IT’S THE BERRIES!
Women who consumed two or more servings of strawberries and
blueberries each week were able to avoid memory problems for an average of 2.5
years longer than women who didn’t, according to study findings published in
the April 25, 2012, issue of the Annals of Neurology. Between 1995 and 2001,
memory was measured at two-year intervals in 16,010 older women (mean age 74)
participating in the Nurses’ Health Study. Researchers attributed the
beneficial effects of berries to flavonoids, antioxidants that are believed to
combat the inflammation that has been linked to cognitive decline. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College
Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2012.
FIVE STRIKES AGAINST STROKES
more citrus fruit. Women who consumed the most citrus were less likely to have
an ischemic (clot-related) stroke than women who consumed the least, according
to data from the well known Nurses’ Health Study, reported in the journal
more apples and pears. This advice comes from a Dutch study, also in Stroke.
People who ate the most white-fleshed produce had half the risk of stroke over
10 years, compared to those eating the least.
enough magnesium. A Swedish analysis in the American Journal of Clinical
Nutrition found that for every 100 milligram daily increase in dietary
magnesium, there was a 9 percent drop in stroke risk.
a little (not a lot) of alcohol. Also from the Nurses’ Health Study, light to
moderate alcohol consumption (up to one drink a day) was associated with a
lower risk of all strokes.
or at least limit trans fats. A study of participants in the Women’s Health
Initiative Observational Study in the Annals of Neurology found that those who
consumed the most trans fats (average 6 grams a day) were nearly 40 percent
more likely to have an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the least
(averaging 2 grams a day).
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness
Letter, July 2012.
TRANS FATS: GOING BUT NOT GONE
It has been six years since
the FDA began requiring packed foods to list trans fats on the label. Though
animal foods like butter contain tiny amounts of natural trans fats, most trans
fats in our food supply are synthetic, created when unsaturated vegetable oils
are partially hydrogenated. In response to the labeling law, many manufacturers
voluntarily reduced or eliminated partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, from
their margarines, baked goods, snacks and other food. Some fast food
restaurants got rid of trans fats in French fries, while California and New
York City banned artificial trans fats in restaurants altogether. These
government and industry steps seem to be paying off now. According to a large
the Center for Disease Control in the Journal of the
American Medical Association in February, blood levels of trans fats decreased nearly
60 percent between 2000 and 2009, thanks to the removal of trans fats from
processed foods. The American Heart Association advises that trans fats provide
no more than 1 percent of your total daily calories (that’s less than 2 grams a
day for someone eating 2,000 calories a day). Check nutrition labels for trans
fats, but you have to read between the lines. Because of a labeling loophole, manufacturers can say their products
have 0 grams of trans fat if they contain less than 0.5 grams per serving. That
may not sound like a lot, but the numbers add up if you eat several servings.
To avoid synthetic trans fats in packaged food, make sure that partially
hydrogenated oil is not in the ingredients list. If you use margarine, soft
(tub) margarines are much less likely to contain trans fats, or at least much
less of them, than hard margarine. Keep in mind that products that contain
trans fats tend to be junk foods anyway, often high in calories, fat and
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness
Letter, July 2012.
A RAVE REVIEW RECIPE
Bryan Chief tasters gave a thumbs up to Blueberry Crunch Bars
recently. They liked them so much that most left with 2 pints of blueberries in
their basket. The other ingredients you are likely to have on hand. Also
appealing is the ease of preparation.
Original allrecipes.com recipe was made with vegetable shortening but I
used butter instead. If you use unsalted butter, do add ¼ teaspoon of salt. But
if you use salted butter skip the extra salt.
BLUEBERRY CRUNCH BARS
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour
1 cup unsalted butter
¼ teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh blueberries
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 375ºF. In medium bowl, stir together
sugar, baking powder, flour and salt. Using a fork or pastry cutter blend in
butter and egg (I did in a food processor, pulsing on and off). Dough will be crumbly. Pat half the
mixture into 9x13-inch baking pan. In another bowl, stir together the ½ cup
sugar and cornstarch. Carefully fold in blueberries. Sprinkle blueberry filling
over bottom crust. Crumble remaining dough over the berry layer. Bake in
preheated oven for 45 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely before
cutting into 15 squares.
