Healthfully Ever After

Healthier & Happier: Before & Beyond "I do"

Easiest Summer Dinner Salad

Healthy HostessCarlene ThomasComment

I am always so excited about summer food. My shopping list is 'whatever looks good' and because of our CSA (all veg all the time), mainly what I buy from the farmers market and grocery is just the 'confetti'. By confetti I mean proteins, cheese and pasta. Basically what this creates is an easy, healthy meal plan for the whole week...but loosely constructed. My formula if we're not doing our Instagram-popular 'dinner platter al fresco' (seriously, it cracks me up that people love these images so much), is protein + 3 or 4 veggies + sprinkle of starch. 


  • Ratatouille: onion, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant with breadcrumbs and herbs with parmesan and chickpeas
  • 'Succotash'-ish: broad beans, yellow squash, tomatoes, basil, bacon, goat cheese with  sourdough or olive oil bread if we're hungry
  • Salmon Soba: buckwheat soba, sugar snap peas, carrots, kale, green onions, cucumber, salmon with sesame glaze
  • Tilapia: green beans with almonds, quinoa, cherry tomatoes

See what I mean? And this quick dinner is no different. Put it together in a snap with this recipe:

Easiest Summer Dinner Salad 

Summer Ravioli Vegetable Salad

Serves 2

/// Ingredients ///

  • 1.5 C ravioli: we use cheese filled
  • 1.5 C yellow squash, cubed
  • 1.5 C pattypan squash, cubed  
  • 1/4 C white onion, chopped
  • 1 large tomato
  • oregano
  • basil
  • lemon thyme
  • salt 
  • pepper
  • 1/2 T butter
  • 2 T chicken stock (or veggie)
  • parmesan cheese

/// Directions /// Slice all ingredients to save yourself a crazy rush mid-cooking! Add butter to a pot with onions. Cook until translucent and you smell a sweet aroma. Add squashes and chicken stock and cover for five minutes on medium heat. While the squash is steaming, cook ravioli per package directions and drain. Add in with the steamed squash and toss in tomato, salt and pepper. Plate and top with herbs and a little sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

Easiest Summer Dinner Salad 

Here's what I love about this quick and easy healthy recipe. There's still pasta. There's still cheese. But it's only the confetti to more than three cups of veggies! To me, that's the big secret to healthy cooking: you need a little bit of party food in the mix. And today it's pasta. And it was delicious. 

Updated Tutorial: Wineberry Schaum Tortes and Pavlovas

Healthy HostessCarlene ThomasComment

One thing I love about blogging is I can always find the recipes I need with the help of a handy search bar. Probably the number one post I look up is the original version of what I'm sharing today: I constantly refer people back to a recipe and tutorial I did on schaum tortes/pavlovas back in 2012. Which kills my soul a little bit because those photos were literally taken with a phone. Seriously, Carlene what were you thinking taking a picture with an outlet as a background? Needless to say I felt I had to redeem myself and give you all a new and improved post on one of my very favorite desserts that I bring to dinner parties. In fact, last week for Rebecca's #ADailyGathering dinner down the street from me, this is what we brought. It's fat free, gluten free, easy to top with seasonal fruit and everyone loves it. So the husband and I headed to the family property to hunt for wineberries to put on top. We feel like it's our duty as born and raised Virginians to share the beauty of the wineberry whenever we can. He recently brought his West coast co-worker a container. Mission accomplished. 


I consistently see and hear people asking about these berries up and down the East coast. Usually they call them 'wild raspberries', but they're actually wineberries. And hells yes, they are edible. In fact, they are so delicate and have such a short peak season (literally two weeks in July), they are never, ever sold in stores. This is a truly local find. You'll know they're ripe when they're a slightly deeper red and come off of the vine easily. And of course, the best ones are about ten feet back from any steady ground and are surrounded by prickers. 

