Disclosure: I am member of the Cabot Cheese Board and I receive periodic shipments of some of their products including the ones mentioned in this post. My familiarity with the World’s Best Cheddar makes it easy to share recipes and tips. I was not expected to write this post, opinions are my own.
It was the first holiday weekend of the summer, and I pulled a switcheroo! When it comes to grilling, my family looks forward to meat, chicken, fish or shrimp. Rarely do I grill vegetables, and when I do, they’re usually on a kabob accompaning…yes.. meat, chicken, fish or shrimp. But on this occassion, inspired by Cabot, I changed things up with these vegetarian babies..
Not only did this meal exceed all grilling expectations, but my kids and my husband agree these Southwest flavored stuffed peppers are a new grilling favorite! The barbie adds a light smokiness that pairs well with the gooey melted Cabot Monterey Jack and pintos. Omnivores will love them as a side to a burger or bbq chicken breast; vegetarians can make them a meal! You’ll love the ease of making them ahead of time and simply heating on the grill to serve to guests. Find the recipe at cabotcheese and get the grilling season off to a healthy start with vegetables and plant based foods!
What are your grilling favorites? Which vegetables and plant based foods do you like on the grill?
Ditch the bottled salad dressings. That’s my advice to you, if you want to enjoy better tasting salads for the rest of your life. Most everyone can benefit from eating more vegetables, and learning to make a spectacular salad dressing is life changing (ok, a little dramatic, but you get the point!).
This month’s recipe redux theme is DIY kitchen essentials. I have no better DIY staple then my made from scratch salad dressings. Classic dressings have a ratio of 3: 1, oil to vinegar. My homemade versions are not only tasty, they’re made with less oil (which also keeps the calories in check). Note: I don’t like to omit oil; some is good because it adds taste and can help you absorb valuable nutrients found in vegetables such as lycopene and beta-carotene, which have been shown to help prevent heart disease and cancer .
Below I have assembled a cheat sheet with my top 3 favorite salad dressings. Start your dressing with an acid (vinegar or citrus), add herbs and seasonings, and sweetener, (if desired). Then slowly whisk in oil (base). Voila! It takes just minutes to finish a salad that will win over some of the pickiest eaters. The portions listed below will make enough dressing for a large salad that feeds up to four. Get creative by changing the base, acids, sweeteners and herbs to find your new secret to loving salads.
Be sure to visit the links at the bottom of this post for more DIY kitchen essentials.
Cranberries are rich in polyphenolic compounds (i.e. flavonoids) and they taste terrific anytime of year!
Disclosure: The Cranberry Institute has sent me research updates, cranberry tips, some seasonal recipes as well as dried cranberries. In exchange, I’m sharing this information with you. I was not financially compensated to write this post. Opinions are my own.
Cranberries. What’s the first thing that crosses your mind? For me it’s urinary tract infections (UTI’s). (Pardon my honesty). I personally like cranberries for this reason and I can cite several studies that indicate their ability to lower the recurrence of UTIs. The active ingredients in cranberries, proanthocyanidins or A-type PACs interfer with bacterial adhesion in the urinary tract. In other words, if the bacteria cannot stick to the urinary tract, they will not grow and cause infection.
However, my husband is quick to point out the other side, there are a number of studies finding null results between the tart berry and prevention of urinary tract infections.
Truth is, understanding how cranberry exerts its health effects is evolving. Although the majority of over 350 research and review articles published about cranberry have focused on the berry’s effect on urinary tract health, emerging science shows cranberry may have some other possible benefits including: cardiovascular health, reducing oral diseases including cavities and gum disease, and gastrointestinal health.
About now you’re asking, how much?… Cranberry juice?.. Sauce?… Or dried cranberries? Here’s the caveat: No one can recommend exact form, dose, or duration of cranberry consumption. Why then do I advocate consumption of this tiny tart fruit for health benefits? I have learned to accept the limitations of science. I understand that reference intake values of pythochemcials have not been established, but there is growing concensus that they possibly contribute to promoting health and reducing the risk of disease. Berry fruit, including cranberries, provide a rich source of phenolic acids and flavonoids that are associated with health benefits. My recommendation is to choose a broad array of fruits, including berry fruits, to increase intake of these bioactive compounds along with a balanced diet.
That said, I love this fresh, gluten free, vegan salad for spring and summer from the Cranberry Marketing Committee that exemplifies my support for cranberries as part of a healthy diet. Make it for your next pool party, picnic or backyard bbq!
What’s your favorite way to eat cranberries?
Cranberry & Cilantro Quinoa Salad
adapted from the Cranberry Marketing Committee
Ingredients (serves 8)
1 1/4 cups water
pinch of salt
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup minced carrots
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3 Tablespoons finely chopped red onion
3 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of ground red pepper
1. Toast quinoa in a skillet over medium high heat stirring frequently until quinoa is fragrant and make a continuous popping sound (about 5- 7 minutes).
2. In a small saucepan, bring water and pinch of salt to a boil over high heat; stir in toasted quinoa, reduce heat and bring to a low simmer. Cover pot and cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 15 minutes).
2. Remove from heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
3. To the bowl of quinoa, stir in cranberries, carrots, red and yellow peppers, red onion and cilantro until mixed.
4. In a small bowl, mix together lime juice, oil, salt and ground red pepper and pour over quinoa-cranberry mixture; toss to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Does not have to be served cold.
Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 150, Calories from Fat 30, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 3.5g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 115mg, Total Carbohydrate 29g, Sugars 11g, Dietary Fiber 3g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 40%, Vitamin C 45%, Calcium 2%, Iron 6%
The above recipe has a Southwestern twist, but by swappping out a few basic ingredients you can take cranberries global: Asian: Swap out red onion, cilantro and lime juice, for scallions, ginger and soy sauce.
Greek: Swap out carrots, cilantro and lime juice for tomatoes, olives and chickpeas. Make it even better- add feta!
Indian: Swap out carrots, peppers, cilantro and lime juice for winter squash, sweet potatoes, pecans and curry paste. Add an extra kick with cayenne pepper!
American: Swap out peppers, cilantro and lime juice, for celery, turkey breast and thyme. Who knows, this could become your new favorite Thanksgiving leftovers recipe.