Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds – Winter Squash in October

As I transition from my “Salads in September” to a focus on “Winter Squash in October” I will start with this tasty cross-over recipe that is still a salad, but includes the seeds from a favorite winter squash for the month of October, thanks to Halloween, the Pumpkin!  In addition to making a festive holiday decoration, pumpkins boast several nutrition benefits.  For this post, we will focus specifically on their seeds – here are 3 reasons to snack on pumpkin seeds today:

  1. Zinc – Pumpkin seeds are a great source of zinc that help support your immune system – a natural way to fight cold and flu season.  If you are deficient in zinc, you are also at greater risk of osteoporosis.
  2. Magnesium – This can help with your blood pressure and help your heart health.
  3. Tryptophan – While I normally associate Thanksgiving Turkey with tryptophan, this amino acid is also found in pumpkin seeds, and having these seeds as an evening snack will help promote a restful night of sleep.

Kale Salad with Pumpkin Seeds

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Ingredients & Nutrition Details:

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**also the juice from 1 lemon

Directions:

  • Dice the red onion and set aside
  • Measure out the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries and set aside
  • Wash the kale in cold water
  • Tear the leafy part from the tough stems in bite size pieces
  • Spin dry in a salad spinner or pat dry with towel
  • Place in a large bowl
  • Slice the avocado in half, remove the pit, and scoop out the insides and place in the bowl with the kale
  • Squeeze the juice from the lemon over the avocado and kale
  • Using both hands, massage the lemon juice and avocado into the kale – the avocado should be spread to evenly coat all the kale
  • Add the onions, pumpkin seeds and cranberries and hand mix again
  • Divide the contents into 2 salad bowls for serving
  • Wash your hands, sprinkle a few extra pumpkin seeds on top to garnish and enjoy your salad!

Question for you:  Have you ever roasted your own pumpkin seeds?  Do you have a favorite recipe?  If yes, please share in the comments section!

Cheers³

Reni

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Lemony Dressing – Salads in September

Another great salad with ingredients readily available at your Local Farmers Market!  One of the main ingredients of this salad is Cucumbers.  Here are 3 reasons why you should be eating more Cucumbers:

  1. Hydration – Cucumbers are 95% water!  So eating them regular helps you stay hydrated and provides the benefits of hydration, like feeling full for weight management and having more energy.
  2. Skin Care – Thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, cucumbers can help reduce skin puffiness – that is why you see spa patrons with cucumber slices over their eyes.
  3. Bad Breath Remedy – I haven’t tried this yet, but apparently holding a cucumber slice to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for bad breath.

Cucumber & Tomato Salad with Lemony Dressing

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Ingredients / Nutrition Info:

Salad:

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Dressing:

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Directions:

  • Combine the vinegars, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and whisk together
  • Cut the cucumber lengthwise and slice
  • Chop the tomatoes into halves
  • Chop the red onions
  • Chop the parsley
  • Add the cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and parsley into the bowl with the dressing and mix everything together well
  • Let marinate in the fridge for about an hour before serving

Question for you:  What are your thoughts on cucumber water?

Cheers³

Reni

Late Summer Seasonal Salad – Salads in September

I was able to get all the produce for this salad at my local Farmers Market today to whip up dinner – talk about fresh!  A little chopping, and quick whisk for the simple, homemade dressing, and viola!  I am truly working to get the most out of my local market for the next month or so while it is still around… Here are 3 reasons to hit up your local Farmers Market before the season ends:

  1. Cheaper Organic Fruits and Veggies.  I was able to get big beautiful red bell peppers for $1 each, and green peppers 2 for $1.  My grocery store is currently charging around $3.99 each.
  2. Stock up for the colder months.  I love my morning smoothies with fresh, local berries.  I plan to buy in bulk and then freeze what I won’t eat in the next 2 days so I can enjoy my Oregon berries well into winter.
  3. Supporting my local Farmers.  I want them to succeed and to come back next year so I can keep buying amazing locally grown goodies at a good price just steps from my front door.

Late Summer Seasonal Salad

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Ingredients / Nutrition Info:

Salad:

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Easy Lime Vinaigrette Dressing:

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Directions:

  • Wash all your produce
  • Add all the dressing items into a bowl and whisk
  • Remove the tough stems and roughly chop the chard
  • Place chard in the bowl with dressing and stir to evenly coat – divide into 2 serving bowls
  • Chop the cucumber and peppers into bite size pieces – divide evenly and place on top of the greens
  • Slice all the cherry tomatoes in half and place even amounts on each salad
  • Sprinkle almonds evenly across the 2 salads

Questions for you:  Have you been getting in any late summer trips to your local Farmers Market?  What did you buy?

Cheers³

Reni

 

 

 

Carrot Salad with a Kick – Salads in September

Have you ever had a salad that was primarily Carrot based?  This was new to me.  Salads should be based with some sort of leafy green, right?  Not necessarily!  So here is why you should consider a salad with more Carrots:

  1. While we often think of carrots as being orange – they also come in shades of purple, white, yellow and red.  I can’t wait to try this recipe with different carrot colors.
  2. They are rich in anti-aging and disease-fighting phytonutrients.
  3. Carrots are very high in vitamin A due to their beta-carotene, which helps with healthy vision, bone support and strengthening your immune system.

