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Mary’s Memo – September 26th

FOOD: THE BIGGEST ISSUE NOT ON THE TABLE IN 2016 ELECTIONS


Amid the hoopla and distractions of the 2016 elections, the 2016 elections have so far ignored the one topic that is among the biggest challenges of our time - our food. According to Darlish Mozaffarian, MD, DrPH, Dean, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, poor nutrition is the leading cause of poor health in the United States and globally, causing more deaths and disability than any other factor. Nutrition, the number one cause of illness, is largely ignored by the health system. Whether in the current administration or the next one, we need a White House Conference on Nutrition. The last and only such conference was held in 1969 (one that I attended). It was directed and organized by Dr. Jean Mayer, special consultant to the president, who went on to lead Tufts University and found the only graduate school of nutrition in North America, Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy. That conference achieved many successes, including improved programs for school lunch, child nutrition and nutrition education; greater access to food assistance including WIC (Women, Infants and Children), consumer protection and information activities for the public and industry.

This is nutrition’s time. More than ever, the public is interested in healthy and sustainable eating, while many across industry recognize that their success depends on being a part of the solution. As we enter the last lap of the 2016 elections, it’s time for food to be a major issue on the table. Source: Tufts Diet and Nutrition Letter, September 2016.

CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING STATIN DRUGS HELP PREVENT HEART ATTACKS AND STROKES


In people at “intermediate risk” for cardiovascular disease, a major study in the New England Journal of Medicine confirms this. The study involved 12,705 people from 21 countries. None had cardiovascular disease, but all were at intermediate risk because of factor such as obesity and smoking. Over the course of 5½ years, people taking statins were 24% less likely to have heart attack or stroke than those taking a placebo. That worked out to be about one less event per 100 people. Statin users had a lower rate of discontinuation due to adverse effects than those taking the placebo. Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, October 2016.

“MARIANIZING” RECIPES


What attracted me to this recipe was the ease of preparation. To make it more flavorful, I used an entire can of La Choy beans sprouts because what am I to do with the leftover sprouts? 1 cup of shredded cabbage was omitted because of the additional bean sprouts. Water was replaced with chicken stock which is richer than broth. Otherwise, the recipe was left intact.

CHICKEN CHOW MEIN SOUP


• 2 cups cubed cooked chicken (can be from rotisserie chicken)
• 2 ribs celery, sliced
• 1 cup sliced button mushrooms
• 1 can La Choy Bean Sprouts, well drained
• ¼ cup shredded carrot
• 14 cup chopped scallions
• 32-ounce carton of Swanson Chicken Stock
• ¼ cup dry sherry or water (I used sherry)
• 3 tablespoons Law Choy Low Sodium Soy Sauce
• 4 ounces angel hair pasta, broken in thirds
• 1 14.5-ounce can Swanson 98% fat-free chicken broth
• 1 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained

Heat all ingredients in 4-quart Dutch oven over medium high heat, stirring occasionally. When soup comes to the boiling point, cover and simmer 15 minutes. Recipe makes 6 servings.

THERE’S BEEN A CHANGE MADE TO THE EVERYTHING COOKIE RECIPE


Although feedback was positive regarding Everything Cookies, I didn’t like the 1 cup of salad oil in the recipe. That was eliminated and replaced with an additional stick of butter. In my opinion, cookies are much better in texture and flavor.

REVISED EVERYTHING COOKIE RECIPE


• 3 sticks butter, softened
• 1 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon soda
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 cup quick oats
• 1 cup coconut
• 1 cup Rice Krispies
• 1 12-ounce bag of dark chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together in electric mixer bowl.. Drop by rounded teaspoonful onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until lightly browned on top. Recipe makes 6 to 7 dozen.

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Mary’s Memo – September 12th

FIGHT CANCER WITH FIVE SMART FOODS


Eat more berries and cruciferous vegetables, and skip red and processed meats. According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. Life style choices are directly linked to one-third of all cancers: excess weight, low intake of fruits and vegetables, lack of physical activity and tobacco and alcohol use. “Reducing your intake of certain food groups while increasing your intake of certain ‘superfoods’ can reduce your risk of cancer twofold,” explains Abby Arday, RD, CDN, CNSC, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. “For example, consuming fatty fish such as salmon and tuna instead of processed and red meats, especially charred meats, can help reduce the risk of colon, breast and stomach cancers.” Here are the five food choices that can help lower your cancer risk.

Boost Berry Intake: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and especially blueberries are well-known sources of antioxidants, fiber, phytochemicals and vitamin C.

Get More Omega-3’s: “Incorporating more omega-3’s into your diet decreases inflammation and can reduce the risk of colon cancer,” says Arday. “Almonds, walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, mackerel, trout and tuna contain the highest quantities of omega-3’s.

Choose Cruciferous Vegetables: The Cruciferae family of vegetables includes broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and collard greens. Cruciferae are excellent sources of fiber, folic acid, phytochemicals and antioxidants. Diets low in folic acid and fiber have been linked with an increased risk of colon cancer.

