IMG_9648Every so often I feel like channeling Jose Andres of “Made in Spain” for he has always had the ability (at least on television) to make me feel transported to another land, a land where they are more relaxed and even take “siestas.” From what I read though, the siesta has pretty much died out, but, a girl can dream, no?

That being said, I have been super-tired of the boring old tuna salad. I’ve branched out into other fish salad options, most recently using mackerel (which in this case is from Portugal, not Spain, but, they are close to each other, and that’s how my mind work)

One can of this mackeral is 266 calories, 19 grams of protein and 31% of your daily iron needs (that’s quite a lot if you ever check out food labels, tuna is usually around 2% of your daily iron for a much larger serving.) Lots of the good omega 3 fatty acids as well.

For this salad, I used Cole’s Wild Mackerel in Olive Oil. I have also used their trout and and even sardines on several occasions and they always taste great. If you have a food processor, this can be done very quickly with just a few pulses, but, chopping and mixing it up manually won’t take any time at all either.

Ingredients

1 can Cole’s Wild Mackerel in Olive Oil

1/2 vidalia onion

1 plum tomato

Handful of fresh basil, oregano (whatever herbs you have on hand are fine)

Splash of red wine vinegar

Himalayan sea salt to taste

1 slice Hummlinger Whole Spelt Bread (110 kcals slice, 4 grams fiber, 4 grams protein)

Method

1- Throw all ingredients (except for bread) in food processor, pulse on rough chop a few times (if you like a smoother consistency, go a few more)

2- Toast the spelt bread, cutting into four pieces

3- Enjoy!

Tip:

Lemon juice would be an excellent addition (I just didn’t have any so I had to use red wine vinegar) as would some red pepper flakes and even sriracha if you like it hot. And if you want to keep it super low carb, you can always swap out the bread for some endive, celery or romaine and wrap it up!

 

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Unintentional "cooking" of my salad planned for the beach

Unintentional “cooking” of my salad planned for the beach

Super motivated on a Sunday morning to go to the beach and bring some healthy vittles to avoid a trip to the snack shack at the beach. The shack at the beach is lacking when it comes to food offerings. Overpriced frozen foods that you wait to have heated up and served to you in a paper box. The worst offender is the “pizza.”

I’m reasonably sure it is a knock off of Ellio’s pizza. No offense to Ellio’s, but, I think my parents may have served us that Ellio’s pizza a few too many times. I can barely look at it and I always thought it didn’t really taste anything like real pizza. But, I digress…

So, I got out my mandoline, “french fry cut” the yellow zucchini, orange pepper, etc. I threw all the ingredients together in Tupperware, drizzled some oil, vinegar and lemon juice and set it on ice. I was super excited to eat it while kicking back in the salt air.

After putting in my time at the shore watching three energetic boogie boarders, I finally sat down to have my salad. Took it off the ice, it was nice and cold. And then it dawned on me…I DIDN’T BRING A FORK!

Oh yeah, and the (now maligned) snack shack didn’t have any forks either! Criminy!

So, I brought the salad back with me and finally got a chance to eat it this evening. The veggies were nicely “cooked” by the citrus and vinegar, a ceviche if you will. Super crunchy and refreshing. Big on Vitamins A, C, Potassium and loads of other vitamins and antioxidants. Oh yeah, and of course low calorie.

Ingredients

1 yellow zucchini (sliced on the mandoline to look like noodles)

1 orange pepper (also sliced on the mandoline)

1/2 vidalia onion

Handful of grape tomatoes, sliced in half

4-5 broccoli florets (only threw these in because I grew them in the garden)

1/2 cup of hearts of palm, salad cut

Herbs (Basil, Oregano, savory, thyme)

Red wine vinegar

Toasted sesame oil

Juice of half a lemon

Method

Throw all vegetables together, drizzle oil and vinegar and lemon juice over them in a tupperware. Add a few pinches of salt. Shake up the tupperware. Enjoy immediately or let stand overnight for a more crunchy/pickled version.

Red peppers, carrots and green beans make this salad super crunchy

Red peppers, carrots and green beans make this salad super crunchy

One can of “hearts of palms” has 50 calories. The other ingredients are low in calories and carbohydrates, but, together they make a very hearty salad. Blanching the carrots and green beans ensures they will be super crunchy.

Dressed with some red wine vinegar, sesame oil, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste, you can utilize this all week. The finer the chop, the more you can dip/salsaish you can go, the bigger the chop the more you can use it as a base for other toppings. I’ll be using it tomorrow over a bed of romaine lettuce and topped with 4 ounces of leftover chicken.

 

 

 

Another crunchy, refreshing, low calorie side dish for summer

I’m still on somewhat of a  jicama kick, especially in this hot weather. This time I paired it with red cabbage, one of my favorite glucosinolate laden veggies (the cancer fighting compounds found in several cruciferous vegetables.). I used the same simple method as with the Jicama “Super Immunity” Salad and most of the same ingredients (makes about 4 servings):

Ingredients:

1/2 whole large jicama peeled and sliced on the mandoline  – “french fry” blade

1/2 large head of red cabbage, thinly shredded

1/4 red pepper, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1/2-1 teaspoon olive oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

Juice of 1 fresh lime

Fresh Basil

Salt to taste

Method:

Slice up the jicama and put in a big bowl. Then add the cabbage, pepper, onion, ginger and garlic. Add red wine vinegar and sesame oil and combine all ingredients so that each ingredient is equally coated. Chop up the fresh basil, add it to the mix. Squeeze the fresh lime over the mix, add your salt . Combine once more and then cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 10 minutes.

