The ABCs: Flowers on Your Plate Part Three

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

In this third and final installment of “Flowers on Your Plate,” we’re moving on vegetable flowers that begin with the letter “C.” 

C for Cauliflower

    With its versatility and profound flavor, cauliflower has been identified among the top food trends of 2015!  Belonging in the cabbage family, the very name “cauliflower” describes it.  In Latin “caulis” means stalk; “floris” means flower. Choose fresh cauliflower with firm, compact buds and crisp, green leaves along the stalks; any size is fine. Enjoy cauliflower raw, or sautéed, roasted or steamed.   Tip: Cauliflower in one of three colors – white, green or purple – is a great vitamin C source. 

 

 

Enjoy a vegetable “bouquet” of flavor in your healthy pasta meals!

 

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with flavorful ways to fit vegetables of all kinds into healthy pasta meals!

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The ABCs: Flowers on Your Plate Part Two

Sunday, March 22, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Last time we shared recipes and nutritional benefits of veggie “flowers” that begin with the letter “A”.  Today, we’re moving on to the letter “B”.

B for Broccoli

Tiny buds on stout, edible stems, “broccoli” derives from an Italian word, meaning "the flowering crest of a cabbage.”  Fresh broccoli – at its peak from October through April -- has tightly-closed buds, crisp green leaves, and a deep green (or green with purple) color.  Tip: For your healthy table, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, delivering calcium and iron too.

Creamy Broccoli, Tomato & Cheddar Linguine:  Cheesy and easy, cook broccoli dish with Dreamfields linguine, then toss with light Cheddar and grape tomatoes, flavored with garlic and Dijon mustard.

  • Vegan Broccoli & Tomato Alfredo:  Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, prepare this different take on pasta Alfredo!  Combine cooked Dreamfields penne rigate with broccoli florets, cherry tomato, mushrooms and a sauce of unsweetened almond milk, onion, garlic, cashews and lemon juice.

 

Stay tuned for more our final installment of: Flowers on Your Plate.

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with flavorful ways to fit vegetables of all kinds into healthy pasta meals!

 

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Protect Your Brain, Protect Your Heart

Friday, March 20, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

With a Healthy Diet, You Can Do BOTH!

If you’re like many Americans you’re focusing on keeping your body and brain as healthy as possible.  With a healthy diet it is possible to maximize both heart and brain health and minimize the risks for heart attack and stroke.

Today there are many games and tools that focus on increasing memory and attention, but stroke prevention is also important for long-term health. The effect of stroke can be devastating, and life after stroke can include limitations to mobility and overall brain function. The good news is with the right diet you can protect your brain and heart, because the risk factors for both heart attacks and stroke are the same.

A healthy diet is the foundation of good health, and eating nutrient-dense foods is great way to eat healthy and feel great. A few small changes can have a big impact on your overall health. Here are a few examples:

  • Eat colorful vegetables! They are full of flavor and lycopene, found in tomatoes, has been show to help decrease risk of Lemon Basil Shrimp and Pastastroke.
  • Reduce the amount of red meat in your diet. Replace ground beef with ground turkey – a delicious option!
  • Eat more fiber.
  • Eat less processed foods.
  • Whenever possible, choose reduced- or sodium-free options.
  • Pack your lunch at least three days a week, when you stuff your lunch bag with healthy options you’ll find the change is easy!

It’s easy to make these kinds of changes, and when you do, you’ll find food more interesting and tastier! Your family may not even notice, especially if they still get to eat their favorites! Here’s a great recipe for spaghetti and meatballs; turkey makes it a healthier option. 

One of the most popular diets in the last decade is really just a change to the style of your eating habits – the Mediterranean diet. Healthy for both brain and heart, the Mediterranean diet encourages eating more fish, beans, and vegetables making it a great option for anyone looking to improve their overall health. Focused on fresher, lighter foods, this style is an easy change for most people because everything tastes delicious! 

For more information about how you can improve your health and reduce your risk of stroke, deliciously, check out this article from prevention magazine!

Have a healthy start to Spring!

 

Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with… PASTA!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Get creative tonight and cook up something green for dinner.

Need some inspiration? Here are a few green options from our recipe collection:

Argentinian Pasta Salad

By Fields of Cake

This super easy dish packs a variety of fresh herbs like thyme, oregano, and parsley which gives it a beautiful green color.

 

Green Goddess Pasta

By Healthy Delicious

Talk about Quick and Easy! This delicious combination of asparagus, avocado, and peas is ready in just 30 minutes.   

