recipes

Spring Spaghetti Squash Pasta

spring spaghetti squash

I was going to wait to post this one after another go-around so I could make it a little prettier. I wanted to add fresh basil. And put the vegetables and chicken on top of the spaghetti squash instead of mixing it all up in the pan hamburger-helper style so it would photograph better. In my blogger’s mind I can see it and it’s stunningly green and gorgeous. But, then I remind myself… that isn’t real.

What’s real is what you see right here. No frills, just dinner. In under an hour. And on a weeknight, what’s better than that right? Um, ok, maybe dinner in under half an hour…

With every post I find myself wishing my photos were more professional and gourmet looking. But then again, professional and gourmet doesn’t really happen when it’s Monday night and you’re just trying to get dinner made after a long day at work. It’s those nights when dried basil will do just fine and you ask yourself, “how can I do this using just one pan…”

You see, really what I aim to do on this blog is give you recipes and good-for-you things you can and actually want to make. I try to keep the ingredient lists low with simple steps to follow and as minimal clean up as possible, which I’ll admit isn’t always the case but I’m getting better… right, Ross? 😉

The thing is, it’s easy to get wrapped up in making healthy eating complicated. There are lots of recipes out there calling for 15+ ingredients with things you’d have to go to three different grocery stores to find. But healthy isn’t exotic or expensive ingredients, or crazy complex recipes, or intimidating cooking methods. Healthy is actually quite simple. So simple in fact, it makes for boring and rather unappetizing photos (this tastes better than it looks, I promise!). So, while it may not be sexy or overly impressive to throw some meat and vegetables in a pan and call it a night, that’s really all there is to it sometimes – basic ingredients, cooked intuitively and enjoyed thoroughly.

So…I’ll do my best to continue bringing you just that so you can stop stressing about what’s for dinner and start enjoying the process… Ah, wouldn’t that be nice?

Get in the Groove
One of my favorite moments I see happen over and over again with my health coaching clients is when they find their groove in the kitchen and cooking becomes fun. Because that’s really what it’s all about – figuring out how to make the process of planning, shopping and cooking enjoyable and maybe even a little bit exciting (yes, it totally can be!) so you’ll want to do it all again next week. 

Check out these testimonials from some of my clients. They achieve some amazing results in a short amount of time once they start finding their groove. For the most part, it’s about figuring out what works with your routine and life and then consistently implementing it until it becomes just what you do. Then you get to do your thing while continuing to reap all those great benefits, like clearer skin, less stress, no more cravings…. seriously, check out these results. And know that you can do it too. If you want to talk more about exactly how, click here to schedule a free 30 minute strategy session with me

I hope you enjoy the fresh taste of spring in this no-frills, very real weeknight dish. Bon Appetit!

asparagus

spaghetti squash

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Spring Spaghetti Squash Pasta

Ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 lb ground chicken or turkey
1 bunch asparagus
1 cup frozen peas (omit if strictly following the Paleo diet)
sea salt & black pepper
lemon
fresh basil leaves, sliced thin or torn (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place spaghetti squash on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes, until it’s slightly soft to the squeeze.

While the squash, bakes, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tbsp olive oil. Add onion and sauté 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic, basil and oregano and continue cooking another minute until fragrant. Add ground meat and stir to combine with aromatics. When cooked through, transfer to a plate and set aside.

Place skillet back over medium heat and add another tbsp olive oil. Toss in asparagus and sauté until slightly soft. Return meat to the skillet and add peas. Continue cooking a few minutes until peas are warmed through.

When the squash is done, remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before handling. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds and discard them (or you can save them to roast later for a healthy snack). Now, using a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash away from the skin with a raking motion. The squash will come out in strings, sort of like angel hair pasta.

Add spaghetti squash to skillet with meat and vegetables and mix it up. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon. And top with freshly torn basil… if you have it. 🙂

recipes

Creamy Cauliflower and Leek Soup

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I know this isn’t your typical Hello, Spring! recipe for the first week of the new season… but spring sure is taking it’s sweet time to get here…. at least in Texas that is. The weather here lately has been down right erratic. 80 degrees one day. 30 degrees the next. And rainy. My god, so much rain. It has literally rained every weekend since we got to Austin. Five weekends of rain, people… in a city that’s supposedly in a drought. Some say we brought it with us. So to that I say, you’re welcome.

