President’s Day: Let’s Honor George Washington with a Magnificent Dessert!

President’s day is more than a holiday. It is a celebration to remember and honor our first President George Washington. For this reason, we encourage you to try a George Washington Cherry Cobbler dessert from the Taste At Home website. Each serving has just 231 calories and 2 g of saturated fat. Let’s bake this marvelous dessert so you and your family can have a sweet President’s Day:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, thawed
  • 1 tablespoon of butter

Topping:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • Ice cream, optional

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and cinnamon. Stir in water until smooth. Add the cherries and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour into an 8-in. square baking dish; set aside.
  2. For topping, in a large bowl, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls over the cherries; sprinkle with remaining sugar. Bake at 400° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm with ice cream if desired. Yield: 8 servings.

 

 

A Healthy Kids Diet: Tips to Use MyPlate

Are you concerned about your children’s diet? Is the food they are eating high in calories and trans-fats and low in nutrients? As parents, our role is to teach our kids how to eat healthy so they can have a happy, healthy, and long life.

We are what we eat. It is well known that if you have unhealthy eating habits, you have a highest tendency of developing diseases. In contrast, if you eat the adequate amount of nutrients your body needs to function properly since your childhood; your probability of having more energy and a better quality of life will be higher. If you already know all this, why not paying attention to the food your kids have?

In 2010, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) found out that many Americans want to provide healthy meals for their children but they don’t know how to do it or where to start. As a response to this issue, the ChooseMyPlate.gov initiative was created. MyPlate is a very easy-to-understand icon—in the form of a plate—that moms and dads can use to develop healthy eating habits for their children and the entire family.

But you might be wondering right now, how can you use this icon to teach your kids how to eat healthier? For that, we provide you some tips so you can better understand this initiative, the MyPlate website, and the MyPlate icon:

Print a copy of the MyPlate icon

You just need to go to choosemyplate.gov to print a copy of the plate. Hang the icon on your fridge or in any part of your house where it is visible. By just seeing the icon you can have a general idea of the portions of every type of food your kids need to eat on a daily basis.

Use the Dietary Guidelines Consumer Brochure as a starting point

This four-page brochure tells you the type of food you need to cut back, the ones you need to increase in your diet, the portions of each food type you need to include on your plate, and how to understand food labels.

Track down the calories you and your kids consume

MyPlate.gov provides a link that automatically takes you to the Super Tracker website (https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx). Here you’ll be able to track the foods you and your children eat by entering the food you have (e.g. banana, apple, tomato, beef, chicken, etc.) as well as the food type (e.g. fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.).  This site also provides you the nutrition facts of each food, as well as other important things you need to know about it.

Teach your kids with your example

Remember that toddlers like to copy everything you do. Therefore, if you want your kids to eat healthy you need to become a role model for them. The PBS parents website suggests that you incorporate in your daily diet a combination of the food you like and the one your kids like. That way everyone will be happy and satisfied of what everyone is having for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  You can also make a quick game by sitting with your kids and ask them what would be a good choice for the dairy, fruits, vegetables, protein, and grains sections. That way they will not only eat the food they like, but you are also teaching them how to build a healthy plate.

 

Happy Fat Tuesday: It’s All About Feasting!

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday. This means that, if you follow the tradition, tomorrow is your last day to eat and drink a lot with no regrets. So, if you are ready to celebrate this festivity, we have gathered some of the best recipes that you can enjoy in this day with your family and friends.

Although Mardi Gras was celebrated this past weekend, the real “Mardi Gras day” is tomorrow. Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”, which refers to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season.  According to About.com, many Catholic countries have acquired this tradition of feasting right before the beginning of the fasting season, which starts with Ash Wednesday.

If you are a Catholic, a Mardi Gras lover, or you simply enjoy tasting delicious food, try these recipes and celebrate Fat Tuesday with your loved ones:

Breakfast can’t get any sweeter

Start your Fat Tuesday day by cooking and eating a super sweet Cinnamon Bun Pancake from TastyKitchen.com (http://tastykitchen.com/recipes/breakfastbrunch/pancakeswaffles/cinnamon-bun-pancakes/). Who doesn’t love cinnamon, right?

Lunch gets flavorful

Celebrate Fat Tuesday with a touch of New Orleans style by preparing a delicious gumbo with bacon and sausage and seasoned with Cajun blend from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/good-new-orleans-creole-gumbo/detail.aspx). If you are a chicken lover, try this tasteful Chicken and Okra Gumbo from TasteOfHome.com (http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/Chicken-and-Okra-Gumbo).

Dine like a King/Queen!

