Helping families eat healthier for less

Helping families eat healthier for less

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New Recipe for Recipe Redux: Triple Cherry Chiller

Recipe Redux consists of a group of health-minded recipe developers with blogs who enjoy the challenge of creating healthy recipes for their audiences. Each month we are given a theme to write about and develop a nutritious recipe. July’s challenge is to create a refreshing summer beverage.

Because more and more people are learning about the health benefits of cherries, I decided to develop a recipe using tart cherry juice, cherry tea, and fresh cherries.  The recipe is Triple Cherry Chiller.

Triple Cherry Chiller

The recipe is easy to put together. You start by brewing the tea. I used Celestial Seasonings” Black Cherry Berry. Of course, many other flavors of tea could be used instead, such as raspberry zinger. I used 3 tea bags to 4 cups of water.

cherry tea

You let the tea steep for about 10 minutes. Then add the juice. I used tart cherry juice.

tart cherry juice

Then you refrigerate the mixture. When ready to serve, cut up some fresh cherries to add to each glass along with some ice.

fresh cherries cut into quarters
Below is the Triple Cherry Chiller recipe with nutrition and cost information.

4 cups boiling water
3 black cherry berry tea bags (or other cherry-flavored tea)
2 cups 100% tart cherry juice
6 Tbsp fresh or frozen sweet cherries, pitted if fresh and quartered
Agave nectar or honey or sugar, if desired
Pour boiling water over tea bags in large pitcher; let steep for 10 minutes. Remove tea bags and discard. Add juice to tea. Refrigerate. When ready to serve, add 1 tablespoon quartered cherries and ice to each glass; pour beverage. Sweeten to taste with agave nectar, honey, or sugar, if desired. Optional: garnish each glass with one whole cherry.
Makes 6 servings (about 6 cups total).

Nutrition Information per Serving:
43 calories, 0 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, mg cholesterol, 0.2 g dietary fiber, 0.4 g protein, and  7 mg sodium.
Cost per Serving: $0.59
Pricing Note: The cherry juice was $4.99 for 64 fl ounces and fresh cherries were found on sale for $2.99 a pound.
Preparation Note:
No sugar added pomegranate juice can be use instead of 100% tart cherry juice if desired.

For more great summer beverage recipes, go to these great blogs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Peach Cake Makes Good Impression and is a Great Way to Use Summer Peaches

My local market featured fresh southern peaches for $0.69 a pound. I decided to make the Summer Peach Cake in the July/August issue of my favorite magazine, Cook’s Illustrated. I love this magazine because they do an outstanding job of creating wonderful recipes and testing them umpteen times to get just the right cooking method and the perfect amount or proportion of ingredients. You also refresh your memory or learn many food science concepts.
The peach cake uses 2 and a half pounds of fresh peaches in one 9-inch round cake. Prior to mixing the peaches in the cake, you bake the slices in the oven to help intensify their flavor and bring out some of their juices in order to prevent a runny cake. I was extremely pleased with the final product. It looked fabulous, like I had spent a lot of time (which I didn’t). It tasted great and had great peach flavor.
By getting the peaches on sale, I was able to make this cake for $5.52 total, or $0.55 a serving for 10 servings. A great buy for an impressive-looking summer dessert.

Note: Cook’s Illustrated Magazine is $5.95 an issue or $24.95 for an annual subscription. You can also subscribe online for a free 14-day trial at

Friday, July 1, 2011

Are you eating or drinking more or more often that in the past?

Two different nutrition articles this week caught my attention. The first was a Reuters’ article that reported that Americans are eating more and more often. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, researchers looked at American’s eating habits over the last 30 years and found that we have gone from 3.8 meals and snacks a day to 4.8. More importantly, we are eating 570 more calories each day compared to the late 1970s. That translates into an extra 59 pounds of weight per year. How often you eat isn’t what really matters. It’s what you eat and how many calories/nutrients you consume that is most important. What about your activity level? Are you more or less active than you were several year back? Unfortunately, most of us are not as active as we should be and aren’t getting the 30 minutes per day or 150 minutes per week that is recommended.
The second article by MyHealthNewsDaily staff reported that diet sodas don’t help with dieting and that those who drank two or more diet sodas a day had bigger waist sizes, as much as six times greater than those who don’t drink diet sodas. This finding was based on a study of 474 people in the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging by researchers at the University of Texas. In the same article they reported on a second study that showed that diabetes-prone mice that were fed aspartame (the sugar substitute found in some soft drinks) showed elevated blood sugar levels. These studies may suggest that consuming an large amount of aspartame may not be beneficial to one’s health, although human studies are needed.
Personally, I’m not a big drinker of diet sodas. I may drink a glass once every 3 or 4 months, if I’m eating out or at someone’s house. I don’t buy it at the store and keep it in my house. Occasional use of diet soda is fine. I don’t care for regular sodas that are loaded with sugar and provide nothing but calories. When thirsty, it’s better to drink a beverage with nutrients, such as skim milk or 100% fruit or vegetable juice. If you want calorie-free, water is your best bet.