February 2009

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In This Edition
February 2009
Chocolate and Raisins — Wise Choices for Better Health
Valentine’s Day — More Chocolate and Raisins
Presidents Days 2009
Lincoln’s Birthday and Bicentennial
George Washington
Harbinger of Spring — Ash Wednesday
Health and Nutrition
Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month — Education through sampling

Valerie Waters’ Health and Fitness Video Tips — Tone My Abs

More News from California Raisins

Recipe of the Month — Skirt Steak “Bourbon Street Style”

2009 California Raisins Recipe Calendar is online! Go to www.loveyourraisins.com/ raisins_home/calendar.cfm to download and enjoy the delicious, nutritious California Raisin recipes for a Wise Choice every month.

February 2009

Life is a journey. Bring a healthy snack along.

Chocolate and Raisins — Wise Choices for Better Health

Our Growers Favorite Oatmeal Raisin CookiesUnless you have added a handful of chocolate chips to Our Growers Favorite Oatmeal Raisin Cookies or nibbled on Raisin and Chocolate Filled Cookies, it is hard to believe the wonderful flavors derived from the combination of these two foods. California Raisins are the wise choice for better eating, but did you know that there are potential health benefits in chocolate, too?

Raisin and Chocolate Filled CookiesCocoa and dark chocolate have been shown to benefit the circulatory system and may have beneficial effects that include anticancer, brain stimulator, cough prevention, and some antidiarrheal effects. Epicatechins in cocoa and dark chocolate possess a significant antioxidant action, protecting against LDL oxidation. The theobromine ingredient was found to be almost one-third more effective than codeine in treating coughs, and the chocolate also appears to soothe and moisten the throat. Flavonoids, the water-soluble plant pigments that make berries colorful and dark chocolate have gotten a lot of positive press lately. They can inhibit the development of diarrhea, suggesting an antidiarrheal effect for chocolate. Flavonoids from cocoa were associated with a 4% improvement in blood flow and with average reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 5.88 and 3.3 mmHg, respectively. You’d need to consume about 1.75 ounces (about 50 grams) of dark chocolate daily to see such benefits, so you need to also take into account the fat (about 25 grams) and calories (about 250 kcal) in chocolate.

So add a couple of Chocolate Raisin Crinkles or Choco-Raisin Nuggets to your snack list, and enjoy this combination of flavors and their added benefits, often.

It is a challenge to keep all these chemicals straight, but concentrating on a diet high in vegetables and fruits can do your body good without breaking out a textbook at every meal. ” While an overall diet rich in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of many cancers and other diseases, you cannot make up for a poor diet simply by taking pills.”

Valentine’s Day — More Chocolate and Raisins

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that, worldwide, approximately one billion valentines are sent each year, and that, women purchase approximately 85 percent of all of them. While chocolate is regularly eaten for pleasure and an aphrodisiac effect is as yet unproven, a gift of chocolate is a familiar courtship ritual and a most welcome valentine.

No-Bake Raisin Chocolate Cherry Liqueur BallsSo take those wonderful combined flavors of raisins and chocolate and add in a few good health benefits for someone you love, this Valentine’s Day. Little things like No-Bake Raisin Chocolate Cherry Liqueur Balls or some Chocolate-covered Raisin Clusters will go a long way toward winning hearts on February 14.

Double Glazed Rum Raisin Chocolate Cake To make points with your honey, “there’s nothin’ that says lovin’ like somethin’ from the oven”, to quote an old tune. Pull out all the stops and serve one of these decadent desserts, Double Glazed Rum Raisin Chocolate Cake or Rich Chocolate Brownies with Raisin-Chocolate Sauce.

Presidents Days 2009

Since 1971 the United States has celebrated Washington’s Birthday on the fourth Monday in February. This year that falls on February 16, and is preceded closely by Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12. Just a few short weeks after the inauguration of our 44th President, we will again honor our First and Sixteenth Presidents — George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. So February is a great time to plan one or two of those very patriotic — red, white and blue celebrations, to commemorate our auspicious past.

