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Grilling 101: Grilling Safety

Written by Lisa Jillanza

The summer months and grilling always seem to go hand-in-hand. Because this is a popular cooking method in the summertime, experts remind us that there are ways to grill safely and to avoid cookout germs.

 

  • When handling raw meat, make sure you separate it from other foods. Wash your hands immediately after handling raw meats.
  • Throw out marinades/sauces that may have come in contact with raw meats.
  • Clean your grill and check all tools before cooking with them.
  • Use a food thermometer and check the temperatures that each meat should be cooked until (can be found using a Google search)
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on: Tomatoes

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men.
  • Lycopene, what gives tomatoes their red pigment, acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells in the body.
  • Studies show that men who at least eat 10 servings of tomatoes a week can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by a whopping 45 percent.

Recipe: Tomato Casserole with Sweet Onions

6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion

1 teaspoon fresh dill, or scant ½ teaspoon dried dillweed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant ½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil 

Place peeled tomato wedges on paper towels to drain.  Peel onions and slice into ¼-inch rings.  In separate bowl combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs.  Layer half of the tomatoes and onions in a lightly buttered baking dish and top with half of the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with half of the bread crumb and seasoning mixture, half of mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with half olive oil.  Repeat layers.  Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly.

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

3 to 4 small ears of corn

1 can (15 to 16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

¼ cup minced red onion

2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno or poblano pepper

Juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons

3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro

Dash salt and pepper, to taste 

Grill or broil corn to char slightly; let cool.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Cut corn from cobs and add to the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving time. 

Great alternative to sauces, and is especially tasty on grilled fish, chicken or pork!

Eating 101: Great Summertime Fruits

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Summer is a great season to partake in the numerous delicious seasonal fruits.  Not only do these summertime fruits taste great, but they also give you many nutritional benefits. Some fruits to enjoy before the season ends include:

 

Berries: the phytochemicals in blueberries, strawberries and blackberries all boost immunity, and protect against heart diseases and circulatory problems.

Peaches and plums: full of vitamin C and beta carotene, peaches and plums help to eliminate free radicals from the body.

Pineapples: being packed with the most vitamins and minerals, pineapples are also a great digestive aid.

Papayas and mangoes: both are an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin A, beta carotene and fiber.

Eating Healthy: Spotlight on Bananas

Written by Lisa Jillanza
  • We consume about 25 pounds of bananas per person each year.
  • There are more than 1,000 varieties of bananas.
  • Bananas don't grow on trees : trees have bark and banana plants don't have bark.
  • Bananas are low in saturated fats, cholesterol and sodium.
  • A large portion of the calories in bananas come from sugars.

 

 

Recipe: Classic Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)

1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cooking spray

Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Recipe: Banana Chia Pudding

1 ½ cups vanilla-flavored flax milk

1 large banana cut in chunks

7 tablespoons chia seeds

3 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Put milk, banana, chia seeds, honey, vanilla extract, and sea salt in respective order in the blender; blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a bowl and refrigerate until thickened, at least 2 hours. Spoon mixture into small bowls to serve.

Healthy Eating DASH Your Way to Lower Blood Pressure

Written by Lisa Jillanza

Ranked recently as the “top diet” by U.S. News and World Report, the DASH diet – or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension- is growing in popularity as being a diet followed by more than just those with high blood pressure.

 

According to reports, the DASH diet “involves manageable dietary changes that are flexible and rooted in proven nutritional advice.” 

The food options on a DASH diet closely mirror those of the U.S.  Department of Agriculture’s My Plate diet, with a focus on whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, fat or low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats, fish, and poultry. The plan also encourages participants to cut back on processed foods, sugary drinks, packaged snacks, and limiting red meat. 

There are two different options when it comes to the DASH diet. The standard DASH diet limits sodium consumption to 2,300 milligrams per day. The lower-sodium DASH diet calls for limiting sodium consumption to 1,500 milligrams per day. 

The daily DASH eating plan also involves, on average: 

  • 6 to 8 servings of grains, preferably whole grains
  • 6 or fewer servings of meat, poultry, and fish
  • 4 to 5 servings of veggies
  • 4 to 5 servings of fruit
  • 2 to 3 servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products
  • 2 to 3 servings of fat or oils 

Depending on your weight loss goals or management, you can choose a DASH plan that varies from 1,200 to 3,100 calories per day.

As with any diet plan, it is best to talk to your physician to find out if the plan is best for you and your health needs.