Strawberry Salsa

20130603-163859.jpgThanks to all of you who stopped by to say hello at the WWFM on Saturday! As promised, here is the recipe for Strawberry Salsa. We tried it over fabulous grilled swordfish on Saturday night and it was scrumptious!

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 qt strawberries, washed and diced
1/2 small red onion, diced small
12-15 basil leaves torn in small pieces
3 T balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
Sea salt to taste

Place all ingredients in large bowl and carefully toss. Cover and sit at room temperature until ready to serve or store in the refrigerator.

FYI..Strawberries are a great source of folate and potassium as well as fiber, Vitamin C, and manganese. Indulge!

Peace and berries,

Melissa

Roasted Veggie and Lentil Salad

imageHands down my new favorite!  This salad is super versatile too…if you don’t like asparagus you can use haricot verts (the super skinny green beans) or try carrots sliced in skinny strips. The asparagus is best when you can find the very narrow spears.

This takes a few steps but it gets better as it sits in the fridge so it’s perfect to make on a Sunday and bring to lunch the following week.  I used Trader Joes steamed lentils that they sell in the produce section.  Of course, you can easily start from scratch with a bag of uncooked lentils.  Lentils are a great source of protein and the veggies are loaded with an array of vitamins and antioxidants so this is perfect for a one bowl lunch or dinner.  You will definitely want to consider doubling this recipe!

Roasted Veggie and Lentil Salad

Ingredients:

1 c lentils

2 large garlic cloves, crushed

2 ears sweet corn

9 oz cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1/4 c chopped dill

1/4 c chopped basil leaves

3 T red wine vinegar

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling on veggies prior to roasting

sea salt

If cooking your own lentils:

Combine lentils, garlic, and 1/2 t salt in a saucepan.  Add enough water to cover lentils. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until lentils are tender. Drain and transfer to large bowl.

While cooking lentils, bring pot of  salted water to a boil and cook corn for 4 minutes. Drain and cool slightly.  Using a sharp knife, cut kernels from cob.  Combine corn with cooked lentils.

Preheat oven to 425.  On large foil-lined cookie sheet place halved cherry tomatoes and asparagus (and/or any other veggie that suits your fancy).  Drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat.  Season with sea salt.  Bake for about 20 minutes.  Some of the veggies should be starting to brown on top. I like them a little crunchy!

Add remaining ingredients to lentils, corn, and veggies and toss well.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serve warm or cold.  YUM!

Eat your veggies:)

Melissa

Caramelized Roasted Tomatoes

Here is a terrific side dish for fish or chicken.  I actually made a big pot of quinoa and had the tomatoes over quinoa tossed with a little lemon olive oil and parmesan cheese…a perfect lunch!

I love the small heirloom tomatoes available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. I used one container for this recipe.

Here’s what you need:

1 container small heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, or 10 plum tomatoes

4 T extra virgin olive oil

1  1/2 T balsamic vinegar

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 t sugar

kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half and arrange (cut side up) on foil-lined baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with sugar, salt and pepper.  The garlic is messy but I placed a piece on each tomato one by one. ( I didn’t want any to be left out of the party!)  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until tomatoes are beginning to caramelize.  May be served warm or at room temperature.

Peace and veggies,

Melissa

Super Green Smoothie

IMG_0511You know I LOVE my green smoothies but sometimes I do get a little bored and like to tweak things a bit. Well, thanks to http://www.thekitchn.com for providing me with the inspiration for this yummy twist! If you are bored with your morning fuel, try this for something new and delicious…sure to put a spring in your step!

1 large handful chopped kale or spinach
1 banana
1/2 sliced avocado
2 T almond butter
1 c pure unsweetened coconut water or coconut milk
1 T ground flax seeds
1/8 t ground cinnamon
a few ice cubes

Drink up!
Melissa

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Sounds a bit strange but it’s actually really yummy!  I realized when I fell in love with pumpkin pie frozen yogurt last winter that a cold pumpkin smoothie was worth a try.  Pumpkin is packed with fiber and Vitamin A and is a good source of Vitamins C and E, magnesium, and potassium.  Beta-carotene is the amazing component that gives pumpkin its bright orange color and helps to ward off several cancers and protect the heart. Pumpkin is also low in calories; just 49 calories in a cup, yet has enough fiber to help fill you up.

