Mary’s Memo – December 7th


I have before me a cookbook called Maple by Katie Webster (Quirk Books, 2015, hardcover/$22.95). The very word, maple, conjures up sweet memories of rich amber-colored syrups, indulgent breakfasts and delicate candy. Katie Webster takes you behind the scenes of her backyard maple sugaring hobby. Explore 100 sweet and savory recipes including vegan, gluten-free and paleo-friendly options, all featuring the incomparable taste of maple like Pumpkin Maple Dip with Apple Wedges.


• 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese
• 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
• 1/4 cup dark pure maple syrup
• 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 4 large apples, cut into wedges

In large bowl with an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in pumpkin. Syrup and pumpkin pie spice. Continue beating until smooth. Serve with apple wedges. Recipe makes 2½ cups.
Source: Maple by Katie Webster (Quirk Books, September 2015, hardcover/$22.95. Purchase at


Bicycle accidents have increased dramatically since 1998, especially among cyclists over the age of 45, according to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, analyzed injury date for adult cyclists from a sample of about 100 hospital emergency departments. As cycling has become more popular, the number of serious injuries has increased. In particular, the study found a disproportionate rise in cycling injuries among people over 45, who accounted for 23 percent of reported injuries in 1998, but now 42 percent. Moreover, about two-thirds of cycling injuries requiring hospital admission today occur in people over 45.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, December 2015.


Q: What is the shelf life of hard salami?

A:First, hard salami in my opinion is to serve it paper thin, the way it is sold in the Chief deli. Store in the refrigerator for 10 to14 days. Or store in freezer for an indefinite period of time in heavy duty freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
Note: Temperature of my freezer is 5 below zero although 0 degrees is safe.


Just so you know, in the future, I’ll be doing a demo on the first weekend of each month (weather permitting in January and February).


Skyline Chili is a chain of restaurants based in Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky and Florida. Canned Skyline Chili is available in 2 different size cans at Chief.. To make the dip, cover the bottom of oblong 2-quart glass baking dish with an 8-ounce package of cream cheese. Cover with the larger can of Skyline Chili. Top with 2 cups shredded reduced-fat Our Family sharp Cheddar cheese. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or Frito Scoops.


This is a variation of a recipe I made years ago.


• 1 box (9-ounce ) Birdseye Frozen Spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain
• 1 cup Heart Smart Original Bisquick Heart Smart mix
• 2 cups (8 ounces) Our Family mozzarella cheese
• 1 egg
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
• 1 teaspoon McCormick garlic salt
• 1 cup of your favorite pasta sauce, if desired

Heat oven to 4000F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except pasta sauce. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place on cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove from pan. Serve with pasta sauce.


• 1 pound hot bulk sausage
• 1/4 cup chopped scallions
• 1 pound processed American cheese, cut into cubes
• 1/4 cup milk
• 1 10-ounce can Ro-Tel tomatoes (chopped variety), undrained

Place sausage and onion in 1½ quart round glass casserole dish. Cover with waxed paper and microwave on high 6 to 7 minutes or until sausage is cooked or until no longer pink, stirring every 3 minutes. Remove meat and onion mixture from dish to paper towels to drain. Drain fat from casserole. Place cheese and milk in discover with plastic wrap. Reduce to medium high (70% power); microwave 6 to 8 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring every 2 minutes. Stir in drained sausage mixture and tomatoes. Serve immediately with tortilla chips.
Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It cookbook.

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Mary’s Memo – November 30th


Robust and delicious, beans and field peas have graced the tables of southerners for generations. Today, people rich or poor, or in between rely on legumes, the comforting “culinary equalizer,” as Sandra A. Gutierriz succinctly puts it. Beans and Field Peas (University of North Carolina Press, September 2015; hardcover/$19.00). Her collection of 51 recipes shines a fresh light on this sustaining varied staple of ordinary life, featuring classic southern, contemporary and international dishes. Celebrating all manner of southern beans and field peas, Guiterrez showcases their goodness in dishes as simple as Butter Bean, Corn and Tomato Salad. Previous to this book, she wrote Latin American Street Food and The New Southern Latino Table. A well known culinary instructor, Sandra Guitierriz lives in Cary, North Carolina.


• 2 cups butter beans (about ½ pound)
• 2 cups corn kernels
• 2 cups seeded, chopped plum tomatoes
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar or to taste
• 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
• 1/4 cup corn or vegetable oil

Place the beans in a pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook 5 minutes, skimming off the foam that rises to the top; cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, fill a bowl with iced water. When beans have finished cooking, drain and immerse them in ice bath until cool. Drain the peas and transfer them to a large bowl; add corn and tomatoes. In small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk in the oil and pour dressing over salad; stir until combined. Note: If you let this salad rest for an hour or so before serving, the tomatoes will release their juices and add to the flavor of the dressing. Also, use fresh corn, if available. Source: Used with permission of the University of North Carolina Press.


