Hudson, Sawyer and I had a dance party in the master bedroom. This is a pretty regular event in our house. We put my husband's alarm clock radio on full blast (at Hudson's insistence) and shake it to what ever radio station is the wake up du jour. Today we heard The Rolling Stones, the chorus so fitting for toddler woes:
You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometimes well you might find
You get what you need
I couldn't help but smile. It has been a rough week around here. A virus complete with fever, aches and sore throat has made its way through both boys. For extra fun Sawyer cut his first tooth at the same time. So early. I swear it is so he can protect himself from older brother. It is really hard to watch your kids feel like garbage. I have needed extra chocolate and wine to address the issue. I think we are on the up swing now...I look forward to leaving the house.
In the mean time the weather has been perfect. This is when I want easy meals that require little time in front of a stove or oven. So many better things to do when the sun is shining, but we still have to eat.
My first memory of Greek salad was when my mom used to buy it as a treat from the deli at Safeway. When Campbell River still had a Safeway. I thought it was so exotic. It continues to be a staple around here. For the last year I have been making my own dressing...I will never go back to the bottle.
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoons dried basil
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
2/3 cup red wine vinegar
Salt to taste
Combine together. Easy. Adapted from here.
I often make a double batch and store it in a mason jar. I use it on Greek salad the most. To make it a meal I add 2 cups of cooked, cooled whole wheat pasta (like penne) and a can of chick peas to the usual ingredients. Not into chick peas? Grab a deli roasted chicken....dinner is done. The dressing is also fabulous on green salads . It is on the more vinegar-y side, so cut it back a bit if you don't like that kind of bite. I use fresh herbs if I have them on hand for extra flavour.
Forget want...I need this tonight!
I recently taught a class for the Black Creek Community Association. Love teaching classes, I get to talk about food and answer people's questions....perfect. I focused on how to make over favorite recipes and dishes to be more healthful. During the class I was asked to share my recipe for homemade taco seasoning. Why not share here too? I am in the works of offering another class in the fall. Please share any topics you would like to hear about because I would love to see you there.
Regular readers already know that I am particularly fond of Mexican food. I started making my own spice mix a few years ago when I got tired of the cost of the taco seasoning packs and the amount of sodium (even in the reduced sodium). Plus I liked it with a little more heat. This recipe has never failed me.
1/4 cup chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tablespoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black pepper
Combine together in a bowl. Store in an air tight container. Two heaping tablespoons equals the amount in the package. Adapted from here.
Can't get easier than that. I have scaled this recipe up, it makes about 1/2 a cup of seasoning mix. I use 2 generous tablespoons of mix per pound of ground meat (choose ground chicken or turkey instead of beef to reduce saturated fat) and add about a 1/4 cup of water and let it simmer. You can make it more or less spicy by adjusting the crushed chillies or adding some cayenne pepper. I really decreased the amount of salt, it can be adjusted to taste as needed. If you are feeling extra creative a nice dash of fresh cilantro after cooking is excellent.
I also use the mix to season black beans to put in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc. A great way to get some extra fiber and have a meatless meal with all the protein. It is also good combined with non-fat Greek yogurt to make a dip or a great addition to a seven layer dip. Don't forget to use it in my Tex Mex shredded chicken recipe too.
The best part: you are in control. You know exactaly what's in it and can adjust based on you own tastes. You will never buy a package again.....
The sun is shining which is the perfect weather for a Mexican feast....don't forget the margaritas!
Raw Kale Salad. Most people would say: mmmm, no thanks. This is one of those recipes you need to take my word for. You will love it. I have taken it to a few get togethers in the last little while. I see people take a small scoop to be polite and to prove to the dietitian they are willing to eat their greens. But, they always come back for more and always ask for the recipe. I honestly could eat the whole bowl myself.
1 large bunch kale center ribs removed, leaves cut into thin strips
Juice from half a lemon
Extra-virgin olive oil to coat lightly
1 small clove garlic, minced
Sea salt to taste
1/3 chopped walnuts, toasted
1/3 cup crumbled reduced fat feta cheese
1/2 cup small dill sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried dill
Freshly ground black pepper
About one hour before you plan to eat, put kale and garlic in a large bowl. Add fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and salt. Toss to coat.
To serve, add toasted nuts, feta cheese, and dill sprigs to salad and toss. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serves four. Adapted from here.
The acid from the lemon helps to tenderize the kale, giving it a really nice texture. This salad is great for making ahead or potlucks because it can sit without getting mushy, unlike other green, dressed salads. I have been doubling the recipe because it is excellent the next day too. It is also fast to throw together.
I haven't even gotten to the nutrition side yet. Kale is loaded with antioxidants, fiber and minerals. There is heart healthy fats from the olive oil and walnuts (omega 3s)....with a heap of flavour too.
Now that summer is here I know you have BBQs and events to go to. Bring this salad, and the link to my blog. Your friends and family are going to want the recipe. You will thank me.
Tiffany McFadden, RD