Happy Fourth of July! Chances are you're throwing a summertime soire, which will include a whole lot of eating and drinking. If you're a little nervous about adding a few more pounds and conscious of what your body looks like in your bathing suit, relax: You can enjoy healthy drinks and snacks that are amazingly decadent and not loaded with empty calories. Here is my menu for a summer evening that is full of healthy drinks and appetizers.
Kick off the night by serving a delicious and refreshing margarita. In a large jar or pitcher, add one cup filtered water, 1/2 cup of coconut syrup or agave, one cup tequila, one cup fresh lime juice and one lime, sliced into wedges. Stir until blended, then take a pretty glass, fill it with ice and pour the margarita mixture over the ice. Salut!
Skip the carbs, not the pizza. These are so good, you won't even notice the lack of crust. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Scoop out the inside fans of four portobello mushroom caps. Place the mushrooms in a large baking dish and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes. Take dish from the oven and turn oven to broil. Fill each mushroom with chopped kale, sliced cherry tomatoes, low-fat cheese and a pinch of basil and shallots. Return to oven and broil until cheese is melted. Drizzle some aged balsamic vinegar on the top and enjoy!
In a large tumbler, add several cubes of ice, a shot of lemon Voli Vodka (a low-calorie vodka), the juice of 1/2 of a fresh lemon and two slices of lemon. Fill the rest of the glass with pre-mixed, Trader Joe's Pink Lemonade for a fruity, refreshing cocktail!
Try this version of a popular pairing: Salad and breadsticks, with the yummy pizza crust as the plate for your salad. Prepare frozen, whole wheat pizza dough according to the package directions. Once golden brown, or after about 10-12 minutes, remove and cover with 3/4 cup shredded mozzarella and a 1/2 cup of diced onions. Return to the oven and bake until cheese is melted. Remove pizza from the oven and set aside to cool. Top with a handful of healthy greens and 1/2 cup of sliced cherry tomatoes. Drizzle with champagne vinegar and olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
This refreshing, ridiculously simple dish is light, crisp and an explosion of flavor in the mouth. In a glass bowl (do not use any metal!), place two pounds of fresh, sliced halibut, 1/2 of a finely diced red onion, one cup chopped tomatoes, some hot chili sauce, two teaspoons of salt, and a handful of chopped cilantro. Cover with 1/2 cup lime and 1/2 cup lemon juice. Let sit covered in the refrigerator for an hour, then stir, making sure all of the fish gets exposed to the juices. Let sit for several hours, giving time for the flavors to blend. Remove from the refrigerator and add in a diced avocado. Garnish with cilantro.
It's always smart to have a variety of drinks--alcoholic and non-alcoholic--on hand, as all of your guests may not want alcohol. This is a healthy alternative to sugary sodas. Fill ice cube trays with filtered water and one fresh mint leaf. Freeze. Fill a glass with sparkling water and drop in two to three mint ice cubes. Fresh, cool and satisfying!
This low-fat dessert will be the favorite dish of the night! In a saucepan over medium heat, combine 2/3 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup coconut oil, five tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder and one teaspoon ground cinnamon. Boil for three minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of almond butter, one cup rolled oats and one teaspoon vanilla extract until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto waxed paper and chill to set, about 30 minutes.