During the holiday season everyone turns to the comforting, nurturing foods and beverage they know best and remember from their country, home, and childhood. Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, do you have a favorite drink that you shared with family and visitors or just sat and sipped on during those days? I do. My favorite holiday drink, traditional during Christmas, New Year and the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) celebrations, is Coquito.
The name is a diminutive for the word coco, or coconut. Although the drink is usually made with white rum, it is just as good made without any alcohol. It was usual to have both versions so children could enjoy it too. This is why I remember drinking it since I was a very small child. To me there is no Christmas without Coquito and I start making batches right after Thanksgiving. It goes as fast as I make it, and all my friends expect their own bottle as a holiday gift.
If you’ve never tried this delicious drink you can find Tropical CocoNog - our non-alcoholic version of my family's original recipe - in Flavorful Fortified Food – Recipes to Enrich Life along with other nurturing and delicious recipes that are easy to make.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The best and most rewarding part of making this delicious drink is that I know the many nutritional benefits of coconut products. Coconut milk in particular is believed to calm nerve cells, strengthen bones, fight virus & infection, lower cholesterol & relieve arthritis. Coconut oil has been recently linked to improvements in mental acuity in early stages of Alzheimer’s.
December is National Pear Month. There are 3,000 varieties of pears worldwide from Asia, Europe to North America. In the U.S. there are ten fairly common varieties of pears. It helps to know a little about these types of pears. Cooked pears are excellent but use the wrong kind and you will not be happy — the texture turns to mush.
Bartlett pears are the most common pear, they are all-purpose pears with the classic pear shape. Bartletts can have green skins that turn yellow when ripe or can have red skins that do not change color with ripening. Use for eating fresh or in salads and desserts
Anjou pears vary in color from light green to yellow-green to fiery red and the color doesn’t change when ripe. They have a squat shape and are firm with a mealy texture. Use for eating fresh or in salads and desserts.
Asian pears an apple shape and are also known as Chinese pears or apple pears because of their apple-pear flavor and crunchy texture. Use for eating fresh, in salads or baking.
Bosc pears have a tan-gold color and are slender shaped with a longer top and long, thin stem. They have a subtle nutty flavor and buttery texture. Use for eating fresh or baking, broiled, or poached since they retain their shape and texture.
Comice pears are the sweetest and juiciest of all the varieties. These pears have a fragile skin and may appear bruised on the outside, but there is no damage to the interior. Use for eating fresh.
Pears are delicious and healthy. A medium pear (about the size of an adult fist) provides 100 calories, 2 grams of fiber, 7 mg Vitamin C , and 208 mg potassium, 19 mg calcium, and 18 mg phosphorus.
Pears can be added to recipes to replace apples, used as a topping, and as part of appetizers, desserts, snacks, entrees and salads. Try using pears in the Creamy Fruit Salad Shake, Fruit Shake, Peach Milkshake, Breakfast Bread Pudding, Dairy-free Super Cereal, Enriched Cereal, Fruited Gelatin, Rice Pudding, or Super Pudding recipes found in Flavorful Fortified Foods – Recipes to Enrich Life.
November is the time when we stop to give thanks for a lot of things. We're thankful for our family and friends, our health, and many other things, inlcuding you, our loyal readers. As a way to thank you, we would like to offer two special sales that are only available for purcahses through our website.
Digna and Linda
Black Friday, November 29
25% off each 5 paperback copies of the book
Must purchase in multiples of 5 books
Sale runs 12:01 AM PST to 11:59 PM PST November 29th only
Cyber Monday, December 2
25% off book and training package
PDF copy of the book and training materials
Sale runs 12:01 AM PST to 11:59 PM PST December 2nd only
See Sale tab on Home Page during each sale for details
It is always difficult when there is a loved one receiving hospice and palliative care. The hospice staff is specially trained to assist the family members make the client as comfortable as possible.
During my time working in hospice care, I learned to be creative in attempting to meet the nutritional needs and desires of the clients. In many cases, the interventions were not traditional. However, for the client, the interventions made them happy. Ice cream and candy bars such as peanut butter cups may not seem like the most nutritious food, but it does provide calories, protein, and fat. Often the client would drink more than eat.
This was the beginning of the beverage recipes in our book, Flavorful Fortified Food - Recipes to Enrich Life. The recipes allowed for a lot of variety for the individual who had previously been limited to a very small variety of products and flavors. While the beverage recipes did not reverse their terminal status, in some cases, intake improved enough to keep pressure areas from getting worse and helped with pain management. In other cases, the beverages kept the client better hydrated during those final months, weeks, or days of life.
Yes, there is a positive role the Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can play in hospice and palliative care. Start using the recipes in Flavorful Fortified Food - Recipes to Enrich Life with clients and family members to enrich their life.
