Here’s how you can make a better salad to boost energy and help with weight loss

Salads are what you make them, and if you are eating to boost energy and shed a few pounds, you may want to be more conscious of how you are making that ‘healthy salad”. Most people think to throw some lettuce in a bowl with a few tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and some type of dressing and you got yourself a healthy salad. Think again my friend. Don’t get me wrong, everything in that salad for the most part is good, but let’s look at it closer.

So, you are making a salad, most people go for just regular iceberg lettuce. Iceberg lettuce has no real nutritional value, just good ruffage.  When picking lettuce the best rule of thumb, the darker the greens the more fiber, flavor and nutrients they will possess.

Now let’s talk about ingredients. If you are eating a salad as your main meal, which is a good idea, because you can incorporate, good protein, lots of fiber, good carbohydrates and good essential fatty acids all on one plate, if we are conscious of what ingredients you are choosing. A salad that will keep you energized and help you drop a few pounds, if eaten daily, with exercise and other healthy accompany meals would look something like this:

Greens:

Choose 2 to 3 greens:

romaine lettuce

arugula

spinach

kale

Mixed green Medley ( easier way to get several leafy green choices)

You can also add:

Cabbage or Radicchio

Fresh herbs:

Choose 1 or 2 herbs:

basil

parsley

mint

dill

Grains ( optional, but loaded with vegan protein and lots of fiber, just use a little, they are high in carbohydrates.)

Choose 1 grain:

Quinoa

Wild Rice

Farro

Bulgar Wheat

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Protein 

Choose 1 to 2 proteins:

Organic Chicken ( grilled )

Salmon, steamed or grilled, high in protein and essential fatty acids

Chickpeas, vegan protein and fiber

Eggs

Beans, such as lentils

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Vegetables:

LET THESE BE THE MOST IN YOUR SALAD, LOAD UP!

Beets

Carrots

Onions

Cucumbers

Yellow Squash

Bell Peppers

Zucchini

Mushrooms

Celery

Peas

Olives

Broccoli

Brussels Sprouts

Healthy Fats, for crunch  

Nuts and Seeds of all kind that you can consume:

Walnuts, Almonds, Pistachios, Brazil Nuts, Hazelnuts, Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Chia Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Flax Seeds and Hemp Seeds .

Dressings:

Make your own and the healthiest dressings are one that are not creamy, but more in the vinaigrette family.

Simple and healthy dressings have these 4 key ingredients:

Acid~ Lemon Juice, Balsamic Vinegar, Red Wine Vinegar, Rice Wine Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar and White Wine Vinegar.

Oil ~ Olive oil, Walnut Oil, Avocado Oil, and Hazelnut Oil .

Emulsifierr ~ which is the ingredient that helps keep the first two ingredients from separating and keeps your dressing stable ~ Mustard, Greek Yogurt, Ground  Flaxseed, Mashed Avocado and Honey.

Herbs and Flavoring ~ Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Dill, Cracked Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes, Chives and Honey .

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Warm Beet, Green Apple and Trio Lentil Salad

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Salad Recipes

Warm Beet, Green Apple and Trio Lentil Salad

Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing 

1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 tablespoon lemon juice

water, to thin ( if necessary)

In a blender add all ingredients, blend and enjoy. 🙂

Store in a glass airtight container in the fridge for one to two days, this is a very perishable item. Use it all in a day if possible. 

So now you are educated about how to make an awesome salad that is loaded with everything your body needs. Now go out my loves and make the world a ” Happy Salad Place.” 🙂

Sun-dried Tomato Olive and Goat Cheese Scones

Who doesn’t love a delicious scone? One of my favorite scones to bake is blueberry with a lemon zest icing. But today I was interested in something a lot more savory, so I decided to make these sun-dried tomato, olive and goat cheese scones. They are packed with so much flavor and you can have them for breakfast and lunch with a nice salad and soup combo.

Sundried Tomato Olive and Goat Cheese Scone

The scone is super creamy, because of the goat cheese and also the buttermilk I used instead of using regular milk. If you want to make the scones vegan you can completely leave out the goat cheese and use a non dairy milk and vegan butter instead of regular butter.

