Paula Recommends ...Winter Squash w/ Mushrooms & Sage

This perfect winter side dish is a simple yet unexpected combination of techniques and flavors. First roasted, then sautéed with shiitake mushrooms, it is finished off with fresh sage, bringing out the sweetness of the squash. Winter squashes, like Butternut, are excellent sources of vitamin A, good sources of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and carotenoids. This simple sauté is just one of many ways this winter staple can be enjoyed. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

3 cups cubed butternut squash, ½-inch (1 lb.)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 oz. package fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt to taste
4 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a medium-sized bowl or zip lock bag, toss squash with 1 Tablespoon olive oil.
3. Arrange butternut squash on baking pan. Roast until fork tender, about 25-30 minutes. Set aside.
4. In large skillet, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and pinch of salt and sauté 4 minutes.
5. Add sage leaves and continue sautéing 2 minutes.
6. Mix in squash. Continue to sauté another minute.
7. Season to taste with pepper and serve warm garnished with cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition Information: Per serving: Calories 121; Total Fat 7g; Sat Fat 1g; Sodium 25mg; Carbohydrate 14g; Dietary Fiber 2.5g; Protein 2.5g

Wake Up Call: The Health Benefits of Coffee

From Healthline

Excerpt: "Not only can your daily cup of joe help you feel more energized, burn fat and improve physical performance, it may also lower your risk of several conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. In fact, coffee may even boost longevity.

...For people who eat a standard Western diet, coffee may be one of the healthiest aspects of their diet. That's because coffee is high in antioxidants. (Some) studies show that many people get more antioxidants from coffee than from fruits and vegetables combined. In fact, coffee may be one of the healthiest beverages on the planet."

For the complete article, including more on how coffee can fight depression and make you happier, drastically improve physical performance, help you burn fat, improve energy levels and make you smarter and even lower the risk of certain types of cancer, click here.


The Mighty Pomegranate

From Huffington Post |  By Dr. Nalini Chilkov

 "Greek myths tell us that pomegranates, the fruit of Persephone, can guarantee a return to spring each year. And modern science tells us that pomegranates may indeed be a fruit of the Goddess in its capacity to alter cancer cell growth in a multiplicity of ways.

There are hundreds of studies on pomegranate and cancer. Cancer physiology is complex. Remarkably, constituents of this ruby red fruit speak to a number of significant pathways in the development and growth of cancer cells. Some researchers say that pomegranates and pomegranate juice have the potential to prevent cancer growth. Most of the research has been done on breast cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer."

For the complete article, including the five reasons to include pomegranates in an anti-cancer diet, click here.

For information on the anti-aging properties of pomegranates, click here.



Paula Recommends ...Stuffed Zucchini Cups

Inspired by Middle Eastern cuisine, these zucchini ‘cups’ are filled with meat, onion, and rice and cooked in tomato sauce. In addition to offering a good balance of protein, carb, fat and fiber, this dish is a delicious, plant forward meal providing lycopene (cooked tomatoes), quercetin (a flavonoid and one category of antioxidant compounds - onion), as well as manganese, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and selenium (garlic). - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

3 medium zucchinis, ends trimmed
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
⅔ cup chopped yellow onion, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided (or less/to taste)
1 28-ounce can (about 3½ cups) crushed tomatoes, divided
8 ounces 95% lean ground beef
½ cup uncooked medium-grain white rice
1 teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground cumin
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint leaves

1. Cut zucchinis into 1½-2 inch rounds. Hollow out the center of each round to make it look like a cup, leaving about 1/8” flesh at the bottom of the cup.
2. Dice the removed flesh.
3. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add zucchini flesh and ⅓ cup onion.
4. Sauté for 3 minutes, then add garlic and ½ teaspoon salt.
5. Sauté for 1 minute, then stir in 2½ cups tomatoes. Turn off heat.
6. In a medium mixing bowl, add remaining ⅓ cup onion, ½ teaspoon salt and 1 cup crushed tomatoes, along with ground beef or turkey*, rice, allspice and cumin. Stir to combine.
7. Spoon the filling into each zucchini cup to the top and place each cup in the tomato sauce, meat side up.
8. Cover skillet, turn heat to low and simmer for 55 to 60 minutes or until a food thermometer reads 160°F when placed in the center of the stuffed zucchinis.
9. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh mint immediately before serving.

Makes 5 servings

Nutrition Information: Per serving: Calories 260; Fat 8.5g; Sat Fat 1.9g; Sodium 466mg; Carbs 34g; Fiber 5.4g; Protein 17g

*Ground turkey breast lowers the calories and fat grams as follows: Calories 246; Fat 6.6g; Sat Fat 0.9g

Berry Good!

