This heart healthy banana bread is not only delicious, it has the benefits of plant stanols, the natural way to reduce blood cholesterol levels.
Bake some bread. It’s February’s Recipe Redux theme! In keeping with my commitment to heart month, I’m baking banana bread with benefits for your ticker. It’s low in saturated fat and sodium, rich in nutrients like potassium and a source of fiber and plant stanols.
For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with plant stanols, let me briefly explain. Plant stanol esters work by reducing the absorption of cholesterol from the digestive tract. They are naturally found in many fruits, vegetables and grains, but because these foods have only trace amounts, you would have to consume ridiculous quantities everyday, to see a signficant effect on blood cholesterol (i.e. 12 pounds of broccoli, 29 pounds of carrots and 60 pounds of tomatoes). This challenge has been overcome by fortifying foods with stanols and sterols. New food products, with the added benefit of sterol/stanol esters, may provide a more healthful alternative to high-saturated fat, high-cholesterol products such as butter.
This banana bread was made using one of these relatively new food products with the added benefit of plant stanols (Benecol®) . It’s simple to use because it is a direct substitute for butter or oil in recipes. Enjoying your favorite foods can be good for your heart if you make the proper substitutions.
Tumeric Milk Baked Oatmeal is not only heart healthy, it’s a great tasting way to start the day! Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a contest sponsored by Wonderful Pistachios and am eligle to win prizes. I was not compensated for my time.
It’s no secret, I love pistachios. In recogition of heart month, I’d like to share how I easily consume a daily 1.5 ounce portion of this nut, aka the Fit NutTM, as part of my heart-healthy lifestyle.
First of all, I snack on them by the handful. I highly recommend you do the same; pistachios are one of the lowest calorie and lowest fat snack nuts, earning them the name Skinny Nut TM!In-Shell Pistachios, aka the Mindful NutTM, are my number one choice for snacking. Cracking each shell slows me down and helps me to eat mindfully. One preliminary behavioral study found that participants who consumed in-shell pistachios ate 41 percent fewer calories compared to those who consumed pistachios without the shell. This suggests what’s referred to as the Pistachio Principal: the empty shells may provide a visual cue for portions. BTW, my clients smile when I include them in their meal plans. It’s not surprising pistachios are also the Happy NutTM.
Secondly, I like to use ’em in granola and as toppings on yogurt and breads to add texture, crunch, and a pop of color. Did you know they are aka the colorful NutTM? Pistachios’ green, red-purple hues come from antioxidants. Take note: it’s healthy to add color to your plate, all colors!
Finally, I find great satisfaction by combining them with other good for you foods! Their notes of butter and nuts and rich texture complement a broad range of foods. One of my all time favorite pistachio flavor combos is:
pistachios + oatmeal + tumeric + cranberries
and it just so happens to be the inspiration for this Tumeric Milk Baked Oatmeal with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries.
Similar to a bread pudding (total comfort food) this baked oatmeal has a cake like texture. (If you don’t like runny oatmeal, this is your oatmeal opportunity.) At first bite, you’re going to think dessert. That’s ok, but you should know that it’s so nutrient rich, I approve of it as a stand alone breakfast entree. It’s low in fat, low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and a source of whole grains. I served it with tumeric milk to get close to my breakfast protein goal of 20 grams (which also boosted the DV for calcium to 45% based on a 2000 calorie diet).
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the potential health benefits of turmeric. Extensive clinical trials are ongoing examining the efficacy of curcumin (the major component of turmeric) against many human diseases including (but not limited to): diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic diseases, cancer, lupus, and IBD. Poor bioavailability and limited adverse effects are reported as major limitations to the therapeutic usefulness of curcumin. Perhaps one day we will have a deeper understanding of this nutraceutical against human pro-inflammatory diseases. Until then, let’s continue to enjoy its common use as a spice and food coloring agent!
If you’re looking for an energizing breakfast to keep you active throughout the day, this my friends, is your ticket.
