Monday, November 28, 2011

Family Friday

What better time to emphasize family meal time than during the holiday season? As schedules become more packed with holiday events, shopping trips, and travel time it is difficult to focus on dinner time at home and connecting with your kids.

An excellent way to maximize your time at home is to include your kids in food preparation for family dinner. Not only are your kids learning good skills for life, but they are able to increase their interest in trying new foods. Kids of any age are able to help through cutting, pouring, and mixing.

Pouring, mixing and counting are skills that are appropriate to reinforce with toddlers. Older children can practice their math and measuring skills by preparing the ingredients for toddlers to pour/mix. Teens are perfect for a little more responsibility. It is a prime opportunity to teach them cooking methods like grilling and sauteing.

Try out the meal below for your family cook time:

Glazed Pork Tenderloin
Serves 4

1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 cup marmalade

1. Slice the pork into about 4 pieces and sprinkle with Southern Spice Blend.
2. After spraying a skillet with cooking spray, cook pork approximately 4 minutes on each side at medium-high heat. The internal temperature should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Rest pork tenderloin on a separate plate.
4. Add marmalade and Red Muscadine Wine Vinegar to pan. Reduce for 3-5 minutes and pour over pork slices.

Harvest Salad
Serves 4

4 cups of romaine lettuce, chopped
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
1 apple, chopped
¼ cup crumbled bleu cheese or gorgonzola cheese
¼ cup of olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons The Delicious Dietitian Blueberry Wine Vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon sea salt

1. Mix olive oil, lemon juice, Blueberry Wine Vinegar, black pepper, and sea salt then set aside.
2. Toss together romaine, apple, pomegranate seeds in a large bowl.
3. Add mixed dressing.
4. Sprinkle cheese crumbles over top.

Anna Dean is a registered, licensed dietitian with professional experience in preventative nutrition for cardiac disease and diabetes. She also served as a professor in nutrition and a contract dietitian in pediatrics assisting with menu development. Dean holds a Bachelor of Science in nutrition from Texas A&M University and a Master of Science in nutrition from University of the Incarnate Word. Join her conversation on Twitter @adeanrd

Monday, November 21, 2011

#FoodThanks this Season

Farmers deserve #FoodThanks this season.

By Heidi Wells, RD, CSSD, LD

Autumn/Fall is my favorite time of year. From football games, to piles of leaves, and all the jack-o-lanterns in between, the signs of the season are as far as the eye can see. And as the cool crisp breeze begins to blow, the harvest moon is in full glow.

Like many of our neighboring states, the harvest here in south central Kansas wasn’t quite as bountiful this year. Extreme drought, coupled with excessive heat for the greater part of the summer, took both an emotional and physical toll on farmers here in the heartland. And the sad truth is that with the large disconnect between consumers and farms, most of these hardships go unnoticed by the general public. At work, many of the questions I'm confronted with are questions about, What can I eat to lower my cholesterol? How does processed food fit into a healthy diet? or My doctor says I should eat healthier- what does that mean? Very few have asked how our multi-generational family farm has survived the extreme drought, rising fuel costs or how increased energy costs have impacted the price we pay for feeding and caring for our animals, the environment and the people who work on our farms.

With that in mind, November is often known as the month of giving thanks. Family, friends, and food are often things that we are most thankful for. It's important I do not forget, my family and I are consumers too. I purchase food from my local grocer to create balanced meals for my family. I know that behind every apple, pear, green bean, potato, pork chop or steak we eat- a farmer or rancher worked hard to produce it. But as we sit down to feast this Thanksgiving, be sure and give a special thanks to the farmers and ranchers who work endless hours to provide safe, wholesome, and nutritious foods to nourish our bodies.

As I sit down to feast this Thanksgiving, I'll be sure and give a special thanks to the farmers and ranchers who work endless hours to provide safe, wholesome, and nutritious foods to nourish our bodies. I'm asking you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they travel down the tough road of recovery from the hardships endured this past year. Also, I'm asking you to share with me your #FoodThanks in the comments below, send out a tweet, or take a second to share your #FoodThanks in a Facebook post. You just might be amazed by how many #FoodThanks you can come up with.

Consulting dietitian by day; dairy farmer’s wife, mother of three, and graduate student by night; Heidi Wells, RD, CSSD, LD incorporates her passion for agriculture, nutrition, and fitness into everything she does. She currently represents the state of Kansas as the president of the Kansas Dietetic Association, was the Recognized Young Dietitian of Kansas in 2008, and most recently the Distinguished Dietitian of Kansas in 2010. Join her conversation on Twitter @HWellsRD