recipes

Holiday 02 November 2018

Light Bites for Healthier Holidays

(Family Features) For those who are always on the go leading up to the holidays, the season can feel more like madness than merrymaking. From planning get-togethers to building out a perfect menu for the events, there can be difficulties for hosts and guests alike to ensure proper nutrition is still top of mind.

Instead of sacrificing taste or eating less, aim for simple changes that give you the energy to power through the busy season. For example, instead of opting for a carb-loaded breakfast in the morning, try a low-carb Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin, which takes just a few minutes of prep and microwave time. The quick cook time leaves you with ample opportunities to run errands or divvy up precious seconds toward other activities, while the protein can fuel you for the day ahead.

Almost nothing beats warm soup on a chilly day, and this Butternut Squash and Pear Soup provides feel-good flavor without weighing you down. Finally, when snacks are on the mind – as it tends to happen when constantly on the go – Coconut Muesli Clusters are simple to make and won’t undo the nutritious efforts you’ve made throughout the day.

This full menu of tasty recipes is part of the Atkins low-carb lifestyle, a long-term, healthy eating approach focused on high-fiber carbohydrates, optimal protein and healthy fats. The plan also aims to reduce levels of refined carbohydrates, added sugars and the “hidden sugar effect,” – when carbohydrates convert to sugar when digested. You don’t see the sugar, but your body does.

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An On-the-Go Energy Boost

As a hectic holiday season unfolds, it can be difficult to maintain energy while making dishes for get-togethers and keeping up with the festivities.

To stay fueled and energized throughout the season, try incorporating Atkins Plus Protein and Fiber Shakes. Sweet and creamy, they make for ideal snacks, containing 30 grams of high-quality dairy protein and 7 grams of fiber. To help ensure steady blood sugar levels, the shakes also have a low glycemic impact and are made with 20 vitamins and minerals.

Available in Creamy Milk Chocolate and Creamy Vanilla flavors, the ready-to-drink shakes provide hunger satisfaction for those who are on the go and seeking to maximize production with a busy schedule.

Find more ways to live healthier during the holidays and learn more about the benefits of a balanced, low-carb lifestyle at Atkins.com.
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Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute
Servings: 1

  • 2          tablespoons full-fat cream cheese
  • 1          egg
  • 3          tablespoons Atkins Milk Chocolate Protein Powder
  • 1/4       teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1          dash salt
  1. In microwave-safe mug, heat cream cheese 10-15 seconds to soften. Add egg and blend briskly using fork. Add protein powder, baking powder, cinnamon and salt; blend until smooth.
  2. Microwave on high 1 minute; muffin will puff up then deflate slightly once done. Remove from mug and enjoy warm.

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Coconut Muesli Clusters

Recipe courtesy of “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less”
Active time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Servings: 8

  • Olive oil spray
  • 1          cup plain protein powder
  • 1/2       cup unsalted sunflower or pumpkin seeds
  • 1          cup whole raw pecans
  • 1          cup unsweetened whole flake shredded coconut
  • 1/2       cup chia seeds or ground flaxseeds
  • 1          tablespoon stevia
  • 2          teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1          tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1          tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2          large eggs
  • 1/4       cup water
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, coat with olive oil spray and set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix together protein powder, sunflower or pumpkin seeds, pecans, coconut, chia seeds or flaxseeds, stevia, cinnamon and turmeric.
  3. In large skillet, combine coconut oil, peanut butter and vanilla extract; melt completely then stir in nut mixture. Turn heat off and add eggs and water, tossing well. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and spread mixture in layer about 1/2-inch thick.
  4. Bake 10-15 minutes until mixture starts to brown and clumps together to make clusters. Cool completely on baking sheet then store in airtight container, refrigerated, up to 1 week.

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Butternut Squash and Pear Soup

Recipe courtesy of Atkins
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

  • 1          tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1          medium (2 1/2-inch diameter) onion, chopped
  • 2          pounds butternut winter squash, cubed
  • 1          medium pear, sliced, plus additional, for garnish (optional)
  • 1          teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/4       teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 5          cups chicken broth
  • 1          teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2       cup heavy cream
  • nutmeg (optional)
  1. In large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 6 minutes. Add squash, pear, curry powder, salt and white pepper; saute 3 minutes. 
  2. Increase heat to high and add chicken broth. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low; simmer 20-25 minutes, uncovered, until cubed squash is very tender. Allow to cool about 10-15 minutes.
  3. In blender or food processor, puree soup in batches until smooth. Return pureed soup to pot and add lemon juice and heavy cream. Stir soup over low heat until hot. Garnish with additional sliced pears and sprinkle of nutmeg, if desired.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Butternut Squash and Pear Soup, Milk Chocolate Protein Muffin)

Source:  Atkins

Meal Ideas 20 July 2018

Tips for Hosting a Healthy Summer Cookout

(Family Features) When people think of barbecues, many think of foods loaded with fat, salt and sugar, which can seem challenging if you are trying to eat healthy. However, it is possible - and easier than you think - to host a balanced cookout with nutritious options, without sacrificing flavor or quality.

