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Creative ways to use fresh, summer ingredients

Summer’s flavors can be fleeting, so make culinary creations count by using the freshest ingredients in new ways.

Summer’s flavors can be fleeting, so make culinary creations count by using the freshest ingredients in new ways.

(StatePoint) In summer, the abundance of fresh ingredients can be overwhelming, especially if you stick to the same old recipes. Make more of the fresh produce available to you at the grocer, farmers market and even your own garden, by thinking creatively.

To help, the summer food experts at Betty Crocker are offering some great ideas for using fresh, seasonal produce.

1. Save the best berries for later.

Berry season is far too short. Make it last longer by freezing berries for the cooler months. Choose fruit at peak freshness, and then store it in high-quality freezer bags that seal tightly, removing as much excess air — fruit’s worst enemy — as possible before freezing. Label bags with the freeze date and remember: a full freezer is more efficient, so stock up!

2. Take advantage of fresh tomatoes.

If you have more fresh tomatoes than you know what to do with, consider these creative uses:

  • Caprese Salad. Layer sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella slices and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and a good balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and serve.
  • Bruschetta. Served on small slices of toasted bread, bruschetta is a perfect appetizer for any dinner party.
  • No-Cook Pasta Sauce. Marinara sauce can be too heavy for summer, but a raw sauce showcasing fresh tomatoes is perfect. Try Rigatoni and Tomatoes for a great introduction.

3. Add a touch of sweetness to zucchini.

Managing the bounty of garden-fresh zucchini is always a challenge, so think beyond the main course. You can make the most out of the humble summer squash with baked treats like pineapple zucchini bread, zucchini bars and chocolate zucchini snack cake.

4. Bake with fresh berries.

Baking with fresh berries is one of the highlights of summertime. Favorite desserts that call for freshly picked strawberries, raspberries and blueberries include classics like fresh strawberry pie, but also inventive creations like brownies and berries dessert pizza and blueberry cheesecake bars.

5. Make pickles easy.

Preserving the summer bounty of cucumbers doesn’t mean you need to spend days canning. For a tasty shortcut, layer cucumber slices, onions and carrots in a glass container. Mix with sugar, vinegar, salt and dill weed. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, but no longer than two weeks.

6. Make berries last with freezer jam.

Freezer jam is a smart way to hold on to summer’s fresh berries without the hassle of traditional jam. Try this recipe for Strawberry Freezer Jam:

Mash 4 cups strawberries, until slightly chunky, to make 2 cups. Mix with 4 cups sugar in large bowl. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix 3/4 cup water and one package powdered fruit pectin in 1-quart saucepan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Pour hot pectin mixture over strawberry mixture; stir constantly three minutes. Immediately spoon mixture into freezer containers, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Wipe rims of containers; seal. Let stand at room temperature about 24 hours or until set. Store in freezer up to six months. Thaw and stir before serving.

More seasonal recipes and summer cooking tips can be found at BettyCrocker.com/summerfoods.

Posted in Bloomin' Summer, Featured, RecipesComments (0)

A Smokin’ Celebration

FD-SmokedMeat

(Family Features) If the surge in barbecue and smoking competitions across the country is any indication, grilling has become an art form. This Father’s Day, grab dad and gather around the grill or try a new tech­nique that’s rising in popularity – smoking – to create a masterpiece meal – and plenty of memories – together.

From secret marinades to tricked out grills and smokers, competitive smokers know there is a near ritualistic approach to teasing the perfect flavor out of a pre­mium cut of meat. Follow in the foot­steps of those pit masters and smoke like a pro with these tips from Omaha Steaks Exec­utive Chef Karl Marsh.

Rinse brisket with vinegar, then water.

Rinse brisket with vinegar, then water.

Start with style

The first step is deciding how you’d like to prepare your meat. Consider stepping up your game by smoking your meat. Smoking is a popular choice because it infuses flavor through­out the meat, while extended cook times at low temperatures make it extra tender. Another advantage is the chance to create a wide range of unique flavors using wet and dry rubs, as well as seasoned wood chips and planks.

Dry meat and prepare rub.

Dry meat and prepare rub.

