Fourth of July Recap.

road trip

{This is what a road trip with Khloe looks like ūüėČ }

khloe

mojito

{Fresh Blackberry Mojito}

Artichokes

{Grilled Artichokes from Castroville}

Pancakes

{Homemade Banana + Blueberry Pancakes}

Fruit Salad

{Breakfast of Champions}

Happy¬†Monday Friends! Hard to believe fourth of July is Ova! Time flies when you have too much fun. This weekend was great. I took a few days to sort of check out and simply relax. I tend to work a lot, so getting time off can be tough, but this weekend just happened to be in my favor. 3 days off means getting out of town. I know when we leave town or have a holiday weekend we tend to make up excuses that it’s okay to eat like crap, but this wasn’t the case for us. I would say for a 3 day weekend we did pretty good in the food department. All it takes is a little bit of planning and by that I mean hopping on Pinterest and gaining some new ideas on some recipes. We managed to have a fairly healthy meanu! All it takes is practice…EVERYONE can cook, you just have to try!!

  • Grilled Artichokes
  • Fruit Salad
  • Vegetable Pasta Salad
  • Garbanzo Bean Salad
  • Chicken + Sausage + Tri Tip {for those meat eaters}
  • Homemade Pancakes w/ Fruit
  • Corn on the Cob

How was your fourth?? Are you ready to get back in the groove of your daily routine? I am! I will share some of these recipes throughout the week. Until then, have a great Monday!

 

 

Summatime Ceviche.

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Now that summer has officially hit, it’s time to lighten things up a bit with some fresh and easy recipes! It’s been in the high 90’s the last couple weeks, so what better of a way then to tap into some yummy Latin dishes.¬†I am a vegetarian for the last seven/eight years but I do eat fish on occasion. This particular dish is only jumbo prawns, but¬†you can add other white fish if desired.

What you’ll Need:

  • tomato (diced) (2)
  • organic jumbo prawns 2/3 lb
  • cilantro
  • white or red onion (chopped)
  • lemon (2)
  • lime (5)
  • avocado
  • ketchup (1¬†teaspoon) (Sounds weird but it’s for the cocktail flavor)
  • salt (dash)
  • pepper (dash)
  • jalapeno (diced-I used half)
  • Hot Sauce (tobacco, or I used Whole Foods 365 brand¬†Jalapeno Hot Sauce)

Dice up your ingredients, throw in a bowl and add lemon and lime.¬†(Yes, it’s that easy!!) For this one,¬† I added about 5 limes- and 2 lemons. There was extra juice so depending on the juiciness of the limes you could probably¬†use 3 or 4. I always make more than I need to¬† (my portions are¬†frequently off while cooking ¬†for one) but I would say this feeds about 4 people. I let the ceviche sit in the fridge (covered) for about 45 min. The seafood cooks pretty fast so I would suggest checking depending on the color from uncooked fish to cooked. It’s also recommended to cook the seafood in the lemon and lime as it loses flavor if you cook before and then add. You can eat this by itself, with a corn tortilla, chips or on a tostada. Hope you enjoy!

Organic Steel Cut Oats (My Favorite Breakfast)

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Why Steel cut Oats?

Steel cut oats are an excellent source of protein. 7grams per 1/4 cut of dry oats to be exact. There are both soluble & insoluble fiber in these types of oats which is associated with improving blood sugar levels in diabetes and improved cholesterol levels. They take about 15-20 minutes to cook. I add a little bit of raw sugar and cinnamon to the mix. If you add fruit you can take the sugar out because the banana especially is loaded with natural sweetness that helps with the plain flavor of the oats.

Breakfast (for those that don’t know) is extremely important in your overall functioning throughout the day.¬†“Breakfast” literally means the meal that “breaks the fast”. It’s considered your most important meal because it affects your eating for the rest of the day. Starting the day with a well-balanced meal that supplies adequate protein, carbohydrate and fiber keeps hunger at bay and allows you to make wise choices for the meals which follow.

 

Have you tried steel cut oats? If so, what do you think? If not, what is your favorite form of breakfast?