Smithfield nutritionist Erin Thacker, MA, RDN, recommends these tips for hosting a backyard barbecue that will leave your guests healthy and happy:

  • Stick to lean protein: fresh pork cuts such as sirloins, tenderloins, boneless loins and chops are packed with protein and contain key nutrients like vitamin B6, thiamin, phosphorus, niacin, potassium, riboflavin and zinc. Smithfield fresh pork tenderloins and boneless sirloin roasts are even certified by the American Heart Association* as heart-healthy foods.
     
  • Layer on fruits and veggies: grilled vegetables make for a quick and delicious side dish, and grilled fruits are a health-conscious way to end the meal on a lighter note.
     
  • Lighten up: swap mayonnaise and heavy creams for Greek yogurt and vinegars, and opt for homemade dressings or sauces instead of store-bought condiments, which often have high sugar contents.

Try these simple, dietitian-approved recipes for Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon or Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs. For more healthy and great-tasting recipe ideas, visit Smithfield.com.

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Grilled Fresh Pork and Veggies with Lemon

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 22 minutes
Servings: 4

  • 1 Smithfield Fresh Pork Tenderloin, cut into four thick slices
  • 2 teaspoons garlic pepper
  • 1 zucchini squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 yellow summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 large portobello mushroom
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise and flattened
  • 1/2 large red onion, cut into slices
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  1. Heat charcoal or gas grill to medium-high. Season fresh pork slices with garlic pepper; grill about 5 minutes per side until internal temperature reaches 145-160° F.
  2. Brush both sides of zucchini squash, yellow squash, mushroom, pepper and onion, plus cut sides of lemon, with oil.
  3. Grill vegetables for 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Add lemon to grill, cut-side down, and cook additional 2 minutes.
  4. Place vegetables and lemon on cutting board; coarsely chop vegetables. Serve with fresh pork slices on top; squeeze lemon over meat.

Nutritional information per serving: 200 calories; 6 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 75 mg cholesterol; 75 mg sodium; 8 g total carbohydrates; 2 g dietary fiber; 4 g sugars; 30 g protein.

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Sweet and Spicy Fresh Pork Mini Kebabs

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Servings: 16 kebabs

  • 1 Smithfield Roasted Garlic and Cracked Black Pepper Marinated Fresh Pork Sirloin, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 pineapple, cored and cut into 16 (1-inch) cubes
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 16 (1-inch) pieces
  • 16 bamboo skewers (6 inches), soaked in water and drained
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Caribbean jerk seasoning
  1. Heat gas or charcoal grill to medium-high.
  2. Thread two pieces of fresh pork sirloin, one pineapple cube and one red pepper piece onto each skewer. Wrap exposed end of skewer with foil to discourage scorching.
  3. Mix honey, vinegar and jerk seasoning together for glaze.
  4. Grill kebabs approximately 10 minutes, turning occasionally, until fresh pork reaches internal temperature of 145° F and then rest for 3 minutes. Generously brush kebabs with glaze during last 2-3 minutes.

Nutritional information per serving: 80 calories; 1 g total fat; 0 g saturated fat; 20 mg cholesterol; 90 mg sodium; 12 g total carbohydrates; 1 g dietary fiber; 9 g sugars; 8 g protein.

*Information and recipes not provided by the American Heart Association unless expressly stated.

Source:  Smithfield

Kids 06 June 2018

Raise a Toast

Eye-popping recipes worth sharing

(Family Features) It seems that taking pictures of mouthwatering food to share online is all the rage for social media users. Food is art, and toast and its trimmings can be the perfect canvas. Creating a social media-worthy slice requires a bit of creativity, some patience, quality and, of course, aesthetically pleasing ingredients.

The versatility and distinct flavor profile of California Ripe Olives make them an ideal ingredient to fuel your imagination and add an extra bit of finesse to your edible creation.

California farmers are responsible for producing more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure the highest quality olives come from their farm to your table – one can at a time. Adding olives to any dish helps bring California sunshine into each bite.

Put your creativity to the test with these delicious designs. For more delightful and artistic recipes with California Ripe Olives, visit calolive.org.
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Toast Like a Butterfly

  • 2          slices wheat bread
  • large butterfly cookie cutter
  • 1/2       avocado, mashed
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          cheese stick
  • 2          slices orange bell pepper
  • 2          thin slices red bell pepper
  • 6          black California Ripe Olives
  • 3          green California Ripe Olives
  • 1          sugar snap pea
  1. Lightly toast wheat bread and use cookie cutter to cut one wing from each slice.
  2. Mash avocado and mix with salt and pepper, to taste. Spread on both wings.
  3. Slice cheese stick to fit between wings and act as body of butterfly.
  4. Slice orange bell pepper into antenna and red bell pepper into thin slices to line body of butterfly.
  5. Slice black olives in half, lengthwise, and place on upper and lower portions of each wing. Slice green olives into rounds and place on middle of each wing.
  6. Decorate plate with quartered olives and place sugar snap pea in center.

