Full Belly Sisters: July 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Grape, Feta, & Mint Salad


You know that classic combination of watermelon, feta, and mint? Yeah, I've mentioned it on here once or twice. Today I made a slight twist on it with fantastic results: still sweet and savory, juicy and creamy. But this time, instead of watermelon I used grapes. 

This salad is actually a great way to stay hydrated and energized during these sweaty summer months—which is so crucial for kids, as well as pregnant or breastfeeding moms. The feta cheese provides electrolytes in the forms of calcium and sodium. And the water-rich grapes provide potassium, essential to maintaining fluid and balancing those electrolytes in the body. Perfect hot-weather eatin'!


  Additionally, this dish provides satiety because of its balance of grain-free carbs (grapes) and protein (feta cheese). It's light but filling. Which is exactly the kind of food I love in summertime.

Ingredients
serves 2
  • 1 cup red grapes, halved or quartered
  • 1 cup green grapes, halved or quartered
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled or diced
  • 6-8 mint leaves, chopped or julienned 
  • squeeze of fresh lemon or lime
  • freshly-cracked black pepper

My green grapes were humungous and my red grapes were small, so I quartered the former and halved the latter, making them similar in size; just cut your grapes to your preference. 

Simply toss the grapes with the mint, feta, and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Top with a generous amount of freshly-ground black pepper. You can add salt, if you'd like; I find that the feta adds enough salt for my taste.

Eat by the spoonful as a main or side dish...


...or serve as a dip with crispy crackers. The briny, creamy, juicy, herbaceous, sweet salad was wonderful with these super crunchy Naan Crisps that Stonefire sent me to try. Such a refreshing snack!


This is one of those dishes that you could eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner...or even dessert. Not every salad can boast that.




What's your favorite fruit-and-cheese combo?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Greek Spring Salad: Prasini Salata


When you hear "Greek Salad" you probably picture chunks of tomato and cucumber, stuffed grape leaves, kalamata olives, onions, and peppers. I do, too! However, there's a different, less well-known (at least in the U.S.) Greek salad that is actually my favorite: the Prasini Salata is packed with green lettuce, fresh dill, scallions, and feta. And it is as amazing as it sounds.

I've taken that traditional combination and added some cucumbers and red grapes. I love the crunchy texture the cucumber adds; the sweet, juicy grapes provide wonderful balance to the earthiness of the lettuce and dill.


Ingredients
serves 4-6
  • 1 large head green leaf lettuce, washed, dried, and shredded
  • 1/2 bunch fresh dill, snipped 
  • 6 scallions—including green parts, thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces good-quality feta (I like the kind that comes in brine), crumbled
  • about 1/3 of English seedless cucumber, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup red seedless grapes, halved
 
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey or agave (optional)
  • sea salt, to taste

In a screw-top jar, combine the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, honey (if using), and salt. When seasoning the dressing, keep in mind that the feta is quite salty, so make sure not to over-salt. Shake well until combined.

Combine the lettuce, dill, scallions, cucumber, and grapes in a large salad bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss well. Add the feta and toss again. Serve immediately.
 

I love how you can have a variety of green ingredients—the lettuce, dill, scallions, and cukes—that all lend their own flavor and texture. The briny, creamy feta and the crisp, sweet grapes are a fantastic complement to this verdant salad. Of course, each of these ingredients is packed with nutrition, so that's a bonus!

This Greek-style spring salad is often served at Easter, alongside the traditional roast lamb. I recently brought the salad to a good ol' American barbecue—served alongside sausages and burgers—and it was a hit. I also love to have a giant bowl of this as a meal; it's a wonderful summer dinner.




Do you love Greek salads as much as I do? Have you ever tried a Prasini Salata?
 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Homemade Flavored Seltzers for Pregnancy



Okay, friends, you know I have to remind you every once in a while to drink your water. All of us need to, especially in these hot summer months. But for you pregnant (and breastfeeding) gals, it's especially important that you stay well-hydrated. Hydration can help with lots of the issues that may be plaguing you, from constipation to swelling to fatigue.

I know, water can seem boring. Or, if you're suffering from morning sickness, water's lack of flavor can sometimes even exacerbate your nausea. But you can add some excitement and color and taste to your drinks—without lots of calories, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings. I've posted a bunch of ideas already in my Homemade Flavored Waters post (from a million years ago, forgive the photos!).  Now, I've got some new ideas for you to flavor seltzer.


Seltzer is basically water with carbon dioxide added to create bubbles; many pregnant women find the bubbles actually help lessen nausea. You can certainly just slip a wedge of lemon or lime into it and call it a day. But if you want to add some more pizazz, I love doing a fruit/herb/citrus combo. It's just a lovely mix of flavors and colors and I find it livens up my water or seltzer—and encourages me to drink more!



Drop the fruit and herbs into your glass—toss in some ice, if you'd like—and pour seltzer over. For a stronger flavor, use a wooden spoon to break up the fruits and herb in the bottom of your glass a bit before topping with seltzer. You can use fresh or frozen fruits; I always have a variety stashed in my freezer for smoothies, so grabbing a few chunks to throw in some seltzer is easy to do, too!




We had some cans of seltzer left over from a party, so I used them. We normally just make our own seltzer with our SodaStream. Wherever you get your seltzer, it's all good—just keep hydrating!



A few suggestions to spark your imagination:
  • Fruits watermelon, cantaloupe, peach, plum, berries, cucumber, mango, pomegranate
  • Herbs mint, basil, parsley, rosemary (use a branch of it as a stirrer!)
  • Citrus lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, clementine

The combination possibilities are endless: how about honeydew + basil + lemon? Or peach + rosemary + lime? Pretty much any combo will work—use whatever you've got in the fridge, freezer, or garden and start experimenting!




These can also be fun mocktails if you're at a gathering and can't imbibe with the other partygoers. If you have a fabulous-looking and -tasting seltzer—full of gorgeous fruits and herbs—you won't miss that alcoholic drink quite so much!

What combo would you like to try? Tell us in the comments below.


This post contains affiliate links, so I make a small commission if you purchase through my links—which helps to keep this blog running. Don't fret: I only recommend products I personally use and approve.
 




Monday, July 6, 2015

Watermelon Feta Mint Skewers w. Lime & Black Pepper

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. 
and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. 
#NaturallyClean #CollectiveBias


As a health coach, I often tell my clients to keep a cutting board and knife out on the kitchen counter. Why? Because it makes it so easy to cut up an apple or slice some cucumber rounds for yourself or your kids. Now, I realize that taking out a knife and cutting board only when you need them isn't a big deal, and yet...sometimes we moms are so overwhelmed that even these little things seem like too much. And then we might just grab a handful of chips instead. Oops. So, do yourself a favor and make eating clean even easier: keep that cutting board out all day! I bet you'll find yourself eating more fresh fruits and veggies. 

Of course, we don't want to keep a messy cutting board on our counters. Ick. That's where the affordable new Clorox Green Works Pump 'N Clean comes in so handy. This food-safe, naturally derived cleaner is quick and easy. I just pump it onto my thin, microfiber kitchen cloth and wipe down my board and knife—then they're clean and ready for the next fruit or vegetable to get chopped! (Keep in mind it's not recommended for use with raw meat or raw fish, though.)


This pump is a great tool for quick surface cleaning when you're chopping a variety of ingredients, as I did for my simple Watermelon Feta Mint Skewers. First, cut the watermelon into bite-size cubes. You'll see that your cutting board gets pretty full of sticky juice!


Set the watermelon aside; use the Pump 'N Clean to wipe the juice off your messy cutting board and knife. Then cube your feta and set the cheese aside. Again, pump the food-safe cleaner and wipe the cheese (feta can be crumbly!) off the board and knife. 

Now you can assemble the skewers. First, I pair similarly-sized fruit and cheese cubes; this is a rustic dish, the cubes don't have to perfectly match. Food should be like nature: perfectly imperfect.
 
Then wrap each pair in a mint leaf and skewer with a toothpick to hold all those fresh, gorgeous ingredients together.

Best of all, you've got that clean cutting board—and now you're going to use it as a serving platter! That's right, no extra dishes to wash. Just leave the assembled skewers right on the board and squeeze some fresh lime over all of them, then top with freshly-ground black pepper. It's a great combination of flavors: sweet, savory, tart, herbaceous, and peppery, all in one delicious bite.




Ingredients
serves 4 to 6
  • 24 bite-sized cubes of seedless watermelon
  • 24 bite-sized cubes of feta cheese
  • 24 mint leaves, washed and dried
  • fresh lime
  • freshly-ground black pepper
  • 24 toothpicks, for serving

Pair one cube of melon with a cube of feta. Wrap in a mint leaf, pushing a toothpick through to keep all of the ingredients together. Repeat until you have two dozen little skewers. Squeeze lime over the top, then grind black pepper over the whole platter.


Prepared and served with help from the convenient Clorox Green Works Pump 'N Clean!



I found the Pump 'N Clean at my local Target, in the natural section of the cleaning aisle. You'll see this handy cleaner among all the other shockingly powerful Green Works products—everything from sprays to dish soaps to detergents. Green Works is not tested on animals; it's made with plant- and mineral-based cleaning ingredients, so there are no harsh chemical fumes. Best of all, these products really work. If you've been thinking about trying natural cleaners, hesitate no more!

To learn more about Green Works, follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Target is the only store that carries the full Green Works line, so it's a great place to check out all the different products available.


Don't miss it, it's on the bottom shelf!


If you don't already have the Target Cartwheel App, you should download it now: from June 14-July 11, you can use the app to save 10% on all Green Works products—including the Pump 'N Clean! 



So, have you ever tried leaving a clean cutting board and knife out on your counter? Do you find that it encourages you to prepare and eat more fresh fruit and veggies?


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