Category Archives: Recipes

Recipe: Breakfast Salad

I don’t post a lot of recipes.  Mostly because I don’t consider myself a gourmet.  I do love to cook and I convince myself that I am creative in the kitchen.  But after watching Master Chef Jr. with my 10-year-old, I am, in no way, a chef.

This recipe has gotten a lot of buzz.  Salad for breakfast.  Sounds pretty disgusting even as I type it out.  Romaine, chicken, evoo, and balsamic?  No.  Thank goodness. This breakfast salad has exactly what you would eat in an omelette, just cold and in a bowl.

breakfastsalad

I like a good hearty salad.  So this one had to have a lot of texture to it.  I started with two handfuls of organic spinach.  I prefer organic spinach to non-organic because I think the flavor is stronger, kind of as it was meant to be.  I added 4 hardboiled organic egg whites.  Again, I always eat organic or free range eggs for the same reason.  They just taste better.  I also just use the whites since they are chock full of protein, contain no fat and no cholesterol.  Then I threw in about 1/8 cup of shredded cheddar cheese to add a bit more protein.  You don’t want to add too much cheese because it increases your fat and calories of the day, but add enough to taste.  The only other thing that I would’ve added would be some diced crispy bacon. I don’t buy bacon bits, but only use fresh bacon on my salads and didn’t have any on hand first thing in the morning. Top with the same ratio as the cheese.

For the dressing I use a simple honey mustard that I made from scratch:

1 part mustard

1/5 parts honey

2 parts evoo

1 part lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

It’s sweet and savory.  Perfect for first thing in the morning or for an early lunch.

I hope you enjoy your breakfast salad as much as I did!

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I feel like Popeye.

I don’t love vegetables. At all. I force myself to eat them because I know they’re good for me. Plus I make my kids eat them, so there’s that whole “lead by example” thing. However, I think I may have found a veggie that I can’t live without. Spinach.

I’ve started putting it in everything from salads to pasta to smoothies. Not only are the health benefits truly impressive, but it becomes a chameleon when added to your favorite foods. And my kids like, even if it turns everything green.

Labeled a “Superfood,” spinach provides more nutrients than any other food. Spinach seems to be able to lessen our risk for many of the most common diseases of the twenty-first century. Overwhelming research has demonstrated an inverse relationship between spinach consumption and the following:

Cardiovascular disease including stroke and coronary artery disease
Cancer including colon, lung, skin, oral, stomach, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer
Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
Cataracts

What makes spinach and its sidekicks such powerful health promoters? The list of compounds that have been discovered in spinach is truly impressive. Beyond the iron that Popeye was seeking, spinach contains carotenoids, antioxidants, vitamin K, coenzyme Q10, B vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, polyphenols, betaine and, interestingly, plant-derived omega-3 fatty acids. This is a shortened list and it’s hard to relay the powerful impact of these nutrients as they work together to promote health.

What can you add spinach to today that will make your body scream for happiness?  Even if you don’t squeeze open a can with your bare hands and gobble it down like Popeye did, you will still feel the health benefits throughout the day.

I am not a tree-hugger.

Recycling is about as close as I get to being “natural.”  Nothing about me is environmentally sound.  I love aerosol hairspray.  I consider cosmetics to be a necessity.  Even with 4 kids, I used disposable diapers with every single one of them.  But this one thing about me kind of makes me feel like a tree-hugger.

Here's a picture of our "Bountiful Basket" from last week. We get our produce fresh every week for only $15! It's probably the best $ I've spent on something in a long time.

I’ve put my family on a whole foods eating program.  This might not be a big deal to some people, but for my family of 6, cooking everything from scratch used to make me want to crawl in bed and not get up.  I thought it would be way too much work.  Cost way too much money.  But that was before I tried it.

Like my husband, I grew up on Hamburger Helper, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and canned fruits and vegetables.  We were from an era where easiest and cheapest was best.  I’ve come to find out, that’s not exactly true. Cooking and eating whole foods is so much easier and cost-effective than I ever thought it would be.

