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

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Organic Beets

Organic Beets

On my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, I purchased a one pound bag of organic beets. I hate to admit this, but I have never cooked beets before. I don’t why either, because I love to eat them. So I searched the Internet on how to cook beets. It was so simple. First, I trimmed the ends. Then I filled a saucepan with water and added 2 tablespoons of vinegar and simmered for about 50 minutes, until tender to the poking of a fork. The directions recommended the vinegar to prevent “bleeding,” but there was still a lot deep pink everywhere! I used many paper towels, so as not to stain anything!

Organic Beets

When the beets were done cooking, I rinsed them off and dried them using lots of paper towels. Finally, I sliced the tasty vegetable and they were ready to eat. I was amazed how delicious they were with no seasonings. They are so healthy for you too! Here is a list of some of the health benefits associated with them:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Boost your stamina
  • Fight inflammation
  • Anti-cancer properties
  • High in vitamin C, fiber, potassium and manganese

Organic Beets

I will be preparing my own organic beets from now on, especially when I can inexpensively and easily buy them at my local Trader Joe’s! They make a terrific snack all by themselves or a wonderful ingredient in salads!

Organic Beets

Roasted Delicata Squash

Roasted Delicata Squash

For the last couple of weeks, I have been seeing this “new” squash, delicata, at my local Trader Joe’s. I did some research on it and decided to buy it this weekend. Delicata is a winter squash with yellow skin and green striations. The great thing about this squash is the skin is edible, so no peeling needed! It is an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C and fiber. Since it was the first time my husband and I were trying this “new” vegetable, I prepared it very simply by roasting it with grapeseed oil, salt and pepper. It was delicious! The flavor and texture reminded me of a sweet potato. Another simple and healthy vegetable to add to our list of items we should eat!

Roasted Delicata Squash

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium delicata squash
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Line a rimmed baking pan with foil.
  2. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  3. Cut off both ends of the squash. Cut in half lengthwise. Spoon out the seeds, then make ½-inch slices.
  4. Brush both sides with oil. Place on baking pan in a single layer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Roast for about 30 minutes, until golden brown. Serves 2.

Roasted Delicata Squash

Spooky Halloween Tortilla Chips with Guacamole

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I wish that I was the one who came up with the idea to make these spooky Halloween chips using cookie cutters and flour tortillas, but it was the “Domestic Diva” Martha Stewart! Rather than using cooking spray, I brushed the scary figures with canola oil. My flour tortillas were an organic wheat and corn and an organic whole wheat and corn that I had purchased at Trader Joe’s. What goes perfectly with these delicious and healthier chips other than homemade guacamole! This is the ideal spooky appetizer for any upcoming Halloween party!

Spooky Halloween Tortilla Chips with Gucamole

Spooky Halloween Tortilla Chips with Gucamole

TORTILLA CHIPS:

Ingredients:

  • Large flour tortillas, such as organic wheat and corn, organic whole wheat and corn
  • Organic canola oil
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using the cookie cutters, cut shapes out of the tortillas. Place on nonstick cookie sheets.
  3. Put some canola oil in a small bowl and brush both sides of tortilla chips with oil. Sprinkle with salt.
  4. Bake until golden brown and crisp, about 10 minutes.

GUACAMOLE:

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium Haas avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • Juice of one lime
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • 1 large Roma tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon+ chopped cilantro

Directions:

  1. Place the avocados in a large bowl. Add lime juice. Mash the avocados using a potato masher. Add cayenne and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Stir in the onion, garlic, jalapeno, tomato, and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Spooky Halloween Tortilla Chips with Gucamole

Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal with Cinnamon and Walnuts

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I can control what I eat and how much I exercise, but I can’t control my family medical history. I just had my annual physical and certain numbers have changed since my visit, so it’s time for me to take control! Let me just say that my numbers were not so bad that I need to take medications or supplements, but I got my wakeup call to take action. So for the next six months, I will be working on getting regular exercise, making some changes to my diet and most importantly, reducing my intake of juke foods! By doing this, I hope to find out if these changes were caused by my bad habits, not exercising enough and eating juke food, or just getting older and genetics!

