Unleash the Power of Dairy

With nine essential nutrients, milk, cheese and yogurt deliver a unique nutrition package…….

(Family Features) If you’re trying to boost the nutrition of your meals and snacks, look no further than your refrigerator. Dairy products provide a powerful nutrition package that can help you meet your nutrient needs and achieve better health.


The most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans affirm dairy’s important place in the diet with a recommendation that people ages 9 and older consume three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy foods every day. With nine essential nutrients, milk, cheese and yogurt deliver a unique nutrition package superior to milk alternatives, such as almond or rice beverages, which are often fortified or fall short on these important nutrients.


During the hot summer months, when you don’t feel like spending much time in the kitchen, dairy products offer ease and convenience, as many are ready to use in recipes or round out a meal or snack. For a quick, easy and healthy snack this summer, put a fresh take on traditional pizza with this recipe that uses crescent rolls topped with cheeses and fresh seasonal veggies. Or turn up the heat on a classic beef burrito by adding warm pepper jack cheese and black beans.

Visit MidwestDairy.com to pledge Dairy 3 for Me, find additional recipes and learn more about how to unleash the power of dairy nutrition.


Summer Pizza Snack

Recipe courtesy of Cindy Heins, Heins Family Farms

Total time: 22 minutes

Servings: 12


1          tube (8 ounces) crescent rolls

1          tub (8 ounces) low-fat cream cheese

1/4       cup light mayonnaise

1/4       teaspoon garlic powder

1          cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

3/4       cup sliced cherry tomatoes

1/2       cup sliced black olives

1/2       cup chopped broccoli florets

1/2       cup chopped cucumber


Heat oven to 375 F. In 9-by-13-inch baking pan, spread out crescent roll dough. Seal seams together to form one large rectangle across bottom of pan. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool on rack.


In small bowl, mix together cream cheese, mayonnaise and garlic powder. Spread evenly over entire cooled crust. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes, olives, broccoli and cucumber. Cut into 12 squares and serve.


Beef Burrito with Pepper Jack Cheese and Black Beans

Total time: 9 minutes

Servings: 6


1/2       pound ground beef sirloin

2          teaspoons minced garlic

1          cup chunky salsa, divided

2          cups cooked brown or white rice

6          whole-wheat tortillas (9 inches each)

1          can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed

1          can (11 ounces) corn kernels, drained

2          cups shredded pepper jack cheese

sliced green onion, including green tops


In medium, nonstick skillet, brown ground beef and garlic over medium heat (break beef mixture up into smaller chunks with spatula). Drain fat and stir in 1/2 cup salsa; set aside.


Spread 1/3 cup rice on center of tortilla, leaving 1/2-inch border. Scatter about 2 tablespoons beans and 1 1/2 tablespoons corn over rice. Spread 1/3 cup beef mixture and 1/4 cup cheese over corn. Top with 2 teaspoons salsa and a few slices green onion. Fold in two opposite edges of tortilla 1 inch each and roll up. Place seam-side down on microwave-safe dish.


Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place burritos in microwave oven and heat 1 minute, or until heated through. Serve with remaining salsa.

Sweet Spring Desserts

No dessert menu is complete without a perfect crowd pleasing sweet finishing touch…………

(Family Features) When the scent of fresh blooms begins to fill the air, it’s a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s the perfect time of year to gather loved ones for a leisurely meal, then linger over dessert as you enjoy this season of refreshment.


No dessert menu is complete without an array of treats, and these creamy, homemade Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars are the perfect way to put a sweet finishing touch on your celebrations. Or go for a crowd pleaser with this Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert and its smooth, velvety texture and plump, juicy cherries.


The secret ingredient in each of these desserts is Lucky Leaf Fruit Fillings, which are GMO-free and contain plenty of fruit – and no high-fructose corn syrup – for exceptional tasting desserts every time. With popular flavors like apple, blueberry, cherry and strawberry, you have plenty of convenient, versatile ways to dress up desserts.


Find more tasty treats for all your spring entertaining at luckyleaf.com.


