Mary’s Memo – August 24th


A newly published follow up to findings from a study of the so-called Mediterranean diet adds to the evidence that such an eating pattern, especially when it includes nuts and olive oil, may help the aging brain. Results from a subgroup of the Spanish PREMIMED study showed that those assigned to a Mediterranean diet held steady in cognition while a control group declined. In the PREDIMED study, participants in addition to consumption of nuts and olive oil, ate at least two daily servings of vegetables including a salad; at least three daily servings of fresh fruit; at least three weekly servings of legumes, such as beans, lentils, garbanzo beans, soybeans and peas; at least three weekly meals of fish such as salmon, tuna or sardines; a sauce (“sofrito”) of tomatoes and onion, often including garlic and aromatic herbs, simmered in olive oil, at least twice a week; and wine with dinner for those who drank alcohol. Participants were told to cut down on fatty red and processed meat, commercially baked goods such as pastries, fat-based spreads and sugared sodas.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, August 2015.


My Keurig coffeemaker was a birthday gift from daughter Mary Ann three years ago and now it’s one of my favorite appliances even though ecologists think it’s an environmental disaster. Although I keep K-Cups for guests, I fill a reusable container (available at Chief) with ground Folger’s whenever I want a cup. It’s much cheaper, too! My advice is not to use tap but bottled water, preferably distilled, to fill the tank. Last time I looked, Chief’s Our Family distilled water was $1.00 per gallon. I must do something right because I’ve only decalcified it once (it will tell you when this should be done). With a Keurig, I rarely use a conventional coffeemaker.


A recent study revealed that gratitude was associated with better sleep and lower levels of markers of inflammation in the body (such a C-reactive protein). That might be because it provides more happiness, the researchers noted.
Source: Spirituality in Clinical Practice, April 2015


It’s clear that added sugar is a problem for many Americans. But what matters most are the context and quantities. Excessive sugar intake is usually a marker for a diet heavy in processed foods and high in calories, saturated fat and sodium. But research now indicates that it boosts risk independently of overall diet. If you eat mostly whole foods (as opposed to processed foods) and rarely consume sugary soft drinks, you may well be getting less than 10 percent or less of your daily calories from added sugar. Some simple steps can help reduce sugar intake, such as limiting your consumption of sugar-laden yogurt (add your own fruit to plain yogurt) and choosing breakfast cereals with little or no sugar. Still, if you are generally careful and the rest of your diet is healthful, consuming small amounts of sugar is unlikely to be harmful. Limiting added sugar will be easier in the future, since food companies will have to list it separately on the FDA’s new nutrition labels, which were proposed in 2014 but will not go into effect for a couple years.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, August 2015.


Sam Trentadue, my brother-in-law, came up with the name. That said, I really "Marynized” this week’s slow cooker entrée called Swiss Chicken. Original recipe called for skin-on chicken breast halves, 8 slices Swiss cheese, regular mushroom soup, 1/2 to 1 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs and 1/2 cup (1stick) butter. First time, it was prepared as printed. The recipe on the memo reflects the changes that were made.


• 4 chicken breast halves with ribs attached, skinned
• 4 slices Our Family Swiss cheese
• 1 can Campbell’s Healthy Request mushroom soup
• 3/4 cup Progresso Italian bread crumbs
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted.

For easy clean-up, line 5 or 6-quart slow cooker with a slow cooker liner (available at Chief). You’ll still have to wash the cooker afterwards but it’s a breeze to do. Lay chicken on the bottom. Put a slice of cheese on each piece of meat. Spoon undiluted mushroom soup on chicken. Combine dry bread crumb with melted butter and scatter over all. Cook on high setting for 1 hour, then reduce to low and cook an additional 7 hours.
Source: Adapted from A Day in Motherhood recipe at

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Mary’s Memo – August 17th


How can two glasses stuck together be separated? Three
things are needed: A sink, ice water and hot water. Step 1: Fill top glass with ice water (this causes top glass to contract), Adding salt to ice water will chill it faster. Step 2: Run hot water over bottom glass. Twist gently (hot water causes bottom glass to expand). Still stuck? Try colder water or keep bottom glass submerged in hot water a little longer (this may take up to 10 minutes, depending on the glass.)


