Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts

Oh heyyyyyyy!

You guys, I am kind of obsessed with my garden these days! After years and years of living in the city of San Francisco I was a little bit nervous to move to the suburbs. “But there is such good food here!” “We can walk wherever we want!” “Entertainment!” “Hip bars!” etc., etc. But all hints of nervousness faded away when we found out house in “the burbs” and I saw my new garden! I’m still new-ish to gardening but it is so much fun! Plus there is nothing like watching something you planted actually grow-and then getting to eat it!

So you can imagine my excitement when I harvested this giant batch of kale straight from my backyard!

So fresh and delicious! I knew we had to have it for dinner that night, but it was a really hot day and sautéed kale just wasn’t sounding quite right. So, I started thinking of other things I could do to highlight the super fresh super food…Kale Pesto it is!

Pesto is so versatile. It can really be made with almost anything. It’s not just bail and pine nuts people!

This kale pesto is the perfect summer food. The flavor of the kale really shines through, and the hint of bitterness inherent in kale is cut by the lemon juice and toasty walnuts. The meaty walnuts also add lots of body to this pesto, making it capable of standing up to your favorite whole wheat pasta (just one way to serve it!).

Toasting the walnuts is a must. One small step that makes a big difference in flavor. Plus, your whole kitchen will smell of roasting walnuts…and who doesn’t like that?!

Serve this pesto up on cold or warm pasta with lots of  parmesan cheese, or as a spread on a veggie sandwich, atop crostini, in a veggie omelet, or invent your own way!

This kale pesto is so good you just might find yourself eating it by the spoonful straight outta the food processor. Not that I’ve ever done that…I can just see how you might want to ;)

 

Enjoy!

Kale Pesto with Toasted Walnuts
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 4 cups kale, stems removed
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • juice of one lemon
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ teaspoons pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 6-9 minutes, until the walnuts are toasted and fragrant. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine first 5 ingredients.
  3. Pulse to combine.
  4. Drizzle in ½ cup evoo with the processor running.
  5. Check the texture and add more evoo by the tablespoon to thin out if desired.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Pulse to combine.

 

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday – Memorial Day Fiesta!

Happy Wednesday!

There is nothing like a four day work week to get me in a fantastic mood. There is also nothing like a s’more to make all your troubles disappear. Am I right??

This WIAW is all about Memorial Day Weekend and my two favorite F’s. Friends and FOOD!

 

 

This weekend we had a wonderful time celebrating Memorial Day in our backyard with some good friends. It was a ridiculously fun filled day complete with tons of food, lots of sun, delicious drinks…even a watermelon eating contest and a game of musical chairs!!!

That’s right. I said musical chairs. No, there was not a single guest under the age of 25. And YES, it was awesome.

Also awesome? The watermelon contest. Guess what? I kicked butt. I don’t like to toot my own horn, but I’ve never lost a watermelon eating contest. I am pretty sure every birthday from the ages of 7-12 I had a watermelon eating contest (I’m a July baby) and every year I won. None of this, let the guests win crap. Nope. Total domination. Every time. So, when I found a super sweet watermelon at Costco for the party, I knew I had to uphold my reign. It was so fun…and delicious!

Speaking of delicious…

So much food! Fiesta Bean Salad. Some of that delicious watermelon I was telling you about. Some amazing carnitas (my first time ever making them!). Lots of chips, salsa, and homemade guacamole. Pickled red onions. And a giant (do you see the size of that thing?!?) jug of La Paloma Hermosas!

It was perfect! You guys, I can’t wait to share this carnitas recipe with you. AMAZING. I promise it’s coming up soon!

I am fully, 100% convinced that there is no better way to end any a Memorial Day party then S’mores!

Notice the keys to an amazing s’more…

Must have 2 marshmallows. Must warm the graham crackers AND melt the chocolate. Must achieve a perfect golden brown exterior and creamy smooth interior of the marshmallow. Put it all together and it makes the perfect s’more!

Oh and if you need some advice on how to put it together…

Happy Wednesday Everyone! :)

(Low Fat!) Lemon Blueberry Scones

Goooood Mooooorning!

Did you all have a fantastic holiday weekend? Mine was amazing! It was beautiful and sunny and perfect weather for a fiesta! I made carnitas for the first time ever and I can’t wait to show you guys how they turned out! But first, it’s breakfast time :)

After our fiesta Sunday, we had a little sleepover at my house. What do you do when you wake up to a household of (potentially over-margarita’d) party goers? Make scones of course!

I love scones, but they get such a bad rap. Unhealthy, filled with fat and calories, tons of sugar, etc. While, sometimes that is true, it doesn’t have to be that way! Especially when you make them yourself. These scones are loaded with fruit and the base is whole wheat flour. Instead of cream, I used Greek Yogurt and non-fat milk. These are scones you don’t have to feel one bit guilty about scarfing up with your coffee!

These scones also come together in about 30 minutes start to finish. Perfect for a house full of hungry friends!

There is one trick I always use when making blueberry scones and muffins. Coat the blueberries in flour before incorporating them into the dough. This helps the blueberries distribute evenly and not sink down to the bottom. I don’t know about you, but I want a blueberry in every bite!

Mix all the dry ingredients together and cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, fork, or food processor. Just don’t just your hands! You want the butter to stay as cold as possible and your hands are just too H.O.T!

Mix in the blueberries and lemon zest. Then stir in the greek yogurt and milk. The dough will be pretty sticky-don’t worry! Sticky dough = delicious scones :)

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and work it until it forms a disc about 7″ across (don’t stress about exact size here). Work the dough as little as possible – remember we want the butter to stay cold.

Slice into triangles. I got 10 out of my dough, but you could easily make bigger or smaller triangles depending on how many people you had stay at your house the night before ;)

Whip up one egg and brush each scone lightly with the egg wash. This makes for beautifully bronzed tops. It’s like tanning oil for scones!

Bake for 15-20 minutes…then devour!

Even though these scones are low fat and low sugar AND whole grain, you are not sacrificing anything in flavor. They are airy, super fruity, a little zesty, and gone in a flash when you put them on a table with a few friends around. :)

Enjoy!

(Low Fat!) Lemon Blueberry Scones
 
Adapted from Cookie and Kate
Ingredients
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup plain non fat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup non fat milk
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a bowl and whisk together.
  3. Slice butter and drop into dry ingredients.
  4. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter, fork, or use a food processor.
  5. Toss blueberries in one tablespoon flour. Stir to coat.
  6. Add blueberries and lemon zest and gently stir.
  7. Gently mix in milk and yogurt. Use your hands to work the dough into a ball, working quickly to avoid melting the butter.
  8. Form dough into a disc about 7″ across. Cut into 6-10 triangles.
  9. Separate slices and place on a prepared baking sheet.
  10. Whisk egg. Brush tops of scones with egg wash.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until light brown.

 

 

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Fresh Strawberry Glaze

Who doesn’t love a three day weekend???

That one extra day just makes SUCH a difference doesn’t it? So I say why not celebrate?!

I’ve had a constant stash of fresh strawberries in my fridge for the past few weeks and I still can’t get enough. They are so ripe and delicious right now I can’t resist them at the market. So, when I had a few more on my hands than I thought I could eat, I decided to get a little creative. And what goes better with strawberries than chocolate?

A few weeks ago I found a doughnut pan at my favorite kitchen store and I just had to buy it. I didn’t have a recipe in mind that I needed it for, but I figured if I bought it an idea would come. It’s kind of like buying a fantastic pair of shoes that you have absolutely nothing to wear with, and then buying an entire new outfit just to wear with the shoes. My husband says this is crazy. I have no idea what he is talking about.

