Seasonal Eating

Sweet Potato Cakes with Blackberry Salsa

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This is literally one of my absolute favorite meals! It is usually a summertime necessity and I literally scheme ways to have them available at all times! The sweet potato cake portion is a phenomenal mix of flavors, but then you add the blackberry salsa and these are TO DIE FOR!!

A few tips I have for making them are:

  • Bake sweet potatoes ahead of time. It is the absolute worst to have piping hot potatoes that you are trying to work with!

  • Make the quinoa ahead of time too!

  • Once your form the cakes, put them in the refrigerator for at least a couple hours or overnight. This will make them easier to cook.

  • Use frozen blackberries if fresh ones are not in season.

Here is how to make them:

Sweet Potato Cakes with Blackberry Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb sweet potatoes

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 3/4 tsp salt

  • 3/4 tsp pepper

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs

  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1/4 cup basil, chopped

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 1 TBSP Ghee/avocado oil

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Clean sweet potatoes, and poke holes all around them with a fork. Place in the oven for 45+ minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

  2. Place 1/4 cup quinoa in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and cook until water is absorbed. Set aside.

  3. Once potatoes are cooked, let them cool. Then remove the flesh and discard the skins.

  4. Heat a saute pan with 1 tsp Ghee/avocado oil. Place onion and garlic and saute until softened. Mix into the potatoes. Add salt and pepper.

  5. Add breadcrumbs, cheese, cilantro, basil, and egg and mix well.

  6. Form mixture into patties using hands. Place on a plate or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

  7. When you are ready to cook, heat a saute pan with 1 tsp Ghee/avocado oil. Add patties and cook until golden brown on each side. You may have to work in batches and add oil each time.

Blackberry Salsa

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups frozen blackberries, slightly thawed

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 1/2+ jalapeno, diced

  • 3/4 cup cilantro, chopped

  • 1 1/2 TBSP lime juice

  • salt and pepper to taste

How to:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Serve patties topped with blackberry salsa. We often pair these with eggs and vegetables!

Rhubarb Salsa on White Fish

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I am just going to come out and say it… I am not a huge rhubarb fan. It would never be my choice of pie or anything for that matter. BUT… we got some rhubarb in our LINC box and I wanted to challenge myself to make it in a way that wasn’t doused in sugar. This salsa with fish was the perfect combination! Like maybe to the point where I would buy rhubarb myself and make it again!! Here is the recipe:

Rhubarb Salsa on White Fish

Ingredients:

  • 6 sticks of rhubarb, diced

  • 1 red bell pepper, diced

  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced

  • 1/2 jalapeno, diced

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped finely

  • 4 tbsp garlic sprouts or green onion, diced

  • 3 TBSP lime juice

  • 3 TBSP apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • 1-2 TBSP honey

  • 1 lb white fish

How to:

  1. Preheat the oven to 475.

  2. Prep the fish and place on a baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until cooked through.

  3. Meanwhile, combine rhubarb, pepper, onion, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic sprouts, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a bowl.

  4. Serve salsa over fish

  5. Enjoy!!

We served ours with roasted broccoli and potatoes as well!

Quinoa Crunch Bowl

One of my favorite things to do is to find a meal I really like at a restaurant and then try to recreate it. I used to get a Quinoa Crunch Bowl at one of my go-to restaurants in Denver- Life Kitchen. I loved it so much, I decided to recreate it and I think I figured out the perfect recipe! When we picked up our LINC box this week, it nearly had all the ingredients to make this bowl!! So, I had to…

The seasonal veggies that we used were:

  • Radishes

  • Carrots

  • Peas

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Cilantro

  • Oregano

  • Garlic Shoots

Here’s the recipe!

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Quinoa Crunch Bowl

Ingredients:

-1 cup uncooked quinoa

-Kale and/or spinach

-1 bunch radishes, chopped

-4 large carrots, chopped

-1 cup snap peas, chopped

-1 avocado sliced

-Hummus

-1/2 cup olive oil

-1/4 cup lime juice

-2 garlic shoots, chopped (1 tsp minced garlic would work too)

-1 TBSP minced adobo chilis

-1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

-2 tsp cumin

-salt and pepper

How to:

  1. Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat and cook until water absorbs.