For decades scientists have known that whole grains in general and oats in particular, are associated with reduced risk of chronic disease. Now, new research shows that phenolic compound avenanthramide (AVE) found only in oats, may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties as well as a protective role in heart health. Heretofore, most of the benefits associated with oats were attributed to the high fiber, vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content of whole grains, notably soluble fiber betaglucan, recognized for its ability to lower total and LDL cholesterol. The new research shows that oats’ benefits may result not just from fiber but also AVE’s, for additional cardio-protective benefits. Researchers from Tufts University have shown that AVEs suppress production of inflammatory cytokines linked with fatty streak formation in the arteries and also seem to inhibit the process associated with atherosclerosis. These findings were presented at the 247th Annual Conference of the American Chemical Society in Dallas in 2014.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, August 2015


Abundance of rain has increased the number of pesky mosquitoes. No one told me that mosquitoes didn’t like Listerine but had I asked a pharmacist, he would have told me so. Friends of mine put a capful in a small plastic spray bottle filled with water and it’s been enough to repel them. Someone else told me they do half Listerine and half water in a spray bottle. I’ve gone with the larger amount because mosquitoes have plagued me my entire life! If you don’t have a spray bottle, The Dollar Tree Stores have them. Wish I had known this during my Girl Scout camp days! Yes, Listerine contains chemicals but far better choice than other products available and safer to spray on children.


Norovirus, the contagious infection that causes gastroenteritis, might afflict dogs, too. Canines might be susceptible at a lower rate than people, and it has not been proved that you can catch norovirus from them. But a study by researchers in the United Kingdom recommends that “sensible hygiene precautions” be taken around pets, especially in a household where gastroenteritis is present. That means washing your hands after cleaning up after your dog.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, August 2015


The supermarket should be your last stop when shopping. Chief does have bags and Styrofoam containers to keep perishables safe and maintain quality if you don’t have a suitable ones. It’s not as much of a problem in cooler weather but absolutely necessary during the summer months. No food should set out more than 2 hours whether it’s at a picnic, potluck or home environment. Otherwise, keep it hot or cold, not in-between. When in doubt, throw it out. Better to be safe than sorry!


My sister doesn’t recall Mother making this but it was a replacement for a lettuce salad, especially in the wintertime when garden lettuce was not available. Traveling with Daddy, Mother was served a salad made with lemon juice instead of apple cider vinegar (in those days we didn’t have the plethora of dressings we have now) and that’s what gives combination salad such a good taste anytime of the year. It gets rave reviews whenever I’ve served it to company and can be made ahead. One thing I do is toss salt to taste to the cabbage mixture before lemon juice and canola oil is added.


• 1 package Cole Slaw Mix
• 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
• 1 cup chopped unpeeled seedless cucumber
• 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
• ¼ cup chopped sweet onion
• Juice of fresh lemon
• Pepper to taste
• Just enough canola oil to moisten

Add salt to slaw mix and toss together. Let stand about 15 minutes. Add remaining ingredient. Cover and store in refrigerator until serving time. Recipe serves 6 to 8.

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Mary’s Memo – August 10th


A Bryan Chief shopper asked recently if she could replace Crisco with butter in baking and if she could use the same amount. My go-to person at Purdue is Dinah C Dalder, MS, RD, CNSC, CD, Dietetics Program Manager, Department of Nutrition Science. Her reply was as follows: “I think that most recipes are going to be very forgiving. I suggest substituting equal amounts of butter for shortening. You are correct that butter and shortening do not have the same composition, but for all practical purposes I would not worry about adjusting the amounts.”

I also asked Purdue graduate Annie Watts Cloncs, Marketing Communications Consultant, the same question. She replied: “In cookie recipes I have successfully replaced Crisco vegetable shortening with the same amount of unsalted butter. The texture of the baked product might be a little different (a slightly less soft/chewy cookie for example). My suggestion to your shopper is to try 1 for 1 substitution and decide if the end result is acceptable. Also, in the back of my Better Homes and Gardens plaid cookbook (11th edition) substitution chart says: If you don’t have margarine, for 1 cup, substitute 1 cup butter or 1 cup shortening plus 1/4 teaspoon salt, if desired.”


Except for Chief’s own cookies baked fresh daily, it’s safe to say that Oreo cookies are near the top of the list of “store bought” ones. That said, I have avoided them because of the calories and because I still make homemade cookies. But along came Oreo Thins introduced in July in chocolate or vanilla flavors. Nabisco considers 4 cookies a serving and there are 10 servings per package. Calories per serving are 140 including 80 from fat. For me 2 Oreo Slims are enough, a more guilt-free choice!

