Thursday, July 2, 2015

Coffee Chip Protein Bars

If you like coffee you are going to love these bars!


½ cup creamy almond butter (I used unsalted)
¼ cup + 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup  
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoons decaf instant coffee, (use a fine grain brand- such as Starbuck’s via)
3 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
1.5 scoops of protein powder, preferably unflavored (the average scoop is about 4 tablespoons or¼ cup, 25-30 Grams, so 1.5 scoops would be approx. 6 tablespoons) *
¼ cup oats (old fashioned, not quick, use a gluten-free oats such as Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten-free diet)
Wax or parchment paper


In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and the coffee together and warm to dissolve in a saucepan on low heat for a few minutes, or even easier- microwave  on high for 30 seconds.  Whisk briskly to help coffee granules dissolve. Let cool. Add the cooled coffee syrup mixture, the almond butter, and vanilla extract to a medium bowl and mix well. Stir in the oats, protein powder and chocolate chips and mix some more. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 inch pan. (Lining the pan with a large rectangular piece of parchment paper, placing the mixture on one side and then folding the paper over to press down works nicely since the dough is so sticky.)  Chill in the fridge for an hour or more (if you can wait that long!) and cut into 8 bars and serve. Wrapping the individual bars in wax paper and storing in baggies is great for convenience.  Store in the fridge. These bars also freeze well!

 Makes 8 bars

Serving size: 1/8th of recipe  Calories  200 Protein 9 g Carb  16 g Fiber 3 g Sugars 12 g Fat 11 g Saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 35 mg


Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Delicious Potato Salad Recipe and the Latest Cranberry Info and Research From the Cranberry Institute

Check out these interesting fasts and studies, along with a very creative potato salad recipe, from the Cranberry Institute!!

Tasty Tidbits about the Tiny, Tart Cranberry

·         Cranberry products are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity (very similar to a lemon!) so they require sweetening to be palatable—but when it comes to dried cranberries, the total amount of sugar is equal to that of other dried fruits, like raisins and dried cherries.
·         Drinking 8–16 oz. of 27% original, low- or no-calorie cranberry juice cocktail each day is recommended to maintain urinary tract health and prevent urinary tract infections.
·         One-quarter cup of dried cranberries is equal to  cup of fruit, according to MyPlate.

Science Bites: News from Cranberry Scientists

Does Cranberry Protect the Urinary Tract Post-Surgery?
As you know, placing a urinary catheter is quite common when having surgery – including gynecological surgeries.  Unfortunately, the risk for a urinary tract infection (UTI) after the catheter is removed can be quite high – 10-64% of patients contract one.  To determine if there is a simple way to relieve women from the aches and pains of a post-surgical UTI, researchers from the University of Michigan provided 160 patients with two cranberry juice capsules, two times a day, for six weeks post-surgery.  The cranberry capsules contained whole cranberry extract from cranberry juice, skins, flesh, and seeds, and were standardized to contain 36 mg of proanthocyanidins (PACs) per two capsules. The capsule dose is similar to drinking two, 8-ounce servings of cranberry juice. Compared to a placebo-control group, the women that consumed the capsules had a significantly lower occurrence of UTIs – even when confounding variables were considered, e.g., frequency of intermittent self-catheterization.

Foxman, B., Cronenwett, AEW, Spino, C., Berger, MB., Morgan, DM.  Cranberry juice capsules and urinary tract infection after surgery: results of a randomized trial.  Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Apr 13; pii: S0002-9378(15)00355-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2015.04.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Two Cups a Day for your Heart
For people struggling with cardiometabolic risk factors – like high blood pressure, high triglycerides or insulin resistance, and above normal levels of C-reactive protein and fasting blood glucose – dietary approaches are king.  Among the recommendations RDs make for such individuals, new research shows that low calorie cranberry juice (just two cups a day) may also help attenuate these factors.  Research published in the Journal of Nutrition looked at the impact of two 240 mL servings on blood pressure, C-reactive protein, triglycerides and glucose in an eight-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-arm study.  Twice a day, 30 women and 26 men on a controlled diet were given 240 mL of low calorie cranberry juice or the placebo beverage, containing 173 or 62 mg of phenolic compounds and 6.5 or 7.5 g of total sugar per a 240-mL serving, respectively.  The results showed that these two cups a day of low calorie cranberry juice significantly improved triglycerides, C-reactive protein, glucose, insulin resistance and diastolic blood pressure.

