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WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - County Market
{County Market} - WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert
County Market's Live Well team is committed to making our communities and associates healthier!

We know as a Nation we are facing a serious health crisis and our customers are becoming more aware of this as well. County Market's Live Well team wants our customers to be aware of the role food plays in health and wellness and to understand that health and wellness is a journey and we are here to guide them.

Our Live Well program was developed to be an educational resource for our County Market customers and associates.

Our mission is to motivate & support you on your journey to health & wellness by using our 4 Live Well Principles:

1. It Starts With Your Cart

We want people to fill their shopping cart the same way they should fill their plate: half your cart should be filled with fruits and vegetables, and then add in lean proteins, whole grains, and low fat dairy.

2. Get Back to the Table

The idea behind this principle is that we really want families to be cooking and eating at home more often. It is our job to provide cooking tips, recipe ideas, and meal solutions.

3. Aim for 5

We can't emphasize enough the importance of eating 5 fruits and vegetables a day. Not only 5 fruits and veggies a day, but 5 different colors a week or per day and all forms count: fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice.

4. Take Steps in the Right Direction

This principle focuses on the benefits of physical activity. Diet alone is not enough and we really need to increase our daily activity in order to lead a healthier lifestyle.

To learn more about our County Market Live Well program, feel free to contact our Live Well Team!

Hope Danielson, Health and Wellness Advisor:
Phone: 217.221.5629, Email:

Melanie Pavlovic, Registered Dietitian:
Phone: 217.546.8537, Email:

County Market Blog

Chilled Hawaiian Soup!

Nothing screams vacationing on a tropical beach like a Pina colada or fresh tropical fruits like kiwi, mango, papaya, and pineapple….  So why not combine all the flavors of the tropics in one refreshing bowl!

If you are a fan of gazpacho, which is a chilled tomato & veggie loaded soup (think V8 juice but even tastier) then you will really enjoy this fruit and Hawaiian inspired gazpacho recipe!

This recipe is meant to be served as a Starter or Appetizer to your meal on a hot summer day or even as a light Dessert after the meal…however if you want to be creative you can also freeze it and serve it like a sorbet or drink it as a smoothie for breakfast!

Making this recipe will hopefully bring on some of the tropical temperatures we are longing for without all the rain! Enjoy

Chilled Hawaiian Soup
Preparation Time:  20 minutes              Number of Servings: 4

•    2 large ripe mangos, peeled, stone removed, sliced or diced (or 2 ½ cups frozen, thawed)
•    ½ cup fresh pineapple, chunked
•    4 oz plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
•    1/2 cup lite canned coconut milk
•    4 oz low-fat milk (1% or skim)
•    1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
•    1 teaspoon lime zest
•    2 teaspoons honey
•    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
•    1 teaspoon mint leaves, coarsely chopped (for garnish)

1.    Place mangos & pineapple in a food processor or blender. 
2.    Add the Greek yogurt, lite coconut milk, low-fat milk, lime juice, lime zest, honey, and salt (if using) to the food processor and blend until all ingredients are smooth an there are no more chunks.
3.    Place the Hawaiian soup in the fridge to chill it for several hours before serving.
4.    Garnish with mint leaves just before serving.

  • You can also chill the soup overnight in the fridge
  • For a twist add ½ small serrano pepper to the soup before blending to add a kick!
  • Garnish with fresh raspberries or any other fruit if you like.
Nutrition Facts (per serving if including the salt):
Calories:  143     Protein:   5.8gm    Total Carbohydrates:    27gm    Fiber:  2gm   
Total Fat:  2.2gm    Cholesterol:   2mg    Sodium:     115mg

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

We all know that it’s important to keep hydrated, especially as the temperatures start to climb. Unfortunately many of us choose “not so healthy beverages” to hydrate with throughout the day. Many of these beverages are not only high in sugar but can also have the opposite effect on us leaving us dehydrated. Here are some great choices when looking to quench your thirst this summer:

  • Water:  I know we hear it all the time but water truly is the best choice. Your body craves water so it’s super important to get plenty of it throughout the day. Try flavoring your water with fresh mint, lemon and cucumber. You can also make homemade flavored ice cubes by taking a 100% juice and mixing in chopped  berries and herbs, pour into ice cube trays and use to help keep your water cool and delicious.
  • Tea:  Iced tea is especially good in the summer time and tea is loaded with antioxidants. Try buying flavored tea bags such as raspberry, blueberry or lemon. These add a lot of flavor without any calories. If you like sweet tea, try sweetening your own by using a little honey.
  • Sparkling water:  Sparkling water mixed with 100% fruit juice is a great alternative to soda. Try mixing 100% pomegranate juice with sparkling water and a twist of lime. DELICIOUS!!!!
  • Fruit:  Fruits like berries, oranges and watermelon are filled with water and can help keep you hydrated on a hot day. Plus you get all the great nutrients and fiber. 
  • Veggies:  Vegetables are filled with water. Try a leafy green salad at lunch or cucumbers and celery for a snack.

Here Are 10 Tips To Eat More Seafood!

The USDA recommends eating seafood - fish and shellfish - as your main protein food at least twice a week. Seafood contains a range of nutrients, including healthy omega-3 fats. According to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for
Americans, eating about 8 ounces per week (less for young children) of a variety of seafood can help prevent heart disease. Here are 10 tips to eat more seafood:

  1. Eat a variety of seafood:  Include some that are higher in omega-3s and lower in mercury, such as salmon, trout, oysters, Atlantic and Pacific mackerel, herring, and sardines.
  2. Keep it lean and flavorful:  Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or bakingâ€"they don’t add extra fat. Avoid breading or frying seafood and creamy sauces, which add calories and fat. Using spices or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin, and lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.
  3. Shellfish counts too:  Oysters, mussels, clams, and calamari (squid) all supply healthy omega-3s. Try mussels marinara, oyster stew, steamed clams, or pasta with calamari.
  4. Keep seafood on hand:  Canned seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna, or sardines, is quick higher in omega-3s, but canned “light” tuna is lower in mercury.
  5. Cook it safely:  Check oysters, mussels, and clams before cooking. If shells don’t clamp shut when you tap them, throw them away. After cooking, also toss any that didn’t open. This means that they may not be safe to eat. Cook shrimp, lobster, and scallops until they are opaque (milky white). Cook fish to 145°F, until it flakes with a fork.
  6. Get creative with seafood:  Think beyond the fish fillet. Try salmon patties, a shrimp stir-fry, grilled fish tacos, or clams with whole-wheat pasta. Add variety by trying a new fish such as grilled Atlantic or Pacific mackerel, herring on a salad, or oven-baked pollock.
  7. Put it on a salad or in a sandwich:  Top a salad with grilled scallops, shrimp, or crab in place of steak or chicken. Use canned tuna or salmon for sandwiches in place of deli meats, which are often higher in sodium.
  8. Shop smart:  Eating more seafood does not have to be expensive. Whiting, tilapia, sardines, canned tuna, and some frozen seafood are usually lower cost options. Check your local County Market ad for specials on seafood.
  9. Grow up healthy with seafood: Omega-3 fats from seafood can help improve nervous system development in infants and children. Serve seafood to children twice a week in portions appropriate for their age and appetite. A variety of seafood lower in mercury should also be part of a healthy diet for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  10. Know your seafood portions:  To get 8 ounces of seafood a week, use these as guides: A drained can of tuna is about 3 to 4 ounces, a salmon steak ranges from 4 to 6 ounces, and 1 small trout is about 3 ounces.
Information courtesy of:

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

With Memorial Day weekend in sight why not put a twist of citrus in your party appetizers!  
In this recipe, sweet red grapefruit and yellow cherry tomatoes come together for a colorful & delicious topper on toasted slices of baguette.
Instead of the traditional Italian style bruschetta, this version uses fresh cilantro and jalapeno for more of a Tex-Mex flavor that is perfect for summer.
It’s a combination of unexpected flavors that will be a big hit with guests!

Red Grapefruit Bruschetta
Number of Servings: 12    Preparation/Cook Time:  15 minutes

  • 1 cup chopped yellow cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup chopped red grapefruit segments (pith removed, see below in tips)
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped (both the white & green parts)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, minced & seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon fine ground sea salt (optional)
  • 24 slices of baguette toasted
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the tomatoes, grapefruit segments, onion, garlic and jalapeno. Add the cilantro, olive oil and salt. Stir to toss all ingredients.
  2. Top each slice of toasted baguette with about 1 tablespoon of the tomato and grapefruit mixture and serve.
  • Slice off the outer skin & pith (the bitter part of the grapefruit) using a sharp knife rather than peeling it or it will still have a bitter taste.
  • Don’t like grapefruit, try a combination of navel orange segments & clementines for a citrus flavor that everyone will love.
Nutrition Facts (per serving, if including salt)
Calories: 64     Protein: 1.7gm    Total Carbohydrates: 11gm    Fiber: 0.4gm   
Total Fat:   1.4gm    Cholesterol:  0mg     Sodium: 161mg

Recipe courtesy of Paramount Citrus

Grilled Chicken Satay with Coconut Lime Sauce

If you plan on Taking it Outside this weekend and grilling, make this easy chicken satay recipe along with a side of grilled mixed veggies & red skinned potatoes.
Directions for Sides:
  • Cut up some tri-colored bell peppers, red onions, and zucchini in chunks that are all about the same size, toss in a bowl with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper, and minced garlic.  Place in the center of aluminum foil (use 2 sheets) and seal the veggies inside into a packet/pouch.
  • Dice up 5-8 red skinned potatoes, add olive oil, fresh or dried rosemary, black pepper, turmeric and any other seasonings you like then place in a foil pouch just like you did with the other veggies (Note: you may have 2-3 foil packs of the diced potatoes)! 
Place potatoes on the grill first since they will take a little more time.  Enjoy!
Grilled Chicken Satay with Coconut Lime Sauce
Minutes to Prep/Cook: 28 minutes       Number of Servings: 6

Coconut Lime Sauce Ingredients:

  • ½ cup lite coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of lime
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

Chicken Satay Ingredients:
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 ½ lbs. thin chicken breasts, cut into 16 strips and pounded thin
  • Wooden skewers, soaked
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the coconut milk, coconut, lime zest and lime juice. Stir in the honey, salt and garlic powder.  Cover and refrigerate the coconut lime sauce until ready to serve.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, about 400 to 425 degrees F.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together the lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, & chili powder.  Add the chicken strips to the bowl.  Stir to coat the chicken well and then thread each piece of chicken lengthwise onto a skewer.
  4. Grill the chicken satay for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through.  Serve warm with the cooled coconut lime dipping sauce.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories:  150      Protein: 22gm    Total Carbohydrates: 2gm    Fiber: 0.4gm  
Total Fat: 5.7gm    Cholesterol: 59mg    Sodium: 163mg
Recipe courtesy of Paramount Citrus

Make Mealtime a Family Time

Family meals allow your child to focus on the task of eating and give you a chance to model good behaviors.

It takes a little work to bring everyone together for meals.  But it's worth it and the whole family eats better.
  • Start eating meals together as a family when your kids are young.  This way, it becomes a habit.
  • Plan when you will eat together as a family. Write it on your calendar.
  • You may not be able to eat together every day.  Try to have family meals most days of the week.
Make family meals enjoyable
  • Focus on the meal and each other.  Turn off the television. Take phone calls or texts later.
  • Talk about fun and happy things.  Try to make meals a stress-free time.
  • Encourage your child to try foods. But, don't lecture or force your child to eat.
  • Involve your child in conversation. Ask questions like:
  • What made you feel really happy today?
  • What did you have to eat at lunch today?
  • What's your favorite veggie? Why?
  • Tell me one thing you learned today.
  • What made you laugh today?
Have your child help you get ready to eat. Depending on age, your child may be able to:
  • Help set the table
  • Put pets, toys, or books in another room
  • Turn off the TV
  • Pour milk (with help)
  • Put down place mats
  • Hand out napkins and silverware
  • Pick flowers for the table
  • Clear the table
  • Wipe the table
Ideas for fast family meals
  • Cook it fast on busy nights. Try stir-fried meat and vegetables, quick soups, sandwiches, or quesadillas.
  • Do some tasks the day before.  Wash and cut vegetables or make a fruit salad.  Cook lean ground beef or turkey for burritos or chili.  Store everything in the fridge until ready to use.
Information courtesy of:

Cook together. Eat together. Talk together. Make mealtime a family time.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Cook together. Eat together. Talk together. Make mealtime a family time. Blog

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

It’s time to fire up your grills and put them to work!  Grilling is just one of the healthier cooking methods you can use to prepare delicious & healthy meats like chicken, shrimp, salmon, sirloin, and lean ground turkey burgers to name a few. 
Veggies like asparagus, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and romaine lettuce and even fruits like peaches, plums, nectarines, pineapple, and strawberries are great on the grill.
Remember it all comes down to what you choose to grill and how you prepare it that makes the difference!
Choosing lean cuts of meat & trimming off the visible fat/skin is a must!  Use olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil, or even diced avocado as opposed to butter or stick margarine to add moisture and flavor so your meat doesn’t dry out.
Citrus juices like lime, lemon, and navel are great additions to fish and seafood along with herbs and spices like black pepper, cilantro, basil, garlic, and any salt-free seasoning blends work well with all kinds of meat!
Here is a great Spring recipe that is sure to help you “clean” up your diet!
Note:  If you see the word “salmon” and immediately quit reading then I want you to substitute 4 - 4oz chicken breasts in the place of the salmon fillets!
You can just ignore steps 1, 5 & 6 in the directions and season & grill your chicken breasts how you normally do and then top with the fruit salsa!
Cedar Plank-Grilled Salmon with Tropical Fruit Salsa

Number of Servings: 4
Preparation/Cook Time:  30 minutes (+25 minutes soaking cedar plank)

·         1 large cedar plank
·         ½ cup diced pineapple, fresh (or you can use canned, drained pineapple)
·         ½ cup mango, finely diced
·         ½ cup kiwifruit, diced
·         ¼ cup chopped cilantro
·         2 tsp olive oil
·         1 tsp lime juice
·         1 small jalapeno, chopped (optional: or substitute ¼ of a green bell pepper)
·         Pinch of salt
·         ½ tsp black pepper, divided
·         4-6oz salmon fillets

  1. Soak your cedar plank in water for approximately 25 minutes prior to preparing the food.
  2. Preheat your grill to medium high heat.
  3. Combine pineapple, mango, kiwi, cilantro, olive oil, lime juice, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and a pinch of salt in a bowl and mix to combine ingredients.  Chill until ready to serve.
  4. Sprinkle salmon with a pinch of salt (optional) and the remaining black pepper.
  5. Place the cedar plank on the grill rack & grill for about 3 minutes or until it looks slightly charred.
  6. Turn the plank over and place salmon on the charred side.  Cover and grill for about 8 minutes or until the salmon has cooked all the way through.  Note: it usually takes about 8 minutes per 1-inch of thickness of the salmon.
  7. Serve with the tropical fruit salsa.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories:  312  Protein: 44gm    Total Carbohydrates: 10gm    Fiber: 1.5gm   
Total Fat: 10gm    Cholesterol: 114mg     Sodium: 187mg

May is Mediterranean month!

The Mediterranean Diet is a Heart Healthy way of eating based on traditional foods & cooking methods of countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.

The main components of the Mediterranean diet include:
  • Minimally processed foods
  • Mostly plant-based diet
  • Rich in monounsaturated fats
  • Emphasis on Fish & Shellfish
The basic eating pattern includes:
  • Generous amounts of fruits & vegetables every Day (think 5 a Day or more!)
  • Whole grains & legumes
  • Fish or Shellfish at least 2X/ Week
  • Healthy Fats such as olive oil & canola oil
  • Herbs & spices rather than salt to flavor foods
  • Small portions of nuts & seeds
  • Small portions of red meat on special occasions
  • Red Wine in moderation (optional)
  • Being physically active & enjoying meals with others
Foods to include:
  • Fruits & Vegetables  (Aim for at least 5 servings per day)
  • Seeds & Nuts (but watch those portions)
  • Flax Seed  One tablespoon of ground flax seed/day (Omega 3’s)
  • Oatmeal  a good source of fiber (Aim for 25 grams of fiber daily)
  • Salmon & Tuna  Good source of heart healthy Omega 3 fats
  • Whole grain bread & cereals  (make sure the label does NOT say “Enriched or Bleached” wheat)
  • Lean Meats & Poultry  (remember Fish & Seafood are best… and the ”Less Legs the Better”)
  • County Market/Cub Foods Skim Milk  (Choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products)
  • Legumes  the insoluble fiber in them helps to lower blood cholesterol
  • Foods prepared with Herbs & Spices (rather than salt)

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

Not only are strawberries one of the lowest sugar & calorie containing fruits in the produce department, but they are also one of the most popular fruits to eat! 

Hummus on the other hand has been around for quite some time, but is becoming even more popular!  The variety of flavors and combinations you can find keeps growing, one of my favorites is roasted red pepper and garlic!

If you have never tried hummus or have tried it before but didn’t like it….don’t be afraid to try this recipe! 

The hummus recipe below is a sweet and citrusy combination of strawberries, lemon juice, and of course garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas), which really compliments the chicken and strawberry stuffed pita. 

Pair this pita sandwich with some veggies and dip (or hummus if you can’t get enough of it) or with a nice side salad filled with colorful veggies like sweet yellow tomatoes, sugar snap peas, sliced radishes, shredded carrots, and sliced green onions!

Strawberry Hummus Pita Sandwiches

Preparation Time: 15 minutes         Number of Servings: 4

Strawberry Hummus Ingredients:
•    2 cups strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
•    1-14.5oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
•    1 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
•    ¼ teaspoon black pepper
•    ½ teaspoon salt (optional)

Pita Ingredients:
•    2 whole wheat pitas rounds, cut in half (should have 4 half-circles)
•    1 cup shredded cooked chicken breast or shredded rotisserie chicken breast
•    ¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
•    ½ cup sliced cucumber
•    4 medium strawberries, hulled and sliced or diced
•    1 bunch butter lettuce, watercress, or spinach
•    ¼ cup feta cheese, crumbled

  1. Blend the 2 cups strawberries, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, black pepper, and salt (if using) in a food processor or blender until ingredients have completely mixed and smooth.  May need to scrape down the sides of your processor/blender and pulse a few more times.
  2. Spread the strawberry hummus mixture evenly inside the 4 pita pocket halves. Fill them with the chicken, onions, cucumbers, sliced strawberries, lettuce, and feta.  Serve immediately.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:  348   Protein: 24gm   Total Fat:  7gm  Total Carbohydrates: 50gm
Fiber:  12gm     Cholesterol:  38mg    Sodium: 568mg (without adding salt in the hummus directions)

Recipe courtesy of California Strawberry Commission.

Focus on Foods You Need

Building a healthier plate can help you meet your nutrient needs and maintain your weight. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods contain the nutrients you need without too many calories.

When making food choices, use your Daily Food Plan. Focus on the 5 food groups. Most of what you eat and drink each day should fit within one or more of the 5 food groups. To move to a healthier weight, you need to make smart choices from every food group. Smart choices are the foods with low amounts of solid fats or added sugars: such as, fat-free (skim) milk instead of whole milk, unsweetened applesauce instead of sweetened applesauce, and 95% lean ground beef instead of regular (75% lean) ground beef.

Also think about how the food was prepared. For example, choose skinless baked chicken instead of fried chicken and choose fresh fruit instead of a fruit pastry. You can learn more about making smart choices within the food groups by going to the sections on the five food groups: Fruit Group, Vegetable Group, Grains Group, Protein Foods Group, and Dairy Group. Focusing on the foods you need can help you eat a healthy diet and manage weight.

Does it matter how much carbohydrate, protein, and fat you eat? Carbohydrate, protein, and fat are components of foods and drinks that provide calories. "Calories" matter when it comes to body weight, not the calorie source. You should not select a diet that avoids or severely limits carbohydrates, protein, or fat. Similarly, you should not select a diet that avoids any of the 5 food groups. There are choices within each food group that provide the nutrients you need, without too many calories. 

Get Started focusing on the foods you need:
  • Start with breakfast. Eat a breakfast that helps you meet your food group needs. People who skip breakfast often weigh more. Eating a nutrient-dense breakfast may help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Have healthy snacks available at home and bring healthy snacks to eat when on-the-go, such as carrot and celery sticks with peanut butter or whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese.
  • When preparing meals, include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, and lean protein foods.  These foods provide nutrients with fewer calories. 
  • To feel satisfied with fewer calories, replace high-calorie foods with lower calorie foods. You can eat larger portions of these foods for fewer calories. For example, follow the advice to "make half your plate fruits and vegetables."
Information courtesy of:

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

Looking for a nice “Meatless Monday” recipe or just a lighter recipe in general?  Then portabella mushroom burgers are the way to go!  Large portabella mushrooms have a “meaty” texture to them and hardly any calories at all so you really can’t go wrong with this “burger.”
Still not convinced that you will like a mushroom for a burger rather than a full-on meat burger….?
Then I want you to try cooking 2 large portabella mushrooms
(finely diced) until they have softened, drain the water out and blend them with 1lb 93% lean ground turkey burger or sirloin and form into about 6 patties.
You won’t notice the mushroom blended in your burgers, but you will notice that your burger will be extra juicy, quite tasty and that you will have a few extra patties on top of your usually 4 patties that 1lb of meat typically makes!
Serve this recipe with some homemade baked sweet potato fries or ditch the bun and have the mushroom “burger” over a large dinner-sized plate of salad with a side of fresh fruit and Greek yogurt!
Pesto Portobello Mushroom Burgers
Minutes to Prepare/Cook:  25             Number of Servings:  4

For the Burger:
  • 4 - 100% whole wheat Sandwich Thins lightly toasted (can be done in the oven at 350 degrees for about 4 min.)
  • 4 medium sized portabella mushroom caps, stems cut level with mushroom, gills scraped out, & washed/patted dry
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Black pepper, to taste
Burger Toppings:
  • 4 thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • ½ of an avocado, sliced into 8 slices
  • 4 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
  • 4 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 large tomato slices
  • 8 baby spinach leaves

  1. Place a large skillet over a burner on medium heat and preheat the oven broiler.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, onion powder, Italian seasoning, and black pepper.  Mix well and brush both sides of the mushroom with the mixture
  3. Cook all 4 mushroom caps in a large skillet until they are tender and have darkened in color. (about 8 minutes, flip halfway through).
  4. Meanwhile, mix together the pesto & plain Greek yogurt in a small bowl until well blended.
  5. Place toasted Sandwich Thins on a cookie sheet and spread some of the pesto mixture onto the inside of the tops & bottoms of each one.  Then add a slice of provolone cheese to 4 of the Sandwich Thin halves. 
  6. Place the Portobello mushrooms stem side up on top of the cheese and place some more pesto mixture on the inside of the mushrooms.  Top each mushroom with 2 slices of avocado, 2 baby spinach leaves, and a tomato slice and place the top of the Sandwich Thins on the mushroom to make a burger.
  7. Broil in the oven until the cheese has melted and the burger is nice and warm, 1-2 minutes.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 408;   Protein: 20gm;   Total Carbohydrates: 35gm;   Fiber: 6gm;   Total Fat: 22gm;   Cholesterol: 21mg;   Sodium: 627mg

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

Trying to stick to a healthier lifestyle can be tough enough as it is, but finding different ways to cook and prepare food in delicious & healthy ways can really help keep your diet from getting boring!

Have you ever grilled lettuce before?  It’s amazing!!  Romaine is one of the easiest types of lettuce to grill - you just rinse the romaine hearts and slice them in half lengthwise, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with pepper…and Grill! That’s it!

This recipe is easy & has a yummy salad dressing made from scratch!  I know it may seem easier to serve your grilled lettuce with a bottled salad dressing, but trust me you have to try this dressing - and it really doesn’t take that long to make!  If you don’t have a food processor you can still make the dressing with a blender.

It is nice outside and your Grill is calling your name - so let’s get to grilling!

Grilled Romaine Lettuce with Avocado & Cilantro Lime Dressing

Preparation & Cook Time: 15 minutes            Number of Servings: 4

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted 
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, depending on how thick you want the dressing

Grilled Lettuce Ingredients:
  • 2 romaine hearts, washed and cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Pepper to taste

  1. Place all the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse into all ingredients have combined and are a creamy consistency.
  2. Add a little water to thin out the dressing to your preferred consistency and place in fridge to chill.
  3. Preheat your grill to medium-low heat.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, garlic, and pepper and whisk to combine.
  5. Brush the olive oil mixture over the cut side of the lettuce & place the oiled/cut side down on the grill and cook for about 1 minute or until there is grill marks on the lettuce.  Flip and repeat with the other side.
  6. Place the grilled romaine on a serving plate and drizzle the avocado dressing on top.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 173   Protein: 1gm    Total Carbohydrates: 7gm    Fiber: 3gm   
Total Fat: 17gm    Cholesterol: 0gm     Sodium: 4mg

Spring Clean Your Diet & Exercise Routine!

