Here's a surprising health hint: Don't exercise. At least, not unless you've properly fueled up first. Nutrition expert Keith Ayoob, author of "The Uncle Sam Diet: The 4-Week Eating Plan for a Thinner, Healthier America" (St. Martin's Paperbacks), offers answers to some common questions on nutrition:Q. How can I eat for energy before I work out? A. Eat a mixture of carbohydrates, protein and healthy unsaturated fat about two hours before you work out. The protein and fat will help you feel full and the carbohydrates provide quick energy, increasing the effect of your workout. Try a slice of whole grain bread with a tablespoon of almond butter and a few slices of strawberry or banana. Q. I often hit a mid-afternoon slump…what should I eat? A. Not salty, high-fat snacks that are void of essential vitamins and minerals. Try a handful or two of almonds-they will help keep you fuller longer, during the workday and at the gym. A one-ounce handful of almonds offers heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, fiber, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus and iron, all in 160 calories. Almonds also contain the antioxidant vitamin E, which can help repair muscles. Plus, research shows almonds can help lower LDL, or "bad," cholesterol and may play a role in losing weight. Try this before a workout: Ginger-Glazed Almonds with Dried FruitCooking spray1 tablespoon unsalted butter11/2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar1 tablespoon water11/2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger1 cup whole blanched or natural almonds1 cup dried berries, cherries, cranberries, mango, apricot, apple, pear or other dried fruitPreheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Melt butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Stir in sugar, water, fresh ginger, salt and ground ginger. Cook until sugar dissolves, then stir in almonds. Spread almonds onto foil, and bake 25 to 35 minutes, stirring once, until almonds are golden (cut one open to test). Transfer almonds on foil to a rack and cool completely. Loosen with a spatula and combine with dried fruit. Store airtight for up to 3 days. Serves 10.
How do you make your holiday party memorable? Create a festive atmosphere that will boost your guests' holiday cheer. Here are some tips to make your party stand out this season.* Start outdoors. Carry the theme of your party outdoors using wreaths, lights or lawn decorations.* Light up the place. Hang strings of lights along walls and banisters. Turn off overhead lights to create a cozy atmosphere.* Spruce up your table. A centerpiece - anything from a fancy floral arrangement to brightly colored candles - can add charm to the dining room table.* Decorate with food. Many food, candy and drink companies sell holiday versions of their products. These festive foods and drinks act as decorations as well as fun treats for guests.For instance, Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice Cocktail, available in red grape or white grape flavor, comes in a package of two nutcracker-themed bottles for the holidays. These decorative bottles add a whimsical touch to your holiday table, and the non-alcoholic juice cocktail can be enjoyed by all. Add some spice to this sparkling beverage with the following recipe.SPARKLING PUNCH(Makes about 30 half-cup servings)FOR THE PUNCH:2 bottles Welch's Sparkling White Grape Juice Cocktail, chilled1 can (11.5 ounces) Welch's Frozen Concentrated Cranberry Juice Cocktail3 cups cold water3 cans (12 ounces each) ginger ale, chilledFOR THE ICE RING:6 ounces Welch's Frozen GrapeJuice12 ounces water8 or 9 thin lemon slicesIn punch bowl, combine Sparkling White Grape Juice Cocktail, Frozen Concentrated Cranberry Juice Cocktail and water. Gently stir in ginger ale.To prepare the ice ring, combine Welch's Frozen Grape Juice with water and mix well. Place lemon slices in bottom of an 8-inch ring mold. Pour small amount of grape juice over slices and allow to freeze. Add remaining grape juice and freeze solid.When ready to serve, unmold the ice ring and place it in the punch, lemon side up. Serve immediately.The Welch's Sparkling Grape Juice Cocktail holiday two-pack has a suggested retail price of $5.99.
Round Up Some Flavor Ranch dressing can add an Old West flavor to foods such as Grilled Steak Panini.
There's a simple and tasty way to round up healthy meals and corral great taste. Delicious ranch dressing adds a touch of the Old West to almost any meal.Now you can get great ranch naturally. Litehouse Ranch Dressing has no preservatives, no MSG and, because it's made with heart-healthy canola oil, no trans fats, which have been linked with a greater risk of heart disease.That means you can make healthy recipes that can still get your little dogies to come stampeding to the dinner table. Grilled steak panini with ranch dressing can be a hit with kids and adults. Serve it as a hearty lunch meal, cut up as appetizers or with a tossed salad and a side of corn for dinner.Grilled Steak Panini4 slices sourdough or artisan bread 1/2 pound steak4 roasted red peppers 1/4 cup Litehouse Homestyle Ranch, Rustic Ranch or Jalapeno Ranch DressingGrill, broil or panfry steak until the degree of doneness is reached. Allow to cool 5 to 10 minutes. Slice against the grain or diagonally and set aside. Preheat panini press, George Foreman Grill or skillet. Spread Litehouse Ranch Dressing on bread, using more as needed. Layer 1/2 the sliced steak and top with 2 roasted red peppers. Grill approximately 2 to 3 minutes. If using a skillet, turn and grill on other side. Makes 2 servings.
