Super Green Walnut Pesto

Happy Thursday everyone! For me, it’s my Friday, and I am so darn excited to paint a little in our house tomorrow. We decided on… do I dare say it… a shade of gray… that will hopefully warm up some of our rooms and highlight some of our furniture and accents. I swear I do like other colors besides white and gray! (sometimes)

Two nights ago I was driving home from work and couldn’t for the life of my think of what I wanted for dinner. My mom and I were talking about pizza, and somehow pizza turned into pasta, and pasta turned into thinking of a new sauce that I could make from scratch. I decided to make pesto, but a not so traditional pesto, that I could secretly hide some extra green in it. Have a mentioned before how hard it is to get Jeff to eat vegetables?

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This pesto was BOMB. Literally, I was eating it with a spoon. Jeff liked it also, and I know it was truly enjoyable for him because he ate the leftovers the next day. Can I tell you just how much it makes my heart swoon when I come home and find leftover containers EMPTY in the kitchen sink. That is how I truly know when one of my recipes is a success!

I called this a “super green” pesto because it truly is really, really green. I don’t mean clean, green… although that is pretty appropriate as well…. but it is literally really green and bright in color. This pesto is so unbelievably easy and delicious, you can bet I will make it again ASAP.

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I hope you give this yummy little recipe a try. Don’t be afraid to play around with it or substitute different greens. Let me know if you find a substitution that you love! I’m sure others would like to know as well 🙂

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Super Green Walnut Pesto

  • Servings: approx. 1 3/4 cup total volume
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • ~3 cups raw greens (I used ~1 cup kale, 2 cups spinach)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup walnuts
  • pinch of kosher seal salt
  • pinch of back pepper
  • 3 med size garlic cloves OR 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup water

Directions

It a food processor, pulse greens with olive oil. Once there is a little more room in the food processor, add walnuts, salt, pepper, and garlic cloves. Pulse or grind on low until garlic is fully chopped and incorporated.

Scrape down the sides of the container and add ~1/3 cup of water. Continue to pulse or blend until the pesto is the consistency you prefer. If you like it to me a little chunky, you can just stir in the water to help thin it our instead of pulsing.

Serve over grilled meats, warm pasta, or with warm bread. Enjoy!

 

 


Holiday festivities… and food!

Hi everyone! I hope y’all had a fun and relaxing weekend. Jeff and I started a serious journey towards finding out perfect home this weekend and let me tell you…. STRESSFUL. I don’t know if I ever pictured house hunting to be this stressful, but boy do I see why we have avoided it until now. With that said, yesterday I was in dire need of a little relaxation and down time.

Jeff worked through the afternoon, which gave me time to plan a nice little Memorial Day dinner for both of us. No, I didn’t pull out the grill (although I’d highly recommend it if you make the burgers!) because sitting in front of a hot grill in 100 degree weather just didn’t seem all that appealing.

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When it comes to festive foods, you know I like to keep it simple, flavorful, and fun! I had been thinking about making sliders for a while so I went with mini turkey burger sliders as our main dish and a unique, tangy “potato salad” for our side. Who doesn’t love burgers and potato salad?!

The potato salad is definitely not your traditional potato salad. I added a little roasted corn and sauteed green beans for added color and flavor. The dressing is super delicious, tangy, and easy to make. It can also be used to marinate chicken, other meats, or dress other salads/veggies! Make it ahead of time to save yourself some extra work if planning for a party or barbecue!

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For the turkey burgers, I decided to do a few sliders wrapped in romaine lettuce for myself and mini buns for Jeff. I like the added crunch of the lettuce and found this to be a great alternative to a regular bun if you tend to eat gluten-free or want to minimize your carbs for other health reasons. The burgers were flavored with green chile and shredded cheddar cheese, nut other flavor combos such as feta and basil or blue cheese and bacon would also be great to try!

I hope you give these recipes a try and maybe add them in to your next barbecue. The 4th of July is right around the corner, so planning ahead will help minimize stress and hopefully lead to a fun and relaxing party!

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Tangy Dijon Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Yields ~1/4-1/3 c dressing depending on how careful you are with measurements!

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flake
  • pinch salt
  • pinch black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Directions

Put all ingredients into a mason jar or small container with a lid. Agitate by shaking vigorously. Store in a cool area until ready to use.

