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Antioxidant Packed Deliciousness!

Ken BurrisStudies have shown that people who eat more brightly colored fruits like berries and leafy vegetables have less cognitive decline than those who don't. These food are high in antioxidants which also help to protect neurons from damage and soak up any free radicals in the body. Not to mention this dessert looks delicious!!

Antioxidant Winners:Berries and other fruits, greens, and turmeric (which contains curcumin)


Gingered Cranberry Pear Cobbler


Serves: 10, Total Time: 2 hours


  • 1/3 cup pear nectar, apple juice, or water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 8 slightly underripe pears (preferably Bosc or Bartlett), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 3/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen and thawed), coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup canola oil


Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees F. Coat a 3-quart stainless steel or glass pan with cooking spray.

To prepare filling:Combine pear nectar (or juice or water) and lemon juice in a large bowl. Toss pears with the juice. Whisk brown sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest and ginger in a nonreactive Dutch oven until combined. Drain the liquid from the pears into this mixture; stir until well blended. Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring, just until it begins to boil, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the pears and cranberries and cook, stirring, until the mixture is steaming, about 2 minutes. Stir in vanilla. Spread the fruit in an even layer in the prepared baking dish.

To prepare crust:Combine sour cream and lemon juice in a small bowl. Place flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, salt and baking soda in a food processor fitted with a dough hook or chopping blade; process to combine. Drizzle in oil and process in quick pulses just until the mixture is the consistency of very fine crumbs, stopping and scraping the bottom and sides several times. Add the sour cream mixture; process in quick pulses just until incorporated and the mixture holds together when pressed between the fingers; do not overprocess. If the mixture seems dry, gradually add a little cold water, a teaspoon at a time, and pulse briefly several times just until the mixture is moistened and holds together.

Lightly dust a 14-inch-long piece of parchment or wax paper with flour. Turn the dough out onto the paper and let rest for 5 minutes. Knead briefly until the dough just comes together. Lightly flour the top and cover with a second sheet of paper. Roll or press the dough into the same shape as your baking dish, just slightly smaller. Discard the top sheet of paper. Invert the dough, centered, over the fruit. Discard the paper. Using a greased sharp paring knife, cut large decorative slashes in the dough to vent steam. Sprinkle the dough evenly with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar. Place the baking dish on a rimmed baking sheet (to catch any overflowing juices).

Bake the cobbler until the top is golden brown, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.



Brain Food--Spring Pizza

Here is a great brain food recipe adapted from I love this site for healthy, tasty, and usually easy recipes that can be made on week nights after work. I hope you enjoy!


  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup snipped fresh chives (from 1 bunch), divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound whole-wheat pizza dough
  • 1 cup shredded fontina or mozzarella cheese


  1. Position rack in lower third of oven, place a pizza stone or large pizza pan on the rack and preheat oven to 450°F for at least 15 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 2 tablespoons oil and garlic in a small bowl; set aside. Trim asparagus spears to about 6 inches long; slice any thicker stalks in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, 1/4 cup chives, salt and pepper.
  3. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about a 14-inch circle.
  4. Carefully remove the pizza stone or pan from the oven and set on a heatproof surface, such as your stovetop. Place the dough on the stone or pan and brush with the reserved garlic-oil mixture. Arrange the asparagus in a circular pattern on the dough with the tips facing out. Top with cheese and the remaining chives.
  5. Carefully return the stone or pan to the oven and bake the pizza on the lower rack until crispy and golden and the cheese is melted, about 15 minutes.



Per serving: 368 calories; 20 g fat ( 5 g sat , 8 g mono ); 25 mg cholesterol; 39 g carbohydrates; 1 g added sugars; 14 g protein; 3 g fiber; 536 mg sodium; 167 mg potassium.




Fontina and Mozzarella Cheese

This is a high protein cheese (and higher in fat than other mozzarellas). You may also use fontina cheese. This cheese also has tyrosine, an amino acid and a precursor to epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. It is essential for normal mental functioning and has been shown to help fight emotional and environmental stress as well as combating depression. Protein in dairy stimulates the brain to manufacture norepinephrine and dopamine. These neurochemicals keep our bodies energized and our brains alert. Dairy products also have low glycemic indexes (though are higher than legumes and lower than fruits) to ensure a slower rise in blood sugar.

Selenium in Garlic and Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Olive Oil

Selenium and Vitamin E work together. Selenium, a trace mineral, is needed as a component of antioxidant enzymes in the body to combat free radicals. Selenium detoxifies the brain of heavy metals that can cause damage. Selenium binds to mercury, lead, arsenic, and cadmium, all metals that can disrupt the brain chemistry by replacing necessary elements such as iron, zinc, and copper. Selenium removes the damaging molecules from brain cells.

