Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Caffeine Conundrum

(NAPSI)-Here's eye-opening news for many mothers-to-be: Experts at the American Dietetic Association address the question of whether pregnant women can safely drink coffee in a new book.

"Expect the Best: Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy" (John Wiley & Sons, Inc.), by registered dietitian Elizabeth M. Ward, gives practical advice based on the latest scientific research about the relationship between diet and pregnancy.

"As a registered dietitian and a mother of three, I know how difficult it is to wade through all of the news regarding diet and pregnancy," Ward says.

Caffeine is a stimulant that slightly increases blood pressure and heart rate. Nevertheless, "most experts agree that a small amount of caffeine each day is safe during pregnancy," says Ward. "A more important issue is that drinking too many beverages with caffeine may crowd other more nutritious choices, such as milk and 100 percent juice, out of your diet, so choose wisely," Ward recommends.

The book provides a list of nearly 65 foods and their caffeine content, plus numerous recipes for healthful and tasty meals, drinks and snacks during pregnancy.

Here's a way to get the taste of a coffee shop beverage without all the caffeine and get some much-needed nutrients, such as protein and calcium, in the process.

Mocha Java Smoothie

Makes 1 serving

1 tablespoon warm water

1 teaspoon decaffeinated instant coffee granules

1 cup 1% low-fat milk

2 tablespoons fat-free chocolate syrup

1 ice cube

Dissolve coffee granules in the warm water, then place in a blender or food processor. Add milk, chocolate syrup and ice cube. Blend on high speed for 1 to 2 minutes, or until frothy. Pour into tall glass and drink immediately.

Per serving: Calories: 211; Total fat: 3 grams; Saturated fat: 2 grams; Trans fat: none; Cholesterol: 12 milligrams; Sodium: 135 milligrams; Carbohydrates: 38 grams; Dietary fiber: 1 gram; Protein: 9 grams; Calcium: 300 milligrams; Iron: 1 milligram

The book is available at bookstores and online retailers and from the American Dietetic Association at Click on "Shop."

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Free Donut at Dunkin' Donuts to Celebrate National Donut Day June 5

/PRNewswire/ -- Dunkin' Donuts, America's all-day, everyday stop for coffee and baked goods, is marking National Donut Day with a sweet nationwide offer to help Americans celebrate the joy and fun of donuts. On June 5, 2009, participating Dunkin' Donuts restaurants throughout the country will give every customer a free donut of their choice, with the purchase of any beverage, limit one per customer.

Also on National Donut Day, Dunkin' Donuts will announce the winner of its first-ever "Create Dunkin's Next Donut" contest. From nearly 130,000 donut contest creations submitted online, one of 12 finalists will win a $12,000 grand prize and have their winning donuts sold in Dunkin' Donuts locations throughout the country. Americans can vote for their favorite finalist online at

National Donut Day, held the first Friday of June each year, was started by the Chicago Salvation Army more than 70 years ago. According to Dunkin' Donuts' Brand Marketing Officer Frances Allen, the day holds particular relevance in 2009. "From office meetings to Sunday get-togethers, donuts are one of those foods that lift people's spirits and bring genuine delight to any situation. And now more than ever, Americans are seeking those small moments of happiness," she said. "We hope our free donut offer will create an opportunity for people to celebrate donuts and bring some extra happiness to their day."

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Because You're A W-O-M-A-N

(NAPSI)-You shuttle the kids to school, do the dishes, help with the homework, handle the company's high-profile accounts, pick up the dry cleaning, hit the supermarket, cook a hot supper and tuck everyone in at night. No, this isn't "Survivor Suburbia"'s your life. Isn't it time you think about yourself, too?

Women have different nutritional requirements during life's various stages. In adolescence, extra calcium helps healthy bone growth. Childbearing years need iron and folic acid, while seniors need monounsaturated fats and soy foods that keep heart disease and certain cancers at bay.

Fortunately, there are delicious foods for every stage. In fact, if you eat wholesome natural foods rather than overly processed foods, you can justify just about anything. Craving a gooey wedge of Brie? Go ahead, it's great for your bones. Salivating over a juicy steak? Dig into that iron. Ogling another can of California Ripe Olives? Go for it. Just remember, all things in moderation.

