This is more of an idea than a recipe, but I love this idea! On my quest for healthy eating, I am always looking for ways to liven up vegetables. Raw vegetables are the most challenging for me to keep interesting, and my fallback seems to be to eat them with different interesting sauces. During my last Greek food phase, I made a lot of tzatziki and experimented with different ways to eat it…my conclusion, not surprisingly, was that I could slather it on almost anything and it was delicious.
I have always loved Mediterranean culture. I was Cleopatra VII for Halloween more times than I can count, and in high school I was in a belly dance troupe. I am fascinated by the rich archaeology, the confluence of people and cultures over time, and of course the food. These Mediterranean Date Bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, and they happened pretty accidentally. The recipe is a result of me thinking about making date bars, dreaming about going back to Egypt, and brainstorming flavors and ingredients already in my kitchen.
If you have these 7 ingredients, 10 minutes to prep and an hour to wait for the bars to chill, you can make these. They really are that easy. I had originally planned on adding honey to the mixture because it fit the taste palette and would act as a binder. It turns out that the dates act very well as both a natural sweetener and binder, so honey didn’t make the cut this time.
I absolutely love the play of flavors in these bars. The hazelnuts and sesame seeds give a nice meaty bite while providing energy, the flaxseed pack omega 3’s which act as a mood enhancer, and the freshness of the coconut and zesty orange really lighten everything up.
- 1 1/2 cups pitted dates, lightly chopped in a blender it food processor
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped hazelnuts
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- Zest of one navel orange
- Combine chopped dates, sesame seeds, hazelnuts, flaxseed, coconut, and zest in a medium mixing bowl. You can mix with a wooden spoon, but I think it's easier to just use my hands. Once the mixture is thoroughly combined, press down into one layer at the bottom of the bowl, and once flattened, form the sides into a square. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for one hour. Once chilled, you should be able to "peel" the square from the bottom of the bowl quite easily. The large square cuts nicely into six bars. Enjoy before a workout or grab as a quick breakfast!
- 1 cup polenta cornmeal
- 3 cups plus 1 cup water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped
- In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the minced garlic, stirring constantly for about once minute so the garlic is infused in the butter but does not brown. Add 3 cups of water, and bring to a boil.
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine cornmeal with one cup of water and salt. Once the water on the stove is boiling, add the cornmeal mixture and bring down to low. Stir constantly for a few minutes to prevent clumping. The mixture will thicken and sputter as it boils, but should calm down once the temperature drops to low. Cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the meal from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan and rosemary. Spread out in a square 9 by 9 baking dish, and flatten. Chill for one hour.
- Remove from fridge, and carefully cut into 4 large triangles. Pan-fry in olive oil on medium high heat, about 2 minutes each side, or until golden brown. Serve with a tomato and arugula drizzled with olive oil and balsamic for a quick lunch!
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Hand-beat the egg white in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in the peanut butter and honey. Add the butter, cashews, oats, and cranberries, and stir to combine.
- Spread the granola mixture into an 9 by 9 inch baking pan lined with parchment paper, pressing down with saran-wrap to compact the mixture into a dense layer.
- Bake for about 11-13 minutes at 350 degrees, or until the bars are set to the touch but not hard.
- Remove from oven, let cool 1 hour at room temperature before chilling in the fridge for up to 6 hours. When they are firmed up, cut into bars with a sharp chef's knife to pack along on your next adventure.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 medium-sized carrots, chopped into uniform 1/2-inch pieces.
- 1/2 teaspoon curry
- 1/8 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- red pepper flakes to taste
- In a large sautee pan, melt the butter on medium high heat. Add the carrots, curry, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and stir to combine. Sautee for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are fully cooked and nicely browned. Season to taste, and serve with rice, chicken, noodle dishes, etc.
I have been loving salads lately. They are so easy to throw together for dinner when I am feeling like something light. The heat and sun weighs me down enough during the day that I usually go straight to fruits and vegetables in the evenings.
This Spinach Salad with Grilled Asparagus, Pine Nuts, and Orange Vinaigrette is packed full of nutrients, not to mention flavor. The grilled asparagus is delicious, and dare I say ‘meaty’ for the vegetarian crowd, and I like how the pine nuts and orange vinaigrette complement each other.
The orange vinaigrette takes about two minutes to make, and it is so good. I don’t know why I’d ever buy salad dressing from the store again if I kept some citrus vinaigrette on hand. You can make a double batch and keep it in the fridge for a few weeks as the vinegar will act as a short-term preservative.
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 4 tablespoons good extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- salt to taste
- One handful of greens for each serving of salad
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 bunch asparagus
- To prep the grilled asparagus, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Distribute in a single layer on the grill, cooking on the lowest temperature for about 10 minutes, turning once.