Novotny, JA., Baer, DJ., Khoo, C., Gebauer, SK., Charron, CS.  Cranberry Juice Consumption Lowers Markers of Cardiometabolic Risk, Including Blood Pressure and Circulating C-Reactive Protein, Triglyceride, and Glucose Concentrations in Adults. J. Nutr. April 22, 2015 jn203190.  [Epub ahead of print]


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

Cranberry Health Research Library
Browse the selections by year to find the most recent publications:

Say Cheers with America’s Original Superfruit㈢
Stay hydrated this summer with cranberry juice cocktail five different ways!
·         Celebrate July 4th with a patriotic red, white and blue punch featuring cranberry juice cocktail and champagne mixed with fresh blueberries and diced applesˇfor a festive finish, top with a flag instead of umbrellas! For the kids, make it with sparkling cider instead of champagne
·         Freeze cranberry juice cocktail in ice cube trays and add to seltzer for a fruity zing that invigorates your drink
·         Combine cranberry juice cocktail, pineapple juice and club soda for a spritzer perfect for hot summer days
·         Make your favorite sangria recipe, swapping out your typical juice combo for cranberry juice cocktail
·         Mix orange and cranberry juice cocktail (one to one ratio), pour into ice pop molds and freeze for a refreshing summer snack!
o   No molds? No problem! Pour into sturdy, freezer-proof cups and add popsicle sticks

Put a Twist on a Summer BBQ Classic!

Amp up a stand-by side dish for your next barbeque with tangy cranberries and crisp cucumber in a fresh take on potato salad.

Yield: 6 servings

8 oz. small red or yellow-skinned potatoes
 cup nonfat plain Greek-style yogurt
2 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. white balsamic or cider vinegar
 tsp. hot red pepper sauce
 cup dried cranberries
1 cup diced seedless cucumber
 cup thinly sliced scallions

1.       Wash potatoes and boil with skin on for 15-20 minutes or until almost tender. Remove from heat and drain. Cool. Cut into cubes and set aside.
2.       In a bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, vinegar and pepper sauce. Stir in cranberries and let stand 20 minutes to soften cranberries slightly.
3.       Stir potatoes, cucumber and scallions into yogurt-cranberry mixture and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning as needed. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour before serving.

Mix it up! Switch out cucumber for diced apple or pear, or try it garnished with chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 70, Calories from Fat 10, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 1g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 70mg, Total Carbohydrate 14g, Sugars 6g, Dietary Fiber 1g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 2%, Vitamin C 8%, Calcium 4%, Iron 2%

Hungry for more recipes?
Cranberry Institute
P.O. Box 497
Carver, MA 02330


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux # 35 Strawberry Almond Tarts

The Recipe ReDux for June is "Pie Love" and we were challenged to make over a sweet or savory pie recipe.  To be honest, I am not much of a pie eater these days, but I do love tarts, namely mini ones. So I decided to develop a healthy tart recipe instead.  I went with a cream cheese and fresh strawberry base and a raw oatmeal/almond based crust and the flavors together were awesome! An added twist is that these little yum yums are stored and served frozen so they really resemble strawberry ice cream in texture.  Another bonus is they are fairly low in calories AND made with very simple, clean ingredients.  Hope you will try them out and also take a look at what the  talented Recipe Redux bloggers have come up with as well!!



1/2 cup almond butter (salted variety works best, or you can add a pinch of salt if you are using unsalted)
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cups oats  (use a gluten free brand like Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten free diet)
2 tablespoons oat flour or you can grind oats to a powder in a blender or food processor (use a gluten free brand like Bob's Red Mill if you are on a gluten free diet)
mini muffin tin, muffin liners and cooking spray


Mix all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl.  Add 16 mini muffin liners to a mini muffin tin ad spray them lightly with cooking spray.  Roll the dough out into a 8x8 in square and cut into 16 squares.  Roll each square up into a ball and then add to the muffin tin.  Press a hole in the middle with fingers and then work to make a small crust cup by pressing the dough against the edges of the tin to form the shape of the crust for 16 tarts.



3/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries (plus a few extra for garnish)
1/3 cup light cream cheese
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon lemon juice


Add all of the ingredients to a medium bowl and mix/whip with an electric mixer until well blended together and the strawberries are mostly pureed to be a uniform mixture.  (small pieces here and there are ok) Spoon the mixture into the tin with the crusts, dividing it evenly amongst  all 16.  Add small pieces of choped strawberry tp the middle of each as a garnish if desired.  Freeze for about 3-4 hours until the centers are very firm. Enjoy straight out of the freezer.  NOTE: tarts will get very soft if left out for more than 10-15 minutes so they are best served while they are frozen/only slightly thawed.

Makes 16 mini tarts

Serving size: 1 tart Calories 100 Protein 3 g Carb 10 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 6 g Fat 6 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 45 mg


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Summer Salad Round Up

Summer is upon almost us so I thought I'd share some my favorite salad recipes created over the years, as an inspiration for you to eat your greens during the upcoming "too hot to cook" months.  Enjoy!!


Friday, June 5, 2015

Gabby's Eats: Blueberry-Nana Pineapple Smoothie

I honestly think that Gabby is one of the only kids in the world who is not super jazzed about consuming smoothies.  I mean, huh?  What kid wouldn’t love a frosty milkshake-esque blend of fruits and milk/yogurt?  Mine, that’s who! It’s not that I think she needs to consume smoothies all the time…. Gabs eats plenty of fruits and veggies, but it would be fun every so often to whip up some yummy combinations for her to have as a cool refreshing treat, that is also great for on the go.