 

Green Noodle Bowl

By Chocolate & Carrots

A spaghetti dish packed with healthy green ingredients including peas, edamame, snap peas, and bean sprouts.

The ABCs: Flowers on Your Plate

Monday, March 16, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

It’s nearly spring!  As thoughts turn to the colorful bouquets of tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths that grace your family table, consider this:  vegetables, classified as edible flowers, can make the nutrition and appeal of your pasta meals “just a bit better.”

 A for Artichokes

   March to May: peak season for fresh globe artichokes, the flower buds of a large thistle plant!  The tough, thorny outside leaves of a fresh artichoke and its inedible, fuzzy choke may seem intimidating.  But, once steamed or boiled, the tender ends of the leaves and the artichoke heart (bottom of the flower bud) -- prized by ancient Romans and Greeks -- contribute nutrition and flavor to today’s meals.  To make food prep easier, stock up on frozen artichokes or canned artichoke hearts.  Tip: Besides their many antioxidants, artichokes are a good source of vitamins C and K, folate and fiber.

Artichoke, Walnut & Prosciutto Angel Hair: For an elegant meal, sauté frozen artichoke hearts with prosciutto, leeks and garlic, for a creamy sauce that’s tossed with cooked Dreamfields angel hair and topped with walnuts, parsley and Parmesan.

Stay tuned for more Flowers on Your Plate.

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide,  with flavorful ways to fit vegetables of all kinds into healthy pasta meals!

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Homemade Spaghetti Sauce: Save time with your slow cooker!

Friday, March 13, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Looking for a delicious, low fuss meal?

Homemade spaghetti sauce is perfect for the slow cooker because it cooks all the delicious flavors from your ingredients into the sauce. Then, all you have to do for dinner is cook up whatever pasta shape you would like.

Here are some quick tips on making a delicious spaghetti sauce in the slow cooker using you favorite recipe:

  1. If using meat, give ground turkey or chicken a try to cut down on the calories and make sure to brown your meat before putting it in the slow cooker (no matter what kind of meat you are using.)
  2. If using a greasier meat, like sausage, spoon it into the slow cooker so you can cut down on how much grease is in the sauce.
  3. You can cook your sauce for up to 9-10 hours on low, or 5-6 hours on high.
  4. Add fresh veggies! Pack your homemade sauce with whatever delicious veggies you like. Any of combination of Mushrooms, zucchini, onion, carrots, peppers, spinach and tomato.
  5. Don’t forget the spices. Add some flavor to your sauce with oregano, thyme, basil, or even crushed red pepper to give it a kick

Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle – Part Two

Thursday, March 5, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Last time we talked about making the right food choices to eat a little bit healthier.  Today, we want to focus on being healthier by being a bit more active.

Be Physically Active … A Bit More, Too

  • Start your spring gardening.  As the weather warms up, plant herbs or vegetables. Later in the season, they’ll give mixed dishes, such as pasta, fresh flavors, appeal and nutrition. Besides, growing your own can be a satisfying way to fit exercise in!   Tip: At 120 pounds, you burn about 220 calories per hour; at 170 pounds, about 310 calories per hour.
  • Get off the couch; take a late winter-early spring (anytime) nature hike.  Pack a picnic to go, perhaps a Dreamfields pasta salad or a hearty pasta soup in an insulated, sealed container.  Tip:  At 120 pounds, you burn about 325 calories per hour; at 170 pounds, about 460 calories per hour – if you hike the whole time.
  • Do some active housework.  Clean the ‘fridge. Re-organize the kitchen cabinets. Give the kitchen windows and floors a spring cleaning.  Tip: Housework burns twice the calories that sitting at the TV or computer!

For more tips on how you can 'Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle' read Part 1.

***

Even these small steps make a difference.  Bite into a healthy lifestyle by making smart eating, and moving more, your lifelong commitment!

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with more ways to bite into a healthy lifestyle!

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Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

What does a healthy lifestyle mean to you? Waking up early enough to eat breakfast?  Eating the veggies on your plate?  Enjoying a smaller bowl of ice cream? Taking a brisk walk with your dog after supper? Or filling your shopping cart with foods that deliver the best nutrition for your grocery dollar?  It’s all that – and more!

March is National Nutrition Month! It’s a reminder to "Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle" – and choose an eating pattern that meets your nutrient needs, within your calorie limits.  If you’re like many Americans, that means three key things: consume fewer calories, make informed food choices and get daily exercise ... in order to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk for chronic disease and promote your overall health.

