Lemon Dill Avocado Chicken Salad

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Spring is less than a month away, as hard as it may be to believe some days. With its approach in mind, I got to thinking about springy flavors – things like lemon, dill, peas and so on. Contemplating what to make, it suddenly hit me…a spring chicken salad recipe. It’s not very often I share lunch recipes anyway, so it seemed like another good reason to run with it. Plus, I love chicken salad, despite the fact that I rarely make it. I become a creature of habit when it comes to lunch foods and generally stick to the same things, so this is a refreshing change.

I’m sure this would be just as tasty without the addition of the mayo, but I love homemade mayo or a high-quality one like this brand. It adds a little extra creaminess and tang too, which I enjoy. But, if you don’t have any on hand or just don’t like it, you can leave it out. Personally, I never liked mayo until I made it myself. It is way different than what you may know as mayo. Really, it might as well be frosting because it’s that good. I do have another chicken salad recipe that’s tropical-inspired and more mayo-based if you want to check that one out HERE.

Also, stay tuned because next month, on March 20 (also the first day of spring!), I’ll be featuring this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll share the segment when that time comes. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (roughly 1 lb or so of meat)
  • 1 large avocado, sliced into quarters and pitted
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, rinsed under warm water to thaw
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 Tbsp homemade avocado oil mayo or use a high-quality brand like this one 

Directions:

  1. Place shredded chicken in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Remove avocado peels and place avocado in a large bowl. Mash well with a fork and then add the lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, dried dill, mayo, carrot, green onion and peas. Stir well with a spatula until mixed well. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Pour avocado mixture into the bowl with the shredded chicken and stir well. Store in refrigerator.
  4. Serve in a lettuce wrap, over greens or with veggie slices and/or plantain chips.

Raspberry Cacao Nib Fudge

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Normally, I wouldn’t post two treat recipes back-to-back, but I blame it on Valentine’s Day…it inspired me. I actually rarely post dessert recipes as it is, but alas…Valentine’s Day. But, truthfully, I’ve been wanting to experiment with something like this for a while, so that’s reason enough.

This recipe is super easy and very customizable too. The freeze-dried raspberries are a splurge, in my opinion, but really make this fudge extra special. And, the pop of color is quite pretty too. Kinda romantic, eh?

Cheers and enjoy! Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day too!

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Freeze-dried raspberries, to taste (I used this brand)
  • Cacao nibs, to taste

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in the honey and stir until dissolved. Then, add the cocoa or cacao powder, sea salt and vanilla. Whisk until cocoa powder is completely mixed in. Let mixture sit a few minutes to thicken a little.
  2. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Pour mixture into pan and while still wet, sprinkle the desired amount of freeze-dried raspberries and cacao nibs on top. Place in fridge to set for 20 minutes or so.
  3. Cut into desired-size pieces and store in the refrigerator.

“Peanut Butter” Chocolate Mousse

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Traditionally, chocolate mousse is made with whipping cream, sugar, some form of chocolate (chocolate chips or cocoa powder), and egg yolks or egg whites — I’ve seen both. Not totally sure which came first. The mixture is also heated on the stove.

However, my variation is dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and couldn’t be any easier. No stovetop needed and everything mixes together in the blender. I added sunflower seed butter too, so the final product tastes a bit like a peanut butter cup. It is so decadent and heavenly! Of course, there are no peanuts, but sunflower seed butter mimics a peanutty flavor, in my opinion. If you want a quick, easy and painless Valentine’s Day dessert, make this recipe!

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Also, if you really want to go all out, make homemade coconut milk whipped cream (or dairy-based whipped cream, if tolerated) and top each serving with a dollop or two. Add fresh berries, fresh grated chocolate or a sprinkling of cacao nibs, if desired.

And, one last thing…I will be making this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live today, so tune in if you like (show is from 3-4 PST). I will share the replay clip afterward though, so you can catch it that way too. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE!

Enjoy!

pb-choc-mousseIngredients: 

  • 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I like and used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Heaping 1/4 cup unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I like and used this brand)
  • 3-4 Tbsp raw honey or more if you want it sweeter
  • *Scant 1 Tbsp gelatin, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one OR this one)

*Note: experiment with a little less gelatin if you want your mousse to be a bit thinner. Also, this recipe sets up fine without “blooming” or dissolving the gelatin first, but I know I am doing it differently than the standard. If you prefer to let it “bloom” in a small amount of chilled coconut milk first and then add it to some warmed coconut milk on the stove, go for it (you’d then of course mix it with the remaining ingredients & pour into dishes). I just know it works for me without doing this step and the directions on my gelatin container even instruct it can be used this way.

