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Simple Yet Stunning: Set the Menu for Easy Entertainment

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) One of the best-kept chef secrets to hosting the most memorable at-home parties is keeping the food simple and adding small details to make it special. After all, a host who isn’t hard at work in the kitchen is a host who can spend more time with guests.

One way to make every minute in the kitchen count and provide crowd-pleasing food is by using wholesome, quality core ingredients like olive oil, fresh bread, cheese and artisan chocolate to create flavorful dishes that are easy to prepare, and leave you with more time to enjoy what matters most: moments with the ones you love.

When it comes to cooking, focus on the essentials and the highlights of each dish. Building recipes around quality ingredients, such as Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, makes it easy to create show-stopping dishes time and time again. Planning ahead is key to entertaining, but when it comes to cooking, make things quick and easy with a little help from powerhouse ingredients that lend themselves well to a variety of flavors and preparations.

In keeping things simple, use olive oil to add a little extra zest and create dishes that pop off the plate, like this recipe for Beet Hummus. Or if you’re looking for something comforting and wholesome, indulge in this creamy Tomato Soup with Olive Oil Croutons. For a larger event, try Mushroom Carpaccio and Creamed Spinach Au Gratin, which can leave a lasting impression on your guests. To top it all off, go for this Bitter Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Dessert for a perfect way to end a meal.

Make every moment count and find more simple recipes at Bertolli.com.

Tomato Soup with Homemade Olive Oil Croutons

Prep time: 10 minutes

4          tomatoes

3          grilled red bell peppers in oil

1          shallot

1/2       cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for brushing on bread

3          tablespoons sherry vinegar

1          clove garlic

10        basil leaves

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

4          slices crusty bread

Cut small cross in bottom of tomatoes and submerge in boiling water 30 seconds. Let tomatoes cool in ice water 30 seconds then remove skins.

In blender, blend tomatoes, red bell peppers, shallot, extra-virgin olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, salt and pepper, to taste, until mixture is smooth. Add mixture to large pot and heat, stirring frequently.

Cut bread slices, brush with olive oil and grill 2 minutes per side over medium-high heat until visible grill marks have formed.

Healthy Beet Hummus

Prep time: 15 minutes

3          beets

salt, to taste

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2          cups canned chickpeas

2          tablespoons sesame seed paste or tahini

Heat oven to 375 F.

Peel beets and boil until soft; season with salt and olive oil.

Puree beets with chickpeas and sesame seed paste until a uniform paste forms. Transfer to oven-safe serving dish. Bake 10 minutes and serve.

Mushroom Carpaccio and Creamed Spinach Au Gratin

Prep time: 15 minutes

Mushroom Carpaccio:

2 1/4    cups cremini mushrooms

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

salt, to taste

Creamed Spinach:

2 1/4    cups spinach

1/2       cup heavy cream

salt

pepper

Parmesan cheese

To make Mushroom Carpaccio: Heat oven to 400 F.

Clean mushrooms and cut into thin slivers.

Season with olive oil and salt. Set aside.

To make Creamed Spinach: Boil spinach 2 minutes, strain and place it into saucepan, over cream. Cook 5 minutes.

In blender, puree mixture and pour over Mushroom Carpaccio.

Grate Parmesan cheese over entire dish; bake 5 minutes.

Bitter Chocolate and Pistachio Cream Dessert

Prep time: 15 minutes

 

1/2       cup, plus 1 tablespoon, sweetened condensed milk

1/2       cup brown sugar

1 1/2    tablespoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus additional for pistachio cream

4          ounces dark chocolate

1 1/4    cups shelled pistachios

In saucepan, combine condensed milk and sugar; cook over low heat, stirring until mixture takes on toasted color.

Add olive oil and dark chocolate; continue to stir until fully combined.

Line 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and spread mixture into pan. Refrigerate until fully set.

To make pistachio cream: Blend pistachios and olive oil until smooth paste forms.

Remove dessert from pan and cut into slices. Serve with pistachio cream on top.

 

 

November 21, 2018 |

3 Tips for a Healthy Baby

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) When you’re a new parent, once you’ve successfully navigated the first car ride home from the hospital and the euphoria of this new little life begins to fade, you’re left with one resounding question: now what?

Over the years, you’ll have many responsibilities as a parent, but your most important focus in those early days, weeks and months is your child’s health and development, including his or her brain, gut and senses.

