I love a great cheese board or plate and here are my tips for building the perfect one.
First, pick out the tray you would like to use. I prefer white, but any tray or even a wood cutting board will do the trick.
Start off with your favorite cheese. Right now mine are the Sartori line of cheeses. With flavors like merlot, rosemary, raspberry and balsamic it is hard to beat. Whole Foods Market carries most of their cheeses and I wish to thank Whole Foods Market for supplying me with a gift card to purchase the ingredients for this dish.
Once you have picked out the cheese it is time to build around it. Just like wine some cheeses pair well with other things but I am not that picky and really like an assortment of choices.
Add some fruit. Grapes are probably the most common but have fun with this and use what is in season. Apples and pears are divine in the fall while berries should be your go to fruit in the summer. Dried fruits work nicely year around. Try dried apricots or cherries.
Next add a little salt. I love Castelvetrano olives. They are slightly salty but also very mild and their bright beautiful green color is hard to beat. You could also add a few slices of cured salami or meat of choice.
Your going to want some crunch and that is where the nuts come in. I really like walnuts but any nut will do. You can also throw in some crackers for added crunch as well.
Lastly is chocolate, dark is best but you can put out whatever kind you like. That is the beauty of putting together your own.
Cheeseboards can be terribly romantic, especially this close to valentines day. Stay in this year and share a bottle of wine over your own cheeseboard creation. And then if you are still hungry, check out my recipe for Rosemary and Garlic Crusted Filet Mignon. With these two dishes up your sleeve, you may want to stay in for date night all the time!
The next time you are in charge of bringing dish to a party or hosting your own, cheese plates and boards could not be any easier, they look elegant and are absolutely delicious.
Below are some tips from Whole Foods Market on pairing the Sartori line of cheeses. Have fun trying different combinations and in no time you will have mastered your own perfect cheese board.
Sartori is a family-owned fourth-generation artisanal cheesemaker from Plymouth, Wisconsin. Each of the varieties below are based off of their BellaVitano Gold, a creamy, nutty, Parmesan-inspired Italian farmstead cheese.
Rum Runner – A Whole Foods Market Exclusive!
Buttery and slightly sweet, soaked in locally made rum.
Pairs with: Dark beers, smoked meats, and red grapes
Berry and plum notes!
Pairs with: Crusty bread, dried fruit, and hoppy beer
Bright notes of raspberry combine with hazelnut and brown-butter flavors.
Pairs well with nuts, chocolate, or light Italian red wine
Filet mignon is delicious and also a little romantic, don’t you think? This recipe for rosemary and garlic crusted filet mignon is the perfect dish when preparing a date night meal at home and will impress your significant other.
This months Whole Foods Market Ambassador theme is all about their dry aged steaks. With Valentines Day just around the corner, avoid the long wait and crowded restaurant by celebrating at home with this delicious steak dinner.
Whole Foods Market’s steaks are aged for 14-21 days in-house. Humidity and temperature are controlled during this process. You can see it in person if you drop by your local store, many of them have cases with glass on the sales floor.
The aging process concentrates the steak’s natural flavor while also reducing the moisture content. Enzymes also break down the fibers on a microscopic level, which imparts a tender character. Dry aged steaks cook slightly faster, so make sure you’re monitoring the internal cooking temperature; 130-135 degrees for medium rare, and 140-145 for medium.
I wish to thank Whole Foods Market for supplying me with a gift card to purchase the ingredients for this recipe.
Rosemary and Garlic Crusted Filet Mignon
2 Beef Filet Mignon
2 Sprigs Fresh Rosemary, chopped
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic, chopped
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
Dash of Salt and Pepper
Heat grill or desired pan of choice for cooking. Drizzle both sides of steak with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Combine chopped rosemary and garlic together.
Rub garlic and rosemary mixture around steak and place on grill.
You will want to make sure your grill is hot enough to get a good sear on the steak when placed in your pan or on the grill.
Let your steak develop a seared crust on the grill before moving or flipping it. If you try to lift the meat before it is ready, it will stick to the grates or pan and tear when trying to move it.
Cook steak to desired temperature of doneness as listed above.
Add whatever side dishes you like to complete the meal.
I recommend a classic baked potato and Whole Foods Market asparagus which comes ready to cook.
Just toss with some olive oil and place on roasting pan. Roast at 425 for 15 minutes or until tender.
If you love a little surf and turf try this recipe for Herb Roasted Lobster and Steak from Whole Foods Market.
This Cauliflower Fried Rice with Cashews uses riced cauliflower which is becoming my new favorite ingredient. The frozen pre pre packaged Everyday 365 brand from Whole Foods Market makes it easy to have on hand.
