Citrus Carrot Juice

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A Boost of Vitamin C

Well, it looks like I got my wish. We’re experiencing a bit of a heat wave here. Summer is officially on. My run turned into a walk this morning to look at all the wildflowers sprouting. I even noticed a few blackberries.

During the summer, I like to drink citrus carrot juice after a run. It gives me a boost of energy and promotes healthy skin. I also read that vitamin C aids in the absorption of iron. If you don’t have a juicer, all you need is a blender and a fine-mesh sieve.  Continue reading

Italian Gnocchi Soup

Italian Gnocchi Soup

Beating the Rainy Day Blues

During the first week of summer, we’ve had more rainy days than sunny. Honestly, it’s put a little damper on my workout and healthy eating goals. Well, that and not being able to find my Fitbit charger this morning. However, there’s nothing like a nourishing soup to beat the rainy day blues. Italian Gnocchi Soup is one of my family’s favorite recipes and I hope it becomes one for your family too. Continue reading

Leafy Greens Smoothie

Green SmoothieSummer Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions never made sense to me. Whether it’s getting back into the routine of school, planning a new fiscal budget for work, or juggling a new schedule, there’s a lot on your plate. Not to mention its cold, and the weather is less than ideal for a new workout routine. I read somewhere that half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions and only eight or ten percent follow through with them. Admittedly, I’m with the majority.

Summer, however, seems to work wonders with setting and fulfilling goals. It’s sunny out, and people are a little more relaxed at the office. On the trails I see children smiling as they run or bike with their parents. And the farmers’ markets are full of fresh produce to try.

Yesterday, I asked myself what I wanted to achieve by the end of August. In Greece, I ate more spinach than I thought was humanly possible. When I lived in Belgium, I would walk miles each day to work and the university. For some reason, I let these healthy habits fade over the years.

So this summer, I’m challenging myself to reach at least 15,000 steps a day on my Fitbit and adding two cups of dark leafy greens to my daily diet. To kick off my summer resolution, I made a delicious green smoothie. Continue reading

Beet & Berry Smoothie

Beet Berry SmoothieMaking beet smoothies naturally sweeter

Smoothies are my morning staple. I’ll even gulp them down in January when it’s snowing. Thankfully, it’s now officially summer!

I’m one of those picky beet eaters. In Europe, beet roots were plentiful. However, I couldn’t commit to the earthy taste of this super veggie. Then I remembered that my grandmother would cook the beets. The process breaks down the sugar and makes the beets sweeter. Now I love making “Beet Cubes” to add to my smoothies.

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Greek Caprese Salad

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A taste of summer in every bite

In anticipation of the first day of summer, I’d like to share my family’s go-to appetizer. I think it was my grandmother that first served Caprese Salad on mini bamboo skewers. My mom coined the phrase “Salad Bites,” and I’ve been making my Greek version ever since.

When I lived in Athens, I loved walking around our neighborhood Laiki market. There I’d find bright green watermelons, basil, olive oil, and fig preserves to make a fresh and delicious snack. Today, I added soft almond cheese to the salad. To my surprise, it tasted like feta. I think I officially found my favorite summer appetizer. Continue reading

Strawberry Brie Salad

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Inspired by Summer Days in France

Okay, I’d like to think that with this recipe I can redeem myself from yesterday’s unplanned post. I recently found almond brie crafted by Kite Hill. It only cost a few dollars more than regular brie. To a girl that has intolerance to dairy, this brie is worth its weight in gold. Almond brie has a mozzarella-like texture to it and is low in fat. Because of this, it works better in a salad than melted in a Panini or baked.

I love that the French add wild strawberries to everything imaginable. In the Limousin region, they have an entire festival dedicated to the sweetest of berries. Naturally, I thought, why not pair strawberries with brie? Trust me; it’s a simple salad with a hint of luxury. Continue reading

Confessions of a Newbie Blogger

Lightened Up Macaroni Salad

Mediterranean Salad challenge day three: Lightened Up Macaroni Salad.

 

An experienced blogger said that I should try to post a recipe each day. I thought I’d try it for a week to see how it goes. Here’s what I should have been told – Lock up your refrigerator and pantry the night before the post.

I’ve had to switch my daily routine to accommodate my new and gratifying hobby called food blogging. Instead of editing my 500-page manuscript in the wee hours of the morning, I’m taking photos for the post to better capture the natural light. Now, I spend evenings going over my endless pages of fictional writing.

I don’t know about you, but I tend to snack if I’m sitting down after nine. Last night I was fact-checking my rendition of the Sahara Desert, and I got the urge to eat something salty. I had pistachios in the pantry for Friday’s blog. That’s when I ended up eating all of them.

Back to manuscript edits. The story first takes place in Luxor, Egypt. I thought about all the mouth-watering watermelons that they sell on the street. There was a cute little seedless one that just happened to be in my refrigerator. I had cut half of the watermelon in perfect circles to make a Watermelon Caprese Salad. Another late night craving and you guessed it; I ate the whole thing. After one delightful snack, I had eaten my way through the star ingredients of the next two blog posts.

This morning I woke up and realized I was in big trouble. I remembered there was a 5-minute mayonnaise that I wanted to try. It uses the liquid from a can of garbanzo beans in replacement of eggs. Instantly, I knew what I would make.

So lesson learned. However, I did whip up one satisfying and cholesterol free macaroni salad. Continue reading

French-Inspired Salad

French SaladA perfect salad to bring to an outdoor party

It’s that time of year again for engagement parties, bridal showers, and DIY weddings. Niçoise salad is one of my favorite go-to summer meals for outdoor entertaining. It’s packed with satisfying veggies and a fresh Dijon dressing. The ingredients are affordable and seasonal. Most importantly, you can make it the night before.

Traditionally the salad has eggs and tuna – usually not a good idea to serve buffet style in the heat. To my surprise, I found a vegetarian version when I worked in Belgium. I ate this salad for lunch every chance I got. They even served it with edible flowers.* Continue reading

Greek Pasta Salad

Easy Greek Pasta Salad

Is it Summer yet?

Perhaps it’s the rainy weather here, but I’m ready for summer to begin. It’s the time of the year when watermelon constitutes as a meal, evenings are spent shucking corn on the porch, and sprinkles top every ice cream imaginable. I even ran to the store today to get fresh berries. I’m thinking of trying to make gluten-free/dairy-free strawberry cheesecake. Any tested and liked recipes out there?

To count down the final days of spring, I’m sharing a few of my Mediterranean-inspired salads. First up on the list is one of my favorites: Continue reading