Farmer’s Market Crudites Platter with Hummus Two Ways

One of my favorite times of the year is the spring when the Farmer’s Market starts to get bigger with more and more farmers who start to bring a larger variety of produce and goodies.  I’ve mentioned in the past that I like to make a menu for the week (more so my kids don’t complain they want something else than what is served), but what I haven’t mentioned is how I love going to the Farmer’s Market to do my weekly produce shopping.  Sometimes, I will even tailor some of my dishes to include produce I find at the Market.

Recently, I partnered with our local Farmer’s Market (Danville Farmer’s Market) and I will be creating recipes for them a few times a month in the hopes that I can bring awareness to locally farmed produce at all of our farmer’s market.  Having fresh, organic produce and supporting the local farms is a win-win.

This Spring Crudites Platter is so beautiful, we all had a bit of hard time digging in.  No one wanted to mess it up.  Ah well, our stomachs won that round.  The beauty of this platter is that you are not restricted to the same produce I picked up.  Pick up what your farmer’s market has, just make it colorful.

Here is what I used:

  • Purple Cauliflower (chop these into big chunks)
  • Rainbow Baby Carrots (trim the stems off and save to make pesto – be sustainable!)
  • Radishes
  • Watermelon Radishes (slice these a little thick into rounds to give a beautiful effect)
  • Snap Peas
  • Cucumbers (I sliced these on the diagonal for aesthetics.  Feel free to slice into rounds or sticks to make them easier to serve)
  • Cherry Tomatoes

As for the hummus, I chose purple sweet potato and red beets to be the base of each hummus.  For the Red Beets, I roasted it with garlic, then pulsed it with a little tahini and a few other ingredients.  This is by far one of my favorite variations on hummus.  Paired with all that beautiful produce, it’s perfect!

For the Purple Sweet Potato, I baked it in the oven then pulsed it with tahini as well.  Though the idea behind both hummus’ are the same, the flavor profile differ vastly.  Yet both are addicting.

I hope you have a chance to make a beautiful Spring Crudites Platter like this for your next gathering.  I promise you will love it.

Try it out and let me know what you think!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

If you are looking for more delicious recipes, check these out:
Roasted Masala Chickpeas
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Spicy Garlic Hummus
Crispy Chickpeas and Sweet Potato Tacos

Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait

If I had to choose any other fruit besides mango, figs would definitely take second place.  The soft exterior, the honey sweet flesh, and the crunch of the seeds as you eat each one is just heaven.  Pair it with chia pudding topped with fresh baked granola and garnished with a sprig of mint, well, you just won’t want anything else for breakfast!

Continue reading “Fig and Chia Pudding Parfait”

One Pan Baked Salmon and Rainbow Veggies

This one pan salmon is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.  Ready in 15 minutes, it’s a nutritious meal the whole family will enjoy!

I love the idea of using just one pot or a pan.  Not only is cleanup easy but you don’t spend forever in the kitchen cooking after a long hard day of work.  Don’t get me wrong, the kitchen is my happy place.  But weeknights are crazy when the kids are hungry and don’t have the patience to wait for me to cook an elaborate dinner.

My favorite part is that the girls eat the rainbow veggies I add on the side.  The colors look so pretty and the girls love their rainbows as much as I do.  Chopping the veggies and seasoning them doesn’t take very long and adding that glaze on the salmon with a little honey and mustard mix is perfect to brighten up the salmon.

I kept the seasoning for the veggies pretty simple – salt, pepper, and a little dried oregano.  Why?  Because I want the salmon to shine too.  The veggies have their color that attracts you to them so the salmon should have something too, right?  The glaze is very easy to make.  Just mix a little dijon mustard, honey, garlic, and of course fresh squeezed lemon juice.  Brush it on to the salmon and voila!  All that is left to do is bake!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this easy and delicious One Pan Salmon with Rainbow Veggies!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola

Sweet, crunchy, nutty, and deliciously addicting!  This Crunchy Granola has it all and it is so quick and easy to make!  Add it to your yogurt, cereal or eat it for a snack.  It also makes a great gift!

