Mediterranean Power Salad

It may be September but here in Austin it’s still in the high 90s and the humidity did not get the message to go away because it’s supposed to be turning into autumn. So what does one do for a healthy weeknight dinner that does not involve touching the stove? You make yourself a power salad filled with all that is good and filling. I do not believe that salads have to be boring or limp. You can add grains, you can add protein that isn’t bland and it can have a ton flavor. Since my mind has been preoccupied with dreaming of a trip to the Mediterranean, my taste buds needed to be inspired too. Mediterranean power salad it is.

There’s not a lot of real measurements so you can make it however big or small you want, so here’s the cast of characters:

A bed of power greens

Diced red onion

Chopped cucumber

Kalamata olives

Cherry tomatoes

1/4 cup couscous per person

Rosemary citrus shrimp (marinade to follow)

 

Simple list and the shrimpies cook up quick with just 2-3 minutes (or until opaque) on each side on medium high heat. Throw the veggies and greens together, dress with your favorite vinaigrette (try using pomegranate red wine vinegar if you make your own) and top with warm couscous and shrimp. I paired mine with a grapefruit vodka and soda cocktail and was happy as a clam.

Mediterranean

Yes yes you get an iphone shot instead of a real picture but it’s actually because I was too excited to eat the salad than actually try and take a pretty picture of it. And the fact that I was only an episode away from finishing Sherlock had nothing to do with me not wanting to get up and find a camera. Nothing.

I posted my favorite vinaigrette recipe here. And here’s my rosemary citrus shrimp marinade for around 1/2 pound of shrimp:

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup fresh citrus juice (I tried lime and grapefruit and both balanced out the rosemary very nicely)

1-2 Tbsp. diced fresh rosemary (really depends on how big your shrimp are)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to your preference

I recommend seasoning your shrimp with salt and pepper before adding to the marinade.

Now all you have to do is let your taste buds take you to a Greek Isle and enjoy.

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Good Morning Smoothie

Good mornin’ Good mornin’ to you!

Remember that super catchy song from Singing in the Rain? Remember how you don’t pop out of bed singing that song all bright eyed and chipper? Well I’m not saying this smoothie will fix that but at least you’ll start yourself on the right foot that can help lead to healthy choices for the rest of the day. Isn’t it nice to begin the day not slowed down by a sugary first meal? I think so.

It’s got all the good stuff: power greens, protein, antioxidants in the blueberries, fiber and Omega-3 in the flax, and it’s not watered down by using a frozen banana instead of ice.

Serving: 1

A small handful of greens (kale, spinach, mustard greens etc)

Half scoop of protein powder

1/2 cup blueberries

1/2 frozen banana

2 Tbs flax seed

1 cup liquid of your choice (I’ve used water, almond milk and soy milk and it doesn’t really make a difference)

Blend together, stick a straw in it and be on your way to a great day!

 

 

Note: I’ve been using my immersion blender and it works great-no splatter if you push it all the way down. Also no picture because despite the blueberries it doesn’t come out the prettiest color thanks to the greens.

Weeknight Dinner: Power Salad

Uh-oh watch out, I’m at it again with those crazy power salads. Just kidding. They’re not that exciting and I’m not that nuts. Basically it’s getting hotter outside which means I’m less inclined to use my stove/oven and quite frankly, I’m tired after working and then going on a run with the pup. Power salad it is.

Power salad

Power salad

You know the drill- mix together and eat.

  • Large handful of spinach
  • 1/4 C cooked quinoa
  • 1 hardboiled egg
  • 1 orange sliced
  • Handful of chopped almonds
  • 1/2 C chopped mushrooms
  • 2 Tbsp Vinaigrette (recipe to follow)
  • Cracked pepper to taste

Vinaigrette (my new favorite salad dressing!)

The proper method is to whisk together all of the ingredients except the olive oil and then slowly pour and whisk in the olive oil to combine. BUT since we’re not at a culinary school in the heart of France-I put all the ingredients in a jar and shook and it turned out magnificently. Like I said, my new favorite salad dressing.

