mysuperfoods

Super Starts Here.

Blueberries, quite possibly the most crowd pleasing superfood around!

When you ask your child to eat their fruits and veggies, chances are, they will go to the fruit first.  Blueberries are not only eye catching because of their color, but they also have a delicious sweet taste which helps to make them the second most popular fruit after strawberries.  The great thing about blueberries is that unlike most other fruits and veggies, blueberries and be frozen and still retain the same amount of nutrients that fresh berries have!

Blueberries are full of antioxidants which can help to improve the memory.  Since these berries also fall low on the glycemic index, they are great for helping maintain blood sugar levels.  This superfood also helps to repair any retina damage that has occurred from sun exposure, thus helping to repair our eyesight!  Blueberries are also high in fiber, vitamins A, C and E.  This superfood also contains an adequate amount of Iron which is the number one mineral that children are most deficient in.

How To Select Blueberries

When selecting blueberries, if possible try to purchase organic since studies have shown that organic blueberries contain higher amounts of the essential anthocyanin antioxidants that make blueberries so special.  If not, you will still get all of the nutrients by purchasing traditional berries.  It is important to give the container of berries when selecting, if they do not move freely, this means that the berries are damaged and too soft.

Easy Ways To Add Blueberries To Your Diet

– add a serving to your favorite smoothie

– add to your Sunday morning pancakes

– add to oatmeal or cereal

– top your yogurt with blueberries and granola for a healthy parfait treat

– put a serving of blueberries and grapes in small single serving bags and freeze for the perfect refreshing on the go travel snack for the kids.

 

Source:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=8

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Dehydration Prevention For Your Children

With temperatures soaring and school out for the summer, that means that outdoor activities are a necessity during these warm months.  While we all know how important sunscreen is for our children, one thing that many of us might not think about as much is the importance of hydration, especially with water.  Children are more likely to become dehydrated than adults so as parents, it is especially important to make sure they are constantly replenishing the fluids lost while playing outside during the summer, if not, they could possible develop heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke.

Signs of Dehydration:

– Thirst

– Dry or sticky mouth

– Headaches

– Dizziness

– Weakness

– Cramps

Ways To Prevent Dehydration:

– Have them drink 12oz of fluids such as water, 30 minutes prior to going outdoors.  A rule of thumb is that 1 ounce is approximately 2 sips.

– Children under 90 pounds should drink 5 ounces every 20 minutes during the activity. Children over 90 pounds should drink 9 ounces every 20 minutes during the activity.

– During playtime, have breaks so that everyone can get hydrated.

– After playtime, have a refreshing liquid for them to replenish any lost fluids.

We all know that getting children to drink water can sometimes be difficult, this website has ideas for ways to make drinking water fun for them!

Sources:

http://www.safekids.org/safety-basics/safety-resources-by-risk-area/sports-and-recreation/dehydration-and-heat-illness.html

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Ending Childhood Hunger By 2015: What Can You Do?

A few weeks ago, while enjoying a lavish meal I had cooked for my friends and I, a documentary called Hunger Hits Home, came on TV.  After watching this, I suddenly found myself feeling guilty and sad that I was sitting down gorging on an abundance of food and not thinking about it without even stopping to think about the millions who might not even get that much food in a single week.  It shadows the lives of 3 different families in various parts of the country who are all struggling to make ends meet which as a result has led to to them going hungry for extended periods of time due to lack of food.  The documentary also puts an emphasis on childhood hunger.  It takes an in depth look at the No Child Hunger Campaign, including information on how everyone can get involved.  At the same time, the film highlights America’s hunger activists who are hard at work on a solution, including a determined food pantry founder who makes the battle personal and an elementary school principal who refuses to let his students go hungry. It documents the hard work of government officials and non-profit leaders who are moving mountains to mobilize necessary resources while outlining the path for you to join the fight.

After watching this, I must say that I was truly saddened and touched by this documentary.  It is heartbreaking to know that there are so many children and families going hungry in this country and it is only rising.  With school almost out for the summer, many children who rely on free school lunches will be left without options during the summer months, luckily some school systems are putting summer lunch programs into place so that these children can be guaranteed a meal during their summer vacation.  These programs rely on donations and personal contributions.  This is also another reason why local food banks are important to support as well seeing as many of these families rely on these daily meals to receive a majority of their daily nutritional needs that they will not receive otherwise.

You can donate your time or resources simply by finding your nearest food bank or by giving to the No Kid Hungry Campaign so that for every dollar donated, it provides up to 10 meals for a single child.  The goal has been set to help end childhood hunger by 2015!

Additional Source:

http://nokidhungry.org/

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Happy Memorial Day!!

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Grilled Beef and Mushroom Burgers

Burgers are not only easy to make but go hand in hand with Memorial Day weekend.  Here is a great recipe that will take your basic burger from ordinary to amazing!!  The next time I make these, I am going to swap the beef for turkey burger instead to make them a little healthier.  I added slices of avocado to these and it was a great added touch!!