I’ve got this friend Michelle.  She is one the most amazing moms I know.  She and I are workout buddies, lunch wine partners, we turn to each other when our children worry or frustrate us, and she’s who I bounce my recipes off of all the time.  Between our busy schedules, toddler/kid tantrums, and crazy lives whilst dealing with Covid, somehow we always find time to talk about food.

Whether we discuss what’s for dinner, ordering out, trying to find ways to get our kids to eat breakfast in a decent amount of time that is faster than a snail’s pace, food always makes its way into our daily conversations.

Several years ago, I had hosted an Easter Egg hunt and brunch potluck.  Michelle was kind enough to volunteer to make some granola.  Before this, I never thought to make granola at home, we always bought it.  Man it was good.

At that time, my oldest was not really fond of eating granola.  At another time, we were invited over to their place for brunch and sure enough there was granola.  Michelle’s daughter Eleanor called it crunch-crunch and of course, in toddler language, that was good enough for Sanaya to start eating granola.

This crunchy granola recipe is in honor of Michelle and Eleanor who introduced homemade granola to my family after which we have never turned back to store bought.  It is especially a nod of thank you and love to Eleanor’s love of crunch-crunch.

WHAT MAKES THIS GRANOLA SO CRUNCHY?
I’ve recently learned a secret during my experiments in the kitchen.  If I melt the maple syrup and olive oil together for a couple of minutes.  Once I’ve added this to the granola mix and it starts to cool down, the maple syrup starts to coagulate.  As this heats and cools during the baking process, it will help the granola harden into one large chunk which you can then break into pieces.

WHAT MAKES THIS SO SPECIAL?
The simplicity of this granola I think is what I love best.  It literally takes me 3 minutes to combine all the dry ingredients, another 3 minutes to heat up the syrup and oil and add it to the granola mix.  After that, basically a waiting game for the granola to cook and cool down enough so we all can eat it without burning our mouths.

I always use coconut in my granola – it’s a staple I don’t think I can live without in my granola.  As for the nuts, I chose to use almond slivers and pistachios.  I kept the pistachios whole for an added crunch and they taste SO good roasted.  You can easily give them a rough chop if you have little ones who are not able to have whole nuts just yet.

Well… what are you waiting for?  Go ahead.  Try this recipe and get hooked like we have!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this deliciously Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola.

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Roasted Rainbow Veggies

Roasting vegetables is one of my favorite ways to eat any vegetable.  Having several different colors and cooking them together is the best in my book!  You get plenty of vitamins and minerals and the different colors are just so pretty to look at!  These Roasted Rainbow Veggies are the perfect way to serve your veggies for adults and kids, making them fun, easy, and healthy.

Rainbows have always been popular in our home,  with me always telling my girls to eat their colors and the girls loving anything to do with rainbows, unicorns, and princesses.  Roasting the veggies in a rainbow on a sheet pan is about the easiest recipe I have ever made.  The vast array of vitamins and minerals that we get to eat with our dinner makes this one of my healthiest recipes.

For my colors, I chose beets, carrots, yellow squash, asparagus, and purple potato.  You don’t have to stick to those same colors.  Honestly, go for what you find in your fridge.  Here are a few ideas to get you started for your own Roasted Rainbow Veggies:

RED: beets, tomatoes, red bell pepper
ORANGE: carrots, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin
YELLOW: yellow squash, yellow bell pepper, golden beets, yellow onions
GREEN: zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts
BLUE/PURPLE: purple sweet potatoes, purple carrots, eggplant, purple onions

So now that you have options, how do you make your own Roasted Rainbow Veggies?  All you need is a good chopping board, a sharp knife, and a sheet pan.  As to the flavors, my standard is to add a little dried oregano for taste with salt, pepper, and olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 25-30 minutes (times do vary based on the type of veggies you choose), and serve it up with any dinner.

