Living and Eating Well!


Spicy Tuesday – Zesty and Cool Arugula Dip – Arugula

Hmmm, did we mention that October and November are two of our busiest months of the year? Oh yes, because many of the Cancer Groups we work with have survivor celebrations, the corporate world is getting all of their meetings and workshops in before the holidays, and well – its just that busy time of the year!

Thus, the late Spicy Tuesday – But it’s worth it, we promise. This dip is cool and creamy, zesty and spicy in a super-yummy-green-veggie way! With only 4 ingredients, this recipe creates not only a delicious dip, but is also great as a salad dressing, or in a baked potato, as a spread on a sandwich. It’s good on anything that needs a little zip of creamy goodness.

The bright taste of arugula is what gives this dish its flair. Arugula is also known as rocket salad because of its pop of peppery flavor. It is a less recognized cruciferous vegetable that provides many of the same benefits as the notoriously nutritious better-known vegetables in the cruciferous family such as broccoli, kale and Brussels sprouts. Studies have suggested that the sulfur-containing compounds that give cruciferous vegetables their bitter bite are also what give them their cancer-fighting power.

So keep eating these greens as we get into flu and cold season !

Zesty and Cool Arugula Dip

1 Log (8oz) Goat Cheese

¼ – ½ Cup of Nonfat Greek Yogurt (depending on the consistency desired)

1 Bag (4- 6 oz) Arugula

1 Tsp Lemon Juice

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Set aside a few leaves of arugula to chop for garnish. Whiz the goat cheese, yogurt remaining arugula and lemon juice in the food processor.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. Done! Yum!

Spicy Tuesday – Spicy Chicken Burgers with California Slaw – Cilantro

A better-for-you burger and slaw is dinner on a bun! When the family is craving comfort food, this sandwich will make everyone happy. Not just your run-of-the-mill hamburger, it’s packed with flavor from the tomatoes and chilies, the cheese, garlic, and chipotle chile pepper.

When we whip up this recipe for dinner, we often make a double recipe. The burgers keep super in the freezer, and the slaw is delicious as leftovers for lunch as a salad – or tucked in a pita pocket.

The grassy, sharp and pungent flavor of cilantro makes a wonderful complement to the chilies and the smoky chipotle powder. When you use cilantro you are adding Vitamin K to your body. It also has trace mineral manganese and vitamins A and B-9, known as folate, each at 1 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Spicy Chicken Burgers with California Slaw


1 Can Tomatoes and Chilies, (like Rotel), Drained well, divided

1 LB Lean Ground Chicken

½ Cup Light Sharp Cheddar Cheese

1 Garlic Clove, grated

1 Tsp Chipotle Chile Pepper

1 Tsp Sea Salt

Whole Wheat Buns or Lettuce Leaves

Avocadoes as Garnish if Desired


4 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage

2 Cup Shredded Carrots

1 Cup Shredded Jicama (or radishes)

¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro

¼ Cup EVOO

1 TB Dijon Mustard

Reserved ¼ Cup Tomatoes and Chilies

2 TB Orange Juice

1 TB Lime Juice

1 Tsp Honey

Step One Scoop ¼ Cup of the Tomato and Chile mixture out of the can and set aside.

Step Two Place the chicken, cheese, garlic, pepper and salt in a bowl. Mix together gently. Form into patties and cook in a cast iron skillet until browned on both sides. Slide into a 350F oven for about 5 minutes or cooked through.

Step Three Toss the cabbage, carrots, jicama and cilantro together in a bowl. In a jar, (or with a small bowl and whisk), combine the EVOO, tomatoes and chilies, orange juice, limejuice and honey. Shake well and drizzle over the salad. Use the slaw to top the burger and as a side.

Spicy Tuesday – Safari Salad – Cumin

Olives and Grapefruit? Lemon Juice and Grapes? Oh Yes! These are the luscious and exotic flavors of this salad, inspired by the bright and delicious food of Africa.

We don’t often think of seasoning foods with opposing tastes, but this salad proves it’s a wonderful strategy when you are looking to create zest in a almost any dish. Even though the ingredients seem wildly dissimilar – when added in the correct proportions, they make the salad zing!

The olives we are using in this recipe may be a challenge for some of you to find, but they are worth it! Since we live and work in Atlanta, we can find a jar of oil cured olives in the regular grocery store. You may have to look at Whole Foods, Trader Joes or Fresh Market, or a store similar to buy them. Intensely flavored, wrinkled and slick with a coating of oil, they allow us to use fewer olives, but have a powerful, yummy olive taste in our salad.

One of the most important components of the salad is the smoky, slightly citrus taste of the cumin. It is extremely good for digestion. And did you know that cumin can help blood sugars stay in control for diabetics? There are been specific studies on the spice and people with diabetes which is amazing to think spices can complement today’s medical recommendations. Finally, cumin has a high amount of iron and magnesium in the spice. 1 Tablespoon provides 20% of your daily iron needs.

