Go Beyond Pecan Pie this Festive Season

When deciding which dishes to serve this year at festive season gatherings, consider going beyond traditional recipes and use beloved seasonal ingredients in new ways.

For example, while pecan pie is top of mind for many dessert-makers, it’s also a perfect time to make new dishes with an ingredient like pecans, also known as The Original Supernut. Naturally sweet and nutritious, the pecan lends itself to nearly endless festive season menu inspiration.

It hasn’t been an easy year for the pecan industry, but you can support American pecan growers and #PledgePecans – that’s a promise to add one more pecan-friendly recipe beyond the pie to your table this holiday.

To pledge, visit Americanpecan.com/PledgePecans and click on seasonal recipes or watch the Pecan-A-Thon, an entertainment variety show spotlighting the growers behind the Supernut and showcasing ways pecans can be enjoyed this festive season.

Pecan-Crusted Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream Sauce

Horseradish Cream Sauce (optional):

  • 1          cup low-fat sour cream
  • 1/4       cup horseradish, grated
  • 1          tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2       lemon, juice and zest only
  • 2          tablespoons fresh chives, finely sliced
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 1          boneless prime rib roast (8-10 pounds)
  • 1          tablespoon, plus 1/4 teaspoon, kosher salt
  • 2          teaspoons fresh black pepper, plus additional for pecan topping
  • 1          cup raw pecan pieces
  • 3          tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3          tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/2       cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2          tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8          garlic cloves, divided
  • 2          tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
  1. To make Horseradish Cream Sauce: In small bowl, combine sour cream, horseradish, mustard, lemon juice and zest, and fresh chives; add salt and pepper, to taste. Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead of time and refrigerated.
  2. Season prime rib with 1 tablespoon salt and pepper; let sit at room temperature 1 hour.
  3. To make pecan topping: Heat oven to 325° F. In food processor, process pecans, rosemary, thyme, breadcrumbs, butter, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon mustard, remaining salt and pepper until combined. Set aside.
  4. Cut small slits in fatty side of prime rib; stuff with remaining garlic. Rub remaining mustard over top of prime rib and apply pecan topping, making sure to press firm.
  5. Transfer prime rib to roasting pan. Place rib roast in lower-third of oven, insert digital probe thermometer in middle and loosely cover top of prime rib with foil so pecans don’t burn. Cook 1 1/2 hours, remove foil and continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 120° F.
  6. Allow prime rib to rest covered 30 minutes so juices can redistribute. Serve with Horseradish Cream Sauce, if desired.

Pecan Apple Stuffing

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1          pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil or pecan oil
  • 1          yellow onion, diced
  • 3          celery stalks, chopped
  • 3          garlic cloves, minced
  • 12        ounces herb-seasoned cubed stuffing
  • 2          cups tart apples, chopped
  • 1 1/2    cups pecan halves
  • 1          cup chicken broth, plus additional (optional)
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon black pepper
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Grease large casserole dish or 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In large skillet, brown sausage, breaking into crumbles. Drain on paper towels. Discard excess grease.
  3. In same pan over medium heat, add olive oil. Saute onions, celery and garlic 2-3 minutes, or until starting to soften and fragrant.
  4. In large bowl, mix sausage, onion mixture, stuffing cubes, apples and pecans.
  5. Add broth and stir to combine. If stuffing mixture remains dry, add additional broth as desired. Season with salt and pepper; stir to combine.
  6. Transfer stuffing to prepared baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes. (Family Features)

American Pecan Council

Fight the Cold with Better-for-You Comfort Foods

Few things go together quite like cold weather and comfort foods. However, those hearty dishes that are typically craved on blustery days are usually not classified as “healthy.”

With the right approach, though, you can put a better-for-you twist on some of your favorite dishes that can keep you cozy and satiated during the winter season. For example, you can put a grown-up twist on grilled cheese and tomato soup with this recipe for Creamy Tomato and Roasted Pepper Soup with Cheddar Cracker Melts.

Pairing flavorful seasonal dishes like soups and stews with a wholesome snack cracker like gluten-free, non-GMO Crunchmaster Tuscan Peasant Crackers can help satisfy those comfort food cravings while also contributing to a healthy lifestyle. With 20 grams of whole grains per serving, these crunchy, robust baked crackers are also cholesterol-free, allowing you to take a back-to-basics approach to your diet using simple ingredients and no artificial flavors or colors.

For other seasonal recipes, coupons, tips and nutritional information, visit crunchmaster.com.