Choose your cut

Virtually any meat can be smoked, but the most popular cuts of meat to smoke are brisket, ribs, pork shoulder or turkey, all of which are typ­ically large in size. Guarantee a great experi­ence with Omaha Steaks Brisket for smoking or Whole Pork Butt, which were created with the competitive barbecue and smoking circuit in mind.

Coat meat generously with rub.

Coat meat generously with rub.

Ready your rub

Rubs are often used to add flavors and surface texture to a cut of meat. For best results, brush meat with cooking oil or another liquid ingre­dient (such as yellow mustard) before adding the rub. Spread the rub on a clean plate and place the meat on it. Coat both sides with the rub by gently pressing the meat on the plate.

Inject brisket with marinade.

Inject brisket with marinade.

Set up the smoker

Some pit masters consider their equipment as vital an ingredient as the meat or flavorings they choose. Preparation varies from one recipe to the next, but one constant is the importance of maintaining a steady temperature. As you prepare your charcoal, be conscious of where you’ll place any wood chips or other flavor enhancers for maximum impact.

Slow and steady

Sensational flavor takes time to build, so plan to dedicate several hours to your task. Often, smoked foods require foil wrapping for at least a por­tion of the cook to retain moisture. Plan to check in at regular intervals to restock wood chips, flip or rotate meat and apply a fresh coat of seasoning or spices.

Find more tips and recipes perfect for a smoking Father’s Day celebration at omahasteaks.com.

Ancho Chile Rubbed Smoked Beef Brisket

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 11-13 hours

Rest time: 1-2 hours

Total time: 13-16 hours

1 Whole Omaha Steaks Brisket for smoking

2 cups white vinegar

2/3 cup yellow mustard

3/4 cup Omaha Steaks Ancho Chile Rub

4 cups Ancho Chile Smoking Spritzer, divided (recipe below)

8 cups apple or cherry wood chips, soaked in water

Remove brisket from bag and rinse with white vinegar then rinse with water.

Dry completely using paper towels.

Slather brisket generously with yellow mustard.

Rub generously with ancho chile rub and inject with 1 cup Ancho Chile Smoking Spritzer.

Prepare smoker using 1 chimney of pure lump charcoal fully lit and one chimney of pure lump charcoal unlit. Make sure water pan is full and adjust vents until smoker maintains a temperature between 225 and 250 F.

Place brisket on smoker fat side up and brush smoking spritzer over top.

Every hour, check smoker temp, squirt with smoking spritzer and add handful of wood chips.

After 3 hours, flip brisket fat side down and squirt with spritzer.

After 6 hours, flip brisket fat side up. Wrap heavy duty foil around the last 3-4 inches of brisket tip to prevent it from drying out. Restock water pan and add lump charcoal as needed. Adjust vents until temperature is between 225 and 250 F.

Beginning at 8 hours, check internal temperature every hour and apply spritzer and wood chips as needed.

Between 11-13 hours, when internal temperature is between 195 and 200 F, if fork slides easily into brisket, it is done.

Let brisket rest for 1-2 hours before slicing and serving.

Ancho Chile Rubbed Smoked Pork Butt

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 8-10 hours

Rest time: 1 hour

Total time: 10-12 hours

1 Omaha Steaks Whole Pork Butt

2 cups white vinegar

1/2 cup yellow mustard

1/2 cup Omaha Steaks Ancho Chile Rub

4 cups Ancho Chile Smoking Spritzer, divided (recipe below)

8 cups apple or cherry wood chips, soaked in water

Score top fat so it will melt into pork while smoking and allow more rub to get into meat. Rub pork with white vinegar then rinse with water. Pat dry with clean paper towels.

Rub pork butt with yellow mustard. Rub pork butt with ancho chile rub. Inject pork with 10-12 ounces of Ancho Chile Smoking Spritzer.

Set up smoker with 1 chimney using unlit lump charcoal and 2 chimneys using lit lump charcoal.

Adjust vents in smoker until temperature settles between 225 and 250 F.

Place pork butt fat side up and add a lot of wood chips.

Every half hour, add more wood chips and spritz pork with smoking spritzer.

After 2 hours, insert remote thermometer probes. Be careful not to let thermometer touch bone to prevent false readings.

After 5 hours, place pork in foil pan and liberally coat with spritzer. Wrap pan tightly with foil.

Continue cooking without adding wood chips or opening smoker until thermometer hits 190 F (for sliced meat) or 200 F (for pulled meat), about 8-10 hours total.

