Archive for ‘Specific Carbohydrate Diet’

May 23, 2017

Salad Days

Could these be your salad days? I know they’re mine.

Spring always delivers sweet, tender greens perfect for salad – Oak Leaf, Black Seeded Simpson, Deer Tongue, Bibb, Cos, Green Leaf, and Buttercrunch. Bitter Arugula, Kale, Frisée, and spicy micro mixes widen the flavor field. Toppings abound in green onions, radishes, salad turnips, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and fresh herbs. Mix, match, and combine your favorites…yum!
leafy greens
It’s not unusual for me to serve a salad as part of a family meal, but when it’s just me I have to be a little more crafty. I may not want to take the time to clean and chop a salad for one. My way around that reluctance is to create a basic salad mix and store it in the fridge. At meal time, I can grab a handful to throw on my plate or I can add ingredients to create a specific flavor profile or entree salad.
sld base
I currently have a salad made of red and green spring mix, chopped green onions, and carrots stored in a Glad® Ovenware 9 x 12 pan in the refrigerator. These pans work great for this purpose. They’re rectangular, not too tall, and easy to stack. I can fill a second container with a salad of arugula or spinach and store it on top of the existing one.

For dinner yesterday, I topped a large bowl of this salad base with tuna salad and almonds. It was crunchy, satisfying, and ready in 5 minutes. Having something green I can quickly prepare helps keep me on track when I fill my schedule too full. When it’s just as easy to reach for the salad as it is to reach for something less healthy, I’m more likely to reach for the salad.

I’ve also discovered that salad is appreciated when family and friends gather for the birth of a baby, a health crisis, or the loss of a loved one. Last year when DJ was born, I mixed a variety of salads each week and delivered them to Ben & his wife. It was easy for me and a great addition to all the casserole dinners their friends delivered. Every time I offered assistance in those early days of baby fatigue, Ben asked for more salad.

Leafy greens don’t just provide a filling crunch, they’re packed with vitamins like A, C, K, and folate plus minerals like potassium and calcium. Delivering all this nutrition with a maximum of fiber and a minimum of calories makes leafy greens a great food choice. Of course, it’s easy to make them less healthy by overdressing or over adorning a salad.
dressing
I like to make salad dressing just before serving the salad and I usually serve it on the side. Yogurt or olive oil make a good base for homemade dressings, and flavored balsamic vinegar, fresh squeezed juice, or unsweetened fruit juice can add interesting flavors.

Here’s a vinaigrette I often pair with arugula. Just mix it all up and let it sit for a few minutes before dressing the salad.

1/2 cup Just Black Cherry juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp water
3/4 tsp salt to taste
1/8 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 pinch garlic powder

Some of my favorite salad toppings are blueberries, strawberries, ripe pears, oven roasted pumpkin seeds, spiced pecans, raw sunflower seeds, raw almonds, raw cashews, goat cheese, bleu cheese, green peas, homegrown tomatoes, green onions, fresh basil, and fresh mint. I also appreciate black beans, avocado, red bell pepper, white cheddar, and crispy bacon.

However you mix it, top it, flavor it, and dress it, having a basic salad prepared is sure to increase your consumption of leafy green vegetables. That can’t be a bad thing. And all the fresh, tender greens make spring my favorite time of year for salad days!

http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-kitchen-11/leafy-greens-rated

https://www.ars.usda.gov/plains-area/gfnd/gfhnrc/docs/news-2013/dark-green-leafy-vegetables/

http://www.rwknudsenfamily.com/


Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

July 5, 2016

Lighten Up A Barbecue With a Green Salad

snappy saladToday’s the perfect day to lighten up a barbecue with a green salad. For 78% of us, the 4th of July includes a barbecue. Along with the burgers, brats, hot dogs, chicken, and ribs you’re sure to find plenty of potato salad, baked beans, and corn-on-the-cob. What’s often missing from the table is something light and green. While salad may not be practical for some environments, it can work well at a back yard barbecue.

On a really hot day, cold crunchy greens aren’t just healthy, they’re refreshing. Keep the salad in the refrigerator until the burgers come off the grill, then bring it out so the chill will hold while it’s served. If the refrigerator isn’t convenient, have an ice chest dedicated to salad. Salad dressing can be stashed on ice along with the sodas or beer.

Sometimes I compose a salad in advance. Other times, I serve all the toppings separately and let the guests build their own. When I compose the salad myself, I use ingredients that don’t easily wilt so that I have a longer window to serve a perky salad outdoors.

Chopped Romaine makes a good base. Carrots, celery, onions, bell peppers, radishes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, radicchio, grape tomatoes, sugar snap peas, corn, black beans, pico de gallo, hard cheeses, boiled eggs and steamed asparagus all hold up well.

I like to top a salad with nuts, sunflower seeds or toasted pumpkin seeds, but I wait until serving time to add these ingredients so they don’t get soggy. Crisp bacon pieces are also a great topping added at the last minute.

arugulaStrawberries, blueberries, or blackberries are delicious additions to a green salad, but I usually reserve those for indoor meals rather than a barbecue. The same with arugula, butter lettuce, and chard. It’s easier to control the quality of delicate ingredients at an indoor party.

MIxing fresh herbs in a salad can brighten and heighten the flavor of the greens. While herbs are delicate, cutting or chopping them into small pieces lessens the possibility of a wilted bite. I use parsley, basil, and mint most often, but dill, chives and cilantro are also great choices.