  • Zest of one lemon
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp chopped shallot
  • 1 Tsp dijon mustard
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil

 

Weeknight Dinner: Power Salad

Here’s an easy peasy one for a Monday night. No peas though.

Power salad = Spinach + Quinoa + Mushrooms + Cranberries + Blueberries + Walnuts

Cook the quinoa

Chop mushrooms

Heat olive oil and throw in berries until they start to burst break down

Throw together, top with some freshly ground black pepper and enjoy!

I didn’t put a salad dressing on because the berry juice and the olive oil and black pepper was good enough for me but I’m sure a vinaigrette would be lovely.

feel the power

feel the power

Not Yo Mama’s Brussel Sprouts

I can make you like brussel sprouts. I can make you want them all the time, even for your birthday. It can be done. They’re not bitter and they’re not stinky (FRIENDS reference? always). ┬áThe secret? Caramelized to a wonderful color and at the last second hit with a splash of balsamic vinegar. You have to have patience though but good things come to those who wait.

1. Cut brussel sprouts in half longways

2. Heat olive oil to medium heat

3. Place brussel sprouts cut side down and cook until they get a nice nutty brown color

Cooking cut side down first

Cooking cut side down first

4. The interesting part- flip them to quickly cook the other side (If you find a fool proof efficient method for this step- please let me know! I’ve tried everything down to chop sticks) OH and beware- they pop and can flip themselves back over at this step

I need tiny tongs or something for the tiny cabbages

I need tiny tongs or something for the tiny cabbages

5. Toss on some balsamic vinegar (to taste) and quickly stir around to coat and deglaze the pan and then enjoy!

This is the key: balsamic cuts out the bitterness so you are not repelled

This is the key: balsamic cuts out the bitterness so you are not repelled by something so good

Some additions to the sprouts to dress them up can be to saute some garlic in with them (careful not to burn) or off course crumbled bacon or pancetta, toasted pecans or walnuts and cheesed (preferably a salty one to counter the balsamic)

Give them a chance!

Has anyone else found a way to enjoy a veg with a bad rap?

Hasselback Sweet Potato

Recipe time! This time with the super food sweet potato! I don’t know if you’ve seen or tried the fan-looking hasselback potato before but it’s always intrigued me so I tried it with a sweet potato instead. On another note, does anyone else think of David Hasselhoff when reading hasselback? Just me? Moving on.

Start by mixing up your spice blend (make sure to really break up the brown sugar):

1 & 1/2 tbsp brown sugar; 1/2 tsp salt; 1/2 tsp cumin; 1/2 tsp Ancho chili powder; 1/2 tsp paprika; 1/4 tsp garlic powder; 1/2 tsp chili powder

Sweet & Smoky Spices

Sweet & Smoky Spices

Preheat your oven to 375. Then thinly slice your sweet potatoes. You don’t have to peel the sweet potatoes but I did for some reason unbeknownst to me at this time. I swear I do like sweet potato peels.

Also try not to be Emeril and have fancy knife skills with your new knife and slice all the way through. Ideally you should cut 3/4 of the way down but Wusthof happened.

look what the Wusthof can do

look what the Wusthof can do

Seriously, look what the Wusthof can do. Repeat, you are not Emeril, you do not have his knife skills, then continue to carefully slice your sweet potato.

practice makes perfect? hope I survive the practice

practice makes perfect? hope I survive the practice

Melt 1 tbsp butter then add 1 tbsp olive oil and drizzle all over and in all the slices.

Sprinkle the spices all over and in all the nooks and crannies (also called slices) of the sweet taters. No action shots of this because my fingers were covered with olive oil/butter/spices, forgive me. Line a baking sheet with foil for your sheets sake and bake for 40-45 minutes.

owl timer for the win

owl timer for the win

Check for tenderness in the thickest slice by poking at it with a fork (how else?!) The fork should poke through with little resistance when ready. It will look at all caramelized and pretty like so:

just lovely

just lovely

Now dig in!