Living and Eating Well!

 

Spicy Tuesday – Prawn and Avocado Salad – Arugula

Did you know that Arugula is an herb that is also used as a salad green? Yes, one of our favorite leafy green beds of goodness for salad, egg dishes and veggies is also an herb. A native of the Mediterranean, argula is called “roka” (RO-kah) in Greece and “rocket” elsewhere in the world. The name rocket comes from its peppery-bitter leaves that not only pack a punch of yummy and distinct flavor, but also lots of good nutrition, too!

Arugula is an excellent source of Vitamin A and B-complex Vitamins. It is also a rich source of certain phytochemicals which have been found to counter carcinogenic effects of estrogen and thus help benefit against prostate, breast, cervical, colon, and ovarian cancers.

This recipe is a winner, whether served as a salad – or in a wrap. Cool and easy to make, it’s a perfect cooling dinner for hot weather in August!

Prawn and Avocado Salad

The Dressing

4 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Orange

Juice of 1 Lemon, plus more for garnish

1 Tsp Dijon

1 TB Minced Cilantro + more for garnish

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Make the dressing by pureeing the oil, citrus, cilantro and mustard together in a blender – adding salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.

The Salad

1 Fennel Bulb, sliced

1 Avocado, sliced

16 Medium Shrimp

3 Green Onions, green parts only, sliced thinly

1 Bag Arugula

Toss together the fennel, avocado and shrimp with the dressing in a bowl. Place the arugula in 4 martini glasses and divide the salad on top. Garnish with more cilantro and a wedge of lemon.

Spicy Tuesday – Wonderful Watermelon Salad – Mint

There’s nothing better than pink, juicy, sweet, drippy watermelon in the summer. Typically, we just enjoy eating it right out of hand, sharing with friends and family as we lean over to avoid getting rained on by the sticky juices. This week’s recipe is a exception -  and even though it is – we haven’t added lots to this wonderful watermelon salad. It’s simply a few perfectly chosen ingredients to add a savory slant to the succulent melon.

Oil cured olives allow us to avoid adding additional oil to the salad. Typically from Morocco or Greece, these olives reach optimum flavor by curing first in salt and then soaked in olive oil until the are withered and super-packed with flavor. Just a few of these meaty and less bitter olives are the secret to this salads briny twang. We can find oil cured olives in the grocery store here in Atlanta, but if you can’t find them where you are, they are available on line.

A sprinkling of good feta is also added, and a half of a red onion, too. When we add raw onion to a salad, we always start our recipe by soaking the chopped or sliced onion in a boil of ice water for about 30 minutes. This removes the sting from the onion without stripping it of its wonderful onion flavor. Try using this tip for other salads too.

The last step is throwing in a smattering of chopped basil and mint leaves. Both of these pungent herbs add lots of flavor to the salad, without salt, fat, sugar or calories. Mint, especially is a great partner to the basil in this salad. Mint is wonderful for many reasons health reasons as well. It can help soothe digestion issues which include nausea and vomiting. It is also great with respiratory issues and coughing.  See below for a full list of reasons to include mint in this great salad!

Wonderful Watermelon Salad

¼ Small Red Onion, sliced into thin rings

12 Cups Chopped Watermelon

12 Oil Cured Black Olives, chopped

¼ Cup Crumbled Feta

Juice of 1 Lemon

Handful of Mint and Basil leaves, coarsely chopped

Place the onion in a small bowl of ice water and set aside while you chop the watermelon and olives. Toss the watermelon, olives, and feta and lemon juice together gently. Remove the onion from the bowl and pat dry. Sprinkle the salad with the onion and herbs.

Spicy Tuesday – Red or Brown Rice Salad – Thyme

Do the variety of different rice types and blends entice you with their beautiful colors and descriptions? They certainly do us! We have been using lots of different rice to make hot, warm and cool rice dishes this summer – full of gorgeous color and delicious flavors. This week’s recipe celebrates rice with other easy to find ingredients that combine so well together, you’ll want to make a double batch for lunch later in the week!

Thyme is an herb that “sings” when its combined with earthy mushrooms and the umami, (the flavor of lusciousness), of soy sauce. Thyme is also a nutrition powerhouse because it is packed with minerals and vitamins that are essential for optimum health. Its leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium, iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. And its volatile oils have scientifically been found to have antiseptic and anti-fungal characteristics. You can’t go wrong with the health benefits and the flavor of this awesome salad!

