Somewhat to my pseudo-horror, I overheard a group of teenage girls in a local restaurant this past week. (I wasn’t eavesdropping; it was unavoidable.) Their topic reminded me of all those impending “swimsuit seasons” when I was a teen. The girls were talking about suit styles and how many pounds they wanted to lose before school’s end and the annual bolt for the beach. First of all, they each looked perfectly lovely already. Second of all, I allowed myself a chuckle of gratitude that I’m past the age of fretting over high school beach bodies and bikinis. But they did have a point: Spring compels us to put away our layers and comfy bulky sweaters. The season of sleeveless and shorts will be upon us. For many, it brings an added awareness of what we’re eating. We wouldn’t mind tuning ourselves up for spring and summer.
As we turn the calendar to April in just a few days, it’s a good time to turn the corner from winter’s comfort foods to lighter fare.
We still have some coolish temps ahead, which is why a lightened-up recipe for “skinny” broccoli cheese soup is timely. At 200 calories a serving, it’s “perfect for cool evenings or chilly rainy spring days, or when a spring or summer thunderstorm calls for cuddling up,” says showmetheyummy.com.
An eggplant pizza — a “cheater’s pizza” — is a low-carb, gluten-free alternative to its calorie-laden cousin. It takes less than an hour to prepare.
The fruit tart recipe below calls for just five ingredients and takes about 10 minutes to make. The crust made of cashews and raisins is topped with vanilla Greek yogurt and fresh raspberries. Call it a healthy breakfast — or a decadent dessert.
Each of the recipes is considered easy to make; each is a healthier, flavorful option to heavy versions. Beaches or not, that’s always in style.
SKINNY BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP
Total time: about 25 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
1 small yellow onion (roughly chopped)
1 stalk celery (roughly chopped)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fresh pepper
3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (more, as needed)
1 cup skim milk
1 16-ounce bag frozen cauliflower florets
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 16-ounce bag frozen broccoli florets
1 1/2 cups reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar, about 6-8 ounces
Makes 6 servings
1 large (or 2 medium) eggplants
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup torn basil leaves
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/4 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved.
HEALTHY FRUIT TARTS
Total time: 10 minutes
Makes 3 tarts (serves 6)
For the crust:
1 1/2 cup cashew halves and pieces
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
For the filling:
3/4-1 cup vanilla honey Greek yogurt
2 6-ounce packages raspberries
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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