Homemade Marinara Spaghetti Sauce is Tasty, Easy & Cheap!

Homemade Marinara Spaghetti Sauce

Chunks of tomato and fresh basil make this sauce a winner every time!

Homemade Marinara Spaghetti Sauce

This rich and tasty red sauce will make the whole kitchen smell good!

Kids can help by measuring the ingredients, tearing the basil leaves and stirring, with supervision.

Makes 4 servings

2 Tablespoons    Olive oil

2 cloves                  Garlic, peeled and minced

2 cups                     Crushed or diced tomatoes in a can

2 Tablespoons     Water

Pinch                     Red pepper flakes

1/8 teaspoon     Salt

8                              Fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces

  1. Heat a medium-size skillet or frying pan on the stove to medium heat.
  2. Place olive oil and garlic into the pan. When garlic begins to sizzle, cook about 3-4 minutes, stirring. Garlic will turn golden.
  3. Add canned tomatoes and all remaining ingredients to the pan.
  4. Cover pan with a lid and simmer over low heat, stirring once every 5-10 minutes.
  5. Simmer sauce for 45-60 minutes to develop flavors.

Nutrition per serving: 100 calories; 7 gm fat; 1 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat;  0 cholesterol; 300 mg sodium; 9 gm carbohydrates;  2 gm fiber;  2 gm protein; 15% DV vitamin A; 20% DV vitamin C; 4% DV calcium; 8% DV iron

Cooking Tip: For a change, add 6-8 sliced mushrooms or a cup of leftover,  cooked broccoli florets.

Serving Tip: Serve with cooked spaghetti, ziti or rotini pasta.

Make it Homemade for Great Flavor and Health!

If you are ready to make homemade your new kitchen goal then a kitchen recipe resource will become your best friend. These easy-to-use recipe and menu planning booklets are the answer to your goal and a fresh start this year!

5 Tips for Healthier Eating During the Holidays!

IMG_3164 Eating Healthier During the Holidays…What?!

Healthier eating during the holidays may sound like a twisted thought to you but I say that it can be done. Yes, along with fall and early winter holidays like Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Christmas and New Year’s Day come delicious parties and memorable dinners. But, the result doesn’t have to be a tighter belt. Wouldn’t it be great not to have to make a weight loss resolution again on January 1st? Here’s a tiny video where I explain how you can have all the joy of the holidays and get a grip on healthier eating, too!

5 Tips for Healthier Eating During the Holidays!

1. Be a fanatic for good nutrition: Get out of bed with an attitude for healthy eating whether it is Thanksgiving Day or any other day of the week. Remember, it’s a holiday, not a holiweek or holimonth…get it?

2. Celebrate every day success: Keep your usual light and healthy meals and snacks in place. If you indulge at a party or dinner, then move on and get back on track the next meal or the next day. Celebrate with a friend by going to the movies or roller skating rink.

3. Bring a healthy option to a party or potluck: Contribute a basket of oranges, tangerines, apples or dried mixed fruits for color and good nutrition on the party table. Or, mixed nuts in the shell with nut crackers might be fun. For a casserole dish use less butter, cheese and sour cream and for a hot vegetable, keep it simple by steaming.

4. Think your drink: Lead by example with one glass of beer or wine and then a glass of seltzer water or a sugar free soft drink. If you serve iced tea then use less sugar for a refreshing change.

5. Taste a dessert: Enjoy a bite of dessert or several desserts on a small plate. Make 3 bites out of each one and eat slowly to taste and appreciate every flavor and texture.

Healthier Eating During the Holidays Will Make it a Happier New Year!

A smart plan is the one that helps you achieve a healthy life. So, I recommend putting good nutrition at the top of your mind for fewer ‘train wrecks’ and more cheer this coming season. Healthier eating during the holidays will improve your energy level, decrease your stress and make it a happier New Year. For everyday, good nutrition tips, all year long, LIKE my facebook page and join the conversation. If you need resources like meal plans and recipes from a trusted nutrition professional, then buy my reasonably priced e-book bundle now!

What is your tip for healthier eating during the holidays?

A Healthy Pumpkin Pie Recipe for Thanksgiving Dessert!

Pumpkins

Who doesn’t love pumpkins?

Seasonal, Nutritious, Versatile Pumpkin!

Did you carve a Jack-O-Lantern on Halloween? I have to admit that my pumpkin carving skills are not so great. My skills with a can of solid packed pumpkin, though, are much better. My short  pumpkin how-to video to will give you an idea about what you can do with a can of pumpkin in your kitchen. Please look at it, with special attention to the healthy pumpkin pie in a blender recipe because this makes a perfect finish to Thanksgiving or any special dinner.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Recipe – In the Blender!

Makes one 9-inch pie, 8 servings, 150 calories per serving

Measure All Ingredients into Your Blender:

1 can (15-16 oz) solid pack pumpkin; 1 can evaporated skim milk (12 fl. oz); 2 large eggs; 1/2 cup white or brown sugar; 1/2 cup Heart Smart baking mix from Bisquick; 2 teaspoons ground pumpkin pie spice; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Blend for about 1-2 minutes on medium speed until smooth and mixed.

Pour Into a Pie Pan:

Pour healthy pumpkin pie mixture from the blender into an 8-inch or 9-inch pie pan that is lightly sprayed with vegetable oil spray.

Bake the Pie:

Bake 55-60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Test for doneness by inserting a table knife into the center of pie. If it comes out clean, the pie is done. If pie sticks to the knife, then return it to oven and bake 5 more minutes, then test again.

Cool the Pie:

Cool pie to room temperature before cutting. Or, cook this healthy pumpkin pie one day ahead and refrigerate it overnight and enjoy it cold.

A Healthy Dessert for Thanksgiving or Any Holiday! Keeping good nutrition in action is an every day challenge for most families and everyone. Be a leader at your holiday feast with this healthy pumpkin pie recipe. It’s flavor, nutrition and lighter calorie count is really worth it!

