Kale Salad: Family Friendly, Gluten Free and Healthy

If you are trying to eat healthy and want to get your year started off right, this Kale Salad recipe is ideal. I recently made this for the kids, and they loved it. It is great on its own as a salad or side dish, served over arugula or greens or even mixed into a salad with chicken, shrimp or fish. For some information on health benefits of kale, see my article on the 10 health benefits in MindBodyGreen or how kale can save your sex life in this article (which I did not write) in MindBodyGreen. I hope you will enjoy this family-friendly, simple vegetarian recipe anytime of the year.

No-Bake Paleo and Gluten-Free Cookies

These No-Bake Paleo Cookies were introduced to me by my friend, Tanya, who has been having success with the Paleo Diet. What I love about these cookies is that they are gluten free, high in omega 3 fatty acids, and best of all, taste great. This recipe is great if you’re on a gluten-free diet, trying to eat low carbohydrates or following the the Paleo Diet, which is based around eating quality sources of protein, fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, seafoods, fats high in omega-3 and low-glycemic carbohydrates. This is a low-carb diet which omits refined sugars and grains, dairy, trans fats, salt, high-glycemic carbohydrates, and processed foods. For more information see The Paleo Diet. Best of all, these cookies are no bake!

Easy Grilled Italian Romaine Salad

Perfect for a busy weeknight or Sunday afternoon, this Easy Grilled Romaine Salad is so flavorful. Use a store-bought balsamic vinaigrette to marinate the vegetables, and then grill them to bring out their flavor even more. Gorgonzola tastes great sprinkled on top, but you may substitute feta, Parmesan or goat cheese if you wish. Feel free to add grilled chicken, steak or shrimp for a main-dish salad. Serve with some crusty bread and olive oil, and dinner is ready.

My 10 Top Healthy Cooking Tips

I saw a friend at the ball park over the weekend, and she asked, “Alison, can you give me some tips for cooking healthier?” I said, sure. I’ll write a few down for you. So here goes… Some of these may come easy for some of you, but hopefully, I can lend some new ideas as well.

1. Use salt sparingly-You can always add more, but you can’t take it away. Most Americans consume more salt than they need. Salt can lead to higher blood pressure and bloating. Consuming foods high in salt becomes even much more noticeable as you get older. I can’t stand the feeling of waking up feeling puffy.

2. Grill more-Grilling is a great way to prepare healthy fish, chicken and meat as well as vegetables. What I really love about it is that my kids love to eat most anything grilled, and they are even more willing to try foods cooked on the grill.

3. Buy seasonal, buy local-Purchasing seasonal fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs and purchasing locally grown ingredients, will help you stay on track.

4. Simpler is always better-Starting with cooking with less ingredients, but fresh ones.

5. Choose Leaner and lower-fat ingredients-Choose leaner cuts of meats, lower fat milk, low-fat cheese, low-fat yogurt and reduced-fat mayonnaise. Start with smaller steps to gain great strides. Also, don’t forget to trim fat from meats.

6. Broil, steam, roast and grill foods instead of frying– If you choose to fry foods, try oven frying instead.

7. Substitute 2 egg whites for 1 whole egg when called for in recipes-This helps to to reduce fat content.

8. Read food labels-Be sure to choose foods with lower sodium, fat, sugar, carbohydrates and saturated fat.

9. Choose fresh-Use fresh juice from lemons, limes and oranges combined with fresh herbs and spice to season foods.

10. Cook with healthy oils such as Canola and olive oil-Also, try to cook with nonstick cookware more often to reduce the amount of oil needed.

Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens

Growing up and living in the south, I have always heard eating collard greens and black eyed peas brings good luck in the new year. This year, I had so much fun developing a new, easy recipe for collards for the January issue of Birmingham Magazine. What I really love about collard greens is that they are packed with nutrition and are known as a cancer-preventive vegetable. They offer an excellent source of  vitamins B6 and C, carotenes, chlorophyll, and manganese.  One cup of collard greens provides more than 70 percent of the RDA for vitamin C.  Collard greens are also a very good source of fiber, and several minerals, including iron, copper, and calcium. This 15 minute recipe for Balsamic Glazed Collard Greens has a salty and sweet combination from dried cranberries, toasted pecans and balsamic. Serve with pork, chicken, beef or fish for a tasty and healthy side dish.

Appetizers-Hummus for Thanksgiving

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My family prepares an array of appetizers for Thanksgiving, but one that’s not very traditional, yet stays on our menu is this Hummus Dip Recipe. It’s so delicious with fresh vegetables, toasted pita or pita chips, and it gives us a light note to start off the Thanksgiving meal. What I really like about serving this type of appetizer is that my kids love it and eat it, and I feel like they are getting something truly healthy. Enjoy it anytime of the year, but why not start now.

 

Hummus Dip

Prep: 10 minutes

Yield: about 3 cups

Ingredients

4 garlic cloves

2 cups canned chickpeas, drained, liquid reserved

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/3 cup tahini (sesame paste)

6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

2 tablespoons water or liquid from the chickpeas

4 dashes hot sauce

Cayenne pepper, paprika and olive oil (optional)

Directions

1. Turn on the food processor fitted with the steel blade and drop the garlic down the feed tube; process until it’s minced. Add the rest of the ingredients to the food processor and process until the hummus is coarsely pureed. Taste, for seasoning, and serve chilled or at room temperature topped with cayenne, paprika and olive oil, if desired.