Saturday, February 28, 2009

Best Blueberry Bagels

I love blueberry bagels as my hips can attest! I have been on a quest for the perfect blueberry bagel in recent months and, after trying every brand available in the Atlanta area (aside from private bakeries) I have found MY winner.

It's the Kroger brand. They have more blueberries, more taste and they have a very nice texture or consistency (can't think of the perfect word). By consistency I mean they aren't too dry, they stay nice and blueberryish when toasted.

It's the only one I can eat without having to add butter, which is a miracle in my book much as I love to slather butter on everything.

Another nice part of finding these to be my favorite on the blueberry bagel quest is that they're also the least expensive.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It's National Pancake Week! Celebrate Heritage and History With a Log Cabin Breakfast

/PRNewswire/ -- Log Cabin(R), a family household tradition since 1888, would like to help you celebrate National Pancake Week with delicious breakfast recipes! Log Cabin, the family favorite table syrup, was named to honor President Abraham Lincoln because Lincoln, as well as 6 other US Presidents, was born in a log cabin. From February 23 - February 28th, during National Pancake Week there's no better way to celebrate than with breakfast made with Log Cabin syrup!

"Our heritage is important to us, during National Pancake Week and all of the time," says Alli Meyer, Associate Brand Manager of Pinnacle Foods. "With a history like ours, it's no surprise that Log Cabin continues to stand for the most authentic table syrup, known for its unique maple taste."

Log Cabin can be found across the country in Log Cabin Original Flavor, Log Cabin Lite, and Log Cabin Sugar Free. Use the following Log Cabin recipe ideas for breakfast inspiration:

Apple Pecan Baked Pancake
(Serves 4)
1/2 c. favorite pancake mix
2 tbsp. butter -- (melted)
1 c. Granny Smith apple -- (peeled and sliced)
1/3 c. pecans -- (chopped)
3 c. Log Cabin syrup
1/2 tsp. cinnamon -- (ground)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pancake mix according to package
directions; and set aside. Pour melted butter in 9" pie plate. Place
apple slices in bottom of pie plate; sprinkle cinnamon and pecans
and drizzle syrup over apples; carefully pour batter on top. Bake at
350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until top springs back when
touched. Loosen edges and invert onto serving plate. Cut in wedges
and serve with warm maple syrup and/or fresh apple butter. Serves 4
to 6. Good served with sausage links.

(Serves 6)
6 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 slices French bread
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Log Cabin Syrup

In a shallow dish or plate, combine eggs, milk and vanilla. Add bread
and soak for 5 minutes, turning once to coat. Place on well greased
baking sheet and dot each slice with butter. Bake at 450 degrees F. Cut
into finger like strips and top with Log Cabin syrup. Try building your
French toast fingers into a log cabin, like the one President Lincoln
was born in!

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Spice Up Your Meals with Latin Flavors

(ARA) – Most at-home chefs have five to 10 go-to recipes for the week, leaving them in a repetitive cooking rut. Whether you're a seasoned chef or just making your way around the kitchen, exploring different cuisines and experimenting with flavors can be simple and bring fresh life and authenticity to everyday meals. One tasty cuisine with readily available ingredients that is growing in popularity in the United States is Latin cuisine.

"Latin and Mexican flavors offer rich, bold tastes, textures and possibilities," says 2008 James Beard Award winner Chef Michelle Bernstein-Martinez, author of the new cookbook, Cuisine a Latina. "Authentic, ethnic ingredients are widely available in supermarkets, allowing any at-home chef to try something new in their meals."

Here are a few of Bernstein-Martinez's secrets to bringing her love of Latin and Mexican flavors to your kitchen:

Fresh, natural ingredients
The ingredients you choose for your dishes are just as important as the preparation of the food. Latin meals are known for their freshness and authenticity. To kick things up a notch, incorporate different fruits and vegetables such as plantains, limes, avocados and Spanish or yellow onions into everyday meals. Adding spices like ginger, chilies and cilantro, often used in the Latin culinary world, can add bold flavor to a dish.

One of the top and most easily accessible ingredients in Mexican cuisine is cheese, so look for natural and authentic cheeses with distinctive and full flavor, such as the El Regalo Manchego and Anejo Enchilado found in Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Authentic Mexican Cheese.

