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Mary’s Memo – June 9th


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


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

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


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


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


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

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

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Mary’s Memo – June 2nd


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

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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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Mary’s Memo – May 26th


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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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Mary’s Memo – May 19th


The population of the “oldest old” is expected to triple soon, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. So what really counts when it comes to enjoying the extra time on earth? The answer is to have full use of your mental abilities and be free of disabling neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. “Keep Your Brain Young” by Dr. Fraser Smith and Dr. Ellie Aghdassi (, Toronto ON, April 2014, $24.95/softback) addresses the subject and also includes 150 recipes. Dr. Smith, BA, ND, was trained at Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto, CA, where he also served as the former Dean of the Naturopathic Program. He is registered to practice naturopathic medicine in Ontario and licensed as a naturopathic physician in Vermont. He is past president (2008 to 2013) of the Illinois Association Of Naturopathic Physicians. He currently resides in Illinois. Dr. Ellie Aghdassi, PhD, RD, is the Program Manager for the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA), a Registered Dietitian and a Senior Scientific Associate at the University Health Network. She resides in Toronto, ON. Book is available at


I notice that medium eggs are often on sale at area Chief Supermarkets. These are fine to scramble, fry or make egg salad but not for baking because recipes are developed with large eggs. Large eggs are also my preference to devil because there is more yolk in a large egg. By the way, I cringe when I see recipes calling for ‘hard boiled’ eggs because they should never be boiled! I do 7 eggs at-a-time in a Cuisinart Egg Cooker but when more are needed, set eggs out until they are room temperature, then cover with water; set over medium heat and when water just starts to bubble on top, remove from heat and cover for 20 minutes. Then place pan under cold running water (ice cubes will hasten the process) until shells feel cool; drain and peel. For ease of peeling, it helps if eggs are not fresh-from-the-store. How long should ‘hard cooked’ eggs be refrigerated? It is better to use them within 5 days because with cooking, the shell lost its protective coating.


Can adults develop allergies? The answer is yes. People can develop allergies or allergic asthma at any age. It’s likely that some of them had an allergic reaction as a child or adolescent that they don’t remember. Moreover, if you have one allergy, you can progress to others over the years, perhaps as a result of getting a new pet or moving to a region with different trees, plants and grasses. Most food allergies begin the first or second year of life, but they can certainly develop in adulthood, with seafood being the most common culprit. In addition, food intolerances (to lactose in milk, for example) are most likely to begin, or at least become more bothersome, in adulthood. Until fairly recently it was common wisdom that children not be fed highly allergenic foods until they are a year old. But it turned out that there is no evidence that avoiding these foods past four to six months of age reduces the risk of allergies. In fact, it’s now known that early introduction of highly allergenic foods helps promote tolerance of them. If you think you or a family member has an intolerance for a certain food, discuss it with your primary care doctor.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, Special Spring/Summer Issue.


You’re going to be seeing more entrees with a minimal amount of meat on Mary’s Memo, mainly to cut cost but also because we don’t need it to be healthy. An example of this kind of entrée is Impossible Buffalo Chicken Pie made with rotisserie chicken. I haven’t found an impossible pie I didn’t like and anything with a hint of Buffalo wing taste will always get my attention!


• 2 cups chopped rotisserie chicken
• 1/2 cup Buffalo wing sauce
• 1 cup reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (4-ounces)
• 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (2 ounces)
• 1 cup chopped celery
• 1 cup Original Bisquick
• 1/2 cup cornmeal
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 egg
• 2/3 cup blue cheese dressing

Preheat oven to 400ºF. In large bowl, toss chicken with Buffalo wing sauce until well coated. Stir in cheese and celery. Pour into ungreased 9-inch glass pie plate. In medium bowl, mix Bisquick, cornmeal, milk and egg. Pour over chicken mixture; spread to cover. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Cut into 6 wedges; drizzle with blue cheese dressing.
Source: 3rd Place Winner Bisquick Recipe Contest 2010.

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Mary’s Memo – May 12th


With hundreds of recipes for sumptuously mouth-watering candies, chocolates, pralines, crèmes, fudges, toffee and holiday treats, 300 Best Homemade Candy Recipes by Jane Sharrock, this candy bible covers everything from the traditional to the exotic. Complete with easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photos, it’s a treasure trove of information and inspiring recipes. Most of us are intimidated by the thought of making our own candies, but the author shows us how to master a few basic principles that every candy maker should know.

