Living and Eating Well!


Spicy Tuesday – Shallot Dressing with Thyme and Parsley – Thyme

This week’s recipe is inspired by Provence and its abundance of gorgeous herbs and spices. This combo of herbs and savory shallots packs the perfect punch of flavor for a crisp green salad. But don’t use it just on salad, it’s the perfect marinade for fish, mushrooms or almost any protein you getting ready to roast or grill.

Thyme plays a starring role in the dressing with its herby, fresh and earthy zing. Adding it to the mix points up the tang of the Dijon mustard, too! Almost any mushroom dish is going to sing when paired with thyme, so remember it when you are sautéing mushrooms as a side dish, too.

Thyme has many health benefits. One recent animal study resulted in a lower blood pressure by rats that used thyme. In humans, it’s also important to remember you can use thyme to replace salt as well which will help lower blood pressure as well. It’s also a good source of copper, fiber, iron and manganese.

Shallot Dressing with Thyme

2 TB Minced Shallots

1 Clove Garlic, grated

2 TB Minced Parsley

1 TB Fresh Thyme

1 TB Dijon Mustard

¼ Cup Red Wine Vinegar

¼ Cup EVOO

½ Tsp Sea Salt

¼ Tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Shake together all the ingredients in a jar or in a bowl with a whisk.

Spicy Tuesday – Crab Stuffed Tomatoes – Basil

Ripe, red tomatoes stuffed full with briny crab, lemon and basil? Yup, we love easy and delicious appetizers like this. This quick recipe fills up lots of small tomatoes – or for a yummy dinner on a hot night, stuff large tomatoes with this salad and place on a bed of crunchy baby lettuces and you have dinner.

The flavors of the crab marry well with the tomatoes, lemon and basil. If you can make this crab stuffing earlier in the day, the flavors develop and meld beautifully as it sits in the refrigerator. Make sure that only the salad goes in the fridge – tomatoes should never be stored in there! Cold makes tomatoes lose their flavor and can make them mealy. Plus, if you’ve bought your tomatoes from the grocery store, the refrigerator’s cold temperatures will stop the ripening process.

Basil adds not only flavor and beautiful bright green color to this salad but also a pop of nutrition. One of the primary medicinal uses for basil is for its anti-inflammatory properties. This effect stems from eugenol, a volatile oil in basil that blocks enzymes in the body that cause swelling, making basil an ideal treatment for people with arthritis. Both fresh basil and basil oil have strong antibacterial capabilities. In fact, basil has been shown to stop the growth of many bacteria, even some that had grown resistant to other antibiotics. Enjoy this summer dish while fueling your body with healthy foods and herbs!

Easy Crab Stuffed Tomatoes

1 LB Fresh Lump Crabmeat

3 Green Onions, thinly sliced – green parts only

2 TB Chopped Basil

1 TB Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice

2 TB Olive Oil Mayo

1/3 Cup Finely Chopped Celery

½ Tsp Fine Sea Salt

Basil, Julienned for Garnish

Sweet Pepper Rings for Garnish

14 – 18 Campari or Cherry Tomatoes

Stir together all the ingredients except the julienned basil and peppers. Stuff the mixture into the tomatoes and garnish with additional basil and pepper rings.

This post originally appeared on June 6th, 2014. The recipe is SO good, we had to share it again!

Spicy Tuesday – Terrific Fish Tacos – Cilantro

We love meals like this – especially in summer when the “living is easy”. Tacos are always a favorite for family and friends, and these are even more delicious that their fried counterparts!

We use Cilantro in both the tacos and the sauce for this yummy recipe. Cilantro provides a herby, grassy flavor pop to the dish! Cilantro has virtually no calories so it is a great way to ramp up the flavor of your food but not add any more calories. It does have, however, a ton of antioxidants and a natural ability to cleanse your body. It can detox from heavy metals that could potentially build up in the body so it is a great addition to a clean food plan.

Terrific Fish Tacos

1-2 LBs Fish Filets cut in Strips (Your choice of white fish)

¼ Cup Panko Bread Crumbs

2 TB Cornmeal

½ Tsp Smoked Paprika

4 Cups Shredded Napa Cabbage

½ Cup Shredded Carrots

¼ Cup Thinly Sliced Green Onions

2 TB Chopped Cilantro

Juice and Zest of 2 Limes

2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste

6 -12 Corn Tortillas, Warm

1 Recipe Taco Sauce

Lime and Avocado for Garnish

Step One Preheat the ove to 350F. Bread the fish by placing the panko, cornmeal and paprika in a plastic zippy bag. Add the fish slices a few at a time and shake to coat well. Place the slices on a sheet tray and cook for 5 – 8 minutes or until the fish is flaky and white.

Step Two While the fish is cooking, add the cabbage, carrots, onions cilantro, juice, zest and oil to a bowl. Toss, taste for salt and pepper.

Step Three Place the slaw and a few slices of tilapia in each taco. Top with a healthy dollop of sauce.

Terrific Taco Sauce

½ Cup Light Mayonnaise

1 TB Lime Juice

2 TB Chopped Pickled Jalapenos

1 TB Chopped Cilantro

Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste

Place the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine.

Spicy Tuesday – Basil Balsamic Vinaigrette topped Grilled Veggies – Basil

There’s nothing better from the grill than seasonal veggies. Here’s a way to serve up those delicious veggies that is not only appetizing – but beautiful. Basil is a great accompaniement to summer produce. It adds a mild spicy zing and a wonderful aroma.

Gorgeous green color, wonderful bright flavor and lots of nutrition, too! Basil is full of flavonoids that protect our body at a cellular level. It also has a ton of Vitamin K (98% of your daily amount in a ½ cup to be exact!) The anti-inflammatory component actually comes from basils volatile oils. The oils block the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase (COX) that is directly related to unhealthy inflammation that leads to many diseases.

Basil-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 Garlic Clove, Grated

2 TB Dry Red Wine

2 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

½ Cup Basil Leaves, (Packed)

¼ – ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Place the first 5 ingredients in a food processor or blender and process well. Drizzle in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Spicy Tuesday – Grilled Summer Veggies with Spanish Almond Caper/Olive Sauce – 080415

We are circling back to the wonderful aroma, taste and nutrition of oregano this week – cause its GRILL time! Here’s a recipe that will have you cool in the kitchen and hot on the bbq outside. Simply slice summer veggies like zucchini, squash, eggplant, tomatoes, etc and toss in olive oil, a little salt and pepper. Grill over a medium hot grill until roasty-toasty-tasty. Spread out on a platter and garnish with this fabulous sauce! Pass around a basket of crusty bread, and dinner is done!

Bright green summer oregano is not only delicious but full of “good-for-you” as well.  Oregano packs a big punch of antioxidants. According to some studies, it has 42 times the antioxidant activity compared to apples. Wow! Oregano extract has been shown to help fight colon, prostate, skin, leukemia, and breast cancer cells. And when its cold and flu season this fall, oregano can encourage the body to get rid of upper respiratory issues.

Grilled Summer Veggies with Spanish Almond Caper/Olive Sauce

1/3 Cup Toasted Whole Almonds

1 TB Water

3 TB Sherry Vinegar

½ Tsp Sea Salt

½ Tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

2/3-Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Cloves Garlic, Peeled

1 Tsp Smoked Paprika

1 Tin Anchovies, drained

1 Cup Capers or Olives or combo

Chopped Fresh Oregano for Garnish

In a food processor or blender, pulse the almonds until coarsely chopped. Add the water, vinegar, sea salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, paprika and anchovies and pulse to combine. Place in a bowl and add the capers or olives (or both). Stir until thoroughly combined.  Serve over chicken (seasoned with sea salt, pepper and smoked paprika), from the grill and garnish with chopped fresh oregano.

Spicy Tuesday – Green Chile Guacamole and Salsa – Cilantro

Summer and the living is easy… and here in the south its SO hot we don’t want to turn on the oven! Here’s a great way to enjoy the bounty of summer tomatoes and other produce without that hot stove. Make sure to cut up some cool cucumbers and carrots to enjoy with these yummy dips!
Cilantro is an integral part of both of these recipes. It tastes great with tomatoes and avocadoes, both. Its green-grassy-fresh flavor is also a hint of its powerful nutrition. Cilantro has a high antioxidant content and the leaves have been shown to inhibit unwanted oxidation processes in the body. It also shows promise for being used to take out heavy metals from your body. It has chelation abilities and is being studied as a natural water purifier.