Creamy Tomato and Roasted Pepper Soup with Cheddar Cracker Melts

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Servings: 6

Creamy Tomato and Roasted Pepper Soup:

  • 2          tablespoons olive oil
  • 1          onion, chopped
  • 1          carrot, chopped
  • 3          cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1          teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2       teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2       teaspoon paprika
  • 1          pinch chili flakes
  • 4          cups organic no-salt-added vegetable broth
  • 1          can (28 ounces) no-salt-added diced tomatoes
  • 1          cup chopped prepared roasted red peppers
  • 2          bay leaves
  • 1/3       cup 35 percent heavy cream
  • 2          tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives, divided
  • 1          teaspoon cider vinegar

Cheddar Cracker Melts:

  • 24        Crunchmaster Tuscan Peasant Fire Roasted Tomato Basil Crackers
  • 3/4       cup shredded cheddar cheese
  1. In Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat, heat oil. Cook onion, carrot, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, pepper, paprika and chili flakes about 5 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly softened.
  2. Stir in broth, tomatoes, roasted red peppers and bay leaves; bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Discard bay leaves. Let cool slightly. Transfer to blender; puree in batches until smooth. Stir in cream, remaining salt, 1 tablespoon chives and vinegar.
  3. To make Cheddar Cracker Melts: Heat broiler to high and position rack in center of oven. Arrange crackers on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with cheese. Broil 1-2 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
  4. Divide soup among six bowls. Sprinkle with remaining chives and serve with Cheddar Cracker Melts.

Tip: Use mild, medium or aged cheddar cheese. Smoked mozzarella can be substituted, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: 250 calories; 15 g fat; 7 g saturated fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 730 mg sodium; 22 g carbohydrates; 2 g fiber; 11 g sugar; 6 g protein. (Family Features)


White Hot Chocolate

When it’s cold outside, start up the fireplace, get your favorite slippers on, wrap up in a warm blanket and snuggle on the couch with this delicious White Hot Chocolate. Find more recipes at Culinary.net.

White Hot Chocolate

  • 3 cups Half & Half
  • 2/3 cup white chocolate baking pieces
  • 1 3 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • Ground Cinnamon (optional)
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  1. In a medium saucepan combine 1/4 of the half & half, white chocolate baking pieces, cinnamon stick and nutmeg. Stir over low to medium heat until white chocolate is melted.
  2. Add remaining half & half. Stir and cook until heated through. Remove from heat. Discard cinnamon stick.
  3. Add in vanilla and almond extract. Stir until mixed through.
  4. Pour into your favorite mug(s). Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

Watch video to see how to make this delicious recipe!

Recipe adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.


Una Fiesta Llena de Sabor

Comida, familia y tradiciones navideñas

Una tamalada o fiesta para hacer tamales, es una tradición navideña que se lleva a cabo durante Las Posadas y combina dos de los ingredientes más importantes de la temporada – tiempo de calidad con la familia y comida deliciosa.

Considera estos tips de Sylvia Garza de Qué Mami Organics para ayudar a que tu tamalada sea fácil y divertida.

  • Comida: Antes de iniciar con la tamalada, prepara los ingredientes que requieran tiempo y trabajo adicional. Por ejemplo, si vas a usar chiles asados, ásalos y pélalos un día antes, quitando las semillas y cortados para usarlos fácilmente al día siguiente.
  • Familia: Cuando llevas a cabo una tamalada, ofrece comida o refrigerios para compartir con tus invitados. Preparar docenas de tamales puede tomar todo un día, así que querrás mantener a tus ayudantes bien alimentados.
  • Sabor: Al preparar los tamales, agrega un ingrediente como Salsa Tabasco Chipotle a tu masa. No solo podrás agregar un toque ahumado de sabor, pero también le da a la masa un tono dorado muy atractivo. También puedes mezclar la salsa con tu relleno para un sabor más rico y un toque de picante.

Encuentra más recetas deliciosas en Tabasco.com.

Tamales de Calabacita y Elote

Receta cortesía de Sylvia Garza de Qué Mami Organics

Rinde: 16 tamales

  • 30        hojas grandes de maíz, ablandadas


  • 3          taza de harina para masa (harina de maíz)
  • 2          cucharaditas de polvo para hornear
  • 2          cucharaditas de sal
  • 2 1/3    tazas de caldo de verduras, caliente
  • 1/2       taza de mantequilla sin sal, ablandada
  • 1/2       taza de manteca vegetal


