Polish Easter Link Love

Wesołych Świąt

That’s Happy Easter in Polish. I hope. I had to use Google Translator because my Cioci wasn’t around to help me out.

Easter was always a big deal in our house. There were colorful, hand-painted eggs, sugar lambs in our baskets, pierogi, and babka. There was a decorated lamb cake and a butter lamb with a Polish flag for the table.

I have been busy getting ready for our Easter and I wanted to share some love and amazing Polish recipes from some really amazing bloggers. Just click on their photo and it will take you directly to their site.

Have a blessed Easter!

Potato Pancakes (placki ziemniaczane)

Potato Pancakes (placki ziemniaczane)

Cheese Babka

Cheese Babka

Chocolate Babka

Chocolate Babka

Apple & Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Apple & Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Poppyseed Roll (Makowiec)

Poppyseed Roll (Makowiec)

Paczi z Budyniem

Paczi z Budyniem

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Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I am craving chocolate. Like, really craving chocolate. Like, I would tackle my own child for a bite of her KitKat kind of craving. And since I have that little issue of dieting going on right now, I could be in a real pickle.

Mmmmmmmm pickle.

Sorry. I’ve got issues.

So, back to the chocolate dilemma. We all know a little chocolate is good for us, but let me be straight with you. An ounce or two just isn’t gonna cut it. I need something chocolaty and substantial. Something that is going to satisfy my taste buds and also fill me up, so I won’t continue to search for something else to stuff in my face afterwards.

This pudding does all that and takes almost no effort, which you know I’m all about. The downside…you do have to wait awhile to eat it. I typically make a couple of these and stick them in the fridge and wait patiently so they are readily available when a craving strikes. Sometimes I make them and take one to work with me and it’s ready for an afternoon snack.

These babies only have two ingredients. Yes, I said two! They also do not use a bowl or a mixer, only a simple mason jar. You can add whatever you want to it, fresh berries or shredded coconut, but I typically use just chocolate. I may add some dark chocolate chips or some sliced almonds on top along with a squirt of whipped cream. You have to have whipped cream! I’m okay with an extra 15 calories for 2 tablespoons. They should really post the serving size as mouthfulls not tablespoons. You know what I mean.

All you do is take a clean mason jar, add 1 cup of Chocolate Almond Milk and 2 1/2 Tablespoons of chia seeds. Put the cover on and shake it. During the next 20 minutes, give it a couple more shakes then place in the fridge to set. It will take several hours to set thoroughly and it won’t be quite as thick as regular pudding, but still delicious. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, cocoa powder, sliced almonds or fresh berries and you have a totally crave-worthy chocolate dessert that won’t bust your diet.

You can thank me later.


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Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

Sweet and Sour Pork

I hate the word “diet”. Can I get an amen? The rebel in me automatically wants what I can’t have. By the way, I hate the word “can’t” too. One thing I enjoy every once in a while is good Chinese takeout. Although every time I have it, I feel like garbage the next day. Bloated, sluggish, icky.

One of my favorite dishes is sweet and sour. It’s probably not very diet friendly though. Sweet, tangy sauce smothering a heaping plate of white rice. Oh but it’s soooooooooo good.

The other day I received an email from the Food Network that contained several lightened up Chinese dishes, this being one of them. I made it that very night and may I just say, “O-MAH-GAAD Yum”.

It is so easy and even better than the takeout. The sauce is still thick and tangy, and the vegetables were crisp and fresh. Served over a bed of earthy, brown rice made it more nutritious and flavorful. I would say it is easier on your wallet and your waist. So if you’re having a Chinese food craving, cook this up. It will become a favorite, I promise.

1 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons sugar, plus a pinch
3 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
3 scallions, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 cups snow peas, cut in half

Before you start anything, get your rice cooking. Brown rice takes about 45 minutes to cook compared to 20 minutes for white. So plan accordingly.

