Thursday, February 22, 2024

Pamper Your Pup with Homemade Treats
Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day


Whip up some delightful homemade treats for your dog with just three easy-to-find, pet-safe ingredients. These simple-to-make cookies can be shaped into adorable doggy designs like bones for fun or quickly formed into small, flattened balls if time is tight. Ensure your peanut butter is free from added sugars, oils, and particularly Xylitol, which is harmful to dogs.

Banana Bliss Biscuits for Barkers

Easy 3-Ingredient Dog Treats Yields: 20-24 biscuits. Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (check for no Xylitol!)
  • 1 large ripe banana (or 2 mediums), mashed

How to Make Them:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Pulse the rolled oats in a blender until they resemble fine flour, or use pre-made oat flour. Set this aside.
  • In a big bowl, combine the peanut butter and mashed banana thoroughly. Mix in the oat flour until you achieve a thick, cohesive dough. If it's too dry, mix in 2-4 tablespoons of peanut butter until the dough is sticky yet workable.
  • Flatten the dough to about a 1/4 inch thickness and cut out shapes with a doggie-themed cookie cutter. For a quicker option, shape the dough into small balls (about 1 tablespoon each) and press them down to form simple round cookies.
  • Bake for about 15 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly golden. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes – if you can wait – before treating your dog.
  • Store these tasty treats in a sealed container; they'll keep fresh for up to two weeks.

Treat your four-legged friend to these healthy, homemade snacks and watch their tail wag joyfully!

National Cook a Sweet Potato Day - Celebrate the Sweet Potato

Nutrition Information

Sweet Potatoes are high in vitamin A and vitamin C and a good source of dietary fiber and potassium. They are naturally fat-free, saturated fat-free, low sodium, and cholesterol-free.

How to Select
Choose firm, small- to medium-sized potatoes with smooth skin. Avoid cracks, soft spots, and blemishes.

How to Store
Store sweet potatoes in a cool, dark place for use within 3-5 weeks.

Top 9 Ways To Enjoy Sweet Potatoes

1. Bake, Roast, or Steam. Pick a cooking method and enjoy! Use whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes as a side dish to any meal.

2. Mash - Steam peeled sweet-potato chunks for about 10 minutes until tender, and mash with a dash of orange juice.

3. Top Your Salad. Sweet potatoes make sweet salad toppings. Combine diced sweet potatoes, pineapple tidbits, apples, celery, and cashews. Serve over salad greens

4. Sweet Potato Fries. Sweet potato fries make a delicious treat. Quarter sweet potatoes and drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 400 degrees for 40-60 minutes. For a spicy twist, add a dash of cayenne pepper.

5. Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes in your favorite potato salad recipe.

6. Grill - Slice sweet potatoes into thick ½ inch rounds and grill until lightly browned. Drizzle with lime juice.

7. Add a Twist to Your Sandwiches. Cut thin slices of cooked sweet potatoes and add to your favorite sandwich or wrap instead of tomatoes.

8. Drizzle and Eat - Dice cooked, peeled sweet potatoes and drizzle with maple syrup for a side dish.

9. A Healthy Snack. Try munching on sweet potato chips. Thinly slice a large sweet potato and brush lightly with olive oil. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp.

2. EatingWell, Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes
3. Sweet Potato Recipes, A Couple Cooks

Sunday, February 18, 2024

President's Day - Dietary Preferences of Some of Our Presidents

Every president has his favorite foods. And it doesn't take long for the nation to become captivated with a president's eating habits - with Ronald Reagan, it was jelly beans; Jimmy Carter munched peanuts, George W. Bush loved pretzels and our newest President Joe Biden delights in ice cream.

Eat a Variety of Lean Protein

What foods are in the Protein Food Group?

The following foods are considered part of the Protein Foods Group: meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, tofu, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group. 

Select a variety of protein foods to improve nutrient intake and health benefits, including at least 8 ounces of cooked seafood per week. Young children need less, depending on their age and calorie needs. 
Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat. The advice to consume seafood does not apply to vegetarians. Vegetarian options in the Protein Foods Group include beans and peas, processed soy products, and nuts and seeds.

How much food from the Protein Foods Group is needed daily?

The amount of food from the Protein Foods Group you need to eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most Americans eat enough food from this group but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods. 

What counts as an ounce equivalent in the Protein Foods Group?

In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce-equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.

