Oh Kale Yea! Chopped Cranberry Poppyseed Kale Salad

Yummy-Kale-SaladI hate the taste of kale….my single exception has been to use it ground up in a smoothie with enough fruit to hide the earthy flavor.  Yet, I can’t seem to escape it since the health benefits are cray cray and my CSA keeps jamming it down my throat (figuratively speaking, of course).

Enter this delicious chopped kale salad.  It’s quick and easy, and completely approachable for anyone with an aversion to dirt lettuce kale.  The trick, and this is ESSENTIAL, is to chop the kale finely – I pulsed it in my food processor to achieve this, but I’m sure a quick chop chop with a good knife would help you achieve the same.

Dehydrated cranberries add a sweetness that cuts at the bitterness of these leafy greens.  Pine nuts add a great crunch and nuttiness.  And the poppyseed dressing is creamy, but spreads out into a light and sweet topping when mixed with the other ingredients.

RECIPE:
Nothing fancy with the recipe here, I used the poppyseed recipe from Pinch of Yum and made no changes, please visit their site for detailed instructions.

Healthy eating new kale lovers!

 

Archetype Restaurant, St. Helena – Napa Wine Country

*I did not take this photo and take no credit! It's from the Archetype website*

*I did not take this photo and take no credit! It’s from the Archetype website.*

*Archetype did not sponsor my visit or otherwise compensate us in any way for my thoughts on their establishment….but for the record, I really liked it!*

This weekend I enjoyed a lovely dinner with friends and colleagues at a new restaurant in St. Helena called Archetype.

As we entered the former building of French Blue at 1429 Main St., we were blown away by the rustic, simplistic beauty of Archetype.

With a wide open floor plan, high ceilings, fresh flowers, and busy chefs preparing culinary delights in an open kitchen it felt like we had stepped into a white party in the Hamptons.

As is typical for Napa Valley, Executive Chef Ryder Zetts uses local and seasonal ingredients in his preparations, and dishes are flavorful and beautiful in presentation – plates are informed by the comingling of ingredients, and the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

*I did not take this photo and take no credit! It's from the Archetype website*

*I did not take this photo and take no credit! It’s from the Archetype website*

Some of the meals enjoyed at our table include Alaskan halibut with bacon crust, manila clams, grilled ramps, and marble potatoes; carola potato gnocchi with green garlic butter, young carrots, pea tendrils, and mushroom condiment; and chilled Dungeness crab with pearl tapioca, hearts of palm, red curry, and fried coconut.

Sounds amazing, right?

Working for a winery, it’s often funny to enter new restaurants and become familiar with their protocol on corkage fees. We were happily surprised with Archetype, where the first bottle was free, and minimal for subsequent bottles – we have to be able to drink the good stuff, ya know.

But let’s be honest, while the restaurant was fantastic, the company was even better.  I’m very thankful to work for a company that values its employees as much as mine does!

*I did not take this photo and take no credit for it! It's from the Archetype website"

*I did not take this photo and take no credit for it! It’s from the Archetype website”

Quick and Easy Stir-Fried Garlic Lettuce

Stir-Fried-Garlic-Lettuce-RecipeI know what you’re thinking – Stir-fried lettuce? Boring!  I thought the same.  But the holidays are over, and who wants to cook?  Not me.  So I whipped up this recipe and was pleasantly surprised by how flavorful and satisfying it was.  I’m a huge fan of shabu-shabu*, or hot pot cooking, and this dish emulates those flavors.  Which is to say, it’s garlicky and soy saucy – two of my favorite flavor profiles ;)  I served it over cooked quinoa (a natural superfood and detoxifier, perfect for post-holiday meals).

*Fun fact, “shabu-shabu” is not to be confused with “shabu,” which is a slang term for meth in Japan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.  Eeek.

I’m not even giving you a perfectly exact recipe for this meal because it’s so easy, so here’s what you’ll need:

1-2 tbsp unrefined sesame oil
Teaspoon of chopped garlic (jarred is fine)
A few handfuls of romaine lettuce, chopped into ~1″ pieces
A few dashes of low sodium soy sauce
1 cup cooked quinoa

Heat sesame oil in a skillet, add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds, add the lettuce.  When the lettuce begins to soften add a few dashes of soy sauce (don’t overdo it!).  Cook to desired doneness – more cooking softens the lettuce, less cooking retains a bit of crunch.   Serve over quinoa and enjoy!

Sushi Salad with Homemade Wasabi Dressing

Deconstructed Sushi Salad

It really tastes like a messy sushi roll!

With finals this week and next I am struggling to find time for anything, let alone kitchen time.  Everything I’ve cooked has been done with ingredients I have on hand, which is actually kind of a good thing since we’re leaving for vacation on 12/29 and I want my refrigerator spotless!

I threw together this sushi salad on a whim in order to use up some seafood flakes I’ve had in my freezer for ages (a Whole Foods splurge that should have never happened).  The idea came from a recipe I pinned about a year ago – a beautiful 11 ingredient sushi salad recipe from Clean Eating Magazine.  While I still hope to remake the gorg Clean Eating recipe, I had to make due with piddly finals week scraps that were laying around.

