Ellie Krieger’s Tricolor Salad with White Beans and Parmesan

arugula-cannellini-bean-salad-with-parmesanBeing a blogger, I get emails every day pitching something or other.  Most of the them are lame, from a PR person who has never read my blog and has no idea what I’m all about.  They mostly get a quick “delete” from me.  The only ones that have any hope of being read are the ones that have recipes.  I love recipes.  A few months ago I was sent a pitch about a recipe by Ellie Krieger for the Saturday Evening Post.  Whatevs.  But the recipe sounded kind of good.  So I kept it tucked in my inbox.

arugula-salad-ingredientsThe ingredients are simple, mostly shelf stable and the salad, as a whole, is entirely uncomplicated.  That is my kind of meal.  While her recipe calls for raddichio and endive (which I sometimes do for company) I generally just stick with the bagged arugula.  You guys, I love arugula.  And it comes in a bag, ready to go, no extra prep.  If I am going to eat something healthy for lunch, it has to be easy.

cannellini-beansI am not a fan of beans.  Most of them are pretty grody if you ask me.  So I was pleasantly surprised that I love cannellini beans.  They have a really mild flavor and are creamy tasting.

O-and-olive-oilOh hey, there is my son.  Some  days he just REALLY wants to be in my photos.  Today was one of those days.

 

 

 

Arbequina-Extra-Virgin-Olive-OilThe trick to this super simple dressing is good quality ingredients.  I remembered this olive oil from when we had the private chef cook for us in Palm Springs.  She dressed a simple salad for my kids with this and a little lemon juice and I remember it tasting so fresh and almost buttery.

Mia's-Kitchen-Good-Balsamic-VinegarSimilarly, a good balsamic is sweet and rich without being too tart and well, vinegar-y.  A quick shake up of the oil and vinegar and you have the most amazing dressing.  Ever!

my-favorite-summer-salad-recipeFinish off the salad with some good parmesan (are you seeing a theme here?  With a salad this simple your ingredients need to be good stuff.  I’m not talking super expensive.  I have a grocery budget and I can’t afford the top shelf stuff.  What I mean by “good stuff” is not the pre-shredded parmesan in a bag.  Even buying a brick of it from your store’s cheese shop can be good enough.  And check the ingredients for the balsamic.  They should be balsamic vinegar and not say “grape mist”).

good-salad-recipe-for-kidsMy son is a VERY picky eater.  And he LOVES this salad. I think it has everything to do with the balsamic being so sweet and the fact that he is a fiend for parmesan.  The first time he tried it, he tried to manuever around the beans.  I don’t blame him.  But now he eats all of it.  Once he started this, I got him to eat other types of salads too.  So thank you Ellie Krieger.

 

how-I-eat-my-fave-saladAnd if I am being honest, I eat a crap load of it out of a huge bowl.  It is THAT good.  And it is a salad so it is totally healthy, right?  I think this would be a great salad for company.  And I eat it for a main course but it would work just as well as a side.  Seriously, do it.  Well played, Ellie Krieger’s PR company, well played.

Ellie Krieger’s Tricolor Salad with White Beans and Parmesan

Drinkwel is the Vitamin for People who Drink

*I asked to review this product because I really hoped it would work for me.  Drinkwel graciously sent me some to try.  All opinions are mine.

drinkwel the hangover helper

Dearest Drinkwel,

I love you.  Will you be my best friend forever?

Sharondrinkwel-supplement-for-people-who-drink

I am not a lush.  But I like a drink or two.  Especially in summer when I’m on vacation without my kids.  BUT!  I get the worst hang overs.  So when I came across Drinkwel online, I felt like I needed to try it.  During the summer I usually take several mini trips.  This year Drinkwel came along with me to my girl’s trips in Scottsdale and Palm Springs.  And it will go with me and my husband to Mexico in a few weeks.  And I’ve used it several times in town.  The verdict?  Consider me a huge fan.

hangover helperSo how do you use it?  Well, it’s a supplement that helps how your body handles the toxins from alcohol.  You take 3 capsules with lots of water before you drink and then another 3 with lots of water before you go to bed.  I’m not going to get all technical and tell you how it works, you can check that out over on their website.  All I know is that when I took it, I felt GREAT the next day.  I want to disclose that I was not hammered on any occasion so I can’t say how it works if someone were to REALLY indulge.

