Ruth's Blog

Grandma’s Sweetheart Granola – For Your Valentine

RUTHFOOD BLOG By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

As Valentine ’s Day approaches, consider making this delicious granola for your sweetheart that provides heart health benefits and incredible ginger-infused flavor. Pair it with yogurt and fresh fruit for a tasty breakfast; add to parfaits and use as a topping on ice cream or frozen yogurt. My mom (Grandma) has perfected this tropical pina colada granola recipe over the years to maximize taste and minimize added fat and sugar.

Sweetheart Pina Colada Granola
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Canola oil
1 c. slivered almonds
6 c. old fashioned oats
1 ½ c. shredded coconut
½ c. honey or brown sugar (optional-use sugar substitute for half of the sugar)
2 t. coconut extract
1 t. orange extract
1 t. pineapple extract
¼ t. salt
1 c. dried fruit (cranberries, apricots, plums, etc.)
2/3 c. crystallized ginger, minced

Method: Turn oven to 400 degrees. In a large pan, melt the butter (in oven). Add the oil, coconut, orange and pineapple extracts. Add the oats, almonds, coconut, honey/brown sugar. Bake until slightly brown on top, stir, bake again until slightly brown, 2 or 3 times until as crisp as you want it. Take out, allow to cool, then add the dried fruit and ginger. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy for breakfast and as a topping on ice cream or frozen yogurt.

Good Taste, Good Health!

New Years Luck with Black Eyed Peas

By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

RUTHFOOD BLOG

Black eyed peas are a traditional food served on New Year’s Day in Southern States. Eating black eyed peas on January 1st is thought to bring good luck and a prosperous future. You may have also heard of the hip hop band, The Black Eyed Peas, who will entertain during the upcoming Super Bowl XIV halftime show, as well as the New Years Eve Celebration in Times Square.

When it comes to edible black eyed peas, they are a legume which works well in many dishes, especially soups. They provide protein and soluble fiber (helpful with cholesterol reduction). Black eyed peas are one of many legumes considered a foundation of the Mediterranean Diet – a heart healthy eating approach.

Here’s to a Happy New Year with Black Eyed Peas & Cilantro Soup!

Black Eyed Peas & Cilantro Soup

Ingredients:

6 oz. (1 c.) black eyed peas or 2 – 16 oz. cans
1 T. olive oil
2 onions, chopped
½ c. celery, minced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 med. jalapeno, chopped
1 t. ground cumin
¼ t. ground cardamom
8 oz. fresh or canned tomatoes, diced
2 ½ c. beef, poultry or vegetable stock
1 oz. fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped or parsley
Juice of ½ lemon
Feta cheese crumbles for garnish
Pita bread

Method:

If using dried beans, rinse beans and place in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil; Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 2 hrs. Drain the beans, return to the pan, cover with fresh cold water, then simmer for 35-40 minutes or until the beans are tender. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a pan, add onions, garlic and jalapenos and cook for 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Add the cumin, cardamom, tomatoes, and stock plus half of the cilantro. Add the beans and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice plus remaining cilantro. Sprinkle with feta cheese and serve with pita bread.

Have a happy, healthy and bountiful new year!

Ruth

Carrot Orange Holiday Cookies–Delish!

Incorporating a vegetable into holiday cookies is an innovative way to eat more vegies. These cookies are a personal favorite and a family tradition. Thanks, Mom for the recipe!

Cookie batter:
3/4-c. sugar
3/4-c. butter
3/4-c. cooked, mashed carrot
l egg
2 c. unbleached flour
2-tsp. baking powder
1/2-tsp. salt
1-tsp. vanilla
Frosting:
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice
1 Tbsp. fresh grated orange rind
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
Powdered sugar (approx, 1 c. or enough to make it spreadable)

Combine and blend sugar and butter. Add carrots and eggs. Combine dry ingredients and add to batter. Add vanilla. Place spoonfuls on parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for approx. 8 minutes. Only bake until they are no longer shiny and slightly brown on edges (tops do not get brown.) Test with a toothpick. Cool on racks. Mix icing ingredients and spread on cooled cookies. These are soft and luscious – the orange and carrots are perfect partners. Freezes well. Enjoy!