  • 1          cucharada de aceite de oliva
  • 1/2       cebolla morada pequeña, picada
  • 1          diente de ajo, picado finamente
  • 3          tazas de calabacita, picada en cubos
  • 1          tomate, picado en cubos pequeños
  • 1/4       cucharadita de orégano seco
  • 1          cucharadita de sal de mar
  • 1          taza de elote blanco dulce
  • 4          cucharadas de cilantro, picado finamente
  • 5          onzas de Qué Mami Organics Red Enchilada Sauce
  • 2 1/2    cucharadas de Tabasco Pepper Sauce
  • 8          onzas de queso Monterrey Jack, cortado en tiras de ½ onza
  1. Para preparar las hojas: sumerge las hojas de maíz en agua caliente. Coloca una olla pesada sobre las hojas para mantenerlas sumergidas durante por lo menos 1 hora. Una vez que se puedan manejar, enjuaga las hojas de maíz.
  2. Para preparar la masa: En un recipiente hondo grande, mezcla la harina de maíz, el polvo para hornear y la sal de mar. Usando las manos, incorpora el caldo de verduras caliente para obtener una masa firme. En la batidora, mezcla la mantequilla y la manteca vegetal hasta obtener una consistencia suave y agrega la masa en cantidades pequeñas hasta incorporar bien todos los ingredientes. Continúa mezclando a una velocidad media baja durante 5 minutos, raspando la masa de las orillas del recipiente hondo. Reserva la masa.
  3. Para preparar el relleno: En un sartén grande sobre fuego medio, calienta el aceite de oliva; saltea la cebolla morada y el ajo hasta que estén traslucidos. Agrega el tomate, el orégano seco y la sal de mar; continúa mezclando durante 1 minuto. Agrega el elote y el cilantro picado. Mezcla y continúa cocinando durante aproximadamente 2 minutos más; la calabacita debe estar cocinada al dente. Retira el relleno y colócalo en un recipiente hondo resistente al calor.
  4. En un recipiente hondo pequeño, combina la salsa para enchiladas y la salsa de chile Tabasco. Agrega la mitad de la salsa en el relleno; mezcla bien. Reserva el resto de la salsa.
  5. Para hacer los tamales, esparce 2 cucharadas de masa en el extremo ancho de cada hoja de maíz. La masa se debe extender a lo largo de las hojas de maíz, excepto a 1 pulgada a los lados y 3 pulgadas del extremo angosto de la hoja.
  6. Con una cuchara, toma aproximadamente 1 cucharada del relleno de calabacita y elote y colócalo al medio de la masa. Agrega una cucharadita de la salsa reservada sobre el relleno y coloca una tira de queso encima del relleno y salsa. Dobla el lado derecho de la hoja de maíz sobre el relleno y junta y ciérralo con la masa. De manera apretada, dobla el lado izquierdo de la hoja de maíz y dobla el extremo angosto de la hoja de maíz. Usando hojas de maíz restantes, corta tiras y amarra cada tamal para asegurar.
  7. Coloca los tamales verticalmente, con el extremo del relleno hacia arriba, en una vaporera con suficiente agua para cocer a vapor durante 40 a 45 minutos. Cubre los tamales con hojas de maíz adicionales para guardar el vapor, y cubre todo con la tapa de la olla. Los tamales estarán listos cuando la masa se separe fácilmente de las hojas del maíz. Agrega agua a la olla según sea necesario para cocer al vapor durante más tiempo.
  8. Deja que los tamales se enfríen durante 10 minutos antes de abrirlos. Retira las hojas de maíz antes de servir. (Family Features)


Festive Season Foods with Heightened Flavor

Festive season hosting is all about providing guests a cozy atmosphere, good company and, quite often most importantly, food that tastes as good as it looks. While mixing and matching quality ingredients for dishes that appeal to the crowd is key to achieving successful seasonal flavors, you can take it a step further with the kitchen equipment used to craft those crave-worthy meals.

Cookware that boosts the flavor profiles of festive season dishes can take your hosting to the next level, and these recipes from chef Chris Scott of soul food restaurant Butterfunk Kitchen highlight the importance of the tools you use.

Served as the main course, Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables and Apples combines the savory taste of pork with sweet apples for classic complementary flavors. Paired with Scott’s Cauliflower Rice and Beans, this menu offers flavors that both comfort and surprise. That enjoyment can be heightened by the cook’s experience when he or she uses equipment like Anolon Accolade Cookware to bring the dishes to life. Made with metal strategically placed where it’s most needed for efficient heat distribution and optimized cooking results, the cookware’s triple-layer nonstick coating inside and out translates to easy food release and cleanup, ensuring the delight lasts from cooking to clean-up.

Whether enjoyed as dessert or a morning treat, Cinnamon Rolls with Dried Cranberries and Pecans serve up a combination of soft, warm dough with a pecan crunch to satisfy each guest’s sweet tooth.

For those festive season delights that require time in the oven, an option like the Anolon Eminence Bakeware line provides heavy-duty steel construction and rolled rims for even heating, durability and warp resistance for an elegant and sophisticated look that’s as practical as it is appealing.

Find more festive season recipes and kitchen solutions at anolon.com.

Pan-Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Vegetables and Apples

Recipe courtesy of Chris Scott on behalf of Anolon Cookware

Yield: 4 servings

  • Anolon Accolade Saute Pan
  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1          pork tenderloin (8 ounces), cleaned
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 3          carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 2          apples, cut into wedges
  • 4          baby bliss potatoes, halved
  • 1          leek, cleaned and halved
  • 3          cups apple cider
  • 1/4       cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4       cup brown sugar
  1. Heat oven to 400° F. Heat saute pan over medium-high heat; add olive oil. Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper, to taste, and sear on all sides until brown.
  2. In same pan, add carrots, apples, potatoes and leek. Reduce heat to medium and cook 3 minutes until vegetables have some color.
  3. Deglaze pan with apple cider, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar.
  4. Put pan in oven and cook 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven.
  5. Remove pork from pan and let rest on cutting board. Put saute pan with vegetables and liquid back in oven 3 minutes until liquid is reduced and syrupy. Vegetables should be well glazed when finished.
  6. Slice pork and plate. To serve, place glazed vegetables and pan drippings over meat.

