Flaxseed and Rye Bread with Avocado, Tomato, Basil and Mayonnaise Sandwich

I realize that this sounds like a mouthful but trust me it’s worth the effort.

Instead of going gluten free I’ve decided to stay away from all wheat; Dwarf Wheat in particular, and opt for other grain varieties.

I happen to love rye bread and the added benefit of flaxseed made this a great choice.

Although Rye does contain gluten, it is much less than what is found in dwarf wheat which is consumed today.

Let’s get back to this sandwich!

The avocado, fresh basil and tomato are sprinkled with sea salt and a large dollop of mayonnaise.

This is a huge treat for me.

The mayo is the only real dietary indulgence….everything else is so healthy!

It is a filling, delicious lunch that leaves plenty of room for watermelon later in the day!

Enjoy and share!

So Delicious! Black Bean and Avocado Spread!

I apologize that my photos are not more glamorous or that the spread itself is not prettier.

But there is no denying the fact that this little dish is one yummy and nutritious treat.

Coconut oil, black beans, garlic and avocado create a powerhouse of healthy oils, fiber and antioxidants in a tasty and convenient spread or dip; warm or chilled.

This recipe is an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant rich combination that is easy to incorporate into your diet.

Just sauté garlic in coconut oil for a minute add 2-3 cans of organic black beans and cook until soft.

I start mashing everything with a potato masher then add the avocado and blend in the food processor.

Avocado is my new favorite food these days and I use it as a meat/dairy substitute in sandwiches and as a base for creamy dips and spreads.

My diet is becoming increasingly vegan if for no other reason than I simply feel better; more energized, lighter, and sharper.

Coconut oil is another of my favorites and I find ways to squeeze it into everything that I eat.

In this recipe it adds tremendous richness, creaminess and depth of flavor.

I find that coconut oil lends a richness that meat and dairy add to foods.

Black beans are a major staple in my kitchen.
They are super cheap, incredibly nutritious and convenient.

I buy organic beans in BPA-free cans and I find that if I always have them on hand I always have a meal.

From a quick soup to a warm spread or quesadilla, black beans are a great source of protein.

I served these with organic corn chips.

Served warm as a spread for bread or in a corn tortilla with other veggies, this is a quick and convenient source of protein and nutrition.

Keep some in the fridge and serve with brown rice and sautéed red peppers and it makes a cheap and easy meal.

Meatless Monday! Easy Summertime Meals that are Healthy and Light for Busy Families!

Summertime around here has meant a huge flurry of activity.

The hot and steamy weather hasn’t slowed us down much but appetites tend more toward light and flavorful rather than rich and filling.

And the schedules are all over the place! From sport activities to musical gigs, weekend getaways and family gatherings I find that preparing and serving nutritious meals is more challanging than ever.

Especially when I am not there to supervise everything!

Well, I’ve learned to “let go” and create easy, ready to prepare and assemble food for my family; even the picky ones.

I have been in the habit of keeping a big container of cooked brown rice in the fridge.

I also will sautee corn with cilantro and onions and keep that around.

In addition, I’ll chop green onion and fresh cilantro and keep that in the fridge, also.

There are always cans of organic vegetarian beans or refried beans in the panty.

I also make sure to keep stocked up on ripe avocados and limes.

By having these ingredients handy eating on the fly is healthy and quick.

Even the little ones can do it; even the chronically lazy!

We also like to garnish with fresh salsa and a tangy homemade yogurt or sour cream.

This meal and it’s many variations has become a summertime staple that everyone can enjoy and customize to their own preference.

Burrito style for those who are always running late and eating on the way or pizza stlye with a little Manchego cheese for weekend movie night.

So, don’t get frustrated get creative!

These budget friendly meals are flexible. Use what you have around and get fancy when the budget allows.

They are built in to be nutritious so you just can’t go wrong!

With only healthy options even the least culinary inclined among you can’t help but choose something delicious and nutritious while you enjoy a little fun in the sun!

Super Food Kaniwa with Corn, Beans, Red Pepper, Green Onion, Avocado and Lime Juice!

Kaniwa from Roland Products, pronounced “Ka-nyi-wa”, is a staple grain of the ancient Aztec and Incan cultures whhich has been cultivated for thousands of years throughout South America.

The crunchy, earthy grain is loaded with protein and makes a complete meal when mixed with vegetables.

Kaniwa Plant

Roland Foods offers a wide variety of specialty foods from around the globe and was kind enough to send me this box of Kaniwa to try at home.

