Thursday, November 25, 2010

Put Healthy Induldence on Your List this Holiday Season

(ARA) - Pie, cookies, peppermint - you name the sweet, and it's surely no stranger to the holiday season. For many, this time of year means extra indulgence and, consequentially, extra inches added to the waistline. You may be surprised to learn, though, that you can enjoy holiday goodies in a healthy way by incorporating ingredients like dried fruit, nuts and whole grains.

Indulging every now and then is important to any healthy lifestyle. The key is to eat in a healthful way that not only satisfies your craving for sweets and comfort foods, but also adds nutritional value to your diet. Spending time as a family in the kitchen baking up tasty holiday treats can also be a great way to learn about cooking delicious and healthy foods. Pick out some new recipes to try this winter and work as a family to choose tasty ingredients that boost nutrients, such as dried fruits and nuts. Follow these healthy baking tips from Sunsweet Growers and learn how easy making healthy choices can be, while still satisfying your need for a little indulgence:

Healthy Baking Tips
* Try using whole wheat flour. Whole wheat adds both fiber and magnesium to your diet.

* Add sweetness and texture with dried fruits. Try mixing in a dried fruit blend for both great flavor and added nutrition.

* Go nuts. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios, are a heart-healthy addition to holiday baking.

* Substitute fruit purees for oil or butter. Pureed prunes make a great swap for fat-laden oils.

* Glaze, don't frost. A simple glaze can be the sweet topper to a delicious dessert and will save nearly double digits in fat grams over butter-rich frostings.

To get started, serve up this new, healthy holiday classic for brunch, incorporating nutrient-rich dried fruits for added flavor and nutritional value. Try adding Sunsweet Antioxidant Blend, a delicious mix of dried blueberries, red tart cherries, cranberries and plums, delivering important vitamins and minerals at only 130 calories per serving. This holiday season, join Sunsweet and Recipe For Togetherness in the Play Scratch, Bake & Win! contest where you can win one of several pre-paid debit cards. For more healthy recipes, visit

Whole Wheat Berry Chocolate Loaf

2 cups whole wheat flour
2 envelopes Fleischmann's RapidRise Yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup milk
4 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (5 ounces) Sunsweet Antioxidant Blend or Dried Cherries
3 ounces chopped bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts, optional

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 3 tablespoons very hot water

Combine whole wheat flour, undissolved yeast, sugar and salt in a large mixer bowl.  Heat milk and butter until very warm (120 to 130 F). Add to flour mixture with eggs and beat on medium speed with electric mixer until smooth and elastic, about three minutes. Gradually stir in all-purpose flour. Add dried fruit, chocolate and nuts (if desired). Spread batter in two greased 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pans, filling each half full. Let rise in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled, about 45 to 60 minutes. Bake in preheated 325 F oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool 20 minutes on wire rack. While the bread is cooling, prepare glaze by combining powdered sugar and vanilla extract and mix until smooth. Pour glaze over top of each loaf and continue to cool. Serve at room temperature.

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