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Mary’s Memo – July 28th

HOW MUCH IS A SERVING?


Definitions of “servings” or “portions” vary, and the USDA’s MyPlate has switched from recommendations based on daily servings to cups or cup equivalents.

One portion includes:

2 or more small fruit (2 plums, 3 apricots, 7 strawberries, 14 cherries)
1 piece medium-sized fresh fruit, such as apple, banana, pear, orange or nectarine
1/2 grapefruit, 1 slice melon or pineapple
About 1 tablespoon dried fruit, 2 figs, and 3 prunes
2 broccoli spears, 5 asparagus spears, 4 heaped tablespoons of cooked kale, spinach or green beans
3 heaped tablespoons of cooked vegetables, such as carrots, peas or corn, or 8 cauliflower florets
3 sticks of celery, 1 medium tomato or 7 cherry tomatoes
1 cereal bowl of fresh lettuce, spinach, etc.
3 heaped tablespoons of beans or peas; count a maximum 1 portion per day
5-ounce glass of unsweetened 100% fruit or vegetable juice; count a maximum 1 per day
Canned or frozen produce is counted roughly the same as fresh.
Potatoes, yams and plantains don’t count, but are considered as starchy foods.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, July 2014.

FORGET ENERGY BARS


They contain no more “energy” than a cup of coffee or tea. Here are tips to help maintain and pace your energy throughout the day: Get a good night’s sleep. Exercise; you will feel more energetic. Sustain nutrition throughout the day. Combine the right carbohydrates with protein. (Try a simple peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread). Get enough magnesium for good muscle and nerve functioning, steady heart rhythm and blood pressure control. Keep hydrated …. even mild dehydration has negative effects on energy levels, mood and clarity; just be aware of your thirst level so you can stay ahead.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, July 2014.

HEART DISEASE RISK LINKED TO IRON FROM ANIMAL FOODS


Researchers who conducted a review of 21 studies discovered a strong association between “heme” iron (found only in meat) and coronary heart disease (CHD). The researchers found that heme iron consumption increased the risk for CHD by 57 percent, while no association was found between non-heme iron (found in plant and other non-meat sources) and CHD. The researchers speculate that heme iron, which is absorbed much more efficiently than non-heme iron, bypasses the body’s finely tuned iron-regulation system, and ultimately caused inflammation and other damage in the arteries. The study was published March 1, 2014 in the Journal of Nutrition.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2014.

FRUSTRATION WITH MSG!


Regular readers are aware of my avoidance of mono sodium glutamate (MSG). My most recent problem was finding a spinach dip without it. I mention this because I have a Three Ingredient Pizza from Sargento that calls for spinach dip. Knowing that the fewer ingredients in a recipe the better you like it, the recipe is being reserved for my annual Christmas sheet. Many companies have removed MSG from their products including McCormick and Lays. I look forward to the day when all food products will be MSG-free!

WILTED KALE WITH BACON AND VINEGAR


Mary Ann made this dish for me when I spent 4th of July weekend with her. Source was www.myrecipes.com. My Recipes is working with Let’s Move, the Partnership for a Healthier America, and USDA’s MyPlate to give anyone looking for healthier options access to a trove of recipes that will help them create healthy, tasty plates. For more information about creating a healthy plate, visit www.choosemyplate.gov.

• 3 center-cut bacon slices
• 3/4 cup vertically sliced red onion
• 8 cups fresh kale, stemmed and chopped
• 2/3 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)
• 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
• 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat until crisp. Remove from pan; crumble. Increase heat to medium. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 3 minutes. Add kale; cook for 2 minutes or until kale begins to wilt, stirring occasionally. Add stock; cover and cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar and syrup. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Recipe makes 4 two-thirds cup servings.
Source: Cooking Light, September 2013.

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Mary’s Memo – July 21st

NOT ALL WATER COMES FROM THE FAUCET


If these thirsty, sweaty summer days have you worrying whether you’re getting eight glasses of water, as conventional wisdom says you should have, you need to take a closer look at the facts versus the fiction about hydration. “There is little scientific basis for stating a daily requirement for eight glasses of water,” says Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, University School and editor of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, “Actual fluid needs vary widely among individuals, and depend upon body size and energy expenditure through exercise, among other factors.” For most people, according to the Institute of Medicine, “fluid intake, driven by thirst, allows maintenance of hydration status and total body water at normal levels.”Moreover, despite what you may have heard, the water in caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea does “count” toward keeping you hydrated. So does fluid content of foods which adds up to 22 percent of the average American’s water intake. While you don’t have to worry about “eight glasses a day” rule, as you age you might need to pay extra attention to your body’s hydration needs. Older people often have a reduced sensation of thirst, so it’s easier to miss the warning signs that you’re dehydrating. Older individuals also tend to have lower reserves of fluid in the body and drink insufficient water following fluid deprivation. “Because of their low water reserves,” says Dr. Rosenberg says, “it may be prudent for the elderly to learn to drink regularly when not thirsty and to moderately increase their salt intake and eat foods high in potassium when they sweat.” Recommendations to drink eight glasses of water a day typically overlook the water content of foods, which can be almost as high a percentage as plain water (100%): 90 to 99% …. Fat free milk, cantaloupe, strawberries, watermelon, lettuce, cabbage, celery, pickles and cooked squash 80 to 89% …. Fruit juice, yogurt, apples, grapes, oranges, cooked carrots, cooked broccoli, pears, pineapple 70 to 79% …. Bananas, avocados, cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, baked potatoes, cooked corn, shrimp 60 to 69% …. Pasta, legumes, salmon, ice cream, chicken breast 50 to 59% …. Ground beef, hot dogs, feta cheese, cooked tenderloin steak (USDA National Nutrient Database)
Source: Tufts Diet & Nutrition Letter, July, 2014.

