This Wilted Kale Salad with Warm Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette and Spicy Butternut Squash Croutons is winter’s answer to a green salad! Loaded with nutrients and pops of color and SO much taste it’s dreamy as a side or plop your favorite protein on top and make it a meal. The squash croutons? Sure I know they aren’t croutons, but with a little finesse we get a subtle crisp to them that are better than any boring ‘ol bread crouton.
It’s winter and salads often become a distant memory for many. I get it, cold, crispy raw salads just aren’t that appealing to me either, when there’s a chill in the air. I crave warming, comforting and cozy. But, I have made a commitment to my daily #BFS (Big F&%$ing Salad). I find this practice is a great way to ensure I get a big blast of daily nutrients, no matter what!
This is a salad for the winter. With kale as the shining star, this is the perfect way to get in those nutrient-rich greens in the cooler months. Kale is exploding with disease-fighting phytochemicals and it’s one of my most favorite whole-food sources of cognition-boosting nutrition. Here’s what Max Lugavere has to say about kale:
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids which have been the focus of numerous recent studies.
In volunteers, supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin led to faster processing speed. 1http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 This effect was significant “even when testing young, healthy individuals who tend to be at peak efficiency,” wrote study authors.
In another study, human subjects with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin did better on a test of working memory, while their brains seemed to be working more efficiently when observed under fMRI.2https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D
Finally, lutein (found in egg yolks, spinach and kale) was associated with greater crystalized intelligence—the ability to use learned knowledge and experience—in older adults. 3http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
References [ + ]
1. ↑ http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 2. ↑ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D 3. ↑ http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
This Paleo Matcha White Hot Chocolate is a cozy, winter dream come true. Frothy, luscious white hot chocolate meets a classic rejuvenating matcha latte, with all kinds of nutritious, superfood goodness you can feel good about – from antioxidants to healthy fats plus healing, immune-boosting, gut-healing collagen. The maple-sweetened paleo matcha marshmallows on top, those are totally optional, but listen – don’t be stupid!
This Matcha White Hot Chocolate is practically a superfood tonic disguised as a treat! First and most importantly, this delightful, healthful treat features Vital Proteins brand new Matcha Collagen. Antioxidant rich matcha tea, can help fight free radicals in the body and promote long-term health. Matcha being the whole leaf, ground, also contains 137 times the amount of free radical-fighting antioxidants as any other green teas. The matcha is combined with high-quality grass-fed collagen which promotes bone, joint, and skin and digestive health. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is responsible for supporting, healing and sealing the gut plus maintenance of healthy connective tissues, such as bones, joints, skin, hair, and nails. Read more about the benefits of collagen here.
This Dairy-free Eggnog is creamy, rich, frothy and can be made with or without alcohol for a delicious holiday treat!
Holiday traditions of the edible and drinkable persuasion, those are as powerful and important as any others. But the traditional, seasonal foods of today, they pale in comparison to those our grandparents enjoyed. Store bought eggnog is generally loaded with tons of sugar and corn syrup, artificial flavors, pasteurized and denatured dairy, theres gums and other stabilizers and who knows what else. Even the vegan nogs at the store, the amount of sugar in there is just insanity and there’s so much non-food products hidden within. For me, it’s just not worth it, even if just once a year, especially when you can make your own and kill it!
While I prefer to avoid most dairy and have developed a pretty solid vegan eggnog recipe in the past, I realized recently that I was shorting myself on a pretty rad eggnog experience by skipping out on the eggs. Like, why was I doing that? I mean, after all, it wasn’t called “cashewnog” for the last however many decades. Why had it never dawned on me to meet in the middle with my nog, drop the dairy, keep the eggs, sweeten accordingly.
This homemade dairy-free eggnog has the same creamy, richness of a traditional eggnog, with a really, nice, light frothiness that I prefer to a super duper, heavy cream-loaded nog. Thanks to the separated yolks and whites (inspired by this recipe), it’s simple to make but the texture is perfect every time. It’s the perfect balance of creamy and frothy. This is a really solid base recipe and from here you can play with spices and flavorings. Try a Bourbon Maple version, or maybe a Pumpkin Spiced rendition, add in some pumpkin puree and pie spice, maybe cinnamon liquor in the mix. Or Gingersnap inspired with a little molasses and ginger or gingersnap liquor.
