This Wilted Kale Salad with Warm Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette and Spicy Butternut Squash Croutons is winter’s answer to a green salad! Loaded with nutrients and pops of color and SO much taste it’s dreamy as a side or plop your favorite protein on top and make it a meal. The squash croutons? Sure I know they aren’t croutons, but with a little finesse we get a subtle crisp to them that are better than any boring ‘ol bread crouton.
It’s winter and salads often become a distant memory for many. I get it, cold, crispy raw salads just aren’t that appealing to me either, when there’s a chill in the air. I crave warming, comforting and cozy. But, I have made a commitment to my daily #BFS (Big F&%$ing Salad). I find this practice is a great way to ensure I get a big blast of daily nutrients, no matter what!
This is a salad for the winter. With kale as the shining star, this is the perfect way to get in those nutrient-rich greens in the cooler months. Kale is exploding with disease-fighting phytochemicals and it’s one of my most favorite whole-food sources of cognition-boosting nutrition. Here’s what Max Lugavere has to say about kale:
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids which have been the focus of numerous recent studies.
In volunteers, supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin led to faster processing speed. 1http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 This effect was significant “even when testing young, healthy individuals who tend to be at peak efficiency,” wrote study authors.
In another study, human subjects with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin did better on a test of working memory, while their brains seemed to be working more efficiently when observed under fMRI.2https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D
Finally, lutein (found in egg yolks, spinach and kale) was associated with greater crystalized intelligence—the ability to use learned knowledge and experience—in older adults. 3http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
References [ + ]
1. ↑ http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 2. ↑ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D 3. ↑ http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
We have fully entered the season of busy. Easy weeknight meals are one of the things you guys ask for most, and this is also the struggle I see with many of my nutrition clients, simple, approchable meals for the busy work week. So, today I am sharing one of my favorite, simple slow cooker recipes, that comes with 3 different variations, so you won’t get bored. You could literally make this dish every single week as part of your meal planning and mix it up a million different ways.
My favorite thing about each of these recipes are the many varying ways to serve it up:
- lettuce wrapped
- on a salad
- over cauliflower rice (or traditional grains, like quinoa or millet)
- over zucchini noodles
- in any kind of veggie bowl
- filling for tacos, fajitas, burritos or enchiladas with your favorite tortillas
- filling an omelette
- add to soups or stews
- stirred into a scramble or frittata
- add to fried rice or fried cauliflower rice
- over ramen noodles
- just spooned straight into your face!
Fruit and I have certainly had our ups and downs over the years. I like to describe our tumultuous connection using the Facebook relationship status of “it’s complicated”. In the past couple of years as I have worked very, very hard to get my gut issues under control, despite the usual suspects, I have come to find that many fruits, especially those highest in fructose to be one of THE biggest triggers in my chronic bloating, gas and general gastric upset.
This isn’t exclusive to me and it’s actually quite common with folks that struggle with bacterial imbalances in their gut, SIBO, leaky gut, etc. Fruits high in fructose can cause fermentation in the gut, which can lead to some not-so-pleasant after effects.
It took me some time to discover that fruit was one of the biggest culprits and more, it was hard for me to understand how a nutritious, healthful whole food, like fruit could be create such gnarly side effects. Seemed wrong. It was in experimenting with a low FODMAP protocol that I found some of the greatest relief and while there are still some fruits today, that I have to be careful with and mindful of how much I consume, it has changed so significantly over the last few years as I have worked hard to heal my gut and get my gut bacteria in better balance.
This gorgeous, vibrant Green Goddess Dressing is ready in under 5 minutes and it’s loaded with so much flavor. This creamy, dairy-free condiment can be served up as a salad dressing, dip, sauce or spread. Sorry not sorry in advance if you become as addicted to it as we are!
I am not sure exactly where the term “Green Goddess” originated when speaking of a tasty green dressing, but I am not mad about it. Not at all. Clearly something this beautiful, brilliant and delicious is female! DUH.
I have seen many many iterations of the Green Goddess dressing and many call for yogurt or other dairy and ALL the green things. This particular rendition gets it’s creaminess from avocado and delicious avocado oil mayonnaise. There is a prominent basil flavor and aroma which is peppery and fresh, with parsley is a backup singer. If you want to have some fun, swap out the basil with cilantro (I’d say go with more like 1/2 cup since it’s a bit stronger), swap lime for the lemon and add jalapeño. Voila, another version of this amazing sauce.
