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Tapas cuisine originates in Spain and is a style of eating rather than a form of cooking.  Tapas focuses on small, flavorful appetizers and snacks and combining them with beverages (primarily cocktails) in a social setting.  In recent years, Tapas restaurants have become popular, giving customers an alternative to the traditional dining experience.  You can also celebrate this dining style by holding your own tapas party.  I’ve gathered a few healthy recipes to get you started.

 

These Balsamic Soy Roasted Mushrooms pack a lot of flavor in small bites.  You’ll combine fresh, white mushrooms with olive oil, balsamic vinegar. soy sauce, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper.  Arrange them on a baking pan and roast in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes, mixing half way through.  The mushrooms will be tender when done.

 

Balsamic Soy Roasted Garlic Mushrooms 800 0187
Courtesy of Closet Cooking

 

Spanish Tapas Peppers are a savory way to enjoy stuffed peppers as an appetizer, rather than a main dish entrée.  These peppers are stuffed with raisins, garlic, olives, anchovies (optional), tomato, saffron, bread crumbs, and parsley.

 

Spanish peppers
Courtesy of Kimberley Hasselbrink

 

Sweet Potato Crostini with Cheese, Pear and Thyme is another appetizer that packs a lot of flavor.  Roasted, sliced sweet potato provides your base.  You’ll top this with sliced pear, a little goat cheese, some walnuts, and a sprig of fresh thyme.

 

sweet-potato-crostini-3
Courtesy of Tuulia

 

I hope these recipes inspire you to explore Tapas cuisine.  I’ll return next Monday with some great ways to use avocado in your meals

 

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If you’re like me, you probably had limited exposure to beets in your diet.  For me, it was restricted to the canned variety.  I had no idea how delicious this vegetable could be!  Baked, added to soup–you can use them just as you would any root veggie.  Beets are fat free, cholesterol free, low sodium, and an excellent source of folate.

 

Beets
Courtesy of Fruits & Veggies–More Matters

 

As an appetizer, try this recipe for Beet Bruschetta with Goat Cheese and Basil.  You’ll boil the fresh beets, dice into bite sized pieces and mix with onion, sugar, olive oil, salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.  Toast French bread slices in the oven and top with a cream cheese spread you’ll make that contains cream cheese and goat cheese.  Top with the diced beet mixture and a little chopped basil.

 

beet-bruschetta-w_-goat-chese-123
Courtesy of Feasting At Home

 

Another great appetizer or snack is Roasted Beet Hummus.  As the recipe title indicates, you’ll roast the beets until soft.  Then add them, along with a can of chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, cumin, and salt to a food processor.  Process for a few minutes and then slowly add olive oil until the mixture is creamy.

 

beet-hummus-1
Eat Yourself Skinny

 

Colorful Beet Salad with Carrot, Quinoa and Spinach calls for raw beets finely shredded.  In addition, you’ll use quinoa, fresh spinach, shredded carrot, edamame, chopped avocado, and slivered almonds for your salad.  A homemade dressing created from apple cider vinegar, lime juice, olive oil, cilantro, honey, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper.

 

raw-beet-salad
Courtesy of Cookie and Kate

 

Michael Marks, Your Produce Man, has more tips on different varieties of beets and how to prep them for delicious meals  Have a great week and I’ll be back next Monday with a look at the trend on Tapas dining.

 

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Summer is almost here and if you’re looking for a healthy way to keep your cool, reach for a smoothie.  Smoothies are terrific as a meal replacement (think breakfast on-the-go) or snack.  Here’s the bonus–these creamy, delicious drinks only HAVE to taste decadent!  You can make them super healthy, in fact, you can get at least one serving of fruit and/or veggies in each serving.  A few simple steps to keep in mind when making a smoothie are:

 

  • Pick 1.5 cups of unsweetened liquid such as: low fat milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or coconut water
  • If making a “green” smoothie, add 1 big handful of one of the following: spinach, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, collard greens
  • Choose 1-2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit such as: banana, apple, melon, berries, mango, pear
  • Supercharge it by adding as many of the following as you like: (typically these are in the amount of 1 tablespoon) peanut butter, avocado, chia seeds, flax seeds, protein powder
  • Blend!

 

I add some ice too, depending on how thick I want my smoothie.  This Parsley, Kale, and Berry Smoothie calls for flat leaf parsley, fresh kale, frozen berries (like raspberries and strawberries), one banana, and ground flaxseed.  According to the recipe you should puree these ingredients with water in a blender until smooth, but I’d actually substitute the water with coconut water for added flavor.

 

parsley-kale-and-berry-smoothie
Courtesy of Bon Appetite

 

This refreshing Carrot Smoothie is ideal for first thing in the morning.  It’s made with orange juice, sliced carrots, banana, fresh ginger, and ice.  I love the flavor of the fresh ginger in this drink!

 

carrotsmoothie
Courtesy of Healing Smoothies

 

This Blueberry Banana Protein Smoothie gets its protein from nonfat Greek yogurt.  You’ll also add unsweetened vanilla almond milk, frozen blueberries, banana, and ice. This is a super, thick and creamy smoothie and it’s perfect for those afternoon “sweet fix” treats.

 

blueberry-banana-protein-smoothie_4467
Courtesy of Amy’s Healthy Baking

 

I hope you’ll start creating your own healthy smoothie recipes this summer.  Next week I’m back with some new ways to add beets to your meals.

 

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