Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Salad

Somehow, the month of November has just flown past, and Thanksgiving is right upon us! I absolutely love all the traditional foods of Thanksgiving - sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, homemade rolls, and especially pumpkin pie!

I love chowing down leftover turkey sandwiches, but sometimes it's fun to switch it up a bit. Today, I've got a Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Salad that is a great way to use up that leftover turkey. It's a delicious salad packed with nutritious greens, whole grain wild rice, and a bright citrusy dressing. Dried cranberries, feta cheese, and buttery cashews add some extra pops of flavor.


It's a cinch to put together, too. (I threw it together in less than 20 minutes with my 1-year-old at my feet. How's that for multi-tasking??!)

The dressing: juice from a lemon and an orange, some olive oil, and salt & pepper. Shake it up!


The salad: spinach or greens of some sort, cooked wild rice, diced squash (or apples), diced turkey, dried cranberries, sliced red onion, cashews, and feta cheese.



Add your dressing and toss everything together! Start with just about half the dressing and add more as needed. If you're really in a pinch, you could use a nice bottled balsamic vinaigrette.


Smoked Turkey & Wild Rice Salad

Servings/Yield: 4-6 servings

  • For the dressing:
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • juice of 1 orange
    • cup olive oil
    • salt & fresh ground pepper , to taste
  • For the salad:
    • 6 cups greens blend
    • 2 cups cooked wild rice
    • 2-3 cups diced turkey meat
    • 2 cups diced & roasted squash (or diced fresh apples)
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ½ cup sliced red onion
    • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
    • ½ cup cashews


1. Combine all dressing ingredients in a jar or container with tight lid; shake until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.

2. Toss all salad ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss to combine. (Start with half the dressing and add more as needed.) The salad can be served warm or cold.

Source: adapted from Pinch of Yum

Mary’s Memo – November 23rd


It goes without saying that my slow cooker is a “best friend,” especially at holiday time when my “to do” list is overloaded! Enter 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics by Judith Finlayson, bestselling author with more than 750,00 slow cooker books in print ( This is a full color reissue, with a new cover and all-new trade paper binding and includes 60 new recipes from everyday favorites to dishes that fit the bill for elegant entertaining. With nearly 100 color photographs and extensive tips and techniques, delicious results are guaranteed. A wise cook said that anyone can broil a steak but it takes an artist to make a stew. How true! Finlayson’s chicken stew is a perfect example! You’ll need minimum 5-quart slow cooker.


• 1 potato, peeled and diced (because the chicken cooks for 6 hours on Low the potatoes will be a bit
firm unless they are blanched prior to adding to the stew)
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 4 stalks celery, diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
• 1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
• 1/2 cup cream (any kind of cream from half-and-half to the richest whipping cream works well in this recipe.

In saucepan, combine potato and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add thyme, bay leaf and flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add stock and white wine and cook stirring until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 minutes. Drain reserved potato and add to mixture. Sason to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in bottom of slow cooker and cove r with vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Add peas and cream, if using, and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes, until peas are tender and mixture is hot and bubbly. Recipe makes 6 servings. Source: 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics (


Legumes, an umbrella term for beans, peas and lentils, are not just for vegetarians. A great deal of research has shown that reducing consumption of animal foods and consuming more plant foods is a healthy dietary move. Since legumes contain more protein per serving than most other plant foods, they are a naturally healthy substitutes for animal foods that provide protein but also contain saturated fat and lack fiber, “Legumes are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, says Jenna Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN, a clinical dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill- Cornell. “Legumes are noted for their impact on cardiovascular and digestive health, and they play a significant role in promoting weight loss and blood glucose control.” Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


I confess that sweet potatoes are not a favorite food but
I eat them because they’re good for me. That was until
my nephew’s wife, Nina Trentadue, shared Thanksgiving/
Christmas Sweet Potatoes. They are absolutely delicious!
Granted, they’re sweet, but eaten in moderation at holiday
time, recipe will get rave reviews!


• 4 large sweet potatoes
• 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
• 1/3 cup milk
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 2 eggs Topping
• 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
• 1 cup packed light brown
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1/3 cup butter, melted

Peel potatoes and boil until soft. Drain and mash with
mixer or in food processor. Combine sweet potatoes, stick
of butter, milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Spoon into 9x13-
inch baking dish. Mix topping ingredients together and
sprinkle evenly over sweet potato mixture. Bake in 3500F.
oven for about 30 minutes. Recipe makes 10 to 12 servings.
Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You liked It cookbook.


