February is here, one of my favorite months of the year. Today is National Wear Red Day®, part of the Go Red For Women movement established in 2004 by the American Heart Association along with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Each year, on the first Friday in February, millions of women and men come together to wear red, take action and commit to fighting this deadly disease. Heart disease played a role in taking the live of three of the most important people in my life: my mother and both of my maternal grandparents. I made the decision early on to be proactive about my health and have routine medical tests to keep track of my heart health.
According to the Go Red For Women website, they set out to dispel the myth that heart disease was "an old man's disease" by creating a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health as well as band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges women to know their risk for heart disease and use the tools that that Go Red For Women provides to take action to reduce their personal risk. This year marks 10 years of this important initiative and in that time, tremendous strides have been made in the fight against heart disease in women, including 21% fewer women dying from heart disease and 23% more women aware that it's their No. 1 health threat. I am happy to participate today by wearing red, spreading awareness with you through these important statistics and sharing my favorite heart-healthy "red" dessert recipe.
This month also brings the President’s Day holiday and this is one of my favorite cherry desserts. I like the story handed down that President George Washington at age 6 was given a hatchet of his very own and went about chopping everything outside that came his way, including a cherry tree his father was very fond of. Instead of being dishonest, he told the truth to his father that he was the one who cut into the tree. His father told him that his honestly in telling the truth was more valuable than a thousand of those trees. This cherry dessert uses one of my new favorite heart-healthy ingredients: steel cut oats. It makes a great choice for a lightened-up "red" treat- and that’s the truth!
"Southern Fried Bride's Cherry Crunch Delight"
2 (21 oz.) cans no sugar added cherry pie filling
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (whole wheat flour works great)
1/2 cup steel cut oats
1/2 cup Splenda brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine, melted
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray. Pour pie filling into baking dish and spread evenly to cover entire dish. In large bowl, combine flour, oats and brown sugar. Mix in melted margarine until mixture has a crumbly consistency. Sprinkle across pie filling. If desired, sprinkle with chopped pecans. Bake 40-45 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Allow to cool 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!