Category Archives: lazy cook

How to Make the World’s Thinnest Soup From Scratch

I haven’t done anything by Mr. Lazy Cook in a while and I thought you might enjoy this very tasty soup.

Tony

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Mr. Lazy Cook is at it again. What to do with left over white meat from a delicious Costco rotisserie chicken? Also, it is the middle of a heat wave over much of the country, and certainly here in Chicago. That isn’t conducive to spending a lot of time preparing meals.

It happens that I have on hand a large amount of previously cooked barley. I have mentioned in previous lazy cookery posts that I like to work ahead by precooking several day’s to a week’s worth of one dish that I can then mix and match to create simple and fast meals.

When I precook the barley, I don’t use plain water any more. I use chicken broth that comes in cartons. This also happens to be a Costco ingredient. Six quart cartons cost less than $10. The bottom line is that the barley is quite tasty cooked this…

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My Guilty Pleasure – Updated

I wrote about this guilty pleasure over a  year ago and have since tweaked it and, in fact, don’t indulge in it anymore in its original form. Why repeat it? Because it is still delicious and I recommend trying it for yourself.  Also, I have included the tweak for you to try.

I haven’t written a Mr. Lazy Cook post in a long time, so I thought I might get around to one. For the most part Lazy Cook posts have been simple, delicious and highly nutritious meals. This one not so much.

I happened upon this sandwich one day almost by accident. You know how creative people always say that they saw the idea elsewhere and simply improvised on it? Well, that’s what I did.

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A little history here. A hundred years ago, it seems, I was working at Reuters in the Chicago Board of Trade building. It was high pressure on the news desk and we welcomed our breaks which were often too few and too short. One of our favorite mid-morning things was to send someone across the street to a little diner and order a couple of their wonderful fried egg sandwiches. What made them so wonderful? Well, some culinary genius in the diner decided that instead of a mundane bread or toast on the egg sandwich he would substitute cinnamon raisin bread. In addition, he topped off the sandwich with melted cheese and bacon. So, it was ended up being a grilled cheese, bacon and egg sandwich on cinnamon raisin toast. My mouth is watering just remembering it. By the way, I make no claim as to the nutritional value of this creation, only its flavor. In fact, I was bumping up against the 175 pound level in those days. Continue reading

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Filed under coconut oil, lazy cook, Peanut Butter, Snacking

Mr. Lazy Cook Makes a Quick Tasty Panini

My grown daughter and her husband gave me a panini maker as a gift some years ago. It was great fun and I made panini sandwiches regularly for a while. Then I got tired of it and moved the appliance off my counter. It has now been around five years since I made a panini.

This billboard truck started it all

I was out on a bike ride yesterday and happened upon a billboard truck with a picture of a panini on it. They were advertising for a local eaterie. As it happens, I passed the truck several times. By the third time, my mouth was watering and I had determined that I would make myself a panini when I got home. Theirs looked so good. I posted about it for willingwheeling. One picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, a tasty 283 calories. Continue reading

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Black Magic: Chocolate Syrup on Ice

My friend and fellow blogger, Ms. Vinny Grette, has just published this brilliant post on a really fun topping that is so simple even Mr. Lazy Cook can do it. I can’t get over this utterly easy combination of two very healthy ingredients to made a scrumptious topping for ice cream, fruit or whatever your own creativity suggests.

As regular readers know, I am a giant fan of coconut oil, check out my Page – Coconut Oil -Why You Should Include it in Your Diet I have also posted on the health benefits of Why and How You Should Include Raw Cacao in Your Diet.

Tony

Cook Up a Story

Black ice - chocolate magicJust two ingredients…

Awesome! This idea came my way courtesy of the Paddington Foodie, chef extraordinaire. It’s ridiculously easy. Combining just two super-foods, this simple syrup zaps any dessert you like with goodness that is sure to grant you the superpowers of your dreams.