Drinkwel-the-hangover-helper

This doesn’t make me feel like I should just go ahead and drink way more than I usually would.  But it gives me a little reassurance that the next day I won’t be relegated to bed.  Or the couch with kid’s asking me to do ridiculous things like make them breakfast.

Sharon + Drinkwel = BFF 4EVA

There are several ways to buy Drinkwel including the 90 capsule bottle and also travel packs that are super easy to take on a night out with you.  Have you tried it?  I would love to know what you think!

*All opinions are mine. As always.  Forever and ever.  Amen.

An easy way to enjoy fresh fruit from Dole

Dole is rocking my world right now.  You may have read my post from yesterday about their new Shakers product.  I’m obsessed.  But they also sent me these fresh frozen fruit cups to try out too!  I made a pre-dinner smoothie for them to work in a serving of fruit and it couldn’t have been easier.

The Dole frozen fruit single serving cups come in a two pack and are kept frozen.  With detailed thawing instructions on the back for optimal enjoyment, Dole has made it even easier to have a healthy alternative, fast and ready to go.

You simply remove the plastic lid and use however you want to!

My kids were so into these!  We decided to make them in to a quick smoothie before dinner (but I figured this would be their usual fruit serving they would usually have at dinner so it wasn’t like I was giving them a treat right before dinner – I’m saying this mostly for my mom’s benefit in case she reads this.  She would be appalled that I gave the kids something right before dinner.  The horror!)

One son doesn’t like pineapple so I kept it out of the initial smoothie.  I added a Dole strawberry cup and a blueberry cup to some ice and about a cup of orange juice.

So fast and easy.  Once I poured a glass for my pineapple hating son, I added the Dole pineapple cup to the blender and mixed that in for my pineapple tolerant son.  I felt good about their “snack” and there was no hassle at all.  These would be great for school lunches where you could put them in the lunchbox frozen.  They would be great to take with you for a healthy snack on the go and there are tons more ways that they can be used!  Dole is giving us all kinds of healthy options for summer.  My favorite part about these is that they aren’t packed in syrup or any added sweeteners.  Just fruit.

Dole has been touring around the country sharing samples of their two fabulous new products as well as bringing awareness to childhood obesity and nutrition and helping local Boys and Girls Clubs.  If you are in the Los Angeles area, head to The Grove next Saturday to learn how your family can find healthier food options this summer as well as finding activities to do together.  See all the info on their Facebook page (click the photo that says Shake it Up).

Dole’s Shake it up Summer Tour, Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Grove – 101 The Grove Drive, Los Angeles, CA  12:00 pm – 6:00 pm benefitting the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood.

*I was given product for review.  All opinions are mine!  But I really think you are going to like these.

Dole Shakers – The easiest smoothie ever!

 

Oh my gosh, Dole Shakers are my new favorite thing!   How delicious does this strawberry banana smoothie look?!  I think this just revolutionized the way I have breakfast.  For real, yo.

Do you know about these Dole Shakers yogurt and fruit smoothie kit?  Sold in the freezer section of your local store, this has to be the best idea ever invented.  Especially for those of us worried about swimsuit season and, well, just not pumping our kids full of chemicals and empty calories.

When you first open it, you will see these frozen yogurt balls and fruit pieces.  Looking at it, it is hard to believe that this will turn in to a nice, thick smoothie.  But it will!

The super simple directions are on the back of the container and you just add juice.  That’s it!  The lazy person inside of me is rejoicing!  Especially since I often (always) turn to convenience foods in the morning because I “just don’t have time!” to make something more healthy.  This is even easier to make than a pop tart.  A quick shake and you are ready to drink up.

And while I don’t run off to work in the morning, I am up and about shuttling the kids to school or running errands.  And as most of you moms know, sometimes you have a very small window to get something done and you don’t want to have to stop and eat and waste those precious seconds.  This is shaped perfectly for a cup holder.  All you would do is take the Dole Shakers smoothie cup out of the freezer, give it a quick shake to break up those frozen pieces and pour in your juice.  Then just take it with you and run out the door.  To mix, all you do is shake the container for 30-45 seconds.

