Wednesday, July 30, 2008

FDA Extends Consumer Warning on Serrano Peppers from Mexico

Laboratory testing by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has confirmed that both a sample of serrano pepper and a sample of irrigation water collected by agency investigators on a farm in the state of Nuevo Leon, Mexico, contain Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint as the strain of bacteria that is causing the current outbreak in the United States.

As a result, until further notice, the FDA is advising consumers to avoid raw serrano peppers from Mexico, in addition to raw jalapeño peppers from Mexico, and any foods that contain them.

The test results announced today are part of the FDA's continuing intensive investigation into the outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul. The investigation has involved tracing back, through complex distribution channels, the origins of products associated with clusters of illness in the United States, as well as inspections and evaluation of farms and facilities in this country and in Mexico, and the collection and testing of environmental and product samples. One of these tracebacks led to a packing facility in Mexico, and to a particular farm, where the agency obtained the samples.

Previously, FDA inspectors collected a positive sample of jalapeño pepper from a produce-distribution center owned by Agricola Zaragosa in McAllen, Texas. The FDA continues to work on pinpointing where and how in the supply chain this first positive jalapeño pepper sample became contaminated. It originated from a different farm in Mexico than the positive samples of serrano pepper and irrigation water.

The FDA is still analyzing many of the samples taken at various farms in Mexico. If laboratory results warrant, the FDA will provide consumers with additional cautions or warnings necessary to protect their health.

On July 17, the FDA announced it had determined that fresh tomatoes now available in the domestic market are not associated with the current outbreak. As a result, the agency removed its June 7 warning against eating certain types of red raw tomatoes.

Start Kids Cooking In The Garden

(NAPSI)-One way to increase kids’ interest in healthy eating is to start them growing nutritious foods in a garden.

Planting and growing vegetables, fruits and legumes, then using the fresh produce to create healthier meals, is a great way for families to spend fun, quality time together.

Mollie Katzen, author of Moosewood Cookbook, which was inducted into the James Beard Foundation Cookbook Hall of Fame in 2007, has a few ideas parents can use to weave more nutritious foods like USA-grown peanuts and peanut butter into their kids’ diet. Kids love to eat most any food when it’s paired with peanut butter.

• Get kids off the couch and into a garden. Kids are more likely to eat fresh produce--fruits, vegetables and nuts--that they grow themselves.

• If you can’t grow your own garden, take children to a farmer’s market so they can meet the farmers and learn more about where food comes from.

• Grind your own peanut butter by putting peanuts and some peanut or vegetable oil in the blender. Augment it with fresh produce like apples and carrots. Or make a peanut dipping sauce for veggies like green beans and broccoli as a snack or appetizer. Or make a peanut butter smoothie with yogurt and honey. All these recipes provide much- needed nutrients for children and adults.

• Peanuts and peanut butter contribute more than 30 essential nutrients and phytonutrients and can be part of a varied, balanced diet that promotes good health.

For more recipes, visit

Broccoli Dipped in Wonderful Peanut Sauce

1 bunch broccoli (1½ pounds)

1 cup smooth peanut butter

1 cup hot water

2 to 3 tablespoons soy or tamari sauce

3 to 4 tablespoons sugar or light-colored honey

1½ teaspoons minced or crushed garlic

2 teaspoons cider vinegar

3 to 4 tablespoons finely minced cilantro

Salt and cayenne

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Trim and discard the tough stem end of the broccoli and slice the rest lengthwise into 6 to 8 hefty spears.

2. Lower the heat to a simmer and plunge in the broccoli for 2 minutes if you like your vegetables al dente, and for 3 minutes if you like them tender.

3. Drain in a colander and run the broccoli under cold running water. Drain thoroughly, then dry the broccoli by shaking it briskly and then patting it with paper towels. Seal in a zip-style plastic bag and store until use.

4. Place the peanut butter in a bowl. Add the hot water, and mash and stir patiently with a spoon or a small whisk until uniformly blended.

5. Stir in the remaining ingredients, adding salt and cayenne to taste, and mix well. Serve right away, surrounded by steamed broccoli of any temperature. (You can also cover it tightly and refrigerate for up to a week. Let the sauce come to room temperature before serving.)

Yield: 4 to 5 servings

Recipe from The Vegetable Dishes I Can’t Live Without by Mollie Katzen (Hyperion; 2007).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FDA Advises Against Consumption of American Lobster (Maine Lobster) Tomalley

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today warned consumers to avoid eating tomalley in American Lobster (Maine Lobster), regardless of where the lobster was harvested, because of potential contamination with dangerous levels of the toxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).

American lobster, also known as Maine lobster, are harvested from the waters of the Atlantic Ocean from Northeastern Canada to South Carolina, inclusive.

The FDA advisory applies only to tomalley, the soft, green substance found in the body cavity of the lobster that functions as the liver and pancreas. Cooking does not eliminate the PSP toxins. However, studies have shown that, even when high levels of PSP toxins are present in lobster tomalley, lobster meat itself is typically unaffected.

Symptoms of PSP include tingling and/or numbness of the mouth, face or neck; muscle weakness; headache; and nausea. In extreme cases, when large amounts of the toxin are consumed, these symptoms can lead to respiratory failure and death. Symptoms usually occur within two hours of exposure to the toxin. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical attention.

PSP toxins normally occur from time to time in clams and other shellfish and are carefully monitored by state regulatory authorities. The FDA learned of this problem after routine sampling conducted by regulatory authorities in Maine and New Hampshire found dangerous levels of the toxins in lobster tomalley. Some shellfish beds have been closed in recent months due to elevated levels of PSP toxins.

