AvocadOoooohemmmmgeee, you heard me right! It’s amazing simple and insanely appetizing to throw avocados on the grates. Grilling this creamy, savory fruit gives it delicious bits of flame-kissed char and smoky swag that you just won’t find eating it in the typical fashion. Read on to get all the directions to this game-changing avocado hack and find out why they take days (instead of minutes) to turn brown using this method. Continue reading
Even though my family eats (mostly) a healthy diet, I’ve been encouraging my teenagers to break their monotonous meal preferences and try new dishes with exciting flavors. As they move through high school and college there are so many diverse and cultural eating experiences that will be missed (along with a wider array of nutrients) if they are dead set on having turkey meatballs, plain brown rice and an undressed salad for dinner (an all-too-common menu). That’s why I was excited to hear how Birds Eye Veggies is on a mission to redefine the way we all eat our vegetables with their Birds Eye® Flavor Full line of bold and exciting veggies that can be enjoyed as a side dish or the main course! Keep reading down to the end of the post for the Gift Card Giveaway.
This got me to thinking. Can picky eating-children change, or do they just grow up into adults who are ultra finicky about their food? There are valid reasons why a young child may avoid certain foods at all costs — did someone say “temper tantrum”?! Factors that contribute to a picky eater include all the legitimate sensory things you’d connect with food aversions like texture, temperature, taste and flavor. Picky eating is also encouraged by parental response as well as peer pressure when kids get a little older. Allergies, too, can play a welcomed defensive role in picky eating, a way your body tells you to say away from a certain harmful food – but I won’t get into that here.
I believe that with the right opportunities and encouragement, most kids can join the adult world of eating as they move into their ‘tween, teens and early twenties. One reason is that as we age, taste buds dwindle away from an average of 10,000 working taste buds in small kids to only 5,000 in adults – simply put, things start tasting less intense and we naturally seek out more flavor. To support this, a 2005 study published in the Pediatrics journal reports that most children do not like bitter tastes (often found in vegetables), while adults do not find offense.
Another interesting study conducted in 2012 at the University of Copenhagen reported that when children move into their teens, they have a decreased interest in sugary tastes and a higher sophistication to distinguish between tastes – however, they are often more resistant to trying new foods than toddlers! This is why, we as parents, need to set a good example by eating a balanced diet filled with a variety of colorful, nutrient-dense whole foods.
Here are some tips to encourage the teenagers in your family to become veggie lovers and also try out other exciting new flavors. Of course, if your teen is not eating because of control issues, an eating disorder, real or perceived allergies or other concerning reasons, please see a medical professional as soon as possible.
- Get teens cooking: Not only does teaching your older children how to prepare meals create self-sufficiency; it also creates a more adventurous attitude about eating as they master various skills.
- Host international night: Once a month, prepare a meal that features cuisine from a different culture – for example, Indian, Korean, Thai, or Italian (no pizza!). To keep everyone happy, every family member gets to select one recipe to be included on the menu, but has to eat at least three bites of every other dish. Have them invite a friend over who may just announce “ooh, I love curry” – and suddenly your son or daughter will too!
- Focus on vegetable variety: As teens lose their taste for sugar (allegedly it’s a real thing!), support their savory side with more and more vegetables. Look past buttered green beans and toward more exotic or bold tastes, like Buffalo Cauliflower! Filling up your plate with a rainbow of vegetables is the easiest and tastiest way to optimize health, in my opinion.
- Educate and relate: Share online resources for healthy and clean eating with your children. Older kids are smart enough to understand that eating vegetables and a variety of foods is best, but are sneaky when it comes to actually eating what you serve – just think of all the Brussels sprouts “dropped” on the floor or yogurt and berry parfaits swapped for pink cupcakes at lunch. I always share the story of how I traded my celery, peanut butter and raisin “ants on a log” for Ding Dongs at lunch and quickly lost my get-up-and-go for gymnastics practice in the afternoon.
- Role model without pushing: No one likes a pea pusher, and even worse so if it’s your own mother or father. With most teens, realize that the more you “strongly suggest” you eat your vegetables or try new dishes, the more likely they are to rebel by absolutely doing the opposite. They are teens, they will come around – just keep the message honest yet low-key, the most important thing you can do is be a role model for clean eating.