RAMBLINGS


Some of you think I am “Mrs. Chief Supermarket” and bring your complaints to me about an array of subjects when Chief actually has a card called “Tell Chief” to fill out and return to the customer service office about what you like or dislike about a product or the store. It’s available on the ad stand (as well as online). I guarantee your complaints are read and appropriate action taken including contacting you personally if necessary. I know this because I had a complaint that was resolved.

It is no secret that my favorite “junk food” is potato chips and I bought Lay’s until daughter Mary Beth gave me an Easter basket this year filled with Dayton area products including Mikesell’s potato chips. With a “buy Ohio” mentality I’ve switched to Mikesell’s and eating their reduced fat ones with 30 percent less fat and lightly salted makes me feel less guilty about indulging.

Don’t stock up on cake mixes just because they’re on sale. They do have an expiration date so buy when you know you’ll be using it soon. This is true of a lot of products. Unless plastics are BPA free, don’t buy them! Also, check to see that they are USA or Canadian-made where plastic standards are higher. That said, never microwave anything in a plastic container. Instead, cook in glass or Corning Ware.

NEVER HAD AN IMPOSSIBLE PIE I DIDN’T LIKE!


Ever since my niece Christine shared Buffalo Chicken Dip with us several years ago I’ve made a salad, soup and now an impossible pie. Feel free to replace regular Bisquick with Heart Smart version.

BUFFALO CHICKEN PIE


• 2 cups cubed rotisserie chicken
• 1/2 cup Frank’s wing sauce
• 1 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup Original Bisquick mix (or Heart Smart version)
• 1/2 cup cornmeal mix
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 2/3 cup blue cheese dressing

Heat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, toss chicken and buffalo wing sauce together. Stir in cheeses and celery. Pour into ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. In medium bowl mix Bisquick mix, cornmeal, milk and egg. Pour over chicken mixture; spread to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until top is golden brown. Cut into wedges; drizzle with blue cheese dressing. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – July 14th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Intensely flavorful and loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, juices are a satisfying way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. A juicer is as easy to use as the resulting juices are nourishing to drink. And the best part? No fruit or vegetables are off limits! That said you’ll want to add Juice It by Robin Asbell to your cookbook library. Published by Chronicle Books this year, Juice It not only includes recipes for a juicer but some that can also be done in a blender.

Robin Asbell is a chef, food writer and cooking teacher specializing in natural foods. She is also the author of Sweet and Easy Began, Big Vegan, The New Whole Grains Cookbook and New Vegetarian, all published by Chronicle Books. Sleepy Salad is made with romaine, fresh dill and a large cucumber. I was not aware that lettuce has been known for its sleep-inducing properties since ancient Roman days.

SLEEPY SALAD


• 1 head romaine lettuce
• 2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
• 1 large cucumber

Juice the romaine, dill and cucumber in that order. Run the pulp through again to extract as much liquid as possible (you should have about 2 cups). Serve immediately.
Source: Juice It by Robin Asbell (Chronicle Books, 2014, $18.95/softback).

BEWARE


Garcinia cambogia has been widely marketed as a dietary supplement for weight loss, in part because of evidence from petri-dish studies showing a substance in the herb called hydroxycitric acid (HCA) may speed the burning of fats. But most studies of HCA in humans failed to show that it helps people lose significantly more weight than a placebo does. Worse, there have been numerous reports of liver damage, in one case, fatal, in people taking diet supplements containing HCA. So save your money and focus instead on a healthy diet, portion control and regular workouts.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July 2014.

POWER-PACKED NUGGETS OF NUTRITION


We all know fruit is good for us, and according to research, berries pack an especially powerful nutritional punch. “One study found a link between eating more blueberries and strawberries and having a lower risk of a heart attack, says Georgia Gianopoulos, a registered dietitian at Weill Cornell Medical Center. The skins and seeds of berries help contribute to their fiber content. While all berries provide a variety of benefits at less than 100 calories per cup, some berries have more of certain nutrients than others. Raspberries and blackberries are highest in fiber. Strawberries are highest in vitamin C and blueberries are highest in antioxidants. Is fresh best? According to Giannopoulos, “Frozen berries are generally picked at their peak ripeness, so they can be as nutritious, if not more so than fresh berries, depending on how the berries are grown.” When buying frozen berries, always check the ingredients and choose those with no added sugars or other ingredients. Frozen berries are a great option, since they are convenient and often less expensive than fresh berries. Canned berries are generally a less healthy choice, as they often contain added sugars, but if you can find them packed in water or juice, rather than syrup, go ahead and give them a try.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2014.

