A Practical Guide To Healthy Living
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Category — Dinner Salads

Leafy Love, Redux

I’ve been emboldened by my successes with raw kale salads. [Read more →]

September 5, 2012   No Comments

Play it cool, [wo]man . . . .

It’s summer. It can get HOT. You might be cranky. You definitely don’t want to turn on your oven, or even stand over your stovetop. But you want fresh food that’s good for you, right? [Read more →]

June 29, 2012   No Comments

Late to the Spinach Party – But Let’s Celebrate Anyway!


What? How could I not know this? March 26, 2012 is National Spinach Day?? Did you know that my Baby Spinach Salad, 7 Ways is one of the most popular posts of all-time here on Semi-Sweet? Check out scads of other delish spinach recipes right here, right now! Let’s party down, Sweeties.

Spinach is a superfood that’s ridiculously easy to incorporate into your repertoire – whether you like it cooked, raw or both. Baby or mature, it comes pre-washed and pre-bagged for EZ daily use. I “eat” about 4 cups of organic baby spinach every a.m. in my green smoothie . . . what’re your favorite ways to enjoy this lovely leafy?

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March 27, 2012   No Comments

Peanut Chicken Salad

Ahhh. Today, my friends, is my 6 month surgerversary! Yes, 6 months ago I was amputated and rebuilt and although it seemed like it took for-evah, I am back to what feels like normal. Maybe in another 6 months I’ll tell you I have more energy and can rebound more quickly, but I know I’m driving myself HARD right now, and I’m holding my own with the best of ‘em. Big gold star for me (and my amazing healthcare team)!

I’ve also closed out week 3 of my intense exercise and dieting plan and I am feeling so, so good. [Read more →]

March 19, 2012   No Comments

CSA Inspirations

picadilly farm logo

This spring and summer, I have the pleasure of being part of the Picadilly Farm CSA.  Each week, I get to pick up a box of goodies, grown organically in New Hampshire.  This past Wednesday was my first pickup, and the box was packed with salad greens, radishes, hakurei turnips, cilantro, bok choy, pea tendrils and some lovely red Russian kale. 

I started getting creative from day one – I love the challenge of being presented with ingredients and having to dream up recipes.  I had a rotisserie chicken in the fridge and so we had whole wheat rollups with lettuce, cilantro, chicken, grated sharp cheddar and enchilada sauce.  The next night was steamed tofu with bok choy and pea tendrils over rice, with a sauce made from low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, tabasco and chopped cilantro.  It was tasty, and it was pretty:

rice bowl

Saturday night, I sauteed the kale and added spicy Italian chicken sausages, tomatoes and garlic and served that over whole wheat penne with Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  Delicious comfort food – and the kale was tender and sweet.

sausage and kale

And last night, it was giant salads.  Red leaf lettuce topped with halved cherry tomatoes, sliced radishes and salad turnips.  I added some buffalo chicken meatballs from Trader Joe’s (pretty good and heat ‘n’ eat to boot!) and this delicious ranch dressing, inspired by a recipe in Eating Well magazine:

1/2 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. reduced-fat mayonnaise
2 T. white wine vinegar
1/2 t. granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 c. chopped fresh chives


Combine all those in a jar and shake it up – preferably a little bit before dinner so that the flavors have some time to mesh . . . it’s creamy, tangy and a great compliment to the spicy meatballs and crisp lettuce.  Here’s what the final creation looked like:

buffalo chicken salad

 So hearty, and healthy . . . and once you start making your own ranch dressing, you’ll never long to go lookin’ for that hidden valley again!

Eating veggies this fresh spoils a girl . . . even for premium produce the likes of Whole Foods’.  There is just no substitute.  I’ll keep filling you in on what I’m doing, and for even more inspiration, check out this great blog, A Bushel of What

Do you belong to a CSA?  What’re you whipping up from your spring share?

