I’ve always been a huge sammie girl. When it comes to lunch preparation, I always flock to the deli counter and the side of the store with the fancy cheese in it. Of course as a kid I grew up eating American cheese and white bread, but I’m happy to admit my tastes have changed just a little bit.
Instead of white bread, I use French bread. Instead of American cheese, I use slices of Cabot horseradish cheese or fresh mozzarella. Instead of dicey turkey, I use Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Deli Turkey. I also have amped up my condiment and topping game quite substantially, and my sandwiches always have a beautiful bouquet of veggies on top, like beets, radishes or fresh green sprouts.
When I was asked by Hormel to create some recipes using their new NATURAL CHOICE products and I quickly jumped at the opportunity. I’m a healthy girl and I love food that is preservative-free and nutritious, and these deli meats are exactly it – fresh and delicious without any extra crap mixed in.
I knew immediately I wanted to make a simple version of a French bread sub. I loaded it with cheese, topped with fresh sprouts and homemade mayo/mustard sauce. It was To. Die. For. It’s the kind of sandwich all other sandwiches want to be when they grow up, let me tell you that.
Roasted turkey, cheese & sprout sandwich
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 1 loaf French bread
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 12 slices Hormel Natural Choice Oven Roasted Deli Turkey
- 9 slices sharp vintage cheddar cheese
- 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 3 tablespoons low-fat mayonnaise
- Fresh green sprouts
- 2 large tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
- Slice the baguette into three equal parts and then slice in half. Spread with olive oil.
- Top one side with 4 slices of deli meat and 3 slices of cheese. Place the other bread slices on the same pan and bake for about 8 minutes, or until crispy and cheese is melted.
- Meanwhile, whisk the Dijon mustard and mayo together.
- Remove the bread from the oven. Spread the top part of the baguette with Dijon/mayo mixture. Top with fresh greens and tomato slices.
It’s about time I wrote a blog post, right? But let’s rejoice in two things today, mmk? It’s FRIDAY and I made you a pie!
Not just any pie, a fresh strawberry pie piled with gobs of fresh mint from my garden. Before you think I’m one of those awesome green thumbs, I’ll tell you this. The mint was in our front garden when we moved in and it’s spread like a weed into our poor little flowers. I’m what you’d call an anti-green thumb. Basically anything I grow is either killed by me or eaten in seconds by rodents.
I actually get really jealous of people who have these incredible mini farms in their yards. Actually, our neighbor (an adorable elderly woman) has the most amazing spread in her backyard. Zucchinis, eggplants, green beans, plump tomatoes, squash – you name it, she’s probably growing it. And i get SERIOUS envy every time I’m back there hanging out on our patio.
I’ve decided though that next year will be my year. I will have a beautiful and fruitful garden if it kills me. I will grow produce that I can then turn into luscious recipes like this fresh pie. Now, as a resident of VA I’m fairly aware I probably can’t grow the luscious plump strawberries like my friends in California can, but god darnnit, I’m going to try!
I’ll keep you updated on my quest for green thumb status, don’t worry. In the meantime, I’ll use the grocery stores and farmers markets to provide me with my supply of awesome ingredients. Given my current gardening ability, that’s probably safest.
Fresh Strawberry & Mint Pie
Serves 8 – 10. Adapted from Taste of Home.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
- 1 homemade (or pre-bought) pie crust (I love this recipe)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons pure clove honey
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot (or corn starch)
- 1 package sugar-free strawberry jell-0
- 1 cup water
- 4 1/2 cups fresh sliced strawberries
- Handful of fresh mint, chopped
- *Optional: Drizzle of balsamic glaze (this is addictive)
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Grease a pie plate or foil pie pan with nonstick cooking spray. Prepare crust as directed if making homemade and place into the greased pie plate. Line the pie crust with thick aluminum foil and bake for about 8 minutes. Remove the foil, poke the crust with a fork and then bake another 5 or until golden brown.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the sugar, honey, arrowroot and water. Whisk constantly over medium heat until thickened (about 3 – 5 minutes). (Note – it may take an additional 2 – 3 minutes using arrowroot than it would cornstarch).
- Remove from heat and quickly stir in the sugar-free jello. Whisk until the gelatin has dissolved. Chill slightly for about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, arrange the strawberries into the warmed pie crust. Pour the gelatin mixture over the strawberries until it reaches the rim.
