Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites by Mary Beth Lagerborg – ISBN: 0312534043

  • Full Title: Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites: More Great Recipes That Save You Time and Money from the Inventors of the Ultimate Do-Ahead Dinnertime Method
  • Autor: Mary Beth Lagerborg
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; 8.2.2009 edition
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312534043
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312534042
  • Download File Format | Size: epub | 2,08 Mb
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Mimi Wilson and Mary Beth Lagerborg are back with a brand new book that features their Once-A-Month Cooking ™ technique guaranteed to save time and money. Filled with all-new cycles – two one-month cycles, two two-week cycles, and three specialty cycles: gourmet, summer, and gluten-free – their trademark method remains the same: You shop for an entire cycle all at once, buying in bulk and saving money. You do all the food prep for the cycle the next day, freezing and refrigerating what needs to be kept cold, stocking the pantry when appropriate. Then, as the family assembles for mealtime, you do some quick finishing and it’s ready – fast and delicious! Once-a-Month Cooking™ Family Favorites has something for every kind of eater and includes such soon-to-be favorites as:

-Adobe Chicken
-Baked Mediterranean Cod
-Chicken Wild Rice Soup
-County-Style Ribs
-Texas-Style Lasagna

With the perfect plan in hand and bulk shopping at economically-friendly prices, the Once-A-Month Cooking ™ technique is a surefire way to get a delicious dinner on the table fast so that you can spend more time with your family!


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MIMI WILSON and MARY BETH LAGERBORG are authors and inventors of the Once-a-Month Cooking (TM) system. Both live in Colorado and have written other books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.


If this is the first time you’ve joined us, welcome to a new life, where you’ll have meals on hand without the every-evening stress of what to fix. You’re going to save money on your grocery bills and save time in the kitchen, so that you and your family can consistently enjoy together time over delicious, home-cooked meals, and perhaps share meals with others. If this is a reunion with old friends who have enjoyed Once-A-Month Cooking, welcome back. You’re in for more wonderful recipes and ways to spend meaningful time around the family dinner table.

As you launch into megacooking, we’re cheering for you! And here’s our promise: we’ll do all we can to help you not only realize your goals, but have a positive experience in the process. Whether you decide to cook a month’s dinner entrées at once, or two weeks’ dinner entrées, we’ll expedite your shopping and cooking. And we’ll even provide table-talk conversation starters to help you make the very most of that time when you’re gathered around the table.

What to Expect

For those of you who are new to the method, Once-A-Month Cooking is a different way to cook. You don’t have to be well organized or a good cook to successfully accomplish it. But you do need to expect and plan to

• Take a longer-than-usual shopping trip, preferably the day or night before you cook.

• Spend the bulk of your month’s food expense on this shopping trip (saving money over the course of the month).

• Cook with a partner for maximum efficiency and more fun.

• Cook half a day for a two-week cycle and a full day for a one-month cycle.

• Love the freedom and possibilities this will bring to mealtimes.

• Enjoy family-building times around the table.

• Take the stress out of having company for dinner.

A Look at the Recipes

The Recipesincluded in Once-A-Month Cooking Family Favorites have been selected for their taste, variety, ease of preparation, freezeability, and appeal to children as well as adults. Four of the menu cycles are classic, to use any time of year: two one-month cycles and two two-week cycles. Three additional two-week cycles are more specialized and add variety. The Summer Two-Week Cycleis for when livin’ is easy, grillin’ is big, and picnics are possible. The Gourmet Two-Week Cycleis more up-scale fare, on average, than the classic cycle entrées. And the Gluten-Free Two-Week Cycleprovides tasty alternatives for the person with gluten intolerance. We think you’ll find that the recipes in the Gluten-Free Cycle are every bit as tasty as the recipes in the others, and are perfect for the whole family where one or more members must eat gluten-free. As always, the person on a special diet should carefully check ingredient labels.

How to Get Started

If you have previously used Once-A-Month Cooking, you will find the same streamlined method with entirely new recipes. If you are new to bulk cooking, you’ll want to first select a cycle to prepare and read through the lists and charts that are your tools:

The new Menu Chartis your best Once-A-Month Cooking buddy. You will want to download and print a copy at www .once-a-monthcooking .com and keep it on the refrigerator, or taped inside a cupboard door. The more you usethe Menu Chart, the happier you will be because it will help you

• Incorporate into weekly shopping trips any fresh produce required.