As for regular Oreos, they’ve been around since 1912. The first Oreos looked very similar to the cookies of today with only slight differences on the chocolate disc. Since that time that time some variations have come along including double stuffed, fudge covered, Halloween and Christmas Oreos. A Chief associate said the Key Lime Oreos are to die for! I must admit they’re a winner as regular Oreos go but I’ll still take the Slims!


It doesn’t get much better than this and right now a lot of Chief’s produce is grown in Ohio such as sweet corn, green beans, zucchini and yellow squash. The advantage to buying your sweet corn at Chief is that it’s in a cool environment from the time it’s received until you take it home and less likely for sugar in corn to change to starch as it does at a lot of farmers’ markets.


Although the recipe is relatively easy to put together, by the time crust, filling and streusel topping are made it’s on the labor-intensive side. Even when Bryan Chief tasters were warned up front about the time it took, they didn’t seem to care. On the plus side, it does make 15 servings. This is not an everyday dessert but for company it’s worth the effort!



• 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into small pieces, plus more for greasing 10x15 jelly roll pan (or spray with butter flavored Pam).
• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2/3 cup powdered sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt


• 3 pounds peaches (about 10) cut into 1/2 inch wedges
• 1 1/2-cups packed light brown sugar
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons cornstarch
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


• 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup sliced skin-on almonds
• 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat oven to 3750F. For dough, combine butter, flour, powdered sugar and salt in a food processor or electric mixer and process until mixture comes together in solid mass (will take time to do). Drop pieces of dough on pan. With the palm of your hand, press evenly along the bottom of pan and about 1/2-inch. Set aside. Meanwhile toss filling ingredients together until cornstarch dissolves. Spoon filling evenly into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (mine took 30 minutes). While pie bakes combine streusel ingredients with a fork. Sprinkle evenly over filling and bake an additional 25 to 30 minutes more. Cool on cake rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Source: Adapted from Food Network recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – August 3rd


My birthday present from my sister last year was a Spiral Slicer but it wasn’t until recently that I purchased Insprialized by Ali Maffucci (Clarkson Potter, 2015, $19.95/softback) at Bed Bath & Beyond so I had recipes to use it. One of the best things about spiralizing is that it introduces you to new vegetables and fruits. Eventually, you’ll be in the supermarket asking yourself, “Can I spiralizer that?” Maybe you’ll find something you’ve never tasted before or haven’t heard of yet. To spiralizer, the vegetable or fruit must be solid with no tough pit, seedy interior or hollow core, it must be at least 1 1/2 inches in diameter, at least 1 1/2 inches long and cannot be soft or juicy.

On her widely popular blog, author Ali Maffucci is revolutionizing healthy eating. Whether you’re low carb, gluten-free, Paleo or raw, Inspiralized shows you how to transform more than 20 vegetables and fruits into delicious meals. Recipes include appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, casseroles, rice, pastas and even desserts. Best of all, Maffucci tells you how to customize them for whatever vegetables you have on hand.


How often have you pulled something out of the refrigerator, wondered if it was still okay to eat and then tossed it out? You're not alone. Billions of pounds of food go to waste in the U.S. every year because consumers are unsure of the food’s safety. Knowing how to safely store food and when to dispose of it can help prevent food-related illnesses that are all too common in the U.S. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 48 million Americans get sick every year from something they eat, resulting in thousands of hospitalizations and even some deaths. “There are a lot of misconceptions about food safety,” says Georgia Giannopoulos, RD, CDN, a senior dietitian with New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell. For example, people tend to worry much more about meat than fruits and vegetables when it comes to food-related illnesses. However, research shows that seafood and produce are the two leading causes of foodborne illnesses. Studies also show that most people believe you can tell if food is safe by its appearance and smell, but pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella don’t change the look of food and often don’t affect its smell or taste. The dates on most food labels should serve as a guideline, but not a hard-and-fast rule; many foods, especially those that require refrigeration, still may be safe to eat after those dates. Here is a guide to what those dates mean according to the USDA:|

Sell by: Tells the store how long to display the product. You should always buy items prior to the “sell by” date on the label.

Best if used by or before: This is not a safety date, but a reference to the date at which a food at its peak of flavor/or quality.

Use by: This date is established by the manufacturer as the date recommended for use of the product at its peak quality.

For fresh or uncooked items, use by dates should be followed closely, unless item is frozen. Frozen foods can be consumed safely long after their use by or sell dates. The USDA recommends the following guidelines for safe, refrigerated (not frozen) storage and consumption of foods after the sell-by dates:

Poultry: one or two days.