Along with flags; tall red, white and blue hats; and bunting galore, this is an opportunity to feature favorite foods of those Presidents’ and do a little Education through sampling, as Valerie Waters suggests, by encouraging your kids to try some foods that they might not otherwise.

Lincoln’s Birthday and Bicentennial

On February 12, the nation will mark the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s Birthday when President Barack Obama will join other renowned dignitaries in presenting wreaths at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. on behalf of the people of the United States and other organizations.

Coleslaw with Raisins and PeanutsLincoln’s favorite foods may be served at banquets and luncheons to commemorate the occasion, too. When those preferences are mentioned, fricasseed chicken comes up quite often, and fruit salad, cheese and crackers are mentioned frequently. He avoided hunting and fishing because he did not like killing animals, even for food. At 6 foot 4 inches, he was taller than George Washington, but weighed in at only 170 pounds before he assumed the Presidency, but lost weight while in the White House. Perhaps, he should have partaken of California Raisins’ Fricassee of Chicken Casserole with Bourbon and Raisins, once in awhile. A Warm Party Brie when they entertained dignitaries, might also have been one of his favorites. We would like to believe that an Apple Raisin Compote, California Raisin-Apple Salad, or Coleslaw with Raisins and Peanuts took him back to his roots in Illinois while he served in the White House.

George Washington

If you have ever wondered what George Washington listed as his favorite foods, it probably was not cherries, even though he may never have chopped down the tree. His preferences are sometimes listed as ice cream and fish; other times string beans with mushrooms, cream of peanut butter soup, and mashed sweet potatoes with coconut make the list while others make a point of his breakfast preference for hoe cakes topped with butter and honey.

Skirt Steak We do know that he understood how to entertain those who dined at the executive residence and once referred to Mount Vernon as a “well-resorted tavern” noting that he and Mrs. Washington seldom dined alone. As a gentleman farmer employing cooks and servants of all kinds, we can imagine that Washington may have from time to time served a version of our Recipe of the Month, Skirt Steak “Bourbon Street Style”.

Fish Stew with California Raisins Grilled Tuna with California Golden Raisin ChutneySalt cod and tuna, indigenous to the East Coast, may well have appeared on their tables in preparations similar to Fish Stew with California Raisins or Grilled Tuna with California Golden Raisin Chutney. While dishes like No-Fuss Fish and Trout Stuffed with Raisins may have provided somewhat more ordinary fare.

Harvest Butternut Squash Soup with California Golden Raisin CrostiniAdding a bit of peanut butter to either the Harvest Butternut Squash Soup with California Golden Raisin Crostini or the Cream of Raisin Soup would provide just the right feeling of homely comfort that one envisions at a “well-resorted tavern.” And it would be hard to resist Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raisins or Sweet Potatoes with Raisin-Orange Sauce when accompanied by some Raisin Coconut Macaroons.

Harbinger of Spring — Ash Wednesday

Roasted Salmon with Pearl Barley and Parsley CoulisJust before February leaves us and the winds of March begin, Western nations will usher in Spring and all it has to offer with the beginning of Lent on Ash Wednesday, February 25.

Saffron-infused Sea Bass with California Raisins, Butter Beans and GarlicJumbo Shrimp with Pernod-plumped California Raisins and FennelIn preparation for this solemn occasion and the season that follows, consider these elegant fish presentations. When you have guests Roasted Salmon with Pearl Barley and Parsley Coulis; Saffron-infused Sea Bass with California Raisins, Butter Beans and Garlic; or Jumbo Shrimp with Pernod-plumped California Raisins and Fennel will get rave reviews.

Golden Raisin and Lentil SaladWarm Soba Salad with Currant DressingFor more at-home, protein-rich, family meals, Golden Raisin and Lentil Salad, Warm Soba Salad with Currant Dressing, Couscous with Vegetables, or Seven Vegetable Tagine with Chickpeas and Raisins are the wise choices.

These are just a few of the great recipes to be found at LoveYourRaisins.com. Wherever you go, whatever you do, California Raisins can add to the fun and enjoyment. From snacks to soups and sauces to special desserts, they are the Wise Choice for better eating, every time!

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