Cinnamon Rolls with Dried Cranberries and Pecans

Recipe courtesy of Chris Scott on behalf of Anolon Cookware

Yield: 24 cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon Rolls:

  • Anolon Accolade Saucepan
  • 2          cups milk
  • 1/2       cup water
  • 1/2       cup butter
  • 1/3       cup cornmeal
  • 2          teaspoons salt
  • 7          cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 2          packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 2          eggs


  • 2          cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/2       cup butter
  • 1/2       cup milk
  • 1          cup chopped pecans


  • 1/4       cup butter, softened
  • 2          tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2       cup sugar
  • 1          cup dried cranberries
  • 1          cup chopped pecans
  1. To make Cinnamon Rolls: In saucepan, combine milk, water, butter, cornmeal and salt; bring to boil, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool to 120-130° F.
  2. In separate bowl, combine 2 cups flour and yeast. Add cooled cornmeal mixture and, using mixer, beat on low until smooth. Add eggs and 1 cup flour; mix 1 minute. Stir in remaining flour, as necessary, to form soft dough.
  3. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  4. To make Topping: In saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter and milk; bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Pour into greased baking pan. Sprinkle with pecans; set aside.
  5. Heat oven to 375° F.
  6. To make Filling: Punch dough down, divide in half. Roll each half into rectangle; spread with softened butter. Combine cinnamon and sugar; sprinkle heavily over butter. Sprinkle cranberries and pecans over top. Roll up dough from one side. Pinch seams and turn ends under. Cut each roll into 12 slices. Place slices cut-side down in baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
  7. Bake 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool about 1 minute. Invert onto serving platter.

Festive Season Cauliflower Rice and Beans

Recipe courtesy of Chris Scott on behalf of Anolon Cookware

Yield: 8 servings

  • Large Anolon Accolade Skillet
  • 1          large head cauliflower
  • 1/4       cup butter
  • 1/2       cup black eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1          tablespoon Cajun seasoning
  • 2          tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 1/3       cup dried cranberries
  • 1          cup roasted butternut squash, diced
  • 1          tablespoon fresh chopped sage
  1. Wash and thoroughly dry cauliflower; remove all greens.
  2. Use box grater and grate into “rice.”
  3. Using skillet, heat butter until melted and beginning to become toasty. Add cauliflower rice and cook until soft, constantly stirring. Add black eyed peas, Cajun seasoning and parsley; stir and cover with lid. Reduce heat to low and cook 5 minutes. Add dried cranberries, roasted butternut squash and sage.


The Shaker33 is a Game Changer in the Cocktail Game!

InFluentials, we want to introduce you to the latest innovation in Cocktail Shakers – the Stainless Steel Shaker33. With its BPA-Free, stainless steel design, Shaker33 is revolutionizing the art of mixing drinks.

We’re excited to share a few features of Shaker33:

Stainless Steel Shaker33 Cocktail Shaker

  • Made of lightweight acrylic and finished in stainless steel
  • Shatterproof BPA-free Tritan™ plastic
  • 24 oz. large format to enable large cocktail batches to be mixed at once
  • Leak-proof featuring an easy-to-open, lockable lid with a Dual Flow strainer for a slow or quick pour
  • Low condensation- chills drinks, not hands
  • Non-slippery and one-handed mixing capability
  • Top rack dishwasher safe
  • MSRP $39.95
  • Shaker33 is available at Shaker33.com

According to James Nelson, Technology Editor of InFluential Magazine, Spanish InFluential, and Teen InFluential, “The Skaker33 is revolutionary.  The packaging is stylish and captivating and definitely makes for a great gift.  Shaker 33 is easy to handle and is perfect for making one perfect cocktail or many with a single use.  Skaker33 looks great when stored in the bar area awaiting our next use.  Shaker33 is a definite game changer in my cocktail game.”

Festive Season Inspiration for Every Occasion

The festive season is full of opportunities to eat, drink and gather around the table with the ones you love. Whether it’s a family dinner, office potluck or neighborhood brunch, good food is a cornerstone of nearly every great festive season celebration.

From hosting guests to kids returning home on winter break, the festive season can require more planning than usual. Ensure you’re prepared this year with a savory centerpiece staple like Smithfield Spiral Sliced Ham or a crowd-pleasing favorite like Bacon French Toast Bake, giving you more time to soak in the best parts of the season.

To keep the festive season fresh and exciting, consider putting a twist on a classic, like adding sausage to a traditional side dish like Sausage and Ciabatta Stuffing. Available as links, patties and rolls, Smithfield’s line of Fresh Breakfast Sausage is made using premium, high-quality pork to provide big flavor that can be enjoyed any time of day.

For more recipes and tips that can help make your festive season soiree a breeze, visit Smithfield.com/HolidayHub.

