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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Healthy Snacks

Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

When a friend gave me a recipe for tuna stuffed sweet potatoes, I thought it was on odd combination. My curiosity got the best of me, and soon my family was chowing down on this sweet-salty blend. Clean plates proved that it was victorious! The success continued when a week later we visited my sister-in-law who served smoked pulled pork stuffed in a sweet potato with coleslaw on top. My mouth i...

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Waffles

Making a Fluffy Waffle

The smell of a light and fluffy waffle cooking in a waffle iron is sure to wake anyone up in the morning. Waffle batter is made with flour, sugar, eggs, milk and a leavening agent, similar in make-up to a pancake. However, while a pancake is thin and spongy, a waffle is thicker and crisp on the outside but soft and airy on the inside. Waffles tend to have a bit more oil or butter, as well as su...

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PBandJ

PB&J: A perfect pair

The peanut butter and jelly sandwich, otherwise known as PB&J, is an all-American classic. It's a lunchbox staple for every kid and adult alike. It's the go-to entrée when the main meal didn't get planned or the back-up entree when the main meal fell apart. Aside from its mouthwatering taste, it's simplicity and ease is what makes this sandwich so great. The cool factor is that ever...

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strawberry crepe

A Crepe for Your Valentine

This Valentine's Day, show your loved one they're loved by making them an elegant treat. A crepe only takes a few minutes to prepare, but due to it's French heritage, it signifies a sort of "sophisticated romance" feel. A crepe is essentially a very thin pancake. Made with flour, milk, oil, eggs, and salt, the batter is pureed in a blender, forming bubbles on top. It then needs a good r...

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Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Healthy Half-Time

This week's post is written by Illinois State University Food, Nutrition and Dietetic student, Madison McClurg! No matter who you are rooting for at this Sunday's Super bowl game, we all are rooting for the delicious food that comes with it! Super Bowl Sunday does not usually come with the healthiest of options on the field, even though we need as much energy and nutrie...

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melonbananaberry

A Resolution That Sticks

As many are embarking on calorie-restricted diets and wearing belly bands to lose weight this new year, others are taking a more simplistic approach: increase fruits and vegetables and shrink breads, pastas, goodies and meats. There's no reason to cut out any one food or food group and doing so only sets you up for failure and possibly depletes your body of certain nutrients. Rather, fi...

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Reindeer Food

Feeding Santa's Reindeer

The holiday season is a magical time of year. The lights are twinkling, snowflakes are falling, and Santa's sleigh is soaring through the sky. The love of a child and the joy of watching their eyes light up is the reason many families choose to participate in holiday traditions. One such tradition is laying out cookies for Santa to eat as he stacks presents under the tree. However, we must not...

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chocolate peppermint popcorn

Healthier Holiday Stockings

Holiday traditions create lasting memories, but have you ever wondered how these traditions got their start? Whoever thought to hang hosiery on the fireplace and stuff it with goodies? While we can't say for sure how it began, the legend has it that St. Nicholas heard a man talking about not having enough money to get his three daughters married, so he secretly slid down the man's chimney and p...

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Baked Holiday Pear

Nutmeg: A Holiday Spice

Nutmeg is a common spice known to flavor a flurry of holiday foods and beverages. It's a key ingredient in pumpkin spice, a must-have in eggnog and a flavor booster in custards. Nutmeg is not actually a nut, but rather a drupe. This means it's a fruit with a single seed, similar to an apricot. It's grown on a female tree with most of the production coming from Indonesia and Grenada. The...

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Apple Cider Pulled Chicken

Apple Cider: A Midwest Treat

Visiting an apple orchard on a beautiful fall day is a lasting memory for many people, including myself. Besides a peck or two of apples, I always remember bringing home a half-gallon or more of apple cider. And it's about this time of year when I get the question: what's the difference between apple juice and apple cider? Apple cider is typically defined as a beverage made by grinding...

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Mug Muffin

A Meal in a Mug

Everyone has their favorite mug, and on days that the mug is actually clean, it gets filled to the rim with coffee or tea. However, this favorite mug wants to be used for more than just a warm jolt in the morning. Microwave mug meals are the latest craze to hit the kitchen. Microwave mug meals are ingredients put in a single mug that are cooked in the microwave. They are the perfect fix...

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Strawberry sorbet  4525439412

4th of July Sorbet

This weeks blog post is written by Illinois State University Dietetic Intern, Erin Fejes! With Fourth of July just around the corner, many people may be searching for a sweet treat to celebrate with. If you haven't tried sorbet made with fresh berries, it may be just the dessert you've been searching for. Sorbet is a frozen dessert made from fruit juice/puree or flavore...

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Papaya smoothie

Step into the Tropics with a Papaya

Step into the tropics by enjoying a sweet juicy papaya. A papaya resembles a melon on the inside, but it is botanically a berry. It has a green to yellow outer skin but is orange to pink on the inside. The cavity is filled with black, edible seeds with a peppery taste. Papaya is native to Mexico and Southern America, and may be found in the early summer and fall. Most of the papayas sold in the...

