By now, I think you all know how much I love to make desserts! The more decadent, the better.
I also have a knack for creating delicious and, sometimes, healthy appetizers, side dishes, or dinners. Yep, I do. Can I interest you in some Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes and Feta? See, I can do it!
These Polenta Cakes with Apples and Cheddar will further prove that I can make yummy, healthy hors d’oeuvres.
But, today’s appetizer comes from a special place; it’s from the heart. Today we are joining together to help raise awareness for Heart Disease.
Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic lost her Mom to heart disease when her mother was 47, and Kim was only 15. Each year, on the day her Mom passed, she shares stories and photos of her Mom. This year she joined forces with Jen of Juanita’s Cocina, whose life was also touched by heart disease when her Stepfather had a heart attack. Jen’s Stepfather is alive and well more than a decade later, and for that, Jen is thankful every day.
For this reason, these two beautiful ladies got in touch with other bloggers to ask them to share their own stories about how heart disease has touched their lives.
So today we share stories and recipes from our hearts to yours, in memory and honour of Momzie, Kim’s Mom. We hope you will share your stories with us today as well.
I am fortunate to say that heart disease has not been an issue in my family. However, I have had one too many of those 2 a.m. phone calls where a close family-friend is rushing to the hospital with chest pains. The nightmare then continues and most of the time they don’t make it.
What scares me is the thought of that phone call coming from someone real close – my parents. That thought, alone, has kept me up many, many nights. My parents are not overweight. They eat homemade food, only, and their exercise consists of soccer for my Dad and coffee-talk for my Mom. So far there is no indication of heart issues for them, but what happens if they ignore the recommended healthy heart habits? After all, Heart Disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
However, even if you have a family history, heart disease does not have to be the inevitable death sentence. Many cases are preventable, and there are important steps you can take to lower your risk.
A healthy diet and regular exercise can reduce your risk of having, or dying from, a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, ” a healthy diet and lifestyle are your best weapons in the fight against heart disease”.
Therefore, today I share a healthy alternative that is good for those who have given up on carbohydrates and fats, and also for those that have said goodbye to wheat and pasta.
Also, instead of topping them with my usual duo, bacon and feta, I opted for a healthier combination; apples and cheddar cheese.
Polenta Cakes with Apples and Cheddar
- 5 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup Corn Grits or Polenta
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Granny Smith Apple , sliced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- freshly ground peppercorns
- crushed red pepper
- Pour water into a large saucepan and add salt; bring to a rolling boil.
- Gradually add in the Corn Grits and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Reduce heat to low and continue to cook until mixture thickens, about 30 minutes; stirring often. Spray a casserole dish with cooking spray and line with saran wrap.
- Pour the cooked polenta into the saran wrap lined dish.
- Add another layer of saran wrap on top and smooth it down directly on top of the polenta.
- Place into the refrigerator to set up; about 2 hours.
- Lift the polenta out of the dish and place it on top of a cutting board.
- Remove the saran wrap and, using a round cookie cutter, cut out 6 to 8 polenta circles.
- Place a saute pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil.
- When oil is hot, place the polenta circles into the pan.
- Cook until a golden crust has formed on both sides.
- Remove cakes from pan and top with slices of apples and shredded cheddar cheese.
- Season with freshly ground peppercorns and crushed red pepper.
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