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Discover the Benefits of Eating Red ... With Cherries!

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Mango Cherry Avocado Salad
Cherry Whole Grain Cereal Bars
Cherry-Banana Raisin Bread Pudding

(Family Features) - Eating a color-rich diet can be deliciously good for you. Mother Nature makes it easy to pick some of the most nutritious foods just by looking at their colorful exteriors. In fact, the rich hues of many "super fruits" - fruits that are exceptionally rich in nutrients, loaded with antioxidants and offer many potential protective health benefits - are a color cue to their health-promoting qualities.

One of today's hottest super fruits is the tart cherry. Science suggests the pigments that make up cherries' vibrant red color are anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation and risk factors for heart disease. Cherries are also one of the few known, researched food sources of the antioxidant melatonin, which can help aid with sleep and jet lag.

Cherries are available year round as dried and frozen cherries and cherry juice, so it's easy to include them in your daily diet, from topping your morning cereal, creating your own on-the-go snack mix, topping a salad or a cherry-delicious smoothie.

According to registered dietitian Dr. Wendy Bazilian, author of "The SuperFoods Rx Diet: Lose Weight with the Power of SuperNutrients," cherries really are a red hot super fruit. "I love using and recommending cherries because they deliver a delicious balance of sweet and tart flavors, eye-popping red color taste and a powerful antioxidant punch."

For more recipes, usage tips and information on the health benefits of cherries, visit www.choosecherries.com.

Delicious Ideas for Eating Red

Here are some easy and tasty ways to enjoy the benefits of cherries every day:

Make It a Red Hot Morning - Use dried cherries on cereal, oatmeal, or pancakes. Or create your own yogurt parfait with low fat yogurt and mixed berries.

Drink RED - Grab a single-serve bottle of one hundred percent cherry, cranberry or pomegranate juice, or fill a water bottle with diluted juice concentrate before heading to the gym. Research suggests cherry juice may help reduce exercise-related joint pain.

Enjoy Super Fruits On-the-Go - Create an antioxidant-rich trail mix using dried cherries, raisins, nuts and seeds. Add dark chocolate bits for an extra indulgence (and antioxidant boost). Pack it in your purse or briefcase for a mid-day or post-workout snack.

Mango Cherry Avocado Salad

Ingredients
  • 8 cups spring mix lettuce
  • 3 tablespoons tart cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, coarsely cracked
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup diced red onion
  • 2 ripe avocados, peeled, seeded and sliced thin
  • 1 large, ripe mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups dried tart cherries

Preparation
    1. Divide lettuce evenly onto 4 salad plates; set aside. In small bowl, whisk together cherry juice, vinegar, mustard, coriander seeds, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper; set aside.
    2. Layer red onion, avocado, mango and cherries evenly atop each plate of lettuce. Drizzle dressing over top and serve immediately.

Serves
Makes 4 servings

Cherry Whole Grain Cereal Bars

Ingredients
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup tart cherry juice
  • 1 1/4 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup packed Splenda sweetener & brown sugar blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted

Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray.
    2. In medium saucepan, heat cherries and juice to a simmer and cook until liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Place in food processor and process until puréed. Remove from processor and set aside. Wash and wipe dry processor bowl and blade. Place oats, all-purpose and whole wheat flours,
    3. Splenda, ginger and soda in food processor and process until oats are finely ground. Pour in butter and pulse just until mixture begins to cling together. Reserve 1 1/4 cups crumb mixture for topping.
    4. Pour remaining mixture into the bottom of the baking pan and pat down firmly. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove from oven and spread puréed cherries evenly over top of crust.* Sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over cherry layer and pat down firmly. Return to oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until slightly golden and topping appears set. Remove from oven.
    5. Cool and cut into 12 bars.

Serves
Makes 12 bars

Notes, Tips & Suggestions
*Note: To easily spread puréed cherries on baked crust, spoon small spoonfuls evenly on top, then spread with a wet spatula.

Cherry-Banana Raisin Bread Pudding

Ingredients
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 cups raisin bread cut into
  • 3/4-inch squares (8 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1 large very ripe banana, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces
Creamy Topping (Optional)
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 4 teaspoons packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
    2. Stir together beaten eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon in medium bowl using a wire whisk.
    3. Place two-thirds of the bread pieces in an 8x8x2-inch baking pan or dish. Top with cherries, banana slices and remaining bread pieces.
    4. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread mixture. Bake, uncovered, for 65 to 70 minutes or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly.
    5. Meanwhile, for topping, stir together sour cream, brown sugar, orange peel and cinnamon. Serve bread pudding topped with sour cream mixture.

Serves
Makes 6 servings

SOURCE: Cherry Marketing Institute



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