Blueberry Spritzer

Blueberries are a nutritional powerhouse. Recently Tufts University conducted a study of 60 various fruits and vegetables and found that blueberries rated the highest for their antioxidant capabilities. They have been linked to great health benefits and are said to help prevent alzheimer’s, prevent urinary tractions, improve aging and eyesight and more. This refreshing summery beverage is a cinch to make with only 4 ingredients. It’s a hit with adults as well as the kids.

My Top 10 Favorite “Power” Foods

I get a lot of email, and I mean, a lot. So many people ask me cooking questions, nutrition questions, entrepreneur advice, blog advice, social media advice, have comments and more. Sometimes, I get the simple questions such as, “How do you keep so fit? “What do you eat all day?” etc. I thought I would share my top 10 favorite “power” foods. When I say “power”, I mean foods that I love, foods that I feel give me energy, keep me healthy and foods I can’t go without most every day.

1. Greek Yogurt-With 2.5 grams of protein per ounce and hardly any fat or carbs, what could be better? I stir honey into mine with blueberries or bananas, nuts or whole grain cereal, and I eat it for breakfast or an afternoon snack. It is so filling and tastes great (I use the nonfat or low-fat by the way). See Greek Yogurt Banana Bread

2. Blueberries-These have the highest antioxidant value of all fruit plus they have many vitamins: B, C, E, and they boost your immune system. We always have a bowl of fresh blueberries ready to grab. See  Blueberry Pancakes

3. Almonds or Walnuts-These are a great heart-healthy snack filled with protein, vitamins, minerals and good for your digestive system. I don’t go one day without a handful. See Chunky Granola

4. Acai or pomegranate juice-Acai has been said to have antioxidant benefits and anti-aging properties and omega fatty acids. I think it gives me energy as well. You can buy the frozen Sambazon smoothie packs at Whole Foods, in solid bars, or in a bottle (I like the 100% Genesis Today Acai juice).  See Cranberry Pomegranate Granita

5. Salmon-High in the health promoting fat, omega 3 fatty acids, high protein, and low in calories. I prefer Alaskan wild salmon. Salmon is one of my tried and true favorites. The best part of all is that my 3 kids love it too. See Salmon Burgers

6. Edamame-High in protein, fiber and calcium and low in calories and fat.  I can’t get enough of these. I purchase them already shelled in the frozen section and just thaw. They are great served in a salad, as a snack or as a topping. See Edamame Salsa

7. Gold Bars-These bars are my all-time favorite snack bars. With 11 grams of protein from soy, nuts and whole grains, these satisfy my hunger as well as sugar cravings. I love them in the morning with coffee or as a snack. See Grab the Gold Bar

8. Flaxseed-High in fiber and omega 3 fatty acids, I put ground flaxseed in everything from cereal, to yogurt, granola and even as a crust on salmon or chicken. See Flaxseed Crusted Salmon

9. Arugula-High in Vitamin C and K, I love arugula for it’s peppery taste and beautiful color. Try it with golden raisins, nuts and freshly shaved Parmesan or simply topped with grilled chicken or steamed shrimp. I’m a huge fan and can’t get enough of it. See Black Eyed Pea Salad over Arugula

10. Dark Chocolate-Dark Chocolate is said to contain flavonoids so it’s heart healthy, contains antioxidants and may even reduce aging. Try Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Healthy Pomegranate Blueberry Smoothie

img_1206

Smoothies are very popular at my house. We make them several times a week, even in the wintertime for dessert, as an afternoon snack or for breakfast. My kids love to try new concoctions, which is great because we are always using fresh, healthy ingredients such as yogurt, fresh fruits and fresh juices not from concentrate. I am thrilled to indulge in smoothies as well as providing the kids with something so healthy that boosts energy levels, fills you up and makes you feel great. Sometimes I even sneak in a couple of tablespoons of wheat germ, crushed flaxseed, and they don’t even know it. Try this recipe or make one of your own as a fresh start to the New Year.


Pomegranate-Blueberry Smoothie

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 8 cups

Ingredients

2 (6-ounce) containers low-fat strawberry yogurt (I used Dannon Light/Fit)

3/4 cup pomegranate juice such as Pom

1 tablespoon honey

1 pint fresh blueberries

1 banana

11/2 cups cubed or crushed ice

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in an electric blender and process until smooth and frothy. Serve immediately.

Pomegranate Margarita

img_0461

My friend, Steven, called last night and said he was having relatives in Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  He asked me for a food favor. He said they were preparing a Mexican-themed menu, and asked me to help him with a recipe for a Pomegranate Margarita which was highly requested by his wife, Bridget. I thought this sounded like a really nice idea since many of us will be entertaining family and friends next week. This recipe has the right mix of tequila, Triple Sec and pomegranate juice. I just recommend using my ultimately favorite “Patron Silver” for the tequila.


Pomegranate Margarita

Prep: 5 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients

Lime wedges 

Salt or sugar for the rim

Ice

8 ounces white tequila

4 ounces Triple Sec

1 cup pomegranate juice

2 limes, juiced (optional)

1/2 cup club soda

Directions

1. Pour salt or sugar onto a plate or shallow dish. With a lime wedge rub along the rim of a glass and dip glasses upside down to salt the rim. Fill glasses with ice. In a cocktail shaker with ice place the tequila, triple sec, pomegranate juice, and lime juice. Pour into the salt-rimmed glasses and top off with club soda. Garnish with a lime wedges, if desired.

For tequila, see www.patronspirits.com