Honey Cinnamon Granola
I used rolled wheat in this granola instead of rolled oats because some of my family members prefer the wheat. You can use whatever rolled grain you want!
4 cups rolled wheat (1 pound bag)
1 cup chopped dates
1/2-1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts (I used pecans and almonds)
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil of your choice (I used canola oil)
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan or other large rimmed pan with a vegetable oil spray or oil of your choice.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.
In a small saucepan stir together the wet ingredients. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the brown sugar is dissolved.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spread the granola into the greased baking pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for one hour. Stir. Bake for another half hour. Stir. If not as crunchy as you like you can continue baking and stirring, or turn the oven off and leave it in there for awhile. (I left mine in overnight.)
Makes about 8 cups
Another study at UCLA links pesticides and Parkinson’s disease
UCLA researchers recently discovered a link between the pesticide benomyl and Parkinson’s disease (PD). The UCLA press release can be found here. The article is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and can be found here. Previous research linked the pesticides ziram, maneb and paraquat to an increased risk of PD.
While the research was on breathing the pesticides, after reading the articles, I will admit I am buying a lot more organic produce!
Vegetarians have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians
This study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that vegetarians have lower blood pressure than non-vegetarians. Time’s report (which includes 7 reasons why vegetarian diets are healthy) can be found here. CNN Health’s report can be found here.
Added sugar consumption increases the risk for CVD mortality
This study published in the JAMA Internal Medicine found that added sugar increases the risk of cardiovascular disease mortality. CNN Health’s report can be found here.
Chili Topped Sweet Potatoes
I first saw this recipe in a Light and Tasty magazine published by Taste of Home. Here is the original recipe online. I modified it quite a bit to come up with my version. This makes a very colorful and filling main dish. Enjoy!
Enough orange sweet potatoes (called yams in some stores) to feed 4 people. Keep in mind that 1 large sweet potato can feed 2 to 4 people.
water or olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 minced garlic clove
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/4 cup diced green chilies
1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
diced avocado for garnish (optional)
grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese for garnish (optional)
Dairy free: Omit cheese
Gluten free: Make sure the beans, canned green chilies and chili powder are gluten free
Low fat: Omit avocado and cheese
Vegan: Omit cheese
Bake or microwave the sweet potatoes. For instructions see this post.
In a large skillet place either a little bit of water or olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add the remaining ingredients and heat through.
Serve over the potatoes. Sprinkle with avocado and/or cheese if desired.
This can either be a main dish or a side dish. It is quick and easy to prepare if you already have cooked rice on hand.
1/2 to 1 onion, peeled and diced
1-2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
1/4 to 1 whole jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (wear disposable gloves)
water or 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tomato, diced
cooked brown rice (enough to feed everyone)
cooked or canned black beans, rinsed and drained (1 to 2 cups)
salsa (enough to moisten)
cilantro (1 – 4 tablespoons, diced)
salt and pepper to taste
Gluten Free: Make sure the salsa and beans are gluten free
In a large skillet, over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic and jalapeno in the water or olive oil until tender.
Add the tomato, rice, black beans and enough salsa to moisten. Heat through. Add the cilantro and salt and pepper to taste (if needed).
Southwest Bell Peppers
This is an easy to make vegetarian main dish. The recipe makes enough stuffing for two whole bell peppers. You can also cut the bell peppers in half (lengthwise) and stuff them that way, to make 4 half peppers. Increase the ingredients to make more peppers.
2 red, yellow, orange or green bell peppers
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup frozen corn, defrosted
1/2 cup canned or cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green onion, diced
1 tablespoon diced cilantro leaves
1/2 cup salsa
2 to 4 tablespoons grated cheddar or pepper jack cheese (optional)
Dairy-free: Omit cheese
Gluten-free: Use your own beans or make sure the canned beans are gluten free
Low-fat: Omit cheese
Soy-free: Don’t use soybean oil to oil the baking dish
Vegan: Omit cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking pan that will hold the peppers. I used one with tall sides (a casserole dish) to help the peppers stay upright while baking.
Wash the bell peppers and cut the tops off. Scoop out the seeds. Leave whole or cut in half lengthwise. Set aside.
Combine the rest of the ingredients in a medium size bowl. If you use the cheese, you can save some for the top of the peppers and add the last 5-10 minutes of baking if desired.
Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture. Place the peppers in the baking dish. Cover with foil, tenting the foil if needed to keep it from touching the peppers. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes.
(I’m guessing you can also heat these in the microwave, but I haven’t tried it.)
Black Bean Avocado Salsa
Homemade salsas make a quick, healthy snack. I had this salsa ready when my family came home from work so they could eat it as an appetizer prior to dinner. (Which was green chili enchiladas. ) Enjoy!
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup diced sweet onion
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 avocado, peeled and diced
juice from 1 lime
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced (use disposable gloves when working with the jalapeno)
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Serve with tortilla chips (preferably baked chips).
Serum Cholesterol Levels and Brain Health:
Researchers at University of California Davis found an association between higher LDL-C and lower HDL-C serum levels and amyloid plaque deposition in the brain.
Bruce Reed, lead study author and associate director of UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center said:
“Our study shows that both higher levels of HDL — good — and lower levels of LDL — bad — cholesterol in the bloodstream are associated with lower levels of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain.”
“Unhealthy patterns of cholesterol could be directly causing the higher levels of amyloid known to contribute to Alzheimer’s, in the same way that such patterns promote heart disease,” he said.
This is another good reason to eat a healthy diet….to keep your brain healthy. The UC Davis news release can be found here. The Science Daily news release is here. The abstract in JAMA neurology can be found here.
Heavier Alcohol Intake Associated with Greater Mental Decline in Men
Alcohol consumption (>36 g/day) was associated with faster cognitive decline in men. Read the article in Neurology here. WebMD discusses the findings here.
Study Shows Symptom Questionnaire Missed Majority of Celiac Disease
A study in the Pediatric Journal showed that a symptom questionnaire identified only 38% of the cases of CD in children in Sweden. A thoughtful commentary on the study, “Rethinking Strategies to Screen for Celiac Disease” can be found here. Clearly, symptoms alone cannot be relied upon to suggest the presence of CD.
Parmesan Crusted Tilapia
I developed this quick and easy recipe after enjoying something similar in a restaurant. This recipe makes 2 servings. Increase the ingredients as needed if you need more servings.
The Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries make a good side dish. Start them first, and after they have baked for the first 20 minutes, stir, then put them back into the oven for 5 minutes. Then put the fish in the oven too. They will both be done about the same time!
Vegetable oil or Pam to grease the baking pan
1 fresh lemon (or 2 lemons if you want lemon wedges to serve with the fish)
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (not the kind in a can)
1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 Tilapia fillets (thawed if frozen)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a shallow baking pan with the vegetable oil of your choice or spray with Pam.
Squeeze the juice of one lemon onto a plate or into a pie plate. Take out any seeds. Set aside.
On another plate or pie plate combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, lemon-pepper seasoning and melted butter. (To make it easy, melt the butter on the plate in the microwave, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.)
Dip the Tilapia into the lemon juice, covering both sides. Then place it into the bread crumb mixture and cover with crumbs. Place on the greased baking dish. Repeat with the other fillet. Take any remaining crumbs and pat them on top of the fillets.
Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.
Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
I don’t think I’ve ever bought a box mix of macaroni and cheese. Ever. Homemade is just better. My kids enjoyed this as they were growing up, and still request it from time to time when they visit.
3 cups elbow macaroni
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups skim milk
3-4 cups grated cheddar cheese
In a large pot, cook the macaroni according to package directions. Drain in a colander and set aside.
Meanwhile, in another large pot (or in the same pot if you wait until the macaroni is done cooking), melt the butter. Using a wire whisk stir in the flour, salt and pepper.
Slowly add the milk, a cup at a time, stirring until thickened each time. Remove the pot from the heat, and add the cheese, slowly, a handful at a time, stirring until completely melted. If needed, the pot can be put on low heat while this is done, but I’ve found it works best off the heat.
When the cheese has been added, and is thoroughly melted and mixed in, add the macaroni noodles.
Return the pot to medium low heat, and heat until warmed through.
Recipe can be halved or doubled. I doubled it when all the kids were living at home.
This cornbread is moist, slightly sweet and a family favorite! I hope you enjoy it too!
I adapted this recipe from Taste of Home’s Light and Tasty magazine. However, the only recipe I could find online was this one, which is significantly higher in fat than my version.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
1/2 cup honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan with some oil of your choice or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spoon into the prepared pan and spread until evenly distributed.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until the cornbread tests done with a toothpick inserted in the center.
This recipe can be doubled and the batter baked in a 13 by 9 by 2 inch baking pan. The batter can also be baked in a muffin tin if you prefer.