Safari Salad

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Lemon Juice

½ Tsp Hot Sauce

1/2 Tsp Cumin

½ Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper  to taste

6 – 8 Cups Soft Greens

4 Cups Mixed Fruit – Grapefruit, Oranges and Grapes

1/2 Small Red Onion, sliced very thinly and submerged in ice water and drained

(Allowing onions to sit in  ice water for about 30 minutes takes the “sting” out)

2 TB Each Chopped Parsley and Mint

1/4 Cup, Oil Cured Black Olives, coarsely chopped

1 Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

½ Cup Toasted Slivered Almonds

Step One In a small bowl or jar, whisk together the first six ingredients to create the dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Set aside while you make the salad.

Step Two Place the fruit on top of the greens on 6 plates and top with the onion, parsley and mint, olives and goat cheese. Drizzle the dressing on top and garnish with the toasted almonds.

Spicy Tuesday – Roasted Fruit and Nut Crumble – 092314

Its getting to be that time of year…Here in Georgia we celebrate Apple Season from the end of September through mid October. Whether they are Gala, Winesap or Mutsui, we love using them in all kinds of recipes, savory and sweet.

Traditionally, apple cobbler and pies can hide a lot of calories and fats. Even apple bread that sounds so healthy can pack a punch in bad fats. But this recipe delivers the same apple deliciousness as those treats – without all the bad-for-you ingredients.

What could be a better partner for apples than Cinnamon? When the luscious aroma of this spice is filling the kitchen, we know that fall weather is not far away. Cinnamon not only makes many dishes smell and taste great it also is great to control blood sugars for diabetics. When Shayna is doing a nutrition session with a diabetic she recommends eating a small amount of cinnamon each day (in this recipe, a smoothie, on yogurt, or even on steel cut oats). And about ½ tsp per day can also lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).

Roasted Fruit and Nut Crumble

6 TB Unsalted Butter

1/3 Cup Dark Brown Sugar + 2 TB

1 ¼ Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour

6 TB Very Finely Chopped Toasted Almonds

1 LB Ripe SEASONAL FRUIT, Peeled and Cut
into ½” Pieces and Roasted for 20 Minutes at 350F

1 ½ LB Dry Figs, Cut into ½” Pieces

Zest and Juice of 1 Large Lime

½ Tsp Cinnamon

Vanilla Frozen Yogurt for Serving

Step One Spray a 9 x 12” casserole dish with nonstick spray. Preheat your oven to 350F.

Step Two Combine the butter & 1/3 cup brown sugar in a mixer. Beat until smooth. Add 1 cup of the flour and the almonds and beat until just combined – it should be crumbly.

Step Three Place the peaches and figs in a bowl and toss with the zest and juice of the lime. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup flour, 2 TB brown sugar and the cinnamon.

Step Four Place the peaches and figs mixture in the bottom of the prepared dish. Sprinkle the flour and almond mixture on top and bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until brown and bubbly. Serve warm with the vanilla frozen yogurt, if desired.

Spicy Tuesday – White Bean Salad – Basil

Do you like white beans? Along with all different kinds of beans, we love them! In the United States, white beans are most often associated with navy beans, and a popular soup called “navy bean soup’, made with the small white soft beans. But did you know that cannellini beans are related to kidney beans, and are often called white kidney beans? The same firm texture and mild flavor as the more popular red kidney bean, appears in cannellini beans, too.

If the two of us were in Tuscany, a region in central Italy around Florence, we would be called “mangifagioli” or bean eaters. The white bean salad recipe below is called, Fagioli Toscanelli in Italian – certainly a much more exciting name than “white bean salad”.

This luscious and easy salad combines basil and parsley, two herbs that often express the flavor of Italy. Basil is our featured herb this week, and since you probably still have some in your garden, it’s a perfect dish for this time of year! Basil has been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacterial growth in the body. It also unique array of active constituents called flavonoids found to protect cells. This salad is a win-win, enjoy!

White Bean Salad – Basil

2 Cans (15 Oz) Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained

1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TBS Lemon Juice

1 TB Lemon Zest

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper To Taste

2 Green Onions, Thinly Sliced

¼ Cup Chopped Parsley or Basil or combination

1 Cup Grape Tomatoes, Quartered

1 Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped

Heat the beans in the microwave or on the stovetop. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, zest, salt, and pepper and pour over the drained beans. Add the green onion, herbs, tomatoes and pepper and toss. Let sit on the counter for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to absorb. Serve at room temperature.

Spicy Tuesday – Herb Salad and Dressing – 090914

Have you ever opened the produce drawer of your fridge, and found partial bags of herbs, and wondered what to do with them? We have too! That’s why we came up with the solution in this post. A fresh herb salad with herb dressing is one of the easiest and most fun ways to put those bits and pieces of herbal goodness to work in a wonderful way.

