It’s summer, and the food lobe of my brain turns to one thing when the weather starts warming up - avocados. Being on the East Coast, avocados are definitely my favorite summertime-only indulgence, and they are well worth the wait in all of their forms. Another recipe from Clean Eating magazine, these Avocado Salad Wraps are fantastic as a light lunch or, when paired with some bread or tortillas, a stove-free dinner on a hot day.
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 1 medium ripe avocado, diced
- 1 medium ripe tomato, chopped into pieces the same size as the avocado
- 1/4 cup cilantro
- lime juice (optional)
- 4 big lettuce leaves (romaine works great)
Combine the first four ingredients in a bowl. If the wraps aren’t going to be eaten right away, toss some lime juice into the bowl with the salad.
Divide the salad between the 4 lettuce leaves, wrap and enjoy! Or, if you’re like me, eschew the lettuce altogether and eat the salad straight out of the bowl.
Read More | Clean Eating Magazine
This pasta salad is one of my favorite potluck contributions. Because of the fact that the pasta has to be completely cool - at most room temperature - before assembling the salad, it’s a great dish to start at night and finish the next day. Here’s a recipe for a great Summer Pasta Salad:
- 1 Lb smallish, shaped pasta (rotini, farfalle, macaroni, anything small and easily fork-able)
- 1/2 bottle of Italian dressing (not creamy)
- 4 T Salad Supreme
- 1 12 to 14 inch cucumber or two smaller ones, peeled and seeded
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and halved
- 4 ounces Provolone cheese (this is usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced cheese)
- 4 ounces salami (again, usually 4 slices of prepackaged sliced meat, but this can also be 4 ounces from a whole salami)
Risotto has a reputation for being tedious, laborious, and finicky. To some extent, I agree. It takes a while to prepare, you have to have your mise en place* on point, and if you’re really hungry you could end up eating your fill WHILE you’re cooking dinner. However, if you have some time and don’t mind putting up with a tired arm from all of the stirring, risotto can be one of the most satisfying meals or elegant sides you’ll ever make.
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons minced garlic from a jar)
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 cup Arborio rice
- 2 to 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (also called Italian - this is NOT curly parsley)
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (I use petite sweet peas but any kind work)
- 1/4 to 1/2 grated Parmesan cheese (as always, fresh is best but the pre-grated stuff from the store works just as well)
My husband Andru has come to the realization that a lot of the food we eat on a daily basis contains a lot of sodium. Not because I have chosen to dash everything we consume with a bit of salt here and there, but because some foods come into our home with so much added salt through processing. He was fuming about how he had chosen to purchase some soup simply because the label said “Organic” because in our mind set “organic” is supposed to mean good for you, but that is not necessarily true so he went off in a tirade after reading the label and seeing that in a one cup serving of this “good” soup there was 980 mg. of sodium, 41% of the sodium we need for the day in one cup of delicious death. He was very concerned that this percentage was in relation to an adult’s body mass, not a 3 year-olds tiny frame. How much sodium can a toddler take before a salt-induced coma? Anyway, to alleviate his worries, he is on a mission to eat more foods that are “living”, meaning less meat and processed foods and more fruits and vegetables.
In order to support his new found revelation, I decided one night to come up with a raw fruit and vegetable salad that is delicious despite not being smothered in dressing—and I aptly named it Rainbow Fruit & Veggie salad because after all was said and done, I threw in so many different colors of fruits and veggies, it became a taste sensation for the eyes. I was very tempted to add a touch of sugar to the natural dressing mixed in, but then thought, well that defeats the whole purpose, so instead added some strawberries for that touch of sweetness. Voila…a new recipe was born, and Andru loved it and the kids seemed to like it also, thank you strawberries. It is a great side dish and the recipe can be varied in so many ways, I added raw zucchini when I made it a second time and it was a hit at our Fellowship meal after church. I hope it pleases your taste buds also!
Last year my husband and I were on a raw food kick. We bought a great book called, “The Raw Food Detox Diet” by Natalia Rose - that is where I got this recipe. My husband and I have begun a slow journey of becoming healthier people. We are trying to regain ground for ourselves at the same time as we teach our children the many benefits of eating healthy. One of the main points in this book, “The Raw Food Detox Diet,” is that we need to eat in such a way that our meals will exit our bodies in a timely manner. But equally important, we want our food to give our bodies the maximum amount of nutrients possible. One of the ways we can do this is by not eating starchy foods and meats together as they take much longer to digest when eaten together. This recipe is a great, “quick exit meal,” not raw, but definitely a great source of nutrition and it tastes great. I will be sharing more thoughts about this book in later entries, so look forward to hearing more from me on the subject of the Raw Food Diet.
This recipe was passed to me from a friend who has been a vegetarian all her life. So, needless to say, she has an arsenal of delicious veggie recipes that I have gleaned to add to the eclectic bunch that I rotate throughout the week. I love this particular recipe for tofu because everyone (including my kids) who has tried it, loves it. And it makes tofu taste like you would never believe. It has a few ingredients that one might seem would not be paired together but all of the flavors blend so well and it is a recipe to be tried on the naysayers of tofu. It is a meal that needs an extra day to prep, but it is so easy and foolproof. It is a healthy, protein packed meal that you will feel good about feeding to your kids. Serve it on top of white or better yet, brown rice; I like to add a green vegetable on the side to add that bit of color to please the eyes as well as the palate. I usually go with broccoli or green beans, but also love asparagus lightly sauteed with some olive oil and kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
I love this time of the year, when the weather starts to turn a little colder, and forces us indoors. I love the changing of seasons - it makes me feel creative, as there are so many different fresh food options with each season. In Washington, August through October is the season of bountiful apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, and many other tree ripening fruits. I think that many people buy applesauce because, it’s less expensive at the stores, but even more than that, they don’t realize how easy it can be to make yourself. If you have apple farmers in your area, take a family trip and buy a box or two of apples, I think you will be surprised how much you will spend. The farmers in this area charge around $.40 a pound for seconds (perfectly edible apples that don’t look perfect so they can’t sell them in the stores, which are perfect for saucing). I love making applesauce because it makes the house smell delicious all day long. When I first started making applesauce a few years ago I had tried different recipes that all called for sugar. Every time I made the sauce I added less sugar until I realized, it doesn’t need any! This is such a simple recipe and such great apple flavor. I try to make it a fun event for the kids as well, they get to help me sauce the cooked apples and of course they get to taste the fruits of our labor!
- As many apples as you can fit in your Crockpot, quartered (the best sauce is made of 2-3 different kinds of apples, varying in sweetness)
- 1/4 cup water
- Dash of cinnamon to taste
- Wash and quarter apples, place in Crockpot.
- Add water and cinnamon. Cover and let cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 5-6 hours.
- Towards the end I lift the lid and mash up a bit with a potato masher, that way I can see if it’s ready or not. It’s ready when the apples are very soft and mash easily with the masher, if there are still big chunks you need to cook the apples longer.
- When the apples are ready, ladle the cooked apples into a food mill and sauce the apples, leaving behind the apple peels and seeds. If you don’t have a food mill you can peel and core the apples and mash with a potato masher for a little chunkier sauce, but very pretty. Be creative with this, if you like more seasoning you can add some allspice or nutmeg, some people like to add sugar and lemon juice, I prefer less sugar.
- I always freeze my applesauce, it’s so easy. I just ladle the applesauce into quart freezer Ziplock bags and label, that’s it! You can thaw in the refrigerator or in warm water if you need it to thaw more quickly, then place the sauce in a jar (or freeze it right in the jar, leaving a 1/2 inch of room at the top for expansion.
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