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Almonds are becoming many people’s favorite nut, consumption has risen by 11 percent per year in the past 6 years. But then, they DO have a lot of health benefits, when included as part of a balanced eating plan. They can help lower LDL, or “bad,” cholesterol and help promote a healthy weight. They also contain the antioxidant vitamin E, magnesium, protein and fiber, as well as calcium.
Try this salad –
Quinoa with Almonds, Feta and Summer Vegetables
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
3 ounces cubed feta cheese
1/2 cup sliced almonds, (optional – roast them for an even nuttier taste)
1/2 pint cherry or small plum tomatoes, halved
1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 small zucchini, trimmed and diced
2 scallions (spring onions), diced
or salad dressing to taste
Place quinoa in a medium pot and rinse with water. Strain out water; add broth and turn heat to high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered until quinoa is cooked and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Cool and toss gently with feta, almonds, vegetables and vinaigrette.
Make it even more low carb
Replace the quinoa with spiralised zucchini. If you have a spiraliser, then turn your zucchini into spirals, cook in boiling broth or water for 3 to 5 minutes, until al dente, that is, like pasta, still with a bit of a crunch!
They’re not just for guacamole anymore. Use avocados to make great dishes into extraordinary ones, adding taste, lively color and a creamy texture to ordinary dishes. From pizza to salads to sandwiches, avocados add that little something special to your recipes.
When choosing your avocados, look for one that will be ready at the time you will need it. To determine the ripeness of an avocado, gently squeeze the fruit-a ripe fruit will yield to gentle pressure. Avocados also turn dark green to black as they ripen.
If you are buying avocados for future use, purchase firm fruit and avoid any with external blemishes.
To ripen an avocado,
If your avocado is not ready when you need it, place it in a paper bag with an apple for two to three days at room temperature (apples accelerate the process by giving off ethylene gas, a ripening agent). This also works for tomatoes and bananas.
They can be stored in a refrigerator or freezer for later use.
Like all fruit, wash the avocado before cutting it. Cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed and twist the two halves in opposite directions to separate them from the seed, then you can slip a spoon between the seed and the fruit in order to work the seed out. Finally, Slip the spoon between the skin and the fruit to scoop the “meat” away from the peel. By the way, you can grow the avocado seed by suspending it with its base in water. Use cocktail sticks stuck partly into the seed, in order to suspend it over a container of water. This makes a great science experiment for children and is interesting for adults too.
If mashing avocados, add 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice per 1/2 mashed avocado to prevent discoloration and lay plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture before covering.
You can refrigerate this mixture for up to two days or store in the freezer for up to two months.
Don’t just mash and eat your avocados, though, you can also add them to sandwiches and use them in desserts too!
Broccoli salad is a very versatile dish that can be made in an endless variety of ways as part of a healthy and enjoyable diet.
Basically you can add just about anything you want to your broccoli but here are some of the most popular ingredients:
1. Broccoli – of course. Choose fresh firm heads. You will probably need two of these for an average sized salad. Chop the stem off and cut the florettes into bite sized pieces.
2. Chopped vegetables. Choose your favorites, these could include onion, celery, carrots and cauliflower. The carrots and cauliflower add contrasting color to the mix, so just add as much as you like until it looks like a good mix.
3. You may wish to add some protein too. Crispy cooked bacon is a popular choice. Crumble it after it is cooked and cooled. You could also add cheese, cubed, crumbled or shredded. Try different colors and flavors of cheese to add more color and variety. You might want to try a blue veined cheese or a red one or good cheddar.
4. Fruit is a good addition too, either dried or fresh. For fresh fruit, try adding grapes, cranberries, chopped apple or mandarin orange pieces. The dried fruit is often raisins, though any dried fruit would do.
5. Nuts and seeds. You can add more protein and a bit of a cruch with nuts and seeds, such as sunflower seeds or walnuts, almonds, cashews and hazelnuts. Alternatively for a quick and tasty addition, add a pack of trail mix.
6. Salad dressing. Basic oil and vinegar vinaigrette is fine but you can also spice this up with different types of vinegar or added spices. You could also use any commercial style salad dressing of your choice.
7. Little extras. If you really want to make your broccoli salad different, add a few extras. These could include canned vegetable such as peas, corn or beans (black, kidney, garbanzo, waxed, etc.).
Other fresh veggies like mushrooms, chives, bean sprouts, green beans, cucumber and bell peppers.
You could also try seafood (but probably omit the bacon in this case) such as shrimp, scallops, salmon, or calamari.
To make up your salad, mix all the fruit and vegetables together in a large bowl and add the dressing. Refrigerate for a couple of hours or overnight. Add any cheese, bacon or seafood just before serving and stir up the salad again.