light, fresh, nutritious. everything a summer meal should be, right? this salad reminds me a lot of my last recipe (chicken & orzo salad with herb lemon vinaigrette or orzo stuffed peppers) but it’s meat free and packed with protein. it’s equally customizable, though. if i had a vegetable garden out back, i imagine i’d throw together whatever i picked fresh (zucchini, peppers, squash, tomatoes, peas, etc.) with whatever whole grain i had on hand at the time.
i cooked up a big batch of this salad and ate it a different way almost every day - once as a side with dinner, once as a quick snack from the fridge, another time for lunch on a bed of spinach (GBG = greens, beans & grains!).
1/2 c. quinoa (uncooked)
one can cannelini beans (15.5 oz)
1 small summer squash, shredded
2 plum tomatoes
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 large cucumber, diced
2-3 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt & ground black pepper to taste
3-4 fresh basil leaves
done with the collecting? time for the doing!
first thing’s first: get your quinoa cooking and wash those veggies.
follow the instructions on your box of quinoa, but in case you bought in bulk or want to know the quick rule of thumb with this great grain, just remember this: 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa. dump it all in a pot, bring to a boil and then let it simmer until all of the water is absorbed. easy peasy!
next up, rinse your beans (until there’s no white foamy bubbles - that’s how you’ll know you’ve gotten rid of some of the salt!) and chop/grate/dice/slice those veggies. i shredded the zucchini because i like the texture and vinaigrette-soaking abilities. i diced up the tomatoes/pepper/cuke, as well, and did a quick chiffonade (rolling and slicing into a ribbon) with the fresh basil.
throw all that into a big mixing bowl and in a smaller bowl, whisk together your oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. pour it on top of the veggies and quinoa in the big bowl and toss everything together.
and just. like. that. you’re done! enjoy it and soak up the last month of summer :)
click here for a printable version of the recipe!
okay so i figured the title of this post might scare you off, but i promise. this is one of the most delicious breakfast breads (or muffins) that i’ve ever had. and the best part is that after you eat it, you don’t have to feel guilty for eating a 600 calorie sugar bomb that makes you miserable for the rest of the day. win-win, right?!
things that make this banana blueberry bread healthier are that it uses: no oil, no butter, no sugar and it DOES use whole wheat flour. plus, it’s jam-packed with fruit, whole grains and even some healthy fats in the form of optional walnuts.
if you haven’t run away yet… congratulations! now you get to see how EASY the recipe is and make a loaf or some muffins for yourself. you’ll thank me later.
3 bananas (the riper the better!)
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/3 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 Tablespoons agave nectar
2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup blueberries
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped (optional)
(now that you’re done with the collecting, let’s move onto the doing! …have you missed me saying that?)
to get started, preheat your oven (do you like our brand spankin’ new one?! so many colors!) and spray your 9x5 loaf pan (or muffin tin) with nonstick spray.
mash up your bananas in a large bowl (i went with the potato masher method) until they’re nice and gloppy (sorry for the unappetizing adjective). next up, add your lemon juice, agave, almond milk and apple sauce and stir it all up. set this bowl to the side for a hot second.
in a medium bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. then pour it into the big bowl and stir until everything is well-combined.
once everything is mixed together, fold in your blueberries and walnuts until they’re evenly distributed. pour the batter into your loaf pan and pop it into your 350-degree oven for 45-50 minutes. the bread will be nice and light brown on top and a toothpick should come out clean from the middle.
let it cool for 15-20 minutes, slice and enjoy!
click here for a printable version of the recipe!
if you don’t like shrimp… i’m sorry. for the second time in three days, i’m sharing a shrimp recipe. but hot dang is this one delicious! i simplified and adjusted a recipe i saw on how sweet it is. i just can’t get over how many different flavors and textures there were in this dinner and it was so out of the norm from regular chicken, pasta, etc. dishes. everything tasted so fresh and bright and worked really well together and i can’t wait to have this dinner again.
since i was preparing the dish for one, i had some extra produce left over at the end and while there is still 1/2 an onion and 1/2 a mango in my fridge, that’s it. i used the leftover 1/2 avocado, 1/2 tomato and 1/8 onion to make a little bit of guacamole on the side by mashing it together with some lime juice, salt, pepper and minced garlic. i also whipped up one serving of brown rice and mixed in some extra mango chunks and you guessed it… spritzed some lime on top.
my plate was so colorful, fun and NOT BORING!