Source: Recipe provided by www.allrecipes.com
Download PDF of Memo #2276
Orchard Harvest Chicken SaladServings/Yield: 8 servings
- 1 rotisserie chicken
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 Pink Lady apples, peeled and diced
- ¼ cup golden raisins
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ½-¾ cup light mayonnaise
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- cayenne pepper, to taste
Rice Krispie Ice Cream CakeServings/Yield: 9x13-inch pan, 8-12 servings
- ½ cup butter, (1 stick)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup dry roasted peanuts
- 4 cups Rice Krispies cereal
- ½ gallon French vanilla ice cream, softened
- hot fudge topping, for serving
The 5-hour Energy® drink is making millions for its inventor, Manoj Bhargava, age 58, and has garnered 90% of the energy shot market. It is sugar-free with only 4 calories and has as much caffeine as the leading premium coffee. I’m not going to tell you not to drink the energy booster but please check with your family doctor before you do because it isn’t for everyone. In a related matter, some of you are inclined to take highly advertised over-the-counter drugs but before you do, it’s also a good idea to discuss it with your doctor.
EAT LESS RED MEAT
Eating less red meat helps reduce the risk of dying prematurely, especially from cardiovascular disease and cancer, suggests a new analysis from a long term study of more than 120,000 health care professionals in the Archives of Internal Medicine. People who ate the most red meat (average 2 servings a day) were 30% more likely to die over a two-decade period than those eating little or none. That included processed meats such as hot dogs and bologna. This was true even when the researchers adjusted the findings for major lifestyle factors and other dietary variables. In contrast, people who ate fish, poultry, nuts, beans, whole grains and/or low-fat dairy products instead of meat had a reduced mortality rate.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, July 2012.
AN ALMOST MEATLESS DISH
You can make Crisco’s® Creamy Risotto with Asparagus and Parmesan with vegetable juice and make it a vegetarian dish but I personally prefer chicken broth. Risotto requires a special kind of rice called Arborio (ar-BOH-ree-oh). It is Italian-grown with a shorter, fatter shape. Its high starch kernels yield a creamy texture, characteristic of risotto.
Because of all the stirring, it helps preparation of this recipe if everything is measured ahead of time.
CREAMY RISOTTO WITH ASPARAGUS AND PARMESAN
1 tablespoon Crisco® olive oil1 cup finely chopped onion1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic1 cup uncooked Arborio rice(1) 12-ounce can evaporated milk(1) 14.5-ounce can chicken broth without MSG1/2 cup water1/2 teaspoon salt1/2 lb. asparagus, washed and tough ends removed1 teaspoon lemon juice1 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheeseSalt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in 3-quart saucepan. Add onion. Cook on mediumhigh heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute. Add rice. Reduce to medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes or until the edge of rice is transparent. Add evaporated milk, broth, water and salt. Heat to just beginning to boil. Simmer, stirring frequently, 20 to 25 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in asparagus, lemon juice and cheese. Simmer; stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until asparagus is fork tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately. Recipe makes 6 to 8servings.
In keeping with alternatives to meat, our next suggestion comes from daughter Mary Ann. I used fresh cod but tilapia or any white fish will work. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Then brush olive oil on both sides of fish. Place in foil-lined pan (saves clean-up later). Arrange any color chopped pepper, tomato and onion to each serving of fish. Add sliced black or pimiento-stuffed olives to mix and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until fish
PREVENTING HEAT STROKE
Salt tablets are no longer recommended for heat stroke prevention. But the American Heart Association recommends drinking lots of liquids, particularly water, before, during and after physical activity, and avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. Older adults may be more prone to dehydration since they may be slower to feel thirsty, so keep the water bottle handy and keep sipping!
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, July 2012.
DRINKING SODA LINKED TO HIGHER STROKE RISK
The more soda, regular and/or diet you drink, the higher your risk of stroke, according to a study published April 4, in the American Journal of Clinical Research. Researchers analyzed soda consumption and incidence of stroke among 43,371 men and 84,085 women between 1980 and 2008. Men and women who drank more than 1 serving of sugar sweetened soda per day were more likely to have high blood pressure
and high cholesterol, while those who consumed diet
soda were more likely to be overweight and have chronic diseases.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 1012.
Download PDF of Memo #2275
Grilled Corn with Bacon ButterServings/Yield: 8 ears
- 8 ears corn , shucked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 4 slices pepper bacon, cooked & crumbled finely
- 4 oz. feta cheese, crumb
- ¼ cup minced fresh cilantro
Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books, July 2012, $19.95) is your guide to beautiful brunches. In this book Betty puts a mouthwatering array of homemade fare at your fingertips. Imagine baskets of pastries alongside scrambled eggs piled high on platters next to crisp, glistening bacon, tender biscuits, bowls of fresh fruit salad and pots of steaming coffee. The more than 50 recipes include Pan-Fried Eggs and Mixed Mushroom Sauté on Toasted Sourdough Slices, Parmesan Flans with Parmesan Crisps and Southern Cheese Grits. Whether you host a weekly get-together or limit yourself to special holiday brunches, Sunday Brunch is a resource and an inspiration for sparkling meals for years to come!
