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  • Writer's pictureAnnamarie Stedjan

A New Year to Dig Into

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

Happy New Year everyone! Caper and Olive had a great first month and it is all thanks to you and your support! Thank you for signing up to be a part of Caper and Olive and for sharing with friends and family who love food and entertaining as much as you do! I am truly grateful and so looking forward to a New Year to dig into! Recipes to test, tips to share, entertaining ideas and maybe a few surprises along the way too….who knows?!

I hope that your holidays were special and that you had a chance to spend some time with family and friends, enjoying each others company, having laughs and making new memories. We had a fantastic holiday season. As tradition has it, we stuffed ourselves to the gills on Christmas Eve with our Italian Feast of the Seven Fish, and of course the binging continued into Christmas Day with a buffet of Orange-Cranberry Glazed Pork Loin, chorizo deviled eggs, roasted asparagus with lemon and pecorino… just to name a few. Oh, and cookies and cakes abound!! I mean, I have never seen so much dessert as I do during the holiday season. It seems to be everywhere you turn. Maybe that’s the reason why when the new year comes around we always look to “lighten up” our eating. I won’t bother to ask you your News Years resolutions, but if one of them happens to be eat healthier, I’ve got a few recipes that you might want to try out.

Salads always seem to be the “go-to” meal for people that are trying to eat healthier. This is great, except…. I think the reason so many people get disillusioned so quickly with salads is because they have this fixed idea of what a salad should be. Salads don’t just have to be leafy greens or lettuce like red leaf, romaine or iceberg. Now, don’t get me wrong a good green leafy tricolor salad or iceberg wedge is delicious, but if you are having a hard time swallowing your greens on a daily basis, its time to switch it up! Think of an ingredient you love and make that the base of your salad. I LOVE chick peas! So I wanted to make a salad with chick peas as the main ingredient. My Chickpea and Tomato Salad is quick, delicious and so good for you too! All you have to do is add some diced fresh tomatoes, chopped celery with a couple spoonfuls of capers and some fresh flat leaf parsley and bam! done! If you want to bump up the protein flake in a can of tuna, or if you want some leafy goodness, toss in a handful of arugula! No matter what you add its just dressed with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some freshly ground black pepper.

If you are a real bean lover, than you might want to dig into something like my Edamame and Black Bean Salad. It has a citrus-soy vinaigrette that is almost addicting. I was inspired to make this salad a few years ago when we took the kids peach picking at an orchard up in Rhode Island one summer. We had packed lunch for the kids but went inside to the small farmstand-like store they had on the premises to grab some drinks. While I was wandering about the store I saw they had this refrigerated section with small containers full of different freshly prepared salads. This one had edamame and black beans in it, and it just looked delicious. I bought the container thinking I would just have a taste. It was SO good that I kept having another forkful and another trying to figure out all the ingredients. I needed to recreate this when got home! Now, I am not sure that I got all the ingredients in my recreation, but it was damn near close. I added some corn kernels, diced red bell peppers and scallions to round it out and used a little orange juice and the zest and juice of a lime in the vinaigrette to give it a bright citrusy kick. The colors alone in this salad are so appealing, that even bean haters might want to take a forkful. You know what they say…you eat with your eyes first!

If for some reason I can’t get you on board with beans, than you have to try out this Mediterranean Couscous Salad. It’s light yet filling…if that makes any sense to you at all. The Mediterranean flavors of lemon, garlic and herbs in the vinaigrette give all the veggies in this salad a bright taste and makes the couscous savory and delicious. Couscous is one of the most simple things to make. All you have to do is place the dried couscous in a bowl and cover it with hot water. Let it stand covered for 5 minutes while you prep your veggies and dressing. It soaks up the liquid and becomes this fluffy delightful base for your “salad”. After you fluff the couscous with a fork, add your veggies and dressing, toss to combine and you have yet another quick, tasty and healthy lunch!

Trying to eat healthy doesn’t have to be so hard. Take what you love and build on it! I hope that these recipes can act as a base for your inspiration. Get in the kitchen and whip up a “no leaf “salad for yourself and see just how easy it can be to eat healthy and still enjoy every bite.

Here’s hoping your 2017 is off to a fantastic start. Whatever your resolutions or goals are this year….just remember to dig into them zestfully and enjoy every moment.

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