• Select an entrée from your freezer to fit the number of people you’ll serve on a given night.

• Cycle through a variety of meats, poultry, and fish.

• Select an entrée for the day that will match your available time for final preparation.

• Write in ideas for what you will serve with each entrée. Following through with this important step will help you creatively use fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables and keep track of items that you will need to purchase on a weekly grocery-shopping trip.

• Check off dishes you have served so you know what you still have to choose from—and when you need to plan your next Once-A-Month Cooking day.

The beauty of the big grocery trip is that you can avoid the need for many stops for “just a few” items the rest of the month. Those impulse trips blow the food bud get. But we know that you really, really don’t want to get full swing into your cooking day and find you’re missing a key ingredient, so we’ll help you form a complete shopping list. If possible, plan to shop the day or evening before you cook; you won’t have the time or energy to do both on cooking day.

The first step toward this is to check the items that you already have on hand. The Pantry Listis our guess at items you already have. Check and see, and if you’re missing some, add them to your shopping list. We give the quantities you’ll need so you can be sure that you have enough of each ingredient.

Your Shopping List by Categorieshelps you whip through the grocery store without a lot of doubling back. Supermarkets predictably display the necessities—meat, dairy, bakery, and produce—along the walls of the store. That means you have to travel aisles of impulse items to get to them! We hope to save you steps and detours.

One caution: If you are a super-diligent shopper who likes to buy meats and poultry on sale, remember that it is not wise to thaw meat or poultry, create an entrée, and refreeze it unless the meat or poultry is cooked before it’s refrozen. When a recipe calls for precooked chicken, we often recommend purchasing roasted chicken and deboning it. If you do this, keep in mind for your shopping plan that often supermarkets don’t make roasted chickens available until the afternoon.

An asterisk (*) after an item in the shopping list indicates that the item will not be used until the day the entrée is served. When the item is fresh produce, such as a tomato, you may want to delay purchasing it until close to when you’ll serve the dish. These items are all listed on the handy Menu Chart so you won’t forget to purchase them before they’re needed. Incorporate these into a weekly grocery shopping list so that you can continue to minimize trips to the store.

Truly you can navigate through a Once-A-Month Cooking day with just a basic knowledge of cooking skills. If you are an experienced cook, you’ll sail along more quickly. Using the Assembly Order, you will prepare your entrées in the order listed, beginning with your chopping, slicing, and grating tasks. Don’t be discouraged with the time this step takes. Once it’s completed, the dishes will come together quickly.

Keep the vegetables, cheese, etc. that you process in Ziploc bags or containers on the counter, refrigerating them if they will be sitting out more than an hour or two. Refrigerate all meat, poultry, and fish that you process (slicing, cubing, etc.) until it will be incorporated into a dish.

Depending upon the size of your family, a two-week cycle with some entrées divided into multiple containers could last for a month.

A Few Days Before Cooking

Make room for the bounty by cleaning out your refrigerator and freezer. You won’t need a separate chest freezer, even for a month cycle, if you’ve cleaned out your freezer before you cook. It’s time to throw out those hard knots of mystery food. Purge items from the refrigerator that have passed their expiration dates, and clear space for food you’ll need to refrigerate between your grocery shopping trip and completion of your cooking day.

On the Night Before Cooking

At every turn in the pro cess of Once-A-Month Cooking, you’ll find that following through with the suggested preparation saves you time and inconvenience. The night before you cook, spend a few minutes preparing your kitchen. Remove from the countertops all appliances, canisters, and décor items that you won’t use on your cooking day. Set out all items from the Pantry List on a counter close to the stove. Now add to these the ingredients from your Shopping List that don’t need refrigeration. Take a few moments to label freezer containers (see bottom of each recipe). Set them out on a table adjacent to the kitchen where you can sit a few minutes while you prepare entrées for the freezer.

