Category Archives: Recipes

Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Porridge (with Leftover Rice)

Leftover rice makes a great breakfast dish!

Leftover rice makes a great breakfast dish!

When it comes to breakfast, I’m as lazy as it gets.

I’m not a morning person so when I first get up in the morning, the last thing I want to do is make food . . .but I know for me to wake up and get myself going, I’ve got to eat pretty soon after getting up or I’ll be in foggy sleep land for hours. The best thing ever is that John stopped hitting starbucks on his way to work and now makes coffee before he leaves so I now wake up to a hot delicious pot of coffee waiting for me. Wake and pour! haha!

Anyhow, breakfast for me is often a smoothie, some sort of fast egg and vegetable hash, granola, oats! Maybe some smoked sockeye, avocado and greens. Nothing too complicated. I do, however love to use whatever leftovers I have in the fridge – this girl hates waste and also gets tired of food prep.

This week, I had some leftover arborio rice from dinner and a big apple that was calling my name so I decided to make a rice porridge with it. I’ve never actually looked up what constitutes a porridge so you’ll have to forgive me if I’m calling this dish the wrong thing. I tossed in a diced apple, some spices, the rice and some almond milk in a pot, cooked it for a few minutes and then served it with butter (oh yes) and maple syrup for a warm, satisfying and easy breakfast. You can toss in some hemp or raw pumpkin seeds for a little protein boost.

As a side note: You’re probably surprised to see a white rice like arborio here! While most of the time I’m a big fan of whole grain rices – like brown, japonica or wild – I do think variety is important and occasionally make room in my life for white rices (like in sushi or risotto!). One reason I include it in our diet occasionally is because white rice is a form of resistant starch. Resistant starches are interesting in that instead of being digested and released into the blood sugar as glucose like most other types of starch, resistant starch makes its way all the way to the large intestine (undigested) where it gets fermented and feeds the bacteria that is directly responsible for keeping the cells in our colon functioning their best. Making resistant starch a part of your diet can be a good thing for your digestive system – green bananas, cooked and then cooled potatoes and rices, cashews are a few good sources of it. So while I won’t eat white rice every time I have rice – I feel good about eating it occasionally.IMG_4790

Ingredients
3/4 cup leftover rice
1 large apple, diced
1/4 tsp ground cloves
dash of ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
1/8 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 -3/4 cup water or milk of your choice (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1/2 tbsp butter and 2 tsp real maple syrup for serving

Directions
Put everything but the butter and maple syrup in a small pot and warm over medium heat, stirring occasionally until liquid is absorbed and apple is tender, about 5-10 minutes (this will depend on your stove – I have a slow cranky one). Serve warm with a little butter and maple syrup stirred in.

For a faster version – you can microwave the rice, apple and water/milk together for about 2 minutes and then stir in your spices at the end but I’m not a super fan of the microwave and just prefer the stove for most of my cooking.

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Beef and Kale Gnocchi with Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts

Pure comfort food that won't take 2 hours to make.

Pure comfort food that won’t take 2 hours to make.

Summer calls for raw vegetables, grilled meats and fish, light crunchy refreshing dishes, right? This isn’t that but it’s something indulgent and creamy I’ve made on cooler nights so rather than wait until the fall to post it – you’re getting it now! This is pretty quick to make too – brown beef, cook veggies in the same pan, stir in some flavorings and cook your gnocchi and put it all in your belly. The pictures don’t do it justice but it is so delicious! You’re welcome.

This is comfort food. This is not low calorie and it’s not super good for you. You may be wondering why I’m posting it if it isn’t super healthy, well, it is delicious, easy and I frequently get asked what I eat when I’m craving pasta or bread. This is definitely a meal that satisfies those cravings for me. Plus, I’m a human who occasionally eats things that aren’t good for me – I break my own rules on occasion because that’s how life goes. I do my best most of the time and allow for some leeway because as much as I eat for my health, I also derive joy from it. And one last reason – if posting indulgent comfort food recipes once in awhile gets people in their own kitchens creating home cooked food, that’s still healthier than what is often the alternative!

I’m really not a fan of gluten free pastas or breads so we very rarely eat them.  But I also find I don’t really miss either so substituting with sub par versions of the real deal is just not worth it to me. The reason I don’t think I miss pasta or bead is because I eat lots of fat to keep me satisfied and don’t eat too many carbohydrates that spike blood sugar – which is what causes those types of cravings. Gnocchi is what I reach for when I want chewy comfort food and it only makes an appearance once in a great while which keeps it fun and a special treat.

