Saturday, December 30, 2017

Mulled Cider

A warm and fragrant addition to any festive fall or winter event.
*Recipe from Guiding Stars
Servings: 10
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes

 2 quarts apple cider
4 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 Tablespoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon allspice
6 pieces orange peel


  1. In a stock pot, combine all the ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. Let cool a bit and strain. Serve warm or cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Reheat and serve in mugs.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 6.4 fluid ounces

Calories: 130               Fat: 0.5 g                     Saturated fat: 0 g            Sodium: 10 mg Carbohydrates: 32 g  Fiber: 1.5 g                  Sugar: 25 g                 Protein: 1 g 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Festive Green and Red Healthy Cucumber Hummus Bites

Cucumber Hummus Bites make the perfect finger food and appetizer for your next party or get together. Crisp cucumbers slices are topped with roasted red pepper hummus, tomatoes, feta cheese and fresh parsley.
15 minutes Prep Time
  • 2 cucumbers, sliced into thin rounds {32 slices}
  • 1 10 oz. tub of Sabra Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • 16 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 oz crumbled feta cheese or reduced fat feta
  • Freshly chopped parsley
  • Toasted sesame seeds (optional)
  1. Toast sesame seeds in a skillet until slightly golden brown.
  2. Slice the cucumber into thin rounds and lay them out on serving platters. Using a small teaspoon spoon a small amount of the roasted red pepper hummus onto each cucumber slice.
  3. Top with the cherry tomato half, sesame seeds, crumbled feta cheese and the freshly chopped parsley.
  4. Serve chilled or store in an airtight container before serving.
These are great with a variety of vegetables. Try adding matchstick carrots, or thinly sliced red onion.
There are a variety of hummus options that would be great with this appetizer.
Feel free to leave the feta cheese off if you do not like it.

Nutrition Info: 11 calories, 0 gm fat, 0 gm sat fat, 35 mg sodium, 0.4 g protein, 1.3 gm sugar, 1.87 gm carbohydrate, 0.4 g fiber

Saturday, December 9, 2017

The Return of Blackstrap Molasses

When sugar cane is processed into table sugar, a thick byproduct remains after the third boiling as the sugar crystallizes.  The concentrated syrup containing the nutrient remnants of the sugar cane juice is blackstrap molasses.

While it is still a sweetener, blackstrap molasses contains slightly fewer carbohydrates than sugar, honey, or maple syrup and is touted for its higher vitamin and mineral.  The following table shows the nutrient content comparison of one teaspoon of each sweetener.

Nutrient Comparison of 1 Teaspoon of Various Sweeteners

Blackstrap Molasses
Maple Syrup
Energy (calories)
Carbohydrates (g)
Sugar (g)
Calcium (mg)
Iron (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Other Nutrients
manganese, copper, vitamin B6, selenium

phosphorus, riboflavin, niacin
manganese, zinc, riboflavin, niacin
kcal = calorie, g = gram, mg = milligram

Added Sugar Fast Facts
·       Added sugar is any sugar added to a food or beverage.
·       Average Americans consume 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day.
·       One teaspoon is equal to four grams of sugar.
·       Amounts recommended by American Heart Association:
o   No more than 6 teaspoons per day for most women
o   No more than 9 teaspoons per day for most men
·       Common names of added sugars on food labels:
o   Agave nectar, brown sugar, cane crystals, cane sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, crystalline fructose, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, maltose, malt syrup, maple syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, syrup

Historical Facts
·       Blackstrap molasses was cheaper, and therefore more popular than sugar before the turn of the 19th Century. 
·       In 1919, a molasses tsunami coined the Great Molasses Flood tore through part of Boston, Massachusetts at 35 miles per hour causing devastation in the area.
·       Blackstrap molasses has been regaining popularity since the mid-1900s as people continue to make healthier food choices.

Tips for Use
·       Blackstrap molasses has a distinct flavor (think gingerbread cookies) due to the mineral content compared to other sweeteners.
·       Recipe substitutions:
o   1 cup of blackstrap molasses for every ¾ cup of brown sugar (i.e. in baked beans)
o   cup for cup in place of other liquid sweeteners (i.e. honey, maple syrup)

Information Collected from the following sources:
Johnson RK, Appel LJ, Brands M, et al. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2009;120:1011-20.

Can you tell me more about blackstrap molasses? The World’s Healthiest Foods. Accessed November 4, 2017.

USDA Food Composition Databases. United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed November 4, 2017.