Quinoa is just such a handy grain . . . er, seed, to have around. It easily cooks up on the stove top in about 15 minutes (with less mess than rice, in my opinion) and is packed with a head-spinning assortment of nutrients including lots of iron, an abundance of fiber and plenty of protein. In fact, quinoa is considered a complete protein because it boasts all 9 of the essential amino acids — a rarity in plant foods.
A fluffy pot of quinoa turns into pure bliss when you pair beautiful golden turmeric, a “superspice” with mild taste and beacoup de health benefits, along with a bit of lemon. Oh, and cauliflower’s in there too — dang my recipe for Lemony Turmeric Cauliflower-Quinoa is healthy! Continue reading →
I love me the soups. Nourishing, comforting, satisfying and life-simplifying, a bowl of soup really hits the spot. Unlike baking, soup making is so forgiving – just throw in what you’ve got! Plus, leftovers never get stale, in fact, they get better! My recipe for Lemon Ginger Chicken Noodle Soup makes a great meal for lunch, a light dinner or even on-the-go!
In addition to the directions for making a big pot full at once, I’ve also shared bonus instructions and hacks on how to shortcut the process if you are meal-prepping for enjoyment later. You don’t even have to cook the noodles!
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.
The Buddha’s Hand may just be the strangest citrus fruit known to man and it’s definitely one of the oldest, dating back to the ancient Far East. While this citrus fruit resembles a lemon that exploded and tried heal itself, this strange fruit with splayed extremities is definitely not a deformity – it’s designed just the way Mother Nature intended! She is so creative!
Also known as the Fingered Citron, and aptly described as a “lemon with fingers,” this freaky fruit is prized for its sweet floral fragrance and mild zest. Inside the fruit there is no flesh or juice to speak of — it’s all yellow rind and white pith. So, don’t try and buy the Buddha’s Hand isn’t for traditional snacking or juicing, it’s more an aromatic ornamental.
However, the strange citrus IS actually edible, the sweet smelling rind can be used anywhere you would add lemon, lime or orange zest to a recipe. Ideas for consumption of Buddha’s Hand include using fresh zest in salad dressings, on fish, or in baked goods. The rind can also be sliced and used to infuse liqueurs, water, and vinegar. Frieda’s Produce also suggests using the bountiful rind to make candied citrus – the white pith is not bitter at all, so it requires no pre-soaking or pre-boiling like traditional candied peel recipes.
Buddha’s Hand, rich in Vitamin C, is also used as a healing agent and alternative to modern-day prescription medicine. Possible Health Benefits of Buddha’s Hand include:
Boosts for Immune System
Relief from Gastrointestinal Issues
Quelling of Nausea
Reduction of Menstrual Discomfort
Lowered high blood pressure
If you are lucky enough to score a Buddha’s Hand, display it at room temperature for a few days and enjoy the fragrance. Then, try it as a zesty way to add flavor to a recipe. I think you’ll like my Creamy Greek Yogurt Buddha’s Hand Dressing that can be used on salads, fish, and veggies:
Directions: Soak diced shallot in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and allow to dry on paper towel. Add shallot and zest to small bowl and add lemon juice and salt. Let sit for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add olive oil, vinegar, thyme, garlic and yogurt. Whisk until combined and use to dress vinaigrette salad greens, on fish or as a sauce for vegetables.Makes ½ cup dressing.
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.
With temperatures topping out over 90 degrees yesterday and bluebonnets popping up everywhere, it’s safe to say spring has definitely sprung in Austin. And, just in time for SXSW , paddle boarding on Lady Bird Lake and running the trails over Spring Break. This time last year I was making my Watermelon Brisket Tacos in the SXSW Taco Takedown, that was definitely a #KeepAustinWeird day. This year I am nursing some battle wounds from Spartan Houstonand the Crossfit Games 16.4 Open WOD. However, nothing serious enough from keeping me out of the kitchen.
Today, I’m sharing a protein snack that is fitting for the warm-weather season – Raspberry Lemonade Protein Bites. The sweet-tart zing of this no-bake recipe will remind you of sipping on a refreshing glass of raspberry lemonade on the porch.
Perfect for a post-workout snack or grab-and-go breakfast, these protein bites have about 5g protein and 65 calories per bite and are gluten-free, nut-free and have no-added sugar.
Make these ahead of time and keep in the fridge or freezer so you always have a healthy snack at hand – and, if you love the flavor combo of raspberries and lemons and have a five minutes to make breakfast, you’ll love my Raspberry Lemonade Protein Mug Muffin recipe.
Here are some important words of wisdom I have for you- haha:
By the way, I’ve added maca powder to this protein bite recipe for an extra nutrition boost. Maca, a root vegetable indigenous to Peru, has been beloved for thousands of years for its ability to improve stamina, endurance and hormonal balance. Maca root and maca powder includes vital nutrients including healthy fatty acids, dietary fiber, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. If you want to omit, just replace with an equal amount of gluten-free baking mix.
