recipes

Healthy 16 February 2022

Deliciously Healthy Dishes from Sweet to Savory

(Family Features) Supplementing meals and snacks with powerful, versatile ingredients can take healthy eating from bland and boring to delicious and adventurous.

Take your breakfasts, appetizers, dinners and desserts to new heights while maintaining nutrition goals with naturally nutritious and surprisingly versatile California Prunes. Rich and smooth with an ability to enhance both sweet and savory flavors, they can expand your menu with nearly endless powerful pairing options.

One serving of 4-5 prunes packs a powerful punch of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Together, these nutrients form a web of vital functions that support overall health.

Whole, diced or pureed, the versatility of prunes allows you to enhance the flavor of recipes from morning to night in dishes like Citrus Breakfast Toast, which brings together vitamin B6 and copper from prunes and vitamin C from citrus to support a healthy immune system.

Try Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, Prune and Thyme Flatbreads for a tasty family meal, and while you wait for dinner to cook, you can serve up Prune, Mozzarella and Basil Skewers. These easy appetizers provide several key nutrients. Mozzarella is a good source of calcium and prunes provide vitamin K and copper, all of which support overall bone health.

Make dessert a bit better for you but equally delectable with a vegan option like gluten-free, plant-based Prune and Almond Truffles. The soluble fiber in prunes helps lower serum cholesterol and blunt the effects of excessive sodium in the diet. Nuts like almonds provide good fats that help lower the risk for heart disease.

Find more recipe ideas at CaliforniaPrunes.org.

Caramelized Onion, Mozzarella, Prune and Thyme Flatbreads

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Yield: 4 flatbreads

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 6 large yellow sweet onions, sliced into thin half circles
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • coarse kosher salt, to taste

Flatbreads:

  • 4 personal flatbreads
  • 1 cup caramelized onions
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 10 California Prunes, diced small
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • sea salt, to taste
  • coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
  1. To make caramelized onions: Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In large stockpot over medium-low heat, warm oil and melt butter. Add onions and cover; cook 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add thyme sprigs and season with salt, to taste; turn pan lid slightly ajar. Place pot in oven 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
  3. To make flatbreads: Preheat oven to broil. On sheet pan, toast flatbreads under broiler 4 minutes, or until toasted, flipping halfway through.
  4. Spread 1/4 cup of caramelized onions over each toasted flatbread. Refrigerate leftover onions.
  5. Tear mozzarella and place over onions. Divide prunes among flatbreads and place flatbreads under broiler 4-6 minutes until cheese has melted and is beginning to brown.
  6. Sprinkle flatbreads with fresh thyme and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Citrus Breakfast Toast

Prep time: 13 minutes
Cook time: 2 minutes
Servings: 2

Prune Puree:

  • 16 ounces pitted California Prunes
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 large citrus fruit, peels and piths removed with knife, sliced into rounds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 4 tablespoons sunflower butter
  • 2 slices whole-grain sourdough bread, toasted to desired darkness
  • 2 tablespoons prune puree
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
  • 2 California Prunes, finely diced
  1. To make prune puree: In blender, pulse prunes and water to combine then blend until smooth, pourable consistency forms, scraping sides, if necessary.
  2. Store in airtight container up to 4 weeks.
  3. To make bruleed citrus wheels: Place citrus wheels on baking sheet and divide sugar evenly among each piece.
  4. Using circular motion, pass flame of culinary torch repeatedly over sugar until it boils and turns lightly charred and amber.
  5. To build toast: Spread 2 tablespoons sunflower butter on each piece of toast. Top each with 1 tablespoon prune puree spread evenly across sunflower butter. Sprinkle each evenly with sunflower seeds and diced prunes. Top each with half broiled citrus and serve.
  6. Alteration: Use broiler set on high instead of culinary torch to caramelize sugar.