I can’t wait to see what veggies you chose to make your rainbow.  Be sure to let me know in the comments or tag me on Instagram or Facebook!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these quick, delicious, and healthy Roasted Rainbow Veggies!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Springtime Lentil Salad

Spring is almost here.  I can feel it in the air and I’m so excited!  It’s one of my favorite seasons when all the flowers bloom, the grass is luscious green, and the weather is perfect!  This amazing lentil salad is a nod to that feeling and to welcome spring in my life because I cannot wait a moment longer.

Perfectly cooked, tender lentils, crisp and juicy bell peppers, fresh mint, sweet pomegranates, sharp onions, the crunchy cucumbers all drizzled with a fresh basil vinaigrette.  How can you say no to that?  While the lentils are cooking, you can chop the veggies and make the vinaigrette so all you have to do is toss the salad together when the lentils are done.  Make this on the weekend as part of your meal prep, have it for lunch, or even serve it for dinner as a side.  It’s so versatile, quick, easy, and delicious.

Not only does this wonderful lentil salad taste good and is quick to make, it is packed with protein and nutrients.  Check it out:

  • Great source of protein – 13 gm per serving
  • 23% DRI of Fiber
  • 30% DRI of Iron
  • 24% DRI of Phosphorous
  • 77% DRI of Vit. C
  • 127% DRI of Folic Acid
  • 60% DRI of Vit. K

In addition to how nutrient dense this salad is and delicious it is to gobble up, I love how versatile it is.  Add in some goat cheese for a little decadence, change out the mint to parsley if the mint is too strong for you, add in a few more veggies for more crunch or even toss in some nuts if you please.

So… try out this delicious Springtime Lentil Salad and welcome the new season with me!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl

If you have been following me then you know how much I love my bowls.  Experimenting with different flavor profiles, playing around with new dressings, and oftentimes using whatever vegetables are left in the fridge waiting to be saved from their last moments are the best part of creating my new bowl.

My brussels sprouts were facing a similar fate as mentioned above.  I had enough left that I could create a whole new dish with just them, but so few that I didn’t want to waste them either.  Grain bowls are perfect for these types of situations especially if you are using a variety of different ingredients.

This one turned out so delicious that I actually went out and bought more brussels sprouts even though I am trying to move on to spring veggies!  We’ve now had this bowl 4 times in the last 2 weeks and no one in my household minds – in fact, they love it !

I added in some sweet potato for a little starch, sweetness, and fiber, and avocado for protein.  As for the dressing, keeping it simple was the best route.  I made a honey dijon dressing that worked wonders.  The tang from the dijon and the sweet honey are a perfect balance to the bowl.

So…what are you waiting for?  Try this delicious Brussels Sprouts Grain Bowl and become a fan too!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Sprouted Moong Beans Sabzi Gujarati Style

Growing up, my Mom would make these sprouted moong beans for dinner often.  I remember my brother and I were not big fans and would hate eating them.  Now that I’m an adult, maybe a switch has flipped?  I don’t know but I definitely love this recipe and could easily eat this dish 2-3 times a week.  Thanks Mom!

WHAT ARE SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Sprouted moong beans are basically moong beans that have been soaked in water then left in a warm place to germinate.  They are very popular in Indian and Pakistani cooking though many people across the globe are starting to embrace this food more and more.
Some of the more popular ways to eat sprouted moong beans is to add them in to salads and sandwiches, however, some of the more traditional ways to make them is to make a curry, a sabzi, and even dosas out of these delicious babies.

