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Strawberry Coconut & Basil Popsicles – Photography by Logan Missner

I have the BIGGEST sweet tooth. It’s something I really can’t ignore so I came up with a solution, homemade fruit popsicles! I’m totally in love with these because they hit my sweet spot, are super refreshing on a hot day and are guilt free! The best thing about these is you can make them with whatever fruit you’d like!

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Ingredients:
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups of chopped strawberries
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
6 chopped basil leaves

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Directions:
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a popsicle mold and let it freeze for at least 12 hours, enjoy!

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Caprese Stuffed Chicken – photography by Logan Missner

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I love this dish, it screams summer! It’s a simple recipe that looks and tastes amazing. The creamy mozzarella is a perfect combination with the sweet tomato and fresh basil. The tangy balsamic reduction sauce is the icing on the cake! I recently bought a basil plant, which I love!! It can be expensive to buy fresh herbs but a basil plant is affordable and easy to maintain. Sometimes you want to have a date night or go out with the girls, but it may not be in the budget. This is a perfect meal to make for someone special or a special occasion! It feels indulgent but has fresh ingredients that don’t leave you feeling heavy!

Ingredients:
2 chicken breasts
4 slices of fresh mozzarella
2 pieces of fresh basil (extra for garnish)
2 slices of tomato (will vary based on size of tomato)

Marinade:
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
pinch of salt & pepper

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Garlic Rosemary Quinoa:
Saute 1 chopped clove of garlic with a pinch of dried rosemary in olive oil for 1 minute. Add in uncooked quinoa and liquid and cook according to bag/box directions.

Directions:
Wrap a cutting board in plastic wrap and place the breasts on top. I don’t own a meat mallet so I used a thick glass to pound my chicken. Just make sure whatever you use has a flat surface and is thoroughly cleaned afterwards. Pound the thicker middle part of the chicken until it is even with the rest of the breast. Place the pounded breasts in a container and add in the marinade; make sure to thoroughly coat the breasts. [Marinade the chicken for at least an hour and up to 48 hrs] Remove the breasts from the marinade and top with the sliced mozzarella, tomato and basil. Carefully roll the breast, tucking it as you roll. If you have toothpicks they can be used to keep it closed, if not then place the chicken roll side down on the cooking surface to seal it closed (if it falls open it will still be delicious, I promise). I cooked mine on a panini grill but you can also bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until it is cooked all the way through. While the chicken is cooking pour the marinade into a saucepan and add in 1/4 cup of broth (chicken or vegetable). Bring to a boil and then lower the heat to medium and reduce for 10 min. Serve the chicken with garlic rosemary quinoa, drizzle the balsamic reduction on top and sprinkle with basil, enjoy!

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Savory French Toast

Savory French Toast with Spinach and Cheese

This meal was inspired by one of Donna Hay’s recipes for a Parmesan french toast with garlic spinach. A friend of mine actually showed me her recipes and I was completely inspired! This dish is a perfect brunch idea, especially for a special celebration like father’s day! The crunch from the bread is a perfect contrast to the runny, creamy egg yolk and the wilted spinach. The salty flavor from the cheese is a perfect compliment to the eggs and spinach, and topped with a little cracked black pepper – it’s the perfect meal. This is a great breakfast to surprise someone special with, and you can be creative and add anything you want to it!

-Makes 1 serving-
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 tsp. water
1 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
1 piece of whole-wheat bread
1 cup of fresh spinach
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1/4 cup of grated parmesan Cheese or cheese of your choice
salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Combine 1 egg with 1 tsp. of water and season with salt and pepper to make an egg wash. Dip the whole wheat bread in the egg wash and make sure that it is thoroughly coated with egg. Heat up 1 tbsp. of olive oil over medium high heat. When that gets hot put the coated bread in and let it sear on each side for about 2 minutes or until it is browned. When that is done remove it from the pan and place on a plate or baking sheet that is oven safe. Turn down the heat to low, add in 1/2 tbsp. olive oil and sauté the spinach and garlic for about 2 min. Remove the spinach and garlic and put it in a flat layer on the toast. Cover that with 3/4 of the grated cheese. Crack the last egg carefully and gently into a small, shallow cup being careful not to break the yoke. Make a little hole in the spinach/cheese layer by pressing the bottom of a measuring cup into it. Carefully pour the egg and yoke in the hole so that it rests in the middle of the toast. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on and a little black pepper. Put the dish in the oven and bake until the egg whites are no longer clear, about 13-15 minutes.

