Saturday, May 24, 2014

Pasta with a Heirloom Tomatoes and Lemon Basil Sauce

Let me start by saying, I am not a huge pasta fan.  I know, I know....I'm crazy. To be honest, I'm not even sure when this, let's call it "ambivalence", began (I was a HUGE pasta eater as a child). In the two years Stephen and I have been married, I think I've made pasta a grand total of 3 times? Unfortunately, (fortunately?) Stephen IS a pasta lover, and so a few months ago I broke down and decided to try out a simple lemon pasta recipe.  It sounded easy and really light (huge lemon fan, right here) and so I gave it a go.  It. Was. Amazing.  Stephen has now requested that pasta on an, almost, weekly basis, a winner for sure (also, it takes all of 10 minutes. Seriously).  And, it is just as good cold the next day for lunch (which is equally as important).  Here is what you will need:

Serving size: 2 


About two fist-fulls of pasta (that is not a standard measurement, but lets just go with it)
About a cup of loosely packed basil
1 cup almond milk
The zest and juice of one lemon
About 2-3 small heirloom tomatoes


Boil the pasta as per instructions (making sure to season the water with salt).  Then, in a food processor, blend the basil, almond milk, lemon juice and zest, and salt and pepper to taste. 

Once the pasta is done, simply dish into a bowl and cover with the sauce.  Then add in your tomatoes and you're finished! How easy was that?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Vegan Breakfast Bowl

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week! We had my parents in town, moved, Stephen went out of town, and then his parents came into town! All within a week period! So fun, but definitely no room for blogging.  Anyways, today I experimented with this breakfast bowl.  Since I am usually out the door by 7:00 am each morning, it's important that I get a good breakfast to keep me awake and energized.  This yummy bowl does just that.  It has an oatmeal base (with chia seeds!) and a homemade granola topping.  As for the fruit, you can pretty much add anything you want.  I went with frozen mango, fresh raspberries, and dark chocolate pieces.  See? Healthy AND delicious!  Who wouldn't want chocolate for breakfast? Here is what you will need:

Oatmeal base:

1/3 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 TBS. chia seeds
1 small banana (or half of a large one)
1/2 mango (this is totally optional but I liked the sweetness it added)


1 cup puffed rice
3 cups cooked quinoa
3/4 cup honey
1/2 sesame seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 TBS. vanilla extract

In a small bowl add the rolled oats, coconut milk, vanilla extract, and chia seeds and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 min, or overnight. While you are waiting for your oats to soak, cook 1 cup dry quinoa in 3 cups water (or per package instructions).  Pre heat oven to 350. Once the quinoa is cooked, combine with puffed rice, honey, sesame seeds, chopped almonds, and chopped walnuts and vanilla extract.  On a cooking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper to avoid a sticky mess) evenly distribute the mixture.   Cook for 35-45 minutes (I re-distributed the mixture midway through to ensure even cooking). While the granola is cooking, add the oatmeal mixture into a blender along with the banana (and mango).  Once the granola has finished cooking, assemble your breakfast bowl!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Salmon Burgers with Pineapple BBQ Sauce

As the primary cook of our little family, I'm always on the hunt for new recipes to experiment with (salad and quinoa can get boring after a while). Since I work full-time during the week, I love to plan at least one meal that is a little "over-the-top", and completely different from our usual round-up, to make on the weekend.  Lately, this meal has been Sunday dinner.  When I saw a recipe for a Hawaiian Salmon Burger (here), I was so excited to make my own version and knew that it would be perfect for a quick after church lunch!  I love that this is full of healthy fats from the salmon and the avocado, and it's jam-packed with flavor! Seriously, the BBQ sauce for this is mind blowing.  My personal tip, toast the hamburger buns!  Something about charr marks on bread really gets my taste buds going.  Here is what you will need:

Serving Size: Makes 4
Cook time: about 30 minutes total


1 LB. of skinless salmon
1 bunch of cilantro
2 TBS lime juice
1/2 cup BBQ sauce of your choosing
2 TBS. pineapple juice
1 fresh/ripe avocado
1 head of Iceberg (or butter) lettuce
1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 TBS parmesan cheese
4 Hamburger Buns of your choosing


Combine BBQ sauce, pineapple juice, cilantro, and lime juice in a bowl and set aside.  In a food processor quickly pulse the salmon meat together (it should be skinless). In another bowl, combine the panko, parmesan, and two TBS of the BBQ mixture (previously set aside) with the salmon and form 4 burger patties (if your mixture is too dry, feel free to add a bit more of the sauce). Reserve the remaing BBQ sauce for topping the burgers later.  On a grill (or pan) cook the salmon patties for 3-4 minutes on each side (make sure to coat the pan/grill with either PAM or Butter/Coconut oil).   About halfway through cooking the burgers, cut the buns in half, coat with butter, and place on the grill (this helps them get nice and toasty). Once the burgers are done, layer bun, lettuce, pattie, and mashed avocado then add a drizzle of BBQ!

