Sunday, May 5, 2013

Spring Into Yum!

Spring has officially sprung! I always look forward to my favorite time of year. Spring always brings the flowers back to bloom, the birds back to my feeders and new recipes to my kitchen.

After struggling with trying to maintain a healthy diet for most of my adult life, I finally decided to just enjoy what I enjoy. I’ve never been one to keep up with restrictive diets, hitting the gym 5 times a week or cutting out my favorite munchies just to fit into that summertime bathing suit. But I have found a regimen that works for me. Mainly consisting of portion control, I just find what I like, and eat it! Sounds perfect right? I’ve learned that as I steadily climb the ladder to my 40th birthday, I just need to exercise the self control that I am constantly begging my kids to use. So what works for me is simple; eat what I want, when I want small portions.

This Spring I have come across several quick and fairly easy recipes. Always on the go and seemingly rushed every minute of every day of my life, I look for tasty recipes with little ingredients, and lots of flavor. Here are a few of my most recent finds that I consume almost daily.

Pineapple Green Juice
Requires juicer
1 bundle spinach (substitute kale, romaine-any leafy green)
2 pears (substitute sweet apples)
1 half pineapple (substitute kiwi, mango)

Wash all ingredients and run through the juicer. Serve chilled for best taste.

Juicing can be done ahead of time. We make large batches on Sundays and then pour a large to-go cup each morning to have on the way to work. You’d be surprised how quickly you can down an entire pineapple, 2 pears and a half bag of kale. That’s more veggies and fruit than I would normally have in an entire week and it keeps me full until lunch time.

Green drinks aren’t pretty right? I have learned, after only 2 months of juicing, that once you find the right combination of fruits and vegetables, there ARE great tasting juices out there that will provide you with more nutrients and vitamins than you would likely consume if you ate a plate full of veggies for dinner. There are great websites, books and tools out there to help you get started. My favorite at the moment, is Best For Juicing. Daily posts include recipes, how to’s, support from other juicers. It’s a great tool, check them out.

Tuna Pepper
1 large red, yellow or orange pepper
1 can albacore tuna in water, drained
1 tsp Mayo
½ tsp Relish
Salt and pepper to taste

I mix the tuna up with mayo and relish. I pack it in my lunch with a bottle of water and a pepper. After splitting open the pepper and removing seeds, I spoon in the tuna and eat with a knife and fork. Believe it or not it fills me up when I add a bottle of water and a banana. Quickest lunch ever. Now if only I could get my kids to eat it....

Grilled Fish
This is a big one for me. Having a severe allergy to shellfish for most of my life, I have always shied away from all seafood. But one Saturday night, 2 glasses of wine and the smell of lemon and garlic changed my mind.

After my husband marinated, seasoned and grilled 5 pieces of mahi mahi, it looked too good to not try a small bite. That small bite turned into 2 pieces of fish quickly disappearing from my plate and a trip to Trader Joe's the next day to buy more mahi mahi.

With zero “fishy taste”, a soft texture similar to chicken and the great flavors of lemon and garlic mixed with the smokiness of being cooked on the grill on a wooden salmon plank, this has become my new favorite dinner. 20 minutes on the grill while some green veggies steam in the microwave and a couple pieces of garlic Texas toast (like I said; I eat what I like, in moderation) and this is one quick and easy weeknight recipe that I will continue to fall back on. All you non-seafood eaters should too!

What are some of your favorite spring and summer recipes? Email us here and share your recipes and photos for an upcoming blog post. We would love to hear from you!

~ Shay Ashcraft
National Director, LBDC

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