NOTE: the following information was found in an email from Spark and also in the Food Focus Section:
Tomatoes: Secret Weapon Ingredients
Ahem...allow us to introduce to you one of many Secret Weapon Ingredients. And what, you might ask, are Secret Weapon Ingredients? They are versatile foods that are perfect for mixing into many recipes and dishes and provide a nutritional punch to any meal. They are easy and convenient, and their health benefits are numerous. Do you have trouble making your kids eat healthy foods? Sneak these into their meals and their bodies will be grateful.
Tomatoes This amazing fruit, which we commonly call a vegetable, is easy to add to meals. No matter its classification, the fact of the matter is that tomatoes are proven to reduce the risk of certain cancers, especially those in the digestive tract, by absorbing free radicals. They provide great antioxidant protection for your body. As a bonus, they are probably one of the easiest Secret Weapon Ingredients to include in your cooking. Add to omelets, top salads, or toss into spaghetti sauce. Want more? Make your own homemade salsa, mixing chopped tomatoes, onions and chili peppers.
Tomatoes & tomato products are major sources of LYCOPENE, a pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their red color.
Benefits of lycopene: reduces risk of prostate cancer reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
EAT MORE… TOMATOES!!! Say good morning to tomato juice with your breakfast! Spread a tomato-based sauce over pasta, breads, or chips Add diced tomatoes to your favorite salad
Interesting tip : Lycopene in processed tomato products is better absorbed by the body than from fresh tomatoes. Cooking fresh tomatoes with a little oil greatly increases lycopene absorption.
Hearty Hot or Cold Roasted Tomato Soup
2 lbs Roma (plum) tomatoes (quartered) 3 Tbsp olive oil 4 cloves garlic 1 quart chicken stock ¼ cup chopped fresh basil ½ Tbsp balsamic vinegar cloves salt to taste ground black pepper to taste
Place the tomato halves 'cut side up' on a baking tray with the garlic. Drizzle with the oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast at 375F for one hour. Snip the ends off of the garlic and squeeze into bowl or food processor along with contents of baking tray. Add stock, basil, and vinegar. Blend and enjoy! (serve hot or cold)
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