Nutrition:

This slaw gives an added antioxidant boost due to the pigments in the cabbage called anthocyanins. These provide the beautiful purple/reddish color and are thought to offer protection against several diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

~75 calories per serving and 6 grams of fiber per serving!

Delicious, crunchy, and low calorie

After a recent delicious dinner at Korean restaurant Dokebi, I was inspired by the complimentary banchan to finally try my hand at making some jicama of my own (jicama is a reasonable substitute for Daikon). I’ve had it several times in salads and other types of dishes, and I love it for its subtle sweetness and supreme crunchiness.

I used a pretty simple method and ingredients (makes about 4 servings):

Ingredients:

1 whole jicama peeled and sliced on the mandoline  – “french fry” blade

1/4 cherry pepper, thinly sliced

2-3 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon rice vinegar

Juice of 1/2 fresh lime

Fresh herbs ( I used basil from the garden)

Salt to taste

Method:

Slice up the jicama and put in a big bowl. Then add the pepper, ginger and garlic. Add red wine vinegar and sesame oil and combine all ingredients so that each ingredient is equally coated. Chop up the fresh basil, add it to the mix. Squeeze the fresh lime over the mix, add your salt . Combine once more and then cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 10 minutes.

What makes this an immune booster you ask? Big dose of Vitamin C from pepper and jicama, the synergistic anti-inflammatory/antioxidant properties of the garlic, ginger, basil, and sesame oil can’t be beat. And of course, vinegar is well known for its health properties.

Perhaps most impressive though is that this dish comes out to about 80 calories per serving and 11 grams of carbs per serving!

Enjoy!

An impressive 5 grams of fiber per serving

An impressive 5 grams of fiber per serving

I’ve posted before about low fat, low sugar crackers (see “A cracker to satisfy carb cravings”) because I am obsessed with finding the best tasting, healthiest crackers out there. I came across these FiberRich brand crackers and gave them a whirl.

I found they provided a good backdrop to both guacamole and hummus on account of their being very crunchy, but, if you are not already a fan of bran, they might be more of an acquired taste. They are very filling, so they can help you feel satisfied, especially if you are using them as a snack or appetizer. I could also see these crackers making a good coating for some oven-baked “fried” chicken, because they would likely stay nice and crunchy during cooking.

They are only 40 calories per serving, which is 2 crackers, NO FAT, NO CHOLESTEROL and NO SALT. Each serving delivers 5 grams of insoluble fiber, which is 20% of the recommended daily intake of fiber (~25-35 g/day for the average healthy adult).

Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber more well known for keeping you “regular,” and has possible health benefits in preventing diverticular disease and colon cancer. It’s important to take in additional fluid when incorporating fiber into one’s diet because the fiber absorbs fluid from the intestines as it goes through them.

Other sources of insoluble fiber are whole grain breads, cereals and rices, as well as in the skins of fruits like apples and pears. If you are interested in learning more about fiber, its sources and benefits, there is a great article: Fiber – What Should You Eat? at the Harvard School of Public Health’s website.

From this...

From this…

Have you ever had those cold sesame noodles from a Chinese food restaurant? They are super tasty, extremely addictive, and usually at least 600 calories, with lots of salt and fat per serving. Well, my husband had the very brilliant idea of using my obsession with slicing up zucchini to make a sesame “noodle” dish out of the zucchinis.

I recently started using the “Julienne” blade on the mandoline to slice up the zucchinis, and they came out so nice and “pasta-like” that we decided to forgo the usual salad preparation, and make something a little more decadent and comfort-foody.

So, I julienned two green zucchinis (63 calories, 13 g carbs, 4 g of fiber, 5 g prot). I left the skin on because I don’t mind it, but, you can peel the skin off if you want the squash to really look like a pasta noodle. We then made a sesame-like sauce out of the following:

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (200 calories, 7 g carb, 2 g fiber, 15 g fat, 9 g prot)

2 tablespoons light soy sauce (30 calories, 930 mg sodium)

2 tablespoons rice vinegar (0 calories)

1 tablesponn sesame oil (130 calories, 14 g fat)

Hint: Let the peanut butter come to room temperature, and use a whisk to get the peanut butter to incorporate into the other ingredients.

I tossed the “noodles” with the sauce unitl they were well coated and then put them in the refrigerator for an hour or so. The vegetables do start to release some of their water, so the sauce can get a little wet. It can certainly be eaten right away to avoid this issue though.

...to this. Cold Sesame "Noodles"

…to this. Cold Sesame “Noodles”

So, here are the stats: 423 calories for the entire dish! And 20 g  carbs, 6 g fiber, 14 g prot, and 29 g fat.

This amount can easily be shared among 2 people, which would bring the stats down to 212 calories per serving, 10 carbs, 3 g fiber, 7 g protein, and 14.5 g fat.

These “noodles” came out delicious, and at 212 calories per serving are an extremely low calorie option if you are a fan of the cold sesame dish classic, or if you just love zucchinis and want to do something different with them. You could easily use more or less peanut butter, soy sauce and/or sesame oil if you want to adjust the taste or the stats.

Next time, I think I will try to make them in more a of a Thai style, and add in a little heat. And of course, in terms of the health benefits of nutrition, check  my posts on Zucchini Salad and Veggies to see clearer.