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Category Archives: Recipes

PROTEIN PACKED LENTIL SALAD

lentils

This salad is the perfect take- to- work lunch. Serve it warm or cold over a bed of arugula or spinach for a hearty protein packed lunch. Lentils are rich in fiber, and contain significant amounts of folate, iron and magnesium, making them a fabulous source of energy. Make this in advance, as it will keep for a few days.

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yields: 8 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups black or green lentils
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • finely chopped 2 sprigs thyme
  • finely chopped 1 bay leaf

Dressing

  • 3 shallots peeled and thickly sliced
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  • Put the lentils in a large pot and cover with water to an inch above beans.
  • Add parsley, thyme and bay leaf. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes until lentils are tender, not mushy.
  • While the lentils are simmering, combine the ingredients for dressing and whisk briskly.
  • Drain water.
  • Add dressing to lentils and serve warm over arugula or spinach.
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The Dill-eo on Dill

One of my favorite herbs is Dill. But I don’t buy it often because it always come in a huge bunch and I simply cannot use it all! Well, this week I got some at the Farmer’s Market, determined to use every last bit of it. With careful meal planning, and creative recipes, I am well on my way to accomplishing that goal. But first, let’s chat about dill. What is the Dill-eo on Dill?

Dill

I found myself drawn to dill for a few reasons.

1. I was craving that ACRID flavor? What is acrid, you ask? Well, it is that interesting flavor that is not quite sour, not quite bitter, but somewhat briny enough to purse your lips at times. Pungent is another word for Acrid, and is relative to foods like green onion, chive, clove, parsley and coriander. Other foods I would put in this category are dill, capers, gouda cheese, and artichokes. (In fact, in my town there is a gorgeous restaurant called Le Salbuen, which serves the most delicious acrid omelet of dill, capers, sundried tomatoes and gouda. NOTHING beats this!).

2. Dill has been shown to have anti-viral and anti-microbial properties. With the latest respiratory viruses, flus and colds floating around, you cannot have too many of those defensive foods! In fact, Chinese medicine stresses that acrid flavors impact the lungs and large intestines –the areas we are most affected in cold and flu season. If you are feeling ill….eat dill!

3. It’s high in calcium! Many greens are high in this well sought after mineral. I don’t believe you need to consume dairy to satisfy your calcium needs. In fact, there are plenty of herbs and vegetables to do that, and dairy can worsen your condition if you suffer from allergies, asthma or respiratory problems.
I can go on and on about dill. Like how its curative properties were popular for insomnia, wound healing and digestive issues. However, let’s talk about how to eat it. Firstly, the foods that pair best with dill (in my opinion) are: Eggs, Salmon, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Capers, Gouda Cheese, Carrots, Fennel, Cucumber, and Radish. So from that list, let’s make some dishes!

  •  Salmon cakes (Combine canned salmon, cooked celery, shallot and garlic, 1 egg, salt, pepper and fresh dill. Form cakes and bake at 425 for about 20 minutes). Serve with a yogurt dill sauce!

    So many delicious uses for Dill!

    So many delicious uses for Dill!

  •  Fennel, Radish Salad with Dill. (Using a mandolin, thinly slice fennel bulb and radishes. Combine with some olive oil, lemon juice and a bit of apple cider vinegar. Add in fresh dill. Top this with hard-boiled egg if you wish).
  •  Acrid Omelet. (Just like at my favorite breakfast place, make an omelet with dill, capers, sundried tomatoes and gouda cheese. This will certainly satisfy those acrid taste buds!)
  •  Roasted potatoes with Dill. (Easy enough. Toss those red potatoes or fingerlings with some salt, pepper, olive oil and dill. Roast up and then toss with more dill when done).

My mouth is watering, so I have to go. Hope you enjoyed the Dill-eo on Dill! Now go get some!

