Happy new year! I hope you enjoyed the holidays and that you’re off to a healthy 2017. We stayed home over the boys’ winter break, just relaxing, playing, and Ben and I even got to sleep in a few times!
Although the holidays often go hand in hand with overindulgence, I thought I had been pretty good about not veering too far off of my usual eating plan. Then last week I realized that I was always craving carbs, and my belly just looked and felt way bigger than it should. Why? Because I had been eating more starches and sugar than usual, which make me so bloated that sometimes I look 5 months pregnant by the end of the day. This is not normal!
We met some friends down at Waikiki a few weeks ago to share a dinner picnic and watch the Friday night fireworks, and these yummy, easy-to-pack turkey boats were my contribution to the spread. I gathered up ingredients from my fridge and spice cabinet that I thought would go well together, and I have to say that the mix I came up with turned out to be one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. Bold statement, but it’s true! The citrusy notes of the lemon and coriander pairs nicely with the smokey cumin and bacon, and the ground turkey and kale provides a nutrient dense, mild background that really lets all of the flavors shine. A final touch of spicy sweet sriracha gives just the right amount of kick, and the whole thing is so tasty that I could eat this for days. We spooned generous portions onto crisp romaine “boats” for a high protein, low carb starter, but it would be equally delicious paired with roasted root vegetables, your favorite gluten free grain, or on top of a salad of leafy greens and chopped crunchy veggies.
Happy National Cookie Day 2015!
In honor of National Cookie Day, and all of the holiday baking that’s happening right now, I wanted to share my newest recipe with you all. These Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies are rich, decadent, perfectly chocolatey, and they happen to be loaded with healthy fats and fiber, too! A little crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, they feature ground pecans in place of flour, maple syrup instead of refined sugar, and get their richness from coconut butter. The ingredients are quite different from traditional cookies, but they are just as delicious, and I find them to be far more satisfying. They are a fantastic way to treat yourself to something sweet this holiday season without that feeling of total sugar overload.
If you have been craving something pumpkin and spice, but don’t fancy yourself a baker, or just want to try something new, then this recipe is for you. My Chai Spiced Pumpkin Custard is rich, creamy, perfectly sweet and spicy, and it’s filled with lots of fiber and healthy fats so you can feel great about indulging in this decadent treat. It’s also incredibly simple to make. You just blend the ingredients and then pour into ramekins and let it set up in the fridge. No cooking, no fuss! My boys absolutely love this custard, and it’s something that I am happy to give to them at any time of day. Whether you are looking for a new healthy dessert option for your family, or planning an autumnal meal for guests, I hope you enjoy this pumpkin deliciousness as much as we do.
We all know that breakfast is our most important meal of the day. I personally do best when I eat a protein-rich, nutrient-dense dish in the morning, but my dietary restrictions and major egg allergy can make that a challenging task. I have been trying to branch out with the types of animal protein that I eat lately, and I recently discovered that ground turkey is tasty, despite my dislike of the roasted version at Thanksgiving. Yesterday evening I came up with this yummy Turkey & Veggie Scramble while Ben and the boys were riding bikes and scooters at the park, and although it was last night’s dinner, this colorful dish has become my new favorite breakfast option.
Dinner just doesn’t get easier than this when you’re in the mood for a hearty, made-from-scratch meal. Five main ingredients and 15 minutes of prep time will give you a mouth-watering, healthy supper that is kid friendly and perfect for any time of the year. At 4 pm today, I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner, but luckily both my fridge and freezer are well stocked thanks to last week’s trip to Costco, and today’s jaunt to the grocery store and farmers market. For tonight’s meal I was inspired by the gorgeous, vibrant organic rainbow carrots that I got from the store. They must be in season right now because they are so crisp and fresh, despite having been flown (or shipped!) over from California. I always have organic chicken thighs in the freezer, and lemons in the produce drawer, so I pulled out some shallots that I got from the farmers market, and tied it all together with the aromatic rosemary that grows so eagerly in our backyard. After simmering on the stove top for about an hour, the result was a yummy, comforting dish that was perfect for this cool and rainy Sunday evening.
Ruby red and perfectly tangy, these fruit-filled jewels are a healthy upgrade from the sugar-filled, artificially flavored and colored jello that we all grew up with. I have been playing around lately with different fruits and flavor profiles, but I have to say that this combination of strawberries and fresh lime is my favorite, and it’s just heavenly. If the thought of jello makes you want to run the other way, I dare you to try these! The texture is kind of like sorbet in a square, and the mix of strawberries and lime reminds me so much of the fruity daquiris that my parents used to make in the summertime when I was little, minus the rum of course (my dad would always make a non-alcoholic batch for us kids).
Happy Aloha Friday, everyone!