Eat Your Greens.

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asparagus mixture

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I made this last night for dinner. Green beans, asparagus, and mushrooms over quinoa.

What you’ll need:

  • sliced mushrooms
  • asparagus
  • fresh green beans (I prefer fresh over canned)
  • fresh minced garlic
  • salt/pepper
  • garlic powder
  • chili flakes (optional)
  • quinoa
  • vegetable broth
  • white onion
  • olive oil

Start by trimming the green beans. Fill a large pot with water and when the water has reached a boil- put green beans in. If you have ever cooked green beans before you know that they take a while to cook. Boil only for a couple minutes, strain and leave in strainer while putting ice cubes over to stop the beans from cooking. This process is called blanching. In a separate pan, use oil of choice (I use extra virgin olive oil), fresh minced garlic and chopped white onion on a med heat. When the onions and garlic look like they are cooked add about a cup or less of veggie broth- and then add the asparagus, mushrooms, green beans along with salt, pepper, chili flakes and garlic powder. Let simmer on low heat until finished. The veggies won’t take long to cook- I prefer my asparagus with a little crunch.

In a separate pot cook the quinoa. It’s the same as rice, for every cup of quinoa two cups of water, veggie or chicken broth. I used veggie broth to add a little more flavor. Boil water, pour in quinoa and then reduce heat to simmer.

This recipe is easy and you can easily add chicken to it if you would like more protein! Let me know how it turns out.

 

Lentil + Barley Soup.

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This was my first time cooking with barley and needless to say it was delicious! I found this recipe and I altered it a little- the recipe called for a crock pot and simply put, I am impatient.

Lentil Vegetable and Barley Soup

  • 1/2 large onion or one small onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 medium summer squash (or zucchini), halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
  • 1 C carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C red lentils
  • 1/2 C yellow split peas
  • 1/2 C barley
  • celaery (diced)
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 C vegetable broth (or chicken or beef), plus ~2 C extra water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1/4 t black pepper
  • fresh or dried basil to top (optional)

I opted out for the split peas and instead of vegetable broth I used the water that I used to boil the lentil beans in. Start by dicing up your carrots, onion and celery. Meanwhile, in a pot boil 1/2 cup of lentil beans. In a separate pot, boil 1/2 cup barley. Even though it seems like it’s not a lot- the both expand and should be enough for about 4 people. When the veggies are done cooking on med-high heat add can of diced tomato. When the beans are done cooking (they will split if overcooked) drain water. I added the bean water as a veggie broth instead of store bought. I added salt, pepper, dried oregano, 2 bay leaves and let simmer. The barley took over an hour to cook so be patient. When the barley is done cooking- add to soup. Let the soup simmer and allow all the flavors to combine. After the soup is done I added some lemon for extra flavor. This recipe is fairly easy but if cooking raw beans it might take a while so allow time for those to cook! Hope you enjoy!

You can find the original recipe here.

Veggies w/ Spicy Marinara

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Last night I ended up getting home pretty late (9-ish) after a long day of work, working out and then hitting Whole Foods for the week. The problem with me is that on my nights that I have off I LOVE to cook! Sometimes I intend on making something quick- and then and hour and a half later I have my meal. It probably doesn’t help that I am snapping 99 pictures along the way, but needless to say I enjoy the time it takes to prepare my food. I consider it relaxation time.

I whipped together this veggie medley and it was nothing short of just what I wanted. Not to heavy, but still filling enough after a hearty workout.

{Ingredients}

  • broccoli
  • cherry tomato (cut in half)
  • fresh minced garlic
  • mushroom
  • crushed tomato (canned- I use DiNapoli brand)
  • fresh parsley
  • salt
  • pepper
  • chili flakes

For the veggies it was easy, I browned the garlic (don’t burn) with olive oil. Shortly after added the broccoli and let cook. Add salt, pepper to taste. When the broccoli seems to be halfway done add the cherry tomatoes. After the tomatoes start to get soft then add the mushroom. ¬†Mushrooms are always last because they cook fast and I personally don’t like overcooked veggies.

