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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Salad Bar Love

Yesterday I ate BOTH of these salads for lunch!  Yes, all true, and all made possible by the beloved salad bar, replete with options and "all you can eat" encouragement.
I have always been a salad bar lover.   Way back in the days my favorite was at Pizza Hut!  Do they even still do that?  My brother would laugh at me and my love of what I called "The Crunchy Salad" which was basically some greens and tomatoes topped with hard boiled eggs, shredded cheddar and everything crunchy: Bacon Bits, Croutons, Chinese Noodles, Seeds...  Obviously my healthy eating habits have come a long way!   But my love for the salad bar and picking and choosing, not to mention 'all you can eat', has never wavered.

So today I want to give a shout out to Ruby Tuesdays and their new Garden Bar for continuing the salad bar tradition, and recently improving and increasing the delicious and healthy options!  

I was there yesterday and for $10 I enjoyed two salads filled with veggies and low fat proteins, as pictured above.  I left feeling good and full, but not bloated or needing a nap, as I did a good job avoiding the simple carbs available: the pasta salad, croutons and fancy crackers were not needed or missed!

It's still love some crunch on my salad, and in this case the flavorful seed mixture did the trick.   Can't wait to do it again soon!

Trying to remember all the ingredients I had is hard a day later and not everything is visible from the picture because I really loaded up the plates :)   

My go to's:  Lettuce, Tomatoes, Carrots, Red Onions, Mushrooms, Cucumbers, Zucchini, Hard Boiled Eggs, Sweet Green Peas, Sunflower Seeds

New exciting stuff:  Roasted Corn, Black Beans, Roasted Zucchini, Flavorful Seed Mixture, Hummus, Fresh Salsa

There are 55 ingredients in all!  And if you are wondering, no, I'm not being compensated by Ruby Tuesdays, I simply want to spread the word to ensure it continues, because it's my favorite salad bar option outside my own home!

Enjoy :)

PS.  They offer lots of coupons, so grab one before you go!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Turmeric Hummus

Have you been hearing all the hype about Turmeric lately?  I have and I'm heeding the advice to eat more for better health; check it out:  10 Health Benefits of Turmeric.

I've been adding it to pizza sauce and sauteed veggies a couple times a week for good measure, but today I thought I'd give it a try in a homemade Hummus.  DELISH!  And it's super easy to add it, just sprinkle it in!!  Below is my recipe that results in a super velvety yellow hummus.

Turmeric Hummus 

Coat the bottom of a heated pan with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  

Toss in 3 cloves of Garlic, sliced, along with 1 tsp Turmeric and a couple twists of the Salt mill; stir.

Saute for a few minutes until wonderfully aromatic (making sure not to burn the garlic!)  

Then add a can of rinsed and drained Chick Peas to the pot.  

Let it sizzle while stirring for a couple more minutes, then add 1/2 cup of water.   

Simmer this mixture for 10 minutes; this allows the flavors to come together while helping the chick peas get nice and soft for that velvety texture!

Turn off heat; let it sit.

After 15 or so minutes sitting, add to the food processor.  

To the processor add the juice of 1/2 fresh Lime (I sub Lime for Lemon all the time in all sorts of things, they are largely interchangeable.)

Add 2 Tbsp Tahini and more salt, to taste.

Process until it reaches desired consistency.  If it seems too 'thick' and not soft and velvety enough, feel free to add a little cold water, 1 Tbsp at a time.

Serve with baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, zucchini rounds, cucumber, snap peas, or crackers, pita...... basically whatever you like to dip into hummus!

Enjoy :)

Friday, January 6, 2017

NO Guilt Onion Dip!

NO Guilt Onion Dip

Last summer I was at a friends house and her daughter made us an Onion Dip.  I LOVE Onions and I LOVE dip; so I was thrilled!  

When she served it though, it looked quite different than any Onion Dip I had ever seen.  But guess what?  It was AMAZING!!  I think four of us finished the whole dish in under 10 minutes.  I got the recipe of course - only three ingredients:  1 Sweet Onion, Swiss Cheese and Mayo, that was it!  Oh, it was soooo good.  