Blueberry Key Lime Cheesecake Bars

Recipe courtesy of Inside BruCrew Life blog

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Servings: 24


Nonstick cooking spray

30        vanilla cream-filled cookies

1/4       cup butter, melted

3          packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened

3/4       cup sugar

3/4       cup sour cream

1/3       cup key lime juice

1          tablespoon key lime zest

1/4       cup flour

3          eggs

green gel food coloring (optional)

1          can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Blueberry Pie Filling, divided

1          container (8 ounces) whipped topping, thawed

key lime slices (optional)


Place baking sheet on bottom rack of oven. Fill halfway with water. Heat oven to 325 F. Line 9-by-13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.


Using food processor, pulse cookies until crumbly. Stir together crumbs and butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan.


Beat cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar and sour cream, and beat again until smooth. Add key lime juice, zest and flour, and beat until mixed thoroughly. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat gently after each. Add green food coloring to cheesecake mixture, if desired.


Spread cheesecake batter evenly over crust in pan. Add 1 cup of blueberry pie filling over top of cheesecake. Use butter knife to gently swirl pie filling into cheesecake. Do not let knife go through to crust.


Place pan on oven rack above tray of water. Bake 45-48 minutes. Remove immediately and place on wire rack for 1 hour then place in refrigerator until completely chilled.


Cut into 24 squares and serve with whipped topping, remaining pie filling and key lime wedges.


Cherry Cheesecake Lush Dessert

Recipe courtesy of Lemon Tree Dwelling blog

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 12


1          cup vanilla wafer crumbs

1          cup finely chopped pecans

1          cup butter, melted

8          ounces cream cheese, softened

1          cup powdered sugar

16        ounces whipped topping, divided

2          small boxes cheesecake-flavored pudding

3          cups milk

1          can (21 ounces) Lucky Leaf Cherry Pie Filling

1/2       cup. chopped pecans


Heat oven to 350 F.


In medium mixing bowl, combine vanilla wafer crumbs, finely chopped pecans and butter.


Press into 9-by-13-inch baking pan; bake 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.


In separate mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping. Mix until smooth; spread evenly over cooled crust.


Combine cheesecake pudding mix, milk and 1 1/2 cups whipped topping, and mix until smooth. Spread evenly over cream cheese layer in pan.


Top with pie filling, remaining whipped topping and chopped pecans.


Source: Lucky Leaf

5 Ways to Curb Food Waste

Research has shown that shoppers who meal plan and prep have lower grocery bills and make fewer shopping trips, resulting in less wasted food…..

(Family Features) A little extra time in the kitchen before you put groceries away can save a ton of time over the course of a week. Research has shown that shoppers who meal plan and prep have lower grocery bills and make fewer shopping trips, resulting in less wasted food.

Taking small steps like these let you prep and protect the food you buy to save money, time and the environment.


  1. Store food in plain sight. It can be easy to overlook newly purchased foods or leftovers when you can’t see them. Use clear containers in the refrigerator so you can easily identify the items you need when you need them.


  1. Keep leafy produce fresh longer. Don’t rinse or remove the stem from leafy produce like kale before storing. Wrap leaves in dry paper towels and seal in a Glad Bag, squeezing out as much air as possible when sealing. Store cut kale in a sealed container in the coldest part of the refrigerator, and keep items like whole Brussels sprouts in a bowl covered with ClingWrap with air holes.


  1. Make ahead and freeze. Many foods hold quite well when frozen. You can prepare and even cook many perishable items ahead of time then freeze them for use at a later time. This approach works well for individual ingredients, complete meals like casseroles and seasoned meats.


  1. Repurpose foods that are fading. Remember that many foods are still quite useful past their prime. A brown banana may not make for an appetizing snack, but it’s perfect for a batch of muffins.


  1. Make salads and sides ahead of time. When you arrive home from the store, whip up some of the dishes you’re planning for the week to ensure the ingredients are fresh and you don’t run out of time later. An option like this Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad is sturdy enough to hold in a tightly sealed Glad container, dressed, for at least a day without getting soggy.


Find more tips to help keep your food fresh for days and reduce waste at Glad.com.


Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Kale Salad

Recipe courtesy of Ayesha Curry on behalf of Glad



3          tablespoons lemon juice

1          tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1          teaspoon maple syrup

1/2       cup extra-virgin olive oil

small GladWare container

kosher salt, to taste

ground black pepper, to taste



3/4       pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, outer leaves removed and sliced thin

1          head Lacinato kale, tough ribs removed and sliced thin

3/4       cup coarsely chopped, roasted, salted almonds

1/2       cup dried cherries

sealable GladWare container


To make dressing: Place lemon juice, mustard, syrup and olive oil in small container or jar and shake vigorously. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper, and shake again.


To make salad: In mixing bowl, toss Brussels sprouts, kale, almonds and cherries together. Mix in dressing and toss to coat evenly. Serve immediately.


If making ahead, store dressed salad in sealed container for up to 24 hours.

Source: Glad


Healthy Flavors Worth Savoring

These recipes are just as big on flavor as they are good for you, so you can savor every last bite all day long…….

(Family Features) Adopting healthier eating habits doesn’t have to mean resorting to tasteless food. In fact, you may surprise yourself by enjoying your new lineup of healthy, wholesome meals even more than the calorie-laden dishes you covet.


These recipes are just as big on flavor as they are good for you, so you can savor every last bite all day long. Take time to start off the day with a unique twist on a nutritious smoothie by enjoying it in a bowl. Then at lunch, rely on unexpected ingredients like ripe, juicy berries and beans to transform a ho-hum salad into a true culinary delight. Round out the day with a sensible dinner that gives you a healthy serving of protein and veggies seasoned to simple perfection.


Find more nutritious recipes that make it easy to enjoy eating right at culinary.net.

Manageable Main Course


Once the dinner bell rings and it’s time to focus on the night’s main course without overshooting a calorie count, aim for a tasty yet healthy main dish like this recipe for Chicken and Vegetables. Combining skinless chicken thighs with frozen vegetables is a simple way to keep nutrition at the forefront while still enjoying a comforting dinner. Find more health-conscious recipes at health.gov.


Chicken and Vegetables

Recipe courtesy of the USDA

Servings: 4


1 1/2    tablespoons margarine

1          teaspoon garlic powder

1/2       cup onions, chopped

1          pound chicken thighs (4 ounces each), boneless and skinless

1          package (10 ounces) cut green beans, frozen

1/4       teaspoon pepper


In heavy skillet, melt margarine. Add garlic and onions; stir until blended. Cook over medium heat, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from skillet.


Place chicken in skillet. Cook over medium heat until chicken is thoroughly done and no longer pink in color, about 12 minutes. Remove chicken from skillet; keep warm.


Place green beans, pepper and cooked onions in same skillet. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until beans are tender, about 5 minutes.


Add chicken to vegetable mixture. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 3 minutes.


Note: To remove bone from bone-in chicken thighs: Place chicken on cutting board. Remove skin from thighs. Turn chicken thighs over. Cut around bone and remove.



A Smooth Way to Start Your Day


A wealth of research shows that starting each morning with a nutritious breakfast delivers benefits throughout the day. If you’re pressed for time or simply need to mix up your morning routine, put a fresh spin on a time-saving favorite by making a smoothie bowl.


According to registered dietitian and nutritionist Carolyn Brown, people love to eat with a spoon and find it more mentally and physically satisfying. The same goes for adding texture, such as a crunchy topping like goodnessknows snack squares. These satisfying, gluten free snacks are crafted with the goodness of whole nuts, real fruits and toasted oats, with no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. Divided into four snackable squares per serving and nestled in a layer made with dark chocolate, one individual, two-bite square contains only about 40 calories.


Find out more about how doing a little good for yourself can go a long way at goodnessknows.com.

Oatmeal Banana Smoothie Bowl

Recipe courtesy of Alison Ray of So Chic Life


2/3       cup rolled oats

1/2       cup full fat coconut milk

1          tablespoon chia seeds

1/2       teaspoon vanilla extract

sea salt

1/2       cup almond milk, 2 percent milk or soy milk

1          small banana (or 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce)

goodnessknows snack squares (any flavor)

grated coconut, to taste


In small bowl, mix together oats, coconut milk, chia seeds, vanilla and pinch of salt. Cover and place in refrigerator at least 30 minutes, or overnight to help flavors soak in.


In blender or food processor, combine oat mixture with remaining milk and half of the banana (or applesauce). Blend until smooth and creamy.


Pour creamy oats into bowl, and top with snack squares, coconut and slices of remaining banana half.


