{Not Fried} Fried Rice

19.5 is finally here! I am feeling extra nerves around this workout because I know how badly it is going to hurt!! With that said, I know my fueling has to be on point! This workout requires a lot of minutes to be worked at a high intensity- which means carbohydrate stores will be a hug factor. Also, this workout requires a lot of mental fight, which means immediate carbohydrates will be crucial. We don’t often think about the fuel our brains need, but trust me, your brain can make you quit a lot sooner than your body quits if it senses it isn’t fueled well.

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Today I am fueling with fried rice for lunch. I will also consume an apple and RX Bar prior to the workout, and possibly a Fig Bar right before depending on my energy. All of these are carbohydrates that I know my body likes and utilizes well. As the workout gets closer, my carbohydrate intake switches to quicker carbs (fruit) vs slower carbs (brown rice).

This fried rice recipe is a fun way to get some carbohydrates in! And good luck to everyone competing this week!

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{Not Fried} Fried Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked brown rice

  • 10 oz mushrooms, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 carrots, grated

  • 1 TBSP fresh ginger, grated

  • 1 cup edamame, thawed

  • 4 scallions, sliced

  • 3 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 TBSP Sriracha

  • 2 TBSP sesame seeds

  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil

  • 3 eggs

  • 1 1/2 tsp Ghee/avocado oil

  • 1 1/2 lb shrimp

How to

  1. Place rice in a saucepan with 3 cups water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and cook until water is absorbed.

  2. Add 1 tsp Ghee/avocado oil to a saute pan at medium high heat. Add mushrooms and garlic and saute until browned (4-6 minutes). Turn heat to low. Add carrots, ginger, edamame, and scallions.

  3. Add vegetables to rice.

  4. Whisk eggs together. Heat another saute pan with 1/2 tsp Ghee/avocado oil. Cook eggs without scrambling (like an omelet). Once cooked, let cool and then cut into bite sized chunks. Mix in with rice and vegetables.

  5. Make sauce by combining soy sauce, Sriracha, sesame seeds and sesame oil. Add sauce to rice and mix.

  6. Heat shrimp and serve with rice.

Sweet Potato Muffins

The 4th week of the CrossFit Open is upon us, and I wanted to find a carb heavy snack to eat before my workout! This one is a real winner!! Here are some highlights:

  • The sweet potatoes give this muffin carbs, but slower digesting carbs, so they are great to have at least an hour before your workout.

  • This is sweetened with a little bit of maple syrup- but mainly banana and applesauce- both of which have some fiber, so provide quick but lasting energy.

  • Oats and oat flour also are great sources of carbohydrates, but do have fiber and protein which make this muffin well balanced.

  • Seeds add fat and protein to this muffin, which again make it more balanced.

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This muffin is great for workout fuel, but in order to best utilize it, I suggest eating it at least an hour before your workout. The fiber, protein and fat in the muffin will ramp up your glycogen stores and provide long lasting energy BUT these components can also be difficult to digest if eaten right before you raise your heart rate which can lead to digestion issues… not what you want as your are burpeeing over the bar :-)

Here is how to make them:

Sweet Potato Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I baked them in the oven earlier this week, so I could scoop and mash them for this recipe)

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed

  • 2 TBSP vanilla extract

  • 1 TBSP almond butter

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1 TBSP cinnamon

  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

  • 1 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 2 TBSP maple syrup

  • 3 TBSP unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 1/2 cup oats

  • 1 cup oat flour (take 1 1/4 cup oats and place them in the food processor until powdered)

  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F

  2. Mix mashed sweet potato and mashed bananas together in a bowl. Add vanilla and almond butter and mix well.

  3. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Mix well.

  4. Then add almond milk, maple syrup and applesauce and mix to combine.

  5. Add oats, oat flour, flax, chia and pumpkin seeds.

  6. Mix until well combined.

  7. Place muffin cups in your muffin tin and fill each about 2/3 full. This should make 24 muffins.

  8. Place in oven for 30 minutes total, spinning if necessary.

  9. Let cool and then wrap in plastic wrap or tin foil and store in refrigerator for 2 weeks for freezer for longer.

*I only had 1 muffin tin so made the rest into bars by placing them in an 8x8 greased pan and cooking them for a total of 35 minutes.

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Peanut Soba Noodles

Well… the Crossfit Open season has begun! This will be my fifth year competing in it and I am very excited about it this year. In past years, I haven’t had specific goals for it and have ended it feeling extremely discouraged in my performance. This year, I have been working on some of the movements that have limited me in the past and my goal is to be able to do every movement in every workout. Seems simple, but it would be a huge deal for me!!

Part of success in these workouts is proper nutrition, so I will be posting some good recipes that will support good performance. This workout, 19.1, is 15 minutes long which can feel like a long time when you are pushing hard. Good carbohydrates are always beneficial in fueling exercise, but because of the length, they are even more crucial in this specific workout. However, you don’t need to “carbo-load” because after all, we are not doing a marathon here!

This recipe includes soba noodles which are SO easy! And full of whole grains. These complex carbs will serve you well in providing good energy for this workout. This is also a fun and easy option if you are just looking for a healthy meal, as these whole grain noodles are a great source of starch that will keep you feeling energized and full without a carb crash. Either way, try this meal because it is so quick and delicious!