Equipment You’ll Need

Finally, get out the basic equipment you’ll need for your big cooking day. Depending upon the cycle you choose, they will probably include the following:


Crock Pot—Each menu cycle includes at least one recipe to be completed in a slow cooker on serving day. If you don’t have one, use a large, covered pot in a slow oven (300 to 325°F.).

Food processor—Banish onion tears by chopping onions, a few wedges at a time, “pulsing” with the processor

Mixer or blender—for combining ingredients


Baking sheet—for baking; for transporting to the freezer

Large pot with lid—for boiling soups, stews, pastas

Pizza pan—for baking and freezing

Roasting pan—for cooking meats

Saucepans—medium and small with lids

Skillets—large, medium, and small


Freezer containers—Ziploc bags and containers as described on the Pantry List

Mixing bowls—small, medium, and large; for combining ingredients


Apron—to save your clothes

Clean sponges, dishcloths, and kitchen towels—for wiping and cleaning up

Colander—for draining pasta and spinach

Coolers and ice—for dividing food, if you’re cooking with a friend

Cutting boards—One for nuts, fruits, and vegetables, and another for meats and poultry. Or carefully wash your cutting board before moving from one food item to another (always leaving poultry last)

Fresh breeze—whew! Lots of aromas

Indelible marker—…



arthy, and my dad, Michael McCarthy.

Mom—your sparkly eyes, passion for organic gardening, baking talents and joyful spirit have inspired me not only in the kitchen but in life.

Dad—your gentle soul and ability to look at the sunny side of every single situation in life has given me the strength, optimism and confidence to achieve my dreams.
















Final Joyous Words

Food and Wellness Journal




In my early twenties I struggled with body-image issues, hormonal imbalance and digestive problems. For three years I visited countless doctors and specialists who performed every possible test you could imagine, searching for the “cure” for my hormonal imbalance—a cure I assumed would fix everything else. But after an exhausting three years, I was only getting worse. My skin was dry, my hair was thinning, I had not menstruated in over six months and I had no sex drive—ugh. I described myself as feeling like an “it.” “Hopeless” was the perfect word to summarize everything I was feeling.

One night as I lay in bed with tears streaming down my face, trying to decide whether I should try yet another hormone-balancing pill to “fix” me, something inside was driving me to address the root cause. This yearning wasn’t new, but this night it was stronger than it had ever been.

I said no to another medication and decided it was time for change.

Then it happened—some kind of magical and incredibly powerful paradigm shift occurred inside me. Whether it came from complete exasperation or a visit from my fairy godmother I’ll never know, but I chose to take responsibility for my health.

Over the next six months I focused on healing my body from the inside out. I changed my diet, by adding, not deleting. I changed my thoughts, which turned into positive actions. And I followed the guidance of a holistic nutritionist and a naturopathic doctor—guidance I’m going to share with you in this book. It was a truly holistic approach.

Guess what happened? My hair began to grow back thicker and shinier, my skin was glowing again, and I actually got my period! I was jumping for joy. Slowly but surely all the symptoms I’d been struggling with for years became a fading memory.

I share this story with you to give you hope.

You always have the power of choice and the power to heal your body. You have choice over your thoughts, actions, words and every morsel you eat.

A few years later, I left my full-time marketing job and enrolled myself at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, in Toronto, where I became a certified nutritionist and where I now teach. My certification enabled me to register with the International Organization of Nutritional Consultants and start practicing holistic nutrition, teaching others the healing power of food and healthy lifestyle habits.

Eat Well Feel Well was born in 2010, founded by Michelle Uy and myself as a six-week integrated holistic nutrition and yoga program in Toronto. I’m so proud of this program because it guides, empowers and inspires our students to learn a new way of eating and living without dieting or deprivation. This is the joyous health (aka ANTI-diet) way to live. In Eat Well Feel Well, you learn how to develop a new relationship with your body through yoga and, in doing so, with the food you eat.

I decided to write this book because I receive hundreds of emails, tweets and Facebook posts every month from people asking me for advice, or from out-of-towners who wish they could take the Eat Well Feel Well class or from those who found my Joyous Health blog and want to learn more but can’t come and see me in person. I listened, and I have created this beautiful book for you so that no matter where you live in the world, you will have the information you need to heal your body and mind and experience joyous health.