Nothing can beat a delicious Jambalaya dish! The combination of shrimp, ham, rice, and creole seasonings make this main course something exquisite that everyone will love. We recommend you to try the Creole Jambalaya recipe from TasteOfHome.com (http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Creole-Jambalaya). For those who like cutting the categories even during Fat Tuesday, try preparing a classic New Orleans sandwich, known as Muffuletta, from Delish.com (http://www.delish.com/recipefinder/muffuletta-2088). You can have a real Fat Tuesday dinner by eating only 390 calories!

Thirsty? Fat Tuesday is also about drinking!

If you are a cocktail lover, try preparing one or all of the drink recipes provided by DMagazine.com (http://sidedish.dmagazine.com/2012/02/21/what-to-drink-now-happy-fat-tuesday/). You can either have the Hurricane, which is one of the most popular New Orleans cocktails; On the Mark Sazerac, made with Bourbon whiskey and Peychaud bitters; or a Rosemary Frozen Margarita, which is made with tequila and lemon juice. For those who don’t like alcohol, try the Acohol-Free Mint Julep made with fresh mint leaves and lemonade from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/alcohol-free-mint-julep/).

Let Mardi Gras Come to You!

It is “Carnival season”. Bourbon Street is getting ready for the most awaited time of the year in New Orleans. It has been down that the Mardi Gras celebration is just about excess. Excessive drinking, eating and doing crazy stuff to win plastic beads are things that have characterized this celebration along the years. But besides considering it to be an R-rated celebration, Mardi Gras is also a family-friendly celebration.

Hundreds of families gather at the avenue’s median (or “neutral ground”) to spend some time with their kids and have a better chance of catching goodies from the floats. While having a good time, they eat and snack as much as they can. Not only people and families in New Orleans celebrate what is considered to be the last days of eating richer, fatty foods, but people across America also celebrate “Carnival season” at their local towns. So, if you can’t go to Mardi Gras, let Mardi Gras come to you!

Here are some party ideas and recipes that you can incorporate to your Mardi Gras party:

Create a masquerade ball party

If you are hosting the party, make masquerade invitations so your party follows a theme. Make the invitations colorful and playful. Cook or buy cookies with a masquerade shape and learn how to decorate them with glitter—you will have a real Mardi Gras masquerade cookie! Follow these easy steps from Sweetopia.net (http://sweetopia.net/2011/03/how-to-decorate-mardi-gras-mask-cookies/).

Decorate your dinner table with beads

Remember to keep it colorful! Use a gold, green, or purple tablecloth and put some plastic beads over each plate. Combine colors to make it interesting to the eye of your guests. Use confetti and glitter and sprinkle over the table. Click on this link to view a picture of a Mardi Gras decorated dinner table: http://media-cache-ec2.pinterest.com/originals/73/4a/41/734a41adee3bcb89ffbb267c016ece3f.jpg

Cook following the real New Orleans style

Spice it up! Two of the most well-known New Orleans dishes are the Gumbo and the Jambalaya. In just 45 minutes, you can cook a delicious Chicken-Andouille Gumbo from MyRecipes.com (http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/chicken-andouille-gumbo-10000000257659/) that all your guests will love. You can also make an easy Cajun Jambalaya in just 45 minutes from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Easy-Cajun-Jambalaya/Detail.aspx?prop24=RD_RelatedRecipes).

Finish your party with a cherry on top!

No Mardi Gras party is complete without a King Cake. This cake is a sweetened yeast bread, usually baked in a ring shape.  According to About.com, the cake is frosted with gold, green, and purple icing representing in order, power, faith, and justice. Although you will have to refrigerate it for 8 hours, it will only take you 1 ½ hours between the preparation and the cooking procedure. Learn the ingredients and how to make a delicious and sweet King Cake on FoodNetwork.com (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/king-cake-recipe2/index.html).

A Main Course With Love: Grilled Ginger Salmon

In just 25 minutes, you can prepare an exquisite Valentine’s Day main dish that will amuse your sweetheart. Follow these easy steps from Food.com:

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets

Directions:

  • In bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients.
  • Place onions in small bowl and chill until ready to use.
  • Grill salmon over medium coals for 10 minutes, turn and grill the other side for 10 minutes.
  • Brush with ginger sauce throughout grilling.
  • Place salmon on platter and sprinkle with onions.

Valentine Treats: Rice Krispies Pops

For a heavenly Valentine’s treat, prepare these easy and delicious Rice Krispies Valentine Pops from the Love From The Oven blog:

Ingredients:

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 1 box of Rice Krispies Treats
  • Sprinkles
  • Sticks

Directions:

  1. Cut the Rice Krispies Treats into squares using a square cutter.
  2. Put the sticks in the Rice Krispies squares and place them in the freezer to chill.
  3. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  4. Dip the Rice Krispies squares in chocolate and decorate with sprinkles.

