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.” 🙂

The Power of a Hug

I remember growing up and being taught to not talk to strangers, let alone give them a hug and for good reason with the world we live in and all the violence we see happening to our children, but is that the best way? I don’t think we should force our kids to hug people, we need to teach them to trust their instincts, but we should teach them about the power of a “good hug”. I taught me kids early to give “good hugs”, to the people in our circle of friends and family. They are all grown up and they still give hugs. Life is about balance with wisdom. We as human beings need healthy and healing physical touch. Studies have shown that touch is essential to our well being, even for our mortality .

But touch is even more vital than this: babies who are not held and nuzzled and hugged enough will literally stop growing and-if the situation lasts long enough, even if they are receiving proper nutrition-die. SOURCE:

Bruce D. Perry, MD, Ph.D. is a child psychiatrist and neuroscientist. He is the Senior Fellow of The Child Trauma Academy and co-author of Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential—And Endangered.

Maia Szalavitz has published five books and written for The New York Times, Time magazine online, New Scientist, Psychology Today, and other major publications.

So here’s an experiment you may want to try and it may bring a bit of “Happy” into your life. Start a hug campaign in your home, church or community. I suggest to start some where you and the people around you will feel comfortable and open to this experiment of hugging.

Juan Mann, started a very public and controversial hug campaign, that impacted thousands of people. It was so powerful that authorities, banned his campaign. Juan went around and had people sign s petition and they had to remove the ban and the hugging party continued, Hugging is a big deal. Check out his video below and some reason why hugging is so good for us :

Juan Mann Hugging Campaign

Here’s a few reasons that may inspire you

to hug more:

Scientific research shows that a good hug, meaning at least 20 seconds is the fastest way for you to get oxytocin flowing in your body. Oxytocin, also known as the “love drug”, calms your nervous system and boosts positive emotions. Here’s how a good hug resulting in oxytocin flow affects you:

• It lowers your blood pressure, especially helpful if you’re feeling anxious.

• It lowers your cortisol (the stress hormone), enabling a higher quality of sleep.

• It can increase your social connections and a sense of belonging.

Studies have also shown that couples who hug more are more likely to stay together. Some reports have even shown hugs can reduce pain. So let’s get the hugging party started. SPREAD THE LOVE. 💕

Spa Day ~ The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon

I am truly a spa girl. I love taking time out from the busyness of the world and going to the spa and getting a little pampering. I had the opportunity to enjoy a media day at The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon. I was very excited, but since I go to so many spas. I was wondering what will be different about this one. When I walked in the spa, I was immediately greeted by their staff and surrounded by all natural and organic products. I took a deep breath and was filled with this beautiful calming aroma of their Calming Woodhouse “Escape”, pulling me in to explore this natural French country inspired space with touches of nature perfectly placed .

As soon as I entered further, I was greeted by one of the owners Kelly Bachtell with the most gorgeous and pleasant smile and southern hospitality, she handed me a glass of champagne and delicious snacks accompanied by some yummy desserts.

We engaged in a conversation about why they opened up The Woodhouse Day Spa- Avalon, but we talked about me and my needs. I felt so encouraged about how she was interested in knowing who I was and what interest me.

I love that it’s owned by a married couple, that’s a residents of the community. They decided to open up the spa to give their community a place to come and unwind and feel at home at the same time. I know I felt like that, at home, from the decor to the warm staff, but especially from the owners Justin and Kelly Bachtell.

The Woodhouse Day Spa- Avalon officially opens March 12th, 2018 with 18 treatment rooms and offers over 50+ different services, from massages, body treatments and something we all need sleep treatments. But here’s what makes them different in my opinion and spa jet-setter, lol. 💕

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y offer Shirodhara – Shirodhara is an intensely healing and relaxing technique that begins with lavender essential oil combined with warm, nutritive oils that flow onto the center of your forehead from a beautiful copper vessel to release mental tensions and mind chatter. A soothing head and scalp massage follows to continue this uplifting experience and encourage a state of wellbeing. It’s a traditional Indian technique that I have been looking for in spas for years and The Woodhouse Day Spa-Avalon is bringing to us. Please check out their website and book an appointment today for an incredible day of relaxation and a moment to just unplug . The Woodhouse Day Spa – Avalon

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.

March is National Kidney Month and Cauliflower is a Happy Kidney Food 🤗

This is my month, because June 17, 2018 my husband gave me his kidney and my life was changed. I am so excited to celebrate national kidney month, bringing you kidney happy recipes. There so many amazing foods that actually help with kidney health, like eggplant, celery, cabbage, asparagus, red peppers and cauliflower. Eating foods that are high in water, actually helps keep the kidneys hydrated and flushed. Drinking clean fluids and getting the proper exercise is also a wonderful way to keep our kidney and other organs healthy and functioning at their best. Check out the blog for some awesome “happy kidney recipes”, like my sautéed cauliflower, tossed with herbs and drizzled with garlic oil and this low carb Gluten  free Vegetarian Cauliflower Veggie Pizza. Happy National Kidney Month eat to your health. 🤗💕