Gnocchi are potato dumplings that usually have wheat flour added to them to give them that chewiness that we all love. I try to avoid wheat in my house so if I’m feeling really motivated, I’ll make my own without wheat (like these from Serious Eats) or if short on time I use DeLallo Gluten Free Gnocchi. If you tolerate wheat or gluten ok then by all means, use regular gnocchi (or even pasta would work here)! This recipe is gluten free if you use gf gnocchi.

This is creamy, chewy, crunchy, salty and savory. I add parmesan (another rare treat), nutmeg and toasted pine nuts to deepen the umami flavors.  If you like pastas with creamy sauces, you’ll be all over this.  To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of nutmeg but I’ve been using it occasionally with beef lately. It adds a warm earthiness that is a nice change up!

Try this and let me know what you think!

Beef and Kale Gnocchi with Parmesan and Toasted Pine Nuts

Ingredients
1 lb Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef (I use 85% lean, 15% fat)
1 box (or about 3 cups cooked) of Gluten Free Gnocchi
1 bunch of kale, washed, stems removed and chopped
1 onion, diced
1 minced clove garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 – 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1.5 tablespoons pasture butter (I use Kerrygold when I can’t get local)
5 tbsps freshly grated parmesan reggiano cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (see note below on toasting)
sea salt
black pepper

Directions
In a large saute pan, cook ground beef until browned through, breaking up with a wooden spoon as you go. When the beef is mostly cooked, add in the onion and kale and cook for 5 – 6 additional minutes or until the kale is wilted and the onion is soft. Cook your gnocchi while the kale/onion are cooking (you’ll know they’re done when they float – takes just a few minutes), drain and set aside. When the kale and onion are just about cooked, add the garlic, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cooked gnocchi, parmesan, butter and toasted pine nuts to the pan and stir until the cheese is melted and your kitchen smells amazing. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed (some gnocchi brands are very salty).

Mix everything together so that the flavors have a chance to blend.

Mix everything together so that the flavors have a chance to blend.

Note: To toast pine nuts, add them to a dry cast iron skillet (or at least a skillet that you can safely heat dry) and heat on low. Stay close as they toast and shake the pan occasionally so that the nuts get toasted on several sides. The amount of time this will take depends on how long your stove takes to heat up! In a hot pan it will only take a minute or two. Remove them from pan before they burn.

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Rustic Mediterranean Pork Chops

A healthy main course that you can make in 15 minutes.

A healthy main course that you can make in 15 minutes.

I’ve been in a bit of a creative slump in the kitchen so it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a recipe! That doesn’t mean I haven’t been cooking at home (I actually cook almost every night), just that I’ve been feeling uninspired and resorting to a lot of the same old stuff. None worth sharing. Even though I spend much of my day talking about food with clients, I have times when I wish I could delegate the task of feeding myself to someone else. I’m sure you can relate! Anyhow, this was a really fast and easy main course that I came up with based on random ingredients that I had in the fridge and pantry and it was really good. I can’t say it enough – but keeping your pantry & freezer well stocked means you can make tasty stuff with short notice – even when you wish you had a healthy take out fairy godmother. Moving on . . .

These pan cooked boneless pork chops and rustic tapenade will only take about 15 minutes to make. The topping is like a rustic tapenade (only cooked) of capers, spinach, tomatoes, olives and lemon juice. You could easily sub out some of these ingredients for other staples (roasted red peppers or artichokes would work well). These would also be good on the grill though you’d probably want to marinate them a little beforehand (as lean pork can dry out when grilled).

Pork is one of the hardest foods to find organic or humanely raised. We don’t eat a ton of it but if we can’t find something I’m comfortable eating in the local grocery stores or if there isn’t any available at a local farm, as a backup I order online from US Wellness Meats or Tendergrass Farms.  Yes, avoiding factory farmed meat is very expensive. The way I see it is I can spend money now on high quality food that nourishes my body or I can continue buying meat that came from diseased and tortured animals on the cheap (with questionable country of origins) and pay extra at the doctors office. I prefer to avoid the doctors office if I can. When making a switch to higher quality animal products, it’s helpful to plan to eat less of it. You’ll find that a whole pasture raised chicken may only be 3.5 lbs, whereas you can find grocery store ones that are 6 or 7 lbs. Chickens that aren’t force fed or kept in tiny little cages rarely get huge – you’re not going to find a chicken breast that is 13 oz on one of these chickens, more likely that a chicken breast is going to be 5 or 6 oz. which is a heck of a lot closer to how much we should be eating anyhow. It takes some getting used to, but if you’re getting enough fat and eating lots of vegetable variety, you won’t miss it for long.