Tip: To thin consistency, use additional milk.



Salad Sweetness


The sharpness of pecorino cheese, combined with peppery arugula, complements the velvety texture of fava beans in this salad. With nutrition on your mind, a salad is always a go-to choice for a lunch that will please your taste buds without forcing you to sacrifice health goals. Find more nutritional recipes including tasty strawberries at californiastrawberries.com.

Strawberry and Fava Bean Salad with Pecorino

Recipe courtesy of California Strawberry Commission

Servings: 6


2          quarts water

kosher or sea salt

2          cups shelled fresh fava beans (about 2 pounds in pods)

2          tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2          tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2          tablespoons lemon juice

2          cups fresh California strawberries, stemmed and quartered

coarsely ground black pepper

3          cups rucola (wild arugula)

pecorino cheese


In large pot over high heat, bring water to boil.


Add pinch of salt and fava beans. Boil 1 minute; drain and cool fava beans in ice water.


Drain fava beans; pinch one end and slip off tough skins of larger beans (Note: skin on small beans is not usually tough). Discard skins.


Whisk together olive oil, vinegar and lemon juice.


In large bowl, season fava beans and strawberries with salt and pepper. Add rucola and enough dressing mixture to coat salad lightly. Mix gently and spoon onto platter or six salad plates.


With vegetable peeler, shave cheese generously over salad. Grind more pepper on top.



(family eating dinner Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Throw an Epic Easter Brunch on a Budget

by JP Miklovic, eggs-spert

Add a dash of affordable elegance to your Easter brunch with these simple tips ………..

by JP Miklovic, 

Preparing a big-time Easter spread for your family doesn’t have to be an expensive (or exhausting) job. Rethinking familiar dishes and ingredients is an easy way to add a special touch to your meal.

Add a dash of affordable elegance to your Easter brunch with these simple tips from the experts at ALDI, one of MY favorite places to shop for quality & VALUE:

  • For a colorful twist on an Easter classic, try pickling your deviled eggs. Pickling punches up the flavor of these tasty bites and gives your eggs a festive hue.
  • Offer dishes that are pretty and practical. Bake pre-cooked angel hair pasta in muffin tins until the tops are crisp. Fill your pasta “nests” with ingredients such as poached eggs, cheese or diced ham, and you have an attractive brunch dish that is portioned just right for each serving.
  • Cater to the individual tastes of your guests with a mimosa bar. Set out a table with champagne, a selection of fruit juices and sliced fruits and berries so your guests can mix and match as they wish.
  • Chocolate-dipped desserts are easy and always a crowd pleaser. Make better-for-you treats by dipping Easter goodies in smooth, dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate for lower sugar content. Or for a sweet treat without too much added sugar, repurpose dark chocolate by melting it for fondue, and serve an assortment of fruits or salty snacks, like pretzels, for guests to dip.
  • Explore new ways to enjoy timeless classics. Maple is a terrific addition to sweet and savory snacks, from bacon to cookies and beyond. Give brunch a sweet spin with these Carrot Cake Waffles, which feature a decadent maple cream cheese drizzle. You can find the premium, affordable ingredients to make this crowd-pleasing brunch recipe at ALDI, along with everything else you’ll need to entertain this Easter.

Find more ideas and recipes for an excellent Easter meal at aldi.us.

Carrot Cake Waffles with Maple Cream Cheese Drizzle

Recipe courtesy of Chef Scott, ALDI Test Kitchen

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 8 minutes

Servings: 8



2          cups Baker’s Corner All Purpose Baking Mix

3          tablespoons Stonemill Ground Cinnamon

1/4       cup Baker’s Corner Brown Sugar

1          cup Friendly Farms 1 Percent Milk

2          tablespoons Carlini Vegetable Oil

1          Goldhen Large Egg

1/2       cup Southern Grove Chopped Pecans

1/2       cup Southern Grove Raisins

1          cup grated carrot

Carlini Butter Cooking Spray

Cream Cheese Drizzle:

8          ounces Happy Farms Cream Cheese

1          cup Specially Selected 100 Percent Pure Maple Syrup 

To make waffles: Heat waffle iron.

In large bowl, combine baking mix, cinnamon and brown sugar. Whisk in milk, oil and egg until fully incorporated. Fold in pecans, raisins and carrot.

