Cranberry, Beet & Kale Salad w/ Feta

I’m always flattered when someone requests a recipe. And I’m happy to share it with my FB friend and the rest of you. It’s my Cranberry Beet & Kale Salad I made for this year’s 4th of July celebration. RED (beets, cranberries), WHITE (Goat feta cheese) and well…(not quite) BLUE…  (I guess you could say Kale is sorta blue-ish / green – more dark green, I know. But for the celebration, this green would have to do. Okay, then Red, White and Green. lol!

photo 1

So here’s the recipe:

  • 1 8-oz bag of Chopped kale greens, rinsed  (my bag has some shredded carrots and dressing but I tossed out the dressing in favor of my own) – that’s approx. 3 cups
  • 1 large beet, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons dried cranberries
  • 3 oz of goat milk feta
  • 1-2 Tablespoons chopped walnutsv (optional – I forget to add them, but the salad was just as yummy w/o them)


  • 4 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 4 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • just a tiny pinch of each: Sea salt & Pepper

Whisk dressing ingredients together. Place Kale in a bowl, top with beets, cranberries, feta and walnuts. Add dressing. Toss when ready to serve. ENJOY!!

Note: Or try the cranberry-licious dressing from the wonderful Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocados, courtesy of  the Cranberry Marketing Committee on behalf of The Cranberry Institute. Click on the link to see my blog posting. It was delish!!


The Greek Yogurt Diet #BookReview

Despite the overwhelming popularity of Greek Yogurt (a not-so-new food) and the numerous cookbooks on the subject, The Greek Yogurt Diet is definitely a book you should take the time to read. And not just for the delicious recipes, it’s got much more than that — sustenance you’ll want to digest.

Just thumbing through this book, I could see how the authors took good care in laying out their contents to not only engage the reader but drive the reader toward understanding / progressing into a solid, healthy weight loss plan including Greek Yogurt, overall diet and exercise. The authors have taken the careful time to research the essentials, benefits — utilizing  peer-reviewed studies to support the weight-loss potential behind this creamy eat.

THe Greek Yogurt Diet

TRY THIS: Greek Yogurt-containing Curried Chicken Salad, a recipe by Dr. Sonali Ruder, co-author of The Greek Yogurt Diet.

Dr. Sonali Ruder, a board certified Emergency Medicine physician, chef, recipe developer and food blogger, co-authored this engaging, informative book with Jo Brielyn, who isn’t a stranger to publications in health and wellness, she’s got over 16 books on the subject to her credit. And this book is more than just a healthy, delicious read. With their combined experience, they’ve taken a popular subject and treated it with so much much than just recipes and healthy tidbits. This book is chockfull of heart-healthy research-based advice directed with focus on wellness through integrating Greek yogurt into a healthy lifestyle. It contains so many tools for managing your weight (and keeping your health in check) including:

  • 14 Day meal plan
  • A chart for body measurements
  • Physical Activity Goals
  • A food diary

It provides the essentials to healthy weight management and shows you how to incorporate intake of Greek yogurt into your daily diet. Not every meal contains Greek yogurt, but everyday on the included 14 day meal plan shows just how creative and tasty your recipes can be when you include Greek yogurt, with quick thumb reference to the recipe by indicating the page. It extolls the importance and virtues of water intake and takes you step by step into a healthier lifestyle.

What is really delightful about the book is that Dr. Ruder and Ms. Brielyn discuss the significance of Greek yogurt and how it can effectively be used for weight loss. Not just as a convenient, tasty “dairy food”, you can fit into a healthy diet, but also a high protein, gut-healing source of fuel that nourishes and satisfies. The include research and evidence to back their claims and provide useful tips for selecting, storing and using Greek yogurt. As you know, not all yogurts are created equal so they are careful to include specs to look for in choosing a healthy brand. (And if you are making it yourself – of course there is a recipe for that.)

You probably know by now that Greek yogurt isn’t just for snacking or dessert, it can help cut the fat in dishes by substitutions of creams, mayonnaise and butters, for both sweet and savory dishes. And what better way to showcase so many amazing and delicious Greek yogurt dishes than to include some fabulous foodie bloggers recipes in addition to her own. If you didn’t know, Dr. Sonali has quite a talent for cooking – she’s competed on the Food Network and has since enrolled in the Institute of Culinary Education to further her skills – in the blogosphere, she is known as The Foodie Physician where she matches her clinical background and desire to lead good health with delicious, inspiring meals — meeting at “healthy can be delicious!” And this book certainly serves her mission.

