Archive for July, 2013

Garden Fresh Salads

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Beans are ready, the basil is big, and the first ears of local sweet corn are showing up at farmers markets. Put all that delicious produce to good use with these fresh twists on summer salad!

Fresh Green Bean & Basil Salad

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  • 1 pound fresh, young green beans, trimmed
  • ¼ cup finely chopped spring onion
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup raw macadamia or raw pine nuts
  • sea salt and pepper

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add the green beans and blanch for 2 minutes, until beans are just cooked but still crisp. Drain the beans and rinse with cold water.  Place in a serving bowl.

Stack the basil leaves and roll them up longwise. Cut the roll of basil into strips. Add basil chiffonade and onions to the beans. Sprinkle with oil and vinegar.

Put the nuts in a food processor and pulse chop until finely ground, but not pasty.  Toss with beans and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or chill before serving.

Sweet Corn & Curly Kale Salad

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  • 3 ears of sweet corn
  • 1 head of curly kale
  • 1 ripe avocado, diced
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice from one lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet hot or Dijon mustard
  • sea salt & pepper

Cut the corn kernels from the cob and set aside. Wash and dry the kale, and remove the stems. Tear or cut the kale into bit sized pieces. Put kale into a large salad bowl and massage the kale a teaspoon of salt to help the greens “soften”. Add the corn and diced avocado.

Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, and mustard and a pinch or two of fresh pepper. Toss with the salad, taste and add salt if needed. You can serve immediately or let sit for 30 minutes. Place any leftover dressing in a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.


It’s too HOT to Cook!

Friday, July 19th, 2013

It’s in the 90’s in Ohio and too hot to cook! Here are 3 simple and fast recipes using the freshest produce in season! Have a great weekend and stay cool!

Quick Cucumber Salad

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2 medium cucumbers, sliced into half inch thick rounds
¼ cup rice white vinegar
½ cup chopped zucchini
1 tsp. salt
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped

Combine the vinegar, zucchini, and salt in a high speed blender, until creamy. Toss dressing with cucumbers and fresh dill. Serve and enjoy immediately. Serves 4 as a side.

Creamy Tahini Dressing over Swiss Chard & Green Leaf Lettuce

salad

Dressing:
juice of 1 lemon
scant ¼ cup of tahini
splash or two of Nama Shoyu or wheat free tamari
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
quarter size piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1 tsp. honey
about ¼ cup of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the first six ingredients in a blender. Slowly add olive oil, up to ¼ cup. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Salad:

4 large Swiss Chard leaves, stems removed
½ head green leaf lettuce
¼ cup pine nuts
½ cup cherry tomatoes

Wash and cut the greens into ribbons. Add nuts and tomatoes. Toss with dressing as desired. Enjoy! Serves 4 as a side.

 

Asian Summer Slaw

1 small head green cabbage, cut into thin ribbons
2 carrots, grated
2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

Dressing:
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. honey
juice from ½ lemon
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
splash of Nama Shoyu or wheat free tamari
1 tablespoon sweet hot mustard (or Dijon)
¼ cup olive oil or plain sesame oil
salt to taste

Blend the first 6 ingredients together. Slowly add the oil, up to ¼ cup. Taste and season with salt. Mix dressing with cabbage, carrots, and sesame seeds. Let marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Serves 4-6 as a side.


Vacation and Weight Gain: Simple Steps to Keep the Pounds Off!

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Seems like packing on a few pounds while vacationing is a forgone conclusion. I hear my friends and family bemoan the 5, 6, or even 10 pounds that came on fast but took its sweet time coming off. Cruises seem to be the biggest culprit, with food offered at all hours of the day, but any vacation has the potential to send your eating and exercise habits into a downward spiral!

Of course you want to enjoy yourself while traveling, but weight gain doesn’t have to be the end result. I returned yesterday from an extended-family vacation, 16 of us in all, at a resort in West Virginia. The resort is centered around golf, but offers other family oriented activities as well. After 4 days and nights, I was a little apprehensive to get on the scale. Imagine my delight when I weighed myself and I hadn’t gained! Not A Single Pound. How did I do it?

FOOD

One of the main attractions at the resort (and just about any vacation!) is eating at the half dozen or so gourmet restaurants, and enjoying the extensive wine cellar. I usually pack my blender and bring my own green smoothie ingredients, but the hotel rooms we were in are not set up for preparing any of your own food. There isn’t even a coffee maker! If you want something, you go the dining rooms or call room service.