Comfort food
Many Latin dishes offer the hearty and rich characteristics of comfort food, with a few twists and exciting flavors. Creamy polenta (corn grits) with sausage, poblano peppers stuffed with shrimp and rice and chili-spiced onion rings with Mexican cheese fondue are all rich and warm meals sure to become favorites.

Authentic antojitos
Antojitos, also known as appetizers or "little cravings," are small dishes of traditional Mexican cuisine. Often found in Latin restaurants, these small meals are great for entertaining or offering variety during dinnertime. One antojito recipe idea is mini open-faced plantain sandwiches with grilled steak, avocado, chilies and Sargento Artisan Blends Authentic Mexican Cheese.

This recipe for Sweet Corn and Cheese Empanadas by Bernstein-Martinez is another antojito that is sweet, savory and perfect for bringing Latin flavor into your kitchen.

Sweet Corn and Cheese Empanadas
Serves 4

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound plus 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
1/3 cup cold water
Canola oil for frying
*May substitute refrigerated or frozen pie crust dough

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon oil
1 Spanish or yellow onion, chopped fine
4-1/2 cups (6 ears) corn, off the cob
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 bunch scallions, sliced thin
1 cup (4 oz.) Sargento Artisan Blends Shredded Authentic Mexican Cheese
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

1. Preheat oven to 375 to 400 F.

2. To prepare the dough: Combine flour, salt and butter in food processor; run until it becomes a coarse meal. Add all the water and pulse until it forms a dough. Allow to rest.

3. To prepare the filling: In a saute pan on medium heat, place the butter and oil. Add the onion, cook for 3 to 4 minutes; add the corn. Cook, stirring, for about 4 minutes. Lower the heat and add sugar, salt, pepper and cream. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the scallions, parsley and cheese. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated well. Remove from heat and allow to cool in the refrigerator.

4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface, making a circle about 1/8-inch thick. With a cookie cutter 5 inches in diameter, cut circles. Place about 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of the filling into the center of each circle. Moisten the exposed dough with water. Fold the empanada in half, pressing the edges firmly together and press the tines of a fork around the edge to seal.

5. Bake about 10 minutes or until golden or heat 2 inches of oil to 325 to 350 F in a large pot; fry in hot oil until golden.

For more recipes, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Celebrate a Pop-culture Icon with Delicious Raisins

(ARA) – What do you think of when you think of raisins? Sure, you know they are tasty and nutritious, but does anything else come to mind? Perhaps you remember the groovy, sunglass-wearing raisins that danced on the TV screens and into the hearts of families across the country years ago.

In fact, the word through the grapevine is that the California Dancing Raisins are turning 25 in 2009. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since the 1980’s phenomenon. In addition to their status as pop-culture icons, California raisins have long been a family-favorite snack, as well as a tasty addition to recipes.

A perfect reason to celebrate is all of the nutrition that is packed into tiny California raisins. They are fat- and cholesterol-free, high in antioxidants and raisins also deliver valuable potassium and dietary fiber. Just 1/4 cup is a serving of fruit, which makes raisins a wise choice for snacking and ideal for adding naturally sweet flavor to recipes.

To kick-off the birthday festivities, try this delicious Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcake recipe. Pureed California raisins are the secret ingredient that makes these moist and chocolaty cupcakes a wholesome treat. For more California raisin recipes to keep the celebration going all year long, visit

Happy Birthday Chocolate Cupcakes
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 18 to 20 minutes

3/4 cup California raisins
2 to 3 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup softened heart healthy vegetable spread
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sugar
4 egg whites
1 cup flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, divided
1/4 cup softened heart healthy vegetable spread
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons fat-free half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F and line 12 muffin cups with cupcake papers. Set aside.

Combine raisins and hot water in food processor or blender; process until smooth. Beat raisin puree together with sour cream, spread and extract in a large bowl until light. Beat in sugar, then egg whites. Add dry ingredients and beat until well mixed. Spoon into lined cups and bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool before frosting.

For frosting, beat together 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar with remaining ingredients until smooth; spread the top of each cupcake with a thin layer. Stir remaining 1/2 cup powdered sugar together with a few drops of half-and-half until thick and smooth. Drizzle a swirl on top of each cupcake.