Valentine’s Day: Sweetheart Salad Recipe

Surprise your loved one with a lovely heart-shaped salad from Martha Stewart’s website:

Ingredients:

  • Beets
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Cottage cheese
  • 1 bag of croutons

Directions:

  1. Prepare the beets by roasting or steaming them: To roast, heat oven to 400 degrees, wrap beets tightly in foil, and cook until a fork slides in easily, about 1 hour. To steam, place whole beets in a steamer basket in a medium saucepan, and cook until fork tender, 25 to 60 minutes, depending on their size.
  2. Peel the beets once they’re cooled; for easy peeling, use paper towels to rub skins off.
  3. Slice peeled beets thinly with a mandoline, and make heart shapes with a cookie cutter.
  4. Add the rest of ingredients (romaine lettuce, cottage cheese, and the bag of croutons) and enjoy.

Cooking For Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so why not surprise your sweetheart with a delicious dish prepared by you? Cooking at home for Valentine’s Day gives you and the people you love many benefits, such as:

Increasing Quality Time

If you cook at home, you are not only dedicating to your loved one more dinner time but also he/she will appreciate that you have taken the time to cook his/her favorite dish.  You can also spend more time with him/her if you decide to cook together.

Saving Money

Eating on the go is expensive. If you buy the ingredients you need from a local grocery store and use coupons to get discounts, you will be able to stay on budget and cook your sweetheart’s favorite meal without spending a lot of money.

Having healthier food choices

Since you will be the one planning the meal and buying the groceries, you can make sure to prepare a meal with low-fat ingredients to cut some calories. Usually, if you go to a restaurant, you eat more than you need. Also, it is very hard to resist to the temptation of saying “no” to a lasagna or pizza that is high in carbs.

Saving time

Since many people celebrate Valentine’s Day, the majority of restaurants usually exceed their seating capacity on this day. You can avoid being at the line for several hours if you choose to cook at home for this special day.

If you still don’t know your loved one’s favorite meal or which dish can surprise him/her, we will provide you with future blogs with Valentine’s ideas and recipes so you can make something delicious in a short time.

 

Lactose-Free Banana and Yogurt Crepes

Did you know that lactose intolerant people can eat yogurt that contains lactose? The National Dairy Council states that, since yogurt has live and active cultures, this helps with digestion, making your body absorb lactose without any side effect. Now that you know this, you can certainly enjoy a delicious banana and yogurt crepe from AllRecipes.com in just 30 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups fat-free or low-fat lactose-free milk
  • ¾ cup flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, divided
  • 1 (8 ounce) container low-fat banana or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 banana, diced
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
  • Powdered sugar (optional)

Directions:

  1. Whisk together fat-free or low-fat lactose-free milk, flour, egg, egg whites and 1 tablespoon of honey in a medium bowl. Allow batter to rest 5 minutes at room temperature. Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter into skillet; quickly tilt and swirl batter to coat bottom of skillet. When crepe is lightly browned at edges, use a thin spatula to loosen and turn over. Cook turned crepe about 20 seconds or until lightly browned; slide onto plate to cool. Continue making crepes with remaining batter. To prevent sticking, place a piece of wax paper between each crepe.
  2. Puree yogurt, vanilla and remaining honey in a blender or food processor until smooth. Add diced banana. Spread each crepe with about 2 1/2 tablespoons of the yogurt mixture. Roll crepes into cylinders. Place 2 crepes on each serving plate and garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

 

Lactose Intolerant: Baked Mozarella Sticks

If you are lactose intolerant, that doesn’t mean you cannot taste delicious dished made up with dairy products. In just 26 minutes, you can prepare some delicious baked mozzarella sticks made with reduced-fat Mozzarella string cheese from AllRepices.com. You’ll love them with no regrets!

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) package reduced-fat mozzarella string cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 8 tablespoons panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ cup prepared marinara sauce, warmed (optional)

Directions

  1. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.
  2. Remove cheese from packaging and set aside. In a small bowl, whisk egg until foamy. In small non-stick skillet, mix Italian seasoning with bread crumbs and place over medium heat. Cook and stir bread crumbs until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Dip one piece of string cheese in egg until coated and then into toasted bread crumbs, coating completely. Redip the string cheese in egg and again into the bread crumbs, if desired. Place on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining string cheese and place on baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Spray string cheese lightly with cooking spray.
  4. Bake 5-6 minutes or until heated through. (Cheese may melt slightly and loose shape. Simply press it back into place.)