Healthy Holidays,

Ruth

My Favorite Things: Holiday Edible Gifts

RUTH FOOD BLOG

By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

Tis the season for tasty indulgences. Here are a few of my favorite food gifts. Enjoy and share with family & friends:

Cranberry Cardamom Bars                 Cranberry Orange Vinegar    Cranberry Ginger Almond Bark
½ c. butter
1 c. sugar
¾ c. brown sugar
2 eggs
1 t. baking powder
¼ t. baking soda
1 t. cardamom, ground
½ t. salt
3 c. flour
¼ c. milk
2 ½ c. fresh cranberries, cut in half
¼ c. walnuts, minced (optional)
¼ c. dried cranberries

Browned Butter Cardamom Frosting:

¼ c. butter
¼ t. vanilla
¼ t. cardamom, ground
5 Tbsp. half & half or cream
4 c. powdered sugar

Bars/Cookies Method: Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Mix dry ingredients and add slowly. Add cranberries, walnuts and dried cranberries. Do not over mix. For bars, spread on cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 min. or until slightly browned on top. For thinner bars, use two cookie sheets. Do not over-bake. Can also bake as cookies.

Browned Butter Cardamom Frosting: In saucepan, heat butter until it lightly browns. Pour into a bowl and add other ingredients. Whisk with hand whisk or mixer. After cookies have cooled, spread on top.

About the Ingredients: Cranberries have long been touted as a health food and they contain antioxidants, which may play a role in reducing risk for heart disease and other conditions. For more information, visit the Cranberry Institute. Cardamom is a unique spice commonly used in Indian cooking. It’s from the ginger family and originates from a small seed pod. Cardamom can be purchased ground as well dried pods, which are excellent sprinkled into whole coffee beans before grinding.

Cranberry Orange Vinegar: Wash fresh cranberries and allow to dry. Boil empty glass containers in water for 5 minutes. Pack the cranberries into containers – fill ¼ of the way. Heat vinegar (white or apple cider) to boiling point and and pour over the packed cranberries. Add a few pieces of fresh orange rind. Add more cranberries if desired, otherwise add the lid. Put the vinegar into a sunny place and let it infuse. Leave for 1-2 weeks, then taste. If you like the flavor, it is ready to use. If not, strain out the vinegar, add more cranberries to the container (pack down well) and pour the strained vinegar back in. Add to dressings for salads, including meat-based salads (great for leftover turkey).

Cranberry Ginger Almond Bark
1 pound white chocolate
1 c. slivered almonds
1 c. dried cranberries
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
2 Tbsp. fine shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread almonds on a baking sheet to form a single later. Allow to slightly brown for about 5-8 minutes (stir once). Do not over-cook. Remove and allow to cool. Set aside. Melt chocolate in the microwave or double boiler. Stir in other ingredients and spread in single layer on parchment lined baking sheet. Allow to cool. When chocolate is hardened, break into chunks and seal in plastic bags. Makes a lovely gift.

Enjoy the Holiday Season!
Ruth

Stress Away With an Apple a Day

RUTH FOOD BLOG – By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

According to a report by the American Psychological Society, stress levels are at an all time high, with financial concerns at the top of the list. As stress escalates, eating habits tend to go awry – with an increase in convenience foods that can be high in calories and fat.

An apple a day: How about crunching on apples for stress management? We’ve heard the adage about apples, but how many of us abide by it? The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we eat more fruits and veggies than any other food group — for adults, that’s 3½ to 6½ cups per day (7 to 13 servings). Sadly, most Americans fall short of this goal, with an average intake of 3 fruits/vegetables per day.

Apples are one tasty way to boost daily fruit intake and they’re easy to incorporate into a healthy eating pattern. Apples provide cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber (pectin) and a variety of nutrients. Studies have connected apples with the prevention of disease, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, type II diabetes and asthma.

Apple on the go: Use an apple slicer/corer and toss into a zippered bag with a couple teaspoons of lemon juice to maintain color and freshness.  Another idea is to bake an apple with cinnamon and a sweetener.

Pair tart green apples with butternut squash available at the year-round farmers markets. Enjoy this recipe for the holidays:

Butternut Squash & Green Apple Bake – Delicious as a side dish with chicken, pork or pasta.

5 c. squash, peeled and sliced (butternut)
4 c. apples, tart (granny smith) – thinly sliced
¼ c. butter, melted
½ c. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. flour
1 t. salt
½ t. ground mace
¼ c. slivered almonds

Method: Peel and slice squash and apples. In a 2 qt. casserole dish, melt butter and brown sugar; stir in flour, salt and mace. Add squash and apples to mixture. Bake at 350 for approx. 1 hour or until soft. Stir halfway through cooking process to distribute ingredients. Sprinkle slivered almond on top at end of baking process.

Read More: Stress Management

Log On is a wonderful book written by colleague Dr. Amit Sood, of Mayo Clinic. It explores tangible methods to re-train your brain and combat stress. Read more about it here.

Healthy Living!