Brown or Red Rice Summer Salad

2 Cups Red or Brown Rice, Prepared*

¼ Cup Chopped Shallots

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

8 Oz Wild or Baby Bella Mushrooms

1 Tsp Sea Salt

½  Tsp Black Pepper

1 TB Light Soy Sauce or Tamari

1 TB Fresh Thyme

1 Cup Chopped Toasted Walnuts

1 Large Red Apple Chopped

2 TB Chopped Parsley

Season the shallots and mushrooms with the salt, pepper and soy sauce. Sauté the shallots and mushrooms in the oil until nicely browned. Stir in the fresh thyme. Toss with the walnuts and apple and garnish with the chopped parsley.

*We used Lundberg’s Burgundy Rice – which we found in the local grocery store.

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Red Pepper, Eggplant and Tomato Soup – Chives


There’s no better time of the year to enjoy chilled soups than the steamy sultry month of August. This rich and creamy soup is full of flavor and veggies, without all the cream. And topping this cooler is the bright light oniony taste of chives!

We love chives for their versatility and subtle flavor. Raw or cooked they add a distinctive touch to any dish. Chives are a part of the allium family (onions, scallions, etc) and are very nutrient-dense, meaning that while they are low in calories they are high in beneficial nutrients like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. In fact, allium vegetables have been studied extensively in relation to stomach and colorectal cancers. Their beneficial and preventative effects are likely due in part to their rich sulfur compounds. So the more potent the smell, the better for you!

Who needs to wait for cool days for a cup of soup? We don’t and you won’t either when you puree up this crowd pleasing soup!

Roasted Eggplant, Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

3 LBs Eggplants, halved

1 TB EVOO

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

6 Roma Tomatoes, halved

4 Red Peppers

1 -2 TB Lemon Juice

Nonfat Greek Yogurt and Fresh Chives

Turn the oven to broil. Season the eggplants with the olive oil, salt and pepper and place the eggplants on the middle shelf. Place the tomatoes on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray and place on the top rack in the oven until the tomatoes are blackened. Remove from the oven and replace with the peppers on an aluminum foil lined sheet tray. Broil until blackened. Remove from the oven and fold the foil over the peppers until cool enough to peel.

Place the eggplants, tomatoes and peppers in a stockpot. Puree with an immersion blender until smooth. Serve warm or cool, garnished with yogurt and chives.

Spicy Tuesday – Kitchen Tips and Tricks Videos

We whizzed through this week – especially Tuesday! So fast, in fact that we totally forgot Spicy Tuesday. So here’s a quick picture to show you what we were doing. When the videos are completed for the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center at Piedmont, we will be sure to add links to them!

Soicy Tuesday – Fingerlings, Guac and Salmon Apps – Cilantro

Ahhh, its summer and social life is hopping. Here in the South, we party all spring, summer and fall, leaving the cold weather months of January and February to hibernate and recharge for the next round of….parties!

Its all the summer fun that inspired this latest entry for Spicy Tuesday – Fingerlings, Guac and Salmon Apps.  We chose some of the season’s best fingerling potatoes, (did you know that some potatoes are in season in the summer?), roasted and topped them with a special guacamole and a bright cheery red flag of smoked salmon. Easy peasy and quick to prepare, we can guarantee that their will not be one left on the plate when you serve them!

No worries about serving non-nutritious junk to your guests either. Not only are the potatoes, guac and salmon full of goodies, the cilantro is power-packed, too. Cilantro is a low calorie way to get in Vitamin K, folic acid, and Vitamin A. Its leaves and stem tips contain a rich source of polyphenols which act as antioxidants in our body. So use that whole piece of cilantro when you are cooking up these apps!

Fingerlings, Guac and Salmon Apps

About 24 Fingerling Potatoes

1 Tsp Olive Oil

2 Avocadoes

1 Cup Frozen Peas, defrosted in the microwave

1 Large Garlic Clove, grated

1 TB Hot Sauce, (We like Tabasco Chipotle)

2 Tsp Lime Juice

2 TB Minced Cilantro

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Smoked Salmon cut in strips to fit the potatoes

Step One Roast the potatoes by cutting them in half lengthwise,placing them on a sheet tray, tossing them in the olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper, and sliding into a 400F oven for about 30 minutes. When cooked through and browned around the edges, remove them from the oven and allow to cool until they can be picked up.

