Snappy Cranberry Pecan Green Bean Salad

1 lb fresh green beans
1/4 cup dried cranberries (sweetened or not)
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 fresh lemon, juiced
1 tsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Trim and cut green beans in half on the diagonal into similar sizes.  Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil, prepare an ice bath in a bowl.  When water comes to a boil, drop in the beans and let boil for 1 or 2 minutes, then drain and put beans in the ice bath to stop the cooking process.

When the beans are cold, drain and dump out onto a paper towel covered wire cooling rack.

Mix up the dressing while waiting for the beans to dry.

In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, salt, and pepper.

In a large salad bowl, put the drained beans, cranberries, pecans, and onions, drizzle on the dressing and toss to combine well.

Serve immediately.

Will serve 2 to 4, and may be easily doubled.


Easy Three Step Broccoli Cranberry Slaw

2 (12 oz each) bags broccoli coleslaw mix
1/2 to 1 cup (more or less) prepared dressing, your choice (I used Ken’s Balsamic Vinegar)
1 (8 oz) package dried sweetened cranberries
2 cups pistachio nuts, chopped slightly
salt and pepper

Put both bags of broccoli slaw in a large salad bowl, add some of the dressing, and stir to coat well.  Taste and add more dressing if desired and stir again.

Add the dried sweetened cranberries and pistachio nuts, toss to combine, taste and salt and pepper as needed.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so flavors blend.

Serve cold.

Will serve 4 to 6 people.


Holiday Harvest Apple Berry Salad

2 medium size Granny Smith or other tart apples
1 tsp lime juice
pinch Kosher salt
2 Tbsp dried currants
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1 Tbsp honey
3 Tbsp plain greek yogurt
2 Tbsp chopped walnuts

Wash and core apples. Do not peel. Dice apples into bite size pieces and put in large salad bowl, add lime juice and pinch of salt and toss well.

Add currants, cranberries, honey, and yogurt to the bowl and toss to coat well.

Put walnuts in a small, dry (no oil) skillet over medium heat and toast lightly, just until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Add the toasted nuts to the salad and serve immediately.



Nutty Roasted Brussels Sprouts

2 lbs fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved (frozen will work as well)
1 cup pecans, rough chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or grated
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Put all the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine and coat well with the oil.

Arrange evenly on a large baking sheet.

Put in preheated oven and bake until Brussels sprouts are fork tender and slightly browned, about 20 to 30 minutes, turning the Brussels sprouts with a spatula at least once during the baking time.

Remove and serve hot.

Serves 4 to 6.


Cranberry Orange Vinaigrette Dressed Salad

1 cup cranberry sauce (whole berry)
1 small sweet orange, zested and squeezed
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp honey
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 c olive oil
1 bag of spinach
chopped left over turkey
1/4 c chopped walnuts


Put the cranberries, orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, mustard, honey, and salt in a bowl and stir until blended.

Drizzle in the olive oil, slowly, whisking constantly, adding a bit of olive oil at a time until the vinaigrette becomes smooth and thickens.

Arrange spinach and turkey pieces on salad plates and top with vinaigrette.

Sprinkle walnuts on top of salad and serve cold.



Turkey Crudite Stir Fry

Now that the holidays are over, you’re bound to have some leftovers. Here is what you do with your turkey and veggie platter. This will work with any time of protein.

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups leftover raw crudite vegetables, any assortment
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced ginger
2 cups leftover cooked turkey
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

optional: sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds for topping

In a large wok or frying pan over high heat add the oil and heat over medium-high heat until sizzling.

Toss in the leftover fresh vegetables from your crudite tray, including onions, green and red peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, and anything else you want.

Add garlic and ginger, quickly stirring to combine.

Cook stirring constantly just until garlic is fragrant and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add turkey, broth, and soy sauce and cook quickly, stirring once, until mixture is heated through, about 3 or 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and drizzle in sesame oil, mixing in.

Serve over brown rice. Top with onions and sesame seeds if desired.

Serves about 4 to 6 people.


Have A Healthy Potluck

A wonderfully old-fashioned way to both host a holiday party and make sure you please your guests is to throw a potluck. This is one way to ensure that the dishes you serve will be what your guests will want to eat.  Because, after all, your guests are bringing their favorite healthy dishes! Here you are, providing your guests with bragging rights to share their best healthy recipe while, at the same time, pleasing your guests tastes and keeping your budget under control. If that sounds sneaky, it’s not. Everybody knows the score! Your guests will love providing their favorite dish just as long as you provide the place and the basics for the meal.

When you issue the invitation, keep it casual. Say something on the order of; You’re Invited to a “Healthy Holiday Potluck” then explain that you want them to bring a favorite healthy dish of theirs.  Also, let them know to keep their dish small since everyone will be bringing something so you’ll have more than enough for everyone. This keeps them from going overboard making way more food than is needed. Be sure to ask what dish they are bringing so you can orchestrate the meal at least a little, you don’t want too many desserts =).