Lobster tomalley normally does not contain dangerous levels of PSP toxins. The current high levels of PSP toxins likely are associated with an ongoing red tide episode in northern New England and eastern Canada. Authorities in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as in Canada, have issued advisories cautioning against eating tomalley.

Fayette Front Page
Community News You Can Use

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Give Your Family a “Super” Nutritious Meal in Minutes

Hard-pressed to find nutrient-rich yet convenient meal ideas on a weeknight after work? Looking for a quick and easy way to incorporate those highly touted superfoods into a meal for the entire family? Châtel Farms helps you find the balance between nutritious, wholesome ingredients and time-saving preparation.

Try this 15-minute recipe for Szechwan Style Beef Crumble Stir Fry with Shitake Mushrooms, Broccoli and Chile Peppers or a 30-minute recipe for Quick Braised Beef Crumbles with Fresh Summer Tomatoes, Carrots, Soy Beans, and Garlic, courtesy of Châtel Farms.

Here are just some of the “super” health benefits of ingredients used in these recipes:
Broccoli stimulates the body to produce its own cancer-fighting substances. It can also help prevent cataracts, heart disease, arthritis, ulcers, and viruses.

Tomatoes strengthen the immune system, slow the progress of degenerative diseases and reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Chile peppers contain high amounts of vitamin C and carotene, and peppers are a great source of most B vitamins, potassium, magnesium and iron.

Soy beans have been recognized as a cholesterol-lowering protein that may reduce the risk of heart disease; may also lower risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers as well as osteoporosis and other bone health problems.

Curry contains a variety of wonder spices like turmeric, which studies have suggested may protect against diseases such as heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer's.

Beef also has a number of nutritional benefits:

It is the number one food source of protein, zinc and vitamin B12, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Iron aids in brain development and supports the immune system, while B-complex vitamins found in beef promote healthy skin, eyes, vision and normal nervous system function.

Vitamins B6 and B12 also may play a role in preventing stroke and heart disease.

15 Minute Meal
Szechwan Style Beef Crumble Stir Fry with Shitake Mushrooms, Broccoli and Chile Peppers

Serves 4-6 as Entrée

1 lb 85/15 Châtel Farms Beef Crumbles
1 Tbsp. Canola or Grapeseed Oil
3-4 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. Fresh Ginger, minced
3-4 dried Chile Peppers
1 cup Broccoli, chopped
¾ cup Shitake Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup Rice Wine or White Wine
3 Tbsp. Soy Sauce
1/4 cup honey

Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Heat a large non stick skillet over medium heat and add the garlic and ginger. Sauté the garlic and ginger while constantly moving the pan until the garlic is lightly browned. Add the Beef Crumbles and chile peppers then sauté for 2-3 minutes until the Crumbles begin to brown. Add the broccoli and mushrooms, give the pan a quick toss, and deglaze the pan with either rice wine (sake) or white wine. Add the soy sauce and honey then simmer until the Beef Crumbles are cooked and a sauce consistency is formed; about 2-3 minutes. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper. Serve over white rice as a light summer entrée.

Prep Time: 5-7 minutes Cook Time: 7-8 minutes

30 Minute Meal
Quick Braised Beef Crumbles with Fresh Summer Tomatoes, Carrots, Soy Beans, and Garlic

Serves 4-6 as Entrée

1 lb. 85/15 Châtel Farms Beef Crumbles
2 large fresh tomato, diced (about 2 ½ cups)
1 cup carrots, small dice
½ cup mango, small dice
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. yellow curry powder
1 ½ cups shelled soy beans (frozen can be found in most grocery stores)
¼ cup white wine
2 cups beef or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp. Tomato paste
½ cup Fresh Basil, chopped
Sea Salt and Fresh Cracked Black Pepper to taste


Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the Beef Crumbles and sauté until lightly browned; about 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato, carrots, mango and garlic to the skillet. Sauté for 1-2 minutes and then add the curry powder. Toss the sauté mix to coat with the curry and then add the soy beans (no need to defrost them ahead of time, they can be added frozen). Deglaze the skillet with the white wine and then add the broth and tomato paste. Simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the Beef Crumbles are fully cooked and the sauté has taken on a sauce consistency. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and then to finish add the fresh chopped basil. Serve over whole wheat penne, rigatoni, or linguine for a healthy summer entrée.

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 15-17 minutes

About Châtel Farms Beef Crumbles Châtel Farms Beef Crumbles are fresh (not pre-cooked), individually flash frozen strands of lean ground beef that go straight from freezer to skillet instantly (no thawing), and they cook in just two minutes without using any oils. The product is available now in the freezer section at Kroger stores throughout Atlanta and the southeast. Châtel Farms is a brand of FPL Foods, based in Augusta, Ga.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nutritious, Easy And Affordable Meals

(NAPSI)-To help keep rising food prices from taking a bigger bite out of your grocery budget, consider stocking up on inexpensive and nutritious staples. Foods like canned tomatoes, pasta sauces, paste, juice and salsa are not only versatile but offer important nutrients like vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber.

In addition to being a vegetable that even the pickiest of eaters like, tomato products are good partners with other healthy foods because they offer great flavor and texture. Right after being picked from the vine at peak ripeness, the tomatoes are cooked and sealed in containers. This heat processing seals in their full sun-ripened flavor and keeps them safe from salmonella and other food-borne pathogens. Plus the heating process provides an enhanced value of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fight disease.

