When the heat of the summer is on a cool salad is often at the forefront of our meals. When vegetables are in season it’s so easy to get your 5-a-day.
To add some balance I occasionally make a grain based salad like this one. This salad is hearty enough to be a whole meal, providing good protein and fiber. The cream is made with nonfat Greek yogurt and goat cheese which adds another protein boost and some good calcium too. Sorghum has a similar texture to wheat berries, but it’s gluten free. I used fresh baby lima beans for some body and fiber and balanced it with some raw crunchy sugar snap peas. I love the sweetness and texture that the peas bring to this dish.
When the days are hot, and the less time spent in the kitchen the better- I make a double batch so we can reach for a healthy snack, lunch or side for some grilled meats all week. I recommend dressing half, then dress the rest a day or three later.
Here is another sorghum recipe that you may also enjoy: http://www.astackofdishes.com/sorghum-salad/
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- 1 1/2 cup sorghum
- 1 cup fresh, or frozen, baby lima beans
- 1 cup sugar snap peas, cut into four pieces
- 1 t minced garlic
- 2 oz goat cheese
- 1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- In a medium saucepan place sorghum with 4 1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until water is absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile, steam the lima beans and set aside, and chop the snap peas.
- In a small bowl combine the goat cheese, yoghurt, garlic, lemon juice and salt. Stir until smooth and set aside. Before dressing the salad taste for balance, adding more salt or lemon if necessary.
- When the sorghum is cool, combine all the ingredients and serve.
Greek yogurt has been taking over the breakfast table by storm. Now there is a new book called, The Greek Yogurt Kitchen by Toby Amidor, which is packed with amazing ideas on how to cook with this power food to create some dishes you never knew were possible. The recipes range from breakfast favorites such as, Stuffed French Toast and Mushroom Quiche, to savory main dishes, including Crunchy Buttermilk Chicken Fingers. The dish that I’ve made here- Grilled Asian Shrimp Skewers with Sriracha Dipping Sauce, makes a delightful main dish which is easy to prepare, super delicious, and remarkably healthy.
What is Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt is a thicker version of traditional yogurt, which is achieved by straining out some of the whey which is the watery part of yogurt. The result is a creamier, tangier yogurt which is higher in protein, and lower in sodium, sugars, and lactose. The extra protein is more satisfying, making Greek yogurt a wonderful diet food. Greek yogurt is also packed with probiotics, the “healthy bugs”, which can aid in your digestive health. Note: Traditional Greek yogurt has no added thickeners, and is made with active cultures. Be sure to check the label to insure purchasing the real deal. Also, opt for yogurt with no added sugars or flavors and create your own natural flavorings.
Cooking with Greek Yogurt Continue Reading
Fatigue can catch up to any of us, but sometimes we sabotage ourselves with bad habits. Here are 6 healthy habits you can start today to give yourself a boost.
1. Drink Enough Water- Even just slight dehydration can make you feel low. When you don’t get enough fluids your blood gets a little stickier and oxygen levels decrease. Keeping hydrated can help you maintain your energy levels and reduce mental dullness. A good rule of thumb is 8 cups a day, but every person is different. Regulate your intake based on regular intervals of urination that is light in color. If you rarely trot off the to restroom, then uptick your water intake.
2. Get a Little Exercise- When your feeling lethargic you might be tempted to relax, when in fact, a small short burst of activity may freshen you up. A brisk walk will get your blood flowing, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your brain and tissues. Exercising regularly will also improve your cardio vascular system. In time you will find your overall strength, concentration and endurance improving.
3.Don’t Skip Breakfast- A lot of people skip breakfast thinking it will give them a jump start on their diet for the day, when in fact the opposite is happening. During the night we deplete our body stores and breakfast is needed to jump start our metabolism for the day. Without that refueling we slow down our metabolism and make our brains run on fumes. Eat a balanced breakfast, which includes complex carbohydrates, lean protein and some healthy fat.
4. Eat Real Food- It’s easy when we’re in a rush to grab something fast and go, but most fast foods are loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats, and not enough vitamins and nutrients. Relying on junk food often leads to a drop in blood sugar, resulting in fatigue. Skip the morning donut and instead opt for fresh fruits, whole grains and some lean proteins. You’ll get necessary vitamins and minerals and maintain healthier blood sugar levels.
