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Find out the latest health and organic news from our resident dietitian, Rebecca, along with recipes, tips and more!

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: AWG provides the Dietitian's Corner blogger(s) with free products and compensation for posts.

The content posted here is for general informational purposes only and is not medical advice. Health information changes frequently as research evolves. You should not rely on any information here as a substitute for consultation with medical professionals.

Popcorn

If you’ve walked down the chip aisle recently you might have noticed a surge in a particular snack item? Packaged popcorn has a growing presence at the grocery store and in shopping carts. Recently, popcorn has gained more popularity and some good press. It has a wide variety of health benefits. The outer layers of popcorn are a good source of protein, iron and phosphorus. Popcorn is naturally plant derived so it contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that can help rid our bodies of impurities. The main reason I’m an advocate for popcorn consumption is that it can be an excellent alternative to calorie laden chips that don’t offer our bodies any nutritional value.

Making popcorn at home can be a fun and easy project for the whole family. All you need is 2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Olive Oil, 1/4 cup popcorn kernels and a little sea salt. Using a 2 quart sauce pan with a lid or a Dutch oven, add oil and kernels and toss so oil is coating all the kernels. Heat the covered pot on medium heat and wait for the magic to happen. It takes several minutes for the first kernel to pop but once it does slightly crack the lid to release steam then gently shake pot occasionally while cooking to allow for even heat distribution. Once popping slows down and diminishes remove lid and turn off your stove top. Add your desired amount of sea salt and enjoy a healthy snack!

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Detox Salad

2 cups green cabbage, finely chapped
2 cups red cabbage, finely chopped
1 large carrot, shredded or finely chopped
5 radishes, shredded or finely chopped
2 cups fresh spinach
1 avocado
1/4 cup dry roasted sun flower seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Dressing:
3/4 cup Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Blue Agave Sweetener
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic 100% Cranberry Juice

Chop green cabbage, red cabbage, carrot and radishes in a food processor. It works best if you chop each food separately and in small batches. Add chopped cabbage, carrots and radishes to a mixing bowl. Whip together all dressing ingredients. Then pour over the top of chopped vegetables. Stir together vegetables and dressing until evenly distributed, season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in sunflower seeds just before serving. Serve one cup of chopped vegetable mix over 1/2 cup fresh spinach. Place avocado slices on top of salad.

Detox Salad Detox Salad
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Mushroom Risotto

1 lb baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
4 Tablespoons butter
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Olive Oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup brown rice, or arborio rice
3 cups Clearly Organic Chicken Broth
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper to taste

Sauté mushrooms in butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat add sliced onions, garlic and olive oil. Cook until onions are soft, 8-10 minutes. Stir in rice and cook one minute, coating rice with oil. Add 1 cup broth and let simmer until liquid is mostly absorbed, stir frequently. Repeat with remaining broth and water. Cooking time for rice will be 20-25 minutes. Rice with start to be creamy and chewy in the center, not dry. Add more water if needed. When rice looks done stir in mushrooms and cheese. Cook until cheese melts. Serve immediately. Top with ricotta cheese or small amount of cream cheese as a garnish, if desired. Risotto looks and tastes great over a bed of greens.

Mushroom Risotto Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom Risotto Mushroom Risotto
Mushroom Risotto
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Detox

Feeling a little sluggish after the holidays? Then perhaps it’s time to clean up and detoxify your diet. Detoxification of a meal plan is really about taking a break from certain foods and cleaning the body from the inside out. By removing or eliminating toxins in your diet you can start fueling your body with healthy nutrients that can protect you from disease and restore your natural ability to maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

Our bodies were not meant to absorb the large quantities of additives, chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to on a consistent basis. Therefore, by taking a set period of time to consume only fresh natural foods we can remind ourselves, and our digestive system, how good it feels to obtain all our vital nutrients through whole foods. During a detox or cleansing program try to base your food choices on real foods such as: fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean proteins especially fish and most importantly drink plenty of water.

Before starting any new meal plan or exercise routine it’s wise to consult your doctor or medical professional. Many people find that detoxing their diet can be easy and delicious. There’re many different guidelines and programs to follow when you are looking for the right plan for yourself so be sure to work with a medical professional to find the plan to works best for you.

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Resolution Time

Millions of Americans make a health related New Years resolution each year. Whether it’s eating better, kicking the smoking habit or getting to the gym more often, each of these goals are a worthy cause. Which is exactly why they are the most common New Years resolutions. No matter what your goals are for 2016 here are three simple tips to accomplish them in the new year.

    1. Track your progress. You can do this with a journal or on a piece of paper. The most important part is to regularly keep tabs of your progress, to have an honest conversation with yourself about where you’re at and where you want to be.

 

    1. Ask for help. If you want to workout more and eat better perhaps a personal trainer or health coach could guide you in making a plan that works best for your lifestyle. If you’re trying to kick a bad habit an accountability partner can keep you motivated and they can be a great support system.

 

  1. Celebrate every success. By celebrating your short run successes you allow yourself to have more fun accomplishing your goals. It will also help build your confidence and commitment to achieving your year long goal.
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Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

After the busyness of the holidays many families are looking for quick and healthy options for meal times. This hearty soup can be made ahead of time and is so flavorful it’s all you’ll need for a balanced meal.

2 cups cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
2 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Olive Oil
1 cup carrots, chopped or sliced
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
4 cups Clearly Organic Chicken Broth
1 cup water
1 (4.5oz) package of quick cooking wild rice
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 cup Clearly Organic All-Purpose Flour
6 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Butter
2 cups Clearly Organic Milk (2% or Whole)

In a sauté pan season and cook chicken. If using a rotisserie chicken, shred 2 cups of the chicken breast. In a large pot over medium heat add olive oil, carrots, celery and onion. Sauté for 5 minutes. Then add broth, water, rice and parsley. Stir, cover pot and turn stove top off.
In a small bowl combine salt, pepper and flour. In a medium saucepan over medium heat melt butter. Reduce heat to low then stir in flour, a tablespoon at a time, to form a roux. Whisk in milk, a little at a time, until fully incorporated and smooth. Cook until mixture is thick and smooth, about 5 minutes. Stir milk mixture into broth and vegetables. Cook over medium heat stirring occasionally until soup base is creamy, about 10-15 minutes. Add extra pepper and salt if desired.

Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup
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Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup Clearly Organic Butter, softened
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Brown Sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Vanilla Extract
1 cup Clearly Organic All-Purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds (optional)
2/3 cup Clearly Organic Fruit Jam, any flavor

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Whip together butter, sugar and egg. Add vanilla, flour and salt. Stir until ingredients are evenly distributed. Shape dough into balls. Roll in chopped walnuts, or almonds if desired. Place cookies about 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes in preheated oven. Remove cookies from oven, with thumb dent each cookie. Place a small scope of jelly or preserves in each thumbprint. Bake for an additional 7 minutes. Let cool on pan for 5 minutes.
Variations: Thumbprint cookies are often made with jam varieties but you can also add chocolate hazelnut spread, almond butter or peanut butter as your filling.

Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies
Thumbprint Cookies Thumbprint Cookies
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Hot Cocoa

Hot chocolate is a wintertime right of passage. It warms your soul when you come inside after a winter activity and it can brighten your spirits on a cold snowy day. The first chocolate beverage was believed to have been created by the Aztecs thousands of years ago. Until the 19th century, hot cocoa was even used medicinally to help treat stomach diseases and liver ailments.   Hot chocolate has changed substantially from the original bitter drink. It comes in many varieties today with different levels of sweetness and thickness.

Making a cocoa mix at home can be fun and easy. Also, by making your own blend you avoid consuming extra trans fats, preservatives and genetically modified foods. My favorite one cup hot cocoa mix involves: 2 Tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon sugar, a pinch of salt, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup milk. Microwave the milk for 1 minute then whisk the ingredients together. I love a frothy beverage so I blend the ingredients together in my mini blender.

If you desire a dry ingredient mix that you can keep on hand to use whenever the snow flies, here is a recipe that can make up to 16 servings and can keep for several months in an airtight container.

3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. Then transfer to an airtight container. Use about 2 Tablespoons per 1 cup hot water depending on your desired level of sweetness for your cocoa.

Hot Coco Hot Coco
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Eggnog Sweet Bread

2 1/4 cups Clearly Organic All-Purpose Flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 Clearly Organic Eggs
1 cup eggnog
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Butter, melted
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium size mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. In a separate mixing bowl beat together eggs, eggnog, sugar, butter and vanilla. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until evenly distributed. Pour batter into a loaf pan or 3 mini loaf pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Eggnog Sweet Bread Eggnog Sweet Bread
Eggnog Sweet Bread Eggnog Sweet Bread
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Soft Molasses Cookies

2 1/4 cups Clearly Organic All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon Clearly Organic Ground Ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 teaspoons Clearly Organic Butter, softened
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Brown Sugar
1/3 cup Clearly Organic Granulated Sugar
1 large Clearly Organic Egg Yolk
1 teaspoon Clearly Organic Vanilla
1/2 cup dark molasses

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, pepper and salt. Set aside. Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer beat together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk and vanilla then continue beating until ingredients are well distributed. Then add molasses and continue beating on medium low speed. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Slowly add flour mixture a cup at a time while beating on low. Then give dough a final stir to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Roll dough,1 tablespoon at a time, into balls and place on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Only bake one cookie sheet at a time. Place in preheated oven and bake for 11 minutes. Cookies may look underdone when you take them out, but allow them to cool on the pan for 5 minutes before removing.

Soft Molasses Cookies Soft Molasses Cookies
Soft Molasses Cookies Soft Molasses Cookies
Soft Molasses Cookies Soft Molasses Cookies
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