The beauty of scones, is they give us an opportunity to take a biscuit and make it all fancy and add our favorite ingredients. Try different food combinations, like spicy scone with cheddar and jalapeños.

My next recipe prosciutto, walnut and fig scones with smoky gruyere or gouda. Hmm…🤔. You will have to wait and see until next time remember to Set the Table with Love.

Sundried Sundried Tomato Olive and Goat Cheese Scone<
ngredients:

2 cups organic all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder, aluminum free

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons organic cane sugar

1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces (1 stick)

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 organic egg

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes without oil, chopped

1/4 cup kalamata olives, dried and chopped

1/4 cup goat cheese, crumbled

Directions:

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat. I used a silpat it seems to brown better than parchment, if you use parchment, double of the sheets. In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, pepper and sugar. Using two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Pour into mixing bowl and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the sun-dried tomatoes, the olives and the goat cheese. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead very lightly and form into an 8-inch circle. (Add a little more flour to the dough if the dough becomes too sticky to handle). Cut the dough into 8 wedges. Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for a minute or so, then transfer onto a wire rack to cool down, enjoy them for breakfast with a poached egg and a cup or tea.

Risotto Balls with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Here’s another really beautiful appetizer it is my leftover risotto balls. These are very simple to make and they are absolutely gorgeous, especially when you pair it with my sun-dried tomato pesto. I am just going to get to the recipe here, so you can get back to make the evening more magical.

Ingredients:

3 cups cooked risotto

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 cup Italian seasoned fine dry bread crumbs

Sundried Tomato Pesto:

2 cups sun dried tomatoes, drained, if packed in oil

1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, crushed under a knife and peeled

Directions: 1 Using lightly greased or wet hands, shape leftover risotto into 1-inch balls. Return balls to the baking pan. Cover and chill about 2 hours or until balls are completely chilled.

2 In a large skillet, heat 1 cup oil over medium-high heat. Roll rice balls in beaten eggs, then in bread crumbs to coat.

3 Cook rice balls, one-fourth at a time, in hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown, carefully turning once. Using a slotted spoon, remove rice balls and drain on paper towels. Keep warm in a 200 degrees F oven while cooking the remaining rice balls. Once all the balls cooked plate them with a side of sun dried tomato pesto.

Sun dried tomato pesto:

Process all the ingredients in a food processor fitted with the metal blade until the mixture forms a coarse paste. This pesto will keep in the fridge inside an airtight container up to one month.

Penne Pasta with Sweet Peas Roasted Tomatoes Mint and Lemon Zest with a Green Apple Mint Salad

Yes! It’s winter and our bodies are craving those wonderful comfort foods, like l a big bowl of chili with jalapeno and cheddar cornbread or some creamy mac and cheese, but it’s good to give the digestive tract a little rest, even in the cold wintry months.

Today I was missing summer, so I decided to make this wonderful pasta and salad dish. I used one of my new favorite gluten free pastas, brown rice penne fromJovial Foods I love the nuttiness of their pasta and it holds up to it’s form.

This recipe honors a few of spring and summer’s produce, mint, lemons and sweet peas. I roasted some cherry tomatoes to give it a nice burst of smoky citrus flavor and a few pieces of mint leaves with a bit of lemon zest, well just say, it’s summer in your mouth.

The Green Apple Mint salad makes a wonderfully refreshing side. I love making my own vinaigrettes and this balsamic mint dressing could be one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy a bit of summer in these recipe.  Make sure you stay warm and Set the Table with Love.

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Brown Rice Penne Pasta with Peas and Roasted Tomatoes with a Green Apple Mint Salad

Penne Pasta 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Jovial Penne Pasta

1 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 cup organic sweet peas

2 tbsp lemon juice

lemon zest

mint leaves, for garnish

cracked black pepper and kosher salt to taste

drizzle of good Extra Virgin Olive oil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Toss the tomatoes lightly with olive oil on a baking sheet. Spread them out into one layer and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft. Once roasted set aside.