Easy, check.

Delicious, check.

Filling, check.

Nutritious, check.

Now if only finals can be this accommodating.

Sushi Salad with Homemade Wasabi Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp wasabi paste
  • 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
  • ⅔ cup rice wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp raw honey
  • 2 cups of chopped lettuce
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • 8 oz seafood flakes (crab, lobster, surimi, etc.)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
Instructions
  1. Mix the first 4 ingredients to make your dressing.
  2. Plate the remaining 4 ingredients on two plates, layering lettuce then brown rice, then seafood flakes, then carrots.
  3. Top with dressing and serve.

 

Holiday Fab Finds!

 

Holiday Fab Finds!

1.  Holiday Gift Guide from Pinch of Yum: Pretty Gifts for Fashion Lovers

2.  Sustainable and delicious holiday spirits from Take Part

3.  The Essential Holiday Gift Guide for Foodies from Greatist, one of the more comprehensive foodie gift lists I’ve found

4.  Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub from The Idea Room – so easy and labels included!

5.  39 DIY Christmas Gifts You’d Actually Want To Receive - sourced from my current web addiction, Buzzfeed

6.  The Essential Holiday Gift Guide for Tech Lovers from Greatist, because who doesn’t love new gadgets?

Happy gift giving!

 

Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs: An Egg-cellent Idea!

For Thanksgiving this year I was in charge of bringing the apps….so in addition to the regular fruit, veggie, and cheese trays I also decided to kick mom’s famous deviled eggs up a notch!  Don’t bacon and jalapenos just make everything better?  These were a hit, and should be considered a quick and easy addition to your holiday parties this month!

Bacon-Jalapeno-Deviled-Eggs

Bacon & Jalapeno Deviled Eggs
 
Prep time
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An egg-cellent take on mom's old deviled egg recipe. The jalapeno and bacon add spice and salty meatiness.
Author:
Ingredients
  • 12 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (see Notes below)
  • ½ cup yellow mustard (adjust to taste preference)
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and chopped
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked until crispy, and crumbled
  • All-purpose seasoning of your choice (to taste)
  • Optional Paprika as topping
Instructions
  1. Hard boil your eggs with plenty of time to allow them to cool (I do mine the night before I plan to make deviled eggs)
  2. Peel eggs, slice in half, and empty all yolks into a mixing bowl
  3. Add mayo, mustard, and all-purpose seasoning to the yolks and mix until creamy
  4. Mix in ¾ of the jalapenos and ¾ of the bacon (reserving the rest as topping)
  5. Put the yolk mixture into either a frosting bag or a Ziplock bag with a corner cut out
  6. Pipe the yolk mixture into each egg half, making sure to give each egg a heaping serving
  7. Top with remaining jalapenos and bacon crumbles
  8. Sprinkle with paprika if desired
Notes
It can be difficult to find completely "clean" mayonnaise - I used Spectrum Naturals Organic Mayonnaise with Olive Oil, but there were other organic brands available in my supermarket (Vons), and even more options are available online.

Jalapeno-Bacon-Deviled-Eggs

Now that I’m done eggsplaining this egg-cellent recipe, does anyone have a yolk or two?

Beanitos: The Original Bean Chip

My absolute favorite snack in the entire world is almost any form of chips.  I love the crunchy, salty, deliciousness that they bring to my life, and perhaps more than anything I love that they act as a vehicle for getting tasty dips into my pie hole.  When I first started eating clean I traded chips for dried fruit, which is a tasty and healthy snack in its own right, but let’s be honest….it’s not chips, and it ain’t gonna cut It.

Clean Eating Chips - Beanitos!  Delicious and nutritious, and non-GMO :)

While exploring “clean” chip options with which to pair my beloved guac and salsa, I stumbled across Beanitos.  Beanitos don’t look like traditional chips and they aren’t made with the same ingredients that traditional corn, wheat, or potato chips are made of….logically, in my mind at least, if some company decided it would be worth it to completely re-write the script on chips it must be for a good reason.

And a good reason it is.  Check out the goodness that resides in a bag of Beanitos:

  • 20% of your daily dietary fiber (5g) and 4g of protein in just 12 chips
  • Non-GMO Project Verified
  • Corn Free, Gluten Free, Cholesterol Free
  • No Trans Fat, No Preservatives, No MSG
Beanitos: A healthy chip alternative that packs a nutritional punch and won't break the bank

A healthy alternative that packs a nutritional punch and won’t break the bank (Graphic from Beanitos.com)

So what makes a bean chip a bean chip?  Well, Beanitos are made with whole beans (black, white, or pinto), which are washed, cooked, and mixed with whole grain rice to form a dough.  After being shaped and cut, they are baked and then flash fried in Sunflower and/or Safflower Oil (source: Beanitos website).  Sprinkle a little sea salt on these bad boys and they’re ready to be bagged.  Alternately, flavored Beanito options tout several additional seasoning ingredients, but you can rest easy knowing that all flavor varieties are made with all clean ingredients and no GMOs.