This book comprises the entire holistic nutrition program that I teach in our Eat Well Feel Well class. It also has much more information to guide you and inspire you to eat well, and absolutely delicious (and nutritious) recipes that I am certain will inspire you and fill your belly with joy. And I have some very joyous news: You will notice as you work your way through my book that I never mention calorie counting. Free yourself from this forever!

Let the journey begin!


It’s no wonder we are obsessed with diets when dozens of products with so-called health claims such as “low-fat” and “low-calorie” fill grocery store shelves. We are bombarded again while waiting in the checkout line by magazin
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Soon the venerable New England Journal of Medicine published a comprehensive study using data from the NIH. Their analysis, involving four hundred thousand participants, found that significant coffee consumption reduced the risk of death from all causes by 15 percent in women and by 10 percent in men.2

As evidence of coffee’s robust, positive effect on health piled up, the main scientific advisory arm of the U.S. government published a spectacular report in 2015. Part of the new U.S. dietary guidelines, the report launched a sea change in public appreciation of coffee.

Currently, strong evidence shows that consumption of coffee within the moderate range (3 to 5 cups per day or up to 400 milligrams per day of caffeine) is not associated with increased long-term health risks among healthy individuals. In fact, consistent evidence indicates that coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults. Moreover, moderate evidence shows a protective association between caffeine intake and risk of Parkinson’s disease. Therefore, moderate coffee consumption can be incorporated into a healthy dietary pattern, along with other healthful behaviors.


In October 2016 came yet another clincher, this time from the European Journal of Epidemiology. A review of thirty-one studies and 1,610,543 individuals confirmed the staggering decreased risk for coffee drinkers in all causes of death, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.4


Meanwhile, National Geographic Fellow Dan Buettner was gathering information about groups of people who are living longer, healthier lives than anyone else on Earth. They live in five geographic areas known as Blue Zones. Distributed across the globe, these populations outlive Americans by roughly a decade. The Blue Zones are






That last one particularly interested me. Every acre of the idyllic island of Ikaria, set in the blue-green Aegean sea, drips with beauty and charm. In a 2012 New York Times Magazine article, Dan Buettner called Ikaria “the island where people forget to die.”

The island earned this title because one in three Ikarians lives into their nineties. Still physically active in their later years, Ikarians reach age ninety at two and a half times the rate Americans do. (Ikarian men are nearly four times as likely to reach age ninety as American men.) Not only are they living roughly ten years longer than most of us in the United States or Europe, older Ikarians maintain active sex lives. They suffer lower rates of depression, dementia, heart disease, and cancer.

Researchers have studied what makes the Ikarians so successful at living well and aging slowly. They walk the steeply pitched streets that are carved into their mountainous countryside. Villagers enjoy low stress and deep social networks. Their Mediterranean diet includes olive oil, red wine, fish, herbal tea, honey, potatoes, black-eyed peas, lentils, and limited amounts of meat, sugar, and dairy. Rich in beans and greens, their diet is loaded with antioxidants. Rare are the refined sugars and red meat that pervade the Western diet. And, my favorite, they nap!

We’ve heard much of this story before, however, of people who outlive us by decades. What’s really unique about the Ikarians? Their coffee.

A team of Athens-based researchers discovered that Greek coffee contributes to the incredible good health of the Ikarians. The researchers found that 87 percent of their study participants drank boiled Greek coffee every day. The key finding was this: The more Greek coffee the Ikarians drank, the better their vascular health was. Vascular health (a layman’s term for endothelial cell function) indicates the suppleness of blood vessels and their ability to respond to stress. We have sixty thousand miles of blood vessels coursing through our bodies, nourishing every organ we have. If our arteries remain young and supple, so will we. The Ikarian study found a previously undiscovered, direct link between coffee drinking and improved vascular health.5


The new research leaves no room for doubt: Drinking coffee can be the healthiest indulgence of your day. Coffee can sharpen your focus, jump-start your workout, boost your performance, help you achieve sustained weight loss, and even fend off many causes of death. However, most coffee drinkers are missing out on the incredible benefits that coffee can provide. The coffee concoctions that many people drink are nutritional nightmares, packed with devastating amounts of fat and sugar. Even many black coffees are made from low-quality, overroasted beans that offer few health benefit
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ontained the sage advice, “And finally, ignore all Slack-Jawed Bimbos who have the audacity to try to strike up a conversation with the comment, ‘You’re pretty good for a girl.’” When you hear that often enough, it makes an impact. You understand the intent is to offer praise, but at the same time the compliment comes with the hidden dagger “for a girl.” When I was growing up in the fifties, that line was the ultimate put-down. “You throw like a girl.” “You run like a girl.” “You pick like a girl.” “You are a girl.” I fought back the only way I knew how: by becoming a tomboy.