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Healthy Cooking Tips From the Mayo Clinic

Besides eating less to control our weight, we can also prepare our food in such a way as to minimize empty calories and at the some times add nutrition as well as taste.

Herewith several easy cooking methods that can promote healthier eating from the desk of Dr. Robert Sheeler, Medical Editor of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter.
 •    Invest in nonstick cookware — Instead of pouring oil in a pan, use nonstick cookware and vegetable cooking sprays. One tablespoon of vegetable oil has 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, but a one-second spray has negligible calories and less than 1 gram of fat.

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•    Think flavor, not fat — Sauté vegetables such as onions, mushrooms or celery in a small amount of wine, broth, water, soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. Keep a supply of onions, fresh garlic, ginger root, Dijon mustard, fresh lemons and limes, flavored vinegars, sherry or other wines, cornstarch (to thicken sauces), and plain fat-free yogurt.
•    Try different cooking methods — Microwave or steam vegetables. Then dress them up with flavored vinegars, herbs and spices. Cook fish in parchment paper or foil to seal in flavors and juices.

A while back I bought the Pasta Boat (Mr. Lazy Cook Cruises on the Pasta Boat) for fixing my pasta. It is also excellent for Steaming Broccoli in the Pasta Boat.
 •    Modify recipes — In most recipes, you can reduce sugar, salt and fat by one-third to one-half without sacrificing taste.
   •    Minimize meat — Decrease the amount of meat in casseroles and stews by one-third and add more vegetables, rice or pasta. Or, replace meat with beans, nuts, eggs or low-fat cheese. Buy lean cuts of meat.

Want more great health information? Visit the store now to see the latest products from Mayo Clinic doctors, specialists and editorial staff.

Tony

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Easy Homemade Trail Mix

The mixes that you see in many stores are made with roasted and salted nuts or seeds and sugar added dried fruits, and many times M&M’s or chocolate, or whatever! You get the idea! Sometimes, it’s much harder to find a “clean” trail mix than you may think.

Mr. Lazy Cook heartily endorses this mix – fun, tasty, healthy and quick and easy to fix.

Tony

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How Healthy is Lobster Tail?

I love the taste of lobster tail, but since I live in the Midwest the cost of flying them in has always added to their already relatively high price to put them almost out of reach of my purse strings. My personal economics has not favored eating a lot of lobster tail except on birthdays, anniversaries, etc.  That is to say, once or twice a year. However, I recently got lucky and was gifted with some frozen lobster tails (thank you, Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino!). As I looked forward to preparing them I also wondered just how much food value lobster tails have.

Here is what I found out. The USDA puts the nutritional breakdown as follows: Serving size: four ounce tail (113.4 grams) Calories 105, Fat 1.1 grams no saturated or trans fats, Cholesterol none, Sodium 340 mg, Carbohydrates 1 gram and protein 22.7 grams. You need protein to build and repair tissues. The average man needs about 55 grams of protein a day so this small tail provides nearly half his daily protein requirement.

Going into the pot for steaming

Coming out of the pot from steaming

That’s the basics. Here are some further observations I picked up. Livestrong says, “Lobster tail is not only lower in fat and calories than pork, beef, and chicken, but it is rich in Omega-3 fatty acids. Adding Omega-3 fatty acid into one’s daily diet will lower your risk of heart disease.”

The DailyBurn noted, “High levels of Vitamins A, B2, B3, B6 and B12. There are also sources of potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and amino acids. Lobster tail would be a good healthy addition to add to your next meal menu.” Continue reading

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What is a High Energy De-Caf Coffee Drink?- Mr. Lazy Cook

A couple of things to lay out before we start here. First, I don’t drink coffee with caffeine as I try to keep drugs of any kind out of my system. Second, I am a regular bicycle rider and am always on the lookout for new sources of energy.
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The other morning I had a new situation. I had a date for early afternoon to attend a play. In addition, we had reservations for brunch at noon. From this schedule, I was not going to have a lot of time to get in a bike ride. So, I thought I would rise at first light and take out the bike for a ride ahead of walking the dog and my social schedule for the day.