Ruth

Summer Reflections & Fall Breakfasts

RUTH FOOD BLOG

By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

As the burnt orange oak leaves float to the ground, I’m reminded of how the passing seasons also bring about change in our eating regimens: The crock pot re-appears and 12-bean soup is on the menu; hot cinnamon oatmeal offers comfort on cool mornings and rich, colorful butternut squash spiked with cardamom nurtures our souls. One habit that’s universally important is having a morning meal—“breaking-the-fast”—as the name implies. Research has shown that children perform better in school and adults striving for a healthy weight are more successful if they regularly consume a healthy, balanced breakfast.

This summer we had a most enjoyable morning meal which included an array of local foods at Haven on the Bay Bed & Breakfast in Red Bay, Ontario. Innkeepers Ruth & Gord Henrich served us whole grain muffins, local berries, scrambled eggs and fresh harvested mushrooms. The amazing coffee was made from “green” beans roasted minutes before grinding and brewing. The nourishing breakfast provided excellent fuel for the breathtaking hike we took on the Bruce Trail. (See photo).

Our hike on Bruce Trail, Ontario Breakfast at Haven on the Bay Local Fruit - Haven on the Bay

Another fantastic breakfast was at Melwel Lodge on Big Basswood Lake, Ontario. Our host served up a hearty traditional breakfast that kept us humming all day. The old-fashioned oatmeal was stick-to-your ribs good– Thanks Don!  Melwel is an incredible place–it feels as if you’ve stepped back in time at this historic lodge with comfy cabins and an incredible view of the lake.
View from Melwel Lodge Cabins Melwel Lodge, Ontario, Canada Cabin - Melwel Lodge

Yes, fall has arrived but our memories of summer and satisfying meals in the morning are still with us… every day.

What was your morning meal today?

Be well,

Ruth

Thanks Mom–Vegetable Beef Soup

RUTH FOOD BLOG

Today’s post is dedicated to my Mom – Jeanette. She’s an incredible cook and even published her own cookbook. Here is a favorite recipe from her book:

Mom’s Vegetable Beef Soup

2 t. olive oil

3/4 to 1 lb. stew beef

1 lg. soup bone

2 (14 oz.) cans of beef broth

1 quart (4 c.) tomatoes

2 c. each  – diced potatoes, chopped carrots,  corn & green beans

4 bay leaves

2 t. dry parsley

2 t. dry marjoram

2 t. dry savory

2 t. dry thyme

4 beef bouillon cubes or 2 Tbsp. granules

salt and pepper to taste

Method: Brown beef and bones in small amount of olive oil; cook until tender. Remove meat and bones. Add tomatoes and vegetables; cook until tender/crisp – you may need to add more water for the right thickness. Add bouillon cubes and herbs. Cut meat into bite-sized pieces and return to pot. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook until vegetables and meat are tender – about 20 minutes. You can use any combination of vegetables that appeal to you. We often have soup with bread and fruit for dessert for a low fat, delicious healthy lunch.

10 servings. Approx. 161 calories, 5g fat, 0g trans fat, 17g Carb., 4g Fiber, 14g Protein, 274mg sodium

Note from Jeanette: “My daughter, Ruth loved this soup and wanted it for a birthday party when she was 6 years old. The guests were not happy, but she was. This recipe is dedicated to my daughter, Ruth.”

Recipe from cookbook: Fifty Years of Love, Recipes and Memories by Jeanette & Al Lahmayer. If you’d like to find out about how to get a copy, email me at ruth@lahmayer.com.

Fermented Milk—Good Taste, Good Health

Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

RUTH FOOD BLOG

I’m a smoothie-lover and there’s no better way to enjoy fresh or frozen fruit than when it’s been whipped with fermented milk!  Yes, that may sound unappetizing, but think again. Fermented milk is considered to be a longevity food–filled with “healthy” bacteria that act as gut protectors setting up a defensive army of good guys that fight off the invaders. These little critters are amazing microscopic friends that are partners in healthy eating.  Yogurt and kefir are common names for milk that has been allowed to experience life extension.  Yogurt is typically thick and custard-like and contains specific cultures such as Lactobacillus acidophilus and bifidus.

Kefir has a more liquid texture and generally contains a wider array of healthy bacteria. Look for products with “live, active cultures” on the food label to maximize the probiotic effects on the intestinal flora. New pourable yogurts are also available which contain healthful cultures as well as prebiotics–a type of dietary fiber that helps to feed the healthy bacteria (called probiotics).

Fermenting milk is a practice that has been used for centuries–likely a method of preserving milk when refrigeration didn’t exist. This necessity turned out to be a health-promoter and plays a role in enhancing the immune system and digestive tract. It may offer a host of other health benefits such as reducing inflammation and infection and other possible roles now being studied.

Beyond the health benefits, I enjoy the tart taste that fermented milk provides—it offers that perfect balance with the sweetness of fruit in a blended smoothie. In our household, we toss in all kinds of fruits and spices. Invent your own smoothie every day. Here is one basic recipe to build upon.

