Ruth's Blog

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

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.

Squash–In The Spotlight For Fall

It’s definitely time to visit your local farmers market, if you haven’t already been a frequent visitor.

The markets are brimming with the best of the fall harvest and one of my favorites is butternut squash. I’m fortunate to have received a few fresh picks from my mom’s garden in rural Wisconsin.  You can identify butternut by it’s light creamy tan exterior color, characteristic hourglass shape and rich golden-orange interior. This fall favorite it filled with nutrients,such as beta carotene and is a good source of fiber.

Last night I cut the squash into eight chunks, removed the seeds and roasted the pieces at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes with a sprinkle of salt & pepper an drizzle of olive oil. We enjoyed it as a side dish with chicken spaghetti meal. Leftover pieces were refrigerated for today’s soup:

Butternut Squash Soup

2 tbsp. olive oil

¾ c onion, chopped

¼ c. red pepper, chopped

¼ c. green pepper, chopped

2 tsp cumin (more if you like it)

1 ½ t. fresh minced garlic

¼ t. white pepper

2 (14oz .) cans low sodium chicken broth (or homemade – if you have it)

2 c. cooked or make squash

¼ c. half & half (optional)

Hot pepper sauce to taste.

Brown onion and garlic in olive oil. Add red and green pepper and lightly sauté. Add remaining ingredients and heat. Your’re the cook – adjust seasonings as needed –

Just before serving add the optional half & half and heat to serving temperature (do not boil.) Sprinkle the desired amount of hot pepper sauce.

Serve with a slice of seasonal fresh local apples–We’re enjoying “honey crisp” in Minnesota right now!

To Your Health,

Ruth

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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