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!

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)!

Loaded Spaghetti Squash

Carbs. All I ever want are carbs. Carbs carbs carbs. They are delicious and if I could survive on carbs alone (without gaining 100 pounds) I would. But, we all know that eating huge amounts of processed carbohydrates for every single meal is not so good for you. So, I’ve tried to come up with a few alternatives that make me still feel like I’m getting to eat my favorite foods like bread and pasta. I still eat both of those things, but I try to limit them when I can.

One of my favorite ways to make a “pasta” dinner a little healthier is to use spaghetti squash instead of noodles. I usually make it just like I would regular spaghetti, with tomato sauce and sometimes I add ground turkey for a little protein. This time I loaded it full of veggies and it was delicious! (I made it at night so my photo is a little dark)

Spaghetti squash is so easy to make. You can cut it in half, coat with olive oil and salt and pepper and bake for 30-40 minutes until the outside is soft OR if you’re in a hurry, you can microwave it. This particular day I was starving after work and couldn’t wait for the oven to do the work so I poked holes all over the squash, put it on a plate and microwaved it until the outside was soft. The time will depend on how big your squash is. Mine was small so it didn’t take very long at all. I put it in for two minutes, turned it over, and kept adding two minutes until it was done. Total I think it cooked in about six minutes.

While the squash was in the microwave, I chopped all my veggies. I used mushrooms, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. I sautéed them all with some olive oil and white wine. I took the squash out, cut it in half, cleaned out the seeds, and then scraped all the insides out with a fork. Then I added all the squash to the veggie mixture, added a little olive oil and was all done!

What is your favorite way to make spaghetti squash?

 

 

Roasted Cabbage with Lemon

A friend of mine posted a photo on her Instagram of roasted cabbage and I thought “WHY HAVE I NEVER TRIED THAT?!” Yes, with that much enthusiasm. I love cabbage and I love to roast things…vegetables in particular. So I  gave it a try and it was just what I dreamed of. Delicious.

What you’ll need:

  • one whole cabbage. I have purple cabbage that I’m going to try next!
  • juice from 2 lemons (I used Meyer which makes everything taste better)
  • about 1/2 tbsp of olive oil
  • salt and pepper (any other seasoning you’d like)
What you’ll do:
Cut cabbage into 8 equal parts and place on baking sheet. Use brush to coat each side of cabbage with oil and lemon mixture and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, then turn over and bake for another 15 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown. Squeeze lemon on top before serving.

What are your favorite veggies to roast?

Honey for Your Allergies?!

There aren’t many downsides to growing up in California, but I’d have to say my least favorite part of living in the Golden State are the terrible allergies I have here. As a kid I could barely get out of bed during allergy season and can only deal with them now after taking allergy shots for three years. Although my allergies have immensely improved since taking the shots, I still have bad days during the Spring season, especially when its extra windy outside.

I’ve read a few articles that say local honey can actually help improve your allergy symptoms, but I have also read articles that say there isn’t any real proof to back up that claim. Personally, I have always hated taking allergy medicine….It makes me either super sleepy or super loopy, or it keeps me from sleeping at night. I have yet to find one that actually helps my symptoms and doesn’t make me feel awful.

So, I figured a spoonful of honey each day can’t hurt me, right? I decided I will try this out and see what the results are on my own. That will be proof enough for me!

The great thing about honey is you can enjoy it in so many different ways! Here are just some of the different ways I plan to eat my spoonful of honey a day!

  • mix into energy bites like these
  • mix into tea with lemon
  • add to hot water and lemon
  • mix into smoothies as sweetener
  • use as a dip for sliced apples
  • mix with plain Greek yogurt and top with fruit
  • mix into oatmeal
  • spread on toast with peanut butter
  • drizzle over warm cornbread
  • mix into salad dressings
  • add to vanilla ice cream for dessert :)

We bought fresh honeycomb on our way home from Monterey last weekend. It isn’t exactly local but we couldn’t resist! I’ve also read you can eat the honeycomb itself, but I haven’t tried it yet.

I love this raw honey we found at our local farmer’s market. It’s so thick and creamy, its delicious!

What are your favorite ways to eat (or drink) honey? And do you think local honey can really help your allergies?