Burrata + Beet + Blood Orange Salad

IMG_3763Have you ever had Burrata cheese? If your answer is no, stop what you are doing and immediately go buy some. Burrata is the God of all cheeses. It looks like a ball of Mozzarella cheese, but when cut into it reveals itself as a distant (and way cooler) relaitive . It oozes out a rich, buttery and creamy filling. Buratta tastes amazing on it’s own, which is why it is important to keep the recipe simple when it involves this gem of a cheese. Today I tossed it with some arugula, roasted beets, blood orange and finished it off with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The spiciness of the arugula, sweetness of roasted beets, tartness of blood orange and overall amazingness of the burrata came together to create magic. Serious deliciousness.

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Oat + Berry Bars {gluten free}

IMG_3811A dear friend of mine recently introduced me to the raspberry oat bars at Whole Foods. OMG are they good. The Whole Food bakers have mastered the perfect ratio of crust to berries to oat topping. I bought one thinking it would last a couple of days…wrong. It was gone before I made it out of the parking lot. These bars only have one flaw- they are super heavy. I am pretty sure my biceps got a workout by lifting it up to my mouth. After tasting them I knew I had to make a lighter version. One that wouldn’t leave me feeling weighted down. After a few recipe tweaks I think I have found the perfect replacement. There is still a place in my life for the occasional Whole Foods Berry Oat Bar, but I will be keeping a stash of my version in the freezer for when I am having a craving.

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Pomegranate + Gingertini

IMG_3217With November in full swing and December around the corner, there is good chance your weekends will soon be filled with holiday parties. Which also means your weekends will be filled with  sugary cocktails. Those drinks taste good going down, but usually make you feel a bit bloated and headachy the following day. Bloated and headachy…not the best way to spend your weekends, especially when you are wanting to rock a small sparkly dress.  Don’t fret, there is a way to stay Merry during the holidays and still enjoy a few cocktails. It requires some seasonal fruit, coconut water and a blender. That’s all you need to stay healthy during the cocktail party season. Sounds pretty easy, right? It is. I blended fresh pomegranate seeds with an orange, coconut water and some fresh ginger. Gave it a whirl in the blender and wa-la a healthy holiday cocktail. Add your alcohol of choice or drink it in the virgin form. Both will leave you feeling Merry and Bright.

You may want to start off with a 1/4th inch piece of ginger and add more to your liking. I like the spice the ginger adds so I used a 1/2 inch slice of ginger. If you are feeling extra bold, add even more.

 

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B.L.A.T. + Horseradish Aioli

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Today I took on a classic, the BLT.  I jazzed it up a bit by adding avocado and a horseradish aioli. Does that make it a B.L.A.T.H.O.? Hmmmm I think we will stick to calling it a B.L.A.T. (Bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado).  The end result was the perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy.

Fresh horseradish can be tough to come by and a bit intimidating. Feel free to substitute prepared horseradish for the fresh horseradish. Prepared horseradish can be found down the condiment aisle of your grocery store in a jar. Fresh horseradish is very strong, so if using a jarred version increase the amount of horseradish in the aioli.

On a side note- If you ever have a stuffed up nose, take a sniff of fresh horseradish and you will be cleared out within seconds.

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                           Horseradish

Horseradish has been used medicinally since the Middle Ages. Beyond the pungent spice it lends to recipes, it is also high in a compound known as glucosinolates, which aids in the prevention of cancer.  It is also high in vitamin C, which helps boost the immune system and treat the flu/cold. Have body aches or sore muscle? Using horseradish topically can soothe sore muscles, joints and head aches. Horseradish helps stimulate blood flow to the skin surface and to inflamed areas of the body. So many health benefits stuffed into a small (not so pretty) root.

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Salmon + Avocado Lettuce Wraps

IMG_2897People often ask me how I come up with recipes. It usually happens at random times, when I am least expecting it.  An idea will  pop into my head as I am drifting off to sleep, while I am at the grocery store and a piece of seasonal produce jumps out at me, or on the tail end of a run when I am using my thoughts to distract myself from my tired legs. Today my recipe idea came to me while I was driving by a giant billboard. “Fresh. Bold. Spicy. Lettuce Wraps”. In an instant I went from not having a single thought of lettuce wraps to craving them. The gotta have it RIGHT now type of crave. This is how my Salmon Avocado Lettuce Wraps with Caesar Dressing came to life. I wanted lettuce wraps, and I wanted them fast.  These wraps are a snap to put together. Cooking the salmon is the most time consuming part of the recipe, and that isn’t hands on. Easy peasy.

Salmon Avocado Wraps work great for a lunch or dinner. They are also a crowd pleaser for entertaining.  Who doesn’t love a lettuce wrap? For a vegetarian version swap the salmon for some quinoa.

The Yogurt Caesar Dressing makes 1 cup, so depending on how saucy you like your wraps ( I like mine saucy), there is usually left over. The dressing will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a week.

