RECIPES:

 

 

Cowgirl Cookies Fig, Lemon & Honey Cheesecake Sweet Chicks Chilean Nectarine and Blueberry Cobbler Salad Dressings Puddings: Rice, Tapioca or Chocolate Almond Milk In Cereal Lower Cholesterol with Green Tea

A Baking Breakthrough With Chocolate-Covered Raisins

(NAPSI)—While you may already know about the winning ways of chocolate-covered raisins from your trips to the movies, you may not realize what award-winning treats you can turn out with the tasty snacks at home.

To help, the makers of SUN MAID Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins conducted a recipe contest, and you can try your hand at some of the winners, including:

Cowgirl Cookies
from the kitchen of Cindy B., Orland Park, Ill.
(Makes 3 dozen cookies)

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1¾ cups flour

  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder

  • ¾ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 cups rolled old-fashioned oats

  • 1 cup coconut flakes

  • 1½ cups SUN-MAID Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins

  • ¾ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

In bowl of electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon; blend well. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, beating on low speed just until combined. Add oats, coconut, chocolate raisins and nuts last, stirring until just blended.

Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 350° F until golden brown around the edges, about 10−12 minutes (centers will be light). Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in freezer in airtight container.

Raspberry Rugala Chocolate Raisin Cheesecake
from the kitchen of Carolyn H., Loomis, Calif.
(Serves 6−8)

Crust:

  • 1¼ cups cinnamon graham cracker crumbs

  • pinch salt

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted

Batter:

  • 2 8-oz. bricks cream cheese, room temperature

  • ¾ cup sugar

  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla

  • ½ cup sour cream

  • 6 tablespoons milk

  • 1 tablespoon flour

  • 2 eggs

Filling:

  • 3.5-oz. package Sun-Maid Milk Chocolate Covered Raisins

  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts

  • Topping:

  • ¼ cup red raspberry jam or preserves

Directions:

Heat oven to 350º F.

Crust: Stir together graham cracker crumbs, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar. Stir in melted butter. Press firmly onto the bottom and sides of a deep 9” pie tin. Bake 10 min.; remove from oven and set aside.

Batter: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese on low speed of mixer until smooth. Always using low speed and scraping bowl and beater frequently, blend in ¾ cups sugar; then vanilla, sour cream, milk, flour and eggs (1 at a time). Pour half of batter into crust. Dot the milk chocolate raisins and chopped walnuts evenly over the batter. Pour on the rest of the batter. Do not overfill. Bake at 350º F for 30−40 minutes or until center looks cooked and is not too jiggly. Place on a rack and let cool 1 hour. Cover and chill completely in refrigerator; this will take several hours.

Before serving, carefully spread raspberry jam over the pie.

You can find more recipes and nutrition information online at www.chocolateraisins.com or by calling (800) 369-7391.

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Figs Impress Cheesecake Lovers

(NAPSI)—To create a cheesecake that stands above the rest, take chunks of sweet, chewy California Figs, surround them with zesty lemon cheesecake filling and top with a light, luscious, honey fig sauce. Voila—Fig, Lemon & Honey Cheesecake—a real showstopper.

The best varieties of California Dried Figs for cooking and snacking are dark purple Mission and golden Calimyrna. Missions are sweet with thin skins;Calimyrnas have a slightly firmer texture and light nutty flavor. Both are rich in fiber and flavor and have delicate edible seeds. Use them interchangeably in recipes and keep them on hand for a healthy, satisfying snack.

Free Recipes

You can find more great fig recipes and sign up for a free newsletter at www.valleyfig.com.

Fig, Lemon & Honey Cheesecake

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs

  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

  • 1 cup stemmed, chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs

Cheesecake:

  • 1½ pounds (three 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, softened

  • ¾ cup granulated sugar

  • ¼ cup sour cream

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 3 large eggs

  • Fig, Lemon & Honey Sauce:

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ cup honey

  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water

  • 1 cup stemmed, sliced Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs

Directions:

Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 325° F. For crust, mix graham cracker crumbs and sugar; stir in butter. Press into bottom of buttered 9-inch springform pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, till edges are golden. Remove from oven and sprinkle evenly with figs.

For cheesecake, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium-low speed until smooth, scraping bowl as needed. Gradually beat in sugar, then sour cream, zest and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Scrap filling into pan over figs. Bake on middle rack for 45 to 55 minutes, until almost set in center. Cool. Chill 4 hours or overnight.

For sauce, combine water, honey and lemon juice in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer. Add cornstarch solution and stir for a few seconds, until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in figs. Cool. Chill until serving time.