PLAN MENUS AROUND SALE ITEMS


I haven’t met a mushroom I didn’t like and choose to keep an 8-ounce container in the refrigerator even though I usually end up throwing the last of them away unless they’re for a specific recipe. Even when stored in a Williams Sonoma crock with holes in the lid, I still lose some. Fresh fruits and vegetables are more perishable so it’s wise to use them quickly. Although Chief produce departments have Portabella and Baby Bella mushrooms already stuffed, I do my own. When Baby Bellas were three 8-ounce containers for $5.00 one week in June, I took a recipe from Allrecipes.com, replacing button-type with Baby Bellas. Chief tasters loved them!

SAUTEED BABY BELLA MUSHROOMS


• 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 3 tablespoons butter
• 1 lb. Baby Bella mushrooms, sliced (I used an egg slicer)
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon red wine
• 2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
• Freshly ground pepper

Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir mushrooms, garlic, wine, teriyaki sauce and pepper in hot oil and butter until mushrooms are lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer until mushrooms are tender. Serve on top of grilled steak and burgers or on a baked potato. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from Allrecipes.com recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – July 7th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Wish you could cook fish, roasts or even risotto perfectly every single time? "The trick," says foremost cooking authority James Peterson "is to know when to stop cooking." If you hate worrying about whether your cooking will turn out half-raw or overdone, Peterson's latest book, Done (Chronicle Books, May, 2014; $27.50/hardback), tells you exactly how to know by sound, smell, look and feel when more than 85 of the most vexing-to-cook foods are perfectly done. So if you suffer from too-firm artichokes, rubbery shellfish, raw-in-the-middle salmon and fried chicken, rubbery shellfish, hard cooked eggs with gray yolks, fallen soufflés, runny berry pie, limp bacon, dry-as-dirt turkey, too gooey brownies or greasy buttercream frosting, suffer no more! This book is your salvation in the kitchen.

James Peterson is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author, photographer, cooking instructor and former restaurant chef. He is the author of fifteen books and has won seven James Beard Foundation Awards. He cooks, writes and photographs in Brooklyn, New York.
Order Done by James Peterson via Amazon.com.

HOW ACID LOAD IN YOUR DIET CAN AFFECT YOUR HEALTH


Unless you have sensitive teeth or acid reflux disease, the amount of acid in your system probably isn't something you think about too often, But according to an article published in the December 2012 issue of Osteoporosis International, limiting acid load in your diet may help prevent sarcopenia, a loss of muscle mass and function that raises the risk of fracture, injury and disability in older adults. "On its own, the body is an excellent at stabilizing blood pH," says Alissa Lupu, RD, a clinical dietitian at Weill Cornel Medical Center. "It does so by removing excess acid via urine." However, it appears that an imbalance of proportions of acidic and alkaline foods may contribute to health problems. A balanced diet that consists of a ratio of two parts alkaline to 1 part acid seems to be the healthiest. Alkaline foods include most fresh fruits and vegetables, tofu, almonds, herbs and spices and mineral water. "Foods highest in acid include dairy, meat and poultry, fish, most grains, processed foods, alcohol and caffeine," says Lupu. You may be surprised to learn that some foods generally considered acidic, such as lemons and other citrus fruits, become alkaline once they are metabolized by the body. In fact, adding a splash of lemon juice to your water will make it an alkaline drink. Emphasizing alkaline foods means a diet that is plant-food focused, high in fiber and rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. But don't rule out acidic foods, either…. your body needs both.

"A meal of vegetables and tofu with a small serving of poultry, meat or dairy would be ideal, Lupu says.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women's Nutrition Connection, July 2014.

HEALTHY SNACKS


There are plenty of snacks available but not all of them healthy. Planters introduced 4 new peanut varieties including Salted Caramel and Cocoa. Do they taste good? Of course they do but reading the label they also contain ingredients I avoid like fructose. As for fat, label says they're processed in peanut or cottonseed oil (Which is it, Kraft?). A single serving of each has 160 calories including 110 fat calories or 1.5 percent saturated fat. Manufacturers think that because a lot of foods are seasoned with sea salt today consumers are more likely to buy it but sorry, folks, it's still sodium chloride and should be limited. When we're blessed with so much fresh produce in the summertime and most of it grown in the USA, doesn't it make sense to replace unhealthy snacks with a wedge of watermelon, a piece of cantaloupe, a plum or apricot? If you still crave something salty, have a bowl of popped corn with not too many calories and loaded with fiber. Another suggestion is to fill Popsicle molds with fresh fruit juice such as lemonade or limeade, orange, cranberry, pineapple, etc. If you don't have regular molds, freeze in Dixie-type cups and insert a wooden stick when juice begins to freeze.