These Bone Broth Braised Greens are a nourishing addition to any holiday table or just a perfect, comforting side dish, for anytime. Bone broth, onion, garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes add flavor to this side dish that can be made with whatever hearty green is in season. Collard greens, Swiss chard, kale or a mix of your favorites.
I find that at holiday tables (shoot many dinner tables year ’round, for that matter) the veggies are often an afterthought. The thing people throw together and half-ass, because they “have to”. Veggies deserve more love than that. A little respect and honor, ya know? After all, nutrient-rich veggies should be the backbone of any real food diet, or any diet really. We should be shooting for some green stuff at every single meal. Non-negotiable.
I know veggies can get boring and if you’re like me, in the cooler months, salads get less and less enticing, so getting those greens in can be hard. Steaming works, but let’s be real, it can be ‘blah!’ and when you serve ‘blah’ veggies, it’s a fight to get them down and the chances are you aren’t going to do it at every meal.
These slow cooked greens, bring the flavor and nourishing, healing goodness of the bone broth, we get a little heat from the red pepper flakes and the onion, garlic and lemon, round it all out with classic, simplicity.
It’s a pretty fuss-free recipe and at the end of it, you get a bowl of goodness that your beautiful body sooo deserves! Every time I share that I am whipping up this recipe on social media, I get so many messages that you want the recipe. So I finally wrote it up to share with you. Just in time for the holidays.
This Creamy Tomato Tikka Masala Soup is the ultimate in flavor. With aromatic spices in a creamy, rich tomato broth it’s the perfect comfort food.
I refuse to subscribe to the notion that there is a “Soup Season”. Sure, winter and fall are much more conducive to warming, comforting bowls of the steamy stuff, but there is something so cozy about soup and it can often make for a nice, one pot, fuss free meal, no matter the season.
As a lover of all things Indian-spiced I am constantly experimenting with dishes that are inspired by those very distinct spice blends. Since my husband is the exact opposite and prefers to avoid many of those spices, like the plague (he had a bad Indian restaurant food poisoning incident that forever ruined him) I dont get to play nearly as often as I would like.
On a rare night at home alone, recently, I was experimenting with a creamy garam masala spiced dish, somewhere between chicken makhani (butter chicken) and tikka masala, I was making the sauce creamy with coconut milk instead of heavy cream and as I was adding the tomatoes and broth, I found I had gone a little too far with the liquids, my sauce turned more to a soup and I simultaneously fell in love with this accidental dish. Creamy Tomato Tikka Masala Soup. Read the rest of this entry »
Having a for-real winter here in Southern California has been especially exciting for many reasons. For the first time since we moved out here from the East Coast 4 years ago, I have been able to really get down with cozy, comforting winter food. Soups, stews, roasts and all the best wintery, soul-warming foods.
Soups have been especially exciting to me this year. This one in particular, this Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Vegetable Soup, has become one of my personal favorites. Reminiscent of a pot-pie filling, with a bit more broth, it’s creamy and rich, without dairy or grains. Best part, it can be made in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker and it’s ready in about 30 minutes, start to finish, but it tastes like it’s simmered away all day. If you want to use already cooked, shredded rotisserie chicken, this soup is ready even quicker. It pressure cooks for just 6 minutes!!
With the busyness of this time of year, I am finding myself far more called to creating nourishing, comforting food that doesn’t eat up half the day in prep work, but that also cooks quickly and leaves us time for all the other crazy tasks we have on ours lists right now. This time of year I just want the most comforting foods, soups and stews, roasts and other hearty, seasonal meals. This Instant Pot Beef Stew is basically the best ever version of all of this! Ready in under an hour, it’ll taste as if had been cooking ALL day long.
Last year I got myself the Instant Pot, after hearing from so many people how amazing it is. I am still, after a year, learning all the things it can do. I recently began playing with the sauté feature, which allows you to sear meat, before pressure cooking it. I find this seals in the flavor and the caramelized flavors from the browning really brings more depth and richness to the overall dish. Plus, it gives us little brown bits to deglaze, which is one of my most favorite things to do when cooking.
This is comforting, winter food at it’s finest. It actually reminds me of being a kid, this is the food we grew up on. My mom made a killer beef stew on the stove top. It tastes of love, coziness and comfort.
