Dining with the Doc: Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad

Welcome the arrival of fall with my Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad.  This dish uses Tuscan kale (also known as lacinato or dinosaur kale) but if you can’t find it, you can use curly kale.  The kale is paired with apples, which are in season this time of year, as well as dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and almonds.  The salad is topped off with shaved Piave, which is an Italian cheese that adds a nice salty bite. 

Because the kale is raw, when you add the dressing, massage it into the leaves.  It will not only help the kale absorb the dressing, it will also help break down the leaves and tenderize them.  To read all about the nutritional benefits of kale, CLICK HERE.   

Tuscan Kale and Apple Salad
Makes 4 servings

1 bunch (10 ounces) Tuscan (also called Lacinato) kale
1 medium apple like Fuji or Honeycrisp, diced
2 tablespoons reduced-sugar dried cranberries
4 teaspoons sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 ounce firm cheese like Piave, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Manchego, shaved with a vegetable peeler

1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

To make the dressing, whisk the vinegar, mustard, honey and oil together in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To make the salad, remove the kale leaves from the stems and discard the stems.  Slice the leaves thinly (you should have about 5 cups).  Place the kale in a salad bowl and add the dressing.  Massage the dressing into the kale, coating all of the leaves well.  This will help the kale absorb the dressing and also help tenderize the leaves.  Add the apple, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds and almonds and toss to combine.  Sprinkle the cheese on top and serve.    

One serving: Calories 206; Fat 11.8g (Sat 2.5g); Protein 6.5g; Carb 20.7g; Fiber 3.7g; Sodium 181mg


Dining with the Doc: Blackberry Chia Jam

Making homemade jam has never been easier!  Before the summer officially ends, why not preserve the sweet flavor of your favorite berries by making a batch of jam?  Homemade jam typically requires a lot of time and equipment.  In order to get it to thicken properly, you usually have to use a thickening agent like pectin along with a significant amount of sugar.  My quick and easy Blackberry Chia Jam will take you only about 15 minutes to make and it uses the natural gelling properties of chia seeds.

Yes, chia seeds come from the chia plant, which rose to popularity in the 80s with the chia pet.  It turns out that chia seeds have a wealth of health benefits.  They are one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 fatty acids of any food. They also are packed with fiber and antioxidants.  In addition, they're a good source of protein and several other nutrients.  To read more about the health benefits of chia seeds, CLICK HERE.  

Besides all of its incredible health benefits, chia also has an amazing gelling property.  It absorbs liquids so when added to food like this homemade jam, it thickens it naturally in just minutes.  Because the chia acts as a thickening agent, you can use much less sugar than traditional jam.  I use a small amount of maple syrup to sweeten it but you can use honey, sugar or any sweetener of your choice and adjust to taste.  This recipe will work well with any berries including strawberries, blueberries or raspberries.  Try it- you’ll be so amazed at the results, you'll never buy jam again!     

Blackberry Chia Jam
Makes about 1 ½ cups jam

1 pound fresh blackberries (can substitute blueberries, strawberries or raspberries)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¼ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons chia seeds

Heat the blackberries in a saucepan over medium heat.  Simmer 6-7 minutes until the berries start to soften and break down.  Mash the berries lightly with a potato masher or fork, leaving some chunks.  Stir in the lemon juice, maple syrup and chia seeds and cook for a few more minutes, stirring often.  Turn the heat off and let the mixture cool.  As it cools, the jam will thicken.  Store jam in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

One serving (2 tablespoons): Calories 46; Fat 0.9g (Sat 0.1g); Protein 1g; Carb 9.3g; Fiber 3g; Sodium 1mg


Dining with the Doc: Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Popsicles

Here in south Florida, popsicles are a year round treat. But for a lot of you popsicle season will be ending soon.  So before the cool weather arrives,  make a batch of these Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Popsicles and celebrate the remaining days of summer in style!

Lemon Raspberry Buttermilk Popsicles
Makes 8 popsicles

1 1/2 cups low fat buttermilk
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons honey or sweetener of your choice
1 cup raspberries

Whisk the buttermilk, lemon juice and honey together in a bowl.  Pour the mixture into eight 3-oz popsicle molds.  Place the raspberries in a bowl and crush them with a fork until pureed.  Spoon equal amounts of the raspberry puree into the popsicle molds.  Using a chopstick, carefully push the raspberry puree down into the buttermilk mixture, trying not to mix it in too much (if you mix it too much, the popsicles will turn pink).  Place the popsicle sticks into the popsicles, 
cover and freeze for 2-3 hours until solid.  Alternatively, if you don’t have popsicle molds, you can use small paper cups.

To unmold, dip the popsicle molds in warm water and then pull the popsicles out. Enjoy!

One serving: Calories 60; Fat 0.5g (Sat 0.3g); Protein 1.8g; Carb 13.3g; Fiber 1g; Sodium 48mg


Dining with the Doc: Super Fast Peach Frozen Yogurt

A couple of weeks ago I posted a One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream recipe- a quick and easy ice cream recipe using only fresh bananas.  Since then I’ve been on a quest for more healthy dessert recipes.  Let’s face it, it’s hard to find easy, guilt-free dessert recipes that also taste great.  That’s why I’m really excited about my Super Fast Peach Frozen Yogurt.  This delicious treat simply involves putting frozen peaches, Greek yogurt, honey and a bit of lemon juice into a food processor and blending until smooth and creamy.  You only need five minutes and the end result is a creamy, luscious treat that the whole family will love.  It’s hard to believe it’s so easy to prepare- no ice cream maker needed. 

Fresh peaches supply a rich dose of Vitamin C as well as a good amount of several other nutrients like fiber, Vitamin A, potassium and niacin.  Along with the peaches, I also use Greek yogurt.  You may have heard that I'm a big fan of Greek yogurt and have a book out now called The Greek Yogurt Diet.  Greek yogurt adds a creamy texture along with a boost of protein, calcium and probiotics, which are beneficial for your digestive health.  To read my blog post about the health benefits of Greek yogurt, CLICK HERE.

I prefer my frozen yogurt on the tart side so I sweeten mine with only a small amount of honey.  You can use your sweetener of choice and adjust the amount to your taste.  Eat it right away if you prefer the texture of soft serve frozen yogurt.  If you like a firmer texture, freeze it for a couple of hours first.  You can also try this recipe with other fruits like strawberries or mango. This dish is a great one to make with your kids.  They’ll love how quickly it comes together and you’ll love how good it is for them! 

Super Fast Peach Frozen Yogurt 
Makes 4 servings 

16 ounces frozen peaches (do not defrost)
½ cup vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons honey or sweetener of your choice
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Place all of the ingredients into the bowl of a large food processor.  

Blend, scraping down the sides occasionally, until it forms a creamy, smooth mixture.  This should take about 4-5 minutes.  

At this point the frozen yogurt can be served and will have the texture of soft serve.  For a firmer texture, transfer the mixture to a freezer container and freeze for an hour or two before serving. 

One serving: Calories 104; Fat 0.2g (Sat 0g); Protein 4.2g; Carb 23.5g; Fiber 1.7g; Sodium 14mg



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