Salads & Sides

Tempeh Salad with Dijon, Greek Yogurt and Nooch!

When I first saw Grace’s recipe for “Tofu Eggless Salad” I was bummed because I really dislike tofu, but I loved the recipe. So I thought… I’ll use tempeh! Right away I googled, “Can you eat raw tempeh?!”. I knew the answer had to be yes because after all it is a vegetable (a bean, to be precise) but I wasn’t sure if it was normal to eat it raw. I soon found that while it may not be the norm to eat raw tempeh, it’s been done before and it’s not too strange. That’s how this recipe came to fruition.Tempeh Salad with Dijon, Greek Yogurt and Nooch! 2

Tempeh Salad with Dijon, Greek Yogurt and Nooch!


  • 8 ounces tempeh **
  • ½ cup plain Greek Yogurt (or vegan mayo)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup olives (I used green)
  • 3 Tbsp. parsley
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp. turmeric
  • ¼ tsp. smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Pepper to taste


  1. Chop the tempeh into small chunks (~1/4 inch) and add to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well-incorporated. Scoop onto your favorite bread, serve and enjoy!


** This is a low FODMAPs recipe, but tempeh does give me some gas and bloating (Sorry, but it’s true). While tempeh may be considered “low FODMAPs”, eat with caution!

Once I made this, I couldn’t stop eating it. I grabbed one of our giant forks from the drawer (the fork I typically use for large salads or to serve large meats) and I dug in. HA! NOTE: I actually grated my carrots into strips, but I would recommend shopping for them to make this easier to eat.Tempeh Salad with Dijon, Greek Yogurt and Nooch! 3

I packed this in my lunch for a couple of days, without any bread. I enjoyed every bite. And of course, it tasted amazing on an English Muffin.Tempeh Salad with Dijon, Greek Yogurt and Nooch! 4

Nutrition Highlights
(Serving Size: 1/5th of recipe)

Under 150 calories

Excellent source of vitamin A

A good source of protein, and iron

Have a great day!

Salads & Sides

Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites

We had Easter brunch at my parent’s house this year. I was asked to bring a vegetable, but I decided to bring a vegetable and a gluten free dessert because I actually had extra time this week to bake! Both my mom and I both try to avoid wheat, and my aunt, uncle, and cousin are completely gluten free, so I figured I might as well bring a tasty gluten free treat. My dad’s birthday was on Wednesday and I also wanted to make something that he would enjoy. I thought about attempting a gluten free carrot cake (his favorite dessert) but soon realized that would likely take more time than I had (I would have had to make time for a test run!). I also thought about making raw carrot cake bites, which I had made for a party earlier in the week, but I figured my dad wouldn’t be happy with this “pseudo carrot cake” (although they were fantastic).Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 6Instead I decided to make lemon squares.

I found this recipe for easy lemon squares on (my knew favorite recipe website) and simply modified it by using brown rice flour instead of all-purpose wheat flour. VOILA! Gluten free (and whole grain!)Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 7Hint: When you make these bars use a glass dish so you can make sure that the crust is even when you press it down. If the crust isn’t even then the filling won’t be even either, and you’ll end up with a half over-baked and half under-baked batch of lemon bars. Take it from me, it’s not fun.Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 8These bars were delicious. They were so delicious that Nick even ate my failed batch! While they would have tasted better right out of the oven (or at least somewhat warm), even after being cooled with 24-hours they were packed with lemon flavor and a starchy/sweet aftertaste.Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 9I also made a spinach salad. Who doesn’t like a spinach salad on Easter Sunday?!

