SOUR CREAM CUT OUT SUGAR COOKIES

Just three days to Christmas! I am finishing my last minute baking and cookie decorating this afternoon. I prepared a traditional family favorite that my mother, my sister and I made when I was growing up. Her mother and aunt also made this same cookie each year. The taste is so crisp, yet tender and very delicious, no doubt due to the fact that this sugar cookie recipe contains sour cream. The wind is howling outside and the weather is cool, yet I am cozy and warm in my house as I decorate the cookies with frosting and colorful sprinkles. It sure brings back good memories of my childhood and the Christmas celebrations that we enjoyed with my parents, brother, sister and my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. My Grandma Stahn had us over to her home each Christmas Eve after the kids in my family participated in our annual Christmas play at our little Lutheran church in my small hometown. After we opened up our Christmas presents and ate our ate our tasty late Christmas Eve  supper consisting of of all types of Christmas cookies, fudge, open face sandwiches, cheese and crackers, Chex snack mix, summer sausage and divinity, we always gathered at my grandmother’s piano and sang Christmas carols while she played the piano. Our favorite songs included Silent night sang in both English and German, Frosty the Snowman, Oh Little Town of Bethlehem, Up on the Rooftop and of course Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Another favorite Christmas memory was the time my brother, sister and I found our Christmas present after we snooped around the house for it while my parents were out at a dance for the evening. We had asked for a record player for months. My brother, sister and myself were very elated when we found the phongraph on the top shelf of our hallway closet.  We had to put on our best act on Christmas Eve so that we looked surprised when we opened up our cherished gift!  My sister and I listened to the top forty tunes on our favorite rock and roll radio station WLS  from Chicago while we washed and dried the supper dishes or finished our home work at the dining room table.We were fans of the Beatles, Monkees, and many other artists of that era.  I was probably in sixth or seventh grade, my brother was a ninth or tenth grader and my sister was only in the second or third grade when we found that record player up in the closet. Now we could purchase all of our favorite top forty records since we had a record player to play them on. My dad worked at Woolworths. When we wanted a new record, we would put in a request for the record that we wanted and give him 99 cents and he would purchase the record or album and bring it home. Albums were four or five dollars so I had to save my allowance and babysiting income up for those! The year was about 1969 I guess.

Sour Cream Cut Out Sugar Cookies

 

Christmas is indeed a very special holiday that is very close to my heart. I really enjoy the entire season since I love to decorate my home and trim the Christmas tree along with my husband as we sip on hot apple cider and listen along to our favorite Christmas songs. Choosing each particular person’s gift, especially the kids involved in my life is so much fun. Last but not least, I wrap each gift and write out my Christmas cards while again listening to my favorite Christmas carols on CBN Radio.com or one of my many Christmas CD’s.

Christmas is also a very special time of the year for me since I celebrate the birth of my savior Jesus Christ. I enjoy attending a Christmas church service to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas. I also love to sing along with my favorite Christmas songs such as Hark the Harold Angels Sing, It came Upon A Midnight Clear, Mary, Have You Heard and countless others at the Christmas church services.

I tend to modify my recipes frequently to reduce the sugar, fat, sodium, cholesterol and calorie content. I also add higher fiber ingredients such as ground flaxseed, chia seeds and whole wheat flour in many of my recipes on my Honeydews Kitchen food and nutrition blog. I did not alter this recipe in any way since it is a family favorite. I would recommend that you consume this cookie and your other favorite holiday recipes containing more sugar, fat or sodium content in moderation, if you choose not to modify your recipes. Be very mindful of eating slowly and using smaller portions of your favorite recipes this time of year. Plan to prepare a fresh veggie platter with a yogurt and reduced fat sour cream based dip or slices of fresh fruit  with a reduced fat cream cheese based dip to trim off a few calories and grams of fat this holiday season

.When I was attending college majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics, I decided to do some holiday baking in my small apartment. Since I was very excited  about all the benefits of nutrition and a little over zealous concerning the benefits of healthy foods, I substituted whole wheat flour in this recipe in place of the all purpose white flour. The cookies looked very good, but were a little on the tough and chewy side due to the addition of the whole wheat flour. My  family and friends teased me about that for quite a while. If a person wanted to add some whole wheat flour to a rolled out  cookie recipe , I would suggest substituting 25% whole wheat pastry flour in place of some of the all purpose flour in the cookie so that these cookies will still have a crisp and tender consistency.

