Weekly Food for Thought, with tips on eating and drinking right over the holidays, an easy recipe for Tuscan Pasta, a review of recent cookbook "Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza" and more.

Tip of the Week

It can be challenging to eat right during the holidays. While it's OK to moderately splurge before kick-starting the New Year with a healthy diet, it's important to build momentum before Jan. 1 to ensure a healthy immune system during the winter months and increased energy for burning off those extra calories.

Nutrient know-how: Following are some nutrient quick tips so you're better informed during your next trip to the market.

Calcium: Essential for healthy teeth and bones; also important for muscle, nerve and some gland functions.
Iron: Necessary for healthy blood and normal cell functioning.
Magnesium: Needed for healthy bones; also involved in more than 300 enzymes.
Potassium: Helps maintain healthy blood pressure.
Vitamin A: Helps keep eyes and skin healthy; also helps protect against infections.
Vitamin C: Helps heal cuts and wounds; helps keep teeth and gums healthy, and helps iron absorption.
Folate (folic acid): Helps the body form red blood cells.
Fiber: Helps reduce blood cholesterol and may lower risk of heart disease.

Drink to your health: A simple way to enjoy a healthy holiday season and New Year is to start each day with a nutrient-rich beverage packed with essential ingredients that produce increased energy levels, decreased cravings for seasonal junk foods and greater overall wellness.

This nutritious and delicious recipe from NutriBullet will help ensure a healthy holiday season and put you on the right track to wellness in the New Year. The NutriBullet emulsifies healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains into their most easily digestible state.

Sweet Apple Pumpkin Pie

1/4 cup organic silken tofu or organic Greek-style yogurt
1/2 cup canned pumpkin or cooked fresh pumpkin
1/2  apple (cut, cored, and seeds removed)
1 tablespoon raw almond butter
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1-2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 cup almond milk

Add ingredients to large cup, and blast.

-- NutriBullet/Family Features

Easy recipe: Tuscan Pasta

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Makes 6 servings

1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons McCormick Garlic Powder
2 teaspoons McCormick Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Ground Black Pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound zucchini and/or yellow squash, sliced
1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
1 small onion, chopped
6 ounces pasta, such as spaghetti or linguine
Shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Mix tomatoes, tomato sauce, sugar and seasonings in medium saucepan. Bring to boil on medium heat. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 20 minutes.

Heat oil in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add zucchini, mushrooms and onion; cook and stir 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Stir tomato sauce into vegetables.

Meanwhile, cook pasta as directed on package. Drain well. Place pasta in serving bowl. Add vegetable mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

-- McCormick/Family Features

Food Quiz

How many feathers does a mature turkey have?:

A. 350

B. 3,500

C. 35,000

Answer is at the bottom of the rail.

Wise to the Word: Escarole

Escarole is a variety of endive whose leaves are broader, paler and less bitter than other members of the endive family. In taste -- but not color -- it is almost indistinguishable from radicchio. High in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K, escarole can be eaten raw or gently cooked.

-- CookThink.com

Number to Know

88: According to a survey conducted by the National Turkey Federation, 88 percent of American families eat turkey on Thanksgiving. The federation estimates that Americans ate 690 million pounds of turkey during Thanksgiving 2008.

The Dish On …

"Flour Water Salt Yeast: The Fundamentals of Artisan Bread and Pizza" by Ken Forkish

From Portland's most acclaimed and beloved baker comes this must-have guide, featuring recipes for world-class breads and pizzas and a variety of schedules suited for the home baker.

In "Flour Water Salt Yeast," Forkish translates his obsessively honed craft into scores of recipes for rustic boules and Neapolitan-style pizzas. Forkish developed and tested all of the recipes in his home oven, and his impeccable formulas and clear instructions result in top-quality artisan breads and pizzas that stand up against those sold in the best bakeries anywhere.

-- Amazon.com

Food Quiz Answer

B. 3,500

-- Delish.com

GateHouse News Service