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Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!

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The content posted here is for general informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research evolves. You should not rely on any information here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals.

Beer Bread

This flavorful bread goes great with your favorite homemade soup, especially tomato soup and chili!

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 (12oz) beer or 7-up/Sprite
3 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Butter, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour to a mixing bowl and sift. Add baking powder, salt and sugar to flour and stir. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour beer (or soda) into mixture. Stir until all moisture is absorbed, batter may still have a few lumps. Add batter to greased loaf pan and, if desired, pour 3 tablespoons melted butter over the top before baking to add a rich buttery flavor. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Beer Bread Beer Bread
Beer Bread
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Harvest Mac and Cheese

1 cup Clearly Organic Whole Wheat Rotini
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion
1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)
4 cups Clearly Organic Chicken Broth
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Milk
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded cheese (Sharp cheddar or Gruyere work best, but any cheese will work)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rotini noodles according to package directions. Add cauliflower to water in the last 4 minutes of cooking then add broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain noodles, cauliflower and broccoli and set aside. Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium to low heat. Cut yellow onion into rings and add to butter in the sauté pan. Continue cooking on low until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Keep heat low to prevent burning. While onions caramelize remove skin and seeds from squash. Cut squash into small cubes. Bring broth to a boil and add squash. Cook for about 7 minutes or until fork tender. Reserve 1/2 cup broth and then drain squash and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add onions, milk, salt and reserved broth to processor or blender. Purée until completely smooth and creamy. Should yield about 4 cups. Pour the puréed sauce over the cooked noodles and broccoli. Add shredded cheese and stir to melt. Add milk to adjust consistency, if needed. Serve with avocado and hot sauce as a garnish if desired.

Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
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Deviled Eggs

6 Clearly Organic Eggs, hard boiled & sliced in half
2 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
Slash of hot sauce (optional)
Salt and pepper, to taste
Clearly Organic Paprika to garnish

Place cooked egg yolks in a small mixing bowl. Mash with a fork. Stir in Greek yogurt, Dijon, worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Scoop the filling into the egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika.

Deviled eggs can be garnished with green onion, chives, bacon bits, olives or any of your favorite savory toppings.

Deviled Eggs Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs Deviled Eggs

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Organic Comfort Foods

It’s that delightful time of year when the crisp autumn air draws us back to warm comfort foods like casseroles, homemade macaroni & cheese and grilled cheese with tomato soup. These classic fall foods warm up our bodies and prepare us for winter. The base ingredient of many comfort foods is cheese, cream cheese and noodles. None of which can be touted as health foods. However, all of these ingredients when included in the right amount can make a delicious healthy meal.

Over the next month we’ll be highlighting healthy, and organic, ways to make your favorite comfort foods. Mac and cheese can be made balanced and healthy. Each traditional dish will include vegetables, whole grains and of course a healthy amount of cheese and cream cheese. My hope is that you will find fresh inspiration to make your favorite comfort dish healthy for your body and soul.

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Do It Yourself

Almost all of our favorite foods can be found pre-made at the grocery store. It’s difficult to walk away from the convenience of food that is already assembled and ready to go. However, some of the store bought ready made foods come with extra sugar, salt, oil and calories. This is definitely true of one of my favorite snacks – trail mix. This portable and light weight snack is great at warding off hunger and it can linger in your travel bag for a few days and still taste pretty good. It’s tempting to buy trail mix pre-made, but once you start looking at the ingredient list of popular brands it is easy to convince yourself to make your own blend.

Many store bought trail mixes will contain excess amounts of sugar and oil as preservatives. This adds a substantial amount of calories, sugar and fat to a food that is already very calorie dense. To avoid these added calories simply make your own. The best nuts to purchase for a trail mix are raw or unsalted almonds, cashews, pecans and walnuts. The best dried fruits are dried cherries, cranberries, dates, figs or raisins. Adding pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or organic coconut flakes can also provide another nutritional punch. By enjoying trail mix in a 1/4 cup to 1/3 cup portion you allow this power food to stay the healthy option that it was meant to be.

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Winter Squash

A sure sign of Fall is the colorful array of winter squash that become available at your local grocery store. These thick skinned vegetables are not only pretty to look at, they are also very nutritious. They deliver a host of different Vitamins including A, C, E and B6. Squash is also an excellent source of carotenoids along with important anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Squash is actually a broad term used to describe a number of different vegetables, including pumpkins, zucchini and courgettes. Each individual species has a lot of overlapping characteristics, and they each include dozens of varieties like: acorn, butternut and spaghetti squash, just to name a few. In North America we simplify most varieties as summer or winter squash. These classifications are primarily based on when the squash ripens and can be consumed. Most winter squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the Fall. Winter squash has such a thick exterior it can be stored for several months and eaten during the winter season, hence the name. Now is the time to incorporate a colorful winter squash into your next recipe.

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Why Try Chia Seeds?