Bacon French Toast Bake

  • 1 small loaf challah or brioche bread, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • nonstick cooking spray
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 slices Smithfield Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar, for dusting
  1. Leave bread slices out, at room temperature, at least 3 hours, or until slightly stale.
  2. Generously coat 9-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Arrange bread, slightly overlapping.
  3. In large bowl, whisk eggs, heavy cream, milk, Gruyere cheese, maple syrup and cinnamon. Add chopped bacon, saving 2 tablespoons for later. Pour over bread in baking dish. With hands, press down on bread to submerge.
  4. Cover baking dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 5 hours, or overnight.
  5. Heat oven to 375 F. Remove plastic. Sprinkle remaining bacon and Swiss cheese over top of bread mixture.
  6. Bake 45-50 minutes, or until golden brown and set.
  7. Top with blackberries and dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Sausage and Ciabatta Stuffing

  • 1 large loaf ciabatta bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 pound Smithfield Fresh Sausage Roll
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups onion, diced
  • 2 cups celery, diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary
  • salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Heat oven to 325 F.
  2. Bake ciabatta bread cubes until lightly toasted, about 15 minutes. Set aside. Increase oven temperature to 375 F.
  3. In skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.
  4. Cook sausage, breaking meat into medium pieces, until browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer sausage to large bowl; set aside.
  5. Add remaining butter to skillet; cook carrots, onions and celery until soft, 5-7 minutes, and transfer to bowl with sausage.
  6. In large bowl, mix bread cubes, chicken broth, olive oil, parsley, rosemary and salt and pepper, to taste. Add vegetable and sausage mixture to bread cubes mixture and combine.
  7. Spread evenly in greased 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown and bread is slightly crisp on top, 30-35 minutes.
  8. Garnish with additional parsley before serving.

Tip: Recipe can be made one day before and refrigerated overnight. (Family Features)


Nine ADA-Approved Ways to Bring “Hygge” Home (and into Your Kitchen) This Fall

Fall is the time for bonfires, comfort food, and everything that is “hygge.” These tips from the American Diabetes Association will help you embrace and perfect the Danish art of coziness.

          Maybe you’ve heard of hygge. It’s the (uber-trendy) Danish concept of coziness, pronounced “hoo-gah.” Now that fall is here, with its crunchy leaves, cooler weather, and gloomy evenings, you may want to curl up by a fire and embrace all things hygge. The American Diabetes Association wants in on the action. Its new cookbook, full of your favorite comfort foods, can help you healthfully indulge in some craveable hygge fare.

          “Comfort foods are very hygge,” says Howard Rosenthal, chief food officer and spokesperson for Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites (American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95). “Yet when they’re traditionally prepared, these foods aren’t always good for you. That can be a problem if you’re one of the 30 million people in the U.S. with diabetes.

          “The good news is, where there’s a will to eat comfort foods, there’s a way to make them more healthful,” he adds.

          That’s why the Mr. Food Test Kitchen team and the ADA partnered to create Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites. This cookbook contains over 130 classic comfort food dishes reimagined to include the flavors you crave minus the extra fat, carbs, and calories you don’t need. Easy-to-follow instructions mean you can prepare these dishes without spending hours in the kitchen (the recipes call for convenient, off-the-shelf ingredients). Beautiful full-page photos accompany every recipe so you can “eat with your eyes” before savoring your first bite.

          Best of all, every recipe has been evaluated and approved by the American Diabetes Association. NOTE: Please see attached sidebar for a sample recipe from Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites.

          Ready to celebrate hygge this fall—both in and out of the kitchen? A few tips:

Give your favorite cool-weather comfort foods a healthy makeover. Better-for-you versions of the foods you grew up eating are just the turn of a page away with Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites. When you’ve got a little time, sit down and leisurely flip through the cookbook to choose your meals for the following week. Plenty of recipes incorporate fall harvest foods like apples, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and beets.

Light candles at the dinner table (and everywhere else). “Candles add warmth and glow to any room and create a welcoming atmosphere,” says Rosenthal. “So turn down the harsh overhead lighting and light unscented candles at the dinner table.” (You can also use them in other rooms of your home—just remember to be responsible about candle safety, of course!)

Set your table for every meal. Speaking of the dinner table, make it beautiful at every meal by setting a full table each time you sit down to eat. Set out placemats, cloth napkins, and use platters and serving dishes to hold the fold. Remember, you eat there several times a day, so you might as well make the experience as inviting as possible.

Get together with family and friends. Spending time with your loved ones is a very hygge way to have fun. Invite people you love over for a home-cooked dinner followed by board games, crafts night, or to watch a fun movie together.

Enjoy a hot drink. “Sip a hot drink anytime you want to infuse a little extra hygge into your day,” says Rosenthal. “A coffee, a chai latte, or a cup of Earl Grey tea is a perfect way to warm up, whether you’re sitting in your living room, exploring a local fall festival, or picking apples at a nearby orchard.”

Intentionally relax. Stress and depression are real concerns for people with diabetes. So make sure that mindful relaxation and stress relief are part of your daily life. Set aside a little quiet time every day to stop and be still. You can meditate, listen to a guided relaxation track, or simply let your mind wander (as long as it sticks to pleasant thoughts).

Cozy up to a good book or TV show. “A great story is captivating and entertaining,” says Rosenthal. “So when you have time—say, on a weekend or quiet weeknight—get lost in a book, TV show, or film that you’ve been looking forward to. It’s a great way to take a mini vacation from the ‘real world’ and recharge your batteries.”