Grilled Flank Steak With Avocado And Olive Salsa

1 cup finely diced red onion (⅛ inch)

¼ cup red wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. chopped tarragon

1 Tbsp. chopped thyme

1½ tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. ground black pepper

1 medium avocado, diced (½ inch)

1 cup California Black Ripe Olives, halved

1 cup sweet 100 tomatoes, halved

1½ lbs. flank steak

In a shallow baking dish, combine red onion, vinegar, oil, tarragon, thyme, 1 teaspoon of salt, and pepper. Set aside. Spoon ⅓ cup of the red onion mixture into a small mixing bowl. Gently toss in avocado, California Black Ripe Olives and tomatoes and set aside. Place flank steak in baking dish with remaining onion mixture and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes. Season flank steak with remaining salt and grill over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes on each side. Transfer to a clean cutting board and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes, then slice diagonally across the grain into thin strips. Place onto serving plates and top with avocado olive salsa just before serving. Serves 4.

Visit for more recipes.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Delicious Quick-Fix Cobbler

(NAPSI)-Even better than serving up delicious food, many cooks contend, is finding an easy way to prepare it.

For example, here's a recipe for One-Bowl Peach and Blueberry Cobbler that could be the easiest cobbler you'll ever make. Simply throw all the ingredients in an oven-safe dish and top with any fruit you have on hand. The result is warm fruit comfortably nestled in soft pillows of dough. Serve with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

One-Bowl Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Prep time: 5 minutes; hands-off cooking time: 30 minutes; serves 4.

¼ cup butter, melted

1 cup buttermilk pancake mix

½ cup sugar

½ cup milk

3 cups sliced peaches (fresh, frozen or canned, such as jarred peaches in light syrup

½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

¼ tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.

2. Select an 8 x 8-inch square ovenproof dish or a glass 9-inch pie plate for the cobbler. (If you're feeding a crowd, double the recipe and use a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.) Melt butter right in the baking dish and use it as a mixing bowl.

3. Add pancake mix, sugar and milk to melted butter. Stir with a fork until just combined. Batter will be lumpy--do not overmix.

4. Scatter peaches and blueberries evenly over batter. Lightly sprinkle cinnamon evenly on top.

5. Bake for 30 minutes or until light golden brown.

You can use apples, pears, plums or mixed berries. Frozen or canned fruit works just as well as fresh fruit in this recipe, which can be found in the book "Cooking With All Things Trader Joe's" by Deana Gunn and Wona Miniati. The cookbook features easy recipes that use everyday, budget-friendly ingredients and time-saving shortcuts.

Learn More

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tasty summer dishes sizzle with sweet Vidalia onions

(ARA) - Maybe it was helping your grandma with her favorite summer recipe or shopping with your mom at the market when the first shipment of the season arrived. No matter the memory, Vidalia onions are as versatile and delicious today as they were back then.

Vidalia onions are the original sweet onion. They are only grown in a small region in southeast Georgia and are only available in the spring and summer. Forget about the strong flavor of red and white onions that often leave odors in the kitchen for days. The sweet, mild taste of Vidalia onions makes them a great addition to any summer recipe.

"Vidalias have always been one of my favorite additions to warm-weather recipes," says "Top Chef" season five contestant Spike Mendelsohn. "Then, when my sister married a Vidalia native, I got to go down for their engagement party and see first-hand how much care the farmers put into their crop."

"When my family and I were thinking of what type of restaurant to open, we kept coming back to our favorite meals. Burgers, shakes, fries and Vidalia onion rings! What's better?" says Mendelsohn, who is executive chef and owner of Good Stuff Eatery in Washington, D.C. He shares a favorite family Vidalia recipe from his brother-in-law:

Cliff's Homegrown Vidalia Onion Petals

Ingredients for the onion petals:
4 Vidalia onions, cut into quarters
4 cups batter (recipe follows)
Canola oil for deep-frying
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Ingredients for the onion petal batter:
(This can be made one day in advance.)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch black pepper
Pinch ground cayenne
1 cup beer
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten

To prepare the onion petal batter, sift 2 cups flour, salt, paprika, brown sugar, Old Bay seasoning, cumin, black pepper and cayenne into a large bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the beer, buttermilk and egg. Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients, and whisk to prevent lumps. Refrigerate until needed. Line a metal tray with paper towels.