Still, this book might not have sprouted wings at all if I hadn’t been at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards (IBMA) show in September 1993. My banjo-picking daughter, Casey, fifteen, and I sat in the audience and watched as a band of young male musicians, the Bluegrass Youth All-Stars, was referred to by one of the hosts as the “future of bluegrass music.” I was livid. When told that the show’s organizers had tried but couldn’t find a young woman to be part of the group, I decided to start a database of women in bluegrass so that no one could ever use that excuse again. The database grew into a quarterly newsletter, Women in Bluegrass, which was published for ten years, from 1994 to 2003.

During this time period, fired up by the IBMA incident and inspired by the writings of feminist Carolyn Heilbrun, who authored the seminal Writing a Woman’s Life, I began working on my master’s degree at George Mason University in the summer of 1995. In 1999 I was awarded the Master of Arts degree in interdisciplinary studies with an emphasis in women’s studies. I wrote my thesis on Sally Ann Forrester, the first woman in bluegrass. Her story became the opening chapter in this book.

But as I learned in my feminist studies, my own history informs every aspect of my research, my writing, and my thought processes. I once described my first twenty years of growing up in Georgia as “barren of bluegrass but not of music.” My musical roots are planted deep in the Broadman Hymnal and the Baptist Church, in sing-alongs at myriad Girl Scout and 4-H camps, and in the piano lessons that were requisite for well-rounded little girls in the June Cleaver era. I have had a stringed instrument in my hands ever since I got a ukulele for Christmas in the fourth grade. Guitar came next, allowing me to follow in the footsteps of my idol, Gamble Rogers, and become a folksinger in college. Finally in 1972, at the advanced age of twenty, following a suggestion from Gamble, I went to my first bluegrass festival in Lavonia, Georgia, where, as so many other women have testified, I got “bitten by the bug.” I also met my husband-to-be, mandolin player Red Henry. Shortly thereafter I got myself a good-sounding banjo and joined Betty Fisher and the Dixie Bluegrass Band—as bass player. I had entered the world of bluegrass and there was no turning back.

To me this new world seemed to be populated by “men, men, and more men” as Hazel Dickens once noted. The bands I shared the stage with, the bands I worshipped, were all made up of men: Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Osborne Brothers, and Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys. Even the hottest regional bands were all male: the Shenandoah Cut-ups, the Bluegrass Tarheels, the Sunshine Bluegrass Boys, Marty Raybon and the American Bluegrass Express.

Culturally conditioned to dismiss women and their accomplishments as unworthy, I failed to even see, much less give credit to, the many women I worked shows with: Margie Sullivan; Miggie, Polly, and Janis Lewis; Frances Mundy Mooney; Gwen Biddix Flinchum; Connie Freeman Morris; Louisa Branscomb; Martha Adcock; Barbara and Gwen White; Pam and Connie Hobbs; Alice and Ruth McLain; Sharon and Cheryl White; Marlene Hinson; Betty Fisher; and even my own sisters, Claire, Argen, Nancy, and Laurie Hicks, who were budding musicians. I always had some excuse to dismiss the women I saw: she’s “just” a guitar player and singer, she’s “just” a bass player, she’s a wimpy banjo player. Many of the women who were interviewed for this book felt the same way and often said, “I was the only woman I knew playing bluegrass.” Although later on they would casually say, “Of course there was Wilma Lee.” Or Gloria Belle. Or Ola Belle. Or Donna Stoneman. Or the Lewis Family sisters.