Beanitos do taste different than traditional chips because you’ve probably never tasted a chip made from beans, but they are light and crispy and made from excellent ingredients that you don’t feel an ounce of shame for eating.  With six flavor varieties currently on the market, my favorite is Original Black Bean with sea salt (it’s the best for dipping, behind the brand new white bean “restaurant style” variety), followed closely by Nacho Cheese (a lighter, crispier Doritos) and Chipotle BBQ (deep BBQ hickory flavors).

In tortilla chips these days, the top ingredient is corn followed by whatever refined or hydrogenated oil they cook the chips in.  Add artificial flavors and processing and you welcome a science project in your mouth.  While writing this, I decided to take a look at a leading Multigrain Chip brand just for kicks since my assumption was that this would be one of the healthier traditional tortilla chip options on the market (they are multigrain, afterall).  I was wrong, take a look:

Tostito Ingredients, yuck

Sorry to pick on you traditional Multigrain chips, but come on?  These corn chips are packed with processed oils and grains, and GMOs abound.

And don’t assume that potato chips are any better.  I recently read an article (yes, I know not everything on the internet is gospel, but this is interesting nonetheless), regarding the production of cancer-causing acrylamide when potatoes and other carb-rich foods are cooked at high temperatures.  Levels of acrylamide (used industrially to treat sewage) were so high that the State of California sued chip makers and various restaurants for not properly warning consumers of the health risks.

With all of this said, how excited are you to try heart-healthy, protein rich, fiber filled, non-GMO Beanitos??  I’ve made Beanito converts out of several people already, especially those concerned with cutting corn out of their diet.  Beanitos are a prime example of the wonderful, healthy food options you can find at the store when you start looking a little deeper.

Invite Beanitos to your next event!

Invite Beanitos to your next event!

If you haven’t heard of Beanitos yet, I have no doubt that you’ll be hearing more about them in the near future.  Having tasted and loved every Beanitos flavor, you can’t go wrong if you grab the first bag you see.  I buy my Beanitos at Mother’s Market, but judging by how much I’ve been seeing them lately it looks like they’re making a big push to get their products onto the shelves of traditional grocery retailers too.  You can also use Beanitos handy locator to source these chips in your area.

Have you tried Beanitos yet?  What are some other healthy chip options you love?

Quick & Easy Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken

Easy Garlic Parmesan Chicken from Hesitantly HealthyTrue story….I eagerly helped my mom make dinner if I knew she was making Shake N’ Bake chicken simply so I could use the phrase “It’s Shake ‘n Bake and I helped.”  It’s the little things in life, people.

Fast forward a few years and have you seen what they put in that stuff (Parmesan Crusted flavor linked)?!  Ew.  Luckily, I was able to reduce the number of ingredients from a whopping 28 to 6 clean ingredients just by using stuff I already had in my kitchen.  Among the 28 offensive ingredients in “Parmesan Crusted” Shake ‘n Bake: enriched wheat, partially hydrogenated GMO oils, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial colors…to name a few.  And might I ask – when was the last time you cooked with silicon dioxide, sodium phosphate, or modified food starch? Well, if it’s been a while you can certainly find them in a box of Parmesan Crusted Shake ‘n Bake.

I can’t say there’s any flavor lost by whipping this up without the help of a boxed coating.  The panko adds a great crunch, the garlic gives a great burst of flavor, and the parmesan adds a salty cheesy dimension.  And you can feel all warm and fuzzy since you did it on your own.  Hot dang, that feels good!

Crunchy Parmesan Garlic Chicken
 
Prep time
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This recipe is full of flavor and SO easy for weeknight cooking!
Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 large defrosted chicken breasts
  • 2 tsp chopped garlic (fresh or jarred)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup whole wheat panko crumbs
  • ½ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
  • Black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Dredge each chicken breast in extra virgin olive oil.
  3. Make thin slices into the top of each chicken breast and stuff with garlic.
  4. Mix panko and parmesan together in a shallow dish.
  5. Dip each chicken breast into the panko/parmesan mixture then place them into a baking dish (be sure to grease it if it's not nonstick).
  6. Top with a sprinkle of black pepper.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes then check for doneness, cook in additional 5 minute increments until there is no pink.
Notes
Serve with a side of steamed veggies for a quick and easy meal!

 Garlic Parmesan Chicken from Hesitantly Healthy

Excellent Cooking Tips from Yahoo’s “Cooking 1:01″

If you are new to cooking or just want to explore some time-saving kitchen tricks, Yahoo has a great new feature called Cooking 1:01.  It’s a collection of videos that are each 1 minute and 1 second long, which is SUPER convenient for A.D.D. internet surfers like myself.  Can you relate?

The best part about these videos is that they don’t waste your time with talking, in fact, there is no talking at all!  Just some cheerful music and a quick montage of the steps required to achieve your goal.  With the holidays coming up, I can imagine Cooking 1:01 will have plenty of festive dish prep videos posted before long. In the meantime, here are some of my favorites so far:

Yahoo-Cooking-101-Kitchen-H

And there’s plenty more where this came from!  Check out the full lineup at the Yahoo Cooking 1:01 webpage:

Cooking-101-on-Yahoo

Did you learn anything new?

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