Easter Spinach Salad
(Serves 6)


6 cups raw baby spinach
6 hard-boiled eggs
1/2 large red onion, sliced
1.5 cups raw mushrooms, sliced
1 cup of your favorite croutons
Dressing of your choice, we used a balsamic vinaigrette (hot bacon dressing is the best!)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in the order shown above.
Enjoy.Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 10No Easter ends without some good chocolate. My Aunt JoAnn made chocolate peanut butter eggs (with dark chocolate. Shhh…don’t tell Nick!). They were sinfully delicious and I may have had three. She also made chocolate coconut “nests”. Cute, right??Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 11QUESTION: What is your favorite Easter candy (or if you don’t celebrate Easter, what’s your favorite Spring dessert)? Least favorite Easter candy? Mine favorite is the humble PEEP (although it’s no longer unique as an Easter candy because you can get them throughout the year). My least favorite Easter candy is jelly beans (aside from the Starbust ones!).Easter Day: Spinach Salad, Simple Gluten Free Lemon Bars, and Raw Carrot Cake Bites 12

Salads & Sides

Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day

How was your holiday? Did you enjoy family time and good food? I know I sure did! Here is a brief recap;

Christmas Eve at Nick’s mom’s houseCranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 14Nick, freaking out over his fantasy football scores (literally the entire Christmas Eve day)Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 15The best Christmas tree ornaments, EVER!Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 16And the prize for the most content and relaxed dog of the year goes to….the Japanese Shin; SAKE (as in the Japanese alcoholic beverage)Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 17And our family must really think (ahem, know) we love beer, because they bought us a beer Christmas ornament, AND……Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 18A beer-making kit with all the ingredients to make a couple special brews!!Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 19Yesterday, Christmas day, we went to my aunt and uncle’s house. Because my aunt, uncle, and cousin are all gluten free, and I try to limit my intake of wheat and gluten, I try to bring gluten-free recipes to most family gatherings. This year I brought a winter cilantro and cranberry quinoa salad (as well as some very non-gluten-free pepperoni bread for my family members who just love gluten!). The quinoa recipe was found on my favorite recipe website; I made a couple modifications based on what I had in my kitchen.

Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Serve ~ 6


  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped (I used all green pepper)
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped( I used all green pepper)
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped **
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds(I used toasted walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

** NOTE: Omit the onions to make this lower-FODMAPs


  1. Pour the water into a saucepan, and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then pour in the quinoa, recover, and continue to simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Scrape into a mixing bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  2. Once cold, stir in the green bell pepper, red onion, curry powder, cilantro, lime juice, sliced walnuts, carrots, and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 20Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 21

It was delicious. I’ll definitely be making it again.

For dessert on Christmas day I had some buckeyes and my favorite festive dessert; rocky road fudge! My aunt wants to make these buckeyes for our wedding. I had to taste two of them to make sure they were good enough for the special occasion Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad on Christmas Day 22Have a great week everyone. I’ll be back Wednesday with a great appetizer idea for the New Year, and then Friday with another “Make This Your New Year’s Resolution” post.

Salads & Sides

Salad in a Pill?

The other day I met someone who was eager to share his diet with me. He quickly whipped out a sheet from his pocket, which listed all of the fruits and vegetables he consumed on that particular day. I was so excited! The list included several cups of cantaloupe, a couple handfuls of spinach, some tomato and broccoli. Considering some of the diets I’ve seen during my time as an RD, I was immensely impressed. Soon afterwards I realized he was actually showing me what was “in his multivitamin”. He was taking something that claimed to provide the equivalent amount of nutrients as all of those fruits and veggies in one pill. Yikes.Salad in a Pill? 24

Source: iStock Photo

I didn’t really know what to say….but a lot went through my mind:

1) Wouldn’t you rather eat those foods?! They are so delicious! Ok, so maybe I’m biased because I’m an RD and I happen to love all fruits and vegetables, but come on, the thought of taking all of that good food in the form of a pill is like taking a dose of caffeine instead of drinking a delicious cup of coffee….it just doesn’t make sense!

2) There is a reason why RDs and other health professionals recommend that you space your meals out and not consume too many calories in one sitting. Our bodies just can’t absorb all of those nutrients at once. While it probably won’t harm him, he’s likely wasting his money (although he could be spacing out his multivitamin dose, I didn’t ask).

