Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa and White Bean Salad With Cranberry Sage Vinaigrette and Some Great Info From the Cranberry Institute

This month I got some more great cranberry facts from the Cranberry Institute AND word that they have two awesome challenges going on!  The first is a Cranberry Bog Blogger recipe challenge and the second is a Cranberry Friendsgiving photo contest....both of which I finished just in time for Thanksgiving!  For the recipe challenge I was sent some fun ingredients- quinoa, canned white beans, cranberry sauce and ground sage that I needed to use to create a unique recipe.  I decided to make a salad using the quinoa, white beans, some salad greens and topped it with chopped walnuts and dried cranberries. I dressed it with a simple vinaigrette I made incorporating the cranberry sauce and the ground sage.  The result is a very festive and flavorful salad, bursting with cranberry flavor.  It makes a great side dish for your Thanksgiving table! The recipe is listed below along with the latest research and info from the Cranberry Institute!  I also entered the photo above in their Friendsgiving photo contest, in which participants were asked to share a party themed food photo featuring a cranberry dish.  Hope you enjoy the recipe, facts and photos and that you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Cranberry Walnut Quinoa and White Bean Salad With Cranberry Sage Vinaigrette

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups salad greens
1 cup canned white beans, rinsed well
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup cranberry sauce
a tiny pinch of ground sage
1 tablespoon hot water
salt and pepper to taste (optional)


Cook the quinoa according to the package directions, let cool and set aside.  Add the salad greens, beans, cranberries and walnuts to a medium bowl and put in the cooked quinoa.  In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cranberry sauce, ground sage and hot water together.  Pour over the salad and toss to coat.  Chill if not serving immediately.

Makes 4 servings

Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories 280  Protein 8 g  Carb  36 g  Fiber  8 g Sugars  12  g Fat  13 g Saturated fat  1.5 g Sodium 120 mg

Science Bites: Recap from the Cranberry Health Research Conference 
On October 12, 2015, the Cranberry Institute held a one-day, Cranberry Health Research Conference (CHRC) preceding the Berry Health Benefits Symposium in Madison, Wisconsin, chaired by Dr. Jeffrey Blumberg, of Tufts University's Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging, and Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. The one-day event brought together a select group of researchers, industry professionals and health influencers to present current research and foster rigorous dialogue. The aim was to integrate knowledge of cranberry health benefits across disciplines and identify critical gaps to be addressed by future research. While each presenter took a deep dive into his/her topic, here are some of the research highlights.

Intake and time-dependent effects of cranberry polyphenol consumption in vascular function in healthy individuals
Presented by Ana Rodriguez-Mateos, PhD, University of Dusseldorf
·         Researchers uncovered a potent dose-dependent relationship between cranberry juice and improved vascular function. 
·         Because vascular dysfunction or limitations in blood flow are a central feature in the development of atherosclerosis – improving vascular function can have a powerful, beneficial effect on a person’s cardiovascular health.   
Cranberries and type 2 diabetes: Novel and promising horizons
Presented by Arpita Basu, PhD, RD, Oklahoma State University
·         Recent trials with clinical outcomes associated with cranberry juice intervention hold promise in the management of diabetic high blood glucose, dyslipidemia, oxidative stress and inflammation.
·         Studies in experimental animals and in vitro models have further shown that polyphenols, the most abundant category of phytochemicals in cranberries, can influence carbohydrate metabolism in many ways, such as helping to control postprandial and fasting blood glucose for those with diabetes.

Effects of cranberry proanthocyanidins on gram negative bacteria: Implications for gut health and chronic inflammatory disease
Presented by Jess Reed, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
·         Research shows that a high fat diet can contribute to gut dysfunction that can cause inflammation and increase susceptibility to bacterial invasions.  Together, this can have a negative impact on gut health and lower the body’s natural gut protection. 
·         Recent research has shown that the polyphenols in cranberries may help protect against the negative effects of a high fat diet and help maintain gut health.

USDA-Reviewed Cranberry Health Research Review 
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the USDA-reviewed cranberry nutrition and health review published in the Cranberry Health Research Library on CranberryInstitute.org.  

Cranberry Health Research Library 
Browse the selections by year to find the most recent publications: http://cranberryinstitute.org/doclib/doclib_search.cgi

Bonus: Impress Your Friends with Tasty Tidbits about the Tiny, Tart Cranberry
·         Good news for your guests! Research has shown the cranberry may improve blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and reduce inflammation, oxidative stress and the incidence of certain infections
·         During harvest season, most cranberry bogs are filled with water and the cranberries float to the top to be scooped up—like the traditional flooded bogs often featured. However, other cranberries are actually picked off the vines; this is called dry harvest
·         Cranberries are one of three fruits native to North America that are cultivated and sold in the USA
·         The Pilgrims called the cranberry a “crane berry” because the flower looked like the head and neck of a crane


Cranberry Institute
P.O. Box 497
Carver, MA 02330


Friday, November 20, 2015

Recipe ReDux Post # 40 Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Protein Muffins

November’s Recipe ReDux is “Creative Quick Breads” and we were challenged to develop a unique quick bread recipe. My favorite quick bread to make is muffins because they are great for portion control and freeze well too. So for this challenge I chose to do muffins and decided on an apple cinnamon flavor for a seasonal touch. I love using bananas as a base to keep the muffins super moist ad slightly sweet without a lot of fat and calories.  Using oats and oat flour creates a dense texture and works well to bring in fiberful whole grains and replaces wheat too.  And, putting in a bit of protein powder throws in a nice power packed punch to help keep you full hours after eating these.  I usually make the jumbo muffin size for a hearty AM meal that’s still a very reasonable 300 calories. You can also make them in regular sized muffin tins as well. They are best kept join the fridge. I simply pop one in the microwave for 30-40 seconds and spread a little almond butter or low sugar jam on them for a delicious breakfast. I hope you will try the recipe and also check out the rest of the “Creative Quick Breads” baked by the awesome Recipe ReDux crew!