5. Limit Caffeine Intake to the Mornings- Relying on caffeine to get you through the day may disrupt your natural sleep/wake cycle. Caffeine blocks adenosine, which helps you to sleep. Drinking too much caffeine throughout the day may create a vicious cycle. Limit your coffee intake to 3 cups a day before mid afternoon.
6. Forgo the Nightcap- Having a glass of wine to wind down the day can be beneficial, but drinking too much alcohol before bedtime will work against you. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but as it metabolizes there is a rebound of adrenaline, which disrupts your sleep. Alcohol is also dehydrating, which also isn’t helpful. Enjoy your wine earlier in the evening, at least 3 hours before you head for bed.
The warm days of Summer simply call out for a cool salad. This one is made without the need of striking a match. The crisp corn kernels are sweet and burst with freshness. I made a simple pesto with Thai Basil, which has an edge of mint to it. If you cannot find Thai basil you may use regular pesto and add in a generous dash of finely minced fresh mint.
Take this on a picnic, or pack up to take to the office.
- 2 Fresh corn ears
- 1 large zucchini, diced
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 2 cups Thai basil
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 clove garlic, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup feta cheese
- Scrape the kernels off the corn and place into a large bowl. Add the zucchini and red onion. In a food processor, or blender, add the basil, oil, garlic and salt and puree until smooth. The pesto recipe may be tripled or quadrupled and kept for 1 week in the fridge. Toss the pesto with the vegetables and adjust seasoning. Add the feta cheese and serve.
Looking to put a little style into your typical hummus bowl?
Hummus is a healthy and yummy snack or party food, but if you’re like me, it’s starting to get a little been there, done that. Without getting too fancy dancy or complicated, the artichokes add a nice delicate flavor to the rustic beans. The artichokes also make the dip lighter on calories, so more fun and less guilt.
I always keep a stock of canned beans and artichokes in my cupboard. If I need a last minute treat, this dip only takes a few minutes to go from nothing to nibbling.
Hummus is always good with crackers or carrot sticks, but for a change I tossed some snap peas right onto my stove top grill until they got a nice char on them. No need to oil them or fuss, just rinse and onto the hot surface for 8 minutes or so.
- 1 can artichokes packed in water, drained
- 1 can navy beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic, rough chopped
- 1 lemon zested
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt*
- 2 tablespoons basil leaves (I used Thai basil, but any variety will do)
- 1 lb snap peas, rinsed and dried
- In a food processor combine the artichokes, beans, garlic, zest and juice. Puree until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the olive and blitz again. Taste and add salt if necessary. Some beans and artichokes are packed in brine which may contain enough salt. Add the basil and blitz for another minute to blend in but not turn the hummus a blah color.
- Head a stove top grill or cast iron pan over high heat. Add the snap peas and cook until blistered, 5-8 minutes. Check for doneness and remove. Cool and serve with the hummus.
- The hummus may be made in advance up to 3 days.
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Looking for a crunchy healthy snack? These chickpeas are a snap to make. Packed with fiber, protein, and roasted, rather than deep fried, makes them great to munch on.
Pack them into a container and take them with you, or have some friends over and dip into the bowl together. Continue Reading
For the first time in history, soda companies are starting to see a dip in sales. It doesn’t take piles of research to understand that drinking soda is not the healthiest thing for you, and folks are getting the message. Colorings, sweeteners, preservatives, flavorings- you *know* that none of that can be good. Sugary sodas are taking a lot of blame for the rise in obesity. With up to 14 teaspoons of sugar in each serving it’s not hard to imagine- and let’s be honest, most people “super-size” it.
However, diet sodas are not a great alternative either. Diet colas contain phosphoric acid, colorings, and caffeine, wreaking havoc on your digestion and bone density. Research also shows that artificial sweeteners may stimulate your appetite for MORE sugary treats, leading to overconsumption.
The best thing to drink? Water.
But let’s face it, plain water is… well… plain.
Here are several natural water boosts that add a touch of flavor and aroma to an otherwise boring glass of water. Continue Reading