FORBIDDEN BLACK RICE AND TUNA SALAD

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I love tuna salad without the mayonnaise! Whether fresh or Wild Planet’s pole caught tuna it’s a great source of protein to add to any salad. The colorful vegetables are a rainbow of phytonutrients and in the summer you can find everything local and fresh. With this recipe I added forbidden rice that has a purple black color and is rich in iron and high in fiber and antioxidant nutrients.  It also includes protein! Enjoy this salad packed full of antioxidant nutrients and about 7-8 grams of fiber.

Ingredients:

4 cups spring herb mix

2 cups Arugula

1 red pepper chopped

1 orange pepper chopped

1 yellow carrot chopped

1/2 red onion sliced very thin

3 radishes chopped

8 oz. tuna (or I use two cans of Wild Planet Albacore tuna)

1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2/3 cup Black forbidden rice cooked

Dressing:

1/4 cup sunflower oil

2 tablespoons For Pete’s Sake Honey mustard

1/8 cup water

1 lemon squeezed

Mix dressing in a jar and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Add tuna to a bowl and all vegetables. Top with toasted pumpkin seeds and dressing!

Serves:2

Calories: 375

Protein:  10 grams

Enjoy!

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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!

A Nice Surprise at Panera

Today Tina caught wind of a deliciously amazing option at Panera: their Super Top Secret Must-Know-The-Password-To-Order Menu.  Okay, it’s not that secret, but somehow it had slipped under our radar.  How could Panera, right around the corner from our office, have such a divine bunch of lunch options that we haven’t even heard of?!  You can check this menu out in its entirety here, but we’re most excited about their Power Chicken Hummus Bowl.

Seriously, this salad is amazing.  It’s about the farthest thing it could be from a wimpy salad for a wimpy meal plan.  The nice folks at our Panera location whipped this salad up in a flash and sent us on our way with the perfect lunch.  It’s convenient and tasty, but what really caught Tina’s eye were the nutrition facts.

Waiting to be devoured.

Waiting to be devoured.

Here it is in all its well-balanced and nutritious glory.  The Registered Dietitian Stamp of Approval is owed to the fact that this salad has a very near perfect balance of nutritional elements for lunch.  The ratio here is 18 grams carbs : 4 grams fiber : 25 grams protein.  When grabbing lunch out on the run, it’s very important to check that your meal comes as close to this equation as possible.  Most restaurant meals, Tina says, push an overload of carbs, throwing your meal our of proportion.  Sticking to the figures above will ensure stabilization of blood sugar, allowing for energy levels to remain constant and for focus to increase after your meal; not to mention, keeping you sustained for a good three to four hours.  You won’t be snoozing at your desk after this salad.  The chicken is antibiotic-free and plentiful, accounting for the generous amount of protein.  Hummus is a cleverly added low glycemic index carb, while the flavor and consistency of it (AMAZING) eases one’s desire for creamy dressing.  Plenty of veggies and spinach contribute fiber and antioxidant nutrients.

Panera’s Power Chicken Hummus Bowl gets an A++ rating on Tina’s list.  It’s the best choice we’ve seen in a long, long time from a restaurant.

Way to go, Panera.  Way to go.

Tuna Avocado Salad

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One of the hardest things about eating healthy is meal-planning.  It’s not always easy to grab something quick after a busy day that fits into the categories of nourishing, nutritious and delicious.  It’s also not easy to vary the ingredients you enjoy enough to make multiple meals.  It seems to us that one of the tricks to overcoming these obstacles is to have on hand certain staples that are versatile and quick, easy to add to anything.  Allow us to introduce you to the tuna-avocado combination!

Tuna is a simple healthy option that already fits into multiple recipes.  Mixing in avocado allows tuna to take on a more creamy texture, and the combination is absolutely delicious.  This week’s recipe features our tuna-avocado combo in salad form, but keeping a container of it in your fridge will allow you to add it to wraps, sandwiches, or as a side to dinner.

Ingredients:
2 cans of Wild Planet albacore tuna ( I use one with olive oil and one with water)
1 avocado
3 chopped scallions
Szechuan seasoning (Penzey’s)
chopped chives

Directions:
Mix together tuna and avocado, mashing avocado into tuna.  Add chopped scallions and chives.  Season with Szechuan seasoning and pepper.  Place onto a bed of lettuce and surround with vegetables of choice.

