One Step Chilled Avocado Cucumber Soup

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The weather has been so nice out lately and a green healthy chilled soup was exactly what I needed to finish off the weekend! This recipe is incredibly easy and is the perfect amount of cool, fresh and crisp. It’s a nice way to end a warm day (or start the day!)…It even becomes a nice healthy portable lunch if you put it in a mason jar and top with some nuts & beans. So basically you can have breakfast, lunch or dinner in 5 minutes, really?!… 

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Breakfast Break: Top FLB Breakfast Foods

Breakfast is one of my favorite parts of the day, especially when I get to enjoy it slowly. I always begin my day with a homemade green juice but  generally want a little something in addition to that. Here is a list of my favorite FLB breakfast dishes, some a little on the sweeter side (but still healthy of course) and others a little more savory. Click on the links below the pictures to get directed to the recipe!

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Green Juice

Raw Veggie Taco

Open Faced Veggie Taco… 

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Mostly Veggie Potato Salad

Mostly Veggie Potato SaladFrom the recipes on this site, you guys know I love sweet potatoes but I received some red potatoes in my Full Circle box last week so needed to get creative. Aside from the fact that you get fresh local veggies delivered to your doorstep (which is awesome!), I also love getting these CSA boxes because they present me with challenges. I knew I didn’t just want to roast the potatoes so I searched around and came across this recipe in Super Natural Everyday, Heidi Swanson’s cookbook. It is a very easy dish and a different take on the traditional potato salad. Scott and I have been using the leftovers on top of salad all week for lunch and I imagine this would be a great additional to a summer potluck!

Mostly Veggie Potato Salad
 
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Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 4 small pink or red skinned potatoes, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 cups of green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • ¼ cup whole grain mustard
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup EVOO
  • Sea salt
  • ¼ cup chopped dill
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 6 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 small cucumber, unpeeled and cut into tiny cubes
  • 1 Tbsp chopped chives
Instructions
  1. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil. Salt generously, add the potatoes and cook until tender but not falling apart (approx 10 minutes). One minute before potatoes are done, add in the green beans. Drain potatoes and beans and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, sautee the dill in a splash of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add a couple of pinches of salt, stir in the leek and saute until golden and slightly crispy (about 4-5 minutes).
  3. In the meantime, make the dressing by whisking together mustard, vinegar, oil and salt. Taste and adjust as needed.
  4. In a large bowl, gently toss the potatoes, green beans, celery, cucumber, chives and leek with the dressing. Salt to taste. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Photo credit: Hello There Home.

Top 7 Summer Salads

As we move from Spring towards Summer, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Summer salads. These are a perfect starter or a side dish for those hot summer nights. Click on the link below the photo to take you to the recipe.

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Corn, Cherry Tomato and Asparagus Salad

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Avocado and Grapefruit Salad

Tabbouleh (cracked wheat salad)

Arugula Salad with Peaches

Arugula Salad with Peaches and Goat Cheese

Quinoa Salad

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Caesar Dressing

Homemade Caesar

Crazy Sexy Kale Salad + a little extra!

Kale and Sprout Salad

For those of you who are not familiar with Kris Carr, you should become familiar…quickly. Her story is incredible! She was diagnosed with a very rare and incurable form of stage 4 cancer which encouraged her to make a total lifestyle upgrade inside and out. She focuses on a nutrient dense, plant-based diet and her books (and now her recipes) are so much fun. Her cookbook came out not too long ago so it’s no surprise that my girlfriends thought it would be the perfect hostess gift for me – thanks ladies of WC! The reason I like this kale salad so much (other than the fact that I am obsessed with kale) is that it uses avocado to give it such a great texture. It a modified version of her salad in the book and is oh so yummy (and super easy to modify to make your own)!

For new and improved recipes, please visit my new site The Simple Kitchen!

Crazy Sexy Kale Salad + a little extra!
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of kale, shredded by hand (I prefer dino)
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1½ avocados, pit removed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp flax oil
  • 1½ Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  • 1 cup diced bell peppers (I prefer orange, yellow or red over green)
  • 1 cup pea shoots, chopped in half
  • 2 cups of sunflower sprouts, chopped in half
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Cucumber, sliced (for serving, see picture)
  • 2 Tbsp pepitas
Instructions
  1. Combine kale, parsley, avocados, flax oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Massage and mix with hands to wilt the kale and cream the avocado.
  2. Add the bell pepper, pea shoots, sunflower sprouts and salt and mix to combine.
  3. Serve on a plate and wrap with cucumber slice.
  4. Top with pepitas.