- Chill for at least an hour then serve with chopped fresh mint.
Nutritional information per serving (1 slice):
Fat: 6.25 grams
Carbohydrates: 37.75 grams
Fiber: >1 gram
Protein: 2.125 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 5
These smashed strawberry & pineapple vodka mojitos are the perfect cocktail for any July 4th celebration!
Is there anything better than a long holiday weekend? For us working gals, having a day off (where we don’t have to work) is truly the biggest blessing in the world. To be honest, I don’t remember the last day I took off from everything. Between my 9 – 5 job, my freelance obligations and this blog, there hasn’t really been a day where I haven’t cooked, written, photographed or sat in a cube in far too long.
And boy am I looking forward to it! For the first weekend in, well, forever, we don’t have huge plans for the weekend. In fact, I’ll probably find myself shopping and laying by the pool for most of it. I do plan to make a few pitchers of these smashed berry vodka mojitos though for our little BBQ on the 4th for a few reasons. One, they taste amazing.
Two? We have a wild forest of mint growing in our front yard.
Seriously, the mint is so rabid it’s overtaking my flowers. Even though I prefer wine to liquor, I knew a mojito had to happen soon or else we’d be killed by the mutiny of mint at our house. That and I’m trying to branch out of just wine and beer and up my cocktail game.
Plus, wine and beer aren’t exactly diet friendly so I’m desperately trying to find tasty libations that are naturally sweetened and refreshing without a metric ton of calories or sugar. These? Are just that. The entire batch only has 2 tablespoons sugar and the rest comes from the fruit. Other than that, it’s all naturale baby.
I’m not lying when I say these might be my new signature drink of summer. Now if only I could find a way to make a living sipping cocktails by the pool, I could indulge in these more frequently with a beautiful bronzed tan.
Smashed Strawberry & Pineapple Vodka Mojitos
Serves about 8.
Prep time: 10 – 15 minutes
Total time: 15 minutes
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
- 1/2 nectarine, cut into thin slices
- 1 1/2 lime, cut in half
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 16 ounces (about 2 cups) vodka (I used berry flavored)
- 24 mint leaves
- Diet ginger ale
- Place the strawberries into a large bowl. Using a spoon or muddler, gently smash the berries into the pitcher. Add the berries to a large pitcher. Add in the pineapple and nectarine slices. Squeeze the lime into the pitcher and pour in the vodka. Add the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- In another small bowl, carefully muddle the mint leaves so they bruise slightly. Mix the mint leaves (and extracts) into the pitcher.
- Top with diet ginger ale and serve!
Nutritional information per serving (about 1 glass or 1/2 cup):
Fat: >1 gram
Carbohydrates: 11.12 grams
Protein: 0.5 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 2
This light, fluffy and healthy tuna couscous salad is a great summer dish that’s flavor-packed!
I don’t think they’ll ever be a time in my life where I don’t crave healthy food over junk food. Of course, there are those occasional days when I’ve had too much wine the night before and all I could possible want is a hamburger with french fries. But no matter what, I always prefer salads to pastas and fresh fruit to candy bars. That’s just one of the reasons I was over the moon when Genova seafood asked me to create a nutritious dish using their premium tuna.
To me, tuna has always had a bit of a bad rap. For one, people never really associate canned tuna with anything gourmet. It’s something you buy to make cheap sandwiches or mix up for a snack. It may be budget friendly and easy, but it’s far from ordinary. Tuna is such an incredibly versatile ingredient. You can toss it in salads (like I did with this tuna couscous salad), mix it into casseroles, make gourmet ceviches and even cocktail party hors d’oeuvres. The possibilities are endless, which is why I’m always trying to find ways to incorporate it into anything I make.
Not only versatile, it’s also good for you, especially the Genova brand. It’s made from high-quality, premium grade Yellowfin tuna, is all natural and is packed in pure ,100% Mediterranean olive oil. If you’d like to try it, here’s a coupon offered by the wonderful folks there! I’m going to just say this once – STOP BUYING TUNA IN WATER. The olive oil adds even more healthy antioxidants, not to mention a freak ton more flavor. You’ll honestly be ASTOUNDED by how much better canned tuna in olive oil tastes.
