How To Grill Nearly Every Vegetable from Avocado To Zucchini

Grilling season is here! It’s my favorite cooking method and I’m a lucky girl to live in a climate that permits it nearly all year. Most of us use the grill to fire up steaks, burgers, chicken and even seafood. But, don’t forget to grill your vegetables – flame-kissed, caramelized vegetables are magic! Adding grilled vegetables to your meal is the easiest way to win dinner, win compliment, and win the summer! Platter of Grilled Vegetables

There is no excuse to be stuck inside with a plate of steamed broccoli or sad salad when you can be outside kicking up the flavor. and your heels! You can grill just about any veggie, even lettuce and lemons! Read on to get vegetable grilling tips along with some great recipes.   Continue reading

Grilled Avocado Boats with Blistered Tomatoes

Last week, I grilled cantaloupe and today it’s avocados! I’ve been getting my fruit freak on by firing up whatever pretty produce catches my eye. This isn’t big news at my house. When it comes to backyard cooking, I’m always in beta mode and, thankfully, it’s nearly impossible to mess up a simple, fresh meal on the grill. Grilled Avocado Boats

Are you ready to swoon over the “smoky swag” of my Grilled Avocado Boats with Blistered Tomatoes. Trust me, you’ll swoon and then run for a spoon! Continue reading

Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float Smoothie

This Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float only has 250 calories and serves up 22 grams of protein and 87% of your daily requirement for calcium!Sweet news,it’s National Root Beer Float Day! Celebrate without ruining your workout gains with my nutritious and delicious Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float SmoothieGet the recipe HERE

Cherry Vanilla Root Beer Float looks indulgent, but it's really super healthy!  Enjoy for breakfast, a workout snack or sensible dessert!

 

2013_07 rootbeer float fudgeIf you’re looking for something a little more over-the-top and decadent, lemme just share my recipe for Root Beer Float Fudge that was once featured in Simple & Delicious Magazine! Get recipe HERE

 

 

 

 

Are you a root beer fan? What is your favorite beverage of summer? Whatcha doing this weekend? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos – NachOMG!

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionlYou may be thinking, “Ummmm, excuse me . . . but what the heck on God’s green Earth are SQUACHOS”? This quick and easy appetizer is a healthy swap for traditional nachos made with tortilla chips which are typically fried, overly salted and plentiful in carbs (if you’re counting).  Made on slices of summer’s finest squash, my Steak & Quinoa Squachos are, in two simple words, “life changing!”

Steak & Quinoa Squachos - gluten-free and low carb appetizer!

Zucchini and Summer SquashThe farmer’s markets (and personal gardens of you green-thumbers) are exploding with green zucchini and yellow summer squash this time of year — and this fun and fit finger food is a tasty way to take advantage of a bumper crop and squeeze a few extra veggies into the day.

 

Recipes similar to this use panko bread crumbs to create that familiar nacho crunch — but that defeats to purpose of my low-carb, higher protein mission. So, instead, I tossed together almond meal and cooked quinoa with a bit of cheese to create a tasty texture on top of each squash disc.

Steak and Quinoa Squachos -- a low carb, gluten free appetizer!

I used two of my go-to non-GMO, gluten-free and certified organic pantry staples from NowFoods.com Tri-Colored Quinoa  and Raw Almond Flour. This tri-color quinoa a blend of white, red and black seeds and is a great source of protein and iron — I typically serve it as a side dish or salad, but freeze leftovers for speedy recipes like this! Raw Almond Flour (or Almond Meal, as some people call it) is simply finely ground almonds and it makes a great low-carb swap for flour in many recipes. If you can’t find these products in your market, I’ve dropped the Amazon links below.
 

More Protein, More PowerNow, if you’ve been following along on the blog or social media, you know I’ve been sharing my (numerous time) journey on the Protein Challenge and encouraging others to join. This free 30-day challenge sponsored by BeefLovingTexans.com (who I also originally developed the Squacho recipe for) shows you how to tweak your daily protein intake for optimal heath — to be very succinct, you should be getting about 25 – 30 grams of protein at each of your three meals — and also protein rich snacks throughout the day and possibly at bedtime, depending on your activity level. You can register for the Protein Challenge and get tips, support and recipes HERE.

Join the 30 day Protein Challenge

Steak & Quinoa SquachosSo, are you making these Squachos this weekend, or what?!