Pro Tips for Creating Shareable Slices:

These pro tips can take you from toast trainee to skillful slice creator.

  1. Have a vision. Don’t be afraid to sketch it out.
  2. The base of your toast is everything. Pick a sturdy variety.
  3. Consider your ingredients and play with flavors, textures and colors. For example, try to incorporate both green and black California Ripe Olives for greater versatility.
  4. Shapes, colors and textures can add excitement.
  5. Toast is a small canvas, so consider the tools you’re working with and get creative.

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A Toast to Summer

  • 2          slices white bread, toasted
  • 4          tablespoons cream cheese
  • 3          crackers, crushed
  • 1/4       cup sliced almonds
  • handful leafy greens of choice (green onions, parsley, cilantro or chives)
  • 2          black California Ripe Olives
  • 1          green California Ripe Olive
  1. Slice each piece of toast into a square and place one above other on plate.
  2. Spread layer of cream cheese on bottom third of lower piece of toast and cover spread with crushed crackers.
  3. Spread layer of cream cheese from lower-right corner to upper-left corner and, starting at bottom, layer sliced almonds on top of each other to create trunk spreading across both pieces of bread.
  4. Arrange greens into palm fronds at top of trunk. Use cream cheese as glue if they begin to slip.
  5. Arrange black olives and green olive as coconuts between top of trunk and base of leaves, covering bottom of leaves.

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Singing in the Grain

  • 1/4       avocado, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1          slice sourdough bread, toasted
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • handful of green California Ripe Olives, sliced into rounds
  • 1          orange bell pepper, sliced
  • 1          red bell pepper, sliced
  • handful of black California Ripe Olives, sliced into raindrop shapes
  • 1          large sugar snap pea
  1. Arrange sliced avocado on toasted sourdough bread and top with salt and pepper, to taste.
  2. Slice green olive rounds in half and arrange in line beneath toast.
  3. Place one slice orange bell pepper below bread as handle and one small piece orange bell pepper above bread.
  4. Place one straight slice of red bell pepper on bottom edge of toast.
  5. Arrange black olive slices and sugar snap peas around toast as raindrops.

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Walking in a Toasty Wonderland

  • 2          slices white bread, toasted
  • 2          tablespoons cream cheese, divided
  • 5          slices red bell pepper
  • 1          orange bell pepper, sliced small
  • 2          black California Ripe Olives, 1 jumbo and 1 medium
  • 5          small sugar snap peas, divided
  • 1          pretzel stick, cut in half
  • 3          green California Ripe Olive rounds
  • small snowflake cookie cutter
  • large snowflake cookie cutter
  • 4          slices gouda or white cheddar cheese
  • 8          cilantro or parsley leaves
  1. Slice one piece of toast into circle with 4-inch diameter.
  2. Slice second piece of toast into half-circle with 4-inch diameter, which will act as base of snow globe.
  3. Spread 1 tablespoon cream cheese onto bottom fifth of circular toast.
  4. Cover base of snow globe with slices of bell pepper, cut to correct width.
  5. Stack medium black olive on top of jumbo black olive and affix to toast with cream cheese.
  6. Add decorations to olive snowman by affixing two small sugar snap peas to body of snowman, pretzel stick arms to sides, small piece orange bell pepper for nose and two small dots cream cheese for eyes.
  7. Decorate base with green olive rounds and three sugar snap peas in center.
  8. Use cookie cutters to cut four small snowflakes and four large snowflakes out of slices of cheese. Arrange snowflakes around outside of plate and place cilantro leaves between each snowflake.
  9. Place remaining cream cheese in small plastic bag and cut small hole in corner. Pipe small dots on circular toast around snowman.

Source: California Ripe Olive Committee

Meal Ideas 31 May 2018

Encourage Healthy Eating Habits

(Family Features) Of the many challenges parents face daily, encouraging healthy eating habits for their children can be one of the most vexing. While the consumption of nutritious foods like vegetables is good for kids while they’re young, it can also serve an important role in encouraging lifelong healthy habits.

One strategy for achieving that goal is to pair familiar foods with vegetables and prepare them in interesting ways. This tactic – pairing foods kids already enjoy with the foods you want them to start eating willingly – is called “associative conditioning,” and can help encourage children to try the new food, according to research conducted by Elizabeth Capaldi-Phillips and Devina Wadhera and published in the “Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.”

