Garlic Avocado Cauliflower Mash

Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 11.59.39 AM

I often get in the mood for warm comfort foods that I know I shouldn’t give in to. I was craving creamy mashed potatoes so bad last night, so I tried making Taralynn Mcnitt’s Garlic Cauliflower Mash and I was so surprised by how well it turned out and how delicious it was. I couldn’t stop raving about the flavors in my mouth to my fiance… “It’s like creamy guacamole”… “Wait no its more like garlic hummus”. It definitely hit the spot and I use the steamer bag method all the time now! Better yet, you don’t need fancy food processors or blenders so you can make it anymore! It’s full of fiber, low calorie, low sugar, high protein, and low carb!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 head Cauliflower
  • Ziplock Steamer Bag
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder or seasoning like ms. dash
  • 3 tbsp greek yogurt
  • pinch of pepper

Rinse and chop cauliflower, and put in steamer bag. Heat bag of Cauliflower in microwave until very soft (follow steaming directions on bag). In a mixing bowl, add steamed cauliflower and mash with fork, add chopped avocado and greek yogurt, mash with fork until smooth and add seasonings and parmesan! I love to serve these in the empty avocado halves :) Taralynn stores this dish in the fridge with the avocado pit to keep fresh.

Recipe makes 8 Servings, Serving Size 3/4 Cup.

Nutrition Per Serving: 83 Calories, 4.3 g Fat, 9 g Carbs, 5 g Fiber, 1.4 g Sugar, 4.5 g Protein

Miso-Glazed Salmon

DSC_0025

270269_2057060700605_1067220161_2146134_1365672_n

Miso-Glazed Salmon

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar (For healthier alternative: 2 tbsp honey 2 tsp molasses)
  • 2 tbs low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Miso paste*
  • 5 salmon filets
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives

Directions

Preheat broiler. Combine honey, soy sauce and miso, stirring with a whisk. Arrange fish in a shallow baking dish that is sprayed with low-fat cooking spray. Spoon the honey-miso mixture evenly over the fish. Broil 6 inches below heat source for 10 minutes (with door cracked open!) making sure it doesn’t burn. Remove and baste twice more with the miso sauce. Make sure the top is browned and glazed for most delicious results! Sprinkle with chives.

*This glaze can be used to baste any protein, try it on swordfish or a spin on barbecue chicken! The options are endless

*If you don’t have miso, can’t find it, or just don’t even want to try it, this salmon is just fine without it! You can also try substituting miso with a couple things: Add a little tomato paste; Marmite;  Boullion cube (vegetable or beef); or a Knorr Miso Soup Mix powder you can find at almost any grocery store.

miso.jpg

This salmon is a recipe that my mom served all the time growing up, it’s definitely a family favorite. I refrigerate or freeze the leftovers and enjoy it on salads throughout the week. Below is a simple salad with the salmon over a bed of spinach, kale & chard, with blackberries and pistachios. I didn’t even need dressing because the salmon was so delicious!

DSC_0022

If you like salmon, you’ll love my Skinny Caesar Salad with Blackened Salmon

Seared Panko-Crusted Ahi Tuna with Coconut Rice

DSC_0072

Recently, my boyfriend and I have been utterly obsessed with seared tuna. Ever since we had it at my parents restaurant, we order it every time we see it on a menu and dream about it every night.  So last night I decided to do something special and tried to make the dish on my own, attempting to imitate the restaurant recipe. I was so surprised by how easy, fast and delicious it was! I rolled the tuna in a light and crunchy panko breadcrumb crust, and served it with ponzu sauce, adding a little flavor but still allowing the tuna to shine through.  You can find bottled ponzu sauce at most grocery stores but I also added a simple recipe too! I also served the meal with my special coconut rice to bring some savory sweetness to the dish, and included the recipe at the bottom. A refreshing and healthy meal you can feel good about serving – in more ways than one!