For families looking to get the most from their food dollars, the Tomato Products Wellness Council offers some recipes for quick-and-easy family favorites. Each recipe can be prepared in three easy steps and costs less than $1.00 per serving.

Penny-Pinching Gazpacho

(serves 4)

This recipe uses canned diced tomatoes instead of fresh ones, which can cost more. Per serving, this recipe costs only $0.97, is just 132 calories and has more than 100 percent of your daily vitamin C needs.


1 14-oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 cups of tomato juice, low sodium

½ medium cucumber, diced

½ medium green pepper, diced

½ cup medium onion, finely diced

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oil Black pepper or hot sauce to taste

3-Step Prep

1. Combine all ingredients; mix thoroughly.

2. Refrigerate; serve cold.

3. If desired, top with croutons.

Cost-Conscious Chili Con Carne

(serves 8)

Using turkey instead of beef gives you a great, meaty taste for less cost. Per serving, this recipe costs only $0.95, is just 308 calories and has 45 percent of your daily dietary fiber needs.


1½ lbs. 93 percent lean ground turkey

1 40½-oz. can of kidney beans (1 large can)

1 18-oz. can of tomato paste

1 chopped onion

2 teaspoons chili powder

¾ cup water

3-Step Prep

1. Brown turkey in pot over medium heat until meat is no longer pink.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, then serve.

For more information and recipes, visit

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Preserving Food at Home Can be Rewarding, Costly

Many Americans are trying to beat rising food prices by growing and preserving food at home. Food preservation may save money for some, but not for everyone, says a University of Georgia Cooperative Extension food preservation expert.

“There are many reasons for preserving food at home,” said Elizabeth Andress, Extension specialist and director of the National Center for Home Food Preservation. “Some have to do with finding ways to save money, while others may have to do with satisfaction, creativity or family tradition.”

The two most common forms of food preservation are canning and freezing. Freezing is a quicker way to prepare food for long-term storage than canning or drying, she said. Frozen produce, if carefully preserved, also tastes more like fresh than other preserving methods.

“It costs between 38 and 50 cents a year to maintain a freezer for one pound of food, not including the cost of the produce,” Andress said.

In general, chest freezers are less expensive to run, but upright freezers can be more convenient, she said. Better insulated freezers can cost more to purchase, but less to operate. Frostfree freezers cost as much or more to operate than conventional defrost freezers.
To keep freezing costs down, Andress offers the following tips:

*Don’t place the freezer in a warm place like the laundry room near heat-producing appliances, as freezers in warm rooms use more electricity.

*Keep the door closed. Opening the door frequently uses more energy to keep the food cold.

*Buy the size you need. Large freezers use more electricity.

*A full freezer is more efficient and uses less electricity per pound.

*Clean condenser coils and defrost freezers as needed.

“A well-managed freezer can save time, energy and gas from fewer trips to the store,” Andress said. “To get the most out of your home freezer, freeze only foods that the family likes to eat, and in packaged amounts that can be served at one time.”

When freezing foods, be sure to use the proper packaging to protect flavor, color, moisture content and nutritional value from the dry conditions of the home freezer,” she said.

Containers should be moisture-vapor resistant, durable, leak proof, flexible, crack resistant at low temperatures and easy to seal and mark, she said. Rigid plastic containers can be used for liquids. Freezer bags and wraps are more suitable for dry-pack products that contain little or no liquid.

Vacuum packaging is recommended for dry packages. Read the manufacturer’s directions carefully when using a packaging machine for wet foods. Vacuum packaging removes the air that can lead to drying, oxidation and off-flavors even at freezer temperatures.

“There are also ways to minimize air trapped in other types of packaging,” Andress said. “That is an important factor to control in all freezing.”

Canning can be a less expensive way of storing food than freezing, but more time and energy are spent to prepare and process the foods. Canning some foods can be difficult for beginners and it requires preserving foods by using methods that keep the food safe when stored at room temperatures.

“Food may spoil and make you sick if reliable canning directions are not followed exactly,” Andress said.

Costs associated with canning include the purchase of canners, jar funnels, lifters, jars and lids. The cost of water, fuel and extra ingredients like vinegar, sugar and spices must also be counted.
Canning jars cost $7 to $12 a dozen, but can be used for many years if handled carefully. Lids, however, need to be purchased every year and cost around 12 to 30 cents each when bought in small quantities.

The cost of added ingredients can be minimal with vegetables, Andress said. Most recipes call for up to one teaspoon of salt per quart jar. But, sweeteners for jams and jellies, or spices and specialty peppers for pickles and salsas, can add significant costs.

Consumers should also compare the cost of similar food purchased at the grocery store, Andress said. “Try to find economical sources for foods if you are trying to save money over purchasing them at the grocery store,” she said.

“There are different preservation methods for many foods,” she said. “Choose one that works for your family and produces the form of food you like.”

(Author April Sorrow is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Solutions for the Back-to-School Breakfast Scramble

(ARA) – A popular TV commercial for an office supply store depicts a dad gleefully dancing through the aisles, filling his cart with back-to-school bargains while a singer croons “It’s the most wonderful time of the year” in the background. But when it comes to back-to-school grocery shopping – and especially breakfast shopping – you may find yourself feeling less than wonderful.

For many parents, getting the kids up and out the door with a good breakfast under their belts is a stressful part of the back-to-school routine. Leisurely summer schedules, with plenty of time for breakfast prep, are gone, replaced by the hectic pace of school days – and an even more compelling need to fuel children’s mornings with a fast, nutritious breakfast.

