Rooting for potatoes: The spud makes a comeback

(NewsUSA) - Forget low-carb diets and Atkins; those sweet, succulent spuds are once again finding their place among meat and vegetables at the dinner table.

To celebrate its return to center stage, Kita Roberta of Girl Carnivore is recognizing the health benefits of a plant-based diet, while still including your favorite proteins.

To that end, Girl Carnivore has created a recipe that is packed with carrots, beets, kale and Idaho potatoes. Add the sweetness of maple aioli and you've got yourself a good-for-you meal.

Roasted Roots and Chicken Power Bowl with Maple Aioli

* 4 Russet Idaho potatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
* 3 carrots
* 1 turnip, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, and then cut into wedges
* 1 red onion, cut into wedges
* 1 cup butternut squash, peeled and chopped
* 2 beets, rinsed, peeled, cut in half and then cut into wedges
* 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
* Salt and pepper
* 3 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stem
* 3 cups Swiss chard, removed from stem and chopped
* 1 garlic clove, minced
* 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, chopped

For the Maple Aioli

* 3 tablespoons fresh mayonnaise
* 1 tablespoon maple syrup
* 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 425 degreeF. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Toss all of the vegetables in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Arrange the vegetables in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with thyme. Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and fork-tender, flipping once, halfway through.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-heat. Sauté the Swiss chard with the chopped garlic until wilted, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk the mayonnaise with the maple syrup and cinnamon until combined. Spoon into a serving dish.

Divide the chard evenly in serving bowls. Top with the roasted vegetables and chopped rotisserie chicken. Serve with the maple aioli on the side for dipping.

For more recipes, visit the

Idaho Potato Commission's website at https://idahopotato.com.

Posted on July 24, 2017 .

Not just for the holidays, sweet potatoes can take center stage every day

Nachos are nice and nutritious when made with sweet potatoes.

Nachos are nice and nutritious when made with sweet potatoes.

Healthful and delicious, sweet potatoes aren’t just for the holidays. These versatile vegetables are great in sweet and savory dishes and should be enjoyed year-round at any time of day.

California sweet potatoes are primarily grown on small family farms and are prized for their flavor and texture thanks to the Golden State’s warm, dry climate and rich, sandy soil. One 4-oz. sweet potato has only 105 calories, 0g fat and no cholesterol, and contains an abundance of healthy properties such as fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamins A and C.

Here are a few ways to add sweet potatoes to your everyday, all-year enjoyment:

Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast

• Try using sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes in your go-to home fry recipe—they make great accompaniment to your favorite breakfast fare. 
• The next time you make a breakfast hash, substitute sweet potatoes for regular potatoes or use a combo. Don’t forget to add some onion and a sprinkle of cayenne for a little kick.

Sweet Potatoes for Lunch

• Toss roasted and cooled sweet potatoes with arugula, white beans and a basic mustard vinaigrette for a nutritious and delicious protein- and fiber-packed meal.
• For great flavor and texture, add sweet potatoes to any pureed butternut squash or carrot and ginger soup recipe.

Sweet Potatoes for Dinner

• Cut sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips and parsnips into equal sizes, place on a roasting pan or cookie sheet, toss with a generous amount of olive oil, coarse salt, pepper and a dash of curry powder, and roast in a 350° F oven until done. Serve alongside chicken, pork, lamb, steak or fish.

Sweet Potatoes for Dessert

• Sweet potatoes and pecans are a match made in heaven-who can resist a slice of homemade sweet potato pie?

Sweet Potatoes for Snacking

• Oven-baked sweet potato chips are a delicious and healthy alternative to regular old potato chips and it’s OK if you can’t eat just one. 
• And for the ultimate sweet potato snack, try making these California Sweet Potato Nachos: 

California Sweet Potato Nachos

Excellent for backyard barbecues, after-school snacking and watching the big game, these nachos pack a ton of nutrients, color and flavor into a finger-lickin’ format. Yay team!