Jane Sharrock is a third-generation candy-maker who grew up surrounded by good cooks, great food and delicious homemade candies. Her mother and her aunts made cooking look so effortless that it never occurred to Jane that others might struggle in the kitchen. Eventually Jane realized that she had unique training  and not everyone had a Home Economics professor, old fashioned country cook, farmer’s wife and second-generation candy maker as a mother and mentor. Armed with a sizeable collection of old fashioned candy recipes and decades of kitchen wisdom passed from generation to generation, Jane wrote a candy cookbook in hopes of inspiring a new generation of candy makers. Jane lives in Oklahoma and works for the Federal contracting industry. In her free time she enjoys cooking with friends and family.

Because I happen to like layered peppermint bark, that’s the recipe we’re sharing, even though it’s more likely to be served at Christmastime. Dare to be different and make it now!


• 8-ounces chocolate candy coating
• 2/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate
• 2 teaspoons peppermint extract, divided
• 12-ounces white chocolate candy coating
• 3/4 cup crushed candy canes

In the top pan of double boiler over hot but not boiling water, melt the dark chocolate candy coating and chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon peppermint extract until well blended. Pour the chocolate mixture onto baking sheet lined with waxed paper, spreading into a thin, even layer. Cool 20 minutes or until chocolate is firm. In top of a clean double boiler over hot but not boiling water, melt the white chocolate coating, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining peppermint extract until well blended. Pour the white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate layer, spreading evenly. Sprinkle with the crushed peppermint candy canes. Cool and break into pieces. Store in airtight container.
Source:, Toronto, ON, May 2014, $24.95/softback.


A pair of discoveries, reported in PLOS One, may lead to better broccoli in the produce aisle. University of Illinois researchers, seeking to boost levels of anti-cancer glucosinolate compounds found broccoli and similar vegetables, sprayed the plants shortly before harvest with methyl jasmonate. That natural, non-toxic plant signal chemical tells genes in the broccoli to produce the anti-cancer agents. Unfortunately, testing showed it also accelerated the production of ethylene, which causes plants to decay. Spraying a second chemical recently discovered in plants, 1-methlycyclopropene, was found to block ethylene and prolonged shelf life. The one-two punch, scientists hope, will help protect against cancer while also protecting the broccoli in your fridge.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, May, 2014.


It will be awhile before we have home grown tomatoes but in the meantime, Baked Tomato Casserole, is an excellent side dish to serve with grilled meats and fish year round!


• 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick)
• 1 large Vidalia onion, chopped
• 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon oregano
• 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
• 1-1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix
• 1/4 cup butter

Sauté chopped onions in 1/4 cup butter. Mix drained tomatoes, sautéed onions, salt, pepper, oregano and brown sugar together. Spoon into 9x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sauté stuffing mix in 1/4 cup butter and sprinkle evenly over tomato mixture. Bake in 250ºF oven for 1-1/4 hours. Recipe makes 4 to 5 servings.

An excellent relish at barbecues is Dilled Carrot Sticks. I happen to think that regular carrots have a better flavor than mini carrots.


• 1 pound medium-sized carrots
• 1 cup cider vinegar
• 1 cup water
• 3/4 to 1 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon mustard seed
• 1/2 teaspoon dill weed

Peel carrots into 3-inch lengths. Cook in boiling water until almost tender but not overcooked. Drain; cut carrots lengthwise into quarters. In saucepan, combine vinegar, water, sugar, mustard seed and dill weed. Simmer mixture 10 minutes. Add carrot sticks and simmer 1 minute longer. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight. Drain carrots thoroughly before serving. Recipe makes 3 cups.

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Mary’s Memo – May 5th


According to Wikipedia, Cinco de Mayo, Spanish for fifth of May, commemorates the Mexican Army’s unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Pueblo on May 5, 1862. Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day September 16, Cinco de Mayo is observed mostly by Mexican Americans in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. More than ever before, Americans are embracing the food of other nationalities including our neighbor, Mexico. Celebrate the day with Slow Cooker Posole with Pork and Chicken. PS: It freezes well!


