Summer “Grain” Salad with Lemon Tahini Dressing

summer grain saladI’m back from NYC as of last Friday night and apparently, brought the warm weather back with me. I was gone for 10 days and the whole time I was away, the weather was cold, rainy, and crummy here in Portland. It was the exact opposite in NYC, so thankfully, I missed out! Now, our nice summer weather has returned, so more salads are called upon.

This salad makes for an awesome summertime dinner. I like making it ahead of time, so we can eat it cold after it’s chilled in the fridge, but it can be eaten warm as well. It is so delicious and the simple lemon tahini dressing is perfect. I think I could eat this salad, or a variation of it, everyday!

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe next Wednesday, June 28 on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll be sure to share the replay link once it’s available.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups golden beets, diced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 2 cups asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut or avocado oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 5 oz clamshell baby kale
  • 1 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 3 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large lemon, juiced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place beets and asparagus on a large baking sheet, and drizzle with coconut or avocado oil. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Roast in oven for 30-40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside.
  2. *Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the ground chicken and season with sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Continue to cook chicken, but don’t break up the chunks of meat as you normally would. Cook until chicken is browned and no longer pink, about 6-7 minutes, but do not overcook. *Note, if your ground chicken is really lean, you may need to add a little oil to the pan. Set aside once done.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, water, and garlic. Add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  4. Next, add the cooked ground chicken to the food processor bowl with the pan drippings. Pulse about 4-5 times until chicken forms smaller crumbles and resembles grains. Be careful not to over-process.
  5. Pour the chicken into a large mixing bowl. Add the parsley, roasted vegetables, green onions, and baby kale (you may have to work the baby kale in bit-by-bit). Pour dressing over top and stir well. Continue to add the baby kale (if you didn’t add it all at once), until it’s all worked in. Taste, and add more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired.
  6. Serve right away or let chill in the fridge and serve cold.

Pepperoni “Pasta” Salad

pepperoni noodle salad 2

The warmer days are becoming more and more abundant and we’re getting closer to actual summer, which means more salads and other cold foods. I love the change in eating that each season brings and look forward to the variety that each season offers.

This cold “noodle” salad is reminiscent of pizza and tastes incredible. It’s fresh, light, and full of Italian flavor. The “Rawmesan” really brings the salad together and adds a wonderful cheesy flavor minus the actual cheese. If you don’t want to buy it, you can also make your own by following this recipe. It’s very easy. Alternatively, you can opt for some high-quality Parmesan if you tolerate it. I personally do okay with small amounts of aged cheese, like Parmesan, but find that I feel better without cheese completely and prefer to mostly avoid it. So, I opted for the Rawmesan. Do what’s best for you.

I recommend eating this within a couple days, as the zucchini starts to soften slightly and more water is drawn out (of course, it still tastes good though). If you do have leftovers, it works well to add a little more zucchini and fresh basil the next day.

Meanwhile, I’m off to NYC bright and early this morning for an intense 3-day kettlebell training and then some fun. I can’t wait, as I love NYC!

Cheers and enjoy!

pepperoni salad 3

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 medium zucchini, spiralized
  • 1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 4 oz package Applegate Farms mini turkey pepperoni, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic granules
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • About 1/3 cup Rawmesan or high-quality Parmesan cheese, if tolerated

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the zucchini noodles, cherry tomatoes, basil, red onion, and pepperoni.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, red wine vinegar, dried oregano, garlic granules, sea salt, and black pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over salad and mix well with tongs. Lastly, mix in the Rawmesan or Parmesan cheese. Serve.

 

Eating Paleo in Iceland

This post has been a long time coming and after much chipping away, it’s finally done! Anyway, as many of you know, my husband and I traveled to Iceland this past March and had an amazing experience. We loved it all — the scenery, the food, the people, etc. It was incredible and we’d go back in a heartbeat. I imagine many of you wonder more about the food though and specifically, if it was easy to eat paleo there. The short answer is yes, it was easy and I had no problems with the food situation. Trust me…I ate very well!