What will be on your healthy Thanksgiving Menu?

3 Grocery Store Tips: Are You So Hungry You Could Eat Your Shopping List?

Healthy Grocery Cart

What’s in your cart? Do you try for at least 3/4 healthy choices?

Grocery Shopping Day

I used to shop on Saturday mornings to miss crowds. Then it was Sunday afternoon to combine my shopping with the upcoming week’s meal planning. Now, it’s a mixture of weekend days and busier weeknights. Do you have a set day for grocery shopping? If you do, that’s one option. The other option is waiting for your pantry and fridge to cry out, ‘Fill me!”

Hunger Makes a Difference in What You Put in Your Cart

Tips for smart grocery shopping are out there and many of us come up with our own. With busy schedules as the norm, though, focusing in the aisles can be tough. One thing that is now supported by credible research is that if you’re driving a grocery cart with an empty stomach, your choices may suffer. A recent research study at Cornell University  showed that shoppers who were hungry made poor nutrition choices for their cart compared to those who were not hungry. The hungry ones tended to make choices that were higher in calories and lower in nutrition-density. Uh oh. The easy solution is to put something into your stomach before cruising the aisles and here’s how:

How To Grocery Shop Without a Growling Stomach

1. Plan a Nutritious Snack as You Plan Your List: As you plan your meals and write your shopping list, try including a plan for a pocket-snack. You can scotch tape a nutritious snack bar or single-serving of nuts to your list if that helps you remember it. Eat a snack bar made of whole grains and 5-10 grams protein and it will probably keep your stomach from growling while you cook dinner, too – an added bonus.

2. Crunch on an Apple or Firm Pear: As you get ready for the day, stash a high-fiber, fall fruit like an apple or firm pear in your pocket or pocket book to enjoy before you hit the store. The firm pear is crunchy like an apple and it doesn’t bruise like the soft, ripe one.

3. Visit the Deli for a Slice: If your shopping trip is totally unplanned, don’t worry. Steer your cart fist to the Deli and order a slice or 2 of lean meat or unprocessed cheese. Eat it and save the wrapper with price to pay at checkout. Some stores give a free sample of the item before you purchase it so this may work out for you, too.

Your Grocery Shopping Challenge

Everyone has something to learn about grocery shopping. For some, it’s how to get organized with a meal plan and list. For others, it’s how to use up all those healthy fruits and veggies at home before they spoil. For all, shopping within a budget can be huge. The learning is ongoing and the healthy outcomes are amazing. Make a goal and work on it every grocery trip. When you commit it to habit, then take on a new goal. Healthy groceries are the starting point of a healthy kitchen and healthy life for you and those you care about the most. To speed up your learning, my e-books about meal planning and tasty recipes are really helpful and not overwhelming like most cookbooks. And, please join me on Facebook for daily tips and a friendly place you can interact with others who are learning about good nutrition, too!

What is your hardest grocery shopping challenge?

 

Too Many Veggies in the Fridge? Quick & Easy Ways to Use Them Up!

Fresh lettuce is perishable so plan your meals to use it up quick!

Fresh lettuce is perishable so plan your meals to use it up quickly!

Over-Purchased, Got Busy, Oh No…

Yesterday, I looked in my fridge crisper drawer and got nervous. I bought too much ‘green’ last week and then got super-busy…oh no. It’s not so uncommon a problem to have too many veggies in the fridge. But, if you hate to waste all that healthy bounty, like I do, here are some tips on how to use it up.

The Solution Part 1 – See What You Have & Use What You Can!

When faced with too much ‘green’, my first rule is do not panic – do not immediately throw it away. Stay calm and begin a veggie search-and-rescue process. Pick over everything carefully and use what you can. Now, back to my kitchen…

Last night I pulled out fresh, local beets and tiny yellow squash from my fridge crisper along with 2 containers of fresh whole mushrooms. Sure wish I had only bought one container of mushrooms but the sale price was just too good. Next, I discovered I had fresh, local lettuce, pictured at left, that needed to be used up so I pulled it out. Finally, I had a nice head of green cabbage so out it came.

My Solution Part 2 – Make a Creative Assortment & Expect Tasty, Nutritious Leftovers!

Cooking is one way to extend the shelf life of veggies, for a day or two. It’s nice to have a ready-to-reheat leftover in the fridge so try cooking more veggies than you need for one single dinner. Tomorrow, reheat and enjoy – again. Now, back to my kitchen…

1. I washed & peeled the beets and cut them into bite-size chunks. Then, I tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and laid them on a large, flat pan for roasting in the oven. I roast veggies for 25 min. at 425 degrees.

2. I washed the tiny 4-5 inch yellow squash, removed the ends and cut each one into 2 long, flat halves. Then, I tossed them in a bowl with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and laid them on the same pan as the beets for roasting.

3. I washed and trimmed the mushrooms and sliced them into a microwavable container for steaming.

4. I washed and shredded about 1/4 of the green cabbage and added it to the same microwavable container as the mushrooms for steaming.

5. I washed the lettuce, patted it dry and tore the leaves into a bowl for salad. I kept it very simple, adding a little olive oil and red wine vinegar as dressing.

More Veggies in Your Meal Plans & Resources!

Having too many veggies in the fridge can be stressful when you need to use them up quickly. But, it’s better to have too many than too few. For good nutrition, always plan your meals to include plenty of green, yellow, red, orange and purple veggies. For fun and ongoing tips & recipes using veggies, LIKE the Market Basket Nutrition Facebook page. For meal plans and recipes so simple that even kids can help, invest in one of my Good Nutrition E-books. Today!

What is your system for managing veggies in the fridge?

Go-To Meals are Healthy, Quick & Cheap!

Eggs are nutritious, versatile and budget-friendly as a 'go to' meal starter!

