November 2007

In This Edition
Let’s Talk Wise Choices for Healthy Living
This Holiday Season Emphasize Fiber
The Week Before Thanksgiving
Healthy Lifestyle Foods for the Holidays
Health and Nutrition
Recipe of the Month
White Sesame Seed Panna Cotta with Rum-soaked Raisins and Red Dates

Valerie Waters’ Fitness Tip of the Month
Education Through Sampling

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Let’s Talk Wise Choices for Healthy Living

The balance of mind and body starts with the balance of diet.

This Holiday Season Emphasize Fiber

Facing the holidays can be daunting when balancing:

  • Diet — the foods that are good for you
  • Mind — those rich tempting foods that rekindle happy memories
  • Healthy body — let’s not gain weight this year.

There is a way to deal with those challenges — It’s Fiber!

On average, adults in the United States consume about 15 grams of fiber per day while the recommended intake is at least 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed or about twice that much. According to the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences of the Institute of Medicine, that factors out to a minimum of 20 to 35 grams per day for a healthy adult and about 1 gram per year of age plus 5 grams per day for children.

Fiber is so important for the health of the digestive system and for lowering cholesterol that the American Heart Association recommends eating a wide variety of foods to insure a variety of food fiber sources and good sources of other essential nutrients, too. Fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, high-fiber foods, beans and legumes are good sources of both soluble and insoluble dietary fiber.

Soluble fiber has been associated with increased diet quality and decreased risk of cardiovascular disease. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran and oatmeal with the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp.

Insoluble fiber has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and slower progression of cardiovascular disease in high-risk individuals. This kind of dietary fiber may promote satiety by slowing gastric emptying, leading to an overall decrease in calorie intake. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, wheat bran, rye, rice, barley, most other grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower and the skin of apples.

Combining the fiber in California Raisins with these foods can boost your daily fiber intake. To Live Healthy and meet those challenges during the Holidays, add California Raisins and Fiber to your meals and snacks.

Serve Dried Fruit and Nut Scones or Cinnamon Raisin Rolls that you can bake ahead and warm for breakfast. ‘Tis the season for hot Creamy Raisin Oatmeal or a quick Breakfast Raisin-Banana Tortilla Roll-up.

Lunch on salads like Asian Pear, Spinach and Golden Raisin Salad with Pomegranate-Mustard Dressing and Herb Crusted Chicken Breast, Asian Turkey Salad, or Butternut Balsamic Duck Salad. This last one is good with chicken, too, and all are in season.

What’s a holiday meal without dessert? Consider these fiber full healthy alternatives — California Raisin, Cranberry and Apple Compote, Dried Fruit Compote or California Golden Raisin and Fig Delite. Elegant and healthy, too, can be found in the Golden Gate Carrot Cake or White Sesame Seed Panna Cotta with Rum-soaked Raisins and Red Dates, our Recipe of the Month.

If the party circuit is the name of the game this year, fill up on these pre-party nibbles full of fiber to avoid over filling on those high calorie party foods — Jiffy Oatmeal Crunch, Raisin Peanut Butter Granola, California Raisin and Orange Salad Platter (Ensalada de Naranja Pasa), or a California Salad with Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette.

The Week Before Thanksgiving

The family is all going to be here and you are still trying to decide what to serve!

Start with the dessert and get that out of the way early. Parts of this luscious California Raisin Orange Crostini with Chocolate Drizzle and the Honey Poached Pears with Amaretti Raisin Topping can be made ahead and assembled at serving time. Sometimes a good old-fashioned bread pudding is just what’s called for. Orange and Raisin Bread Pudding and Applesauce Bread Pudding are two of our favorites. Or top off the festivities with a Tex-Mex and Latin flare with California Raisin and Brie Dessert Quesadillas, a prize winner in our recent Wise Choices Recipe Contest.

Then go back to the beginning and choose one of these for starters — Tropical Shrimp Cocktail for an elegant, sit down beginning or Tunisian-spiced California Raisin Hummus, another contest winner, for much more informal dipping.

Not into the big bird roast, try Breast of Turkey Stuffed with Chestnuts, Pistachios and California Raisins or Chicken Breast Rolls with California Golden Raisins and Spinach or just go South of the Border with Pumpkin Tamales Filled with Shredded Beef and California Raisins.

