Citrus Salad

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With all the yummy and rich food we’ve been eating since Thanksgiving, I thought it would be nice to have a light and refreshing fruit salad for a change. Citrus fruits are in season, so I searched the internet and found my inspiration from this Food and Wine recipe by Sarah Jordan, published November 2013. It has a wonderful mixture of sliced grapefruit, orange and tangerine with nutty crunch of pistachio nuts! It’s delicious with or without the dressing. Instead of using Champagne vinegar, I used Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar.

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Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar
  • ¼ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons organic sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 Ruby Red grapefruits
  • 3 organic oranges
  • 6 organic tangerines
  • ½ cup toasted and unsalted pistachios, chopped
  • Mint for garnish

Directions:

  1. Using a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, sugar and salt.
  2. With a very sharp knife, peel all the citrus fruits. Make sure you remove all the white pith. Thinly slice the fruit crosswise. Layer the citrus in glass bowls and drizzle with dressing. Garnish with pistachio nuts and mint. Serves 6.

http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/layered-citrus-salad

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Organic Spinach Salad

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About 2 months ago, I found a wonderful salad at Trader Joe’s called “Super Spinach Salad.” I have been buying it almost every week for my lunch at work since my discovery! It has become one of my favorites, but I wanted to be able to make it at home and share with my family. The ingredients for the salad were easy to find, but the dried cranberries in salad were “juicy and plump.” So I took the organic dried cranberries I had at home and soaked them in some organic apple juice, but you can also use just water to soften them.

My next dilemma was how am I going to make the salad dressing? I read the ingredients label on the salad package and the following below is what I came up with. The only change in ingredients was I used garlic, instead of miso. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I do!

Ingredients for salad:

  • 1 package (6 ounces) organic baby spinach
  • 1 can (15 ounces) organic garbanzo beans
  • 1 package (12 ounces) frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 1/3 cup dried organic cranberries, soaked in water to soften
  • Shredded carrots
  • Organic sugarplum tomatoes
  • Pumpkin seeds

Ingredients for salad dressing:

  • 10 organic baby carrots
  • 3 tablespoons organic canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a blender, add carrots, canola oil, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger and garlic. Blend thoroughly. Add salt to taste. Mix again. The salad dressing is on the thick side. The best way to use dressing (in my opinion) is to place it in a small dish and dip your fork into the dressing and then into the salad.
  2. Place spinach (1/3 of package or 2 ounces) on a large plate. Sprinkle with garbanzo beans, edamame, cranberries and carrots. Garnish with tomatoes and finally, sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Serves 3.

Organic Pumpkin Muffins

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With my daughter coming home from college next week, I thought I would bake her some moist and light pumpkin muffins. This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart’s “Pumpkin Muffins.” I modified the recipe by using organic ingredients whenever possible, added some salt and some more pumpkin pie spice.  What I especially like about these muffins were that they contain healthy whole wheat flour, low-fat yogurt and walnuts!

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup organic canola oil
  • 1½ cup organic whole-wheat flour
  • 1½ cup organic all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Trader Joe’s Organic Pumpkin
  • 1 cup organic plain low-fat yogurt
  • 3 large organic eggs
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1½ cups walnuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 baking cups into 2 regular size 12-cup muffin tins.
  2. Using a medium bowl, whisk flours, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Using a large bowl, whisk oil, pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, and sugar thoroughly. Add dry ingredients and 1 cup walnuts. Mix until ingredients are moistened, being careful not to over mix the batter.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin tins. (Batter goes to approximately 3/8″ from the top edge of baking cup). Sprinkle the rest of the walnuts on top of the muffins. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. To test for doneness, insert toothpick in the center of muffin. If it comes out clean, it is done. Cool muffins in pans for 5 minutes. Makes 24 regular size muffins.

http://www.marthastewart.com/355570/pumpkin-muffins

Organic French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts

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What is wonderful about French toast is that you can make it as healthy or decadent as you want it! So yesterday morning, I drove to my local Whole Foods to buy my first loaf of organic bread. The store bakes several different kinds of regular and organic breads daily. The baker’s suggestion was brioche and challah breads, but either one was organic, so I selected the French loaf. To make this healthy and yummy, I added bananas and crunchy walnuts!

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of organic bread of your choice (brioche, challah or sourdough)
  • 1 organic egg
  • 3 tablespoons organic milk (I used nonfat)
  • 2 teaspoons organic sunflower oil
  • Trader Joe’s Organic Maple Syrup
  • 1 organic banana, sliced
  • Walnuts, chopped

Directions:

In a shallow dish, whisk egg and milk together. Preheat 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Soak both sides of bread slices in egg-milk mixture. Cook both sides of bread until golden brown. Sprinkle with walnuts, add sliced bananas, drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy! Serves 2.

Blogger’s note: This recipe can easily be multiplied. Ideally, bread should be at least a day old. This is a healthier version of French toast, so no butter was used. But you can certainly add it!

Potato Leek Soup

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I had some leftover leeks, so I decided to make potato leek soup. Not only is this soup delicious and so easy to make, it is gluten-free and vegetarian! The yellow-orange color comes from the vegetable broth I used.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound leeks, cut crosswise and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound organic russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups organic Trader Joe’s Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4-inch long pieces of chives for garnish

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pan (3.5 quart with lid). Add leeks and stir occasionally for 3 to 4 minutes, until leeks get soft. Stir in potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes. Add broth and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
  2. Transfer to a blender and liquefy. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may want to reheat soup in microwave or in large saucepan on cooktop.
  3. When ready to serve, sprinkle with chives. Serves 4.

Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage Pasta Sauce

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This is such a simple pasta sauce that can be made almost anytime, because all the ingredients can kept in the freezer and pantry!

  • 12 ounce package Trader Joe’s Sweet Chicken Italian Sausage*
  • 1 (28 ounce) can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried organic oregano
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 ounces dry organic penne pasta
  • Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
  • Fresh basil, finely shredded (optional)

Remove sausage from its casings and brown in a nonstick frying pan. Drain excess oil and set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until lightly brown. Then add tomatoes, sausage, basil and oregano and simmer for about 45 minutes. Finally, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Boil water in a large pot, add pasta and cook until it is al dente. Serve immediately with pasta sauce. Optional, garnish with Parmesan cheese and shredded basil. Serves 4.

*I use this sausage, because it is lower in fat than Italian pork sausage, has minimal additives and tastes good. If anybody knows of a sausage that is healthier, please let me know. I have tried different brands, but found the chicken sausage cannot be removed from the casings.

 

Grilled Chicken Breast Tenderloins with Cilantro and Lime Juice

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Since our daughter is away at college and it’s just the two of us, I came up with this recipe on the spur of the moment. I like using the chicken breast tenderloins, because they thaw and cook quickly. This recipe was easily be multiplied.

  • 6 Trader Joe’s Individually Frozen Chicken Breast Tenderloins, thawed.
  • 1 tablespoon organic extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Thaw the chicken breast tenderloins. Blot the chicken with a paper towel. Mix olive oil, lime juice, cilantro and garlic together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Brush the chicken with the marinade.

On a nonstick grilling pan, spread the olive oil with a paper towel. On medium heat, grill the chicken for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until cooked. Add more salt and pepper, if needed. Serves 2.