snack

Simple DELICIOUS Summer Side Dish

So simple in fact, you don’t need a recipe.

And just in time for your July 4th weekend festivities!

Who doesn’t love a caprese salad?  Am I right?  Super ripe, sweet, LOCAL summer tomatoes with slices of salty mozzarella and ribbons of crisp, fresh basil.  Splash on some good olive oil, maybe some balsamic and BOOM.

I LOVE THIS.

But when serving a crowd (which I do more in the summer when everyone can spread out outside) I like to serve up a chopped caprese with a twist. I add bread to put a little panzanella spin on the salad and spinach so it packs even more of a nutritional punch. Pine nuts give added crunch and texture-which to me is what takes a salad from boring to bright and something people will go back for seconds and thirds!

There is no need to measure, just add what you like in whatever amount. Here’s what you need:

  • Local cherry tomatoes, the more color variation the better. Slice in half.
  • Fresh buffalo mozzarella or burrata cheese. I will be using creamy burrata because it is INSANE. Tear into bitesize pieces.
  • Basil leaves. Either tear into pieces or slice into ribbons.
  • Organic spinach. Same as with the basil, tear or slice for easy eating.
  • Toasted pine nuts or any sort of nut you like.
  • Local, fresh bread from Lorraine’s if you live in Lynchburg or any other clean, whole wheat bread torn into bitesize pieces. Toss with olive oil and toast until lightly browned in the oven.

Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle with GOOD, fruity olive oil and a little balsamic if you like. Dash generously with salt and pepper and serve immediately!

Voila!

Happy holiday weekend y’all!

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More Pantry Staples

Is everyone’s biggest complaint, while gazing into a packed fridge and pantry, “I have nothing to eat” or is it just me?  I may have just returned from the grocery store, decide there is nothing to eat and promptly order take out. Whaaaat?  No!  We can do better than that guys! I have found that by keeping these few items in my pantry, I can quickly whip something up that’s healthy and delicious. I just have to do it!

Avocados– I know, I know.  I scream the avocado benefits from the rooftops but eat one a day and you notice a difference in your skin and hair, you feel fuller faster, and not to mention they are SO GOOD!  Eat it plain with sea salt, throw in some organic salsa to make a fast guacamole, mash into avocado toast or mix half an avo with half a sweet potato for a double super food punch.

 

 

Sweet Potatoes– Speaking of…my husband got me on a sweet potato kick.  They are so good and easy to use.  Throw them in the oven and bake a few at a time so you can eat them throughout the week. Cut them into strips and make crispy baked oven fries (our favorite). Slice them thin and use them for Sweet Potato Toast!

 

 

Brown Rice PastaThis is my personal favorite pasta to use.  I order it on amazon.  It’s organic, wheat free, gluten free and the perfect white pasta swap.  Sometimes I just top it with EVOO, parmesan and crushed red pepper.  During the hot summer months I use fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, and ripped basil. Use your favorite, no sugar added jarred sauce if you prefer. Nearly instant gratification.

 

Dave’s Killer Bread Thin Sliced– Y’all.  You know it’s a win if my husband is requesting more loaves. This bread has it all.  It’s good for you, it tastes SO fantastic toasted or not, and the toppings are endless.  We love crunchy Barney Butter on top of ours.  Local, organic jam. Local honey. Avocado. Poached egg. Grass fed butter.  WHATEVER.

 

Beans– Ok I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous.  But we actually eat a lot of beans for a number of reasons.  They are quick, tasty, and and can stay in the pantry until you’re ready to use them.  I take a can of white northern beans and simmer on low with a chopped garlic glove, EVOO and a sprig of rosemary.  It isn’t fancy but it is a tasty side dish served alongside anything.  Grind a can in your Vitamix and make a white bean puree or white bean hummus.  Add them to soups and stews.  Black beans are perfect to mash and make a puree for tacos, toss with corn and cilantro for a quick side, or throw in to some chicken stock with veggies and make an easy black bean soup.

Super simple (you know me!) but keeping your pantry stocked with a few of these essentials means a healthy, quick meal is only minutes away.  What am I missing?  What else do you keep stocked?

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The Healthiest Foods on the Planet

 

My husband and I used to have “Superfood Monday“.  When I say we used to, I think we did it like once. Maybe twice.  But it was a great idea! For dinner on Mondays our whole meal consisted of superfoods. So we are bringing it back.  This inspired me to google what are the healthiest foods on the planet.  You will find a lot of differing opinions in the search results but I liked this list from Fitness Magazine. There’s nothing crazy, everything is accessible to everyone, and the items all seem to be pretty tasty and satisfying.

So..stock your fridge and pantry and have these items around you all the time.  It’s sort of a no brainer.

Lemons– according to Fitness Magazine just one lemon has 100% of your daily Vitamin C requirement. Squeeze some in your smoothie, enjoy with warm water first thing in the morning, and add to your homemade salad dressing at dinner.

 

 

Broccoli– There is a massive amount of Vitamin K up in those stalks!  Enjoy it steamed, make a broccoli salad, or roast them with EVOO and salt and pepper.

 

Dark Chocolate– You’re welcome.  Great for reducing blood pressure and loaded with antioxidants. I have a piece after dinner, add some to my smoothie bowls, and put bits of dark chocolate in my oatmeal in the mornings.

 

Avocados– I eat an avocado almost every day. Loaded with healthy fats, fiber, and folate…it’s a superfood powerhouse.  Make guacamole (duh), avocado toast, or just add a little pink salt and eat the delicious meat straight from it’s own jacket.

 

 

Salmon– Right, we all know salmon is soooo good for us.  So eat more of it.  Wild caught is best and loaded with Omega 3s which we want and need.  Grill it, steam it, eat it raw at a great sushi place, whatever.  Up your intake of salmon ASAP.

 

 

For the complete list of the ten healthiest foods on the planet, click here and follow Fitness Magazine on instagram for more inspiration!

xo,

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Another Vinegar Post…

I know, I know.  I post a lot about vinegar.  Its multiple uses.  How it remedies so many things.  How it is SO good for you. Blah, blah, blah.  If you aren’t as in to Apple Cider Vinegar as I am (what?) and don’t want to take a few shots of it each day (yes, yes I do) there is a new way to #drinkyourvinegar thanks to our friends at Suja.

Photo Cred: SUJA

 

My favorite is the Grapefruit Jalepeno that uses coconut vinegar (cool!) but there are so many tasty ones, you really can’t choose wrong.  Think: Strawberry Balsamic or Lemongrass Lime?  Yummmmm.

But wait, why do you want to drink your vinegar again?  I won’t make you relive all the glorious specific health benefits but…

Straight from the gospel (Suja’s website, obvi):

“Our Drinking Vinegars were born from Suja’s obsession with nutritious cold-pressed juice and gut health. Blends of organic Apple Cider Vinegar or Coconut Vinegar with the mother still intact, plus four billion live probiotics in every bottle will leave you wondering how they taste so good.”

You keep hearing about gut health, drinking your vinegar is just another way to keep that gut healthy.  And your gut “manages” the health of so many other parts of your body.  It’s the same reason we should eat more fermented foods, take a (good) probiotic everyday, and avoid crap that kills our gut flora.

This is one of those things where I say, just do it.  You’ll be glad you did.

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