In search of a healthy side dish to go with my fish tacos, I started playing with black beans. This recipe was the winner. You can make it as spicy as you like. For the kids, I keep it on the milder side and simply add a dash of hot pepper sauce on my own plate. It is very inexpensive, full of protein and fiber, and also vegan.
One afternoon I was searching through the cupboards for something (anything) to eat for lunch. My eyes landed on a jar of Kalamata olives, and I was inspired! I’ve always loved the combination of Greek flavors, such as tomatoes, olives, and feta cheese. Little did I know, my kids would love it also. As I was making it, they were asking if they could try it. Once they tried it, they were as hooked as I was. Now they ask me to make this salad all the time. You can eat it on its own for a quick easy lunch, or serve it as a side dish for dinner. If you want to go vegan, simply omit the feta cheese. Believe me, it will still taste great.
This is an example of a summer staple from my childhood which I’ve made healthier. When my mother made this, it had sour cream, lots of sugar and white vinegar. Now it has Greek yogurt which adds protein and apple cider vinegar which promotes healthy digestion. I also replaced the sugar with a little stevia to keep the sweetness without the calories. It is super easy to throw together as a no-carb side dish for a summer grill out.
A couple years ago I finally convinced my husband we needed a Vitamix®. I spent the next several weeks researching ingredients for smoothies and monkeying around with different recipes. I discovered this simple vegan recipe right after I discovered hemp protein. Hemp protein is one of nature’s perfect superfoods. One serving has 30% of your daily allowance for protein and fiber. It also contains all 9 essential amino acids, and is super easy to digest. I have also included raw cacao powder, another superfood, to boost this smoothie’s healthy “punch.” Cacao is the raw form of chocolate, and it is among the most mineral-rich superfoods. It has calcium, iron, and earns the title of highest magnesium food. It is also super high in antioxidants. Did I mention this smoothie tastes like a chocolate milkshake?! What more could you ask for? I know, several variations so you will never get tired of it.
When I have extra time, I like to make my own dressing. This way I can avoid all the extra preservatives that are typically in store bought dressings. This recipe will make about 2 cups of dressing. You can store it in the fridge in a glass jar with a tight fitting lid for several weeks, but it’s so delicious, I’m sure it won’t last that long.
Much to my husband’s dismay, I love Whole Foods!! My favorite part of the store is the deli counter. They are one of the few places that have healthy, ready-to-eat salads. When I am in a time crunch and searching for a side dish to serve with dinner, I often find myself there. The food is overpriced, but it’s delicious! They have one salad in particular that I really like. This recipe is my version of that salad. After purchasing my favorite salad for the umpteenth time, my husband took a look at the price on the side of the container and said, “I think we can make this salad for half this price.” So we did, and I have to say, I like it better than the one at Whole Foods. We eat this a lot in the summer as a side dish to burgers or brats and hot dogs.
My kids LOVE breakfasts on the weekends because it usually means pancakes or waffles. I have made a classic recipe healthier by using a combination of whole wheat and almond flour, substituting raw organic honey for sugar, and reducing the oil by half with the addition of applesauce. You can serve them with a little pure maple syrup or just a side of fresh berries. This recipe will make about 20 pancakes or waffles. I love to have plenty leftover to give the kids as a quick breakfast on Monday morning before school.