Grilled Beef and Mushroom Burgers

1 pound ground beef
A 1-ounce package of dried mushrooms (porcini, morels or other mushrooms)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (add more if you like burgers a little saltier)
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms (can substitute button or cremini), sliced
1 large onion, sliced thin (about 2 cups)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt
4-6 slices of Swiss cheese
Burger buns (I prefer multi-grain or 100% whole wheat)

Preparation:
1 Process the dried mushrooms in a food processor, or a clean coffee grinder (grind some raw rice to clean out coffee grinds), until ground into a powder. Remove any large mushroom pieces that didn’t grind down, a few small pieces will be fine.
2 In a large bowl, use your clean hands to gently mix together the meat, salt, mushroom powder, black pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Mix just until everything is mostly combined, a minute or two. Do not overwork the meat mixture or it will become tough and meatloaf-like. Shape the meat into 3-4 patties, using about a quarter to a third of a pound per patty, creating a slight indentation at the centers of the patties (this will help keep the patties fairly flat when they cook, as the sides tend to contract more than the center).
3 Prepare your grill for high, direct heat. While the grill is heating up, heat a large sauté pan over high heat for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and dry-sauté them until they release their water, about 2-3 minutes. Add the onions and the olive oil, toss to combine and continue to sauté over high heat 1 minute. Add salt to taste and cook until the onions soften and begin to brown. Turn off the heat and place in a bowl.
4 Grill the burgers to the desired doneness, between 5-8 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of the burgers and how hot your grill is.
5 When the burgers are almost done, lay the Swiss cheese over them and allow the cheese to melt. Paint the burger buns with a little olive oil and toast them on the griddle or grill grates. To assemble, put a burger on the bun and top with the sauteed onions and mushroom mixture.

Source:

http://www.simplyrecipes.com

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Grilling Tips and Tricks

Memorial Day marks the start of summer which is the time of year where grilling is the preferred method of choice for most meats.  Ribs are the perfect compliment to any BBQ but have you ever noticed that they either burn easily, are under cooked, or just don’t taste quite right? If so, here are some tips to grilling your ribs to perfection for your next meal!

1. Don’t Forget the Dry Rub
Dry rubs are usually made with herbs, spices, salt, pepper, and sometimes sugar.  The fat on the outside of the ribs will melt and meld with the dry rub, forming a delightful tasty little crust.

2. Cook Ribs Over Cool Heat
Bank coals to one side fo the grill and cook the ribs over the area without coals under it. Large cuts, like ribs, take long enough to cook that the high heat from being directly over coals will burn the outside well before the inside is cooked and tender.

On a gas grill, turn both or all burners on until the cooking grate is hot, then turn off one of the burners and place the ribs over that section of the grill.

3. Use a Drip Pan
Place a drip pan on the grill grate under the section of the cooking grate where the ribs will cook. This will help minimize flare-ups and burned ribs.

4. Sauce Them At the End (If Using)
Quality grilled ribs don’t necessarily need a sauce, but many of us love to use one anyway. Most ribs sauces contain at least some amount of sugar, honey, or maple syrup – all of which burn easily. Saucing ribs at the end will help avoid burnt, crusted sauce.

Other Tips For Anything You Grill

1. Don’t open the grill constantly as it allows air to get in which can accelerate the outside getting burnt.

2. When grilling meats, it is usually best to turn the meat only once. When grilling meat to a medium or greater doneness, use the lid to assist in cooking. This will decrease the cooking time by applying heat to all sides of the meat at once.

3. Trim beef steaks to 1/8 inch fat–this reduces grease drippings to help minimize open flames. If you like your hamburgers juicy, go with ground beef that is about 15 to 20 percent fat. Have fish fillets cut from 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick–anything thinner will dry out too quickly. Pork chops should also be at least 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick–this cut is ready when the meat is no longer pink along the bone and when the juices run clear.

4. Marinating quickly tenderizes meat and also adds additional flavor. Use roughly 1 to 2 cups of marinade for every 1 1/2 to 2 pounds of food. The marinade should completely surround the food. Cooked meat should never be returned to a cold marinade.

Sources:

http://localfoods.about.com/od/grillingtips/tp/How-To-Cook-Delicious-Ribs.htm

http://www.thefunplace.com/house/tips/grilling.html

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Stars and Stripes Berry Poundcake

One of my favorite things to make over Memorial Day is my stars and stripes poundcake.  I also love to make themed food for holidays so this is the perfect dish that is easy to make and travels well!!  If the idea of cake turns you off, I also found a similar idea using only berries and bananas.

Stars and Stripes Poundcake

2 12 oz. containers Cool Whip
2 pt Blueberries
2 pk Frozen pound cake ( I make my own poundcake for the recipe, see below)
2 pt Strawberries or raspberries (will require an additional pt of raspberries)

Poundcake

2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
2/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. unsalted butter, softened
2 large egg whites
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup. low-fat sour cream or Greek yogurt

Preparation:

1. Slice one pint of the strawberries and halve the other pint.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with cooking spray/flour.

3. Cream butter and sugar in a mixer bowl until fluffy. Add egg whites and egg, beating well. Beat in almond and vanilla extract and sour cream. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. Add to the butter/egg mixture and beat well. Pour batter into loaf pan. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes.  Put poundcake in fridge or freezer for at least 1 hour.

5. Cut the pound cake into 10 slices and line the bottom of a casserole dish with the slices.

6. Spread Cool Whip evenly over top. Top with sliced strawberries and 1/2 the blueberies.

7. Layer slices of second pound cake and spread remaining Cool Whip. Place strawberry halves and remaining blueberries on cake as a flag so that the blueberries created the star square and the strawberries form the stripes.

Fruit Flags

29 Large Strawberries

30 Blackberries

7 Bananas

Lemon Juice

Toothpicks (optional)

Preparation:

1. Hull and halve 29 large strawberries and set them aside.
2. Arrange 30 large blackberries, as shown, in the upper left corner of a serving tray or cutting board (it should be at least 8 by 13 inches).
3. Cut 58 banana slices, 3/4-inch-thick, into a bowl. Sprinkle on lemon juice and toss the slices gently with a rubber spatula to keep them from browning.
4. Assemble the banana slices in rows as shown and top each slice with a strawberry half secure with toothpick if desired.

Adapted From:

http://www.familyfun.com

 

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Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls: If You Don’t Like Cabbage, You Will Love It After Making These!

I made these last night and they have given me a new appreciation for cabbage.  The next time I make these, I think I am going to play around with the veggies I put inside and also try it with quinoa instead of bulgur.  You can also add turkey burger or ground beef to these for a more traditional take on a cabbage roll.  I was on the hunt for other recipes that include cabbage and while it seems like an odd combination, The New York Times posted this recipe for a caramelized onion and cabbage tart that is going to be my next trial with cabbage.  Enjoy!

Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls

1-1/2 cups chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup diced zucchini
3/4 cup chopped green pepper
3/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup bulgur
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 large head cabbage
6 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

Directions
1. In a large saucepan, combine the first 10 ingredients. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand for 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, cook cabbage in boiling water just until leaves fall off head. Set aside eight large leaves for rolls (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use). Cut out the thick vein from each leaf, making a V-shape cut. Overlap cut ends before filling.

3. Stir 4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese and lemon juice into vegetable mixture.

4. Place a heaping 1/3 cupful on each cabbage leaf; fold in sides. Starting at an unfolded edge, roll to completely enclose filling.

5. Combine tomato sauce and hot pepper sauce; pour 1/3 cup into a 2-qt. baking dish. Place cabbage rolls in dish; spoon remaining sauce over top. Cover and bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Source:

http://www.tasteofhome.com

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Top 10 Reasons Why I Love Starting My Own Business

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1. My commute is really short

2. I am my own boss

3. Working with people I think are really great

4. I can go from a conference call to a dance party with my daughters in 30 seconds (with the help of a great babysitter!)

5. Building something that REALLY inspires me

6. Spending time with my daughters is market research

7. Knowing that I haven’t stopped dreaming big

8. Finding inspiration from good food and healthy living

9. Being surrounded by friends and family that want to see me succeed

10. Learning something new everyday.

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Cabbage: The overlooked superfood

I will be the first one to admit that even as an adult, I tend to stay away from cabbage.  It has just been that vegetable that I cannot bring myself to eat.  I put myself on a mission this year to try out fruits and veggies that I never eat in hopes of finding a new favorite item.  After looking into cabbage, I discovered that it is packed with nutrients and health benefits which made me even more eager to try it!

Cabbage is available through the year which makes it easily accessible.  Cabbage can be eaten raw or put in any dish as well.  Cabbage is packed with Vitamins C which helps the immune system, Vitamin A which is essential for healthy vision, and Vitamin B which is key to support the nervous system.  Cabbage is also full of Iron and Fiber.

In addition to this, consuming cabbage on a regular basis can also help to reduce cholesterol and prevent certain cancers through the abundance of antioxidants and glucosinolates.  Cabbage is also linked to helping reduce and heal peptic ulcers due to the key nutrients essential for digestive health.  This superfood also contains anti-inflammatory properties and has nutrients that help reduce the signs of aging through the high amount of beta-carotene.

Source:

http://www.besthealthbenefits.info/6-health-benefits-of-cabbage/

http://ezinearticles.com/?Important-Facts-About-Cabbage&id=760798

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