For example, prepared beef products like hot dogs, deli roast beef, salami and summer sausage provide sources of nutrients like protein, zinc and vitamin B12. In addition to the direct benefits, these meats can also be used in recipes like Green Bean Twists and Salami-Babs to help encourage the consumption of vegetables.

Easy-to-make recipes such as Jerky Trail Mix, Fried Bologna Cups and Beefy Lettuce Cups also provide simple snacking solutions for kids that include the nutritional benefits of both beef and veggies.

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6 Strategies to Encourage Nutritious Snacking

With an abundance of prepared-in-advance snacks available that likely come along with unnecessary salts and sugars, it can be difficult to encourage kids to eat snacks with healthier ingredients.

Quick recipes that include beef and veggies may not be the first snack idea that comes to mind for kids (or parents), but it’s not impossible to instill better decision-making in the kitchen. Skip the chips and improve your children’s snack habits with these simple ideas for influencing healthier decisions:

  • Enhance the visual appeal of foods by piercing them with decorative toothpicks.
  • Offer a variety of colorful foods on a plate.
  • Create color contrasts with foods on a plate or in a bowl.
  • Arrange foods in an orderly way using a bento box or divided plate that helps keep them separate.
  • Involve kids in preparing their meals.
  • Pair nutritious foods, like fruits and vegetables, with well-liked or familiar foods.

Find more family-friendly recipes and tips to encourage nutritious eating habits from the North American Meat Institute, a contractor of The Beef Checkoff, at meatpoultrynutrition.org.
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Fried Bologna Cups

Recipe courtesy of The Beef Checkoff
Yield: 8 bologna cups

  • Vegetable oil spray
  • 8          slices beef bologna

Potato-Vegetable Filling (enough for one bologna cup):

  • 1/4       cup mixed vegetables
  • 1/4       cup mashed potatoes
  • tablespoon grated cheddar cheese

Apple Salad Filling (enough for one bologna cup):

  • 3          tablespoons chopped apple
  • 2          teaspoons minced celery
  • 1          teaspoon golden raisins
  • 2          teaspoons light mayonnaise
  • teaspoon plain, low-fat yogurt
  1. Spray large, nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray. Set skillet over medium heat and lay bologna slices in pan, as many as will fit in one layer. Let bologna fry until it cups. Transfer cups to serving plate and fry remaining bologna in same fashion.
  2. To make Potato-Vegetable Filling: In small, microwave-safe bowl, stir together vegetables and potatoes; microwave until hot.
  3. To make Apple Salad Filling: In small bowl, stir apple, celery, raisins, mayonnaise and yogurt.
  4. Spoon desired filling into each cup. For cups with Potato-Vegetable Filling, top with grated cheese.

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Jerky Trail Mix

Recipe courtesy of The Beef Checkoff
Yield: 4 cups

  • 1 1/2    cups kettle corn with no added sugars
  • 1          cup mini unsalted pretzels
  • 1/2       cup unsalted, dry-roasted peanuts
  • 1/2       cup beef jerky, broken or chopped into 1/4-inch bits
  • 1/2       cup golden raisins
  1. In large bowl, stir kettle corn, pretzels, peanuts, beef jerky and raisins together. Seal in sandwich bags or serve in bowl.

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Salami-Babs

Recipe courtesy of The Beef Checkoff
Yield: 8 kebabs

  • 6          ounces beef salami or summer sausage, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 8          bamboo skewers (8 inches long)
  • 4          ounces cheese (cheddar or swiss), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 16        small broccoli florets
  • 4          baby carrots, cut in half crosswise
  1. Thread pieces of meat onto skewers, alternating with cheese, broccoli and carrots. Arrange on plate and serve.

Note: To prevent choking, children should be seated while eating, especially when a recipe involves toothpicks; encouraged to take their time and thoroughly chew their food; and should be carefully supervised. When serving young children, cut any circular-shaped foods like grapes, carrots or hot dogs into thin, coin-shaped slices or long, thin strips.
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Green Bean Twists

Recipe courtesy of The Beef Checkoff
Yield: 16 twists

  • 8          ultra-thin slices roast beef, about 2 ounces, cut in half lengthwise
  • 16        green beans, trimmed, blanched and chilled
  1. Wrap one slice roast beef around each bean, creating spiral, arrange on plate and serve.

Beefy Lettuce Cups

Recipe courtesy of The Beef Checkoff
Yield: 8 lettuce cups

  • 8          ounces corned beef, chopped
  • 1/2       cup shredded carrots
  • 1/2       cup chopped water chestnuts
  • 2          tablespoons unsalted, dry-roasted cashew pieces
  • 2          tablespoons teriyaki sauce
  • 8          butter lettuce leaves
  1. In medium bowl, stir together corned beef, carrots, water chestnuts, cashew pieces and teriyaki sauce. Spoon onto lettuce leaves and serve.