Over the next 6 weeks we want to encourage you to Spring Clean Your Diet & Exercise routine, but not with any kind of “Quick Fix” Fad diet approach.  Let this be the start of a new lifestyle!
In a “perfect world” we would all have a chef, a personal trainer, and maybe even a person to slap the bad foods out of our hand before it hits our mouth, but…….. We Don’t!   It is completely up to you how you feed your body â€" you are the one that lives in it day in and day out, but what do you have to lose if changing the way you eat will improve your health and your life?
The most powerful tool in your kitchen to improving your health is your fork!  Choose the right foods to put on it and your body, mind, and soul with thrive.  Choose poorly and your health and body with suffer.
There are stacks of scientific evidence that points to the power of food as medicine.   Does the quote by Hippocrates come to mind?  “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”  If you fuel your body with predominately unprocessed foods that are in their most “whole” or “natural” state then you are providing your body with foods that it “needs” and will thrive.  Regularly eating foods/beverages that our minds might tell us we “want” or crave, can do just the opposite and may harm our health in the long run.
Unprocessed, more “whole” foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, lean protein, and provide us with the best fuel for our bodies!  Foods like ice cream, dark chocolate, brownies, sweets, & fried foods are meant to be enjoyed as a treat, but these foods cannot play a regular role in your diet.
In fact we tell people to follow the 80% 20% rule â€" Follow a mostly unprocessed, whole foods diet about 80% of the time and allow for those few indulgences the other 20% or less of the time.
If you tell yourself that these foods are “off limits” then you will set yourself up for failure â€" Ever notice how when you can’t have something you want it even more?
Sometimes it is that all or nothing attitude that can make you give up on all your hard work and efforts because of the pressure to be “perfect.”
This is often why so many people fall off the bandwagon or give up on their New Year’s resolutions to eat/live a healthier lifestyle because they make too many changes or set unrealistic expectations for themselves.  
This is not about being “perfect” it’s about finding peace with food and knowing that All Foods Can Fit into a healthy diet! 
We will be sending out some Live Well guidelines on Friday this week for you to use as you Spring Clean Your Diet & Exercise Routine!
Berry Mango Spinach Salad
Preparation Time: 15 minutes        Number of Servings: 4
For the Salad:
•    6 cups baby spinach
•    1 large ripe mango, peeled, pitted, and sliced or cubed
•    1 cup sliced strawberries
•    1 large avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
•    Half a small red onion, thinly sliced
•    1/2 cup chopped asparagus
•    2 tablespoons sliced almonds

For the Dressing:
•    Juice of 1 lemon
•    1/4 cup olive oil
•    2-3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, to taste
•    Salt and black pepper, to taste

  1. Place spinach in a large bowl or on salad plates if you prefer to arrange separately. Top the spinach with the fresh mango, strawberries, avocado, red onion, and asparagus. Lightly toss the ingredients to mix.
  2. Add the sliced almonds to the bowl or on the top of the salads if plating separately.
  3. Meanwhile prepare the salad dressing. Place the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and black pepper in a medium-sized bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Drizzle the dressing evenly over the salad plates or over the large bowl and toss again to coat.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:  283         Protein:  4 gm    Total Carbohydrates:  22 gm    Fiber:  7 gm  
Total Fat:   22gm    Cholesterol:  0mg    Sodium:   45mg

Tips to Help You "Clean Up" Your Diet!

One of the best ways to achieve a healthy weight is to "clean up" your diet. The idea of clean eating is to choose more whole foods and avoid heavily processed foods. Remember, the fewer ingredients the better.

Here are some tips to help you "clean up" your diet:
  • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fresh or frozen are best.
  • Choose whole grains over refined. Good choices are quinoa, millet, whole grain sprouted bread, and steel cut oatmeal.
  • Include dried beans in your diet a few times a week. They are full of fiber and a great source of protein.
  • Choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocado.
  • Look for lean proteins like fish, lean sirloin, pork loin, white meat turkey and chicken.
  • Cook more of your meals at home. That way you control what goes into your food.
  • Drink healthy beverages like plain green tea and water. Infused water is very popular right now and a great way to add some flavor. Try adding, lemon, cucumber, mint or strawberries to boost the flavor of your water or tea.

Whole Grains Sampling Day - Swap This for That!

Did you know today is Whole Grains Sampling Day???
It’s time to say goodbye to the wimpy white & enriched grains and hello to the wholesomeness of whole grains! 
If you are not already eating at least 3 servings of whole grains each day or you aren’t even sure that what you are eating is truthfully a whole grain then there is definitely room for improvement.
Not all grains/grain products that appear to be whole grain actually are…in fact many may not even have 1 gram of fiber per serving.  Many products might even mislead you by using large bold letters on the front of the package that contain the words “whole grains”. 
If you ate white toast for breakfast today, packed a lunch meat sandwich made with white bread for lunch or are having leftover spaghetti made with white pasta…then I’m talking to you! 
This is where you can really make a change for the better by adding more fiber, vitamins, & nutrients to your diet that your body is likely missing out on. 
Studies show that eating whole grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. 
Other benefits include reduced risk of asthma, healthier blood pressure levels, and better weight control.  What do you have to lose?
Swap This for That Whole Grain Option Instead:

Swap This:

For a Whole Grain Option:

White Rice

Brown Rice, Bulgur or Quinoa

White Pasta

Whole Grain Pasta


Slice of 100% Whole Grain Toast or Ezekiel Bread

Traditional Pizza Dough

Whole Wheat Pita

1 Cup of White Flour

½ cup White + ½ cup Whole Wheat Flour (when baking)

Information in part courtesy of
Try this Whole Grain Recipe out and step outside your comfort zone with food!!
Quinoa Tabbouleh with Chickpeas & Feta Cheese
Preparation Time: 25 minutes            Number of servings: 8
•    1 cup cooked quinoa
•    1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
•    ½ pound Persian cucumbers, sliced
•    2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (try yellow and red mix)
•    1 cup finely chopped green onion, white and green parts
•    1 cup chopped fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves
•    ¼ cup chopped mint leaves
•    ½ cup feta cheese
•    Juice of 2 large lemons
•    â..." cup extra virgin olive oil
•    1 teaspoon salt-free Greek seasoning
•    Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
•    Sea salt, optional

  1. Cook quinoa according to package instructions.
  2. Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl and then add the rinsed chickpeas, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, green onion, parsley, mint and feta.  Toss ingredients to mix evenly.
  3. In a another bowl add the lemon juice, olive oil, Greek seasoning, black pepper, and salt (if using). Whisk everything until well blended.
  4. Pour over the quinoa and vegetables and mix well.
  5. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1-2 hours for flavors to set in.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:   188    Protein: 5gm    Total Carbohydrates: 17gm    Fiber: 3.5gm   
Total Fat:   12gm    Cholesterol: 8mg    Sodium: 205mg

Fiesta Quinoa Salad

Who needs a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, when you can have this colorful, healthful quinoa salad. There’s so much to enjoy â€" and so good for you, too.
Serve this colorful salad on a bed of leafy baby greens.

Yield: 6 servings

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
2 ears corn, roasted, kernels cut off cob or 1 cup frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans or soy beans, rinsed and drained
3 scallions, sliced 1⁄2 cup chopped cilantro
Juice of 3 limes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1. Combine the quinoa and broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, corn, pepper, beans, scallions, and cilantro.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, and seasonings. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors set.

Calories: 230, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 380mg, Carbohydrate: 36g, Fiber: 6g, Protein: 8g
Developed by the Oldways Whole Grains Council Program

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

Establishing a Healthier Lifestyle One Bite at a Time

Did you know that March is also National Nutrition Month ®…..and this year’s theme is “Bite Into a Healthy Lifestyle”!
The truth of the matter is a healthy diet and exercise really do make a difference, but unfortunately there is no get healthy fast approach out there when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle. 
It is a matter of developing healthy eating and exercise habits that you can maintain throughout your entire life.

Here are some tips to improving your diet one bite at a time:
  • Filling your plate the MyPlate way is an easy first step.
  • Enjoy your food for the purpose of nourishing your body and not for instant pleasure, reward, or punishment/guilt. 
  • Never rely on the front of the food package for nutrition information â€" make sure to read the ingredients list & the nutrition facts label to make sure you are choosing a food that is high in nutrients and low in empty sources of calories like added sugars and unfavorable ingredients like hydrogenated fats.
  • Be mindful when you are eating â€" truly take the time to chew and enjoy your food.  Make sure you have a designated space for eating rather than in front of a TV, computer, or while you are driving.
  • Pay attention to your body’s cues to recognize when you are hungry and when you have had enough.
  • Vary your colors of foods throughout the day â€" your body craves certain vitamins and nutrients and eating a variety of colors is the best way to ensure you receive all of them.
  • Make sure your snacks are filling, but not too filling â€" keep your snack around no more than 200 calories and it should include a source of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and fiber. 
---  For example a small apple with almond butter or whole grain crackers with a low-fat cheese stick.
  • Choose fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth naturally.
  • Rethink your beverage choices â€" water is calorie-free and one of the best beverages for overall health.  Flavor it with fresh fruit or try sparkling water flavored with a splash of 100% juice.
  • Don’t forget that exercise is also a huge part of a healthier lifestyle â€" while exercising at the gym is one thing, it is more important that you increase your overall daily activity.
---  For example, parking further away in parking lots, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, stepping away from your desk every 1-2 hours to move your body, and reducing your couch time in front of the television.

Today is National Artichoke Day!

How perfect for St. Patty’s Day tomorrow to celebrate with this green vegetable that is a great source of dietary fiber and antioxidants.

Couscous Salad with Roasted Asparagus, Artichokes, & Spinach
Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes


3 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups dry Couscous
14 asparagus spears
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons, divided
1 cup jarred or canned artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup chopped fresh, baby spinach
Parmesan cheese, for sprinkling (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a medium saucepan, bring three cups of broth to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt, stir in the couscous. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer until couscous is just tender about 10 to 13 minutes. Drain into a fine mesh strainer and set aside.
2. While the couscous is cooking, roast the asparagus. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the asparagus spears on a large baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and juice from 1/2 of one lemon. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Roast for 10-12 minutes, or until tender. Let spears cool and then cut into one-inch pieces.
3. In a large bowl, combine couscous, asparagus spears, artichoke hearts, and spinach. Squeeze lemon juice, from the remaining half and other lemon, over the salad. Stir well. Sprinkle salad with Parmesan cheese, if desired and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve.

Chilean Green Grape Salsa!

Make this delicious salsa this weekend or next Tuesday for St. Patrick’s Day!  It’s a green side that everyone will actually love!

Pair it with some homemade tortilla chips made out of Spinach Wraps cut into shamrock shapes using a cookie cutter.  Lightly spray with non-stick cooking spray so they crisp up in the oven and don’t stick to the baking sheet. 

Bake at 350 degrees for about 4-6 minutes, flipping halfway through or bake until they are nice and crispy but not overcooked.
Chilean Green Grape Salsa
Preparation Time: 10 minutes        Number of Servings: 4-6

•             2 cups seedless green grapes, washed and stemmed
•             3 green onions, finely chopped, including some of the green
•             2 Tbsp canned chopped green chiles
•             1/2 jalapeño chile, seeded and finely chopped
•             2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
•             1 Tbsp lime juice
•             2 tsp finely chopped fresh mint
•             Pinch of salt (optional)

1.            Pulse grapes in a food processor until coarsely chopped and remove to a bowl.
2.            Stir in green onions, green chiles, jalapeño, vinegar, lime juice, mint, and salt if using.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:  63        Protein:  0.8 gm    Total Carbohydrates:  15gm    Fiber:  1gm   
Total Fat:   0 gm    Cholesterol: 0mg    Sodium:  42 mg

Yesterday was National Crabmeat Day!!

I absolutely love crabmeat. Did you know that crab is a complete source of protein? That means that it supplies each of the 20 amino acids your body needs to make new proteins. It’s also an impressive source of vitamin B12, of which you need 2.4 micrograms each day. A 3-ounce serving of crab meat supplies 9.78 micrograms. Vitamin B12 enables your body to produce healthy red blood cells. The vitamin also supports normal brain function. Getting sufficient amounts of vitamin B12 can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Crab Pesto Pasta
1/2 pound pasta, cooked according to package directions
1/3 cup prepared pesto sauce
1 (6 oz.) can Chicken of the Sea® Lump Crab
2/3 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
Grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

1.Toss hot pasta with pesto sauce.
2.Portion pasta onto plates.
3.Sprinkle crabmeat and tomatoes over top of pasta.
4.Garnish with basil and Parmesan cheese if desired.
5.Serve immediately OR toss all ingredients and chill for a colorful pasta salad.

Information courtesy of:

Happy March Everyone!

Did you know that March is frozen food month? Some of my favorite healthy choices are found in the freezer aisles. I love frozen fruit, vegetables, veggie burgers, and frozen yogurt. Here are the top 10 reasons you should consider frozen foods:

Top Reasons to love frozen foods:
1.    Convenience: Frozen foods require very little cooking or baking skills and can be ready in a matter of minutes: just steam, bake, or heat.
2.    Portion control�"it’s easy to find single serving sizes.
3.    Frozen fruit, veggies and fish are all flash frozen? It's the most natural form of preservation.
4.    Long shelf life:  Frozen fruits and veggies last 8-12 months and are always in season.
5.    They are economically friendly.
6.    Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at the peak of ripeness and can be just as nutritious if not more as fresh produce.
7.    Frozen foods can actually help you eat and cook more at home.
8.    Lean proteins such as chicken and fish are great to keep on hand for a quick weeknight meal.

Frozen Food Tips
1.    Look for frozen fruits and vegetables with no added sugar or sodium.
2.    Choose lean proteins like fish, chicken, and shrimp.
3.    Try a vegetarian option such as black bean or veggie burgers.
4.    Choose healthy frozen meals by using these guidelines: Less than 4 grams of saturated fat, trans-fat free, less than 500 calories, at least 5 grams of fiber, and aim for less than 500 milligrams of sodium.
5.    Look for individual portion sizes of frozen, calorie-dense foods such as pizza, ice cream and other frozen novelties.
6.    Choose whole grain frozen items such as rolls, breads and waffles.
Fuel You Up Smoothie Recipe
2 cups frozen unsweetened strawberries
½ cup blueberries
1 banana cut in chunks
½ kiwi, sliced
2 cups fresh spinach
½ cup ice cubes
1 cup fat-free milk
½ cup 100% apple juice
1.    Combine strawberries, blueberries, banana, kiwi, spinach, ice cubes, fat-free milk and apple juice in blender.
2.    Blend until smooth.
3.    Serve in a cup with low-fat or fat-free string cheese for a tasty treat.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 cup
Serves 4
Calories: 100; Total Fat: 0g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 45mg; Total Carbohydrate: 25g; Dietary Fiber: 4g; Protein: 3g; Calcium: 101mg.

Recipe courtesy of

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

The Many Benefits of Grapes
There are decades of research to suggest that eating grapes (in all forms; fresh, frozen, dried, 100% juice, wine) have many health benefits and not just for your heart!
These studies suggest that the grape polyphenols, which are also antioxidants, may help protect the health and function of our cells in multiple ways.
Current areas of research include heart, eye, brain, joint, cell health and more, which will result in a steady stream of new findings.  Good science takes time, but already a solid foundation of evidence on grapes and health is in place. 
See below for some of the research highlights from table grape studies:
Grapes and Heart Health
Some of the ways in which grapes may help maintain heart health are:
  • Improving blood vessel function and blood flow, which can lower blood pressure
  • Reducing oxidative stress and inflammation (both underlying factors in heart disease)
  • Preventing oxidation of LDL cholesterol
  • Helping to prevent the formation of blood clots
  • Improvement of blood lipids, such as triglycerides
Grapes and Age-Related Conditions/Other Illnesses:
Emerging research suggests that grapes may help defend against a variety of age-related and other illnesses.  For example:
·         Eye Health
A grape-enriched diet helped to prevent blindness in mice.3

·         Brain Health
Grape consumption protected brain neurons in gerbils from oxidative damage and cell death, and decreased inflammation.4
Mice consuming a grape-enriched diet had a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.5
·         Bladder Health
In a series of animal studies, a grape-enriched diet helped protect bladder function against oxidative damage caused by obstruction to the bladder.6 7 8
·         Cell Inflammation
In a recent cell study, grape extract helped to reduce inflammation and insulin resistance mediated by both immune cells and fat cells, and preserved cell function. 
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are both linked to chronic inflammation in fat tissue.9
·         Diabetes
A grape-enriched diet prevented inflammatory damage to insulin producing cells, and thus significantly reduced the onset of autoimmune diabetes in mice.11
·         Joint Health/Arthritis
Grapes decreased pain associated with arthritis and enhanced the impact of anti-inflammatory medicine in an animal study.12
·         Cancer
The role of grapes in maintaining cell health to prevent the development of cancer is another area of scientific interest, with promising, preliminary work in the areas of breast, prostate and colon cancers.13
In a small human study of colon cancer patients, grapes helped protect healthy colon tissue.14
References available upon request.  Information courtesy of

Half Plate Resolution

Many people decide to pick a resolution to help them change a bad habit, but resolving to fill half your plate with fruits & veggies can help you reach several healthy goals: lose weight, stay healthy, and have more energy to do all the activities you want to fit into your day! Now THAT’S a resolution.

Meal-Specific Tips To Help You Add More Fruits & Veggies to Your Day
Drink 4 oz of 100% juice, fruit or vegetable. If you have hot or cold cereal or yogurt, top with ½ cup of berries or bananas. You have started the day on the right track.

Lunch. Try a salad, either as a meal or side dish. Watch out for any heavy dressings on the salad and you’re good to go!

Afternoon Snack. Try trail mix with dried fruit or a piece of fruit such as an apple, orange or banana.

Dinner. Dinnertime is an easy way to get in fruits and vegetables. For quick side dish options, microwave a bag of frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, mixed vegetables) and have a can of fruit (pears, peaches or fruit cocktail).

Snacks. If you really love sweets, eat fruit for a dessert. Try berries with a dollop of whip cream or a small piece of dark chocolate.

 Information courtesy of

Skinny Beer-garitas!

Looking for some healthy alternatives to the usual game day goodies. Here is a twist on a classic margarita recipe along with a healthier nacho. Perfect for the big game!!!!

Skinny Beer-garitas
2 cups frozen limeade (recipe below)
2 bottles of light beer
cup white tequila

1 cup fresh lime juice + 2 limes for zesting
1 cups of water
cup Splenda sugar blend

To make the limeade:
Zest two limes. In a large saucepan, combine water, Splenda and lime zest and heat until Splenda is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
Stir in lime juice and freeze your limeade concentrate until ready to use.

To make the beer-garitas:
In a pitcher, combine frozen limeade, 2 beers and cup of tequila. Place pitcher in the freezer overnight until frozen through, then mix so that it is in slushy form and serve. Enjoy!!!!!

Nutrition Info:  1 (6 oz.) serving= 231 calories; 0g fat; 6.2g carbs;
Recipe courtesy of:  Eat Yourself Skinny

Chicken and Black Bean Nachos
Serves: 6 Prep: 10min Cook: 15min Total: 25min

6 oz tortilla chips (round chips are preferable)
1 can (16 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chicken breast, cooked and cubed
1 1/2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 red onion, diced
juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup light sour cream
chopped cilantro
Salsa (either fresh, or your favorite bottled salsa)
Pickled Jalapenos

1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Arrange the chips in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Spoon the beans evenly over the chips, then top with the cheese, chicken, and onion. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling. Remove.
2. Combine the lime juice, sour cream, and cilantro. Spoon over the nachos. Top with the salsa and jalapenos.

Nutritional Facts per serving

CALORIES                    366.2 CAL
FAT                                 18.7 G
SATURATED FAT          7.9 G
SODIUM                        593.6 MG
TOTAL SUGARS           2.2 G
DIETARY FIBER           5.2 G
PROTEIN                       20.5 G

Recipe Courtesy of Cook This Not That.

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

Easy Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries
Preparation/Cook Time:      45 minutes              Number of Servings: 4


Sweet Potato Oven Fries
4 large sweet potatoes
1 tbsp canola oil or olive oil
1 tbsp salt-free lemon pepper seasoning blend
Salmon Burgers
1 - 14.75-ounce can pink or red salmon
2 green onions, chopped
cup chopped red bell pepper
8 crackers, unsalted tops (saltine-like), crushed
2 tsp lemon juice
Egg whites from 2 eggs, whisked
2 tbsp plain low-fat yogurt
tsp ground black pepper
Cooking spray
4 whole-wheat buns
Bibb lettuce, 8 leaves
2 medium tomatoes, sliced

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
2. Wash and scrub sweet potatoes and slice them into wedges, length-wise. In a large bowl, toss potato wedges with canola oil and seasoning.
3. Spread potato wedges on a baking sheet and roast in the oven, turning occasionally, until tender and golden brown, about 30-40 minutes.
4. While sweet potatoes are roasting, prepare salmon burgers. Drain salmon; place in a medium mixing bowl and flake it out of the can.
5. Fold in green onions and red pepper, crushed crackers, lemon juice, egg whites and yogurt.
6. Shape into 4 patties. Coat a large nonstick skillet lightly with cooking spray; heat.
7. Cook salmon burgers until golden brown, on medium to medium-low heat and turn while cooking until other side is golden brown.
8. Serve burgers with sliced tomatoes and lettuce, and sweet potato oven fries.
  • Serve with a side of fresh cut up fruit or steamed veggies like broccoli or cauliflower
  • Add an 8oz glass of skim or reduced-fat milk and you will cover all basis of your plate!
  • Diabetic-friendly tip: reduce the amount of carbohydrates by going bunless and serve the salmon burger on a bed of greens or use a sandwich thin like Arnolds Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins.
Nutrition Facts (per serving; includes burger and fries):
Calories:   490      Protein: 25gm    Total Carbohydrates: 69gm    Fiber: 11gm   
Total Fat: 14g    Cholesterol: 45mg    Sodium: 590mg
Recipe Courtesy of Produce for Better Health Foundation & USDA MyPlate.

Fresh Chilean Blueberries & Lemon Salad with Salmon!

If you are looking to try a new, EASY, and healthy recipe to aid in your efforts to eat a more nutritious diet in 2015 then this is a recipe for you! 

The recipe below combines heart healthy omega-3 fats that .believe it or not have shown to help aid in weight loss as well as fresh, delicious blueberries that are low in sugar, high in fiber, and full of antioxidants. 

This recipe can be thrown together in minutes and can be a meal by itself for lunch or can be served for dinner with a cup of hot soup to warm the winter chills right out of you.  Enjoy!

Fresh Chilean Blueberries & Lemon Salad with Salmon
Total Time: 15 min                       Number of Servings: 4

    8 cups salad greens, in small pieces (try Organic Girl salad greens!)
    1 lb salmon fillet, poached
    1 & 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
    Lemon zest to garnish (optional)

    2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    1/2 cup olive oil
    2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 Tbsp. fresh chives or green onions, chopped

1.    Divide the salad greens on four salad plates.
2.    Tear the poached salmon into medium pieces and arrange on greens.
3.    Sprinkle the blueberries over the four plates and top with lemon zest (if using)
4.    In a jar with a lid, add all vinaigrette ingredients. Shake well.
5.    Serve salads chilled with the dressing on the side.

  1. Salmon is easy to poach " you can do it in a skillet, the microwave, or in a slow cooker!
  2. Skillet Method: in a skillet combine cup dry white wine with 1 cup water & bring to a simmer.  Add salmon fillet and make sure the liquid is covering it about halfway up, then reduce heat so it is barely simmering. Cook for about 4 minutes then flip and cook the other side for another 4-5 minutes (may take less or more time depending on thickness of the salmon fillet).  Season with herbs, pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. You can also grill the salmon instead of poaching it in this recipe.
  4. Swap out the salmon for shrimp if you prefer a different type of seafood " it all works!
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:  493    Protein:   31gm    Total Carbohydrates:  6gm    Fiber: 4 gm   
Total Fat:   35 gm    Cholesterol: 64mg    Sodium:  212 mg

Recipe from the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association.

5 Healthy Meal Rituals of Thin Families

Life for everyone these days is busy and hectic and the sad reality for many of us is that sitting down to a family meal is a ritual reserved only for special occasions.

Thats not just a shame if youre a believer in quality family time, but the latest research suggests skimping on mealtime traditions has real implications for our waistlines, and our health.

Here are 5 healthy meal rituals of the trimmest, healthiest parents and children!
1. They pass bowls family style.
When foods are pre-plated, children never develop the ability to read their bodys hunger cues, according to a recent study printed in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The better option, according to researchers, is to pass bowls family style and encourage children to serve themselves. If you can handle the mess, children who are given control at the dinner table are also more likely to try new things. Pass the cauliflower, please! 
2. They sit at the dinner table.
A recent study found that families who eat together at the dining room table, and stay seated until everyone is finished, are more likely to be thin than families that dont. The relationship between family meal rituals and low BMIs may have to do with replacing distracted, mindless eating with engaged, positive interaction. A separate study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that distracted eaters consumed 10 percent more in one sitting than they would otherwise. 
3. They put away electronics.
Parents who let their teens use electronic devices or watch TV during family meals tend to serve less nutritious food and have poorer family communication, a new study by the University of Minnesota suggests. Researchers found that families that reported frequent media use at meal times also served up less fresh fruit and vegetables and more sugar-sweetened beverages. 
4. They ask the right questions.
Researchers at the University of Illinois suggest that asking the right questions can help children listen to important hunger and satiety signals. So acknowledging an empty plate with a question like Are you full? or If youre hungry, you can have some more, is more conducive to teaching intuitive eating habits than a simple: Are you done? The worst thing you can do? Force kids to eat when theyre not hungry. 
5. They use smaller bowls and plates.
No matter our age, our eyes tend to be bigger than our stomachs. A recent Cornell study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found bigger bowls (16 oz vs 8 oz) caused children to request 87% more food and eat 52% more than they would otherwise. And while adults arent as susceptible to the visual illusion, research printed in The FASEB Journal found larger bowls caused people to serve and eat an average of 16% more.
Information courtesy of Eat this Not That.

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa

Minutes to Cook: 25       Number of Servings: 12 " cup servings

    3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
    16 oz canned (white) chicken breast, packed in water, drained
    1 1/2 cups carrots, grated
    1 cup celery, diced
    1 bunch green onions, chopped
    1 cup hot sauce
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (or Gorgonzola)

1. In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, canned chicken, grated carrots, diced celery, and 1/2 of the chopped green onions. Mix well.

