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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.
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