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Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Charity of the Month for March 2013 – The Ronald McDonald House Charity

EatSmart fans will continue to select each Charity of the Month in 2013. Fans will submit short stories about the charity’s mission and why it’s meaningful to them. We began our Charity of the Month donations in 2011.

The Ronald McDonald House CharityMarch’s Charity of the Month has been chosen by loyal EatSmart Fan, Brittany Belling. She selected The Ronald McDonald House Charity.

We will be donating 50 cents for every new Twitter follower during the month of March. (So spread the word!)

Read why Brittany picked the Ronald McDonald House Charity:

When I was given the honor of choosing the charity of the month for Eat Smart, there was only one place I could choose: The Ronald McDonald House Charity. This charity is so near and dear to my heart, I’m always trying to find little ways to pay them back.

Back in July my daughter, Aliceana, was born. Less than 12 hours after her birth the doctor’s at our local hospital found so many health problems, that they were no longer able to treat her at our small hospital. She was transported to the NICU in Madison, which is about a 2 hour drive from where we live. We knew that we were going to stay with her, we had no idea what our sleeping conditions would be, or how long she would be hospitalized. When we arrived, one of the nurses asked if we wanted to check in to the Ronald McDonald house. We really had no idea what it was, but we graciously accepted.

The house was so beyond our expectations. Each bedroom is set up much like a hotel room, so you have complete privacy. There is a huge kitchen and dining area complete with a fully stocked pantry, you’re welcome to cook whenever and whatever you want. They also have volunteers cook dinner for guests every night. I was thrilled to see that the house had an elevator, after going through labor and being released early from the hospital to be with Aliceana I was definitely not well enough to use stairs. They also had a  computer room, game rooms, a room to watch movies or play video games, and lots of cozy places to read a book. They had a laundry room too, which was so nice, since we packed when we were frantic to get back to Aliceana, and we didn’t make the best clothing decisions (for example we’d have packed 12 pairs of socks yet only 2 t-shirts) and didn’t pack nearly as much as we needed either.

AllieIf you’ve had a child in the NICU or any medical situation, you know how incredibly difficult it is. Every single day was so hard to get through. Every minute seemed like it lasted an eternity, and we just wanted to be home as our new family of 3. The Ronald McDonald house, was definitely a home away from home. We returned every night to grab something to eat and sleep. Some days we would come back for lunch, do some laundry and take a nap. It was definitely more than we could have asked for in a city that we weren’t very familiar with. I will forever be thankful for the Ronald McDonald House, it definitely helped us get through those grueling two weeks of uncertainty.

That being said, I know that The Ronald McDonald House Charity could use some help. They rely heavily on donations, so that they can provide for 16 families in need every night (at our location there were 16 families, I believe some houses have more families stay every night). So do your part and follow EatSmart on Twitter, collect those soda can tops, and maybe even volunteer. You can definitely be a part of making someone’s unfortunate circumstances a little bit more comfortable.

Click here and EatSmart will donate:

Twitter Icon

About Brittany: Brittany blogs at The Domestic Geek, where she writes about her adventures of being a stay-at-home mom, recipes, her journey to get fit, video games and more.

If interested in submitting a charity for consideration, please email karen@eatsmartproducts.com. The donation amount will be capped at 500 new followers/likes.

Crunchy Cheese Chicken Tenders and Ranch Dipper

Ranch Dipper and ChickenCrunchy Cheese Chicken Tenders

Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon water
2 cups Reduced Fat Sunshine® Cheez-It® Original Crackers (crushed to 1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 cup reduced-fat ranch salad dressing or spicy ranch salad dressing (I made Rachael’s ranch dipper…recipe to follow)

Preparation
Lengthwise cut chicken into 3/4-inch-wide strips. Set aside.

Place flour on wax paper. In shallow dish, stir together egg whites and water. In another shallow dish, combine Cheez-It® cracker crumbs, Parmesan cheese and oregano.

Roll chicken pieces, one at a time, in flour. Shake off excess flour. Dip into egg white mixture then coat with the cracker mixture, gently pressing breading onto chicken. Place in a single layer in a shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray or lined with foil.

Bake, uncovered, at 425°F for 15-20 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. For food safety, internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 165ºF.

Serve with salad dressing as dipping sauce alongside.

Ranch Dipper

Ingredients
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped
A small handful of fresh chives, finely chopped
A small handful of fresh dill, finely chopped
A small handful of flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Directions
Mix all ingredients and let favors combine in the refrigerator while the chicken is cooking.

