Mary’s Memo – October 24th


Recently former children, now middle aged adults who lived in our neighborhood, recalled coming to our house first because they knew that I was the only one who passed out popcorn balls and they wanted to be sure to get one. Knowing this, a few years ago I made them again. Trick or treaters could choose from popcorn balls with my name on the wrapper or Dum Dum suckers and miniature candy bars. For whatever reason, they chose candy, a surprise to me. Now there is no excuse for making them. During my bake sale chairmanship years, popcorn balls were the first thing item we sold out of. Because October is National Popcorn Month, we’re sharing my favorite popcorn ball recipe.


• 5 quarts popcorn balls

• 2 cups sugar

• 1½ cups water

• ¼ teaspoon salt

• ½ cup light corn syrup

• 1 teaspoon cider vinegar

• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Keep popcorn hot and crisp in slow oven (300ºF). Cook sugar, water, salt and corn syrup to hard-ball stage (256ºF). Add vinegar and vanilla extract; cook to light-crack stage (270ºF). Slowly pour over popcorn; stir well to coat every kernel. Quickly press into balls. Butter hands if necessary. Recipe makes 20 balls.
Source: Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens recipe.


Even better for you is popped corn. However, the more butter flavorings or toffee that are added, the less healthy it becomes. By itself, popcorn is usually a low calorie, harmless snack. It’s actually a whole grain, so it’s a great source of magnesium, phosphorous and zinc. The problem, however, is that it is often made less healthy by the way it’s cooked and what is drizzled on top. Buy plain kernels and add your own flavorings, such as nut butter or mix plain popcorn with dried fruit for a tasty snack.
Source: Weil Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2016.


Your gut does more than digest food. It’s home to trillions of bacteria, fungi and yeasts that make up your gut microbiome. Some of those bugs can cause disease but most are good, helping your GI tract run smoothly by digesting food and metabolizing nutrients. And some research, mostly in animals, hints that the bacteria may also ward off infections, control weight and protect against heart disease.

The research is early, but it’s worth keeping your belly bacteria healthy. How? They thrive on high-fiber foods as well as fermented foods such as sauerkraut or plain yogurt with live cultures, says Gail Cresci, PhD, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic.

Certain drugs can harm your microbiome, especially antibiotics. They can kill good bacteria in your gut along with bad. That’s one reason you shouldn’t take those drugs unless they’re really needed. And it explains why about 30 percent of people on antibiotics get diarrhea and 15 to 20 percent of them end up with C, diff.

If you do need antibiotics, ask your doctor whether you should also take pro-biotic supplements. In most cases, however, you probably don’t need a pro-biotic, says Purna Kashyap, MD, a gastroenterologist and an assistant professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic. “Other than helping with antibiotic-related diarrhea,” he says, “there is no solid research that shows they prevent other adverse side effects.”
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, October 2016.


You may or may not know that the containers fresh mushrooms come in are recyclable. So are all the berry containers. Improve our environment by remembering the 3R’s: Reduce, reuse and recycle.

It is difficult for me to discard cookbooks and one of the reasons I keep them is rediscovering a recipe from the Purdue Tailgate Cookbook published by the Purdue Alumni Association in September 1997. A sorority sister, Ruth Ceisner Skillman (S’49), Indianapolis, IN, was the 1996 winner with Butter Pecan Turtle Cookies.


• 2 cups flour

• 1 cup packed brown sugar

• ½ cup butter


• 2/3 cup butter

• ½ cup packed brown sugar

• 1 cup pecans

• 1 cup chocolate chips, after baking.

Grease 13/9x2-inch pan. Mix crust with pastry blender until fine. Using back of tablespoon, pat into pan. Pour hot caramel layer over crust; spread evenly. Bake in preheated 350ºf oven for 18 to 22 minutes (be sure bottom is done).

Sprinkle with chocolate chips which melt slightly, then spread when soft. Cool completely before cutting into 3 to 4 dozen bars.