Delicious Dinner

Seldom I find a recipe and actually stick with it. Usually I skim through a couple, and then modify all to make something I prefer. This evening I put myself to the challenge and followed not only ONE, but TWO recipes to the letter! This is huge for me! What turned out was a delicious dinner of Mexican Black Bean Soup and Vegan Sweet Potato Corn Bread.

I wanted to give a big shout out to the ladies who developed these recipes and posted online for all to enjoy! Please see the recipe links below and take a look at their sites, which have many amazing dishes!

20130311-190215.jpg I started with the black bean soup, which was easy to prepare and simmering away within 10 minutes or so. The rest was up to the Dutch Oven – my part was done. So I moved on to the corn bread. Knowing this would be a huge hit with the kids, I looked for a sweet potato corn bread – just to get another veggie into them.

20130311-190450.jpg Huge success!

Because black bean soup and corn bread can be a heavy meal, I diced some fresh veggies to go on top of the soup. Tomatoes, red peppers, avocado and cucumbers. My girls loved choosing which they could have and it was a colorful addition.

All in all – not bad for a non-recipe follower. Two in one night! Now should I attempt a third? I am eyeing a raw dessert recipe….maybe tomorrow.

Here are the recipes I used:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-3161/Vegan-Sweet-Potato-Cornbread.html
http://www.health-foodie.com/2010/03/mexican-black-bean-soup/

Choosing the Right Foods for YOU!

If you are overwhelmed with all the diets and rules about eating out there, you are NOT alone. Trust me, even I get SO confused about what is right to eat. For example, my head wants so badly to be vegetarian – it’s better for the environment, I don’t want to think about where meat comes from, and I don’t want to eat animals. But, my body just doesn’t thrive without a little meat now and then. Choosing the right foods for YOU and only YOU is an integral part of living a healthy lifestyle. Some people feel great on a vegan diet, while others feel weak. Gluten-free may have given your friend more energy, but could just leave you hungry and unsatisfied. It’s important to find out what works FOR YOU! How do you do that?

Well, first, do some research. What is out there and why are these “diets” or “ways of life” beneficial? Then, experiment. Try a vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or other diet for 2 weeks (6 weeks for better results). During this time, it is crucial to pay attention to how you feel. Are you stronger, more energy, clear-headed, etc., or do you feel tired, dragged down, tense, etc.? How are your bowel movements? (yes, it is important to keep an eye on this!) Keep a food diary to help you keep track.

Once you decide on what works best for you, stick with it for a while. Continue to monitor your body and listen to its signals. Also, remember that your body’s needs change over time. For example, if you become pregnant  you may need more protein and possibly some meat, so temporarily putting the vegetarian diet on hold may best for you and the baby.  Or, as we get older, our bodies tend to become colder, so a raw food diet may not be the best thing in your senior years. Whatever you decide, don’t push your diet on anyone else and don’t let anyone push theirs onto yours. Be confident in what you choose and know that your body is unique and IT knows best!

Here are some of my favorite resources for “choosing the right foods for YOU!”

Integrative Nutrition  by Joshua Rosenthal

Real Food by Nina Planck

In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

Food and Health by Anne Marie Colbin

The Self-Healing Cookbook by Kristina Turner

Your Body Knows Best by Ann Louise Gittleman

Did You Know Baked Potatoes Are Good for Your Hands?

Nothing compares to the warmth and delicacy of a baked potato right out of the oven. Top it with healthful ideas like baked beans, broccoli & greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), and serve with a green salad, and you have a complete meal!  But did you know that this simple dinner idea is also good for your hands? (Keep reading to find out why!)

When I bake a potato, the first thing I do is clean it and look for any sprouts or “eyes”, or any green-colored flesh or skin. These contain the poisonous alkaloid solanine, which is actually a nerve poison and can cause drowsiness, itching, diarrhea, and vomiting – not exactly the things I want to accompany my meal. If the potato is good to go, I like to rub it with a bit of olive oil and sea salt, then poke a few holes in it and set aside. Then, it comes time to give my hands a special treat. I slowly rub my hands together with the extra olive oil and salt for a nice, moisturizing scrub, and then give them a quick rinse. I throughly enjoy this part of baking potatoes. I cook and exfoliate at the same time!

