Last week, I shared my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe with you. I have a major sweet tooth, but I’ve managed to cut back significantly over the past few weeks. Why? My family is really trying to make an effort to live a healthier lifestyle. We’re not health gurus; we’re just regular people trying to keep lots of balls in the air and balance in our lives. We have a few favorite healthy recipes, but eating the same thing over and over is stale and boring.
When examining our food rut problem, I decided that we really should be introducing new and tasty healthy recipes to our weekly rotation and go to entertaining menus when we host friends and family. As new parents, getting together for meals is sometimes the only “social” time we get with other adults during the week. When contemplating what to serve, we always encounter the same dilemma: cook something boring and healthy or cook comfort food and then settle into a food coma for the rest of the night?
I know enough to know that healthy doesn’t always translate into “boring,” but I was kind of over randomly browsing websites looking through the same old chicken and quinoa recipes. I needed something different, something exciting, colorful, flavorful, and easy to replicate. I needed my friend, Kate, chef, organic food advocate, and creative mind behind Pinstripes & Palmettos!
If you’re also looking for healthy dishes that actually look and taste delicious, you’re in the right place. Kate has shared some beautiful and easy recipes, from appetizers to desserts, for your next get together with friends and family!
After years of suffering from poor digestive health, Kate was not living the life she imagined. Multiple consultations with a handful of doctors, extensive testing and lab work were not shedding any light on the culprit of her malaise. It wasn’t until one of the doctors asked her about her diet, that she was able to really understand why she felt chronically sick. Her normal diet of fried and fatty foods were causing her pain and she needed to make the life-changing decision to overhaul her diet to see real improvement.
Determined to turn her health around, she reset her palate by seeking out organic foods, eating more fruits and vegetables and extensively researched the health risks behind processed foods. Now, 35 pounds lighter and healthier than ever, Kate enjoys sharing the joy and passion she has for healthy, delicious food with others.
Guest Post by Kate, Pinstripes & Palmettos
I love sharing a meal with people. Coming around a table with friends and family is one of my favorite things to do. But when you’re trying to stick with staying healthy and making the right food choices, celebrations surrounding food can be difficult. That’s why I really put a focus on preparing healthy meals when I’m having people over – it makes it easy for everyone to enjoy themselves and still feel great.
I was so glad when Helen asked me to do a guest post for I Dream of Pretty Things and share some of my favorite easy, healthy recipes for entertaining. These are simple, nutritious and delicious, and most important, perfect for sharing with loved ones.
In the heat of the summer, I love a recipe that requires no cooking. All you need for this is a knife, a cutting board, and a bowl. It does take some time to do all the chopping prep, but if you can recruit someone to help you and pump up some tunes while you’re doing it, you’ll be done before you know it.
1.Dice up tomatoes and peaches in a similar size.
2. Mince garlic.
3. Drizzle in olive oil and sprinkle with basil.
4. Serve on endive leaves for a totally carb-free appetizer, or you can also serve with thin slices of bread.
Salad: Mediterranean Watermelon Salad
Let’s be honest – lettuce is my least favorite part of a salad. It’s never the star of the show, so I just take it out! (Bye Felisha.) This salad is fresh – the sweetness of the watermelon, the juicy tomatoes, the earthy basil and tangy goat cheese make an absurdly awesome combo. And that’s not even all the ingredients…
- Chop one cucumber, 2 avocados (depending on how large they are), one red bell pepper, one heirloom tomato, and add watermelon so it’s evenly incorporated (this ends up being about a small quarter of a watermelon).
- Sprinkle with chopped basil and goat cheese.
- Serve with balsamic vinegar on the side. (Feel free to omit goat cheese or serve on the side to make it vegan.)
Main Meal 1: Taco Bar
One of my favorite things to do for a group of people is a taco bar. This gives people a lot of options, so it’s easy to satisfy everyone’s needs.
For meat eaters, I love using this citrus grilled chicken from Bon Appetit as the main protein. It adds an incredible flavor to the chicken that’s a fresh change from traditional taco seasoning. Once grilled, I slice it thin for easy taco-building.
For vegetarians, I make roast butternut squash and black beans, which provide a hearty filling.
Toppings are the best part of any taco bar, so I always have a lot of options. Caramelized onions and peppers really help both the butternut squash and chicken shine, and are easy to cook in a large batch (remember, onions significantly shrink when you caramelize them, so cook way more than you think you need).
Plus, there are always you’re trusty stand-by toppings: salsa, hot sauce, avocado or guacamole, cheese (use organic when possible). Also, if there’s leftover peach & Tomato bruschetta, you can throw some red onion in and use it as a fruity pico de gallo.
Main Meal Option 2: Stuffed Peppers
If you’re looking for something that is for a more formal plated meal, I’ve thought of that too! I love these Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers from Minimalist Baker. They’re easy, vegetarian friendly, and if you want to serve meat they pair great with a grilled flank steak.
Dessert: Maple Glazed Grilled Peaches Over Greek Yogurt
People always gasp in horror when I say this but… I don’t really like dessert. I mean yes, I have been caught eating chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream while watching “When Harry Met Sally” on occasion, but I find the healthier I eat, the less tolerant my body is of excess sugar.
When I serve dessert, I love a fresh, healthy seasonal option. These maple glazed grilled peaches over Greek yogurt from Pioneer Woman are my favorite. My husband prefers his over ice cream, but that’s all just too sweet for me. The tangy tartness of the Greek yogurt really highlights the flavor of the peaches. Plus, with just four ingredients (I guess five if you buy ice cream AND yogurt) it’s hard to go wrong!
IDOPT thanks Kate for her amazing and fresh takes on healthy meals to serve for your guests or family. As someone who typically likes to make comfort food for company, I’m genuinely excited to give these recipes a try; I think they’ll be perfect for this 100+ degree heat we’ve been having in Houston. There are so many more innovative and delicious recipes from Kate’s kitchen that you NEED to try. I hope you’ll subscribe to her beautiful blog and receive all of her latest and greatest recipes, tips and thoughts on living a healthy lifestyle.
I Dream of Pretty Things