Wrap up in a fluffy blanket. On cold evenings, spread a thick, fuzzy blanket over your bed for added warmth and comfort. You can also add throw blankets to your sofa and recliners as well.

Take a long, relaxing nature walk. Throw on a jacket, grab your family or friends, and head into the great outdoors. Find an unexplored nature trail to wander along or go for a gentle mountain hike as you take in the sights and sounds all around you.

          “No matter how you choose to celebrate hygge this fall, remember to have fun and enjoy yourself,” concludes Rosenthal. “Creating a life you love is an important component to good health, whether you have diabetes or not. And finding ways to add an extra touch of coziness here and there can only enhance your happiness and safeguard your wellness. So have fun with hygge, enjoy the fall, and keep pursuing your very best life.”

Autumn Pork Chops

Excerpted from Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites
(American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95)

Serves: 4, 1 pork chop with ¼ cup sauce per serving
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes

1 tablespoon canola oil
4 (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops, well-trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup pitted prunes, sliced
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1 onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup water
Brown sugar substitute equal to 2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil until hot. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper, then cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until browned.

Add remaining ingredients to skillet. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes or until pork is cooked to medium (145°F) or until desired doneness. Serve each topped with sauce (about 1/4 cup).

Did You Know? 

We add apple cider vinegar to this dish for two reasons. The first is that the acid in the vinegar reacts with the brown sugar, creating a pungent, sweet, and tangy sauce. The second is that it also helps break down the fibers in the pork, allowing the sauce to penetrate it and giving it more flavor.

2 Fruit, 3 Lean Protein, 1 Fat

Calories 300
Calories from Fat 100
Total Fat 11.0 g
Saturated Fat 2.8 g
Trans Fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 60 mg
Sodium 340 mg
Potassium 740 mg
Total Carbohydrate 29 g
Dietary Fiber 4 g
Sugars 20 g
Protein 23 g
Phosphorus 215 mg

About the Mr. Food Test Kitchen: 

The team at Mr. Food Test Kitchen proudly presents Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites (American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95). Celebrating more than 40 years of helping America get dinner on the table, the Mr. Food Test Kitchen produces a daily nationally syndicated television segment with an audience of more than four million. Beyond that, you can find their quick & easy recipes on MrFood.com and EasyDiabeticRecipes.com. The Mr. Food Test Kitchen has published more than 60 best-selling cookbooks, including five with the American Diabetes Association. Recently their licensing division has partnered with several national companies to create an extensive line of Mr. Food Test Kitchen-branded kitchen products. For more information, please visit www.mrfood.com.

About the Book: 

Mr. Food Test Kitchen’s Guilt-Free Comfort Favorites (American Diabetes Association, September 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40690-1, $22.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.

Punch It Up this Festive Season

If you are looking to host an unforgettable festive season cocktail party, punch can make a memorable impression on your guests and bring your get-together to the next level.

Punch reached the height of its popularity during the Victorian Age. Originally made with alcohol, it ultimately became a non-alcoholic drink largely due to the preference of Queen Victoria. Over the following decades, it faded in popularity, briefly regaining favor in the 1920s when champagne punch was a hallmark of parties and celebrations.

Now, as new generations are reinvigorating old favorites and enjoying the art of mixology, punch is trending again.

Start by making punch a visual centerpiece at your festive season party. Consider a charming drink dispenser, an unusual punch bowl or an elegant glass pitcher. Let your personal and unique style shine through with your choice of glassware and table decorations and offer a variety of garnish selections for your guests to further personalize their glasses.

Typically, punches start with a blend of sweet and tangy, and you can get that “swangy” taste with an option like Tree Top’s 100% Pure Pressed Sweet & Tart Apple Cider as a base. For inspiration, take a mixologist’s approach to creating a memorable punch. Lemon, cinnamon and cloves not only spice up the flavor but can also double as decorations. Try ginger beer for a nice fizzle, and for an adult-only punch, consider adding vodka or rum.

Your punch table can be a place to gather and reconnect with loved ones while enjoying a trending festive season beverage. Find more recipes perfect for entertaining at treetop.com.  (Family Features)

Swangy Cider Punch

Servings: 10 (8 ounces each)

  • 1 bottle (64 ounces) Tree Top 100% Pure Pressed Sweet & Tart Apple Cider
  • 16 ounces ginger beer
  • 2 oranges, juice only
  • 1 lime, juice only
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 1 cup vodka or light rum (optional)
  • 1 sliced Granny Smith apple
  • 6 star anise pieces, plus additional for garnish (optional)
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • frozen cranberries, for garnish (optional)
  • colored sugars or ginger crystals, for garnish (optional)
  1. In punch container, combine apple cider, ginger beer, orange juice, lime juice, lemon juice and vodka or rum, if desired, for an alcoholic version.
  2. Decorate container with apple slices, star anise pieces, cloves and cinnamon sticks.
  3. Personalize each serving with additional star anise pieces, frozen cranberries and sugars or ginger crystals, as desired. Serve cold.