What are your other plans – a race, a vacation, just catching up on the to-do list? Let’s chat in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

 

Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Steak and Quinoa Squachos are a healthy take on nachos and gluten-free, low-carb appetizer optionl
Steak & Quinoa Squachos
Print Recipe
You'll exclaim "squash-OMG" when you taste these unique beef nachos that swap tortilla chips for discs of zucchini -- almond meal and quinoa create a crunch texture while keeping the appetizer gluten-free and low carb.
Servings
8 as appetizer
Servings
8 as appetizer
Ingredients
Servings: as appetizer
Instructions
  1. Preheat broiler on high. 2. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil, coat with baking spray.
  2. lice squash into ¼” slices. Place squash, with edges touching each other, onto baking sheets.
  3. In bowl, toss together almond meal with dry fajita seasoning. Stir in cheese, cooked quinoa and almond meal until combined.
  4. Use a tablespoon to pile a big dollop of this cheese mixture on top of each squash slice. If leftover topping in bowl at end of dolloping, sprinkle evenly across tops.
  5. Cut leftover steak or fajita meat into bite-sized pieces. Place a piece of two of beef on top of each Squacho.
  6. Place oven rack on second to top position. Broil Squachos for 2 to 4 minutes, or until cheese mixture bubbling and turning golden brown on edges Watch carefully to prevent burning.
  7. Remove from oven and sprinkle with drained Pico de Gallo. Serve with other desired accompaniments such as guacamole, sour cream or salsa.
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Mango Flat Iron Steaks + Fruity Jicama Slaw + Weber Grill #Giveaway

This post and giveaway is sponsored by Litehouse Foods and Weber. However, all comments, opinions and enthusiasm are my own.

Ladies . . . and gentlemen, it’s time to get your grill on! While I exercise my freedom to grill year ‘round, the entire month of July is specifically designated as National Grilling Month.  That means you need to be cooking outdoors at least on the weekends and, preferably, every chance Monday through Friday that you can.

Mango Marinated Steak with Fruity Jicama Ginger Slaw

My recipe for Mango Marinated Flat Iron Steaks with Fruity Jicama Ginger Slaw is a quick and easy recipe for the work week – it’s ready in just about 30 minutes and gives you an excuse to sit out on the patio for a little deserved rest and relaxation.  Sitting there next to the grill with your beverage of choice in hand (might I suggest a pina colada), smelling the delicious island-inspired aromas wafting from the grill will destress you almost as quickly as a tropical vacation.

Mango Marinated Steak is made with the flat iron cut, the second most tender cut of beef! A tropical inspired recipe for the grill that takes only 30 minutes to make.

This recipe, developed for Litehouse Foods & Weber (GRILL GIVEAWAY AT BOTTOM OF POST), uses one of my all-time favorite cuts of beef – a flat iron steak. If you’ve not yet thrown a flat iron steak before, you’re in for a real treat! While I’d like to keep this somewhat lesser known hush-hush, I’ve decided to share the “grate” news with y’all! This steak, cut by the butcher from a top blade roast,is second only in tenderness to tenderloin yet is so much more economical, typically a third the price per pound! It can be thrown on the grill “as is” or given a quick dry rub or 15 minute marinade for flavor, meaning dinner can be on the table chop-chop! Plus, the uniform shape and thickness and succulent taste are making this steak an up-and-coming grill season superstar. I’ve got to thank Beef Loving Texans for turning me on to this cut, which is one I now demonstrate time and time again in Grilling 101 classes.

Mango Jicama Ginger Slaw is a tropical take on a summer bbq side dish -- serve with grilled beef, chicken or seafood!

Y’all know I love bright and colorful side dishes made with seasonal produce just as much as my beef – the two go hand-in-hand (or, hand-in-mouth is more like it)!  I tossed together a quick slaw made from jicama (a Mexican root vegetable), mango, grated ginger and other fresh produce, finishing it with Litehouse Food’s traditional Coleslaw Dressing whisked up with some lively ingredients to add to the island-vibe.

flat irone mango slaw grill close upNow, the fun part! I get to giveaway the really cool little Weber grill I made these steaks on (well, it’s actually a brand new one, of course).  The Weber Q 1200 is so ready to ignite your grilling creativity in the backyard or on any number of off-site food adventures – I’ve used it for camping and food demos.  Smaller in size than my full-sized grill, yet not at all flimsy, this portable gas grill offers the same blazing badassery you’d expect from a Weber grill.  Things I love about it – 1) perfect for those nights when just grilling for two, and not the entire family; 2) no-fuss electric ignition and 14-oz. screw-on propane tank; 3)  two generous-sized, fold-down trays ready to accommodate all my serving trays, spatulas and other such grilling superfluities; and 4) it’s available in a rainbow array of seven color choices to match any outdoor décor (although, I’m giving away the BLUE to one of YOU).

