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!)

mexican street corn crostini

Mexican Street Corn Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

This crostini?

Locura. (That’s insanity en español.)

But let’s start with a story first.

Mexican Street Corn Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

My family is in Sayulita, Mexico and we’re on our way home after a cooking class. We pass by a street corn vendor. Mexican Street Corn is that one food that I just can’t seem to find here in LA, but I so desperately want. I stopped in my tracks, stared at the grilled corn and was ultimately convinced that it was a bad idea. (Only because I couldn’t even fit a few corn kernels into my stomach.)

The simple solution was to find out what time she would be there the following day so we could go back and I could get my street corn fix.

But it wasn’t that simple. Because when I went back the next day for an afternoon snack, she was no where in sight. I was a little depressed and did what any older sister would do – blame the miscommunication on my brother’s español. The life lesson learned from this? Never, under any circumstance, pass by a street corn vendor.

Mexican Street Corn Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

But we were in Mexico. On vacation. Eating well. No time (or reason?!) for feeling blue.

So I fully enjoyed the remainder of my vacation and then once back at home, I made the next best thing.

Traditionally, Mexican Street Corn (or Elotes) is sweet corn that is grilled until charred and then slathered with an addicting combination of cojita cheese, crema, mayonnaise, garlic and chili powder. I hope you’re drooling…I am. It’s important to note that the cojita and crema aren’t mandatory – feel free to replace them with feta cheese and sour cream if they aren’t convenient for you.

Mexican Street Corn Crostini | A Nutritionist Eats

Sadly, we don’t have a grill, so grilling ears of corn isn’t always an option, but the only thing better than grilled corn slathered with “addicting slather” is grilled (or roasted!) corn and “addicting slather” on top of bread. If you like mexican street corn – or even regular, old sweet corn – you’ll love this crostini.

Serve it with grilled flank steak and a salad, it’s quite satisfying!

Mexican Street Corn Crostini

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: bake appetizer bread side snack vegetarian Mexican

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels (fire roasted if possible)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 loaf of multigrain bread, sliced
  • 4 oz cojita cheese (about 1 cup crumbled)
  • garnish: chopped cilantro, chili powder
  • If grilling corn yourself, grill and use 2 cups of kernels cut off the cob

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat olive oil in pan and add garlic and corn. Saute for about 5-7 minutes.

Remove from heat, squeeze half of lime over corn mixture and set aside.

Whisk together mayonnaise, sour cream and remaining lime juice. Set aside.

Bake or grill bread for 10 minutes, flipping and baking for another 5-10 minutes, until golden brown.

Layer mayonnaise mixture on bread and top with corn, cojita cheese, cilantro and cayenne pepper.

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roasted asparagus & red pepper quinoa salad

Welcome Self readers, thanks for stopping by! (More About Me | More Salad Recipes)

And if you aren’t coming from Self, be sure to check out the other Epic Picnic Dishes!

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

I’m the person who always brings a salad to get-togethers. Whether they’re picnics or backyard grilling parties, you can always count on me to bring a salad. Annoying? Maybe, but amidst the dips and desserts, salads always seem like the perfect addition to any table.

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

A few weeks ago, I made no less than eight batches of quinoa salads. Ok, kind of an exaggeration, but after the second day of bringing bowls of quinoa salad to work, people started asking what was going on.

I asked for feedback between a black bean & quinoa salad and this one and instead of getting any opinions, all I got was requests for the recipes, $5 from someone who had forgotten their lunch that day and a major boost to my quinoa salad ego. Naturally, I’m thinking about setting up a little quinoa salad shop at work.

All this is to say that I’ll probably share the black bean version sometime in the near future!

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

But we’re talking about the roasted asparagus & red pepper quinoa salad today. I love this salad! It’s vegan (but you don’t have to tell), it’s gluten-free (but no one has to know) and it’s got 12 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber per serving, thanks to the beans + quinoa! (You can share this fact.)

It’s healthy, but so delicious and flavorful. It’s colorful and light; but the hefty servings are unquestionably satisfying. Serve it on top of some greens if you like or top with some grilled chicken or tempeh for an extra boost of protein.

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad | A Nutritionist Eats

Lunch. Is. Served.

nutrition facts: 409 calories, 20 grams of fat, 46 grams carbohydrates, 10 grams fiber, 4 grams sugar, 12 grams protein

Roasted Asparagus & Red Pepper Quinoa Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Keywords: roast entree salad side gluten-free high fiber high protein vegan vegetarian beans quinoa

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 1 lb asparagus
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil plus 1 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 2-15 oz cans garbanzo beans
  • 1 cup sliced green onion
  • 1 cup chopped parsley

Instructions

Roast asparagus: preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove tough bottoms of asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces. (You should have about 2 cups.)

Drizzle with 1 Tbsp of olive oil and cook for about 10 minutes, until golden brown.

Prepare quinoa: Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer.

Add quinoa and 2 cups water to small pan.

Stir, season with salt and bring to a boil.

Lower heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

Prepare vinaigrette: while quinoa is cooking, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, dijon, mustard, shallot and salt & pepper.

Remove quinoa from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.

Fluff with a fork and toss with vinaigrette.

Drain and rinse garbanzo beans.

When quinoa is cool, toss with remaining ingredients. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.

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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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