Tag Archives: Healthy

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

I’ve only ever made quinoa once before (the Near East brand out of the box, which was good), and I decided we needed to incorporate this super grain into more of our meals. The July issue of Cooking Light had a bunch of suggestions for different mix-ins you could use with quinoa. I decided to take one of those ideas and expound upon it, and I ended up with this healthy quinoa salad. Enjoy!

Shrimp and Avocado Quinoa Salad

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable stock
10 medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 avocado, diced
1 cup corn
1 small tomato, diced
1/2 lime
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic

In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

Sauté the shrimp over medium heat with a little bit of olive oil until they curl and turn orange.  {You could also grill the shrimp on a skewer for some great charred flavor, which would be delicious.}

I used frozen corn for this dish, but fresh grilled corn cut off the cob would be amazing! Whichever type you decide to use, cook it (or warm it up) before adding it to the salad.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well. This salad can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Guest Post: Tabouli Salad

My friend Dori, who writes the blog (703) Mommy and Me, recently made this delicious Tabouli Salad when we were over her house for dinner. Not only did my husband and I love it, but Olivia ate three helpings of this healthy side dish! Since I have mint and parsley coming out of my ears and am dying to make this, I asked Dori if she’d be willing to share her recipe with my readers. Luckily, she loves me and was happy to share, so enjoy!

 My mom used to make us tabouli (or tabbouleh) salad all the time in the summer. The fresh vegetables and herbs make it completely mouthwatering while providing a high protein and low calorie meal. Tabouli is super easy and quick, so it is a perfect side dish (or main meal) for a busy bee. I made this as an accompaniment to a leftover roast chicken Greek pita sandwich.

Pitas: Pita , chicken, spinach, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, hummus and a Greek yogurt sauce

1 C Bulgar (I purchase mine in the bulk food section at Whole Foods)
1 container of grape tomatoes, quartered
½ English cucumber, chopped
1 C Scallions, chopped
1 C Parsley, chopped
2 tbs Mint, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
3 tbs EVOO
* 1 C Feta, crumbled (optional)
* shredded romaine lettuce (optional)

Mix Bulgar with 2 C boiling water, cover tightly and let it sit for 30 minutes. While the Bulgar cooks you can cut your veggies and herbs. Strain the Bulgar using a mesh sieve making sure to get most of the moisture out of the grain. Mix the Bulgar, veggies, herbs in a bowl. In another small bowl, whisk together the lemon, EVOO, S&P. Incorporate it into the grain mixture and serve. You can also add the crumbled feta and lettuce to the mix or you can top a bed of lettuce with the grain and then cheese.

My Favorite Summer Side

This bean salad is a huge hit with my family, and it’s just not summertime without it. This dish is packed with fiber, iron, and protein, so you can feel good about your kids asking for seconds—because they will!

Summer Bean Salad

1 can fat free reduced sodium black beans

1 can chickpeas

1 can fat free reduced sodium kidney beans

2 cups shelled edamame (I use the frozen variety)

1 small tomato (you can also use roasted red peppers if you have any), chopped

1 avocado, diced

2 tsp minced garlic

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lime

Salt and pepper

Drain and rinse the three canned beans and place them, along with the edamame, in a large bowl. Add the tomato, garlic, olive oil, cilantro, and avocado. Squeeze the juice of the lime over the avocado to help keep it from browning. Mix everything thoroughly, and salt and pepper to taste.

Chicken, Apple, and Havarti Roll-ups

Not feeling the usual stuff I had in the frig for lunch the other day, I got a whiff of inspiration and threw these little roll-ups together. Because I used frozen grilled chicken strips that I microwaved for 90 seconds, it was super fast. Just warm your tortilla and spread on some honey mustard (or you can improvise like I did and mix together Dijon mustard and strawberry preserves—don’t knock it, it was delicious). Add some harvarti cheese, chicken and some thin apple slices, roll it up and you’re in business! To make this snack kid-friendly, just cut each roll-up into quarters and serve.

Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta

Another fantastic kale recipe, if I do say so myself! I was going to use the rest of our kale to make a raw kale salad, but I knew Olivia would never eat that, so I decided to see if the flavors from the salad would translate to a pasta, with a few extra ingredients. Even I was surprised at how delicious this was! I would recommend using a really good spaghetti for this recipe. I used De Cecco Organic Spaghetti No. 12, which, I think, is the best dry spaghetti—thick, chewy, and just perfect. Also, I list half a bunch of kale in the recipe because that is what I had to work with, but really, you could use however much or little you like.

