Thursday, February 2, 2012

National Carrot Day

Fresh Carrots
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By Diane Forrest, RN

When I was younger Saturday mornings meant cartoons.  I watched shows like Scooby Doo, Tweety and Sylvester, Pepe' La Pew, roadrunner and coyote and of course Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.   Bugs would always munch away on a carrot and say "Eh What's up Doc?"  It was always such a hoot when he would outsmart Elmer.  I figured that since all he ate was carrots, they must have been the reason he was so smart, so I began eating them too.  I guess I never realized that Elmer was not that bright, so my attempts to outsmart my parents never worked.
Bugs Love's his Carrots
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Carrots are a root vegetable that is full of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene.   Beta carotene is what gives food its orange color.  Some people use it for:

  • Prevention against cancer and heart disease;
  • To slow the progression of cataracts;
  • To prevent macular degeneration;
  • To boost immunity;
  • To protect the skin against sunburn;
  • Asthma;
  • Depression;
  • Infertility;
  • Parkinson’s disease;
  • Psoriasis;
  • Arthritis;
  • High blood pressure;
  • Cervical dyspepsia; and
  • Intermittent claudication.

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The lack of Vitamin A in the diet can cause poor vision and night blindness.  The vitamin is used for:
  • Vision;
  • Gene transcription;
  • Immune function;
  • Embryonic development and reproduction; and
  • Bone metabolism.

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There are many ways to prepare carrots. I like them shredded and raw over salads, or a carrot raisin salad.  They are also delicious cooked in a brown sugar sauce.  I was speaking to my friend who told me his wife put some in chili, but they are also good in soups, casseroles, cakes, or just plain.

Today is National Carrot day, so add some carrots to your lunch or dinner, or try this carrot cake recipe. Did you know that the average person eats 10,866 carrots in their lifetime?   Check this site for more carrot facts:

Oh Yummy!
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Carrot Cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in pecans. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped pecans. Frost the cooled cake.

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