It’s hard to believe that the vibrant fushia red color dusted on these protein bits is all natural and not some weird artificial dye mixed into sugar. Instead, the clever ingredient is simply raspberry powder I made by pulverizing freeze-dried raspberriesin a zip-top bag with a rolling pin! This raspberry dust would also be fun and festive mixed into yogurt, sprinkled on your Easter desserts or even rimmed on a cocktail or healthy beverage.
Add protein powder, almond meal, maca powder and salt to bowl and stir until combined. Mix in coconut oil, lemon juice and mix until everything incorporated. Mixture should be a bit crumbly but holds together when squeezed. If too dry, add a few more drops of lemon juice. If too wet, add a dry ingredient like a gluten-free baking blend, more almond meal or more protein powder a half-tablespoon at a time.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough, form into 12 balls rolling between the palms of your hands.
Place freeze-dried raspberries in small zip-top bag and use rolling pin or side of coffee mug to pulverize. Add a lemon ball, one at a time, into the sealed bag and shake to coat with raspberry dust.
May be kept covered in air-tight container in refrigerator for a week or freezer for several months. Makes 12.
I know it’s not spring yet, but I’m getting the fever to make delicious yummy things that remind me of warm weather. My recipe for Raspberry Lemon Protien Mug Muffins reminds me of the lemon pound cake that has always been a family favorite, but typically reserved for dessert on special occasions. Single serve, and super yummy, this easy-to-make mug muffin makes a delicious morning meal or satisfying swap when you need a sweet treat at night.
If you think you don’t have time to make a scratch breakfast in the morning, especially a “muffin,” think again! This muffin is mixed up right in the mug and “bakes” in the microwave in 2 minutes or less. You’ll be digging into warm, moist, lemony goodness before the coffee is even done brewing – plus, the only dishes to wash are the mug and your spoon! Win-win!
Another win is that you’re fueling yourself well for whatever the day holds. Between protein powder and an egg white, there is plenty of protein to keep you from getting hungry before lunch — plus, it’s under 200 calories and gluten-free. Here are the specifics: 182 calories, 17g protein, 21g carbohydrate (5g sugar), 4g dietary fiber, 3g fat and calcium). This could vary slightly on the protein powder you are using. I used Meyer Lemons in my recipe which are less acidic and slightly more sweet than a traditional lemon (actually, they are a hybrid lemon-orange) and I love the blemish-free large ones from Frieda’s Produce! Look for these beauties packaged up in a cellophane bag in your produce department.
It’s a New Year and I’ve made a pledge to continue yet another year of striving to be the best me I can be. I’ll stay on this path (although there are always a few detours) by making nutritious food choices, exercising in some way every day, stepping outside my comfort zone with personal challenges and just being at peace with myself. While I don’t have a lot of resolutions (sounds so shaming), I do have one oath of an epicurean nature to make – never make a rash judgment that prevents a delicious healthy food trend from meeting my mouth.
What delicious healthy food trend, you ask? I’m talking about avocado toast, the creamy and crunchy hookup that has been buzzing all over the Internet. I’ve seen avocado toast in some form or fashion on every social media channel imaginable in the last few months, but I dismissed the toast and topping as not protein-rich enough for my diet (although I don’t mind eating an entire avocado in one sitting – wink, wink).
But then, I had a moment of clarity yesterday while trying to come up with a quick healthy meal from the pantry – what about tuna fish?! I always keep a few cans of tuna from Bumble Bee Seafoods to elevate salads, sandwiches and simple ingredients into yummy and healthy meals. For example, my recipe for Fiesta Tuna Quinoa Salad is still a make-ahead favorite for a whirlwind week as is my Speedy Salad Nicoise.
Tuna is a simple (and frugal) way to add a host of nutrients to your diet, including lean protein, healthy fat, and important vitamins and minerals. I’m a fan of the single-serve, 2.5 ounce pouches of Bumble Bee® Premium Albacore Tuna and Light Tuna because the packages don’t require a can opener, messy draining, or any cooking!
Lightly brush tops of bread with olive oil and set under broiler until lightly brown on top. Remove from oven and set aside.
Cut avocado in half, remove seed and score flesh inside of skin. With a spoon, scoop out one half of the scored avocado and add to bowl with lemon juice, garlic and sea salt. Mash together very well. Add in the other half of scored avocado and mix lightly to combine – this will keep a chunkier texture.
Spread equal portion of avocado mixture on the top of each toast. Top each toast with just a little over ½ ounce of tuna fish and sprinkling of radish slices.
In another small bowl, wish together Greek yogurt, lemon juice, lemon zest and hot pepper sauce until incorporated.
Drizzle lemon crema over tops of toast and garnish with pea shoots.