Consume more Omega-3 fatty acids. Structurally, the brain is 60 percent fat. For proper brain cell function, a diet rich in Omega-3 fats, including walnuts, flax seeds, canola oil, and cold water fish, is very important. According to a 2004 article published by the Journal of Nutrition, Health and Aging, fats (especially Omega-3 fatty acids), were the first of the dietary factors to show an effect on the brain’s structure and function. These foods also provide a good source of the antioxidant nutrient


This green vegetable is packed with rich antioxidants that help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment by diminishing oxidative stress. Vegetables high in antioxidants can improve short-term memory loss. Antioxidants slow down or prevent the oxidation of molecules. This is important because oxidation produces free radicals able to start chain reactions that damage cells. And, our bodies need folic acid for our brains to function. Foods like oranges, spinach, asparagus, and black-eyed peas are high in folic acid. Age-related cognitive function can be reduced by adding folic acid to your diet.

Whole Grain/Whole Wheat Flour

Whole grains (choose a dense, chewy kind and look for three grams of fiber) contain folic acid and Vitamin B12. These nutrients are great for brain health and help maintain memory function. Deficiencies in these key nutrients mark the neuropathology that leads to decline in cognitive function, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. Unlike simple carbohydrates that give your brain a “sugar high”—and may make you feel lethargic and mentally “fuzzy”—complex carbohydrates digest more slowly and provide a steady supply of energy to your brain, making you feel sharper. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods like whole grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.


Healthy Eating Resolutions

As we make our goals and resolutions for 2012, one that is always on the top of my list is eating healthy. I try to not do the whole, "I will lose 5 lbs," thing but instead work on my healthy eating. 

Not only do I work on the health of my body but also specifically my brain. 

Eating fish is good for the heart, and now new evidence suggests it may do the brain some good as well.

In a study of 260 healthy elderly participants, researchers led by Dr. Cyrus Raji, a resident at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s department of medicine, found that those regularly eating baked or broiled fish — but not fried — lowered their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more:

So here is a great Herb-Crusted Salmon recipe for you to try out!

Dijon mustard gives the topping a nice kick and balances the richness of the salmon fillets. Lemon juice in the spinach salad offers another bright note.

Prep Time

10 minutes

Total Time

25 minutes


Serves 4


  • 3 slices whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 1/2 medium red onion (thinly sliced)


  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.
  • In a food processor, combine bread, parsley, and 1 tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper.
  • Pulse until coarse crumbs form.
  • Place salmon on prepared sheet; season with salt and pepper.
  • Spread top of fillets with Dijon; top with crumb mixture, pressing gently to adhere.
  • Roast until salmon is opaque throughout, 11 to 13 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine lemon juice and remaining oil; season with salt and pepper.
  • Add spinach and onion; toss to combine.
  • Serve salmon with spinach salad.

Based on the Herb-Crusted Salmon recipe from Martha Stewart.


Recipes for Brain Health and Memory...yum!!

I want to start including recipes more often so here is some to get us started. I hope to make it a more consistent addition. The first ones are some I found on the Alzheimer's Association website. I especially love quinoa and try to eat it at least once a week!

Elaine’s Recipe for Black Bean & Tomato Quinoa

2 tsp grated lime zest    
2 tbs fresh lime juice
2 tbs unsalted butter, melted & cooled  
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 cup quinoa (prewashed kind)  
1 14-15 oz. can black beans drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced   
4 scallions, chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Method: Whisk together lime zest & juice, butter, oil, sugar and pepper.  Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water (if not prewashed).  Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water for about ten minutes until almost tender. Drain in a sieve, then set the sieve in the same pot with 1 inch of simmering water. Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then with a lid. Steam for about 10 minutes. Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt& pepper to taste. Serves 4

Submitted by Elaine Fenner, RN

Heart Healthy Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes 

l/4 cup water
 2 tblsp brown sugar
 2 tblsp honey 
 1 tablespoon olive oil
 2 pounds sweet potatoes (4 large) peeled and cut into wedges

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.  In a small bowl whisk water, brown sugar, honey and olive oil.  Place a single layer of sweet potatoes in the pan and pour the sauce over them to coat.  Cover and bake until tender (about 45 min.) Turn them once or twice to coat. When tender, remove the cover and continue to bake for about 15 more minutes. 

(Baking is the preferred way to cook since boiling leaches out vitamins and minerals.)

Submitted by Rosalie Shepherd


I also love checking out the Eating Well website as it can help you search by heart healthy or other specific criteria. Here is one that I've made for my kids and they just love! It is full of antioxidants that promote memory and brain function...but they don't know that!

Berry Banana Smoothy

  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 cup ice

Directions: Put ingredients in blender in order listed. Pulse twice to chop the fruit and then blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Please look for more recipes in the upcoming months!