Salad Dressing

saladServing Size: 1 tablespoon | Serves: 21

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup oil (such as avocado oil)
  • 1/3 cup acid, such as red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Put all ingredients into an airtight container.
  2. Secure the lid and shake until the ingredients are combined.
  3. Salad dressing can be stored in the airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Notes:

The size of this recipe can be adjusted up or down by keeping the same ratio of 3 parts oil to 1 part acid. For example, for a small amount of dressing, use 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 tablespoon of acid, and a pinch of each of the seasonings.

Watch How to Make Homemade Salad Dressing, youtu.be/WyHJexS6-j0

Nutrition information per serving: 100 calories, 11g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 110mg sodium, 0g total carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g sugar, 0g protein

Source: This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website, www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.

Avocado Oil 101

ThinkstockPhotos-501816152Move aside coconut oil; avocado oil is taking center stage! According to Pinterest, avocado oil is projected to be their top food trend for 2016. You can expect this oil to not only pop up in your Pinterest feed, but also at farmers markets and specialty grocery stores.

Avocado oil is derived by running the avocado fruit through a press. The pulp of the fruit is mashed, then spun in a drum at high speeds to separate the pulp from the oil.

More is known about the health benefits of whole avocados than about avocado oil. Diets rich in avocados may lower blood pressure as well as cholesterol. The magnesium in whole avocados possesses blood pressure-lowering properties. Whole avocados also contain potassium, which lessens the effect of sodium on the body. It is unclear whether or not these same health benefits are transferrable to avocado oil.

Remember that your body needs some fat, but fat is high in calories. The fat in avocados is monounsaturated fat, which is considered a “healthy” fat; however, it is possible to get too much, even of the “good” kinds of fat. Adults should aim for 20–35 percent of their calories from fat, with more coming from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat than saturated and trans fat.

Avocado oil has a high smoke point (meaning the oil doesn’t start to break down and burn until a high temperature is reached), making it ideal for searing and browning, as well as on salads. Avocado oil can be more expensive than other oils on the shelf. If using avocado oil, stretch it by using equal parts avocado oil and canola oil in recipes.

Consuming whole avocados allows you to obtain all the nutritional benefits that you would receive from avocado oil. If you are uncertain about purchasing avocado oil, try topping your sandwich or salad with avocado slices.

Source: www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/fats-and-oils-explained

Safe Winter Fitness

ThinkstockPhotos-497945524Winter weather can discourage even the most dedicated exercisers. Use these tips for beating those chilly winter days:

Listen for the weather report, especially the wind chill. The current temperature and wind, along with the amount of time you’ll be outside, are essential factors in having a safe outdoor workout.

Layer it on, from head to toe. Dress in such a way to remove layers as soon as you start to sweat and then redress as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, which draws sweat away from your body. Next, layer fleece or wool for insulation. Top with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.

Drink your liquids. It’s important to drink plenty of fluids when exercising, whether it is in the cold weather or warm weather. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after your workout. Get in the habit of drinking water, even if you aren’t feeling thirsty.

Keeping these tips in mind can help you safely enjoy your time outside, in spite of the winter weather.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Winter Weather Emergencies–What Do You Do?

ThinkstockPhotos-78811116Iowa winters bring with them cold, snow, and the occasional loss of power. Try these food safety tips for when your power goes out:

Make sure you have a thermometer in your refrigerator and freezer. When the power goes out, check your thermometers for safe temperatures: refrigerator below 40°F, and 0°F or lower for freezer.

Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. When kept closed, a refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours; a full freezer will hold its temperature for about 48 hours; a half-full freezer will hold its temperature for 24 hours.

Freeze water in one-quart plastic storage bags now. These can be used in the refrigerator and freezer to help food stay cold and be a source of fresh water for you to use.

When in doubt, throw it out. Any perishable food that has been above 40°F for two hours or more should be thrown out. Frozen food with ice crystals may be safely refrozen.

