Spring Recipes: Strawberry Arugula Salad

It’s the beginning of spring! Since the weather starts to warm up, a lot of Americans enjoy preparing meals with fresh and green ingredients. So, why not welcoming spring by making a delicious salad? Try preparing this colorful Strawberry Arugula Salad recipe. It is very easy to make and it won’t take you more than 20 minutes!

Ingredients:

  •  2 cups torn fresh arugula or baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup quartered fresh strawberries
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions:

  1. In a salad bowl, combine the fresh arugula (or baby spinach), fresh strawberries, the almonds, the Gorgonzola cheese, and the red onion previously chopped.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the oil, orange juice concentrate, vinegar, orange peel and ginger. Pour over salad; toss gently to coat. 

Let’s Get Green in St. Patrick’s: A Heavenly Irish Dessert

One of the greatest things about this month is that we get to celebrate St. Patrick’ Day. This Irish festivity is well-known for its green ornaments, lucky clovers, parades, and most important, drinking and feasting. Many bars and clubs in the US celebrate St. Patrick’s Day so, why not hosting a party from the comfort of your home? We challenge you to try these delicious Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Whiskey Filling and Irish Cream Icing from the All Recipes website. It’s like tasting a piece of heaven!

  • Preparation time: 30 minutes
  • Cooking time: 20 minutes

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup Irish stout beer
  • 1 cup butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon Irish whiskey, or more to taste
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 3 cups confectioner’s (icing) sugar, or more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons Irish cream liquor, or more to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
  3. Bring Irish stout beer and 1 cup butter to a boil in a saucepan and set aside until butter has melted, stirring occasionally. Mix in cocoa powder until smooth.
  4. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  5. Beat eggs with sour cream in a large bowl with an electric mixer on low until well combined. Slowly beat in the beer mixture, then the flour mixture; beat until the batter is smooth.
  6. Divide batter between the prepared cupcake cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean, about 17 minutes.
  8. Cool the cupcakes completely. Cut cores out of the center of each cupcake with a sharp paring knife. Discard cores.
  9. Bring cream to a simmer in a saucepan over low heat; stir in bittersweet chocolate until melted.
  10. Mix in 2 tablespoons butter and Irish whiskey until butter is melted; let mixture cool to room temperature. Filling will thicken as it cools.
  11. Spoon the filling into the cored cupcakes.
  12. For frosting, whip 1/2 cup butter in a bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
  13. Set mixer to low speed and slowly beat in confectioners’ sugar, 1 cup at a time, until frosting is smooth and spreadable. Beat in the Irish cream liqueur; adjust thickness of frosting with more confectioners’ sugar if needed.
  14. Spread frosting on filled cupcakes.

Eating Habits: Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day

It is the 40th anniversary of the National Nutrition Month! This year’s theme is “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day”, so let’s start taking care of your nutrition by eating healthy food. You decide the time, the place, and the food type!

You know that what goes in your mouth has positive or negative consequences in your organism. For that, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has developed the National Nutrition Month. The objective of this educational and informational campaign is to encourage individuals to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits. According to the Eat Right website (http://www.eatright.org/nnm/#.UT5ELDeO73F), the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” theme focuses on “personalized healthy eating styles and recognizes that food preferences, lifestyle, cultural and ethnic traditions and health concerns all impact individual food choices.”

To join this great campaign, all you need to do is make the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” your new motto:

Eat Right

There are several steps you can take in order to start eating healthier. One of these is to watch your portion size. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute says that you can achieve this by sharing food with someone, eat off smaller plates, and have small portions of all the foods that are served on the table instead of big portions of one food type. Also, you can make slight modifications when preparing food. For instance, instead of frying the food you can grill, steam, or bake it; or you can also season it with low-fat seasonings and flavorful spices.

Your Way

We all have different eating habits that make part of our lifestyle. Are your eating habits unhealthy? If so, just keep this in mind: It is not about starving or having to sacrifice your favorite meals or treats; it is about incorporating healthy eating habits into your lifestyle. According to the Fitness Health 101 website, all you need to do is small changes in your diet, such as consuming a wide variety of foods (particularly fish, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains), consuming moderate portions, drinking plenty of water, and minimizing food high in sugar, salt, and refined processed grain products. It might be hard to get used to it at first, but if you follow these tips daily, you will make them part of your eating routine.