2. In a small bowl, whisk the hot sauce and olive oil together until well blended and then pour over the quinoa mixture.

3. Mix the sauce into the quinoa and chicken mixture and then add half of the blue cheese. Mix evenly.

4. Finally top the quinoa dish with the remaining green onions and blue cheese and enjoy!

  • You can use 1 lb of grilled chicken in the place of the canned chicken if you have the time to grill or like more of a grilled flavor.
  • Add garlic powder or fresh diced garlic to add more flavor.
  • Serve this recipe cold for a nice spin on traditional warm buffalo chicken dishes!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 155    Protein: 9gm    Total Carbohydrates: 10gm    Fiber: 1.6gm   
Total Fat: 9g    Cholesterol: 21mg    Sodium: 770mg

Happy 2015!!!

With the beginning of the new year comes new years resolutions. The number one resolution is typically to lose weight. Most people will turn to fad diets or extreme exercise programs and then will fall off the wagon by the end of January. How about a more sensible approach. A healthy diet and exercise really do make a difference. Unfortunately theres no magic potion, pills or powder. Its a matter of developing a healthier lifestyle that truly makes a difference. Remember you can do it!!!!

You can enjoy your meals while making small adjustments to the amounts of food on your plate. Healthy meals start with more vegetables and fruits and smaller portions of protein and grains. And dont forget dairy"include fat-free or low-fat dairy products on your plate, or drink milk with your meal. Here are some tips courtesy of the USDA to enjoy your food while eating less:

Choose to eat some foods more or less often
Choose more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and
fat-free or 1% milk and dairy products. Cut back on foods high
in solid fats, added sugars, and salt.

Find out what you need
Get your personalized plan by using to identify your food group targets.

Sip smarter
Drink water or other calorie-free beverages, 100% juice, or fat-free milk when you are thirsty. Soda and other sweet drinks contain a lot of sugar and are high in calories.

Make treats treats,
not everyday foods
Treats are great once in a while. Just dont make treat foods an everyday choice. Limit sweet treats to special occasions.

Take your time
Be mindful to eat slowly, enjoy the taste and textures, and pay attention to how you feel. Use hunger and fullness cues to recognize when to eat and
when youve had enough.

Use a smaller plate
Use a smaller plate at meals to help with portion control. That way you can finish your entire plate and feel satisfied without overeating.

Satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way
Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert dish"fruit! Serve a fresh fruit cocktail or a fruit parfait made with yogurt. For a hot dessert, bake apples and top with cinnamon.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Blog

Bring in the New Year with these Healthy Live Well Approved Appetizers!

        Fruit & Cheese Platter. Use different winter fruits and mix with hard cheese cubes to layer & shape into the number 2015 on the platter to celebrate the New Year!
         Dip Cups. Use clear beverage cups to serve individual dips and veggies. No more worries about double dippers, and you can offer different types of dips without running out of serving bowls. Try a Creamy Mexican Salsa Dip (see below for recipe) or a Greek Yogurt based dip at your New Years Eve Bash!
         Roll Ups. Use spinach or tomato basil tortillas such as La Tortilla Factory to add a little color to your party tray. Spread low-fat cream cheese on tortillas, add reduced-sodium ham or turkey deli meat and spread with fresh veggies (cucumbers, sliced peppers, spinach) and roll up. Slice each tortilla roll into 2-3 pieces and lay on a platter to form the number 2015!
         Rainbow Skewers. Skew cherry tomatoes, orange bell pepper slices, golden pineapple chunks, green peppers, blueberries, & holiday grapes onto a wooden skewer for a fun & colorful fruit & veggie combination! Add a balsamic glaze drizzled over the top if you want to get fancy with it, which
         Stuffed Mushrooms.  Use either white button mushrooms or baby portabella mushrooms and stuff with a shredded, mild cheddar cheese, pre-cooked lump crab meat (fresh or canned), chives or green onions, & top with panko bread crumbs.
         Fruity Ice Cubes. Freeze combinations of fruit in water for attractive ice cubes at your next party.  Not only will your guests be impressed, but they will also be getting a little extra dose of nutrition with every sip.
         Light Spirits. Ease up on how many calories you might be drinking by only using a small amount of alcohol and adding 100% fruit juice and carbonated water to your beverages.
         Citrus Punch.  Make a yummy citrus punch for your New Years Eve party.  Add the Fruity Ice Cubes (from above) and some champagne or club soda for a bubbly and delicious cocktail.
Creamy Mexican Salsa Dip
Serves: 6
         3 cups low-fat plain yogurt, drained for 2-3 hours (see below)
         4 oz canned chopped green chilies, drained
         cup prepared salsa
         cup finely chopped cilantro
         1 teaspoon ground cumin
         1 teaspoon dried oregano
         cup finely chopped green onions
         1 tablespoon lime juice
         1/8 teaspoon salt
         Black pepper,  to taste
         6 cups assorted veggies like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, celery sticks
1.      Place yogurt in a coffee filter or cheesecloth-lined sieve (over a bowl) and allow it to drain for a few hours.  This will help the extra moisture drain away, leaving a thicker consistency, which will make the dip a thicker more cream cheese-like texture.
2.      Once the yogurt has drained the excess moisture out, place the yogurt in a medium-sized bowl with all remaining ingredients expect salt and pepper. 
3.      Allow to chill covered for 15 minutes.  Before serving, adjust seasonings if desired.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 108     Protein:   7gm    Total Carbohydrates:    17gm    Fiber:  3gm   
Total Fat:     1.6gm    Cholesterol:    8mg    Sodium:     300mg
Information in part courtesy of Fruits & Veggies More Matters (PBH) & recipe by Chef Carmen I. Jones, CCP developed for PBH.

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week!

Looking for a fun New Years Eve appetizer? Try this delicious potato crostini recipe:

Roasted Potato Crostini with Pesto Cheese
    Yield: 8
    Prep Time: 10 Minutes
    Ready Time: 35 Minutes
    Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Recipe Adapted from: United States Potato Board

    No-stick cooking spray
    1/3 Pounds (4 medium) Red or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into -inch thick slices
    1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    3/4 cup (6 ounces) reduced fat cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup prepared pesto
    Pinch of red pepper flakes
    1/4 cup finely chopped prepared roasted red peppers
    Snipped fresh chives or minced green onion (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. On baking sheet, arrange potatoes in single layer; spray lightly with additional cooking spray. Sprinkle evenly with teaspoon of the garlic salt.
Roast 20 to 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender and browned, turning potatoes over halfway and sprinkling with remaining garlic salt.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together cream cheese, pesto and red pepper flakes, if desired. Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons pesto mixture onto each potato; top with red pepper. Sprinkle with chives or green onions if desired.

Have a healthy and happy new year!!

Image courtesy of

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Roasted Potato Crostini Blog

Wellness Tip of the Week!

Christmas is only 1 week away everyone and if you are like me and want a festive holiday dinner or Christmas morning breakfast recipe then you better get to planning now!

Here is a festive dinner recipe that is easy and inexpensive to make for your Christmas eve meal!  Enjoy.

Inside-Out Lasagna
Preparation Time:     25                    Number of Servings:  4 servings

o    8 ounces whole-wheat rotini or fusilli
o    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
o    1 onion, chopped
o    3 cloves garlic, minced
o    8 ounces sliced white mushrooms (about 3 1/2 cups)
o    1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
o    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
o    1-14-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs (no salt added, can also add your own Italian herbs)
o    8 cups baby spinach
o    1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
o    3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese

1.    Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
2.    Meanwhile, heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until the mushrooms release their liquid, 4 to 6 minutes.
3.    Add tomatoes, spinach and crushed red pepper.  Increase heat to medium-high; cook, stirring once halfway through, until the spinach is wilted, about 4 minutes.
4.    Toss the sauce with the pasta and divide among 4 bowls. Dollop each serving with 3 tablespoons of ricotta.

  • For a richer flavor you can add fresh mozzarella chunks and some Parmesan to the pasta.
  • Serve with a side of roasted broccoli or asparagus or with a garden salad topped with an oil and vinegar salad dressing.
  • Add some lean ground sirloin or some cooked and crumbled Italian sausage

Nutrition Facts (per serving), without adding the salt:
Calories:  349     Protein: 19gm    Total Carbohydrates: 50gm    Fiber: 10gm   
Total Fat: 8.5g    Cholesterol: 14mg    Sodium: 156mg

Recipe courtesy of

Simple Christmas Breakfast!

Christmas is almost here and we are all planning our Christmas Day menu. When company is coming why not keep Christmas morning breakfast simple. This recipe can be prepped the night before so that all you need to do is pop it into the oven the next morning. I love these since they are super simple and light. Feel free to substitute ingredients or add other foods you might have on hand. I live to serve these with a fresh fruit salad.


    1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
    1 package frozen spinach, drained
    1 cup egg substitute
    1 cup Italian cheese blend (Whatever type of cheese you prefer)
    2/3 cup skim milk (any type of milk you have on hand is fine)
    1/2 cup chopped shallots (Could use any type of onion)
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 12 baking cups by spraying with nonstick cooking spray liberally with cooking spray.
Mix all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl until combined. Portion the mixture into the 12 prepared baking cups until they are all nearly full.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the eggs are set and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the quiche comes out clean. Serve immediately.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Spinach and Red Pepper Quiche Cups Blog

6 Tasty Substitutions for a Healthier Holiday

Who says you cant have your cake and enjoy it, too? Thisholiday season, with these six substitutions, you can ramp up the healthbenefits of some of your favorite dishes, while reducing fat, sugar, sodium andcalories. Now thats a gift to cherish!



1. Flour in brownies

Black beans

In many brownie recipes, the flour can be swapped out with canned black beans (preferably low- or no-salt). Before using the beans rinse, drain well and pure them. Note: A 15-ounce can is approximately 1-1/2 cups of beans.





This is an easy way to make brownies gluten-free.

For a one-cup measure, this swap provides three times the magnesium, four times the calcium, and five times the potassium.

One cup beans has only 200 calories; one cup flour has 460 calories.


2. White flour

White whole-wheat flour

White whole-wheat flour can be used instead of white flour, in a 1-to-1 ratio, in practically any recipe. White whole wheat has all the nutrition of regular whole wheat, but with a lighter color and milder flavor, making it the perfect choice for baking substitutions.

Note: Whole-wheat pastry flour, made from soft wheat berries, rather than hard wheat berries, is less dense and perfect for cakes and muffins, and provides healthy whole grain goodness.



White whole-wheat flour adds wonderful flavor and texture. It has over three times the fiber, and much higher levels of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, potassium, and vitamins E, A and K.

An added bonus: whole wheat flour is about 10% lower In calories than all-purpose white flour.

3. Breadcrumbs

Whole grain rolled oats

Most breads are high in sodium, so using breadcrumbs can add to your daily sodium intake. Use whole grain rolled oats seasoned with herbs in place of breadcrumbs, to add flavor and texture without the extra sodium. Try breading fish in oats, for example, before oven-baking it.


Unlike processed breadcrumbs, whole grain rolled oats offer magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and vitamin E.

A cup of breadcrumbs contains 790mg of sodium, while a cup of rolled oats has only 5mg " thats 785mg less!



4. Sour cream

Plain Greek yogurt

The texture and flavor of Greek yogurt makes it a perfect substitute for sour cream. Add some herbs and a squeeze of lemon juice to pump up the flavor even more.


One cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt has 0g of fat, while sour cream has 45g.

Protein is boosted " one-cup nonfat Greek yogurt has 23g; sour cream has only 5g.

There are fewer calories. In a one-cup serving, nonfat plain Greek yogurt has 130 calories, sour cream has 440 (saving over 300 calories per cup).


5. Mayonnaise


Hummus mimics the creamy texture and mouth feel that we love about mayo while its just as delicious and much healthier. Use it instead of mayo as a spread when making sandwiches and wraps.


One tablespoon of mayonnaise has 10 grams of fat; hummus has only 2g.

Youll save calories, too. One tablespoon of hummus has 30 calories, while mayo has 90 " thats over 60 calories saved per spoonful.


6. Butter

Olive oil

Whether baking or cooking, you can switch out butter or margarine with olive oil. (No need for an extra-virgin olive oil; use an olive oil that is neutral in flavor). In general, reduce the amount of oil by of your measure for butter. For example, use tablespoon of oil for every tablespoon of butter.


Olive oil is associated with many health benefits, from reducing blood pressure and inflammation to protecting against heart disease and improving bone health.

Compared to butter, olive oil has more vitamin E and K, and protective polyphenols

Information courtesy of:

Sweets & Treats for the Holidays!

Its that time of year when everyone, including myself is on board with baking all sorts of sweets & treats for the holidays.

I can honestly say my mom goes a little crazy with her cookie baking " were talking at least 9-12 different types of cookies and bars.  However, to be fair her treats have become a little healthier over the years since Im usually looking over her shoulder with my nutrition eye.

Another great way to get most of the cookies and sweets out of your house (so you arent tempted) is to give them to your friends, neighbors and co-workers as gifts.

Here are some tips for making your cookies & sweet treats a little healthier:

    Substitute of the all-purpose flour in your recipes with whole-wheat flour " Example: if the recipe calls for 2 cups of all-purpose flour; use 1 cup of whole wheat flour + 1 cup all-purpose flour
    Substitute or all of the oil in a brownie recipe or bar recipe with unsweetened applesauce, 100% pumpkin puree or another pureed fruit " Example: if a recipe calls for cup of oil then use cup of unsweetened applesauce
    Use dark chocolate chips or 100% dark chocolate bars (such as bakers) instead of milk chocolate " this will make it richer in flavor and you wont need to use as much chocolate (also will cut down on the sugar content in the recipe)
    Add 1 Tablespoon of ground flaxseed + 3 Tablespoons of water to replace 1 whole egg in a recipe (you can double or triple it if the recipe calls for 2 or 3 eggs)
    Use dried fruit and nuts in the place of part the chocolate chips a recipe calls for " Example: if the recipe calls for 1 cup of chocolate chips, use 1/3 cup unsweetened raisins, 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, and the last 1/3 cup would be dark chocolate chips (this helps increase the fiber, heart healthy fats and reduces the sugar in the recipe)

Now the recipe below is by NO means a Health food, but it is a delicious & easy recipe I like to make during the holidays to share with loved ones and treat myself.

Dark Chocolate Holiday Clusters
Preparation Time: 1 hour     Number of Servings: Makes about 40 servings " 1 cluster is a serving
    3/4 cup roasted, shelled pistachios, unsalted (3 ounces), coarsely chopped
    2/3 cup dried craisins, reduced sugar
    24 ounces Bakers Semi Sweet (56%) chocolate (6 bars), finely chopped, divided or 20 ounces Dark Chocolate Ghirardelli chips (about 2 bags)
    1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest, optional
1.    Line a baking sheet or jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Add chopped pistachios, craisins, and orange zest together in a bowl and toss well to mix.
2.    Melt of chopped chocolate in a bowl in the microwave on 50% power for 30 seconds at a time (to prevent it from burning).  Stir the chocolate each time until it has melted evenly.
3.    Stir in the last of the chopped chocolate and stir until it has completely melted and is smooth (you may need to warm the chocolate for another 30 seconds in the microwave).
4.    Add the craisin and pistachio mixture to the melted chocolate and stir well to mix.
5.    Quickly scrape out the chocolate mixture with a spoon or small spatula and plop onto the lined baking sheet in small clusters or nuggets."
6.    Refrigerate uncovered until it has hardened (about 25-30 minutes).
7.    Using a butter knife or with clean hands, pop off the chocolate clusters and store in an airtight container.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 103    Protein: 1.7gm    Total Carbohydrates: 13gm    Fiber: 2gm
Total Fat:  6.4 gm    Cholesterol:   0mg    Sodium:    0mg

Turkey Salad Recipe!

Looking for a way to use up some of that leftover Thanksgiving turkey? Try this delicious turkey salad recipe. We could all probably use something a little bit on the lighter side this week.

Turkey Salad

Serves 4

    4 cups diced cooked turkey
    1 cup holiday grapes, cut in half if large
    1 cup diced celery
    1/4 cup toasted pecans or walnuts
    1/4 cup sliced green onions
    1/4 cup light mayonnaise
    1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
    2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
    Salt, pepper

1.    Mix all ingredients together in large bowl and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.
2.    Serve on a bed of lettuce or your favorite bread.
3.    This makes a great Panini as well. Place salad on sour dough bread with a little leftover cranberry sauce and some reduced fat cheese. Toast until golden brown and cheese is melted.

Thanksgiving Food Safety Tips

1. Thaw your turkey in the fridge. While you can thaw a frozen turkey under running water or in the microwave, the best way is in the refrigerator overnight (or longer). Be sure to follow the instructions on the package.

2. Store raw turkey away from ready-to-eat food. Make sure your raw turkey is covered and stored in a leak-proof container on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. You want to keep it away from foods that are ready to eat, such as desserts and salads, to avoid the risk of cross-contamination.

3. Clean and sanitize your sink and counters. After rinsing your raw turkey thoroughly, properly clean and sanitize the sink and surrounding area before starting to prepare any other food.

4. Cook your turkey to safe internal temperature. Use a properly calibrated meat thermometer to check that your turkey has reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Insert the thermometer to the dimple on the stem in the thickest part of the breast and thigh for accurate readings.

5. Keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot. Prep salads, cranberries and other colds items first and store them in the fridge until ready to serve. Then prep your hot dishes closer to serving time so they stay hot. Keep all food items outside the "temperature danger zone" (41 to 135 degrees) as much as possible.

6. Safely reheat leftovers. Whether from a meal prepared at home or picked up from a restaurant, leftovers are part of the holiday tradition. Store each dish separately in clean, seal-able, leak-proof containers and reheat to 165 degrees when you're ready to enjoy round two of your Thanksgiving meal.

SOURCE: National Restaurant Association.

Happy Thanksgiving from the Live Well team!!!!

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Happy Thanksgiving Blog

It’s the holidays and “Company Is Coming”.

Here is a quick seasonal dessert to serve for those last minute guests.





Using Fruits & Veggies during the Holidays!

Its always helpful to include fruits and vegetables with any meal, but especially during the holidays when we tend to indulge on a variety of not-so-good for you items.
Here are some healthy options to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies:
Vinegar and oil or veggie based deli salads such as the Fumi Fumi salad or Cowboy Cavier as a topping on a bed of leafy greens are some better choices than heavy cream based salads.
Fruit salads or parfaits with non-fat Greek yogurt make a great side to your holiday brunch or as a healthier dessert.
Try mixing fruits and vegetables together such as sliced Holiday Grapes with salad greens, shredded carrots, and diced apple chunks with a vinegar and oil-based dressing.
Make your own fresh cranberry salad this year with pineapple, cranberries, diced celery, walnuts, and citrus juice to impress your guests.

Try making this SUPER easy & better-for-you broccoli salad, which uses non-fat Greek yogurt in the place of heavy mayonnaise that typically is the base of most broccoli salads!

Festive Cranberry Broccoli Salad
Minutes to Prepare: 20          Number of Servings: approximately 8

2 bunches of broccoli, chopped
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup Reduced Sugar, dried cranberries
1 small onion, chopped fine
1 cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons honey (or more to taste if you like it sweeter)
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or more to taste if you like it more sour/tart)
Tablespoon olive oil
1 small pinch or dash of salt (optional)
1 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper
1. Combine all ingredients together and chill for at least 1 hour to let the flavors marinate the broccoli.
  • Substitute some golden raisins for some of the cranberries to change up the colors and flavors of the salad.
  • Adjust the amount of honey and apple cider vinegar to your taste preference.  You can always add more of something, but you cannot take it away once you add too much!
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:    112        Protein:   8gm    Total Carbohydrates:  19gm    Fiber:   6gm  
Total Fat:  2.4 gm    Cholesterol:  0mg    Sodium:   74mg

Enjoy the Holidays This Year without the Weight Gain

On average, Americans gain around 1-2 pounds during the holiday season and while that may not seem like that much, research shows that those few pounds gained usually stick around and therefore can add up over time.  In 5 years that could be an extra 10lbs or more!
With a few strategies from the Live Well team, you can avoid those extra few pounds over the holidays while still enjoying the holiday feast surrounded by your family and friends.
Here are some tips for making sure there are plenty of healthy appetizers to choose from whether you are the party host or bringing something to your next holiday party:
*  Platters of fresh cut up veggies such as carrots, celery, broccoli, tomatoes and sugar snap peas with a garlic hummus or Greek yogurt herb dip.
*  Bruschetta made with a thinly sliced French Baguette or whole grain crackers topped with roasted red peppers, pesto, and Parmesan cheese.
*  Stuffed baby portabella mushrooms with feta, spinach and topped with panko for crunch.
*  Shrimp cocktail, marinated mushrooms, and lettuce cups filled with diced veggies, olives and lump crab meat are bite-sized appetizers that are always crowd pleasers.
*  Fruit platters are a great way to fill up on these fiber-rich, water filled foods for very few calories.  

Here is a quick and yummy appetizer recipe to make when Company is Coming!

Feta, Red Pepper & Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms

Total Time: 35   Number of Servings: 8 (2-3 mushrooms caps/serving)
1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
16oz baby portabella mushrooms, fresh
1/4 cup roasted red peppers, patted dry, diced
1 - 10oz package frozen spinach, defrosted, drained (squeezed of excess water)
1/8 cup plain or seasoned bread crumbs
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Non-Stick cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 350 F and spray a large baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray (set aside).
2. Remove stems from mushroom caps and discard (or use in another recipe). Place flat side down on prepared baking sheet.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, feta, roasted red peppers, freshly ground black pepper, and garlic powder. Mix well until ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Fill each of the mushroom caps with the spinach mixture until all caps are over-filled (or until all the mixture is gone).
5. Evenly sprinkle the dry bread crumbs over the top of the mushrooms (to add texture and crunch).
6. Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until mushrooms are soft and have darkened.

--Add freshly grated Parmesan cheese to the tops of the filled mushroom caps.
--Add diced kalamata olives to spinach/feta/red pepper mixture for a more Mediterranean flavor.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
 Calories: 46     Protein: 3.4gm    Total Carbohydrates: 5gm    Fiber: 1.6gm    
Total Fat: 1.5g    Cholesterol: 5.5mg    Sodium: 138mg

It's the Holiday Season!

Its the holiday season and Company is Coming!!! Nothing says the holidays are here more than a festive cocktail or holiday drink. When entertaining it is important to keep a variety of beverages on hand for your guests. Here are some of the Live Well teams favorite items to have on hand:

Reduced fat or fat free milk for a healthier version of hot chocolate or egg nog.
Unsweetened vanilla almond milk for cream based drinks.
Reduced fat whipped topping to add to the top of your favorite warm drink.
Champagne paired with pureed no sugar added frozen fruit for a delicious Bellini.
Make wine spritzers using your favorite wine and club soda. Garnish with lemon, lime or citrus.
Act like a kid and make a mocktail with your favorite 100% juice such as pomegranate juice with sparkling water and fresh fruit garnishments.

Heres a favorite recipe of mine during the holiday season.

Spiked Hot Cocoa

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (could substitute reduced fat or skim milk)
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 Tbsp. of stevia (could substitute Splenda or any other no calorie sweetener)
Cinnamon stick
Splash of amaretto

Warm up almond milk and cinnamon stick in small pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Slowly add in the cocoa powder and stevia, stirring until completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and pour into mug. Add amaretto and garnish with cinnamon stick.

Honey-Mustard Salmon!

Many Americans view fresh fish as restaurant fare, food best left to professionals to skillfully prepare. But when you leave the fish cooking to "professionals" at places like Outback, Friday's, and Applebee's, your hopes of a healthy dinner may be sunk. Why blow the cash and the heavy caloric toll on a meal you can prepare at home in less time than it takes to order out? Plus, if you ever hope to get a kid to eat fish, this 3-minute sauce (which goes great on shrimp, scallops, and chicken, as well) is the key.
Serves: 4
Prep: 8 min
Cook: 19 min
Total: 27 min
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Combine butter and brown sugar in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, until butter and sugar have melted together. Stir in mustard, honey, and soy sauce.
  2. Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Season salmon with salt and pepper and add to pan flesh-side down. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes until fully browned and flip. Brush with half of the glaze and place pan in oven until salmon is firm and flaky (but before white fat begins to form on surface), about 5 minutes. Remove, brush salmon with more of the honey mustard, and serve with your favorite vegetable. I like roasted asparagus or broccoli.
Nutritional Facts per serving:
Calories 471.2 cal
Fat 27.3 g
Saturated fat 6.7 g
Cholesterol 110.2 mg
Sodium 535 mg
Carbohydrates 17.9 g
Total sugars 11.4 g
Dietary fiber 3.9 g
Protein 39.2 g
Courtesy of Rodale Healthy Recipe Finder

Salmon Mediterranean!

Here is a delicious and very simple recipe that uses fresh salmon!  If you dont like capers or want to buy them then swap them out for 1-2 tablespoons of diced green olives.  Enjoy!

1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 (6-ounce) skinless salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup finely chopped zucchini
2 tablespoons capers, undrained
3 tablespoon olive oil
1 (2 1/4-ounce) can sliced ripe black olives, drained

1.Preheat oven to 425 F. 2. Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of fish. Place fish in a single layer in an 11- x 7-inch baking dish coated with 2 tablespoons of olive oil .
2.Combine tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and remaining ingredients in a bowl; spoon mixture over fish. Bake at 425 F for 22 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis:
Calories: 356, Protein: 34 grams, Fat: 22 grams, Saturated Fat: 3 grams, Carbohydrates: 4 grams, Sodium: 476 mg.
Yield:  4 servings

Recipe Courtesy of

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Salmon Mediterranean. Blog

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week

Crab Fest is going on right now and Im just crazy about crab!!  Honestly how can you not be a fan of something so sweet and delicious and it is on sale just in time for the Sweetest Day, which is this weekend! 

On October 18th show your sweetie or your family how much you love them by making this impressive appetizer to go alongside a yummy seafood bisque or soup.  Enjoy.