Ingredients

  • Two filets ahi tuna, fix/six ounces each
  • Two palmfuls of panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • dash of cayenne
  • Salt
  • 2 tbsp canola oil

Directions:

Rinse tuna and pat dry, set on counter, not back in the fridge (you want to take some of the chill off.) In a shallow bowl or plate, combine and spread out panko crumbs, garlic powder, salt and a dash of cayenne pepper. Press tuna steaks into breadcrumb mixture on both sides (using your hands is easiest for this recipe). You want a really thick even coat so you may need to pour more and press on top. The thicker it is the tastier it will be.

DSC_0057

Heat canola oil in saute pan over high heat. You want it really hot to make it crispy! Once hot (but not smoking), add tuna to pan. ONLY cook for 30 seconds a side! I cooked it for about 15 seconds longer and almost cooked mine all the way through.

DSC_0068

Remove fish and allow to rest for a minute then slice thinly on a cutting board. Serve with avocado, ponzu sauce and coconut rice (Recipe below)

DSC_0077

DSC_0081

Coconut Rice

  •  1 cup jasmine rice
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • handful shredded coconut

Rinse & drain rice in cold water. In saucepan, add rice, water, coconut milk, and salt. Turn to high heat and bring liquid to boil. Stir & reduce the heat to the lowest setting and cover pot tightly with lid. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat, stir in shredded coconut and let stand for 10 minutes covered. Fluff with fork and garnish with more shredded coconut on top.

Ponzu Sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar (opt!)

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk together.

Simple Sweet Potato Veggie Burger

IMG_0196

What better way to celebrate Memorial Day than lighting the BBQ, bumping country music, and embracing the land of the free, because of the brave. My boyfriend Ryan recently served in the Air Force, so Memorial Day is a special day for me to thank him, through the only way I’m good at… food.

I’ll have to admit one of the most frustrating things about not eating meat is going to friend’s BBQ’s and having to turn down a delicious looking burger or hot dog, especially when I’m hungry, I feel so rude! So tonight, I made the BEST alternative, Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers. They were very filling and chewy, so I didn’t feel like I was “missing out” whatsoever. I also didn’t feel bad after because they were filled with fiber, vitamins, protein and digested very easily. They’re also SOO easy to make. I adapted this recipe from kblog.lunchboxbunch.com and added some of her photos, as mine didn’t do the burger enough justice.

sweet-potato-bean-burger20

Ingredients:

  • 1 sweet potato, washed
  • 1 can cannellini white beans, drained
  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • Scoop of Nutritional Yeast (optional)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp cajun or lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1/4 cup almond or wheat flour
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Panko Break Crumbs
  • Coconut oil

Burgers: Toasted buns, Avocado, Dijon mustard, Romaine lettuce, tomato, basil

Directions:

  1. Bake sweet potato at 400 degrees for 45 minutes OR microwave for 6 minutes (Pierce a couple times before with fork to let steam out)
  2. Peel potato, place in large mixing bowl
  3. Add drained beans and mash together with potatoes
  4. Mash in seasoning, nutritional yeast, hummus, flour and any additional seasonings. It will be really soft, moist and sticky but you should be able to kind of form a patty. Add more flour or a scoop of breadcrumbs to thicken mixture if needed. 
  5. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil in pan over high heat
  6. Form patty and heavily coat in Panco crumbs.
  7. Drop patties in pan and cook until browned on both sides. OR bake for a healthier preparation
  8. Transfer cooked patties to paper towel, cool for a little
  9. Serve on toasted but with your favorite toppings!

This patty does kinda fall apart as you eat it but its totally okay because it tastes amazingg

Makes 3 patties (I freezed the two I didn’t eat for later)

DSC_0022

spburger1

DSC_0015

sp

Skinny Caesar Salad with Blackened Salmon and Light Caesar Dressing

IMG_5446

I like to consider myself a “plant-based” eater, but there are certain occasions in which I allow myself to indulge in nutritious protein exceptions. This Salmon Caesar Salad is a cleaner and lighter version that is soo delicious and filling, packed with nutrients and flavor. I’ve also included my “Light Caesar Dressing” recipe that is about 1/4 of the calories of regular caesar dressing by using greek yogurt.