This is also a great way to start conversations between people as they find their favorite dishes and talk about the recipe. You can also ask your guests to bring recipe cards if they would like to share.  Perhaps you could gather the cards and put them together in a book for your guests as a little Thank You gift for coming and sharing in your potluck party. Good luck.

I will be hosting a virtual clean eating potluck. Starting Monday, November 26th post your favorite cleaning eating recipe.!


Pumpkin Pumpkin Everywhere

Most of the calories in pumpkin pie comes from the crust and sugar.  Invest in almond flour or wheat flour in your crust and you’ve got a good start.  You can reduce the amount of sweetener that you use and increase the other seasonings.  Many cooks have found that almost half the sugar can be eliminated in a pie filling without affecting the flavor.

If you want to eliminate the crust entirely, choose a pumpkin puree parfait or other lighter fare.  Whip pumpkin puree with a little cream cheese to thicken, then serve in pretty dessert bowls with a sprinkling of nutmeg and crunchy toppings of chopped pecans.


Good Things Come in Small Packages

For some reason, everything seems to be getting super-sized, even appetizers. These little snacks have expanded to almost side-dish portions in recent years. One of the simplest ways to create a healthier appetizer buffet is to create bite-size portions instead of big platters of dips and spreads. You can scale them back down and still make a big splash. Tiny bites, or “tapas” are becoming all the rage, taking the restaurant business by storm. Maybe your own tapas are just what you need to scale down your holiday appetizers to a healthier size.

Instead, make tiny bites using similar ingredients.  By offering smaller, bite sized portions, your guests will not tend to keep dipping and inadvertently fill up on appetizers before they even get a chance to sit down at the table.

Here’s a recipe to give a try.

Roasted Eggplant Spread

  • 1 medium, firm eggplant
  • 1 clove garlic, peel removed
  • pinch of ground allspice
  • kosher salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • drizzle of good olive oil

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. With a small sharp paring knife, cut a couple slits in top of eggplant; this keeps the eggplant from bursting open in the oven.

Put eggplant directly on the oven rack (slit side up) in the middle of the oven and put the other oven rack below on the bottom with a cookie sheet on it to catch any drippings from the eggplant.

Roast the eggplant until it is fork tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

When tender remove carefully from oven to a cutting board to cool enough to handle.

With your sharp paring knife, cut the skin off and scoop the flesh out, putting it in your food processor bowl.

To the eggplant, add the garlic, allspice, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Pulse until the eggplant becomes paste-like, then with motor running, drizzle in just a touch of olive oil, stopping when the paste turns smoother.

Scoop out into a serving bowl and serve with a variety of breads, crackers, pita points, celery, or other vegetables.  This should be served at room temperature, not cold.

You can easily make bigger batches, just increase each ingredient equally.



How To Lose Belly Fat

An expanding waistline is sometimes considered the price of getting older. For women, this might be especially true after menopause, when body fat tends to shift from the arms, legs and hips to the abdomen. Yet an increase in belly fat can do more than make it hard to zip up your jeans. Research indicates that belly fat also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers — even premature death. The good news? The threats posed by belly fat can be cut down to size.
What’s behind belly fat
Your weight is largely determined by how you balance the calories you eat with the energy you burn. If you eat too much and exercise too little, you’re likely to pack on excess pounds — including belly fat. However, aging also plays a role. Muscle mass gradually diminishes with age, and fat accounts for a greater percentage of your weight. Less muscle mass also decreases the rate at which your body uses calories, which can make it more challenging to maintain a healthy weight or lose excess pounds.
In addition, many women notice an increase in belly fat as they get older — even if they aren’t gaining weight. This is likely due to a decreasing level of estrogen, which appears to influence where fat is distributed in the body. The tendency to gain or carry weight around the waist — have an “apple” rather than a “pear” shape — can have a genetic component as well.
Why belly fat is more than skin deep
Belly fat
The trouble with belly fat is that it’s not limited to the extra layer of padding located just below the skin (subcutaneous fat). It also includes visceral fat — which lies deep inside your abdomen, surrounding your internal organs.
Although subcutaneous fat poses cosmetic concerns, visceral fat is associated with far more dangerous health consequences. That’s because an excessive amount of visceral fat produces hormones and other substances that can raise blood pressure, negatively alter good and bad cholesterol levels and impair the body’s ability to use insulin (insulin resistance). An excessive amount of any fat, including visceral fat, also boosts estrogen levels. All of this can increase the risk of serious health problems, including:
•    Cardiovascular disease
•    Stroke
•    Type 2 diabetes
•    Breast cancer
•    Colorectal cancer
Recent research also has associated belly fat with an increased risk of premature death — regardless of overall weight. In fact, some studies have found that even when women were considered a normal weight based on standard body mass index (BMI) measurements, a large waistline increased the risk of dying of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other causes.

Read more on the how to Sculpt Away Your Deadly Belly Fat