Monthly Archives: May 2010

Mary’s Memo #2164

FILLING UP WITH FIBER CAN HELP PREVENT
WEIGHT GAIN AND ILLNESS


It’s well known that fiber can help us feel full, causing us to consume fewer calories. But it has also been linked to a number of other health benefits. Increased fiber has been linked to reductions in colon cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart disease. But research suggests that not all fiber is created equal. A study published in the February 2010 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition pinpoints which types of fiber are key. Almost 90,000 European adults were included in the study, which lasted an average of sixand- a-half years. Researchers found that dietary fiber from grains and cereals (as opposed to fruits and vegetables), was superior when it came to preventing overall gain in weight and waist circumference. According to Kathy Isoldi, MS, RD, CDE, coordinator of nutrition services at Weill Cornell, there is a wide range of fiber recommended daily: 20 to 35 grams. Too much fiber in the diet can interfere with the absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat. If you love fiber-rich foods, some experts suggest taking a daily multivitamin to be sure you are getting all the nutrients you need. Also, if you are working towards increasing your fiber intake, be sure to increase your intake of water. Isoldi warns that some medical conditions do not benefit from a high-fiber diet. If you are being treated for a health disorder, check with your doctor before adding more fiber to your diet.


Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness
Advisor, May 2010.






MORE AMERICANS CHECKING NUTRITION
LABELS




Americans are thinking more about food and health and, in general, know more about nutrition and prevention of chronic disease. A newly released survey by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reports that the percentage of people who say they read nutrition labels before buying a product for the first time increased from 44% in 2002 to 54% in 2008. Nearly half of the more than 2,500 adults surveyed said such label information had changed their decision to buy or use a product. On the other hand, 56% said they didn’t believe such front-of-package claims as “low fat” or “high fiber.”



The Health and Diet survey, the FDA’s 10th since 1982, also found more Americans say they know about the links between diet and heart disease and about the heart-health benefits of omega-3s. The percentage of those aware that trans fats raise heart disease risk almost doubled since the 2004 survey. But produce vendors have some work to do. Awareness of the preventive benefits of fruits and vegetables against chronic disease actually dropped from 2004 to 2008.


Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, May 2010.

FAREWELL TO 59 YEAR OLD APPLIANCE




There is a small appliance for just about everything today but I doubt if any are as sturdy as my 59-year-old Sunbeam waffle maker that finally bit the dust a couple weeks ago. Even though I was the cause of it, not the
Appliance. I have always preferred waffles to pancakes and made them often for our family. Because I still like them I replaced it with a small Cuisinart waffle maker for $29.95 but its life expectancy will never be as long as the Sunbeam, I’m sure. That’s not to take anything away from Cuisinart because I own several of their appliances and like them. It’s just that appliances are not made to last as long as my 59 year old Sunbeam waffle maker.




IMPOSSIBLE CHICKEN PIE




2 cups cut-up rotisserie chicken
(1) 4-oz. can mushroom stems and pieces, drained
1/2 cup sliced scallions
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1-1/2 cups milk
3/4 cup HeartSmart Bisquick
3 eggs



Sprinkle chicken, mushrooms, scallions and cheese in buttered 10x1-1/2-inch glass pie plate. Beat remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour into pie plate. Bake in 400°F oven until knife inserted in center comes out clean, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into pie-shaped wedges. Recipe makes 6 to 8 servings.



BANANA SPLIT SALAD




(1) 8-oz. container Cool Whip
1 can fat-free Eagle Brand Condensed Milk
(1) 21-oz. can cherry pie filling
(1) 15-oz. can pineapple chunks, drained
3 bananas, quartered and sliced
1/2 cup chopped nuts



Mix whipped topping and sweetened condensed milk together, beating well. Add remaining ingredients and chill in the refrigerator. If too thick, add 2 tablespoons of the drained pineapple juice.


Source: Mary Scranton, Ney, OH. Download PDF of Memo #2164

Mary’s Memo #2163

LET THE GRILLING SEASON BEGIN!

Memorial Day, May 31, officially starts the outdoor grilling season for me. And this year the main entrée will be salmon steaks. If it rains, bake salmon indoors.




HONEY-MUSTARD GLAZED SALMON STEAKS

(6) 4 to 6-oz. salmon steaks
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
½ teaspoon pepper
Kosher salt to taste
Fresh chopped dill



Whisk together oil, honey, mustard, garlic, pepper and salt. Marinate salmon in mixture for two hours in the refrigerator. Discard marinade. Arrange salmon steaks, skin side down, in a foil baking pan and sprinkle fresh dill on top. Place over medium heat. Cover grill and cook until fish flakes (do not turn). To cook inside, bake in preheated 400°F oven for 16 minutes or until fish flakes (do not turn). Recipe serves 6.

