Summer & Citrus Fruit Sangria Mocktail

May is a popular time of year for graduation parties and pre-summer gatherings! To celebrate and provide something refreshing and deliciously nutritious beverages, our Recipe Redux group is sharing some pretty and fun cocktails and mocktails!

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One of my all time favorite cocktail is a sangria.

And I realized when making this recipe that one of my favorite foods – or beverages- to twist is cocktails!

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I’m not actually big into making homemade cocktails. Partially because I’m not much of an alcohol drinker to begin with and also because I’d rather just pour myself a glass of wine to keep things simple, easy and fast!

With that being said, I really love making mocktails! It’s a fun challenge to see if I can recreate flavors in a way that’s pretty, refreshing, and yet more nutritious, less (if any) sugar, and minimal calories!

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My mocktails don’t involve lots of sugary sweeteners. They are wholesome, fresh and delicious! This is a new favorite you’ve gotta try!

Summer & Citrus Fruit Sangria Mocktail

Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 orange, halved

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

1/2 cup strawberries

1/2 cup frozen peach slices

1/2 cup frozen mango

12 ounces sparkling apple, peach juice

1 liter club soda

Directions: 

Juice half the orange and add it to a pitcher. Slice the remaining half and add to the pitcher as well. Toss in the remaining fruit. Pour in the sparkling juice and let sit in the fridge for a few hours. Before serving, pour in the club soda.

Serve over ice and in garnish with extra fruit.

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That’s it! It’s a chop and dump kind of recipe. It can be made at the last minute, but truly the longer it sits together, the better it will taste- just like sangria- gets better with time and a delicious combination of fresh flavors!

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Happy partying!

xo,

Becca


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Hummus Roasted Shrimp Veggie Bowl with a Hummus Citrus Vinaigrette

“I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

You might be surprised, but sometimes adding just one simple ingredient to a recipe can spark your creativity side and result in a new delicious addition to spice up your lunch or dinner routine.

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For my hummus roasted shrimp veggie bowl I spread some hummus on each little shrimp, roasted them in the oven until golden pink and served over a bed of shredded romaine, sliced mini peppers, quartered tomatoes, and halved cucumber slices.

I also made a hummus citrus vinaigrette by mixing Sabra {www.sabra.com} hummus with lemon juice and a sprinkling of black pepper of the most easy semi-homemade dressing you need that pairs perfectly with the shrimp and veggie bowl.

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This recipe takes about 20 minutes today and is a great Mediterranean meal to make you feel good about what you are eating.

It’s rich in protein from the shrimp {& plant-based protein from the Sabra hummus!} along with fiber and heart healthy fats!

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Since we are just a couple days away from National Hummus Day {May 13th} why not pay homage to a delicious dip and use it as a staple ingredient in a recipe. Its smooth, rich, and creamy texture and bold flavor makes it a tasty and easy addition to healthy ingredients that you can often get bored of making the same way.

And who’s to say this has to be a meal, it would make a perfect afternoon snack! The full balance of nutrients from fiber to protein to fat helps keep you fuller, satisfied, and energized longer- helping not only to tide you over ’til dinner time but also making you more likely to make better food choices and control portions more appropriately.

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This recipe is so fast, easy, and nutritious; you won’t regret making it asap!

Hummus Roasted Shrimp Veggie Bowl with Hummus Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1 lb deveined shrimp

1/2 cup Sabra Hummus {I used the Roasted Red Pepper flavor}

1 whole wheat pita, quartered

1 head of romaine, shredded

1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered

1 cucumber, halved and sliced

2 cups mini sweet peppers, sliced

For the vinaigrette:

1/4 cup Sabra Hummus

1 lemon, juiced

freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. On a baking sheet, spread out the shrimp and dollop each with a teaspoon of the Sabra hummus. Place the pita on one end of the baking sheet as well.

Roast in the oven about 5 minutes, removing the pita once the edges become slightly crisp.  Continue to cook the shrimp until they have turned golden pink {roughly another 10 minutes, but keep an eye on them occasionally. Note: you can always turn on the broiler to enhance their color}.

Prepare the veggie bowl by tossing all the lettuce and veggies together.

Prepare the dressing by mixing the hummus and lemon juice together- stirring with a fork or shaking in a mason jar.

Layer the cooked shrimp onto the veggies and drizzle with the vinaigrette!

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That’s it! 4 basic steps that doesn’t require any significant amount of time or real brain power! Who couldn’t use that in their lives?