Beef and pork: three to five days.

Ground meat or poultry: one or two days.

Eggs: three to 5 weeks.

Get more information about food safety on line at www.cdcaagov/food-safety or call 1 800-CDC-INFO.
Source: Women’s Nutrition Connection August 2015.


“I never heard of such a thing,” said Bryan Chief tasters, but they really liked it! Bread gets its moistness from pureed cantaloupe. Enjoy!


2 cups cubed fresh cantaloupe
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 3250F. Puree cantaloupe in blender until smooth. In mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in eggs until thoroughly mixed. Stir in cantaloupe puree. Combine dry ingredients except nuts and gradually add to cantaloupe mixture. Fold in pecans. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit bottom of 9x5x3-inch greased loaf pan. Spoon batter into pan. Bake 50 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and let rest on cooling rack for 10 minutes before turning out to finish cooling. Source: Adapted from California Cantaloupe Advisory Board recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – July 27th


I have no idea how much of my life I’ve spent looking for something but it’s probably more time than I care to admit! During the summer prior to my junior year at Purdue in 1947, I was hired as interim director of the 44 bed Jay County Hospital in Portland, Indiana. It had to be the gutsiest thing I have done in my entire life because I not only planned the meals but bought the food served. Son Tom, Food Director at Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis, wants to frame the menus and hang them in his office. So while looking for them, I found an old cookbook of Mother’s that I thought was lost as well as two handwritten recipes I had never seen before. One of the recipes is “Chicken A La Can” and the other “Hamburger Chowder.” Knowing how much memo readers like quick-to-make entrees with a minimum of ingredients, we’re sharing them this week.


• 1 can Healthy Request Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup (this was not available when Mother made it but it’s what I used)
• 1 can Healthy Request Cream of Celery Soup
• 1 can water
• 1 can Minute Rice
• 12.5-ounce can Swanson White Premium Chicken Breast, drained (1½ cups chicken)
• 3 1/2-ounce can French’s Fried Onion Rings

Combine soups and water. Add rice and chicken; stir to mix. Bring to a boil, cover; reduce heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Top with onion rings. Recipe makes 4 to 6 servings.


• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 4 or 5 carrots, peeled and sliced
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup chopped green pepper
• 1 pound ground beef
• 2 cups tomato juice
• 3 to 4 medium-size potatoes, peeled and diced
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
• 1/8 teaspoon pepper
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1 quart milk

Melt butter in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Add onion, carrots, celery and green pepper and cook until tender but not brown. Add ground beef and cook until crumbly. Stir in tomato juice, potatoes and seasonings, cover and cook on low heat until vegetables are tender 20 to 30 minutes. Combine flour with1 cup milk. Beat until free from lumps. Stir into soup mixture. Add remaining milk; heat, stirring frequently until thickened…. do not boil. Serves 10.


Being a guru of gadgets, I haven’t bought something made by OXO that I didn’t like! To free up more space in my kitchen, I recently purchased three slender 5 1/2-qt. BPA-free containers to store flour, crackers and oatmeal. I lost the silicone gasket for one and called their toll-free customer service (1-800-545-4411) to see if I could buy a new one and they are sending it gratis. Is there any better customer service than that! Corporate headquarters are in Chambersburg, PA.

Also new for me is an OXO Good Grips Silicone Sink Mat that can be cut to accommodate your drain, depending on where it’s located (mine is in the center). It also has feet that elevate the mat to allow for water flow and aeration. Personally, the biggest selling point is that with heat-safe silicone, pots and pans can go directly from stove to sink. Mine was purchased at Bed Bath & Beyond for $14.95 plus tax.


They are: Watercress, Chinese cabbage, chard, beet greens, chicory, leaf lettuce, parsley, romaine lettuce, collard greens, turnip greens, mustard greens, endive, chives, kale, dandelion greens, red pepper, arugula, broccoli and pumpkin.
Source: Weil Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2015.


Trying to maintain a healthy weight? Choose a comedy rather than a sad flick or an action adventure. In recent studies, researchers at Cornell University ‘s Food and Brand Lab found that people who watched the science-fiction “Solaris” ate 55 percent more than viewers of the comedy “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” In another experiment, people ate 28 percent more while watching “Love Story” (sad) compared to “Sweet Home Alabama” (funny). And watching an action movie led viewers to eat 65 percent more calories than they did when they viewed an interview show.
Source: JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) Internal Medicine, March 2015.

