Monday, December 29, 2014

Holiday Standing Rib Roast with Root Vegetables (GF)

2 whole heads garlic
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 bone-in rib roast, 4-5 pounds
1 cup fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4-5 small carrots, cut into thirds
1 onion, cut into wedges
2 fennel bulbs, cut into wedges
1 potato, cut into large dice
1-2 cups beef stock, homemade
1-2 cups red wine
1-2 teaspoons arrowroot powder

Cut the tops off the garlic heads.  Drizzle with one tablespoon olive oil each and wrap in foil.  Roast at 350 degrees for one hour or until very fragrant.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

One hour before cooking, remove the roast from the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.  Preheat the oven to 450.

Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves from the skins.  Add the roasted garlic, rosemary leaves, half the salt and pepper and the remaining olive oil to a mini food processor and grind, until leaves are chopped.

Scatter the chopped vegetables in a roasting pan small enough that they fill the bottom.  Pour in the stock and wine and stir to coat.  Place the roast on top of the vegetables and season generously with salt and pepper on the bottom and sides.  Place the roast fat side up and slather with the roasted garlic mixture.

Place the roast in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes.  Lower heat to 350 and continue roasting for at least 90 minutes, basting with the pan juices every 20 or 30 minutes.

When a meat thermometer registers 130, remove the roast from the oven.  Set aside on a platter and cover with foil to rest for 15 minutes.

Heat the vegetables in the roasting pan over a burner on medium high heat.  When juices begin to bubble, sprinkle in arrowroot powder and stir to coat, allowing to cook until sauce has thickened sufficiently.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Carve the roast and serve on a platter garnished with sprigs of rosemary.  Serve the vegetables alongside.


Big meat

Monday, December 8, 2014

Killer Coconut Cream Pie (GF)

Don't try to make a good thing better.  The night before Thanksgiving I made this pie four times until I finally got it right.  (So glad I got off work early so that I could use that extra free time for three visits to the store...)  I attempted to improve upon my recipe for triple coconut cream pie.  I had the idea that I could make it coconuttier by eliminating the butter and half & half, using coconut sugar, and coconut flour in place of the corn starch.  Plus, other than the eggs it would be practically vegan, and dairy-free!  Unfortunately... there were mixed results.  The coconut sugar made the overall end result look too brown, and coconut flour is just NOT the same for cooking with - the custard never thickened up, and it took on a gritty texture.  So, don't do it.  The crust came out fine with the modification of coconut butter in place of regular butter and I replaced the cup of half & half with coconut milk, but then you have half a can of coconut milk leftover.  Enjoy, and rest assured this is as coconutty as it can get.  My dad's seal of approval?  He says it's killer! :)

1 1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup fresh unsweetened coconut (not dried)
3-4 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted

Add the two types of coconut to the bowl of a food processor and blend for a few seconds, until coconut is chopped and thoroughly integrated.  Drizzle the butter over the coconut and blend again.
Pat the mixture into a 9-inch pie pan using the bottom of a measuring cup.
Bake at 325 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly golden.

3 eggs, or 2 eggs plus one egg yolk
1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk (could probably use two)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup fresh unsweetened coconut
1 tsp coconut extract (optional)

In a bowl, beat the eggs.  Whisk in the coconut milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture is very thick.  Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and extract, if using.  Pour filling into the cooked crust, cover and chill overnight or for at least four hours.

1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup of sweetened flaked coconut, toasted

Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until fluffy.  Spread on top of chilled pie.  Top with the toasted coconut and serve.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vegetarian Quiche

1 puff pastry sheet, lightly floured and rolled to fill a 9x13 pan
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers, diced
10 ounces fresh spinach
Salt and pepper
Fresh chopped thyme
4 cups cheese, shredded (white cheddar and Monterey Jack, store bought pre-shredded is ok)
8 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 tomato, thinly sliced into half moons

In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onion and bell pepper until softened but still slightly crunchy. Add the fresh spinach and season generously with salt, pepper and the thyme. Stir until spinach cooks down and is completely wilted. Let cool while preparing remaining ingredients.

Press the puff pastry into the pan until the bottom is covered (it only has to reach about halfway up the sides of the pan).

In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, cream and more salt and pepper with an electric mixer until completely blended.

Spread the cooled cooked vegetables over the crust. Layer with half the shredded cheeses. Pour the egg mixture over cheese and vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese, then top with the tomato slices.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and ten minutes, or until top is browned and center only jiggles slightly.

Allow to cool before serving. Enjoy!

