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
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 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.
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Smoky Sweet Potato, Kale & Pineapple Salad

This salad is a mix of sweet, smoky and spicy, and just the thing to share at an upcoming Memorial Day barbecue or other gathering this summer. I recommend making it ahead of time, so that it can sit in the fridge for a few hours before eating. The salad becomes much more flavorful, although it’s still good if you don’t have time for that…or aren’t patient. I really enjoy this side dish with chicken, but think it would pair well with nearly any protein.

Meanwhile, you can catch me making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live on Friday, May 26! Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large white sweet potato, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 medium orange sweet potato (I used a jewel), peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt-free mesquite seasoning blend, separated (I used this one, which is unsweetened)
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cups loosely packed curly green kale leaves, de-stemmed & chopped
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spread sweet potatoes onto a large baking sheet and drizzle with melted coconut oil. Mix in the minced garlic, 1 Tbsp of the mesquite seasoning, and sea salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Place in preheated oven and roast for 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway through. Once done, set aside to cool completely.
  4. Add the kale to a large bowl and generously season with sea salt. Massage the sea salt into the kale with your hands for 1-2 minutes (this helps the kale soften and makes it more flavorful). Then, add the olive oil, red onion, pineapple, and remaining 1 tsp of mesquite seasoning. Stir well.
  5. Once sweet potatoes have cooled, add to the kale mixture and gently stir. Taste and add more mesquite seasoning, sea salt, black pepper or olive oil, if desired.
  6. If possible, allow flavors to marinate in the fridge for at least a couple hours before serving. When ready to serve, I recommend sprinkling on a dash more mesquite seasoning, but this is optional.

Mexican Beef and Greens Bowl

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Happy Monday, everyone! I thought I’d welcome the week by sharing another current favorite recipe of mine (my spiced chicken stew being another current favorite — made that again yesterday). This meal is the perfect combination of spicy, meaty and a little creamy (thank you, mayo). The mayo is what turns this recipe from good to amazing, so don’t omit it. I know it might seem a little odd to add it to the mix, but it truly makes this recipe magical.

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1.5 cups fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup fresh salsa, plus more to taste, if desired (I used medium)
  • 1 bunch green kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup homemade avocado oil mayo or this brand if you don’t have any homemade on hand
  • Grated raw grass-fed cheddar and/or avocado slices for serving, optional

Directions:

  1. Warm a large pan over medium heat. *Add the ground beef and break up with a wooden spoon. Then, add the onion and garlic. (*I used 15% ground beef, so didn’t need to add any fat to the pan, but if you’re using leaner ground beef, you may need to melt some fat of your choice before browning the meat with the onion and garlic).
  2. Continue cooking the meat mixture and then add the cumin, chili powder, paprika, sea salt and black pepper. Stir to distribute the spices.
  3. Stir in the green beans and salsa. Continue to cook for a few minutes.
  4. When the beans have softened slightly, stir in the kale. Cook 1-2 minutes more or until kale has wilted down. Turn off the heat and stir in the mayo.
  5. Serve with grated raw grass-fed cheddar (or other high-quality cheese) and/or avocado slices, if desired.

Simple Beef and Veggies Sauté

 

beef and veggie saute 2

It’s time for my trip home to Michigan! In fact, I left on a red-eye last night, and am currently sitting in the Detroit airport finishing this post. I have one more leg to get to my hometown of Alpena, but still have two hours to wait to catch the tiny plane there. I’m definitely tired and will probably need a nap later today. But, for now, I’m awake and drinking an Americano. Jesse has already been there for a week (he wanted to go for two weeks, but I decided to only go for one), so it was just the kitties and me last week, which is when I created this recipe.

Anyway, onto the food! It’s as simple as it gets, but the flavor is abundant. The coconut vinegar is what brings it all together, so don’t omit it. Whenever I feel like there’s a flavor missing, I usually just add coconut vinegar and it takes care of what was lacking. Truth be told, I’ve kinda had a crush on coconut vinegar for a little while now. The stuff is incredible. Also, the Maldon salt flakes at the end really make this dish wonderful too, but don’t let it be a deal breaker if you don’t have any. If you have avocado on hand, I recommend adding some slices on top as well because avocado is great with pretty much anything.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 6-7 kale leaves, removed from stems and torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Several splashes of coconut vinegar 
  • Maldon salt flakes for garnish, optional

beef and veggie saute

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and stir with a wooden spoon. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, add the ground beef and break up the meat with the spoon. Season to taste with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook meat for about 5-7 minutes or until all the meat is nearly brown.
  3. Then, add the sliced zucchini and stir. Allow zucchini to cook a couple minutes and then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the kale and tomatoes.
  4. Stir well and add the coconut vinegar and cayenne, and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Cook a minute or two more or until kale has softened a little bit.
  5. Serve and garnish with Maldon salt flakes on top. I also recommend avocado slices if you have some on hand.

Yields: 3 servings

Simple Supper Friday: Curried Skirt Steak and Veggies

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Hi everyone! I’m very happy that it’s Friday, but I’m even happier that I have an entire day off tomorrow! Wahoo! I don’t have to be anywhere in the morning (since my client at CPC is out of town) and can have a leisurely start to my day. It’s a recovery day for me, but I’ll probably wake up and go for a walk first thing. A morning stroll in the cool air is so refreshing and invigorating. It’s a nice wake-up call, with no caffeine required!

I’m also hoping for some better sleep this weekend, as the past couple nights have been problematic for me, with lots of tossing n’ turning and frequent waking. We did have a full moon this week though, so that’s probably why. I kid you not, but literally every time there’s a full moon, I do not sleep well. I know this isn’t uncommon, but sometimes I wonder if I’m going to turn into a darn werewolf or something!

Other than that, I’m thinking Jesse and I will have a date night this weekend. I think we could both use it and we haven’t had a date night in a long time. Usually it just consists of dinner out, but it’s good enough for the both of us and kinda fun to wear normal clothes for a change too. We live in workout clothes!

Happy weekend! What are your plans?

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Curried Skirt Steak and Veggies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed tallow or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb skirt steak, cut into thin strips
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1/4 cup homemade or good-quality chicken broth, plus more if needed
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 large kale leaves, stemmed and chopped

Directions:

  1. Melt tallow in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Next add the skirt steak strips and season to taste with sea salt. Stir and continue to saute.
  3. After a 2-3 minutes, add the curry powder, smoked paprika, coriander and chicken broth. Stir and then add the cherry tomatoes. Continue to cook for another minute, and then add the kale leaves.
  4. After another minute or so, once the meat is cooked through and the kale is softened, remove from heat and serve. I recommend eating over buttery mashed cauliflower. It’s even good all on its own.

Yields: 2 servings

Simple Supper Friday: Bratwurst Saute with Caramelized Onions

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Brat saute with caramelized onions.

It has been such a great week and there’s a lot of exciting things happening! I know I often express my gratitude on here and I’m doing it again: I am SO grateful for the life I’m living and what I’m creating for myself. I owe a lot of my happiness to eating optimally, which has made me a more sound thinker, more decisive, motivated, optimistic, positive, creative and sane. I am not the incredibly indecisive (only a little now and much, much less), worried, satisfaction seeking (and never reaching), argument-prone and unstable person that I used to be. My brain, gut, cells and body are now healed, happy and supported.

Anyway, moving on, I started working at Clackamas Physical Conditioning this week! I’m not officially training anyone yet, but am being trained first by the master himself, Jason Seib. So far, it’s been very informative, fun and interesting. Again, another job that I did not apply for. It feels good to be wanted and offered opportunities. Yes, I’m still at Recreate, doing freelance writing/PR and making treats for the paleo food cart too. Then, on another exciting note, Jesse and I registered for a Mobility Wod movement and mobility seminar with Kelly Starrett himself (AKA K-Star). Not only are we stoked to learn from Kelly in person, but we get to do so in Honolulu! Holy rad, right? A mini vacation and an amazing learning opportunity! You see, Jesse mentioned the seminar to me last weekend and ever since, I’ve been diligent in looking into travel options. Each day, the cards seemed to be more in our favor, so we committed to making it happen yesterday. We’ll be headed to Honolulu November 9-13 and the seminar is all day on November 10. If you have no clue what I’m talking about and don’t know who Kelly Starrett is, I suggest you learn. Go buy his book, Becoming a Supple Leopard and check out his Mobility Wod site, linked above.

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As for this recipe, it is very German inspired and true to my heritage. It’s one of the stinkiest meals I’ve ever cooked, but dang it’s good and worth the stench in the kitchen (or in our case, the whole house since it’s very tiny). Honestly, the smell really isn’t too bad — I just like to exaggerate sometimes.

Meanwhile, go forth, love life and have a great weekend!

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For the caramelized onions:

  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced into half moons
  • 2 tsp Fatworks pasture-raised duck fat
  • 2-3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  1. Add the duck fat to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and allow to sizzle in the duck fat.
  2. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook onions, stirring occasionally. After a few minutes, once softened a bit, add some of the vinegar. Continue to cook the onions, tossing occasionally.
  3. Once the onions begin to caramelize, add a little bit more vinegar if needed and toss again. Keep cooking until they are caramelized to your liking. This takes a bit of time, so be patient. Once done, remove the onions from the pan and set aside.

For the brat saute:

  1. In the same pan you cooked the onions, place over medium heat and add the sliced bratwursts. If needed, add a little bit more duck fat for cooking.
  2. Saute the brats for a few minutes, allowing them to get a little brown. Then, add the chopped cabbage and pepper. Give everything a good stir and then add the mustard and chicken broth. Place lid on the skillet and reduce heat to medium-low.
  3. After a few minutes, remove the lid and stir in the torn kale leaves. Once the kale has wilted down a bit and the cabbage is softened, remove from heat.
  4. Serve with the caramelized onions on top.

Yields: 2-3 servings

Simple Supper Friday: Fennel and Sausage Bowl

Sausage and fennel bowl.

Dishes like this one have been some of my favorite quick meals lately. There’s so much room for experimentation, and it’s easy to put together based on what’s in the refrigerator. It’s versatile and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and also serves well as a side dish.

I actually made this for lunch yesterday, and sat outside on my patio in the warm sunshine, while I savored each bite. It was in the 60s, which was lovely to come back to after the 30 degree temperatures in Michigan (thankfully, there was lots of sun there though). Lucky for us, the warm weather is supposed to continue and supposedly, it’s going to be in the 70s this weekend. Happy Easter to us, right?!

Speaking of Easter, I need to finish planning my Easter meal. It’ll just be Jesse and me for dinner and so far, all I know is that we’re having a US Wellness Meats sugar-free ham. I’m thinking maybe something with fresh pineapple and a seasonal veggie saute. Naturally, there will be some sort of dessert too because it’s a holiday, and I like to have dessert for holiday meals. I guess because it’s always been the tradition and makes the meal that much more special. Oh, and I’ve had deviled eggs on my mind, especially since my mom was talking about them in the car the other day, when driving me down to the Detroit airport. Funny, I’ve never even made deviled eggs before, but I have many good recipes to choose from.

What are all of you doing for Easter? Are you making anything special? Are any of you coloring eggs?

Ingredients:

  • 1 chicken and apple Applegate sausage, sliced
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp grass-fed butter
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 1 pasture-raised egg, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4-5 lacinato kale leaves, stemmed and torn into pieces
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground fennel
  • Dash of paprika

Directions:

  1. Heat coconut oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sliced sausage and turn heat down to medium. Allow sausage to sizzle and brown in the melted fat for a few minutes.
  2. Next, add the chopped fennel and chicken broth, and continue to cook for a minute. Then, add the beaten egg and pepper. If need be, add a little more fat (butter or coconut oil) to the pan. Stir and allow to cook for a minute.
  3. Add the kale, red pepper flakes, ground fennel and paprika. Stir and allow to cook until kale is softened, about 1-minute or so. Add more pepper if needed.

Yields: 1 serving

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