Posts Tagged ‘modify recipes’

Drinking a smoothie is an easy way to sneak in a serving or two of fruits and veggies towards your daily goal. A smoothie is great for breakfast, on the go meal, or a snack. Here’s how to blend a fruit- and veggie-packed smoothie that’s nutritious, satisfying and energizing.


  1. Choose a Base Start with a liquid base such as low-fat milk, soymilk, or nonfat Greek yogurt that delivers protein, vitamins, and minerals with a sensible amount of calories. If using juice, choose 100% grape, orange, apple, or cranberry varieties and try adding just a splash of it to a milk base so you don’t miss out on the protein. Remember juice adds extra sugar and calories so watch portion sizes.
  2. Add Fruit When adding fruit, most fresh, frozen and canned fruits shine in smoothies. For calorie control and to cap added sugar, choose plain, unsweetened frozen fruit and drain canned fruit packed in water or light syrup to reduce excess sugar. Slicing bananas and freezing them works really well.
  3. Yes…you can add veggies! Even vegetables can be added to smoothies. Just remember to use mild-tasting veggies so their flavor doesn’t overpower the other ingredients. If using a standard blender, you may need to chop them very finely or add a little water to help the blending process. Cucumbers, spinach, kale, and beets are popular options.
  4. Nutrient Boosters Super-charge your smoothie with flavorful and nutrient-packed blend-ins such as flaxseed, chia seeds, quick oats, spices (cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger), unsweetened cocoa powder, or powdered peanut butter.
  5. Less is More Remember to keep smoothie ingredients simple and take a ‘less is more’ approach. The more ingredients in a smoothie, the more calories it contains.

Kale Smoothie with Pineapple and Banana

1/2 cup coconut milk, skim milk, soymilk, nonfat Greek yogurt, or almond milk

2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach

1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple (about 1/4 medium pineapple)

1 ripe banana, chopped

Water for desired consistency

  1. Combine the coconut milk, ½ cup water, the kale, pineapple, and banana in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute, adding more water to reach the desired consistency.
  2. You can add a few almonds for extra protein if you would like!

For a great beet smoothie click here https://foodhero.org/recipes/un-beet-able-berry-smoothie.

Written by:  Melissa Welker M.Ed., B.S., Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Fulton County, Maumee Valley EERA, welker.87@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Donna Green, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Erie County, Erie Basin EERA, green.308@osu.edu





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Quinoa has been part of the healthy lunch options at several catered events I have attended lately. The foods tasted very good and made me to want to find out more about it – what are the benefits of eating it, how to cook it, how long it takes to prepare?MP900049638[1]

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered a whole grain because of its nutrient benefits, and how it is cooked and prepared. However, it is actually a seed and a relative to the leafy vegetables beets, spinach, and Swiss chard. It was originally grown in the Andes Mountains of South America by the Incas over 5,000 years ago.  Quinoa is a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin E.  In addition it is known as a complete protein. Research has shown that the high fiber content of quinoa will make you feel full longer, which may aid in weight loss. High fiber foods are also shown to aid in digestion, may lower blood cholesterol, and reduce the risks of certain cancers. One of the best things about quinoa is that it is gluten free, which makes it a great food for those with celiac disease.

Quinoa is covered in a naturally occurring pesticide called saponin. Saponin gives it a bitter taste which discourages bugs from eating it. By rinsing the quinoa, you will remove this bitter taste. Start by placing the seeds in a fine mesh strainer, because it is small it will go through something with larger holes. Put the strainer in a bowl of water and gently rub the seeds for a few seconds, rinse and drain. Check the label, as some varieties of quinoa come pre-rinsed; however, not all. After rinsing, cook 1 cup of seeds with 2 cups of water. One cup of seeds will yield 3 to 3 ½ cups of cooked quinoa. Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice.  It will be done in 15 to 20 minutes. The cooked seeds can be used in everything from salads, main dish casseroles, soups or chowders, dessert foods like puddings, or hot breakfast cereals. Use the flour from quinoa to make gluten free cookies. Here is a link to a few quinoa recipes for you to try http://go.osu.edu/quinoa.

Author: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County/Ohio Valley ERRA, barlage.7@osu.edu.

Reviewers: Cindy Shuster, Kathryn Green, Linnette Goard, and Jennifer Lindimore, Ohio State University Extension.


Whole Grains Council, http://wholegrainscouncil.org/.

Chow Line, Ohio State University Extension, http://extension.osu.edu/news-releases/resources/chow-line/.

Utah State University, Food $ENSE, Quinoa, https://extension.usu.edu/fsne/files/uploads/2012%20Food%20Basics%20Lessons/Grains/F$GrainsQuinoaHandout.pdf.

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If so, sign up for our Zero Weight Gain Email Challenge.

If your scales say HELP…..