But I was not the only one who was blind to the presence and accomplishments of women in bluegrass. The idea that bluegrass was “man’s music” was shared by others more experienced and knowledgeable than I was. In the first scholarly work about the music, “An Introduction to Bluegrass,” folklorist Mayne Smith wrote, “Bluegrass bands are made up of from four to seven male musicians who play non-electrified stringed instruments and who also sing as many as four parts [emphasis mine].” Smith’s article
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spice to shine through.

Add the apple cider and sugar to your slow cooker. Stir to dissolve sugar.

Insert the cloves into the flesh of the apple and orange halves. Place the fruit flesh-side down in the cider. Add the remaining ingredients. Cook on high for 2 hours. Strain and serve warm.

½ gallon apple cider

½ cup sugar

1 large Fuji apple, halved with skin on

1 large Navel orange, halved with skin on

10 cloves

5 cardamom pods

2 strips lemon zest

1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick

1 large bay leaf

1 black tea bag (I like Bigelow’s Constant Comment)

Slow Cooker Mulled Cider

Strawberry Smoothie



This energizing smoothie is made with lots of fresh strawberries and protein-packed yogurt. It’s a quick and yummy way for your guests to cool off and fill up.

Combine the strawberries, yogurt, sugar, and lime juice in a blender. Pulse until combined. Add water to thin if desired. Serve over ice.

24 ounces strawberries, hulled and halved

2 cups Greek strained yogurt (I prefer Fage)

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

ice cubes

Because it is strained of liquid whey, Greek yogurt has a wonderfully thick texture and tangy flavor that makes it ideal for smoothies. Additionally, this creamy yogurt has a higher protein, lower carb, and lower sodium content than regular yogurt.



This classic beverage was first seen in Venice, Italy, at the famed Harry’s Bar. Owner Giuseppe Cipriani created the drink in the 1940s, inspired by his love of white peaches and the pink glow of a painting by fifteenth-century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. My version uses guava in lieu of peach yet still retains the beautiful pink hue of the original. I prefer my bellini chilled so I like to add a few extra ice cubes on really sunny days.

Pour ¼ cup of nectar into each champagne flute. Top off each flute with Prosecco. Add ice cubes, if desired. Cheers!

1¼ cups Kern’s guava nectar, well chilled

1 (750mL) bottle Prosecco, well chilled

ice cubes, if desired

I prefer Ecco Domani Prosecco.



My favorite cocktail is Hendricks and Tonic. When I’m in the mood for something a little sweeter, I treat my guests to a Gin Fizz with solid undertones of gin and a sweet playfulness.

Combine gin, lemon juice, and powdered sugar in shaker. Shake vigorously and divide evenly into four highball glasses filled with ice. Top each glass with the club soda and garnish with fresh mint or lemon slices.

1 cup Hendrick’s gin

½ cup fresh lemon juice

4 teaspoons powdered sugar

ice cubes

2 cups club soda

mint sprigs or lemon slices for garnishing



Jasmine green tea is a mild and aromatic tea full of antioxidants. When flavored with lime and served chilled, it’s a refreshing beverage your guests will savor and recall for days to come.

In a medium pot over high heat, bring water and 4 lime slices to just a boil. Remove from heat and gently stir in the honey and tea bags. Cover and let steep for 5 minutes.

Fill a pitcher with 2 trays of ice and the remaining lime slices. Strain tea into pitcher. Serve over additional ice.

4 cups filtered water

2 limes, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons orange blossom honey

6 jasmine green tea bags

2 trays of ice plus more for serving

I recommend Numi Jasmine Green Organic Tea.



This sweet white chocolate beverage is a nice change from traditional hot cocoa. It’s fun to make something that your guests think they know and switch up the ingredients to surprise them. This drink is perfect for serving at holiday brunches with a candy cane garnish.

Make cinnamon marshmallows:

Grease an 8-inch square pan and then coat it with powdered sugar. Set aside. Bloom the gelatin in ¼ cup of the water in a mixing bowl and set aside. Add the remaining water to a small pot, along with the sugar and corn syrup. Place pot over high heat and cook to 240°F. Immediately pour the sugar syrup over the gelatin and whip on high speed until fluffy and white, about 4 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white, cinnamon, and vanilla until aerated and foamy. Add to the mixer and whip on medium speed to incorporate the egg white. Immediately transfer the marshmallow to the prepared pan with a greased spatula. Smooth out the top and place in refrigerator to set up, about 30 minutes.

