It’s the start of a new year, and I imagine many are going full steam ahead toward the clean, healthy eating trend… well, for at least the next two weeks. It wasn’t my intention to jump on prototypical beginning of year food train, but I felt like a wholesome delicious soup for dinner, so here we are.
I don’t mind admitting it, I’ve become somewhat of a pro when it comes to packing my hiking snacks. Something sweet, something salty, punch of protein, and carbs to keep the tank full and fuel to burn. You can expect I’ll have some Babybel cheese, energy bites, beef jerky, and now, fruit nut bars.
The beautiful thing about these snacks is how incredibly easy they are to make and in short order. Using the base recipe of three ingredients (dried fruit, nuts, and chia seeds), you can easily modify the snack using a variety of fruits, keeping it new and refreshing.
Whoever thought up the idea of salsa should be knighted. Seriously. Salsa is one of those side dishes that can step up your main dish’s game, or be a palatable introduction to your dinner party. With summer officially here, cherries are in season and an amazing sweet-meets-tart contribution to your meal plan. Filled with antioxidants and inflammation inhibitors, cherries offer multiple health benefits, particularly for those with arthritis, diabetes, insomnia, family history of cancer, and/or high blood pressure.
If you’re local to the Pacific Northwest, you likely know the wonder that is Café Yumm. They are famous for their lovely lemon curry sauce and layer it into rice, beans, tomatoes, avocados and other deliciousness to create a fast favorite. I tried my hand at recreating the Yumm sauce, and while it’s not an exact match, I’m happy to report that it is still delicious, healthy, and wonderful as a vegetable dip or for dressing meats.
I know I’m not alone when the munchies hit me HARD from 2-3:30pm each afternoon, and I rarely have healthy snack options around to quell the hunger. Luckily, I have some health-conscious friends who introduced me to the concept of Energy Bites. These small morsels of joy not only give the necessary sweet tooth fix I crave, but also provided a much needed energy boost halfway through the afternoon.
If you’re a carnivore like me, you may see the word “vegan” and snarl your lip a bit. It’s all right. We all come with our own judgements and assumptions about non-meat eaters, but I have to say, I’ve made this meat-free chili on many occasions, and often prefer it to its meat-full brethren. I recently participated in a friend’s annual Chili Cook Off, and while I did not win (womp, womp), my chili still received high marks. The biggest beauty is that the chili doesn’t take hours to cook (although it can if you want it to), so inside of an hour, you could be enjoying a delicious, nutrition-filled meal with the people you love. Really, is there a better way to live?
I have no shame. This sauce is so damn delicious that I have straight up nicknamed it “crack sauce”, and so has almost everyone else who has tried it. I bless Pinterest, This is How I Cook, and Serious Eats for bringing this baby into my life. While 2016 has been a challenging time, this sauce has certainly been a glimmering light!
Not only is this dish DE-LISH, it is also a visually beautiful contribution to the menu. The burnt orange from the butternut squash and persimmon, combined with pomegranate, celery, and parsley make it an artistic winner at any meal. This Thanksgiving, I had a number of friends with dietary restrictions joining my family gathering, so I knew there would be a new variety of side dishes to try. Thank goodness I’m a foodie Instagram addict and found MindBodySoul’s awesome recipe reposted by Whole Foods. I was inspired and contributed something totally different from the other typical Thanksgiving dishes. Even the carnivores were impressed! Can’t wait to go round two with this recipe.
The winter season often leaves me in a rut for colorful, light food, so when I come across something that’s both in season and not heavy on the root vegetables, I’m quite excited to try it.
New Seasons Market is a Portland grocery store that not only has a ton of wonderfully organically and locally grown produce, but they always have super delicious samples to pass out (I promise that’s not the only reason I shop there). Recently I can across this persimmon, pomegranate and celery salad, which completely won me over. Between the sweetness of the persimmons, pomegranate tang and celery crunch, this salad is beautiful as a side dish or a meat dressing. I paired it with a peach bourbon glazed salmon (which basically is 4 tbsp of Aunt Becky’s Peach Bourbon jam on 2 lbs of salmon steak, baked at 350 for 25-35 min) and quinoa, of which there were absolutely no leftovers to speak of.
If you enjoy food porn as much as I do (obviously you do, because you follow this blog), I strongly recommend following Buzzfeed’s Tasty channel. In less than a minute a video, you quickly find inspiration for future meals, and perhaps a bit of a drooling session.
These meatballs are super delicious, and pretty fast to put together. If you happen to have any leftovers, toast up some sourdough bread, add a little Trader Joe’s cilantro salad dressing and have at it.