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Peanut Sesame Soba Noodles

Ingredients

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  • Soba noodles

  • Shrimp, eggs, ground meat (any protein)

  • Shredded cabbage

  • Shredded carrots

  • Bell pepper, sliced

  • 1/2-1 bunch cilantro, chopped

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

  • 1 1/2 TBSP rice vinegar

  • 1 TBSP sesame oil

  • 1 1/2 TBSP low sodium soy sauce

  • 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

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How to:

  1. Make sauce by combining peanut butter, rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger and garlic. Whisk until combined.

  2. Chop cilantro and peppers.

  3. Bring water to a boil. Cook soba noodles according to package (usually 8ish minutes). Then drain noodles.

  4. Heat shrimp

  5. Combine sauce with warm noodles. Then, mix in vegetables and shrimp.

Making Lunches in Bulk: Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Lunch is a hard meal… am I right?!

For years we have relied on leftovers and/or eggs with some mixture of other ingredients to make a complete meal. We began to realize that this meal was causing us a lot of stress. We often would have a lot of leftover protein and not enough starch, or vice versa. We have gotten used to mixing and matching leftovers in order to fill the “gaps” in making our meals balanced. One of us would end up with a nice meal and the other would have to scrounge around to make something work. As if that didn’t already cause us some tension, we usually pack our meals after dinner… after we have spent X amount of time preparing, X amount of time eating and X amount of time doing dishes. We would always look at each other in frustration that we had to turn around and create another meal and spend 15 MORE MINUTES IN THE KITCHEN. One of the harsh realities of being prepared…

So, all of this said, I have been trying to implement some change. I am trying to pick an easy meal to make in bulk each Sunday that can be used for lunches throughout the week to fill in the gaps. This solves many of our frustrations:

  1. The meal is almost always completely prepared, so we don’t have to spend 15 minutes every night making a meal for the next day.

  2. Has allowed us to use leftovers for dinners more frequently. This gives us more time in the evenings and has honestly dramatically decreased our grocery bill.

  3. Has eliminated the stress of figuring out what is for lunch.

  4. Has helped us change up our routine- which is always a fresh feeling.

This week, we made a Mediterranean Tuna Salad. We have also prepared some rice in bulk, that can be added as a starch and then we always through in some extra raw vegetables. This recipe was definitely good enough to share and can be used for any meal, but was an easy bulk lunch to make :-)

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Mediterranean Tuna Salad

Ingredients:

  • 5 (5oz) cans tuna, canned in water

  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 cucumber, chopped

  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

  • 5-7 radishes, chopped

  • 1/2 small red onion, chopped

  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped

  • 10-15 mint leaves, chopped

  • 1 1/2 TBSP dijon mustard

  • 1 TBSP lime juice

  • 1 TBSP lemon juice

  • salt

  • pepper

  • chili flakes

  • 3 TBSP olive oil

  • 3 TBSP water

How to:

  1. Open and drain tuna.

  2. Add to bowl with chopped celery, cucumber, Kalamata olives, radishes, red onion, parsley and mint.

  3. Make dressing by combining dijon mustard, lemon and lime juice, chili flakes, olive oil and water. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  4. Pour dressing over tuna mixture and mix well until combined.

  5. Serve with a starch and additional vegetables!

I hope this adds a fresh idea to your routine. I will continue to post some of my favorite bulk lunches!

Crockpot Butternut Squash & Sage Beef Soup

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I found this recipe and knew I HAD to try it and I am SO glad I did! The mix of flavors creates a cozy bowl of goodness perfect for this cold weather! I highly recommend it!

Here are a few tips:

  1. It took me a lot longer than I anticipated to get all the ingredients in the crockpot because I was using the same pan for all steps (using the bacon grease to cook). If you are hoping to speed this process up, cook all portions in separate pans and part ways with the bacon grease :-)

  2. We used turkey bacon, which was great, but real bacon would be good too!

  3. As usual, I made this the night before and stuck everything except the liquid into the crockpot and then refrigerated it. I added the broth and vinegar in the morning.

  4. You could totally make this on the stove and it would turn out delicious too!

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Crockpot Butternut Squash & Sage Beef Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb bacon

  • 1 lb stew beef

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 15 sage leaves, minced

  • 3/4 yellow onion

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

  • 1 TBSP each oregano, rosemary, thyme

  • 32 oz low sodium chicken or beef broth

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

How to:

  1. Cook bacon in a saute pan until crispy. Remove and set aside. Once cooled, chop into small pieces and add to crockpot.

  2. Keep the pan heated. Sprinkle the stew meat with garlic powder and salt. Add to pan and brown on all sides. Remove and put in crockpot.

  3. Keep pan heated and add onion, sage and minced garlic. Cook until the onions begin to brown (about 5 minutes). Add to crockpot.

  4. Add remaining ingredients to the crockpot. Cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

Serve with a veggie on the side to make a complete and balanced meal!

More Energy Bites

I love making and eating these little bites!!