As an ambassador for Whole Foods Market we are given a gift card to create a recipe highlighting a focus ingredient and this month is their riced cauliflower. I wish to thank Whole Food Market for the gift card to create this recipe for Cauliflower Fried Rice.
Using the toasted sesame oil in this dish makes all the difference and really amps up the flavor. I promise you will never miss using regular rice which will safe a ton of carbs!
I use Bragg Liquid Aminos which is a great substitute for soy sauce. If you like things with a little extra heat feel free to top it with a little Siracha.
Cauliflower rice can be used to substitute rice in other recipes including including a binder agent for meatballs. Check out the recipes from Whole Foods Market following my recipe for the Cauliflower Fried Rice with Cashews.
Cauliflower Fried Rice with Cashews
1 12 oz package 365 Organic Riced Cauliflower
1/4 cup chicken stock
1 cup baby carrots, chopped
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
2 green onions, sliced (tops reserved)
6 tablespoons toasted sesame oil, divided
1/2 cup cashews, toasted
1” cube fresh ginger root, finely minced
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
1 8 ounce can sliced water chestnuts, drained
3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
nonstick cooking spray
Yield 4 1 cup servings
In dry skillet add cashews to toast for 2 minutes stirring constantly so they don’t burn. Set aside.
Crack eggs in bowl and whisk. Spray nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Add eggs and cook scrambling until they are just done. They should still be very soft. Remove from skillet and place in bowl.
Place 3 tablespoons sesame oil in skillet and turn on medium high. Add package of riced cauliflower stir fry until coated with oil. Add chicken stock and mix well. Turn down heat to low and let simmer 2-3 minutes until cauliflower is crisp tender.
Remove from skillet and place in bowl.
Chop carrots, sugar snap peas and green onions. Reserve tops of green onions for later use.
Be sure to peel fresh ginger root and remove skin from garlic. Finely mince garlic and ginger or I find it easy to use a garlic press if you have one.
Place remaining sesame oil in skillet. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry a few seconds. Add in carrots , sugar snap peas, green onions and water chestnuts. Stir fry until carrots are a crisp tender.
Using slotted spoon, scoop cauliflower back into skillet (this will help to not make it watery. Mix well. Add in crushed red pepper flakes and 3 tablespoons liquid aminos or soy sauce and toss to coat ingredients. Add in scrambled eggs. Give cashews a rough chop if desired and add to cauliflower mixture. Give the mixture a good stir to incorporate all ingredients. Remove from heat.
Place in serving dish and top with remaining green onion tops
This Cauliflower Fried Rice With Cashews has all the flavors of traditional fried rice with out all the carbs and calories. I promise you will love it! Check more ways to use riced cauliflower in the recipes below from Whole Foods Market.
Baked Buffalo Meatballs: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/baked-buffalo-meatballs
Cauliflower Couscous (gluten/dairy free): http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/cauliflower-couscous
Cauliflower 101: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/rediscover-cauliflower
This protein packed cashew and banana smoothie is a new take on one I usually make with almond butter that my daughter loves. It is super simple using almond butter, spinach, banana and almond milk along with a little ice fro blending.
With this months Whole Foods Ambassador theme being all about smoothies it only seemed fitting play around with the recipe. I wish to thank Whole Foods for supplying me with a gift card to purchase the ingredients.
I found this cashew butter at Costco and have fallen in love with it so I thought it only fitting to swap out the almond butter for the cashew. If you are not fan of cashews, you can certainly use almond butter, peanut butter or any other nut butter you like.
Adding the avocado adds essential healthy fats and makes the smoothy creamy. The protein powder boost the protein content. Any protein powder will work so feel free to use your favorite one.
Any chance to add greens to a smoothie is a great way to boost the nutritional content.
In addition to my recipe for this Protein Packed Cashew and Banana Smoothie there are some additional smoothie recipes from Whole Foods Market.
Protein Packed Cashew and Banana Smoothie
Yield: 6 Cups
2 Cups Almond Milk
2 Cups Fresh Spinach
4 Tablespoons Cashew Butter
2 Scoops Protein Powder (optional)
2 1/2 Cups Ice
Pour almond milk in blender add banana, spinach, avocado, cashew butter, protein powder and ice. Blend until smooth. Starting with the liquids on the bottom makes blending the smoothie easier.