Every Day

The worst you can do to your body is skipping meals. You need to eat at least three meals a day. The benefits of having breakfast, lunch, and dinner are numerous. You can learn some of them by visiting this link: http://eatathomemissouri.com/in-the-kitchen/three-meals-a-day/. Many experts recommend consuming five small meals daily in order to fight hunger and maintain a healthy weight. Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis suggests consuming 400 calories every three hours throughout the day. By doing so, you can “prevent your blood sugar from crashing and keeps you satisfied”, says Diekman.

Support National Agriculture: Kansas City Style Pork Back Ribs

As we have mentioned, March is the month dedicated to National Agriculture. A good way to celebrate and support this initiative is by buying cattle, poultry, and pork meat, as well as legumes such soybeans at grocery stores. You can prepare delicious, colorful, and tasteful meals with these ingredients. For that, we provide you a yummy pork recipe with a touch of Kansas City Style from the Pork Be Inspired website:

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Servings: 5

Ingredients

3 slabs pork back ribs
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup paprika
3 tablespoons seasoned salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup honey

Directions

  1. In pint-jar with tight-fitting lid, combine sugar, paprika, seasoned salt, chili powder, black pepper, celery salt, onion powder, garlic powder, ground sage and dry mustard. Place lid on jar and shake jar to combine thoroughly. Set spice rub aside. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.
  2. In small saucepan over low heat, stir together barbecue sauce and honey. Heat through, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Set barbecue glaze aside, keep warm or at room temperature before using. (If storing for more than 2 hours, cover and refrigerate. Reheat gently before using).
  3. Pat ribs dry with paper towels and season generously with spice rub, using about 4-6 tablespoons for each slab of ribs. Grill over indirect heat in a covered grill or smoker for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn ribs once during cooking, about halfway through. Ribs are done when the meat is very tender (insert a paring knife between ribs to determine); they will pull apart fairly easily. About 20 minutes before ribs are done, baste heavily with barbecue glaze. If you like your ribs extra sticky, baste again 10 minutes before removing from the grill.

More Daddies in the Kitchen: 5 Male Cooking Trends

Moms are not the only ones who enjoy cooking. A recent study conducted by Kraft Cheese found out that 99 percent of dads in the US are cooking for themselves or others every week.

The technological era has brought a very interesting phenomenon: many dads throughout the US spend time in the kitchen organizing their meal plans, and preparing and cooking delicious meals. Most of them, according to Kraft Cheese, are eager to try different recipes and use technology to search and print diverse recipes. This recent trend shows that dads are and adventurous and spontaneous while cooking, since they always want to try something different.

Some of the interesting findings that the Kraft Cheese survey yielded are:

1. Dads love dinner

Men want to make their significant other and their kids happy. One of the ways they do this is through their stomachs. Since dinner is usually when families have more time to spend together, dads prefer to cook for this meal time (63 percent) than for breakfast (22 percent) or lunch (7 percent).

2. Dads love cooking main dishes

According to the Kraft Cheese survey, the most common meals that dads usually prepare are chicken (84 percent), pasta (74 percent), sandwiches (67 percent), and burgers (64 percent). They also enjoy adding cheese to the different recipes they make. Their preferred types of cheese are Cheddar (24 percent), mozzarella (17 percent), American (10 percent), and Parmesan (10 percent).

3. Dads enjoy cooking

As mentioned above, dads are creative and spontaneous when it comes to cooking. In other words, they don’t see cooking as a chore but as a hobby they really enjoy doing. For instance, the website All Recipes conducted a survey in 2011 and found out that 82 percent of dads are enjoying their time in the kitchen.

4. Dads are better cookers, say wives

Over half (58 percent) of the women that were surveyed by All Recipes, said that their husbands are better cookers that they are. This percentage is growing since men decided to get involved in the kitchen and use their creativity to make amazing dishes.

5. Dad’s best friend in the kitchen is technology

Since the XXI century is dedicated to the millennial generation, dads use computers to print out recipes and smartphones or tables to search for recipes. Also, almost ¾ (70 percent) of the men surveyed by All Recipes said that, on their free time, they prefer to visit a men’s food website than a general food site. This might be because dads of this generation appreciate customization and specialization, both characteristics that they can find on a men’s food site.

Kitchen Life Skills: 5 Lunch Packing Tips

Concerned about having enough time to pack lunch for your kids? Wanting to take your own lunch to work but can’t figure out what to include? If this sounds familiar, here are five tips that will simplify your lunch packing.