A couple tips:

  • buy A LOT of almond butter before you start. Also, make sure you have all the ingredients, because I am prone to realizing I am missing one in the midst of making these.

  • Freeze them when you are done. They will last longer.

  • Use applesauce and a little bit of honey, instead of all honey

  • Pick a protein powder that is unflavored.

You may have to dedicate a chunk of time aside if you want to make all of these, BUT then you’ll be set for snacks for a while!!

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Oatmeal Raisin Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats

  • 1/2 cup protein powder

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

  • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 cup almond butter

  • 2 TBSP honey

  • 6 TBSP applesauce

  • 1 tsp vanilla

  • 1/2 cup raisins

How to:

  1. Heat almond butter and honey in a microwave safe bowl for 20-30 seconds, or until warm.

  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until combined.

  3. Form into 24 balls and place on a plate and then in the freezer. Once frozen, store in an airtight container or bag in the freezer.

Chocolate Coconut Pistachio Energy Bites

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour (or oat flour)

  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup almond butter

  • 2 TBSP honey

  • 6 TBSP applesauce

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla

  • 1/4 cup protein powder

How to:

  1. Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until chopped into fine pieces.

  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. It may feel like it won’t mix, but keep working at it and it will all come together.

  3. Make into 24 balls and place on a plate and then in the freezer. Once frozen, place in an airtight container or bag and freeze until ready to eat.

Fig Newton Energy Bites

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Ingredients:

  • 15 figs

  • 7 dates

  • 3/8 cup almond butter

  • 3/4 cup oats

  • 1/4 cup protein powder

  • 2 TBSP flax meal

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp vanilla

How to:

  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until it starts to form together.

  2. Form ingredients into 18 balls. You may find that you’ll have to pack the mixture tight to make it stay together.

  3. Place balls on a plate and stick in the freezer. Once frozen, place in an airtight container or bag and stick back into freezer until ready to enjoy!

I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!




The Best Simple Granola You'll Ever Eat

I was on the hunt for a granola with no added sugar, which is extremely hard to come by, BUT I have found one and perfected it. This is something we ALWAYS have in our pantry. We will use it on yogurt, on smoothie bowls, with milk, and sometimes I’ll grab a quick handful if I’m hungry!!

What I love about it:

  • It is simple and easy to make

  • It tastes simple, so can be used on a lot of different things

  • NO ADDED SUGAR!!!

  • It is a fun way to get a variety of nuts and seeds in

Once you make it, you’ll feel the same :-)

The Best Simple Granola

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds, chopped

  • 1 cup cashews, chopped

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

  • 1 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds, chopped

  • 1 cup raisins

  • 3 cups oats

  • 2 TBSP cinnamon

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

How to:

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  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

  2. Roughly chop almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds.

  3. Place nuts and seeds in a large bowl with oats and spices.

  4. Melt coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Mix into nut and seed mixture with applesauce.

  5. Mix until well combined. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat.

  6. Cook for 35-45 minutes total, mixing every 15 minutes. In the final 15 minutes, mix in the raisins.

  7. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

**You can add the raisins in earlier, we find that they get too hard if they cook the whole time.

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Banana Oat Muffins

Okay, if you know me, I am forever obsessed with peanut butter and bananas. You can always make this recipe with almond butter too! These muffins do not have any added sugar and use applesauce for sweetness!!

These muffins could be paired with yogurt or hard boiled eggs to make it a full meal or snack!

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Banana Oat Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup milk/almond milk

  • 2 overripe bananas

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 3 cups oats

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup toasted almonds, or other nut or seed

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a muffin tin with oil.

  2. Mash bananas and mix in with other wet ingredients.

  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined.

  4. Spoon into muffin tins and cook for 25-30 minutes.

  5. Let cool and remove from tins. Store in fridge or freezer until ready to eat.



Chocolate Mint Energy Bites

I am always looking for new snack ideas! I have been making energy bites a lot lately. I have also been wanting chocolate mint EVERYTHING, so decided to channel that craving into a fun snack!

When I make these energy bites, I make a couple swaps to the ingredients to decrease the added sugar and increase the protein- making them a more balanced snack. I generally sub out unsweetened applesauce for most of the honey. The consistency of the applesauce helps bind the ingredients- which is one of the purposes of the honey. I also generally add protein powder. Protein powder is tricky and usually I am not a huge fan, but I do tend to use it in snacks like this and smoothies. I don’t have a favorite kind, but I do look for brands that don’t have a lot of added ingredients. And for instances like this, getting a powder that doesn’t have a sweetener or flavor is good too. This time, I used Trader Joe’s Pea Powder.

I morphed this recipe from a recipe I already make for chocolate coconut pistachio energy bites, so you can totally take the basics of this recipe and make it your own too!

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Chocolate Mint Energy Bites

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almonds

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

  • 1/3 cup oats ground to make 1/4 cup oat flour

  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup almond butter

  • 2 TBSP honey

  • 6 TBSP unsweetened applesauce

  • 1 tsp mint extract

  • 1/4 cup protein powder

How to:

  1. Grind oats in a food processor until they become a flour like consistency. Place in a large bowl.

  2. In the food processor, pulse almonds to chop into small-ish chunks (you can also hand chop)

  3. Mix everything in a large bowl. I usually mix with my hands, because without fail, every time I don’t believe it is going to mix fully. Just keep mixing, and everything will eventually stick together.

  4. Make into bite sized balls. I try to make 24 per batch.

  5. Store in fridge for a couple days or freezer if you’ll have them around longer.

Eat Seasonally: December Edition

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Here we are… the last Eat Seasonally post of 2018!

December’s list of seasonal produce is short, but sweet! Many of the foods are literally sweet. All citrus is prime during this season, as well as pomegranates AND parsnips, squash and celery root are all in season, which I would say are pretty sweet for being vegetables.

This month’s recipe focuses on oranges and pomegranates. Both of which are full of antioxidants. Some other notable facts:

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Oranges: We all know oranges have vitamin C, which makes them great for immunity boosters. Which, (not ironically) helps out with the seasonal cold and flu. Oranges also have a low glycemic index, which make them a great food for weight control. Oranges have also been shown to help prevent cardiovascular disease because they have potassium, folate and and vitamin C which all help with lowering cholesterol and preventing stroke and arrhythmias.

Pomegranates: Pomegranates have been shown to help with memory and brain health. Also, studies have shown that a consistent consumption of pomegranate can help lower cholesterol.

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Pomegranates are a funny fruit. The seeds are not necessarily easy to “harvest,” but are so worth it! My tips are to cut the pomegranate in quarters, and use your thumb to push out the seeds into a bowl. Then sift through the bowl and pull out all of the extra white pulp. If that seems too hard, you can always buy the seeds already picked out. You can usually find them in the produce area, often by the pre cut and packaged fruit.

Salmon with Pomegranate Orange Salsa:

Ingredients:

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  • 1 lb salmon

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp cayenne

  • 1 tsp fennel seed

  • 2 TBSP lime juice, divided

  • 5 TBSP white wine vinegar, divided

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 1 tsp Ghee/avocado oil

  • 1 cup pomegranate seeds

  • 2 oranges, peeled, segmented and chopped

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 2 TBSP olive oil

How to:

  1. Mix garlic powder, cayenne, fennel seed, salt and pepper. Season outside of salmon with spice mix.

  2. Heat 1 tsp ghee/avocado oil in a saute pan over high heat. Add salmon. Sear each side for about 1-2 minutes each. Reduce heat, pour in white wine vinegar and lime juice. Cook salmon until cooked through.

  3. Meanwhile, make salsa by combining pomegranate seeds, oranges, 1 TBSP lime juice, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, cumin, and 2 TBSP olive oil. Mix together and set aside.

  4. Serve salmon with salsa on top

We served this salmon with quinoa and sautéed green beans!

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Eat Seasonally: November Edition

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So… squash is obviously a popular seasonal food during this time of the year, but I wanted to highlight some other November beauties!! This soup contains fennel, leeks, apples, and walnut. Each of those foods have a list of positive health benefits, so this month I am going to highlight one really cool thing about each of them:

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  • Fennel: contains a special phytonutrient called anethole WHICH has shown over and over again to reduce inflammation and reduce risk for cancer. Fennel has a very unique and distinct flavor!

  • Leeks: contain a nutrient called kaempferol that has been shown to protect against damage to your blood vessel lining and also may be important in the release of nitric oxide which helps your vessels expand to get more blood and oxygen through.

  • Apples: YUM! Apples contain a nutrient called cholorgenic acid which helps keep blood sugars low. The apple sweetens this soup wonderfully!

  • Walnuts: contain melatonin! Melatonin help regulate your circadian rhythm and helps with sleep which is always good!

So this soup will help with inflammation, your heart health, blood sugar control AND sleep!! Cool, huh?!

Leek, Fennel, Apple and Walnut Soup

Ingredients:

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  • 4 leeks, sliced

  • 1 ½ tsp dried thyme

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped (reserve frons)

  • 1 medium apple, chopped

  • 2 tsp turmeric

  • 3/4 cup walnut halves, roasted

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

  • 2 tsp Ghee/avocado oil

 How to:

  1. Heat Ghee/avocado oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven. Saute leeks and thyme for about 4 minutes. Then add fennel and apples and stir.

  2. Add turmeric and stir until everything is coated evenly. Saute for another 3 minutes. Add ½ cup walnuts and broth.

  3. Bring pot to a boil and let simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until vegetables are soft. Remove from heat.

  4. Using a hand blender or large blender, blend soup until smooth. (we found a kitchen blender was easier). If you choose a kitchen blender, remove the cap from the lid and cover with an oven mitt leaving a little space for steam to escape. Also, work in batches so it doesn’t explode on you.

  5. Serve the soup with toasted walnuts, fennel fronds and pepper on top.

*The color of this soup isn’t the best BUT the taste is!! We served it with chicken and sourdough bread!!

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Thanksgiving Side Dish

Happy Thanksgiving!

The holidays are such an interesting time in the food world because there is such a stigma around gaining weight and overindulging during the season. I love that food brings people together! But I hate that people feel stressed all season long about what they can and can’t eat.

So, here is my golden holiday eating advice: if it is worth the splurge, then splurge BUT you better allow yourself to enjoy it. If it is not worth the splurge, then choose a better option.

For example, I LOVE desserts but know I can go without the alcohol. So, I generally choose to indulge in a good dessert and drink water instead of alcohol. But, that is just me. There is no right way to do it, but it does take some forethought to think about what your non-negotiables are over the holidays.

I did want to share this awesome sweet potato stuffing. If stuffing is not your thing over Thanksgiving, give this one a try. If it is your thing, you enjoy your traditional stuffing :-)

Sweet Potato Stuffing

Ingredients:

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  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 2 cups halved Brussel Sprouts

  • 3 large carrots, sliced

  • 3 celery stalks, sliced

  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 6 oz mushrooms, sliced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 medium apple, chopped

  • 2 tsp thyme

  • 2 tsp rosemary

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 3/4 tsp pepper

  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped

  • 2 TBSP olive oil

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.

  2. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss with olive oil

  3. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil. Cook for 45 minutes. Remove foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are cooked through.

  4. Enjoy!

Eat Seasonally: October Edition

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I love fall foods! It seems to be the one season that has very well known and well loved produce! There are a lot of wonderful options from the list above that I could have chosen to highlight this month, but I decided to focus on the obvious… PUMPKIN!!!

Pumpkins contain all sorts of good nutrients. Just 1 cup contains 200% of your daily needs of Vitamin A! This is important in immunity, eye health and bone health. Pumpkin also contains Vitamin E, which is a nutrient that can easily be missed in people’s diets. Pumpkin is considered a starchy vegetable, which means it has a greater amount of carbohydrates than its non-starchy friends- which means it provides a significant amount of energy for a vegetable!

The best ways to eat pumpkin are to either roast your own (sugar pumpkin) OR to to buy canned pureed pumpkin. Avoid the pumpkin pie mix, especially for this recipe!!

Pumpkin Sage Sausage Pasta

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Ingredients:

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  • 12 oz whole wheat noodles

  • 1 lb chicken sausage (Italian or Sicilian)

  • 1/2 white onion, diced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp ground sage

  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • dash of cinnamon

  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth

  • 1 (15oz) can pumpkin puree

  • 1 TBSP tomato paste

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 2 oz parmesan cheese

How to:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.

  2. In a saute pan, cook sausage until browned. Set aside. In the same pan, add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is translucent.

  3. Add 2 tsp sage, ½ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, ¼ tsp salt, ¼ tsp pepper and a dash on cinnamon. Cook for about 1 minute.

  4. Add low sodium chicken broth, pumpkin puree, and tomato paste.

  5. Cook noodles in boiling water for 9 minutes. Then drain.

  6. Mix noodles and sausage into the pumpkin sauce. Add 2 cups of spinach and mix until spinach wilts.

  7. Serve pasta topped with parmesan cheese.

We served ours with sautéed Brussel sprouts and mushrooms.

I hope you enjoy this cozy Pumpkin Sage Sausage Pasta!

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Eat Seasonally: September Edition

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I didn’t know it until I moved away from Colorado, but hatch green chile salsa is like A THING in Colorado. Probably because it is more southwest than any other state I’ve lived in and these lovely chiles are grown in New Mexico. Also, probably because Spokane Washington isn’t known for its phenomenal Mexican food!! Anyways, I saw these at the store at the beginning of the month and knew I had to make some salsa. The recipe is to come, but first, lets talk about hatch green chiles and why they are so awesome.

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Chiles are vegetables, which means they contain a lot of nutrients for a little amount of calories. Some of the nutrients these chiles contain are:

Vitamin A: all green peppers contain vitamin A, which help with eye health and immunity.

Vitamin C: is a precursor in collagen growth as well as an antioxidant.

Capsaicin: this is what gives peppers their spice. The more heat a pepper has, the more capsaicin in contains. Capsaicin can help reduce pain because the heat/spice increases blood flow. This has been shown to help internally, for example with headaches. Capsaicin also comes in cream form, as it can also help if applied externally to sore joints and muscles. Hatch chiles aren’t known for their heat, but they do still contain a bit of capsaicin.

Now for the recipe!!

Hatch Green Chile Salsa

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Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 white onion

  • 2 green onions, diced

  • 1 jalapeno, deseeded

  • 1 1/2 lbs tomatillos, shells removed and roughly chopped

  • 5 hatch chiles, seeds removed and cut lengthwise

  • 1 TBSP olive oil

  • 1/2 cup cilantro

  • 2 TBSP lime juice

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 2 TBSP white vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

How to:

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  1. Turn oven to broil. Clean and prep garlic, jalapeno, tomatillos, and hatch chiles. Cut them all into large chunks for roasting.

  2. Mix tomatillos and hatch green chiles with 1 TBSP olive oil.

  3. Place all vegetables on a baking sheet or two. Arrange them so they are spread out a bit.

  4. Broil in oven for about 10 minutes, or until vegetables are slightly charred.

  5. Remove from oven and add to food processor or blender. Add cilantro, white onion, green onion, lime juice, cumin, white vinegar, salt and pepper. You may have to work in batches depending on how big your blender is. Blend until smooth.

  6. Serve and enjoy!

We made hatch green chile burgers:

Turkey burgers with pepper jack cheese, spinach, avocado and A TON of salsa :-)

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Eat Seasonally: August Edition

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It's August which means it is tomato season! If you have never gotten the pleasure of eating a home-grown tomato (not one from the grocery store), then you, my friend, are missing out. Tomatoes are good, but homegrown tomatoes will blow your mind!

So... the great debate... are they vegetable or fruit? Technically tomatoes are fruit BUT everyone counts them as vegetables, including me. The way they grow makes them a fruit, BUT nutritionally, their caloric composition is more similar to that of a vegetable. So my vote is.... they are vegetables!

Tomatoes also make up 80% of the lycopene consumption in the US. This is mostly because of high consumption of pasta sauce and ketchup. That doesn't take away from the fact that tomatoes are a great source of lycopene which is a carotenoid that is linked to lower prostate cancer, reduction in oxidative stress, eye health, heart health and skin health. Lycopene is better absorbed with a fat source, which is one reason why this recipe ROCKS!!

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Avocado Toast with Basil, Heirloom Tomatoes and Balsamic Reduction:

Ingredients:

  • Whole wheat bread

  • 1/4-1/2 avocado

  • 2-4 slices heirloom tomato

  • basil, chopped

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

  • salt and pepper

  • eggs

  • bacon

How to:

  1. Place balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, while whisking. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Be careful, it will burn easily and tastes pretty awful when it's burnt.

  2. Cook your eggs and bacon.

  3. Toast the toast. Top with mashed avocado, tomato slices, chopped basil and balsamic reduction. Sprinkle on some salt and pepper.

  4. Serve with eggs and bacon on the side.

 

Eat Seasonally: July Edition

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Okay.... I am late to the game with July's recipes BUT these ones are totally worth the wait!

This months seasonal foods are peaches and blueberries!! Here in Spokane, we are so lucky to have Greenbluff so close. Picking my own fruit is like a novelty because we never had anything like that in Denver where I grew up. So, I LOVE going to pick my own fruit. One of the best parts is that they actually tell you to eat while you pick... for free! UMM yes please!!!

Before I dive into the recipes, let me tell you about these gifts from God!

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Peaches:

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Just like with all the fruits and vegetables that I have posted about, peaches help prevent chronic diseases which can be a blanket statement for all fruits and vegetables. These little gems are high in vitamin C which helps with collagen formation. So all you thinking about taking a collagen supplement- my advice to you is to eat your vitamin C, and your body will build its own collagen. Peaches also have vitamin A and beta-carotene to help your vision and skin!!

Blueberries:

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Blueberries are like a staple child for fighting inflammation. They have a low glycemic index score and a bunch of antioxidants which help them be a strong shield against inflammation. Blueberries also contain calcium for you bone health... so thats cool too!

 

 

 

Now to the yummy part!! This month I picked Salmon Burgers with Peach Salsa and a Corn and Blueberry Salad on the side.

A few notes about these recipes:

  • I used canned salmon which is not the most appealing when you open it up. But, we have a hard time justifying putting a nice fillet of salmon in a food processor. Canned salmon is also cheaper, and contains a good amount of calcium because the bones are still in the fish. Here is my tip: take it out of the can and try and think about anything else except the fish. Peel off the skin and move on!

  • If you are using canned or non-canned salmon, look for wild salmon, not farm raised.

  • Each portion of this recipe calls for jalapeno, onion, and cilantro- chop all of it at once and separate it into the different parts of the meal. (2 jalapenos, 1 cup cilantro, 1 large red onion).

  • If you are like me and have skin that can't stand jalapeno, use medical gloves while you handle the jalapeno. If you don't have any, use the inside of a produce bag.

Salmon Burgers with Peach Salsa

Ingredients: 

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  • 1 lb salmon (we used 2 cans canned salmon)

  • 1 TBSP chili powder

  • 1 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped

  • 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped

  • 1/2 jalapeno, chopped

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1 TBSP lime juice

  • 1 egg

  • 1 TBSP Ghee/avocado oil

For the Peach Salsa

  • 3 large peaches, chopped

  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1 TBSP lime juice

  • dash of salt and pepper

How to:

  1. Place 1/4 cup quinoa in a saucepan with 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil and cover and reduce heat and cook until cooked through.

  2. If you are using a salmon fillet, put it in the food processor and pulse until it resembles ground meat. If you are using canned salmon, place it in a bowl and mix it up until it has flaked apart.

  3. Add 1 TBSP chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1/4 cup onion, 1/2 bell pepper, 1/2 jalapeno, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1/3 cup cooked quinoa, 1 TBSP lime juice, and 1 egg.

  4. Mix together and form into patties. It may be easier to place the patties in the refrigerator for a while to allow to bind.

  5. Meanwhile, combine the peaches, 1/4 cup onion, 1 clove garlic, 1 jalapeno, 1/4 cup cilantro, and 1 TBSP lime juice and salt and pepper in a bowl and set aside.

  6. When ready to cook, place 1/2 TBSP Ghee/avocado oil in a saute pan. Place patties in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side. You will likely work in 2 waves. If so, add more Ghee/avocado oil to prevent sticking.