As I hinted, I’ve been using Birds Eye Vegetables in my covert parental plan to encourage my teens to embrace new foods. The line of Birds Eye® Flavor Full vegetables transforms plain veggies with bold and on-trend flavors – it makes eating healthy side dishes so much fun. Plus, I love the convenience of the Steamfresh packaging – you just heat up in the microwave right in the bag. When my kids are making dinner, having one less dish to clean up is a major selling point! The unexpected but utterly delicious flavors include Buffalo Cauliflower, Ranch Broccoli, Sour Cream & Onion Potatoes, Teriyaki Broccoli, Barbecue Sweet Corn, Sweet Chili Carrots, Wasabi Peas and Fiesta Lime Corn. Check here for a product locator.
Head over and get a $1.00 off coupon that is good for 30 days once downloaded (but must be used by 12/31/2015).
Follow the Rafflecopter app directions to enter now through Dec 9th.
I have a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you (I’m pointing to all of y’all)! I’ve been having this love affair with jicama for a while now, you’ve probably seen some of the posts here and on Instagram– this is one of my favorite, Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer. I now have a new addition to the no-cook meal solutions — Four No-Cook Jicama Wraps! It’s the perfect solution for the dog days of summer — and speaking of the “dog days,” check out my Lucy helping me with yoga!
I revisited this jicama obsession when I noticed that my grocery store started stocking jicama “tortillas” in their produce department. They are made in-house and sold in the convenience prepped veggie section – I did a little jump for joy when I first spotted them sitting there waiting for me. I’ve drooled over all the jicama “taco” recipes on Pinterest, but I’ve never been able to slice my jicama that thin (cause I’m not losing a finger on the mandolin)! Yay, now I have people that do that for me!
I originally made this collection of jicama tacos (or wraps or rollups – what does one call them?) to showcase the OPA by Litehouse™ Greek Yogurt Dressings. I love those dressings, they taste so rich and indulgent but they have fewer calories than traditional dressings . . . and more protein, too!
Some of the perks of these jicama rollups – the are Paleo friendly depending exactly what you put on top; they are crispy, crunch and low calorie; and, whoot-whoot – there is no heating up the kitchen with the oven.
Sliced Black Mission Figs + Arugula + Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese + Balsamic Syrup + OPA by Litehouse™ Blue Cheese Dressing
Full disclosure on this one — the quinoa is cooked, obviously. It was leftover — use any leftover grain that you have like brown rice, wheat berry, couscous and so on!
Don’t forget to check out my past round-up of Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer.
Are you a fan of jicama? What is your favorite no-cook recipe for the dog days of summer? Please share in the comments below!
Other than turkey, nothing says Thanksgiving more than a bottle of full of bourbon in my family. We’ll have that sucker drained in no time — no so much taking shots (okay, maybe a couple), but rather as a spirited ingredient in my holiday menu.
Watch this video of Rick Rodgers, chef and author of The Big Book of Sides, make Bacon, Onion and Bourbon Marmalade –it’s fantastic and versatile enough to spread it on a biscuit or dress a bowl full of warm green beans. Oh, and I’m hosting a giveaway for a copy of The Big Book of Sides, so enter at the bottom of this post.
Based on Rick’s recipe for Pomegranate Glazed Carrots (p. 148 of The Big Book of Sides) and my new found bottle of Four Roses Bourbon, I was inspired to create my own side dish recipe — Apple Cider Bourbon Glazed Carrots. These carrots are so delicious and make a perfect pairing with your roast turkey or even a juicy steak – and because I’m using coconut (palm) sugar, they are even Paleo-diet friendly.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound carrots, scrubbed and green tops removed
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 tablespoon coconut (palm) sugar
- Sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped pecans
- Melt butter in medium skillet over medium heat. Add carrots in single layer and pour in apple cider and bourbon. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring sauce to boil over high heat, occasionally stirring to dissolve coconut sugar.
- Cover and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 6 to 8 minutes to soften remove lid and bring heat up to high. Boil until sauce has reduced to a glaze, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer to serving platter, sprinkle with pecans, and season with additional salt and pepper if needed. Serves 4.
So, if you’ve ever struggled with side dish ideas and are tired of the same old mashed potatoes or plain buttered peas, The Big Book of Sides has more than 450 recipes that will add pizzazz and razzamatazz to your holiday plate. Some of the side dish recipes that spoke to me were Chard Puttanesca; Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes; Farro, Cherry and Feta Salad; and Chipotle Corn Pudding. Enter below for a chance to win a copy of this must-have manual for the home cook – if you can’t wait to win, you can pick up a copy on Amazon.
This post and giveaway is sponsored. I received product and other compensation in exchange for my time; all opinions, editorial comments, content and photographs are my own, unless otherwise noted.
Snapping peas, shucking corn, wandering through the woods in search of huckleberries – the chores of summer have me salivating! Fresh fruits and vegetables are the cornerstone of my kitchen creations and the summer season offers so many fresh-for-the-picking possibilities. In addition to the Any Way, Any Day Grilled Steak Salad recipe I share below, I’ve gathered up this collection of some of my favorite warm weather recipes that are ideal for outdoor entertaining! Enjoy!
If you are looking for a “no recipe” recipe that takes advantage of the season’s freshest ingredients, then my Any Way, Any Day Grilled Steak Salad will delight you with its lack of details – but let me assure you this healthy salad is in no shy in sunny day, farm-fresh flavor! You can fix up this entrée salad on a plate or platter for dinner tonight, or package up in a mason jar to take for the best lunch break ever. Jar salads are genius in form and function – a vibrant rainbow of goodness layered in a handy container that can be taken “to go” en route to a picnic, concert in the park, the gym, or even work (sigh). When ready to dig into the salad simply give it a shake and then eat from the jar or pour onto a plate – because it is layered in the reverse order of a typical salad, the lettuce ends up on the bottom of the plate and the salad dressing on top!
Any Way, Any Day Grilled Steak Salad Recipe
- 12 ounce top sirloin steak, 1” thick
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
- 8 cups chopped greens (like romaine lettuce, kale, spinach, an assortment)
- 4 cup assortment of chopped or shredded vegetables of choice (like cucumber, snap peas, carrots, radish, celery, tomatoes, etc.)
- 1 (15-oz) can beans of choice, drained and rinsed (like black bean, chick pea, edamame, kidney, etc.)*
- 1 cup salad toppings (like pecans, almonds, feta cheese, dried or fresh fruit or assortment)
- 1 6-oz carton plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon or equivalent “sweet” dressing component (honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.)
- 1 teaspoon “spicy” dressing component (Sriacha sauce, chipotle powder, Tabasco, etc.)
- Preheat grill to 400 F degrees.
- In small bowl, make a paste of garlic, olive oil, pepper and salt.
- Use fork tines to slightly pierce steak all over the front and bottom. Apply paste liberally to steak, rub until well coated.
- Grill steak for approximately 5 -6 minutes per side, flipping only once if possible. Remove when instant read thermometer registers 135 F degrees. Let rest for approximately 5 minutes (temperature should rise to 145, which is medium rare).
- Slice steak into thin slices across the grain. If desired, then cut slices into bite-sized pieces.
- In small bowl, whisk together yogurt and chosen dressing components.
- To assemble salad on plate, start with lettuce, then vegetables, beans, beef slices, salad toppings and then dressing. For the jar salad, dollop dressing in the jar first and then layer with vegetables, beans, beef, lettuce and then salad toppings. Serves 4.
*If lettuces and other delicate ingredients are layered at the top of the jar (away from the dressing and juicy meat), the salads will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make ahead for busy work day lunches!
If you like the idea of jar salads, don’t miss these other two I love:
This post is sponsored by Foodie.com. However, all commentary, opinions and recipes are naturally my own.
You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy the wholesome goodness of this Southwestern-Spiced Roasted Veggie Wrap. A spinach tortilla is lightly charred on the grill (or gas burner) and then stuffed with roasted vegetables kicked up with a light dusting of cumin and chipotle chile powder. Perfect for a #MeatlessMonday meal.
Southwestern-Spiced Roasted Veggie Wrap Recipe
- 1 medium zucchini, cut into ¼” planks
- 1 medium summer squash, cut into ¼” planks
- 1 red bell pepper, quartered
- 2 carrots, quartered lengthwise
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ancho or chipotle chile powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 4 spinach tortillas
- 1 large avocado
- 2 teaspoon lime juice
- 4 spinach tortillas
- 4 ounces fresh spinach leaves
- Preheat grill or broiler. In large bowl, toss together zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper, chile powder and cumin with oil. Place in single layer on large baking sheet. Grill or broil vegetables 4 to 6 minutes per side, turning once.
- Remove veggies from oven and let cool for 5 minutes; cut into long julienned strips approximately ¼ inch wide.
- In small bowl, mash avocado with lime juice. Spread in even portions across each tortilla, leaving a ½ rim at the border.
- Spread out a pile of fresh spinach on top of each tortilla. Arrange remaining filling ingredients in a row along in the center of tortilla.
- Roll of tortilla as tightly as possible, cut in half crosswise and secure with toothpicks if needed.
- If packing in a lunchbox, switch the avocado and spinach steps so that tortilla doesn’t become soggy. Serves 4.
Three servings of veggies are the recommended bare minimum amount for the daily diet of an adult – are you getting enough? Snacking on vegetables is a great way to help you meet and surpass this good health goal. this Forget about the chips and cookies; it’s so much easier to reach for a healthy handful of veggies if you’ve prepped them and have them waiting in the fridge. Keep cut up veggies in single-serve zip-top baggies for on-the-go grabbing – I also love to make mini veggie dip cups to serve the kids after school (great for a party too).
Oh, one last thing to mention! In a rare moment of organization, I pulled all my workouts and put them on one page that is easily accessible by the category bar under the header. The precious minutes you save by not having to hit the search bar can be reallocated to some extra burpees. You can thank me later!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Hum along now. There’s fresh produce for shopping with vine-ripe goodness a popping, to nourish my family held dear. Yes, it’s the hap- happiest season of all, with foods so darn delicious and purposefully nutritious, for friends come over to call. Okay, while I might not be a songwriter at heart, I certainly am a natural-born lover of warm weather and the wonderful bounty of byproducts the spring season brings – namely an abundance of fruits and vegetable, beautiful flowers and the invitation of mild mile upon mile on the running trails.
Today I’m so happy to share a trail running tempo run I created for CorePower.com (and awesome, high-protein recovery shake I frequently drink) and a rainbow-inspired dinner idea for Confetti Veggie, Fruit & Bean Lettuce Wraps – perfect for a #MeatlessMonday!
Now, onto the food! I love this healthy recipe because it uses more fruits and vegetables that can be counted on two hands. Gobble up a few of these lettuce wraps for lunch or dinner and you’ll be well on your way (if not exceeding) daily consumption goals for fruits and vegetables. Did you know, according to the Center for Disease Control, only a third of American adults report eating two servings a fruit a day and less than 27 percent consumed three or more servings of veggies, the minimum recommended daily amount (RDA)? Notice how I bolded the word minimum? That’s because the RDA sets forth only the lowest level of nutrients needed for the average, already healthy person to keep from becoming malnourished. The minimum.
I truly believe we should all be eating more fruits and vegetables, as opposed to the minimum. I wrote a post for Living Litehouse about how, as Americans, we are blessed to live in a country with easy access to high-quality, fresh foods that are reasonably affordable in the scheme of things. If you don’t agree, put your Starbuck’s latte or iPhone down and think about it for a minute — I’m taking a soapbox stance here.
I recently gave an affordable healthy cooking demonstration in a 300+ packed auditorium in the lower-income part of town. The participants were friendly, engaged and open to learning my healthy cooking tips. Many approached me afterward talking about the woes of chronic health conditions (created by being overweight). I got home and, at first, thought it unusual that I had about 250+ more “direct” referrals in my Google Analytics for the day – that is, until I realized that as I was on the stage, all these low-income people were hitting my blog from their smart phones. This argument that eating healthfully is too expensive gets a reality check. Remember, you don’t need to shop at Whole Foods (unless you have money to burn) to eat well. Put down the $6 fruit cup and buy a sale-priced 10-pound bulk bag of the grapefruit (or whatever) for half the price at the “regular” grocery store.
