Monday, April 30, 2012

Strawberry salad and creamy carrot soup

Strawberry salad and creamy carrot soup.
The great thing about having a local farmer's market is that the produce is wonderfully ripe.

The down side? I end up shopping about every other day because I have to eat whatever I buy within a couple of days or it goes bad.

The strawberries I picked up on Saturday were starting to be over ripe.

Strawberry salad with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette and goat cheese.
My default lunch dish has been soup and salad recently. I think it is the easiest way to get in tons of vegetables without having to feel like every meal is a grazing fest. 

Creamy carrot soup.

Creamy carrot soup

Serves 3


4 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup of sweet potato, chopped
1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 Shitake mushroom, minced
2 cups of water
1 cup of sodium free chicken broth
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1 Tbsp of dehydrated onions
1/2 tsp of sweet paprika
1 pinch of tumeric
1/2 tsp of garlic powder
1/4 tsp of chili paste
1 pinch of nutmeg
black pepper to taste


In a sauce pan combine the spices, water and broth and set the pan on medium high heat. Chop all of the vegetables and add to the pan. Bring everything to a brisk boil and then turn the heat down med-low and let simmer for 20 minutes. Then take the soup off the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Using an immersion blender (be careful of any splatter) and blend until smooth. Then add in the coconut milk and stir. At this point do a taste test and adjust the seasonings to your liking.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Getting my greens on

Today I made one of my favorite salads. It used to be on the menu at Passion Fish in Pacific Grove.

It was a salad that included pan seared goat cheese, pears, candied walnuts and a wonderful balsamic dressing.

It has been years since they included it on their menu but I remember it very fondly.

Yes, the candied walnuts ended up a bit 'well cooked' but they still had a wonderful combination of sweet and spicy.

The panko coated goat cheese slices browned in a hot skillet is what puts this dish over the top. The tart and creamy flavor of the goat's cheese pairs perfectly with the bite of the balsamic vinegar and the sweet/spicy zing of the walnuts.

So, that has been my response to dealing with a low salt (not no salt) diet - bump up the spice!

I hope everyone is having a great Saturday!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Turkey enchiladas

The green eating plan is going well. The trick is to only get produce and fruit from farmer's markets because, unfortunately, I have found that produce at the larger chain stores is pretty much tasteless - especially when you are not adding salt.

Last night I broke out this meal kit.

How can I eat this if I am keeping sodium to a minimum? I looked up the sodium content online and figured out that the meat seasoning mix the source of most of the salt in this kit. 

So, I ditched the seasoning packet, and instead I added some cumin, chili powder, onion and garlic powder to the ground turkey.

The enchilada sauce was pretty low in sodium so that stayed. I rolled up the meat in the tortillas and poured the enchilada sauce on top.

Dollops of farmer's cheese
The enchiladas went into a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.

This turned out incredibly yummy. My favorite part was that the enchilada sauce (I probably used too much) soaked into the tortillas so that every bite packed tons of smoky, spicy heat.

And a nice side benefit, the kit makes 6 tortillas so I have enough left over for another meal. 

I am still working on how to create fun and delicious meals centered around leafy greens - at this point I am just stuffing large buckets of the stuff into my maw each day. Yes, I will spare all of you pictures of that glorious process...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Healthy turkey tacos

Healthy turkey tacos.
Wow, step away from posting for a bit and Blogger goes and does an upgrade((

I am sure I will get used to it in no time but posting was a bit slow going this morning.

So, what has been up with me lately? I had a doctor's appointment a couple of weeks ago and I got the news that my blood pressure was starting to creep up.

My doctor immediately suggested medication but since it is not 'in the stratosphere' kind of high - I successfully negotiated a re-check in 3 months.

This means that I have 3 months to lose some pounds, try to relax as much as possible, exercise as much as possible, learn to enjoy a low sodium diet and lastly, and probably most important, eat as many leafy greens as possible.

After hearing that cheery news, I stopped by Trader Joe's to stock up on greens.