Serves 4 to 6

2 lbs (3 to 4 medium) California sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp coarse salt, or more to taste
¼ tsp pepper
2 c shredded cheddar and pepper jack cheese
1 c drained black beans
1 ½ c fresh or frozen corn (thawed if frozen)
1 c guacamole

Scallions, for serving
Cilantro, for serving
Salsa, for serving
Sour cream, for serving

Preheat oven to 425° F. Cut each sweet potato lengthwise into 8 wedges (halve any long wedges crosswise). On large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment, toss sweet potatoes with oil, chili powder, salt and pepper. Arrange wedges cut sides down and bake until browned and tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Add more salt to taste. Arrange wedges cut sides up and top with cheese, beans and corn. Return to oven and bake until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Top with guacamole, scallions, cilantro, salsa and sour cream and serve.

For more information about cooking with sweet potatoes, visit www.casweetpotatoes.com.

Posted on July 18, 2017 .

Delightful summer sipper ideas to serve your guests

From pool parties to evenings around a bonfire, summer is the ultimate time to entertain. Artisanal cocktails make a statement at any gathering, so become the trendsetter of the season by using interesting spirits to get the party started.

The key to successfully designing a creative cocktail is simple—keep an open mind and use the best possible ingredients. Using quality spirits and seasonal ingredients will make for an intriguing and delicious drink.

Think outside the box when crafting cocktails, a hidden gem may already be in your bar collection, such as cognac liqueur. A common misconception is this spirit is only meant to be consumed during the wintertime. However, these liqueurs can be served chilled or made into refreshing cocktails.

One example is the award-winning Belle de Brillet, the original Pear Williams & Brillet Cognac Liqueur produced by the 10th generation family-owned Maison Brillet, located in the heart of the Cognac region in France. Belle de Brillet is a pear liqueur made by infusing Brillet cognac with the essence of Williams Pears, produced mainly in the east of France. The liqueur is served in an elegant pear-shaped bottle, which will add charm to your summer spread.

To best serve this luscious, yet refreshingly tart liqueur with ripe pear notes, consider these three cocktails created by NYC mixologist, Jaime Rios. Each recipe can easily be prepared ahead of time, so guests can help themselves.

Belle of the Ball

• 1.5 oz. Belle de Brillet Liqueur
• 1.0 oz. Light Rum
• 0.75 oz. Lime Juice
• 3 Raspberries
• Club Soda
• Sprig of Rosemary
Add raspberries, ice and alcohol ingredients into a shaker. Shake and strain into a highball with fresh ice. Top with club soda. Garnish with rosemary sprig.

Brilliant Belle

• 1.0 oz. Belle de Brillet Liqueur
• 0.5 oz. Lime Juice
• 1.5 oz. Premium Vodka
• 0.25 oz. Green Chartreuse
• 3 dashes Orange Bitters
• 3 Red Grapes
• 1 Basil Leaf
Muddle red grapes and a basil leaf in a shaker then add all ingredients. Shake and evenly strain to the rim of the martini glass. Garnish with basil leaf.

Summer in the City

• 1.0 oz. Belle de Brillet Liqueur
• 0.5 oz. Lime Juice
• 2.0 oz. Joto Junmai Sake
• Cucumber Slices
• Mint Leaves
Muddle cucumber and mint and add all ingredients with ice into tin shaker. Shake and strain into a highball glass with crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig and cucumber.

Because of its versatility, Belle de Brillet liqueur is a favorite among gourmet chefs around the world. It will pair nicely alongside summer salads, grilled seafood and fresh summer fruits like melon, strawberries or raspberries.

This summer, delight guests’ palates with fresh ingredients for a new taste sensation. - StatePoint

Posted on July 15, 2017 .

Five tips to shake up your everyday chicken dinner

While it can be easy to get stuck in a rut with family meal options, especially as schedules get hectic and you don’t have much time to plan ahead, there are easy ways to shake up your next chicken dinner and excite everyone’s taste buds.

Opt for bold flavors—Chicken is America’s favorite way to enjoy protein—and for good reason. Not only is chicken high in protein, but it can be seasoned in so many ways. Spice up your next chicken dinner with worldly and exotic flavors, such as chipotle adobo, Jamaican spices or sweet chili.