Prune and Almond Truffles

Recipe courtesy of Meg of "This Mess is Ours"
Prep time: 45 minutes
Servings: 24

  • Water
  • 1 cup California Prunes
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted slivered almonds, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus additional, to taste, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla paste or extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  1. Boil water and pour over prunes. Soak 30 minutes; drain.
  2. In food processor fitted with "S" blade, pulse 1/2 cup toasted almonds with salt, to taste, until fine crumbs form. Transfer to shallow bowl and set aside.
  3. Add remaining almonds to food processor with 1/4 teaspoon salt and cocoa powder. Pulse 30 seconds to combine. Add prunes, vanilla paste and almond extract; process until combined. Mixture should be creamy with slight texture from almond crumbs. Transfer prune mixture to bowl and refrigerate 1 hour.
  4. Once chilled, use small cookie scoop to portion out individual truffles on parchment-lined baking sheet. Gently roll each truffle in reserved toasted almond crumbs. Store on parchment-lined plate in refrigerator up to 2 weeks. Serve chilled.

Prune, Mozzarella and Basil Skewers

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 5

  • 5 pieces prosciutto, halved lengthwise (optional)
  • 10 California Prunes
  • 10 basil leaves
  • 10 cherry-size mozzarella balls
  1. If using prosciutto, fold each half in half lengthwise so width of prune is wider than width of prosciutto. Starting at one end of prosciutto, wrap one prune; repeat with remaining prosciutto. Set aside.
  2. Wrap one basil leaf around each mozzarella ball then thread onto skewer. Thread one prune or prosciutto-wrapped prune onto each skewer.

Source: California Prunes

Appetizers & Sides 19 January 2022

5 Reasons to Eat More Tart Cherries

(Family Features) If you want to add superfoods to your diet in the new year, Montmorency tart cherries may be perfect for you.

Montmorency is the variety of tart cherries grown in America, primarily on small family farms. Compared to sweet cherries that are typically eaten fresh during the summer season, tart cherries are available year-round as dried, frozen, canned, juice and juice concentrate.  

Decades of scientific research has shown Montmorency tart cherries are deserving of their superfood reputation. Here are five reasons to enjoy them more often:

  • Sleep: Tart cherries are one of the few food sources of melatonin and have been the focus of multiple sleep studies.
  • Exercise recovery: Tart cherry juice has become a popular exercise recovery drink for athletes.
  • Arthritis and gout: Studies have explored the impact of Montmorency tart cherry juice consumption on gout attacks and arthritis symptoms.
  • Heart health: Montmorency tart cherry research has examined blood pressure and blood lipids.
  • Versatility: Although they remain perfect for pie, tart cherries can easily transition from sweet to savory, adding complex flavors to oatmeal, smoothies, salads, granola bars, trail mix and grain bowls.

Look for dried U.S.-grown tart cherries at the store and online for enjoyment at the start of your day and at night in recipes like Tart Cherry Overnight Oats and Tart Cherry Bedtime Bites.

Find more recipes and scientific research at ChooseCherries.com.

A Dark, Colorful Clue

The deep red color is your clue to the science-based benefits of Montmorency tart cherries. The vibrant hue is due to the concentration of anthocyanins, a type of polyphenol in the flavonoids family that has been widely studied.

Tart Cherry Bedtime Bites

Recipe courtesy of the Cherry Industry Administrative Board
Yield: 12 bites

  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup dried tart cherries
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded coconut flakes
  • 3/4 cup unsalted cashews
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  1. In food processor, process dates until broken into pea-sized bits. Add dried tart cherries, coconut flakes, cashews, almond extract and sea salt; process until combined. Form into 12 balls and chill 2 hours.

Tart Cherry Overnight Oats

Recipe courtesy of the Cherry Industry Administrative Board
Servings: 2

  • 1 cup dried tart cherries, plus additional for topping (optional)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, plus additional for topping (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons tart cherry concentrate
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • honey, for topping (optional)
  1. In large jar or container, mix cherries, oats, milk, almonds, cherry concentrate, chia seeds and cinnamon. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Spoon into bowls and enjoy cold or warmed up. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with extra dried tart cherries and almonds, if desired.

Source: Cherry Industry Administrative Board

Healthy 15 November 2021

Make Cooking Fun for the Whole Family with this Sweet, Seasonal Snack

(Family Features) No matter how busy your schedule gets this fall, it’s important to take time to nurture your physical and mental health and well-being. With busy schedules underway, remember to take time to cook and eat together with loved ones.

In fact, research from the “Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health” shows regular family meals make it more likely kids and adults will eat more fruits and vegetables.