Directions:

  1. *To a blender container, add the coconut milk, cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla, sunflower seed butter and honey. Blend for several seconds or so on low or medium-low. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, if needed and briefly blend again. Then, add the gelatin and blend on low or medium-low to incorporate it into the mixture. Make sure the gelatin is thoroughly mixed in and the mixture is smooth, but don’t over-blend!
  2. Immediately pour into small dishes or ramekins and place in the fridge to set. Allow to firm up for at least a few hours or longer, if needed.

*Note: this can be whisked in a large bowl by hand, but it’s harder to get a totally smooth texture. You have to whisk somewhat vigorously, but it works pretty well. I have done it this way too and still liked it. The texture was a little thinner too. Blending yields a smoother, thicker texture. Both are good, in my opinion! If you choose to blend the mixture, but want your mousse a littler thinner, see my note above about the gelatin.

Spinach Artichoke Dip

spinach-artichoke-dipSo, I am totally not a sports person, but I know many people are and therefore, many people may be looking for Super Bowl recipes (to be honest, I didn’t even know what teams were playing until I asked my husband this week). This recipe fits the bill and is a great appetizer any other time too. But, for all you folks going to Super Bowl parties or hosting one yourself, make this dip recipe to share! It is incredible and a healthified version of the classic.

You’ll first need to make a batch of almond “cream cheese,” which is super easy, but does involve soaking the almonds overnight (unless you buy sprouted almonds, then you can just skip to soaking them in boiling water to remove the skins). I have made this almond cream cheese other times too and it is so good, even on its own.

Even though this dip is a healthy twist on the original, it’s still hard to stop going back for more! It’s pretty much been my lunch (along with some added protein) everyday since making it. That’s okay, right?

Cheers and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 batch homemade almond cream cheese (visit HERE for recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 13.5 oz can quartered artichoke hearts, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk (I like and used this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 5 oz clamshell fresh spinach, roughly chopped
  • Optional: 3 Tbsp fresh raw Parmesan, if tolerated (can also replace with nutritional yeast to yield a cheesy flavor)

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté a few minutes, until softened. Then, add the chopped artichoke hearts and sauté about five minutes more.
  2. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the fresh lemon juice, coconut milk, almond cream cheese, paprika, cayenne, nutmeg, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and let cook down a few minutes.
  3. Then, add in the chopped spinach and stir well. Let cook down a couple minutes or until softened and wilted a bit. Lastly, turn heat to low and mix in Parmesan, if using (or nutritional yeast, if using). Taste and add more sea salt and black pepper, if desired.
  4. Serve warm with vegetable slices, plantain chips, or good-quality sweet potato chips (this brand is my favorite). You can even find good-quality regular potato chips made with avocado, olive or coconut oil, which are also good options if you eat and tolerate white potatoes.

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Nut-Free Seedy Bites

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Making tasty little bites out of dates, coconut oil, nuts and/or seeds isn’t foreign to me, but this specific combo is a new one. I can’t totally take credit for this combo, but I can take credit for putting this together, the ingredient ratios, and the addition of sea salt. Still, props to my friend and personal transformation coach, Joe Shoemaker for this creation and turning me onto seed cycling. Speaking of Joe, I’ve been working with him for about 1-1/2 years now and the work has been deep, eye-opening, profound, amazing and valuable in all aspects of my life. I can’t say enough wonderful things about him and the many gifts he has to share. He is based here in Portland, but can work with anyone worldwide via Skype as well.

Anyway, a few months back, I went to Joe for a foot reflexology treatment and at some point during our session, he asked me about my cycle. Actually, based on the reflexology point on my foot (the spot specific to the reproductive organs), he was able to determine what my cycles were like and asked me if what he said was accurate. It was spot on. If you want to know (if you don’t, give yourself permission to stop reading), my cycles are pretty decent, overall and I really don’t have many complaints. I don’t really get PMS, cycles are moderate-light, but I do get some mild-to-moderate cramping on day one and occasionally a little on day two. That’s it…and that’s exactly what he repeated to me.

On that note, he suggested seed cycling, which I was not familiar with. He said it can help with cramping and any other PMS symptoms, and is something that has helped his wife immensely. His recommendation was to mix all the seeds together using dates and coconut oil as the “glue” and get a dose of the seeds that way versus the traditional approach. It’s easier, less fuss and a tasty little treat. Yes, men and children can eat them too!

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I will say, since adding these seed bites into my daily routine (I usually eat 1-2 per day), I have definitely noticed a change on the first couple days of my cycle. The cramping that I would generally experience is incredibly subdued and the seed bites are the only thing I’m doing differently. It still blows me away. It was noticeable on my first cycle after introducing these into my diet too! So, whether you believe the theory behind it or not, it doesn’t hurt to give ’em a go. If these don’t serve you in that way, you’re still getting a delightful treat. In my opinion, that’s a win-win.