For those of you that follow me on social media, you likely see that I spend a fair amount of time at the Terranea Resort here in the LA area. (Full disclosure, I was selected as one of 5 influencers to be a 2016 Terranea Resort Social Media Ambassador, but my love for this place runs deep and far beyond that title.) I truly feel that Terranea is one of Southern California’s best kept secrets, yet it really shouldn’t be. Terranea sits on the coast in Rancho Palos Verdes, about 15 miles from our front door in Long Beach. The 102-acre private peninsula paradise, is like stepping into a whole new world – minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. Surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific, the coastal setting of Terranea embraces the California lifestyle and it’s Mediterranean heritage. Regardless if you are a guest at the resort the sprawling land is all open to the public, so you are free to walk the ocean-side trails, dine at the many restaurants, plan a spa day or just enjoy the views.
Cue the Boys II Men song, End of the Road. The big event is here and after all the recipe testing, menu planning and grocery shopping it all comes to fruition in the big feast and soon all we’ll have remaining are full bellies, happy memories and hopefully lots of leftovers.
This week has been ALL about getting you prepped for the days after. With minimal cooking and making great use of the leftovers, I want you to just keep the holiday comfort food party going and of course, I never ever want you to throw away any food! This Turkey Pot Pie Soup with Grain-free Drop Biscuits is about as good as it gets when we are talking about comfort food and leftovers. This is the ultimate and without any grains or dairy, you can feel good after indulging!
Here we go, it’s about that time to answer the very important question of ‘What to do with ALL the Thanksgiving leftovers?’ While I know the big holiday hasn’t hit just yet, I want to help you guys get prepared for the aftermath. This week is all about Thanksgiving leftover ideas for the days following the big event! Since we are always left with loads of goodies, why not get creative and continue the eating party?
Soups are almost always my go-to after the holidays, for a variety of reasons. 1) they are so simple to make and they yield a large amount of food 2) soup is my ultimate comfort food. It’s always what I crave after I’ve maybe eaten more or differently than I usually do and 3) it’s the perfect cozy, cool-weather food. Soup will forever feel like a hug in food form!
Today is an exciting day! Well yes, it’s election day. Which is obviously HUGE, I hope for my American readers that you’ve already gone out and voted. But, it’s also book release day for my friend Alexis of Lexi’s Clean Kitchen. Her debut book Lexi’s Clean Kitchen hits stands today and this is an absolute must for your kitchens. Featuring over 150 delicious paleo-friendly recipes to nourish your life, this cookbook brings the focus to achieving health and happiness through the simple concept of eating clean. With a collection of fresh, creative yet practical and approachable recipes, Lexi makes eating at home, easy, tasty and fuss-free.
For those of us with gut issues, Lexi has a similar path to her healthy lifestyle, so her story brings feelings of familiarity and with that that instant connection. Lexi’s Clean Kitchen delivers an abundance of healthy meals packed with amazing flavor, like Thai Meatballs, Classic Chili, One-Pan Arroz con Pollo, Maple-Glazed Salmon, and Sriracha Lime Chopped Chicken Salad, with healthier options of your favorite indulgent foods, like French Toast Sticks, Perfect Waffles, Birthday Cake, Easy Sandwich Bread, and more!
As we head into the holidays, the focus obviously shifts to any and all dishes for entertaining. Side dishes and treats, mains and snacks. ‘Tis the season of all the eating! The Miso Roasted Brussels Sprouts are begging to be the star at your Thanksgiving or Christmas meal! Trust me, this is a veggie that can steal the show!
I enjoy creating the sweets and treats recipes, because let’s be real, the joy that healthy treats can bring is palpable. I’d like to wrap that feeling up with a pretty bow and give it as a gift. That said, when it comes to the holidays, my heart will forever remain with sides and veggies. I love a good, plant-based side dish. So much room for creativity in the vegetables. The mains are usually pretty traditional, those are generally on lock down. I just truly enjoy the challenge of creating exciting enough veggie dishes that will please the masses and especially those that won’t be the forgotten soldier at a table full of meaty mains and their carb-loaded friends. I literally have made it my mission when I feed people to make the vegetable(s) the first thing to disappear from the plate, rather than the last. This dish 100% is successful at doing exactly that.
Living in California, worrying about not having access to the fresh local herbs in the winter, isn’t exactly an issue, but I do remember what it was like living in New York. The minute the first frost hits in the early fall, there is a scramble to save plants and there is a huge sense of loss when you can no longer just walk into the yard and snip off your favorite fresh herbs. If you are
luckysmart enough to have your fresh herbs in pots, you can just bring those in, otherwise you can kiss them goodbye until the start of the next season.
