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Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Holidays
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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Pacific oysters

Oysters for the Holidays

If you're going for a traditional holiday meal this season, oysters must be on the menu. The early colonists found oysters to be abundant along the coastal shores, and they were a popular addition to the holiday feast. With oysters being plentiful, they really weren't considered much of a delicacy like in today's world. Oysters can be prepared in many ways. My husband's family makes it...

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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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IMG 1917

A Thanksgiving Meal Scaled Down

Thanksgiving is a holiday where food and family come together: A big feast for a big family. However, not everyone will have a large gathering. In fact, for many, the table may be set for just one or two. Despite this, a traditional Thanksgiving meal can still be enjoyed. First, you must decide on whether or not you want to cook. You could go full speed ahead and prepare many dishes in...

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Baked Beans for your Cookout

Tis the season of summer cookouts, where family and friends gather for an outdoor meal. Whether you're the host or the guest, you'll need an outstanding side dish to accompany the usual grilled entrée. A pot full of baked beans will round out your meal and keep your friends happy and well fed. There are baked beans and then there are Boston baked beans. Baked beans are traditionally mad...

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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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Steak and Mushroom Kabobs2

Grilling Steak for Father's Day

Many grills are sure to be fired up on this Father's Day, and depending upon the honorary dad's taste buds, steak is the choice of meat. When the word "steak" is used without classification, it generally refers to beef. Steaks that comes from the hind end will generally be less tender, as these areas of muscle get a lot of exercise. Flank steak, round steak, top sirloin, or skirt steak...

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French Toast Casserole

A Toast to Mom this Mothers Day

Each year leading up to Mother's Day I see numerous advertisements of local restaurants taking reservations for Mother's Day brunch. Many families take part in honoring their mother by treating her to a meal that she doesn't have to cook or clean up. Whether it's eating out with family and friends or served at home after sleeping in, your mother will be sure to enjoy the pampering. Brun...

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Ceviche

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Ceviche

Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May) is often celebrated with delicious Mexican fare, including tostadas, enchiladas and margaritas! Mexico has many cuisine influences, including the popular Latin American dish, ceviche. But is ceviche safe to include in your celebratory meal? Ceviche is raw seafood that has been marinated in an acid (usually lime or lemon juice), turning the color and texture...

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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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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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Roasted Beets

You're the Beet to my Heart

When people talk about beets, they either love them or hate them. However, they have so much to offer they deserve a second chance! One of the wonderful things about beets is the entire plant can be devoured. The green leafy top is similar to spinach and can be sautéed and eaten, while the bulbous root can be cooked in many different ways, such as boiled, baked, and pickled. Some cookin...

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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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Gingerbread snack cake

Catch that Gingerbread Man!

Somewhere packed between holiday shopping, stringing of lights and putting up the tree is a marathon day of cookie baking and candy making. A platter of goodies just wouldn't be the same without the famous gingerbread man. While this little guy may try to run away from being eaten, he's too tasty to escape and sadly is succumbed to getting his head bitten off. Gingerbread can be cookies...

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Slow Cooker Stuffing

Is it Stuffing or Dressing?

It's arguably the most common side dish at the Thanksgiving table: stuffing. Or is it dressing? Is there even a difference? Some refer to it as "stuffing" if it's cooked inside the bird and "dressing" if it's cooked outside the bird. However, according to Butterball, 78% of Illinoisans and those in the East North Central Region, call it "stuffing" no matter how its prepared. Whatever you name i...

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Rosemary Almond Cookie

All About Almonds

Your recipe calls for almonds but when you get to the store to quickly grab a bag you realize you have to choose between natural, blanched, unblanched, roasted or raw. Who knew there were that many choices for one little nut? More than likely, the only almond you've ever had was produced in California, since it is the only state to commercially produce almonds. Natural and raw almonds a...

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Lasagna Day is Coming!

Posted by Jenna Smith - Holidays

This July 29 th we celebrate an Italian classic: Happy National Lasagna Day all you lasagna lovers. A cheesy, gooey pan of carbs is what makes this meal a favorite of all ages. The ingredients are simple, inexpensive, and feeds an army, making the whole family happy. Lasagna begins with the flat-shaped pasta. Of course, nothing can beat homemade pasta, but let's get real; ther...

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