  2. Chop all vegetables and mix together with greens

  3. Make dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, garlic shoots, adobo chilis, cilantro, cumin, salt and pepper. Shake or whisk to combine.

  4. Serve salad with a dollop of hummus, avocado and quinoa on it and pour dressing over the top.

We served ours with grilled chicken!!



The Perfect Smoothie Formula

Warm weather is coming which means smoothie season is here!! All the fresh produce makes smoothies that much more appealing this time of year. I do, however, make smoothies all year round and generally use frozen fruit. If smoothies aren’t done right, they can cause your blood sugar to spike and your energy to crash- not what we want. This is a formula I use for making smoothies. You can add quite a bit of variation using this formula. As you think through various options, just remember, you want more than just carbs in your smoothie!! So add protein and/or fat to make those carbs last longer!!

Smoothie Formula (makes 2-3 smoothies)

  • 1 cup vegetable (beets, cucumber, zucchini, carrots)

  • 1 banana

  • 2 cups other fruit (citrus, berries, mango, etc)

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 2 cups spinach (or other green)

  • 1 cup almond milk or other liquid

  • 1/2 cup dry oats (you won’t even notice them)

  • 1 scoop protein powder (I like to use unflavored)

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Beet Orange Smoothie:

  • 1 cup beets (steamed)

  • 1 orange

  • 1 cup berries

  • 1 banana

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 cup almond milk

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 1 scoop protein powder



Carrot Ginger Sunshine Smoothie

  • 3-4 large carrots

  • 1 orange

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 1 cup berries

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 1 banana

  • 1 scoop protein powder

  • 1 TBSP grated fresh ginger

  • 1 tsp turmeric



Cucumber Berry Spice Smoothie

  • 1 cup cucumber

  • 1 cup berries

  • 1 banana

  • 2 cups spinach

  • 1/2 cup oats

  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger

  • 2 TBSP unsweetened coconut

  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1/4 tsp cardamom

  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

  • 1 scoop protein powder

*Note- I generally serve my smoothies with granola on top, which adds some extra fat. If you will not be topping with fat of any source, consider throwing in nuts, seeds, nut butters, or avocado. Here is a link to an awesome granola recipe.



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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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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Eat Seasonally: March Edition

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March is always an odd month. You never know what the weather is going to be and deep down you are anticipating the nice weather and sunshine coming but still getting hit with random cold weather and snowstorms... or at least that has been my experience here in the Northwest. I feel the same odd tension with food choices- I still crave the warm comfort foods from winter but also want to turn on the grill and start exploring salads and warm weather foods. 

This month's recipe contains a bit of both winter comfort and fresh warm weather vegetables. The comfort comes from the bacon- YUM! And the vegetables highlighted this month are peas, asparagus, and sugar snap peas. I have decided this salad will be my new go to for potlucks and parties because it is definitely a crowd pleaser.

Here is some fun information about the vegetables:

Asparagus: is full of various phytonutrients and antioxidants. One to mention is called asparagusic acid which causes the asparagus smell to show up in your urine. Everyone metabolizes this in various ways, so not everyone can smell the resulting chemical in their urine. The breakdown of this chemical also plays a roll as a cofactor in aerobic metabolism. Plus its delicious!

Peas: peas are a part of the legume family. Research has shown that peas contain all sorts of antioxidants. One in particular is called coumestrol- which has shown to benefit our stomach health and specifically reduce the risk of stomach cancer. Peas also have a high amount of protein for a vegetable (8-10g per cup). They are full of fiber and actually contain omega-3 fatty acids as well! All of these attributes make peas a strong fighter against inflammation and other chronic diseases. 

Sugar Snap Peas: are unique in the fact that they provide a significant amount of iron for a vegetable. Iron is better absorbed with Vitamin C, which sugar snap peas also contain a significant amount of. This means you'll get more bang for your buck in iron absorption when choosing sugar snap peas!

Okay now for the recipe:

Asparagus and Peas with Warm Tarragon Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

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  • 2 cups peas

  • 1 pound sugar snap peas, cut in thirds

  • 1 bunch of asparagus, bottoms trimmed and stalks cut in thirds

  • 5 pieces bacon

  • 3/4 cup shallots (1 large shallot), diced

  • 3 TBSP fresh tarragon, finely chopped

  • 2 TBSP white wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/2 tsp pepper

  • zest of 1 lemon

How to:

  1. In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Chop sugar snap peas and asparagus. Once water is boiling, place vegetables in water fro 3 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water and set aside.

  2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon in a saute pan. Once cooked, set aside. Pour off all but 1 TBSP of the bacon grease.

  3. Add shallots to the saute pan and cook until they begin to brown. Add vinegar, mustard, and tarragon. Quickly mix and then add vegetables to pan. Mix until coated. Then place in a bowl.

  4. Mix in salt, pepper and lemon zest. Break up the bacon into bits and mix in. Enjoy!!

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We served ours with grilled steak seasoned with Spiceology's Cowboy Crust Seasoning and farro. 

 

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Eat Seasonally: February Edition

Whew! February has come and gone pretty quickly! I wanted to add a post highlighting February's Seasonal Produce and a favorite seasonal vegetable: cauliflower!!

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This cauliflower recipe was a new one for us. It was inspired by a local restaurant- Wandering Table- who makes buffalo cauliflower bites that literally will leave you dreaming for days! When highlighting a vegetable I usually like to keep it simple, so if you are trying that vegetable for the first time, you can taste the food for what it is. BUT.... this month I couldn't resist hopping on this one. The beauty of this recipe is if you don't like cauliflower, I almost 100% believe you will like this. For parents out there- this is a great way to get your kids to eat some vegetables too!

Cauliflower is very nutritious and helps fight oxidation and inflammation. It is high in vitamin C, vitamin K, B6, folate, and choline. Folate and choline are two nutrients that American's often don't get enough of. Also, because of the vitamins and minerals, cauliflower may help fight many kinds of cancer and reduce oxidative stress. Eating cauliflower when it is in season ensures the richness of these nutrients. So... eat your cauliflower!

Heres the recipe:

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

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Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour or oat flour

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • Frank's buffalo hot sauce

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F

  2. Create batter by mixing flour, water, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. This should be the consistency of pancake batter. If it isn't, add more water until it is.

  3. Cut the cauliflower into florets and mix into the batter.

  4. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes or until crispy.

  5. Place in bowl and pour buffalo sauce on the cauliflower until coated to your desired amount.

*An important note: we also tried this recipe without that batter. This was still delicious, but a little less crispy tasting. If you are wanting to do this, skip the flour & water, and instead mix the cauliflower with a little bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder before roasting. Below are pictures of roasted and battered- so you can see the difference.

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Eat Seasonally: January Edition

I know January is almost over, but I found this really cool list of seasonal foods and wanted to share one of our favorite recipes using a few vegetables you may not have ever heard of: rutabaga, parsnips, & turnips. 

First off, I want to talk about a few of the benefits of eating seasonally:

1. You are eating the food in its prime state:

This means it is ripe and loaded with vitamins and minerals. It hasn't been stored in a gas filled vacuum for months- like a lot of non-seasonal food. This also means... it tastes better!

2. Seasonal produce is generally cheaper:

When it is abundant, prices are low. Simple supply and demand concepts.

3. Seasonal produce can match the needs of the season:

You will notice the winter fruits contain a lot of citrus- which is beneficial in boosting your immune system and helps to fight off colds and flus. Winter vegetables are generally more starchy which works well in warm soups and stews and some of our favorite comfort foods.

So, here is January's list: (you can eat these in February too!)

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Most of January's vegetables grow in the ground so they can withstand the harsh climate of winter. They are generally more starchy, so can take that role on when you are building meals with them. 

One of our favorite easy recipes is roasted rutabaga, turnips, parsnips and carrots. These are probably vegetables you have 1. never heard of before or 2. have horrifying childhood memories of your parents threatening to make you eat them. The second reaction probably only happened because their names are weird, because they are actually all very sweet and delicious! Here is what they look like:

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Here are the details:

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Ingredients:

  • 3 rutabaga, cut into bite sized chunks

  • 3 turnips, cut into bite sized chunks

  • 4 parsnips, sliced

  • 4 carrots, sliced

  • Olive oil

  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder, rosemary

How to:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F.