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Mary’s Memo – July 20th


Keep in mind that up to half of the bottled water produced in the U.S. comes from the tap and is then purified. And in some cases, safety standards for tap water are more rigorous than those of bottled water. So people with a weakened immune system should consult their doctor to discuss whether filtered tap water or bottled water is best. If you’re otherwise healthy but worried about water purity, try a home filter and reusable bottles. Also, public water is often fluoridated, which helps protect teeth. And with tap water, you won’t add plastic to landfills.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July 2015.


Study was published on line April 20, 2015, in the Journal of Psychology & Marketing. Researchers randomly gave 120 shoppers a slice of apple, a piece of cookie or no snack at the start of their shopping trip and then tracked their purchases. Those who were given an apple slice bought 28 percent more fruits and vegetables than those given a cookie piece and 25 percent more fruits and vegetables than those given no snack. Researchers recommend having a small, healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit, before shopping.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2015.


According to the USDA, a lean cut of beef is a 3.5-ounce serving that contains less than 10 grams of total fat and 4.5 grams of saturated fat. The USDA defines an extra lean cut (3.5 ounces) as one containing 5 grams or less of total fat and 2 grams or less of saturated fat. If you are going to eat beef, here is your guide to the healthiest cuts that can help you make decisions while grocery shopping or eating out. Avoid buying cuts labeled “prime,” which are higher in fat than “choice” or “select” cuts. The five cuts of beef that are “extra lean” include eye of round roast or steak, sirloin tip side steak, top round roast and steak, bottom round roast and steak and top sirloin. When choosing ground beef, look for the percentage of fat. The USDA defines “lean ground beef” as having no more than 10 percent fat by weight and “extra lean” no more than 5 percent fat. Ground sirloin is usually the healthy choice; it is usually 90 to 95 percent lean.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2015.

PS: Beef does cost more so my suggestion is to use a minimal amount combined with other greens and/or vegetables.


I served this salad at the Bryan Chief recently but changed Friday’s version to this one on Saturday. Original internet recipe said the salad served 4 people when a single recipe filled a 3-quart round casserole dish! Considering the fact that recipe makes 8 servings, I also increased avocados to 2 instead of 1. Because cherry tomatoes are often on sale, chopped Roma were replaced with a pint of cherry tomatoes, halved. Feel free to make only half a recipe if this suits your needs better.


4 seedless cucumbers, sliced into ¼ inch rounds
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 small red onion, sliced thin
2 Haas avocados, peeled, pitted and cubed
1 cup basil, mint or cilantro leaves or a combination of all
3, coarsely chopped


2 tablespoons Our Family extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Seat salt and ground pepper to taste

Place the sliced cucumbers, cherry tomato halves, avocados, sliced onion and herbs together in 3-quart stainless or glass serving bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and season with sea salt and a few grindings of pepper. Serve immediately or chilled.
Source: Adapted from 2014 Jen Hoy internet recipe.


When we were a family of six and even now, main dish salads are a refreshing summer treat. On my Meatless Monday the following salad is perfect!


1 package Chicken-Flavored Rice-a-Roni
4 scallions (green onions), sliced thin
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
12 stuffed green olives, sliced
2 6-ounce jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and
chopped, reserving marinade
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/3 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise

Cook rice and cool. Add scallions, green pepper and olives. Add remaining ingredients including reserved marinade. Mix well and chill. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Adapted from Southern Living recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – July 13th


I have several of Anne Byrn’s Cake Mix Doctor cookbooks. In recent years she’s added all-purpose kinds including the Cake Mix Doctor Goes Gluten-Free and What Can I Bring Cookbook. The latest is Anne Byrn Saves the Day (Workman Publishing, $18.95/softback) featuring guaranteed-to-please recipes for weeknight dinners, quick birthday parties, too hot to cook meals, appetizers ASAP, Super Bowl party foods and book club treats. In addition Bryn shares strategies to end kitchen stress, create a system for meal planning and food shopping to avoid last minute pressures. She also discusses the benefits of a well-stocked pantry, refrigerator and freezer. From the Too Hot to Cook section there’s Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho and Chilled Cucumber Soup; from Potluck Perfection there’s My Baked Chicken and Rice; Company’s Coming includes Barb’s One Pound Pork Chops; from Last Minute Birthday Party, there’s Lou Ann’s Salmon Croquettes; and in Holiday Foods, Dave’s Ooh-La-La Potatoes. Rescuing Brunch has a recipe for Marion’s Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips and Nashville Sour Cream Coffee Cake. Finally, being a chocoholic, I couldn’t resist Ole Mis Fudge Pie!