Bit by bit, taking just a few small steps adds up, over time, to a lifestyle that’s healthier!  So for starters, you can …

 

Make Your Food Choices … Just a Little Bit Better

  • Read the label as you shop. Choose nutrient-dense foods that deliver more for their calories. For example, Dreamfields pasta adds more fiber and protein to your meal than traditional pasta. Low-fat cheese has all the nutrients of regular cheese, but with less fat and fewer calories. And using leaner ground meat or turkey delivers less fat yet plenty of protein to lasagna, burgers and chili.
  • Add a veggie to a mixed pasta dish, soup or rice dish. It’s as easy as mixing in grated carrots, chopped Swiss chard or kale, canned tomatoes, sliced mushrooms or chopped bell pepper.
  • Right size your portions. Two ounces of dry pasta cooks to about 1 cup; the equivalent of 6 cups daily from all grain foods is enough for most people. For more about smart food choices, click Healthy Carb Living.

For more tips on how you can 'Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle' continue on to Part 2.

Roberta L. Duyff, MS, RDN, CFCS is author of the American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, with more ways to bite into a healthy lifestyle!

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Table for Two – On Valentine’s Day & Every Day: Part Deux

Friday, February 13, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

In this week of romance, we're talking about intimate dining.  Specifically, recipes that serve two.  Whether you're eating for two for Valentine's Day or every day, here are some more tips on how to do it well.

Buy Less, Save More

Shopping savvy always applies:  buy just what you can use and store safely. A smaller, more expensive package may cost less if you end up discarding food from an economy size.

  • Choose from the supermarket salad bar and bulk department.  Buy smaller amounts of what you need:  from the salad bar, chopped fresh veggies for pasta dishes, casseroles, stir-fries and other mixed dishes, and from the bulk department, nuts, raisins and rice.
  • Buy ingredients that are easily divided.  With dry pasta, frozen vegetables and shredded cheese on hand, you can pour out just what you need.
  • Splurge sometimes.  Although some meat cuts and seafood cost more, you don’t need as much when cooking for one or two. 
  • Repackage.  If you buy meat, poultry and seafood in larger portions, rewrap them in freezer bags or heavy foil, label and freeze for later.

 

Cook Once, Enjoy Twice

Sometimes the sensible approach is to prepare family-sized amounts then save the rest for later. 

  • Divide for later. Casseroles and lasagna can be divided into smaller baking dishes. Assemble Traditional Lasagna in two 8- x 8-inch baking dishes, instead of one 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Cook one now, freeze the other for next week.

  • Transform your leftovers.  Use cooked pasta tossed in hearty salads; cooked vegetables in heartier and healthier prepared soups; and pasta sauce, chili or taco filling, spooned over baked potatoes. 
  • Change the sidesRoast a whole chicken or braise a pot roast for several meals.  To avoid “menu boredom,” serve different sides, perhaps Rotini Greek Salad or Spicy Caprese Pasta Salad one night, and Lemon Herb Penne the next.

 

Savor your table for two … on Valentine’s Day and throughout the year!

Artichoke, Walnut & Prosciutto Angel Hair

Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Artichoke, Walnut & Prosciutto Angel Hair

 

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 box Dreamfields Angel Hair
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
1 package (9 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup chopped leeks or green onions
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup reduced-sodium, fat free chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Additional shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; stir to separate pieces. Add artichoke hearts; cook 2 to 3 minutes until artichokes and prosciutto are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet; set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned and tender, stirring frequently. Add broth to skillet; bring to boil. Cook 1 to 2 minutes to reduce by about half. Stir in cream; cook and stir 30 seconds to 1 minute to blend. Return artichoke mixture to pan; heat through.
  4. Remove skillet from heat. Toss artichoke mixture with pasta. Add black pepper as desired. Add walnuts, parsley and Parmesan cheese; toss again. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.


Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 351 calories; 15 g protein; 43 g carbohydrates; 16 g total fat; 4 g saturated fat; 25 mg cholesterol;502 mg sodium; 8 g total dietary fiber.

See more at: http://www.dreamfieldsfoods.com/healthy-pasta-recipes/2012/05/artichoke-walnut-prosciutto-angel-hair.html#sthash.qpcCw0Pw.dpuf

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1/2 box Dreamfields Angel Hair
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
1 package (9 ounces) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and patted dry
1/2 cup chopped leeks or green onions
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup reduced-sodium, fat free chicken broth
2 tablespoons heavy cream
Coarsely ground black pepper
1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Additional shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 teaspoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; stir to separate pieces. Add artichoke hearts; cook 2 to 3 minutes until artichokes and prosciutto are lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove from skillet; set aside.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pan.
  3. Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 teaspoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks and garlic; cook 2 to 3 minutes until lightly browned and tender, stirring frequently. Add broth to skillet; bring to boil. Cook 1 to 2 minutes to reduce by about half. Stir in cream; cook and stir 30 seconds to 1 minute to blend. Return artichoke mixture to pan; heat through.
  4. Remove skillet from heat. Toss artichoke mixture with pasta. Add black pepper as desired. Add walnuts, parsley and Parmesan cheese; toss again. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information (1/4 of recipe): 351 calories; 15 g protein; 43 g carbohydrates; 16 g total fat; 4 g saturated fat; 25 mg cholesterol;502 mg sodium; 8 g total dietary fiber.