Enjoy!

xo

Becca


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Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza

“I received free samples of Sabra Hummus mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.”

Sometimes we just need a little fresh flavor change to spice up your snack routine.  Am I right?!

Enter some flavorful options from Sabra {www.sabra.com}. Since National Hummus Day is just around the corner- this Saturday, May 13th! – and I can always use a good snack mix-up, I made this delicious and easy Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza that is oh-so-good and satisfying! Not to mention, as always, it’s nutritious!

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You may be surprised to hear that there are still people out there that do not know what hummus is!

Don’t be ashamed, if that’s you!  It’s simply ground up chickpeas {also known as garbanzo beans} that are blended with Tahini {aka ground sesame seeds}. That’s basically it- of course, you can always add more flavor with garlic, lemon, and peppers!

It’s a simple Mediterranean-style dip that provides heart-healthy fats, a bit of fiber, and plant based-protein! It goes great with just about anything- from chicken to veggies to, of course, whole grain pita!

It can even be transformed into a key ingredient in a mouth-watering snack or appetizer!

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My Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza is a heart healthy option that’s satisfying and energizing by containing a balance of fiber, protein, and plant-based fats. It’s also versatile, simply make it vegetarian by omitting the chicken!

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Mediterranean Hummus Pita Pizza

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

1 whole grain pita bread

1/2 cup Sabra Hummus {I used the Supremely Spicy variety for added heat and flavor}

4 ounces roasted chicken breast

1/4 cup spinach

1/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/4 cucumber, sliced

freshly ground black pepper

Directions: 

Grill or bake (at 350) the pita for a few minutes until slightly toasted and warmed through to soften (about 5 minutes total).

Spread on the hummus. Top with diced or shredded roasted chicken {I used up leftovers here}, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Finish by sprinkling on some freshly ground black pepper.

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Happy {healthy} snacking!

xo,

Becca


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Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche

In honor of Earth Day tomorrow – April 22nd – our Recipe Redux blogging members are sharing recipes to help reduce food waste!

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What’s the most likely food item to go to waste? For most, including myself, it can be fresh produce.

A couple ways to cut down on this waste is:

  1. Meal Planning, meal planning, meal planning!   I can’t say it enough, plan your meals for the week, buy only what you need, and it will tremendously save you time, money, and waste!
  2. Buy frozen vegetables.   They equally , if not more nutritious, than fresh and cheaper! Plus the freezer keeps them preserved so if your meal plan happens to take a wrong turn during the week, they won’t go bad until you use them next.

One of my favorite ways to use up veggies, prep for the week, and have a protein rich meal or snack option is to make a veggie-loaded make-ahead omelet, egg muffins, or quiches; essentially they are all the same. It comprises sauteed veggies, eggs + egg whites, all baked together in a dish over the weekend. Then during the week you have a ready-to-o breakfast or even lunch, snack, or dinner whenever you need.

I usually make a crust-less version, but adding even more veggies to your usual recipe – like turning leftover spaghetti squash into a crust – is a fabulous way to reduce waste, add nutrients, and change up the flavor profile!

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This recipe came to mind as I had tried to make a baked spaghetti squash- egg casserole without really following a recipe and it was a total recipe fail.  I salvaged the spaghetti squash, and there’s a few leftover pieces of feta cheese and eggs, but that’ll work perfectly with my solution to not throw the whole thing out!

Enter my go-to everything-but-the-kitchen-sink solution!

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Spaghetti Squash Crusted Quiche

Serves: 10

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash, cooked

1 teaspoon olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 red onion, diced

1 package mushrooms, sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

6 eggs

1-2 cups egg whites

freshly ground black pepper

couple dashes Tabasco hot sauce

2 cups baby spinach

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Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking dish with non stick spray.

If the spaghetti squash is not already cooked, you can microwave it for about 8-10 minutes ’til it’s soft and tender on the outside. Then (with an oven mitt on to hold the squash stable) carefully slice the squash lengthwise to open it. Spoon out the seeds in the center, and shred the flesh with a fork.

Press the shredded squash into the baking dish. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 30-45 minutes – just keep checking on it every 5 minutes after the 30 minute mark. This step is fairly optional. I just wanted to have a crispier crust, but if you are indifferent, this isn’t super important.

In a skillet, add the olive oil, garlic, onion, mushrooms, and peppers. Saute until soft.