Brain

Numerous studies offer evidence that a child’s learning abilities are developed during early childhood, meaning before even heading off to school. That’s why it’s important to begin nurturing your baby’s cognitive development from the start.

That doesn’t mean you need to reach for the flash cards right away, though. Instead, focus on simply talking, singing and playing together. These activities can help develop vocabulary and other important cognitive functions. As your baby develops, pay attention to what captures his or her attention and encourage exploration of toys, textures and other items of interest.

Gut

When it comes to a baby’s gut health, the first six months are critical. It’s during this time period when babies have yet to be introduced to solid food that the immune system and metabolism are developing and being programmed for the future. Research published in “Cell” shows good gut bacteria during infancy, specifically Bifidobacterium, plays a critical role in establishing strong immune systems and metabolism.

“It’s important for infants to have an abundance of beneficial bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium, in their gut early in life,” said Dr. Tracy Shafizadeh, PhD, gut health expert for Evivo. “Unfortunately, as an unintended consequence of modern medical practices such as antibiotics and C-sections, it is estimated that nine out of 10 babies have exceptionally low levels of Bifidobacterium. This allows an overgrowth of bad gut bacteria, which is linked to short- and long-term health conditions such as colic, eczema, allergies, asthma, diabetes and obesity.”

There is, however, a way for parents to identify if their baby has high or low levels of Bifidobacterium by asking three simple questions. If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, there’s a good chance your baby’s Bifidobacterium levels are low.

  • Were you or your baby given antibiotics during pregnancy, childbirth or in the first six months after childbirth?
  • Were you or your baby born via C-section?
  • Does your baby have diaper rash or have 5-plus loose, watery poops per day?

If you’re concerned about your baby’s gut health, talk with your pediatrician about an option like Evivo, the first and only baby probiotic clinically proven to restore the levels of B. infantis, a specific strain of Bifidobacterium, in a baby’s gut and reduce bad gut bacteria linked to colic, eczema, allergies, diabetes and obesity by 80 percent.

Senses

Sensory cues are what allow your baby to take in information about surroundings. Exposing your baby to various sensory experiences funnels a wealth of information to help develop skills and better understand the visual, audible, olfactory and textural stimulants that he or she encounters.

As your child grows older, these early experiences can help him or her recognize different colors, sounds, smells and tastes, some of which may later distinguish likes and dislikes, such as an enjoyment of one type of food and distaste for another.

Find more information and ideas for ways to improve your baby’s health at evivo.com.

November 21, 2018 |

Creative Seafood Solutions

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) When it comes to cooking up creative meals for the family, finding inspiration for new flavors while maintaining nutrition is typically a primary goal.

One solution is incorporating more seafood into weekly meal planning, which offers nutritional benefits like protein, vitamins and minerals such as vitamin D, iron and selenium. In celebration of National Seafood Month, consider these tips from Bumble Bee to add more seafood to your family’s diet:

  • Change the Protein. Try substituting seafood for the meat or poultry in meals like shrimp tacos, salmon burgers or tuna nachos.
  • Boost Nutrients. If you enjoy classic tuna salad, consider swapping mayo with mashed avocado or Greek yogurt, and try flavorful options like this Chipotle Tuna and Avocado Salad Sandwich.
  • Make it a Bowl. Personalize mealtime with creative bowls, like Quinoa Bowls with Tuna, using a whole-grain base layered with seafood, veggies and toppings like guacamole or teriyaki sauce.

Find more recipes to add seafood to the table at BumbleBee.com.

Chipotle Tuna and Avocado Salad Sandwich

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

1          can (5 ounces) Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water, drained and broken into chunks

1/2       avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2       cup halved grape tomatoes

1/2       cup sweet corn, cooked or thawed from frozen

1          tablespoon roughly chopped parsley

1 1/2    teaspoons lemon juice

1          teaspoon red or white wine vinegar

1          teaspoon honey

1/2       teaspoon chopped garlic

1/4       teaspoon chipotle chili powder

1/4       teaspoon kosher salt

4          slices whole-grain bread

In medium bowl, gently toss tuna and avocado until combined.

Add tomatoes, corn and parsley, tossing gently to combine.

In small bowl, whisk lemon juice, vinegar, honey, garlic, chili powder and salt. Drizzle over tuna mixture and toss to coat.