Limit Red Meat: High intakes of beef, lamb and pork, especially if charred, are linked to increased risk of colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers. The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) recommends limiting red meat intake to less than 18 ounces of cooked meat per week.

Avoid Processed Meat : Salami, pastrami, hot dogs, ham, bacon, sausages, smoked, cured or salted meats have been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer.
Source: Weill Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, September 2016.

REPORT: GMO FOODS AS SAFE AS CONVENTIONAL CHOICES


Even as a new Vermont law and food giants including General Mills and Campbell Soup push to label GMO products, a sweeping new scientific report concludes that genetically engineered crops are as safe as conventionally grown foods. “We looked at a lot of evidence and found no apparent health risk,” says Timothy Griffin, PhD, an associate professor at Tufts’ Friedman School and director of the Agriculture, Food and Environment program. He is one of 20 scientists who spent two years reviewing 900 research publications at the behest of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. “We also heard from a number of speakers who talked about research both on potential health impacts and on perceptions…. how people perceive different risks and benefits,” Griffin goes on. “We looked at all the evidence and concluded that there doesn’t appear to be any negative impact. If there had been a clear signal, that would have been a very different story, but there wasn’t.” Nonetheless, he adds, the report struck a cautionary tone. “That doesn’t say there will never be a risk. Policy and regulatory functions need to continue to look at these issues.”
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, September 2016.

RECIPES


One of this week’s recipes is from the June 1997 Cooking Light magazine via daughter Mary Ann.

SUMMER PASTA WITH WALNUTS


• 8-ounces farfalle (bow tie pasta), uncooked
• 2 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 1½ cups)
• 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced (about 1½ cups)
• 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 3 ears)
• ½ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
• 1 cup low fat ricotta cheese
• ½ cup low fat buttermilk
• ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
• ¾ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon pepper
• 1½ cups chopped tomatoes, seeded

Cook pasta in boiling water 8 minutes. Add squash and zucchini; return to a boil, and cook 3 minutes. Add corn; cook an additional 2 minutes. Drain well. Combine basil and next 5 ingredients (basil through pepper) in a large bowl. Add pasta mixture and tomato; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with walnuts; garnish with basil sprig, if desired. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Encore for Cajun Cabbage. I really like this recipe and it’s good reheated.

CAJUN CABBAGE


• 3 strips thick sliced bacon
• ½ of a large head of cabbage, chopped
• 1 14.5-ounce can Del Monte Tomatoes Season with Green Peppers and Onion
• 1/3 cup cider vinegar
• 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• 1/8 teaspoon Tabasco

Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or electric skillet until crisp. Drain bacon, reserving dripping. Stir cabbage, tomatoes, vinegar, Cajun seasoning and Tabasco sauce in hot drippings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer 45 minutes. Before serving, chop bacon and sprinkle on top of cabbage mixture. Recipe makes 6 servings.

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Mary’s Memo – September 5th

SEPTEMBER IS ....


The word comes from Latin septem for seven, since this was the 7th month of the Roman Calendar Month named when calendar year began with March. Events in September include Labor Day, Native American Day on the first Monday after Labor Day, Grandparents Day on first Sunday after Labor Day, Better Breakfast Month, Pet Awareness Month, Uncle Sam’s image first used in 1813, Newspaper Carrier Day September 4th, National Cheese Pizza Day, September 5th, and Read A Book Day, September 6th.

HIGH-FIBER DIET MAY REDUCE FOOD ALLERGIES


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies are a growing food safety concern affecting an estimated 4 to 6 percent of children in the United States. The average American consumes 15 grams of fiber per day, only half the recommended amount. Increasing fiber intake can improve intestinal health, promote regular bowel movements and improve health of helpful bacteria in the intestines. Fiber also aids in regulating blood glucose, as well as maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet; the best food sources of dietary fiber are vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Fiber supplements can increase fiber intake, but choosing whole foods over supplements is recommended , when tolerated, for the many additional benefits high-fiber foods have to offer.

NEW OBESITY MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES FOCUS ON “REAL-WORLD CARE”


Even though more than a third of Americans are now classified as obese, many people think of obesity as a temporary battle of the bulge rather than a serious medical condition. ”Thinking of obesity as a chronic medical condition can help patients seek medical help for weigh management,” says Rachel Lustgarten, RD, CDN, a dietician with the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Iris Cantor Women’s Health Center. “Instead of Wasting money on useless and potentially dangerous supplements, quick fixes and fad diets, people will feel more comfortable receiving medical assistance from a healthcare practitioner when obesity is correctly framed as a chronic health condition.”

WHAT YOU CAN DO


Follow a diet that is primarily composed of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins with the goal of having 5 or 6 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Avoid “high-density” foods that pack in a lot of calories with high fat content. For example, substitute a grilled chicken sandwich and a salad for a cheeseburger and French fries. Get at least 30 minutes of activity every day. Stair climbing, brisk walk, dancing and garden work are all good ideas. Look for alternative workouts if you start to get bored with your routine; boredom is a common reason given why people abandon exercise.Source: Weill Cornell Iris Cantor Health Center, September 2016.