We are constantly in a hurry. If you are like the typical family, both you and your significant other work between 7 and 8 hours on weekdays. During your free time, you just want to lie down on the couch and watch some TV or just rest. However, you know that your kids are not eating what they should or you and your significant other have to settle with food on the go.

For these reasons, we want to provide you some tips that will make your lunch packing a lot easier:

1. Use leftovers. Repurpose the leftovers you saved from dinner and turn them into a whole new dish. This not only saves you cooking time, but also helps you save some money.  For instance, if you had pasta for dinner you can put some extra cheese or sauce and give it a different flavor. It’s all about being creative!

2. Keep it simple. Packing lunch for your kids, your significant other or for yourself shouldn’t take more than 12 minutes. Don’t look for complicated recipes with tons of ingredients. Instead, make simple meals such as turkey or ham and cheese sandwich or fruit cups. Buy food that you hardly need to prepare it such as yogurt, crackers, fruits, juice boxes, and snack bars. Laura Fuentes from The Nourishing Home website suggests staying away from anything that requires special gadgets, elaborate ingredients, processed foods and lengthy recipes.

3. Have containers ready to go. Buy several reusable, divided containers so you can put in each section of the container a different type of food. Just make sure that the containers are cleaned the night before because you don’t want to be washing them at 6 or 7 am in the morning so you can pack lunch.

4. Prepare ahead of time. You can start preparing for a weekly lunch packing by doing a quick lunch box grocery list and going to the grocery store on the weekend. Colorful fruits and vegetables, dairy such as yogurt, dips, and cream cheese; and cereals and snacks such as crackers, cereal, granola bars, and snacks are some of the things you need to include in your grocery list. Put all the food that doesn’t need any preparation inside the lunch box the night before.

5. Make your kids participate. You can teach your kids how they can prepare their own lunch box and make it their morning chore. The Cozi website recommends that this should become a habit. That way you will have some extra time for yourself and your children will learn that packing their lunch is their job.

Heart Awareness Month: 5 Exercises For A Healthy Heart

As many of you know, February is a month dedicated to Heart Health Awareness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 600,000 Americans die of heart disease annually. Also, heart disease is one of the major causes of disability in the United States.

To stop this from happening, people have started to eat foods low in cholesterol, incorporate healthier food in their diets, and change or modify lifestyle factors such as being physically inactive. You can reduce the chance of developing heart disease by doing the correct exercises that are good for your heart.

Some of the exercises that are recommended by cardiologists and experts in the topic are:

Stretch your muscles. No matter the exercise you are going to do, you need to always stretch your arms and legs before and after doing it. This will prevent you from suffering an injury or muscle strain.

Take a walk. This is the physical activity for excellence. Weather it is on a treadmill or on the road, walking will improve the way your body uses oxygen. If you walk 20 minutes each day, you’ll notice that your breathing improves and that you can perform physical activities for a longer period of time. These are the first signs that your heart is becoming stronger.

Aerobic exercises. This type of exercise, according to the WebMD website, “has the most benefits for your heart”. When doing it correctly, aerobics help decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. Jogging, jumping rope, and even climbing the stairs are examples of aerobic exercises. If you want a more interactive experience, fun video games such Wii Sports and Wii Fit Step Aerobics will get your heart rate up and have you entertained for hours. Try this with your kids, they’ll love it!

Cardiovascular exercises. According to the SheKnows website, cardiovascular exercise is “any form of activity that increases your respiratory and heart rate.” Running, swimming, cycling, and circuit training are all examples of this. These exercises help you burn unwanted calories and, by losing weight, you reduce your risk of heart disease. Also, cardiovascular activities make your heart pump faster, becoming stronger with every time you do any of these exercises.

Weight Lifting. The American Heart Association has stated that “resistance training increases muscular strength, endurance, independence, and ability to perform a large range of activities.” Moderate weight training is recommended to some patients to increase their health and fitness. If you are embarking on resistance training for the first time, remember that you have to first consult it with your doctor. He will give you a weight lifting program that fits to your needs.

Exercise schedule. To achieve maximum benefits, you need to do one of the exercises mentioned above at least three to four times a week. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. A total of 30 minutes a day, five times a week, is an easy formula to remember and accomplish!