Heat about 3 inches oil in a large skillet until it reaches 350 F on a candy thermometer. To prepare the onion petals, toss the onions in a bowl with 1 cup flour, coating them well, and shake off the excess. Pour the batter into another bowl, and dip in the petals to coat well. Slowly add the petals one by one into the oil, making sure not to overcrowd the skillet. Cook until golden brown and crispy. Using a slotted spoon, remove the petals, and drain them on the paper towels. Season the petals with salt and pepper while still hot. Serve immediately.

"I suggest serving these with a homemade basic mayonnaise or a horseradish mayonnaise for a bit of zip," says Mendelsohn. "These onions are also great in soups, salads, sandwiches, salsas, sauces -- the list goes on and on. Just be sure not to miss them as the growing season is short."

Share your own pleasant memory of cooking with Vidalia onions and your favorite family recipe with the famous sweet treat and you could win some cash. Enter the Vidalia Onion Committee's "Sweet Times with Vidalias Recipe Contest" from May 1 to Aug. 14. To enter, visit or join the fan page on Entries must be submitted online along with a memory or short story about cooking with Vidalia onions.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest Lets You Be the Judge!

(BUSINESS WIRE)--For the first time, the 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off® Contest is opening its judging up to you, America! The country’s most prestigious cooking contest once again will have 100 finalists vying for the $1 million grand prize, but now America can help determine 10 of those final 100 recipes with the new You Be the Judge! voting, beginning May 14, 2009, at

The 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off® competition, set for April 11-13, 2010, at the Waldorf=Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek hotel in Florida, will feature two groups of recipes that will comprise the final 100 recipes—90 recipes whose creators will directly earn a spot at the competition and 20 recipes that will be placed on for America to judge.

The 20 recipes will be posted in pairs every two weeks beginning May 14, 2009 (namely, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3 and September 17, 2009) where the dishes will be judged. Voting is limited to one vote per person per each pair of recipes. Voters must be registered members of and 18 years of age or older as of May 1, 2009, to participate.

“Through the years, we’ve received many calls from people asking how they can be a judge for the contest, so we thought it would be fun to have people get involved and help us decide which recipes should move on to Orlando and compete for the million-dollar grand prize,” said Kim Anderson, Pillsbury Bake-Off® Kitchens Manager.

The recipe from each pair that receives the most votes will earn a spot in the Bake-Off® finals on April 12 in Orlando, where 100 home cooks will compete side-by-side at 100 mini-kitchens. You Be the Judge! voting for the tenth and final pair ends on October 1, 2009 at 11:59AM CDT. The 100 recipes competing for $1 million at the competition will be announced mid-October 2009.

The 44th Pillsbury Bake-Off ® Contest is sponsored by General Mills, General Electric, The J.M. Smucker Company, Eggland’s Best, Land O’Lakes, Inc., Fisher® Nuts and The Hershey Company and will award more than $1.1 million in cash, prizes and trips.

From early January through mid-April 2009, home cooks entered their original recipes in one of four recipe categories: Breakfast & Brunches, Entertaining Appetizers, Dinner Made Easy™ and Sweet Treats. Entrants had to use two or more different eligible products in their recipes, with at least one ingredient from the primary list of products and a second from either the primary or secondary list.

The primary list featured returning eligible products to the contest, including Pillsbury® Refrigerated Crescent Dinner Rolls, Classic Pizza Crust, Cookie Dough and Ready to Bake!™ Cookies, Grands!® and Golden Layers® Biscuits, Cinnamon Rolls, Breadsticks, Crusty French Loaf, and Pie Crusts; Pillsbury® Brownie Mixes and Pillsbury BEST® Flour. Pillsbury Refrigerated Crescent Recipe Creations® flaky dough sheet and Thin Pizza Crust were new products on the primary list.

The secondary list featured Green Giant® Frozen Vegetables, Jif® Peanut Butter, Smucker’s® Jams, Jellies, Preserves, Fruit Spreads and Ice Cream Toppings, Crisco® Cooking Oil, Eggland’s Best Eggs, LAND O LAKES® Stick Butter and Fisher® Nuts. Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk and Hershey®’s cocoa, baking chips or bits and baking chocolate were new eligible ingredients also on the secondary list.

