Archive | December, 2011

To Your Wealth and Health – Start 2012 with Black-Eyed Peas

by Donna Quirk, MBA RD LD
Clinical Nutrition Manager

The tradition of including Black-Eyed Peas in the first meal of the New Year has evolved to promote luck and prosperity. The practice can be traced back to ancient Jewish traditions for celebrating Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), as well as, superstitions steeped in the cultures of ancient Egypt and Africa.

In the Southern U.S.A., many believe the tradition began during the Civil War. The fields of Black-Eyed Peas were essentially ignored by a hungry Union army, leaving the unassuming but very nutritious legume for Southerners. The traditional beliefs are:

• Black-Eyed Peas, representing coins, are eaten with Greens, representing paper money.
• Cornbread, served with Black-Eyed Peas, represents gold.
• Black-Eyed Peas eaten with stewed tomatoes represent health and wealth.

As for your health, I couldn’t agree more, Black-Eyed Peas are great!

A ½ cup serving is low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol free. They are also an excellent source of magnesium, potassium, protein, fiber, folate, and iron. Black-Eyed Peas, along with other beans and legumes, are very versatile. They can be served as part of a great vegetarian main dish, wrapped in tortillas with diced tomatoes and avocado slices, served chilled in a salad, or as the base for a dip, salsa, or soup.

So, eat Black-Eyed Peas to bring luck to start your New Year and keep eating them to bring health all year!

This Hoppin’ John recipe uses lean ham or turkey bacon to keep the dish lower in fat. Use lean ham to save 180 mg of sodium per serving.

Hoppin’ John
1 ½ cups dried black-eyed peas
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 medium-sized onion, chopped
2 14 ounce vegetable broth
hot sauce
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 ½ cups cooked rice
4 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
½ cup minced green onions, including tops
3 tablespoons minced parsley
1 cup lean diced ham or 8 strips crisply cooked turkey bacon, crumbled

Clean and rinse the peas. Cover with three cups water and let stand overnight. Drain peas; discard water.
Heat the oil in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat; add the onion and cook 5 to 7 minutes; or until the onion is translucent. Add the peas and the broth; bring to boil.
Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the peas are tender and a small amount of cooking liquid remains. If the liquid is absorbed too quickly, add additional broth, ¼ cup at a time. Stir in hot sauce, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Place ½ cup rice in each soup bowl; top with peas. Garnish with tomatoes, green onions, parsley, and ham (or bacon).

Recipe from: Cooking Healthy Across America. American Dietetic Association, Food and Culinary Professionals. Kristine Napier, editor.

Surgical ICU Wins Beacon Award

The Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Lexington Medical Center has won a Gold Beacon Award from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses for excellence in practice, patient outcomes and healthy work environments. The hospital is one of only ten critical care units in the nation honored with this distinction and the only one in South Carolina.

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) created the Beacon Award to recognize surgical intensive care units that distinguish themselves by improving every facet of patient care and illustrating exceptional care through improved outcomes and greater patient satisfaction. For critical care nurses, a Beacon Award can mean a positive and supportive work environment with greater collaboration between colleagues and leaders, higher morale and lower turnover.

Congratulations to our surgical ICU care team!

Keeping Food Safety on the Front Burner for Christmas

By Kerri Lindberg, LMC Dietary Intern

As we begin to delve deeper into the season of fancy foods, now is the time to briefly review important food safety when cooking our favorite holiday meats. After all, foodborne illness is a quick way to dampen anyone’s holiday.

From the store…
Fresh chicken, turkey, fish, or shellfish: use in 1-2 days
Fresh beef, lamb, pork, veal: use in 3-5 days

To the preparation…
Keep in mind, these temperatures should always be taken in the thickest part of the very center of the cut of meat. When stuffing poultry, be sure the stuffing reaches the proper temperature also.
Beef, veal, lamb, pork, Cornish hens, fish, shellfish: 145°F
Ground Beef: 160°F
Whole Turkey and Chicken: 165°F
Stuffing: 165°F minimum
Wild Game: 165°F
Eggs, venison: 160°F

And back for more…
Leftovers should be used in 1-4 days and need to be reheated to 165°F

Here’s a safe way to prepare a potentially unsafe holiday favorite:

Egg Nog
Yield: 2 quarts Serving size: ½ cup


1 quart of 1% milk
6 eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup half-and-half, whipped
ground nutmeg

Remember: A dash of rum won’t make it safe! Alcohol cannot be relied upon to kill bacteria.

• Heat milk in large saucepan until hot (do not boil or scald). While milk is heating, beat together eggs and salt in a large bow l, gradually adding the sugar.
• Slowly add the hot milk mixture to the egg mixture stirring continuously.
• Transfer the mixture back to the large saucepan and cook on medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk until the mixture thickens and just coats a spoon .The food thermometer should register 160° F. Stir in vanilla .
• Cool quickly by setting pan in a bowl of ice or cold water and stirring for about 10 minutes.
• C over and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, several hours or overnight.
• Pour into a bowl or pitcher. Fold in whipped cream. Dust with ground nutmeg and enjoy!

Recommendations provided through USDA and CDC.