DOLE® Fresh Vegetables is a sponsor of Tasty Yummies. DOLE® provided me with Organic Salad samples for the purpose of this post, as well as compensation for my time. All content, ideas, and words are my own.
You guys know how I feel about my daily greens and more importantly about the quality of all the foods that we eat in our household. Sourcing organic is of top priority to me so when I received word that DOLE® was expanding their organic product line to include new salad mixes, I was beyond excited to get into the kitchen and start creating with them.
It is an absolute given that at all times I have organic baby spinach and/or kale in the fridge. Whether it’s wilted down in my morning eggs, tossed into a blended smoothie or the base of an epic, seasonal salad I find these to be the most versatile veggies to always have on hand.
If I am being fully honest with you, I have been known to just save a fistful of baby spinach or baby kale into my mouth mid-day if I have been slacking on my greens consumption. Hey – you do what you gotta go sometimes.
Today is an exciting day! Well yes, it’s election day. Which is obviously HUGE, I hope for my American readers that you’ve already gone out and voted. But, it’s also book release day for my friend Alexis of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. Her debut book Lexi’s Clean Kitchen hits stands today and this is an absolute must for your kitchens. Featuring over 150 delicious paleo-friendly recipes to nourish your life, this cookbook brings the focus to achieving health and happiness through the simple concept of eating clean. With a collection of fresh, creative yet practical and approachable recipes, Lexi makes eating at home, easy, tasty and fuss-free.
For those of us with gut issues, Lexi has a similar path to her healthy lifestyle, so her story brings feelings of familiarity and with that that instant connection. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen delivers an abundance of healthy meals packed with amazing flavor, like Thai Meatballs, Classic Chili, One-Pan Arroz con Pollo, Maple-Glazed Salmon, and Sriracha Lime Chopped Chicken Salad, with healthier options of your favorite indulgent foods, like French Toast Sticks, Perfect Waffles, Birthday Cake, Easy Sandwich Bread, and more!
I know we are creeping closer to summer’s end, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We still have several weeks left of summertime abundance and then, of course, the magical swing season where summer and autumn meet for a brief time and the produce is extra special. For now, I plan to continue to celebrate and indulge in all that the summer’s markets and local farms and gardens have to offer.
Our 15 Favorite Summertime Salads:
As I sit to write the posts for this website, 2-3 times a week, often I find myself lacking the words. I am no writer, have never claimed to be. I am sure my sentence structuring is atrocious, I am certain my posts are littered with typos and poor punctuation skills. I generally didn’t start this website to share my personal thoughts on life or my beliefs, as often as they do trickle into the pages by default. I mostly have always had a strong desire to help make a difference for those, like me, that struggle with their health, are challenged by navigating the ever-evolving landscape of eating and food and what it truly means to be well.
As our worlds are all constantly changing and shifting, as life seems to get busier than ever for us all, I find myself more called to want to simply live my life without a filter, to share my experiences in all their realness and hopefully, simultaneously, inspire you to be excited about getting into the kitchen and tapping into your own creativity. I want you to approach food and your health without fear. I want you all to feel empowered to be your own advocates and to never settle for anything other that feeling amazing, every day. My hope is also that through sharing my recipes, how-to’s and other tips here on the website and on social media, that everyone knows eating well doesn’t always have to be about the crazy flavor combos and complicated ingredients that you can only buy online or at a specialty food store. I think we all have to admit that even though weeknight meals deserve a little flair sometimes, a totally boring, basic
bitchmeal of veggies and some baked fish, that isn’t exactly instagram-able – that’s totally OK, too.
I have jokingly said this before, but I truly, deep down, really mean it. My husband has become somewhat of a muse for me in the kitchen. Or one of my muses I should say. First and foremost, from a heavily selfish place, my own autoimmune conditions, food intolerances and sensitivities are my biggest creative driving force when it comes to recipe development. I also, of course, find so much joy in creating for all of you and your varying dietary challenges and lifestyles. All that said, my husband happens to be one of those more and more rare specimens whom isn’t afflicted with any food allergies or issues. He’s a tank, he can eat anything and everything, he’s healthy as a horse and he generally doesn’t have to worry too much when it comes to food.
