November 2008


November 2008

About Thanksgiving
Here’s the Turkey
Pumpkin Every Which Way
Health and Nutrition
Valerie Waters’ Tip of the Month – Be Consistent

Valerie Waters’ Health and Fitness Video Tips

More News from California Raisins

Recipe of the Month – Pumpkin Spice Muffins

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

About Thanksgiving

With Halloween just a memory, it’s time to gear up for the next, as Rachael Ray puts it, “triumvirate of holidays” — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years! All of these bring family and friends closer and build a spirit of togetherness that endures for a lifetime. What or where you eat isn’t as important as the fact that you are setting aside time to get together. Meals aren’t just about food; they are a way for families to thrive.

The true spirit of Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what we have, and this year that includes, not just the tradition of sharing with friends and family, but amazing indigenous and local ingredients, and an abundance of recipes to make the day all the more enjoyable.

Local Foods

One of the hottest culinary trends is the local food movement suggesting that food choices be limited to anything grown within 50 to 100 miles of where you live. Just for starters, you can incorporate a few samples of local and seasonal ingredients into your Thanksgiving menu and serve many of the same dishes that were served at the first dinner the Pilgrims and Native Americans enjoyed. Check out nearby farmers’ markets and truck stands or ask your supermarket if it carries locally grown food. Look for seasonal offerings such as squash, pumpkins, parsnips, turnips, mustard greens, kale, pears, cranberries and apples. Locally produced dairy products, honey, jams and turkeys are also available in some communities.

Then, consider those sweet, tangy California raisins as another way to enjoy the bountiful harvest. Dried in the hot California sun, there is no extra water weight to deal with so they conserve energy as they are shipped to your local supermarket, too.

Healthier Feasts

Getting into the spirit of the holidays often leads to suddenly throwing a whole year’s worth of nutrition know-how out the window. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, the whole world turns into a moveable feast and temptation is everywhere. How do you keep from falling off the wagon as you go over the river and through the woods to that Thanksgiving dinner or to the office party or all those other gatherings, galas, and festivities? Try these!

  1. Emphasize low calorie vegetables and good-for-you fruits.
  2. Serve a light vegetable salad as the first course.
  3. Begin the buffet with a bowl of veggies or pass them first at the table.
  4. Add eye-appeal and interest with more vegetables.
  5. Avoid adding butter, oils or cheese to potato and vegetable preparations.
  6. Fortify the turkey dressing with vegetables like diced onions, celery, or carrots.
  7. For an even more nutritious dressing, omit the salt and use whole-grain bread or brown rice.
  8. Make gravy a choice or omit it altogether.
  9. Be mindful of portion sizes.
  10. Provide plain fruit options for dessert.
  11. Provide plenty of water and non-caloric beverages at all time.

Finally, pick one of Valerie Waters’ Health and Fitness Video Tips and workout, everyday. Then, follow her tip to be consistent. As she says, “Being healthy means consistently making wise choices over time. Nobody gets fit in one workout, nor do they change their eating habits in one week. It is important to be consistent in the messages you deliver to your kids. You will make a greater impact explaining the importance of exercise to your children, if you are committed to your own exercise routine.”

Abundant Recipes

Sweet and Sour ColeslawMunch away on California Raisins Squared or Crunchy Vegetable Pakoras with Raisin-Tamarind Chutney while dinner is cooking. Then, start the meal with California Raisin Rice ‘n Broccoli Salad, Sweet and Sour Coleslaw, or Spinach Salad with Pears and Raisins.

Raisin-Apple Stuffed SquashFollow with these healthy vegetable preparations — Raisin-Apple Stuffed Squash or Vegetables and Apples with Raisin Sauce and choose Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Raisins or Sweet Potatoes with Raisins and Poblano Chile Rajas to add more nutrition and lose the gravy.

Cinnamon Raisin RollsAdd California Raisin Couscous with Vegetables or Toasted Couscous with Almonds and Raisins to the menu for healthy fillers. California Raisin Wheaten Walnut Bread and Cinnamon Raisin Rolls bring whole-grain goodness to the table, too.