Crab Bruschetta

6 - 8 ounces fresh or canned, drained crabmeat
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 cup minced onion
4 garlic cloves, one minced, three cut into halves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried basil
4 tablespoons extra- virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 baguette, sliced about inch thick

1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Combine the crabmeat, tomatoes, onion, the minced garlic clove, and the basil in a medium bowl.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and toss with a fork to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
4. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet. Toast in oven until golden, about 5 minutes.
5. Immediately rub the three garlic cloves over one side of the bread slices.
6. Drizzle lightly with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Serve topped with the crab mixture.

Yields: 4 Servings

Recipe Courtesy of

Some Seafood Preparation Tips

One of the biggest obstacles for people eating seafood is not knowing how to prepare it. Fish is one of the simplest foods to prepare and can be great for a quick week night meal. Here is some helpful information on seafood preparation.

The following preparation methods serve as basic guidelines for preparing seafood to
delicious perfection while still keeping calories at a minimum.
Perfectly cooked fish is moist and has a delicate flavor. There's no secret about cooking
fish properly. Fish is done when the flesh has just begun to turn from translucent to
opaque (or white) and is firm but still moist. It should flake when tested with a fork.
The 10-Minute Rule for Fish:
The 10-Minute Rule is one way to cook fish by conventional methods (but not deep-frying or microwaving). It can be used for baking (at 400 to 450 degrees), grilling,
broiling, poaching, steaming and sauteing. Here is how to use the 10 Minute Rule:
Measure the fish at its thickest point. If the fish is stuffed or rolled, measure it
after stuffing or rolling.
Cook fish about 10 minutes per inch, turning it halfway through the cooking time.
For example, a 1-inch fish steak should be cooked 5 minutes on each side for a
total of 10 minutes. Pieces less than 1/2 inch thick do not have to be turned over.
Test for doneness. Flake with a fork. Fish should reach an internal temperature
of 145 degrees.
Add 5 minutes to the total cooking time for fish cooked in foil or in sauce.
Double the cooking time for frozen fish that has not been defrosted. Use this rule
as a general guideline sine fillets often don't have uniform thickness.
Place seafood in baking dish. Add sauce or topping to keep moist. Cover and bake at
400 to 450 degrees until done.
Place seafood in broiler pan. Brush with marinade, sauce, small amount of margarine,
lemon juice or other topping. Flavor as desired with herbs and spices such as pepper
and dill weed. Broil 4 to 5 inches from heat source without turning. Cook until done.
Estimate amount of liquid needed to cover seafood in poaching pan or saucepan.
Suggested liquids include seasoned water, chicken broth, tomato juice or wine. Season
liquid as desired. Bring to boil; cover and simmer about 10 minutes. Add seafood and
bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until done.
Place seafood on a steaming rack, set two inches above boiling liquid, in deep pot.
Season as desired. Cover tightly. Reduce heat and steam until done.
Grill or Barbecue:
Place seafood (see below for seafood types and marinade recipe) on lightly-oiled grill.
Get coals red hot or turn grill to high. Baste with sauce or marinade as desired. Turn
halfway through cooking time. Continue to baste throughout cooking time. Cook until
Use non-stick pan or heat a small amount of margarine or oil with liquid such as wine, in
frying pan or saute pan. Add vegetables as desired. Add seafood and saute over medium heat until done.
Grilled Seafood Types
Place any firm fish steak (sword, shark, tuna, halibut or salmon) directly on the grates
over the hottest section. Sear steaks 1 to 2 minutes per side to seal in the juices. Finish
cooking just slightly away from the hottest area, or finish cooking in a 450 degree oven if
desired following the 10 minute rule.
Skin-on Fillets:
(Whitefish, Coho Salmon or Rainbow Trout). Cover the grates with aluminum foil, oiled
lightly. Season fish according to your tastes and cook on top of foil, skin side down,
following the 10 minute rule.
Skinless Fillets:
Cook fillets in a foil "tent." Place fillet on foil. Sprinkle with white wine and favorite herbs.  If desired, lay sliced blanched vegetables on top of fillet. Seal foil making a "tent" which allows space for steam to collect. Cook according to 10 minute rule. Allow slightly more time if vegetables are on top of fish.
Whole Fish:
Stuff and/or season any whole fish to your tastes. Wrap in foil and place on the grill. Use
the 10 minute rule per fish side, turning halfway through to cook evenly. Suggested
species: Cape, bluefish, tautaug, mackerel, pollock, cod or salmon.
Seafood Kabobs:
Marinate firm fish chunks (sharks, Sword, Halibut, tuna) or sea scallops in herbs and oil
for approximately two hours and then skewer with parboiled vegetables such as onions,
peppers and mushrooms. Add tomatoes for color. Place on hot grill, cooking 10-15
minutes depending on size of fish chunks. Turn skewers frequently.
For firm fleshed fish steaks or kabobs use a marinade made by combining the
ingredients below. Allow fish to marinate at least two hours.
Quick & Easy Marinade for Grilling:
2 cups oil
1 cup dry white wine
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika, salt and pepper to taste

Information courtesy of The Original Fish Company.

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week

Everyone Can Benefit From Seafood

Seafood is a healthy food choice for people of all ages.  It provides key nutrients for infants and children and is a healthy protein source for adults.  Fish & seafood is also low in saturated fat, which makes it a great choice for people trying to eat a more heart-healthy diet.

Seafood is the main source of the omega3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.  These nutrients promote healthy brain and eye development in children and also reduce the risk of heart disease in adults!

United States health organizations recommend a daily EPA and DHA intake of:
250 mg for the general population
1000 mg for people with heart disease

Pregnant or breastfeeding women and their children also need EPA and DHA. Oily fish, like salmon and sardines are good sources of EPA and DHA.  Talk with your primary care doctor to find out what is recommended for you!

Health benefits of eating seafood far outweigh the risks from contaminants that consumers are often concerned about such as trace amounts of mercury.

In fact, research shows that removing seafood from the diet can actually have negative effect on a persons health.

The most commonly consumed seafood in the United States present very little risk from contaminants like mercury while offering many health and nutrition benefits.

Guidelines for Consumers
One serving = 4 ounces of cooked fish or shellfish (about the size of the palm of your hand)

Healthy Teenagers & Adults:
Should eat 8 or more ounces of a variety of seafood per week
Can reduce their risk of heart disease by eating seafood regularly
Can have added benefits from seafood high in EPA and DHA

Women who are or may become pregnant or who are breastfeeding:
Should eat at least 8 ounces and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week
Mothers and their infants can benefit from seafood, especially types high in EPA & DHA
Can eat up to 6ounces of albacore (white) tuna per week
Should avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel due to mercury
Should not eat raw or partially cooked seafood, including smoked fish

Children 12 Years & Under:
Should eat about 8 ounces of a variety of seafood per week
May benefit from eating seafood, especially types high in EPA and DHA
Can eat up to 6 ounces of albacore (white) tuna per week
Should avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel due to mercury
Young children should not eat raw/partially cooked seafood, including smoked fish

ImmunoCompromised Individuals & Older Adults:
Should eat a variety of seafood at least twice per week
Can reduce their risk for heart disease by eating seafood regularly
Can have added benefits from seafood high in EPA and DHA
Should not eat raw or partially cooked seafood

Information courtesy of
Sources: 2010 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans; U.S Food and Drug Administration; U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency; American Heart Association; and Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences

Mediterranean Orzo with Tuna!

Celebrate National Seafood Month with this delicious, budget friendly and quick recipe. Serve with steamed broccoli or a side salad for a complete meal.

Recipe courtesy of Oldways
Mediterranean Orzo with Tuna

National Fisheries Institute
Tuna is somehow nostalgic and fresh at the same time " it never fails as a fast, filling meal. Try it in this effortless and delicious dish.

4 (5 ounce) cans tuna packed in water, drained and flaked
2 cups orzo, cooked
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
... teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

In a 4-quart salad bowl, combine the tuna, orzo, garlic, lemon zest, and juice and toss gently to combine. Let rest for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Analysis:
Cal: 451, Fat: 12 g, Sodium: 483 mg, Carb: 42g, Protein: 28g
Yield: 8 servings

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Orzo with Tuna. Blog

National Seafood Month!

October is National Seafood Month and we want to celebrate with all the seafood lovers out there and persuade the unwilling & reluctant to try folks as well!

If you are not a seafood or fish fan.then I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone " You know that place where you are maybe just eating the same types of foods and meals all the time because they are Safe. 

You could really be missing the boat on all the benefits fish has to offer " and fresh fish and seafood is one of the best ways to start if you are new to seafood & fish!

Not only is fish a good source of protein, but unlike other animal proteins it is not high in saturated fat, which has been shown to increase a persons risk for heart disease. 

The average American does not meet the recommended amount of omega-3 fatty acids in their diet and seafood & fish are a really good source of these heart healthy fats!
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week (especially a fish that is high in heart healthy omega-3 fats such as salmon or tuna) " So make it your mission to try a new fish or seafood recipe this week and you might surprise yourself with a recipe your family actually enjoys.
It can be fresh, frozen, or canned (packed in water or a reduced sodium variety) we dont care.Just be sure to work in a fish and a seafood recipe at least 2 times per week!!
Now if you are one of those people that may be reluctant to try fish and seafood and are thinking.Ill just take an omega-3/fish oil supplement instead then I just want to remind you that it is more beneficial to get your omega-3 fats through foods!
There is an abundance of fish recipes out there, but sometimes it comes down to figuring out what flavor combinations and ingredients you and your family prefer with your other non-fish/seafood recipes and get creative! 

If you are spaghetti fan then try swapping out the ground beef for shrimp and scallops.  If you really like pesto grilled chicken then swap out the chicken for salmon or Swai! 

Try dipping tilapia into egg whites and then into a bowl of panko break crumbs with Italian seasoning and parmesan cheese for baked tilapia parmesan instead of using chicken.

Here is a quick and delicious recipe that uses omega-3 rich tuna and has very few ingredients so you can get dinner on the table fast!    

Tuscan Tuna Sandwich
Number of Servings: 4
    1/4 cup  red onion, chopped
    1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
    2 tablespoons drained capers
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 (6-ounce) cans solid white tuna in water, drained
    1 (4-ounce) jar chopped roasted red bell peppers, drained
    1/4 cup finely chopped fennel bulb (optional)
    8 (1-ounce) slices sourdough bread or 100% whole-grain wheat bread, toasted

1.    Combine chopped red onion, basil, capers, lemon juice, olive oil, black pepper, tuna, bell peppers and chopped fennel (if using) in a bowl, stirring well.
2.    Spoon 1/2 cup tuna mixture on each of 4 bread slices. Top each serving with 1 bread slice. Cut each sandwich in half diagonally.

-Pairs well with steamed veggies or a mixed greens salad as a side.
-Swap out the tuna for chopped shrimp or lump crab meat if you prefer.

Nutrition Facts (per serving, using whole grain wheat bread):
Calories: 260   Protein:   25gm    Total Carbohydrates:  24gm    Fiber: 4.6gm   
Total Fat:  10gm    Cholesterol:  30mg    Sodium:   590mg

Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light & nutrition facts calculated courtesy of SparkRecipeCalculator.

Avocado Stuffed Salmon!

Avocados have to be one of my favorite foods. Smooth, creamy and delicious. They are also one of the best sources of monounsaturated fat also known as healthy fat. Monounsaturated fat has been shown to lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol and as a bonus, its also good for your hair and skin. So dig in, its good for you!!!!

Avocado Stuffed Salmon

    4-6 oz. salmon steaks
    1 cup Wholly Guacamole dip
    1 egg yolk
    cup bread crumbs
    1 tsp. lemon zest
    Sea Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste
1.    Preheat your oven to 350. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut a pocket into the side of each piece of salmon. In a bowl, combine the guacamole, egg, bread crumbs and lemon zest to make the avocado stuffing.
2.    Stuff the fish with avocado mixture, season each fillet with salt and pepper. Bake for 8 minutes and serve immediately.

Recipe and information courtesy of Wholly Guacamole.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Avocado Stuffed Salmon. Blog

September is Fruits and Veggies - More Matters Month!!!!

Celebrate with this delicious veggie filled recipe:

Crunchy Vegetable Burrito
Try adding your favorite vegetables to this yummy burrito!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4
Cups of Fruits & Vegetables per Serving: 1

  •     3/4 cup carrots, shredded
  •     3/4 cup broccoli, chopped
  •     3/4 cup cauliflower, chopped
  •     2 green onions, thinly sliced
  •     4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded, low-fat
  •     1/4 cup ranch salad dressing, low-fat
  •     1/2 tsp chili powder
  •     1 cup lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
  •     4 tortillas

  1. Wash and prepare vegetables.
  2. Combine chopped vegetables with cheese, dressing and chili powder; mix well.
  3. Spoon 1/4 cup vegetable mixture and 1/4 cup lettuce into the center of each tortilla.
  4. Wrap each tortilla around the vegetable mixture.
  5. Serve cold.

Nutritional Information

  • Calories:189
  • Carbohydrates:30g
  • Total Fat:5.7g
  • Cholesterol:11mg
  • Saturated Fat:1.9g
  • Dietary Fiber:4.3g
  • % of Calories from Fat:27%
  • Sodium:595mg
  • Protein:12g
  • Recipe Credit
  • Adapted from UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program

2007-2013 Produce for Better Health Foundation. All rights reserved.

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week

Hot Potato Hot Potato!!

In celebration of Fruits and Veggies More Matters Month as well as National Potato Month here are some new and tasty ways to enjoy baked potatoes!

Margherita Style:
--Season baked potatoes with herbs, pepper, and a little olive oil.  Top with minced garlic, chopped fresh mozzarella, chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, and a little drizzle of olive oil on top.

Philly-Style (Twice Baked):
--Scoop out potato flesh.  Mix with cooked lean Italian sausage (such as Jennie-o) and broccoli sauted with garlic, grated parmesan or Romano cheese, and olive oil. Stuff skin, top with provolone and bake.

Shrimp Boil:
--Cook shrimp and sliced green onions in olive oil or whipped butter and season with Old Bay seasoning.  Season a baked potato with favorite seasonings and top with shrimp mixture and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Veggie Primavera (Twice Baked):
--Scoop out potato flesh.  Mix with grated Fontina cheese or use a mild provolone cheese, cooked chopped bell peppers, cooked chopped spinach and a little olive oil; season.  Stuff the potato skin and bake.

Its Thyme for Mushrooms (Twice Baked):
--Cook shiitake mushrooms in a little butter or olive oil; add low sodium chicken or vegetable stock & some non-fat Greek yogurt.  Reduce until thickened.  Scoop out potato flesh; mix with shiitakes.  Stuff potato skin, bake and top with lemon zest and thyme.

Information in part courtesy of EveryDay with Rachael Ray October 2014 issue.

Live Well Tip of the Week

Looking for easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet. Try these top 10 tips:

1.    Dried Fruits. Take advantage of the vast assortment of dried fruits available and dress up your cereal or salads or simply enjoy as a snack. I love to mix dried cranberries with sunflower seeds, almonds and mini chocolate chips.
2.    Leftovers. Re-create leftovers to make a whole new meal.  Use them in wraps or sandwiches, for quesadillas, in casseroles or with pasta. My favorite are leftover grilled vegetables with pasta, rice or quinoa. I also love to serve them for breakfast with an egg and a little shredded cheese on top.
3.    Convenience. Pick up some frozen or canned fruits and vegetables for later in the week or for busy nights. Canned tomatoes, beans, mandarin oranges and pineapple are my favorite.
4.    Experiment. Try a new fruit or vegetable or prepare a familiar one in a different way. County Market has such a wonderful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables so stock up.
5.    Seasoning Combinations. Buy plain (unseasoned) frozen vegetables and create seasoning combinations using herbs, lemon juice, or garlic to keep out the fat and salt. Everything tastes better with a little garlic and onion!!!!
6.    100% Juice. Look for fruit and vegetable juices that say 100% juice! I make a healthier version of soda by combining sparkling water and 100% juice.
7.    Smoothies for Breakfast. Frozen fruit makes great smoothies for a breakfast on the run. I even add veggies like baby spinach, cucumber and carrots to my smoothie. This is a great way to get your vegetable servings and if you mix in some fruit it really makes it taste great. Try low fat milk, frozen banana, frozen blueberries and a handful or two of spinach. DELICIOUS
8.    Easy to Grab & Go. Fill up that fruit bowl so you and your family can grab and go. For some reason the only time my kids think of having fruit as a snack is when its right in front of them. Put those fruits and veggies in a highly visible place so they become your go-to snack.
9.    Meatless Meals. Plan one or more meatless meals for the week " there are endless possibilities for using dried or canned beans. Theyre cheap too! Vegetarian chili and portabella burgers are some of my favorites.
10.    Make More. Plan for leftovers so you have a ready-meal. Cook up extra and freeze for later use.

Brought to you from:

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - More Matters. Blog

Fruits & Veggies – More Matters Month!

Most people know that eating fruits and vegetables is important for good health, but most of us still aren't getting enough. This September, County Market is proud to participate in Fruits & Veggies - More Matters Month.

Eating a healthy diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits can help you:
    Lower your risk for heart disease and some types of cancer
    Maintain or reach a healthy weight
    Keep your body strong and active

Here are some ideas to help you and your family fit more fruits and vegetables into your day:
    Keep a bowl of fruit handy where the whole family can see it.
    Cut up fruits and veggies ahead of time so they're ready for quick, healthy snacks.
    Challenge your family to try a new veggie or fruit every week.

Remember, eating more fruits and veggies can be fun - and its worth it!

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week

September is Fruits & Veggies More Matters Month and we want you to know that All Forms can Fit into a healthy and budget-friendly diet! 
If you limit yourself to buying only fresh or frozen, then you are missing out on the nutritious, economical, and flavorful possibilities that all forms of fruits and veggies have to offer.
Look at what research has to say about Fresh, Frozen, Canned, Dried, & 100% Fruit/Vegetable juice forms of fruits and veggies have to offer.
All Forms of Fruit & Vegetables are Nutritious!

Fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice"all these forms of fruit and vegetables are important to include in everyday meals and snacks!
Each form contributes essential nutrients that your body needs to grow and function properly. Using all forms of fruit and vegetables in your meal preparation lets you take advantage of the benefits that each form provides and increases your choice of healthy food items.
Nutritional research shows that
. . .
Fresh, frozen, dried, and canned fruit and vegetables contain similar amounts of fiber and minerals. Cooking fruit or vegetables does not destroy fiber or minerals.1,2
From a nutrition and taste standpoint, recipes prepared with canned and/or frozen ingredients have been rated as comparable to those prepared with cooked fresh ingredients. 3,4
Dried fruit are a particularly significant source of dietary potassium and fiber. Depending on the specific fruit, they provide other important nutrients like vitamin A and carotenoids (dried peaches and apricots); vitamin K (dried plums); calcium (dried figs); manganese (dried figs); and boron (raisins and dried plums).5
Research shows that children and teens who drink 100% juice have higher usual intakes of vitamins A and C, magnesium, folate, phosphorus, calcium, and potassium "all nutrients that have been identified as frequently under-consumed by these age groups.6,7
Most fat-soluable nutrients, including carotenoids, vitamin A, and vitamin E, are higher in processed fruit and vegetables. This is true, in part, because the mild heat treatment in processed products allows for greater bio-availability of lipid-soluble nutrients.1
Canned fruits and vegetables may also contain greater nutritional value because some processing cultivars are more nutritious than fresh cultivars, as is the case with tomatoes.1
  The absorption of lutein, an antioxidant that may reduce the risks of cataracts and macular degeneration, is enhanced in canned corn by heat from the canning process.9
The antioxidant capacity found in dried fruit is much higher than the corresponding values for fresh because the antioxidants are concentrated in a smaller volume during the dehydration process.5
All fruit and veggies count towards your daily recommended servings"so, add frozen to canned, dried to fresh, and drink 100% juice. It is easy and convenient to mix and match!
It doesnt matter what form(s) you like, the most important thing is that you eat your fruit and veggies.
Information courtesy of Fruits and Veggies More Matters ,

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week

There are many diets out there that claim to cure or vanquish disease.  Many people are looking to change their diet in some way these days.  Whether it is for weight loss, to reduce pain and inflammation to help with arthritis, or to help improve blood sugars " everyone is looking for the answer.

The truth is many of the diets out there do have some health benefits, but we are not always seeing the real reason.which is the individual foods that are actually helping us rather than the complete diet as a whole.  This is why so many people are confused about how to eat healthy these days. 

One diet may say to avoid A for this disease or health problem.while another diet may say to eat A to help with their other health problem.  Sometimes it can seem like you are avoiding so many things that there is hardly anything left to eat!
Here is an example.

About a year and a half ago Victoria Beckham (one of those Spice Girls) was talking about following an alkaline diet, which supposedly helps to shed pounds among other claims.  The theory is that certain foods can make your body produce acid, which is bad for you .some of these foods include meat, wheat, refined sugar, and processed foods. 

On the other hand of this theory " eating foods such as most all fruits and vegetables, almonds, and milk products can make your body more alkaline, which supposedly can help protect against conditions like arthritis, cancer, and help you lose weight.

---The Truth is. it really has nothing to do with how Acidic or how Alkaline the food is for helping you to lose weight and more to do with the fact that you are limiting and scaling back on highly processed foods and products with refined sugars that dont contribute any health benefits and are almost always high in calories, salt, sugar, fat, and ingredients that can confuse our bodies.

Another claim is that eating a more alkaline diet is supposed to help you maintain your blood pH level or stomach pH; however really nothing you eat is going to significantly change the pH of your blood because your body is always working to keep levels constant.

---The Truth is all food regardless of what that foods individual pH is will be acidic in your stomach and alkaline in your intestine.  The next time you hear on the news, commercials or someone tries to tell you that drinking vinegar will help change the pH of your stomach just know it is sadly not the case. 

An alkaline diet is really just a glorified vegetarian diet (that includes dairy), which of course has health benefits because of all of the fruits and vegetables, lentils, nuts and high fiber foods you eat, but is wheat-free and free of processed starches.

Maybe you have also heard that following an alkaline diet will help with peptic ulcers or for people with acid reflux?

--The Truth is the only real medical condition that Health Care Professionals have treated with an alkaline diet is for kidney stones.  Uric acid kidney stones can form when the pH of your urine is too acidic and it is believed that by eating less acidic foods (along with the exclusion of purine-rich foods) it will help prevent you from getting them. 

While there may be some other tried and true ancient health benefits reported you should know that drinking straight vinegar can actually cause erosion to the enamel of your teeth and can irritate your throat (Mayo Clinc).

The take home message is:

1.    Most of the diets out there are not all what they claim to be " so be cautious & question it!
2.    It always should come down to doing what comes natural to you, and you should not feel deprived, restricted, or denied of certain food groups that do have health benefits.
3.    Learn what foods upset your body " pay attention to how you feel after you eat them.
4.    Eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (fill half your plate), lean proteins in small portions (we dont need to fill half of our plate with this!!), healthy fats like nuts, avocado, olives, low-fat/non-fat dairy products, and fiber-rich, minimally processed whole grain foods to fill you up!

What does the glycemic index (GI) really mean?

Curious what the glycemic index actually means and if its relevant to you? Glycemic index and glycemic load offer information about how foods affect blood sugar and insulin. The lower a food's glycemic index (or glycemic load), the less it affects blood sugar and insulin levels.

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes (type 1 and type 2). They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.

Low GI Foods (55 or less): 100% stone-ground whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, oatmeal (rolled or steel-cut), oat bran, muesli, pasta, converted rice, barley, bulgar, sweet potato, corn, yam, lima/butter beans, peas, legumes and lentils, most fruits, non-starchy vegetables and carrots

Medium GI (56-69): Whole wheat, rye and pita bread, quick oats, brown, wild or basmati rice, couscous

High GI (70 or more): White bread or bagel, corn flakes, puffed rice, bran flakes, instant oatmeal, shortgrain white rice, rice pasta, macaroni and cheese from mix, russet potato, pumpkin, pretzels, rice cakes, popcorn, saltine crackers, melons and pineapple

Whats the difference between glycemic index and glycemic load? The glycemic load takes into account serving size.

Glycemic Load gives a relative indication of how much a serving of food is likely to increase your blood-sugar levels. Glycemic load estimates the impact of carbohydrate consumption using the glycemic index while taking into account the amount of carbohydrate that is consumed. For example, watermelon has a high GI, but a typical serving of watermelon does not contain much carbohydrate, so the glycemic load of eating it is low.

