Asparagus with Lemon and Feta Cheese

Fresh lemon brightens foods for spring, like this quick and easy side of steamed asparagus served with a Mediterranean herb feta cheese.IMG_4014What’s more painful, doing your own taxes or eating right? A number of years ago, I was taken aback when I read this surveys that shows Americans picked healthy eating as more difficult! Geez! Come on my friends, eating well does not have to be be herculean! Today The Recipe Redux comes to the rescue with recipes that call for seven ingredients (or less). Here is our timely challenge:

7-Ingredient (Or Less) Recipes

It’s Income Tax Season, so our brains could use some easy arithmetic; as in seven-ingredient-or-less recipes. Show us the healthy, no-brainer dish you fix for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Think beyond smoothies or drinks, please. (And for those of you living in countries where it’s not Tax Season – we’re pretty sure you and your readers would still love doing the math for seven-ingredient-recipes!)

My recipe inspiration comes from two  dietitian friends. First Jessica’s Spring Ingredient Spotlight influenced my pick for aspagagus.  Check it out for more great ideas to add the seasons finest produce to your taxing days. Secondly,  Regan’s video for three genius Easter recipes was a great reminder that lemon is a terrific way to brighten foods. In her video, she shares 3 ways to use lemon curd, including Spring S’mores!

So now, let’s talk about Asparagus with Lemon and Feta Cheese! This recipe uses only 5 ingredients and takes under 10 minutes to prepare, from start to finish. (Try doing your taxes in under 10 minutes!)  Asparagus is low in calories, and bursting with nutrients including: folate, vitamin C , vitamin A, vitamin K , fiber, potassium, copper and manganese. Adding lemon helps to pop the flavor. I finished this side with a Mediterranean herb feta cheese; it’s a great way to enhance the taste of a dish without having to add lots of other ingredients since the seasonings are already in the cheese! Be sure to check out what my colleagues are prepping (besides taxes) this month. Links are at the bottom of this post.

Asparagus with Lemon and Feta Cheese

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 fresh lemons
  • 2 tablespoons crumbed feta cheese (Mediterranean Herb)

Instructions

1. Place asparagus in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam , covered until tender, about 6 minutes.

2. Arrange asparagus on a serving plater and toss salt, olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon. Top with feta cheese. Garnish with lemon wedges.

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Use Mindfulness to Savor the Flavor of Eating Right

Nutrition is  not just about  what you eat. How, when, why and where we are are just as important.  During March,  The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)  is highlighting this point with the National Nutrition Month theme, Savor the Flavor of Eating Right…NNM16CoverImage

..because  healthy eating is also about enjoying food!  We are reminded to take time to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences food provides. Here’s a tip for savoring the flavor of eating,

Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes good for you foods that taste great, too.

What does  mindful eating mean? I like this definition from the Center for Mindful Eating:

“Being aware of the nourishment available through the process of food preparation and consumption, choosing enjoyable and nutritious foods, acknowledging food preferences nonjudgmentally, recognizing and honoring physical hunger and satiety cues and using wisdom to guide eating decisions.” 

 Most of us get that it’s living in the moment and being present. But what many don’t get is the important component of nonjudgment.

Decades of dieting have conditioned us to second guess eating decisions, such as judging what you deserve to eat based on what you’ve eaten earlier in the day (or whether you have exercised), rather than on hunger cues. Learning to be a master of mindful eating can improve your eating habits and create a positive relationship with food.The quantity and quality of the foods you eat are important, but only a part of the puzzle for optimal health. Try  to become more aware of the other factors influencing your eating decisions with a mindful or intuitive approach .

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TPB Kale and Citrus Salad

This salad highlights the knockout flavor combo of kale and citrus with a honey mustard vinaigrette. IMG_3968Disclosure: I received a Produce Box , as mentioned in this post, free of charge. I was not asked to write a review or post a recipe. I was not compensated for my time. Opinions are my own.

Are there any flavor combinations you especially savor? March is  National Nutrition Month® , and we’re reminded to  ..

NNM16CoverImage

IMHO kale and citrus are the bomb! When I received this box on my doorstep from the Produce BoxIMG_3053I knew a kale and citrus salad was in my future. I recently made this Kale and Citrus Salad, but decided to try out Laura’s recipe (included in with  my local goodies). Here is the result and I ‘m savoring the flavor… IMG_3972

If you live in North Carolina and aren’t already enjoying fresh, local produce delivered to your doorstep, be sure to sign up here.

What flavors are you savoring?

TPB Kale and Citrus Salad

by Laura(the Produce Box)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 bunch kale, stemmed, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 oranges/tangerines/tangelos/grapefruits/etc., peeled and sectioned
  • 1 small red onion, thinnly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon stone-ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1. Combine kale, oranges, and onion in large serving bowl.

2. Whisk together vinegar, mustard and honey in a small bowl and slowly whisk in olive oil.

3. Season to taste with salt and pepper and pour over kale salad. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

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Convertible Wild Blueberry Smoothie

This Convertible Wild Blueberry Smoothie is packed with abundant nutrition and can be adapted for fueling different situations throughout your busy day.freshstart (5)Disclosure: By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Wild Blueberry Association of North America and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

What comes to mind when you hear the word convertible? I think fast. I think flexible (top up/top down). Are you with me? Ok, good.

Then you’ll understand why I am calling my lastest  smoothie creation  Convertible Wild Blueberry Smoothie.  It’s fast (make it in under 1 minute)! It’s adaptable for different nutritional demands. It’s made with only 3 ingredients: pecan milk, maple syrup and frozen Wild Blueberries.  Wild Blueberries are the hero ingredient of this beverage and are simply a perfect ingredient for any smoothie. They’re different than regular cultivated blueberries. They’re  called “wild” because they are. Wild Blueberries are not planted and occur naturally in barrens and fields in Maine and Eastern Canada that have been here for 10,000 years! These tiny gems have a more intense blueberry flavor and twice the antioxidants of regular blueberries!  Because they’ re frozen you don’t need any ice (unless you’re like me and drink your smoothie over ice).  You can enjoy the delicious taste and health attributes of wild blueberries year round. Find them in the frozen fruit section of your local grocery store; just make sure the package says “Wild.”

If  you’ve never combined Wild Blueberries with pecan milk and maple syrup you’re in for a wild ride!  (BTW, if you can’t find pecan milk or would like to make it yourself, see this post at Healthy Aperture for Homemade Pecan Milk.) My Convertible Wild Blueberry Smoothie makes a refreshing afternoon snack (I like it when I’m craving something cold,  but don’t want the calories and fat of ice cream; one serving clocks in at 100 calories, 3 grams fat,  19 grams of carbohydrate, 13 grams sugar, 5 mg sodium.)  It  can also be adapted to your nutritional needs. After a bout of exercise,  I  add a little protein (2 tablespoons of whey or soy )  making it a delightful recovery beverage providing 8.5 grams protein and 140 calories.  Adding a  full scoop of protein powder  and I’ve got a light meal replacement with 180 calories and  16 grams of protein. Please give it a whirl and let me know what you think!

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Convertible Wild Blueberry Smoothie

by Diane Boyd

Prep Time: 1 minutes

Ingredients (serves 1)

  • 1/2 cup frozen Wild Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup pecan milk
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Optional : 2- 4 Tablespoons Whey or Soy Protein Powder

Instructions

Add all ingredients to blender and process for 30 seconds or until combined. Serve immediately straight up or over ice.

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No Bake Protein Energy Bars

Flavorful no bake protein energy bars are made with simple ingredients including  dates, dried cranberries, pistachios , orange zest and whey protein. Capefearnutrition.com (9)

Is your breakfast boring? Mine is. I hate to admit it, but for the past month, I have succumbed to peeling off the wrapper of a protein energy bar as my morning ritual.  It’s true. I ‘m not feasting on  Vegetable Frittata or dining on Dutch pancakes.  Ninety percent of the time, breakfast is a commerical bar.. and it’s ho hum. I had to laugh when I read the Recipe Redux theme for this month…

Break Out of Breakfast Boredom

Cooks aren’t always pressed for time in the mornings – they just need new ideas. Think mug cakes, smoothie bowls, breakfast cookies and more. Show us the healthy way you wake up your breakfast – or wake up just for breakfast!

I felt like they  were politely calling me out.  Were they?  But honestly, what I prepare for the blog, is what I’m eating.  Trust me, right now,  a simple bar with protein and energy is a perfect fit. So I bring you my custom,  made from scratch, no bake,  protein energy bars…

IMG_3835Light, yet satisfying, for small morning appetites, these bars have 180 calories, 8 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, and no added sugar. Here are the six  ingredients you’ll need..Bi Pro Unflavored Whey ProteinIt takes about 20 minutes to make from start to finish, but quicker if you use a food processor (I chopped dried fruit by hand cause I’m weird that way.) Once you combine all ingredients press into the bottom of a loaf pan, (I used the narrow 30 cm breadmould I scored at TJ Maxx). IMG_3761Let them sit for about 15 minutes and then cut into three pretty bars..IMG_3780

You can enjoy them right away or wrap in waxed paper for later in the week. Be sure to check out the links below for more ways to break out of breakfast boredom!

No Bake Protein Energy Bar

serves 3

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 Medjool dates
  • 2 tablespoons pistachios
  • 1  teaspoon orange zest
  • 22 grams (about 1/3 cup)  Unflavored Whey Protein
  • 1- 2  tablespoons orange juice

Instructions

1. Finely mince dried cranberries and dates by hand or in a food processor. Place in mixing bowl.

2. Add halved pistachios and orange zest.

3. Add whey protein. Stir until evenly incorporated, adding orange juice only as needed to aid mixing.

4. Press mixture into a 8″ x 4″ loaf pan. Let sit 15 minutes. Cut into 3 bars. Individually wrap in waxed paper.

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