Add penne pasta to a pot of salted boiling water. Cook according to package direction. Drain and place back on the stove on low heat, add peas and lemon juice. Allow peas to just heat up and remove from heat.  Add pasta, peas and roasted tomatoes into a bowl, add lemon zest, mint leaves and gently toss. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

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Brown Rice Penne Pasta with Peas and Roasted Tomatoes with a Green Apple Mint Salad

Green Apple Salad

Ingredients: 

1 medium green apple

Bib lettuce or your favorite leafy greens 🙂

Cranberries

Pumpkin seeds

Sunflower seeds

Baby mint leaves, as garnish

Instruction:

Cut the apples, as desired. Gently tear the bib lettuce into desired pieces and place in a bowl, top with the cut apples, cranberries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Add drizzle with the Balsamic Mint vinaigrette.

Balsamic Mint Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon finely minced shallot

3 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

Place the shallots in a small glass jar with a secure lid.  Add the balsamic vinegar, the salt and the pepper. Pour the olive oil into the jar. Put the lid on the jar tightly, and shake vigorously, and add to the salad right before serving.

 

 

 

Cooking today with William Sonoma ~ Gluten Free Holiday Treats ~ Sneak Peak

It is always a pleasure to come out and share my passion for delicious, healthy eating with William Sonoma’s staff and customers. Today I am cooking up some yummy, decadent and   gluten free holiday appetizers and my gluten free brownie bites with a twist. I will be using William Sonoma’s famous Original Peppermint Bark as a topping for these rich and luscious brownies. I will also be making tuscan white beans stuffed in a roasted campari tomato and yummy zucchini bites stuffed with gruyere and parmesan cheese.

I am so excited to share some of my families favorite holiday treats today with William Sonoma’s customers, as they shop for wonderful gifts for their love ones. So stop by and find some great gifts for your family and have a brownie on me. Here’s a sneak peak of today’s menu.  

Zucchini Bites

INGREDIENTS

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 egg

1/4 cup yellow onion, diced,finely 

1/2 cup cheese gruyere

1/2 cup parmesan 

1/2 cup gluten free  bread crumbs – I used Italian style

Salt and Pepper, to taste. 

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a mini-muffin tin with non-stick spray, set aside. Grate the zucchini and then place in a dish towel to squeeze out the excess water- like when using frozen spinach.  In a bowl combine, the egg, onion, cheese, bread crumbs, zucchini, salt and pepper. 4. Using a spoon or a cookie scoop, fill the muffin cups to the top. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the top is browned and set.  

  • Gluten Free Brownies with Chocolate Ganache these will be topped with William Sonoma Original Peppermint Bark

1/2 cup Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Chips 

4 ounces Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Baking Bar 

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar 

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs 1 egg yolk

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons gluten free-purpose flour. I love Bob Mills Gluten free baking flour or Pillsbury Gluten-free baking powder. 

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1″ pieces. In the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, melt the 4 chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 -35  minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares.

This recipe is gluten free, gluten-free flour can take a little more time to bake. It usually takes about 33 minutes on these. 

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  • Campari Stuffed with Tuscan White Beans with a balsamic glaze

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Two sides of the coin ~ Toasted Pearl Barley Salad

When I competed on Food Network’s All Star Academy season 2, I was blessed to be mentored by Iron Chef and Food Network guru, Alex Guarnaschelli.  She looked at me and my teammate Lee Abbot and said, “You will never look at cooking the same,ever again.” She was right. Competing on Food Network’s All Star Academy, was probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life.  It’s not just television folks, it’s an experience you will never forget. It challenged me to my very soul, not only in front of the cameras, but also behind the scenes. In such competitions, 12 hours of filming, elimination challenges, television politics and illness, you discover a part of you, you never knew. I have to say, I am so grateful for my time on the show. The experience is still revealing more of who I am and what I am capable of. You may say, Lisa, it was just a game show, maybe, but life is how you digest it, how you take it in and savior all of it’s flavors, like a wonderful dish executed with skill, patience and lots of care. This is experience was one of the best I have ever consumed.