Coat waffle iron with nonstick spray. Ladle 1/2 cup of batter onto iron for each waffle. Cook 6-8 minutes, or until waffle is golden brown.

To make cream cheese drizzle: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and syrup until fully incorporated. Drizzle over waffles. Serve immediately.

Tip: Waffles can be placed in a re-sealable bag, frozen up to three months and reheated in toaster.

(Family Features)Save

Simplify Fish Fridays with Sheet Pan Dinners

by JP Miklovic – – – While lemon is a great complement to seafood, think about pairing with other citrus flavors like orange and lime…….

by JP Miklovic

If you’re observing Lent, Friday fish dinners could be in your future, but that’s no reason to feel limited by what you can cook. Seafood pairs well with all sorts of flavors – from chili seasoning to lime extract – and bakes quickly on a sheet pan with minimal cleanup.

Follow these simple tips from Dr. Wendy Bazilian, McCormick Health Advisor and Registered Dietitian, to get your family asking for good-for-you proteins like salmon and shrimp all year long:

  • While lemon is a great complement to seafood, think about pairing with other citrus flavors like orange and lime. Try marinating shrimp in a mixture of lite coconut milk, lime extract, ginger and red pepper.
  • Add colorful vegetables like zoodles or asparagus to your sheet pan to boost both seafood and vegetable servings. You don’t need a spiralizer to make zoodles because many grocery stores offer pre-made zoodles in the produce section.
  • Keep shrimp in your freezer to pull out for stir fries, pastas or this Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles recipe.

Explore more recipes to enjoy during Lent, spring and beyond at McCormick.com, or look for McCormick Spice on Facebook and Pinterest.

Coconut Lime Shrimp with Zoodles

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Servings: 4

1/4       cup Thai Kitchen Coconut Milk (regular or lite)

1          teaspoon McCormick Ground Ginger

1/2       teaspoon McCormick Garlic Powder

1/4       teaspoon McCormick Crushed Red Pepper

1/4       teaspoon McCormick Pure Lime Extract

1          pound large shrimp, peeled and deveined

1          small zucchini, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer

1          medium yellow squash, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer

1          medium carrot, cut into thin noodles with spiralizer

2          tablespoons oil

1/2       teaspoon salt

1/4       teaspoon McCormick Ground Black Pepper

Heat oven to 375 F.

In large, re-sealable plastic bag, mix together coconut milk, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper and lime extract. Add shrimp; turn to coat well.

Refrigerate 15-30 minutes. Remove shrimp from marinade. Discard any remaining marinade. In center of large, shallow, foil-lined baking pan, arrange shrimp in single layer.

In large bowl, toss vegetable noodles and oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat well. Spread noodles around shrimp in pan.

Bake 10-15 minutes, or until shrimp turn pink and are cooked through and noodles are tender. Serve shrimp over vegetable noodles.

Test kitchen tip: For faster prep, use 4 cups store-bought spiralized vegetable noodles instead of spiralizing them yourself.


Orange Chili Sheet Pan Salmon

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 8

Nonstick cooking spray

2          tablespoons olive oil

2          teaspoons McCormick Pure Orange Extract

2          pounds salmon fillets, skin removed

1          pound asparagus, ends trimmed

1          medium red bell pepper, cut into strips

1          package McCormick Original Chili Seasoning Mix

2          tablespoons packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 375 F. Spray foil-lined, 13-by-9-inch baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In small bowl, mix together oil and orange extract. Place salmon and vegetables on separate sides of baking sheet. Brush vegetables with 1 teaspoon extract mixture. Brush both sides of salmon with remaining mixture.

In small bowl, mix together seasoning mix and brown sugar. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons seasoning mixture over vegetables. Sprinkle both sides of salmon evenly with remaining seasoning mixture.

Bake 20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with a fork and vegetables are tender.

Special Guest Columnist: “From Munching to Meal Prep” by Ashley Parsons

Meal prep can save you hours of cooking time during the week if you set aside time during the weekend…….