BTW, did you know how great Onions are for you?  Check it out here.  In a nutshell: they improve immunity, regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, heal infections, lower bad cholesterol, and play a significant role in preventing cancer, among many other health benefits!

So anyways, yesterday I was dreaming about this dip, and decided to try making a similar NO guilt version for my Girls Night Out.   I admit the result looked and tasted a bit different than the original, but it was still really really good and my friends liked it enough to ask for the recipe!  So here it is:

No Guilt Onion Dip

Preheat oven to 350.
Into a large glass bowl add:

1 package frozen Spinach, thawed, with all the excess liquid squeezed out
1 large Sweet Onion, chopped
1 cup freshly grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 cup Olive Oil Mayo
1 Tbsp Water
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder

Mix everything together and pour into casserole dish.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove cover, raise heat to 425 and bake another 10 minutes or so, until the top is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Serve with with your favorite dippables - YUM!  And PS.  It goes great with a nice glass of Red Wine!

Note:  It's hard to not call it Spinach Dip, because that is how it looks, but the flavor is undoubtedly and predominantly that of delicious sweet Onion cheesiness.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Germ Busting Orange Carrot Smoothie!

Germ Busting Orange Carrot Smoothie

So it's that time of year again:  germ season!   A few years ago I was giving my boys a smoothie every single morning and they didn't get sick once.  I'm convinced that is no coincidence! I'm doing it again this year - so far, so good!   

This is a super easy germ busting smoothie recipe and they both LOVE it = win win!    

Germ Busting Orange Carrot Smoothie (serves 2)

Put into blender in this order:

14 organic baby carrots
1 banana
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup Organic Whole Milk Vanilla Yogurt

Blend on "smoothie" setting for about a minute to get it smooth :)  Then pour and enjoy!

I feel confident calling this a germ busting smoothie because:

1.  Yogurt is a Power Food that Boosts Immunity!

2.  Orange juice boosts immunity with its Vitamin C!

3.  The Beta Carotene in Carrots boosts immunity!

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Great Pad Thai Faker

I am a huge fan of Pad Thai.  You know the dish:  sweet Asian sauce, tossed with little shrimp, crushed peanuts, and eggs and served over delicious noodles?  Well this is not that, exactly.  BUT it is pretty close for a healthy at home option and I'm thrilled with the results; it was delicious in its own right!

I had started thinking about lunch early today and quickly remembered that I had a few leftover shrimp at my disposal and a brand new bottle of reduced sodium Soy Sauce waiting to be cracked open, and that is when the Pad Thai idea struck!  I did a search for an easy homemade recipe and found this Blog which provided a very helpful ingredient list and motivated me to try my own version with what I had in the fridge.

First I made the sauce in a large glass bowl, adding:

1/2 cup Organic Free Range Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Tbsp Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Organic all Natural Creamy Peanut Butter
1 tsp Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce
1/2 Lime, juice freshly squeezed
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger

Then came to moment to decide:  should I add a sweetener? Pad Thai is a much loved dish largely I think due to the deliciously sweet flavor of the sauce (myself included).  But is it necessary?  There were many big flavors already in my bowl.  The inspirational Recipe used Brown Sugar, but in this moment of New Years resolutions and seeing that 'higher than I'd like' number on the scale last week, I chose to forgo it.   I do not regret the choice!  However, this is your moment to decide, would a little Honey or Brown Sugar improve the flavor for you?  I won't judge :)

So I whisked everything together and added my 'noodles':  1 cup of ready to go Spaghetti Squash from the fridge!  I popped it into the microwave to get it properly heated up. 

In the meantime, I quartered my 4 crispy Shrimp, chopped one Hard Boiled Egg, and a small bunch of Cilantro, and gathered my other toppers:  a small handful of Roasted Unsalted Peanuts and 1/2 Avocado, diced.

Everything came together nicely:

Added the Shrimp to my Pad Thai Spaghetti Squash noodles

Added the chopped Egg

Added the Peanuts and Cilantro

Added the Avocado = Great and Healthy Pad Thai Faker!

Try it out and let me know what you think!