Makes 12 cupcakes

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009 Launches a New Twist on the Cooking Website

/PRNewswire/ -- Scratch cooks aren't the only people who need a cooking website. Launching today, serves up recipes featuring incredible menu shortcuts that are created through the use of common grocery store items. features dozens of recipes and coupons, as well as a shopping list generator. The website was created by two working women, Carrie Myers Jaynes and Vicki Monti, who searched for a resource and community to help them create quick and healthy meals that use branded grocery store products. Not finding any, they created it themselves.

"FunnySpoon is for the Wednesday night cook in all of us - when there is no time to cook from scratch, you don't want to drag the family to a restaurant, and you don't want breakfast for dinner again." Said co-founder Carrie Myers Jaynes, "By using everyday ingredients, you can create a dish - in just minutes - that your family will love and you'll feel great about serving!"

"People feel overwhelmed by meal preparation - what to cook, what products to buy, how to prepare. FunnySpoon meets those anxieties head-on by providing solutions that are quick and nutritious, and by celebrating the fact that you can deliver a from-scratch result without the from-scratch complexity. We do this by pairing branded products that complement each other to create the perfect dish. Everyone has their secret shortcut recipe and we'd like them to share their wealth of knowledge with the rest of us who are trying to figure out the daily meal-time dilemma," said Carrie.

With families heading back to their home kitchens for dinner during the economic downturn, FunnySpoon comes at a perfect time to help people put quality food on the table at a fraction of restaurant prices. "FunnySpoon cooking is not cheating," said Vicki. "Not even professional chefs cook from scratch every night they are home. There's no shame in using shortcuts when the result is a great-tasting dish that fits your budget and your time." Announces Recipe Contest

Just in time for the website's debut, is holding a "Share Your Recipe" contest inviting all non-scratch cooks, young and old, new and experienced, to share their recipes for quick meal preparation and shortcuts to simplify the cooking process. The first fifty submissions will receive a canvas, eco-friendly shopping bag courtesy of

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Seafood Twice A Week For Lent

(NAPSI)-If you're looking to trim food bills or enhance your health, adding frozen shrimp and fish to your diet twice a week could pay off.

Seafood can be a lean source of protein, high in important omega-3 fatty acids and rich in a variety of nutrients including vitamin D. Plus, whether you're choosing seafood to observe a meatless Friday or simply to meet the USDA's dietary guidelines, there are a number of affordable and easy-to-prepare options.

For instance, you can find a line of delicious frozen seafood products, including a new line of fish fillets and Tilapia Tenders--which are whole, hand-cut and lightly battered tilapia fillets--from SeaPak Shrimp Company. They're an affordable and convenient way to eat more seafood. They can also be used in a variety of recipes, including this one for a delightful tilapia salad:

Sunshine Tilapia Salad with Dijon Dill Dressing

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Makes: 3 servings


1 package (14 oz) SeaPak® Tilapia Tenders

1 bagged salad

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 avocado, cubed

2 carrots, shredded

½ cup light mayonnaise

½ teaspoon dried dill

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons water


PREHEAT oven to 425º F.

PLACE the frozen tilapia tenders on a baking sheet and bake according to the package instructions.

ADD mayonnaise, dill, Dijon, lemon juice and water together in a small bowl. Stir well to incorporate. Place bowl in the refrigerator until ready to use.

ASSEMBLE salads in three bowls: lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado cubes and shredded carrots.

CUT fully cooked tilapia tenders into bite-size pieces and place over salads.

DRIZZLE with 2 tablespoons of Dijon dill dressing and serve immediately.

For more information and recipes, visit

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Sunnier Side Of Breakfast

(NAPSI)-It's been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In addition to providing the necessary energy to get up and go, studies have shown that those who eat a healthy breakfast have better overall diets, improved concentration and performance during the day, and more strength and endurance for physical activity. Unfortunately, the traditional hot breakfast--eggs, meat and potatoes--can add fat and calories to your plate. But there's good news for breakfast lovers who've resolved to eat better this year: With a few simple substitutions, you can still enjoy a hearty, satisfying morning meal without some of the guilt.