Wineberry Schaum Tortes and Pavlovas
Wineberry Schaum Tortes and Pavlovas

Check out this bounty. I can't even. Even though it's usually the most miserable, humid part of summer during wineberry season, we always, always put out the effort to pick every one we can to freeze and enjoy the rest of the year. When you freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet before transferring to a zip lock bag, they turn out beautifully when thawed or tossed in a wineberry cobbler. 

Wineberry Schaum Tortes and Pavlovas

Schaum Tortes/ Pavlovas 

makes 12-16 individual portions


  • 2 egg whites
  • 2/3 C sugar plus roughly ¼ C additional
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar OR 1/2 tsp of fresh lemon juice (because I never have COT in my house)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For serving:

  • berries of choice ( I used wine berries and blackberries)
  • ice cream or whipped cream

Directions: Wash bowls and whisk attachment thoroughly to remove grease which may prevent egg whites from reaching their full potential. Bring egg whites to room temperature. If you’ve just pulled them out of the fridge, place egg whites in a clean bowl. Place the bowl with egg whites into a bowl filled with warm water. This will speed up the process. Once the egg whites reach room temperature, whisk the egg whites until they become frothy.

Add the cream of tartar and continue to beat. As the egg whites increase in volume, add the sugar spoonful by spoonful. This amount will be at least 2/3 C of sugar. Begin to slowly add the additional sugar to the egg whites until the sugar no longer dissolves in the mixture. You should be able to feel granulation if you rub the mixture between your fingers.

The egg white mixture will be ready once it looks like thick whipped frosting with stiff peaks. From my experience, it’s a few minutes beyond the very glossy stage.

Preheat the oven to 225 F (Note: This is for a convection setting. Convection ovens cook things faster and at a lower temperature. For a bake setting, increase the temperature to 250 and allow to cook longer). On a clean baking sheet, spoon meringue into the desired size. You can make individual tortes or one very large one. Keep in mind the cooking time will differ depending on your choice. Using the back side of a spoon, make a nest in the center of the meringue for filling. Put the meringues in the oven for 1 hour and 30 minutes.  The meringues are cooked slowly on a low temperature to keep their white color. When they are finished they will feel dry and crisp. Some may develop hairline cracks up the side.

When cool, serve with berries or seasonal fruit of choice and ice cream or whipped cream.

pavlova, schaum torte recipe 
schaum tortes, pavlovas, meringues

Have you ever had wineberries? Do you have them growing near you? 

Healthfully Ever After in The Knot Fall/Winter 2014!

Weddings & EventsCarlene ThomasComment
Fun news! You can see my latest quotes on juice detoxes for wedding diets in each regional The Knot magazine fall/winter 2014 edition! 
Carlene Thomas, healthfully ever after, wedding wellness nutrition 

I was really excited when fellow dietitian Rachel asked me for some thoughts for this article she put together. After I wrote a big-ol piece for Huffington Post Weddings last year on the same topic, I had LOTS to say. My clients tell me it's clear I'm passionate about nutrition and living a balanced, realistic life (by passionate they mean obsessed- just kidding...but really that's my baseline).

I know many brides and women are tempted by juice cleanses as the 'solution' to wanting to look 'skinny' for the wedding. But seriously, both looking good is more than 'skinny' and weight loss is more, so, so much more, than juice detoxes. There are better, longer lasting solutions for wedding wellness and weight loss. I pride myself in being very transparent and realistic and I hope that came across in my comments in this piece. I know people want to do a juice cleanse and that being said I think it can be a valuable tool for a VERY SHORT TIME to jumpstart healthy habits. Some people feel they need a very definitive, black and white set of rules to flip the switch. And for some people that means a few days of juicing.

Personally, I love juice as part of what I do every day and week. In my fridge right now I have freshly pressed cantaloupe, cucumber and carrot juice. I find it stops me from snacking as much and convinces me to drink more fluids. Both a big win. But count me out for several days of only juice. I'm a food lover. 

In the mean time, pick up your regional The Knot magazine, fall/winter 2014 edition and get the full story (or I mean, at least page through at Barnes and Noble).  

© Healthfully Ever After & Carlene Thomas 2011-2014