Enjoy!

 

Kale Nicoise Salad

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We hear a lot about the newest food fads in our line of work.  Our clients and friends raise questions about sugar, certain diets, how a Google search told them this new superfruit does….whatever.  There’s plenty of mixed information and conflicting opinions out there, but one thing is for sure: you just can’t go wrong with a good old-fashioned salad.

We love kale.  We put kale in everything we possibly can.  It’s tasty in a saute, tasty in a salad, tasty anywhere.  This leafy green is starting to get the attention it deserves for its high iron and calcium content, and today we’d like to celebrate the basic-most aspect of its versatility in salad form.  Along with our superfood green, we have peppers, carrots, celery, tuna, egg and roasted almonds to contribute some protein, fiber, vitamins A and C, and omega-3 fatty acid.  You can also enjoy our homemade dressing guilt-free, as usual.

Enjoy this hearty twist on a classic health food staple that won’t leave you hungry!


Ingredients
:
4 leaves of curly red kale chopped
1/4 cup chopped red pepper
1/4 cup chopped yellow pepper
1 can Wild Planet white albacore tuna
1/4 carrot chopped
1 celery stalk chopped
1 boiled egg
5 roasted almonds chopped

Dressing:
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tsp. Dijon Mustard
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
pepper – 1/4 tsp.
Directions:
Mix it up and make a delicious salad!

Fresh as the Farm Thanksgiving Meal

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We don’t mean to jump on the “eat healthy during the holidays” bandwagon, but really, we should.  We’ve got nothing against mashed potatoes and stuffing, the treats we expect and desire when the weather turns cold; but allow us to offer a tasty suggestion.  Enjoy your conservative helpings of Thanksgiving favorites, and try something new with our amazing cornish hen dinner, complemented by a beet salad and sweet walnut acorn squash.  As usual, Tina has completed plenty of research and hours or experimenting to come up with a snack that will thrill the tastebuds and avoid that post-turkey stupor by fueling your body in a healthy way.

These items together contain all the macronutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fats.  For those of you who haven’t yet tried a recipe with cornish hen, let’s just say you’ve GOTTA do it.  It’s absolutely delicious.  The flavor is subtle, a little sweeter and more dense than chicken, and is simply delicious with the garlic and rosemary in this recipe.  The beet arugula salad packs a punch for your senses, a surprising contrast to the gentle cornish hen.  We absolutely loved the sharp flavor of the greens with goat feta cheese sprinkled on top (quite liberally, in Stephanie’s case).  The benefit here is a decent amount of vitamins C and K, along with iron and beta carotene, but let’s not focus on that stuff during Thanksgiving.  Along those lines, Tina includes an absolutely amazing sweet acorn squash that’s sure to please.  In addition, we’ve included a recipe at the end for a gluten-free pie that features coconut and pumpkin.

Enjoy these elements together in a well-rounded meal, or bring one thing with you to the family party. Either way, you can wow your loved ones with the idea that healthy can taste good!  Use this holiday season to begin a new era in your life involving wellness and healthy living- you’ll be sure to have some company in that once your friends give this recipe a try.

Cornish Hens:
(you’ll need a dutch oven.)

Ingredients:
2 cornish hens
buttery olive oil
rosemary – 2 sprigs
thyme – 1 sprig
1 onion chopped
4 garlic cloves
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash the cornish hens.  Pat dry.  Pour 1 tablespoon of the buttery olive oil on each cornish hen, then salt and pepper.  Stuff each cornish hen with 1/2 of the onion and 2 garlic cloves.  Add 1 sprig of rosemary and thyme to each hen.  Place in a dutch oven and bake, covered, for 1 hour.


Coconut and Walnut Acorn Squash

Ingredients:
2 acorn squash
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 cup coconut sugar or truvia
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tablespoons light Kerrygold butter

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place acorn squash on a pan and bake until you can put a fork through it, about 30 minutes.

Split the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place 1/2 tablespoon of the butter in each half of the squash.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Place the coconut and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until the walnuts are minced.  Add coconut sugar or truvia and continue to pulse.  Add 1/4 cup of coconut mix to each squash.  Place squash in a baking pan that has about 1 inch of water.  Cover with aluminum  foil and bake until squash is soft, about 20 minutes.