Most weekdays, Felix and I have our little routine of going out in the morning for a playdate or a trip to our neighborhood park, and I usually sprinkle some errands in there too. Today, I had a follow up appointment with my opthamologist to check in about some ongoing eye irritation I’ve been dealing with. Unfortunately, it hasn’t resolved yet, but we’re working on it. We headed to the park afterwards for some hide and seek, playground time, and bubble blowing, and when we got home I fed Felix a quick lunch of marinated chickpeas, green peas, and green beans- all leftovers from yesterday’s dinner. While I got him down for his nap I thought about what I was going to eat for lunch, and decided on one of my old standby’s: Salmon Salad. I’ve been making this probably once a week lately, and today’s batch turned out so delicious that I just had to share.
I’ve been suffering from major cookie cravings lately, and I finally did something about it after a fun morning at the Bishop Museum last week. I wanted to create something that is healthy, relatively low sugar, and AIP (autoimmune protocol) compliant, while still satisfying my inner cookie monster. This was the first batch that I tried, and I’m happy to report that the recipe turned out perfectly. I love it when that happens! Dense and chewy with the right balance of sweetness and spice, these molasses cookies are exactly what I was hoping for. They get their dark color from mineral-rich blackstrap molasses, a rich source of iron, potassium, and calcium, and it has less sugar cup for cup than other sweeteners like cane sugar, coconut sugar, honey, and maple syrup. To achieve a chewy texture, I added grass fed gelatin to the mix. Besides helping the cookies hold their shape, gelatin has a multitude of health promoting qualities that you can read about here, and I love it for its ability to heal the gut, boost immunity, and nourish hair, skin, and nails. If you like ginger cookies, I hope you’ll try these out. They are warming, comforting, and thanks to their dense texture, they go perfectly with a glass of your favorite milk!
Love is in the air, my friends. And with Valentine’s Day just a couple of days away, I couldn’t help but to feel inspired to come up with a new chocolatey treat to share with my loved ones (including you!). I dreamt up this simple, yet indulgent recipe as I was falling asleep last night… Salted Dark Chocolate Raspberry Cups. Irresistibly cute, divinely delicious, and so easy to make that you’ll feel like a culinary super star when you’re done, and your recipients will love you forever. Mission accomplished!
We all know that some kids are better at eating their vegetables than others. Well, If you happen to have a picky eater in your house, then this recipe is for you. Why do I call it Sneaky Veggie and Beef Soup? Because I sneak 3 stalks of celery, one whole red bell pepper, and 3 packed cups of hearty kale leaves in this dish, but all of the vegetables are blended into a purée before cooking, so nobody would ever know! With the fresh, familiar flavors of tangy lime, smokey cumin, and sweet red bell pepper, this sneaky soup sure pleased all three of my guys at dinner last night, and Nikhil (my fussy one) had no clue that he was eating green vegetables.
Today we threw a good old fashioned birthday party for Nikhil and Felix, who are both January born. The party was in the afternoon between lunch and dinner, so I put together an array of healthy and yummy snacks that all happened to be vegan, and gluten-free of course. This Coconut Date Dip is a little treat that I whipped up on Friday afternoon with ingredients I already had in my fridge and pantry. I served it with Granny Smith apple slices and it was a big hit at the party, especially amongst the parents. Sweet and tangy with complex notes of warm ginger and cinnamon, it boasts a great texture that would also work well as a spread for toast or crackers, paired with strawberries or pear, or just straight from the spoon for an energizing, fiber-filled bite. I’m not sure if my boys had a chance to try out this snack today (they were too busy having a blast with all of their pals), but I’m guessing they’d love it. I think I’ll offer it up with crackers tomorrow after school. We’ll see what they say!
Happy New Year, friends! I hope you all had a fun and relaxing end to 2014. We enjoyed a fabulous staycation here with my sister who came to visit us from Seattle, and we’ve been slowly getting back into the swing of normal life. This last week I spent a good chunk of time making some changes to my website that I hope will make for easier navigation, and a more streamlined experience. It’s still a work in progress, so if you have any requests or comments, I would love to hear from you. As always, I have been experimenting with creating recipes in the kitchen, and here is one of my new favorites: The Easiest Pulled Pork Ever.
A dear friend of mine invited us over to her place yesterday for a lovely day-after-Thanksgiving get together. Nikhil and Felix are good buddies with her two girls, so it turned out to be a fun playdate for the kids, and a relaxing afternoon for us adults. I had bought kale at the farmers market on Tuesday knowing that I wanted to make a hearty green salad for Friday’s meal, but I was undecided about the specifics. This warm, citrusy salad is what I threw together at the last minute as my offering to the table, and I thought that it turned out pretty tasty! Oranges are back in season again, and they come together nicely with fresh ginger, golden onions, and a sprinkling of crispy bacon to create a fragrant kale dish that is both a little sweet and a little savory.
It’s almost Thanksgiving!
