By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Executive Director of Miracle Math Coaching

Just in time for the new year, here’s a past post about improving the way you eat.

It’s true what they say: “You are what you eat.” Specifically, what you consume can strongly affect your brain functioning. Below are two recipes that are guaranteed to give you and your children a mental edge – Broccoli-Cheese Chowder and Honey Oat Quick Bread.
Broccoli-Cheese Chowder
Broccoli is known for helping boost your memory, and this delicious chowder also gives you more than of the daily recommendation for vitamin C.
6 servings, 1 cup each | Active Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Ingredients
• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 1 large carrot, diced
• 2 stalks celery, diced
• 1 large potato, peeled and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 2 14-ounce cans vegetable broth, or reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 8 ounces broccoli crowns, (see Ingredient Note), cut into 1-inch pieces, stems and florets separated
• 1 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
• 1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
Preparation
• Heat oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery; cook, stirring often, until the onion and celery soften, 5 to 6 minutes. Add potato and garlic; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Stir in flour, dry mustard and cayenne; cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes.
• Add broth and broccoli stems; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Stir in florets; simmer, covered, until the broccoli is tender, about 10 minutes more. Transfer 2 cups of the chowder to a bowl and mash; return to the pan.
• Stir in Cheddar and sour cream; cook over medium heat, stirring, until the cheese is melted and the chowder is heated through, about 2 minutes. Season with salt.
Nutrition
Per serving : 205 Calories; 9 g Fat; 4 g Sat; 3 g Mono; 21 mg Cholesterol; 23 g Carbohydrates; 9 g Protein; 4 g Fiber; 508 mg Sodium; 436 mg Potassium
Tips & Notes
• Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 2. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
• Ingredient note: Most supermarkets sell broccoli crowns, which are the tops of the bunches, with the stalks cut off. Although crowns are more expensive than entire bunches, they are convenient and there is considerably less waste.

Honey Oat Quick Bread
Cranberries are an excellent source of high-quality antioxidants, which help maintain a healthy brain.
Makes 1 loaf.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons plus 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats or quick-cooking (not instant) oats divided
• 1 1/3 cups whole-wheat flour or white whole-wheat flour (see Tip)
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 1/4 teaspoons teaspoons baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
• 1 8-ounce container (scant 1 cup) nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt
• 1 large egg
• 1/4 cup canola oil
• 1/4 cup clover honey or other mild honey
• 3/4 cup nonfat or low-fat milk

Preparation

Position rack in middle of oven; preheat to 375°F. Generously coat a 9-by-5-inch (or similar size) loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon oats in the pan. Tip the pan back and forth to coat the sides and bottom with oats; set aside another 1 tablespoon oats for garnishing the loaf.

• Thoroughly stir together whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Using a fork, beat together the remaining 1 cup oats, yogurt, egg, oil and honey in a medium bowl until well blended. Stir in milk. Gently stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture just until thoroughly incorporated but not overmixed (excess mixing can cause toughening). Immediately scrape the batter into the pan, spreading evenly to the edges. Sprinkle the reserved 1 tablespoon oats over the top.

• Bake the loaf until well browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. (It’s normal for the top to crack.) Let stand in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a table knife around and under the loaf to loosen it and turn it out onto the rack. Let cool until barely warm, about 45 minutes.

Tip: White whole-wheat flour, made from a special variety of white wheat, is light in color and flavor but has the same nutritional properties as regular whole-wheat flour. Two companies that distribute the flour nationally are King Arthur Flour (kingarthurflour.com) and Bob’s Red Mill (bobsredmill.com).

I am passionate about brain-based learning. I have a seven-year track record of using it to boost academic achievement; my brain-based curriculum has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education; I’m a member of the “Learning and the Brain Society,” a research-focused think tank and I’ve completed U.C. Berkeley training in cognitive neuropsychology. More important, I spend hours of my time and much of my personal funds developing my skills in this area.

And if you want to learn how to help your child excel academically, call Miracle Math at 707-398-3474. And definitely contact us for a FREE Learning Discovery Evaluation to see where your child stands academically and how we might help: Click here to sign up now. Miracle Math Coaching is an award-winning, student-focused service with a track record of boosting academic achievement.

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