Normally, I start the day with what I call my rocket fuel. It is a smoothie that contains all my vitamins. You can read about it in A super breakfast smoothie.

On the morning in question, my reservation about my smoothie was that it takes 15 minutes to make and another 15 minutes to drink. I didn’t want to spend 30 minutes doing that. I wanted to be riding my bike. On the other hand I was concerned that having just awakened from a night’s sleep, my energy reserves were low. I sure didn’t want to black out. I hadn’t eaten in over nine hours.

So, what to do instead to give me a quick shot of energy. I like my coffee in the morning, but since it is decaf, I don’t expect a boost from it. Here is the beginning of a light bulb going off in my head. As recently as April, I got turned on to coconut oil as a wonderful source of nutrition. Check out Why should I try coconut oil? for more details. Since that time I have been using coconut oil in every way I could think of to cook in, shave with, etc. Coconut oil has a lot of healthy fat in it which provides energy. I decided to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my coffee. Continue reading

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Filed under biking, coffee, endurance sports, energy, Exercise, health, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook

What is a Tasty Summer Salad? Mr. Lazy Cook

As the heat of summer approaches it is nice to have some simple go-to meals that satisfy our nutritional needs that at the same time taste great. I consider my Avocado Walnut Summer Salad to be just such a thing.

I lived in London some years ago on a one-year assignment with Reuters. I stumbled across the basis of this salad there. Several restaurants that I frequented served a salad consisting  of a half avocado, pitted, and filled with salad dressing. That’s it. It tasted delicious and I ordered it often.

getty_rf_photo_avocado_and_walnuts

I alluded to this salad when I wrote up the benefits of avocados back in February.

A good friend of mine has since added the excellent element of an ounce of chopped walnuts to the mix. You can read more about the nutritional benefits of walnuts in the previous post.

To make this salad, remove the pit of a ripe avocado, clean out the meat, slice up and place in a salad bowl, drop in an ounce of chopped walnuts and cover with salad dressing. Voila! Instant delicious summer salad.

Nutritionally:
The walnuts contribute:
Calories 185
Fat 18.5 grams
Saturated fat 1.7 g
No Cholesterol
Sodium 1 mg
Fiber 1.9 grams
Protein 4.3 grams

The avocado yields:
Calories 161
Fat 15 grams
Saturated fat 2.1 g
No Cholesterol
Sodium 7 mg
Fiber 7 grams
Protein 2 grams

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I consider this to be a really good high energy salad with all that fat. Remember, fat, per se, is not bad, but there are bad fats. The fats in walnuts and avocados are not bad fats. There is also nearly nine grams of fiber in this which comes to about a quarter of a day’s needs. Many people have a hard time consuming the 40 grams of fiber necessary each day for good health. If this has piqued your appetite for more info on good fats, check out Why should I try coconut oil? It might open your mind as well as your arteries.

I didn’t include the salad dressing because that will vary with the person making the salad. I use two tablespoons of the light stuff that comes to around 20 calories per tablespoon.

Let me know what you think of this.

Tony

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Mr. Lazy Cook Makes Pasta Hawaiian Style

What is Hawaiian style Pasta? In  the case of Mr. Lazy Cook it is something he concocted for a friend when she told him she was allergic to olive oil. After all, what goes better with pasta than olive oil?

This is a simple variation on my recipe for shrimp pasta.
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I use the Pasta Boat to cook my pasta. I wrote up my purchase of it
a while back. Whatever way you make your pasta, this recipe starts with it in the cooked form.

I wrote up coconut oil less than a month ago and have integrated this very healthful ingredient into my cooking and my life. I know the cliche about saturated fat, but please read my blog post on it before jumping to judgment.

Okay, let’s make some Hawaiian Style Pasta.

Take a serving of the cooked pasta, instead of olive oil, add coconut oil to taste. Mix well.