Eggs are nutritious, versatile and budget-friendly as a ‘go to’ meal starter!

What’s a ‘Go To’ Meal?

I am a firm believer in keeping it simple in the kitchen. A piece of fruit, slice of bread with peanut or almond butter, a cup of yogurt, a can of tuna, a bag of frozen veggies. ‘Go To’ meals are born from simple choices that support great flavors and great nutrition. They are the meals you can always remember, always enjoy and always find ingredients in your kitchen to make them – quickly.

3 Reasons to Embrace ‘Go To’ Meals!

There are many more than 3 reasons to use ‘Go To’ meals. Here are a few of my top choices: eat healthfully; eat with less stress; eat within your budget. Just because they are simple, though, don’t think of ‘Go To’ meals as boring. Switching the kind of fruit or vegetable, for example, is easy to do and it will keep your meals fun.

3 ‘Go To’ Meals to Try!

1. Breakfast ‘Go To’ Meal: Strawberries + Whole wheat toast + Boiled egg + 1% Milk or yogurt + coffee/tea

2. Lunch ‘Go To’ Meal: Cheese/Tomato/Cucumber Wrap on Whole grain tortilla + Baby carrots + Apple + Water

3. Dinner ‘Go To’ Meal: Whole grain spaghetti with Marinara Sauce + Turkey sausage + Green salad with avocado and light vinaigrette + 1% Milk or Water

What’s your favorite ‘Go To’ meal?

 

 

Store Food Wisely for Good Nutrition & Saving Money!

It's super smart to store tomatoes, avocado and garlic at room temp!

It’s super smart to store tomatoes, avocado and garlic at room temp!

Why it Matters

Food is most flavorful and nutrient-rich when eaten at its peak quality. That’s why most of us spend time sorting through lemons, turning over broccoli florets and sifting through fresh loaves of bread before putting them in our grocery cart. Fresh is something everyone wants!

What to Store at Room Temp

Tomatoes, avocados, garlic, potatoes, onions, bananas, and unripe melons will be fresher if stored at room temperature. Once cut, wrap them up and place in the fridge. Then, eat  in a day or two.

How You Can Save

By storing food in its ‘sweet spot’ for light, temperature and moisture, you will be rewarded with fresh ! Not only that – you will have less food rot and, by throwing away less, you will save money. Smart food storage combined with smart meal planning is a super smart goal for everyone!

What food will you store differently for freshness?

 

Pizza Works as a Tasty, Healthy Meal!

Homemade pizza has personality, bursts with flavor and rocks with good nutrition!

Homemade pizza has personality, bursts with flavor and rocks with good nutrition!

Pizza Ingredients to Love!

What goes on top of your pizza crust? On mine, at the left, are these:

Layer 1: homemade basil pesto, spread on thinly

Layer 2: canned tuna, flaked apart with a fork

Layer 3: canned, quartered artichoke hearts, drained of water

Layer 4: fresh tomato wedges

Layer 5: Parmesan cheese, roughly grated, sprinkled on thinly

Pizza Meal-Makers to Add!

While you could rightly argue that all the nutritious food groups are sitting on this pizza, I still feel better and fill up better with a couple of side items at my homemade pizza meal. Normally, I go with a green veggie like steamed broccoli or sugar snap peas plus a green salad of some sort. The pizza is the center of my meal, though, and worthy. You will be amazed at the flavors of this simple recipe so please try it!

Families Love Pizza so Plan to Make One Soon!

Many families with kids and singles are pizza lovers. Instead of pizzeria pizza, which can easily go overboard on calories, saturated fat and salt, plan to make a homemade pizza with smart ingredients as a nutritious lunch or dinner. Next grocery shopping trip, put healthy homemade pizza ingredients on your list and then in your cart. Once home, you’ll have the fun of creating a meal the entire family will adore.

What will go on the top of your pizza crust?

 

 

 

Nutrition Month is Full of Tasty, Healthy Surprises!

In the Mediterranean Country of Turkey, mine was a colorful plate!

In the Mediterranean Country of Turkey, mine was a colorful plate with tons of good nutrition!

Nutrition Month is Here!

I look forward to March every year for a few reasons, including Spring,  Nutrition Month and my birthday. All 3 of these special occasions is like a new beginning – for nature, for everyone who seeks good flavors and good health and… for me, another year to be thankful for. Nutrition Month is a fun, full-of-flavor opportunity and I treat it as such. Will you join me in the celebration?

Healthy Surprises!

When I visited Turkey last fall, I truly enjoyed many cultural, natural and edible surprises. I experienced an Islamic culture, I swam in the Aegean Sea and I ate tomatoes, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese for breakfast – all for the first time! My meal plate at the left shows you how fresh, how colorful and how appetizing Turkish-style eating can be. It’s inspirational, too, as an example for my plate in America.

Will Your Nutrition Month be Full of Surprises?

It’s time for everyone to take a step forward by embracing Nutrition Month. There are so many surprises awaiting you as you concentrate on nutrient-rich foods that supply you with endless energy and tasty enjoyment. Climb out of your meal rut, grab new choices for your grocery basket and you will feel the difference that good nutrition can make. I am here to provide you with guidance, tips, recipes and fun support as you make a fresh beginning in March! Try these: LIKE me on facebook; invest in my menu planning, recipe e-book bundle; sign up for my monthly e-newsletter – it’s FREE!

How will you improve your nutrition plan beginning in March?

 

 

Roast a Chicken for a Tasty, Healthy, Easy Meal!

I stuffed my roast chicken with fresh rosemary!

I stuffed my roast chicken with fresh rosemary!

Think Easy!

When I’m meal planning, I always have easy in the back of my mind. For a tasty meal that lends itself to every side dish imaginable, I often choose to roast a whole chicken. There’s just about nothing easier.

Think Healthy!