I wrap my potatoes in foil and put them in a hot oven (usually about 375-400) for about an hour and half. Yeah, it takes a long time, but you can do SO many other things while they bake. Baking the potato is my preferred method, as 10-50% of the potato’s nutrients (especially potassium) can be lost during boiling.  Potatoes have a bad reputation. In fact, many “diets” or “ways of life” like Ayurveda and Macrobiotics advise against eating potatoes or eating them infrequently, especially in the case of rheumatoid arthritis. But if you are arthritis free, don’t be afraid to stick your fork into this tuber, just be sure to keep the skin intact. Potatoes are high in manganese, chromium, selenium, potassium, and vitamins C & B, so overall lend the base for a healthy meal.

If you are worried about a blood sugar spike caused by the high carb content of the potato, be sure to top yours with protein like chicken, beans or steak to slow the carb absorption in the body.

So if you find yourself constantly loading up on hand lotion, think about having potatoes for dinner and treat your hands to a gentle sea salt massage while making a healthy supper!

The Perfect Way to End the Day

7pm, my little girl goes to bed. I rush downstairs to get dinner started before my husband arrives back from work. By 8pm, I am ready to crash on the couch and not move for a couple hours. Often we have a cup of tea to relax, while watching a favorite show (usually the Food Network).  But recently, I’ve taken to another end of the day pleasure – warm, soothing almond milk with ginger, cinnamon and a touch of fennel.

Almond milk with cinnamon, ginger and fennel

I started drinking this when I was sick actually. The spices soothe the stomach, aid digestion, and warm the body from the inside. The almond milk is the perfect creamy, frothy, satiating vessle for these spices. Now, ill or not, I am hooked.

It’s really quite simple to make.

1 cup almond milk + 1 stick cinammon, 1/2 pinky sized bit of fresh ginger, a few fennel seeds (omit these if you don’t like fennel). Heat gently (do not boil!) until flavor has infused (at least 15 minutes).  Add honey if you desire, but it’s not necessary.

Go ahead, give it a try. End your day in the perfect way!

Delicious & Easy: Salmon Salad

During one trip to COSTCO, I bought an 8-pack of canned sockeye salmon knowing that having good proteins on hand in the pantry will encourage healthier eating. Well, that pack sat there for a weeks, without receiving a second glance. Then, I went to my friend’s house for lunch one day and she had prepared a salmon salad on a warm, toasted baguette and I was reminded of that lonely 8-pack of canned salmon in the pantry.

Since that day, I’ve eaten this salmon salad nearly every week. I just make a batch, eat some for lunch or snack or the next day, as it keeps well in the fridge. What a great way to get powerful Omega 3’s, healthy fat oils, vitamins D & E, and protein! Sockeye, Pacific and Alaskan salmon exceed Atlantic salmon in all these nutritional areas, in addition to taste, so be sure to spend the extra $.50 or so on the higher quality salmon.

Below, I’ve featured my favorite salmon salad recipe. Hope you enjoy!

Colorful and nutritious. Makes a great sandwich or cracker topping, or eat with fresh greens.

Salmon Salad

1 can of Alaskan, Sockeye or Pacific Salmon in water

1 carrot

1 green onion

a handful of grape or cherry tomatoes

a handful of chopped parsley

1T Greek Yogurt

1 T olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: Drain salmon and break up with a fork in a medium bowl.

Step 2: Cut veggies in small, even pieces, add to salmon

Step 3: Add olive oil & Yogurt, salt and pepper to taste.

Serve on a whole grain cracker or with whole grain bread. Or if preferred, serve over salad greens.

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