Source: North American Meat Institute

Meal Ideas 28 December 2017

3 Tips for Cooking Up a Healthy New Year

(Family Features) After a holiday season filled with indulgent food and limited time for exercise, there’s no time like the New Year to adopt some new, healthy habits.

These additional tips can help you get a healthy start to the New Year:

Change up your routine. Start by making a few lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthier diet or increasing your exercise regimen. Maybe you’d like to shed a few pounds or tone up before the weather gets warmer. Changing up your eating (and drinking) habits can be the first step on the path to success.

Start at the tap. Make sure your healthy eating habits include cooking with the best-tasting water possible. That means you could be washing your fruits and vegetables or making soups and smoothies with water that contains impurities. Contrary to what some people may think, boiling water does not completely remove certain contaminants like lead from water.

“Drinking water daily is an important component to staying healthy, as water keeps you hydrated, aids in digestion and transports vitamins and other nutrients. I prefer drinking filtered water to make sure I avoid potentially unwanted contaminants,” said Keri Glassman, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and PUR spokesperson. “I recommend installing a faucet filtration system that won’t break the bank, such as the PUR Advanced Faucet Filtration System, for a superior, on-demand solution for clean, healthy and great-tasting water right from the tap.”

Visit PUR.com to learn more about superior faucet filtration systems and how to get cleaner, better-tasting water.

Create healthy, hearty recipes. There are plenty of delicious and nutritious recipes that can help fuel your body all year long. For example, this hearty soup is full of tasty, powerful ingredients like protein-rich chicken sausage; nutrient-dense kale and butternut squash, which are excellent sources of fiber; plus vitamins and minerals. Garlic, onions and cloves add a kick of antioxidants and flavor.
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White Bean Soup with Spicy Chorizo

Recipe courtesy of Keri Glassman

Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 4          cups kale, chopped
  • 1          medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1          can (14 ounces) cannellini beans, drained
  • 2          cups PUR filtered water, plus additional for rinsing
  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          medium onion, chopped
  • 2          garlic cloves, minced
  • 2          links precooked chicken sausage, diced
  • 3 1/2    cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Rinse kale, squash and cannellini beans in filtered water. Set aside.
  2. In pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic, stirring frequently until softened, about 5 minutes. Add sausage and saute 2 minutes, or until warmed through and slightly browned.
  3. Add squash, kale, broth and 2 cups filtered water. Cook, partially covered, 15-20 minutes, or until squash is softened.
  4. Reduce heat to low. Add beans and gently simmer uncovered 3 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste, before serving.

Source:  PUR

Healthy 14 December 2017

Fresh Fruit Flavors

(Family Features) When it comes to fresh fruit, watermelon is a top pick in many households.

It’s available year-round and makes for a nutritious snack, but its great taste is the reason most people buy watermelon, according to research from the National Watermelon Promotion Board.

Not only is watermelon a tasty snack by itself, it’s a great complement to other flavors, making it easy to create flavorful pairings. This sweet take on pizza combines watermelon with a host of other good-for-you ingredients for a delicious treat. Healthy enough for breakfast and sweet enough for dessert, this pizza can make its way into your weekly meal rotation.

For another nutritious option, consider this Buddha bowl featuring watermelon, which contains higher levels of lycopene, an antioxidant, than any other fresh fruit or vegetable. Watermelon is also an excellent source of vitamin C, and it provides vitamin B6 and potassium. It’s the perfect sweet addition to balance the savory flavors of this traditional plant-based Buddha bowl.

Each of these recipes leaves plenty of room for personalization; experiment with your favorite flavors to make each dish your own. Also remember that watermelon travels well, so these recipes make for ideal take-along snacks when you’re on the go.

Find more fresh, fruity recipes to enjoy any time of year at watermelon.org.

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Watermelon Buddha Bowl

Citrusy Tahini Dressing:

  • 3          tablespoons tahini (ground sesame seed paste)
  • 1/3       cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 1/4       cup rice vinegar
  • 1          teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1          teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt

Buddha Bowls:

  • 2          cups seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 4          mini cucumbers, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup sweet cherries, pitted and halved
  • 2          avocados, sliced
  • 2          cups cooked black rice
  • 1          cup sliced, toasted almonds
  • Citrusy Tahini Dressing
  1. To make Citrusy Tahini Dressing: In bowl, whisk tahini, orange juice, rice vinegar, soy sauce, ginger and salt. If dressing seems thick, add more orange juice or water to reach desired consistency.
  2. To arrange Buddha Bowls: Separate watermelon, cucumbers, cherries, avocados and rice in four bowls. Sprinkle with toasted almonds and drizzle with dressing. Serve immediately.

