salad

Brussels Sprout Bacon Salad with Slivered Almonds

One thing I love is to try new salads that are easy and delicious for lunch. One thing I hate is to throw away food…..for any reason. So I knew I was in trouble after receiving my weekly delicious and fresh produce basket from my Co-op in Silsbee TX. I knew the Brussel Sprouts that came that week would not be a hit at my house. I love them; however, after trying them several ways for my family, I had given it up. After researching a few recipes, I decided to make my own combination for this Delicious Brussels Sprouts and Bacon Salad with Slivered Almonds.

On a Sunday afternoon, I decided to quickly put this together and make the dressing on the side which gave me three easy to go lunches for the work week. It was, convenient, inexpensive and a nice change from the regular day to day salad that can become boring.

Give it a try.

Ingredients

1 lb of raw Brussels Sprouts

6 slices of Turkey Bacon

½ cup of Slivered Almonds

2 TBS of Parmesan Cheese

Dressing:

1 TBS of Olive Oil

1 TBS of Dijon Mustard

2 TBS of Balsamic Vinegar

1 TBS of Lime Juice (you could substitute with lemon)

1 TBS of honey

Directions:

Cook bacon and chop into bite size pieces. Thinly slice Brussel Sprouts to your preference and mix in almonds, cheese and cooked bacon pieces. Mix all dressing ingredients together and store in separate container to drizzle on salad when ready to eat.

This makes 3 good servings at 315 calories and 11 gms of protein including the dressing.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

Do You Feel too Busy to Eat Healthy? Add Green, it is Simple!

Too busy to eat healthy!  That is what many women think.  I’ll admit; it can be overwhelming to think of all of the things I should and should not eat.  To make things easier, have you thought about focusing on one healthy habit at a time?  It can make things much easier. For example, take a little challenge this month and see how much green you can add to your diet each day.  Don’t worry about what you should not eat, just think of ways to add green. It can be simply done even for busy woman.  Here are my top picks.

For a few snacks to go, green apples and pears are a great quick afternoon pick-me-up.

 

One of my favorite snacks is to chop raw zucchini with carrots.  Throw them in a Ziploc when you are on the run and you are able to grab some green at any time.

For lunch, I love to add green grapes to my spinach salad with raspberry salad dressing.

 A favorite summer time dinner is asparagus on the grill and it’s easy to sneak in broccoli, zucchini, green peppers into spaghetti or lasagna for my kids.  If chopped real small, they never notice.

I love to cook cabbage on a Sunday afternoon to have ready for my lunch or dinner during the week. Even though I am the only one in my house who likes it, at 88 cents a head (on sale) I can afford it if I have to throw some out.

Of course, those are all of my favorites.  However, there are so many things to chose from, such as: arugula, artichokes, rabe, kale, collard greens, green beans, lettuce, and cucumbers.  It is not hard.  Just think about your schedule and think outside of the box and you can “Go Green” in your diet, one step at a time, no matter how busy life gets.

When you focus on simple things to add to your diet, it moves your attention away from what should not be a part of your diet.  “Going Green” really is simple,.  Why not try it!.

 

 

Got Guests? Serve Fresh Cranberry Relish

When I decided I'd share my family recipe, my husband of thirty-five years was ecstatic. "If you're going to blog about it, that means you're going to cook it before Thanksgiving!" he chimed. Hence, this afternoon there's a lovely aroma that smells like pie, but it's not. This recipe is quick , easy and lasts for weeks in the refrigerator. It's a tradition for our Thanksgiving meal but is fabulous alongside a turkey or ham sandwich or as a companion to chicken salad, turkey burger or pork loin.

Ingredients

1 lb. of fresh cranberries

1 box of brown sugar

1/2 c raisins

3/4 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

1/4 t salt

1 t minced ginger root

1/4 t cloves

1/4 c lemon juice

zest of  one orange

Throw all ingredients into a large pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Refrigerate and serve chilled.