Q: What is the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock.

A: Chicken stock is richer in flavor and made with chicken stock, salt, carrots, cabbage, onions, celery, celery leaves and parsley. My preference is Swanson Chicken Stock.


Being a chocoholic, I couldn’t resist Hershey’s new Dark Chocolate Caramels. Each is individually wrapped and the caramel itself is soft and didn’t stick to my teeth. On the savory side, I didn’t know Fritos makes a chili cheese flavored corn chip with a zestier flavor than regular Fritos. Finally, Triscuit’s is my favorite cracker. However, this summer and fall they introduced some far-out flavors that didn’t get my seal of approval including Martha Stewart Toasted Coconut and Sea Salt and Cranberry Sage or any of the bean-added ones. That said, the new Balsamic Vinegar & Basil is tasty.


Recent research underlines the importance of ensuring that shellfish are properly cooked before consuming them. The study, published August 28, 2015, in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, indicates that oysters not only transmit human norovirus but also serve as a major reservoir for these pathogens. Norovirus, which is highly infectious, causes stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. About 20 million cases of norovirus infection occur annually in the U.S. (including 56,000 -71,000 hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Previous research suggests that noroviruses can persist for weeks in oyster tissues. If you eat oysters or other shell fish, make sure they are fully cooked. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


It’s not a good idea to store bags of fresh cranberries in the freezer without washing and sorting them beforehand, even though I know many of you do it. When cranberries are not washed and sorted before freezing, you have no way of knowing if you have any spoiled ones in the bag. If you want them loose-packed, arrange on a pan in a single layer, then store in whatever size package you prefer. Another option is making cranberry relish and freezing.


With only a couple exceptions, Bryan shoppers raved about the corn salad served to them at the Chief recently.


• 1 14.4-ounce bag Birdseye frozen corn, thawed and drained
• 2 cups reduced-fat Our Family sharp Cheddar cheese (package says there’s 1¾ cup of cheese in the bag but
trust me, there is 2 cups)
• 1/2 cup Hellmann’s Light Mayonnaise
• 1 cup chopped green bell pepper
• 1/2 cup chopped red onion
• McCormick garlic salt to taste (I used ¼ teaspoon)
• Generous amount of coarsely crushed Frito Chili Cheese Flavored Corn Chips

Mix all but the Fritos together. Just before serving fold in crushed Fritos and serve immediately. Source: Adapted from a recipe from Ruth Cochran, Fishers, IN.

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Mary’s Memo – November 23rd


It goes without saying that my slow cooker is a “best friend,” especially at holiday time when my “to do” list is overloaded! Enter 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics by Judith Finlayson, bestselling author with more than 750,00 slow cooker books in print ( This is a full color reissue, with a new cover and all-new trade paper binding and includes 60 new recipes from everyday favorites to dishes that fit the bill for elegant entertaining. With nearly 100 color photographs and extensive tips and techniques, delicious results are guaranteed. A wise cook said that anyone can broil a steak but it takes an artist to make a stew. How true! Finlayson’s chicken stew is a perfect example! You’ll need minimum 5-quart slow cooker.


• 1 potato, peeled and diced (because the chicken cooks for 6 hours on Low the potatoes will be a bit
firm unless they are blanched prior to adding to the stew)
• 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 4 stalks celery, diced
• 2 carrots, peeled and diced
• 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
• 1 bay leaf
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
• 1/2 cup dry white wine or chicken stock
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 pounds skinless, bone-in chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)
• 1 cup green peas, thawed if frozen
• 1/2 cup cream (any kind of cream from half-and-half to the richest whipping cream works well in this recipe.

In saucepan, combine potato and cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Cover and set aside. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions, celery and carrots and cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add thyme, bay leaf and flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute. Add stock and white wine and cook stirring until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 4 minutes. Drain reserved potato and add to mixture. Sason to taste with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken in bottom of slow cooker and cove r with vegetable mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 3 hours, until juices run clear when chicken is pierced with a fork. Add peas and cream, if using, and stir well. Cover and cook on high for 20 minutes, until peas are tender and mixture is hot and bubbly. Recipe makes 6 servings. Source: 175 Essential Slow Cooker Classics (


