Watermelon Lemonade

It’s already really hot here in Florida. For hot summer days we all need a thirst quencher. My recipe today is for delicious watermelon lemonade. The watermelon and lemon flavors blend perfectly together. I like the sweet and tart combination. How sweet is it? That totally depends on your watermelon and your taste. If you have a ripe, sweet watermelon, you may only need a little sweetener. For less sweet melons, increase the sweetness. My recipe gives an approximate white sugar amount, or you could add honey to the drink for sweetness. You can garnish your drink with fresh mint or small slices of watermelon or lemon. For adults, you can even add vodka or gin for a cocktail.

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Lentil Bolognese Sauce

You know I like to cook with lower fat  for a healthier diet. Today I’m offering a vegetarian Bolognese sauce when you sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on it. If you need a vegan version, drop the cheese. Bolognese sauce is traditionally a meat sauce with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Today’s pantry recipe replaces the meat with lentils and mushrooms. It requires lentils, mushrooms, herbs, and crushed tomatoes to make a go-to-sauce for pasta, stuffed peppers, and even lasagna.  Add a little dry red wine (or white) to the simmering sauce; the alcohol will burn off. Wine adds another note of deeper, richer flavor. This is a great inexpensive week night meal that’s ready in less than 50 minutes.

Broader pastas have been used in Italy with Bolognese sauce, but you can use the pasta of your choice. Use whole wheat pasta, gluten-free pasta, or even zucchini spirals or spaghetti squash. Feel free to adapt the recipe to meet your family’s taste. 

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Pasta Cobb Salad

This time of year, I’m always looking for refreshing recipes to keep the kitchen cool. Pasta Cobb Salad does just that. It also is great to take it to summer cookouts, tailgates, and BBQs. Cobb Salad is one my favorite meals. If I spot it on a restaurant menu, I have a hard time passing it up. Starring chicken, avocado, bacon, blue cheese, lettuce, tomato, and hard-boiled eggs, this main dish salad makes me happy. Pasta Cobb Salad is a delightful twist on the classic Cobb salad. Incorporating pasta into the salad give you an extra dose of hearty comfort and satisfaction. It’s the perfect meal as the weather warms up and it only takes 30 minutes to make.

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Tips for Digestive Health

Did you know that gut health is connected to the health of the rest of your body? Your gut is filled with trillions of bacteria that play positive roles, such as aiding digestion and protecting against infection. Maintaining digestive wellness is important for our overall well-being. Unfortunately, 60–70 million Americans suffer from digestive diseases, such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, and Crohn’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.*

Today let’s discuss ways to encourage digestive health. Choosing how you eat is uniquely personal. It’s about your needs, your preferences, and your goals. As a wellness supporter, I’m in your corner with fresh ideas, recipes, and wellness encouragement. Hopefully, today’s discussion will make it easier to shift toward wiser food choices. It’s all about you, at your very best.

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Pork Chops in Garlic Mushroom Sauce

This is a tasty entree that is a 30-minute meal and fancy enough for company. The mushroom sauce is wonderful not only for the pork but also for your side dish. Mashed potatoes, rice, or pasta would work well with it. You can use bone-in or boneless pork chops. I personally prefer bone-in as I think they have more flavor. Make sure to adjust cooking times based on the thickness of your pork chops. Bone-in will also take a bit longer to cook. Using a digital thermometer, the internal temperature should be 145F.

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Grilled Marinated Chicken With Apple Salsa

It’s May, and I’m ready to grill chicken. Last October I shared a recipe for Crunchy Apple Salsa with its sweet heat. It is a perfect addition to grilled meat. Today I’d like to discuss a great marinated grilled chicken. The marinade is a mixture of white wine, apple juice, lime zest, and black pepper. Together the salsa topped grilled chicken breasts make a wonderful and easy main course.

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Green Avocado & Spinach Smoothie

When I first started blogging some years ago, I started the day with a smoothie almost every morning. A few years later, I just got tired of it. My smoothies had almost disappeared in my breakfast menu ideas. Oatmeal became the main morning dish for breakfast. Recently I have again made the choice to add smoothies as a healthy, delicious morning choice. I like to have one for breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snack.

Back in the early days of blogging (2016), I shared Start Your Day With A Spinach Smoothie. I think it was the first recipe I shared. Spinach is one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat.  It is a super food loaded with tons of nutrients in a low-calorie package. Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals. Just do a search for the word spinach and you will see pages of articles  on the health benefits of spinach. Just eating one serving of spinach a day can make your brain 11 years younger.  A diet rich in leafy green vegetables help prevent cognitive decline according to recent research.   It slows the aging process.

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Easy Black Bean Dip

Beans are great. They’re delicious, filling and packed with good-for-you nutrients like vitamins, fiber and protein. Black beans are among the most frequently consumed legumes around the world. They’re considered nutritional powerhouses that are rich in plant-based protein, fiber, and antioxidants that help manage blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels. They retain their shape and texture well, so they’re perfect to use in stews, soups, dips, and salads. You can use canned drained beans to cut down on cooking time, but you’ll save money cooking your own using dried beans. Add flavor by simmering dried beans with an onion, garlic, herbs, or dried chiles. For this recipe, I would cook them until they’re very soft and almost falling apart. Drain them and allow them to cool slightly before you blend up the dip, and save the bean liquid. Use it instead of the water.  For more information on the health benefits and instructions on cooking dried beans, see Health Benefits of Nutritious Beans.

There are two things I like to have in my refrigerator at all times – hummus and lemons or limes.  In the past, I have shared several hummus recipes including Black Bean Hummus. I have several friends who cannot eat hummus because of the tahini (crushed sesame seeds). For those friends, I make black bean dip.

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