Making healthy choices, including eating fruits, like those in Apple Nachos, and vegetables have also been linked to greater happiness, according to research published in “Canadian Family Physician,” and can help you through the transition back to school, the office or wherever your routine takes you. Pairing a healthy diet with other science-backed tips and recipes from the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative, supported by Kroger Health, can help you and your family feel your best.

For more free recipes, and to access more health tips, visit heart.org/healthyforgood.
 

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

 

Apple Nachos

Recipe courtesy of the American Heart Association’s Healthy for Good initiative
Servings: 6

  • 1/3       cup dried unsweetened cranberries or raisins
  • 1/4       cup sliced unsalted almonds
  • 2          tablespoons unsalted shelled sunflower seeds
  • 3          medium green or red apples, cored and thinly sliced into 12 wedges each, divided
  • 1-2       teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2          tablespoons water
  • 1/4       cup smooth low-sodium peanut butter
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  1. In small bowl, stir cranberries, almonds and sunflower seeds.
  2. Layer 18 apple wedges on large plate or platter. Sprinkle with lemon juice to keep apples from browning.
  3. In small microwaveable bowl, microwave water on high 2 minutes, or until boiling. Add peanut butter and honey, stirring until mixture is smooth.
  4. Using spoon, drizzle half peanut butter mixture over apple wedges. Sprinkle with half cranberry mixture. Layer remaining apples over cranberry mixture. Drizzle with remaining peanut butter mixture. Sprinkle remaining cranberry mixture over top.

Nutritional information per serving: 167 calories; 7.5 g total fat; 1 g saturated fat; 0 g trans fat; 2.5 g polyunsaturated fat; 3.5 g monounsaturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 66 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrates; 4 g fiber; 15 g sugar; 4 g protein.

Source: American Heart Association

Videos 27 October 2021

Add Grapes to Your Holiday Gatherings

(Family Features) Add a special touch this holiday season with simple yet stunning small plates that add beauty and flavor to gatherings with friends and family.

Available into January, California grapes offer a way to make the season special as an ingredient in your favorite recipes or as decoration for a festive centerpiece. Pops of red, green and black provide a seasonal touch and they’re perfect as an easy, fresh, healthy snack.

Plus, you can dip grapes in nut butter and finish with coatings of coconut, dark chocolate and almonds to make these Peanut Butter Grape Bites for a holiday treat that’s simply divine – without spending hours in the kitchen.

Visit grapesfromcalifornia.com to find more holiday recipe inspiration.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Peanut Butter Grape Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Yield: 12 pieces

12        California grapes, chilled
1/3       cup natural peanut or almond butter
1/4       cup shredded coconut
1/4       cup chopped dark chocolate
1/4       cup chopped almonds

Place sheet of wax paper on baking sheet. Dip each grape in nut butter to coat half then dip in either coconut, dark chocolate or chopped almonds. Transfer to sheet then chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 70 calories; 2 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (64% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (19% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Snacks 01 October 2021

A Show-Stopping Strawberry Snack

(Culinary.net) When you are craving something sweet, sometimes you just can’t get it off your mind until you have just one bite. You need something small, delicious and something that will ease your cravings. This recipe for Chocolate Coated Strawberry Treats is not only fun to make, but will give you that perfect little snack you have been longing for.

The recipe begins with fresh strawberries and ends with a drizzle of mouthwatering peanut butter sauce. This is a great recipe for little ones looking to help out in the kitchen. These strawberries are fun to dip and even more enjoyable to devour.

This snack can also be perfect for date night, a romantic date or just a picnic in the park with friends. They are easy to transport from place to place and don’t leave a huge mess behind to clean up afterwards.

It’s also simple to just melt, whisk, dip and repeat. The red, ripe berries are bursting with color and the chocolate is glazed right across the top for the perfect bite.

The best part is you can be creative and dip these strawberries into a number of your favorite ingredients you already have in your pantry at home. This includes, sprinkles, small candies, white chocolate drizzle and different kinds of nuts. The possibilities are endless.

Next time you can’t get chocolate off your mind, enjoy something delightful, rich and a show-stopping snack.

Find more snack recipes at Culinary.net.

If you made this recipe at home, use #MyCulinaryConnection on your favorite social network to share your work.

Watch video to see how to make this recipe!

