Chili Lime Chickpea Salad

This was the easiest and tastiest chickpea salad I’ve made yet! It would be great to take to work for lunches during the week or to have as a side with dinner like I did here.

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 ear of corn, kernels removed
  • 1/2 red or yellow bell pepper, chopped

Chili/Lime dressing:

  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp chili powder, depending on preferred spice level
  • salt and pepper to taste

That’s it! Mix all of the ingredients together and cover with dressing. Enjoy!

Spicy Thai Basil Stirfry

So like I said in my last blog post, this week is detox week at Kaia and I am trying my best to stick to the plan and eat lean and green. I already had organic ground turkey in the refrigerator so I started looking for healthy meals to make. Usually I would make turkey tacos, spaghetti with meat sauce or meatballs, but since carbohydrates are on the don’t-even-think-about-it-list during detox I knew I needed to try something different that didn’t include tortillas or pasta.I started to search for Thai recipes and every one included a good amount of brown sugar, which is also not allowed on detox. So, I followed their lead to get an idea and then came up with something on my own. The result… a delicious, spicy, tangy, rich Thai basil stir-fry  that I wanted to eat all in one sitting. I will definitely be making this again (and again and again and again…).

What you’ll need:

  • 1 lb. lean (organic) ground turkey
  • 2 Japanese eggplants, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 medium red onion, sliced
  • 2-8 Thai chili peppers, sliced (depending on spicy preference)
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Large handful fresh basil leaves

Sauce: (measurements are approximate. I added little amounts until I found the taste/spicy-ness I liked)

  • 1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 3 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp-1tbsp. chili paste (depending on preferred spice-level)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch

What you’ll do:

Cut eggplant in half and weep for about 15 minutes (cover in sea salt to remove excess moisture). Start the ground turkey and cook on low-medium until done. While the turkey is cooking saute red onions, Thai chili peppers and eggplant in olive oil until eggplant gets soft. Add broth for moisture if needed. Add in bell peppers and cook until soft (3-5 minutes). Mix soy sauce and cornstarch in a small bowl until blended. Mix in the remainder of the sauce ingredients and pour over vegetable mixture. Add green onions and basil. Cook on medium for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens. Combine the veggie mixture with the ground turkey. Serve with green onions and basil to garnish. Enjoy!

This is now my favorite ground turkey recipe. What are your favorite ways to cook ground turkey besides tacos?

Grilled Peaches with Fresh Raspberries

I don’t know where you live, but where I live it is hot outside. Extremely hot. I get home from work, change into shorts and a tank top, and crank the air conditioning as soon as I walk in the door. Then I have to think about dinner… The last thing I want to do when it is 104-108 degrees out is stand in a hot kitchen cooking dinner. This week we have been eating a lot of salads and cold meals for dinner, but last night I really wanted dessert and I didn’t care what the temperature was. I had absolutely nothing sweet or unhealthy and dessert-y in the house, so I had to be resourceful. Our outdoor grill is broken, but I pulled out the grill pan and cut three very ripe white peaches to split with my husband. I cut them in half, grilled them for a few minutes on each side and topped them with fresh raspberries and a little frozen whipped topping. It was the perfect fruity dessert for a warm summer night.

The Best Meal I’ve Ever Made

This eggplant parmesan was quite possibly one of the best meals I’ve ever made. It was a few more steps and a few more ingredients than I usually like to cook with (I like fast and easy recipes), but it was so worth it. I have only had eggplant parmesan maybe twice in my life because I can no longer eat dairy. I learned how to make it when I was living in Italy and it was delicious, but so loaded with cheese that I’ve never tried to re-create it at home. For some reason unknown to me, goat cheese has no impact on how I’m feeling, so I decided to look for a recipe that called for goat cheese and no other dairy products. I found one recipe that was eggplant, red sauce, goat cheese, and parmesan and I tweaked it a little to make this delicious meal.