• 1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/2 pound boneless pork loin roast
• 1/2 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
• 1 (15.5-ounce) can hominy, drained
• 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 2 (14.5-ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth (I use Swanson’s)
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon cumin
• 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper to taste
• 1 bay leaf

Place chipotle pepper and water into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour into slow cooker. Add the pork, chicken, hominy, green chilies, onion, garlic and chicken broth. Season with oregano, cumin, pepper and the bay leaf. Cover and cook on low 6 to 7 hours until meats are tender. Remove bay leaf before serving. Recipe makes 6 servings.
Source:, the world’s favorite recipe web site.


The creators of the Paleo diet claim the diet is best suited for our bodies because it is the “unique diet to which our species is genetically adapted through evolution and natural selection.” It is also referred to as the “caveman diet” or the Stone Age diet.” The Paleo diet is said to be based on the diets of our preagricultural, hunter-gatherer ancestors who lived more than 10,000 years ago. The diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and unlimited amounts of fruits and vegetables. It also emphasizes meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, nuts and seeds plus “healthful fats” from plants including oils from olives, walnuts, flaxseed, coconuts, avocados and macadamia nuts. It excludes refined sugar, dairy, legumes including peanuts, grains, processed foods, salt and refined vegetable oils such as canola, peanut, soybean and corn oils.

The Paleo diet is high in fiber due to high intake of fruits and vegetables, and it’s high in omega-3 fatty acids from seafood, nuts, and flaxseed and walnut oils. However, unlike the Mediterranean diet, it omits dairy, grains and legumes which can be part of a healthy diet. Omitting these food groups may cause a deficiency in certain nutrients including calcium and vitamin D. Also, since the Paleo diet emphasizes animal sources of protein , it can be high in saturated fat if you don’t limit yourself to lean meat and skinless poultry. Science has shown that the diets of Paleolithic ancestors actually varied widely, based upon the geography and climate of their location, so there is no single “best” diet that creators of the Paleo diet claim. The Paleo diet emphasizes some important points that can be incorporated into your diet: eating less processed foods and refined sugars and more fruits and vegetables; however, the Mediterranean diet is a better choice because it is lower in saturated fat and it doesn’t exclude good sources of fiber, such as grains and legumes.
Source: Weill Cornell Women’s Nutrition Connection, May 2014.


Scientists have known for decades that a fiber-rich diet protects against obesity and diabetes, but recently a French-Swedish team of researchers discovered one of the mechanism for that protection. The authors expect the findings to influence new nutritional guidelines geared to preventing obesity and diabetes. Simply put, the bottom line is to “encourage people to eat fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in soluble fiber,” says Giles Mithieux, lead study author and researcher at the French Institute of Health and Medical Research. The research team found that soluble fibers in fruits and vegetables are fermented by intestinal bacteria into short-chain fatty acids, which can be assimilated by the body. These acids confer a protective effect… for example, animals fed a fiber-rich diet are less fat than animals fed a fiber-free diet. This protective mechanism seems to come from the ability of the intestine to produce glucose and release it into the blood between meals and at night. Glucose is detected by the nerves in the walls of the portal vein, which collects blood coming from the intestine and sends a nerve signal to the brain. The brain then triggers certain functions that are diabetes- and obesity-protective. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, cabbage, green peas, corn and legumes including dried beans, lentils or peas.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, May 2014.

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Mary’s Memo – April 28th


28 Days to Younger Skin (, Toronto Ontario, 2014; $24.95/softback) is a fast-track program designed for people who have a special occasion coming up, such as a wedding, a holiday or any date by which you want to look your best. It can be used to complement your current beauty regime or, if you are having a cosmetic procedure, you can use this program to supply the nutrients in your diet needed to speed up your recovery and enhance your results. It is a 28-day program because it takes that long for your body to produce new cells in the deeper skin, so it’s literally the beginning of a new you by day 28. It also takes about 21 days to form new habits, so by the end of the program you might automatically continue some of your healthy new habits. The program is designed to boost metabolism and supply all the nutrients needed for skin repair, renewal and maintenance. It can also improve your energy and feelings of well-being, and it’s healthy for the whole body. Keep in mind that 28 days is a very short period of time and this program is designed to work fast, so you will have to do some work every day during the 28 days. But the results will be well worth it. Book also includes 50 recipes.