Icelandic horses in field

I ate a lot of fresh Atlantic fish (Arctic char, ling, other cod varieties, salmon), pickled foods (beets, cucumbers, fish), root vegetables, potatoes, greens, tomatoes, and plain Skyr (traditional Icelandic yogurt). We ate a big breakfast every morning in our hotel, had a snack in the afternoon (generally macadamia nuts and/or an Epic Bar that we packed with us), and then went out somewhere for dinner. One night though, we had an awesome buffet dinner (followed by soaking & sauna) at the Laugarvatn Fontana, about an hour out of Reykjavik and afterward, went on a guided Northern Lights hunt (it was too cloudy to see them that night, but we did see them another night). There was fish, root veggies, salad, chicken, tomato basil soup, etc. It was delicious!

Jesse and me Iceland

You may or may not know this, but despite its cooler temperatures (it was mainly in the mid-to-upper 30s while we were there), Iceland actually grows a lot of its own produce in geothermal-heated greenhouses. Additionally, Iceland is self-sufficient in producing meat, eggs, and dairy products. Iceland’s food is centered around purity and sustainability. They do not use hormones or antibiotics, and the use of herbicides and pesticides is very restricted. They also have very low pollution, and the water is so pure and fresh (no need to buy bottled water here — get it straight from the tap). Iceland for the win!

Meanwhile, my breakfast included lemon water, black coffee, smoked fish or lox, hard-boiled eggs, pickled veggies (sometimes a bite of pickled fish too), fresh tomato slices, potatoes, and a bit of bacon. It’s not pictured below, but I usually ate half a banana and some plain Skyr as well. Oh, and a shot of Icelandic fish oil some mornings since they put the bottle and little shot glasses out each day. We looked forward to coming down to breakfast every morning in our hotel and having this traditional Icelandic spread. If you’re wondering, we stayed at Center Hotel Thingholdt in Reykjavik. It was a great hotel and fantastic location. Breakfast was included in the stay too.

Below are some of the places we ate in Reykjavik that I recommend. We had fantastic food and zero problems ordering!

Glo: we ate here multiple times because the food was so amazing. Most everything is gluten-free and while there are a lot of vegetarian items (some incredible vegetable sides!), a chicken dish is available as well. The food is SO good and fresh! And, don’t even get me started on their gluten/grain-free raw desserts. We tried many and all were incredible! The second photo below is their pecan pie (grain & dairy-free – it was an almond and egg white base) with fresh whipped cream. I think I could eat that pecan pie everyday. It was unbelievable. Their raw tiramisu (don’t have a picture) was my other favorite. The first photo below was our actual first dinner in Iceland. I don’t remember the exact details of what was on my plate, but there’s curried chicken, cold root veggies, mixed greens salad, cucumber salad, and cold potatoes with some sort of amazing raw sauce (I think it was either either almond or cashew-based and had coriander seeds in it). It’s definitely food that makes you feel good!

Messinn: We had our favorite meal of our whole trip here, and that says a lot because everything we ate was amazing. I had Arctic char that was served with honey, almonds, cherry tomatoes, lemon, and butter. It came in a big cast iron skillet with baby potatoes and a generous pile of arugula on top. Jesse ordered their cod, which had different elements, but was served in the same manner. He thoroughly enjoyed it as well. We went back on our last night (I planned to get the same thing again because it was that good), but they had to close for dinner that night due to some sort of unforeseen situation or emergency. We were so bummed!

messinn arctic char

Bergon Mathus: this was a meal for two that we shared, which was not only delicious, but a really good deal too. It was whole cod with roasted vegetables, and also came with two small sides of our choice. We went with a sweet potato mash and cucumber/tomato salad. The restaurant itself was adorable and had a lot of character.

fish aftermath Iceland

Helisuhusid: this is a great little health food store right next to Glo. We had packed a lot of our own travel snacks, but it was handy to have a spot to re-up our supply, as needed.

Photo credit : foursquare.com

Saeta Svinid Gastropub: we ate here one night for dinner and I had a lovely meal of ling with mashed potatoes, caper flowers, and Dijon-butter sauce. We were in close quarters with the table next to us and couldn’t help but strike up conversation with each other. We ended up having not only an enjoyable meal, but a great evening with an English couple. They were a hoot and our interacting with them is why I did not take a photo of my meal. Oh, and Jesse had a bun-less burger here, which he greatly enjoyed.

