Hot summer afternoons means gardening. My garden has doubled from last season. I have a special herb garden filled with cilantro, basil, mint, orange mint, rosemary, hot and spicy oregano, chives, and parsley. Plus two huge planter boxes my husband made me stuffed with red, yellow, orange, and green peppers, serrano peppers, jalapeno peppers, green beans, carrots, several types of tomatoes, garden salsa peppers, okra, sugar peas, potatoes, and cucumbers. I know—it’s a lot of plants! (I have 15 basil plants! My backyard smells heavenly). But my goal is to be self-sufficient this summer and autumn, and I think I’m right on track. With all these fresh vegetables and herbs, salads are a must!
Two of my friends started CrunchTime Fitness, a website focused on helping individuals attain their physical fitness and nutritional goals. Thanks to them, I started and finished one round of p90x (next round to be started soon) and rejuvenated the way I look at food. This salad has been modified from their recipe box. The dressing was delicious! I plan to mix up this dressing with different salad variations throughout the summer. It’s the perfect way to meet your veggie requirements on a hot, sunny day.
Today was rainy. On my way home from my bar class, hail the size of golf balls started to impale my car. Cars huddled under the closest bridge seeking refuge. I was lucky enough to have Sally (my car) completely under the bridge. But the whole experience was mildly scary. When the hail first started, it sounded like my car was being shot at. I was honestly worried that they were going to break my windshield. While I am far more susceptible to being frightened, I knew I wasn’t the only person concerned when all the cars under the bridge created a barricade, stopping all traffic. But by the time the song on the radio was over, the storm had lifted and so did the barricade.
This cold, rainy weather meant a warm dinner was in order. One thing I often have trouble with is portion control when it comes to those warm casseroles. And while the weather outside mirrors autumn more than summer, next week (or maybe even tomorrow) will be swimsuit weather again. Thankfully these spinach lasagna rolls realize this and come with built-in portion control. Instead of having to eyeball how many inches your slice should be, you roll the lasagna–making each roll a serving size. Much easier to stay on track and still enjoy a warm slice of lasagna.
I never knew my love for Indian food until I moved to the Twin Cites. My friend Leslie was coming to visit and wanted Indian food. She did some online research and found The Dancing Ganesha. The food was amazing! It quickly became my favorite restaurant, and I have celebrated many occasions there. Since starting to cook, it has been a goal of mine to make Indian food at home. It took a while for me to track down garam masala, but once I found it, I couldn’t wait to make this. And it was definitely worth the extra effort.
The weather here has been going from scorching hot to rather chilly. Quintessential Minnesota. Today was more on the chilly side so I decided to make a warmer dish. Chances are it will be too hot for anything warm for the next couple of months. I LOVE Mexican food. No surprise to anyone who knows me. I’ve worked at two different Mexican restaurants and my go-to drinks are mojitos and margaritas. I am always on the hunt for healthy, Mexican recipes. This recipe is filling, full of protein, and a healthy alternative to greasy restaurant enchiladas. We were out of black beans today so I substituted chili beans, but I originally made these enchiladas with black beans. Both are good!
I may have an unhealthy love of basil. I use it almost daily, and my herb garden can’t grow it fast enough. To me, it’s what healthy eating is-fresh, bold, and poignant. My insides feel cleansed whenever it’s in my food. Might be all in my head.
As a lover of sandwiches, I’ve been trying to find great sandwich recipes that include basil and travel well. Like many students, my lunch is made at 7:00 a.m. No one wants a sandwich that is all soggy by noon. If that unsoggy sandwich includes basil, even better. This sandwich has only four ingredients that travel well so you can bring all the ingredients with you and easily assemble it when you are ready to eat. No need to live solely on pb&j’s anymore!
When I want to splurge, I buy red, yellow, or orange bell peppers. Matt buys fried chicken. As much I as love Matt, fried chicken doesn’t have many healthy redeeming qualities so we went for a compromise. Matt whipped up some homemade onion rings for himself, and I made a chicken entree with bell peppers. (although I did sneak a ring or two and they were amazing!) But what’s with all this splurging? Well, I had my health law final yesterday, and it went well! One thing you learn from law school is the importance of celebrating the little victories. So today’s dinner was our mini-celebration. I found a traditional South American sauce to pair with our chicken and peppers. This sauce has a bold, herbal flavor that is perfect for summer grilling.
Grilling season is upon us! After a not-so-brutal winter, I miss the summer cookouts. As much as I love a good hamburger, red meat is not the healthiest of options. This black bean alternative is a great substitute and tastes better than a beef burger. Top it off with guacamole, this burger is an instant summer classic. This comes in at only 5 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points compared to the 8 Weight Watcher’s Plus Points for a 98% lean beef burger (patties only. buns are extra points). I paired this meal with my sesame garlic green beans.
Growing up in a small town means no Chinese food restaurant. So the first thing I did when I got my driver’s license was drive to the near-by town with my best friend to go to the Chinese buffet. It was the ultimate sign of freedom. (although we somehow managed to get lost driving home from Marshfield. To this day, I have no idea how we did that).
Now that I live in the “big city” getting Chinese food is less of a special event, but it still tastes just as delicious. Unfortunately, the deep fried dishes and heavy sauces take a toll on the waistband. This healthy version of Orange Chicken doesn’t sacrifice any of the taste and cuts down the calories. Instead of deep frying the chicken, the chicken is sauteed. Plus, the sauce is full of fresh ingredients and low-sodium soy sauce. Place this chicken and sauce over rice, and it makes a great meal. Matt and I aren’t big fans of rice so we opted out of the rice. Without rice, this meal is 5 Weight Watchers Plus Points.
Since I am in the middle of p90x, our kitchen hasn’t fried anything in a long time. And for Matt, that was a huge change. Before he moved to the cities, his nights were spent making homemade chicken wings and fries at least 5 nights a week with his roommates. He was the fry king. And while the food was tasty, it definitely wasn’t healthy. After 6 months of marriage and my healthier choices of meals, Matt has lost 10 pounds (and he never works out! Only a guy…). But, after finding this recipe, I knew I had to make this for him–if not only for old time sake.
Finals are right around the corner which means more slow cooker dinners. This pulled pork sandwich is a great meal after a study-filled day. There is only a little bit of prep work, and the slow cooker does the rest! Matt loved this meal so much that he ate two pork-stuffed sandwiches. That’s my piggie! For 11 Weight Watcher points per sandwich, it’s so filling that it’s worth every point!