Between my birthday on July 3rd, followed immediately by Independence Day and a family reunion at the lake beginning, July 6th, I’m happy to report that I’ll be enjoying more than a week of non-stop, fun-in-the-sun festivities. No complaints about the 100-degree weather from me, this is my absolute favorite time of the year!
On the agenda: morning runs, paddle-boarding, wake boarding, jet-skiing, fishing, helping with some landscape work and then lounging around on the dock. All this is sure to make a person thirsty and hungry. I’ll be at once hydrating and enjoying a wholesome snack thanks to watermelon and my latest recipe, Watermelon, Tomato and Jicama Salad with Tajin Honey Dressing. Read on to get the all the deets, the full recipe and how you can incorporate watermelon into your casual summer entertaining. Continue reading →
Botanically a fruit, embraced as a vegetable, the vibrant and vitamin-packed tomato is tops when it comes to versatility. Tomatoes are enjoyed at the annual rate of 31 pounds per person, eaten raw on salads and as a key ingredients in sauces, salsas and many soups. Even my tomato-avoiding son gets his fair share in the form of ketchup!
‘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!
Each time I enjoy my recipe for Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho, I want to kick off my sandals and run through the green lawn shouting “whoohoo!” That’s because this light and lovely chilled soup captures the essence of spring, and I live for the spring . . . and summer. Warmer weather calls for cooler food and this chilled soup is a twist on gazpacho, a classic Spanish recipe. For my version, I’ve added carrots, ginger and a coconut water base to help with hydration. Perfect for a light lunch, Easter brunch or way to start your pool-side dinner – save a few cucumber slices for your eyes so you can feel like a pampered spa guest.
When I serve this Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho to my family, I smile and say “some bunny loves you!” That’s because I know how much wholesome, healthy nutrition in packed into each spoonful of this chilled soup– loads of lycopene, vitamin K, potassium and dietary fiber to mention a few benefits. Plus, you get all the healing benefits of ginger – it helps tame digestive issues, reduces inflammation, boosts the immune system. Plus, I personally adore the zingy taste – you can add more or less fresh ginger depending on your preference.
To optimize taste and health benefits, please use fresh ginger and not ground ginger, bottled minced ginger or ginger paste. A little knobby length of ginger will stay fresh in your produce bin for a couple months and if you have the right grater, it’s easy and mess-free to get what you need. Not trying to sound infomercial-y, but this Dual Gage Grater is a must-have for ginger, garlic, turmeric, citrus zest, hard cheeses and such it’s only $3! The two sides each have a different grate size and the “V” shape catches all the teeny-tiny shavings so they don’t fall all over the counter or plate – you simply tip over into the bowl and scrape off. Plus, after you rinse off and dry, it slides back into itself for easy storage.
This recipe works for many diet types including Paleo, vegan, vegetarian, raw, sugar-free, gluten-free and more. Also, if you’re a meal-prepper, this soup that doesn’t’ need to be reheated makes a nice alternative to the standard make-ahead fare for grab-and-go healthy lunches and quick dinners. Keep refrigerated in tightly sealed mason jars or plastic containers for up to five days and transfer to a lunch box with ice-pack. Enjoy. Linking up with The Fit Foodie Mama and Running on Happy – please check out!
Are you a gazpacho fan? Do you prefer warm weather or hot? Did you run a race this weekend or have a competition? Please share in the comments below — XOXO, Jennifer
Lemony Carrot Ginger Gazpacho -- Paleo
This chilled soup is a light and lovely prelude to any spring meal -- Paleo, sugar-free, vegan, vegetarian, raw and low-sodium.
Add sliced carrots to microwave-safe dish and add ½-inch water to bottom. Top with lid and microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until steamed and tender, but not mushy. Remove from microwave and add to colander, rinsing with cold water.
Add carrots, cucumber, tomatoes with juice, onion, ginger, vinegar, lemon zest and lemon juice to blender. Pour coconut water on top and process until smooth, adding more coconut water if needed (or sub water, if can empty).
Can serve at room temperature, but tastes better if chilled for several hours prior. Garnish with additional lemon zest, snipped mint and unsweetened shredded coconut.
I have a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you . . . and a jicama wrap for you (I’m pointing to all of y’all)! I’ve been having this love affair with jicama for a while now, you’ve probably seen some of the posts here and on Instagram– this is one of my favorite, Three No-Cook Jicama Recipes for Summer. I now have a new addition to the no-cook meal solutions — Four No-Cook Jicama Wraps! It’s the perfect solution for the dog days of summer — and speaking of the “dog days,” check out my Lucy helping me with yoga!
I revisited this jicama obsession when I noticed that my grocery store started stocking jicama “tortillas” in their produce department. They are made in-house and sold in the convenience prepped veggie section – I did a little jump for joy when I first spotted them sitting there waiting for me. I’ve drooled over all the jicama “taco” recipes on Pinterest, but I’ve never been able to slice my jicama that thin (cause I’m not losing a finger on the mandolin)! Yay, now I have people that do that for me!
I originally made this collection of jicama tacos (or wraps or rollups – what does one call them?) to showcase the OPA by Litehouse™ Greek Yogurt Dressings. I love those dressings, they taste so rich and indulgent but they have fewer calories than traditional dressings . . . and more protein, too!