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Sweet Watermelon Pizza

  • Greek yogurt
  • Watermelon, cut to 1-inch thick round slice
  • Shredded coconut
  • Mint
  • Berries, such as blueberries, strawberries or blackberries
  • Slivered almonds
  1. Spread yogurt to cover fleshy part of watermelon, leaving room to hold rind. Sprinkle with coconut, mint, berries and almonds, or other toppings, as desired.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Meal Ideas 16 November 2017

Happier, Healthier Holidays

(Family Features) The holidays are filled with temptations and opportunities to over-indulge, and if you’re managing your health and weight, the season can feel anything but merry.

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Depriving yourself of your favorite holiday treats isn’t only unpleasant, it’s also unnecessary. Many experts recommend that instead, you focus on building a healthier lifestyle through a well-balanced, long-term eating plan. For example, Atkins offers a balanced approach with foods containing fiber-rich and nutrient-dense carbohydrates, as well as good fats and proteins, while focusing on reduced levels of refined carbohydrates and added sugars. When preparing your holiday menu, look for recipes that contain adequate protein, healthy fats and high-fiber carbohydrates, and you’ll be able to enjoy the flavors of the season without guilt.

Less is not more
If you’re looking for more inspiration, tips and recipes, try finding additional resources such as “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less: Your Guidebook For Living a Low-Carb and Low-Sugar Lifestyle.” Filled with 100 whole-food, low-carb recipes and simple solutions, the new book contains a variety of meal plans, low-carb takes on classic foods and tips for creating a low-carb kitchen. Readers can also learn about Atkins 100, a flexible and personalized low-carb lifestyle program.

Learn more about the benefits of a balanced, low-carb approach to eating at Atkins.com.

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Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin

Recipe courtesy of “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less”
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

  • 1          pound boneless pork loin
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 1          tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 3          garlic cloves, minced
  • 2          tablespoons fresh rosemary, thinly sliced
  1. Heat oven to 350° F.
  2. In small skillet over medium heat, cook pork loin, fatty-side down, 4-5 minutes to brown top and render some fat.
  3. Coat 7-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Place pork loin in dish.
  4. In small bowl, combine mustard, garlic and rosemary; stir well. Spoon mixture over pork. Transfer to oven and bake 45 minutes-1 hour, until loin is cooked through but still slightly pink in center.
  5. When pork is cooked, let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately.

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Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Puree

Recipe courtesy of Atkins.com
Prep time: 20 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

  • 3          large egg whites
  • 5          tablespoons sugar substitute, divided
  • 1/2       cup half pecans
  • 1 1/2    pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 1/4       cup unsalted butter stick
  • 1/2       cup heavy cream
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2       teaspoon cinnamon
  • 15        ounces pumpkin (without salt, drained, cooked and boiled)
  1. Heat oven to 250° F. Lightly butter baking sheet.
  2. In medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites with electric mixer at high speed until foamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar substitute and continue mixing until soft peaks form. Spoon onto prepared baking sheet and spread with spatula to 1/4-inch thickness. Bake 35 minutes. Turn oven off; let meringue stand in oven 45 minutes. Crush meringue and place in bowl. Add pecans and toss gently to combine. Set aside.
  3. While meringue is resting, place sweet potatoes in medium saucepan. Cover with water to 2 inches above potatoes and bring to boil. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes, and drain. Return saucepan to medium-high heat. Add potatoes, butter, cream, remaining sugar substitute, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin puree. Stir to combine. Mash with potato masher until smooth. Heat through, about 1 minute.
  4. Transfer potato mixture to serving dish and cover with meringue topping.

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Salted Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Recipe courtesy of “Atkins: Eat Right, Not Less”
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Servings: 18

  • 1/2       cup heavy cream
  • 1/3       cup plain protein powder
  • 2          tablespoons stevia
  • 6          ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/3       cup chopped almonds or macadamia nuts
  • 1          tablespoon sugar-free caramel syrup
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8       teaspoon xanthan gum (optional)
  • 1/4       teaspoon sea salt or sea salt flakes
  1. In large mixing bowl, combine heavy cream with protein powder and stevia. Whisk until smooth. Add cream cheese, almonds or macadamia nuts, caramel syrup and vanilla extract; blend until smooth. If cream cheese clumps slightly, mix with rubber spatula, breaking up bits of cream cheese against side of bowl.
  2. Sprinkle mixture with xanthan gum, if desired, and mix about 30 seconds. Mixture will thicken slightly.
  3. Cover tray that will fit into freezer with sheet of wax paper. Using soup spoon, scoop mixture onto tray, making 18 mounds. Alternatively, use two silicone candy molds or empty ice cube tray coated with olive oil spray and press cheesecake mixture into 18 molds. Sprinkle with sea salt.
  4. Freeze at least one hour before serving.

Note: Can be stored in freezer up to 1 month.