S A L M O N

Salmon is a great lean protein source, filled with more healthy Omega-3’s  than other meat sources (yay for shiny hair!) and has less saturated fat. This powerful fish is more protein dense than other fish and has a higher amount of fatty acids. Loaded with brain boosting nutrients and a good source of B vitamins, Salmon easily takes the lead as the healthiest and most beautifying protein in my book!

 Salad Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups Romaine lettuce, thickly chopped
  • 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 oz whole wheat penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 1/4 cup chopped Basil
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Croutons
  • Light Caesar Dressing (below)
  • Salmon fillet (below)

Assemble ingredients onto dish, dress with my light caesar dressing and top with salmon fillet as directed below!

Light Caesar Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup low-fat or nonfat Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp EV Olive Oil
  • 1/8 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper

In a small bowl, whisk yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, and worcestershire. Whisk in the oil and half of the parmesan and season with salt/pepper. Dress desired amount over the salad

Blackened Salmon:

  • 4-8oz Salmon fillet (bones removed)
  • Lemon
  • Cajun seasoning:
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 sprigs fresh Thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 tbsp chopped oregano
  • Salt
  1. Mix the spices for the salmon in bowl and rub on flesh side of salmon.
  2. Heat large heavy-bottomed pan or cast iron skillet over medium heat and add a little oil (best to apply with paper towel so you don’t overdo it!).
  3. When oil begins to smoke quite heavily, shut the heat off and add salmon fillet flesh side down in the oil.
  4. Turn heat back on and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Using a spatula, flip salmon over and cook over medium heat until skin becomes crispy (about 5-6 minutes).
  6. Remove and place on top of salad with a squeeze of lemon

If using a Grill: Oil grill racks and preheat grill to high. Grill salmon until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side

If using oven: (won’t be blackened*) Preheat oven to 425, remove skin and season with spices mixed with a little bit of olive oil and place salmon in roasting dish. Roast for 12 minutes until thickest part is almost cooked.

IMG_2849If you like Salmon, check out my Miso-Glazed Salmon

Healthy Mediterranean Pizza

IMG_3457

Create healthy habits, not restrictions

Adopting a healthy lifestyle or trying to lose weight can be extremely frustrating, especially when the people around you are not on the same mission. When I used to “diet” in high school before school dances, I would practically shake with restraint watching my girlfriends guzzle down pizza and cookies after football games. I had such strict rules and restrictions, all I thought about were the foods that I couldn’t eat, and ended up binging like cray when I got my hands on them. I no longer allow myself to “diet” because I would concentrate on calories instead of health, and ended up gaining weight at the end of the day because I was setting myself up for failure. Now, I try to create as many healthy habits that I can, which overthrow all of my bad habits. It has helped me associate positivity with eating, which is extremely important for me because I used to be dependent on food emotionally. Since then, my mantra has been:

FOOD IS FUEL

So today I am sharing my healthy easy homemade pizza that I bake when I feel the urge for pizza. It may not be fabulously vegan or made of sprouted quinoa loaded with vegetables, but its extremely easy and hits the spot for me :) Delivery pizza like Dominos is loaded with chemically processed ingredients and has well over 800 calories, 530 of those calories are from fat with 59 grams of fat (36g saturated!). I use fresh organic ingredients, basil from my garden and whole wheat pizza dough from the market. Its such an easy and clean alternative that keeps your waistline slim and is a fun date-night activity for my boyfriend and I.

