Recipe: Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

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Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

Roasted Beet Salad with Oranges, Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

Last month, I joined a produce delivery service that drops a cooler filled with organic and sometimes local produce on my doorstep every 2 weeks. I did it for 2 reasons: first, I’m trying to get my kids excited about fresh foods (and they love watching for the delivery truck) and second, I’m in the middle of a serious effort to overhaul my eating habits to include more fruits, veggies and whole foods.

Green Bean Delivery Truck

Yay it’s delivery day!

Last week, I found a bunch of beets in my box. I’ve never been a big fan of beets. My early memories of beets consist entirely of the canned variety. I would let the beets sit on my plate until absolutely last, dying everything in their wake pink before I would finally take my required 3 bites of cold, slimy yuckiness. As a grownup, I’ve never willingly eaten beets again with the exception of beet juice, which is quite good. (Especially beet-apple-carrot-ginger juice. Mmmmmm.)


What am I going to do with these?

A week after the delivery, I was reminded that the fresh beets were still sitting in my fridge. I texted a friend who suggested the following dish, and I can now say that I have a new appreciation for freshly roasted beets. They are sweet, earthy and have a great firm texture for dressing up a fresh salad.

To roast the beets: scrub the outer surface of the beets well to remove any dirt. Chop the greens off the top. Then place the scrubbed beets in a foil packet and drizzle with a bit of good quality olive oil. Place in a preheated oven at 375-400F and roast in sealed foil packet until tender enough to easily pierce with a fork. My beets took about 50 minutes at 375F.  Open the foil carefully; the beets will release some of their beautiful pink juice which can stain some surfaces (and fingers, and clothes).  Set beets aside to cool.

Roasted beets, drizzled with olive oil.

Roasted beets, cooling.

In a bowl, place a good handful or 2 of mixed greens. Top with half a segmented orange, 2 Tbs crumbled goat cheese, 1 handful unsalted walnuts, toasted, and 1/2 to 1 whole chopped roasted beet. I toasted the walnuts on a tray in my toaster oven, but you can also use a dry skillet. Watch carefully! Walnuts can go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds.

The dressing is simple: simply mix a couple Tbs of olive oil with a few splashes of aged Balsamic vinegar and whisk vigorously before drizzling over the salad.

Roasted Beet Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Oranges and Goat Cheese

Finished salad. Hey, I DO like beets!

Have you entered this weeks giveaway yet? Click here and comment using the Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win an assortment of Pure Fruit and Nut bars. Good luck! Contest ends March 21 at midnight EST.

Comfort Food – Low Sodium Nachos

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Here in Ohio, Spring keeps showing her face just long enough for us to remember what warmth feels like, and then retreating so that Old Man Winter can appear again. Our poor tulips are so confused by the false starts that they’ve decided to start to come up anyway. I am hoping they are telling me that the real Spring is coming soon!

In the meantime, on yet another cold, dreary, gray-sky day, it always makes me feel better to whip up a bowl of warm, gooey comfort food. And that’s what inspired these nachos. I needed to add some warmth and color to my life. The ingredients are simple, and almost always on hand in my house.


Start by placing a good handful or 2 of unsalted corn chips into a microwave save bowl and top with 1 or 2  torn slices of Trader Joe’s Lacey Swiss & Colby marbled cheese (35mg sodium per slice),  or use other low sodium cheese, preferably with some Colby added for that classic orange color. Then place a few dollops of your favorite low sodium salsa on the chips. I love Trader Joe’s Hot Chipotle salsa for it’s smoky taste and only 40mg sodium per 2 Tbs, or, if you like mild salsa, try Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Tomato Salsa with no salt added, only 30mg sodium per 2 Tbs. Place the bowl in the microwave for 30-60 seconds, or until the cheese is melted. You may want to cover the bowl with a plastic microwave dome cover or another bowl upside down to prevent the warmed salsa from splattering.

After the cheese is melted,  add 1/2 of a diced avocado to provide some color and creaminess. Other optional low sodium toppings include: chopped fresh tomato, a squeeze of lime, warm no-salt added black beans, chopped bell pepper, diced onion or fresh cilantro.


Quick, easy and ready to enjoy in about 3 minutes: it’s the perfect pick-me-up as we wait for flip-flop weather to arrive. What’s your favorite low sodium comfort food?

Have you entered this weeks giveaway yet? Click here and comment using the Rafflecopter widget for your chance to win an assortment of Pure Fruit and Nut bars. Good luck! Contest ends March 21 at midnight EST.

March Giveaway #2: Pure Fruit and Nut Bars

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As I mentioned in my last giveaway, I love the convenience and portability of snack bars. During my last trip to Trader Joe’s, I noticed these Pure Fruit & Nut Bars sitting between the KIND bars and the Cliff bars. I was thrilled to discover on the nutrition label that these have just a tiny amount of sodium and are made with delicious, whole food ingredients such as dates, cashew butter, agave nectar and real fruits/nuts. The cashew cherry flavor has only 5mg of sodium per serving along with 6 grams of protein. Flavors include: Cashew Coconut, Banana Coconut, Dark Chocolate Berry, Chocolate Brownie, Wild Blueberry, Cranberry Orange, Apple Cinnamon,  and Cherry Cashew. Pure bars are also certified organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and vegan.

Congratulations Teresa S! Please provide your preferred shipping address to to receive your prize – and thanks to everyone who entered!

The winner will receive an assortment of 3 Pure bars. To enter, simply comment on this post using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck, and watch this space for the winner! Contest ends at midnight EST on March 21, 2014.

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Low Sodium News Roundup: March 14, 2014

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Would You Take This Pill?

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I have a Google alert set up to email me once a day with any news items that contain the phrases “low sodium” or “low salt.” (Yes, I am a big nerd. Moving on…)

In today’s batch of stories, one in particular caught my eye. The headline read “New drug can lower salt intake without any dietary changes.” To summarize, drug manufacturer Ardelyx has created a medication called tenapanor, which blocks dietary sodium absorption by the bloodstream.  The majority of dietary sodium instead remains in the gut and eventually leaves the body as waste.

Lead researcher Dominique Charmot says ““It’s fair to say that asking patients to maintain a low-sodium diet is very hard to do.…Most of the food additives contain sodium; people who eat in restaurants cannot control sodium; plus, food is bland without sodium.  Also there’s a risk if you go too low in sodium, you also diminish nutrient composition which is needed for you to thrive.  So we believe this drug can help patients comply with a more normal diet.”

On my worst days, when low sodium meal planning seems like a tiresome chore, I would be lying if I said I never wished there was a pill that would make it so I could just eat whatever I wanted. But now that there may be one on the horizon, I’m not sure I would have the “guts” to take it.  Aside from the possible side effects and costs of being dependent on a medication, I don’t believe I could take a pill every day that basically allowed me to abdicate responsibility for my own health and diet choices.

I realize that my situation may be different from others. My low sodium diet is a choice, not a life-saving necessity as it is with some heart or kidney patients. So maybe other people will look at this option differently.

What do you think? Would you take a pill that allowed you to eat as much sodium as you wanted?

Homemade KIND bars from The Yummy Life

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So now that I’ve discovered and become addicted to KIND bars, I’m realizing that they are putting a mild strain on my wallet. I can usually find them for just over $1 a piece, and I’ve been known to eat 1-2 a day. Lets say on average I spend $2/day on the bars. That’s almost $700/year on snack bars. And while they are delicious and convenient, that sounds a little crazy to me! Google to the rescue.

Monica at The Yummy Life has cracked the code to make several versions of these popular bars at home, which is great for 2 reasons. First, the money savings is substantial. And second, now we can precisely control the amount of sodium in each bar.

Don’t these look amazing?? Monica provides explicit, easy to follow and beautifully illustrated instructions so that you can try your hand at the following flavors: Nut Delight, Almond Coconut, Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Cherry & Cashew, Apricot Almond, Fruit & Nut and Blueberry Pecan. And you can add as much or as little salt as your diet allows. Just click on the picture or here to go to the recipe page. And if you give any of these a try – make sure you let Monica and me know. Happy baking!

Low Sodium News Roundup: March 7, 2014

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This is a new Friday feature at LowSodiumHQ: a roundup of all the low sodium news of the week. Have anything to add? Feel free to comment below.

New Resource Page is Live

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Happy Wednesday! I hope this week is treating you well.

If you look under the LowSodiumHQ header, you’ll notice a new “Resources” tab. This evolving page is meant to become a collection of other online low sodium food sites, products, stores and more. Do you have a favorite low sodium-related web site that you think should be added? Drop me an email or leave a link in the comments below.

And don’t forget to enter the KIND Bar giveaway! Contest ends March 9, 2014.

March 2014 Giveaway #1: KIND Bars

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Low Sodium snack giveaway: KIND barsSticking to my low sodium diet is tough when I travel, have long days away from home, or need to get the kids and myself out the door in a hurry. I am constantly on the lookout for low salt snacks that fit in my purse and provide healthy fuel for busy days. My current favorite: KIND bars. I’ve seen then at Kroger and Trader Joes, and they come in several varieties but I’m loving the Antioxidant and Protein varieties.

This month’s giveaway winner will receive an assortment of 3 KIND Plus bars: Peanut Butter/Dark Chocolate Protein (40mg sodium and 7gm protein), Cranberry Almond Antioxidant, (25mg sodium and 50% of your daily value of vitamins A, C, and E) and Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew Antioxidant (20mg sodium and 50% of your daily value of vitamins A, C, and E).

The contest closes on March 9 at midnight, so get your entries in now! Enter by commenting on this post with your favorite on-the-go low sodium snack, and get a bonus entry by liking the LowSodiumHQ Facebook page using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck – and please shoot me an email if you have any questions:  Contest winner must be from the continental United States.

Congratulations to Cindie who was randomly selected as the winner! Cindie – enjoy your KIND bars. And to everyone else, stay tuned; there will be a second giveaway this month.

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January 2014 Giveaway: And the Winner Is…

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The random number generator says 6. That makes Melissa H. the winner of the GalloLea Low Sodium Pizza Kit! Melissa, please send me an email to claim your prize:

Congratulations, Melissa! And a great big thank you to everyone else who entered. Watch the blog and Facebook page for details about next months giveaway!