Get the kids involved—Food prep is a great kitchen activity to bring together the whole family, even the little ones. Reach for food kits that contain the ingredients for less mess. One example is Gold’n Plump Shakers, which are ready in just three, kid-friendly steps. Pour the fresh chicken breast pieces and pre-seasoned breadcrumbs into the provided bag, shake to coat, and then bake.

Look for quick and easy food products—Studies show that many home cooks, particularly millennials, plan last-minute meals. Reach for convenient foods at the grocery stores to aid in the enjoyment of cooking at home. In half an hour or less, you can make a tasty chicken meal; just pair freshly baked chicken with a bag of romaine salad and a bottle of Caesar dressing.

Add pizzazz to your dinner plate—It’s all about presentation. Add a little sparkle to the everyday by topping your finished meal with fresh herbs such as parsley. Or create a chicken taco bar with an assortment of toppings so your family members can make their own tacos based on personal preferences.

Choose wholesome chicken—According to a Chicken Labels Insights Study from Gold’n Plump Shakers, 36 percent of shoppers say no antibiotics ever is important to them when buying chicken and humanely raised means higher quality for nearly 32 percent of shoppers. They may be pleased to know that Gold’n Plump chicken follows animal welfare standards and is humanely raised with no antibiotics ever and no added solution, preservatives or artificial flavors.

Finally, you can shake up your everyday with this recipe that is ready in under 30 minutes, start to finish. 

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Serves 4

1 package (20 ounces) Gold’n Plump® Shakers chicken breast pieces with chipotle adobo seasoned breadcrumbs

8 (4-inch) soft or hard taco shells

2 cups shredded red cabbage

1 cup chopped tomatoes

¼ cup sliced green onions

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Crema Sauce

¼ cup sour cream

¼ cup Greek yogurt

Juice from 1 lime—about 2 tablespoons

Zest from 1 lime—about 1 teaspoon

1 tablespoon of adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

Bake Gold’n Plump Shakers per directions on the package. Whisk together sauce ingredients in a small bowl or measuring cup. To assemble tacos, spoon cabbage and tomatoes onto each shell. Top with chicken, sliced green onions, cheese and chipotle lime crema. Note: You can use sour cream in place of the crema. Also, sprinkle tacos with chopped cilantro if desired.

The chicken kits are available in five bold flavors: Savory, Sweet Chili, Jamaican, Honey BBQ, and Chipotle Adobo. 

Find more flavorful recipes at www.GoldnPlump.com. - NAPSI

Posted on June 4, 2017 .

Tips to help families improve health

Although March is officially National Nutrition Month, anytime is a good time to eat more nutritiously, points out the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE). It offers 12 tips to help.

Go fresh. Choose fresh seafood, lean poultry, and beans as your protein source. If using ground meats, choose 93 percent lean ground turkey or ground sirloin beef for tacos, enchiladas or tostadas.

Make fresh salsa or black bean dip. Store-bought salsa is often loaded with sodium. If you plan to have more than a tablespoon or two, fresh salsa is a much better option. Guacamole contains healthy fats, but it is high in fat and calories.

Measure out portions. It is easy to overeat on snacks like tortilla chips. Measure out just one serving (usually about 10) so you can save room for the main course.

Favor whole grains. Brown rice is a whole grain and has more nutrients than white rice. Use corn and whole wheat tortillas instead of those made with flour. Buy or bake whole grain breads and baked goods. 

Use the plate method. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Fill one quarter of your plate with a lean protein. Then fill one quarter of your plate with a starchy food, such as beans or brown rice. 

Use healthy cooking methods. Grill your chicken, fish or vegetables. You can also try baking, steaming or broiling. Small amounts of vegetable oil, olive oil or cooking spray are better options. 

Beans make a great protein source. Use dried beans when you can. They are lower in sodium than canned varieties. Always drain and rinse canned beans to remove excess sodium. If you are buying canned refried beans, buy fat-free varieties. Or make your own by blending whole black or pinto beans in a food processor with spices. 