As a rule of thumb, most nutritional experts consider Glycemic Loads below 10 to be "low," and Glycemic Loads above 20 to be "high." Because Glycemic Load is related to the food's effect on blood sugar, low Glycemic Load meals are often recommended for diabetic control and weight loss. Here are some examples:

Glycemic index (glucose = 100)

Serving size (grams)

Glycemic load per serving


Banana cake, made with sugar




Banana cake, made without sugar




Sponge cake, plain




Vanilla cake made from packet mix with vanilla frosting (Betty Crocker)




Apple, made with sugar




Apple, made without sugar




Waffles, Aunt Jemima (Quaker Oats)




Bagel, white, frozen




Baguette, white, plain




Coarse barley bread, 75-80% kernels, average




Hamburger bun




Kaiser roll




Pumpernickel bread




50% cracked wheat kernel bread




White wheat flour bread




Wonder bread, average




Whole wheat bread, average




100% Whole Grain bread (Natural Ovens)




Pita bread, white




Corn tortilla




Wheat tortilla





Coca Cola, average


250 mL


Fanta, orange soft drink


250 mL


Lucozade, original (sparkling glucose drink)


250 mL


Apple juice, unsweetened, average


250 mL


Cranberry juice cocktail (Ocean Spray)


250 mL




250 mL


Orange juice, unsweetened


250 mL


Tomato juice, canned


250 mL



All-Bran, average




Coco Pops, average




Cornflakes, average




Cream of Wheat (Nabisco)




Cream of Wheat, Instant (Nabisco)




Grapenuts, average




Muesli, average




Oatmeal, average




Instant oatmeal, average




Puffed wheat, average




Raisin Bran (Kellogg's)




Special K (Kellogg's)





Pearled barley, average




Sweet corn on the cob, average




Couscous, average








White rice, average




Quick cooking white basmati




Brown rice, average




Converted, white rice (Uncle Ben's)




Whole wheat kernels, average




Bulgur, average





Graham crackers




Vanilla wafers








Rice cakes, average




Rye crisps, average




Soda crackers





Ice cream, regular




Ice cream, premium




Milk, full fat




Milk, skim


250 mL


Reduced-fat yogurt with fruit, average





Apple, average




Banana, ripe




Dates, dried








Grapes, average




Orange, average




Peach, average




Peach, canned in light syrup




Pear, average




Pear, canned in pear juice




Prunes, pitted













Baked beans, average




Blackeye peas, average




Black beans




Chickpeas, average




Chickpeas, canned in brine




Navy beans, average




Kidney beans, average




Lentils, average




Soy beans, average




Cashews, salted




Peanuts, average





Fettucini, average




Macaroni, average




Macaroni and Cheese (Kraft)




Spaghetti, white, boiled, average




Spaghetti, white, boiled 20 min, average




Spaghetti, wholemeal, boiled, average





Corn chips, plain, salted, average




Fruit Roll-Ups




M & M's, peanut




Microwave popcorn, plain, average




Potato chips, average




Pretzels, oven-baked




Snickers Bar





Green peas, average




Carrots, average








Baked russet potato, average




Boiled white potato, average




Instant mashed potato, average




Sweet potato, average




Yam, average





Hummus (chickpea salad dip)




Chicken nuggets, frozen, reheated in microwave oven 5 min




Pizza, plain baked dough, served with parmesan cheese and tomato sauce




Pizza, Super Supreme (Pizza Hut)




Honey, average





Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week

Every year the Illinois State Fair brings something new and of course FRIED to our communities curious taste buds.  I on the other hand cringe at the thought of another deep fried, fried meat on a stick.

So when I heard that we were going to have grapes that taste like COTTON CANDY at our stores
I couldn't help but to be a little skeptical at first I mean come on cotton candy flavored grapes??

It was love at first bite.., but I still wondered how a grape could possibly taste like my childhood memory of the sugary spun deliciousness that all dentists despise! 

After looking in to these delicious and mouthwatering bite-size pieces of heaven I discovered that they are completely and 100% natural - made by good old fashioned plant breeding without any artificial flavors!  

While these green plump grapes don't look or smell anything like cotton candy your taste buds will tell you otherwise!   With the help of a horticulturalist, these grapes were created just like pluots by hybridizing two species of grapes together!

Let me tell you if you are a fan of grapes and a fan of cotton candy then they are absolutely worth buying! They have little to no tartness at all which is why the melt-in-your-mouth sweetness is to die for! 

Better enjoy them now because they wont be available year round!

Here are some fun ways to enjoy these delicious grapes:

    Washed and eaten straight out of the bag. paired with some unsalted, mixed nuts like pistachios, almonds, and walnuts for a filling snack that will stick with you and not to your teeth!

    Frozen and enjoyed like a bite-sized cotton candy sorbet or drizzled with dark chocolate over the frozen grapes.

    A cotton-candy inspired parfait?  I think yes!!  In a small cup, layer your favorite low-fat or non-fat yogurt with slivered almonds, then the halved cotton-candy flavored grapes and repeat the layers!

    Toss them skins and all (frozen works best) into a blender with some vanilla flavored Greek yogurt and you'll have yourself a smoothie with a hint of cotton-candy flavor!

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Cotton Candy Grapes Blog

Easy Back to School Muffins

Back to school is such a busy time, and if you have kids who are headed back this week they will be looking for a quick breakfast before they're out the door. A lot of time kids tend to skip breakfast especially as they get older, so its important to have quick foods that they can just grab and go. Try to make sure they include foods that are good sources of protein as well as fiber such as hard-boiled eggs, Greek yogurt, fruit, peanut butter and whole grain bread. This is an easy go-to recipe that the kids can help make over the weekend and eat during the week.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins With Chocolate Chips

    3 ripe, mashed bananas
    1 cup sugar free vanilla almond milk
    2 eggs
    1 tbsp baking powder
    3 cups oats
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
1.    Mix all ingredients together
2.    Spray a muffin pan and/or liners with non-stick spray.
3.    Divide batter into 15 muffin cups until full
4.    Bake 20-30 minutes or until edges brown

Nutrition Facts:  Approximately 115 calories per muffin, 3g of fat, 2g of fiber, 6g of sugar, 4g of protein and 21g of carbs
*Serve with some low fat milk or Greek yogurt
*Feel free to substitute the chocolate chips for blueberries

Wellness Tip of the Week

Alright moms its time to get a little sneaky with adding more fruits and veggies to your childs breakfast and school lunches! 
Often times most kids wont want to try something if they think it is healthy for them because maybe its not cool or what their friends eat.   Having that happy balance of foods they like + foods you would like them to eat may be a challenge. 
Start with foods that most kids are familiar with and get creative with adding in fruits and veggies!  Things like burgers, chicken nuggets and pizza can all be easily modified with the addition of veggies and even fruit!
Pizza for breakfast?!!!  I think you can get your kids approval of this easy back to school lunch recipe or even for breakfast before heading off to the bus.
If mornings seem to be a rush for your and your family, then it can be made up the night before or if you have a little time then you can make it in less than 10 minutes the morning of!

Minutes to prepare:  7     Minutes to cook: 8     Suggested Serving Size: 1-2 mini pizza halves
    to a 1 full package of Thomas 100% Whole Wheat English Muffins sliced in half (Note: slice 3 if you only want to make 6 mini pizzas or all if you are making 12)
    1 to 1 cups of mozzarella cheese
    (Note: you may need more if you are doing the full package of English muffins)
    1 jar or can of pizza sauce
    Optional Toppings: diced bell pepper, thinly sliced cherry tomatoes, diced onions, sliced olives, turkey pepperoni, etc.
1.    Preheat oven to 400F.
2.    Spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray and place the English muffin halves (6 of them or all 12 if using the whole package of English muffins) cut side face up on the baking sheet.
3.    Top each English muffin with 1-2 tablespoons of pizza sauce.
4.    Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top of the pizza sauce and add optional toppings if desired.
5.    Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese has melted all the way.
    (Note:  they can be reheated in the microwave or enjoyed cold if you like!)
Nutrition Facts (per serving, based on 2 mini pizza halves):
Calories: 300   Protein: 20gm   Total Carbohydrates: 28gm   Sugars: 3gm   Fiber: 3.7gm    Total Fat: 11gm  
Nutrition facts calculated courtesy of Spark Recipe Calculator

A Healthy Back to School Lunch!

Back to school is here.All of us parents are rejoicingYippee!!!!! So Im always trying to think of something healthy I can put in my kids lunches instead of the usual fare i.e. peanut butter, bologna, etc. Since I always have leftovers in the fridge I thought it would be fun to put together a healthy chicken salad wrap. I thought Id make it a little healthier by using guacamole instead of mayonnaise. The kids thought the green color was kind of cool and love the zesty taste. Score 1 for mom!!!

Chicken Guac Salad with a Whole Grain Wrap

Minutes to Prepare: 10       Number of Servings: 5 (1/2 cup servings
             3 cups, Leftover boiled, diced Chicken Breast (skinless, boneless)
             1 cup diced Celery
             1 1/2 cups seedless Grapes (halved)
             1/3 cup sliced Green Onions
             3/4 cup Wholly Guacamole (classic style)
             Salt and Pepper to taste
             Flatout Light Whole Grain Wrap (can use any other flavors)

1.            Dice leftover boiled, boneless, skinless chicken breast to measure 3 cups.

2.            Dice 1 cup of celery, halve 1 1/2 cups of seedless grapes, slice 1/3 cup of green onions, and measure 3/4 cup of Wholly Guacamole (classic style).

3.            Add all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and add salt, pepper, and any other herbs and seasonings you like.

4.            Mix well until all ingredients are blended together and "creamy."

5.            Finally add the Chicken Guac Salad to your Favorite whole grain wrap or whole wheat crackers.

Try adding onion powder, garlic powder, or even curry powder (depending on your child's taste preferences) to kick it up a notch!
You can also substitute 2 cans of diced cooked chicken in the place of the 3 cups of leftover boiled, diced chicken.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 369     Protein: 32gm    Total Carbohydrates: 30gm    Fiber: 15gm   
Total Fat: 17.1gm    Cholesterol: 56gm     Sodium: 528mg

Pear Walnut Sandwich!

What are Whole Grains?

Whole Grains are any grain that includes 100% of the original kernel, which is comprised of the bran, germ and endosperm. There are many health benefits to whole grains and research shows that whole grains can help reduce your risk of certain cancers and heart disease1 when eaten as a part of a low fat, low saturated fat, and cholesterol diet rich in whole grain foods and other plant foods. Even though there are many benefits to whole grains, less than 7% of adults and less than 5% of children/adolescents consume the Whole Grains Councils daily recommendation of 48 grams of whole grains2. It is recommended that all adults eat at least half their grains as whole grains"thats at least 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day. For children, it is recommended that they have 2 to 3 servings or more of whole grains per day. An example of one serving (or one ounce equivalent) of whole grains would be one slice of 100% whole grain bread3. Celebrate Whole Grains Month this September with better-for-you sandwiches.


Pear Walnut Sandwich
Sandwiches made with two slices of 100% whole grain bread are an easy and delicious way to fulfill two servings of whole grains!

Yield: 1 Sandwich

2 slices 100% whole wheat bread
tablespoon goat cheese or cheese of your choice
tablespoon toasted walnuts (finely chopped)
cup spinach leaves
Bartlett pear (cored and thinly sliced)
2 ounces chicken breast deli meat (thinly sliced)

1. Spread goat cheese evenly over one slice of bread.
2. Sprinkle walnuts evenly over goat cheese.
3. Top with spinach leaves, pear slices, chicken breast and remaining bread slice.
4. Cut sandwich in half diagonally.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: Calories: 364; Fat: 7g; Sodium: 682mg; Carbohydrate: 48g; Fiber: 7g; Protein: 25g
Brought To You By

5 Tips on How to Make a Better Sandwich
1. Its Whats on the Outside that Counts: Look for breads with whole grains. Slices of 100% whole wheat breads can contain up to 22 grams of whole grains.
2. Say Cheese: Cheese can be a good source of calcium and protein, so dont be afraid to include on your sandwich. However, some cheeses can be high in calories and saturated fat. Consider cheeses such as feta, part-skim mozzarella and goat cheese which are typically lower in calories and saturated fat.
3. Fresh is Best: Toppings are a great way to add flavor and crunch to your sandwich without adding fat. Fruit and vegetables like pears, apples, cucumbers and peppers are the perfect addition to elevate the flavor and nutritional profile of your sandwich.
4. Switch Up Spreads: Spreads are a great way to enhance the flavor of sandwiches, but the calories in some of them can creep up quickly. Pay close attention to how much and the type of spread that goes onto your sandwich. Experiment with spreads such as mustard, Greek yogurt or hummus that will provide that creamy consistency.
5. Lean and Mean: Protein can help keep you full longer. Opt for lean proteins such as chicken, turkey and lean roast beef. If you are using deli meat, ask for a low-sodium variety as some deli meats can be high in sodium. Not into meat? No problem! Nut butters are also sandwich friendly and may contain protein. www.brownberry
Bimbo Bakeries USA and the Oldways Nutrition Exchange.

Ginger Peach Salsa!

Peaches are what I think of at this point in the summer.  I can remember being very little and climbing my dads peach tree just so I could sit there and eat one of the ripe and delicious peaches right off the branch. 

Frozen peaches are great in smoothies or as a topping on your ice cream, but there is just something about eating a fresh, ripe peach and not caring about the peach juices running down your hands or possibly even your elbows. 

If you are a peach lover like I am then you have to try this recipeIt makes about 6 servings for only 116 calories per serving (not including chips or if you pair it with fish) and it is a surprisingly delicious combination of flavors.

I highly recommend trying our local Illinois Peaches " They are absolutely yummy!

Ginger Peach Salsa
Number of Servings: 6                  Preparation Time:  15 minutes

    1 medium red onion, chopped
    1 small jalapeo pepper, seeded and minced (or a mild banana pepper if you dont like the heat)
    6 large firm peaches, peeled and chopped
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1 tablespoon grated ginger or Gourmet Garden Ginger
    2 tablespoons honey
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    Black pepper, to taste
    Salt to taste (optional)

1.    In a medium sized bowl, mix the red onion, jalapeno pepper (or mild banana pepper), chopped peaches, cilantro, and grated ginger until evenly distributed.
2.    In a small bowl whisk together the honey, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, and salt (if using).
3.    Add the vinaigrette ingredients to the bowl of fruits and veggies and toss well to evenly coat.  Then add cracked black pepper to taste.
  • Pairs well with tortilla chips or as a zesty topping on fish such as swai, tilapia, or salmon.
  • Add a yellow bell pepper for added crunch and color.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:  116     Protein:  1gm    Total Carbohydrates:  20gm    Fiber:  2.4gm   
Total Fat:  5gm    Cholesterol:  0mg    Sodium:  3mg  (this is without adding salt)

Recipe calculated courtesy of SparkRecipes recipe calculator.

Blueberry Corn Salad!

Looking for a great way to use some of that fresh summer corn? This is a delicious salad that uses some of the freshest summer produce. I love this salad with grilled chicken or pork and its super kid friendly too!!!

Blueberry Corn Salad

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours (must be refrigerated overnight)

    6 ears fresh sweet corn, husks removed
    1 cup fresh blueberries
    1 small cucumber
    cup fresh cilantro, chopped
    cup red onion, chopped
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 tablespoon honey
    teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    teaspoon cumin
    teaspoon salt
    teaspoon pepper

1.    Add corn to boiling water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Cut corn from the cob and let cool.
2.    Combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, cilantro and onion in a large bowl with a lid.
3.    To make dressing, in a screw-top jar, mix lime juice, oil, honey, red pepper flakes, cumin, salt and pepper. Shake well.
4.    Add honey-lime dressing to corn mixture and toss. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories " 136, Fat "5.3g, Dietary Fiber " 2.8g, Protein " 2.6g, Vitamin C " 18%, Iron " 13%.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Blueberry Corn Salad Blog

Watermelon & Feta Salad!

We have all tasted a delicious watermelon before and I am willing to bet you have tried it with salt on at least one occasion.  Sometimes by adding a food or ingredient that entices your other taste buds can bring out the flavor of the food (in this case.the sweetness of the watermelon) even more! 

You cannot beat the taste of watermelon in the hot summer sun, but by adding rich and salty flavors to it from feta cheese and olives " you will make your taste buds sing!

Olives are a great source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and really bring out the flavor of the watermelon.  If you are looking for something salty, sweet, and juicy, then this recipe is exactly what your taste buds need and watermelon is on sale this week for 69cents/LB!

This is summer at its very best!

Recipe courtesy of Lucini Italia "

Yields: 6-8 Servings
1/3 extra-virgin olive oil
    Juice from half a lemon (or lime)
    Salt and freshly ground pepper
    1 medium watermelon, cut into 1- inch cubes
    1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
    10 ounces feta cheese, cut into cubes
    1 cup chopped fresh mint
    Pistachios, for garnish (optional)
1.    Make the dressing: Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
2.    In a large bowl combine the watermelon, olives, and feta cheese. Add the dressing and toss gently until evenly coated.
3.    Tear up the mint leaves and sprinkle on top or fold in. Garnish with the pistachios, if you wish.
Nutritional Analysis: (per serving)
Calories: 365     Fat: 19gm    Sodium 490mg      Carbohydrate: 46gm     Protein: 9gm 

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Watermelon & Feta Salad. Blog

Six Ideas for Grab & Go Snacks Made Easy

Do you find yourself grabbing unhealthy foods from the vending machines at work? With just a little bit of thinking ahead at the supermarket, you can do your wallet and your health a big favor by creating your own stash of grab & go favorites to enjoy in the office for snacks or a quick lunch.

Hard-boiled eggs. Eggs are one of the best values around. Buy an extra dozen and hard boil them on Sunday, and youll have an easy, stick-to-the-ribs protein-filled snack anytime. A small container of sea salt in your desk lets you add a dash of salt.

Instant oatmeal. Buy a big package of instant or quick-cooking oats, and pre-measure 14 cup serving in snack-size ziplock bags. Add your own cinnamon and raisins, or other dried fruit and/or nuts. Even if you add a little sugar to taste, youll end up with much less than the prepared packets. Plus, you can buy about four dozen servings of oats for about the same price as youd pay to buy one serving of oatmeal at a quick-serve restaurant!

Trail mix. Combine your own favorite mixed nuts with an assortment of dried fruits, and perhaps a little whole grain cereal. Keep a ziplock baggie of this trail mix in your bag or backpack, and youll never need to buy a snack at work.

Individual soups. If you have a microwave at work, stock your desk drawer with single-serve soups. (Make sure to check for lower-sodium brands.) Even better, make a big batch of soup at home and freeze it in single-serve containers. Grab one from the freezer as you run out the door and it will be thawed and ready to heat up at lunchtime.

Crackers and tuna. Buy 100% whole grain crackers, and a few pouches of tuna. Pouched tuna requires no draining and no can opener, and many companies now add herbs and spices to the tuna for extra flavor. Add an apple and youve got a complete balanced lunch.

Nut butter and fruit. Keep a jar of nut butter in your desk, and bring in some durable fruit (such as apples or bananas) at the beginning of the week. Apple slices dipped in peanut butter taste great " or cut your banana the long way and layer on some almond butter. The protein boost from the nut butter makes it a great partner for fruit.
Many of these choices are shelf-stable and can sit right in your desk drawer until youre ready to eat. So break that vending-machine habit today, with these delicious grab-and-go choices.

Information brought to you by:

7 Sweet Rewards of Sweet Cherries

Most people think that sweet Northwest cherries can only be enjoyed as a summer treat, but they are available year round and are bursting with health benefits that you may be surprised to hear about!

Of course like most all fruits, cherries are packed with fiber and low in calories, but did you know that they help protect you against many harmful diseases?

Here are the top 7 ways that eating cherries can help combat against disease:

1.     Protection against Alzheimers: the flavonoids and procyanidin in sweet cherries can help guard neuronal cells, which reduces oxidant stress and fights dementia!

2.     Discourages Diabetes: anthocyanin found in sweet cherries may reduce insulin resistance and increase glucose tolerance. Sweet cherries are lower on the glycemic index, which is also better for people who have diabetes.

3.     Wards off Cancer: Fiber + Vitamin C + Carotenoids + Anthocyanins = Anti-Cancer Team!
           The cyanidin & quercetin found in sweet cherries help by reducing free radicals which are harmful to our bodies.

4.     Combat Hypertension & Stroke: the potassium in sweet cherries may reduce these risks and cherries have more potassium (270mg) than strawberries (254mg) or apples (148mg).

5.     Reduce Inflammation: the phytochemicals found in sweet cherries reduce inflammation-causing enzymes, reducing pain from arthritis, injury and other ailments.

6.     Fights against Cardiovascular Disease: anthocyanin also reduces inflammation, fatty plaque (that can build up in your arteries), and nitric oxide thus keeping your heart strong and healthy.

          The quercetin in sweet cherries is what helps fight against free radicals, which in turn helps ward off heart disease.

7.     Better Sleep & Battles Jet Lag: sweet cherries contain melatonin, which regulates circadian rhythm thus helping you to get a truly restful night of sleep.

          Melatonin can also reduce the tiring effect of jet lag.

The Best Ways to Enjoy Sweet Northwest Cherries:
       Right off the stem - just be sure to spit the pits!
       In your favorite desserts, salads, savory sauces, as an ice cream topping and more.
       Can be dried with a dehydrator and mixed with a low-fat granola and nuts for a    healthy trail mix.
       Canned for preserved cherries, jams or jellies.
       Wash, dry and freeze to enjoy later in pies, smoothies, or even as a frozen treat right out of the freezer!

Information courtesy of Northwest Cherry Growers

Quench your thirst this summer

We all know that its important to keep hydrated, especially as the temperatures start to climb. Unfortunately many of us choose not so healthy beverages to hydrate with throughout the day. Many of these beverages are not only high in sugar but can also have the opposite effect on us leaving us dehydrated. Here are some great choices when looking to quench your thirst this summer:
    Water-- I know we hear it all the time but water truly is the best choice. Your body craves water so its super important to get plenty of it throughout the day. Try flavoring your water with fresh mint, lemon and cucumber. You can also make homemade flavored ice cubes by taking a 100% juice and mixing in chopped  berries and herbs, pour into ice cube trays and use to help keep your water cool and delicious.

    Tea -- Iced tea is especially good in the summer time and tea is loaded with antioxidants. Try buying flavored tea bags such as raspberry, blueberry or lemon. These add a lot of flavor without any calories. If you like sweet tea, try sweetening your own by using a little honey.

    Sparkling water - Sparkling water mixed with 100% fruit juice is a great alternative to soda. Try mixing 100% pomegranate juice with sparkling water and a twist of lime. DELICIOUS!!!!

    Fruit - Fruits like berries, oranges and watermelon are filled with water and can help keep you hydrated on a hot day. Plus you get all the great nutrients and fiber.
    Veggies - Vegetables are filled with water. Try a leafy green salad at lunch or cucumbers and celery for a snack.

Hope Danielson
Health & Wellness Advisor
Niemann Foods/County Market

Recipe - Strawberry Salsa

I love strawberries!!! They have to be one of my favorite fruits. Not only are they delicious but they are super nutritious and versatile. I love them in smoothies, on top of yogurt, plain or in salads. The possibilities are endless.

I also like putting a new spin on old recipes. Heres a Mediterranean salsa recipe that I swapped out tomatoes for strawberries. This is delicious on top of chicken or pork and can also be used in combination with salad greens. I personally love it on top of baby spinach with grilled chicken strips.

Strawberry Salsa

    1 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and quartered
    3 scallions, chopped (with greens)
    1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
    2-3 tbsp. crumbled feta cheese
    1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    1 tbsp. honey
    Salt and pepper taste

Mix ingredients in medium bowl and let sit for a few hours before serving.

Tips for Meeting Your 3-A-Day: Dairy

Dairy is a very important part of your diet, and the USDA currently recommends that healthy individuals consume at least one serving of dairy at each meal.

Theyve decided that its so important in the diet that it has its own section on the MyPlate logo. Not only do dairy products contain high amounts of calcium and Vitamin D, but they can also be great sources of protein and potassium. Dairy can be included into the diet by consuming milk, yogurt or cheese.

Some simple ways of including dairy in the diet include:
    Drinking a glass of low-fat milk with your meal
    Adding fresh berries to a cup of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
    Add milk to oatmeal instead of using water
    Using milk in a recipe to make a thickened soup
    Making smoothies with low-fat yogurt
    Topping casseroles with low-fat cheese
    Using milk in your batter to make pancakes and waffles
    Make a dipping sauce with yogurt for your fruits and vegetables
    Make a healthy homemade Spinach Artichoke dip with fresh parmesan, light sour cream, frozen spinach and canned artichokes

Choosing low-fat options is important, because other choices can contain high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol which can be bad for your heart health.

Overall, dairy can be a very healthy option and should be included in your diet so that you are getting 3 servings a day.

Check out this tasty recipe for ideas on how to add more dairy into your diet.

Crustless Cheddar and Sun-dried Tomato Mini Quiches
Prep Time: 20 min      Cook Time: 35 min      Serves 6


    Non-stick cooking spray
    1/2 teaspoon olive oil
    1 leek, cleaned and finely chopped (about 1 cup)
    1 cup reduced-fat shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
    1 cup fat-free milk
    1 egg
    1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, plus additional for garnish
    1/2 teaspoon fresh or dried thyme

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly spray a 12-cup muffin pan* with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Cook leeks until softened, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Divide leeks among muffin cups and top with 2/3 cup of Cheddar cheese.
3. Blend milk, egg, sun-dried tomatoes and thyme in a blender or food processor for about 20 seconds or until tomato is minced. Pour milk mixture over cheese in muffin cups and top each with remaining cheese. Bake 30 minutes or until tops and edges are browned. Cool in pan for 3 minutes; serve warm or cold. Top with additional pieces of sun-dried tomato, if desired.

*May substitute with aluminum muffin cups or individual custard cups, if desired.

Yield: 2 mini quiches, per serving

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories:  110     Protein: 8gm    Total Carbohydrates: 6gm    Fiber: less than 1gm   
Total Fat: 7gm    Cholesterol: 50mg    Sodium: 45mg
Recipe courtesy of the National Dairy Council

Susan Berkman
Illinois State University Graduate Student and Dietetic Intern for County Market

Recipe: Wholly Potato Salad

Memorial Day, graduation parties, and backyard BBQs is what May is all about! You are sure to find the usual dishes like pasta salads, finger foods, hot dogs, and potato salads at these types of social gatherings.

Most of us like to try a little of everything and that's where we can get in to trouble - These types of dishes often are made with heavy sauces, condiments, and full-fat cheeses which can really add up in the calorie department.

Here is a tasty spin on the traditional potato salad recipes we are used to and it provides heart-friendly fats and rich flavors without being too rich in calories!

Wholly Potato Salad

Minutes to Prepare:  25               
Number of Servings:  8


-1/3 cup lemon juice
-1 tablespoon minced garlic
- cup olive oil
- cup of Hellman's dijonnaise (or if you like plain Dijon mustard you can use that too)
-2 tablespoons dill pickle relish
- tablespoon dried dill
-6-8 medium sized red potatoes, boiled, diced (or cubed very small), cooled
-1 cup yellow onion, diced
-1 cup celery, diced
-1-8oz container of Wholly Guacamole (classic version)
-1 small bunch of cilantro, coarsely chopped


1. In a medium sized bowl combine the lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, Dijonnaise, dill pickle relish, and dried dill.  Set aside.
2. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, onions, and celery and mix well.  Add the dijonnaise mixture to the bowl and mix until blended.  Chill in the refrigerator 1-2 hours or until you are ready to serve.
3. Gently fold in the chopped cilantro and container of guacamole just before you are ready to serve.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 270
Protein: 4gm
Total Carbohydrates: 38gm
Fiber: 5gm
Total Fat: 12g   
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 248mg

Recipe calculated courtesy of SparkRecipe calculator

Recipe: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bars

May is Celiac Disease Awareness Month! Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects about 1% of the population, or 1 in 133 people. 

