Vegetarian Tortilla Soup.

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It’s funny whenever I post a picture of something I make that’s vegetarian the usual comment is, “Where is the meat!” I have been vegetarian for well over 7 or 8 years now and yes, when switching over it was a bit of a challenge. The basic things like chicken & rice/steak & potatoes weren’t so basic anymore. It hit me that I might actually need to explore the produce section a little more and perhaps pick up a cook book to get motivated and learn how to cook something new! Don’t get me wrong there are times when meals like Chicken Tortilla Soup or Pozole get lost in this rotation because they are not vegetarian but guess what – I have found a solution! Thank God for Pinterest (obviously)! I know I mention all the time that I go on there to browse and get inspired for what I should make next… but really, it helps when your brain is too tired to think after work @ 5m. This soup was SO good (I am not just saying that) and you can always add some ORGANIC chicken if your little heart desires.

My only request other than Pinterest being amazing is for someone to invent all the right ingredients at ONE grocery store! Wouldn’t that be life changing?! I usually frequent two grocery stores and the farmers market for my weekly food. It might seem like a lot but when you find bargains you realize it is worth the trek.

What you’ll need:

[Produce]

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 14-ounce can Black beans
  • 1 Chili pepper or 1 poblano pepper, dried smoked
  • 1 handful Cilantro, leaves
  • 1 14-ounce can Hominy (or you can substitute corn)
  • 1 Jalapenos, medium
  • 1 Lime
  • 2 Radishes
  • 1 White onion, medium

[Other]

  • 32 oz Vegetable stock
  • 1 14-ounce can Tomatoes or chunky tomato sauce
  • 1 Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • 1 Olive oil
  • 1 tsp Cumin, ground
  • 6 Corn tortillas (6-inch2 oz Queso fresco or feta cheese

 

[Instructions]

  1. Prep work: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. Stack the tortillas and slice them into ½-inch-wide, 2-inch-long strips. Remove the seeds and membranes from the jalapeno (and poblano, if using) and chop the peppers. Wash your hands. Pit, peel, and medium dice the avocado, then squeeze some lime juice over the avocado to prevent browning.
  2. Bake the tortillas: Coat a baking sheet with a thin layer of oil. Toss the tortilla strips in the oil to coat and arrange the strips in a single layer. Bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden brown. While the strips are hot, season them with salt.
  3.  Toast the chili pepper: Place the dried chili pepper directly on the oven racks. Bake for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or just until the pepper is warmed through. When cool enough to handle, cut the pepper open and remove the seeds. (Wash your hands afterward and avoid touching your eyes!)
  4. Make the soup: In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat some olive oil on medium until hot. Add the onion, garlic, jalapeno and poblano peppers (if using). Cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir in the cumin, then the canned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Simmer for about 3 minutes, then add the hominy, black beans and the seeded chili pepper. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve the soup: First, discard the dried chili pepper. Place some of the avocado, radishes, tortilla strips, and queso fresco (or feta) at the bottom of 2 to 4 bowls. Divide the soup between the bowls. Top the soup with the remaining avocado, radishes, tortilla strips, and queso fresco (or feta). Garnish with some cilantro and serve with lime wedges and hot sauce, if desired.

Thank you Cookie and Kate for this recipe!!

Soul Cycle Sundayz.

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Happy Monday! I had such a great weekend! It’s not often that I am able to relax and have some down time, but this weekend I managed it quite well. I usually workout both Saturday and Sunday because #1 I love it and #2 I want to be efficient with at least 4-5 workouts per week. Sundays are for something different away from the usual circuit training. Soul Cycle has been on the rotation for quite some time. I set the alarm for 7:30- leave by 8 and hit the class at 8:30. Every week I always ask my friends if they are interested in going and the typical response is,”you are crazy- we want sleep!” I get it but for some reason this week they wanted to join. Would I ever say no to that?? NEVER! I signed them up on Monday when the classes were released and so from 12pm on was a 6 day countown. They made it! Got their butts up, hustled in the class and let’s get real they actually enjoyed it! It might not be something they wake up early for every Sunday but at least they incorporated something new in their weekly routine. After class we headed to Local Union 271 in downtown Palo Alto. The food was great…local and organic. What more can you want? The rest of the weekend was spent at the farmers market, cooking and lounging watching football.

While I hope you all have a great week, remember this:

“You create your thoughts, your thoughts create your intentions and your intentions create you reality.”-Wayne Dyer

Veggies on Veggies.

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Thank  God for Pinterest. I was driving home from the gym last night wondering what to make for dinner so I hopped on pinterest and Wala! WE had a recipe. This one was “HELL-A’ Good. Veggie lover or not…this would be a great dish with some chicken if you need extra protein.

