Living and Eating Well!

 

spicy tuesday – sweet peppers stuffed with mediterranean salad – dill

The PINK group at The Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center is set to celebrate spring next Monday night! This appetizer is perfect for the “Spring Fling”, full of flavor and soooo good for us, too! We love these small peppers that are available in almost every grocery store. They are so easy to stuff, grill or slice and the taste is sweet and fresh.

Our herb of the week enhances the taste of the peppers and reminds us, its SPRING! Dill is bright and sweet, tangy and because its reminiscent of pickles and capers, its an irresistible addition to these gorgeous peppers.

In fact, for all of our cancer survivors that read this blog, dill’s volatile oils qualify acts as a “chemoprotective” food. It can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens, such as those that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators. It also shares the stage with garlic for its bacteria-regulating effects.

So stuff small sweet peppers with this delicious dill rich salad. And break out the deviled egg plates – we’ve found that a deviled egg plate makes a wonderful serving platter for the peppers!

No Cook Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

3/4 Cup Prepared Quinoa, as Directed on Box

1/2 Cup Pitted Kalamata Olives, Chopped

1/4 Cup Capers, Drained

1/2 Cup Chopped Sundried Tomatoes

2 Roasted Red Peppers, Chopped

1 Cup Chopped Artichoke Hearts

1 ½ Cup Coarsely Chopped Chickpeas, (1 (15 OZ) can drained and rinsed)

1 Jalepeno, ribs and seeds removed and minced

1/4 Cup Minced Red Onion

2 TB Chopped Chives

1/2 Cup Chopped Dill

1 Recipe Mediterranean Dressing*

In a large bowl, toss the ingredients together with the Dressing.

Mediterranean Dressing*

2 Anchovies, (oil packed, drain and pat dry)

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Red Wine Vinegar

2 TB Dill

2 Cloves Garlic

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Place the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

***This recipe makes a lot of great salad. If you have leftovers, it can be tucked inside a whole-wheat pita for lunch tomorrow, or roll it in a lettuce leaf. The dressing rocks on a green salad, too.

Spicy Tuesday – Maple Syrup Vinaigrette – Ginger

The pictures in todays post are from our class at Buford Highway last week. We love touring and tasting the market and the opportunity to share its bounty with others. This is one of the recipes we highlighted during the class. It’s a great way to spice up either veggies or fruit! It also shows a super way of using sugar appropriately – a little goes a long way to mellow the bright heat of the ginger.

And speaking of ginger, it’s our herb of the week. Ginger is very helpful when you have an upset stomach, nausea, or GI issues. It is also an herb with many immune boosting plant chemicals. Fresh ginger is good to keep in your freezer so you can pull it out and use a little within certain recipes!

Maple Syrup Vinaigrette

2 TB Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ Tsp Sea Salt

3 TB Maple Syrup

2 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Add all the ingredients to a jar and shake well. Serve with roasted root vegetables like sweet potatoes and red onions, parsnips, turnips, etc. or dried it drizzled over a fresh fruit salad.

***Roasted Veggies

Choose three or more veggies; toss them with a little olive oil or spray well with olive oil spray. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper, (add a sprinkle of any spice or spice mix that you like), and place in a PREHEATED 400F oven until soft and brown on the edges, about 45 minutes for root veggies.

 

Spicy Tuesday – Eggplant Pecorino – Basil

We first posted this delicious recipe in 2013. Full of the flavors of spring, the warm weather in Atlanta is inspiring arugula lust:)
 We love eggplant in all its different shapes and size… did you know that more than 4 Billion acres across the world are planted with numerous varieties? This relative of the tomato and potato is a food chameleon – absorbing the flavors of whatever it is cooked with and adding its unique meaty texture to the dish.

The salad we are featuring this week can be a side or a main, as it combines eggplant with leafy greens and other veggies, and is topped with capers and our herb of the week, Basil. Just like eggplant, Basil is used in cuisines around the world. Here in the US we commonly think of it as part of Italian cuisine. Indeed, our recipe takes its flavor cues from Italy with the addition of red peppers, tomatoes and pecorino romano cheese.

