Heart Healthy and Delicious!
It’s not always easy for me to make heart healthy and delicious meals, especially in the winter when all I want to do is carb load and each chocolate. However, the warmer months are coming and I want to be in better shape than I am now. I still want to lose another 50 pounds. Ideally, I’d like to before summer starts, but unless I do something drastic it’s not going to happen.
I do want to eat heart healthy however. I have Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism) and what often comes along with that is high cholesterol. Even though I have been on statins since my early 20s, my cholesterol has remained elevated. I recently had my yearly physical and while I lost 22 pounds since my last visit, my cholesterol remains high. My doctor is sending me to a cardiologist because he isn’t sure where to go since I am maxed on medication.
I’d be lying if this didn’t frighten me just a bit. There’s a family history of heart disease – my brother who is in excellent shape and who runs marathons regularly, and has done the Ironman a time or two had a heart attack when he was 36. My aunt, who I most resemble in shape, and temperment (and who also has Hashimoto’s) recently had a heart attack. It’s out there and I want to do all I can to prevent one.
So, I’m cutting back on the carbs that always work their way back into my diet over the winter months. I’ve found myself eating more bread and pasta in the last few months. I suspect that helped elevate my cholesterol levels. I also suspect that had they drawn the blood in the summer months it might be lower – I’m more active and eat fresh veggies as my main source of food rather than the breads and pastas I’ve been eating lately.
Today, instead heated up, leftover casserole with noodles and sauce like I usually eat, I made a garden salad with the most delicious and heart healthy dressing.
As you know, I walk the Mall of America during the winter months. It’s a super easy way to get in 10k steps before 9am. Last week, due to scheduling changes, I ended up doing my walk in the afternoon when all the stores were open. I had some time to kill and ended up checking out Vom Fass.
Vom Fass is a store in the Mall of America that sells oils and vinegars. They even sell spirits and wine, but I haven’t ventured to that side of the shop yet. I spent a good half an hour tasting different olive oils and vinegars and walked out with the makings a heart healthy Mediterranean salad dressing marinade for chicken.
Heart Healthy and Delicious!
I made a garden salad with romain lettuce, roma tomatoes, cucumber, red pepper and then threw in some of the marinaded chicken from the other night. I heated up the chicken in the microwave because I still need some warmth to my lunch.
I made a very simple dressing using Vom Fass Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Star Honey Balsamic Vinegar. The typical oil to vinegar ration is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, I used 1/4 cup of the oil and 2 tablespoons of the vinegar. I also added a few drops of water because the vinegar is so concentrated, it’s actually sort of thick.
The Star Honey Balsamic Vinegar is absolutely delicious and would make a lovely glaze for ham or even over frozen yogurt (sounds weird, but trust me, it’s delicious). The jalapeno olive oil is only slightly spicy. It’s got a hint of the heat that creeps up on you, but it’s not like eating a pepper. I added some dried minced onion, dried minced garlic and some dried basil and shook it all up in a small little jar and then dumped the whole thing in the salad and let it marinate a bit before dishing it up.
It was absolutely delicious. It was also very filling.
If you’re in the Twin Cities metro area and get to the Mall of America, be sure to check out Vom Fass. In fact, they’ve given me a coupon code to share with my readers. If you visit the store and purchase $40 worth of their oils and vinegars (it’s pretty easy to hit $40) they’ll give you $5 off. Just give them the code JB. It’s good through March 15th, 2018.
Heart Healthy Jalapeno and Honey Balsamic Salad Dressing
Heart healthy salad dressing using Vom Fass Jalapeno EVOO and Star Honey Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Jalapeno Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Star Honey Balsamic Vinegar
- Pinch Dried minced garlic
- Pinch Dried minced onions
- Pinch Dried basil
- 1 head Romain lettuce - chopped
- 1 Roma tomato - diced
- 1/2 Red pepper - diced
- 1/2 Cucumber - peeled and sliced
- 1 cup Marinated chicken - diced
Add all ingredients in a container. I used a small Ball jar. Cover tightly and shake until thoroughly mixed. Pour over salad and toss.