BRINING BEFORE GRILLING


I resisted brining meat for a long time thinking it would increase my consumption of salt but I have to admit that it does make grilled meat more tender and juicy. That said here are the proportions for brining 2 boneless pork loin chops or 2 boneless, skinless breast halves (you can also use bone-in breast halves).

• 2 cups water
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1-1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Dissolve sugar in water; add salt and stir to dissolve. In a 1.5-quart oblong glass dish add meat to brining solution making sure meat is covered. Brine for 2 hours in the refrigerator. Drain and discard brine, then wipe meat dry with paper towels. I have told you before that I grill over indirect heat, not over the flame. So meat has grill marks, lay meat briefly over flame.
Source: Mary Ann Thaman.

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Mary’s Memo – June 30th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


You don’t need to be a vegan to enjoy recipes from Straight from the Earth Recipes for Everyone by Myra and Marea Goodman with colored photographs by Sara Remington. The book’s diverse and delectable collection of recipes takes you from breakfast and lunch to dinner and dessert. Each recipe comes from either Myra or Marea and their unique voices and styles add a personal, conversational element to this collaborative project. Marea, for instance, has long enjoyed a vegan diet, while Myra, her mother, has not; for Myra, writing the book has transformed the way she eats. She and her husband Drew founded Earthbound Farm on their 2.5 acre raspberry farm. It has since become the largest producer of organic produce in North America. Marea grew up on the farm and learned to cook surrounded by an abundance of fresh organic produce. Myra and her husband live on their original farm in Carmel Valley, California. Daughter Marea lives in Oakland, California.

Since roasted vegetables are a favorite of mine, Cumin-Roasted Cauliflower and Carrots is an excellent side dish year round.

CUMIN-ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AND CARROTS


• 1 large head cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
• 2 large carrots cut into 1/3 to 1/2 inch slices
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground coriander
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Pinch of cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spread the cauliflower and carrots in a large rimmed roasting pan. Drizzle the oil over them and toss with your hands until they are coated. In small bowl, blend cumin, coriander, salt and cayenne together with a fork. Sprinkle the spices evenly over the vegetables and toss with your hands until vegetables are evenly coated. Make sure vegetables are spread out in pan and not touching each other if possible. Roast vegetables for 45 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, then twice more at 10 minute intervals, making sure they remain spread out in pan. The vegetables are done when they are firm but easily pierced with a fork and beginning to turn golden brown. If they need more time in the oven after the initial 45 minutes, keep a close eye on them, stirring every 5 minutes. Serve vegetables warm or at room temperature. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: Straight from the Earth by Myra and Marea Goodman (Chronicle Books, April 2014, $27.50/softback).

AVOID FRUIT-FLAVORED YOGURTS


Tufts Diet & Nutrition Letter Editor Irwin H. Rosenberg, MD, says he enjoys “traditional” Greek yogurt made with whole milk. “First of all, ‘traditional’ or ‘authentic’ yogurt made with traditional cultures with a long history may sometimes be richer in probiotic content,” he says. “These traditional yogurts also generally use less sugar or other sweeteners. ‘Greek’ yogurt means that it has been strained, so that it is more firm and contains less whey. Keep an eye on what’s added to your yogurt, however it’s made; if the ingredients list reads like a sundae, those additions will likely outweigh any health benefits from the yogurt itself. ‘Traditional’ yogurt is usually made with whole milk, and there is no evidence that low-fat yogurt is healthier per se.” Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, June 2014.

WEIGHT WATCHER’S DIET


Of all the diet regimens on the market, Weight Watcher’s in my opinion is the best! This past year my Mary Ann and niece Gina have both lost a significant amount of weight on the diet without sacrificing good-tasting food. Another advantage to Weight Watcher’s is that fresh fruits and vegetables are free and good in-between-meal snacks. Recently, Gina had a recipe for Parmesan Tomato Bites on her Facebook page; I’m sure one that suits her diet regimen.

PARMESAN TOMATO BITES


• 2 tomatoes, sliced
• 1-1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese
• 1 teaspoon fresh oregano
• Dash salt (1/8 teaspoon)
• Dash pepper (1/8 teaspoon)
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Cut tomatoes lengthwise into approximately 1/3 inch slices. Place on a baking sheet. Top with shredded Parmesan, cheese, oregano, salt and fresh ground pepper (or according to taste). Drizzle with olive oil and bake until center is hot and cheese is melted, about 10 to 15 minutes.
Source: Gina Decker, Greensboro NC.