Since bringing some of my own food wasn’t an option, I was at the mercy of the kitchen. Make no mistake, this is steaks, chops, seafood type of resort that makes no apologies for the amount of butter, cream, salt and oil used! Fortunately, they also feature their own fresh garden vegetables grown on the premise. With a few tweaks and special requests, I could cobble together a healthy and satisfying meal every night, with some splurges thrown in so I didn’t feel deprived. See 8 Dining Room Tweaks & Tips for Saving Your Waistline, below. Also, I’m including my post-vacation, cellulite busting, Citrus Juice recipe. You’ll love it!

EXERCISE

Even though I don’t golf, I made good use of the golf course and the nature path that loops around it. Two mornings, I got up at sunrise and ran 3.5 to 4 miles, just to make sure I had some good physical activity in before the day slipped away. I saw several others out walking or jogging too. Another day, my sisters-in-law joined me for an early six-mile, two-hour hike up the mountain ridge. We took the kids on a day long white water rafting trip, and that was an awesome adventure with plenty of upper body workout as well. The point is, don’t just lie by the pool. Get up, get out, and make physical activity part of every day. Skip the shuttle service or driving short distances. Walk or ride a bike. What’s your hurry? You’re on vacation!

RELAXATION

That’s what you’re on vacation to do, right? Relax, enjoy your friends and family, and create lasting bonds and memories. Taking an afternoon nap at the pool, scheduling a service at the spa, and gathering for cocktails and games are my ways of having downtime. We even had a family croquet tournament! Find what recharges your batteries, whether it’s alone time or a group activity.

8 Dining Room Tweaks and Tips for Saving Your Waistline

  1. Read the whole menu, and look for vegetable side dishes that can be added to a salad or made larger into an entrée. At dinner one evening, the vegetable special of grilled zucchini, squash, and asparagus was my entrée. The Chef added a small amount of chevre and hummus and Voila’! Paired with a fresh green salad, a nice pinot noir, and a bite of my husband’s steak and dessert, it was perfect!
  2. I usually have a green smoothie or fresh juice for breakfast, but I know it’s hard to resist a large and elaborate breakfast buffet. DON’T EVEN LOOK AT WHAT IS ON THE BUFFET! Instead, order off the menu, keeping it simple with berries, muesli, a scrambled egg, or even just a banana. If you’re going to crash and burn, better to do it later in the day.
  3. I like to have a big salad at lunch, but with all the meat, cheese, and creamy dressings, a healthy salad can easily become a calorie bomb. Again, read the menu and ask for any veggies or fruit that you see on other salads to be added to yours. I don’t get an animal protein on my salad, so it’s usually no problem to add additional veggies. Also, avoid dressings with dairy and ask for vinaigrette, either on the side or lightly dressed. I usually skip the cheese altogether, or if it’s a goat or sheep cheese, I’ll ask for it on the side. That way, I can have just a nibble or two.
  4. DO NOT ORDER DESSERT! Let the rest of your table order dessert. What are the odds they don’t offer to share? Have a bite or two and pass it on.
  5. All the tootifruiti drinks are fun, but full of sugar that just turns to nonsense on your hips or tummy. I usually just have wine with dinner, but if a cocktail is in order, I’ll stick to something white, like vodka, with club soda and a lime.
  6. If you’ve been good and used the tips above, then on your last day of vacation, throw caution to the wind! I had an 8-inch mushroom white pizza for lunch, and halibut for dinner, and two giant bites of strawberry cake!
  7. On the day I travel back home, I like to have a light breakfast of fruit and muesli and then plenty of water and maybe some raw nuts while traveling. Don’t fall into the trap of fast food on the road or in the airport. You won’t starve. Remember, you had a splurge day of eating already, and it was what your REALLY wanted! For dinner, a simple salad and some cooked veggies and you are back on track. Start your first day post vacation with the juice below, and go ahead. Get on that scale!

Cellulite Busting Citrus Juice

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2 medium grapefruit, peeled but with some of the white pith left
1 orange, peeled, with pith
1 lemon
1 lime
1 small chunk of fresh ginger

Run the grapefruit, ginger, and orange through the juicer. Cut the lemon and lime in half and squeeze the juice into your glass. Stir and enjoy!