Grilled Cilantro Salmon Tacos

HAPPY FRIIIIDAY!!!!

I hope everyone out there had a wonderful week! I have had a loooong week and I am so looking forward to the weekend! This weekend I am headed up to wine country for a wine, food, and friend filled weekend with my hubby and 6 other friends. Even though it is supposed to pour down rain all weekend I can’t contain my excitement! I loooove wine country and can’t wait to try some new wines, enjoy some old favorites, and catch up with friends, rain or not!

Speaking of rain…because of all the rain we’ve been having here in California lately, I’ve been doing lots of cooking on my grill pan. I always prefer BBQ-ing, but in a pinch (or a drench!) the grill pan works great and gives you that “off the grill” feel without torturing yourself your husband by grilling in the rain. :)

These salmon tacos have TONS of flavor. Fish tacos most commonly are made with white fish, but I love salmon and it is a bit sturdier than white fish to hold up to the marinade and the grill pan.

First off, get your marinade ready…

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Pistachio Cherry Biscotti

Good Morning!!

Biscotti is genius. It is basically a way of legitimizing having cookies for breakfast. And really, who doesn’t love cookies for breakfast??

I don’t know why I hadn’t ever made biscotti before I tried out this batch. Maybe I was nervous about the whole double baking thing, maybe I thought it was best left to old Italian grandma’s and Giada De Laurentiis, but biscotti was always something I enjoyed but never attempted myself. Until now! Now that I’ve realized how easy biscotti is to make and how quickly these delicious little cookies disappear I have made two bathes in less than a week. Whoops! :)

Biscotti literally means “twice baked.” You bake big long rectangles once, then cut them into small slices and bake again. Because they are twice baked, they come out crispy and crunchy and delicious! Normally, I am a fan of big, ooey, gooey, cookies, not crunchy ones, but there is something about biscotti that I love. Especially dipped im my morning coffee!  Continue reading →

Pickled Red Onion

Hi!

Get your Altoids ready…it’s onion time! Actually, these onions have awesome flavor but none of that raw onion bite/lingering-on-the-breath flavor ;)

Michael and I have this amazing taqueria by our house that we love. The chips are light as air and the salsa is flavorful and spicy. The guacamole is creamy and tangy, and their tacos…oh their tacos. Carnitas, chicken, carne asada, whatever you pick is fantastic. And all of their tacos are served with 3 items: homemade corn tortillas, the meat of your choice, and pickled red onions. No cheese, no lettuce, no nothing to compromise the awesome flavor. And these “stripped down” tacos are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Catch me on a Sunday after a particularly hard spin class and down be surprised if 3-4 are down the hatch in no time flat.Yum.

We eat a ton of Mexican food in my house. It is definitely our go to for nights when we get home late and need to throw things together. You will never come over to my house and not find at least two kinds of salsa and thirteen different kinds of hot sauce. I am my father’s daughter!

I think Mexican food sometimes gets a bad wrap for being unhealthy. We will have grilled veggies, black beans, and chicken or fish wrapped in a corn tortilla for a healthy and delicious dinner. Mexican food definitely doesn’t have to be cheese and grease filled calorie boms people!

Anyway, because we eat Mexican food so much, I wanted to attempt some pickled onions of my own to try to replicate the amazing-ness of our neighborhood taqueria, and I found out it was much easier than I thought! Just start by thinly slicing two red onions, then throw them in a pot of boiling water. Continue reading →

Baked Kale Chips

 

Happy Monday!

Here’s wishing you a fantastic week! I’ve had quite a sweet tooth lately, and these kale chips are just what I need on a Monday to get my week off to a healthy start!

These crunchy bits of kale are every bit as addicting as their namesakes, but instead of making you feel icky, eating a handful of these will not only make you feel great, but you’ll be packing in tons of nutrients too!

These “chips” can be made with any variety of kale you pick up at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, but my favorite to use is regular ol’ green curly kale. It is tough enough to stand up to the baking and the moisture draws out nicely so the chips get extra crispy!

Even if you think you don’t like kale, please give these a try! Baking the kale removes some of its natural bitterness that turns some people off. Plus, the combo of crunchy, salty, and slightly sweet from the olive oil, makes this nutritious snack virtually impossible to resist

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Bourbon and Banana Cupcakes

Oh what a Happy Friday it is!! :)

Im sending you off to the weekend with a double duty recipe. It’s a cocktail and a sweet treat all rolled into one! Pretty awesome right? Besides, who doesn’t need a little Bourbon on a Friday anyway?!?