Gluten free Vegetarian Cauliflower Veggie Pizza

Blackberry Broccoli Slaw with a Blueberry Yogurt Dressing

Broccoli Slaw is one of my favorite things to eat. According to studies, Broccoli contains phytochemicals shown to benefit arthritis, cancer, immune system health, blood pressure levels, vision, skin health, blood sugar disorders and much more” Source:Mercola

This recipe is packed with not just the benefits of broccoli but it’s loaded with planted based protein from the pumpkin seeds, fiber from the cranberries and vegetarian protein from the greek yogurt dressing, not to mention the b vitamin power of the blueberries and blackberries. My mantra is to. Eat on purpose with lots of flavor and this salad honors that fully. You can add your favorite fruit in this salad or even zucchini and yellow squash would be amazing. However you decide to enjoy it remember to, Set the Table with Love. 💕💕Ingredients:

For the dressing:

2 Tbsp plain Greek yogurt (I use nonfat)

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 Tbsp honey

1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp grainy Dijon mustard

1/4 tsp fresh black pepper

6 oz (3 cups) store-bought broccoli slaw

2-3 Tbsp cranberries, to taste

2-3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds, to taste

1 Tbsp chia seeds

Directions:In a mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients. Add the broccoli slaw, pumpkin seeds, cranberries and chia seeds and toss gently until all ingredients are well combined.Eat immediately or you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. The yogurt and mustard will tenderize the vegetables; the salad will be crunchy, but not soggy.Serve cold or at room temperature.

Simple Green ” Heart Healthy” Avocado Salad

This salad is so beautiful, simple and delicious. I love avocados. They are loaded with so much good stuff, like omega fatty acids. Avocado also helps improve digestion and they are wonderful for your heart.  I love making this salad in the summer, but it’s also delicious in the winter time as well, because I saute the green beans and sweet peas and toss them with arugula, spices and olive oil and lemon juice. I love to also add salmon to add more good omega fatty acids and protein. If you are vegan, add walnut or pistachios.  The possibilities are endless, you can also add chard, kale, even brussels sprouts would be a wonderful green option. Oh and don’t forget to Set the Table with Love.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup onions, diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1 cup green beans, fresh or frozen

1 cup sweet peas, frozen

Avocado, halved and peeled

olive oil, sea salt, Montreal steak seasonings, lemon juice

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Simple Green Avocado Salad

Directions:

In a saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil and onions, saute the onions for about 1 – 2 minutes, then add your garlic, cook for another minute. Add your beans and cook for about 3-4 minutes until slightly tender, you still want them to have a crunch. Add your sweet peas, season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat once the sweet peas are warmed through.

In a nice serving bowl, add you arugula, sweet peas, green beans, toss gently with a bit of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cut an avocado in half and peel. Take half of the avocado and add it to the top of the green mixture, drizzle with more olive oil and lemon juice and season generously with Montreal Steak Seasoning or a medley of cracked peppercorns. I love to also add basil leaves or mint to this salad to give it some freshness. Enjoy with some crusty bread or yummy multi grain crackers.

Vegan Spinach Florentine Rice Paper Wraps.

Here’s another recipe that may wow your Valentine’s Day date. 💕It’s so simple, easy, delicious and healthy. I love taking traditional recipes like a spring roll adding non traditional ingredients and allowing my guests to experience something in familiar in a new way. This will make appetizer, before dinner or add some wonderful cheeses, nuts,dried fruit and you got a beautifully unique anti pasti platter, pair it with your favorite wines and dinner is served. Psst… throw in some really good chocolates and this Valentine’s Day will be talked about for awhile. The truth is whatever you decide to do, just make sure you Set the Table with Love. NOTE: The pictures below show a wok fried version of this recipe, but I did give you an option to back them. Ingredients:1 tbsp olive oil 1/4 cup onions 1/2 cup red bell pepper1/2 cup sundried tomatoes 1 medium garlic clove, minced 1/2 cup frozen spinach, thawed and pat dry to remove excess water1/2 cup chanterelle or baby portobello mushrooms,choppedFreshly ground black pepper and sea salt to tasteRice Papers To help hold them together:1/2 tbsp cornstarch 1 tbsp water Basil oil for dipping 2 cup of basil 1 cup olive oilSea salt to taste Directions: Preheat your oven to 425.In a sauté pan on medium heat add the olive oil. Add onions, peppers and garlic and sauté for about minutes or two until onions are a bit transparent. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, until everything is heated through. Remember you will be baking these as well. Remove from stove and set aside. Prepare your rice paper for baking: 1 Place a single wrapper on a wet kitchen towel (cover the remaining wrappers with another kitchen towel so that they don’t dry). Arrange the wrapper in a diamond shape, place a bit of ingredients at the bottom. Stop when you reach half way, fold the right and left corner in so that the roll looks like an open envelope. Brush a bit of cornstarch mixture on the final corner and finish rolling. Place under a damp kitchen towel while you roll the rest. 2 Brush the rolls with a small amount of vegetable oil and place on a baking tray lined with a piece of baking parchment. 3 Bake for about 15 minutes on one side, then flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes on the other side, until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy with the basil oil or your favorite sauce.

