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Your [Not-So] Typical Gray Seattle Day

On a chilly day, we want something warm & comforting. In Seattle, that often means running to the nearest coffee house for that warm brew of goodness. But with spring just around the corner and with the help of my friends at the West Seattle Produce Stand, on THIS [not-so] typical gray Thursday in Seattle, my day was brightened in a better-than-expected way and yours can be too!

When we fill our bodies with whole, real and fresh ingredients, especially those derived from plant food, we see a huge shift in our energy levels and improvement in our digestion, to name a few benefits, while additionally not being able to overlook the mental boost we get from feeding our body good, delicious food!

Kale Salad & Mango

The best type of food to buy is always local and organic whenever possible. However, knowing where the food came from and trusting its source is just half the equation; once we have these fresh ingredients, to enjoy them, we need an idea of what to do with them, right? I consider myself SO lucky to live approximately 6 blocks from the West Seattle Produce Stand – where it’s not only convenient to shop this way, but the people there make it fun. Yes, I just said produce shopping was fun. There are three employees – owner Bruce (your soon-to-be favorite mate; he’s from New Zealand) and the ever-smiling Robby and Shannon; who are, by the way sooo helpful. Produce is not only their expertise, but passion, so gobbling up new facts and flavors from them is my new favorite past-time.

So today, on my typical Thursday, a visit to the WSPS not only boosted my body (from my purchases), but also my mood. I encourage all of our West Seattle community (clients, friends & strangers) to get down there ASAP and support not only one of our brightest local businesses, but feel good about the food you buy and the people you buy it from! All recipes posted below came from the Stand today; and if you’re wondering, yes, they were all DE-licious.

And PS: Tell them Whitney from Macks Mo sent you with love and you’ll receive $2 off any $20 or more purchase!

Pesto Kale & Arugula Salad:

1 head Lacinato (aka Dinosaur) Kale, ends of stems cut off then chopped into bite-size pieces

2 handfuls arugula

Handful of grape tomatoes, quartered

½ cucumber, peeled & quartered

1 whole carrot, peeled & sliced horizontally

1 avocado, meat sliced into cubes & pit removed

Leaves from 3 stems of basil

½ cup walnuts

1 tsp. minced garlic

Sea salt + pepper to taste

  1. To make pesto, combine last 4 lines of ingredients in a food processor with 1/8 cup water. Puree until desired consistency (smooth or chunkier; can always add more water).
  2. Add kale, half the avocado meat, arugula and pesto to a large bowl and get dirty. Use your hands to massage pesto & avocado into every inch of the salad (helps to soften kale and slightly “wilt”.
  3. Rinse hands and add remaining ingredients to the salad.

Fresh Homemade Vitamin Water
Inspired by and Adapted from Mama Earth Organic

Admission – I don’t have a pitcher. I know, as one who likes to play host to parties a lot I should. And will have one by the end of the weekend so that I can make MANY more of these! Hence the blender “pitcher”.  J

INGREDIENTS:

½ lemon, sliced horizontally

Leaves from 2 basil stems

1 lime, sliced horizontally

  1. Add fresh basil to the bottom of a pitcher. Press or twist a muddler (or wooden spoon) to bruise leaves and release the flavor; you don’t want to totally crush them.
  2. Next, add the lemon and lime, doing the same thing. Slightly muddling or pressing wooden spoon into them to release flavor. Add 1 cup of ice cubes then fill with water.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days. And I would recommend letting the flavors steep together for at least an hour before serving! A great non-alcoholic alternative for parties! Or even a way to infuse plain alcohol for natural flavors (like vodka).

Shrimp Tabbouleh

This quick meal makes 4 servings and is great to make as a dinner with plans for leftovers or on a Sunday to have for meals throughout the week. With a fresh blend of tomatoes and herbs, this flavorful dish reminds me that summer is near.

Shrimp TabouelehINGREDIENTS:

1 lbs. medium raw shrimp, shell & tail on

1 cup bulgur

1 cup diced grape or cherry tomatoes

1 cucumber, peeled & sliced into 1/4’s

1 avocado, sliced into chunks

1 tsp. each of cumin & minced garlic

Juice from 1 lemon

Handful chopped parsley & mint (same amount between the two, about 1/2 cup total chopped

3 Tbls. olive oil

Sea salt + pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start the bulgur first. Boil 1.5 cups water, then add the bulgur and return to boil. Cover and turn off heat. Do not remove lid or move from heat; let sit for 25 minutes.
  2. While that’s cooking, prepare everything else: in a large bowl, add cucumber, tomatoes, avocado, parsley and mint. Separately, whisk 2 Tbls. oil, lemon juice & cumin. Add to vegetables and season with sea salt + pepper.
  3. With 6 minutes left on the bulgur, add 1 Tbls. + garlic to saute pan. Heat for 1 minute, then add shrimp. Cook for 5 minutes, until shrimp are cooked through and turned pink.
  4. Add bulgur & shrimp to large bowl and stir to fully combine flavors.