Sunday, April 27, 2014


I was first introduced to Chilaquiles by my sweet mother-in-law (thanks, Cheri!) about two years ago. Up until then, I had never even heard of Chilaquiles, much less tasted them.  But once I heard that they consisted of pretty much everything I love in a Mexican dish (cheese, chips, and more cheese) I knew immediately they were going to be a favorite.  And I was right! Unfortunately, since we moved to DC, we haven't been able to have her version.  And so, I decided it was high time I tried to figure out my own!  These are easy to throw together (30 minutes tops) and super delicious!  Here is what you will need:


1/2 sweet onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced 
3 TBS olive oil
1 14 oz can of yellow corn
1 cup black beans
1 4oz. can of green chiles
1 1/5 cup chicken broth
1 jalapeño diced
1 avocado
5 grape tomatoes halved
2 TBS Adobo sauce
1 bunch of cilantro
Cacique queso fresco (to taste)
14 oz. crushed tortilla chips


Preheat oven to 375.  In a thick bottomed pan, sauteé the diced onion and garlic cloves for about 5 minutes.  Then, add the corn and jalapeño and continue cooking for another 5-8 minutes.  Add in the beans, corn, adobo sauce and chicken broth and let simmer for about 8 minutes.  Once the corn is soft, begin adding the crushed tortilla chips one handful at a time, making sure to completely coat each batch before adding more (Reserve a few to add later).  Once you have added your tortilla strips, add the remaining handful to the top and sprinkle with cacique cheese. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes (or until the cheese has completely melted).  NOTE: about halfway through you can add the halved tomatoes. I prefer adding them towards the end so they don't become over cooked.  Remove from stove and top with avocado and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Vegan (flourless) Peanut Butter and Chocolate Brownie

For some reason I have had a serious craving for brownies this week. I knew I wanted something flourless (so they would be super dense and chocolatey) but I also wanted a healthy twist so that I could enjoy them guilt-free.  After compiling a ton of various recipes (thank you Pinterest), I decided to combine the elements I liked from each and make my own version.  Not only are these beauties vegan, but they are the perfect way to satisfy a chocolate craving. So go ahead, eat a couple... I know I will!

 Here is what you will need:
2 cups walnuts
2 cups dates (I used Medjool)
1/3 cup almonds (whole)
1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces
3/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder (I used ghiradelli)
2 TBS. honey


In a food processor, pulse the walnuts until they form a flour-like consistency.  Then, add in the almonds and pulse about 4-5 times (or until they are in chunky pieces).  Next, add in the rest of the ingredients and pulse until combined.  Pour the mixture into an 8X8 baking dish (lined with parchment paper for easy removal) spread evenly and press down with a spoon.  Place the plan in the fridge for at least an hour.  

Once solidified, top with peanut butter (I combined mine with a few TBS of hot water to get a runny consistency) and melted chocolate (I melted mine in the microwave using 20 second intervals. Make sure to watch carefully and stir in between.  Once all the pieces are almost melted, remove and stir until the mixture reaches silky smooth consistency)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Chicken Tostada with Mango Salsa

This recipe is a knock-out.  It has everything I love in a salad/meal.  Lean protein, tons of veggies, and completely filling.  When I saw that the mango's at my local grocery were on sale, I knew I had to whip up some kind of salsa and of course, the idea of a tostada immediately followed.  What I love about this dish is how vibrant it is on the plate.  I mean, do you see those colors?! You just look at it and know that you are doing your body good! Here is what you will need:

Chicken Marinade
3 chicken breasts (lean)
2 TBS. cilantro
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBS. grated ginger
2 TBS. canola oil
1 TBS. Sriracha

Mix ingredients together (I used a ziploc for easy clean up) and toss the chicken in the marinade.  Let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Mango Salsa
1 cup fresh mango, cubed
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
2 jalapeños (de-seeded and diced)
2 green onions
1/2 cup cilantro
Juice of 1 lime
1 TBS. lime zest
1 TBS. orange zest
OPTIONAL: I mashed up 1 avocado to use as a base for the tostada and also sprinkled some Cacique cheese on top. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because of Him

As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and as a Christian, Easter has always been a special time of year.  Not only does it mean the start of Spring and new beginnings, but also a time to reflect on the birth and life of Christ.  This past week, the LDS church released this video which encapsulates the true meaning of Easter and how truly miraculous Christ's life and ministry was.  I have watched it many times since first learning about it, and each time I am struck by the joyous message of hope it conveys.  I invite you to watch and remember how blessed we are because of Him. Happy Easter!!