Cranberry Butter Kale Salad

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Merry Christmas Eve, dear readers!  It’s an unnaturally warm Christmas here and across the east coast, but we know you’re in a festive spirit.

Tina will be heading to a Christmas brunch, and we thought we’d share her contribution.  As always, you can trust that this dish is healthy, so have a heaping helping!  Besides being beautiful (we’re loving the red and green), you’ll get a flavorful boost from these veggies and kale, as it’s full of antioxidant nutrients, vitamins and minerals.  Not only will you get a helpful boost to your immune system, but the fiber will reduce temptation to consume too many of those sweets later.  This combination of veggies is particularly delicious, the kale gives a full-bodied base and the roasted pears topped with kelp granules are a sweet surprise on top.

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This one’s sure to be a hit, so bring it along with you and enjoy the extra after the holiday craziness calms down!

Ingredients:
6-8 cups of curly red and green kale torn into bite size pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange
1/2 butternut squash cubed
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds roasted
jicama (small one sliced thin)
red onion – small sliced thin
fennel – about 1/4 cup sliced thin
pear – sliced thin
Kelp Granules (I use Main Coast Sea Seasonings)
Romano cheese – grated to taste
Coarse ground black pepper

Directions:
Take the cranberries and cubed butternut squash and place on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Drizzle with grape seed oil (about 1-2 tsp) plus 1 tsp. honey. Bake until butternut squash is roasted and soft.

Remove from oven and allow to cool

Place sliced pear in baking pan and place in oven and roast at 350 degrees until pear is roasted through about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from pan and allow to cool.

Place kale in a bowl.  Add onion, jicama, fennel, pumpkin seeds, butternut squash and cranberries.  Squeeze the orange over the salad and add olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Add grated cheese. Add pepper to taste. Top with pears and sprinkle with Kelp granules.

Enjoy!

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Nutritious Lunch at Sticks Kebob Shop

We had an absolutely overwhelming response from our clients on that last post about Panera.  Making food at home is always the best option, but everyone needs a break now and then.  Our clients do a wonderful job of staying disciplined and keeping their eyes on the prize, and we know they deserve a reward.  How long can one shy away from the office deciding to order out together? or avoid going to dinner with friends for fear of breaking the rules?

Well, next time you have a say in where to go, we recommend Sticks Kebob Shop.  For you Richmonders, there’s one right in Willow Lawn.  Feast your eyes on this scrumptious delight:

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Oh boy.  Is your mouth watering yet?  As if their Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob wasn’t delightful enough, they also offer an amazing Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob.

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These are the two Tina would highlight at Sticks.  They are delicious and even more delicious together.  Sticks makes a tasty little side of cucumbers, tomatoes and other delights, and we think that rounds out the meal pretty well.

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Grilled veggies and meats seem the obvious choice for healthy options, but the savvy restaurant-goer has to be careful.  We were surprised, once we really started researching, at how many dishes are wayyyy too high in carbohydrates, overall calories and sodium (good grief, so much sodium).  With this combo, though, Tina found she could get the protein she needed at lunch time as well as our old friend low glycemic index carbs through the veggies.  The extra fiber doesn’t hurt, either.  What Tina really enjoys here, though, is the healthy fat that is included without the heavy cost of loads and loads of sodium.  Total sodium for these two together is 175 mg.  Sticks has a shrimp platter which looks awful tempting (Stephanie was this close to ordering that), but with 1,270 mg of sodium it’s not quite worth it at half of your sodium need for the day.

Tina’s only complaint is that the fiber could be a little higher.  3 grams isn’t so bad, but she will have to make sure to include 22 grams more during the day so meet the daily recommendation of 25.

If you’re in Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg, check this place out.  At Willow Lawn the staff is exceedingly friendly, willing to offer suggestions about their favorite items and preparing meals quickly.  Before you go, take a glance at their nutrition information, and try to make sure your selection matches those of these two kebobs in protein, carbs, and sodium.  They also offer a little side salad to enjoy with your kebob choices, which Tina gives a thumbs-up.

The Mixed Garden Vegetables with Basil Oil kebob and the Chicken Breast with Fresh Herbs kebob get an A-.  They may be no Power Chicken Hummus Bowl, but as far as we’re concerned, still a great option.  Enjoy!

Buckwheat Noodle Shrimp Saute

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Tina absolutely loves this dish because it’s gluten free and full of fiber from the buckwheat noodles.  Buckwheat noodles and shrimp offer a good amount of protein as well. If you prefer to go vegan, add tofu or tempeh instead of shrimp.

Buckwheat noodles originated in Japan in the late 1800s.  Also called soba noodles, they’re made from buckwheat flour.  Buckwheat noodles are fat and cholesterol-free, and are a good source of manganese and thiamine.  Since buckwheat does not contain gluten, these noodles are a good choice for people following a gluten-free diet.

Ingredients

Tomato Sauce:

You can either pick up your favorite tomato sauce from the store or try and make your own.  If you do decide to go with grocery-bought sauce, pick one where sugar is NOT listed in the first four ingredients.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves of garlic chopped
1 sweet onion sliced and chopped
1 pound medium or large shrimp (shell removed, keep the tail)
1/4 cup fresh basil chopped
4 cups baby spinach
buckwheat noodles (1/2 cup to 1 cup per serving)

Sauteed shrimp and basil: a fresh and delicious flavor.

Sauteed shrimp and basil: a fresh and delicious flavor.

Directions
Add buckwheat noodles to boiling water and cook for about 5-7 minutes or until al dente.

Turn stove top on medium heat. In saute pan add olive oil and heat then add chopped garlic and saute until toasted followed by the sliced onion. Continue to saute until wilted. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp turn pink. Add basil and continue to sauté and then add baby spinach, once spinach is cooked remove from heat.

Add noodles to a bowl or a plate and top with spinach/shrimp sauté then add tomato sauce.

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Enjoy!