Posts tagged Healthy Eating
Every time I take a green salad to a potluck gathering it gets rave reviews. I’m going to reveal the secret for a salad that keeps them coming back for more and more. Most green salads are made from head lettuce, some tomato, carrots, maybe celery, and then smothered in a heavy ranch style dressing.
To me that isn’t even a salad. The first thing is that you don’t use head lettuce. It is almost flavorless, and if it does have a flavor it is bitter. It’s also low on the nutritional scale. Leaf lettuce has a lot more nutrition for the same amount, and it has flavor! So the basis for a really fantastic salad is leaf lettuce. I usually try to include several varieties of lettuce in my salads; some red and green; loose leaf and romaine; buttercrunch or butterhead, etc.
Now that you’ve got the base of your salad figured out this is when the creativity starts. First of all I rarely make a salad that only has lettuce in it. Other greens that are excellent in a salad are kale, chard, spinach, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, cabbage (both green and red), baby bok choy, mustard, or any of the early chinese greens. The key is to only use a little of the stronger leaves like arugula, kale, and mustard.
Still in the realm of green things I then choose fresh herbs to put in the salad, and if possible use in the salad dressing. All of the Italian herbs work well: basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary. Here almost all of them grow fresh in the garden year round. I’ll also include parsley, shiso, tong ho, cilantro, or any other herbs that happen to be in abundance at the time.
Then come the extras. I don’t stop at just tomato, carrot and celery. Actually I don’t even put celery in, because I don’t like it. I’ll throw in cucumbers, zucchini, jicama, avocado, sunchokes, bell peppers, sugar or snow peas, yard long beans (cut up of course), pineapple tomatillo, or anything else that looks good at the moment. Just pick whatever vegetables you have in your garden, or that are on sale that week at the market and include them. Except those that really don’t taste good raw like potatoes. I’ve even shredded raw sweet potatoes on top.
Last come the desserts of the salad. I throw in some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whatever nuts we have on hand, as well as a handful of raisins, maybe some date pieces, or any crunchies I can lay my hands on.
To top it off you have to have a wonderful homemade salad dressing, which is a snap to make. I’ll share my most favorite dressing recipe next time.
The final piece de resistance is to decorate the salad with edible flowers. I’ll share my list of around 40 flowers you can decorate your dishes with and also eat!
Do you have a favorite salad ingredient that’s not mentioned here? It would be great to hear what tasty treats you’ve found.
Living in the mid-Atlantic states our winter weather is very variable. If we have winds from the south, like today, it is warm enough to walk around without a coat. However, tomorrow’s high may only be in the 30s or 40s if the wind is out of the north. On days when we have a surprise cold snap a wonderful steaming bowl of soup is on the menu. Here’s a hearty soup recipe that will cook up in approximately 30 minutes from scratch. I’ve used it for years now and we love it every time.
Please note all the amounts are approximate, because I just throw this soup together. You don’t really need to measure anything except the lentils.
Red Lentil Soup
- Fill 3qt pot ¾ of the way full with water
- 1-3 tsp salt (depending on your tastes)
- 1 cup of several of your favorite soup veggies: frozen lima beans, frozen or fresh peas, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, potatoes, even leftover veggies work great
- Italian herb blend (start with 1 tsp on each of the herbs, then adjust to taste)
- Dried basil
- 1 cup red lentils (must be red to cook fast)
Put pot on to boil, add salt, vegetables, and herbs. Bring to boil and boil for about 5 minutes. Then add the lentils and cook for another 10-15 minutes until lentils and veggies are cooked to your liking.
You can have tamari, pepper, ghee, or yogurt for people to add according to their liking. I particularly like it with a little extra freshly ground pepper, a dab of ghee, and a couple good sized scoops of yogurt in it, which gives it a nice tang.
Serve with homemade pumpernickel rolls (which I let the bread maker knead) with vegetarian or vegan sharp cheddar melted over it and you’ve got a healthy, nourishing, comfort lunch. We had it today and it was awesome!
Very dear to my heart is helping kids to stay healthy and vibrant. Today over 30% of children are considered obese, what a tragedy. Obese children usually make obese adults, and obese adults leave themselves open for many more diseases than adults within their normal range of health.
One thing we need to remember is that kid’s taste is different than adults. Finding recipes for kids that they really like is an important key to the success of a healthy diet. If the kids don’t like the food, they won’t eat it. They’ll trade with their friends for food less desirable, but more tasty.
Children set their taste preferences early, so it is important to offer them what you would like to see them to eat when they get older. Don’t start out using white bread and then expect your child to willingly change over to whole wheat, even if it is better for them and tastes better to you. Avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index. Those are foods that are converted into sugar rapidly and often contribute to weight gain. That means all the white stuff: sugar, flour, rice, etc. You can find a list of foods by doing a quick search on the Internet.
Another thing to remember is that kids don’t eat as much. They are smaller, so make their portions smaller. Cut up fruit and only give them half and apple at a time. Make carrot sticks that are small and easy to crunch, then add a nice hummus or bean dip to go with them. Using a thermos and sending nice hot homemade soups or chilled smoothies when the weather is cold or hot is always a welcome treat.
I’ve heard many parents moan that they can’t get their kids to eat anything healthy. I’ve never known children to starve themselves to death, so just start having only healthy alternatives available. If you don’t have sodas, candy, white bread, and other highly processed foods available they will eat what is there. You might have to experiment a little to find what will satisfy their sweet tooth without it being a disaster nutritionally. Maybe try fresh fruit, a smoothie, frozen banana with peanut butter, yogurt with some fruit in it, etc. The best thing, though, is to start them out right.
I was on a diet when I was eleven, because my mother was concerned that I was gaining too much weight. I hated it, but it taught me a very important lesson. If I don’t regulate my own eating, someone else will, be it a parent or doctor. I didn’t want that, so I’ve managed my diet carefully since and I’ve never been seriously overweight my entire teen and adult life. Now I choose healthy food with a 5% leeway for some old favorite, comfort food. If you start them off right their comfort food will also be healthy for them!
The summer heat is on here with days in the 90s. That’s enough to make anyone want to turn off their stove or oven. I was browsing around the Internet, looking for new and interesting recipes when I found several salad recipes on Mother Nature Network. Two of the salads actually call for cooking, but the other 3 are no-cook varieties.
I’m particularly interested in the tomato-watermelon salad, as this is the second time in a week that I’ve seen a recipe call for tomatoes and watermelon in the same dish. I must try that combo out, as it is not one I would ordinarily have combined. I’ll let you know what I think.
Take a look at 5 Summer Salad Recipes to find some interesting and very gourmet looking salads to cool off this summer.
For most people the idea of eating healthy brings to mind having to munch on carrot sticks, eat only salads, or drink those awful looking concoctions sold at juice bars.
The idea of giving up our comfort foods, dropping our daily coffee or candy bar, etc., is unimaginable. We’ve never been shown a way to have delicious food that tastes like it is from a 5 star restaurant, and is also good for us.
The US is realizing more and more that our diets are having a huge impact on our lives and health, but we don’t have a good idea how to make healthy eating fit into our lives. This blog will be all about the latest studies on diet and health; how to eat healthy, delicious meals; recipes for quick dishes; gadgets and tools to make food prep fast; and tips on how to eat out and travel while maintaining a healthy diet, plus more.