After mixing up the delicious chocolaty batter, the best way to get it into the doughnut pan is by using a ziplock baggie with about an inch wide hole cut off the end. These doughnuts are surprisingly guilt free. I even used whole wheat flour! They come out cakey and light and super chocolately.

While the doughnuts cool, mix up the fresh strawberry glaze. Mix together cream cheese, fresh strawberry puree, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Mix on high until smooth and perfectly pink.

Once the doughnuts have cooled, it’s time to get dunkin’.

Let the glaze set for about 4 hours or overnight. Then dive in. The super chocolately doughnuts + the sweet, fresh, strawberry glaze equal perfectly balanced three-day-weekend-goodness.

Or, any day for that matter. ;)

Enjoy!

Baked Chocolate Doughnuts with Fresh Strawberry Glaze
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • ⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh Strawberry Glaze
  • 8 oz reduced fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ cup strawberry puree
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 325.
  2. Coat donut pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  3. In large bowl, whisk flours, cocoa, baking soda and salt.
  4. In small bowl, whisk milk, sugar, egg, butter, coffee, and vanilla until smooth.
  5. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; whisk until blended and smooth.
  6. Fill a ziplock bag with the batter. Cut a hole in the corner about 1″ across. Fill each doughnut cup approximately ¾ full.
  7. Bake at 325 degrees for thirteen minutes or until doughnuts spring back when touched.
  8. Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan.
  9. To make the Glaze: Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk cream cheese and strawberry puree until smooth. Gradually add powdered sugar until glaze reaches desired consistency (you will need at least 2 cups).
  10. Dunk cooled doughnuts in glaze.
  11. Allow glaze to set at least 4 hours.

 

 

 

Maple Cayenne Roasted Cauliflower

You guys. I have a secret…I don’t like cauliflower.

Scratch that. I didn’t like cauliflower. Until now.

There are very few foods I can truly say I don’t like. Sure, I have preferences like everyone else, but there are almost no foods I can look in the eye and say, “I don’t like you!” A couple exceptions: water chestnuts. I just can’t get on board with these slimy, strangely textured discs. Wouldn’t you know, my husband LOVES water chestnuts, like LOOOHUHVES them. Ok I had full intentions of listing “a couple” of exceptions but that is really the only one I can think of right now. Water Chestnuts. And Cauliflower. Well, until now.

I don’t really have a reason for not liking cauliflower, but I think it is because I usually encounter it raw. I’m actually not sure I love it raw, yet. I can take out a veggie platter like nobody’s business. Give me a veggie platter and in a few short minutes it’ll look like an entire youth soccer team got after it after a particularly grueling game. Everything that is, except the cauliflower, which is neat and tidy and untouched in it’s little square.

Anyone who knows me knows I don’t give up easily. So from time to time I try out cauliflower. And finally, I’ve got a winner! I saw a version of this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, Eat, Live, Run, a few months ago and mentally bookmarked it for a future try-to-like-cauliflower moment. And I am so glad I did! I tweaked it a little bit, most notably with the addition of maple syrup. I just love the combo of cayenne and maple syrup. Especially on roasted veggies because the maple syrup helps with the natural caramelization you get from roasting. Woah, my mouth just totally filled with saliva.

Continue reading →

What I Ate Wednesday – Garden Glory!

Happy Wednesday!

You guys, we are getting smack dab into my favorite time of year. The weather is warm and sunny. The days are long. BBQ’s are in full force. And produce is fresh! I am literally incapable of going to the farmer’s market without buying the giant flat of ripe, sweet, juicy, red strawberries. I am also getting a few ripe ones in my garden! It is so exciting! I feel like a mama strawberry going out to check on my babies morning and night, but I have to be protective because the stupid squirrels keep eating them! I will have one this close to being ready to pick and I’ll come out to the garden the next morning and see that a squirrel had himself a nice little berry breakfast. One time I cried. My husband thought I was crazy, but you guys, you should have seen this strawberry!

Ok, ok, time for the fun!

