It’s not unusual to share tacos on Tuesday, my family asks for some version of this Mexican and Tex-Mex staple nearly every day of the week! What is outside convention is today’s taco filling – it’s my take on Ceasar Salad! These Plant Power Caesar Salad Tacos are a veggie-lover’s delight as kale, avocado, chickpeas, quinoa and seeds and a robust Caesar dressing are tossed together and stuffed right in the shell.
You heard right, a cool, crisp salad in a taco shell! This 10-minute recipe has minimal cooking (just warming the shells) and offers hand-held, utensil-free convenience for backyard munchers – it’s an awesome summer dinner! Read on to get more delicious details. Continue reading →
Ready to wake up and tackle the day or refuel after a long hard one with a healthy meal but feel too rushed or worn down to be in the kitchen? I have a delicious 30-minute dish that uses only five ingredients (salt, pepper and olive oil are freebies) and has a happy balance of protein, carbs and leafy greens to give you that boost of good nutrition your body craves.
My recipe for Brisket, Sweet Potato & Kale Frittata is destined to become a favorite in your busy workweek repertoire. It’s also a smart solution for any type of leftover beef and ideal for meal prepping, just pop individual slices in the freezer for a blazing-fast meal later. Continue reading →
The inspiration for this super easy recipe is “colcannon,” a traditional Irish dish made from creamy mashed potatoes and kale or cabbage. Potatoes and Irish culture or forever linked, as we all learned in history class – at one point leading up to the mid-17th century Great Potato Famin, it was said that the average Irish laborer ate 10 pounds of potatoes a day and for three-fifths of the population it was the primary fuel of life.
Okay, eating such a potato-centric diet causes dietary imbalances, but potatoes ARE a smart choice as a side dish to protein and other fruits and vegetables in your healthy diet. Tubers are packed with wholesome nutrients including complex carbohydrates for quality energy and vitamins and minerals, especially iron, magnesium, vitamin B-6 and vitamin C.
It’s no blarney, you are guaranteed to love my Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with Blue Cheese Sauce — just remember not to call them French fries, Irish fries is more fitting! The kale pesto is a snap to make in the food processor, and can easily be done while the potatoes are baking in the oven. Make another batch or use leftovers on pasta, fish, chicken, pizza and more. BTW, the pesto is nut-free so everyone can enjoy!
As for prepping the potatoes – you can use a spiralizer, a mandolin, finely julienne by hand or cut into fatter wedges, it’s the cook’s choice! I’ve used tried-and-true Russet potatoes in this dish, you could use whatever variety potato you like – on super busy days, I’ve also even hacked the recipe with frozen shoestring potatoes.
To add a blast of bold to the Irish recipe, I serve Kale Pesto Potato Fries Two Ways with the Big Blue Ultra Premium from Litehouse Foods. This incredibly creamy and rich dressing is made with extra chunks of handcrafted Artisan Blue Cheese for maximum flavor—a bowl filled for dunking is like a pot of gold at the end of a cheese-lover’s rainbow.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line large rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
Scrub, dry and leave peel on potatoes. Use spiralizer, mandolin or sharp knife to cut potatoes into ⅛" to 1/4” thick pieces. If preferred, cut potato into 1/3” wedges.
Place the strips (or wedges) in large bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing to coat well.
Bake thin fries for 35 to 40 minutes, using tongs to toss halfway through cooking time. Wedge fries may need to cook for 5 to 10 additional minutes.
Thin fries are done when at least half are crispy and golden brown. Thicker wedge fries will be turning golden brown on the sides.
While fries are baking, add kale, olive oil, salt, garlic, parsley, lemon juice and almonds to food processor and pulse until very finely chopped and ingredients incorporated.
Remove fries from oven and toss with pesto while still hot. Serve with blue cheese dressing drizzled on top or served to the side as a dip.
If you don’t pay attention, you might miss apricot season – that would totally be the pits! This small, delicate stone fruit is at its peak from May through mid-June and is such a tasty little treat. A cup of sliced fresh apricots has less than 80 calories and provides a natural, unprocessed source of complex carbohydrates — the “good “ kind of carbs that give your body and brain quick energy for doing stuff – fun stuff like running, yoga, CrossFit and playing with your kids along with necessary evils like folding laundry, vacuuming . . . uh, and thinking rationally while stuck in rush-hour traffic.
When greedily hoarding selecting apricots at the grocery store or farmers’ market, keep in mind that this stone fruit doesn’t ripen with sweetness any further after picking. Look for fruit that is moderately soft but not squishy, unblemished and lightly scented with that famous fragrance. I usually gobble up my fresh apricots right away, but they will stay fresh on the kitchen counter for a couple days – after that, stick them in the fridge to give them a couple extra days of edible enjoyment.
