Apricot Jalapeno Fiesta Salad

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 This salad is oh-so-good, folks. The apricots and jalapeno create the perfect accent to the flavor profile. Think of this as a taco salad, but….more exciting. 🙂

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Ingredients

Salad:

  • ~4 cups spring mix, or salad greens of your choice
  • 1 ripe apricot, sliced
  • 1/2 -1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans

Dressing

  • 2 1/2 tbs natural apricot jam
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/2 tbs water (or as needed)
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • heaping 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbs diced shallot (about 1/2 plump shallot)
  • salt to taste

Directions

In a small bowl, whisk all the dressing ingredients except water together until smooth. Add water in, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached. Prepare the salads by dividing the salad greens between 2 bowls, and arranging the apricot, avocado, jalapeno, and beans on top. Drizzle with dressing and enjoy! Recommended: serve with tortilla chips.

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Summer Stonefruit and Arugula Salad with Lemon Honey Vinaigrette

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It seems all I want to eat in the summer is salads. That and fresh fruit.

It’s only natural that I eat a lot of salads that feature fresh fruits. 😉

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Ingredients

Serves 2

  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • 1 ripe peach or necta rine
  • 1 cup cherries (any type will work)
  • 2 oz goat cheese (about a scant 1/4 cup crumbled)
  • 1-2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • salt to taste
  • lemon pepper (optional; can use black pepper too)

Directions

Chop the peaches and cherries and arrange them on top of a bed of arugula. Crumble the goat cheese on top. To prepare the vinaigrette, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, honey, salt, and pepper until smooth. (You may need to heat the honey slightly until it whisks smooth). Drizzle the dressing over the salad and enjoy!

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Easy Peanut Maple Energy Bites

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These are pretty much identical to Clif Peanut Butter Bars. Except homemade and therefore cheaper. And healthier. And more delicious. So, maybe they’re not that identical after all. Dare I say superior? 🙂

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I love that these are quick and easy to throw together, and the perfect on-the-go energy.

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This is also one of those blank canvas recipes. Try adding a puffed cereal like brown rice, millet, or kamut, or a dried fruit like raisins, or substitute the pb with another nut butter (it’s amazing with cashew butter!). You can add chocolate or carob chips, cocoa powder, white chocolate chunks, or even substitute the oat bran for your favorite protein powder! The combinations are endless.

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I recommend doubling or tripling this recipe, because they go fast.

Ingredients

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  • 2/3 cup unsweetened all-natural peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
  • 1 1/4 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed or chia seed
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (may substitute other liquid sweetener)
  • 1/4 cup oat bran (I used 2 tbs oat bran and 2 tbs wheat bran)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, vanilla, and maple. Mix until smooth (if your pb has been refrigerated and is too stiff to mix easily, try microwaving it before mixing, until it is soft enough).

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Add the remaining ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

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Shape it into bars on wax paper if you prefer. I made them into little balls because it’s a little easier. You can enjoy them right away, or refrigerate if you want them to stiffen up more.

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Here’s to healthy energy fueling your New Year’s athletic aspirations. 🙂 Enjoy!

Hearty Lentil Bowl with Balsamic-Roasted Pumpkin and Kale

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Earthy, flavorful, healthy, seasonal. This dish has got it all.

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It makes for the ultimate comfort food dinner and leftovers work beautifully for lunch the next day!

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You could, in a pinch, substitute sweet potatoes or butternut squash for the pumpkin, but pumpkin is really special here.

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Aren’t pumpkins just lovely? I love pumpkin pie as much as the next guy, but I don’t think pumpkins get enough attention in savory dishes, for sure.