win weber grill

Check out Weber Nation for tons of ideas and inspiration for grilling that will keep you busy (and full) all seasons.

weber grill 2

To enter, follow the Rafflecopter instructions below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mango Marinated Steak with Fruity Jicama Ginger Slaw
Mango Marinated Flat Iron Steaks with Fruity Jicama Ginger Slaw
Print Recipe
Make waves with this island-inspired grill recipe for tender flat iron steaks with a juicy sweat-heat slaw featuring jicama, ginger and mango! It's like a vacation for your taste buds! Also, enter to win a Weber Grill!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Mango Marinated Steak with Fruity Jicama Ginger Slaw
Mango Marinated Flat Iron Steaks with Fruity Jicama Ginger Slaw
Print Recipe
Make waves with this island-inspired grill recipe for tender flat iron steaks with a juicy sweat-heat slaw featuring jicama, ginger and mango! It's like a vacation for your taste buds! Also, enter to win a Weber Grill!
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 servings 15 minutes
Cook Time Passive Time
15 minutes 30 minutes
Ingredients
Marinade & Steaks:
Dressing:
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. For Marinade and Steaks: Combine mango juice, lime juice, lime zest and olive oil in bowl .Whisk in garlic, chili powder and red pepper flakes.. Pour mixture in zip-top plastic bag and add steak, turning to coat. Let marinate for 30 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Heat grill to approximately 400 F degrees. Remove steak from marinade; discard marinade. Season steak on both sides with salt, to personal preference. Add steak to grill and grill approximately 5 to 6 minutes, before flipping once to cook another 4 to 5 minutes. For medium-rare, remove steak from grill when instant-read thermometer registers 135F degrees. Allow to rest 5 minutes.
  3. For Dressing and Slaw: In large bowl, toss together jicama, red onion, mangos, green onions (cross-wise sliced bulbs and length-wise sliced tops), cilantro and red pepper. Set aside.
  4. In small bowl, whisk together Coleslaw Dressing, mango juice, lime juice, lime zest, vinegar, ginger, green onion and sriracha. Pour over slaw and stir gently to evenly coat. Serve cold.
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Sweat Drenching Days & #SummerHydration Drinks

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerHydration #CollectiveBias

thefitfork.com trail runCentral Texas summers are brutal and I know it’s just as hot (if not more so) in other parts of the country —  so I’m not complaining. But, keeping me and my family hydrated sometimes seems like a full-time job, given the active, on-the-go lifestyle we lead.  From traipsing off to an all-day lacrosse tournament then logging a long run on the trails to killing a CrossFit workout in a gym without air-conditioning followed by “playtime” at the pool, it’s easy to see why I’m constantly running the risk for dehydration.

cvs hydraton drinks on grillHeck, it’s easy to go into sweat overload just running errands to get ready for our annual backyard BBQ this weekend. I am so thankful for all the CVS stores on my route that are open and ready to top off my tank with a cool, refreshing drink – and with so many hydration options, it’s easy to find something that suits my lifestyle (and I always bring home something for the kids)! Discover the hydration option you might like best by answering a few questions in my 20-second #SummerHydration Helper.

In a normal 24-hour period (not even hot, sweaty, fitness-filled days), the average person loses 8 cups of water – and, again, this doesn’t even include exercise or sitting out in the sun.  If this water isn’t replaced, the heart has to work harder and other organ functions begin to deteriorate as well. Symptoms of being dehydrated include headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting.  Dry mouth, chills and flushed skin are other clues.  I also tend to get quite cranky leading up to dehydration and, oddly enough, the skin on my inner forearm gets wrinkly.

I have two quick little self-checks for dehydration. First, I check the color of my tinkle – if it’s dark or even moderately yellow, I know I need to drink more fluid – if it’s pale or clear, I’m good! Also, I pinch the skin on the back of my hand and pull it upwards. Once released, the skin should snap back rapidly – if not, I know I may be dehydrated. Quick — I pull off the road and run into CVS to cool off and top off my “tank” with a hydration beverage!

I like ALL THE BEVERAGES for #SummerHydration

I like ALL THE BEVERAGES for #SummerHydration

Some experts say drink 8 to 10 8-ounce glasses of water per day, others say drink an ounce per pound of body weight – that’s probably a good goal in the summer months.