Carrot Salad with a Kick

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Ingredients / Nutrition Information:

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Other spices include:

  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Direction:

  • Squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl
  • Add olive oil and spices to the bowl – whisk to combine and make the dressing
  • Add the carrots, cilantro, and garlic into a food processor – pulse until the ingredients are roughly, but evenly chopped
  • Pour the carrot mix into the bowl and mix with the dressing until it evenly coats the salad
  • Store the bowl in the fridge for a few hours before serving to let it marinate
  • This will make a BIG / Filling salad for 2, or you can serve smaller portions as a side and have leftovers

Question for you:  Do you have a salad that isn’t based with leafy greens?

Cheers³

Reni

 

A 3 Day Cleanse – Salads in September

While September often brings the first signs of fall, I’m hanging on to late summer and want to enjoy all the fresh produce at my local Farmers Market by eating lots of fresh and flavorful salads. Perhaps my salad cravings are a result of doing a 3 Day Cleanse after Labor Day to kick start some new healthy habits.

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Here are my 3 highlights from the cleanse:

1) Personally, I lost 5 pounds. While weight loss wasn’t my main goal with the cleanse, I was pretty psyched to shed a few.
2) I got to eat real food! I’ve blogged about my juice cleanses in the past, and how I missed eating and the process of cooking and preparing food. This cleanse eliminated animal protein, dairy, gluten, caffeine and alcohol, but it included nutritional smoothies, fruit, veggies and healthy fats (like avocado and hummus). Every night for dinner I got to prepare and eat a big salad using new recipes I’d never tried before, which was super fun (and I’ll share the recipes this month on my blog).
3) I got to coach a group of fellow-cleansers and was inspired by their dedication and enthusiasm! They lost 32 pounds (across 9 people) and adopted some healthy habits, like drinking more water, doing yoga at night before bed, eating more raw veggies and benefited from feeling more energetic and positive in general.

Here is an example of one of my lunches:

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And a dinner:

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Full disclosure, not everyone lost weight. And not everyone liked the cleanse drink options. I respect that, given my understanding of bio-individuality – what works for one person might not work for another. But the majority of the feedback is positive and I’m looking forward to doing this cleanse in the future and hosting more on-line group coaching. If any of my blog readers are intrigues, post a comment and I can add you to my waiting list for my next cleanse, or I can tell you about my next on-line fitness and nutrition challenge group starting 9/22.

Stay tuned for more salads this month!

Questions for you: Have you ever tried a cleanse? Do you have a favorite fall veggie?

Cheers³

Reni

Dog Days of Summer – August End of Summer Awesomeness

Happy National Dog Day!  Apparently this is a thing, an awesome end of summer holiday if you ask me.  I celebrated in the following ways:

  1. I took my Greyhounds, Lucie and Buddy, for a walk – and I even let Buddy lay in the sunshine for a little while before herding them back inside where I had work waiting for me.
  2. The Hounds will get a special chewy treat after their dinner.  And an extra belly rub.  And a few ear scratches.  A few more than usual.
  3. And finally – I registered for Race for the Rescues!

I signed up for the 1K, which is probably the shortest race I’ve ever registered for, but that is the right length for my 40-mile-per-hour couch potatoes:

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The donations raised through Race For The Rescues will be used to help save the lives of once forgotten dogs, cats and horses and help them become cherished family members. As well as preventing cruelty to farm animals and providing important programs to the community such as veterinary care for the pets of low-income families and free spay and neuter clinics.  One of the benefactors of this event is Greyhound Pet Adoption Northwest, the organization through which we adopted our second dog, Buddy and where I’ve donated both my time and money to support the wonderful work they do to help find forever homes for Retired Racing Greyhounds.  As I’ve mentioned before, Greyhounds make wonderful pets!  These sweet gentle giants are actually great apartment dogs and are VERY mellow.  We always get asked if they need a lot of exercise, and the truth is they don’t – my dogs sleep about 23 hours a day, which is why a 1K race will be perfect for them.  Please take a moment and check out my fundraising page and consider making a donation to this great cause.

Question for you:  Do you have a favorite animal rescue organization?

 

Nectarines – August End of Summer Awesomeness

Today I stopped by neighborhood Farmers Market and picked up a few things I don’t normally get, including a couple of nectarines, as I try to mix up my end-of-summer palette. In past week’s I’ve been loading up on berries before they are out of season. Today I decided to branch out – Nectarines are in their prime in late summer and they looked and smelled absolutely wonderful today. Here are 3 fun facts about Nectarines:

1) Nectarines are in the same family as peaches, but they don’t have that fuzzy peach fuzz.
2) They are loaded with antioxidants, with a higher concentration in the peels; this helps boost your immune system and promotes good cardiac health.
3) Nectarines aid digestion due to their fiber content and promotes detoxification.
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I still picked up some berries (blackberries to be exact!) but I’m enjoying a nectarine as I type this – yum! This luscious stone fruit may end up becoming part of my regular shopping list while they remain in season.

Question for you: Have you tried anything new from your Farmers Market lately?

Cheers³

Reni