Not only does Basil taste great, its also a powerhouse of nutrition.  This herb is a primary “go to” choice for its anti- inflammatory properties. This effect stems from eugenol, a volatile oil in basil that blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities as well. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, so add ing it to your salad ensures its safe to eat!

Eggplant Pecorino

1 Large Eggplant, cut in long slices

1 – 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

1 Cup Freshly Grated Pecorino Romano

6 Cups Arugula

3 Roma Tomatoes cut in thin long slices

1 Recipe Balsamic Vinaigrette*

1 Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped

½ Cup Capers

½ Cup Basil, Chiffonade

Step One

Drizzle the eggplant with olive oil, salt and pepper. Grill the eggplant on a grill pan, in a cast iron or on a grill outside – about 2 minutes a side. While the eggplant slices are still hot off the grill, sprinkle some grated Pecorino cheese over them.

Step Two

Divide the arugula between 4 salad plates. Begin layering the eggplant and tomato slices, each layer perpendicular to the other. Drizzle with dressing and top with red pepper, capers and basil.

* Balsamic Vinaigrette 

2 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

¼ to ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Dry or Fresh Herbs as Desired

1 Grated Garlic Clove, optional

Spicy Tuesday – Nutty Fruit Granola Bars – Cinnamon

Who doesn’t love a snack that’s high in protein, fiber and most of all YUM? We certainly do! These nutty fruity full of flavor bars are easy to make and hard to resist. Package them in squares for a treat to sustain you in the afternoon – or enjoy for breakfast with a piece of fresh fruit. The recipe is easy to double, and freezes great, too!

The smell of cinnamon and allspice will fill your kitchen when you bake these bars. Cinnamon adds aromatics and it can help control a blood sugars during the day. It is also loaded with polyphenol antioxidants which can help you stay healthy during these cold winter months. Finally, cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that help combat low grade inflammation as well.

Nutty Fruit Granola Bars

1 Cup Raw Almonds

1 Cup Raw Pecans

3 Cups Oatmeal, Divided

¼ Cup Whole Wheat Flour

1 ½ Cups Chopped Dried Fruit

4 Large Eggs

½ Cup Dark Brown Sugar

2 TB Canola Oil

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

½ Tsp Allspice

½ Tsp Sea Salt

2 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Step One Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9″ x 13″ pan with foil, allowing it to overhang from the sides. Coat with non-stick cooking spray.

Step Two Place the nuts and the oatmeal on a large baking sheet with sides. Bake for 10 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Chop finely in a food processor.

Step Three Place the flour and 2 cups of the oatmeal in the processor and pulse until smooth. Combine with the dates, nuts and remaining cup of whole oatmeal.

Step Four Whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, oil, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and vanilla extract in a large bowl. Stir in the oatmeal-almond mixture until well mixed. Spray your fingers with nonstick spray and pat the batter into the prepared pan.

Step Five Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack for an hour. Using the foil as handles, remove from the pan. Cut into bars with a serrated knife. To store for the week, wrap bars individually in plastic wrap and keep in the frig.

DID YOU KNOW?

Dates are a great choice for these bars. Did you know they come from a palm tree? Over 1500 date palm varieties are grown around the world. All parts of the tree have uses, from the leaves for Palm Sunday processions in Italy to building huts in North Africa. Humans are not the only species to eat dates – in the Sahara desert, dates are fed to camels, horses and dogs!

Spicy Tuesday – Apple Walnut Salad – Mint

There have been lots of good sales on apples recently. Stores are trying to clear out the fall 2016 apples in anticipation for 2017 harvest. So you’ll see lots of good buys on your favorite apples. This apple recipe calls for fresh apples, dried fruit and is served up with a creamy yogurt dressing, complete with the fresh “pop” of mint.

We’ve highlighted a couple of recipes that include mint lately – we love mint – and there are not a lot of savory or entrée recipes in the U.S. that use this versatile herb. We’d like to change this!