He is, as he says it “on the Beth plan”, at home, as I do all of the cooking and I generally don’t hear a complaint out of him. However, when we eat at restaurants some of his decision-making is so far askew from my own and how we eat at home, that I can (apparently) look at him like he has 3 heads, while he orders. It’s mostly a curiosity of how and why he would still want certain things after eating how we do, I am always curious how eating a bunch of starchy, grainy carbs before a meal can feel good, when he generally eats grain-free at home. I get it though, he didn’t exactly sign up to eat this way, it’s somewhat by default. But, I digress, I don’t give him
too muchshit, however I do take note. I take these opportunities to know that I can come home and recreate certain foods to be more healthful, to remove some unneeded processed foods and to hopefully win him over with an even better, cleaner version. It’s a game of sorts for me and the winner is always him.
“The usual proportion of vinegar to oil is one to three, but you should establish your own relationship.”
Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking
A well-crafted dressing or vinaigrette is a thing of profound beauty. Delicate, yet prominent, understated while still making a statement. To me, the finesse found in the subtleties of a good dressing says a lot about someone’s skills in the kitchen and on that same note, it is one of THE most simple tasks to master. Ready in under 5 minutes, homemade dressings and vinaigrettes are one of the best ways to start the process of ditching store-bought, processed foods – making it a very budget and health conscious option.
Since they only really require three main ingredients, base (oil), acid and seasonings, you can pretty much make any flavor profile you can think of, with any combination of ingredients available in your kitchen. From here, knowing this simple formula and the any options, you can get creative, adjust to your preferences and you can come up with an unlimited supply of varying staple dressings.
Summer is definitely all about the fuss-free eating, but to me, it’s also all about enjoying the abundance. With so much beautiful produce in season, there is no shortage of foods to be inspired by and get creative with.
To me, zucchini gets all the love during the summer and admittedly, I likely eat a farm’s worth myself every year. But lest we forget about the yellow summer squash, the beautiful golden sibling to the zucchini. While the flavor is very similar, the only real major difference is their skin color, so I find the yellow squash to be as equally versatile as the zucchini and it too is a mainstay in my summer kitchen.
This light Greek Potato Salad is full of a bright, fresh tang from the freshly squeezed lemon juice, an incredible fresh crunch from the red onions and cucumber this all comes together with the fresh fill and oregano to create perfect Greek flavors. Step away from the mayo and opt for my family’s favorite summer side dish.
Summertime is the time of quick meals, picnics, BBQs and cookouts. As much as I am a big fan of mayonnaise, I have never been able to get down with the idea of it on my cold salads. I have never enjoyed it on potato salad, coleslaw or pasta salad. Not sure why. Maybe it’s too many picnics in my youth, seeing the salad and the mayo baking away in the sun, no one has a care in the world. I won’t ruin it for those of you that like it, but it’s just not for me.
With summer nearly upon us, we are already planning a summer of BBQs, cookouts and picnics. While I am not a mayo hater by any means, I have always felt indifferent about traditional mayo-based potato salads. It’s just not my thing, something about it doesn’t sit well with me. I think it’s years of seeing it sitting in the sun at picnics, uncovered looking all gnarly. Yuck.
I have over the years developed several variations instead on vinegar and herby based potato and sweet potato salads that have become staples at all of my summer shindigs. That is until this Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon from Heather Christo’s book Pure Delicious. For the foreseeable future, this may just give all other potato salads the boot! It’s that good.
Happy Friday, friends! I am still away on a little anniversary getaway with my husband. We’re in Palm Springs soaking up all of the desert goodness, celebrating 9 years of marriage and 13 years since our first blind date. We try for a vacation every year for our anniversary, it’s so important for us to stop the clock, step out from our busy lives and just celebrate each other for a few days. Especially since we both work from home, going away is a really nice opportunity to just be with each other, without the distractions of our work and life. We get to relax, talk, reminisce and most excitingly, nap in the middle of the day, just because we can.
I think one of the (many) things I love most about our love, is that Mark still has the ability to surprise me, even after all of these years. He’s always keeping me guessing and on my toes and he is always willing to try something I made, just to support me.
For most of my life, I have always had a (totally rational) fear of fried foods, something I can say I happily accepted and followed. It wasn’t until this past year or so that I finally experimented with for-real frying at home, beyond a simple pan-fry. Besides the occasional french fry indulgence, I never really found myself drawn to deep-fried anything. It just was never my thing. But to be totally honest, beyond the fact that I intuitively never liked how fried foods made me feel, it was mostly because of the scary calories and fat. And while calories and fat should absolutely be a valid concern, in excess, after spending time truly learning about fats and oils in nutritional therapy school program, I have learned what we should really fear more than these numbers, instead are the oils themselves and the havoc that they can wreak on our bodies and our health. That old saying ‘quality not quantity’, has really never been more appropriate.