Legumes, an umbrella term for beans, peas and lentils, are not just for vegetarians. A great deal of research has shown that reducing consumption of animal foods and consuming more plant foods is a healthy dietary move. Since legumes contain more protein per serving than most other plant foods, they are a naturally healthy substitutes for animal foods that provide protein but also contain saturated fat and lack fiber, “Legumes are packed with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals, says Jenna Rosenfeld, MS, RD, CDN, a clinical dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill- Cornell. “Legumes are noted for their impact on cardiovascular and digestive health, and they play a significant role in promoting weight loss and blood glucose control.” Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


I confess that sweet potatoes are not a favorite food but
I eat them because they’re good for me. That was until
my nephew’s wife, Nina Trentadue, shared Thanksgiving/
Christmas Sweet Potatoes. They are absolutely delicious!
Granted, they’re sweet, but eaten in moderation at holiday
time, recipe will get rave reviews!


• 4 large sweet potatoes
• 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
• 1/3 cup milk
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 1 tablespoon vanilla
• 2 eggs Topping
• 1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
• 1 cup packed light brown
• 1/3 cup flour
• 1/3 cup butter, melted

Peel potatoes and boil until soft. Drain and mash with
mixer or in food processor. Combine sweet potatoes, stick
of butter, milk, sugar, vanilla and eggs. Spoon into 9x13-
inch baking dish. Mix topping ingredients together and
sprinkle evenly over sweet potato mixture. Bake in 3500F.
oven for about 30 minutes. Recipe makes 10 to 12 servings.
Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You liked It cookbook.


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Mary’s Memo – November 16th


In The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet by Laura Cipullo ( you can enjoy some of your favorite foods without guilt. Based on the latest research and a very easy three-step program, The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet transforms your most-loved dishes into diabetes-friendly meals that will promote weight loss and reverse insulin resistance. Each of the recipes in this book will help you maintain a healthy glucose level while enjoying incredibly satisfying food.

Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a private practice in New York City. Her wisdom and experience are consistently tapped by nationally circulated publications and digital media including Fitness and Real Simple magazines. She also makes frequent guest appearances on the Dr. Oz Show, Fox News and Headline News. She resides in New York City with her husband and children.
With the holidays approaching, here’s an appetizer that diabetics can eat as well as everyone!


• 1 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
• 6 ounces cream cheese or reduced fat cream cheese, softened
• 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1/8 teaspoon paprika
• 1 small red onion, finely chopped
• 1 9-ounce package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, squeezed dry and chopped
• 1 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
• Veggies for dipping

In a large bowl, stir the yogurt, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, garlic, mustard and paprika to combine. Add the onion, artichoke hearts and spinach to the mixture and stir to combine. Pour into 8-inch baking dish. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and bake in preheated 3500F. oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling hot. Recipe makes 12 servings.
Source: The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet by Laura Cipullo (


Shoppers love the convenience of ready-to-use packaged greens. If you’re concerned about pesticides, most lettuce packaging companies use a mixture of water and a small amount of chlorine to wash their vegetables. The chlorine is harmless to humans when dissolved in water in such a small amount, but it’s deadly to bacteria such as E-coli. And if for some reason “harmful bacteria, such as E.coli was not removed during the initial washing process, a quick rinse at home is unlikely to remove it, either. If you’re still concerned, buy organic greens. There’s also an argument to be made about what bacteria you could add to your greens by re-washing them.


Even though we had another vegetable side dish at last year’s Thanksgiving dinner, Jo Cunningham’s Corn Casserole from my cookbook was by far the biggest hit with everyone.


• 1 15-ounce can whole kernel corn, undrained
• 1 15-ounce can cream=style corn
• 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), melted
• 1 cup sour cream (can be reduced fat or fat-free kind)
• 1 box Jiffy corn muffin mix

Preheat oven to 3500F. Combine ingredients. Spoon into 2-quart casserole coated with nonstick spray. Bake for 1 hour or until firm. Recipe makes 8 servings. Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked it cookbook. It has always surprised me that although you bought my cookbook in 2004, many buyers haven’t tried the recipes until they’ve tasted them at my demo table at the Bryan Chief. An example is Cranberry Orange Nut Bread. This one makes 2 loaves. Give it as a gift or serve at your holiday open house. It’s a good keeper in the freezer, providing it’s wrapped properly.


• 3 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 cups sugar
• 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
• 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), melted
• 1 cup orange juice
• 1/4 cup hot water
• 1 cup chopped nuts, toasted
• 2 cups coarsely chopped cranberries
• Grated zest of 2 oranges

Preheat oven to 3500F. Mix dry ingredients together. Add egg, melted butter, orange juice and water and mix only until dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in nuts, cranberries and zest of orange. Divide dough between 2 greased and floured 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Let stand for 20 minutes. Bake 1 hour or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the center of the loaf.
Source: Thank You, I’m Glad You Like It cookbook.

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Mary’s Memo – November 9th


When it comes to following a recipe, sometimes words just get in the way. Fresh Made Simple by Lauren K Stein with illustrations by Katie Eberts (Storey Publishing, September 2015, $18.00/hardcover) invites readers to jump directly into action with full 75 full- page recipe illustrations featuring ingredients and steps cleverly integrated right into the art. Scrambling, tossing, roasting, toasting, stacking, stuffing and blending all come alive in these charming, full-motion drawings. Organized by preparation style and highlighting everyone’s favorite fresh ingredients, author Stein reminds cooks of every level to reach for simple flavor combinations, appreciate the beauty of fresh food and enjoy the ease with which amazingly delicious light meals, snacks, drinks, dressings and even desserts are created. The instructional illustrations by Katie Eberts are the book’s centerpiece. Her whimsical, colorful drawings awaken the senses and the imagination, creating a sense of play.

Stein is a former journalist from Reuters who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston Magazine and web site Eat Boutique. She spends lots of time in the kitchen with her young daughter in Boston MA. Eberts is a graduate of the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design and lives in Hessel, MI. I love the unique way recipes are presented such as this one. Trust me, illustrations make preparations easy.


• Big dollop of honey
• A couple swirls of balsamic vinegar
• Big spoonful of Dijon mustard
• Salt and pepper
• Hearty pour of olive oil

Combine ingredients in quart jar. Cover and shake to mix.
Source: Fresh Made Simple by Lauren K Stein (Storey Publishing, September 2015; hardcover/$18.00).


When it comes to Thanksgiving leftovers, advises Tufts’ senior research dietician Helen Rasmussen, think safety first. “If you forgot to put them in the fridge or the leftovers sat in your car too long after a holiday party or a restaurant meal, just toss them,” she says. It takes only a couple hours for dangerous bacteria to grow.” According to the Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety website, you should refrigerate leftover food within 2 hours. The clock starts ticking the minute your food finishes cooking, so time your “doggie bag” plans from when you are served (or a little before), not when you leave the restaurant or clear the table. Reheat thoroughly, stirring as needed. Especially when reheating in the microwave, keep in mind that all parts of the dish may not be heated evenly. Reheated food should reach 165oF before being eaten; standing time also helps microwave dishes distribute heat. Check with a kitchen thermometer to make sure. For more tips on safe storage of food before and after cooking and reducing food waste, see the Food Marketing Institute’s Food Keeper site or download the Food Keeper mobile app.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, November, 2015.


Panera Bread and Chipotle Mexican Grill were the only two chains to receive an A grade. Chik-fil-A earned a B, Dunkin Donuts and McDonald’s were given a C and the rest of the restaurants evaluated received an F because they have not announced their policies regarding antibiotic use. These restaurants include Wendy’s, Burger King, Olive Garden, Chili’s, Denny’s, Domino’s, Papa John’s Pizza, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Applebee’s, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Outback Steakhouse and Little Caesars.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November, 2015.


Once there was a Gooey Butter Cake and now there’s a Cake Mix Gooey Butter Cookie from Betty Crocker.


• 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 large egg
• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
• Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 3750F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll in powdered sugar to coat. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 11 to 15 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Recipe makes 2 dozen. Source: Betty


Ruth Wakefield, inventor of the chocolate chip cookie, sold her recipe to Toll House for one dollar. Wakefield reported that she never did get that dollar but Toll House did send her free chocolate for life. Source: Conversation Sparks by Ryan Chapman (Chronical Books, 2015; softcover/$12.95).

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Mary’s Memo – November 2nd


Finally, a cookbook that includes gluten-free recipes for pizza crust, bagels and all other wheat staples you’ve been missing. Gluten-Free Wish List, Sweet and Savory Treats You’ve Missed the most by Jeanne Sauvage (Chronicle Books, November 2015; hardback/$29.95). When the author learned of her own gluten-intolerance and life threatening allergy to wheat, she began experimenting with how to bake gluten-free foods that taste just like their wheat counterparts. With easy to follow instructions and anecdotes describing each of her 100 adaptations, Gluten-Free Wish List is a journey through how a food restriction became a way of eating more healthfully and consciously without sacrificing flavor. Sauvage’s recipes don’t taste great for gluten-free, they taste great period! Jeanne Sauvage writes a popular blog Art of Gluten-Free Baking and authored Gluten-Free Baking for the Holidays (also published by Chronicle Books).


Take advantage of sales on regular, brown and powdered sugars, flour and butter. Butter freezes and we use a lot of it when making cookies (no butter flavored Crisco for us). We make several kinds in early November while the rest are baked the day after Thanksgiving and stored in tins that I’ve had for years. An alternative is BPA-free containers available at Chief.


Large-sized portions of food or drink as well as larger plates lead people to consume more, according to a review of 61 studies (comprising 6,711 participants by the University of Cambridge, UK). The study suggests that removing larger-size portions from the diet could reduce energy intake by up to 29 percent among American adults, equal to 527 calories per day. This highlights the role of environmental influences on Food consumption, according to Dr. Gareth Hollands, co-leader of the review. Source: Duke Medicine, November 2015.


That said, men centenarians tend to be healthier than females, according to a recent British study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Centenarians make up a tiny portion of the population worldwide. Fewer than 2 per ten thousand Americans (53,000 people) in the last U.S. Census. The centenarian rate is higher in many other developed countries including Britain, Sweden and France. At the top of the list are the Japanese, who are twice as likely to make it to 100 than Americans. Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, November 2015.


What’s the big deal about antibiotics in meat? “When you choose beef, chicken or other meats from animals treated with antibiotics, you are contributing to a serious public health problem: antibiotic resistance,” says Tanya Freirich, MS, RD, CDN, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell. Many major scientific and medical organizations are in agreement that the use of antibiotics used in food animal production contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans, thus threatening the ability of these antibiotics to treat humans. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to label our meat. Meantime, look for labels such as Antibiotic Free, USDA Organic or Food Alliance Certified on meat or poultry products. Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


I had two large cans of Libby canned pumpkin on hand and noticed that the cans said “best used by March 2014.” Wondering whether they were still usable, I called the Libby’s Consumer Response hotline (1-800-854-0374) and representative said to discard them. For calling Libby, he sent me 2 recipe brochures. The one has classic recipes like Libby’s Famous Pumpkin Pie and Libby’s Pumpkin Roll while the second one features new ways to include pumpkin such as Corn Muffins + Pumpkin and Pasta Sauce + Pumpkin.

To make Corn Muffins + Pumpkin, add 1/2 cup of Libby pumpkin to an 8.5 ounce package of corn muffin mix (Jiffy) batter. Then follow the package directions for baking. It’s an excellent source of vitamin A. To make Pasta Sauce + Pumpkin, simply stir 1 cup Libby pumpkin into 3 cups (about 26-ounces of your favorite jarred or homemade pasta sauce). Recipe becomes good source of fiber, excellent source of vitamin A and 25 percent less sodium with Libby’s recipe versus standard recipe.


• Legumes are Powerhouses of Nutrition
• Upcoming holiday recipes

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Mary’s Memo – October 26th

When I received a review copy of Lost Recipes of Prohibition, by Mathew Rowley (Countryman Press, A Division of W.W. Norton & Company, $27.95/hardback, 2015) in addition to a history of the period, I expected to see food recipes, not alcoholic and non-alcoholic ones, so it isn’t a book every reader will want.

That said, the second book from Countryman Press was Chow, Simple Ways To Share The Foods You Love with the Dogs You Love by Rick Woodford, a must read for dog lovers! Chow provides pet owners with an easy-to-use guide explaining the benefits and proper portion size of more than 100 foods that we are already using to prepare our own meals. Blueberries, for example, will give your pet a whole new perspective on what she likes. Chow provides tips for each food and helps us teach our dogs that not every food needs to have the shape of kibble. Author Rick Woolford, known as the “Dog Food Dude,” began cooking food for his dogs after his dog Jackson was diagnosed with cancer. The transition to human food improved the general health of his dogs and added years to Jackson’s life. If you like a smoothie, so will your dog.


• 1/2 cup blueberries
• 1/4 cup yogurt
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons water

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Yield: 3/4 cup. Source: Chow by Rick Woodford; Countryman Press, December 2015, paperback/$17.95.


Although you’ll get plenty of calcium and vitamin D from nut milks, they have nutritional shortfalls. For example, a cup of 1 percent cow’s milk contains 8 grams of protein, but hazelnut milk has only 2 grams and cashew and almond milk contain 1 gram or less. (Low-fat plain soy milk, by comparison, has 4 to 6 grams of protein.) Another potential downside is added sugar. Certain sweetened almond and cashew milks contain almost 2 teaspoons of added sweeteners per cup. Unsweetened nut milks are a healthier choice. Source: Consumer Reports on Health, November 2015.


Recent research suggests a simple strategy that may help you lose weight. A study published in the journal of Obesity found that drinking about 2 8-ounce glasses of water half an hour before eating breakfast, lunch and dinner led to greater weight loss among obese adults. In the study, which included 84 obese adults, half were required to consume 500 milliliters (16 ounces) of water 30 minutes before meals every day for 12 weeks. The other participants were asked to imagine that their stomachs were full prior to each main meal. The participants who drank water before eating lost an average of 9.5 pounds, compared to an average of 1.8 pounds in those who didn’t.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, November 2015.


McCormick has added entrée mixes to their line of products and I decided to try one knowing that readers prefer recipes that only take a few ingredients to make. Instead of regular button mushrooms, I used an 8-ounce package of cremini mushrooms because they have a more robust flavor. The portabella mushroom is the fully matured form of this mushroom. I also replaced regular sour cream with reduced-fat kind. Whenever meat is involved I start cooking on high for 1 hour and then reduce temperature to low. PS: Mushroom container is recyclable.


• 2 pounds beef stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
• 1 8-ounce package cremini mushrooms, sliced
• 1/2 cup chopped onion
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup reduced-fat sour cream

Place beef, mushrooms and onion in slow cooker. Mix seasoning mix with 1 cup water until well blended. Pour over beef and vegetables; toss and coat well. Cover. Cook on high for 1 hour, the reduce temperature to low for an additional 7 hours. Add sour cream and cook on low for an additional 10 minutes longer. Serve over noodles, if desired. Recipe makes 6 2/3-cup servings although package says it makes 10 servings. Slow Cooker Tip: For best results, do not remove cover during cooking time.

For a healthy snack, toast the leftover pumpkin seeds when you carve your children’s jack-o-lantern.


• 2 cups pumpkin seeds (wipe off fiber but do not wash)
• 2 tablespoons melted butter or canola oil
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 2500F. Combine ingredients in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Source: “Thank You, I’m Glad You Liked It” cookbook

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Mary’s Memo – October 19th


Frankly, I despise some of the signs of Halloween including witches, black cats, skulls, skeletons and rest-in-peace signs. I don’t recall these images being popular when I was a child but they are now! Spending on Halloween is also soaring with Americans expected to spend over 7 billion dollars in 2015. Candy manufacturers also profit with 2.2 billion in sales predicted this month.


It’s been my observation that adults like popcorn balls as much as children, During my bake sale chairman days they were one of the first items to go. However, reports of razor blades in popcorn balls put an end to making them for neighborhood children and tricksters now get candy. Better Homes & Gardens’ popcorn ball recipe is the only one that I have ever used.


• 5 quarts popped corn (about 2 cups unpopped)
• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 1/2 cups water
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup light corn syrup
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Keep popped corn hot and crisp in 3000F oven. Butter sides
of a large saucepan. In it combine granulated sugar, water,
salt, syrup and vinegar. Cook to hardball stage (2500F). Stir
in vanilla. Pour syrup slowly over popped corn, stirring just
enough to combine thoroughly. Butter hands lightly and
shape mixture into balls. Put each in a plastic sandwich bag
and tie with a narrow orange paper ribbon. Source: Better
Homes & Gardens recipe.


In the something new department I mentioned Campbell’s Keurig Cup being available in the September 28 Mary’s Memo. That’s before I knew that each cup of soup contained 750 mg of sodium, an outrageous amount, and also mono sodium glutamate (MSG), something I avoid all together! Each box contains 6 K-Cup Pods and packets of noodles. The only positive thing that can be said about the soup is that a 1 cup serving has only 60 calories. My recommendation: avoid buying it at any cost! Campbell Soup Company spends a lot of advertising dollars promoting healthier alternatives so why not eliminate MSG altogether! Kudos to McCormick for none of their products having it.


An observational study find people who eat more have a lower heart risk. As a result, chocolate lovers are turning their candy wrappers into celebratory confetti. While previous studies have suggested the flavonoid compounds in dark chocolate might have health benefits, the findings also associated milk chocolate consumption with reduced risk. In the new study, published in Heart, scientists looked at data on 20,951 participants who completed food questionnaires including chocolate consumption. Participants in the highest one-fifth of chocolate consumption (15 to 100 grams per day, were at 11% less heart disease and 25% less likely to die of cardiovascular causes than those eating the least. Compared to non-chocolate lovers, the biggest chocoholics were also at 23 percent lower risk of stroke. According to Tufts University’s Jeffrey Blumberg, PhD, director of Tufts Antioxidants Research Laboratory, it’s fine to eat some chocolate everyday but choose it instead of other caloric snacks or treats. It’s still probably best to choose dark chocolate that’s higher in the flavonoids associated with not only heart but also possible brain benefits. To maximize the flavonoids in your chocolate Blumberg recommends choosing dark, bittersweet or baking chocolate, rather than milk chocolate, which is (“dutched”) to make it less bitter, but which decreases it’s natural flavonoid content.
Source: Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, September 2015.