These cupcakes were born out of one of those overwhelming desire to bake. Do you every get that feeling? I was just sitting on the couch watching some basketball with Michael and all of the sudden it was like, “I-am-going-to-go-crazy-if-I-don’t-bake-a-cupcake-right-this-second.” You know what I mean? Or is it just me?! :/

After you get that feeling the next logical step is to stand in the middle of your kitchen and spin around in slow circles until something strikes your fancy. At this point it is usually good to be home alone because if you have a spouse/roommate/friend in the house with you they may start looking at you like you have completely lost it, but just go with the process.

First thing that caught my eye was the bunch of bananas on the counter. As I kept spinning, I remembered I had a container of chocolate frosting in my cupboard that I had leftover from a mass baking event at work (my job is awesome) that I have been meaning to use up. Ok so I had bananas and chocolate. A good combo, but I was missing something. As I spun around my kitchen thinking “Bananas, chocolate, and…,” it came to me, Bourbon of course! Now, I love Bourbon any old time, but I had a feeling it would be fantastic paired with bananas and chocolate in cupcake form. Man I love it when I am right!! :)

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What I Ate Wednesday – Real time eats

Happy Wednesday! Week is halfway done and I’m already looking forward to the weekend! I have been pretty tired this week-I think it is the rainy weather we have been having here in Cali lately. My sister lives in Chicago and it is supposed to be 85 there today!!! I think the high here is 67…there is something wrong with this picture right?!?!?

Ok, ok, I’m probably just jealous…but seriously, I am ready for spring! Actually, I’d be ok just going straight into summer!

 

 

 

This week for WIAW I thought I would do something different and post what I am actually eating today. Let’s start with breakfast…

This morning started off like most mornings do…breakfast on the go! I made a green smoothie with spinach, banana, almond milk, and a handful of mixed berries. I also threw in some vanilla protein powder for flavor and to help me stay fuller longer. I never have time to actually drink it before I run out the door so I wisely invested in straws for in-car drinking after a few oh-so-embarrassing green stained work shirts. Good thing I have a lot of cup holders because I also had green tea and water. I have about a 30 minuted commute to work-betcha can’t guess where I head as soon as I get there! :)

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Faux Pho

Hi!

I just made this last night and literally could not wait to post it for you guys!

I think there must be two kind of people when it comes to Pho (pronounced fuh, rhymes with duh); those who LOVE it, and those who have never tried it. I am convinced that to try it is to love it. I mean, how could you not? It is filled with so many wonderful things: silky noodles, tender beef, crunchy sprouts, spicy chilies, fresh basil, and the most flavorful broth in the world! Pho broth is something I always thought was better left to the professionals, which is why I had never attempted this famous Vietnamese dish at home, but when I saw a “Faux pho” recipe as I was going through a stack of old Bon Appetite magazines, I thought, “I can do this!” and decided to give it a try.

The reason this is “Faux” Pho is because you don’t cook the broth from scratch, you use beef stack and add in lots of intense flavors like ginger, garlic, cinnamon, and star anise, to recreate the day long simmering broth from your favorite pho restaurant. Now, if I’m being honest, I thought it was….fantastic! I’ll admit I didn’t achieve quite the depth of flavor that my local pho joint does, but it was pretty darn good.

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Sautéed Kale with Bacon, Mushrooms, and lemon-mustard vinaigrette

I. Love. Kale. I don’t know what it is about this leafy, sturdy, slightly bitter green, but I just can’t get enough. In an effort to please both my appetite and my husband’s need not to be food-bored into oblivion, I am always looking for new things to do with kale. This amazing side dish actually came out of a need to make a Paleo-friendly dinner for some friends. Have you all heard of Paleo? It seems like the newest diet craze out there! I had never heard of it until our friends who were coming over for dinner told us they were practicing it, so I looked it up-now I am seeing it everywhere!

If, like me, you aren’t as up on Paleo knowledge as it seems everyone else is, Paleo is also referred to as the “Caveman diet” and is based on how our ancestors ate millions of years ago, basically lots of meat and veggies. While I think veggies are fantastic and I love how the diet encourages you to eat as much bacon as possible, I HATE diets.  There. I said it. I am sorry, but it’s true. Paleo, Atkins, South Beach, etc. I just don’t work that way. Eat healthy as much as you can. Don’t beat yourself up about that amazing chocolate cupcake once in a blue moon. Be active. Get exercise. I much prefer that way, but to each his own. Please don’t think I said I hate people that adhere to these diets! I quite love our friends who came over for dinner! In fact, it probably all stems from some deep insecurity over the fact that never in a million years would I have the willpower to stick with one of these diets. I tried South Beach in College. My roomie and I went to the grocery store and bought like $300 worth of non-fat ricotta and splenda and I lasted about three hours. Nice work, Tara.