For the marinara. I also used a little olive oil with fresh minced garlic on med heat. After the garlic is brown I added a can of crushed tomatoes, fresh parsley along with salt, pepper and chili flakes. As soon as the sauce reaches a slight boil turn temperature down and simmer. ¬†Instead of pasta with marinara – veggies with red sauce is always a great substitute to leave you feeling less bloated. Think of simple as being better. If healthy is the theme of your January then add this one to your list. You won’t be disappointed.

Veggie Enchiladas

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Mix in Bowl

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I made these vegetarian enchiladas the other night and they were AMAZING! Often times when you try and recreate something vegetarian it turns out to be a bigger hit than the original.  Dinner time for me is full of excitement. I LOVE going to the grocery store and figuring out what it is that I am going to make. I know this can be dreadful for many, and usually I would recommend planning ahead, but when your schedule is busy it can be hard, I get it.  I decided on these after scouting recipes on the internet. Sometimes you might catch a recipe but it is full of too many things (I see this all the time).  If this is ever the case- you can tweak it a little bit and use what works for you.  I used a couple different vegetables and the were still amaze.  If you have a chance- make these! 

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow squash, cut into 1/2 pieces
  • 1 red pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 med red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 med sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 zucchini, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 container button mushrooms, halved or quartered (don’t cut too small they will shrivel)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 8 tortillas (flour or corn- your choice)
  • 1/2 cups red enchilada sauce ¬†(I prefer green sauce)
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup Mexican shredded cheese (I used cojita as well for a sprinkle)
  • optional garnishes: fresh cilantro, chopped avocado, pico de gallo, sour cream

Directions

Prehead the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, toss together the yellow squash, zucchini, red onion, sweet potato, red pepper, mushroom and olive oil until evenly mixed. Season generously with salt and black pepper. I also added organic taco seasoning to the mix. ¬†Spread the mixture out evenly onto the covered baking sheet. (Vegetables should be mostly in a single layer. If you’re baking sheet is small you may need to spread these out over two baking sheets.)

Bake for 30 min, or until the edges of the vegetables begin to crisp and they are tender.  Remove and set aside to cool. After the veggies were cool, I added tofu and black beans to the mix. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, prepare your enchilada assembly line. Lay a tortilla on a flat work surface, then spread the top of it with a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce.  Sprinkle down the center with veggies and cheese (optional). Roll the tortilla up to close, then place it seam-side-down in a greased baking dish.  Repeat with remaining ingredients. Then spread any remaining enchilada sauce on top of the enchiladas in the dish.

Bake at 325 for 20 min. Then remove the dish and sprinkle extra cheese on top (optional/I used cojita). Bake for 5-10 more inures until cheese has melted and the tortillas begin to brown slightly around the edges. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, garnish if desired.

This recipe based off of this one.

Cilantro Chili-Lime Prawns

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I made cilantro chili – lime prawns yesterday for a friends BBQ. I feel like I always try to think outside of the box when bringing things to parties mostly so people can try new things, but also because the regular stuff like potato salad, fruit salad and whatever else can often be boring. This recipe was really easy and fast. I am always browsing the internet for new recipes and am very glad I stumbled upon this one. One thing I want to say- is that just because there is a recipe doesn’t mean you can’t change a few things here and there.

What you’ll need for this:

  • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest ( I didn’t have a zester so I excluded)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh lime juice (make sure the limes you choose are squishy)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 jalapeno chili (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp in shell ( I picked up already shelled but raw shrimp from Whole Foods)

Directions:

Marinate the shrimp. In a medium bowl, stir together lime zest, olive oil, soy, jalapeno, cilantro, garlic, sugar, chili powder, and cayenne. Peel the shrimp, leaving on tails.

Rinse, and then pat dry with paper towels. Put the shrimp in a large zipper bag, pour the marinade over, close the bag, pushing out any air and rub the marinade into the shrimp. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. ( I refrigerated for about 2 hours until we were ready to BBQ).