Recipe: Spicy Garlic Soy Tofu, by Suganya Hariharan,, FoodNetwork, Nutrition Profile by @DietitianOnline  

Saturday, February 17, 2024

February 18, Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

Serves 6

6, 4 oz fresh flounder fillets
1/2 cup(s) celery, chopped
1/2 cup(s) chopped green onions
1 clove(s) minced garlic
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup fresh crab meat
2 tablespoon(s) chopped parsley
1 egg, slightly beaten
Salt, black and red pepper to taste

1. Sauté celery, onions, and garlic in 2 Tbsp of melted butter.
2. Add breadcrumbs, crabmeat chopped parsley, and egg to sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
3. Season to taste with salt, black and red pepper.
4. Brush the flounder fillets well with additional melted butter, salt, and pepper the fillets.
5. Laying the fillets flat, place an equal amount of prepared stuffing on each fillet.
6. Roll the fillets ensuring that the stuffing mixture remains in the center.
7. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp of butter in shallow baking dish.
8. Place stuffed fish in a pan.
9. Cover and bake at 375 F for approximately 30 minutes or until the fish flakes easily.
10. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes to brown.

Nutrient Analysis

Nutrient Analysis Services

Purchasing nutrient analysis software and learning how to use the program is only useful if you have the knowledge to convert “as purchased” ingredients to the “edible portion.” 
Ensure accurate nutrient analysis for your recipes utilizing an extensive research database and over 25 years of experience. A valuable service for the Recipe Blogger, Media, Cookbook Publishers, Writers, Chefs, and Recipe Websites. Your readers will benefit from the Nutrient information and a Registered Dietitian. Contact:; Sandra Frank, Ed.D, RDN, FAND at  954.294.6300

Cabbage Craze - National Cabbage Day

Cabbage: Nutrition. Selection. Storage

How to Select
Choose green cabbage heads with compact leaves that are heavy for their size.

How to Store
Refrigerate green cabbage for up to 7 days.

Nutrition Benefits
Fat-free; saturated fat-free; very low sodium; cholesterol-free; low calorie; high in vitamin C.

Top 5 Ways To Enjoy Cabbage

Drizzle and Enjoy. Cut up any type of cabbage, drizzle it with lemon and add a little salt for a mid-day snack.
2. Prime Pasta. If pasta is for dinner, increase your vegetable intake by tossing some thinly slice cabbage into your sauce.

3. Stir Fry. Cabbage has a mild taste and can be added to any stir fry.

Add Crunch to Your Lunch! Add extra crunch to your salads, soups, wraps, or sandwiches by topping them off with thinly sliced cabbage.

5. S
low-Cooked. Pump up the veggies on your hamburgers by adding slow-cooked cabbage, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and
light mayo.

Fruits & Veggies— More Matters, Cabbage

Friday, February 16, 2024

Almonds: A Super Seed

Almonds: A Super Seed
Health Benefits of Almonds


Portion Control

Almond Safety
Almond pasteurization became mandatory for the California almond industry on September 1, 2007, and was implemented on a voluntary basis over the previous two years. All almonds must be pasteurized before being sold to consumers in North America.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), along with a technical review panel comprised of almond scientific experts, is responsible for evaluating and approving the treatment processes that demonstrate effectiveness in achieving a reduction of possible contamination in almonds while not impacting their quality and sensory attributes. To date, FDA has approved oil roasting, dry roasting, blanching, steam processing, and propylene oxide (PPO) processes as acceptable forms of pasteurization for almonds. Organic almonds will be pasteurized using treatments, such as steam pasteurization, that meet the USDA Organic Program’s national standards. Other forms of pasteurization continue to be researched, evaluated and tested. ABC worked over several years with leading experts and weighed all perspectives and issues in developing this industry-wide pasteurization plan.

Recipe: Strawberry-Spinach-Almond Salad
Recipe by Southern Living
Nutrition Profile by @DietitianOnline 

Almonds, From Wikipedia

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Potato Lover's Month

 Potatoes are one of the vegetables in the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, which includes eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers. It is a starchy, tuberous crop. Potatoes are the world's fourth-largest food crop, following maize, wheat, and rice.


One medium potato (5.3 oz) with the skin contains:
110 Calories; Vitamin C (45 % DV); 620 mg potassium; Vitamin B6 (10 % DV); No Fat; No Sodium; No Cholesterol; and Trace amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and zinc. Potatoes also contain a variety of phytonutrients that have antioxidant activity. Among these important health-promoting compounds are carotenoids and flavonoids.

About 20% of the potato’s nutrition is found in the skin.  Most of the vitamin C and potassium are found in the potato’s flesh, but fiber is found in the skin.  That’s why it’s best to enjoy every part of the potato.