Recently we’ve highlighted two recipes, blueberry muffins and oatmeal, that have involved chia seeds. When you saw this unique ingredient on the list you might have thought to yourself-What is that? And where do I get chia seeds? These whole grain seeds have been around for thousands of years. Legend has it that chia seeds were a staple in the diet of ancient Mayans and Aztecs. In fact, the word chia is derived from the Mayan language and means “strength”.

 

I feel that once you try these nutrient dense seeds you will know why the ancients called them strength. These tiny seeds deliver generous amounts of fiber, protein and Omega-3’s in just a one ounce portion (1oz of chia seeds = about 2 Tablespoons). Most chia seeds are also grown organically, so they contain no GMO’s and they are naturally gluten free. You can find chia seeds at most major grocery stores. However, you might have to ask a store employee where they have them located. Most health food stores sell chia seeds from the bulk bins, so you can purchase any desired quantity.

 

The most common uses for chia seeds are in smoothies, baked goods or sprinkled on a salad. I prefer soaking the seeds in advance before adding them to my recipe or smoothie. Some believe soaking the seeds makes the nutrients more accessible by our digestive system. The recipes we’ve posted on our Clearly Organic blog have the soaking process in the directions. If you’ve never tried chia seeds check out our recipes and let us know what you think!

 

Chia Seeds
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Improving Your Lunch

Whether you’re packing a lunch for your child to take to school or you’re packing food for yourself at the office it’s easy to fall into the routine of bringing the same thing. Here are a few creative lunch ideas that the whole family will love.

  • 1. Balance is best. The most nutritious and filling lunches are ones with protein, vegetables and natural carbohydrate from foods like fruit and oats. Some of the classic convince lunch items are still great options. Apple sauce and mixed fruit cups are great ways to add a serving of natural carbohydrate to any lunch. Combine them with a string cheese or a deli meat roll-up and you have a perfect carbohydrate and protein blend.
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  • 2. Deli meat roll-up. Take a slice of your favorite cheese and wrap a piece of deli meat around it. You can also place spinach leaves and spicy mustard in the roll-up for an extra kick. I love munster cheese and spinach wrapped with a slice of turkey. Bring two or three of these roll-ups with a piece of fruit and you’ll have a protein packed lunch.
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  • 3. Vegetable based pasta salad. In July we had a recipe for Picnic Pasta Salad. The mix included broccoli, peppers, cheese, chicken, Italian sausage, artichoke hearts and more! This delicious blend of wholesome foods combined with Italian dressing is a great lunch selection. You can make it ahead of time, mix & match different vegetables to fit your taste and add variety.
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  • 4. Breakfast for lunch. A hard boiled egg with oatmeal is not only a power breakfast but it can be a power lunch as well. Enjoy a hard boiled egg with overnight oats & chia seeds (recipe on blog) and you’ll have energy to make it through a long afternoon.
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Hydrate With A Twist

Want to make drinking water a little more exciting? I know I do. Water is an essential part of life that we need every single day. It is a pure and healthy form of hydration, but plain water can be a little boring sometimes. So why not try infusing your next glass of water with fruit or fresh herbs.

The most common and easiest way to add a twist to your water is by adding citrus. Lemons, limes and oranges add flavor and vitamin C. Cucumber and mint are also a delightful and refreshing combination. By drinking water with natural sweetness, like fruit, you can reduce the urge to drink soda and other sugary beverages.

For optimal performance our bodies requires a minimum of 8 cups of water per day. But we all stand to benefit from more H2O if we live in a warm climate or if we’re physically active. Infusing water can be done by the glass for a single serve portion or it can be made in a pitcher. When friends and family are coming over I like to fill my large clear glass pitcher with various types of infused water each time we are having a celebration. From strawberry tangerine to rosemary grapefruit, and lemon cucumber – have fun trying different varieties of naturally flavored water.

 Tangerine and blackberry infused water Tangerine and blackberry infused water

Tangerine and blackberry infused water

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Summer Berries

One of my favorite things about summer is the wide variety of delicious berries that are available June through August. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries are a mainstay in my grocery cart while they’re at the peak of freshness. The beauty of these super foods is that they offer us a host of different vitamins and minerals while also tasting like a decadent dessert.

Almost all fruits and vegetables contain disease fighting antioxidants. However, nutrient rich berries are some of the best sources of these vital components that improve our health. Blueberries, in particular, have concentrated amounts of anthocyanins that can help reduce inflammation and help slow age-related memory loss.

Even when the season for berries has passed, it’s important that we keep incorporating these fruits in our meal plan because of their nutritional profile. Purchasing frozen berries makes enjoying these fruits possible all year long. When picking up frozen fruit in the winter or for smoothies in the summer look for pure and simple fruit. Avoid the frozen fruits packed in syrup or with added sugar. These products can contain added sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. Berries are delicious in their natural state, whether fresh or frozen. Watch for a strawberry coleslaw recipe next week!

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