3 Reasons To Eat More Cranberries (You’ll Be Surprised)Written by Kelsey Blackwell | Monday, December 19th, 2016

Sure, cranberries are good, especially when they’re not gelatinized into a formidable side dish, but do you know exactly how good? Recent research suggests that the humble cranberry could pack more of a punch than you know. This holiday favorite may offer a host of unexpected benefits beyond its already impressive nutritional profile. Here are a few reasons why we love delicious, organic cranberries.
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Cranberries fight bacterial infections.

This may not come as news since cranberry pills and juice are commonly used to treat the bacterial infection that leads to uncomfortable urinary tract infections. Now scientists are discovering that the berry’s bacterial-fighting powers could be beneficial for treating other types of bacterial infections (think, strep throat, food poisoning caused by e. coli and meningitis). The phytochemicals in cranberries disrupt pathogens’ ability to move about the body and adhere to other cells.

Cranberries can protect your pearly whites.

Proanthocyanidine, a compound found naturally in cranberries, is shown to prevent plaque. This is the sticky substance that naturally collects on teeth, traps acid and leads to tooth decay and gingivitis. Proanthocyanidine is so beneficial for dental health that doctors are currently working on a mouthwash featuring the compound. Consider adding 100 percent cranberry juice to your diet to reduce plaque by up to 50 percent.

Cranberries contribute to gut health.

If you’re not familiar with the gut microbiome, it may be time to get better acquainted. This mini-ecosystem in the body is made up of thousands of microbes, which play a big role in regulating the health of the immune system and brain. These microbes also help the body balance energy and use carbohydrates and fat. Research shows that cranberries may support microbiome health by strengthening gut defense systems and protecting against infection – meaning they can help keep many important systems running smoothly. That’s big!

To get the most out of your fruit, avoid cranberry products that contain high-fructose corn syrup or unhealthy sweeteners.  Made In Nature Organic Cranberries are moist, sweet and free of refined sugars. We add just a touch of apple juice concentrate so you can snack in confidence.

If you need suggestions for cranberry snacking beyond grabbing handfuls from the bag, here are our favorite recipes.

Cranberry Mole
Granola with Cranberries and Raisins
Dried Apple Cranberry Conserve
Dried Cranberry & Apricot Braised Lamb Chops
Cranberry, Oatmeal & White Chocolate Cookies

Make your holiday feast a snap with these time-saving tipsWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

No one likes spending extra time in the kitchen toiling away behind the stove or scrubbing mountains of dirty dishes. But during the holidays when friends and family take over the house, such activities may seem unavoidable. We understand since we spend plenty of time in the kitchen all year long developing recipes featuring our organic fruit. Just because a dish looks like it takes hours doesn’t mean it actually should. From our test kitchen to yours, use these tips to streamline meal prep and cleanup and spend more time doing what your really want to do this holiday season.

When you’re cooking …

1. Start with mise en place. This French term literally translates to “putting in place.” Prepare your  ingredients before you begin cooking. That means chopping, pulling out spices and of course designating counter space. Not only is this a great way to save time while cooking but it also makes the process much less stressful.

2.  Keep a sink of soapy water. You may not have time to clean as you go, so let a sink of soapy water do the heavy lifting for you. Dishwasher loading becomes a snap.

3.  Put away your groceries. If you’re the one cooking, takeover unloading groceries.  This is the best way to ensure you know where everything is as you prepare for mise en place. It’s no fun knowing you bought something but having no idea where it is. We’ve been there.

4.  Keep valuable utensils handy. Next to the stove fill a mason jar with the tools you most often use like spatulas, tongs, wooden spoons and rubber scrapers.

5.  Sharpen your knife.  Sharp knives are safer and they work much better. Keep a knife sharpener on hand and use it often.

 

Easier ingredient prep …
These commonly used ingredients are a snap to prepare with these tips from the pros.

* For easy whip cream, shake ingredients in a cool mason jar.

* Slice avocadoes in the skin to make cubes. It makes them even easier to mash into guacamole.

* Put a dish towel or damp paper towel under your cutting board to keep it from slipping.

* Grate frozen butter straight into flour when make pastry dough for even distribution.

* Instantly core a head of iceberg lettuce by slamming it down on a cutting board.

* Add a pinch of baking soda to onions to caramelize them in half the time.

* To keep cheese from sticking to your grater, coat it with a nonstick spray.

* To get more juice out of lemons and limes microwave them for a few seconds.

* For perfect potato wedges, use an apple slicer.

Do you have any go-to kitchen time savers that you rely on? We’d love to give them a try. Leave a comment below.