1 cup shelled, deveined shrimp
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoons flour
pinch of kosher salt, ground black pepper & garlic powder
1/4 mango, chopped
1/2 plum tomato, chopped
1/8 large, sweet yellow onion, chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped
2 small tortillas
[this serves one person two tacos]
the shrimp cooks super quickly, so i’d do all the prep work in advance so you can just assemble and go! first, i put my rice on the stove since that takes the longest. but that’s just a side dish and doesn’t count, so i won’t talk about it anymore…
i chopped up the tomato, avocado, mango, onion and luckily my lettuce was pre-shredded. i assembled a colorful little plate and set it aside.
next, make sure the shrimp are totally dry and sprinkle on both sides with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. then lightly dredge them in the flour on both sides.
heat a skillet with the olive oil and cook the shrimp for about two minutes on either side. then remove them from the pan and let them drain on a paper towel.
warm your tortillas and begin assembling! layer all the chopped fruits/veggies, spritz with some lime juice.
i then wrapped mine up like a burrito, plated my sides and proceeded to enjoy this fun dinner VERY much!
click here for a printable version of the recipe!
i just had twizzlers for lunch and feel sort of gross - i cant wait to make a real dinner this evening and have real leftovers and food in my fridge for the rest of the week. post-work grocery run can’t come soon enough! i feel sort of blah after the entire 2011 beanpot, a very sore stiff neck and trouble sleeping. i think some kitchen experiments tonight and warm weather tomorrow will be just the ticket!
after i posted my recipe for crispy potato wedges, i got a couple suggestions/requests that i do a similar recipe with sweet potato fries. instead of just substituting one potato for another, i changed the recipe a little bit to complement the sweet potato’s orange, sweet, vitamin-packed goodness.
they’re a little sweet but can still be partnered up with a savory dinner with no second thoughts. the sauce, on the other hand, was born from leftover ingredients in my fridge and it kicks up the sweetness factor even more. i might suggest the sauce only if you’re serving these puppies as an appetizer or something when you’re watching a game.
hey look, i remembered to photograph the ingredients this time! sadly, no microsoft paint drawings coming your way.
(for the sweet potato fries)
1 large sweet potato
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon maple syrup
(for the maple cinnamon dipping sauce)
1 Tablespoon nonfat greek yogurt (i chose honey, which made it even sweeter)
1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup
dash of ground cinnamon
once you’re all set collecting, let’s move onto the doing.
preheat your oven to 400 degrees. then, scrub and dry your potato. remove any blemishes with a vegetable peeler.
to get the “fry” shape, cut your potato, lengthwise, into four slices. then slice each of the potato slices into 4-5 french fry-shaped sticks.
toss them into a mixing bowl and drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup on top. mix around to coat the potatoes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper and cinnamon. toss around some more so everything is evenly coated.
then, lay them flat on a baking sheet in a single layer. bake in the 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. then, flip over the potatoes and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
while they’re baking, combine the yogurt, maple syrup and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix together with a fork until the ingredients are combined. set aside (or in the fridge if it’s going to be awhile).
when the potatoes are done (golden brown, slightly crisp, but tender), remove them from the oven. serve with the dipping sauce and enjoy!
mmmm! click here for a printable version of the recipe!
also, just a side note… is this a bad sign if the other remaining sweet potato in your kitchen looks like this? i think it’s pretty.
growing up, my parents made sure that valentine’s day was special. hand-picked cards from my dad, treats and presents from my mom and constant reminders that the day is to tell the people you love how much you love them always made me love february 14. as time goes on, i feel like people get increasingly bitter about cupid’s holiday. unreal expectations, loneliness or pity parties have no place on my valentine’s day!
just as the quote i posted earlier from love actually, i think it’s important to remember that valentine’s day doesn’t have to be strictly reserved for romantic love. and while i think it’s important to make people feel loved on valentine’s day, know they’re appreciated on thanksgiving or special on their birthday, don’t forget to do these things every day.
in addition to valentine’s brunch with my friends yesterday, a BRIGHT PINK manicure and pedicure yesterday and wearing pink and red today, i wanted to spread some valentine cheer with cookies. obviously. i took the same sugar cookie recipe i used when i made holiday stars and candy canes in december, but took a different approach to the decorating. i must say that they took a while to chill, roll out, bake, decorate and cool. and i did whine a bunch in between each frosting shift… but in the end, i think they’re bright, fun and a sweet treat for the day.
1/2 batch sugar cookie recipe
2 cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon meringue powder
2 Tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
make the sugar cookies, according to the recipe. roll the dough out and use heart-shaped cookie cutters to shape them. let them cool completely on a wire cooling rack before you attempt to frost them.
while the cookies are cooling, get started on the icing. mix together the powdered sugar, meringue powder, water and almond extract using an electric mixer for five or so minutes until it thickens up.
divide the icing into separate cups or bowls based on how many different colors you plan to use. add food coloring to each and load up your piping bag.
carefully outline the shape of your cookie before flooding inside the outline. repeat for each color you’re decorating with.
originally i was planning to do 4-5 colors and making them look like necco conversation hearts, but after cleaning the piping bag and going through each step, watching the clock near midnight, i got far less ambitious.
if you want to do a glaze to go under some festive pink, red or heart-shaped sprinkles, take any remaining white frosting and add another 1-2 Tablespoons of water. whisk until it’s runny and more of a glaze.
dip the tops of the cookies in the glaze and then flip them upright to dry on the cooling rack. while they’re still wet, sprinkle the glittery stuff on top.
let the cookies dry overnight before packaging. as i was advised… you’ll think they’re dry before then. they’re not.
spread the love! happy valentine’s day, everyone :)
ps: click here for a printable version of the recipe(s)!