Go easy on the cheese. Cheese is high in saturated fat and in sodium. Queso fresco is a great choice if used in moderation. You can also try reduced-fat cheeses.

Substitute healthier options for sour cream. Non-fat Greek or plain yogurt and non-fat plain yogurt have a similar taste and texture to sour cream for much less calories and fat.

Cut your portion size when eating out. If you eat out, split the meal with someone else, eat half the meal and bring home leftovers, or order a kid-sized meal.

Snack on fruits and vegetables. Keep a bowl of fruit out on a table or counter to encourage healthy snacking. Precut veggies and make “grab and go” packets.

Pack your lunch. Skip eating out and bring your lunch.

“National Nutrition Month is an opportunity to learn more about nutrition and try new and healthy foods. Eating healthy foods can help weight management and lower risk for many chronic diseases including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer, which especially affect many Latino communities,” said Elaine Auld, CEO of SOPHE. 

Substituting foods and even small dietary changes can lead to positive results, notes Auld. Researchers report that more than 40 percent of Latinos are obese. Auld is working with SOPHE members and other partners to decrease those numbers.

“We want to help Latino communities, families and individuals overcome the barriers to good health,” Auld added. “We want to make healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play.”

The Society for Public Health Education is partnering in a three-year nationwide project called the National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are 97 projects in communities across the nation assisting people and communities in living healthier lives. Learn more at #Partnering4Health and www.partnering4health.org. - NAPSI

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The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) is a nonprofit professional organization founded in 1950 to provide global leadership to the profession of health education and health promotion. SOPHE contributes to the health of all people and the elimination of health disparities through advances in health education theory and research; excellence in professional preparation and practice; and advocacy for public policies conducive to health. See www.sophe.org.

Posted on June 4, 2017 .

Keeping your health in check starts with lunch

Taking control of your midday meal can benefit both your health and your wallet. One of the easiest ways to reach your wellness goals is by taking charge of your lunch with simple, flavorful ingredients you can stock in your pantry or desk drawer.

When you just have a few minutes for lunch, Minute® Ready to Serve Rice can be a wholesome solution. In just 60 seconds and with nothing to add, you have delicious, fully cooked rice. Plus, there are a variety of options to change up your midday meal or on-the-go snack. Packaged in individual, single-serve cups, the rice makes portion control simple, too. With whole-grain options such as Brown Rice, Multi-Grain Medley, and Brown & Wild Rice and flavors including Black Beans & Rice and Fried Rice Mix, you can revamp last night’s leftovers, jazz up a boring salad or turn your favorite ingredients into a tasty and filling wrap.

Packing your lunch doesn’t have to be drab or time consuming when you plan ahead and use common ingredients from your fridge or pantry. Try this delicious, satisfying Provencal Rice Salad recipe and challenge yourself to create other healthful lunch options a few days a week.

Provencal Rice Salad

1 container Minute® Ready to Serve—any whole grain variety such as Multi-Grain Medley, Brown & Wild Rice, or Whole Grain Brown Rice

1 can (6 ounces) canned tuna, drained

4 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 black olives, sliced

2 tablespoons red wine vinaigrette

1 cup salad greens

Prepare rice according to package directions. In a medium bowl, combine rice, tuna, tomatoes, olives and vinaigrette; mix well. Serve over greens and/or with pita chips.

Serves: 2 (about 1 cup each)

Learn More

For this recipe and many more, visit www.minuterice.com. - NAPSI

Posted on June 4, 2017 .

Take kids snacking into the wild with mangos

The next time you’re looking for creative ways to enhance some of your kids’ go-to favorites, consider this: Snacking now accounts for more than half of all eating occasions in the U.S. Parents are increasingly challenged to create quick bites that give kids the energy and nutrition they need.

The good news is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. With fresh mango, it’s easy to transform kitchen staples into snack time adventures. Mango is available year-round and its versatility makes it an excellent addition to your family’s meal plan. It’s packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals and all for just 100 calories per cup.

