Vegetables

roasted citrus salad

Revamp your salad game to keep from getting bored towards the end of a salad filled summer. Roasted caramelized oranges are just what you need to add depth and complexity to mundane salads. Pair them with the bitter tang of arugula and smooth avocado and you get a salad that’ll feel sinfully gourmet.

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Roasted Citrus & Avocado Salad

Serves 4-6

Adapted from bon appétit

Ingredients:

  • 2 large oranges, peeled and sliced, seeds removed *
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 small red onion, thin sliced
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 1 tbsp white balsamic vinegar

Directions:

IMG_5736Preheat your oven to 425′ F. Toss your citrus slices with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast your citrus, flipping occasionally, until you get a light char and a caramelized sweet scent (10-15 minutes). Let cool. **

 

Meanwhile, combine your onion and lemon juice in a small bowl. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, this will soften and mellow out the flavor of your onions.

In a large serving bowl, combine arugula, romaine, cucumbers, avocado, and roasted citrus. Pour onions and lemon juice over greens. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and white balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat

 

* Don’t feel like you’re limited to oranges here. If you’ve got blood oranges or love the taste of grapefruit try those! You could even do lemons for more flavor.

** Feel free to make your oranges ahead of time and keep in the fridge. They stayed pretty nicely for me and were in the fridge all day.

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We ate this tasty little salad with some tangy korean ribs and potato salad (recipes to come), but it was great with some pesto chicken salad the next day too!

 

 

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kale and quinoa cakes

It’s amazing to think that just a year or two ago you wouldn’t find a stitch of kale on our family’s dinner table. We had to ease into the leafy green superfood by covering it with bacon (anything that tastes even a little like bacon is usually a thumbs up in our house). Now, it seems like we’ve always got a bunch in our fridge. Kale has worked its way into the dinnertime veggie rotation, sometimes still cooked in bacon, sometimes we let it shine all on its own, and sometimes cooked in little cakes.

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A food that hasn’t had quite the success that kale has in our house is quinoa. The protein packed grain is still trying to find its big break on our dinner table. I’m a fan, but finding ways keep quinoa from eliciting a painful grimace on my dad’s face is proving to be quite the task. These cakes are a step in the right direction.

Here you take cooked quinoa, mix it up with some blanched kale and breadcrumbs and round out the flavor with some salty parmesan cheese, green onions, and minced garlic. They are really tasty right out of the pan! Not as great cold though, so if you’re not already a lover of quinoa and kale I’d suggest reheating them or saving the uncooked mixture in the refrigerator and quick frying them when you’re ready to get eating!

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Kale & Quinoa Cakes

Makes 8-10 cakes. Recipe adapted from Yummy Supper

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa *
  • 3 eggs, whisked
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 spring onion, sliced thin
  • 1.5 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2-3/4 cup blanched kale, chopped **
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat, but gluten free would work too)
  • 1 tsp olive or coconut oil

Directions:

In a large bowl combine quinoa, eggs, cheese, onion, garlic, salt, kale, and breadcrumbs. Mix well and then let sit for a few minutes to allow the liquid time to absorb. You want your mixture to be moist but not runny.

Heat your olive or coconut oil in a large pan over medium heat. Form your cakes and place into pan. (be sure not to overcrowd) Cover the pan and let the cakes cook for 7-10 minutes. The bottoms should be a nice deep golden brown when you flip. Now cook the other sides for another 7 minutes. Let the patties rest on a cooling rack. I needed to do 2 batches but that may differ depending on the size of your pan.

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We ate ours alongside some ribs and asparagus at dinner time, but these would also be great topped with a little avocado and lemon juice, maybe some chicken salad… yum!

* If you don’t have already cooked quinoa lying around, just cook some up! You can do as much or as little as you’d like but the rule of thumb is 1 cup uncooked quinoa needs 2 cups of water to cook and should yield about 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa. Throw your uncooked quinoa and water into a pot, allow it all to come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook until all the liquid has absorbed and the quinoa is nice and tender. Fluff and let cool to room temp.