My recipe for Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies was a finalist in 1997 when the cookbook was published. The recipe is also in my cookbook.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – October 17th


Now a Food Network star, she was a former staff member of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Her husband is Dean Emeritus at Yale School of Management where he teaches a variety of courses on the global economy. He also serves on several corporate and philanthropic boards. The Food Network star has just written her 10th and most personal cookbook, Cooking for Jeffrey (Clarkson Potter, October 25). If you’re still wondering about the name of this couple, it’s Ina and Jeffrey Garten, married 48 years. Order from


It’s now second only to Christmas decorating and it seems that the more gruesome the decorations the better! Personally, I’m not impressed with rest-in- peace signs, skeletons and spiders in a net. Pumpkins are my preference.

When our children were small, we’d not only decorate a large pumpkin but toast the pumpkin seeds. Clarice Moats’ recipe for toasting the seeds is in my cookbook. Since it is no longer available, the recipe follows.


• 2 cups pumpkin seeds (wipe off fiber but to not wash)
• 2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
• 1¼ teaspoon salt

Combine ingredients and spread out in a single layer in a shallow pan. Bake in preheated 250°F oven for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally.


Although are choices are many, the Golden Delicious remains my favorite because of its versatility. No matter how it is used, it holds its shape without getting mushy.
Early this month Bryan shoppers liked Cinnamon Red-Hot Candy Stewed Apples. To take less time peeling the apples, I invested in an apple peeler to make the job a lot faster! Potatoes can also be peeled with it (helpful at Thanksgiving).


• 8 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
• 1½ cups water (add Ball Fruit Fresh to water to keep apples from darkening)
• 9-ounce package Brach’s Red Hots

In cast iron pot or Dutch oven combine prepared apples, water and red hots. Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly, until red hots are dissolved and apples are soft but not mushy. Continue boiling until ½ cup liquid remains, being careful not to break up apples. The more concentrated the sauce, the more intense the color and flavor. Serve warm or at Room temperature. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Chicago Tribune recipe in 1998.


What’s good for your heart might also be good for your aching knees. High intakes of saturated fat were associated with faster progression of knee osteoarthritis in a new prospective observational study, while consuming more heart-healthy unsaturated fats was linked to slower progression. “Following a healthy diet may be an effective strategy for knee osteoarthritis management, and I clearly more attractive than medications in terms of risk/benefit and more likely to be implementable,” wrote researchers, who included Jeffrey B. Driban, PhD, and Timothy E. McAlindon, MD, both of the Division of Rheumatology at Tufts Medical Center.

Take charge by using oil-based dressings and spreads instead of butter or lard. Eat plenty of nuts, seeds and fish, which are rich in healthy unsaturated fats and other nutrients. Choose extra virgin olive oil, soybean oil or canola oil for dressing, sauces and cooking. Reduce intakes of red and processed meats and foods rich in refined grains, starches and sugars.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, October 2016.


New research (American Journal of Public Health, August 2016) suggests that fruit and vegetables can increase happiness levels. The study followed more than twelve thousand people who kept food diaries, and whose psychological wellbeing was measured. “Happiness benefits” were detected for each extra daily portion of fruits and vegetables consumed, up to eight portions per day.

People who went from consuming eight portions a day experienced an increase in life satisfaction equivalent to moving from unemployment to employment. The researchers think there may be a connection between optimism and the level of carotenoids (a type of antioxidant present in fruits and vegetables) in the blood.
Source: Weill Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, October 2016.


People who exercised 4 hours after learning something new had better memory retention on the topic when tested two days later than those who exercised immediately or not at all, according to a study from the Netherlands of 72 adults. Researchers suspect that exercising a few hours after a workout may boost production of chemicals that fuel the formation of new brain cells just when the brain is strengthening the new memories.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, October 2016.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – September 26th


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.


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.


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.


• 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.


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.


• 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.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – September 12th


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.


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.


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


• 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.


• 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.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – September 5th


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


• 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!

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – August 29th


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!


• 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.


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.


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.


• 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.


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.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – August 15th


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.


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.


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)!


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.


• 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.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – August 8th


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.


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.


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:


• 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.


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


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.

Download PDF

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


• 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.


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 for $7.99.

Download PDF

Mary’s Memo – July 25th


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.


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!


• 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.


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.


• 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.

Download PDF