Hooray for Blueberries!

It’s blueberry season here in New Jersey, and recent research found new benefits to enjoying this favorite blue food.  A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that consuming 1 cup of blueberries per day for 6 months improved endothelial function and reduced arterial stiffness, both markers of cardiovascular health and how easily blood can move through blood vessels.

Want to add more blueberries to your meals this summer?  Visit the American Blueberry Council‘s website or Taste of Home for great ideas.

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“Raisin” the Standard for Treats Has Never Been So Sweet

Happy National Raisin Day!  These sweet treats have a day all their own each April 30 and recently gained attention as research suggested they may lower blood pressure and post-meal blood glucose levels compared to other snacks (https://calraisins.org/raisin-nutrition/health-and-nutrition-research/).  Celebrate this fantastic fruit by enjoying about ¼ cup (2 tablespoons for diabetics) as a serving.  Think beyond oatmeal cookies and try adding them to cereal and salads or eating them out of hand as a snack.  However you serve them, they are a great source of nutrients with no extra sugar needed.

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Taste of Home Tuesday: Glazed Carrot Coins

Need a heart-healthy side dish this Valentine’s Day?  I recently tried (and loved) Taste of Home’s Contest-Winning Glazed Carrot Coins Recipe (below).  These tender, moist carrots are sure to bright a winter night while providing beta-carotene, which the body turns into vitamin A, and vitamin C.  I swapped butter for canola oil to add some healthful fats, and left out the salt. Frozen carrots made this dish super easy to prepare.  This was a keeper for sure.

 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of butter or canola oil

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of orange juice

1/4 teaspoon of salt, optional

1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 medium carrots cut into 1/2 slices, or an equal amount of frozen carrots

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Stir in the brown sugar, orange juice, salt, ginger and cinnamon.  Add the carrots; cover, and cook for 20-25 minutes or until tender.  Makes 4 servings.

https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/contest-winning-glazed-carrot-coins/

I am sharing this as part of a blog hop with some of Taste of Home’s other volunteer field editors.  Please check out their sites and the recipes they are making this week at the links below.  I will draw a name at random (U.S. residents only, no purchase necessary) from those who share a comment for a chance to win a Taste of Home cookbook.  The winner will be announced Saturday, February 16, 2019.

Jolene: Jolene’s Recipe Journal/ Quick and Easy Chocolate Sauce/ https://jolenesrecipejournal.blogspot.com/2019/02/quick-easy-chocolate-sauce.html

Ellen: Ellen Folkman Family Around the Table | Glazed Cherry Cheese Danish | https://familyaroundthetable.com/2019/02/12/glazed-cherry-cheese-danish/

Courtney: Courtney Kitch Stultz  LPHJ Kitchen – Tuscan Portobello Stew – https://www.lphjkitchen.com/giveaway/021219toh/See More

AJ: A.j. Lively Chocolate Trifle /
https://www.facebook.com/groups/64926233658/scheduled/

 

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To Your Heart, with Love

Happy Heart Month!  It’s an especially good season to celebrate dark chocolate.  Research suggests, that, in moderation dark chocolate may lower rates of heart attacks, heart failure and death from heart disease and protect against atrial fibrillation. Not just any chocolate will do:  dark chocolate, with its heart-healthy flavonoids, is the winner here, particularly when it is served without added fat and sugar.  Read more in the journal Circulation, and for a creative recipe, check out Taste of Home’s Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Seeds.  Try swapping your favorite unsalted nuts or seeds for a healthy, indulgent treat.

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Festive Fruit Snacks

We all love fruit and veggie trays as quick and healthy options during the holidays, so here’s a fun way to turn an otherwise boring presentation into an eye-catching arrangement.  Cut a large marshmallow into sixths, and thread a marshmallow bit followed by a raspberry and a green grape onto a small skewer so that the raspberry forms a Santa cap with a marshmallow “pom pom”; the grape is Santa’s face.  Or, thread a golden raisin onto a skewer for a “star” followed by alternating red and green grapes for a festive “tree.” Serve with a snowy vanilla yogurt dip for a treat that even the most grinchy of guests will enjoy.

Merry Elf and Festive Christmas Tree Fruit Snacks

Happy, Healthy Holidays!

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No tricks…just health(ier) treats

Looking for a few last minutes treats?  This year’s Halloween round-up includes brand new, allergy-friendly chocolates from Enjoy Life Foods.  For a last minute snack, try a fun twist on “candy” apples from Eating Well.  Sunflower butter and non-dairy chocolate chips keep them safe for classroom parties.  And, if trick-or-treating didn’t burn enough energy, Taste of Home shares just how many jumping jacks will be needed to spend Halloween candy calories.  Happy Halloween!

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Sizing Up Fruits and Veggies

Plates with pictures may help children select and eat more fruits and vegetables, according to new research with preschoolers.  A study of 325 children found a significant increase in vegetable consumption when a MyPlate plastic plate with pictures of foods in appropriately-sized compartments was used compared to traditional plates.  Perhaps this is an easy way to help kids visualize fruit and vegetable serving sizes as they fill their cafeteria plates this coming school year.

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