Tag Archives: healthy skin recipes

Yum Friday Recipe: Citrus Spinach Pecan Salad

27 Jan

I think I must have been close to scurvy this morning.  I had such a craving for citrus that I made this salad for breakfast.  Salad for breakfast?  Why not? 

Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she planned the citrus season for winter.  It comes at just the right time for us humans.  Besides giving us the health benefits of vitamin C right when we need it most, the sweet juicy tang of citrus fruit refreshes and says, “spring is coming.”  This salad sings freshness, just what we need for the doldrums of winter.

The stars of this food show are the oranges and pink grapefruit.  We round out the recipe with chopped spinach, pecans, and red onions.  Drizzled over top is a citrus/sweet dressing made from red ruby grapefruit juice.  It’s a great salad for the opening act of any meal–brunch, lunch, or dinner–and breakfast for the adventurous.

Citrus fruit is high in Vitamin C.  The body does not make it, so it is imperative that you eat foods with vitamin C in them.  While you may know vitamin C helps prevent colds and flu, it is also great and necessary for skin health.  Collagen production gets a big boost from ascorbic acid (vitamin C).  Collagen is needed for all skin types because it helps to strengthen and firm skin as well as repair it.  Dry, mature, oily, acne, wrinkled, sunburned skin all need vitamin C.  Skin wounds from surgery, cuts, etc. need it to help heal.

Dr. Andrew Weil even suggests asking your doctor for a vitamin C drip while having surgery to aid surgical wound healing.  That is how important vitamin C is to your skin.  I notice my skin becoming drier and duller if I don’t have vitamin C for just a few days.  Vitamin C is also high in antioxidants.  Antioxidants slow the damage caused by free radicals.  Free radicals are believed to be present in the cause of many diseases.  For the skin, free radicals damage collagen and cause skin dryness.  So, the moral of this story is get some vitamin C into you daily.  That reminds me: The body doesn’t store vitamin C, so it needs to be continuously replenished.

Spinach and the pecans in the salad provide another essential nutrient.  BTW, essential nutrients are those nutrients that the body does not make, and so we have to get them from food sources.  Spinach and pecans have omega 3.  Omega 3 acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body, which helps the skin.  Omega 3 is also important for brain development and function.  Spinach is also high in skin loving vitamin K.  Both spinach and pecans have other nutrients and phytonutrients that are important to the skin.  Onions  have several nutrients, especially flavonoids.  Flavonoids boost vitamin C, are ani-inflammatory, fight free radicals, and protect cell structure.  So, onions are nothing to cry about…..

Yum Recipe – Citrus Spinach Pecan Salad  – serves 2
2 navel oranges
1 ruby red grapefruit
½ cup chopped spinach
 1/3 cup chopped pecans
2 Tablespoon chopped red onion
fresh ground pepper

Ruby Grapefruit Dressing Ingredients
Juice from ½ red ruby grapefruit (about 1/3 cup) – remove any large seeds
1 ½ Tablespoon sunflower oil (or other light vegetable oil)
2 teaspoons agave or honey
pinch salt

Salad Dressing Directions
Make the dressing first.  In a blender or a bowl if using an immersion blender, add all the ingredients for the dressing.  Blend until thoroughly emulsified (1 – 3 minutes, depending on speed of blender).  The dressing will have a peach color to it.  Set aside.

Salad Preparation
Peel oranges and grapefruit, making sure to cut close enough to the fruit to remove the white part of the skin.  Section the fruit.  To section the fruit: cut sections away from the membrane on either side.  Using a knife, slice down the inside of the membrane on each side and using the knife lift the section away.  The other way to do this is to slice down the inside of one side of the membrane; bring the knife under the section and up along the other membrane side (the section is removed in one movement).

As you remove the fruit sections, place them in a colander over a bowl.  Once you are ready to prepare and serve the salad, put all the ingredients in a bowl.  Toss.  Drizzle the salad with the Ruby Grapefruit Dressing.  Grind fresh pepper on the salad after serving.  It’s also nice to plate the salad individually then add the dressing and fresh ground pepper.

A Yum Scrub Organics Recipe



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Spinach, Asparagus, Strawberry Salad with Fig Vinegar

13 May

Get your spring vegetable salad on with this skin-loving recipe.  Spring vegetables, baby spinach and asparagus, team up with in-season strawberries and sliced almonds.  How do you spell…yum.  This is a great salad to start off a Sunday brunch.

In our first recipe entry, we talked about the nutrients that are really good for the skin.  Asparagus has many of them.  It’s high in vitamin K, folate (vitamin B9 ), C, A and has wonderful levels of other B’s, copper, and contains skin loving zinc and selenium. The anti-inflammatory benefits of asparagus are helpful for skin inflammations such as acne, eczema, etc. Asparagus is also said to be good for the digestive tract.  The anti-oxidant nutrients from the strawberries with their high amounts of vitamin C and from asparagus help with wrinkles and other skin conditions. Spinach, one of the very beneficial dark leafy vegetables, is also chock-full with many of the same nutrients.  So, this salad, gives you a whammy of body-loving and skin-loving healthy benefits.