REGARDING BETTER BREAKFAST MONTH


The time that elapses from our last meal at night until morning is the longest period our bodies go without food. That is why everyone should start the day with a good breakfast. My menu is sometimes unorthodox; it may be an entrée that I don’t want to eat for my main meal again or a bowl of soup leftover from the night before. As long as it is nutritious, what makes the difference! That said, feel free to choose conventional foods, such as Cheerios, a whole grain ready-to-eat cereal that’s been around since I was a student at Purdue. General Mills has added many alternatives but in my opinion and nutritionally speaking, the original Cheerios is still the best. And don’t forget oatmeal. It’s so quick to prepare in the microwave. To make, measure 1/3 cup quick oats and a dash of salt with 2/3 cup water. If you like, include about ¼ cup dried cherries, raisins or blueberries. Cover and cook on high for 1 minute and 10 seconds. Remove from microwave and sweeten to taste and add a scant teaspoon of butter.

ENCORE.


Recently someone told me that one of their favorite recipes from Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It, is Quiche Without a Crust. Serve it for breakfast, brunch or dinner.

QUICHE WITHOUT A CRUST


• 2 cups white bread cubes
• 3 tablespoons melted butter
• 8 eggs
• 1½ cups milk (whatever kind you use)
• ½ teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
• 2 cups shredded Swiss cheese (reduced-fat kind if available)
• 1 cup cooked ham cut in julienne strips

In the bottom of a 10-inch quiche dish or pie plate, toss together bread cubes and melted butter. Spread evenly over bottom of dish. In a large bowl , using wire whisk, beat eggs just until blended. Add milk, salt, nutmeg, cheese and ham. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 35 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. To serve, cut into 8 wedges. Enjoy!

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Mary’s Memo – August 29th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


The cast-iron pan is making a comeback, and with good reason! A well-made, well-seasoned pan is naturally non-stick, will last for generations and is ideal for baking, sautéing, frying, slow cooking and more. There’s nothing quite like the sound of a steak hitting a perfectly seasoned cast-iron pan and the sear imparted is incomparable. Chef Rachel Narins, author of Cast-Iron Cooking: Getting the Most out of Your Cast-Iron Cookware, demystifies the caring for cast-iron with a friendly, accessible introduction to the properties, perks and full range of possibilities that come along with the classic cookware. From stovetop to oven to campfire to grill, this affordable, long-lasting material is unmatched in its versatility and Cast-Iron Cooking will teach readers how to take full advantage of it.

Peaches are never better than now and one of the featured recipes in Cast-Iron Cooking is Peach Crisp, put together in minutes and flavor is divine!

PEACH CRISP


• 5 large peaches, pitted and sliced ¼ inch thick
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• ¼ cup granulated sugar
• 1 cup rolled oats
• 1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 5 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and softened.

Preheat over to 350ºF. In medium bowl, gently toss the peaches with cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 tablespoons flour and granulated sugar. To make topping, combine the oats, brown sugar, butter and the remaining 1 cup flour in a separate bowl. Mix well with your hands until it just comes together. Transfer the peaches to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet and scatter topping over them. Place the skillet on a baking sheet to catch any overflow. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until topping is browned. Serve warm. Recipe serves 4 to 6.

WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO EXERCISE?


The short answer is that the best time to exercise is whenever you can fit it in to your schedule. While there is no strict “rule of thumb” on the subject, here are some guidelines that might help.
It’s always best to have something in your stomach before exercising. Your body needs carbohydrates for energy. If you want to exercise first thing in the morning, remember that your blood sugar is lower at the start of a day; have a light breakfast or snack first.

The size of the meal should dictate how long you wait to exercise. Likewise, the intensity of your activity should play a role in how long you wait after eating. If you have a large meal, wait three or four hours before exercising, especially if exercise is vigorous. After a smaller meal, wait approximately two hours. If you have a snack, wait an hour or so.

If part of your exercise routine is an after-dinner walk, don’t feel you have to wait three hours to stroll through your neighborhood. Go ahead and walk after a meal. If you’re going for a jog or to an aerobics class, then give yourself more time.

There’s no real danger in working out too soon after eating, but too much activity right after a meal may give you an upset stomach. Be your own judge and listen to your stomach. If exercising less than an hour after a meal works with your schedule and doesn’t bother you, then go ahead and exercise. Source: Weill Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, September 2016.

FAVORITE WAY TO FIX ZUCCHINI


My all-time favorite way to fix zucchini is Zucchini Casserole Imperial from my cookbook. It’s like having a quiche without a crust. Serve as aa side dish or meatless entrée.

