Blog Bites II

In case you missed it:

Let’s start this one off with a super healthy pick!

I can’t sing enough praise for these Salmon Burgers from Mark Bittman, via Circle B Kitchen (photographed uncooked). I served the pan-seared burgers on whole wheat buns with a sauce consisting of: 2% plain Greek yogurt, canola oil mayonnaise, country style Dijon mustard, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and salt & pepper. Forget salmon burgers made with the canned fish. Splurge on fresh wild salmon, and you will be blown away! The texture was perfect – tender but meaty – and the flavor was fresh and delicious. John and I both really enjoyed these salmon burgers.

I sucked it up and turned on the oven to make Kerstin’s Summer Veggie Lasagna with Goat Cheese Sauce from Cake, Batter, and Bowl. C’mon, goat cheese sauce? I was sold just from reading the recipe title. I opted to omit the chicken, and instead added in a few handfuls of fresh baby spinach (tossed with the hot cooked zucchini and onion until wilted), as well as some chopped drained artichoke hearts (canned & packed in water). This veggie lasagna was so fantastic that I went back for seconds, and enjoyed leftovers cold for lunch the following week (I halved the recipe). I don’t often save recipes to make again, but this winner is definitely going straight into my binder! Well done, Kerstin, well done :).

*A quick tip for making lasagna: alternate the direction you place the lasagna noodles with each layer. In other words, place noodles for the first layer horizontally in the dish, top with your filling of choice, sauce, and cheese, and then top with a layer of noodles placed vertically. Repeat from the beginning. This technique will ensure that the lasagna stays together when you cut it.

I made a big batch of Angela’s High Protein Quinoa Almond Berry Salad from Oh She Glows, adding just a touch of extra virgin olive oil to the dressing for richness and a dose of healthy fat. Sweet, juicy, chewy, crunchy, and satisfying, this salad features a trifecta of ripe fresh summer fruit: cherries, strawberries, and blueberries.

I wish I had found Five Star Foodie‘s Black Forest Smoothie at the beginning of summer, because I definitely would have made it many times over the course of the season. I used my favorite organic sweet red cherries from Trader Joe’s (which I pitted and froze the night before), TJ’s vanilla almond milk, Fage Greek yogurt, regular ol’ unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1 Tbsp vanilla agave nectar. This is one fantastic smoothie! If you’re on the fence about combining fruit with chocolate, give this smoothie a try and I bet you’ll be swayed over to the fan side ;).

There’s room for indulgence in any healthy lifestyle, and the following recipe fits the bill perfectly.

When I was asked to bring a dessert to our friends’ BBQ a couple of weeks ago, my mind immediately went to these Puffy Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips from Jessica of How Sweet It Is. Soft, chewy, pillowy, and chock full of chocolate chips, these peanut butter cookies were an enticing indulgence. They were a big hit!

I stocked some in the freezer for “emergencies” ;).

As soon as I read Sues’ post on We Are Not Martha for her Cinnamon Toast Crunch Ice Cream, I knew I simply had to make my own version. I used 1% and whole milk, 1/3 cup evaporated cane juice, 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract, and 2 tsp cinnamon. One other modification I made was to simply sprinkle the ice “cream” with crumbled Three Sisters Cinnamon Sweets cereal in place of making the cereal brittle. At some point I would like to make the decadent original recipe, as the real deal almost always tastes better than the reduced-fat-and-sugar version… but this healthier take on Sues’ genius idea was still delicious!

And there concludes the second installment of Blog Bites.

*If you’re on the east coast – stay safe this weekend with the impending hurricane (first an earthquake, and now a hurricane? Really?). John and were living in Houston during Hurricane Ike, so I am well-versed with “hunkering down”.*

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