April 2007

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In This Edition
Wise Choices – Making Them Last
Celebrations and Events
Recipe of the Month
Chef of the Month
Health and Nutrition
Step 1. Take Stock
Step 2.
Keep a Journal
Step 3. Learn the Basics
Step 4. Learn to Read Labels
Step 5.

Healthful Snacks
Step 6.
Plan Ahead
Step 7.
Be Realistic
Step 8.
Plan for Setbacks
Step 9.
Get Help

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Wise Choices – Making Them Last

Choices for Healthful Eating

Everything has its beauty. Some will see it; others will taste it.

  • Step 7. Be Realistic

  • Step 8. Expect and Plan for Setbacks

  • Step 9. Get Help

Step 7. Be Realistic

  • It takes time to break old habits. Make your changes a little at a time.
  • Begin eating on a regular schedule. No meal skipping allowed!
  • Limit snacks to certain times of the day.
  • Make a promise to exercise at least three times a week.
  • Try cutting back the amount of margarine or butter in favorite recipes or using the lower-fat alternative in place of foods your family likes, such as high-fat dressings or cheeses.
  • If you’re trying to lose weight, set a reasonable goal, such as, to lose no more than 5 pounds per month. Setting your goals too high can lead to letdown and the feeling of failure.
  • If your goal is to start eating healthy meals, try to plan nutritious meals for at least 3 meals a week. Keep those menus – and shopping lists, too – and recycle them when there just isn’t time to do new ones.

Step 8. Expect and Plan for Setbacks

Nobody is perfect. Everyone has times when they eat too much, indulge in fast food, or don’t want to think about eating at all – never mind how healthful. That’s OK. Just keep a positive attitude. It’s not the end of the world if you have had a less than healthful meal. Forget it! Get back on track! And move forward!

Step 9. Seek Support

  • If you are trying to lose weight or just want to change your family’s eating habits, you may need someone who can help you get started or guide you on your way.
  • A registered dietitian can lend support, give advice about choosing foods wisely, and provide guidance. If you would like to find a registered dietitian in your area, call The American Dietetic Association at (800)366-1655.
  • The Food Guide Pyramid at www.mypyramid.gov is full of help with planning healthful meals tailored to your family’s needs. Check it out!
  • Get together with a friend to share recipes and meals plans. It’s amazing what fun this and shared shopping trips can be!
  • Find a buddy to exercise with you. It is so much easier when you must keep an appointment with someone else.
  • Above all, don’t overlook the help that is right there in your family. Healthful eating and good nutrition are the watchwords in many schools, today, so the kids have more to contribute that you might think.

Celebrations and Events

Go Vegetarian for Earth Day – April 22

Recycle. Reuse. Shop Wisely. Plant a Tree. Clean Up and Beautify. Since 1963, when Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin began trying to convince the nation that our planet was worth saving and began organizing the first Earth Day for April 22, 1970, we have become more and more aware of the need to treat this ‘Old Earth’ very kindly. To reduce greenhouse gases and global warming, California Raisin growers have adopted sustainable and good agricultural practices. Our packers and shippers recycle and reuse materials and water, and implement ways to clean up the air and protect the environment. We hope you will join us in our efforts and include California Raisins in your Earth Day Activities.

These hearty, healthy, vegetarian recipes with California Raisins are, not only environmentally friendly, but good for you, too. For a good start any day, California Raisin Granola Breakfast Bars or Raisin-Branana Muffins get you off and running. Healthy, hearty foods for lunch on event day are California Raisin Rice ‘n Broccoli Salad, Coleslaw with Raisins and Peanuts, or California Raisin Couscous with Vegetables. An attack of the munchies in the afternoon is well satisfied with a handful of Granola Crunch Mix.