 

SOUR CREAM CUT OUT SUGAR COOKIES
Author: 
Recipe type: cookie
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3½ dozen cookies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup regular or reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Frosting:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 TB milk
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • Decorations: red and green colored sugar and multi-colored sprinkles
Instructions
  1. Place butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream well until light and fluffy, using an electric mixer. Beat in eggs. add sour cream and vanilla and mix until well combined. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and, baking soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be sticky and very soft. Divide the dough in half and shape into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours or until the dough is firm enough to roll out. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. and line your baking sheets with parchment paper, if possible. On a well floured surface, roll out each portion of dough with a rolling pin to approximately ¼-inch thickness. Cut out the cookies with a floured cookie cutter. Place cookies at least 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes. Allow the cookies to remain on the cookie sheet for about 5 minutes before using a spatula to carefully remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  2. After the cookies have cooled completely, prepare the frosting by combining all of the frosting ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and stir well until well combined. If the frosting appears to be too thin, add a small amount more of powdered sugar and stir well until it is a good spreading consistency. If the frosting, appears to be too thick add, 1-2 tsp more of milk and stir until it is a good consistency for spreading on the cookies. Decorate the cookies by sprinkling on colored sugar or other festive sprinkles. Let cookies set out on your cupboard until the frosting is well set and then store the cookies in an airtight container until serving time.

Readers, I wish you each a very blessed Christmas season and a happy and healthy New Year!  I have enjoyed authoring Honeydews Kitchen. I plan to change the name of my food and nutrition blog to Vintage Nutrition Kitchen. You can continue to read my food blog featuring my favorite healthy recipes. I have had more time to spend in my kitchen since my recent retirement. I love to experiment and “tweak” the recipes to improve their nutritional profile without sacrificing good taste. Check out my next blog at VintageNutritionKitchen.com

These cookies have a crisp, yet tender and rich taste. Enjoy!

OLD FASHIONED PUMPKIN PIE OR HOLIDAY EGGNOG OATMEAL

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

OLD FASHIONED PUMPKIN PIE OATMEAL
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1¾ cup unsweetened almond or 1% milk
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
  • 1 TB ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup raisins
  • Garnishes: chopped walnuts or pecans, brown sugar or honey to sweeten
Instructions
  1. Place all of the above ingredients, except for the garnishes in a 3-1/2 quart slow cooker. Stir well to combine ingredients. Cook on low heat for approximately 3 hours or longer until the oats are cooked and softened. Spoon the oatmeal in bowls and add the chopped nuts. If desired, sweeten with brown sugar, molasses, honey or Stevia.
  2. HOLIDAY OLD FASHIONED EGGNOG OATMEAL: Omit pumpkin, maple syrup and cinnamon and substitute eggnog in place of the milk in the recipe Use the regular or "lite" egg nog in your recipe.. Add ½ tsp almond extract to the recipe also. Serve with chopped nuts and sweeten as needed by adding honey, sugar or Stevia.
Notes
If desired, substitute 1 tsp maple flavoring or almond extract in place of the maple syrup. This will reduce the calorie and carbohydrate content.Calories per ¾ cup serving are 153 and carbohydrate content is 28 grams.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¾ cup Calories: 183 Fat: 0 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 36 grams Sodium: 65 mg Fiber: 4.5 grams Protein: 5 grams Cholesterol: 0 mg

We experienced our first official snowstorm here in Minnesota. It is right on time, four days after Thanksgiving. This is the time of year that I enjoy waking up to a piping hot bowl of old fashioned pumpkin pie oatmeal prepared in advance in my crock pot. I woke up very early to place the recipe ingredients in the crock pot, gave it a quick stir and went back to bed for a few more hours, awakening to the sweet aroma of this favorite fall breakfast. It sure warms you up on those cold Minnesota winter mornings too.  I love pumpkin treats like pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin bread and of course pumpkin pie oatmeal this time of year. It is so easy to prepare and my husband loves it too so this recipe is definitely a keeper!