Tumeric Baked Oatmeal with Pistachios and Dried Cranberries
Prep Time:5 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes
Total Time:25 minutes
Yield:3 servings 1x
1/2 cup dried cranberries
2 ounces no shell Wonderful roasted and salted pistachios (may substitute no salt)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric + 3/4 teaspoon for tumeric milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 3/4 teaspoon for turmeric milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten
4 cups skim milk, divided
2 Tablespoons honey
1 Tablespoon canola oil
Preheat overn to 375 degrees F.
Spray a 5 x 7 baking dish with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, combine dried cranberries, pistachios, oats, baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon gound tumeric, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine. Spread evenly into baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg. Mix in one cup milk, honey , vanilla extract, and oil.
Slowly drizzle liquid over the oat mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until oatmeal is firm.
Make turmeric milk by pouring 3 cups skim milk into a saucepan over medium low heat. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon of turmeric and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Continue to heat and stir for about 3 minutes or until flavors blend.
Serve baked oatmeal in a bowl or mug with warm turmeric milk on top.
Can be enjoyed both warm and cold. This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated in a warm oven (no higher than 350 degree sF) for about 15 minutes.
Panera at Home soup accompanies a Copycat Panera Salad with Grapes, Apples and Chicken for a ‘better for you meal’ made in the comfort of your own home. Disclosure: I received free samples of Panera at Home Soups. I was not financially compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.
This past weekend was beautiful , and I had the opportunity to spend some time with a dear friend of mine, Pam, visiting from Delaware. Pam and I were roommates years decades ago at the University of Delaware. Both RDs with different career paths, it’s fun to catch up! While we both love to cook, our good intentions of making a Saturday night meal of Chicken Agrodolce with Creamy Polenta, never came to be. But that’s ok. Sometimes, you have to rethink homemade.
Enter Panera at Home. It just so happened that the good folks at Panera helped me stock my refrigerator for the weekend with an assortment of Panera Bread at Home soups. These easy to heat containers of savory soup gave me the flexibility of enjoying picture perfect weather outside, riding bicycles and strolling the beach, without the need to rush back to make supper. In my opinion, there’s nothing better than being able to kick back in the comfort of my own kitchen and quickly assemble a delicious meal that’s ‘better for you’. I heated Panera at Home’s Turkey Sausage, Kale and Quinoa Soup (garnished it with a sage leaf) and put together my version of Panera’s Ancient Grain and Arugula Salad with Chicken.
I ‘m a long time Panera Bread customer because I apprecipate their beliefs of Food as it Should Be (and they have great hazelnut coffee too)!
• Free of artificial preservatives, sweeteners,colors or flavors from artifical sources.
• Savored and enjoyed. At a table. Alone or together with family and friends.
• Raised Responsibly. Sourced from farms that respect the food they produce.
• Personalized. Curated and customizable menus so you can eat the way you want.
If you’re like me and frequent Panera Bread for the above reasons, you can now enjoy the convenience of the Panera Bread at Home for times when it’s fitting to Rethink Homemade. Click here for a Panera at Home soup coupon to serve this delicious soup…along with the salad I’m sharing today (recipe below).
Copycat Panera Salad with Grapes, Apples and Chicken
Panera at Home soup accompanies a Copycat Panera Salad with Grapes, Apples and Chicken for a ‘better for you meal’ made in the comfort of your own home.
Prep Time:10 minutes
Total Time:10 minutes
1 cup precooked long grain and wild rice
1 cup broccoli slaw mix ( broccoli and carrots)
1 gala aple diced
3 cups lettuce (romaine and red leaf)
4 ounces sliced roasted chicken breast
12 red grapes, cut in half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Pomegranate Juice
1 tablspoon white balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
In a salad bowl, add cooked rice, broccoli slaw mix, apples, lettuce, chicken, grapes. Toss. Set aside. In a small prep bowl combine salt, Pomegranate juice, vinegar, honey and oil. Whisk. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Divide between two plates. Note: May substitute Panera Fuji Apple Vinaigrette Dressing .