Monthly Archives: July 2012

Thai Chicken Strawberry Salad

I have a confession to make. It has now been a week since I last worked out.
I hurt my back doing some yard work last weekend and just walking has been so painful that I couldn’t imagine going for a run. A combination of ibuprofen and muscle relaxers is the only thing that has kept me upright.
I think this is the longest I have gone without a good workout since I started my journey in early 2010. As someone who was a complete, die-hard couch potato for a good 20 years prior to that, I never thought I would say this, but I have seriously missed my gym time this week.
I have found myself feeling moody, consistently stressed out, and lacking energy. These are all classic symptoms of workout withdrawal. It has just served to reinforce the importance of regular activity, whatever form that activity might take. Besides being essential to a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise is a proven stress-reliever, mood enhancer, and energy booster.
The good news is that my back is feeling better, not quite 100% but well enough that I can at least start getting back into my routine. So I’m going to sign off here, lace up my shoes and go for a short jog, or at least a brisk walk.
Recipe of the Week
Thai Chicken Strawberry Salad



  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • Fresh ginger root, shredded and squeezed to produce 1 tsp juice
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast tenderloins


  • 5 cups chopped leaf lettuce
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
  • 2 serrano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
  • juice of 2 limes

Whisk together the juice of 1 lime, garlic, and ginger juice. Pour over the chicken, ensuring it is evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate while you prep the rest of the salad.

In a large salad bowl, toss together the lettuce, basil and mint so that it is well combined. Top with the strawberries and peppers. Toast the coconut in a small skillet over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until golden brown then sprinkle over the salad. Sprinkle the cilantro over the top of the salad.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, salt and lime juice.

Grill the chicken breast tenderloins on a propane grill for about 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Let sit for 5 minutes then serve the salad topped with the grilled chicken and drizzled with dressing.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 211.9, Total Fat 12.1g, Cholesterol 8.3mg, Sodium 324.6mg, Total Carbs 15.2g, Dietary Fiber 3.6g, Protein 11.1g

Pistachio Crusted Salmon and Mediterranean Barley Salad


One of the many headlines making news this week was that the FDA has approved another new pill weight loss pill.

Now I will admit up front that, after years of being fat and waiting for that magic pill myself, I firmly believe one does not exist nor will it ever. Yes Virginia, there is no magic pill.

Here’s why… Every few years, a new pill is launched touting its weight loss benefits. However, the way the pills generally work is that you still have to exercise and eat right to realize the full benefits. So for those of you waiting for a pill that will allow you to lose weight while still maintaining your potato-chip loving, couch potato lifestyle — and I used to count myself among you — you are waiting in vain. You are Charlie Brown in the pumpkin patch on Halloween.

I should also point out that generally within a couple of years of a new pill being released it is usually recalled because of dangerous side effects, which in the past have included everything from uncontrollable gas and diarrhea to heart damage to death.

So with the news of this latest magic pill being released, I had to roll my eyes. The only sure cure to obesity is to eat right and move more, and that is a time-tested, proven fact that has never been subject to an FDA recall.

Recipes of the Week


Pistachio Crusted Salmon


  • 1 1/4 lbs. raw salmon filet, with skin still on one side
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup pistachios without shells
  • 2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cedar plank for grilling

Soak the cedar plank in cold water for 1 hour.

Arrange the salmon filet on the plank, skin side down. Whisk together the honey and lemon juice then slowly drizzle over the salmon, patting it into the fish.

Put the pistachios, bread crumbs, olive oil and pepper in a food processor and pulse until the pistachios are chopped and the mixture is crumbly. Pat onto the salmon into a thin layer, ensuring the fish is completely covered.

Cook on the grill on low, covered, for 20-30 minutes. Check often to make sure the plank doesn’t catch the flame from the grill. If so, spray it with water and move so that it isn’t directly over the flame. Make sure the fish is completely cooked through before removing from the grill.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 273.3, Total Fat 12.4g, Cholesterol 106.2mg, Sodium 121.5mg, Total Carbs 9.0g, Dietary Fiber 0.9g, Protein 30.5g

Mediterranean Barley Salad


  • 3/4 cup raw pearl barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 oz. roasted red peppers, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 persian cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 oz. reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey

Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the barley, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the barley is tender and the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool.

