My Thanksgiving Wish for You + Inspiring Kids in the Kitchen

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It’s Thanksgiving week, who’s helping in your kitchen?  Kids? Why not? While the above picture is not my kitchen help this week,  it’s a throw back of my daughter and her friend prepping some Thanksgiving sides for a meal to share with their second grade class. I think the expression on Sydney’s face holding the potato and peeler are priceless. Here’s my wish for you during this festive season:

May you make many merry memories in and around your kitchen!

My friends at Cabot Creamery agree and know that  the holidays are an opportune time to teach your kids some lifelong lifestyle skills and have some fun at the same time.  They have created this awesome infographic about cooking with kids and I couldn’t resist sharing it with you. Happy Thanksgiving!

I would love to hear how  you get your kids involved with cooking during the holidays. Please share in the comments.

Disclosure: I am a proud member of the Cabot Cheese Board. I was not compensated for writing this post.

Cooking With Kids Infographic
Presented By Cabot Cheese

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Cream of Tomato Soup with Cheese Tartines

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IMG_0095A hot bowl of cream of tomato soup served with a grilled cheese sandwich for dipping was the first meal I ever made, and it’s one of my fondest food memories. November marks the Thanksgiving holiday and calls us to give thanks. Commensurate with the holiday, the Recipe Redux is challenging us  to share a food memory along with a healthier ‘redo’.

I was in my preteen years, and  I felt pretty acomplished when I sat down to this comforting meal I had mastered. The way I remember it,  I used whole milk, added to a can of  Campbell’s cream of tomato soup. Grilling the sandwich in a small fry pan was almost as simple, with margarine  first  spread on two slices of  white Wonder  bread and  a slice of American cheese  in between.

 mmm… mmm…good!

Today my grilled cheese and tomato soup is just as comforting as  it was back then, but it has evolved into a lighter, less processed meal. Fresh vegetables, canned tomatoes, chicken stock and basil are the start of this nutrient rich soup. It’s good with or without the  addition of  low fat cream cheese. Because I’m a sucker for thick  crusty breads,  my cheese sandwich is now  made with a whole wheat baguette cut in triangles ( my preference for cutting a grilled cheese sandwich) topped with  Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar (via the Cabot Cheese Board). Popping a tray of these darlings under the broiler eliminates the need for any extra fat.  Final touches? More basil please! Now, don’t let the fact I am calling my cheese sandwich a tartine throw you. That’s a fancy word for open faced sandwich. But pleassse.. feel free to eat with your fingers! And don’t forget to check to  see what food memories my colleagues are sharing in the links below. Happy Thanksgiving!

 What was the first meal you ever made?

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Cream of Tomato Soup with Cheese Tartines

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

    for the tomato soup

    • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
    • 1 sweet onion, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 28 ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil +2 Tablespoons
    • 3 cups chicken stock or reduced sodium chicken broth
    • fresh black pepper to taste
    • 6 Tablespoons of 1/3 less fat cream cheese

    for the cheese tartines

    • 1 baguettee
    • 8 ounces cheddar cheese

    Instructions

    1.Heat canola oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one additional minute.

    2. Add tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, 1/4 cup basil, chicken broth and pepper and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes.

    2. Allow to cool and puree in a blended or process through a food mill,discarding any dry pulp. Return to pot over low heat. Stir in reduced fat cream cheese. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. Makes 8 appetizer servings or 6 meal servings.

    for the cheese tartines (makes 16)

    1. Slice baguette into 4- 2 inch pieces. Half each piece, as if to create a top and bottom. Cut each squre in half along the diagonal to create a triangle. (Each 2 inch piece will create 4 triangle pieces.)

    2. Top each piece with sliced cheddar cheese.

    3. Place under the broiler and cook until cheese is melted, watching carefully so as not to burn. Top with remaining thinnly sliced basil.