IMG_3443

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 8.07.40 PM

IMG_3459

Ingredients:

  • Whole Wheat Pizza Dough (I get mine at the grocery store bakery)
  • Flour
  • Organic pizza tomato sauce
  • Buffalo Mozzarella
  • 1 organic tomato
  • Basil

Lay out pizza dough to rise for an hour before. Preheat oven to 425 degrees WITH the pizza stone in it, or else it can crack. Place big sheet of parchment on table and cover with a lot of flour. Cover hands and dough in flour (have fun with it!) and start kneading dough out into a circle, squeezing out air bubbles, and roll with rolling pin to fit the pizza stone. Remove pizza stone with gloves and set on stand. Transfer dough to stone by sliding off of parchment (easiest with lots of flour). Spread pizza sauce over dough, leaving a 1/2 inch around the edge. I like to add a little bit of hot sauce to add a little pow. Slice mozzarella into thin circles and place around pizza on top of sauce. Place pizza and stone in oven on bottom rack. Bake for 7 minutes and then add thinly sliced tomatoes, basil leaves and if you’d like, a little pink himalayan salt. Place back in oven for 5 more minutes until edges are light brown. Remove and let cool for a little, then slice with pizza wheel. I like to slice them in squares because eating more pieces fills your up faster!

*Putting tomatoes in freezer for a little makes it so much easier to slice thin without it getting watery

IMG_7012

 *The key to this pizza is that I use a pizza stone, which is really inexpensive and makes the crust deliciously crispy and flavorful. I also bake my cookies on it! You can find pizza stones at target and some grocery stores, or find it online here for $16.99 at target.com

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 8.03.44 PM

 

Easy Homemade Bruschetta

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.21.51 PM

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love Bruschetta, its the perfect fresh appetizer. My girlfriends from New York were visiting me last week  and we had an urgent craving for some… but I was kind of embarrassed that I didn’t know how make it, it seems so easy! (But it also seems that people screw it up easily too!) Ever since I had Bruschetta in Italy, nothing seems to compare… but this recipe definitely hit the spot! So for those of you who love Bruschetta but don’t really know how to make it either, here’s a classic and simple recipe that my parents serve at their restaurant.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cherry tomatoes (organic is best)
  • 1 long Italian baguette
  • 3 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 5 Kalamata olives
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (+ some to drizzle on bread)
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp basil, chopped
  • Sea salt & cracked pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

In a bowl, whisk together balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, basil, salt & pepper and olive oil. Slice olives and tomatoes * in fourths and soak them in the mixture while you slice the baguette** into 1 inch pieces. Drizzle olive oil on bread and arrange on tray, broil until crispy about 5 minutes. Rub the 2 garlic cloves on the bread, sprinkle Parmesan and broil for another minute. Remove and top with tomato mixture and enjoy!

*Tip:  putting the tomatoes in the freezer for a little makes slicing so much easier

**Tip: Flipping over the baguette face down to slice makes its 100x easier and doesn’t “smush” the bread

IMG_8653

T O M A T O E S

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 12.46.16 PM

Did you know that tomatoes contain almost as much Vitamin C as an orange? But unlike oranges, they contain lycopene (one of the most powerful antioxidants) which helps eye health, prostate health and can even protect skin from UV rays this summer! Tomatoes even help reduce risks of cancers, especially gastric, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer. I know many people who don’t like tomatoes, usually its because people are buying conventional tomatoes with GMOs, which reduce its flavor significantly and make it mushy and runny. Try eating tomatoes from the farmers market that are organic and seasonally picked, they are so much sweeter and delicious-er than store bought.

If you do like tomatoes, you would love my Avocado Kale Tomato Sandwich and my Tomato Basil Bowl 

Roasted Lemon Brussels Sprouts with Pomegranate Seeds

IMG_8845

There is nothing more refreshing than finding a food blog that has fresh ideas, beautiful pictures and simple colorful recipes. I got this recipe and picture from deliciousyella.com, one of my favorite food bloggers who introduced me (and the Instagram world) to “Rainbow Bowls”. She brings vegetables to a whole new level and constantly reminds me that eating a plant-based diet is not only cool, but absolutely delicious and fun. Her inspiring creations and pictures make my food look like a toddler with a crayon, oh AND she makes videos tutorials… I told you she’s awesome.