Combine the cooled barley, roasted peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, mint and feta cheese in a large salad bowl. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar and honey. Drizzle over the salad mixture and toss to coat everything well. Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings about 3/4 cup each

Nutritional Information: Calories 216.5, Total Fat 4.9g, Cholesterol 2.5mg, Sodium 87.9mg, Total Carbs 39.7g, Dietary Fiber 6.8g, Protein 6.9g


Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin and Carrot Ginger Salad

Today I am celebrating the week’s end with a little commemoration of Bastille Day, the French version of Independence Day. Now before you accuse me of being un-American, let me remind you that the French took inspiration for their revolution against their tyrant king and queen from our own entirely American revolution. I should also note that we, in the infancy of our country’s government, supported and cheered the French peasants from afar, for we didn’t exactly have the treasury then that we do now to support foreign wars.
Had we not succeeded in throwing off the shackles of our English rule, these tenacious French freedom fighters may very well have not had the courage to overthrow their own out-of-touch monarchs. So today I lift up my wine glass to that beautiful country whose food, art, architecture and accents I so admire and say “Vive la France!”
Hey, any excuse to lift my wine glass is a good one.
Recipe of the Week

Honey Garlic Pork Tenderloin


  • 3 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced1/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. pork tenderloin

Whisk together the soy sauce, honey and garlic. Pour over the pork tenderloin and let marinate overnight. Cook the pork tenderloin on a propane grill for 8-10 minutes per side or until cooked through.

Serving Size: Serves 4

(Note that I have halved the nutritional value of the marinade since much of it is discarded after the marinating process.)

Nutritional Information: Calories 269.2, Total Fat 9.3g, Cholesterol 89.6mg, Sodium 235.7mg, Total Carbs 10.2g, Dietary Fiber 2.7g, Protein 33.5mg

Carrot Ginger Salad


  • 4 medium carrots, sliced thinly
  • 6 scallions, sliced thinly into the light green part


  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2″ ginger root, grated and squeezed for its juice
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Blanch the carrots by adding them to boiling water for 1 minute. Drain then plunge into an ice bath and let cool. Drain once cooled. Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Toss with the carrots and scallions. Serve.

Nutritional Information: Calories 90.1, Total Fat 3.6g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 276.2mg, Total Carbs 14.7g, Dietary Fiber 2.4g, Protein 1.1g

Cherry Chipotle Steak and Barley Salad

I am making progress on my endeavor to begin offering cooking classes. At this point, my estimated revenues are so small that I don’t need to worry about licensing, and because I am not selling food I don’t need to worry about having a health inspector out either. However, I do need to get set up with some liability protection in the event, for example, a student slices their finger off with a kitchen knife.
While I am investigating this, my mentor also suggested contacting my local community college to investigate teaching an adult education class there. I wouldn’t have to worry about licensing or liability as the school takes care of that, plus using their facility I could host a larger class size and reach a larger audience which would help my business. So I have another to do on my list.
Did I mention that I work full time in a completely unrelated profession? And that I’m a single mom? Yes, no rest for me at my house. And I’m okay with that, because this is something that I enjoy and it’s more of a passion project than a business endeavor for me at this point. Now, I just need to figure out how to get my passion project to at least pay for itself, or in the wise words of my sister, it needs to be able to change its own diaper. And more hours in the day would be nice.
Recipe of the Week
Cherry Chipotle SteakIngredients
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Zinfandel Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp Fennel seed
  • 1/2 cup dark morello cherries, minced
  • 1/4 cup cherry juice (use the juice the morello cherries are packed in)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper minced plus 1 tsp Adobo Sauce
  • 1.2 pounds raw steak — I used 2 new york strip steaks and cut each in half for a total of 4 filets
Whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, thyme, fennel seed, cherries, cherry juice, tomato paste, and chipotle pepper. Put the steak in the marinade, turning to coat, and let marinate overnight or at least 2 hours.Preheat and clean your grill. On a propane grill, cook for about 7 minutes on each side for medium done-ness. Let sit for 5 minutes to let the juices settle before serving.Serving Size: Makes 4 filets

Nutritional Information: Calories 231.2, Total Fat 13.9g, Cholesterol 60.0mg, Sodium 362.8mg, Total Carbs 6.1g, Dietary Fiber 0.4g, Protein 21.5g

Barley Salad
  • 3/4 cup pearl barley
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup pistachio nutmeat, chopped or crushed
  • 2 tbsp 100% pomegranate juice
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp honey
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the barley and return to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Put the barley in a fine mesh strainer and rinse with cold water then let drain.In a salad bowl, combine the cooked barley, mint, pomegranate seeds, raisins and pistachios. In a small bowl, whisk together the pomegranate juice, lemon juice and honey. Toss with the barley salad and serve.Serving Size: 4 servings of about 1/2 cup each

Nutritional Information: Calories 215.5, Total Fat 3.4g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 50.4mg, Total Carbs 44.3g, Dietary Fiber 5.4g, Protein 4.3g