No bacon? No problem

Monday, November 17, 2014

Caprese Burgers!

1/2 yellow onion, sliced thickly
1 shallot, sliced thickly
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons pepper
2 ciabatta rolls, sliced lengthwise
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound organic grass fed ground beef
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
4 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thinly
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
3 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup arugula
1 tomato, sliced thickly

Begin by sautéing the onion and shallot in the olive oil. Season with a teaspoon salt and pepper and cook over low heat, while preparing other ingredients, until soft and caramelized.

Prepare each sliced ciabatta roll with one tablespoon butter and one tablespoon Parmesan each and toast lightly until melted.

Mix ground beef with Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Form into two thick patties wider than ciabatta rolls. Season both sides with the remaining salt and pepper.

To prepare sun-dried tomato aioli, mix the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar and half the basil in a food processor. Spread over the prepared rolls.

Heat a large grill or sauté pan to medium high heat. Sear the patties on each side, flipping once, then topping with the sliced mozzarella. Cover with lid and remove from heat. Keep covered until cheese is melted.

Assemble the burgers with the buns, aioli, patties, caramelized onions, arugula, remaining basil leaves, and slices of tomato.


Friday, October 24, 2014

What to Do With Stale Marshmallows?

Hello!  It's been nearly three weeks since the big day.  Post-wedding, as one can imagine, I have fallen off the wagon... big time.  I'm talking stuffing myself on our honeymoon, Key Lime pie for breakfast, eating-anything-and-everything-I-want-and-having-M&M's-for-dinner kinda pig-outs.  But, it's been nice to relax and let loose after six long months of wedding diet discipline!

But back to the wedding.  (Which was amazing.  Definitely my favorite wedding I've been to.)  Our gorgeous venue, Windmill Farm and Vineyards, features a fire pit which they light up when the sun goes down, so what better wedding favor than s'more kits?  I found a little inspiration on Pinterest and decided it was an edible, cute-but-not-too-lame party favor I could live with.  And look how nice they turned out!?

Want the template for my S'more Love labels? See the bottom of this post!

Thanks to my new MIL and her friend who painstakingly put together about 120 of these... MANY of which came back home with us, along with most of a keg of beer, which no one at the wedding seemed to discover.

So what to do?  Well as soon as we returned from the honeymoon, we unearthed our house from under the collection of wedding gifts, and threw another party.  Free beer and s'mores!  We managed to kill most of the beer, but the s'mores were another story.  No matter how many we ate they just seemed to continue to multiply.  I'd been joking that we'd be taking the s'more kits on camping trips with our future kids for years to come, but by Week 3 the marshmallows were turning into hard little sugar rocks that Dave chewed and chewed and chewed, like huge chunks of hard, white taffy.

So I did a little research on what to do with stale marshmallows.  There seem to be two schools of thought: regular people like me who say "turn them into rice krispies treats," and master rice krispies treats makers who say "NEVER do this."  I guess if you melt stale marshmallows to make rice krispies treats, once they cool they turn back into stale rice krispies treats.  This suddenly brought back a flood of memories of the hard-as-a-rock rice krispies treats my mother made in my childhood.  Until they started selling the pre-made, shrink-wrapped kind, I never knew what pillowy soft, buttery crispy-chewiness they could be.  (Probably the reason why I never really cared for them.  Also, not decadent enough for my tastes!)

So I considered my options and did a little more research.  I found some ideas here and here (adding bread to the bag of stale marshmallows, zapping them with water in the microwave, adding water to them in the melting process).  I decided on an experiment of my own, which was to steam them.  I put a cup of water in a wide, shallow bowl and heated it for a couple minutes in the microwave until it was boiling.  Meanwhile I put my super-stale marshmallow rocks in my metal steamer basket, closed it up and covered the top with foil.  When the water was boiling I opened the microwave, set the steamer on top of the hot water, closed the microwave door and then left the house for a couple hours.  When I came home, I had fluffy, soft, moist (albeit SUPER-sticky) marshmallows again!  I closed them up in a ziplock bag overnight while I decided their fate, and went to work researching another use for my marshmallows.

I had decided that I wanted to melt the marshmallows down in some butter but that rice krispie treats weren't all that interesting.  I found plenty of recipes for s'mores bars... s'mores pie... s'mores brownies... but honestly, I was a little s'mored out at this point.  Then inspiration hit: FUDGE!  I remember making easy fudge as a teenager with the jar of marshmallow creme, and this seemed like a foolproof use for my melted marshmallows.  At any rate, any fudge mistakes would definitely not go uneaten in my house.