Source: Food Poisoning Bulletin

Salmon Patties

salmon pattiesServing Size: 1 patty | Serves: 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14.75-ounce) salmon, drained
  • 1 egg
  • 1 slice whole wheat bread, shredded, or 5 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 3 green onions (including the green stems) or 1/3 cup white onion (chopped fine) (about 1/3 medium onion)
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced, or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Dash ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning (paprika, chili powder, or dill weed)
  • 2 teaspoons oil

Instructions:

  1. Open and drain can of salmon in strainer. Remove any large bones and skin from salmon. Break salmon into chunks with a fork.
  2. Break egg into a large bowl. Whisk with fork. Add salmon, bread or crackers, onion, garlic, pepper, and additional seasoning. Mix gently.
  3. Form into 6 patties about 1/2″ thick.
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place patties in skillet. Leave skillet uncovered. Cook 3 minutes. Turn over patties with a spatula. Cook the other side 3-4 minutes to a temperature of 145°F. Serve immediately.

Nutrition information per serving: 110 calories, 5g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 75mg cholesterol, 230mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 0g sugar, 14g protein

This recipe is courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more recipes, information, and videos, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings/.

Get Your Brain in Shape

ThinkstockPhotos-122581849 smallNew Year’s resolutions often center on self-improvement. The number-one cited resolution is to lose weight. Instead of focusing on weight loss, for 2016 focus on eating well for your brain! What we eat can influence how well our brain functions!

Eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and omega-3 fatty acids is linked with better cognitive function (ability to process thoughts), memory, and alertness.

Suggestions from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for a healthy brain include:

Put veggies on your plate. Consuming vegetables—especially broccoli, cabbage, and dark leafy greens—may help improve memory. Try a broccoli salad or using fresh spinach on your next sandwich.

Bring on the berries. Dark-colored berries—like blackberries, blueberries, and cherries—are a rich source of anthocyanins and other nutrients that may boost memory function. Enjoy them mixed into cereal, in a smoothie, or with yogurt as a parfait. Buy berries fresh, frozen, or dried; they’re all healthy choices.

Don’t overlook omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve memory in healthy younger adults. Seafood and fatty fish—like salmon, tuna, and sardines—are some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and are readily available. Choose fresh, frozen, or canned. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages us to eat fish twice a week. Grill, bake, or broil fish to reap the most health benefits.

Try to add these foods to your daily menu. They will not only be good for your brain, but for your heart as well.

Source: Eat Right

Winter Activities for Burning Calories

ThinkstockPhotos-533939045Looking for a fun activity to try this winter? These top outdoor activities are good for burning calories:

Cross-country skiing
Glide along the trail, taking in the fresh winter air and looking for wildlife. Search for parks with groomed trails. With moderate effort, you’ll burn 700 calories an hour, or 500 with light effort.

Ice skating
In areas where it’s permitted and ice conditions allow, ice skating is a great way to get active outdoors in the winter. In one hour of skating, you’ll burn 550 calories.

Sledding and tobogganing
You might ask how many calories you can burn while flying down a hill. Well, don’t forget the repeated walks up that hill, and you’ll rack up 550 calories burned in an hour.

Stream fishing
Yes, you can still fish a stream in waders in the winter—look to the trout streams of northeast Iowa, which rarely freeze. In an hour of angling, you’ll burn 460 calories. Not wanting to get in the water? You can still burn 300 calories in an hour by fishing and walking along the bank.

All calories burned are calculated for a 170-pound person per hour. Those weighing less will burn fewer calories, while those weighing more will burn a greater amount of calories.

Search state and county parks by available activities with the Iowa DNR interactive Healthy and Happy Outdoors map.

Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Don’t Let Foodborne Illness Crash Your Holidays

appetizersBacteria are everywhere, but a few types especially like to crash parties. Staphylococcus aureus, Clostridium perfringens, and Listeria monocrytogenes frequent people’s hands and kitchens. And unlike bacteria that cause food to spoil, these bacteria cannot be smelled or tasted. Safe food handling is necessary for prevention.

Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus (“staph”) bacteria are found on our skin, in infected cuts and pimples, and in our noses and throats. They are spread by improper food handling. Prevention includes washing hands and utensils before preparing and handling foods and not letting prepared foods- particularly cooked and cured meats and cheeses ass well as meat salads- sit at room temperature more than two hours. Thorough cooking destroys “staph” bacteria, but the toxin it may produce is resistant to heat, refrigeration, and freezing and can make you sick.

Clostridium perfringens
“Perfringens” is called the “cafeteria germ” because it may be found in foods served in quantity and left for long periods at room temperature. Prevent it by dividing large portions of cooked foods such as beef, turkey, gravy, dressing, stews, and casseroles into smaller portions for serving and cooling. Keep cooked foods hot or cold, not lukewarm.

Listeria monocytogenes
Listeria bacteria multiply, although slowly, at refrigeration temperatures. Therefore, these bacteria can be found in cold foods typically served on buffets. To avoid serving foods containing Listeria, follow “keep refrigerated” label directions and carefully observe “sell by” and “use by” dates on processed products like deli meat. Thoroughly reheat frozen or refrigerated processed meat and poultry products before eating.

If illness does occur, contact a health professional and describe the symptoms.

Source: www.foodsafety.gov

Rise and Shine Breakfast Cobbler

ThinkstockPhotos-487588822Serving Size: 3/4 cup | Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup juice-packed canned sliced peaches, drained
  • 1 cup juice-packed canned sliced pears, drained
  • 6 pitted prunes (cut in half)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • Orange zest (optional)
  • 1 cup granola (low fat)

Instructions:

  1. In a large microwave safe bowl, mix fruit, vanilla, orange juice, and orange zest. Stir mixture.
  2. Top with granola.
  3. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes.
  4. Spoon into 4 bowls and serve warm.

Nutrition information per serving: 221 calories, 1g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 60mg sodium, 50g total carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 25g sugar, 3g protein

Source: Snap-Ed Connection

Alzheimer’s Disease: A Weighty Matter

Happy closeness senior couple sitting on the floorNew research suggests obesity and prediabetes or diabetes may make us more likely to have memory problems and develop Alzheimer’s. According to the American Diabetes Association, more than half of adults over the age of 65 have prediabetes. Prediabetes and health problems, such as having too much insulin in the body (insulin resistance), are mostly caused by obesity, little to no exercise, and loss of lean muscle mass that occurs with aging.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, the decline in mental abilities interfering with everyday life, and is more likely the older we get. Signs of Alzheimer’s can appear decades before the disease manifests. Most people begin to notice regular to frequent memory problems, such as forgetting conversations or how to get to and from familiar places.

When memory problems become clinically significant, but do not impact daily life activities like household chores or working, a person is diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Most people with MCI eventually develop Alzheimer’s in three to five years, although some individuals never do. A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s requires not only constant memory problems worse than MCI, but significant impairment in daily life activities and at least one more cognition problem (i.e., speech, planning or reasoning, purposeful movement).

What can I do?
Studies increasingly suggest that prevention is best. If you are middle-aged or older, obese or severely overweight, ask your doctor. Suggest a waist circumference measurement to estimate your body fat. Have your blood sugar and insulin levels checked. If you have prediabetes, consider a weight loss program, moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day at least 3 days a week, or medication to lower blood sugar and insulin. If you have diabetes, it is critical to get it under control with the plan of care your doctor suggests.

If you are concerned you have memory problems, schedule an appointment with a neurologist or psychiatrist. Memory and thinking assessments can determine if your memory is impaired. Follow-up visits help track whether or not your memory remains the same or declines.

Source: Auriel A. Willette, MS, PhD, Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University