Cut up some pineapple wheels. I have a store that sells fresh cored pineapple and keep on in my fridge at all times. I probably eat about one to two pineapples a week, just cutting wheels off it and snacking. (A wheel of pineapple amounts to 42 calories. Just out of the fridge I prefer it to ice cream.).

Depending on how many you are cooking for, I suggest about one wheel per serving. Remember a serving size of pasta is around a cup full. Pasta is a high calorie dish so you need to be vigilant about this. (In the bad old days when I was overweight, I naively thought a serving of pasta was a plateful. No wonder I was heavy!)

I cut each wheel into around eight to 10 pieces. Mix these into the serving of pasta and microwave for around a minute, depending on your microwave.

When this comes out of the microwave, I top it with parmesan cheese and serve it up.

I thought it tasted great. Not like any pasta I could remember. The coconut oil also adds a nice flavor element.

One serving of pasta amounts to 200 calories, one wheel of pineapple 42 calories and two teaspoons of coconut oil 87 calories, so one serving of this Hawaiian Style pasta amounts to 329 calories.

Tony

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Mr. Lazy Cook Tweaks a Meal

Since I started writing this blog, I have made some major and minor changes in my life, exercise and eating habits. In this, the second month of my fourth year of blogging, I am down 15 pounds from where I started the blog and 70 pounds from my worst weight and physical condition ever. You can see me at my worst in the post How I Lost 50 Pounds in 52 Weeks.

My latest tweak is to stop eating a half slice of pizza daily at lunch. I am trying to cut back on the gluten and dairy I consume because I think I may have a food sensitivity to them and they are aggravating my arthritis and post nasal drip.

The idea hit me at Costco

The idea hit me at Costco

So, I am now eating a salad at lunch along with my high fiber parfait. One of the things that has always given me pause about making salads is what to include. There are so many options, I would just freeze up. Maybe that’s why I am Mr. Lazy Cook. I like it quick and dirty.

I have been able to buy salad greens at a local fresh market that included baby spinach, arugula, kale and other green goodies. But, what about the rest of the salad? All those choices!

You can read the ingredients on the package

You can read the ingredients on the package

As so often has occurred in the past, I happened to be in Costco when the answer hit me. The Kirkland brand Fruit and Nuts! As you can see from the photos, the first was at Costco, the second, a close up of the package, it included dried cranberries, dried cherries, almonds, walnuts and dry-roasted pistachios. What wonderful additions to a salad!

Here is the nutritional breakdown of one ounce (30 grams):
Calories 150
Total Fat 8 grams
Saturated Fat 1 gram
No Cholesterol
No Sodium
Carbohydrates 15 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 4 grams

Sometimes I add some avocado because I love what avocado adds to a salad besides being terrifically healthy. I advocate avocados.

Now I have a wonderful, quick fix, stick to the ribs salad at lunch time. Also, this is a simple stepping off point. I can add some quinoa or other goodies for even more nutritional benefits.

Tony

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Mr. Lazy Cook Makes an Open-Faced Sammy

This probably qualifies as a half-post as I wrote about a similar sandwich back in March 2010.

Anyway, the ingredients and presentation has changed and I like this one better, so here goes.

I have lately succumbed to the pleasures of an open-faced toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Once peanut butter and jelly are heated a whole new dimension in taste occurs.

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There is a store near me that sells artisan breads and I use a slice of their whole wheat bread for this.

Toast up one slice of whole wheat bread. Apply liberally grape jelly and then peanut butter on top and return to toaster oven for long enough to melt up the toppings. (A minute or so).

Remove and serve with a glass of soy/almond or rice milk. I am off dairy now, so I am not drinking the skimmed milk that I recommended with the first one.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:

Calories: 387
Total Fat 12.9 Grams
Sat Fat 2.5 Grams
Cholesterol None
Sodium 355 MCG
Carbohydates 53 Grams
Fiber 5 Grams
Protein 15.1 Grams

This makes for a real stick to the ribs lunch.