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Avocado Pasta

IMG_2709Avocados are hands down one of my all time favorite foods. Rich, creamy, satisfying and delicious.  Avocados go well beyond just tasting fantastic. They are full of fiber, folate, potassium,  vitamin A, C, E, K and B6. Don’t be afraid of the high calorie and fat content of these alligator pears (that’s really their nickname), the calories are health supportive and a majority of the fat is monounsaturated fat. In other words, the fat and calories found in avocados are A-OK.

I most often find myself eating an avocado straight out of the skin, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. So tasty. So satisfying.  Tonight I switched it up and made a creamy avocado pasta sauce. It was a hit in the Lee household. The avocado lends a buttery texture and mild flavor allowing the lemon and basil to have the spot light. Tossing in a diced tomato adds the perfect amount of color and texture. Taber added a bit of feta and sirracha sauce (note: he adds sirracha to EVERYTHING), but I liked the pasta as is.

Avocado Sauce goes well with all pastas. Fell free to ditch the quinoa pasta and use your favorite pasta or whatever you happen to have in the cupboard.

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Chicken + Feta + Basil Burgers

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Rumor has it meatballs are a trendy food item right now. I had no idea. While I was watching one of my gossip educational shows, Extra,  an editor of People Magazine suggested viewers throw a “meatball party”. Hmmmm if I were to receive an invitation to a meatball party I would expect the entire male cast of Jersey Shore to be there. Meatball/meathead…same thing, right?

Instead of following the trends and making meatballs I decided to make chicken burgers. A distant relative to meatballs. So often chicken burgers start out great, but by the end of the cooking process they have transformed into dry wannabe burgers. When I set out to make these chicken burgers my main goal was to make an extra juicy burger with high flavor. Fresh herbs and mushrooms played a large part in helping me accomplish my goal. Mushrooms add moisture and fresh basil amped up the flavor.

If you aren’t a mushroom lover, this burger is still the burger for you. Taber strongly dislikes mushrooms, so I had to hide them in the recipe. I chopped them up so small he had no idea they were there. I have a horrific poker face, so I let him in on my little secret. Of course, I waited until after he was done with the burger.

These would also be great on the BBQ. Chill for one hour before throwing them on the grill.

To make this recipe gluten free- substitute almond meal for the bread crumbs or omit the bread crumbs all together.

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Ranchero Quinoa

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I am a self confessed juice bar junkie. I can’t stay away. My favorite juice bar, Juice Land, is a short hop, skip and jump away from my house.  It isn’t just the juices and smoothies that lure me in more than once a week. Juice Land also offers grab and go health supportive, super delish foods. My all time favorite dish  is their Quinoa Ranchero. It is the type of meal that makes you sad when you take the last bite. Has that ever happened to you?  I never want it to be over.  Since the day I tried Quinoa Ranchero it has been on my list of recipes to attempt. As of yesterday, I can officially cross it off the list because I finally made it! It is slightly different than the Juice Land version, but still so good it leaves me wanting more.

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Chocolate + Cherry Tart

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September is a busy birthday month for my family. I’m talkin’ 4 birthdays in 30 days.  Living in another state makes it difficult for us to participate in the family b-day celebrations, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating. Last night I made a raw chocolate cherry tart in honor of the birthdays. We skipped the candles and singing, but dug in like it was OUR birthday. This may be the richest and most satisfying dessert in the whole entire world and the next universe over. The cherry flavor is very slight. Not too strong. Not too weak. I served it with coconut vanilla bean ice cream. The depth of the tart pairs well with the lightness of the ice cream. Besides the flavor, what I love most about this dessert is all the goodness it entails. Your body will benefit from eating every single ingredient blended into this chocolaty tart…A true rarity when it comes to dessert.

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT                                                                                                                                                                               Raw Cacao  

Before the cacao bean is processed with sugar and dairy to make your favorite chocolate bar, it is a packed with vitamins and minerals. Raw cacao, which can be found in the form of butter, nibs, powder or beans, is high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, magnesium and Omega 6s. Ready for a shocker…raw cacao is said to help prevent cavities. Yup-sir-e. Cacao is high in Theobromine, which kills a strain of bacteria that causes cavities. It is also one of the highest food sources of magnesium, which is the most deficient mineral of a modern day diet. Raw cacao is a bit pricey but defiantly worth it for the health benefits.

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Fig + Mint+ Goat Cheese Salad

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How beautiful are these figs? Serious stunners. I was at my second home the grocery store when these pretty little tiger striped figs caught my eye. Figs were not on my shopping list but I couldn’t resist, not that I tried to.  By the time I made my way to the check-out, I had dreamt up an arugula, feta, mint,  and goat cheese salad with a lemon vinaigrette.  The flavor combo of sweet figs, spicy arugula, salty goat cheese and tangy vinaigrette is ah-mazing.

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