Harvest Bowl with Creamy Maple Vinaigrette

harvest bowl 3Tomorrow is the official first day of fall and to commemorate, I threw together this lovely harvest bowl. It’s filled with cinnamon-roasted butternut squash, chicken breast, apple, pecans, and mixed greens, and is topped with a creamy, dairy-free maple vinaigrette. It is splendid and I can honestly say it’s my newfound love. I will definitely be making it over-and-over again for a while.

I wasn’t ready to go full-on pumpkin spice mode and all that jazz, but I had to honor where we’re at, so a little cinnamon, maple syrup, and some seasonal goodies did the trick. Pumpkin spice can wait until next month. I do enjoy fall, but I’d be lying if I said that I’m ready for summer to end. I really love summer…like a lot, but onward I go with the change of seasons, and I’m taking this harvest bowl with me!

In other news, I will be making this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live next Tuesday, September 26. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!close up harvest bowl

For the bowl:

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups leftover boneless skinless chicken breasts, shredded or cubed
  • 2-3 small Gravenstein apples or other variety of choice, diced
  • 1/3 cup raw pecan halves, roughly chopped
  • 5-6 cups mixed greens

For the maple vinaigrette:

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand, which is gum-free)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place butternut squash on large baking sheet and drizzle with the avocado oil. Season with cinnamon, sea salt and black pepper, and mix well. Bake in oven for 40 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside to cool once done.
  2. Add all the dressing ingredients to a mason jar and shake to mix. Alternatively, you can whisk it together in a bowl. If possible, make the dressing ahead of time to allow the flavors to marinate.
  3. Assemble the salad by dividing the mixed greens among three bowls. Then, divide the chicken, pecans, apples, and squash among the bowls. Just before serving, drizzle desired amount of dressing on top. Store any leftover dressing in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Yields: 3 servings

 

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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.

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.

 

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Broccoli Bacon Salad

It’s the point in the term where everything comes crashing down, and I’ll be busting my buns right up until the last day of the term. There’s A LOT to do, so much so that I feel like I’m suffocating a little bit, especially because I have my wedding ceremony to think about too (including writing vows, which I have yet to start). I wrap everything up for this term two days before my wedding and the day my family arrives, which is June 6. I know it will all come together, and even though it’s going to be a bit stressful and chaotic, it will be fine. Somehow, things always end up working out. I keep reminding myself to take things in stride, BREATHE, and take one day at a time. I also need to take advantage of my time and prioritize appropriately, which is sometimes easier said than done. Anyway, that’s that! I’ll be a-okay, but just needed to put it out there because it makes me feel better! Also, I am by no means complaining, so please don’t misinterpret my rant. I am very grateful and happy, but just a wee bit overwhelmed!

*******

Does anyone remember eating the broccoli salad that had bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and a creamy, slightly sweet mayo dressing? It often made an appearance at our family gatherings when I was growing up and more often than not, I enjoyed it. I think nearly every mom in my hometown had the recipe too. I don’t know if it was shared at PTA meetings or in elementary school cookbooks, but so many women made it at social gatherings. I kid you not!

Anyway, I got to thinking about the salad recently because I had a bunch of broccoli in my refrigerator that needed to be used up, pronto. I didn’t have any mayo made and really wasn’t feeling a mayo-based dressing anyway, so revamped it as a slightly creamy vinaigrette. It turned out very well and I was surprised how much it tasted like the original salad. Honestly, I think it’s the bacon, sunflower seeds and raisins (or in my recipe, currants) that really make the salad taste the way it does. For those of you that remember the salad I’m referring to, see for yourself. For everyone else, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped (peel & chop stems too)
  • 1/8 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 slices good quality bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried currants (this brand is good)
  • 3-4 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp full-fat coconut milk (I like this brand or this brand)
  • 1/4 tsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp mustard powder
  • Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the broccoli, onion, bacon, currants and sunflower seeds.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, coconut milk, raw honey, mustard powder, sea salt and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and stir well. Refrigerate at least 6-8 hours or overnight. Pull out of the fridge about 10 minutes before serving, to allow dressing to soften (it firms up in the fridge since it’s an olive oil based dressing).
  4. Enjoy with burgers, grilled chicken, steak, fish, etc. Anything really!

