pomegranates

Super Food of the Month – Pomegranate

pomegranates

While Decem­ber may not seem like a month to fea­ture fresh grown fruits and veg­eta­bles, that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth.  Each month of the year brings with it deli­cious fruits and veg­eta­bles that are in sea­son. First grown in Per­sia, Pome­gran­ate is one of the old­est known fruits and packs a wal­lop of nutri­tion in every bite.

In the pome­gran­ate, the month of Decem­ber offers a delight­ful fruit that can be used in many of your clas­sic hol­i­day recipes. Hol­i­day favorites such as sweet pota­toes can be coated with a pome­gran­ate glaze, iced tea can be served hot or cold with just a hint of pome­gran­ate juice, and your stan­dard stuff­ing can be tweaked for the hol­i­days by adding pome­gran­ate to it. Pome­gran­ate is espe­cially use­ful in hol­i­day recipes because it stores so well. With proper seal­ing and refrig­er­a­tion, pome­gran­ate should keep for up to 2 months.

The savory taste of pome­gran­ate is only rivaled by its almost unmatched health ben­e­fits. Pome­gran­ate con­tains a pow­er­ful com­pound called puni­cala­gin. Puni­cala­gin is found only in pome­gran­ate and has shown to lower cho­les­terol as well as increase the speed at which heart block­ages go away. Pome­gran­ate is also one of the most pow­er­ful anti-oxidants of all fruits. These are just a few of the many health ben­e­fits pome­gran­ate pro­vides, and med­ical stud­ies are find­ing more and more every year.

While peel­ing off the tough outer layer of pome­gran­ate fruit just to get to the seeds and juices may seem like a lot of work, the end­less recipe uses and health ben­e­fits make it well worth it.  It’s easy to see why it’s Whole­some Tum­mies choice for Super Food for the month of December!

For more pomegranate-centric recipes, fol­low the link: http://abt.cm/1cQKnld

And for more on the won­der­ful health ben­e­fits pome­gran­ate can pro­vide you and your loved ones, click the link: http://bit.ly/11SbPgN.  Enjoy!

healthyholidays

Healthy Holiday Eating and Family Cooking Tips

healthyholidays

Just because the hol­i­days are here again doesn’t mean the days of healthy eat­ing have tem­porar­ily come to an end. While this time of year is full of delec­table treats, there are always healthy eat­ing options avail­able to you and your fam­ily.  You just have to look harder for them, or cre­ate them yourself!

For a start, you can try incen­tiviz­ing your child to snack on healthy good­ies like whole grain crack­ers, fruit, or raw veg­eta­bles before the big feast.  Try plac­ing these health­ier choices in front of your kids when they are first hun­gry, as that increases the like­li­hood that they will eat them!  Make a big deal out of these yummy “appe­tiz­ers” so your child is excited to try them. Din­ing on hol­i­day favorites such as fudge, cook­ies, and other baked goods is ok, but try to mon­i­tor con­sump­tion and encour­age your kids to eat them in small portions.

The hol­i­days are the per­fect time to bring out those vin­tage fam­ily favorite recipes, and whip up some­thing extra spe­cial for a large fam­ily feast or even a late night snack by the fire. While cook­ing with kids in the kitchen can some­times be a dif­fi­cult task, there are some dishes the lit­tle ones can help with and make it fun for the whole fam­ily. Some recipes chil­dren should be able to help with in the kitchen include: appe­tiz­ers, side dishes, hol­i­day cook­ies, and baked breads. Help­ing to cre­ate their favorite hol­i­day sweets while spend­ing time together in the kitchen with mom and dad is won­der­ful way for fam­i­lies to make the hol­i­day sea­son extra special…and extra wholesome!

Fol­low the link to learn about some kid-friendly recipes you and your lit­tle ones can make together dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son: http://bit.ly/1u9zmAo.  Bon appetit!

rootvegetables

Peak Season – Root Vegetables

 rootvegetables

While the sum­mer months are abun­dant with vibrant pro­duce, it seems most of us strug­gle to keep up the healthy eat­ing habits dur­ing the fall and win­ter because we don’t have as many options dur­ing the colder months. Dig just a lit­tle deeper, how­ever, and you will find that root veg­eta­bles are the per­fect answer to this culi­nary conundrum.

