Tag Archives: carrots

Try This Healthy Lunch Dip

23 May
soybean hummus

Using different veggies to make dips similar to hummus is a great way to enjoy eating healthy food more than usual.

I love creating new veggie dip combinations. Getting creative in the kitchen helps me to have fun when trying to lose weight and eat healthier. It also helps me use up stuff that is in the fridge before it goes bad. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of letting lots of perfectly good veggies go to waste because I just let them sit there. Weight loss can be made easier if you like the health food you need to eat. For example, I didn’t want to eat the rest of the edamame in the fridge, so I found a soybean hummus recipe online. Then I added my own twist to that recipe idea. The result was a really yummy, healthy veggie dip that made for a great lunch!

Easy Healthy Lunch: Carrots and soybean-veggie dip sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese and served with a few Alphonso (Kalamata) olives.

Ingredients and Directions:

  • 1 package of soybeans (out of the pod)
  • half a can of green beans
  • 1 small Roma tomato
  • 1 small, thin slice of butter (about a tsp)
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp Cajun seasoning
  • 2 tbsp Italian vinaigrette dressing

Bring to boil and reduce eat to simmer altogether until everything is tender. Puree til smooth as hummus. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired, and enjoy as a super yummy, healthy dip!

–Michelle

Related post: When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip

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When I Dip, You Dip, We Dip!

27 Apr
Freak Nasty's Da Dip

Freak Nasty's "Da Dip" was a hit in the '90s (I remember dancing to it at my 8th grade dance!) and it's one of those catchy one-hit wonders that pops into my head every once in a while.

Happy Friday! It’s a sunny day, I’m hungry for a light lunch, and I’ve got Freak Nasty’s “Da Dip” stuck in my head! So, the only thing to do is make a dip for lunch (while grooving to the song, of course). I love making dips at home, especially since you control the amount of oil and salt in them compared with store-bought, preservative-filled dips. It’s a great way to have fun with health food when you’re trying to lose weight without getting bored.

My favorite kind of dip to make is hummus, but what I really love to do is use hummus as a base for a veggie dip. It’s super healthy, fun, and you can eat it with carrot sticks (or any other veggie stick), home-baked tortilla chips, pita, crackers, pretzels…pretty much whatever you want. Sometimes, I even use it as a spread on a sandwich.

Here’s my typical dip-making method (takes about 10 minutes):

1. What’s in the fridge and cupboard? I like to get creative with what we have around the kitchen, especially since we’re on a pretty strict budget. Today, for example, I have a can of garbanzo beans, one Roma tomato left, half a can of black olives, half a bag of baby spinach, feta, carrots, garlic, and balsamic vinaigrette. Other ingredients that can work great, which I don’t have right now, are bell pepper, cilantro, cream cheese, Parmesan, onion, various types of beans (bean dip is so yummy!), avocado, artichoke. The recipe changes depending on what you’re in the mood for and what you have to use. The point is to look at what’s available and concoct a flavor that will suit your personal tastes and cravings.

2. Making the dip.

  • In a small frying pan, simmer the sliced tomato, garlic, and spinach (or bell pepper and onion, if you’re using those) with just a teaspoon of canola oil (or olive oil) and a dash of salt and pepper. Sometimes I’ll add a different type of pepper or some cumin and thyme to further enhance the flavor. You just want to soften these ingredients so that the flavors mix well. You can also do this in the oven, but that can take longer than on the stove. [You also can add sesame seeds at this stage, which adds a subtle, earthy flavor that is so good.]
  • In a blender, combine the can of garbanzo beans (drained), black olives, and about a cup of spinach with two tablespoons of the vinaigrette and blend. Then add the heated mixture of tomato and garlic, etc., and blend again. Keep blending until you have a smooth hummus-veggie dip. Adjust the blending consistency and amount of ingredients to suit your taste (you may want to thin it a bit with water or vinaigrette, or add a little salt, or thicken it with some saltine crackers).

3. Serve. Eat it hot or cold, depending on your preference, with whatever you want to dip in it. I’m having mine with carrot sticks today. Enjoy knowing that it’s a super healthy snack that tastes great and is totally customized for you!

Have a great weekend!

–Michelle :)

“But I Don’t Like That…” or, How to Make a Healthy Snack Yummier

17 Apr
readers digest screencap

Healthy snack recipes often require some creative substitutions to suit personal preferences. Reader's Digest May issue screen capture.

I enjoy reading articles about  healthy recipes and snack ideas but I don’t always like eating them. Most “healthy” food recipes I come across contain ingredients that I just can’t stomach. Cottage cheese? No, thank you! Asparagus? It better be cooked in a ton of butter and salt so that it’s not bitter. I’m not being picky to be difficult; we just all have our personal tastes. Unfortunately, much of that personal taste runs counter to most healthy eating recommendations. I find myself needing to get creative in the kitchen to make things that are both healthy and appealing to me (for example, Leftover Easter Ham Recipe #2: Ham & Pepper Jack Quesadillas).

This problem was in the forefront of my mind when I was reading “4 Healthy Snacks for Weight Loss” in the May issue of Reader’s Digest. Let’s break these snacks down one by one:

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Leftover Easter Ham Recipe #3: Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup

16 Apr

When it comes to soup, I’m good at getting the flavor right but I always make way too much. But since I love soup–and can freeze a bunch of containers of it–it’s not too bad of a problem to have. I’ve only ever made chicken stock and soup before but when I saw all the ham bone and scraps after Easter dinner, I thought it presented the perfect opportunity to try making ham stock for the first time. Most recipes available online call for using ham stock as a base for split pea soup. I decided to add several more types of veggies to that idea. Read on to learn how to make this Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup I came up with…and how to avoid making too much of it (I learned the hard way so you don’t have to, ha ha). I’ve listed measurements that will provide you with a good amount a soup and little to none of the crazy mess I made in my kitchen. This is a hearty, healthy, filling soup that is great for celebrating vegetables in springtime. [For more Leftover Easter Ham Recipe ideas, try my Ham and Pepper Jack Quesadillas and Spring Mix Pasta.]

ham stock veggie soup

Ham Stock and Veggie Medley Soup by Michelle.

Ham Stock & Veggie Medley Soup

Total prep time: about 40 minutes

Total cook time: 3 to 4 hours

Ingredients for the ham stock:

– leftover ham bone and ham bits

– 2 cloves garlic, split

– about 1/2 cup of cilantro

Ingredients for the soup:

– 1/4 to 1/2 c. each (depending on preference of favorite veggies) of green split peas, yellow split peas, lentils, great northern beans, and barley (all dried, not canned; get the kind that has rapid-boil instructions so that you don’t have to soak them overnight in advance)

– 2 roma tomatoes, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped (1/2- to 1-inch pieces)

– 1 skinny red yam, peeled and chopped (1/2- to 1-inch pieces)

– 1 c. baby carrots, chopped (1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces)

– 1/2 to 1 c. of loose frozen corn kernels

Seasonings for the soup (per 6 cups of broth):

– 1 tsp Peruvian aji amarillo (If you don’t have this, substitute with your favorite pepper or pepper paste.)

– 1 tsp salt

– 1/2 tsp black pepper

– 1 tsp ground ginger

– 1 tsp thyme

– 1 tsp marjoram

– 1 tsp basil

– 1/2 tsp seasoning salt

– 1 tsp cumin

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