ZUCCHINI CASSEROLE IMPERIAL


• 4 cups sliced zucchini
• 2 cups boiling water
• 3 large eggs
• 1 cup light Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
• 1 medium onion, chopped fine
• ¼ cup chopped green pepper
• 1 cup Parmesan cheese
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon white pepper
• 1 tablespoon butter

Cook zucchini in water just until tender; drain well. Beat eggs; stir in mayonnaise, onion, green bell pepper, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Add drained zucchini. Spoon into 1½-quart casserole dish. Dot top of casserole with butter. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven for 30 minutes or until set. Recipe makes 6 servings.

YOU ASKED


Q: Can shredded zucchini be frozen now to use in zucchini bread later?
A: It’s better to use shredded zucchini in bread and freeze the bread because shredded zucchini will be watery when thawed.

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Mary’s Memo – August 15th

OPEN SESAME


Sesame seeds, those tiny tasty toppings you may encounter on bagels, breadsticks and hamburger buns, are called the “queen of oil seeds” for good reason. Though they are not as much in the limelight as flax seed, chia and other so-called “super seeds,” they are a notable source of nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, copper. vitamin E, thiamin, calcium, magnesium and manganese, plus unique lignans (sesamin and sesamolin), phytosterols, fiber and other potentially beneficial compounds. By weight, about half the seed is fat, mostly unsaturated. An ounce (3 tablespoons) has about 160 calories, 14 grams of fat, 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber. The seeds vary in color from tan to black depending on their type and preparation, grow in pods of a flowering plant native to India and Africa. The pods resemble okra and like okra are technically fruits. When they ripen, they split open at the slightest touch, releasing seeds …. hence, one possible explanation for the expression “open sesame.” Each pod contains 50 to 100 seeds. The seeds are typically hulled (soaked to remove the outer husk) and lightly roasted, which gives them a nutty flavor and a browner color. From Babylonia to the Far East, people have been consuming sesame seeds and using them medicinally for thousands of years. Bottom line: Sesame can add flavor and may have some health benefits. But don’t take supplements (several products contain high concentrations of sesame lignans, in particular) since these have not been well studied, and their effects, good or bad, are largely unknown.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter. August 2016.

FDA UPDATES NUTRITION LABELS


After a two year review period, the US Food and Drug Administration formally adopted changes to the Nutrition Facts panels that appear on some 800.000 food products. The update labels will be required by July 26, 2018, except for small producers who will get an extra year to comply. Despite objections from some in the food industry, the update includes a separate line for “added sugars.” Among key changes:

Serving sizes will be revamped to more accurately reflect what people typically eat.

Calories appear in larger type.

Following current science that says not all fats should be avoided, with unsaturated fats now seen as healthy replacements for saturated fats, The “Calories from Fat” will be deleted.

Added Sugars will appear below the line for total sugars, along with a Daily Value (DV) percentage based on a maximum 50 grams for 2000-calorie diet. Although all sugars affect the body similarly, added sugars like those in sodas don’t come with beneficial nutrients as the natural sugars do.

Data for vitamin D and potassium nutrients the FDA noted “some people are not getting enough of” will be mandatory and include actual amounts as well as DV percentages.

Data on vitamin A and vitamin C, which most Americans get plenty of, will now be optional. Vitamin D and iron take their place in the “nutrients of concern” part of the label.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, August 2016.

TEST MARKETING A NEW PRODUCT


Columbus and Cincinnati Ohio are among the top 25 US cities to test market new products and available now in Chief Supermarkets. My popcorn of choice is Skinny Pop. I like it well enough to buy it by the case. Since I cannot buy it by the case, I’m assuming it is being test marketed in Ohio because a 4.4-ounce bag of White Cheddar is available at Chief Supermarkets. White Cheddar Skinny Pop White Cheddar ingredients include popcorn, sunflower oil, non-dairy Cheddar flavor, salt, rice flour, natural flavor and lactic acid. It’s dairy free, non GMO, gluten-free, peanut free, tree nut free, preservative free, no artificial flavors, zero trans fat and delicious (having consumed a bag)!

FROM THE ARCHIVES


At a recent musical event at church a couple ladies read about it in their church bulletin and decided to attend. During the social time, one of them said “Everything Cookies” is still one of her favorites cookies. Thinking it was one Marilyn Sachs of Bryan had given to me, I called her. Although it wasn’t Marilyn’s, she did share the recipe, published on memo 516 in 1974. Recipe makes 6 to 7 dozen.

EVERYTHING COOKIES


• 2 sticks butter
• 1 cup light brown sugar
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 cup canola oil
• 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 cups unsifted, all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
• 1 cup quick oats
• 1 cup coconut
• 1 cup Rice Krispies
• 1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together. Drop by teaspoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in preheated 350ºF oven until lightly browned on top.

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Mary’s Memo – August 8th

OPEN SESAME


Sesame seeds, those tiny tasty toppings you encounter on bagels, breadsticks and hamburger buns , are called the “queen of oil seed” for good reason. Though they are not as much in the limelight as flaxseed, chia and other so-called “super seeds,” they are a notable source of nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, copper, vitamin E, thiamin, calcium, magnesium and manganese, plus unique lignin’s (sesamins and sesamolin), phytosterols, fiber and other potentially beneficial compounds.

From Babylonia to the Far East, people have been consuming sesame seeds and using them medicinally for thousands of years. Today websites tout them for everything from improving digestion and eradicating wrinkles to preventing diabetes and cancer. Needless to say, most of the claims are not backed by research. On the other hand, a number of studies have assessed sesame with some promising findings.

Bottom Line: Sesame can add flavor to foods and may have some health benefits. But don’t take supplements (several products contain high concentrations.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 2016.

EATING FRUIT DAILY LINKED TO LOWER CARDIOVASCULAR RISK


If you need more motivation to substitute an apple or a pear for that bag of chips or indulgent dessert, a new Chinese study might help you reach for the fruit bowl or bag of berries in the freezer. In the most comprehensive such research to date, following a half million people for seven years, greater fruit consumption was associated with lower risk of heart attack and stroke. Consuming about 3.5 ounces of fruit daily was associated with about one third lower risk of death from cardiovascular causes. The study focused on fresh fruit because that was what was available, but finding should apply to other forms, such as frozen.

How much is 3.5 ounces of fruit? That’s roughly one cup of sliced fruit like apples or peaches, or one small fruit or 20 grapes. If you prefer berries. it’s a little less than a full cup. In short, you don’t have to consume a whole orchard.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, August 2016.

AUGUST IS NATIONAL SANDWICH MONTH


According to Ginger Hultin, MS, RD, LDN, food lore claims that the fourth Earl of Sandwich, John Montague (1718-1792) invented the sandwich out of necessity. Food lore claims that this Earl was gambling for 24 straight hours one night and requested something he could eat without interrupting his game. The London club he was playing at provided beef slices and cheese between two pieces of bread, achieving a meal now familiar to people around the world.

Ginger Hultin is a Chicago-based writer and dietitian at the Block Center for Integrative Cancer Care specializing in integrative health and whole food-based nutrition. She serves as President for the Academy of Nutrition and dietetics. Follow her on Ginger’s blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Because of the availability of locally grown tomatoes this time of year, a BLT is my sandwich-of-choice.

Or how about a homemade Coney dog?

Although no longer in business, a popular restaurant in Delta, OH, was Ms. Alcorn’s Sandwich Grill. One of her specialties was:

CONEY DOG SAUCE


• 2 pound ground beef
• 2 large onions, chopped
• ½ teaspoon thyme
• 1 tablespoons ground cumin
• 2 tablespoons chili powder or more
• 1 tablespoon black pepper
• 1 tablespoon paprika
• ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 3 cups tomato juice

Brown the beef in a large skillet. Drain fat. Return beef to skillet and add all other ingredients. Simmer one hour.
Source: Ms. Alcorn’s Sandwich Grill, Delta OH, via Vickie Smith, office manager at the Bryan Chief.

ENCORE FOR CAJUN CABBAGE


One of the advantages of this recipe is that reheated leftovers taste as good as when eaten fresh.

CAJUN CABBAGE


3 strips thick sliced bacon
½ of a large head of cabbage, coarsely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can Del Monte Tomatoes Seasoned with Green Peppers and Onion
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
1/8 teaspoon Tabasco sauce
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven or electric skillet until crisp. Drain bacon, reserving drippings in skillet. Stir in cabbage, tomatoes, vinegar, Cajun seasoning into hot drippings. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer 45 minutes. Before serving, crumble bacon and sprinkle on top of cabbage mixture. Recipe makes 6 servings.

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Mary’s Memo – August 1st

August is named after Augustus Caesar. Many events are happening this month. August 25 will mark the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. I was surprised at the number of National Parks in Ohio. It’s also the month of Family Fun, Picnics, Peaches, Eye Exams and Golf. If you need any more things to celebrate, August 3rd is National Watermelon Day and August 6th is National Mustard Day, a celebration that originated in Middleton, Wisconsin.

REPLACE SODIUM WITH SAVORY SEASONINGS


High sodium (salt) intake is associated with hypertension (high blood pressure) and consequently increases the risk of heart attack or stroke. Over time, high sodium intake is also detrimental to kidney and bone disease.

“To reduce the sodium in your diet, replace salt with fresh herbs, spices and other flavorings not only to reduce the harm of sodium, but to gain additional health benefits,” advises Tanya Freirich, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian at New York-Presbyterian Weill Cornell. Fresh herbs are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that also have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. For example, the anti-bacterial properties in cilantro can help prevent food spoilage. Other herbs such as parsley and mint help digestion, as well as contain high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, folic acid, calcium and potassium. Add either parsley or mint to a fresh chopped salad or serve with roasted meats for a burst of color, flavor and aroma. Fresh herbs are best kept in the refrigerator.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, August 2016.

ABOUT RAISING HERBS


I often wonder if shoppers realize how easy it is to grow herb. Some are annuals but many are perennials. Buy plants from a greenhouse or start them from seed. I planted arugula this spring for the first time.