WHY SHOULD I EAT SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Because they are a powerhouse of nutrients.  These legumes are one of the best sources of plant based protein providing ~14gm in 1 cup cooked.  Take a look at some of these other benefits:

  • Fiber: 15.4 grams
  • Folate (B9): 80% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 24% of the RDI
  • Vitamin B1: 22% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 20% of the RDI
  • Iron: 16% of the RDI
  • Copper: 16% of the RDI
  • Potassium: 15% of the RDI
  • Zinc: 11% of the RDI

WHERE CAN I GET SPROUTED MOONG BEANS?
Moong Beans are easy to sprout at home (I love this method provided by Piping Pot Curry) or you can find them at your local Indian or Asian grocery store.

So now that you know what I know about these delicious and nutritious legumes, let me tell you how to make them.  This particular recipe is my mom’s (I’ve not made a single change to it because it’s so perfect the way it is!) and I love the simplicity of it as it carries a depth of flavor too.

There are two methods of making this dish.  One is in the instant pot and the other over the stove.  I’ve given both versions in the recipe card below so feel free to try both to see which you prefer!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these Sprouted Moong Beans as much as we do!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Mahi Mahi with Garlic Lemon Sauce

If I gave my youngest Fish and Couscous everyday for the rest of her life, I wouldn’t hear a single complaint.  She loves it that much and we usually have it on the menu biweekly.  The Garlic Lemon Sauce is absolutely finger licking delicious!  Paired with a flaky and tender Mahi Mahi, well, you will also be adding this fish to your rotation.

Everyone says eating fish is healthy and to incorporate it more in your diet.  But why?  Here are few good reasons why:

  • Fish are high in Omega-3 fatty acids which help lower cholesterol and heart disease
  • Rich in Iron
  • Rich in Vit. B which promotes healthy brain function
  • Rich in Potassium which promotes a healthy heart


Fish can be tricky to cook sometimes because it is very easy to overcook leading to a tough meat (trust me, I’ve done this on many occasions).  A few tricks I rely on to serve the best flaky fish are:

  • Be sure your filtes are about 6-7oz each, with at least 1-inch thickness. If your portions are thin or too small, they’ll tend to overcook.
  • Always pat dry excess moisture from the fish; this step is super important, as it affects how well your fish will brown. A paper towel works wonders
  • Buy fresh or quick-frozen, high quality fish… wild is best, and will provide best flavor.

Don’t know what to serve your delicious Mahi Mahi with?  Check out some of these dishes:
Quinoa, Brown Rice and Black Beans
Fresco Carpaccio

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Mahi Mahi with Lemon Garlic Sauce!

Here are the tools I used:

Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl

Looking for a healthy way to get protein without compromising flavor?  Well, you’ve come to the right place.  This Vegan Protein Bowl has hints of spicy, tangy, herby, and definitely brings a Middle Eastern vibe in each bite!

Simple to make and ready in just 30 minutes, you have got to try this delicious bowl.  So let me tell you a little bit about the ingredients I chose.  For my grain, I used quinoa because it packs more of a protein punch but you can definitely use any other grain.  Bulgur or Farro would be excellent substitutes to keep in line with the Middle Eastern food theme.

For added protein and crunch, I used garbanzo beans.  I love snacking on these so I actually made double the amount and the girls ended up eating most of them!

As to the veggies, I used a few different ones as I wanted to get the colors in.  To give it some warmth, I roasted the cauliflower with the garbanzos and to keep a cool factor, I made a salad of tomatoes, avocados, cucumbers, and fresh herbs.

So it’s not just what ingredients I use but how much nutrition this delicious bowl provides.  In addition to almost 20 gm of protein, you are also getting:

  • Half of your daily recommended intake (DRI) of Fiber
  • 40% of DRI Iron
  • More than the recommended intake of Folic Acid
  • Meeting at least 20-50% of most of your Vitamins and Minerals DRI

The best part of making this recipe is that even though there are several different steps and techniques, you can multitask and get them all done at once without chaos in the kitchen!   Roast your veggies, while your quinoa cooks and you are making the Avocado Salsa!  So simple and easy!