I have cooked with Quinoa in the past and I love it.

Kaniwa is similar to quinoa but seems to feel hardier and denser.

I gathered all the vegetables I could find and chopped them to equal size.

1 package of Grape tomatoes cut in half, 7 green onions, 1/2 of a red onion, 1 can of pinto beans, 2 cups of corn, 1 red pepper, 1/2 of a English cucumber, 1 bunch of cilantro,the juice of 3 limes, 1/4 cup of olive oil and salt to taste.

I garnished with avocado.

I put all of the chopped vegetables in a bowl, cooked the 12 oz. box ( about 2 cups ) of Kaniwa and added to the veggies.

I added it hot to the vegetables to bring them to peak flavor.

I find that adding hot grains to the veggies gives off just enough heat to liven the flavors.

I mixed everything then added the olive oil and the lime juice.

Serve and garnish with half an avocado.

Add salt to taste.

This was fantastic.

Everyone loved this vegan, protein rich meal which could also be great as a side dish with grilled salmon.

Lunch at Fred’s at the top of Barney’s in Chicago!

What a gorgeous sunny day in Chicago!

What better to do than lunch and shop on a crispy cool Spring day?!

Where better to go for both than Barney’s and Fred’s?!

A seat next to the window with a glorious view of the Gold Coast was the perfect way to enjoy this beet and goat cheese salad!

Fred’s is a cool upscale spot which features organic and local food as much as possible.

The atmosphere is pure Gold Coast; Comfortable luxury!

The salmon was wild caught, tender and juicy.

The spinach was perfectly cooked and flavorful.

This is a great combination.

I can eat salmon and spinach everyday!

The avocado and tomato salsa made this the absolutely perfect meal for me!

All my favorites on one plate with green onion, too!

Very fresh. Delicious!

My honey had the linguine with clams in a very light tomato sauce.

This dish was garlicky and spicy.

Absolutely fantastic!

We were both jockying between the two plates trying to decide which was better.

It was a tie.

We were so full!

But that did not stop us from completely cleaning our plates!

Of course, we walked around Michigan Avenue for a while.

I shopped, he tried to stop me from shopping, and so it went until we stumbled on Tavern on Rush……..

Grilled Ciabatta with Veggies, Avocado and Fresh Mozzarella Quite Possibly the Best Sandwich Ever!

sandwich

It all starts with the bread.

With bread this amazing you really can’t make a bad sandwich.

032grilled cibatta bread

Ciabatta sliced in half and drizzeled with olive oil is placed under the broiler until golden.

009frozen veggies

I opened up a bag of frozen veggies and sauteed until soft.

020srirancha

The secret sauce makes this fantastic!

021mayo

We discovered this at our favorite restaurant in town and the waitress was gracious enough to share the recipe with us!

017spicy mayo

And now we eat it on everything!

024avocado

Avocado makes this creamy and delicious

028ciabatta bread

The ciabatta bread is mana from heaven!

029ciabatta bread

Toast it just right with lots of good olive oil.

Add some balsamic vinegar.

034fresh mozz slices

I loaded this sandwich with fresh mozzarella….

040veggies on sandwich

Lots of veggies…..

048sandwich

The secret sauce…..

051sandwich with sauce

And lots of love!

054one big sandwich

Enjoy!

Easy and Elegant Al Fresco Dining! Quinoa Salad, Avocados and Salmon!

salmon al fresco

What do you do when unexpected guests, a limited budget and a lack time conspire to put a wrench into an otherwise beautiful summer evening?

039dinner al fresco

I had the quinoa, an avocado, some olives and cheese and the chocolate sauce!

The grocery was about to close in 10 minutes!

I ran in without a plan. Went straight to the “fish area”; I needed something fancy that would cook fast and go well with the quinoa salad I had just decided to make.

I bought the salmon; Wild Norwegian Salmon which is thick and moist which for me means easy cooking and a juicy dinner.

034dinner al fresco

I chopped the avocado and put together a deconstructed salad on a cute plate with some olives and feta cheese.

054salmon and quinoa

A handful of fresh veggies get chopped and go into the cooked quinoa with olive oil and lime juice.

047salmon al fresco

I broiled the salmon with crushed garlic and some olive oil and lemon.

A quick toss of the quinoa and veggies and plate it up! 20 minutes! Quick and Fancy!