- See more at: http://www.dreamfieldsfoods.com/healthy-pasta-recipes/2012/05/artichoke-walnut-prosciutto-angel-hair.html#sthash.qpcCw0Pw.dpuf

How to Make Your Pasta Favorites a Little Better... Slash the Sodium

Thursday, February 12, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Pasta Favorites:  12 Easy Ways to Make Them a Little Bit Better

In this last installment of easy ways to make your pasta dishes a little bit better, we’re taking on sodium. 

Slash the Sodium, Spark Up the Flavor

10. Skip the salt; use herbs, spices and citrus instead.  Oregano, basil and chilies are naturals for many pasta dishes, but Lemon Herb Penne with Dreamfields Pastaexperiment.  Lemon-Herb Penne is seasoned simply with thyme, chives, pepper and lemon peel. (Just 1/8 teaspoon of salt adds about 300 milligrams to a dish.)  

11. Cook from scratch.  Homemade pasta sauce often has less sodium than store-bought.  Try Dreamfields’ easy-to-make No Cook Tomato Basil Sauce.

12. Read the label; make a switch.  For prepared pasta sauces, look for low-sodium or no-salt added products.  Another option: replace half the jarred pasta sauce with salt-free diced tomatoes or tomato sauce.

No Cook Tomato Basil Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

Read Boost the Fiber – and the Vegetable Rainbow, Power Up the Protein, and Cut the Calories for steps 1-9.

Which simple steps will you try?  For more healthy ways to prepare your favorite pasta dishes, check Dreamfields Healthy Recipes.

 

 

How to Make Your Pasta Favorites a Little Better... Cut the Calories

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Pasta Favorites:  12 Easy Ways to Make Them a Little Bit Better

Part three of this series will focus on cutting the calories while still enjoying the full flavor of your recipe.

Cut the Calories, Cut the Fat

  1. Use a smaller plate to right size your portions.  That’s an easy way to “right size” your calorie intake, too.  Consider pasta portions:  if you need about 2000 calories daily, you need about 6 ounces from the grain group; 1 cup of cooked Dreamfields spaghetti or macaroni (elbows) counts as 2 ounces. Dreamfields Pasta's Healthier Mac and Cheese
  2. Change to low-fat dairy options.   Healthier Mac & Cheese gets its rich flavor and creamy texture from lower-fat cheese and plain Greek yogurt.
  3. Go lean.  Prepare meat sauce for spaghetti, lasagna or any pasta dish with lean ground beef, chicken or turkey – or experiment with tempeh, made from soybeans!   

 

Also read Boost the Fiber – and the Vegetable Rainbow and Power Up the Protein for steps 1-6.

Come back tomorrow for our last installment of easy tips to make your pasta dishes a little bit healthier by cutting back on sodium.

Table for Two – On Valentine’s Day & Every Day

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

A romantic dinner this Valentine’s Day -- the perfect occasion to prepare your special “table for two.”  But for the growing numbers of one- and two-person households, small-scale cooking can be an everyday meal challenge that may seem like more trouble than it’s worth.  Not so.

Whether for regular fare or an intimate special celebration, meals for two (or one) can be creative and satisfying.  And being home prepared, they can be healthier and arguably more affordable than restaurant meals, too!

Enjoy Recipes for Two

Although most recipes are written for four or six, great recipes also are created for fewer servings.  These trendy “recipes for two” from Dreamfields can get your culinary juices flowing:

 

Scale Down:  Larger Recipes g Smaller Ones

To halve, or halve not?  With simple math, you can cut most recipes in half or thirds – with a few quick tips.  (Baked goods and sauces are often harder to scale down.)

  • Reduce ingredient amounts accurately.

