I love me a quick trip to Trader Joe’s as much as the next person (hello cheap and yummy wine, grab-and-go healthy snacks, free samples…). But sometimes, I don’t always love the price you pay for the convenience of their healthy prepared snacks and meals.
One of my favorite options for a to-go lunch is the Trader Joe’s Bistro Salad: kale, garbanzo beans, chopped nuts, edamame, and dried cranberries. I’m such a sucker for dried cranberries! But paying a few too many dollars for a very DIY-able salad? Not so much.
I set out to create a similar salad, and came out with something that the tummies in my household believe to be much better! Not only for your wallet, but for your taste buds, too! (more…)
It’s my favorite time of year: peak blueberry season! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of these little balls of deliciousness. Farmers markets, U-Pick berry fields, or from the local produce store, I can’t gobble them up fast enough.
Peak season is anytime from late June through early September, so I’m even known to buy extra large amounts in bulk and freeze* for the rest of the year. Then I add them to smoothies, pancakes (my favorite recipe is this one), oatmeal, you name it! I even found a way to add these little guys to a savory salad. Don’t believe me? We’ll let you try the recipe for yourself!
Why the love affair with blueberries? These little blue dynamos… (more…)
Flowers are so gorgeous. They smell so beautiful, they brighten up any room, and they are incredibly symbolic. But did you also know you can eat flowers? I know, it is a crazy concept to imagine eating a flower, but I promise there are some good ones out there! Follow along to decide which flowers you can eat tonight!
Yes, arugula is a technically a flower. Though it is usually thought of as a type of lettuce—and is typically used as a slightly bitter alternative to other salad greens—arugula is actually a floral. If you grow your own, these flowers will appear as the plant matures. In fact, once flowers appear your arugula may be too bitter to eat, but the flowers are still edible. The plant is high in fiber and antioxidants, so chow down. (more…)
By Team Best Life
As the weather warms up, you might be looking for easy meal solutions that don’t require turning on the oven. We’ve got a suggestion: Salad! Think your salad has to leave you hungry or dissatisfied? We can help! To create a full-meal salad that really fills you up, use the following tips:
Go green. You may be most familiar with iceberg and romaine lettuce, but why not experiment with other greens that offer different flavors and provide different nutrients? Give these greens a shot: arugula, butterhead, escarole, kale, mache, mizuna, spinach and watercress.
Choose a variety of veggies. The classics, like carrots, radishes and celery, are no-brainers. But if you want to be more adventurous, you can sprinkle on some roasted red peppers, canned artichoke hearts, or hearts of palm. Best Life lead nutritionist Janis JIbrin likes blueberries, beets, pomegranate seeds, butternut squash and fresh mint.
Get your fat fix. Stir in just one high-fat addition, such as 2 tablespoons of shredded cheese, 1 tablespoon of nuts, or ¼ cup of sliced avocado. That will help keep you satisfied without adding too many calories to your bowl and help you absorb some of the vitamins from the vegetables. (more…)
Easter is all about eggs. And while your household may have an easy time snacking on the various candy eggs that made their way into your house (chocolate eggs, jelly bean eggs, etc.), good old chicken eggs may be slower to move.
We love eating hard-boiled eggs as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack—they’re a tasty blend of protein and fat which is why diets like The Royal Danish Diet and The Paleo Diet recommend them. But we also know that eating eggs a la carte can get a little old. Rather than slog through another uninspiring bite, try out one of these simple recipes which calls for hard-boiled eggs.
Chicken and Apple Cobb Salad: The apples and avocados in this tasty salad add flavor and extra nutrients. Plus it’s gorgeous! (See above.) (more…)
Don’t you love those moments in the kitchen when inspiration strikes and the result is a meal or dish so outstanding that you have to shout it from the rooftops…or at least from your blog?
This salad is my most recent moment of a) we have nothing to eat, b) those tomatoes are going to go bad soon so I should use them, c) and I guess I have some greens, too, d) and what about blackberries…
You know the drill. This time, a Roasted Tomato Caprese Salad was the result of desperate brainstorm. And if this is the result, let desperation be your muse always!
I had these baby heirloom tomatoes just begging to be eaten and every time I looked at them – so tiny, so juicy, so pretty – all I could think was how incredible they’d be roasted. Drizzled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and crushed garlic, my hypothesis was on the nose. The entire house was filled with their tantalizing aroma, their tender skins burst just right, and they became the shining star in an otherwise ordinary salad.