Last but not least, I added a hummus dressing to pull it altogether.  I love making my own dressings and there is no way I would leave one out of a bowl this delicious.  And to be honest, I really think the hummus dressing really marries all the flavors together so perfectly.  So what are you waiting for?!  Try this recipe out and let me know what you think.  Leave a comment below, give it a star rating, or tag me on Facebook or Instagram!

From my kitchen to yours, I really hope you enjoy this delicious Middle Eastern Vegan Protein Bowl!

Here are the tools I used:

Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios

my foodgawker gallery

This fall and winter season I have been obsessed with acorn squash and pomegranates.  It only made sense that I find a way to combine the two together.  The girls love the rainbow shape this takes on when cut so I wanted to create something fun for them too.

The great thing about acorn squash is that it is a little sweet naturally but it will still take on any flavor you give it.  If you haven’t tried them yet, I made some Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos recently with acorn squash part of the filling.  It took on the spices really well so I wanted to go on the opposite spectrum this time and season it with something a little more mild.

I chose mostly fresh herbs that would bring out the more earthy flavors.  To help give it a little crust, I also added a little Parmesan.

Anyways, here are a few fun nutrition facts about acorn squash:

  • A nutrient dense food, acorn squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber yet is comparatively low in saturated fat, sugar and salt.
  • Great source of phytonutrients, particularly carotenoids which have antioxidant properties.
  • Acorn squash is a starchy fruit, however, because it is so nutrient dense, there’s a good balance to eating this squash. The high fiber content slows down digestion which helps you stay full longer and slows down the release of glucose in your blood.  This process helps in maintaining weight and stabilizing your blood sugar.

So now that you know about my favorite squash this season, let’s move on to my favorite fruit of the season.

Pomegranates!

  • Pomegranates are known as one of the healthiest fruits on Earth!
  • High in fiber (7gms in 1 cup of arils), they also contain an impressive amount of protein (3gm in 1 cup of arils), and 16% of DRI of Folate (also in 1 cup of arils)
  • A great source of antioxidants which help with anti-inflammatory properties.
  • they improve exercise performance by delaying fatigue and increasing blood flow.

Basically, this is one healthy dish that you can have this winter season and enjoy every bite of it!  Try it out and tag me on Instagram @bitofspice146.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios.

Here are the tools I used to make this dish:

 

Tinseltown Tostadas

I think hands down, these are one of my favorite holiday foods.  I’ve had so many and I don’t think I can tire of them.  Snacking is one of my favorite activities.  These delicious tostadas make it so much easier as they are low in calorie, healthy, and guilt-free.

High in fiber, antioxidants, a good source of protein, and rich in vitamins and minerals, these delicious Tinseltown Tostadas definitely pack a punch!

Between the Serrano peppers and the watermelon radish, there were some strong flavors.  I knew I wanted to use the pomegranate arils to give it a sweet note (and make it look pretty).

But it needed depth so I played around with a few options before settling on the hummus and avocado.  And yet the radish was still giving off a bit of a pungent taste and therein comes the smear of pesto.

There are so many random flavors that they work despite wanting to prove the opposite.

Make these delicious Tinseltown Tostadas this holiday season and you won’t be able to stop eating them.  From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy them!

The tools I used for this recipe are:

Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos

We are a taco loving family.  I started the kids out simple with the basic filling of either ground meat or refried beans and some veggies and lots of cheese.  Though we love the basics, which often times provide a sense of comfort and nostalgia, I wanted to try something new.

Definitely no beans or meat.

I know, but trust me!  This is amazing!  You want to know why I say this?  I had to make it 5 times before I was able to get a single photo of it taken.  The first time I made it, these tacos flew so fast, I didn’t even realize what happened.  This also happened the second, third, and fourth time.  The fifth time, I made it well in advance so no one could get into them and I could actually take a photo to share with you my enthusiasm around these tacos.

