Saturday, June 18, 2011

#Recipe Jersey Blueberry whole grain Oat Bars #GardenCuizine

~ Low Sodium~ 
Best Blueberry Bars
made with antioxidant-rich 
Jersey Blues and whole grain Oats

Usually for Mom's Birthday I bake her favorite - Key Lime Pie. This June was a special birthday for Mom and I opted for something different for her 80th birthday,  I decided on nutrient dense, seasonal Blueberry Bars. 

Last night we visited our local church's blueberry festival to pick up fresh Jersey blueberries for Mom's Blueberry Bar birthday 'cake'. Upon our arrival we found out the blueberries were so popular that they sold out!!! Thankfully, one of the planners found 3 last containers of fresh berries, which was all we needed for one 10 x 15 baking dish full of antioxidant-rich Blueberries sandwiched between cholesterol reducing whole grain oats.

Like many people (both old and young), Mom has to watch her cholesterol. Additional Plant Stanols, along with a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, is good heart disease prevention. Plant sterols and stanols are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits and vegetables. 

Plant Stanols and sterols have been scientifically proven to help reduce cholesterol. They have also been shown to be effective for those experiencing side effects from cholesterol lowering medications and can be consumed in combination with statin drugs.

Plant Stanols added to margarine

In addition to the rolled oats and blueberries, for even more heart-healthy, cholesterol reducing benefits - rather than using butter with saturated animal fat - I opted to use margarine specifically labeled made with, "Plant Stanols or Sterols."  

The American Dietetic Association recommends eating stanol-enriched foods 2-3 times per day to provide 2-3 grams per day of plant stanols as part of a heart (cardio)-protective diet*. A mere 1.5-1.8 grams per day of plant stanols can lower cholesterol absorption by 30-40%; and 2.2 grams per day, can lower cholesterol absorption by as much as 60%. [1] 

Several margarine's contain plant stanols/sterols. For example, Smart Balance Heart Right Light spread contains 1,700 mg of plant sterols per tablespoon serving (1,000 milligrams = 1 gram).

Mom's party 
Today we celebrated with a few close friends. One of Mom's friends said to her in Italian, "May you live to be 100 (Che tu possa vivere fino a 100 anni)! Mom enjoyed the Blueberry Bars... I hope someone you love will too!

*cardio-protective diet as defined by the American Dietetic Association: total fat intake of 25-35% of daily calories from fat with less than 7% of calories from saturated and trans fats; less than 200mg of dietary cholesterol per day; carbohydrate intake of 50-60% of total daily calories; 25-30 grams of fiber per day; and at least 15% of total calories from protein per day.

In addition, Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) recommended by the National Institute of Health's Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends the above fat and cholesterol restrictions with additional focus on less than 2400 mg of sodium intake daily.

Best Blueberry Bars Recipe
Yields: one 10 x 15 baking dish; 25, 2 x 3-inch servings


vegetable non-stick pan spray

6 cups (888g) Jersey Fresh Blueberries (or frozen)
1 cup (200g) organic Florida Crystals® Sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup (120ml) Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice (or Orange Juice)
2 Tablespoons (22g) Cornstarch

Oat Topping
3 cups (240g) Old Fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup (180g) unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups (330g) packed brown sugar
8 tablespoons margarine with plant stanols (112g) we used (U) kosher Smart Balance® - which is enriched with Omega-3 EPA/DHA and Vitamin E)
Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C)
  • Lightly spray your baking dish and set aside
  • Combine juice and corn starch and set aside
  • In a medium pot, add the berries and sugar and prepare the filling. Stir over medium heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until juices are clear and bubbly
  • Prepare the topping: In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix with hands; no need for a mixer (the margarine is real soft and does not have to be melted)
  • Firmly press about half of the oat mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking dish
  • Evenly ladle the cooked filling over the pressed oat layer
  • Sprinkle the remaining oat blend over top and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown
Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis: Calculated from USDA Nutrient Values: 1/25 of recipe (84g) per serving: 196 calories; calories from fat: 35; total fat: 4g (6%DV); saturated fat: 1g (5%DV); trans fat: 0g; cholesterol: 0mg; Magnesium: ~39.2mg (~10%DV); Manganese: ~.8mg (~41%DV); Selenium: ~8.6mcg (~12%DV); sodium: 38mg (2%DV); total carbohydrate: 40g (13%DV); dietary fiber: 3g (11%DV); sugars: 25g; protein: 3g; Vitamin A: 262IU (5%DV); Vitamin C: ~3.4mg (~6%DV); Calcium: ~20.9mg (2%DV); Iron: ~0.9mg (~5%DV).
Percent Daily Values (%DV) are reference values for adults and children age 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your personal daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
Jersey Blues Dave's Garden article by Diana Wind
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Blog Article and photos Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