On a bed of fresh spring greens, I chopped bites of baby mozzarella. I like to buy as close to fresh as possible, which is the containers of mozzarella balls soaking in water. (more…)
Summer is over but my salad bowl is still full! I’m a big fan of the big a– salad trend. Just a plate piled high with greens, veggies, berries, nuts and frankly anything else you want – it’s an entree that never disappoints. I always finish feeling full, satisfied, and not weighed down.
With Autumn as my muse, and my refrigerator quickly filling with the early seasonal produce, I crafted an entirely new entree salad. And it’s gooooood.
“How is this even real?” was our photographer’s reaction upon tasting hers. And then she proceeded to demolish the rest of the food props.
Our Harvest Chopped Salad is like a farmers market truck unloaded in your kitchen. And then it rained down this homemade vinaigrette and what bloomed was just the best darn thing you’ve eaten in a while!
With red beets, carrots, quinoa, and ginger, this salad is not only hearty and satiating, but it’s also a great way to get your food experimentation on. If it’s been a while since you’ve tried some of these ingredients, or presents the first time, get after it! All of the complementary flavors blend perfectly together and it’s so darn pretty you won’t have any choice but to want to eat it. (more…)
By Janis Jibrin, M.S., R.D., Best Life lead nutritionist
Both smoky and sweet, roasted red peppers add instant oomph to any dish. While it’s easy to make your own (remember to turn on the hood fan as even sweet red peppers can make your eyes sting), the jarred versions can also be good. For instance, I just discovered Trader Joe’s house brand, which are dead ringers for homemade.
Here are five ways I like to use them, and you’ll no doubt enjoy, too!
Add to salads, just as you would any other vegetable. This Balsamic Tomato and Red Pepper salad recipe includes instructions for roasting the peppers.
Purée in dips, like the red pepper and walnut-based muhammara from Syria that’s popping up in Middle Eastern restaurants, or this lower calorie Roasted Red Pepper Dip. (more…)
It’s very encouraging that we all continue to demand fresher, simpler, healthier recipes, and that they actually exist! Summer tends to inspire this more than other seasons, with the bounty of fruits and vegetables in season this time of year. As we stand to enjoy a few more sweltering weeks of summer sun before the first day of fall on September 22, we present a recipe that meets all of the aforementioned criteria.
This Tabbouleh-Inspired Freekeh Salad, crafted by guest chef Adriene Rathbun, is a fantastic way to use up the last of your summer garden harvest, as most of these ingredients could be plucked right out of your backyard (or even the farmers market).
We start with all-natural freekeh, pronounced free-kah, a roasted green wheat with a heartier, nuttier taste than bulgur with a texture and appearance similar to other whole grains like rice. It’s as easy to prepare as a pot of rice – you’ll just need a half-cup for this recipe boiled with water (or broth for more flavor) for about 20 minutes. We like ours on the chewier, al dente side, so we reduce the cooking time by a few minutes.
Juicy, flavorful, ripened peaches are a lovely summer treat often used in desserts. Peaches and cream. Peach pie. Peach cobbler. Naturally sweet, dessert is the easy and obvious choice for this warm-weather fruit.
We don’t take peaches in a savory direction often enough, and that’s exactly where we’re headed today.
One of my favorite uses of peaches is making a Caprese salad with a twist. Using peaches instead of tomatoes is a mouthwatering, savory way to enjoy one of summer’s best fruits in a fresh, new way. (more…)
We spent Mother’s Day a little differently this year. My family and I spent the evening at a local farm planting 150 herb seedlings. It felt good to dig in the earth, watch the warm sun set over the vast Kansas prairie, and spend some truly quality time with my husband and daughter.
We left MG Honor Farms with a promise to return and lend our hands to the tomato harvest, and with a lot of fresh greens and veggies. Clint Brauer built the farm on his late grandmother’s land as an homage to her memory. As well, to serve the people of our community, saying, “MGHonor Farms was created to help those who have realized their true priorities, have an option to purchase healthy food for themselves and their families without any herbicides and only organically certified pesticides.”
Every community deserves a resource like this.
The next evening we enjoyed the fresh spring greens and crisp kale in a salad that paid us well for our hard work the night before and reminded us of a promise to enjoy this summer more than any other. Escaping from the confines of winter, a big entree salad that is light and satisfying always feels so refreshing on these warmer days. That’s exactly what we made. (more…)