Lemon Mustard Vinaigrette

Yield: 2 servings

Total time: 5 minutes

  • 1 teaspoon mustard (ground or dijon)
  • juice of half lemon
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of pepper

In a small jar, add mustard and lemon juice. The key to making your own vinaigrette is all about the ratio of acid to oil – 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. In other words, the lemon juice will be 1/4 of your total and the oil will be 3/4 of the total, equaling 1. Then add the garlic, salt, and pepper. Put on the lid and shake up the dressing. This method is more efficient at emulsifying the acid and oil compared to a whisk.

I love this dressing with just sliced vegetables or a hearty kale-arugula salad!

 

 

 

Healthy Homemade Granola

Yield: 2.5 cups

Total time: 45 minutes

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds, slivered or coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • half of 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • half of 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients listed above.
  3. Melt coconut oil in a microwave-safe liquid measuring cup. Add the maple syrup to the measuring cup to yield a total volume of 1/3 cup. Add the vanilla extract.
  4. Pour into the bowl and mix until the dry ingredients are completely coated.
  5. Spread the granola into an even, thin layer in the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the granola is a light brown color. I recommend checking your granola at the 15 minutes interval and stir. I feel this is oven-dependent and will avoid burning the granola if your layer in the baking sheet is too thick.
  6. Remove from the oven and allow the granola to cool completely on the baking sheet. This will allow the granola to stay in small chunks to get that true granola texture. Store in an airtight container such as a large mason jar or a freezer bag, removing excess air. Enjoy with your yogurt, oatmeal, or just by the handful!

NOTE: recipe can be easily doubled and use two large baking sheets.

Lemon Squares

I LOVE lemon! This is my absolute favorite lemon square recipe, with a full & zesty lemon layer with a delicious buttery crust.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen , adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Crust:

  • 1/2 pound unsalted, grass-fed butter, at room temperature (VERY important)
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Filling:

  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest (4 to 6 lemons)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Let the butter and eggs come to room temperature before starting this recipe. Once at room temp, let’s get the crust started.

Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9x13x2-inch baking sheet with butter.

With your standing mixer and paddle attachment or handheld mixer, cream the butter  and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture on low until combined. In the same mixing bowl, gather the dough into a ball and place onto the greased baking sheet. With floured handed, flatten and press the dough evenly, building up a 1/2-inch edge on all sides. Chill in the fridge while prepping the filling.

For the lemon layer, whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and flour. Set aside.

Bake the crust for 15 to 20 minutes, until very lightly browned. Cool the crust on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Pour the lemon filling over the crust and bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool the lemon bars on a wire rack until room temperature. Lightly sift confectioners’ sugar over the bars. Cut into small squares and serve. Enjoy!

Homemade Guacamole

IMG_3863

Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

  • 3 avocados, pitted
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 bunch cilantro, tops roughly chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed, minced
  • 1 vine tomato, diced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • salt & pepper

In a medium-sized bowl, mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher. Mash to your desired level of chunkiness. Add the onion and about ¾ of the cilantro. Mix in the jalapeño and lime juice. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix again. Taste test! Add more salt & pepper to taste. Enjoy with your chips, tacos, nachos, fajitas, burritos, or just with a spoon!

 

Oven-Roasted Tri-Tip

I found this great recipe and rub for tri-tip! I saw it in the meat locker at Whole Foods and could not resist. Sadly, we haven’t set up our grill. I luckily came upon this recipe and was impressed by the depth of flavor! Nommy.

FullSizeRender

Yield: 4 servings

Total time: 2.5-3 hours

Recipe adapted from NYT Cooking

  • tri-tip, 2 pounds
  • 3 tablespoons dry rub*
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Dry Rub

  • 2 tablespoons finely ground coffee
  • 1 ½ tablespoons sea salt
  • 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar*
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves*
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

Place meat on a rimmed baking sheet. Season the meat generously with rub and massage lightly all over. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour OR  overnight. Remove from refrigerator and allow the meat to come to room temperature for one hour before cooking. This step is the majority of time and prep for this recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat a large, ovenproof pan to medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil to pan. Place the tri-tip, fat side down, into the pan. Sear for about 2 minutes. Turn the ti-tip over and sear the other side for 2 minutes.* Turn the roast over again (fat side up) and place in the oven. Cook until internal temperature reaches about 135 degrees (medium, medium-rare).

Allow the meat to rest on a cutting board for 10 to 20 minutes. Slice the trip-tip against the grain. The direction of the grain may change depending on the cut; be mindful when slicing if a change in direction is needed again.

Enjoy!

*NOTE: The yield from the dry rub is enough to use for two occasions. Save in an air-tight jar for next time or only make half.

I used light brown sugar for this recipe. Dark brown sugar has more molasses. Use whichever you have on hand. I haven’t tried this recipe without the sugar; feel free to adjust the ratio. I tasted the rub before applying and I enjoyed the profile creating by these ingredients.

