I’ve definitely paid my dues to stay skinny over the years. I lived on bunny food (three lettuce leaves a day), and hated being hungry all of the time. Maybe that is why I usually avoid salads like the plague. I like curves, and I have no desire to go back to being as anorexically thin as I needed to be when I was modelling.

The “three lettuce leaves a day” thin years

However, after having been laid up recovering from surgery, with a little too much fine dining, followed almost immediately by a broken ankle… I’m a little too voluptuous for my liking at the moment, so it’s time once again to say “what’s up Doc?”
Fine dining with Marc Marmel, Sean Borg, and friend
Summer’s bounty makes it infinitely more inviting to stick to healthy choices.

Marinated Artichokes & Dip

A tasty, yet really low calorie-high nutrient appetizer, side or snack to stick to in restaurants, or at home is always marinated grilled artichokes. I’m a virginal kind of gal when it comes to eating artichokes. I love the natural nutty flavor of the artichoke on it’s own – especially with the kick of a marinade and smokiness of the grill added into the equation (see video bellow), although I suggest serving it with dressing on the side for your guests to either dip or dive into, depending upon how decadent they care to be.
Beet Carpaccio with Mozzarella & Pine Nuts

Thankfully summers bounty is much more visually appealing and creative today, than days of yore, when faced with a huge wedge of iceberg lettuce and a limp sliver of tomato topped with some disgusting bottled dressing.

Tossed Baby Greens with Spelt & Smoked Salmon

Dressings are so quick and easy to make, so no excuses accepted here – plus YOU control the type and amount of fat content. Remember salads should be dressed, not doused in dressing.

Spinach with White Peaches, Marcona Almonds, Shaved Pecorino, & Aged Balsamic

Sometimes I’ll opt for a heartier salad with grilled seafood, poultry, or meat on top. The mango here added just enough hint of the exotic to keep it from being dull. In fact many types of fruit (watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, apples, pears, strawberries, etc.) can go a long way towards adding depth to a dinner salad, and making your taste buds pop with the unexpected.
Chicken Mango Salad
What meal is complete without dessert? That doesn’t mean you have to sabotage all your good intentions. A plate full of fruit salad tossed in a little bit of honey and lime will satisfy most sweet tooth’s.
Five Spice Fruit Salad
Add a pinch of five spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, or vanilla bean for a more distinctive twist, and you can always add a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream for your less discerning guests.
Dancing it off with Giovanna Cantone

I’ll leave you with a little visual information for making your own marinated grilled artichokes. Experiment with different herbs and spices in the marinade to keep it interesting. Artichokes, like potato chips, could be viewed as vehicles for different flavors and dips… although just plain steamed on it’s own is still A-Okay by me.
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