Happy Birthday Recipe Redux: Southwest Shepherd’s Pie

Do you remember what you liked to eat when you were five? 5Your food preferences have likely become wider and more sophisticated. Today, the Recipe Redux turns five, and yes,  there will be  an abundance of  healthy and delicious recipes posted on the 21st and 22nd.  However, this month’s theme is NOT food focused. Rather  we’re celebrating each other!  I think this underscores a major benefit of our community, going beyond posting a recipe to a blog by engaging with  fellow bloggers via comments, pinning,  tweeting and ALL THINGS shared.

Here’s our challenge: For ReDux’s birthday month, let’s celebrate each other! Pick a fellow ReDuxer, go to their blog and either make one of their recipes or create one of your own inspired by theirs. In your post, give your readers a little intro to this blogger, what you like about this blogger/their blog and either link to their recipe you made or share your brand new “inspired” creation.

Before I reveal my pick, I do want to give a shout out to the Recipe Redux founders Regan Jones (of  Healthy Aperture, Regan Miller Jones, Inc, RDs 4 Disclosure), Serena Ball and Deanna Segrave-Daly (both of Teaspoons of Communications). These ladies have blazed the  trail to promote healthy eating via social media platforms! Thank you for your vision, smarts and support.

Now, this Redux is a cake walk, except for this:  I have to pick  just one member!   The Recipe Redux  has a  myriad of talented bloggers (I think we are over 150 members strong). I could have chosen any one of them. So, how did I go about selecting just one? I tried to let the choice come to me spontaneouly. Here’s  what happened.  During June,  I’ve been honing my grilling skills; every night I’ve  been cooking outdoors.  But last Wednesday, storms wrecked havoc with my evening food prep ritual leaving me a bit  lost for what to make. I reached for my favorite go to recipes and  the result was this…IMG_4395

.. an instant reminder of how much I adore Sonali Ruder’s recipes! Head over to her blog, the foodie physician, and get the recipe for Southwest Shepherd’s Pie.    She takes this classic comfort food and makes it lighter without sacrificing flavor! It was a perfect meal for a wet and rainy weeknight. The recipe also appears in her book, Natural Pregnancy Cookbook. It’s just one of the many cookbooks she has penned. Her latest , Natural Baby Food,  has been the #1 hot new release in its category on Amazon! I love that all of her books include recipes the whole family can enjoy together.

Sonali describes herself as a physician, chef, recipe developer and board certified foodie! This combination  of talent gives her tremendous insight and I think it’s why she’s one savvy food blogger. I have just one question for Sonali, Where do you find the time? 

Please be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post to see Who’s  inspiring Who! Happy Birthday  Recipe Redux! Wishing us many more to come!


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Thai BBQ Chicken Bowl

Walnuts are the perfect complement to this Thai inspired barbeque bowl that’s a  mix of brown rice, roasted red peppers,  BBQ chicken, arugula, garbonzo beans and  drizzled with  a warm  sweet and sour sauce.IMG_4371

Disclosure: I received free samples of California walnuts mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the California Walnut Commission and I am eligble to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Versatily, variety and the pleasure of eating! Yep, that’s what I’m talkin’ about, and it all starts here with these..IMG_4333.. I would eat them for their delicious crunch alone, but they’re also a powerhouse of good nutrition providing important components of a healthy diet- an ounce of walnuts has 2.5 grams of the essential plant-based omega 3 alpha-linolenic acic (ALA), 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber to keep you feeling full. I love to  gooble them up by the handful, but  they’re also a perfect complement to other whole foods! In her book, the Vegetarian Flavor Bible, Karen Page  lists over 100 whole foods that pair with walnuts, from apples to zucchini. Talk about versatility!

 Because I ‘m a creature of habit, I  tend to eat foods that are familiar to me.  So when given a two pound bag of delicious walnuts, here’s what I’d typically do with them (besides eating them by the handful):

• make banana nut muffins

• prepare a nut roll

• use as a coating for chicken and fish

• add to cereals and granola

• add to salads

• add to smoothies

• make nut butter

Now don’t get me wrong, there ‘s nothing wrong with any of the above. However,  today the challenge is to play matchmaker and create clever pairings for this hard working nut and other whole foods to give you ideas for a healthy pantry makeover. You see, the folks at the California Walnut Commission are smart; they  know that the walnut hasn’t reached it’s culinary potential! Incorporating walnuts and other whole foods into nutritious dishes with  exciting new tastes and textures will improve your eating pleasure. So let’s get started!

Today I’m focusing on variety in one single bowl. That’s right, one bowl with layers of nutritious and tasty ingredients including a whole grain,  both plant and animal proteins,  raw and cooked veggies, and delicious California walnuts. The sweet and tangy sauce drizzled over the top will excite your taste buds even more. I hope you will continute to enjoy California walnuts in your favorite  traditional walnut dishes and in this extraordinary  BBQ bowl!IMG_4362

Thai BBQ Chicken Bowl, serves 4

by Diane Boyd


  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 4-8 cups fresh arugula
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup  garbonzo beans
  • 1 cup walnuts

for the marinade

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons cooking sherry
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 minced garlic gloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes

for the dipping sauce

  • 2/3 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce


1.Preheat grill

1.Combine all ingredients for marinade in bowl and stir well to dissole the sugar.

2. Add chicken and red pepper slices. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 2 hours.

3. Make diping sauce by adding all ingredients into a sauce pan. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and keep on a gentle boil. When sauce is reduced to 1/3,remove from heat. The sauce will thicken with time. You can make this ahead of time, but add a little water when you reheat.

4. Brush grill grates with oil or spray with cooking spray.

5. Place chicken and red peppers on grill grate and grill on medium heat , turning oaccasionally. Remove when chicken is fully cooked and peppers are charred.

5. In 4 serving bowls, layer brown rice, arugula, roasted red peppers, garbonzo beans, grilled chicken, and walnuts. Drizzle with warm sweet and sour sauce.

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Grilled Salmon Skewers

Get your party started this summer with nutritious and delicious grilled salmon skewer appetizers. Grilledsalmon skewer appetizers (1)If there’s a trend I can get behind, it’s outdoor living!  I love creating spaces where I can read,  enjoy a bite to eat or just chill. Now that I’ve successfully refinished the surface of an old table (#inlovewithmyminisander), I’ m ready to reveal my latest project…


..call it a patio, porch, or veranda, but I call it Keeper’s bedroom. Here’s where Keeper, my 16 year old labrador retriever  hangs out  most days and some nights too!IMG_4311

My new dog friendly zone ties in with the al fresco dining part this month’s Recipe Redux theme : Small Plates for Sunny Days.

Small bites are perfect for trying many different tastes. Take tapas style eating outside for al fresco dining or a simple picnic. Or maybe you’re serving small bites at a bridal or baby shower or a graduation party. Show us your healthy take on small plates and finger foods. 

Hanging out with Keeper, in his shady exterior  room, I’m enjoying my delicious small bites, Grilled Salmon Skewers. (BTW, all my dogs love salmon). These little kebabs, high in protein and omega 3 fatty acids,  make a dynamite combo with other  finger foods or salads; I paired a couple with some tabouli, made with ingredients from my CSA (community sponsored agriculture) box.IMG_4272 I  bet there are some more great links from my Recipe Redux colleagues  at the bottom of this post for recipes that will pair delightfully with my Grilled Salmon Skewer appetizers. Please let me know in the comments section what you think looks yummy!

Grilled Salmon Skewers (Appetizers)

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 12)

  • 1 pound salmon filet, skinned
  • 3 tablespoons pesto sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • lemon slices


Thirty minutes before grilling, soak twelve 6- to 8- inch wooden skewers in water. Drain. Set aside.

Preheat gas grill.

Rinse salmon; pat dry with paper towels. Cut salmon filet in half lengthwise, then cut each piece crosswise into 6 pieces.

Combine pesto, lemon juice and salmon. Toss. Allow to stand 5 minutes. Tread one salmon pice onto each wooden skewer.

Reduce heat on grill to medium. Arrange skewers on greased grill rack. Cover. Grill for about 3 minutes then turn. grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.

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Garden Burgers

Bring the garden to the table with these cheesy, herb infused burgers featuring Cabot’s Tomato Basil Cheddar. capefearnutrition.com (13)
Disclosure: I am a member of the Cabot Cheese Board and I received free Cabot cheese as mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering the #CabotGardeners recipe contest and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. Opinions are my own.