At most restaurants, even the nicest of places and honestly in most people’s homes, fried foods are generally cooked in denatured vegetable and seed oils. These are usually highly refined polyunsaturated fats that are highly unstable, especially in high heats. Often they are hydrogenated and when exposed to heat they oxidize and go rancid very quickly and form free radicals. “These chaotic, skewed fatty acid molecules, now in the form of free radicals, wreak havoc on the body attacking and damaging DNA and RNA, cell membranes, vascular walls, and red blood cells, all of which cascade into deeper physiological damage such as tumor formation, accelerated aging, arterial plaque accumulation, autoimmune imbalances, and more!” WOAH – just woah, right? My life-long intuition-led opinion on fried foods was definitely not for nothing.
Now, before we get into this recipe, I am certainly not advocating that fried foods, even in healthful oils, are something we should consume often. Like sweets and treats, even of the more healthy variety, this type of cooking falls into the category of once-in-a-while eating. But, being totally afraid of something and never being able to enjoy it, that doesn’t really feel good either and it certainly isn’t a lifestyle I ever want to live or promote. However, these curiosities for a better option, this is usually how I manage to come up with an alternative, a new way to enjoy something one-in-a-while that I never get to, but in a much more health-minded approach.
Being in the blogging world over 6 years now, I have had the pleasure of meeting some very incredible people along the way. But some, they walk into your life and you know that they were placed into your path with a purpose. I met Amie Valpone last year, in the midst of the hustle and bustle of a busy conference. We spoke like half-witted high school girls, catching up, giggling, sharing and connecting over our personal healing journeys. Amie has an infectious lust for life and for living that instantly resonated with me. As someone that has spent the past 10+ years dealing with various (though very minor in comparison) health struggles, I very much appreciate how Amie has chosen to use her struggles as a means to help others, through her website thehealthyapple.com, I also admire that she has used her very challenging healing journey to fuel her passion to teach others that your health and vitality lies in your hands and that you DO have the power to overcome. I feel like the word “inspiration” is hardly enough for this firecracker.
There is something so magical about the spring, all the beautiful new produce, the delicate, fresh and new little baby stuff especially makes me happy. It’s like seeing those adorable fuzzy little ducklings at the park following around their mama duck. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere and break your heart with sweetness. But, I also love that we still have the remnants of the long winter season, the hearty, long-lasting, robust foods of the colder time. Squash, the bright and fresh citrus, all the root veggies. Even though we are well into Spring at this point, the swing-season status of Spring lasts the longest of all, which I really adore. The crossover of produce makes for some of my favorite dishes.
We’ve been getting tons of beets in our weekly CSA boxes (community supported agriculture) from the farm and besides beet kvass, I have mostly been roasting them, as it’s my favorite way to enjoy the flavor of beets. The roasting actually brings out a subtle sweetness and takes down some of the earthiness for those that aren’t big fans of it. Plus roasting makes peeling beets a breeze, the skin literally slips right off. Beets are, in my opinion, a very underrated superfood, offering liver support by thinning bile to decongest a congested liver or biliary stasis or insufficiency. They also contain high levels of folate and manganese which support gallbladder function. Underground vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, etc – they also contain silica – important for collagen formation and for connective tissue’s elasticity and resilience. Silica also regulates calcium placement in bone and tissue. Beets also include fructooligosaccharides which is a great nutrient source for healthy micro-flora in the GI system. Finally, beets contain trimethylglycine, a methyl donor used in liver detoxification. Trimethylglycine is used by the body to detoxify substances by donating one of it’s methyl groups to the toxic molecule yielding a less toxic methylated substances and dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine is also a methyl donor and is also used to stabilize toxic substances for further processing and elimination.
Being away from my family living in California, it has gotten a bit easier with time and there are less and less tears over random moments, holidays, but one of the things I miss most is Sunday dinner as one a big family.
