Very Crabby Salad – Serves 1

I am a firm believer in the power of eating various foods whether cooked or raw.  By eating raw you are acknowledging the importance of eating wholesome and nutrient dense items.  The benefits associated with eating raw foods include increasing your intake of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, and much more.  When vegetables are cooked their nutrient content seeps into the cooking liquid and/or is broken down.  I’m not saying to eliminate cooked vegetables and/or fruits, I am saying to incorporate more raw vegetables and/or fruits into your diet, its benefits are endless.

Challenge yourself today, aim for 4-5+ different colors on your plate and try to embrace the raw as well as the varied way of eating.  It’s so easy that you’ll be surprised.  

In the evenings, I have little to no time to prepare dinner, therefore having containers of chopped/sliced/diced vegetables ready for action makes life easy.  I tend to prepare salad ingredients on Sundays or Mondays therefore I can simply ‘grab and go.’  The key is preparation therefore if trying to lose weight or improve your wellbeing, have healthy options on hand to grab rather than to seek high sugar/processed/calorie-laden options.

Ingredients

  •  1 cup raw kale as a base
  • 1/4 cup yellow/red/orange peppers; chopped)
  • 1/4 cup pickles; chopped/sliced (dill pickles)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (no added sodium version – canned)
  • 1/4 cup pico de gallo (fresh)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes; slivered
  • 6 ounces lump crabmeat
  • As desired: drizzle of balsamic vinegar
  • As desired: juice of 1/2 lemon

Methodology

  1. In a large bowl, create a base with the kale, then create sections around the bowl edges with the peppers, tomatoes, pico de gallo, pickles, and beans.
  2. In the center place the lump crabmeat.
  3. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the outside sections (vegetables and beans).
  4. Squeeze lemon or pour lemon juice over the crab.
  5. Time for some eats!
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Oh hi Teddy!

Primary salad staples in my refrigerator (or on my counter in mason jars) include:  peppers (all colors), tomatoes, pico de gallo, raw onions, kale, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pistachios), pickles (my absolute guilty pleasure), balsamic vinegar, and lemons or limes to derive juices.

Primary protein staples in my refrigerator that are quick to grab include:  cooked cold shrimp, cooked salmon, cooked chicken, beans (kidney, black, pinto, and chickpea), lump crabmeat, tuna (on occasion), and hard boiled eggs.

xxx – Sarah

 

Fried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers & Coconut Lime Shrimp – Serves 4

Back to the grind.  Spent the weekend brunching, laughing, and lounging.  I try to do bulk cooking on Sundays but I was a weeeee bit too lazy so meal prep day was moved to Monday.  Now I’ve got leftovers for all my lunches – perfect.

I’ll keep this educational piece short and sweet…  These recipes are super easy and the ingredients are good for you!  Yes, good for you.  The more variety, the better.  Think color, think antioxidants.  Lastly, these stuffed peppers are perfect for vegetarians – not only are they filled with varied vegetables but quinoa is a complete protein.  Not all complete proteins need to come from meat, poultry, or seafood!  However I wanted seafood so I put together the fixings for my favorite shrimp recipe.

Fried Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients:

  • 4 colored Bell Peppers with the insides/core removed
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 large yellow onion, minced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced
  • 1 cup green onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup peanuts, crushed
  • 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
  • 2 tbsp pineapple, crushed
  • 2 tbsp garlic, minced
  • SPICES (4-5 shakes):  Curry powder, tumeric, cumin, garlic powder, curry powder, red pepper flakes, chili powder, and ground black pepper
  • OPTIONAL:  Sea salt
  • Coconut oil – enough to coat a frying pan

Methodology:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Heat a frying pan with coconut oil under medium-high heat.
  4. Add to the frying pan the following ingredients: yellow onion, cilantro, green onion, peanuts, carrots, and pineapple.  Sauté well for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the quinoa, egg, spices, and salt (if used).  Sauté for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the quinoa mixture from heat and stuff the pepper shells.  Place the bottoms of the peppers directly on the parchment paper and allow the insides to face up.
  7. Cook for 15 minutes then set on a plate for serving!

Coconut Lime Shrimp

Ingredients:

  • 1# jumbo shrimp, fresh with the tails/shells removed (or frozen)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 limes, juice (the size of a golf ball)
  • Coconut oil to coat frying pan

Methodology:

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well.
  2. Under medium-high heat add coconut oil to a frying pan.
  3. Toss in the shrimp mixture and cook until golden brown.
  4. Set aside for serving or add to the plate with the stuffed pepper – such an amazing combination.  Makes me want to go someplace tropical.