So, I fire roasted the poblanos to give it a more earthy, smoky flavor.  If you don’t have a gas stove, you can totally do this on your BBQ grill or even in the oven.  You will still get that amazing smoky flavor, I promise!

Instead of beans or meat, I chose to use acorn squash to roast with ancho chili and chipotle powder.  These peppers give it a kick without making it too spicy and also enhance that smoky flavor, especially from the chipotle pepper powder.

I’m not done though!  Making this go one step further, I made a Habanero Crema with avocados, roasted garlic and a little yogurt to balance out the habaneros.

Serve it with microgreens instead of lettuce or cabbage, and top it off with a little salsa verde, and you have what I think is one of the most amazing tacos of the year!

Seriously, I’m just going to stop now and give you the recipe.  You really have to try it.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious Fire Roasted Poblano Tacos.

Sweet & Spicy Harvest Bowl

The weather is still pretty warm out but I am mentally ready for fall!  Especially with all the delicious veggies at the Farmer’s Market that are coming out for the season.  The pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and especially all the squash and pumpkins I’m seeing everywhere!  They’re all so beautiful, colorful and oh so yummy!

I was inspired during my last visit to the Farmer’s Market for this recipe.  I used acorn squash because it is mild in flavor and one of the easiest squash to peel and cut.  The beets added beautiful color and flavor (and lots of nutrition!), and crispy brussels sprouts once roasted are the perfect addition for texture in this bowl.

Here are a few other ingredients I used though, I definitely didn’t roast them:

  • Avocado
  • Red Pears
  • Feta
  • Toasted Pecans
  • Quinoa

As for the dressing, I debated whether to add one or not but in the end, I decided a simple squeeze of lime would do justice without taking away from the other flavors.

I was so excited just roasting the veggies because they looked so bright, bold and beautiful!  The spice that I added to balance the sweet of the beets and pears out was smoky chipotle pepper to the veggies that I roasted.

This is one dish that I think is going to come up often on our table through this season!  Make a big batch for a holiday dinner side, a small batch for a lunch or make it a meal for a weeknight!  It’s simple, healthy, delicious, and you get to eat many of your colors!

Here are some of the health benefits from this yummy bowl:

  • Low Carb
  • High in Fiber
  • High in Protein
  • Vitamins K, C, A, and B-6
  • Good Source of Iron
  • Good Source of Folate

Well!  What are you waiting for?  You have got to try this out!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Sweet and Spicy Harvest Bowl!

Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Rainy days always inspire a bowl of soup from my kitchen.  This particular stew is inspired from my love of including rainbows in my food.  Even better, it’s a one pot meal that’s easy to make with staple ingredients already in your pantry/fridge. Continue reading “Rainbow Lentil Stew Yum

Barley Bowl

We’ve recently started eating more barley during meal times and use it as a go to for most of the week.  When I’m cooking the barley, the aroma that wafts out just makes your mouth water.  Then you bite into the nutty flavor and it’s a home run for me.   Plus, it’s really healthy so I don’t feel guilty about eating a little extra (as I tend to do).  It’s high in dietary fiber, a good source of protein, it’s low in sodium, and is a really good grain to eat if you’re trying to lose weight.
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This recipe was born of out sheer laziness.  Nope.  Not kidding.  I had been running errands all day, doing what seems like an indefinite load of laundry for the girls, and just wasn’t in the mood to cook (a rare moment).
20190408_155218.jpgSo, I started to putter around the kitchen feeling guilty about what to serve the family for dinner, feeling guilty that I wanted to pull something from the freezer, then unsatisfied with everything that I had because maybe, deep down, I knew I would figure something out.
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I’ve also been obsessed with sweet potatoes lately.  I’m not sure why… maybe it’s a slow developing discovery that I love them whether steamed, roasted or bbq’d?  Anyways, of course then I decided I wanted to put the sweet potatoes and the barley together.
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I figured on adding avocado because, who doesn’t add avocado to everything?  But I was still missing one more thing.  As I was getting started prepping, it hit me.  Caramelized Onions!  I discovered the joy of eating these a couple of Thanksgivings ago, and I keep wondering, what was I doing with my life?! Of course, since I was trying to keep this to a healthy dish, I used EVOO but it does taste so heavenly with butter.  If you want to use butter, just swap out the EVOO for equal measurement of butter.
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Little by little, I started putting this bowl together without having a real sense of direction and now, my husband wants it in the rotation weekly!  Score for me!
I added a chimichurri dressing to this to give it a little pizzazz and some chia seeds at the end (originially for presentation but, hey! the added Omega 3, fiber, and protein helps).
Check out the recipe below, try it out and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