The good news is, having to cook a “Paleo” meal challenged me, and I love a challenge in the kitchen! And I think the results were pretty great if I do say so myself :)

Bacon goes great with everything kale. The rich flavor of the bacon works great with the hint of bitterness in the kale. Mushrooms are fantastic period, but especially in this dish. It all works together oh-so-well. And did I mention it is super quick and easy?!  Continue reading →

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! March Madness! And a Makeover!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Hope everyone has a fantastic day filled with lots of Irish food and tons of green beer! What are your St. Patrick’s Day Plans?

I am so excited for today because two things I love are coming together: holidays, and college basketball! Have you all caught March Madness yet?? I have!!! But then again, I catch it round this time every year ;)

 

Today my Gonzaga Bulldogs play against the Ohio St. Buckeyes. Go Zags!!! I’ll be watching with a Guinness in one hand and one of these in the other. It is still rainy and gloomy here in northern California so I won’t feel bad at all staying inside all day watching basketball! Do you have a March Madness team? Did you fill out a bracket? Every year I fill out a bracket and pick all the upsets. I just love rooting for an underdog! Usually it doesn’t work out so well for me, but I am doing pretty good this year (thanks Duke!!)

Do you like our new look?? Over the past few weeks we’re been revamping the site so I hope you love it as much as I do! We were experiencing a few glitches, but I think we have everything straightened out now. Enter your email and subscribe! We’d love to have you!

 

Last but not least, if you are looking for something special to make for your St. Paddy’s Day/March Madness party today, here are a few ideas…

Irish Lamb Stew

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread with Lime Glaze

GUINNESS BROWNIES

Jalapeño Basil Martini (it’s GREEN!)

 

Have an awesome St. Patricks Day Everyone!

GOOOOO ZAGS!!

Irish Lamb Stew

 

Happy Friday!!!

It has been a super rainy week here in Northern California and all I have been wanting to do is stay home, curl up in bed, watch Downton Abbey (have you guys started watching that show? It is fantastic!!), and have a big bowl of this stew! If you are looking for something other than corned beef and cabbage for your St. Patrick’s Day dinner… This. Is. It!

Have you guys done much cooking with lamb? If you haven’t, try it! It has a really great flavor that is very different than beef. I am so lucky because my grandparents butcher their own meat. So, every time I go home they let me raid the freezer and I bring home pounds of the best beef, lamb, and pork in the whole world! I made this stew with some and Ginny and Papa’s fantastic lamb…but if you aren’t lucky enough to have your own grandparents/meat suppliers you can get good quality lamb stew meat at your butcher or grocery store. Continue reading →

Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread with Lime Glaze

Top of the Morning to ya! :)

Speaking of the morning..I have had a slice/hunk of this bread for breakfast for the past couple of mornings and my days have been filled with the luck of the Irish (TWO great parking spots, 50% off banana republic coupon, no wait at a popular restaurant, etc. BIG things ya know? :) ). I’m not saying this is magic bread buuuutttt….try it for yourself and see!

There are so many different variations of Irish soda bread – sweet, savory, with dried fruit and without, glaze, no glaze, lots of possibilities out there! I think this bread is a happy medium because while the glaze is sweet, it is also tart with the lime, and the bread itself is not sweet at all and the whole wheat flour makes it really hearty. All those things come together for form a bread that is just as good for breakfast as it is with dinner or as dessert. A tripple threat for all you March Madness maniacs out there (Go Gonzaga!)

OK, time to get down to business…

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Baked Pumpkin Oatmeal

I love breakfast. I eat breakfast every day. I notice such a difference in myself throughout the day when I eat a good, balanced breakfast. This baked pumpkin oatmeal is so hearty and filled with nutrients (not to mention protein!) it will fill you up and give you the boost you need to kick some serious you-know-what all day long!

I usually mix this up the night before and bake it in the morning. I put it in the oven and it bakes while I am getting ready-how perfect is that! 

Mix up the oats, brown sugar, walnuts, rasins, and protein powder in a big bowl.

Next add the spices…

Stir to combine and then add pumpkin, egg, and almond milk. I start with 2 T of almond milk (you could also use regular) and add more if the mixture needs to be thinned out a little.

Mix well and spread the ooey gooey deliciousness into a baking dish that you’ve prepared with cooking spray.

Now, try to resist the urge to eat spoonfuls of it just as it is. I’ve been there, I know it’s tough, but you can do it! :)

Either refrigerate overnight (to bake in the morning) or bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes, until the top is crispy golden brown and the oats are tender.

Y.U.M.

Hearty, filling, tasty, warm, and packed with all kinds of good stuff. This baked oatmeal has become one of my new favorite breakfasts. What’s yours???

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal

  • 2 cups uncooked oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 2 tablespoons almond milk (plus more if needed)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir to mix. Add the almond milk, pumpkin, and egg; stir well. Pour oat mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm.

 

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