Category Archives: Salads

Weekly Eating – 9/11 & 9/18

Hey y’all! Welcome to the series Weekly Eating.

Here is where I’ll talk about the week’s meal plan versus reality, what we ate for the week, and how we did budget-wise. I hope it gives readers a behind-the-scenes look into our life through the lens of food, and it’s also a way to keep us on track with meal planning and grocery budgeting.

Feel free to share your wins and lessons in the comments below!

 

Well, this post is a surprise double feature, because last weekend we had a wonderful family wedding in Boston, but then nature conspired to strand us there Sunday night. It’s not a good excuse for not posting, but it’s the one I’m using. ¬†ūüôā

The past 2 weeks have been an interesting see-saw of super frugal food choices and then accidental or on purpose food splurges. I did some creative re-purposing of leftovers too. The meal plan was sort of made up on the fly, but overall I think it was a total win. Let me know what you think in the comments!

Monday 9/11:

Breakfast – Brown sugar cinnamon raisin oatmeal.

I put together a little mason jar which I brought into work. I just add 1/2 cup or so of the mixture, and use the Keurig for hot water to make it in my coffee mug. Now I have oatmeal waiting for me in my desk drawer whenever I want!

Lunch – Leftover hibachi from the weekend before. My dad had been in town, and we explored a little near Cary and found a cute Chinese restaurant in a plaza that had delish hibachi. Of course I only ate half, and the other half was lunch.

Dinner – Chicken stir fry (even though it’s not Friday!) to use up the rest of the shredded cooked chicken and some rice we had. I also found packs of pre-sliced veggies on sale for $1 so this was perfect.

Tuesday 9/12:

Breakfast – raisin oatmeal (see above)

Lunch – Veggie soup & edamame. This was the last of a bag of edamame from last week, plus all the leftover bits of veggies simmered with some lentils. It’s more filling than you may think, and nice on a cold and dreary day.

Dinner – Salmon salad! I finally had to just post the recipe so I can refer to it (when I use it every other week in the future).

Wednesday 9/13:

Breakfast – raisin oatmeal

Lunch – salmon salad

Dinner – pasta with pesto, using basil from the front yard. It is going to seed and about done, so I harvested the most I could and made a big batch of pesto.

Combined with some tortellini, and meatballs with 1/2 pound ground turkey I had in the fridge, it was super tasty. Never would have thought pesto + meatballs, but it works.

Snack – half a can of pineapple

Thursday 9/14:

Breakfast – raisin oatmeal

Lunch – salmon salad!

Dinner – had dinner at a friend’s house, where we had wings and an assortment of cheeses and bread. It was so good, and we found a few new cheeses we like! Also I made a blueberry pie to contribute.

Friday 9/15:

Breakfast – I had some leftover milk that was about to go bad, and we were leaving town, so I made some yogurt! It makes the milk last longer that way.

For breakfast, of course I had fresh yogurt and some tropical granola.

Lunch – you’ll never guess…. salmon salad! Yes, I actually did eat this 4 days in a row. And loved it¬†every single time.

Dinner – we were en route to the wedding, so we had Five Guys in the airport. Not the healthiest, but it was the first time I’d had fast food in… several months. Their burgers are pretty darn good.

The Weekend

This weekend was yet another wedding, this time in Maine! It was right on the water, and the fog cleared for about 5 glorious hours. It was an absolutely beautiful ceremony, and a joy to watch this family I have lucked into and chosen to join expand to encompass the bride and her wonderful family too.

I met new people, re-connected with a few we hadn’t seen since our own wedding last year, and danced my face off! Doing the electric slide with several fabulous people more than triple my age was one of the many highlights of the weekend. Another highlight: eating lobster twice in one day!

We went to what claimed to have the “best lobster roll on the East Coast”, and not gonna lie it was pretty great. Their clam chowder was also amazing. And then at the wedding, we each got our own personal lobster! I know, it’s decadent. The perks of coastal living ya know? But then, they also have to deal with winter… so… #notworth

On Sunday they had a lovely brunch, with mimosas and 4 kinds of quiche. Everyone said their goodbyes and we headed into Boston. We carpooled with several people who all had staggered flight times. But we did get a few hours of wandering with my in-laws, since we had the latest scheduled flights. We got some tasty pizza at a place in Charlestown, and then wandered around Faneuil Hall.