HOMEMADE PUDDING VERSUS “STORE-BOUGHT”


Many shoppers buy pudding in cups, especially when it’s on sale. If they knew how good homemade puddings tasted, a lot would opt to make their own. This is especially true of chocolate and butterscotch flavored puddings thickened with cornstarch although arrowroot or flour may be substituted for cornstarch.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING


• 1/3 cup cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa)
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2-1/4 cups milk, scalded
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix cocoa with cornstarch and sugar; gradually whisk in scalded milk. Cook in double boiler, stirring until thick; cover and cook 15 to 20 minutes. Add vanilla extract. Pour into custard cups; chill until firm. Recipe makes 5 to 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – June 23rd

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


In case you hadn’t noticed, the egg has been elevated to entrée status or at the very least, showing up on top of a variety of foods. Eggs on Top, Recipes Elevated by an Egg by Andrea Slonecker and photographs by David Reamer is a gem of a cookbook! With two distinct sections, this primer teaches first the classic techniques for cooking the humble egg. From perfectly poached to softly scrambled, each method is clearly conveyed to ensure egg cooking success. Skills mastered, you’ll find you can add an egg to nearly any recipe. Andrea Slonecker’s writing has appeared in the Oregonian’s MIX magazine and Northwest Palate magazine. She has served as executive director of the Portland Culinary Alliance and a chef instructor at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute in Portland, and she's the author of Pretzel Making at Home, also from Chronicle Books. David Reamer is a food and lifestyle photographer whose images have appeared in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine and GQ. David cooked for thirteen years before finally trading in his chef’s knife for a camera.

Have you ever poached eggs in milk? Now you can with a recipe from the cookbook. Slonecker likes them on a slice of buttered toast but they can be served on other entrees as well.

MILK-POACHED EGGS


• 1 cup milk
• Salt
• 2 farm-fresh eggs

Warm milk with a pinch of salt over medium-high heat. (Don’t be tempted to add vinegar to the eggs, as you would for water poaching because it will make the milk curdle.) Crack eggs into separate bowls. When the milk is foamy on top and you can see little bubbles starting to break the surface, gently slip the eggs in, one by one, on opposite sides of the pan. If the yolks aren’t quite submerged, use a spoon to delicately baste them with the hot milk. Adjust the heat as needed to keep the milk from boiling; it should be steaming and foamy, but not bubbling. Poach the eggs 2 to 3 minutes, depending on their size. To see if they are done, lift an egg from the milk with a slotted spoon and gently feel around the edges of the yolk. The yolk should jiggle and the white should feel set yet tender. Strain the eggs from the milk using the slotted spoon, and place them on the dish they are destined for.
Source: Eggs on Top by Andrea Slonecker (Chronicle Books, 2014, $24.95/softback).

WHY TRANS FATS ARE WORSE THAN OTHER TYPES OF FAT


Trans fats, which are made by adding extra hydrogen to vegetable oils, originally seemed like a promising alternative to butter because they provided a similar taste without saturated fat and cholesterol, but they turned out to be even worse for our health than saturated fat. Not only do they raise LDL (bad) cholesterol but they lower HDL (good) cholesterol and might contribute to inflammation. You can avoid them by steering clear of products that list “partially hydrogenated oil” as an ingredient. Some recent evidence suggests that saturated fat might not be as dangerous as once thought, but more research is needed to confirm this.
Source: ConsumerReports on Health, June 2014.

MARRIED PEOPLE HEART HEALTHIER


The largest study of its kind reports that married people are less likely to suffer from a range of cardiovascular problems, from heart disease to circulatory issues. In an analysis of data on more than 3.5 million Americans, average age 64, who’d undergone health screenings by a private company, married people were 5 percent less likely to have cardiovascular problems than singles. Compared to married participants, widowed people were at 3 percent greater risks and divorced people at 5 percent more risk. The correlation between marital status and cardiovascular health was strongest for those under age 50. The findings were presented at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, June 2014.

WHAT COULD BE EASIER THAN THIS TO MAKE!


When the recipe was tested I used a cake mix (Duncan Hines) that weighed more. When I make it again I’ll use a cake mix like Betty Crocker that weighs about 4 ounces less. Knowing memo readers are attracted to recipes with a few ingredients, you’re going to love this dessert!

RHUBARB DUMP CAKE


• 4 cups cut-up rhubarb
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 (3-ounce) package strawberry gelatin
• 1 yellow cake mix
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
• 1 cup water

In a 9x13-inch glass baking dish layer rhubarb, sugar, gelatin and cake mix. DO NOT MIX OR STIR! Evenly pour butter and water over all. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes or until rhubarb is cooked and top is golden brown. Recipe makes 16 servings.

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Mary’s Memo – June 16th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


The Complete Autism Spectrum Disorder Health & Diet Guide by Dr. R. Garth Smith, Susan Hannah and Elke Sengmueller (www.robertrose.ca; May 2014, $24.95/softback) includes 175 gluten free and casein-free recipes. In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association provided new diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a term that incorporates diagnoses previously described as separate: autistic disorder, Asperger‘s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder and pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. This comprehensive book on ASD will be an invaluable resource for parents, caregivers and health professionals alike, since it combines the expertise of an outstanding author team with years of experience and a range of skills. Autism is making headlines in the news today. The authors clearly explain ASD …. its symptoms, possible causes, promising therapies and available resources that can improve children’s quality of life and help them reach their full potential. One of the diet therapies that families often try is the gluten-free casein-free (GFCF) diet. Although research is still somewhat divided, some families who try the GFCF recipes report reduced ASD-associated symptoms in children with milk and/or wheat allergies, suspected food sensitivities or gastrointestinal symptoms.