 

That's it! It's done and people who still serve canned cranberries for Thanksgiving

will be in awe of your culinary prowess!

** Clearly, this recipe is loaded with sugar. Today, my husband is unaware that I used Spelenda Brown Sugar Blend. Half the calories and sugar.

*** You can substitute ground ginger. However, there's nothing like the explosion when  fresh ginger hits the taste buds.

This is a great hostess gift for the holiday season.

When people visit us, I love sending them home with a little expression of  our friendship, so

I'm also keeping a few for guests who visit us during the holidays.

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

It's quick! It's easy! It's healthy and more than anything, it's DELICIOUS! Pesto is a sauce that can be added to pasta, used as a topping on pizza  and today it's featured in Pesto Chicken Salad. Traditional pesto ingredients include basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. We're shaking it up a little and melding the sweet taste of basil with the fragrant mix of  parsley and citrus found in cilantro.

 

 

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh basil

1 c. cilantro (no stems)

1/3 c. walnuts

1 large clove garlic

1/3 c. Romano or Parmesan cheese (Romano is a little stronger)

1/4-1/2 c. extra virgin olive oil

pinch of kosher salt

 

 

First of all, run the walnuts through your processor.

 

 

Next, add the basil, cilantro, minced garlic, cheese, salt, and drizzle a little oil in the processor. Pulse and add oil. Repeat until it takes the form of a thick paste.

 

 

Chop 2 c. of chicken (what you see above is the last of a rotisserie chicken) and add some chopped black olives and the pesto. Because I like texture, I added some minced celery as an afterthought. Blanched almonds would also work. They would add texture, taste and visually change the look of the salad.

 

 

 

This Chicken Pesto Salad is whipped up in about 15 min. and served on a toasted baguette or crackers.

 

 

Go Green on a Budget!

Go Green on a Budget!  I love when I can kill two birds with one stone.  There is something in me that takes great satisfaction when I can get two things accomplished with one activity.  There are so many ways to “go green” but there are a few simple tricks I try to focus on to be more eco-friendly and save money at the same time.

  • Avoid Package Products.

I am all about saving time and buying pre-packaged items can make things more convenient. However, there are so many “packaged” products that we can avoid just by taking a little extra time. Instead of buying fruit or salad in bags or containers, it only takes a few minutes at the beginning of the week to cut up your fresh fruit and have it ready to grab in the frig. It is also less expensive.

  • Cook just enough

How much food are you throwing out each day? Make a list before going to the grocery store and stick with it. If it seems like you are eating less than you buy, reevaluate your grocery needs.  Split your raw portions and freeze them before you cook once you have established the needs of your family at each meal.

  • Cut Back on Meat

It takes a lot of processing to make sure you get the quality of meat you expect. Meat needs high amounts of water, land and grain.  If you like eating meat, cut down on your portion sizes or divide your meat in freezer bags right when you get home.  It is a bargain.  It will help save the earth, your budget and your calories.

  • Eat from the colors of the season. 

Have your plate filled with many different colors of fresh fruits and vegetables and limit the number of packaged items that need to be opened.  Look at what is on sale and in season at your local markets to cut down on cost of fruits and veggies.

Don’t get overwhelmed; pick one or two things that you can do consistently

Simple Accomplishments

By now, our New Year goals for 2011, for many of us busy women, may seem a little too unrealistic.  I have been guilty of making my  “to do” list so long that I became overwhelmed and accomplished nothing.   I have recently discovered a simple way to organize all of my family photos and kid’s events.  I have been haunted over the past few years trying to keep them all together with a system that works.  Simplicity is my new favorite friend.  I have a few steps that work and make me feel good about myself and well organized. SIMPLICITY is also the key to eating healthier and can make a difference in managing your weight.  See if any of these can work for you.