Here are a few tips for remaking the traditional breakfast:

• If your morning beverage of choice is coffee with cream and sugar, try using skim milk and a sugar substitute instead.

• A side of fresh fruit can be an easy way to increase your daily intake of fruits and vegetables--and add a smidgen of something sweet to your plate.

• Toss a few vegetables into your eggs for added fiber and flavor.

• Substitute your breakfast meat with the new Morningstar Farms Maple Flavored Veggie Sausage Patties. These maple-flavored veggie sausage patties are a sweet-and-savory alternative to traditional precooked pork sausage, with 76 percent less fat. You can enjoy them alongside a serving of eggs or crumbled into any recipe that calls for maple-flavored sausage. In fact, they're the main ingredient in this Easy Brunch Focaccia recipe--a delicious "breakfast pizza" that will have everyone around the table saying, "That's amore!"

Easy Brunch Focaccia

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Time to Table: 35 minutes


4 Morningstar Farms Maple Flavored Veggie Sausage Patties, thawed

1 tube (13.8 oz.) refrigerated pizza dough

¾ cup finely chopped onion

2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon dried sage leaves

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple or 1 can (8 oz.) pineapple tidbits (juice pack), drained

1 cup (4 oz.) shredded mozzarella cheese or Cheddar cheese


Cut the Morningstar Farms Maple Flavored Veggie Sausage Patties into bite-size pieces. Set aside. Unroll dough onto baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Press dough into 14 x 10-inch rectangle.

In small nonstick skillet, cook onion in oil over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender and beginning to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in sage and pepper. Spread over dough. Arrange veggie patty pieces and pineapple on top of onion mixture. Bake at 425° F for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are brown.

Sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 425° F for 5 to 6 minutes more or until cheese melts and crust is golden brown. Cut into rectangles to serve. Serve warm.

Yield: 6 servings

For more quick recipes and fun food ideas, visit

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Whataburger's Top 16 Restaurants to Compete for $140,000 in Prizes During 'Burger Olympics'

/PRNewswire/ -- Sixteen restaurants in Arizona, Georgia and Texas have emerged as finalists in Whataburger's own WhataGames. The 58-year-old Texas burger icon will host the culmination of its 'burger Olympics,' a bi-annual competition between more than 614 Whataburger restaurants from 10 states, this March in Dallas. The 16 finalist teams - who claim to 'bleed mustard' - will be fighting for bragging rights and prize winnings of more than $140,000.

"Being at WhataGames in 2007, I realized that I could do this. It feels like everything we worked hard for paid off. Right now, I'm just on cloud nine. I couldn't be happier," Emily Leija, General Manager at Whataburger #288 in Corpus Christ, Texas, said. "I have a great team that is constantly communicating and works well together. When you have a team like this you enjoy coming to work."

For the past four months, Whataburger restaurant teams have studied their operations manuals, practiced their burger building skills and memorized Whataburger history, facts and figures. Through a process of elimination involving mystery shoppers, independent restaurant audits and pop quizzes, the top 16 restaurants rose above the rest.

Each team is comprised of 10 members: one general manager, one manager, two team leaders and six team members will compete in the finals, earning a tremendous amount of pride within a family-owned and culture-driven company known for its die-hard fans. The 16 teams will compete for three days, March 5-7, in three different parts of the competition to determine the gold, silver and bronze medal winning teams: WhataYaKnow, a Jeopardy-like game; Texas Hot Hold 'Em, a card game about procedures; and What's Cookin', a simulated 30-minute lunch rush at a Whataburger restaurant.

The WhataGames gold medal winning team takes home $5,000 each as well as $500 each for their fellow restaurant team members at home that didn't make the trip. Silver medal team members each win $2,500 and $250 for their restaurant team members and bronze team members each win $1,000 and $100 for their restaurant team members.

Along with the 16 WhataGames restaurant finalist teams, six teams from the company's maintenance staff will be competing to prove who can maintain equipment like fryers, grills and drive-thru speakers the best. Whataburger's maintenance services staff maintains all of the company's more than 700 restaurants and are a crucial part of ensuring every Whataburger restaurant is clean and functions properly. Three technicians from each of Whataburger's six regions will compose the teams as they compete in their own competition for the same level of prizes as the restaurant teams.