3) Most supplements or other foods, which claim to provide an amount of nutrients that are equivalent to fruits and vegetables, are forgetting something very important; FIBER! Now I can’t speak for all supplements, because I haven’t researched all of them, but thus far I have yet to find a similar supplement that claims to contain “XYZ fruits and veggies” and which actually has the equivalent amount of fiber (unless it’s something like maltodextrin or polydextrose, which in my opinion just isn’t the same).Salad in a Pill? 25

Source: iStock Photo

4) Did you know that there are thousands of health-promoting plant compounds that are lurking in our produce, which have yet to be discovered? Do you really think that scientists have found each and every nutrient that plays a role in protecting our body from disease? Do you really think that the makers of such supplements have included every tiny nutrient that is in broccoli, melon, spinach, etc. into their product? My point is that there is a synergy that exists among the thousands of nutrients (many still unknown) found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods. They work together in a way that increases their effectiveness and makes them do their job even better! Does that synergy exist in products like these? Likely not.

5) In a recent article from Nutrition Action Healthletter, the concept of taking a lycopene pill to prevent prostate cancer was discussed. It was concluded that while the lycopene pill won’t necessarily hurt you, it will not benefit you to take these pills instead of eating tomatoes. Once again, there are unknown compounds in tomatoes that are likely working with the lycopene to provide their protective benefits.

Bottom Line: Use supplements as they are intended to be used; to supplement the diet, and fill in the gaps. Do not use them to make up for an unhealthy diet, because it just won’t work. Are products, such as the one this guy was taking, harmful? No, but they could indirectly be harmful if you are neglecting fruits and vegetables because of them.Salad in a Pill? 26

Source: iStock Photo

QUESTION: Have you enjoyed any farmer’s markets yet this season? What about any locally-grown produce in your supermarket?

Salads & Sides

This Is What Makes Me Happy

It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Walking into a clean house after a long day of work makes me happy. Seeing my mother smile, makes me happy. Having someone tell me, “I helped save his marriage”, makes me happy (Apparently I taught this guy something about nutrition he had always fought with his wife about. Now that he knows the truth, he said, there will be no more fights!).

Coming up with a simple meal for dinner, makes me happy.This Is What Makes Me Happy 28

Spinach salad with raw spinach, 3 ounces cooked organic chicken, 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked carrots, balsamic vinegar, and a touch of blue cheese dressing.

Coming up with a healthy recipe for Nick’s lunches, which also includes some calcium (something that is lacking in his diet), makes me happy.This Is What Makes Me Happy 29

This is similar to the chicken salad recipe I posted last week. I cooked 5 small red skin potatoes, cut them up and added them to a large bowl. Then I added 2 hard-boiled eggs, 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, ~2 tsp cumin, ~1/8 tsp salt, and LOTS OF PEPPER!

Having a fridge filled with good beer makes me happy.This Is What Makes Me Happy 30

The Great Lakes Brewing Company makes some of the best beer available in the world. Seriously. Their Octoberfest beer is almost as good as their Christmas ale. ALMOST.

Question: What has made you happy recently?

Salads & Sides

Popsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!!

Yesterday was the most difficult day I have had in a very long time. I was hoping to hear about my job, but I didn’t. I sat by the phone and my computer all day, literally (because I had nothing else to do…..) and nothing happened. No call, no e-mail. I was told I would hear by today, but it’s just not looking good for me. I’m assuming I didn’t get the job, so I’m back on the hunt for another

Despite my long, torturous day yesterday, one good thing did happen. Check it out! I scored 4 large cans of PUMPKIN!! I met up with someone yesterday who reads my blog and she brought these to me because she had read my sad posts about missing my canned pumpkin (she had some left over from when they actually existed in stores!). Thanks Meloni!! I will be enjoying these for at least the next month, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m planning on making some pumpkin oats right after I hit “Publish”.Popsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!! 32

In more food news, I’ve been making a lot of popsicles lately (you may have noticed….). I think I really like these because they are already portioned and ready to be served and consumed. Two nights ago I made my simple vanilla fro yo recipe, and added unsweetened cocoa powder, crushed graham crackers, and chunks of chocolate. Before putting the batch in the freezer to harden, I added some to my popsicle molds.Popsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!! 33

