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


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