Goat Cheese Arugula Beet Salad

Ingredients:
1 package of fresh arugula
2 beets cooked and sliced
1/2 cup goat feta
Salt and Pepper to taste

Dressing:
Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
Maple Balsamic Vinegar – I use Taproom…..

Directions:
Place arugula on a platter. Top with fresh beets. Add the feta/goat cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil over the salad mix first followed by the Maple balsamic vinegar.


Coconut Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:
Crust:
1/2 cup flax seed partially ground
1 cup teff flour
1 cup almond chopped
1/2 cup sorhgum flour
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) coconut oil melted

Filling:
1 can organic pumpkin
2 eggs
1/2 cup coconut milk chilled for at least 2 hours (use only the firm part of the coconut milk, discard the water)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 cup truvia for baking

Directions:
Put the pumpkin, truvia and spices into a food processor and blend well. Add the coconut cream and continue to blend. Add 2 eggs. Blend well. Pour into crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Tina hen edit

Enjoy, and happy Thanksgiving!

Butternut Squash, Borecole and Pomegranate Salad

Kale is the new superfood, full of flavor and nutrients.  Also called “borecole,” it’s closely related to wild cabbage in the way it grows.  Kale has iron, vitamin K, and is loaded with antioxidant nutrients.  Couple this veggie with pomegranate seeds and you have a powerhouse salad!

Compounds found in pomegranates are called punicalagins and have been shown to aid heart and blood vessel health.  Punicalagins are the major component in the pomegranate that have health benefits.  Some of the benefits include helping to lower cholesterol.

This salad is a delightful combination of savory and sweet flavors with the added joy of a crunchy and robust texture.  Enjoy it as a quick lunch or a side to your main protein at dinner.

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Ingredients:

Butternut squash
4 cups curly purple kale (also known as borecole)
1 pomegranate
1 cup chopped pistachio nuts
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

Place butternut squash in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Slice the butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Peel the squash and cube.

Place kale in a pan with a inch of water and cover and steam about 1 minute.

Remove pomegranate seeds and place in a bowl.  Add chopped pistachios.  Add to the kale and add butternut squash to the mix.

Mix together olive oil, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup.  Add to the kale mixture and mix well.  Can serve with any protein dish including fish, chicken, pork or tofu.

Enjoy!

Cranberry Orange Zest Salad

We’ve noticed here at Lighten Up that Spring seems to be our busiest season.  Whether the motivation is to increase training over the summer or to look good in a bikini, we don’t know- or care!  We’re just glad to have clients who are excited about getting healthy, whatever their reasons.

However, this yearly influx of new clients leaves us staring at each other at the end of the day wondering where the time has gone.  Many of our clients seem to be suffering from the same experience.  Has Spring always been this busy?

It’s more important during busy times than any other to keep energy high, maintain focus, and take care of yourself.  Don’t skip lunch, and make sure you’re eating foods that are nourishing.  Today we have the perfect “recipe” for on-the-go lunches: Cranberry Orange Zest Salad!  Prepare it in the morning, store it in the office fridge and bring it out for a quick energy-boosting lunch.

The walnuts in this salad are full of omega-3 fatty acid, and veggies are always a good source of antioxidants.  Beets provide iron, folate, vitamin C and a rich source of a phytochemical compound called glycine betaine (which can help with lowering homocysteine levels in the blood).  The root of the beet, too, is a rich source of b-complex vitamins- niacin (B-3), pantothenic acid (B-5), pyridoxine (B-6)- and minerals such as iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.  And don’t forget that salads have a healthy dose of fiber, too.

Zest Salad


 

1 cup arugula
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 cucumber, sliced
1 radish, chopped
1 fresh beet (cooked in boiling water until soft, then peeled and chopped)
8 walnuts halves
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon dried orange zest (I use Penzey’s)
1/8 teaspoon Szechuan salt
fresh ground peppercorns, to taste

Mix together in a bowl and add some reduced balsamic vinegar to taste with two teaspoons olive oil.

 

Tina often brings this salad in for lunch and adds fresh salmon from the previous night’s dinner, or a can of Wild Planet Tuna, which is aluminum free.  If you’re vegan, add black beans instead.  Enjoy!