Toss the pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl. Toss the pork with 1/2 tablespoon vinegar and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar, the soy sauce, cornstarch, ketchup, 3 tablespoons sugar, 1/3 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in another bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add the pork and slowly stir until it turns mostly opaque, about 2 minutes. Remove the pork with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Discard the oil and wipe out the skillet.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the skillet, then stir-fry the garlic with a pinch each of salt and sugar, 15 seconds. Add the carrots and scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. (Add a little water if the garlic starts to stick to the skillet.) Add the pork, snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon peanut oil in the skillet, then stir-fry the garlic with a pinch each of salt and sugar, 15 seconds. Add the carrots and scallions and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. (Add a little water if the garlic starts to stick to the skillet.) Add the pork, snow peas and soy sauce mixture; stir until the pork is cooked through and the sauce is thickened, about 3 minutes.

Per serving: Calories 348; Fat 15 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 74 mg; Sodium 674 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 28 g Per serving: Calories 348; Fat 15 g (Saturated 3 g); Cholesterol 74 mg; Sodium 674 mg; Carbohydrate 27 g; Fiber 4 g; Protein 28 g

Recipe from The Food Network


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Italian Pork Cutlets


I learned a lot about cooking from my mother in law. As long as I knew her, there was always Sunday dinner. It was a day for a family meal and card playing. If four people showed up, you pretty much got roped into a game of 45′s. If four people who knew how to play Whist showed up, then Whist it was.

There was always lots of food and lots of yelling at the table. Cards always seemed to frustrate her. Of course, if you knew her, you knew that didn’t take much. Almost everything irritated her. She did not have a whole lot of patience or tolerance for much of anything. Sometimes it was actually pretty comical and my husband loved to instigate her. Even with her irascible temperament, she was still one of the greatest people I’ve ever known. If you were one of the few people she loved, she really loved you and you could consider yourself lucky.

This was one her recipes. She made it often. Usually with thick turkey cutlets served with mashed potatoes, turkey gravy, broccoli sautéed in olive oil and garlic and always a loaf of fresh Parisian bread from the bakery. But occasionally with pasta and red sauce.

I haven’t had her version in awhile. I think it might make me sad to sit down to that meal without her.

After much annoying, she did finally teach me how to make those cutlets. Although she never wrote anything down, she just threw stuff in and added things until she had the batter just the right color and consistency, so it took me a while to be able to get it just right.

I switched it up a little bit by making it with pork and pounding it out real, real thin. Other than that, it is the same as hers. Well, almost.

I always serve these with pasta and marinara sauce. I spoon some sauce over the cutlet, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and a dash of red pepper flakes. Drool

They are always a huge hit. My son hugs me and tells me I’m the best and I should open a cutlet store and the boys will fight over who gets the last one, or at least who will get home first the next day to eat the leftovers.

They do take a little time and effort, but are totally worth it. I hope you are able to give them a try.

Italian Pork Cutlets
1 egg
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tblsp dried parsley
1/2 c, All-purpose flour
1/2 c. water

1 lb pork loin, sliced and pounded thin
2 c. breadcrumbs
1/2 c. olive oil for frying

1. Combine batter ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Slice pork loin into thin pieces. Place between 2 pieces of plastic wrap on a cutting board (that is placed on a towel or something to cushion the blows) and pound super-duper paper thin with a rolling pin. Try to keep the thickness even throughout. Remember the thinner the better.

3. Place cutlets in batter and squish around with your hands to coat. Sometimes I do this the night before so I can get a jumpstart on dinner.

4. Place the breadcrumbs in a seperate dish (I use a pie plate) and coat each cutlet on both sides and set aside until ready to fry the entire batch.

5. Before frying, heat oven to 325F and prepare a large cookie sheet topped with a cooling rack to place the cutlets on and have another cooling rack topped with paper towels ready.
6. In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 c. oil on medium-high heat until ready to fry. You can tell it’s ready if you drop a little batter in and it starts to sizzle. If your oil isn’t hot enough, your cutlets will be heavy and soak up a lot of oil.
7. Depending on the size of your pan, cook several at a time. Cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Cooking times will depend on how thin your cutlets are. But, they cook rather quickly.
8. When done, place on paper towel lined sheet to drain, then transfer to the other baking sheet to keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest of the cutlets.
8. After cooking half of the cutlets, wipe out the pan and heat the remainder of the oil. Continue cooking the rest of the cutlets. If you skip this step the breading that has fallen off from the previous cutlets begins to burn and they get too dark.