If the recipe says …

For 1/2 the recipe …

For 1/3 the recipe …

¼ cup

2 tablespoons

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon

1/3 cup

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

1 tablespoon + 2 1/4 teaspoons

½ cup

¼ cup

2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons

2/3 cup

1/3 cup

3 tablespoons + 1 ½ teaspoons

¾ cup

6 tablespoons

¼ cup

1 cup

½ cup

1/3 cup

1 tablespoon

1 ½ teaspoons

1 teaspoon

1 teaspoon

½ teaspoon

 generous ¼ teaspoon

¼ teaspoon

1/8 teaspoon

dash (scant 1/8 teaspoon)

1/8 teaspoon

dash (scant 1/8 teaspoon)

dash (scant 1/8 teaspoon)

 

  • Season a little at a time. For the right flavor, you may need more or less than one half or one third of the amount of herb, spice, or salt and pepper.
  • Use a smaller pan.  Right size the cooking equipment for a smaller volume of ingredients.  
  • Watch the time.  A smaller pan with a smaller amount of food may require less cooking or baking time.
  • Find ways to reduce difficult-to-divide ingredients.  If a recipe asks for a large egg, use a small one or just the egg white.  If it calls for a whole apple or banana, a whole zucchini or bell pepper, use half, wrap well and refrigerate the rest for later.
  • Check recipe apps.  Some let you scale down the recipe with a few quick clicks.

Check back later this week for more time and money saving tips on how to prepare tasty meals for two.


 

 

How to Make Your Pasta Favorites a Little Better... Power Up the Protein

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Pasta Favorites:  12 Easy Ways to Make Them a Little Bit Better

Welcome to the second of our four-part series on easy ways to make your pasta dishes a little bit better for you. Yesterday we shared some tips on adding veggies – and fiber – to your favorite pasta dishes.  Today we want to focus on easy ways to power up your protein intake.

Power Up the Protein

4. Add canned beans!  Meatless or not, mixing in canned black, cannellini, kidney or red beans or soybeans (rinsed and drained) added to pasta sauce or mac ‘n cheese delivers and extends the protein economically.  Penne with Greens and Dreamfields Penne with Greens and Cannellini Beans Cannellini Beans is a tasty example.

5. Choose pasta with added protein benefits.  Dreamfields pasta promotes satiety with seven grams of protein per label serving.

6. Add nuts.  Pine nuts and pistachios, as garnishes and in sauces, complement the flavors and add protein to many Mediterranean pasta dishes.  Pine nuts are a staple in pesto; try Sherri’s Pesto Pasta.

Dreamfields Pesto Pasta

 

 

 

Check out Boost the Fiber – and the Vegetable Rainbow for tips 1-3.

Stay tuned for more! Tomorrow we’ll be providing tips 7-9 on how cutting calories and fat . . .but not the taste.

How to Make Your Pasta Favorites a Little Better... Boost the Fiber

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

Pasta Favorites:  12 Easy Ways to Make Them a Little Bit Better

Dreamfields Mac and Cheese

 

Mac ‘n cheese … spaghetti with meat sauce … lasagna.  By popular demand, they’re likely among the great-tasting “regulars” on your family table.  With small steps in your food prep, you can make these everyday favorites “just a little bit better.” 

 

 

 

 

Boost the Fiber – and the Vegetable Rainbow

  1. Switch to pasta with more fiber.  Dreamfields’ prebiotic fiber, inulin, helps promote healthy digestion.  All seven cuts of Dreamfields pasta deliver 5 grams of fiber per label serving, about 20% of the day’s recommendation.
  2. Thicken pasta sauces with puréed vegetables.   Toss spaghetti or another favorite pasta cut with canned pumpkin purée, seasoned with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Or purée canned beans (rinsed and drained) and add to pasta sauce for more fiber and fewer calories.
  3. Sneak veggies in.  Just one more makes any pasta dish more nutritious, fiber-rich and appealing!
    • To mac ‘n cheese blend in chopped bell peppers or sun-dried tomatoes for more robust flavors.  Start with Stove Top Mac n Cheese, then add! 
  • To your favorite spaghetti sauce add sliced porcini (dry), shiitake (fresh) or cremini (fresh) mushrooms – and enjoy their earthy flavors like in this recipe for Spaghetti with Wilde Mushroom Sauce.
    • To lasagna arrange a colorful layer of dark-green leafy vegetables, such as chopped chard, kale or spinach, or Dreamfields With Spaghetti Mushroom Saucechopped carrots or butternut squash. 

Tune in tomorrow for more tips on making your pasta dishes a little bit healthier.

How To Take Better Care Of Your Heart

Saturday, February 7, 2015 by Dreamfields Recipes & More

We all know that cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure) should be taken seriously. According to the CDC, it’s the number 1 killer of both women and men in the United States.

