These Fixes Mean You Can't Help But Both 'Go Fresh' and Stay Fresh

By Lisa Messinger

June 26, 2014 5 min read

"American Heart Association Go Fresh: A Heart-Healthy Cookbook with Shopping and Storage Tips" (Clarkson Potter, $19.99).

With the amount of food wasted in the United States (endhunger.org estimates it at about 40 percent), the most important part of the new American Heart Association cookbook about fresh foods just might be the storage tips noted in its subtitle.

There, 300 pages into the 320-page, 250-recipe book, you'll find what few other sources tell you about keeping fresh food fresh.

First, start with your refrigerator and freezer, which should be checked periodically to register between 37 F and 40 F, and at 0 F or below, respectively.

Then you'll learn where to keep foods (broccoli, for instance, in the crisper in the refrigerator; berries in the front of the refrigerator; apples in the back of the refrigerator; and potatoes and sweet potatoes in a dark, cool, dry well-ventilated area), for how long to refrigerate them (3-5 days for green onions) or freeze them (8-12 months for mushrooms and not recommended at all for lettuces).

After arming yourself with this kind of information, as well as scores of helpful shopping tips, you'll find lots of new recipes, distinguished as they always are when created by the American Heart Association in its best-selling cookbook series by healthfulness, ease and innovation.

Besides well-loved basics, lots that's become popular recently is also included, like a Butternut Squash Soup with Sage Cream, Filet Mignons with Blackberry-Soy Reduction, and the following Dark Chocolate Pudding and Sweet Green Smoothie that is full of ancient yet wildly popular healthful ingredients right now in smoothies, like Greek yogurt, baby spinach, avocado and flaxseed meal.

SWEET GREEN SMOOTHIE

2 cups tightly packed baby spinach

1 cup 100 percent white grape juice, chilled

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/2 medium avocado

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (see Note)

1 tablespoon honey

Yields 2 servings.

In a food processor or blender, process all the ingredients until smooth.

Note: Flax seed meal — ground flaxseed that is usually found in the health food section of the market — is a rich source of fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, iron, niacin and vitamin E. When mixed with liquid, it becomes gelatinous and adds body to drinks like smoothies. Store flaxseed meal in the refrigerator or freezer.

Nutrition per serving: 245 calories; 9 grams total fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 55 milligrams sodium; 36 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 29 grams sugar; 8 grams protein.

DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING

2 cups fat-free milk

1 large egg

3 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 medium banana, sliced

2 tablespoons, plus 2 teaspoons, chopped pecans, dry-roasted, if desired

Yields 4 servings (of 1/2 cup pudding and about 1/4 cup banana each)

In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the milk, egg, sugar, cornstarch and cocoa. Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture comes to a full boil and begins to thicken, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.

Put the banana slices in custard cups or parfait glasses. Spoon the pudding over the banana slices. Sprinkle the pecans over the pudding. (See Note.)

Note: If you prefer to serve the pudding chilled, cover and refrigerate it for 1 hour before sprinkling it with the pecans.

Nutrition per serving: 186 calories; 5 grams total fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 49 milligrams cholesterol; 70 milligrams sodium; 29 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 20 grams sugar; 7 grams protein.

Lisa Messinger is a first-place winner in food writing from the Association of Food Journalists and the author of seven food books, including "Mrs. Cubbison's Best Stuffing Cookbook" and "The Sourdough Bread Bowl Cookbook." She also writes the Creators News Service "After-Work Gourmet" column. To find out more about Lisa Messinger and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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