As you can see I didn’t even fill the molds. I thought I would make smaller ones! I had also added frozen blueberries to the bottom (see below).Popsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!! 34

Final product: DELICIOUSPopsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!! 35

Here’s the fro yo. Check out the chunks of graham cracker and chocolate! All I need to do next is add some marshmallows and make S’more fro yo.Popsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!! 36

Aside from my serious fro yo addiction (actually our serious fro yo addiction) I’ve been making a lot of salads lately. I tend to go through a salad faze during this time of the year (soup in winter, salad in spring/summer). I first marinated some salmon in low sodium soy sauce and raspberry vinaigrette. Then I cooked the salmon on a skillet on top of the stove. Next I created my very simple salad; romaine lettuce and slices of kiwi.Popsicles, Salad, and PUMPKIN!!! 37

I then added the salmon on top and topped the salad with even more raspberry vinaigrette. On top of that I crushed some black pepper (a must on all of my salads). Perfection!

Coming Up

Monday I will post another video blog. This time I will be talking about how to choose a good granola! Hopefully I will also have a job update for you. It may be sad

Is anyone going to graduation parties this weekend? We have one tonight. It should take my mind off of this whole job thing for a couple hours. Hopefully.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Salads & Sides

Our Own Farmer’s Market

Since the last time I posted about our garden (aka “The Forster Farmer’s Market”) we’ve been busy working to get it finished. After tilling all of the dirt we added pebbles for drainage purposes. We only added a very thin layer, barely enough to cover every square inch.Our Own Farmer’s Market 39

Then we opened the bags of topsoil, which I thought looked a lot like a giant brownie. Doesn’t it? I wanted to eat it but Nick wouldn’t allow me to. hahaOur Own Farmer’s Market 40

We added one layer….Our Own Farmer’s Market 41

Then another layer….Our Own Farmer’s Market 42

And then we added the Organic Gardening Soil.Our Own Farmer’s Market 43Our Own Farmer’s Market 44

Last, but certainly NOT least, we planted our seeds! We recorded each fruit and vegetable with a permanent marker on our fence. We hadn’t thought to buy any tags to mark which row contained which seeds, so the permanent marker was our best bet. I think it’ll work just fine.Our Own Farmer’s Market 45

We planted winter squash, pumpkins, cantaloupe, bell peppers, cilantro, broccoli, kale, and spinach. Yeah, we are going to have a TON of food!! This is why we are calling it a Farmer’s Market. I just know we’ll be selling (well, giving away!) some goods in the future.

On the side of our house we planted some herbs. We didn’t plant these in our garden because we planted them before our garden was ready. They were about to die and they needed planted ASAP.Our Own Farmer’s Market 46

Garlic chives, English thyme, and common sage

I recently made another batch of my summer/spring salsa, but this time I added some fresh grown Ohio corn! I can’t get enough of it. Do you like corn on the cob? I do. Nick hates that is gets stuck in his teeth, but that doesn’t bother me. I’m not deathly afraid of FLOSS like he is….Our Own Farmer’s Market 47

We’ve been making some fires in our fire pit lately. Clearly we need a new one because this one is cracked, but it still works and we’re loving it. Each night we just sit by the fire and drink one of our favorite wheat beers; Paulaner (I can drink wheat in the form of beer because it’s already fermented, therefore it won’t ferment again in my intestines and cause gas and bloating). With Nick’s new job he is not working nights as often as he used to. I really love it. Now all I need is a job of my own  I’m supposed to hear about my job by Saturday.Our Own Farmer’s Market 48

Coming Up

On Saturday I will be posting a job update. By that time I will have heard about my job (good or bad) and I plan on spilling the beans about what the job is, and hopefully all the good details. I will also post a new summer/spring salad.

Thanks for reading everyone! Have a great end of the week.

Salads & Sides

Food Revolution Review, and My Tuna Salad Recipe!