Would you like to maintain or even lose weight this holiday season, rather than gaining the typical 3 – 5 pounds? Ohio State University Extension is again offering their popular on-line Zero Weight Gain Holiday Challenge. This 7 week challenge will last from November 21 to January 9 and offer 2 messages a week to inspire you to improve your health and maintain without gaining. Many of our participants over the last 4 years have lost weight, when they start keeping track of what they eat.

This on-line challenge is designed to help participants not gain holiday weight by encouraging regular exercise, nutrition, recipe substitutions, and wellness tips. Participants will receive twice weekly e-communications via blogs, facebook, and email with tips and recipes. All participant information is kept confidential. Program only available for adults, ages 18 and over.

Additional food and activity logs will be available for download to help participants track their progress. A pre and post challenge survey will be used to collect comments to improve future challenges and track participant progress.

Adults interested in participating in this on-line challenge should send an e-mail to treber.1@osu.edu with Zero Weight Gain in the subject line and subscribe in the body of the email. You’ll be enrolled and begin receiving e-communications starting November 21. While facebook will be utilized, participants only need to have an email address.

Michelle Treber, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Pickaway County/Heart of Ohio

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This is the time of year that most people begin to put their gardens to bed.  But if you’ve been growing herbs this summer, the season isn’t over – yet.  Here is some sage advice for using your bounty in cooking.

Herbs are great in dishes - fresh or dried

Although there are no rules when cooking with herbs, here are general guidelines:

  • Try experimenting using small amounts of herbs to see what you like. Start with a well-tested recipe and adjust it over time to suit individual tastes.
  • Use strong herbs in small amounts. Herbs should enhance not overwhelm the flavor of food.
  • As a general rule, fresh herbs should be added near the end of the cooking time.  Dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh.
  • Herbs can be used individually or blended for a variety of flavors.
  • Crushing or grinding herbs provides more flavor than using them whole.
  • Add whole dried herbs at the start of cooking for recipes that will cook an hour or longer, such assoups and stews.
  • Crushed or ground herbs should be added 15 minutes before the end of cooking.

Substituting dried for fresh

If a recipe calls for fresh herbs but you have only dried, the general substitution equivalent is 1 teaspoon crumbled dried herbs for 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs. Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground dried herbs can be substituted for 1 tablespoon fresh herbs.

Storing herbs

Dried herbs are sensitive to light, heat, air, and moisture. They generally keep their flavor for one year.  Store in small containers until you know how much you will use. Be sure to label the container with the harvest date.  To determine if a dried herb or spice is still potent, rub a small amount between your fingers.  If it has a fresh aroma, it probably can be used in cooking.

Flavor and color loss can be prevented by following these guidelines:

  • Keep dried herbs in a tightly covered container away from light, moisture, and heat.
  • Most fresh herbs are perishable and bunches should be stored with their stems in water in the refrigerator.
  • Loose leaves can be packed in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator vegetable drawer. Pat excess water with a paper towel; too much moisture promotes spoilage.
  • Fresh herbs can be air-dried for long-term storage by tying stems together with string and hanging them in a dark, clean, well-ventilated area.
  • Freezing fresh herbs in airtight containers retains more flavor than other methods. Smaller amounts may be frozen in ice cube trays.

Even, J. (2002). Spice Up Your Life With Herbs. Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Henneman, A. Add a Little Spice (& HERBS) to Your Life! University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, Lancaster County.

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 We are rolling into the most festive time of the year. And that means all those tempting delights that we all enjoy making and sharing puts our appetite into high gear.  Weight gained during the six-week holiday period accounts for most of a person’s total weight gain over a year’s time! 

 You can make your favorite holiday foods with fewer calories and without sacrificing taste!  Try these easy ingredient substitutions and reduce some extra calories in our favorite holiday recipes.


  • In place of regular cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise or salad dressing in your dip, cheese ball or cheesecake, use low fat or fat free products. 
  • Low fat yogurt can also be substituted for sour cream in some recipes.  Consider that 1 cup of sour cream = 495 calories while 1 cup low fat yogurt has just 145 calories!
  • Use skim milk in your creamed dishes and soups.  For more consistency try evaporated skim milk as a replacement for cream.
  • Choose low fat cheeses on your appetizer tray and in recipes.
  • Purchase low fat or fat free whipped toppings and Half and Half


  • Reduce sugar by ¼ in baked goods and desserts.  If your recipe calls for 1 cup, use 3/4 of a cup.  That saves nearly 200 calories!

  • Replace part or all of the sugar with sucralose (Splenda granular).  You may need to reduce baking time slightly.   Other sweeteners work well for desserts that are not baked. 
  • Choose sugar free gelatins, puddings and beverages.

 Combining these simple changes along with sensible portion control can help you curb weight gain over the holiday season.

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