I followed this recipe by Martha Stewart and decided to make it extra gooey delicious by adding Trader Joe's roasted salted pecans in place of the walnuts and a little of TJ's fleur de sel caramel sauce drizzled over the top.

Ooey gooey.

Sweet 'n salty.

Success!  :)  Now, onto making another Thanksgiving pumpkin cheesecake with my leftover graham crackers :D

If you too are in search of a use for your stale marshmallows, or in need of a way to resuscitate them, I hope you found this post helpful.

Want the template for my S'more Love labels?  Here it is, printable with Avery 2x2 print-to-the-edge square labels (22806, 22816 or 22846).  Enjoy!

S'more Love Labels


Monday, September 29, 2014

Nutribullet Madness!!

With our upcoming nuptials scheduled for next week, we've started receiving items from our gift registry!  The first present to arrive?  The Nutribullet - and JUST in time for Wedding Diet Crunch Time!  After a long dry spell in the kitchen, my creativity has been restored (sadly, eating light for me generally means deconstructed meals, like a piece of cold chicken or tablespoon of peanut butter, straight out of the jar).  I've had so much fun creating the recipes below and I hope you'll try them.  There has definitely been some trial and error (chocolate avocado spinach smoothie was... not so good, and pumpkin spice latte smoothie went directly into the trash) but the recipes below all pass the "make again" test :)

So far I've had the best luck adding the liquids first and then the rest of the ingredients.  If you are wondering which post-workout protein powder is used, it's GNC Wheybolic Extreme 60 in Vanilla.  The nutritional facts below are courtesy of FatSecret, my awesome calorie-counting app!  It recognizes millions of foods - just measure what you eat, and you can store it all in the FatSecret app in seconds! 


Vanilla Custard Soy Protein Shake
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbs agave nectar
2 capfuls vanilla extract
1 raw egg
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 serving silken tofu
318 calories, 15 grams protein, 7 grams fat

Green Vanilla Custard Protein Super Shake
1/2 cup skim milk
1 tbs agave nectar
2 capfuls vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 cup spinach
361 calories, 19 grams protein, 11 grams fat

Jumpin' Tofu Monkey (Tofunky)
1/2 cup coffee
1/2 tbs cocoa
1 tbs maple syrup
1 ripe banana, peeled
1 serving silken tofu
217 calories, 7 grams protein, 4 grams fat

Vanilla Tofunky
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tbs agave syrup
1 capful vanilla extract
1 ripe banana, peeled
2 servings silken tofu
280 calories, 10 grams protein, 5 grams fat

Post-Workout Green Vanilla Smoothie
1 cup coconut water
1/2 tbs agave syrup
1/2 avocado
2 cups spinach
1 and 1/2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
368 calories, 35 grams protein, 16 grams fat

Post-Workout Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake
12 frozen strawberries, with hulls and stems
1 and 1/2 scoops vanilla whey protein powder
1 and 1/2 cups coconut water
254 calories, 34 grams protein, 2g fat

Low-Cal Breakfast Smoothie
10 frozen strawberries, with hulls and stems
1/2 mango, peeled
1 handful spinach
1 and 1/2 cups coconut water
Only 180 calories!

Mango Pineapple Green Smoothie
1/2 mango, peeled
1 cup pineapple, with core
1 cup spinach
1 cup coconut water
195 calories

Monday, August 11, 2014

Whole Wheat Homemade Cal Italia (Fig & Prosciutto Pizza) with Tomato & Burrata Salad

This wedding diet is killing my creativity - I did not post a recipe all of July.  However, I have definitely dropped a few inches (I don't own a scale, but everything is fitting nicely).  I had my first dress fitting for the wedding and it needs to be taken in, so I'm feeling like I'm on the right track!  Now on to maintaining my weight - and getting in a few cheats every now and then.  I might have treated myself to a caramel frappuccino this weekend (light!!) and given in to my pizza craving.  This recipe is inspired by the delicious sweet and savory Cal Italia served at Pizza Rock in Sacramento.

Making it myself is one way to control what goes in it, so I can feel a little better about indulging.  I made a salad version of the Barefoot Contessa's tomatoes and burrata (a delicate ball of mozzarella filled with a gooey mixture of cream and curds, kind of like cottage cheese).  By the end of this meal and I was feeling fat, happy and mostly guilt-free :)

Tomato & Burrata Salad

1 ball burrata cheese, divided
1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, snipped with kitchen shears
1 drizzle olive oil
Splash of balsamic vinegar
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Dry the ball of burrata cheese.  Slice it in half carefully and place each slice open side down in a bowl.  Arrange the sliced tomatoes around the cheese and sprinkle with basil.  Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and season with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.