Green Chile Cheddar Turkey Sliders

  • Servings: 1
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

Yields ~8-10 sliders depending on size

  • 1 lb ground lead turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 can diced green chiles 
  • 1/3 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 c diced yellow or white onion
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch black pepper
  • pinch chile powder

Directions

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with hands or roughly with a fork. Roll and press patties about the size of a larger, thick cookie or muffin top. Place on parchment paper until ready to cook.

In a large pan (or on a grill), spray the surface to prevent sticking. Heat the pan to medium heat and place about 4-5 patties in the pan. Cook about 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear and there is a golden brown color on the surface. Serve with toppings of choice.


Quinoa Chickpea Veggie Bowl

Happy Monday friends! Today I had the pleasure of having the day off and getting to spend it with hub! We had a wonderful day walking around outdoor shopping, having a tasty lunch, spending some time by the pool, and spending some time with Eddie (our pup!).IMG_6236

Since I had the day off, I postponed my usual Sunday meal prep to today. Ya’ll know I love a good quinoa bowl, so on the menu for lunch this week is my Quinoa Chickpea Veggie Bowl! I’m excited to share this recipe because it’s something I show a lot on IG, but just haven’t gotten around to writing down the recipe and posting about it!

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Jeff and I both love quinoa, and it has really become a weekly staple in our diets. We use it many different ways, and I have even found Jeff now cooking this on his own (proud moment!)! This bowl is super easy and fast to make, and you can change the veggies to whatever is in season or what you like best. For this bowl, I used carrots, zucchini, and kale as my main veggies. Typically my quinoa bowls all have kale because it holds up better than other greens such as spinach or arugula when cooked.

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I’ve mentioned before I usually leave a day to bring leftovers as my lunch, so when I prep on Sundays I prep for 4 days. If you wanted to prep for a full 5, I would increase the quinoa to 3/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup. Give this a try and let me know what you think! Have a great week everyone!

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Quinoa Chickpea Veggie Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy-medium
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Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed
  • 2 large carrots, pealed and chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped
  • 1 full head of green kale
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (cooks to ~ 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sliced onion (I used vidalia)
  • black pepper
  • salt
  • paprika
  • chili powder
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

On a greased baking sheet, roast chickpeas, carrot, and zucchini with either a little olive oil or olive oil spray, paprika, chili powder, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder (season to your liking). Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots begin to caramelize and the chickpeas turn a light golden brown.

Bring 1/2 cup of quinoa with ~1.5 cups of water to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer. You may need to add another splash of water as it’s absorbed into the quinoa. Stir every few minutes to prevent sticking.

Roughly chop the kale. In a large sauté pan, sauté onion and kale with a little garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until kale is wilted. Add a splash of water to the pan to help kale wilt.

Once veggies and chickpeas are finished roasting and the quinoa is cooked through, add all ingredients to sauté pan and toss with 1 Tbsp olive oil. If using this recipe for meal prep, allow the dish to cool for 10-15 minutes before putting it into containers and placing in the refrigerator. Can add various toppings if desired such as sriracha, salsa, avocado, or shredded cheeses.


Controlling the Cocktails

This is going to be a fun post… really! I think ya’ll are going to like!

Now, I know everyone may not be on the same page here so if you are like me and look forward a refreshing cocktail Friday after a long work week then you should probably keep reading. If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, maybe this post isn’t for you but please go ahead and read anyway! A lot of what I’m going to talk about can still be applicable for those who do not consume alcohol.

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Fruity Summer Wine Spritzer: 4oz white wine, splash of Lemon La Croix sparkling water, ice, frozen blueberries, frozen peaches

When 5 o’clock hits on a Friday, you better believe I’m thinking one of two things: 1. How fast can I get home to see my pup and hub. 2. Where are we going to dinner tonight. I think I’ve mentioned before that Friday is typically Jeff and I’s date night, so I am always looking forward to putting on a cute outfit, enjoying a fun and yummy dinner, and yes… finishing it off with a cool and refreshing cocktail!

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Because of the lifestyle that I choose to live, I am fairly adamant about not “over-doing” it with any type of alcoholic beverage. I am by no means promoting the consumption of alcohol, but having a glass of wine on a Friday or making a fun summer drink to enjoy on the patio with my husband I think is completely OK for me. I know for some, it is hard to find a balance with consuming alcohol, especially for those who are “dieting” or watching what they consume. That is why this post is going to be so fun! I’m going to give you some easy tips to cut back the calories, and have a fun and refreshing drink responsibly that won’t make you feel “guilty” or ruin your health efforts.

Whether it is altering a drink recipe, or just simply knowing your limits, there are many ways to keep you beverages under control and fitting into your lifestyle if you choose!

Tips to cutting down the calories:

  1. Choose your mixers wisely. Stick to things that are natural and have minimal added sugar. Skip the premixed drinks and make a cocktail on your own or order something with minimal ingredients. Utilizes fresh fruit for flavor, soda water or essenced sparkling water for bubbles, or a splash of 100% juice for a little sweetness.
  2. Don’t over-do it. Nothing is worse than someone who has been over-served so don’t be that person. Enjoying a glass of wine with dinner is one thing, but downing a bottle of wine in an hour is another. I hate feeling out of control, so for this reason I am fairly frugal with how many cocktails or beverages I will consume in one sitting. Are your friends bugging you because you aren’t “keeping up?” Order a tall sparkling water and ask for a little fresh lime and mint. The next time you are asked “where’s your drink?” smile and politely hold up your pretty little “mock-tail”. No one will know the difference! One last little note — NEVER drink and drive.
  3. Cut wine with sparkling water or soda water. I know this sounds odd.. but have you ever heard of a wine spritzer? Order 1/2 glass of white wine and ask for it to be topped off with a little sparkling water and a few ice cubes!

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If you are looking to make something special for your next dinner party or social event, try one of these fun and flirty cocktails with a “healthy” twist! I also provided an alcohol-free “mock-tail” that looked unbelievably yummy!

Grapefruit Mocktail

3 oz red grapefruit juice
3oz cranberry juice
2 oz seltzer water or sparkling water
1 lime wedge
Mint leaves

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Recipe & picture from Health Magazine

Basil-Cucumber Gin Cooler

2-inch piece of cucumber, peeled and chopped
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp agave nectar
1 1/2 oz gin
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
ice cubes
splash of seltzer
1 thin slice lemon, for garnish
1 thin slice cucumber, for garnish

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Recipe & picture from SkinnyTaste

Watermelon Cucumber Mint Cocktail

2 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
½ medium cucumber, peeled, de-seeded and sliced
10-12 leaves fresh mint
2 tbsp date syrup*
2½ tbsp fresh lime juice
⅓ cup vodka
*Date syrup: 10 medjool dates pitted and soaked, 1 1/2 cups water

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Recipe & picture from Hummusapien

Simple Cilantro Guacamole

Happy hump day everyone! With my family being here this week I haven’t had much time to test out new recipes, but I made this for taco night a few nights ago and it was a big hit! My mom isn’t a huge fan of cilantro and even she enjoyed it! I definitely made too much, but it gave me the opportunity to have a little leftover which is always a plus!

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This recipe is super easy and can be made in the food processor or a high-quality blender. If you like chunkier guac, I’d recommended just mashing the ingredients yourself with a fork to get a more hearty and chunky texture. While I love avocado, it doesn’t keep for long in the refrigerator, so I’d recommend consuming within 24-48 hours!

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If you are an avocado lover like I am, good guacamole is a must for taco night! While everyone has their own preference for guac flavors, I like fresh and light with a lot of garlic! I use lemon juice for my guac recipe, but I know lime juice is also popular. Avocados are filled with heart healthy monounsaturated fat, so don’t let the high fat content scare you away! They are also high in B vitamins, Vitamin C and E, and other important nutrients such as folate and potassium. While I don’t believe in “super foods”, avocado is pretty high on my list of nutrient-dense food favorites!

I would love for you to give this recipe a try during your next taco night and let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!

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Simple Cilantro Guacamole

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 soft avocados
  • 1 heirloom tomato
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • handful of fresh cilantro
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1/4 tsp garlic granules
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil

Directions

In a food processor, pulse tomato and onion. Add avocados, seasonings (salt, pep, garlic, basil), and lemon juice. Pulse until you achieve your desired consistency. Add cilantro and either mix in or pulse a few times to incorporate. Decorate with a few leaves of cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice before serving!