Photo courtesy of Alamy

Tree Top

Have a Happy, Healthy, Delicious Holiday  (with a Little Help from The Diabetes Cookbook) 

Don’t let the holidays derail your healthy diet. The American Diabetes Association’s latest offering, The Diabetes Cookbook, has got you covered with simple, delicious recipes for the holidays and beyond.

         The holidays will be here before you know it. That means soon homes everywhere will be overflowing with cornucopias, tinsel and holly, and the enticing aromas of your favorite holiday dishes. But if you’re one of the 30 million people in the U.S. with diabetes (or one of the 84.1 million people with prediabetes), indulging in too many traditional holiday dishes and treats can be anything but festive. In fact, it can be outright dangerous. That’s why the American Diabetes Association’s newest cookbook offers diabetes-friendly recipes perfect for festive celebrations.

          “Traditionally prepared holiday foods are full of comfort, but they also tend to be full of fat, carbs, salt, and sugar,” says Registered Dietitian Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton, coauthor of the American Diabetes Association’s newest offering, The Diabetes Cookbook: 300 Recipes for Healthy Living Powered by the Diabetes Food Hub (American Diabetes Association, November 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40680-2, $24.95). “Luckily, the flavors you associate with this time of year can be transformed into healthier dishes that taste as decadent as ever.”

          “Even if you have diabetes, prediabetes, or you’re just trying to manage your weight, you don’t have to miss out on the celebration,” adds coauthor Chef Jennifer Bucko Lamplough, MBA. “Now you can still enjoy holiday favorites like roasted turkey, veggies, and mashed potatoes—and no holiday dinner would be complete without pumpkin-flavored treats.”

          The Diabetes Cookbook is a great source for healthy meals suitable for any time of the year. It is full of visually appealing recipes that taste as incredible as they look. Designed to make healthy eating easier, realistic, and delicious, it offers hundreds of recipes and meals tested on people living with diabetes and their families. It is also the only cookbook to take into account a variety of healthy eating patterns that appeal to everyone, with or without diabetes, including gluten-free, flexitarian, Mediterranean, low-glycemic, low-carb, grain-free, and dairy-free recipes. And with its beautiful photographs, and simple yet delicious recipes, the hardcover cookbook makes a great gift idea for anyone on your holiday shopping list.

          Keep reading for a diabetes-friendly holiday menu from The Diabetes Cookbook that is sure to satisfy you and your loved ones.

Roasted Turkey and Vegetables

Serve this dish with roasted sweet potatoes. It’s a great option for the holidays if you don’t want to cook the entire bird!

Prep time: 15 minutes | Cook time: 60 minutes | Serves: 6 | Serving size: 4 ounces turkey and ½ cup vegetables | Recipe cost: $11.85

Nonstick cooking spray
2 stalks celery, chopped
3 small or 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 head cabbage, chopped
5 sprigs fresh thyme
1 cup fat-free low-sodium chicken broth
2 1/2 pounds bone-in turkey breast half
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon salt-free all-purpose seasoning (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Toss all the vegetables and thyme together in a bowl and place in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the chicken broth over the vegetables.

Remove the skin from the turkey breast. Place it breast side up on top of the vegetables. Drizzle the turkey and vegetables with the olive oil and sprinkle them with seasoning and ground black pepper.

Roast the turkey and vegetables in the oven 1 hour or until the internal temperature of the turkey is 165°F.

When the dish comes out of the oven, set the turkey aside on a cutting board to rest. Remove the thyme stems and stir the vegetables.

Slice the turkey and serve with the vegetables.

Choices/Exchanges: 2 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 4 Lean Protein

Nutrition Facts
Calories 210
Calories from fat 25
Total fat 3.0 g
Saturated fat 0.8 g
Trans fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 90 mg
Sodium 170 mg
Potassium 610 mg
Total carbohydrate 10 g
Dietary fiber 3 g
Sugars 5 g
Protein 35 g
Phosphorus 305 mg

Sweet Potato Soufflé

Looking for a new sweet potato dish to serve your guests during the holiday season? This sweet potato soufflé is just the ticket!

Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 75 minutes | Serves: 12 | Serving size: ½ cup

Nonstick cooking spray
3 pounds whole sweet potatoes, washed and dried
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-calorie brown sugar blend
(such as Splenda)
1/4 cup low-sugar (or freshly squeezed) orange juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup shelled walnut pieces
2 tablespoons buttery spread (such as Smart Balance Buttery Spread Original)
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a deep 8-inch round or square casserole dish with cooking spray. Set aside.

Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange the washed and dried whole sweet potatoes (with the skins on) on the sheet and coat generously with cooking spray. Bake 50–60 minutes or until tender (check their tenderness by spearing the largest one with a paring knife or fork).

Remove sweet potatoes from the oven and peel off the skin. In a large bowl, combine (or blend with a mixer) the roasted sweet potatoes with 1/4 cup brown sugar blend, orange juice, and salt. Set aside to cool.