Gooey cheesy goodness.

Whole Wheat Homemade Cal Italia (Fig & Prosciutto Pizza)

1 Trader Joe's whole wheat pizza dough
3 tablespoons fig butter (also found at TJ's)
1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (I used TJ's Quattro Formaggio Shredded Cheese Blend with Asiago, Fontina, Parmesan and Mild Provolone)
5 slices prosciutto, torn
1 small handful fresh basil leaves, snipped with kitchen shears

Flour your baking pan or rolling surface generously.  Remove the dough from the bag and press into a flat disk.  Use a rolling pin to roll to desired thickness (the dough will puff up during baking).  Set aside.

The fig butter will be thick, so I mixed mine with a few tablespoons of water and warmed it up in the microwave to make it a little more spreadable.  Spread this all over the dough to the very edge.  Sprinkle with the cheese and top with the prosciutto.  I added a little palm fruit I found in our yard, but red onion or some tomatoes would also be good.

Bake for 10 minutes until cheese is melted and dough is cooked.  Sprinkle with the remaining basil.  Allow to cool, then cut into slices and enjoy!

Guilt-free pizza!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Spaghetti and Meatballs (GF)

I’m so obsessed with the meatballs at Pizza Rock – incredibly tender, flavorful and moist, bathed in bright tomato sauce.  I can’t NOT get them when I go.  (I suspect their tenderness can be attributed to the presence of ground veal.)  I’ve been searching for a meatball recipe to match that one, but I always follow instructions and get something that just tastes like a ball of hamburger with no flavor.  No more!  This is a recipe of my own creation – no white bread soaked in milk, since I’m boycotting white flour – with all the flavor elements amped up an extra notch.  These are good on their own and need only a little sauce, Parmesan and noodles to make them complete.  I use all hamburger since I get grass-fed beef from my parents, but feel free to add pork, veal or Italian sausage.  I normally do NOT use dry powdered “Parmesan” cheese, but for an ingredient in meatballs I won’t pony up a quarter cup of my pricey authentic Parmigiano-Reggiano.  I’ll save it for sprinkling on top!  Enjoy.

2 pounds ground beef (or a combination of beef/pork/veal/sausage)
1 cup oatmeal, ground in a food processor to the consistency of coarse flour
1/2 cup milk, or enough to just moisten the oatmeal
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated or dry powdered cheese)
about 1/4 to 1/3 of an onion, grated
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cinnamon (I LOVE cinnamon in my Bolognese, but feel free to omit this)
1 handful basil leaves, chopped or snipped finely (reserve a few for serving)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

8 heirloom tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped in a food processor
4-5 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with foil.  Combine the oatmeal and milk in a bowl.  Set aside.  Add the meat to a large bowl and add the moistened oatmeal and all the remaining ingredients.  Using your hands, mix everything just until combined but do not overmix.  Use an ice cream scoop to shape into large balls and bake for 30 minutes.

While the meatballs are baking prepare the sauce.  Brown the onions in olive oil over medium heat.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Add bay leaves, spices, tomatoes and their juice.  Simmer for about 20 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook the pasta if serving.

When the meatballs are cooked, drain off the excess oil from the pan.  Nestle the meatballs in the sauce and place the baking pan over a burner on medium high heat.  When the pan is hot, deglaze with the red wine, quickly scraping the bits from the pan while the wine reduces slightly, 1-2 minutes.  Stir the reduction into the meatballs and sauce.  Season with salt to taste.

Serve alone or with gluten free or whole grain pasta, garnished with freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh basil leaves.

No joke - I would put these up there with Pizza Rock's balls!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jumbo Shrimp and "Grits" (Low-Carb)

Hello!  What follows is a super simple, fast recipe.  I have been enjoying cauliflower puree (adapted from this recipe) whenever a recipe calls for the main ingredient to be served swimming in sauce on a bed of polenta or mashed potatoes.  Ok ok, so it's not exactly the same... but it works really well as a lower-calorie, nutrient rich alternative!  It's also a great fiber source so it'll leave you feeling full, happy and satisfied.  With this small swap I don't feel guilty about adding butter, Parmesan and then layering on a rich sauce.  Additionally, it's versatile in that you can take any leftovers and turn them into a creamy, super nutritious soup!  Just add the reserved milk back in along with a little something else (curry powder, goat cheese, fresh herbs) to kick it up.