Roast chicken meat is nice and lean and healthy. If you season under the loosened chicken skin before roasting it , like this recipe does, then you’ll have plenty of flavor in your chicken, without the skin. Discarding the skin means a healthier dinner, of course.

Think Versatile!

Beyond easy and healthy, roast chicken is truly versatile. It comes in handy as a tasty, leftover ingredient under all circumstances, if you ask me. So, enjoy your roast chicken, hot and flavorful, as a satisfying dinner. Then, refrigerate the leftovers for light chicken salad or a chicken and cheese quesadilla. If you’re like me, you will want to make homemade soup, too.

Get Going on a Healthy Kitchen!

Are you desperately trying to create a healthier kitchen for you and your family? If you are, then smart meal planning is the solution. It’s time to get going, once and for all – today! My easy-to-follow, affordable Meal Planning Booklet along with my Family-Friendly Recipe Booklets are the kind of kitchen tools that will help you move gradually closer to your nutrition and health goals. Or, start benefiting by joining me on facebook. You’ll be glad you did!

What tasty, healthy side dishes do you serve with a roast chicken?

 

Citrus Fruits Add Flavor and Vitamin C to Meals and Snacks!

This grocery store poster in Vienna, Austria makes me hungry for citrus!

This grocery store poster in Vienna, Austria makes me hungry for citrus!

A Piece of Sunshine!

Oranges, clementines, tangerines – oh boy. At the top of my list of favorite fruits are citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruits and clementines. I like their sweet flavor, juiciness and the way they’re ‘wrapped’ by nature. I can carry citrus fruits anywhere and when I bite into one, I feel like I’m eating a piece of sunshine.

Vitamin C is a Citrus Bonus!

I like staying healthy and full of energy all year long. Do you? If you answered ‘yes’ then choose citrus. Vitamin C comes along with the sweet flavor of citrus, or the sour flavor if you choose a lemon or lime. As an antioxidant, vitamin C can make cold symptoms less serious and it can strengthen your immune system in general. Now, that’s a great way to stay well this winter, and all year long!

Add Citrus to Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner!

What are you waiting for? Now is the perfect time to add a tangerine or half grapefruit half to breakfast. Or, squeeze a glass of orange juice for lunch. At dinner, brighten your salad by spritzing it with fresh lemon or lime juice and/or zest (the outside skin, grated). Go for citrus as you set a good example at your meal table. Need more help? Join me on facebook and take a look at my kitchen tools that include menu and recipe e-books. So easy-to-use and affordable that you’ll want to order today!

What citrus fruits turn you on to good nutrition?

A Warm Bowl of Soup is Your Dinner Solution!

Homemade lentil Soup

Homemade Lentil Soup ‘hits the spot’ when you need a tasty and nutritious dinner!

Soup is Comfort Food!

If I could invent healthy comfort food, it would be a bowl of homemade soup and I would eat it every day. Seriously. I love to make homemade soup and to eat it – frequently. Do you?

Soup is Versatile!

There is a whole world of homemade soups and I enjoy being creative when I make them. It’s hard to say which are my favorites because all are good options but, if I had to, I’d choose lentil, pumpkin and vegetable-beef. My lentil soup is shown at the left.

Soup Ingredients are Healthy & Cheap!

Now, here’s the clincher – homemade soup is really cheap to make and really healthy to eat. If you think it through, you’ll agree because the ingredients I’m talking about are garlic, onions, olive oil, green veggies, potatoes, pumpkin, rice, fresh herbs and more. Soup made with broth is a healthy mix of all of these.

Homemade Soup is a Smart Goal!

If you’re new to the idea of making your own soup from basic ingredients then take a look at this easy recipe for Chicken Noodle Soup or this easy recipe for Homemade Lentil Soup and try one. Your time commitment to mince and chop ingredients is normally 20 minutes or less. Then, soup cooks itself as it simmers at a low temperature and develops savory flavors. So, make homemade soup your goal as one step toward a healthier lifestyle. You’ll be glad you did!

What kind of homemade soup will you make this week?

 

 

Pumpkins Make Healthy Eating Tasty & Fun!

Orange pumpkins brighten up this Vienna, Austria street market!

What Can I Do with Pumpkins?

* Decorate your front door step with pumpkins throughout the fall

* Carve pumpkins into funny faces at Halloween

* Scoop out the pumpkin seeds and make oven-roasted pumpkin seeds that are a crisp and hearty snack

* Scoop out and cook the pumpkin flesh until soft, puree it and use in a muffin recipe or soup recipe

* Oven-bake a small pumpkin, whole, and then use the flesh as a side dish on your dinner plate or any way you wish

Make Pumpkin Your New Healthy Habit!

You will be doing yourself a big favor by adding pumpkin and its ‘fall squash cousins’ to your meals, shopping list and kitchen pantry – for top flavor, amazing good nutrition and colorful fun. Be sure to try the fresh pumpkins now and then later be sure to stock up on canned, solid pack pumpkin. It’s all good!

What will you cook with pumpkin this week?

 

 

Good Nutrition is All About Balance!

Whole grain cookie Austria

In Austria, this poster advertises a new cookie as ‘Half Chocolate, Whole Grain’

Think Choices!

Do you grab an apple or a cookie late in the afternoon? Do your kids choose a cola drink or low fat milk, when given the choice? Is a boiled egg part of your family’s breakfast in addition to sweetened cereal? Good nutrition balance means opting for really healthy food choices along with those that are not quite so healthy. Read on for everyday examples.

Think Balance!

Breakfast Balance: Boiled egg + apple + donut + 1% milk or coffee

Lunch Balance: Cheeseburger + tossed salad, light dressing + orange + water

Dinner Balance: Baked skinless chicken + whole grain brown rice + steamed green beans + apple pie

Think Good Example!

