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cherries



Bake a Very Cherry Mixed Fruit Crisp for Family Fun Month

Busy families everywhere know how hard it is to get some quality time in nowadays—that’s why it’s important (and tasty!) to celebrate Bake for Family Fun Month. If February is dragging and you’re searching for family-friendly dreary day activities, add some sunshine to your kitchen with a refreshing (and healthy) baking project.

Time-savvy moms can bake brownies from the box or cookies from a tube, but what about a healthier option like fruit crisp? Keep it cheap, healthy and delicious — and you can even let your kids pitch in to help.

DID YOU KNOW?:

  • Peaches are a good source of vitamins A, B, and C.  That’s good for your eyes, energy, and skin!
  • Pears cause the fewest allergic reactions of all fruits
  • Very Cherry is the most popular flavor of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans


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Cherry Juice May be the New Pomegranate Juice

Remember a few years ago when pomegranate juice was all the rage? Well, it seems as though there may be a new super-food fruit juice in town: tart cherry juice.

Makers of tart cherry juice claim that the drink can do everything from help with wrinkles, insomnia, headaches, swelling, puffiness around the eyes and — most importantly for exercisers — increase muscle recovery time. Manufacturers say that tart cherry juice is high in the antioxidant vitamin E, along with melatonin, vitamin A and beta carotene.

While there hasn’t been that much independent research on the juice, one study published in the online version of the British Journal of Sports Medicine evaluated whether or not a highly-concentrated, specially-processed tart cherry juice blend could prevent the symptoms of muscle damage in a 14 male college students. The study participants were asked to either drink a bottle of the cherry juice blend twice a day for three days before exercise and for four days afterwards, or to drink a placebo juice containing no cherries. The 12-ounce bottle of juice contained the liquid equivalent of 50 to 60 tart cherries blended with commercially available apple juice (from all the cherry juice blends on the market, this is a pretty typical blend, I’ve found).


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Exotic Superfruits Provide Energy and Health Benefits

We’ve all heard that superfruits are good for you, but what exactly are superfruits? Superfruits are exotic fruits found around the world that have been known to have the highest concentration of antioxidants and nutrients of any other food or beverage.

“Superfruits are great because they multi-task,” said fit-living expert Laurel House. “Not only do they give you more energy throughout the day, but they are filled with antioxidants that help prevent disease.”

While nutrition experts are always searching for the “next big thing” in the diet and health industry, some of the most popular superfruits are available in most supermarkets, usually in the form of juices and extracts.
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March Madness Munchies

If you plan on sitting on your duff this weekend watching the March Madness Sweet 16, do yourself a favor and don’t fill up on the typical watch party snacks. Greasy potato chips, fried chicken wings and calorie-packed cheese dips are common fare at these parties. Whether you’re hosting the crowd or have been invited to attend, be prepared with healthier snack options. Your guests won’t notice the difference and you’ll look like you’re helping out the host if you are the guest. These are our top two seeds:
March Madness
Cherry Almond Clusters are a sweet, crunchy twist on traditional popcorn balls.

Ingredients
19 cups air-popped popcorn
2 cups granulated sugar (substitute Splenda, with zero calories)
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tsp. almond extract
1 cup maraschino cherries, cut into quarters (use fresh cherries to reduce calories)
1/2 cup blanched, whole almonds, toasted

Preparation
1. Keep popcorn warm in a 300 degree F oven
2. In a heavy medium-size saucepan, combine sugar, water, corn syrup, vinegar and salt
3. Bring to a boil; clip candy thermometer to pan
4. Cook syrup to 250 degrees F (hard ball stage)
5. Remove saucepan from heat
6. Quickly stir in almond extract
7. Scatter cherries and almonds over the popcorn
8. Slowly pour syrup over all; toss lightly to coat evenly
9. Spread popcorn on sprayed cookie sheet and let cool
10. Separate into clusters with a fork

Caribbean Chicken Kabob have a refreshing flavor and offer plenty of protein and fresh veggies.

Ingredients
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 lime rind, finely grated
2 Tbs. lime juice
1 Tbs. rum
1 packet sweetener
1 tsp. cinnamon
Fresh veggies and fruit like mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini or pineapple

Preparation
1. Cut chicken into bite sized chunks
2. Place in a bowl with the lime rind, juice, rum, sweetener and cinnamon
3. Marinate 1 hour
4. Save the juices and thread chicken on 4 wooden skewers with desired vegetables
5. Cook the skewers under a broiler or grill for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally and basting with the juices

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