To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of cauliflower - I try to avoid eating raw cruciferous vegetables since they can wreak havoc on my digestion.  As of late I'm discovering how delicious cauliflower can be when it's seasoned with just olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted or sauteed to a deep, dark brown.  Since cauliflower has a naturally high sugar content it's perfect for caramelizing in this way, and in my opinion it really holds up a lot better than roasted broccoli, which gets kinda soft and soggy.

I hope you give this boring old white vegetable a chance to prove how versatile it can really be :)  Enjoy!

Jumbo Shrimp with Cauliflower "Grits" (Cauliflower Puree)

1 head cauliflower
1 1/2 pints milk (whatever your preference, I used skim)
Salt and pepper
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2-4 tablespoons butter
1 pound jumbo shrimp, shelled and deveined
1-2 pinches cayenne pepper
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup white wine
1 sprig basil, thyme or tarragon

Remove the green stems and leaves and roughly chop the cauliflower, discarding any brown or discolored pieces.

Heat a large pot over high.  To the pot add the chopped cauliflower; pour in enough milk to almost cover.  Season generously with kosher salt and black pepper.  Cover and bring to a boil, stirring gently as needed.

When the cauliflower can be easily mashed with a wooden spoon it is cooked.  Drain the cauliflower over a colander (reserving the milk!).  Return to the hot pot.  Using an immersion blender (or food processor if you don't have one), blitz the cauliflower until no large chunks remain, adding the hot milk a little at a time if needed.  Set the pot aside over low heat and add up to one cup of Parmesan cheese, plus 1-2 pats of butter if desired and additional salt and pepper as needed, until ready to serve.

When puree is finished, heat a large saute pan over medium high heat.  Melt 2 tablespoons butter in pan.  Season the shrimp liberally with salt, pepper, the cayenne and add to the pan in an even layer.  Flip when shrimp turn slightly pink and remove from the pan after 3-4 minutes.  To the hot pan add the wine and lemon juice.  Raise the heat to high and stir, until sauce has reduced, 2-3 minutes.  Turn off the heat, add the shrimp back to the pan and toss with the reduced sauce.

To serve, spoon the shrimp and sauce over a bed of the cauliflower puree.  Tear the fresh herbs and sprinkle over top with another pinch of the cayenne, if desired.

Jumbo shrimp... because I love oxymorons.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Healthy Eating!

It's been a month since my last post - I've been getting summer ready!  Detoxing, eating healthy and working out six days a week, which means in general I prepare less complex meals and try out fewer recipes.  NOT to say that you can't make a creative and blog-worthy recipe while eating healthy!  But generally, I've been less creative and eating simple meals designed for their nutritional value over gourmet cooking.  However, I have come up with a few things I wanted to share that won't break your calorie bank!
This detox has been a bit of a challenge - I decided to cut out bread, refined flour, refined sugar, coffee, and stick to only whole grains, proteins, fruits and veggies!  After just a few days I was feeling amazing and seeing results.  After a couple weeks, I was extremely low energy, fatigued and cranky!  I definitely have had a few "cheat meals" on the weekends.  In fact it helps motivate me to keep going and hit the gym harder than ever on Monday morning.  I generally eat every 1-2 hours, so I've included everything I might normally eat in a day, in case you are looking for meal plan ideas!

Breakfast: Bananas with Quinoa
Ok, I know this doesn't sound that great.  But it's weirdly addictive!  This is something I threw together one day because I had some leftover quinoa and an old banana and I was trying to get out of my daily toast-and-peanut-butter routine.  Quinoa is a versatile grain that can go savory or sweet - I cook a whole box at once, keep it in the fridge and eat it throughout the week.  (Save yourself a hassle and buy the pre-rinsed kind! I get Ancient Harvest from the rice section at Safeway.)  A hot breakfast really fills me up before my morning trip to the gym and this has a nice sweet/earthy/crunchy combo that I enjoy much more than a plain old boring bowl of oatmeal.  Use a really ripe banana to get that delicious caramelized flavor and you will forget all about this being diet food!  Plus, it literally takes 60 seconds to prepare and I'm out the door.  It's so easy to change up depending on what you have in your fridge and pantry - try it with strawberries, blueberries, pecans, coconut, honey, agave, nutmeg, ginger, a dollop of greek yogurt... the sky's the limit!  (PS - I REALLY love the orange zest in this, but since I'm too lazy to zest a tiny bit of orange every single day, I add the zest of one or two oranges when I cook the quinoa.  It really adds a lot of flavor and it still works nicely if you're using the quinoa for savory dishes too!)

