Iced Cherry Rings Easy Energy Bars Peanut Butter Granola Bars Vegetable Soup Rosemary-Lime Salmon Kebabs Quorn Spinach & Mushroom Pizza California Walnut Butter School Lunches

Gluten-Free Baking Tips

(NAPSI)—The recipe for successful gluten-free baking starts with a few basics.

According to Carol Kicinski, gluten-free recipe developer, food writer and TV chef, it's important to know that no single flour can replace all-purpose wheat flour. It requires a combination of gluten-free flours, starch flour and gums to produce the same result.

For a pastry-quality gluten-free flour blend, pick a flour blend that is high in starch.

Also, gluten-free baked goods don't brown as quickly as regular flour goods--so be careful not to over bake.

If the gluten-free dough breaks up while you roll it out for cookies--no worries. Just pinch it back together again.

The following gluten-free recipe incorporates maraschino cherries. Kicinski always keeps a jar or two on hand because these moist and flavorful bits of fruit are an easy way to add color, flavor and fun to many desserts, snacks and appetizers.

Iced Cherry Rings


  • 1 cup unsalted butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 egg yolks

  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 3 cups gluten-free flour (be sure to use one that includes either xanthan or guar gum; if not, add 2 tsp of either)

  • ½ cup maraschino cherries, dried well and chopped

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar

  • 2 to 3 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 4 to 6 drops maraschino cherry liquid


Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease 4 baking sheets with butter.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, lemon zest and vanilla; mix well. Stir in the flour; add the cherries and mix with your hands until it forms a soft dough.

Lightly flour a surface, roll out the dough to ¼-inch thickness and cut into 3-inch rounds with a cookie cutter. Cut out the center of each cookie with a 1-inch cookie cutter. Place rings on prepared baking sheets. Reroll any trimmings and cut more cookies. Bake 15 minutes or until firm and just beginning to color. Cool on baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Mix the confectioners' sugar with lemon juice and maraschino cherry juice into smooth paste. Add a little lemon juice at a time. Drizzle over the cooled cookies and let stand until the icing sets, about 30 minutes.

Makes 20−30 cookies.

For more gluten-free recipes, visit

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Family Nutrition On The Go: Five Easy Tips

(NAPSI)—Busy family schedules can force healthy eating to take a backseat.

“Even the healthiest families have a tendency to give in to fast, unhealthy foods because of the convenience factor,” says mom and registered dietitian Tammi Hancock.

Pairing convenience with nutrition and great taste is possible. Here are five tips to help:

1. Plan. Plan family meals before heading to the grocery store. That way, you’ll be less likely to revert to grabbing frozen pizza or hitting the drive-through.

2. Have a Plan B. Double a favorite recipe and freeze half for those nights when nothing goes according to plan.

3. Make the healthier choice. When you’re hitting the vending machine for yourself or a hungry child at the game or activity, opt for a healthier option such as sunflower seeds, nuts or baked chips.

4. Keep the fresh stuff around for grab-‘n-go. Have fresh fruit on hand and cut up veggies so they’re ready to dip in dressing or toss in a lunch bag.

5. Make your own. Make your own healthier snacks, such as the Easy Energy Bars below. These double as a nutritious and tasty on-the-go breakfast or after-school snack:

Easy Energy Bars 
Prep time: about 10 min.


  • ⅓ cup nonfat dry milk powder

  • 1 tablespoon Smart Balance® Milk

  • ⅓ cup Smart Balance® Rich Roast Peanut Butter (creamy or chunky)

  • 1½ cups minimarshmallows

  • 1 tablespoon Smart Balance® Buttery Spread Original

  • 2 cups high-protein, multigrain cluster cereal, crushed

  • ¼ cup dried blueberries

  • ¼ cup dark chocolate chips, melted (optional)


Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with wax paper. In a small bowl, mix dry milk powder with milk to moisten. Place the peanut butter, buttery spread and marshmallows in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth. Stir in milk mixture. Add crushed cereal and blueberries to peanut butter mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Transfer to prepared pan.

Use a flat-bottom container or a glass to firmly and evenly press mixture into pan. Cool completely. When cooled, invert pan onto a cutting board, allowing pressed mixture to fall onto board. Discard wax paper. Cut square pressed mixture in half, then cut each half into six (4-inch) bars. If desired, drizzle melted chocolate over bars and store in airtight container.

Yield: Six 4-inch bars.

Per 1-bar serving (without chocolate): 122 calories, 5g fat, 0.9g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0.8g polyunsaturated fat, 3.2g monounsaturated fat, 139mg omega-3 fatty acids, 646mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0mg cholesterol, 74mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g protein.