You can use any herbs you have to create this salad and dressing. A fun way to think about the herbs you mix and match together is like casting a movie – make sure that herbs with strong distinctive tastes like rosemary, mint, oregano and sage play an “extra” role instead of a main character.

Tarragon is another strong flavored herb – but one that can be a real star in the salad dressing. Tarragon, that soft leaved herb with a liquorice-y taste partners beautifully with the buttermilk in this recipe. Tarragon has not only strong taste but big nutrition, too! Tarragon has long been used as a digestive tonic because it aids in the production of bile by the liver. Not only can it improve natural digestion, but it has also been found to relieve common digestive problems like an upset stomach, irritable bowel. Also, based upon several studies, tarragon appears to have chemicals that can help to increase appetites. Whether used as a seasoning herb in cooking or consumed raw as a small garnish, it may help people who have poor appetites due to age or illness.

Herb Salad and Dressing

24 Cups of Soft Lettuces, (like mesclun, spinach or baby greens) and Herbs, (whatever still looks good in the produce drawer!)

2 Cups Grape Tomatoes, quartered

½ Cup Chopped Green Onions

½ Cup Crumbled Goat Cheese

1 Recipe *Herb Salad Dressing

Toss the lettuces and herbs, tomatoes and onion together in a large bowl. Drizzle with the herb salad dressing and toss again. Sprinkle with the goat cheese and serve

*Herb Salad Dressing

¼ Cup Lowfat Buttermilk or Yogurt

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

1 Tsp Honey

1 Clove Grated Garlic

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 TB Finely Chopped Tarragon, (or whatever herbs you have on hand)

Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper to taste

Shake all the ingredients together in a jar and taste for salt and pepper

Spicy Tuesday – Spanish Rice and Seafood Stew – Fennel

We love Fennel! Once difficult to find in the local grocery store, now you can find it almost everywhere. Usually lurking between the cabbage and bokchoy in the produce section, fennel is often thought of as a vegetable, but its actually a herb.

It’s not only the crispy crunchy parts of the fennel that we enjoy, but the dill fronds are great for garnish, too. Just like dill, the wispy light ends make a perfect addition to the top of this yummy seafood stew – or in a salad as a luscious green.

Did you know fennel contains an abundant amount of antioxidants? Rutin, quercitin, and various kaempferol glycosides just to name a few. Most important is its volatile oil anethole– In animal studies, it has repeatedly been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer.

This recipe is a little longer than the ones we typically share – but, OH, its worth it!

Spanish Rice

Serves 8 – 12 Depending on size of ramekin or mold

2 TB Olive Oil

2 Cups Valencia or Paella Rice

1 Chopped Red Onion

1 Garlic Clove, minced or grated

4 Cups Veggie Stock

1 TB of Tomato Paste

2 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Tsp Dried Oregano

1 Tsp Sea Salt

½ Tsp Black Pepper

Step One In a large stockpot, brown the rice in olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and tomato paste and cook until the onion is softened. Add the garlic and cook and stir until fragrant. Stir in the paprika, oregano, salt and pepper.

Step Two In another pot bring the stock to a boil. When boiling, add it to the original pot and stir. Bring to a simmer, cover and let cook about 15 – 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked.

Step Three Srpay a small mold or ramekin with non-stick spray. Pack the rice into the ramekin and turn over onto a plate.

Provencal Tomato Seafood Stew

Serves 6 – 8

1 Large Red Onion, Chopped

1 Large Red Bell Pepper Chopped

1 Head Fennel Chopped, fronds reserved

4 TBs Olive Oil

¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper

½ Tsp Black Pepper

1 Tsp Sea Salt, plus more to taste

3 Cloves Garlic, chopped or grated

8 Large Ripe Tomatoes Chopped with all their juices, (or Fire Roasted Canned Tomatoes)

2 Cups Veggie or Fish Stock

1 LB White Fish (Cod, Halibut or other)

1 LB Medium Shrimp

½ LB Calamari (Cleaned & in Rings)

¼ Cup Chopped Parsley

¼ Cup Chopped Basil

1 TB Lemon Zest

Lemon Wedges

Step One In a large sauté pan, over medium heat, cook the onion, red pepper and fennel in the olive oil, with the turmeric, peppers and salt until wilted and soft.

Step Two Add in two thirds of the grated garlic and cook until fragrant – about a minute. Add the tomatoes and cook and stir for 4-5 minutes. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes. Add in the fish and shrimp and simmer until opaque. Add in the calamari and cook until just warm – about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat.

Step Three Stir the parsley, basil lemon zest into the stew. Garnish with lemon and fennel fronds.

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.