Quinoa, Kale & Sweet Potato Hash

Two things I love – sweet potatoes and kale. Quinoa is also in incredible grain that serves as a complete protein and is naturally gluten-free. I don’t obsess over anything being gluten-free or not, but let’s just say, texture and taste-wise, I tend to lean towards quinoa and brown or wild rice over pasta as a personal preference. This dish could be great as a full meal or play fiddle to a protein-centered dish. It’s also a great leftover that you can transform – like, for example poached or basted eggs over it for breakfast! Whenever you choose to eat it, know it’s a great go-to, as it takes under 15 minutes!

Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Kale Hash        SPQK 2

INGREDIENTS:

2 (thinner) sweet potatoes/yams, washed well & sliced horizontally [thinner in size are easier to slice; be sure to choose ones with red garnet colored skin]

1 Tbls. coconut oil

1 bunch of kale leaves, ripped & stems discarded

½ cup quinoa, uncooked

1.5 cups water

Handful of parsley, stems discarded & chopped finely

Juice from ½ lemon

Sea salt + pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil, add quinoa and cook until water has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Once quinoa is done, stir in parsley, remove from heat, cover and set aside.
  2. While quinoa is cooking, place sweet potatoes in sauté pan with coconut oil. Cook for 5 minutes, evenly coating. Add kale and a splash of water, then cover. You want sweet potatoes to steam, but stir occasionally and add water (as/if needed) so that SP’s don’t stick to pan. Cook until they are soft, about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Add quinoa to sauté pan, add lemon juice and season to taste with sea salt + pepper.
  4. Great additions (any or all): avocado, crushed nuts, sliced olives, raisins or eggs on top!

Mo Tacos

If you know me, you know I LOVE tacos. And mexican food in general. However, when you go out to eat at Mexican restaurants, you’re not always in for the healthiest of fares. I have a few different taco variations, but this is one of the classics. With everything prepped, takes about 15 minutes. Set your turkey breast out to thaw in the morning and enjoy the leftovers over spinach for lunch the next day.

Mo Tacos

INGREDIENTS:

Half package of organic ground turkey (or beef), thawed

1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained & rinsed

1 (4 oz.) can diced green chilies

2 bell peppers, sliced into strips & seeds discarded

2 tsp. each of: cumin & oregano

1 tsp. each of: cayenne pepper (more for desired spiciness) and minced garlic

Frontera Organic Green Tomatillo Salsa

Shredded pepper jack cheese (full fat & check ingredients – I used Tillamook)

100% sprouted corn tortillas

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt, 1 tsp. per serving

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Place ground turkey in a large sauté pan and cook until meat is browned, stirring often to break up the pieces. Drain and turn heat to medium.
  2. In a separate sauté pan, add sesame oil and minced garlic, cooking for 2 minutes.
  3. At the same time, add green chilies, cumin, oregano, cayenne and black beans to the meat with 2 Tbls. water.
  4. After 2 minutes, add peppers to garlic and sauté covered for 6-8 minutes (until soft), stirring occasionally.
  5. Heat tortillas in a touch of olive oil in a grill pan or heat in the microwave for 20 seconds.
  6. To construct tortilla, start with meat, add peppers, then dress as desired with salsa, 1 Tbls. of cheese per taco and yogurt as “sour cream” if desired (I like the taste of Greek yogurt better than sour cream, but there’s nothing wrong with small amounts of full-fat, organic sour cream).
  7. Additional taco toppings if desired: lettuce, tomato or olives.

Spicy Chicken Salad

This is one of my favorite go-to quickie meals. Easy to whip up for any party or a meal in itself, it doesn’t take more than 15 minutes!

Spicy Chicken SaladINGREDIENTS:
1 chicken breast, thawed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 red pepper, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
Juice from 1 lime
2 tsp. each of: chili powder, cumin, oregano and minced garlic

  1. Fill small sauce pan half full with water and add chicken breast. Boil for 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Drain and rinse off. Using a fork, shred chicken and set aside in serving bowl.
  2. Drain and rinse black beans. Combine with chicken and add red pepper
  3. Whisk together last 5 ingredients in a separate bowl, then add to chicken mix and stir to combine. To make mix spicier, add more chili powder.
  4. Can serve over a bed of spinach, in heated 100% sprouted corn tortillas or use as a “dip” for chips (I like Food Should Taste Good Multigrain Chips or Rye with Caraway Seeds Triscuits).

Old School Tuna Casserole, Revamped!

Tuna CasseroleTuna Casserole:

Half package brown rice penne noodles

1 Tbls. extra-virgin olive oil

½ onion, finely chopped

10 crimini mushrooms, sliced

½ cup white wine (or vegetable broth)

2 Tbls. brown rice flour

3 cups whole, organic milk

2 cans white chunk tuna (drained)

1 cup frozen peas, thawed

5 Rye with Caraway Seeds Triscuits, smashed into “crumbs”

Sea salt + pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese, grated

  1. Cook noodles according to package instructions until just tender. Drain, rinse and set aside in a big mixing bowl.
  2. Position rack in upper third of oven and preheat broiler.
  3. Heat oil in a sauce pan, then add onion and mushrooms, cooking until onion is softened but not browned (about 5 minutes). Add wine and cook until evaporated, 4 to 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle flour over the vegetables in saucepan; stir to coat. Add milk, bringing to a slow boil, stirring constantly.
  5. Stir in tuna and peas. Transfer sauce into mixing bowl with noodles and stir until evenly coated. Put entire mixture into greased pan.
  6. Sprinkle the casserole with crushed Triscuit and then grate fresh Parmesan over top.
  7. Since everything is already cooked, broil until top is crispy and dish starting to bubble – about 3-4 minutes.

