Friday, February 26, 2010

Creative eaters unite!

Don’t say June Lay is on a diet. Just try her book for inspiration, recipes and motivation. “It’s Not a Diet, It’s Creative Eating!”
Trust me, Lay can make healthy eating an adventure, and that’s just how I think about it already. Her salad-a-day section includes enough variation to make me want every one, including Tuna Avacado, Lobster Mango, Heart of Palm Red and:
Shrimp and Bean Salad
1/2 cup diagonally sliced green beans
6 large shrimp, cooked and peeled, chilled
1/2 cups cubed seeded cucumber
1/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 tablespoon thinly choped fresh basil
1/3 teaspoon vinegar to taste
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Dash of salt
Dash of fresh black pepper
Dash of hot sauce
1/2 garlic clove, minced
1 cup gourmet mixed salad greens
Steam the beans, covered, until crisp-tender. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Combine beans, shrimp, tomatoes and cucumber with all spices/herbs/condiments. Place shrimp, beans, etc., on a plate on top of salad greens and add dressing. Enjoy and of course, add your own variation. This recipe can be made with lobster meat instead of shrimp, which is lower in cholesterol despite rumor to the contrary.

Turning to wine and chocolate
There doesn’t seem to by any way for a wine and chocolate pairing to meet with anything but blissfull success, yet Turning Leaf Winemaker’s, Nicole Hitchcock has sweet ideas for matchy-matchy fullfillment. I loved the rich red and dark chocolate combination so much I could hardly speak. While experts may not consider white chocolate a true chocolate, please consider it fine with this wine: Turning Leaf Chardonnay is a true find.
Get your glasses and friends and try these suggestions from the company:
Dark Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
• The richest of all the reds, this wine boasts notes of vanilla and brown that perfectly complement the bitterness in darker chocolates.
Milk Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Merlot
• The fruitier character in this Merlot brings out the natural, bright flavors in classic milk chocolate.
White Chocolate, paired with Turning Leaf’s 2008 Chardonnay
• A twist on the common red wine and chocolate pairing, the acidity level in drier whites, such as Chardonnay, cuts through the sweetness of white chocolate making for a more balanced bite.

Whee! Tea!
I didn’t realize hibiscus is the new superflower, but I do love to pluck them off bushes and stick them in my hair.
Republic of Tea is blooming with five new versions of caffeine-free herbal bouquets of premium African hibiscus, which makers call a “Superflower that brews a rich, full-bodied cup and features remarkable health benefits,” and is said to lower blood pressure. It makes a beautiful ruby red tea with layers of cranberry/citrus and gentle hints of rhubarb and raspberry. I’m enjoying the pineapple lychee variety as I write this. Lovely canisters also hold a natural, unflavored pure hibiscus, anther with blueberry, a vinilla apple and … get ready … a hibiscus key lime.
If you missed the baby tiger at Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, check out the adorable one on the tin of Year of the Tiger Tea, a limited edition chocolate orange rooibos Republic of Tea offering. The oranges are a traditional Chinese symbol of wealth, and you may feel pretty rich enjoying this filling blend. For every tin sold, the company will contribute $1 to Room to Read (, a group that benefits children of the developing world.

Persian Superfood
Pomegranates whole are sexy. Luscious, tempting red fruits are even a table decor. The powdered stuff may seem less glamorous, but it sure is practical. Navitas Naturals has released a version that’s designed for pinking and perking up your smoothes, yogurt and desserts with potassium, polyphenols and iron. I’m mixing it into tap water and will soon experiment with a more potent liquid to see if I can get a pomegranate cocktail mixing. I blended some powder with banana and froze it in a bowl for a fabulous evening treat. A table spoon of fancy coffe creamer topped it off.

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