Fig-infused vinegar pulls it all together into one lip-smacking salad.

Yum Spinach, Asparagus, Strawberry Salad with Fig Vinegar
Serves 4 -6
This salad is lovely when plated individually.  But you can also layer it in a bowl or on a platter.

2 ½ cups of shaved (directions follow) asparagus (or asparagus cut on the diagonal in 2 1/2 – 3 inch slices)
5 or so cups of baby spinach
2 ½ cups sliced strawberries
½ cup sliced almonds
juice from ½ lime
fig infused vinegar (optional: well-aged balsamic vinegar)
salt and  freshly ground pepper

Toast Sliced Almonds
Preheat oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Place almonds on a sided cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes. This temperature and time maintains the nutritional content of the almonds.

Tackling the Shaved Asparagus
You can serve the shaved asparagus raw.  But, we like to blanch it and add some lime juice to bring out the color and flavor.

Shaving works better on semi-thick stalks just don’t go for the really thick ones.  Slice or snap off the bottom of the stalk.  Using a vegetable peeler and starting at the cut end, shave pieces of the asparagus in about 3 inch shavings.  Continue shaving all the way to the tips.  We find it easier to draw the peeler towards you as you shave the asparagus.

Boil water.  Have a bowl of ice water and a layer of paper towels or very clean kitchen towel ready.  Place the shaved asparagus in a bowl or saucepan of boiling water for about 45 – 60 seconds, until the asparagus is bright green and soft/crunchy.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the asparagus from the hot water and place it in the ice water (laying the asparagus along the inside edge of the bowl makes it easier to remove the shavings once they cool).  Remove asparagus shavings and place them on paper towel or kitchen towel; pat dry.  In a bowl, pour the lime juice, add some salt and pepper; mix.  Add the blanched asparagus; lightly toss.                                      

If you choose to use cut asparagus, steam until tender/crunchy then add lime seasoning.

Keep in mind the ingredients are divided by the number you want to serve.

In the center of individual plates, place some spinach.  Sprinkle around on the spinach some of the seasoned asparagus.  Next arrange some sliced strawberries on the greens.  Sprinkle with the toasted almonds.

Drizzle fig infused vinegar over each salad.

Serve and wait….wait…wait….receive the accolades.


You can also drizzle well-aged balsamic vinegar over the salad.  Fig infused or other sweet fruit infused vinegars can be used alone as a dressing without making a vinaigrette with oil to soften the tartness.  The more aged a balsamic vinegar is the sweeter it is.  Buy balsamic vinegar that’s been aged 20 years or more.  Yes, the price is indulgent, but well worth it.

Crumble some very good goat cheese over the salad.  We recently tried a handmade and hand packed goat cheese by Belle Chevre.  It was very mild and smooth with just the right bite.

Keep asparagus fresh by placing the stalks upright in a open jar or glass with about an inch of water in the bottom and storing in the refrigerator.
Recipe by: Denise Karson
copyright: Abhijit Chandra, LLC

Friday Recipe Time! Quinoa Fiesta Taco Salad

6 May

This looks long and complex- but it’s not at all!  Super Easy and Super Fresh!  It’s in honor of Cinco de Mayo.  Yes, we know Cinco de Mayo was yesterday, but now it’s the weekend–we have more time to CELEBRATE.

This salad is  always a crowd pleaser when we serve it.  And the meat eaters are always impressed that it contains no meat.

The star of this food show is quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wha).  Quinoa rocks.  First, it’s looks like a grain, but it’s a seed that belongs to the same family as spinach and swiss chard.  Secondly, it delivers a powerful punch of protein, and it is a complete protein.  A complete protein has all nine of the essential amino acids the body needs. Quinoa is filled with other nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, folate, and others.  While it does have some carbs, they are complex carbohydrate aka good carbs. Thirdly, quinoa is versatile.  It can be eaten for breakfast as a porridge; it can be added to baked goods, or used in a savory dish like this recipe does.

This salad is chocked full of other skin loving nutrient such as avocados, tomatoes, lime, garlic, and onions.  Did you know that it is said that cilantro helps to remove metal toxins from the body?

Yum Quinoa Fiesta Taco Salad   6 – 8 servings

This salad has different components to it.  So, we’ve broken it down by each component, but we’ve listed all the ingredients for the entire salad first.  The parts of the salad are the dressing, pico de gallo, quinoa “taco” mixture, grilled vegetables, and putting it all together.  Of course, we believe in using organic ingredients whenever possible.

3 large or 5 medium ripe avocados
1 bunch cilantro (enough to make 2 cups chopped)
3 med. to large limes
4 cloves garlic
3 large tomatoes
6 scallions
1 zucchini (or yellow squash)
1 large green pepper
1 red pepper
8 mushrooms (enough to make 2 cups diced)
1 onion
8 – 10 oz of spring lettuce mix (can substitute other types of lettuce)
½ cup uncooked red or white quinoa
3-½ teaspoons chili powder (Mexican)
3-½ teaspoons cumin
2 cans pinto beans or black beans (can have a combination, but do not use chili beans)
Bag of tortilla chips
½ cup extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil plus extra for sauteing
Salt and Pepper

Soak the quinoa in a bowl of water; set aside.
Open the cans of beans; rinse them under water, and set aside to drain.
Wash all the vegetables (except garlic and onion) and set aside.  Wrap the cleaned cilantro in a paper towel or very clean kitchen towel.