Berry & Spinach Smoothie

Before you wrinkle your face and think spinach in a smoothie?! Hear me out. This is an awesome way to get great nutrients in without even tasting it! The spinach in this smoothie gets completely hidden by the delicious frozen berries and the creamy yogurt. This is a perfect way to start your day, or a healthy snack if you’re trying to slim down for summer! It has protein from the yogurt and milk, antioxidants from the frozen berries and a ton of vitamins and nutrients from the spinach…if you don’t believe me check this out (http://www.naturally-healthy-eating.com/benefits-of-spinach.html). The fun thing about smoothies is that you can add in whatever ingredients you like; so feel free to switch up the frozen fruits, add in protein powder or whatever else fits your lifestyle!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1/4 cup spinach
2 tbsp. Greek yogurt
1/4 cup milk (could sub soy milk or coconut water)

Directions:
Put all of the ingredients into a blender and turn it on! Simple as that. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Toast with Avocado Olive Oil and Salt & Pepper

This recipe is so simple, it’s almost embarrassing to call it a recipe…but it’s so good that I had to share! I have this almost every morning for breakfast, and it also makes a perfect quick snack. The nutty flavor from the whole wheat toast with the creamy avocado is literally the best combination ever! The drizzle of olive oil and crack of salt and pepper makes this deliciously simple and wonderfully tasty!

Ingredients:
1 piece of whole wheat bread (toasted)
1/2 avocado, cut into slices
1 tsp. of olive oil
pinch of salt & pepper

Directions:
Cut an avocado in half & remove the seed (you can save the other half by squeezing lemon or lime on it and keeping it in a container in the fridge). Cut the avocado into lengthwise slices and run a spoon between the “meat” and the skin to get the slices out. Toast a piece of whole wheat bread and lay the slices of avocado on top when it is finished. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

These shells are an awesome dinner to make ahead of time for a busy week! They’re filling, healthy and full of flavor. They’re also super fun and easy to make. You can even freeze half of them and bake them off whenever you’re ready! Feel free to get creative with your fillings, you could even do sausage or ground turkey or keep them vegetarian friendly.

Ingredients:
1 package of large shells
1 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese
1 egg
1/2 yellow onion
2 cups of fresh baby spinach (could use frozen but make sure to defrost and squeeze out excess liquid)
1 1/2 cups homemade or store bought tomato sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Boil a large pot of water, add salt and olive oil and stir. Add in the large shells and cook for 9 minutes. Drain and set aside to cool. Saute the chopped onion in a pan for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add in the spinach and stir, cooking until the spinach is wilted. Set aside to cool. In a bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, egg, grated Parmesan and salt and pepper. Add in the cooled spinach and onion and combine. Ladle enough tomato sauce to fill the bottom of the baking dish. Fill a plastic Ziploc bag with the ricotta mixture and cut a piece off of the end. Carefully pipe the mixture into the shells. Cover with more tomato sauce and grated cheese. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.

I saw these for the first time on pinterest.com (a site I am unhealthily addicted to) and had to try them! The ones I saw were made with white bread, no spinach and had the addition of bacon…which I probably would have added if I had any, but bacon in my house seems to have a short stay! These require just a few ingredients, but the nutty flavor from the whole wheat toast against the runny egg and gooey cheese is absolutely delicious. I made these for myself on a day off from work and enjoyed it on my porch sipping a cup of coffee, perfect start to my morning!

{Makes 2}

Ingredients:
4 pieces of whole wheat/multi-grain bread (4 circles cut from each)
2 eggs
1/4 cup of fresh spinach leaves
2 tbsp. grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp. melted butter or olive oil
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees – Bake for 15-17 min. depending on how runny you like your eggs

Directions:
Cut out 4 circles from your bread (I didn’t have a cookie cutter so I used the other side of a glass). Place 2 of them slightly overlapping in each muffin tin and press down in the center and along the edges. Lightly brush with melted butter (or olive oil) and cover with 1 tbsp. of the grated cheddar cheese in each. Crack each egg one at a time (I cracked each one into a glass to make sure no shell got in and then poured them into each toast cup to make sure the yolk didn’t break). Sprinkle with salt & pepper and then cover with the ribbons of spinach! Bake for 15-17 min. at 350 degrees (you can check the yolk consistency by gently pushing it with a spoon to see how much it jiggles). When it comes out of the oven carefully take a knife along the edges of the muffin tin – making sure to not cut into the bread – and the cup should come right out! Enjoy : )

*Tip: Save the leftover bread, let it get stale and put it in a food processor or blender with grated cheese & herbs for fresh breadcrumbs!

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