Stacking nutrient-rich mango and berries with dessert items such as brownies and marshmallows on a kebab can make for fun treats for kids to prepare. Mango popsicles are another popular go-to treat. Just puree fresh-cut mango in a blender or food processor, pour into ice cube trays, insert a Popsicle stick and freeze.

When selecting a mango, don’t judge the fruit by its color. Instead, squeeze it gently to find a ripe mango that “gives” slightly like a peach or avocado. Store your ripe mangos for up to a week in the refrigerator until you’re ready to whip up your favorite snack or keep slices and cubes frozen for up to six months in an airtight container.

Just like adults, kids eat with their eyes first, so it can be fun to turn a traditional personal-size pizza into a Lion Pizza with mango and red bell pepper slices for the mane. The sweet and slightly tangy mango is a good substitute for tomato, making it a natural complement to Italian-style dishes.

You can even pair this Lion Pizza with a viewing of Disney’s “The Jungle Book”—available for the first time on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital HD on February 11—and you’re likely to create a roaring good time that your kids won’t forget.

Now that you’re in the party mood, think about an adventure-filled, five-night vacation for your family. You can “like” Mango Board on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mangoboard and enter the Jungle Jetsetter Giveaway for your chance to win a Funjet Vacations family getaway to Punta Cana with all-inclusive accommodations at the RIU Palace Punta Cana courtesy of Funjet Vacations.

Lion Pizza

4 servings
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 8 Minutes

4 whole-wheat pitas

1 cup low-sodium pizza sauce

½ cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese

½ cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese

8 pepperoni slices

8 black olive slices

1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, cut into thin strips

1 large red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut into thin strips

4 mushroom slices

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spread ¼ cup pizza sauce on one side of each pita. Sprinkle ? cup mozzarella cheese in the center of each pita. Sprinkle ? cup cheddar cheese around the outer edge of each pita. Place two pepperoni slices in the middle of each pita and top with two olive slices to make the lion’s eyes. Alternate mango and red pepper strips around the edge of each pita, creating the lion’s mane. Add a mushroom slice in the center of each pizza for the lion’s nose. Place the pitas on a large baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until cheese is melted. Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 minutes. Serve warm. - NAPSI

Posted on June 4, 2017 .

Fire up the fun with extreme burgers

Nothing says summer like hamburgers and hot dogs sizzling on the grill. In fact, according to the 25th annual Weber GrillWatch Survey, more than 80 percent of grill owners say that burgers are their favorite thing to grill, followed by hot dogs (75 percent).

To celebrate America’s love affair with hamburgers, brats and other classic grilled fare, Weber Grills has released “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers”-their first cookbook dedicated to fueling America’s passion for backyard classics.

“This book is truly a start-to-finish guide to throwing the ultimate backyard bash,” says New York Times best-selling cookbook author Jamie Purviance. “Each of the 160 recipes features a photo and goes beyond the burger, with fun twists on hot dogs, side dishes and even cocktails.”

“Weber’s Big Book of Burgers” also explores famous regional favorites in its America the Burgerful section, including Santa Fe, where the green chili cheeseburger rules, to Columbia, South Carolina’s own pimento cheeseburger.

An in-depth Sausage and Hot Dog Geography section salutes regional favorites like Classic Chicago-Style Hot Dogs topped with pickled “sport” peppers and neon-green relish, and New York Hot Dogs with Sweet Red Onions.

Extreme Burgers

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Grilling Time: 6−8 minutes

4 slices thick-cut bacon

? cup mayonnaise

1 teaspoon minced garlic

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

2 ripe Hass avocados

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean)

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

½ teaspoon smoked paprika

½ teaspoon onion powder

8 thin slices cheddar cheese

4 hamburger buns, split

4 leaves Boston lettuce

1 ripe beefsteak tomato, cut crosswise into 4 slices about ? inch thick

In a skillet over medium heat, fry the bacon until crisp, 10 to 12 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on paper towels.

Whisk the mayo ingredients, including ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Mash the guacamole ingredients, including ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper.

Mix the ground chuck with the Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, the smoked paprika and onion powder, and then gently form eight patties of equal size, each about ½ inch thick and a little wider than the buns.

Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500° F). Grill the patties over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160° F), 6 to 8 minutes, turning once.

During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt, and toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat.

Build each burger on a bun with garlic mayo, a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, two patties, as much guacamole as you like, a slice of bacon (torn in half) and more garlic mayo.

Serve immediately.

Learn More

For more information or to get a copy of “Weber’s Big Book of Burgers,” visit www.weber.com or www.amazon.com. - NAPSI

Posted on June 4, 2017 .

To look and feel your best, just add blueberries

The path to better eating can be bumpy. Our best-intentioned, health-conscious plans sometimes go out the window on hectic days. Finding easy, go-to favorites may help.

One smart option: blueberries. If you’re looking to satisfy a sweet tooth and stick to healthy eating goals, blueberries can help you do both. They’re very flavorful, but they’re also packed with nutrients and are a good source of fiber.

Portable, low-prep foods also encourage good choices. Blueberries fit that bill. Once you’ve rinsed them, they’re ready to eat—and you can eat the whole berry. No peels, pits or other parts to contend with. It’s why blueberries fit easily into most routines, no matter what your day holds.

Quick and easy to make, this delicious take on a breakfast favorite fuels you for a busy day.

Quick and easy to make, this delicious take on a breakfast favorite fuels you for a busy day.

What Blueberries Offer

Beyond great taste, blueberries bring plenty of healthful benefits.

• Blueberries contain 80 calories per cup, are low in sodium and have virtually no fat. 

• With 3.6 grams of fiber per serving, blueberries help you meet your daily recommended intake of fiber. 

• Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an important role in immune function.

Carton-a-Week Challenge

Here’s a simple, straightforward challenge: Eat a carton of blueberries every week. Eating more blueberries is the easiest, most delicious way to look and feel our best, no matter what life throws our way.

Fresh and frozen blueberries are available year-round. Just buy the fresh on your regular grocery run and keep the frozen stocked in your freezer. Then, you can eat blueberries anytime of day, in your favorite dish or as a snack. This flexibility matters when you’re busy.

Blueberries show that smart choices can be delicious choices. Here’s a fresh take on a breakfast staple:

Gluten-Free Blueberry Oat Pancakes with Lemon Maple Syrup

Yield: 8 small (about 3-inch-diameter) pancakes

1 banana (½ cup), mashed

2 large eggs

⅓ cup gluten-free oats

½ cup fresh blueberries

½ cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Combine banana, eggs and oats and let stand 10 minutes to thicken. Spray a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Spoon mixture, 2 tablespoons at a time, onto skillet and top with some of the blueberries. Cook until browned, 1−2 minutes. Turn and cook additional 1 minute or until cooked through. Combine maple syrup and lemon zest and serve with pancakes. 

Feeling Good Every Day

In the middle of our busy lives, every small victory matters. Sometimes you do all your push-ups, beat traffic and meet your calorie goals. Sometimes you don’t. For every smart choice, you should feel good. Here’s a few small ways blueberries can help you make the most of your day.

Take a field trip to a farm for fresh blueberries. Looking to get outside more? Heading to a farm doesn’t just mean delicious, fresh produce to eat—it also means enjoying the fresh air.

Sneak vitamins and minerals into a milkshake or smoothie. We all have cravings. Throw in some blueberries to get your treat and some healthful benefits, too. 

Give your lemonade the blueberry treatment. Whether you’re sipping on the porch or helping the kids run a roadside stand, you get a pop of color and extra nutrients. 

Shake up your dinner routine. Do you prefer sweet or savory? Either way, blueberry-based sauces pair well with chicken or pork and bring unexpected flavor to your plate. 

Support your favorite community organization. If you want to contribute to a good cause and enjoy some blueberry treats, plan a bake sale. Everyone benefits.

Replace your candy bowl with a berry bowl. At the office or around the house, it’s easy to eat mindlessly all day. Measure out your preferred serving of blueberries and snack guilt-free.

Learn More

For other recipes and further tips on making the most of life, go to www.blueberrycouncil.org. - NAPSI

Posted on June 1, 2017 .