Corn and Blueberry Salad

Ingredients:

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  • 3 ears of corn

  • 1 cup blueberries

  • 1 small cucumber, sliced

  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 jalapeno

  • 2 TBSP lime juice

  • 2 TBSP olive oil

  • 1/2 tsp cumin

  • 1/2 tsp salt

How to:

  1. Bring water to a boil. Cook corn for 8-10 minutes. When it is cool, cut the corn off the cobb.

  2. Combine the corn with 1 cup blueberries, 1 small cucumber, 1/4 cup chopped onion, 1/4 cup chopped cilantro, 1/2 chopped, jalapeno, 2 TBSP lime juice, 2 TBSP olive oil, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp salt.

  3. Mix to combine and enjoy!!

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Eat Seasonally: June Edition

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We were at the Perry Street Farmers Market trying to decide what seasonal food we were going to buy for this month's post. As we were walking around the weather turned in an instant and all of a sudden we found ourselves in a downpour, so we quickly grabbed beets and ran...but paid for them first ;-)! We grabbed beets because there is so much fun stuff to do with beets! I grew up thinking beets tasted like dirt BUT as I experimented with them more I realized how sweet they actually are. So with this month's post, you get beets 3 ways!! But first- a little about beets:

Beets contain a ton of good nutrients, but nitrates are one in particular. Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide works to relax and dilate blood vessels. This benefits:

  • Blood pressure: if there is more room in the vessels for the blood to flow, there isn't as much pressure making it easier for the blood to flow

  • Brain function: if there is more blood flowing to the brain, it will in turn work more sharply

  • Endurance: Again, more blood can flow with less resistance in the vessels means more blood to your muscles making you perform better

We often make a beet smoothie (recipe below) after our Wednesday bike rides and I have definitely experienced the nitrates effect on my blood pressure. Exercise also releases nitric oxide, so when I exercise and have beets, I sometimes feel like my blood pressure is too low! It is kind of cool to be able to feel what science says should be happening :-)

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The three recipes this month are

  1. Beet Green Pesto

  2. Beet Smoothie

  3. Beet, Fennel, Apple Slaw

 

Beet Green Pesto

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The root itself it great for you, but so are the leaves attached! 

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 cups washed beet greens

  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

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How to:

  1. Place all ingredients through pepper into a food processor.

  2. Pulse until finely chopped

  3. Add olive oil and continue to pulse until it reaches your desired consistency

  4. Enjoy!

 

Beet Smoothie (makes 3-4 servings)

This is a go-to around our house! Vegetables are something I often don't get in for breakfast, so this is a fun way to incorporate vegetables at the beginning of my day!

Ingredients:

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  • 3 beets (cut in quarters, steamed and refrigerated)

  • 1 orange, peeled

  • 1 banana

  • 1 cup frozen berries

  • 1 LARGE handful spinach

  • 1 cup milk (any kind)

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • *optional to add protein powder

  • Your favorite granola

How to:

  1. Stick all ingredients (except granola) in a blender and blend until smooth

  2. Serve in a bowl topped with granola

 
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Beet, Fennel and Apple Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium raw beets, cut into matchsticks

  • 1 fennel bulb, cut into matchsticks

  • 1 tart apple, cut into matchsticks

  • 1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • 3 TBSP olive oil

  • 1 TBSP lemon juice

  • 1 orange, zested

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

How to:

  1. Combine chopped beets, fennel, apple and parsley in a bowl.

  2. Whisk olive oil, lemon juice, orange zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl

  3. Pour dressing over salad and mix together

Eat Seasonally: May Edition

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Can you feel it? The abundant fresh produce will be here SO soon! For now, if you have visited any of the local farmers markets, you have likely seen a lot of greens and radishes and seed starts. May is the in between month where the markets don't have too much, but you can get excited by the fact that more is coming!!

This month's recipe is a Cauliflower and Roasted Chickpea Salad with Radishes, Avocado and Apples!

Some seasonal highlights of this recipe are:

Cauliflower is a Brassica crop, which is known to help prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disorders, and diabetes. It is high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

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Radishes are great for your liver. They are also high in vitamin C which is a precursor to collagen formation. Which is good for your tissues and skin! Radishes have a notable amount of folate, which can be hard to get for individuals who don't eat a lot of grains. Folate is very important in pregnancy and fetal development. 

Avocados are one of my favorites! Yes, they are high in fat, but they contain monounsaturated fats, which are healthy healthy healthy!! They are also high in fiber. Between the fiber and the amount of fat they have, avocados can be a great food to eat to help you feel full and satiated!

Chives also have many healthy characteristics. One to note is that they are good for digestion and can help get rid of bad bacteria, fungus and yeast in your GI tract to help it function as it should. 

So yea... this salad is packed with a punch and has many health benefits!

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 4 TBSP lime juice + zest of 2 limes

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • chili powder, to taste

  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard

  • 1 head of cauliflower, core removed (or cauliflower rice)

  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced

  • 1 cup parsley, chopped

  • 4 mint leaves, chopped

  • 4 green onions, diced

  • 1/4 cup chives

  • 1 1/2 crisp apple, diced

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

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How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Mix chickpeas with 1 TBSP olive oil, chili powder, salt and pepper and place on baking sheet. Roast until slightly crispy, about 15 minutes.