#NOLA Street Music like you've never heard before...#GardenCuizine #Music #Guitar #Jazz #Violin #Blues

NOLA Street Music 
like you've never heard before...

On our recent visit to New Orleans Louisiana on a walk through the French Quarter, we discovered this fantastic violin and guitar duet playing on Royal Street. Meet violinist Tanya Huang and guitarist Dorise Blackmon. Check out their website for more information:

Related Links: Tanya & Dorise Cooking Up Some Good Music by: Terri-Dumas
Gardens of New Orleans by Diana Wind

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

What a Weekend in #NOLA Vieux To Do June 2011 #GardenCuizine #LASeafoodFest

What a Weekend in New Orleans!

You can expect to find good food, fun and festivals all the time in New Orleans. We always try to experience different restaurants when we go too. This visit we checked out Chef John Besh’s brasserie restaurant Lükeand Emeril’s Delmonico where we enjoyed a delicious garden salad, perfectly cooked Cajun seasoned redfish with roasted red pepper veloute and cinnamon beignets with chicory coffee crème anglaise. On the weekend we attended ‘Vieux To Do’, a festival trio of the Louisiana Seafood festival, Cajun-Zydeco music festival sponsored by the Jazz and Heritage Foundation and the Creole Tomato Festival sponsored by the French Market. Along the way we admired magnificent artwork: paintings, drawings, portraits and sculptures by the many artists surrounding the park at Jackson Square. The festivities stretched eight city blocks from Jackson Square to the old U.S. Mint. My distress for the hard working carriage horses in the hot southern sun lessened as the festive music penetrated my soul. A highlight of the festival included New Orleans top chefs and their food demonstrations. 

Some of the top chefs at the festival were: Chef Chris Lusk, Café Adelaide; Chef Patrick Henry, Taste and See Catering; Chef Tory McPhail, Commander’s Palace; Chef An Howard, Rouses Market; Chef Diana Chauvin, La Thai Cuisine; Chef Brian Katz, Red Fish Grill; Chef Keith Frentz, LOLA and Chef Ryan Gall of Salu.  

New Orleans Culture
Horse and mule-drawn carriages are an integral part of New Orleans culture. They can be boarded in the heart of the French Quarter, on the side of Jackson Square throughout the day. We always see them; I saw the carriages on Friday taking tourists around to see the sights. It was a hot day, over 92 degrees, but not as hot as New Orleans gets in July and August. One of the horses caught my attention because he was heavily frothing at the mouth. Globs of white foam dripped to the hot street beneath his harnessed mouth (not an acceptable small amount of foam indicative of a wet mouth). I asked myself, am I the only one to be concerned by this? Why is the carriage rider just sitting back and ignoring this? The horse appeared to be breathing heavily too.

Vieux To Do
The next day began the big weekend in New Orleans - three festivals rolled into one, known as the Vieux To Do. The streets were packed, the day was sunny and hot - the carriages were busy. The horses tongues were hanging out, some were breathing harder than others. I saw the same horse I had seen the previous day, still frothing at the mouth, but not as much. I had to approach the carriage driver. He leaned forward as I approached. I looked at him - then at his horse, “He doesn’t look too healthy,” I said. “He’s fine,” the carriage driver replied. “I do this every day for a living,” he added in a somewhat arrogant tone. I walked away feeling helpless and said a prayer for the animals.