** To blanch your kale bring a large pot of water to a boil. Submerge kale entirely and drain immediately.

 

 

Perfect Prepping

I did some prepping this past weekend. Took the trip to Whole Foods, spent my Saturday chopping and dicing and organizing, and then got to enjoy my week without all the food hassle that comes along with packing lunches and scrambling for snacks. It’s been smooth sailing and I wanted to share some of the methods to my prepping madness. Here’s what I did:

  • Made a salad mix:
    • I bought mixed greens (I make my own blend of romaine, mixed, and spinach), a variety of colored peppers, carrots, red cabbage, and cucumbers. I chop them all up and put them in a big container together.IMG_5413
  • Made brown rice & quinoa:
    • Nothing fancy here, just bought some no-gmo basmati brown rice and tri-color quinoa, cooked some of each, and stored them in two separate containers in the fridge to grab whenever I need some healthy carbs in a pinch. They are perfect for salad toppers too!IMG_5410
  • Made snack baggies
    • I put together little snack baggies that I could grab in the morning and stuff in my lunch box so I’m never too hungry during the day. I made carb baggies: few with mixed berries (fresh strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) and a few with some fresh cherries. I made healthy fat baggies: a few trail mix baggies (roasted unsalted nuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, and a little dried fruit). And a few protein baggies: two hardboiled eggs in a some baggies.IMG_5414
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
    • Having some diced or whole roasted sweet potatoes in the fridge is another essential grab for me. I can take a hunk smothered in cinnamon and almond butter to have with my snack or throw some on my salad. They taste just as good in a cold salad as they do when you make them hot!IMG_5411
  • Got my meats.
    • At the Whole Foods deli, they had thin sliced skirt steak they wrap up like deli meat that I bought for my first few lunches. You can also get chicken like that here!
  • Other ideas include portioning out nut butters or hummus into small containers to grab and go with, make a batch of chicken or tuna salad, grill up some chicken breasts for high quality protein in your lunches, make your own dressing (I like to keep it simple with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, oregano, and some chia seeds)

Now that you’re all prepped, here are two killer salads you can make for lunch or dinner using leftovers and the stuff you’ve got in your fridge that take under 10 minutes to throw together on your way out the door.

Steak and Roasted Red Pepper SaladIMG_5447

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 cups salad & veggie base mix
  • 4 oz sliced and diced skirt steak
  • 1/4 cup quinoa (or sub brown rice)
  • 1/6 of an avocado, diced
  • handful roasted red peppers, chef’s cut
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 Tablespoon craisins
  • Dressing (I used roughly 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, pinch salt and pepper and oregano, 1/4 tsp chia seeds all shaken together)

Directions:

Throw all the ingredients except for the dressing into your to-go container or a large bowl. You can layer it pretty or mix everything all up so it’s more evenly distributed. Top with your dressing and eat immediately or close it up and bring your dressing to top it when it’s time to chow down.

 

Go-To Salmon SaladIMG_5444

Ingredients

  • 1.5 – 2 cups salad and veggie base mix
  • 4 oz leftover salmon filet
  • 1/4 cup quinoa (or brown rice)
  • 1 Tbsp craisins
  • 1/6 avocado, diced
  • almonds & cashews
  • Dressing (I used roughly 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar, pinch salt and pepper and oregano, 1/4 tsp chia seeds all shaken together)

Directions: 

Throw all the ingredients except for the dressing into your to-go container or a large bowl. You can layer it pretty or mix everything all up so it’s more evenly distributed. Top with your dressing and eat immediately or close it up and bring your dressing to top it when it’s time to chow down.

zucchini ribbon salad

Summer is coming. Fire up the grill. Pick up some fresh zucchini. Make an awesome salad that will convince your friends that you’re a master of all things grilled, fresh, and delicious. Eat said salad. Repeat.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 small – medium zucchini
  • 2-3 handfuls greens ( I used a baby chard, arugula, spinach mix)
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2-4 oz cheese (I used a sheep’s milk cheese similar to gorgonzola in flavor, feta would be delicious as would parmesan)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • dijon mustard
  • crushed garlic
  • crushed red pepper
  • salt & crushed black pepper

Directions:

Preheat your grill. With a vegetable peeler, cut thin lengthwise “ribbons” of your zucchini. You could also use a mandolin to make the long thin strips. Massage the ribbons with some olive oil. Lay on your grill until cooked and you get some beautiful golden brown grate marks. Remove and set in a bowl.

