Saturday, June 18, 2011

#Recipe Jersey Blueberry whole grain Oat Bars #GardenCuizine

~ Low Sodium~ 
Best Blueberry Bars
made with antioxidant-rich 
Jersey Blues and whole grain Oats

Usually for Mom's Birthday I bake her favorite - Key Lime Pie. This June was a special birthday for Mom and I opted for something different for her 80th birthday,  I decided on nutrient dense, seasonal Blueberry Bars. 


Last night we visited our local church's blueberry festival to pick up fresh Jersey blueberries for Mom's Blueberry Bar birthday 'cake'. Upon our arrival we found out the blueberries were so popular that they sold out!!! Thankfully, one of the planners found 3 last containers of fresh berries, which was all we needed for one 10 x 15 baking dish full of antioxidant-rich Blueberries sandwiched between cholesterol reducing whole grain oats.

Like many people (both old and young), Mom has to watch her cholesterol. Additional Plant Stanols, along with a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables, is good heart disease prevention. Plant sterols and stanols are naturally occurring compounds found in fruits and vegetables. Plant Stanols and sterols have been scientifically proven to help reduce cholesterol. They have also been shown to be effective for those experiencing side effects from cholesterol lowering medications and can be consumed in combination with statin drugs.

Plant Stanols added to margarine
In addition to the rolled oats and blueberries, for even more heart-healthy, cholesterol reducing benefits - rather than using butter with saturated animal fat - I opted to use margarine specifically labeled made with, "Plant Stanols or Sterols." The American Dietetic Association recommends eating stanol-enriched foods 2-3 times per day to provide 2-3 grams per day of plant stanols as part of a heart (cardio)-protective diet*. A mere 1.5-1.8 grams per day of plant stanols can lower cholesterol absorption by 30-40%; and 2.2 grams per day, can lower cholesterol absorption by as much as 60%. [1] 

Several margarine's contain plant stanols/sterols. For example, Smart Balance Heart Right Light spread contains 1,700 mg of plant sterols per tablespoon serving (1,000 milligrams = 1 gram).

Mom's party 
Today we celebrated with a few close friends. One of Mom's friends said to her in Italian, "May you live to be 100 (Che tu possa vivere fino a 100 anni)! Mom enjoyed the Blueberry Bars... I hope someone you love will too!

*cardio-protective diet as defined by the American Dietetic Association: total fat intake of 25-35% of daily calories from fat with less than 7% of calories from saturated and trans fats; less than 200mg of dietary cholesterol per day; carbohydrate intake of 50-60% of total daily calories; 25-30 grams of fiber per day; and at least 15% of total calories from protein per day.

In addition, Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) recommended by the National Institute of Health's Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends the above fat and cholesterol restrictions with additional focus on less than 2400 mg of sodium intake daily.

Best Blueberry Bars Recipe
Yields: one 10 x 15 baking dish; 25, 2 x 3-inch servings

Ingredients

vegetable non-stick pan spray

6 cups (888g) Jersey Fresh Blueberries (or frozen)
1 cup (200g) organic Florida Crystals® Sugar (or granulated sugar)
1/2 cup (120ml) Knudsen Pineapple Coconut Juice (or Orange Juice)
2 Tablespoons (22g) Cornstarch

Oat Topping
3 cups (240g) Old Fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup (180g) unbleached white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups (330g) packed brown sugar
8 tablespoons margarine with plant stanols (112g) we used (U) kosher Smart Balance® - which is enriched with Omega-3 EPA/DHA and Vitamin E)
Putting it all together
Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C)
  • Lightly spray your baking dish and set aside
  • Combine juice and corn starch and set aside
  • In a medium pot, add the berries and sugar and prepare the filling. Stir over medium heat and stir in cornstarch mixture. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes or until juices are clear and bubbly
  • Prepare the topping: In a large bowl combine the remaining ingredients and mix with hands; no need for a mixer (the margarine is real soft and does not have to be melted)
  • Firmly press about half of the oat mixture into the bottom of your prepared baking dish
  • Evenly ladle the cooked filling over the pressed oat layer
  • Sprinkle the remaining oat blend over top and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown
Buon Appetito!

GardenCuizine Nutrition Analysis: Calculated from USDA Nutrient Values: 1/25 of recipe (84g) per serving: 196 calories; calories from fat: 35; total fat: 4g (6%DV); saturated fat: 1g (5%DV); trans fat: 0g; cholesterol: 0mg; Magnesium: ~39.2mg (~10%DV); Manganese: ~.8mg (~41%DV); Selenium: ~8.6mcg (~12%DV); sodium: 38mg (2%DV); total carbohydrate: 40g (13%DV); dietary fiber: 3g (11%DV); sugars: 25g; protein: 3g; Vitamin A: 262IU (5%DV); Vitamin C: ~3.4mg (~6%DV); Calcium: ~20.9mg (2%DV); Iron: ~0.9mg (~5%DV).
 
Percent Daily Values (%DV) are reference values for adults and children age 4 or older, and are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your personal daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.
References
Jersey Blues Dave's Garden article by Diana Wind
U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council
Blog Article and photos Copyright © 2011 D.Wind. All rights reserved.

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