Ahhhhh . . Chocolate. Pistachios. Honey. A hint of cinnamon. My Chocolate Protein “Baklava” Bites are a muscle-making take on this ancient honey and nut dessert hailing from Greece and Turkey (both countries lay claim to its origin).
You’ll notice there’s no thin layers of phyllo in this healthy sweet treat! No need to get distracted with difficulty of preparation (and gluten) this adds to the recipe. Instead, I’ve put together a 15 minute recipe that is packed full of great nutrition to fuel your active lifestyle and requires absolutely no cooking. Read on to get all the nutty details along with the full recipe! Continue reading →
When life hands you lemons, make Preserved Lemons! Although back in 80-degree weather in January (!), a super cold spell last weekend required harvesting of citrus off the Meyer Lemon trees . . . including a bumper crop coming from my aunt in Houston. While making lemonade, lemon curd, lemon preserves and other citrus-y staples are a sweet way to use an abundance of the fruit, I was looking for something to use in savory dishes.
When I want a satisfying snack that tastes super yummy, has loads of health benefits, and won’t have me hungry again in an hour, my “Go for Gold” Turmeric Curry Hummus with Minted Roast Chickpeas is a winner! It’s definitely what to bring to a football tailgate or sports watching party to show that you are the decided victor of dips and champion of chickpeas.
If you’re not familiar with turmeric, you need to get acquainted ASAP. I’ve featured it before in many recipes — my Turmeric Honey “Health” Shots have been popular! While it’s the primary spice in many Indian dishes (such as curry) and lends everything it touches (including hands) a golden yellow to orange hue, turmeric is consumed not just for its warm and mildly peppery taste, but also for the many purported health benefits.
For example, numerous studies suggest that turmeric’s active component, curcumin, helps alleviate or reduce the incidence of everything from certain cancers to depression – and it’s is highly touted as a natural pain-killer and anti-inflammatory. I take turmeric often to recover from hard workouts faster, I’m a fan of these Curcumin Capsules (from Turmeric Root Extract) sold by NOW Foods.
I do advise using fresh turmeric along with the dried ground turmeric as directed in the recipe. The fresh has a more pleasingly distinctive aroma, flavor and health benefits in root form (technically a rhizome like ginger) than from the ground powder. However, the ground turmeric helps distribute the golden-orange color evenly. If you’re looking for fresh turmeric, ask your produce manager to stock it from Frieda’s.
Make a big batch and portion into individual grab-and-go containers to stash in lunchboxes, backpacks and gym bags along with veggie sticks or crackers. However, dipping stuff INTO hummus isn’t the only way to enjoy it! My two other serving suggestions are to 1) pile up high on whole grain bread or a wrap along with other veggies to make a filling sandwich and 2) to toss with warm pasta or vegetable noodles (like “zoodles”) as a creative sauce. I wasn’t sure if the sauce idea would work one night when fixing a “clear the fridge” dinner in a pinch — but it most certainly did!
Also, if you love a crunchy, salty snack the roasted mint chickpeas that I’ve used to garnish the top make a fantastic snack on their own.
Just double up that part of the recipe and keep the extra batch for snacking right off the pan – or to use as grain-free “croutons
By the way, I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Foods using their Instantly Fresh Herbs! Check it out.
Do you use turmeric in your diet, what is a favorite recipe? If you’re at a party, do you go for the dips or the desserts? What’s on your upcoming fall season race season? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer
After draining and rinsing chickpeas, place them on a paper towel and fold over, gently rubbing them. This will remove any remaining “skins.”
Toss mint and salt together in small bowl. Take ½ cup of chickpeas and toss around with olive oil until coated. Add chickpeas to bowl with mint and shake around until dusted.
Place chickpeas in oven and bake, tossing occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and crunchy. Remove from oven and set aside to cool on pan.
Place remaining chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lime juice, garlic, ginger, curry powder, dried turmeric, fresh turmeric, remaining salt and pepper in a food processor and blend till smooth and creamy. If needed, add a bit of additional lime juice or water to adjust the consistency.
Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and roasted chickpeas.
This post is sponsored by Mountain States, however all comments, opinions and enthusiasm are my own.
I had a wonderful weekend with my family cooking up new memories – well, grilling them up, to be exact! Sitting down together to a simple yet super flavorful lamb dinner was the perfect exclamation point to the end of our summer together (as school started back up Monday and our oldest left the nest again for 2nd year in college). Until recently, my three teen boys didn’t have many memories centered on lamb, but I sure had some recollections – and they mostly involved around stuffy Sunday dinners of yore at a relative’s home wearing uncomfortable clothes, shoes that pinched and being forced to “politely” clean my plate of mushy vegetables and an old-school prepared lamb roast.
Grilling lamb for our last summer weekend together!