From Munching to Meal Prep

How often do you get home, are starving, and don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up a meal for dinner? What about the dreaded, “What’s for dinner?” question from your significant other or kids. Many of us find ourselves in this situation more often than not. Do you ever look back on what you ate for lunch or dinner and realized it was all junk foods or snacks? Good news! There is an easy way to combat this problem, if you are willing to plan ahead. Meal prepping is something that has recently been gaining popularity, but it is not just for athletes and body builders. Meal prepping is simply preparing, cooking, (and pre-portioning) meals ahead of time. Meal preparation can eliminate the stress of having to worry about what to put on the table, but also has many other benefits as well.

Ashley_ Food Prepping2 pix

Meal prep has three big advantages, aside from not having to worry about what everyone will eat. These advantages are it saves time, it saves money, and it helps you stay on track with eating nutritious, wholesome meals. Meal prep can save you hours of cooking time during the week if you set aside time during the weekend. When you prep multiple recipes/meals at once, you will be able to multitask and maybe even overlap cooking ingredients that go in multiple dishes. Meal prep will take the place of going out to eat and having to wait at drive thrus, or wait in sit down restaurants for your food. Meal prep will save you money. When we eat out, it usually costs us more than if we were to cook at home. When we pick what foods/recipes we are going to meal prep, we can try to plan to overlap ingredients to make sure that none of them go to waste. In addition to using all the ingredients we buy for our recipes, we can also base our meal prep around what is on sale, or what we have coupons for. Using your local grocery store ad is a great place to start when thinking about recipes for the week. Planning your meals ahead of time will keep you on track with your nutrition as well. When you are thinking about what to buy to prepare for the week, try to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats/protein, low-fat or non-fat dairy and healthy fats (avocados, walnuts, olive oil are some examples). When you plan to buy, and prep all of these foods, you are setting yourself up to consume a more nutritious diet. When nutritious foods are prepped and available, you will be more likely to consume them as opposed to less nutritious options.

Here are some easy ideas for beginners: (use amounts suitable for your family size)

Marinate chicken in your favorite marinade (Italian dressing is always a good idea) the night before you would like to cook it. Grill chicken until cooked thoroughly (160 degrees). Serve it throughout the week chopped in salads, with barbeque sauce, in a pasta dish, or any other way you think of!

Buy assorted fruits and vegetables that are on sale at your local grocery store. Wash and cut them for easy snacking. Dips such as low-fat ranch, hummus, and nonfat/lowfat yogurt may be good pairings.

ashley yogurt with blueberries

Keep nonfat or lowfat yogurt and cottage cheese, cheese sticks, and lowfat/nonfat milk easy available for a good source of protein and calcium.

A great way to eat more vegetables is to roast them. Roasting your vegetables brings out a whole new flavor profile. Try buying a head of cauliflower and broccoli, tossing it in some olive oil and pepper, and roasting at 400 degrees until crisp tender (about 30-40 minutes).

An easy way to incorporate more whole grains into your diet is to make a salad or have some oatmeal for breakfast. These are two of my favorites, and their flavor holds up really well throughout the week: Sweet Potato and Raisin Quinoa Salad and Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal.

Sweet Potato and Raisin Quinoa Salad:

Ashley-Sweetpotato quinoa


2 cups peeled, diced and roasted sweet potatoes

1/3 cup raisins

1/3 cup seeds or nuts, toasted (can be pumpkin, sunflower, sliced almonds)

2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled

¼ cup sliced green onion

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp dijon mustard

Combine roasted sweet potatoes, raisins, seeds/nuts, cooked quinoa, and green onion in a bowl. Combine dressing: balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard in a separate bowl. Pour into quinoa mixture. Refrigerate and serve as a side dish or on top of some leafy greens! Yum!

**As time goes on, the raisins and quinoa absorbs the dressing. Additional balsamic, olive oil, Dijon mustard can be added for more moisture.

Peanut Butter Baked Oatmeal:  

AshleyP article oatmeal

3 cups quick cooking oats

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup skim milk

2 tbsp melted butter

2 eggs

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ tsp salt

2 teaspoons vanilla

½ cup peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients until combined. Grease a 9×13 pan and pour oatmeal mixture into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes (longer is you like it more crunchy). It is great served hot with warm milk and diced banana. Enjoy all week long!