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Gnocchi Mac & Cheese with Crispy Kale

There's nothing quite like a warm bowl of gooey mac & cheese, am I right?! My aunt Marti makes the BEST macaroni & cheese - complete with an entire brick of Velveeta cheese. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving just thinking about it. Today, I've got a great side dish for your Thanksgiving celebration next week. It's a comforting casserole and veggie side, all in one! Gnocchi Mac & Cheese with Crispy Kale combines soft potato dumplings with a rich creamy cheese sauce and garlicky roasted kale. The texture combination is unreal! Crispy kale with the soft gnocchi... so good! IMG_2912 Start by prepping your kale. Cut out the stems and tear the leaves into small pieces. Add the kale pieces to a bowl, and drizzle with olive oil. Massage it with your hands about a minute or so, until it starts to breaks down. Spread half of it out on a baking sheet, season, and roast at 375*F for 15-20 minutes until crispy. IMG_2906 IMG_2908 While the kale roasts, whip up a basic cheese sauce - complete with fontina, white cheddar, AND Parmesan. 'Tis the season for cheese! Once the kale is done, combine the sauce with the gnocchi and kale. Pour the mixture into a baking dish, and top with some breadcrumbs and the remaining kale. Bake the gnocchi another 15-20 minutes until the kale is crispy. IMG_2910 Let me just admit... this is the first time I've prepared kale and actually enjoyed it. Of course, it was combined with over a pound of cheese and gnocchi, but mmmm it was good.

Gnocchi Mac & Cheese with Crispy Kale

Yield: 4-6 servings

  • 1 head kale
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 lbs potato gnocchi
  • tablespoons unsalted butter
  • tablespoons flour
  • cups whole milk
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mustard powder
  • 6 oz fontina cheese, freshly grated (1½ cups)
  • 6 oz white cheddar cheese, freshly grated (1½ cups)
  • 3 oz parmesan cheese, freshly grated (3/4 cup)
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs


1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Remove stems from kale and tear the leaves into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the olive oil; massage with your hands until kale breaks down and becomes noticeably smaller in size. Place half of the kale on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast 15-20 minutes, tossing halfway through, until crispy.

2. Cook the gnocchi as directed on package.

3. While the gnocchi is cooking, prepare the cheese sauce. Melt the butter in a large saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Whisk in the flour to create a roux; cook 2-3 minutes until the roux is golden and fragrant. VERY slowly, whisk in the milk and cream, just a bit at a time, until the mixture thickens. Whisk in the nutmeg and mustard powder until smooth.

4. Reduce the heat to low, and add the cheese one handful at a time, whisking until melted and smooth. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

5. Stir in the cooked gnocchi and roasted kale. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and sprinkle with the panko breadcrumbs. Top with the remaining unroasted kale.

6. Bake at 375*F for 15-20 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the kale is crispy.

Source: adapted from How Sweet It Is

Mary’s Memo – November 16th


In The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet by Laura Cipullo ( you can enjoy some of your favorite foods without guilt. Based on the latest research and a very easy three-step program, The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet transforms your most-loved dishes into diabetes-friendly meals that will promote weight loss and reverse insulin resistance. Each of the recipes in this book will help you maintain a healthy glucose level while enjoying incredibly satisfying food.

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a private practice in New York City. Her wisdom and experience are consistently tapped by nationally circulated publications and digital media including Fitness and Real Simple magazines. She also makes frequent guest appearances on the Dr. Oz Show, Fox News and Headline News. She resides in New York City with her husband and children.
With the holidays approaching, here’s an appetizer that diabetics can eat as well as everyone!


