Guess what time of year it is? Strawberry picking time. For today’s Try-It Thursday, we have some tips to maximize your strawberry experiences and a few yummy strawberry recipes to try.

From Healthy South Dakota (healthysd.gov) here are a few tips to maximize your strawberry experiences:

  • Don’t wash your strawberries until just prior to consumption. Without an outer skin to protect the fruit, strawberries will spoil much faster if they’re washed and stored for more than a day before use. Make sure they’re thoroughly washed if purchased from the grocery store- high amounts of pesticides are required to commercially produce strawberries. Use a vinegar-based rinse to remove these chemicals.
  • Phytonutrients found in strawberries can have an anti-inflammatory effect within the body. Strawberries also contain some of the highest levels of nitrates found in any fruit, and can greatly increase muscular oxygen intake if consumed prior to physical activity. Coincidentally, strawberries are also high in Vitamin C, which inhibits potentially harmful byproducts that can form after excess nitrate consumption!
  • Strawberries are one of the most popular fruits to add to salads. The tart/sweet balance compliments meaty flavors like poultry and pecans, savory ones such as bleu cheese, and sharp ones found in vinaigrette dressings.

Berry Walnut Salad

  • 3 tablespoons whole buttermilk
  • 1 ounce goat cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 cups spring mix salad
  • 1 cup quartered strawberries
  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons toasted chopped walnuts

Combine buttermilk, goat cheese, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add spring mix, strawberries, blueberries, and walnuts; toss.

Recipe Source: http://www.cookinglight.com/recipes/berry-walnut-salad

Strawberry-Chicken Salad with Pecans

  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups halved strawberries, divided
  • 2 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted
  • 1 ounce reduced-fat feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/4 cup)

Combine 1 tablespoon oil, vinegar, honey, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk. Add 1 cup strawberries, tossing to coat. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.

Heat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Brush chicken with remaining 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle evenly with remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, salt, and paprika. Add chicken to pan; cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; let stand 5 minutes. Cut across the grain into slices.

Divide spinach, remaining 1 cup strawberries, and onion between 2 plates. Top evenly with chicken slices and strawberry-balsamic mixture. Top each serving with 1 1/2 tablespoons pecans and 2 tablespoons cheese.

Recipe Source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-chicken-salad-pecans

Strawberry Cheesecake Pops

  • 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated low-fat milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 10 ounce strawberries, hulled
  • 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs

Combine milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat; cook 3 minutes. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl; gradually add milk mixture, whisking until smooth. Stir in yogurt and vanilla. Cool completely.

Place corn syrup, juice, and berries in a blender; process until smooth. Divide half of cream cheese mixture among 6 (4-ounce) ice-pop molds. Top with strawberry mixture, followed by remaining cream cheese mixture. Stir slightly with a skewer. Freeze 4 hours or until solid.
Unmold ice pops; dip tips in graham cracker crumbs.
Recipe Source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/strawberry-cheesecake-pops

Are you traveling for your summer vacation? If so, don’t leave your healthy lifestyle at home. Here are 5 tips to set you up for healthy choice success.

  1. Pack a Cooler with snacks, sandwiches, and drinks. Here are some healthy travel snack ideas.
    1. Dried fruit and nut mix. Easy to make your own mix or purchase ready-made. If purchasing ready-made, check the ingredients and choose the mixes with no added sugars.
    2. Sandwiches are great snacks. From the ol’ fashion peanut butter and jelly to a deli meat and cheese. Health tip: Make with whole wheat bread.
    3. Fruit. Apples, bananas, oranges, berries are all great options. Freeze some grapes ahead of time to have a cool treat.
    4. Veggies. Slice up peppers, cucumbers, and carrots for a crunchy snack. Time-saving tip: most delis have pre-cut veggies ready to go.
    5. Cheese slices
    6. Yogurt cups
    7. Small bags of pretzels or baked chips
    8. 100% Juice boxes, water, low-fat milk, unsweetened ice tea
  2. Plan your rest stops. Yes, I know we just want to get to our destination, but taking scheduled breaks reduces travel fatigue and helps little one’s get rid of a bit of energy. Health Tip: Pack a frisbee to play at the rest stop.
  3. Stay hydrated. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times. Your body will thank you. Travel Tip: Freeze a few bottles of water and use them as ice packs for your cooler. When you’re ready for an ice cold bottle of water…you’ll have one with you.
  4. Make sure to bring a safety kit. Include such items as hand sanitizer, bandages, antiseptic, bug spray and sunscreen. Travel Tip: You can purchase first aid kits or make your own. If you make your own~fishing tackle boxes make great containers.
  5. Finally, Enjoy and have fun. You’ve worked hard for your vacation. Create some memories…

Happy Try-It Thursday!