1 med red onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
2-3 sprigs Rosemary
1 c pearl barley
4 c veggie broth (optional, 2 c broth & 2 c white wine)
1 large sweet potato, 1″ cubes
1 lg yellow onion, ½” slices
1 lg avocado, cubed
1 Tbsp Chia seeds
2 tsp paprika
salt to taste
pepper to taste
3 Tbsp EVOO

For the Chimichurri:
1 bunch cilantro
2 garlic cloves
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp lime juice
3 Tbsp EVOO
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried red chili flakes
Salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 serrano pepper (optional for more heat)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425ºF .  Place sweet potato on baking sheet, add 1 Tbsp EVOO, salt, pepper and paprika.  Mix well and bake for 25 minutes.
In a shallow pot, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO.  Add onions and cook until they are browned.  Add in the barley and cook until it’s golden red in color.  Add in the garlic, rosemary, broth, salt and pepper.  Mix well and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, cover and cook on medium heat for 20-25 minutes.  Turn off the heat and pick out the rosemary stems.
While the barley is cooking, in another pan, heat 1 Tbsp EVOO and add the yellow onions.  add some salt to taste and mix well.  Cover and cook for 20 minutes, while mixing the onions around every 5 minutes.
For the chimichurri, put all the ingredients in a small food processor or blender and blen everything until it becomes a smooth dressing.

For assembly:
Line a wide bowl with a cup of the cooked barley.  Add in the sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, avocado, and chimichurri.  Sprinkle some chia seeds on top and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Taco Cups Yum

I recently co-hosted a baby shower for my good friend, Diana. I am so excited to meet the little one and am counting down the weeks now!
I loved being a part of the baby shower because we did a lot of mini’s and individual foods to mesh with the baby theme. It was too cute!
The fun thing about these taco cups is that you can use whatever filling you choose. I’ve done a seven layer dip, black bean and corn salsa, and now sweet potato and black beans! I have to say, the sweet potato was a hit, not just with my family, but all the guests and especially the mama-to-be! That in itself made this recipe blog worthy.20180811_092502.jpg

Making the taco cups is really easy. In fact, I’ve even made them in advance – just store them in an airtight container and it will last up to a couple of weeks! Yep! These are perfect for parties! Bonus… they take less than 10 minutes to make! It can’t get better than that.20180810_170103.jpg

To make the cups, I used large burrito sized tortillas and a 4 inch diameter round cookie cutter. I got about 4 out of each tortilla – not bad!20180810_164945.jpg

Once you have the amount of disks you want, heat them up in the microwave for about 12 seconds to warm them up and make them soft and pliable. Remember to spray the muffin tin with cooking spray and also the disks to once you press them into the individual cups.20180810_165338.jpg

Bake at 350ºF for about 5-7 minutes until they are golden red. Remove from heat and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container or plate them to use with filling.20180811_092504.jpg

Ingredients:
For Taco Cups:
4 burrito sized tortillas
4 inch round cookie cutter
Cooking spray

For Sweet Potato and Black Bean filling:
1 large sweet potato, peeled, chopped into ½” cubes
1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
1 14oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp cumin powder
1tsp smoked paprika
2 Tbsp honey
juice of half lime
Salt
Pepper
Cilantro to garnish

For Avocado Crema:
¼ plain yogurt, whipped
½ Avocado, mashed
zest of 1 lime
juice of ½ lime
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions:
For Taco Cups:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Use the cookie cutter to cut out the disks from the tortilla. Wrap the disks 4 at a time in paper towel and warm in microwave for about 12 seconds to make soft and pliable. Immediately press into greased muffin tin pan. Once all disks are in pan, spray again with cooking spray.
Bake in oven for 5-7 minutes. Remove and cool. Store in airtight container.