Betty Rosbottom has been a cooking teacher, syndicated columnist, PBS host and cookbook author for two decades.
SOUTHERN CHEESE GRITS
Unsalted butter, for baking dish4 cups water1 cup old-fashioned (not instant or quick) gritsSalt3/4 cup grated sharp white Cheddar cheese1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepperButter a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan (with a lid) set over medium-high heat. Pour the grits in slowly. Add 3/4 teaspoon salt and whisk well. When mixture comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook the grits at a gentle simmer, stirring every 3 to 4 minutes so they do not stick to the bottom
of the pan. Cook until grits have thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove grits from the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of the Cheddar and all of the Parmesan. Add the black pepper and cayenne and season with more salt, if needed. Spread the grits in an even layer in prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Cheddar over top. Arrange a rack at center position and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Bake the grits until they are hot and cheese is melted on top, about 25 minutes. If you would like to brown the cheese, arrange an oven rack 4 to 5 inches from the broiler and broil until cheese starts to brown lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately with scrambled or poached eggs. Recipe serves 4 to 6.
Source: Sunday Brunch by Betty Rosbottom (Chronicle Books, July 2012, $19.95).SITTING TOO MUCH?
According to a new Australian study of 22,000 healthy adults in the Archives of Internal Medicine, those who sit for at least 11 hours a day are 40% more likely to die over the course of the three year study than those sitting less than 4 hours a day. These findings are in line with other research and held true regardless of body weight, age, overall health, smoking status and time spent exercising. Prolonged sitting can have adverse effects, notably on blood vessel function, HDL (good cholesterol), triglycerides and blood sugar. Many people spend 90% of their waking hours sitting. Try to break up prolonged sitting time by getting up every hour or two and walking a few minutes.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, July 2012.
COUNT ON LAND O'LAKES
FOR DEPENDABLE RECIPES!
If you don’t have fresh rhubarb you can use frozen in Land O'Lakes Rhubarb Streusel Bread.
RHUBARB STREUSEL BREAD
1 cup sugar1/2 cup butter, softened1/3 cup orange juice2 large eggs2 cups all-purpose flour1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon baking soda1/4 teaspoon salt1-1/2 cups sliced fresh rhubarb (1-1/2 cups frozen rhubarb, thawed, can be used)Streusel:
2 tablespoons sugar2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar1 tablespoon all-purpose flour1 tablespoon butter, melted1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamonPreheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour an 8x4-inch loaf pan. Combine 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Reduce speed to low and add orange juice and eggs. Continue beating just until mixed. (Mixture will look slightly curdled.) Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt by hand just until moistened. Gently stir in rhubarb. (Batter will be stiff.) Reserve 1-1/2 cups batter. Spread remaining batter into prepared pan. Combine all Streusel ingredients in a small bowl; stir until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle half streusel mixture over batter in pan; gently press into batter. Carefully spread reserved batter into pan; top with remaining streusel. Press streusel into batter. Bake for 65 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan.
Download PDF of Memo #2274
Combine the basil and halved cherry tomatoes with roasted garlic & oil that you sauteed earlier. Add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and salt & pepper to taste.
At this point, the Easy Tomato Bruschetta is ready. If you have time, let it sit for 1-2 hours to blend flavors. Even if you don't, it's still fabulous as is. Toast up some good Italian bread and serve it with the tomatoes and you have a killer appetizer.
I went a step further and turned the bruschetta into a panini. I started with a hearty loaf of fresh-baked ciabatta bread from the bakery section. You want a bread that is pretty dense & chewy, so that it will hold up to the liquid of the tomatoes. Focaccia would be a good choice as well.
Then, mix up a pesto mayo. Just equal parts basil pesto (found in the Italian section near the tomato sauce) and mayonnaise. Pesto is a great thing to have on hand - great with pasta, on sandwiches, or as a dipping sauce for fresh bread.
Spread the pesto mayo on your bottom piece of bread, and top with some grilled chicken. I threw on some leftover chicken I had in the fridge. (That's something I love about paninis - they help you clean out the fridge!)
Then, load on the Easy Tomato Bruschetta. Don't skimp here, this is what makes the sandwich.
Then, some sliced mozzarella cheese. Because what's a panini without cheese? (I apologize to all the vegans out there, but I couldn't do it.)
Place the top layer of bread on, and place the sandwich on a panini grill or George Foreman grill. If you don't have either of those, you can certainly use a skillet over medium heat; just place another skillet on top, and put something heavy inside it to weigh it down.