Ann Byrn Lives with her family, cooks and entertains in Nashville, Tennessee. You can subscribe to her newsletter at Cake Mix


A registered dietitian or registered dietitian nutritionist must have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nutrition or dietetics, complete 1,200 hours of supervised practice, pass a national exam and do continuing education to keep his or her status. ”Nutritionist” is a non-accredited title without any specific set of requirements. Medicare and some private insurers cover medical nutrition therapy by registered dietitians for patients with health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July 2015.


“Increased dietary intake of berry fruit has a positive impact on human health, performance and disease,” says Barbara Shukitt-Hale, PHD, of Tufts HNRCA Neuroscience and Aging Laboratory. Shukitt-Hale and colleagues, who have shown cognitive benefits from blueberry consumption, performed a similar experiment with blackberry-extracts. Their study, published in Nutritional Neuroscience, tested a 2% blackberry supplemented diet for its effectiveness in reversing age-related deficit in behavioral and neuron function when fed to aged rats for eight weeks. “The results showed that the blackberry diet improved motor performance on three tasks which rely on balance and coordination. Results for a water maze showed that the blackberry-fed rats had significantly greater working, or short-term memory performance than the control rats. These data support our previous investigations in which we have seen improved motor and cognitive performance in aged rats after supplementation with other berry fruits.”
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, July 2015.


Customers seem very accepting of Our Family store brand and I am, also. I have already mentioned using Our Family cheese products and their cocktail sauce. Add to that list Our Family regular and wavy potato chips cooked in sunflower and/or corn oil plus salt. This endorsement doesn’t include any flavored potato chips because they contain mono sodium glutamate. Although Aunt Millie’s bread is still my favorite brand, Our Family breads and buns are acceptable, especially when any of them are on sale such as 10 for 10. I do avoid any bread with high fructose corn syrup, hidden sugar none of us need! Something I always have on hand is a box of sandwich bags and Our Family ones are your best buy. There are multiple uses for them in my kitchen. When pork chops or Chief’s bratwurst patties are on sale each chop and/or patty is put in a sandwich bag, closed and then stored in a freezer bag. Buns are also packaged this way so that I can take out several or just one. They’re used to store fresh lemons and limes as well.


Bryan Chief shoppers with few exceptions liked Red Coleslaw with Grapes, adapted from a Grapes from California recipe.


• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
• 1/4 cup Our Family extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 large head red cabbage, finely shredded
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
• 6 scallions (green onions), chopped
• 2 cups seedless red grapes, halved

To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar with mustard, sugar, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Gradually whisk in olive oil until well blended. Add the cabbage, parsley, scallions and grapes to the bowl and toss to coat with dressing. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 4 hours before serving. Recipe serves 6 to 8.
Source: Adapted from Grapes from California recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – July 6th


I am appalled at the cost of cookbook magazines but liked one enough in a rack by Chief’s checkout lane, that I paid $12.99 + tax for Sunset’s Best Brunch & Breakfast featuring 124 easy recipes. Cookbooks cost less at one time! Speaking of cost, did you know that Family Circle and Woman’s Day magazines started out in 1932 at 5 cents? What prompted me to buy the Sunset cookbook is that I saw a recipe, Honeydew Relish Salad, made with melon, cucumber pieces, chopped celery, green grapes and celery. Dressing includes white wine vinegar, honey, yellow mustard seeds and salt. Because brunches are my favorite way to entertain, the magazine cover’s eye-appealing Parmesan Toasts with Asparagus, Prosciutto and Eggs drew my attention, also.


Avian Influenza (AI) has reared its ugly head in the US. Although no cases have been reported in Ohio, many consumers are leery of eating eggs. Also, it has caused the price of eggs to surge. AI is not transferrable to humans by eating poultry and eggs that have been properly cooked. To avoid any problems, avoid cross contamination by separating raw and cooked foods. Washing hands after handling raw foods is the key to food safety. Even though eggs cost more they are still a good buy nutritionally.


So says a magnet on my refrigerator door. No one ever told me that cucumbers can’t stand temperatures lower than 50 degrees (no wonder they have rotted so fast in my refrigerator fruit and vegetable bins all these years). “Old dogs can learn new tricks” and they now join tomatoes and bananas on the counter top. Something else you may not know about cucumbers is that they’re a fruit, not a vegetable and the interior can be up to 200F cooler than the outside air, even on a hot summer day, according to the July issue of Shop Smart, your guide to the best deals from Consumer Reports.


