Sunday, April 27, 2014

Guest Post: Cranberry BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Some Cool Cranberry Facts and Tips From The Cranberry Institute

Recently I was very fortunate to contacted by the Cranberry Institute with an opportunity to blog in their behalf.  They sent me some great tips for incorporating cranberries into the diet and some interesting facts about cranberries and health as well -all of which are listed below.  Also included is an awesome Cranberry BBQ Sauce Recipe from them too!!  I would like to thank the Cranberry Institute for this info and I will likely be posting more about cranberries in the future. 

Tips: Four Things You May Not Know about Cranberries

-Cranberry products, including cranberry juice cocktail, dried cranberries, cranberry sauce and fresh/frozen cranberries contain proanthocyanidins or PACs.
-PACs are flavonoids that are unique to cranberries because they have a different structure than the PACs found in other fruits.  
-PACs prevent bacteria from sticking to the cell walls – for example, they prevent E. coli from sticking to the walls of the bladder which is associated with urinary tract infections. 
-Cranberry products are usually sweetened because, unlike other berries, cranberries are naturally low in sugar and high in acidity so they require sweetening to be palatable. In fact, fresh cranberries have similar sugar content to a lemon. 

Tricks: Ways to Use Cranberries You Haven’t Thought of Before

-Sprinkle dried cranberries on cereal or yogurt
- Add tartness to barbecue sauces by stirring in cranberry sauce
- Puree frozen cranberries with sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes or other veggies
- Add dried cranberries to muffin and bread mixes
- Combine cranberry sauce with cheese for a sweet and quesadilla filling
- Blend frozen cranberries into fruit smoothies

Cranberry BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Makes 6 sandwiches


Cranberry BBQ Sauce* (makes 1 cup):
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup minced yellow onions
1 Tbsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. chili powder
1 ½ Tbsp. tomato paste
1 ½ cups cranberry sauce
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. dark molasses
¼-½ cup water, if needed

10 oz. cooked white chicken meat, diced or shredded
1 cup Cranberry BBQ Sauce*
6 whole-grain buns, split
1 ½ cups prepared creamy coleslaw

For Cranberry BBQ Sauce*:
1. In a sauce pan, heat oil over medium-high heat; add onions and sauté 2 minutes. Mix in garlic, mustard and chili powder and continue cooking 1 minute. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 more minute.
2. Add cranberry sauce, vinegar and molasses and bring to a simmer, whisking often until mixture becomes smooth. Lower heat and simmer 15-20 minutes or until mixture reduces and thickens. Add water to mixture if it gets too thick. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. Place in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use. Reheat before using.

For Sandwich Filling:
3. Heat prepared Cranberry BBQ Sauce*. Add chicken and bring to a simmer. Keep warm.

To Assemble Sandwich:
4. For each sandwich, scoop ½ cup BBQ chicken onto a bun and top with ¼ cup coleslaw. Replace bun top on sandwich and serve accompanied by cut raw vegetables and/or fresh apple wedges.

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee

Makes 6 Sandwiches

(Nutrition Facts Completed by myself- using my Kale Coleslaw Recipe)

Serving size: 1 Sandwich Calories 410 Protein 21 g Carb 61 g Fiber 4 g Sugars 36 g Fat 9 g Saturated fat 1 g Sodium 380 mg


Monday, April 21, 2014

Recipe ReDux Post # 21 Hearty Almond Chocolate Chip Walnut Bars

The Recipe ReDux for April is “Treasured Cookware” and this theme was all about using “classic cookware,” namely those pieces passed down from family.  Some of the best things I ever got from my mom and used growing up in the kitchen were a good set of stainless steel measuring cups and a wide spatula…not to mention a nice big mixing bowl too!!  The recipe I am sharing uses all three! These Almond Chocolate Chip Walnut Bars are a spin off of my Morning Peanut Butter Bars- a hearty nut butter and oat based bar studded with lots of yummy mix ins. The combo of the chocolate chips, coconut and walnuts works great with the almond butter and they are sweetened with a touch of pure maple syrup.  Try them as a filling breakfast, or break off a piece for a snack or dessert.  Check out these other recipes made with family treasures from the talented Recipe ReDux group.


1 cup creamy or crunchy almond butter (I used Trader Joes Crunchy Salted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup pure maple syrup  
1 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)
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (chopped fine)
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Wax or parchment paper


In a medium sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. 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. The dough will be a bit crumbly, but will come together nicely as you continue to work with it and pat it down into the pan.) 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 340 Protein 10 g Carb 27 g Fiber 5 g Sugars 9 g Fat 24 g Saturated fat 4 g Sodium 20 mg


Monday, April 14, 2014

Morning Glory Pancakes

These pancakes are a wonderful way to get your fruits and veggies in the morning.  Nice for a Spring breakfast/brunch and some nourishment before heading out in that Easter egg hunt!


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 packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup nonfat milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons grated zucchini or yellow summer squash
2 tablespoons peeled and grated apple
2 tablespoons grated carrot
1 tablespoon finely shredded unsweetened coconut
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts


In a small bowl combine the baking powder, flour, brown sugar, coconut, and cinnamon together.  To a larger bowl add the egg whites, vanilla, grated carrot/zucchini/apple, and milk and whisk together. Then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until a smooth, thin batter is formed. Stir in the nuts and mix well. Allow to thicken for about 10-15 minutes for best results. (This batter is even better when stored overnight.) 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 6 small-medium pancakes.

Makes 6 pancakes, 6 servings

Serving size: 1 pancake Calories 100 Protein 3 g Carb 16 g Fiber 2 g Sugars 6 g Fat 2 g Saturated fat  0.5 g Sodium 50 mg


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Fabulous Food Finds: Stubbs Original BBQ Sauce

For commercial pre-prep’d sauce you can’t beat Stubb’s.  Only 30 calories a tablespoon, with a mere 6 grams on carb, 4 grams of sugar, NO fat, it's a great choice and the 220 mg sodium content is not a deal breaker either! The Original variety is my FAV but there are a couple of others varieties that Stubbs makes too, also with decent nutrition facts. Another plus is that their line is made with all natural ingredients and are gluten-free too! Try it in my Barbeque Chicken Salad and BBQ Ranch Dressing recipes!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Salad

A deliciously unique salad that makes a great side dish or a main atop some greens!
2 large eggplant
¼ cup pre-prepared hummus
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ cup fat feta cheese
¼ cup chopped walnuts
cooking spray
fresh basil leaves (optional)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the eggplant into ¼ inch rounds, and then quarter the rounds into smaller pieces.) Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and arrange the eggplant slices on it. Roast on the top rack of the oven about 10 minutes, until starting to soften and brown. Remove from the oven, flip the slices over and return to the oven to roast again for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove from the oven again let cool. Meanwhile whisk the hummus and vinegar together in a small bowl.  Add the cooled eggplant to a medium size bowl, add the hummus dressing, feta and walnuts and mix well.  Garnish with fresh basil if desired.
Makes 4 cups 8 servings

Serving size: 1/2 cup Calories  80  Protein  3 g Carb 10 g  Fiber  5 g Sugars 4 g Fat 4 g Saturated fat 0.75 g Sodium  100 mg


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