About the Author: Rebecca has a passion for food and health and is currently in school to become a certified health coach. On her blog, Hankering 4 Hummus, she shares recipes, fitness tips and more. 

Three Things to Know About Digital Bathroom Scales

As experts in bathroom scales, we wanted to share with you a few facts about digital scales. We’ve summed up our customer’s frequently asked questions into the following important facts about bathroom scales:

step-on-3Every time a digital scale is moved it needs to be calibrated.
Initializing the scale resets the internal parts allowing the scale to find the correct “zero” weight and ensure accurate readings. If the scale is moved and you do NOT calibrate it, you are likely to see fluctuations in your weight. Moving any digital scale can potentially affect accuracy and dependability.

Also, when certain EatSmart models are placed on the floor with the LCD light already on, the scale will display the weight of the platform (4.6lb to 5.6lb – depending on model). Always allow the scale to shut off before you stand on it for your weight reading. The following steps can be used to calibrate any of our EatSmart Products bathroom scales:

  1. Place the scale back on a hard, flat surface (see #2 below for optimal flooring surfaces).
  2. With one foot, press the platform of the scale so that numbers appear on the display. Once you see zeros or dashes remove your foot.
  3. Wait for the scale to turn off again.
  4. Your scale is now calibrated.  Step up onto the scale for a weight reading.

EatSmart scales are engineered to provide maximum accuracy and will NOT provide accurate readings on carpeting.
Linoleum, vinyl and other softer flooring can cause small variations in weight depending on how much cushion there is. Every EatSmart Bathroom Scale has four high precision sensors in each one of its feet. We suggest placing the scale on a hard, flat surface. Optimal surfaces include ceramic or porcelain tile, hard wood or concrete.

For the most accurate results, step onto the scale, stand completely still and count to three.
Moving around and shifting your weight while standing on the scale may cause inaccurate readings.  Once you step onto the scale, do not to move until your weight is locked in and displayed on the LCD screen.Thingstoknowaboutdigitalbathroomscales3

Do you have any questions regarding Digital Bathroom Scales? Please ask us in the comments below!

About the Author: Karen Welby is the Marketing Director of EatSmart Products. Outside of EatSmart, she is a Certified Health Coach and Personal Trainer.

Carrot and Parsnip Soup

I’d heard great things about the Tone It Up Carrot and Pumpkin Soup from friends on twitter and decided to make something similar. I didn’t have any pumpkin on hand (shocker… I know) so I rolled with parsnips and added a little quinoa to bump up the protein.

Warm-Carrot-Parsnip-SoupIt turned out to be warm, comforting and super delicious.Isaac and I both kept going on and on about how tasty it was the whole time we were eating it.

It’s sweet from the carrots, but not too sweet and has a great flavor from all the herbs and spices. Quinoa is the perfect addition as it makes the soup a little heartier so that it can be served as a meal, not just an appetizer or side item.

Adapted from Tone It up’s Carrot and Pumpkin Soup
Serves: 4

Ingredients
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped finely
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
½ lb. parsnips, peeled and chopped
5 cups of vegetable broth or water
⅓ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
3 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin
¼ teaspoon turmeric
sprinkle of cayenne pepper
ground black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon miso paste, disolved in 1 Tablespoon warm water
sea salt, to taste
scallions, as garnish
1 ounce gruyere cheese (optional)

Instructions
In a large stock pot, heat coconut oil on medium heat. Place onion, shallot and garlic into the pot and sauté for about five to seven minutes or until onions are translucent.
Add herbs and spices (thyme, sage, cumin, turmeric, cayenne pepper and ground pepper) to the pot and stir.
Add chopped carrots, parsnip and quinoa to the pot. Pour in vegetable broth or water. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook for about 20-40 minutes until veggies are tender.
Remove from heat and let stand 3-5 minutes until cooled slightly. Using an immersion blender, blend the contents of the pot until a smooth even consistency is reached. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can blend the soup in your blender in small batches.
Dissolve miso in warm water and stir into the soup. Miso gives the soup a wonderful flavor but if you don’t have miso, simply season the soup with a little sea salt.
Serve immediately garnished with scallions and shredded gruyere cheese. Enjoy!

About the Author: Hi! I’m Brittany, a 20 something online marketing professional living in Richmond, Virginia.I’m passionate about food, fitness and living a healthy lifestyle and I started Eating Bird Food (EBF) in March 2008 as a way to share my passion and inspire others.

