No creamy dressings for me! Yes, you saw that correctly, I said “no creamy dressings for me!” Well, let me backtrack a little…
Back in the good old 1990’s and early 2000’s fat was BAD. Like really BAD. Like if you even thought about adding avocado to something, people would scorn you. So sad, right? Indeed, it was a sad time, because during that time, I decided to give up some pretty yummy foods.
I know, that sounds a little bossy, “eat more salad!” But, I really think you should. Why? Well, because my guess is that you’re not eating as many servings of fruits and vegetables as you should!
Oh, don’t get upset, I’m not mad at you, I’m just trying to bring some awareness to what you’re putting in that body of yours. The statistics back me up when I say that you’re not getting enough – to the tune of that 85% of us aren’t getting our 2 1/2-cup equivalent servings of vegetables each day! Don’t believe me? The newest Dietary Guidelines for Americans discusses our deficit and encourages us to shift to a diet that places more focus consuming vegetables.
Growing up in Indiana, I always looked forward to summer.
What kid doesn’t, right? Summer meant no school and that meant lots of warm days and nights filled with fun. I remember playing so hard that when my head hit the pillow, I almost instantaneously fell asleep. Those thoughts and memories make me smile, because I love remembering how easy and wonderful life was then. Summer to me also meant sweet, delicious fruit. And I loved it all, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, peaches, strawberries and WATERMELON!
Who starts a blog post like that? Oh, I do! Why? Because I’m feeling a little bit like a slacker dietitian, because…well…because I’ve NEVER made overnight oats. Nope, never have. I know, crazy, right? Overnight oats are everywhere and everyone claims they’re awesome. They always look tasty, but I’ve never tried them. When I heard that this month’s Recipe Redux theme was to try a fellow Redux-er’s recipe, I knew I had to try Amber’s Blueberry-Walnut Overnight Oats as my overnight oats “guinea pig.”
There’s something so incredibly delicious about Mexican hot chocolate. If you’ve never had it, you must try it. At first all you taste is delicious, creamy chocolate and then, something special happens – a kick of heat. Oh yeah. It’s unexpectedly tasty and leaves you wanting another sip. That hot chocolate is great, but when it’s summer, I’m not in the mood for hot beverages. How else, then, could I celebrate those flavors? Well, through yogurt, of course – with this Mexican Hot Chocolate Yogurt with Berries.
It’s probably not too shocking to hear that I love salads. But, let me clarify, I like salads that have lots of flavor and that satisfy. So if I’m building a salad, rest assured that it will taste good, be nutritious and leave you feeling content – like a happy little rabbit. Guaranteed then, that this Spinach Salad with Macerated Strawberry dressing will leave your little white tail twitching with joy.
I love little bites of things. I remember in culinary school we had a class called garde manger. This fancy French phrase refers to the cook or chef who works on the “cold” side of the kitchen – making the appetizers, pate, terrines, salads and other awesome, high-maintenance foods. I actually really detested this class. Why spend so much time creating those crazy layered things or pureeing all of that meat? It seemed weird and fussy.
In my opinion, canned salmon is an unsung hero in the food and nutrition world. Convenient, versatile and super-nutritious, it’s a shame that it’s so under-appreciated.
Why don’t we use canned salmon more often in our recipes and meals? Perhaps it conjures up memories of the dry, flavorless salmon patties of your childhood. Perhaps it has to do with the lack of foodie “buzz”, because the culinary world hasn’t exactly embraced it either. I mean, when have you ever seen it featured in a dish on a menu at a trendy restaurant?
With the negative connotations and the lack of fanfare, canned salmon hasn’t had much of a chance to shine. I think it’s time to change that! Here’s why:
Bring on the Canned Salmon! 3 Reasons Why It’s Great.
It’s Versatile! – Canned salmon can be used for salads, burgers, meatballs and so much more! That seems like a pretty great blank canvas if you ask me!
It’s Convenient! – All you need is a can-opener, no cooking required. Highly portable and easy to use. The definition of the modern connivence food.
It’s Nutritious! – Loaded with nutritious Omega-3 fats as well as selenium and protein, canned salmon is an easy way to fit more fish (you should be eating at least 8 or more ounces per week!) into your diet.
Place bulgur in a medium bowl. Add salt, then cover with boiling water. Immediately cover the bowl with a piece of plastic wrap and let bulgur steam for about 20 minutes.
To a blender add the the Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and dill. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and blend until smooth. (Dressing can be made without a blender, finely chop garlic and dill and then whisk all ingredients together.)
Divide lettuce and portion into bowls. Top each bowl with bulgur, salmon, cucumber and tomatoes. Drizzle with dressing and serve.
*Disclaimer – this recipe hasn’t actually won any official awards or titles. And it hasn’t been entered in any recipe contests or been featured on the Food Network. So my guacamole is technically “award-less,” however it’s unofficially a “winner” (hence, Winning Guacamole) in my small circle of nearest and dearest. And I’m about to let you in on my not-so-secret recipe! But first, there are some things you should know.
Guacamole 101: What You Need to Know
Pick the Avocado – This is a big deal, so it’s imperative you get it right. How do you choose the right avocado? Depends on when you want to make your guacamole. If you don’t need it until a couple of days from now, it’s ok to buy the rock-solid avocado because it will continue to ripen. If you want it tonight, buy the one that gives just a little when you apply a light pressure to it. Skip the super soft ones and the ones with dents and dings.
Don’t Skip the Onion – So many people tell me they want to leave out the onion, but I encourage you not to do that. Instead, if onion causes you trouble, consider this little trick – chop it and then add it to a bowl of water. Let it sit there while you’re making the guacamole and then drain it and add it. Soaking the onion will help remove some of the bitter compounds, so you won’t have that pungent onion taste in your mouth.
Add salt – Every time I make this guacamole someone always asks, “why does this taste so good?” It’s not that I am an awesome guacamole maker or that I have a special guacamole secret, it’s just salt. Yes, you heard me, salt. If you don’t add the right amount, it’ll just taste like mashed avocados and onion. Add the salt, and you’ve become a culinary genius! Afraid of salt, it’s ok, I understand, but in this recipe I’m only using 1/4 teaspoon of salt and that equals to about 145 milligrams of sodium per serving. That’s a relatively small amount considering 2300 milligrams per day is your cutoff.
There, now you’re armed and dangerous. Time to get to the store and stock up on avocados so you can make a big batch of my No Fail Winning Guacamole!