Sometimes people ask me, “Do you really eat the things you post on the blog?” The answer is YES! Lately I haven’t been able to get enough of these Oatmeal, Banana, Chocolate Chip Cookies. Any cookie you can get away with eating for breakfast is fine by me!

 

 

This weekend I harvested a TON of kale and spinach from the garden.

There is nothing quite like fresh-from-your-own-garden-grown-with-your-own-hands produce.  Continue reading →

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Grilled Panzanella Salad with Homemade Herb Dressing

It’s grilling season!

I love to BBQ. On a warm summer evening there is nothing better than sitting outside, enjoying a glass of wine, and cooking up an entire meal on the grill. We have a charcoal grill, so to go through the trouble of lighting the coals and heating them up for just one thing is kind of a bummer, so I try to make as much as I can on the grill. Plus, I love the charcoal flavor grilling puts into everything. I could probably find a way to grill dessert! I think I found my next project!

This is a salad completely done on the grill, well except for the amazing herb dressing. The dressing can be made a day or even two in advance and the recipe makes more than you’ll need for the panzanella, but once you taste it you’ll want to put it on everything so you’ll be glad to have extras!

This herb dressing has so much fresh, bright flavor and goes perfectly with the charred veggies and bread. The best part is it come together in a snap! Just throw everything in a blander and…

this bright green goodness comes out. May I suggest immediately dipping a piece of bread into the freshly blended dressing? As a rule I always buy at least twice the amount of bread I need for a recipe like this because inevitably I somehow lose some to snacking as I cook. Is there something wrong with that???

I didn’t think so.

Time to get grillin’. Red bell peppers. Zucchini. Green onion. Once they are grilled and cool enough to handle, chop ‘em up. Throw everything in a bowl with on large chopped and seeded tomato and one chopped cucumber. I love the combo of warm and cold veggies in this dish. It’s perfect. Drizzle about 1/2 cup of dressing over the warm veggies. The warmth of grilled vegetables will help the dressing thin out and coat everything.

Slice your bread like you would for making crostini. Rub both sides with olive oil and throw on the grill about 2 minutes per side or until you get some good grill marks on the bread. Slice into cubes and toss with the veggies. Continue reading →

Field Greens Salad with Strawberries and Candied Walnuts

Oh hey there!

Happy Monday!

I seem to be on a bit of a salad kick lately…but it has been so nice out and the produce round this time of year is so fresh, it’s kind of all I’ve been wanting to eat! This salad is bright, light, and flavorful. Perfect for an afternoon lunch in the back yard or as a starter to your next BBQ’d meal.

The addition of homemade candied walnuts is amazing! They add texture, flavor, and just a hint of sweetness that works perfectly with the fresh strawberries and salty cheese. Yum!

Candied nuts are a cinch to make. There are various ways of sugar coating these nutritional powerhouses, but I find that sometimes, the easiest way is the best!

Continue reading →

Mango Quinoa Salad

It has been a crazy week!

Thank goodness I made a giant bowl of this quinoa salad at the beginning of the week! It has saved me so much time from making lunches (and even some dinners!). And you KNOW it is good if I’ve been eating it all week and still like it (and want to make more!)!

How can you not love something with this many colors?? It just looks so appetizing!

If you like mango salsa, you will love this salad. That is kinda where the idea came from. This market by my house makes really good mango salsa, and I’ve been going to town on it for the past few weeks. So I decided to try to recreate the flavors without having to consume half a bag of tortilla chips every time I want my mango salsa fix. :)

You’ve got all the delicious flavors of a mango salsa – mango, jalapeño, cilantro, onion, cucumber, and lime. Plus, I added two kinds of beans to beef it up a bit and make it a more complete meal. This is a truly satisfying, healthy, balanced, meal. You can make it in minutes, and it only gets better as it sits. In my book that makes for an A+ meal!

Enjoy!

Has your week been as crazy as mine? What are you doing to relax this weekend???

