Rainbow Italian Zoodles and Sausage – Serves 4

Zoodles are the new noodles and now Sunday has gotten even healthier in my book!  Now you can have your pasta Sundays sans the guilt and gluten.  This meal is a great way to fuel up for the week and have some leftovers for lunch(es) and/or dinner(s).

Now grab a spiralizer and get to work!  I’m a fan of the Kinzi brand which is great for creating a healthy alternative to spaghetti by using various vegetables to become ‘noodle-like.’  Some vegetable options that are great for spiraling include zucchini, squash, carrots, and beets.

Rainbow Italian Zoodles and Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 3 yellow squashes (ea); raw and spiralized
  • 3 beets (ea); raw and spiralized
  • 3 carrots (ea); raw and spiralized
  • 4 c of cherry tomatoes; halved
  • 2 tbsp garlic; minced
  • 1/3 scallions; minced
  • 1/2 c olive oil
  • 1/2 c cilantro; minced
  • Eyeball amounts to create an Italian blend: chili powder, garlic powder, coriander, clove, garlic, cardamon, cumin, and salt
  • 12 oz sausage of choice

 

Methodology:

  1. In a saucepan combine the olive oil, garlic, cilantro, and scallions to simmer over medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes.  Toss in cherry tomatoes and cover saucepan allowing the tomatoes to cook in the oil mixture for 5-10 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  2. Saute the raw zoodles with a splash of olive oil until slightly tender then remove from heat.  Divide the zoodles into four portions.  Drizzle the tomato mixture over the zoodles.
  3. Cook sausage as usual and chop into various chunks.  Top the zoodles and tomato mixture with sausage.
  4. Happy Game of Thrones (GOT) watching day!

 

xxx – Sarah

Goat Cheese Spiked Brussels Sprouts – Serves 6+

I’ve got news!  In a week from today I start my journey West.  I recently accepted a position in San Francisco…  Time for a whole new adventure.  I am super excited and nervous but I will channel that energy for something positive.  About five months ago I set out to change my career and well, it finally happened, anything is possible.

Fall weather has me reaching for everything pumpkin when I have a sweet tooth but when I want something savory then I reach for butternut squash or sweet potatoes.  I am over pumpkin at the moment; my savory taste buds have kicked in, hence this recipe was born.

Butternut squash is an excellent way to increase your dietary fiber as well as nourish your body with vitamins A & C.  With the winter months upon us your skin needs these vitamins more than ever (#makeyourskinglow).

Ingredients:

  • 1# Brussels sprouts; quartered with roots removed
  • 1# butternut squash; diced
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 shredded pieces of proscuitto
  • 3 tbsp crumbled goat cheese
  • Drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • To taste: 1 tsp sea salt

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl toss the following ingredients well: Brussels, butternut squash, olive oil, black pepper, goat cheese, proscuitto, and sea salt.
  3. On a parchment lined baking sheet spread out the Brussels and butternut squash.
  4. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the vegetables.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Set aside and serve with your favorite entree (or in my case, eat from the baking tray and pass out in a food coma).
  7. Cheers!

 

xxx – Sarah

Power Strawberry Pumpkin Pudding – Serves 2+

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!

Ingredients:fullsizerender

  • 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

Methodology:

  1. 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.
  2. Top with chopped strawberries and seal with a cover.
  3. Refrigerate overnight or 2-3 hours prior to consumption.
  4. Grab a spoon and get moving!

 

xxx – Sarah

Easy Sweettarts Apple Crisp – Serves 2

Oh hey… It’s almost fall which means my favorite time of the year is coming up aka apple and pumpkin galore.  Yes, I already got my PSL fix with my obvious modifications (almond milk for regular milk and no whip).

This dish literally came to me as I was craving for something sweet yet slightly tart with a crunch.  I wanted to use the ingredients I had at home without having to run out to grab something processed, sugary, and high calorie.  Are you looking to impress someone with your cooking skills but without breaking the bank, filling up on calories, and killing your schedule?  This recipe is totally for you.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 large Granny Smith apple; thin slices
  • 1/2 cup dry oats
  • 2-3 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil; melted
  • 1 handful walnuts; chopped

Methodology:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Coat a small circular cooking dish/pan with coconut oil.
  3. Cover the bottom of the dish/pan with half of the apple slices then sprinkle oats, coconut flakes, and cinnamon on top – this is layer one.
  4. Cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Remove pan from heat and prepare layer two.  Cover the first layer with the remainder of the apple slices allowing for the center to be without any apple slices.
  6. Sprinkle walnuts in a circular motion outside the center that is void of apples then add a few in the center.
  7. Combine the melted coconut oil and coconut sugar then drizzle over the apple slices.  Add the remainder of the sugar/oil mixture to the center that is void of apple slices.
  8. Cook for 10-15 minutes depending on the level of crispiness desired.
  9. Serve plain, with cider, or ala mode!
  10. Happy almost fall!

 

xxx – Sarah

No Bake Cashew Raspberry Energy Bites – Serves 6+

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.