Serve Old Fashioned Eggnog or Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal at your Holiday brunch

APPLE PECAN CRISP

Fall is in the air. I love the cool crisp weather and the beautiful hues of orange, red and yellows as the leaves change colors.  This is the perfect time of year to enjoy the baked butternut squash harvested from my garden and topped with butter and brown sugar. Many varieties of apples are plentiful this time of year also and make a great snack  and are a delicious ingredient in crisps, pies, muffins and pancakes. I am featuring a delicious apple crisp recipe that includes maple syrup, pecans and ground flax seed to give it a unique and crunchy texture.This dessert tastes great when served warm right out of the oven. If desired, add some whipped cream, ice cream or vanilla yogurt as a topping to enhance the taste.

Apple Pecan Crisp

APPLE PECAN CRISP
Author: 
Recipe type: Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 servings
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup all purpose flour or gluten free flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup Old Fashioned Oats
  • 2 TB ground flax seed
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 2 TB pure Maple Syrup
  • 4 oz water
  • 8 medium apples, washed, peeled, cored and chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine flour, brown sugar, oats, flax seed and cinnamon in a bowl and stir together well. Add chopped nuts and stir together well. Next add melted butter and mix in until well combined. Set aside. Add maple syrup to the water and mix well. Place chopped apples in an 8-inch x 12-inch pan and stir maple syrup mixture into the apples. Spoon oatmeal mixture evenly over the apples. Bake the apple crisp in a 350 degrees F. preheated oven for 30-40 minutes or until apples are tender. Remove from oven and serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/ 12 of recipe Calories: 203 Fat: 6 grams Saturated fat: 3 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 40 grams Sodium: 33 mg Fiber: 4 grams Protein: 2 grams Cholesterol: 10 mg

 

Apples have a very healthy nutritional profile. One medium apple contains approximately 80 calories, 3 grams of fiber and 10% of the recommended intake of Vitamin C for an adult. They are also a good source of antioxidant phyto-nutrient flavonoids and polyphenols which play a role in prevention of cancer. The dietary fiber in an apple is beneficial also helping to prevent absorption of dietary-LDL or bad cholesterol in the gut. They certainly do live up to their reputation as a nutritious food and truly an apple a day can keep the doctor away!

 

Fall Dessert Delight

Pecans contribute heart healthy monounsaturated fat,  Omega-3 fatty acids and dietary fiber as well. Pecans also provide the plant based flavonoids which fight inflammation in the body, thus reducing incidence of cardiovascular disease, other chronic illnesses,  and may also prevent  some types of cancers by stopping the growth of cancerous cells as well as removing carcinogenic substances from the body.

 

Last but not least, ground flax seed has a reputation as a nutritional super star as well due to its fiber, omega-3 fatty acid and lignin content. Several research studies indicate that when included in the diet on a regular basis, ground flax seed may reduce incidence of breast, prostrate cancer and colon cancer as well as lower A1C levels in people with diabetes.

 

My husband Jim and I enjoy taking fall leaf watching drives this time of year. We traveled over to the Mississippi River last weekend and took in a Harvest Festival in Wabasha, Mn and then drove across the river to explore Nelson and  Alma, Wisconsin.

Fall Scenic Overlook of the Mississippi River near Alma, Wisconsin

 

Leaf Tour with Jim. Alma Wisconsin Overlook Park

FRESH RASPBERRY SUMMER SALAD

Are you enjoying these warm and sunny summer days? What better way to celebrate these summer days than a handful of fresh raspberries. Raspberry season is here and you may grow them in your garden or plan to purchase some soon at your local farmer’s market, food coop or grocery store. If you grow your own raspberries, the berries are ready for harvest when they are turn a shade of deep red and come off the vine very  easily. When purchasing raspberries at the grocery store, food coop or farmer’s market, select berries that are plump as well as a deep red color with attached green caps at the top end. Avoid berries that are moldy or bruised in appearance whenever possible.  Sort out moldy, damaged or bruised berries, rinse well with cold water, dry with a paper towel and store in a covered bowl in your refrigerator. Try to use fresh berries within 2-3 days or freeze them, storing them in a dated freezer bag.

