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Meghan Rodgers

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Creamy Roasted Beet Hummus: Your new favorite snack

Hummus has taken hold over most of America. Just a few years ago, most people had never heard of the traditional Mediterranean dip. Today, we can’t get enough of this creamy snack spread made from chickpeas, sesame seed paste and seasonings. Millennials, in particular, tend to gravitate toward new and unusual flavors. A new generation paired with a strong commitment to healthier dietary choices paved the way for the unusual light brown spread that packed a nutritional punch. Americans have been so receptive of hummus, in fact, that sales have started to creep towards those of other popular dips like salsa and guacamole. According to the USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, hummus sales in grocery stores now top $725 million annually — up from $5 just 20 years ago. It is estimated that one in four homes now regularly stock hummus in the fridge. Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, have been cultivated in Middle…

4 reasons why your vegan diet isn’t helping you lose weight

Vegan diets conjure up images of lean, healthy folks, happily chowing down on massive bowls of leafy green salad. And science backs this image. In a large study of 40,000 adults, conducted by Oxford University, vegans were found to have the lowest BMIs among any of their peers, while meat-eaters, not surprisingly, had the highest. But not every vegan sees the same results after cutting out animal products from their daily diets. Some don’t see changes at all, and some can actually gain weight. If you’ve made the switch to vegan in attempt to shed pounds, here’s what you might be doing that could be sabotaging your efforts. Reason 1: Your overestimating portion size Sure, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and whole grains are healthy food our bodies require to fuel new cell growth, and regenerate healthy hair, nails and muscles, but we don’t need an infinite amount of these nutrients. The amount…

How to: Easy method for roasting beets can’t be beet

After years of being banished to the back of the salad bar, beets are having a resurgence. The popularity of the bright red taproot comes as part of an overall increase of interest in health and nutrition. A study published in the American Medical Journal in 2016 found that the number of Americans with poor diets fell from 56 percent to 46 percent between 1999 and 2012. For many health conscious consumers, beets have been enjoying their rightful place center-stage of a balanced diet. They’re chock-full of essential nutrients like B vitamins, potassium, iron, copper, magnesium and manganese, and have all kinds of positive impacts on the human body. Consuming just one glass of beet juice per day has been found to lower systolic blood pressure by several points, while also lowering chances of heart disease and artery damage overall. Nitric oxide found in beets relaxes and dilates blood vessels, increasing blood to the brain and…

FROM THE PANTRY: Move over Goldfish, delicious cheesy snacks for adults

We still love the classic cheesy fish-shaped, lava orange colored cracker, but as an adult you have the freedom to choose your own crunchy cheese snack. Exercise that right without creating a million reasons to then have to go and exercise. If you can’t eat gluten, you would have to pass on the Goldfish anyway. Maybe you need vegan, or a lower sodium option. In the vast, nameless world of online food shopping, you’ve hit a happening cheesy oasis full of adult options. May we suggest:  Baked White Cheddar Cheese Puffs Yep, they like to share the joy with this friends – especially when it’s made with the natural goodness of stone ground corn and Real cheese! So, hop on the couch, invite some friends over, and start crunching on the ultimate guilt-Free snack. Gluten-free Cheese Bites Crackers Schar gluten-Free Cheese Bit’s. Wheat-Free. Naturally cheese flavored crackers. Cheddar baked snacks. Gluten-free…

Try these wines at your next backyard barbecue

Barbecue season is in full swing, but there’s no reason why beer should be the only alcohol available to guests in your backyard. July and August are the perfect time for wine-soaked weekend cookouts. Since these late summer days can be scorchers, it’s important to find wines that will keep you feel refreshed and not contribute to your heatstroke (be careful out there!). BBQ wines also need not be expensive — chill summer nights don’t sit well with anything too stuffy. The search can be difficult, but wines ready for grill days are out there. Here are a few of my favs — whites, rosé, and reds, too! Clos Beylesse Cotes De Provence Rosé 2016 You’ll find nothing more refreshing at a backyard summer soiree than a glass of chilled rosé. Readily available in most wine stores throughout American and Europe, this soft yet zesty wine is extremely light and delicious. $26 Bieler Family Daisy Pinot…

