Spicy Chai Latte Shake

I can’t WAIT for Fall to be here! I’m already brainstorming for a pumpkin carving party and dreaming about front porch decorations. I might add that being pregnant in the heat of the summer is not so fun! So I was trying to figure out a way to get the taste of Fall yet beat the heat of Summer… And, my friends, this shake is it! It tastes like a creamy chai latte, yet cools you down in the 90 degree heat! Not to mention, it’s not packed with sugar and white flour like the naughty pumpkin cake sitting in my office calling my name! I hope you enjoy!

Spicy Chai Latte ShakeServes 1

1 1/2 cup original almond milk

1 1/2 frozen bananas

2 teaspoons raw almond butter (use regular if you want)

1/2 tsp chai spice

2 dried pitted dates

Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and mix until well combined. Serve and enjoy!

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Black Bean and Corn Summer Chili

As you may know, I’m pregnant! I’m not having any cravings, but usually by this time during the summer, I’m ready for comfort foods! I’ve been wanting things like chili, stews, pumpkin spice things, cinnamon etc. So I’m working on getting the comfort food taste but keeping that light and fresh summer feel. That brought me to this recipe! It’s hearty and comforting, yet light and summery! I even used the leftovers for a quesadilla and in scrambled eggs! You literally put everything into one pot, so it couldn’t be easier! Enjoy.

Black Bean and Chili Summer ChiliServes 4

Ingredients

◦   Salt/pepper

◦   olive oil

◦   1/2 onion, diced

◦   1 green bell pepper, diced

◦   1 clove garlic, minced

◦   1 28oz can whole stewed tomatoes (break them up into smaller pieces using your hands or potato masher)

◦   1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

◦   1 teaspoon chili powder

◦   1 teaspoon cumin

◦   2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

◦   1 avocado, diced

◦   ½ a lime juiced

◦   cheddar cheese, grated

Instructions

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and cook for 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add green pepper and cook 2 more minutes. Add tomatoes, black beans, chili powder, and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add corn and return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5 more minutes. Season with salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, gently toss diced avocado and lime juice. Serve chili topped with avocado and cheese (For vegan version, use vegan cheese or leave it out).

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Sesame Ginger Quinoa Spring Rolls

In my never-ending quest to find fun, healthy, and delicious meals, I came across this gem. I adore quinoa but get bored with the “pile of quinoa on the side of my plate” deal. When I read this I thought, “hmmm this can’t be good, but I’ll try it anyway.” It turns out, I was more than wrong! These rolls are so delicious! I made some changes (of course) and turned it into my own. My husband and I ate it for supper the other night and his exact words were, “I could eat quinoa like this five nights a week”… SCORE! Hopefully our little man on the way will be as easily tricked into eating healthy foods… I digress.

There are definitely a few ingredients you may not have on hand like the rice paper, chili garlic sauce , and Mae Ploy Sweet Chili dipping sauce. But they’re not expensive and literally last for months in the fridge. I use them in stir-frys and sushi a ton. You can actually get them at World Market and I’m sure Whole Foods (although they might be twice the price). They’re just good to have on hand.

So, it is a bit time consuming but worth it, especially if you have a helper who cleans up after you. I actually made the quinoa in advance, so all I had to do was mix it up when I was ready to rock and roll (literally).

Start with mixing all of the ingredients into a bowl, then mix in the dressing.

Lay out a clean dish towel so you can blot your hands if you need to between rolls. Then, fill a large dish with sides (I used a pyrex pan) with hot tap water. Let one rice paper soak at a time until it gets soft. This just takes a few seconds. Then place the paper onto your cutting board and fill with about 1/3 cup of the mixture. Fold both sides over and then, starting at one end, tightly roll it up.

Once you roll them, slice them on a diagonal and arrange them on a plate. Serve with the dipping sauce. These could definitely be served as an appetizer, but we ate the whole plate for supper. Once you taste them you won’t blame us!

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Spring Rolls-serves 4

Adapted from Fit Pregnancy

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 3∕4  cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2  cups arugula
  • 1  large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1  green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4  cup olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1  tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2  teaspoons sesame oil
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lime
  • 1  teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 20  rice paper wrappers
  • Mae Ploy Sweet Chili dipping sauce

1. In a medium saucepan bring water, stock, salt, and pepper to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid has absorbed, about 20 minutes.

3. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and combine in a large bowl with arugula, carrot and green pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, lime juice and chili garlic sauce; stir into quinoa mixture.

4. Fill a shallow pan large enough to set the rice papers in with hot water and soak one rice paper until softened, about 15 seconds. Remove and place 1 ⁄3 cup of the quinoa filling down the center of the paper. Fold the sides over the mixture, then start to tightly roll one of the remaining sides over the top. Slice on the diagonal and continue with remaining papers and quinoa filling.