“Ample research has shown that kids who start the day with a good breakfast perform better in school,” says Marcia Greenblum, M.S., R.D., director of educational outreach for the Egg Nutrition Center. “And several recent studies have even found a link between skipping breakfast and overweight or obesity in adolescents. So the importance of a good breakfast can’t be overstated.”

Here are four ideas for minimizing the stress of back-to-school breakfast-time, while ensuring kids get a healthful start to the day:

1. Prepare the night before. Encourage kids to pack their book bags and select the next day’s wardrobe. Parents can pre-pack lunches to save time in the morning. Fill your vehicle’s gas tank in the evening, and if mornings are really crazy in your household you can shower the night before so there’s one less person in the bathroom during peak traffic time.

2. Take five minutes online in the morning to check the weather and traffic in your area. That way you’ll be able to adjust attire and travel routes according to current conditions, rather than have to run back into the house for an umbrella or sit in traffic at a road construction site.

3. Turn off the TV. In many American households, the television goes on as soon as the family is up. But the morning news can actually distract parents from the morning schedule, and kids who get wrapped up in a cartoon or video will be reluctant to leave the house. Plus, during breakfast is a great time to talk about the coming day with your kids and the TV will be an unwelcome intruder on that quality time.

4. Choose breakfast foods like eggs, yogurt or peanut butter that pack the most fuel-efficient nutrients, like protein, in easy-to-prepare, easy-to-transport form. “The high-quality protein found in eggs helps kids feel full longer and stay energized, which is what on-the-go youngsters need,” Greenblum says. “Eggs are all-natural, and they provide the highest quality protein found in any food because they contain all the essential amino acids our bodies need in a near-perfect pattern.”

Since you won’t always be able to keep on schedule and have a sit-down-breakfast, have a few easy-to-carry handheld options in your breakfast repertoire. Scrambled eggs are a great option for a quick-to-fix, on-the-go breakfast. With scrambled eggs, you can serve one dish, half a dozen ways as scrambled eggs can be wrapped in whole wheat tortillas, stuffed into a pita pocket or sandwiched between two waffles. Your family may come up with their own scrambled egg favorite! Be sure to include some fruit and a drink and you have a complete breakfast-on-the-go.

Scrambled Eggs

Makes: One to two servings


2 eggs
2 tablespoons skim or low-fat milk
salt and pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon butter or cooking oil or cooking spray


In small bowl, beat together eggs and milk with salt and pepper, if desired, until blended. In 7-to 8-inch omelet pan or skillet over medium heat, heat 1 teaspoon butter until just hot enough to sizzle a drop of water. Pour in egg mixture.

As mixture begins to set, gently draw an inverted pancake turner completely across bottom and sides of pan, forming large, soft curds. Continue cooking until eggs are thickened and no visible liquid egg remains. Do not stir constantly.

For more recipes or breakfast information visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Monday, July 21, 2008

Block Parties Raise Fun and Funds Across the Nation

PRNewswire/ -- Block parties are one of the most affordable and popular ways to gather friends and families together for fun. And, starting tomorrow, a new national contest is launching to give block parties "funds" and a fresh new feel.

This summer, Farm Rich is searching for the most exciting, fun-filled ideas to gather neighborhood communities, families and friends together to raise "fun" for a cause. Simply visit to enter the Block Party contest through October 31. Enter a great party idea that will benefit a cause, family or individual in need and have the chance to win $1500. Whether hosting a drive-in movie to benefit an ill community member, or a summer picnic filled with sack races and face painting to raise funds for a neighborhood playground, Farm Rich hopes the contest will encourage "funraisers" in neighborhoods across the country!

Farm Rich will choose the top two party ideas and winners will receive $500 to throw the party and $1,000 to donate to their cause of choice. The party winners will also be supplied with $500 in product coupons for favorites such as Farm Rich Cheese Sticks, Mini-Stuffed Pizza Slices and other delicious appetizers to please their party-goers.

"At Farm Rich, we are leading innovators of snacks, appetizers and mini-meals," said Jennifer Meetz, Senior Marketing Manager, Rich Products Corporation. "We've learned that moms care a lot about serving warm and nutritional meals, spending time with their families, and also giving back to their communities. We created the Farm Rich Block Party Program to encourage and reward families and friends joining forces to better their communities."

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Celebrate the Queen Bee in all Women

CC Note: There are plenty of local honey growers in Fayette and Coweta counties. Get some honey and let your "honeys" know how much they mean to you!

(ARA) - Although moms get their own special day of recognition every May, what about all of the other women that help make the world go ‘round? Grandmothers, sisters and best friends all deserve to know how much they are appreciated on a daily basis.

The summer months are dotted with special days dedicated to the ladies. This summer, declare all of the women you know a queen bee and celebrate the things that make them beautiful – inside and out. Keep these dates in mind and surprise her highness with a day of pampering.

Gorgeous Grandma Day – July 23
Girlfriend’s Day – August 1
Sister’s Day – August 3

Natural beauty is easy to attain with an item you most likely already have in your kitchen cupboard – pure honey. Used by itself or with a combination of ingredients, honey can help moisturize, ward off unwanted bacteria and help give your skin an all-over natural glow. Not only is honey a humectant, it also contains vitamins, enzymes, minerals and antimicrobial properties, making it one of the more natural ways to indulge your skin.*

Christopher Watt, Hollywood aesthetician to stars such as Halle Barry and Jennifer Lopez, has developed a database of recipes especially for the National Honey Board that focuses on natural ingredients and easy do-it-yourself directions.

* Not a significant source of vitamins, enzymes or minerals.