Best Ever Guacamole

4 Ripe Haas Avocados

1 Small Can of Mild Green Chilies

1 TB Minced Sweet Onion

1 Finely Chopped Jalapeño

2 Cloves Garlic, Grated

1/4 Cup Chopped Cilantro

Sea Salt to Taste

1 Cup Grated Light Cheddar Cheese, optional

Step One

Halve, peel and pit the avocados and coarsely mash. Add the chilies, onion, jalapeno, garlic and cilantro. Salt to taste and spread on a large platter.

Fresh Salsa

1 ½ Cups Water

8 Dried Chilies, (Your choice)

12 – 16 Sun-dried Tomatoes

2 Large Cloves of Garlic

6 – 8 Large, Ripe, Roma Tomatoes

1 TB Fresh Lime Juice

¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro

Sea Salt and Black Pepper to taste.

Step One Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and remove from the heat. Split and seed the chilies, (wear gloves!) and add them to the water – allow to soak for 15 minutes.

Step Two Place the chilies, water, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, Roma tomatoes, lime juice and cilantro in a blender.  Pulse until coarsely chopped and well combined.

Cheater Fresh Salsa

4 Ripe *Tomatoes, Chopped OR 1 Can Fire Roasted Tomatoes drained or combo

2 Cloves of Garlic Grated

1 Tsp Lime Juice

¼ Cup Chopped Cilantro

½ Tsp Smoked Paprika or Chipotle Chili Powder

1 Jalapeño, Minced – Seeds and Ribs removed if desired

Mix the ingredients together and taste for salt and pepper

*You can roast the fresh tomatoes – cut them in halves and place under broiler – skin side up until the tomatoes are blackened.

Watermelon, Beet and Vidalia Summer Salad

Ah… the siren call of watermelon during the hot and sticky days of Summer. Watermelon and beets are a funky combo, and not one that pops to the top of your head immediately! But we love this earthy and sweet combo that not only looks beautiful, but tastes fabulous, as well! Try sharing this salad at your next potluck and soak up the rave reviews!

Whether you are using beet greens that came attached to your beets, or parsley – they both will taste great. But the parsley will add even more nutrition to your colorful salad! Parsley is really a powerhouse. It is one of the herbs with anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. Parsley is also an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.

Watermelon, Beet and Vidalia Onion Salad

2 Medium Sized Beets (with Greens, optional)

6 – 8 Cups Cubed Seedless Watermelon,

3 TB Chopped Parsley (optional)

½ Thinly Sliced Vidalia Onion, placed in a bowl of ice water for 10 minutes and drained well.

1 Recipe Citrus Vinaigrette*

Step One Clean the beets well, if you have beets with greens, cut them off and reserve. Place the beets in a square of aluminum foil and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in a 425F oven and roast for 45 minutes or 1 hour until tender. Set aside until you can peel, and peel if necessary and cube the beets – about the same size as the watermelon.

Step Two Toss the beets, watermelon and onions together in a bowl. Drizzle with dressing and garnish with chopped beet greens or parsley.

*Citrus Vinaigrette

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 TB Orange Juice

1 Tsp Orange Zest

1 Tsp Dijon Mustard

¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Shake the juices, zest, mustard and olive oil together in a jar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spicy Tuesday – Celery Root Salad – Tarragon

Do you know what Celeraic is? Or maybe you know it by its other name – celery root? Either way, it’s a delicious crunchy vegetable that is exactly what it sounds like, the root of celery! Its often served in France with a Remoulade sauce, as a rich and creamy side. This spin on the traditional is crisp and much more fresh tasting than the original.

Find celery root in your local grocery or speciality store. Look for a root that is still hard and looks fresh. Peel and then grate by hand or in the food processor. Its tough to grate,  but worth it!