Recipe entries are judged on taste, appearance, creativity, and consumer appeal. For the 44th contest and You Be the Judge! voting official rules, visit

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Money-Saving Advice: Tips for Clipping Coupons Online

(SPM Wire) A tried and true way to save money in a tough economy is clipping coupons. Because of the Internet, however, a savvy consumer no longer has to wield a pair of scissors in order to reap rewards.

The popularity of online coupons is on the rise and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is advising consumers on how to identify a deal while avoiding deceptive offers.

Indeed, the number of American adults using online coupons rose by 39 percent to 36 million between 2005 and 2008, according to a survey conducted by Simmons/Experian Research and Coupons, Inc. The survey also found that online users account for nearly one-quarter of the total 148 million consumers who use coupons.

"We're all looking for ways to save money and redeeming online coupons is growing in popularity as a result," said Steve Cox, BBB spokesperson. "Some coupons, however, are not as great a deal as they may appear and consumers should use caution when clicking on coupons online."

The BBB is offering some helpful advice on redeeming online coupons:

* Check to see if the coupon is being offered directly by the store or by a third-party, such as a partner or affiliate. If it is via a third-party, they might ask for additional info or require that the consumer sign up for additional services to redeem the coupon. If so, BBB recommends using extreme caution before divulging any personal information and consumers can check the company out, free of charge, at

* Coupon clickers should be wary of pop-up ad coupon offers that require you to immediately click to redeem. Clicking on the ad may automatically sign the consumer up for services they were not interested in receiving, causing them to be billed monthly.

* Carefully read the terms and conditions for the use of a coupon, check for the expiration date, limitations of use and whether it is an online coupon good for only online purchases or if it can also be redeemed at a physical store location.

* Because some stores are concerned about fraud related to online coupons, not all businesses are eager to redeem them. Contact the store where you wish to use the coupon directly to find out whether the coupon is being honored or not.

* Be extremely cautious if the coupon requires that the consumer call the company to redeem the value of the coupon, and/or has any requirement to give personal information.

* Don't fall for phony coupons via e-mail. Many fake coupons have been making the rounds via e-mail, and just because it may come from a friend or family member, don't assume the coupon is legitimate.

For more advice on saving money, visit

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Dietary Supplements Worth $1.3 Million Condemned and Forfeited to the United States Under Consent Decree

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, today entered a consent decree that condemns and forfeits to the United States for destruction about $1.3 million worth of dietary supplements.

“The court order is the result of efforts by the federal government to protect consumers from products for which there is inadequate information to assure that they do not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury,” said Michael Chappell, FDA’s acting associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “It shows that the agency is prepared to use the necessary legal means to keep such products out of the marketplace.”

At the request of the FDA, U.S. Marshals seized more than 23,300 bottles of three dietary supplement products distributed by LG Sciences LLC, of Brighton, Mich. The seized products were marketed for use by body builders and distributed on the Internet and in retail stores under the names “Methyl 1-D,” “Methyl 1-D XL,” and “Formadrol Extreme XL.”

Based on laboratory tests, the FDA determined that the products contain one or more unapproved food additives and/or new dietary ingredients for which there is inadequate information to assure that the ingredients do not present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury. Specifically, the condemned Methyl 1-D and Methyl 1-D XL contained 1,4,6-androstatriene-3,17-dione, also known as “ATD” or 1,4,6-etioallocholan-dione. The condemned Formadrol Extreme XL contained ATD and 3,6,17-androstenetrione (also known as “6-OXO”). Both of these substances are steroids that inhibit the activity of the enzyme aromatase and may be found in dietary supplements promoted to boost testosterone levels.

The FDA has no scientific information concerning the safety of the condemned products or their ingredients and, thus, cannot determine whether they represent a hazard to consumers. Under the circumstances, consumers who use or have used the products should discuss their use with their health care professionals.

The FDA also recommends that consumers consult their health care professionals if they have experienced any adverse events that they suspect are related to the products’ use.

Health care professionals and consumers may report serious adverse events (side effects) or product quality problems with the use of this product to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program either online, by regular mail, fax or phone.