The Perfect Edible Valentine Gift – Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

The celebration of Valentine’s Day brings along with it many sugary temptations including;

  • Mazes of chocolates nestled in beautiful red boxes
  • Tiny candy hearts covered in love notes
  • Heart shaped red PEEPS (seems to me that these Peeps do not miss a holiday)
  • Red Foil Hershey Kisses…..You get the idea– the list goes on and on.

chocolatecoveredstrawberries

One sensible way to avoid these high sugar confections is to make your own Chocolate Dipped Strawberries—-so yummy your sweetheart will love you for your efforts.  Let’s keep in mind that the centerpiece of this glorious combination is the nutrient -rich strawberry, an excellent source of Vitamin C and packed with antioxidants. Dipped in  heart healthy dark chocolate (minimum 70 percent cocoa)—you now have a much healthier but OH SO TASTY treat.

Dark Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

All you will need is two ingredients:

  • 18-20 large fresh, strawberries (preferably organic)
  • 8-10 ounces (225 – 285 grams) of good quality, dark or bittersweet chocolate, rated 70%, chopped coarse

For the full recipe please visit the blog, A Food Centric Life.

The hard part is eating just one or two.  Pictured below is a 150 calorie serving (approximate) weighed using the EatSmart Precision Elite Kitchen Scale.

IMG_1394

Are you making your own healthy Valentine’s Day treats?  Please share in the comments below.

About the Author: Maria Geronimo is the Public Relations Director at EatSmart Products.

Celery, Cucumber and Lime Juice

juicerecipe2Just lately I have made the leap from the safe and reliable Carrot, Apple & Ginger, to trying more green contents in my morning juice fest. One of my yoga pals had been urging me to do it for a while, so I gave it a go, and I have found that this mix works really well for a beginner of green juicing.

Ingredients:
1/4 cucumber
3 celery stalks
1 gala apple
1 inch ginger
juice of half a lime (I squeeze this separately and add at the end)

Directions:
Put everything through the juicer, except the lime (or lemon variation).
If you feel you need a bit more sweetness you can also add a handful of red grapes, I have also tried this with half a lemon instead of the lime and it was equally delicious. Enjoy.

About the Author: Jacquie O’Neill is the author and illustrator of the children’s yoga book Budabebe. She is a full time illustrator, trainee yoga teacher and Mum to 4 daughters, who has a passion for wholesome health & nutrition.

Have a Healthy & Romantic Valentine’s Day with these Treats

Cooking togetherRomance buds unsuspectingly. Especially around Valentine’s Day, hopeless romantics turn folly for flourishing love, head-over-feels infatuation and warm affection. Have you been hit by cupid’s arrow? Feeling in the mood this year? Sweep your loved one off their feet with the most delicious foods and drinks always natural and healthy that spark romance and celebrate love. A little decor never hurt either! At any party or birthday supplies store you can find supplies to make DIY Valentine’s Day crafts, such as red and white sprinkles candles, that can really create that ambience.

A “Piano Love Songs” playlist and festive decorations are simple accents. Cook your way into your loved one’s heart with any of these delectable, yet healthy recipes from Better Homes Gardens:

  • Good Healthy Macaroni and Cheese: Enhancing the comforting flavors of mac ‘n cheese, this recipe is packed with broccoli, carrots and green beans. Cook with multigrain or whole-grain rotini pasta.
  • Chicken Shrimp Jambalaya: A cajun slow cooker dish, BHG’s healthy version of jambalaya boasts less than 400 calories per serving.
  • Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce: Grilled chicken never tasted so cool and creamy. Serve with brown rice and you’ve prepared delicious, Persian fare with a nutritious kick.

Sweet Snackin’

While cuddling on the couch, you’re going to need some snacks for your sweet tooth that still have added health benefits. Trader Joe’s Tempting Trail Mix is a sweet and salty medley of chocolate and peanut butter chips, dried cherries, cashews and peanuts. Pour a handful and indulge in sweet and savory decadence with some tart and crunch. Trail mix is also great for road trip snackin’ on the way to a romantic weekend getaway.

Hands in the cookie jar is no longer a bad thing! Bake homemade graham crackers shaped as hearts and pack ‘em in a bag with ribbon to give to your sweetie. Two Peas Their Pod’s Homemade Graham Crackers recipe is a cookie alternative that tastes delicious but doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup. Mix up the dough in a food processor using all-purpose and whole wheat flour, sugar, honey, molasses and other easy ingredients. Cut the rolled-out dough with a heart-shaped cookie cutter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Confections for Couples

The beauty of desserts is that treats are not only fun to eat, but they’re fun to bake, especially with the one you’re crushin’ on.