Run a knife around the pan edges and peel out the marshmallow. Cut into squares, transfer to a large bowl filled with powdered sugar, and toss to coat. Shake off excess powdered sugar and store marshmallows in an airtight container at room temperature.

Make white cocoa:

Add the cream to a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from
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Weight control The high fibre content of whole grains can increase satiety, making you feel full for longer and, therefore, eat less overall.

Blood sugar management Whole grains are rich in dietary fibre. Soluble fibre slows the release of sugars in the blood and is especially of benefit to those with diabetes. Many whole grains also have a low GI.

Disease prevention Whole grains contain phytochemicals and antioxidants that protect cells from damage and might reduce the risk of certain cancers. The insoluble fibre content of grains is linked to a reduced risk of colon cancer.


Refined grains tend to be used in processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, snack bars or refined bread. They also appear in more surprising places, such as commercially made sauces, confectionery, yoghurts with additives, and even foods like burger patties or sausages.

Like all processed foods, these tend to be high in added fats, sugars or sodium (or all three), so they are not nutritious choices. Once again, we really need to read labels, to make ourselves aware of what the food actually contains. For example, the difference between commercially made muesli bars is astounding. A few brands provide bars with only five or six ingredients, all items you would probably find in your pantry. Other brands contain up to 15 ingredients you have never heard of and wouldn’t want in your child’s lunch box. Just because some thing is labelled ‘healthy’ or ‘added whole grains’ does not mean it doesn’t also contain a lot of unnecessary additives. Read the label.


Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and oats and some people react badly to eating it. In its most extreme form, gluten intolerance is known as coeliac disease, an autoimmune reaction that causes damage to the small bowel and can bring on a host of symptoms. In its lesser form, gluten sensitivity, people may suffer from various gastrointestinal issues, which are relieved by removing gluten from their diet. It is important to note that even if you’re following a gluten-free diet, you should choose gluten-free whole grains. Gluten-free products can also be packed with highly processed grains and starches, and therefore have a high GI and lack nutrition.


Barley With a slightly chewy texture and delicious nutty taste, barley has an extremely low GI, so it’s ideal for those on a low GI diet or with diabetes. It’s packed with beta-glucan soluble fibre, which is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease. Barley is also a very good source of selenium and a good source of phosphorous, copper and manganese.

Farro An ancient variety of wheat, farro is also known as emmer wheat. Like spelt, it’s easier to digest than common wheat, because its gluten molecules are not as strong, but it isn’t suitable for those with coeliac disease. Farro is rich in fibre, protein, magnesium, niacin and zinc, as well as disease-fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants.

Freekeh Freekeh is wheat picked while it’s still green and is therefore higher in nutrients. It contains higher levels of protein, dietary fibre, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc than ripe wheat. Wholegrain freekeh has a low GI and is available whole or cracked; the cracked form cooks more quickly.

Kamut (khorsan) Another ancient heirloom variety of wheat, this has a rich nutty taste. It is higher in protein than common wheat, as well as in several vitamins and minerals including selenium, magnesium and zinc. It may be easier to digest than common wheat for anyone with mild wheat intolerance.

Oats With more soluble fibre (beta-glucans) than any other grain, oats have been proven to help lower cholesterol. They can assist in reducing blood sugar and they contain iron, manganese, zinc, vitamin E, folate, B vitamins and antioxidants beneficial for health.

Spelt An ancient wholegrain variety of wheat, spelt has a delicious nutty taste. It’s gentler on the digestion than regular wheat, so some people with mild wheat intolerance can actually tolerate spelt. Spelt is rich in vitamin B2, vitamin B3, dietary fibre, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, thiamin and copper, and it contains more protein and fats than common wheat. Spelt flour can be substituted for regular wheat flour in most baking recipes.

Wheat Whole wheat consists of the germ, bran and endosperm of the wheat grain (or wheat berry); only the inedible outer husk has been removed. Wholegrain wheat has a nutty flavour and texture and is rich in fibre, B vitamins and magnesium.