Let rest 1 hour before serving.

Ancho Chile Smoking Spritzer

Makes: 4 cups

2 cups apple juice

1 cup cranberry juice

1 cup canola oil

2 tablespoons red hot pepper sauce

1/2 cup Omaha Steaks Ancho Chile Rub

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Father's Day, Featured, RecipesComments (0)

Debunking detox with 5 easy fixes

HEA-Debunking-detox-myths1

(BPT) – Lots of things in life create messes that need to be cleaned up – even in our bodies. Think of a playroom after a long day of family fun – toys and games strewed about the room, which if not tidied, we often end up tripping over. The same holds true for our bodies. After a holiday season of overeating and overindulging, our bodies need straightening up to function at their best, otherwise our digestive system becomes cluttered with toxins. And with cold and flu season in full swing, a body clean up will not only help to improve your digestive system, but it may also help boost your immune system as well.

The goal of detoxing is to eliminate toxins in the body. Toxins are unusable products resulting from the metabolism of nutrients, pollutants, pesticides, food additives, medical drugs and alcohol. A true detox doesn’t require fasting or flushing your colon clean, instead it’s finding ways to boost your body’s own natural detoxification system to rid itself of harmful toxins. Just follow these five easy detox fixes from Registered Dietitian Ashley Koff to clean-up your diet and your health:

Eat organic. Reduce the toxins you take in by choosing organic foods that contain no artificial ingredients or synthetic preservatives and are GMO-free. Jumpstart your day with delicious Nature’s Path Flax Plus(R) Pumpkin Flax Granola that is rich in flax seeds and high in fiber.

Power up with plants. Phyto (plant) nutrients such as antioxidants found in fruits, vegetables, spices, whole grains, nuts and seeds create your bodies clean up team. Eat more and let them naturally help clean up your digestive system.

Follow the rainbow. Variety is essential to a healthy diet, and it is important to add a rainbow of colorful, spices and blends of grains, seeds and nuts to your diet.

Find fiber. In order to eliminate toxins through our body’s digestive tract, we need to eat foods rich in fiber and nourish good bacteria it is also important to choose foods that contain nutrients like magnesium that support healthy motility of the digestive tract and bitter herbs which help stimulate the digestive tract.

Nourish with nutrients. Our internal detoxification system needs the right nutrients to nourish our bodies. Add healthy and good-for-you foods such as, broccoli, garlic, leeks, sesame seeds, greens and beans to your diet to boost your energy level and cleanse your body at the same time.

Finally, detox foods can be delicious as they are nutritious. Check out this fiber-rich recipe that is sure to have your friends and family asking for seconds.

Roasted Squash with Crunchy Pumpkin Topping

Roasted Squash with Crunchy Pumpkin Topping

Roasted Squash with Crunchy Pumpkin Topping

Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 40 minutes Total Time: 1 hour

Serves 6

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Nature’s Path Flax Plus(R) Pumpkin Flax Granola

1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

1/4 cup melted coconut oil

3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 large butternut squash (about 3 lb.), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon fresh thyme

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Mix together Pumpkin Flax Granola, bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, ¼ teaspoon each pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper.

Spread evenly on baking sheet; bake for 6 or 7 minutes or until mixture is crisp and golden brown.

Toss together squash, brown sugar, thyme, and remaining pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper; arrange on prepared baking sheet.

Roast for 30 to 35 minutes or until fork-tender and lightly browned.

Arrange squash on platter and top with granola mixture.

Tip: To make fresh bread crumbs, pulse day-old bread in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs; store in airtight container in the freezer for up to one month.

Nutrition Facts, per 1/6 recipe

Calories 240

Fat 11 g

Cholesterol 0 mg

Sodium 240 mg

Carbohydrate 33 g

Fiber 5 g

Sugars 9 g

Protein 3 g

Posted in Featured, Health, RecipesComments Off on Debunking detox with 5 easy fixes

Dazzle guests with a July 4th Feast

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Family Features

Celebrate warm weather, abundant outdoor activities and all the fun of July Fourth with a flavorful and festive gathering. Independence Day only comes once a year, so make it count and invite your favorite guests over for a memorable event. You’ll go out with a bang when you serve up these palate-pleasing dishes at your patriotic party.