• 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
• 6 ounces cream cheese or reduced fat cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/8 teaspoon paprika
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• 1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
• 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
• Veggies for dipping

In a large bowl, stir the yogurt, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, garlic, mustard and paprika to combine. Add the onion, artichoke hearts and spinach to the mixture and stir to combine. Pour into 8-inch baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake in preheated 3500F. oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot. Recipe makes 12 servings.
Source: The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet by Laura Cipullo (


Shoppers love the convenience of ready-to-use packaged greens. If you’re concerned about pesticides, most lettuce packaging companies use a mixture of water and a small amount of chlorine to wash their vegetables. The chlorine is harmless to humans when dissolved in water in such a small amount, but it’s deadly to bacteria such as E-coli. And if for some reason “harmful bacteria, such as E.coli was not removed during the initial washing process, a quick rinse at home is unlikely to remove it, either. If you’re still concerned, buy organic greens. There’s also an argument to be made about what bacteria you could add to your greens by re-washing them.


Even though we had another vegetable side dish at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner, Jo Cunningham’s Corn Casserole from my cookbook was by far the biggest hit with everyone.


• 1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
• 1 15-ounce can cream=style corn
• 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
• 1 cup sour cream (can be reduced fat or fat-free kind)
• 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 3500F. Combine ingredients. Spoon into 2-quart casserole coated with nonstick spray. Bake for 1 hour or until firm. Recipe makes 8 servings. Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked it cookbook. It has always surprised me that although you bought my cookbook in 2004, many buyers haven’t tried the recipes until they’ve tasted them at my demo table at the Bryan Chief. An example is Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. This one makes 2 loaves. Give it as a gift or serve at your holiday open house. It’s a good keeper in the freezer, providing it’s wrapped properly.


• 3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
• 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1/4 cup hot water
• 1 cup chopped nuts, toasted
• 2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
• Grated zest of 2 oranges

Preheat oven to 3500F. Mix dry ingredients together. Add egg, melted butter, orange juice and water and mix only until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in nuts, cranberries and zest of orange. Divide dough between 2 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Let stand for 20 minutes. Bake 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf.
Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Like It cookbook.

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Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad

It's that time of year... the weather is getting colder and the days are getting shorter. My desire to eat salads is lessening by the day. My secret to eating vegetables in the winter months? Roast them! Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad is a great way to pack in those vegetables without eating a bowl of 'rabbit' food. IMG_2575 Tomatoes, onion, and corn are roasted until tender and caramelized in the oven. The veggies are then combined with protein-packed chickpeas, feta cheese, fresh basil and a light balsamic dressing. I love how roasting really brings out the different flavors of the veggies, especially the sweetness of the tomatoes. IMG_2570 We loved this salad over a bed of spinach, scooped up with tortilla chips. It was also delicious wrapped up in a whole grain tortilla. Enjoy! IMG_2573

Roasted Veggie Chickpea Salad

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno , seeded & finely diced
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 1 small frozen corn, bag
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper , to taste
  • 2 15-oz cans chickpeas, rinsed & drained
  • 1 package feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Place tomatoes, jalapeño, onion, corn, and basil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to combine. Season with salt & pepper. Roast 25-30 minutes, until tender.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine chickpeas, feta, and roasted vegetables. In a small bowl or jar, mix 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and honey. Whisk or shake to blend until smooth. Pour dressing over vegetable mixture and toss to combine. Add fresh basil and toss to combine. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Source: adapted from Annie's Eats

Mary’s Memo – November 9th


When it comes to following a recipe, sometimes words just get in the way. Fresh Made Simple by Lauren K Stein with illustrations by Katie Eberts (Storey Publishing, September 2015, $18.00/hardcover) invites readers to jump directly into action with full 75 full- page recipe illustrations featuring ingredients and steps cleverly integrated right into the art. Scrambling, tossing, roasting, toasting, stacking, stuffing and blending all come alive in these charming, full-motion drawings. Organized by preparation style and highlighting everyone’s favorite fresh ingredients, author Stein reminds cooks of every level to reach for simple flavor combinations, appreciate the beauty of fresh food and enjoy the ease with which amazingly delicious light meals, snacks, drinks, dressings and even desserts are created. The instructional illustrations by Katie Eberts are the book’s centerpiece. Her whimsical, colorful drawings awaken the senses and the imagination, creating a sense of play.

Stein is a former journalist from Reuters who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and web site Eat Boutique. She spends lots of time in the kitchen with her young daughter in Boston MA. Eberts is a graduate of the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design and lives in Hessel, MI. I love the unique way recipes are presented such as this one. Trust me, illustrations make preparations easy.


