All Posts By anichols

Healthier Holiday Cookies

by in Cookies & Other Desserts, Healthy Holidays, December 19, 2011

There are many ways to go about holiday cookie-making without gobs of butter and sugar—really, there are!  Here are some ways to indulge sensibly.

For those with children to please, get them involved!  Try these adorable classic gingerbread boys and girls (pictured above).  Set up a decorating station with frosting, sprinkles and maybe even some gum drops—it’s a fun activity and delicious treat rolled into one.
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Apple Recipes for Every Variety

by in In Season, October 29, 2011
bakedapplecrisptop
Sunny Anderson bakes apples and oats for a seasonal dessert.

Now apple season is in full swing, there’s even more reason to get your “apple a day”—and then some. According to the US Apple Association, US orchards produce nearly 100 varieties of apples, but 15 varieties make up about 90 percent of production. Those 15 include Braeburn, Crispin, Empire, Fuji, Gala, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honey Crisp, Idared, Jonagold, Jonathan, McIntosh, Red Delicious, and Rome apples. For more details on their respective taste and textures, check out the US apple association’s chart

In October, Braeburn, Crispin, Idared, and Jonagold apples are just starting their harvest season. While most apple varieties stay in season for many months, harvest for the Ginger gold ends in Novermber, so grab them while you can!

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How Can You Tell if a Pear is Ripe?

by in In Season, October 14, 2011
bartlett pear
Barlett pears. Image courtesy of USA Pears.

If you’ve ever bitten into a pear, heard a crunching sound, but didn’t really taste the sweetness you might have expected, chances are it wasn’t quite ripe. A little-known fact about pears: They’re one of the few fruits that don’t ripen on the tree. Once they’re picked,they need a little time for their sugars to develop, then they ripen (and sweeten) from the inside out. 

Some pear varieties change color when ripe. A Bartlett pear acts like a banana—it goes from green to yellow when ready to eat.  Unfortunately, not all pears broadcast this transformation so vividly. Checking ripeness doesn’t involve some complicated process however; it really just calls for holding the fruit in your hand. If the area around the stem of a pear gives a little with a gentle squeeze, it’s good to go. The USA Pear Bureau has an easy phrase for remembering how to determine if your pear is ripe: Check the neck.

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Sesame Street Aims to Tackle Hunger Issues with Food-Sensitive Lily

by in Food News, October 7, 2011
sesame street character lily
Meet Lily, the newest kid on Sesame Street.

Expanding on their “Food for Thought: Eating Well on a Budget” initiative, Sesame Street will air a new special on Sunday at 7p.m. (ET/PT) on PBS. A bilingual multimedia initiative, “Food for Thought” aims to support families with limited access to nutritious food by educating others about their plight. The one-hour special called “Growing Hope Against Hunger” will feature a character named Lily, who suffers from “food insecurity.”  Lily is no picky eater—she’s insecure about whether or not her family can afford to feed her each day. The character’s anxiety is evident; she avoids excessive eye contact with the modesty typical of children in her position. On the special, seven-year-old Lily will talk about the affliction that she shares with what the Department of Agriculture estimates to be more than 16 million children in the United States. Other Sesame Street muppets, celebrities Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams Paisley, as well as children and families affected directly by food insecurity will appear to talk more about the issue as well as the various programs in place to help hungry families.