Easter weekend Mary Ann served glazed salmon with a salad
from the Pasadena Junior League California Mosaic Cookbook.





JUST TWO INGREDIENTS!

Although this recipe is in the May article I do for The William County Department of Aging Newsletter, I wanted all of you to have it.




ORANGE POPPY SEED SALAD

Dressing:
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup canola oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped
½ cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Salad:
1 - 2 hearts of romaine, trimmed & torn into bite-size pieces
(1) 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, drained
½ cup chopped avocado
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
¼ cup crumbled blue cheese

To prepare the dressing, process the sugar, salt, dry mustard, oil, onion and vinegar in a blender until combined. Pour dressing into jar with tight-fitting lid and add poppy seeds. Seal tightly and shake. To prepare salad, gently toss romaine, mandarin oranges, avocado, pine nuts and cheese. Add desired amount of dressing until coated or serve dressing separately in a pitcher. Recipe makes 1 pint dressing. Refrigerate leftover dressing for future salads. Salad serves 6.

Source: California Mosaic by the Junior League of Pasadena,
Inc., 2008. Order cookbook from Amazon.com. Believe me, it’s
one of the best Junior League cookbooks I’ve ever owned!

ABOUT FOOD EXPIRATION DATES

No more buying gelatin when it’s on sale! I vow to buy what I need only when I’m actually making a gelatin salad and not sooner. According to Kraft, don’t use Jell-O brand, and I am assuming any gelatin, after it’s “best used by” date. Once again I’ve been penny wise and dollar foolish and just threw out more boxes of flavored gelatin than I care to admit. Gelatin salads may be a “my generation thing” but I like having a molded salad of some kind, sweet or savory, in the refrigerator to eat for lunch, dinner, dessert or even to snack on.



EAT YOUR GREENS!

Collards, kale, spinach and similar vegetables contain nutrients that may protect the lungs, according to a study published in the January 15, 2010, issue of Cancer Research. The study found that current and former smokers who ate more leafy greens had fewer cellular changes that are associated with lung cancer.


Source: Consumer Reports on Health, April 2010.




RESISTANCE TRAINING MAY STRENGTHEN BRAIN FUNCTION

A study in the January 25, 2010 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine found that weight-bearing exercises may help minimize cognitive decline and impaired mobility in older adults. In the study of women ages 65 to 75, those who participated in once-weekly or twice-weekly resistance training
for a year showed improved executive-cognitive functions. Executive-cognitive functions are those brain functions related to planning, initiating appropriate actions, abstract thinking and the abilities needed for everyday, independent living. Previous studies have shown that walking and other
aerobic activities promote brain health, but this is one of the first to study the effects of resistance training, an especially useful finding for older adults who may have limited mobility but can still do resistance-type exercises.




Source: Duke Medicine Health News, April 1010.



/ OBESITY PUTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH AT RISK

Being overweight or obese can limit your physical function, but your mental health may also be at risk if you carry too many extra pounds. In a collection of studies (The Journals of Gerontology, February 2010), researchers noted
that as a result of improved medical management, more obese people are reaching old age, which means more of them are facing age-related mental dysfunction.





Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Food & Fitness Advisor,
May 2010. Download PDF of Memo #2163

Mary’s Memo #2162

LOL: GOOD FOR WHAT AILS US!

Recent studies citing the benefits of LOL (laugh out loud) have piled up. What seemed just an educated guess has taken on the dignity of a scientific theory. For example: Japanese researchers at the Foundation for the Advancement of International Science found that laughter can actually
reduce glucose levels in people with diabetes. In addition, they reported, certain genes that control immune system activity were stimulated by laughter. And scientists from the University of Maryland Medical Center and Stanford University found that mirthful laughter has good effects on the arteries, blood pressure and cardiovascular system in general. Can you prevent a heart attack with mirth? No, but it can’t hurt to try in addition to eating right, not smoking, having medical check-ups and taking other heart-healthy steps. Find something to make you laugh out loud!

Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter,
April 1010.




WHAT ARE THE SAFEST CONTAINERS FOR
MICROWAVE COOKING?


Those made from glass or porcelain are generally better choices than those made of plastic. Some plastic, notably ones with #3 or #7 recycling symbol, can contain BPA, a chemical that’s been linked to reproductive and other health problems. And BPA can leach from plastic into food, especially at high temperatures. Plastic containers without BPA may be safer, but even they can degrade at high temperatures. That’s particularly true for single-use containers such as margarine tubs. If you cover food in the microwave with plastic wrap, leave space so they don’t touch, since that can transfer chemicals to your meal. And don’t put too much stock in the term “microwave safe.” That usually just means the product contains no metal, not that it’s BPA-free or able to withstand high heat.

