Baked Oatmeal Muffins

baked-oatmeal-muffins-webA few years ago I wrote about a baked oatmeal recipe my husband’s grandmother had shared with me. That year it made an excellent holiday breakfast for our family. That recipe has made its way to our table many times and in many different ways since then. After a lot of trial and error, we now have our December recipe of the month for this year – Baked Oatmeal Muffins.

This recipe is just as delicious, nutritious, and satisfying as the original. However, we made a few changes. First, the oatmeal mixture is baked in muffin tins. This makes leftovers easy to freeze and re-heat for busy mornings. Next, we saved back some of the cinnamon and sugar to sprinkle on top of the baked oatmeal muffins. This ensures that the delicious cinnamon sugar flavor hits your taste buds first. Last, we cut back on the amount of some ingredients which helps avoid food waste.

You can bake these today and put them in the freezer. When you find yourself in the middle of a busy holiday morning, just pull them out of the freezer, re-heat in the microwave, and serve for a perfect breakfast. Enjoy!

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Featured Video – Scrambled Egg Muffins

The Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team is very excited to share some new resources with you. This week, we are unveiling the first in a series of short, new videos that teach basic recipes and cooking skills. We hope you love them as much as we do!

This week’s featured videos is for Scrambled Egg Muffins. These are delicious for a weekend breakfast for company or a make-ahead breakfast to eat throughout the week. Each serving has vegetables and protein to get your day started right. In addition, in our part of the country, this recipe costs just $0.59 per serving!

Check out our new video and get the recipe for Scrambled Egg Muffins from our website.

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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A Brand New Look for Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

sses1-web-new-lookOver the past several months the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team has been working behind the scenes to update and improve our website. Our goal was to make the site more modern, simpler to navigate and functional on all of your devices. We are proud to share that our new website is live and ready for your use.

The new mobile-friendly website is home to:

  • More than 150 recipes that are delicious, inexpensive and easy to prepare
  • How-to videos featuring recipes, kitchen organization tips and basic food prep techniques
  • Strategies for saving money in each part of the grocery store
  • Meal planning templates and resources

The web address has changed to spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu. Attempts to access the site at its old address will automatically redirect to the new site.

Join in on the fun with tasty eating and savvy shopping – visit Spend Smart. Eat Smart. today!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Healthy and Homemade Calendars are Here!

2017-cover-collage-english-newThe Spend Smart. Eat Smart. team works throughout the year on a calendar that includes delicious recipes that are also healthy and inexpensive. If you want to have healthy recipes throughout the whole year, this is the calendar for you!

Here is just a taste of the recipes included in the 2017 calendar:

  • Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins
  • Chicken BLT Salad
  • Berries and Greens Smoothies
  • Roasted Cauliflower
  • Sausage and Vegetable Skillet

The calendar is available now for just $3 through the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Online Store. It makes a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer. Order yours today!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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Fresh, canned or frozen veggies?

Vegetables steamedAs a dietitian I’m often asked which is better, fresh, canned, or frozen vegetables? My response is they all have benefits and can all fit into a healthy eating plan.

You want to buy fresh vegetables when they are in season. They cost less and are likely to be at their peak flavor. However, when not in season, frozen or canned versions are often a smarter buy. For example, buy fresh sweet corn in the summer but frozen or canned corn during other months.

Commercially frozen vegetables are frozen within hours of picking. Therefore, their flavor is retained and nutrient loss is reduced. Buy plain frozen vegetables instead of those with special sauces or seasonings, which can add calories, fat and sodium, as well as cost.

Canned vegetables tend to be the least expensive. And if you don’t end up using them, they won’t go bad quickly. When buying canned vegetables, buy those that have reduced or no sodium. Or drain and rinse regular canned vegetables to reduce the sodium.

When deciding whether to buy fresh, canned or frozen vegetables, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  1. Which kind of vegetable is most appropriate for your needs? If you are making a soup or stew, canned tomatoes might make more sense than fresh.
  2. How much waste is there? If you are buying fresh carrots or broccoli, consider that you’ll pay for the entire weight, but you’ll throw away the stems/peels. You’ll need to have a plan to eat fresh vegetables before they spoil while frozen and canned vegetables can be stored for longer periods of time.
  3. How much time will it save overall? Don’t just consider the cooking time but preparation and clean up as well. If your schedule for the week is busy, you might decide to use frozen or canned vegetables if they will save you time.
Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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Stuffing with Vegetables

stuffing-with-vegetables-webThanksgiving is coming up soon and we want our November recipe of the month to make your Thanksgiving menu. Traditional Thanksgiving stuffing can be high in calories and sodium and low on vitamins and minerals. Our Stuffing with Vegetables flips that around for a side dish that is lower in calories and sodium and filled with vegetables that provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

A bag of frozen vegetables is combined with margarine, a low sodium stuffing mix, low-sodium chicken broth, and garlic powder. Microwave the mixture for 10 minutes and you have a perfect Thanksgiving side dish. Adding vegetables to the stuffing mix adds more than just nutrients. The vegetables also add flavor and bright colors that will complement the other foods on your Thanksgiving plate.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover

Justine Hoover is a Registered Dietitian and mom who loves to cook for her family.