Patriotic and Perfectly Sweet

This July Fourth, serve watermelon. This yummy fruit boasts sweetness and nutrition at a great value. Loaded with vitamins A, B6 and C, as well as antioxidants and heart-healthy amino acids, it’s a welcome addition to your summer spread. For more recipes, visit www.watermelon.org.

Red, White and Blue Watermelon Cake

Red, White and Blue Watermelon Cake

Red, White and Blue Watermelon Cake

Servings: 6–8

1 seedless watermelon

1 cup low or no fat natural vanilla flavored yogurt

1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup blueberries

1 cup sliced strawberries

Place watermelon on side on cutting board.

Cut 3–5 inches off each end to create large center slice between 3–5 inches in depth. Trim off outer rind.

Cut watermelon slice into 6–8 pie-shaped wedges. Blot edges with paper towels to absorb excess moisture.

Dip the back (curved) side of each slice in yogurt and then almonds, re-assembling pieces on serving platter as each piece is completed.

When finished, it will look like piecrust of almonds around watermelon slices. Frost top of reassembled watermelon with remaining yogurt and decorate top with berries. Serve cold.

Fresh Off the Grill

“For a red-white-and-blue burger that tastes as good as it looks, I use ground bison on a brioche bun, topped with Castello Burger Blue Cheese,” says celebrity chef Michael Symon. For more recipes, visit castellocheeseusa.com.

Bison Burger with Blue Cheese

Bison Burger with Blue Cheese

Bison Burger with Blue Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Michael Symon

Servings: 4

Kosher Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound ground bison, loosely packed into burger patties

4 slices Castello Burger Blue cheese

4 brioche-style soft hamburger buns, toasted

1 small red onion, very thinly sliced into rings

1 cup arugula

Heat your grill to medium-high heat.

Season burgers with salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. Drizzle with olive oil, then place on grill.

Cook 3 minutes, then flip.

Add slices of blue cheese (1 slice per burger), and let cook another 1–2 minutes.

Remove burgers from grill and place patties on toasted buns.

Top each burger with slice of red onion and 1/4 of arugula.

Serve.

Star-Spangled Dessert

Add color and crunch to your cones with a dip in red, white or blue melted Candy Melts candy and a variety of patriotic sprinkles. The Cone Cakes baking rack holds the cones for drying and serving. For more recipes, visit www.wilton.com.

Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Dipped Ice Cream Cones

Yield: 12 ice cream cones

1 bag (12 ounces) Bright White

Candy Melts Candy

Sugar ice cream cones

Jimmies 6-Mix Sprinkle Assortment

Rainbow Jimmies

Melt candy in microwave safe bowl. Dip cones about 1 inch deep around opening of cone. Cut small hole in tip of bag and drizzle melted candy 1 inch deep around opening of cone. Tap cone lightly to smooth, and sprinkle with jimmies. Position cone in cone rack. Let chill, about 10–15 minutes.

Add ice cream scoops at party and serve in cone rack.

Posted in Arts & Entertainment, Featured, Recipes, SeasonalComments Off on Dazzle guests with a July 4th Feast

Celebrate Dad with grilling and golf

FATH-Celebrate-Dad2

Family Features

This year for Father’s Day, skip the tacky tie and give dad something he truly wants – quality time with the kids who gave him such an honorable title. Plan an intimate family gathering with all his favorite foods and a few special touches that reflect his other passions in life, such as golf.

Let dad savor some grilled goodness (and a healthy dose of antioxidants) with colorful fruit and veggie kabobs. Healthy, hydrating watermelon is the star ingredient of these colorful skewers, which also include marinated chunks of pork.

Add a low-calorie, fat-free side by serving watermelon balls in a fun golf ball-shaped vessel carved from a watermelon rind.

For more recipes and carving ideas using versatile watermelon, visit www.watermelon.org.

Pork and Watermelon Kabobs

Pork and Watermelon Kabobs

Pork and Watermelon Kabobs

Servings: 8

6 tablespoons brown sugar

6 tablespoons soy sauce

6 tablespoons diced red onion

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon ground thyme

Pepper to taste

1 pound boned, lean pork chop, cut into 1-inch cubes (approximately 38-40 pieces)

32 cubes watermelon (1 inch each), plus extra for garnish if desired

16-24 zucchini rounds (1/2 inch)

16 pineapple chunks, fresh or canned (1 inch each)

24 yellow or orange peppers chunks (1 inch each, approximately 3-4 peppers total)

Cooking spray

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine sugar, soy sauce, onion, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and pepper in mixing bowl. Pour into resealable bag and add pork pieces. Seal bag, mix thoroughly and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, turning bag periodically.

