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For your 4th of July feast: A blueberry trifle

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It’s that time of year when berries explode with color. The reds, the blues, and the blacks attract us, but there’s far more to berries than meets the eye.

They’re loaded with compounds that keep your body and brain working right and staying young. So impressed were researchers at Ohio State University that they recommend everyone eat berries every day.

When it comes to total antioxidant power, four of the top 10 fruits and vegetables are blueberries (ranked number one), strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries.

They are rich sources of quercetin, a potent antioxidant.

Another thing that makes berries so special is a compound called ellagic acid, which is believed to prevent cellular changes that can lead to cancer. All berries have some of it, but strawberries and blackberries have the most.

All berries are also rich in vitamin C, one of the best antioxidants. It is particularly important in preventing cataracts. A half-cup of strawberries has 42 milligrams of C. And berries contain large amounts of insoluble fiber, which keeps bowels moving.

Want to feed your brain? Researchers at Tufts University found that compounds in blueberries have actually improved the memories of aging lab animals.

Fortunately, blueberries are not only good for you but delicious.

Here is a recipe for a pretty blueberry trifle that will look fantastic on your 4th of July table:

Blueberry Trifle Recipe

Ingredients
1-Angel Food cake

1-bag frozen blueberries, thawed and drained OR 1-2 pints fresh berries

1-box dry instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz)

1-can sweetened condensed milk

1-8-oz. block cream cheese

12 oz. Cool Whip

Directions
Break angel food cake into large chunks.

Put 1/2 of cake on bottom of trifle bowl.

Sprinkle 1/2 of blueberries on top of cake.

Beat cream cheese until smooth, then add dry pudding mix and condensed milk. Beat until creamy.

Stir in about 2/3 of the Cool Whip, reserving the rest for later.

Gently spread 1/2 of mixture over cake and blueberries in bowl.

Layer again as before, keeping a few blueberries aside for garnish.

Top with remaining Cool Whip and garnish with leftover blueberries.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

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Maple matcha tea latté

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
10 minutes

Cook time

5 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• 4 cups of milk
• 2 tablespoons matcha green tea powder
• 2 tablespoons maple sugar

Directions
1. Pour milk into a saucepan. Warm over low heat until simmering.
2. Put matcha green tea and maple sugar into a teapot and mix together well.
3. Pour in half of the heated milk and stir into a creamy latté.
4. Froth the other half of the milk with a whisk.
5. Serve in attractive cups, garnished with foam.

This tea can also be served cold.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Maple zucchini ricotta roll-ups

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Servings

4

Ingredients
• 2 zucchinis (about 2 inches thick), green or yellow
• 1 cup ricotta
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less)
• 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
• 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
• Ground pepper, to taste
• Espelette pepper

Directions
1. Use a vegetable peeler or mandoline to slice the zucchini lengthwise into ribbons about 1/16 inch thick.
2. Place the zucchini ribbons onto a clean cloth and allow them to dry.
3. In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, maple syrup, parsley, chives, and salt and pepper. Adjust the seasonings as you see fit.
4. Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mixture onto each zucchini strip. Roll them up and place them vertically onto your serving plate. Sprinkle with Espelette pepper and garnish with sprigs of parsley or chives.

Created by Stéphanie Côté, nutritionist

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Maple mania: How to turn your home into a sugar shack

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

As the ground slowly begins to thaw in the weeks leading up to spring, the starches stored in maple trees during winter turn into sap. In Quebec, Vermont and other maple producing regions, this period of warming signals the start of the sugaring-off season.

Far more than your average agricultural event, the making of maple syrup is a cause for celebration. This is especially true in Quebec, where families and couples head out into the wilderness to visit producers, sample syrups, and enjoy a hearty brunch doused with plenty of the sweet stuff.

Fortunately, the tradition of sugaring-off is starting to spread across North America, and you can now enjoy the flavors of the season in your own home.

To recreate the cabane à sucre experience, you’ll need the following:

• Copious amounts of maple syrup. (It’s impossible to have too much.)
• A variety of brunch foods including scrambled eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, and ham.
• One or more traditional salty dishes. Think savory meat pies, baked beans, cretons, and pickles. Salt will help cut the sweetness of the syrup.
• Beverages of your choice. Coffee and juice are traditional, but mimosas are more fun.
• Hungry friends, family members, and neighbors.
• Lively music and a roaring fire, if possible.

