Bistro Pasta Salad

As you know, for the past month I have been working with CanolaInfo on its World Heart Day 2011 campaign. To help encourage families to take their health into their own hands, I developed the “Home is Where the Heart Is” Recipe Collection, which is filled with delicious, healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes that both kids and parents will enjoy.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the U.S for men and women as well as something that has affected my family directly. Unfortunately, childhood obesity has continued to grow at an alarming rate. The reason this is so disturbing is because research has shown that children who are overweight or obese are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Obesity is a huge risk factor for CVD but one that is preventable with diet and exercise. That is why teaching my children healthy eating habits is so important to me – and something that can start right here at home.

As a mother of three, I wholly understand the challenges of being a busy, working mom and getting healthy meals on the table – not to mention making something the kids will eat! When developing this recipe collection, I really tried to consider what would be fast, economical, healthy and delicious for the entire family, and I think I accomplished just that.

As a common ingredient in all these recipes, I chose to use canola oil. It has the least amount of saturated fat and most omega-3 fat of all cooking oils. Its versatility in cooking and baking simplify my life even more, and it’s inexpensive! This coming Thursday, Sept. 29, is World Heart Day. To celebrate, I will be hosting a Facebook Party on CanolaInfo’s Facebook page from 7-8 PM CST! I will be discussing ways to be heart-smart at home by getting your whole family involved. I hope you will share your own tips and stories as well. Ten of you will be chosen at random to receive a CanolaInfo Heart Health Toolkit. You can RSVP here.

Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks with Edamame Salsa

On a busy school night or jam-packed weekend, these Panko-Crusted Fish Sticks are a snap to prepare and one of my kids’ favorites! They taste and look so fantastic – no one will ever know they are oven-fried. And with only 390 calories and 10 grams of fat, I feel good about serving this recipe to the kids and their friends. Whether you pair them with this Edamame Salsa or chop them up for a salad, they are perfect for football parties, picnics and casual dinners! On top of it all, what I really love is that the exact measurements can be used to make fish “cakes” as well.

I developed these crunchy fish sticks as part of the CanolaInfo “Home is Where the Heart is” Recipe Collection for World Heart Day 2011 (Sept. 29). This observance encourages families to take their health into their own hands starting at home with diet and exercise. To learn more about World Heart Day or to view the complete recipe collection, visit CanolaInfo.org. Lastly, be sure to check out CanolaInfo’s new interactive Facebook game, which features my recipes!

Lightened Up Pumpkin Muffins

Who can’t resist pumpkins this time of year? Since the theme of “Fall Fest” this week is Pumpkin, I thought these Pumpkin Muffins would be a hit. “Fall Fest, as I mentioned in my post last week for Black-Eyed Pea Salad over Arugula, is a cross-blog recipe swap. I love this recipe for Pumpkin Muffins which is lighter than the average recipe made with a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour, canned pumpkin, nonfat buttermilk and Canola oil. Speaking of Canola, I was so excited to attend an event last night at the Viking Cooking School in Atlanta featuring the talented Chef and Cookbook Author, Virginia Willis and Nutrition Expert and Author, Carolyn O’Neil. Another busy week for me. Please leave a comment and let me know what type of pumpkin recipes you have been making lately. Happy Thursday!