Taking small steps towards a healthier you can help to improve your overall health, and decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease. So, what can you start doing today? Give these suggestions from the American Heart Association a try:

  1. Visit your MD.
    Make an appointment with your Doctor to determine where your numbers are so you know exactly where you are starting. Know your “HDL” (good cholesterol) and “LDL” (bad cholesterol), total cholesterol, weight, BMI, and weight. Discuss goals with your Doctor and a plan to check back to review progress. For more information on healthy numbers, visit the ' Numbers that Count for a Healthy Heart'  by the American Heart Association.  
  2. Get others on board.
    Find a friend or perhaps get your entire family on board and make healthy changes together. Use each other as support and celebrate little victories together (in a healthy way, of course!)
  3. Lose Weight.
    Extra weight can raise blood pressure, so if you have a little extra around the middle it is highly recommended to do something about it. According to the American Heart Association, reducing calories in and increasing calories out is the way to go. Read more in the article ‘Losing Weight’.
  4. Eat a Little Better.
    Changing your diet for the better can obviously have an impact on your overall health. Focus on high fiber (link to Roberta’s post on fiber), low sodium meals (link to Roberta’s post on low sodium). And remember to include a variety of colorful veggies! (Link to Roberta’s post on veggies)
  5. De-Stress
    Letting yourself get too stressed can raise your blood pressure, so it is recommended to take some time for yourself. Find a calming activity that you enjoy, and make sure to “unplug” before partaking in it. It is all too common nowadays for people to be connected 24/7 and that can contribute to more stress.

There is plenty more you can do to improve your overall health. Use the American Heart Association as a resource, and get great advice on nutrition, stress management, weight management and more.

Plus, know the warning signs of a heart attack.

DREAMFIELDS HEALTHY PASTA UNVEILS “LBB FOR A HEALTHIER ME” CONTEST ON PINTEREST

Thursday, February 5, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

New Year’s resolutions are typically long forgotten by the time the Groundhog looks for his shadow.  So Dreamfields Pasta – the “little black box (LBB)” in the pasta aisle – is reigniting motivation with the launch of its “LBB for a Healthier Me” contest on Pinterest this month. 

For the month of February, participants are encouraged to arrange photos onto a special Pinterest board to showcase simple ways to make life a little bit healthier . . . and keep those resolutions alive. Pins can include healthy pasta recipes, exercises, fun activities and inspirational messages, and anything that inspires long-term commitment to wellness.

“Small steps, like choosing a high fiber pasta like Dreamfields, are most effective in making healthy changes that last a lifetime,” said Liz Housman, director of marketing for Dreamfields pasta. “Just like a LBD (Little Black Dress) is the foundation to a well-rounded wardrobe, Dreamfields’ LBB (Little Black Box) is the foundation to a healthier diet.”

Participating in the contest is easy. Users can log in to their personal Pinterest accounts and add as many photos to their contest board as desired.  Contest entry captions should explain how each image contributes to pinners’ goals, using at least one of the official program hashtags--#HealthyPasta, #LittleBlackBox or #DreamfieldsPinterestContest.

Entries are official once participants submit their name, email and contest board URL at www.TryDreamfields.com/Contest . The contest’s official rules and a link to a coupon are also available on that page. To begin your search for healthier pasta inspiration, visit Dreamfields on Pinterest.

“Weighing In” for Health

Monday, January 19, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Your healthy weight matters.  Yet, once the New Year’s enthusiasm wears off, well-intended resolutions often get dumped, and extra pounds quickly rebound.  If that sounds familiar (and all-too personal), it’s time to switch your thinking and your approach.

Instead embrace the message of Healthy Weight Week, the third full week of January.  It’s a time to celebrate healthy living – and dieting-free habits that last a lifetime, and that promote health and prevent weight problems.  Those habits aren’t the latest food fads, or weight loss gimmicks, or strict exercise regimens.  Instead they’re summed up simply and sensibly:  living actively, eating well, and feeling good about yourself and others.

Your Healthy Weight …

Are you tall and lanky?  Short and stocky? Apple shaped or pear shaped?  Muscular or not? Healthy bodies come in many sizes and shapes, directed by genes that you can’t control, as well as by lifestyle choices you can! 

Your healthy weight probably isn’t the so-called “ideal weight” on a chart.  Nor is it the weight implied by weight-obsessed celebrity bodies.  

Instead your healthy weight depends on your total health and well-being.  Wherever you tip the scale, your “numbers” (e.g. blood cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar levels) indicate your overall health.  If your “numbers” aren’t within healthy ranges, dropping a few pounds wisely may help.  And your general well-being?  Simply stated, it’s a positive outlook and feeling healthy, energetic and good about yourself and others. And that includes dumping unrealistic notions about the “ideal weight” for you.