Tip: Switch up flavors by using sugar-free hazelnut syrup in place of caramel and hazelnuts or walnuts instead of almonds.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Garlic Rosemary Pork Loin, Sweet Potato-Pumpkin Puree)

Source: Atkins

Meal Ideas 30 October 2017

Bolder, Healthier and Easier Meals

(Family Features) One of the challenges of cooking at home is creating bold and unique flavors with healthy, organic and wholesome ingredients without spending hours in the kitchen. With the right tools, you don't have to go to extremes or make drastic changes to eat healthy.

Try these tips to prepare tasty, healthy meals in less time:

  1. Double or triple up on ingredients: If you’re making a recipe you love, double or triple the recipe so you have plenty of leftovers throughout the week. Prepare extra servings of staple ingredients and protein so you have healthy basics ready then just add a base like rice for a quick meal.
  1. Don’t sacrifice nutrition for flavor: Purchase products made with certified organic ingredients that have no artificial colors or flavors and are grown by trusted farmers who share the same passion. Consider including items like Organic Simmer Sauces from SEEDS OF CHANGE, which donates 1 percent of sales to support and develop sustainable community-based farming and growing programs. Add some zest to your favorite meals by sauteing your favorite protein, veggies or tofu with one of an array of flavors: Sesame Ginger Teriyaki, Taco Roasted Chipotle, Sweet and Sour, Mushroom and Tikka Masala. Just add and simmer for 10 minutes.
  1. Know your sources: Buy fresh and organic foods from trusted sources. When you’re at the grocery store, keep in mind the farmers who are behind the labels on your family’s favorite foods, and try to make an effort to understand where those foods come from.

Start your journey toward bolder, healthier meal options with this easy and nutritious Seared Polenta Rounds with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions recipe. Find more organic ways to add nutrition to your meals at seedsofchange.com.

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Seared Polenta Rounds with Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

Recipe courtesy of Tiffany from the blog ParsnipsandPastries.com
Servings: 5

  • 1          large yellow onion, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon butter
  • 1/2       tablespoon olive oil, plus additional for searing
  • 1/4       cup vegetable stock
  • 10        ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4          ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 3          cloves garlic, minced
  • pepper, to taste
  • 1          pouch SEEDS OF CHANGE Organic Mushroom Simmer Sauce
  • 1          tube (18 ounces) prepared organic polenta
  • 10        teaspoons shaved Parmigiano cheese
  • fresh parsley
  1. Caramelize onions.
  2. Heat butter and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until hot. Add sliced onions to butter mixture and stir gently to coat. Spread onions in one layer, and cook until golden brown and caramelized, stirring every 5 minutes for about 40 minutes, or until caramelized.
  3. Once caramelized, add vegetable stock to deglaze pan and scrape browned bits. Add mushrooms and garlic, and season, to taste, with pepper. Cook until mushrooms are browned and tender. Stir in mushroom sauce, lower heat and bring to slow simmer.
  4. Cut polenta tube into eight even rounds. Sear polenta rounds in bit of olive oil and season each side with pepper. Cook until polenta is golden brown on each side, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to plates.
  5. Spoon mushroom mixture over polenta rounds and top with 2 teaspoons Parmigiano cheese per serving and fresh parsley.
Healthy 25 August 2017

Think Outside the Lunchbox

(Family Features) Eating the same thing every day can make lunch seem so “blah.” Now’s the perfect time to break out of the lunch rut and add some excitement to your meals.

Thinking outside the traditional lunchbox is easy with the right ingredients. Perk up your noontime noshing with fresh, seasonal ingredients coupled with kitchen pantry classics, like California Ripe Olives, which add a unique flavor and bold, distinctive color to any dish.

California farmers grow more than 95 percent of the ripe olives consumed in the United States. From planting, pruning, harvesting and processing, they make sure that the highest quality olives come from their farms to your table – one can at a time.

Adding olives to any lunch can help bring California sunshine to each and every bite. Try some of these portable and packable recipes to add excitement to lunch on-the-go and find more at calolive.org.
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Greek Salad in Jars

Courtesy of Simply Recipes
Makes: 4 salads

Salad Dressing:

  • 3          tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4       teaspoon salt, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • pinch of black pepper, plus additional, to taste (optional)
  • 1/4       teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1          teaspoon honey
  • 5          tablespoons olive oil
  • 4          pint-size canning jars with lids

Salads:

  • 1/4       medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1          cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2       large English cucumber, sliced
  • 1          yellow or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3/4       cup California black ripe olives
  • 1/2       cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
  • 4          small handfuls fresh baby spinach or other dark, leafy greens
  • 4          pita bread rounds, halved (optional)
  1. To prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano and honey.
  2. Gradually whisk in oil. Taste. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
  3. Divide dressing between four pint jars.
  4. To assemble salads: Divide onion between four jars. Divide tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, olives and feta cheese between jars. Pack remaining space with spinach, compressing leaves slightly.
  5. Secure lids and refrigerate up to two days.
  6. To serve: Empty salads into bowls and toss with dressing. Serve with pita bread.