So what better to go with our rainy damp days here than a bowl of creamy delicious soup that just so happens to be dairy-free too. When cooked throughly and blended, cauliflower takes on a creamy, smooth consistency. It’s great to use for a non-dairy cream-based soup or even a mash, as a substitute for mashed potatoes.

Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable like broccoli, kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, etc. and like its cousins is full of antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, K, folate and manganese. It’s the leeks in this soup that make it say, “Hello, Spring!” A leek is a spring onion, which like the rest of its allium family (and crucifers too) is rich in sulfur – one of the most abundant minerals in the body and it’s required for hundreds of processes that keep us alive and kicking. Leeks are also one of nature’s antibiotics with strong anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. Eating alliums (onions and garlic) regularly can help to ward of infection and keep your immune system strong.

When preparing leeks, it’s the white part that you want to cook with. Cut off the green stems and remove the outer leaves. Cut off the end of the root and then slice again in half longways. Open up the leeks a bit to expose the inside pieces and rinse well under water. Cut again longways and then slice thinly. The thinner the strips, the faster they’ll cook.

Creamy Cauliflower and Leek Soup

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 leeks, chopped (just the white part)
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets and chopped
6 cups broth (vegetable or chicken)
salt
pepper

Directions

Place pot over medium heat and add olive oil. Saute the garlic and leeks about 3 minutes, until soft. Add cauliflower and saute for another minute. Add broth, then increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce back to medium and simmer, covered for about 20-30 minutes, until the cauliflower can be pierced easily with a fork.

Blend soup either using a blender or immersion blender until smooth and creamy, with no lumps. Return to pot and warm over low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with chopped fresh parsley or chives.

recipes

Simple Slaw Salad with Salmon

simple slaw with salmon

Meet my new favorite meal for spring. This plate has so much good stuff going on I’m not even sure where to begin. You’ve got your omega-3s in the salmon, and an extra anti-inflammatory boost from covering the fish in curry powder. Pair that with a slaw of raw veggies in all their glory, pure and unwilted delivering enzymes, nutrients and a delicious crunch. Oh, that crunch…

simple slaw

Raw foods can be so refreshing this time of year and adding them to your meals adds a whole list of health benefits including improved digestion. Foods that are raw come with enzymes which help to get the whole digestion thing started. That means your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break the food down all on its own. And you know what that means? More energy for you!

Healthnuttiness aside, what I love about this is you can make the slaw salad ahead of time (it’s actually even better the next day) and, if you plan it right, have dinner and lunch (or lunches) covered. Cook once, eat twice!

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As for the salmon, it doesn’t get any easier than sprinkling on a little curry powder and sticking it under the broiler. I said this is my new favorite meal for spring for a reason… no cooking. no clean up. no reason not to be outside playing!

Simple Slaw Salad and Salmon

Ingredients

1/2 head of Napa cabbage, grated
6 carrots, grated
1 bunch basil, thinly sliced
3 limes, juiced
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 salmon filets
curry powder
salt and pepper

Directions

In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, basil, then toss with lime juice and olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

To start the salmon, heat the broiler. Place filets on a foil-lined baking sheet skin side down and dust the tops of the fish with curry powder to just cover the filets and sprinke with salt and pepper. Broil salmon 6-8 minutes.

Serve slaw topped with salmon and enjoy!

recipes

Spring Quinoa Salad and the Four-Hour Vacation

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I decided something a few weeks ago. “Nothing” deserves a much higher place on my priority list. Recently we were given a rare gift – an extra weekend day, with no set plans and nowhere to go. Sure, the ever growing to-do list was still there. But the hubs and I decided to set it aside, pack a picnic and a deck of cards, and head to the park to check out Dallas’ new social oasis in the city – Klyde Warren Park. Side note for Dallas residents: If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend making an afternoon out of it. It will make you excited for Dallas. Just go, you’ll see…

We parked it for about four hours. We ate lunch, listened to music (they were setting up for a concert that night), people watched, took silly pictures, played cards and just veged. It was like a little four-hour vacation. And it was for no reason other than to spend some time together doing nothing. It was awesome.

