I seriously love all things pumpkin. You can tell the moment you step into my home – pumpkin scents everywhere. Now that it is almost fall there are some gourmands here and there… Imagine, it’s only September which means there is still time for me to up my game even more. Look out friends.
Pumpkin. What do you know? Well for starters: 1) High in fiber which helps with satiety and blood glucose control, 2) High in antioxidants as well as vitamin-A and vitamin-C which supports retinal function, hair, skin, and nail growth/support, and 3) High in water content thus if you’re slacking with fluids this will help. This awesome beta carotene/orange goodness is full of flavor which can be enhanced by spices such as cinnamon, cumin, and of course, pumpkin pie spice. This recipe is a wholesome way to get all your nutrients in while on the run and has been a breakfast lifesaver!
- 1/2 cup pumpkin; canned
- 2 frozen bananas; softened
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp almond butter; smooth (unsalted)
- 2 tbsp dry oats
- 1 1/2 scoops vanilla protein powder of choice
- 4 tbsp chia seeds
- 1/2-1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 6 medium-large strawberries; fresh and chopped
- Combine all ingredients sans strawberries and mix/mash well until a homogenous mixture is formed. Divide pumpkin mixture among two mason jars or similar containers.
- Top with chopped strawberries and seal with a cover.
- Refrigerate overnight or 2-3 hours prior to consumption.
- Grab a spoon and get moving!
xxx – Sarah
Italian? Yes. Herbs? Yes. Pizza? Kinda of… Minus the bread and cheese. Frittata? Yes. Should you make this? Absolutely.
Are you looking to change up your breakfast routine? Well, this is a hearty change that will leave your mouth watering for more. This is also good for those of you like myself who love the ‘Reverse Diet’ aka breakfast for dinner which is what I do at least 150 days a year. This recipe is loaded with antioxidants, protein, and slow digesting carbohydrates that will fuel your goals.
I previously mentioned utilizing the bulk section at local grocery spots can help you to select, try, and obtain fresh spices at a lower cost and control your portion to ensure freshness. I recently loaded up on fennel seeds hence its addition to this recipe and it is fabulous. Fennel is sweet due to its composition of anise which has a similar taste to licorice. If you are trying to boost your fiber intake – try fennel. In addition to its fiber content fennel also has antioxidant, mineral, and vitamin properties.
- 10 whole eggs
- 1/4 cup fresh or canned/drained yellow corn
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 8-10 cherry tomatoes; quartered/slivered
- 1 cup raw kale; chopped
- 2 ounces prosciutto; chopped/ripped into various sizes
- 2 tbsp fresh sage; minced
- 1 sprig rosemary; minced
- 1 tbsp parsley; chopped
- 1 tbsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- On a stovetop heat up a frying pan over medium-high heat to toast the corn, fennel seeds, and black pepper. Toast for 5-8 minutes until fragrant and/or slightly browned then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and the corn from step one.
- Oil a circular pan and pour in the egg mixture from step two.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until a knife can be inserted in the center and removed without residue.
- Set the pan aside, inhale, allow to cool, slice, and serve.
xxx – Sarah
This salad literally takes FIVE minutes to prepare if not less and it only has FIVE ingredients. Basically if you want something super easy to prepare – this is it! This salad is both crunchy and tangy making it the perfect compliment for whatever your entree fancy may be! As soon as I made this salad, I literally couldn’t keep my hands off of it, mouthgasm 101.
If you did not know, cucumbers are an excellent source of hydration, and a single 8-ounce cup is just as hydrating as an equivalent amount of water. Cucumbers are low in calories and rich in anti-inflammatory properties. Even though there are many, many more benefits of cucumbers to discuss, I will list my favorite which is their ability to cool and soothe (Hint: think of when you’ve sipped on cucumber water at the spa or when you’ve put cucumbers over your eyes to relieve puffiness).
- 2 medium sized cucumbers; cut into thin circular halves
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes; halved
- 2 heaping tablespoons of dijon mustard (seed based – I love this one from Trader Joe’s)
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- In a tupperware container combine all ingredients then cover and shake well.
- Remove cover from tupperware… and serve!
xxx – Sarah
Summer may be winding down, but the temperatures are still rising, especially in Texas. Bikini season is still going and that means healthy eats! However, if you’re like me, bikini season is all day, every day. These flavor rich bites are a fantastic addition to your morning routine if you’re looking for a workout boost, post-workout snack, or mid-day snack for extra energy. Not only are the bites easy to make but they are packed with ‘good for you’ nutrients and mouthgasmic worthy. If you like berries and nuts – this creation is definitely for you.