  2. Place vegetables in a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary

  3. Place vegetables on a baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

  4. Serve with a protein and vegetable!

YUM! Enjoy!!

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Strawberry Season

We absolutely love the summer and fall here in Spokane when we can go pick our own fruit. For two city kids, there is something about being outdoors picking your own food that just seems magical to us. Plus we always come home and have to come up with a million ways to use all the fruit we just picked! This week- it was strawberries!!

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Strawberries are a great source of antioxidants. They are also a good source of vitamin C, folate, manganese and potassium. 1 cup of strawberries contains 99% of recommended daily vitamin C intake! Strawberries have a low glycemic index, meaning they help keep blood sugars level- which is good for everyone's health. Strawberries have a fairly low amount of calories and high amount of fiber- 1 cup has about 50 calories and about 3 grams of fiber. Overall, strawberries are a great seasonal snack and have many health benefits!

Here are some of the ways we used our strawberries:

Strawberry Salsa on Tilapia

Ingredients:

  • 1-1.5 lbs tilapia

  • Salt and pepper

  • non-stick spray

  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (seeds removed)

  • 5 green onions, chopped

  • 1/3+ cup cilantro chopped

  • 2+TBSP lime juice

How to:

  1. Preheat grill. Salt and pepper fish. Prepare a large piece of foil and spray with non-stick spray. Place fish in foil and fold foil so it is sealed.

  2. Place the foiled fish on the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until fish is done.

  3. Meanwhile, combine strawberries, jalapeno, green onion, cilantro and lime juice in a bowl. Add salt and pepper if desired.

  4. Enjoy fish topped with salsa!

We served ours with grilled corn and asparagus and quinoa

Strawberry Salad

I feel like a kale strawberry salad is a well known salad. We spiced it up with a few extra fun vegetables and herbs!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of kale, ribbed and chopped

  • 2/3 cup strawberries, chopped

  • 2/3 cucumber, sliced and quartered

  • 1/2 red onion, diced

  • 1 cup broccoli florets

  • 1/4+ cup mint, diced

  • 1/4+ cup basil, chopped

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, roasted or unroasted

  • poppyseed dressing OR olive oil and vinegar

How to:

  1. Chop and combine all ingredients and top with dressing. Enjoy :-)

Would go great with grilled chicken! 

Chocolate Pudding with Strawberries

I am a sucker for chocolate pudding! I love to make it from scratch because then I know the ingredients going into it. It is actually easier to do than you might think! This recipe is not "healthy," although I did make some substitutions to the original to make it healthier. It is a nice treat though :-) 

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 3 TBSP corn starch

  • 3 cups 2% milk

  • 5 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • sliced strawberries for serving

How to:

  1. In a medium glass or metal bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar. The mixture will be clumpy and crumbly- just make sure it gets combined.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, chocolate and salt over medium heat. Stir frequently until chocolate melts. (heat and milk always worry me because the milk can coagulate- make sure you are stirring enough to prevent this from happening).

  3. Once chocolate has melted, whisk the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (about 1/4 cup at a time). Whisk until completely combined.

  4. Pour mixture back into saucepan and continue to whisk over medium heat for 12-15 minutes, until it thickens. It may seem hopeless at minute 8, but I promise it will thicken!!

  5. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla.

  6. Place in refrigerator for 3+ hours and serve with sliced strawberries on top.

Quick No-Sugar Strawberry Jam

Okay...maybe I can't call this a jam, but we use it as a spread on all sorts of things. It does not keep long, because there is nothing in it to preserve the fruit. Our favorite thing to use it on is pancakes. We have both found that pancakes are a good carbohydrate fuel source for the night before a long run or bike ride. The pancakes we make are made with whole wheat flour, oats, greek yogurt and just a bit of sugar. We did top ours with this jam this week!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries

  • 2-3 TBSP water

How to:

  1. In a small saucepan, place strawberries and water over medium-high heat.

  2. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring and smashing occasionally, until berries begin to breakdown and create a sauce. It is important to keep stirring so the sauce doesn't burn to the pan.

  3. Serve and enjoy on anything you can think of!

  4. To store- place in a container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

 

That is it for my strawberry recipes this year! I hope you found some inspiration to enjoy strawberries while they are in season!!