These individuals have a reaction that causes uncomfortable symptoms when they consume the protein gluten that is found in products that contain wheat, barley and rye. Luckily, the treatment for this disease is simple, and just requires gluten to be removed from the diet completely. Even small amounts of gluten " as little as 20 parts per million, or 20 milligrams per 1 kilogram of food " can cause a reaction in some individuals, so it is important to understand which foods are truly gluten-free. Many foods are naturally gluten-free, such as fruits and vegetables, most dairy products, unprocessed meats, and whole-grains such as quinoa, rice, and corn, and gluten-free alternatives to favorites like pasta, cookies, and cake as also widely available. It can still be delicious and affordable to follow a healthy, gluten-free lifestyle. For more information and tips about Celiac disease, and for more gluten-free recipes, visit or

Susan Berkman
Illinois State University Graduate Student and Dietetic Intern for County Market

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Bars

Total Time: 20 minutes
Number of Servings: 15


-16oz jar of natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
-2 Eggs
-2 teaspoons baking soda
- teaspoon vanilla
- cup honey (make sure it is gluten-free)
-Optional: Semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine ingredients in a medium sized bowl and use a mixer or a wooden spoon to blend all ingredients together except for the semi-sweet chocolate chips (if using).

2. Grease a 9 X 13 baking pan or line it with parchment paper.

3. Place ingredients into the greased pan.  If using semi-sweet chocolate chips then sprinkle them on top just before baking.

4. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Once they are a nice golden brown color then you can take them out of the oven.

5. Once they have cooled, cut them into 15 squares using a plastic knife.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories:  248
Protein: 7gm   
Total Carbohydrates: 20gm   
Fiber: 2gm   
Total Fat: 16gm   
Cholesterol: 23mg
Sodium:  275mg

Recipe: Summer Strawberry Salsa

May is National Strawberry Month and with our Meet the Berries Promotion fast approaching in June I thought I would share a fun strawberry recipe that will help you meet your fruit and veggie servings " And remember Fruits & Veggies More Matters !  Enjoy.

Summer Strawberry Salsa
Minutes to Prepare: 15 
Number of Servings: 6


-2 cups chopped strawberries
-1/4 cup diced avocado
-1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
-1/2 cup orange or yellow bell pepper, chopped, seeds discarded
-2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
-1 teaspoon grated lime zest
-1 tablespoon lime juice
-1/4 cup Tropicana 50 orange juice
-1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
-Black pepper, optional (to taste)
-Salt, optional (to taste)


1. Combine the chopped strawberries, avocado, onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and lime zest in a bowl. Add black pepper and/or salt to taste (if desired, this is optional).
2. Mix ingredients well. Meanwhile, in another bowl add lime juice, orange juice, and olive oil and whisk until well blended.
3. Drizzle juice and olive oil mixture over the chopped strawberries and vegetables. Toss well to evenly coat.
4. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.


-Use as a topping on grilled chicken, fish, or pork.
-Pair with pita chips or whole grain tortilla chips.
-Use on top of a mixed green salad to add color and lots of flavor without adding a lot of calories.
-If you want it to have a spicy flavor add 1 small chopped jalapeno pepper to the recipe!

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories:  67      
Protein: 0.8gm   
Total Carbohydrates: 7gm  
Fiber: 2gm   
Total Fat: 4.6gm   
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 1mg (without adding salt)

Recipe for Asparagus Risotto

Did you know that May is International Mediterranean Diet Month? Here is a delicious recipe to help celebrate one of the worlds most healthiest and delicious diets.

Asparagus Risotto


-6 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, for vegetarian)
-1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus
-1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
-1 medium yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
-1 teaspoon sea salt
-1 garlic clove, chopped
-2 cups rice for risotto
-1/2 cup dry white wine
-3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
-1 tablespoon unsalted butter freshly ground pepper


1. Heat the stock to a bare simmer and keep it simmering very gently as you prepare the risotto. Break off the heads of asparagus and set aside. Trim the bottoms and break into 2-3 pieces.

2. Add the olive oil to a kettle and set over medium-low heat. Turn the onion, salt, garlic and the asparagus stalk pieces into the oil, and gently cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and the asparagus quite limp.

3. Add the rice and stir well. Cook for several minutes, or until the rice starts to change color and sizzles in the fat. Add the wine, raise the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until the wine has been absorbed. Now start adding the simmering stock, a half cup or so at a time and stirring after each addition. After 15 minutes, stir in the reserved heads of asparagus.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of the cheese, the butter, and the pepper. Cover the pan and set aside for 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe courtesy of Nancy Harmon Jenkins, The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook, Bantam Books.

Nutritional Analysis:
Calories: 420, Fat: 12g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Sodium: 900mg, Carbohydrate: 60g, Fiber: 4g, Protein: 16g

6-8 servings

National Raisin Week

It's National Raisin Week and I would like to clear up some misconceptions about dried fruit!

Many people avoid eating dried fruit such as raisins because they think they are not as healthy as fresh fruit like grapes, but there are a few things that may surprise you about raisins.

-A cup serving of raisins has the least amount of calories when compared to a serving of almonds (1oz), a serving of Chips Ahoy cookies, a serving of potato chips (on average), a granola bar (on average), a serving of pretzels, and a serving of Oreos.

-Plain raisins are fat-free, rich in fiber, have No Added Sugar and are a low sodium snack.
These are all components of having a heart healthy diet.

-Raisins are high in potassium and potassium helps support normal blood pressure, normal muscle function, and normal functioning of the nervous system.
1 small box of plain raisins has more potassium than 1 large orange!

-Raisins contain phytochemicals, which are compounds that have been shown in research studies to lower the risk of nutrition-related diseases.

-They are low on the Glycemic Index due to having equal amounts of fructose and glucose and only a minimal amount of sucrose + having a decent amount of fiber content!   
So raisins can also be a part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes.

-One research study showed that people who eat raisins and other dried fruits are less likely to be overweight, have a smaller waist-line and less abdominal fat than those who don't eat fruit (Keast et al., 1999-2004).

Information courtesy of Sunmaid Raisins

Here are some reasons why you should incorporate more raisins in your diet:

-They are easy to store and very portable
-Raisins are non-perishable
-They are available year-round
-Raisins combine well with other foods (like oatmeal, ants-on-a-log, etc.)
-Relatively low cost
-They are a healthy alternative to sugary and salty snacks!

And here is a delicious recipe that uses raisins and is very simple to make!


Prep Time: 20 minutes         
Servings: 1

*Muesli is a healthy breakfast cereal that was created by a doctor in Switzerland as a hearty breakfast food.

-3 Tablespoons rolled oats
-6 Tablespoons water
-1 apple
-2 Tablespoons lemon juice
-1 Tablespoon raisins
-1 Tablespoon chopped mixed nuts
-7 Tablespoons milk (skim or 1%)
-2 Teaspoons honey

1. At night, before you go to bed, put the rolled oats into a large bowl and pour the water on top.
2. In the morning, peel the apple, cut it in half and then grate it.  Add it to the bowl and then stir in the lemon juice.
3. Gently stir the apple, raisins and nuts into the softened oats.  Pour a small amount of milk on top of the oats, and then drizzle the honey on the top of the milk.

Muesli is traditionally eaten at room temperature, but feel free to heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds for a warm breakfast treat.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 410        Fat: 8gm       Sodium:  65mg       Carbohydrates: 78gm    
Fiber: 10gm         Protein: 11gm    

Recipe Courtesy of Fruits and Veggies More Matters TM

Recipe: Spinach Avocado Salad

Happy Cinco de Mayo! How about celebrating with this healthy recipe?

Spinach Avocado Salad
Serves 4


-1 (15-oz.) can no salt added or low sodium corn, drained
-1 (15-oz.) can no salt added or low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
-1 jalapeo pepper, seeded, finely chopped
-1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
-3 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
-1 Tbsp. chopped garlic
-2 cups finely chopped baby spinach
-1 ripe avocado, seeded, peeled & chopped
-1 lime, juiced
-3Tbsp. olive oil


1. Combine corn, black beans, jalapeno and red pepper in large bowl.
2. Stir in cilantro and garlic.
3. Add spinach and avocado. Toss with lime juice and olive oil. Serve.

* Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Recipe adapted from California Avocado

Recipe: Avocado Egg Salad

Here's a delicious way to use up some of those leftover Easter eggs. This salad will keep you going all day long!!!!


-1 ripe, halved avocado, seeded and peeled
-6 hardboiled eggs, peeled and halved
-1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-1 teaspoon salt
-3 diced green onion


Remove and discard yolks of two of the eggs; chop remaining whites and eggs; set aside. In a bowl, combine half of the avocado, vinegar, mustard and salt; mash until smooth. Dice remaining avocado and add to mixture along with eggs and onion; mix gently. Serve on bread or crackers.

Serves: 4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Total Time:  10 minutes

Nutrition Information per serving:  Calories 176; Total Fat 13g (Sat. 3g, Trans 0g, Poly 2g, Mono 8g); Cholesterol 187 mg; Sodium 414mg; Carbohydrates 7g; Dietary Fiber 4g; Sugars 2g; Protein 9g

Recipe adapted from

Recipe: Silk Parfait

Happy National SoyFoods Month! Celebrate with this delicious recipe.

Silk Parfait Recipe

brought to you by Silk

-4 Tbsp. oatmeal or granola
-1 container of Silk Vanilla cultured soymilk
-Fresh mixed berries

In a parfait dish, layer 2 Tbsp. oatmeal or granola, 1/2 container of Silk Vanilla cultured soymilk, fresh mixed berries, the remaining 1/2 container of Silk Vanilla cultured soymilk, 2 Tbsp. oatmeal or granola, and top with mixed berries.

Makes 1 serving. Nutrition per parfait: 247 calories, 7 g protein, 46 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 4 g fat (0 sat. fat), 23 mg sodium

Recipe: Spinach, Strawberry and Pecan Salad

Hey Everyone!  Here is a nice recipe that brings Spring Produce to the table.  Enjoy!

Spinach, Strawberry and Pecan Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 6
Cups of Fruits & Vegetables per Serving: 2


-1 pound baby spinach, washed and dried
-1 pint strawberries washed and halved
-1/4 cup pecans, toasted


-1/3 cup raspberry vinegar (or you can use any other kind of vinegar such as red wine vinegar)
-1 tsp dried mustard (if you don't have dried mustard, then try using 1 tablespoon yellow mustard or Dijon)
-1/2 tsp salt (optional)
-1/4 cup sugar
-1 cup olive oil
-1 1/2 Tbsp poppy seeds (optional)

1. Combine dressing ingredients except poppy seeds (if using) in a blender. Add poppy seeds and stir dressing by hand. Try using a whisk.
2. Toss dressing with spinach, strawberries and hot pecans. The hot nuts will slightly wilt the greens.

Nutritional Information
Calories: 230,   Carbohydrates: 12gm,  Total Fat: 20gm,   Cholesterol: 0mg,   Saturated Fat: 2.5gm,
Dietary Fiber: 5gm,     Sodium: 190 mg,   Protein: 4gm

Recipe Credit: Texas A & M AgriLife Extension Services Healthy Living Website, courtesy of Fruits and Veggies More Matters

Wellness Wednesday Tip of the Week (Weight Loss Challenge)

10 Shopping Tips to Help You Lose Weight

1. Buy Pre-Cut Veggies

One of the biggest barriers to eating fresh fruits and veggies for most people is that they are too tired or too rushed and distracted to wash and cut up things like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. 
Let's face it these aren't just excuses sometimes we really are too tired, don't have time, and forget about the fresh produce we buy and intend to eat. 

That is what makes pre-cut veggies like broccoli slaw, baby carrots, cauliflower, and fruit so convenient and if you consider the time it takes to wash, cut, and prepare the vegetables as well as the waste (cutting off the ends and stems), pre-cut veggies and fruit really don't cost that much more to buy. 
2. Choose Canned Tuna/Chicken Breast (Packed in Water) or Rotisserie Chicken Breast Rather than Processed Meats

We understand that making a lunch meat sandwich is fast, easy, and can taste pretty good, but many luncheon meats are high in fat, sodium, nitrites and can have a long list of ingredients that most of us have no idea how to decipher unless we look them up.
When you choose canned tuna, chicken breast, low-sodium packaged salmon or tuna, or even shredded rotisserie chicken breast to make a sandwich, you can be sure that it will be an overall healthier choice than most lunch meats you will find.  Just remember that the condiments you choose can add up in calories and unwanted fats, so go for mustards, avocado/guacamole instead of mayo, hummus (yes I've tried it and it is a delicious spread on sandwiches) and ketchup made with more natural ingredients and less added sugars.
3. Switch from Regular Bread to Thins or a Whole-Grain Light Bread

Even some of the healthier Whole Grain Breads that appear to be a healthy option because they have multiple grains or even have the whole-grain stamp on the package can have up to 300 calories or more for 2 slices and that doesn't include the meat, cheese, condiments, and sides that you may add to go along with your sandwich. 
Choosing the sandwich thins or a light bread such as Healthy Life Original 100% Whole Wheat Bread (only 70 calories for 2 slices, made with whole grains) can help you cut some calories if you are a bread or sandwich fan, without sacrificing the bun altogether (and who really wants to eat a hamburger or sandwich without the bread? )  Fresh multi-grain bakery bread can be a healthier choice too since you can slice it thinner, which will help cut down on the calories.
4. Turn Spinach into Salads

There's many ways to use spinach, but one of my favorites is as a salad! Spinach is a good source of potassium, high in vitamin K and vitamin A and provides almost 3gm of fiber if you make a 3 cup salad and did I mention only 20 calories..Ill say it again " only 20 calories! 
Add a variety of chopped fruit and/or veggies to your 3-cup spinach salad for added flavor and fiber and make it a meal with grilled fish, chicken breast, or shrimp!   Dinner can be on the table within 15 minutes with this lower-calorie meal and it is filling!
5. Go for Whole-Grain Versions of Cereal

Cereal choices are not lacking and some are better choices than others, but one thing to look for as far as cold cereals go is to choose ones that have less than 8 grams of sugar per serving and at least 3 grams of fiber or more per serving, so that it is more filling and worth the portion or serving size they recommend. 
Hot cereals like oatmeal, bulgur, and many other whole grain options are better for you in terms of filling you up because of the fiber content..but they are only better choices if you choose the plain varieties and add fresh fruit, dried fruit, or even unsweetened vanilla almond milk to give it a sweeter taste rather than choosing a fruit flavored one that's packed with sugar and ingredients..and may even be higher in calories!
6. Buy Sliced Mango, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, and Other Fruit for Snacks or Dessert

You will still pay less than you would for a fruit salad at a restaurant! On average a serving of fresh fruit is only 100 calories, so go ahead and go for the fruit and don't listen to anyone that says fruit is high in sugar and will make you gain weight.eating fruit is NOT why 2/3 of our population is overweight or obese!
7. Try a New Vegetable

People who eat a wider variety of vegetables tend to be thinner, according to Susan Roberts the Director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.
It makes sense if you think about it because vegetables are high in volume due to their water and fiber content so it fills up the space in your stomach quicker, which means fuller belly and less room for higher-calorie foods (even if they are small in volume for example a tablespoon of regular cream cheese).
8. Go for Frozen Fruit Smoothies for Breakfast or a Snack

Smoothies are the quickest way to have breakfast in your hand and have you on the way to work or where ever you need to be with a full belly.  Were talking only 5 minutes to blend frozen fruit, milk or unsweetened milk alternatives and veggies (like spinach, I promise you won't taste it) and you have breakfast! 
Of course you can add natural peanut butter to it for added protein and flavor or you can get real fancy and add ground flax seed or chia seeds for a plant source of omega 3s, just know that the calories can add up with the addition of healthy ingredients like these.
If you aren't a breakfast eater, let me convince you that eating something rather than nothing for breakfast will help when it comes to losing weight!   Study after study has shown that people that are trying to lose weight and eat breakfast compared to those that don't eat breakfast and are also trying to lose weight have better success with breakfast!  The main finding of these studies showed that breakfast skippers ended up eating more later on in the day at meals and snacks, which often far exceeded the calories that they would have consumed if they had eaten breakfast that morning.
9. Choose Calorie-Free Beverages

When you drink, it is usually because you are thirsty or maybe to help dislodge the food you scarfed down in a hurry to get back to work, but odds are you are not drinking because you want to consume more calories to feel fuller (that's why we eat to feel full).  Liquids don't fill us up and can pretty quickly lead to weight gain if you are consuming things like Sweet Tea, Soda, Fruit Drinks, Energy Drinks, Alcohol and even Coffee with added creamer and sugar.   Don't be fooled..just because you don't feel full from drinking, doesn't mean the calories aren't there.
Choosing water is always best for our body, but you can add lemon juice, lime juice or, even squished berries to flavor it!  Try unsweetened herbal teas " by brewing 6 herbal tea bags in your coffee pot such as the blueberry or cherry flavors and fill up a large pitcher the rest of the way with water), some other calorie-free choices are carbonated water and plain coffee.
10. Make Junk Food Boring

Trying to cut calories and lose some weight?  Don't stock your home with 5 kinds of cookies and 3 kinds of ice cream and especially don't buy your favorites because you know they will be gone.  Stock your fridge with healthier options like Greek yogurt or something you will actually eat that is better for you.
Research shows the more variety you have.the more you eat, so keep things simple if you want a cookie every now and then or some chips, that is fine but try to find a cookie that is made with whole wheat flour, has more fiber or has more of a nutritional benefit.
For example, an Oatmeal Raisin cookie is likely going to be a better choice than the Triple Chocolate Brownie Fudge cookie (you would be getting more fiber and possibly less calories from the oatmeal cookie).  If you have a weakness for a certain food or junk food and you want to lose weight, then it may be helpful to keep it out of your house for a while and find an alternative that you feel safer with having in the house.

Information in part, courtesy of Nutrition Action Health Letter July/August 2011

Good Fats vs. Bad Fats

A lot of time when we think of taking off a few pounds we might think of going on a low fat diet. Unfortunately having a diet too low in fat can cause us to feel hungry which can lead to binge eating and weight gain.  Did you know that the USDA recommends Americans consume 20-35% of calories from fat? Here are targets for maximizing good fats within total fat intake:

-At least 10-25% of calories from combined polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids
-Less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids
-Less than 1% of calories from trans fats

So what is the difference between good fats and bad fats?

Good fats (POLYUNSATURATED FATS, OMEGA-3, OMEGA-6 and MONOSATURATED FATS, OMEGA-9) have positive health benefits:
-Improve cholesterol levels
-Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke
-Reduce risk of diabetes
-Promote healthy nerve activity
-Improve vitamin absorption
-Maintain healthy immune system
-Promote cell development

Bad fats (Saturated Fat and Trans Fat) may negatively influence
your health:

-Increase bad cholesterol (LDL)
-Decrease good cholesterol (HDL)
-Increase the risk for developing coronary heart disease

Good Fats are important for a healthy diet. Here is a list of some good fat foods:




Check the nutrition factspanel and the ingredients label for good fats.

Almond Butter
Black Olives
Green Olives
Peanut Butter


Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds

Information courtesy of: GOODFATS101.COM

Reference Appendix
1. Meet the Fats. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 25 Oct. 2011. Web. 24 July 2012. .
2. Dietary Fatty Acids - Position of the American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Web. 24 July 2012. .
3. What Are Omega-3, 6, & 9s? Dow AgroSciences. Web. 24 July 2012. .
4. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. USDA Agricultural Research Services. Web. 24 July 2012. .
5. U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. 7th Edition, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 2010.
6. Food Appendix A: Definitions of Nutrient Content Claims. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Oct. 2009. Web. 24 July 2012. FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/ucm064911.htm>.

Live Well tip of the week

When trying to lead a healthy lifestyle it can sometimes be challenging to plan weeknight meals. One of the best ways to make sure you have healthy options is to keep a well-stocked pantry. Shop our circulars and stock up items that are on sale. Also don't forget about our private label brands which are a great way to save without sacrificing quality.
Stocking Your Pantry

With a well-stocked pantry, you can put together healthy, last-minute meals, even when you walk in the door at 5 pm and wonder, Whats for dinner tonight? In addition to the basics" things like extra virgin olive and canola oils, flour (whole wheat too!), sugar, oatmeal, 1% milk, salt, pepper, and spices"here are a dozen pantry staples that will make dinners quick and easy (and delicious and healthy!):

1. Pasta " Dry pasta or frozen ravioli cooks up in minutes. Pasta meals are a great way to get your family to eat more vegetables, beans, and fish, too! Look for whole wheat or other whole grain choices.

2. Canned Beans " Add them to salads and soups to make every meal more filling. Or mash with a little garlic and oil and cook briefly to make delicious refried beans. Choose low-sodium beans, and rinse thoroughly.

3. Ready-to-Eat Veggies " Baby carrots, pre-washed greens, sliced mushrooms and other already-prepped fresh vegetables save time. Frozen vegetables are handy too.

4. Eggs " They're not just for breakfast. Make a veggie omelet or frittata for dinner!

5. Soups " Freeze a batch of homemade soup in small containers, or add extra veggies and whole grains to store-bought soups for a hearty meal in minutes.

6. Pita Bread or Tortillas (whole wheat) " Either one can be used as a base for homemade pizza; tortillas also can be made into fajitas and quesadillas in no time.

7. Canned or Pouched Fish " The perfect heart-healthy pantry staple, with a three-year shelf life both for cans and for the new pouches, which keep tuna and salmon especially firm and fresh.

8. Pasta Sauce " Great for pasta, but also for homemade pita pizza and dozens of other quick dishes. Choose varieties low in sodium and sugar.

9. Cheese " A small amount of a grated full-flavored cheese like Parmesan or pecorino goes a long way; shredded part-skim mozzarella is also a great choice.

10. Whole Grains " Make a big batch of brown rice, wheat berries, or another grain on the weekend, then freeze in small plastic bags for your own instant grains.

11. Chicken, Turkey or Vegetable Sausage " Chop and brown all-natural pre-cooked sausage, then freeze it so you can easily add a little meaty flavor and texture to soups, omelets, and pasta meals.

12. Nuts and Seeds " With a selection of nuts and seeds (such as sunflower or pumpkin) in your pantry, its easy to toast a few and add as a crunchy garnish on salads, vegetables or stir-fries.

Brought To You By Oldways

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Oldways Blog

Tip of the Week: Know Your Numbers

How Much Are Your Cigarettes Costing You?

Are you really aware of how much it costs you (financially) to smoke? Saving money is just one of the many reasons to QUIT smoking!

If you smoked a 1/2 pack per day of cigarettes it is costing you roughly $1765 per year to smoke, not to mention costing you your health. If you continue to smoke a 1/2 pack per day for 15 years that would be $26,475 gone! If you smoke a pack of cigarettes per day, then you are spending about $3,530 every year on cigarettes..that's surely enough money to take you on a nice vacation with your family every year.

You are probably aware of the risks and have heard or know someone that developed lung cancer from smoking, but did you know that smoking has also been linked to strokes, heart disease, chronic lung diseases, throat & mouth cancers, bladder cancer and many more scary diseases.

Need any more convincing that you should quit?

-Approximately 1 in 5 deaths in America are caused by smoking

-Compared to nonsmokers, smokers on average die 13 to 14 years earlier

-Roughly 18% of adult women and 23% of adult men smoke "That is 41% of the population

-Sadly most of the adult smokers started smoking in their teens, according to the American Heart Association.

-80% of lung cancer found in women is a result of smoking and 90% of lung cancer in men is caused by cigarettes.

-Smoking is the most avoidable cause of death in the U.S.

-Unfortunately 60% of children in America between the ages of 4 to 11 are exposed to secondhand smoke in their own home.

-Now is the time to quit smoking " Not next year, not tomorrow, TODAY!

Melanie Pavlovic, Registered Dietitian
Hope Danielson, Health and Wellness Advisor
County Market

Information courtesy of the American Heart Association Cost of Smoking calculated courtesy of American Heart Smoking Calculator

Type 2 Diabetes

Hello everyone!

We hope that you are finding our tips and information helpful or at least getting you to think about knowing what your numbers mean and what you can do to improve them! 

This week our tip focuses on blood sugars and diabetes because approximately 26 MILLION Americans have diabetes and close to 95% of those 26 Million Americans have Type 2 diabetes.  Type 2 diabetes has been linked to lifestyle habits like physical inactivity and an unhealthy diet, which are things that you can have control over! 

It is estimated that close to 900,000 people will be diagnosed with diabetes this year and whats even more shocking is that 25% of people with Type 2 diabetes are unaware that they have it!  That is why we want YOU to know your numbers!