Step Two Scoop the avocado flesh into a bowl, along with the peas, garlic, hot sauce and juice. Mash with a potato masher or large fork or spoon until chunky. Add in the minced cilantro and salt and pepper to taste.

Step Three To assemble, cut a small strip off the bottom of each potato to enable them to stand up on the platter straight. Top each potato with a spoonful of the guac, and twist a salmon strip on top of each app.

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Squash Soup – Dill

This is our favorite time of the year! In Atlanta, there is a farmers market open almost every day of the week, and July’s fruits and veggies are abundant here. One of the most versatile veggies and prolific? Of course it’s squash!

This recipe is versatile as well; you can use any type of summer squash – from zucchini to patty pan. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden overflowing with the brilliantly colored gems, you can follow the recipe through step one and roast extra squash to put in the freezer – make this squash soup in the dead of winter and remember your harvest.

One of the most important components of this soup is the dill. Bright, crisp and citrusy tasting, it also packs a powerful punch of nutrients, too! Dill has chemoprotective properties and also is a very good source of calcium to strengthen your bones. As a “chemoprotective” food  (much like parsley) it can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens. The volatile oil portion of dill has also been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth (like garlic).

Roasted Squash Soup

6 – 8 Squash, chopped

3 TB Olive Oil, divided

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

2 Cups Chopped Red Onions

1 Large Jalapeño, Ribs and Seeds Removed if desired

1 Red Pepper, Chopped

6 Cups Veggie Stock

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Chopped Dill for Garnish

Step One Toss the squash with 2 TB olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and spread out on a parchment paper lined sheet tray. Roast in a 425F oven for about 20 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Step Two Sauté the onion, jalapeño, and pepper in the remaining TB of olive oil until softened. Add the roasted squash to the pot and the veggie stock. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add in the lemon juice and Remove from the heat and let cool for 1 hour. (If you are serving the soup chilled, put it in the fridge to cool overnight.

Step Three To serve, place a Tsp of Greek yogurt in the bottom of a small bowl or cup. Pour the soup over it and garnish with dill.

Spicy Tuesday – Grilled Salmon Sesame Sliders – Wasabi!

If you like food with a little “kick” like we do – you’ll love this week’s recipe! Full of omega-3s from the salmon with a delicious nutty taste from the sesame oil, these tiny burgers are easy to make and freeze well, too!

The herb we are featuring this week is slightly more unusual – but we bet you’ve enjoyed it before – wasabi. It was traditionally used in traditional herbal medicine, but now is eaten as a condiment for Japanese food. The zing of the bright green herb adds loads of flavor to a bite of sushi, sashimi or a bowl of noodles.

Wasabi comes from the root-like stem of wasabia japonica, a mustard relative that grows in the shady areas of Japan. When freshly grated, authentic wasabi forms a light green, coarsely textured paste that is both pungent and flavorful.  Wasabi’s medicinal effects are related to its content of active isothiocyanates (ITCs), which also account for its pungency. Research suggests that ITCs have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-platelet and anti-cancer effects, but these benefits have been observed in laboratory and a few animal studies. (To date there have been no good studies in humans.)

Shake up the burgers on your grill this weekend, and enjoy salmon in a whole new way!

Grilled Salmon Sesame Sliders

1 Large Egg

1 TB Soy Sauce, Tamari or Braggs Amino Acids

2 Tsp Toasted Sesame Oil

1 LB Skinless Salmon Fillet, Chopped into 1/8” Pieces

¾ Cup Panko Crumbs (Whole Wheat)

¼ Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions

2 TBs Black, Tan or White Sesame Seeds, plus more for garnish

Oil for Brushing the Grill

*Wasabi Mayonnaise

Lettuce Cups or Whole Wheat Slider Buns

Step One

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add the salmon, the panko, green onions, sesame seeds and mix. Form into 2” wide and ½” tall patties. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

Step Two

Preheat your oiled grill pan, (or a clean oiled grill outside), and over medium heat, cook the salmon sliders on one side for about 2-3 minutes. Turn, and cook for an additional 2 minutes (or until they are cooked as much as you like).