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    Uncovering New Food Products Coming to a store Near You

    picstitch-20From portion control dishes to pasta made with black beans, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2014 Expo had it all. Today I want to share with you some of the new products I spotted while at the annual meeting held  this year in the Georgia World Congress Center, in Atlanta, GA during Oct 18-21. Disclosure: I received samples of most of these products. I was not asked to write this post and I was not compensated for my time. Opinions are my own. 

    tumblr_static_aqbsmvxfvhckccs0owsswg840As someone who believes in the benefits of drinking water daily,  I’m always looking for ways to help my patients hydrate, especially when they don’t particularly care for the taste of plain water. So I make it a habit to taste test  new water beverages when I can. My palate was pleased  with this one marketed by Ocean Spray that has a fruity, light taste. (Each 16 oz bottle is sweetened with 50 cranberries + a  combination of Agave Nectar, Stevia Extract and Monk Fruit Extract.) But taste aside, there are  benefits that go beyond simple hydration, including the abilty to cleanes and purify. How does it do this? As their tag line states, “When  cranberries meet water, water gets better.” That’s right, this water contains the active ingredients in cranberries, proanthocyanidins or  A-type PACs. These natural elements prevent certain bacteria from sticking, allowing them to be flushed from the body. One 16 oz. bottle of PACt contains 80 mg of PACs and has only 10 calories. Here’s the link where you can find PACt cranberry extract water near you.

    I love  whole grains and the health benefits they offer including helping to maintain a healthy weight, and reducing the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some forms of photo-212cancer. But unfortunately, some individuals just don’t know how to identify  a whole grain, let alone how to meet the recommeded 48 grams of whole grains daily. Enter Organic Promise Sprouted Grains Cereal, a new Kashi product  that provides you with your  daily requirement for whole grains in one single serving . That’s right, one serving provides 51 grams whole grains, 6 grams protein, and is non GMO project verified, vegan, and  USDA certified organic.  It’s made  made from a diverse blend of organic ingredients including sprouted wheat, oats, barley, spelt and brown rice.  Sprouted grains are created when a grain kernel is given just the right temperature and moisture conditions to sprout and release vital nutrients and enzymes stored inside. If you’re looking for a simple way to eat healthier, try adding just one serving of Kashi Organic Promise Sprouted Grain Cereal to your daily intake. Available at Costco and Kroger nationwide in February 2015  and in Whole Foods Stores nationwide beginning April 2015.

    thAnyone who is a believer in  lots of colorful vegetables will like NatraLeaf Burgundy Leaf Lettuce and Nuturaleaf Burgundy Romaine. These burgundy colored lettuces are  new and beautiful! Plant scientists at Rutgers University, have taken regular red leaf lettuce, and  through a natural breeding processes (no GMO), developed a striking  lettuce that is more nutrient rich and contains twice the amount polypheonols than both regular red leaf lettuce and blueberries (the gold standard for antioxidants). A terrific way to add color and more nutrition to salads, wraps, smoothies snacks and more.

    f2c74d42249d1c213f41af37ad69e56c For those who know what to eat, but still struggle with how much, there are two new products  aimed to make  portion control easy. The first, Mealsizer, was halsa-set-150w developed to follow the My Plate Guidelines for healthy eating. There’s one set for the men and one for women.   Guess what the largest cup is used to measure? Great visual reminder to fill 1/2 your plate with colorful, low calorie, nutrient rich veggies!  The second, Livliga portion control place settings aimed to help individuals take a mindful approach to eating and are desgined to be gentle reminders about building  a balanced plate in proper portions.

    Finally, if you want your snacks curated by a registered dietitian, the time has come! Celebrity dietitian  from the Today show, Joy Bauer, has launched a new line of  good-for-you snacks. I was given two samples of nourish  Snacks and they met my recommendations for a healthy and delicious snack: less than 200 calories per serving with protein and fiber.  Thirty different cleverly named varieties, like Mr. Popular and Monkey Love, they will be as much fun to give as they are to eat! Order them online at nourishsnacks.com. I’m betting  these witty named,  dietitian approved snacks will soon be carried in a  store near you.photo-213

    Do you have a favorite new product for those desiring a healthy lifestyle? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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    Shortcut to Festive Red Berry Crostini

     Short•cut  noun: a shorter, quicker, or easier way  to do something

    This holiday season,  my survival plan involves taking some short cuts. I’m not talking about traveling the back roads (although all Wilmington locals know this is how we roll). I’m talking about cooking short cuts… to make healthy eating… and entertaining less stressful. It occurred to me, last week when I made my ‘colder weather red berry sauce’,  this could  be doubled and frozen for putting together festive appetizers like these red berry crostini.

    IMG_0025This simple short cut allows you to  serve  your family and friends appetizers with the same standards you have for the rest of the meal:  made with fresh ingredients,  superb in taste, and  stylish. Join me in making a double batch of this healthy and delicious red berry sauce for Thanksgiving, freezing half, and  making festive Red Berry Crostini in December.  What cooking short cuts are you taking to survive the holidays?

