Welcome to My Blog!

By doing research for my blog, I hope to learn about making better food choices for my family and me. I want to eat foods that contain the least amount of hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, preservatives, sugar and salt. It is going to be a challenge, since I am a junk food junkie at heart, the cost of organic foods can be considerably more, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen! With that in mind, it’s my goal to prepare meals that are delicious, simple and healthy. I am not a doctor or nutritionist, just an ordinary wife and mother, sharing my journey with you!

Rena, The Healthy Food Blogger

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil & Pecorino Romano

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

This healthy and delicious vegetable side dish reminds me of summer! It is full of wonderful flavors…tangy lemon juice and zest, salty Pecorino Romano, fresh basil with a subtle buttery taste…not to mention the English peas and sugar snap peas! In just a few minutes you get a wonderful dish that everybody will love! This terrific recipe came from Williams-Sonoma.com.

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil & Pecorino Romano

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic butter
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ pound sugar snap peas, trimmed
  • 1 pound English peas, shelled
  • ¼ cup water
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • Fresh basil, approximately 4 sprigs torn into pieces
  • Freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, approximately 1 ounce

Directions:

  1. Using a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the sugar snap peas and the English peas. Pour in the water. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and cover. Cook for about 2 minutes. Uncover and stir on occasion, until water has evaporated. The peas should be tender crisp and bright green.
  2. Remove pan from heat. Grate 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Add the juice of ½ lemon and the zest. Then salt and pepper to taste. Mix well. Finally, add the grated cheese and the basil.

Sautéed Garden Peas with Basil and Pecorino Cheese

Watermelon Popsicles

Watermelon Popsicles

Record temperatures are occurring across the country. Yesterday in Las Vegas, it was 115° F! The temperature at 9:00 p.m. was 107° F. So I was delighted when I received my Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker from Amazon.com.

You can find popsicle recipes all over the internet. But it took a recent show on Rachael Ray that made me finally buy the molds. The guest on her show used watermelon and kiwi purees with mini chocolate chips to make them look like “real” slices of watermelon. I bought the chocolate chips, but the chips sank to the bottom. I was lazy and didn’t want to wait for the puree to get partially frozen to add the chips. I loved the taste of the watermelon, which was refreshing and sweet. The kiwi was a nice artistic touch, but it was tangy and tart! My daughter will be coming home in a week from her internship in Washington, D.C. and I know that she will just love the “plain” watermelon popsicles! Needless to say, I look forward to experimenting with different fruits to make naturally sweet, tasty and healthy ice pops!

Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker

 

Watermelon Popsicles

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups watermelon puree
  • ½ cup kiwi puree (approximately 4 kiwis)
  • Sweetener (optional) for kiwi
  • Popsicle mold + popsicle sticks (10 3 ounce individual molds)

Directions:

  1. Using a blender, make the watermelon puree by cutting up the melon into large chunks (1″ x 2″) enough to make 3 cups.
  2. Rinse out the blender and place chopped up pieces of kiwi into it. Puree the kiwi.
  3. Pour the watermelon puree into the mold, leaving ¾” free for the kiwi puree.
  4. Cover the mold and place in the freezer for 1 to 1¼ hours.
  5. Add the kiwi puree to the top of the mold. Cover and place the popsicle sticks in the slots. Freeze until hard.
  6. To remove the popsicles from mold, place the mold container in a large container or a sink filled with warm water for about 20 seconds. Gently remove and eat immediately or cover each popsicle individually with plastic wrap and place in the freezer.

 

Watermelon Popsicles

Frittata Muffins

DSC_0126

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for quick, easy, and healthy breakfast recipes that can be prepared ahead of time for the busy work week. Well, I just found a delicious one from Health.com! It uses a sautéed mixture of onion, mushrooms, and red bell peppers with chopped parsley and basil; but I substituted it with frozen organic spinach for added nutritional value. It’s one of those recipes that you can change some of the ingredients to suit your tastes. What was really important to me, I found that they can be stored in snack bags (even frozen) and reheated in the microwave! I am so glad to add some tasty variety to my morning breakfast meals!

Frittata Muffins

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Frittata Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ chopped medium onion
  • ¾ cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • ½ cup chopped frozen organic spinach, thawed
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 6 large organic eggs
  • 2 tablespoon organic nonfat or whole milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350° F.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large nonstick frying pan. Add onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Cook until tender. Add the spinach and stir. Finally, salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Grease a 12 cup muffin tin with oil. Add the vegetable mixture.
  4. Using a 2 cup glass measuring cup with spout, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add salt and pepper. Pour into muffin cups. Bake for approximately 17 minutes.
  5. Using a small spatula, gently remove frittatas from muffin tin. Serve immediately.