According to MyPlate, potatoes are vegetables.  It counts toward the total recommended servings of vegetables. One medium-sized potato (5.3 oz.) counts as 1 cup of starchy vegetables.

Rose, Gold, and Purple Potato Salad

5 Small Round Potatoes: 
  1 Honey Gold 
  2 Enchanted Rose
  2 Purple Splendor
Dash Curry Powder
2 tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tbsp Italian Dressing, fat-free

1. Roast potatoes and dice.
2. In a bowl, combine curry, mustard, and Italian dressing. Mix.
3. Add potatoes to the marinade and coat well.

Nutrition Information

Monday, February 12, 2024

Tortellini, Chicken, and Arugula Salad

 This comes together in a cinch thanks to the use of a few quality items, such as hearty cheese tortellini and shredded rotisserie chicken. Prepare the dressing and pasta ahead of time to make the final assembly even faster. Who knew making dinner on busy weekday nights could be so easy?

1 (9-oz.) package refrigerated cheese tortellini (such as Buitoni), cooked according to package directions
8 ounces skinless, boneless rotisserie chicken breast, shredded (about 2 cups)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups baby arugula
1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot
3/4 ounce Parmesan cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

  1. Place tortellini and chicken in a large bowl.
  2. Combine garlic and salt on a cutting board. Mash with the side of a knife to form a paste. Place in a small bowl. Add oil, rind, juice, sugar, and pepper; stir with a whisk.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons dressing to tortellini and chicken; toss to coat. Gently fold in arugula, shallot, and remaining dressing. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan cheese.

Mardi Gras - Sausage Gumbo with Okra and Corn

Mardi Gras is a celebration that includes masks, costumes, parades, and rich foods. Its origins can be traced to medieval Europe.

Feast of Fat Tuesday: A Mardi Gras Culinary Parade
Dive into the heart of Mardi Gras celebrations!

Sausage Gumbo with Added Okra and Corn.

The light version of  Per serving: 168 calories; 6 g fat (2 g sat, 1 g mono); 25 mg cholesterol; 18 g carbohydrates; 11 g protein; 3 g fiber; 631 mg sodium; 448 mg potassium.


12 ounces hot Italian turkey sausage links, remove casings
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups chopped tomatoes
4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 ½ cups frozen chopped okra
¾ cup instant brown rice


1. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl lined with paper towels.

2. Return the pan to medium-high heat and add oil.

3. Add onion and cook, often stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and Cajun seasoning and cook, stirring often, about 30 seconds.

4. Add flour and cook, stirring to coat the vegetables, until the flour browns, about 1 minute.

5. Add tomatoes and cook, occasionally stirring, for about 2 minutes. Stir in broth, cover, increase heat to high, and boil.

6. Return the sausage to the pan, along with okra and rice; reduce the heat to a simmer.

7. Cook until the okra is heated through and the rice is tender for about 10 minutes.


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Oatmeal Monday: A Nourishing Tradition from Scotland

In the heart-warm corridors of Scotland's ancient universities, a unique tradition known as Meal Monday, or Oatmeal Monday, carved its niche in the academic calendar. Every second Monday of February, this tradition offered a respite to the scholars of yore.

Back in the 17th century, the life of a Scottish university student was marked by simplicity and self-sufficiency. Their lodgings were basic, demanding that each student bring their own fuel, such as firewood or peat, to keep the hearth warm. Their meals were equally humble, with oatmeal being the staple from which they crafted their daily porridge. This simple diet and lifestyle persisted well into the late 1800s. The Rev. James Sharp, reflecting on his days at the University of Edinburgh, remarked that the pursuit of knowledge in arts, sciences, and theology was fueled by oatmeal, with the occasional indulgence in a glass of beer come Saturday night.

Given the considerable distance between the students' rural homes and the urban universities, the institution of an occasional extended weekend became a necessity. This allowed students to journey home and replenish their stores of essentials. Initially, Meal Mondays were a regular occurrence, with the University of Edinburgh marking the first Monday of each month for this purpose. By 1896, this evolved into a singular official holiday set on the second Monday of February.

The observance of Meal Monday persisted through the late 19th and into the 20th century, with universities in Glasgow and Aberdeen also embracing this academic holiday. As recently as three decades ago, Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith recalls Meal Monday being a part of student life, albeit without the actual collection of oatmeal. However, as the 21st century dawned, the official recognition of Meal Monday by universities faded away, with the exception of the University of St. Andrews, which still honors it as a statutory holiday for manual staff.