To serve, run thin knife around edge of cheesecake and remove side of pan. Cut into wedges and top each with sauce. Garnish with thin slices of lemon and figs, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

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Sweet Ways To Celebrate The Season

(NAPSI)—A delightful way for your family to greet the end of winter can be by getting together and baking up tasty treats that signify renewal, such as Sweet Chicks and Bird’s Nest Coffee Cake:

Sweet Chicks

Makes 18 chicks

Ingredients:

  • 5 to 5½ cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ cup sugar

  • 2 envelopes Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast

  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon peel

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup evaporated milk

  • ½ cup water

  • ⅓ cup butter or margarine

  • 2 large eggs

  • Raisins

Powdered Sugar Glaze:

  • 1¼ cups powdered sugar

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk

  • 2 to 3 drops yellow or red food coloring

  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

Combine 2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, lemon peel and salt in large mixing bowl. Heat milk, water and butter till very warm (120° to 130°F). Gradually add to flour mixture. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Add eggs and 1 cup flour; beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface till smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 18 equal pieces; roll each into 10-inch rope. Tie each into a knot, leaving one end slightly shorter. Place knots, short ends up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Pinch short end of knot to form head and pointed beak. Insert 2 raisins for eyes. Press long end of knot down; with sharp knife, make 4 to 5 cuts to form tail. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 375°F 12 to 15 minutes or till done. Cover heads with small pieces of foil if they become too brown. Remove from sheet to wire rack. Brush with Powdered Sugar Glaze: Combine glaze ingredients in small bowl; stir until smooth.

Bird’s Nest Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 3½ to 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • ⅓ cup sugar

  • 2 envelopes Fleischmann’s RapidRise Yeast

  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • ¾ cup water

  • ⅓ cup milk

  • ¼ cup butter or margarine

  • 9 eggs

  • ½ cup chopped almonds, toasted

  • 1 tablespoon water

  • Food coloring

Orange Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons orange juice

Directions:

Combine 1½ cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, orange peel and salt in large mixing bowl. Heat water, milk and butter until very warm (120° to 130°F); stir into flour mixture. Stir in 1 egg, almonds and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface till smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes. Divide dough in half; roll each half to 30-inch rope. Loosely twist ropes together. Place twisted rope on large greased baking sheet; shape into circle and pinch ends together to seal. Place 7 eggs, evenly spaced, on dough, pressing between ropes in twist. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 20 to 40 minutes. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water; brush over dough (not on eggs). Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes or until done. Remove from sheet; let cool on wire rack. Brush eggs with food coloring. Drizzle Orange Glaze over bread: Combine glaze ingredients in small bowl; stir until smooth. Serve warm. Refrigerate any leftovers.

More recipes and tips are at www.breadworld.com.

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Enjoy Fresh, Flavorful Fruit Year-Round

(NAPSI)—It may not be summer here in North America, but no need to miss out on the freshness of the season. Nutritious and delicious fresh nectarines, blueberries and other delights from Chile are available all winter long in your grocery store.

It’s summer in Chile, where the climate, soil and water yield consistently high-quality fruit that meets the highest assurance standards in the world. That’s good news, because natural fruits are not only good to eat, they’re good for you. A half cup of blueberries packs a bounty of fiber, vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants into only 40 sweet calories. Eating blueberries may also help prevent cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

Fresh fruits can satisfy a sweet tooth without adding unhealthy fat or excessive calories because fruits contain naturally occurring sugars in calorie-free plant fibers and water. They help you fill up without filling out.

Here’s a great way to enjoy summer fresh nectarines and blueberries:

Fresh Chilean Nectarine and Blueberry Cobbler

Ingredients:

  • 1⅔ cups flour

  • ½ cup sugar, divided

  • 6 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces

  • 1½ Tbsp. baking powder

  • ¼ tsp. salt

  • ¾ cup heavy cream, divided

  • 4 cups fresh Chilean blueberries

  • 1½ lbs. (6 medium) ripe Chilean nectarines, pitted and cut in eighths

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, ¼ cup of the sugar, butter, baking powder and salt. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 Tbsp. of the cream. Add the remaining cream to flour mixture; process until dough starts to form a ball, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; gently pat it together. Divide dough into eight 2-inch balls; flatten into rounds; wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes. In a shallow 2½-quart baking dish, combine blueberries, nectarines and 3 Tbsp. of the sugar. Arrange dough rounds on top. Brush rounds with reserved cream; sprinkle with remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar. Bake until the filling bubbles and the topping has browned, about 50 minutes. Serves 8. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.

Learn More

For more recipes, visit www.chileanfruitonline.com.

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Dress Up Your Diet With Delicious Dressings And Mayonnaise

(NAPSI)—Eating a more nutritious diet and maintaining a healthy weight may have more to do with what you add to your daily routine than what you subtract. Adding salad dressings and mayonnaise to your menu could help you achieve your goals.

Many diets cut calories at the expense of flavor, so it’s hard to stay motivated. A smarter way to stick to your goals may involve including more vegetables in your diet and using dressings to add a tempting dollop of tasty flavor.

For example, salad is delicious and nutritious. Salad eaters tend to have higher intakes of essential nutrients such as vitamins C and E and folic acid.

Adding a variety of flavorful dressings can add to the appeal of eating salad every day.

The healthy oils found in many salad dressings can help the body to better absorb key nutrients.

Mayonnaise can also be part of a well-balanced diet, as it’s made with healthy oils and contains omega-3 fatty acids.

You can use salad dressings as dips, while mayonnaise adds terrific flavor to deviled eggs, sandwiches and deli salads.

If you must count calories, there are a number of reduced-fat and light options of salad dressings and mayonnaise available.

For more information, visit www.dressings-sauces.org.

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Get Your Dairy Back

(NAPSI)—If you have a passion for pudding but have avoided indulging in your favorite sweet treat due to lactose intolerance, there’s now a delicious alternative—lactose-free dairy puddings.

Kozy Shack now offers three creamy, classic puddings brimming with the wholesome goodness of real milk, delivering a good source of calcium without the lactose.

Lactose-Free Rice Pudding—this rich delectable dessert is the ultimate comfort food.

Lactose-Free Tapioca Pudding—with silky pearls of tapioca swirled in a creamy pudding.

Lactose-Free Chocolate Pudding—with the taste of a milk chocolate masterpiece in each spoonful—featuring the delightful indulgence of real cocoa.

The puddings are gluten free and made without artificial colors or flavors. They do not contain artificial preservatives or hydrogenated oils. Packaged for convenience, the products are available in ready-to-serve portions in the dairy cases of food retailers. For more information, visitwww.kozyshack.com or become a fan on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/kozyshack and share your passion for pudding.

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Making Resolutions An Achievable Reality

(NAPSI)—Most resolutions focus on living a healthier life—eating healthier, exercising more or being less stressed—but attempts to achieve that goal can lead to more stress and less success, found a recent survey by Braun Research.

According to the survey, about one in five women (19 percent) admit they were not successful in sticking to their resolution to eat healthier and more than a third of women (36 percent) were not successful in attempting to exercise more.

Two in five women (42 percent) admit they were not able to reduce their stress levels. Less than half of women (45 percent) stuck to their resolutions for three months or less while one in five (20 percent) only stuck to their resolutions for a month or less.

Breaking such goals into more manageable steps may be the key, says Kathy Freston, author of “Healthy Living Conscious Eating.” Keeping it simple can make healthier eating a reality. She suggests these tips:

Switch out milk for Silk in your cereal. Whenever you have cereal for breakfast, try switching delicious Silk® Pure Almond® Vanilla Almondmilk for your typical dairy milk. Not only will your hearty breakfast help keep you satisfied, but you’ll also enjoy an excellent source of calcium, vitamins D, B12 and antioxidant vitamin E.

Eat an apple a day. Apples are rich in dietary fiber and a lower-calorie snack that can help fill you up. According to the USDA nutrient database, apples are low in sodium and contain a variety of essential nutrients including B vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and other minerals. Eat them chopped, whole or sliced but not juiced, as juice can have too much sugar and lacks fiber.

Stay hydrated—drink 8 ounces of water, eight times a day. Water is crucial to your health as every system in your body depends on it. You can drink glasses of water or eat plant foods like fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water. For example, oranges are 87 percent water and cucumbers are 95 percent water.

For more information, visit www.Facebook.com/SilkUS.

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Naturally Lowering Cholesterol

(NAPSI)—If living a healthier life is your cup of tea, you may be interested in an easy way to improve your health—using the natural antioxidant powers of tea.

Almost half of all Americans are overweight and have dangerously high levels of cholesterol. Heart attacks are still the No. 1 killer in the U.S. The problem is that high cholesterol and your risk may be greater than you think.

According to American Heart Association guidelines, the acceptable level of “bad cholesterol” is 30 percent lower than it used to be only a few years ago. This means that millions of Americans, including those who never dreamed they were at risk, now are.

Fortunately, there are natural, nonprescription alternatives for lowering cholesterol. For example, heart-healthy products such as TeaFlavin, an all-natural, caffeine-free capsule made from tea extract, contain as much cholesterol-fighting power as 35 cups of green tea.

For more information on TeaFlavin, visit www.teaflavin.com or call (800) 876-4332.

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