Preheat grill to medium-high. You can skewer the kabob, or if you don’t have kabob sticks, simply stick the shrimp w/ marinade in foil and close tight. Place on grill and wait about 6 -7 minutes or until finished cooking. Prawns cook pretty fast, so keep an eye on these bad boys.

For the Quinoa- Mango Salad:

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  • 1 cup quinoa or couscous
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1/2 bell pepper
  • 1 mango
  • 1 tablespoons chopped (italian) parsley leaves
  • chicken stock (optional) you can cook the quinoa in this for more flavor- I did not.
  • 1/4 red onion
  • 1/2 jalapeno
  • 1 lime

Directions:

Cook the quinoa as you would rice. for 1 cup quinoa use 2 cups water or stock. Set aside when done.

In a separate pan, saute parsley, jalapeno, bell pepper and zucchini with olive oil. I don’t like to cook my veggies all the way through for quinoa salad because I like the extra crunch. When veggies are near done, add red onion and mango in with veggies just to give a little warm up ( 2 minutes max). Add all ingredients together with quinoa. I like to add a little more olive oil, salt, pepper and and juice from lime to add flavor to salad. Top with prawns and you are done!

Add some corn tortillas and this is great for tacos! Enjoy!

Strawberry Season Is Here!

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I love this time of year. The weather is getting warmer and the variety of fruits and veggies is expanding by the minute. What’s not to love about that?? This means fruit salads, more smoothies, fruit inspired dressings and maybe some sangria when this 60 day challenge is over. Say hello to almost summer! Strawberry season is here. With the month of May approaching two days away, so is the presence of strawberries at the farmers market. I can’t wait to create some recipes for you to try. I often hear some “diets” that call for no fruit but unlimited amounts of meat?? What the heck? If you are working out on the regular and burning this natural sugar off then it should’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Eat real foods, in moderation. Bottom line. And most importantly EAT ORGANIC!

Some of the health benefits include:

1. One cup of sliced strawberries provides 163% of your daily dose of vitamin C (more than an orange) and 12% of your daily amount fiber.

2. Antioxidant rich.

3. Anti-Inflammatory. Strawberries fight against many inflammatory disorders, such as osteoarthritis and asthma.

4. Anti-Cancer. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents found in strawberries is well known to fight against the onset of many different typed of cancer. Vitamin C, folate create a defense against any potential cancerous cells.

5. Manganese. One cup of strawberries contains 21% of manganese (an essential nutrient that acts as a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent). Manganese is also great for your bones both with helping bone building and maintaining bone structure.

So, now you know. Get to your local farmers markets where farmers practice sustainable farming practices. Also, If you have any favorite recipes that include strawberries send my way!!

“Tacoless” Quinoa Salad.

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Remember this? I posted this on my blog page a couple of weeks ago. It’s one of my favorite, nutrient packed salads. Quinoa is a great rice or pasta substitute. You can eat alot and not feel extremely bloated afterwards. Sound familiar? You can choose any ingredients that you like or take any away that you dislike. Minimal time and it’s ready to serve in a matter of minutes.

What you’ll need:

  • Quinoa
  • Avocado
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Red Onion
  • Corn (I use frozen)
  • Kidney Bean or Black Bean ( I used canned- no salt added beans)
  • Cilantro
  • Tomato
  • Jalapeno
  • Olive Oil
  • Lime
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa separate. For every 1 cup of quinoa use 2 cups of water (or chicken broth for extra flavor.) Dice up all your preferred veggies and cilantro. I use all raw ingredients but you can cook as well if you like. I mix the veggies + quinoa together and mix a little bit of olive oil. I use about 2 limes, and flavor with salt and pepper. Remember- easy with the salt (it’s easy to get carried away but we are so used to it we don’t even think twice.) If you aren’t vegetarian- organic chicken is always an option to add for extra protein. This can be served warm or store in the fridge until ready to serve (It tastes great both ways.) This is great lunch alternative to eating out or a great dish to bring to a party. People LOVE it. Fresh is best!

Enjoy!