It always seems special to add a homemade dressing. All you need for a vinaigrette is oil, vinegar, and some herbs and spices, citrus, or other fruit for flavor. Sometimes a drizzle of honey adds the perfect touch of sweetness. I usually add a bit of water as well.

There are flavored vinegars and oils available for extra pizazz, but plain old apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil work just fine. Balsamic vinegar pairs well with cherry or chocolate and provides a deeper more caramel note to your dressing. Mirin is light and can be used in place of other vinegars.

A creamy dressing can be made with yogurt, mayonnaise, sour cream or buttermilk. Many creamy dressings use a combination of some of these ingredients. Here’s a creamy dressing I’ve been enjoying atop my salad this week:

Green Goodness Dressing
4 – 6 Servings

1 tbsp Penzey’s Green Goddess Dressing Base
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup real mayonnaise
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp honey
1/4 tsp basil paste
1/8 tsp salt or to taste

In small jar, combine dressing base with water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Add vinegar, mayonnaise, yogurt, honey, and basil paste. Sprinkle with salt. Put lid on jar and shake until well mixed. Refrigerate.

When it’s hot and muggy outside, I love a cold salad to lighten up a barbecue or any other meal for that matter. Just talking about it is making me want one so I’ll be off to the kitchen now to chop some greens!

November 16, 2015

It’s a Good Day for Chicken Soup!

It’s a good day for chicken soup! It’s raining outside and I have a cold…or something. I don’t feel horrible, but I don’t feel good. At first my sinuses hurt, then my throat got scratchy, and now I’m getting a cough, but certainly not the worst I’ve ever had. I really just want to go to sleep.
Soup
Sometimes it’s really hard to know when to give in, go to bed and rest, and when to push on. I was able to work out this morning. That didn’t seem to increase my cough or leave me feeling drained. I knocked out some work and went to the post office. It was when I got back that I began to feel draggy and my cough increased.

I’ve been chugging orange juice and it seems like the perfect time to add some chicken soup! Of course I don’t really feel like a lengthy cooking session.

Luckily, I keep organic chicken stock and rice in the pantry and I always have baby carrots in the fridge. Today, I also have celery. It may not look quite the same as my favorite recipe, but I can have some warm, tasty soup ready in a matter of minutes.

Here’s my simple soup making plan:
32 oz box Imagine Low Sodium Free Range Chicken Broth
3/4 cup water
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp Italian Herbs paste
Pinch of black pepper
12 – 15 baby carrots, sliced into thin rounds
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
2/3 cup quick-cooking Texmati rice

Pour chicken broth and water into a large saucepan. Add salt, garlic powder, herb paste, and pepper, then stir. Bring to a boil. Add carrots, celery, and rice to broth and stir. Cover and turn heat to low. Allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Serve hot.

If I had a leftover chicken breast or a roasted chicken from the grocery store, I’d tear it into small pieces and add it to the broth along with the rice. This isn’t the first time I’ve fixed chicken soup in a pinch. Sometimes I add a little turmeric or substitute curry powder for the Italian spices. Sometimes I throw in fresh rosemary and sage in place of the herb paste or top things off with arugula or green peas. Of course there are a million options. Since I’m feeling under the weather, the point is to use what’s handy and keep it simple.

I’m planning to pair the soup with a piece of homemade gluten-free bread from the freezer and a cup of hot herbal tea…followed by a nap.

I should be back to normal in no time. I won’t be reaching for the meds unless some complication develops. After all, this is Get Smart About Antibiotics Week – when the CDC reminds us that we overuse and misuse antibiotics which, by the way, are not helpful for colds and flu in the first place.

So if you’re feeling just a bit under the weather, won’t you join me for a cup of comforting chicken soup?


http://www.hhnmag.com/articles/6720-hospitals-around-the-world-unite-to-battle-antibiotic-overuse

April 21, 2014

Easiest Egg Salad Ever!

The day after Easter is a perfect day to make the easiest egg salad ever – Cooking2Thrive® Easy Golden Egg Salad! The key to your success with this recipe is choosing a high quality balsamic vinegar with a rich caramel flavor.

The boys and I used to have an Easter party every year. Held on the day before Easter, it involved bunny ears, friends without children, egg decorating, and the occasional Jell-O shot in the shape of an egg.

Easter Egg

I love to dye Easter eggs, and so do my artistic friends, but some of them had no children and felt weird about dying eggs for themselves. That’s how the idea of the party was hatched – they’d borrow my kids to hunt the eggs after they were decorated. Of course this event left us with LOTS of boiled eggs the next day.

After culling any cracked eggs from the bunch, I’d make egg salad. It was usually the traditional kind prepared with salad dressing, mustard and celery. The result was always good, but I have come to prefer the subtle richness of this non-traditional version:

Easy Golden Egg Salad

Serves 4

One dozen eggs, boiled, peeled, and rough chopped

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tbsp high quality balsamic vinegar

Place eggs in large bowl. Use a dough blender to mash the eggs to desired consistency. Stir in salt and pepper. Add sour cream and balsamic vinegar, then mix well.

That’s it! You’re done. Serve with gluten-free crackers, bread, or rolls, or use it to stuff some celery.

Have an egg salad recipe you love? Share it with us in the comments section below.

 

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”