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Home is Where the Heart is for Healthy Eating

(NAPSI)—Heart-healthy eating at home can go a long way toward protecting your family from cardiovascular disease (CVD), the leading cause of death in the U.S.

The problem can start early. Childhood obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Research proves that obese children are at higher risk of being overweight or obese as adults—and obesity is a risk factor for CVD—so the urgent link between healthy habits in childhood and prevention of CVD later in life is clear.

“Scientific evidence shows that CVD risk factors can have cumulative effects over time,” said Suzanne Steinbaum, D.O., preventive cardiologist, Heart and Vascular Institute, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York. “This underscores the importance of developing healthy habits at an early age.”

Statistics from a 2011 American Heart Association report in Circulationshow that:

  • More than 67 percent of American adults and about 32 percent of U.S.children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese.

  • Caloric intake among U.S. adults increased by 22 percent in women and 10 percent in men in one generation, mainly due to larger portion sizes and greater intake of starches, refined grains and sugars.

  • Only about 9 percent of American adults are meeting the ideal saturated fat intake level of 7 percent or less of total energy.

To help combat these trends, Alison Lewis, cookbook author and mother, created a “Home Is Where the Heart Is” recipe collection that both parents and children can enjoy. The recipes include breakfast tacos, fish sticks, mini calzones, chicken pasta salad, quick dark chocolate brownies and this one:

No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars


  • 2 cups granola cereal

  • 1¼ cups crispy brown rice cereal

  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats

  • 2 Tbsp chopped almonds

  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or dried blueberries

  • ½ cup honey

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter

  • 1 Tbsp canola oil

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


In large bowl, combine granola, rice cereal, oats, almonds and dried berries; set aside. In small saucepan, stir honey, peanut butter, canola oil and vanilla over low heat for five minutes or until blended. Pour over cereal mixture, stirring until coated. Press into a lightly greased 9-by-13-inch pan. Press mixture down tightly with wax paper. Cover and cool completely in pan in refrigerator at least one hour before slicing into 16 bars.

Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional analysis per bar: Calories 160, Total Fat 7 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Sodium 50 mg, Carbohydrates 22 g, Fiber 2 g, Protein 4 g.

Each recipe is made with canola oil, which has the least saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized a qualified health claim for canola oil on its potential to reduce the risk of heart disease when used in place of saturated fat.

“It can be a struggle to create healthy meals my kids will eat,” Lewis said. “I succeed by using healthy ingredients to recreate classic kids’ dishes that offer fun with every bite.”

Her recipes and an interactive game promoting heart health are available and, respectively, as of September 1, 2011.


Editor’s Note: While this article can be helpful to your readers at any time, it may be particularly appreciated around World Heart Day, September 29, 2011. World Heart Day is a trademark of the World Heart Federation,

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Cool Food For Kids

(NAPSI)—Many families are constantly on the go, with little time to prepare an elaborate meal. Fortunately, frozen vegetables, meats and seafood, pizza, entrées, desserts and hundreds of balanced frozen food options can be prepared in minutes so you can sit down with the family and enjoy a meal you feel good about.

You can make mealtime family time in your home and involve your child in planning and preparing meals. There are lots of ways to make mealtime special and make the most of time in the kitchen with your child. For example:

  • Involve your children in planning family meals and talk about the importance of eating balanced meals.

  • Ask your child to help you prepare family meals. He or she can read the recipe instructions and measure and mix ingredients, prepare baking pans and so on.

  • Play simple math games as you cook. Your child can practice counting, weighing, measuring, and working with fractions.

  • Finally, make grocery shopping a family activity, too.

Here’s a great recipe to try together—fun ingredients and a healthy meal for the family.

Kid-Friendly Vegetable Soup


  • 4 cans (14.5 oz) reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

  • 1 16-oz pkg. frozen mixed vegetables

  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans

  • 1 12-oz pkg. frozen cooked meatballs

  • 1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, with juice

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

  • Salt & pepper to taste


Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook (stirring occasionally) until vegetables are tender and meatballs are heated through, about 15−20 minutes. Serves 6.

For more recipes, tips and information, visit You’ll also find rules for a Ski or Sea Vacation Sweepstakes that the National Frozen & Refrigerated Foods Association created to celebrate a Cool Food for Kids promotion, featuring special deals on frozen foods.