Serve with pasta and your favorite marinara and a hefty sprinkle of parmesan cheese.


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Food Journaling


Keeping a food diary is an effective way to keep track the calories that you eat everyday. It is a dieter’s best friend

There are tons of online journals out there. I love My Fitness Pal. It’s so quick and easy and, has an enormous database. But you don’t need a pc or a special app. A little notebook can do the trick as well.

Here are 5 reasons that you should start keeping a food journal today.

1. What are you eating?
You probably think that you know exactly what you eat everyday. You probably even think you could guess the number of calories that you take in through your meals. But the truth is that most people eat more than three times everyday and most of their extra calories probably come from eating between meals. Especially if you are trying to lose weight, keeping track of these calories is what’s most important. When I am diligent about logging everything I eat, I am shocked at not only how many calories I consume, but how much fat and sodium as well.

2. Weight Loss Aid
By seeing exactly what you eat everyday, you can begin to cut certain types foods out of your diet. Something you might have thought was healthy, may be incredibly high in calories. My nutritionist once told me that people actually got heavier when low-fat products came out on the market. It makes sense too. Many low fat products have higher calories because they add sugar to make it taste better. We also tend to eat more because it doesn’t give us the same fulfilment as the full-fate version and we are justified because it is “low fat”. By taking this into account, you can cut these calories out of your diet.

3. Meal Planning
I plan my entire day at one time. It makes it easier for me to know exactly what I am eating. I know if I have something that isn’t on my plan, I have to scratch something else off.

4. What You Should and Shouldn’t Eat
Whether you’re not getting enough vegetables into your diet or you’re skipping lunch a little too often, your food diary serves as a record of everything that you do–and do not–eat. Knowing that you are deficient in certain food groups can be helpful and can help you plan out your diet a little better than ever before.

5. Accountability
When I started using a journal, it really made me see exactly what I was eating. That piece of cake tasted great. But was the second piece really necessary. Looking back at the calories you had to log in will make you think twice about it next time.

I challenge you to try a journal for a week. Let me know what you find.


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Light Lemon Berry Cheesecake

Light Lemon Berry Cheesecake

Light Lemon Berry Cheesecake

I started a new diet bet. Only this time at work. We follow the same rules as the online Dietbet just no submitting photos in our underwear. They don’t allow that kind of stuff at work you know.

So, in our group we decided a weekly healthy potluck would be a great motivator and a chance to get together and share recipes, success and failures. Hopefully not failures.

Although cheesecake isn’t your typical “diet” food. I thought it would be a great time to try this recipe from Katie Lee. I had ripped it out of SELF magazine a few months ago and tucked it away.

I made this delicious, guilt-free cheesecake last night to bring in for our luncheon. At 239 calories per serving, 8 g fat (4 g saturated), 33 g carbs, 1 g fiber and 12 g protein, this was something I thought I could share without sabotaging my fellow dieters.

I must say, one of my favorite parts of a cheesecake is the thick, buttery graham cracker crust and this does not have one. It is more like a light dusting of fine crumbs along the sides with a bit heavier layer on the bottom. So I did kind of miss that a little. But I would absolutely make this again. I thought it was a wonderfully delicious alternative to a traditional, heavier cheesecake.

It was creamy, light and lemony and the texture was just like “real” cheesecake. I did add 1 tablespoon of melted seedless rasberry jam to the fruit to give it a nice sweetness and shine. The fruit on top was fresh and sweet and was a nice contrast to the slightly tart lemon. Let’s not forget incredibly easy to prepare. This would be a perfect addition to an Easter dessert table.


