Quick Tip Friday – Greek Yogurt Substitute

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When I’m craving something creamy but want to keep things light, I like to substitute plain greek yogurt for heavier ingredients like sour cream or mayonnaise.

It’s a great base for avocado crema, or as a healthy substitute in curry mango tuna salad.

Once the temperatures drop (I’m always counting down the days), plain yogurt makes for a tangy garnish for creamy tomato soup. Plain greek yogurt also makes a delicious topping for baked potatoes, nachos or anywhere else you’d usually use a dollop of sour cream!

 

Quick Tip Friday – Slow Cooker Beans

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Since trying to reduce my reliance on animal products, I’ve had to be creative in finding other sources of protein. A few of my favorites include raw nuts, seeds and legumes or beans. The last two are my favorites. Beans are great in soup, as a salad topper, whipped into a spread, roasted for a snack, in tacos or burritos and baked into casseroles.

For a long time, I only enjoyed beans already prepared from a can because they were convenient, ready to use and appeared affordable (even organic will only run you a buck or two). That is until I visited the bulk aisle and realized how much money I could save if I just purchased dried and cooked them on my own.

savings per cup of beans = $0.35

The problem is I didn’t have the time to stand nearby a boiling pot of water for multiple hours since I’m at work for the better part of the day. I gave my slow cooker a thought and decided to research the different methods for cooking beans. To my delight, I stumbled across this post from TheKitchn.

Now that I’ve discovered the slow cooker is a perfect method for cooking dried beans, I can take advantage of the savings they provide. The process is incredibly straight forward and will work with any type of bean – from navy and kidney beans to garbanzo and black. I start the slow cooker in the morning and either have my husband Jordan check on them after four hours or come home for lunch to do it myself. When it’s time to start dinner, the beans are ready to be eaten or used as a base for a recipe.

Not only will I reap the benefits of saving money over time, I’ve also eliminated the waste of cans by utilizing my bulk aisle and reusable linen bags. Oh, and I did I mention they taste about ten times better than canned?

Its hard to argue the value of cooking your own beans.

 

Quick Tip Friday – Leftover Chicken Salad

For some reason or another, I always seem to have chicken lingering in my fridge waiting for me to use (hopefully before it spoils). I hate throwing away food, but leftover chicken just as is can be quite boring. To make it into something more delectable, I like to transform it into a new dish. One of the easiest methods is to create a chicken salad.

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Simply shred chicken into thin slices, combine with a creamy dressing and mix in equal parts vegetables. Voila!

Be creative with your ingredients. You can use any number of vegetables from carrots and corn to edamame and red peppers. Try to utilize what you already have on hand and get creative from there. When it comes to the dressing, I like to lighten things up with a combination of mustard and mayonaise. My favorite seasonings include paprika, garlic powder and cumin, but you don’t have to take the Southwest route. Be imaginative and combine any flavor combo you think would be delicious. The results may surprise you. When it comes time to serve, pair with hearty bread, grainy crackers and a good sized green salad.

Your coworkers may swoon over your perfectly crafted lunch, but they don’t have to know you did it with leftovers!

You can find the exact recipe for my chicken salad recipe here.

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Quick Tip Friday – How to Stack up your blender

I have to apologize for my recent absence. Somewhere along the line of having a full-time job, dedicating time to a relationship, having fun with a new roommate, entertaining some visitors and finding time to breathe, I lost time to write. I hope you can forgive me for taking a break. To make it up, I’m introducing a new series! Every Friday, I want to share a simple, quick tip that I have learned since starting my culinary journey.

Today’s tip is one that I actually discovered myself — just from trial and error. I love to make smoothies for breakfast because they are quick, easy and super tasty. I usually use smoothies as an opportunity eat a lot of greens. It just feels good to eat an entire salad before it’s even 8AM. Plus, it influences my food decisions for the remainder of the day. Generally, if I eat a green smoothie for breakfast, I crave something much more wholesome for lunch.

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There may be a bit of difficulty if you only have a mediocre blender like me. If that’s the case, you just have to strategically place ingredient so the blender doesn’t have to work too hard to blend. This is what I have found is the most successful. Start with liquids like your yogurt and milk. From there, layer in your greens (I like a mixture of kale and spinach) and grains like oatmeal. Next, place your heavy ingredients including banana, apples, berries or any other fruit. At this point, add your nut butters. I have used a wide variety and they all are equally delicious. My current favorites are sunflower seed butter and super creamy almond butter. Top it off with chia seeds or flax seeds, whir away, and you’ve got one nutrition packed smoothie. The best part is — it’s absolutely delicious.

If you need a green smoothie recipe, try my kale apple banana smoothie. It’s my most popular post.