Chocolate Raspberry Tart {Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free}

Today didn’t start out like any regular early May morning, it actually began with me whipping up a creation to celebrate National Raspberry Tart Day (May 3rd) a couple days early. I postponed my early run to plan and prepare for my future – a future filled with raspberries and chocolate!

Paleo Chocolate Raspberry Tart slic

My Paleo Chocolate Raspberry Tart Recipe is a winner, quick and easy enough to make for weeknight dinners yet stunning for any special celebration thanks to decadent dark chocolate and a regal crown of raspberries. Read on to get this 30-minute raspberry tart recipe that may just be one of the best Paleo or vegan desserts I’ve tasted in a long time! Continue reading

Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Roman Emperor and asparagus aficionado, Caesar Augustus, had an expression — Velocius quam asparagi conquantur!  Literally it meant “Faster that cooking asparagus,” but the point Augustus was trying to get across to his military minions was “Get going already”! Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa

Today I’m sharing a no-cook recipe that, by definition, IS FASTER than the already fast task of cooking asparagus. Try my Shaved Asparagus, Spinach and Pea Salad with Quinoa, it comes together in mere minutes and will pass muster with even the pickiest produce eaters!   Continue reading

Grilled Avocado Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dressing

I am about to change your life with two simple words that I frequently say separately, but never before together– Grilled Avocados. That’s right, I discovered avocados can and should be grilled! Tossing this creamy green fruit on the grates for a few minutes creates a smoky, simply marvelous flavor profile that plain ole avocados just can’t deliver. Grilled Avocado Tacos

With grilling season firing up and Cinco de May moments away, you’re definitely going to want to toss on a few avocados to go along with your barbecue. Or, if you’re vegetarian, vegan or just taking a plant-based day for variety, you’ll love my recipe for Grilled Avocado Tacos with Creamy Jalapeno Greek Yogurt Dressing

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Truffle and Thyme Mushroom Quinoa

Gasp, I didn’t care for mushrooms until my mid-thirties. The simple suggestion of mushrooms sent shivers down my spine as a kid and I think I stubbornly carried that childhood aversion over into middle age. Well, that goodness I tried mushrooms again, over a decade ago. Mushrooms are super healthy, low calorie and high in important nutrients like b vitamins, selenium, copper, niacin, potassium, iron and phosphorous. It’s fine for taste purposes to put raw mushrooms on your salad, but the nutrients are best accessed through the heat of cooking! Truffle and Thyme Mushroom Quinoa is a quick and easy side this that packs major flavor solo or puts a juicy steak over the top.

So today, I’m sharing my easy side dish recipe for Truffle Mushroom and Thyme Quinoa that features sautéed mushrooms with a sprinkle of truffle salt. It’s hard to believe that such a super simple recipe can have such big flavor, but that’s the beauty of mushrooms – they marry with and magnify the flavor of whatever dish they are in. Continue reading

Eat Clean and Win Dinner without Breaking Sweat + giveaway  

Cooking is my thaaaaang! I’ve been going hard in the kitchen since 4rd grade, teaching myself how to make everything from buttery cinnamon muffins to tater tot casserole. Flash forward four decades and I’m still in full meal-making beast mode nearly every day. Although, this time as it all goes down a little “healthier” thanks to my role as a clean-eating cooking coach, corporate recipe developer and personal chef (haha) to my family with three teenage boys. Jennifer of The Fit Fork at Snap Kitchen

But sometimes this hardworking mama needs a break and that’s where Snap Kitchen saves the day for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time.  I can count on this convenient healthy meal shop to cure my hangries while keeping me on track with nutritious foods to fuel my running, workouts and active lifestyle. Read on to find out how you can make eating clean at every meal easy thanks to Snap Kitchen. Plus, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for eating clean and having a giveaway for a $25 Visa Card so you can get your mouth on some of these meals yourself.

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Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri

When I’m looking to make a meat-free soup into an entire meal, I have couple non-negotiable. The soup needs to be hearty and thick (as opposed to thin and brothy), it needs to have tons of flavor, and also should have a decent showing of protein.  Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato SoupMy recipe for Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri meets all of these requirements and more — the “more” bonus is that it’s super easy to make and is loaded with healthy carbs to fuel my long runs and intense workouts. Slightly spicy while simultaneously smoky and just a tad sweet, a big hearty bowl of this meat-free, dairy-free, vegan soup will get you warmed up and keep you filled up until the next meal! My serving size is very generous and, sans the chimichurri, has 400 calories, 20 grams of protein, 80g healthy complex carb, 4g fat – plus is very high in potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Pin this for later!Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup makes a hearty, healthy meal on busy nights. Pureed beans in the soup add extra protein, making this a great meal solution for vegans, vegetarians and those looking to go meatless for the night.

