Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Raspberries and Pecans

Since I am clearly thinking salads today, I thought I would share one of my favorite salad recipes. It's very simple, but the combination of flavors is delicious!
I have to admit, this salad has a special place in my Meal Memory Bank. A wonderful man made me a fancy Italian meal several years ago, and he made this salad as an accompaniment to one of his famous pasta dishes. That man eventually became my husband, and this salad became my favorite lettuce treat. Enjoy!

Raspberry & Candied Pecan Salad

1 bag: spring greens salad mix
1 bottle: fat-free raspberry vinaigrette
(My favorite is Maple Grove Farms Fat Free dressing)
1/2 cup: pecan pieces
1-2 Tblsp: butter
1-2 Tblsp: brown sugar
1: ripe pear, cut into bite size chunks (do this right before serving to avoid
Note: Sliced apples or strawberries make a great substitute for the pear in this salad.

*To candy pecans: Melt butter in small skillet/pan over low heat. Add brown sugar and stir until sugar has melted. Add pecans and stir until pecans are mostly coated in the sugar mixture. You can add more sugar, depending on how buttery the
pecans look. (You don't want a buttery pecan, you want a crisp, sweet one!) Once the pecans are coated, pour them onto a sheet-pan covered with wax paper. Let cool.

*Toss greens, pecans, pears, and dressing in salad bowl. Serve. Enjoy. Laugh.

A Happy Little Salad.

I am channeling Bob Ross with that title. I am also channeling Edith Zimmerman's photo entry from thehairpin website.

I enjoy digging into a really fresh salad, but I don't think I've ever enjoyed a salad so much it caused me to break into delighted laughter at the site of lettuce. Actually, I can honestly say that has never happened. Never.
Apparently, I am not eating the right salads! For your entertainment, I bring you...

Women Laughing Alone With Salad
by Edith Zimmerman on January 3rd, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Quick and Healthy Snack

"Mom, can I have a snack?"
I hear this question, and multiple variations on that question, at least twice a day. Probably only twice a day because my girls know the answer would be "no" to any added attempts.

I used to rummage through the fridge and cabinets in search of healthy snacks. The snack-finding process frustrated me, and I'm pretty sure it frustrated my kids when I would hand them a fistful of stale Wheat Thins or a dried clump of raisins. Edible? Sure. Satisfying? Absolutely not!

I found the solution to our snack issues on a blog, many months ago, and if I could remember the name of the blog I would cite it here. Oops. As much as I would love to take credit for the ideas I am about to post; I cannot. Some brilliant mind in Internet Land dreamed them up first!

Personalized Snack Containers:

* I purchased two school boxes (one for each child), and a variety of foam stickers at the dollar store. I let the girls decorate their snack boxes to their liking, and we included their names on the front of the box.
* While at the dollar store I purchased snack-size ziplock bags.
* At the beginning of each week I fill several snack bags with a variety of healthy foods. This week the kiddos are munching on Craisins, raisins, cheese flavored mini-rice cakes,pretzels,Special K granola bars, Cheerios, Goldfish crackers and marshmallows.
* When the girls want a snack (only at designated snack times) I just tell them to get a bag out of their snack containers. I keep the containers on a shelf that both girls can reach. They love choosing a snack because it gives them a little taste of independence and I'm happy because the snacks are ready to go, fresh, and healthy!

I have carried this idea over and into the fridge. I have a plastic container on the bottom shelf and the girls can choose a snack from this container if they feel like something cold. Because it's winter and fresh fruit is in short supply, I mainly keep apples, segmented oranges (in bags), low-fat string cheese, and celery. I also fill small tubs (baby food jars work great!) with soy butter, honey or Nutella. One of the only ways my kids will eat celery is if they can dip it, so I provide them with lots of choices. Celery and baby carrots are dipped in soy butter, and pretzels are often happily dipped in honey and Nutella. We try not to eat McDonalds very often, but when we do, I save the leftover honey or caramel packets for the girls' snack containers. They work great, and we already paid for those little packets of honey!

I actually use the snack container idea to help myself eat more fruits and veggies too. If I wash, measure, and cut carrots, apples, oranges and celery as soon as I return from the grocery store, it saves me a lot of time later. I can grab a bag of something nutritious and quick when I get the munchies.