Meal Monday stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of Scotland's academic traditions, a day rooted in the pragmatic needs of students past but remembered for its contribution to the rich tapestry of university life.

Abraham Lincoln’s Favorite Foods and Dietary Habits

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He served as the 16th President of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. The photos of Abraham Lincoln show a man who was tall and slender.

What did he eat while he led the country through the American Civil War,  ending slavery and promoting economic modernization?

Helen Dupre Bullock, Historian of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, wrote "Authorities agree that Lincoln was indifferent to food, not particularly knowing or caring what was placed before him, whether it was cold or hot, and even whether he ate it or not. If not reminded of meal times he forgot them." Lincoln was usually so preoccupied with problems of politics he gave little thought to food unless faced with it.

In the White House, President Lincoln’s eating habits were irregular. For breakfast, he would have an egg, a piece of toast and coffee, if he remembered to eat. Lunch consisted of “a biscuit, a glass of milk in winter, some fruit or grapes in summer,” wrote John Hay, an aide to President Lincoln. “He drank nothing but water, not from principle, but because he did not like wine or spirits.

President Lincoln was fond of certain foods, especially apples, and Mrs. Lincoln always had plenty of apples available. One of his favorite meals was fresh fruit and nuts, cheese and crackers. Some sources note, President Lincoln did have two favorite dishes, Chicken Fricassee with Biscuits and Oyster Stew. His favorite dessert was Apple Pie.

Lincoln's Table, by Donna D. McCreary, contains 125 recipes of foods the Lincolns enjoyed, including flannel cakes (pancakes) and cornbread. The book provides stories about Abraham Lincoln's childhood, background information about many ingredients used in the recipes, and photos and menus. The recipes, though historically authentic, have been converted to modern-day measurements.

              Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address


Celebrate the Year of the Dragon:
A Feast of Color, Flavor, and Fortune

As we usher in the Year of the Dragon this Chinese New Year on February 10, 2024, we're not just marking another calendar date but embarking on a vibrant journey through a mosaic of traditions, colors, and, most importantly, flavors that promise luck, health, and prosperity.

The Chinese New Year is a time when families come together, not just in China but around the globe, to honor past traditions and welcome the future with open arms and full tables.

The Feast of Fortune

The Dragon, a symbol of strength, luck, and health, guides us through this year's festivities, where food plays a pivotal role in attracting good fortune. Here's a glimpse into the symbolic banquet:

  • Dumplings: Shaped like ancient gold ingots, devouring dumplings is believed to bring wealth. Whether filled with pork, shrimp, or vegetables, the more you eat, the richer your year will be.

  • Longevity Noodles: These uncut noodles represent a long and prosperous life. Handle them with care to avoid cutting short your luck.

  • Tray of Togetherness: A platter divided into sections, usually six or eight, brimming with dried fruits, nuts, and sweets, symbolizes family unity and a harmonious blend of luck and fortune.

  • Spring Rolls: Golden and filled with vegetables or meat, they resemble gold bars, ushering in wealth and prosperity.

  • Oranges and Citrus Fruits: Their golden hue and sweet taste are auspicious symbols of luck, wealth, and abundant happiness.

  • Sweet Rice Balls: Their round shape and sticky texture represent family togetherness and reunion, essential values during this festive time.

  • Fish: A staple for ensuring abundance, the word for fish sounds like 'surplus,' promising a year of plenty.

  • Year Cake: The name of this sticky rice cake is a homophone for 'higher year,' symbolizing growth, success, and reaching new heights.

  • Eight Treasure Rice: Adorned with eight lucky ingredients, this dessert promises sweetness and prosperity in the year ahead.

  • Prosperity Cakes: With their cracked tops resembling flourishing flowers, these cakes are believed to bring blossoming fortunes.

  • Almond Cookies: Round-like coins; these cookies are a crunchy nod to a year filled with financial fortune.

  • Whole Chicken: A symbol of completeness and unity, serving a chicken in its entirety, including the head and feet, ensures a prosperous and united year ahead.

As we celebrate, let's remember that while the Lunar New Year is a shared moment across various cultures, each brings its own unique flavors and traditions to the table. Whether you're feasting on dumplings, savoring the sweet stickiness of nian gao, or enjoying the festive crackle of spring rolls, every bite is a step into a year filled with promise, health, and prosperity.

Happy New Year! May the Year of the Dragon roar with joy, luck, and success for you and your loved ones.

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