Here’s my basic plan:  I look at every single label on a food item.  If I don’t recognize an ingredient, I don’t buy it.  After doing this for about 3 months, it’s pretty unbelievable how many unnatural things I was putting into my body.

Some of you may think this seems like a lot of work, and for the first month or two, it was.  But now that I’m familiar with what ingredients mean (preservatives are the biggest offender) and how to cook whole, it’s actually pretty simple.  I’ve even cut my grocery bill by about 1/4 each week.

Even my kids and husband are getting on board and recognizing what is the best for their bodies.  I drug them away from sugared cereals in June kicking and screaming.  But now they’re happy, healthy, and feel great.  If my 10-year-old son can do this, believe me, anyone can!

Summer cookin’!

Even though here in the Seattle area we’ve only had about 2 1/2 weeks of summer, I am aware that the end is drawing near.  School shopping is in full force.  Fresh canned goods are being stock piled in pantries.  Even days are beginning to feel a bit shorter.  But in the midst of autumn on the horizon,  I feel the need to keep summer close to me for a bit longer.  The following recipe is by far one of my favorites for summer and something that I make a few times each season.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound of pasta (any small shape works fine)
  • 5 cups diced beefsteak tomatoes, (2 pounds)
  • 2 cups diced fresh mozzarella, (3/4 pound)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss warm pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella, onion, olive oil, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled with some nice ciabatta bread.

Healthy tips from a consumer just like you.

I’m so excited to have a guest blogger this week.  One of my dearest friends, Cindy Sorenson. Cindy’s passion of cooking and experimenting in the kitchen lead her to earn her Bachelors Degree from Bastyr University in Nutrition/Dietetics. She has been teaching and volunteering with the PCC Cooks program for the past four years. Since becoming registered as a dietitian she has been working at Bayview Retirement Community as the staff dietitian. She also is beginning her second year serving on the Greater Seattle Dietetic Association (GSDA) board as the Public Relations Co-chair. For more information, please visit Cindy’s website.

Healthy tips from a consumer just like you.
By: Cindy Sorensen, R.D.

1. Don’t Trust Labels
Labels have a lot of “claims”. Remember to be smart and read ingredient
lists and nutrition facts!

2. Learn what adds flavor without adding calories, fat or sodium
My trick is adding lemon juice or vinegar to almost anything I cook.
Scientifically it enhances the salty/savory flavor of the food! Also, don’t be
shy adding spices and herbs to anything.

3. Sweeten Food items yourself
Go ahead, buy the yogurt that you love, just buy the plain version and
add your own fruit and a little honey. Or buy plain popcorn and drizzle
it with honey to satisfy your sweet tooth.

4. Roast Vegetables
When you roast vegetables you cook them at high temp in oven (at least
400), it allow the natural sugars to caramelize and the veggie tastes
delicious without having to add much to it!

5. Buy Frozen, not Canned
Canned vegetables and fruit have high levels of sodium and sweeteners to
preserve them.  Frozen produce usually do not have added preservatives
and have a higher nutritional value.

6. Avoid frozen or pre-made dinners
Even though those healthy choice dinners are low in fat, be careful of higher
sodium and/or sugar levels.

7. Limit Juices and blended beverages
The smoothies and blended coffees often have a lot of sugar and calories.
Most have ice cream or frozen yogurt added to them!  Whenever you
can, eat fruit instead of drinking the juice.

8. Increase fiber in diet
Whenever possible eat food in its most whole form. You will get the most
nutrition and feel more satisfied! Also, switching to whole grains will
add some fiber, among other things!

9. Drink more water
Optimally, you should drink 8 glasses per day. But, to be most effective
bring a water bottle with you EVERYWHERE and refill and refill!! We
need water to function! We don’t have reserves.

10.  Eat Slowly
Honestly, it’s easier said than done! But if you simply chew thoroughly
more nutrition is absorbed! Also, try to wait 20 minutes after eating
before getting dessert or another snack. If you still are hungry have a
glass of water… and if your still hungry try sharing a dessert!