I know my ratios don’t match up exactly with the recommendations of the traditional approach, but I’ve found that it’s enough to make a difference for me. Feel free to play with the ratios though or try the traditional process if that’s of interest to you. Also, know that to get the full benefits of flaxseed, you need to grind it up. You can do this on your own in a grinder (coffee/spice grinder works great) or you can purchase ground flaxseed meal, which is what I did. If you don’t grind the flaxseed, it basically passes right through your system and it doesn’t break down in the food processor either. Those suckers are tough! You can grind the sesame seeds if you want as well, but I find they break down pretty well in the food processor.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted (I recommend buying these with the pits in, as they’re more plump and flavorful)
  • Heaping 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • Heaping 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (I like this brand or grind your own)
  • Heaping 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • Heaping 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

*Note: I recommend using high-quality, organic seeds and sprouted, if possible.

Directions:

  1. Add dates to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times or until dates are chopped up, but still chunky.
  2. Next, add the sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and ground flaxseed meal, along with the sea salt and coconut oil. Pulse until well combined, scraping sides with a spatula as needed.
  3. Roll into tablespoon-sized balls or so and store in the refrigerator.

Yields: 12-15 balls

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Sausage, Apple & Walnuts

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This recipe was inspired by a Brussels sprout salad from Danielle Walker’s, Meals Made Simple cookbook. When I was home over the holidays, my mom and I were looking for a winter side dish recipe to take to my aunt’s for Christmas dinner. Upon looking through her copy of Danielle’s cookbook, we decided on the Brussels sprout salad recipe (had leeks, bacon and pomegranate seeds in it!). It ended up being a huge hit! Afterward, I knew I wanted to create my own variation and that it was a priority after getting back to Portland.

I went with the idea of this being a complete one-dish meal versus a side, but it could be served as a side, if desired. It’d be a great side for a holiday meal, actually! Surprisingly, this dish held up well the next day too, though I don’t recommend letting it sit in the fridge for too long. There are so many possibilities for a meal like this, so feel free to get creative and make it how you like it!

Cheers and enjoy!

brussels-sprouts-salad

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed & shredded in a food processor or with a mandoline
  • 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee (or avocado oil if you don’t tolerate any dairy)
  • 1 leek, chopped (white part only)
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 pink lady apple, chopped
  • 1 12 oz package chicken apple sausage, sliced (I recommend Aidell’s or Applegate – both of which have 4 pre-cooked sausages in each package)
  • 1/4 cup chopped raw walnuts
  • Grated raw parmesan cheese for topping, if tolerated and desired

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Then, add the leek, garlic, Brussels sprouts, sea salt and black pepper. Sauté about 5 minutes.
  2. Next mix in the chicken broth, apple and sausage. Add more sea salt and black pepper, if desired. Place lid on pan and let cook 5 minutes over medium-low heat.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in walnuts. Top individual serving with desired amount of Parmesan, if using. Serve warm.

Yields: 3-4 entree-size servings

Nutty Golden Sweet Potato “Toast”

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Sweet potato “toast” has been on my radar for some time now and I finally got around to trying it. Getting a foot of snow and being snowed in gave me the perfect opportunity to do so and luckily, I had all the ingredients for this variation on hand. Supposedly, you can make these in an actual toaster too, but I got rid of my toaster oven a while back because I no longer had use for it.

I went with a nutty (yes, I know sunflower seed butter isn’t made from nuts, but it yields a nutty flavor), spiced and slightly sweet combo here, but really, there are many possibilities. All the toppings listed here are to taste, so make it how you want it. Also, I used a white sweet potato here, but feel free to use whatever sweet potato variety you like. Meanwhile, I may post other creations of sweet potato “toast” in the near future, so stay tuned.

Enjoy!

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live this past Monday and made my spiced chicken stew recipe. Watch my segment HERE.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium sweet potato, sliced into ~ 1/4″ vertical slices
  • Avocado oil, for drizzling (I used this brand)
  • Unsweetened sunflower seed butter (I used this one)
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • Ground turmeric
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Raw honey, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place sweet potato slices evenly on sheet. If any of the sweet potato slices end up being a bit thicker, pierce a few times with a fork. Lightly oil both sides of the sweet potato slices with avocado oil and then place in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until slightly toasted.
  2. Once the sweet potato slices have cooked, spread desired amount of sunflower seed butter on top of each slice. Then, top each with desired amount of unsweetened coconut flakes, turmeric, sea salt and black pepper, and a drizzle of raw honey, if using. Enjoy warm.

Yields: 2 servings