I definitely tasted the cloves in this recipe even though it was such a small amount. If you don’t have it in your pantry, just opt out. No worries.

I seared for only 2 minutes to keep a more narrow brown ring when cooking.

 

Italian Basil Dressing

Yield: 1 cup dressing (about 4 servings)

  • 1 cup basil, loosely packed
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional if dairy free)
  • Small pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional; sugar if vegan)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high-speed blender. Turn on high to emulsify. Store in a mason jar for up to 3 days in the fridge.

The sweetness of the honey or sugar will help calm the acidity of the dressing. I prefer my dressing more acidic since I use it with kale or mustard greens.

Enjoy!

Tomato Basil Soup

IMG_3690

Yield: 2 servings

Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, 14.5 oz
  • 1.5 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • salt
  • pepper
  • crushed red pepper
  • 12 basil leaves, cut into long, thin strips

Over medium-low heat, sauté the garlic and onion in the butter for about 5-7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Once the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes, vegetable stock, and crushed red pepper. Feel free to omit the crush red pepper if you don’t want that extra kick. Season again.

Stack the basil leaves and roll them tightly. Slice the leaves thinly perpendicular to the roll yielding long, thin strips. Add the basil and baking soda to the soup. (I used baking soda instead of sugar to reduce the acidity of the soup.) It will begin to foam but will stop in seconds after stirring. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cover.

Continue to cook for 30 – 40 minutes. Taste test! Season more if necessary. Carefully pour the soup in your blender or food process. Blend to achieve a creamy consistency without the cream.

Serve with some freshly shredded parmesan or even better…grilled cheese with FOUR different cheeses! Enjoy!

NOTE:

Recipe can be easily doubled using a 28-oz can of tomatoes and doubling the rest of the ingredients using a large onion.

 

Broccoli Parmesan Soup

FullSizeRenderYield: 4 servings

Total time: 45 minutes

  • 2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped*
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound broccoli crowns plus 1 inch of stalk, roughly chopped
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup freshly shredded parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. When the butter starts to foam, add the onion, carrot, and celery. The ratio should be 2 parts onion, 1 part carrot, 1 part celery. Stir to coat the vegetable and reduce to low heat. Season with two generous pinches of salt and pepper. Continue to sauté the vegetables for about 10 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute or until flagrant.

Add the broccoli and water to the pot. Season again with salt and pepper. Bring the contents to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. Continue to simmer the contents for 30 minutes. Taste test! Add more salt or pepper if needed. Once seasoned to your liking, add the shredded parmesan. I used slightly less than 1/4 cup. I don’t think more cheese would cause harm in this scenario.

Carefully transfer the contents to a blender in batches OR use an immersion blender. Blend to your desire – you can leave some vegetable chunk or puree to baby food consistency.

Enjoy! nom.

 

 

Chicken Fajita Lettuce Wraps

FullSizeRender

Total time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Recipe adapted from Bam’s Kitchen

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 organic, hormone-free chicken breasts
  • 1.5 tablespoons homemade taco seasoning
  • salt
  • pepper
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 bunch of romaine lettuce leaves, washed and dryed
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 2 sweet peppers, sliced
  • guacamole

I found this recipe for a quick dinner without the painful waiting with a slow cooker. I stumbled upon this great recipe for shredded chicken which is great for lettuce wraps, tortillas, or nachos! The link for the original recipe is above in addition to the link for the homemade taco seasoning. It yields about 3 tablespoons so enough to double the recipe.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over low-medium heat in a large pan or dutch oven that has a fitted lid. Sauté the onions until translucent, at least 5 minutes. On a diner plate, season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper, and taco seasoning on both sides. Add another tablespoon of olive oil to the dutch oven. Placed the seasoned chicken into the dutch oven. Brown each side for 2 minutes over medium heat. Add the garlic. Add the broth and the lime juice. Bring the contents to a boil then turn to the lowest heat. Place the lid and cook for about 20-30 minutes or until fork tender. Shred the chicken using two forks and simmer for 10 minutes.

In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Sauté the bell peppers and onions. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Assemble your fajitas in the tortillas or lettuce wraps with the sautéed vegetables, shredded chicken, guacamole, salsa, or cheese. You can have whatever you like!

Kale Basil Pesto

IMG_3628

Total time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, raw and unsalted
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup fresh basil, packed
  • 1 cup lacinto kale, loosely packed, de-stemmed and de-veined
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

For the kale portion of the pesto, bring a pot of water to boil. Blanch the kale for about 30 seconds. The leaves will be become bright green. Transfer to a strainer and run cold water over them to stop the cooking. Squeeze the kale into a ball to remove all the excess water.

In a food processor or high-speed blender, pulse the sunflower seeds and garlic until evenly chopped. Add the basil and continue to pulse. Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, add the olive oil and blend until smooth.

Use pesto immediately or refrigerate in a mason jar for up to 5 days.