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I decided to make a spring resolution to take more four-hour vacations. I realize resolutions are typically made at the beginning of a year, but I’ve always found the change of seasons to be the best time for a shift in routine or perspective. It’s a time for cleansing, renewal and starting fresh.

Speaking of fresh… I’m excited to share this delicious spring quinoa salad I made for our picnic. This was the first really springy-tasting dish I’ve made this year. I love that transition when you first have those foods and flavors that tell your taste buds its time for a change. What are your favorite spring meals to make?

Spring Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Radish and Basil

Ingredients:

4 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 bunch asparagus, cut into 1 in. pieces
1/2 cup thinly sliced radish
1/4 cup thinly sliced basil
1/2 cup frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
juice from 1 lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add asparagus and sautee until tender. Add radish slices and corn and continue to cook 2-3 minutes until heated through. Stir in quinoa. Remove from heat, add basil.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa mixture and stir to mix evenly with dressing.

recipes

St. Patrick’s Day Spinach Pesto Pasta

I watched maybe four episodes of “Chopped” last night. It may have been a bit much… because when I just went to the kitchen to make dinner, I created my own little mystery basket. Except instead of exotic or ridiculous ingredients, mine were things in the fridge that are about to go bad… I had to get rid of some spinach. And the broccoli was looking a little peaked. (Please don’t tell the judges.) So there was that… From the pantry I scrounged some staples: pasta, garlic, onion. Done! I’m going to make a spinach pesto with sauteed broccoli and penne. Boom! And that’s how it went. Pretty lame for “Chopped,” I know, but the approach sure beat opening the door to a near empty fridge, sighing and saying, “We have no food!” Which is how I probably would have reacted just a few years ago…

Instead, I accepted the challenge and tried my damndest to impress my judge (the husband). And here’s the oh-so-appropriately-timed St. Patrick’s Day pesto pasta we ended up with for dinner:

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St. Patrick’s Day is a favorite holiday of mine. And when I looked down at all that green goodness on my plate I couldn’t help but smile at the timing. I would totally make this, or even just the pesto for a St. Patty’s Day party. Festive, and good for you! Skip the green beer and load up on this. (Note, I said green beer. I have no problem with beer… just for the record.)

Meanwhile, on my little episode of “Chopped”… The judges were speechless and practically licked their plates clean…

pesto-clean-plate

And there’s still plenty of pesto left over to use in dressings and to dip things in between now and the actual St. Patty’s day. This pesto (which is similar to this one) is a super sneaky way to get in more greens, which are good for you on every level – improving circulation, bringing in oxygen, detoxing cells and even lifting the spirit. They’ll also help counter act some of the not-so-good for you stuff (read: green beer) we may over do in honor of our patron saint in green….

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St. Patrick’s Day Spinach Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

For the pesto:
1 bunch spinach
1/2 cup walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 lemon
1 handful basil
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

For the pasta
1 box whole wheat or brown rice pasta
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
Cook the pasta according to package instructions.

For the pesto, first put garlic clove in food processor and process to chop. Then add walnuts and chop. Add spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and process into a smooth consistency. Last, add the basil and process until evenly blended and smooth. Add more olive oil and/or water until desired consistency is reached.

In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add diced onion and sautee until translucent. Add broccoli florets and sautee about 10 minutes until cooked through.

Top pasta with broccoli mix and then pesto.

detox

Spring Cleaning: The Seven Must-Dos of Any Detox

Ah, spring. Something about the season just makes you want to clear out the junk and start fresh, doesn’t it? Spring is traditionally a time of renewal, rejuvenation and rebirth. So it’s no coincidence this is the time of year we go into hyper-cleaning mode and want to get rid of all the dust and stuff that we’ve accumulated over the past year. And I’m not just talking about your closet…

Just like dirt and clutter accumulate around the house, mucus, toxins and fat accumulate in the body. And every so often it’s necessary to do a little tidying up to keep the body clean and functioning properly. If not, the junk builds up and can lead to all sorts of health problems from allergies to serious disease.

Your body has everything it needs to properly cleanse itself from the inside out. It’s just matter of allowing it to do its thing. There are hundreds of different approaches out there to detoxing and cleansing. Which technique is the best? The one you’ll stick with. No matter which road you take though, there are a few “must-dos” that are essential for any good cleanse. Get the info in my guest post on Glass Heel today. Hop on over for my seven detox essentials.