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Citrus Honey Salmon with Broccoli, Carrots, & Toasted Almonds

Citrus Honey Salmon with Broccoli, Carrots, and Toasted Almonds

Looking for a tasty new way to serve fish?  Try this simple marinade of orange juice, reduced sodium soy sauce, honey, garlic, and ginger.

Set aside five minutes to prepare the marinade in the morning.  Place the fish in the marinade, cover it, place it in the fridge, and let it saturate during the day.  When you are ready for dinner, just remove the fish from the marinade.  Pop the salmon in the oven or toss it on the grill while you prepare the vegetables and rice.

Want to save yourself even more work?  Use frozen brown rice and vegetables that can be steamed in the bag (e.g., Birdseye Steamfresh).

 Click here for the printable recipe.

Chicken Parmesan and Green Bean Medley with Caramelized Onions

Chicken Parmesan and Green Bean Medley with Caramelized Onions

In this oven-baked version of Chicken Parmesan, chicken breasts are dredged in whole wheat breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan, Italian seasoning, and garlic powder.

Don’t have any whole wheat breadcrumbs?  They are a snap to make.  Just toast 1-2 slices of 100% whole wheat bread or 100% whole grain bread.  Let them cool slightly, break them into chunks, and pulse them in the food processor or a clean coffee grinder until you have breadcrumbs.  Extra breadcrumbs can be stored in the freezer.

Click here for the printable recipe.

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple

Sweet and Sour Chicken with Pineapple

This colorful one-pot meal combines red and green bell peppers, carrots, onions, pineapple, chicken, and brown rice with an easy sweet and sour sauce.  Leftovers are delicious for lunch the next day.

If you are not used to working with fresh ginger, try this tip.  Break off a small piece of ginger root for your dish (usually about 1-2 inches long).  Wrap the rest of the ginger root in plastic wrap and store it in the freezer.  Use a vegetable peeler to remove the outer peel as shown below.  Then grate it on a microplane or zester.  Mine is from OXO and I use it to grate many different things- ginger, citrus zest, cheese, and whole nutmeg.

Click here for the printable recipe.

Cauliflower Pizza

No joke, this will knock your socks off.

It is not the kind of pizza that you can pick up with your hands and eat.  But no one can ever figure out what the delicious “crust” is made from.  Even my husband who doesn’t really like cauliflower loves this side dish.

Cauliflower Pizza


1 head of cauliflower, roughly chopped into 2-inch chunks

2 eggs, lightly beaten

8 ounces of  shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1 tsp. dried Italian seaoning

pinch of salt

1 cup of diced cooked vegetables such as red bell peppers, carrots, broccoli,  mushrooms or onions

chopped fresh parsley

grated Parmesan, optional

Pizza sauce:

6 ounce can tomato paste

8 ounce can tomato sauce

1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning

pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Lightly coat a large baking sheet with vegetable oil.  Place the cauliflower in the bowl of a food processor and process for a few minutes until it is finely chopped and looks almost like a grain (I had 4 cups).

 Transfer it to a microwavable dish (I just put it on a plate) and microwave for about 8 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, prepare the pizza sauce.  In a small bowl, combine the tomato paste, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and pinch of salt.  Use half of the sauce for this recipe.  The remaining sauce can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer.  It is perfect for whole grain pita pizzas or English muffins with vegetables.

 Once the cauliflower is ready, transfer it to a large bowl and combine it with the 7 ounces of cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, and pinch of salt. Spread it onto the baking sheet and pat it down in the form of a circle or rectangle until it is about 1/4- 1/2 inch thick.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes.  Top with sauce, vegetables, and remaining cheese.  Bake for another 5 minutes until the edges are lightly golden and the cheese on the top has melted.  Cut into little triangles or squares.  Top with chopped fresh parsley and grated Parmesan, if desired. Eat it with a fork.

 Serves 8 as a side dish or snack.

Cherry Banana Ice Cream with Coconut

I took the kids on a long bike ride today several times around the Furman Lake and they were exhausted.  This cold treat was the perfect thing to perk everyone back up.  Plus it has only three ingredients- frozen cherries, frozen bananas, and shredded coconut!

Cherry Banana Ice Cream with Coconut

Tip:  Slice ripe bananas (with little brown sugar spots on them) and place them in freezable containers with wax paper dividing the layers.  Store them in the freezer so can make  smoothies or  this banana “ice cream” whenever you want.


1 cup frozen banana slices

1 cup pitted frozen sweet cherries (I used Publix)

shredded coconut


Remove the bananas and coconut from the freezer and let them thaw slightly for about 15 minutes.  Transfer them into the bowl of a food processor and process until blended.  I like a few little chunks of cherries in it so I didn’t blend it completely.  Transfer to serving bowls and top with a little bit of shredded coconut.  Serve immediately. (Serves 2-3)


Zucchini Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Pesto

I have a confession… I never really liked raw zucchini…UNTIL I tried this salad!

I saw the recipe on a food blog but it requires a mandoline, which I do not have.  So I used my handy dandy vegetable peeler. Delicious and super easy!

Zucchini Salad with Grape Tomatoes and Pesto


2 zucchini, washed and lightly scrubbed

1/4 cup Pesto

1 cup grape tomatoes, halved or quartered

grated Parmesan cheese, optional


Trim the bottom ends off of the zucchini.  Leave the stem on so you have something to hold onto while you peel it.  Run the vegetable peeler along the zucchini making 1/2 inch strips. Rotate the zucchini in a circle as you peel.


Toss the zucchini noodles with a little bit of pesto, grape tomatoes, and top with grated Parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.  (serves 4)

We served this vegetable side with a Chili-Lime Chicken Burger (Trader Joes) on a 100% whole grain bun and corn on the cob.