Vegetable oil cooking spray
1/2 cup whole-wheat graham cracker crumbs
8 oz (1 package) light cream cheese, cut into quarters
2 cups light cottage cheese
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and sliced strawberries
1 Tables melted seedless, raspberry jam (optional)

Heat oven to 375°. Spritz an 8″ round springform pan with cooking spray. Using the bottom of a measuring cup, gently press graham cracker crumbs into bottom and sides of pan to form a crust. Coat with cooking spray.

In a blender or food processor, mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, flour, zest and vanilla extract until smooth, 45 seconds. Gently pour into pan. Bake until it looks set but has a slight jiggle, 40 minutes. Let cool in pan 20 minutes.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours with a towel or oven mitt underneath.

Mix berries with melted jam (if desired) and top with berries to serve.


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Pi(e) Day Chocolate Cream Pie

chocolate creamHappy Pi(e) Day everyone.

I don’t make a lot of pie around here. I don’t know why. I mean come on, it’s pie. Delicious, pretty, sweet, delicious pie. Did I mention it’s delicious?

I’m not quite sure why I don’t make it more often, probably because I’d eat it until it was gone and my jeans would hate me for it.

I explained why it’s Pi Day (March 14 3.14) to the family and they didn’t really care, except for the fact that there would be pie. As my husband says “Nerdy and delicious”.

I’ve got to be honest, all the chocolate cream pies I’ve made in the past have been chocolate pudding in a graham cracker crust with some cool whip on top. Don’t judge me. I can be shoving pie in my face in 10 minutes flat. But for a little more effort this pie was much more satisfying. It is silky and dark and rich, but still lightened up a bit.

So, give your family a treat for Pi(e) day and treat them with a little slice of yumminess.

Check out my Pie board on Pinterest for some delicious pies.

Chocolate Cream Pie
40 graham crackers (10 full cracker sheets)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted
1 large egg white
Cooking spray

2 cups fat-free milk, divided
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups frozen reduced-calorie whipped topping, thawed
3/4 teaspoon grated semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and egg white; pulse 6 times or just until moist. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie plate coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes; cool on a wire rack 15 minutes.

To prepare filling, combine 1/2 cup milk, 2/3 cup sugar, and next 4 ingredients (2/3 cup sugar through egg) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Heat 1 1/2 cups milk in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat. Gradually add hot milk to sugar mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Return milk mixture to pan. Add chopped chocolate; cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly (about 5 minutes), stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour into prepared crust; cover surface of filling with plastic wrap. Chill 3 hours or until cold. Remove plastic wrap; spread whipped topping evenly over filling. Sprinkle with grated chocolate.

Recipe from Cooking Light

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Easy Homemade Pita Bread


I love pita bread. Fresh pita bread that is. I’ll buy it in the grocery store if it is super fresh. Like steaming up the bag fresh. But it seems like it only lasts a day then it’s no good. Maybe I’m just picky, but it just seems to lose its appeal the next day.

I searched my favorite sites and many had recipes for fresh pita, but this recipe was the winner. I could quickly make the dough, then leave it in the refrigerator all week, just taking pieces off one at a time to make a fresh piece.

When I say the dough was quick, I mean it. 15 minutes tops and five of that was just waiting for the yeast to dissolve. 5-7 minutes of easy kneading and it was ready for the fridge.

The next day I took a small piece, rolled it to 1/4 inch thick disk and threw it onto a 450F preheated pizza stone and three minutes later…magic!

It puffed up beautifully then deflated again to create the pocket. It was flavorful, fresh and absolutely delicious. So much better than even the freshest store pita. This has totally solved my fresh pita problem that has been plaguing my mornings. I used the oven method, but I’m sure the pan method works just fine as well. My first batch couple of pieces came out slightly thicker than store-bought, so don’t be afraid to roll it pretty thin. I personally liked it a little thicker as it didn’t rip like it usually does when I stuff it.

If you think pita bread is something you can not do at home, think again. If you are a fan of fresh pita, then this is for you. You’ve got to give it a shot. Really, it is by far the easiest bread I have ever made. And bread making has really never been my thing. If I can do it, you can do it.