Remove pork from bag and reserve marinade. Thread 5 pork pieces, 4 watermelon cubes, 2-3 zucchini rounds, 2 pineapple chunks and 3 peppers on each of 8 skewers, alternating the order.

Spray cooking surface on heated grill and place kebobs on grill. Grill for 12-15 minutes, or until done, turning and basting frequently with reserved marinade. Garnish with sesame seeds and chunks of watermelon.

Golf Ball Serving Bowl

Wash watermelon under cool running water and pat dry.

On cutting board, place watermelon on side and cut off 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch from stem end, being careful not to cut too deep into white part of rind. This will provide sturdy base.

Using paring knife, cut a 3- to 4-inch round circle in top of watermelon.

Use melon baller to make shallow round divots into rind of watermelon to mimic dimples in golf ball. Next, use kitchen knife to peel thin layers of rind off to expose white underneath, being careful not to cut too deep or red flesh will be exposed. Try to get as much of green rind off so it will resemble a white golf ball.

Hollow out watermelon with spoon or scoop. Place on tray and add watermelon balls to serve.

Posted in Father's Day, Featured, RecipesComments Off on Celebrate Dad with grilling and golf

Dote on Dad with a backyard brunch

Cedar Plank Grilled Egg in Toast

Cedar Plank Grilled Egg in Toast

Family Features

Brunch isn’t just for mom. This Father’s Day, make eggs, toast and bacon on the grill for a breakfast that’s sure to spoil the man of the house.

Not sure how to make eggs on the grill? It’s easy! Crack an egg into a cut-out hole in toast set on a cedar plank, then sprinkle with a little cheddar and an Applewood rub for smoky grilled flavor.

“To complete the meal on dad’s favorite outdoor tool, cook the bacon in a shallow disposable foil pan next to the eggs,” said Chef Kevan Vetter of the McCormick Kitchens. “Once the bacon is almost done, I love to brush it with a honey-cinnamon mixture, then grill it directly on the grates for a few minutes to add a candied crisp.”

For more grilling recipes and tips visit www.grillmates.com, and check out McCormick Grill Mates on Facebook.

Cedar Plank Grilled Egg in Toast

Makes 4 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

2 cedar planks (about 12×6 inches each)

4 slices bread, such as brioche or challah (3/4-inch thick slices)

7 eggs, divided

2 tablespoons milk

2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon McCormick Grill Mates Applewood Rub, divided

1/2 cup grated smoked Cheddar cheese

Soak cedar planks in water for at least 4 hours or overnight. Drain and pat dry.

Remove centers of each slice of bread with 3-inch round cookie cutter. Beat 3 eggs with milk and 2 tablespoons of the Applewood Rub in medium bowl until well blended.

Lightly oil 1 side of each of planks. Place planks, oil side up, on preheated grill over medium heat. Dip bread in egg mixture. Place on planks. Break an egg into each of holes. Sprinkle eggs with remaining 1/2 teaspoon Applewood Rub. Cover grill.

Grill 10 minutes. Sprinkle eggs with cheese and additional Applewood Rub, if desired. Grill, covered, 10 minutes longer.

Candied Grilled Bacon

Makes 6 servings

Prep Time: 5

Cook Time: 15

6 slices thick-cut applewood bacon

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon

Arrange bacon slices in single layer on bacon grilling rack or shallow disposable foil pan. Grill over medium-high heat 10 to 12 minutes or until bacon edges begin to curl. Remove pan from grill. Drain drippings.

Microwave honey and cinnamon in small microwavable bowl on high 30 seconds, stirring after 15 seconds. Brush bacon with honey mixture. Place bacon directly on grill over low heat. Grill 2 to 3 minutes per side or until crisp.

Posted in Father's Day, RecipesComments Off on Dote on Dad with a backyard brunch

Every Bunny Loves Easter

Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests

Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests

Basket goodies and more for your celebrations

(Family Features) With Easter just around the corner, everyone is hopping to the candy aisle to pick up tasty treats. Celebrate the fun of the season with special sweets that everyone will enjoy.