Hope you have a great 4th of July!

Rustic Mediterranean Pork Chops

Ingredients
For the pork
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
4 boneless Organic pork chops, fat trimmed and pounded to about 1/2 inch thick
sea salt
black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder or 2 cloves minced garlic

For the topping
2 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
7-9 large green olives, roughly chopped (pit removed if there is one)
2 tsp organic capers
2 – 4 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions
Heat 1 tbsp olive or coconut oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. While it’s heating, sprinkle the pork chops on both sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder (if using minced garlic, rub it into the chops). When the pan is piping hot, add the chops and cook for 3-4 minutes per side. When you flip the pork, it should flip easily and have a good sear on it. You may need to cook for less or more time depending on how thick or thin you pounded the chops to. When the pork is cooked through (slightly pink is okay) remove to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Add the spinach, green olives, capers, tomatoes and onion to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Pour in the lemon juice and scrape up any burnt pork bits while you cook.  When finished cooking, add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to the mixture and then serve on top of the pork. (You won’t need salt for the topping – olives, capers and sun dried tomatoes are usually quite salty!)

Makes 4 servings.
Note:  This would also work great with chicken or fish.

10 Days, 10 Dinners

Of all the things I get asked, “What do you eat?” or “What do you make for dinner?” is probably what I get asked the most. Last year I did a blog post that was an entire week’s worth of food in pictures.  It went over well – people loved to see what my meals / snacks consisted of.  I’ve been meaning to do one of those again but for some reason only seem to remember to take pictures at dinnertime!! So I thought I’d post a week and a half worth of our dinners so that you can see how I’m eating lately. So this is what I really ate for dinner from 4/28 – 5/7 (yes, it took me almost 2 weeks to get it into a blog post but when you see the LENGTH of this post you’ll see why!). I’ve included a loose version of a recipe for each meal (but I made most of these up on the fly with the exception of any linked recipes so it’s possible I’m forgetting an ingredient!) in case something interests you.

My hope is that these types of posts inspire you to get creative in your kitchen and see how easy and delicious more whole foods in your diet can be! And while I don’t want anyone to think that they need to eat exactly how I eat to lose weight or be their healthiest – eating the way I’m eating these days makes me feel my best. It keeps my cravings to a minimum, gives me tons of energy and it keeps the binge monster at bay. I want to encourage you to pay attention to how the foods that you eat make your body feel (and how the way your body feels affect your brain/emotions). It’s different for everyone and I encourage you to experiment to find what feels good to you.

My only gripe with our meals lately is that I feel like I need to make more of an attempt to eat  a couple vegetarian meals, at least for me. This is hard to do in our house as we don’t eat soy protein and John hates/can’t tolerate beans/legumes (and it’s rare for me to cook 2 different entrees). It’s something I struggle with. The meat / fish we do eat is always the highest quality I can get my hands on. I do not buy feedlot meats. I can’t support that and I cut back in other areas of spending so that we can afford healthier and more humane options.

Anyhow, enough blah blah blah here are 10 Days, 10 Dinners

1. Tues – 4/28
Wild Salmon and Oat Cakes with Salad and homemade tartar sauce

(and Tessemae’s Green Goddess Dressing). I totally went back for a second helping of salad and an extra “cake”.

These came out super good which I was sort of surprised by! I bought a 14.75 oz can of Wild Alaskan Canned Salmon – the kind that has bones and skin in it – and the only way I could think of making it that would disguise bones/skin (gag!) was by making salmon cakes. I’ve always avoided these types of cans because the idea of the extra bits grossed me out but since my dairy consumption consists mostly of butter, I need to make extra effort to get calcium from other foods and guess what salmon bones have?? Yup, calcium (and vitamin D too).  And eating the skin increases the amount of healthy omega 3 fats by more than double per serving and since those are essential for reducing inflammation we need to eat them where we can! I’m over my fear of skin and bones in canned salmon and will definitely buy it again – it’s quite a bit cheaper than fresh and it’s already cooked so it’s a great way to save time and money.