One particular day, after I picked her up from school AND when we actually had plenty of nice fruit in the house, I threw out the idea to make  a smoothie as a snack.  Gabby was open to the challenge and I let her choose the fruits.  Banana, blueberry and pineapple were her picks and that must be a genetic thing because her dad loves this exact combo!

The flavors came together wonderfully and Gabby really enjoyed it too, which was a big win! We hope you will try this fruity, refreshing and easy to make smoothie as well!


½ medium banana (preferably frozen), sliced
½ cup blueberries
¼ cup cubed pineapple
½ cup milk (we used unsweetened almond milk which works great)

optional protein boosts- ¼ cup plain greek yogurt or 1 Tablespoon nut butter (will add about 4-5 grams protein each)


Add milk to blender and then the fruit. Blend on high for at least 1 minute, until a smooth mixture is formed. Pour and serve. Chill if not serving immediately.

Makes 1 smoothie, one serving, or 2 small child/snack size

Serving size: 1 smoothie Calories 140 Protein 2 g Carb 33 g Fiber 5 g Sugars 20 g Fat 2g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 90 mg

Serving size: 1/2 smoothie Calories 70 Protein 1 g Carb 17 g Fiber 2.5 g Sugars 10 g Fat 1 g Saturated fat 0 g Sodium 45 mg

Gabs Shot:


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

In the News: Increasing Fiber Can Lower Diabetes Risk!

I have posted about Fiber a few times as part my "In the News" series, namely as it relates to reducing cardiovascular risk as well as lowering overall mortality, and now comes  more interesting research to take notice of....looking at the relationship fiber intake and reduction Type 2 Diabetes!

In the article, published in Diabetologia, the authors evaluated the association between intake of dietary fiber and Type 2 diabetes using data from the the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-InterAct study and in a meta-analysis of prospective studies.  The EPIC-InterAct study is the world's largest study of new-onset type 2 diabetes, and is coordinated by the MRC Epidemiology Unit at Cambridge University. EPIC-InterAct includes 12,403 verified incident cases of type 2 diabetes. The results revealed that in the (EPIC)-InterAct study, 
cereal fiber had the strongest inverse association- those with the highest levels of cereal and vegetable fiber consumption had a 19% and 16% lower risk of developing diabetes respectively, compared with those with the lowest consumption of these types of fiber. Fruit fiber, however, was not associated with a reduction in diabetes risk. Cereals accounted for 38% of the total fiber intake, and were the main source of fiber in all the countries involved in the study, except France, where vegetables were the main source.
In addition, the meta-analysis involved pooled the data from this EPIC-InterAct study with those from 18 other independent studies (eight in the United States, four in Europe, three in Australia, and three in Asia). It included over 41,000 new-onset cases of type 2 diabetes and found that the risk of diabetes fell by 9% for each 10g/day increase in total fiber intake, and by 25% for each 10g/day increase in cereal fiber intake. They did not find a statistically significant relationship between increasing either fruit or vegetable fiber and reducing diabetes risk.
So the authors concluded that adults who have higher fiber diets, namely those high in cereal fiber, may have a lower risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes. They hypothesized that potential mechanisms for this decreased risk could include increased satiety, prolonged release of hormonal signals, slowed down nutrient absorption, or altered fermentation in the large intestine. All these mechanisms could lead to a lower BMI and reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. In addition to keeping weight down, dietary fiber may also affect diabetes risk by other mechanisms such as improving control of blood sugar and decreasing insulin peaks after meals, and increasing the body's insulin sensitivity.
This is exciting research that adds to the pile of already substantial evidence supporting dietary fiber's beneficial impact on health!


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Recipe ReDux Post # 34 Chocolate Chip Pancakes

May’s Recipe ReDux is “DIY Kitchen Essentials”, meaning we were encouraged to share our favorite from scratch  “kitchen staple” recipes we make to have on hand, instead of purchasing them from the store.  Well I have to say one of the biggies for me is PANCAKES!  Ever since I developed this base recipe a few years back, I have not bought frozen pancakes, or even a mix, since.  I have come up with so many variations of this whole grain, gluten free pancake, and one of our current favorites is of course…chocolate chip!! These pancakes taste like soft, warm chocolate chip cookies and they really don’t need butter and syrup (though you certainly can add if you wish).  They ARE quite tasty with a dusting of powdered sugar, I must admit!  I often will make a batch or two to keep some in the fridge or freezer for quick breakfasts (that still have that special touch) when time is short.  I hope you will try them and also check out the rest of the key staple recipes developed by the awesomeRecipe ReDux group.  Happy breakfast to you!

1 cup 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
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup mini chocolate chips


In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour and brown sugar together. To a larger bowl add the egg whites, vanilla and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Let stand for a 10-15 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 5 more times for a total of six 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 6 pancakes

Serving size: 1 pancake  Calories 130 Protein 3 g Carb 20 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 5 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat  1.5 g Sodium 50 mg


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