Your ‘balanced example’ is a powerful, unspoken message to friends and family. Choosing a whole grain cookie, as shown at the left, allows a chocolate indulgence every once in a while. Choosing a piece of fresh fruit for dessert works very well, too. Show those you care about the most that good nutrition balance can be, and is, part of the enjoyment of a meal or snack. Your actions speak louder than your words.

Make a Plan for Balance!

Good nutrition is a balancing act that everyone can manage with desire, positive thinking and an action plan. Easy to use menus and recipes can give you the know-how to make it happen in your household, for you and your family.

How will you balance good nutrition this week?

Mighty Mushrooms Make Healthy Meals!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms come in many sizes & varieties so be sure to try them all!

Mushrooms & Pennsylvania

When I went to middle school, my family moved from Washington State to southeastern Pennsylvania. That was when I began learning about mushrooms. My mother got into the habit of giving a big basket of fresh mushrooms as a holiday or special occasion gift which might sound odd, unless you know Pennsylvania mushrooms!

Mushrooms 101: Nutrition & Health

Like so many veggies, mushrooms have a strong nutrition resume. Some of their top nutrients include selenium, copper and potassium along with fiber and health-enhancing phytochemicals. Mushrooms are low in calories and a good source of fiber, too.

Mushrooms 201: Selection and Storage

Taking time to select and store mushrooms correctly is a first step to enjoying this delicately-flavored veggie. As with all veggies, freshness is a top priority so pick out firm, evenly colored mushrooms without spots or slime. Also, store them for only a few days to preserve their quality.

Mushrooms 301: Cooking

Mushrooms are full of water like so many veggies and cooking them develops a mildly savory flavor. The best way to do this is to add either a small amount of vegetable oil or wine to your pan before sauteing the mushrooms. They will turn golden brown within a short time at medium-high heat. Mix together 2 or more varieties of mushrooms for a rich and satisfying meal. Cooked mushrooms work well added to red sauce over pasta or as a meatless burger with melted cheese, lettuce and tomato.

 Get Started with Mushrooms in Your Kitchen

Mushrooms belong in everyone’s meal plans. Buy mushrooms fresh and try these ideas: slice them and eat raw over your salad; cook them whole in a little wine as your dinner side item; slice them and stir-fry with other veggies for your dinner entree. The time to get started is now!

What new mushroom recipe can you invent?

 

Pizza Makes a Healthy & Colorful Meal!

Veggie Pizza & Heirloom Tomatoes

Can you imagine a more colorful, summery meal than veggie pizza with mixed heirloom tomatoes?

Pizza is a Teen-Pleaser!

If you have teens, then I bet pizza is high on your list of family-pleasing meals. My teen loves it and so my approach is to offer healthier pizza and side options. When we met friends at the swimming pool last week for supper, 4 adults and 3 teens enjoyed a colorful & healthy meal. In addition to what’s pictured at the left, there was cheese pizza, juice-packed fruits and a drink.

Ordering Healthier Pizza!

On a long work day, my perfect meal solution was to drop by the local Italian restaurant and order take-out pizza. I asked for ‘light on the cheese’ and ‘double cut’ for smaller slices. The veggie pizza had broccoli, mushrooms and spinach on top and it was dee-lish. When you order pizza for take-out, be sure to make the special requests you need. Good nutrition is always worth the trouble.

Take Action Now!

When you want to feel great and stay healthy, there’s no better solution than nutritious eating, every day. To nourish your teen the best you possibly can, and to become your entire family’s healthy eater role model, you need resources. LIKE my facebook page to join a fun and lively discussion, READ my blog every week for more know-how in your kitchen and BUY a trusted bundle of my menu & recipe e-books to make easy meals with awesome results!

How do you build a tasty and healthy meal with pizza?

 

Quick & Easy Apple Salad Recipe

Fall apples

Late summer means a new season of fresh apples is here!

 

A New Season of Fresh Apples

In North Carolina, August signals the beginning of a new season of awesome, healthy, delicious apples. If you love apples, like me, this is the month to get out to a Farmer’s Market or the apple orchard itself for the freshest apples. Eating an apple a day is a very smart way to feel great and stay healthy!

A Contest for Kids – Win an Apple T-Shirt

Washington State grows a lot of fresh apples as do North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan. If you think it would be cool to win a t-shirt with a big apple on it, then kids can enter an apple writing contest.

A Super Simple Apple Recipe

If you need a new recipe for your healthy kitchen then try this one….and, get the kids to help!

 

Fresh Apple Salad

This is a go-to side dish for any meal! Kids can help by washing the apples, squeezing the lemon, stirring and sprinkling the salad, with supervision.

Makes 4 servings

3 medium Apples, any kind, any color

1 teaspoon Lemon juice, squeezed from a fresh lemon

3/4 cup, 6 ounce cup Lemon or lime yogurt, made from nonfat milk

1/4 cup Plain yogurt, made from nonfat milk

1/4 Ground cinnamon

  1. Wash apples and pat dry with a clean towel.
  2. Cut apples in half. Cut in half again.
  3. Remove core and seeds from apples.
  4. Cut apples into bite-size pieces and place into a medium or large bowl.
  5. Squeeze lemon juice all over the apple pieces. Stir up with a big spoon.
  6. Measure and add yogurt (both kinds) to the apples. Stir gently.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top of the salad.

Nutrition per serving: 80 calories; 9 gm fat; 5 gm saturated fat; 0 trans fat; 45 mg cholesterol; 500 mg sodium; 3 gm carbohydrates; 0 gm fiber; 15 gm protein; 4% DV vitamin A; 2% DV vitamin C; 25% DV calcium; 4% DV iron

What is your favorite meal or snack recipe using fresh apples?

Corn Makes Meals Sweet from Ear to Ear!

Fresh Corn

Corn on the cob is sweet & satisfying, especially in the summer!

The History of Corn

Corn on the cob has been a favorite of mine since way back. What about you? Did you know that corn originated thousands of years ago in central Mexico? Today, it is a major food staple around the world.