Make Avocado-Cilantro Dressing-
Ingredients go in a food processor or powerful blender.
Cut 1 large (or 2 med) avocado in half; remove the seed and scoop out the fruit with a spoon and place in processor or blender.
Take a fistful of cilantro and using a pair of scissors cut pieces into the processor or blender.  (This is about 1 cup chopped, but much easier to do this way.)
Squeeze the juice of 2 limes (catch or filter any seeds) into the dressing mixture.
Add the 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil.
Add ½ teaspoon salt and some fresh ground pepper.
Process or blend the dressing until smooth.

You want to add enough water to the dressing to make it smooth and pourable.  Start with about a ¼ of a cup; gradually add enough water until you get a dressing consistency.
Taste and adjust seasonings.  Place finished salad dressing in a cruet or pourable container and place in the refrigerator.

Pico de Gallo
Place following ingredients in a bowl and mix together then set aside.
3 diced tomatoes
2 chopped scallions
1 finely chopped or minced garlic
1 cup chopped cilantro (can use the same system as for the dressing)
juice from ½ lime (set aside the other half)
salt and pepper to taste

Cook Quinoa
Retrieve the bowl of soaking quinoa; place you hands in the water and rub the quinoa between your hands several times to remove any possible remaining bitter saponins.  Place quinoa in a strainer and rinse under running water.

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 1 cup of water.  Add 2 teaspoons chili pepper, 2 teaspoons cumin, 1 clove of garlic and a small piece of the onion.
Bring the quinoa to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cover.
Quinoa takes about 12 – 15 min. to cook.  It’s done when water is absorbed and quinoa has a soft/crunchy bite, and you can see little “tails”. 

Prepare Remaining Vegetables While Quinoa Cooks
If quinoa gets done before vegetables are prepared, set it aside.
Chop the remaining part of the onion.
Chop the 7-8 mushrooms (about 2 cups). Set aside on a cutting board or in a bowl.
Chop 2 garlic cloves. Set aside on a cutting board or in a bowl.
The scallions, zucchini, green and red pepper can all be placed in a bowl together after preparing them.
Scallions – after removing the root part and any damaged green parts, slice on the diagonal about 2 inches in length.
Zucchini – slice the zucchini so that you have thin “stick” slices about 3 inches long.
Green Pepper – cut in half remove seeds and stem.  Cut into 3 inches long thin slices.
Red Pepper – same as green pepper.
2 Avocados – cut in half, remove seed and scoop out the fruit.  Slice each of the halves lengthwise in thin to medium thick slices.  Place in a bowl.  Squeeze the juice from the remaining lime over the slices.  Cover and set aside.

Quinoa Taco Mix
You’ll need the diced onions, mushrooms, chili powder, cumin, quinoa, salt and pepper, and about ¾ cup water.

In a heated skillet, add 2 Tablespoon of olive oil, add the diced onion.  Sautee onions for 2 minutes, then add the mushrooms.  Sautee until the onions and mushrooms are golden brown–about 10 minutes.  Add 2 teaspoons chili powder, 2 teaspoons of cumin, salt/pepper to taste, the chopped garlic, and quinoa. Stir and cook for 1 – 2 minutes.  Then add the water.  Cook until water is absorbed.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Set aside.

 Grill Vegetables
This is a handy way to grill vegetables without using a grill.  Try to use as little oil as possible and stir continuously.
Have scallions, zucchini, green and red pepper ready.
Over medium high heat to high heat, place 1 -2 teaspoons olive oil in a large skillet.  After pan is hot, carefully add scallions, zucchini, green and red pepper.  Stir-fry vegetables until they reach a soft/crunchy texture.  Some vegetables will have a nice brown grilled look to them.

Bringing the Fiesta Together
In a large salad bowl add in layers:
drained beans
quinoa “taco” mixture
grilled vegetables
avocados (lay slices decoratively in the bowl)
pico de gallo

You can add the lettuce, crushed chips, dressing, and toss.  But we like to serve the lettuce and chips in separate bowls from the layered vegetable mixture and have each individual fix their own bowl of salad. 

To serve individually, each person fills their bowl with chips (can crush them), the vegetable mixture, and lettuce.  Pour the dressing over.  How do you say Yummy in Spanish??  Apetitoso!

Suggestions:  Serve sliced pickled jalapenos on the side.
Serve wedges of lime on the side to squeeze over the salad.
Instead of Avocado/Cilantro Dressing, drizzle about ¼ cup EVOO and juice of a lime over the salad.
Use pinto or black beans made from scratch.

Recipe by: Denise Karson
copyright, Abhijit Chandra, LLC 2011

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