Here is the recipe, but go to the original for a wonderful pictorial.

1 cup warm water (not hot or boiling, 112F)
2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
2 1/2 – 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1-2 teaspoons olive oil (optional)

Form the Pita Dough: Mix the water and yeast together, and let sit for about five minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour (saving the last half cup for kneading), salt, and olive oil (if using). Stir until a shaggy dough is formed.

2. Knead the Dough: Sprinkle a little of the extra flour onto your clean work surface and turn out the dough. Knead the dough for about 5-7 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to your hands or the work surface, but try to be sparing. It’s better to use too little flour than too much. If you get tired, stop and let the dough rest for a few minutes before finishing kneading.

3. Let the Dough Rise: Clean the bowl you used to mix the dough and film it with a little olive oil. Set the dough in the bowl and turn it until it’s coated with oil. Cover with a clean dishcloth or plastic wrap and let the dough rise until it’s doubled in bulk, 1-2 hours.

At this point, you can refrigerate the pita dough until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.

4. Divide the Pitas: Gently deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces and gently flatten each piece into a thick disk. Sprinkle the pieces with a little more flour and then cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap until you’re ready to bake them.

5. Shape the Pitas: Using a floured rolling-pin, roll one of the pieces into a circle 8-9 inches wide and about a quarter-inch thick. Lift and turn the dough frequently as your roll to make sure the dough isn’t sticking to your counter. Sprinkle with a little extra flour if its starting to stick. If the dough starts to spring back, set it aside to rest for a few minutes, then continue rolling. Repeat with the other pieces of dough.

6. To Bake Pitas in the Oven: While shaping the pitas, heat the oven to 450°. If you have a baking stone, put it in the oven to heat. If you don’t have a baking stone, place a large baking sheet on the middle rack to heat.

Place the rolled-out pitas directly on the baking stone or baking sheets (as many as will fit), and bake for about 3 minutes. I’ve found it easiest to carry the pita flat on the palm of my hand and then flip it over onto the baking stone. The pita will start to puff up after a minute or two and is done when it has fully ballooned. Cover baked pitas with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.

7. To Bake Pitas on the Stovetop: Warm a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until a few bead of water sizzle immediately on contact. Drizzle a little oil in the pan and wipe off the excess.

Lay a rolled-out pita on the skillet and bake for 30 seconds, until you see bubbles starting to form. Flip and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side, until large toasted spots appear on the underside. Flip again and cook another 1-2 minutes to toast the other side. The pita should start to puff up during this time; if it doesn’t or if only small pockets form, try pressing the surface of the pita gently with a clean towel. Keep cooked pitas covered with a clean dishtowel while cooking any remaining pitas.

8. Storing the Pitas: Pitas are best when eaten immediately after cooking. Leftover pitas will keep in an airtight bag for several days and can be eaten as they are or warmed in a toaster oven. Baked pitas can also be frozen with wax paper between the layers for up to three months.

Additional Notes:

• Storing the Dough: Once it has risen, the pita dough can be kept refrigerated until it is needed. You can also bake one or two pitas at a time, saving the rest of the dough in the fridge. The dough will keep refrigerated for about a week.

• Pitas That Won’t Puff: Sometimes you get pitas that won’t puff. The problem is usually that the oven or the skillet aren’t hot enough. Make sure both are thoroughly pre-heated before cooking. Even pitas that don’t puff are still delicious and can be used wraps or torn into pieces for dipping in hummus.

Photo and recipe courtesy of The Kitchn This site has amazing tutorials. Go check them out!

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28 Days To A Healthy Heart: Day 26 Make 1/2 Your Plate Vegetables


So here we are at Day 26! The finish line is in sight. But really, it isn’t. For me, the #MYHEART28 challenge was just a starting point for a healthier me. And hopefully a healthier you too.

Today is about getting in your veggies. They say we need five servings a day, but some now say nine a day. That’s a lot of veggies! For me, this is easy. I love my fruits and veggies. But many don’t. I live with a few, actually.