045salmon al fresco

I bought a quart of coconut ice cream and blackberries and topped it off with chocolate syrup.

coconut ice cream with chocoltae sauce and blackberries

I was almost embarrassed by how impressed everyone was but happily took the credit!

058coconut ice cream with blackberries and chocolate sauce

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Corn, Roasted Red Pepper, Tomatoes, Scallions, Cilantro and Lime!

030quinoa salad bowl

We love quinoa!

It is a great alternative to pasta in that it delivers the same creamy, chewy, texture but is high in protien. A complete protien, as a matter of fact.

Aside from it’s nutrtious profile it is delicious and versatile.

We love this salad!

It is a power packed meal that delivers flavor and energy for very little expense.

Get creative and use your favorite fresh ingredients to create your own quinoa delights!

022lime

I used lots of lime in this dish. It compliments the cilantro and brightens the tomatoes.

014Quinoa salad

Ingredients

1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water
5 scallions
2 medium tomatoes
1/2 roasted red pepper
1 cup black beans ( canned are fine )
1 cup corn
1/2 cup of finely chopped cilantro
2 Tbspn olive oil
1-2 limes

Method

Boil the quinoa. 10-15 minutes

Set aside and chop all the veggies

combine and add salt and pepper to taste.

Sqeeze lots of lime on the salad!

019quinoa salad

I mix the fresh veggies in when the quinoa is still a bit warm; it seems to bring all the flavors to their peak yet not cook them at all.

021quinoa salad lime

There is always room for more lime!

025quinoa salad

Garnish with avocado for an even richer flavor!

Crab Ceviche with Lotus Chips, Mango and Roasted Red Pepper Puree!

001crab ceviche

Tartine Bistro never fails to impress. And the wine list has a life of it’s own; getting better all the time!

Crab ceviche with avocado, roasted pepper puree, mango, lotus chips.

This was amazing and the best part were the lotus chips! So easy and light and crispy.

These are a new favorite.

This fresh and light appetizer was fantastic with a Monterey red by Muirwood.

Avocado adds a creamy, rich texture and buttery flavor. Absolutely delicious.

009ceviche with chips

Grilled pita with chipotle hummus, cucumber yogurt, tomato-olive tapenade.

005hummus tapenade tzaziki

Ingredients

1 cup pitted Kalamata olives or other brine-cured black olives
3/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup drained capers
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano

008tapenade with sun dried tomato

Ingredients

1 pound lotus roots, peeled
Peanut or vegetable oil, for deep-frying

Directions

Using a mandoline or other mechanical slicer, slice the lotus into very thin rounds. Soak in a large bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration and to remove excess starch.

In a large heavy pot, heat enough vegetable oil to come halfway up the sides of the pan to 350 degrees F.

Drain the lotus completely and pat dry with paper towels. Add in batches to the hot oil, being careful not to overcrowd, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 2 minutes.

Remove with a slotted spoon or spider and drain on paper towels. The chips will crisp as they cool; serve at room temperature.

010chips on ceviche

Sardines! The New “It” Food. But how to make them Sexy!?

047sardines and avocado with brown mustard dressing on arugula PD

With more omega 3 than salmon, vitamin D and coenzyme Q, there is no denying the health benefits of sardines.

I am just trying to make them more appealing!

I can and do eat them out of the can, with mustard on toast, I’ve eaten them out of tubes and from tins of “paste”.

But I realize that most people won’t do this. And even I want to sit down and enjoy my healthy food with a little romance and the beauty of the presentation!

I threw together a brown mustard/olive oil dressing and mixed it with arugula and added 1/2 a sliced avocado to 1 can of water packed sardines and add a sqeeze of half a lemon.

The flavors worked well together to create not just a tasty but highly nutritious meal which is also quite low in calories. 360 total. Nutrient dense for sure!

Check out this article for Reasons to eat sardines

048sardines and avocado with brown mustard dressing on arugulaPD

Some have long been aware of the health benefits of eating sardines. In a 1984 issue of the Town & Country magazine, James Villas wrote an article entitled “The Unsung Sardine” in which he said that “ounce for ounce, sardines provide more calcium and phosphorus than milk, more protein than steak, more potassium than bananas, and more iron than cooked spinach.”

049sardines and avocado with browmn mustard dressing on arugula PD

Sardines are also a highly sustainable little fish which contains fewer toxins than it’s bigger fish friends.

sardines and avocado with brown mustard dressing on arugula PD

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