How long this took to make: 20 – 25 minutes total (includes Cakes, tartar sauce and veggies for salad)

Wild Salmon and Oat Cakes with Salad and homemade tartar sauce

How to make this:

I just drained the liquid from the 14.75 oz can of wild salmon, poured the contents into a bowl and literally crushed the crap out of bones and meat up with my hands. The bones are super crumbly and the skin was rather soft so it all blended up in small bits very quickly. When it was the right consistency for cakes, I stirred in 1 whole egg, an egg white (leftover from making mayo so I thought why not?), roughly 1/4 cup of rolled oats (processed in the food processor to a breadcrumb consistency), a few tbsp of chopped onion, 1 stalk of chopped celery, a little dijon mustard, garlic powder, parsley and a dash of tamari.  Mixed it together with a spoon and heated up my favorite cast iron skillet on medium high heat.  I added about a half tbsp of both butter and olive oil to the hot skillet and when hot, scooped about 1/3 cup of the mixture into the pan (per cake) pressed it down with a spatula so it formed a patty shape, cooked for about 3 minutes, flipped and cooked for about 3 minutes more. I cooked 3 at a time (and I think this made 7 or 8 total). They got an awesome brown crust and stayed together well.

TIP: I think the reason they worked out so well was that I let the mixture sit for a few minutes while I cut up salad veggies and the skillet heated up so the oats had time to absorb some of the moisture.  For the tartar sauce, I just made my homemade olive oil mayo and added some diced bubbies pickles to it, and a little of the pickle juice.

The best part was this meal came together in just a few minutes – I think start to finish was 20 minutes. It helped that I didn’t make the salad dressing – Tessemae’s makes ones with really simple ingredients so I buy it occasionally to save myself some time (not that dressing takes more than a minute – but I get tired of whisking!).

2. Wed – 4/29
Whole Roasted Chicken with sweet potatoes, onions, cauliflower and green beans
.

I know, who the heck makes a whole roasted chicken on a weeknight? This girl does. We eat pretty late so even if I don’t get home until 7 I can still stick a chicken in the oven for dinner. I will roast a chicken with just about any vegetable combination – it’s an amazing way to have a delicious dinner that looks and tastes like you slaved forever! The juices from the chicken flavor the vegetables and the natural sugars in your starches caramelize – you can’t replicate this stuff on the stovetop (well you can but it’s a lot of work)!  After you’re done with the chicken, save the carcass for making broth (I put them in the freezer until I’m ready).

How long this took to make:  Active time, 5 minutes Inactive time, 90 minutes

Desktop Pictures2

Whole Roasted Chicken with sweet potatoes, onions, cauliflower and green beans.

How to make this:

Prep for this took 4 minutes!! Chopped up a head of cauliflower into big florets, sliced two sweet potatoes into thick circles (skin left on but scrubbed well), rinsed a bag of fresh green beans, chopped an onion into a few chunks and then placed all of that in a big roasting pan. Drizzled with a little olive oil and tossed the veggies with my hands. Sprinkled with a little sea salt and black pepper, made a well in the center and stuck in a 5 lb organic chicken. The only thing I do to prep the chicken is open the bag it came in, remove any neck/giblets or whatever, stick it in the pan and sprinkle it with salt. That’s it (no rinsing, no trussing, no butter, no fuss!!).  Bake a 4-5lb bird with lots of veggies/root veg of your choice at 425 for 80 – 90 minutes. It’s perfectly done every time!  You don’t have that much time? You can cook just the bird by itself at 450 degrees for 50-60 minutes (and cook your veggies another way). This is the type of stuff we should all learn I was talking about here – techniques for cooking instead of specific recipes.

3. Thurs – 4/30
Got take out from You You in Nashua

I ate my weight in sushi and spicy mayo (though the spicy mayo was homemade and I used low sodium tamari instead of the soy sauce they gave us). Sorry no pic! Just picture me eating a massive plate of various sushi and smiling the whole time. I swear, I would eat it every day if I didn’t think it would give me mercury poisoning.

4. Fri – 5/1
Ground Turkey hash with kale, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, served with baked kabocha squash and a fried egg.

I was feeling a little breakfast for dinner ish but had some turkey I wanted to use up so a hash it was! I added some weird spices because that’s how I roll. Meals like this are a great way to work vegetables in and not even feel like you’re eating them. You’ll laugh but I cooked kabocha squash for me and potatoes for John. He can’t do squash but I would cut off my arm to eat it more often! I could have eaten potatoes too, but I just really wanted to eat my squash, so I made two things out of selfishness really. To be honest, the way I cook, it didn’t make extra work for me. I literally roasted the squash and his potatoes on the same cookie sheet in the oven for the same amount of time. This time, I went back for seconds of just the squash. I love me kabocha.  You should try it if you haven’t before – it’s drier and nuttier than butternut squash.

How long this took to make:  About 30 minutes for the hash and eggs, 60 min for my potatoes / squash (but you can microwave so that it can all be done in 30).

Ground Turkey hash with kale, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, served with baked kabocha squash and a fried egg

Ground Turkey hash with kale, zucchini, mushrooms and onions, served with baked kabocha squash and a fried egg

How to make this:

Cook your starch however you want (I baked potatoes and kabocha squash whole in the oven at 350 degrees for an hour or so. You’re welcome to microwave yours to save time). While your starch is cooking, saute a big bunch of chopped kale (I used lacinato – it’s my favorite), 1 chopped zucchini, half a chopped onion, and 8oz of sliced mushrooms in a little olive oil, coconut oil or butter. When they’re mostly cooked, remove from the pan and cook 1 to 1 1/4 lbs of ground turkey in the same pan until cooked through.  Add the cooked veggies back to the pan, plus some paprika, garlic powder, turmeric and (weird I know) ground allspice, plus some sea salt and pepper and stir / cook until most of the liquid released from the veggies are gone. While you’re cooking in the spices, heat a skillet up over medium low heat, add some fat and fry up a few eggs to your desired doneness. Serve the hash on top of your starch and an egg or two on top of that.  It’s super awesome with salsa on top.

5. Sat – 5/2
Went out to dinner at Copper Door with the hubs and his dad

I had Wood Roasted Haddock with corn-crab hash, fingerling potatoes, pearl onions, bell peppers and sweet compound butter. Also had 2 chicken rangoon appetizers (yup, I ate wheat) and a Manhattan the size of my whole fist. (sorry no pic!). I could totally replicate the haddock dish at home, no problem. Those rangoons though . . .

6. Sun – 5/3
Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, celery, onion, arborio rice and ginger/star anise

Made homemade Chicken broth (using the saved carcass from Wednesday’s dinner) while we were home this weekend and turned it into a delicious and easy to digest soup (was having stomach pains after my wheat indulgence the night before).  If you have a high quality, rich tasting broth, you can make delicious soups with just a few ingredients since the broth is already so flavorful. Try it, I swear you will wonder why you ever bought store broth!

How long this took to make: Since I had homemade broth already, soup took about 30 – 35 minutes total.

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, celery, onion, arborio rice and ginger/star anise

Chicken Soup with Bok Choy, celery, onion, arborio rice and ginger/star anise

How to make this:

Place 1 to 1.5 lbs organic boneless chicken breasts or thighs in a 4 quart dutch oven or stock pot. Add enough broth to cover the chicken plus 2 inches (they should be completely submerged and covered by 2 inches of liquid) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, I added a 1/2 cup of arborio rice, a two inch piece of peeled fresh ginger and about a tsp of anise seed (which I immersed in the broth tied into a piece of cheesecloth). You can also use 3 or 4 whole star anise.  I brought it back to a boil, then reduced to a simmer and let the chicken cook 15 -20 minutes (or until cooked through). I removed the chicken from the pan and let cool for a few minutes. Keep the rice cooking at a medium low temp and add more broth if needed. While the chicken is cooking, heat up a saute pan with a little fat of your choice and saute a chopped onion and 4 sliced stalks of celery until softened, about 6 or 7 minutes. When chicken is cool enough to handle, chop up into bite sized pieces. Remove anise seed and ginger from the rice/broth, add chopped chicken, sauteed celery and onion and your raw but sliced head of bok choy to the pot. Add 1 tbsp low sodium tamari, a dash of rice vinegar and 1/2 tsp ground turmeric (or 1 tbsp fresh grated). Heat everything through and season with pepper.

7. Mon – 5/4
Ground Beef, onion and fennel stuffed Zucchini boats, topped with homemade fast marinara sauce and served with organic corn and steamed green beans

This was the result of one of those nights when I came home and stared into the fridge several times and didn’t know what to make. Nothing was appealing to me, I was tired and really didn’t want anything that we had. Took a chance in throwing this all together and it worked out well!

How long this took to make: About 45 minutes.