Monday 9/18:

Breakfast – well, since we were stuck in Boston, and the hotel had a free breakfast, we obviously took advantage of that. English muffins with jelly, coffee and juice, and tiny yogurts, plus a bagel for the road.

Lunch – Now in Boston Logan International Airport for several hours, I splurged on a big hot meal. I ate about half of it, then stuck it in my carry on. I ate the rest when I got hungry again on the plane.

Dinner – I finally got home exhausted around 7pm, so I basically just unpacked a bit, got the pups, and went straight to bed…

It was so nice to see these faces again ¬†ūüôā

Tuesday 9/19:

Breakfast – brown sugar raisin oatmeal!

Lunch – peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was too tired from traveling to bother making, like, real food. I didn’t even get a picture

Dinner – I went out to a new sushi place with a friend called RockinRolls. It is a conveyor belt style, where you just grab the things you want as they go by! It was very cool, even if the nigiri were a little small. They made up for it in choices. And the miso soup dispenser was absolutely fascinating.

As a HUGE fan of sushi and also not paying a lot, a $12 all-you-can-eat option that’s only 10 minutes from my house is the best/worst thing ever. I will definitely be back.

Wednesday 9/20:

Breakfast – oatmeal! Yup, this is a boring breakfast week. Sorry not sorry, this stuff costs like 10 cents per serving.

Lunch Рblack beans & rice with salsa. I made a package of minute rice in the microwave and added a half can of black beans, topped with some salsa from a food swap. The other half I saved for tomorrow. This is becoming a staple work lunch.

Dinner – I used the rest of the pesto from last week¬†and a can of tomatoes to make a tomato-basil soup, and some grilled cheese. I love simple meals, and even moreso when I’m just cooking for myself. Hubs was on a work trip in CT this week.

Snack – a handful of pretzels and some gummy bears… yeah I don’t know, it’s just what I had at my desk ūüôā

Thursday 9/21:

Breakfast – more oatmeal

Lunch – Black beans & rice with salsa. This is just so oddly fulfilling to me. Pretty sure this will be a frequent occurrence in my life.

Dinner – I took the pups over to a friend’s house, and we had a vegetarian and a vegan present. I introduced them all to lentils, and we had veggie tacos. I’m not sure what kind of “meat” they had but it was really good!

Snack – There was a retirement party at work today, and I snagged a cup full of raw veggies to snack on all afternoon. Love free food that is also healthy!

Friday 9/22:

Breakfast – oatmeal

Lunch – ravioli from my last food swap (I put it in the freezer for an occasion like now), with some frozen veggies, the last of the pesto-soup and some leftover feta. It was actually really good! Hooray for frugal wins.

Dinner – We kicked off the weekend with dinner at The Pit, a very well-known BBQ joint in downtown Durham. We got the Big Boy to split, it’s all of their meats in one tray! The biscuits were AMAZING, and the ribs were probably my favorite. Or maybe the brisket.

Personally, I’d skip the grilled chicken, and the sauces are all Carolina style (very vinegary and not thick) so we weren’t blown away impressed, but if that’s your thing then this is the place for you!

The Weekend

This weekend, my aunt and grandmother are in town, visiting from Ohio! I’m so excited, it will be the first time either of them have been down to see our new house (the first one I OWN) and all the things I’m falling in love with in Durham and Chapel Hill.

We have plans to stuff ourselves at the all you can eat Rockin Rolls sushi, check out the 5th Annual Bull City Burgers & Brewery Oktoberfest, and the 10th Annual Abundance NC Pepper Festival. ¬†It should be a good time! And I may need to buy new pants in a size up afterwards…

Total: $55 (or $515, depending what you count)

My goal is to keep this number under $100 all the time, and eventually get down to $75/week for food.

