Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

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Cook time: 20 m; Ready In Time: 1 h 15 m*
*All based on your cooking and oven style.

This new and improved healthier version of cobbler will keep your drawers fitting just right and not too tight. In this recipe, a portion of the butter is substituted for canola oil (1), and whole-wheat flour (2) is used in place of all-purpose flour, but don’t panic ladies, it turns out really good! As the cobbler bakes, the tender batter swells around the fruity additions, to give a peach (3) and blueberry (4) topping instead of the biscuit topping that usually laden this dessert. Go ahead and experiment with different fruits, and if you are a cast iron skillet lover, give yours more love by baking and serving the cobbler straight from it. Frozen fruits can also be used in this recipe, and the last healthy alternative used is reduced-fat milk (5).

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 ripe, firm peaches (roughly 1 pound) pitted and sliced or sub 3 1/2 cups frozen peaches
  • 2 cups (1 pint) fresh blueberries; the same amount if using frozen berries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Place oil and butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet or a 9 X 13″ baking pan, and heat until melted and fragrant; about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the butter and oil are doing its thing, combine salt, baking powder, and flour in a large bowl. Add vanilla, sugar, milk, and stir to combine.
  4. Add the melted butter mixture to the batter and stir to combine. Pour the batter into the hot pan. Spoon peaches and berries over the batter, and return the pan to the oven.
  5. Bake until the top of the cobbler is browned and the mixture around the fruit is entirely set, approximately 50 min to 1 hour. Remove, and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm.

“Nutrition Label:” Serving Size: 1 piece; Per Serving: 196 calories; 9 g fat (3 g sat.); 3 g fiber; 29 g carbohydrates; 3 g protein; 10 mcg folate; 11 mg cholesterol; 18 g sugars; 7 g added sugars ; 317 IU Vitamin A; 6 mg Vitamin C; 80 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 202 mg sodium; 188 mg potassium; Carbohydrate Servings: 2; Exchanges: ½ fruit, 1 ½ other carbohydrate, 1 ½ fat.

Ingredient Healthy Tid-Bits

  1. Canola oil is a monounsaturated oil (which is a healthy oil) that will aid your daily intake of Omega 3s, and these fatty acids are needed for cell growth, maintaining healthy cholesterol, and overall well being. Canola is also a good source of vitamin E, and has less saturated fat than olive oil, although olive is still an excellent choice for helping maintain your healthiness. By substituting 1/2 butter with 1/2 canola oil, you are saving yourself many grams of fat and calories, and you are improving your heart. But, did you know that canola oil is a GMO? Yes, it is a crossbred oil that originates in Canada who developed the oil for means of frying foods, hence its high smoke point.

  2. Wheat-flour has a double whammy! It not only can act as a substitute for all-purpose, but it also throws a much higher nutritional punch, knocking out all-purpose flour! For starters, it houses B vitamins, which are necessary for DNA, energy, fatty acid, and protein synthesis as well as calcium, zinc, vitamin K, and iron, all needed for blood clotting, managing blood sugar, and oxygen transport for blood and tissues. With whole-wheat flour, you will get a good dose of folate, which is crucial for growth and development of tissues, muscles, and organs, and if you need to reduce constipation, bloating, cramping, excess gas and/or diarrhea, look no further than whole-wheat. It contains roughly 30% (7g per 1/2 cup serving) of your daily Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) goal for fiber.

  3. Who doesn’t love a GA peach??? And I mean the fruit, not the native (because it’s a known fact that everyone loves people from the peach state of GA!). Vitamin C, vitamin A, fiber, antioxidants, phenolic acids, potassium, and I am going to stop there on the benefits of peaches and start elaborating on its health benefits. Vitamin C assists with boosting the immune system, and fiber, we know, aids in digestion and keeping us “regular.” For the ladies and gentlemen looking for the healthy skin and eyesight fountain of youth, look no further than vitamin A. Its antioxidant and phenolic acid properties function in maintaining healthy skin and vision and delaying signs of aging, as well as growth inhibition of some cancers (breast). To top off a peach, just one a day may help prevent cardiovascular and bone disease. So, as Steve Miller Band says “love your peaches, shake your tree.”

  4. And the “God” of all antioxidants is berries! Blueberries are one of the best antioxidant foods, with a trail of studies showing its impact on preventing heart disease, fighting cancer, and improving memory power. These little blue gods are another fountain of youth due to their ability to slow the signs of aging. Blueberries are also low in fat, rich in vitamin C and manganese (functions in the central nervous system), and are an excellent source of fiber.