Garlic Lemon Kale Pasta

1/2 bunch of kale, washed and de-stemmed

16 oz. spaghetti

10 oz. package grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 lemon, halved

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

4 tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the spaghetti as directed. Drain the pasta when it’s finished, and put it into a large bowl.

Once you have washed and removed the ribs from the kale, chop it into small strips. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Sauté the garlic and onions in the oil for just a few minutes, and then add the kale. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until the kale is completely wilted. Add the kale to the pasta, along with the tomatoes, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese. Stir to mix well.

In the pan you just used to cook the kale, put your lemon cut sides down and allow to cook for about 5-10 minutes. (This isn’t a required step—you can just squeeze the lemon right onto the pasta if you prefer—but I’ve found that warming the lemon a bit beforehand really releases the flavor and makes it easier to juice.) When the cut sides of the lemon are lightly browned, remove it from the heat and allow it to cool for  a minute before squeezing it over the pasta.

Drizzle the pasta with the remaining olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste before tossing to incorporate all of the flavors.


Garlic Kale Mashed Potatoes

It’s official: I have jumped on the kale bandwagon. After hearing everyone and their mother rave about “this delicious kale salad they had” and” those yummy kale chips they made,” I had to try it out for myself. Luckily, our produce box for the week contained one large, fresh bunch of kale. Because kale is so chock-full of vitamins and nutrients, I wanted to make something with it that I thought my daughter would actually eat. Enter garlic kale mashed potatoes. I figured she would eat it right up if it was mixed in with mashed potatoes, and I was right! Kale experiment #1 was a resounding success!

Garlic Kale Mashed Potatoes

2 lbs red potatoes

4 cloves of garlic, minced

2 cups finely chopped kale

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup sour cream

3 tbsp Parmesan cheese

3 tbsp butter

salt and pepper (to taste)


Wash and quarter the potatoes, but leave the skin on. Boil until tender (about 15-20 minutes) and then drain, holding aside a cup of the potato water in case you need it later to thin out the mashed potatoes. Mash the potatoes and set to the side. Meanwhile, wash, de-stem, and chop the kale. Heat oil over medium heat and add minced garlic. Sauté garlic for a few minutes and then add the kale. Cook until the kale is completely wilted and then remove from heat. Add the milk, sour cream, butter, cheese, salt, and pepper to the mashed potatoes and stir well. Slowly incorporate the kale until everything is well mixed. If you like creamier potatoes, you can thin them out with more milk, a touch of heavy cream, or the potato water you set aside previously, whichever you prefer.


Norovirus. . . Fun Times

Today has just been a bundle of fun. Everything started out perfectly normal—that is, until I got a call from daycare at 9 a.m. informing me that Olivia had spit up (something she hasn’t done in months). It wasn’t bad and she wasn’t running a fever, so they decided to let her nap and see how she was afterward. Apparently, the situation deteriorated rapidly because, before long, I got a second call asking me to come pick her up, as she had just blown grits all over the place. By the time I made it there, she was wrapped in nothing but a towel, having thrown up all over herself. It was the most pitiful sight I have ever seen. This is the first time she has ever had a stomach bug and, man, when she does something, she really does it! She went straight for the norovirus, of cruise ship fame, and there’s a major outbreak of it in Fairfax County. Olivia was the second casualty of this virus at daycare just this morning. So since many of my readers are in the DC metro area (and even those who aren’t, this is good info to have), here’s my PSA for the day!

Noroviruses are a group of highly contagious stomach bugs that spread rapidly from person to person through contaminated food and drink, contaminated surfaces, and direct contact. Symptoms often develop suddenly and generally last 1-2 days. Symptoms include:

Stomach cramps
Low-grade fever
Muscle aches

Children in school or daycare are extremely susceptible to the virus. Most often, symptoms don’t arise until 24-48 hours after exposure (though they can occur as soon as 12 hours following exposure), which means children are likely to spread the virus without displaying any symptoms. By the time the symptoms start, it’s usually too late. Because small children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths, this is a difficult virus to contain in a daycare setting.

The most dangerous aspect of the norovirus is that it can cause severe dehydration, especially in young children. Make sure to give your child plenty of fluids, such as Pedialyte. My daughter also likes the Pedialyte Freezer Pops, which are great right now, since she’s cutting a few new teeth. For her upset tummy, I have been giving her Nabisco’s Premium Saltine Minis—they are the perfect size for her little hands.

If you or your little one is unfortunate enough to come down with this nasty bug, be sure to wash your hands obsessively and try to disinfect as many surfaces as you can. I’ve also been using the sanitary setting on our washing machine for her clothes, bedding and anything else that ends up in the line of fire. And when all else fails, Netflix has about a year’s worth of the Backyardigans at your disposal!

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/norovirus.htm