The sweet spiciness of fresh chopped tarragon is perfect with the crisp, clean tasting celeriac. If you’re a frequent reader of our Spicy Tuesday, you’ll know that tarragon is more than just pretty! It’s a powerhouse – Did you know that tarragon is called “the king of herbs” because it is rich in nutrients and vitamins? There was a study done in 2005 that determined tarragon (specifically the oil) worked as a free radical scavenger. You’ll love the taste AND the nutrition in this delicious salad.

Celery Salad

¼ Cup Olive Oil Mayo

½ Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt

2 TB Whole Grained or Grainy Mustard

1 TB Dijon Mustard

2 TB Lemon Juice

1 Tsp Lemon Zest

1 Tsp Sea Salt

2 LBs Celery Root, peeled and grated

2 TB Chopped Tarragon

Mix together the mayo, yogurt, mustards, juice and zest and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add the celery and tarragon and mix well.

Spicy Tuesday – Cherry Balsamic Dressing Topped Romaine Wedges – Marjoram

Its cherry season – time for cherry creativity in the kitchen! This week’s Spicy Tuesday is all about using cherries in a way you may not of thought of before now: in a salad dressing full of the rich taste of red cherries and the tang of balsamic vinegar. Marjoram, an herb that is oregano’s sweeter cousin adds a slight herbal twist to the salad as well as a brilliant green color.

Marjoram has potential health benefits! Simply adding 2 Tablespoons to a dish makes it a powerhouse. It contains Vitamin A, C, Calcium and Iron. In fact, it is also one of the richest herbal sources of Vitamin K. There are also digestive benefits in drinking marjoram tea.  Certain chemical compounds that are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial are found in marjoram when you eat or drink the herb.

Cherry Balsamic Dressing Topped Romaine Wedges

1 Romaine Head, sliced into quarters lengthwise

1 Green Onion Sliced Thinly

1/2 Cup Blue Cheese Crumbles

1/2 Cup Chopped Toasted Almond

1 Cup Chopped Cherries (or Blueberries)

1 Recipe *Cherry Balsamic Dressing

2 TB Freshly Chopped Marjoram

Place the romaine quarters on 4 plates and top with the onion, cheese, almonds and cherries. Drizzle dressing over the lettuce and top with the marjoram.

*Cherry Balsamic Dressing

2 Cups Pitted Cherries

1 Small Shallot

1/2 Cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice and Zest of 2 Oranges

3 TB Balsamic Vinegar

1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Tsp Each Sea Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Place all the ingredients in a blender and puree.

Spicy Tuesday – Easy Ginger Spiced Granola – Ginger

Here in Atlanta, we have lots of friends and family getting ready for a big event this weekend, The Peachtree Road Race. With almost fifty runs, it has become a Fourth of July tradition. Our recipe this week can provide a to-go snack for those racers leaving home early in the morning, or breakfast for the rest of us as we wait for their triumphant return.

Just a little crystallized ginger provides a lot of flavor for this better-for-you granola. It adds zing and nutrition, too. Ginger is commonly used for motion sickness or an upset stomach. In fact there is one study in particular that proved that ginger was far superior to Dramamine for motion sickness! Sometimes before a run like the Peachtree Road Race, a small amount of a snack like this can help sustain your energy. Ginger is also known to help morning sickness for pregnant women and chemotherapy patients.

Ginger Spiced Granola

3 Cups Oats

¼ Cup Uncooked Millet

¼ Cup Sesame Seeds

¼  Cup Chopped Walnuts

¼ Cup Chopped Almonds

1 ½ Tsp Cinnamon

¼ Tsp EACH Mace 
and Cardamom

¼  Cup Maple Syrup

¼  Cup Orange Juice

Zest of 1 Orange

½ Cup Your Choice of Dried Fruit

2 TB Finely Chopped Crystallized Ginger

Step One Preheat the oven to 300F. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except dried fruit and ginger. Drizzle in the maple syrup and stir well. Add orange juice and zest, stirring so all ingredients are coated.

Step Two Spread the mix out onto a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, stirring checking about every 10 minutes so nothing burns.

Step Three Remove from oven, add the dried fruit and cool completely. Store in an airtight container.