1. Switch from Regular Soda to diet.

Think about it, a 12 oz can of coke is 140 calories.  Do you really want your calories going to drinks that have no nutritional value?  If you take out 2 cokes a day or an equivalent of 300 calories in drinks and walk 2 miles which burns approximately 200 calories, you have decreased your calories by 500 a day, which leads to weight loss of 1 lb a week. If you can’t stand the thought of a diet drink, get a fountain drink and have half real and half diet until you gradually acquire the taste of a diet soda.

2. Never skip breakfast.

Eating breakfast kick starts our metabolism and gives energy for the activities that face us throughout the day.  You may think you are saving calories by skipping breakfast, but we tend to overeat in our other meals.  Choose a breakfast that is full of protein and fiber that will assist to control your appetite for the day.  One of my new favorites is Nature’s Grain Bagel at only 150 calories and a whopping 19 grams of fiber (75% of recommended daily fiber allowance). Pair this with 1 TBS of peanut butter and a banana and you have a great tasting nutritional breakfast for 320 calories, 5 grams of Protein and 21 grams of fiber.  That is a deal. Not only is it delicious; but because it is loaded with fiber and nutrients, you will notice how satisfied you are with less cravings for sugary foods.

3. Chew your food slowly and always sit down when you eat.

We can be in such a hurry while we eat, we do not even realize how much we are consuming.  Enjoy every bite of your food along with the company and conversation.  Make sure you are sitting down and looking at your food before you get started instead of running around doing multiple projects.  Pay attention to your food and get to know it before getting started

4. Substitute sweet potatoes for white potatoes.

A sweet potato contains twice the recommended daily amount of vitamin A, almost half of the recommend daily amount of vitamin C, and, if you eat the skin, even more fiber than oatmeal. Make a habit of replacing a sweet potato for white potatoes and white rice. It gives you more bang for your buck and can fill a sweet tooth.

5. Ask for salad dressing on the side and choose lower cal dressing.

Never allow someone else to be in charge of your salad dressing.  Unforeseen calories can easily add up.

Make your healthy plan simple for you in 2011.  Simplicity can get things accomplished.

Healthy Eating Part II

As Busy women, it is possible, with small changes, to eat healthy and avoid the weight gain that so easily happens while we entertain through the holidays?

Rule # in Healthy Entertaining - Always Have options

By no means am I saying to cook a multitude of things, but think about small changes you can do for health conscious guest (or yourself) yet give “bulk” to those hungry guests.  Providing bread, larger salads fruit, a simple vegetable, as opposed to a casserole, are options to pick and choose how to fill one’s plate.

One main dish as the main course is definitely the way to go. It is easy to control portion sizes by either more or less and is usually something you can quickly make an extra meatless portion if you have vegetarian guests. The key for serving dessert is to provide different size plates as an optio  It is very scary for those who are watching their weight to be offered a dessert, yet want to be gracious for the meal.  It can also be a let down for those who come expecting a fantastic dessert only to learn they have strawberries as their end to a meal J. Have something with a variety of toppings or ice cream as a choice.  By serving different toppings with different serving plates, you and your guest will have many options to choose from while being a part of the party.

The biggest challenge for busy women, who entertain as the cook, is self-sabotage. While healthy options are good, avoid serving multiple appetizers, especially with crackers, chips, dips and sauces.  Feeling like you need to provide an abundance of choices leads to additional stress (we do not need ) and mindless snacking by eating cracker after cracker. Never skip meals the day you are preparing for a party and void getting to the point of starvation that can lead to continual tasting, snacking and unwanted calories while cooking. Chew on gum to give you the “chew” factor.  I’ve learned that cookie batter does not taste good with mint gum.