Know Your Numbers-Blood Sugars

Normal Blood Sugar Levels for Someone Without Diabetes:

-Fasting Blood Glucose: < than 100 mg/dl
-2 Hour Blood Glucose (2 hours after a meal): < than 140mg/dl
-Before Lunch, Supper, or Snack: < 110mg/dl
-A1C: < than 5.7%

Diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes:

-Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG): 100mg/dl to 125mg/dl
-Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT), 2 hour OGTT: 140mg/dl to 199mg/dl
-A1C: 5.7% " 6.4%

Diagnosis of Diabetes:

-Fasting Plasma Glucose:  that is > than or equal to 126mg/dl
-2 hour Plasma Glucose: that is > than or equal to 200 mg/dl (during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) on more than one occasion).
-A1C: > than or equal to 6.5%

Target Blood Sugar Goals for Someone with Diabetes:

-Fasting & Before a Meal (Preprandial Blood Sugar): between 90-130mg/dl
    -Tighter Control: between 70-130 mg/dl
-1-2 Hours after beginning of the Meal (Postprandial Blood Sugar): Less than 180 mg/dl
-A1C: < than 7%
    -American Diabetes Association:  A1C of  < 7%, (average glucose of 154 mg/dl)
    -American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists:  A1C of < 6.5%
    -Take Action: A1C  > 8%

This information is simply a guide and is NOT intended for self-diagnosis or treatment of diabetes.  Please see a Primary Care Physician or Endocrinologist to confirm diagnosis of diabetes and for recommended blood sugar and A1C goals as they can vary depending on many factors such as age and treatment regimen.  Information is courtesy of American Diabetes Association & the World Health Organization  REV 9/2013

Know Your Numbers – Cholesterol

As you may know, it is important to keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range in order to lower your risk for developing heart disease or having a stroke and to keep your heart healthy.   There are two types of cholesterol and one of them is actually good for you.

Here is an easy way to remember which one is good and which one is the bad cholesterol:

- HDL Cholesterol ("the Good") - You want to keep it High remember the H in HDL and that you want this type of cholesterol to be high.  Having Higher HDL cholesterol is considered to have a protective benefit against heart disease.
- LDL Cholesterol ("the Bad") You want to keep it Low, remember the L in LDL and that you want this type of cholesterol to be low.  Having an LDL cholesterol level near the Optimal range (see chart below) is associated with reduced risk for heart disease and stroke.

Total Cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dL:
Considered a desirable level of cholesterol. This will put you at a lower risk for developing heart disease. A cholesterol level greater than 200mg/dl increases your risk for heart disease.

Total Cholesterol: between 200 to 239 mg/dL:
Considered borderline high cholesterol.

Total Cholesterol: 240 mg/dL and above:
Considered high blood cholesterol. A person with a cholesterol greater than 240mg/dl has greater than 2X the risk of heart disease compared to someone with a cholesterol less than 200mg/dl.

HDL Cholesterol: Less than 40 mg/dL (for men):
Considered low HDL cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

HDL Cholesterol: Less than 50 mg/dL (for women):
Considered low HDL cholesterol, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

HDL Cholesterol: 60 mg/dL and above:
Considered high HDL cholesterol, which is considered to have a protective benefit against heart disease.

LDL Cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dL:
Considered optimal, which is associated with reduced risk for heart disease and stroke.

LDL Cholesterol: 100 to 129 mg/dL:

Considered near optimal, slightly elevated.

LDL Cholesterol: 130 to 159 mg/dL:
Considered borderline high.

LDL Cholesterol: 160 to 189 mg/dL:

Considered high.

LDL Cholesterol: 190 mg/dL and above:

Considered very high, which is associated with an increased risk for developing heart disease and having a stroke.

Information courtesy of the American Heart Association REV. 12/10/2012.
Go to: to view cholesterol ranges and see what they mean.

Melanie Pavlovic, Registered Dietitian
Hope Danielson, Health & Wellness Advisor
County Market

Recipe: Wasabi Scallops with Orange & Honey

With February in full swing and being that this month is American Heart Month.We thought it was appropriate to throw in a seafood recipe!!

Scallops cook quickly and can toughen if overcooked; especially if they are small the key is to cook them until their centers are opaque in color.  Making a scallop or any seafood dish is great to make on a night that you are crunched for time because it cooks so quickly!

Seafood such as scallops provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are believed to help reduce inflammation in our bodies (which has been shown to increase cancer risk).

As with most seafood, scallops are a good source of protein, low in calories and low in fat; for example approximately 3oz of steamed scallops packs around 18 grams of protein and only around 1 gram of fat!  Enjoy this heart-healthy recipe your heart with thank you!

Wasabi Scallops with Orange & Honey

Prep Time: 15 minutes    
Minutes to Cook: 7    
Number of Servings: 4

- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 pound sea scallops, patted dry
- 1/2 cup orange juice (such as Tropicana 50)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons prepared wasabi paste
- 6 ounces angel hair pasta
- 6 green onions, thinly sliced
- Cilantro, chopped (optional)


1. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat and add the minced garlic and cook for about 45 seconds. Add scallops and cook for 2-4 minutes or until they turn opaque in color.  Transfer to a bowl and cover them.

2. Pour the orange juice into the pan and scrap the pan with a wooden spoon to free any garlic or particles from the pan.  Add the honey, reduced-sodium soy sauce, and wasabi paste to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 3 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken a little.

3. Cook the angel hair pasta according to the directions on the package, drain it and set aside.

4. Transfer the scallops to the pan with a slotted spoon and gently toss along with the sauce to evenly coat the scallops.

5. Serve scallops with the sauce over the angel hair pasta.  Top with sliced green onions and chopped cilantro.


Serve with a side salad or broccoli slaw made with rice vinegar, a little sesame seed oil and lots of chopped veggies.

Serve with hot green tea or lemon tea.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories:  329       Protein: 24gm    Total Carbohydrates: 43gm    Fiber: 5gm  
Total Fat: 8.5g    Cholesterol: 37mg    Sodium: 299mg

Find out your BMI

Maintaining or reaching a healthy weight offers many benefits aside from fitting into smaller clothes and having more energy.  Losing weight or keeping a healthy weight will almost guarantee a better quality-of-life by:

- Improving your body's regulation of blood pressure & heart function
- Reducing joint and muscle pain
- Decreasing depression
- Improving your body's ability to metabolize sugar & carbohydrates " better blood sugar control
- Decreasing the risk for certain types of cancers and heart disease
- Helping you sleep better

Being at an unhealthy weight increases the work your heart has to do, raises your blood pressure, cholesterol, risk for developing diabetes, and increases triglyceride levels.  Your heart disease risk can be reduced by losing as little as 10 pounds.

Knowing your current BMI according to your height and weight on the BMI chart will help you determine whether you are at a healthy or an unhealthy weight. 

Here is the link:

Find your weight (Wt) in pounds along the top (horizontal numbers in top row), then find your height (Ht) in feet/inches (vertical numbers in first column) and using your fingers follow the column with your weight and the row with your height and see where the points meet or intersect.

Note:  This chart does not apply to athletes, children, or pregnant/lactating women.
Adapted from Clinical Guidelines on the Identification, Evaluation, and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults: The Evidence Report. NHLBI Obesity Education Initiative. National Institutes of Health, 1998.  Table re-created 12/2013.

- Underweight: BMI less than 18.5
- Healthy Weight: BMI 18.5 to 24.9
- Overweight: BMI 25 to 29.9
- Obese: BMI 30 to 39.9
- Morbidly Obese: BMI 40 and above

Note:  If you are outside the range of the table, you can multiply your Weight (in pounds) by 703.1 and then divide that number by your Height (in inches) and then divide that number once more by your Height (in inches) to get your BMI.

Information courtesy of the American Heart Association REV. 03/22/2013 and National Institute of Health

Recipe: Skinny Beer-garitas

Here is a twist on a classic margarita recipe. Perfect for the big game!!!!

Skinny Beer-garitas

- 2 cups frozen limeade (recipe below)
- 2 bottles of light beer
- cup white tequila


- 1 cup fresh lime juice + 2 limes for zesting
- 1 cups of water
-  cup Splenda sugar blend

To make the limeade:

Zest two limes. In a large saucepan, combine water, Splenda and lime zest and heat until Splenda is completely dissolved.
Remove from heat and allow to cool at room temperature.
Stir in lime juice and freeze your limeade concentrate until ready to use.

To make the beer-garitas:

In a pitcher, combine frozen limeade, 2 beers and cup of tequila. Place pitcher in the freezer overnight until frozen through, then mix so that it is in slushy form and serve. Enjoy!!!!!

Nutrition Info:  
1 (6 oz.) serving= 231 calories; 0g fat; 6.2g carbs;

Recipe courtesy of: Eat Yourself Skinny

Recipe: Salmon, Fresh Chilean Blueberries and Lemon Salad with Chive

Blueberries are one of my favorite fruits. High in fiber, low in sugar and only 83 calories per cup. These little blue jewels are also an excellent source of vitamin C. I love them in smoothies, on top of oatmeal and in muffins.

Here is a delicious recipe that would be great for lunch or a light dinner.

Salmon, Fresh Chilean Blueberries and Lemon Salad with Chive Vinaigrette


8 cups salad greens, in small pieces
1 lb salmon fillet, poached
11/2 cups fresh blueberries
lemon zest to garnish


2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp. fresh chives


Divide salad greens on four salad plates. Tear salmon into medium pieces and arrange on greens.
Sprinkle on blueberries. Top with lemon zest. In a jar with a lid, add all vinaigrette ingredients. Shake well. Serve salads chilled with the dressing alongside.


493 calories, 315 calories from fat, 35 gms fat, 5 gms saturated fat, 64 mg cholesterol, 212 mg sodium, 4 mgs dietary fiber, 31 gms protein

Recipe from the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association

Eating Habits

There is a growing concern with the obesity epidemic in the United States.   Currently 70% of adults in the U.S. are considered either overweight or obese and these numbers only continue to climb. 

Obesity has been shown to increase the risk of serious conditions and diseases like type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, and many others.  We all want to lead a healthy life; however our daily lives may make it seem difficult to do so.

There are numerous amounts of factors that could be contributing to these diseases and health problems, but the biggest factor is the change in our lifestyles over the last several decades.

For example:

-Children & adults used to walk to school or work every day, children had more time in gym class, more time running around at recess, and playing outside rather than sitting in front of their TV, computer, cell phone, or playing on other electronic devices.

-We snack anywhere from 3-5X more than we did 30 years ago and our typical snack foods/beverages have increased dramatically in size, calories, sugar, fat, sodium, and ingredients over the years.

*Studies have shown that the average person in America eats an additional 15 pounds    more of sugar every year compared to the sugar consumed in 1970.

-We  have become a convenience society and are encouraged to eat anytime, anyplace, anywhere with gas stations providing food options from hotdogs to doughnuts, our fast food restaurants staying open even later, movie theaters providing full meals rather than the standard popcorn and beverages, and the list goes on and on.

-Our daily lives have become so busy with long hours, shuttling the kids to and from multiple activities, & working more than one job to keep up with all of the bills and expenses.  Healthy eating and getting the daily recommended amount of physical activity has become a way of the past and to some may even seem far out of reach.

*For most, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet is thought to be too time consuming, challenging, and just another task to complete that day.

-"Mindless Eating" - because we are so pressed for time and frequently multitasking, we are all guilty of eating a snack or meal during a TV show, while we are working, or scarfing down our food to get back to work.  This has created a huge disconnect with our relationship with food and it is almost as if we forgotten that we even ate.

We have to get back to a healthier lifestyle that promotes physical activity, cooking and eating more meals at home, and making the healthy choice the easy one.

Start with a small, realistic goal such as "I will eat at least 3 fruits and vegetables every day of the week" and make sure you set yourself up for success by asking these types of questions:

-How many fruits and vegetables do I need in my shopping cart to last me and the family until I grocery shop again? 
-What is on sale this week to get the most for my money?
-What vegetable will I cook or have for dinner each night?
-What fruits and/or veggies will I take to work to snack on today?
-What will I season my veggies with so that it doesn't add a lot of calories, but still tastes good

Anyone can lose weight with the many diets that are out there, but the safest and most effective way to lose weight, keep the weight off, and lead a healthier life is by starting with a few simple and realistic goals that will be achievable for you.

Ask yourself what are your weaknesses and what you will do or not do to prevent those weaknesses from getting in the way of your goals.  You are the key to your own success because you know yourself the best!! 

Remember that change doesn't happen overnight, may not always reflect a number on the scale (may come in the form of lower blood pressure, better cholesterol, or a smaller waist circumference), and this is a "Marathon" NOT a "Mile".

If you haven't already started making positive changes to your lifestyle, then now is the best time!

Nutrient Content Claims & Percent (%) Daily Value

Ever wonder what the difference is between fat free, saturated fat free, low fat, reduced and less fat? The government has defined certain claims that can be used on food packaging. For example, you'll see the claim "less sodium" on some brands of canned foods. This means the product has at least 25% less sodium than the regular version.

Some of the popular claims are listed here:

Claims for calories

Calories free: less than 5 calories per serving
Low calorie: 40 calories or less per serving

Claims for fat

Fat free: less than 0.5 g of fat or saturated fat per serving
Saturated fat free: less than 0.5 g of saturated fat and less than 0.5 g of trans fatty acids
Low fat: 3 g or less of total fat
Low saturated fat: 1 g or less of saturated fat
Reduced fat or less fat: at least 25% less fat than the regular version
Trans fat free: less than 0 .5 g of trans fat per serving

Claims for sodium

Sodium free or salt free: less than 5 mg of sodium per serving
Very low sodium: 35 mg of sodium or less
Low sodium: 140 mg of sodium or less
Reduced sodium or less sodium: at least 25% less sodium than the regular version

Claims for cholesterol

Cholesterol free: less than 2 mg per serving
Low cholesterol: 20 mg or less
Reduced cholesterol or less cholesterol: at least 25% less cholesterol than the regular version

Claims for sugar

Sugar free: less than 0.5 grams (g) of sugar per serving
Reduced sugar: at least 25% less sugar per serving than the regular version

Claims for fiber

High fiber: 5 g or more of fiber per serving
Good source of fiber: 2.5 g to 4.9 g of fiber per serving

Percent (%) Daily Value

The Percent (%) Daily Value indicates how much of a specific nutrient one serving of food contains compared to recommendations for the whole day. The percentage is based on a 2000-calorie diet. If you need more or fewer calories, then your Daily Values would be different.
The Percent (%) Daily Value is a useful tool to check whether a food is high or low in a certain nutrient such as fat or fiber. A product is:

- A good source of a particular nutrient is if one serving provides 10 to 19% of the Daily Value
- High in a given nutrient if it contains 20% or more of the Daily Value
- Low in that nutrient if the Daily Value is 5% or less

Recipe: Gingered Pork and Vegetable Stir-Fry

This time of year I frequently hear the question: "What is the best way to lose weight?". It's not quick weight loss pills; it's not starvation diets; it's not hitting the gym 7 days a week.

In my opinion, the best thing anyone can do to keep their weight in check is to cook at home more. Not only will you shave pounds off your body but also dollars off your food bill. Cooking at home enables you to control your own food. You decide what goes into your food and what does not. You also will have better control over your portion sizes. Many healthy meals can be prepared in less than 30 minutes so you definitely have the time.

Get some cook books, go online to find some great recipes ( has great recipes), or email Melanie or myself for some suggestions. The more cooking you do in your own home, the better you'll feel and look.

Here's a great recipe to get you started?

Happy cooking!!!!

Gingered Pork and Vegetable Stir-Fry
This healthy half-hour supper is way better than takeout!
By Quick & Simple Staff

Serves: 4
Yields: 4 servings

Nutritional Information
(per serving)

Calories: 193
Total Fat: 8g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 54mg
Sodium: 506mg
Total Carbohydrate: 10g
Dietary Fiber: 2g
Sugars:   --
Protein: 21g
Calcium: --


- 1 (whole ) pork tenderloin, about 12 ounces, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon(s) (grated peeled) fresh ginger
- 1 cup(s) (reduced-sodium) chicken broth
- 2 tablespoon(s) teriyaki sauce
- 2 teaspoon(s) cornstarch
- 2 teaspoon(s) canola oil
- 8 ounce(s) snow peas, strings removed, fresh or frozen
- 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise , and thinly sliced crosswise
- 3 onions, cut into 3-inch pieces 


1. Toss pork with ginger in a bowl. Mix broth, teriyaki sauce and cornstarch in a cup; set aside.

2. In a nonstick 12-inch skillet, warm 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add snow peas, zucchini and onions, and stir-fry until lightly browned and tender-crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer vegetables to large bowl.

3. In same skillet, heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil; add pork mixture and stir-fry until pork just loses its pink color, about 3 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl with vegetables.

4. Stir cornstarch mixture to blend; add to skillet and heat to boiling. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return pork and vegetables to skillet, stir to combine with sauce and heat through. Serve with brown rice, if you like.

Top 10 Healthy Resolutions For 2014

Happy New Year!

Top 10 Healthy Resolutions For 2014

1. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables-consumption of fruits and vegetables can cut the risk of certain cancers and other diseases.

2. Eat more whole grains-they work well at stabilizing your blood sugar which will keep you feeling full longer. They also help reduce cholesterol and heart disease.

3. Eat more lean protein like lean turkey, fish, chicken and lean beef. Beans are a great source of protein and also count as a vegetable. Aim for 3 cups per week.

4. Eat more healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) and less bad fats (saturated and trans fats)"healthy fats help you stay full longer and aid in the absorption of certain fat soluble vitamins. Examples are avocados, salmon, olive oil and nuts.

5. Try to eat low fat dairy products"calcium has been shown to reduce hypertension and obesity. Look for low fat or fat free yogurt, milk and cheese.

6. Exercise every day for overall health"it increases energy, increases your immunity, helps you manage stress, improves good cholesterol, reduces the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, helps you sleep better, improves your self-esteem and keeps your bones healthy. Aim for five 30 minute sessions per week.

7. Get adequate sleep"sleep helps boost your immune system, improves your mood, reduces stress, and can help with weight control. Aim for 7-8 hours per night.

8. Maintain a healthy weight"as your weight increases so does your risk for certain diseases. Refer to the USDA myplate guidelines.

9. Manage stress. Meditation and relaxation exercises such as yoga and deep breathing can be very helpful.

10. Enjoy life and have fun-It is important to find something that makes you happy each day. Enjoy a hobby, read a favorite book, spend time with children/pets and/or enjoy time with friends.

Have a happy and healthy 2014.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Cheese Blog

Recipe: Holiday Couscous

Red foods like apples, pomegranate, cherries, beets, red bell peppers, and tomatoes may help reduce your risk of developing cancer, help boost your immune system and can even help support a healthy heart!  
Green foods like green grapes, green apples, kiwi, asparagus, broccoli, and green bell peppers may help to lower blood pressure and LDL cholesterol levels, and help with digestion.  Be sure to fill your cart up with plenty of red and green fruits and vegetables to get in the spirit!

Here's a colorful recipe that sings Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!

Holiday Couscous
Minutes to Prepare: 5     Minutes to Cook: 5     Number of Servings: 4


- 6oz couscous (quick cooking style)
- red bell pepper, diced
- green bell pepper, diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cups of water


1. Bring water to a boil in a large sauce pan.  Add olive oil.
2. Meanwhile, place uncooked couscous, red and green bell peppers, garlic, and Parmesan cheese in a bowl and mix well.  
3. Add couscous mixture to boiling water, reduce heat to a simmer and keep covered for 5 minutes.  
4. Fluff couscous with a spoon and serve.


-Add some fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
-If you like your food a little spicy, add some crushed red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 212       Protein: 7.5gm    Total Carbohydrates: 34gm    Fiber: 2.3gm
Total Fat: 5g    Cholesterol: 4mg    Sodium: 106mg

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Peppers Blog

Recipe: Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Here's a healthy take on an old classic. I love this dip so much that I could eat the whole thing. The addition of roasted red peppers makes this a seasonal green and red color. Enjoy!!!!

Hot Spinach and Artichoke Dip

Minutes to Prepare: 5      Minutes to Cook: 20       Number of Servings: 8


- 1 (14 oz.) can artichoke hearts packed in water, drained and finely chopped
- 1 (10 oz.) frozen spinach, thawed and drained well
- cup roasted red peppers, chopped
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 cup fat free Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
- 2/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
- Salt and fresh pepper to taste (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 375

2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl.

3. Place in a 9-inch pie plate and bake for 20 minutes or until hot and cheese is melted. Serve right away.


-Serve with pretzel crisps or pita chips
-Pairs great with veggies

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 139     Protein: 8.6gm    Total Carbohydrates: 8.5gm    Fiber: 2gm   
Total Fat: 7.8g    Cholesterol: 15mg    Sodium: 480mg

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Live Well Blog

Recipe: Orange, Blueberry & Onion Salad

With the holidays among us we are seeing a lot of recipes with cranberries, pomegranates, and pears, which are all fun and festive fruits this time of year.  One of my favorites has to be citrus fruits like clementines and oranges. I just love the smell of freshly peeled oranges!  Here is a recipe that combines tangy, sweet, and salty flavors all in to one and makes a colorful dish sure to brighten any dinner table.

Orange, Blueberry & Onion Salad
Minutes to Prepare: 10     Total Time: 40 minutes      Number of Servings: 6


-6 oranges
-1 red onion, thinly sliced
- cup sliced kalamata olives (or any sliced black olives)
- cup blueberries
- cup sliced green onions
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)


1. Peel the oranges and then slice each one into 4 or 5 slices (crosswise). Once sliced, place them in a shallow serving dish and sprinkle them with the vinegar, olive oil, and black pepper. Toss gently, cover, and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

2. Toss the oranges again; arrange the sliced red onion, blueberries, and kalamata olives over the top of the oranges in a decorative fashion.

3. Top with sliced green onions and additional black pepper (optional).


- Use a mandolin slicer to slice the red onion extra thin
- Top with freshly chopped herbs such as oregano or cilantro

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 188       Protein: 2gm    Total Carbohydrates: 26gm    Fiber: 5gm
Total Fat: 9.7g    Cholesterol: 0mg    Sodium: 85mg

Recipe: Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken

With all the craziness of holiday shopping and planning for family gatherings this time of year " it seems as though there is never enough time in the day. Coming up with something to make for dinner when we are already exhausted can be a bit of a challenge.

Some of you may have forgotten about the ease and convenience of a Crock Pot..So let me remind you that it can and should be used for things other than family reunions, potlucks, and picnics.

The Crock Pot is probably the most underused cooking device in everyone's kitchen, but it is one of the best ways I can think of to get dinner on the table in a flash!  Most Crock Pot recipes involve a meat (preferably a lean meat like boneless skinless chicken breast or turkey breast tenderloin), vegetables, seasonings, herbs, and maybe some broth or heart healthy fats for flavor. 

The best part is all you have to do is dump the ingredients into the pot and turn on the heat (that is of course once the prep work is done; chopping, slicing vegetables, meat, etc.)!

Yes it does require a little planning ahead like getting up an extra 5-10 minutes earlier than what you normally do to get everything into the pot and ready to go, but it makes a stress-free and quick family dinner for busy nights. 

The recipe below has only a few ingredients.and you guessed it, just one simple step for cooking instructions!  Enjoy.

Crock Pot Balsamic Chicken with Pears, Onions & Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 minutes    
Cook Time:  6 hours


-4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (3oz to 4oz each)
-2 medium-sized pears, cored and sliced (thick slices)
-8oz portabella mushrooms, sliced thick
-1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
-1 yellow onion, diced
-1/2 tsp black pepper
-1 tsp salt (optional)


1. Put all the ingredients into the crock pot and let it cook for 4-6 hours on low, or until chicken is tender and will fall apart easily.


-Optional: top with sliced green onions
-Serve with a steamed bag of mixed vegetables and a side salad with red wine vinaigrette dressing

Recipe: Eggplant Pepper Pasta

Feeling stuffed like a turkey today? Maybe had a little too much Thanksgiving yummies? How about going meatless tonight? Here's a hearty and delicious dinner.

Eggplant Pepper Pasta

Cooking cheese tortellini in vegetable broth and spices infuses a depth of flavor to this dish. The extra-tasty pasta showcases the eggplants and peppers, which are sauteed until zesty with garlic and red pepper flakes.

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2 pieces
2 bell peppers, cut into 1/2 pieces
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
teaspoon salt
teaspoon pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 pound cheese tortellini (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

2. Add the eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally for 6-8 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften.

3. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

4. Add the broth and tortellini. Cover and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, or until the tortellini are cooked through and most of the broth is absorbed.

5. Fold in the parsley and 1/4 cup of the parmesan. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan on top.

Nutrition Information
Eggplant Pepper Pasta
Servings per Recipe: 4

Amount per Serving
Calories: 556
Calories from Fat: 181
Total Fat: 20.2g
Saturated Fat: 7.6g
Cholesterol: 58mg
Sodium: 939mg
Potassium: 925mg
Total Carbohydrates: 71.2g
Dietary Fiber: 9.1g
Protein: 26.7g
Sugars: 8.1g

Recipe Courtesy of

Recipe: Baby Bella Mushroom and Onion Quinoa Stuffing

Hey everyone!

As you know Thanksgiving is about a week away and I wanted to share with you a delicious Stuffing recipe that is quick and inexpensive to make.  Instead of the traditional way of making stuffing with bread crumbs or using a mix, this recipe below is made with quinoa, which has double the amount of protein compared to rice and is a good source of iron and a high quality protein. Quinoa is a great alternative because of its nutritional characteristics and can be cooked just like rice.

Food Safety Experts recommend cooking the stuffing (even if you are making the traditional kind) outside of the turkey rather than inside to make sure the stuffing reaches the proper temperature (around 165 degrees), which is often hard to achieve when it is inside the birds cavity and usually results in getting an overcooked turkey.  Give this recipe a try and you wont be disappointed. :)

Baby Bella Mushroom and Onion Quinoa Stuffing

Prep Time: 8 minutes
Total Cook Time: 20 minutes
Number of Servings: 4-6 servings


-1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small white onion, diced
- 3/4 cup green onion, diced
- 1/2 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 cup carrots, diced
- 8 oz sliced fresh baby portabella mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste


1. Cook the rinsed quinoa in broth according to the package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan add the olive oil, white onion, garlic, and green onion and saute approximately one minute on medium heat.

3. Add the diced celery and carrots, salt (optional) and black pepper to taste and cook about 12-15 minutes over medium heat, until vegetables are tender.

4. Add the mushrooms to the pan along with more black pepper if desired and cook for another 5 minutes while stirring and then cover for another 2 minutes, just until the mushrooms shrink and are cooked through.