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mango Quinoa Salad
 
Makes a GIANT bowl!
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 large mango, diced
  • ½ small red onion, very finely diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ english cucumber, diced
  • 1 jalapeño, very finely diced
  • ¾ cup chopped cilantro (one big bunch)
  • 1 can black beans (preferably low sodium), rinsed
  • 1 can kidney beans (preferably low sodium), rinsed
  • For the dressing
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Drain and rinse beans
  2. Chop veggies and place in a large bowl *note: if you don’t like heat, remove the seed and ribs of the jalapeño before dicing
  3. Add cooked quinoa and mix well
  4. Whisk lime juice, evoo, cumin, salt, and pepper together for dressing
  5. Pour dressing over salad
  6. Toss to combine

 

 

What I Ate Wednesday – Recent Eats

Happy Wednesday!

This week is draaaaaging along. Do you guys every have weeks like that? I am totally struggling to get though it! So knowing that after today I am on the downward slope to the weekend brings a huge smile to my face!! :) Well, that, and I love my weekly WIAW party!

 

 

This Wednesday I’m sharing some of my recent food obsessions. These are the things I can’t get enough of lately…

Strawberries! Or as my little cousin calls them, “straw-babies!” They are ripe and delicious at every farmer’s market/grocery store right now and I haven’t stopped eating them all week. Strawberry smoothies, chopped and mixed with greek yogurt, whole on the way to the gym, straight out of the basket on the way home from the farmer’s market, even…strawberry cake! <—hint of something to come ;)

Sweet potatoes! That giant box at Costco gets me every time. I just can’t resist. So, I do everything with them. Bake, roast, boil, fry, BBQ. This pic is of a maple cayenne glaze…YUM!

Avocado! Another in season fruit I am taking full advantage of! I could eat guacamole morning, noon, and night. Guacamole is like a blank canvas – you can put anything in it and it still tastes awesome. I have spent the last 5 days 100% proving this hypothesis.

Last but not least, Mango Quinoa Salad! The recipe for this one is coming but suffice it to say I have eaten it every day this week for lunch and still want more! I haven’t found a salad this satisfying, delicious, and FILLING in a long time. I am definitely keeping this one in the old memory bank!

So there you have it! What can’t you get enough of lately??

Happy Wednesday to all! :)

 

 

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Basil Almond Pesto

Is your pesto the best-o???

It might be if you try this recipe!

Ahhh pesto. What can’t it do? Slather it on toast, toss it with pasta, add it to your sandwich, drizzle on a salad, marinate chicken, rub on grilled veggies, the possibilities are virtually endless! Much like the possibilities for pesto ingredients-you can toss a pretty broad variety of ingredients into your blender and still call it a pesto with much certainty. This pesto is very close to the “standard pesto” recipe (basil, pine, nuts, parmesan), but deviates just enough to make you go, “hmmm, that is different,” good different!!

Using almonds instead of pine nuts totally changes the taste of this pesto. It is decidedly more nutty and has a little more body than its traditional counterpart. I also added lemon to brighten and lighten the pesto because the almonds are heavier than pine nuts. The result? An eat-straight-out-of-the-blender home run!

Continue reading →

Quinoa and Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Hey!

Did you have a great weekend? Hope you brought some love to some mommas in your life! My mother’s day involved a lot of phone time (WAY less cool than inperson time!) and a lot of eating of this. Even though I would have loved to be with my mom, at least I had cake to ease my sorrows! :)

So, this Monday morning, in an effort to de-sugar myself, I’ll be having these peppers for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Ok, Ok, a little extreme – but they are so good I think I could actually do it! :)

I love red bell peppers. I love quinoa. I think ground turkey is OK. Is the “one of these things is not like the other” song from sesame street playing in your head too?? Even though I don’t love ground turkey, I use it a lot. Why? It is much healthier than ground beef or pork and it is very versatile. But the secret to using ground turkey is that you have to impart TONS of flavor into it because it has almost none on it’s own. But don’t worry, I’m up to the challenge!

Continue reading →

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