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Dear Readers,

Dr. Bill Sears, an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine and co-author of The Baby Book, wrote a very informative article entitled “Graze Anatomy”, in which he fully explains the benefits of grazing for toddlers.  It appeared in the June, 2011 edition of the “Costco Connection”.  Let me quote directly from the article.

“Children are born grazers.  One of the eating tips I give my patients of all ages is what I call Dr. Bill’s Rule of Two’s:  Eat twice as often – Eat half as much – Chew twice as long.

Grazing benefits the brain.  The buzzwords for feeding the brain are slow and steady.  Grazers have steadier blood sugar and therefore a steadier supply of brain fuel.  Parents often tell me that once they start encouraging their children to graze throughout the day, their children have fewer behavior and learning problems at school.

Grazing is good for staying lean.  When you graze on frequent mini meals throughout the day, your body enjoys stable insulin levels.  Insulin is a fat-storage hormone.  When it spikes high throughout the day, such as when you gorge, you store that extra food as extra fat.  When you graze, insulin is not so high, which helps keep you lean.  Remember, lean does not mean being skinny, but rather having the right body weight for your body type.”

Dr. Sears goes on to describe what is a healthy snack for toddlers and children.  They should contain at least 5 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber; contain 100 to 200 calories and be crunchy so that a lot of chewing is required to digest them.  He gave a list of “Super Snacks” that are good for grazing.  Here are some of the snacks listed:

Baby carrots dipped in hummus

Apple slices dipped in peanut butter

Whole-grain cereal with yogurt

Edamame (fresh, cooked soybeans)

String cheese and a piece of fruit

Cottage cheese and fruit

To Be Continued.

Keep smilin’!

 

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Dear Readers,

I know this is a wild name for macaroni and cheese but throw caution to the wind and give this dish a try!  The recipe for “Cheese Thing” originated with Wendy A. Parker and was published in Sue Rappaport’s column in the Desert Sun newspaper.  Prepared this casserole for both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and everyone loved it.

Cheese Thing

1 pound penne rigate or similar tubular pasta

1/2 pound EACH:  sharp cheddar cheese, mild cheddar cheese

1 can (28 ounces) whole, peeled tomatoes with juice

1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

Instructions:  Heat a large pot of salted water (at least 5 quarts) to boil.  Add penne and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.  Don’t worry if the pasta is a little undercooked, it will be finished in the oven.  Meanwhile cut the cheeses into 1/2 inch cubes.  Leave tomatoes in their juice and cut them into bite size pieces with with a knife or for fun, squeeze them with your hands.

When the pasta is done, drain and return to pot.  Add butter and stir until almost melted.  Add cheese, tomatoes, sugar and salt; stir well.  Pour mixture into 2 quart or 9 x 13-inch baking dish – glass or ceramic is best.  For optimal results, the Cheese Thing should sit for 12 to 24 hours, covered and refrigerated before baking, although it can be baked right away.  It can be frozen at this point for up to a month.

When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Set the Cheese Thing on a rack in the middle of oven; bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until bubbly and noodles poking out of the top have browned considerably.  Serve hot as an entree with a salad or as a side dish for meat or serve cold for breakfast the next morning.

Enjoy and remember to

Keep smilin’!

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Gingered Chicken and Rice Soup

Dear Readers,

I clipped this recipe from the News and Observer newspaper in Raleigh, NC.  It is low in fat and calories and the ginger adds a little zing to the typical chicken and rice soup.

Gingered Chicken and Rice Soup

1 boneless skinless chicken breast, 6 to 8 ozs.

1 cup chopped carrots

1 cup chopped onions

6 cups water

1/2 cup long-grain rice

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 egg

2 tablespoons 1% milk

Place the chicken breast, carrots, onions and water in a 4-1/2 quart or larger soup pot.  Cover and heat to a boil over high heat, and cook for 5 minutes or until the chicken is almost cooked through.

Reduce heat to medium, remove the chicken breast to a plate, and then add the rice, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper.  Dice the chicken and return to the pot.  Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot and cook for 15 more minutes or until the rice is tender.

Stir together the egg and milk until well blended.  Uncover the soup and drizzle the egg mixture evenly over soup.  Stir well to blend and thicken soup, and serve.

Makes 4 servings.  Each serving contains 190 calories and 3 grams of fat.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

 

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Spicy Beef Chili With Apples

Dear Readers,

November is chili time and this recipe includes apples as part of the ingredients.  The recipe is by J. M. Hirsch and came from the Associated Press.  The recipe sounded intriguing so I tried it this week.  It is very tasty and low in fat since I chose to prepare it with ground turkey instead of ground beef.  Mr. Hirsch advises “to briefly heat the spices in oil.  This helps bring out their most intense flavors, mimicking the depth of flavor you’s expect from a more slowly cooked dish.”  My husband also advises to enjoy this chili with a cold bottle of beer!

Spicy Beef Chili With Apples

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

2 teaspoons cumin

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

2 pounds ground beef

2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and diced

1 large yellow onion, diced

6-ounce can tomato paste

3 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the paprika, chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder and cinnamon.  Cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds.  Add the beef and cook until browned, about 6 minutes.