What else was on my plate?  I did add my usual staple of greens which tends to be either kale, asparagus, or Brussels sprouts.  As seen above, I added my Garlic Peppered Asparagus but unlike the linked recipe I did not add pumpkin seeds or Brussels.

xxx – Sarah

Triple Bean Turkey Chili – Serves 6

Despite no longer living on the East Coast I’m still cold…  Texas is having quite the cold front this year and only feeds into my desire for hearty dishes.  When in doubt, chili can just warm anyone up, I promise.

This variation to chili is protein dense due to its content of three different beans (kidney, black, and chickpea) as well as lean ground turkey.  The dish is also antioxidant rich due to its ingredients such as peppers. 

Jalapeño peppers can be green or red in color and are a great source of vitamin-c.  These small peppers contain capsaicin aka ‘heat’ which stimulates endorphins/natural stress fighters.  Studies have begun to prove jalapeños may assist with appetite reduction and metabolism of fat.  

Bell peppers are also a great source of vitamin-c and beta carotene.  Bell peppers that are red in color are harvested longer and have the sweetest taste as well as the greatest nutrient content of the other colors (green, yellow, and orange).  Just like jalapeños these peppers are low in calories.

Ingredients:

  • 1.25# lean ground turkey
  • 1 medium yellow onion; diced
  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans; strained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas; strained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 oz) red kidney beans; strained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, minced
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 medium jalapeño; minced
  • 1 large red bell pepper; diced
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth (I used beef for extra flavor)
  • 2-3 shakes of the following spices: Tumeric, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Paprika, and Curry Powder
  • EVOO as needed for heating the stockpot
  • To Taste/Optional: 2-3 shakes of sea salt or regular salt

Methodology:

  1. In a large stockpot, drizzle EVOO under medium-high heat then add the yellow onions.  Sauté for 5 minutes or until slightly browned.
  2. Add the ground turkey and sauté for 5 minutes.
  3. Shake as needed with the following spices: turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and curry powder (I did about 2 shakes of each).  Toss in both types of peppers.  Cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add all three types of beans, cilantro, tomato paste, and beef broth – mix well.  Allow the combination to simmer under medium heat for 20 minutes.
  5. OPTIONAL:  Taste before serving and if needed add salt – absolutely not necessary for myself but some are quite the ‘salt-holics.’
  6. Remove from heat and garnish as needed with cilantro.
  7. Voila!

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DISCLAIMER :: Don’t forget to wash your hands after handling jalapeños – no one needs their eyes to water or for their skin to burn!

 

xxx – Sarah

Mac Apple Beef Stuffed Peppers – Serves Four

Apples.  An apple a day keeps the doctor away.  This fruit is a must since it can be used with any dish!  Typically since apples are used for sweet dishes I thought I would use it with something savory.  I love the mix of sweet and savory.  I’m obsessed.  Bonus part is that apples are loaded with nutrients; an apple contains fiber, vitamin-c, polyphenols (antioxidant components), and is suitable for those with diabetes due to its low glycemic index rating.  One raw sliced apple paired with something such as a nut butter can serve as an excellent snack.

I love hamburger type recipes in the spring but nothing too spicy or over flavored.  I created this recipe with the intention of satisfying my craving for garlic, cilantro, and apples.  For those wanting something without a bun or gluten base, a pepper is the right way to go, and it can be sweet or savory depending on the color.  To further assist in the mission of making a sweet and savory entrée, yellow/red/orange peppers are an excellent addition, and in this case an orange pepper was selected.  From an artistic standpoint, the color of the pepper and beef mixture is aesthetically pleasing.

stuffed orange pepper

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 large orange bell peppers; hollowed
  • 2/3 cup cilantro; minced
  • 1 small white onion; minced
  • 1 medium macintosh apple; diced
  • 2 tablespoons roasted (or non-roasted) garlic; minced
  • 1 pound beef
  • 2 whole egg
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free panko bread crumbs (a go to brand for me is Jeff Nathan’s Gluten-Free Plain Panko Flakes)

METHODOLOGY

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. In a large bowl fold the cilantro, white onion, apple, and garlic into the beef.
  3. Add two eggs into the beef and mix.
  4. Scoop out portions of the beef mixture and fill each of the 4 orange bell peppers.
  5. Top the stuffed bell peppers with panko bread crumbs.  Place the peppers atop a non-stick baking pan or glass Pyrex container coated with coconut oil.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the meat appears cooked; if you want the peppers to be moist remove from heat earlier otherwise leave in and remove when the meat meets your desired color or firmness.
  7. Serve with potatoes, kale, or other yummy sides!  Or copy the sides used in the above photo which was a spiced broccoli/cauliflower mix and purple/Japanese sweet potatoes.
  8. Voila!

 

xxx – Sarah