Category Archives for "Appetizers"

Three Rules for Eating on Vacation

Here are my three rules to easy eating while on vacation. (Thank you Michael Pollan for the fantastic ideas in your book “Food Rules”- Great read for anyone!)

Eat foods that you can visualize in their raw state. If I’m not able to identify where a particular food came from, I’m going to avoid it. At restaurants that means avoiding foods covered in goop and sauces. Where does that cheese like substance come from anyway? Fried food? Not happening. I don’t know what is in the coating or what they fry it in (not to mention the fat and calories). That leaves me with very few choices, so I’ll probably starve, right? No way! Think of all the grilled items, vegetables, fruits, fish, eggs and more I can have. There are thousands of varieties of vegetables and fruit alone. Open your mind and mouth to new possibilities!

Eat foods that spoil quickly. If a food like substance can stay on the shelf for years it is probably very low in nutrients. If a rodent will not even go after it, do we really want to put it in our mouth?

Eat foods your grandmother (great-grandmother?) would recognize. I love my grandmother; she was a wonderful cook. But I’m sure if she looked at a Go-Gurt she’d have no idea what to do with it. What about Spam, Velveeta, or powdered drink mixes? She did her cooking with items readily found in her area, that she grew herself, or my grandfather fished or hunted. She didn’t have a whole lot shipped from other countries, or items found out of season in her area. I’m going to imagine sitting at her table each time I eat.

So that’s my plan when I go on my next trip.  I’m going to eat fresh foods that are easy to recognize (before and after they are cooked). I’m finding foods that my grandmother would enjoy.

That’s not so hard, is it?

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Hot And Sour Peanut Dressing

This is one of those recipes that the sound of it, makes your mouth water. I love peanut dressings and I'm always on the look out for my next favorite one. This is a Hunan recipe sent to me from a dear friend in Boston. To serve it, create a base of your favorite salad greens, add shredded chicken, thin-sliced cucumbers, shredded or matchstick carrots, and any other crunchy veggies you like (I've also served it on a bed of zucchini noodles). You can make it fiery hot or tone it down.

2+ Tbs. crunchy peanut butter (or more, if     you like things peanutty as I do)                      
2 Tbs. coconut aminos
4 Tbs. vinegar (I use rice vinegar but white vinegar would do, as well)
1 tsp. hot red pepper oil (can omit this if you don't have any, which I often don't)
1 tsp. hot red pepper powder (I use Cayenne)
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbs. sesame oil
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh ginger
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh garlic
1 Tbs. finely minced scallions
1 tsp. hot or Dijon mustard
3/4 to 1 cup chicken broth (I use less so dressing is thicker)

Mix all ingredients together. Shake or blend. Keeps well in the fridge. Note: I let each person pour on their own dressing on their own serving. If you drench a bowlful of salad with it, it loses its flavor and punch.

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy

Kitchen Sink Soup

Its been snowing quite a bit lately and I have been in the mood for soup more than usual this winter. This recipe is a favorite because it makes such a large batch of soup, but also because it uses up just about anything I have in my fridge. Bonus is my kids love it.

Kitchen Sink Soup

3 pounds ground beef

3-4 cups chicken broth

3-4 cups water (or more if needed – less if you want yours more “stew like”)

2 cups diced tomatoes

1 large sweet potato, diced

6 carrots, chopped

1 yellow bell pepper, chopped

5 celery stalks, chopped

2-3 cups shredded green cabbage

3 small shallots, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)

3-4 garlic cloves, minced

2-3 teaspoons ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons coriander

2 teaspoons chili powder

1-2 tablespoons dried basil

About 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

In a large soup pot add the sweet potatoes, carrots, chicken broth, and water and bring to a boil

In a separate large pot or skillet, brown the 3 pounds of ground beef, and season with a little bit of salt and pepper, and set aside. You can also use ground chicken, turkey, or lamb.

After the soup pot comes to a boil, add the shallots, garlic, diced tomatoes, celery, and bell pepper and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

Add the browned ground beef and shredded cabbage and continue to simmer until the potatoes and carrots are tender.

Season with all of the spices. Taste, and add more seasoning if desired.

Stir in the fresh cilantro and serve.

*Tips: Garnish with more fresh cilantro if desired, diced green onions, minced jalapeños and more shredded green cabbage. With your leftovers, eat a bowl of soup for breakfast topped with fried or poached egg!

To Your Best Health,

Coach Nancy


Karalynn’s Super Scrumptious Kale Chips

My daughter has fallen in love with kale chips. Brookford Farm’s CSA program delivers a large bag of kale to us each week. Before it even gets into the house, she is asking to make kale chips. Since they take about 15 minutes to make, the kale chips at our house will be devoured in less than 45 minutes after it arrives fresh at our door. In short, my kids love them!