This is one of her simple side dish recipes that she made with a Christmas Feast, it’s so easy and tasty and I’ve been indulging in the leftovers all week. I’m also a sucker for colors and food textures and I especially  love the fruity “pop” of the pomegranates mixed with the chewy lemony brussels sprouts. (P.S… I literally just found out today that “brussels sprouts” is spelled with an “s”, I always thought it was “brussel sprouts”… that’s embarrassing)

Ingredients:

3 cups Brussels Sprouts

Olive Oil

Chili Powder

1 cup Pomegranate seeds

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Wash Brussels Sprouts and remove outer leaves, cut them in half and drizzle with a little olive oil, sea salt and chili powder. Bake them at 350 for 30 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove, squeeze with lemon and mix in pomegranate seeds. That’s it!

IMG_8843

Healthy Shrimp Alfredo Spaghetti Squash

547824_10201810265752813_697979424_n

Who doesn’t love Fettucini Alfredo?? It’s like.. the most delicious and sinful savory comfort foods that I wish wasn’t so horribly bad for you. Fettuccine Alfredo usually has about 1200 calories and over 75 g of fat per serving! When I found Taralynn’s twist on the dish, I couldn’t WAIT to try it and it came out amazing. Plus, Spaghetti Squash is an amazing alternative to pasta. Just one cup of regular spaghetti noodles has around 220 calories, 42 grams of carbs and virtually no nutrients. But one cup of Spaghetti Squash only has 30 calories, only 10g of good carbs and a ton of nutrients like Vitamin A, C, B6 and Potassium; its also filled with 2 grams of fiber that will keep you as full as a typical pasta dish!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • 1/2 Cup Newman’s Own All Natural Alfredo Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Plain Non- Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup No Salt Added Corn
  • 1/2 Cup Uncooked Shrimp (Tails Off)
  • Salt & Pepper

Directions:

  1. Cut Spaghetti Squash in half (lengthwise) and place face up on baking tray
  2. Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes at 350 degrees.
  3. In a non-stick sauce pan, heat shrimp until half cooked.
  4. Turn heat to low, add: corn, Greek yogurt and Alfredo sauce.
  5. Stir together until creamy.
  6. Mix in cooked spaghetti squash!

Makes Two Servings (2.5 cups/serving)

215 Calories, 5.5 g Fat, 24 g Carbs, 5 g Fiber, 18 g Protein, 8 g Sugar 

 

Recipe adapted from Undressed Skeleton

Farro with Roasted Carrots, Sweet Potatoes & Collards

15070_10202157841361986_854103420_n

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 4 big Carrots
  • Collard Greens (about 2 leaves)
  • 1 cup Farro
  • Sea Salt & Pepper
  • Coconut Oil
  • Turmeric

“My Ultimate Favorite” Dijon Cider Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp Garlic Paste
  • 3 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Capers
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Drizzle and stir in olive oil until a dressing-like consistency

Mix all dressing ingredients in a bowl or mason jar

Set oven to 400 degrees. Peel Sweet Potato and chop into small chunks. Peel carrots and cut lengthwise into fourths. Put sweet potatoes and carrots in a baking dish, drizzle with coconut oil or olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, bake for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. Cook farro as directed (I save half of the cup for salads) and add in ripped pieces of collards to the boiling farro at the last 5 minutes. Put everything in a bowl and dress with the dressing (the dressing seriously makes the whole dish, its my favorite!!)

Farro

 

1011-grains-mdn

 A cup of whole grain farro has about 8 grams of fiber. That’s four times as much as brown rice! Full of minerals like magnesium can relieve tension and cramps. Made of complex carbs that break down slowly, it keeps your energy level stable. And it has a great nutty flavor and its chewy for those of you who don’t eat meat and miss that chewy texture :)