Sunday, March 27, 2011


Delicious food can be easy and made from simple ingredients. This is a good winter salad option, and is budget friendly. The slaw can be tweaked by adding cabbage or beets.


3 - 4 large carrots
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
2 tbsp flax seeds (or almonds, pumpkin, sesame seeds)

Grate carrots on a box grater. Mix oil, vinegar, mustard and garlic. Season with S&P and sprinkle with seeds for a touch of texture. Simple but delish!

Monday, March 21, 2011


Let's face it, a chocolate cookie will never be as healthy a choice as broccoli, but sometimes you just need a little chocolate fix, and when you have a craving for a treat, these fit the bill (better than choosing Oreos). I have made thousands of chocolate chip cookies over the years and have tried every recipe, always looking for the perfect one, so I know my cookies pretty well. These are a healthier version of an old favorite. I cut back on the sugars, incorporated whole grains and increased the protein while still maintaining "cookie integrity". And I was able to use my favorite thing - quinoa!
3/4 cup quinoa flour (if you can't find it, use rolled oats blended in a food processor)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts (opt., but will add protein)

preheat oven to 350.
In medium bowl stir in flour, baking soda and salt.
Beat butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add oil, sugars, egg and vanilla; beat until smooth and creamy.
Add the dry ingredients, beating on low speed until combined.
Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by heaping teaspoons, at least 1 inch apart on greased cookie sheets.
Flatten slightly.
Bake cookies until firm around the edges and golden on top.


You may have heard of Chia Seeds, but if not, it is worth becoming familiar with them. I consider them a super-food and try to include them everyday in my diet somehow. I feel better when I have them regularly.

You may not know this about these seeds:

. Super-energizing for increased endurance and sustained energy. A balanced blend of protein, essential fats, fiber, complex carbohydrates and antioxidants. Chia is unrivalled among all seeds and grains for providing energy to your mind and body.

. Improves cardiovascular health. Provides high levels of essential fatty acids.

. Stabilizes blood sugar. Reduces blood glucose swings.

. Reduces cravings for sweets and junk foods. Chia's soluble fiber allows the release of its natural unrefined carbohydrate energy into the bloodstream.

. Improves mental focus and concentration. Chia's balanced essential fats boost brain power and brighten mood.

. High quality protein. Chia contains protein that is a higher percentage than that found in other grains. Chia is high in natural antioxidants.

. Promotes lean muscle mass. Chia's high-quality vegetable protein helps build increased muscle mass. It is useful for weight loss and weight maintenance. Chia's essentials fatty acids boost metabolism and contribute to metabolic function.

Gluten-free. Chia protein contains no gluten thereby being the ideal food for people with gluten sensitivity, carbohydrate intolerance, hypoglycemia, Celiac Disease or Crohn's Disease.

. An ideal super-food. Chia is an excellent functional food for most people, including those with food allergies, food sensitivities, or food and chemical hypersensitivity. Chia is portable, won't easily spoil and can be stored safely for extended periods; chia can be eaten raw, but also remains fresh after grinding.

I often eat them sprinkled on foods: salads, soups, yogurt, (whatever) or put a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink it. They can be eaten plain, but once moistened with liquid (saliva) they expand and turn into a gel. 2 tbsp daily is recommended.

Chia puts the super in superfood!

Thursday, March 17, 2011


We are getting closer to spring and the end of soup season. I usually love soup, but a heavy, hearty beefy, barley soup didn't sound appetizing and felt like winter food, so I did this one instead. Made with chicken and fresh vegetables keeps it light.

Tomato, Chicken and Bean Soup

4 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 or 3 each carrot and celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 hot green chili pepper (opt), finely chopped
handful of green beans, chopped
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
3 chicken breasts, cooked and chopped
2 cans (28 oz) tomatoes, broken up
1 can beans (any white or black bean)
1 can chicken broth (or boullion cubes and water to make 1 cup)
1 cup water
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp sugar
grated zucchini for top of soup

In dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrot, celery, garlic, chili pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 6 minutes.

Stir in tomatoes, add beans, chicken broth, water, oregano, green beans and sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.

Add grated zucchini (and parmesan cheese is good too) to top.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Have I told you how much I love quinoa? This past weekend, I was visiting family and didn't have my daily quinoa and I really missed it. I didn't sleep as well and I felt sluggish. Time to get back at it. This weeks quinoa recipe is protein-rich. It incorporates lentils and chickpeas, which have plenty of fiber and are thought to lower cholesterol and help balance blood sugar levels.