Fresh Raspberry Summer Salad

Raspberries are a healthy, tasty snack with an excellent nutritional profile. One cup of fresh raspberries contains 60 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate,  5 grams of fiber as well as 54% the Daily Value (DV) of Vitamin C, 41%, 41% of the DV for  the mineral Manganese and 8% of the DV of Vitamin K.  Raspberries are an excellent source of antioxidant compounds which  which may play a role in prevention of cancer, inflammation and neuro-degenerative diseases.  Raspberries have a very high ORAC value (oxygen radical absorbance  capacity) as well and this why this fruit is ranked very high for its possible role in prevention of cancer in the body.

FRESH RASPBERRY SUMMER SALAD
Author: 
Recipe type: fruit salad
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 7 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh or canned and drained unsweetened pineapple
  • 1 cup peeled and sliced kiwi fruit
  • 1 cup sliced red or green grapes
  • 1 cup drained canned unsweetened mandarin oranges
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Instructions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss gently. Refrigerate until serving time. Serve in your favorite individual salad bowls or salad plates.
Notes
One serving (3/4 cup) provides 58% of the Daily Value for Vitamin C for an adult.

This food blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please consult your health care provider for individual medical advice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¾ cup Calories: 126 Fat: 6 grams Unsaturated fat: 5 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 18 grams Sodium: 3 mg Fiber: 1.5 grams Protein: 2 grams Cholesterol: 0 mg

Raspberries are also a tasty ingredient in jams, pies, vegetable and fruit salads. The fruit salad that this food blog is featuring today includes raspberries as well as other fruits and heart healthy walnuts or pecans give this salad a crunchy texture as well.

BOUNTIFUL BERRY SPINACH SALAD

Ahhh, spring has sprung! The grass is green, the lilacs and tulips are blooming and all is well with the world!  With all this sunshine and warm weather, I am in the mood to prepare and enjoy more salads. It’s no secret that I love spinach and strawberries so I thought that I would like to use them in this salad creation. I decided to throw in some other tasty and wholesome ingredients such as water chestnuts, raisins, mandarin oranges, walnuts and chicken breast to make the perfect salad. I didn’t want to spoil all this goodness with bottled dressing so I made up an easy, yet healthy from scratch dressing with three basic ingredients, honey, water and apple cider vinegar. This salad can be served with a meal or as a light lunch. Pair this salad with a glass of sparkling white grape juice or a sweet, fruity white wine such as Moscato.

Bountiful Berry and Spinach Salad

This easy to prepare salad is an excellent source of vitamin C due to the strawberries and mandarin oranges. It provides 78% of the RDI for vitamin C. Vitamin C is important for wound healing and aids our immune system as well. The spinach in our salad is an excellent source of Vitamin A and iron. One serving of the salad provides 45% of the RDI for Vitamin A and 8% of the RDI for iron. The raisins and spinach are both good sources of dietary iron. Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin and is important for good vision, immune function, reproduction and cellular communication. Iron is a mineral found in every cell of the body It assists our red blood cells in carrying oxygen to all of our organs. An iron deficiency causes anemia to develop. Pregnant women,  and women of child bearing ages who are still menstrating require more iron in their diet than men and post menopausal women. Infants andchildren are also in need of an iron rich diet. This salad is an excellent source of potassium as well  A potassium rich diet is important for blood pressure control and as part of a heart healthy diet. Walnuts in the salad provide additional protein, fiber and Vitamin E and give our salad a crunchy taste. Walnuts also taste great and are a rich source of heart healthy monounsaturated fats and an excellent source of heart beneficial omega 3 fatty acids.The salad is also an excellent source of protein and fiber, both of which will keep you feeling full much longer after you eat. The Bountiful Berry spinach  Salad also provides 10% of the RDI for magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral which protects our nerves and causes our muscles to properly contract and relax, including the muscles in our heart and cardiovascular system. The mineral is also important in the building process of protein and  in the production and transport of energy in our bodies.

Spring  is also the time of the year that my husband and I begin planning our garden. We will be planting some spinach and strawberries in our garden again this year. We also planted raspberries in our yard two years ago so I am hoping to harvest some this year since I love eating them fresh from the garden or as an addition to yogurt, salads, desserts and muffins.  Happy spring to all and Bon Appetit!