 Bright orange and sweet, crispy and fresh, spicy and col­or­ful; sweet pota­toes, jica­mas, and radishes are just a small exam­ple of the diverse tex­tures, col­ors, and fla­vors that roots can add to a win­ter meal. Sweet pota­toes are the epit­ome of com­fort food when they are slowly roasted in the oven with olive oil and salt and then driz­zled with honey while they are still warm!

 If you are look­ing for a crispy addi­tion to any salad, look no fur­ther than jicama. This tuber is abun­dant dur­ing the chilly months of the year. It has a crispy and refresh­ing tex­ture that will brighten up any salad. All you need to do is peel the thin outer layer and it is ready to eat — no cook­ing required.

 Radishes also become abun­dant dur­ing this time of year. The small root veg­eta­bles are bright red with a spicy white inte­rior but also come in bright green and pink col­ors! These are great paired with tacos and a splash of lime juice, and they can be a great addi­tion to sal­ads too.

 Don’t let the win­ter blues put a damper on your healthy eat­ing!  Eat fresh and in sea­son by fol­low­ing this great resource for sea­sonal pro­duce in your area — www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org

 

 

 

pumpkinbrittle

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

pumpkinbrittle

(This recipe is tree nut free & gluten free)

You carved your pump­kins and saved those pump­kin seeds, and we know just what to do with them! Of course, if you didn’t save them, you can sim­ply pur­chase a bag of shelled, raw pump­kin seeds (also known as pepi­tas) from the gro­cery store.

 

Ingre­di­ents

 

  • Vegetable-oil spray or 1 tea­spoon butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing soda
  • 2 tea­spoons to 1 1/2 table­spoons sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of raw, unroasted pepitas

 

Pro­ce­dures

 

  1. Line bak­ing sheet pan with parch­ment paper and lightly coat it with veg­etable spray or butter.
  2. Put the sugar, but­ter, honey, and 1/2 cup plus 2 table­spoons water to a large saucepan, and stir together until all the sugar is wet. Cook over high medium-high, but mon­i­tor it care­fully until the mix­ture begins to thicken up a lit­tle bit.
  3. Once the mix­ture turns a medium golden (takes at least 10 min­utes) imme­di­ately remove from the heat, and care­fully whisk in the bak­ing soda fol­lowed by the salt (Caramel mix­ture will bub­ble quite a bit at this point). Switch to a wooden or metal spoon, and fold in the pepi­tas or seeds.
  4. Quickly pour the mix­ture onto the sheet pan, and spread it out over the pan using the back of the spoon before it starts to harden.
  5. Cool com­pletely, then break into bite size pieces and you are ready to enjoy.  Store in an air­tight con­tainer in the refrigerator.
pumpkinbread

Pumpkin Spice Bread Loaf

pumpkinbread

Pump­kin is not just for pump­kin pie any­more! Enjoy this deli­cious recipe with your fam­ily and fill your kitchen with the rich aroma of freshly baked bread.  Per­fect for break­fast with a dol­lop of cream cheese spread… yum!

 

Ingre­di­ents

  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tea­spoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon(s) bak­ing powder
  • 1 tea­spoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tea­spoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tea­spoon bak­ing soda
  • 1/2 tea­spoon salt

 

Pro­ce­dures

  1. Pre­heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 8 1/2″ by 4 1/2″ metal loaf pan with non­stick cook­ing spray.
  2. In large bowl, with wire whisk, com­bine brown sugar and egg whites. Add pump­kin, oil, yogurt, and vanilla extract; stir to combine.
  3. In medium bowl, com­bine all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, bak­ing pow­der, cin­na­mon, nut­meg, bak­ing soda, and salt. Add flour mix­ture to pump­kin mix­ture; stir until just com­bined. Do not overmix.
  4. Pour bat­ter into pre­pared pan. Bake 45 to 50 min­utes or until tooth­pick inserted in cen­ter of loaf comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min­utes. Invert pump­kin bread onto wire rack; cool completely.
  5. Serve warm with a glass of milk!
blog-boonanas

Halloween Treats — BOOnanas!

blog-boonanas

If you pre­fer a health­ier Hal­loween treat to serve at home, there are cre­ative ways to serve fruit that is also fun. The whole fam­ily can join in and help make these spooky Boo­nana Ghosts!