Dieting Doesn’t Work, Healthy Living Does …

Popular weight loss regimens (fad diets) may result in short-term weight loss. However, studies show that regular physical activity, wise food choices, and a healthy relationship with food more likely lead to long-term success.  And enjoyment fits all three!

Healthy Weight

  • Enjoy active living:  Every day, your way, as a priority. Skip the self-talk (“too busy,” “too tired, “too boring”), and find ways to move.  Being active not only improves health, relieves stress, builds stamina and strength, keeps bones healthy, and improves sleep; it also helps regulate hunger signals.
  • Take pleasure in eating well:  Make time to savor the flavors and celebrate nourishing food – with family and friends, and even when you eat alone.  Try to eat regular meals and snacks … with a variety of nutrient-dense foods from all five food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, protein foods, dairy).  Listen to your body signals: eat when you’re hungry, stop when you’re full.  Eat mindfully; control your portions.  Enjoy the simple pleasures of preparing and sharing a meal at home; click the Dreamfields’ recipe file for nourishing main dishes, salads and sides, including lower-calorie recipes.
  • Value and accept the uniqueness of you -- and of others.   Set aside unrealistic notions of appearance and body size.  Enjoy life; learn to deal with stress.  Make healthy lifestyle changes one small step at a time.  If you need to shed body weight, go slowly and gradually.  Make overall health and well-being your goals, not unsustainable weight loss. Then enjoy ... how good healthy living feels!

 

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Make Fitness Your Family Goal!

Monday, January 12, 2015 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

It’s January.  The delicious indulgences of holiday foods are now just pleasing memories.  Like many people, your priorities may have turned to earnest promises of healthier eating and exercising more in this new year.

If you’re ready to turn your New Year’s resolutions into realistic, do-able commitments for success, let January Family Fit Lifestyle Month be your perfect “kickstarter.”  This month-long campaign, established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, can help you “hit the restart button” for healthy yearlong -- in fact, lifelong -- lifestyle habits that you and your whole family can embrace.

Why “Family Fit Lifestyles” Matter …

A commitment to fitness helps build a stronger, healthier family unit -- with benefits for every aspect of life:  not just for your physical health, but also for your emotional, social, and mental well-being, too.  Being fit can lead to …

  • A healthier body … with better resistance to common sniffles and “bugs” and with less risk for life-changing health issues, such as heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • More physical energy, physical strength and endurance … to do what’s important to you and your family, to protect yourselves in emergencies and to learn and be more productive at school and at work.
  • Looking and feeling your personal best … which builds self-esteem and self-confidence (something valued for adults and kids).
  • A sense of well-being … which encourages a positive outlook and stamina to handle the daily stresses, challenges and ups and downs of your busy lives.
  • Positive interactions with family and friends … which adds fun and a better quality of life. 

 

How to Follow a “Family Fit Lifestyle” …

Smart eating, active living and adequate rest are central to family fitness. As a parent or caring adult for others, you’re the best role model to show and teach children the how-to’s of healthy lifestyles.  To start... 

  • Plan to eat smart.  Involve kids in creating “healthy plates” (about half colorful fruits and vegetables, and about a quarter each of lean or low-fat protein foods and of grain choices).  Make a low-fat or fat-free dairy food part of the meal, too.  Tip:  Figuring out a mixed dish, like Dreamfields Penne Rigate with Turkey, Swiss Chard and Walnuts, takes a little “kitchen math.” 

  • Cook together, eat together.  Taking a little extra time to involve kids in food prep helps them learn to enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruits.  Likewise sharing family meals is a powerful strategy to encourage and model healthy eating.  Tip:  Fruit & Yogurt Elbow Salad is an easy dish even for young kids to assemble!

  • Be mindful as you eat.  Encourage slower eating; talk about the foods.  It’s easy to overeat without realizing when you eat too fast. Tip:  Pasta twirled around a fork is often a slower-to-eat meal; put spaghetti, linguini or angel hair recipes on your family menus.
  • Make regular physical activity part of your family's everyday routine:  perhaps brisk, after-dinner walks; active fun (running a homemade obstacle course, jumping rope, hula hooping, dancing to music); and household chores (snow shoveling, raking).  Try to fit in 60 minutes daily, if you can.  And limit screen (TV and computer) time!  Tip:  Plan now to plant a warm weather garden of fresh vegetables to grow and enjoy at your table. (Gardening is great exercise!)
  • Get enough sleep.  Although there’s no magic number, advice from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute is this:  for preschoolers, 11 to 12 hours daily, for school-aged kids, at least 10 hours daily, for teens, 9 to 10 hours daily and for adults, 7 to 8 hours daily.  Sleep deficiency is linked to many health risks, including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and impaired immunity.

