Arugula Salad with Halibut, Pinto Beans & Veggies

I love salads. Especially when I just spent 14 days in Morocco eating bread with numerous meals (lots of healthy stuff happened, don't get me wrong, but bread is a staple over there). And yes, I ate the bread and yes, I liked it. And yes, I felt majorly bloated after the meal.

Anyway, here is a simple salad that will satisfy your tastebuds and also looks pretty nice on a plate. ;-) I used artichokes, avocado, pinto beans, olives, Persian cucumbers, but you can use whichever veggies you want - onions, tomatoes, carrots, or anything you fancy!

Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

Prep time: 10 minutes

Serves: 2 (or 2 meals for the single diner)

Ingredients: 2 frozen halibut fillets or of course you can use fresh (I buy from Whole Foods - open packs and let defrost overnight in the fridge) 1 T Olive oil ½ of lemon, squeezed Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste 2-3oz prepared package of arugula (about half a package or as much as you want!) 5 chopped artichoke hearts 1/4 chopped avocado 1/4 cup pinto beans (strained and rinsed) 1 Persian cucumber or 1/4 cup chopped regular cucumber 6 small black olives (I used black turkish olives) 1 1/2 T Olive oil (for dressing) 1/2 T Balsamic vinegar (for dressing) 1/2 lemon, squeezed (for dressing) Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper - topper

Cooking & Chopping: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put fish in a shallow dish and top with olive oil, white vinegar, and salt and pepper. Then place halibut on a cookie sheet with piece of foil (to save cleaning time) Once the oven is preheated, place halibut into the oven. Set timer for 25 minutes and chop up your salad toppings. Check the fish in 25 minutes - it should flake with a fork.

Place arugula in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper; place on plate. Top with your veggies. When halibut is cooked, remove and separate halibut from skin carefully with a spatula (unless you like the skin). Place about 5 ounces of halibut on top of your salad and top with a little fresh squeezed lemon and ground pepper. Put on a plate and eat up! Yum!

Greek(ish) Baked Mahi Mahi

Whenever I make mahi mahi I find it incredibly hard to find a recipe that I like and I'm not sure why this happens. With this recipe, I have solved my problem. This is my version of a Greek-style mahi mahi...if you add citrus fruit, olive oil and salt, you can make anything amazing. :) Cooking Time and Temp: 25 minutes at 425 degrees

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients: 2 wild mahi filets, (also, Whole Foods has a nice wild mahi in the freezer section) 1 t sea salt 1 t coarse ground pepper 10 chopped baby tomatoes 10 chopped black olives 1/4 chopped red onion lime juice of 1 lime 1/2 T olive oil 1/2 T white vinegar

Cooking & Chopping: Pre-heat oven to 425. Place tin foil on baking sheet and lightly brush with olive oil. Place fish on top and rub with olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Place in heated oven. Chop tomato, olive and onion and top with olive oil and vinegar.  Mix and set aside.

Cook fish for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and top with tomato mixture and cover lightly with foil. Cook 5 to 10 minutes longer until opaque and flaky. Remove and put over your favorite veggie or grain (I like a combination of 1/8 cup brown rice and sauteed onion and bell pepper) - photo below. For the veggies, coarsely chop and sauté in olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy!! Or if you want to get fancy, you can say it in Greek: καλή όρεξη

Toast for Breakfast

I usually eat a larger breakfast because I need it to last for a few hours, but if you are in a rush or simply don't want to spend 30 minutes preparing food, here are two options that make life easier. Both options are high in protein and healthy fats, so don't stress about eating carbs! #1: Toast with peanut butter or almond butter & banana Prep time: 3 minutes Serves: 1

Ingredients: 2 slices of Men's Bread  (freezer section of the health food store) or other whole wheat bread of your choice 1/2 banana, sliced 1 T peanut butter or almond butter (make sure ingredients are just the nut, and in some, salt) 1 t honey or maple syrup (organic is best) dash of cinnamon

Directions: Toast bread in the toaster. Spread with butter and top with half banana, honey and if you like, cinnamon. Take to go our enjoy at home!

#2: Toast with avocado, sea salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and lemon juice Prep time: 5 minutes Serves: 1

Ingredients: 2 slices of Men's Bread or other whole wheat bread of your choice (freezer section of the health food store) 1/2 avocado, sliced 1 t sea salt 1 t pepper 1/2 t red pepper flakes, optional 1/4 lemon, optional

Directions: Toast bread in the toaster. Slice avocado thinly or smash (however you like it) and sprinkle salt, pepper and red pepper on top. You can also squeeze a little bit of lemon on top, which gives it a nice tang.

Homemade Granola Bars w/ Almond Butter & Banana

I was pondering what to make for my client gifts this year...I knew I wanted to make something and wanted it to be healthy—there are enough sweets and extra calories being consumed around this time of year. One of my girlfriends suggested granola...now, I don't really like granola, but it definitely does make for a nice gift. My first issue was that I have never made granola and my second issue with this choice was the packaging, so I figured I would go one step ahead in my culinary feat by doing granola bars...you know, to make it just a bit more complicated. :)

I began my search with vegan granola bars, gluten free granola bars and cacao granola bars. Lots of these recipes call for different natural sugars, which is fine and sometimes necessary for the binding of ingredients, but I finally stumbled upon a bar that had no added sugar! Score! In the meantime, I had emailed myself four different recipes and proceeded to spend over 100 dollars in ingredients that I might use. Ugh. I have enough nuts and seeds to feed myself through another Sandy blackout. I figured I would just mix and match the recipes (NOTE: not a good idea when you haven't already made the recipe). Once I got home, I realized that I was being crazy, and decided on the simple recipe I found with a base of banana and almond butter.

The bars were super easy to make and required very little culinary skills, so I recommend this for anyone who wants to make something new as a snack for you yourself, family or even as a gift. I've given out many bars so far and have heard good reviews, so I'm gonna give myself a 9/10 and say they were a success. Remember, when making your own, you can swap out the nuts, seeds and fruit and kind of play with the recipe as you see fit—I made them a bit differently the second time around and both batches turned out nicely.

RECIPE

Prep Time: 25-30 minutes

Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients

1/2 cup almond butter

2 bananas, mashed

1/2 cup whole almonds

3/4 cup dried apricots or mixture of dried fruit of your choice

½ T of cacao powder

½ T ground flaxseed

½ T ground cinnamon

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or whatever you have on hand)

1 cup rolled oats

Cooking

Preheat oven to 350F. Line wide loaf tin or pyrex dish with parchment paper.

In a small pot, heat almond butter and mashed bananas on low. Stir gently until well combined. Set aside.

In a food processor, coarse chop the almonds and dried fruit (I found that with both nuts and fruit in the processor, that it didn't chop up properly, so I did them separately). Transfer to a bowl. Mix in cacao, flaxseed, cinnamon, seeds and oats. Fold in the almond butter mixture. Press the batter into prepared loaf tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Let cool for a couple hours before cutting into bars/squares. After about 30 minutes, I took the bars out and set on a cutting board to cool, then waited another hour or so.

PHOTOS

 

 

 

Chia Seed Pudding

The other night I was desperately searching for a dessert item in my kitchen, and unless I've purchased some raw dark chocolate from Organic Avenue, I typically don't have anything to find. I guess fruit is usually what I go for when craving sweets, but I was out of stock there, too. Then, I had an epiphany (ha ha) and remembered my chia seeds could be manipulated into something dessert-like, rather than their usual place in the smoothie. I searched online for a quick recipe and came across one that I liked, and then I changed it around a bit. Nutritional fun fact (taken from Andrew Weil's site): When added to water and allowed to sit for 30 minutes, chia forms a gel. Researchers suggest that this reaction also takes place in the stomach, slowing the process by which digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates and convert them into sugar (less sugar cravings and longer satiation). Yay!

Benefits of Chia Seeds:

  • rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds (chia is one of the most concentrated sources of omega-3 in any food)
  • rich in antioxidants
  • rich in fiber and nutrients - (25 grams give you 6.9 grams of fiber), calcium (18% daily value), phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc
  • high in omega-6
  • And...protein! :)

Ingredients

1/3 cup chia seeds

2 cups liquid of your choice - I used homemade cashew milk

1/2 T sweetener

Fruit, chopped (1/2 peach, 1/banana, 1 kiwi, or whatever you like)

2 t cinnamon

Directions:

Place chia seeds, water, and sweetener in a bowl that has an air-tight lid. Stir and cover. Put in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then stir again. The chia seeds will have become a gel. Put chopped fruit, a tad more sweetener and cinnamon and eat up! You can keep the pudding in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, but if you use a homemade nut milk, it will only last about 5 days (from when you made the milk).

Cashew Nut Milk

I've been really into almond milk, but recently had a latte with cashew nut milk, so I thought I would switch things up a bit. The almond milk has a somewhat acidic and bitter taste (I don't sweeten it) and the cashew has a more nutty, creamy consistency, which is a nice change. Ingredients:

1 cup organic, raw cashews soaked in filtered water, overnight (8 hours) 4 cups filtered water 1 T agave or another organic sweetener (optional)

Directions: Drain liquid from the nuts and rinse a few times with filtered water. Drain again. Place in blender with 4 cups of water and blend until smooth, maybe 2 minutes. Pour into a container and you're all set! I usually do about half this amount of nuts because I don't drink it every day, so make it for yourself or share with friends; they will be impressed with your skills!

Salmon & Mixed Veggie Salad

Salads are usually part of my daily routine, but there is always a way to make each one different - try changing up the greens (spinach, arugula or mixed greens) and always mix and match the veggies. Sometimes I put beans for protein instead of seafood, but my favorite version includes salmon. Just an FYI: I would normally put avocado in this salad, but unfortunately I ran out at breakfast and the ones in my kitchen aren't ripe yet. :( Also, I like to make two servings of fish, so that I can make dinner with the leftovers; tonight I will pair the extra salmon with some quinoa and sautéed spinach with garlic.  If you're cooking for two, just double the salad ingredients and split the salmon in half. Easy!

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Prep time: 10-15 minutes

Ingredients:

Wild salmon fillet (I usually do about 10 ounces so that I get two portions)

1 T Olive oil

½ of lemon, squeezed

½ T white wine vinegar

Himalayan sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

2-3oz prepared package of arugula (about half a package)

3 cremini mushrooms, chunked

½ large carrot, chopped

5 black olives, chopped

1 scallion, diced

¼ cup organic cheddar cheese (optional)

3/4 T Olive oil (for dressing)

1/2 lemon, squeezed (for dressing)

Himalayan sea salt and ground black pepper - topper

Cooking & Chopping:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place salmon on a cooking sheet with piece of foil (to save cleaning time) and top with olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper. Once the oven is preheated, place salmon into the oven. Set timer for 20 minutes and chop up your veggies. Place arugula and veggies in a bowl and toss with the olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper; place on plate. When salmon is cooked, remove and separate salmon from skin carefully with a spatula (unless you like the skin). Place about 4 ounces of salmon on top of your salad and top with a little fresh squeezed lemon and ground pepper.

Eat and enjoy!

Kale Chips

This is my yummy kale chip recipe - great for kale lovers and also those who say they don’t even like kale. These are better than any chip you can buy in a store…I promise! Once you eat one, you will eat the entire plate - make a lot of you plan on sharing! Preparation: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, cook for 10-15 minutes

  • Rinse kale, remove stems and dry completely in a salad spinner or dry off with paper towels; rip into 1-2 inch pieces
  • Put kale in a bowl and massage with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons) - make sure it’s coated completely, but not drenched
  • Spread kale on a cookie sheet covered in foil (if you’re lazy like me and don’t want to wash the sheet) and make sure the pieces aren’t on top of each other
  • Top with your favorite seasonings! For me this includes sea salt, sesame seeds, garlic powder and brewers yeast, but play around with your favorites or just keep it simple with salt and pepper!
  • Pop it in the oven and cook for 10-15 minutes depending on your oven - the first time you make these may be trial and error (the kale chips do burn, so watch them!)
  • Place on a plate on top of a paper towel to absorb some of the oil and enjoy right away! (if you plan to store them, wait an hour or two for them to cool off completely, and place into storage bins)
  • YUM!

Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato & Chickpea Sauce

With some simple ingredients and 30 minutes of your time, you've got yourself a whole new pasta sauce! Thank you to the April 2010 issue of the Vegetarian Times for this new recipe! You may ask yourself why this pasta sauce is new. Well, one of the key ingredients is chickpeas. Interesting, right? I typically use these suckers in salads and hummus and putting in a sauce would never have occurred to me. I guess I’m not as creative in the kitchen as I thought. Hmm. I don't know that a lot of people typically incorporate these beans in their recipes, but I love them! You'll be surprised by their nutty flavor and smooth texture—these little guys are a great addition to a tomato sauce. Also, with 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber (per one cup serving), they are really good for you! (This recipe serves 8.)

New Sauce 8 oz. (2 cups) sliced white or cremini mushrooms 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into chunks 1 large leek, white part cut into chunks 2 tablespoons olive oil 3 cloves garlic or more, minced (1 Tablespoon) 2 tablespoons dried oregano 2 teaspoons dried thyme 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes (try to buy a can with no added salt) 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz. can, rinsed and drained) 1/4 cup red wine 8 cups baby spinach leaves (you can get away with about 6 or less if you don't love spinach) 8 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (1/2 of a 1 pound package)

Place mushrooms, bell pepper, and leek in bowl of food processor. Pulse until ingredients are coarsely chopped. You can also just chop up the ingredients on a cutting board.

Heat oil in large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add mushroom mixture and garlic, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened and most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and wine, and season with sea salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach, and cook 3-5 minutes more, or until spinach has wilted.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain. Portion pasta into bowls and serve with sauce on top. You can also add about a half tablespoon of fresh parmesan to the top for flavor and presentation.