Now let’s talk shop. These bites contain: chia seeds, coconut flakes, cashews, raspberries, dates, protein powder, a banana, and some water. Basically these bites are a mouthful of antioxidants and protein with natural sweet flavorings. Next time you’re opting for store bought energy balls, snacks, or protein bars with ingredients that are unpronounceable or contain numbers, try these, you’ll know exactly what you are eating.
- 2 cups raw cashews (soaked/drained)
- 1 cup raspberries (frozen or fresh)
- 1 medium banana (fresh)
- 2 heaping tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
- 5 large medjool dates (pits removed)
- 1 tablespoons chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons warm water
- 1 scoop Vanilla Vega Protein Powder (this protein powder can be found just about anywhere – Target, Amazon, Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, Costco, and GNC)
- Toss cashews and water into a blender and pulse/blend until soft.
- Add coconut flakes, banana, and dates to the nut mixture then pulse/blend until the mixture is homogeneous.
- Remove cashew mixture from the blender. Fold in the raspberries and chia seeds utilizing a fork. Use the fork to mash up some of the berries so that they are not whole.
- Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
- Use a tablespoon to create scoops to drop on the parchment paper. Aim to make each portion half the size of the tablespoon utilized.
- Freeze for 4-5 hours then remove from the freezer and store in a parchment paper lined airtight tupperware container.
- Now you’ve got energy bites whenever you want!
- Time to get energized.
xxx – Sarah
Recently a friend asked about cooking curry at home rather than going out… She wanted a good ‘date night’ type recipe, and frankly, she asked the right person. This dish is quick and easy so that while the chicken (or other protein is cooking) is tenderizing you can clean and/or get all glammed up. The quick run-down on this recipe is that it is gluten-free, dairy-free, a great source of protein, antioxidant rich, and loaded with flavor. The leftovers from this dish taste amazing (ahhhh-mazzzzzing) reheated. On a final note this dish does not have to be made with chicken rather other proteins such as shrimp, turkey, or beef can be utilized.
- 1.5# chicken tenders; chopped into chunks
- 1 can (8 ounces) light coconut milk
- 1 medium size zucchini; sliced/halved
- 1 cup red and orange bell peppers; strips
- 3 heaping tablespoons of unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2-3 ounces water
- 1 medium size yellow onion; minced
- 4 bay leaves; whole
- 3 springs rosemary; minced (fresh)
- Coconut oil to heat up the frying pan
- 2 (or 3 if you want a bold taste) tablespoons of each spice: tumeric, garlic powder, and ginger, and paprika
- 3 tablespoons of curry powder
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and black pepper
- If you want an extra kick: 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (probably my favorite ingredient)
- To taste: garlic salt or sea salt
Veggies + Coconut + Spices
DYI Spice Bottles with Chalk Labels
- Under medium heat add coconut oil to heat up a large stir-fry pan then add the yellow onions. Cook until carmelized.
- Add the water and coconut milk – stir well. Allow the mixture to heat up well for about 5 minutes then add the chicken, coconut flakes, vegetables, and spices (including the bay leaves and rosemary).
- Stir the mixture well until homogeneous for 5 minutes then reduce to low heat and allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes either covered or uncovered.
- Serve atop your favorite rice. (I used basamati rice with some spicy southwest seasoning for an extra kick.)
- Happy date night y’all!
xxx – Sarah
I’ll be last to admit that I used to screw up cooking salmon… I only recently mastered this skill after watching a cooking play-by-play while running on the treadmill and watching Food Network. Anyways, ever since I’ve experimented with various ways to cook salmon, and this is my latest creation that legitimately has the perfect ‘wow’ factor.
I always tell clients to play up their diet with different proteins whether they are animal or plant-based. For myself, I try to have fish twice/week and consume a Mediterranean style diet. Fish is a high biological value (HBV) protein due to containing all essential amino acids. Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids that are directly related to reduction of heart disease, increased immunity, improvement in mental function, and decreased bodily inflammation.
The new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines following the typical American 2000-calorie diet recommend to have at least 8 ounces fish/week but the Mediterranean 2000-calorie diet recommend at least 15 ounces fish/week. If you’re active, 65 years+, immunocompromised (cancer, pneumonia, etc.), and/or dealing with skin issues – eat more!