Amaranth Grown by the Aztecs, this tiny, highly nutritious pseudo-grain has a low GI and is packed with calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, B vitamins and vitamin E. It’s a pseudo-grain because it’s technically a seed but is closer in nutri
plants to the type found in fish, which is the type needed by the body. Certain fish oil supplements are not recommended in pregnancy because some are high in vitamin A (see here), but if you don’t eat fish you might like to discuss omega-3 supplement options with your GP or midwife. Some are made from algae so are suitable for vegans. You can find more information in the Pregnancy Supernutrients table (see here).

Vitamins and minerals

There is a huge range of vitamins and minerals that are essential to our bodies (and our babies), though in very small amounts. Those that are especially critical during pregnancy include iron, calcium, folic acid and vitamin D. You can read more about these in the Pregnancy Supernutrients table (see here). For the others, please rest assured that a balanced diet as outlined in the following section will more than meet your needs.


Fibre is the part of food that does not get absorbed on its way through the body, but passes straight through you. Fibre is only found in plant foods, including grains, fruit and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and pulses such as dried peas and beans, lentils and chickpeas. While fibre brings a range of health benefits, during pregnancy a major role is helping to prevent constipation. To increase fibre intake choose wholegrain foods; enjoy dried fruits, nuts and seeds; eat fruits and vegetables unpeeled where possible; and eat pulses such as lentil soup, baked beans and bean salad. You can read more about fibre and constipation here.

Following the food groups

Yes, I know: you’ve read all about the food groups before. This time it’s different though; this time you’re pregnant and your baby’s wellbeing and development depend on it. So take the time for a little revision. It’s useful for you and your baby right now, but you’ll also need to think about food groups when breastfeeding and weaning your baby.

About a third of the total food you eat should come from bread, other grain foods and potatoes. These are an important fuel supply for your body and you should base your meals around them. About another third should come from fruit and vegetables. Aim for at least five servings of these a day – the table gives you a guideline as to what makes up one serving. Try to choose a range of colours of fruit and vegetables, rather than relying on the same choices each day. Also aim to choose mainly higher-fibre options, meaning wholegrain rather than ‘white’ grain foods, and fruit or veg in a more ‘whole’ state, leaving the skin on where possible and limiting juice to one of the five servings. Skipping higher-sugar and higher-fat grain foods, such as croissants, biscuits and pastries, will also ensure healthier choices, as will limiting the amount of butter or spread you use.

Both milk and dairy foods as well as meat, fish and vegetarian alternatives (including eggs, beans, tofu, lentils and nuts) are valuable sources of protein. In addition, the dairy foods supply bone-building calcium, and meat and alternatives are generally rich in iron, a nutrient that can run short during pregnancy. Despite their importance, smaller amounts are required from these food groups: 2–3 servings per day from dairy foods (though this rockets to 4–5 per day during breastfeeding) and about two per day from meat, fish and alternatives. Again, look for lower-fat options, so trim the fat off meat and the skin off chicken, choose reduced-fat dairy foods, and cook by roasting, grilling or baking rather than frying. Note that if you do not eat dairy foods you can choose calcium-fortified soya milks and desserts as an alternative. For more on this, see the information on calcium here.

There is a small allowance for higher-fat and higher-sugar foods. You don’t need to eat perfectly all the time, but aim to keep foods such as cake, pastries, sweets, fizzy drinks, chips and crisps to an occasional treat. As well as supplying unnecessary calories, they contain very little of the nutrients you and your baby need at this critical time. Instead, you could try some of the Naughty (but still nutritious) treats listed here.

Fruit and vegetables: Aim for at least five servings each day, whether fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juice. One serving equals:

1 piece of fruit such as an apple, pear or orange

1 large slice of melon or pineapple

3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables

3 heaped tablespoons of canned fruit

1 bowl of salad

1 small glass of pure juice

Bread, other grain foods and potatoes: Base your meals around these foods. They include bread and rolls, scones, English muffins, chapattis, breakfast cereal, rice, pasta and potatoes. Opt for wholegrain where possible.

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and alternatives: These foods should make up about one-sixth of the food you eat. Eat about two servings per day. Try to include two servings of fish per week, includ


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