Karen Fisher is an award-winning author, former model and nutritionist. An avid health researcher, she has a passion for finding new, science-based ways to create beautiful skin. Karen believes that the skin’s appearance is one of the main indicators of overall health. For the last decade she has helped hundreds of patients gain beautiful skin and has made it her goal to make nutrition and health interesting and accessible to everyone. The Healthy Skin Diet (Australian edition) was awarded ‘Best Health, Nutrition or Specific Diet Book’ at the Australian Food Media Awards. She is also the author of the 8-week Healthy Skin Diet and The Eczema Diet. Karen lives in Australia.


Organic food as a rule costs more than conventional food but is it worth the extra money? The priority level is highest for fruit and vegetables, according to Urvashi Rangan, PhD., executive director of Consumer Reports’ Food safety and Sustainability Center. Rangan says that rinsing conventional fruit and vegetables doesn’t effectively reduce pesticide residue that are left behind. But organic produce isn’t treated with synthetic fertilizers or most synthetic pesticides in the first place.
Source: Consumer Reports on Health, April 2014.


Daughter Mary Ann loves this recipe. Leftovers freeze well for future meals. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wa) is relatively new to American supermarkets but the 4th Edition of the Food Lover’s Companion reports it being a staple of the ancient Incas who called it “the mother grain.” It’s considered a complete protein because it contains all essential amino acids. Quinoa is also higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains and provides a rich, balanced source of vital nutrients. It cooks like regular rice but takes half the time. That said, here is the recipe from a blog at

• 2 tablespoons oil (canola, safflower or olive oil)
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
• 1 carrot, cut into 1/2-inch half-moons
• 1 small head of cauliflower, broken into small florets
• 1/4 teaspoon salt or more to taste
• 5 teaspoons curry powder
• 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup frozen peas
• 1 cup quinoa (red quinoa recommended but white would be fine, too)
• Plain non-fat yogurt

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion, garlic and carrot over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the cauliflower, spices and salt and cook for another minute. Add 1 cup water, then cover and simmer 12 to 15 minutes until vegetables are tender. Add the peas during the last minute of cooking. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to package directions. Mix the curried vegetables into the quinoa and serve. Top with nonfat yogurt and toasted slivered almonds.

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Mary’s Memo – April 21st


If a juicy steak is not in your budget, Chief’s ground beef, the leaner the better, has endless possibilities including the Beef Council’s recipe for Korean Beef Skillet.


• 1 pound 93% lean ground beef
• 2 cups bok choy cut into 1-inch pieces
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1/2 cup Korean barbecue sauce (or your preferred brand)
• 1/4 cup water
• 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
• 1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
• 1/2 cup fresh bean sprouts
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
• Hot cooked brown rice or La Choy Chow Mein Noodles Topping (optional):
• Thinly sliced radishes

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add ground beef, bok choy and garlic; cook 8 to 10 minutes, breaking into small crumbles and stirring occasionally. Stir in barbecue sauce, water, red pepper; cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in cabbage, bean sprouts and green onion. Let stand 5 minutes. Serve mixture over rice or La Choy Chow Mein Noodles. Recipe makes 4 servings. Note: Be sure ground beef is thoroughly cooked to an internal temperature of 150ºF. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
Source: Adapted from Beef Council recipe.


Too much caffeine may make your heart race, but it’s not likely to cause atrial fibrillation (afib). Rather, regular caffeine intake may lower your risk of afib. In a meta-analysis of six U .S. and Scandinavian studies involving more than 228,500 participants, regular consumption of caffeine in coffee, tea, cola, cocoa or chocolate lowered the incidence of afib by 11-16 percent. The more caffeine that was consumed, the lower the risk, with the incidence of afib dropping 6 percent for every additional 300 mg of caffeine consumed per day. Afib risk increases the presence of atrial fibrosis. The authors of the study, published online January 6, 2014, in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, suggested that caffeine‘s protective qualities may be due to its antifibrotic properties.
Sourc e: Duke Medicine Health News, April 2014.