Ways to Prepare Corn

Corn is a colorful, nutrient-rich, versatile grain that lends itself to hot and cold recipes. Here are 2 quickies:

1. Corn Pancakes: Make a simple pancake batter from baking mix or scratch ingredients. Before cooking, add a cup of corn kernels. Cook.

2. Grilled Corn: Peel off corn husks. Sprinkle a little water onto each ear and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Grill, turning, for 6-8 min.

Family-Pleasing Corn Recipes

Try these in your household for ‘wow’ flavors and great nutrition, too:

1. Roasted Corn, Poblano and Cheddar Pizza

2. Spicy Corn

3. Corn and Yellow Squash Chowder

Take A First Step

Invest in your good health and the good health of your family -beginning today! I have easy-to-use meal plans and recipes. And, I offer ongoing ideas, tips and tiny recipes to create a healthy kitchen.

How will you use fresh corn in your healthy kitchen?

Peaches & Cinnamon Make Sweet Summer Meals!

Summer peaches

Local, tree-ripened peaches can make your taste buds dance!

Caring for Fresh Peaches

It seems simple. Pick-your-own or buy fresh peaches and then eat them. But, wait – there’s more! By following these 3 steps, your summer peaches will reward you with more flavor, more sweetness and more enjoyment.

Step 1. At home, store peaches on the kitchen counter.

Step 2. Twice a day, check for ripeness by very gently squeezing the peach with your thumb and index finger.

Step 3. When peach is slightly soft to the touch and smells ‘peachy’, eat or store in the fridge (for up to one week.)

Peaches & Cinnamon in Meals and Snacks

Sprinkling cinnamon onto a fresh peach is something you must try! Here are 3 ways to make this winning combination add flavor and creativity to your meals and snacks.

1. Peaches & cinnamon over yogurt. Wash and cut up the peach, sprinkle it with cinnamon and stir up. Dish up some vanilla or honey yogurt and top with peaches.

2. Peaches & cinnamon over breakfast cereal. Wash and cut up the peach. Pour your bowl of cereal (go for high fiber varieties). Top with peaches and sprinkle with cinnamon.

3. Peaches & cinnamon on the grill. Wash and cut peach in half. Brush cut side very lightly with oil. Cook on the grill, cut side down, for 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Take the Challenge

If you are not already eating at least 5 servings of fruits and/or vegetables every day, then it’s time for a change. Take the challenge by keeping track of your intake of fruits/veggies with the goal to consistently eat about 2-1/2 cups per day. For kids and everyone, here’s a fun tune as a good nutrition reminder!

What’s your favorite way to eat summer peaches?

 

Easy Tomato Meals for Summer!

Cherokee purple tomatoes

Cherokee purple tomatoes are unique and delicious, from my local Farmer's Market!

It’s Fun Trying Many Varieties of Tomatoes!

I used to think a homegrown, local tomato was heavenly — and, I still do! But, lately I’m getting more fun out of summer tomatoes by trying different varieties. The Cherokee Purple tomato, shown at left, is actually purple-ish on the outside and inside.  Amish Paste is another to try as is Brandywine. I suggest your local Farmer’s Market if you are ready to have some fun with tomato varieties!

Making Easy Meals with Tomatoes!

1. Cold Tomato Sandwich Meal: Spread fresh sourdough or whole grain bread with light mayo or mustard. Cut a fresh, local tomato into thick slices and layer onto bread. Top tomatoes with minced, fresh herbs such as basil, oregano or mint. Make a meal by adding sliced cucumbers and a wedge of cantaloupe or watermelon.

2. Cold Pasta & Tomato Salad Meal: Mix together cooked pasta with chunks of fresh, local tomatoes. Use several kinds if you can. Add your signature ingredients such as olives, black beans or cheese. Dress simply with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir. Make a meal by adding warm corn tortillas wrapped around sliced avocado or salsa and a peach.

3. Cold Tomato Gazpacho Soup Meal: Here’s a tasty recipe for Tomato Gazpacho Soup. Make a meal by adding simple, grilled chicken or fish and fresh plum tart.

Make it Healthy and Tasty in Your Kitchen!

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Wasting Less Food Means Saving More Money!

Compost bucket

Throwing away the remains of fruits, veggies, nut shells, egg shells into garden compost is a good sign!

What Lurks in the Fridge?

Is your celery or lettuce squishy and slimy again? Do you find a disgustingly moldy onion in your pantry too often? Do you forget to use up leftovers like spaghetti and meatballs and, when you discover them, they smell funny and unsafe? Do you feel like you are throwing away too much food?

What is it Costing You?

All of us throw away food once-in-a-while. But, throwing away food every week is too much – too much wasted space, time, and money. Estimates are that, on average, Americans throw away 30-40% of their food budget – which can cost you up to $1,000 or more dollars in a year. Just think what you could use that extra money for!

How to Waste Less and Save More!

1. Plan meals in advance of grocery shopping. Do a 3-day, or 7-day plan and write it down.

2. Look through your pantry, fridge and freezer before you make your shopping list, to buy only what you need.

3. Make a grocery shopping list that includes what you need for your meal plans, and everyday, healthy staples.

4. Keep it simple at the grocery store. Shop your list.

5. At home, put away perishable items first, then put away dry foods. Date perishables to remind yourself to eat them before they spoil. Work your meal plans.

Summer is a tricky time for food safety, so be extra careful with these summer food safety tips.

Ongoing Tips for a Healthy and Affordable Kitchen!

Please join me on Facebook for everyday tips, tiny recipes and inspiration to plan, shop and cook simply – for tons of energy and a healthier life!

 

Creative Ideas for Healthy, Quick Salad Meals

Salad greens spinach

Start with spinach greens, fresh dill, fresh parsley and purple cabbage.