--Regular Mail: use postage-paid FDA form 3500 available at: and mail to MedWatch, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852-9787
--Fax: (800) FDA-0178
--Phone: (800) FDA-1088

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Great Grill Sides

(NAPSI)-Craving something different to serve with favorite grilled foods? These two salads deliver on flavor and satisfy a wide range of tastes. Sunny citrus complements grilled fish, pork and poultry. Savory potato is a delicious side to hamburger, sausage or lamb.

Sunny Citrus Salad

Serves 4

1 small bunch arugula, separated and stems removed (or use spinach)

2 heads endive, leaves separated and cores removed

2 navel oranges, peeled and segmented

1 avocado (preferably Hass) peeled, pit removed and quartered, cut into thin fan slices

2 ounces Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite cheese, julienned

½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Arrange equal amounts of arugula and endive in pattern across top of each plate. Place avocado fan on opposite side. Arrange citrus sections on either side of avocado. Top with cheese and walnuts.

Serve with Vinaigrette: In bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons each canola oil and orange juice, 2 teaspoons minced red onion, ⅛ teaspoon each black pepper and dried basil.

New Potato-Cheese Salad

Serves 4

1 pound small new potatoes, cooked, cooled and quartered

1 tablespoon minced red onion

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1½ pounds mixed mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh snipped chives

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

½ cup shredded Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite cheese

½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts

In large mixing bowl, toss potatoes with onion and vinegar. In skillet, sauté mushrooms in oil over medium heat until tender, about 2 minutes. Add chives and saute for 1 minute more. Stir in lemon juice. Divide potatoes between four plates and top with equal amounts mushroom mixture, cheese and walnuts. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Upscale your barbecue, with a variety of condiments, from the traditional (pickle relish, ketchup, mayonnaise, grilled onions) to unique (artichoke or sun-dried tomato tapanades, chipotle sauce, fruit salsas, caponata). Have a few interesting cheese choices to top burgers, steaks, chicken or fish from a creamy Boursin to piquant Spanish Gran Maestre Manchego. For those with lactose sensitivity, offer fresh Chevrai or luscious goat Brie (such as Woolwich Dairy).

For more ideas, visit

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Mars Unveils the Real Chocolate Relief Act

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Americans could use some relief and are looking for reasons to smile. To help, Mars Snackfood US announced today the creation of the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act™, a nationwide effort to bring sweet smiles to millions of Americans via free, full-sized samples of Mars real chocolate, product discounts and coupons along with the proclamation of Free Chocolate Fridays™. Now through September, Mars will give away as many as seven million full-size packages of its M&M’S®, SNICKERS®, MILKY WAY®, TWIX®, DOVE®, and 3 MUSKETEERS® brand chocolate in the United States.


As part of the campaign, every week through the end of September, Mars will give away a quarter-of-a- million full-size packages of real chocolate on Free Chocolate Fridays. Americans can claim one of 250,000 full-value coupons each Friday beginning on May 8 at 9 a.m. EST by visiting Coupons, which will be mailed to consumers, will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis and are redeemable for any full-size Mars real chocolate product. The coupons will be limited to one per person, per week.

"Brands like M&M'S, SNICKERS, DOVE Chocolate, TWIX, Milky Way and 3 MUSKETEERS are loved by Americans," said Michele Kessler, vice president, Mars Snackfood US. "That's why we've created the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act. It's our way of giving Americans a small treat during challenging times."

A Commitment to Being Real

Another reason for people to smile is that Mars remains committed to its industry-leading stance of using only 100 percent cocoa butter in its U.S. chocolate products, even in this challenging environment. As a privately-held company, Mars has the freedom to invest in the highest quality, real, authentic chocolate.

"Mars Snackfood US chocolate brands do not compromise on the purity and authenticity of chocolate by diluting it with a cocoa butter substitute," Kessler added. "Remember, if it's Mars, it's real chocolate."

Mars Helps NYC Score Some Real Chocolate Relief

Today, Mars kicked off this effort by spreading sweet smiles to more than 1 million Americans:

* In New York City, Neil Patrick Harris joined spokescandies Red and Yellow and Mars associates to announce Free Chocolate Fridays and hand out nearly 20,000 packages of candy outside of the M&M’S WORLD® store in midtown Manhattan.

“America could use a reason to smile right now,” said Neil Patrick Harris. “From New York City to Hollywood, I want to invite everyone to come down to M&M’S World in Manhattan today and help Mars and me introduce the Real Chocolate Relief Act. If you can’t make it, please go to and help spread the word about Free Chocolate Fridays. We want as many people to enjoy some sweet relief as possible.”

