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Pear, mint and fig salad

Fruits and veggies go well together. This summer experiment with fresh herbs and citrus fruits, which also go great with different types of salad greens.

Pear, mint and fig salad

(serves 4)

  • 2 TB extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 TB balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 TB freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 small head Boston lettuce, washed and torn
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped mint
  • 1 ripe pear of your choice, seeded, cored and quartered
  • 8 dried figs, cut into 4 slices each
  • ground black pepper to taste

In a bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, lemon juice and honey. Stir in shallot and set aside. To prepare salad, arrange lettuce on a serving platter. Sprinkle mint over lettuce. Cut each pear quarter into 4 slices and arrange over mint. Sprinkle dried figs on top. Stir dressing and pour over salad. Serve with freshly ground black pepper.

High in fiber, less than 200 calories per serving, rich in healthy fats.

Healthy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Healthy Chocolate Pudding Recipe

Made with Greek yogurt

Make delicious chocolate pudding with 4 simple ingredients (serves 4): 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder (or Dutch process) not regular, 2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt, 3 TB pure maple syrup, 1 tsp pure vanilla.

Use a whisk to stir the cocoa powder and remove lumps. Then mix everything together in another bowl. The mixture will be very thick at first and ‘powdery.’ As you stir and incorporate the cocoa powder into the yogurt it will become smooth. Adjust ingredients to your taste (amount of liquid if very thick, cocoa powder for chocolate flavor, maple syrup for sweetness).

Nutrition Facts (per serving without revisions to above): 185 calories, 6 g fat, 21 g carbohydrate, 12 G protein

Lentils Nutrition Benefits

Light and small are two words appropriate for  describing the appearance of lentils, but looks can be deceiving. These lens-shaped legumes are one of the true ‘heavyweights’ when in comes to nutrition powerhouses. Lentils are especially appropriate to add to your diet during the Lenten season, when some individuals restrict meat consumption.

Within the legume family, lentils are one of the highest in protein content. They are excellent/good sources of the following nutrients, vitamins and minerals: iron, calcium, magnesium, phytochemicals and folate (an important B-vitamin, especially for women in child-bearing years, that helps the body manufacture blood cells).

ALL legumes are very high in dietary fiber and lentils are no exception, packing 4 to 10 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup (depending upon type, size, cooking method). Remember, the American Dietetic Association recommends that healthy adults consume approximately 25-35 grams of fiber daily.

Lentils are among the most ancient of legumes as well. You can find a broader variety of this legume throughout Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. Sold in a huge variety of colors –black, green, yellow, orange — and flavors, lentils offer versatility for home cooks as a nearly fat-free meat substitute and guilt-free budget-stretcher side dish. In the United States, red, brown and green lentils are the most common.

Their quick-cook applications make them perfect for health-conscious cooks in modern times. and lentils fit perfectly in Lenten meals. Unlike dried beans, lentils need not be soaked in water for hours. In fact, they cook in 20-30 minutes. In addition, cooked lentils will last up to three days when kept covered in the refrigerator.

Use lentils in soups, add them to other vegetables and casserole mixtures or serve them cold in salads. Brown and green lentils hold their shape when cooked, while red lentils work best in puree, soups and stews where a soft texture is desired.

Once you discover their ease of preparation and healthful attributes, you will understand the popularity of lentils far beyond the Lenten season. Follow these basics in the care and cooking of lentils.

  • Lentils are simple to prepare. Sort, remove any debris. Then rinse and boil 15-20 minutes. There is no need to soak lentils. Also, do not add salt to lentils while cooking because this can make them tough.
  • Storing lentils is simple. They keep indefinitely in a cool, dry place. After long storage, the color may fade slightly, but the taste shouldn’t be noticeably altered.