  5. Finally, we have reduced-fat milk, which still contains the same essential nutrients as whole milk; calcium, protein, iodine, but minus the fat and calories. I’ve mentioned calcium, and I am going to stress it again. This mineral has a busy schedule. Not only does it have the duty of aiding blood clotting, but calcium is also on “the hook” for cardiac function, nerve transmission, and smooth muscle contraction, as well as vitamin D’s assistant for bone absorption. Protein, of course, contributes to muscle growth among many other benefits, and iodine aids cognitive function and posses thyroid hormone responsibilities. So, by opting for reduced-fat over whole milk, you are sparing yourself a few more calories and fat, while still getting the nutrients of whole milk.

Still for the brain-Word of the Day

Onerous: A task or responsibility involving a great deal of effort, trouble, or difficulty

And for a little inspiration….

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So, don’t always rely too much on people!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Classic Potato Salad-Sorry for the Delay 😐

Classic Tato SaladCook time: 30 min

Total time (prep + cook): 45 min (depending on your cooking style and methods)

This classic version adds more of a health punch compared to most original classic potato salads. You still get the creaminess this traditional favorite offers, although you are substituting half of the mayo for yogurt (1). And your fiber and potassium intake bumps up because these taters (2) are “skin” on. If you’re trying to save time and cookware, boil the eggs (4) on top of the potatoes while they are steaming in the steaming basket. Depending on your cooked egg preference, you can leave them in the basket the entire steam time or take them out a few minutes before the taters are tender and done.

Ingredients:

  • 2-1/2 pounds yellow or red potatoes, scrubbed and diced (1/2″ to 1″)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, DIVIDED
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion (3)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped celery (5)

Directions:

  1. Bring 1-2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan or pot fitted with a steaming basket. Add potatoes, cover, and cook until tender, 12-15 minutes depending on your stove (while cooking, jump to #2). When done, spread the taters, in a single layer, onto a lined baking sheet (aluminum foil makes an excellent lining and easy for cleanup) and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt; let cool 15 minutes.
  2. Whisk mayo, yogurt, onion, mustard, pepper, and remaining salt (1/2 tsp) in a large bowl. Once the potatoes are cooled, add them to the mixture along with the eggs and celery; stir to coat.

Serve at room temp or refrigerate until cold. The salad can be made up to 1 day, covered, and refrigerated.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: ¾ cup; Per Serving: 146 calories; 4 g fat (1 g sat.); 2 g fiber; 24 g carbohydrates, 5 g protein; 27 mcg folate; 40 mg cholesterol; 3 g sugars; 1 g added sugar; 109 IU Vitamin A; 7 mg Vitamin C; 48 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 325 mg sodium; 552 mg potassium

Carbohydrate Servings: 1 ½
Exchanges: 1 ½ starch, 1 fat

Health Benefits:

  1. Low-fat plain yogurt (LFPY) adds calcium, which is needed for teeth and bones, and it is a high-quality protein to help build and repair muscles. LFPY also has live, healthy gut bacteria, which aids in digestion and some who are lactose intolerant may be able to intake small amounts of this yogurt. Still, this healthy substitute stimulates the immune system, and if you are looking to add MORE protein and creaminess, substitute with Greek yogurt.
  2. The skin on taters provides whopping values of fiber to keep you regular, potassium to control blood pressure, and many other vitamins and minerals. Most of the fiber, roughly half, is found in the skin, but beyond the skin, you’ll find most of the vitamin C, which is vital for healthy skin and hair. Potato and its skin also house vitamins B1 and B6; B1 assist in the bodies energy system, and Pyroxidene (B6) is vital for the central nervous system. This carbohydrate contains little to no fat, cholesterol, and calories but it does contain iron, magnesium (Mg), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu). For healthy blood, our bodies require iron, and for wound healing, Mg, Zn, and Cu take on the job. Last tidbit: Compared to bananas, which have 9g Mg, potatoes out win with 20g Mg, and for a greater nutrient powerhouse, go for the red taters.
  3. Have you ever taken a bite out of a raw onion? If not, I dare you to! Similar to potatoes, onions also contain vitamin C and fiber, along with healthy plant “chemicals” that are thought to prevent some types of cancer, based on studies. Onions are low in fat and calories and again, similar to potatoes, red onions pack a higher nutrient punch.
  4. HUMPTY DUMPTY (Eggs) does NOT spike blood cholesterol, but instead, he does the opposite by raising “good” cholesterol or HDL’s (I call this the happy cholesterol and LDL’s the lowsy cholesterol). All 9 essential amino acids (needed to make proteins) can be found in an egg. Essential indicates that your body cannot make them, they must come from diet. Eggs also provide a healthy dose of Omega 3’s to protect the brain and heart, carotenoids to protect our eyes, and vitamin D to protect our bones.
  5. Did you know that CELERY was once prescribed as an anti-hypertensive many centuries ago? Yeah, I didn’t either. I thought the only nutrition in celery was water, but nope, there is so much more. These gorgeous green, crisp stalks provide vitamin C and act as a diuretic to flush out excess fluid. Yes, ladies, we need our celery! If you suffer from inflammation, celeries properties may help. If you have high cholesterol and blood pressure, phthalates in celery may help lower it, and if you are trying to minimize your cancer risk, coumarins found in the stalks may provide some comfort.