Whole Foods developed an interactive tool for you to see the macros of your blend – check it out here: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/smoothie
Sunrise Breakfast Smoothie: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/sunrise-breakfast-smoothie
Get Your Greens Smoothie: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/get-your-greens-smoothie
Sweet Potato & Coconut Smoothie: http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipe/sweet-potato-coconut-smoothie
I have been making this Asian salad for years using nappa cabbage. As a Whole Foods Market Ambassador we are given a monthly theme on certain ingredients to create a recipe. This months theme is all about leafy greens and bok choy makes that list. I wish to thank Whole Foods Market for supplying me with a gift card to pruchase the ingredients.
For more info on other leafy greens and additional recipes you can check out the links and info from Whole Foods Market at the end of this post.
With January being a month of new years resolutions existing of trying to incorpoate more healty habits. This Bok Choy Asian Salad can foot the bill without sacrificing flavor. The crisp bok choy is light and refreshing while adding the toasted almonds and sesame seeds add a delightful crunch. Adding additional veggies certainly pumps up the nutritional content and the option of adding a grilled breast can increase the protein. If you wish to omit the chicken it is makes a great vegetarian dish. The dressing for this salad can be taylored to everyones unique taste. With plenty of Asian dressings on the market you can certainly choose your favorite one to top this salad.
Two of my favorites are Braggs Ginger Sesame and Cindy`s Kitchen Double Garlic, Ginger and Lime. I sometimes even make my own by combining some rice vinegar with some toasted sesame oil, a little fresh minced garlic, a drzzle of honey to sweeten and dash of siracha to add a bit of a kick.
Bok Choy Asian Salad
1 Bunch Bok Choy, chopped
1 Bunch Green Onions, sliced
1/4 Cup Almonds, chopped
2 Tablespoons Sesame Seeds
1/2 Cup Each Brocoli, Carrots and Sugar Snap Peas, chopped.
1 Grilled Chicken Breast, sliced (optional)
This recipe makes two large entree salads. It is perfect if you are just cooking for two or want to have a dinner for one with lunch the next day as was the case for me.
Chop almonds and place in dry skillet. Add sesame seeds and toast over medium heat until toasted.
Toss bok choy and green onions in large bowl and place all of the greens in serving bowl. Top with remaining veggies, grilled chicken and toasted nut mixture. Top with dressing of choice. Enjoy!
Branch out this new year by trying different leafy greens and choys. These are great for juicing, stir-frying, salads, and braising. Each one is unique and can add texture, flavor, and nutrition to your cooking in different ways.
Chard: Great for Stir Fry!
Kale: Excellent for Juicing or Smoothies!
Mustard Greens: Pungent & Spicy!
Collard Greens: Nutrient Dense with Mild Taste!
Arugula: Peppery & Great for Salads!
Spinach: Mild Flavor, Great for Juicing!
Bok Choy: Best for Stir-Fry and Braising!
Gai Choy: Mustardy & Spicy!
Gai Lan: Try it Steamed! Shanghai: Sweet & Delicate!
Baby Bok Choi: Like Chard? You’ll Love This!
Products from the Mineral Fusion Makeup Line available at Whole Foods Market, will keep you looking gorgeous with minimal effort.
The Mineral Fusions company is based in Denver, CO and they make skin care and cosmetics (in the USA) that are free of gluten, parabens, talc, artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, SLS, and phthalates. They’re also committed to sustainability and utilize wind power, soy inks, packaging from recycled materials and packaging that is recyclable.
I am a huge fan of Mineral Fusion and use quite a bit of their products so when the chance came to write about them as a Whole Foods Ambassador, I decided to share with you my favorite Mineral Fusion products.
#1 Hydrating Primer. My dry skin loves this primer. It smoothes and evens my skin tone and allows my foundation to glide on smoothly for a flawless look.
#2. Lash Curling Mascara. The curved brush on this lash lengthening mascara separates and defines lashes and is made with a hypo allergenic formula.
#3 Lip Pencil. I use this lip pencil to line my lips and also use it to fill in as a base layer under my shear moisture lip tint which come in at number four.
#4 Sheer Moisture Lip Tint. This sheer lip tint adds shine and color without drying out my lips.
#5 Nail Polish. With 61 shades to choose from that are free from formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl, phthalates and camphor, this polish is long lasting and goes on streak free.
These products with just a touch of foundation and blush can give you a glamorous look with minimal effort.
Whole Foods Market is committed to carrying products that are up to their body care standards and Mineral Fusion fits the criteria. You can check out their standards here along with a list of 400 unacceptable ingredients that cannot be in any of their body care products.
Whole Foods Market carries the Mineral Fusions Makeup line and now for a limited time you can pick up this Whole Foods exclusive eye shadow palette that includes six neutral colors, eye shadow brush and eye pencil.
Disclosure: Whole Foods Market provided me with some samples of the Mineral Fusion products and gift card, but all opinions expressed are my own.