4th of july inspiration

Um, can someone please explain what has happened to June?! I do NOT understand how the 4th of July is next week.

It’s quite disturbing, especially because we haven’t done anything on our summer to-do list. (And I mean that we haven’t even made the list yet.) I do know that we want to spend some time at the beach, see a few outdoor shows but beyond the food + drink below, I have no idea!

At least this is a good place to start…

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sip: Berry Kombucha Sangria. I haven’t made sangria yet this summer, but this version is at the top of my list. Recipe and image via Edible Perspective.

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Spread: You can tell me that there is a food better than grilled bread, but I won’t believe you. This Bruschetta Bar idea is genius and totally my type of meal: wine + bread + cheese. Oh, and it’s beautiful. Recipe via What’s Gaby Cooking, photo via Matt Armendariz.

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Simple: Grilled Watermelon and Feta Stacked Salad is the perfect example of a simple – yet delicious – salad that combines sweet and salty over bitter greens. Recipe via Cooking for Keeps.

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Splurge: Adding bacon to hot dogs is a splurge in my book. These BLT Hot Dogs are topped with bacon, tomatoes and lettuce dressed with a caraway-pickle mayo. (Please tell me hot dogs are on your menu next week!) Recipe and image via Food & Wine.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

Side: 4th of July = Summer and Summer = Pasta Salad. This Blue Cheese & Olive version is a staple in my family and great because you can make it a day ahead of time. And that = more time for fun and sun!

4th of July Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sweet: All these Red Velvet Cupcakes need is a few blue sprinkles and they’ll be red, white, blue and delicious! Recipe and image via Satisfy My Sweet Tooth.

What are you making? (Link below!)

blue cheese & olive pasta salad

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

(I’m bringing back an old favorite today, for new and necessary pictures and fresh words.)

If I can be really honest with you all (my closest internet friends that is) I’ve been having a hard time being so far away from our family and friends. After a super fast, unexpected trip to Wisconsin, having some of our best friends in town and spending a quick weekend in Florida with Richie’s family, I was missing everyone.

EVERYONE! Even though I’m pretty laid back, I was dramatically asking why we live in California, why we moved away, why I can’t see everyone as much as I like and every other dramatic question I could think of. Apparently even I, have my moments more often than I’d like to admit. I was, in a word, homesick.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

And this salad brings me a little closer to home. It’s one of my mom’s standard pasta salads and like I mentioned in the original post, she is the queen b. when it comes to pasta salads. Even the words “pasta salad” remind me of summers in Wisconsin, al fresco dinners (in the screened-in porch, because … mosquitos) consisting of chilled pasta salads and fresh produce.

Summers and a life when my hair turned a greenish hue from spending most of the day at the pool, biking home only for lunch. Summers and a life in Minneapolis that was packed with warm-weather rejoicing and grilling out with friends any time we could. Summers and a life in Los Angeles that’s different, but still so full and delightful.

Sometimes you just need to sulk a little bit…but homesick or not, I’ll never sulk about food and definitely not this pasta salad.

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

It’s the ideal side for your grilled main courses of the summer season. It’s got bites of chewy pasta, salty olives and blue cheese, sweet, green grapes and flavorful green onions. It’s really simple, but also complex when bites include a taste of every flavor.

The dressing is also simple: just some mayonnaise, lemon juice and salt & pepper.

Simple, delicious, satisfying. Food like this is what I love about cooking.

And family + friends are what I love about this life!

nutrition facts: 333 calories, 15 grams of fat, 39 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 7 grams sugar, 10 grams protein

Blue Cheese & Olive Pasta Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: entree salad side high protein sugar-free vegetarian cheese pasta spring summer

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 8 oz fusilli pasta
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onion (about 4-5 onions)
  • 4 oz gorgonzola (or any blue cheese), crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced green grapes
  • 6 oz can of black olives, drained and sliced in half

Instructions

Prepare pasta as directed.

Set aside.

Whisk together mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt & pepper until smooth.

Prep remaining ingredients: chop green onion, crumble blue cheese, slice grapes and olives.

Toss all ingredients together until combined.

Chill for a few hours before serving.

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lemon feta dip

Lemon Feta Dip | A Nutritionist Eats

If we have met in real life, there is about a 95% chance that we’ve eaten cheese together.

If we have never met in real life, there is about a 95% chance that if we were to meet, we would eat cheese together.

Why? Because it’s kind of my thing. Friends know that if they come over, they can always count on a good cheese plate.

Family knows that at a get-together, you can find me at the cheese plate.

Lemon Feta Dip | A Nutritionist Eats

I think it’s in my blood. I was born and raised in Wisconsin, fondly known as America’s Dairyland, and I grew up drinking milk, eating yogurt and snacking on cheese and crackers on a daily basis. Oh, and playing on dairy farms. Just like my mom, it would be a bad day if my fridge had less than three varieties of cheese at any given time. (And parmesan doesn’t count, that is a staple food, not an “eating” cheese.)

It’s why there is no shortage of cheese talk on this site. And I promise that I’ll never go dairy-free on you. You can count on that. (I do love some almond or coconut milk, but when it comes to half & half, yogurt and cheese, it’s real dairy all the way.)

Lemon Feta Dip | A Nutritionist Eats

This lemon feta dip is a variation on one of my favorites, Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip. It’s made in a similar way, but with a totally different flavor profile. While the roasted red peppers mellow out the feta in the Roasted Red Pepper Feta Dip, the lemon brings out the pungent feta flavor in this version. It’s quite tasty.

In addition to the flavorsome feta and lemon, garlic and red pepper flakes give the dip a nice bite. The chives are totally optional, but give it nice color and fresh flavor, so I recommend them.

Serve this Lemon Feta Dip with pita chips and some kalamata olives or add it to your favorite sandwich.

Lemon Feta Dip

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Keywords: blender appetizer sandwich snack gluten-free vegetarian cheese Greek spring summer fall

Ingredients (about 2 cups)

  • 8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 8 oz block of feta cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • garnish: minced chives, red pepper flakes, olive oil

Instructions

Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over low heat in a small pan. Add minced garlic and heat until garlic starts to sizzle, about 2 minutes. (Careful not to burn the garlic!)

Remove from heat and add red pepper flakes to oil.

In a processor, pulse together cream cheese and feta cheese.

Add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil, juice and zest from lemon and garlic oil to processor and pulse again until combined.

Spread onto a plate or bowl and top with garnishes if desired.

Serve with pita crackers and kalamata olives.

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red onion marmalade crostini

 Red Onion Marmalade Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

I absolutely love taking cooking classes. (Reasons to Take a Cooking Class) It totally reenergizes me in the kitchen and gets me to think about food in a new, creative way. I wish I could take them on a weekly basis!

Of course, the items on the menu are the highlight but I always love picking up the little tips along the way that have nothing to do with the food we’re cooking. I also love that it’s totally acceptable to talk about food, and only food, throughout the entire night. Hello, that is my dream.

Red Onion Marmalade Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

When we we’re in Mexico, I set up a cooking class for my family to all take and it was SO fun! Not only did we make some incredible dishes, but our instructor, Daniel, mentioned an onion crostini that consisted of red onions, soy sauce, brown sugar and red wine. I was sold in about -0.0000047 seconds. I emailed the mentioned ingredients to myself and made it shortly after we returned home.

I took a bite and it was great, but it didn’t wow me. It didn’t taste like anything new like I expected it to. It tasted familiar… like caramelized onions. (Which are obviously delicious, but I was looking for a little something extra.) I initially thought that I  needed to adjust the brown sugar and soy ratios but then I realized that I completely forgot the wine.

Red Onion Marmalade Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

Me, of all people, forgetting the wine. So I made it again, this time changing the ratios and adding the wine. So much better.

It’s sweet and salty; and just what is missing from your cheese tray. But the great thing about this red onion marmalade is that it can be used in SO many things! Add it to eggs in the morning, spread it on a sandwich for extra flavor or use it as a topping for fish or chicken at dinner time. And for snacks, serve with cheese of course!

nutrition facts: 254 calories, 11 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber

Red Onion Marmalade Crostini

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: appetizer bread snack vegetarian cheese

 

Ingredients (8 servings)

    For the Marmalade

    • 1 large red onion
    • 1 Tbsp butter
    • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup red wine

    For the Crostini

    • 1 baguette (6 servings)
    • 8 oz log of goat cheese

    Instructions

    For the Marmalade

    Slice onion in half length-wise and then thinly slice.

    Add butter to medium-sized saute pan and heat over medium heat.

    When pan is hot and butter has melted, add onions.

    Cook onions, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until they are mostly browned.

    Sprinkle brown sugar over onions and stir until sugar dissolves (just a minute or two).

    Add remaining ingredients to pan and stir together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until liquid has evaporated, about 10-15 minutes.

    Taste and season with salt & pepper if necessary.

    For the Crostini

    Heat oven to 400 degrees.

    Thinly slice baguette and spray with olive oil if desired.

    Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping

    Top crostini with goat cheese and marmalade.

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