This simple method for preserving fresh herbs is a really great way to keep the fresh flavors of your summer garden or the local farmers market – all through the fall and winter. When thawed or just heated right up from frozen, these frozen cubes work great in stews, sautés, soups, roasts and more. Besides being super helpful and functional, this project is super fun and very simple – it would be a really great and educational project to do with kids.
Regardless of how cold it gets where you live, this is such a great, money-saving way to make the most of your herbs. For me, I love this method of preserving because oftentimes I will buy a large amount of fresh herbs for a recipe that I am testing, however if there are any leftover, they tend to go bad or get sad and wilted before I can get to them again.
There is something so magical about the spring, all the beautiful new produce, the delicate, fresh and new little baby stuff especially makes me happy. It’s like seeing those adorable fuzzy little ducklings at the park following around their mama duck. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere and break your heart with sweetness. But, I also love that we still have the remnants of the long winter season, the hearty, long-lasting, robust foods of the colder time. Squash, the bright and fresh citrus, all the root veggies. Even though we are well into Spring at this point, the swing-season status of Spring lasts the longest of all, which I really adore. The crossover of produce makes for some of my favorite dishes.
We’ve been getting tons of beets in our weekly CSA boxes (community supported agriculture) from the farm and besides beet kvass, I have mostly been roasting them, as it’s my favorite way to enjoy the flavor of beets. The roasting actually brings out a subtle sweetness and takes down some of the earthiness for those that aren’t big fans of it. Plus roasting makes peeling beets a breeze, the skin literally slips right off. Beets are, in my opinion, a very underrated superfood, offering liver support by thinning bile to decongest a congested liver or biliary stasis or insufficiency. They also contain high levels of folate and manganese which support gallbladder function. Underground vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, etc – they also contain silica – important for collagen formation and for connective tissue’s elasticity and resilience. Silica also regulates calcium placement in bone and tissue. Beets also include fructooligosaccharides which is a great nutrient source for healthy micro-flora in the GI system. Finally, beets contain trimethylglycine, a methyl donor used in liver detoxification. Trimethylglycine is used by the body to detoxify substances by donating one of it’s methyl groups to the toxic molecule yielding a less toxic methylated substances and dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine is also a methyl donor and is also used to stabilize toxic substances for further processing and elimination.
Something strange has happened in Southern California over the last couple of days…we had weather!! Yes, more than just sunshine and blue skies. We had violent and incredible thunderstorms lighting up the skies, pouring rain with the biggest rain drops you ever did see and heavy winds, bending those strong and sturdy palms, to and fro. It was incredible, chilly and so cozy. I miss days like this. When the skies open up and bathe us in this sweet and necessary rain, I am beyond grateful not only for the obvious, but also for the reminder and the excuse to slow down. I also find myself reminded of the importance of soul-warming, comfort food.
I have been making this comforting mushroom soup on and off throughout this winter. It’s so hearty, rich and earthy without being too heavy or indulgent. I also find that like most of my recipes, it’s also quite versatile. You can make it vegan by utilizing just the flavor of a beautiful mushroom broth and the meatiness of the varying mushrooms as the base, or you can, as we opted to here, add in some beautiful chicken stock and a little shredded dark meat chicken, for additional flavor and a source of protein for a complete meal.
There are two things that I will never tire of when it comes to food. The first is roasting. It quite literally is my favorite preparation for most veggies, bringing out their inherent sweetness and an unmatched level of comforting flavor. Second, I absolutely adore tahini. I want to put it on everything. Always.
Cabbage, now that’s a food I haven’t always been such a huge fan of. Admittedly, I used to hate the stuff. If you ask me, steamed cabbage gives this delicious, nutrient-dense veggie a very bad name. But times have changed, I love cabbage these days. Big fan. I like it in sauerkraut, that stuff has become a huge part of my every day. I also really love cabbage in a good homemade spicy slaw. But roast cabbage, this stuff is a total game changer, especially for those who swear they don’t like it.
The name of the game right now is simple and sweet. Easy peasy. The new year has kicked off strong with lots going on, I’m 5 days into a 3 week healing protocol (more on that at another time) and school is back in session for me. I am learning to balance and find comfort in the slow and steady and quick and easy. Both have their much needed place in my life right now. This week I swapped my fast paced vinyasa flow yoga classes and my intense time at the gym for yin yoga, gentle yoga and longer walks. This is what my body is crying out for. Many of our meals have been slow cooked, braised or roasted but naturally, I would run out of time if I followed this path all day every day. So whenever appropriate I have been shifting focus to easy and quick meals and snacks that are still nutrient dense and of course, yummy!
