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!

Garlic & Red Pepper Chinese Broccoli

Last night I got home from work and wasn’t all that hungry. The hubby was out playing basketball so I decided to make myself more of a snack than a huge dinner. I had a big bundle of chinese broccoli from the farmer’s market and wasn’t sure what to do with it. I love regular broccoli sautéed with onions, garlic, and soy sauce, so that’s what I did!

For this super easy broccoli you just wash and cut the stems off the broccoli so you have florets. Then saute onions and garlic in a little olive oil. Add Chinese broccoli (regular broccoli would work too but I just loved the Chinese broccoli for this recipe) and saute for a few minutes until it begins to wilt. Add a few tablespoons of soy sauce, some red pepper flakes (I like spicy food so I added lots!) and sliced almonds. Saute for another minute or so, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Delicious and super fast. Enjoy!

Black Bean and Endive “Tacos”

YUM! These little  black bean and veggie “tacos” were delicious! I basically just threw all the ingredients I could find in my fridge together and came up with these. You could use large lettuce leaves instead but I just love the crunch of the endive and happened to have them on hand already. They were so easy and quick to make, and kept me full all night. They are the perfect bite-size portions and would be great for a Cinco de Mayo party this weekend! What you’ll need:

  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped (any color would work, I used orange)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chili powder (more if you like it extra spicy)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth

What you’ll do:

Saute onions, celery, and carrots in 1 tsp. olive oil until tender. Add in bell peppers, then after a few minutes, add mushrooms. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans until warm all the way through. Mix seasonings with vegetable broth and pour into bean mixture. Stir until seasoning coats the mixture and serve on small endive leaves or any lettuce wrap of your choice. Top with avocado, hot sauce, cilantro, salsa, whatever you like! These “tacos” are so healthy – full of fiber and protein – and taste great the next day for leftovers as well. Enjoy!

Losing Weight the Healthy Way – And A Little Barney Butter!

As I have been trying to eat a healthy, clean diet for the Kaia detox, I have been going back to eating like I did when I was seeing a nutritionist years ago. It’s funny how we learn all about nutrition and health and how to live a healthy lifestyle, and over time we slowly drift away from those basics. The truth is, losing weight and getting healthy is a simple concept -calories in vs calories out. The important thing is making those calories work for your body instead of eating junk that doesn’t help you in any way. What I mean by that is eating healthy greens and fruits and getting enough protein and fiber to fuel your body and keep yourself feeling good.

I am not an expert on nutrition by any means, but I have tried many “fad diets” that haven’t worked (or they have worked and I gained all the weight right back) and I have also lost weight the healthy way. At the moment I am about 20 pounds lighter than I once was and I can’t believe I carried around that much weight for so long!

This was the best before/after photo I could find at the moment. I've gained about 5lbs since this after photo was taken, but it is fairly accurate - Check out those cheeks!

Now that I don’t have so much to lose I really want to focus on getting toned and gaining muscle. I’m kind of a weakling to be honest, but soon enough that will change! My main goal for this six-week program: come out of it with super buff arms :)

For the next few weeks I am going to focus on posting some of my healthy meals, some recommendations for some of my favorite items at the grocery store and possibly some workout ideas as well. I’m really excited to get back into a routine that I can stick to since I haven’t done that since my half-marathon trainings!

My first recommendation is for Barney Butter. As I told the Kaia girls this morning, if you haven’t tried it..you need to. It is the best almond butter I have ever tasted. You don’t need to stir it because it doesn’t have all that gross oil at the top, it is very low in sugar (3g per serving) and has very few ingredients with no gross additives. I prefer the chunky but the smooth is great too! I bought mine online but you can also get it at Whole Foods.

This morning I had a tablespoon of it for breakfast with a banana. Yum! Do you have any favorite almond/peanut butters I should try?

Kaia BRIK (and Detox) has Begun!

I am so excited that my six-week boot-camp has begun! I just joined an all women’s program, called Kaia, that meets 5 days a week. Today was the first day (we meet at 6am) and I know I’m going to love it. The women are encouraged to do a complete detox for the first and last week of the program, which means no sugar, no dairy, no carbs (except what is in fruits and veggies) no processed foods and no alcohol. This is exactly what my body needs and I’m really looking forward to how I will feel by the end of the week. Maybe I’ll even extend the detox for a second week!

Last night I decided to make a (mostly) Kaia friendly meal to get myself started on the right track. We had artichokes with an aioli made with vegenaise (usually I would make one from Greek Yogurt but I was all out!), a delicious kale and spinach salad and some leftover pasta salad from the night before. I thought I’d sneak in a little yummy carbs before detox started!

My favorite part of the meal was definitely the kale salad. Usually I saute kale or use it in my smoothies but it can actually be really great in a raw salad. Kale has a pretty rough texture, but when you coat it in a little olive oil and sea salt and massage it into the leaves, it wilts and tastes great! For this salad all I did was wilt the kale, add fresh spinach, red onions, radishes, avocado, a little lemon juice, and salt and pepper (the olive oil I used to wilt the kale was enough to coat the whole salad- no need for more dressing).