Tabbouleh (Cracked Wheat Salad)

  As you can tell, I have been really into using fresh herbs lately. I love how it makes things taste like they came straight from the garden. Unless you have an herb garden of your own, you are often left with a whole lot of extra herbs since you have to buy them by the bunch. There is no doubt that you’ll have some extra mint when you’re finished making your Watermelon with Feta and Mint

Part of the reason I love to travel is because I love to eat and I started making this recipe after I went to Dubai a few years back. So I was reminded of this as I was wondering what to do with all my extra mint.  This is a great recipe because you can make a big batch of it to use up your extra herbs and eat it all throughout the week. Use it as a side, put it on salads or inside wraps. The uses are endless and all quite delicious.

Tabbouleh (Cracked Wheat Salad)
 
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Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 1 cup bulgur (cracked wheat)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 firm tomatoes, cubed small
  • 1 large cucumber, cubed small
  • 2-3 scallions, diced small
  • 1 cup parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped (optional)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil – more if needed
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice – more if needed
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Place bulgur in a large mixing bowl. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the bulgur.
  2. Let stand for about ½ hour, or until all water is absorbed.
  3. Drain well, squeezing out any excess water. You can use a sieve and remove excess moisture by pressing down with the back of a spoon.
  4. Add tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint (optional) to bulgur.
  5. Season with oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  6. Refrigerate, covered, a few hours or overnight.
  7. Serve cold.

Serving Suggestion: If you would like a gluten free version, use quinoa in place of the bulgur. Also, feel free to add raw onion or sprinkle some feta on top.

Photo Credit: Diva:flava

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

Black Quinoa is a fun alternative to normal quinoa as it gives your dish a fun look. I made this the other night for my book club and the first compliment I got was on how good it smelled (thanks Alli) followed by several compliments on the taste. It is super easy to make for a big group and most importantly can be made ahead of time which is great when you are entertaining! You can find my homemade pesto recipe here.

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
 
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Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry black quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups sliced grape tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and chopped
  • 1½ – 2 cups pesto (more if needed)
  • 2 cups fresh basil, chopped
  • ¾ cup feta cheese (omit of looking for a vegan version)
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • Olive oil (drizzle as needed)
Instructions
  1. Combine the water and quinoa in a medium sized pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and let cook for about 15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water. Fluff with a fork and add stir in spinach while quinoa is still warm. Stir in pesto once spinach is mixed in.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the sliced tomatoes and cucumber. Add quinoa and basil and mix well. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on top and add feta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in the fridge until serving.
  4. Serving suggestion: Can use any combo of veggies bell pepper, olives, zucchini, etc.

Recipe modified from Eat, Live, Run.

Spanakopita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Spanikopita

I’ve tried a couple of different variations of Spanakopita and this blending of several is what I have found to be my favorite. This is absolutely one of those foods where you can taste the freshness of it being homemade, it is worth every effort. Get ready for pure deliciousness!

For updated recipes and photos, head over to The Simple Kitchen!