Step Three

Place each slider in a lettuce cup and top with *Wasabi Mayo. (Or place in a grilled whole wheat bun along with shredded napa cabbage.) Garnish with sesame seeds.

*Wasabi Mayo is super easy to make. Just buy a tube of wasabi horseradish from the sushi bar at your local grocery store. Start with about a tsp and mix it into 
½ cup of olive oil mayo. Taste and add more wasabi as desired.

Spicy Tuesday – Modern Day Bean Salad with Avocado Vinaigrette – Parsley

Happy July! Maybe you’ve seen the inspiration for this salad at potlucks and picnics around this time of the year. The salad we are talking about is typically made with three different kinds of canned beans and bottled Italian salad dressing.  It’s the right idea, just not the healthiest and tastiest use of the wonderful protein and fiber packed beans.

Instead, our recipe uses four kinds of beans in bright fresh vinaigrette, made with one of our favorite ingredients, avocado. A fast dish to whip up for dinner tonight, or easy to carry along to a friend’s house, it keeps great in the fridge for a couple of days – getting better and better as the avocado vinaigrette soaks into the beans.

We’ve used parsley in the salad for several reasons. Of course we love it for its bright clean taste and slightly crunchy texture, but also because of its incredible nutrition. It’s more than just an herb – it’s a super-herb! Parsley is actually considered an anti-inflammatory powerhouse. The flavonoids in it help protect cells from damage and increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. The volatile oils qualify as a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens. Wow, more than just a pretty green on the side of your plate— This is perfect to bring to a Fourth of July Celebration this week!

Modern Day Bean Salad

1 Can Chickpeas

1 Can Black Beans

1 Can Cannellini Beans

1 Can Red Beans or Kidney Beans

2 Roasted Red Peppers

2 TB Chopped Green Onion

1 TB Chopped Parsley

½ Cup Chopped Sweet Peppers or Pepperoncini

¼ Cup Capers

Rinse well and drain the canned beans. Stir all the ingredients together in a large bowl and toss with the avocado dressing below.

Easy Avocado Vinaigrette

1 Haas Avocado, peeled and pitted

3 TB White Balsamic Vinegar

¼  Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

½ Tsp Sea Salt

1 Garlic Clove

Puree all the ingredients together in a food processor or blender.

Spicy Tuesday – Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad – Cilantro

Crisp and Crunchy – Full of flavor – what more can you ask from a Summer Salad? This appetizing side is easy to whip up, and provides lots of nutrition as well as stunning good taste. We use Napa cabbage instead of lettuce as a base for this cool salad, which brings not only crunch, but a healthy dose of cruciferous veggies as well.

It’s a great take along for a potluck, picnic or barbeque because the goat cheese that’s added into the green topper helps slow the browning of the avocado. That, plus the fresh taste and acidity of the juices make it a good choice for the buffet.

Cilantro is an integral player in the salad, pulling all the tastes together with a bright and tangy, slightly grassy zip! Wow – Cilantro actually binds to heavy metals in our body, loosening them from the tissues, blood and organs. It transports harmful substances out of the body through elimination. Also, the rich qualities of cilantro oil have a powerfully positive effect on the digestive tract. The oils aid our digestive system in its production of digestive enzymes, acids and juices. The oil also helps to stimulate digestion through peristaltic motion.

Hope you love this delicious and healthy salad as much as we do!

Avocado and Goat Cheese Salad

2 Avocados, Coarsely Mashed

½ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro

3 TB Chopped Roasted Almonds, plus more for garnish

½  Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1 Garlic Clove, Grated

1 TB Lime Juice

1 TB Orange Juice

1 TB Honey

3 TB EVOO

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Finely Shredded Napa Cabbage

Grated Carrots

Quartered Grape Tomatoes

Chopped Green Onions, green 
part only

Fold the first four ingredients together, gently. Shake the red pepper, garlic juices, honey and oil together in a jar, (or whisk together) Toss the shredded Napa cabbage, carrots, grape tomatoes and green onions together with the dressing. Top with the avocado mixture, sprinkle with almonds and serve.