Tony

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Are Avocados Good For You?

Many folks refuse to eat avocados because of their high calories and fat content. However, there are significantly more reasons to consume them than to avoid this heart healthy fruit.

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NaturalNews says that avocados boost health in at least five ways:

1. Protein “Avocados provide all 18 essential amino acids necessary for the body to form a complete protein. Unlike the protein in steak, which is difficult for most people to digest, avocado protein is readily absorbed by the body because avocados also contain fiber. If you are trying to cut down on animal sources of protein in your diet, or if you are a vegetarian, vegan or raw foodist seeking more protein, avocados are a great nutritional ally to include not merely as an occasional treat, but as a regular part of your diet.

2. Beneficial Fats “Avocados provide the healthy kind of fat that your body needs. Like olive oil, avocados boost levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol). HDL cholesterol can help protect against the damage caused by free radicals. This type of cholesterol also helps regulate triglyceride levels, preventing diabetes. A study published early this year in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that a vegetarian diet, which includes HDL fats, can reduce levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) as effectively as statin drugs.

3. Carotenoids “Avocados are an excellent source of carotenoids. Although many people associate carotenoids only with red and orange produce, avocados are also an excellent source of this phytonutrient. Avocados, also known as alligator pears, offer a diverse range of carotenoids including not only the better known ones such as beta-carotene, alpha-carotene and lutein, but also lesser known varieties of this type of phytonutrient such as neoxanthin, zeaxanthin, chrysanthemaxanthin, neochrome, beta-cryptoxanthin and violaxanthin. Every time you consume foods rich in carotenoids, you deliver high quality vitamin A to your body, thereby protecting eye health. Carotenoids also enhance the functioning of the immune system and promote healthy functioning of the reproductive system. Since carotenoids are fat soluble, eating avocados optimizes the absorption of these nutrients.

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4. Anti-Inflammatory
“The combined effect of the deluxe package of nutrients contained in avocados offers powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. Avocados’ unique combination of Vitamins C and E, carotenoids, selenium, zinc, phytosterols and omega-3 fatty acids helps guard against inflammation. This means avocados can help prevent or mitigate against both osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis.

5. Heart Health “To get the most nutritional value from avocados, avoid those which have become over-ripe. You can identify these at the store because they will have dents and feel overly soft when you hold them. A ripe avocado should have no dents in its skin and will feel slightly soft when squeezed. You can also buy unripe avocados, which feel very hard when gripped, and permit them to ripen at home. The portion of the avocado closest to the skin is the most dense in nutrients, so be sure to scrape the skin clean before discarding it.

Lastly, Joe Theissman step aside, avocados are a super source of beta-sitosterol which is very positive for men’s prostate health.

Mr. Lazy cook advocates avocados. When I was in London, many restaurants served a half of an avocado cut lengthwise, pit removed, filled with vinegar and oil salad dressing. I got to really love these and fix them at home often. What could be simpler?

Tony

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Filed under arthritis, avocados, calories, carotenoids, carotenois, cholesterol, fat, HDL Cholesterol, healthy eating, healthy living, lazy cook, LDL Cholesterol, protein, Weight

What is Another Way to Handle Dietary Restrictions?

As regular readers know my former blogging partner, John, has severe dietary restrictions following his angioplasty and near heart attack. He has posted a number of items detailing his journey in dealing with this life-changing situation. As his former good friend, I was stunned by the news of his hospitalization and situation. Of course, I immediately imagined myself in his place and considered what I would do if confronted with an 80 percent blockage of a major artery and a stent being placed inside to facilitate my circulation. I find that I would handle it considerably differently than John. I don’t pretend to be a doctor. I don’t know that my way is better. I just know that my actions and ideas going forward differ sharply from John’s. I am more than 10 years older than he is and I have no dietary restrictions. I am presently enjoying the best personal health of my life. The National Institutes on Health considers me one of its success stories.

