How to Choose More Tasty Whole Grains with Your Kids

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Whole grains can add fantastic flavor and texture to your meals as well as support long-term health. Eating whole grains promotes healthy digestion, can aid in maintaining a healthy weight, and lower your risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Clearly, whole grains beat out refined grains for your family’s health any day of the week. Packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals and plant compounds called phytochemicals you can feel good about including them in your family’s diet . So why choose white when you can get the whole health benefits!

For Cancer Prevention Month, why not challenge yourself to try a new whole grain recipe each week? Have your kids help you explore the endless variety of tasty whole grains!

Here are some ways to get started:

  • Choose whole grain mac-n-cheese over white flour pasta. You can also boost fiber by adding pureed sweet potato, chopped sautéed cauliflower or peas.

Read more… “How to Choose More Tasty Whole Grains with Your Kids”


    Make-Ahead Healthy Pasta Salad, Perfect for Cookouts

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    Memorial Day is right around the corner, making it the perfect time to start planning a cookout staple: pasta salad. Traditional pasta salad made with mayonnaise and white pasta is heavy and high in saturated fat and refined carbohydrates. But it’s actually an easy dish to lighten up — in calories and taste — with fresh, seasonal ingredients. Making the pasta whole wheat also adds fiber, which is known to reduce cancer risk and keep you full for longer.

    The vibrant colorful ingredients make this Spring Pasta Salad pop and the flavor improves as it sits. You can store it in the fridge for 3 to 4 days and use for leftover lunches or dinners. It is hearty enough to be served as a main, but also pairs well with grilled shrimp or salmon.

    File_003This pasta salad includes some springtime favorites of mine: asparagus and fava beans. Read more… “Make-Ahead Healthy Pasta Salad, Perfect for Cookouts”


      How Home-made Cornmeal Crackers Can Help You Burn Calories

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      “With all the cooking you do, how do you stay thin?” I am not thin but being on my feet in the kitchen, moving constantly, does benefit my weight. Writing is when I tend to gain weight. To help minimize this, my laptop is set up so I work on it standing up. Still, I start every piece and write the first draft for recipes while sitting down, pen in hand, facing a yellow pad.

      Like most writers, I feel anxious looking at the empty page. To get past this anxiety, munching on something savory with crunch works best. Yes, it is a bad habit. I wish celery sticks worked but they do not. Limiting my choices to foods with some health benefits, I rely on nuts, baked corn chips, and lightly salted crackers to comfort me until words start flowing.

      Recently, I found a whole-grain cracker recipe that I have adapted here; munching on them helped me get this post going.

      Cornmeal Crackers_06Making these herb-flavored crackers takes some concentrated, calorie-burning work: after you cook stone-ground cornmeal to make a thick, gritty polenta and mix in all the other ingredients to make a dough, you must roll it out by hand until it is very thin, almost thin enough to see through. Like making pasta, this takes effort. It produces crackers that snap nicely.

      While making the dough, handle it as little as possible or your crackers will be tough. Rolling the dough out on baking parchment is fantastic. The non-stick paper lets you lift and release the dough easily so you can roll until it is even thinner than 1/16th-inch. The dough is forgiving—simply press tears together. For the final rectangle, this means you can cut pieces off where the sheet of dough bulges out and press them to fill in where it is narrow. After cutting the dough into neat, two-bite-size crackers, toss out any trimmings; rerolled, they make a sticky dough and tough crackers.

      Using a light colored baking sheet is important. If you do not have one, line a dark sheet with baking parchment and allow a longer baking time. The crackers color unevenly, giving them a rustic look. They get crisper as they cool, so it is ok to take the colored crackers from the oven when they are still a bit soft.

      These crackers are excellent with cheese, dips, or soup as well as for snacking.

      Here’s the recipe: Cornmeal Herb Crisp Crackers.