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Cobb Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

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I’ve been wanting to make a big ol’ cobb salad for a while now, but the cold, rainy and wintery weather held me back. But now, it’s been calling my name again since the weather has been in the 80s — or what I deem as salad weather. Honestly, I’ve been wanting to replicate a cobb salad since December, when Jesse and I were in Hawaii. I ordered a cobb salad during our last dinner on the island, and it was so delicious, even without any dressing. You can’t go wrong with that much tasty fat and protein on one platter!

I warn you, this salad does take quite a bit of time to prepare if you don’t have things ready beforehand. So, if you do choose to make it, try planning ahead, even if it’s just grilling an extra chicken breast at dinner one or two nights before. This will at least put you one step further in the process.

For the salad:

  • 1 leftover grilled boneless skinless chicken breast, chopped
  • 5 strips US Wellness Meats sugar-free grass-fed beef bacon, cooked and chopped
  • 4 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 4 cups chopped romaine and kale
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped

Spread the chopped lettuce and kale out among two plates. Then, make a row of tomato, avocado, egg, chicken and bacon. If space is tight on your plate, combine the avocado and tomato together. Drizzle with vinaigrette just before serving (see recipe below).

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp champagne vinegar
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Splash of full-fat coconut milk

Whisk all ingredients together. Taste and adjust flavor as needed. Drizzle over individual salads just before serving.

Yields: 2 entree-sized salads

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Easter Eats 2013

It’s hard to believe I go back to school already today, but then again, I did only have one week off. Anyway, I feel settled in again after my trip home to Michigan, and had a lovely weekend. It felt so good to not have any schoolwork and besides that, the weather was in the 70s! It felt incredible and I did my best to soak up the vitamin-D!

Look at all those daffodils in our back yard!
Look at all those daffodils in our back yard! Sun and green grass too! Hooray for spring!

Because this is already going to be a lengthier post, I’m going to recap about our Easter dinner and then talk about my Saturday in Tuesday’s post. Here’s a little precursor about Saturday though: sauerkraut tasting!

I mentioned on Friday that I was thinking of making deviled eggs, and so I did. I didn’t want to make a big batch, so I made just enough for Jesse and me to eat. I had never made deviled eggs before, but have looked at many recipes and eaten them before, so I knew the basic idea. These turned out great, and Jesse and I sat out on the patio in shorts and t-shirts while eating them. We also enjoyed some chardonnay in our new wine glasses that my aunt and cousin sent as a shower gift, and had some pleasant conversation.

For dinner, we had a petite ham from US Wellness Meats with a homemade glaze, pineapple chutney, a spinach salad and cooked asparagus. We had a cake for dessert, which you’ll see my note about at the bottom of the post. Recipes are listed below.

For the small-batch deviled eggs:

  • 4 hard-cooked pastured eggs, peeled
  • 1.5 Tbsp macadamia nut oil mayo
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp dried dill
  • Paprika for garnish, optional
  1. Slice eggs in half, lengthwise and carefully scoop the yolks out into a bowl. Mash the yolks with a fork and then add the remaining ingredients, except the paprika. Mix well and spoon into a small zip-lock baggie.
  2. Snip one of the corners from the baggie and pipe yolk mixture back into the egg cavity.
  3. Before serving, garnish with paprika, if using.
Small-batch deviled eggs.
Small-batch deviled eggs.

For the ham and glaze:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ham in a foil-lined roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the glaze ingredients. After 30 minutes, brush half the glaze on the ham. Roast for 10 minutes, then remove from oven and brush on the remaining glaze. Bake for another 10 minutes.