Not only is the flavor of mint unique, it is an herb that activates the salivary glands in our mouth as well as glands which secrete digestive enzymes, thereby facilitating digestion. It also is very helpful with any nausea and fatigue. A popular way to see if mint will help you is putting a few drops of mint essential oil on your pillow at night and let the smell work into your body and mind while you sleep.

Apple Walnut Salad

6 Medium Organic Apples, Mixed Varieties

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

1 Tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1 Cup Toasted Chopped Walnuts

½ Cup Golden Raisins

½ Cup Dried Cranberries or Cherries (Less sugar please)

2 Cups Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Grated Carrots

2 TB Mint, Chopped

1 Large Bag Baby Spinach, Washed and Drained Well

Core and chop the apples into 1” pieces. Mix with the lemon juice. Toss with spices; add the walnuts, raisins and cranberries. Mix the yogurt with the carrots and mint and then toss in the apple mixture. Serve on a bed of baby spinach.

Spicy Tuesday – Luscious Beet Hummus – Za’atar

How about a beautiful RED hummus to celebrate Valentine’s Day and Heart Health month?

Hummus is a go-to in many new millennium kitchens. We love it too – but prefer to make it ourselves. Its fast, easy and we get to control the ingredients! This recipe shakes up the tried and true just a little bit. No beans, instead we’re using olive oil for creaminess and topping our beet mixture with yogurt and Za’atar, a spice blend that may be new to you!

We’re highlighting the thyme in the tangy Za’atar seasoning blend this week. Not only is thyme an essential ingredient in our healthy kitchen but it is 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.

Luscious Beet Hummus

2 LBs Beets

3 Garlic Cloves, grated or minced

1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes

1 Tsp Honey

3 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Black Pepper

1 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

1 TB ***Za’atar

4 Green Onions, Chopped

1/4 Cup Chopped Pistachios

1/4 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

Step One Preheat the oven to 400F. Wash the beets well, and remove the roots and greens. Wrap them in aluminum foil and cook them for about an hour, or until soft. Remove and cool, then remove the skin and coarsely chop.

Step Two Put the beets, garlic, red pepper, honey and olive oil in a food processor, and puree until smooth. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper. Spread the dip out on a large platter.

Step Three In a small bowl, wish together the yogurt with the zataar. Swirl the yogurt mixture over the top of the beet mixture. Garnish with the onions, pistachios, goat cheese and tomato.

**Za’atar is a Middle Eastern seasoning blend that is made with thyme, Sumac, sea salt, and sesame seeds. To make your own, just combine 2 TB of Thyme, 1 Tsp of Sumac, 1/2 Tsp of Sea Salt and 1 TB of Sesame Seeds. No Sumac? Just substitute a 1/2 Tsp lemon zest.

Sumac is a beautiful red spice that is used in Middle Eastern foods. Tangy with a lemony flavor, it’s a great addition to many recipes, especially beans and other foods that need a zip of flavor and color.

We served our Beet Humus up with carrot and celery sticks – but you can make your own Pita Chips to dip into this yummy hummus. Cut a package of Whole Grain Pita Pockets into triangles. Spray or drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasoning, salt and pepper. Our seasoning was sumac on some of the chips, and za’atar on others. Slide into a 400F oven until crispy and browned. Better than any Pita Chips you can buy!

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Root Veggie and Pomegranate Salad – Mint

One of our most requested classes at the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center is Healthy Slow Cooker. We highlight recipes and ideas that make  slow cooker dishes delicious and healthy. Chef Nancy recently made this salad to accompany a lunch-full of slow cooker soups and stews. It’s a great way to highlight the luscious root veggies and warming flavors of winter.

Mint is more than iced tea and ice cream! Fresh mint adds a refreshing aroma, flavor, and pop of health benefits to just about anything. It contains beta-carotene, iron, manganese and Vitamin C. In fact, mint oil has been known to relieve GI issues as well as decrease nausea.

