Traveling Home with Pumpkin Cookies

Thanksgiving has finally come. I’ve been looking forward to having a bit of a break from college life and returning homeward to enjoy the familiar atmosphere of my childhood – especially my mother’s Thanksgiving dinner. But this year I decided that I want to contribute to the dinner as well. Since I obviously can’t carry home a 14-pound turkey, I looked around for a holiday themed recipe that would be easy to make in advance, freeze, and transport home in an ordinary container. So if you’re going to be a guest somewhere, here is a great idea for an edible contribution to your host’s Thanksgiving table:

Low-fat Pumpkin Cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ tsp allspice

¼ c. softened butter

½ c. canola oil

½ c. sugar or sugar substitute

1 c. canned pumpkin

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. chopped pecans

1 c. dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in medium bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together butter, oil, brown sugar and sugar (substitute).

Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla.

Gradually add in flour mixture.

Beat at low speed until well blended

Add in chopped pecans and cranberries.

Drop cookie dough onto ungreased cookie sheets in heaping spoonfuls.

Flatten slightly with back of spoon.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cookies can be stored tightly at room temperature for about a week, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Enjoy!

Loving Partners Can Cause Death by Kissing

Advising husbands, wives and others who might cause an allergic person to have a reaction through intimate contact like touching, kissing and more, the Food and Drug Administration is warning those partners to also avoid completely those foods and other substances that cause bad reactions in their sensitive loved ones. Short of complete avoidance of those allergic substances, couples should at least refrain from contact within 24 hours of eating the offending foods.

In a surprise discovery researchers have seen that partners of allergic people can trigger an allergic reaction in their sensitive partners by eating the forbidden foods themselves, and brushing teeth and washing hands before contact is not enough. Depending on the degree of sensitivity such contact with people after eating things like peanut butter, or other substances can cause even fatal reactions in their loved ones.

According to Dr. Sami Bahna, the president of the American College of Allergy, recent research points to the fact that small traces of the offending foods remain in the saliva or other body fluids up to 24 hours after ingestion, and brushing teeth and other efforts at cleaning away the food are just not enough.

“People need to know that intimate contact with individuals who’ve eaten or consumed suspect foods or medicines can also cause problems,” said Dr. Clifford W. Bassett, a clinical instructor at New York University’s School of Medicine, New York City, and an attending physician in the allergy and immunology department of Long Island College Hospital. “So, for people with a significant food allergy it’s always better to play it safe by making sure that everyone knows that in all situations these foods are strictly off-limits.”

Finally, Something We Like Which is Good For Us: Pizza

You probably already know that pizza is a popular food, but did you know that in the United States upwards of 350 slices are eaten every single second? That astounding number of pizza slices eaten at every moment attests to the infatuation Americans have for this easy to eat, tasty and quite healthy fast-food.  You might be surprised to hear that pizza is healthy, considering its high cheese and oil content, but if prepared the correct way, pizza can be quite a healthful food.

Food chemists explain that the key to preparing a healthy pizza pie is to make the crust with whole wheat flour and to bake in a very hot oven. Using whole wheat flour in place of white flour is the single most important factor in pizza making which causes the release of the disease fighting compounds known as anti-oxidants.  It has been shown that antioxidants can protect people from developing cancer and heart disease. The longer the pizza was cooked, and the higher the temperature, also contributed to raising the levels of antioxidants in the pizza. It also helps to let the dough rise longer. Doubling the dough-rising time from one day to two also doubled the amount of antioxidants found in the pizza.

It is nice to know that with a minimum amount of effort pizza can go from being just a tasty treat to a healthful meal for you and your family. Here is a recipe for healthier pizza crust that you can easily make yourself.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust with Enhanced Antioxidant Availability
Ingredients
1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
1 cup warm water (100-110°F)
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
2 ¾ cups whole wheat flour
The day before…
•  Combine yeast and warm water in a small bowl. Stir with whisk until yeast dissolves.
•  Add honey, oil and salt. Stir with whisk until honey and salt dissolve.
•  Measure flour into large mixing bowl. Add water mixture to flour.
•  Mix with wooden spoon until dough forms.
•  Transfer dough to floured surface and knead by hand for 2 minutes. Dough may be sticky.
•  Divide dough into 3 sections and shape each section into a ball.
•  Transfer dough balls to a lightly oiled pan, leaving a few inches for each ball to raise.
•  Cover pan loosely with plastic wrap.
•  Store pan overnight (~18 hours) in the refrigerator.
The day of…
•  Allow dough to come to room temperature. (about 30 minutes)
•  Preheat oven to 500°F.
•  Roll each ball out to a 12 inch circle on a pizza screen.
•  Top with tomato sauce, cheese and desired toppings.
•  Put pizza in middle rack of preheated oven. Bake for 6 – 8 minutes, until crust gets browned.
•  (A pizza pan or stone can also be used to bake the pizzas. Baking times may change.)

Say ‘I Love You’ With Lasagna

I love lasagna, as do all the members of my family. My children expect it as their special dinner on their birthdays, and when we want to celebrate just about anything, lasagna is the main dish of choice. We all know about this wonderful pasta dish, but really, do we know the true essence of Garfield’s obsession?

What I believe is truly great about lasagna is how easy it is to make it, and how many variations there are on the theme. Lasagna can truly be made as a reflection of the inner self. A more health conscious mom might add some green vegies like broccoli or zucchini. My personal favorite is spinach. It is possible to mix in meat, but not necessary if you are a vegetarian. You can use lots of yummy pasta sauce, homemade or from a jar, or you can make it less tomato-y and more cheese-y, if you aren’t too worried about counting the calories in this slightly “heavy on the fat” lactose-intolerant person’s nightmare. And if that does happen to be the case, you can use cottage cheese instead of ricotta, no parmesan cheese, and go easy on the mozzarella.  In short, lasagna is almost anything you want it to be. It is therefore truly you.