With the never-ending selection of Easter candies to fill your baskets and dessert spreads, picking the best can be difficult. In fact, the National Confectioners Association ranks this springtime celebration as the nation’s second top-selling candy holiday.

A new addition to the candy aisle this spring includes a Nestlé Crunch candy line inspired by Charles Schulz’s beloved Peanuts characters, including Charlie Brown and Snoopy. These whimsical products join Nestlé’s existing collection of chocolate and sugar favorites that are sure to inspire creativity with gift baskets, egg hunts and sweet treats.

Also new this year, candy lovers can feel better about the chocolate they’re choosing. Nestlé Confections & Snacks has announced the purchase of certified, sustainable cocoa equal to the amount needed to produce the entire Easter chocolate collection for the season through the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, Nestlé’s global commitment to sustainable cocoa.  For the first time, U.S. consumers can purchase any products from Nestlé’s chocolate Easter collection and know that their purchase supports Nestlé’s commitment to better cocoa farming practices, improving social conditions and ethical sourcing.  All of Nestlé’s Easter chocolate collection will feature a Nestlé Cocoa Plan logo on-pack to help you make a choice this Easter that is delicious and sustainable.

EAS-Every-bunny2Do you have an Easter gathering to host or attend? Hop into the kitchen and whip up this simple recipe for Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests. Featuring Nestlé NestEggs, the bite sized NestEggs are available in a variety of flavors including Nestlé Crunch, Crunch Creamy Caramel, Crunch Peanut Butter and Butterfinger, providing plenty of options to please every palate.

For more Easter inspiration visit www.Facebook.com/NestleCrunch or www.Facebook.com/Butterfinger.

Egg-Ceptional Easter Nests

Prep time: 20 minutes

Total time: 21 minutes

Servings: 30

Wax paper

1 2/3 to 2 cups (11 to 12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Butterscotch or Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cans (5 ounces each) chow mein noodles

30-60 Nestlé NestEggs, any flavor

Line trays with wax paper.

Microwave morsels in large, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on medium-high (70 percent) power for 1 minute; stir. The morsels may retain some original shape. If necessary, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until morsels are melted. Stir in peanut butter until well blended.

Add chow mein noodles to morsel mixture; toss until coated. Using ice cream scoop that measures about 2 rounded tablespoons, scoop and drop onto prepared trays then immediately shape into nests. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Before serving, place 1 or 2 candy eggs in each nest. Store prepared nests in covered container for up to 1 day.

Posted in Easter, RecipesComments Off on Every Bunny Loves Easter

Nutrition choices made easy in the grocery aisle

Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus

Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus

(BPT) – Should you buy eggs instead of cereal? Popcorn in place of pretzels? For consumers seeking “better-for-you” foods at the grocery store, these types of decisions can feel overwhelming, and for some, time-consuming.

With the help of the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System, making healthier decisions at store shelves becomes easier and quicker. Developed by a team of recognized experts, led by Dr. David Katz of the Yale Griffin Prevention Research Center, the NuVal Nutritional Scoring System was created as a direct response to America’s rapidly rising rates of obesity and diabetes in both adult and child populations. This team advocated the development of an independent and simplified nutritional scoring system to help improve public health.

The easy-to-use NuVal Nutritional Scoring System provides foods throughout participating grocery stores with a score of one to 100, 100 being the most nutritious. Scores are determined by an independent team of nutrition and medical experts who analyze more than 30 nutrition factors such as vitamin D, omega 3 fatty acids, saturated fat and calories. The experts do the research, so consumers can feel better about their food choices.

“Choosing the right foods at the grocery store can make or break your healthy meal plan for the week,” says registered dietitian Tammy Lakatos Shames. “When walking the aisles, pick up wholesome foods that are packed with essential vitamins and nutrients. For example, Eggland’s Best eggs are the highest-scoring egg on the NuVal scale and the only egg I recommend to my clients and serve my family due to their superior nutrition!”

Check out the foods Tammy recommends for your shopping cart next time you hit the grocery store:

* Fruits and vegetables top the list

With a score of 100, vegetables like broccoli and asparagus receive a perfect score due to their nutritional benefits. They provide important nutrients including vitamin A, which helps protect against infections, dietary fiber which helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease, and folate, which helps the body form red blood cells.