Kryddlegin Hjortu: the soup and salad bar here is where it’s at, and this place is extremely gluten-free friendly. In fact, the majority of their menu is gluten-free or can be made gluten-free. And, all four soups on their soup bar are gluten-free too. The very fresh salad bar was almost all gluten-free, except for the homemade spelt bread and a couscous salad. But, these things were clearly labeled and obvious. We ate here two different nights and I got the soup and salad bar both nights. My favorite soups (which rotate, except for a homemade mushroom soup that they always have) included a vegan coconut curry soup and a spicy Indian chicken soup. The salad bar was loaded with fresh veggies, herb-infused oils, fish, fresh fruit, etc. Unfortunately, I never got any photos here, so you’ll have to use your imagination!

Joylato: Three words: nitrogen ice cream! Pick whether you want an organic cow’s milk or coconut milk base, choose your flavor, and any mix-ins. They add the milk base to a mixer bowl with the necessary flavoring and turn it into ice cream in an instant with liquid nitrogen. Then, they mix in the topping(s) of your choice and serve it up with a homemade piece of gluten-free waffle cone. I had coconut milk chocolate ice cream with almonds and Jesse had coconut milk vanilla ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce. It was SO good and fun to watch the process. This place was busy though and took a while to get our ice cream. They have a line-up of 4-5 mixers, but can only make it so fast. When we were there, one person was taking orders and one person was making all the ice cream.

joylato iceland

nitrogen ice cream

joylato

Reykjavik Roasters: homemade coffee Skyr yogurt with maple syrup and almonds. I got this twice while visiting – once on our first day as an afternoon snack and another time after soaking at one of the local thermal pools. Their coffee was also excellent!

Booja Booja: this is an incredible England-made, non-dairy ice cream we found at the health food store above and also at a convenience/mini grocery store in Reykjavik. Most flavors are sweetened with agave, but the one below was sweetened with coconut syrup. These are a cashew base with 5 simple ingredients and no gums, preservatives, or weird stuff. It was so divine and creamy! It tasted very much like a rich, classic chocolate ice cream and the smooth texture was all there.

As you can see, it is easy to eat well in Iceland! I was always satisfied and did not eat a bad meal anywhere. Ordering was simple and I was always well understood when asking about things like gluten. I actually didn’t have to do any complicated ordering or even substitutions when dining out. Again, Iceland for the win!

One-Pan Roasted Veggies & Sausage

 

veggies-and-sausageCan’t beat a simple, one-pan meal. It makes for an easy lunch or dinner and involves little fuss, other than chopping the vegetables. But, that’s a very small task to accomplish to create a healthy meal.

Feel free to make this dish your own by using the veggies, sausage and seasonings that you like. It’s easy to customize and leaves lots of room for variety. In terms of the sausage, I used Aidells Artichoke & Garlic Chicken Sausage, but an Italian variety (Applegate makes a good one) would be great too.

On another note, my 32nd birthday is today! Cheers, joy and well wishes to me! And, on yet another note, my husband and I leave for Iceland this Sunday! We will be there for a full week. It’s going to be majestic! The first stop once we arrive (at 6:45 a.m. their time) is the Blue Lagoon to restore, relax and kick the jet lag. We’re getting shuttled straight there from the airport. Expect some beautiful photos to ensue soon!

Ingredients:

  • 2 large carrots, sliced into 1/4″ rounds
  • 2 small-medium white sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 small heads broccoli, chopped into florets (peel and chop stem too)
  • 16 oz package artichoke & garlic or Italian chicken sausage, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2-3 Tbsp avocado oil or melted coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion or onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. On a large baking sheet, mix together the chopped veggies (make sure pieces are uniform for even cooking), minced garlic, sliced shallot and sliced sausage.
  3. In a small dish, mix the melted coconut oil (or avocado oil) with the apple cider vinegar, oregano, thyme, parsley, cayenne, granulated onion (or onion powder), sea salt and black pepper. Pour over vegetable mixture and toss with tongs to coat.
  4. Place pan in preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and place back in oven for another 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and tender.

Lemon Dill Avocado Chicken Salad

chicken-salad-2

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!

lemon-dill-avocado-chicken-salad-bite

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.

Warm Brussels Sprout Salad with Sausage, Apple & Walnuts

brussels-sprouts-salad-2

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”

nutty-golden-sweet-potato-toast

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.

nutty-golden-sweet-potato-toast-trio

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