Just about everybody loves cheese. Loaded with calcium and protein, the "real thing" makes so many dishes more appealing, and mellow, nutty, smooth-melting Norwegian Jarlsberg-America's most popular specialty cheese-is particularly versatile, a family favorite. Made from part-skim milk, it's naturally low in calories, sodium and fat-newer Jarlsberg Lite, also great for snacking and cooking, has 50 percent less fat than regular Swiss.Try this super simple Asparagus Rolls recipe-a surefire party idea. Here are a few other easy, creative, absolutely delicious uses for either classic Jarlsberg or Jarlsberg Lite.• Roll cheese slices around fresh fruits or raw vegetables.• Add cubes to salads and pastas-warm or cool.• Shred on vegetables and into sauces.• Enhance stuffings for meat, poultry or fish.• Enrich egg dishes.• Shred into mashed or "smashed" potatoes.• Grill with peppers, squash, potatoes.• Top burgers-beef, turkey or salmon.• Make hors d'oeuvres, wraps and sandwiches galore.2006 marks the 50th anniversary of Jarlsberg cheese-and the 125th of its source, Tine B.A. Norwegian Dairies, a farmers cooperative. One way to celebrate is to discover tasty new ways to give your menus pizazz-and a nutritional boost.Asparagus Rolls With Ham and Jarlsberg12 clean asparagus spears12 thin slices lean ham1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheeseBoil asparagus in lightly salted water 1 minute. With slotted spoon, dip spears in ice water to preserve color; drain on paper towels. Wrap a slice of ham around each spear and place on baking sheet lightly sprayed with oil. Sprinkle spears liberally with Jarlsberg and brown in 450 oven about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.Serving suggestions: Place on grilled country bread brushed with olive oil and garlic and topped with chopped tomatoes plus a bit of sea salt, if desired.Cheese, glorious cheese is just delicious when included in this Asparagus Rolls With Ham and Jarlsberg recipe.
Entertain your guests by serving bite-size party foods that allow them to freely mix and mingle while nibbling on easy-to-eat finger foods. Cheese & Spinach Pinwheels 12 oz. (1-1/2 c.) sour cream 1 c. (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese1/2 c. chopped pitted ripe olives1 (10-oz.) pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed, well drained1 (8 oz.) can water chestnuts, drained, chopped1/8 tsp. salt1 T. finely chopped onion1/2 tsp. finely chopped garlic1 tsp. Louisiana hot sauce6 (10-inch) flour tortillasIn a medium mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cheese, olives, spinach, water chestnuts, salt, onion, garlic and hot sauce; stir together until all ingredients are well combined. Spread approximately 1/2 cup of spinach mixture on each tortilla. Roll up tortillas tightly and wrap individually in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours). To serve, remove plastic wrap and cut each rolled tortilla into 10 slices. Yields 5 dozen pinwheels. Hot Pepper Cheese Dip served with Tortilla Chips 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened1 c. sour cream2 c. (8 oz.) shredded Monterey Jack with Jalapeno cheese1/4 c. chopped ripe olives1 (2 oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained1 T. thinly sliced green onion In a small mixer bowl, combine cream cheese and sour cream. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth (1 to 2 minutes). Stir in (by hand) shredded cheese, chopped olives, diced pimiento and sliced green onion. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours to allow flavors to develop. Serve with tortilla chips. Yields a scant 4 cups of dip. Marinated Antipasto Platter Marinade:1/2 c. olive or canola oil1/2 c. white wine vinegar2 T. country-style Dijon mustard1 T. honey1/8 tsp. salt1/2 tsp. coarsely ground black pepper1 tsp. dried basil leaves1 tsp. dried parsley1/4 tsp. dried oregano leaves1 tsp. minced garlic Antipasto: 2 c. canned whole mushrooms, drained1 pt. cherry tomatoes1 med. green bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips1 (5.75-oz.) can pitted ripe colossal olives, drained1/3 lb. thinly sliced roast beef, each slice cut into 1-inch strips, rolled up and fastened with a wooden pick2 (6-oz. each) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained1 (11.5-oz.) jar peperoncici (pickled peppers), drained1/2 lb. Provolone or Mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes1/4 lb. thinly sliced salami, rolled up and fastened with wooden picks Prepare marinade in a medium bowl by stirring together oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, salt, pepper, basil, parsley, oregano and