* Seafood catches top scores

Fishing for healthy foods? Try wild Atlantic salmon filets, which have a score of 96 on the NuVal scale. This fish selection offers calcium, which helps build strong bones, and phosphorus, which helps with digestion. Fish is also a great source of minerals such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium.

* Eggs crack the NuVal Code

Eggs are a complete protein that keeps you full to prevent snacking and also include important nutrients your body needs throughout the day. Out of 56 brands of eggs reviewed, Eggland’s Best eggs scored the highest at 85. Compared to ordinary eggs, Eggland’s Best eggs contain four times more vitamin D, 10 times more vitamin E and double the omega 3s.

Find fresh and nutritious recipe ideas, including this Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus, at www.egglandsbest.com or www.pinterest.com/egglandsbest.

Poached Eggs with Serrano Ham and Garlic Asparagus

Ingredients:

8 Eggland’s Best Egg, large

4 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 large cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced

1 1/2 pounds medium asparagus spears, trimmed

1/2 cup chicken broth

Sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste

1 tablespoon white vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

4 large slices from round loaf of crusty Italian bread, toasted (3/4-inch thick)

4 ounces very thinly sliced Serrano ham

1/4 cup finely shredded Manchego cheese

1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley

Ground Spanish paprika

Directions:

In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-low heat. Add garlic; saute 1 minute or until very lightly browned. Remove garlic with slotted spoon; reserve for later use. Add asparagus and broth to hot oil; simmer 3 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning asparagus occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add white vinegar and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low. Break Eggland’s Best eggs into custard cups, one at a time. Gently slide eggs into hot water, in 2 to 3 batches. Poach eggs 3 to 4 minutes or until egg whites are firm and yolks are slightly thickened. Remove eggs with slotted spoon.

Place toast on 4 serving plates. Top each evenly with Serrano ham, asparagus spears, asparagus broth and 2 poached eggs. Sprinkle with cheese, parsley and reserved garlic. Drizzle plates evenly with remaining 2 tablespoon olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Posted in Featured, Health, RecipesComments Off on Nutrition choices made easy in the grocery aisle

Cure cravings with satisfying snacks

Top a slice of banana bread with a smear of rich, creamy spreadable cheese, such as The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss, and add a crunchy protein punch with walnuts.

Top a slice of banana bread with a smear of rich, creamy spreadable cheese, such as The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss, and add a crunchy protein punch with walnuts.

(Family Features) When a snack attack hits you, your mood may influence the flavor you crave. Taking a more mindful approach will let you savor what you eat and give you a more satisfying snack experience.

Mindful eating is all about being more aware of what foods you choose – such as the connection to your senses and emotions.

Being more conscious of snacking habits can help you make smarter, well-balanced choices and be more intentional with your snacks to be sure you’re truly answering your craving.

Hone in on your senses of taste and touch with these ideas so you can sit down and savor your next snacking session:

Sweet

•Enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit with a parfait by layering your favorite fruits with plain or vanilla yogurt and topping with a handful of granola.

•Top a slice of banana bread with a smear of rich, creamy spreadable cheese, such as The Laughing Cow Creamy Swiss, and add a crunchy protein punch with walnuts.

Salty

•Slice a potato in paper-thin pieces and bake in a single layer at 400°F for about 15 minutes, flipping half-way. Sprinkle with a dash of sea salt before serving either alone or with dip.

•Jazz up plain popcorn with an assortment of lightly salted nuts and dried fruit.

For a fresh take on traditional veggies, top mini bagels with a creamy sun-dried tomato and basil spread, such as the Creamy Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Flavor by The Laughing Cow, and add your favorite veggies (cherry tomatoes, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, etc.) for a delicious white pizza

For a fresh take on traditional veggies, top mini bagels with a creamy sun-dried tomato and basil spread, such as the Creamy Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Flavor by The Laughing Cow, and add your favorite veggies (cherry tomatoes, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, etc.) for a delicious white pizza

Crunchy

•Dip pretzel sticks in a light coating of melted chocolate (roll in crushed nuts while chocolate is still wet for extra crunch).

