Healthy Appetizers for 2015 Social Gatherings
Hope your holidays were filled with love and happiness and now you are excited about New Year possibilities and a fresh opportunity to live healthier lives. I know I am.
January is always a challenging month for me. Even though life has started to settle down into a more normal routine, and I look forward to what the future will hold, I also feel a little tinge of sadness that the festivities have come and gone for another year.
But . . . last night I had an epiphany! Life should always be a celebration. We don’t have to wait for a special time of the year to enjoy get-togethers with friends and family. We can create our own festive occasions as often as we like. Why not quarterly? Or monthly?
Be creative and find reasons (not that you really need one) to celebrate or to host a gathering.
- January – Super Bowl Party; Winter Fun; Snow Day
- February – Valentine’s Day; Mardi Gras
- March – St. Patrick’s Day; First Day of Spring
- April – April Fool’s Day; Easter; Tax Day Blowout
- May – May Day; Cinco de Mayo; Mother’s Day; Memorial Day
- June – International Picnic Day; Father’s Day; Summer Solstice
- July – 4th of July
- August – Lazy Summer Daze
- September – Labor Day; First Day of Fall
- October – Halloween
- November – Thanksgiving
- December – Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas
And . . . there are always birthdays . . . a perfect reason to celebrate!
However, you may want to click here for a list of Bizarre and Unique Holidays if you want to find some wacky reasons to have a few friends over. But…. Do you really don’t need a reason to have fun?
My health challenge to you for this year!
Constantly be on the lookout for healthy recipes that will tantalize and satisfy your friends and family and still fit nicely into healthy lifestyles and not ruin anyone’s New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. Everyone can come to your gatherings, enjoy themselves, and eat well all at the same time.
The goal is to build a wonderful, healthy “social gatheringmenu” that we can all share with others.
Each month, I will publish a set of recipes that will help you with healthy entertaining. When you find other scrumptious, healthy recipes, please send them to me, so I can try them out and share with all my readers.
The recipes I have chosen for today are Mexican-style foods (one of my favorites). Even though Mexican food can be filled with lots of fat and calories, these two recipes are healthy, tasty, and easy to prepare. They can both be found in Mexican Favorites – 21 Traditional Recipes , Volume V of my Mama’s Legacy Cookbook Series.
My inspiration for creating these posts comes from a wonderful new site, Aloha.com. Their mission is to explore the facets of true health through what they call “The 5 Pillars”’ nourishment, movement, relaxation, connection, and right thinking. For more healthy recipes, go to their Healthy Recipe Website.
Since I have spent the last few months talking about the importance of eating close to nature, this felt like the perfect recipe to share with you this week. I think you will enjoy this deliciously healthy, traditional Mexican favorite. This light and refreshing dish can be served as an appetizer for any social gathering or side dish for lunch or brunch.
I first discovered and fell in love with ceviche when I was working in Houston, TX. I finally realized I could make it myself. If you use very fresh fish, I promise it will be amazing.
- 1½ pounds fresh sea bass, halibut, or flounder deboned and cut into ½” pieces.
- (Any fish or shellfish will work. Scallops and shrimp are especially good)
- 7 whole fresh limes (enough juice to cover fish)
- 3 medium tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
- 1 small red onion, sliced very thin and cut in small pieces
- 1 whole avocado, ripe, but firm, cut into ½” cubes
- 1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped, (or substitute 2 teaspoons dried)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- Lime wedges and avocado slices for garnish
- Dice the fish (approximately ½” cubes. (If using shrimp be sure to use cleaned, de-veined, steamed or parboiled.)
- Spread out fish (except shrimp) in a non-metallic bowl. Squeeze juice of 6 limes and pour over the mixed seafood to cover it completely – use more limes if necessary.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (This step cooks the fish, do not marinate shrimp, they tend to get tough).
An hour or two before serving:
- Chop and diced the tomatoes, onions, avocado and herbs.
- Drain the marinated seafood in a colander to remove excess lime juice and pat dry with paper towels and place in a mixing bowl.
- Add shrimp, vegetables and seasonings to the marinated seafood.
- Squeeze juice of one lime and sprinkle over the mixture and toss well.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Garnish with lime and avocado slices. Servings: Varies – depends on whether it is an appetizer or main dish. Cooking Time (in lime juice): 8 hours
- You can alter the recipe to suit your own taste. Make it as spicy or as mild as you wish.
- Do not marinate shrimp, it will get tough. Steam or parboil the shrimp and add them to the mix a few hours before serving.
Guacamole originated in Mexico. The name is derived from two Aztec Nahuatl words – ahuacatl (avocado) and molli (sauce).
Avocados are almost as good as blueberries in promoting brain health, and their value is often overlooked. They are rich with nutrients that improve memory, increase the ability to concentrate, and improve blood flow which results in lower blood pressure and decreases the risk of stroke.
Even though avocados are a fatty fruit that is high in calories, the fat is monounsaturated, the healthy fat, and a serving of one-quarter to one-half an avocado each day provides benefits to the heart and brain that are well worth the calories. Eat them fresh, and eat them often! Viva la guacamole!
- 5 avocados
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 1 package (or freshly made) tortilla chips
- 1 lemon
- 1 tomato (Roma tomatoes with seeds removed), finely chopped
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
- Cut avocados in half and remove the seed.
- Scoop out avocado from the peel into a mixing bowl.
- Using a fork, mash the avocado.
- Add the chopped onion, cilantro, lime or lemon, salt and pepper and mash some more.
- Dice the tomatoes very finely. Keep the tomatoes separate until ready to serve.
- Cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation from the air reaching it.
- Refrigerate until ready.
- Just before serving, add the chopped tomato to the guacamole and mix.
Serve with chips or fresh veggies strips.
- Chili peppers vary individually in their hotness. So, start with a half of one chili pepper and add to the guacamole to your desired degree of hotness.
- Be careful handling the peppers; wash your hands thoroughly after handling and do not touch your eyes or the area near your eyes with your hands for several hours.
- These ingredients must be mixed to taste because of the variability in the fresh ingredients. Start with the amounts suggested and adjust to your taste.