September Has Arrived

September 6, 2019

In our area of the country that means fall is here. Time for back to school, Football Friday, sweatshirts in the evening, and packing away those summer clothes.

So many good fruits and veggies are still in season. In our family, nothing says September more than apples! We have so many family favorites. Apple dumplings, apple pie, coffee cake, apple cider and so much more!

One of our go to breakfast recipes is Apple Cinnamon Pancakes! Such a fun twist on a breakfast staple!


  • 1 1/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp.baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, divided, plus more for cooking
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 4 large apples, peeled, cored, and finely chopped (about 5 to 6 cups)
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar

  1. Mix flour, baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. In a large bowl, whisk to combine egg yolk, vanilla, milk, and melted butter. Gently fold dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just combined, then fold in 1½  cups of chopped apple.
  2. In another medium bowl, using a hand mixer, beat egg white until stiff peaks form. Fold egg white into batter gently with a rubber spatula until just combined.
  3. Make apple topping: in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Add remaining apples, brown sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and a 1/4 cup water. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples have softened and mixture is jammy, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Pour about 1/4 cup pancake batter into pan. When little bubbles appear, about 1 to 2 minutes, flip and continue cooking until both sides are lightly golden. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter to pan as needed. Serve pancakes topped with apple mixture.

You can find more wonderful recipes at

Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

June 18, 2019

Nothing says summer like fresh tomatoes! Try this easy to make fresh tomato soup paired with a grilled cheese….YUM!

  • 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 slice onion
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar, or to taste

In a stockpot, over medium heat, combine the tomatoes, onion, cloves and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, and gently boil for about 20 minutes to blend all of the flavors. Remove from heat and run the mixture through a food mill into a large bowl, or pan. Discard any stuff left over in the food mill.

In the now empty stockpot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour to make a roux, cooking until the roux is a medium brown. Gradually whisk in a bit of the tomato mixture, so that no lumps form, then stir in the rest. Season with sugar and salt, and adjust to taste. Find the recipe and many others HERE!

Go to for much more!

Grilling Season

May 23, 2019

Memorial Day is this weekend, and that marks the unofficial start of summer.  Memorial Day for many is the day we remember the sacrifices of those brave men and women in our armed forces who have fought for our freedom and gave their lives for us.

It is also a time where in remembrance we get together with family and friends. I know for our family, we “unplug” and spend the weekend together eating lots of grilled food. It’s nice to be outside together, playing yard games while the smell of burgers and chicken linger in the air.

One of our favorite things to cook outside is corn on the cob! We roast our corn in burlap over a fire for about 8 hours! It’s a very long process, but oh so good!

A simpler version is to GRILL the corn! There are so many ways you can do this. Husk on or off, in foil, or right on the grates.

Make some grilled corn on the cob for your next outside gathering. You will love it too!

Visit for some great suggestions!

Grilled Asparagus

May 8, 2019

When it’s nice out, we love to grill! Those grill marks add SO. MUCH. FLAVOR. And can make pretty much any green vegetable feel like less of a chore. 

For perfect grilled asparagus every time:

  1. Let your grill (or grill pan) preheat. You want it HOT, so that you hear a sizzle as soon as the asparagus hits the grate. This is where that char comes to play. 
  2. Cut off the woody ends. Trim the bottom inch or so off each spear. It’s the part that tends to be super tough. 
  3. Season your asparagus generously. 
  4. Be patient. If the stalks are pretty big, they might take longer to cook. The asparagus is ready when you can easily pierce the middle with a fork. 

What should you serve with this? Literally anything. Bottom line: Grilled asparagus tastes good with pretty much everything. 


  • asparagus, stalks trimmed
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Sometimes I wrap in foil (like a tent) instead of placing directly on the grill. You can add any seasoning you like, get creative! Add some garlic, butter, lemon, pretty much anything!


  1. Heat a grill or grill pan over high heat. Toss asparagus lightly in oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill, turning occasionally, until tender and charred, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. ENJOY!

Aging, Nutrition, Diabetes – What I’ve Seen by Ashley Gonzalez

May 3, 2016

ashley edit Ashley Gonzalez for PA HOME CARE of Lancaster 

Growing up I knew my grandmother had diabetes, but I never really understood what that meant. I mean I knew she and my grandfather had to watch how much sugar they ate, and had to monitor their sugar levels throughout the day. But wasn’t that just something that the elderly people had to do? Didn’t most people get diabetes when they got older? It wasn’t until my grandmother began to have kidney failure that I began to understand just what was happening in her body, and why.