Dr. R. Garth Smith is a medical advisor for ASD. Susan Hannah is a respected health author and a former research associate at the Department of Family Medicine, Queen’s University. Elke Sengmuelle, B.A.Sc., RD, is a clinical dietitian at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. She runs a private practice, Family Nutrition Counseling and reviewed the dietary information in this book.

THE “EYES” HAVE IT: EAT TO PROTECT YOUR VISION


Generations of parents told their children that eating carrots would improve their vision. But those well-meaning moms and dads probably should have said the same about a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables, since they contain the key nutrients that support eye health. “Certain antioxidants, such as beta carotene and vitamin C and E, may play a role against two common causes of vision loss, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cataracts,” says Jessica Ciralsky, MD, with Weill Cornell Eye Associates. The nutrients lutein and zeaxanthin also have been shown to influence the health of the macula, the part of the retina responsible for clear central vision. Dr. Ciralsky recommends regular consumption of dark leafy vegetables which contain high levels of lutein and also trace amounts of zeaxanthin. Additional sources of zeaxanthin include corn and kiwifruit and egg yolks. While the yolks contain all the cholesterol in eggs, recent research suggest that eating eggs may have little impact on the levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol in your body. For vitamin C, consider adding more strawberries and citrus to your diet. Good sources of vitamin E include nuts and seeds, which also contain zinc, a mineral that is found in large concentrations in the retina and is thought to help bring vitamin A to the eye, Dr. Ciralsky explains. Beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in your body, is most plentiful in dark green and orange vegetables and fruits. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, June 2014.

WHY RED BEETS ARE CALLED HARVARD


When I recently served Mother’s Harvard Beets from my cookbook at the Bryan Chief, a taster asked why they were called “Harvard.” Not knowing the answer, I went to the internet for information. There is only speculation about the origin but in the Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink food historians had a couple theories. One was that the crimson color of the beets is the same color as the jerseys of Harvard football players. Another story is that a Russian immigrant settled in Boston and opened a restaurant called Hardwood’s but his Russian accent made it sound like Harvard and the name stuck.

MAKE DOUBLE-CHOCOLATE SNACK CAKE FOR DAD


Isn’t everyone looking for easy desserts to make in the summertime? This week’s recipe from Pillsbury is perfect for the fatherin-your-life, especially if he’s a chocoholic. A single serving has 230 calories with only 80 from fat. The only change I made was replacing regular cocoa powder with Hershey Special Dark but if you prefer, use regular.

DOUBLE-CHOCOLATE SNACK CAKE


• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons Hershey Special Dark cocoa powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup water
• 3 tablespoons canola oil
• 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• Powdered sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 350ºF. In an ungreased 9x5-inch loaf pan, mix flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt with a fork. Stir in remaining ingredients except chocolate chips and powdered sugar. Sprinkle chocolate chips over batter. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Cut into 6 servings. Source: Pillsbury internet recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – June 9th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


There’s no reason to settle for leftovers or a hastily thrown together meal when you could be cooking with sumptuous recipes specifically designed for one or two people. They can also be easily scaled up if you’re entertaining. Delicious Diabetes Cooking for One or Two People by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson comes to the rescue with wonderful recipes plus a wealth of diabetes-related information, everything from symptoms, diagnosis and blood sugar control to alternative sweetener information and nutritional therapy. None of the recipes are long or complicated and many are even suitable for those managing other dietary restrictions such as gluten or dairy allergies. Berriedale-Johnson is a bestselling author and the founder of the Free From Food Award (food allergy/intolerance). She lives in the United Kingdom.
We selected Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins to share.

WHOLE WHEAT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS


• 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar (this is raw sugar and is available at Chief)
• 2 tablespoons butter, softened
• 1 small egg (or 2 tablespoons beaten eggs)
• 1/4 cup milk or buttermilk
• 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
• Pinch salt
• 1/3 cup blueberries

Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, beat the sugar, butter, egg and milk. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the liquid mixture. Fold in the blueberries. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Fill empty cups with water. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool slightly on a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Recipe makes 3 to 4 small muffins.
Source: Delicious Diabetes Cooking for One or Two People by Michelle Berriedale-Johnson (www.robertrose.ca; May 2014, $19.95/softback).

TO IMPROVE YOUR MOOD, SMILE!