I love this time of year. The weather in my neighborhood cools down to a perfect 78 degrees, and everyone starts to get super festive with get togethers, holiday activities, and lots of yummy food. I had my girlfriends over on Saturday evening for a potluck and jewelry party (you can check out my friend Chun’s dainty pieces here), and my contribution to the dinner table was this Slow Cooker Chicken Curry that turned out to be a hit. I make this dish probably 2-3 times a month, and I almost always put it on the menu if we are entertaining guests. Aside from being a crowd pleaser (it’s even kid-approved), it’s an easy, fool-proof recipe that requires little prep time, and then the slow cooker does the majority of the work for you.
Yesterday afternoon I decided to make some homemade gluten free pizza crust so that the boys could have pizza night, which is Nikhil’s favorite. While I was waiting for the dough to rise, I searched through the fridge to figure out what I was going to make for myself for dinner, because as much as I love pizza, the bread & cheese combo just doesn’t agree with me. My internal clock must sense that it’s officially fall now, as somehow I was craving soup again, even though it continues to be close to 90 degrees here! In the fridge I found a whole leek and a bunch of fresh dill leftover from the delicious Summertime Salmon Chowder that I made last week, as well as the remnants of a rotisserie chicken that I had picked up over the weekend. I also found a handful of crimini mushrooms in the fridge, which I thought would work well with the leeks and the dill. My findings were especially fortuitous because I love mushrooms and any type of onion, but Ben barely tolerates them (I think he’s mildly allergic to onions), so I wouldn’t normally make something like this for the family. I knew Ben would enjoy pizza night with the boys, so I got to work on my own dinner, and came up with this oh so yummy soup.
Despite our humid, 88 degree weather here, I found myself craving salmon chowder of all things the other afternoon. I did an online search for a Paleo version, and thought that the ingredient list of Sarah Fragoso’s Scrumptious Salmon Chowder looked appealing. I had most of what I needed at home except for carrots, bacon, and leeks, so the boys and I took a trip to our well air conditioned grocery to get some stuff. It was a great excuse to get out of the house and cool off. Although Sarah’s recipe doesn’t call for it, I picked up some crisp celery at the store to add to my soup because I wanted that extra savory flavor in there. I also opted to cook the bacon in whole strips, and then poured off the bacon fat and replaced it with virgin coconut oil before sauteing my veggies. I know it’s common in Paleo cooking to use a fair amount of bacon fat, but I’m just not a fan. I made a few more changes to the recipe, but mostly stuck to Sarah’s ingredient list and I have to say that the result truly was scrumptious! Both of my boys enjoyed the dish, and I ate two large bowls at dinner, plus a bowl for lunch the next day. I shared it with a friend of mine, and her response to her first bite was “yes!” So, even though this is not my original recipe, I wanted to share it with you because it’s just that good. And if you feel like checking out the Everyday Paleo website, be sure to look for Sarah’s Puerto Rican Beef and Chocolate Custard recipes. They are two of my faves.
I absolutely love the fragrant, tart flavor of limes- especially in the summertime. As you may have noticed in my last post, I have been on a lime kick recently, and I’ve been using every opportunity possible to incorporate these citrusy gems into my cooking. A few weekends ago, we went on a family hike to a waterfall that is just a few miles from our house. The boys were so tired when we got home that they all took an afternoon nap (Ben included), so I decided to get creative in the kitchen and make a yummy dinner from the stuff that I already had in my fridge. The result was this savory and tangy Cilantro & Lime Chicken, which I served alongside an easy vegetable curry that I made up that afternoon as well (I’ll post that recipe soon). It was a hearty and satisfying dinner that is both kid and grown-up friendly. Although the chicken was tasty for dinner that night, it was 100% better the next day for lunch after a couple of leftover breasts had a chance to marinate in the fridge overnight. So, I highly recommend marinating your chicken for at least 8 hours before cooking it, which tenderizes the meat and infuses it with the intense flavors of the lime, cilantro, garlic, and cumin. I promise it’ll be worth the wait. One of the best things about this juicy chicken is that it’s super versatile. It would be delicious on top of a crunchy romaine salad, inside of a sandwich, with sauteed greens and jasmine rice… feel free to get creative and pair it with some of your family’s favorite sides.
It has been almost 3 months since I last posted. Yikes! We’ve had a very busy (and beautiful) spring here in Honolulu, but now that it’s almost officially summer, it feels like things are starting to slow down a bit. I created this recipe yesterday evening while my littlest one was taking an unexpected nap, and I am super excited to share it with you. Sweetened only with fruit, these tangy freezer bars are the perfect summertime treat for the whole family, and they are so easy to whip up. Ben and I each enjoyed one for dessert last night (they weren’t ready until after the boys had gone to bed), and he loved them so much that he called them “magic.” I think you’ll feel the same!