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Oat Chia Granola Bars

All About Oats!

This week's blog post is written by Illinois State University dietetic intern and graduate student, Erin Fejes! Have you ever wondered why oats have become such a popular food item in recent years? From overnight oats to homemade granola, oats seem to be in many recipes these days. Read on to learn all about oats and why you should add them to your diet, too! Types of o...

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Raspberry Lemon Angel Food Cake

Spring for Raspberries

I think the cold wet spring is finally behind us. And when the weather starts getting warmer, the desire for light and airy foods get stronger. Raspberries, among all berries, are just the pop of spring our meals and snacks need. Raspberries are a bramble, which is a prickly vine or shrub that belongs to the rose family. They come in red, black, purple and yellow fruit types. Raspberrie...

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blackeyed peas salad

Enjoy Black-Eyed Peas All Year

Eating a bowl full of black-eyed peas on New Year's Day is said to bring good luck and prosperity in the new year. However, why save it for just once a year? Black-eyed peas are low in fat and a great source of potassium, calcium, vitamin C, and fiber. With these great nutrients, they just may bring that prosperity to you in the form of good health! Black-eyed peas are actually a bean r...

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Egg-citing Egg Facts!

The sales of eggs notably increases around the Easter holiday. After all, the Easter bunny needs colorful eggs to hide for all boys and girls. However, eggs aren't just for springtime; they are a year-round staple in most people's refrigerators. Have you ever wondered why the egg is shaped like it is? The curved shape makes them less likely to break when applying pressure, explaining wh...

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Parsnip muffin

Parsnips: A Versatile Root Vegetable

Parsnips are a winter root vegetable and valued for their long, white root resembling a white carrot. Parsnips have a complex taste; they are sweet like a carrot, but have more starch and an earthy, nut-like flavor. Large roots tend to be more fibrous with a tough woody core, while smaller roots are sweeter and tenderer. Like other root vegetables, parsnips have a lengthy shelf life. To store,...

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Sweet Potato Fries

Happy National Nutrition Month

This week's blog post is written by ISU dietetic intern and graduate student, Nikki Zintak! "Put Your Best Fork Forward" is an empowering, uplifting phrase that draws attention to something us humans can control: choosing what we put into our bodies. While we have that choice, it is important to realize we also have the ability to choose foods that will benefit our health. The...

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Green Smoothies

Don't Fear the Green Smoothie

This week's blog post is written by ISU dietetic intern and graduate student, Nikki Zintak! Bring on the green! With St. Patty's Day just around the corner, what better way to celebrate than with some festive green smoothies! Smoothies are commonly made with fruit, but why not add some other healthful ingredients to get more bang for your buck? Let's pick apart a smoothie and g...

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Frozen Yogurt Bark

Frozen Yogurt Bark From Your Heart

I'm pleased to introduce this week's blog post author, Stephanie Sanderson! Stephanie is a student studying Food, Nutrition and Dietetics at Illinois State University. This early in the year, there are still individuals going strong on that New Year's resolution of being a "healthier you." However, with Valentine's Day just around the corner, chocolates, candies, and desserts...

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Carmalized Onion Bites

How to Caramelize Onions

I love how produce can taste so differently depending upon how it is prepared. Steamed cauliflower is delicious but when it is roasted, it takes on a slightly nutty sweet flavor. Sautéed kale is soft, but baked kale turns into a thin crisp chip. An onion eaten raw is pungent and crunchy, but when caramelized, it is tender and sweet, yet savory. If you've never caramelized an onion there...

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Berry Cheesecake Whip

Whipped Cream or Whipped Topping?

Many baked goods, such as pumpkin pie or gooey butter cake, taste even better with a hefty dollop of whipped cream, or as my grandpa used to call it: snowbanks. The slightly sweet and airy fluff makes any dessert just a little more decadent. But have you ever wondered what to actually buy for better health? Should you go for whipped cream in an aerosol can, frozen whipped topping, or make it yo...

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eggs ole

Five Foods to Fill You Up

It's that time of year where we try to forget about all the high-calorie goodies we stuffed into our mouths during the holidays and start anew. It's the season of trying out new diets, some of which yield success on the scale but hunger pains in the stomach. Many try to drastically restrict calories to lose weight, but research has shown that this merely slows metabolic rate, making it harder t...

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Peppermint Chocolate Truffles

The Flavor of the Holidays

Much like Thanksgiving is bombarded with pumpkin spice, the flavor of Christmas is most notably peppermint. There's peppermint mochas, chocolate peppermint bark, cool peppermint pies and delicious peppermint cookies. It's the chief mint chosen to flavor candies and gum, and it comes to good little boys' and girls' Christmas stockings in the form of a red and white candy cane. The herb p...

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