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Healthy Living: Healthy Oat Cookies


Healthy Oat CookiesMy 13-year-old son told me he wants to eat healthier.

Big picture, he IS a healthy eater, but that kid can also put away some junk food after school.

We had to come up with a solution that would still let him feel like he was having some of the treats he likes but in a healthier way. Now, after school, he reaches for fresh fruit instead of the little, square, orange crackers he used to favor. I love that he’s doing this, and it’s motivated the rest of us to reach for more fresh fruit and vegetables, too.

Every once in a while, he wants a cookie or something sweet.

These are the perfect solution. Originally they were called “Three-Ingredient Cookies,” but I throw in some extra ingredients!

Healthy Oat Cookies

Ingredients:
2 ripe bananas
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds or nuts, crushed

Directions:
Mash bananas in a large bowl. Stir in oats, raisins, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds or nuts.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Scoop dough into 16 balls, and place evenly around a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

Makes 16

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 60, Calories from Fat: 12, Fat: 1 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 1 mg, Carbohydrates: 11 g, Fiber: 2 g, Sugar: 5 g, Protein: 2 g.

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Mi Blog Hispano: Limones, Agua, y Azúcar, ¡Es Todo!


Limones, Agua, y Azúcar, ¡Es Todo!Al tomar limonada durante la primavera me lleva a una tierra muy lejos pero muy cerca de mi corazón. Me lleva a Guerrero, México y a casa de mi abuelita Susana.

Cuando era chica e íbamos a visitar a la familia, mi abuelita siempre tenía limonada fresca y muy sabrosa. Su casa, como varias casas en México, eran dos casas de ladrillo separadas. En una era la cocina, sala, baño y dos recamaras. En la otra era principalmente recamaras y un baño. Allí se hospedaba la familia cuando la visitábamos. En medio de las dos estructuras estaba mi favorita parte que recuerdo con mucho cariño. Era un patio enorme. En una esquina tenía un lugar donde lavaba ropa a mano. En otra esquina mi abuelito tenía un taller donde hacia su carpintería. Recuerdo las gallinas corriendo por doquier. Pero lo más bonito que recuerdo eran los tres arboles de limones y uno de toronjas. Los de limones eran bellos. Me gustaba jugar debajo de ellos y jalar los limones que ya estaban listos. Recuerdo como mi abuelita juntaba los limones para hacernos la limonada.

En una ocasión que ella me estaba sirviendo mi vaso de limonada fresca le pregunte que como se hacía la limonada. Me contesto, “Hijita, es lo más fácil, y lo más rico. Solo exprimes los limones en agua y le agregas azúcar, es todo.” Nos reímos juntas al tomar esa rica y refrescante limonada. Nunca se me olvido esa receta. En años siguientes cuando íbamos a México a visitar otra vez, anhelaba llegar a casa de mi abuelita a tomar su limonada.

No les doy una receta detallada, porque es muy sencillo de hacer. Como dijo mi abuelita, “Limones, agua, y azúcar, es todo.” Yo uso como 10 limones verdes y les quito las semillas antes de exprimirlos. Prefiero los limones verdes porque son los que usa mi abuelita. También uso como una taza de azúcar porque me gusta un poco dulce. Con eso les va a quedar una riquísima y fresca limonada casera. La puede hacer justo en este tiempo para recibir la primavera, ¡mi favorito tiempo del año!



Healthy Living: Pomegranates


PomegranatesPomegranates are one of the healthiest fruits on earth, and they’re still in season now.

Pomegranates are red and are about the size and shape of an apple, but really only their seeds (and the pulp and juices attached) are edible.

One cup of pomegranate arils (seeds) contain 7 grams fiber, 3 grams protein, 30 percent of the recommended daily allowance for vitamin C, 36 percent for vitamin K, 16 percent for folate and 12 percent for potassium. That’s a lot. Also, one cup contains only 144 calories which is not a lot at all.

Pomegranates contain two compounds other fruits do not: punicalagins and punicic acid.

Punicalagins are the powerful antioxidants found in the juice and peel of a pomegranate, providing three times the antioxidant power of red wine or green tea. Punicic acid, or pomegranate seed oil, is the fatty acid from the arils, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.

Pomegranates can help fight against heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity. It can also help fight prostate and breast cancers as well as lower blood pressure and fight arthritis. It improves memory, helps fight fungal and bacterial infections and can improve erectile dysfunction. It has also been shown to improve exercise performance.

Whether you eat the seeds or drink the juice, pomegranate packs a mighty punch.



Dine In: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Panela


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and PanelaWarning: Wine Country recipes ahead.