My kids adore smoothies.  I reluctantly shared my smoothie with my boys.  My 3 year old drank the whole thing (which is unusual – like his mother, he also prefers carbs to anything else) and my 6 year old told me it was the best smoothie he has ever had!  And I love knowing that when I get that craving for something sweet in the afternoon, these are there to save me from snacking on something terrible for me.

The Dole Shakers don’t take up much room in the freezer.  And I will be keeping them stocked.  This door compartment is now the designated Dole Shakers space.  I saw another blog post that noted they were about $1.50 each at Wal-Mart.  But if you head to the Dole Shakers page, you can download a coupon.

I gave my husband the mixed berry Dole Shakers to try.  There were going to be pictures but he was still in his underwear.  The mixed berry flavor was also very tasty!  He loves to have a smoothie on the weekends and will make them for us in the blender.  But he never makes them on a weekday because it just takes too much time.  I love that he will be able to take one of these with him now.

And because I am a crazy craft hoarder, I also think the  container is going to prove very useful for things…Have you tried the Dole Shakers yet?  Tell me what you think!

*Dole gave me the products to review.  All opinions are mine.  And I love this product.

 

 

Banana Oat Smoothie

How yummy does this banana oat smoothie look?  I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I totally just had to look up how to spell banana.  All I could hear while writing it was Gwen’s voice spelling it but I heard far too many n’s.  Dang.  How am I going to be able to help my kid’s with their homework if I can’t even spell banana?

If you don’t think I am a total loser and are still around, let me tell you about my new favorite breakfast.  It is a banana oat smoothie.  I eat about 3 bananas a year, on average.  They are not my favorite fruit by any means.  But something about this recipe made me want to try it.  And I’ve been trying to get off the ‘Tarts.  Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts have always been my weakness and I attribute many a cellulite dimple to them.  This smoothie is delicious and super satisfying.  AND I have found that I make it when I need something sweet at other times of the day and feel so much better about that choice then when I eat a whole bag of Trader Joe’s Kettle Corn.

The excuse I used to tell myself was that I just don’t have time to put breakfast together in the morning and I have to grab something quick.  But if you make it a priority, it quickly becomes part of the routine and you can make it in no time at all.  There is little to no prep and as you get comfortable with your measurements you can put it together even more quickly.  As I am a terrible judge of well, most guess-timations, I will continue to use a measuring cup to make sure I am not adding unneccessary calories.  This recipe is modified a bit from this one on the Martha Stewart page (which was acting all wonky when I was trying to link to it but I think we all know where to find her if you want to see the real recipe).  Here is what you will need:

1 bananananananana

1/4 cup oatmeal (uncooked – not quick cooking)

1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup vanilla soymilk

a squeeze of honey (to taste – I don’t like things very sweet so I sometimes don’t even put it in)

dash or two of cinnamon

Add it all to the blender and get to whirring.  The banana does not need to be chopped up, but you should break it up in to at least 3 pieces so that it will blend well.  I chose to use soymilk instead of regular milk because (spoiler alert – it’s about to get gross) it makes me extra phlegmy.  But I don’t like the tang of soy yogurt so that it why I use cow’s milk yogurt in it.  Quite possibly, a dumb substitution but I can tolerate and enjoy it this way, so there.

And why should cocktails have all the fun.  Add some pizzazz to your banana oat smoothie and drink up!  I have also made several variations of this smoothie to change it up.  I’ve added unsweetened cocoa powder – delicious!  I’ve swapped the soymilk for orange juice and added a dash of vanilla – hello creamsicle.  I’ve also added strawberries to change-up the flavor and added other spices, like nutmeg, for a match made in heaven.  Depending on how long you blend it, your oatmeal will either be pretty darn smooth or a little bit more chewy.  I find that this smoothie keeps me full and I feel good about what I am putting in my body.  Then I only have the rest of the day to worry about screwing up my diet.  Believe me.  I can be the world’s worst eater.  We’re talking cupcakes for breakfast, lunch and snack with a grilled cheese dinner.  Not THAT’S bananas.