"WhataGames is about the passion our team members have for delivering hot burgers and friendly service. It's remarkable to see a 16-year-old win $5,000 and use it to help his family buy a new car or save it for college," said Buddy Reno, Vice President of Restaurant Operations for Whataburger Restaurants, LP. "It's about much more than operations standards. It's a celebration of our company's culture, our teams' dedication and a tribute to our history."

WhataGames finals are the featured event during the Whataburger Family Convention, held concurrently in Dallas. The convention is a family occasion, hosting Whataburger corporate and regional representatives, spouses, franchisees and the WhataGames national finalists.

WhataGames Restaurant Finalists 2009
Phoenix, Ariz.: Unit 761, 4610 S. 48th St.
Thomasville, Ga.: Unit 862, 13880 U.S. Hwy. 19 S.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 288, 5001 Saratoga Blvd.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 334, 4026 U.S. Hwy. 77 N.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 396, 4545 Violet Rd.
Corpus Christi, Texas: Unit 787, 6425 Weber Rd.
Goliad, Texas: Unit 630, 348 E. Pearl St.
Houston: Unit 694, 6520 Southwest Fwy.
Kingsville, Texas: Unit 800, 2701 S. U.S. Hwy. 77 Byp.
Laredo, Texas: Unit 669, 7110 McPherson Rd.
Laredo, Texas: Unit 845, 9102 McPherson Rd.
Port Aransas, Texas: Unit 311, 303 W. Cotter Ave.
San Antonio: Unit 717, 12808 IH-10 W.
San Antonio: Unit 790, 5760 W. Loop 1604 N.
Victoria, Texas: Unit 175, 4302 N. Navarro St.
Watauga, Texas: Unit 757, 7826 Denton Hwy.

WhataGames Maintenance Finalists 2009
Joe Carlyle
Frank Licata
Sam Quinones
Joseph Morin
Bob Armstrong
Juan Padilla
Lee Parris
Tim Johnson
Floyd White
Jimmy Gonzales
Jordan Flores
Gary Michalek
Lyndon Dearing Jr.
Robbie Langston
Joe Armedariz
Jesus Zamarripa
Oscar Chapa
Brian Irving

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Angel Food Ministries Announces AllergyFree Foods(TM) Grocery Packages

/PRNewswire/ -- Angel Food Ministries (, an organization dedicated to providing affordable, quality brand name food to those in need, is proud to be able to offer participants a food package containing items from the AllergyFree Foods(TM) brand of products. This special box of food is designed to accommodate those with the eight most common food allergies: peanuts, soy, dairy, eggs, fish, shellfish, gluten, and tree nuts.

The Allergy-free box costs $25 each, and there is no limit per person or family and no prequalification to order food. The AllergyFree Foods(TM) Company utilizes a revolutionary process that helps eliminate many of the top food allergies in common family favorites.

The new Allergy-Free Box contains:

1 lb coated chicken tenders
1 lb coated breast fillet
1 lb coated nuggets
1 lb coated chicken wings
1 lb coated cubed steak (chicken fried steak)

Angel Food provides individuals and families with fresh, brand name food for typically half the retail price. By purchasing food in bulk, directly from some of the top suppliers in the country, food is discounted by up to 50% of retail. Any of the other boxes of food on the menu may be purchased along with the Allergy-Free Box. The additional boxes available contain top quality food staples from every food group, including chicken, beef, milk, eggs, vegetables and fruits. Each of the regular boxes of food feeds a family of four for about one week, or a single individual for almost a month. The menu selections vary each month, and consist of both fresh and frozen items, saving Americans money with no sacrifice to quality. There is even a box designed for the nutritional needs of senior citizens.

Angel Food Ministries' services are for everyone, regardless of economic circumstances. There are no limits to the quantity of boxes per individual, nor are there any applications or qualifications for eligibility.

In response to current economic conditions, Angel Food has stepped up their efforts to meet the growing needs by adding new distribution centers and hosts sites as quickly and as efficiently as possible. The demand for Angel Food's services nationwide has increased substantially. Today, Angel Food Ministries serves hundreds of thousands of families across 38 states, having provided more than $111 million in direct food assistance to more than 20 million Americans since its inception in 1994. At the core of Angel Food's mission is the promise of fresh food and quality nutrition.