5. Add the cooked quinoa to the pan and mix until evenly distributed. Enjoy!


- You can use any Mrs. Dash (salt-free) seasonings you like in the place of salt such as onion and garlic, or tomato basil for added flavor!
- Add a little freshly grated parmesan cheese to the top of the stuffing while its still hot.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Calories: 160    Protein: 6gm    Total Carbohydrates: 25gm    Fiber: 3.2gm   
Total Fat: 4.3g    Cholesterol: 0mg    Sodium: 160mg

Tips for Better Blood Sugar Control

Here are a dozen ideas anyone can use to easily bring the science of glycemic index, glycemic load and glycemic response to their everyday meals and snacks.

1. In general, whole and minimally-processed foods are better choices than highly-processed foods, for keeping blood sugar steady.

2. Choose traditional muesli, or hot oatmeal or porridge (not instant) instead of processed flakes or puffs.

3. Favor whole fruits over fruit juice, and enjoy juice in small quantities or mixed with sparkling water.

4. Skip the fluffy, light breads. Traditional dense grainy bread has a much lower glycemic index.

5. Pasta has a low glycemic index, especially when its cooked al dente. Enjoy pasta with plenty of vegetables and beans or fish for a healthy pasta meal.

6. Enjoy balanced meals and snacks. Eating healthy fats and lean protein with carbohydrates lowers the overall glycemic load of a meal or snack.
7. Eat legumes. Serve lentil soup, a bean-filled chili, or a chickpea salad. Add beans to soups, salads, pasta and other dishes"or try mashing white beans with your potatoes.

8. Certain fibers, including resistant starch (found in foods including beans, bananas, cold pasta and potato salads), lower your bodys glycemic response. A mostly-plant-based diet provides a good variety of different types of fiber.

9. Eat a variety of intact whole grains, and be sure not to overcook them. Intact grains such as barley, wheatberries and ryeberries have a low glycemic index, especially when theyre cooked al dente.

10. Add zest. Acidic foods lower your glycemic response, so squeeze lemon juice on your broccoli, eat your breakfast cereal with yogurt, and add a salad with vinaigrette dressing to your dinner.

11. Enjoy healthy snacks such as carrots with hummus, apple slices with nut butter, or plain yogurt with fresh or frozen berries.

12. Practice portion control. Too much of even a healthy food is, well, too much. Serve yourself a modest portion, eat slowly and mindfully, and reflect before you reach for more.

The refreshing news is that reaping the benefits of a low-glycemic diet doesnt mean only looking at numbers. The principle of glycemic health is important, and traditional eating patterns such as the Mediterranean Diet offer a good example of how to enjoy delicious food while safe-guarding your good health.

Information courtesy of Oldways:

Recipe: Kiwi Chicken Tostadas

Here is a Diabetes Friendly recipe in celebration of National Diabetes Month that you dont have to feel guilty about.with only 19gm of carbohydrates per serving you can get by with going back for seconds!  Serve with a side of guacamole to get your heart-healthy fats and fill half your plate with grilled fajita-style vegetables to help you meet your 5 fruits & vegetables per day!

Kiwi Chicken Tostadas


- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 8 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 2 small chicken breasts)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4, 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed (or even toasted in oven)
- 2 cups shredded romaine
- 3 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped, and/or plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
- 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese or Pepper Jack (2 ounces)


1. In a small bowl, combine cumin, crushed red pepper, and salt. Brush all sides of chicken with oil; sprinkle evenly with cumin mixture.

2. Place chicken on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until no longer pink (170 degrees F), turning once halfway through grilling.
Note: as an alternative you can bake the chicken (cut into strips first) in the oven at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until juices run clear.

3. Cut chicken into bite-size strips. Arrange romaine on warmed tortillas. Top with kiwifruit and/or tomatoes, chicken, and cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving):
Calories: 199, Total Fat:  6gm, Cholesterol: 43mg, Sodium: 239 mg, Carbohydrate: 19gm Fiber: 4gm, Protein: 19gm

Recipe Courtesy of


Has anyone noticed things getting a little "hairy" lately. Whether it's NFL players, celebrities or just some regular "Joe", a lot of men are sporting some extra facial hair this month. Why is this? Well November actually is the time to grow moustaches for charity!!!
Movember is an annual, month-long event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of Men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers; and associated charities. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at The goal of Movember is to "change the face of men's health." By encouraging men (which the charity refers to as "Mo Bros") to get involved, Movember aims to increase early cancer detection, diagnosis and effective treatments, and ultimately reduce the number of preventable deaths. Besides getting an annual check-up, the Movember Foundation encourages men to be aware of any family history of cancer, and to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
(information courtesy of
Here are some healthy lifestyle tips for men:
1. Annual wellness check-ups:  Get a colonoscopy after the age of 50, know your blood pressure, get your Hemoglobin A1c tested (for pre-diabetes/diabetes), keep tabs on your blood pressure and get your cholesterol checked (including LDL and triglycerides).

2. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables

3. Move more. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 days/week.

4. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Many studies have linked lack of sleep to an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

5. Heart disease is the number one killer of men. It's important to maintain healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Limit saturated fat (found in animal products like beef and dairy) and trans fats; increase heart-healthy mono-unsaturated fats such as avocado and nuts; aim for 25 of fiber per day; reduce sodium to 2300mg/day or less.

6. Manage stress

7. Decrease your risk of prostate cancer through healthy eating. Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. There is evidence that a healthy diet and regular exercise will decrease your risk.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Movember Blog

Recipe: Tilapia with Mushrooms, Olives, and Tomatoes

Most people with diabetes know they need to portion control their carbohydrate-containing foods like pasta, rice, beans, corn, peas, potatoes, snack foods, sweets, fruit and sugar-sweetened beverages..... However, this does NOT mean that eating an abundance of meats and fats, which do not contain carbohydrates, is the way to fill up your plate!  

People with diabetes need to be especially careful with how much unhealthy saturated and Trans-fats are coming into their diet, because they are at a higher risk of developing heart disease compared to someone without diabetes.  

While Trans-fat primarily come from processed foods and fried foods like French fries and pastries, saturated fats can be found in any animal product and is found in much larger amounts in some animals compared to others.   Stick to filling no more than of your plate with protein!

One easy way to remember which meats have higher or lower amounts of saturated fats is: "The Less Legs the Better."

- 4 legged animals such as cows and pigs have a higher content of saturated fats compared to animals with less legs.. (they also contain more calories per ounce, which is why your doctor and dietitians say to limit your portion to 3 to 4oz in size).
- 2 legged animals such as chicken and turkey have less saturated fat compared to 4 legged animals, but still contain saturated fat (especially in the dark meat, which is why chicken breast and turkey breast are better choices)
- Fish have 0 legs and have little to no saturated fat at all..not only that but they have the least amount of calories per ounce compared to any other meat and are a source of heart-healthy fats, which makes fish one of the BEST choices!
        -If you are choosing a white fish then you can usually eat more (around 5 to 6oz rather than 3 to 4oz).
        -If it is a fish like salmon that is higher in fat content, you should still limit to the size of a deck of cards (although it is a healthy fat, because it contains more fat it also contains more calories).

Now remember, I am not saying that red meat is bad for you..I am saying that when you are at the grocery store trying to decide on which meat is worth spending a little extra money on so that you are decreasing the amount of saturated fat in your diet. Look for the leaner cuts such as round or loin or least amount of % of fat (such as 97% lean ground sirloin or lean ground turkey breast).  

This will help save you calories and save your heart from some of the extra saturated fat that is naturally present in these types of meat, so in the end it is money well spent!

Try this heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly recipe below!

Tilapia with Mushrooms, Olives and Tomatoes
Makes 4 servings


- 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 3 cloves)
- 1 pound (16 ounces) button mushrooms, quartered
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives with juice, halved
- 2 cups halved grape tomatoes
- 4 skinless tilapia filets
- teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Salt to taste (optional)


1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and a single layer of mushrooms and cook, without stirring, for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms become red-brown on one side. Flip and cook about 5 minutes more, until other side is same color.
2. Add olives, tomatoes and herbs and heat for another 2 minutes, until juice is evaporated. Remove from heat, place in a bowl and cover with foil to keep warm.
3. In the same saute pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat. Season the tilapia filets with salt (optional) and pepper on both sides and place in the pan. Cook for 3 minutes until nicely browned. Gently turn and cook another 3 minutes. Return vegetables and herbs to skillet briefly to warm, then serve.


- Serve with brown rice, roasted diced potatoes, or quinoa and a garden salad
- If you don't like olives, then substitute the olives with 1 Tablespoons capers (they look similar to peas, but have a salty taste).
- Add a side of canned fruit packed in water or 100% fruit juice (drained)

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 196 calories; 7.5g fat; 2g fiber

Recipe courtesy of Giorgio
Photo courtesy of

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Tilapia Blog

November: National Diabetes Month

November is National Diabetes Month. According to the National Diabetes Education Program nearly 21 million Americans have diabetes, and at least 54 million people over the age of 20 have pre-diabetes. If you already have diabetes, are at risk or have pre-diabetes (a condition that occurs when a person's blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of TYPE 2 DIABETES). Here are some small steps you can take to prevent or control the disease.

Helpful tip:  Studies show that people at high risk for TYPE 2 DIABETES can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their body weight. For example, a man weighing 200 lbs. would need to lose 10 lbs. to lose 5% of his bodyweight.

Take in fewer Calories.

Here are some suggestions:

-Replace regular mayonnaise with lighter versions, non-fat plain Greek yogurt or mustard.
-Snack on fruits or vegetables during the day instead of high calorie items like cookies, cakes, candy and chips.
-Sip on water throughout the day. Flavor with fresh fruit like lemons, limes, oranges and cucumber.
-Replace big bags of snacks with portion controlled sizes
-Stick to a diet of mainly lean meats, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains 90% of the time. Indulge on less healthy selections 10% of the time.

Control your portions.

Visit for recommended portion sizes.

-Fill up on fiber. Fiber helps us to feel fuller longer and assist with management of blood sugar levels and cholesterol reduction. Fiber is only found in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole rains, and canned beans and lentils. Flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber and heart healthy fats. Try grinding it up and sprinkling over cereal or yogurt.
-Limit saturated fat to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
-Try to completely eliminate trans fats
-Limit sodium to less than 2300mg per day (approximately 1 tsp. of salt).

Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

You can break this 30 minutes into three 10 minute sessions of an activity you enjoy such as bike riding or walking.

Some other great ways to incorporate fitness are:

-Taking a walk during a lunch hour or after and evening meal.
-Taking the stairs as opposed to elevators
-Getting up from your desk to talk to a coworker as opposed to the phone or email
-Parking further in the parking lot
-Walking a dog
-Playing catch or another activity with your kids.
-Investing in a pedometer and track your steps. Aim for 10,000/day
-Making exercise fun by working out with a buddy
-Trying to stretch a little each morning
-Trying to incorporate a little strength training. Exercise bands and free weights are great to use. They can even be used while watching television
-Doing something you enjoy so you will stick to it.

Other helpful tips:

-Stop Smoking
-Learn to manage stress. Yoga and meditation are two ways that can help.
-Keep your blood glucose in check.
-Take prescribed medicines as directed by your healthcare provider
-Get your vision checked regularly.
-Monitor your feet for any blisters, cuts, swelling or red spots.
-Develop the best plan to help manage your Diabetes with your healthcare providers.
-Be sure to get an annual physical. Make sure you check your cholesterol and blood pressure.
-Always ask your doctor for your blood glucose numbers. This is important since early detection can lead to early treatment.  

It may seem hard to make all of these changes, but don't think of it as one huge task. Take small steps every day and you will notice a change. Tell yourself each day that you are going to do something to make your lifestyle healthier (take a walk, drink more water, eat a healthier breakfast, etc.). All of these steps will add up and result in a healthier lifestyle, which means a healthier YOU!!!!

Recipe: Apple & Walnut Dijon Kale Salad

Kale this Kale that......what is the deal with the Kale Kraze (yes I meant to spell it with a K)?!  I was starting to feel a little left out since up until recently I had not tried kale before and just because I am a dietitian it does not mean that I've tried every "Superfood" out there.

Now first just let me say that I do know a little bit about Kale: it is naturally low in fat, saturated fat free, cholesterol free, low in sodium, a good source of calcium and potassium, and an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C!

Research has identified well over 45 different flavonoids found in kale, which combat certain kinds of cancers and help to reduce inflammation in the body, so obviously with all these health promoting benefits I had to try it!

If you are new to kale like me then ease yourself into it with trying a milder (less of a bite) baby kale like in the recipe I have below.  Enjoy!

Apple & Walnut Dijon Kale Salad

Minutes to Prepare: 10     Number of Servings: 4 salads (divided evenly onto 4 plates)


- 5 oz (1 container) Organic Girl I Love Baby Kale
- 1 medium sized Granny Smith Apple
- 1/4 cup Ocean Spray Reduced Sugar Craisens
- 1/8 cup of chopped walnuts (can buy already pre-chopped)

- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 10-15 cranks of freshly ground Black pepper
- Salt to taste (optional)


1. Rinse the entire 5oz container of baby kale leaves in a colander under cool water and allow to drain while preparing the other ingredients.

2. In a small bowl (or even a blender) combine the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, & black pepper. Whisk together until the dressing looks smooth & evenly combined.

3. Wash the Granny Smith apple and chop it into chunks for sprinkling.

4. Once the baby kale is dry (you can toss with a paper towel in colander to remove additional moisture) place leaves in a large bowl and add the apple chunks, chopped walnuts, and craisens to it and lightly toss to mix.

5. Pour about half of the the dressing over the top and toss to coat with salad tongs or utensils. Divide the salad evenly on to 4 plates.

6. If additional dressing is desired then add the rest to the salads.


- Try using a bosc pear in the place of the Granny Smith apple for added fiber and a "honey" sweet taste rather than a tart taste.
- To even further reduce calories, lightly sprinkle slivered almonds rather than the full 1/8 cup of walnuts to still provide a nice crunch!
- You can save 4-5 pieces of each of the apples, walnuts, and craisens (for all 4 salad plates) for topping at the very end to make the ingredients more noticeable and an eye catching effect.

Nutrition Facts (per serving):

Calories: 179    Protein: 1.3gm    Total Carbohydrates: 17gm    Fiber: 4.4gm   
Total Fat: 12.8g    Cholesterol: 0mg    Sodium: 155mg

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Kale Blog

National Oatmeal Day

Did you know tomorrow is National Oatmeal Day?

Not only is oatmeal healthy but it's also versatile. You can use it in meatloaf, granola bars, muffins, smoothies and my favorite.....cookies. It's full of heart healthy fiber and is low in calories to boot!!! Here is a delicious breakfast idea that is sure to bring the whole family to the table!!!

Overnight Steel Cut Oats

I love to set up an oatmeal bar and let everyone choose their favorite toppings. This is a great way to get the whole family to eat a healthy breakfast.


- 4 cups unsweetened almond milk or whatever kind of milk you prefer ( you can also use 1/2 water if you'd like)
- 1 cup steel cut oats
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


1. Bring the milk to a boil in a medium or large saucepan (big enough to accommodate about four cups of cooked oatmeal with a bit of room to spare).

2. When it reaches a rolling boil, stir in the oats and salt. Boil for one minute (watching closely so it doesn't boil over).

3. Remove from the heat and stir. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight, 8-12 hours.

4. In the morning before serving, stir the oatmeal to recombine the oats with any residual liquid and heat over medium for 1-2 minutes until the oatmeal is heated through.

Serve with your favorite oatmeal toppings: dried cranberries, raisins, fresh fruit, frozen fruit, nut butters, cinnamon, pumpkin, almonds, the possibilities are of my families favorite is Nutella and banana. It's almost like eating dessert for breakfast :-)

Recipe: Pumpkin and Black Bean Stew

Hey everyone! Did you know that "pumpkin" is the new black? Pumpkin is everywhere! It's in coffee, muffins, candy, even potato chips. I absolutely love it but sometimes I don't always have time for cleaning and baking a fresh pumpkin, so I turn to the convenient canned pumpkin option.For about 40 calories per 1/2 cup and 5 grams of fiber, you can't go wrong.

Here is a delicious seasonal pumpkin stew that would be great to serve on these chilly fall evenings.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Stew


- 1 15oz can pure pumpkin
- 1 15oz can low sodium sweet corn, drained
- 1 15oz can low sodium black beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups of mild to hot salsa depending on your preference
- 4 cups Swanson Mexican Tortilla flavor Infused Broth


Combine all ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil.Simmer for 10 minutes and then enjoy. Makes 6 large servings.

I like to serve this stew with a dollop of plain non-fat Greek yogurt, fresh cilantro, and tortilla strips. You could also add chicken, beef, or pork.

Options:  If you only have plain chicken broth on hand you can use that and add 1 tsp. of chili powder and tsp. cumin.

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Pumpkin Blog

Recipe: Mediterranean "Spaghetti"

How many times have you walked down the produce aisles during fall and stopped to look at all the varieties of beautiful squash, but didn't buy any because you didn't have a clue what to do with it or what to make with it for dinner?  I know I have and I decided to give it a go.  This was a first time for me making  a recipe using Spaghetti squash and I have to say it was quite simple!! 

The recipe below is delicious and simple and is one that the whole family will love.  If you are spaghetti fan, then this is a nice alternative that doesn't leave you feeling miserable if you eat too much of it!!  If you're not a fan of Greek food then make the squash as directed below and add your favorite spaghetti sauce and lean ground meat (such as 90% or above lean ground beef or turkey) to it!  Hope you enjoy.

Mediterranean "Spaghetti"

Number of Servings: 4
Servings:  makes approximately 4, 1 1/2 cup servings


- 1 large spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise with seeds removed (you can cook it in the microwave whole for 3 minutes prior to cutting in half to make it easier)
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 4 Tablespoons kalamata olives sliced
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil (and extra for garnish)
- Non-stick cooking spray


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Place spaghetti squash halves cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance.
3. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool for handling later.
4. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until it is tender and opaque in color.
5. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and stir in for another 1-2 minutes. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are warmed through.
7. Using a large spoon, scoop out the squash and collect the "spaghetti-like" strands from each of the halves of squash and add to the skillet.
8. Toss until evenly mixed and coated with the other ingredients and serve warm topped with fresh slices of basil (optional).


-Add diced cooked chicken or pre-cooked shrimp to the dish for added protein or even cannellini beans for a vegetarian dish!
-This is a nice alternative to the carbohydrate-heavy traditional spaghetti pasta that you don't have to feel guilty about going back for seconds!
-You can use black olives if you have trouble finding kalamata olives.
-If you are crunched for time then you can cook the spaghetti squash in the microwave:  3-4 minutes (on high) then cut in half and add 1 tablespoon of water to the center of the squash and put the other half back on top and cook for another 3-4 minutes (the scoop out the seeds and slimy strings before scooping out the squash strands).

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Mediterranean "Spaghetti" Blog

Healthy School Lunch Ideas

It's National School Lunch Week! Boost your child's brainpower with these healthy school lunch ideas.

Back To School with Fruits & Vegetables

What better way to boost that brain power than to fuel those bodies with healthy fruits and vegetables. Here are a few tips to make your kids the envy of the lunchroom!

-Covert yogurt:
In your child's lunch, pack a container of plain yogurt and fruit chunks. Encourage him or her to play detective and identify which fruits you included. Give a small prize for the right answer!

-Thermos fusions:
Help your child experiment weekly with new 100% fruit and vegetable beverages in their thermos for school.

-Color your crunch for lunch:
Have your child choose from a rainbow of colors to brighten up his or her lunch. Carrots or celery with light ranch dressing or apples with peanut butter are a fun way to crunch.

-Get sporty:
Pre-portion energy snacks for your kids as they head to sporting events, such as their favorite dried fruits and nuts.

-Let them play with their food: For a little lunch bag fun, slice apples into boats (cut apples into eighths), try red pepper butterflies (slice red peppers crosswise), or cucumber hearts (slice with a paring knife)!

-Crock pot creations:
Add carrots, potatoes, onions, celery and all your favorite veggies together in the crock pot for a hearty stew that cooks while you help with homework.

Information courtesy of:

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Back to School Blog

Recipe: Seared Scallops with Snow Peas and Orange Zest

Did you know that October is also National Seafood Month?!   Not only is seafood one of my favorite things to eat and cook, but it is typically lower in calories, total fat, and saturated fat compared to any other protein (such as beef, pork, chicken, and turkey).

One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make is overcooking seafood and fish, which spoils the flavor and texture of the fish/seafood. If you are a little intimidated to cook seafood because maybe you have never cooked a certain type before, you will be shocked to find that seafood is really quite simple because it cooks faster than almost any other protein and if you are a seafood fan, it is GREAT for busy weeknights!

The best cooking methods for fish and seafood are grilling, baking, steaming, and microwaving as a general guide.  However, it is important to keep in mind that fish/seafood that has a high moisture or oil content (such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.) are better for baking, grilling, barbecuing, and microwaving and fish/seafood with a low moisture or oil content such as tilapia, cod, swai are better for poaching, steaming, or lightly pan frying.

This recipe has very few ingredients, cooks fast, and is an easy recipe if you have never made scallops before! 

Seared Scallops with Snow Peas & Orange Zest

Total Time to Prepare and Cook: 25 minutes  
Servings: 4


- 1  cup couscous (or quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
- 2  teaspoons  + 1 tablespoon olive oil  (or sesame seed oil)
- 16  sea scallops (about 1 1/2 pounds), can be fresh or thawed frozen scallops
- Black pepper and Salt (optional, or any salt-free seasoning)
- 1  orange (for the zest)
- 3/4  pound  snow peas, halved lengthwise


1. Cook the couscous according to the package directions.
2. Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
3. Pat the scallops dry and season with teaspoon each salt (if using) and pepper. Cook until opaque throughout and golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side (using tongs to pull scallop free from pan). Transfer to a plate and cover.
4. Using a vegetable peeler, remove 4 strips of zest from the orange. Thinly slice them.
5. Wipe out the skillet. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the snow peas, orange zest, and teaspoon each salt (if using) and pepper.
6. Cook, tossing, until the snow peas are just tender, about 2 minutes. Serve with the scallops and couscous.


-Shrimp can be used in this dish in place of scallops. Or, since the orange zest complements any green vegetable, try green beans, asparagus, or sugar snap peas (cooking times will vary).
-Serve with a side salad (with canned, drained mandarin oranges, cherry tomatoes, water chestnuts, and Kraft Lite Asian Sesame dressing)
-Serve with fresh or frozen (no sugar added) mixed fruit

Nutritional Information (per serving)
Calories: 343;    Fat: 7g;    Cholesterol: 43mg;    Sodium: 455mg;    Protein: 27g;
Carbohydrates: 45g;     Sugar 4g;     Fiber: 4g;     Iron: 4mg;     Calcium: 78mg

Photo & Recipe Courtesy of

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Seared Scallops with Snow Peas and Orange Zest Blog

Reducing Risk of Breast Cancer

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's important to remember to take steps to help prevent breast cancer.

Breast cancer prevention starts with healthy habits such as limiting alcohol and staying physically active. Understand what you can do to reduce your breast cancer risk.

What can I do to reduce my risk of breast cancer?

Lifestyle changes have been shown in studies to decrease breast cancer risk even in high-risk women. The following are steps you can take to lower your risk:

-Limit alcohol. The more alcohol you drink, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer. If you choose to drink alcohol -including beer, wine or liquor- limit yourself to no more than one drink a day.
-Don't smoke. Accumulating evidence suggests a link between smoking and breast cancer risk, particularly in premenopausal women. In addition, not smoking is one of the best things you can do for your overall health.
-Control your weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true if obesity occurs later in life, particularly after menopause.
-Be physically active. Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, which, in turn, helps prevent breast cancer. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity weekly, plus strength training at least twice a week

Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables hasn't been consistently shown to offer protection from breast cancer. In addition, a low-fat diet appears to offer only a slight reduction in the risk of breast cancer.

However, eating a healthy diet may decrease your risk of other types of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. A healthy diet can also help you maintain a healthy weight a key factor in breast cancer prevention.

What else can I do?
Be vigilant about breast cancer detection. If you notice any changes in your breasts, such as a new lump or skin changes, consult your doctor. Also, ask your doctor when to begin mammograms and other screenings.

Information provided by: Mayo Clinic

WICS ABC NewsChannel 20 - Ask the Expert - Support Breast Cancer Awareness! Blog

Tailgating Gone Healthy

One of the best parts of game days is of course the food, but it isn't always the friendliest for your waistline.  Not all tailgating foods have to be off limits.  Score big with these delicious and nutritious game day picks!

Grilled Meats:

-Chicken and veggie kabobs
-Lean ground turkey burgers and turkey brats
-Low sodium or salt-free seasonings and marinades
-Skinless chicken tenderloins as a substitute for chicken wings


-Cut fruits and veggies into fun shapes or use a hollowed out watermelon as the bowl for fruit
-Use carrot chips instead of chips paired with a low fat dip
-Choose healthy dips like salsa, bean dip, guacamole, hummus, and low-fat yogurt
-Baked chips, whole grain tortilla chips, air popped pop corn


-Bring a fresh fruit salad made with low-fat or non-fat Greek yogurt
-Cookies made with whole wheat flour, flax seed, or oatmeal
-Dark chocolate covered strawberries
-Try fruit like peaches, cantaloupe, or strawberries on the grill


-Choose water and unsweetened naturally flavored iced teas
-Low-calorie or calorie-free beverages
-100% fruit juice mixed with sparkling water
-Choose a lite beer, wine spritzer and/or drink a large glass of iced water in between each beverage if drinking alcoholic beverages

With these choices you can feel free to snack guilt-free while cheering on your favorite team!

Hope Danielson, Health and Wellness Advisor
Melanie Pavlovic, Registered Dietitian

Live Well Team

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