* Similar events, including distribution of full-sized packages of candy, were also held at the M&M’S World stores in Las Vegas and Orlando.
* A full-page print ad appeared in today’s edition of the USA Today that featured a full-value coupon for any Mars real chocolate product.

To learn more about the Real Chocolate Relief Act™, Free Chocolate Fridays™ or Mars’ commitment to real chocolate, visit

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Farmers' Markets Deliver Superior Strawberry Flavor

(NAPSI)-Farmers' markets are sprouting up around the country as the idea of buying fruit and vegetables directly from the person who grew them grows in popularity. Strawberries are one delicious crop available at farmers' markets. To help make the most of this tasty fruit, Argo Corn Starch offers two mouthwatering recipes:

Easy Fruit Pizza

Prep Time: 30 minutes, Cook Time: 15 minutes, Chill Time:

50 minutes, Yield: 1 (12-inch) pizza


1 package (16½ ounces) prepared sugar cookie dough


1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1 jar (7 ounces) marshmallow cream

1 teaspoon Spice Islands® 100% Pure Bourbon Vanilla Extract

Fruit and Glaze:

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon Argo Corn Starch

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup water

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Dash of salt

2-3 cups assorted cut-up fresh fruit

1. To Make Crust: Press cookie dough into ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 minutes until done, but still soft. Cool.

2. To Make Filling: Mix filling ingredients in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until thoroughly combined. Spread over crust.

3. To Make Fruit and Glaze: Combine sugar and corn starch in a small saucepan until well mixed. Add orange juice, water, lemon juice and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.

4. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

5. Cool 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Slice fresh fruit and arrange on cream filling.

6. Drizzle with glaze and chill at least 30 minutes.

Glazed Fresh Strawberry Pie

Prep Time: 40 minutes, Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes, plus bake time of 8 minutes, Chill Time: 3 hours, Yield: 8 servings

Cookie Crust:

1½ cups crushed shortbread cookies

⅓ cup butter, melted

¼ cup chopped almonds


2 pints (about 2 pounds) strawberries, hulled

⅓ cup water

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons Argo Corn Starch

½ teaspoon almond extract

¼ teaspoon salt

Whipped topping (optional)

1. To Make Cookie Crust: Mix all crust ingredients. Press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake at 350°F for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

2. To Make Filling: Mash (or puree) enough strawberries to equal 1 cup; add water. Combine sugar and corn starch in small saucepan. Stir in mashed strawberries.

3. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a full boil (15 to 20 minutes). Boil 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in almond extract and salt. Cool 10 minutes.

4. Fill cooled crust with remaining whole strawberries; pour cooked strawberry mixture over berries. Refrigerate at least 3 hours. Garnish with whipped topping, if desired.

5. A baked 9-inch pie crust may be substituted for the cookie crust.

For more recipes, visit

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bread Breakthrough: A "Kneadlessly Simple" Technique

(NAPSI)-Savoring a warm loaf of fragrant, just-from-the-oven bread can be one of life's great pleasures. Now you can experience the joys of home-baked bread using a breakthrough technique.

Taking bread making to a whole new level, award-winning cookbook author Nancy Baggett has developed a "Kneadlessly Simple" method that helps even complete novices bake bread easily in their own kitchens, with no kneading and no mess.

The secret is to allow the yeast to grow slowly and develop the same full, satisfying flavor of traditional bread. The technique can be used to produce a wide variety of breads, from Pull-Apart Butter-Top Rolls to Easy Oat Bread and Rosemary Focaccia.

Here's an amazingly easy example to try. Don't let the length of this recipe alarm you as Baggett offers detailed instructions for best results and various rising options to fit your schedule.