garlic. Place each of the following ingredients in their own separate container: mushrooms, tomatoes, green peppers, olives and roast beef. Pour approximately 1/4 cup of marinade into each container; stir to coat. Cover containers and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for a minimum of 4 hours (best if allowed to marinate overnight). To serve, drain marinade from vegetables, olives and roast beef and arrange on a lettuce-lined platter with artichokes, peperoncici, cheese and salami. Yields 16 servings. Vegetable Platter served with Pineapple Pepper Dip 1 c. chopped assorted bell peppers (red, green and yellow)1 c. sour cream1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened1 (8 oz.) can crushed pineapple, well drained1/8 tsp. salt2 T. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro or parsley2 T. thinly sliced green onion2 tsp. finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper1 tsp. grated lime peel1 tsp. lime juicePlatter of assorted fresh vegetables (see Recipe Note) In a small mixer bowl, combine chopped bell peppers, sour cream, cream cheese, crushed pineapple, salt, cilantro, green onion, jalapeno, grated lime peel and lime juice. Beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Serve with a platter of fresh vegetables sticks. Recipe yields a generous 3 cups of dip.<> Recipe Note: Choose from the following list of fresh vegetables to serve with dip: celery sticks, carrot sticks, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower, bell pepper strips, cucumber slices, radishes, asparagus spears, zucchini sticks or slices, snow peas. Sweet & Sour Meatballs Meatballs:1 lb. lean ground beef1 (12-oz.) pkg. spicy-bulk pork sausage1/2 c. dry bread crumbs1/2 tsp. dry mustard1 lg. egg, lightly beaten1 T. soy sauceSauce:1 (20-oz.) can pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice, drained, reserve juice2 T. firmly packed brown sugar1 T. cornstarch1/2 tsp. ground ginger1 T. soy sauce2 T. cider vinegar2 med. green bell peppers, cut into 1-inch piecesIn a large bowl, combine ground beef, pork sausage, bread crumbs, mustard, egg and soy sauce. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place meatballs on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan. Bake in a 350F (175C) preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Meanwhile, in a 1-quart saucepan, combine reserved pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, soy sauce and vinegar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is thickened and bubbly (4 to 6 minutes). Increase heat and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly; remove from heat. In a 2-quart casserole, place baked meatballs, pineapple chunks, green pepper and sauce; stir gently to coat. Cover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until green peppers are crispy tender. Serve in a chafing dish with wooden picks. Yields 5 dozen meatballs. Fruit Platter served with Peanut Butter & Honey Dip 1/2 c. creamy peanut butter1/4 c. whole milk1 c. sour cream2 T. honey1 tsp. ground cinnamonPlatter of assorted fresh fruit (see Recipe Note) In a medium bowl, stir together peanut butter, milk, sour cream, honey and cinnamon. Blend until smooth. Use as a dip for fresh fruit. Dip may also be used as a spread for crackers, bagels, toast or bread. Store refrigerated. Yields 1-1/2 cups.<> Recipe Note: Choose from the following list of fresh fruit to serve with dip: whole or halved strawberries, sweet cherries, pineapple chunks, orange wedges, kiwi slices, melon balls or slices (cantaloupe, watermelon, honey dew), red and green seedless grapes, mandarin orange segments, papaya wedges. Honey-Glazed Snack Mix 5 c. bite-size crispy corn cereal squares3 c. miniature pretzels2 c. pecan halves1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted1/2 c. honey In a 15x10x1-inch baking pan combine cereal, pretzels and pecans; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together butter and honey until well mixed. Pour honey mixture over cereal mixture; stir until well coated. Bake in a 300F (150C) preheated oven for 10 minutes; stir. Continue baking for an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cereal is glazed and honey mixture is absorbed. Immediately transfer snack mix on waxed paper and allow snack mix to cool completely. Store in a tightly covered container. Yields 32 (1/4 cup) servings. For detailed information on how to successfully plan an appetizer buffet, read the following article, "How to Plan a Party That's Enjoyed by All" at Bedrock Press - http://www.bedrockpress.com/archives-classes/2004/11-2004.html Copyright 2005 Janice Faulk Duplantis