From Bottom Line Personal  |  By Bill Gottlieb, CHC

Excerpt:  "Berries Are So Powerful Even Scientists Are Stunned:  If you were asked to make a list of “superfoods”—nutrient-loaded foods that effectively fight disease—you’d probably include items such as kale, beans, walnuts, broccoli, green tea, wild-caught salmon…and berries.

What few people realize: As a superfood, berries—blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries and the like—are in a class by themselves. They can be more health-giving than medications or supplements, according to experts at Harvard Medical School and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The antioxidants in berries—anthocyanins, the compounds that give these fruits their lustrous colors—deliver a pure dose of prevention and healing to the brain, heart and every other system and cell in the body. And you don’t have to eat a bushelful to get the benefits."

From heart health, to sharpening your brain to fighting cancer, here’s what you need to know about the amazing power of berries."

For the complete article, click here. 

Paula Recommends ...Simple Turkey Chili

This recipe combines ground turkey, canned kidney beans and plenty of seasoning for a surprisingly light chili with tons of flavor. It's even better the second day. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist 

1 1⁄2 teaspoons olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey
1 onion, chopped
2  cups water
1 (28-ounce) can canned crushed tomatoes
1 (16-ounce) can canned kidney beans
1 (1- ounce) can pinto or black beans – drained, rinsed and mashed
1  Tablespoon garlic – minced
2  Tablespoons chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
2. Place turkey in the pot, and cook until evenly brown.
3. Stir in onion, and cook until tender.
4. Pour water into the pot.
5. Mix in tomatoes, kidney beans, and garlic.
6. Season with chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, salt and pepper.
7. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.

Nutrition Information: Per serving: Calories 200. Total Fat 2.4g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium 483mg, Total Carbs 25.3g, Dietary Fiber 7.0g Protein 21.5g.

Go Nuts for Nuts

From American Institute for Cancer Research 

Excerpt: "Eating nuts at least four times a week may reduce the risk of cancer overall, including colorectal cancer, when compared to eating nuts less than once a week, finds a new analysis of the research. The analysis focused on the effect of nuts on both cancer risk and type 2 diabetes.

Researchers found 36 studies on the topic overall, including observational, clinical trials, and case controls.

After comparing people who ate the most nuts (typically at least 4-5 times per week) to those who ate the least (typically 1 time per week or less), the study found that the high nut eaters had 15 percent lower risk of cancer overall. In specific cancers, they found lower risk for colorectal, endometrial and pancreatic cancer."

For the complete article, click here.

6 Proven Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

From Healthline  | by Kris Gunnars, BSc

Excerpt: For centuries, vinegar has been used for various household and cooking purposes. It is also an ancient folk remedy, claimed to help with all sorts of health problems. The most popular vinegar in the natural health community is apple cider vinegar.

It is claimed to lead to all sorts of benefits, some of which are supported by science. This includes weight loss, lower blood sugar levels and improved symptoms of diabetes and even cancer prevention.

Here are 6 health benefits of apple cider vinegar, that are supported by scientific research.

For the complete article, click here.

Paula Recommends ...Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Reduction

A wonderful selection of vegetable sides completes any  feast and this one is perfect for the fall. It's simple and oh, so delicious! Brussels sprouts and fresh pomegranate seeds are also both rich in cancer-fighting antioxidants which help protect the body against inflammation. - Paula Meyer, Mission Training Center Nutritionist


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed and halved
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Fine sea salt to taste
1 cup pomegranate juice
1⁄4 cup sugar (can be maple, brown, date, coconut or granulated)
Pomegranate seeds*

1. Position the baking rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 425 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with oil and a few pinches of salt.
3. Spread the Brussels sprouts over a shallow baking pan and roast for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until the sprouts are lightly browned and crispy.
4. While the Brussels sprouts are roasting, in a small saucepan combine the pomegranate juice with the sugar and set over medium heat, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. When the liquid comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium low and gently simmer until the liquid is reduced to one quarter of the original amount and is thick and syrupy, about 25 minutes.
5. Toward the end, watch the reduction carefully – it can go from thick to burned in a matter of seconds. Transfer the reduction to a cooling rack and let it come to room temperature. Do not refrigerate.
6. Drizzle the reduction over the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Makes 4 servings.

*Note: To remove the seeds from the pomegranate: Cut fruit in half, not through stem end; fill large bowl with cool water and submerge the pomegranate, skin side up/seeds facing bottom of bowl, and gently push on the skin sides with your thumbs, dislodging seeds into the water. As you gently use your fingers to nudge seeds out of pod, they will drop to the bottom of the bowl, pith will float to the top, and no messy red spots all over the kitchen! Skim the pith off the top of the bowl of water before draining seeds into colander.

Nutritional info (per serving): Calories 170; Fat 5.5g; Sat Fat 0.5g; Carbohydrates 30g; Protein 2.5g; Dietary Fiber 2.5g; Sugar 22g (2/3 comes from natural sugar provided by the fruit and juice); Sodium 60mg