Anyone who wishes to make use of Angel Food's services can call 1-888-819-3745 or visit to find the nearest host site.

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Monday, February 9, 2009

The Heart Of The Matter: Americans Should Eat Seafood At Least Twice A Week

(NAPSI)-The benefits of eating seafood have been touted by many health organizations, so it would be heartening if Americans ate more. Currently, we consume only half the recommended amount, and many assume it's just too expensive or difficult to prepare.

Shrimp and fish are a source of omega-3 fatty acids that can improve cardiovascular health and lower the incidence of heart disease and stroke. Some varieties of seafood, including shrimp, even deliver impressive amounts of vitamin D, which is deficient in the American diet.

Some people may not eat enough seafood because they think it's expensive, but seafood can also be cost effective, especially if it's frozen. Frozen items are priced lower than those at the seafood counter or in restaurants, and they can be stored in the home freezer for an inexpensive and convenient meal option.

For example, SeaPak Shrimp Company offers several delicious, high-quality seafood products. This simple recipe features succulent frozen shrimp and can serve as a restaurant-quality meal for four people for under $20. For more delicious, easy-to-prepare and budget-friendly recipes, visit

Tangy Lemon Pepper Shrimp With Broccoli

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 8 minutes

Makes: 4 servings


2 12-oz SeaPak® Shrimp Scampi (frozen)

1 lb angel-hair pasta, dry (choose multigrain for a healthy option)

1 16-oz package broccoli (no sauce), frozen

2 tsp lemon pepper

¼ cup Dijon mustard

1 cup dry white wine

Cook pasta to al dente according to the package directions.

Heat large sauté skillet on medium for 1 minute. Add frozen shrimp to pan and sauté 5 minutes.

Defrost broccoli in microwave according to package directions. Drain broccoli and add to skillet with shrimp.

Whisk lemon pepper, Dijon mustard and wine in a small bowl. Pour mixture over shrimp and broccoli. Stir well to incorporate all ingredients.

Simmer for additional 3-4 minutes (or until shrimp are fully cooked), stirring frequently.

Toss shrimp and broccoli with pasta and serve.

To spice up your dish, add 1-2 tsp of crushed red pepper with the lemon pepper.

Estimated recipe cost to serve four: $18.36; estimated cost per serving: $4.59

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Polka Dot Twisters Fun And Delicious

(NAPSI)-Getting their little hands into dough is one of the highlights of being in the kitchen to most youngsters. Baking and eating a cinnamon twist warm from the oven makes it all the better. For parents, time spent with kids in the kitchen creates memories and provides an opportunity to teach important life skills while having fun.

For instance, after-school or breakfast treats such as Polka Dot Twisters are so simple to make, the whole family can get in on the action. Children can pat the dough, roll it into ropes, and measure the ingredients.

Everyone will be happy with the delicious aroma coming from the oven and even more so digging into a still-warm Twister. The easy and yummy treat is studded with raisins for sweetness and nutrition. The recipe can easily be doubled.

Polka Dot Twisters

1½ cups all-purpose baking mix

½ cup milk

¾ cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins

All-purpose flour, as needed to roll Twisters

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper, or spray with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, stir baking mix, milk and raisins for 1-2 minutes until a soft dough forms. Dough becomes less sticky as it is stirred. Pat dough onto well-floured surface, and with floured hands, shape into a ball, using extra flour as needed to keep from sticking.

Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope 12 inches long. Fold each rope in half and gently twist together.

Place on prepared cookie sheet. Brush top of each Twister with a thin layer of beaten egg using pastry brush. Mix together sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon over each.

Bake for 15 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove Twisters to a cooling rack. Serve warm. Makes 6.

For more kid-pleasing recipes, go to

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

FDA Urges Consumers Not to Eat Hundreds of Products Recalled Because of Contaminated Peanuts and Peanut Ingredients

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- So far more than 500 cases of foodborne illness caused by Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported. Many of these cases have required hospitalization. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have confirmed that the sources of this outbreak are peanut products from the Peanut Corporation of America (PCA). PCA sells peanuts, peanut butter, peanut paste, peanut granules and peanut meal, all of which have been recalled

Although none of these PCA products were sold directly to the public, they can potentially sicken consumers because they are used by institutions, the food service industry, and by many companies as ingredients in hundreds of food products, including cookies, crackers and other baked goods, candies, snack bars and snack mixes, fruit and vegetable products with peanut butter, ice cream, and pet foods.