Fall is advancing and in some parts of the country chill is already in the air. Even in Southern California, where I live, nights are noticeably cooler, and most days are around the low 70s. Once the weather dips below 70°F I start thinking of ways to ward off that inevitable chill, and the first food that comes to my mind is a warm, nurturing and nutritious bowl of oatmeal. There are so many ways to prepare oatmeal, and even those that will refuse it in a bowl for breakfast, will eat it in its many other versions.
Although oatmeal cookies are always a favorite, I try to incorporate this powerful grain into many other every day food. Have you tried substituting oatmeal for breadcrumbs in your meatloaf recipe? How about pulsing it twice on high in the food processor and using it as an extra crunchy coating for baked or grilled meat, chicken or fish? It’s more nutritious than Penco crumbs and adds an interesting nutty flavor.
The nutrient contributions of oatmeal cannot be ignored. A bowl in the morning provides a substantial amount of the daily requirement of Omega-3 fatty acids. Just ½ cup dry uncooked oatmeal provides 150 calories, 3 grams fat, 27 grams complex carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 6 grams of protein, and best of all no cholesterol or sodium. No wonder oatmeal is good for heart and arterial health, lowering cholesterol, and helping to prevent hypertension related strokes.
For a delicious Breakfast Shake try the recipe on page 5 of Flavorful Fortified Food - Recipes to Enrich Life. For a substantial stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, try the Dairy-free Super Cereal on page 34, or the Enriched Cereal on page 35. Bon' appetite!
Though the forbidden fruit of Eden in the Book of Genesis is not identified, popular Christian tradition has held that it was an apple that Eve coaxed Adam to share with her.
In Greek mythology, the Greek hero Heracles, as a part of his Twelve Labors, was required to travel to the Garden of the Hesperides and pick the golden apples off the Tree of Life growing at its center. My grandmother always said - an apple a day, keeps the doctor away. So, let's look at apples and how we can us them.
The apple tree originated in Central Asia, where its wild ancestor, Malus sieversii, is still found today. Apples have been grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, and were brought to North America by European colonists. About 69 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2010. China produced almost half of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer. With more than 6% of world production. In the United States, more than 60% of all the apples sold commercially are grown in Washington State.
Apples are often eaten raw. Apples can be canned or juiced. They are made into apple juice, apple cider, apple cider vinegar, or distilled into various alcoholic beverages. Apples are an important ingredient in many desserts, such as apple pie, apple crumble, apple crisp, or apple cake. They are often eaten baked, stewed or dried to eat later. Puréed apples are applesauce. Apples are also made into apple butter, apple jelly, and apple pancakes.
Have you tried the Apple Pie a la Mode Shake recipe on page 2 or the Fruit Shake recipe on page 19 in Flavorful
Fortified Food – Recipes to Enrich Life? If not, try them today and see if an apple a day will keep the doctor away!
Did you know that there were three presidents involved in the creation of this month-long celebration dedicated to our Hispanic roots? In 1968 President Lyndon Johnson called a National Hispanic Heritage week to honor the influences in this country from our Spanish ancestors. Twenty years later, President Ronald Reagan and then later President Gerald Ford extended the commemoration. In 1989 the commemoration became officially a month long, from September 15 through October 15, to include “Día de la Raza” (Day of the Race) in the celebration. The significance of the dates chosen is that five Central and South American countries celebrate their independence from Spanish rule on September 15th. Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua on September 15th. Chile on September 16th and Mexico on September 18th.
This is a good month to focus on what the United States has gained from the rich cultures and heritage, of the indigenous native dwellers such as the Mayas, Aztecs and Incas of Mexico, to the little known and now extinct Tahínos of the Caribbean. Since the first Spanish settlers arrived on our coasts the geography of North America attracted many other cultures and we have roots stemming from Europe, Africa, Central and South America. Our culture is reflective of this; moreover so is our food.
It is estimated that there are about 50 ½ million people of Hispanic roots in the US, and this number is still growing. Although there have been many famous people sharing those roots, to me, being Hispanic is knowing the food. Although the origins of each country sharing the Hispanic language, culture and heritage are from Spain, it the indigenous heritage that make each country's "cocina" unique, there are some similarities. Our food is rich, it is flavorful, it is always made with love; we don't just eat and feed, we nourish. We also share our love for coffee, some of the best of which is grown in all of Latin America. The best welcome sign for Hispanics is the smell of something good cooking when the door is open, a little cup of delicious, aromatic dark roast coffee served with a bit of sweet dessert. Most afternoons between lunch and dinner you will find us enjoying a small cup of coffee and a bite of something sweet.
Try some of our delicious recipes wtih flavors reminiscent of our heritage - delicous, creamy Coffee Milkshake on page 11 garnished with cinnamon and a dash of cayenne pepper, or the Dairy-Free Coffee Laté on page 15. Still craving a little something sweet to go with that coffee? Then Rice Pudding on page 41 is for you! It’s made just the way my mother used to!