The old adage “grin and bear it” has some proven value, as indicated in a 2012 study in Psychological Science. University students who simulated different types of smiles while performing stressful tasks had lower heart rates than students who donned neutral expressions. And a classic study from 1988 found that activating smile muscles made people rate cartoons as funnier. In contrast, just lowering the eyebrows (in effect, frowning) had an immediate negative effect on mood in a 2012 study in the journal Emotion.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2014.

THE RAIN DIDN’T HURT THE RHUBARB


I don’t know if it was the bag of 10-10-10 that I applied where the rhubarb grows in early March but I have the best rhubarb I’ve had in several years! If you have a bumper crop and like easy recipes, you must make Five Ingredient Rhubarb Squares. Before blending the cold butter with the cake mix, be sure butter is cut into many small pieces. Mine should have been smaller when I tested the recipe.

FIVE- INGREDIENT RHUBARB SQUARES


• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
• 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
• 1-3/4 cups sugar
• 3 eggs
• 4 cups sliced rhubarb

Heat oven to 350ºF (325ºF for dark or nonstick pan). Reserve 2 tablespoons of the cake mix. In large bowl, cut butter into remaining cake mix, using pastry blender (or pulling 2 table knives through ingredients in opposite directions), blend until crumbly. In bottom of ungreased 13x9-inch pan, pat 2 cups of the mixture. Reserve remaining crumbly mixture for topping. Bake 13 minutes. In large bowl, beat reserved 2 tablespoons cake mix, sugar and eggs with electric mixer at medium speed until creamy. Stir in rhubarb. Pour over partially baked crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbly mixture over top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes longer or until golden brown and center is set. Cool slightly before serving. Serve warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator. Recipe makes 16 servings (290 calories, 100 from fat).
Source: Betty Crocker recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – June 2nd

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Juicing machines are a top-selling kitchen appliance. Home juicing, which ten years ago was just a fad among health food enthusiasts, has entered the mainstream kitchen in a big way. Best 100 Juices for Kids by Jessica Fisher brings this revolution home for the kids or grandchildren in the family.

Every parent knows that pediatricians and kids’ dentists decry the effects on children, from bad teeth and sleepless nights to obesity and the risk of diabetes from drinks loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. But what to do? Most children want something more interesting than plain water and something sweeter than a glass of milk.

Cookbook author and blogger, Fisher, mom of six, discovered the answer shortly after she brought home a juicing machine. She experimented with hundreds of flavor combinations and discovered a wealth of recipes that could pass the rigorous six-children-test in her home. In Best 100 Juices for Kids, Fisher shares the tasty, sparkling results. Seventy recipes are for juices, 45 fruit-based and 25 vegetable based. The remaining 30 feature luscious smoothies, including several dairy-free recipes, and “sparklies,” which are club soda-based carbonated drinks, great replacements for artificially flavored and sugary soda pop. For the hot months there are recipes for icy slushes and refreshing juice-based ice pops. Jessica Fisher lives in the San Diego area with her husband and six children that she home schools with plenty of breaks for healthy beverages. Her bestselling first book, Not Your Mother’s Make Ahead and Freeze Cookbook, added to her reputation as an author with a lot of clever ideas for feeding a family cheaply and nutritiously.

These days everyone’s favorite condiment is salsa and Gazpacho Juice tastes just like salsa in a glass. Feel free to add a few dashes of hot pepper sauce for those who like a little kick. You may also crave a few tortilla chips with your drink.

GAZPACHO JUICE


• 2 medium tomatoes
• 1 medium cucumber
• 1 large red bell pepper
• 1 medium lime
• 1/2 small red onion
• 2 handfuls fresh cilantro

Core tomatoes. Trim the cucumber. Core and seed the pepper. Peel the lime if desired. Juice the tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, lime, onion and cilantro according to your juicing machine. Whisk to combine. Add water to taste if you or your children prefer a milder juice. Recipe makes 15 to 20-ounces.
Source: 100 Best Juices for Kids (Harvard Common Press, April 2014, 16.95/softback.

SAY GOODNIGHT TO YOUR SMART PHONE


In two studies out of Michigan State University, managers and employees who checked their smart phones after 9 p.m. were more tired the next morning and less engaged at work the following day than those who didn’t use their phones during that time. The phones keep us mentally engaged, one of the authors said, and “make it hard to detach from work so they can relax and fall asleep.”
SOURCE: Consumer Reports on Health, May 2014.

CANNED FRUITS & VEGGIES – NUTRITIOUS & AFFORDABLE


Research suggests that canned fruits and vegetables are on a par nutritionally with fresh and frozen, and can be an affordable way of helping boost your intake of produce. The review, published February 27, 2014, in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine, analyzed more than 40 studies comparing canned fruits and vegetables to fresh and frozen varieties based on nutrition and cost. The researchers found that canned vegetables often cost 20 to 50 percent less than fresh and frozen varieties, with virtually no sacrifices in nutritional quality. One caveat: Canned foods are often high in salt, so choose sodium-free products or rinse vegetables thoroughly before consuming them. Also, rinse fruit if it is canned in syrup.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2014.