Add the apples and onion, then saute for 5 minutes.  Stir in the tomato paste, broth and vinegar; then bring to a simmer.  Cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Makes 6 servings.  As usual, this chili tastes much better the second day.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

This hummus has a  lighter flavor and texture than the traditional hummus made from chickpeas.  It’s a healthy appetizer for your next party and can be served with a platter of fresh veggies.  The recipe is from the “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” being sold by Dillard’s Department Stores to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.  The price of the cookbook is only $10 – quite a bargain for such a beautiful book.

Minty Green Pea and Butter Bean Hummus

2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed

2 cups frozen baby lima beans, thawed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 large garlic cloves

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pita chips

Place all ingredients, except pita chips, in a food processor or blender; pulse until smooth.  Cover and store in refrigerator.  Serve with pita chips.

Makes 3 cups.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Carrot-Apricot Mash

Dear Readers,

Here’s another recipe from “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” being sold at Dillard’s Department Store to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

Carrot-Apricot mash

2 lbs. carrots, peeled and sliced

1/2 cup apricot nectar

1 cup chicken broth

2 garlic cloves, sliced

3 tablespoons grated orange rind

1/4 cup butter

3 tablespoons whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon salt

1.  Combine first 5 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until carrots are very tender.

2. Process carrot mixture in batches in a food processor until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed.  Return mixture to saucepan; add butter, whipping cream and salt.  Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until warm.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Carmelized Turnips

Dear Readers,

I just tried this recipe for turnips from the “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook”, being sold at Dillard’s Department Store to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.  “If you don’t like turnips, this recipe may just change your mind.”

Carmelized Turnips

2 pounds turnips, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces (about 5 cups)

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1-1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place turnips in a single layer in a large skillet.  Add enough water to cover two-thirds of turnips (to a depth of about 1/2″).  Add butter and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes.  Uncover; cook over medium-high heat 30 to 32 minutes or until water evaporates and turnips are browned.  Add 2 tablespoons water; cook 1 minute to deglaze skillet, stirring to loosen particles from bottom of skillet and glaze turnips. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Dear Readers,

Mashed potatoes are one of my favorite comfort foods and this recipe adds bacon and onion to the potatoes.  It’s a winning combination.  I cut it out of a Good Housekeeping magazine years ago.

Chicago Mashed Potatoes With Onion & Bacon

4 slices bacon, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

3 pounds all-purpose potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1 cup milk, warmed

1.  In 10-inch skillet, cook bacon until browned over medium-low heat.  With slotted spoon, remove bacon to paper towels to drain.  To bacon fat in skillet, add onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 15 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, in 3-quart saucepan, heat potatoes, bay leaf, and enough water to cover to boiling over high heat.  Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender; drain.

3.  Return potatoes to saucepan.  Discard bay leaf.  With potato masher, mash potatoes with salt and pepper.  Gradually add milk; mash until mixture is well blended.  Stir in onion and bacon.  Makes 8 accompaniment servings.

Each serving contains 200 calories and 8 grams total fat.

Tip:  This entire recipe can be made ahead and reheated in the microwave oven when ready to serve.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Puffy Cheddar Grits

Dear Readers,

So far this is my third breakfast recipe in September.  I guess I’m on a brunch kick!  Oh well.  These grits are grrrrreat and they can be prepared a day ahead of time.  The recipe came from a magazine.  I know not which one!

Puffy Cheddar Grits

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon salt

3-1/2 cups milk

2 cups water

1-1/4 cups quick cooking grits

8 ounces (2 cups) shredded cheddar cheese

1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

1/4 teaspoon pepper

5 large eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  In a 3-qt. saucepan, combine butter, salt, 1-1/2 cups milk and 2 cups water.  Heat to boiling on medium-high heat and gradually stir in grits, beating constantly with a wire whisk to prevent lumps.  Reduce heat, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  (Grits will be very stiff.)  Remove saucepan from heat and blend in cheese.

In large bowl, mix hot pepper sauce, pepper, eggs and remaining 2 cups milk until blended.  Gradually stir grits mixture into egg mixture.

Grease shallow 2-1/2 quart casserole.  Pour grits mixture into casserole.  ( At this point you can refrigerate casserole until next day.  Be sure to bring to room temperature before baking.)  Bake uncovered 45 minutes or until knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes 12 main dish servings.

Enjoy and

Keep smilin’!

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Maryhelen’s Dutch Baby Pancakes

Dear Readers,

About four years ago we had the pleasure of eating brunch with our good friends in San Francisco.  Maryhelen served these pancakes and they were delightful.  The only thing better was the company with which we shared them.  Thanks to Maryhelen, I can share her recipe with all of you.

Maryhelen’s Dutch Baby Pancakes

3 eggs

1 cup milk

3/4 cup flour

Pinch of salt

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

A touch of nutmeg

2 tablespoons butter

Combine eggs, milk, flour,salt, vanilla and nutmeg to make a batter.  It’s easy to mix the batter ahead of time in a blender and then give it another whirl just before you pour it in the pan.  Put butter into a cake pan and place into a 425 degree oven to melt.  Pour batter into hot pan (with butter) and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.  Try not to open the oven door so that it doesn’t fall.  Serve right away while it looks perfect with a variety of fruit, powdered sugar and/or syrup.

This recipe makes 3-4 servings.  It can easily be doubled for more servings.

Keep smilin’!

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