Hearty Apple-Butternut Squash Soup

BS

INGREDIENTS:

1 butternut squash, halved and seeds scooped out

1 apple, diced

1 onion, chopped

2-3 tsp. minced garlic

1 Tbls. each of: olive oil, sage and maple syrup

1 tsp. thyme

Sea salt + pepper to taste

4+ cups vegetable broth to blend

For more creaminess: blend in 1/3 cup plain, full-fat Greek yogurt

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Lay butternut squash out on baking sheet. Brush maple syrup onto both halves, then season with sea salt + pepper. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes or until completely cooked.
  3. When squash is done, remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  4. Add apple, onion, minced garlic, olive oil, sage and thyme to a sauce pan. Cook for 7-10 minutes (until apple & onion are soft).
  5. Once cooled, scoop flesh out of squash and put into pan with apples mix. Add vegetable broth to mix and stir to combine. If you’re going to use Greek yogurt, add it now as well.
  6. Transfer all ingredients to a blender to puree. As needed/desired, you can add more broth or yogurt. Season with sea salt + pepper to taste!

Chicken Carbonara

 

Chicken Carbonara

This is my take on an old classic. Big crowd pleaser and only takes about 20 minutes to cook!

1 chicken breast, thawed
4 slices bacon
10 crimini mushrooms, wiped with wet towel & sliced
2 tsp. minced garlic
½ onion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/8 cup white wine (or vegetable broth if not available)
2 Tbls. brown rice flour
¾ cup organic, whole milk
Half package brown rice penne pasta (recommend Lundberg brand)
1 Tbls. olive oil

  1. Cook brown rice noodles according to package instructions.
  2. You will want to prep all food first: (1) cut chicken, bacon [when it’s done] and mushrooms into bite-size pieces and (2) chop onion & basil.
  3. You will need to two sauté pans — you will be ultimately combining all ingredients into “VEGETABLE” pan, so use bigger one (with higher sides) for that. Start by cook bacon until starting to get crispy, then add chicken and cook through (then set aside if need be).
  4. Once chicken is almost done cooking, combine olive oil, mushrooms, onion, garlic and basil into other pan. Cook until onion & mushrooms soften. Then add brown rice flour to “vegetable” pan and stir to coat.
  5. Add wine, bacon and chicken to vegetable pan and cook for 1 minute. Last, add the milk and bring to a boil, stirring to mix. Reduce heat to low and continue to stir frequently for 2 minutes. Serve carbonara over noodles!
  6. Option to grate fresh Parmesan cheese (1 Tbls.-ish per serving) over top.

Green Power Salad: Seaweed + Kale

Seaweed + Kale Salad

I’ve been eating a lot more greens lately – like a lot. Smoothies, salads and soups, you name it. One superfood in particular that I’m trying to incorporate more is seaweed. Did you know that nori and kelp contain up to ten times more calcium than milk and up to eight times as much as beef? Also rich in vitamins A, B, E and K, nori additionally helps boost the thyroid gland, which is responsible for breaking down food before it can be turned into fat. Not a bad rap for one little plant, right? However, I don’t like the taste of the “dry” nori sheets – they have just never struck my fancy. So I wanted to find a way to incorporate them into a salad. I have a recipe for an Asian-Inspired Kale salad, so that combined with some inspiration from some new books I’ve been pouring over (Healthy for Change by Colquhoun & Bosch) resulted in this delicious morsel. So, without further ado – here’s my newest green salad: Kale & Seaweed Salad…

INGREDIENTS:

1 bunch of organic kale leaves, stems discarded

5 nori sheets, sliced into small 1” pieces

2 whole organic carrots, peeled

1 organic cucumber, peeled & sliced into cubes

1 avocado, meat sliced into chunks

Sea salt

DRESSING:

2 Tbls. gluten-free organic Tamari sauce

2 Tbls. toasted sesame oil

1 Tbls. black sesame seeds

1 tsp. minced garlic

2 tsp. honey

1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated

1 Tbls. apple cider vinegar

  1. Wash kale and rip leaves from stem. Place in a large bowl and dust with sea salt. Using your hands, massage kale to soften. Kale should turn a slightly darker green. Alternative to raw kale is to boil or steam it for 3-4 minutes. To boil, bring slightly salted water to a boil, then add kale (let water return back to a boil). Cover with lid slightly offset so steam can escape. Once done, strain & run with cold water.
  2. You can either grate the carrots by hand or toss them in a food processor (I chose the latter) until they’re fine chunks/pieces.
  3. Toss nori, cucumber and carrots in with kale.
  4. Whisk all dressing ingredients and pour over salad. Toss salad ingredients with dressing and make sure to coat all pieces.
  5. Last, add the avocado and sea salt + pepper to taste.