Divide tuna evenly among bread slices to make two sandwiches.

Quinoa Bowl with Tuna

Recipe courtesy of Cookie Named Desire on behalf of Bumble Bee

Prep time: 45 minutes

Servings: 2

Thai Peanut Dressing:

1          cup creamy peanut butter

1          teaspoon ginger paste

1/4       teaspoon fish sauce

1/2       teaspoon cayenne pepper

2          tablespoons apple cider vinegar

2          teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2    tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4       cup water, divided, plus additional (optional)

Quinoa Bowls:

2          cups water

1          cup quinoa

1          can (14 ounces) chickpeas

1-2       tablespoons olive oil

1/2       teaspoon garlic powder

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1          medium zucchini

1          carrot

1/2       cup red cabbage

1          can (5 ounces) Bumble Bee Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water

1-2       tablespoons onion, diced

1          tablespoon lime juice

cilantro

To make Thai Peanut Dressing: In mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, ginger paste, fish sauce, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar, soy sauce and sugar.

Add 1 tablespoon water and whisk well. Continue adding water 1 tablespoon at a time until sauce is consistency of heavy cream.

Note: You may not use full 1/4 cup water and could use more depending on preference of thickness.

To make Quinoa Bowls: Heat oven to 400 F.

In medium pot, heat water and quinoa. When it boils, turn heat to low and cover. Cook until water is absorbed and remove from heat.

Drain and dry chickpeas. In bowl, combine chickpeas with olive oil, garlic powder and salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread chickpeas on baking sheet; bake 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool.

Spiralize zucchini at medium thickness. Using potato peeler, slice carrot in thin strips. Chop red cabbage. Drain and chunk tuna.

In two bowls, split cooked quinoa evenly. Top with carrots, zucchini, cabbage, roasted chickpeas onions and tuna.

Season with lime juice, cilantro and Thai Peanut Dressing.

 

 

November 14, 2018 |

Now is the Time to Address Your Hearing Health

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) If you find yourself constantly turning up the volume on the TV or asking people to repeat themselves, you’re not alone. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans – nearly 50 million people – ages 12 and older have hearing loss, according to the Hearing Health Foundation.

In addition, it takes 10 years, on average, for someone with hearing loss to seek help, according to a study published in the “International Journal of Audiology.” That’s 10 years of missed conversations with a spouse, compliments from a friend, secrets from a child and laughs with your family, all because many people aren’t sure where to go for care or have misconceptions about hearing aids.

As more people, especially younger people, are diagnosed with hearing loss, treatment has become easier to access. Hearing care professionals and hearing aid manufacturers, such as Beltone, have adopted advanced technologies and novel forms of care to treat an evolving patient population, ensuring that no one has to experience hearing loss alone. If you’re looking to make your hearing health more of a priority, now is the time as these advancements in technology can help improve your hearing and quality of life:

Clearer, fuller, richer sound. Newer hearing aids incorporate technology that enable advanced hearing capabilities, helping you understand more speech and hear the finer details in social and professional settings.

Rechargeable. Changing hearing aid batteries is a thing of the past. Now you can have hearing aids with a rechargeable battery (with some lasting up to 30 hours) and a portable charger.

Entertainment on demand. Wireless connectivity and Bluetooth technology have made their way to hearing aids. You can now make phone calls and stream TV, videos and more directly to your hearing aids. Some hearing aids, such as the Beltone Amaze, are also fully compatible with both Apple and Android devices.

Support is just a click away. Remote fine-tuning allows you to request and receive adjustments to your hearing aids from the comfort of your own home on a computer or from a smartphone.

Personal control. If you love restaurants, but hate the noise, an option like the Beltone HearMax app allows users to select personalized, preset environments, such as outdoor or restaurant.  The app’s geolocation option also automatically remembers when you’re in a favorite spot and can adjust your hearing aids automatically.

Personalized style. Like having your own stylist, hearing care professionals are typically experts in fitting hearing aids to meet your individual needs and tastes. Today’s hearing aids vary in size, color and special features so you can blend in or stand out.

Comprehensive customer care. Working with a hearing care professional is essential in treating hearing loss. For example, Beltone’s exclusive care program is available at most of the company’s 1,500 hearing centers nationwide. Follow-up service is just a push of the button away as an easy-to-use mobile app can connect you directly to your hearing care professional.