 

Bountiful Berry and Spinach Salad

 

 

BOUNTIFUL BERRY SPINACH SALAD
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach
  • ¼ cup water chestnuts
  • 3 TB chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1½ cup fresh sliced strawberries or raspberries
  • 6 TB mandarin oranges, drained
  • 6 oz cooked sliced chicken breast
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss together lightly. Divide mixture and place in four salad bowls or on a salad plate. Rather than mixing ingredients together in a bowl, you may also assemble each salad individually on the salad plates or bowls.
  2. SALAD DRESSING RECIPE; Combine ¾ cup each honey, apple cider vinegar and water in a blender. Blend until smooth. Add dressing to salad and serve immediately. Makes 2½ cups dressing. Serving Size: 2 TB = 42 Calories, 0 grams Fat, 1 mg Sodium, 12 grams carbohydrate
  3. To make a carbohydrate and sugar free dressing, substitute 16 packets Stevia in place of the honey. Add seasonings as desired to the dressing.
Notes
Nutritional information for the salad is listed without the addition of the dressing. Nutritional information for the salad dressing is listed by the salad dressing recipe.

Information in this food and nutrition blog is not intended for medical advice. Please contact your personal health care professional for individual medical advice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ¼ recipe Calories: 165 Fat: 5.5 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 19 grams Sodium: 46 mg Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 12 grams Cholesterol: 26 mg

BECKY’S BEST OATMEAL MOLASSES MUFFINS

Monday was such a cool and cloudy day. The temperature reached a high of 40 degrees so I cranked up the heat and decided it was a good night for baking. Last Friday was a warm beautiful day with temperatures rising to a balmy 77 degrees. It was so warm that I put on my new sleeveless blouse and turned on the car air conditioner as I drove to visit an old friend for a day of girl talk and adventure! Minnesota does tend to have these temperature fluctuations-just wait a day and the temperature will change and be sure to keep your jean jacket and winter jacket next to each other in the front coat closet.

Becky’s Best Oatmeal Molasses Muffins

 

BECKY'S BEST OATMEAL MOLASSES MUFFINS
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1⅓ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup dark molasses
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup hot water
  • ½ cup nonfat plain yogurt or Greek nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ⅔ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Stir well. Add egg to a mixing bowl and beat well, Add the hot water and soda mixture, molasses, brown sugar and yogurt and beat well with the mixer. Combine the oats, whole wheat flour and spices in a separate bowl and then stir together well with a spoon. Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients and mix in until combined. Oil a muffin pan or spay well with a non-stick spray. Add the batter to muffin pan and bake in a preheated 350 degrees F. for 22 minutes. Cool off muffins and remove from the muffin pan.
Notes
1 muffin counts as 2 carbohydrate choices. You may also replace the ⅓ cup brown sugar with 14 packets of Stevia to lower the carbohydrate and calorie content of the recipe further.

This food blog is not intended to provided medical advice. Consult your personal medical provider for your individual health and medical advice.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 muffin Calories: 156 Fat: 4.7 g Trans fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 27 g Sodium: 15 mg Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 5 g Cholesterol: 16 mg

 

As I paged through the copy of my of my small town cookbook, I came across a recipe for gingerbread. I decided that I would like to do a recipe rehab and turn this ginerbread into a higher fiber and healthier version and make muffins in place of quick bread. I like to make muffins since they are so good for a breakfast on the go, snack or great to pack into a brown bag lunch. I just freeze any extra and take them individually out of the freezer and reheat in the microwave as needed. My original recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour and I swapped this out and used 1 cup of old fashioned oatmeal and 1 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour. In place of 1/2 cup of margarine, I used 1/2 cup on nonfat plain yogurt. Greek yogurt could also be used in the recipe.  I also omitted the 1/2 tsp of salt in the recipe and added two additional ingredients, chopped walnuts and raisins for some extra flavor, fiber and nutritional value.

Moist Delicious Oatmeal Molasses Muffins

 

WELCOME TO MY COZY KITCHEN!

 

Oatmeal is so versitil and can replace part of your flour in your recipes. If desired, blend the oatmeal in your blender or food procersser to make oat flour. So many people are on the gluten free or Paleo diets, so they can use the oat flour in place of gluten containing flour. You can purchase the certified gluten free oats to ensure the oats  were not processed with any gluten containing ingredients. If you are on a dairy free or Paleo  diet, you can substitute the almond or soy yogurt, plain or vanilla flavor or unsweetened applesauce in place of the regular yogurt in the recipe.

