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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Healthy Fall Craves

 Fall means a new set of seasonal cravings – and there are plenty of nutritional benefits found in our favorite fall flavors.  


·      Apples – from reducing risk of cancers, diabetes, digestive problems, cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular disease, an apple a day really may be a health habit that appeals to us this time of year.  Apples contain pectin – a soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol levels and lowers your risk of many diseases.  They also contain quercitin – a flavanol that has anti-inflammatory and immune function benefits.  

·      Cinnamon/spices – as with most spices, cinnamon and it’s culinary companions are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.  But it also helps lower blood sugar levels and improve digestion.  

·      Pumpkin – Aside from the fabulous but somewhat obvious source of vitamin A, pumpkin also provides a decent amount of vitamin C and potassium.  Plus, the high fiber to calorie ratio means it keeps us fuller and healthier. 


Traditions are often the biggest triggers for our seasonal food cravings and the big one this time of year is Halloween.  Here are a few tips for keeping the candy crave under control without cutting it out completely and feeling deprived.  

·      Don’t buy to early.  Bags of Halloween candy can call to us fairly loudly from the pantry.  

·      If you buy early, store in the freezer.

·      Save your favorites and donate the rest.

·      Keep your stash in the freezer or out of sight in a pantry or cupboard so that it requires some deliberate choice to enjoy it – preferably in 100 calorie or less portions. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

National Family Meals Month

 If there was one message I could give that would benefit everyone, it would be to eat together as a family.  Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem.  Adolescents who have regular family meals are less likely to show symptoms of violence, depression and suicide, less likely to use or abuse drugs or run away, and less likely to engage in risky behaviors.  Plus, you get the benefits of less obesity, better health and money savings as you commit to cooking family meals.  

September is National Family Meals Month and one way to help affordably stretch your dishes and your food dollars to feed your family is cooking with powerful pairings such as pork and pulses. Pulses include legumes, dry peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas.  They are full of fiber, protein, iron and so much more and when you pair it with the lean, tender, protein-rich source found in pork – it becomes a m
atch made in culinary heaven.  
I have found a great spin on a favorite recipe that brings pork and pulse together for a delicious family meal in pulled pork and beans sandwich.  Never underestimate the value of cooking for and especially with your kids.  Reading, math, science and key life-skills are just a few of the take away lessons you can add to that list of family meal benefits. Strengthening every member of the family has never been more important - and the dinner table is a great place to start. 
Recipe source:

Pulled Pork and Beans Sandwich 

Makes 6 servings
2 pounds porkshoulder or butt, sliced into 1-inch slabs
1 onion, scrubbed with vegetable brush under running water and sliced thinly
3 cloves garliccrushed
1 ¼ cups apple cider vinegar
½ cup barbecue sauce
½ cup brown sugar
tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (15 ounces) kidney beansrinsed and drained
6 bunsbrioche or sweet Hawaiian (Hamburger size)
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Place pork pieces in a layer in a deep saucepan. Wash hands after handling raw pork. Add onions, garlic, vinegar, barbecue sauce, brown sugar, salt, paprika, cumin, hot sauce and tomato paste to pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook 2 -3 minutes. Remove pot from stove and cover pot with aluminum foil and a tight-fitting lid. Place pork in preheated oven and cook slowly for 2 hours, or until internal temperature measures 145 F when measured by food thermometer. 
Remove cooked pork from pot and place on clean cutting board. Cool. Using two forks, shred meat; add back to sauce. Stir in kidney beans. Reheat when ready to serve.
To assemble sandwiches, lightly toast buns. Divide pork filling evenly between buns.