I highly recommend this book!

Click her to order your copy: The Greek Yogurt Diet
To learn more about Dr. Sonali Ruder, visit her site, The Foodie Physician and be sure to check out  Jo Brielyn’s Bio and books on Amazon

Cranberry Bog Update!: Cranberries Make a Great Addition to Your Summertime Salad!

A tangy, sweet dressing is on it’s way (scroll down) – it’s one you’ll surely enjoy. And the complete salad is quite healthy, too! It’s rich in Vitamin A and a good source of Vitamin C.  And you’ll get plenty of fiber-rich, nutrient-dense greens. I really enjoyed it and my MIL (mother in law) couldn’t stop commenting on how delicious the salad was.

Cran bog salad


What makes this salad so special. Well, there are three ingredients that already taste wonderfully on their own. But as a combo, and with this delightful dressing recipe, they make  quite a splash!!

Avocados – add a creamy-licious mouthfeel

Spinach – Adds a great base and has just the right strength of flavor/texture to go with a “zingy” cranberry-mustard dressing

And finally  - the

Cranberries, the highlight of this salad. These antioxidant-rich rubies of the plant world, dried and lightly sweetened, add a tangy-sweet essence to the dish. And BTW, did you know Cranberries can help control blood sugar? Recent research suggests that the antioxidant tannins – proanthocyanidins (PACS) — found in cranberries may be more effective at blunting blood sugar responses than the  tannins isolated from other fruits. Because the tannins in cranberries are larger and more complex than those found in other fruits such as grapes, they appear to more effectively inhibit the enzymes that aid in carbohydrate digestion – effectively slowing them down to control blood sugars.

Okay, enough about chemistry and the body. And how good cranberries are for you. Well, trust me, they are. : )


Want the recipe? Of course you do.

Cranberry Spinach Salad with Avocados

Recipe courtesy of the Cranberry Marketing Committee — Makes 4 Servings

Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp cranberry juice
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp canola oil (I used Grapeseed oil b/c that’s what I have in my pantry)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 Salad Ingredients

  • 3  1/3 cups fresh spinach leaves (I used baby spinach)
  • 1 small head of frisee´lettuce
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • 1 small read onion, thinly sliced


Place cranbverry juice and dried cranberries in a small pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Stir in vinegar and Dijon mustard. Gradually whisk in oil so the mixture emulsifies. Season with salt and pepper to taste.


Rinse spinach and lettuce, spin dry. Note:  If you use baby spinach you won’t need to worry about removing the thick stems or cutting the leaves into bite size pieces. Add chopped avocado and onion.

Tip: To prepare in advance, sprinkle avocados with lemon juice to prevent discoloration which occurs from exposure to oxygen (oxidation). Add salad dressing when ready to serve. Or if you are preparing a “Mason Jar Salad” keep the wet ingredients on the bottom (dressing, onions) and the dry ingredients (i.e.: lettuce, spinach) on top so they don’t absorb the liquid and become wilted. Here’s how I prepared my portion of the salad so I could enjoy it for a quick, healthy “toss-n-serve” lunch the next day. I took a portion of each ingredient and assembled into my mason jar.

cran bog salad in a jar


Nutrition Info. per serving (excludes salt and pepper): Cal 320, Cal from Fat 250, Sat Fat 2.5g, Trans Fat 0g, Total Fat 29g, Chol 0mg, Sodium 125mg, Total Carb 18g, Sugars 6g, Dietary Fiber 9g, Protein 3g, Vitamin A 70%, Vitamin C 35%, Calcium 10%, Iron 10%



Quinoa Salad with Red Beets, Feta & Kale

I’ve seen various quinoa salads posted online (FB, Pinterest, online magazines, etc) and I’m always inspired by those colorful dishes I see. The other day, I bought some red quinoa because I love quinoa, and the color of this variety really adds to the visual appeal of the dish. While I may have been tempted to make any of the variety of quinoa salads my friends and colleagues have shared, I simply had certain items in my refrigerator and pantry I wanted to use. And what a great way to enjoy my current staples. Here’s the salad below, followed by the recipe.

quinoa salad mason


  • 1 cup dry red quinoa
  • 1/2 cup of garbanzo beans (or rice – I actually had maybe 1/4 cup of leftover rice which I tossed in this dish)
  • 2 red beets, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3 oz of goat milk feta, chopped
  • 1 cup of rinsed, finely chopped kale (I bought a pre-mix of finely chopped kale and carrots)
  • Juice of 1 lemon (and zest)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp Tamari



Cook quinoa and let it cool. In a mixing bowl, add quinoa, garbanzo beans (or rice), feta, cranberries and finely chopped kale. In a small bowl make the dressing — combine olive oil, honey, lemon, garlic, tamari and stir well. Pour dressing into the quinoa mixture and toss well to coat. Serve over greens! Optional: Add 1-2 tsp toasted pine nuts or crust walnuts. Scoop us a cup of the quinoa salad and serve over 1-2 cups of greens (i.e.: Romaine or mixed greens). ENJOY!


Plate your lunch within seconds #salad-in-a-jar

Salad in a jar has got to be one of my favorite conveniences. I don’t remember who came up with this great idea or when, but what I do know is that it works like a charm. As long as I put my dressing on the bottom and layer from bottom to top – wettest to driest ingredients, that means lettuce / greens layered loosely on top, a Tablespoon of nuts/seeds on top of that and then the lid.

Here’s the salad-in-a-jar I made for Monday’s lunch. So easy to assemble. Oil & Vinegar on the Bottom and layered (bottom to top) with feta, cucumbers, tomatoes and lastly loosely packed raw Spinach.



Last night I enjoyed Salmon over Greens. For lunch I prepared my salad-in-a-jar and served the left over salmon on top. Here’s last nights meal, followed by todays lunch.

photo 2


I chopped up the green beans to serve in my salad. I layered – from bottom to top oil & vinegar, feta cheese, green beans, strawberries, loosely packed lettuce with just a Tablespoon of chopped walnuts and seal the jar to refrigerate. For lunch I simply shook the jar to toss the salad and evenly coat and poured it into my dish. Then topped with the leftover salmon. Here it is, voila!!

photo 3

Why I love #hint and a refreshing new #GIVE-AWAY

Grab-n-go seems to be my life these days with two small girls. I’m often running out the door, quickly getting my girls ready for school (or now that it’s summer, day camp — so still getting out the door by 8am) and then myself off to the gym. No time to return home and fill up a water bottle. A great solution: HINT!!



Sure I can prep the night before – by filling a thermos. Or remember to do it first thing. But if I’ve simply forgotten, I can easily grab a bottle of HINT water and go! I can hydrate conveniently where-ever I go. Yep, simply grab-n-go!  And if I really want something refreshing, I can store some bottles in the refrigerated for some extra cool satisfaction on those hot summer days!


1546247_10202356688572214_1261682036_nI don’t drink sodas – the carbonation makes my eyes water and besides I like to hydrate with fresh, clean water. Juices are too full of sugars and unless it’s freshly squeezed lemonade (a once in a while treat), I prefer to quench my thirst with good ole natural water. When I work out, it’s easy to stay hydrated because it makes me thirsty. Other times I’d like to have something with a little flavor, not too sweet and NOT full of additives. Here’s why I say YES to HINT!! (and why I feel okay about giving this to my girls):

HINT is simply Purified Water w/ just a hint of flavor:

• no sugars

• no preservatives, no additives

• no artificial sweeteners

• natural flavors are from Non-GMO plants!

You can learn more + get hint at home at



HINT has some exciting NEW FLAVORS: Crisp Apple, Blackberry, Watermelon and Blood Orange. My fave?: Crisp Apple, without a doubt. It’s so refreshing and I love the crisp flavor. ENTER my GIVE-AWAY for a chance to try them for yourself.

Here’s what you’ll get – a 12 pack Variety of Crisp Apple, Blackberry, Watermelon and Blood Orange. Enter NOW! It’s simple. Just CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW for more details!








Chocolate Poppers! #Nobutter #Noaddedsugar

Have you ever wondered what you could do with ground trail mix? Well, I did. : ) One day after nibbling on a few pieces of the delightful WildRoot’s trail mix, I decided to take my already yummy snack and make it over with a few additions. Here’s the result: CHOCOLATE POPPERS!


So here’s the simple recipe:

Preheat oven to 350º F. Simply process trail mix in your food processor until it starts to resemble crumbs (some bigger chunks – dried fruit ok - I like the texture burst.) Add in popcorn and flax meal until well integrated and drizzle in water slowly until it starts to bind together. Spoon dough onto a cookie sheet, place a square of chocolate on top of each one. Bake for 10 minutes. Enjoy!