Judging by what I see in grocery carts, shoppers buy a lot of soft drinks and other beverages. Most people drink when they feel thirsty, which seems to work. But as we age, the sense of thirst is less acute and the body is less able to conserve water. Some drugs and medical conditions also increase urine output. All that increases the risk of dehydration, which can be life threatening. The color of your urine can indicate if you are well hydrated, says Marvin Lipman, MD, Consumer Reports’ chief medical advisor. “If it’s clear, you’re drinking too much. If it’s concentrated and dark yellow, you’re drinking too little. It should be in between. Drink plenty of fluids every day and more when it is hot and humid, and if you are physically active. Carry water with you, ask for it when eating out and drink it when you snack. And remember that foods can also be hydrating. Produce such as grapes, melon and tomatoes are 90 to 99 percent liquid, says Leslie Bonci, a dietitian in Pittsburgh. “What’s on your plate and bowl contributes to your total for the day.”
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, July, 2015.


In 1984 President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday in July as National Ice Cream Day. Other ice cream trivia includes the origin of the ice cream cone. Charles Minches is credited with serving the first ice cream cone at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. There is controversy over this because Italo Marchiony of NYC was selling lemon ice cream cones as early as 1896 and applied for a patent months before the St. Louis World’s Fair opened. We do know for sure that in July “we all scream for ice cream!”

This week’s recipe came from Gert Bitler of Adams County, IN., via Mother years ago.


• 1 stick butter
• 1/2 to 1/3 cup slivered almonds
• 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
• 1 cup flake coconut
• 2 1/2 cups Rice Chex, crushed fine
• 1/2 gallon softened vanilla ice cream

Melt butter in a medium size saucepan over low heat. Lightly brown almonds in butter. Add brown sugar ans stir until melted. Add coconut and crushed Rice Chex. Put half the mixture into a 2-quart oblong baking dish. Spoon softened ice cream over crumbs. Top with remaining crumbs. Cover with foil and freeze for 24 hours. Recipe makes 12 servings.

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Mary’s Memo – June 29th


Virginia Willis is a French-trained chef with Georgia roots. She is also one of the most loved authorities on Southern cooking. So when her doctors told her she needed to lighten up her diet, she wanted to do it without sacrificing any of the flavor or richness that makes Southern food so appealing. The result is “Lighten UP, Y’all, a collection of easy-to-make, chef-approved recipes for your favorite Southern foods. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up Y’all has all the classics covered from comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. There’s something to make everyone from five to ninety five happy!

Willis is author of the acclaimed cookbooks, Bon Appetite, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant Y’all; Grits; and Okra. She’s a columnist for, a contributing editor to Southern Living and was named one of the “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know” by the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


• 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced-fat extra-sharp sharp Cheddar cheese (4 ounces)
• 3/4 cup shredded 75 percent reduced fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
• 2 tablespoons panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
• 1/2 teaspoon paprika
• 1 3/4 cups 2 percent milk
• 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
• Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
• 8 ounces whole wheat elbow macaroni
• 12 ounces (4 cups) broccoli florets and stems

Preheat oven to 4500F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray. Combine the two cheeses. Mix 1/4 cup cheese mixture, the bread crumbs and the paprika in a small bowl. Set aside. To make the cheese sauce, heat 1 1/2 cups of the milk in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat until simmering. Whisk remaining 1/4 cup milk and the flour in a small bowl until smooth; add to hot milk and cook, whisking constantly until sauce simmers and thickens, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 1/2 cups cheese mixture and the cottage cheese until melted. Stir in the dry mustard and nutmeg, and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook pasta according to package directions. In the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the broccoli florets. Drain well and add to the cheese sauce; mix well. Spread the pasta-broccoli mixture in the prepared baking dish; sprinkle with the bread crumb mixture. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm.
Source: Lighten Up Y’all by Virginia Willis (Penguin Random House, March 3, 2015. $24.99/hardcover).


Eating a diet rich in green, leafy vegetables such as watercress and spinach, may help lower your risk of developing chronic diseases. These foods are among the highest-ranking items on a new “powerhouse” vegetables and fruits report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Scientists evaluated the nutrient density of 6 types of food: Cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, berries and allium vegetables (scallions, leeks onions). They measured how many of a selected list of nutrients could be found in 100 grams of each food, determined a nutrient density score and ranked the foods from highest to lowest. Watercress topped the list with a score of 100, while white grapefruit was the lowest with a score of 10.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, July 2015.