What you’ll need:

  •  1 large purple eggplant
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt to weep eggplant slices
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil for frying
  • 1 jar tomato basil spaghetti sauce (I used an organic brand with few ingredients)
  • 1 small block of goat cheese broken into pieces (crumbled would work too)
  • 1-2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 red onion
  • 4-5 fresh tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves

What you’ll do:

  1. Peel skin off eggplant, and slice length-wise so you have thin slices for layering (like lasagna).
  2. Cover the slices with sea salt to remove moisture. Let sit 10-15 minutes and drain water.
  3. Combine the sea salt and flour and blend together with a fork.
  4. Pat dry the eggplant slices with a paper towel.
  5. Warm oil in a large frying pan.
  6. Dip the eggplant in the egg and then in the flour/salt mixture, and place in pan.
  7. Fry on each side until they start to brown (few minutes), and then lay on paper towel.
  8. Saute onions, mushrooms, spinach, and basil in a frying pan and set aside.
  9. In a baking dish, place a layer of tomato sauce, then a layer of eggplant slices, then the sliced tomatoes, spinach mixture, and a few pieces of goat cheese. Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the eggplant.Top with sauce, spinach mixture, sliced tomatoes, lots of fresh basil and goat cheese chunks (or crumbles).
  10. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
  11. Cool and cut. Enjoy!What’s the best meal you’ve ever made?

Grilled Citrus Skewers

These were so delicious, and like most of my recipes, SO easy! Although I took the photos, and ate the skewers, I can’t take credit for actually making them. Mom did all the work, but I’ll definitely be making them myself sometime soon. Marinate the shrimp in olive oil, lemon, garlic, fresh basil and salt and pepper for as long as possible in the fridge. Place on skewers with lemon slices, grill a few minutes on each side and enjoy!

For the chicken and pineapple skewers we marinated the chicken in teriyaki sauce, salt, pepper, lemon, garlic, and fresh basil. We arranged them on skewers with shallots and pineapple and placed on the grill. Delish!

Spicy Grilled Ahi

This BBQ albacore was delicious and so easy to make.

Tuna Marinade:

  •  olive oil
  • fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic, minced or pressed
  • red chili flakes

Mix ingredients together in a ziplock bag and add tuna steaks. Marinade for at least an hour and then throw on a hot BBQ. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Remove, slice, and serve!

What I Believe To Be True About Kale

There is so much information out there about the benefits of eating kale, but some people still aren’t interested in consuming this leafy green. So, I thought I’d try to convert a few folks by sharing what I think kale does for me and why I eat it so often. But for those of you who want “real facts” I added some of those too. Most of my info was found on WebMD.

***Disclaimer-  I am not a doctor, I just really like Kale.

10 Reasons I Think Kale is So Awesome

  1. It gives you an immune system of steel so you won’t become sick or diseased (kale is LOADED with antioxidants, both Vitamin A and Vitamin C)
  2. In a fight, kale would kick cancer’s ass (it is a great source of Vitamin K which is believed to help fight cancer)
  3. Sunglasses? Who needs those? (kale is loaded with carotenoids which help prevent UV rays from damaging your eyes).
  4. You won’t get a broken heart eating kale (kale can help lower your cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease).
  5. It makes you skinny (kale has a very low-calorie content so you can eat it as part of a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, along with exercise, for weight loss).
  6. It “cleans you out” if you know what I mean (one cup has 20% of your recommended daily fiber which promotes regular digestion, prevents constipation, lowers blood sugar and curbs overeating).
  7. If you mix heavy kale-eating with heavy body-building, you will get Popeye-sized biceps (like spinach, kale is high in iron).
  8. If you injure yourself during your regularly scheduled body building session, you won’t need to take Advil (kale is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties).
  9. Don’t Got Milk? Don’t need it! (for us lactose-free folks kale is a great way to get your calcium in without dairy).
  10. IT ACTUALLY TASTES GOOD!

So…basically, if you eat kale, you’ll be on your way to becoming Superwoman like me (or Superman, I don’t want to be sexist- men are allowed to eat kale too.)

There are tons of different types of kale and they are all delicious in their own ways! I use the softer kale when I am making a smoothie or salad because I will be eating it raw, but the tough kale is also great when steamed or sautéed.

Here are a few ideas for how to eat this lovely green leafy veggie.

