Vegetable Pasta Soup

Serving Size: 1 1/2 cups | Serves: 8

Ingredients:

• 1 tablespoon oil (canola or vegetable)
• 4 cups vegetables (like onions, carrots, and zucchini) (chopped or sliced)
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with green chilies
• 1 can (14.5 ounces) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
• 2 cups water
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning or dried basil
• 2 cups small whole wheat pasta (shell or macaroni)
• 6 cups fresh spinach leaves (about 1/2 pound)

Instructions:

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add onions and carrots. Cook until they are softened. Stir often. This should take about 3 minutes.
2. Stir in zucchini and canned tomatoes. Cook 3–4 minutes.
3. Stir in the broth, water, salt, and Italian seasoning or dried basil. Bring to a boil.
4. Stir in the pasta and spinach. Return to a boil.
5. Cook until the pasta is tender using the time on the package for a guide.

 

Nutrition information per serving:
130 calories, 16g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 1g trans fat, 100mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 21g total carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 2g sugar, 35g protein Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart site.

Holiday Mealtime

During the holiday season, don’t forget to make time for family meals. Children who often eat dinner with their families are more likely to do well in school, have positive peer relationships, and resist the harmful effects of substance abuse. In addition, regular family mealtime improves communication and nutrition, builds stronger family bonds, and is an opportunity for parents to teach important skills to their children. Furthermore, meals prepared at home are often less expensive and more nutrient rich.

Here are ways to enjoy family mealtime during busy holiday schedules:

  • Make family mealtime a priority. Set aside specific times of the week when family members will eat together.Family eating
  • Be creative and flexible about when and where you eat. Make the most of opportunities instead of worrying about following a strict timetable.
  • Make mealtime pleasant. Children learn social skills from listening and watching their parents. Parents can set a positive tone for family meals and set a good example by listening and sharing.
  • Eliminate distractions. Turn off the electronic devices (cell phones, television, etc.). Commit to device-free meals on or during the week of December 3, 2018, by participating in the initiative “Dining In” for Healthy Families, from the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.
  • Keep meals simple and easy. Use a slow cooker to prepare a meal that can be ready to eat when the family is ready to eat.
  • Use family mealtime Conversation Cards.

 

Source: Adapted from PM 1842, Say “Yes” to Family Meals, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, March 2015

The Scoop on Hot Yoga

Hot Yoga

Not a big fan of warm or hot yoga? Don’t sweat it! A new study published in the Journal of Experimental Physiology showed that participants who worked up a sweat in hot yoga got the same heart health benefits as those who did yoga at room temperature.

Bikram (hot) yoga has been increasing in popularity. It consists of 26 yoga poses done in a room heated to 105oF. Researchers compared adults who took three 90-minute yoga classes a week (either hot or at room temperature) over 12 weeks. These adults were also compared with a control group of people who did no yoga at all. The hot-yoga group did decrease their body fat more than the room-temperature yoga or control groups. However, people in both yoga groups showed improved heart health. So, if health and vitality are your goals, you can choose either form of yoga.

 

Source: Hunter SD, Laosiripisan J, Elmenshawy A, Tanaka H. Effects of yoga interventions practiced in heated and thermoneutral conditions on endothelium-dependent vasodilation: The Bikram yoga heart study. Experimental Physiology. 2018;103:391–396.

How Dangerous Is Double Dipping?

Salsa in bowlThere’s always one person at holiday gatherings who double dips at the table. They take a bite out of their chip or carrot and then inconspicuously stick it back in the dip again. This habit is gross, but is it actually dangerous? A study conducted recently by Harvard Medical School found that double dipping can add bacteria to dips.

No studies have examined how much disease double dipping causes. However, saliva from a sick person often contains infectious germs. Researchers say your chances of getting sick from a healthy person who double dips are less than from sick people who cough or sneeze without washing their hands. Still, to protect the health of your guests, serve them dip on individual plates or put a spoon in the dip, so they won’t be tempted to double dive into the common dip bowl.

Source: Shmerling RH. “Double dipping” your chip: Dangerous or just…icky?” Harvard Health Publishing. August 4, 2016.

Black Bean Burgers

Black Bean Burger

Serving Size: 1 burger | Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 can low sodium black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • Optional: cheese slices, lettuce leaves, mushrooms, onion, tomato, whole wheat bread or hamburger buns

Instructions

  1. Mash beans with a fork.
  2. Stir mashed beans, egg, bread crumbs, onion, pepper, and oil together until combined. Shape into 4-inch patties. Wash hands.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place patties in the skillet and cover with a lid. Cook patties for 5 minutes on the first side. Flip patties and cook for 4 more minutes on the other side.
  5. Serve with optional ingredients.