Y’all know I love my grill and decided why not throw some apricots on there and see what would happen. Fabulous, good, yummy things happened as my apricots, brushed only with olive oil and sprinkled with a tiny bit of sea salt, softened and caramelized to perfection. I ate some right off the grates and had a few with my Greek yogurt for dessert – but the highlight of my fruit grilling was the Grilled Apricot and Feta Kale Salad with Organic Raspberry-Lime Vinaigrette I created for my friends at Litehouse Foods.
So many vibrant colors and healthy ingredients to swoon over in this salad including kale, raspberries, Marcona almonds, feta and more. Perfect for your late spring and summer entertaining or wow them at a pot luck. Add some shrimp or chicken to make this an entrée salad. Definitely a timely and soon-to-be-trending salad! Share your innovative salad recipe and tag @litehousefoods and #SaladRevolution on Instagram, they’ll send you a $1 off coupon good on their fit and fresh dressings, cheese, dips, and herbs.
I’ve been taking a break from the roads every now and then and heading to the trails — they are so gorgeous this time of year in Austin and we have 20+ miles of trails in my neighborhood!
It was a busy day visiting with old friends (like Altra, Nuun Hydration, Pocket Fuel, and others) and meeting new folks in the running industry at THE RUNNING EVENT conference right here in Austin. I have lots of new running gear and race fuel products to update you on — and perhaps a giveaway or two coming up soon!
It was also fun to bump into Bart Yasso (aka the “Mayor of Running) who I threatened to track down if his world-famous “Yasso 800s” don’t pay off in my upcoming Dallas Marathon.In the meantime, I wanted to share a nutritious comfort food recipe that is perfect addition to a holiday potluck party or just as a make-ahead and bake later meal for a busy night – Ranch Kale and Quinoa Casserole. Originally created for the Litehouse Food blog (please visit), this home-style dish a hearty yet healthy riff on broccoli rice casserole, one of my favorite Christmas side dish (but most versions I’ve seen have tons of butter, cream, or “cream of” soups).
Ranch Kale & Quinoa Casserole Recipe
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cups chopped kale
1 large white onion (chopped)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cups cooked quinoa (from 1 cup dry)
1 cup ranch dressing
1 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (divided)
Add olive oil to 12” to 14” cast iron skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
Add chopped onion and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes until softening. Add half of kale and cook down for about 2 minutes. Add a couple tablespoons of water, if needed. Add remaining kale to skillet and sauté for 2 -3 more minutes until completely wilted.
Add garlic, salt and pepper to kale and continue to sauté for 1 minute.
Remove skillet from heat and stir in pre-cooked quinoa, ranch dressing and ¾ cup of parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and bake in 350 F degree oven for 30 minutes or until bubbling and cheese browning on top.
Yes, I realize that I’m opening every blog post this month with “it’s still hot in Austin.” Even as a huge fan of warm weather, I’m starting to get sick of it too. So, what do I do? I make soup and stew! Nothing like slurping up a piping hot bowl of my Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew after a run in near 90 degrees or a no air-conditioning CrossFit WOD. I’m not being snarky, I’m being serious – I’m not going to let Mother Nature infringe on the length of my soup season. And, good news, the weathermen are predicting a cold front . . . . we’ll be dipping down into the upper 70s for the high this weekend. HA!
Looking forward to Austin’s upcoming “cold front” !!
While my Chipotle Squash & Chickpea Soup is always yummy, the soup in my pot this week is a delicious, easy and super healthy Wilted Greens, Beans & Meatball Stew that I first created for Litehouse Foods. The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever winter greens you have on hand like spinach, kale, collard greens, mustard greens or Swiss chard – use a mixture, that’s even better. It’s always sad to say my temporary goodbyes to vine-ripe tomatoes and zucchini as the sun fades out on summer, but the farmer’s market will be brimming with all of these vitamin-packed, nutritious winter greens. According to the USDA, dark leafy vegetables are plentiful in potassium, manganese and iron. Not to mention, they are all a good source for vitamins A, C, K and E as well as calcium, folic acid and fiber. So eat up!
Wilted Greens, Beans & Beef Meatball Soup Recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
¼ cup chopped celery
¼ cup chopped carrot
8 ounces sliced button mushrooms
6 cups beef broth
1 15-oz can great northern beans, drained and rinsed
8 cups of coarsely chopped mixed winter greens (spinach kale collards chard)
24 pre-cooked “mini” or “party size” lean beef meatballs
Garnish: shaved Parmesan cheese if desired
In 6-quart Dutch oven or stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, celery, carrot and mushroom and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes, or until softened and lightly caramelized.
Add broth and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add beans, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, chives, thyme, pepper, and parmesan rind. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add one half of mixed winter greens to pot; stir for 2 to 3 minutes to allow leaves to “wilt” down thus providing room for remaining greens. Add remaining greens and continue to stir and cook down for approximately 2 minutes.
Cover pot with lid and keep heat on low. Reheat meatballs according to manufacturer’s instructions in microwave or oven. When reheated, drain on paper towels, if needed, and add to stew. Use a spoon to remove any remnant of the parmesan rind.