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Ingredients:

  • 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)

Methodology:

  1. Toss cashews and water into a blender and pulse/blend until soft.
  2. Add coconut flakes, banana, and dates to the nut mixture then pulse/blend until the mixture is homogeneous.
  3. 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.
  4. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Use a tablespoon to create scoops to drop on the parchment paper.  Aim to make each portion half the size of the tablespoon utilized.
  6. Freeze for 4-5 hours then remove from the freezer and store in a parchment paper lined airtight tupperware container.
  7. Now you’ve got energy bites whenever you want!
  8. Time to get energized.

xxx – Sarah

Salted Coco(a) Banana Bites – Serves 2+

Basically Summer screams frozen everything.  I love salt and I love sugar aka I go nuts for combinations with hints of both – why not mix them together and get crazy?!  However, since I’m ‘adulting’ that means make some swaps for healthier ingredients…  Rather than adding traditional chocolate in the recipe I swapped for chocolate protein powder which allows for a bit more protein compared to a regular dessert.

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Methodology

  1. Line a cooking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add the sliced bananas to the parchment paper and freeze for 10-20 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, mix protein powder with very little water, stir and/or add water until a pudding consistency is reached.  Set aside the chocolate protein pudding mixture.
  4. Heat up coconut oil under medium-high heat in a frying pan then add the oatmeal, coconut flakes, and sea salt.  Toss the coconut/oatmeal mixture until golden then remove from heat and set aside.
    1. SIDEBAR – the toasted mixture almost tastes like popcorn and it’s heavenly.  
  5. Remove the cooking sheet from the freezer.  Add a dollop of the protein pudding to each banana slice then top with a sprinkling of the coconut/oatmeal mix.
  6. Put the banana slices back into the freezer for minimum 20 minutes.
  7. Sandwich two banana slices together with a toothpick so that the chocolate pudding mixture is in the middle.  Return the cooking sheet to the freezer for 20 minutes or longer.
  8. Remove banana sandwiches from parchment paper and serve as a the perfect guilt-free dessert.
  9. Absolute H-E-A-V-E-N!!!

 

 

xxx – Sarah

Thyme Spiced Lamb Chops & Vinegar Loaded Brussels – Serves 2

As a kid my mother used to make lamb chops once a month and it was a favorite amongst us kids!  I was feeling ultra nostalgic today…  Must have been my recent visit to New York that led to the cravings and water works.  Hmm.

Lamb is a great source of protein and a great way to change up your oral intake.  Lamb can be grilled, roasted, pan fried, and much more.  I love to roast lamb in a makeshift tinfoil dish since it means no mess, no fuss.  This is a simple and quick dish that will leave your dinner guests wanting more – I swear.  Also, cooking with parchment paper on baking pans/sheets is another great way to save time (and your manicure).

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Thyme Spiced Lamb Chops 

Ingredients:

  • 4 lamb chops (about 1#)
  • A mix of the following spices to coat the chops on both sides:
    • French thyme (about 1.5 tbsp)
    • Paprika (about 1.5 tbsp)
    • Black pepper (about 1 tbsp)
  • OPTIONAL: on one side of the chops add a pinch or two of coarse sea salt

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the spices evenly together and cover the chops.
  3. Create a makeshift tinfoil pan with at least two layers of foil on the bottom then add the chops.
  4. Roast the chops in the oven for 15-18 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat, drain out the juices, discard the tinfoil, and plate.
  6. If you’re looking for a game changer then pair with my ‘Vinegar Loaded Brussels’ – absolute heaven.

Vinegar Loaded Brussels

Ingredients:

  • 1/2# Brussels sprouts; halved/quartered
  • Vinegar mixture:
    • 1 tbsp black pepper
    • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
    • 1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
    • 1/4 cup olive oil

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the vinegar mixture.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss well.
  4. Layer on a baking pan one sheet of parchment paper then spread the Brussels evenly on the paper.  Some of the vinegar mixture may left in the bowl and that’s okay!
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on crispiness desired… I love a little bit of crispy and ‘not so crispy’ so I opted for 23 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and pair with a protein of choice – I highly recommend my ‘Thyme Spiced Lamb Chops.’
  7. Bon appétit!

 

xxx – Sarah

 

Flanken Style Peppered Ribs – Serves 3+

Long live BBQ season…  Then again, I live in Texas now.  BBQ is life.  I was recently abroad in China and Thailand eating my way through the towns.  Now that was heaven.  Since I’ve been home all I’ve craved is BBQ.  I wanted ribs last night so I made it happen.  In my opinion good ribs need a perfect rub and/or sauce.  The ribs were made sans sauce since many contain an insane amount of sugar and frankly a good rub can be more than enough.  All I have to say post-creation is that these ribs were mouthwatering and I really didn’t want to share.

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Flanken style ribs.  From its name you can derive that they are from the back of the cow aka the flank.  These ribs are awesome, I’ll tell you why:  1) Ultra meaty and well-marbled, 2) Cut across bone meaning the bone pieces are oval, 3) Best when slow cooked to release the bone marrow, collagen, and fat, and 4) Usually cut thin.  Lastly these ribs are half the price of the much loved ‘short ribs.’