LONGEVITY SMOOTHIE

1 c. vanilla flavored pourable yogurt or fermented milk (kefir)

1 medium frozen banana (peel the over-ripe ones and toss in the freezer with other fruits)

½ c. other frozen fruit such as purple grapes, mango or pineapple (or a combination)

2 Tbsp. ground flax seed

2 dried plums

Blend on low or pulse until frozen fruit is softened, then blend on high to smooth the mixture.

Enjoy!

Disclosure: I do not currently represent any fermented milk products.

Log On – A “Must Read”

RUTH FOOD BLOG

By Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, MS, RD

Never before has a book had more potential to promote a national movement towards mindful living. Friend and colleague Dr. Amit Sood has written “THE” guide for the mind-body connection. A physician and integrative medicine expert, Dr. Sood is the Director of Research for Mayo Clinic’s Complementary and Integrative Medicine Program and has been called an “intelligent optimist.” His new book is truly a guide for an optimistic future for healthy living.

I asked him about his goals for the book called “Log-On – Two Steps Toward Mindful Awareness” and he shared the following mission of the book:

-To share knowledge about the workings of human mind and brain;

-To use this knowledge to teach a two step journey toward peace, happiness, resilience, and healing;

-To help cultivate among each learner on this journey, a sincere love in heart, kindness in actions, charity in thoughts, wisdom in mind, and selflessness in self;

-To transform human consciousness.

His writing and inspirational presentations, which I have attended, have truly transformed my own consciousness. Practical techniques and gentle reminders throughout the book helped me realize greater meaning in life. Log On truly has the potential to soften the hard edges of people and positively impact health and longevity. We know of the dangerous effects that stress has on the body and Dr. Sood’s strategies help people move out of the “stress syndrome” to realize a better, healthier way of approaching life—one that is peaceful and joyful. The book is so captivating and easy to read that even my 82 year old parents are both reading the book and gaining amazing insight from it!

Here’s the excerpt from Amazon – where the book is available for purchase
(Incidentally, Dr. Sood is donating profits from the book to help children of the world.)

(Amazon.com) Log-On. A practical, hands-on approach to developing and nurturing mindfulness, that here-and-now state of total attention and being that determines so much about how we live our lives. In two simple steps, Dr. Sood takes us on a journey to help us engage and empower our brain’s higher centers. By training our attention and refining interpretation by nurturing forgiveness, acceptance, compassion, and true meaning and purpose we can cultivate the level of objectivity required to successfully cope with daily obstacles like stress and illness. The simple to follow exercises further our training with results both immediate and recognizable. Log On will help us train our mind to cultivate peace, joy and resilience, decrease anxiety and attention deficit, and ‘rightwire’ our brain to live fuller and more purposeful lives.

Here is the link to Dr. Sood’s marvelous book Log On: Amazon.com

Healthy, mindful reading!

–Ruth

Green Garden Living — All Year Long

2014-05-14_06-28-41_751You can eat healthy and have a positive influence on the environment! Consider growing your own vegetables, frequent a farmers market or buy direct from a local farmer.  Stock up in high season, so you can enjoy the bounty later in the year.

Today  in early February of  ’09, I enjoyed the harvest of ’08 with a squash and apple dish that’s truly delicious.  Butternut squash is one of my favorites and my mom grows a big patch of them every year. They store very well in a cool, dry place. Rotate them occasionally and be sure the stem stays on the squash. Four months after harvest, we’re still enjoying this seasonal favorite.

Plan ahead for new ways to go “garden” green.  Plant a backyard garden, share plot space with a friend or join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Make green living part of your daily ritual by getting back to nature and enjoying natural home grown produce.

My mom gave me this recipe and exclaimed: “I can’t stop eating this dish—it’s like dessert.” I absolutely concur—and I think you will too.

Enjoy!
Ruth

Butternut Squash & Green Apple Bake

Delicious as a side dish with chicken, pork or pasta.

5 c. squash/sliced, butternut

4 c. apples, tart, sliced

¼ c. butter/melted

½ c. brown sugar

1 Tbsp. flour

1 t. salt

½ c. ground mace

Method:

Peel and slice squash/apples. Melt butter and brown sugar; stir in flour, salt and mace. Stir mixture into squash/apples. Bake at 350 for approx. 1 hr or until soft. Stir halfway through cooking process to distribute ingredients.

Enjoy!

Creative Commons LicenseThis blog by Lahmayer & Associates, Ltd. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Feel free to share, copy, distribute, display and transmit this work as long as you attribute the authorship to Ruth Lahmayer Chipps, link back to this webpage and avoid altering or building upon this work. (For non-commercial purposes only).

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