Roasted Root Veggie and Pomegranate Salad

2 Cups Chopped Carrots

2 Cups Chopped Parsnips

1 Cup Chopped Red Onion

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Zest and Juice of 1 Orange

½ Cup Roasted Chopped Pecans

2 TB Grated Ginger

1 TB *Pomegranate Molasses

1 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

Baby Spinach

1 Cup Pomegranate Seeds

**Chiffonade of Mint

Step One

Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the Carrots, Parsnips and onion together on a sheet tray with 1 TB of the olive oil, salt and pepper. Slide into the oven and roast for 30 minutes or until the veggies have browned.

Step Two

Remove from the oven and toss with the zest and juice of the orange, the pecans and the ginger.

Step Three

While the veggies are cooling shake the remaining oil, molasses, vinegar, mustard and a sprinkle of salt and pepper together in jar. Put the spinach on a large platter, drizzle with half of the dressing and toss. Top with the roasted veggies and drizzle with dressing. Add the pomegranate seeds and mint.

*If you can’t find Pomegranate Molasses, use honey instead. Honey is sweeter, though, so use 2 teaspoons.

** To chiffonade mint, it is just strips of fresh mint. Stack several leaves on top of each other, roll them up like a little cigar and walk your knife through the mint to cut long thin strips.

 

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Apple and Beet Soup with Orange Relish – Fennel

Here in Atlanta, we’ve been having lots of fun with the Falcons! Seems like everyone, whether football fans or not are rooting for the home team. Here’s a beautiful warming soup to share with friends and family for the big game – perfectly RED for the Super Bowl!

Not only is fennel beautiful, crunchy and slightly sweet it adds a refreshing contribution this yummy soup in the bright orange fennel relish. The fennel bulb is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is the body’s primary water-soluble antioxidant, able to neutralize free radicals. Fennel also has fiber, folate, and potassium!

Roasted Apple and Beet Soup with Fennel and Orange Relish

Serves 6 to 8

3 Red Beets, halved

1 Large Crisp Cored Apple, halved (like Honey Crisp or Gala)

6 Green Onions, White Parts Only

1 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 Cups Vegetable Broth

1 Cup Unsweetened Apple Cider

1 ½ Tsp Fine Sea Salt

½ Tsp Freshly Ground Pepper

Nonfat Greek Yogurt (if desired)

1 Recipe Fennel Orange Relish

Step One Place the beets, apple and onion on a sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and slide into the oven for 40 minutes, or until fork tender.

Step Two Remove from the oven and peel the beets and apple. Place them and the onion in a blender with the vegetable broth and puree completely.

Step Three Pour into a saucepan and add the apple cider, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook for about fifteen minutes or until warmed through. Pour the soup into bowls and top with nonfat Greek yogurt and Fennel Orange Relish.

Orange Fennel Relish

¼ Cup Fennel Fronds, coarsely chopped

½ Cup Minced Fennel

1 Tbsp Orange Juice

1 Tsp Orange Zest

1 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fine Sea Salt and Freshly Ground

White Pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

***Thanks to Kristina Limoges who took the beautiful soup picture!

Spicy Tuesday White Bean and Artichoke Soup – Fennel Seeds

Tomorrow, Shayna and I are going to present one of our favorite and most requested classes at the Thomas F Chapman Family Cancer Wellness Center: Pre and Pro Biotics. This time our recipes are totally different and we can’t wait to share them with you. But today we’re revisiting a recipe that will still love to pass on because its full of pro and prebiotic foods you may be familiar with, but not know much about their power to make us feel great!

When you read the recipe title below, you’ll notice it’s just a little different from the title above. Oh yes, it’s  SAUERKRAUT!  We’ve found that many people, when they see it, are convinced that they won’t like the dish. If you were in that camp – you’d be wrong.  The sauerkraut is not easily identifiable in the finished soup; it just adds a wonderful tangy flavor.

As a fermented veggie, sauerkraut has been made and enjoyed for thousands of years. Fermented foods improve digestion while restoring a healthy balance in your gut. If you have only tried to eat it on a hot dog – try this soup – You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Now that we have told you about the goodness of sauerkraut, we have to share the good news about our herb of the week, too. Fennel seeds symbolize longevity, courage, and strength. It is the seed of the Fennel plant, and has the fresh, green and licorice-y flavor that the bulb and fronds do. When you are buying fennel seed, make sure to look for green seeds. As the seed ages, it gets brown. Fennel seeds pack a powerful nutritional punch, too. They have a plethora of nutrients, essential compounds, anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and vitamins. So enjoy this soup with family and friends, we bet it will become a favorite!

White Bean, Artichoke and (Sauerkraut) Soup

1 TB Olive Oil

2 Yellow Onions, Chopped

1 TB Smoked Paprika

2 Tsp Turmeric

½ Tsp Each Salt and Pepper

3 Garlic Cloves, Grated

8 Cups Veg Stock

1 LB Sauerkraut, Rinsed and Drained

2 (15 OZ) Cans Cannellini Beans

1 Cup Chopped Frozen Artichoke Hearts

1 Cup Yogurt

Chopped Dill and Toasted Fennel Seeds for Garnish

Step One Heat the olive oil in a stockpot and sauté the onions with the smoked paprika, turmeric and salt and pepper until the onions are very soft. (About 30 minutes over low heat.) Add the garlic cloves in, and cook and stir until fragrant.

Step Two Add the veg stock, sauerkraut cannellini beans and artichoke to the pot and cook for an additional 20 minutes or until warm. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Garnish with dill and the toasted fennel seeds and serve.

Spicy Tuesday – Warm Roasted Veggie Salad with Herbed Mustard Dressing – Italian Seasoning

Imagine the “oohs and ahhs” from your table when you set this gorgeous platter of color down, overflowing with flavorful greens and topped with warm veggies bathed in a tangy herb filled dressing. (Not only delectable, but beautiful too!) Welcome to our Warm Roasted Veggie Salad recipe, an entrée using whatever looks pretty in the store today and whatever’s abundant in your fridge and pantry.

For the picture above we roasted green beans and asparagus, baby gold potatoes and mushrooms…but the combinations are limited only by your imagination, Make sure to include some fresh veggies to add a crispy contrast to the roasty toasty flavors. We used grape tomatoes that we halved, but shallots, green onions, carrots, celery, fennel or sliced bell peppers would all be tasty, too.

We love anchovies and they are SO good for us, so we added a row for their heart healthy components and their protein. Tuna or sardines would be an excellent choice as well, or try one of your favorite ancient grains to make this a complete meal. Last but not least its fun to add some “briny” goodness, we did it with Kalamata olives, but capers or pickles would be good too.

The spice mix we used to pull all these ingredients together? A traditional Mediterranean blend, the easy-to-find, easy-to-love Italian Seasoning. Basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, parsley and marjoram are just a few of the power packed herbs that can make up the mix – and each brings its own flavor and goodness to the whole. For example, the basil has strong flavonoids which protect your body on a cellular level. The oregano has Vitamins A,C,E, and K when you use it generously in this recipe. And the thyme is one of our powerful anti-oxidant rich herbs. You can’t go wrong with this healthy blend of herbs!

Warm Roasted Veggie Salad with Herbed Mustard Dressing

Preheat the oven to 400F. Trim or cut your favorite veggies and divide them by type and hardness. (Baby potatoes on one tray, green beans on another, etc.) Toss your veggies onto a sheet pan with a just a Tsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a sprinkle of sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 10 to 25 minutes depending on your choice of veggies. Remove from the oven, and while still warm toss with the dressing and arrange on a bed of greens. Add your fresh veggies and briny olives, pickles or capers, along with fish or grains. Serve while warm.

Herbed Mustard Dressing

½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

3 TB Dijon Mustard

1 Tsp Orange Juice

1 Garlic Clove, grated

2 Tsp Italian Seasoning

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste.

Shake all the ingredients together in a small jar.