Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Creamy Citrus Almond Dressing


One of the little things I love about spring break: not eating every meal out of a tupperware.  Now, don't get me wrong-- I love and appreciate my healthy to-go meals that I prep & take around in my favorite lunch box.  However, sometimes there is nothing better than eating a leisurely lunch that was freshly prepared at home.

Today was actually not all that leisurely.  I did a ton of driving, had coffee & breakfast while sitting in traffic, and ran out of snacks too soon.  So, by the time I made it home for lunch, I was starving.

This salad was so quick & easy to toss together, I even had the patience & energy left to take a few pictures and write down my recipe to share with you guys! :) That's saying something-- because I was hungry.  

The Mahi Mahi Burgers from Trader Joe's are one of my favorite protein options lately.  They are super quick to cook up on the stovetop, and don't have a lot of unnecessary ingredients.  The flavor is savory & delicious, and pairs so well with the big star of this salad: the dressing.

Whenever I'm craving an asian flare to my food, this is the dressing I whip up.  It's incredibly simple, but tastes like it's from a restaurant.  It reminds me of some of those citrus-y "peanut vinaigrettes" you see that are full of sugar and junk (yet so creamy & delicious).

This is my clean & simple version made with just a few ingredients, and perfect drizzled over a crisp, fresh salad.  Paleo-friendly, and free of all the bad stuff.  I hope you enjoy :)


Ingredients:
  • 1 Tbsp citrus juice (I used clementines, aka "Cuties")
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 tsp almond butter
  • 1/4 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
*Makes one serving.

Directions:
  1. Mix the dressing ingredients in a small bowl until throughly combined.
  2. Drizzle over salad, chicken, or fish.
  3. Enjoy!

For the Salad:  
  • Trader Joe's Mahi Mahi Burger, or protein of choice (grilled chicken, salmon, tilapia)
  • Spinach leaves, baby carrots, sliced mushrooms, brussels sprouts, clementine, sliced raw almonds

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Strawberry Lemon Mint Detox Water

Today I have a quick, simple recipe for you that your body (and skin!) will thank you for.  This water is full of health benefits to cleanse & soothe your system, while keeping you hydrated & refreshed.  

As the weather starts to get a little warmer, I find myself mixing up these drinks more often.  You can mix up a whole pitcher to chill in the fridge, or stir up a single serving when you're craving something light and sweet.  This is just one fruit combination I love, but feel free to get creative with whatever you have on hand!

*Tip: Always cut up your fruit before putting it in water.  
More surface area exposed= more flavor!



Strawberries: high in antioxidants & anti-inflammatory nutrients
Lemon: cleansing & hydrating to the system
Mint: aids digestion & soothes nausea

Directions:
  • Place de-stemmed strawberries, sliced lemon, and chopped mint into a large mason jar, glass, or pitcher.  Squeeze a little extra lemon juice into the mixture for extra flavor & lemon benefits!  
  • Pour water over top of your fruit mixture, and give it a stir.  Allow your drink to chill in the refrigerator for about an hour for the flavors to infuse the water.
  • Enjoy over ice!
Please let me know if you give this a try! I would love to hear some of your favorite fruit combinations too :)

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Classic Paleo Meatloaf


Meatloaf is the star of one of my most vivid memories from the first grade.  The class was having some sort of circle/sharing time, where everyone sat criss-cross-applesauce on the ground while one chosen student was perched up on a stool front and center, next to the teacher, to "present to the class".  

On this particular day, we were talking about our favorites.  I was very shy in the first grade (and pretty much every grade), and probably not so jazzed about being the center of attention in front of the entire class.  So, when I was asked about my favorite food, and quietly replied "...meatloaf." -- I must have been horrified by the "Ewwww!" I heard shouted out in unison by all of my friends.

I don't remember what happened next-- guess that part of the memory was blocked for good reason.  I probably turned really red and hid, storing away the moment to recall today; who knows?  I do, however, remember how amazing my mom's meatloaf was.  So, in hindsight- 
no regrets.  

Meatloaf does not deserve the bad reputation it has gotten.  As long as your mom knows what she's doing, like mine did, meatloaf should be a very happy thing.  My mom's typical meatloaf creation usually contained a mash-up of ground turkey, oats (...yes, oats), and spices that was stuffed with a center of sliced mushrooms, spinach, and melty cheese.  It was the best.

Since "evolving" our eating habits to fit the Paleo diet (pun intended), this meatloaf pretty much doesn't happen anymore.  So, I come to you with my meatloaf masterpiece that I hope to share with my very own family someday.  And, it's Paleo-friendly.  No dairy, gluten, grains, soy, or oats.  So, for all you moms out there: make this! It could be the meatloaf that makes memories for your child ;)

For the Meatloaf:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen kale
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • salt & pepper to taste
For the Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp molasses
  • couple dashes of hot sauce (to your heat preference)
Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  
  2. Line a 9 x 5" loaf pan with one large pice of aluminum foil to cover the bottom and fold over each side.  Lightly coat with coconut or olive oil spray.  (This step is essential! Drains a ton of the fat--- see picture below--- and makes it super easy to remove the meatloaf after baking.)
  3. Add all of the meatloaf ingredients to a large bowl, and mix up with a fork (or your hands) until combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan, and use your fork to even out the top.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. 
  6. Meanwhile, combine the tomato sauce, molasses, and hot sauce (optional) in a small bowl to create your sauce.
  7. Top the browned meatloaf with the sauce, using a spoon to smooth it over if needed.
  8. Return to the oven for an additional 20 minutes.  
  9. Optional: Turn the broiler on high for the last 5 minutes to caramelize the sauce a little.
  10. Let the meatloaf cool for a few minutes, then grab hold of the aluminum foil on each side to lift the meatloaf out of the pan & onto a cutting board or serving dish.
  11. Serve!
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1 slice • Servings: 5
Calories: 284 • Protein: 21 g • Fat: 17 g • Carbs: 12 g • Sugar: 4 g • Sodium: 329 mg

This is the meatloaf with one slice stolen off the edge... to be shown pretty on a plate (and eaten).


 I hope you love the classic, hearty flavors in this meatloaf as much as I do! 
Let me know if you give it a try.
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