Here are some helpful ways to squeeze in your daily allowance.

1. Make fruit salad. If it’s all ready to go, you have few excuses.
2. Make a bowl of fruit part of your decor. A bowl of apples on the table is hard to pass by.
3. Toss some fruit into your breakfast. Bananas in your cereal, blueberries in your pancakes, whatever.
4. Throw some veggies in your omelet or frittata
5. Crunch on a green salad. Use a nutrient-rich green like baby spinach or kale
6. Pair fruit with cheese. Apples, pears and grapes are great choices
7. Munch on dried fruit. They are easy to grab on your way out. just watch the calories!
8. Add veggies you like to dishes you love.
9. Spoon up some soup. Satiating and healthy. Just watch the sodium if you are eating canned.
10. Drink your vegetables (and fruits). “I shoulda had a V-8!
11. Vegi-fy your pizza. Skip the pepperoni and sausage and add some veggies
12. Toss some on the grill. Any veggie is good on the grill. Fruits like pineapple are great too.
13. Get them at the drive-through. You can get a salad with low fat dressing instead of a burger
14. Dress up your dinner plate with fruit. Add a little color garnish. YUM!
15. Drizzle on some cheese sauce. My kids will gobble up their broccoli if it has a bit of cheese melted on top.
16. Serve your veggies raw. A little low fat Ranch dip goes a long way with my daughter. She’s a big dipper!
17. Keep fruit in heavy rotation. Keep it handy and they’ll eat it
18. Have prepared fruits and veggies ready to go in the fridge. Again, if it’s handy, they’ll go for it!
19. Try a little salt. Cooking fresh vegetables in a little salt water is a great flavor enhancer
20. Sneak in some fruit into your baking. Applesauce, prunes and zucchini are great for reducing fat and keeping things moist.

What are your favorite tricks for sneaking in some fruits and veggies. Any favorite recipes? I’d love to hear them.


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28 Days To A Healthy Heart: Day 23 and Olympic Pasta Salad

Feb_23Today I am so honored to have been chosen as the Ambassador of the Day for the #MYHEART28 challenge.

The Heart Truth is a program dedicated to raising awareness of about heart disease. It encourages women to take action to improve their health everyday and lower their chances of heart disease, which is the #1 killer of women in this country.

I have enlisted the help of my kids to do this challenge with me, as we can all use a little extra physical activity. Today’s challenge is 3 jumping jacks for every USA gold medal at Sochi. As of today, the total gold was 9. The kids and I decided to celebrate all the USA medals (27 total) for a total of 81 jumping jacks!

In sticking to the Olympic theme, I wanted to come up with a recipe using the Olympic colors of blue, green, red, yellow and black. Oh, and yes it needed to be heart healthy too.

Whole wheat pasta, black beans, baby kale, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes and bleu cheese make up the Olympic colors and the delicious sun-dried tomato vinaigrette bring all the flavors together. Perfect for a light lunch or as a side to a piece of grilled chicken, this salad is a winner.

I hope you enjoy!

Have a healthy day!

olympic pasta

Olympic Pasta Salad
1 box whole wheat rotini pasta
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 c. chopped baby kale or baby spinach
1 pint cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
1 c. black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 c. finely chopped sweet onion
1/3 c. crumbled bleu cheese
Sun-dried tomato vinaigrette

1. Cook pasta according to instructions, drain and rinse with cool water; set aside
2. Mix pasta, vegetables, beans and blue cheese together and combine with the vinaigrette, chill and serve.

Sun-Dried Tomato Vinaigrette
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil (about 1 oz)
1 c. boiling water
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup no-salt-added tomato juice
1 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. balsamic vinegar
3 tsp. tomato paste
1 small garlic clove peeled
1 c. light mayonnaise
salt and pepper to taste

Combine sun-dried tomatoes and 1 cup boiling water in a bowl; let stand 20 minutes. Drain.
Place sun-dried tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, and remaining ingredients (3/4 cup water through garlic) in a food processor or blender; process

Vinaigrette adapted from Cooking Light


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