This month has been crazy, and it’s getting crazier each day! This week I have the 5k race I’ve been planning for the past several months, and then we are going straight to Cincinnati (down south) for one of Nick’s friend’s 30th birthday. We’re going to the river boats, which are packed with crazy casinos. I probably won’t do a lot of gambling, but it will still be fun to get out of town for a night. Then the following week we MOVE! I’m excited, but also very nervous. We’re going to be very poor for a while. Oh well, we’ll be so busy working on the house it won’t even matter!
Did you watch Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution last week? I finished watching it on Saturday morning. It wasn’t quite as interesting as the last episode, but I’ve still got a few things to say.


  • I love how Jamie decided to go straight to a major source of entertainment and information for the community. Not the senators, but the most popular radio DJ, Rod. What a great idea. Even though Rod was completely against the idea at first (although I think that might have been an act for the show….) he got everyone on Jamie’s side eventually and he helped get 1000 people involved in the revolution. Fantastic.
  • I love how Jamie dressed up like a green bean (or a pea pod??) at the beginning of the show. As stupid as he looked, it’s actually suggested that in order to get your children to eat more fruits and veggies you should make it fun and entertaining. Associating fruits and veggies with cartoons or other fun characters is actually a great idea. Heck, it worked for McDonald’s!
  • The trip to the morgue was a great way to open Rod’s eyes (and America’s eyes) to the seriousness of the obesity epidemic. Did you see that casket?! Goodness.
  • Jamie was pushing the use of frozen vegetables. I loved it.Jamie is a well known and respected chef, so to see him using frozen vegetables is really fantastic. I love frozen vegetables. They are so delicious, convenient, and they are frozen at their peak freshness.
  • That dance they did in the park. WOW!!! I wanted to be in the dance myself!! It looked like so much fun!


  • I’ve only got one dislike, but it’s a big one. Where are all the tips and suggestions?? This entire show has been about what is wrongwith the city and what needs to be done to help people get healthier, but I have not heard any tips on cooking and eating healthier. Yeah, Jamie throws out a few suggestions here and there, but I want him to teach the TV audience too! He keeps saying, “you can cook cheap and healthy meals that don’t take very long”, but how?? Jamie, you need to provide more tips! I kept waiting for some fantastic information about what to buy, how to save money when shopping for ingredients, how to choose a good recipe, how to choose a lean cut of meat/poultry, but I heard nothing! Maybe this is coming up in future episodes?? I saw him use a real block of parmesan cheese, but is this something that people in this city (and other cities in America) can afford to buy? I know that sounds odd, but real parmesan cheese is expensive, and it goes bad fairly quick! He needs to throw out tips such as, “try the already shredded parmesan cheese if you wish! The taste is similar, and the price is lower, and it lasts much longer!”.

Question: What were your thoughts on last week’s episode?

Quick, Healthy, and Cheap Recipe #20
Tuna Fish Sandwich

(1 Serving)
6 ounces Albacore tuna
6 t plain Greek yogurt
2 t regular mayo
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 t pepper

Possible Modifications

  • Use any kind of tuna you wish (in water please). Albacore has more omega-3, but light tuna may have less mercury. Choose your battle.
  • Use regular yogurt instead of Greek
  • Use light or fat free mayo
  • Add more walnuts or use almonds, peanuts, or pine nuts
  • Add any spices you wish
  • Add avocado, celery, egg, raisins, or dried cranberries (I didn’t do this because these ingredients give me stomach problems. Bummer, I know)Food Revolution Review, and My Tuna Salad Recipe! 50 My Rating: 8 out of 10

It would have been better on a piece of bread, but since I have yet to find any bread that I can eat, the bread in the picture was just for show. I ate this on it’s own.Food Revolution Review, and My Tuna Salad Recipe! 51Nutrition Facts
(These nutrition facts do not include the bread)

 Coming Up

Tomorrow I will post about some foods that you may think are “healthy” but which may not be as healthy as you thought. The point is not to discourage you from eating these foods, but to make you more aware of the ingredients on food labels and how companies try to trick you into thinking their foods are superior.

Have a great day everyone! Thanks for reading.