Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Here is a great article I found on the 'Skinny in The City' Newsletter. I love bananas and they are a snack of choice for my kids too. Especially when they get home from school. Now I finally know all the benefits to this yummy fruit. Enjoy! - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

Go Bananas!

Recently, I was sent an old-fashioned e-mail blast. It wasn’t about love or friendship nor did it warn me that if I didn’t send it to 10 people I would have bad luck for the rest of my life. It was actually about the many health benefits of bananas — some of which were a bit exaggerated. I love bananas. As a child, I often baked banana bread; my favorite dessert is banana cream pie; and my meal of choice before running the NYC marathon was a peanut butter and banana sandwich. It truly is an amazing fruit chock-full of the kind of nutrition that’s bursting with energy — but no one benefits from nutrition exaggeration! So here’s my own homage to my favorite fruit — with credible info you can count on.

The top five reasons you should start eating bananas:

1. They lift your spirits. Since bananas contain tryptophan, which is a precursor for serotonin (the happy brain chemical), they can have a calming effect on our minds and bodies.

2. They can help reduce blood pressure. Bananas are an excellent source of potassium, which is an electrolyte involved in muscle control, nerve function, and blood pressure. Therefore, it has the ability to restore potassium lost through sweat in athletes and prevent muscle cramping. Increased potassium intake may also help excrete sodium from our bodies, which can help reduce blood pressure. One banana contains about 440 mg of potassium — more than 20% of our daily need.

3. They help you… er… go. Bananas contain pectin, a source of soluble fiber, which can help our digestive systems and maintain normal bowel function. A medium banana contains about 27 grams of carbohydrate and 3 grams of dietary fiber.

4. They give you energy. Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, which helps make iron more available to the body and therefore can help reduce risk of anemia. In addition, B6 is a vital component of the pathway that converts carbohydrates and fat into energy. And more energy = better mood!

5. They’re perfectly packaged. Bananas are packaged naturally by Mother Earth which makes them a convenient snack that won’t get destroyed or melt in your handbag as the warm weather arrives.

How to select bananas:
Choose plump, even-colored bananas without a green tip. You can ripen bananas at home by placing them in a brown paper bag on your kitchen counter. If they become full of brown speckles, just use them to make banana bread.

My favorite ways to eat ‘em: Besides bread, pies, and sandwiches, bananas are great in smoothies, cereal, yogurt, or ice cream. You can even freeze a banana and eat it as a popsicle for longer-lasting goodness.

Rachel Berman RD, CSR, CDN

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Gourmet Sauces

Hi ladies, I found this article on The Everyday CHeapskate Newsletter and I thought some of you would love these gourmet sauce recipes. I make alot of chicken and it can get boring if you don't change it up. What better way than with a new sauce! yummy! - Tamra (a.k.a. The Frugal Mom)

Make Your Own Gourmet Sauces

Not long ago, I managed to land a terrific bargain on chicken breasts. As I was loading up my grocery cart, I got the idea to make Orange Chicken for dinner. I headed to the condiments aisle to find some kind of orange glaze.

Sure enough, I found a jarred Chinese orange sauce glaze. But the price nearly knocked me into the cart with the chicken: $7.29 for 12 ounces. Are you kidding? That was the day I learned how to make my own orange sauce.

Here is that recipe, plus a few of my other favorite sauces.

Orange Glaze

1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (optional)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

In a medium saucepan, mix together the sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour. Then stir in the orange juice, lemon juice, ginger and water, stirring until well incorporated. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Let boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, orange and lemon zest and stir together. Serve hot over cooked chicken or pork.

Teriyaki Sauce and Marinade

2/3 cup mirin*
1 cup soy sauce
4 1/2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/3 cup white sugar
7 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 dash red pepper flakes
black pepper to taste

Bring mirin to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Pour in soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, and sugar. Season with garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and black pepper. Simmer 5 minutes longer. Store in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator.

*Mirin is Japanese sweet rice wine.

Barbecue Sauce

2 cups ketchup
2 cups tomato sauce
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/2 cup molasses
4 teaspoons hickory-flavored liquid smoke
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Pour all ingredients into a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat. Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for up to 20 minutes, depending on how thick you want the sauce. Sauce can also be thinned using a bit of water if necessary. Brush sauce onto any kind of meat or poultry during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Low-Fat Horseradish Sauce

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 cup nonfat sour cream

In a small bowl, whisk all of the ingredients together. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator up to two weeks. Serve with roast beef or as a sandwich spread.

Want more recipes? I have created a great booklet called "Dip It!," packed full of recipes for dips and sauces that are family friendly. Never undervalue a great dip to get the kids to eat just about anything!

©Copyright 2010 Mary Hunt
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