Chocolate Coated Strawberry Treats

Servings: 5

  • 1 1/4    baking chocolate chips
  • 1/2       baking peanut butter chips
  • 3          tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1          pound fresh strawberries
  • shredded coconut
  • crushed almonds
  1. In saucepan, add baking chocolate chips and two tablespoons of coconut oil. Melt on low to medium heat and whisk until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, add baking peanut butter chips and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Microwave in 30 second intervals until melted. Whisk together until smooth.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  4. Dip all strawberries into melted chocolate. Then, dip 1/3 in coconut, 1/3 in almonds and 1/3 just chocolate and lay on tray.
  5. Drizzle the melted peanut butter over the plain chocolate strawberries.
  6. Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or until strawberry treats are chilled.

Source: Culinary.net

Snacks 24 September 2021

Pop Up a Celebratory Snack

(Family Features) Popcorn lovers rejoice: October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, a seasonal celebration of one of America’s oldest and most beloved snack foods.

As farmers head into the fields to harvest crops, families and friends gather to enjoy this ever-popular treat. Whether it’s prepared on the stovetop, in the microwave or ready to eat from the bag, Americans consume 15 billion quarts of this whole grain each year.

Celebrated for its seed-to-snack simplicity, popcorn is also non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and naturally low in fat and calories, which makes it an easy fit for dietary preferences – and it’s budget-friendly.

Add in popcorn’s irresistible smell, taste and versatility, and it’s easy to understand its popularity. With so many different ways to eat it – plain, buttery or loaded with goodies like these Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn or Churro Popcorn versions – popcorn fits many moods and occasions.

Pop up a bowl and join the Popcorn Poppin’ Month celebration with more recipes a popcorn.org.

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Toffee Almond Chocolate Popcorn

Total time: 15 minutes, plus 30 minutes chilling time
Servings: 4

  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted almonds, divided
  • 6 tablespoons toffee bits, divided
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate, melted
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, melted
  1. In large bowl, toss popcorn, 1/2 cup almonds and 4 tablespoons toffee bits. Drizzle with melted milk chocolate; toss until well coated.
  2. Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with dark chocolate; sprinkle with remaining almonds and toffee bits. Refrigerate about 30 minutes, or until set; break into clusters.

Substitution: Use dark chocolate for milk chocolate, if preferred.

Churro Popcorn

Servings: 2-3

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 6 cups popped popcorn
  1. In small bowl, mix granulated sugar, powdered sugar and cinnamon.
  2. In small saucepan, melt butter; stir in 1 tablespoon cinnamon sugar.
  3. In large bowl, toss popcorn with cinnamon butter until well coated. Sprinkle evenly with remaining cinnamon sugar; toss to coat well.

Tips: For spicy variation, add 1 teaspoon spicy chipotle seasoning. Serve with hot chocolate.

Source: Popcorn Board

Healthy 09 September 2021

Go for Grapes as a Smart Choice for Health and Wellness

(Family Features) The importance of health and wellness is top of mind for many people. There are many contributing factors to wellness such as diet, physical activity, social engagement and genetics. All are important, but a first step to wellness is choosing healthy foods to fuel the body every day, ideally foods that support health in multiple ways.

Consider grapes from California: they are convenient, healthy, hydrating and provide energy to help support healthy and active lifestyles. Eating grapes is also linked to beneficial impacts on the health of specific body parts and systems, including the heart, brain, skin and colon.

Most of grapes’ health benefits are attributed to the presence of natural plant compounds known as polyphenols, which help promote antioxidant activity and influence biological processes that support overall health. Grapes of all colors – red, green and black – are natural sources of polyphenols.

Fresh California grapes are refreshing by the handful, but they also lend a tasty burst of flavor to a wide range of recipes you can enjoy any time of day. This Heart Smart Smoothie is a deliciously healthy way to start the day; pairing grapes with nuts and seeds in No-Bake Energy Bites delivers a hearty snack to enjoy midday, after school or following a workout; and Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad is perfect at any mealtime for a powerful combo of both taste and health.

Grapes and a Healthy Brain

Research suggests regularly eating grapes as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle may contribute to improved health outcomes, including brain health.

