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Cleansing Spring Menu

It’s time to shed those coats and sweaters and come out of hibernation! Once you lighten your wardrobe, you can lighten your menu too. What’s a better way to feel revived than with a refreshing assortment of spring foods? This menu will definitely get you in the mood to play outside and feel the much anticipated warmth. Enjoy!

Salad: Fresh Spring Salad
Main Dish: Pita Pizza
Side Dish: Beets in Dill Sauce
Dessert: Strawberry Smoothie

Fresh Spring Saladspring recipes

Makes 4 servings

What a pleasing lunch or side salad! It's superb in spring and summer when there is an abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs, but it's equally delightful year round.

1 head romaine lettuce, or 2 heads Bibb lettuce
2 ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber
1 green bell pepper
8 red radishes
1 small red onion, sliced, or green onions, thinly sliced
1 chopped fresh cilantro, parsley, basil, or dill weed, to taste
3 - 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar or low-fat dressing of choice
salt and pepper, to taste

Finely chop or dice lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and radishes, if using. Place in a bowl along with the onions and fresh herbs. Dress with lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and black pepper, to taste, just before serving.

Per 1-cup serving: 69 calories; 0.8 g fat; 0.1 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 3.5 g protein; 9.2 g carbohydrates; 7.3 g sugar; 5.7 g fiber; 25 mg sodium; 81 mg calcium; 2.1 mg iron; 80.1 mg vitamin C; 8750 mcg beta carotene; 0.7 mg vitamin E.

Adapted from Jo Stepaniak; © Jo Stepaniak 2005, published by permission from Breaking the Food Seduction by Neal Barnard, M.D.

Pita Pizzas

Makes 6 pizzas

Whole-wheat pita bread makes a perfect crust for a lighter pizza. Choose any seasonal toppings you like.

1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 teaspoon garlic granules or powder
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
6 pieces whole-wheat pita bread
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup mushrooms, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, basil, oregano, and thyme.

Turn a piece of pita bread upside down and spread with 2 to 3 tablespoons of sauce. Top with green onions, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Repeat with remaining pita breads. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake until edges are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Note: You will only use about half the sauce. Refrigerate or freeze the remainder for use at another time.

Per pizza: 153 calories; 1.4 g fat; 0.2 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 6 g protein; 32.3 g carbohydrates; 8.4 g sugar; 5.1 g fiber; 538 mg sodium; 24 mg calcium; 2.5 mg iron; 40 mg vitamin C; 656 mcg beta carotene; 1.8 mg vitamin E.

Recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D., from Healthy Eating for Life for Children by Amy Lanou, Ph.D.

Beets in Dill Saucebeets

Makes 8 1/2-cup servings

Beets are considered a liver-cleansing vegetable. These sweet and sour beets are delicious hot or cold. Serve them as a side dish or add them to a green salad.

4 cups sliced beets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon stone-ground mustard
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 tablespoon apple juice concentrate
1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed

Wash and peel beets, then slice into 1/4-inch rounds. Steam over boiling water until tender when pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

Mix lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, apple juice concentrate, and dill in a serving bowl. Add beets and toss to mix. Serve immediately, or chill before serving.

Per 1/2-cup serving: 44 calories; 0.2 g fat; 0 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 1.6 g protein; 9.9 g carbohydrates; 8.5 g sugar; 1.8 g fiber; 89 mg sodium; 18 mg calcium; 0.8 mg iron; 4.2 mg vitamin C; 26 mcg beta carotene; 0.1 mg vitamin E.

Recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D., from Healthy Eating for Life to Prevent and Treat Cancer by Vesanto Melina, M.S., R.D.

Strawberry Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

Purchase fresh strawberries at the peak of the season, when they’re bursting with flavor, to freeze for smoothies. Freezing them is easy: simply remove the stems and place the berries in freezer bags. They’ll keep for up to six months. Frozen strawberries are also available in most supermarkets. For a thick smoothie that can be eaten with a spoon, use the minimum amount of non-dairy milk necessary for blending. If you like a thinner smoothie, simply add a bit more non-dairy milk.

1 cup frozen banana chunks
1 cup frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons apple juice concentrate
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 - 1 1/2 cup soy- or other nondairy milk

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Process until smooth, stopping the blender as needed to push unblended fruit into the blades. Serve immediately.??Fruit smoothies are best when consumed immediately. If you have leftovers, keep in the refrigerator for up to one day or freeze for up to 1 week. Blend the mixture again before consuming.

Per serving: 198 calories; 2.6 g fat; 0.4 g saturated fat; 0 mg cholesterol; 5.9 g protein; 41.3 g carbohydrates; 23.7 g sugar; 5.6 g fiber; 76 mg sodium; 175 mg calcium; 2.1 mg iron; 72.3 mg vitamin C; 28 mcg beta carotene; 2.1 mg vitamin E.

Recipe from The Survivor’s Handbook: Eating Right for Cancer Survival by Neal D. Barnard, M.D., and Jennifer Reilly, R.D.

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