What you’ll need:

  • olive oil
  • yellow onion [chopped]
  • minced garlic
  • zucchini
  • potato [I used rustic can use red or sweet]
  • tomato [sliced/in half]
  • dried thyme
  • salt/pepper/garlic powder
  • 1 cup shredded italian cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. Saute both in a skillet with olive oil until softened (about five minutes).
  2. While the onion and garlic are sauteing, thinly slice the rest of the vegetables.
  3. Spray the inside of an 8×8 square or round baking dish with non-stick spray. Spread the softened onion and garlic in the bottom of the dish. Place the thinly sliced vegetables in the baking dish vertically, in an alternating pattern. Sprinkle generously with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  4. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, top with cheese and bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown.

Side note: I also added a little bit of dried oregano along with the Thyme.

Good Luck!

Thanksgiving Recap.

Thanks 4

Beet Salad

Thanks1

Cousins but really Sisters

Thaks5

Green Bean Casserole

Thanks4

Cauliflower

Thanks 8

Parmesan Crusted

Thanks 8

Slow cooker mushrooms

Thanks3

These were delish!

Thanks 7

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Thanks2

Sotelo Set Up

Here is peak at my Thanksgiving day! Being vegetarian usually leads to me cooking up a storm. This year I made a beet salad, green bean casserole, the parmesan crusted cauliflower that I posted about last wek and those slow cooker mushrooms. Lastly, I whipped out the kitchen aid for some chocolate chip cookies! Everything turned out to be a success. If you’re looking for a fast easy side dish that cauliflower was on point. Now to burn off all the calories consumed over the weekend! Happy Tuesday!

Garbanzo Bean Summer Salad.

Garbanzo Salad

What you’ll need:

  • Cucumber
  • Pepperoncini’s
  • Garbanzo Beans (1 Can/Rinsed)
  • Black oilves (Sliced/1 Can)
  • Marinated Artichokes
  • Red Onion (Sliced)
  • Olive Oil/Red Wine Vinegar
  • Dried Oregano
  • Salt/Pepper (to taste)

This salad is SO easy. Start with the garbanzo beans, rinsed in a bowl. Slice onions, pepperoncini’s, cucumber and add olives(drained) into your bowl. Add the artichokes as well while adding a little bit of the marinated juice to the mix for added flavor.  Equal parts Olive oil/Vinegar with a pinch of dried oregano, salt and pepper. I am not huge of using measurements, so start with a little because you can always add more. Practice makes perfect!!  I let this salad sit for about 30 minutes so the veggies can absorb the flavor but if you don’t have time it is fine to serve when you’re finished preparing. Enjoy!

Blackberry Crostini

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What you'll need :

- Baguette
- Organic Blackberry
- Organic Goat Cheese
- Organic Mint
- Organic Honey

This is the easiest recipe. Toast the crostini’s until lightly brown. (350 for 7-10 min or so). Remove from the oven and smear the goat cheese onto crostini. You have the option to chop the mint or place the entire mint leaf onto the bread. Pop your blackberry on there, drizzle with honey and you are set to go.  Before eating I mashed the blackberry onto the goat cheese so it was a bit easier to eat! Let me know if you try these…they were DELISH and refreshing!

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

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These peppers were soooo delicious! I am so fortunate to have great friends who love to donate to the newtritionsavvy cause. I work near a local farmers market and every Sunday I am lucky enough to be given bags and bags of fresh produce…Sometimes it’s more than I can consume so I end up cooking for my friends. The great thing with stuffed peppers is that you can add just about any vegetable in your fridge and even add some meat for extra protein. In my opinion, they were just as great without it. Go ahead and give these a try…..I would say prep time about 15 min, and cook time 30. Enjoy!

Bell Peppers Prep:

  • Large Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms (whole or sliced)
  • Zucchini
  • Garlic clove (minced)
  • Tomato (roma or heirloom both work)
  • Jalapeño (optional for more spice)
  • Chopped Dill
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Grated Mozzarella cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Slice the bell peppers in half/clean out seads (set on baking tray)
  2. Slice mushrooms, zucchini, tomato
  3. Heat sauté pan to med heat
  4. Saute olive oil and garlic together
  5. Add zucchini and mushrooms and jalapeño with lemon juice, salt and pepper (only sauté to get a little softness to vegetable (you don’t want to overcook here because the veggies will finish cooking while baking.
  6. When veggies are done I add tomato (these will cook in the oven)
  7. Place the rice in the bell pepper, with veggie medley over the top
  8. Bake on 400 for 30 min (if they aren’t cooking fast enough you can up the temperature to 450)
  9. The very last minute you can throw some mozzarella cheese on top and bake until cheese is just melted

Lemon Dill Rice

1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon dried dill/or fresh (I prefer fresh)
1/2 lemon, juice of
1/2 lemon lemon zest (finely grated)
1 teaspoon salt
fresh ground pepper (to your liking)
2 cups water (chicken broth optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan
  2. Saute the chopped onion for 1 minute
  3. Add rice and “parch” over low heat, by stirring until the rice turns white again. Do not let the rice brown
  4. Add the rest to the ingredients and bring to boil.
  5. Lower heat and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
  6. Fluff well with a fork, replace the lid and let sit for 5 minutes.