I prefer steel cut oats over rolled oats, because they are less processed and therefore, retain more fiber and protein. Before, I made my steel cut oatmeal with healthy walnuts and organic dry cranberries. Now, I make it with healthy walnuts and cinnamon! Rather than sweetening my oatmeal with brown sugar or honey, I use Stevia instead, because it does not affect blood glucose levels.

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup Trader Joe’s Organic Steel Cut Oats
  • Cinnamon
  • Organic walnuts, chopped
  • Organic Stevia
  • Organic nonfat milk, optional

Directions:

  1. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add oats and stir. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add Stevia to taste.
  2. Place oatmeal in individual bowls. Sprinkle with cinnamon and walnuts. Add milk, if desired. Serves 4.

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I have listed below some of the health benefits of each of the three key ingredients:

Benefits of Steel Cut Oatmeal

  • Improving blood sugar levels in diabetics and improving cholesterol levels
  • A good source of protein
  • A good source of B vitamins and iron

Benefits of Walnuts

  • Decrease the LDLs (bad cholesterol)
  • Reduce the problems associated with the Metabolic Syndrome—excessive blood fats (triglycerides), high blood pressure, low HDLs (good cholesterol) and obesity
  • Help in reducing the risk of future cardiovascular problems associated with type 2 diabetes

Benefits of Cinnamon

  • Helps reduce triglycerides
  • Aids in the prevention of tissue damage and inflammation caused by high levels of blood sugar
  • Helps to reduce the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal
  • Promotes better brain function

For the next six month I will greatly reduce my consumption of my favorite “prepared” cereals to see if making these slight changes will make a difference in my numbers. For an occasional variation, I will be adding some healthy blueberries or raspberries to my oatmeal!

References:

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=99

http://news.health.com/2014/11/21/health-benefits-of-cinnamon/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/358909-benefits-of-steel-cut-oats/

Organic Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

One of my favorite food items to buy at Trader Joe’s is their frozen Organic Super Sweet Corn. It is reasonably priced and I would prefer to have organic and non-GMO foods whenever possible. I always try to keep a bag or two in my freezer all the time. So when I saw this corn side dish recipe in America ‘s Test Kitchen, Cooking Fresh, 2015, I thought I would try it, since I already had two fresh organic zucchini in my refrigerator. The sautéed zucchini and corn are seasoned with fresh lemon juice, parsley, chives and basil. All the preparation can be done in advance, so it can easily be made during the busy work week. It makes a tasty, simple and healthy side for chicken, beef or fish!

Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small organic zucchini, diced
  • 3 cups organic frozen corns, defrosted
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chives, mince
  • 1½ tablespoons lemon juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Using a 12-inch nonstick frying pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add zucchini and cook for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the corn and cook for about 2 minute, until heated through.
  2. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add basil, parsley, chives and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Serve. 6 servings.

Corn and Zucchini with Fresh Herbs

“PERFECT” Peach Salsa

One of my favorite summer fruits are peaches, but I don’t always purchase great peaches. Sometimes they are hard, mealy, flavorless and just not sweet. Last Sunday, when I was at Trader Joe’s, unbeknownst to me at the time, I had hit the jackpot! They were still a little hard, so I waited until Tuesday to taste one. The first bite into the juicy fruit and I knew they were PERFECT!

Then I thought to myself, how was I going to advantage of having such fabulous peaches? Salsa came to mind. I did some research and came up with the following recipe. It is simply healthy and is a beautiful mixture of colors, flavors and textures! For those who love a little heat, add some red pepper flakes!

"Perfect" Peach Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 2 large ripe (but firm) peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • ½ cup organic frozen corn, thawed
  • ½ cup organic red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 3 tablespoons red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño chile, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. To peel peaches, add them to a pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon. Then place them in a bowl of ice water. The skin should come off easily using a paring knife.
  2. In a medium bowl, add peaches, corn, bell pepper, red onion, cilantro and jalapeño.
  3. Stir in lime juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve with organic tortilla chips.

"Perfect" Peach Salsa