• Big dollop of honey
• A couple swirls of balsamic vinegar
• Big spoonful of Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper
• Hearty pour of olive oil

Combine ingredients in quart jar. Cover and shake to mix.
Source: Fresh Made Simple by Lauren K Stein (Storey Publishing, September 2015; hardcover/$18.00).


When it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers, advises Tufts’ senior research dietician Helen Rasmussen, think safety first. “If you forgot to put them in the fridge or the leftovers sat in your car too long after a holiday party or a restaurant meal, just toss them,” she says. It takes only a couple hours for dangerous bacteria to grow.” According to the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety website, you should refrigerate leftover food within 2 hours. The clock starts ticking the minute your food finishes cooking, so time your “doggie bag” plans from when you are served (or a little before), not when you leave the restaurant or clear the table. Reheat thoroughly, stirring as needed. Especially when reheating in the microwave, keep in mind that all parts of the dish may not be heated evenly. Reheated food should reach 165oF before being eaten; standing time also helps microwave dishes distribute heat. Check with a kitchen thermometer to make sure. For more tips on safe storage of food before and after cooking and reducing food waste, see the Food Marketing Institute’s Food Keeper site or download the Food Keeper mobile app.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, November, 2015.


Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill were the only two chains to receive an A grade. Chik-fil-A earned a B, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s were given a C and the rest of the restaurants evaluated received an F because they have not announced their policies regarding antibiotic use. These restaurants include Wendy’s, Burger King, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Denny’s, Domino’s, Papa John’s Pizza, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Outback Steakhouse and Little Caesars.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November, 2015.


Once there was a Gooey Butter Cake and now there’s a Cake Mix Gooey Butter Cookie from Betty Crocker.


• 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
• Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 3750F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 11 to 15 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Recipe makes 2 dozen. Source: Betty


Ruth Wakefield, inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, sold her recipe to Toll House for one dollar. Wakefield reported that she never did get that dollar but Toll House did send her free chocolate for life. Source: Conversation Sparks by Ryan Chapman (Chronical Books, 2015; softcover/$12.95).

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Jalapeno Popper Baked Chicken

BBQ Bacon Jalapeno Poppers are one of my all-time favorite appetizers. I could eat a whole plate of them! They're not the healthiest, so I set out to create a main dish meal that mimics the same flavors.

Jalapeno Popper Baked Chicken takes my favorite appetizer and turns into a healthy chicken dish. Chicken breasts are stuffed with a cream cheese-cheddar-jalapeno-bacon mixture, and then coated with a crispy panko coating and baked until golden brown. I served them up alongside some roasted potatoes and broccoli, and they were a hit!

Start by browning up 2 slices of bacon. (Yes, just 2! Just to get a little bacon flavor.)


Save a little bacon grease in the pan, and saute a few diced jalapenos to give them some color.


To mix up the filling, combine low fat cream cheese, shredded cheddar, the cooked bacon and jalapenos, and some green onions. Divide it up evenly between 4 flattened chicken breasts.


Very carefully, roll each chicken breasts up, securing the filling inside with a few toothpicks.


Drizzle each chicken roll-up with olive oil and lime juice, and coat with panko crumbs. (Yes, I made a mini version for my 11-month-old! He loved it!) IMG_2658

Bake at 425*F until golden brown and chicken is cooked through, about 30-35 minutes.

Serve with BBQ sauce for dipping!IMG_2667

Jalapeno Popper Baked Chicken

Servings/Yield: 4 servings

  • 2 slices thick cut pepper bacon, diced
  • 2 finely diced jalapenos, seeds removed
  • cup reduced fat cream cheese
  • ½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup diced green onions
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast, (about 1.5 lbs)
  • salt & fresh ground pepper , to taste
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • nonstick cooking spray


1. Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Leave about 1 tablespoon bacon grease in the pan, and add diced jalapeños to the pan. Cook 3-5 minutes until charred and tender.

2. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, cheddar, green onions, bacon, and jalapeños.

3. Using a meat mallet, flatten chicken breasts to about 1/2-inch thick. Season with salt and pepper. Divide cream cheese mixture evenly between chicken breasts, and roll up pinwheel-style. Secure with 1-2 toothpicks.

4. Drizzle chicken breasts with lime juice and olive oil; coat in panko crumbs. Spray with nonstick spray.

5. Bake at 425*F for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and internal temperature of chicken reaches 160*F.

