Friday, June 21, 2013

Healthy, Light Dose of Antioxidants for Summer

It is officially summer, and that means time for refreshing light foods.  The warm comfort foods sometimes do not seem as appealing when hot weather arrives.  What a great time to focus on incorporating more produce into the diet.  I encourage you to try Stemilt cherries or any sweet cherry!  Sweet cherries are among the top 20 foods with the highest concentration of antioxidants.

Cherries contain anthocyanin, an antioxidant that gives cherries their bright red color, and which may help to protect the heart and prevent plaque build-up.  Cherries are a natural source of melatonin, which aids sleep patterns; Act as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory for arthritis and gout; Have 3g of fiber and 16% of your daily vitamin C in one serving; Have only 90 calories in one cup.

Summer means for many that more time is spent outside and less time in the kitchen!  The good news is that sweet cherries are easy to use, like other produce. They can be added to salads, prepared as a fresh fruit salsa, can be frozen for later use, made as a sauce or preserve, added to muffin and breads and can be enjoyed simply by the handful!

This information is not intended as medical advice.  Please consult a medical professional for individual advice.


For those of you who still enjoy your comfort foods despite the hot weather, this one will be sure to satisfy you!

  • 4 cups pitted sour cherries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (choose lite)
  • 3 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into small pieces (Try Smart Balance Omega-3 or Promise)
  • 1 egg white
To Make Filling:
In a 2-quart saucepan over medium heat, combine cherries, maple syrup, tapioca, and cinnamon. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cook and stir occasionally for 10 minutes.
To make the Crust:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place flour in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in the egg white. Place on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth ( 30 seconds). Reserve 1/4 cup of the dough. Place remaining dough on cutting board and roll into a 9” circle. Fit the dough into a pie plate. Fold under the excess pastry, and flute the edges. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork, bake for 10 minutes. Roll reserved dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut out decorative shapes. Place cherry filling into pie crust and arrange decorative cutouts on top. Sprinkle sugar on edge of crust and decorative cutouts, if desired. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition Information per serving:
216 calories; 3g protein; 39g carbohydrate; 9g fat; 15mg cholesterol; 70mg sodium; 2g fiber