For Sweet Potato and Black Bean filling:
Preheat oven to 400ºF. On a baking sheet, line sweet potato. Drizzle with EVOO and season with salt, paprika and pepper. Mix well and roast in oven for 20-25 minutes.
In a nonstick pan, heat EVOO. Add in onions and sauté until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in black beans and mix well. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add in the roasted sweet potatoes, honey, cumin powder, and lime juice. Mix well and cook until most of the liquid is evaporated.

For Avocado Crema:
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and mix until you have a smooth, creamy consistency.

To serve:
Place 1 Tbsp of sweet potato and black bean mixture in a taco cup. Top with a dollop of avocado crema and garnish with cilantro. Serve with a lime wedge on the side.

From my family to yours, I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and will continue to do so.

Roasted Garden Salad

I don’t like to labor over big meals during the summer time – I’d rather spend my time outdoors!  To me, summertime is all about simple but filling foods and clean eating so I can enjoy the sun as much as possible.
This salad is just that.  It’s refreshingly light, satisfying, healthy, easy, and best of all, I can do it within 20 minutes!

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It truly is a one pan deal – all you have to do is line all the veggies in the pan, roast them in the oven and voila!
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I added in some roasted chickpeas for crunch and protein… let me tell you this completed the salad in the best way possible.
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Ingredients:
1lb fresh arugula
1 Bell Pepper
1 Onion
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 14oz can of Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Directions:
Heat oven to 350ºF.  Sliced all veggies and line in a baking sheet.  Drizzle with EVOO, add salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.  Mix well so all the veggies are equally seasoned.

Meanwhile, in another tray, spread out garbanzo beans in a flat layer.  Drizzle with EVOO, add salt and pepper and toss to coat evenly.  Sprinkle paprika on the top but don’t mix it.

Bake veggies for 20 minutes and beans for 20-25 minutes.  In a bowl, add arugula.  when veggies and beans are done, add them to the arugula.  Drizzle EVOO lightly, add balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and toss.  Enjoy this salad as much as I do!

Three Bean Chili

*Updated Oct. 16, 2020

Sundays in our house are dedicated to football. Now that the season has started, I’m challenging myself to find some healthier recipes to get us through the games. Sure the chicken wings, nachos, creamy dips, and pizza sound good but they definitely don’t pass the healthy test. This is a hearty chili loaded with veggies, beans and definitely falls into the comfort zone. It makes you want to curl up on the sofa with a warm bowl while you’re watching football (or a movie or your favorite tv show).


The heat of the ancho chili and cayenne give this a perfect balance to some of the sweeter veggies like the carrots and bell peppers.  Using the canned beans also take a lot of the work out of this dish for you and I’ve included both stove top and slow cooker versions so you can make it any way that is easiest and most convenient.

Add a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of spring onions to finish off this chili before eating with a side of cornbread.  Nothing can beat this delicious chili on a cold winter day.  I’d like to say, I’m definitely ready for this winter season!

I’ve made this chili vegan and it can remain so with toppings such as spring onions, cilantro, avocado and lime wedges.

Optional to add are toppings such as sour cream and cheese.  They will definitely soften up the taste if you choose these!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope this 3 Bean Chili brings a little warmth to your day!

I’ve made this both on the stove top and in the slow cooker.  Here is the equipment I used to make the chili: