Friday, November 28, 2014

An Awesome Thanksgiving Leftover Recipe and Some Great Info About Cranberries From The Cranberry Institute

The holidays are here are AND so are some great tips, interesting research and a delicious recipe from the Cranberry Institute!  Read on......

Tips: Four Tasty Tidbits about the Tiny, Tart Cranberry

·         All forms of cranberries contain proanthocyanidins or PACs, so whether you like them dried, fresh, frozen, in juice or in sauce, just eat them!
·         PACs are flavonoids that are unique to cranberries because they have a different structure than PACs found in other fruits. PACs prevent bacteria, such as E. coli, from sticking to the cell walls.
·         Research has shown the cranberry may improve blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and the incidence of certain infections.
·         Cranberries are one of three commonly cultivated fruits native to North America. U.S.-grown cranberries are grown predominantly in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Connecticut, Delaware, Michigan, Minnesota, New York and Rhode Island.

Tricks: A Few Wonderful Ways to Use Cranberries this Holiday Season

Add cranberries, in various forms, to some of your favorite recipes to boost fruit intake.
·         Use cranberry sauce as a spread on “leftover” turkey sandwiches after Thanksgiving
·         Fill a mason jar with dried cranberries, mixed nuts and seeds to give as a holiday hostess gift
·         Pour cranberry juice into seltzer water and add a lime wedge for a party “mocktail”
·         Add cranberries to turkey stuffing for a delicious, tangy pop of flavor
·         Combine cranberry sauce and orange juice as the base of a glaze for holiday ham

Science Bites: News from Cranberry Scientists
Cranberries May Provide Protection Against Peanut Allergies!
A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry made a surprising discovery when researchers found that cranberry polyphenols could bind to the peanut proteins that contribute to allergies thereby reducing an allergic reaction. Polyphenols have an attraction to bind to peanut proteins. While more research is required, this particular study showed that polyphenol-rich plant juices and extracts, such as cranberry juice, reduced the binding of one or more of the peanut allergens to immune cells – a process that may reduce the symptoms of an allergic reaction. The peanut protein compounds combined with cranberry polyphenols triggered significantly less allergic activity than standard peanut flour. These findings suggest potential uses of the polyphenol-fortified peanut flour as a safer ingredient for oral immunotherapy, although more research is warranted.
Reference:  Plundrich NJ, Kulis M, White BL, Grace MH, Guo R, Burks AW, Davis JP, Lila MA.  Novel strategy to create hypoallergenic peanut protein-polyphenol edible matrices for oral immunotherapy.  J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Jul 23;62(29):7010-21. doi: 10.1021/jf405773b. Epub 2014 May 2.
Cranberries Show Promise in Helping to Treat Inflammatory Bowel Disease

A study in Food Chemistry identified cranberries as a potential food for preventing and reducing the symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a condition with limited treatment options. The prevalence of IBD and the risk for the development of colorectal cancer make its treatment and prevention important. 

Researchers tested the effects of cranberry products, including cranberry extract and dried cranberries, on preventing colitis (a form of IBD) in mice. The results of the study suggest that groups fed cranberry extract and dried cranberries both had significantly reduced disease activity. Researchers also found dried cranberries were more effective in preventing colitis than cranberry extract. These findings suggest cranberries may have a role in the prevention and treatment of IBD, although more research is warranted.

Reference:  Xiao X, Kim J, Sun Q, Kim D, Park CS, Lu TS, Park Y. Preventive effects of cranberry products on experimental colitis induced by dextran sulphate sodium in mice.  Food Chem. 2015 Jan 15;167:438-46. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2014.07.006. Epub 2014 Jul 9.


Updated USDA-Reviewed Cranberry Health Research Review
The USDA recently reviewed an updated cranberry nutrition and health review published in the Cranberry Health Research Library on

Cranberry Health Research Library Updated September 2014
Twenty-four new abstracts have been added to the Cranberry Health Research Library. Browse the selections by year to find the most recent publications. Click here:

Comprehensive Review of the Health Benefits of Cranberries in Advances in Nutrition Available for Continuing Education Credits through Today’s Dietitian!
o   “Cranberries and Their Bioactive Constituents in Human Health,” published in Advances in Nutrition, provides in-depth information about the bioactive compounds in cranberry and the pathways by which they may help protect against urinary tract infection, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The Cranberry Institute and Today’s Dietitian partnered to create a continuing education course for registered dietitians with permission from Advances in Nutrition. Registered dietitians will receive four credits after studying the review and completing a multiple-choice exam. 
o   Click here to read for continuing education:
Our Favorite Recipe for the Holiday Season!

Cranberry & Turkey Stuffing Casserole
Yield: 6 – 1 cup servings

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
¾ cup minced yellow onion
¾ cup minced celery
½ tsp. poultry seasoning
⅛ tsp. ground black pepper
¾ cup low-fat, reduced sodium chicken broth
3 cups whole grain bread (approx. 6 ounces), cut into 1-in. pieces
12 oz. cooked, diced turkey
1 cup prepared turkey gravy
1 ½ cups cranberry sauce

1.       In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and celery and cook 2 minutes. Mix in poultry seasoning and pepper and continue to cook 30 seconds. Pour in hot broth and heat through.
2.       Stir in bread pieces and mix to combine. Cook until stuffing mixture is moist and heated through. Remove from heat and hold.
3.       Combine turkey and gravy and spread evenly in the bottom of a 2-qt casserole dish. Next, spoon half of the cranberry sauce (¾ cup) on top of the turkey-gravy layer. Gently spread the reserved stuffing mixture evenly on top of cranberry sauce.
4.       Bake in a 350°F oven for 30-35 minutes or until heated through and firm. Top will be slightly crunchy.
5.       Scoop a 1-cup portion of casserole onto a plate and serve with an additional 2 Tbsp. of cranberry sauce on the side.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 320, Calories from Fat 45, Saturated Fat 1g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 5g, Cholesterol 45mg, Sodium 460mg, Total Carbohydrate 43g, Sugars 26g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 22g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 4%, Calcium 8%, Iron 8%

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee,


Friday, November 21, 2014

Recipe ReDux Post # 28 Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts

The November Recipe ReDux is “a Food Memory for Which You are Thankful”.  For this challenge we were encouraged to share a recipe that we grew up with, had family ties to etc... and to make it healthier.  I never loved Brussels sprouts growing up, but I learned to love them later in my 20’s and 30’s when they started popping up in restaurants as a trendy side dish.  In fact, for the past decade, very often when my parents, husband, daughter and I go out, we will get them as an appetizer or side dish to share.  We have had many nice family conversations and moments with Brussels Sprouts on our plates. I  have created a few Brussels Sprouts recipes on my blog in the past (often to have for Thanksgiving sides) but the one in particular I wanted to make for this challenge is our family favorite- Maple Bacon Brussels. These are what we order at our frequented family restaurant- J Nichol’s Kitchen.  The ones served there are like candy, pretty much sweet salty deliciousness, however very much fried and a tad bit heavy.  I decided to re-create this dish at home and use heart healthy olive oil (not in excess) and turkey bacon to lighten them up a bit and they honestly still tasted fabulous! Try them out at your next family meal, namely during the holidays, and check out the rest of the memorable dishes cooked up by the Recipe ReDux group too!!!

4 cups of washed, stems trimmed and halved Brussels sprouts,
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped turkey bacon, preferably nitrate-free (*use a gluten-free brand such as Trader Joes or Jennie-O if you are on a gluten free diet), about 4-5 slices
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup, divided
salt (optional)


Cook the Brussels sprouts until almost done- they can be cooked by either boiling them in a pot of water or steaming in a pyrex dish in an half inch of water for about 4 minutes. (I actually got some from Trader Hoes that I could stem in the bag.) Meanwhile, coat a medium sized pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onion, turkey bacon and 1 tablespoon of maple syrup sauté until lightly brown, about 5-7 minutes. Throw in the cooked Brussels sprout halves add the second tablespoon of olive oil and maple syrup and continue to sauté until the Brussels sprouts are lightly browned and tender., about 5 minutes. Add salt to taste if desired and serve.

Note : you can serve this dish hot, it is also nice at room temp or cold topped with Maple Mustard Vinaigrette.  

Makes 4.5 cups, 9 servings

Serving size: ½ cup Calories 80  Protein 4 g Carb 8 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 5 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat 0.5 g Sodium 140 mg


Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gabby's Eats: Maple Walnut Pancakes

One lazy Sunday morning Gabby and I decided to make pancakes. She was very happy about this impromptu plan!

I have a nice base recipe that I use which I told her about, and I asked her how she wanted to modify it to make her own flavor,  She was excited to try something new and suggested walnuts, I mentioned that maple goes well with walnuts and we came up with a cool idea to actually add maple syrup to the batter.  It worked really well and the kitchen smelled absolutely amazing while they were cooking.

Speaking of cooking, I greased the pan and tuned on the heat but Gabby actually poured the pancake batter into the pan under my close supervision.  I wasn’t quite ready to let her try flipping them yet, but this will come with time.

She had a fantastic time and already started discussing other favors to try while she was eating these pancakes at the table.  The maple syrup adds a subtle sweetness and they really can be eaten plain or with just a little butter spread on top.  If you like them sweeter you can add a bit more syrup on top.  Enjoy!!
1 cup + 2 Tablespoons oat flour (if you are on a gluten free diet use a brand such as Bob’s Red Mill or you can make your own to by grinding gluten free oats in food processor)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup chopped walnuts

In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour and brown sugar together. To a larger bowl add the egg whites, maple syrup, vanilla and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the walnuts. Let stand for a 20-30 minutes in the frisdge minutes. Add ¼ cup (for 1 pancake) to a non stick skillet, or one coated with cooking spray and heat on high heat for 1-2 minutes each side. Repeat with ¼ cup mixture 7 more times for a total of seven small pancakes.  (Note: if you make this ahead of time and keep in the fridge it will thicken up quite a bit, so you can whisk in a little milk before cooking to thin out if desired.

Makes 7 pancakes, seven servings
Serving size:  1 pancake Calories 120   Protein  3 g Carb 18 g  Fiber  2  g Sugars 10  g Fat 4  g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium  45 mg

Gabby's shot:


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Kale and Clementine Salad For

Now that we are well into Fall and Winter is around the corner, I have been enjoying winter fruit, namely clementines.  These sweet little oranges are easy to peel and are so delicious!  Usually I just have a few for a snack but I had been meaning to try them in a seasonal salad recipe too. recently reached out to me to create a dish to pass for their recipe page and I thought this type of salad would be the perfect one to create for them. The combo of earthy kale, tangy clementines, crunchy jicama and chewy raisins is a winner and the citrusy dressing really makes the salad.  Hope you enjoy this healthy dish and check out some of the other yummy recipes over at Aloha too!


6 cups chopped kale
2 cups peeled and chopped Clementine segments (about 6 whole clementines)
2 cups peeled and chopped jicama
1/3 cup raisins


½ cup Clementine juice (juice from about 4 clementines works)
¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Put the kale, clementines, jicima and raisins in a large sized bowl. In a smaller bowl whisk together the juice, rice vinegar and olive oil. Pour the dressing into the bowl and mix well. Chill and serve. * If not serving withing a few hours, it is recommended to store the dressing separate and mix right before serving

Makes 8 generous cups, eight servings

Serving size: ½ cup Calories 130  Protein 3 g Carb 22 g Fiber 4  g Sugars 13  g Fat 4  g Saturated fat  0.5 g Sodium 140  mg


Thursday, October 30, 2014

More Interesting Cranberry Info and A Guest Recipe From The Cranberry Institute: Cranberry Chicken Salad on Flatbread

Fall is in full swing and one of the best flavors of the season is cranberries.  I was excited to get more info from the Cranberry Institute which I am sharing with you along with their delicious Chicken Salad Recipe which is posted below as well.  Enjoy!!

Tips: Four Tidbits about the Tiny, Tart Cranberry

1.       Cranberries naturally contain the flavonoid proanthocyanidins (PACs). The unique structure of the PACs found in cranberries offer properties that prevent bacteria from sticking to cell walls.
2.       The PACs in cranberries may help prevent harmful bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, such as E. coli associated with urinary tract infections (UTIs).
3.       MyPlate suggests trying dried fruits, including dried cranberries, as a snack because they are easy-to-carry and store well. Perfectly portioned single-serve packs of dried cranberries are an easy grab-and-go snack!
4.       Cranberries are naturally fat-free, have little sodium and align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.

Tricks: A Few Favorite Fall Ways to Use Cranberries

Add cranberries, in various forms, to some of your favorite recipes to boost fruit intake.
·         Use cranberry sauce as a spread on turkey sandwiches
·         Turn fresh or frozen cranberries into a cranberry relish
·         Top pancakes or waffles with whole berry cranberry sauce instead of butter or syrup
·         Mix fresh or frozen cranberries into store-bought or homemade applesauce
·         Add dried cranberries to oatmeal for added layers of sweet and tart flavor

Science Bites: News from Cranberry Scientists

RESOURCE REMINDER! Updated USDA-Reviewed Cranberry Health Research Review
The USDA recently reviewed an updated cranberry nutrition and health review published in the Cranberry Health Research Library on

Low-Calorie Cranberry Juice Improves Biomarkers for Individuals with Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic syndrome is the name of a host of conditions that include insulin resistance, high blood pressure, abdominal fat and dyslipidemia that significantly increase risk for heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is an important public health issue as it’s estimated that approximately 25% of the U.S. population suffers from it. As a result of the insulin sensitivity and obesity, chronic inflammation is thought to the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Researchers in Brazil sought to examine the effect of consuming reduced calorie cranberry juice on risk factors and biomarkers of inflammation and oxidation associated with metabolic syndrome. Published in the British Journal of Nutrition researchers randomly assigned 56 subjects with metabolic syndrome into one of two groups: 20 subjects were instructed to drink 24 oz. of a reduced calorie cranberry juice beverage daily for 60 days and the control group maintained their normal diet. The product used in the study was a reduced calorie cranberry juice beverage that provided 23 calories, 69 mg vitamin C and 14 mg folic acid per 8 oz. serving. Total daily phenolics from the 24 oz. of juice equaled 362.5 mg/day. The researchers monitored markers for inflammation, oxidative stress and metabolic dysfunction.

The results found that those drinking reduced calorie cranberry juice beverage had reductions in several markers for inflammation and oxidation. In addition, the cranberry-treatment group had an increase in adiponectin, a hormone that reduces inflammation, may increase fat oxidation and could lower blood sugar. At the same time, there was a decrease in the amino acid homocysteine, which has been correlated with an increased risk for heart disease. Research has shown that low levels of adiponectin and high levels of homocysteine are independent risk factors for heart disease, therefore improvements in these biomarkers by cranberry consumption is remarkable.

Reference: Simão TN, Lozovoy MA, Simão AN, Oliveira SR, Venturini D, Morimoto HK, Miglioranza LH, Dichi I. Reduced-energy cranberry juice increases folic acid and adiponectin and reduces homocysteine and oxidative stress in patients with the metabolic syndrome. Br J Nutr. 2013 Jun 11:1-10. [Epub ahead of print]

Cranberry Juice Improved Heart Health Markers Among Diabetic Men
Individuals with diabetes are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. To better understand if cranberry juice could help reduce the risk factors for heart disease among individuals with type 2 diabetes, researchers at Tehran University in Tehran, Iran conducted a double-blinded, randomized clinical trial to assess the impact of cranberry juice on biomarkers of heart disease.
The subjects were randomly assigned to drink either 1 cup of cranberry juice or a placebo beverage daily for 12 weeks. Researchers measured biomarkers for cardiovascular disease: paraoxonase-1 (PON-1) activity, apoA-1, apoB, glucose, and Lp(a), before and after the intervention.
Results? The researchers found that among those drinking cranberry juice, there was a significant decrease in serum glucose and apoB (P<0 .01="" a-1="" a="" activity="" and="" apo="" are="" biomarkers="" compared="" disease.="" for="" heart="" improvements="" in="" increase="" initial="" p="" pon-1="" positive="" reflect="" respectively="" results="" serum="" significant="" span="" that="" these="" they="" values.="" with="">
The authors concluded that a cup of cranberry juice daily for 12 weeks reduced serum glucose and resulted in improved biomarkers for heart disease. This study adds to other previously published studies that suggest flavonoids in cranberry juice may play a role in improving biomarkers for health.

Shidfa F, Heydari I, Hajimiresmaiel SJ, Hosseini S, Shidfar S, Amiri F. The effects of cranberry juice on serum glucose, apoB, apoA-I, Lp(a), and Paraoxonase-1 activity in type 2 diabetic male patients. J Res Med Sci. 2012 Apr;17(4):355-60.

Our Favorite Recipe Right Now!

Cranberry Chicken Salad on Flatbread
Makes 8 servings
Portion: ½ cup chicken salad on 1 flatbread roll
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes

1 cup dried cranberries
⅓ cup 100% cranberry juice, unsweetened
½ cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
⅓ cup fat-free poppy seed dressing
8 oz. grilled white chicken meat, diced
1 cup sliced celery
¾ cup thinly sliced scallions
2 cups shredded fresh spinach
8 flatbread rolls, split

1. Place cranberries and cranberry juice in a saucepan and heat slightly. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature. Cranberries will absorb all liquid. Hold.
2. In a bowl, whisk together mayonnaise and dressing.
3. Stir in diced chicken, celery and scallions. Toss well to coat. Stir in reserved cranberries and mix well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.
4. To Serve: For each serving, place ¼ cup spinach onto a split flatbread roll and portion ½ cup salad on top of spinach. Replace top and serve.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 390, Calories from Fat 100, Saturated Fat 2g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 12g, Cholesterol 20mg, Sodium 800mg*, Total Carbohydrate 57g, Sugars 17g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 13g, Vitamin A 20%, Vitamin C 15%, Calcium 10%, Iron 20%