About 5 minutes later, you have a piping hot, hand-crafted sandwich bursting with mozzarella and bruschetta.
Easy Tomato BruschettaServings/Yield: 4 cups
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 12-16 leaves fresh basil, chiffonade
- 2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- salt & pepper, to taste
Chicken Bruschetta PaniniServings/Yield: 4 sandwiches
- 1 loaf ciabatta bread, sliced
- ¼ cup prepared pesto
- ¼ cup mayonnaise (light is fine)
- 1-2 cups diced cooked chicken
- 4-oz. sliced mozzarella cheese
- Easy Tomato Bruschetta
Brownie Berry Dessert PizzaServings/Yield 8-10 servings
- 1 family-size brownie mix, plus eggs, oil, water called for on package
- 4-oz cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ container Cool Whip
- 2 cups mixed berries, (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
Desserts in a jar are a trend today, but grandmothers tucked desserts into their canning jars because they had
them on hand. This was the inspiration for Shaina Olmanson’s Desserts in Jars, 50 Sweet Treats That Shine (Harvard Common Press, July 2012, $16.95). In a day and age where so much of what we use is disposable, using glass jars as a serving mechanism is a way to make the entire package reusable. Olmanson is a cook, writer and photographer of the popular and award-winning blog Food for My Family. She lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area with her husband Ole, and their 4 children.
Flourless cakes amaze me so I chose Olmanson’s Flourless Chocolate Cake to share. Some of us have jelly glasses collecting dust on basement shelves but if you need new ones Chief and Rays have a variety of jars suitable for her recipes.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKES
Oil for greasing the jars7 ounces bittersweet chocolate4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter4 large eggs, separated1 cup granulated sugarConfectioner’s sugar, for dustingPreheat oven to 350ºF. Grease (14) 8-ounce jars. In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. In a separate bowl, use a handheld mixer to beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Set aside.In a stand mixer, beat together the granulated sugar and egg yolks until thick and creamy. Mix 1/4 cup melted chocolate and butter into the egg yolks. Continue to mix, slowly pour the remaining melted chocolate mixture into the egg yolks until all is incorporated. Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture. Spoon 4 to 5 tablespoons of the cake batter into each greased jar. Place the jars 2 inches apart on
a large baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops of the cakes start to crack. Remove from the oven and let the jars cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature. Recipe makes 14 individual cakes.
Source: Desserts in Jars by Shaina Olmanson (Harvard Common Press, July 2012, $16.95).CAN COCONUT OIL TREAT ALZHEIMER’S?
A new book by Dr. Mary Newport, a pediatrician, has gotten a lot of media coverage. Newport, whose own husband has Alzheimer’s, suggests that coconut oil may have dramatic effects on people with the disease. Coconut oil is high in calories (115 calories per tablespoon). That can add up when the recommended doses are 4 to 8 tablespoons per day.
The University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2012, reports that although the book makes a convincing case for coconut oil, they can’t. The most important thing to do if a family member has serious memory problems is to consult a doctor, preferably a neurologist. Don’t assume it is Alzheimer’s disease. There are other causes of memory problems and other forms of dementia, some of which are reversible. A vitamin B-12 deficiency, hypothyroidism and depression can all lead to symptoms that may be mistaken for early Alzheimer’s. Certain medications can also impair memory. Thus it’s important to rule these out and not be sidetracked by self-treatments such as coconut oil.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2012.
MEATLESS BUT MEATY
When Portobello mushroom caps are on sale at Chief and Rays I buy! I like the meat-like texture of Portobellos. I’ve stuffed the caps with regular stuffing but recently roasted the caps in the oven with a light breading mixture. Extras can be reheated in the microwave. A half tablespoon of freshly grated Parmesan cheese was not nearly enough to suit me so I used 1 tablespoon per cap. Recipe called for plain dry bread crumbs but I only had Italian seasoned ones
on hand and they worked fine.
ROASTED PORTOBELLO CAPS
4 large Portobello mushrooms, stems removedSalt and freshly ground pepper to taste (use caution because there is salt in the topping)1/4 cup Italian dry bread crumbs4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley1 tablespoon light olive oil1/8 teaspoon saltPreheat oven to 450ºF. Cover a 9x13-inch baking pan cover with foil. Coat with cooking spray. Place mushroom caps, gill side up, on prepared pan. Sprinkle caps with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, oil and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Divide
mixture between mushroom caps, spreading evenly. Return to oven until crumbs are browned, about 5 minutes. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Download PDF of Memo #2273