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Halloween is Coming

Parent Taking Children Trick Or Treating At HalloweenYou were expecting us to blog about handing out pencils instead of candy, right? Though non-candy treats are a way to celebrate the holiday without loading up on sugar, most kids don’t get very excited about that approach and we want happy kids on Halloween.

Since we all know the piles of candy are coming, here are a few ideas for dealing with them in a healthy way.

  1. Eat a healthy and hearty meal before you head out to trick-or-treat. Children will be less likely to overdo it on candy if their tummies are full. Since the evening will be busy, consider a slow-cooker meal that you can put on early in the day like our Slow Cooker Pork Chili.
  2. Some experts think that limiting candy at Halloween makes children even more fanatical about it. Consider allowing children to eat what they want on Halloween night and then set limits going forward.
  3. Talk with your child about a plan for all of the candy before they get it. Consider allowing a piece or two every night after they eat supper over the course of a week. If they know the expectations in advance, they may be more likely to cooperate.
  4. Though we generally avoid wasting food whenever we can, candy is a little different. If your child brings home pounds of candy, it is OK to have them choose the ones they like best, eat them over the course of a week or so and toss the others.

Happy Halloween from the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. Team!

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek

Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.

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An Apple a Day… In These Fun Ways

Asian Little Chinese Girl Dressed up as DoctorYou know the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” It’s not hard to enjoy a nice crisp, juicy apple this time of year when apples are in season and there are so many options to choose from. However, if you’d like to jazz up your apples a bit, here are some of our favorite apple recipes from Spend Smart. Eat Smart.

Hurry Up Baked Apples

Fruit Crisp

Homemade Applesauce

Crunchy Apple Roll-Up

Check out the blog from last week to help you decide which apples to use for each recipe.

Enjoy!

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood

Jody Gatewood is a Registered Dietitian who enjoys spending time in the kitchen baking and preparing meals for her family. She does lots of meal planning to stay organized and feed her family nutritious meals.

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It’s Apple Season!

It is Apple Season! October is National Apple Month. These days, there are so many varieties of apples available that you may be wondering which variety to buy.  Which apple is best for a specific use, how to store apples for best quality, or how many apples are in a pound or bushel?

Apples are considered a great snack food as an average sized apple contains about 90 calories and is about 85% water. That makes them thirst quenching and a quick energy provider with their natural sugars, plus the bulky pulp makes the eater feel full.  They also make a great portable snack; take one along to work, school, or when you are running errands.

Apples may be displayed in a fruit bowl at room temperature for a short period of time but that will dramatically reduce their usable life. Apples will last the longest when kept close to 32 degrees. For most of us that would mean the refrigerator. Apples stored near 32 degrees in perforated plastic bags or covered containers will last 8-10 times longer than if stored at room temperature.

Here are some fun apple math facts:

APPLE ARITHMETIC
3 medium sized apples equal approximately 1 pound
Pared and sliced, 1 pound apples yields 2 3/4 cups
A peck of apples weighs 10.5 pounds
A bushel of apples weighs 42 pounds
A bushel of apples will yield 15 – 20 quarts of applesauce

The best baking apples offer a balance of sweet and tart flavors as well as flesh that doesn’t break down in the oven. Granny Smith apples are generally thought of as the go-to baking apples but there are others that hold up well under heat and balance the sweet-tart flavor. The crisp texture of the Honey Crisp apple will hold firm when baked or caramelized. Pink Lady apples will retain a distinct shape when diced and added to coffee cake or muffins.  Jonathans are tart and tangy and have been pie favorites for many years.

sses-answerline-table

Bred to be an eating apple, Red Delicious are not good for baking. They are mild-flavored, sweet, and juicy. Other apples good for eating fresh are Gala, Fuji, and Braeburn.  These apples also work well in salads.

Enjoy apple season this year and have fun experimenting with different variety combinations in your baking.

Written by: Liz Meimann, Beth Marrs, Marcia Steed, and Marlene Geiger- Answerline Staff