Ask guests to arrive in their comfiest jeans and lumberjack shirts.

After everyone has eaten more than their fair share of the maple-infused food, it’s time for dessert. Indeed, no sugaring-off experience is complete without sampling a bit of maple taffy. Simply fill a bowl or baking dish with fresh snow and drizzle thin ribbons of hot maple syrup on top. The syrup should be heated to about 240 F. Let the syrup cool for a few seconds, then twirl it onto wooden popsicle sticks.

Bon appétit!

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Maple “shepherd’s pie” dessert

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time

5 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• 1 cup maple syrup
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 2 cups plain bran cereal (such as All-Bran)
• 2 mangoes, cubed
• 2 cups Mediterranean style plain yogurt
• Maple sugar (for decoration)

Directions
1. In a saucepan, pour maple syrup and add cocoa. Mix well and cook over medium heat for 1 minute.
2. Remove from heat and add cereal.
3. In 4 glass dishes (dessert bowls, mini Mason jars, or other), preferably wider than higher, assemble “shepherd’s pie” in successive layers: cereal mixture for meat, mango cubes for corn, and yogurt for mashed potato.
4. Sprinkle with maple sugar and serve.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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Heart-healthy roasted butternut squash with red onion and tahini sauce

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This heart-healthy, vegetarian-friendly recipe, adapted from Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, features roasted butternut squash, which is naturally rich in potassium to help regulate blood pressure.

Butternut squash is also high in insoluble fiber, which helps control blood sugar and promote fullness. Tahini-based sauce, made from sesame seeds, is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Olive oil is used to roast the squash and contains omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol. The result is a sweet, flavorful, warm side dish, perfect for a simple, healthy, filling meal. Za’atar spice is available in the international section of many grocery stores or Middle Eastern specialty grocery stores.

Ingredients
1 large butternut squash, peeled and sliced (discard seeds and pulp)

2 red onions, cut into wedges
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 tablespoons light tahini paste
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons water
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon za’atar spice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped parsley (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toss squash and onion in a bowl with olive oil, 1 teaspoon sea salt, and some black pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until the vegetables have taken on some color and are fully cooked. The onions may cook quicker and need to be removed earlier than the squash. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool.

For the sauce, whisk the the tahini, lemon juice, water, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until you have a liquid the consistency of honey. Add more water or tahini as necessary.

To serve, spread the vegetables on a serving platter and drizzle with the tahini sauce, followed by the za’atar and parsley.

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Maple-nut caramel corn

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It’s Maple Syrup Season!

Prep time
15 minutes

Cook time

8 minutes

Rest time
30 minutes

Servings
4

Ingredients
• Canola oil
• 2 cups popped corn
• 1 cup your choice of mixed nuts
• 1/2 cup maple syrup
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions
1. Brush a cookie sheet with canola oil.
2. In a large bowl, mix together popcorn and nuts.
3. In an 8-cup bowl, combine the maple syrup and butter. Use a little butter to baste the inside rim of the bowl and prevent the caramel from overflowing while cooking. Microwave 8 minutes.
4. While stirring vigorously, add baking soda, then pour the caramel over the popcorn and nuts. Mix to coat well.
5. Immediately, spread the mixture on a cookie sheet, then leave it to harden for 30 minutes. Break the caramel corn into small pieces and munch away.

Source: Pure Maple from Canada / puremaplefromcanada.com

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The Front Royal Police Department is sponsoring a blood drive on Wednesday, and all eligible donors are encouraged to log onto redcrossblood.org to schedule a donation of the GIFT OF LIFE! Jeff Farmer and the[...]
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HSWC Polar Plunge @ Culpeper Lake at the 4-H Center
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The Humane Society of Warren County “Polar Plunge” delayed from February 20 due to “too-polar” weather here in northwestern Virginia has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 13 – Don’t worry, it will still be a[...]
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6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
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6:30 pm Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
Dance Fitness Class @ Warren County Community Center
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all-day Shenandoah Epic @ Caroline Furnace
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