  2. Whisk together lime zest, lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, mustard and 3 TBSP water. Set dressing aside.

  3. In a food processor, place cauliflower and chop until it is in small granules- like rice. You may have to do this in batches. Place in a large bowl.

  4. Place radishes, parsley, mint, chives, green onions, apples and sunflower seeds in the bowl with the cauliflower. Add the chickpeas. Mix to combine and add 1/2 of the dressing from step 2.

  5. Serve the salad topped with avocado and add dressing as needed.

*We served ours on a bed of spinach and added salmon and quinoa to make a complete dish!

 

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Eat Seasonally: April Edition

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Spring is officially here which means we have busted out the grill! This month's vegetable is artichoke, and yes, we decided to grill it!

Artichokes always take me back to one of the first years Kevin and I were dating. He came with us to a family friends house for a fairly fancy dinner event and artichokes were on the menu. He had never eaten an artichoke before and proceeded to stick the whole leaf in his mouth. About 5 minutes later, I realized he was still chewing and was struggling to get the leaves down. I had to signal to him how to eat the properly eat the artichoke without brining too much attention to us and he had to figure out how to get rid of the leaves that he had been trying to eat for the last 5 minutes! We then had to fight the laughter- which I know you all know that feeling of trying not to laugh, so then you just laugh harder- yea... that was us. It still makes me laugh just thinking about it. All that to say... if you're eating artichoke for the first time- DO NOT EAT THE WHOLE LEAF! There is "meat" at the bottom of the leaf that you use your teeth to peel off. As you get to the center of the artichoke, you can peel away all the leaves and the fuzzy stuff and find the heart- which is my favorite part!

This vegetable is unique to say the least, but it does have many health benefits. Artichokes have been shown to help digestive tract irritation and aid in creating a healthy gut environment. They have been used to treat high cholesterol because they increase the production of bile which helps to decrease excess cholesterol. This bile production also aids in the health of your gut by improving gut flora and reducing inflammation and irritation of your digestive tract. They are also full of antioxidants which help all sorts of functions in your body.

Artichokes are also full of fiber, B12 and vitamin K. Overall, this vegetable is full of health benefits!

So, here is how we cooked them!

Grilled Artichokes:

Ingredients:

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  • 2 artichokes (one artichoke per person)

  • One pot full of boiling water

  • 1-2 TBSP olive oil

  • Salt and pepper

  • 1+ TBSP butter, melted

How to:

  1. Chop the artichokes in half lengthwise

  2. Boil in water for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the grill.

  3. Drain water out of artichokes and mix in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated.

  4. Place on grill for about 5-10 minutes, turning as needed.

  5. Serve with melted butter to dip the leave in. Once you have peeled the "meat" off of the leaf, discard the leaf.

  6. As you reach the center, peel off remaining leaves and wash the fuzzy part off. This will leave you with the heart. Dip in butter and enjoy!

We served ours with grilled pork chops, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. 

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Greek Nachos

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Okay... here's the story: Kevin has been wanting nachos for weeks which has been so funny to me because it isn't something we eat often... or like ever... But he kept telling me we would make them more topping and less chip, so I was starting to be on board with the idea.

On Sundays we try to mix it up and do something different and fun for dinner, so we were trying to think of what, and of course nachos were suggested. I knew we had leftover pitas that we had to use...so the idea of Greek Nachos was born! We made pita chips out the of the pitas and created Greek Nachos!

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Here's the recipe:

Pita Chips:

Ingredients

  • pitas

  • olive oil or avocado spray

  • salt, pepper, garlic powder

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F

  2. Cut the pitas into chip sized pieces

  3. Place chips on a baking sheet and lightly spray the pita chips with oil. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder

  4. Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side or until they are crunchy

Falafel:

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F

  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until it becomes a paste

  3. Let the paste sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes

  4. Using 1/4 cup, scoop and form into patties and place on a baking sheet

  5. Bake for 20 minutes on each side

  6. *forming and flipping the patties will be a lot easier if the paste has more time to cool in the refrigerator

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 1/2 cup parsley

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1 TBSP cumin

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp ground coriander

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp cayenne

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 1/4 cup flour

Meat:

How to:

  1. Mix ingredients into meat and cook in a saute pan until cooked through. Break it into pieces as you cook the meat.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 TBSP fresh mint OR 1 tsp dried mint

  • 1/2 tsp onion powder

  • dash of salt, pepper and cayenne

Greek Salad:

How to:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

  • 2 bell peppers, chopped

  • 1 cucumber, chopped

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, chopped

  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

  • 3 TBSP lemon juice

  • 3 TBSP olive oil

  • Dash of balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tsp thyme

  • salt and pepper

Tzatziki Sauce:

How to:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 tsp dill

  • 1 clove garlic

  • salt and pepper

To make the nachos:

Combine vegetables and meat and top with falafel and tzatziki sauce. Top with feta. Enjoy with pita chips.