Source: adapted from SkinnyTaste

Mary’s Memo – November 2nd


Finally, a cookbook that includes gluten-free recipes for pizza crust, bagels and all other wheat staples you’ve been missing. Gluten-Free Wish List, Sweet and Savory Treats You’ve Missed the most by Jeanne Sauvage (Chronicle Books, November 2015; hardback/$29.95). When the author learned of her own gluten-intolerance and life threatening allergy to wheat, she began experimenting with how to bake gluten-free foods that taste just like their wheat counterparts. With easy to follow instructions and anecdotes describing each of her 100 adaptations, Gluten-Free Wish List is a journey through how a food restriction became a way of eating more healthfully and consciously without sacrificing flavor. Sauvage’s recipes don’t taste great for gluten-free, they taste great period! Jeanne Sauvage writes a popular blog Art of Gluten-Free Baking and authored Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays (also published by Chronicle Books).


Take advantage of sales on regular, brown and powdered sugars, flour and butter. Butter freezes and we use a lot of it when making cookies (no butter flavored Crisco for us). We make several kinds in early November while the rest are baked the day after Thanksgiving and stored in tins that I’ve had for years. An alternative is BPA-free containers available at Chief.


Large-sized portions of food or drink as well as larger plates lead people to consume more, according to a review of 61 studies (comprising 6,711 participants by the University of Cambridge, UK). The study suggests that removing larger-size portions from the diet could reduce energy intake by up to 29 percent among American adults, equal to 527 calories per day. This highlights the role of environmental influences on Food consumption, according to Dr. Gareth Hollands, co-leader of the review. Source: Duke Medicine, November 2015.


That said, men centenarians tend to be healthier than females, according to a recent British study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Centenarians make up a tiny portion of the population worldwide. Fewer than 2 per ten thousand Americans (53,000 people) in the last U.S. Census. The centenarian rate is higher in many other developed countries including Britain, Sweden and France. At the top of the list are the Japanese, who are twice as likely to make it to 100 than Americans. Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, November 2015.


What’s the big deal about antibiotics in meat? “When you choose beef, chicken or other meats from animals treated with antibiotics, you are contributing to a serious public health problem: antibiotic resistance,” says Tanya Freirich, MS, RD, CDN, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell. Many major scientific and medical organizations are in agreement that the use of antibiotics used in food animal production contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans, thus threatening the ability of these antibiotics to treat humans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to label our meat. Meantime, look for labels such as Antibiotic Free, USDA Organic or Food Alliance Certified on meat or poultry products. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


I had two large cans of Libby canned pumpkin on hand and noticed that the cans said “best used by March 2014.” Wondering whether they were still usable, I called the Libby’s Consumer Response hotline (1-800-854-0374) and representative said to discard them. For calling Libby, he sent me 2 recipe brochures. The one has classic recipes like Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie and Libby’s Pumpkin Roll while the second one features new ways to include pumpkin such as Corn Muffins + Pumpkin and Pasta Sauce + Pumpkin.

To make Corn Muffins + Pumpkin, add 1/2 cup of Libby pumpkin to an 8.5 ounce package of corn muffin mix (Jiffy) batter. Then follow the package directions for baking. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A. To make Pasta Sauce + Pumpkin, simply stir 1 cup Libby pumpkin into 3 cups (about 26-ounces of your favorite jarred or homemade pasta sauce). Recipe becomes good source of fiber, excellent source of vitamin A and 25 percent less sodium with Libby’s recipe versus standard recipe.


• Legumes are Powerhouses of Nutrition
• Upcoming holiday recipes

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Mummy Halloweenies

Halloween is just around the corner, and I just love getting cheesy with holiday-theme foods. (Flashback to two years ago - Candy Corn Quesadillas.) Mummy Halloweenies are the perfect addition to your Halloween menu. A twist on the classic pigs-in-a-blanket, they are super simple to whip up, and will please kids of all ages. The kids will even love helping you make them! IMG_2639 All you need is a tube of crescent rolls, a package of hot dogs, and some sliced cheese if you're feeling adventurous. Start with your crescent roll dough. Pinch the edges to seal, and cut the dough into thin strips. IMG_2636 Wrap the strips around each hot dog (and cheese slice, if using), in every which way. Make sure to leave space for the eyes! IMG_2637 Bake at 375*F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Don't forget to add the ketchup eyeballs! IMG_2638

Mummy Halloweenies

Servings/Yield: 6 servings

  • 8-oz package crescent rolls
  • 6 hot dogs
  • 3 slices cheddar or American cheese, cut in half
  • ketchup, for serving


1. Preheat oven to 375*F. Roll out crescent roll dough and pinch edges to seal. Using a pizza cutter, cut into thin long strips.