The chutney was inspired by a Whole Foods recipe, but modified to my liking. It was a wonderful accompaniment to the ham and together, it was out of this world (and the glaze was not overpowering or super sweet). I hadn’t tasted ham probably since early high school and boy, was it good! I’d buy this US Wellness Meats ham again in a heartbeat! Compassionate-raised pasture ham is hard to come by, especially one that is both sugar-free and nitrate-free. This is a major win.

For the chutney:

  • 1 cup fresh pineapple, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer for 10-20 minutes, until mixture has thickened.
  2. Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm atop of ham.
Glazed ham with chutney, spinach salad and caramelized asparagus.
Glazed ham with chutney, spinach salad and browned asparagus.

The salad idea came together while grocery shopping for Easter dinner…on Easter Sunday. Ha, we never made it to the store on Saturday, like we usually do, so we had to go on actual Easter day. I expanded upon my salad idea as I assembled it at home, and the result was refreshing and summer-like.

For the spinach salad:

  • 2 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 cup curley parsley, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 2 Tbsp chopped raw cashews
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Tessemae’s lemon garlic dressing (Whole Foods carries this line now! So excited!)

In a large bowl, mix together everything, but the dressing. Just before serving, mix in the dressing.

Easter dinner.
Easter dinner.

If you really want to know what I did for the asparagus, I melted 2 Tbsp of grass-fed butter over medium heat. Then, I added a bundle of asparagus (woody ends removed) and seasoned with sea salt and pepper. I tossed the asparagus occasionally and allowed it to brown and caramelize a bit. Once tender, after 5-7 minutes, I removed from heat.

We had a delicious chocolate cake for dessert that I will post about later in the week. I think there’s enough recipes here for one day!

I’d love to hear about your Easter, and what you cooked and ate! Feel free to share!

Simple Supper Friday: Taco Kale Salad with Skirt Steak

Taco Kale Salad

Wahoo! I made it through another busy week, got some assignments out of the way, and passed my skinfold practical (2 practicals down in that class, 3 to go, plus a midterm and final project). A little bit of relief feels so good, and I can’t express how excited I am when Friday rolls around each week, even if I still have things to do. Life is definitely great, but man, it’s hectic! I can’t help but count down the weeks until this term is over, especially because I get to go home to Michigan during my spring break, but at the same time, I try to remind myself to take things one day at a time. It’s not always easy, but again, I try.

Anyway, in regards to this recipe, it is fantastic! The part that makes it extra special is the rubdown that the kale gets. Yes, rubdown, massage, whatever you want to call it, but the kale gets some up-close and personal attention. Doing so softens the kale, seasons it and draws out more flavor. This technique works great with cabbage too, which is a nice alternative if you don’t have kale on hand for this recipe. Additionally, you can use ground meat or chicken instead of skirt steak, but I highly recommend the steak if you have access to it. Skirt steak is one of my favorite cuts, as it’s tender, easy and quick to cook, and extremely flavorful.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb skirt steak, preferably grass-fed, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed ghee or fat of choice
  • 2 Tbsp organic taco seasoning blend (no sugar or additives)
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lime or lemon juice
  • One bunch of kale, stemmed and torn into pieces
  • Avocado slices
  • Fresh salsa (I like the Wildwood/Emerald Valley brand, medium spice)
  • Avocado oil for drizzling
  • Cilantro for garnish, optional

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the ghee. Next add the skirt steak, and season with sea salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium, and add the taco seasoning. Saute for a couple minutes, and then add the lime or lemon juice and chicken broth.
  2. Continue to cook for a minute or two over medium-low heat. You’ll know it’s done when the meat is browned and the liquid has thickened up a bit.
  3. Meanwhile, add the torn kale pieces to a large bowl. Shake sea salt all over the kale and then massage (yes, massage) the salt into the kale with your fingers for 1-2 minutes. This will help soften the kale and bring out more flavor.
  4. Dish up the massaged kale into each person’s bowl and top with some of the taco seasoned skirt steak. Drizzle with avocado oil and top with fresh salsa. Garnish with avocado slices and cilantro, if using.

Yields: 3-4 servings

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