On Valentine’s Day bake any of these dessert recipes with your loved one:

  • Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: Susan Sarandon’s guilt-free recipe includes healthy ingredients like rolled oats, soy milk, walnuts and semisweet vegan chocolate chips.
  • Very Berry Cobbler: Turn up the heat in the kitchen with Wellness Mama’s Very Berry Cobbler recipe. As post-dinner indulgence, the berry cobbler is delicious, free of sugar and uses grain-free almond flour.
  • Cookie Dough Dip: Cookie dough that’s not only safe to eat but healthy? Yes, and it’s made with chickpeas. ChocolateCoveredKatie.com’s healthy cookie dough is “high in protein, gluten-free, and it can even be sugar-free.” Dig in with fresh fruit or graham crackers that you just so happened to bake from scratch.

About the Author: This guest post is by Catherine Juniper, a part-time nutritionist and yoga instructor. Catherine enjoys sharing her tips on how to de-stress, eat right and keep up a good solid exercise routine.

Kabocha Squash Soup

A deliciously creamy and spiced kabocha squash soup with a hint of sweetness from the cinnamon sugar sour cream.

IMG_4483Yield: 40 oz     Serving Size: 8 oz     Number of Servings: 5

Soup Ingredients / U.S. Standard:
Olive oil, extra-virgin – 2 tbsp.
Kabocha squash, peeled, seeded, large dice – 35 oz.
Carrot, peeled, large dice – 5 oz.
Celery, large dice – 5 oz.
Apple, granny smith, peeled, seeded, large dice – 4 oz.
Onion, white or yellow, large dice – 5 oz.
Garlic, rough chop – 2 tbsp.
Ginger, grated – 1 tsp.
Paprika – 1 tsp.
Cayenne pepper – 1 ½ tsp.
Cinnamon, ground – 1 ½ tsp.
Vegetable stock, divided – 4 ½ cups
Salt, kosher – 1 tsp.

Toppings:
Pine nuts, toasted – ¼ cup
Mushrooms, crimini, sliced and blanched – 4 oz.
Sour Cream – ¼ cup
Cinnamon – 1/8 tsp.
Sugar – ¼ tsp.

Method of Preparation:

  1. Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
  2. Wash, peel, and wash the squash, carrot, celery, and apple. Set aside.
  3. In a large stock pot add olive oil and heat over medium heat.
  4. Add onion, and cook until translucent. This should take about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and ginger and cook for an additional minute.
  6. Next, add in the kabocha squash, carrot, and celery.
  7. Cook for 8-10 minutes until slightly softened.
  8. Add in paprika, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon, stir to coat evenly.
  9. Next add in 4 cups of the vegetable stock. Reserve the remaining ½ cup – this will be used to blanch the mushrooms.
  10. Bring stock pot to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
  11. While the soup is simmering, take a small dry sauté pan and add the pine nuts.
  12. Cook over medium heat until lightly toasted but do not burn them.
  13. Remove the pine nuts and set them aside to garnish the soup with.
  14. In the same sauté pan add the remaining ¼ cup of vegetable stock and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 6-8 minutes.
  15. Once the mushrooms have finished cooking, set them aside in a small bowl to garnish the soup with.
  16. Add the mushroom stock to the simmering stock pot.
  17. To create the sour cream topping place the sour cream in a small bowl.
  18. Add the cinnamon and sugar and mix well. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  19. Turn off the stock pot.
  20. In a heavy duty blender puree soup (in batches if needed), until smooth.
  21. Return back to the stock pot, season with salt.
  22. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  23. Soup temperature must reach 165°F before serving.
  24. Soup should be held at 135°F
  25. Serve immediately in a large bowl topped with mushrooms, pine nuts, and a teaspoon of cinnamon sugar sour cream.
  26. Cool remaining soup to 41°F as quickly as possible, buy placing the a container of the remaining soup in an ice bath to help with the cooling process. Store in a refrigerator for up to 5 days.
  27. To reheat the soup, place it in a stock pot and cook over medium-low heat (do not boil) until it has reached 165°F for 15 seconds.

Chef’s Notes:

  1. This is a blended soup, so using a rough chop on the vegetables is a good way to save some time during preparation.
  2. For a vegan option you may substitute out the sour cream for vegan sour cream such as “Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream”

About the Author: Jenny Manseau is a Chef, Culinary Nutrition student and author of the blog Creative Cooking Gluten FreeJenny created her website after being diagnosed in 2008 with Celiac Disease and takes many “regular” every day recipes and alters them to the gluten-free diet.

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