To make your dressing mix 3 parts extra virgin olive oil to one part red wine vinegar. Whisk in 1-2 tsp dijon mustard, 1 crushed garlic clove, and some crushed red pepper, salt, black pepper to taste.

Toss your grilled zucchini ribbons with the greens, toasted pine nuts, crumbled cheese, and a few tablespoons of dressing.

We ate our salad with some grilled salmon (recipe to follow) and a hearty serving of roasted sweet potatoes!

Sweet Potato “Pizza”

WARNING: If you continue to read this post and/or make this recipe you are not allowed to say that this is not pizza. You are not allowed to hassle me about the fact that potatoes aren’t pizza crust or that yours fell apart or blah blah. You know why? Because this stuff is good whether you think of it as a pizza or not. You’re gonna eat it all. You can call it sweet potato nachos or just stuff on sweet potatoes for all I care, but do me a favor and savor the sweet potato goodness. Give in people! Let it happen.

That being said, some time ago I made a sweet potato pizza.I was nervous about it at first. I had my doubts, but the power of the potato pulled through. It’s a little involved, but the pesto and other toppings could absolutely be made ahead of time or you could just buy some of your favorite pre-made versions to cut down on the time in the kitchen.

And yes, I am ignoring the fact that I haven’t posted on the blog in FOREVER. We are just gonna brush over that. Consider this your “let’s sweep this one under the rug” present.

Sweet Potato Pizza

Crust:

  • 3 huge sweet potatoes or 6 small/medium sweet potatoes
  • pinch paprika
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • mozzarella cheese

Toppings

  • bell peppers (used 1/2 red and 1/2 orange), sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced
  • 3/4 cup pesto
  • bacon, cooked & chopped
  • chicken, cooked and shredded
  • mozzarella cheese

Suggestions:

  • Top with bbq sauce instead of pesto and use pulled pork instead of chicken
  • Add some broccoli or other veggies of choice with your peppers and onions

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Wash and pat dry your sweet potatoes. Cut off the ends and give them a rough peel, no need to stress about getting all the skin off. Using a sharp knife or a mandoline, cut your potatoes lengthwise into 1/8 inch slices. Add the potatoes to a large bowl and toss to coat with the olive oil, garlic, paprika, salt & pepper. Lay the potatoes in a single layer, making sure their ends overlap.

Here is where you add your veggies. Sprinkle your peppers and onions over the sweet potatoes. You don’t want too many toppings on the pizza just yet or else they will burn or end up just steaming the potatoes and you won’t get a good crust. I sprinkled everything with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Then bake for 20 minutes and then broil on high for 10 minutes.

While that is cooking, prep your other toppings. If you have to cook your chicken or fry up your bacon do that here.

After the crust is done, pull the pan out and top everything with 2.5 oz of the cheese. Make sure you get all the seams because the cheese is going to help keep the crust together come stuff your face time. Drizzle on your pesto, sprinkle on the chicken and bacon, and top with the remaining cheese. Return the pizza to the oven and broil for another 8-10 minutes or until your cheese gets bubbly and browned. Take that shit out and cut into slices or dig in with a fork or just put your face in it.

shredded sprout salad

Posted by Corie

images-3Thanksgiving is comin’ in hot. Before you know it, there’ll be turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and then all the other stuff that’s always on the table, but no one talks about. You know what I mean. There’s always like one or two vegetables that get passed around and everyone feels obligated to take, but really we all just want another scoop of mashed potatoes covered in gravy ’cause that’s the shit that tastes good. Well, in honor of this phenomenon, today’s post is all about finding new appreciation for one of those unappreciated Thanksgiving veggies… the Brussels sprout.

