The other day I could feel my body needed something packed full of good nutrients and protein … I didn’t have much time to cook, so I quickly whipped up this delicious smoothie. I like how the kiwi adds a little “zing” to the taste, along with being a nutrient powerhouse. According to a study at Rutgers University, the kiwi is the most nutrient dense fruit, ounce for ounce. It’s high in vitamin C and one study showed that eating 2-3 kiwi fruits a day can reduce the potential for blood clots and decrease triglycerides. Yet another study cited the kiwi’s ability to protect and repair the body from DNA damage, which could protect against cancer. (Source: Super Kids Nutrition)
All of that, plus it makes a really yummy smoothie.
Strawberry Banana Kiwi Smoothie
- 2 small kiwi fruit
- 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/2 of a frozen banana
- 3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
- 1/4 cup lowfat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- A few fresh mint leaves
Cut the kiwi in half and scoop out the fruit from the fuzzy skin. Put the flesh of the kiwi along with the rest of the ingredients in your blender and blend everything till smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy!
I went into the kitchen to get a cup of chai this morning. It was nearing lunchtime and when I reached into the fridge to grab the milk, the cantaloupe reached out to me. I came out of the kitchen with this salad. I got so caught up in the salad that I had to go back into the kitchen for the tea.
You must try this salad. It is pure simplicity to make, but tastes like heaven, especially if you can find yourself a really good juicy sweet cantaloupe. The sweet maple syrup with the mint and the tangy yogurt perfectly balance the juicy muskmelon and the crunch of the nuts. The mixed greens just round it all out, adding crunch, color, and variety.
Not to mention your body will love you for it. Every ingredient in this simple salad pitches in to help you feel energized and alive.
Cantaloupe & Toasted Walnut Salad with Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing
Inspired by my Maple Mint Cantaloupe Lassi
- Mixed greens
- Fresh cantaloupe, cut into chunks
- Toasted Walnuts
- Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing (recipe below)
Mix up the dresssing. Fill your bowl most of the way with greens. Add a generous pile of cantaloupe chunks. Sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the Maple Mint Yogurt dressing to your heart’s content. Garnish with fresh mint leaves or edible flowers if you like. Revel in the wonderful taste of this ultra simple salad.
Maple Mint Yogurt Dressing
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- About 1 Tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
In a small bowl, stir together all ingredients. Drizzle generously on the salad. Store any remaining dressing in a covered container in the fridge.
My Italian friend Linda tells me “the name Spiedies has nothing to do with speed and everything to with the Big Daddy of spiedies which is spiedini, the Italian kebab or skewered and grilled meat.” Spiedies are an upstate New York Italian favorite that really started in the Middle East. When the Middle Eastern conquerors invaded Italy, they brought with them many ingredients and cooking ideas that stuck – meat kebabs being one of them. As conquered lands tend to do, the Italians adopted and adapted … and then … made them better. Italians in upstate New York now strive to perfect them and even host an annual festival to celebrate Spiedies.
I didn’t know all this before my Italian friend Linda posted her recipe for Spiedies … when I saw those mouthwatering pictures and read the ingredients in that marinade, I knew right away I wanted to try it with venison.Venison has a stronger gamey flavor that can overpower some marinades, but this marinade was just magic. I made these for a little dinner party with just a few good friends and everyone loved them. My friend told me a few days later that the dinner I made for them was legendary. Legendary! And according to the story, they really are.
Linda says to serve these kebabs in good Italian bread, but I served them over rice because I wasn’t sure if my girl would like them and she loves rice, so I knew at the very least she would eat the rice. But she ate them! Most of the time when I make venison as steaks or kebabs, she doesn’t really care for it. But THIS … this she ate. I was so excited.
I did try them later in Italian bread, but like I tend to do, I smothered the meat with cheese and veggies and by the time I got done, you couldn’t even see the meat. But you could still taste it! That incredible herbilicious meaty flavor shone right through. Mmmm!
Adapted from Linda’s Italian Table. I cut down the amount of oil and substituted my balsamic sundried tomato “ketchup” in place of the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar. I didn’t measure the amounts for the fresh herbs, just threw in what looked like would be about right, and it turned out marvelous. I think fresh herbs are very forgiving that way. Definitely use fresh herbs as much as you can in this dish … it makes a big difference.
- 3 lb. tender leg of lamb and/or pork tenderloin, or venison, or chicken breast – cut up into pieces about 1 1/2 inches
- 1/4 c. Olive Oil
- Zest of 1 fresh lemon
- Juice of a Large Fresh Lemon
- 1/3 cup balsamic sundried tomato “ketchup” (recipe here … or use 1 Tablespoon tomato paste + 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar)
- 2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/3 c. Dry Red Wine
- 5 Cloves Fresh Garlic
- 2 Tsp. sugar
- 1 Tsp. Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tsp. Paprika
- 1 Crushed Large Bay Leaf
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Thyme or Lemon Thyme
- 3 Tbsp. Fresh Rosemary – chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh Mint – chopped
- 2 Tbsp. Fresh Oregano – chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Fresh Basil – chopped
- 3 Tbsp. Fresh Parsley – chopped
- 2 teaspoons Kosher Salt or more ( make sure to be generous with the salt as it brings out the flavors)
- Plenty of Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Good Italian Bread (or rice!)