Nutrient-rich sweet potatoes blended into vegetable stock make up the bulk of this super simple soup recipe. Pureed white navy beans have been added for additional protein and fiber and help boost this soup into a full-fledged meal appropriate for vegans, vegetarians or anyone looking for a nutritious meatless option. As I mentioned, this is a great go-to soup when I’m carb-loading for winter marathons, Spartan races and other endurance events.

blooming-chipotle-powder-for-sweet-potato-soup-litehouseWhen making this simple soup, a step you don’t want to skip is to “bloom” the chipotle chile powder in the stock pot before adding any of the other soup ingredients. Blooming most spices helps to intensify their depth and complexity — the smoky flavor of ground chipotle pepper really opens up with this front-end method.

I originally developed this recipe for Litehouse Food’s Living Litehouse Blog using their Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend as a quick fix in both the soup and the quick-fix Cilantro Chimichurri.  I highly recommend this freeze-dried herb product, it’s one of my all-time favorites with multiple uses beyond just guacamole making – try it in soups, stews, casseroles, stir-frys, and skillet dinners. However, if you can’t find the product in your market, I’ve asterisked the recipe with substitutions.

Cilantro ChimichurriThe Cilantro Chimichurri blended up to dress the soup is a bright and vibrant contrast to the more scarf-and-sweater vibe of the hearty soup. Plus, it adds a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil to a soup recipe that is nearly fat-free.  You can also use this Cilantro Chimichurri on drizzled on steak and fish, as a salad dressing, or mixed into Greek yogurt as a dip.

How are you prepping your sweet potatoes this fall? What is your favorite type of soup? What fuels your running the night before? Please share in the comments, XOXO — Jennifer 

 

Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri
Print Recipe
A big bowl of this sweet-savory nourishing vegan soup provides plenty of protein and healthy complex carbs to fuel your most active endeavors.
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup
Vegan Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Cilantro Chimichurri
Print Recipe
A big bowl of this sweet-savory nourishing vegan soup provides plenty of protein and healthy complex carbs to fuel your most active endeavors.
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 main dish servings 15 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
for Soup
for Chimichurri
Servings: main dish servings
Instructions
  1. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise. Place potatoes, cut sides down, in an 11 x 7-inch microwave-safe baking dish. Add 1/3 cup water; cover with plastic wrap. Microwave at HIGH 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly, discard potato skins. Heat stock pot over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add chipotle chili powder and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
  2. Place undrained beans in blender with approximately ½ cup of chicken broth, pulse until smooth. Add to stock pot.
  3. Scoop sweet potatoes out of skin and add to blender with remaining chicken broth and ¼ cup Guacamole Blend herbs. Process until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add mixture to stock pot. Bring to simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. If soup seems too thick add additional water or chicken broth to suit preferences.
  4. To prepare Chimichurri, add olive oil, fresh cilantro, Guacamole Blend herbs, lime juice, vinegar and salt to blender. Pulse until mixture coarsely combined.
  5. To serve, scoop soup into bowls and garnish with a dollop of Chimichurri.
  6. If you can't find Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use this as substitute: For Soup, instead of 1/4 cup Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic For Chimichurri, instead of 1/4 cup Instantly Fresh Guacamole Blend, use 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons minced garlic
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Ginormous Jackfruit, Everything You Need to Know

Jackfruit from Friedas.comWhat is a Jackfruit? Friends don’t let friends eat this weird fruit alone. Why? Simply because it’s jaw-dropping humungous and is known as world’s largest tree fruit. I highly recommend not walking under the tree that grows this monster-sized, greenish-yellow, bumpy-skinned, as they can weight up to 80 pounds!

Jackfruit tree - photo from Wikipedia

Jackfruit tree – photo from Wikipedia

How do you eat it? So, what can you do with a Jackfruit other that gawk at it or use it as an impromptu piece of workout equipment for a weight-loaded carry – haha!  Well, you can eat it, make recipes with it and stockpile it in your freezer!  The ripened fruit has been described to taste like a combination of mango-banana-melon. But, interestingly enough, the unripe fruit is very popular with vegans and vegetarians as a meat substitute in stir-frys, tacos, sandwiches, pasta sauces and more! Some say the taste and texture of Jackfruit is similar to pork, while others say it’s a chameleon that takes on whatever the predominant flavors of the recipe. The seeds have been likened to chestnuts.

