In this issue:
- Featured Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Fig and Blue Cheese
- Myra's Kitchen Corner: Toffee-Ginger Nut Squares
- Enjoy holiday festivities without Derailing Healthy Eating
- Nutritionist's Notes: Tis the Season to be App-d!
- We Recommend
Featured Recipe: Pork Tenderloin with Fig and Blue Cheese
Recipes that require little prep time or fuss but that still look refined and taste delicious are at a premium as the holiday season kicks into high gear. This simple yet elegant recipe for Pork Tenderloin is one of our go-to holiday meal favorites.
Myra's Kitchen Corner
Toffee-Ginger Nut Squares
Delicious treats are part of the joy of any celebration. In this video, I show you how to make one of my absolute favorite delectables: toffee-ginger nut squares. These melt-in-your-mouth bars are nutty, buttery, gingery, and salty-a taste combination that lingers tingling on your palette. Even a small square is satisfying. You can make up a batch and freeze them. You can even make these gluten-free, by replacing the pastry flour with sorghum flour. Best of all, these bite-sized morsels make special edible holiday gifts your loved ones will really appreciate.
Start by buttering an 8x8 baking dish, then line it with parchment that overhangs the edges on two sides; these handles are convenient for when you transfer the finished bars to the cutting board. Begin with the crust. Sift together one cup of whole wheat pastry flour with Â¼ teaspoon each baking powder and salt, and set it aside. Use an electric or hand mixer to beat 6 tablespoons butter with 1/3 cup of maple sugar (or any other unprocessed granulated sugar) for a couple of minutes, until well-combined. Then beat in the sifted flour mixture, followed by Â¼ cup finely chopped nuts. In the video, I make the squares with pecans, but cashews and macadamia nuts are delicious as well. Press the crust (which looks crumbly at first) into the prepared baking dish, and bake it for 10 minutes in a 350˚F preheated oven, just until lightly colored.
While the crust is baking, make the topping. Melt 6 tablespoons butter and Â¾ cup chopped pecans (use the same variety of nuts that you added to the crust) in a small pot. Cook for a couple of minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the butter is foamy and the nuts are fragrant. Then stir in the rest of the ingredients: Â¼ cup maple sugar (or the same sugar that you used for the crust), 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup, and Â½ cup finely chopped crystallized ginger. Let the mixture simmer for a couple of minutes.
Whisk two eggs in a medium bowl. Add the hot liquid slowly at first to temper the eggs, then faster as the eggs warm. Stir in 2 tablespoons pastry flour (or sorghum flour). Pour this mix, spreading evenly with a spatula, over the crust; bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the top sets and develops a luscious caramel color. Let the squares cool to room temperature in the pan, then sprinkle the top with coarse sea salt; lightly press the salt granules into the top. Using the flaps of the parchment as handles, lift the bars out of the pan and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into squares: sixteen if they are for a full dessert, and twenty-five if they are tea treats or holiday gifts. Keep the squares covered, at room temperature, for up to five days, refrigerate them for up to two weeks, or freeze to have on hand any time. This way, you'll have an exciting delight ready for when you have guests over, or for when you want a little extra pleasure. Happy holidays!
Nutritionist's Notes: Tis the Season to be App-d!
By Kathie Madonna Swift MS RDN
Looking for cutting edge nutrition and fitness info to have at your fingertip? There are apps galore to choose from! Here is the "Swift List" with a dozen of my favorites:
Scan barcodes for a healthful evaluation of your food! Fooducate's scientific algorithms grade each product and provide simple, concise explanations. Grading system developed by scientists, dietitians and concerned parents.
Non-GMO Project Shopping Guide
Designed to support consumers in knowing what's in our food and avoiding GMOs, this app features a list of the brands and products that are enrolled in the Non-GMO Project's Product Verification Program.
Locavore & NRDC Eat Local
These two apps guide you to finding local, seasonal food. Locate nearby farmers' markets and farms in your area.
Harvest helps you select the freshest, ripest, and best-tasting produce, whether it's knocking on watermelons, smelling pineapples, squeezing avocados, or examining the color of peaches!
EWG Dirty Dozen and Skin Deep Cosmetic DatabaseÂ®
If you want to eat clean and avoid harmful chemicals on your skin, these two apps from the Environmental Working Group are a must on your mobile.
