Coconut Lime Quinoa

IMG_2569It feels as if I’ve been hibernating during this long cold winter. Eating lots of soup and stews. Heavier comfort foods. So with the arrival of a few crocuses in my front garden and a huge magnolia tree by my neighbor’s house, I can officially come out of hibernation and enjoy the spring sunshine and cheerier spring foods. I always tell my clients to use March and April to transition from the richer, heartier winter foods to lighter salads, soups and raw foods and this is a perfect recipe for that.

This coconut lime quinoa side dish is zesty and bright and reminds me of the warm tropical flavors of the Caribbean. It’s just as easy to make as regular quinoa and the lime really stands out in this recipe. I like to make a big batch and store in my fridge for 3-4 days. Eat with roasted chicken or vegetables for a delicious spring supper!

Ingredients:

1 cup of quinoa
2 cups (1 can) coconut milk
Zest and juice of 1 lime

Method:

  1. Rinse quinoa with water in a sieve.
  2. Add quinoa and coconut milk to a small saucepan and simmer, covered, for about 12 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.
  3. Stir in the lime zest and juice at the end.

 

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Quick And Easy Vegetable Stock

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Thanks so much to Doug from The Kitchen Professor my guest blogger today for some great tips about how to make your own vegetable stock. This tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the store!

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I don’t know about you…

But I always seem to be out of vegetable stock whenever I need it.

There are some big advantages to making your own vegetable stock:
1. You won’t feel silly when you don’t have it and need it.
2. You can control the amount of salt, i.e. sodium, in your meal.
3. It is much cheaper to make your own stock than to buy it premade.

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Winter Brussels Sprouts Salad With Apples, Pecorino and Pine Nuts

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This month has been so much fun with all the holiday parties, brunches, school events and gatherings with friends of family. Lots of comfort food too and unfortunately a little bit too much sugar, alcohol and treats.

This salad was made out of a craving. A craving for crunch. A craving for raw vegetables. A craving for a simple lunch. A craving for something nutritious and easy in the middle of dark December.

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Two Ingredient Pancakes

IMG_5355My kids love pancakes and they beg me to make them most mornings of the week – even though I generally end up making oatmeal and smoothies and reserve pancake eating to the weekends. I try to make whole grain or buckwheat pancakes for them with bananas or other fruit but I recently found this super easy recipe that gets its natural sweetness from just a few bananas.

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Spaghetti Squash Lasagne Boats

Lasagne Boats

We had a wonderful week in North Carolina for Thanksgiving and we fortunate to be able to stay in a beautiful lake house in Lake Norman (thanks, Allison and family!) which had a huge and fantastic chef’s kitchen. I absolutely love cooking for crowds so I was in my element all week long.

The night before Thanksgiving, I decided to try out this recipe. Many members of the family are on a low-carb diet and I always like to try something new. When I saw this recipe in Cooking Light magazine, I knew I had to try it. I have a bit of a thing for spaghetti squash right now! This is a low carb and low fat meal.

I love how everything is piled into the spaghetti squash “boats” so that you can exercise some portion control (although you may be tempted to steal a bit from your neighbor’s plate during the meal) and you can serve it with a light side salad. It does take some prep work but it can easily be prepared for the family as a weeknight meal. You can make them vegetarian by simply omitting the ground turkey and replacing with some portabello mushrooms or eggplant for extra texture. Here’s my take on the recipe. I’ll definitely be making this again this month!

Ingredients:

  • 2 small to medium spaghetti squash (one half for each person)
  • 1 pack lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms – preferably baby bella
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or basil
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. (You can prepare the squash in advance if you’d like) Cut each squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds.
  3. Place squash halves, cut sides up, on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes. Scrape inside of squash with a fork to remove spaghetti-like strands.
  4. Wrap strands on a clean dish towel and squeeze until barely moist. This is a necessary step or the spaghetti squash boats will be really watery. Place spaghetti squash halves (or “boats”) onto a baking sheet.
  5. Heat a large skillet/frying pan over medium-high heat. Make the spinach-mushroom topping. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook until soft. Add the spinach and cook briefly (1 minute) until it wilts.
  6. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach and mushrooms with the spaghetti squash strands, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper, and half of mozzarella cheese.
  7. Make the tomato sauce: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add the turkey and cook until browned. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds.  Add the can of tomatoes and oregano and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
  8. Increase oven temperature to 425°.
  9. Spoon tomato-turkey sauce evenly into the bottom of each squash half. Top evenly with squash-spinach-mushroom mixture. Sprinkle evenly with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes.
  10. To brown the tops of the squash, broil/grill squash for 1-2 minutes under a high broiler/grill.

 

Pumpkin Protein Powerballs

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It’s that time of the year and pumpkins are everywhere. I have really grown to love pumpkins since I’ve been living in the USA and now proudly make pumpkin soups, smoothies and my famous pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving every year.

For a healthy snack, these pumpkin protein powerballs are a big hit in my house. They have been with me everywhere recently from the playground to coffee dates with my friends. They aren’t too sweet and have just the right amount of pumpkin flavor in them. Plus they have added protein making them a great snack after a run or workout when you need an energy boost. These powerballs are dairy free and gluten free and are perfect if you are trying to eat clean or detox. My kids love them for an after school snack when they get a bit grumpy and “hangry.”

The ingredients are simple: pumpkin puree, protein powder, chia seeds, oats and spices. They are simple to make and you can have a batch stored in your fridge all week for impromptu nibbling.

Tip: you can even make these into a tasty breakfast too by mashing everything into a small container. Try half for a delicious filling breakfast which is a super start to your day!

Ingredients

1 cup organic pumpkin puree
1 cup organic rolled oats
4 scoops chocolate or vanilla protein powder (I love Shaklee’s protein powder)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon chia seeds

Method

  • Mix everything together in a large bowl.
  • Form into small balls and place onto a plate.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Warming Winter Chicken And Chorizo Stew

Warming Winter Chicken and Chorizo StewWell here we are at the end of February and there is still a foot of snow in my garden and I don’t think I’ve seen the grass for a whole month! It’s very beautiful but I’m tired of the subzero temperatures and am yearning for warming days.

Every cloud has a silver lining as they say and this winter I’ve really embraced my slow cooking and oven as I make lots of batches of soup and stews for the family. My Spanish friend brought over some wonderful chorizo for me to cook with and so I immediately got to work with this stew. It’s a type of stew that I had many times when I was living in Spain in my early 20s: tomatoes, beans, chicken, chorizo and spices. It’s simple but warms you up on any snowy winter’s day.

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