Major national brands of jarred peanut butter found in grocery stores are not affected by the PCA recall.

Companies are recalling their products that contain peanut ingredients from PCA. FDA urges consumers not to eat products that have been recalled or feed them to their pets, and to throw them away in a manner that prevents others from eating them. To help consumers identify these recalled products, FDA has created a searchable database which can be found at Identification of products subject to recall is continuing and this database is updated frequently. The database is sorted by product category, such as cookies, snack bars, etc., or it can be searched by brand name, UPC code, product description (example: crackers with peanut butter), or any combination of brand, UPC code and description. Persons who do not have access to the Internet can get this information by calling FDA's information line at 1-888-SAFEFOOD or CDC's information line at 1-800-CDC-INFO. The CDC line is staffed 24 hours every day.

If a product is not in FDA's list of recalled products, consumers can check the company's Web site or call the toll-free number listed on most packaging. Information consumers may receive from the companies in this manner has not been verified by FDA.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Thumbs Down on Green Giant Pasta, Broccoli & Alfredo Sauce

I always look for new things to try at the grocery store as I wander up and down the aisles. So, when I spotted what looked like an interesting and tasty change-of-pace in the frozen veggie section the other day, I grabbed it.

"Green Giant Pasta, Broccoli & Alfredo Sauce" sounds good doesn't it? It's one of those open the bag, toss in a dish and nuke dishes that is great as a filler or when you're in a rush.

It looks good on the package photo, too. Big chunks of broccoli florets atop sauce covered noodles. Yum.

I glanced at the calories knowing anything with "Alfredo" in it is usually high in calories and fat. Not so with this one, only 220 calories per serving and 4 grams of fat. Not low-cal, but reasonable.

Tried it last night for the first time... and the last.

First, I missed the sodium content when looking at the "Nutrition Facts" but caught the high content immediately with my first bite. I like salt and like it more than I should, so for me to taste the salt it had to be high.

Took a look at the bag and yep, there's a whopping 710 mg in one serving. Wow.

However, that wasn't the worst. I counted three (3) broccoli florets in the entire dish. The rest of the pieces were stems. I know, picky, picky, but I don't like the stems. I don't mind a few, and I can live with 50-50, but there were way too many for my tastes.

I did like the fact that unlike many similar dishes, this one had a lot of broccoli. Usually they're pasta heavy.

The taste? Mediocre --- maybe because it was so low in calories compared to other Alfredos, maybe because of the high sodium content, or maybe it's just the recipe in general.

My husband and I both curled our lips when we tasted our first bite. It's not horrible, it's just not "good".

I was a bit surprised, and disappointed.

Cherries: 'America's Super Fruit' Offers Homegrown Health Benefits

/PRNewswire/ -- Cherries are not only good for you, but they're also on trend as a homegrown "Super Fruit." According to recent data, more than 9 out of 10 Americans want to know where their food comes from, nearly 80 percent say they're purchasing "locally produced" products, and the majority are defining "local" as made in America.(1,2) And cherries deliver.

About ninety-five percent of cherries consumed in the U.S. are grown here, with most coming from Michigan, Wisconsin, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New York.

Food and nutrition experts, including registered dietitian and host of the Food Network's "Healthy Appetite" Ellie Krieger, say the homegrown advantage, coupled with powerful health benefits, make cherries "America's Super Fruit."

"Cherries offer some of the most important attributes people are seeking in their foods today," said Krieger. "While exotic berries may be 'trendy,' as a chef and dietitian I choose cherries, an all-American favorite, because they deliver a powerful combination of good nutrition, local sourcing and environmental sustainability."

"America's Super Fruit" also delivers on safety. As stewards of the environment, the cherry industry has been at the forefront of sustainable growing practices and responsible pesticide research for many years.