No matter the pace, just as any other time of the year is concerned, I am all about celebrating what is fresh and in season right now, even smack in the middle of winter. There is always so much abundance to focus on, no matter where you live. We have a huge orange tree in our yard that is covered in gorgeous, vibrant juicy oranges. More than two humans could ever dream of eating. So, I have been juicing many of them, giving them to friends and neighbors and getting very creative in the kitchen, with them.
I also love the beautiful fresh pomegranates in season here in California, right now. They’ve been making appearances on nearly every salad I serve and yet I still want more. Since it has been some time since I have shared a smoothie recipe here, I give you the first Tasty Yummies smoothie of 2016, in all her beautiful winter glory!
Lately I have seen quite a few posts online calling out other greens as “The New Kale” or “The Kale of 2016”. So wait – does this mean kale is out of style? Was kale ever in style? Can veggies be in vogue?
I think I am the wrong person to be talking about any of this, I would still be wearing my flannels, combat boots, chokers and overalls, if I didn’t have the little tiny bit of sense that I do have. Though, seemingly according to my trips to the mall during the holidays all of this is acceptable again. I have NO clue. All I do know is that kale is ALWAYS in my fridge, it’s a favorite around here and for me, it’s always in style.
Kale is a freakin’ nutritional powerhouse, so whether it’s cool or not, I am all about it. While I prefer my kale to be cooked, I do find it makes an amazing salad, when the tough leaves get a massage and it’s given a little time to marinate in the vinaigrette, to break down it’s fibrous nature. The flavor of the sometimes bitter kale mellows out, the texture becomes more palatable and it’s infused with the soft flavors of whatever dressing you choose.
‘Tis the season for sweets and treats, Christmas cookies and cocktails galore. You guys already know by now that I am one for balance and not setting such strict rules on yourself that you restrict everything completely and end up flailing around and ruining your lifestyle after one “slip up”. Balance and occasional indulging is important, especially during this special time of year. However, I am also someone that absolutely HAS to have my daily greens. It absolutely is not an option for me to skip out.
I believe a few treats here and there during the holidays can be a special indulgence without derailing all the special attention you give to your food, lifestyle and your health throughout the year. But, I also feel that just means it is more important than ever to make sure you are getting the good things. Nourishing, properly prepared, nutrient-dense foods – this is precisely the fuel our body needs to get through this hectic, and oftentimes stressful, time of year.
Removing my trip to Mexico last week and that day I had too many margaritas at lunch, this lady does very little drinking these days. My body just doesn’t love it. I enjoy a glass of wine now and again, don’t get me wrong. That being said, 1) I am all about balance and enjoy the holidays and 2) it just wouldn’t be the holidays without a signature cocktail for Tasty Yummies.
One of my all-time favorite winter and holiday indulgences is a steamy hot mug of mulled wine. However, living in California, a toasty mug of booze isn’t always what the weather gods have in mind, so I decided to get crafty and combine my summertime favorite, sangria, with the wintery, holiday flavors of mulled wine.
It’s certainly very easy to go a little too hard and overindulge a bit during the holidays. We’ve all been there. You may feel the guilt of not following your usual, more conscious way of eating, but usually more-so you end up feeling the actual physical pain of loosening up a little and not being mindful of the type of food you are consuming.
I am a big fan of balance, having your fun and letting go, but not at the cost of your health, or the healing you work so hard to maintain the rest of the year. I think with the holidays coming but once a year, it’s important to be kind to yourself, honoring your health and your hard work, while also acknowledging that depriving yourself isn’t the real answer. While it can be easy to use this time of year as an excuse to overindulge, it is also very important to cultivate and hone that same balance you honor throughout the rest of the year. To pick your battles wisely, yet to still allow yourself to indulge a little in your favorites. Rather than spending the first few weeks of the new year detoxing, cleansing and working to reverse any damage caused by going too far during the holidays, I find it helps to simply reach for healthier versions of your favorites, whenever possible. Less sugar, less refined, processed foods and instead more nourishing, whole foods.
I compiled a list of some of my favorite holiday-inspired and seasonal recipes sure to keep you on-track and in-balance this holiday season.
20 Healthy Holiday Recipes to Keep You On Track This Season