Well… we were really good about eating from the freezer/pantry the past 2 weeks while at home. But the $55 is from various airport foods while traveling. If you add in the extra things (hotel, uber rides, tickets to festivals, etc). then the true cost of travel wrinkles is much higher. I’m going to stick with the actual food costs though.

Lessons Learned

Always be prepared! I am already obsessive about taking snacks with me everywhere, but evidently I should double my efforts. Because you just never know.

I also learned that eating super frugal meals doesn’t really bother me much at all. I’m perfectly happy with my rice and beans, PB&J, and grilled cheese, especially when hubs is away for work. I just don’t have the motivation to cook fancy things for myself alone.

This is a great thing, financially! The lower I can get the cost per meal, the lower our overall grocery bill each week / month / year. And then we have more wiggle room for the occasional travel issues or to treat visitor from out of town. That’s a win in my book!

 

How about you guys, did you have a great week or a learning week?

Salmon & Couscous Salad

The first time I had this salad was on a family vacation, and my sister-in-law and her friend were cooking a vegetarian dinner for everyone. She has been a vegetarian for going on 20 years now, which is an awe-inspiring lifestyle, for me. I’m not sure where the original recipe came from, but it involved corn and tomatoes, pine nuts and salmon, shaved parmesan and arugula. It sounded pretty good.

Then we sat down to eat. And it was presented beautifully, layered in a rainbow across a large serving tray.

And then I took a bite.

And I was in love.

That’s the story of my obsession with my favorite salad of all time. Since then I have made several permutations of this salad, for a dinner party, for hubs and myself, and just for me to enjoy at work. It is super simple to put together, and can be an easy thing to take to work to eat for several days. You can eat it cold or room temp, so there is no microwave fishy smell (which I’m sure my co-workers appreciate).

And it is virtually endlessly customizable. I’ve had it with pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, macademia nuts, or none. I’ve tried craisins, raisins, dates, and prunes. I’ve used couscous, quinoa, or no grains. And nearly every salad dressing on the planet will go with this well, as well as having it naked! (As in, no dressing, though do whatever makes you happy. At your house, not at work.)

If you’ve been keeping up with my Weekly Eating series, you know this is frequently a dish I make in large amounts so that I can have leftovers for several days. I’ve begun taking enough for 3-4 days’ worth to work, and just keeping it in the refrigerator and taking out one serving at a time. It is super healthy, quite filling, and pretty affordable if you choose ingredients seasonally and/or on sale.

If you’ve been looking for a recipe to impress at a dinner party, a meal that is inclusive for vegetarians (just offer extra protein options like quinoa and other toppings like beans/nuts), something light and fresh and healthy, or a make-ahead nearly-no-prep work lunch option, look no further!

Ingredients (per salad):

  • 2-3 ounces cooked salmon
  • 2-3 cups salad (spinach, romaine, mixed greens, arugula)
  • 1/2 cup cooked couscous (or barley, rice, quinoa)
  • Sprinkle of craisins or raisins or other dried fruit
  • Sprinkle of nuts (walnuts work best but any will work)
  • Sprinkle of cheese (parmesan, feta, goat…)
  • Optional other toppings: tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, peppers, carrots, beans, anything you can think of!
  • Dressing of choice

Step 1: Cook your salmon however you like, I usually pan-fry them with a spritz of coconut oil or bake them in the oven. Your choice to leave them as a fillet or shred them. You could also use canned, drained salmon here, or sub in cooked chicken, steak, or other fish.

Step 2: Cook your couscous or other grain. I like pearled couscous because it has a pleasant, sort-of-chewy texture that goes well with the overall texture of the salad. Quinoa is also good here.

Step 3: For visual effect, lay down a bed of greens and then layer each separate ingredient in a line across it. To just dig in, toss it all in a bowl, topping as you see fit. Enjoy!