You see, my grandmother grew up on a farm; they grew most of their food and ate a simple diet. Most of which was farm to table. However, as the times changed, her own family began to grow, and more processed foods became available, her diet changed. My grandmother had five children, four boys and my mom. Feeding a growing family with growing appetites on a budget that didn’t grow as fast as the family required some creativity. At the same time things like Wonder Bread and Bologna and American cheese were readily available, and cheap. Lets not forget Mayonnaise. Mayonnaise makes everything taste better, right? These ingredients were combined to create a staple sandwich in my grandmother’s house when my mom was growing up. Another staple was canned food. Canned food was an affordable way to keep food available without having to worry about it going bad before you can use it.  However, these foods are all high in sodium, fat, and sugar. They are also not filled with many nutrients like vitamins and minerals. After a while of eating this way, the body begins to break down. It cannot do what it is supposed to do without the necessary fuel.

As an illustration, lets say you go to the gas station and your car is supposed to take premium gasoline. It has all the ‘nutrients’ your car needs to run smoothly and efficiently. However, instead of premium you Car Warning Lightsdecided that the regular is cheaper and more appealing, so you fill up your car.  What you may not think about is how after a few weeks and months of feeding your car the wrong type of gasoline, your car begins to run more slowly, and less efficiently. Suddenly, the lights on your dash begin to blink, warning you that if something doesn’t change things will only get worse.

It’s the same with our bodies and food. Our bodies are designed to need certain micronutrients like vitamins and minerals, and macronutrients such as carbs, proteins, and fats. The food naturally available to us is designed to meet those needs. However, the American diet is full of processed foods, which are high in calories but low in nutritional value. So what does that mean? It means that the food we are choosing to eat does not have the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients our bodies need to run smoothly. Instead, it has high fat and sugar content to make it taste good and last longer.  When we choose to put the wrong kinds of foods into our bodies, or too much of a certain category of food in our bodies, the warning lights begin to blink: achy joints, inflammation, fatigue, dull skin, weak hair and nails. These are all signs that our diets are lacking something.  And if something doesn’t change, it will get worse. In my grandmother’s case, when she was diagnosed with diabetes, she didn’t really change her diet. She had to go on medication and add things like sugar monitoring to her daily lifestyle, but she didn’t change the one thing that could have helped her the most.

Frank and Mary Later, when her kidneys began to fail, she was strongly urged by the doctor to change her diet. She cut back significantly on her sodium intake, and paid closer attention to how much sugar she ate and cooked with. For a woman who’s pies have won contest and whose home was always filled with some combination of cookies and cake or pies, this was not an easy adjustment; but it was necessary.  For my grandmother, these changes were too little too late, but that doesn’t have to be my story, or yours. Not all disease is preventable, but if you can help your body be strong enough to fight off what it can, wouldn’t you want to?

Even if you don’t have diabetes, chances are you know someone who does and can appreciate how important diet really is. If diabetes runs in your family, you are doing yourself a great favor to start paying attention to what you eat now, instead of when you have no choice.

Here are a few recipes from the American Diabetes Association website. This website has great tools to help you understand what you are putting in your body with the recipes they provide. When you click on a recipe you would like to try, the website not only provides the ingredient and instructions, but also the nutrition facts. Remember, even if you don’t have diabetes, it is still important for you to be aware of what you are eating. Your body is designed to heal it self and with the right fuel, you can help to delay and prevent disease today.

Quick Gluten Free Recipe:

Apricot Glazed Chicken

Get a sweet taste of spring with this baked chicken recipe! Pair this with brown rice and corn on the cob for the perfect spring/summer meal!

Apricot Glazed Chicken

For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, click the link below:

Slow Cooker Recipe:

Hawaiian Pork Tacos

Short on time this week? Throw this in the crock-pot in the morning and by dinner time you have a delicious and nutritious meal! Add your favorite taco toppings like tomatoes, beans, onions, lettuce, salsa, pico de gallo, cheese, or cilantro for a fun family dinner!

Hawaiian Pork Tacos

For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, click the link below:

Budget-Friendly Recipe:

Miso Glazed Cod

This recipe combines stir-fried vegetables and perfectly broiled cod fillets for a mouth-watering dinner in under 30 minutes! Try substituting the cabbage and snow peas for your favorite stir fry vegetables for an Asian inspired dinner that is sure to please the whole family!

 Miso Glazed Cod

For the complete list of ingredients and instructions, click the link below:


Ashley Gonzalez is writing for PA HOME CARE of Lancaster.  She lives in northern Pennsylvania with her husband Rich and their two beautiful daughters, Alana and Elise.  We look forward to more interesting and thoughtful articles from her.  She brings a wealth of personal knowledge as well as a degree in medical studies from Liberty University.


Sesame Honey Chicken (from 12 Tomatoes website)

January 20, 2015

Sesame Honey Chicken

Like Chinese Food but not the MSG and any other additives?