Keep Coffee Beans Cool for maximum flavor

A new study claims that keeping coffee beans cold can cause a more enjoyable drinking experience. Scientific Reports published the study titled The Effect of Bean Origin and Temperature on Grinding Roasted Coffee. Scientists  from the University of Bath in the UK found that “cooling of coffee beans significantly decreases the rate of mass loss through volatile sublimation/evaporation. This, coffee that is ground up and brewed cold could potentially demonstrate increased aroma and or flavor in the eventual brewed cup.” Chilling pre-ground coffee beans would have the same effect. The study goes into great detail explaining the scientific processes that you can read here, but the true take-away for coffee fans is that you should be keeping your beans in the fridge for best flavor and more enjoyable mornings. Enjoy every morning with healthy breakfast options from everybodycravespantry.com. 

Artificial sweeteners won’t help you lose weight, study finds

Listen up Diet Coke drinkers. Artificial sweeteners have given artificial hope to those looking for weight loss. For years, brands like Sweet ‘N Low and Splenda have claimed to be better for consumers than their real sugar crystal counterpart. It was said, the synthetic substitutes would give you the sweet-tasting foods and beverages you crave, without the extra calories, weight gain, or other negative health issues. But over time, research has reveled that it’s not so simple. While we’ve been questioning the validity of sugar substitutes for some time now, a new scientific review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) on Monday, shows that not only is there no solid evidence supporting the weight-managing health claims of sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose, but those who regularly consume these alternatives are more likely to develop health problems in the future. For the 25 percent of children and 41 percent of adults who consume these sweeteners at…

Germans ditching pork heavy diets

Germans have steadily been reducing their consumption of pork products in recent years. New research shows that the once sausage-loving country has been slowly switching to a more plant-based diet. Traditionally the largest pig-producing and pork-eating country in Europe, the Germans intake of pig products is down to just 79 pounds per personal annually — a drop from 86 pounds per person — a plunge of about 10 percent nationwide, according to the Agricultural Market Information Co. (AMIC). Pork still makes up more than half of the mean eaten in the country, but demand for products like ham and sausage has continued to drop for the past three straight years, reflecting a change in German attitudes about modern social and environmental concerns. The change is credited a growing awareness about healthier diets, as well as the environmental damages caused by large scale animal agriculture. Shop healthy pig-free grocery products at everybodycravespantry.com.

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce

It’s a classic combo that never disappoints: Sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, basil, garlic and fresh mozzarella. This modern variation on those Old-World flavors is easy to make, but tastes like something you would order at your favorite Italian restaurant. Be sure to serve with some slices of crusty bread to soak up the creamy mozzarella sauce. The fresher the ingredients, the better your dish will be. Since it’s summer, definitely go for fresh basil — maybe grown in your own yard. And pro tip: always spring for fresh cheeses, particularly parmesan. Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Tortellini with creamy spinach and cheese sauce Serves 3-4: 30 minutes Ingredients 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes separated from oil (I like to visit my local grocer’s antipasto bar for freshness) 2-3 tbsp oil (drained from sun dried tomatoes, see above) 4-5 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 big handfuls of spinach (about 3-4 ounces) 1 and 1/4 cup half and half…

Where to score Free French Fries on National French Fry Day

Would you like fries with that? Today, the answer is YES! Today marks the celebration for one of America’s favorite comfort foods, National French Fry Day (July 13), so grab your favorite ketchup — Heinz, obviously — and head to one of these french fry hot spots and take advantage of the select starchy freebies. McDonald’s: Use the Golden Arch’s app to score free medium fries today and every day through Sept. 7. Arby’s: Curly fry lovers can get excited over this offer. Order a Brown Sugar Bacon Sandwich and get a free order of fries — free drink, too! Bob Evans: Free sweet potato fries appetizer if you click on the Free Fries tab on the company’s Facebook page and print the coupon. Dairy Queen: Get an order of fries for just $1 today. May I suggest ordering a chocolate milkshake while you’re there for dunking? Chickie’s & Pete’s: Crabfries at $1 at…