CRISPS AND COBBLERS


Crisps and cobblers are mainly different in their use of toppings. Cobblers have biscuit dough dropped on top of fruit so it looks like a cobbled street when baked. Crisps have a topping made by combining butter with flour, sugar (either white or brown) and sometimes oatmeal until crumbly. Both are made with a variety of fresh fruits but usually not citrus because of its water content. Thickening in crisps and cobblers is usually flour or cornstarch. This week’s recipe for Peach Crisp was shared by Sister Regina Smith, our retired pastoral assistant at St. Patrick’s Church in Bryan.

PEACH CRISP


• 3 to 4 cups sliced fresh peaches (other fruits can be used)
• 1 tablespoon flour
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/8 teaspoon ginger
• Pinch of salt (1/8 teaspoon)
• 1 tablespoon water
• 1 cup quick oatmeal
• 1/2 cup flour
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Mix first 7 ingredients together. Pour into a 9x9x2-inch baking dish. In separate bowl mix together last 4 ingredients for the topping. Sprinkle over fresh fruit mixture. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes.
Source: Sister Regina Smith, Perrysburg, OH.

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Mary’s Memo – May 26th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


For me the barbecue season begins Memorial Day weekend and just in time to make outdoor grilling more intriguing is Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer, the quick fix way to turn everyday food into exceptional fare. How about Grilled Apricot-Ginger-Lime marinated Shrimp or Grilled Raspberry-Chipotle Marinated Baby Back Ribs? Are you in the middle of a busy week? There’s hardly anything quicker to prepare than Basil-Tangerine Marinated Chicken Breasts. Or if company is coming stir up a surprising Beet- Horseradish Marinade, soak some salmon fillets in the marinade for a half hour and bake for an amazing easy dinner with plenty of time leftover to spend with your guests. Recipes range from comforting American, French and Italian marinades to adventuresome and assertive ideas from Mexico, Latin America, Asia and beyond. Lucy Vaserfirer is a culinary educator and blogger. A graduate of Le Cordon Bleu, she teaches culinary courses at Clark College in Vancouver WA, and at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham OR, and appears often on cooking segments on Portland-area TV. Her previous books are Seared to Perfection and Flavored Butters. She lives with her husband in Vancouver WA.

When you don’t have time to start from scratch and mince garlic, chiles and other ingredients, you can rely on sriracha, the popular chile and garlic sauce (available at Chief), good as a marinade for boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork chops, beef steaks, white fish fillets, shrimp and sea scallops.

SRIRACHA MARINADE


• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1/4 cup sriracha sauce
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
• 2 tablespoons sugar

Measure the canola oil, srichacha sauce, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar into a 1-gallon zip-top bag and shake and squeeze until blended. Add thighs, pork chops or beef steaks and marinate 2 hours to overnight. White fish, shrimp, sea scallops and squid should marinate 20 to 45 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels, then grill over direct heat. Marinade makes enough for 4 to 6 servings. Source: Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer (Harvard Common Press, April 2014, $17.95/paperback), available at Amazon.com.

ALL ABOUT BLACKBERRIES


Keep in mind that berries of any kind are very perishable and should be used as soon as possible after you bring them home. Never wash until you are ready to use them. When blackberries were on sale recently I served my version of Taste of Home’s Fresh Blackberry Cobbler. I replaced vegetable shortening with butter and whole milk with 2% (what I had in the refrigerator). It worked fine so use whatever kind you usually buy.

FRESH BLACKBERRY COBBLER


• 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 4 cups fresh blackberries, washed and air dried
• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 3 tablespoons cold butter
• 1/2 cup milk (whatever kind you use)
• Vanilla ice cream (optional)

In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch in blackberries and lemon juice. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Pour into 1-1/2-quart oblong glass baking dish. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Drop evenly over hot blackberry mixture (I had 3 rows). Bake in preheated 400ºF oven until topping is golden brown. Mine took between 20 to 25 minutes (check at 20 minutes). Serve warm with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Taste of Home recipe.

One of my Bryan Chief tasters was Dr. Gary Sammons, retired Bryan chiropractor, who told me his mother, Pearl, made 111 Kentucky Fruit Cobbler. It takes less time than the one I made so I tried it over the weekend. The Sammons' serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Cobbler can be made with strawberries, blueberries, fresh peaches, apples, etc. He also told me they cut the 1 stick of butter in half and I followed their recommendation.

PEARL’S KENTUCKY COBBLER


• 1/2 stick butter
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup self-rising flour
• 1 cup milk
• 1 cup fresh fruit

Melt butter in 8x8x2-inch glass baking dish in oven. Mix flour, sugar, milk and self-rising flour together. Pour into dish. Arrange fresh fruit evenly over batter. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 45 minutes.
Source: Dr. Gary Sammons, Bryan, OH.

PS: After having everything ready to make the cobbler, I discovered that my self-rising flour use-by date had expired so I made my own by mixing 1 cup flour, 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/2 teaspoons salt together.

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