This recipe starts out very healthy, but feel free to make it your own.

Sesame Honey Chicken

Serves 6



  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  1. For the sauce: in a small bowl or glass, combine water and cornstarch to make a slurry and stir until dissolved. Set slurry aside.
  2. Place honey, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, sesame oil and red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil.
  3. Slowly stir in cornstarch slurry and reduce heat to a simmer. Mix until cornstarch has cooked out and sauce has thickened, 5-10 minutes, and set aside.
  4. In a large, shallow dish, mix together flour, cumin, chili powder, salt and powder.
  5. Heat oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  6. Set up a bowl with the buttermilk and place next to your workstation.
  7. Piece by piece, dredge chicken cubes in flour, coat fully in buttermilk, drip off excess, and dredge again in flour and spice mixture, pressing firmly to adhere.
  8. When oil is hot enough (when splashing some water into it causes it to sizzle, but it’s not smoking or burning) add chicken cubes and cook for 4-5 minutes, flipping in the middle, or until chicken is an even golden brown and crispy.
  9. Use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken to a paper towel-lined plate.
  10. Move all chicken pieces to a large bowl and pour honey sauce over the top. Toss to coat thoroughly and add sesame seeds.
  11. Toss again and serve immediately over rice or noodles

Summer Eating, healthy and enjoyable

June 6, 2014

It’s summertime, but that doesn’t have to mean all backyard grilling all of the time.  For a light yet satisfying summer meal, try this recipe from the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign to create heart-healthy choices.  Enjoy!

Sweet, Spiced Salmon from Go Red

Sweet, Spiced Salmon from “Go Red for Women”


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 salmon fillets with skin (about 5 ounces each),
  • rinsed and patted dry
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown
  • sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium lemon, quartered (optional)

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories 187
  • Total Fat 5.0 g
  • Saturated Fat 1.0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 2.0 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat 1.5 g
  • Cholesterol 74 mg
  • Sodium 388 mg
  • Carbohydrates 6 g
  • Fiber 0 g
  • Sugars 5 g
  • Protein 28 g
  • Dietary Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate, 4 very
  • lean meat
  • Sweet Spiced Salmon
  • Serves 4; 3 ounces fish per serving


1. Set the orange zest aside in a small bowl.

2. In a large shallow glass dish, stir together the orange juice and lemon juice. Add the fish, turning to coat. Cover

and refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.

3. Meanwhile, stir the brown sugar, paprika, curry powder, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne into the orange zest. Set

4. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.

5. Drain the fish, discarding the marinade. Arrange the fillets with the skin side down on the baking sheet. Rub the

brown sugar mixture over the flesh side of the fish.

6. Bake for 14 minutes, or until the fish is cooked to the desired doneness.

7. Using a metal spatula, lift the fish out of the skin. Transfer to plates. Serve with the lemon wedges.

8. Cook’s Tip: Marinate the salmon for only 30 minutes so the texture will remain firm.


© American Heart Association. Look for other delicious recipes like this from our Go Red For Women magazine

cookbooks published by Publications International, Ltd. (PIL) at



Heart Healthy Sweet Treat from the American Heart Association

January 23, 2014

American Heart Association


Serves 8; 1/2 cup per serving


  • Cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
  • 2 medium sweet apples, such as Rome Beauty or Gala, peeled, each sliced into 10 wedges
  • 3 tablespoons light tub margarine

Nutrition Facts

  • Calories                                   101
  • Total Fat                                 2.0 g
  • Saturated Fat                         0.0 g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat            0.5 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat         1.0 g
  • Cholesterol                            0 mg
  • Sodium                                   61 mg
  • Carbohydrates                     21 g
  • Fiber                                       3 g
  • Sugars                                   14 g
  • Protein                                  1 g


Dietary Exchanges: 1 starch, 1/2 fruit


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 1 1/2-quart glass casserole dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
  3. In the casserole dish, layer in order half each of the sweet potatoes, apples, and cinnamon-sugar. Dot with about half the margarine. Repeat.
  4. Bake, covered, for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes and apples are soft.

© American Heart Association. Look for other delicious recipes like this from our Go Red For Women magazine cookbooks published by Publications International, Ltd. (PIL) at


Comfort Food for Cold Winter Days

December 18, 2013

Classic Chicken Pot Pie

Here’s a great “winter” recipe, and very easy to make.

Chicken Pot Pie! You can add whatever veggies you like.





Check out this budget-friendly take on the classic recipe complete with chicken, mixed vegetables, a rich homemade white sauce and a flaky pie crust.