We know what a challenge it can be to get our kids to eat healthy snacks. Here are some ideas to make your job a little easier:

 Frog prince pancake with fruits

 

Funny pancake

 

Butterfly Sandwiches

 

Ants on a log. Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins.

 

Fruit dessert for child with kiwi, banana and orange

 

Spider pizza with pepperoni and olives for kids

 

Fresh summer fruits on sticks. 

 

A fish shaped sandwich

 

Fresh watermelon popsicles with blueberries

 

Pancakes with Berries

 

Chicken Salad Critters

Did you know June is #Men’s Health Month? This month there is heightened awareness on preventable health problems, early detection, and treatment of diseases impacting men and boys.

What We Know:

  1. Currently, men are dying an average of 5 years younger than women and lead 9 out of 10 of the top causes of death.
  2. Men are at greater risk for death in every age group. More males than females are born (105 vs 100), but by age 35, women outnumber men.
  3. Men have a higher suicide death rate than women. Men account for 92% of fatal workplace injuries.
  4. Women are 100% more likely than men to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventative services.
  5. 1 in 2 men are diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime compared with 1 in 3 women.

“Recognizing and preventing men’s health problems is not just a man’s issue. Because of its impact on wives, mothers, daughters, and sisters, men’s health is truly a family issue.” — Congressman Bill Richardson (May 1994)

Stay Healthy with these Tips:

Eat Healthy.

Start by taking small steps like saying no to super-sizing and yes to a healthy breakfast. Eat many different types of foods to get all the vitamins and minerals you need. Add at least one fruit and vegetable to every meal.

Get Moving.

Play with your kids or grandkids. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do yard work. Play a sport. Keep comfortable walking shoes handy at work and in the car. Most importantly, choose activities that you enjoy to stay motivated.

Make Prevention a Priority. Many health conditions can be detected early with regular checkups from your healthcare provider. Regular screenings may include blood pressure,

Many health conditions can be detected early with regular checkups from your health care provider. Regular screenings may include blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, prostate health and more.

Source: http://www.menshealthmonth.org/

 

Nearly 70 percent of all drownings involving canoes, kayaks, or rafts might have been avoided if the victim had been wearing a lifejacket.

My husband and I recently purchased Kayaks for our 31st wedding anniversary. Last Sunday we took our Kayak’s to Lake Alvin to try them out. I thought I did some research on Kayaking safety tips. Here is what I learned:

  1. Don’t drink alcohol and paddle. The two just don’t mix.
  2. Always wear a life jacket on the water. (After one trip on the lake, I quickly learned that the life jacket we purchased for me, isn’t going to work, so before we go out again, I will be visiting a sporting goods store.)
  3. Always dress for the conditions. Cold water represents the biggest hazard because immersion in cold water can quickly lead to hypothermia. Now if you are going to be paddling in cold or cooler water, you need to be more conservative with all your decisions, and you need to paddle in calm conditions, close to shore and never alone.
  4. Choose an appropriate paddling location for your skill level. The ideal kayaking environment has protection from wind and waves, a good access point for launching and landing, lots of places to go ashore and minimal motorized boat traffic. Look for calm bays or quiet lakes and river ways without noticeable current.
  5.  Practice in safe conditions with instructors or expert paddlers to expand your personal performance.
  6. Be aware of how changing weather affects paddling, and plan accordingly. For canoeists and kayakers, air temperature is less important than wind speed and direction. And while rain can be a nuisance, lightning is dangerous. Have an exit strategy at all times. If a fast-moving thunderstorm appears, where is the nearest safe landing? Don’t wait for bad weather. If you sense a change for the worse, get off the water right away.
  7. Choose a brightly colored life jacket and paddling clothing that will make it easier for others to see you on the water.
  8. Carry a light, especially if there’s a chance you’ll be on the water early or late in the day. High visibility strobes and running lights are available at your local paddling shop.
  9. Never assume that power boaters can see you. Avoid high-traffic areas whenever possible, and proceed with caution when you can’t avoid them.
  10. Learn the ‘Rules of the Road’ that govern all boat traffic, from kayaks to container ships. Knowing these simple rules will help you anticipate where other boats will go, and allow you to stay out of trouble.

Here is a great tip that I found at http://www.americancanoe.org

Share Your Plan

Telling a trusted friend where and when you plan to paddle ensures that someone will know where to send help if you get into trouble.

Make it Routine

Keep a basic float plan on your computer or phone, and make a habit of filling it out and send – ing it to a friend every time you paddle. Include the Four Ws

  • Who: Your name and the name of everyone paddling with you.
  • Where: Your planned put-in, takeout and pad – dling route.
  • When: Your estimated launch and return time—and when to notify authorities if you don’t check in as scheduled.
  • What to Do: A plan for what to do if you don’t return or check in as scheduled.

For more safety informaton on kayaking, go to http://www.americancanoe.org

Remember…Be Smart…Be Safe…Have Fun!