Green Iced Tea with Fresh Mint

Spearmint Green Tea

While water is king of the beverages, sometimes you may be craving something a little different.  Try this easy Green Iced Tea with mint and lemon.  It is high in antioxidants and low in caffeine.  I made a big pitcher to help use up all of this spearmint that we just bought from the Furman Farm.


Green Tea bags, prepared according to package directions

Fresh mint leaves on the stalk, rinsed well

Lemon wedges


Bring a pot of water to boil and remove from heat.  Add green tea bags and a few mint sprigs and steep for about 5 minutes; discard bags and mint leaves.  Let cool and serve over ice with a wedge of lemon.  Sweeten lightly, if desired.

This is also delicious with fruit flavored teas such as Raspberry Zinger, Lemon Zinger, or Country Peach.

Spearmint leaves can also be frozen in each section of an ice cube tray.  Just fill the trays with water as usual and add a mint leaf to each cube.  Once frozen they can be added to iced tea or seltzer water with lemon.


Sweet Potatoes with Dates, Pecans, and Gorgonzola

Move over marshmallows and brown sugar… we have a new (and tastier!) sweet potato topper in town.

Special thanks to recent Furman grad (‘14) Ellen Barr and her father for sharing with me a new website called Budget Bytes.  The recipes on this website are inexpensive and usually very healthy!

I have made several so far including Confetti Chickpea Salad, Roasted Vegetables with Chickpeas and Feta, and my favorite—Sweet Potatoes with Dates, Pecans, and Gorgonzola.

I always seem to have a carton of pitted dates in the pantry.  My kids like to snack on a few with some almonds.  They are super sweet like candy but do not have any added sugar.

Sweet Potatoes with Chopped Dates, Pecans, and Gorgonzola


Sweet Potatoes

Pitted dates, chopped into little pieces

Chopped pecans

Gorgonzola cheese (optional)


Bake sweet potatoes in the oven (400 degrees for 45-60 minutes) or microwave until a fork pierced through a potato meets little resistance.  Meanwhile, chop the pitted dates into little pieces.  I like to chop the pitted dates instead of purchasing chopped dates.  Chopped dates are coated in dextrose to keep them from sticking together and don’t taste quite the same to me.

Once the potatoes are cooked, top sweet potatoes with dates, pecans, and Gorgonzola if desired.

We served them with Mango Coconut Fish (purchased from Whole Foods frozen fish market), Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan, and Sliced Tomatoes.



Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

My five year old son insisted on purchasing a gigantic bag of raw and freshly picked peanuts from the Furman Farm this weekend.

We roasted them for snacks…but we still had a lot of peanuts.

I made a Thai Rainbow Chicken Salad with Roasted Peanuts and Peanut Dressing… but we still had a lot of peanuts.

We tied some on a string and hung them in the backyard for the squirrels to munch on…but we still had a lot of peanuts.

So…I had to call out for reinforcements—my blender.

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter

This is unreal!


Fresh, raw peanuts in the shell (I filled a baking sheet)

1-2 Tbsp. Canola or vegetable oil

1-2 Tbsp. Honey

Pinch of Salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread peanuts on a single layer over a baking sheet with a rimmed edge.

Bake for 20-25 minutes until fragrant, stirring once halfway.  Let them cool slightly.  Break them out of their shells and remove the papery skins (I put my kids to work for this part).

Place them in a blender and process.  Drizzle in a little bit of vegetable oil, honey, and salt. Store in the refrigerator.

I made my kids the ultimate PB&J with Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter, Homemade Strawberry Freezer Jam (berries picked a few weeks ago), and 100% Whole Grain Cinnamon Raisin Bread.  They were in heaven!

It also makes a mean “Ants on a Log.” Fill PB into celery pieces and top with golden and dark raisins: 

 Or it is pretty tasty straight off of the spoon!

For more tips on making peanut butter, click here.


Rainbow Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Rainbow Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

I have purchased Rainbow Chard before from farmer’s markets and Whole Foods. But I have a whole new appreciation for it now that I have seen it grow in the field.  This vegetable is GORGEOUS!

Rainbow Chard is similar to Swiss Chard and a relative of the beet.  It is a mixture of red chard and golden chard.

I searched around for different ways to prepare it and found quite a few ideas:

~ Rainbow Chard Sauteed with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

~ Rainbow Chard Sauteed with Lemon, Garlic, and Parmesan

~ Rainbow Chard Sauteed and Topped with Orange Segments and Pecans

I finally settled on this delicious Rainbow Chard with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts.  As I finish this post I am happy to report that I have polished off the last of the batch…yum.


one bunch of rainbow chard (I had 16 leaves, it cooks down quite a bit)

1-2  Tbsp olive oil

1 medium sweet onion, such as Vidalia, chopped

1 tsp chopped garlic

1-2 Tbsp vinegar ( I used sherry vinegar but balsamic or red wine would work also)

1/3 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup pine nuts

pinch of salt


Place one Rainbow Chard leaf on the cutting board. Use the pointed edge of a knife to slice along each side of the stem to separate the leaf from the stem.   Repeat with the remaining leaves.  Make one pile of leaves and one pile of stems.  Chop the stems crosswise into 1/4″ pieces.  Coarsely chop the leaves into little 1/2″ strips.  (I find it easier to wash the chard in a colander after it has been chopped.)

Warm the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion; saute 3-5 minutes until softened.  Add garlic; saute 1 minute.  Add the chopped chard stems and cook for about 5 minutes until slightly softened.  Add the  chard leaves, vinegar, and salt; cook for another 3-5 minutes or until they are wilted down.  Remove from heat.  Add raisins and pine nuts.  Serve warm.