 

Frittata Muffins

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for simple and healthy salmon recipes. A few weeks ago, I came across Giada De Laurentiis’s recipe for “Salmon with Lemon, Capers, and Rosemary” on the Food Network website. I have been dying for the opportunity to try it. So on a recent to Costco trip, I was able to purchased some Atlantic salmon farmed in Norway. It is rated by the Seafood Watch as a “good alternative.” I have their app on my cell and I don’t buy any fish unless it is recommended by them.

As luck would have it, I had all the ingredients at home—even the fresh ones, lemon and rosemary. Apparently, capers don’t go bad, because they are in a brine of vinegar; so I was all set to prepare this delicious dish! What makes this recipe dummy proof is that you cook the fish in foil packets in a pan over the cooktop or just on the grill. It comes out very moist and tasty! I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

 

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
  • 8 lemon slices (about 2 lemons)
  • ¼ cup lemon juice ( about 1 lemon)
  • ½ cup Marsala wine or white wine
  • 4 teaspoons capers
  • 4 pieces of aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Brush the tops and bottoms of the fillets with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and rosemary. Place each piece of salmon in the center of the foil—large enough to fold and seal.
  2. Place two slices of lemon on each fillet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons wine, and finally, add 1 teaspoon capers.
  3. Wrap up the fish tightly in the foil.
  4. Over medium-high heat in a large pan or over the grill, cook the fish for 10 minutes for 1-inch thick salmon. (I cooked my fish for 8 minutes, because it was thinner).
  5. Serve immediately in foil packets or remove from packets, making sure you pour all the juices over the fish.

 

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Salmon with Lemon, Capers, & Rosemary

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

I am always looking for deliciously simple fresh salads to prepare. So when I came across this recipe by Maria Helm Sinskey on the Williams Sonoma website, I was excited, because I had some left over goat cheese in the refrigerator. I rarely eat goat cheese, but I had brought it for my daughter, when she came from college.

The Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix is a wonderful blend of organic baby red and green romaine, oakleaf, and chard. It also contains organic Mizuna, arugula, frisée, radicchio, parsley, cilantro, dill, and baby spinach. This salad is incredibly easy to make, because there is no chopping or measuring and tastes great with the addition of goat cheese. It’s the perfect healthy side dish to prepare during the busy work week!

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

 

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese


Ingredients:

  • 1 (5 ounce) package Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix
  • Organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Organic sugar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Fresh goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  1. Place salad mix in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil. Gently toss, then drizzle wine vinegar and mix again.
  2. Add salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
  3. Sprinkle with goat cheese and toss. Serve immediately.

 

Herbed Garden Mix with Goat Cheese

Southwestern-Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Southwestern-Spiced Pork Tenderloin

It’s been awhile since I have roasted a pork tenderloin and I don’t know why. It is so easy to prepare and comes out tender and juicy. Just make sure you use meat thermometer—I just brought my first digital one and love it! The rub I used is used is a mixture of chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, cinnamon, salt and freshly ground pepper. I inherited my mom’s seasoned cast iron skillet, so I had the perfect pan to sear and roast the tenderloins. I adapted my recipe from the kitchn, which was originally posted in August 2010. It is such a tasty and delicious meat dish, but I did reduce the amount of chili powder, since my husband doesn’t like his food too spicy!
DSC_1245

 

Southwestern-Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2½ pounds pork tenderloin (usually 2 tenderloins)
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1½ teaspoons sea salt
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons organic high heat canola oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Trim off any excess fat and pat dry the pork. Mix spices in a small bowl. Rub the spices onto all sides of the meat.
  3. Heat and spread the oil on a large cast iron skillet. Sear all surfaces of the tenderloins. Transfer to oven. Roast the meat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches 140°F to 145°F.
  4. Transfer meat to cutting board or platter. Cover with aluminum foil for 10 minutes to let meat rest. Slice thinly and serve.

 

Southwestern-Spiced Pork Tenderloin

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw

With warmer weather just around the corner, I enjoy eating all kinds of salads. So when I saw the colorful picture of this coleslaw, I just have to “pin” it! This delicious and healthy recipe is from Cooking Classy. It contains lots of wonderful Greek yogurt with relatively little mayonnaise. The slaw is a terrific mixture crunchy and chewy textures and sweet and tart flavors! It is definitely going to be a regular dish for our family to eat!

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw

 

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw

Ingredients:

Dressing:

  • ¾ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (use a thick brand, like Fage)
  • ¼ cup organic mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup organic honey
  • 2 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Coleslaw:

  • 6 cups packed, shredded cabbage (approx. 10 ounce package)
  • 1½ cups matchstick carrots
  • 2 large organic Gala apples, cut into matchsticks (about 3 cups)
  • ½ cup sliced green onions
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • ¾ cup organic dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Using a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, mayonnaise, honey and vinegar, until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Toss together the cabbage, carrots, apples, green onions, almonds and cranberries in a large bowl. Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately, but tastes great the next day!

 

Apple Cranberry and Almond Coleslaw