5. In a small bowl, pour Mae Ploy Sweet Chili dipping sauce.

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Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

I came home for lunch the other day, and I was starving but didn’t know what to eat. This happens a lot lately! So I saw that I had an avocado that was starting to look pretty sorry….Avocado salad? No. Guacamole? No. Then I got to thinking that I really wanted ice cream. This brought me to my frozen yogurt concoction! I just threw all of the ingredients into my food processor, not knowing what to expect. And I was pleasantly surprised! I sat on the porch and ate my delicious lunch feeling quite pleased with myself that I was eating “frozen yogurt” for lunch without an ounce of guilt!

Chocolate Frozen Yogurt

1 cup frozen bananas

1/2 ripe avocado

2 tsp peanut butter

1 Tbsp coco powder

1 tsp agave nectar

2 Tbsp almond milk

Combine all ingredients, except almond milk, in a food processor. Pulse a few times to break up the bananas. Scrape down the sides with a spatula. Turn the food processor on, and slowly pour almond milk through the feed tube. You may not need all of it, so go slow. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides. Continue to pulse until the mixture is smooth like a frozen yogurt. Serve immediately.

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Avocado and Arugula Salad

I eat a lot of raw fresh produce. The longest I ever lasted with a 100% raw food diet was a month. I definitely felt great but 100% just isn’t practical for my lifestyle. The whole premiss behind this way of eating is that cooking foods above 115 degrees F kills the enzymes in food that help us digest and absorb nutrients. Now I just incorporate as much seasonal fresh produce into my day to day eating habits as possible.

When I was on the raw food kick, I ate this Arugula salad at LEAST once a week. It was so filling and satisfying. Stew and I were wanting a lighter meal, so we had this for supper. 

Avocado and Arugula Saladserves 1

2 cups arugula

1/2 granny smith apple, thinly sliced

1/2 avocado, sliced

2 Tbsp craisins

2 Tbsp slivered almonds

1 Tbsp sunflower seeds

1 tsp chopped parsley

1 tsp chopped mint

Create a bed of arugula in a large bowl. Arrange the apple and avocado fanned out in a circular patter on top of the arugula (To cut the avocado, slice down the center around the pit. Then tap a large chef’s knife into the pit and twist. This should make the pit come right out. Then peel the avocado by pulling the skin off). Sprinkle with the remaining ingredients. Drizzle with a little bit of the red wine vinaigrette. Now you have yourself a healthy and delicious lunch or dinner!

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Orange and Craisin Quinoa

Right now I’m on a quinoa kick. YUM! Quinoa is the only grain that is a complete protein. What does that mean? Well, it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that humans need in their diets. So, bottom line, eat more quinoa! It’s similar to couscous because you can transform its flavor easily. I was watching Food Network and Giada de Laurentiis was making something similar to this. I added a few of my own touches. This recipe is so refreshing! I paired it with grilled rosemary chicken and broccolini. It went so well with the savory chicken! It couldn’t be easier too! You combine all the ingredients, except the craisins, into one pot and simmer it, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes. Add the craisins in, stir it, and take it off the heat. Keep the lid on and let it sit for about 5 minutes so any excess liquid and all the flavors absorb into the quinoa. This will make you fall in love with this miracle seed! 

Orange and Craisin Quinoa-serves 4

Adapted from Giada at Home

1 1/2 c. Water

Juice of 1 orange (about 1/2 cup)

Zest of 1 orange

1 c. quinoa

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 c craisins

Combine all ingredients, except the craisins, into a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed. Add craisins and fluff with a fork. Move the pot off the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 more minutes.

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Carrot Apple Ginger Juice

There’s nothing as soothing as a cold glass of fresh juice. It was abnormally warm about a week ago, and I had a craving for fresh juice. I stopped by this new juice bar by my house. I had a juice that was similar to this, and I was hooked! I went three days in a row. But for the sake of saving money, I started making it at home! I usually pick one or two juices that I’ll have all week and load up on those ingredients. That way, I’m not spending a billion dollars on ingredients. When I juice, I always choose organic ingredients because your body quickly absorbs the enzymes, minerals, and other nutrients through the liquid, even more so than eating the fruit or vegetable, because your body doesn’t have to break down and digest the food. This is an easy way to get more fruits and veggies into your body!

Carrot Apple Ginger Juice

3 apples

5 carrots

2 celery stalks

1 inch piece ginger, peeled

Cut the fruit and vegetables into pieces that will fit through the feed tube of your juicer. Run all ingredients through the juicer. Makes 1 1/4 cups.

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Chili Citrus Kale Chips

Those of you who know me, know that I like to dabble in the raw food world. It all started when I found this incredible cookbook Raw Food Real World. I had no intentions of becoming a raw foodie. Heck, I didn’t even know what it was! I got the cookbook years ago for my mom actually. Ok so I may have borrowed it from time to time… FINE I still have it! But that’s beside the point. I fell in love with the photos. I wanted to eat everything in there! As I read this cookbook, I learned about eating raw, and it made sense. I’m definitely not 100% raw, but I do try to incorporate as much raw whole foods into my diet as possible. I just feel better when I do. Which leads me to my recipe for Kale Chips. 

Last summer, I got more kale in my farm share than I knew what to do with! Of all the kale recipes I created, this was by far my favorite. I actually made the chips in the dehydrator for the most part (the temperature only goes up to 115 degrees so it doesn’t kill the enzymes). But sometimes, I just can’t wait 4 hours for a batch of these babies to be done. A craving hit the other day, and I definitely didn’t want to wait. So I made them in the oven. Start by washing the leaves thoroughly. Then dry them completely, and tear them into bite size pieces. In a large bowl whisk all of the ingredients until they’re well combined. Place the leaves into the bowl and, using your hands, move the leaves coating them completely with the mixture. 
Place a cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet. Spread the leaves out on the rack so that the chips cook evenly. The rack keeps the chips from turning mushy. Pop the chips into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until they’re crisp. Use a spatula to move the leaves off the rack and into a serving bowl. They are the perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and salty. Oh, and it’s ok to eat them all in one sitting. Enjoy! 

Chili Citrus Kale Chips-Serves 1-2

1/2 bunch kale

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp agave nectar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and dry kale leaves. Tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until they’re combined. Place the torn leaves into the bowl and mix with your hands, moving around until they’re coated evenly. Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack. Spread the leaves onto the rack and bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp but not too brown. Using a spatula, move chips from the rack to a bowl. Enjoy!

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Ok… these are the best creation ever! I’m definitely a health conscious eater. My philosophy is, you are what you eat. I feel better when I eat well. I’ve even grown to crave and love healthy food! Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a sweet tooth just like the next person! That is why I need a little sweet bite ready when a craving hits! So I combined my two favorite flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, to make these cookie bites! They couldn’t be easier, and they’re actually good for you! How many desserts can you say that about? I keep them in the fridge so they are a bit firmer than when they sit at room temp. Just be careful, you can’t just eat one!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

            1/2 cup almond meal

            1/2 cup regular rolled oats (Use GF oats if you want it GF)

            2 tbsp cocoa powder

            1/2 tsp kosher salt

            2 tbsp agave nectar

            3 tbsp peanut butter

            3 tbsp pure maple syrup (add gradually until desired consistency is achieved)

            1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a food processor, process the oats until very fine, like a flour consistency.

2. Add in the almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, and agave and pulse until combined. Now add in vanilla and maple syrup gradually until desired consistency is achieved. Process until a dough forms. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Dough will be very sticky! If it is too sticky to make balls, you can add a bit more almond meal.

3.Scoop dough into a bowl. Use a small ice cream scoop to form balls with the dough (lightly wet fingers if necessary). Roll them between your hands to form a ball. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Note: If dough is too dry, add a bit more maple syrup. If too wet, add a bit more almond meal.

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Mexican Salad

I started a supper club with some of my close friends a few months back. Us girls used to teach elementary school together. We’ve all gone our separate ways but still have so much fun together. It’s nice to get together once a month and catch up. Our husbands even hit it off. How perfect!

Each month there is a theme set by the host. They are in charge of making a main coarse.  Not only does the food fit the theme, but our outfits do too! It’s a good thing our husbands get along; otherwise they wouldn’t agree to dress up for some of these themes! The other couples are responsible for a side, a dessert, and a drink. So this month we were in charge of the side. The theme was Snowed In and the main coarse was white chicken chile with corn bread. My challenge was making a side that went along with the main coarse. Chile’s one of those meals that can stand alone. So I thought a nice fresh salad to highlight the flavors in the chile would do the trick!

I used a bowl that’s pretty flat because all of the toppings are layered in strips over the lettuce. The best part of this salad is the presentation. Simple ingredients are transformed into a thing of beauty. I started by making my own corn and black bean relish. It couldn’t be easier. You add corn, black beans, red onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice into a bowl and mix it up. You’ll have left overs, which is a good thing. You can put it on chips, in quesadillas, even in eggs!

The dressing I made can really be used on any salad, but it’s perfect with this one. The cider vinegar makes it crisp, while the chile in adobo gives it a smoky and spicy kick. You can add more or less chile depending on your taste. Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. 

As for the salad, layer the toppings in three sections: avocado, tomatoes, and corn & black bean relish. I top with some chopped parsley. The colors are incredible. Taking the time to prepare your food makes it so much more fun to eat. After all, we do eat with our eyes first!

Chile Dressing

3 tbsp cider vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

½ chipotle chile in adobo, minced

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.

Corn and Black Bean Relish

11 oz frozen corn, thawed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ red onion, diced

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt

pepper

Thaw frozen corn and drain excess water. Dice the red onion. In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mexican Salad

Serves 8

1 head iceberg lettuce

2 avocados

1 cup corn and black bean relish

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

3 scallions

lime wedges for garnish

Rinse and dry iceberg lettuce. Dice lettuce into small chunks. Layer lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl or serving dish. The toppings will cover the lettuce in three sections. Halve the avocados and remove pits. Score the avocado, just to the skin, into bite-sized pieces with a knife. Then, using a spoon, scoop avocado pieces out onto the first section of the lettuce. Halve cherry tomatoes and dice scallions. Combine the two in a separate bowl. Pour mixture down the center of the lettuce. Finally, spoon the corn and black bean relish over the last section of the lettuce. Place some lime wedges around the edges. Pour the salad dressing over and mix well. Enjoy!

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