June 14, 2010   2 Comments

Arugula Salad With Chicken & Mango


I love salads, but for me, salads need heft if I’m going to have one as a meal.  This one’s got it goin’ on:  A great mix of greens and protein, with sweetness from the mango, savory flavor from the chicken, a wonderful peppery bite thanks to the arugula . . . . all wrapped up with an easy, super-flavorful dressing and the surprising crunch and flavor of cumin seeds.  If you’d like a bit of starch with this, serve warm naan (which you can even get at Costco, now – wow!) on the side.

Arugula Salad With Chicken & Mango (adapted from Bon Appetit)

3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. mango chutney, large pieces of mango chopped up
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 T. curry powder
1.5 t. water
1 5-oz. package baby arugula
1/2 (~3.5 lb.) rotisserie chicken, shredded (about 2.5 c.)
1 large mango, peeled, pitted and sliced (make this super easy and buy pre-sliced mango in the refrigerator section of the supermarket)
Plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 t. cumin seeds


Whisk the oil, chutney, lemon juice and curry powder in a bowl to blend.  Add the water to thin it out – if you need more water, that’s fine.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Put the arugula in a large bowl and toss with 1/2 of the dressing.

Divide the arugula between plates and scatter the chicken and mango over each.  Drizzle with remaining mango dressing (to taste, you may have extra).  Top each serving with a dollop of the yogurt and sprinkle with the cumin seeds. 

Serves 2 – can easily be scaled up.

June 11, 2010   No Comments

Teriyaki Tofu Salad


Hey friends, remember me?  Despite what you might think, I haven’t forgotten about the blog . . . truth be told, I’m actually beginning to miss blogging.  I miss interacting with people about food.  Lately I’ve been interacting with people about floor refinishing, wall-painting, hauling our crap from one house to another, end-of-year teacher gifts, etc.  etc. etc.  All good, but as you know, food’s my real passion.   [Read more →]

June 7, 2010   4 Comments

Dressings I Have Loved . . . .

salad w fruit on top homemade

 So I mentioned that I wanted to make more salads, with really good dressings, right?  Well, in my usual type-A way, I’m going nuts trying all sorts of different vinaigrettes. Today, I’m sharing two of my latest favorites.  I gotta tell you – I’m struck by just how good a salad can be if you use homemade dressing.  Like restaurant good, in your own lil’ kitchen.  It’s really, really worth the effort.

The first recipe is for a delicious, creamy feta vinaigrette from an old issue of Food & Wine.  I used this on giant Greek dinner salads – I chopped up a bunch of romaine lettuce, diced up bell pepper, cubed cukes (for me, remember D. is a cuke-phobe), sliced up cherry tomatoes and grilled chicken cutlets (sprinkled with S&P and oregano) to put on top.  It was delicious.   Here’s what you do:

Feta Vinaigrette (adapted from Food & Wine magazine)

3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (3/4 c.)
2 ½ T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 T. water
½ t. dried oregano
¼ c. plus 1 T. extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


Put the cheese, lemon juice, water, oregano and olive oil into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.   Makes ¾ cup.

Now this next one – this is the dressing I’ve been nomming all week since I made it.  I am literally craving salad.  Craving a salad?  Yes – it is that good . . . it’s crazy-good – I mean, look at that picture up top – that’s my salad, folks.  Baby spinach leaves topped with sliced strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and baby beets – then dressed with sliced almonds and this most luscious sweet vinaigrette.  How can you not love a bowl of healthy goodness like that?  Health in a bowl, I tell you! Here’s what you do:

Honey Vinaigrette (adapted from Delicious Dishings)

½ c. canola oil
½ c. extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 c. Trader Joe’s Orange Muscat champagne vinegar (regular champagne vinegar will work too; I just love the orangey taste of this stuff!)
3 T. honey


Combine the oils in a measuring cup. Place the vinegar and honey into a blender or food processor. Start the machine and add the oils while the machine is running.  This dressing can be stored in the fridge for a month.

April 30, 2010   4 Comments