I could not resist investing in the new stove top 10.25-inch Skinny Grill from Le Creuset, especially since shipping was free at the time of my purchase. Best of all, the regular price for the Skinny Grill is $145.00, but I bought it from Sur la Table’s latest catalog for $79.00. It’s available in several colors including rosemary, Le Creuset’s newest green color that blends well with previous light green pieces. I used it for the first time last night and it cooked a 1-inch thick boneless loin pork chop in less time than it would take had I used my oven broiler or cooked it outside on the grill by indirect heat. Before the pork chop had finished cooking, I added 6 asparagus stalks and they were done in minutes. I mistakenly thought the grill itself had a nonstick finish but it doesn’t. Skinny Grill should also be greased before adding food. Burner temperature should be no higher than medium heat for any grilling. The only negative thing I have to say is the card that came with the grill didn’t have the information about greasing the grill or what the burner temperature should be. This information came from a customer service representative at toll free 1-877-418-5547. Le Creuset products are made in France.


Any recipe that is meatless gets my attention during Lent. Original recipe from the Mushroom Council called for 1-1/2 pounds sliced button mushrooms and 8 ounces of fresh shitake mushrooms, sliced. The latter would have made a soup that only yields 6 cups prohibitive. To keep the price more reasonable, shitake were replaced with 8-ounces of baby bella mushrooms, sliced.


• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 cup chopped sweet onion
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 2 tablespoons chili powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1-1/2 pounds fresh button mushrooms, sliced
• 8-ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
• 1 (14.5-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
• 1 (15.5-ounce) can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I prefer Bush brand)
• 1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
• 1/2 cup water

In large saucepan heat oil until hot; add onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic powder, chili powder and cumin; cook until fragrant about 39 seconds. Add button and baby bella mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are crisp-tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add stewed tomatoes, beans, olives and water. Simmer uncovered, to blend flavors, about 10 minutes. If desired, garnish with chopped lettuce, chopped green onions and reduced-fat shredded sharp Cheddar cheese. Makes 4 servings.
Source: Adapted from Mushroom Council recipe

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Mary’s Memo – April 14th


The product Nutella has been around for ages but now comes Jif’s Salted Caramel Flavored Hazelnut Spread and Hershey Spreads including Chocolate with Hazelnut. Spread on bread or toast, crackers or as a dip for fresh fruit. Yummy! Because I love the salt and sweet combination, I’m partial to the Jif spread. Daughter Mary Ann preferred Hershey because it tasted natural while Jif did not.

One of the newer Dole salad mixes (at least to me) is Very Veggie. Sweet carrots, zesty radishes and pea pods add color and crunch to mild and crispy iceberg and romaine.

Chief’s already large assortment of cheese now includes Wexford Mature Irish Cheddar, a product of Ireland. It may be a getit-while-it-lasts cheese introduced for St. Patrick’s Day but surely worth trying!


It’s not just the recession that’s led to improvements in the US diet, according to a new analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Beyond merely cutting back for pocketbook reasons, Americans are choosing to consume fewer calories and obesity rates are leveling off. The study used sophisticated statistical tools to control for changing economic conditions over the past decade, including unemployment rate and food prices. Calories declined more in beverages than food choices, the study found, and healthier eating trends actually accelerated during the worst of the recession. The new findings align themselves with another recent study by the USDA researchers that found average daily calorie intake among working Americans had dropped 78 calories between 2005 and 2010. That report also showed people using nutrition labels more, eating better at home and eating out less.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, April 2014.


Finding ways to strengthen or compensate for shortened attention span can help cut down on frustrating memory lapses. Begin by removing barriers to concentration. It’s more difficult to commit information to memory when you’re stressed, emotionally upset, bored or in a negative mood. Physical annoyances, such as uncomfortable temperatures, noise and distractions also make the act of remembering more challenging. When trying to remember something, make an effort to focus and take in more details. Lend meaning to information by thinking about why it is important, organizing it or using visualization, association or mnemonic tricks such as rhymes, acronyms or stories to help retain it. You can also strengthen your powers of attention with games and activities. Play cards, read an article …. then test yourself on the contents or try to remember what you and your friends wore to recent party or luncheon. You can also change your habit patterns. Sit in a different chair to watch TV; take a new route home; rearrange the furniture; try a new restaurant. The trick is to keep your brain active and engaged.
Source: Duke Medicine Health News, April 2014.


The USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University has ranked blueberries as the greatest antioxidant powerhouse out of 40 fresh fruits and vegetables tested. Because of this you should never be without blueberries in some form at home.