In a study of people with early memory decline published in “Experimental Gerontology,” subjects were either fed whole grape powder equivalent to just 2 1/4 cups of grapes per day or a placebo powder. The results showed consuming grapes preserved healthy metabolic activity in regions of the brain associated with early Alzheimer’s disease, where metabolic decline takes hold.

Subjects who didn’t consume grapes exhibited significant metabolic decline in these critical regions. Additionally, those consuming the grape-enriched diet showed beneficial changes in regional brain metabolism that correlated to improvements in attention and working memory performance.

Find more nutritious recipes at GrapesFromCalifornia.com .

No-Bake Energy Bites

Prep time: 20 minutes
Yield: 8 energy bites

  • 1/3       cup raw almonds
  • 1/3       cup walnuts
  • 1/2       cup pitted dates
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons fresh orange juice or lemon juice
  • 1          pinch sea salt
  • 8          seedless California grapes
  • 1/3       cup chia or hemp seeds
  1. In bowl of food processor, pulse almonds and walnuts 5-6 times to coarsely chop. Add dates and process until mixture is finely chopped. Add juice and process until just combined; transfer mixture to small plate.
  2. Dry grapes. Pack 1 tablespoon date mixture around each grape, completely covering to seal. Repeat with remaining grapes and date mixture.
  3. Roll balls in seeds to coat. Store in covered container in refrigerator up to three days.

Nutritional information per energy bite: 120 calories; 3 g protein; 12 g carbohydrates; 7 g fat (53% calories from fat); 0.5 g saturated fat (4% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; 3 g fiber.

Heart Smart Grape and Peanut Butter Smoothie

Prep time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1

  • 1          cup red California grapes, chilled
  • 2/3       cup unsweetened almond milk, chilled
  • 1/2       cup ice cubes
  • 1/2       small banana
  • 1          tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1          tablespoon ground flax seed
  • 2          teaspoons cacao powder
  1. In blender on high speed, blend grapes, almond milk, ice, banana, peanut butter, flax seed and cacao powder until smooth.

Nutritional information per serving: 350 calories; 8 g protein; 53 g carbohydrates; 14 g fat (36% calories from fat); 2.5 g saturated fat (6% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 220 mg sodium; 7 g fiber.

Quinoa, Cauliflower and Grape Salad

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 8

  • 1          cup white quinoa
  • 1          small head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into small florets
  • 1 1/4    cups red California grapes, halved
  • 3          scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
  • 2          ripe avocados, diced 1/3 inch

Dressing:

  • 2          tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1          tablespoon lime juice
  • 1          tablespoon honey
  • 1/2       teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2       teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/2       teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4       cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Cook quinoa according to package directions and drain on two layers of paper towels. Transfer to mixing bowl. Add cauliflower, grapes, scallions and avocado pieces.
  2. To make dressing: In small bowl, whisk vinegar, lime juice, honey, cumin, oregano and salt until blended. Gradually whisk in oil. Drizzle dressing over quinoa mixture and toss gently. Season with pepper, to taste.

Nutritional information per serving: 260 calories; 5 g protein; 27 g carbo hydrates; 16 g fat (55% calories from fat); 2 g saturated fat (7% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 170 mg sodium; 6 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission

Snacks 04 August 2021

Kid-Friendly Brain Food for Busy School Days

(Family Features) Starting a new school year, whether in the classroom or online, brings excitement for kids of all ages. Opportunities to see friends, make new acquaintances and explore new areas of interest abound.

Along with the exciting times can also come early mornings with hectic moments getting ready, including making sure that lunches and snacks are packed for the day ahead. Keep fresh grapes from California on hand as an easy, fresh staple ready to drop into lunches and pack as a portable snack – no need to peel, cut or slice.

Heart-healthy grapes are brain food too, and a healthy choice any time of day to help fuel young minds in the classroom or after school.

Grapes also pair well with other healthy ingredients to create fun and tasty snacks such as these Peanut Butter Grape Bites. Involving your kids in the process can be beneficial, and is as simple as asking them to complete one of several child-friendly tasks: rinsing grapes, measuring ingredients or, perhaps the most fun part, dipping grapes in peanut butter, coconut, dark chocolate or almonds.

Providing children with ways to help in the kitchen can give them a sense of accomplishment while teaching them important skills like math and how to follow instructions.