"Kneadlessly Simple" Very Cherry-Streusel Coffeecake


2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon Fleischmann's® RapidRise or Bread Machine Yeast

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup plus 3 tablespoons ice- cold water, plus more ice water if needed

Streusel and Filling:

1 cup packed brown sugar

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter (not margarine), melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¾ cup slivered almonds, optional

1 can (21 oz.) cherry pie filling

First Rise: In large bowl, thoroughly mix flour, sugar, salt and yeast. In large measuring cup, whisk oil into water. Thoroughly stir liquid into flour, scraping down sides until thoroughly blended. If mixture is too dry to mix in all the flour, stir in just enough water to blend ingredients; don't overmoisten as dough should be almost stiff. If necessary, firm it by adding more flour. Brush or spray top with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. For convenience or fullest flavor, hold dough in the refrigerator 3-10 hours if desired. Then let rise at cool room temperature (about 70° F) 8-16 hours.

For Streusel: In medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon, finely crushing any sugar lumps. Stir in butter and vanilla until evenly incorporated and mixture forms small clumps. Refrigerate, covered, until firmed up and cooled, at least 30 minutes and up to a week. If cold, let warm up slightly before using. Before using, break up any large clumps.

Second Rise: Set aside 1½ cups streusel for topping. Vigorously stir remaining streusel into dough, leaving little patches of streusel throughout. Turn out dough into well-oiled 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Spread or press until evenly thick using an oiled spatula or fingertips. Spread cherry filling evenly over top. Sprinkle nuts and reserved streusel evenly over dough top. Cover baking dish with nonstick spray-coated plastic wrap. Let rise using any of these methods: For a 1½- to 2½-hour regular rise, let stand at warm room temperature; for a 1- to 2-hour accelerated rise, let stand in turned-off microwave along with 1 cup boiling-hot water; for an extended rise, refrigerate, covered, 4-24 hours, then set out at room temperature. When dough nears plastic, remove it and continue rising until dough is ½ inch below pan rim.

Baking: 15 minutes before baking time, place rack just below center of oven and preheat to 350° F. Set coffeecake on a baking sheet. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until top is nicely browned and a paring knife inserted in center of the dough comes out with just a few crumbs on tip (or until center registers 205-207° F on instant-read thermometer). Cool in pan on wire rack 15 minutes. Then cut into rectangles and serve warm. Yield: 1 large coffeecake, about 12 portions.

Storing: Cool completely before storing airtight in plastic or foil. Keeps at room temperature for up to 3 days and may be frozen, airtight, for up to 2 months.

Fleischmann's Yeast is offering a book with some of Baggett's many recipes. To order a copy of the book for $1 to offset shipping and handling, visit

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Monday, May 4, 2009

Marinate your grilled fare for taste and safety

(ARA) - Literally soaked in flavor, marinated foods are undeniably delicious. But did you know that marinating also makes your grilled foods safer?

Anyone who loves the delectable flavor of hot-off-the-grill foods has probably heard that cancer-causing substances -- such as heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs or HCAs) -- form when the proteins in red meat, pork, poultry and fish react to the high heat of grilling and when fat drips off the meat and produces smoke.

But the researchers aren't just pouring water on our coals; they're coming up with solutions, too. Chemists at Kansas State University found that marinating meat for an hour in spice blends can reduce the formation of HCAs by 80 percent or more. They credit the antioxidant properties of spices with this change. Other researchers suggest that marinades may buffer the heat that causes the problematic chemical reaction, or that a combination of sugar, oil, and acidic ingredients decreases the carcinogenic compounds.

Not that you need a scientific reason to marinate. Savvy grillers know marinating improves flavor and the process isn't labor-intensive. You can make your own signature marinades, or rely on the guaranteed results of quality mixes.

If you're looking for a healthy choice, Simply Organic offers a flavor-rich line of organic marinade mixes that include Zesty Herb Marinade, Steak Marinade and Garlic and Herb Marinade. They even offer the smoky flavor of mesquite -- minus the hazards of grilling smoke -- in their Mesquite BBQ Marinade.

For safe and delicious grilling with marinades:

* Choose lean cuts of meat, which will drip less and produce less smoke. Trim excess fat.

* Prick the surfaces of meats with a fork before marinating to allow flavors to penetrate.

* Marinate foods in the refrigerator -- not on the counter -- in a glass, plastic, or stainless steel pan.

* Keep in mind that marinades that have been used for raw meat, poultry or seafood need to be cooked thoroughly before eating. So don't baste with them during the last few minutes, don't dip your finger in the pan to taste and don't use the leftover marinade for sauce without cooking it first.