KEEPING A SHAMROCK BLOOMING


Although it’s not seasonal to discuss shamrock plants, I haven’t had any luck keeping them growing until I took the advice of my sister, Ann, and brother-in-law, Sam, about placing it in a spot sheltered from the sun. As a result, it’s in full bloom in spite of the heat.

EGGCELENT TIME FOR EGG COOKERY


During the bird flu scare consumers cut back on eggs because they were so expensive. That said, they haven’t increased their consumption. Eggs are packed with important nutrients. Whether you eat them fried, poached or scrambled, in salads, casseroles, quiches, frittatas and desserts, there are few foods that rank so high in food value for so little money. When we were a family of 6, I scrambled eggs and to make them creamier, added a can of undiluted cream of mushroom soup. Today I would use Healthy Request without MSG. The suggestion was in a Campbell cookbook years ago.

ANOTHER WINNER FROM CALIFORNIA MOSAIC


Although it is not the first cookbook from the Junior League of Pasadena CA, it has to be their best! Daughter Mary Ann and I have not made a recipe that we didn’t like, the latest being Sausage and Vegetable Frittata. For a vegetarian entrée, omit the sausage and sauté the vegetables and spices.

SAUSAGE AND VEGETABLE FRITTATA


• 1 pound sweet Italian sausage
• 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
• 3/4 cup shredded carrots
• 3/4 cup sliced mushrooms (we use cremini)
• 3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
• 3/4 cup chopped onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 10 large eggs
• 1 cup ricotta cheese
• 12-ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375oF. Cook the sausage in an ovenproof skillet for about 10 minutes or until brown and crumbly, stirring frequently; drain. Add the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms, bell pepper, onion, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, to the skillet and sauté until vegetables are tender; drain. Whisk the eggs in a bowl until blended and stir in the ricotta and mozzarella cheese. Pour the egg mixture evenly over the sausage mixture and bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the eggs are set. Let rest 5 minutes before serving. Recipe makes 8 to 10 servings.
Source: Adapted from recipe in California Mosaic, a cookbook published The Junior League of Pasadena.

GADGET GURU STRIKES AGAIN!


Years ago I had a brush to clean mushrooms but nothing lasts forever and since then I’ve wipe them clean with moist paper towels. Then along came the 2’n1 Veggie Brush from Casabella that includes a pop out soft brush with silicone bristles to clean mushrooms. The vegetable brush itself has harder bristles for cleaning other vegetables. It’s top rack dishwasher safe, comes in a choice of colors and BPA free. Order from Amazon.com for $7.99.

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Mary’s Memo – July 25th

HOME COOKING LOWERS DIABETES RISK


People who often consume meals at home are less likely to develop diabetes than those who frequently eat out, a new study finds.

Internationally, there is an increasing tendency for people to eat out, which can involve consuming fast food, for example. Concerns have been raised that such a habit can could lead to weight gain, which, in turn, is associated with an increased risk of diabetes.

Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health evaluated large prospective datasets in which U.S. health professionals, both men and women, were followed for long periods, taking note of a variety of health indicators, including self-reported information on eating habits and occurrence of diabetes. All in all, the study researchers analyzed 2.1 million years of follow-up data, they said.

The findings indicate that people who reported consuming 5 to 7 meals prepared at home during a week had a 15 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes than those who consumed 2 such meals or fewer in a week. A smaller, but still statistically significant reduction was apparent for those who reported consuming more midday meals prepared at home.

Well-established diabetes prevention strategies include behavioral interventions aimed at increasing exercise and improving dietary habits. These findings suggest that the nutritional and lifestyle benefits of consuming meals at home could contribute to these diabetes prevention efforts, the researchers say of their study, which appears in a special issue of PLOS Medicine.
Source: Newsmax Health, 2016.

BEAT THE HEAT ENTRÉE


What I like best about Teriyaki Chicken Foil Pack, a Pillsbury recipe, is that it’s cooked outside on our gas or charcoal grill. I replaced Minute Rice with Uncle Ben’s Instant Brown Rice because it has more food value. It doesn’t take quite as long to cook as original recipe said. I’d say my chicken tenders were more done than they needed to be. Enjoy!

TERIYAKI CHICKEN FOIL PACKETS


• 1 20-ounce can pineapple chunks canned in juice, drained, juice reserved
• ¼ cup water
• 2 cups Uncle Ben Instant Brown Rice
• 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1½-inch chunks (about 2 cups)
• 3 cups fresh sugar snap peas (available at Chief in already washed and ready-to-use bag)
• ¾ cup teriyaki baste and glaze sauce
• 1 lb. 4-ounce bag chicken tenders (you need 12 tenders so each packet contains 3)

Heat gas or charcoal grill. Cut 4 18x12-inch sheets of heavy duty foil. Spray each with cooking spray. Pour reserved pineapple juice and water in 4-cup measuring cup. Add brown rice; stir and let stand about 10 minutes or until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Meanwhile, in large bowl, toss pineapple, bell peppers, sugar snap peas and ½ cup of the teriyaki sauce until well blended.