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    Festive Red Berry Crostini

    by Diane Boyd

    Ingredients

      for the slow-cooked red raspberry cranberry sauce

      • 12 ounce package of frozen red raspberries
      • 12 ounce pakcage of fresh cranberries
      • 1/4 cup water

      for sweetening, option 1/Traditional

      • 1 cup sugar

      for sweetening, Option 2/Reduced Sugar

      • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bag
      • 1/3 cup Stevia in the Raw
      • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

      for the crostini

      • 1 French baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch slices (about 60)
      • 3/4 cup olive oil(for brushing)
      • sea salt
      • 2 cups red raspberry cranberry sauce (recipe below)
      • 12 ounces goat cheese
      • 1 cup chopped pistatchios
      • 1/2 cup parsely, chopped

      Instructions

      for the slow-cooked red raspberry cranberry sauce

      1. Add frozen red raspberries, fresh cranberries and water to a 3 or 4 quart slow-cooker. Stir to combine. Place the lid on slow-cooker and set on low for 8 hours.

      2. Stir once or twice during cooking; replace lid to cover completely.

      3. At the end of cooking, the berries will have cooked and formed a sauce. Now add either sugar or alternative sweeteners. Cool and use as topping for crostini.

      For the crostini

      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange baguette slices on two large rimmed baking sheets; brush both sides with oil and season with salt.

      2. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. (If undersides are not browning, turn crostini over once during baking.) Let cool on baking rack.

      3. Spread each crostini with goat cheese and top with a spoonful of red raspberry cranberry sauce. Sprinkle with parsely and chopped pistachios. Serve immediately.

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      ‘Colder Weather’ Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce

      Last Friday afternoon, while winding down from a busy week, I was listening to some tunes from the  Zach Brown Band and thinking about how much I adore the flavors of fall …#Iaintevergonnachange. But sometimes, it’s the weather that keeps me from enjoying my favorite foods this time of year. What I mean is, I don’t eat according to a calendar. If it’s November, but the weather feels like August, I ‘m NOT craving  seasonal foods, like warm comforting soups, pumpkin spice lattes or cranberries #OhIwannaseeyouagain. But the weather will change… #Ican’twaittilthen.

      Now that I’m out of warmer weather…I’m enjoying this.. IMG_0040_edited-2 copy

      my first batch of ‘cranberry’ sauce. But it’s a  bit different than years past. I ‘ve mixed  those anticipated cranberries with another healthy and delicious berry; frozen red raspberries. Then, I  simplfied the cooking process by using a slow-cooker.   Mmm, the aroma of red berries lingering throughout my kitchen all day. It was as though I had lit a scented candle.

      There are so many reasons for making this homemade cranberry raspberry sauce. Both cranberries and raspberries are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. This sauce is so tasty and versatile, it’s an easy way to boost the nutritional value of many holiday foods.  (Please note:   it’s not just for turkey and stuffing. Stay tuned because I’ll be showing you how to make a delicious holiday appetizer with this sauce in my next post). Secondly, it’s quick and easy;  toss the 3 ingredients into a slow-cooker and leave them unattended. Did I mention the aroma therapy? Yea, it’s worth it. And finally, YOU are in control how much or how little sugar you use. Traditional cranberry sauce has about 26 teaspoons of sugar in one cup.  I’ve included two different versions of my Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce, one traditional and the other reduced sugar. Use what suits your appetite or customize your own with something in between.

      ‘Colder Weather’ Slow-Cooked Red Berry Sauce

      by Diane Boyd

      Ingredients (makes 2 cups)

        for the sauce

        • 12 oz package of frozen red raspberries
        • 12 oz. package of fresh cranberries
        • 1/4 cup water

        for sweetening, option 1 Traditional

        • 1 cup sugar

        for sweetening, option 2 Reduced Sugar

        • 1/3 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw Bakers Bad
        • 1/3 cup Stevia in the Raw
        • 2 Tablespoons Agave Nectar

        Instructions

        1. Add frozen red raspberries, fresh cranberries and water to a 3 or 4 quart slow-cooker. Stir to combine. Set on low for 8 hours and cook with the lid on.

        2. Stir once or twice during the cooking process replacing lid to cover completely.

        3. After the berries have cooked and have formed a sauce, add either sugar or alternative sweeteners. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

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