And I picked up my favorite TJ's salad.

I am now on a mission to recreate this salad at home in a way that fits in with the super healthy eating binge I will be on for the next 3 months.

My guess is that I will be making a lot of meals using reductions to bump up the flavor and probably liberal usage of Frank's Red Hot Sauce:-)

What was the first thing I made after starting this new eating plan? Tacos, of course!

Tacos with ground turkey and non-fat sour cream and avocado sides.
I simmered the ground turkey in McCormick's taco seasoning blend and a cup of no-salt chicken broth.

The flavor of the meat was pretty intense since I let it reduce on a low heat until most of the liquid was evaporated. It was delicious! 

If anyone has a great recipe for southern style greens let me know - I have a feeling I will be eating a lot of them in the next few weeks...

Happy Wednesday all!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Crab Louis Salad

Crab Louis Salad

Ever have one of those days when you get a lot done but you still feel like you didn't get anything accomplished? Yeah, I am having one of those days.

I should probably head out for a run later to shake off the doldrums.

But on a bright note - I had a wonderful lunch.

Crab louis salad is one of my favorites especially if there is a hearty portion of crab.

 But what pulls the salad together is the creamy dressing.

Crab Louis Salad

Serves 1


2 cups of red leaf lettuce
1 hard boiled egg, peeled and quartered
1 can of crab meat
1 Tbsp of Vegenaise
1/2 tsp of Heinz chili sauce
a sprinkle of Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbsp of chopped scallions
2 Tbsp of chopped cabbage
1 Tbsp of chopped red bell pepper
Salt and pepper to taste


1 Tbsp of Vegenaise
1/2 tsp of Heinz chili sauce
1/4 tsp of lemon juice
1/2 tsp of water


Drain one can of crab meat and mix in the Vegenaise, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, scallions, cabbage, bell pepper and salt and pepper.

Combine the dressing ingredients and set aside. Arrange the lettuce on a plate. Spoon on the crab mixture over the lettuce and arrange the hard boiled egg around the perimeter of the plate.  Drizzle everything with the dressing.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Spicy peanut noodles

Spicy peanut noodles with tofu.
I was busy organizing my closet today. It makes an amazing difference when you have cubbies, shelves and shoe racks to organize everything.

I still have a couple loads of laundry left to do and then I will have everything done.

And I am finding it weird to live in a clutter free place. I am working hard at resisting the urge to fill it with stuff.

So, to keep myself distracted from the 'urge to create chaos' I made some noodles in peanut sauce.

The noodles were topped with a generous amount of green onion, red bell pepper and sesame seeds.
The best part of the dish was the tofu. I let the cubes of tofu hang out in the peanut sauce while the noodles cooked - they soaked up the sauce - Yum!


Spicy peanut noodles with tofu

Serves 2


2 servings of the pasta of your choice cooked al dente
1/3 cup of peanut butter
1/3 cup of soy sauce
2 tsp of hot chili paste
2 tsp of low sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar
1 tsp of sugar (if using a sweet peanut butter you may want to omit this)
1/2 tsp of freshly grated ginger
1/3 cup of unsweetened soy milk
1/2 cup of firm tofu, cubed
1/2 scallion, diced
1/3 cup of chopped red bell pepper
sesame seeds
sesame oil


In a sauce pan over low heat combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, chili paste, chicken broth, rice wine vinegar, sugar, ginger and soy milk. Whisk until well combined.

Drop the tofu into the peanut sauce and make sure it is well coated. 

Boil your pasta in another pan and when it is al dente drain it and return it to the pot. Drizzle a small amount of sesame oil over the noodles and toss. When they are well coated they should have a nice slide.

Spoon the peanut sauce over the noodles - being careful to not disturb the tofu or it will become mushy.

Toss the noodles till they are well coated with the sauce. Place the noodles in a bowl and scoop out the tofu and place on top. Garnish with liberal amounts of diced green onion, red bell pepper and sesame seeds.