Preparing Rice Paper wraps for deep frying. Use the same rolling process as you would for baking adding the ingredients in the rice paper and rolling according to previous instructions:To start the process of deep frying, all you need is a nice big wok or saucepan, a ladle or a pair of tongs and some oil.

  1. Heat up a cup of oil on low heat in a wok or big sauce pan. When the oil starts to lightly smoke, it is ready for frying.
  2. Using a ladle or a pair of tongs, gently immerse a spring roll into the hot oil. Be very gentle so that the oil does not splash on you.
  3. After half a minute, turn the spring roll over gently. Fry for another half a minute, then put it to the side of the wok and let it continue frying. You need to do this before putting the next spring roll into the oil as the spring rolls may stick to each other before both sides have been fried for half a minute.
  4. Fry the spring rolls until they are golden brown and crispy.
  5. Remove from oil and place ice on a paper towel, to remove and excess oil and enjoy!

For basil oil: Add all ingredients in a blender and lightly pulse, until well blended, add more oil if you like a nice thin basil oil. Continue to 5 of 6 below.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Valentine’s Day is all about making that special someone in your life feel appreciated and loved. My favorite way of expressing my love is through food. However, not everyone wants to be in the kitchen cooking up a five course meal all day.

No worries I have a beautiful salad you can prepare in under 20 minutes and your love will be very impressed. This recipe uses peaches , but you can easily substitute them for pears. You can have this salad as a main course or serve along side a piece of grilled salmon.

No matter how you decide to serve it, remember to always Set the Table with Love.💕💕💕

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Ingredients:

Prepackaged Organic Arugula Greens, (tripled washed)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp organic honey

3 medium peaches, sliced

1 cup almonds

1 tsp harissa seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

Fresh Burrata ( Whole Foods or Fresh Market )

Balsamic Glaze

Very Good Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Instruction:

Add enough arugula on to a beautiful serving dish, set aside.

Add oil to a sauté pan on medium heat. Once heated add sliced peaches, drizzle 1 tbsp of the honey over them and stir until they are coated with the honey and a pinch of sea salt . Sauté for 2 minutes, remove from heat and set aside. Using the same pan on medium heat, add your almonds, the rest of the honey, harissa and sea salt to the pan and stir constantly, until the almonds are covered completely, about a minute. Remove from heat, turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Take your Burrata and put it in the middle of your bed of arugula, open it up with a knife gently in the middle, to expose the curd, add the Organic Waikiki Honey in the middle of opened Burrata. Next add the peaches on top of the bed of arugula, then add the almonds all around, creating a beautiful salad, drizzle the entire salad with olive oil and balsamic glaze.

Arugula Salad with Sautéed Peaches, Honey Harissa Almonds, Fresh Burrata topped with Organic Waikiki Honey

Sundried Tomato Risotto ~ Easy Elegant Entertaining

What I love about entertaining at home, is spending time with my friends and family, so that means, not being in the kitchen all day, while everyone is having a good time in the other room. Who doesn’t want to be a part of the party?  I even bought our new house with that purpose in mind, to be with my guest, while I am preparing food for them. We all sit around our 8 foot island and just connect with one another over an excellent bottle of wine and eat as each course comes out.

Creating recipes that are loaded with flavor and doesn’t take a lot of time, but will make your guest feel like it did, is the key. My to go to recipe, my Sundried Tomato Risotto, because it seems, difficult, it looks fancy, but psst… IT’S NOT and it’s pretty darn delicious.

Risotto is one of those dishes you can truly make it your own, you can flavor it with all kinds of mouthwatering possibilities, with spinach, sweet peas and mint or you could do butternut squash and fried sage with just a pinch of nutmeg. Just allow your imagination to run wild, serve it with steamed veggies or a nice salad, some crusty bread, excellent wine, and you will be the hostess of the year, will maybe of the month, it is risotto and not coq au vin, LOL, 🙂

So here’s the recipe I hope you will enjoy it with your friends and family as you Set the Table with Love.

Sun dried Tomato Risotto

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Sundried Tomato Risotto photo by: Noi Tran Photography

Ingredients:

1 cup of water

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup Arborio rice

1 ounce sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil, I used pre sliced ones)

2 cups chicken broth

1/2 cup of white wine

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

finely chopped fresh basil leaves for sprinkling the risotto after cooking

Directions:

1. In a saucepan add the water and the bring the liquid to a simmer, and keep it at a bare simmer. In a large saucepan cook the onion and the garlic in the oil over moderately low heat, stirring, until they are softened, add the rice, stirring until each grain is coated with oil, and stir in the tomatoes.

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Sundried Tomato Risotto Photo by: Noi Tran Photography

2. Add 1/2 cup of the simmering liquid and cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding the liquid, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Once you have added all the water and broth liquid add the 1/2 cup of white wine remember to allow each portion to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is tender but still al dente)

3. Stir in the Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle the risotto with the fresh basil. I like to drizzle a little olive oil over it all at the end. Makes 4-6 servings