Yogurt is such a good source of probiotics, protein and calcium and a great resource in my recipes. I use it in place of cool whip in many of my recipes, including fruit salads. The molasses and raisins in this recipe provide an excellent source of iron. Molasses is also a good source of magnesium and copper. My husband loves to add molasses, honey, walnuts and raisins to his oatmeal. He will also pour in some half and half just to be a little decadent!

Walnuts have s anti-inflammatory properties and are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, protein and fiber. They add a crunchy texture to muffins, quick breads, hot cereals and salads. Two tablespoons of walnuts or other nuts are a great afternoon pick me up snack

This recipe is heart healthy and diabetes friendly as well. These muffins also make tasty after school snacks for your children and teenagers. Serve the warm muffins with a glass of cold milk for a tasty , filling and healthy treat. They also are an easy to prepare and nutritious choice for your office and church potlucks Bon appetit!

 

BANANA OATMEAL MUFFINS

March is National Nutrition Month and this years theme is “Bite into a healthy Lifestyle”. It is easy to bite into a healthy lifestyle by sinking your teeth into these tasty and nutritious banana oatmeal muffins. These muffins are a nutritional superstar and are chocked full of healthy and flavorful ingredients such as bananas, yogurt, oatmeal, flaxseed and raisins. I found the original banana muffin recipe in an old cookbook and decided to do a nutritional makeover by swapping out the 2 cups of all purpose flour for 1 cup of whole wheat flour and one cup of oatmeal. I reduced the sugar from 1 cup to just one half cup and decided to add some flaxseed and raisins to ensure a crunchier taste and some extra texture and fiber too. I lightened up on the fat in the recipe also by swapping out 1/2 cup of shortening and replaced this with 1 tablespoon of heart healthy olive oil and 1/2 cup of plain non-fat yogurt.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

BANANA OATMEAL MUFFINS
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 13 muffins
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • ½ cup plain non-fat yogurt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 3 mashed bananas
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TB ground flaxseed
Instructions
  1. Combine dry ingredients-oatmeal, flour, baking soda and flaxseed in a small bowl. Stir together and set aside. Place eggs, bananas, olive oil and yogurt in a mixing bowl and beat ingredients together with a mixer until well combined. Add sugar and beat well. Next add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir in until well combined. Add raisins and stir in. Spray muffin pan with non-stick spray or paper muffin cups. Spoon into muffin pans. Place muffin pans in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F. and bake for 20 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 muffin Calories: 140 Fat: 2 grams Saturated fat: 0.5 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 28 grams Sodium: 68 mg Fiber: 3 grams Protein: 4 grams Cholesterol: 42 mg

These muffins are a great source of potassium since they contain both bananas and raisins. Potassium is beneficial for lowering blood pressure and it plays a role in controlling your heart beat as well as causing your muscles to contract and relax. The oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber which is responsible for lowering the LDL or “bad” cholesterol which is linked to heart disease in some medical studies. Oatmeal has a very filling effect and has found to be beneficial in controlling blood sugar in several medical studies. Flaxseed provides a rich source of alpha-linoleic acid, also known as ALA or Omega 3 fatty acids which are very beneficial to the heart and may also play a role in reducing the incidence of cancer and diabetes.The whole wheat flour provides iron and is a good source of magnesium and B vitamins including folic acid. The yogurt adds a creamy texture and is a great source of calcium, vitamin D and probiotics. Each muffin provides 3 grams of fiber to benefit your digestive track and keep you satisfied and full long after after you eat it.

Serve your muffins with fresh fruit and kefir as part of a healthy breakfast or plan to serve them for an after school healthy snack for the kids or teenagers in your life. They are also easy to carry along to work to eat as part of your brown bag lunch or during your coffee break!  For extra fun, plan a spring tea party and serve along with fresh berries for an afternoon delight!

 

Tea Party featuring Muffins and Fruit

 

HEART SMART BERRY SMOOTHIE

In honor of February, National Heart Health month, I wanted to feature a heart healthy smoothie for my blog. Plan to serve the love of your life this smoothie on Valentines Day this Saturday as well!

Heart Smart Berry Smoothie

This heart smart smoothie features a favorite red valentine fruit, raspberries. Raspberries are so delicious and juicy, yet low in calorie content and very high in dietary fiber.Raspberries and other berries such as strawberries, blackberries and blueberries contain antioxidants which help to protect our bodies by neutralizing free radicals.Free radicals can cause cell damage and contribute to disease. Several scientific studies have shown that the antioxidant compounds in berries may help to prevent disease such as cancer, reduce inflammation and delay aging. Raspberries are an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamins A and C. They also are provide quercetin in the diet, which works both as an anti-carcinogen and an antioxidant, protecting against cancer and heart disease.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day. Celebrate with a Heart Smart Berry Smoothie and some dark chocolate!

 

 

 

This smoothie recipe also calls for fresh spinach and you may substitute kale if you would prefer this. The dark green color of spinach and kale leaves indicates that they contain ligh levels of chlorophyll, and health promoting carotenoids (beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin). These phyto (plant) chemicals fight both inflammation and cancer and are very beneficial for eyesight, since they help prevent macular degeneration and cataracts. If you are around my age, you may remember Popeye, the cartoon character ate lots of spinach to keep him strong. It must have been the iron in his spinach that kept him so strong. Spinach is also an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K and folic acid.

Yogurt and milk are both excellent sources of protein, calcium and Vitamin D. Calcium and Vitamin D are beneficial for bone health and calcium has also been shown to be helpful for controlling blood pressure levels as well. If you prefer to use almond or soy milk in the recipe, check the label well and purchase a brand that if fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.

Our heart healthy smoothie also contains ground flaxseed. Choose ground flaxseed, rather than whole flaxseed because the ground form is easier for your body to digest.Whole flaxseed may pass through your intestines undigested and you will not be able to reap the benefit of the flaxseed that way. Flaxseed is also a good source of  fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.  One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains only 30 calories and provides 2 grams of dietary fiber as well as 3 grams of protein. It has a very filling effect is beneficial for preventing and relieving constipation.  Flaxseed may also help lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels, which can help prevent coronary artery disease. Flaxseed also contains lignins which bind with circulating substances that might promote unchecked cell growth. According to Dr. Andrew Weils’s Lowering Breast Cancer Risk website, lignins contained in flax may have a protective effect against breast cancer. Flaxseed have a nutty taste and can be added to cereals, smoothies, yogurt and baked goods such as quick breads.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and be good to your heart!

 

 

 

HEART SMART BERRY SMOOTHIE
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces non-fat yogurt (substitute Greek yogurt if desired)
  • 4 ounces skim milk
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 1 TB ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh spinach or kale
  • 2 packets Stevia
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender, nutri-bullet or food processor. and process until well blender.
  2. Garnish with fresh berries and serve immediately.
Notes
The information in this food blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please contact your personal health care provider for medical advice regarding your health.

Nutritional information was calculated using Spark People Recipe Calculator.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ recipe Calories: 137 Fat: 1 gram Saturated fat: 0 grams Unsaturated fat: 0 grmas Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 20 grams Sodium: 132 mg Fiber: 4 grams Protein: 8 grams Cholesterol: 7 mg

GREEK HUMMUS DIP

Looking for the perfect snack for your upcoming super bowl party or just a great between meal snack or appetizer? Hummus dip is the perfect solution. This dip is very tasty, filling and a nutritional superstar as well! Hummus is made from chick peas, better know as garbanzo beans. These beans are a great source of protein, fiber, thiamine, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Garbanzo beans have been a favorite food in Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years and are increasingly popular here in the United States as well due to their ease of preparation and nutritional profile.

I happened to have some Greek yogurt in the refrigerator and some honey in my cupboard so I decided to experiment a little and add these ingredients to my hummus dip. Greek yogurt also adds a creamy texture to this recipe. Greek yogurt is a rich source of protein, calcium, potassium and Vitamin B 12. One of the many health benefits of Greek yogurt is the probiotics which it contains. The probiotics are healthy bacteria which help promote a healthy gut which in turn increase the amount of healthy bacteria in your digestive tract.  Maintaing a healthy balance of these friendly forms of bacteria are beneficial for digestive issues.  My husband and I tend to like our food a little on the spicy side, so I also added some cumin and garlic powder. We taste tested the recipe,  liked the flavors and decided that it is a keeper.

