Mexican Cucumber Salad

Mexican Cucumber Salad

Everyone keeps talking about it being the “end of the summer.”

Shhh… no, it’s NOT the end of the summer. It’s the height of the summer!

It’s the best time of the year when amazing things like peppers, zucchini, cucumber, greens, peaches, and herbs in season! Nope, it’s not the end, my friends… I think it’s just the beginning. (Okay, not really, but just go with me on this one…)

I’ve been really bored of my lunches lately. If you’ve been in a food rut too, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I typically opt for a simple salad during the weekdays (you can see my Healthy Trader Joe’s Meal Plan for tips and ideas), but lately I’ve been bored of my classic mix of greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, and balsamic vinegar.

So, I decided to take everything in season and put it together in a yummy salad tossed with a little salt and cumin. Yes! You can add beans to this salad to make it a hearty vegetarian/vegan entree or serve it alongside a protein source of your choice. Either way, it’s a quick and easy way to break up the food rut and excite your taste buds.

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Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad

Summer Heirloom Tomato Salad

One of the best parts about life is experiencing new things. It’s so easy for us to get stuck in our ways, caught up in the routine of the day-to-day and forget all that exists outside of our comfort zone.

This week I challenged myself to do something a little different. The result? I’m now in love with Bollywood dancing. I joined a dance studio here in Seattle and have been trying out Bollywood and hip hop classes. So far, Bollywood is winning in my book… mostly because I can’t seem to pop my hips and shoulders like a hip hop dancer. :)

You know what else I tried this week? A summer heirloom tomato salad mixed with fruit. Yum. Maybe I can’t convince to try Bollywood dancing (it is fun though, I promise), but perhaps you can be persuaded to break the inevitable food rut and enjoy some heirloom tomatoes as well?

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Broccoli Spigarello with Garlic and Pine Nuts

Broccoli Spigarello with Garlic and Pine Nuts

I have a pretty good idea of what you must be thinking at this point… what the heck is spigarello?  Don’t worry, I found myself thinking the same thing at last week’s farmers market.

One of my favorite parts of living in Seattle is the amazing diversity of produce we have here. Over the years I’ve challenged myself to “cook outside my comfort zone” by trying a new vegetable when I find something that I’m unfamiliar with at the market and then experimenting with the best ways to prepare it. This week’s challenge was spigarello.

Broccoli spigarello is native to southern Italy and is completely different from broccoli, broccolini, or broccoli rabe (in fact, they’re not even in the same family). I love broccoli so I have no problem with its sometimes bitter taste, but spigarello is an entirely different story. The best way I can describe the taste is the sweetness of broccoli combined with the leaves of kale.

Let’s just say I instantly fell in love. And when you combine it with a little bit of garlic, toasted pine nuts, salt and pepper? Well that’s just my version of heaven.

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Berry Salad with Sweet Chipotle Dressing

Berry Salad with Sweet Chipotle Dressing

I can’t believe we’re now at the end of June. This means it’s time to get serious about summer. And that means it’s time to eat lots of berries.

I would be a fruitaholic if I could be so I try to stick to fresh, local, and seasonal fruits as much as possible to keep my sugar intake low and get the most nutritional value. And right now in Seattle, it’s berry season.

This salad was inspired by a half-flat of fresh local strawberries from the farmers’ market. If you’ve never had fresh local strawberries, they will absolutely blow your mind. I promise that these are nothing like the large, slightly bitter, and air-y strawberries at the grocery store. No way. Local strawberries picked at their peak are small, deep red, tender, and incredibly sweet.

What could be better than pairing these local berries with fresh greens? Topping them with a sweet honey chipotle dressing, of course. As strange as it may sound, the spiciness from the chipotle dressing livens up this salad and adds something unexpected.

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Sautéed Greens with Mushrooms

Greens3

When you start a new job, there are few thoughts that might go through your head…

  • Did I already meet this person? I think I did. No, wait, I totally didn’t. I’m still unsure. Should I just introduce myself anyway? Shoot, now they’re walking away…
  • How do you work a copier again?
  • Why. am. I. so. hungry. ?
  • (receive an email from John)… John? Wait, who’s John again?
  • Why isn’t it lunchtime already?
  • Seriously? No one uses a reusable mug? I wonder how many paper cups this office goes through daily… 
  • Would it be totally weird if I pulled out my green smoothie mason jar right now? Maybe I should just do it anyway?

Ah, the joys of starting a new job.

My favorite part of being in a new job is trying to figure out the office culture, especially when it comes to food. I’m not gonna lie here, I’ve always been the office weirdo when it comes to food. It usually doesn’t take long for me to bring a green smoothie to a meeting or pull out a giant container of zucchini spaghetti at lunch and forever be branded “the healthy one.” Sometimes this is a term of endearment. And sometimes it’s just plain not.

My strategy for surviving the week I started my new job included having lots of healthy foods prepped and ready for dinner so I wouldn’t be temped by any unhealthy (but probably way more convenient) options. My meal options for the week included Coconut Crusted Salmon alongside these amazing braised mushroom greens.

And for dessert? Why, this spring detox green smoothie of course. Just because I’m weird like that. :)

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Quick Pickled Beets

Quick Pickled Beets

You know what’s funny about this time of year? The days are still dark, short, and cold, but I can sense spring in the air.  And for some reason, spring always makes me crave salads. So even though it’s a little early, let’s talk about salads, shall we?

If you love salads as much as I do, you should try my Roasted Fennel and Spring Vegetable Salad and I would definitely encourage you to top your salad with my Green Goddess Salad Dressing (it’s vegan!).

You know what else I love on my salads? Beets. I usually roast them, but I’ve been craving something tangy so I decided to create some quick pickled beets by marinating them overnight in apple cider vinegar with a little garlic and onions. Yum. Whether you’re a beet-lover or a beet-hater, this is the perfect way to top your salads this season!

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Curried Cauliflower and Yams

Curried Cauliflower and Yams

There is a reason Rachel McAdams movies exist.

Rachel McAdams movies exist because sometimes, on a random Wednesday evening, you just need a good cry. And there is nothing that gets the tears flowing like watching The VowThe Notebook, or The Time Travelers Wife.

A night like this might also call for a glass of red wine, some good chocolate, or perhaps a fuzzy blanket and cat snuggles.

And when you’re really an emotional mess? I recommend roasted vegetables. I mean, a gal’s gotta eat and something full of fiber just makes sense in a situation like this.

Plus, when you combine the vegetables with curry powder and turmeric? It’s the perfect balance of flavor and flair. It helps, I promise. 

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Brussels Sprouts with Onions and Pecans

Brussels Sprouts with Onions and Pecans

Dear Kelly,

I feel like we’ve been friends for awhile now… and so I can say this with love. 

I mean, we’ve known each other since before this blog started. That was back when I had really bad hair and very little knowledge of how to actually cook. And through the years you have been one of my most dedicated blog readers, which is incredibly touching and flattering. I love that you frequently cook my recipes and always share feedback. You are awesome.

Except, well… except for that time you made my grain-free zucchini (and cabbage) yakisoba, reheated it in your office microwave… and tried to blame ME for the awful smell it made.

I don’t know how, but somehow, somehow, you didn’t get the memo to never reheat cruciferous vegetables in the microwave. Especially at work. 

Ooh, Kelly. That’s a big no-no. 

I’m really sorry. I’m also sorry that your co-workers made a video about it, put it on Vine, and now call you Smelly Kelly. That’s really not cool (although it is hilarious and I fall over laughing every time I think about it).

But, don’t worry, I got your back. I made Brussels sprouts with onions and pecans this week and I’m posting a warning here on this recipe so you never forget: do not reheat cruciferous vegetables in the microwave. You are welcome.

And happy early birthday.

Your friend,

Sonnet… 

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