- For each serving of salad, measure one generous handful of greens.
- Combine the greens, pine nuts, and grilled asparagus in a large mixing bowl and dress with enough vinaigrette to just coat the spinach when tossed.
- Enjoy as a refreshing side or easy and light entree!
Portobello mushrooms are, in my opinion, the meatiest mushroom and one of my favorite vegetarian side dishes. Besides being full of robust flavor, they are practically meant to be paired with Balsamic vinegar. While yo ur oven is preheating at 350 degrees, toss sliced portobellos with olive oil, balsamic vinegar or glaze, and salt and pepper. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the mushrooms have begun to crisp slightly but not burn. Enjoy as a flavorful side dish with chicken or beef, or toss in a salad for a lighter entree.
Nothing screams spring desert like fruit, and as far as I’m concerned peaches and cream can only be made better with chocolate, especially when the chocolate is paired with a homemade hazelnut whipped cream. Hmm, peaches and cream and hazelnut and chocolate? Yeah, I went there. We are doubling up on greatness here with this amazing flavor combo.
If you have never made whipped cream from scratch before, it really is the best. The richness of the cream comes through much more and I love being able to control the sugar content as well as add any flavor of extract I want.
The only thing I like better than this desert itself is how simple yet impressive it is. It would be perfectly served as a unique desert at a dinner party, or just as a deviation from the norm!
- 4 ripe peaches
- 3 oz shaved dark chocolate, 60% cacao
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract
- Halve and pit the peaches, spooning out a little extra pulp to make more room for the chocolate.
- With a sharp chef's knife, shave 3 oz of chocolate and place 1/2 in each peach. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake approximately 10 minutes or until the peaches are baked through and the chocolate is melted but not bubbly and burned.
- While the peaches are baking, make the hazelnut whipped cream. Add the cream, sugar, and extract to a large mixing bowl. With a whisk, agitate to whip the cream. It will take about 5 minutes to completely whip. The consistency will thicken and you will eventually get stiff peaks.
- Serve the peaches and chocolate warm out of the oven with hazelnut whipped cream.
Sugar, salt, spicy jalapeno, and butter? A deathly combination that could send any healthy eater past the popcorn point of no return. I guess I could say that that saving grace is the coconut oil I popped the popcorn in, but let’s get real. If you eat this you are going to fall off the health-food wagon, which I am ok with doing in moderation every once in a while. And if you’re going to eat a salty, sugary, spicy, fatty desert, this is it. It’s the party food of champions and if you bring this to a get together all of your friends will love you forever. Well, they might fain love for some of this popcorn, and for the recipe.
Enough talk. More popcorn.
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- ½ cup unpopped popcorn
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar
- 2 jalapenos, sliced into rounds
- 6 tablespoons melted butter, optional brown butter
- On medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a large pot. When the oil has heated, add the jalapeno slices and infuse the oil for 4-5 minutes. Remove the slices as they become crispy and brown from the shallow fry, set aside.
- Once all of the jalapeno slices have been removed, carefully pour half a cup of unpopped popcorn into the oil and agitate to form one layer in the bottom of the pot. Lid the pot and agitate on the stove as the popcorn pops. The popped popcorn will take on a subtle heat from the jalapeno infused oil. Once it is done popping, transfer popcorn to a large serving bowl and add 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste. Stir in the fried jalapeno slices and drizzle with melted butter or brown butter, and enjoy.
- Melt 6 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan on medium high heat. Watching and swirling so it doesn’t burn, continue cooking on medium high heat until the butter forms frothy bubbles and the solids separate, about 5 minutes. At this time, the froth will dissipate, and gritty solids will settle to the bottom of the pan. The butter will take on a rich and toffee-like nutty aroma. Set aside and let cool before pouring over popcorn.
I love peanut butter. My friends know me to eat it by the spoonful like Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black. I wasn’t really sure how to make satay-style peanut sauce, so I proceeded to whisk together some ingredients that sounded like they would balance each other well and, when I was happy with the ratios, this is what came of it. It’s a little creamier than the classic peanut sauce you’d have at a thai restaurant, and I thought I could get away with adding some coconut, which I ended up being pretty happy with. I think this peanut sauce would go well with grilled chicken skewers, pad thai, and the like.
- 4 tablespoons good natural peanut butter (I used Laura Scudder’s)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon tamari (soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons coconut milk
- On melt or the lowest heat your range can manage, combine ingredients while stirring constantly. Add more coconut milk or 2% milk as desired if too salty, or more tamari if more salt is needed. Once you are satisfied with the balance of flavors, set aside off the heat and let cool before enjoying with your favorite thai food!