After hearing various friends, from Paleo diet devotees and flavor-centric foodies, rave about the virtues of this red meat that’s been enjoyed across various cultures for century upon century, I penciled lamb onto my “things to grill sometime” list – oh, you how I like to grill everything! When Mountain States (producers of Shepherd’s Pride and Cedar Springs lamb, raised right here in the U.S.) sent some delicious looking lamb loin chops my way, they were bumped to the top of the to-do list – it was time to give ‘em my modern, fit foodie spin. If the speed at which my guys devoured dinner is any indication, you are going to LOVE my recipe for Grilled Lemony Lamb Loin Chops with Spinach Gremolata Sauce. #GoForTheBOLD
After marinating for 1 hour, lamb loin chops are ready for the grill!
The loin chops couldn’t have been any easier to prepare with a simple marinade, less than 10 minutes on the grill, and an easy no-cook sauce. When meal-making is a no-brainer, there is more precious time to spend with family and friends – mine will be seeing this lamb recipe again soon at my backyard Labor Day cookout.
Wow, my lamb chops and lemons grilled up in 7 to 8 minutes!
If the weather turns too cool this fall season to barbeque al fresco, these lamb chops easily translate to an indoor grill or stove top grill pan. And, the bright lift of lemon will remind you of a beautiful, never-ending summer! You can see them here served with grilled Shishito Peppers (that recipe posted tomorrow).
While these lamb chops are delicious served unadorned, I prefer to drizzle them with a gremolata sauce prepared with olive oil, lemons and spinach (another twist on tradition). I get so excited when this tangy, flavorful gremolata runs off my chops and into my grilled veggies, potatoes or pasta– it’s a versatile sauce to dress nearly every main dish, side dish, pasta and salad.
Protein-lovers, let me tell you a little more why lamb should make it onto your menu weekly rotation. First of all, a 3.5 ounce serving contains approximately 25g protein, the optimal amount for your body to process at any one “eating experience.” How many times have you heard me stand on my soapbox and tell y’all to eat 25g to 30g of protein at every meal – you need this amount for sustained energy, muscle management, healthy aging and more! Mountain States lambs roam pastures, grazing on grass, herbs and alfalfa, making it a great source of omega 3s (especial alpha-linolenic acid) and is also rich in iron, zinc, selenium, vitamin B-12 and niacin. If you want to try cuts other than lamb loin, every choice (which the exception of ground) is classified as “Lean” or “Extra Lean” by the USDA. Get more lamb nutrition information here.
Because I love feeling connected directly to the ranchers, I will keep getting my lamb from Mountain States. Mountain States (sold as the brands “Shepherd’s Pride” or “Cedar Springs American”) is a co-op owned by more than 150 hardworking families across the US who have been ranching for generations. These Shepherd’s Pride ranchers are committed to producing a clean, complete protein given no hormones or antibiotics, raised just the way nature intended. Additionally, it is the only lamb that carries the third-party Where Food Comes From ® source-verified label. This means, with a scan of the label, I know exactly where my food comes from, where it was raised, and who handled it. Now THAT is some detailed data that will satisfy even the cleanest of clean eaters! Wondering where to buy lamb from Mountain States? When I used their Store Locator, I discovered (yay) my neighborhood H.E.B. grocery store carries it – or, you can ask your butcher!
Add lamb chops, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper to heavy-duty plastic zip-top bag. Move the chops around in the bag until well-coated with marinade. Marinate for 1 hour to overnight in the refrigerator, no longer than 12 hours.
After marinating, remove chops from marinade and discard remaining liquid. Season to preference with salt and pepper.
Heat gas or charcoal grill to approximately 400F degrees. Grill chops with the lid up, flipping once, for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (medium-rare).
While lamb is grilling, also grill lemons for several minutes per side, or until beginning to lightly char. Transfer chops and lemon slice to platter and rest for at least three minutes before serving or slicing.
While lamb is resting, place all ingredients for gremolata in food processor or blender and pulse until partially smooth but with small spinach pieces.
Serve chops with a grilled lemon sauce and drizzle of gremolata.
Life is an adventure and many days, I’m so worn out from my adventuring that I just don’t want to make a meal – especially, if my husband and boys are gone doing their own thing, and it’s just me! But, a nourishing meal is a must to keep me fueled up for the next epic event – be that training for an obstacle race, stand up paddle boarding all day, or hurdling over parking lot puddles on my way into the store!
Today, I’m sharing a single-serve lunch or dinner solution that is, I must say, quite genius! It’s a “Just Add Hot Water” Spicy Shrimp Spinach Soup that is perfect for an almost instant fix when you’ve got the hangries. The idea is to fill up a glass jar about halfway with fresh ingredients (like marinara, veggies, brown rice and cooked shrimp), stick in the fridge until ready to eat, and then add boiling hot water and shake, shake, shake before slurping up! When you have to work at your desk through lunch, this almost instant soup recipe is 100x better than peanut butter crackers out of the vending machine and can be made just as fast by nabbing hot water from the break room.
Just pour in 1 1/2 cups of water heated in microwave, coffee pot or hot water spigot!
But, it’s not only for eating outside the home. If you fancy yourself a meal prepper, multiply this single-serve soup recipe and feed the family all week! Keep loaded in the fridge and your kids can make their own on those busy nights when no one is (unfortunately) sitting down for dinner at the same time.