Note: Store and transport salads upright so dressing stays on bottom.

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Deliciously Different

Smoked California Ripe Olives can produce a crave-worthy culinary surprise and become one of your favorite flavor discoveries. There are a few easy ways to make your own smoked olives, including preparing them on the grill with these quick steps:

  1. Soak wood chips in water for 30 minutes. Drain well.
  2. Pierce a foil pan several times with a small, sharp knife and spread wood chips in a single layer in the pan. Set directly on hot coals or metal bars on a gas grill. Close the lid and set heat to high only under the pan of chips.
  3. When chips are smoking, place drained California Ripe Olives in a grill basket on grill with the burners off. Close the lid and smoke for 30 minutes.

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Maple Olive Cheesecake Bites

Makes: 16-20 mini cheesecakes

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1/2       cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 2          tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3          tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 6          ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3          tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2          tablespoons flour
  • 1          teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1          egg
  • 1/4       cup coarsely chopped California Ripe Olives
  1. Heat oven to 325° F and coat 16-20-cup mini muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In small bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1 tablespoon sugar. Place equal amounts into each mini muffin cup then press firmly into bottom of each cup. Working with one cup at a time, press small piece of plastic wrap onto surface and press crust firmly into mini muffin cups.
  3. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat cream cheese, maple syrup and remaining sugar until smooth; beat in flour and vanilla on low speed. Add egg and beat until just combined; stir in olives.
  4. Spoon equal amounts into each cup. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until filling feels set.
  5. Let cool completely then run small, thin knife around edge of each to remove from pan.

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Black and White Pizza

Makes: 1 pizza

  • 1          tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for pizza crust
  • 1          cup onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons roasted garlic, minced
  • 4          ounces small baby bella mushrooms, chopped flour
  • 1          package prepared pizza dough
  • 1          cup prepared Alfredo sauce
  • 1          cup smoked mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4          ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, torn into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1          small boneless, skinless chicken breast, cooked and thinly sliced
  • 2          tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1          can (6 ounces) extra-large California Black Ripe Olives, drained and cut in wedges
  • freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  1. Heat oven to 450° F and line large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add onion, garlic and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes, or until onions are soft. Reserve.
  3. Roll pizza dough into thin oval on lightly floured surface. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and brush lightly with olive oil then spread evenly with Alfredo sauce.
  4. Top with mushroom mixture, cheeses, chicken and rosemary. Sprinkle olives over pizza.
  5. Bake 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly browned around edges.
  6. Serve with Parmigiano-Reggiano.

Source: California Olive Committee

Snacks 07 August 2017

Back-to-School Power for Body and Mind

(Family Features) Nutritious, well-rounded meals are essential for growth and proper brain development. A complete midday meal also helps boost mental and physical power so kids can keep on learning until the afternoon bell rings.

It’s not always easy to find new and appealing ideas to fuel kids’ bodies and minds as they head back to school, but programs for families and educators such as the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge can help.

“Families are looking for ways to start the year on the right foot and the Power Your Lunchbox Pledge offers everything they need in one spot,” said Trish James, vice president of Produce for Kids. “Families want to know their kids are receiving the right brain food to get them through the day. Our registered dietitian-approved meal inspiration, tips and ideas provide the foundation families need for success.”  

In addition to kid-tested, lunchbox-friendly recipe ideas, the program provides resources and lesson plans for educators who want to create activities to inspire healthy eating in the classroom. This year’s program also includes a partnership with The World of Eric Carle, allowing students to win copies of his popular collection of children’s books. Additionally, every online pledge results in a $1 donation to Feeding America programs that support families and children.

Look for recipes, tips and ideas on Instagram and Twitter using #PowerYourLunchbox, and learn more about the program at poweryourlunchbox.com.

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Banana Sushi Rolls

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          large (8-inch) whole-wheat tortilla
  • 3          tablespoons peanut butter, divided
  • 1          banana, peeled
  • 1          strawberry, sliced
  • 1/2       kiwi, sliced
  • 1          tablespoon shredded coconut
  1. Lay tortilla on flat surface. Spread with half of peanut butter. Place banana on one end of tortilla and roll up. Cut into even slices and place strawberries and kiwi slices on top.
  2. Microwave remaining peanut butter on high 30 seconds, or until melted, and drizzle over banana sushi. Top with shredded coconut.

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Brown Bear Bento Box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          tablespoon soy butter
  • 3          graham cracker squares
  • 3          banana slices
  • 9          blueberries
  • variety of colorful fruit, chopped
  1. Spread soy butter on graham crackers. Arrange banana slices and blueberries to create eyes and noses to resemble bear faces. In another container, add colorful fruit, such as raspberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew, blueberries and blackberries, to create a rainbow fruit salad.

Suggested Side: 1 tablespoon ranch dressing and three mini sweet peppers, sliced into strips.

Source: Produce for Kids

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