Quinoa Chickpea and Lentil Salad

3 cups water
1 cup lentils
1 cup quinoa
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/3 cup pecans, or walnuts, toasted
3 tbsp fresh parsley
1/2 apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
2 minced garlic
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp pepper

Bring the water to a boil and add lentils. Reduce to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Add quinoa and cook 10 minutes more. Allow to sit 4 minutes off burner. Drain any remaining water. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and add red peppers, onion, parsley and nuts. Toss with dressing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Since this winter has been so long, I thought we needed to awaken our taste buds and have something that would remind us of summer. You of course, have probably had watermelon and feta salad before, but what great flavors. I combined watermelon, kiwi, feta, freshly ground pepper and chopped mint. Tastes like summer is just around the corner.

Yes, another quinoa salad! I can't eat nutrient, packed quinoa too often. I love it. It is the perfect food. It is classified as a complete protein, is gluten free, hypoallergenic and contains substantial amounts of the amino acids essential for children and infants. It is rich in vitamins, folic acid, biotin, calcium, potassium , iron, copper, magnesium, chloride. It is high in anti oxidants (I could go on and on) and the versatility in preparation makes it the perfect super food. I make a batch everyday or so and keep it in the fridge to have on hand. I use it everyday somehow. This morning, I added it to cottage cheese and I was very satisfied and didn't need to eat much more. You have got to try quinoa if you haven't yet.

Almond Mandarin Quinoa Salad
21/2 cups water
1/2 cup lentils
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup canola oil
4 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp canned mandarin orange juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp fresh parsley
one 10 oz can mandarin orange segments, drained

Place the water in a large saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Rinse the lentils and add them to the boiling water. Cover, lower to a simmer and cook for 18 minutes.

Add the quinoa to the lentils and return to a boil, then reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn off the heat and let the covered saucepan sit on the burner for 4 minutes. DRain any remaining liquid. Remove the lid and fluff with fork.

Whisk together the oil, vinegar, lime juice, mandarin juice and salt. Combine dressing and lentil mixture. Stir in almonds, cranberries, parsley and orange segments. (makes a lot of dressing so only use half or increase quinoa)

Sunday, March 6, 2011


We had an Italian dinner party last night. The chicken lasagna I made was very rich and unhealthy - loads of mozza cheese, parmesan cheese and hollandaise sauce, but the sides were pretty good. I made White Beans with Roasted Vegetables. Beans are a crucial element of the Italian diet. Cannellini are probably the best known Italian white bean but if you can't find them, substitute other varieties of white beans.

White Bean and Roasted Vegetables
1 lb dried cannellini beans (to save some steps you can use canned white beans)
1 lb small boiling onions (use chopped leeks to save steps)

1 lb grape or cherry tomatoes
1 yellow pepper, sliced
3 small zucchini, sliced
1 tsp salt (preferably sea salt)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup olive oil

Generously cover beans with water and soak at least 8 hours. Drain well.
Blanch onion in salted boiling water 1 minute, then drain and peel.
Cover beans with water and bring to boil. Add onions and simmer, partially covered, skimming froth as necessary, until beans and onions are tender. (1 hour) You can save these steps by using canned beans and sliced leeks)

Toss vegetables with salt, sugar and oil.
Put beans and onions in shallow baking dish, then arrange vegetables on top.
Roast, uncovered until tomatoes are falling apart. (45 minutes) YUMM!

Brussels sprouts, sliced very thin, result in an unbelievably delectable slaw. They are much tastier this way rather than baked, boiled or steamed. Costco sells bags of Brussel sprouts for next to nothing.
Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
1 lb Brussel sprouts, discard colored leaves and stems left intact
1 cup pecan, lightly toasted
2 tbsp grated Pecorino Romano cheese (parmesan will do)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Holding Brussel sprout by stem end, cut very thin slices. Toss in a bowl to separate layers.
Lightly crush pecans with you hands and ad to Brussels sprouts along with cheese, oil and lemon juice, then toss to combine. Season with pepper.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I know no one needs another banana bread recipe, but this one is worth trying. I go between several recipes, forgetting which one was the "best", but this is the one I made today. I hate banana bread that has nuts or is gooey so I have been adding cocoa to the mix, which not only dries it a bit, but makes it seem like a treat as well. The other thing I like to do is toast the banana bread and spread almond or peanut butter on it. It is a tasty combination of flavor favorites. That takes it beyond something your grandma serves at a luncheon to a more delicious level. Kids really like the banana, chocolate and peanut butter combination.

Chocolate Banana Bread

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
3 cups mashed ripe bananas (6 bananas)
4 eggs, well beaten
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa (optional)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries or chocolate chips (optional, if not adding cocoa)

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add bananas and eggs and beat until well mixed. Mix dry ingredients and blend with banana mixture, but do not overmix. (Fold in blueberries if using). Pour into 2 lightly greased loaf pans. Bake 55 - 60 minutes. Test for doneness and cool on rack for 10 minutes before removing from pans.