Locate lost hearing aids. This is a feature you’ll never want to use, but will be thankful to have should the need arise. Through the use of apps, you can track your hearing aids if you misplace them.

To learn more about the latest in hearing aid technology and find a hearing aid that meets your needs, visit beltone.com.

 

November 14, 2018 |

Preparing an Emergency Plan for Your Unique Needs

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To Your Health

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Family Features) Disasters such as hurricanes, floods, fires and other emergency situations are all too common these days. In fact, about 4 out of 5 Americans live in counties hit by weather events since 2007, according to disaster declaration data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). That illustrates how these events can impact nearly everyone and the importance of having a plan.

This is particularly true for older people and people with disabilities. Health issues, mobility concerns and use of assistive devices can create additional challenges during emergencies. However, there are simple steps everyone can take to prepare now for what may come later.

  • Discuss your plan. Talk about preparedness with friends, neighbors and family members. Contact your city or county emergency management office as well as service providers, such as meals programs. Discussing the topic can help you create a support network, find local resources for preparation and identify contents for a custom emergency kit.
  • Create a contact list. Make a list of people and places you can turn to for support in an emergency, including people you may need to help or notify of your safety. Include phone numbers, email addresses and physical addresses. Also include insurance providers, health care professionals and medical supply companies. Keep one copy on hand and put another copy in a watertight container in your emergency kit.
  • Prep for power outages. Ask your health care providers about how to prepare for power outages, especially if you depend on medical devices that use electricity, such as oxygen, dialysis or a power wheelchair. Write down your plan, along with information about your devices, and keep a copy in your emergency kit.
  • Make a list of all medications and medical supplies. Keep a list of your medicines, including dosages and allergies, along with other essential supplies like extra eyeglasses, hearing-aid batteries and at least a week’s supply of all prescription medicines in your emergency kit.
  • Plan for transportation. Have a plan in place in case you need to evacuate or get to health care services during an emergency. Know what equipment you need and how you will transport it. Perhaps a neighbor or family member can include you in their evacuation plans. Set this up beforehand and plan how to coordinate in the event of a disaster.
  • Plan for pets and service animals. Include food, medications and other supplies your pets may need in your emergency kit, too.
  • Pack the essentials. In addition to your medical information and needs, don’t forget essentials such as non-perishable food, water, a weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, blankets, cash, extra clothing and personal hygiene items. Keep your emergency kit in an easy-to-access location.

 

Learn more about preparedness at acl.gov/programs/emergency-preparedness.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

November 7, 2018 |

Simplify and Savor Dinner with Bold Flavors

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In Good Taste

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Family Features) A busy day doesn’t have to come between you and your favorite people at mealtime. With a little creativity and a simple ingredient like olive oil, you can set the table with flavorful meals and surround yourself with the company of friends and family, enjoying the experience together.

There’s no need to get complicated when you have quality ingredients like olive oil to add some extra zest. You can have flavor at the ready with Olive Oil Ice Cubes, for example. Add fresh herbs from your garden to an ice cube tray then fill with smooth, light and flavorful olive oil and freeze. Whenever you need to get the flavor sizzling, simply toss a cube into the pan.

Create a nearly effortless dressing with olive oil for a recipe like Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Berries and Pecans. White fish fillets like cod also pair well with an olive oil-based pesto, which can help ensure you’re prepared for any stressful day that dares to challenge your time around the table, allowing you to enjoy life’s pure moments. Olive oil even adds flavor to sweet and succulent desserts, such as Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake.

When the minutes start to slip away, capture them back with recipes that use olive oil to create meals you can feel good about while savoring the company of those around you.

Make every moment count and find more simple, enjoyable recipes at Bertolli.com.

Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Berries and Pecans

Prep time: 15 minutes

Servings: 1-2

7          cups arugula

2          ounces goat cheese

1/2       cup pecans, toasted

1          cup mixed berries (such as blackberries or strawberries)

 

Dressing:

2          tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1          tablespoon finely minced shallots

1          tablespoon honey

1/4       teaspoon kosher salt

1/4       cup Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 

In bowl, toss arugula, goat cheese, pecans and mixed berries.

To make dressing: In bowl, mix lemon juice, shallots, honey, salt and olive oil.

Add dressing to salad for serving.