Tinfoil Makeshift Pan
- 1.25# salmon filet; with the skin on
- 1 tsp ginger; ground
- 3 tbsp white vinegar
- 1 tbsp garlic, minced
- 1 orange; juiced (save some for garnish)
- 1 medium white onion; diced or minced
- 1 cup cherry tomatos; halved
- 1 tbsp EVOO and enough to drizzle for cooking onions
- 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds; raw and shelled
- 2-3 shakes of black pepper; ground
- 2-3 shakes of red pepper; flakes
- To reduce cleanup – have tinfoil on hand to create a cooking pan (it works)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
- In a skillet over medium-high heat drizzle EVOO and cook white onions until caramelized or golden in color.
- In a mixing bowl, combine all the spices, garlic, white vinegar, EVOO, juice of an orange, cherry tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds.
- Remove the onions from the pan when finished and add to the ingredients from step two. Mix all ingredients then pour over the salmon in a shallow bowl to marinate for 5 minutes.
- Create a oval pan out of tinfoil to roast the salmon. I used a round cooking pan to help me get the shape formed.
- Transfer the salmon and juice/onion mixture to the tinfoil makeshift pan (make sure the skin is facing the bottom side).
- Insert salmon into the oven for 20 minutes or until it appears to flake or has an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the skin from the fish, garnish with citrus, and serve atop quinoa or rice.
- Time to feast!
Perfect lunch… Thumbs up!
xxx – Sarah
PS – If you’re like me and you want quality lunches; allow the salmon to cool down then pack for lunch in a microwaveable container. Remember cooked salmon can be kept for about 4 days.
Have you been getting enough greens? According to the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines it is recommended to consume 2.5 cups vegetables/day and within the week the intake of dark-green vegetables is 1.5 cups/week for the typical 2000-calorie American diet. However if you’re anything like me and you’re active then I highly recommend more!
This recipe is a sure way to reach your quota of dark-green vegetables. In fact, it’s almost impossible to stop with one serving of these vegetables.
If you don’t already know asparagus have been deemed as a natural diuretic and aid in excretion of fluids. This antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient rich vegetable can be found in various colors such as green, purple, and white… Some of benefits possibly include blood sugar reduction/decreased risk of type two diabetes, prevention of cognitive decline, assistance with food motility during digestion due to its fiber, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
- 1 pound asparagus; ends trimmed off
- 1/2 pound Brussels sprouts; root trimmed off then halved
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds; raw with shell removed
- 1.5 tbsp garlic; minced
- 1 tsp black pepper; crushed
- EVOO – enough to douse vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a bowl mix together all the ingredients listed above: Brussels sprouts, asparagus, pepper, pumpkin seeds, garlic, and EVOO.
- On a cooking sheet lay out the veggies.
- Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes depending how crispy you want your vegetables. Halfway through cooking use a spatula to move the veggies around so that they roast evenly.
- Serve with your protein and starch of choice. As you can see I opted for a double portion of vegetables and paired with scallops (YUM x 100%).
- Happy bites y’all!
xxx – Sarah
November. This is my favorite month because it represents Thanksgiving. When I think of Thanksgiving I think of family, good eats, and wonderful conversations. In my household, the meal is always the most poignant part since there is something for each person to munch on and no one is the odd man out. We give thanks for our friends and family while reminiscing and looking ahead – I tend to look ahead at dessert.
This is an awesome dessert because it is gluten-free and friendly for most sufferers of celiac disease. If you are trying to reduce inflammation, a great way is to reduce your intake of gluten, or one of the other many inflammatory agents which include eggs, nuts, dairy, sugar, alcohol, and trans fats. Start small by taking something out of your diet that has one of these inflammatory agents and then add it back to see how your body reacts. Negative reactions include cramping, diarrhea, headaches, gargling of the stomach, vomiting, and nausea.
Remember – – – > > > Desserts are loaded with inflammatory ingredients but remember they do not have to be 100% ‘
bad‘ or ‘ off limits.’ Just consume in moderation rather than the whole thing at once. Keep something to be savored.
- 1 1/2 cups margarine – melted
- 1 cup dates – no pits
- 1 cup sugar (or brown stevia)
- 1 cup brown sugar (or stevia)
- 2 cups oats (quick cooking – I always aim for the holy grail of oats aka Quakers 1-minute Oats)
- 15 ounces Pumpkin (or 1 can) – pureed
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp sea salt (or regular salt)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
- OPTIONAL: 1/3 cup pecans – crushed
- With a mixer combine the margarine and sugars.
- Add in the dates and mix until pureed.
- Transfer to a large mixing bowl, fold in the pumpkin, egg, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices.
- Add in the chocolate chips (and pecans if used) and mix well.
- On a parchment paper lined tray or non-stick tray drop 2 heaping spoonfuls (tbsp sized) of batter then slightly flatten with a fork.
- Cook under 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes until slightly browned on the edges or check for completion by inserting a butter knife in the center and if it is free of residue then you are ready to set them aside.