Source: Consumer Reports on Health, April 2010




HEALTHY AND MEATLESS

Awhile back Mary Ann made one of Food Network personality Ellie Krieger’s recipes and she forwarded the recipe to me to try. I took the liberty of adding more lemon zest and juice than the original recipe called for. Chief and Rays do have bulgur wheat but you may have to look in a store that sells Middle Eastern foods to buy green lentils. Since my herb bed came alive this spring, I have flat leaf parsley, basil and chives. But if you don’t, Chief and Rays carry a variety of fresh herbs in the produce department. Another suggestion: Sauté the vegetables and pre-measure the remaining ingredients before you cook the lentils and bulgur wheat.

HERBED BULGAR-LENTIL PILAF

1/2 cup green lentils
1 cup bulgur (wheat)
4 cups low-sodium chicken both
(I use Swanson chicken broth without MSG)
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup finely diced red onion
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and finely diced
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté onions and cook, stirring until tender, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook until tender, another 5 minutes. Set aside. Wash lentils according to package directions. Place lentils and 2 cups chicken broth in a 1-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, and then reduce to simmer and cook until lentils are tender and most liquid is dissolved, about 30 minutes. While lentils are cooking, place bulgur and remaining 2 cups chicken broth in another small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until most of the liquid is dissolved and bulgur is tender, about 13 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Combine onion mixture and bulgur-lentil mixture and stir in parsley, basil, chives, lemon zest and juice, remaining 1 tablespoon oil, salt and pepper. Toss and serve immediately. Recipe
makes 4 servings.

Source: Adapted from Ellie Krieger recipe.




JUST TWO INGREDIENTS!

Although this recipe is in the May article I do for The William County Department of Aging Newsletter, I wanted all of you to have it.




TWO INGREDIENT ANGEL FOOD-PINEAPPLE CAKE
One-Step Duncan Hines Angel Food Cake mix
(1) 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, undrained
Mix angel food cake mix and crushed pineapple together until blended. Spoon into ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan and bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 35 minutes. Cool. Cut into squares and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh sliced strawberries. Replace strawberries with other summer fruits like fresh peaches.

Source: Dorothy Opdycke, Bryan OH.
Download PDF of Memo #2162

Mary’s Memo #2161

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF

Even though it’s advisable for all of us to reduce the amount of sodium we consume, like peanut butter and jelly, some combinations are made for each other! Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson, is the first cookbook to bring the phenomenon home. Published by Harvard Common Press, Salty Sweets offers 75 delectable ways to enjoy this tasty twosome, proving that salty sweets don’t have to be complicated to be good. Take Sweet and Salty Pecans, for example: they’re easy to make and great for snacking, on ice cream, in cookie recipes or even as a topping for salads.





SWEET AND SALTY PECANS




2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons water
1 cup pecan pieces



Combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and water in a small bowl; stir to dissolve. Place pecans in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour the sugar mixture over the pecans and stir to coat. Continue stirring as the mixture heats up and starts to bubble; let it cook until the moisture is almost gone, 5 to 7 minutes. Keep an eye on it and don’t let the water cook off completely. Remove from heat and spread on a baking sheet to cool. Let cool completely before using in recipes or eat out of hand as soon as they are cool enough! The nuts will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Recipe makes about 1 cup.

Source: Salty Sweets by Christie Matheson; Harvard Common Press, $19.95. Order from Amazon.com




READER REQUEST

A woman called recently and wanted a simple broccoli soup recipe but not a highly seasoned one. I replaced half and half with evaporated milk.




CREAM OF BROCCOLI- CHEESE SOUP




1 10-ounce package frozen chopped broccoli
3 cups milk
2 cups cubed American cheese
2 chicken bouillon cubes
½ cup flour
1 cup evaporated milk





Thaw broccoli and drain well. Combine milk, cheese, bouillon and flour in a blender and process until smooth. Pour into saucepan and over medium heat cook until thickened, stirring frequently. Add thawed broccoli and evaporated milk. Continue cooking until heated thoroughly. Leftover cooked ham can also be added.



A TIMELY MUFFIN RECIPE

Fresh Strawberry-Rhubarb Muffins are made for springtime eating no matter what meal they’re served



FRESH STRAWBERRY RHUBARB MUFFINS





2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
½ cup finely sliced rhubarb
½ cup sliced fresh strawberries
Topping:

6 small fresh strawberries, halved
Sugar





Preheat oven to 400oF. Line muffin cups with paper baking cups. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In a large bowl, combine flour, ½ cup sugar, baking powder and salt. In small bowl, combine milk, oil and egg; mix well. Add to dry ingredients; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in rhubarb and strawberries. Fill paper cups ¾ full. Top each with a strawberry half and sprinkle sugar on top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from muffin tin. Recipe makes 1 dozen.