These Banana & Coconut ghost sticks are a great alter­na­tive to sugar loaded pop­si­cles.  They are also super easy to make, just pop them in the freezer and they are set to go!  We love bananas because they are the per­fect energy filled snack. They are packed with vit­a­mins and min­er­als that help the body main­tain lev­els of energy dur­ing phys­i­cal activity.

Yields — 4 BOO­nana pops

 Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas
  • 1 cup of unsweet­ened shred­ded coconut — Spread out on a cookie sheet tray
  • ½ cup of cold orange juice
  • Choco­late chips — for ghost eyes
  • Raisins — for ghost mouths
  • Sev­eral pop­si­cle sticks

 

Pro­ce­dures:

  1. Peel bananas and cut in half. Stick a pop­si­cle stick start­ing on the flat end of the banana 2 inches up. Freeze bananas on a wax paper lined sheet tray.
  2. Once frozen, remove bananas from the freezer and brush them with ice cold orange juice. Imme­di­ately roll them on the shred­ded coconut.
  3. Stick choco­late chips on to the face area for eyes by press­ing firmly.
  4. Stick a raisin to mouth area.
  5. Now you have BOO­nanas to enjoy!
blog-halloweensafety

Halloween Food Safety

blog-halloweensafety

 

There isn’t a kid in the world whose eyes don’t light up at the thought of the trick or treat­ing frenzy on Hal­loween night. Par­ents, how­ever, have the great task of mon­i­tor­ing every treat that their child brings home and liv­ing with the inevitable sugar rush. Hal­loween trick or treat­ing can pose many threats for chil­dren; chok­ing haz­ards, unwrapped candy, home­made treats, and food aller­gies are amongst the top food safety con­cerns.  Not to men­tion an excess of empty and nutrient-void calo­ries.  But, as a rite of pas­sage in Amer­i­can child­hood, who are we to pooh-pooh all the fun?

 

Fol­low these safety con­cerns to enjoy a safe and fun Hal­loween holiday:

 

  • Feed your chil­dren a power din­ner before they ven­ture out in their cos­tumes.  Lots of pro­tein and fiber to fill them up, and plenty of veg­gies to coun­ter­act the inevitable choco­late over­dose at the end of the night.  Make it early enough so they can con­tain their excite­ment and the fam­ily din­ner isn’t inter­rupted by con­tinue door bell ring­ing of other trick or treaters!  What­ever you do, don’t send them out on an empty stom­ach or you know exactly what they’ll be eat­ing for dinner!
  • Chil­dren shouldn’t snack while they’re out trick-or-treating.  Urge your chil­dren to wait until they get home and you have had a chance to inspect the con­tents of their “goody bags.”
  • Tell chil­dren not to accept – and espe­cially not to eat – any­thing that isn’t com­mer­cially wrapped.
  • Par­ents of very young chil­dren should remove any chok­ing haz­ards such as gum, peanuts, hard can­dies or small toys.
  • Inspect com­mer­cially wrapped treats for signs of tam­per­ing, such as an unusual appear­ance or dis­col­oration, tiny pin­holes, or tears in wrap­pers.  Throw away any­thing that looks suspicious.
  • Con­sider toss­ing all candy the next day or at the end of the week.  There are many places that gladly accept dona­tions …. Hal­loween Candy Buy Back where den­tists “pay” for returned candy and then donate it to Amer­i­can troops over­seas (http://www.halloweencandybuyback.com/), Oper­a­tion Shoe­box (https://operationshoebox.com), and Oper­a­tion Grat­i­tude (https://www.operationgratitude.com) offer sim­i­lar options.  A great way to help your child feel good about giv­ing their Hal­loween treats away!
blog-schoollunch

National School Lunch Week

blog-schoollunch

National School Lunch Week (NSLW) is a week long national cel­e­bra­tion run­ning from Octo­ber 14th to the 17th.  This year, the NSLW is focused on empha­siz­ing the rela­tion­ship between healthy foods and an active lifestyle.