Heart Health Awareness Month: Portobello Mushroom Burger Recipe

February is dedicated to the Heart Health Awareness. For this reason, we provide you a heart healthy recipe that has very few calories and no cholesterol. This Grilled Portobello Mushroom burger from the website Mayo Clinic is not only delicious, but healthy for your heart and body. With only 283 calories and 0 mg of cholesterol, this is an excellent alternative for those of you who love eating burgers:

Ingredients

4 large Portobello mushroom caps, 5 inches in diameter
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 whole-wheat buns, toasted
4 slices tomato
4 slices red onion
2 bibb lettuce leaves, halved

Directions

  1. Clean mushrooms with a damp cloth and remove their stems. Place in a glass dish, stem (gill) side up.
  2. To prepare the marinade, in a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, cayenne pepper and olive oil. Drizzle the marinade over the mushrooms. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for about 1 hour, turning mushrooms once.
  3. Prepare a hot fire in a charcoal grill or heat a gas grill or broiler. Away from the heat source, lightly coat the grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Position the cooking rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat source.
  4. Grill or broil the mushrooms on medium heat, turning often, until tender, about 5 minutes on each side. Baste with marinade to keep from drying out. Using tongs, transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
  5. Place each mushroom on a bun and top with 1 tomato slice, 1 onion slice and 1/2 lettuce leaf. Serve immediately.

 

Shrimp Recipe: Stop Protein Cravings!

If you have abstained from eating beef and poultry because of Lent, try cooking this delicious seafood alternative…you will love it! With this fresh fry meal you will be able to please yourself with things you love to eat, without breaking the Lenten diet. This tasteful Fiesta Popcorn Shrimp Tacos recipe from the Woman’s Day website is easy and fast to cook:

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (12 oz.) of Popcorn shrimp
  • 8-10 flour tortillas, heated according to package directions
  • 8 ounces of white shredded cheddar cheese
  • 14 ounces of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 cans of sliced black olives
  • Lime wedges (optional)
  • Milk, as needed to thin

Sauce

  • 8 ounces of sour cream
  • 1 ounce packet ranch dressing mix
  • 1 ¼ ounces packet taco seasoning
  • Milk, as needed to thin

Directions:

  1. Bake shrimp according to package directions.
  2. Combine sauce ingredients, adding taco seasoning to taste. Thin sauce if need with 1-2 tablespoons of milk.
  3. Spread a tablespoon of sauce over each warm tortilla, shredded cabbage, cheese, tomato and olives. Top with cooked shrimp. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

I am Lactose Intolerant. Can I eat dairy products?

We keep celebrating the Lactose Intolerance Awareness Month and this time we want to provide some tips so, if you are lactose intolerant, you can enjoy dairy with no regrets.

The answer to having lactose intolerance is not stop eating dairy. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), persons with lactose intolerance can manage this issue effectively by having “small amounts of milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, and reduced-lactose foods”. Remember that dairy foods have calcium and other good nutrition to help build bones and healthy bodies. For this reason, you cannot cut off dairy products completely from your diet.

If you or someone you know suffers from this, we provide you some of the answers to your questions:

How many servings of dairy can I have in a day?

If you are 9 years or older, you can have 3 daily servings of dairy. If your kids are between 4 and 8 years old, they can have 2 ½ daily servings and, for toddlers (2 to 3 years) the appropriate amount of daily servings is 2.

What is one serving of dairy?

Some of the daily servings recommended to lactose intolerant people are 8 oz. cup of milk, 8 oz. cup of yogurt, 1.5 oz. of natural cheese, or 2 oz. of processed cheese. As we mentioned above, if you are an adult you can have 3 servings.

What type of milk is better for me?

Chocolate milk is a great treat that may be easier on your stomach than regular white milk. Try drinking a small amount of milk and slowly work your way up to an amount that doesn’t upset your stomach. Remember the daily servings!

What type of cheese is better for me?

Cheddar, Colby, Monterey Jack, mozzarella and Swiss are cheeses that are more lactose intolerance friendly. Top your sandwiches and crackers with these amazing natural cheeses.

Can I eat yogurt?

Yes! Yogurt has friendly bacteria that help your body break down milk sugar. It also gives your body important nutrients such as potassium, vitamin D and protein.

What is the difference between “lactose-free” and regular dairy products?

Lactose-free are real dairy foods, just without the milk sugar (which is what produces your body to feel uncomfortable after you eat dairy foods). Also, lactose-free products give your body the same nutrition that regular dairy products provide