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Take a bite of health

By Deirdre Parker Smith

deirdre.smith@salisburypost.com

Are you still holding on to your New Year’s resolution?

You are eating better, exercising more, etc. etc.?

Good for you.

Are you tired of zucchini noodles and salad, salad, salad?

Here are a few recipes that are low carb to help you in that constant battle, resolution or not.

From life as a strawberry blog comes a recipe that may help with your pizza cravings.

Portobella Mushroom Pizzas

4 large portobella mushroom caps, stems removed

3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 cups shredded or torn fresh mozzarella

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for garnish

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place a wire cooling rack on a rimmed baking sheet and place mushrooms top-side down on the rack. This lets moisture drain away from the mushrooms as they cook.

Drizzle portobella caps with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Sprinkle a handful of mozzarella cheese onto each cap, then top with tomato and basil. Add more cheese.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, until mushrooms have softened and cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

Now, you can add spinach to this pizza, change or add cheese, use a couple of slices of zucchini or another quick-cooking vegetable, or top with finely sliced kale after it comes out of the oven.

From Eating Well, here is a recipe that uses a number of superfoods for a filling salad. It also has color and flavor and a variety of textures to keep it interesting.

Healthy Detox Salad

3 cups cubed, peeled butternut squash (buy precut, if it helps)

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 heaping tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. cumin

Salt and pepper

1/4 cup grapeseed

or vegetable oil

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

2 Tbsp. Greek yogurt

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 shallot, minced

1 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound) stems and center ribs removed and leaves cut crosswise into slivers

1 pint Brussels sprouts, cut crosswise into slivers

Handful of toasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or sunflower seeds

1 avocado, peeled and diced

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Put squash on a sheet pan sprayed with cooking spray or coated with oil and sprinkle with olive oil, turmeric, cumin and salt and pepper. Toss together well and spread in an even layer.

Roast until lightly browned on the bottom, about 15 minutes, then gently turn and cook another 10 minutes, or until edges are slightly caramelized. Set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, whisk together the grapeseed oil, vinegar, yogurt, maple syrup and shallots, season with salt and pepper. Check seasonings with a piece of kale.

In a large bowl, combine the kale, Brussels sprouts, roasted squash and pumpkin seeds. Lightly dress, then toss to combine. Add avocado and a bit more dressing and toss again.

Salad can be prepared in advance; leave dressing and avocado off until just before serving.

Remember those diets where all you ate for days was cabbage soup? Remember the intestinal distress that followed? This is a new take on cabbage soup that has a lot more than cabbage in it. With added beans, you get protein, but there is that thing that beans do to a body … Never mind. Give it a try. This is from EatingWell.com

Mexican Cabbage Soup

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

2 cups chopped onions

1 cup chopped carrot

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped poblano chile or green bell pepper

4 cloves garlic, minced

8 cups sliced cabbage

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

1 Tbsp. chipotle chiles in adobo, minced

1 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. ground coriander

4 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth

4 cups water

2 (15-oz.) cans low sodium pinto or black beans, rinsed

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tbsp. lime juice

Crumbled queso fresco, nonfat plain Greek yogurt and/or diced avocado for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot (8 quart or larger) over medium heat. Add onions, carrot, celery, poblano and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 10-12 minutes. Add cabbage, cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 10 minutes more. Add tomato paste, chipotle, cumin and coriander and cook one minute more.

Add broth, water, beans and salt. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Serve in bowls garnished with cilantro, lime juice and cheese, yogurt or avocado.

Makes 8 servings. Can easily be halved.

After all those veggies, you need a little treat. So these aren’t sugar free, but a lot of the fat has been cut out, and the drizzle of chocolate is just enough to make you feel good about being bad.

From Diabetic Living Magazine

Chocolate-Drizzled Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

Nonstick cooking spray

1/2 cup regular rolled oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

2 (8 oz.) packages fat-free cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup refrigerated or frozen egg product, thawed

1/4 cup fat-free milk

1 tsp. vanilla

2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

2-3 Tbsp. fat-free milk

3 Tbsp. chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly coat a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan with cooking spray; set aside.

For crust, place oats in a food processor or blender. Cover and process until coarsely ground. In a small bowl combine ground oats, flour, brown sugar and melted butter. Pat evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

For filling, in a large bowl combine cream cheese, peanut butter and granulated sugar. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Add egg substitute, 1/4 cup milk and vanilla. Beat on low until just combined.

Pour cheesecake filling onto the prepared crust. Bake for 25 minutes or until set in the center.Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover with foil and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.

For the chocolate drizzle, in a heavy small saucepan, heat the stir the chocolate over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and beat in enough of the 2-3 Tbsp. milk to make a drizzling consistency. Using a spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the cheesecake filling. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Cover and chill until chocolate is set. Cut into bars.

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