Some of the perks of these jicama rollups – the are Paleo friendly depending exactly what you put on top; they are crispy, crunch and low calorie; and, whoot-whoot – there is no heating up the kitchen with the oven.
Sliced Black Mission Figs + Arugula + Artisan Reserve Blue Cheese + Balsamic Syrup + OPA by Litehouse™ Blue Cheese Dressing
Black Beans+ Mango Pico de Gallo + Cilantro + OPA by Litehouse™ Jalapeno Ranch Dressing
If someone says “granola” and do you instantly think sweet, crunchy and . . . spicy? Probably not, but I’m here to share my recipe for Ancho Chile Honey Granola — it might just be the most delicious and versatile granola recipe ever. The secret is a dash of ancho chile powder — don’t worry, ancho chiles (referred to as poblano peppers when fresh) aren’t super hot, they are the sweetest of the dried chiles and most commonly used in authentic Mexican cooking.
Packed with pumpkin seeds, almonds, chia seeds, this easy granola recipe is a fantastic way to get the benefits of the heart healthy fats that nuts and seeds offer.It’s lightly sweetened with honey to complement the mild ancho heat.Use the savory-sweet granola to top a tomato salad (as pictured), to add a crunch factor to green salads, atop soups, as a crispy topping on baked fish or chicken — or simply eaten straight out of the container!
Oh, and you’re going to LOVE that it’s super easy to make — just requiring 10 minutes in a skillet on the stove top rather than the lengthy baking of traditional granola recipes. I originally created this recipe for the Living Litehouse Blog at LitehouseFoods.com, check it out — I’m a big fan of their Instantly Fresh Herbs.
Add coconut oil to large skillet and bring to medium-high heat.
Add pepita seeds, slivered almonds and chili powder to skillet and stir for 1 – 2 minutes or until beginning to toast. Add honey and stir to combine.
Mix oats, chia seeds, dried cilantro and sea salt to skillet, stirring well to coat with honey mixture. Continue to stir over medium heat for approximately 5 – 6 minutes
longer, taking care that honey doesn’t start to burn.
Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes in skillet. Transfer to air-tight container using spatula to break up any pieces stuck to skillet.
Make salad by slicing tomatoes and sprinkling with yellow bell pepper and cilantro. Top with a dollop of ranch dip and ancho chile honey granola.
I’d hard to imagine there would EVER be beef tenderloin left on the platter at my house – but there was this weekend! That’s because I cooked an extra hunk so that we’d have “leftovers on purpose” for a couple easy weeknight recipes that were floating around in my head. I had to threaten all the boys to keep their dirty meat-stealing mitts of this extra steak, and once they saw the More-eo Blondie Bars I made for dessert, they had moved on to new conquests.
So, the great thing about this Beef Tenderloin & Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema is that you can use thin slices of any leftover steak like top sirloin, ribeye, flat iron — or even fajita meat! I also used naan bread for “let’s make dinner in five minutes” convenience, but feel free to do a homemade traditional crust or even a cauliflower crust if you prefer.
The toppings are fresh and healthy with a southwestern spin – cilantro, queso fresco, hatch green chilies and a trifecta of colorful tomatoes. Red, yellow and orange – they were almost too beautiful to eat! But gobble them up because I know how great the abundance of lycopene and vitamin B6 found in tomatoes is for athletes — you can learn more on the topic of tomatoes and working out in a post I wrote for CorePower.com.
Beef Tenderloin & Tomato Pizza with Ancho Crema Recipe
4 8-inch diameter pieces of naan bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 medium yellow tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
1 medium red tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
1 medium orange tomato, seeded and sliced thinly
½ cup chopped fire-roasted hatch green chilies (or can use canned)
1 cup of crumbled queso freco
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 8-ounce pre-cooked beef tenderloin steak (or other steak) sliced thinly across grain.
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon ground ancho chili powder
Avocado for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
Lay naan bread on a baking sheet and brush tops with olive oil. Sprinkle with the garlic salt and pepper flakes.
Layer each crust with tomato slices and green chilies. Sprinkle with queso fresco cheese.
Bake in oven for approximately 10 minutes or until edges of bread turning golden brown and cheese beginning to bubble.
Remove from oven and top with thinly sliced steak that is room temperature or has been lightly warmed — taking care not to over reheat it and make tough.
To make crema, whisk together Greek yogurt, Worcestershire sauce and chili powder in small bowl. Drizzle on top of pizzas. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with avocado, if desired. Serves 4.
So good, so good, you see! These slow-roasted balsamic tomatoes transform a simple salad, piece of crusty bread or unadorned eggs into a masterpiece of epic, mouthwatering proportions. You can also use them on pizzas, blend into sauce, serve on an anti-pasta platter or just pluck them right off the pan. Lust-worthy, luscious and loaded with flavor, these tomatoes are super easy to make — however, don’t rush the job, you’ll need at least an hour. The result of this patience is an intensified breadth and depth of flavor that is to die for. The other thing I love about this recipe is that nearly every type of tomato works beautifully, from Cherubs to Campari to Romas. Make a big batch, they keep well in the freezer!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and gently squeeze out seeds or scoop them with a spoon --leave as much as the flesh as possible.
Lay the tomatoes, cut side up, in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with the thyme. Roast tomatoes on center rack for 40 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees and continue to roast tomatoes about 20 minutes more, or until caramelized.
Let tomatoes rest until reaching room temperature. The tomatoes will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator or for up to 6 months in the freezer.