* Consider cooking meats in the microwave for a minute or so before placing them on the grill. Discard any juice that's produced during microwaving. Use tongs or a spatula, rather than forks, to reduce drips when turning foods on the grill.

* Cook over medium (rather than high) heat to avoid charring foods. Let flames settle down before cooking over coals or wood, and turn the temperature down to medium on a gas grill. If you do char a portion of the food, cut off that section before serving.

* Flip those burgers. Again. They'll cook faster (and produce fewer HCAs) if you turn them often.

* Consider other options, too, like soy burgers and soy hot dogs, portobello mushrooms and other vegetables. These foods don't have the same potential to produce harmful substances that can result from unsafe cooking procedures -- but they're delicious when marinated nonetheless!

Here’s a favorite recipe so simple, yet so delicious, from the kitchen of Chef Kendall McFarland, research and development manager at Simply Organic:

Mediterranean Pasta Salad


4 cups cooked pasta
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 package of Simply Organic Steak Marinade Mix


In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the olive oil and the Steak Marinade Mix. Serve as a warm or cold side dish.

Add olives, cheese or other vegetables if desired.

Staying with the same marinade for the complete meal, Chef Kendall also has this tasty recipe:

Tarragon Encrusted Salmon


4 tablespoons softened butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 package Simply Organic Steak Marinade Mix
1 to 1 1/2 pounds salmon steak -- minimum of 1-inch thick


Preheat grill. In a small bowl blend butter, lemon juice and Steak Marinade. Lay salmon on grill using a fish grill plate, skin side down. Spread a thin layer of butter mixture on fillets. Grill eight to 10 minutes or until salmon is just flaky.

Serve with sliced fresh tomatoes as a garnish.

For an online Summer Grilling Guide with many more useful tips and delectable grilling recipes, go to

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Simple Ways To Eat More Whole Grains And Fiber

(NAPSI)-When it comes to packing a nutritional punch, whole grains are tough to top.

The United States Department of Agriculture says whole grains--which are loaded with fiber and other nutrients--may offer benefits ranging from a reduced risk of coronary disease to better weight management.

According to the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFIC), more than half of consumers are now looking at fiber content on the nutrition facts panel when they shop for food. Yet despite an increased interest in whole grains and fiber, people are still having a tough time incorporating them into their diets. Americans consume only one serving of whole grains daily, compared to the three to five that are recommended.

So why the disconnect? It may be a matter of taste.

"Most Americans aren't willing to sacrifice taste, appearance and flavor to get whole grain nutrition," said Phil Lempert, food trends expert and Supermarket Guru. "Today's consumers want whole grain and fiber products to taste as good as the refined white flour they know and love."

Lempert suggests using new Ultragrain White Whole Wheat Flour from Eagle Mills. It's all-natural, 100 percent whole wheat and delivers 30 grams of whole grains per serving and more than 4½ times the fiber of refined white flours. It's made from specially selected white wheat that is milled with a patented process to produce the fine texture, appearance and taste that consumers prefer.

For those who want to make a gradual transition to whole grains, Eagle Mills All-Purpose Flour made with Ultragrain is a good choice. It is a blend of 30 percent Ultragrain and 70 percent all-natural refined flour, and works as a cup-for-cup replacement for other all-purpose flours.

Both products can be found under the Eagle Mills brand and are great for adding fiber and whole grains to your favorite recipes. Ultragrain Whole Wheat Flour is also used in many popular consumer products, making it more available than ever.

Use these whole grain flours in your favorite recipes or try this recipe for delicate fruit-filled scones.

Apricot Pecan Scones

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Makes: 8 servings (1 scone each)

½ cup chopped dried apricots

2 tablespoons water

2 cups Eagle Mills All-Purpose Unbleached Flour made with Ultragrain

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup margarine

¼ cup chopped pecans, toasted

¾ cup heavy (whipping) cream

1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400° F. Combine apricots and water in small bowl; let stand 15 minutes.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Cut in margarine with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in nuts.

3. Add cream, egg and apricots with water to dry mixture; stir just until moistened. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead 10 times or until nearly smooth. Place onto ungreased baking sheet. Pat or roll to a 9-inch circle, ½-inch thick. Cut into 8 wedges, but do not separate. Brush with additional milk; sprinkle with sugar.

4. Bake 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet; carefully separate into wedges.

For more information and recipes, visit

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