Nutrition information per serving:

200 calories, 6g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 45mg cholesterol, 260mg sodium, 28g total carbohydrate, 8g fiber, 2g sugar, 10g protein

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

The Flexitarian Diet: A Flexible Way to Eat Well

A new term in the world of diets is the Flexitarian Diet. The mission of the Flexitarian Diet is to add more plant-based foods to your diet. Flexitarians eat less meat than they used to, but don’t give it up completely. The Flexitarian Diet has benefits like those seen with vegetarian diets—a reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. The American Heart Association encourages the Flexitarian Diet as a good compromise to promote heart health. This way of eating can be fun—and may save you money!

Try these simple tips:

  • Find ways to replace meat at your meals with legumes or soy products. For example, have a black bean burger instead of a hamburger.Flexitarian - fruits and vegetables
  • Start out small, by making just one meal each week meatless. You may find you enjoy the variety.
  • Visit the Extension Store to download a free copy of Dried Beans, Peas, and Lentils Can Help You Save $$.
  • Find vegetarian recipes on the American Heart Association website.
  • When you do eat meat, select a lean cut. Lean cuts of meat include the words “loin” or “round.” After cooking, rinse ground meat with water and drain to reduce fat content. Limit your daily intake to 6 ounces.

Sources:

Melina V., Craig W., Levin S. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Vegetarian Diets. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016;116(12):1970–1980.

American Heart Association. Vegetarian, Vegan and Meals Without Meat. Last Reviewed January 27, 2017.

Super Cooling for Safety

thermometerSoups, casseroles, and pot roasts are a great way to warm up on a cool autumn day. Super cooling a large quantity of hot leftovers or planned-overs made in advance is a good idea to keep food safe. Do not cool hot food at room temperature or place large quantities of hot food in the refrigerator. Both practices can cause food to be in the temperature danger zone (40°F–140°F) for too long, which may lead to bacterial growth. Options for super cooling include the following:

  • Super cool a large roast or poultry by cutting it into smaller pieces. Refrigerate pieces in a single layer.
  • Reduce large quantities of hot food by putting them in smaller, shallow metal pans. Place shallow pans in refrigerator or freezer to cool.
  • Place a large pot of hot food in an ice bath (sink of ice and cold water). Stir occasionally until food is cool, then refrigerate.

Download Kitchen Companion: Your Safe Food Handbook from the USDA for home food safety guidance.

Tamale Pie

Tamale PieServing Size: 1 Slice | Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 package (8.5 ounces) corn muffin mix
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream
  • 1 can (4.25 ounces) diced green chilies, undrained
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Cook onion, bell pepper, and ground beef until beef is cooked through. This should take about 6 minutes. Stir in salsa. Stir in cheese, if desired.
  3. Spray an 8 inch pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Spread the meat and vegetable mixture on the bottom of the plate.
  4. Mix corn muffin mix, yogurt or sour cream, green chilies, and egg. Spread on top of the meat and vegetable mixture.
  5. Bake until corn muffin topping is golden brown and set, approximately 30 minutes.

Nutrition information per serving:

270 calories, 9g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 60mg cholesterol, 600mg sodium, 33g total carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 11g sugar, 14g protein.

Recipe courtesy of ISU Extension and Outreach’s Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website. For more information, recipes, and videos, visit spendsmart.extension.iastate.edu.

Nutrition: Sorting Fact from Fiction

The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation’s 2018 Food and Health Survey reported consumer confusion about food and nutrition. Eighty percent of survey respondents stated they have come across conflicting information about food and nutrition, and 59% state the conflicting information makes them doubt their food choices.

It is no wonder consumers are confused. There is an explosion of nutrition and food safety Fact or Fictioninformation readily available, making it difficult to sort fact from fiction. One reliable source is the IFIC Foundation. The IFIC Foundation’s mission is to effectively communicate science-based information on health, nutrition, and food safety for the public good. The public nonprofit organization partners with credible professional organizations, government agencies, and academic institutions to advance the public understanding of key issues.

Topics recently explored on the IFIC Foundation’s website and blog include the following:

  • What’s the Carnivore Diet?
  • Google Can’t Diagnose Your Food Allergy
  • Everything You Need to Know About Aspartame
  • Snacking Series: Do Snacks Lead to Weight Gain?

Food Advocates Communicating Through Science (FACTS) is a global network of the IFIC Foundation that can help consumers understand the science behind the myths and truth related to food, nutrition, and food safety.

Learn more about the IFIC Foundation or about FACTS.

Source: IFIC Foundation

Be Active in Iowa’s Fall Colors

One of the joys of fall is walking, hiking, and enjoying the outdoors among the beautiful fall foliage. According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website, fall color peaks progressively later the farther south you go in Iowa. In general, the northern third of the state typically peaks the last week of September through the second week of October. The central third has peak foliage color the first through third weeks of October, and the southern third of the state peaks in color the second through fourth weeks in October.

Fall leavesFor specific 2018 information on Iowa fall colors, call the Iowa Fall Statewide Conditions (515-233-4110) or access the Weekly Fall Color Report from the Iowa DNR.

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