Last week, I grilled cantaloupe and today it’s avocados! I’ve been getting my fruit freak on by firing up whatever pretty produce catches my eye. This isn’t big news at my house. When it comes to backyard cooking, I’m always in beta mode and, thankfully, it’s nearly impossible to mess up a simple, fresh meal on the grill.
This post is sponsored by The National Watermelon Board (Watermelon.org), however all comments, opinions, enthusiasm and content is my own.
I can’t even count how many watermelons have met their final fate at my house, at least dozens of dozens (meaning hundreds) if not more! Watermelon, after all, is my favorite fruit and I eat it every which way including whacked into a wedge and as a featured ingredient in smoothies and on salads, skewers, sandwiches and such.
I’ve used the typically discarded watermelon rind in recipes too – my latest creation is Thai-style Watermelon Rind Shrimp Ceviche! Check out the recipe and join me to #LeaveNoRindBehind ! Continue reading
Turmeric, turmeric, the golden root . . .the more you eat, the more you “whoot”! Pardon me, I’m in a silly mood, but turmeric is an easy-to-use spice ingredient that kicks up both the color and nutrition of your recipes.
You may already be on board with an all-access, fast-track pass to turmeric town. But, newbies and veterans alike will find the mild, earthy taste to complement many dishes – and the health benefits are the bomb. This spice is abundant in curcumin, has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant powers that can help reduce the incidence of many diseases including some cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, depression and more. I’m no doctor, just a fan — google Turmeric Health Benefits to learn more. Meanwhile, check out my roundup of 8 Golden, Good-for-You Turmeric Recipes. Continue reading
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! You probably won’t ever find me sitting in a pub downing Guinness or whisky, but I’ll definitely eat! So today, I’m sharing my crazy, tasty spin on traditional tavern food and Irish Corned Beef Potato Nachos are featured on my menu!
Those lucky Irish, with their abundance of potatoes! Spuds make a super great fuel choice for athletes, the complex carbs provide healthy energy to help nail workout and run goals. I did a whole blog post on this that you can check out HERE. Add corned beef from the deli, sharp white cheddar and a bit of cabbage should you care, and these nachos will have your taste buds dancing a jig. Continue reading
Brighten up any winter snack situation with these Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips colorized with some of Mother Nature’s most vivid ingredients including beet powder, turmeric powder and matcha tea. No need to go all fake and freaky to create edible rainbow colors for your holiday appetizers and other fun recipes throughout the year. These natural ingredients are superfoods (typically found on the health food, spice and tea aisles) and not only pump up the pigment, but boost nutrition as well!
While there are lots of additional benefits, beet root powder boosts nitric oxide in your blood (helping circulation, blood pressure and stamina), ground turmeric is a spice that can help to reduce inflammation and lessen the perception of pain, and matcha tea is known to boost the metabolism, calm the mind and help protect against certain cancers.
The other beauty of these three Vibrant Greek Yogurt Dips is how easy they are to make – I originally created the recipes for Litehouse Foods using first their Homestyle Ranch Dip, then later the OPAdipity Greek Yogurt Dips and finally with Greek yogurt from scratch. Using prepared dips (found in the refrigerated section of your produce department) is an “almost homemade” shortcut perfect when you need to pull together a party ASAP or at the 11th hour realize you didn’t bring a dish for the office shindig. I feel more than comfortable using the Litehouse Foods brand because they are VERY mindful to keep their products as fresh and preservative as possible.
But, knowing these dips aren’t easy for some of you to find (and that many prefer scratch recipes), I’ve written out the full preparation of the recipes (and then noted how to swap in the prepared dressings if that’s the route you choose). The base recipe is the same for all three dips, simply mix in 2 tablespoons of the chosen “superfood” ingredient and add extra garnish on top as desired!
These dips also take sandwiches, wraps, side dishes and steamed veggies to the next level with just a drizzle or dollop! Enjoy and Happy Holidays to Hue!
If you need a visual on the beet powder, ground turmeric and matcha — here are the products I used:
Football parties, tailgating and fall season gathers require dip to draw people together. Just think of all the great gossip, high-fiving and friendly smack talk that has gone down in, what I like to call, the “Chip and Dip Zone.”