Among my cookbook collection is one called The Joy of Blueberries by Theresa Millang published by Adventure Publications in 2003. It is still available from as are Joy of Rhubarb, Cranberries, Raspberries, Strawberries, Apples and Pumpkin! Joy of Blueberries features 200 recipes ranging from bars to soups to ice cream. Trust me, this cookbook is worth buying! So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this week’s recipe is for Food Network Patrick and Gina Neely’s Blueberry Crisp. I did add an additional 1/2 tablespoon of cornstarch to the recipe so blueberries would be less runny. A few tasters at the Bryan Chief asked if Minute Tapioca could replace cornstarch and I said yes. At home I added a small scoop of Edy’s reduced-fat ice cream.


• 6 cups fresh blueberries, cleaned and air-dried
• 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or 1-1/2 tablespoons Minute


• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1/8 teaspoon salt

Topping Mixture:

• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
• 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
• 3/4 cup chopped pecan
• 1/2 stick room temperature unsalted butter (1/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Toss blueberries, cornstarch or tapioca, sugar and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. To make the topping combine flour, oats, sugars, spices and pecans. Add butter and pinch into chunks or use a pastry blender until crumbly. Add blueberries to a 2-quart oblong baking dish. Top evenly with crumb mixture. Bake for 40 minutes. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice cream.
Source: Adapted from Patrick and Gina Neely’s recipe.

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Mary’s Memo – April 7th


As we get closer to Easter be looking for savings on foods of the season. I already purchased a center cut boneless pork loin when it was on sale. Some members don’t eat ham, so pork loin it is for my family. Ham will surely be on sale. I did notice a Smithfield ham in someone’s cart this past weekend. Smithfield has a distinctive taste. Unfortunately, to me at least, the Smithfield brand that originated in Smithfield, Virginia, was purchased by the Chinese in 2013. Other foods likely to be on sale are eggs and baked goods ingredients for items like hot cross buns. If you don’t want to make them yourself, look for this traditional Holy Week bread at Chief.  Note that I always plan menus around sale items …. did it when we were a family of 6 and continue to do it today.


I can tell when a recipe is a success when Bryan Chief shoppers buy the ingredients before they leave the store. Some mentioned that it would be a good dessert for Easter brunch or dinner. I agree.


• 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
• 2/3 cup sugar plus 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk
• 1 cup fresh raspberries, cleaned and air dried

Preheat oven to 400ºF with rack in the middle. Butter and flour a deep 9-inch cake pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and 2/3 cup sugar with an electric mixer at medium high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, and beat in vanilla. Add egg and beat well. At low speed, add flour mixture in 3 batches. Begin and end with flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter red raspberries evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until cake is golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes (mine took 25 minutes). Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, then turn out on rack and cool 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto cake plate. Recipe makes 6 servings.


I can’t tell you how many people ask me what to do with leftover buttermilk saying they end up throwing it away. Because I have had the same problem in the past, use it in mashed potatoes and twice baked potatoes instead of milk. It also makes excellent biscuits, both drop and cut-out ones. Since buttermilk lightens any baked goods, use it for pancakes or recipes such as the Red Raspberry Buttermilk Cake. Another question that you have asked is whether or not it can be frozen. People who drink it won’t like it after it’s thawed but its okay for cooking and baking. Finally we all ask dairy companies why they don’t sell it in pints instead of quart containers and none of us would have a problem as to what to do with leftover buttermilk!


Although this soup calls for chicken broth, it can be replaced with vegetable broth during Lent because the other ingredients give it plenty of zip. Add a small swirl of basil pesto and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese to each bowl for an Italian twist.


• 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 medium onion, chopped
• 2 ribs celery, sliced
• 2 medium carrots, sliced
• 1 (32-ounce) container vegetable broth
• 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes or 1 (26-ounce) jar marinara sauce
• 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 2 teaspoons dried basil
• Garlic salt and ground pepper to taste
• 3 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped

Heat oil in a large saucepan; add onion, celery and carrots and cook 5 minutes to lightly brown. Stir in stick, tomatoes, potatoes and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then puree in a blender, food processor or emersion stick blender until smooth. Pour back into saucepan and stir in spinach. Cook for a minute or 2 more to wilt the spinach.
Source: Adapted recipe from Potatoes, Goodness Unearthed! (National Potato Council)

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