Three foods to always buy organicWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

We get it. Buying organic is expensive. If you’re on a budget, (and, who’s not?) it can be tough to always opt for products that carry the certification. Luckily, going organic isn’t an all or nothing proposition. By just starting with the foods your family eats regularly, you can significantly minimize their exposure to harmful pesticides, ingredients and hormones. To help you get started, here are 3 easy organic swaps well worth a few extra pennies and a healthier self.

Apples. The forbidden fruit is best left untouched if not organic. Apples regularly top the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list—the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues. Check here to see if any of the produce you regularly purchase made an appearance this year. Of course unless it’s organic, all fruits and vegetables are sprayed with potentially toxic herbicides and pesticides. Beyond the produce aisle, consider your family’s exposure to juices and frozen foods. We think the benefits of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables should always outweigh any potential costs which is why all Made In Nature products are 100 percent Certified Organic.

Peanut Butter: Before you smear peanut butter on that organic apple, double check to see that it’s also certified. Conventional peanuts are notorious for being high in pesticides and riddled with aflatoxin a carcinogenic fungus. You don’t have to worry about these concerns with organic peanut butters which are also typically lower in added sugar and free from hydrogenated oils.

Beef. How about growth hormones and antibiotics with that steak? If you’re eating conventional beef there’s a good chance your meat contains traces of both. Approximately two-thirds of U.S. cattle are given growth hormones. The EU banned the importation of hormone-treated meat back in 1988 due to potential health risks, so why is it still available here? Milk from hormone-treated dairy cows is associated with an increase in IGF-1, a hormone considered to be a high risk factor for breast, prostate, colon, lung, and other cancers.

Inhumane living conditions for cattle necessitate the use of antibiotics which are given regularly as a preventive measure. Experts suspect our consumption of livestock antibiotics may be one cause for the rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria—also known as superbugs.

Avoid these concerns by (you guessed it) simply looking for the organic seal.

Figs make everything taste better—10 ways to use themWritten by Susan Thanavaro | Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Summer is here which means we’re dreaming up all the ways we can dress up vanilla ice cream to cool off from the heat and enjoy this season. Sure, sprinkles and chocolate sauce are nice, but in the Made In Nature kitchen, we prefer to be more creative (and healthy) with our desserts. The blank slate of vanilla is perfect for showing off everything from slivered almonds to our new favorite, sautéed figs.

Here’s an easy recipe for our favorite sautéed figs, but it doesn’t just stop at ice cream and appetizers. Here are 10 other ways to incorporate figs into your summer diet.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZsSM_x45wc

Fig Bruschetta: Toast baguette slices. Top with sautéed figs and goat cheese. Arrange on a baking sheet, sprinkle with chopped olives. Broil until nuts begin to brown. Sprinkle with favorite herb. We like fresh Thyme.

Figgy Ice Cream: Top your favorite vanilla bean ice cream with sautéed figs. Sprinkle with pistachios for delightful crunch.

Fig stuffed pork tenderloin: Slice pork in half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Place between plastic wrap; pound to 1/2-inch thickness using a mallet or heavy skillet. Spread fig preserves and blue cheese over pork, leaving a 1/2-inch margin around outside edges. Roll up the pork like a jelly-roll, securing with twine as you go.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on a foil-lined jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 450° for 20 minutes.

Crunchy fig, endive spears: For an easy appetizer, separate endive spears and dress with fig preserves, blue cheese and walnuts.

Goat cheese, arugula pizza with figs: Top pizza crust with olive oil, goat cheese and sautéed figs. Broil until cheese begins to bubble. Take out and top with thin slices of prosciutto and caramelized onions. Let cool slightly and top with fresh arugula. Buon appetito!

Fig ricotta: Top ricotta cheese with sautéed figs, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with thyme for a classic Italian breakfast.

Grilled chicken salad with figs: Top spinach with grilled chicken breast slices. Add toasted walnuts, blue cheese and diced figs. Dress with olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Yogurt with figs: Top Greek yogurt (we like plain, Vanilla works great as well) with figs, crushed pistachios and a drizzle of honey.

Linguine with figs and pancetta: Sauté radicchio with prosciutto and diced figs. Add mixture to linguine, toss with feta cheese and chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add olive oil if the pasta is dry.

Chicken with fig sauce: Puree sautéed figs using a food processor and adding water as needed to desired texture. Serve on top of grilled or roasted chicken sprinkled with finishing pepper and rosemary for garnish.

 

What else can you do with figs? We think the possibilities are endless. Tell us about your favorite recipe in the comments section