I spent last weekend visiting my sister in California, in the heart of wine country. Apparently, there are 43 wineries in the immediate vicinity of her house. Alas, it was only a weekend trip, so we only hit three of them. Luckily, there are more visits to be planned.

Aside from enjoying some seriously valuable sister time, I ate and drank my way through Wine Country, and it was well worth every single calorie.

Our first stop on Saturday was at Oak Mountain Winery, where we had lunch reservations to eat in the Cave Café. The cave clings to the side of the steep hill where the grapes are grown, and it is quite an extensive storage area for casks of wine. It also has an amazing atmosphere for a fine meal.

There were seven of us, so we opted for a bottle of sangiovese and a bottle of zinfandel. We shared a charcuterie board and the most amazing Brussels sprouts that I’ve ever eaten. Their recipe includes a roasted guajillo sauce, but I didn’t recreate that part at home.

If you can’t find panela cheese, use Mexican queso fresco instead.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Almonds and Panela

Ingredients:
1 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and pepper
1/4 cup shallots, minced
3 Tbs garlic, minced
1/4 cup almonds
8 oz panela or queso fresco

Directions:
In a large cast-iron (or other ovenproof skillet) over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until fragrant and shimmering.

Preheat oven to 400° F.

When the oil is ready, sauté shallots and garlic until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Toss in almonds and stir.

Remove from heat; stir in Brussels sprouts and Balsamic vinegar.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until leaves are browned and Brussels sprouts are crisp outside and tender inside.

Toss with cheese and serve immediately.

Serves 4 (as a side dish)

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 236, Calories from Fat: 136, Fat: 15 g (4 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 19 mg, Sodium: 258 mg, Carbohydrates: 15 g, Fiber: 5 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 13 g.

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Healthy Living: Mardi Gras Salsa


Mardi Gras SalsaToday is Fat Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to the excess and temptation that is synonymous with Mardi Gras.

You can eat healthy and still celebrate with family, friends, and a lot of beads and trinkets (necklaces are zero calories, after all).

I love this salsa because it’s the colors of Mardi Gras: gold, purple and green. It combines fresh flavors with a lot of healthy ingredients.

The pineapple is great for vitamin C, potassium, copper, manganese, calcium, magnesium, beta-carotene, thiamin, B6 and folate, as well as soluble and insoluble fiber.

Black beans provide protein.

Garlic, limes and onions provide antioxidants.

Serve this with whole-grain pita wedges or other veggies like cucumber rounds or celery.

Mardi Gras Salsa

Ingredients:
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 pineapple, cored, peeled and diced
1 large bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped (to taste)
1 small red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 limes, juiced
1 jalapeño, minced
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss gently to mix. Refrigerate for several hours while flavors meld. Serve with pita wedges or veggies.

Serves 8

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 377, Calories from Fat: 14, Fat: 2 g (0 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 0 mg, Sodium: 7 mg, Carbohydrates: 72 g, Fiber: 16 g, Sugar: 9 g, Protein: 22 g.

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Healthy Living: One-Pan Roasted Sausage and Vegetables


One-Pan Roasted Sausage and VegetablesI was telling my best friend recently that I prefer vegetables to most fruits, and she thought I was crazy.

That’s fine; I’ll take a little crazy.

It’s true, though. I do prefer vegetables to fruits (although I definitely eat fruit, too), and I love roasting veggies for an easy, one-pan, healthy meal.

You can add almost any kind of vegetables to this dish. I often use Brussels sprouts instead of peppers or throw in some cauliflower as well. Make sure to dice the sweet potatoes in small pieces, so they cook as quickly as the rest of the veggies. You could also steam them for a few minutes before you add them to the roasting pan. You could also toss in a few pieces of diced apple for some sweetness.

Chicken sausage doesn’t have much fat, so you do need the olive oil. Although, I don’t usually use all of the six tablespoons.

I love making this one night for dinner then enjoying the leftovers the next day for lunch.

One-Pan Roasted Sausage and Vegetables

Ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 lb fresh green beans
1 large head broccoli, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, chopped
9 oz chicken sausage links
6 Tbs olive oil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (if using foil, spray with nonstick cooking spray).

Chop all veggies, and add to a large bowl. Slice sausage into bite-sized pieces; add to bowl. Add in spices, and drizzle in olive oil. Toss to coat.

Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet. Roast for 15 minutes, and then stir before roasting for 15 more minutes.

Serves 2

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 686, Calories from Fat: 411, Fat: 46 g (7 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 453 mg, Carbohydrates: 67 g, Fiber: 17 g, Sugar: 8 g, Protein: 12 g.

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Shop the Sale: Big Game Ribeyes with Bleu Cheese and Crispy Shallots


Big Game Ribeyes with Bleu Cheese and Crispy ShallotsThe Big Game is this weekend, and it’s the perfect time to wow your family and friends with some outstanding steaks.