With this in mind Betty Crocker’s Salted Caramel Apple Poke Cake should make your “must try” list during National Apple Month.


• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist white cake mix
• 1 1/4 cups water
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 20-ounce can apple pie filling
• 1/2 cup caramel sauce
• 1 teaspoon sea salt
• 1 8-ounce container frozen whipped topping, thawed
• 1/3 cup butterscotch chips

Heat oven to 3500F (3250F for glass, dark or nonstick pan) Grease or spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. In large bowl, beat cake mix, water, oil and eggs with electric mixer on low speed 2 minutes. Add apple pie filling; beat 1 minute longer. Pour into pan. Bake as directed on box for 13x9-inch pan. Cool in pan on cooling rack 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in small bowl mix ¼ cup of the caramel sauce with salt. Poke warm cake every inch with the handle of a wooden spoon, halfway into the cake. Pour caramel-salt mixture over cake, allowing it to fill holes. Spread cake with whipped topping. Drizzle with remaining 1/4 cup caramel sauce. Top with butterscotch chips. Recipe makes 15 servings. Source: Betty Crocker.

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Mary’s Memo – October 12th


October is National Apple Month so let’s celebrate with Dutch Apple Bars from Betty Crocker. I used the food processor to make the shortbread crust and the crumb topping.


• 1 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 stick butter, softened
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1 1/2 cups peeled and sliced apples (I use Golden Delicious)

Crumb Topping
• 2/3 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 3500F. Mix 1 cup flour and 1/3 sugar in medium bowl. Cut in butter, using pastry blender until crumbly. Press into 9x9x-2 inch baking pan. Bake 25 minutes. Meantime mix 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon in medium bowl. Stir in apples to coat. Spoon onto baked crust. Sprinkle with Crumb Topping. To make topping, mix all ingredient together until crumbly. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until topping is light brown and apples are tender. Cool completely. For bars, cut into 4 rows by 4 rolls. Each bar has 185 calories, 80 from fat. Source: Betty Crocker.


Originally a practice based primarily on formulations that were prescribed or recommended on an individual basis, homeopathy is now a multibillion-dollar mass market business. Its products are widely advertised and sold over the counter in drug stores, often sitting alongside regular medicines, and are also marketed online. In the past, homeopathic drugs were considered safe because they were diluted so much that they were just vials of water or alcohol or sugar tablets. However, an increasing number of products labeled homeopathic today disregard homeopathic principles and are only slightly diluted and thus do contain substantial amounts of ingredients, in which case there can certainly be side effects and drug interactions. What’s more, there have been documented cases of serious adverse effects caused by inadequately diluted homeopathic solutions of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, cadmium or mercury. And as with any drug or supplement, poor manufacturing processes can introduce contaminants.

Read labels when buying over-the-counter drugs and watch out for the word “homeopathic” in small print. Since homeopathic products are often sold on the same shelves as FDA-approved drugs, it’s easy to buy them inadvertently.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, October 2015.


A few years ago w reported that “cheese may not be good for the heart but it may not be bad for it either.” Since then, there is growing evidence that in spite of its saturated fat, cheese may be healthful in several ways. Some researchers have even proposed that perhaps it’s the cheese, not the wine, that’s largely responsible for the so called French Paradox (which attempts to explain why the French with their diets rich in animal fats, have relatively low rates of heart disease). Several studies in recent years have linked cheese to either no increase in cardiovascular risk or lower risk, Some, but not all, studies suggest that cheese may keep blood sugar in check. Dairy consumption has also been linked with reduced risk of colon cancer, weight control and dental cavity resistance. The bottom line is that cheese can be part of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation (an ounce or two a day is reasonable but watch the calories). Like all dairy foods, cheese provides calcium and protein, along with some vitamin A, vitamin B-12, riboflavin, zinc and other nutrients. A downside is that cheese is high in sodium 100 to 300 milligrams or more per ounce. But compare nutrition labels, since products vary a lot in sodium, calories and calcium, depending on the type and serving size. Low sodium versions are available (though less tasty)
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, October 2015.


Because salmon is a rich source of vitamin A, the B-group of vitamins and Omega-3oils, working it into your weekly meal plans has a lot of merit. It can be served as a main course, a salad, soup, even an appetizer spread or dip. That said, I’m always looking for new ways to eat it, Baked Dijon Salmon the latest. I did reduce the butter after making it once.