I can always count on Mezzetta® Marinara to help me whip up a quick and easy meal, whether it simple zoodles with sauce or an egg poached in marinara (yum)! I’m all about the #MarinaraSauce . . . every jar of Mezzetta® Marinara is packed with the world’s best tomatoes hailing from the rich soils of Italy’s San Marzano region. Mezzetta® believes in using the fewest, freshest and finest ingredients in their marina sauces (which also contain no added sugar, unlike many other brands).There are six delicious flavors of Mezzetta® Marinara including the Calabrian Chili & Garlic (used in my recipe), Italian Plum Tomato, Whole Garlic & Sweet Basil, Caramelized Onion & Butter, Truffle, Porcini & Cream, and Parmigiano Reggiano
Mezzetta® also makes a pizza sauce that is out of this world!
Use it on pizza or spread it on a panni!
You know what would be a great break from all this business of life? A fabulous Italian adventure!!! I have always dreamed of this trip, it is on my bucket list! Mezzetta® is giving away an 11-Day Italian Vacation to Italy, you need to ENTER NOW! One winner (and one guest) will attend culinary experiences (including cooking class and farm tour) in the San Marzano region of Italy and explore other cities of Italy. The Grand Prize trip consists of the round trip coach air transportation between the major commercial airport nearest winner’s residence and Rome, Italy, the culinary experience and tour of Italy. CLICK HERE TO ENTER
Layer all ingredients in quart-sized jar with sealing lid. Keep chilled for up to four days until ready to eat. When ready to serve, add 1 ½ cups boiling water (from microwave, tea kettle or coffee pot) and pour into jar. Add lid and shake well to combine, open and enjoy! Serves !
‘Tis the season for tomatoes! Load up on this garden staple, slow-cook them in the oven to perfection,, and what you don’t gobble up right away, can be stuck in the freezer and enjoyed throughout the year – the taste of summer will last forever. Tomato lovers are going to absolutely swoon over this easy recipe for Slow Roasted Balsamic Tomatoes!
Also, have you ever heard of the La Tomatina Festival? it’s a wild party of tomato-tossing on the cobblestone streets of a little Spanish town. I say show up with a bottle of Wocestershire and Vodka and just open your mouth! Check out the video at bottom of post!
Even though this recipe takes an hour to cook (that’s a long time in my quick-fix book), it’s well worth the wait. Roasting tomatoes in the oven deepens the sweet, rich flavor of tomatoes. This little trick is especially helpful if your using tomatoes from the produce department, which aren’t as vine-ripe as those grown at home. This make-ahead recipe serves about 10, but feel free to double, triple or otherwise multiply depending on your tomato addiction.
I’ve served these little succulent beauties on salads, pizzas, anti-pasta platters, steaks and chopped up and incorporated into so many recipes. They also make a healthy snack just plucked straight off the pan. Enjoy!
So, if you planning to be in Spain in August on the last Wednesday of the month, don’t miss La Tomatina. This is perhaps the world’s largest food fight – with tomatoes being the only thing thrown! Held in the small town of Bunol (near Valencia), this event draws in more than 50K people who pelt each other with more than 100 metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes!
Those Mediterranean people have right, stuffing a pita with hummus and as many vegges as it will hold — of course, you know I had to boost up the protein a bit more with with some beef — a very thinly sliced, lean cut called “sirloin tip” steak. Ask your butcher if you can’t find it or feel free to swap for top sirloin, strip steak or whatever you got!
This international inspired “sandwich” is such a quick and easy recipe that will satisfy the whole family — kids and grown-ups can fill the bread pockets with the fillings they like best (feel free to set out a larger variety than just what is listed in the recipe). Can’t you see this being a hunger-busting hit a a pool party or picnic — as people get hungry, they can just swing over to the pita bar and prepare their own meal with a selection of hummus flavors, array of veggies and assortment of toppings like feta cheese, olive slices or tatziki sauce.
This 20 minutes recipe (or less) is done so quickly thanks to stir-frying — a method not usually associated with beef and anything other that Asian food. I love how it keeps the kitchen cool and doesn’t require any added oil in the wok or skillet. Oh, and it’s also a well-balanced but higher-protein meal solution that fits beautifully into the 30 Day Protein Challenge with just 367 calories and 27 grams of protein. And if you’re keeping a gluten-free, lower-carb or Paleo diet, just feel free to ditch the pita and pile the yummy stir-fry beef atop salad greens!
Last week, it was fun making the Mediterranean Beef Pita recipe on FOX Good Day Austin on behalf of the Texas Beef Counciland BeefLovingTexans.com— all the stars must have been in alignment that rainy day, because I didn’t even have one single (and usually inevitable) live television SNAFU. Awesome things happen when you are fueled by beef!
Stack beef steaks. Cut lengthwise in half, then crosswise into 1" wide strips. Combine beef, lemon pepper and salt in medium bowl.
Heat large nonstick skillet over medium-hight heat. When hot, add 1/2 of beef, stir-fry 1 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove with surface of beef is no longer pink, do not over cook. Repeat with remaining beef.
Spread hummus inside pita pockets and fill with vegetables and beef. Top with feta cheese.