To begin with my first reaction would be gratitude. I would be thrilled to be still alive and feel that I had cheated death at least this one time. I would also make a firm purpose of amendment about my eating habits to guarantee that I would never put myself in this vulnerable situation again.

A near death experience like this is what I think of as a ‘square one’ situation. That is the same as when you go from grade school to high school and change from being a big shot at school to a little freshie in the new school. Ditto high school to college. Same kind of transition. I think square one situations are tremendous growth opportunities. Very challenging, to be sure, but they offer huge opportunities for real growth and discovery.

So, instead of looking back at the situation and feeling bitter over what I could no longer eat and whining about it, I would look forward to the chance to learn a whole new way of eating and making my dietary decisions. Previously, I chose things for taste with no consideration for the consequences on my body. Going forward, the health benefits would be way up there on my priority list. Of course, taste matters, but I would no longer limit my choices to taste alone as I did when I was a child. I don’t think a grown up should be making decisions on that basis.

Secondly, I have certain foods I like and foods I don’t like, but going forward, I would put everything back on the table (so to speak) and start from scratch. I would absolutely try to open my palate and my mind to new tastes including foods I might not have liked previously.  Nuts are a superb foodstuff. If I didn’t like nuts, I would make a point of trying a number of different kinds, maybe a few at a time and find a couple that I enjoyed and could integrate into my diet. As my former major protein source -meat- is nearly off the menu, it would be very effective to add the rich protein of nuts to my menu. I could start with a few on my salads. Nuts also happen to be a great source of EFAs, Essential Fatty Acids, which are necessary to every diet. That’s why they’re called essential.
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Filed under aging, blood pressure, fat, healing, heart problems, lazy cook, life challenges, recipes, Weight

Mr. Lazy Cook Makes a Quick Tasty Panini

My grown daughter and her husband gave me a panini maker as a gift some years ago. It was great fun and I made panini sandwiches regularly for a while. Then I got tired of it and moved the appliance off my counter. It has now been around five years since I made a panini.

This billboard truck started it all

I was out on a bike ride yesterday and happened upon a billboard truck with a picture of a panini on it. They were advertising for a local eaterie. As it happens, I passed the truck several times. By the third time, my mouth was watering and I had determined that I would make myself a panini when I got home. Theirs looked so good. I posted about it for willingwheeling. One picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, a tasty 283 calories.

So, what kind of panini to make upon returning? Mr. Lazy Cook looked in his cabinets and fridge and came up with the following: a loaf of sprouted rye bread, check. A can of salmon from Costco, check. Crumbled gorgonzola cheese for snacking with apples, check. This was enough for me. I could make a healthy sammy with an interesting taste, judging from the ingredients.

Mr. Lazy Cook’s salmon and crumbled gorgonzola panini

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What is a Simple Summer Salad from Mr. Lazy Cook?

The extreme heat in Chicago finally got to Mr. Lazy Cook. He decided to ‘go light’ this afternoon with a simple salad. Not having made a salad for a while, he chose to go slow at the beginning.

Herewith the fruits, so to speak, of his labors. As Mr. Lazy Cook lives by himself, this recipe serves one.

Here are the fixins for the salad

The ingredients included:

Pistachios
Blueberries
Romaine Lettuce
Crumbled blue cheese
Garbanzos
Newman’s Salad Dressing

Cut several slices of lettuce into strips to fill the bowl.
Add 1/2 ounce  pistachios
two tablespoons blueberries
two tablespoons garbanzos
two tablespoons blue cheese (or to taste)
two tablespoons Newman’s Salad Dressing (or to taste)

As if by magic the groceries become a tasty nutritious salad

As you can see from the photo this makes a nice salad with a variety of tastes and textures with all very nutritious ingredients.

Total prep time less than 10 minutes.

The pistachios and cheese provide protein while you get a nice helping of anitoxidants from the blueberries.

Tony

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