Hispanic Recipes for Cinco de Mayo – May 5

The 5th of May isn’t Mexican Independence Day nor is it an American holiday, but it is celebrated in both countries for good reason. Marking the defeat of Napolean’s French Army by General Zaragosa and Colonel Porfirio Diaz at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, this holiday reminds us that Mexico’s dedication to freedom and liberty is as strong as ours. If you are ready to pull out all the stops and celebrate Mexican-style this year, put the California Raisins front and center in Chicken with California Raisin Mole, Pork Tenderloin Mole or Red Snapper Veracruzo. These are hearty, but healthy choices, and Mexican Chocolate Rum-Raisin Bread Pudding is the perfect dessert for any celebration.

Mothers Day Brunch, Lunch, or . . . – May 13

Planning a special day for Mom? What better way than with all her favorite sons and daughters — and grandchildren, too, at brunch! Carrot Vichyssoise with Raisins is a good starter and the Fiesta Brunch Strata serves twelve with a healthy, hearty dish that can be assembled the night before.

If lunch is better, Asian Pear, Spinach and Raisin Salad with Pomegranate-Mustard Dressing and Herb Crusted Chicken Breast or Turkey Cutlet on Ciabata with California Raisins and Red Onion Marmalade call everyone to the table.

April is Stress Awareness Month

The whole month of April is dedicated to raising awareness of the stress in our daily lives and looking for ways to reduce it. Remember that old saying, “April showers bring May flowers”? Well, if you need a pick-me-up to weather those April showers, Sweet and Spicy Jerk Chicken or California Raisin-Almond Chicken Curry will insure healthy, heart-warming meals in a hurry.

Then, laughter is the best medicine to relieve stress, but good healthful foods send stress relieving messages, too. It is reported that the scent of bay leaf and lemon can relieve anxiety and depression, while the smell of black pepper and basil may improve memory and concentration, and the odor of lavender relieves anxiety, depression, irritability and panic attacks. That’s why we have chosen Lavender Pork Loin with California Raisins, Figs and Jalapeños as our Recipe of the Month and encourage you to try the other recipes from our Chef of the Month.

Recipe of the Month

Lavender Pork Loin with California Raisins, Figs and Jalapeños

Peppery jalapeños, California raisins and figs sauce a lavender and rosemary infused pork loin.

Chef of the Month

Chef of the Month – Chef Jan Birnbaum

Jan Birnbaum is a native of Baton Rouge, LA, where he once worked for Paul Prudhomme at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen. Before opening Catahoula, a New Orleans-style restaurant and bar in Calistoga, CA, in 1994, he was executive chef at Campton Place Restaurant in San Francisco. Before that, he was chef at Barry Wine’s Quilted Giraffe Restaurant in New York and a sous chef at Jimmy Schmidt and Michael McCarty’s Rattlesnake Club in Denver. Selling Catahoula in late 2003, Birnbaum now travels as a chef recruiter, trainer and consultant for the Kimpton restaurant group. Awaiting the completion of restaurateur Pat Kuleto’s huge Embarcadero venture in San Francisco, with two related restaurants – By the Land, under Birnbaum, and By the Sea, under Farallon chef Mark Franz, opening sometime this fall, Birnbaum looks for another 10-year run in San Francisco. “It’s the city I love”, he says.

With his motto, Providing Serious Fun and Damn Good Food!, at Sazerac in the heart of downtown Seattle, WA, he creates a menu that incorporates abundant local produce and ingredients with the flavors of his Louisiana. Birnbaum has a deep love of simple, gutsy food of almost any style and ethnicity. So, California Raisins fit right into his well-known cuisine everywhere.

Jan Birnbaum’s Featured Recipes

Honey Raisin Duck with Rice Dressing, Gingersnap Gravy and Brussels Sprouts
Raisins and honey flavor roast duck and gingersnap gravy tops it off.

Lavender Pork Loin with California Raisins, Figs and Jalapeños
Peppery jalapeños, California raisins and figs sauce a lavender and rosemary infused pork loin.

Apple Tartlet with Golden Raisins and Calvados Whipped Cream
Apple and raisin tart with brandy flavored whipped cream.

Catahoula and Sazerac Spiced Nuts with California Raisins
Brandy-flamed California raisins and nuts with spices.

Warm Brioche Bread Pudding with California Raisins, Apples and a Berry Sauce
Light and saucy rum-flavored pudding.