May 21, 2015

israeli couscous salad

i've been trying to make my lunches more interesting.  this was a wake-up flavor explosion in my mouth (yes, i really did just say that).  super tasty!  i don't know that you have to use israeli couscous if you don't have it--acini di pepe might work fine, but might have a slightly less full flavor.  around here i was able to find it at central market.

i adapted it from


1 cup uncooked Israeli couscous
3 C chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped capers
1 tablespoons extravirgin olive oil $
1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice $
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small chicken breast, diced and sautéed with my favorite grill seasoning (coriander blends nicely with the olives)
pour not quite a tablespoon of olive oil in a pot and heat.  add couscous and brown.  add broth and boil about 8 min.  meanwhile, combine all other ingredients except chicken in a medium-sized bowl.  drain couscous and add to bowl and toss.  toss in chicken.

May 20, 2015

tuna salad

another favorite that has stuck with me since my go at p90x.  mix together and serve over greens.  such a yummy salad!

6 ounces Canned Tuna
  • 34 ounce Light Mayonnaise  
  • 12 teaspoon Lemon Zest  
  • 1 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice, squeezed  
  • 1 tablespoon Shredded Carrots  
  • 1 tablespoon Celery, chopped  
  • 1 tablespoon Green Onion, chopped  
  • 1 teaspoon Celery Seeds
  • wraps

    since we've had this warmer weather, the whole family has enjoyed having these often.  just throw any combination of this stuff on your favorite wrap (i prefer whole wheat) with your favorite dressing (i prefer cardini's honey mustard or cardini's light cesar) and dig in!  we've had them without the chicken as well and it's just as good.

    *cooked quinoa and brown rice mixed together.  you can either cook it up yourself (i prefer red quinoa) or buy the precooked pouches at Costco
    * shredded chicken
    *matchstick carrots
    *cucumbers, julienne
    *shredded lettuce
    *your favorite bean--kidney, white, garbanzo, black, whatever

    black bean burgers

    i used pioneer woman's recipe almost to the letter, but since i personally don't like spicy stuff, i omitted the hot sauce for myself and put in chilula for my husband and son. i also added cumin and chopped fresh cilantro.  i served them on whole wheat sandwich thins with avocado and cilantro on top.  i would also recommend making the patties about a third to a half thinner and cooking them on a griddle sprayed with cooking spray.

    classic russian borsch

    i was pretty proud at my first attempt at this seminal russian dish.  i felt validated when my russian guest praised me for "doing it right", though i'm still not sure what that actually meant!  hee, hee.  the fresh dill is not optional.  serve with a dollop of sour cream and fresh dill on top.  i found it at

    ingredients and directions

    2 large or 3 medium beets, thoroughly washed
    2 large or 3 medium potatoes, sliced into bite-sized pieces
    4 Tbsp of cooking oil
    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    2 carrots, grated
    1/2 head of cabbage, thinly chopped (see picture)
    1 can kidney beans with their juice
    2 bay leaves
    10 cups water and 6 cups broth to get 16 cups liquid total
    5 Tbsp ketchup
    4 Tbsp lemon juice
    1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
    1 Tbsp chopped dill

    1. Fill a large soup pot with 10 cups of water. Add 2 - 3 beets. Cover and boil for about 1 hour. Once you can smoothly pierce the beets with a butter knife, remove from the water and set aside to cool. Keep the water.
    2. Slice 3 potatoes, add into the same water and boil 15-20 minutes.
    3. Grate both carrots and dice one onion. Add 4 Tbsp of cooking oil to the skillet and saute vegetables until they are soft (7-10 minutes). Stir in ketchup when they are almost done cooking.
    4. Thinly shred ½ a cabbage and add it to the pot when potatoes are half way done.
    5. Next, peel and slice the beets into match sticks and add them back to the pot.
    6. Add 6 cups chicken broth, lemon juice, pepper, bay leaves and can of kidney beans (with their juice) to the pot.
    7. Add sauteed carrots and onion to the pot along with chopped dill.
    8. Cook another 5-10 minutes, until the cabbage is done.

    open-faced protein-packed "egg mcmuffin"

    this is my go-to breakfast as of late.  it tastes delicious and since there's so much protein and fiber, i stay full until lunch.  this is an original recipe, i guess.  omit sausage if you're really worried about your sodium intake.


    1/2 whole wheat english muffin
    garlic salt
    1/2 C egg whites
    small handful of spinach and mushrooms
    2 turkey sausage links, sliced in half lengthwise
    sprinkle of fresh parmesan cheese


    grease a small microwavable bowl--about the same circumference as the english muffin.  pour in egg whites and cook on high for 1 1/2 minutes.  meanwhile, toast the english muffin and sauté the spinach and mushrooms.  lightly butter the muffin and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.  warm sausage in the microwave then layer on the muffin first, followed by veggies, egg and parmesan.  voila!

    apple and quinoa breakfast bake

    this almost feels like an indulgence until you remember you made it with quinoa!  LOVE it when something healthy actually tastes good!  from


    1 cup uncooked quinoa--i prefer red quinoa
    1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    2 apples, peeled, diced
    1/4 cup raisins
    2 eggs
    2 cups vanilla soy milk
    1/4 cup maple syrup
    1/3 cup almonds, chopped

    whisk everything together and bake at 350 for about an hour--or until set.  serve with a dollop of plain greek yogurt on top, sprinkled with cinnamon.

    step up the smoothie

    recently i've tried to add more veggies to my smoothies.  before i would always just add a massive handful of spinach (and i still do), but i've learned that i can sneak a few more veggies in there without anyone noticing--like carrots, broccoli, cucumbers and even beets! 

    i'm sure everyone's accustomed enough to making smoothies now that really all one needs are ingredient ideas and then you can play with the proportions to make the type of thing you like.  below are a couple of actual recipes that seemed unlikely to be yummy, but which i actually ended up liking a lot.  from mymagazine.


    1/2 - 1 C chopped broccoli
    1 kiwi, skin removed
    1/3 cucumber, chopped
    1/4 avocado
    1/2 C frozen pineapple chunks
    1 C orange juice (or other citrus juice)
    1 t honey
    maybe a couple frozen strawberries
    1/5 of a brick of fresh tofu or 1/3 C plain greek yogurt

    SUNRISE SMOOTHIE (serves 2)

    1 cooked beet
    1 C orange juice
    1 banana
    1 C frozen mango chunks
    1/5 of a brick of fresh tofu or 1/3 C plain greek yogurt
    maybe a handful of frozen pineapple chunks

    mexican snowballs

    i made these a while back but never posted.  a yummy, light dessert.


    2 pts your favorite vanilla ice cream
    about 2 C sweetened shredded coconut
    1 tsp (or more) ground cinnamon


    cover two baking sheets tightly with plastic wrap and drop 16 ice cream balls on it.  freeze til firm--at least an hour.  meanwhile, toss the coconut and cinnamon and toast in the oven.  working one ice-cream ball at a time, remove from freezer, roll in the coconut and return to freezer.  freeze at least 30 minutes and serve.