I grew up eating delicious home cooked Greek food. My family, they know their way around the kitchen. Everyone has their specialties and their things. My mom is an incredible baker, while not Greek herself she has mastered Greek desserts and pastries, baklava, koulourakia cookies. My dad is the king of savory, the grill master, the Greek God of souvlaki, marinated grilled leg of lamb, roasted potatoes among many other specialties. Sadly while my dad makes THE best lamb you’ll ever eat, neither he nor anyone else in our family has ever mastered homemade gyro. Whenever my parents serve up gyro, which isn’t super often, it usually comes already prepared and frozen. Meh. It makes me sad that we aren’t making it ourselves. Also sadly, these pre-made gyro meats tend to be very processed and they almost always contains gluten, so naturally I won’t touch them. Short of going to a more traditional shop, cart or restaurant, where they cook the meat traditionally over a spinning spit or rotisserie – it’s impossible to get the real thing, I haven’t had it in many, many years.
Traditional Greek gyro, from what I have read, is made with whole cuts of pork, slowly cooked rotisserie style, and thinly shaved, while Americanized Greek gyro is the pressed, almost sausage-like, thinly sliced minced beef and/or lamb blend. Usually served in a pita, wrap style it is a meal that I never get to eat, yet I still find myself craving it.
I am home in New York right now, with my family, visiting and meeting my brand new nephew Keaton James, born just three weeks ago. As I was preparing for this trip home to Buffalo, I got giddy at the thought of all the homemade Greek food I would be eating. Greek food is my comfort, it’s what I crave at the holidays, when I am homesick or when I come down with a bug. Greek food from a restaurant is just never the same and somehow making a big feast of Greek food at home, just the two of us, while I do it occasionally, it just never tastes the same to me. This is the food best served with a large group of the people you love most. A big Greek feast needs to come with a side of very loud chatter, tons of laughs, stories from back in the day and it needs kids running around the very same living room that my dad ran around as a little kid.
Truth me told, the loaded fries and the chicken wings, those are more my husband’s football food. He begs and pleads for junk food on football Sundays, so I have always caved by simply recreating the classics for him, but in a healthier way. It’s a good deal for both of us. Me, I am a bit more uppity when it comes to what I want in a party spread. Give me an epic charcuterie or crudités platter, a little homemade roasted red pepper and feta dip, some tasty, fresh homemade salsa and chips (I reach for the plantain chips these days), a simple, but flavorful chili, the best darn gluten-free soft pretzel bites or these…tasty, crispy salmon cakes!
These Grain-free Salmon Cakes with Old Bay Aioli may seem a more fancy option at your Super Bowl spread, compared to the chips, fries or wings, but don’t let these fool you. They are whipped up in a mere minutes and they are the perfect small bite, party food. A little crispy on the outside with a soft, fluffy, perfect interior. Do not, I repeat do not skip out on the Old Bay Aioli. It’s a must here.
Though salmon cakes aren’t a food I grew up eating, these are comfort food to me. They are totally fuss-free, so they actually make for a very simple weeknight meal or a quick lunch or brunch, even. We almost always have canned salmon on hand, but this recipe is also great for leftover cooked salmon, as well. I love these served over a mixed baby greens salad, but they make an amazing appetizer, as well. Make the patties even bigger and go for more of a burger vibe, if you’d like.
‘Tis the season for sweets and treats, Christmas cookies and cocktails galore. You guys already know by now that I am one for balance and not setting such strict rules on yourself that you restrict everything completely and end up flailing around and ruining your lifestyle after one “slip up”. Balance and occasional indulging is important, especially during this special time of year. However, I am also someone that absolutely HAS to have my daily greens. It absolutely is not an option for me to skip out.
I believe a few treats here and there during the holidays can be a special indulgence without derailing all the special attention you give to your food, lifestyle and your health throughout the year. But, I also feel that just means it is more important than ever to make sure you are getting the good things. Nourishing, properly prepared, nutrient-dense foods – this is precisely the fuel our body needs to get through this hectic, and oftentimes stressful, time of year.
It’s that time of year again, the web is a buzz with turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie and all the sides, so here we go!! This salad celebrates the best of the season and not only is it beautiful, but it packs a punch in the flavor department. It is sure to impress anyone you serve it to and I can promise this salad will be the Knight in
shininggreen armor at any carb-heavy holiday meal.
Amongst this crazy busy time of year, I would bet we could all use a massage or two, so let’s treat our kale, too. Seriously though, all joking aside, if you haven’t yet experienced the magic of massaged kale, you need to get on this train. I find many people think that they don’t love raw kale, I agree, it’s not super palatable in it’s raw form. It’s rough, fibrous, strong and often times bitter, but you would be shocked what a 5 minute rub down can do for this popular superfood. The flavor mellows, the texture becomes more silky and it’s infused with the soft flavors of the olive oil and citrus.