Autumn is officially among us! For many of us that means being overwhelmed with pumpkin-spiced everything – but don’t let pumpkin hog the limelight. Plenty of other delicious fruits and vegetables are in season this time of year including Brussels sprouts, squash, kale, cranberries, pears, and pomegranate!
Pomegranate is delicious and versatile. Add it to your morning bowl of yogurt or oatmeal, or to savory salads and pilafs. Not to mention pomegranate is loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and polyphenols. Here I mixed pineapple and pomegranate together to make a beautiful and festive salad:
Pineapple & Pomegranate Salad
- 2 cups diced pineapple
- 1/2 cup pomegranate arils
- 1 tsp fresh lime juice
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (or 1/8 dried)
- 1 tsp lime zest
In a large bowl, combine pineapple, pomegranate arils, lime juice, and ginger. Sprinkle with lime zest.
Pineapple & Pomegranate Salad: Tara Tested, Tara and friends approved! If you are looking for a healthy dessert or salad for your upcoming holiday parties – this could be it! This salad can be thrown together in minutes with the help of some convenient short cuts. I used pre-cored pineapple and POM Wonderful pomegranate arils that had already been removed from the fruit (no mess here!). The lime juice and ginger add a nice depth of flavor to the fruit which is naturally so sweet, leave the sugar in the pantry (I left the sugar out from the original recipe). Happy eating!
We celebrated my Dad’s birthday a couple weekends ago, and rather than making a standard cake, I decided to do something different. I knew he liked key lime pie, and I had just had an amazing slice of it down the shore, so I thought I would give it a whirl at home. To my surprise, it was very easy to make and also quite convenient (I made it Thursday and it was fine sitting in the refrigerator until we dug in on Saturday). Here’s the recipe:
Key Lime Pie
- 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tbsp sugar
- large pinch of sea salt
- 7 tbsp butter, melted
- 1.5 tbsp grated lime zest
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
- 2/3 cup lime juice (about 6 limes)
- 1 container whipped topping
For the topping: Preheat oven to 350 F. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt in a bowl and stir until combined. Add the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are evenly coated. Pour the buttery crumbs into your pie dish and press into the bottom and sides of the dish. You may use the bottom of a spoon or cup, or just your fingers! Try to spread the crumbs evenly so that your crust is the same thickness throughout. Pop the dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.
For the filling: Zest limes into a medium bowl so that you have about 1.5 tbsp of zest. (A real zester works wonders, in the past I had had to use a cheese grater and the difference is amazing!) Add the egg yolks to the bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the eggs are a light yellow and have thickened – about 5 minutes. Add the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add the juice from the zested limes and stir into the milk mixture until combined. Pour the filling into your pie crust and bake for another 10 minutes. Let the pie cool before you add the whipped topping!
Key Lime Pie: Tara Tested, Tara, family, and friends approved! My Dad was the most important critic for this recipe and he gave stellar reviews – success! The filling was packed with lime flavor, but it wasn’t overwhelmingly tart and the whipped topping added just the right amount of sweetness. The graham cracker crust was crunchy and delicious. I suggest making the crumbs by hand rather than using a food processor so you get some bigger pieces. All in all, it was a great birthday dessert and definitely a recipe that I will repeat in the future.
It seems like there is always a container of hummus in the refrigerator – and with good reason! I love hummus as a snack with carrots, snow peas, or cucumbers and even as a spread on a sandwich. Although original hummus is delicious, sometimes I want a little added flavor without making a special trip to the store. Here’s a quick way to jazz up your original store-bought hummus:
- 1 cup original hummus
- 1-2 roasted red peppers (jarred with oil)
- 1 tsp dried basil
Finely chop the roasted red peppers and pour into a bowl or food storage container. Add the hummus and mix well until the peppers and hummus are combined. Add dried basil and stir again. Enjoy!
Halfway Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! This revamped hummus tastes just like the flavored variety you can get at the store. You don’t need many ingredients or time to alter the flavor of the hummus you may already have at home. Try this method with different ingredients to create a “hummus bar” the next time you entertain, serve with fresh veggies and pita for an easy crowd pleaser!
Water makes up more than 50% of our bodies and is crucial to our health. The benefits of drinking water are extraordinary, yet many people struggle to drink enough each day. Water aids in digestion, physical performance, energy levels, keeps our skin looking beautiful, and can also aid in weight loss. It is especially important to stay hydrated during the summer when we are more active in the heat!
Here are FIVE ways to stay hydrated during these hot summer months:
- Set a goal – set a goal for how much water you should drink each day and reach it! Shoot for 1/2 of your body weight in ounces and use a reusable bottle to keep track of how many times you fill it up. I track my water intake on my FitBit app which helps me stay motivated to reach my goal.
- Have fun with flavors – literally spice up the flavor of your water with herbs, sliced fruit, or vegetables. Some of my favorite things to add to water are lemons, limes, strawberries, and cucumber with mint. Get creative and experiment!
- Bring out the bubbles – this summer I am all about LaCroix sparkling water. Some times I need something a little different and sparkling water does the trick without any added calories, sugar, or artificial flavors. Grapefruit is my favorite LaCroix flavor!
- Sip before you snack – start the habit of having a glass of water before meals or snacks. We often mistake thirst for hunger and head right to the snack cabinet instead of the faucet. Try having a glass of water first to help you determine if you are genuinely hungry or just in need of some H2O!
- Eat your water – there is no substitute for drinking water, but there are plenty of tasty foods that are an excellent source of hydration! Watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, strawberries, celery, grapes, pineapple, and spinach are just a few foods that are very high in water content.
Hydrate with pineapple? Count me in!
Simple Kiwi Chicken
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp white wine
- 1 kiwi, sliced
Place the chicken breast between parchment paper and pound until the chicken is about 1/4 inch thick. Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, and thyme. Heat the butter in a large skillet and sauté the chicken until cooked through and tender, turning once. Remove the chicken from the pan and place on a plate to keep warm. Add the white wine to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes, stir. Add kiwi and cook for about 30 seconds. Pour the kiwi fruit over the chicken and serve! Makes two servings.
Kiwi Chicken: Tara Tested, Tara Approved! I never would have imagined cooking kiwi with chicken, but this recipe works. Cooking the kiwi with wine creates a more savory flavor and pairs nicely with the thyme. I made this dish on it’s own, but this chicken would go great with a crisp side salad. How do you like to cook with fruit?
Recipe source: Kiwifruit.org
Our immune systems may not be our top priority during the summer time. We’re preoccupied with getting that great beach body, protecting our skin from the sun, or grilling the perfect burger at the backyard barbecue. Although the summer season isn’t known for getting bogged down with a cold or the flu – it’s important to take care of our immune system all year long. No one wants to be stuck home sick when we could be frolicking on the beach, enjoying the sand and sea!
Here are FIVE vitamins and minerals that aid in our immune system function and where you can find them in your diet:
- Vitamin A – carrots, sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, eggs, kale
- Vitamin C – kiwi, kale, berries, spinach, citrus
- Vitamin E – almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, broccoli, kiwi
- Zinc – beef, pork, lamb, dark meat chicken, legumes, kiwi
- Selenium – wheat germ, shellfish, garlic, whole grains, sunflower seeds
Kiwi, blueberries, and blackberries are a few of my favorite fruits! Enjoy them for breakfast with Greek yogurt, in a salad, or as a garnish on a refreshing summer beverage. Stay tuned for a recipe featuring these immune system superstars.
Have a happy and healthy weekend!
Happy 4th of July! Enjoy this simple, healthy snack this holiday and celebrate guilt-free! I made these cute little jars in about 10 minutes this morning before bringing them over to my friend’s house for a little BBQ and some time in the sun!
RWB Mason Jar Parfait
- 4 Mason jars (the jar pictured is 16 oz)
- 1 large container 2% plain greek yogurt
- Bear Naked Granola (Fruit and Nutty)
Start by scooping yogurt into the bottom of each jar (about 1/2 to 1/3 of a cup). Then layer the strawberries and blueberries on top. Sprinkle with just a little granola to add some crunch and ta-da! Dessert is done.
RWB Mason Jar Parfait: Tara Tested, Tara and friends approved! I loved making these little parfaits in mason jars – it was easy to assemble, transport, and clean (thanks Mrs. P!). Plus, the glass container shows off the Red White and Blue, which is what it’s all about today. If you are stuck for an idea to bring to your next summer potluck, give these a whirl. You can even make a few extra jars to have for breakfast the next day and get creative with different fruits and mix’ins.