Spanakopita with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce
 
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Serves: 30 triangles
Ingredients
  • Yogurt Sauce
  • 3 cups Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice (about one lemon)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large English cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp fresh dill or 1 tablespoon fresh mint, chopped (or both, depending on preference)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • Spanakopita
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2-4 shallots, diced
  • 2 packages of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
  • ½ bunch scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped parsley
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted (can use vegan version or olive oil)
  • ½ pound phyllo pastry sheets
Instructions
  1. To make yogurt sauce, peel cucumbers and dice. Put them in a colander and sprinkle with the tablespoon of salt (draws water out). Cover with a plate and sit something heavy on top. Let sit for 30 minute Drain well and wipe dry with a paper towel.
  2. In food processor or blender, add cucumbers, garlic, lemon juice, dill and/or mint, and a few grinds of black pepper. Process until well blended, then stir into yogurt. Taste before adding any extra salt, then salt if needed. Place in refrigerator for at least two hours before serving so flavors can blend. *This will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.
  3. Remove spinach from package and squeeze out excess liquid, then chop roughly. Heat 2-3 Tbsp of the oil in a large saute pan, and add shallots and scallions and saute until soft, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the spinach to the mixture, along with the parsley, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 minutes, then remove from heat to cool. (This part can be done ahead and kept refrigerated).
  4. Stir the feta and as much beaten egg to moisten the cooled spinach mixture.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Brush a baking sheet with some of the melted butter.
  6. Unroll the phyllo dough on a flat surface and keep it covered with waxed paper and a damp towel so it doesn’t dry out and become brittle. Using a sharp knife, cut the phyllo into 3 by 11 inch strips, and recover with the towel. Use 3-4 pieces of phyllo dough and use a pastry to brush the top strip of phyllo with melted butter. Place a small spoonful of spinach filling 1 inch from the end of the pastry. Fold the end over the filling to form a triangle, then continue to fold up the strip in triangles, like folding up a flag. Continue with remaining strips of dough, placing filled triangles on the baking sheet and keeping them covered with a towel until all are ready to bake.
  7. Brush the triangles lightly with butter, then bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Serve hot. (These may be frozen before baking, layering waxed paper between layers of triangles to keep them from sticking. Bake frozen triangles an extra 10 minutes.)

 

Get Your Juice On!

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I had heard about juicing for quite a while before making it part of my daily routine. It seemed too time consuming, too expensive and too much for someone with a teeny tiny San Francisco kitchen. Well, after reading Kris Carr’s Crazy, Sexy, Diet, I decided it was about time to start juicing. Below are just a few of the benefits of juicing:

1. By removing the plant fiber during the juicing process, you get a direct shot of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, proteins and oxygen without your body having to do any of the work of digestion, which helps nourish your cells and restore the immune system.

2. When you juice, you use more fruits and vegetables than you could actually eat. As a result, you are drinking a densely packed amount of vitamins, minerals and other plant-based nutrients.

3. Vegetables are alkalizing and your body is designed to function at its best at a slightly alkaline pH level. Many of the things we do in our daily lives (certain foods and drinks, stress, etc) create an acidic environment (it is MUCH easier to become too acidic than it is to become too alkaline) so by juicing you help bring your pH levels back into balance. An acidic environment is a breeding ground for bacteria, yeast and lots of other yucky things that in turn make us feel yucky!

4. Lots of juicing means lots more vitamins and minerals which are responsible for all sorts of necessary chemical reactions promoting health and vitality and therefore lots more energy.

5. And just a few more: Juicing helps to slow the aging process, reduces inflammation, helps cleanse the body (which is especially important post-holiday season), improves the look of your skin, regulates digestion and can help peel off pounds… sold yet? If not, for some real motivation check out Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead!

Here is a simple juice to start with but as you become more comfortable with the taste of veggie juice, the produce isle will become your best friend. Rule of Thumb: At least 3 veggies to every one piece of fruit and the greener the better!

Get Your Juice On!
 
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Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2-3 cucumbers
  • 1 head romaine
  • 3-5 stalks of celery
  • 3-5 stalks of kale
  • small bit of ginger
  • Carrots, apple, pear or grapefruit (if you want to sweeten it up a bit)
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • ½ lemon
Instructions
  1. Juice.
  2. Sprinkle with turmeric and cinnamon.
  3. Squeeze lemon on top. Enjoy!

 

Open Face Veggie Taco

Raw Veggie Taco

This is something that I have almost daily. Most of you will think it is a weird breakfast item but I got in the habit of having a ton of veggies for breakfast when I did a 10 day challenge and haven’t gone back since. I used to always make this  on bread which is very yummy but there is something incredibly delicious about a corn tortilla!!!

Open Face Veggie Taco
 
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Serves: 1-2
Ingredients
  • 2 corn tortillas
  • 2 Tbsp hummus
  • ½ avocado, sliced lengthwise
  • Handful of spinach leaves
  • ¼ cucumber, sliced in thin rounds
  • 1 tomato, thinly slices (I prefer heirlooms if they are in season)
  • Olive/Flax oil
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Salt
  • Handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • Sprouts
Instructions
  1. Lightly toast the corn tortillas over the burner. Be on careful watch here!
  2. Layer ingredients in order starting with hummus and ending with tomatoes.
  3. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with lemon pepper and salt and then garnish with basil and sprouts. Serve open faced and eat with fork and knife!