Place 3 chicken tenders on each foil sheet. Dividing evenly, spoon vegetables over chicken tenders. Divide rice mixture and remaining liquid evenly over chicken and vegetables. Spoon 1 tablespoon of remaining glaze over chicken and vegetables; stir gently.

Bring up 2 sides of foil so edges meet. Seal edges, making tight ½-inch fold; fold again, allowing space for heat circulation and expansion. Fold other sides to seal. Place packs over medium heat. Cover grill and cook for 12 to 14 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center and vegetables are crisp-cooked. Remove packs from grill. Carefully fold back foil; open one end and spoon onto serving plates. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired. Recipe makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from internet Pillsbury recipe.

ALL-IN-ONE SAUCEPAN BROWNIES


This brownie recipe was found among Katharine Hepburn’s belongings after she died. She was one of my favorite actresses so naturally, I had to try the recipe.

What I like best about it is that after butter and baking chocolate are melted together, the other ingredients are stirred together in the same saucepan before spooning into prepared pan. Note: When a recipe says to bake in a pan don't use glass.

KATHARINE HEPBURN’S BROWNIES


• 1 stick (½ cup butter)
• 2 1-oz. squares unsweetened baking chocolate
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• 1 cup chopped walnuts

Melt together butter and chocolate and take the saucepan off the heat. Stir in sugar, eggs and vanilla and beat mixture well. Stir in flour, salt and walnuts. Spoon into greased and floured baking pan. Bake in preheated 325ºF oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on rack. Cut into squares and eat out of pan or serve on a serving plate. Yummy and moist! Source: Adapted from Bon Appetite recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – July 18th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


Better Homes & Gardens has a Summer Slow Cooker magazine for $9.99. If you’re a fan of the slow cooker recipes, you may want to invest.

With so much yard work in our lives in the summer I rely on the slow cooker for many entrees. Recipe sources include the internet where I found Betty Crocker’s Hula Chicken. I asked friends to critique it and they gave it decent marks - although they prefer barbequed chicken (and I do too), but when outdoor work calls it’s comforting to know that inside dinner is simmering away in the slow cooker. Serve Hula Chicken on a bed of rice, brown preferred, to kick up the food value.

SLOW COOKER HULA CHICKEN


• 1 cup pineapple juice
• 1/3 reduced sodium soy sauce
• ½ cup catsup
• 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
• 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon grated ginger root
• 1 to 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
• 2 pounds boneless skinless thighs
• 2 8-ounce cans crushed pineapple, drained, juice reserved

In 5 to 6-quart slow cooker, mix pineapple juice, soy sauce, catsup, rice vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, gingerroot and Sriracha sauce. Add chicken and crushed pineapple. Cover and cook on high setting for 4 to 6 hours. Once chicken is cooked through and sauce thickened, remove chicken and shred with 2 forks. Return chicken to sauce. Cook, uncovered, 25 to 30 minutes or until sauce is thickened. If sauce gets too thick, add reserved pineapple juice from can (I did use it). Serve warm over a bed of brown rice. Source: Adapted from Betty Crocker internet recipe.

WALK WITH A FRIEND; IT’S GOOD FOR YOU


Exercise and social interaction can help boost levels of brain-related neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that appears to slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease in older adults. In a study, participants with the highest brain levels of BDNF (upon autopsy) had 50 percent slower declines memory and cognition than those with the lowest levels of the protein. Scientists believe that increasing levels of BDNF through lifestyle changes and new drugs could slow disease progression. (Neurology, January 2016). Source: Duke Medicine, July 2016.

MAY HELP PREVENT ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE


Eating seafood may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease in people at high risk for it. even though seafood is often contaminated with mercury, a known neurotoxin. In a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers looked at brain autopsies of 286 people, average age 90, and correlated the findings with the subjects with a key genotype (APOE4) associated with Alzheimer’s risk; those who had eaten seafood at least once a week showed fewer signs of dementia-related brain changes than those who ate little or none; no effect was seen in those without the genotype. Reassuringly, though mercury levels in the brains increased with seafood intake, this was not associated with dementia-related signs. Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, July 2016.

WHATS NEW FROM THE “GADGET GURU”


At Bed Bath and Beyond I bought 2 'n 1 Veggie Brush for $7.95 plus tax. It not only cleans vegetables gently and thoroughly without bruising them, but includes a pop-out soft brush with silicone bristles for cleaning mushrooms.
The second gadget came from Williams Sonoma but may be available from other sources. It has various size holes to pull kale and herbs through, like thyme, stripping the vegetable from the stem. It works like a charm!
Both of the above gadgets are BPA-free and top rack dishwasher safe.

NATIONAL HOT DOG DAY


The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is responsible for July 23rd being National Hot Dog Day, but they hesitate to forecast consumption because they are consumed in so many venues.

When I indulge, it’s a beef hot dog and none taste better than when they’re eaten outdoors. But in honor of National Hot Dog Day I’m sharing a recipe from a former Edgerton, Ohio lady who gave it to me years ago.
Her herbed bread sticks are wonderful with a salad.