Harvest Butternut Squash Soup with California Golden Raisin CrostiniHarvest Butternut Squash Soup with California Golden Raisin Crostini is a great way to warm up the party on a chilly day and spicy Harvest Salsa‘s peppery heat complements the turkey.

Raisin Cranberry CheesecakeThrow caution to the wind and serve Raisin Cranberry Cheesecake or All American Raisin Pie for dessert.

Upside Down Raisin Apple TartUpside Down Raisin Apple Tart is another quickie to satisfy that compulsion for pie.

Fruit Flambé with Ice CreamOr offer California Raisin, Cranberry and Apple Compote, Dried Fruit Compote, or Fruit Flambé with Ice Cream as healthier alternatives.

Here’s the Turkey

So, Thanksgiving Dinner is at your house. The whole gang is coming and the turkey is on your to-do list. California Raisins to the rescue! Baste and glaze that bird with sweet and savory Raisin Maple Glaze or fill it to bursting with the tangy fruits in the Dried Fruit and Sausage Stuffing. Raisin and Bulgur Wheat Stuffing adds whole grains to the menu while Chef Canteenwalla’s Savory Stuffing is way too good to resist.

If a whole bird is out of the question and breast of turkey is your choice, Chef Gerald Hirigoyen’s Breast of Turkey Stuffed with Chestnuts, Pistachios and California Raisins is a fruit and nut filled treasure, or add a bit of an ethnic flavor with California Raisin, Sweet Plantain and Walnut-stuffed Turkey Breast with Bok Choy Vegetables in Guava Sauce is fusion food at it’s best.

Raisin Apricot ChutneyFinally, tantalize everybody with Raisin Apricot Chutney — the perfect accompaniment to a perfectly roasted turkey.

Turkey Cutlet on Ciabatta with California Raisin and Red Onion MarmaladeAbove all, plan some leftover pieces so that your family can enjoy some of these possibilities. Thanksgiving Day late afternoon sandwiches become a tradition when you serve Turkey Cutlet on Ciabatta with California Raisin and Red Onion Marmalade or Smoked Turkey Waldorf Melt. Just substitute thinly sliced pieces of cooked turkey meat into the recipe for results every bit as tasty as if you started from scratch.

California CristoCombine French-toasted California raisin bread with turkey, ham and cheese to serve California Cristo hot for breakfast, lunch or dinner and get the day after Thanksgiving going right.

Asian Turkey Salad and Bombay Salad or Turkey and Spinach Salad with Raisins are quick-to-fix lunch dishes while Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Raisin Sauce can be prepared with shredded cooked turkey for a hot and hearty entrée.

Pumpkin Every Which Way

With Halloween and those jack o’ lantern pumpkins out of the way, it is only natural that we turn to that same seasonal squash for the most traditional of Thanksgiving desserts — pumpkin pie. California Raisins has a couple of variations on that theme, too. See Pumpkin Pie Surprise for a way to break away from plain old pumpkin pie.

Surprise the crowd with a Raisin Pumpkin Cake, Raisin-Gingerbread Pudding Cake or California Autumn Fruitcake. Speaking of fruitcake, right now is just a great time to think about special desserts for the holidays. Make a double batch of California Autumn Fruitcake or Steamed Pumpkin Pudding and tuck part of it away in the freezer to serve for one of those year-end holidays.

Sunshine BarsIn-between-meal treats bring pumpkin nutrition to hungry kids and family, too. Try Nut and Raisin Thumbprints or Sunshine Bars for these.

Spicy California Raisin-Pumpkin CaponataNot into pumpkin for dessert? Spicy California Raisin-Pumpkin Caponata kicks off the party with a savory and spicy first course.

Pumpkin Tamales Filled with Shredded Beef and California RaisinsPumpkin Tamales Filled with Shredded Beef and California Raisins brings a Southwestern flavor to your feast.

Raisin Oatmeal Cookie MuffinsPumpkin Spice MuffinsShowcase pumpkin at the start of the day with Pumpkin ‘n Raisin Waffles, the Recipe of the Month Pumpkin Spice Muffins, or Raisin Oatmeal Cookie Muffins.

Look for more turkey, pumpkin and holiday recipes of all kinds at

Remember California Raisins are the Wise Choice for healthy eating, every time.

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