How busy moms can make mealtime easier

Working mothers make up a sizable portion of the modern workforce. According to the United States Department of Labor, as of 2015 69.9 percent of mothers with children under the age of 18 were in the labor force. Things are similar in Canada, where Statistics Canada reports single-earner families made up just 27 percent of all couple families with children in 2014, a figure that was 59 percent in 1976.

Busy working moms can save time by involving the whole family when preparing meals.

Busy working moms can save time by involving the whole family when preparing meals.

While more and more mothers are returning to work after the birth of their children, that does not mean their responsibilities at home are falling by the wayside. Time-strapped working moms tasked with preparing family meals can  embrace some time-saving strategies to make mealtime a little less hectic.

Save time during prep
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, preparing meals for a family can be time-consuming. When making dinner, keep a plastic shopping bag or bowl on the counter where you can discard scraps such as the skin from onions, fat from chicken and other items that will ultimately end up in the garbage. Discarding all the items into one bag rather than walking back and forth from the garbage to your work area can save time during meal prep. 

Slow things down
Another way to save time at mealtime is to use a slow cooker so meals are cooking during the day while you are at work. Chop vegetables on weekend afternoons or nights and separate ingredients into Ziploc bags or containers so all of the prep work is done ahead of time. Each morning you can simply unload the bags or containers into the slow cooker, turn it on before leaving for work and then the meal will be ready to eat by the time you and your family arrive home at night.

Shop online
Many people associate online shopping with clothing and gadgets, but working moms can now buy groceries for their families online as well. Many grocery stores now offer online shopping and pickup services that allow shoppers to fill up their grocery carts before stepping foot in the store. Simply place your order online and arrange a pickup time and everything will be ready for you when you arrive at the store. This can save you the effort and time spent navigating today’s increasingly large and busy grocery stores.

Involve the whole team
Working moms who are tasked with family meal planning might want to find healthy meals for their families, but that does not mean they can’t involve the whole family when it comes time to cook. Encourage children to help when preparing meals, assigning age-appropriate tasks. And let dad do some of the work, encouraging him to fire up the grill when the weather permits.

Working mothers who play the role of family meal planner can make this role simpler by employing various time-saving strategies.

Posted on June 1, 2017 .

Memorial Day BBQ tips

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer. For many, Memorial Day weekend also signifies their first chance to invite friends and family over for a backyard barbecue. While some never put their grills away for the winter, braving the cold so they can keep grilling year-round, many may need a refresher to ensure their Memorial Day BBQ starts summer off on the right foot.


• Stock up on supplies. Before hosting your first backyard barbecue, take inventory of your supplies, making sure you have a spatula, tongs, oven mitts, a sturdy grill brush, and other accessories you may need during grilling season. Check each item to make sure it’s not worse for wear and do the same with the grill as well. Replace supplies that have too much wear and tear in advance of Memorial Day weekend so you have one less item on your to-do list come the day of the barbecue.


• Designate some time to do some cleaning. Even if you cleaned the grill and patio furniture before putting the items in storage for the winter, they likely will need to be cleaned again before you host your first soiree of the season. Remove any dust and check for spider webs or signs of other critters that might have made your furniture home over the cold winter. Droppings from rodents can be dangerous, and spiders can bite unsuspecting grillmasters. Clean patio furniture before putting it out as well.


• Find some new recipes. Hot dogs and hamburgers are perfectly acceptable backyard barbecue fare, but hosts who want to treat their guests to something new this summer can find a host of recipes online. Consider recipes for grilled vegetables so vegetarian guests can enjoy freshly grilled foods alongside your other guests. Just be sure to separate veggies from meat on the grill so vegetarian guests are not hesitant to eat. And while grilled meat tends to be popular at backyard barbecues, don’t overlook recipes for grilled fish that can be both nutritious and delicious. 


• Get guests home safe. Memorial Day gatherings tend to be festive, but keep an eye on guests to ensure that no one consumes an excessive amount of alcohol. Keep a list of local cab companies on hand or download a car service app to your smartphone so safe means of transportation are always within reach.

Posted on May 26, 2017 .