- Serve warm, at room temperature, or freeze with a scoop of ice-cream in the middle…
- Try to limit yourself to 3… Or 4.
- Got Milk?
xxx – Sarah
To start your day right… Treat your inner ‘chi’ right with some breakfast that will awaken your taste buds. If you’re anything like me – breakfast needs to be quick, tasty, and filling. Impossible? No.
This is a dish that can be made almost all the time because it calls for variety! For me, I utilize different fruits for the sweet and colorful aspect (bananas, berries, or stone fruits such as nectarines or peaches) OR I change up the protein base by alternating nut butters (cashew, almond, or peanut – absolutely love all of Justin’s butters) or protein powders (soy-free or egg powders – I prefer Jay Robb Egg White Protein Powder).
Oats and chia seeds are the kicker in this dish – the gluten-free powerhouse! Oats are one of the whole grains according to the January JAMA Internal Medicine that reduces premature death from all diseases such as cancer or cardiovascular disease. To be deemed ‘gluten-free,’ as of 2013 the FDA has mandated that items that contain wheat, barley, rye, or other gluten-like ingredients, be void OR must be less than 20 PPM of gluten. This labeling also makes like much easier for those with Celiac Disease and inherently MUST avoid gluten rather than those that are following various fad or elimination diets.
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and vitamins. These tiny little seeds when wet are hydrophilic thus they absorb water/fluid and inflate/puff up and trick our stomachs into satiety/fullness. Therefore chia seeds also help with hydration and weight loss. Like I said, they are the kicker in this dish!
The pop of color credit of the day goes to… NECTARINES!
- 1/4 cup oats
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- protein base (1 scoop protein powder or 1-2 tbsp nut butter)
- 1 whole fruit – can be sliced, diced, or minced
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- To taste: nutmeg or cinnamon
- In a dish or jar combine oats and chia seeds then mix well with the almond milk.
- Stir in the protein-base.
- Top with the fruit and spices then cover with the lid to the jar or with clear wrap.
- Refrigerate overnight or for at least 1-hour minimum to allow the chia seeds to be saturated.
- Grab a spoon, mess up the pretty fruit layer on top, or if you’re like me, try to
drink aka slurp as you drive…! Enjoy 🙂
xxx – Sarah
Are you slacking in your hydration? This is a super cool way to bump up your hydration with a side of antioxidants. Watermelon is a fruit that not only has a high water content but is high in lycopene which is a carotenoid antioxidant (aids in bone density, prevention of certain cancers, protects/aids in prevention of eye disorders, and much more). This antioxidant is in most yellow, orange, and red fruits or vegetables. When compared to a tomato – watermelon wins! In my opinion it wins not only in the antioxidant category but in taste as well! Now nectarines… This is another fruit favorite. They are also known as ‘stone fruits.’ Their peel is edible and their pit is almond-shaped. Food experts often say that they have a slight almond flavor and that is why they often are paired with almonds.
This dessert like refresher combines my two favorite fruits at the height of their ripeness. After buying both fruits I usually let them sit on the counter at room temperature for 2-3 days before utilizing for a dish. The best way to test for ripeness is based on the softness of the skin and aroma emitted from the fruit.
Basil is best to obtain in the summer – better hurry and grab some since the dog days of summer are nearly over. Basil often pairs well with sweet or savory dishes adding nutrients, color, and enhancing flavor. Basil is a herb that is best utilized uncooked allowing flavor to be retained. Now lets get down to the nitty gritty of this recipe that requires
Tovolo Pop Mold – Awesome B/B/B find!
- 1 small seedless watermelon (ripe) – sliced sans the rind
- 1 nectarine (ripe) – sliced
- 2-3 sprigs of basil (fresh/1-2 days post store or market purchase) – remove the leaves from the sprigs
- Utilizing a blender – add all the ingredients.
- Puree well until uniformly one solid color.
- Transfer the liquid into a popsicle mold and freeze for 3+ hours.
- I utilized the ‘Tovolo Pop Mold’ easily found at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and if you’ve got one of those awesome 10% or 20% coupons, then there’s nothing stopping you from making this super easy treat.
- Remove from the freezer and run under hot water prior to service to remove the mold.
- Serve as the fireworks are popping or at the start of the kickoff.
- If you’re looking to be a little adventurous – add about 2 tbsp Tito’s Handmade Vodka to the puree mixture and freeze overnight – the vodka can impair the freezing but thats where a tsp or two of gelatin helps firm up the product OR just serve as a slushy in a solo cup… 😉
xxx – Sarah