August 2008

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Health & Nutrition

The Wise Choice for Back to School
Go For the Gold – On To Beijing
Backyard Grilling for Labor Day
Grandparents Day – September 9
Health and Nutrition
Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month - Make a Plan

Valerie Waters Video Vignettes - Time Crunch Workout

More News from California Raisins

Recipe of the Month - Savory California Raisin Trail Mix

America’s Best Raisin Bread Contest

America's Best Raisin Bread Contest

Life is a journey. Bring a healthy snack along.

The Wise Choice for Back to School

All too soon, it is back to school and time to get back to the routine planning lunches and after school snacks. Kids mark fruit as their number one snack and California Raisins are a fruit. They are really good to eat right out of the box or carry along for lunch or quick pick ups before that afternoon soccer game.

Sunshine Snack MixSavory California Raisin Trail MixBut, there must be at least 1,000 other ways to get these tasty little nuggets of goodness into snacks and lunches for kids or dads or even busy moms. For instance, there is that easy, easy Sunshine Snack Mix – kids can do it by themselves, or a gluten-free Savory California Raisin Trail Mix, the Recipe of the Month, that mom can fix in a hurry. A few minutes in the oven yields a number of extra good granolas that are good for breakfast as well as snacking. Check out Granola Crunch Mix, Glazed Raisinola, and Raisin Crouton Gorp for starters.

Dried Fruit and Nut SconesWhile we are talking about breakfast, one of the ways to insure a good day at school or work is with a good breakfast. Authorities recommend 7 to 10 grams of fiber at this meal to slow the absorption of sugar and help maintain energy levels until lunch. Dried Fruit and Nut Scones or Raisin-Apple-Nut Muffins fill this bill.

Raisin Peanut Butter BallsBeef and California Raisin PicadilloThen, when it’s lunchtime, there are a couple of California Raisin tricks that put a lot of good nutrition in the lunch box. A cold pack and insulated lunch box will get Raisin Apple Mini Pizzas, Beef and California Raisin Picadillo, or Island Chicken Wraps to school or the office in great shape. A Breakfast Raisin-Banana Tortilla Roll-up fills up any hungry kid at lunch, as well as breakfast, while cheese sticks and Raisin Peanut Butter Balls or Toasted Raisin-Apple Muchables bring a bit of fun and good nutrition to the meal.

Finally, with the first day of school fast approaching, it is time to listen to Valerie Waters and “Make a plan. Summer is fun and carefree, but with the first day of the new school year, structure returns. Your child’s day quickly fills up with school, homework and after school activities. Now more than ever, it is important that exercise and meals are planned. Schedule meals so that your family eats together at the table at least once per day. This is a good opportunity to slow down and eat mindfully, and sitting together allows you to stay involved in your child’s life.”

Even more than that, research shows that families that sit down together for at least one meal every day are less likely to have members, especially children, who are overweight or obese. If you are one of those moms who never has enough time for all of this, check out Valerie’s Time Crunch Workout video. It could be the answer to a number of problems.

Go For the Gold – On To Beijing

Asian Pear, Spinach and Golden Raisin Salad with Pomegranate-Mustard Dressing and Herb Crusted Chicken BreastWhen that truly lucky eighth day of the eighth month of 2008 comes along and the Olympic torch arrives in Beijing, China, make life really simple with quick fix meals that allow plenty of time to watch and cheer the USA teams on to gold. What could be more appropriate than anything with California Golden Raisins. Asian Pear, Spinach and Golden Raisin Salad with Pomegranate-Mustard Dressing and Herb Crusted Chicken Breast comes together quickly and makes a nutritious whole meal when you add a hot roll. Go with Asian Turkey Salad or Curried Shrimp Salad with Raisins if you fix ahead and serve right from the fridge.

If a side dish is what you need, Pineapple-Raisin Fried Rice is so good with fish, beef or chicken – grilled, baked or broiled.

