syrup is a cause for celebration. This is especially true in Quebec, where families and couples head out into the wilderness to visit producers, sample syrups, and enjoy a hearty brunch doused with plenty of the sweet stuff.

Fortunately, the tradition of sugaring-off is starting to spread across North America, and you can now enjoy the flavors of the season in your own home.

To recreate the cabane à sucre experience, you’ll need the following:

• Copious amounts of maple syrup. (It’s impossible to have too much.)
• A variety of brunch foods including scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, and ham.
• One or more traditional salty dishes. Think savory meat pies, baked beans, cretons, and pickles. Salt will help cut the sweetness of the syrup.
• Beverages of your choice. Coffee and juice are traditional, but mimosas are more fun.
• Hungry friends, family members, and neighbors.
• Lively music and a roaring fire, if possible.

Ask guests to arrive in their comfiest jeans and lumberjack shirts.

After everyone has eaten more than their fair share of the maple-infused food, it’s time for dessert. Indeed, no sugaring-off experience is complete without sampling a bit of maple taffy. Simply fill a bowl or baking dish with fresh snow and drizzle thin ribbons of hot maple syrup on top. The syrup should be heated to about 240 F. Let the syrup cool for a few seconds, then twirl it onto wooden popsicle sticks.

Bon appétit!

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Maple “shepherd’s pie” dessert

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time

5 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 2 cups plain bran cereal (such as All-Bran)
• 2 mangoes, cubed
• 2 cups Mediterranean style plain yogurt
• Maple sugar (for decoration)

Directions
1. In a saucepan, pour maple syrup and add cocoa. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.
2. Remove from heat and add cereal.
3. In 4 glass dishes (dessert bowls, mini Mason jars, or other), preferably wider than higher, assemble “shepherd’s pie” in successive layers: cereal mixture for meat, mango cubes for corn, and yogurt for mashed potato.
4. Sprinkle with maple sugar and serve.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Heart-healthy roasted butternut squash with red onion and tahini sauce

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This heart-healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipe, adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, features roasted butternut squash, which is naturally rich in potassium to help regulate blood pressure.

Butternut squash is also high in insoluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar and promote fullness. Tahini-based sauce, made from sesame seeds, is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil is used to roast the squash and contains omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol. The result is a sweet, flavorful, warm side dish, perfect for a simple, healthy, filling meal. Za’atar spice is available in the international section of many grocery stores or Middle Eastern specialty grocery stores.

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced (discard seeds and pulp)

2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons light tahini paste
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon za’atar spice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss squash and onion in a bowl with olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and some black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are fully cooked. The onions may cook quicker and need to be removed earlier than the squash. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool.

For the sauce, whisk the the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until you have a liquid the consistency of honey. Add more water or tahini as necessary.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

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Maple-nut caramel corn

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time

8 minutes

Rest time
30 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• Canola oil
• 2 cups popped corn
• 1 cup your choice of mixed nuts
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
1. Brush a cookie sheet with canola oil.
2. In a large bowl, mix together popcorn and nuts.
3. In an 8-cup bowl, combine the maple syrup and butter. Use a little butter to baste the inside rim of the bowl and prevent the caramel from overflowing while cooking. Microwave 8 minutes.
4. While stirring vigorously, add baking soda, then pour the caramel over the popcorn and nuts. Mix to coat well.
5. Immediately, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet, then leave it to harden for 30 minutes. Break the caramel corn into small pieces and munch away.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Upcoming Events

Mar
3
Wed
9:00 am Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Community Blood Drive @ Front Royal Fire and Rescue Department
The Front Royal Police Department is sponsoring a blood drive on Wednesday, and all eligible donors are encouraged to log onto redcrossblood.org to schedule a donation of the GIFT OF LIFE! Jeff Farmer and the[...]
9:00 am Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Mar 3 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Free Tax Preparation @ Good Shepherd Lutheran Church
Free tax preparation will be available again this year through the AARP Tax Aide at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Front Royal, Monday and Wednesday mornings beginning Feb. 15th. To make an appointment, please call[...]
Mar
9
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 9 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
13
Sat
10:00 am HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
Mar 13 @ 10:00 am – 1:00 pm
HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
Mar
16
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 16 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
23
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 23 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Mar
28
Sun
2:00 pm Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 28 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Pictures with the Easter Bunny @ Warren County Community Center
Come join the staff of Warren County Parks and Recreation and get your picture taken with the Easter Bunny! Pictures will be taken and printed on site; upon departure you will be given an Easter[...]
Mar
30
Tue
6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Mar 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
This class is for all fitness levels and anyone who is looking to have fun dancing to a variety of music styles from hip hop to swing to salsa, all while EXERCISING! This class will[...]
Apr
3
Sat
12:00 pm Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Apr 3 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Egg-stravaganza! @ Sky Meadows State Park
Eggs are popping up all over Sky Meadows State Park. Visit our egg-laying free-range chickens by taking our Chicken Walk. Go on an egg-citing Geocache adventure. Kids, use your scavenger hunting skills using clues from[...]
Apr
17
Sat
all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
Apr 17 all-day
Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
This tried and true Epic 24-hour AR will test your biking, paddling, trekking, and navigation skills as you explore two state parks (one of them brand new!) and national forest lands. Join soloists and teams[...]