I am really looking forward to making lots of healthy, clean meals this week and hopefully I can share most of them with you! To  check out the Kaia in your area, click here! Or go to Kaia Sacramento’s blog for tip and ideas on healthy eating and exercise.

Do any of you have great healthy, clean recipes I should try while on detox? I’d love to hear them!

Happy eating :)

Chicken Sausage and Kale Stir fry

I got this recipe idea from my parents’ nutritionist and it turned out great. I’ll definitely be adding it to my list of regular meals I make during the week!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 package chicken sausage, chopped (to make this recipe vegetarian, you could use tofu sausage instead). I used an organic chicken sausage from Trader Joes, but when I do this again I’ll use my favorite Mango and Jalapeno sausage from Aidells.
  • 1 large bunch of kale, stemmed and torn apart
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like a lot of spice)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp olive oil

What you’ll do:

Heat the garlic and red chili flakes in olive oil. Add chicken sausage until browned and set aside. Then add onions and saute until tender. Add tomatoes and kale and saute for 2-3 minutes. Season with sea salt and pepper, add cooked sausage and serve. Enjoy!

Homemade Goat Cheese and Jalapeño Pizza

I know I’ve told you all this before, but I am really not much of a baker. I try, and sometimes I’m successful, but usually, I’m not. Last weekend my husband and I decided to make our own homemade pizza from scratch and I would say we were about 80% successful. The finished product tasted delicious with all of these yummy toppings (artichoke hearts, jalapeños, tomatoes, onions, fresh basil, spinach, bell peppers and mushrooms, how could it not taste great, right?). BUT, the dough left something to be desired. The outside was a little too crunchy (maybe I overcooked it?) and the inside was a little undercooked. Needless to say, I think my pizza dough could use a little practice and refining before I serve it for a dinner party.

I just Googled “easy pizza dough” and found this recipe here. It was VERY easy and I’m not quite sure what went wrong, but I think I’ll try this same recipe again and see where I made my mistake. Or maybe it is supposed to taste the way it did and my expectations were a little too high?

After I rolled out the dough we coated it with jalapeño olive oil that we bought in Cambria while we were there celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary. Then we covered them with all the yummy veggies and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees (although we probably should have taken them out at 15 minutes)We took them out, added the crumbled goat cheese, and sliced them up! Despite the not-so-perfect dough, they actually tasted amazingly good. The dough was a little more crunchy than I’d like, but the veggies were so good with the jalapeños, goat cheese and the spicy olive oil. I will definitely try this again! Does anyone have a favorite pizza dough recipe they love? Is there a trick I’m missing?

Banana Oat Muffins

I recently stumbled upon the Dashing Dish blog and learned how to make muffins with oats instead of flour and I’m hooked. These muffins were so delicious and much healthier than the average muffin made with flour. They turned out tasting just like banana bread. You can find the original recipe here but I made a few slight changes to mine.

What you’ll need: (my changes were taking out the protein powder, using real sugar instead of sweetener and adding unsweetened coconut)

  • 1 small banana
  • 3/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/2 cup plain low fat Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 sugar (I don’t like using fake sweetener in my baking)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut (because coconut makes everything better)

What you’ll do:

My favorite part about this recipe was how easy it was! You just combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pour into baking cups (use silicone so it doesn’t stick). Then I added a pinch of coconut to the batter in each muffin tin before baking. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

Thanks for the idea Katie!

Red Kale Chips

I LOVE kale. It tastes good and is super duper healthy. It is full of vitamin C, vitamin K, B6, calcium, beta carotene and LOTS more. I usually add it to my smoothies in the morning, or saute it as a side dish with dinner, but I had been hearing about how delicious kale chips were so I thought I’d give it a try. I had a big bunch of  Russian red kale so I decided to use it instead of the regular green kale I had. Next time I’ll have to switch it up to see if they taste different. I especially love red kale because of the beautiful purple stems.

This recipe is very easy, and you need very few ingredients – kale, olive oil, and kosher salt.

Wash your kale and peel leaves off of stems. Tear into bite-sized pieces and spread out on a cookie sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil on the top (1-2 tsp) and sprinkle with salt. I used the big kosher salt but regular salt would work fine too. Bake at 350 for about 10-15 minutes or until crispy.

Meyer Lemon Muffins

Recently a co-worker gave me a huge bag of Meyer lemons and I have been trying to figure out what to use them for. I usually put them in my ice water and tea and add them to chicken and vegetable dishes when I’m cooking, but I wanted to start baking with them. The day after I got them, I found the recipe for Meyer Lemon Muffins on Freshly Pressed and decided I had to try it! You can find the recipe on the Darla Cooks blog. They were absolutely delicious. Next time I’d add more lemon in the batter and would maybe even make a sweet lemon/vanilla glaze to drizzle over the top.

One of my favorite parts of making these muffins was photographing them! The lemon slice on top really made them look fun (they tasted great too)!