Fun fact  ::  If you don’t already know, most grocery spots have bulk sections, utilize this.   Rather than spending $4.00-10.00 on bottled spices – package your own in sealable bags, get the exact amount you need, and spend a fraction of the cost!  Spices are usually best for 6 months to a year therefore don’t be wasteful with a bottle that won’t be finished.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds flanken style ribs (thin cut with 3-4 oval shaped bones per strip)
  • 2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla pepper
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. brown mustard seeds
  • 1-1.5 tbsp. paprika

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine all spices to create the rub.
  3. Create tinfoil bowl out of at least 2 sheets of tinfoil.
  4. Cover the ribs with the spice mixture.FullSizeRender_6
  5. Place the ribs atop the tinfoil then cover with a single sheet creating a tinfoil boat.
  6. Place tinfoil covered ribs in the middle of the oven directly on the oven grid
    with a cooking sheet below in case juices fall out. 
  7. Cook for 2.5 hours then remove from heat and drain out the juices (goodbye fat/liquid love).
  8. Cut into the ribs into pieces with either 1 or 2 bones and serve with your favorite sides.
  9. Time to get messy! 

 

xxx – Sarah

PS – Have some hand wipes nearby… 

 

Adulting like the King – True Story

Not sure if the warmer weather or longer days have changed my palette but lately I’ve been craving sandwiches.  The King and I seem to share a favorite – peanut butter sandwiches with bananas.  However mine have a twist aka a gluten-free twist plus I use fresh ground almond butter.  PS – when I say the King, I’m referring to the one and only, Elvis Presley.

If you haven’t tried Udi’s bread… Do it.  Just do it.  I’m partial to their Omega Flax and Fiber as well as their Millet-Chia breads since both have 6 grams of protein per serving (2 slices).  These breads have become a pre-workout and post-workout staple for me these days due to their carbohydrate/sugar/fiber content.  It’s hard to find good gluten-free bread with a flavor ‘wow’ factor.

Anyways, I’ve been changing up the traditional PB and King sandwich with different fruit variations.  My ‘go to’ variation is a slice of bread with almond butter/sliced strawberries or almond butter/sliced bananas with a dash or two of cinnamon.  Take a walk in the footsteps of the King and I.  I promise you won’t regret it. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of toasted Udi’s bread of choice
  • 2 tbsp almond butter (basically a tbsp per slice), creamy or crunchy
  • 1/2 banana, sliced
  • 3 strawberries, sliced/slivered
  • a dash/pinch/sprinkle of cinnamon, ground

Methodology:

  1. Spread almond butter atop each toasted slice of bread.
  2. Top one slice with bananas and the other with strawberries.
  3. Add a dash/pinch/sprinkle of cinnamon over the fruit.
  4. Combine the two  slices to form a sandwich or keep them open-faced.
  5. Pair with your coffee!

xxx – Sarah

 

 

Berry Good Banana Bread – Serves 12

O-M-G.  I’m obsessed with this bread – I won’t lie but it’s almost finished and I made it like yesterday.  I’ve been playing around with flavors in my kitchen since the weather has been cold…  Then again, who am I kidding, it’s like 60-70 degrees in Texas.  My mom always made banana bread when I was a kid and frankly I needed a taste of home but sans the gluten and dairy.  Basically I changed my mother’s recipe and just kept the bananas.

Potassium.  It’s a very important mineral and bananas are loaded with it!  What does potassium even do?  Well, it’s a mineral that helps to keep your heart, nerves, and muscles working properly.  Thus when dehydrated many individuals chug energy drinks with potassium but sometimes its easier, healthier, and cheaper to opt for actual food sources.  Other good food sources of potassium include oranges, pomegrante, dates, tomato and tomato-based products, potatoes, winter squash, avocados, broccoli, dried/refried/baked beans, milk, nuts and seeds, and some salt substitutes.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 medium yellow bananas, ripe
  • 3 frozen bananas, defrosted
  • 2 tbsp light coconut milk
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil (+extra for greasing the pan)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp of vanilla
  • 1 or more tbsp cinnamom or pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp (or 1-2 grinds) sea salt
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries (or other berries)
  • 2 tbsp mini milk chocolate chips

Methodology:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a loaf pan (or pan that is about 9×5 inches) with coconut oil OR you can line with parchment paper.
  3. In a blender combine the eggs, coconut oil, coconut milk, almond butter, 2 fresh bananas, and 2 frozen bananas.
  4. Fold in the coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and sea salt.  Blend all ingredients until mixture is homogeneous.
  5. In the greased pan pour half the mixture then set aside.
  6. Using a small bowl mash up the defrosted banana and berries.
  7. Evenly the mashed fruit over the mixture in the pan.
  8. With the remainder of the banana mixture, fold in the chocolate chips and mix, then pour over the berries.  Use a spatula to try and spread the mixture evenly.
  9. Cook for 60-70 minutes or until a knife/utensil can be inserted and removed clean.
  10. Allow to cool then serve with your finest tea, wine, or coffee.
  11. Bottom’s up!

 

xxx – Sarah