Prepare these before kickoff, so you have a long time to savor your steak and so you don’t miss a minute of Lady Gaga at halftime.

Ribeyes are full of flavor from the beautiful marbling in each piece of meat. You can balance that full flavor with the sharp taste of bleu cheese and the crisp crunch of a fried shallot. The combinations of flavors is worthy of a championship ring, for sure.

Big Game Ribeyes with Bleu Cheese and Crispy Shallots

Ingredients:
2 shallots, sliced into rings
3/4 cup whole milk
3/4 cup flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp black pepper
vegetable oil, for frying
sea salt
2 cups bleu cheese, crumbled
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs Worcestershire powder
4 ribeye steaks, about 20 oz each

Directions:
For the bleu cheese sauce, whisk together bleu cheese and cream. Season with pepper. Refrigerate until needed (can be done a day ahead of time).

For the crispy shallots, pour milk into a large, shallow bowl. Add shallot slices; soak for about 30 minutes.

In another small dish, stir together flour, cornstarch, red pepper and black pepper. Dredge each shallot ring in flour mixture, coating evenly. Lay out individually on a sheet of waxed paper.

In a large cast-iron skillet, heat vegetable oil to 350° F. Working in small batches, fry battered shallots until crisp and golden. Drain on paper towels. Season with sea salt, and set aside.

For the steaks, heat grill to medium-high heat. Bring the steaks to room temperature. Season both sides of each steak with salt, pepper and Worcestershire powder.

Grill steaks for 6 minutes on the first side. Then, flip and grill for 6 more minutes on the other side. Remove from grill. Let rest for 8 to 10 minutes before serving. Top with bleu cheese sauce and crispy shallots.

Serves 4

Nutritional Information: Calories Per Serving: 993, Calories from Fat: 527, Fat: 59 g (30 g Saturated Fat), Cholesterol: 308 mg, Sodium: 1106 mg, Carbohydrates: 30 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 3 g, Protein: 84 g.

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Product Talk: Talk O’ Texas Crisp Okra Pickles


Talk O’ Texas Crisp Okra PicklesWe all know that being from the true South means we know our way around a kitchen and a cast-iron skillet.

We also love things like cornbread, beans and rice, and okra.

Oh my, do I love okra.

These Talk O’ Texas Crisp Okra Pickles are one of my favorite snacks.

They’re from Texas (no arguing Southern origins there), and they’ve been produced in Central Texas since the 1940s. First sold at Neiman Marcus, the Okra Pickles are hand-packed for the highest quality and flavor.

These delightful okra pickles are low-calorie, low-carb and go through a five-step quality assurance process before being jarred and shipped out to your local Brookshire’s. In hot or mild flavors, they are delicious in a Bloody Mary, a martini, chopped up for cornbread or served on a relish tray.



Healthy Living: Fresh Kiwi


KiwiMy older son LOVES kiwi in his lunch. It’s a good thing that it’s in season now, too. I pack it with a plastic knife and spoon, so he can cut it in half horizontally and scoop out the good stuff with his spoon. You can eat the skin, but most people prefer to skip it.

Kiwi, native to Australia, are packed with vitamin C. In fact, one kiwi provides 273 percent of your recommended daily allowance, and studies have shown that eating kiwi may even help to prevent or ward off colds.

They also have vitamin K, vitamin E, folate and potassium. They also have a ton of antioxidants and are a great source of fiber.

Studies have also shown that eating kiwi helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of blood clots.

Kiwis are usually eaten raw as is, but you can slice them into a salad or mix into a fruit salad.



Product Talk: Mann’s Family Favorites – Sugar Snap Peas


Mann’s Family Favorites – Sugar Snap PeasI went into Brookshire’s yesterday on the hunt for a vegetable we don’t usually eat.

In my family, that could be almost anything, thanks to two very picky eaters. I feel like we corner the market on green beans, salad greens, cucumbers and tomatoes, but the rest of our vegetable diet falls woefully short (I practically live off of spinach and Brussels sprouts when I eat alone or only cook for myself.)

So when I went in search of something different, but something that the men in my life would eat, I happened upon Mann’s Family Favorites when I had nearly given up and was in the refrigerated section with the bagged salads.

Packaged in an eight-ounce bag, these stringless sugar snap peas were fresh and crisp and would have been great as a snack right out of the bag (I made a note to buy more for school lunches).

At just 35 calories a cup, they are high in potassium, vitamin A, Vitamin C and iron.

They’d be delicious in salads, stir frys or on party platters.

I sautéed them in a tiny bit of olive oil with minced garlic. The garlic was the perfect sweet compliment to the peas.



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