Those other little things that help to complete the meal, like stuffing and side dishes can be healthy, fiber filled and just perfectly satisfying, too. Perhaps, a Dried Fruit and Sausage Stuffing or Raisin and Bulgur Wheat Stuffing would fill the turkey to everybody’s liking. Or this year try serving the stuffing on the side in these clever little Maui Onions Stuffed with Curried Raisin Couscous.

Finally, Sweet Potatoes with Raisin-Orange Sauce will move sweet potatoes from candied to healthy, while Tangy Sweet Potato and California Raisin Salad moves them all the way to another course. For a change of pace this year, Lima Beans with California Raisins is another fiber rich nutritious alternative.

Healthy Lifestyle Foods for the Holidays

Floating through the holidays with seasonal and healthy foods is so easy with California Raisins.

Good things to eat and good for you, too, take the form of appetizers and snacks in Spicy California Raisin-Pumpkin Caponata, a winner from our Coast-to-Coast Recipe Contest two years ago that bears repeating every year, and Catahoula and Sazerac Spiced Nuts with California Raisins. Citrus Cider fronts as a hot party drink while a Frothy Yogurt Shake and Fruit Shake provide quick to fix snacks or breakfast filler uppers.

Looking for breads with a flavor boost? Savory Cheddar Muffins or Mary Kay’s Pistachio and Currant Biscotti may be the best choice.

Choose Lamb and California Golden Raisin Pastilla with Pine Nuts and Mint, San Joaquin Valley Chicken or Jumbo Shrimp with Pernod-plumped California Raisin and Fennel when entertaining with sit-down dinner. Simplify with Citrus-Raisin Sauced Salmon Steak or Pan Roasted Sea Scallops with Wilted Spinach, California Raisins and Pine Nuts for other occasions.

Salads and sandwiches simplify family meals when shopping takes up the day or family and friends want to share a meal. Curried Tuna and California Raisin Salad and Honey-Mustard Chicken and Pasta Salad are quick, make ahead salads and Turkey Cutlet on Ciabatta with California Raisin and Red Onion Marmalade and Roast Beef Tenderloin with Red Onion Jam and Gorgonzola Cheese can use up some of those ever present holiday leftovers.

Need some side dishes to fill out the menu, look to Toasted Couscous with Almonds and Raisins, Pilaf Extraordinaire or California Raisin Pasta to fill in the starch category. Moroccan Vegetable Ragout with California Raisins, Sweet Potatoes with Raisins and Poblano Chile Rajas and Butternut Squash-Raisin Ravioli with Brown Butter-Citrus Vinaigrette occupy the side of the plate with taste and fiber. While Autumn Salad, Bean Salad with Artichokes and California Raisin Rice ‘N Broccoli Salad introduce vegetables in other ways.

Fall is the time for some familiar fruits to make their appearance as salads and desserts. California Waldorf Salad, California Raisin and Orange Salad, California Fruit and Antipasto Salad and Pear Waldorf Salad showcase some of Fall’s best in tasty and familiar salads while Honey Poached Pears with Amaretti Raisin Topping and Apple Raisin Compote bring out the best for last.

Variations on the theme for some traditional holiday dessert preparations can be found in Steamed Pumpkin Pudding, Cherry Chocolate Raisin Towers and Warm Party Brie.

Make this the year that healthy eating and fun food is your way to Happy Holidays and an even Happier New Year!

Recipe of The Month

Chef Charles Phan’s White Sesame Seed Panna Cotta with Rum-soaked Raisins and Red Dates is an elegant and showy, easy to make-ahead dessert filled with fiber and California Raisin nutrition.

Valerie Waters Tip of the Month

The holidays are a very good time to follow Valerie’s tip for Education through sampling. We all know kids (and some adults, too) can be notoriously picky when it comes to food. Try taking them to a farmer’s market where they will learn that food doesn’t just come from the supermarket and that there are seasons for different foods. They will be encouraged to sample a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and often nuts or dried fruit. And, a farmer’s market is a fun outing for the whole family. Then, take advantage of all the opportunities for everyone to try new foods during the holidays. Different ethnic groups in your community may have special holiday events and, of course, parties at friends’, different relatives’ and neighbors’ homes can be a whole new food adventure, as well.

Happy, Healthy Holidays from the Growers of California Raisins!