2 cup rolled oats,
3/4 cup oat flour 
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 Tablespoons protein powder *(preferably natural
unflavored, see notes on the one I use below)
3 medium-large sized over ripe bananas, mashed
6 tablespoons liquid egg white
4 packed tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup finely chopped apple (peeled or unpeeled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
cooking spray


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour,
baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and protein powder in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, egg white, brown sugar and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in the oats until well combined. Stir in the apples. Spoon into 6 jumbo size muffin pan cups (or 12 regular sized) coated with cooking spray and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for about 30 minutes, until top is firm, lightly browned and a toothpick comes out mostly clean when inserted into the center.

* I have had great success with using Nature’s Best
Isopure Perfect Natural Protein Powder, unflavored- it is gluten-free, lactose free

Makes six jumbo muffins or twelve regular sized

Serving size 1 jumbo muffin Calories 310 Protein 13 g Carb 58 g Fiber 7 g Sugars 25 g Fat 3 g Saturated fat 0 g  Sodium 280 mg

Serving size 1 regular sized muffin Calories 155 Protein 6.5 g Carb 29 g Fiber 3.5 g Sugars 13 g Fat 1.5 g Saturated fat 0 g  Sodium 190 mg


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

In the News: Eating More Homemade Meals Can Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risk!

Eating more meals made at home vs. eating out may reduce your risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2015 in  Orlando Fl.  A research team from Harvard investigated homemade meal intake and the type 2 diabetes development of almost 58,000 women who were part of the Nurses' Health Study and more than 41,000 men who were part of the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. (All participants were free of diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease at baseline and were followed for up to 36 years between 1986-2012.) They found that those participants who consumed around two homemade lunches or evening meals each day - around 11-14 home-prepared meals weekly - were at 13% lower risk for developing type 2 diabetes than those who ate fewer than six homemade meals each week.

The team notes that they did not have enough data to include breakfast patterns in their analysis.
The researchers found that subjects who consumed more homemade meals experienced less weight gain over an average of 8 years, which they believe contributed to their reduced risk for type 2 diabetes.The researcher note that they are unable to pinpoint exactly how many homemade meals a person should eat each week based on their findings, but suggest "more could be better."

This is exciting news and even more reason to try some of the recipes on m blog for some healthy home cooking!


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sweet Treats For Tailgating and Some Cool Info From Nuts.com

I am so excited that cooler Fall weather has finally arrived to Los Angeles- it really sets the tone for all the enjoyable parts of this season, one of which is FOOTBALL and all the tailgating + delicious food that goes with it!! Recently I was contacted by nuts.com to wrote a post about healthy tailgating and I was excited to share some of my recipes, namely those incorporating nuts. I thought it would be nice to highlight the sweeter side of tailgating and showcase some desserts and snacks that can go hand in hand with the game and its fun social scene.  These goodies are super easy to make and are all nut-based so you get all the good fiber, unsaturated fat, protein and antioxidants that comes with them. In addition, they are easy to make, portable and delicious! Hope you will try them out and also check out the awesome Snacks Page over at nuts.com!!   

Strawberry Almond Tarts



Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Treat Recipe Round Up

In the spirit of Halloween week, here are a few treats that won't trick your waistline!  Enjoy :)


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Recipe Redux Post # 39 Pumpkin Pecan Smoothie

October Recipe ReDux is “Nutty Nut Day." October 22nd happens to be National Nut Day, which is right around the time we post our recipes, so we were challenged to develop and “share a healthy nut-filled recipe”.  Being that it is still VERY warm here in Los Angeles, and no Fall weather is in sight,  a smoothie sure sounded good to me!  But I still wanted to go with an Autumn theme in spirit, so I combined the simple flavors of pecans,  pumpkin, dates, pumpkin pie spice, and used a banana/almond milk base to make this smoothie.  This drink is reminiscent of pumpkin and pecan pie but it still refreshing at the same time!  I hope you will give it a try and also check out all the other nutty themed recipes from the great Recipe ReDux crew.


½ large frozen banana, cut into chunks  
1 large mejool date (pitted and preferably previously soaked for 15-30 minutes in warm water to soften)
½ cup milk (I used unsweetened almond milk which works great)
1 tablespoon pumpkin puree (fresh or canned, and not pumpkin pie filling)
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1-2 dashes of pumpkin pie spice 


Blend all of the above ingredients for 30 sec-1 minute on high speed until a smooth mixture is formed. Pour and serve.

Makes 1 smoothie, one serving

Serving size: 1 smoothie Calories 180 Protein 2 g Carb 32 g Fiber 4 g Sugars  21g Fat 7 g Saturated fat 0.5 g Sodium 90 mg


Saturday, October 17, 2015

In the News: What is Kids Favorite Fruit Choice?

So what is the go to fruit of kids ages 2 and up....APPLES!  A new study published in the journal Pediatrics reports just that.  Researchers looked at the fruit consumption of over 3000 children and apple consumption accounted for the greatest proportion, being 20 % overall. Kids ages 6-11 were more likely to eat whole fruit apples vs.  kids 2-5 drank more apple juice.

" 'These findings provide some insight into what fruits children are eating and socioeconomic factors that may influence what fruit children want to eat and are being provided to eat,' according to a AAP press release that accompanied the study." as published in a summary of the research in TIME Magazine.

Apples are a great choice for kids and adults alike And now that it is fall they are in season too!

Enjoy them in my Apple Cinnamon Pancake and Applesauce Recipes!


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