 

White Fish Fillets with Pesto

Total time: 15 minutes

Servings: 2

Fish:

2          cod fillets (about 7 ounces each)

salt, to taste

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil, to taste

Red Pesto:

1          bunch basil

1          ounce cashews

3/4       ounce Parmesan cheese

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

water

To prepare fish: Rub both sides of fillets with salt and olive oil while heating saucepan.

Sear fillets meat-side first followed by skin-side.

Heat oven to 350 F.

To make Red Pesto: Puree basil, cashews, Parmesan cheese and olive oil while adding small amount of water.

Add additional olive oil as necessary, ensuring sauce is thick enough to cover fish.

Place fish in oven tray, cover with Red Pesto and bake 5 minutes.

 

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake

Total time: 20 minutes

2          eggs

4 1/2    ounces sugar

4 1/2    ounces Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

4 1/2    ounces flour

1/3       ounce cocoa powder

1/8       ounce salt

5 1/4    ounces pumpkin

1/10     ounce baking powder

Heat oven to 350 F.

Mix eggs with sugar thoroughly and beat until bubbles form. Slowly add in olive oil while continuing to stir mixture.

Add flour, cocoa powder, salt, pumpkin and baking powder; using whisk, mix well.

Pour into cake mold lined with baking paper and bake 15 minutes.

Let cool and remove cake from mold.

 

Olive Oil Cubes

Assorted herbs

ice cube trays

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Break up herbs by hand. Add herbs to trays. Fill trays with olive oil and gently set in freezer; allow to solidify.

When cooking, use cubes for added flavor.

 

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Arugula Salad with Goat Cheese, Berries and Pecans, Olive Oil Cubes)

 

 

 

 

November 7, 2018 |

Autumn Splendor and Pumpkin Flavors

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Bits & Pieces Column

Helpful Chitchat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

 

Each year the warm colors of autumn inspire me to shift the interior decor of our house away from the pastel tones of summer. Changes do not have to be costly, and over the years sale purchases have been made to reflect a seasonal makeover that is both easy and inexpensive. Think of the red, gold, orange, rust, browns, and deep maroon colors we see on the changing leaves.

There are easy projects that will give your home a cozy, autumn feeling now that more time will be spent indoors. Walk around your house and review each room, making mental notes of potential changes. I started with our kitchen and switched to placemats depicting falling leaves and took out hand towels with similar patterns. A new floor mat by the sink also reflects that theme. We have one wall where I replace framed pictures according to season and switch to a beautiful fall scene from a summer fruit one. Dining room changes are made simple by just changing the tablecloth to a fall color and replacing pastel candles on the holders. The centerpiece is an autumn arrangement of silk flowers. On the coffee table I have a large bowl of colorful, miniature gourds to complement the room décor as well as cloth placemats with fall images placed beneath the lamps.

Garden Centers

This is a beautiful time of year to visit your local garden center for decorating both the interior and exterior of your home. I love to see homes where the front steps or lawn have gorgeous chrysanthemums, haystacks, Indian corn clusters on the door, and corn husk decorations. And of course, the most important decoration for autumn — pumpkins! Placing several pumpkins on the front steps is both a welcoming and a pleasurable sight.

Speaking of the glorious pumpkin, don’t forget to enjoy the flavors of the season that are just about everywhere you look now. Advertisers jump on the proverbial bandwagon to boast about their menus and baked goods that include pumpkin flavors. My daughter called us the last week of September just to say, “It’s started.” and I questioned “What?” She laughed and said “pumpkin season!” and had her first pumpkin latte that day. Now we will see pumpkin pancakes, muffins, donuts and pies on restaurant menus. Last year I even noticed one ice cream company offered “a limited edition” pumpkin flavored ice cream.

Several years ago our other daughter, whose specialty is pasta dishes, found a recipe for ravioli and sausage with a pumpkin sauce from a Rachel Ray cookbook. When she invited us for dinner and told me what she was serving, I was a bit hesitant about what it would taste like since it was replacing the typical red sauce. We were pleasantly surprised! Our other daughter continually teases her somewhat timid parents when it comes to trying something new…“Step out of the box,” she chides. We have, and the reward is often worth it. I can’t imagine someone who doesn’t care for pumpkin flavor and will miss out on the treats in store just for this time of year.

Happy autumn!

 

 

 

 

October 31, 2018 |
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