Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

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The countdown to Thanksgiving is upon us. Now is the time to start thinking about he delicious foods to that you may eat (and cook!) for any holiday parties you have planned. And I am about to share with you to a healthy and fantastic tasting vegetable that is easy to cook and makes a show-stopping side dish: brussel sprouts.

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Now, if ever there was an easy dish to cook it’s this one. Seriously simple, seriously delicious. Oh and brussel sprouts are a great source of nutrients!

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Drizzle some balsamic vinegar glaze on top, and you have yourself the perfect side dish for tonight’s dinner, Thanksgiving, and beyond!

Over Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • Brussel sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Balsamic vinegar glaze, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Remove yellowing outer leaves from sprouts, if necessary. Rinse sprouts and pat them dry. Slice each sprout in half.
  3. In a bowl, mix together halved sprouts, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pour sprouts onto a pan that has been lined with aluminum foil.
  4. Roast sprouts in the oven for 20-25 minutes, tossing the sprouts once or twice while they are baking. The outer leaves will be golden brown and crispy.
  5. Drizzle balsamic vinegar glaze over brussel sprouts, if desired.

Feel Stressed? Eat a Salad!

This last week was a doozy for me. You know that feeling that there aren’t enough hours in a day to get things done? I actually think I experienced that firsthand. Usually when life gets a little hectic I tend to naturally reach for something sweet: a cookie, some candy, even a spoon of peanut butter. While these things are all delicious (and tend to make me happier in the moment), they definitely do not lend well to eating healthy. And I can become even more concerned when I realize I have eaten a whole package of cookies/candies/peanut butter.

This was not my approach to food during this bout of busyness. Last week I made sure my meals were nourishing and satisfying, allowing me to maximize my brain power to tackle anything in my path. Now that I finally have a free moment, I want to share my recipe for a de-stressing salad: a salad that is easy to make, wholesome, and light. The ingredients kept me calm and focused during my work, and I ended each day feeling satisfied. I would have normally chopped up the almonds in this recipe, but I did not even feel I had the time to do that (safely, that is-I would like to keep all 10 fingers!).

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Easy to prepare, easy to eat, easy to feel healthy after eating this delicious masterpiece! Say bye-bye to stress and hello to wholesome goodness!

De-Stressing Salad (Makes 1 serving)IMG_3645

Ingredients:

  • 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 cup mixed greens, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup green beans, rinsed
  • 2 Tbsp almonds
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

This recipe is as simple as throwing together all of the ingredients and enjoying! Feel free to alter the amounts of the ingredients/change the ingredients in the recipe to suit your taste preferences. For example, I ran out of cranberries and used slices of apple and it was still delicious!

My “New York Style” Salad

Oh my. I am becoming a New Yorker.

So picture this: my fridge is essentially empty.

Empty, you say? Like, missing real, fresh food? Sadly, yes.

This predicament is both amusing and saddening. Amusing in that I still cannot believe I find myself taking up behaviors I used to think as exclusively for the native “New Yorker” (I could have never guessed a suburbia-raised girl like me could become a successful city dweller). Despite my new-found urban identity, I am bummed by my fridge because I like to believe that I always prepare and eat home-cooked meals using fresh ingredients. After all, that is how it started when I first came to New York City. Then, slowly I might add, I started buying more “snack-like” foods. Apples and peanut butter, mixed nuts, cans of beans, hummus…you get the idea. Next, I started eating out or traveling every single weekend. Couple that with the night a week I might eat out and suddenly buying a ton of produce and racing to eat it before it went bad became too much. Living alone is stressful on your diet, people!

Anyways, my meals have depended on gauging that “just right” amount of fresh food to buy every week. A couple of apples here, some spinach and baby carrots there…just enough to get me through 4.5 days of meals. And lately most of my protein has come from non-meat sources during the week. Thank goodness I have eggs, beans, and peanut butter (but not together because that would be gross). My love for these items–and their long shelf life–help me from avoiding a nutrient deficiency and keep my energy up.

Another dependable protein item: sliced lunch meat. Although it isn’t as wholesome as cooking chicken in the oven or broiling a steak, for someone with only a couple of meals to prep at home, it’s a great go-to for something filling. Slicing lunch meat further (a.k.a. chopping the lunch meat into coarse pieces) allows it to be tossed into an omelet, thrown into soup, or-as in this instance-sprinkled on salad.

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This recipe was all too simple and the ingredients are solid, nutritional standbys. I buy the ingredients for this salad on a Monday and it will get me through exactly four days worth of lunches. Is it all I have for lunch? No. Is it a better option for lunch that ordering Chinese takeout? Yes. Just pack this salad along with some snackie-snacks (yes I got all cute and called them snackie-snacks). Suddenly, weekday eating for the single-living city-dweller became easy, delicious, and healthy. And now I am craving a bagel…oh, New York.

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Salami & Spinach Salad (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 8 cups spinach (1 bag)
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 package salami
  • Olive oil and Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Rinse spinach and remove stems. Chop tomato, salami, and avocado. Toss together with 1 tablespoon each olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

Cinco de Mayo Salsa

Cinco de Mayo got me in a salsa kind of mood.

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There is something so incredibly delicious about homemade salsa. The freshness of the ingredients cannot be beat, and the way the flavors meld together is absolutely delectable.

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I am such a sucker for vibrant colors. Looks good and tastes even better!

Typical fresh salsa (what most people think of as call pico de gallo) includes tomatoes (great source of lycopene for antioxidants), onions (full of nutrients for heart health and insulin resistance), and jalapeños (its spice factor, capsaicin, is currently being studied for its effect on decreasing inflammation and contributing to weight loss). Homemade salsa with this list of nutritional ingredients is pretty darn good for you!

Now, do what I have done and add mango and avocado.

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I just took salsa to a whole new level.

The combination of spicy jalapeño and sweet mango is addicting, and the avocado just brings it all together. I have eaten this salsa with chips, on top of salads, and by the spoonful. It would also be incredibly tasty atop a filet of fish. Who knew salsa could be so versatile!

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Today, my salsa went perfectly atop some mixed greens, making the perfect side dish to my New York Strip steak!

Mango & Avocado Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 medium mango, chopped
  • 1 ripe avocado, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 large jalapeño, diced
  • 2 fresh limes
  • Cilantro, to taste
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Garlic clove, crushed (optional)

Directions:

If you pre-chop all the ingredients the recipe comes together super fast. Place all the ingredients into a bowl, squeeze the juice of two limes on top. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and fold the ingredients together. Easy as that!

Kale, Cabbage, and Raisin Spring Salad

Well hello Spring! photo (28) It is SO nice to finally feel the sun’s warmth, see flowers blooming, and yes, it even feels good to start taking allergy medicine again (if it’s the price of admission for warm weather I will happily pay). I know what you’re thinking. IMG_3115 Raisins and kale: not an intuitive pairing. IMG_3116Well then let me be the first to tell you that the flavors and textures are marvelous together. The sweet, chewy raisins and the bitter, crunchy kale….mmmmmmm I could eat salad forever when it’s this exciting!

Kale, Cabbage, and Raisin Salad (makes 1 serving)

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup kale, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup red cabbage, rinsed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup broccoli, rinsed and sliced
  • 1/4 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 3 Tbsp scallions, rinsed and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar (I used 1 Tbsp balsamic, 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Mix oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, set aside.
  2. Place the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl, toss with the dressing, and enjoy!

Fresh Chopped Avocado Salad

This salad definitely goes into the healthy category.

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Full of fresh vegetables, protein-packed legumes, and the healthy fats of avocado, this chopped salad is everything I need to feel good about my eating habits. It tastes great over some mixed greens, cooked quinoa, or completely on its own! The zesty lime flavor keeps it fresh, and you avoid the fat-laden salad dressings being sold on the market today. Plus, there’s avocado and that alone is enough to make it perfect in my book!

Fresh Chopped Salad

Ingredients:IMG_2602

  • 2 avocados, diced
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 2 cups chopped jicama
  • 1 handful chopped cilantro
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes

Directions:

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Squeeze lime juice over the ingredients, and add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional). Mix with a spoon and serve!

Arugula Pear Salad

Confession: I used to despise any leafy green that was not Romaine lettuce.

In my youth, I was lucky (and weird) enough that I liked to eat vegetables. However, I drew the line at funny looking greens. Spinach? Nah. Kale? Never heard of it. Arugula? Aruga-what?

Alas, with maturing taste buds comes an appreciation for these unique and healthy salad additions. And a need to change-it-up often. Thus, my leafy green of the week is: arugula!

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Arugula is bitter, sharp in flavor, and tastes great when paired with ingredients that are sweeter. This salad is a refreshingly healthy dinner side dish or light lunch option. So keep your health-related New Year’s resolutions going with this recipe!

Arugula Pear Salad (makes 5 servings)IMG_2439

Ingredients For Salad:

  • 5 cups arugula, rinsed
  • 2-3 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup croutons

Ingredients For Dressing:

  • 5 Tbsp olive oil
  • 5 Tbsp lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a bowl, mix ingredients for dressing together with a fork and set aside. Toss freshly rinsed arugula leaves with dressing. Plate a serving of arugula and top with pears slices, parmesan cheese, cranberries, and croutons.