These claims are all based on evidence-based studies; however, PLEASE see your dietitian and doctor before making drastic changes in your diet if you have any of the medical conditions stated above.

Zinc-binding is vital for regulating pH levels in the brain

Researchers in Oslo, Norway, have discovered that Zinc-binding plays a vital role in the sensing and regulation of pH in the human brain. The findings come as one of the first studies that directly link Zinc-binding with bicarbonate transporters.

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The Morth Group, led by J. Preben Morth, recently published the findings in Scientific Reports. The group is based at the Centre for Molecular Medicine Norway and studies the structure and function of membrane proteins, and their interaction with lipids in the biological membrane.  When we inhale, oxygen is distributed via our red blood cells to every living cell of our body. Human cells use oxygen to produce Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the molecule that fuels vital processes in the cells, such as maintaining the electrical potential across the membranes of the cells that allow us to think and feel. In other words, we wouldn’t “work” very efficiently without this process.

ATP generation is directly linked to the citric acid cycle also known as the Krebs cycle, which leads to the complete breakdown of nutrients. This process ultimately generates carbon dioxide (CO2) as the final waste product, which is expelled when we exhale. However, before we can emit the excess CO2, this critical molecule is involved in one of the most important biological functions in our body: It regulates pH in our cells. This process is incredibly important; if the pH in and around our cells is lower than 6.8 or higher than 7.8, then we are in danger of dying due to cell death and tissue damage.

An example of how essential pH levels are to our health is demonstrated by the fact that pH levels in blood from the umbilical cord are always tested in newborn babies. A low pH value is correlated with a low oxygen supply during birth, which can lead to severe brain damage. When in water, CO2 forms bicarbonate (HCO3-) and is transported by specific transport proteins across the cell membrane. How these transport molecules sense what the pH value is inside the cell is still an open question. However, the work performed by Alvadia et al.describes that the transition metal, Zinc, likely interacts with the proteins that facilitate the transport of HCO3– through the membrane.

This Zinc-binding, therefore, plays a vital role in the sensing and regulation of cellular pH, in particular in the transporters found in neurons of the human brain. This is one of the first studies that directly associates Zinc binding with bicarbonate transporters. Preben Morth, Group Leader at NCMM comments, “This is a basic research project, and at this stage, it is difficult to predict what the medical consequences will be. However, it is likely that Zinc may play a key role in the regulation of pH in the brain and therefore has implications for brain function and health.”

The results have recently been published in Scientific Reports from the Nature publishing group. The research group behind the discovery is M.Sc. Carolina Alvadia Dr. Kaare Bjerregaard-Andersen, Dr. Theis Sommer, M.Sc. Michele Montrasio, Asc. Prof. Helle Damkier, Prof. Christian Aalkjaer, Asc. and Nordic EMBL Partnership principal investigator, J. Preben Morth.

Adapted from: Carolina M. Alvadia, Theis Sommer, Kaare Bjerregaard-Andersen, Helle Hasager Damkier, Michele Montrasio, Christian Aalkjaer, J. Preben Morth. The crystal structure of the regulatory domain of the human sodium-driven chloride/bicarbonate exchangerScientific Reports, 2017; 7 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-12409-0

Nutrition Nugget

Pre-Pack Your Meals And Snacks! It’s easy to get caught up with work and meetings during the day, leaving a quick fast-food lunch your only option. Spare yourself the empty calories and money by packing your lunch. Whether you meal prep at the beginning of the week or have leftovers from last night’s healthy dinner, you’re guaranteed a healthy option for lunch. Save even more money when you pack your own snacks to avoid any unnecessary trips to the vending machine!

Inspirational Nugget

Don’t forget to Thank God for keeping you safe through the night and every time you awaken to see a beautiful new day.