Salad Brings Good Nutrition to the Table

When the weather heats up, I feel like a light and crunchy salad meal. It’s cool and refreshing, full of flavor and so easy to toss together in my kitchen. What about you?

I don’t necessarily think about all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants lurking in my salad starter greens. But, when I do, I feel even better about the powerful nutrition on my plate.

Start with Greens

A salad meal typically starts with greens. Any greens. Dark green spinach, Romaine lettuce and/or arugula are tasty. Shredded green cabbage or soft leaf lettuces work great, too. I like even more flavor with my greens, so I typically add one or two chopped fresh herbs like parsley, dill, oregano or mint. You can do that, too!

Add Salad Toppers

There are no limits to what can be used to top your salad. First, I like excellent nutrition such as carrots, tomatoes and shredded purple cabbage. The more colorful, the better. Next, add a protein-rich salad topper such as cut-up hardboiled egg, flaky canned tuna, almonds, cheese, leftover chicken or turkey. Finally, add a favorite summer fruit such as berries, cut-up nectarines or melon.

Dress Lightly

Making salad dressing is not difficult and it’s a healthy choice compared to most bottled options. There are many varieties and easy recipes for each one. Making a batch of dressing to keep on hand in the fridge can be a helpful time-saver if you intend to use it up within 7-10 days.

Tasty Salad Meals to Try

Meal 1: Spinach & shredded green cabbage + tiny tomatoes, carrots, blueberries+ leftover chicken, cheese + vinaigrette.

Meal 2: Romaine greens with chopped fresh parsely + chopped broccoli, cantaloupe + sliced hardboiled egg, almonds + vinaigrette (try fresh lemon juice in place of vinegar)

Meal 3: Soft leaf lettuce + shredded carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives + flaky tuna, hardboiled egg + creamy dressing.

Kitchen Tips and Family-Friendly Recipes

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Mediterranean Flavors Make Meal Planning Easier!

Garlic, tomatoes, basil in grocery store

Garlic, basil and tomatoes are a great start for healthful, Mediterranean flavors!

Flavors from the Mediterranean

Do you like the flavors of Italy? Do you like the flavors of Greece? Do you like the flavors of Turkey or Spain? All of these countries have coastlines on the Mediterranean Sea and, because of this, they share similar climates and some similar food ingredients and flavors.

Menu Planning from the Mediterranean

Whether or not you live near the Mediterranean Sea, you can enjoy eating a meal that is traditional to that area. It’s fun, too. Maybe you’ll want to plan a simple pasta dinner with red sauce made from garlic, basil and tomatoes. Or maybe you’ll plan a Turkish meal with beef or lamb shish kebab over rice. Both are delicious!

Celebrate Simple from the Mediterranean

Invest in yours and your family’s good health by celebrating simple, homemade cooking from the Mediterranean. Boiling pasta and making a simple sauce for dinner can be done with a little planning ahead, an easy recipe, and an efficient grocery shopping list. Grilling a shish kebab dinner can be done in similar steps. On the side of your plate, add a simple green vegetable and enjoy an orange, apricot or kiwi as a simple dessert.

Everyday Tools for Your Healthy Kitchen

Everyone needs a simple plan for everyday tasty and healthy meals for your home kitchen. LIKE my facebook page to get tips and ask questions; invest in my kitchen tools for meal plans, shopping lists and easy-to-fix recipes.

Spring in the Supermarket & Kitchen is Simple, Nutritious

Cindy Silver Weighing ProduceSpring Favorites:

Step 1: Shop for nutritious fruits and veggies: kale to lightly saute, radishes for a salad, late season oranges/tangerines for a snack

Step 2: Shop for nutritious whole grains: farro for a side dish, barley for a soup, light popcorn for a snack

Step 3: Shop for nutritious dairy foods: plain yogurt to mix with fruit, 1% milk for homemade coffee latte, string cheese for a snack

Simple Meals for Spring:

Step 1. Breakfast: Whole grain toaster waffle + vanilla yogurt + berries + herb tea

Step 2. Lunch: Whole wheat tortilla wrapped around canned tuna or salmon + one-bite tomatoes + orange + water

Step 3. Dinner: Chicken on the grill + sweet potato chunks cooked in an aluminum foil tent on the grill + steamed broccoli or Brussels sprouts + yogurt/juice smoothie

Ongoing Support for Your Healthy Kitchen

Make it a habit to plan, shop and cook with good nutrition at the top of your mind. For ongoing help with this, LIKE me on facebook and invest in my 3-ebook bundle. These resources will help you turn things around in your kitchen!

A Colorful Meal …Is a Healthy Meal

Colorful Roasted Veggies

Ready to roast: sweet potatoes, parsnips, red and green Bell peppers and red onions.

 

Color and Good Nutrition

Need some help getting out of a hum-drum eating rut? The easiest way is to gather a rainbow of colorful foods at the grocery store. Not only do colors please the eyes but they pack in powerful nutrition.

Colorful Combinations

When I think of an artist’s palette, I really get going on combinations for my meal plate – what about you? A snack of blueberries and yogurt is a good start. A lunch salad with a variety of shades of green lettuces, shredded purple cabbage and tomatoes is beautiful, too. Or imagine this…a dinner stir-fry with sugar snap peas, mushrooms, carrots and red Bell pepper strips. Truly, a feast for the eyes and the body.

Simple and Nutritious

Simple and colorful meals are a smart way to make healthy eating a priority for you and your family. For everyday tips, tiny recipes and inspiration about healthier nutrition, join me on Facebook or check out my e-book bundle of Tasty Menus and Recipes.

Tasty Meal Planning with Leftovers

Tasty leftover plate

Leftovers are a perfect start to dinner!

Leftovers are Reality

One reality for all of us is that we have bits-and-pieces of leftover foods in our fridge. If we’re smart, we try to use them up within a few days. If we’re not…we throw them away and waste money.