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Fishing For Value At The Seafood Counter

(NAPSI)—According to a recent scientific report, seafood is an important source of protein and contains essential nutrients that can benefit the cardiovascular system. Putting quality fish on the dining room table in an affordable way is easy with these savvy shopping tips:

• Consider frozen or vacuum-packed seafood. Busy weekday schedules don’t always allow a dash to the store for fresh fish. Have frozen seafood on hand and place it in the refrigerator the night before cooking it for a simple meal. An even easier option is to look for frozen, pre-marinated, ready-to-cook fish that come in vacuum packs.

• Mix and match. Buy some shrimp or a few salmon fillets and cube them at home. Marinate in store-bought teriyaki marinade and make kebabs with a variety of fruits and veggies like red onion and pineapple. Bake or grill and then serve over brown rice.

 Choose value varieties of salmon. Keta and coho salmon are garnering attention from seafood lovers. At a fraction of the price of other salmon species, keta and coho make great alternatives for anyone who prefers a milder taste.

• Look for affordable, responsibly farmed fish. Responsibly farmed fish are environmentally friendly and can be affordable, too. “Be sure to shop for fish that are farmed without the use of antibiotics, preservatives and added growth hormones,” said David Pilat, Whole Foods Market’s seafood buyer. “Our strict quality standards for farmed seafood ensure our shoppers get great taste and peace of mind that they are doing their part to save our oceans.”

This recipe is sure to please the family without putting a strain on the grocery budget. Serve it with a salad and couscous or a quinoa pilaf.

Rosemary-Lime Salmon Kebabs
(Serves 4)


  • 1 pound farmed or wild salmon fillets (fresh or thawed frozen), cut into chunks

  • 1 zucchini, cut into chunks

  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into chunks

  • 1 large red onion, cut into chunks

  • Sea salt and black pepper

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon (about 2 small sprigs) chopped rosemary leaves

  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 3 tablespoons lime juice

  • Wooden or bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 10 minutes


Place salmon, zucchini, bell pepper and onion in a shallow baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Whisk together garlic, rosemary, olive oil and lime juice in a small bowl. Pour mixture over salmon and vegetables, toss and marinate 15 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill or broiler. Skewer the salmon and vegetables, reserving marinade, and grill or broil 5 to 7 minutes, turning once, until salmon is cooked through and vegetables are tender. While cooking, boil the marinade in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Drizzle over skewers and serve.

For more recipe ideas, visit 
Joint report by the World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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Healthier And Tastier Meat-Free Meals

(NAPSI)—Reducing the amount of meat your family eats and creating healthier, tastier, protein-rich meals are easier than you might imagine.

One delicious way to do so is to use easy-to-prepare, protein-rich products such as those from Quorn.

“The products are made from mycoprotein, which is a member of the fungi family,” said Chef Lilia Temple. “In addition to being really tasty, they are all low in fat but high in fiber, and soy-free. I love the soy-free part. Something like Quorn comes in so many different varieties, too—burgers, patties, tenders, grounds—there’s something for every dish. Making just one change to your family mealtime—reducing meat intake—can make such a difference to overall health. And your family won’t even notice.”

Here are two recipes that may soon become family favorites:

Quorn Spinach & Mushroom Pizza

This delicious, veggie-ful pizza is a healthy, better-for-you alternative to the typical meatball pizza!

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Makes one 12” pizza (6 servings)


  • 2 tsp. olive oil

  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

  • 1 pkg. (8 oz.) sliced Baby Bella or white mushrooms

  • 2 Tbsp. white wine or vegetable broth

  • ¼ tsp. salt

  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • Dash nutmeg

  • 4 cups baby spinach leaves

  • 6 Quorn Meatless Meatballs

  • ½ cup prepared tomato sauce

  • 1 prepared 12-inch (10-oz.) 100% whole wheat, thin-crust-style pizza crust

  • 1 cup shredded part skim mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 400°F

  1. Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add onions, sauté 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in mushrooms and wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2−3 more minutes, or until liquid is evaporated. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Stir in spinach leaves until just wilted. Remove from heat.

  2. Place Quorn Meatless Meatballs and tomato sauce in a small saucepot. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, on medium heat 15−18 minutes. Remove Meatless Meatballs from pot, cool slightly, then cut each in half; set aside.

  3. Spread remaining sauce evenly onto pizza crust to within ½ inch from the edge. Top evenly with mushroom-spinach mixture, then Meatless Meatball halves. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and place on baking sheet (or a preheated pizza stone) and bake at 400° F 12−15 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Kiddie Mac & Cheese & Quorn™ Cones

This easy recipe turns an old favorite into a fun and wholesome handheld meal!

Makes about 6 servings (about 4 cups Quorn Mac & Cheese mixture—2 cones each).