 

 

Caprese Salad

 

Isn’t it amazing how the simplest of things can tend to be the most delicious?¬† Sometimes we get wrapped up in crazy new flavors, seasonings, toppings, ingredients list as long as your arm. But it truly is quality that makes all the difference.¬† When produce is seasonal, fresh, local, and picked in its prime, there is nothing better. And nothing says “summer” quite like a fresh Caprese salad. Soft, creamy mozzarella cheese, tangy fresh basil, and plump juicy heirloom tomatoes fresh from the vine. OPA!

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High-quality cheese is a delight, while 99 cent slices of pasteurized processed cheese like product is hardly worth wasting the calories and preserving your insides. And you can taste the difference between a true fresh pressed, high quality olive oil and a knock off lower quality oil or mixture. It should taste grassy and strong on its own, maybe tickle the back of your throat a little. That is the anti oxidants working. It is worth investing in some! A little bit goes a long way.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large fresh tomato
  • 1 large ball fresh mozarella cheese
  • Big handful fresh basil leaves
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Optional: Sea salt to taste

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Step 1: Slice the tomato and mozzarella into slices, about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. Layer them alternating on a plate with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle olive oil over it all, and sprinkle on some sea salt. That’s it.

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You can also make this salad on skewers to serve as an appetizer or snack, or use the tiny mozzarella balls and grape tomatoes for an adorable itty bitty version! These flavors also lend themselves very well to bruschetta or pasta dishes.

 

What is your favorite summer dish? Do you have other recipes with the Caprese flavors you’d like to share? Comment below!

Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad

 

Ever get really tired of a certain kind of lunch?¬† Like say you always take a roast beef sandwich with cheddar and mustard.¬† Or a tuna salad pita pocket.¬† Or a certain type or brand of soup.¬† When you eat the same thing several days in a row, you can get bored easily.¬† But then you also want more ‘grown-up’ options sometimes than just peanut butter and jelly, or maybe you don’t have any leftovers to choose from at the moment.

This is a super simple recipe for a great tasting and healthy chicken salad sandwich mix.  It is designed to make just enough for one large sandwich or wrap, but you can easily increase the quantities to feed a family of four or a luncheon buffet for fifty.  It has a tiny bit of sweetness, which helps kids love it too, and a nice bit of crunch to make it interesting.  No one needs to know that you snuck in an extra serving of fruits & veggies.

For maximum healthy, use plain Greek yogurt to bind it, and serve as a lettuce wrap or on whole grain bread or tortilla with extra veggie toppings.  This is a great way to use up extra chicken meat from a whole bird, and is very frugal and versatile.  Try this the next time you need lunchtime inspiration, a quick after-school snack, or a buzz-worthy picnic dish.

Ingredients for Cranberry Cashew chicken salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp dried cranberry
  • 1/2 tbsp cashews or peanuts
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp mustard

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Step 1: Use meat from a cooked chicken (such as rotisserie) to save time, or poach 1 boneless skinless chicken breast in water or broth until no longer pink.  Shred with two forks, and use about 1/2 cup per serving you intend to make.

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Step 2: In a bowl, mix all ingredients together well.  This tastes even better if you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, and will keep up to a week.  Feel free to add in your own flavorings like lemon or lime juice, use raisins instead of cranberries, or add spinach rather than celery.  If you have nut allergies, omit the cashews/peanuts, and if you still want crunch add a tbsp large breadcrumbs, fried onions, or Chinese noodles.

 

 

Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad

Cranberry Cashew Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp dried cranberry
  • 1/2 tbsp cashews or peanuts
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise or Miracle Whip or plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp mustard

Instructions

  1. Use meat from a cooked chicken (such as rotisserie) to save time, or poach 1 boneless skinless chicken breast in water or broth until no longer pink. Shred with two forks, and use about 1/2 cup per serving you intend to make.
  2. In a bowl, mix all ingredients together well. This tastes even better if you let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, and will keep up to a week.
  3. Feel free to add in your own flavorings like lemon or lime juice, use raisins instead of cranberries, or add spinach rather than celery. If you have nut allergies, omit the cashews/peanuts, and if you still want crunch add a tbsp large breadcrumbs, fried onions, or Chinese noodles.
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Mandarin-Cherry Tuna Salad

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For a quick, healthy lunch, tuna salad is always a go-to.  Pretty much all you need is a can or pouch of tuna and some lemon juice, but there are infinite ways you can spruce it up.
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For example:
  • Add a chopped hard boiled egg
  • Toss in diced celery
  • Shred up some carrots
  • Add chunks of apple
  • Spoon in a few tbsp of relish
  • Hot sauce!

And many more options, as creative as your mind can dream up.  This particular recipe came about because the baby oranges were on sale, and we needed to use some up before they dried out and became inedible.  Oranges go great with tuna, but I wanted just a little bit more to round out the flavor.  Dried cherries were just the thing.  Feel free to use raisins or cranberries if that is what you have.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can or pouch of tuna, drained
  • 1 small orange (or 1/2 can mandarin orange slices)
  • 1 tbsp dried cherries (or cranberries or raisins)
  • 1 tbsp mayo or miracle whip
  • 1 tsp lemon juice or cider vinegar
  • 1-2 cups chopped greens, or a wrap, or 2 slices of bread
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Step 1: Open and drain a can of tuna, mix in a bowl with the mayo and lemon juice.  Add in the cherries.

Step 2: Either wrap it up, make it into a sandwich, or serve it over a salad, topped with the orange slices.  Season to taste and enjoy!

Napa Cabbage & Roasted Beet Slaw


Happy Valentine’s Day dear readers!

Hopefully you have someone or many someones close to you to celebrate with this weekend. ¬†Valentine’s Day of course causes some polarizing feelings, based on what your relationship status is it seems. ¬†But there are more types of love than romantic love. ¬†Try taking today to celebrate all your loved ones, including your family, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers, and even random strangers. ¬†Everyone could use a hug or a smile or a kind word.

For Valentine’s Day recipes to impress, try:

If you want to try impressing your loved one(s) with a home-cooked meal but feel daunted, try searching my “less than 5” section for recipes that take less than 5 minutes, less than 5 ingredients, or less than 5 dollars to make.

This recipe is a light, easy slaw using ingredients that are around in February: cabbage, carrots, and beets.  Dried cherries or cranberries and honey sweeten it up, while apple cider vinegar & lemon juice gives it pucker power.  And the beets give it a lovely pink color!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 large cabbage
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 medium beets
  • 1 tbsp dried cherries or cranberries
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Step 1: Cut the tops off the beets, place in an oven-safe sprayed pan and roast at 350 for 35-40 minutes, until tender when pricked with a fork.  Dice or shred the cabbage into small strips.  You will need about 3-4 cups, but can halve or double the recipe as needed.

Step 2: Julienne the carrots or shred them. (Julienne means essentially cut into very thin strips like matchsticks).  When the beets are soft, let cool enough to handle and then cut them into thin strips as well.
Step 3: In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, beets, and dried cherries or cranberries.

Step 4: In a smaller bowl, combine the oil, honey, lemon, and vinegar and whisk until well combined.

Step 5: Pour the liquid over the vegetables in the bowl.  Add some salt & pepper to taste.

Step 6: Mix everything well to coat, and refrigerator for 1 hour up to 2 weeks. 

The liquid mixed with the beets turns a nice red-pink color.  This slaw is super healthy, and tastes great on its own or slathered onto sandwiches or hot dogs.  You can also pickle it by adding slightly more vinegar to cover in a bowl or jar, and leaving it out at room temperature for 4-7 days.  Then put on a lid and put it in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.

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Have a healthy, happy Valentine’s Day!

Spring Microgreens Salad with Beet Vinaigrette

 

As spring slowly begins to win the seasonal fight with winter, tender crops begin to appear in the local markets.  Radishes, greens and lettuces, root crops, winter squash, carrots, onion and potatoes both old and new along with greenhouse grown herbs, eggs and meats and dairy, and mushrooms abound.  Take advantage of fast-growing baby greens and all the chlorophyll and concentrated nutrients they offer with lots of fresh spring salads!

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Basically any meal starts off right with a heap of greens of any kind, topped with various seeds, nuts, vegetables, or proteins of your choice.  Choose darker or colorful varieties for the most nutrition, including kale, spinach, sprouts, arugula or rocket, and watercress.  You can also whip up your own salad dressing at home in the time it takes to mix & shake, and it will be far tastier, healthier, and cheaper than a plastic bottle full of chemicals.

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All ¬†you need is a mason jar, an oil, an acidic (vinegar, lemon juice) and flavorings (fresh or dried herbs/garlic/pepper). ¬†This recipe is for a beet juice vinaigrette, which has tons of delicious flavor, liver-cleansing benefits, and as a bonus is a lovely pink color! ¬†I’ll bet you topping any salad with this will automatically make you smile. ¬†For the beet juice, you can either roast and juice fresh beets, or you can use the juice from canned beets, no judgment here.

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Ingredients (makes about 2 cups salad dressing):

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beet juice
  • 1 heaping tsp miso

 

Step 1: Put all ingredients into a mason jar or other jar with a lid, and shake it up until emulsified. ¬†The miso may take a bit to dissolve, but it’s worth it. ¬†It adds a salty depth of flavor and a healthy boost of probiotics. ¬†Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

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To make this lovely salad yourself:

  • 2 cups fresh mixed baby greens
  • 1/2 can sliced beets
  • Handful of almonds
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup artichoke hearts
  • 1 tbsp dried cranberries
  • 3-4 tbsp beet salad dressing

Place the greens on a large plate.  Add the beet slices (save juice for the dressing), artichoke hearts, nuts, seeds, and berries.  Shake up your vinaigrette and pour over all.  Smile, and enjoy!

Feel free to experiment with your salad dressing.  Try using lemon juice or lime juice, add chopped fresh herbs like mint, parsley, or cilantro, add crushed fresh garlic or peppercorns, use any kind of vinegar or oil you want.  It is so quick and easy, you are bound to find recipes you enjoy, and may never go back to store-bought dressing again!

 

Have you made your own dressings?  What is your favorite recipe?

Sweet & Sour Brussels Sprouts Salad

 

Ahhh the tiny but mighty Brussels sprout.  The divider of nations.  The cruciferous ruiner of relationships.  You get the idea.

Brussels sprouts tend to be a very polarizing vegetable.  For as many veggie lovers that swear by the carmelized candy that is roasted sprouts, there are another 1-2 sad souls who have been turned off by less-than-ideal preparations of boiled, rubbery, or wilty sprouts and swear off these delicate nutrition-packed powerhouses.

Brussels sprouts grow on stalks up to three feet tall, and each bud resembles a miniature cabbage, with a diameter of 1/2 -2 inches.  Typically sold in grocery stores removed from the stalk, they can be found in farmers markets and some specialty stores still attached.  They also are offered canned or frozen, though I cannot vouch for their nutrient content or flavor in such preparations.

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Brussels sprouts are members of the family which includes broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage, known as Brassicas.  These vegetables are lauded in nutrition circles for their hefty doses of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, and anti-inflammatory and potentially cancer-preventing compounds.

Taken from the website “world’s healthiest foods” (whfoods.com), Brussels sprouts have a whole host of healthful benefits:

“What’s New and Beneficial About Brussels Sprouts

  • Brussels sprouts can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will use a steaming method when cooking them. The fiber-related components in Brussels sprouts do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw Brussels sprouts still have cholesterol-lowering ability ‚ÄĒ just not as much as steamed Brussels sprouts.
  • Brussels sprouts may have unique health benefits in the area of DNA protection. A recent study has shown improved stability of DNA inside of our white blood cells after daily consumption of Brussels sprouts in the amount of 1.25 cups. Interestingly, it’s the ability of certain compounds in Brussels sprouts to block the activity of sulphotransferase enzymes that researchers believe to be responsible for these DNA-protective benefits.
  • For total glucosinolate content, Brussels sprouts are now known to top the list of commonly eaten cruciferous vegetables. Their total glucosinolate content has been shown to be greater than the amount found in mustard greens, turnip greens, cabbage, kale, cauliflower, or broccoli. In Germany, Brussels sprouts account for more glucosinolate intake than any other food except broccoli. Glucosinolates are important phytonutrients for our health because they are the chemical starting points for a variety of cancer-protective substances. All cruciferous vegetables contain glucosinolates and have great health benefits for this reason. But it’s recent research that’s made us realize how especially valuable Brussels sprouts are in this regard.
  • The cancer protection we get from Brussels sprouts is largely related to four specific glucosinolates found in this cruciferous vegetable: glucoraphanin, glucobrassicin, sinigrin, and gluconasturtiian. Research has shown that Brussels sprouts offer these cancer-preventive components in special combination.
  • Brussels sprouts have been used to determine the potential impact of cruciferous vegetables on thyroid function. In a recent study, 5 ounces of Brussels sprouts were consumed on a daily basis for 4 consecutive weeks by a small group of healthy adults and not found to have an unwanted impact on their thyroid function. Although follow-up studies are needed, this study puts at least one large stamp of approval on Brussels sprouts as a food that can provide fantastic health benefits without putting the thyroid gland at risk.” ¬†READ MORE HERE

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For those who are wary of Brussels sprouts, from past experience or a lack of experience, try this salad to introduce them. ¬†Finely shaved sprouts are mixed with naturally sweet fruit (apples and raisins) and coated in a mixture of sweet and tangy dressing to produce a side salad, or even main dish, of healthy intent sneakily hiding under the guise of almost-dessert. ¬†Everyone can feel good about eating this. ¬†Try it at your next picnic, potluck, as a Thanksgiving or Christmas side dish, or just because it’s Tuesday night.

Brussels sprouts salad ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, shredded or diced very finely
  • 1 apple, diced very thin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp raisins

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Step 1: Rinse your sprouts, and either use a shredder or a sharp knife to finely dice them, and put in a large bowl.

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Step 2: In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, mustard, vinegar and olive oil.  Use as high quality an oil as you are able.

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Step 3: Very finely dice and slice the apple.  The best & quickest way is to rinse the apple, then slice into fourths.  Cut out the middle core & seeds and discard.  Then lay each quarter on a side, and thinly slice.  Slice each of those in half and you should have very thin, bite-sized slivers of apple.

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Step 4: Mix the shredded sprouts, apple slivers, and raisins in a bowl.  Pour on the liquid dressing mixture, and toss well to coat.  You can serve hot, cold, or room temperature.  You can serve immediately, or let it sit in the refrigerator up to three days for the flavors to mix.

 

Sweet & Sour Brussels Sprouts Salad

Sweet & Sour Brussels Sprouts Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, shredded or diced very finely
  • 1 apple, diced very thin
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp raisins

Instructions

  1. Rinse your sprouts, and either use a shredded or a sharp knife to finely dice them, and put in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, honey, mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Use as high quality an oil as you are able.
  3. Very finely dice and slice the apple. The best & quickest way is to rinse the apple, then slice into fourths. Cut out the middle core & seeds and discard. Then lay each quarter on a side, and thinly slice. Slice each of those in half and you should have very thin, bite-sized slivers of apple.
  4. Mix the shredded sprouts, apple slivers, and raisins in a bowl. Pour on the liquid dressing mixture, and toss well to coat. You can serve hot, cold, or room temperature. You can serve immediately, or let it sit in the refrigerator up to three days for the flavors to mix.
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Shrimp Salad

 

While I may be spoiled now, living so near the coast, shrimp is also on sale at the grocery store this week (BOGO ftw!). Shrimp is an amazing protein source because it is so low in fat, super versatile, and cooks up in literally minutes.

From shrimp cocktail to shrimp scampi, from jambalaya to tacos to fettuccine, shrimp is a great addition to just about any dish. This simple salad makes use of some leftover cooked shrimp from a party tray, but you could also brown them in Cajun seasoning, or grill them with some pineapple sauce.

If you’re looking for a healthy way to use up some of summer’s fresh veggies, or a healthy-but-tasty lunch or dinner option that takes but a minute to put together, you’ve found just the thing!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups greens (spinach, romaine, iceberg, arugula…)
  • 1 cup diced fresh veg (bell pepper slices, mushrooms, carrots, cucumber, radishes…)
  • Handful cooked shrimp
  • 2 tbsp dressing
  • Optional: shredded or crumbled cheese, croutons, sunflower seeds, chia seeds…

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This quick salad can literally be tossed together in under a minute if you eat the shrimp cold out of the salad, or 5 minutes if you brown it in a pan first. Use any combination of greens, veggies, and dressings you want.

This can also be layered into a mason jar for a quick on-the-go healthy lunch, snack, or dinner.

 

Chia, Quinoa & Greens Salad

 

For an awesome, easy lunch/side dish/snack that you can take on the go or whip up without heating the kitchen on a smoldering summer day, try this salad packed with power players. This would easily be layer-able in a mason jar, to take to work or school or anywhere on the go, or throw together right out of the fridge. It also tastes good made in advance if you use hardy greens that are amenable to some marinating.

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The base of any good green salad is of course the greens. Leafy greens are the super-veggies of the plant kingdom, and it is REALLY tough to have too much. There are plenty of species whose only food is leafy greens. We should try to emulate that as much as possible.

According to author, dietitian, and nutritional educator Jill Nussinow MS, RD, “Greens are the number 1 food you can eat regularly to help increase your health” (WebMD). Leafy greens are packed with vitamins & minerals, as well as heart- and gut-healthy fiber and plant-based chemicals, many of which we haven’t even discovered yet.

Leafy greens include kale, collards, mustard greens, beet greens, romaine, spinach, arugula or rocket, swiss chard, broccoli,  cabbage, and even iceberg. Start with a big heaping handful, at least 1-2 cups.

Next up is the buzz-worthy quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). Quinoa was domesticated 3,000-4,000 years ago in South America. It is a psuedocereal with edible¬† seeds, closely related to amaranth and buckwheat.¬† Quinoa contains essential amino acids (which our body cannot make on its own) like lysine, as well as an exceptionally high protein content, and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus, and iron. It is also gluten-free, making it a great “grain-like” choice for those with Celiac’s disease or a gluten intolerance.

The raw seeds have a soapy coating (called saponins) that make them unpalatable to birds. This is handy because the crops need less protection. However, that means most quinoa crops must be processed before sale for humans, so that we are able to eat it without feeling like we just licked a Dawn dish soap dispenser.

And our final power player here is the chia seeds. Chia seeds are a massive nutrition powerhouse, with just one ounce (2 tablespoons) containing 11 g of fiber, 4 g of protein, and about 100 calories while also providing about 1/3 your recommended manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. There are claims that some ancient cultures would survive solely on chia seeds in times of duress.

Chia is easy to incorporate into baking, simply sprinkle a tbsp or two into any batter, from pancakes to muffins to oatmeal. You could also try a refreshing Chia Fresca as a beverage to get some chia in your life. While a little weird at first, it is a great habit to start to get enough water every day.

And finally, we top it off with whatever fresh veggies you are partial to. Just make sure to incorporate a variety, and at least 1/2-1 cup total. A tbsp of other nuts or seeds is also a great addition. Steer clear of too-high-fat toppings like cheese, meats, or even eggs. Add spices to taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup julienned carrot & cucumber
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • Handful grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp vinaigrette

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Step 1: Lay down your greens. Mix in your quinoa. (To cook: mix 1 cup with 2 cups water, bring to a boil. Cover, turn off heat. Let stand 10 minutes, fluff with a fork.)

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Step 2: Add in your vegetables, sprinkle chia on top.

Step 3: Whip up a fresh, super-simple vinaigrette by mixing 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tbsp olive oil, and 1 tbsp vinegar in a bottle, then shaking. Or drizzle on 1-2 tbsp of bottled dressing.

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If you want to make a portable layered salad, add ingredients in the exact opposite order: dressing on the bottom, then hard veggies, soft veggies, quinoa & greens.