October 4th is World Smile Day. Take time today to smile and make someone else smile. One way to bring a smile to someone’s face is to make them something they like to eat. Check out the recipes in Flavorful Fortified Food – Recipes to Enrich Life for ideas. Actually, why not consider making someone smile every day!
Broccoli at it's best, fresh from the garden.
As Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDN) we have always wished doctors would say those words. September is Broccoli Month, and broccoli was recently the focus for preventing the progress of osteoarthritis. RDN have always known that vegetables are important for a well-balanced diet, and recommend eating 5 to 6 servings a day but the recommendations are not for specific vegetables.
In recent years researchers are focusing on vegetables as important medicinal foods for disease prevention, to improve longevity, health and wellness, and are finding substances that prevent some diseases and decrease inflammation. Estimates show that there are about 27 million people suffering from osteoarthritis in the United States alone. Studies published by the British Journal of Arthritis and Rheumatism declare that sulforaphane slows the cartilage destruction caused by arthritic inflammation. Sulforaphane is a substance produced by an enzyme found in cruciferous plants when they are physically damaged, such as when they are chopped or chewed. It is found in all cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, Bok Choy and cauliflower in smaller, less effective amounts. Earlier studies also confirmed that broccoli and its cruciferous cousins also filter out carcinogens, reducing tumor growth. Counted as one of the new superfoods, broccoli is high in vitamins A, B, C, and K as well as rich in potassium, zinc, fiber, and produces sulfur compounds that help filter carcinogens.
Broccoli can be easily incorporated in any recipe. Try the Creamy Vegetable Soufflé made with broccoli, or add it to a cream soup made with Jiffy Enriched Soup, or from scratch using Cream Soup Base recipe. My family’s favorite is a steamy bowl of Cheddar Cheese Soup with a generous portion of chopped broccoli mixed in during the last simmer. You can find these and more recipes in Flavorful Fortified Food - Recipes to Enrich Life.
There are several theories about the actual origins of trail mix. If you have read Jack Keouac’s 1958 novel, The Dharma Burns, you’ll find reference to trail mix. If you visit Hadley Fruit Orchards or Harmony foods, you’ll find bins full of their own trail mix or trail mix raw ingredients where you make your own mix and they claim it as their creation around 1968.
Regardless of the date or origin, trail mix is a very popular, convenient and nutritious snack. It was intended to be consumed as a non-perishable, nutrient-dense portable food to take on journeys such as camping, hiking, biking and road trips. If you’ve ever been a Girl Scout and went camping or on hikes, you always had a pocketful of “gorp”, or “good old raisins and peanuts” in your pocket.
Many people love eating trail mix. They are likely to spend a lot of money buying the many different brands, the newly labeled higher-priced “organic” brands, or they will spend hours making their own trail mix from complicated recipes. To me, trail mix is quite simple - nuts, dried fruits and, if you’re so inclined, some kind of chocolate.
The popularity of munching on trail mix has not decreased since the 50s and 60s and there are a myriad of recipes to date. These are all high-energy foods, with enough protein to help build and maintain muscle, just enough complex carbohydrate to give you a boost when a quick burst is needed, and healthy fats to carry you throughout the entire day. And the chocolate? Well, that’s your treat!
Instead of buying a pre-made brand of trail mix, try making your own. Then, try the Peanut Butter Pudding Cup recipe in Flavorful Fortified Food – Recipes to Enrich Life and top the pudding with a generous handful of trail mix!
It's Back To School Time! With that, starts of the dreaded rush of breakfast time. The benefits of eating breakfast are proven, yet most children and teens prefer to sleep those extra few minutes, or linger in front of the mirror, than sit down to a wholesome hearty breakfast that will carry them through until lunch. The reality of working parents adds an extra burden when having to manage multiple schedules, ages and food preferences. To end the last minute rush and sometimes arguments, plan quick and easy nutrient dense breakfasts from the book Flavorful Fortified Food – Recipes to Enrich Life. Make ahead of time Dairy Free Super Cereal or the Breakfast Bread Pudding that taste like dessert treats and are packed with nutrition. For the athletes in your home, the Enriched Cereal packs 700 calories and 28 grams of protein in a 1 cup serving. If you’re feeding younger children, serve half portions. For those that eat on the run, try any of the smoothies. Packed with protein and good for the whole family, the Peanut Butter and Banana Milkshake and Banana Nut Milkshake are always a winner. If your family is multi-generational, try our nutritious high fiber favorite Breakfast Shake. Top any shakes with a creamy whipped yogurt for additional protein and calcium, and a real early morning soda fountain treat kids and adults will never leave home without. If you use these recipes make sure your family keeps the secret, or you’ll have the neighborhood dropping in for breakfast every day.
Digna and Linda have years of experience working with individuals needing assistance to eat sufficient calories and protein in multiple settings. Flavorful Fortified Food - Recipes to Enrich Life is our way to share this knowledge with clients, patients, athletes, caregivers, and professionals.