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes


  • 2 tsp. canola or vegetable oil

  • ½ small onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)

  • 1 cup Quorn Grounds

  • ⅛ tsp. garlic powder

  • ⅛ cup broccoli florets, chopped

  • 1 box (6 oz.) Shells & Real Aged Cheddar-style Macaroni & Cheese mix

  • 12 small wafer, flat-bottomed ice cream cones (1 box, 1.2 oz. each)

  • Shredded Parmesan cheese, as needed


  1. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions; cook, while stirring 3−4 minutes or until softened. Stir in Quorn™ Grounds, garlic, broccoli and ½ cup water. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and broccoli is just tender-crisp. Cover to keep warm, set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, cook Macaroni & Cheese as per package directions. Stir in Quorn broccoli mixture.

  3. To serve, spoon about ⅓ cup of the macaroni, Quorn and broccoli mixture into each cone. Top with some Parmesan cheese “sprinkles.” Serve immediately.

For more information, visit

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Add Crunch To Lunch

(NAPSI)—While childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, parents can get good advice on healthful meals for their children from cookbook author Mollie Katzen and from Dr. Brian Wansink, author of “Mindless Eating” and co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs.

Kids are more likely to eat nutritious foods that they help prepare. In fact, a study in the American Heart Journal found that students who brought lunch from home were less likely to be obese than those who had the school lunch.

Packing lunch can be a great opportunity to help children make food choices. “You want your kid to eat carrots?” Dr. Wansink says, “Give her a choice between carrots and celery. If you just offer carrots, she’ll feel you’re forcing a vegetable on her. If you offer carrots and celery, she’ll pick one.”

Katzen recommends homemade California Walnut Butter as a healthful and delicious sandwich spread or as a dip for vegetables.



  • 2 cups California walnuts

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoons walnut or vegetable oil (or as needed)

  • Optional, to taste:

  • A little honey

  • A little cinnamon

You can make walnut butter using raw, soaked or toasted walnuts. Here’s how to do all three.

Raw walnuts: Use raw walnuts for a very creamy and smooth texture that tastes like a just-shelled walnut.

Soaked walnuts: This method will remove some of the tannin from the walnut skin and offer a more textured walnut butter. Soak walnuts overnight, drain and discard the water. Then, toast the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350° F for about 15 minutes to dry them out (don’t let them get dark!). Cool the walnuts before making them into butter.

Toasted walnuts: To enhance the sweet, nutty flavor of walnuts, toast them before making them into butter. Walnut butter with toasted walnuts will provide a coarse-textured finished product. Toast walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350° F for 8 to 10 minutes or until fragrant. Cool the walnuts before making them into butter.

To make the butter:

Make walnut butter by putting the walnuts into the bowl of a food processor and grinding them until they become sticky or paste-like. Add the salt. Add the oil, a little bit at a time, until the walnut butter binds together. If you like, add small touches of honey and/or cinnamon to taste.

Yields 1 cup, 8 servings

For more information and ways to add crunch to lunch,

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Healthful, Fun And Swap-proof School Lunches

(NAPSI)—To help parents and caregivers faced with the ever-challenging task of preparing healthful school lunches that kids will actually eat, Registered Dietitian Sarah Wally offers a few tips:

• Include all food groups. A balanced lunch is a healthful lunch. Follow the MyPlate meal- planning model and pack a serving or two from each of the following categories: grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy and protein. Vegetables and fruits should account for roughly half of the meal.

• Keep foods safe. Making sure hot foods stay hot and cool foods stay cool is imperative to keep food-borne illness at bay. Insulated thermoses are a great option for storing soups or warm pasta. Adding a frozen juice box to your kid’s lunch bag creates an instant ice pack to keep cool items chilled and it will defrost just in time to enjoy at lunch. As a bonus, just 4 ounces of 100% juice counts as a serving (half a cup) of fruit.

• Get the kids involved. Asking your children to help plan their weekly lunches lets them feel important and in control. Share with them your criteria for a healthy lunch and then give them some options to choose from. Kids will enjoy a break from repetitious lunches and learn a bit about creating healthful meals.

• Use lunchtime as a way to connect. A handwritten note can be a surprising, sentimental way to reconnect with your kids. Use a napkin to write a few words of encouragement before that after-lunch test or important soccer game. It can make their day.

Recipe for a Healthful Lunch Box

• Choose whole grain breads and crackers for added fiber.

• Pack 100% juice, providing vitamins, minerals, and beneficial plant compounds called phytonutrients.

• Stick to low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

• Help your kids to “eat the rainbow” by offering a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

Learn More

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