You can chop the herbs and garlic by hand if you like, or toss them all in a handi chopper or food processor. I found that didn’t chop them fine enough, so I added some of the balsamic sundried tomato sauce to get it to blend fine. Once you get your herbs chopped, then whisk them together with the rest of the marinade ingredients. TASTE the marinade to make sure it has enough salt and pepper. The salt and pepper brings out the flavor. If you don’t add enough, your spiedies will be bland.
Mix the marinade with the meat so that all the meat is covered in marinade, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight. I made my marinade early in the morning and started them grilling around 7 pm in the evening.
Skewer the meat just before grilling. Heat the grill so there is a hot spot for searing and a cooler spot to finish the meat. Sear the meat over the hot spot first, turning to sear all sides of the kebabs, then move them to the cooler part of the grill to finish. They shouldn’t take long if your grill is good and hot. (We had a little trouble getting the grill to heat up, so mine actually got slow cooked for a while over very low heat, then we restarted the charcoal and got it searing hot and then seared them, then moved them to the cooler part. Once the grill was hot, they didn’t take long at all to finish.)
Be careful not to overcook them (especially with venison), because the meat will get dry. They should cook up fairly quickly on a hot grill. Do a taste test as you go …
and a minted honey lime yogurt dressing
This is a super simple salad, but these flavors together are just divine!
Pineapple Arugula Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Goat Cheese
- Spinach Arugula Mix
- Fresh pineapple chunks
- Goat cheese crumbles
- Walnuts, toasted
Cover the plate/bowl with spinach & arugula. Arrange the other ingredients on top and drizzle with the honey lime yogurt dressing.
Minted Honey Lime Yogurt Salad Dressing
- 1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried mint leaves (or if you have fresh, even better!)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons honey
- Juice and zest from 1/2 a lime
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This recipe was shared at Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Totally Tasty Tuesdays, Midweek Fiesta, and Tastetastic/It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, These Chicks Cooked Whole Foods Recipe Swap and Nutritious & Delicious Potluck Party.
A long time I found this cookbook on a clearance table and looking through it, I just couldn’t believe my luck. There are so many recipe treasures hidden in this book … I snatched it up and took it home and it’s one of those cookbooks that I pick up and browse through every once in a while and find even more recipes I want to try. I don’t even read cookbooks like I used to, now that I have thousands of creative foodie friends and so many recipes marked online that I want to try … but still, I cherish my cookbook collection. And this one is one of the best on the shelf.
What’s the cookbook, you ask? It’s Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook.
Okay, I know that’s kind of an odd combination … Betty Crocker … and International food? Really? … I mean we are talking food from ALL over the WORLD here … Africa, Sweden, Greece, Haiti, Japan, India, Turkey, France … you could travel completely around the world in just a couple pages of this book.
There are a bunch of bookmarks in this cookbook, recipes I marked years ago to make someday in the future … some of them I have never made. But this one I’ve made several times. Because it’s really, really good, not to mention it’s warm and hearty, colorful and nourishing and healthy. There’s no meat, but it’s got so much flavor that you wouldn’t even remember to care.
Heart African Vegetable Stew
Adapted only slightly from Betty Crocker’s New International Cookbook.
Makes 6 to 8 servings, maybe more, if you’re a small eater like me … this will be enough to feed me all week!
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 cup snipped fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 5 cups of water
- 1 cup sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup dried red lentils (brown or yellow lentils will do, too … I just love the color of the red ones)
- 1 cup uncooked basmati rice
- 2 cups canned tomatoes with juices (or 1 15-oz. can)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1 10-oz. package frozen green peas
- 1 9-oz. package frozen green beans
- 3 sprigs fresh mint (or 2 teaspoons dried mint)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- Plain yogurt for topping
- In a stockpot, dutch oven or very large saucepan, melt the butter, then cook and stir the onion, parsley, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper, and ginger until the onion is tender.
- Stir in the water, carrots, and lentils. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat, cover, and cook for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Ad the rice, tomatoes, and salt. Heat to boiling, reduce heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stir in the green beans, peas, mint and cayenne. Cover and cook until the peas and beans are tender, about 5 minutes. (You may need to add more water at this stage if the stew gets too thick. I think I added 2 cups more of water.)
- Serve each bowl with a dollop of yogurt and a sprig of fresh parsley.