A recent Harvard study reports it only takes $1.50 per day to eat a “healthy” diet as opposed to the processed, packaged and convenience diet that has become a way of life for many – I’d even say it costs even less if you know how to shop sales. So, in the end – it’s a priority, do you want a data plan or to die? Okay, I know that’s a little extreme – but you know what I’m saying.
Confetti Veggie, Fruit & Bean Lettuce Wraps Recipe.
- ½ cup seeded and diced cucumber
- ½ cup grated carrots
- ½ cup chopped red onion
- ½ cup diced strawberries
- ½ cup diced pineapple
- ½ cup diced papaya
- ½ cup diced mango
- 1 15-oz. can black beans – drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tbsp. diced fresh Jalapeno
- 2 tbsp. green onions, sliced
- 2 head washed and dried baby romaine lettuce leaves
- 2 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- 1 oz. snow pea shoots
- 4 oz. Litehouse Food’s Huckleberry Vinaigrette* (extra for dipping)
*You can use any “sweet-ish” vinaigrette you prefer like a poppy seed, honey Dijon, balsamic, etc. I just love the Huckleberry Vinaigrette by Litehouse Foods because it is so fresh and flavorful, not too sweet – and has actual whole huckleberries in the bottle!
- In large bowl, toss together cucumber, carrots, red onion, strawberries, pineapple, papaya, mango, black beans, cilantro, jalapeno and green onions.
- Stir in Huckleberry Vinaigrette (or dressing of choice) and allow mixture to sit for five minutes so herbs rehydrate.
- Add a spoonful of fruit and vegetable mixture to the center of lettuce leaf. Repeat for remaining lettuce leaves and mixture.
- Sprinkle feta cheese on top of mixture and garnish with snow pea shoots.
- Serve with additional Huckleberry Vinaigrette for dipping
Okay, doing this whole 2014 CrossFit Games Open has been a real challenge for this runner who likes to cherry pick her WODs. I’m the one who won’t do the heavy squats because “I’m saving my legs for a race” or substitutes pull-ups for muscle-ups because “they are more fun and I can actually do them.” I’m made it through four of the open workouts with just one left this weekend, and let me tell you every weakness has been exposed –but my spirit hasn’t been broken. For every double-under I tripped over and weighted lift I buckled under, I made up for with pretty-darn good abilities on the bar and lots of endurance. Really the failures (although I really can’t call them that) only put a burr in my britches to become proficient in the skill. Check back next week for a full report on the whole experience.
Now onto the food! If you’ve been on Pinterest or crossed paths with a Paleo food fanatic, you’ll well aware that the once neglected cauliflower has been elevated to king of the cruciferous vegetables. This big white vegetable is no longer looked upon as your grandma’s cauliflower, boiled and bland. Today you’ll find smashed cauliflower, riced cauliflower, cauliflower in muffins, soups and curries – and even cauliflower pizza crust.
My kids think cauliflower looks like a human brain and I tell them that’s because it’s a really smart food to put on their plates. High in dietary fiber and low in calories, this versatile veggie is packed with beneficial vitamins (including vitamin C, vitamin K and manganese) that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
While you can get crazy with cauliflower, sometimes simple healthy recipes are the best. My recipe for “Oh Yes” Oven-Roasted Cauliflower will be gobbled up by everyone in the family, even the pickiest kids! Creamy and slightly sweet when roasted, my husband took a bite and exclaimed about it’s deceiving decadence — “it tastes like butter!”
“Oh Yes” Oven-Roasted Cauliflower Recipe
- 1 large head cauliflower
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- ¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 425 F degrees.
- Remove outer leaves from head and thoroughly wash cauliflower. Use a knife and/or hands to break up cauliflower into approximate 1-inch pieces.
- Add florets into bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with chili powder and garlic salt; toss to distribute evenly.
- Place cauliflower on large rimmed baking sheet. Bake at 425 F degrees for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until beginning to turn light brown.
- Sprinkle with cheese and return to oven for 2 minutes. Remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley.
Cooking Light always does a great job on making my favorite vegetables even more delicious. Check out this recipe gallery that is blooming with 21 of their inspiring cauliflower recipes – you won’t know where to start!