The Honey and Gold Luxe Facial

1/3 cup pure honey
1/4 cup papaya, peeled, seedless (optional)
1 banana (optional)
1 Tbsp. Chamomile tea (optional)
24-karat gold leaf sheets

Treatment Instructions:
Steep 1 Chamomile tea bag for 5 minutes and set aside. Mix together honey, papaya and banana in a small bowl. Add 1 Tbsp. Chamomile tea; mix until completely blended. Apply to clean skin in circular motions. Leave on face for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove using tepid water. Apply gold leaf sheets to entire face and neck. You may need to use tweezers to handle as the gold sheets are very thin and delicate. Leave on skin for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, followed by a cool rinse. Skin may appear shiny after application. If desired, wash face with a gentle cleanser. Apply moisturizer.

Note: Honey may be used alone on clean, damp skin prior to the gold leaf application.

Golden Honey Body Polish

1/2 cup pure honey
1/2 cup Dead Sea Salt (can substitute Epsom Salt)
2/3 cup grape seed oil
24-karat gold leaf sheets

Treatment Instructions:
Combine honey, Sea Salt (or Epsom Salt) and grape seed oil. Crush 2 to 3 sheets of 24-karat gold leaf until almost powder consistency; add to honey mixture and combine. Apply in bathtub or shower to damp skin. Work the mixture in on rough areas such as elbows, knees and the soles of your feet. Rinse with warm water. Towel dry and apply moisturizer.

Note: You may also add the crushed gold leaf to further enhance your favorite moisturizer.

Foaming Vanilla Honey Bath

1 cup sweet almond oil, light olive or sesame oil may be substituted
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup liquid soap
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

Treatment Instructions:
Measure the oil into a medium bowl. Carefully stir in remaining ingredients until mixture is fully blended. Pour into a clean plastic bottle with a tight-fitting stopper or lid. Shake gently before using. Swirl desired amount into the bathtub under running water - then step in and descend into a warm, silky escape.

For additional beauty tips and recipes using pure honey, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Healthy Idea: Kick The Kids Off The Couch!

CC Note: Now that the summer vacation time for school aged children in winding down, and it's just gotten plain old hot, be sure to try some easy cooking ideas. This is a great one.

(NAPSI)-Studies show that over the course of a year, children spend more time watching TV than they do in school or participating in any activity other than sleeping. To break the couch habit, you can look for budget-friendly outdoor activities or healthy at-home alternatives.

A few ideas might include a day at the zoo or hiking and swimming. And because activities can work up an appetite, you can “cook up” some recipes that the whole family can create together. Here’s a nutritious recipe that’s modeled after kids’ favorite restaurant foods using Sanderson Farms 100 percent Natural Chicken. It has no added sodium, which is so important to health-conscious families these days:

Cheesy Chicken Quesadilla Dippers

Serves 4

6 Sanderson Farms chicken tenders

1 tablespoon canola oil

1½ teaspoons adobo seasoning or any low-sodium seasoned salt

4 8-inch flour tortillas

1 cup shredded low-fat Monterey Jack cheese

½ cup prepared mild tomato salsa

1½ cups skim milk

8 ounces processed cheese made with 2 percent milk

Preheat gas grill or grill pan with medium heat.

Preheat oven to 300° F.

In a resealable bag, combine chicken tenders with canola oil and adobo seasoning.

Massage chicken through the bag, evenly coating the tenders with spices.

Grill the chicken over medium-high heat for 3 minutes per side or until chicken is cooked through. Chicken should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165° F.

Remove from heat and dice.

Dipping Sauce:

In a small saucepan, heat the skim milk over medium heat and whisk in the processed cheese until the mixture thickens.

Once the sauce has thickened, remove from heat. Cover the cheese sauce with plastic wrap so it touches the surface of the sauce. This keeps the sauce from forming a thin film over the top. Set aside.

Place tortillas on a metal sheet pan; layer half of each tortilla with shredded cheese, diced chicken, salsa and more shredded cheese. Fold in half. Place in preheated oven and cook for 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are light golden brown. Remove from oven and cut into handheld triangle pieces. Serve with low-fat cheese dipping sauce.

For more recipes, visit

An active day can lead to creating a dish together that the whole family can enjoy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Bringing The Beach Home

(NAPSI)-One way to savor the flavor of seaside vacations is to throw a beach party at home and serve up some satisfying seafood. Decorating is a breeze with tiki torches and candles. Spread out beach towels and add colorful pails and beach balls. Encourage guests to get in the shoreline mood by wearing casual seaside attire.

As for the food, SeaPak makes serving great seafood easy. Dish up SeaPak’s Popcorn Shrimp with ketchup to the children, and spoil the adults in the crowd with SeaPak’s Shrimp Scampi or Jumbo Butterfly Shrimp served with a variety of dipping sauces. Visit for nearly 100 tasty recipes, such as Island Quesadillas with Lime Sour Cream:

SeaPak Island Quesadillas with Lime Sour Cream

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

1 package (12 oz) SeaPak® Shrimp Scampi-Butter and Garlic, frozen

4 pineapple rounds (fresh or canned in juice), about 1” thick

8 (fajita-size) flour tortillas, regular or whole wheat

2 cups Monterey Jack cheese or Mexican cheese blend, shredded

¾ cup roasted red peppers, chopped

¼ cup scallions, chopped

Cooking spray

½ cup sour cream

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 tsp. lime zest, finely grated

¼ tsp. garlic powder

PREHEAT oven to 400°. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.