HERBED HOT DOG TOASTS


• 8 hot dog buns, split and quartered
• ½ teaspoon of California garlic salt
• 1 teaspoon dill weed
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• ¼ teaspoon parsley flakes½ cup butter, softened
Mix butter with garlic salt, dill weed, basil and parsley flakes. Spread carefully over bun quarters. Bake in preheated 300ºF oven for 30 minutes. Cool and store in a covered container. Recipe makes 32.

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Mary’s Memo – July 11th

NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY


The third Sunday this month is National Ice Cream Day, a good reason to make something with ice cream such as Red, White and Blue Dessert Salad. It makes 12 to 14 servings, a good choice when entertaining this summer.

RED, WHITE AND BLUE DESSERT SALAD


Red layer:
• 1 3-ounce box strawberry gelatin
• 1 cup boiling water
• 1/3 cup cold water
• 1 10-ounce box frozen strawberries

White layer:
• 1 3-ounce box lemon gelatin
• ¾ cup boiling water
• 1 teaspoon plain gelatin
• ¼ cup cold water
• 1 pint vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

Blue layer:
• 1 3-ounce box lemon gelatin
• 1 cup boiling liquid (blueberry syrup and water)
• 1 teaspoon plain gelatin
• ½ cup cold water
• 1 15-ounce can blueberries, drained and mashed, reserving juice

Dissolve strawberry gelatin in boiling water. Soften plain gelatin in cold water and add to hot gelatin mixture. Stir to dissolve. Add frozen strawberries and stir gently until fruit thaws and separates. Spoon into 9x13-inch glass dish and chill until set but not firm. To make white layer: Dissolve lemon gelatin in ¾ cup boiling water. Soften plain gelatin in ¼ cup cold water. Add hot mixture and stir to dissolve. Blend in ice cream, beating until smooth. Spoon over strawberry layer. Chill until set but not firm. Dissolve remaining box of lemon gelatin in ½ cup cold water and add blueberry juice and water mixture. When slightly thickened, add mashed blueberries and spoon over white layer. Chill until firm and cut into squares. Recipe makes 12 to 14 servings. Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It cookbook.

SALMON IS GREAT ON YOUR PLATE


Nutrition experts frequently recommend eating cold water, fatty fish and salmon tops the list. ”Salmon is an excellent source of lean protein (a 3-ounce serving provides 23 grams) says Tanya Freirish, MS, RD, CDN, A dietitian at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell. It’s also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids that many Americans don’t get enough of in their diets, as well as potassium, phosphorus and zinc.” Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat that is linked with lower risk of heart disease, lower triglyceride levels, lower blood pressure and reduced joint pain due to rheumatoid arthritis. Salmon is also a good source of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, depression and dementia. A 3-ounce portion of salmon provides 447 International Units (IU) for adults age 51 to 70 and 800 IU for adults over 70. Frozen and canned are also good options. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 1016.

DAIRY PRODUCTS BACK ON “OKAY” LIST


Deprive yourself no longer! Researchers investigated how consumption of dairy products was associated with the risk of becoming overweight or obese, and whether consumption of high-fat, low-fat and certain types of dairy products caused a difference. Drawing from participants in the Women’s Health Study, researcherschose approximately 18,500 women with normal body mass index (BMI) of 18.5-24.9 at baseline. During an average follow-up of 11 years, 8,238 women became overweight (BMI 25-30) or obese (BMI>30). However, weight gain for the highest quintile of dairy consumption (at least 3.1 servings daily) was 1.65 kilograms (3 lbs. 10 oz.) versus weight serving daily. While the difference in weight gain was modest, the women who had greater intake of total dairy products gained less weight than those who consumed fewer servings of dairy products, confirming that a dietary intake of at least three daily servings of dairy does not increase the risk of becoming overweight. The women in the highest quintile of intake also appeared to consume higher-fat dairy products, specifically, whole-fat milk and butter. Included in the study were dairy products such as skimmed milk, whole milk, sherbet, cream, yogurt, cheese and butter. Researchers suggest that certain components of dairy products, including proteins, vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, may contribute to a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese. The study confirms results of several other studies that higher total dairy intake (including yogurt) is associated with less weight and waist circumference gains over a nine-year period. Source: Duke Medicine Health News, July 2016.

PIECE DE RESISTANCE


The fewer the ingredients, the better that memo readers like the recipes; Mini Lemon Mousse Cups are sure to please!

MINI LEMON MOUSSE CUPS


• 2 cups soft Cool Whip
• 10-ounce jar lemon curd (available at Chief in the same area that peanut better products are located)

Fold jar of lemon curd into thawed Cool Whip. Spoon into dessert dishes Garnish with lemon slices, if desired. Refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving. Makes 9 servings. For more super-simple dessert ideas go to kraftrecipes.com. Source: Summer issue of Kraft Food & Family, 2016.

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