Friday, July 25, 2014

Copycat Recipe: Whole Foods Cajun Chicken Salad

I got the inspiration to create this recipe while were vacationing in Saint Louis earlier this month. We had just finished a busy day of visiting family and were quite tired so we decided to hit Whole Foods to pick up a quick dinner to eat at the hotel.  I spied a Cajun chicken salad in the case and decided to try it out and was very impressed!  I knew I had to create it at home which I had success with a few weeks later. The creamy dressing has a bit of kick (which you can adjust the spiciness to taste) and it goes great with the crunch of the carrots and peppers.  Have some atop salad greens, with crackers, in a sandwich or a wrap for a delicious and satisfying meal, especially on a warm Summer day or night!


6 cups chopped cooked chicken (This worked out to a little over 2 pounds, I cooked it by boiling in a pot of water so it comes out really moist)
¾ cup matchstick carrots, coarsely chopped
3 cups cup diced red bell pepper
1½ cups nonfat plain yogurt
¾  cup light mayo
1.5 teaspoon white vinegar (or rice vinegar)
½ teaspoon sugar
1.5 teaspoons- 1 Tablespoon Cajun seasoning (depending on how spicy you like it!)


Put the chopped cooked chicken, carrots and peppers in a large bowl.  In a medium bowl combine the yogurt, mayo, vinegar and seasoning and then pour over the chicken/veggie mixture.  Fold in the dressing and mix well.  Chill if not serving immediately.

Makes 10 cups, 10 servings

Serving size 1 cup Calories 220 Protein 29 g Carb 9 g Fiber 1 g Sugars 6 g Fat 7 g Saturated fat 1.5 g Sodium 330 mg  


Monday, July 21, 2014

Recipe ReDux Post # 24 Peach Arugula Almond Salad With Honey Vanilla Vinagrette

The RecipeReDux theme for July is “Spirited ReDux” and we were challenged to use spirits, extracts or other alcohols in a fun recipe this month.  I ADORE vanilla extract and use it in baking and in my protein bars but I have never used it in a savory dish so I decided to go in that direction with my creation.  Peaches are now in season and I had some on hand so I thought I’d try them in a salad and whip up a dressing using vanilla extract to go with.  The combo of the arugula, peaches and the light and sweet dressing that has the hint of vanilla was a winner!  The crunch of the almonds ties it altogether and it was a hit with my family.  Being clean, simple and easy to make is another bonus with this recipe.  So try it out as a light lunch or a nice starter to a Summer dinner. And, check out the other Spirit infused recipe created by the Recipe Redux peeps too!


4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
1 cup chopped peaches
¼ cup slivered almonds
½ cup seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
salt and pepper to taste (optional)


Add the arugula, peaches and almonds to a medium bowl.  In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, honey and vanilla extract.  Pour over the salad and toss to evenly coat.  Chill if not serving immediately

Make 6 cups, 6 servings

Serving size: 1 cup Calories 100  Protein 2 g Carb 12g Fiber 1 g Sugars 11 g Fat 4.5 g Saturated fat 0.5 g Sodium 320 mg


Thursday, July 17, 2014

In The News: Eat Broccoli, Get Rid Of Pollution??!!

I know my last post was nutrition news related but this info was too interesting not to post!! A recent study conducted in China, published this month in Cancer Prevention Research has highlighted the potential of broccoli to help remove excess airborne pollutants from the body! For someone like myself, who lives in a city like Los Angeles, this is key!!

A 12 week study was conducted with 291 subjects from rural He-He Township, Qidong, in the Yangtze River delta region of China, (an area well known to have high levels of airborne pollutants.  )
The participants were given a broccoli sprout derived drink and blood and urine levels of pollutant excretion were measured before and after.  The results? The patients consuming the broccoli compounds had a higher level of pollutant excretion than than those given the placebo! The researchers concluded that "Thus, intervention with broccoli sprouts enhances the detoxication of some airborne pollutants and may provide a frugal means to attenuate their associated long-term health risks". You can read an abstract of the study HERE.  

More research needs to be conducted to determine actual doses etc and it is very likely that eating broccoli itself (which contains the protective  molecules glucoraphanin that, when chewed or crushed, produces sulforaphane, which is known to help prevent cancer.) will also be beneficial, not just broccoli sprout teas.  So get your hands on some broccoli right away- as a side, in salads, in soups, in omelets etc. Or try my Broccoli Soup or Salad


Saturday, July 12, 2014

In The News: Eating Almonds May Help Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease

More and more evidence has shown that eating nuts is beneficial to health. (I even wrote an article about it a little while back which you can check out HERE!) Now, yet another study has been added to the pile of mounting research about nut consumption and disease prevention- namely protecting against cardiovascular disease.  

Almonds were the focus of this particular study, and scientists observed that when subjects consumed them daily they significantly increased blood antioxidant levels, lowered blood pressure and improved blood flow. These findings support the theory that Mediterranean diets with lots of nuts have sizable health benefits.

The study participants, healthy middle-aged and young men, and young men with two or more CV risk factors consumed 50 g of almonds/day for 4 weeks while a control group maintained their usual diets over the same period. The results were impressive- plasma α-tocopherol/cholesterol ratios increased, flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) improved and systolic blood pressure reduced significantly in the almond eating group after only four weeks.

The scientists postulate that multiple beneficial substances in almonds, such as vitamin E and healthy fats, fiber which increases the sense of fullness, and flavonoids which may have antioxidant properties are the reason for their favorable effects The research team believes it is likely the combination of all these nutrients working together to create the overall health benefits rather than just one particular nutrient by itself
This study was led by Professor Helen Griffiths, Professor in Biomedical Sciences and Executive Dean of the School of Life and Health Sciences at Aston University in Birmingham, UK. And Professor Griffiths notes "Our study confirms that almonds are a superfood. Previous studies have shown that they keep your heart healthy, but our research proves that it isn't too late to introduce them into your diet -- adding even a handful (around 50g) "
So reap the benefits of almonds by incorporating them into your diet today! Grab some for a snack, add chopped almonds to cereals, muffins, salads and on cooked veggies. Spread some almond butter on toast or blend it up in a smoothie.  Or try my almond rich recipes like my Protein Bars, Banana Almond Chai Smoothie,  Almond Cranberry Rice,  or Arugula Apricot and Almond Salad!


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