About the Author:


Hi, my name is Ashley Parsons. I am from the Cleveland, Ohio area, but have had the pleasure of calling Bowling Green, Ohio my home for the past 5 years. I received my bachelors in dietetics from Bowling Green State University in 2015. I was then accepted into their combined dietetic internship and master’s program, which I will complete in May 2017. My goal is to move back to Cleveland area to be close to my parents, and work as a Clinical dietitian at The Cleveland Clinic. Some of my favorite things in life include my family, my dog, cooking, exercising, my church, being with friends, baseball, sunshine, and peanut butter.

Today is National Banana Bread Day

” Wouldn’t you know it, I just happened to have four bananas that needed to be used NOW! “

Recipes Worth Trying, By: Sue Miklovic

I’m so glad that this morning I had a chance to hear an early-morning reporter say that today is National Banana Bread Day. If I hadn’t heard it on the news, I admit, I wouldn’t have known. That is a family favorite for us, although most of the time we prefer to just bake it into muffins, instead of a loaf. It would have been a bummer to not celebrate with some homemade sweetness.

I’m happy that my daughters have all continued making this treat for their families also. My own mother loved to cook and bake, and taught me at a young age about turning overly-ripe bananas into this sweet goodie. Wouldn’t you know it, I just happened to have four bananas that needed to be used NOW!

So, for today I just kind of threw some ingredients together, and poured them into a Bundt pan, making the Banana Bread look a little fancier than usual, in honor of the “Holiday” we are celebrating. After filling the pan to what I thought was the max amount without having to worry about it overflowing, I still had batter left. I turned that into nine muffins, which only took about 15 minutes to bake.

You can make this with or without nuts, but we prefer the nutty variety most of the time. Enjoy!

Sue’s National Banana Bread Day Banana-Nut Bread Recipe




1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter, softened

½ cup oil

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 small)

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts


1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Mash the bananas before adding to the batter
Mash the bananas before adding to the batter

2.Cream together butter, oil, brown sugar and white sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in mashed bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in nuts if desired. Pour batter into two greased 9×5 inch pans. (I used a Bundt pan instead, plus had enough batter left to fill 9 muffin cups. Muffins only need to bake about 12-15 minutes.)

Don’t forget the pecans
into the oven
into the oven

3.Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Done in 15 minutes or less
Done in 15 minutes or less
I wish you could smell this
Happy Banana Bread Day, Everyone!
Happy Banana Bread Day, Everyone!


Recipes Worth Trying: Maple Cream Bonbons

” They are delicious little candies, and JP definitely liked them “…….

Recipes Worth Trying by Sue Miklovic

I love to try new recipes often, especially for special holidays, birthdays, and events. I was looking for something I thought My Love would like for Valentine’s Day, and decided to give this recipe a try. I found it on Pinterest. It is called Maple Cream Bonbons, and it originally came from Taste of Home.

They are delicious little candies, and JP definitely liked them, much more than the cheesecake filled strawberries dipped in chocolate that I made him last year.

If maple is a favorite of yours, give them a try.

1 cup butter, softened

3-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 tablespoons maple flavoring

2 cups chopped walnuts (I used pecans)

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips



In a large bowl, cream the butter, sugar and maple flavoring until smooth. Stir in walnuts. Shape into 1-in. balls; place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Freeze until firm.

Creamy filling with nuts
Creamy filling with nuts

In a microwave , melt chips; stir until smooth. (Instead of the microwave, I melted mine in a small crockpot. Note: I also do this when I make “Buckeyes”)

Melting chocolate in a small crockpot makes dipping easier
Melting chocolate in a small crockpot makes dipping easier
Maple balls, ready to be dipped
Maple balls, ready to be dipped


Dip balls in chocolate; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets.

Refrigerate until set. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 5 dozen.


Hope you enjoy these as much as we did.

UPDATE on the conversion of NBXpress

Now the work begins… A new NBXpress.com is being born.

Now the work begins… A new NBXpress.com is being born. After 5 years we are finally making a move to new software and servers! We will now be using WordPress. Please bear with us as we try to get the site re-populated and properly archived. We have plans and hopes for a much improved viewing experience!

We will have much greater flexibility in organizing our postings for your viewing pleasure!

At this time we are not sure what will happen with all of the content that existed on the previous incarnation of NBXpress. We hope to be able to present that content as an archive in the near future.