50 Ways to Enjoy Arizona Pecans

By Jennifer Restuccio a recent ASU Nutrition Student

Arizona has some of the best fruits and nuts in the world. Dates, pecans, pistachios, and lemons are all coveted Arizona exports. In 2018 alone Arizona’s pecan production was worth over 52,170,000 dollars and 17,000 acres were used for harvesting pecans.

Pecans are a holiday favorite, but there is so much more than just pecan pie. If you have some pecans on hand and you’re feeling creative, here are some delicious recipes that break the mold.

If you aren’t a fan of pecans, let me remind you that they are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Pecans are also high in vitamin E, vitamin A, folic acid, iron, and magnesium. Give one of these recipes a try and I guarantee you will fall in love with the rich nutty flavor of pecans.

Scientific evidence even suggests that eating a handful of nuts a day helps lower cholesterol and can reduce the risk of developing heart disease as if you needed even more reasons to incorporate pecans into your diet.

Here are 50 unique recipes that will make you see pecans in a whole new light!

 

  1. Mini Pecan Monkey Bread Loaves
  2. Pecan Rice
  3. Slow Cooker Candied Nuts
  4. Grape Pecan Chicken Salad
  5. Carrot Pecan Cake
  6. Pineapple Pecan Cheese Ball
  7. Just Like LongHorn’s Strawberry Pecan Salad
  8. Pecan Tassies
  9. Pecan Raisin Bread
  10. Green Beans with Candied Pecans
  11. Alaska Salmon Bake with Pecan Crunch Coating
  12. Pecan Snowball Cookies
  13. Apple Pecan Cobbler
  14. Prickly Pear Pecan Bars
  15. Papaya Pecan Streusel Cake
  16. Maple Pecan Granola
  17. Millionaire Pie
  18. Baked Blueberry Pecan French Toast
  19. Southern Pecan Pie Coffee Cake
  20. Turtle Candy with Pecans and Caramel
  21. Cranberry Apple Pie with Pecan Shortbread Crust
  22. Pecan Meringue Cookies
  23. Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon Pecans and Maple Syrup
  24. Homemade Basil Pecan Pesto
  25. Pecan Crusted Pork Tenderloin
  26. Mama’s Sausage Pecan Balls
  27. Spaghetti and Pecan Meatballs
  28. Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
  29. Lentil Pea and Potato Curry
  30. Pecan Sweet Potato Bake
  31. Easy Banana Pecan Bread
  32. Pecan Chicken Casserole
  33. Chili Pecans
  34. Pan-Roasted Steak Pasta with Pecans
  35. Pear and Bleu Cheese Salad
  36. Chai Spiced Blackberry Muffins with Pecan Oat Streusel
  37. Cranberry Pecan Stuffing
  38. Pecan Smoked Chicken Wings
  39. Pecan Jam
  40. Louisiana Pecan Bacon Bread
  41. Apricot Pecan Cornbread Stuffing
  42. Oatmeal Pecan Muffins
  43. Pecan Crusted Tuna Steak
  44. Pumpkin Pecan Frozen Yogurt
  45. Berry-Pecan Cheesecake Bars (Keto)
  46. Wheat Berry Salad with Pecans and Craisins
  47. Clean Eating Butternut Pecan Quinoa Salad
  48. Candied Pecan Pear Salad with Pomegranates
  49. Pecan Applewood Smoked Turkey Breast
  50. Creamy Lentil and Pecan Cucumber Toppers

Sources:

https://ilovepecans.org/nutrition-in-a-nutshell/

https://agriculture.az.gov/plantsproduce/what-we-grow/tree-fruits-and-nuts

https://www.nass.usda.gov/Quick_Stats/Ag_Overview/stateOverview.php?state=ARIZONA

Looking for more fun articles? Check out the Fill Your Plate blog for new articles every week. For fun recipes to cook with the family, be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate recipe section.

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Water Does Wonders for Your Skin

By Alexandra Pettit AZFB Communications Intern

In a place like Arizona, water is a must to survive in the summer months but is also an added benefit in the winter months as well. During the winter and the summer, the weather is very dry, and our skin tends to suffer dryness, itchiness, and even cracked skin.

Our solution for this is to slap on some hand cream but what if there was a better option something that benefits both inside and out?

The Answer… Drinking water! Yes, it’s really that easy. If you are not getting enough fluids each day your body is not functioning properly which not only affects the inside but the outside as well.  IF you are drinking the recommended amount of water each day (10-12 eight oz cups) then you will feel better overall. Your skin will look brighter, less wrinkled, more elastic, and fuller. Staying hydrated can also lower the causes of acne and dry skin.

Now let’s be honest drinking 10-12 cups of water each day may not be an easy task, however, there are other ways to get your daily water intake. You can do this through fruits and veggies like Cucumber, Celery, Watermelon, and strawberries.

Having clear healthy skin is easier than you think. Water is a wonderful resource to make you feel wonderful inside and out. So, drink up and enjoy the benefits of water.

 

Looking for more health-related articles? Check out our Fill Your Plate blog where we post 3 times a week. Looking for some recipes to make the whole family happy? Check out our recipe section.

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50 Creative Ways to Eat Spinach

By Jennifer Restuccio, a recent ASU Nutrition Student

Spinach is in season! If you’re anything like I am, you love buying spinach but have trouble eating it before it goes bad. But, I must change my ways! Have you noticed how healthy this leafy green is for you and me?

Spinach is one of the healthiest leafy greens you can eat. It’s high in carotenoids, vitamin C, Vitamin K1, folic acid, iron, calcium, manganese, and magnesium.

Spinach is perfect for getting much-needed vitamins during winter. Vitamins A and C help strengthen the immune system and protect us from catching colds.

Many of us find it hard to incorporate spinach into our diets in a way that we enjoy. A plain spinach salad is something that few people look forward to eating. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather consume spinach in a dish that makes my mouth water!

There are so many ways to cook spinach that we wouldn’t normally think of without the help of the internet.

Whether you like spinach frozen, canned, or fresh, these recipes will help you get creative with your greens when you’re ready to eat them.

So, without further ado, here’s 50 ways to eat spinach!

  1. Spanakopita (Greek Spinach Pie)
  2. Spinach with Sesame and Garlic
  3. Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup
  4. Chickpeas and Spinach
  5. Spinach Lentil Soup
  6. Sautéed Spinach with Bacon and Onions
  7. Spinach and Rice (Spanakorizo)
  8. Broiled Oysters with Spinach and Brown Butter Hollandaise
  9. Spinach Turkey Meatballs
  10. Sautéed Spinach with Cranberries and Feta
  11. Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
  12. Spinach Alfredo Sauce
  13. Spinach and Tofu Salad with Peanut-Miso Dressing
  14. Spinach Tempeh Salad with Tahini Dressing
  15. Spinach Beef Macaroni Bake
  16. Simple Spinach Fruit Smoothie
  17. Spinach Red Lentil Bean Curry
  18. Strawberry Cucumber Spinach Salad with Apple Cider Vinaigrette
  19. Creamed Spinach Casserole
  20. Spinach Artichoke Zucchini Bites
  21. Garlic Lemon Spinach
  22. Crispy Spinach Chips
  23. Easy White Spinach Pizza
  24. Creamed Spinach Stuffed Salmon
  25. Greek Spinach Veggie Burgers
  26. Spinach and Carrot Curry
  27. Spinach Meatloaf
  28. Spinach Stuffing Balls
  29. Spinach and Prosciutto Frittata Muffins
  30. Creamy Spinach and Red Pepper Chicken
  31. Spinach and Bean Casserole
  32. Lemon Parmesan Spinach Risotto
  33. Creamy Spinach Turkey Enchiladas
  34. Baby Spinach Salad with Mandarin Orange and Red Onions
  35. Spinach Salad with Beets Candied Pecans and Goat Cheese
  36. Tomato Spinach and Basil Soup
  37. Instant Pot Spinach Dal
  38. Spinach and Cheese Bagel Strata
  39. Chicken Florentine with Spinach
  40. Sausage and Spinach Crustless Quiche
  41. Spinach and Feta Crockpot Lasagna
  42. Spinach and Mushroom Quinoa
  43. Brown Spinach Rice (Check Rice)
  44. Chickpeas and Spinach Tapas
  45. Sweet Potato Spinach and Bacon Breakfast Hash
  46. Roasted Butternut Squash with Onions Spinach and Craisins
  47. Gnocchi with Spinach and Pepper Sauce
  48. Southwestern Egg Rolls with Salsa Dipping Sauce
  49. Idaho Potato Spinach Balls
  50. Creamy Broccoli Spinach Soup with Greek Yogurt

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/spinach

 

 

For more awesome recipes be sure to check out the Fill Your Plate recipe section

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Apple Spice Cake

Alexandra Pettit AZFB Communications intern

Apple Spice cake is a quick and easy dessert perfect for any occasion. This recipe is easily made to be dairy-free by subbing out the butter for a plant-based option and the milk from another milk substitute.  My sister has a dairy allergy, so this is one of the deserts that are easily made to fit her dietary restrictions. Of course, it’s still just as wonderful with dairy, I prefer the recipe with dairy. I originally found this recipe on Pinterest but have made some changes to suit my liking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of spice cake mix
  • 1 20 oz. can of apple pie filling
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of softened butter
  • 3 cups of powdered sugar
  • ½ cup of brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 1 tsp of vanilla

Directions for cake:

  • Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Mix cake mix, pie filling, and eggs until mixed completely. (There will still be chunks of apple)
  • Grease a 9X13 pan, and pour the mixture into the pan
  • Bake for 25-30 min, until a knife comes out clean
  • Cool completely before frosting

Directions for frosting:

  • Whip the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla until fluffy
  • Slowly add in the powdered sugar one cup at a time
  • Add milk to reach desired consistency
  • Frost cake when cool

 

Check out Fill your plate Pinterest account and Fill your plate blog for fun dessert ideas!

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Biotin Supplements: Worth the Hype?

By Sarah Beleski, a recent ASU Nutrition Student 

If you’re a fan of reading health-related articles, you may have heard of the vitamin, biotin, and the health claims that are commonly associated with it. Biotin supplements have gained popularity for their claims to promote healthier-looking hair and nails. However, the popularity of the product is not what is most shocking to me. The most alarming aspect is the lack of data that supports the supplement’s claims.

 

So, the big question is… are biotin supplements worth your money? Do they actually work?

 

According to a journal article written by Deepa P. Patel and associates, a review of studies show that consuming biotin supplements have only proven to cause healthier hair and nails in individuals who had poor hair and skin prior to the vitamin supplementation. These individuals had a biotin deficiency, which for healthy individuals, is an extremely rare case.

 

Symptoms of a biotin deficiency include an assortment of issues, such as hair loss through alopecia, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, and even some neurological symptoms, such as depression and seizures. A biotin deficiency is the result of either congenital disorders or is acquired at some point in an individual’s life. Although very rare, one way that an individual could acquire a biotin deficiency is through excessive consumption of raw egg whites. It may sound like an odd connection, but there is a protein found in egg whites, known as avidin, that has the ability to hinder biotin absorption in the body. Cooked eggs have therefore never been a cause for biotin deficiency because once the egg whites are cooked, the protein avidin can be denatured and allow biotin to be used as an essential B vitamin.

 

Biotin can be found in various foods, which is why if an individual is eating a well-balanced diet, there most likely would not be a deficiency. It is also produced within a normal gut flora. The functions of biotin that lead people to believe that it will give them glossy hair and strong nails is its role in protein synthesis and keratin production. The vitamin does contribute to hair and nails, but studies show that the only real improvement is for people who have a biotin deficiency.

 

So, for the majority of the population who is not suffering from a biotin deficiency, the studies would suggest that a supplement is not needed. Not only are they not needed, they seem to not do much for healthy individuals. However, if you are still unsure about whether you think biotin could give you healthier-looking hair and nails, why not try a more holistic and economical approach?

 

Here are some basic examples of foods that are probably already in your diet and include a good amount of biotin! So, if you’re worried about not getting enough biotin in your life, check the list below and try to add a few of these to your meals this week.

Biotin-Rich Foods:

 

  1. Eggs
  2. Almonds
  3. Cauliflower
  4. Cheeses (most dairy products have some amount of biotin)
  5. Mushrooms
  6. Sweet Potato
  7. Spinach

 

So, back to my original question, are biotin supplements worth it? According to the studies that have been conducted, the only individuals who benefit from biotin supplements are those with acquired or congenital biotin deficiencies. There is no evidence that consuming biotin supplements will improve hair and nail growth for healthy individuals.

 

If you’re still looking to get healthier looking hair and nails, try to incorporate more whole foods that are biotin rich. Instead of taking a supplement with no proven benefits, why not make a little change to your diet that will ultimately have a positive effect on other areas of your health? Studies have shown that there is no such thing as “too much biotin”, so incorporating these foods into your diet, in a moderate fashion, will have no toxic effect on your system.

 

The beauty industry will always try to sell you products, no matter how truthful their product claims to be. It is our job, as consumers, to determine if the products are worth our money. As for biotin supplements boasting beauty claims, I suggest saving your money. If you are worried about a biotin deficiency, talk to your doctor before starting any new supplements.

 

References

 

Patel, D.P., Swink, S.M., & Castelo-Soccio, L. (2017). A Review of the Use of Biotin for Hair Loss.   Skin appendage disorders, 3, 166-169.

 

Said, H.M. (2002). Biotin: the forgotten vitamin. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 75,    179-180.

 

(1998) Dietary Reference Intakes for Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin       B12, Pantothenic Acid, Biotin, and Choline. National Academies Press, 11.

 

Watson, K. (2017). Biotin-Rich Foods. healthline. Retrieved from             https://www.healthline.com/health/biotin-rich-foods.

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