I’m so glad May is finally here–the weather is warming up, flowering trees are in full bloom, and more and more plants and flowers are springing up! And this time of year I start craving more summery kinds of foods–foods that are easy to make with minimal or Continue reading
Just about a week and a half ago, we were having some seriously cold winter weather. Like zero degrees. That is way too cold for me! And apparently for lots of other people, because no one wanted to get out in that weather. We were kind of all hibernating during that deep freeze. And then, much to everyone’s delight, the weather gradually started warming up. Things slowly came back to life. It felt like the frozen world was beginning to thaw. And as that happened, I started craving a good salad.
And right about this time, I received my review copy of a new cookbook called Fresh Tastes by Lee Clayton Roper. It actually has a great photo of a salad on the cover! So I knew then that I would be picking out a salad recipe to try from this book. There are much more than salad recipes, though–there are over 170 recipes for everything from appetizers and breakfast foods to main dishes, vegetarian dishes, and desserts, all made with fresh ingredients (hence the name, Fresh Tastes) and easy to prepare. There’s lots of very nice full-color photography of many of the dishes, too. Had I not wanted to make a salad so badly, I might have tried the Green Chile Canapés, Cinnamon Loaf, Chicken Pot Pie, Cajun Meatloaf, Vegetable Curry, or Blueberry Peach Custard Pie. But I was set on a salad, so I’ll have to try those another time! Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it yourself:
APPLE, WALNUT AND STILTON CHEESE SALAD from Fresh Tastes
Makes 6 servings
- 1/4 cup raspberry balsamic vinegar (or substitute raspberry vinegar with 1-2 Tbsp. honey–if you can’t find raspberry vinegar, just substitute a raspberry or raspberry-walnut vinaigrette for the vinegar, lemon juice, and oil)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup walnut oil (or substitute olive oil)
- Salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 10 ounces mixed baby greens (spinach, arugula, lettuce)
- 2 large Gala or other red apples, unpeeled, cored and chopped
- 1 cup (6 ounces) chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups (6 to 8 ounces) Stilton cheese, crumbled (or substitute Gorgonzola or other forms of blue cheese)
In a medium glass jar with fitted lid, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice and oil until well blended and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside (you can skip these steps if you’re using a raspberry-walnut vinaigrette).
In a large bowl, toss together mixed greens, chopped apple, walnuts and cheese. Just before serving, toss with just enough dressing to coat the lettuce (you may have some dressing left over). Season to taste with salt and pepper.
This is a great winter salad, and the chopped apples, walnuts, and Stilton cheese go really well together. Do you have a favorite winter salad recipe?
I’ve been on an avocado kick lately! So I was drawn to this recipe from the new cookbook Lose Weight By Eating (William Morrow, softcover). This side dish has so many ingredients I love–avocados, of course, along with black beans, red onion, bell pepper, and corn. I just knew I would like it!
There are lots of other great-sounding recipes I found in my review copy. Author Audrey Johns developed more than 130 clean eating recipes during her 11-month weight loss journey, losing more than 150 pounds and proving that you really can lose weight if you’re eating the right things! There’s a good variety of recipes for every meal and healthy desserts, too–things like Chili Cheese Omelet, Strawberry Scones with Lime Glaze, Meatball Sliders, Skinny Chicken Alfredo, California Club Pizza, and Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes.
I decided to try the Black Bean Avocado Salad, which is described in the book as a crisp, salsa-like side dish–and just 131 calories per serving. You can serve it with chips as a snack, or top a chicken breast with it for extra flavor and protein.
BLACK BEAN AVOCADO SALAD from Lose Weight by Eating
Makes six 1/2 cup servings
- 1 (16-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 avocado, diced
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup frozen corn
- Juice of 1 lime
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
In a large bowl, combine the beans, jalapeño, bell pepper, avocado, red onion, cilantro, corn, lime juice, and garlic. Gently mix and add salt and black pepper to taste.
Marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes to 1 hour and serve.
I really liked the way this tasted–it’s nice when a dish is both healthy and yummy, isn’t it? Do you have a favorite healthy snack that you like to make?
One of the things I love best about summer is all the fresh fruit of the season, especially berries of all kinds. And this is a great fruit salad to make in the summertime because it has blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries…mixed in with lots of other delicious, colorful fruit! Berry season is pretty much over where I live, but the berries are still available at the grocery store. Some of you may still be at the tail end of berry season–lucky you!
This salad also has some canned pineapple chunks and it’s sweetened with the pineapple juice from the can. So there’s no extra sugar, and I think the sweetness is just right. I love all the colors in this salad–it’s so bright and summery–and I wanted to post it before summer comes to an end!
SUMMER FRUIT SALAD by NancyC
Makes 10 servings
- 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup), undrained
- 1 (11-ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 1 cup fresh blueberries (you can use 2 cups blueberries if you don’t have blackberries)
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 cup sliced or halved fresh strawberries (you can use 2 cups fresh strawberries if you don’t have raspberries)
- 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
- 1 cup halved seedless red grapes
- 2 medium size bananas, sliced
Combine all ingredients in large bowl, tossing to coat all the fruit with the pineapple juice. Serve immediately.
If you need to make this ahead of time, combine the pineapple, mandarin oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, and grapes, and refrigerate. When it’s close to serving time, add the berries and bananas; gently toss all the fruit and serve.
Note: If you’re using blackberries in this salad, don’t use an enamelware bowl to serve it in–I found from past experience that blackberries can stain enamelware!
There’s still about three weeks of summer left, but we’ve already had some fall-like days. I’m always sad to see summer end, since it’s my favorite season. Is it still feeling like summer where you live?
It’s hard to believe summer is almost here! Some days have already been hot and humid–too warm to cook or bake. So that’s when I start thinking of recipes to make like Three Bean Salad. It doesn’t require any cooking at all and is super-easy to make. It’s a great summer side dish for lunch or dinner and perfect for picnics. I decided to try sweetening my version with honey instead of white sugar and that worked out well. You need to make this salad at least 4 hours before you serve it, to give the salad time to marinate…and this is one of those recipes that tastes better the longer it marinates. So making it the night before you serve it works out great, too.
THREE BEAN SALAD by NancyC Makes about 8 servings
- 1 (15-ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can green beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained and rinsed
- 4 green onions, finely chopped (chop both the green stems and the white onion tip)–or you can substitute 1 medium chopped red onion
- 1 medium red or green bell pepper, chopped
- Optional: 1 to 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 to 4 Tablespoons honey, depending on how sweet you want it (or substitute 1/2 cup white sugar)
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
In large bowl, add drained and rinsed beans, then add the chopped green onions and bell pepper; toss all ingredients together with a large spoon. In another bowl or a jar with a tight-fitting lid, add the vinegar, oil, honey, mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper; whisk together or, if using a jar with lid, shake ingredients together well. Pour this dressing mixture over the bean salad mixture, tossing gently to coat everything well. Chill in your refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight before serving (the taste gets better the longer it marinates). Stir and toss mixture several times as it is marinating. Toss mixture once more right before serving.