The dish I would like to share with you today reminded me of my time on the show. I got a chance to cook also with Chef Curtis Stone, he is incredibly brilliant chef, that takes his craft very seriously.  Chef Stone inspired me with his precision and attention to every single detail. Chef’s food reminded me of art, fashion, symphony, culture expressed on a plate. Chef Guarnaschelli mentoring and food is full of soul, spirit, it’s holistic, she hits you with texture, flavor, aromas, emotions, she brings you HOME.

I made today two salads, from produce I got from the Farm and from my local grocery store. The salad is made with all the same ingredients, not one is missing no matter how different they may look. When I made these dishes, I wasn’t thinking of my experience on Food Network, I was just creating, but as Chef Guarnaschelli said,  You will never look at cooking the same, ever again. She was right. Thanks Chefs for the inspiration that  sometimes comes out unconsciously. It’s in me now. 🙂

 

Toasted Pearl Barley Salad ( two ways) 

This salad is necessarily not a recipe. It using your favorite vegetables and displaying them from your cooking perspective. Here is what I used.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

 

For the Rustic Salad and Salad of Art

Using a mandolin, slice up squash, radish, red cabbages, set a side

Cut up campari tomatoes in quarter for the rustic salad, for the artistic one, thinly slice of the bottoms, not exposing the inside, scoop out the top and some of the inside of the tomato, set a side.

Cut up 1 shallot, peel and slice horizontally, keep two of the ends where the circles are intact, the remainder will be used to toast in the rustic salad.

This is all about creativity, so follow my instruction or go wild with your imagination.

 

Here’s the instructions you need to follow:

Toasted Pearl Barley with Ras El Hanout season walnuts and vegetables with a fried egg

( a mouth full) 🙂

Toasted Pearl Barley

Ingredients:

1 cup pearl barley

1 tsp olive oil

2 cups organic vegetable broth, low sodium

sea salt and black pepper to taste

1/2 cup green cauliflower florets, small pieces

1/2 cup green sweet peas

1/2 cup sliced red bell peppers

1/2 cup sliced onions

1/2 cup walnuts

1 tbsp olive oil

1 1/2 tbsp ras el hanout

sea salt to taste

Directions:

Cook pearl barley as instructed. Once cook set a side. In a sauté pan add the oil, the peppers, onions, and pinch of the salt, cook until tender remove. Add the cauliflower, pinch of salt, cook for 1-2 minutes, you want it to stay crunchy. Remove and add to the peppers and onions. Add the walnuts and the ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook the walnuts and seasonings for about a minute, you are just warming up the walnuts and bringing out the flavors of the ras el hanout. Add all the ingredients into the toasted pearl barley, season with more ras el hanout and sea salt, to taste.

For the Rustic Salad:

Add the toasted pearl barley to a plate and toast in your favorite veggies, remember to leave some of the vegetables on the side to create your Salad of Art. You will need 3 medium squash slices, 6 small pieces of the squash slices, 6 small radish slices, 3 pieces of the red cabbage,  Drizzle with the Basil and Garlic oil, recipe below:

Basil and Garlic Oil:

Ingredients:

2 cups of packed basil leaves
½ cup – 1 cup of olive oil, adjust based on the thickness level you prefer
1 garlic clove
Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place the basil, olive oil, garlic, mini-food processor, mix until you have smooth sauce. Taste and add additional salt if needed.

Salad of Art:

On a beautiful white plate, add 3 pearls of basil oil on the plate, take 3 of your mandolin cut squash and add it on top of the basil oil pearls. Stuff your campari tomatoes with some of the toasted pearl barley mixture, add one pea on top of the each stuffed tomato. Add a piece of the red cabbage inside of the stuffed tomato, allowing it to stand up like a flag. Add the radishes on the outside of the tomatoes with a dollop of the basil and garlic oil and add the small squash slices onto that. Add the pieces of the green cauliflower artistically onto the plate with the slices of shallots.

Be creative, squash all that I have written and honey do your on thing. LOL.

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Toasted Pearl Barley with veggies Basil and Garlic oil

Enjoy and Remember to Set the Table with Love.