But, maybe you hesitate to enter the ZONE for fear of the cheesy dip – is it made of mystery processed “cheese,” loaded with fat upon fat, or just boringly bland? I’ll admit, these thoughts cross my mind, especially flashbacks of tepid fake orange stadium cheese on stale round tortilla chips. That’s why I came up with my Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso – it’s bold and it’s better for you made with REAL ingredients.
I think you’ll definitely widen your mind (and mouth) in appreciation for my Blue Cheese & Fire-roasted Tomato Queso. This unique cheese dip marrieds the audacious attitude blue-cheese with the smoky laid-back goodness of tomatoes roasted over flames. I’ve used my fav brand of blue cheese (Simply Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese Crumbles) and canned fire-roasted tomatoes which. Of course, canned tomatoes are convenient and taste great in recipes, but did you know that they contain more lycopene (a free-radical destroying antioxidant) than those fresh off the vine? It’s true!
While this cheese dip recipe requires a whisk, it’s quite easy prepare, coming together in just 15 minutes or less– and you can keep it warmed for a party but pouring into a small slow cooker. It was first whipped up to celebrated International Beer Day with Litehouse Foods. Using low-fat dairy products help keep this snack sensible in moderation and, if you are on a gluten-free diet, it is easy to swap out flour used in the roux with a gluten-free flour blend (I use Living Now Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour, it’s inexpensive and provides the right texture for my recipe)
Serve Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso with veggie sticks, artisan chips, or chunks of crusty bread. I’ve even reheated the leftovers and poured over cooked zoodles and topped with shrimp for an impromptu “pasta” dinner.
If you are hosting a huge football party, you might want to consider adding my Healthy Snack Stadium to your spread of snacks, appetizers and game-day grub.
[Tweet Not yer stadium cheese dip! Lower-Fat Blue Cheese & Fire-Roasted Tomato Queso #fitfluential #livinglitehouse”]
What football team(s) are you rooting for this season? Are you typically an at-home or stadium spectator? Please share in comments, xoxo Jennifer
We eat guacamole by the truckload over here and I see nothing wrong with that! — I mean, HELLO heart-healthy, creamy, satiating fats! This simple pleasures is a staple in my life, dolloped on my salads, sandwiches and veggies sticks. Making a yummy meal and NOT having guacamole within lifting distance from my lips feels like a hot date that didn’t end with a kiss. Such a bummer!
I’ve used avocados every which way and have a dozens of guacamole recipes in my mealtime rotation. A recent creation is “Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole with a sensational Latin American-inspired twist that is perfect for plantain chip dipping, toast smearing and fish taco topping.
Before jumping into this quick and easy guacamole recipe, let me give you the quick 411 on the magical sauce that inspired it. While originating in the Canary Islands, mojo is a simple sauce that is now splattered and slathered on nearly everything edible in Central America, the Caribbean and parts of the southern U.S. With as many regional variations as there are uses for this quintessential Latin condiment, I’m most familiar with the Cuban preparation. Cuban mojo is made with olive oil, sour citrus juices (like bitter orange and lime juice), oregano, and garlic – loads and loads of garlic. It’s often used as a marinade for pork, chicken and seafood, a dip for fried plantains or yucca, or for dressing veggies and potatoes.
I love the mojo flavor profile and have done past recipes like Mojo Steak Kebabs and Mojo Chicken with Grilled Oranges (below) are both delicious! This guacamole would be a perfect complement to both! Not only can “Gimme Mo” Mojo Citrus Guacamole be served atop a main dish on the dinner plate, to the side of a salad, or in a festive dip bowl – it also makes a clever single-serve presentation scooped into the emptied halves of the orange peel.
I originally developed this recipe for the new Guacamole Herb and Spice Blend from the Instantly Fresh line at Litehouse Foods.It’s a mixture of freeze-dried herbs and seasonings (including cilantro, garlic, red onion and red chili) that make it easy to get the guacamole bowl filled to the top “chop-chop” without endless slicing and dicing! There are no preservatives or other yucky chemicals in this convenient spice blend that you can pick up on the spice aisle or in the produce department (although it doesn’t need to be chilled). If you find a bottle, just swap out the red onion, jalapeno and cilantro in the recipe below for 4 tablespoons of this magical spice blend.
Are you an avocado addict? How many would you guesstimate you eat in a month? What is best thing you’ve dipped a chip or carrot stick into lately? Please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer
You may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting). Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”
The farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.
Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.
I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com — Tri-Colored Quinoa and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
Now, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.
What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer