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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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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.

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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Holiday Baking

Many people have family traditions of baking cookies, candies or breads around the holidays. These time honored traditions are a great way to connect with loved ones and cultivate creativity in the kitchen. During the month of December we’ll be highlighting delicious holiday treats. Cookies and sweet breads are my favorite holiday foods, to eat and share! I’ll be baking up several festive creations that you could serve at your Holiday party or share with your family and friends.

Any recipe is only as good as its ingredients. Be sure to have fresh baking soda, baking powder, eggs, flour and sugar in your pantry. Fresh oil, butter and coconut oil are also great to keep on hand for last minute holiday baking. By cooking up your own holiday treats you’re limiting the amount of extra preservatives, artificial ingredients and food dies that are often found in store bought desserts. It’s also possible to create mostly organic treats in your own kitchen by choosing base ingredients that are USDA certified organic. Let the baking season begin! Have fun preparing, sharing and enjoying your favorite holiday treats.

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Healthy Alfredo Sauce

This flavorful sauce goes great with Clearly Organic Whole Wheat Rotini, broccoli and sautéed shrimp. It also makes a delicious white sauce for a homemade pizza with spinach and garlic. The possibilities are endless with this easy to make healthy Alfredo sauce.

1 Tablespoon Clearly Organic Olive Oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup Clearly Organic Milk
1/2 cup Clearly Organic Chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
2-4 Tablespoons flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon pesto
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil and minced garlic in a large sauté pan over medium heat, stirring quickly to ensure it doesn’t burn. Add milk and broth, continue stirring. Begin adding 1 Tablespoon of flour at a time. Stir with a whisk to reduce clumps. Add salt & pepper, pesto and cheese. Stir and let simmer for 3 minutes. If the sauce is too thin add more flour, if it looks too thick add more milk. Add sauce to your favorite mix of vegetables and noodles.

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FullSizeRender[2]
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Beer Bread

This flavorful bread goes great with your favorite homemade soup, especially tomato soup and chili!

3 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Clearly Organic Sugar
1 (12oz) beer or 7-up/Sprite
3 Tablespoons Clearly Organic Butter, melted (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add flour to a mixing bowl and sift. Add baking powder, salt and sugar to flour and stir. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour beer (or soda) into mixture. Stir until all moisture is absorbed, batter may still have a few lumps. Add batter to greased loaf pan and, if desired, pour 3 tablespoons melted butter over the top before baking to add a rich buttery flavor. Bake in preheated oven for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted comes out clean.

Beer Bread Beer Bread
Beer Bread
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Harvest Mac and Cheese

1 cup Clearly Organic Whole Wheat Rotini
1 cup broccoli florets
1 cup cauliflower florets
1 Tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion
1 small butternut squash (4-5 cups cubed)
4 cups Clearly Organic Chicken Broth
3/4 cup Clearly Organic Milk
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shredded cheese (Sharp cheddar or Gruyere work best, but any cheese will work)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook rotini noodles according to package directions. Add cauliflower to water in the last 4 minutes of cooking then add broccoli in the last 2 minutes of cook time. Drain noodles, cauliflower and broccoli and set aside. Heat butter in a large sauté pan over medium to low heat. Cut yellow onion into rings and add to butter in the sauté pan. Continue cooking on low until onions are translucent and fragrant, about 20 minutes. Keep heat low to prevent burning. While onions caramelize remove skin and seeds from squash. Cut squash into small cubes. Bring broth to a boil and add squash. Cook for about 7 minutes or until fork tender. Reserve 1/2 cup broth and then drain squash and transfer to a food processor or blender. Add onions, milk, salt and reserved broth to processor or blender. Purée until completely smooth and creamy. Should yield about 4 cups. Pour the puréed sauce over the cooked noodles and broccoli. Add shredded cheese and stir to melt. Add milk to adjust consistency, if needed. Serve with avocado and hot sauce as a garnish if desired.

Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
Harvest Mac and Cheese Harvest Mac and Cheese
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