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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

Kicking Bad Food Habits to the Curb

The holiday season tends to bring out traditions, or habits, if you will. While most are fun and harmless, others, while they may have the best intentions, need to retire. Here's my top five food-related habits that need to be broken: Cooking in a paper bag - I'm not sure how this got started, but cooking in a paper bag, whether it's a turkey in the o...

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Getting Fancy with Custard

For some, the holidays are a time to get fancy. You wear your best dress or tuxedo to the corporate holiday party, you set out your grandmother's fine china, and you actually use that dining room table as a place to eat rather than a place to store all of life's daily belongings. It's also a time to serve fancier food. Flan, crème brulee and crème anglaise are three examples of a custard that s...

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Caring for Leftovers

The stores are in full fledge Christmas mode, the Hanukkah or Christmas decorations are already up, and the holiday parties are marked on your calendar. It may be hard to believe that just a few days ago, many people were celebrating Thanksgiving. However, there may still be evidence of this autumn holiday left in your fridge, which brings up the important question: when should these delicious...

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Preparing the Meal for Thanksgiving

If it's your turn to host the family holiday dinner, you hopefully have your game plan ready. There's a lot to consider, including whether or not you have the space: dining table space, burner/oven space and refrigerator space. Not to mention, what foods you are going to prepare and what foods you want others to prepare. No one wants to be working hard over a hot stove while everyone else is mi...

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Is Agave Nectar a Healthier Alternative to Sugar?

Even most children can tell you that excess sugar isn't healthy, unless of course they are bargaining for just one more piece of Halloween candy! A high sugar diet may lead to cavities and obesity and in turn, influence diabetes and heart disease. This may have you thinking about alternative ways to sweeten foods, such as agave nectar. Agave nectar isn't truly a nectar, but rather a syr...

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Save the Seeds!

As you carve frightening or charming faces in your jack-o-lanterns this Halloween, be sure to keep the seeds for a nutritious snack. Pumpkin seeds are truly one of the greatest rewards to this fall activity. Saving the seeds is easy. Once cutting out the stem of the pumpkin, the fun part begins! Reach inside the pumpkin to remove the "guts." Separate the pulp from the seeds, and put the...

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Picnic Potato Salad

Need a Fourth of July side dish? Potato salad is a popular item at a picnic or potluck, but it is also the first to blame when foodborne illness comes to play. Homemade mayonnaise made with eggs is typically the true danger, but most potato salads nowadays are made with commercial mayonnaise, which contains pasteurized eggs to destroy any harmful bacteria. Nevertheless, this isn't to say that y...

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Quinoa Salmon Bowl

Spring into Summer with Salmon

Posted by Jenna Smith - Holidays

Today's blog post and recipe are written by Illinois State University students and dietetic interns, Amanda Dieugenio and Samantha Concha! Salmon is a fish that tastes delicious during any time of year, but for some reason it tastes just a little better when warm weather approaches and summer begins to hit. Salmon is best known for its anti-inflammatory effects and the omega-3...

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Agua Fresca

Try Agua Fresca for your Cinco de Mayo Celebrations

This Saturday is Cinco de Mayo (fifth of May), and many will be celebrating Mexico's victory over the French forces with a "fiesta" full of Hispanic cuisine. With so many mouth-watering foods to choose from, including quesadillas, chips and guacamole, and churros, the food is easy to plan. However, it's the drinks, or should I say non-alcoholic drinks, that may have your head spinning on what t...

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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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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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Lentil Tomato Mix

Lent and Lentils

This week's blog post is written by Illinois State University graduate student and dietetic intern, Michael O'halloran. For those that abstain from eating meat on Fridays during the Lenten season, it can sometimes be difficult to come up with meatless meals. Even with a fish dinner, consuming enough protein can be a challenge. Fortunately, lentils can help fill the protein gap...

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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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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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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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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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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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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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