  • 1 large bag of kale, washed
  • ¼-½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1-2 tablespoon olive oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the kale by taking the large rib out of each leaf. We do this by holding the leafy part of the plant and pulling the stem up towards our hand until it breaks off. Depending on the size of the leaf, we might break the leaf in two pieces.

Lay the leaves out so that none are overlapping each other on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil across the leaves and then use your hands to mix the olive oil around on the kale. Again, lay out the leaves so they aren’t overlapping each other. Sprinkle garlic powder on top. You’ll have to judge how much you want to your taste. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the leaves are crispy. My kids eat them right off the pan as soon as they are cooled!

Simple Garden Tomatoes

Right now is the perfect time for some tomatoes fresh out of the garden! Pick a few of your own and dress them up with this simple but delicious recipe!

  • 3 garden fresh tomatoes (or however many desired)
  • Olive oil
  • Mrs. Dash’s Garlic & Herb seasoning

Slice tomatoes and lay out on plate or serving dish. Brush on olive oil with a pastry brush. Sprinkle on Mrs. Dash’s Garlic & Herb seasonings (all Mrs. Dash seasonings are salt free). Cover and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour at room temperature.

Smoky Cauliflower Hummus

This hummus has a great smoky flavor and is sure to be a favorite. Try this as a dip for cucumbers and carrots or as a spread for your favorite burger this summer.

Smoky Cauliflower Hummus

  • ½ head cauliflower, trimmed and cut into 2-in. florets (about 4 cups florets)
  • 4½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3½ tablespoons well-stirred tahini (sesame seed paste)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put cauliflower florets in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon oil, the paprika, ½ teaspoon salt, the cumin, chili flakes, and garlic. Toss to coat thoroughly.

Spread florets evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 18 to 20 minutes, stirring once, until florets are cooked through and a little crispy. Let cool.

Put ½ cup water in a blender with roasted cauliflower and garlic, lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons oil, the tahini, and remaining 1½ teaspoons salt. Blend, adding more water if needed and scraping sides often, until you have a creamy purée, about 4 minutes. Taste and add more salt or lemon juice if you like.

Spoon into a serving bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of smoked paprika. Make up to 3 days ahead and chill in an airtight container.

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Dressing

This salad will get you ready for the warmer weather. It's the perfect dish for a summer barbecue. It's excellent with grilled shrimp or chicken, and you can also place this salad on top of lettuce greens.

Watermelon Salad with Balsamic Dressing

by Coach Nancy

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium seedless watermelon, cubed
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
  • Black pepper, to taste

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, olive oil, mustard, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and set aside. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Spread two-thirds of the watermelon on a serving platter. Top with red onion and mint, then season with pepper. Pour dressing over salad and garnish with remaining watermelon cubes.

No Fry Chicken Wings

Just in time for the Big Game (or anytime), this wing recipe rocks!

Wing Sauce

  • 2/3 Cup Franks Hot Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Combine all the ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook over low heat until the butter is melted. Whisk and enjoy!

Frozen Yogurt Bark

I was totally fooled when I first saw this recipe. It looked just like a dessert bark. A friend of mine had brought this to a breakfast get together. It was like enjoying dessert at breakfast. Now my kids enjoy making this simple recipe for a snack later in the day.

Frozen Yogurt Bark

by Coach Nancy

  • 2 cups Greek yogurt
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
  • 2 tablespoons fresh raspberries

Optional toppings:

  • More raspberries
  • Shredded coconut
  • Cocoa nibs
  • Pecans, almonds, or any other nuts (chopped finely)

Mix the yogurt and protein powder together in a bowl until well mixed. Add in the raspberries and stir. Some of the berries will break apart and the juice will swirl in the yogurt to make a wonderful color to the bark.

Pour the yogurt mixture on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread to about 1/4 inch thickness. Sprinkle with additional toppings, if desired. Top with another sheet of parchment paper. Freeze for 2-4 hours or until frozen solid. Break apart the bark until you have pieces to handle, and put those pieces in a Ziploc bag. Keep in the Ziploc bag in the freezer until ready to serve.

You can very the type of berries you use to make different flavors of FroYo bark.

Strawberries on a Stick

Check out this recipe that makes a great appetizer or fun snack! My friend Helen sent this recipe she created for her son. They are delicious, fun to make, and look delightful.

Strawberries on a Stick

by Coach Nancy

  • 1 pound of strawberries, washed and hulled
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (peanuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, or a mix of them all)
  • Lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers

Combine the yogurt and the protein powder in a bowl. Insert a lollipop stick or skewer into each strawberry. Frost each strawberry in the yogurt mixture, then roll in the nuts. Lay each frosted strawberry on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

You can try this with smaller berries as well, like raspberries. Instead of a "nut cluster", you make a "berry cluster" with nuts sprinkled on the outside.