To find more back-to-school recipes for kids and families, visit GrapesFromCalifornia.com .

Peanut Butter Grape Bites

Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 5 minutes
Yield: 12 pieces

  • 12        California grapes, any color, chilled
  • 1/3       cup natural peanut or almond butter
  • 1/4       cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4       cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1/4       cup chopped almonds
  1. Place wax paper sheet on baking sheet. Dip each grape in peanut butter or almond butter to coat half then dip in either coconut, dark chocolate or almonds, alternating with each grape.  
  2. Transfer grapes to baking sheet then chill until ready to serve.

Nutritional information per serving: 70 calories; 2 g protein; 4 g carbohydrates; 5 g fat (64% calories from fat); 1.5 g saturated fat (19% calories from saturated fat); 0 mg cholesterol; 25 mg sodium; 1 g fiber.

Source: California Table Grape Commission 

Breakfast & Brunch 28 July 2021

Sweet Ideas for Easy Back-to-School Breakfasts

(Family Features) A healthy breakfast can give your student a boost that lasts all day long. Mornings tend to be rushed, but it’s still possible to prepare easy breakfasts that power little learners throughout the school day.

Fresh fruit is a breakfast staple, and a nutritious option like watermelon is a sweet way to satisfy hunger (and thirst). As a refreshing ingredient or standalone treat, watermelon includes just 80 calories and no fat. It’s an excellent source of vitamin C (25%) and because it’s made of 92% water, it’s a flavorful way to encourage kids to start a busy day well hydrated.

A bowl of watermelon cut into cubes, balls or fun shapes is a winning idea, but you can also think outside the rind with these ways to give watermelon a place at your breakfast table:

  • Top a grain-based cereal like corn flakes or oatmeal with bite-size bits.
  • Make Watermelon Donuts for a grab-and-go delight, perfect on hectic mornings.
  • Freeze cubes overnight and use them in place of ice with your favorite smoothie ingredients.
  • Put a twist on a breakfast favorite with these Watermelon Oat Flour Waffles.
  • Add a layer of oat crumble to a bowl of watermelon balls for a savory, satisfying treat.

Kid-Friendly Cuts
It’s no secret that kids gravitate toward fun foods. Watermelon is a versatile fruit that offers plenty of serving options that let kids get hands-on and creative.

Slices
A classic watermelon slice may be basic, but it does have a few tricks up its sleeve. With the rind on, it’s an instant finger food with a built-in “handle.” Add a wooden stick for watermelon you can eat like a sucker or pop it in the freezer for a cool way to start the day.

Cubes
Simple and versatile cubes are a solution for banishing breakfast boredom. You can cube a melon and use them differently every day of the week by eating them on their own, mixing in a fruit salad, layering with other ingredients, blending in a smoothie and more.

Sticks
There’s nothing like a dipper to get kids’ attention. A watermelon stick offers a bit of rind to hold onto and a juicy strip of sweet melon that’s perfect for dunking in a cup of yogurt or fruit dip.

Cutouts
Cut watermelon into thin slices and use cookie cutters to create a treat that shows off creativity.

Get in a school morning groove with more easy breakfast ideas at watermelon.org .

Watermelon Oat Flour Waffles

Yield: 8 waffles

Waffles:

  • 1          cup old-fashioned or regular oats
  • 3/4       cup all-purpose flour
  • 1          tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1          cup watermelon juice
  • 1/2       cup vegetable oil
  • 4          egg whites
  • nonstick cooking spray

Garnish:

  • 2          cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3          cups watermelon, diced 1/2 inch
  • fresh mint leaves
  • powdered sugar (optional)
  • honey (optional)
  1. Preheat Belgian or regular waffle iron.
  2. In blender, process oat flakes into flour.
  3. In bowl, mix oat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder and salt. Mix in watermelon juice and oil.
  4. Whip egg whites into stiff peaks and fold into batter.
  5. Spray hot waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into waffle iron and bake 3-4 minutes, or according to waffle iron instructions. Repeat with remaining batter.
  6. Garnish waffles with yogurt; watermelon cubes; mint sprigs; powdered sugar, if desired; and honey, if desired.