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, egg whites, black pepper, and hot sauce.

Combine the egg mixture and the veggie mixture. Throw in the spinach and gently stir to combine.

Pour the egg and veggies into the spaghetti squash crust. Bake for another 30-45 minutes until the eggs cook through (the liquid is absorbed and when you gently jiggle the dish, the eggs are set).

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Truly, you can enjoy this for breakfast, snacks, even lunch or dinner! It’s lean protein and veggies, so you have your most important meal components.

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It even makes a great dish to share at any gathering. If you don’t mind a little a few stray pieces here and there. =)

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xo,

Becca

For other great recipes to reduce food waste, check out my fellow Recipe Reduxer posts here:

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Meal Planning Series: 3.0

If you’ve joined me for the last two sessions (here’s the first), then you have gotten this weekly meal planning down pretty good. Well at least I know I have.

It’s always been one of my main goals to 1: reduce food waste, 2. eat out less, 3. save money as much as possible. For all of these, (and more!) meal planning is key!

On the menu for our family this week is:

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Saturday: Baked Pork Tenderloin & Roasted Brussels Sprouts

A simple, oven-baked option that once the veggies are chopped, everything goes into the oven and it does all the work.

As tired as we are from a hectic week, it’s nice to eat out every once in while, but working low key, easy and delicious dinners will always be more nutritious.

Sunday: Homemade Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Throw some chicken breast, chopped veggies, in a large pot with water. Add rosemary, garlic, celery, etc (whatever you have on hand will work) and let the chicken create it’s own yummy stock as it simmers in the water. I added a good tablespoon of tumeric for a nice golden, rich color + antioxidants.

In the end you have a nutritious soup. I top mine with fresh spinach and serve it with a whole grain grilled cheese croutons! Yum yum! These are perfect to save in small batches and freeze when someone gets sick or you need a reheatable meal one night of the week (post vacation anybody?).

Monday: leftovers

Mondays can be tough. Enough said. So why come home and make dinner? Eat some of those leftovers from the weekend! We had enough from those two dinners (there’s 3 in our family) to eat off of for lunch and dinner plus have extras to save for later!

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Fajitas

Throw in some chicken, slice onions and bell peppers, toss in slow cooker. Sprinkle on fajitas seasoning, set on low for 6 hours. Just shred the chicken with two forks when you get home and dinner’s done. Pair it with some guac and a corn tortilla.

Wednesday:  Shrimp Stir Fry

Chinese-style is not crave-worthy for me, (now that I say that though, I could use eat some sushi soon!) but when I can throw together dinner in like 20 minutes with no recipe, I’ll like stir fry during the week as often as I need! I used frozen shrimp (it’s a staple we have on hand nonstop for nights like these), with frozen veggies like snow peas, broccoli florets, and riced cauliflower.

Thursday: Chicken Sausage, Pesto, Pasta, and Snap Bean Saute

The name really says it all. It’s a 4 ingredient dinner that comes together in one pan. Slice and brown chicken sausage (lower saturated fat but full of flavor), drop in some snap beans  and when it’s done toss everything together with a heaping spoon of pesto. If you can skip the pasta, fine, but if you need the pasta, you do want to cook it separately and combine when throwing in the pesto at the end. Save a bit of the pasta water in case you need the liquid.

Friday: Take out or Homemade Pizza

It’s good Friday tomorrow and I’m craving a family night out at a local Tex Mex place up the street from our house. The babe can play outside in the courtyard with their games and we can enjoy the weather and Friday night vibes.  It’s also crawfish season and I could go for some crawfish and Abita Strawberry beer (I know that’s not an Abita below- it’s a margarita mocktail!). So we’ll see. It’s the one night that is up in the air with a few different options.

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Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend! Don’t forget to take some time to make our meal plans for next week!

xo,

Becca

Mommy | RD approved Tot & Travel-Friendly Snacks

Every time I think about time I get a little emotional. Next month will mark three years since we found out we were pregnant with our little pumpkin. Three years! And now I have a two year old. How does this happen?

In honor of this rapidly evolving and quickly passing season in our lives, I’m starting a new series on the blog that’s dedicated to feeding little mouths from babies to tots and on, even including prenatal and breastfeeding tips as well.

Since my daughter is now two and providing the healthiest snacks possible is always on the top of my brain, I’m sharing my mommy | dietitian-approved tot-friendly travel snacks.  All our perfect for heading out of town for a long vacation or just needing some fun snacks for afternoon activities out and about.

kiddie snacks

 

I’ll start by always going back to the fact that nothing can replace whole, natural, raw foods like vegetables and fruits and these are the ideal and perfect snacks- for all of us, not just kids!

But let’s be real, life is crazy. We are stressed, busy, and tired- to say the least.  And it doesn’t help that kids, even the youngest ones, can be easily influenced {or jealous} when they see what their peers are eating. So when it comes to offering only the healthy options to toddlers, life can get in the way, and often easily stray us from our healthy intentions.

That’s where these items come in. They may be packaged and slightly processed, but if they make offering healthier options to your little mouths easy and enjoyable, and also provide some nutrition at the same time! That’s a win- win!

It also helps get my mommy & RD seal of approval when there isn’t any artificial colors or preservatives, there’s only a handful (or less) of ingredients, and these are as simple as can be!

  1. Siggi’s Yogurt Tubes | I love strained yogurt for it’s many benefits including calcium, probiotics, + protein! I also love that this brand has very little added sugars, and while I’d prefer none and really only offered plain varieties to LEM until she was about 18 months, I also needed an option for daycare and I knew the other kids would be eating flavored varieties. That’s where these yogurt tubes are great; their portable, nutritios, and LEM loves them! If you’re at home, pour it into a bowl and have them use a spoon, but if you’re traveling thier compact and versatite.
  2. String Cheese |  This one didn’t enter into our options until fairly recently. My daughter loves cheese {loves loves loves} but she’s hit or miss with string cheese. It’s an option I’ll offer for especially for traveling to get in some nutrients like calcium and protein, and if she won’t eat it, at least I will!
  3. Larabar |  I love this brand for little ones because you can find varieties that are nothing more than fruit and nuts- super wholesome and nourishing! So rather than giving her a bar that’s loaded with sugar, I love that there’s no sugar added and just simple wholesome ingredients! It’s also fun for her to eat, and perfect for grab and go when needed!  We like the blueberry flavor best, but any unsweetened varieties get our check of approval!
  4. Barbara’s Snackimals |  Even my husband likes these cookies, so that’s really saying something when you can get your picky “I don’t like whole grains” hubby to eat something the little one will eat! I love these because they taste good, their whole grains, and they are a great alternative to graham crackers, animal crackers, or even vanilla wafers {all of which are popular, but not-so-healthy snacks for littles}. These do contain some added sugar, but I’ll take a cookie that mimics others, but that’s truly 100% whole grains- trust me, that’s hard to find! These are also great because they are individually portioned which is perfect for little hands!
  5. Van’s Cheese Crackers | These are one of the first items I found for LEM when we we’re starting snacks at daycare. I love that they like cheese-itz or goldfish, but 100% whole grains {also happen to be gluten free for those that need it} and they taste great! These are another that my hubby will eat! So rather than buying Annie’s cheddar bunnies that are nothing more than enriched flour, pick these instead!
  6. Cheerios | I love Cheerios, specifically plain Cheerios – only 1 gram of sugar, as they are finger-friendly, few ingredients, wholesome whole grains. Think outside of breakfast here for a versatile snack on it’s own for traveling or mix it with other items for a fun mommy-made ‘trail mix’.
  7. No sugar added applesauce | We buy these in the cups or the pouches and have them on hand for when life calls. The key is to get no sugar varieties, and if you buy the GoGo Squeez pouches, try to incorporate the ones with veggies also mixed in like carrots, beets, etc. just for some added nutrients from those veggies with even less -albeit natural- sugars. And if you’re in the car, the pouches can keep everything clean and allow some indepence, but you can always pour the contents into a bowl and work on hand eye coordination with a spoon.
  8. Bare Apple Chips | I love these nothing-more-than-dehydrated-apple-slices as a way to incorporate apples, not offer chips, and still get wholesome goodness. My daughter does’t love these so much, but nutritionally I do so, we offer them. I’ve been mixing them in our homemade travel trail mix and right now she picks them out – or even gives them to the dogs- but I’ve learned that could change one day! So until then, I’ll be patient.
  9. Simply Balanced Fruit Strips |  These are another one that my daughter isn’t too keened on. She’s probably only eaten them 1/3 of the time, but I like them as a little treat so we get them occasionally! These are 100% healthier than your standard fruit snacks, fruit strips, or another other fruit-like sugar laden kid friendly snack. These Simply Balance strips are just dehydrated fruits {or the juice of fruit} with no added sugar! They fun, portable, tasty and nutritious! So they are approved for age-appropriate tots! Special note: while I am not a fan of fruit juice to drink, I give these a break even though they are made with fruit juice concentrates since they are a better option than traditional fruit snacks that have extra sugars added.

I’ll say it again, this list is not an excuse to not offer or have wholesome fruits and veggies available. These just make life manageable, tasty, and fun all while providing valuable nutrients to little ones and adults alike!

While I’d love nothing more than to make everything from scratch, only offer snacks of yogurt, fruits, and veggies, I’m thankful as a working mom that I have the next best items available. Life handed me a curve ball when we had to have some flexibility and alternatives when we started daycare and while it’s been challenging and frustrating at times, I’m grateful for the learning experience. I’ve found some better-for-you products that I can share with you!

xo,

Becca

 

 

 

 

Broccoli Ranch Salad

Each month seems to go by faster and faster & we’re already at our monthly Recipe Redux challenge!

This month we were challenged to use at least 3 ingredients we had on hand, really trying not to buy anything new, to make a fun recipe to share! A kitchen spring cleaning, if you will!

I love this concept! It’s especially great for time-saving, penny pinching needs when you can’t or don’t want to get to the store. Just find what you have on hand and try to whip up something delicious and nutritious. Sounds easy, right?

Not so much, it’s like trying to play Chopped in your own kitchen, minus the strict time limits {and fierce competition}.

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I had all of these ingredients on hand from items not fully used in previous recipes to staples I always have in my house. I did a little chop, toss, and twisted a family favorite pasta salad recipe that closely resembles it only makes it many times more nutritious and still delicious.

It all starts with broccoli crowns or a head of broccoli. Simply break off the florets, trim as needed, and toss into a bowl. I had the broccoli sitting in the fridge as it was intended to use with dinner in our weekly meal plan, but plans changed and then I needed to use up the broccoli before it went bad. Enter this salad recipe.

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Next, just add in whatever veggies you have on hand. I opted for red onion, which is always in my pantry and grape or cherry tomatoes because they are a delicious pop-in-your-mouth snack while cooking. Cauliflower, sliced kale, or even leftover cabbage would be nice additions, too!

I also added a few slices of no-nitrate or nitrite pepperoni, a leftover ingredient we use in our homemade pizza nights.

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The next step is to assemble the dressing. Instead of using a store-bought ranch dressing or needing to run to the grocery for the packet of mix to make your own- I made my own mix! It helps to have a well stocked cabinet of spices and seasoning.

If you don’t have something on hand, challenge yourself to leave it out or make a similar substitution. I usually look up the ingredients of a ready-made product that I’d like to replicate  as my starting point of ingredients to use at home.

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Mix the dressing together with some plain strained yogurt, drizzle it over the veggie mixture, and toss everything together!

This salad is great because:

  1. It’s not a traditional salad so it adds a nice change up to a usual routine!
  2. It can go with a lot of other dishes from a side at lunch to a veggie with pizza night to a vegetable option at a picnic!
  3. It tastes great right away and doesn’t need to marinate for the flavors to develop!

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Italian-Style Broccoli Salad

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 broccoli crowns, florets trimmed

1 pint grape tomatoes, whole or halved

1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

4 slices, no nitrate|no nitrite pepperoni, julienne or diced

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon Homemade Ranch Mix {see recipe below}

2 teaspoons Salad Supreme

1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 clove garlic, grated

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

couple dashes hot sauce

freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Prep the base: Add the broccoli, tomatoes, red onion, and pepperoni to a bowl.

Prepare the dressing: Mix together the Greek yogurt with the homemade ranch mix, salad supreme seasoning, Worchestershire, grated fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, hot sauce, and black pepper. Mix well to combine.

Put it all together. Toss and enjoy anytime you need a side veggie!

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For the no added salt homemade ranch mix:

2 tablespoons dried parsley

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons dried onion flake

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried dill

1 teaspoon dried chives {I actually used a blend of freeze dried salad herbs that was mostly dried chives along with some other herbs}

freshly ground black pepper

Combine in a mason jar and use as needed.

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Can you whip this recipe up with ingredients you have already at home?

Always remember, you can twist it to make your own version!

xo,

Becca

To find out other great recipes from this month’s recipe redux, make sure to check out the following link:

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