My All-Time Favorite, Green Smoothie

  • 1 cup almond milk (I switch off from Rice, Almond, and Coconut Milk)
  • 1 ripe banana, preferably peeled + frozen
  • 2 handfuls kale
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds OR 1 tbsp ground flax
  • 1 tbsp nut butter, optional

Best Kale Salad Ever

  • Kale
  • Olive Oil – massage the olive oil and salt into kale to soften and let sit while you add other ingredients.
  • Lemon
  • Sea Salt
  • Pepper
  • Avocado
  • Any veggies you like!

I have also posted about kale recipes here, and here.

For more delicious kale recipes, click here!

Crispy Sweet Potato Chips with Cinnamon

I saw a recipe for sweet potato chips on Pinterest and knew I had to try them. Isn’t Pinterest the best?? The recipe I came across called for orange zest and thyme, both of which I did not have in the house. So, I decided to make some sweet sweet potato chips by using a little cinnamon. I googled “sweet potato chips with cinnamon” and found tons of recipes, all calling for brown or white sugar and butter or honey. I really wanted a healthier, lighter version, so I just left those ingredients out. These were SO easy and so delicious, I could have eaten 100 of them.What you’ll need:

  • 1 large sweet potato (I used a very skinny, long potato and ended up with little chips)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • as much cinnamon as you like!

What you’ll do:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a cookie sheet with a thin layer of the olive oil. Slice the sweet potato into very thin slices (a mandolin would work best, but I didn’t have one of those either). Place the potato slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Brush the slices with olive oil and then sprinkle with as much cinnamon as you prefer and bake for about 20-30 minutes until the edges curl up on.

The result – crispy on the outside, warm and soft on the inside, deliciously sweet chips. The key  was slicing the potato incredibly thin. Since I didn’t have a mandolin some of my chips were thicker and didn’t cook as well. The thinner the chip, the better it tasted.

I might have to make these again tonight..ya know, to really perfect the recipe :)

Enjoy!

Grilled Portabella Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Growing up I hated mushrooms. About a year ago I bought some from the farmer’s market because a friend kept talking about how amazing they were. She was right..and I have been enjoying them ever since!

I picked up two portabellas from the farmer’s market last week and decided we would have grilled portabella “burgers” for dinner. I think the key to making these so delicious is using a marinade before grilling. The sweet potato fries on the side with a spicy dipping sauce was a great addition.

What you’ll need:

“Burger” marinade

  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 glove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper

Wash mushrooms and remove the stems. Combine ingredients in a bowl (or a zip lock bag) and pour over mushrooms. Marinate for about an hour, flipping once if you’re using a bowl.Then grill for about 4-5 minutes on each side. We topped them with guacamole and grilled red onions and ate them on cabbage leaves instead of buns. This marinade was so good that you didn’t even need sauce on top!

Sweet potato fries

  • 1 large sweet potato, sliced into fry size bites (serves 2 people)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Coat the fries in olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake on 375 for about 25-30 minutes until lightly crispy. (sprinkle a little cornstarch on top for extra crisp!)

Spicy Sriracha Dipping Sauce

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek Yogurt (more if you’re making sauce for more than 2 people)
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (less if you don’t like too much spice)
  • 1/4 lemon, juiced
  • tsp garlic powder or garlic salt

Combine all ingredients and serve. If you like this extra spicy you can add more sriracha, but definitely taste this before serving. The light color of the finished product can be misleading..it is still incredibly spicy!

Seared Ahi with Lemon Dill Aioil

Last night my husband and I made this delicious dinner. We bought a sashimi grade tuna steak from our local grocery store and served it with garlic & balsamic brussel sprouts and the first artichoke from our backyard this year!

The tuna is easy and super fast (I accidentally overcooked it a little, but it was still tasty). I added salt and pepper to each side and seared it in a hot pan with a little olive oil. It really only needs less than a minute on each side, and I went a little long as you can see in my photo.

Then I sautéed onions and garlic in another pan with olive oil, added the brussel sprouts and 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar until they were tender and a little crispy on the edges. I boiled the artichoke and used my lemon dill aioli for dipping sauce for both the artichoke and the tuna.

Lemon Dill Aioli

  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon veganaise
  • juice of half a lemon
  • garlic powder
  • salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh dill, chopped

Mix all the ingredients together and add ingredients until you have the taste/texture you like. You can definitely make this without the veganaise, but I like to add a little to cut down the tartness of the yogurt.

Enjoy!