Upbeat Zydeco music filled the air as we approached the French Market Creole Tomato festival. The market was packed with visitors from around the world. The Creole tomatoes weren't quite ripe yet, but hey, the show must go on! A huge fan blew a cooling mist to anyone who stood in front of it. We cooled off and enjoyed some music before strolling to the neighboring tented area featuring chefs doing cooking demonstrations. Top U.S. food bloggers were invited to sit in the front row, we sat in the back as we listened to Chef John Folse talk about the history of New Orleans cuisine. He also mentioned ‘Restaurant R’evolution’ his new business with former executive Chef Rick Tramonto of ‘Tru’ (a Chicago restaurant offering progressive French cuisine) set to open in 2011 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans. 

Photo collage copyright (C) 2011 Wind. All rights reserved. 

Editor’s comment: Regarding the carriage horses: As a former small business owner, I by no means wish to negatively impact anyone's livelihood. All I hope for is humane and fair treatment for all animals.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Memories of MyPyramid® #RDChat #GardenCuizine

Memories of MyPyramid®

Today, obesity and inactivity are at the highest rates America has ever seen. This is causing great concerns for the future health of many Americans.
Obesity often results in unwanted complications like inactivity, knee replacements, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, non alcoholic fatty liver disease and heart disease.

Weight loss is especially desirable after the pounds are on and complications are lurking. Obese individuals may find themselves tempted with what may appear to be an easy solution, bariatric surgery.  “The annual rate of bariatric surgery in the United States increased nearly six fold between 1990 and 2000.” [1] Bariatric Surgeries include Gastric bypass, LapBand® (laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding) and Gastric Sleeve (vertical sleeve gastrectomy), a procedure in which the surgeon permanently removes more than half of the patient’s stomach, leaving the remains in a tube or sleeve shape. These weight loss surgeries are increasing at an alarming rate.

Time for a Change!

With all these unhealthy statistics on the minds of our nations leaders, it seems change is in order for better ways and teaching tools that may have an impact on improving and maintaining a healthy body weight, better diet and more fitness. Today, the USDA will be presenting a major image change by replacing their controversial MyPyramid® logo to what they hope to be a more useful and effective one. 

As I wait to see the First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin unveil the new food icon that will serve as a reminder to help consumers make healthier food choices, I've been reminiscing to when the first food guide pyramid was released. The first USDA food guide pyramid was published in 1992. I had my award winning health food store and restaurant, Garden of Eden Natural Foods and Country Kitchen, Inc. in Mt. Laurel, NJ. Ahhh…we had some good times back then and served up some great wholesome food too. The food guide pyramid was the focus of attention in my eatery. I hung it smack in the center of the dining room on a wall of fruit adorned wall paper just above the chair rail that lined a row of oak slatted booths.

It was during my nutrition studies at Rutgers University in 2005 when the USDA introduced their new version of the pyramid. It had vertical bands of solid colors representing the food groups. I remember being a bit shocked, because I had just studied and learned all about the old version. Relearning about the new MyPyramid® wasn’t that bad though. I liked the fact they added a silhouette walking up steps to symbolize the need for exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. And I liked the fact the USDA introduced a Kid's version of MyPyramid
® too.

The 2005 logo maintained the pyramid shape, but excluded pictures of foods that people were accustomed to seeing in the first pyramid - many people complained about not understanding the new pyramid and found it confusing. To add to the confusion, serving sizes were not clearly stated like they were in the previous version. To find out nutrition recommendations, an individual would have to log in to the website to find out. Although nutrition needs vary per individual and this was personalized nutrition information, it caused even more trouble because not everyone had a computer and frankly, it was too much work and trouble - some lost interest - some just didn't care. 

MyPyramid® was deemed unsuccessful in terms of reaching the majority of Americans. 
  • Tune in to USDA Live coverage June 2, 2011  10:45 AM EDT for news of the new food icon
  • or Twitter #RDChat for more on the new USDA logo coverage
Related Links:  
Let's Move
Dietary Recommendations and how they have changed over time  
Here it is!!! Check out the new food icon
American Heart Association comments on the new icon

References: [1] Trus TL, Pope GD, Finlayson SR; National trends in utilization and outcomes of bariatric surgery; Surg Endosc. May;19(5):616-20. Epub 2005 Mar 11