Mary’s Memo #2237

     The Mediterranean diet stands out because it benefit both cognitive function and emotional well-being. It favors fish, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and red wine (in moderation), while limiting dairy, red meat and refined carbohydrates. Several large studies have linked the Mediterranean diet to lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease and depression in adults. The more closely the participants followed it, the better their chances were of staying mentally alert and emotionally stable over a subsequent period. In one study, those with the poorest adherence to the diet had a 40 percent greater chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The Mediterranean diet helps keep your arteries and heart healthier, which in turn helps keep your brain supplied with blood and oxygen. But at least one follow-up study concluded that the diet’s benefits to the brain were independent of its vascular
effects. Scientists think they might derive from some combination of these nutrients, all abundant in the diet. This includes Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins B6, B12, folate and magnesium.
     Did you know that flavors such as sage and turmeric might help protect your brain? Sage inhibits the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical crucial for memory thinking. Curcumin, the substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, might keep Alzheimer’s disease from progressing by countering the accumulation of destructive brain proteins and
curbing inflammation.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, October 2011.

     This year is the 75th anniversary of Newell’s Homer Laughlin China Company’s Fiesta dinnerware. Believe it or not, my maternal grandmother preferred new-style dishes to old and loved Fiesta when it first came out. To celebrate the occasion, Fiesta, now made in West Virginia, has introduced two sizes of lemonade pitchers including a new color, Marigold.
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     Most of the time I concentrate on food in the memo but the supermarket is a good place to buy cleaning supplies as well. One that I like is Bar Keeper’s Friend®. I have a can in the kitchen and also the bathroom because it cleans multiple surfaces and it removes rust.
     Cleaning cloths I also wouldn’t be without are the microfiber ones that are good for dusting furniture, window blinds and much more. Use the cloths dry, dampened with tap water or with your favorite cleaner or cleanser. Several years ago a friend gave me a couple to try and I haven’t been without them since.

     A Bryan Chief shopper asked me this week why snickerdoodles call for cream of tartar. In addition to adding volume and stability to egg whites, cream of tartar is the acid in some baking powders and has a leavening effect in baked goods. The chemical name for cream of tartar is potassium hydrogen tartrate and it’s a by product of wine making. When added to cookies and cakes it helps them rise while giving them a more delicate crumb.

     One year for Christmas Mary Ann with the help of siblings and my sister put together a cookbook of recipes of mine that they liked best. Chris named Sour Cream Porcupines as one of his favorites. It was an entrée I made often when we were a family of six. It’s a money saver, too. Since the original recipe I have cut the amount of salt in half, use Campbell's Healthy Request ® instead of regular mushroom soup, Better Than Bouillon ® because it’s MSG-free and I prefer its flavor to regular bouillon cubes and I’m likely to use reduced-fat sour cream instead of regular to cut the calories.

1-1/2 pounds ground beef or ground chuck1/3 cup Minute® Rice1 teaspoon paprika1/2 teaspoon salt1/4 cup chopped onion2 tablespoons canola oil1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon®1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request® Cream of Mushroom soup1 cup reduced-fat sour creamCombine ground beef or ground chuck with rice, paprika, salt and onion. Shape into 16 to 20 meatballs. In a 10 to 12-inch skillet brown meat balls in hot canola oil. Drain meat balls and arrange in a 1.5-quart round casserole dish. Drain fat from skillet. Combine bouillon, Worcestershire sauce and soup. Heat slowly until well blended. Add sour cream and pour mixture over meatballs. Bake uncovered in preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes. Serve with noodles or mashed
potatoes. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings. Download PDF of Memo #2237

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