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Serves 5-6

  • 4 cups chopped pumpkin (1 small pumpkin)
  • 1 red onion, chopped coarsely or in thick rings
  • 4 plump cloves garlic, chopped coarsely
  • 1-2 tbs olive oil (+a little extra for drizzling)
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  •  1 1/2 cups green, brown, or French lentils, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 medium head curly or dino kale, washed and chopped (or spinach, collards, or chard)
  • lemon juice or more balsamic vinegar for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • optional add-ins: sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted parsnips, etc

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

On a baking sheet, spread the chopped pumpkin, chopped onion (reserving a couple tablespoons), and garlic. Drizzle the olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the pumpkin mixture, tossing to coat.  Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp salt over it. Bake until tender, about 25-30 min.

Meanwhile, prepare the lentils: combine the lentils, water, and bay leaf in a saucepan, bring to a boil, and then let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

Also, steam the kale or other greens until bright green and soft.

When everything is done, assemble using lentils as the base and adding the greens and pumpkin on top. Add the remaining red onion (finely chopped), drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice/balsamic vinegar, and add salt and pepper to taste.

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Hippie Love Granola

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I am so excited to share this recipe with you. I pretty much just took all my favorite grains – lots of oats, quinoa, amaranth, millet, flax, and chia –  threw them into a bowl, and baked up a batch of…well, love. 🙂

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This granola is fantastic. So, so fantastic. I’ve been tossing it in with my overnight oats, or just as cereal (I do recommend using almond milk for cereal – the nuttiness really adds a lot). It’s a little on the crumbly side, so it works better as a cereal than as a trail mix.

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Note: I read a bunch of tutorials online on how to pop amaranth, but I couldn’t get it to work for me. I included the directions below in case you could get it to work, but this granola works great with the amaranth raw.

Note 2: You may see from the pictures that I forgot the nuts. It is tasty either way. 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup uncooked millet
  • 1/3 cup uncooked amaranth
  • 1/4 cup flax seed (I used 2 tbs ground, and 2 tbs whole, for the texture)
  • 1/4 oat bran (or other bran)
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (or other nut)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (or other nut)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (i LOVE cinnamon. Most people would probably use 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbs canola oil, or  coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup spiced apple cider
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract

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Directions

Preheat oven to 350. First pop the amaranth – heat a frying pan over medium heat, cover, and shake the pan a little until most of the amaranth has popped (like mini popcorn kernels). Then mix all dry ingredients (except nuts) together in a large mixing bowl. In a small bowl, mix all wet ingredients then add to dry ingredients. Adjust seasonings to taste. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, until almost golden. Remove from oven, flip the granola with a spatula, add the nuts, and return to oven. Bake for another 5-7 minutes until the nuts are toasted and the grains are golden.

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Winter Fruit ‘n’ Grains Parfait with Spiced Cider Maple Syrup

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Merry almost-Christmas! Here’s a simple but gourmet breakfast or brunch for you – of persimmon, pomegranate, squash, cranberries, and quinoa, dressed in a cider maple sauce.

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This is great if you have guests and want to serve them something a little fancier than pancakes, or even if you just want to do something a little fancier and seasonal for breakfast.

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‘Tis the season, after all…the season for persimmons….

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I am so obsessed with persimmons right now. They’re also a lot of fun to photograph. 😉 You’ll likely see lots more persimmon recipes in this space.

Also, this parfait uses many of the same ingredients from my last recipe.

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Ingredients

Makes 2 medium-size parfaits

  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa (I used red quinoa)
  • 1 medium pomegranate, or 1/2 small one (you’ll have some seeds left over), OR 2/3 cup pom seeds
  • 1 Fuyu persimmon
  • 1/2 cooked butternut squash
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, apricots, or raisins
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tbs maple syrup
  • cinnamon to taste
  • toasted almonds or pecans to top

Directions

To make the syrup, combine cider and maple in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and boil until the mixture has reduced to a syrup-y consistency. Note: you’ll have syrup left over. Then seed the pomegranates – a lovely tutorial is here. Assemble the parfaits in short, wide glasses. Or just mix everything in a bowl. TIP: I drizzled some syrup and cinnamon over the quinoa layers to add a little sweetness. Drizzle more syrup over the top of the parfait. See how lovely they are?

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Serve with tea or coffee.

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