COAT a large skillet with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat to preheat. Place pineapple rounds on hot pan and cook 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove from pan and set aside. Add shrimp to hot pan and cook according to package directions. Lift shrimp from butter sauce (discard butter sauce if desired) and cut shrimp and pineapple into ½” pieces.

ARRANGE four tortillas on prepared baking sheet. Top tortillas with cheese (1/2 cup each), shrimp, pineapple, roasted red peppers and scallions. Place second tortilla on top and spray the surface with cooking spray. Cover quesadillas with foil and bake 5 minutes. Uncover and bake 5 to 7 more minutes, until cheese melts and tortillas are golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine sour cream, cilantro, lime zest and garlic. Mix well.

SLICE quesadillas into wedges and serve with lime sour cream on the side.

Delicious seafood is a favorite indulgence on many vacations. Why not make it the centerpiece of your next beach party at home?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

FDA Lifts Warning About Eating Certain Types of Tomatoes

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is updating its warning to consumers nationwide concerning the outbreak of Salmonella Saintpaul.

After a lengthy investigation, the FDA has determined that fresh tomatoes now available in the domestic market are not associated with the current outbreak. As a result, the agency is removing its June 7 warning against eating certain types of red raw tomatoes.

The FDA, working with officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments, is continuing to follow epidemiological and other evidence showing that raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers now available in the domestic market may be linked to illnesses in this outbreak. At this time, people in high risk populations, such as elderly persons, infants and people with impaired immune systems, should avoid eating raw jalapeño and raw serrano peppers.

According to the CDC, 1,220 persons infected with Salmonella Saintpaul with the same genetic fingerprint have been identified in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Customized Food Comes Home

(ARA) – The idea of customization is nothing new; American diners have always been inclined to make their own choices when it comes to what goes into (and on top of) their entrees. But as more and more restaurants make the idea of customization their focus, the trend is making its way into our homes at a rapid pace.

Celebrity chef, author and produce expert Curtis Aikens is particularly aware of the customization trend due to his focus on fresh vegetables, which often provide the basis for customizable entrees.

“The adage ‘you are what you eat’ has more relevance now than ever before as more Americans seek to customize their meals at home in order to evoke their own individual culinary style, preferences and taste,” Aikens says. “We want our meals our way, and when possible, we want to do the customizing ourselves.”

Aikens cites several reasons for the trend’s explosion.

Healthy possibilities, happy family

“Affordable produce like lettuce and potatoes are essential elements of healthy, personalized meals,” Aikens says. “Personalizing produce is a great way for families to create easy meals together, and because the possibilities are unlimited, everyone ends up satisfied with their creation.”

A big meal at a small price

“In today’s economy, consumers are looking to stretch their dollar by eating out less and bringing the customized dining experience home,” Aikens says. “Whether it’s a personalized sandwich or salad, it’s easy to save money while creating delicious dishes using produce and other premium ingredients, such as Sargento Salad Finishers and Potato Finishers.”

Bringing options to the table

“We’ve grown accustomed to the opportunities restaurants give us to customize our entrees, and we’re no longer willing to compromise when it comes to what we eat at home,” Aikens says. “The popularity of customizing produce means we’re seeking out individuality in our meals, but we’re still staying smart and healthy about it. That’s really encouraging.”

Aikens offers some expert tips on creating delicious, unique (and healthy) customizable meals at home any time of day.

* Omelets are one of the original customizable entrees, and they’re great for filling with a variety of fresh vegetables. Go the classic route with broccoli florets, sharp Cheddar cheese and sliced onions -- or dress it up with asparagus, grape tomatoes and shredded Parmesan.

* Weekends are the perfect time to gather with friends and family for some easy entertaining and do-it-yourself meals. Let your guests top their own baked potatoes with white Cheddar sauce, chives, bacon crumbles and shredded Cheddar cheese, and turn a common side dish into a delicious main course.

* Pasta is equal parts economical and customizable. Cook a pound of your favorite pasta, and let your dinner guests take it from there. Veggies like diced tomatoes and artichoke hearts are great mix-ins. Provide a few oil- and tomato-based sauce options for topping off their bowls. To finish your dish, sprinkle artisan Parmesan and Romano cheeses over the pasta for savory flavor.

* Summer is the best season for salads. The lettuce is crisper, the vegetables are fresher and everyone is in the mood for a light entree option. Sargento Cranberry Pecan Finishers provide a great blend of sweet and salty flavors for a standout salad. Mix and match dried cranberries and crunchy pecans, as well as Asiago and Mozzarella cheeses, which are all included in this Finishers variety.

* Customizing your entrees is great for portion control. It’s easier to cut a serving down to what it should be if you can focus on dressing it up with vegetables, shredded cheese and your favorite herbs for flavor. This works for everything from mini pizzas to macaroni and cheese.

* Produce’s rising popularity has pushed grocery stores to improve their produce selection and presentation. Take advantage of all of the options your local supermarket provides. This summer, dress up your standard salad with an array of unique vegetables for added color and flavor.

“What’s so great about the customization trend is that it provides at-home cooks with literally hundreds of possibilities,” Aikens says. “From pasta to produce, the key is to start with a great base.”

For more recipes, visit

Courtesy of ARA Content

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Warm Up With A Hearty And Wholesome Pork Dinner

(NAPSI)-For a quick yet satisfying weeknight dinner that can be cooked stovetop, try the Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic Olive Oil Sauce. A simple rub of olive oil, salt and pepper infuses the meat with flavor while the olive oil also seals in the natural juices to ensure tender results. Topped with a savory sauce, it’s a great way to quickly turn any weeknight dinner into a gourmet feast.