Source: Pillsbury recipe.




READER ASKED

Q: I’ve been making a peanut butter cookie with Crisco for years and suddenly, they’re not turning out right.
A: Crisco no longer contains trans-fats and I think the new formula might be causing the problem. To verify, I called Proctor and Gamble at 1-800-766-7309. Crisco has been around since 1911 and was the first shortening to be made entirely from vegetable oil. Trans-fats were removed from Crisco three years ago and yes, removal could cause a cookie to run rather than set up. I asked the P&G representative how to adjust the recipe if that’s the problem. She personally adds 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup more flour per cookie recipe. She also suggested checking out Crisco’s web site at Crisco.com. I did and in addition to recipes there is information about all Crisco products and how to sign up for their weekly or monthly e-Newsletter.



For other questions about Crisco do call their 1-800 number. I can’t tell you how often I use food company 1-800 numbers. Stay on the line until you can talk to a “real” person, not a recording.
Download PDF of Memo #2161

Mary’s Memo #2160

FROM THE COOKBOK SHELF

Although I am not a fan of Martha Stewart Living magazine, I love Everyday Food, another Martha Stewart publication. Their first cookbook was Everyday Food: Great Food Fast and mine is in a convenient place where I refer to it often. Their newest book is Every Day Food: Fresh Flavor Fast featuring 250 easy, delicious recipes for any time of the day. What cooks will like most about the cookbook is that recipe ingredients are readily available, affordable and suit a healthier lifestyle! There’s something for everyone all day long.



I’m always thinking about fruit and vegetable recipes I can serve at the Bryan Chief and the first one to catch my eye was Caramelized Pears that take only 15 minutes to make.






CARAMELIZED PEARS

4 ripe but firm red Bartlett pears
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water, plus more if needed



Halve pears lengthwise; remove cores (use a melon baller or small spoon). Place sugar on a plate. Heat a large 12-inch nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Press cut side of each pear in sugar, then place cut side down in skillet (fit will be snug). Cook uncovered until sugared sides are beginning to brown, about 7 to 8 minutes. Pour water in skillet. Cover; simmer until pears are tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife, 5 to 10 minutes (depending on ripeness), adding more water if sugar begins to burn. Remove pears from skillet with a slotted spoon. If liquid in pan is thin, simmer until thickened to a sauce-like consistency; if it is very thick, add more water. Serve sauce over pears. Recipe makes 4 servings.




HAPPY CINCO DE MAYO!


Cinco de Mayo is Spanish for “fifth of May.” It is a regional, voluntary holiday in Mexico, primarily celebrated in the state of Pueblo. It is not Mexico’s Independence Day (celebrated September 16th) but it does commemorate the Mexican army’s victory over the French forces at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862. In the United States, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the culture and experiences of Americans of Mexican ancestry, much as St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest and the Chinese New Year are used to celebrate the Irish, German and Chinese ancestry respectively.


Source: Information taken from Wikipedia, the free internet encyclopedia.



I used my own pastry to make Mini Mexi Bites but Land O’Lakes suggests commercial refrigerated pie crusts (like Pillsbury brand).



MINI MEXI BITES

2 large eggs
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoons chopped roasted red pepper
2 tablespoons sliced scallions (green onions)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
¼ teaspoon salt
1½ cups (6 ounces) shredded hot pepper jack cheese
1 15-ounce box refrigerated pie crusts, at room temperature


Heat oven to 350F. Spray mini muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray. Combine all ingredients except cheese and pie crusts in small bowl. Stir in cheese; set aside. Cut each pie crust into 12 rounds using 2½-inch round cookie cutter. Gently press 1 pie crust round into each muffin cup. Evenly pour egg mixture into crust-lined muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Recipe makes 24 appetizer bites.

Source: Land O Lakes.com.





THINK YOU DON’T NEED COFFEE FILTERS? THINK AGAIN!


Coffee filters are better for a multitude of tasks than paper towels and a lot less expensive. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker you may want to put the filters on your next shopping list!
Some versatile ways to use filters include:
1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave.
2. Protect good dishes by separating with a coffee filter between each dish.
3. Protect a cast iron skillet by placing a filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
4. Use them as a spoon rest while cooking and clean up small counter spills.
5. Use to hold dry ingredients when baking or when cutting a piece of fruit or veggies (saves on having extra bowls to wash).
6. Use them to remove fingernail polish when out of cotton balls.
7. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.
8. Put baking soda into a coffee filter and insert into shoes or a closet to absorb or prevent odors.
9. Use as a disposable “snack bowl for popcorn, chips, etc, especially when traveling.
10: Naturally, they’re great for coffeemakers, too!
Source: Internet via Jane Poeppelman, Fort Loramie, OH.
Download PDF of Memo #2160