Grapefruit + Jicama Salad.

{Peel and Chop Jicama}

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{Add all ingredients + Spices}

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If you are looking for a light salad, this is perfect. I find more often than not that when I make something I usually have leftovers of the items that I didn’t use. The problem is I love to cook but sometime can’t eat the food fast enough so I have to be creative with the items I buy so they can be used in different meals. With the new year upon us and everyone on their “detox/resolution” craze- you can add this one to the list of must makes! This is flavorful, and a perfect starter salad or side dish.

{Ingredients}

  • 1 large jicama (I used half)
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 1/2 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1 orange, peel and slice crosswise ( I used grapefruit because I thought it was an orange, oops!)
  • 1/2 chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/3 cup lime juice (Fresh/ I also used 1/2 Lemon)
  • pinch of cayenne
  • pinch of paprika
  • sea salt (to taste)

Directions:

Toss together the jicama, bell peppers, red onion, cucumber, orange, and cilantro in a large serving bowl.  Pour juice over all. Sprinkle with a pinch of cayenne and paprika. Season with salt.

Let it sit a half hour before serving so the veggies can absorb the flavor!

ENJOY!

This recipe can be found here.

My Thoughts On Health + Diet + Exercise.

savvy sarah

Who Am I?

San Jose Native, blogger and aspiring public speaker for health and nutrition. I am a travel addict, healthy food fanatic, love to cook, lover of all things positive, sun chasing, perfectionist.

Quick Skinny Trick?

I don’t believe in dieting. I don’t diet nor do I count calories. I feel like both of those things are a crime. I think any weight loss should be a healthy process. It takes work, there is no easy way out and chances are if it’s easy it doesn’t last. I have been vegetarian by choice for about 5 years now and that has definitely transformed and played a role in my healthy lifestyle. I exercise about 4-5 times a week between running and circuit training. If you want results you have to put in the work.

Thoughts on working out/eating healthy?

I haven’t always been a workout fanatic. The key is simply starting. I remember when I could barely run 5 minutes on the treadmill. Day after day it was 10, 20, 30 minutes to have now completed my first half marathon earlier this year. Trust me when I say there are days that I am just tired or sore and don’t want to workout, but I know the reward in the end is truly fulfilling that I don’t want to miss it. All of my eating habits are things I genuinely enjoy and I think that is the key to success. Anything that is dreadful will never take priority.

If you are enjoying your workout you’ll do it more often. You’ll also do it happily and lets face it- there’s nothing that pepares you better for your day than positive energy.

Favorite Go To healthy food?

Easy question. I love fresh fruit, green smoothies from Whole Foods (THE BEST!) and raw veggies with hummus.

Motivation to stay in shape?

To feel good as well as look good. There once was a time that I was so uncomfortable with my weight and the way I looked and I will never go back to being lazy. It’s just as important if not more to take care of ourselves, get our mind in a state of gratitude and exercise/eat healthy as often as we can. There should be no excuses….Just Do it.

Favorite Natural Remedy?

Coconut oil.  It’s a great makeup remover, moisturizer and to put it simply a one stop shop.

Most important “being healthy” eating tip?

Try and stay away from foods with labels. You would be surprised how much less bloated and better you will feel immediately. Think this: Less processed, drink more water and eat local/organic.

Most important “being healthy” tip for exercise?

Set defined goals. Consistency. Make time. Get up and do it. No excuses. Baby steps are still steps that all add up.

Cheers. xo

Get Your Smoothie On

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I love the idea of smoothies because you can pretty much add anything you want, blend and go. I know sometimes it seems easier to just buy one but if you’re like me and love Whole Foods smoothies, well- they can add up! $7 a day x let’s say 3 a week x 4 weeks is $84 that you could have spent somewhere else! I love to add super foods like chia seeds, flax seeds, powder, raw cacao powder, protein powders (vega one is my favorite/it’s vegan) or even greens like kale and spinach that I might not have time to eat during the day. We are all busy so plan ahead and it will make healthy eating a little bit easier. What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes?