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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Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

 

Are you getting enough veggies in your diet? Sorry to have to play Fiber Patrol, but somebody’s got to… right?

One of the things I love and appreciate most about summer is the variety of seasonal vegetables. The farmers market is always overflowing this time of year with a variety of produce and with the heat, I personally love to enjoy my veggies raw.

Today I’m excited to be partnering with French’s Yellow Mustard to bring you four #NaturallyAmazing delicious dressings and dips which are perfect for seasonal picnics and grill-outs!

French’s yellow mustard starts with farm-grown, whole mustard seeds and select herbs and spices (including turmeric). French’s is 100% natural, gluten-free and kosher and it has 0 calories. Unlike some mustards, there’s nothing artificial: no preservatives, fillers or thickeners. French’s is naturally amazing and is the preferred mustard for your favorite summer foods. From flavorful marinades to tangy salad dressings, French’s yellow mustard brings wholesome goodness and fresh taste to your table. Awesome.

Now let’s make some dressings and dips for summer!

This post was brought to you by the makers of French’s Yellow Mustard. I received compensation to write this post through the French’s Naturally Amazing Program, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

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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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How To Make Zucchini Pasta With a Mandoline Slicer

How To Make Zucchini Pasta with a Mandoline Slicer

How To Make Zucchini Pasta with a Mandolin

Some of my favorite tutorials on my blog involve making (grain-free and gluten-free!) zucchini pasta. Last year I created two different tutorials to show how to make  spaghetti from zucchini and how make zucchini fettuccine.

There are a couple of different tools you can use to make zucchini pasta but I typically use my spiralizer (pictured above on the right). The one that I own is a plastic spiralizer by Paderno World Cuisine that I ordered from Amazon in 2009. I’ve found that it’s easy to use, easy to clean, and has lasted a really long time.

A lot of folks who stop by my website are excited about this and want to make zucchini pasta, however, they don’t want to have to buy a spiralizer. As a minimalist myself, I completely understand the hesitation you might have before buying another piece of kitchen equipment. And this is exactly why I created this tutorial.

If you want to make zucchini pasta, but just don’t think you’d have enough uses for a spiralizer, then a mandoline slicer is going to be your new best friend. I became acquainted with mandolin slicers many, many years ago when I worked in a raw foods kitchen. A mandoline (pictured above on the left) is used for slicing and cutting vegetables and fruits. You slide the vegetable or fruit along the surface blade and it allows you to slice the food quickly, uniformly, and much thinner than if you were using a knife.

I’ve had my mandoline for a couple of years now and when I’m doing large amounts of prep, it definitely saves me time in the kitchen. The mandoline I own is OXO Good Grips V-Blade slicer that I purchased off Amazon. I’ve used several different mandolines and this one is my favorite because it comes with a few different blades and it has a food holder with a handle that you can use to slice the fruits and veggies so you don’t have to worry about slicing your fingers on the blades (the old-school mandoline models don’t have this feature so beware).

Once you have a mandoline, making zucchini pasta couldn’t be easier! So let me show you how to make zucchini pasta with a mandoline slicer!

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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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3 Simple Ways to Reduce Kitchen Waste

3 Simple Ways to Reduce Kitchen Waste

April is one of my favorite months because I love the start of spring. I mean, what’s not to love about spring cleaning, fresh greens coming into season, and Earth Day reminding all of us to continue our efforts in more sustainable living?

This month I’ve been focusing my sustainability efforts on reducing waste. It’s amazing how much waste can come out of one kitchen and if you don’t live in area with access to compost, this really adds up! One of the other perks about reducing kitchen waste when it comes to food is that it can definitely save you money so it’s a win-win all around.

My goal on this blog is to provide you with simple, doable steps to improve your health, lifestyle, and overall wellbeing. With this in mind, I wanted to share a post showing you some simple ways to reduce kitchen waste by using all parts of your vegetables. Today we’re going to focus on the three worst offenders: beets, radishes, and broccoli. So here we go!

3 Simple Ways to Reduce Kitchen Waste

#1. Beets

In my opinion, beets and beet greens are one of the most under-appreciated vegetables of all time. Even though I’m usually pretty good at converting beet-haters into beet-lovers, most people simply don’t use their beet greens! It makes me so sad to see these going to waste in the compost bin because they’re a wonderful source of vitamins and minerals, including iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Beet leaves can be substituted for chard or spinach in any recipe and they also make a great substitute for kale or collard greens. Try blending a few raw greens into smoothies, sautéing them with onions, or adding them to soups!

My favorite beet greens recipe? Try these Sesame Roasted Beets and Greens!

Sesame Roasted Beets and Greens

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Spring Detox Smoothie

Spring Detox Smoothie

I have made a lot of green smoothies in my time. Seriously. A lot. I’m talking a green smoothie every day for the past seven years. That’s a lot of smoothies.

It all started back in 2007 when I was working at a raw foods cafe. I probably made over 10,000 green smoothies during that time. And that’s not even including green smoothies for me.

I used to rely on my Green Smoothie 2.0 recipe. This was my go-to standard smoothie for years.

Then came some fun green smoothie variations. Including my Kale and Pear Smoothie with Herbs and my Energizing Green Smoothie, which uses green tea for an energizing antioxidant boost. Yum!

Somewhere in there I became a holistic health coach and started encouraging others to make green smoothies of their own. (Are you a green smoothie newbie? I made a Green Smoothie 101 Video Tutorial just for you!) 

I also spent the past three and a half years years working at a nonprofit organization doing food education with low-income children and families. The best part? I got to share my Kale Smoothie for Kids with hundreds of kids all around the city of Seattle. I’m really gonna miss that job.

Then came my Kale Smoothie for Ladies. This one combines kale with potassium-rich bananas, hormone-balancing maca powder, and cacao powder (because… who doesn’t love chocolate?!) for a delicious, creamy treat.

Recently I even developed a low-sugar smoothie, perfect for those needing to cut back on fructose. The result? A creamy Fruit-Free Green Smoothie that uses avocado and cucumber as the base.

This week I found myself reflecting on the different smoothies I’ve made throughout my life. Just like the weather, I usually switch up my smoothie 3 – 4 times a year to coincide with the seasons and meet the needs of what I’m craving.

Since we’re now into spring I thought it was time to create a new smoothie using all the fresh greens available. This smoothie is a slightly spicy blend of arugula, kale, pea shoots, and micro greens, combined with avocado, cucumber, lemon, and a little coconut water for sweetness. It’s low in sugar, high in fiber, and the perfect way to add more greens into your diet this season. Hello spring detox smoothie!

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