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Drop some colorful foods onto your plate

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

By: Jeff Ash

Healthy colorful foods

Eating colorful foods is good for your heart.


Young adults who eat more than five daily servings of fruits and vegetables may have less heart disease later in life than those who don’t, according to a 2015 study in Circulation, a journal of the American Heart Association.


Diets rich in fruits and vegetables also help reduce the risk of stroke and certain types of cancer.


You’re busy, so these recipes use the slow cooker and the blender to make things easier.


Slow cooker vegetarian chili


Slow cooker vegetarian chili


This recipe is vegan and can be made gluten-free by using quinoa instead of farro. It’s perfect for serving to friends with those food preferences.



1 cup uncooked farro or quinoa

1 medium red or yellow onion, peeled and diced

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce, chopped

2 15-ounce cans dark red kidney beans, rinsed and drained (or black beans or Great Northern beans, depending on what you like)

2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce

2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes

1 15-ounce can light red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies

4 cups vegetable stock

1 cup beer (or just add more vegetable stock)

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. black pepper


Your choice of toppings: Shredded cheddar cheese, crushed tortilla chips or strips, thinly sliced green onions, diced red onions, diced avocado, chopped cilantro, sour cream, salsa … really whatever you like.



Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Stir thoroughly to combine. Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours, until the chili is cooked through. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper or seasonings if necessary.


Serve immediately, garnished with extra toppings if desired.


You also can refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.


Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup


Slow cooker chicken tortilla soup


This is another good one to share with friends who prefer gluten-free dishes.



2 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 1 pound)

4 cups good-quality chicken stock

2 14-ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained

1 14-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with juice

1 15-ounce can whole-kernel corn, drained

1 4-ounce can diced green chilies

4 cloves garlic, minced

1-2 dried pasilla (negro) chile peppers (or 1 ancho chile, or 1 mulatto chile, or 2 tsp. chili powder)

1 white onion, peeled and diced

2 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. salt, or more or less to taste

Fresh lime wedges

Your choice of toppings: Chopped fresh cilantro, diced avocado, diced red onion, shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla strips or chips … again, whatever you like.



Add all ingredients to a slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 hours on high heat or 6-8 hours on low heat, until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily. Use two forks to shred chicken. Remove pasilla chiles and discard.


Serve warm with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Add toppings as desired.


You can refrigerate this soup in a sealed container for up to 4 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.


Source for both slow cooker recipes: Gimme Some Oven food blog.


Fruit vegetable smoothie


Big Green Monster Smoothie

This has lots of fruits and vegetables in it, and is great for those who have kids.



1 green apple, skin on, cored, cut into large chunks

1 to 2 handfuls of spinach, washed

¼ large cucumber, peeled, cut into large chunks

1 kiwi, peeled and cut into chunks

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1 cup low-fat milk (or milk substitute or water)

2 tsp. honey

1 cup ice cubes



Add all ingredients into a blender. Pulse until thoroughly blended. When blended to desired consistency, pour into cups and serve. Serves 6.

Nutrition facts per serving

53 calories

0.5 g total fat (as trans fat)

No saturated fat

2 mg cholesterol

30 mg sodium

11 g total carbohydrate (2 g dietary fiber, 9 g sugars)

2 g protein


Source: American Heart Association