Fresh Fridays 

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid includes sweets at the very top, signaling that these are sometimes foods to enjoy on special occasions. As you celebrate the holiday season, be discriminating, and choose the very best quality desserts to enjoy. If you're inspired to bake your own family favorites or make something new this year, keep in mind a small but important change you can make: Substitute extra-light tasting or extra-virgin olive oil for butter in baking. This is one Med Diet habit that helps you include healthy fats in desserts.

Here's a quick look at how to make the switch:

1/4 cup butter  - 3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup butter - 1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup butter - 1/4 cup +1 tablespoon olive oil
2/3 cup butter - 1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup butter - 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup butter  - 3/4 cup olive oil

There are other steps you can take as well to help keep the finale to holiday meals healthy:
  • Build dessert around fresh or dried fruit.
  • Include seeds and plain or toasted nuts in desserts; they're another good source of healthy fats.
  • Substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream.
  • Replace half the fat in baked goods with applesauce, mashed banana, pureed pumpkin, or pureed dried fruit.
  • Reduce sugar in cookies and cakes by one-third to one-half and add cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg to enhance the flavor.
Try one or all of these delicious holiday recipes.  They're great examples of how to use olive oil in place of butter. 

Web links

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5th Annual Whole Grains Challenge Winners Announced!

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Need Some Ideas for
Holiday Meals?
Click here for a selection of Mediterranean Diet Menus.

Don't run out of these basics!  
Cranberry Walnut Pound Cake  Cranberry Walnut bread  

Cranberries add a touch of tartness and festive color to this rich and aromatic cake. Make two - one for you and your friends or family and one to take to an office party, or give to a neighbor as a gift.  

German Apple CakeGerman cake  
This fragrant, rich cake with its sweet topping delivers plenty of flavor. The combination of apples and cinnamon gives it a delicious old-fashioned taste, while baking it in a spring form pan makes it a thoroughly modern dessert.         
Chocolate Whoopie PiesWhoopie pie    

Moist chocolate cookie sandwiches with a sweet, creamy filling. Who can resist? If you wish, add up to cup of mini-chocolate chips to the filling.  Let the cookies cool completely before assembly, to keep them from crumbling.

True Spice Cookies spice cookies
These delicious, traditional cookies are a great holiday project to make with kids.  For an extra-special touch, roll the dough for each cookie in coarse sugar before baking. And be sure to allow time for the dough to chill overnight.

Fresh Fridays is a bi-weekly celebration of Mediterranean eating and living. We hope our Friday recipes will remind you just how easy and delicious eating the Mediterranean way can be.

To find even more delicious Mediterranean recipes please visit:    

 Mediterranean Foods Alliance (MFA)    





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Let the old ways be your guide to  good health and well-being. 

12 great ways to use yogurt  
Med Diet USASanta on tracter
18th Annual Lighted Farm Implement Parade
Sandusky, Michigan
December 3, 2012
Watch Santa come to town
on a tractor, and celebrate
the importance of local
farming at this annual event, which begins at 7 p.m.
at the high school.

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Country Cooking of Italy

Country Cooking of Italy   

 by Colman Andrews 

Can we ever have too many cookbooks that honor the rural traditions of Italy, from Piedmont to Puglia?  This one, from the former editor-in-chief of Saveur magazine, delivers accessible recipes and stunning photographs by Christopher Hirsheimer.