“Food for Thought”

College of DuPage Nursing student Bertie Schlossberg asks, “Do you or someone you know have a food allergy or intolerance?” If you answered yes, you might want to keep reading.

Per the Food and Allergy Research and Education network (FARE), 1 in every 13 children in the USA underage 18 have food allergies. Although less common in adults. Food allergies affect nearly 15 million people a year (healthykids.org). Below I have included some easy recipes …whether you are just starting out on your new diet or you are a seasoned pro you are sure to enjoy these recipes. Leave a comment or share your favorite allergy friendly recipe.

Gluten Free (www.melissassouthernstylekitchen.com/chocolate-peanut-butter-cup-lasagna/)

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-cup-Lasagna

Ingredients you’ll need:
2  [8 oz] softened cream cheese [16 ounces total]
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
16 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 [14 oz] box chocolate graham crackers gluten free
1 [12 oz] bag miniature peanut butter cups
3/4 cup cocktail peanuts [sea salted peanuts or plain salted peanuts]
Chocolate drizzle:
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
Topping:
8 oz frozen whipped topping, thawed

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. To prepare the chocolate drizzle: Melt the chocolate chips and heavy cream together in the microwave until smooth. Melt in 15 second increments stopping to stir periodically. Set aside to cool while you make the filling.
  2. To prepare the filling: In a medium mixing bowl, whip together both blocks of softened cream cheese, peanut butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla.
  3. Whip for 2-3 minutes until fully combined and smooth. The mixture will be thick.
  4. Add 16 ounces of thawed whipped topping, 8 ounces at a time. Continue to whip until fluffy and light. The filling will be divided into thirds to layer the dessert.
  5. Remove the wrappers from the peanut butter cups and chop. Roughly chop the peanuts. Divide both into thirds for layering. In a 9 x 13 inch dish start with one layer of graham crackers.
  6. Add ⅓ of the filling mixture, sprinkle with ⅓ of the chopped peanut butter cups and ⅓ of the chopped peanuts.
  7. Gently press the next layer of graham crackers into the filling and repeat, ending with the final ⅓ of the peanut butter filling.
  8. Frost with whipped topping, and sprinkle the top with the remaining chopped peanut butter cups and peanuts. Drizzle with chocolate.
  9. Chill for at least 4-6 hours before cutting.

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Be strategic about your snacking picks

These should be savored and enjoyed for what they are. Personally, two butter cookies made from my grandmother’s recipe would give me more satisfaction than 10 of any other treat.

For the same calories, you get more than four times as many shrimp, and that volume alone will leave you feeling more satisfied.

Plus, the shrimp provide more protein and essential minerals, without any of the unhealthy fat or nitrates.

1 tablespoon sour-cream-and-onion dip vs. 6 tablespoons salsa – 30 calories

Besides the huge portion difference per calorie, tomato-based salsas are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, which might help you fight off the colds that tend to get passed around at parties this time of year.

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Healthy-up your holiday sweets!

choc chip cookiesThe holidays just wouldn’t be the same without cookies, cakes and other sweet goodies.  Mayo Clinic and The Huffington Post have posted lists of healthy substitutions, including the following:

Sugar: In most baked goods you can reduce the amount of sugar by one-half; intensify sweetness by adding vanilla (try using 4 tsp vanilla to replace ½ cup sugar), nutmeg or cinnamon. You may also use Splenda, mashed banana, or applesauce – the same amount as the called-for sugar.

Eggs: Try two egg whites or ¼ cup egg substitute for each whole egg. You can also mash up a banana to use in place of an egg if you’re baking bread.

Cream: Try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk

Whole or 2% milk: Use skim milk instead, you’ll save 80 calories and 8 grams of fat per cup!

Butter, shortening or oil: Use applesauce or bananas for half or all of the called-for butter, shortening or oil. Try butter spreads or shortenings specially formulated for baking that don’t have trans-fats. Or use mashed avocado to replace half the butter in a recipe; this cuts trans and saturated fats while adding good, healthy fat.

  • Chia seeds are a great way to ditch the butter and add some healthy omega-3 fats and fiber to your food! Substitute 1 cup of butter with 2-3 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1 cup of water (soak for at least 20 minutes to absorb liquid).
  • Greek yogurt makes a great butter substitute. Use it for half the butter called for in a cookie recipe, or all of the butter/oil called for in a cake recipe.
  • Pureed prune can also sub in for butter. Replace the entire amount called for — try baby food prune puree.

All-purpose flour: Use whole wheat flour instead, which adds fiber and vitamins/minerals.  In brownies, use 1 cup of black bean puree in place of 1 cup of flour.

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