Monday, January 26, 2015

Leave Your Old Salad Behind

You did it - you made that resolution to be healthier in 2015, and now it’s time to get down to business.  One way to jumpstart your healthier you is by including salad in your diet every day.  What could be healthier than a big, fresh salad loaded with vitamins and nutrients to get you through the winter blahs?

Getting creative with ingredients and trying new combinations will help fight the boredom of a standard restaurant dinner salads.  Start with a bed of lettuces, skipping the iceberg which is lower in nutrients – try romaine, mixed baby greens and spinach which are rich in vitamins A, C, K and fiber. 

Toss in some super foods like berries, walnuts, tomatoes and broccoli - all provide multiple nutrients as well as promote wellness and weight control. 


Add in some protein - beans, turkey or hard-boiled eggs to keep you satisfied and full longer.   
Sprinkle on some cheese for flavor, calcium and more protein – just be careful not to overdo it.  A smaller amount of a strong-flavored cheese such as Brie, feta, gorgonzola or bleu will go a long way. 

Stay away from croutons, crunchy noodles, high-fat cheeses and creamy dressings – these just add extra calories, fat and salt and can quickly derail your good intentions.  Try a low-calorie fruity vinaigrette, or simply drizzle a little olive oil and red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Whatever you decide to toss into your salad, choose wisely and you’ll have a side dish or meal that won’t leave you feeling hungry.  

Here are a couple of my favorite combinations.


Inspired by a salad I had while visiting Paris - brush thin slices of a baguette with olive oil, spread with goat cheese and toast in a 400° oven for 10 minutes. Place over spring mix, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Packed with super foods, combine spring mix, Bibb or butter lettuce, sliced yellow bell peppers, Bosc pears, blueberries, chopped walnuts and bleu cheese crumbles. Dress with a pomegranate or strawberry vinaigrette.


Have a great week!  


Monday, January 5, 2015

A Girl Can Dream, Can't She?

You may have gathered from the title of this blog that I have these big dreams about someday becoming a Cowgirl.  While it may not be entirely possible in the literal sense (not at my age anyway - lol!), I do have a deep love for the American West.     

The sweet scent of the Piñon tree, the calmness of Turquoise, and the gentle bite of the green chile are just a few qualities of the West that keep my spirit connected to the land and its offerings. 
2014 was an exceptional year for Cowgirl moments.  Here are my favorites. 

1. Being at El Santuario de Chimayó

2. Hiking at Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico

3. Meeting Jim Arndt, author of How to Be a Cowboy (Jim left and my cowboy husband, right)

4. Sipping at local watering hole, The Cowgirl, in Santa Fe

5. Sampling the regional fare at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

6. Discovering New Mexico Green Chile in Ohio

7. Experiencing my first Rodeo in the heart of the country

8. Sharing the best Margarita recipe

9. Dining at Rancho de Chimayó

10. Shopping for jewelry at the Santa Fe Indian Market

 Perhaps I’m not that far away from my dream after all.  It’s time to saddle up for 2015!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cowgirl Cuisine - French Toast Breakfast Casserole

Happy New Year!  Here’s to the start of a joyous, healthy and very prosperous 2015.  We had a great holiday season and have many memories of fun with our families.  One very delicious memory is this warm, cinnamon-y, breakfast casserole that I made for Christmas morning. 

It was wonderful for the holiday, but should be enjoyed any time of year… trust me. 
It’s the perfect breakfast to cozy up a snowy winter weekend.

French Toast Breakfast Casserole
1 16 oz. loaf cinnamon swirl bread, cubed
6 eggs
1 ¾ cup milk (skim milk worked very well)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup chopped pecans
Coat a 9” x 13” baking dish with cooking spray, and add the bread cubes.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, nutmeg and salt.  Pour the mixture over the cubed bread, pressing the bread down gently so it absorbs the egg mixture.

n a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in brown sugar until melted.  Pour over bread.  Sprinkle with pecans.
  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.  Bake in a 350° oven for 25 minutes with foil on.  Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes.  
Let stand 15 minutes.  Serve with or without maple syrup.  9 servings
Have a wonderful week!