Homegrown Heart Health Benefits

As February is American Heart Month, it's no wonder it's also National Cherry Month. The antioxidant compounds -- called anthocyanins -- that give cherries their RED color continue to demonstrate heart-health benefits. Recent studies from the University of Michigan revealed that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered multiple risk factors for heart disease. In 2007, researchers found that cherry-enriched diets in animals lowered total blood cholesterol levels and reduced triglycerides (fatty acids).(3) And, in 2008, the University of Michigan researchers found animals fed a cherry-enriched diet saw reduced total body weight and fat by 14 percent, in particular the "belly fat" that is most often associated with heart disease risk.(4)

"As we increasingly look for ways to improve health and fight disease with foods, it's exciting to see more and more studies suggest that simple dietary changes, such as including tart cherries, could help decrease the risk for heart disease," said Dr. Steven Bolling, a cardiac surgeon at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center who also heads the U-M Cardioprotection Research Laboratory. "The fact they come from Michigan and around the United States is an added bonus."

It's Easy to Enjoy "America's Super Fruit"

In addition to being grown in the U.S., tart cherries come in dried, frozen and juice forms so they're readily available to enjoy all year long.

Krieger says being able to make foods a habit is an important factor in sustaining a healthful diet. "Creating a routine with foods you like is one of the most successful strategies for a long-term, healthful diet plan," said Krieger. "And, with heart disease continuing to be the number one killer in America, being able to incorporate heart-healthy foods like cherries in almost any meal or snacktime makes it easy and enjoyable to protect your heart."

To learn more about the health benefits of cherries and to find recipes and tips, visit There you can also download a copy of the Cherry Nutrition Report, a compendium of the more than 65 published studies on the potential health benefits of cherries.

The Cherry Marketing Institute (CMI) is an organization funded by North American tart cherry growers and processors. CMI's mission is to increase the demand for tart cherries through promotion, market expansion, product development and research. For more information on the science supporting the unique health benefits of cherries and for cherry recipes and menu ideas, visit

1: Survey conducted by IRI Data, 2008
2: Survey conducted by The Hartman Group, 2008

3: Seymour EM, Singer AAM, Bennink MR, Bolling SF. Cherry-enriched diets reduce metabolic syndrome and oxidative stress in lean Dahl-SS rats. Experimental Biology 2007 225.8, Presented in minisymposium 225, Dietary Bioactive Compounds: Chronic Disease Risk Reduction.

4: Seymour EM, Lewis A, Kirakosyan A, Bolling S. The Effect of Tart Cherry-Enriched Diets on Abdominal Fat Gene Expression in Rats. American Dietetic Association FNCE 2008.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Fun Snacks Keep Kids Smiling-And Healthy

(NAPSI)-There are plenty of ways by which parents can get even the most finicky little eaters to enjoy healthful foods. The key is to select foods that are healthy, fun and delicious.

For instance, adding pears to kids' favorite dishes or coming up with some new ways to include pears in your child's daily menu can increase the nutrition content of meals without a lot of added time or trouble. Plus, pears can be used in a number of simple recipes that your child will enjoy making with you.

Try these tips for adding pears-and therefore nutrients like fiber and vitamin C-to your child's diet:

Pear "French Fries"

Using a French fry cutter or a knife, slice firm pears into French fry shapes. Serve these healthy treats raw with yogurt or chocolate sauce for dipping as an after-school or anytime healthy snack.

Pearfect Cheese and Crackers

Top whole grain crackers with sliced pears and low-fat cheese for a slightly sweet snack or lunch.

Yogurt Pearfait

Place pear chunks in the bottom of a clear glass. Have your child add layers of plain or vanilla low-fat yogurt, granola and more pears for an amazing breakfast or snack.

Pear-kebabs with Strawberry Dipping Sauce

1 cup vanilla yogurt

4 tablespoons strawberry preserves

2 Bosc or Anjou USA Pears, cored and cut into 1" cubes

2 bananas, cut into 1" slices

1 can pineapple chunks, drained

2 cups strawberries, stems removed

6 wooden skewers

In a small bowl, combine yogurt and strawberry preserves. Set aside.

Alternate pears, bananas, pineapple and strawberries onto the skewers.

Serve fruit with strawberry sauce on the side.

Serves 6

For more kid-friendly recipes, tips and online games, visit

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