You can entertain and provide a healthy delicious meal with minimal stress; just remember to keep the rules in mind

  1. Keep it Simple
  2. Never try anything new and stick with what you do well
  3. Always have options

 

So if you are coming to my house for a meal it will probably look like this:

  1. Fresh bowl of fruit with cantaloupe, watermelon, grapes and strawberries - Simple
  2. Large salad with a mix of green lettuce such as spinach and romaine, fresh tomato, cucumbers, raw squash or zucchini and choice of toppings such as almonds, croutons and a variety of salad dressing – Simple with bulk and variety
  3. Cheesy Pasta Delight – Simple, I know it well and is always a crowd pleaser

1 cup of celery, chopped

1 cup of bell pepper, chopped

1 cup onion, chopped

¼ cup pareley, chopped (or 3 TBSP, dried)

2 TBSP reduced calorie margarine

1 cup of evaporated milk

1 tsp cornstarch

1 tsp of chicken bouillon

½ cup water

1 tsp Creole seasoning

1 TBSP lemon juice

3 oz of Velveeta light cheese

1 lb raw shrimp or crawfish

3 cups of cooked linguini

4 TBSP fat free parmesan cheese

Melt margarine in a 10” skillet.  Add celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic and parsley. Sauté till wilted.

Combine evaporated skim milk, cornstarch and chicken bouillon in measuring cup.  Add vegetable mixture along with water, seasoning, and cheese.  Stir until melted.

Add raw shrimp or crawfish and cooked linguini

Spray 9x2x2” glass dish with non-stick spray.  Transfer contents of skillet to baking dish.  Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake 20 minutes in 350 oven

Yields 6 servings

310 Calories

5.4 gms of fat

4. Betty Crocker fudge brownies with my favorite home made icing. Of course served pre-cut with small plates available and small bowls for those who want ice cream to go with it - simple with a homemade feel and options

                Icing

Melt 1 oz chocolate or 3 TBS of cocoa with 1 TBSP of butter.  Stir in 1 cup of powder sugar and 1 TBSP of milk.  Add 2 TBSP of boiling water and 1 tsp of vanilla.

To learn more about how to devise your own Wellness Plan and have your own personal certified Wellness Coach in exercise, nutrition, weight management or stress management, contact me at 409-550-7606 or Crystal@crystalclearchange.com. Let’s get ready for the New Year.

Healthy Entertaining

Healthy Entertaining.  Is it possible as a busy woman? I have to confess, as a health conscious busy woman, it can sometimes be a challenge for me.  On one hand, you have guests who want and expect healthy choices and on the other hand, you have guests who are less interested about the nutritional content of their food. I have learned to keep three rules to entertaining for a dinner party.

Rule # 1 -  Keep it simple

To manage our calories and increase the nutritional value in our meals, a healthy plate should consist of ¼ whole grains such as pasta, rice and breads, ¼ of a lean meat or protein and ½ of fruits and vegetables.  Unfortunately, in our world today, our plate is usually the exact opposite. It consists of high fat proteins and carbs with a little salad on the side. To follow those guidelines, I like to add fruits and vegetables to a salad that may not be very common such as grapes, raw carrots, zucchini or squash to give it volume so that it is more filling. Serving fresh fruit as a part of the main meal is a simple way to add variety and provide an additional course for the table. As a southern girl, I believe a dessert is a must (plus it is my favorite), but who has the time to bake from scratch.  Think about what you can do that is semi-homemade.  Make brownies with homemade icing or a regular cookie mix and add something to it like raisins, another kind of morsel such as chocolate chips, butterscotch or peanut butter. I like serving desserts that provide a small portion and make ice cream available for those who are not watching their weight.

Rule # 2 - Never try anything new and stick with what you do well.

I remember the days of stressing out going through cook book after cook book for new ideas. After a few “flops”, having kids, and friends asking for repeats, I decided it is best to make a few of my good items  great.  Have one main dish that you do well.  Having less is more and a great way for your guest to manage their intake, reduce your stress, and enjoy your guest.

Even busy ladies, like to entertain, but sometimes feel like time will not permit.  As you are putting together your ideas for your parties over the holidays, try to start by incorporating these two rules. 

To read about my third rule that can help in weight management through the holidays and get my recipes for my successful dinner party, check out my next blog.