Pork tenderloin is too little to be treated like a roast and too large to be treated like a steak. Butterflying the tenderloin lengthwise, however, makes it possible to quickly cook this cut stovetop. If the tenderloin is too long for the pan, simply cut off the thin tail end and cook it in the skillet alongside the main piece.

Pork Tenderloin With Balsamic Olive Oil Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 22 to 27 minutes

2 small pork tenderloins (about 12 oz. each), patted dry and sliced lengthwise almost all the way through, then opened up

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup chicken broth

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Pour olive oil into a shallow pan. Dip each side of each tenderloin in the oil to completely coat, then sprinkle each side with salt and pepper.

Heat a 12-inch, heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tenderloins. Cook until pork develops a thick, golden-brown crust, about 5 minutes. Turn pork and cook until remaining side develops the same crust, about 5 minutes longer. Remove pork from heat and let stand while making sauce.

Add vinegar and chicken broth to the skillet; boil until reduced to ¼ cup, about 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in extra virgin olive oil. To serve, slice tenderloins in half lengthwise and then into 1-inch slices. Serve with sauce.

6 servings; about 4 oz. each.

For recipes and cooking tips using heart-healthy olive oil, visit

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Callaway Gardens® Announces William Justus as new Executive Chef

Callaway Gardens® has chosen William Justus as the new executive chef of their luxurious Georgia resort. Joining the Callaway team with a colossal amount of experience, Justus will add an impressive flavor to the 10 casual dining and gourmet restaurants serving up Callaway’s famous southern charm.

Justus graduated from Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio, where he earned an associate’s degree in hospitality management and successfully completed an apprenticeship at the Athletic Club. Prior to accepting his position at Callaway, Justus served as the executive chef at the Hershey Lodge, where he oversaw all aspects of the culinary staff, including ordering, inventory, scheduling and menu development. Justus also held the title of executive chef at Ohio’s Brookside Golf & Country Club and executive sous chef at the Opryland Hotel, which had a food and beverage annual volume of more than $65 million.

“I’m excited and proud to be here at Callaway Gardens. I appreciate the area’s southern culture and the vastness of the property provides a variety of food and beverage opportunities,” Justus said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to work with the staff to develop new southern cuisine offerings that incorporate fresh vegetables from the Gardens.”

Along with considerable experience, the new executive chef brings a creative and competitive edge to Callaway Gardens as he boasts numerous awards from American Culinary Federation competitions. Justus received the best of show “Art of Food” award at the Art Association of Harrisburg in 2003.

Justus joins the exceptional culinary team of John Makin, director food and beverage, and Daniel Dodson, assistant director of food and beverage. Like Justus, both men add credible experience and expertise to the mix.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Web Site Highlights The Nutritional Side Of Hass Avocados

(NAPSI)-If you love avocados, there’s a new Web site that shows--through recipes, nutritional information and expert advice--how those “alligator pears” can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle.

Not that long ago, avocados got a bit of a bad rap, with some people questioning their nutritive value. But in reality, this delicious fruit packs a nutrient punch by contributing nearly 20 vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to one’s diet.

To help educate consumers about the nutritional aspects of avocados, the Hass Avocado Board has developed a new health and nutrition-focused microsite that contains avocado recipe ideas, the latest nutrition news about the fruit, and information about how Hass avocados can help consumers meet the requirements of the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The site also features an “Ask the Expert” section, where Julie Upton, M.S., R.D., a registered dietitian, answers frequently asked nutrition questions about avocados.

Some key nutrition facts about avocados include:

• Avocados act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha- and beta-carotene, as well as lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit;

• Avocados are naturally sodium-free and cholesterol-free;

• Avocados, due to their mono- and polyunsaturated fat content, are a healthy substitution for foods rich in saturated fat; and

• Avocados contain 76 milligrams beta-sitosterol in a 3-oz. serving. Beta-sitosterol is a natural plant sterol that may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

To learn more about the nutritional advantages of incorporating avocados into one’s diet and to get inspired by some delicious avocado recipes, visit the Hass Avocado Board’s new health and nutrition microsite at

Here is a simple, yet delectable recipe that features creamy Hass avocados and a number of vegetables. It can be assembled quickly and tastes delicious!

Meal in a Hass Avocado Half

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Serves 4


2/3 cup black beans, rinsed and drained

½ cup corn, drained

½ cup packaged shredded carrots, lightly packed

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

½ cup prepared chunky salsa

2 green onions, thinly sliced

10 drops red pepper sauce

2 ripe fresh Hass avocados, cut in half and seeded

4 small bunches of radish or alfalfa sprouts


1. In a bowl, combine beans, corn, carrots, cilantro, salsa, green onion and red pepper sauce.

2. Fill each avocado shell with ¼ of bean mixture.

3. Garnish with sprouts and serve.

Tip: Cut a thin lengthwise slice off of the bottom of each avocado half to make the avocados stable on the plates.

Nutrition information per serving: 187 calories; 11 grams fat (1.3 sat, 7.2 mono, 1.3 poly); 0 mg cholesterol; 565 mg sodium; 20.7 grams carbohydrate; 6.3 grams fiber; 5.6 grams protein.

This delicious avocado dish is packed with a number of vegetables and can be assembled quickly.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Affordable, Portable Tuna Hooks Nutrition Into Your Diet

(NAPSI)-Families on the go looking for a quick, affordable and nutrient-packed meal are hooked on tuna.

No longer restricted to casseroles or plain sandwiches, canned tuna can make a great warm-weather meal, whether it’s part of a traditional tuna salad, eaten as a spread or even over pasta for a light and delicious lunch.

Nutrient Packed

The versatile seafood is also high in protein, low in calories and loaded with omega-3s--a series of fatty acids linked to benefits in brain power, heart health, disease prevention and improved energy and movement.

Additionally, omega-3s have been found to help improve cognitive and motor skill development in fetuses and young children, and scientists say they may reduce preterm labor and postpartum depression.

Add to that high levels of selenium--an essential mineral that acts as a powerful antioxidant--and doses of B vitamins such as niacin, B-12 and B-6, and you can see why tuna is a favorite of nutritionists, chefs and families alike.

Americans eat very little seafood--only 17 lbs. a year versus the 39 lbs. recommended by many health experts. Women especially, and this includes pregnant women, are encouraged to eat more fish, a minimum of 12 ounces per week, and they can do so without worry.

While virtually all seafood has trace levels of naturally occurring mercury, canned or pouched light tuna tests well below the FDA’s very conservative safety limit. There are only four ocean fish that pregnant women and women who are postpartum are asked to avoid: tilefish, king mackerel, swordfish and shark.

Affordable and Fast

Tuna’s convenient packaging options also make it a quick way to get your two servings of fish per week, as suggested by the American Heart Association and the USDA. Its affordability makes tuna an easy item to incorporate into your diet on any budget.

You can find tuna in individual serving cups, pouches and ready-to-serve flavors such as lemon-pepper or Thai.

The pouches can be especially good for picnics or other outdoor get-togethers, and the individual cans can be great for camp, work or anywhere else you might need to grab a quick bite on the go. Insulated lunch boxes, bags and small coolers add to its portability.

Delicious Dishes

You can even use tuna in a variety of wonderful dishes, ranging from whole wheat penne with tuna and roasted vegetables to tuna, chilled green beans and roasted pepper salad.

Other recipes include a niçoise sandwich, savory tuna spread and even creamed tuna and vegetables à la king.

The following recipe is simple and very portable:

Tuna Roll-Up

4 servings

1 1-lb. can of light tuna or

2 6-oz. cans

1 8-oz. cream cheese at room temperature

2 tsp. prepared horseradish

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 Tbsp. grated onion

4 White or wheat soft burrito-size shells or wraps

Mix ingredients in bowl with fork.

Spread mixture with a knife over a white or wheat flour tortilla, leaving ¼ edge uncovered.

Add shredded lettuce, tomato and chopped cucumber to taste.

Start with one end of the wrap and roll it until plump and round. Wrap in aluminum foil.

Cut in half and refrigerate until ready to eat or store in a cool insulated lunch box for convenience.

You can find this recipe and others, along with tips and facts, at

Fabulous Fish--Canned tuna is affordable, versatile and packed with protein and omega-3s.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Strawberries--The Fruit With Anti-Aging Super Powers

(NAPSI)-An antioxidant-rich diet can aid in the fight against the harmful effects of aging.

The addition of antioxidant-rich foods into your diet may be easier than you think. According to recent studies, antioxidants in strawberries may help prevent the growth of oral, colon and prostate cancers. Strawberries have also been proven to aid in the communication of brain cells by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, two factors linked to diminished brain function.

“California strawberries are a powerhouse of nutrients which not only taste good but are good for you as well,” says Dr. Navindra Seeram, assistant professor in the Bioactive Botanical Research Laboratory at the University of Rhode Island. “A key factor in many cases of cancer is unrepaired damage to DNA. The antioxidant power of strawberries helps protect DNA from damage. They are true super berries!”

One way to add this “superberry” into your diet is with the classic combination of strawberries and cream. Eating strawberries and cream--or other high-fat foods--together will help reduce the damage to the circulatory system and heart that would normally occur when high-fat foods are eaten. Studies also suggest eating strawberries with cream gives the strawberry antioxidants more time to be absorbed by the body, thus making their antioxidant properties that much more powerful.

Jazz up your traditional strawberries and cream with a savory twist. Drizzle a splash of balsamic vinegar over fresh berries and add a dollop of Devonshire cream for a quick and delicious antioxidant-rich treat.

Available year-round, one serving exceeds the recommended daily amount for vitamin C. Additionally, strawberries are very low in sugar and are a source of fiber, potassium and vitamin B, which can prevent birth defects and contribute to heart health by helping to control cholesterol.

For more information about California strawberries and their health benefits, visit

Healthy living can be the berries: An antioxidant-rich diet can aid in the fight against the harmful effects of aging, especially in the heart and brain, as well as changes in cells that can lead to cancer.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Gullah Cookin'

CC Note: Recently, one of our staff members spent some time digging around in the sand and looking for local fare in the lowcountry. This food style was definitely one of our favorites.

It was a sign I've never seen. Handpainted in big bold letters--"Gullah Cooking." Just what is gullah cooking? Match that up with the bright pink building and the delicious aroma wafting out and up to the street, and it's heaven on earth on Edisto Island.

The Gullah people are descendants from the slave times of old and mainly reside in the lowcountry of South Carolina and Georgia today. Many of the old customs and language have been passed down from generation to generation.

Experience Gullah cookin' and you'll treat your tastebuds to dishes chock full of flavor with rice, shrimp, crabs and other delectable dishes of the region.

Our favorite dishes of this cooking style? Why, it's the Shrimp and Grits with a big side of fresh fried okra and green tomatoes. We also found the She-Crab Soup to be an excellent taste treat.

Need a restaurant to go and visit? Try the Gullah Cuisine located in Mt. Pleasant, SC. You won't be disappointed.

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