Janet's Notebook
Lighten Things Up in 2012 With Tasty Salad Ideas

By Janet Tharpe  


Lighten Things Up in 2012 With Tasty Salad Ideas
Easy Avocado Citrus Salad


“Food is an important part of a balanced diet,” once quipped author Fran Lebowitz. I love this quote. In fact, I have it printed out and stuck up on my fridge (with my favorite magnet.) Food plain makes me happy, and I vote we celebrate it... instead of fearing it.

And if we get in the practice of celebrating what we eat, it's darn important that what we prepare be good for us AND tasty, don't you think? Our friend Lynn Socko, a home cook from San Angelo, TX, knows a thing or two about the challenges of finding that balance. "It's always been a struggle for me to find a balance between healthy cooking/eating and those hard to resist meals that are not so good for you. I LOVE flavor," she explains in her online Just A Pinch discussion group, Cooking Healthy. "I wanted to be part of a group that could identify with these struggles, could offer support to each other, and could share healthy, tasty recipes and ideas." And that's just what has happened!

So many of us can relate to Lynn's struggles and are eager beavers about sharing our own personal stories and tips. In fact, thanks to the efforts of folks like Lynn, Just A Pinch has seen a delicious wave of inventive, lighter recipes being shared... reinventions of decadent favorites and unique takes on new, healthy eats.

Salads, for example, were once thought of as something to "suffer" through. No longer! Now, there are SO many great ways to jazz up traditional salads... to the point where they become downright cravable. Nikki Smith's recipe for Avocado Citrus Salad is a perfect example. "I love Avocados!!!" says the Hemet, CA cook. "So why not have a nice refreshing avocado salad? You can also use tomatoes like I did." Toss with romaine lettuce, red onions, fresh orange and a simple dressing of oil, sugar and lime for a crisp, creamy dream of a salad that is a perfect light lunch all on its own.

Busy mom Leslie Holt of Franklin, TN adds a bit of unexpected crunch to her favorite salad in the form of sauteed walnuts and Ramen noodles! The otherwise straightforward salad recipe is a joy to serve, as guests will unfailingly marvel at the creative (and yummy) additions. "This recipe is super easy to make," explains Leslie. The oil and red wine vinegar dressing has an added punch from the addition of soy sauce. And for an even kickier flavor, Leslie suggests using flavored wine vinegars.

Still not convinced that salads are the new comfort food? Then you've simply got to grab a fork and dig into Kelly Phillips' amazing Rice Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette! This addictive salad comes sans lettuce, but packed with rich flavors of honey, cumin, soy, citrus and fresh green onion. With a base of basmati rice that's been cooked in chicken stock, this dish is no slouch on flavor. "This is an incredible salad to serve with grilled Tilapia," says Kelly. She particularly loves serving this salad at parties because it's served at room temperature... no worrying about it getting too warm or too cold. Top with lemon zest and almonds for a healthy and filling bite.

Over the years I've come to find that winter is THE perfect time to begin introducing these kinds of fresh flavors into our meals. When it's cold outside and the skies just can't seem to shake that gray blanket of clouds, fresh fruits and veggies are a ray of sunshine in the day. Dress 'em up for the celebration with one of these delicious dressings, and you'll have a healthy meal that just begs to be eaten.



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40 Comments

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Bonnie ^O^ Utahn
Jan 10, 2012
Congratulations, Lynn, my friend! You deserve it. Your group rocks!
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Aurora McBee aurora
Jan 10, 2012
Way to go Miss Lynn!!
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Cynthia Martinez Devinesalvage
Jan 10, 2012
Congrats to Lynn.
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donna clark donnacl
Jan 10, 2012
Could someone please tell me who to share a recipe with my groups , I have tryed but not getting anywhere. Maybe I just don't understand how it's done. Please help.
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SK H Soos
Jan 10, 2012
Way to go Lynn....it is well deserved.
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Karla Everett Karla59
Jan 10, 2012
Congratulations Lynn on the recognition of your group and to the Nikki , Leslie and Kelly for your recipes being mentioned !!

@ Donna C. On your recipe that you posted in the upper right hand corner above the blue print and save buttons , there is a icon that says share recipe , click on that and a window will drop down and select my groups. A page will open up that has all the groups that you have joined and click on what groups that you want to share that recipe with and scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the share button. The recipe will go into those groups recipe files.
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Danelle New Danelle
Jan 10, 2012
Yay Lynn! WTG, see why you're one of my few "favorites"...well done. And btw, Texas ROCKS!
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susan walsh hummengberd
Jan 10, 2012
I love salads and my hubby has learned most dinners will come with a salad and he enjoys them too. I have several things I incorporate into a salad. . .not all in one salad but fruit (pears, apples, crasins, whatever is in season), walnuts, sunflower seeds, artichoke hearts, kidney beans, cottage cheese, boiled eggs. . .along with all the normal vegees one might find like romaine lettuce, celery, petite carrots, onions, tomatoes, avocados, cucumber. You can put just about anything into a salad and it's pretty good. I have a zip lock bag of cooked chicken that I microwave and add sometimes. Many nights a big salad will be my dinner (and my husband too), so I have lots of protein that I add. I had to get creative because my husband didn't eat enough vegees and fruit, so I try to incorporate a decent number of servings into his salad. He's gotten much better over the years and we both enjoy a yummy salad with lots of crunch.
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Annette W. greeneyez
Jan 10, 2012
Woop Woop Lynn. Congrats hon. You too Nikki. I'm still going to try that salad of yours. It sounds so good.
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Jane Whittaker janenov46
Jan 10, 2012
Lynn has always been one of my favorite cooks and her recipes are just plain good. Congrats GF!!!!!
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Straws Kitchen CinCooks
Jan 10, 2012
Congrats Lynn & Nikki for making a showing in Janet's notebook.
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Carolyn Cheek caterbaker
Jan 10, 2012
I'm looking for the recipe for the Atomic Cake. Does anyone have it? It has different flavored layers with fillings to match the layers. I hope someone has it.
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Straws Kitchen CinCooks
Jan 10, 2012
Chicago News...
**Atomic Cake**
1 layer banana or yellow cake
1 layer chocolate cake
1 layer white cake
Fresh bananas, sliced
1 small box Jell-O banana Pudding
Fresh strawberries, sliced (or Cherries)
Grated chocolate
1 small box Jell-O chocolate pudding
1 small box Jell-O vanilla Pudding shopping list
whipped cream

Set the banana (or yellow) cake layer on a cake plate.
Top with sliced bananas, then spread banana pudding over the top to hold the bananas together.
Spread whipped cream over pudding.
Place the chocolate cake layer on top.
Sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Top with sliced strawberries, then spread chocolate pudding over the top.
Spread with whipped cream.
Place the white cake layer on top.
Spread with vanilla pudding.
Frost top of cake with a generous amount of whipped cream.
Refrigerate any leftovers.
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Colleen Sowa colleenlucky7
Jan 10, 2012
Hi Lynn and Nikki!!!! Congratulations my friends!!! Also congratulations to all of the others mentioned! xooxxoxoxoxxoxoxo
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NIKKI SMITH adorefood
Jan 10, 2012
Thanks everyone.. Much Love..Nice to be i good company; Lynn, Leslie and Kelly.. Great Job Ladies..: )