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee,


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recipe ReDux Post # 27 Kicked Up “Cleansing” Lemonade

Every time I have tried turmeric in a dish it never seems to taste right so I just gave up on it and stopped using this spice all together. I was reintroduced to it when I checked out a fancy juice place and tried a citrus blend that had turmeric in it and I actually liked it a lot!  In fact, I decided I wanted to replicate that drink at home but just never got around to it. The Recipe ReDux challenge for October is fittingly titled “Spooky Spices” where we were encouraged to use spices that intimidate us in the kitchen. This challenge was the perfect opportunity to try turmuric and conquer my fear of using it and it worked!!  This fresh, delicious drink is a nice combo of sweet and spicy, plus the turmeric gives it a beautiful golden hue. Not only does turmeric add a nice color, but it has been the focus of a many health related studies which are discovering it has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and anti-aging benefits too!  I am not one to drink juice too much because I would rather eat whole fruits and veggies, for less calories , less sugar and more fiber. But this drink is a nice way to treat yourself in a reasonably healthy way.  I use the title “cleansing” lightly because I think the jury is still out on juice cleanses and more research in that area needs to be done.  For now, I will just enjoy this from time to time and hope that it is indeed rejuvenating to my body.  So try a sip and check out these other Spooky Spice creations by the talented Recipe Redux group!


2 cups hot filtered water
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of cayenne pepper


Heat the water to just before boiling in a small sauce pan.  Stir in the honey until dissolves.  Sprinkle in the tumeric, ginger and pepper and mix well.  Chill and serve.

Makes 2 cups, two servings

Serving size:1 cup   Calories 70   Protein 0  g Carb 19 g  Fiber 0   g Sugars   17 g Fat  0 g Saturated fat  0 g Sodium 10 mg

Also, please don't forget to vote for the Mediterranean Rice Salad Recipe that my daughter and I entered in a contest to win $30,000 for her school!  Click HERE to see her cooking video and to vote! We need votes everyday until October 29th!!!


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Gabby's Eats: Mediterranean Rice Salad For The Uncle Ben's Beginner's Cooking Contest!!

Gabby and I have been in the kitchen a lot together lately over the past few months having fun creating delicious and healthy dishes. This recipe in particular is very special to us, not only because we developed it as an easy alternative to boring lunchbox food but also because we made a video about it and entered it in the Uncle Ben’s Beginner’s Cooking Contest as well.  We were very excited to find out it was accepted and that we are now in the running to win a Grand Prize which includes 30,000 to go towards improving and expanding her school’s cafeteria! Gabby worked very hard on this recipe and the video too and I am extremely proud of my little kindergartener for trying to get the word out about healthy eating to others. Our recipe includes whole grains, legumes, veggies and "good" fats.  It is high in fiber and low in sodium too, but packed with flavor! We also discovered that Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice is a quick, easy and tasty rice to use in this and other recipes! It's done in the microwave after just 90 seconds and tastes delicious!!

We thank Uncle Ben’s for this opportunity to try their rice and to share our video and yummy recipe too! 

Part of the contest involves voting for the best video so we hope you will support us in recognizing Gabby’s video as a winner! The voting starts this Wed October 15th and lasts through October 29th. Individuals over 18 are encouraged to vote once per 24 hours. Click HERE to get to the link to vote!!


3 cups cooked lentils or beans of your choice (using canned is very convenient)
2 cups cooked brown or white rice (We used Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice- one package works perfectly!)
1 cup finely chopped cucumber
6 tablespoons finely chopped black olives
6 tablespoons finely chopped sundried tomatoes
6 tablespoons reduced fat crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


Cook the rice and lentils/beans according to package directions, let cool and then add to a large bowl. (If using already cooked canned beans, rinse well in a strainer before adding them.) Throw in the chopped cucumber, olives, sun dried tomatoes, cheese and basil to the bowl too and mix well. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, olive oil, rice vinegar and lemon and pour over the salad mixture. Stir well until evenly coated with dressing.  Chill if not serving immediately.

Makes 7 cups,  14 servings

Serving size: ½ cup  Calories 110 Protein 5 g Carb 16 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 3 g Fat 2 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 180 mg


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