Gluten Free Restaurant Cards from Celiac Travel.com
Allows people managing celiac disease or gluten intolerance to safely and easily dine out, even in another country, with more than 40 card images in different languages.
A "Sweet" app that provides a visual to help you see how much sugar is in your food based on the number of grams of sugar.
A handy tracker with nutrition analysis features to help you achieve your fitness and weight management goals.
A simple pedometer app to effortlessly track your steps or miles walked, ran and cycled throughout the day.
Fit Brains & Brainy App
Enhance your memory, focus and monitor and improve your brain health with these brain training programs designed by neuroscientists.
Dharma Meditation Trainer
Need a personal trainer for enlightening meditation? This app features 10 levels of enlightenment with deeper quotes to meditate on in every level.
Yummiloo Rainbow Power
My favorite app for little ones! Travel to the land of Yummiloo with a cast of colorful characters who inspire kids to eat healthy along with other positive messaging.
Enjoy Holiday Festivities without Derailing Healthy Eating
By Robin Foroutan, MS, RD, HHC
'Tis the season for holiday cheer, time spent with friends and family, and weeks of festive celebrations starting with Thanksgiving, and culminating in New Years Day, leaving many of us waking up on January 1st with happy hearts but tighter waistbands. The number one question I get from clients this time of year is how to take part in holiday festivities, without derailing healthy eating plans or gaining unnecessary pounds. Like most healthy eating strategies, planning is the key.
- Never show up super hungry to a party or holiday event, since that's a sure-fire recipe for overindulgence! Nothing makes you forget healthy intentions more than a growling belly and a room full of indulgent holiday treats. Eating a small meal of high fiber veggies and lean protein an hour before a party can temper your appetite, making you less likely to overindulge later.
- If you're on an elimination diet, or avoiding certain foods due to food sensitivities, bring something tasty (or a few things) to the party that you can eat in case of slim pickings at the event.
- Remember that festive cocktails can pack on the pounds. Try what Spaniards call "tinto verano," or red wine spritzers. Refreshing and simple to make (just add club soda or seltzer water to your glass of red wine), you'll cut the calories and alcohol in half and still get the benefits of resveratrol-rich red wine.
- Another great trick lies in a tiny seed with a catchy jingle: chia seeds! Try eating some before a big holiday meal. Chia seeds form a gel when soaked in liquid, and they swell in the stomach after you eat them. This gel makes you feel more full with less food, and it slows the absorption of carbohydrates from a meal, which can help you avoid blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Here's a sample recipe of Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding to try before you venture out to your next holiday gathering.
Pumpkin Spice Chia Pudding (makes 4 servings)
- 1 cup organic pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1½ cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
- 4 tbsp maple syrup
- 2½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp ginger powder
- ½ tsp clove or allspice
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Add pumpkin, almond/coconut milk, maple syrup, spices and vanilla extract into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl, add chia seeds and stir. Let sit for thirty minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Allow pudding mixture to sit for another hour in the refrigerator, or until it achieves tapioca pudding-like texture. Enjoy!
Hors D'oeuvres Recipes from Epicurious
At the holiday season we know many of you will be entertaining for the holidays and are looking for some healthier options to serve your guests. Here are a couple of delicious and healthier options we recommend from our friends at Epicurious.
The Spice Bible
By Jane Lawson
Need another gift idea for the favorite cook or spice lover in your life? Then pick up The Spice Bible. It provides a comprehensive guide to the interesting history and delicious uses of 45 foods from around the world. Each entry includes a description of the spice's origin and uses, guidelines on how to include them in menus at home and a wealth of other information, like tips on spice mixes and pastes. It is the perfect gift to add pizazz to the holiday season with more than 250 recipes for appetizers, soups, entrees, side dishes, breads and desserts plus resources and tips on using, buying and storing spices.
Victoria Amory Cooking Sauces, Condiments and Other Elegant and Effortless Foods
For a thoughtful host gift or for an effortless and elegant meal at home, try the new sauces and condiments by our Chef and contributor Victoria Amory. Her sauces and condiments are made using the finest all natural ingredients and offer a myriad of uses for everyday meals and simple entertaining to help make any meal with family and friends a feast. They are sold nationally through HSN or you can visit Victory Amory's website www.victoriaamory.com.
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