2. Wrap strips around hot dog (and half slice of cheese if using), to look like a mummy. Make sure to leave room for the eyes!

3. Bake at 375*F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Create eyeballs with dollops of ketchup. Serve warm with additional ketchup.

Source: adapted from Pillsbury

Mary’s Memo – October 26th

When I received a review copy of Lost Recipes of Prohibition, by Mathew Rowley (Countryman Press, A Division of W.W. Norton & Company, $27.95/hardback, 2015) in addition to a history of the period, I expected to see food recipes, not alcoholic and non-alcoholic ones, so it isn’t a book every reader will want.

That said, the second book from Countryman Press was Chow, Simple Ways To Share The Foods You Love with the Dogs You Love by Rick Woodford, a must read for dog lovers! Chow provides pet owners with an easy-to-use guide explaining the benefits and proper portion size of more than 100 foods that we are already using to prepare our own meals. Blueberries, for example, will give your pet a whole new perspective on what she likes. Chow provides tips for each food and helps us teach our dogs that not every food needs to have the shape of kibble. Author Rick Woolford, known as the “Dog Food Dude,” began cooking food for his dogs after his dog Jackson was diagnosed with cancer. The transition to human food improved the general health of his dogs and added years to Jackson’s life. If you like a smoothie, so will your dog.


• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1/4 cup yogurt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Yield: 3/4 cup. Source: Chow by Rick Woodford; Countryman Press, December 2015, paperback/$17.95.


Although you’ll get plenty of calcium and vitamin D from nut milks, they have nutritional shortfalls. For example, a cup of 1 percent cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein, but hazelnut milk has only 2 grams and cashew and almond milk contain 1 gram or less. (Low-fat plain soy milk, by comparison, has 4 to 6 grams of protein.) Another potential downside is added sugar. Certain sweetened almond and cashew milks contain almost 2 teaspoons of added sweeteners per cup. Unsweetened nut milks are a healthier choice. Source: Consumer Reports on Health, November 2015.


Recent research suggests a simple strategy that may help you lose weight. A study published in the journal of Obesity found that drinking about 2 8-ounce glasses of water half an hour before eating breakfast, lunch and dinner led to greater weight loss among obese adults. In the study, which included 84 obese adults, half were required to consume 500 milliliters (16 ounces) of water 30 minutes before meals every day for 12 weeks. The other participants were asked to imagine that their stomachs were full prior to each main meal. The participants who drank water before eating lost an average of 9.5 pounds, compared to an average of 1.8 pounds in those who didn’t.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


McCormick has added entrée mixes to their line of products and I decided to try one knowing that readers prefer recipes that only take a few ingredients to make. Instead of regular button mushrooms, I used an 8-ounce package of cremini mushrooms because they have a more robust flavor. The portabella mushroom is the fully matured form of this mushroom. I also replaced regular sour cream with reduced-fat kind. Whenever meat is involved I start cooking on high for 1 hour and then reduce temperature to low. PS: Mushroom container is recyclable.


• 2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 8-ounce package cremini mushrooms, sliced
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Place beef, mushrooms and onion in slow cooker. Mix seasoning mix with 1 cup water until well blended. Pour over beef and vegetables; toss and coat well. Cover. Cook on high for 1 hour, the reduce temperature to low for an additional 7 hours. Add sour cream and cook on low for an additional 10 minutes longer. Serve over noodles, if desired. Recipe makes 6 2/3-cup servings although package says it makes 10 servings. Slow Cooker Tip: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking time.

For a healthy snack, toast the leftover pumpkin seeds when you carve your children’s jack-o-lantern.


• 2 cups pumpkin seeds (wipe off fiber but do not wash)
• 2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 2500F. Combine ingredients in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Source: “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It” cookbook

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