Using a food processor or chopper, grind the walnuts, flaxseed, and 2 tablespoons brown sugar blend together until it is the consistency of wet sand. Add the buttery spread to the mixture and pulse to incorporate (do not overmix or it will turn into a paste). Set aside.

Combine egg whites and cream of tartar in a large glass or metal bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed or with a stand mixer using the whisk attachment until egg whites form soft peaks with tips that curl over when the beaters are lifted.

Working in batches, incorporate 1/3 of the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture using a large flat rubber spatula, gently folding them in until combined. Repeat this process two more times until all the egg whites are incorporated into the sweet potatoes.

Pour sweet potato soufflé mixture into the prepared casserole dish and top with the walnut mixture.

Place the soufflé in the oven and bake at 400°F for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and continue to bake 15 more minutes. Serve hot.

Note: The soufflé may deflate a little bit after baking, so it’s best served immediately but is still okay to hold in a warming oven for service.

Chef Tip: Do not open the oven during baking or the soufflé may not rise as high as it should.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Verify that the ingredients you are using are gluten-free and this dish can be gluten-free.

Choices/Exchanges: 1 Starch, ½ Carbohydrate, 1 Fat

Nutrition Facts
Calories 160
Calories from Fat 50
Total fat 6.0 g
Saturated fat 0.8 g
Trans fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 170 mg
Potassium 480 mg
Total carbohydrate 25 g
Dietary fiber 4 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein 5 g
Phosphorus 75 mg

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Prep time: 5 minutes | Cook time: 45 minutes | Serves: 5 | Serving size: 6 Brussels sprouts

These Brussels sprouts are low in broth calories and carbohydrates, which means they may be helpful for controlling blood glucose. Roasting enhances their flavor.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound frozen Brussels sprouts, thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 slices turkey bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.

Place Brussels sprouts in a bowl and add oil; toss to coat.

Add pepper and turkey bacon and mix well.

Place Brussels sprouts on a baking sheet and bake 25–30 minutes or until crisp on the outside.

MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE: Make sure the bacon is gluten-free and this recipe can be gluten-free.

Choices/Exchanges: 1 Nonstarchy Vegetable, 1 ½ Fat

Nutrition Facts
Calories 100
Calories from Fat 60
Total fat 7.0 g
Saturated fat 1.1 g
Trans fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 90 mg
Potassium 290 mg
Total carbohydrate 7 g
Dietary fiber 4 g
Sugars 2 g
Protein 4 g
Phosphorus 90 mg

Pumpkin Pudding Parfait with Gingersnaps

This no-cook dessert is a great substitute for pumpkin pie—and it’s only 100 calories! For a quick, healthy, delicious pumpkin dessert, look no further—this pudding parfait is amazing and ready in minutes. You can substitute light whipped cream for the Greek yogurt here if desired.

Prep time: 20 minutes | Serves: 7 | Serving size: 1 parfait

1 (1-ounce) package fat-free, sugar-free instant cheesecake pudding mix
1 2/3 cups skim milk
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt, divided
7 gingersnap cookies, crumbled

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the pudding mix and milk 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes.

Fold in the pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Fold in 1/2 cup of the yogurt and refrigerate 10 minutes.

Scoop 1/2 cup pudding mixture into a parfait glass. Top with 1 heaping tablespoon of the remaining yogurt and 1 crumbled gingersnap cookie.

Repeat procedure for remaining 6 parfaits.

Choices/Exchanges: 1 Carbohydrate, ½ Fat

Nutrition Facts
Calories 100
Calories from fat 15
Total fat 1.5 g
Saturated fat 0.5 g
Trans fat 0.0 g
Cholesterol 2 mg
Sodium 250 mg
Potassium 240 mg
Total carbohydrate 16 g
Dietary fiber 1 g
Sugars 7 g
Protein 6 g
Phosphorus 215 mg

          “This year you don’t have to forgo the seasonal dishes you always look forward to,” concludes Rondinelli-Hamilton. “With a few easy modifications, you can feast on diabetes-friendly holiday meals without sacrificing your health. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving.”

About the Authors: 

Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton, RD, CDE, counsels a wide variety of people?from those wanting to lose weight to others trying to better control their diabetes or cholesterol. Her role is to educate people on the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but also to help them incorporate it into real life with healthy eating and cooking.

Jennifer Bucko Lamplough, MBA, and Chef, is working to help solve hunger by working with food pantries, soup kitchens, and meal programs in northern Illinois to not only distribute meals, but to provide nutrition education in those settings. She continues to work as a cooking demonstrator, teaching people how to cook healthy and showing that it can be delicious and easy!

As a team, Chef Jennifer Bucko Lamplough and Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton have written two previous books for the American Diabetes Association?The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook and the best-selling Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking?and developed hundreds of recipes for the Association’s healthy eating programs, many of which are appearing here for the first time in print. For more information, please visit www.diabetesfoodhub.org or www.diabetes.org.

About the Book: 
The Diabetes Cookbook: 300 Recipes for Healthy Living Powered by the Diabetes Food Hub (American Diabetes Association, November 2018, ISBN: 978-1-580-40680-2, $24.95) is available at bookstores nationwide and from major online booksellers.