Leftovers are Fun

No matter your age, it can be fun to use up leftovers. Think creative, think food art, think colors and textures and flavors. Making a leftover concoction that is healthy, satisfying and cheap can make your day!

Leftovers are Healthy

A healthy kitchen produces healthy ingredients for a leftover meal. What do you see in your fridge right now? A cup of cold, cooked vegetable; a bowlful of cooked pasta; a quarter bag of spinach leaves; a two inch cube of natural cheese. Just about everything can be mixed, tossed or crafted into a tasty, leftover meal.

Leftover Meal Ideas

1. Leftover spinach leaves + cut up cucumber + olives + leftover canned tuna + light dressing. A delish cold dinner salad! See photo above.

2. Leftover cooked pasta + leftover steamed veggie + leftover Marinara sauce + cut up hard boiled egg. A creative warm pasta dinner!

3. Leftover vegetable or bean soup + pita bread and leftover shredded cheese, melted + fruit salad of apples and bananas. A quick soup and sandwich dinner!

 

Valentine’s Dinner Tip: Fish For the Heart

Frozen fish at supermarket

Fish is a heart-healthy and delicious choice for a special dinner!

Learning About Fish

There’s a lot about fish you may not know.  Jake learned that tilapia is a vegetarian fish that loves to eat algae. Jackie was interested in how wild salmon is caught in the waters off Alaska, flash frozen and transported to her home town. Their younger brother, Rocco, was most interested in watching the live lobsters in a tank at the other end of the seafood department. Who could blame him?

Fish Can Protect Your Heart

Fish is a powerful protein food that can add quality to everyone’s meals and snacks. Not only that – fish contributes omega-3 fat to your plate and, with it, comes a stronger heart. Certain fish are richer in omega-3 fat and it’s good to learn which these are. A few examples are salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna.

Cooking Fish from Frozen

Repeat after me…fish is not hard to cook. Really, it’s not. To cook fish directly from frozen, tap into a handy online resource at The Alaska Seafood Marketing Association. You can learn quickly from these cook fish from frozen videos and begin enjoying more fish right away. Whatever your choice — grilling, sautéing, baking, broiling, roasting or steaming, fish is something for those who are smart about nutrition and appreciate delicious flavors!

More Homemade Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen

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A Slow Cooker Makes Mealtime Easy & Exotic

Crock Pot with ingredients

My Mediterranean recipe combines chicken, frozen butternut squash, chick peas, olives, garlic, tomatoes and spices over couscous.

Slow Cooker Meals Use Simple Ingredients

Do you have a slow cooker in your kitchen tool box? If you do, there are homemade flavors at low to medium cost awaiting you. Many slow cooker recipes are easy and easy to find.

Flavors of the World Suit a Slow Cooker

The world offers cuisines with amazing flavors. For example, my slow cooker recipe shown at the left, features Mediterranean flavors with characteristic ingredients. I also love the traditional flavors of Mexico and they typically include fresh lime juice, chili powder, garlic and cumin. Korean cuisine is another favorite with its soy sauce, garlic, sesame seeds or oil, sugar and hot pepper flakes.

Exotic Flavors Wake Up Taste Buds & Excite the Family

There are good reasons to ‘spice up’ your meal table and try something new. World flavors and recipes await you and your family and they include Indian, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Italian, Spanish, Mexican and more. You may be surprised that even kids embrace something that gets your family out of a ho-hum dinner rut!

More Homemade Ideas for a Healthy Kitchen

Join me for tiny tips and simple recipes that will help you turn your kitchen around with healthier, homemade flavors. Simply LIKE me on facebook and join the conversation.

 

 

 

Planning is Key to Quick, Cheap & Nutritious Meals

Breakfast Meal Plate

A traditional breakfast meal can also be lunch or dinner - in a hurry!

Step 1: Meal Planning

There’s no way around it – planning is the first step to a quick, balanced and nutritious meal, or an entire week of meals, that are easy on the wallet. So, take about 20 minutes to plan and jot down notes, if it helps you remember. Draw pictures of meals with the kids, if that helps.

Step 2: Grocery Store Planning

Once your meal planning is clear, turn your attention to a grocery shopping plan. For example, turn your meal ideas into a detailed list, and pull out coupons that will save you cash on healthy purchases.

Step 3: Sticking With Your Plan

Succeeding in your kitchen and at the meal table is doable for everyone. Think simple foods. Think colorful plate. Think I will stick to my plan. If you make planning time and stick with your plan, then you’ll be amazed how much smoother the week will go.

Trusted Resources for Success!

If you are looking for an easy-to-understand way to move toward nutritional success in your own kitchen, consider my 3 e-books, Tasty Menus, Tasty Recipes for Breakfast Lunch Dinner Snacks, and Tasty Recipes for Sides Dishes. There is a nice price discount when you buy all 3 at once!

Save Money by Throwing Away Less Food!

Kitchen Compost

Kitchen ‘plant’ scraps are good for the garden!

A Food Plan Comes First!

1. Set aside 20 minutes to plan meals for the week ahead.

2. Use your free resources, like the grocery store ad and a trusted cookbook or website.

3. Firm up your plan on a day-by-day wipe board, simple notebook or smart phone list.

Sticking with Your Plan Comes Next!

1. Write a detailed shopping list and arrange it to match the layout of your grocery store to save time.

2. Store food carefully when you get home, labeling and dating perishable items like dairy foods, fresh deli meat/cheese, and freshly-cut fruits/veggies.

3. Ask all members of the family >4 years old to pitch in and help with meal plans throughout the week.

Saving Money is Your Reward!

1. Get familiar with your grocery store receipt and your food budget.

2. Look in your kitchen trash can and see what you are throwing away, day-by-day.

3. Add up the cost of food in your trash. Then, think about a smarter grocery list next week to reduce wasted food and money.

For more everyday tips about saving money as you feed yourself and your family well, please LIKE me on Facebook and join the discussion!