The wonderfully generous people at Genova not only sent me some of their tuna to try, they sent a gift basket with tons of other Mediterranean goodies, like wine, a cookbook, pesto, tri-color couscous and more. As soon as I unwrapped the basket, I immediately knew I was going to use the couscous in something.
After a quick stop at Whole Foods and $100 later, I had the most beautiful radishes, bean sprouts, sunflower leaves and more to create a fresh, and delicious, salad.
To help inspire you to create your own Mediterranean inspired dish, Genova seafood is giving away a gourmet gift basket to one of my readers! One of you will receive the same goodie basket as I did with enough loot to get you excited to cook up a healthy and gourmet tuna dish. To enter, follow the prompts below. Make sure to share your creation with me using the hashtag #realisticrecipes!
Tuna Couscous Salad
Serves about 6 – 8.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Total time: 28 minutes
- 2 cups tri-color couscous
- 2 (7 ounce) cans of Genova seafood tuna, lightly drained and flaked
- 1/2 cup high quality olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 1/2 large red onion, chopped
- 1 cup thinly sliced radishes
- 1/3 cup chick peas
- 1/2 cup bean sprouts
- About 2/3 – 3/4 cup fresh greens
- 4 – 5 fresh chives, chopped
- Liberal dashes of sea salt and cracked black pepper
- Bring 4 cups of water to a rapid boil and add a dash of salt. Toss in the couscous and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and cook for about 12 minutes, or until the liquid is evaporated. Remove from heat and fluffy with a fork or spoon. Place in a large bowl.
- Add in the radishes, chick peas, bean sprouts, fresh greens and chopped chives. Carefully mix in the tuna so it’s fully incorporated.
- In another bowl, whisk the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and pepper together. Pour the oil dressing over the salad and mix to combine. Add in additional salt and pepper to taste.
Nutritional information per serving:
Fat: 16.2 grams
Carbohydrates: 37.8 grams
Fiber: 4.2 grams
Protein: 10.4 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 9
To enter the giveaway, simply fill out the prompts below! Ends Wednesday, July 1st at Midnight. GOOD LUCK!
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It’s about 16,560 degrees outside and I’m asking you to turn on your oven. I know, I’m evil. But trust me, one thick, soft and moist slice of this raspberry lemon bread and you’ll welcome that puff of hot air when you open your trusty oven.
Well, maybe not welcome it, but you’ll be glad you spent that 45 minutes sweating over the stove. That I can promise. It’s like a glass of ice-cold lemonade in soft bread form.
I’ve been busy (no surprise) lately, in a very good way. I don’t know what lucky door I opened, but I’ve been welcomed with some truly life-changing opportunities lately and I can hardly believe it. From amazing food-related opps for this blog to epic adventures abroad, I’m pinching myself daily.
In addition to that, I’m starting another venture (because I don’t have enough to do) with my great friend Kita. We can’t share details yet, but imagine a place on the web with stories and a million beautiful photos of our constant travels.
In the meantime, I’m going to continue to bake, cook, stir and shake so I can provide you guys with some healthy and delightfully light recipes for this insanely hot summer. From this bread, to the refreshingly delicious cocktail I have for tomorrow and some spicy enchiladas on Friday, y’all are going to be very well fed.
Now please excuse me while I stuff 34 slices of this bread into my mouth at my desk. Thank god no one can see past my cube walls. *Holds head in shame whilst wiping crumbs from my face*
Raspberry Lemon Quick Bread
Serves about 10 – 12. Adapted from Taste of Home.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 – 55 minutes
Total time: About 65 minutes
- 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (I used 2%)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-1/2 cups raspberries
- Melted white chocolate for glaze
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a standard size loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and lemon zest. In another bowl, beat the yogurt, sugar, egg, lemon juice and applesauce. Mix until combined. Pour the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.
- In a large stand mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold into the rest of the batter. Once egg whites are folded in, carefully fold in raspberries.
- Pour the mixture into the loaf pan. Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Drizzle the top of the loaf with white chocolate and garnish with sliced lemons.
Nutritional information per serving (1 slice):
Fat: 2.75 grams
Carbohydrates: 32.5 grams
Fiber: 2.4 grams
Protein: 6.25 grams
Weight Watchers Points: 5