One way to make the most of this virtual trip to Beijing is to explore the foodie’s dream that is to be found there. Did you know that China is the fourth leading raisin producing country in the world and that, just like the United States, Natural Seedless grapes (they call them Wuhebai) account for at least 90% of their raisin production? Most of these grapes are dried in the shade in a brick building where every other brick has been left out to provide ventilation. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to make the green-colored raisins preferred by the Chinese market. Often compared to California Golden Raisins, these Chinese raisins dried in the shade do not caramelize so there is no need for the sulfur antioxidant that is used in the mechanical drying of California Golden Raisins.

Chinese Chicken SaladNow back to the foods of China, reportedly lamb shashlik, seasoned pork in a steamed bun, spicy wontons, and other specialties are available on the streets, in the restaurants, at the food stands, and with many local vendors for feasting at less than $3.00 USD per day. Some American adaptations to try are the Asian Chicken Salad with Raisins, Chinese Chicken Salad, Chinese Raisin Chicken Salad, or Oriental Salad Bowl. Divide Mango Cake into a microwave muffin pan and steam it in your steamer for a real Chinese experience.

California Raisin-Walnut Wontons with Goat Cheese and Honey Mustard Dipping SauceGolden Raisin-coated Sea Bass NapoleonAdapt those wonton skins to Golden Raisin-coated Sea Bass Napoleon, California Raisin-Walnut Wontons with Goat Cheese and Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce, or take on Chef Paul Wade’s production, Roasted Duckling with Foie Gras Wonton and Shiitake Stew, Orange-Soy Glaze and Homemade California Raisin Apricot Chutney. If you prefer, California Natural Raisins substitute for the Goldens with equal results in any of the recipes mentioned above.

Backyard Grilling for Labor Day

Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers with California Raisin Sambal (Murghi Kebabs)Before you know it, it will be Labor Day and just time for one more big backyard party before the barbecue goes into winter storage. Marinated Grilled Chicken Skewers with California Raisin Sambal (Murghi Kebabs) or Grilled Pork Chops with Pickled Red Onions and Raisin-Fig Balsamic Sauce provide tasty memories to get the grill out early next spring.

Jane's Favorite Tri-colored SaladThen, accent the goodness of any grill creation with Jane’s Favorite Tri-colored Salad or Couscous Salad With California Raisins to guarantee a meal to remember.

One Last Picnic in the Park

Ham Rolls with Raisins (Rollitos de jamon con pasas)Sometimes it is more fun to join all your neighbors and friends at the end of the Labor Day Parade for a picnic in the park. By now you have, or are getting ready, to think about packing lunches everyday, so let’s practice a bit and pack some Wise Choices with California Raisins for a day in the park. Several Kid Friendly meals will get you there and back. Ham Rolls with Raisins (Rollitos de jamon con pasas) or California Raisin Peanut Butter Griddlers made with that tasty California Raisin Peanut Butter Spread are a couple that the kids can help make.

Mayan Soft TacosBeef Carpaccio and Club-style BLT with Honey and Pepper Glazed California Raisins and Red Wine Balsamic SyrupLooking for something more substantial as preludes to take-to-work lunches for you and dad? Turkey Cutlet Ciabatta with California Raisin and Red Onion Marmalade, Mayan Soft Tacos, and Tempting Tuna Pita Pockets are hearty, healthy ways to get a lot of nutrition into those. Burgers with Raisin Salsa and Vagabond Baked Beans are good standbys for any picnic in the park. Pull out all the stops and indulge with Beef Carpaccio and Club-style BLT with Honey and Pepper Glazed California Raisins and Red Wine Balsamic Syrup or “The Sundance” sandwiches.

Grandparents Day – September 9

Golden Raisin Peach TartRaisin Fudge Pecan PieIt is a fact that most Grandparents just love California Raisins. On Grandparents Day, honor them with California Raisins in foods they will love. Stuffed Chicken (Gallena Rellena) or Italian Meatballs with California Raisins put a sparkle in their eyes. For dessert, we recommend Golden Raisin Peach Tart, Raisin Fudge Pecan Pie, or one of our newest prize winning pie recipes, California Raisin and Sour Cream Dream Pie.

Remember California Raisins are the very best in the World for nutritious snacks and lunches.

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Telephone: (559) 248-0287 Fax: (559) 224-7016 E-mail: info@raisins.org