To serve, ladle among four bowls and top with shaved parmesan cheese if desired.
Please visit the Living Litehouse blog for lots more yummy and convenient recipes that will work with your healthy lifestyle.
To help you work up a sweat, I’ve got a Tabata workout that will definitely make you earn that piece of cornbread with your soup. If you’re not familiar with the Tabata concept, it’s basically 20 seconds of high intensity exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest and then repeat, repeat, repeat for four minutes. Tabata workouts are meant to increase the capacity of both your aerobic and anaerobic systems – do a couple per week and you’ll be a machine! However (disclaimer), my Tabata workout kicks it up from 4 minutes to 15 minutes – I must really like to suffer. If it’s too much for you, please stop and catch your breath with extra rest in between exercises.
If you take pleasure in eating the signature dishes of the season, fall is a particularly comforting time of year. Just thinking about the bounty of upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and autumn harvest inspired recipes gives me that warm, fuzzy feeling of well-being of being at Grandma’s house with all the family gathered round.
Pumpkin aside, the most iconic ingredient of autumn may be the sweet potato. Even though this practically royal root is actually enjoyed year-round to the tune of 2.6 billion pounds in the US, it makes the most of its popularity in October, November and December. Think about it — if you haven’t had sweet potatoes on your holiday dinner table, you may not be normal.
What is normal in my kitchen is to skip mucking up this orange tuber with marshmallows (why, WHY?!) and instead mash up and mix in other healthy ingredients – like the healthy greens, onions, coconut milk and wellness enhancing spices in my recipe for Kale and Caramelized Onion Sweet Potatoes below. If said it before, but I’ll say it again – I love using the sweet potato as a way to fuel my distance running, it’s the perfect choice for healthy carbohydrate loading. Not only does the sweet potato have a lower glycemic index than the traditional white potato (meaning it will be deployed as energy to your body at a more steady state), it is also packed with other nutrition that benefits athletes including vitamins A and C, manganese, calcium, potassium, iron, vitamin B6 and fiber.
Peel the sweet potato and cut into even sized 1 inch cubes. Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot filled with water. Boil uncovered for 15 minutes or until softened.
Drain the sweet potatoes in colander and set aside.
In bottom of same pot, add olive oil and bring to medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring frequently, for approximately 15 minutes or until turning golden brown and caramelizing. Add wine to pot to deglaze pan and then quickly add kale or other greens and continue to cook for an additional 2 minutes, or until wilted. Turn off heat.
Add sweet potatoes, coconut milk, ginger, and cinnamon and mash everything together to desired consistency. If needed, add a splash more coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
“The chickpea is neither a chick nor a pea. Discuss.” Remember when Mike Myers chatted about this the “Coffee Talk” comedy sketch on Saturday Night Live?
The chickpea, also known as a garbanzo bean, is actually a legume that has been around for more than 7,500 years. A popular choice for man Mediterranean and Indian dishes, the little chickpea is packed with big nutrition – an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber, and vitamin B6 for vegetarians. Vitamin b6 helps to stabilize blood sugar, metabolize foods and make antibodies to ward off disease.
I came up with this lovely dish for Litehouse Foods and just knew I had to share it here – it’s perfect for a lunch or light dinner. The cool and crisp salad is dressed with flavors favored along parts of Greece and Italy and packed into a tomato serving as an edible bowl. Did you know the healthy, long-living people of the Mediterranean region eat, on average, nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day? This chickpea salad will get you well on your way to meeting this daily goal.
½ cup Litehouse Food’s OPA Feta Dill Greek Yogurt Dressing (plus additional for garnish)
2 grape tomatoes cut in half
2 ounces baby spring lettuce mix
In work bowl of food processor, add kale, cilantro, onion chunks, lime juice and garlic. Pulse for approximately 1 minute or until ingredients are finely chopped like pesto. Set aside.
In medium bowl, add chopped cucumber, rinsed chick peas and mixture from food processor. Add ½ cup dressing and mix everything together until thoroughly coated.
Cut large tomatoes in half crosswise and scoop out seeds and pulp with spoon (reserve for another purpose, if desired). Fill tomato cups with chickpea mixture and top with a dollop of dressing and grape tomato half. Serve on top of baby spring lettuce mix. Serves 4.
I have another yummy mention – POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by Nature Box. I received a box full of these nutritious nom-noms in the mail and have been enjoying mixing up my normal afternoon snacking. Being stuck inside working on the computer (and nursing my sprained ribs) is much more tolerable with five bags of healthy snacks like Blueberry Almond Bliss and Lemon Pucker Pistachios.
Disclosure: POPSUGAR and NatureBox provided me with a complimentary POPSUGAR Must Have Snacks by NatureBox box. The opinions I have shared about the box are my own, and POPSUGAR and NatureBox did not tell me what to say or how to say it.