Monday, April 23, 2012

Green Machine Smoothie

Happy Monday y'all!! And Happy Birthday to me :) Don't you just love birthdays? Today, I turned the big 2-5. A quarter of a century, people. This is a big deal! I feel like I am offically an adult - insurance rates go down, I can rent a mini-van (top of my list) and I am no longer in my early 20's. I am officially in my mid 20's!

To start my day off right, I decided to break out of my usual breakfast streak of oatmeal with raisins, walnuts, brown sugar, ground flax and cinnamon and try out a modified Green Machine smoothie recipe I found recently. I absolutely love Naked's Green Machine, but was always a little cautious when seeing other green-type smoothies. Will they really taste as good? Let me tell you, this one was so absolutely delicious that I can't wait for tomorrow morning so I can have it again!

1 ripe banana
1 handful fresh spinach
1 cup milk (I used vanilla rice milk)
1 tablespoon ground golden flax seed
1/4 cup uncooked oats
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
2-3 ice cubes

1. Add all of your ingredients into a blender and mix on medium until you have a consistent smoothie!
2. That's all, folks. Enjoy!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Mango Lassi

Lassi is a traditional Indian drink made with yogurt, fruit, honey, milk and cardamom. I was first introduced to this incredibly addictive drink last week during dinner with a friend at my favorite local Indian restaurant, The Oven. We had just finished our dishes and were quite full, but when my friend mentioned this delicious drink that aids in digestion (much needed after such a rich meal!) and has great health benefits, I said YES that sounds great! The Oven had both mango and strawberry but they were out of mango for the evening so we had the strawberry and it was seriously one of the best things I have ever had. There was just the right amount of sweetness from the honey, tartness from the yogurt and smooth texture from the milk and strawberries. 
I knew I needed to recreate this drink and luckily, my friend lived in Singapore for 2 years and Lassi was a drink of choice over there. She had an awesome recipe she passed along. I have tweaked it a little bit and really like it absolutely no matter what I do to it.
Instead of feeling like I need chocolate or a dessert to finish my meal, I will usually just make a small Lassi and feel totally satisfied - and I know I am getting probiotics from yogurt, fruit and natural sugar from the honey. Bring on the Lassi!

Serves 2
1 cup chopped mango (I have used both fresh and frozen, but if you use frozen you don't need the ice)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (I didn't have cardamom so I used cinnamon instead)
1 cup plain yogurt (whole milk or low-fat. I used low-fat)
1/2 cup ice cubes

1. Puree mango, honey, cardamom and a pinch of salt in a blender.
2. Add the yogurt and puree until smooth.
3. Add the milk and ice, puree until smooth and serve immediately


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Grilled Salmon and Asparagus

Don't you just love when the sun rises earlier, sets later and the buds on the trees start to open? Spring is here, drink it in folks! Last weekend was Easter weekend and my mom was down south in Tennessee visiting my grandparents and aunts so my dad and I were on our own. I was able to leave work a little early on Friday after our director told us all to take off at 3 and enjoy the holiday weekend. Don't you just love surprises like that?

I knew my dad hadn't been eating incredibly well that week since mom was gone. She made a couple pies before she left (dad's favorites - chicken pot pie and steak & kidney...I know, it's an acquired taste, one I don't have) so he could ration that out. But, by the time I got home, he said he just couldn't bring himself to finish the last bit of pie, he was all pied out. Upon hearing that, I immediately put a menu plan into action. The weather was gorgeous and I love my parent's grill. Obvious choice, grilled fresh salmon and asparagus with rice!

I know a lot of people go all out marinading their salmon for hours or putting on a flavorful spice rub, but honestly, I like my salmon best flavored only with cracked fresh pepper, sea salt and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Yep, that's it. That goes for the asparagus and rice, as well. You may be thinking, come on, Sarah, spice up your life a little bit. But let me tell you, by adding only a few added ingredients, the true organic flavor of your fish and veggies can really come through. It's how they were meant to be eaten, you can truly taste what you are eating...and it's oh so good :)

Serves 2
2 fresh salmon steaks
1 bunch fresh asparagus
Instant brown rice
Extra virgin olive oil
Cracked pepper and sea salt to taste

1. Heat your grill to medium low
2. Rinse the asparagus and trim the white ends off
3. Rub the salmon steaks with EVOO, sprinkle salt and pepper on each side
4. Put the asparagus in a large bowl, add about 2 swirls of EVOO around the bowl and salt and pepper to taste
5. Once the grill is heated (about 5-10 min) add the asparagus, but wait on the salmon. Asparagus will take longer to cook. Check on the veggies after 10 minutes, turn them to make sure all sides are being grilled.
6. Put the salmon on the grill. I like my salmon cooked medium rare, which is about 3-4 minutes on each side.
7. Grab everything off the grill and check out all of the awesome colors on your plate - what a balanced and perfect spring meal!


Shredded Chicken Burritos

Sometimes when I'm trying to think of something to cook I go to my old standbys and I seem to be stuck in a rut. Then, I remind myself how much I love cooking and that all I need to do is get a little creative and throw some things together and add a little spice - voila! A new and delicious dinner! I took a lot of inspiration for this dish from other dishes I love. A Chipotle burrito bowl, a summer veggie salad, a pico salsa. Once you make the main part of this dish you can add it to all kinds of study starches, which I will show you later when I added it to pasta! Put it on top of a salad, mix it with quinoa, and then, of course you can stuff some hard shell or soft shell taco shells. Add some cheese or hot sauce and watch your dish come alive!

Serves 4
2 chicken breasts, boiled and shredded (add a pinch of salt to the boiling water)
1 lime, freshly squeezed
1/2 tablespoon EVOO
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green or yellow bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 can black beans, drained
1/2 tablespoon cumin
Salt to taste
Red pepper flakes to taste

1. Boil the chicken in the salted water and shred once it is cooked through
2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium. Add the shredded chicken, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, lime juice and black beans.
3. Cook the mixture for about 4 minutes until everything is heated through.
4. Toss the diced bell peppers into the skillet just to warm them up
5. Pour out chicken burrito mixture into a bowl and top with chopped cilantro