GREEK HUMMUS DIP
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1.5 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 15 oz can Garbanzo Beans, drained
  • 2 TB Lemon Juice
  • 2 TB Honey
  • ¼ cup Greek Nonfat Yogurt
  • ½ tsp Cumin
  • ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until mixture is smooth and creamy. Remove dip from blender or food processor and refrigerate until serving time.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 TB Calories: 42 Fat: 0 grams Saturated fat: 0 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 8 grams Sodium: 107 mg Fiber: 1.5 grams Protein: 2 grams Cholesterol: 0 mg

You have probably enjoyed Hummus Dip with hot pita bread at your favorite Middle Eastern restaurant or picked up some at your local supermarket deli. This dip is very easy to prepare at home also. Serve it with a variety of options such as pita bread rounds, tortilla chips or an assortment of raw vegetables or fruit.

 

Greek Hummus Dip

 

LENTIL CHOWDER

Brrr! It’s been chilly up here in the Minnesota north land and a cup of hot soup  can really warm you up in a hurry!  Our windchill was a frigid 40 below zero recently and  this soup not only tastes good but has nutritional benefits for the body as well. I will be sharing my recipe for lentil soup today. This soup has been a staple in our home for many years since it so convenient to make in a crock pot in the morning and you can come home from work (or play) and enjoy it.

Lentils are believed to have originated in Asia, having been consumed since historic times. Lentil seeds dating back thousands of years have been found in archaeological sites in the middle east. Lentils have been mentioned in the old testament of the  Bible both as a food that Jacob traded to Esau for his birthright and were used as part of a bread that the Jewish people prepared during their Babylonian captivity.

Lentils are a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family. They are an excellent source of fiber, protein, folic acid, magnesium, iron, zinc, thiamine and Vitamin B6.  Lentils are also very inexpensive since they cost under $2.00 per pound so they provide a budget friendly option for those with  limited incomes. Compared to other types of dried beans, lentils are relatively quick and easy to prepare. There is no need to presoak them overnight so they can be placed in your crock pot with your other ingredients and you can turn on the crock pot and go about your business for the day. Before placing the lentils in your crockpot, place the beans in a strainer, sieve or colander and rinse with cold water since there may occasionally be small rocks or other particles that you want to remove before cooking them. I have also recently spiced up the soup a little more and began adding a small amount of ground turmeric since this spice has so many health benefits as well. The cumin also adds some extra zing! I rarely add salt when I am cooking so I like to add spices such as garlic powder and onion powder instead of garlic and onion salt to keep the sodium content of my recipes lower, yet add the extra flavor that we enjoy. The recipe calls for turkey breakfast sausage which is very lean but be aware that it is higher in sodium content. If you would rather not receive the extra sodium from the turkey sausage, you can easily swap this out of your recipe and add ground turkey instead of the sausage. We have also enjoyed the recipe without adding any meat so this would be great for vegetarian or vegan diets and those practicing  meatless Mondays. Pair the lentil chowder with a green salad as well as fresh fruit sliced into your favorite flavor of Greek yogurt and you have a complete meal. Enjoy and stay warm!

 

 

 

 

LENTIL CHOWDER
Author: 
Recipe type: soup
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 10 servings
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of dry lentils (one pound bag)
  • 28 oz can of diced tomatoes (you may substitute the low sodium version, if desired)
  • 1 pound turkey breakfast sausage, browned and drained (I use Jennie-O brand)
  • 16 oz bag of frozen California brand or stir fry vegetables (or 4 cups fresh chopped vegetables)
  • 28 oz water
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove of minced garlic or 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 TB Italian seasoning
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
Instructions
  1. Add all of the ingredients to a large crock pot. Stir to combine.Cook on the high setting of your crock pot for 4-5 hours or until the lentils are tender to taste.
Notes
Recipe was calculated using Spark People Recipe Calculator.

The information in this blog is not intended to provide medical advice. Please contact your personal health care provider for further recommdations for adjustment into your personal eating plan.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/10 recipe Calories: 192 Fat: 3 grams Saturated fat: 0.8 grams Trans fat: 0 grams Carbohydrates: 20 grams Sodium: 347 mg Fiber: 15 grams Protein: 22 grams Cholesterol: 30 mg