This week’s recipe from Dorothy Lane Market in Dayton includes the convenience of packaged coleslaw mix combined with fresh fruits and vegetables tossed together with a homemade sweet-sour dressing.


• 1 14-ounce package coleslaw mix
• 1 unpeeled red apple, cored and chopped
• 1 unpeeled green apple, cored and chopped
• 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
• 2 green onions, finely chopped
• 1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmann’s Light)
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or more to taste

In large bowl, combine slaw mix, red apple, green apple, red pepper and green onions. In a small bowl, mix together mayonnaise, brown sugar and lemon juice. Pour dressing over salad and toss gently. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source: Dorothy Lane Market recipe


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Mary’s Memo – June 22nd


Salute your sweet tooth with impressive cakes (cupcakes, too) and irresistible ice cream desserts in Cake and Ice Cream. Recipes for Good Times (Chronicle Books, 2015, $14.95/hardback). Cookbook includes people-pleasing recipes as well as tantalizing photographs of each one. Our featured recipe is Strawberry Ice Cream.


• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1/2 cup half-and-half or whole milk
• 3 egg yolks
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 1/2 cups fresh strawberries
• 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Prepare a large bowl or pan of ice water, to be used as an ice bath. In top of double boiler or in heat-proof bowl, heat the cream and half-and-half over simmering water until steaming. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until blended, then whisk in ½ cup of the sugar. Whisk in some of the hot cream and then pour the yolk mixture back into the top of the double boiler. Stir and cook over the simmering water until mixture forms a custard and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Immediately set the custard-filled pan in the ice bath and stir the custard occasionally until it cools to room temperature. While the custard cools, mash the strawberries with a potato masher, sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice, and let stand until sugar dissolves. Stir into custard and transfer to a container. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Freeze the chilled custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a container and freeze until firm, about 2 hours before serving. Recipe mzkes about 1 quart.
Source: Cake and Ice Cream, Recipes for Good Times (Chronical Books, 2015, $14.95/hardback.

QUESTION: I see recipes today that call for ramps. What are they?

ANSWER: According to the 4th Edition of the Food Lover’s Companion, a ramp is a wild onion that grows from Canada to the Carolinas and resembles a scallion with broad leaves. Ramps have an assertive garlicky-onion flavor. It is usually found in specialty produce markets from March to July. Choose those that are firm with bright-colored greenery. Although the flavor of a ramp is slightly stronger than a leek, scallion or onion, it can be used raw or cooked in many dishes as a substitute for any of the three.

QUESTION: What’s the difference between a cantaloupe and a muskmelon?

ANSWER: First, cantaloupe is named for a castle in Italy and a true cantaloupe is not exported. American “cantaloupes” are actually muskmelon. When perfectly ripe. they have a raised netting on a smooth grayish-beige skin. Store unripe muskmelon at room temperature, ripe ones in the refrigerator. Muskmelon is an excellent source of vitamins A and C.


Blueberries lower blood pressure, suggest a recent study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which included 40 postmenopausal women with prehypertension or mild hypertension. The researchers attributed the benefits to polyphenols in blueberries, which may improve blood vessel functioning by boosting nitric oxide production.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, June 2015.


I wanted something red white and blue to serve at the Chief Memorial Day weekend and this recipe got an A+ for taste and eye appeal.


• 1 cup plain low fat Stonyfield organic yogurt
• 2 tablespoons honey
• 1 banana, sliced
• 1 apple, cored and chopped
• 1 cup fresh blueberries
• 1 cup strawberries, quartered

Whisk together yogurt and honey in bottom of a large bowl. Stir in fruit and toss gently to combine. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 3 days (yogurt will keep the fruit fresh for 3 days).
Source: Recipe adapted from The Lemon Bowl at


There is a huge selection so how to pick? “Your best bet is to choose yogurt in its most simple form,” advises Alicia Romano , a clinical dietitian at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts MedicalCenter. “Start with plain yogurt and then control what you add.” While fat content has traditionally been the focus of yogurt labeling and advertising, Romano says what consumers should really be paying attention to is added sugar. Yogurt naturally contains 6 and 12 grams of sugar in a six-ounce serving (the size of most yogurt containers these days). So anything too far above that is something to be cautious about. Some yogurts have up to 33 grams of sugar. That’s just crazy, Romano says.

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