 

900c8a714b5c6897b53069c1342ce9b2206322e2bb5caab7c2c53cbdc4c54df6Brussels sprouts look like cute little bundles of cabbage. They are a cruciferous vegetable meaning they are in the same class as broccoli, kale, bok choy, and cauliflower. Cruciferous veggies are rich in nutrients like carotenoids, vitamins C, E, and K, minerals, and fiber. They are even being studied for their association with cancer prevention. They get a bad rap for being smelly and tasting bad, but that’s just because all those people saying that haven’t had them this way yet.

Shredded Sprout Salad

For the Salad:

3 tbsp fine chopped shallots

1 pound brussels sprouts, shredded

2-3 large handfuls spinach or kale

 

Last night was a feeding frenzy, but I managed to get a picture of the sprouts in my salad today!

Last night was a feeding frenzy, but I managed to get a picture of the sprouts in my salad today!

For the Dressing:

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 clove garlic, diced

1 tbsp minced shallot

1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves (1 tsp dried)

1/4 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp water

Salt & Pepper to taste

To make the dressing, combine the mustard, garlic, shallot, thyme, and hazelnuts in a blender. Blend on medium while adding in oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and water. Add salt and some pepper to taste.

In a large saucepan heat up shallots in an oil of your choice [you could use coconut oil, olive oil, or even just throw some bacon in there] until transparent and fragrant. Throw in your Brussels sprouts and continue to cook until they begin to soften. Add the dressing and the kale or spinach to the pan. Work it all together and cook until the kale or spinach begins to wilt.

Remove from the pan and plate. If you think you don’t like Brussels sprouts this dish will change your mind. If you already love Brussels sprouts… why haven’t you started making this yet? Go! Go! Go!

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recipe adapted from edible Jersey

Resources:

http://www.cancer.gov

http://www.cancer.org

whfoods.org

Conventional vs Organic: The ultimate food fight

 

Posted by Corieimages-2

The idea of conventional versus organic produce can be kinda weird. We know that veggies and fruits are really good for us, full of vitamins and minerals and all that jazz. They are nutrient dense, meaning we get more nutrients for fewer dense calories and thus more nutritional bang for our buck. imagesHowever, not all produce is grown the same. Conventional produce is grown with pesticides, ya know like bug and weed killers, while organically grown produce is not. Through research we’ve discovered that some of that conventional produce, even after washing, has lots of pesticide residue stuck on there. That means along with those nutrients, you get chemicals that kill other living organisms… that doesn’t sound like a good thing to me. If we can avoid that, isn’t it kind of a no-brainer. Lucky for us the EWG puts out a Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen list where they outline the dirtiest 12 produce choices that it might be smarter to buy organic and the 15 cleanest conventional fruits and vegetables. Isn’t that cool?

images-1Wanna know the top 3 dirtiest produce items on the list that you should for sure buy organic ’cause they’re covered in pesticide residue?

#3 – Grapes

#2 – Strawberries

#1 – Apples

Boom. Go read the rest of the EWG article.

P.S. The Environmental Working Group is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help protect human health and environment, empowering the people to live healthier, happier lives. They do research and publish results on consumer products that may be harmful to our health on anywhere from the cleaners we use to wipe down our house to the foods we put in our body.

They even went a step further this year and made a Dirty Dozen Guide to Food Additives. The FDA allows more than 10,000 food additives to be used in processed foods. (One of the reasons we say to stay away from those highly refined foods) They say that they are generally recognized as safe, but some are concerning because they are so closely linked with serious health problems. The list makes it easy to see which are the worst, why, and how to avoid them.

Moral of the story here is that the more informed you are, the better the chances of you making awesome decisions. We don’t ALWAYS have to eat organic or never treat ourselves to something processed. It is, however, great to know which conventional and processed foods are the better and worse choices. It’s great to know what those pesticides and food additives do to your body. Soak it all in. Never stop learning. Be informed, be smart, and be awesome.

No recipe here, but one will be coming soon! Stay tuned.