1/2 cup white or red quinoa, cooked (with orange zest, if you like)
1 splash milk (less than 1/4 cup)
1 generous sprinkle cinnamon (about 1/4 tsp)
1 very ripe banana, sliced
1 generous drizzle maple syrup (about 1 tsp)
1 generous sprinkle sliced almonds (about 1-2 tbsp)

Layer all ingredients in a bowl and heat in the microwave for about 40 seconds.  Stir and enjoy!

Cardio fuel.

Breakfast: Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberries
This is a little more indulgent, and so tasty!  We made this over a weekend away at a cabin in the Delta and I have to say, I think I like them more than regular pancakes (don't tell my mother).  If you're in a hurry buy buckwheat pancake mix, but I like to make everything from scratch!  It's easy to double or triple, and I saved the leftover batter in my empty milk jug so I have it ready to pour.  The below will make 4-6 pancakes depending on size.

1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 pinch salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 cup strawberries, chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus more for serving
Butter, for serving

Whisk all ingredients except fruit in a large bowl.  Heat a griddle or frying pan over medium.  Chop the strawberries into small pieces and drizzle with the maple syrup.  Set aside.  When the pan is hot, melt butter in the pan and pour in batter, frying until the surface bubbles.  Flip and keep warm until ready to serve with butter and maple syrup.  Garnish with macerated strawberries.

Buckwheat, otay??

Lunch: Kamut Pasta with Butternut Squash Sauce, Parmesan and Crispy Fried Sage
I try to eat my carbs early in the day as much as possible.  Kamut (ka-moot) spirals by Eden is a whole grain pasta I picked up at the Sacramento Co-op.  Tastes just like regular pasta, not dense or grainy, and is relatively inexpensive.  This was also a great excuse to use some of my fresh home-grown sage leaves from my new patio herb garden!  See my past recipe for butternut squash puree and just add the rest.

1 serving kamut spirals
1 cup butternut squash puree (see recipe)
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 fresh sage leaves

Cook pasta according to package directions.  While pasta cooks, heat olive oil in a small frying pan.  When hot, add the sage leaves until they cook and crisp, 30 seconds or so.  Allow to drain on a paper towel.  When pasta is cooked, toss with the puree until heated through.  Move to a serving bowl and garnish with the grated Parmesan cheese and fried sage leaves.

Mmmm carbs.

Lunch: Greek Salad
A great use for some of your leftover quinoa!  Make a big batch like this if you hate dicing veggies like I do :)

2 cups quinoa
3 tomatoes, diced small
1 cucumber, diced small
1 red onion, diced small
1 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup diced pepperoncinis (optional)
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese, crumbled

Mix all ingredients with the dressing.  Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to use.

Dinner: Salad Caprese
Another simple dish, but so good!  I started making this because my herb garden has three very productive basil plants and this is a perfect use for the fresh leaves.  Make it in advance or enjoy right away.

2 tomatoes, sliced or cut into wedges
2-3 glugs balsamic vinegar (about 2 tbsp)
2-3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced
8-10 fresh basil leaves, torn
1 tsp olive oil
Generous sprinkle of salt and pepper
Layer ingredients on sliced tomatoes, or toss wedges in a bowl so that all ingredients are evenly coated, and enjoy!

Mmmm lycopene.

Dinner: Sauteed Kale with Almonds
1 large bunch lacinto or curly kale, washed, leaves stripped from stalks and chopped
1/2 cup sliced almond or whole almonds, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
The zest and juice of one lemon

Heat a small amount of olive oil in a saute pan.  When hot, add the kale and salt and pepper and cover, tossing occasionally.  When cooked, remove to a serving dish.  Zest the lemon and squeeze the juice over top, toss again and serve.

Snack ideas between meals: 1 8 oz serving of orange juice, 1-2 bananas, 1 hard boiled egg, 1 8 oz serving Bolthouse Farms Mango Protein Plus, 1 8oz serving plain greek yogurt with honey, 1 handful unsalted nuts, 1 avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper, 1 8 oz serving lowfat cottage cheese, 1 or 2 pieces low fat string cheese, 1-2 cups fruit such as cantaloupe, strawberries or grapes, 1 sliced red bell pepper, 1 cup baby carrots with my white bean or romesco dip, 1 serving peanut or almond butter with an apple, or 2 cups salad greens lightly dressed.