Go on, you know you want to try it!!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

1 c  canned pumpkin puree (NOT pie-filling)

1 c plain low-fat Greek yogurt

1 frozen banana

1/2 t nutmeg

1 1/2 t cinnamon

1 c almond milk or milk of your choice

1 T maple syrup or agave

8 ice cubes

Blend, Sip, Smile

 

Peace and Pumpkin,

Melissa

Spaghetti Squash with Peas

I’ve always shied away from spaghetti squash.  Every time I see it in a recipe or referenced in an article it seems to be paired with a marinara sauce…I guess the two together just don’t appeal to me.  Anyway, they are abundant right now and I feel guilty every time I pass them up in favor of my favorite butternut variety.  Yes, guilty, like the spaghetti squash is screaming, “What did I ever do to you? It wouldn’t kill you to give me a try!”  So, I decided to buy it, cook it, and then figure out what to do with it.

It was actually easier to cook than a large butternut because I did not have to cut it in half first.  I just rinsed it off, poked it with holes, placed in a baking dish lined with foil, and put it in the oven at 375 degrees.  I checked it after an hour and it felt like it needed a bit longer so I left it in for another 15 minutes.  It was very tender and easy to slice in half. I then scooped out the long strands of squash, placed them in a bowl, separated them a bit with a fork, drizzled on some olive oil, salt and pepper, and took a bite. Quite good, not packed with flavor, but good.  I decided to steam some frozen peas and season with a lemon olive oil, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and sea salt.  I really like it!  So simple, yet filling and healthy.  Next time I’m going to try adding more veggies and feta or goat cheese!  Because it’s so easy to season with whatever makes you happy, it’s  a great dish for the kids to help with.  Let them add their own healthy toppings and you may have a new family favorite!

What’s so great about spaghetti squash?  It provides your body with folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.  It’s also super low in calories, 42 per cup!!

Peace and greens,

Melissa

Mushroom and Lentil Soup, Fast and Fabulous!

When the temperature dropped like a bomb overnight  I immediately started dreaming of homemade soup.  I had baby bella mushrooms about to go bad and a container of Trader Joes Lentils (precooked lentils from the refrigerator section of the grocery store).   I went running this morning in the crisp air and couldn’t wait to come home and prepare a yummy soup for lunch. (More on the running part later).  This soup was super fast to prepare thanks to the precooked lentils but turned out delicious, like I had slaved over the stove for hours:)

MUSHROOM LENTIL SOUP

2 celery stalks,  finely chopped

1 large carrot, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cups precooked lentils

2 to 3 cups button or baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 20 oz can diced tomatoes

4 cups vegetable stock

2 cups water

1/2 cup dry white wine

salt, pepper, and herbs to taste

Heat 2 T olive oil in large dutch oven or stock pot over medium heat, add celery, carrots, and onion.  Saute for 5 minutes and then add mushrooms, lentils,  and white wine and saute a few minutes more.  Add tomatoes, vegetable stock, water, salt and pepper.  I also added thyme, rosemary, and basil from an Herbs de Provence blend that I have.  You could add a 1/2 teaspoon of each of these herbs or choose your own favorites.  Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or more. 

With a hunk of crusty bread this was the perfect lunch I had been conjuring up while run/walking this morning.  So about that…I guess I should fess up, I’m the friend Andrea spoke of in her post yesterday.  You know, the one that thought she and Robin had completely lost their minds when they announced their decision to run the Disney Princess Half-Marathon.  That’s 13.1 miles! Have they been drinking? I’m also the one who decided after about five minutes that it would be an absolute blast to join them!  I’ve never been a runner and this won’t be easy, but I love taking on a new challenge and I’ve been in the mood lately to push myself to a new level physically…I was thinking along the lines of a 13.1 hour Yogathon in Bali..but I digress.  I am super excited to be doing this with such a great group of girls and look forward to the many months of training ahead!  A special shout-out to Becky for joining in as well, I think her immediate revulsion of the idea rivaled my own!

Peace and Greens,

Melissa