  • prep time 25 min
  • total time 1 hr 5 min
  • ingredients 10
  • servings 6



1          box refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box


1/3       cup butter or margarine

1/3       cup chopped onion

1/3       cup all-purpose flour

1/2       teaspoon salt

1/4       teaspoon pepper

1 3/4    cups chicken broth

1/2       cup milk

2 1/2    cups shredded cooked chicken or turkey

2          cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed


1          Heat oven to 425°F. Make pie crusts as directed on box for Two-Crust Pie using 9-inch glass pie pan.

2          In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until tender. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended. Gradually stir in broth and milk, cooking and stirring until bubbly and thickened.

3          Stir in chicken and mixed vegetables. Remove from heat. Spoon chicken mixture into crust-lined pan. Top with second crust; seal edge and flute. Cut slits in several places in top crust.

4          Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown. During last 15 to 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edge with strips of foil to prevent excessive browning. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.


Soup Making 101 by: Jacqui Zimmerman, RD, as published by

December 4, 2013

Jacqui Zimmerman, RD


Soup is one of the ultimate comfort foods! It can be a tasty way to get more vegetables into your diet and, when eaten before a meal, may help fill you up on fewer calories due to its water and fiber content. Unfortunately, most of the soups available in the canned foods aisle are loaded with sodium. But it’s not hard to make your own—once you know the basics.

Soup, in my opinion, is one of the ultimate comfort foods! It can be a tasty way to get more vegetables into your diet and, when eaten before a meal, may help fill you up on fewer calories due to its water and fiber content.

Unfortunately, most of the soups available in the canned foods aisle are loaded with sodium. Once you know the basics of making soup, you can create a variety of different combinations. Read on for some tips on making your own healthy soup.

  • Most soups start by sautéing the “aromatic” vegetables like onion, garlic, celery, and carrots. Use up to a tablespoon of oil to sauté your vegetables.
  • Using herbs is a great way to add more flavor to a lower sodium soup. Add dried herbs at the beginning of cooking and fresh herbs at the end.
  • Add leafy greens toward the end of cooking, since they don’t need to cook for very long and it will help to keep them a bright green color. Frozen vegetables can also be added later in the cooking process then fresh, firm vegetables since they’re already partially cooked.
  • When choosing your base liquid, be sure to choose “low sodium” stock or broth since traditional varieties can be really high in sodium. Better yet, make your own stock with one of thesedelicious recipes.
  • You can also make really good stock by cooking a whole chicken in your slow cooker. Season the outside of the chicken lightly and add large pieces of carrots and onions and cook on low for about 8 hours. When the chicken is done, you’ll end up with delicious, concentrated stock. Strain and refrigerate it and the fat will rise to the top. Skim the fat and freeze your stock for the next time you want to make soup.
  • Soup is a great place to use up those last bits of fresh vegetables or leftovers. Combine leftover cooked grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta), canned beans, and/or leftover cooked meat with stock or low-sodium tomato juice or low-sodium V-8 juice for an easy lunch or dinner for another day.
  • Fresh, great tasting vegetables make great soup. This spring and summer, stock up on fresh vegetables from your local farmer’s market or from your own garden and freeze them. These vegetables will make delicious soup and will give you that taste of summer in the middle of the winter.
  • Experiment! The beauty of making soup is that it’s nearly impossible to mess up. You can easily throw some ingredients together and taste and adjust seasonings until it tastes good to you.

Not the adventuresome type?  Try this fool-proof soup that I like to make. It’s a great base recipe that you can add to with whatever you have on hand. Enjoy!

Italian White Bean and Spinach Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 cans Italian diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup dry whole wheat or multigrain pasta
½ bag spinach (chopped, unless using baby spinach)
Pepper to taste

  1. Heat large soup pot over medium heat. Add oil and sauté chopped onions until softened. Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute more.
  2. Add 2 cans of tomatoes (liquid and all), cannellini beans, and stock. Bring to a boil. Add pasta and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until pasta is tender.
  3. Stir in spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until spinach is wilted.

Additional notes:
You can add other vegetables like chopped fresh zucchini or yellow squash. Just sauté with the onions. Frozen vegetables can also be added along with the stock in step 2.

  • Swap the spinach in this recipe for kale, Swiss chard, or whatever leafy green that you like. Heartier greens, like kale, may just need to cook a little longer depending on your preference.
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste if you have it on hand for richer flavor.

Jacqui Zimmerman, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian at Lancaster General Health’s Wellness Center. She has been instrumental in the development of a series of three healthy cookbooks, a variety of cooking demonstrations, healthy shopping tours, and numerous presentations for a range of audiences. She is actively involved in the Education and Schools Action Team of the Lighten Up Lancaster County Coalition. Her experience includes working with people of all ages, from kids and teens to the elderly.

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