Inside of Jackfruit

Jackfruit Flesh – photo from Friedas.com

What are the Health Benefits? Jack fruit is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin b-6, potassium and even some protein (about 3 grams per sliced cup).  About 1 cup of sliced fruit also has 157 calories and 1 gram of fat.

 How to Select and Store: Choose Jackfruit with bright green or yellow color, depending on ripeness, and a fragrant scent. Leave on counter to ripen. It should yield slightly when pressed. Wrap cut fruit tightly in plastic and store flesh in container. Refrigerate up to 7 days and freeze for up to 2 months.

Recipe Ideas:

How to Cook Jackfruit Seeds from Friedas.com

Jackfruit Vegan Chili from CoachDebbieRuns.com (she’s the biggest Jackfruit fan I know, so many other Jackfruit recipes on her site).

Vegan Jackfruit ChiliHave you ever tried Jackfruit? What did you think? What did you make? If not, what’s the weirdest fruit you’ve eaten? Please share in the comments, XOXO – Jennifer

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa + Pinner’s Conference

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.comIt’s happened more than once, I’ve tasted a quinoa salad and gone “meh” even though I know good for me. We are at the crescendo of the quinoa craze, so you too probably are aware that this ancient grain (which is actually a seed) boosts your diet with  nutrients like B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. Additionally, quinoa is also one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids — oh how I love me some protein! 

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

To add some flavor excitement to a quinoa recipe, I decided to mix up a dish that magnifies some of my favorite flavors that some consider “fall season” but I embrace year ’round – maple syrup and butternut squash! And hey, even though it was 105 degrees yesterday . . . we are getting closer to Autumn one day at a time! I’ve used two of my favorite products from NOW Foods, Organic Tri-color Quinoa and Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa can be served warm, room temperature or cold -- it's a healthy vegetarian side dish or salad packed with protein and wholesome energy.Anyway,my recipe for Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa is just bursting with flavor and wholesome goodness. Not only is this recipe pretty to look at, it’s a beautiful addition to a meal-prepping lineup — especially important now that it’s Back-To-School season. You can make a big batch and eat it warm or cold — it also holds up well to being packed in a lunchbox.   Of course, I like to pair mine with a big, juicy steak!

Maple Pecan Raisin Malasses Crusted Steak and Butternut Squash Quinoa

By the way, I am demonstrating this Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa coming up on Friday, September 9th at the Texas Pinner’s Conference  in the Dallas area (Arlington Convention Center). My class is called “Empowered Meal Prep – Protein for Fitness.” 

pinners conference class description

pinners conference pic 1Learn how to prepare enough protein (I’m grilling Molasses & Pepper Crusted Steaks) to make dinner with leftovers for breakfast and lunch — the other recipes are Iron-Boosting Beef & Date Spinach Salad and Steak & Plantain Breakfast Bowl. Sign up for my class, I’ll also have beef swag and lots of tasty samples!  Use the discount code FITFORK at online registration to save 10% on the very reasonable cost that allows you access to 100+ classes on food, fitness, crafts, home décor and more! Or, if you just want General Admission to shop and see the sights (no classes), you can get a free pass ($7 at door) using FREESHOPPING. RESISTER HERE

Are you a make-ahead meal prepper? What is your favorite dish to stock in the fridge or freezer? Have the kids gone back to school yet? Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer 

 

Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa - thefitfork.com
Maple Pecan Raisin Butternut Squash Quinoa
Print Recipe
Beautiful and health-boosting, this easy quinoa recipe works well as a warm side dish or cold salad -- it packs and keeps for several days making it ideal for potlucks, lunchboxes, and make-ahead dinner planning.
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
8 servings 10 minutes
Cook Time
15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Toss butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place in single layer on rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake squash, stirring once halfway through, for approximately 15 minutes or until tender and turning golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down.
  3. Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package directions -- it should also take around 15 minutes, so you can do the squash and quinoa simultaneously to save time.
  4. When quinoa done, transfer to large bowl, fluff with fork and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  5. While quinoa and squash cooling down, prepare dressing by adding maple syrup, remaining olive oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme and salt to small bowl and whisk until combined.
  6. Add cooked quinoa, cooked squash, green onions, raisins, and pecans to large bowl, mix gently to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over top and stir to evenly distribute. Serve warm, room temperature or chilled.
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