 

As a family, enjoy how good fitness feels – starting now with Family Fit Lifestyle Month!

 

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Holiday Meals Go Italian

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 by News and Updates From Dreamfields

Buon NataleBuone Fest! … Merry Christmas!  Happy holidays! 

With today’s enthusiasm for Mediterranean cuisine, why not flavor your celebratory meals with Italian traditions?  Enjoy what matters most in many Italian holiday gatherings:  great food, skillfully prepared with days of preparation and served with countless relatives gathered around the festive family table.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas …

 … and all through the Italian kitchen, families from Southern Italy traditionally prepare meatless meals, called La Vigilia di Natale.  Also termed the Eve of the Seven Fishes, this seven- to nine-course meal typically features several seafood dishes, with an antipasti or soup, vegetables, a mixed green salad, crusty bread – and nearly always, a pasta dish!  The number of courses isn’t about indulgence, but instead has a sacred meaning, representing the seven religious sacraments or nine for the Trinity times three.  Going meatless:  a common practice before holy days.

Here are a few ways you can bring seafood and pasta together for your Christmas Eve dinner – including quick recipes -- especially if you choose to serve seven courses or more!

  • Spicy Linguine with Shrimp takes just 30 minutes to prep and cook.  Colorful and easy, gently toss cooked Dreamfields linguine with green, red and/or yellow bell pepper, onion, garlic, parsley and red pepper flake.  Add “tails on” shrimp  and top it off with shaved Parmesan cheese.

  • Easy Mediterranean Angel Hair is a great dish for those preferring vegetarian options.  Sauté a medley of regional ingredients – anchovies, artichoke hearts, bell peppers, capers, garlic, Kalamata olives, thyme and oregano – in olive oil, and toss with Dreamfields angel hair pasta.  For vegans, skip the anchovy filets and the feta cheese on top.
  • Seafood Stew with Rotini combines 2 types of seafood – cod and shrimp – in a zesty sauce of carrots, leeks, tomatoes, clam juice, broth, wine, orange zest and red pepper flakes.  Ladle the seafood sauce over Dreamfields rotini, and top with aioli (savory garlic-flavored mayonnaise) if desired.

Christmas Day Lunch …

… often lasts for hours!   A typical feast begins with a classic antipasti (appetizer) of cured meat, olives and cheese.  A primi (pasta course) comes next, often a baked dish that’s a regional favorite.  The secondi (second course):  roasted meat, chicken or stuffed turkey, served with contorni (vegetables and salads) and bread on the side.  The next courses:  formaggi (cheese), then the dolci (desserts like panettone) as the grand finale.

Three recipe ideas from Dreamfields for a primi course have steps you can prepare ahead:

  • Veggie Lovers Lasagna offers a new take on this family favorite.  Layer cooked Dreamfields lasagna noodles with cremini mushrooms, red bell pepper, yellow squash, broccoli, spinach, cottage cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, fresh herbs and Alfredo-pesto sauce – and bake on Christmas morning!
  • Roasted Vegetable Macaroni & Cheese brings winter vegetables to the menu. Roast bell pepper, sweet potato, squash, broccoli, portabella mushrooms, onion and garlic ahead.  Before the meal, cook Dreamfields elbows and the savory cheese sauce, then gently combine them with the roasted veggies.
  • Penne Mediterranean Delight Salad is a prepare-ahead, chilled primi course, or a contorni dish to serve on the side.  Tossed with Dreamfields penne rigate, it’s a delicious blend of regional ingredients – cherry tomatoes, red onion, olives, feta cheese, basil, capers, lemon juice, olive oil and toasted pine nuts.

And on December 26th….

... it’s a day to enjoy Santo Stefano’s lunch, of mostly delicious leftovers or perhaps some unique pasta dishes for casual entertaining.  After all, in Italian tradition, holiday feasting continues until January 6, to celebrate the Epiphany, or the visit of the Three Kings.           

For more healthy pasta ideas to serve this holiday season, click on Dreamfields’ collection of authentic, great-tasting pasta recipes.

***

Whether you celebrate Christmas or enjoy the secular festivities this season, the Italians have it right: “chi mangia bene, vive bene,” or “who eats well, lives well.”  The Dreamfields family wishes you and your family a wonderful holiday – and a healthy new year!

 

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