Watermelon Donuts

Servings: 1

  • 2          slices seedless watermelon, 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 2          tablespoons nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1          pinch sugar
  • vanilla, to taste
  • 9          slivered almonds
  1. Cut out donut shapes from watermelon slices.
  2. Sweeten Greek yogurt with sugar and vanilla, to taste, to create frosting.
  3. Frost half of watermelon donuts with half of frosting. Add layer of remaining watermelon donuts and top with remaining frosting.
  4. Sprinkle toasted almonds over top and serve.

Source: National Watermelon Promotion Board

Appetizers & Sides 11 June 2021

A Natural Solution for Summer Hydration

(Family Features) Fun in the summer sun can mean anything from poolside play and outdoor exercise to simply relaxing in the shade. While these activities make the season special for people of all ages, the heat also leads to the inevitable: sweat.

Electrolytes, critical for the human body to function, are lost via sweat throughout the day. Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, helps keep you hydrated. However, adding 100% orange juice to your diet can help replace those lost electrolytes in addition to aiding hydration. According to a study published in the “Journal of Nutrition and Health Sciences,” drinking 100% orange juice following exercise contributes to hydration equally as well as water and sports drinks, making the beverage a viable alternative for recovery.

“Electrolytes include nutrients such as potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium,” said Dr. Rosa Walsh, scientific research director at the Florida Department of Citrus. “In fluids, these nutrients carry an electric charge, which allows muscles to contract and nerves to transmit signals, and are critical for the human body to function. Plain water contains few if any electrolytes, so you must replace lost electrolytes by consuming foods or beverages that contain these nutrients. Drinking fluids that contain both water and electrolytes, such as 100% orange juice, may help support hydration.”

In fact, 100% orange juice contains about 90% water and can contribute to overall water intake. With no added sugar, it’s an ideal way to support hydration by drinking it on its own or by adding it to recipes like this Healthy Broccoli Salad with Miso Orange Dressing or Pineapple Orange Smoothie.

Consider these major electrolytes found in orange juice:

  • Potassium: The major electrolyte within all cells, it helps balance fluid in the body with a strong relationship to sodium, the major electrolyte in the blood and outside the cells. Potassium is especially important for regulating heart rhythm and function. An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice provides 10% of the recommended daily value for potassium.
  • Magnesium: The fourth-most abundant mineral in the body and essential in the regulation of muscle contraction, cardiac excitability, blood pressure and other vital processes. An 8-ounce glass of 100% orange juice contains 6% of the recommended daily value for magnesium.
  • Calcium: Found in fortified varieties of orange juice, calcium plays an important role in muscle contraction, nerve transmission and the contraction and relaxation of the cardiovascular system. As an excellent source of calcium, an 8-ounce serving of fortified orange juice provides 30% of the recommended daily value.

Visit floridajuice.com to find more recipes that aid in summer hydration.

Healthy Broccoli Salad with Miso Orange Dressing

Servings: 1

Salad:

  • 2          heads broccoli, cut into small florets
  • 2          cups purple cabbage, chopped
  • 1/2       cup golden raisins
  • 1/2       cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2       cup chopped green onions

Miso Orange Dressing:

  • 1          cup Florida Orange Juice
  • 2          tablespoons canola oil
  • 2          tablespoons miso
  • 2          tablespoons almond butter
  • 1          shallot
  1. To make salad: In bowl, toss broccoli, cabbage, raisins, almonds and green onions.
  2. To make miso orange dressing: In food processor or blender, pulse orange juice, canola oil, miso, almond butter and shallot until smooth.
  3. Pour dressing over salad, tossing to coat. Serve immediately or chill in refrigerator.

Pineapple Orange Smoothie

Servings: 2

  • 1          cup Florida Orange Juice
  • 1/2       cup plain almond milk
  • 1          frozen banana
  • 1          cup frozen pineapple
  • 1          teaspoon turmeric
  • 1          scoop walnuts
  • 1/8       teaspoon cayenne
  • 2-3       ice cubes
  • 1          scoop plain protein powder (optional)
  1. In large blender, blend orange juice, almond milk, frozen banana, frozen pineapple, turmeric, walnuts, cayenne, ice cubes and protein powder, if desired, until smooth.
  2. Portion into two small glasses.

Source: Florida Department of Citrus

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