•For a fresh take on traditional veggies, top mini bagels with a creamy sun-dried tomato and basil spread, such as the Creamy Mozzarella, Sun-Dried Tomato & Basil Flavor by The Laughing Cow, and add your favorite veggies (cherry tomatoes, roasted red pepper, mushrooms, etc.) for a delicious white pizza.

Creamy

•Treat your taste buds with a richly flavored cheese spread, such as those available from The Laughing Cow, smeared over a thinly sliced baguette or multi-grain muffin.

•Mash an avocado with a dash of salt, pepper and garlic; add a squeeze of lime juice and some diced tomatoes for an instant guacamole dip to enjoy with corn chips or tortilla wedges.

For more satisfying snack suggestions, visit www.thelaughingcow.com.

 

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Forget the pricey trip to the spa with simple DIY tips and tricks

HEA-Forget-pricey-trip-to-spa

 

(BPT) With a whole new year ahead, now is the perfect time to relax and refresh with at-home spa treatments that are easy, natural, luxurious and, best of all, affordable.

“Skin care does not have to be costly to be effective,” says Janet Little, director of nutrition at Sprouts Farmers Market. “By preparing your own body care products, you can have beautiful-looking skin, slow down premature skin aging and save money.”

As a matter of fact, you probably already have fresh and natural ingredients in your refrigerator and cupboards, or you can easily purchase them from a grocery store or health food store. These simple ingredients can eliminate dry skin, reduce wrinkles, banish dark under eye circles and relax sore muscles. The advantages of homemade skin care products include:

* Significant savings. Most of the products that you’ll use are already in your home, and are less expensive than department store-bought skin care products or spa treatments.

* Avoiding harsh chemicals. Artificial ingredients found in typical drug store beauty products may contain cancer-causing compounds that can penetrate the skin and potentially cause harmful effects.

* Always natural and fresh. Skin care products purchased in a store contain preservatives to avoid bacteria contamination and growth. On the other hand, when you prepare your skin care items yourself you get a fresh and natural batch every time.

* Easy and fun to make. Simple recipes take minutes to prepare, but can be just as effective as store bought products.

Here are a few easy, at-home spa recipes that will leave you glowing:

Gentle exfoliant

* Brown sugar is a natural and affordable exfoliant with many health benefits, while grapeseed oil gently and deeply moisturizes skin without clogging pores.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup grapeseed oil

1/2 cup brown sugar

Mix together with your fingers. Apply to face and body by rotating in a circular motion. Rinse off with warm water.

Firming facial mask

Egg white is great for tightening and toning skin and helps shrink pores. Yogurt is packed with vitamins and proteins, which promotes strong wrinkle-free skin.

Ingredients:

1/2 tablespoon vitamin E oil

1 tablespoon yogurt

1 egg white

Whisk together. Massage onto face and neck. Leave on for at least 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Avocado-honey facial mask 

Avocados are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, perfect for hydrating and great for moisturizing skin. Honey acts as a natural humectant, boosting skin’s hydration and is also a wonderful skin lightening agent.

Ingredients:

1/2 avocado

1/2 cup honey

First, place a cloth in warm water and apply to your face to open the pores. Mash avocado until creamy, combine with honey and apply to face for 15 to 30 minutes. Rinse off with warm water, then use cold water to close the pores. Use once a week.

Wrinkle reducer

Banana is wonderful as an anti-wrinkle treatment.

Ingredients:

1 over-ripe banana

Mash 1/4 banana until very creamy. Spread all over face and leave for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off with warm water followed by a dash of cold. Gently pat dry.

Under-eye circle treatment 

Grated potatoes can lighten under-eye circles. Potatoes contain an enzyme called catecholase, which is used in cosmetics as a skin lightener.

Ingredients:

1 potato

Cheese cloth

Run one spud through your food processor and stuff the raw mash into a piece of cheesecloth. Apply to the area directly beneath your eye – don’t let the potato juice come in contact with the eye itself – and leave for 15 to 20 minutes. Wipe away the starchy residue.

Tired and aching muscle relaxer

Epsom salts and essential oils are known for their powerful ability to sooth sore muscles and relieve aches and muscle pain.

1/2 cup Epsom Salt

5 drops lavender essential oil

2 drops chamomile essential oil

Place Epsom salts in a mixing bowl and add drops of essential oil. Mix ingredients together and add to a hot bath.

 

 

 

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