These are just benchmarks, you may need more or less liquid – however, the main point is to listen to your body and look for any clue that you may be dehydrating.  Better yet, be proactive and stay hydrated in the first place.

cvs hydration bucket of drinksCVS Health and The Coca-Cola Company have teamed to help us all attain our quest for wellness with an important campaign called “Life Quenching.”  Check out “Life Quenching” to learn more about the dangers of dehydration and the benefits of hydration.

Lots of hydration options at CVS from The Coca Cola Company.

Lots of hydration options at CVS from The Coca Cola Company.

And remember, with a CVS on nearly every city street corner (it seems!), it’s easy to make a quick stop to grab the hydration option that best fits your needs and personality.Just head in the front door and make a beeline past the cash registers to the big refrigerated section along the wall bearing a huge sign “BEVERAGES” overhead — you can’t miss it!

Find your hydration option at CVS in the refrigerated beverage section!

Find your hydration option at CVS in the refrigerated beverage section!

Remember, sometimes waiting until you get home to rehydrate is too long! Be proactive, beat the heat, stay hydrated! Also, don’t miss the great deal right now going on at CVS – Spend $5 on these products, get $2 in ExtraBucks rewards in-store with your CVS ExtraCare Rewards Card.  It’s a fantastic hydration deal, I totally loaded up at my last stop!

So, what do you do to stay hydrated? What is your #SummerHydration beverage of choice? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

 

 

Feta & Herb Cantaloupe Truffles – One in a Melon!

Welcoming the official first day of summer with these beautiful little bites — Feta & Herb Cantaloupe Truffles. Feta & Herb Cantaloupe Truffles

This easy, no-cook appetizer recipe uses simple ingredients to create a stunning starter for a poolside party, al fresco meal or impromptu happy hour — also, how scrumptious and refreshing to pack in a picnic basket?!

Fet & Herb Cantaloupe Truffles are an easy, no cook appetizer for your next summer party. The sweet and salty flavors in this fruit and cheese recipe work so well together!

Only four ingredients needed — mint, basil, feta cheese and a cantaloupe. I always rely on my sense of smell to pick out the best cantaloupe, this no-nonsense nose method scores me a sweet and juicy winner nearly every time! Pick up the melon and sniff, it should smell sweet and slightly musky — like a cantaloupe. If it doesn’t have that signature scent, don’t buy it! Also, the best cantaloupes feel heavy for their size (lots of water content) and has a stem end that is slightly soft, yielding to your finger a bit when pressed.

cantelopes

You know I can’t resist a good food pun, so here ya go! Bwahaha!

Get the nutrition label for these Feta & Herb Cantaloupe Truffles here:

Click Here for Nutrition Infofo

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what are you doing on this first day of summer? What is your favorite summer-time fruit? Please share in the comments below, XOXO — Jennifer 

6 Easy Strawberry + Protein Snack Recipes

Easy Protein and Strawberry Snack Ideasjennifer spartan training up and over cg arenaSchool’s out, sun’s out and guns are out and the skies the limit on all the fun and fit stuff that’s coming up in the next few months!

Not much could be sweeter about summer, except maybe a top-crop snack of strawberries. Strawberries balanced with a bit of protein are the perfect healthy snack to fuel the body for one warm-weather activity to the next.

On their own, strawberries are quite the super food, providing a quality source of simple carbohydrates that the body can turn into quick energy for runs, workouts and even power-thinking! The high fiber and water content found in this fruit creates a feeling of welcomed fullness, while keeping the calorie count low – a single medium strawberry only has 4 calories! Plus, a powerful wallop of vitamin C is packed in strawberries, an antioxidant that can help keep muscles, skin and tissues in tip-top shape – just eight strawberries match the vitamin C in a medium orange.

But often, especially for athletes and those with an active lifestyle, merely munching on a handful of berries alone won’t suffice. Pair up strawberries up with a lean protein source for added nutrients and a few extra calories to feel fuller and more fueled for the most vigorous daily routine. Also, eating a snack of carbohydrates with protein (in a 4:1 to 3:1 ratio) 30 minutes after an intense exercise session will help tired and sore muscles recover more quickly.

Check out these Six Strawberry Protein Snacks that can be made in a snap and will fuel you up for running, workouts, climbing and reaching for the sky!

 

Strawberry Banana Mug Muffin with Core PowerClick here for first recipe Strawberry Banana Protein Mug Muffin (20g protein)