Ground Beef, onion and fennel stuffed Zucchini boats, topped with homemade fast marinara sauce and served with organic corn and steamed green beans

Ground Beef, onion and fennel stuffed Zucchini boats, topped with homemade fast marinara sauce and served with organic corn and steamed green beans

How to make this:

Preheat your oven to 350. Cut two big zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon then lightly rub with olive or melted coconut oil. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes. While zucchini is cooking, heat fat of your choice in a medium sized saute pan and cook 1 diced onion and a roughly chopped fennel bulb (freeze the fronds for the next time you make broth – adds a delicious flavor and it’s good for the belly) until softened (about 6 or 7 minutes). Add 1 lb grassfed ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon as it cooks.  Add 1 tsp paprika, 2 tsp ground cumin, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp ground allspice and stir until ground beef is cooked through. Season with sea salt and black pepper.  While the meat and zucchini are cooking, make a quick marinara sauce. I take a whole onion, cut in half and remove the skin and place the two onion halves in a hot sauce pan with a little olive oil or butter and then I add some dried oregano, either fresh or dried basil and 1 clove minced garlic and stir until fragrant (a minute or two). Then I add a 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and generous sea salt and black pepper and I let it simmer for a good 25 -40 minutes (depending on how hungry I am!). When your meat and veggie mixture is cooked through, fill up your zucchini boats with the mixture and place in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with marinara sauce (feel free to add grated parm or gruyere if you eat dairy). Serve with steamed green beans and (frozen) organic corn.

8. Tues – 5/5
Spiced Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with pineapple avocado salsa, quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts

This is really easy to make and John liked it despite not liking fish.

How long this took to make: About 30 minutes (Mahi Mahi takes about 10 minutes but brussels take a bit longer)

mahimahi

Spiced Pan Seared Mahi Mahi with pineapple avocado salsa, quinoa and roasted brussels sprouts

How to make this:

I totally cheated with my salsa. I had some Salsa Fresca from whole foods in the fridge. To that, I added some chopped fresh pineapple, a squeeze of fresh lime juice and a diced avocado. Voila, Pineapple Avocado salsa bitches. I do make my own salsa sometimes but I’m also a fan of improvising with what I have available at any given moment. Put your salsa aside and make a spice rub for your mahi mahi. Use this as a rough guide and adjust to your needs: 1.5 tbsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano, 1/2 tsp thyme leaves, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp sea salt. If you like spicy you’ll probably want to add some cayenne to that but I leave it out for John. Put it all in a bowl and mix together and then rub it all over (front and back) of 1 – 1.5 lbs Wild Mahi Mahi fillets. Let your Mahi Mahi sit for a few minutes, make some quinoa and prep your brussels sprouts. I roughly follow this recipe. Though I use less olive oil, less salt and cook at a slightly higher temp for less time (say 425 for 25 minutes – it really depends on how big your sprouts are). When your quinoa and sprout are almost done, heat a cast iron skillet or good saute pan over medium high heat, add about 1/2 tbsp of both butter and olive oil and when hot add your Mahi Mahi fillets. Cook for about 4-6 minutes on each side or until cooked through (will depend on thickness of your fillets – fish cooks pretty fast!). You should get a good sear if the pan is hot enough. Serve the Mahi Mahi with the salsa on top or on the side.

9. Wed – 5/6
Wild ramps, swiss chard and organic pork sausage risotto.

My risottos are really more like a bowl of vegetables that have some slow cooked rice mixed in, instead of the other way around. I used more of the chicken broth I made on Sunday instead of store bought – it’s way more nutritious and tastes so much better too.

How do we make risotto? I promise, it’s not as hard as people make it out to be but you do need to be present and available to stir regularly. Once you see that risotto is a cooking technique – and you just need to learn the formula you realize you can add anything to it – there are endless delicious variations. One word of advice, you probably don’t want to make it for the first time on a weeknight if you have hungry little ones waiting on you (try it on a weekend when you have some extra wiggle room).

How long this took to make: About 40 minutes.

risottoramps

Wild ramp, swiss chard and organic pork sausage risotto

How to make this:


You can follow this recipe here. To this, I added a whole bunch of chopped rainbow swiss chard in the last 10 minutes or so of cooking. I also use more than 3 cups of broth (probably closer to 5 cups) and have my broth warm before adding it to the rice. I used DuBreton Organic Mild Italian Pork Sausages. If you can’t find Ramps (not exactly in every grocery store are they!), try using scallions, leeks or egyptian onions for a similar light onion flavor (though you won’t want to use the tough green tops of leeks – again save those for broth making!).  If you don’t have vermouth, try white wine – and if you don’t use alcohol, skip it and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for a little acid kick. Lastly, the parmesan in risotto is totally optional – it’s still creamy and delicious without.

10. Thurs – 5/7
Paleo Pad Thai

This is super delicious.

Paleo Pad Thai (from The Clothes Make The Girl)

Paleo Pad Thai (from The Clothes Make The Girl)

How to make this:

Use this recipe for Paleo Pad Thai by Melissa Joulwan. It’s basically spaghetti squash with grilled chicken thighs, sugar snap peas, scrambled egg and a delicious sunbutter sauce. We’re not paleo but searching for paleo recipes is an easy way to find recipes that only contain whole foods / real foods and you can adjust them as you see fit. This recipe can take a bit to make so I usually try to make the sauce and cook the whole spaghetti squash the day before (both of which only take a few minutes of active time – but having some steps done saves time when I’m actually cooking).  This is definitely quite different from traditional pad thai but that creaminess and crunch we’ve come to expect from pad thai makes this total healthy comfort food.

There you have it. 10 consecutive days of dinners at my house. What have you been eating lately?

Blueberry Protein Smoothie

Shutterstock Blueberries

Those of you who know me, know that I’m not a fan of making non-food items a part of our daily diets and for the most part, I think heavily processed protein powders usually fall into a non-food category. Sure there are some decent ones out there but many contain ingredients from questionable sources and fillers that can wreak havoc on your digestive system. While I don’t see anything wrong with using a protein powder occasionally or while one is training for a specific event for a short period of time, I just prefer that we get the majority of our nutrition from things that our ancestors would recognize as food! It’s not that hard if you are willing to spend a little time in your kitchen each week.

One of the things I frequently get asked by clients is how they can get a good amount of protein in their smoothies without resorting to a protein powder – well, there are lots of ways to do it and this recipe is one way that seems to be the most enjoyable for people to drink.  It’s sweet, creamy and super filling! Plus it’s a gorgeous purple color!

If you’ve never had greens in your smoothies, try adding just a leaf or two of the lettuce on your first try and increase the amount of greens you add as you get used to the flavor.  Romaine is pretty mild and blends in pretty well flavor-wise.

This makes about 24 oz of smoothie – 1.5 servings. I like to drink 2/3 of it as a meal and save the other portion (well covered) in the fridge for a pre or post workout snack.  This smoothie is a good source of calcium, iron, potassium and vitamins A and C. A 16 oz serving has about 19 g of fiber, 14 g of protein and 21 g of good fat.

This can be changed up to suit your tastes easily too! I sometimes swap out the blueberries for strawberries and sometimes add some avocado in place of one of the seeds (lowers the protein a bit but it’s just as filling).  Other nuts and seeds like pumpkin, brazil nuts or cashews work well also.  And you get bonus points if you add additional vegetables – I like adding a stalk of celery or some cucumber!

Try this and let me know what you think!

Ingredients
1.5 cups frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 romaine heart, tough end removed, leaves washed
2 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp almond or sunflower seed butter
1 cup water

A sweet smoothie packed with protein and even has hidden vegetables!

A sweet smoothie packed with protein and even has hidden vegetables!

Directions
Put all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend on high until smooth – about 1 minute. If you do not have a high powered blender you may find it easier to blend the hemp and chia seeds first with water, then add the other ingredients in slowly a little at a time.

This makes about 24 oz of smoothie – about 1.5 servings.

Pan Seared Scallops and Corn Salad with Avocado Parsley Sauce

Pan seared scallops with Corn Salad and Avocado Sauce

Pan seared scallops with Corn Salad and Avocado Sauce

I know I posted a scallop recipe not to long ago so forgive me for posting another! I love how quick cooking they are and I think they always make a meal look and feel more elegant than it is.  This is not a very wintry meal but sometimes you want something light, especially after weeks of over indulgence over the holidays.  This is very light, very satisfying and takes less than 20 minutes to make. You’ll likely have leftover avocado sauce afterwards – you can use the remainder like a pesto!

Ingredients

For the Corn Salad
1 tbsp unrefined coconut oil
10 oz bag frozen Organic corn, defrosted
1/2 onion, diced
2 red bell peppers, roughly diced
3 small zucchini, sliced into 1/4 – 1/8 inch coins
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
sea salt and pepper to taste

For the Scallops
1 tbsp unsalted butter or coconut oil
1 tbsp olive oil
8 sea scallops, trimmed, rinsed and patted dry with paper towels

For the Avocado Parsley Sauce
2 avocados, peeled and pits removed
1/2 organic bunch parsley (stems can be included)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice
sea salt
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp dried or 2 tsp fresh chives
1 tsp dijon mustard

Directions

1. Make the Avocado Parsley Sauce by putting all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulsing until it’s well blended. You may need to scrape down the sides once and blend again. Set aside while you make the rest of the meal.

Avocado Parsley sauce

Avocado Parsley sauce

2. Make the Corn Salad. Heat the Coconut Oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the onion, defrosted corn and bell peppers and cook for 3 – 4 minutes or just until the onions begin to soften.

Corn, Onion and bell peppers cooking coconut oil.

Corn, Onion and bell peppers cooking coconut oil.

3. While the vegetables are cooking, begin heating a cast iron skillet over medium heat. While it is heating, sprinkle your scallops* generously with sea salt and black pepper.

4. While the cast iron skillet heats, add the cumin, thyme, zucchini rounds, salt and pepper to the corn salad. Cook for just 2 minutes, stirring occasionally and then set aside while you finish the scallops.

Add the zucchini and spices to the corn salad and cook for just 2 minutes.

Add the zucchini and spices to the corn salad and cook for just 2 minutes.

5. When the cast iron pan is very hot, add 1/2 tbsp butter and 1/2 tbsp oil to the pan.  When the butter is melted, add the scallops, placing one of their flat round sides face down in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. They should have a nice browning on the outside but still be tender on the inside. If they stick to the pan, they probably need another minutes on. Remove from heat before they get tough.

Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side.

Sear the scallops for 2-3 minutes on each side.

6. Serve the corn salad topped with the scallops and avocado parsley sauce on the side.

What’s your favorite way to serve scallops?

Makes 2 -3 servings.

*This recipe contains scallops that are not fully cooked.  Consuming raw or undercooked meats, poultry, seafood, shellfish, or eggs may increase your risk of foodborne illness. 
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Spinach, Sunflower Seed and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Pesto is a great shortcut to many healthy and delicious meals.

Pesto is a great shortcut to many healthy and delicious meals.

I’m a big fan of pesto.

I like to top salmon, steak or chicken with it. It’s great on all kinds of noodles. A big dollop in a bowl of soup completely changes the flavor. You can pretty much use it on anything. It freezes well. And it’s usually made up of good for you ingredients. What’s not to like!? One of the reasons I’m so drawn to making pesto is that when you try to eat a mostly whole foods diet, sauces and condiments that are made with good ingredients in the store are hard to come by. Many store bought pestos use soybean oil or other vegetable oils and I prefer not to eat those when I can help it so having a few things in your cooking repertoire that you can make in just a couple of minutes can make all the difference between eating food that makes you feel good and gives you energy or grabbing some take out that will make you feel crappy an hour after you eat it.

Try it on salmon, chicken or steak, as a sauce for pasta, raw zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Try it on salmon, chicken or steak, as a sauce for pasta, raw zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash or as a dip for fresh vegetables.

Good basil is hard to come by in the middle of winter here in NH so I like to make pestos with whatever else I have on hand – tonight it was spinach, sunflower seeds and sun dried tomatoes. Yum!  You can literally make this in 2 minutes.

Don’t feel like you have to stick to this recipe exactly. Pesto is a very forgiving sauce! For greens, try spinach, basil, arugula, mizuna parsley or cilantro (or a mix of a couple). Blend them with walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or cashews.  Add lemon or lime juice, olive oil and salt and you have a pesto! You can jazz it up for flavor with garlic, shallots, olives, capers, sun dried tomatoes, pecorino or parmesan.  Avocado can be used in place of some of the greens and oil and you can also add a tbsp of tomato paste for a different flavor. Go crazy!

Ingredients
2.5 oz baby spinach (I used half of a package of Olivia’s 5oz)
a big handful of fresh parsley
1/2 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
6 or 7 sun dried tomatoes in olive oil (dried ones would work too but you’ll need to soak them in hot water first)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
1 clove garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions
Pour the sunflower seeds in a food processor and blend them until they are pretty well broken down (about the size of bread crumbs).

Pulse the sunflower seeds until they look like breadcrumbs.

Pulse the sunflower seeds until they look like breadcrumbs.

Add in the tomatoes and blend again (sometimes they can be tough) until the mixture is pretty evenly reddish colored. Scrape down the sides with a spatula and add the spinach, parsley, lemon juice, garlic and salt.  Blend again until well blended.  You may need to scrape down the sides again, especially if you used any parsley stems – they love to wrap around the blade! Pour in the olive oil while pulsing until it’s all blended.  Adjust seasoning if needed.

If you eat dairy, feel free to add some fresh parmesan into this like you would with a regular basil pesto. For storing, cover with a fresh layer of olive oil (it will prevent browning) and it will stay fresh in the fridge for a week. You may also freeze it. I recommend freezing in ice cube trays and then wrapping individually so that you can use a small amount at a time.

What’s your favorite type of pesto or homemade sauce?
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