 

Ini­tially cre­ated in 1962 by Pres­i­dent John F Kennedy, the hol­i­day serves as a way to pro­mote the ben­e­fits of school lunch. Unfor­tu­nately, today’s school lunch pro­grams are a con­tentious sub­ject. On one hand, strict reg­u­la­tions are emerg­ing from the nation’s cap­i­tal, aim­ing to curb obe­sity rates by set­ting a high bar for what con­sti­tutes a healthy school meal in pub­lic schools. On the other hand, school lunch direc­tors are strug­gling to fight food waste that they claim is being gen­er­ated by the imple­men­ta­tion of these guide­lines.  School lunch is as con­tro­ver­sial as ever.

 

If you want to see changes in the foods served at your child’s school, please reach out to WT Café today and let us help you trans­form school food ser­vice for your child.  We believe that food made from scratch and served in age-appropriate por­tions is the best approach to school lunch.  It shouldn’t have to be this complicated…let’s get back to basics and cook from scratch for our kids.

SONY DSC

Tomato and Toast Salad

SONY DSC

You will need:

  • 3 cups cherry toma­toes, cut in half
  • chopped fresh basil or pars­ley leaves (1⁄4 cup)
  • chopped red onion (1⁄4 teaspoon)
  • salt (2 tablespoons)
  • olive oil (1 1⁄2 tablespoon)
  • fresh lemon juice (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 gar­lic clove, peeled and minced or put through a gar­lic press
  • 3 cups toasted or grilled day-old whole grain bread, cut into 1-inch squares

 

Method:

  1. Put the toma­toes, basil or pars­ley, red onion, salt, olive oil, lemon juice, and gar­lic in a mix­ing bowl and mix well.
  2. Add the bread and mix again mak­ing sure bread is com­pletely cov­ered in oil and lemon juice. Taste the salad, and add more lemon, herbs, or salt if you think it needs it. This is a great oppor­tu­nity to let every­one taste it and talk about what they taste!
  3. Cover and refrig­er­ate at least 20 min­utes, up to overnight. This can be eaten cold when the juices from the tomato have had a chance to be soaked up by the lit­tle bits of toast! Yum!
TAMATO

Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

TAMATO

This month are fea­tur­ing an abun­dant super food that is well known by any­one who’s ever eaten a slice of pizza. No…it’s not anchovies!  We’re talk­ing about the hum­ble yet ver­sa­tile tomato! But the tomato, as we know, is as con­tro­ver­sial as it is deli­cious. After all, it lies at the heart of an ongo­ing debate that has con­founded crit­ics for centuries:

 

Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?

 

Botan­i­cally, some argue, a tomato is con­sid­ered a fruit. But, as oth­ers point out, it is com­monly pre­pared as a veg­etable. This puz­zling ques­tion was even brought to trial in 1893 when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be a veg­etable. This debate may very well go on for­ever, but the one thing we can all agree on is that the tomato is a deli­cious addi­tion to sal­ads, sauces, and snacks alike.

 

Sadly, Sep­tem­ber is the time of year when toma­toes are slowly going out of sea­son in the north­ern­most states, while still grow­ing big and juicy in the rest of the coun­try. So get them before they’re all gone! They’re chock full of antiox­i­dants (lycopene) that help build up a strong immune sys­tem. And did you know that eat­ing fresh toma­toes can help lower bad cho­les­terol mak­ing it good for your over­all heart health? But per­haps the most impor­tant nutri­tional ben­e­fit of a tomato is its excep­tion­ally high vit­a­min C con­tent!  Kind of like, what are those things called? Oh yeah, fruits!

 

Toma­toes come in all shapes, sizes, and col­ors includ­ing deep orange, pur­ple, and maroon. When select­ing them, don’t neglect the “uglys.” Instead, base your selec­tion on the sweet aroma that a ripe tomato will release and it’s impor­tant to make sure they have a rich color. Store them at room tem­per­a­ture as they are sen­si­tive to cold and pair them with, well, just about anything!