• 2 tablespoons butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 1 1/2 tablespoons Our Family honey
• 1/4 cup dry breadcrumb (I use Progresso brand)
• 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
• 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
• 4 4-ounce salmon fillets
• Salt and pepper to taste.
• Lemon slices for garnish

Preheat oven to 4000F. In small bowl, stir together butter, mustard and honey. Set aside. In another bowl, mix together bread crumbs, pecans and parsley. Brush each salmon fillet with honey mustard mixture and sprinkle the tops of each with breadcrumb mixture. Coat baking pan with non-stick spray. Bake salmon 12 to 14 minutes in preheated oven or until fillets flake easily with a fork. Season filets with salt and pepper. Source: Recipe adapted from

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Mary’s Memo – October 5th


A brunch is my favorite way to entertain. That’s why I’m excited about Bobby Flay’s latest cookbook, Brunch at Bobby’s: 140 Recipes for the Best Part of the Weekend (Clarkson Potter, September 29, 2015; hardcover/$29.99). Best known on the Food Network for his skills at the grill, a brunch is his favorite meal of the week. In Brunch at Bobby’s he includes 140 recipes starting with cocktails, both spiked and virgin, along with hot and iced coffees and teas. He then works his way through eggs; pancakes, waffles and French toast (with flavored syrups and spreads); pastries (a first) and breads; salads and sandwiches; and side dishes. Enjoy a Sangria Sunrise, Carrot Cake Pancakes with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle, Sautéed Bitter Green Omelets and Wild Mushroom-Yukon Gold Hash. This is how Bobby Flay does brunch. Collaborating with him on the 288 page book is his business assistant, Stephanie Bonyas, and Sally Jackson, her 7th cookbook with Flay and Bonyas. Cookbook is available through the Food Network, your favorite bookstore or via ($16.83 for cookbook or Kindle for $15.99).


Food Network fans may want to subscribe to the Food Network Magazine. The October issue includes 112 easy recipes like Halloween Carrot Cake, No-Bake Caramel Treats, Make Ahead Family Dinners and Tailgate Time recipes.


Although I look forward to spring in northwest Ohio true spring-like days are few and far between! That said, fall’s abundance of homegrown apples, pumpkins for cooking and making jack-o-lanterns and mums of all colors are appreciated!


Like last week’s Two-Ingredient Pumpkin Cake with Apple Cider Glaze, Betty Crocker’s three ingredient cake made with fresh apples should be another crowd-pleaser. There may be some truth in that old phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Although they don’t say to eat an apple daily, if you strongly prefer them to other fruit of the same Rose family of fruits (apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries and almonds) there would be nothing wrong with consuming one a day, and you may get some special health benefits by doing so. Especially interesting is that if healthy adults consumed one medium-sized apple approximately 15 minutes before a meal, their caloric intake at that meal decreased an average of 15 percent. The study’s primary conclusion: the importance of whole apples (versus other processed apple forms) is helping manage our hunger and feeling more satisfied with our foods. In the past five years, no area of apple research has been more dynamic than the area of apple polyphenol’s antioxidant benefits. Particularly strong is the ability of apples to decrease oxidation of cell membrane fats. This benefit is especially important in our cardiovascular system since oxidation of fat in the membranes of cells that line our blood vessels is a primary risk factor for clogging arteries and other cardiovascular problems. Apples strong antioxidant benefits are also related to their ability to lower the risk of asthma in numerous studies, and their ability to lower the risk of lung cancer.


• 4 cups chopped apples
• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist yellow cake mix
• 3/4 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 3500F. Spray bottom of 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Place apples in pan. Top with dry cake mix and pour melted butter over top, making sure to cover top with butter as much as you can. Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until bubbly. Serve warm. Recipe makes 8 servings. Source: Betty Crocker E-mail Newsletter.


While both a Mediterranean-style diet and the DASH eating plan are associated with brain benefits, a hybrid dietary pattern that combines the best of both with the latest cognitive research may protect memory and thinking even better. Martha Clare Morris, ScD, of Rush University, and colleagues developed the MIND diet score as a hybrid of the Mediterranean and Dash (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. But it also focuses on the dietary components linked to neuroprotection and dementia prevention. MIND diet includes the following:

-Whole grains, at least 3 servings/day.
-Green leafy vegetables, at least 6 servings/week.
-Other vegetables, at least 1 serving/day.
-Berries, at least 2 servings/week
-Red meats, fewer than 4 servings/week.
-Fish, at least 1 serving/week.
-Poultry, at least 2 servings/week.
-Beans, at least 3 servings/week.
-Nuts, at least 5 servings/week.
-Fast/fried food, less than 1 serving/week.
-Olive oil as a primary oil
-Butter/margarine, less than 1 tablespoon/day
-Cheese, less than 1 serving/week.
-Pastries/sweets, less than 5 servings/week.
-Alcohol, 1 serving/day.

Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, October

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