Sunday was  Mother’s Day, and  I reflected on being a Mom and Motherhood in the general sense…. nurturing gets a bad rap. However, it’s always been part of my life map. I see my family as my BIGGEST accomplishment. My kids, no matter what their age, (or mine) will always be..well..my kids.  So, the truth of the matter is, I will never stop trying to influence and provide guidance. Yes, there ‘s a down side, results aren’t measurable by any analytic program, and there’s no guarantee that things will turn out the way I hope, hello #brokenheartclub. For me, it’s just about doing what feels right, and what was instilled by my own Mother, #thankyouMom.

With both of my kids out of the house, my daily nurturing instincts manifest themselves by caring for my  labrador retrievers..which are actually my children’s dogs left for moi to raise…#gofigure!IMG_3860 And watching what  I’ve planted grow, like herbs in a window box,  and vegetables in my raised bed …IMG_3806 I’m patting myself on the back for getting the garden started 6 weeks earlier than last year! However,  fresh herbs are still  the only thing making it from the garden to the table in May.   With grilling season underway, I’m pulling out the stops with what I call a garden burger. This burger is made with  a technique chefs have used for years and one I’m a HUGE fan of, extending meats with mushrooms. Mushrooms have a savory flavor and meaty texture, making them a perfect complement to a burger. They not only extend your portions saving you money, they save you calories and boost the nutritional value . I’ve given this patty a  gourmet  taste with fresh herbs (thyme, parsley and oregano) and Cabot’s Tomato Basil Cheddar!  The recipe is below, and it’s made for two, cause that’s how I roll nowadays, #emptynester.IMG_4254_edited-2

How will you nurture yourself with something fresh from the garden?IMG_4260

Garden Burgers

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 teaspooon olive oil
  • 1/2 pound ground round
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped herbs (parsley, thyme, oregano, basil)
  • 2 ounces Cabot Tomato Basil Cheddar, sliced


1. Preheat grill.

2. In a medium skillet, saute chopped mushrooms in olive oil until tender.

3. In a large bowl, add cooked mushrooms, bread crumbs, egg and fresh herbs to ground meat. Mix thoroughly.

4. Shape beef mixture into 2 patties.

5. Add burgers to the grate of a hot grill. Grill to desired doneness, about 10 minutes per side.

6. Add cheddar slices to tops of burgers during last couple of minutes of grilling to allow cheese to melt.

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Posted in cooking for two, Fitness, Health and Wellness, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Recipe Redux | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Strawberry Kiwi Fizz

Treat mom to a modern (and a much healthier) version of an old fashioned ice cream soda with this strawberry kiwi fizz.Capefearnutrition.com (11)Hello May! I love you for your strawberries, warmer weather and celebrations of Mom! Today I’m sharing a recipe incorporating all of the above in one  cool and refreshing beverage. It’s   casual enough for serving on Saturday afternoon between bouts of yardwork, yet classy enough for sipping with Mom on the patio!

Ninety percent of the time, my beverage  choice is water .  I consume it throughout the day, and am a BIG fan of water flavored with cucumbers, herbs, orange or lemon slices. Lately I’ve seen some amazing recipes using pureed fruit to flavor water or tea.  Taking my cue from these recipes,   I’ve come up with one of my own using pureed fruit… IMG_4106

 strawberry kiwi fizz. This jazzed up water has  90 calories per serving.  Although  it does have some added sugar (8 grams per serving) , it’s a far cry from the 33 grams of sugar in most 12 ounce soft drinks and there is no caramel coloring or fructose corn syrup. Take note that the Strawberry Kiwi Fizz has added benefits vitamin C! Enjoy! Happy Mother’s Day!

by Diane Boyd

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups coarsely chopped frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ice
  • sparkling strawberry kiwiwater


1. In a food processor or blender process sugar until superfine. Combine with strawberries and pulse until coarsely chopped. Mix yogurt with lemon juice and pour gradually into the machine through the feed tube or top of blender. Process until smooth and creamy.

2. Using an ice cream scoop, divide strawberry frozen yogurt between four glasses. Add sparkling water. Garnish with kiwi slice .

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