Summery Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad

Now that I’m no longer pregnant and I’m nursing, I’m trying to make a conscious effort to eat healthy again. What does this mean for me? It doesn’t mean cutting out sweets (sorry LM, but I have a sweet tooth!), but instead, it’s about balance. Which means finding ways to get my veggies in.

When I was pregnant, I was turned off by salads and a lot of veggies for some reason. But now that I’m not, I am happy to eat them again! There are only 2 things getting in my way:

  1. I’m turned off by boring food – if I’m going to have a salad, I want it to be FUN!
  2. I don’t have much free time lately. My hands are full literally most of the day (see: nursing a newborn) and then at night when I’m juggling 2 kids, one of whom is a needy and hungry toddler, I don’t feel like spending too much time preparing a meal.

That’s where this salad comes in. It’s anything BUT boring – look at it! It’s colorful! Doesn’t it just shout, “summer”?

AND it can be prepped in advance. I was able to prep all the ingredients throughout the day and then it only took 2 minutes to pull it together at dinner time. Plus, Half of the ingredients were things that I could put on FW’s plate, too, so we all could enjoy a similar dinner, which doesn’t happen often!

See FW’s food vs ours

I can barely call this a recipe because it’s just throwing a few foods together, but in case this inspires you – here it is.

Summery Grilled Chicken, Avocado, Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad

For us, this served 2

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 cup chopped grilled chicken – I got lucky and B had grilled the night before so we had leftover grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
  • 4-6 cherries, pitted and sliced in half – I used Skylar Rae cherries* because of their sweetness, firm texture and beautiful color
  • 3 cups lettuce
  • 1/2 cup other veggies of your choosing – I did roasted sweet potatoes and sliced carrots
  • 1/2 cup other protein of your choosing – I did chickpeas, hard-boiled egg and ham
  • Your favorite dressing – mine is an easy balsamic dressing with mustard (similar recipe, here)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare your ingredients. Measure out your chicken, goat cheese, avocado and cherries. The Skylar Rae cherries are perfect for this salad because of their sweetness and nice crisp texture.
  2. Place on top of lettuce.
  3. Gather other ingredients of your choice – I also added roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, chickpeas, hard-boiled egg and ham. Some other toppings that would be good include tomato, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, edamame, etc. Also, this could easily be a vegetarian salad – simply swap out the chicken and ham for other proteins, such as lentils.
  4. Top with salad dressing.

See how easy that was? Enjoy!

*Disclaimer: Stemilt sent me some complimentary Skylar Rae cherries, and I loved them. I mostly just ate them, but also put them into this salad. All views are my own.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce

At 37 weeks pregnant, there’s not much new that I’m craving these days. Fruit? Yup, still fruit. Especially all of the strawberries, grapes and pineapple. Desserts? Yup, even chocolate, which I’m not usually a huge fan of. Sweet and salty foods? Even better. Which is why I’m a fan of this snack/meal/side dish. Because sweet potato fries are – in my opinion – the ULTIMATE sweet/salty treat. And, they’re even good for you! Or at least better than the other ultimate sweet/salty treat – chocolate covered pretzels. Yum.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I highly suggest you make these to pair with your favorite meatless (or meaty) entree on the grill. I’ll be sharing a recipe soon that pairs SO well with these, too!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Sriracha Dipping Sauce
For the Sweet Potato Fries

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400. While oven is preheating, preheat a baking sheet as well.
  2. Slice the sweet potatoes into fry-like shapes. (Here’s the knife I use to get the cute crinkle cut fries) Toss with olive oil.
  3. Mix the spices (garlic powder through black pepper) and toss them with the sweet potatoes.
  4. Spread them out on the preheated baking sheets.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until starting to brown on the bottom. Flip and cook until the other side is brown, about 10 minutes.

For the Dipping Sauce

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha sauce
  • pinch of garlic powder (I probably used just under 1/8 teaspoon)
  • pinch of salt

Here’s what you do:

  1. Mix all ingredients together.
  2. Serve with fries!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like Sriracha?
  • What’s your favorite sweet/salty combo?

Linking up with Meatless Monday.

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing

I know it’s winter. I’ve looked outside – no need to remind me. This is what I see. SNOW.

20160216_083644

Yes, it may be gloomy and snowy (but somewhat pretty, right?). But still, we all need a pop of color sometimes. And bright salads. All year round – don’t we? While I do enjoy eating seasonally, I do also enjoy salads in winter (and soup in the summer). And since we go meatless on Fridays during Lent, here’s an easy meatless meal you can enjoy  then – or even for Meatless Monday or any day of the week.

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing - icrashedtheweb

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa* – I like red quinoa, but other varieties should work fine
  • ¼ cup all natural almond butter*
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 3 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon (or more, based on taste) Sriracha
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage – I like using 1 cup red and 1 cup green for color
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • few handfuls chopped cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped unsalted cashews*

Here’s what you do:

  1. While the quinoa is cooking, you can make the nutty Asian dressing. To do so, mix the almond butter and honey in a medium bowl. Add in soy sauce, vinegar, Sriracha and water and mix well until dressing is smooth. and stir until mixture is smooth and creamy.**
  2. Mix half of the dressing with the cooked quinoa.
  3. Add in vegetables – cabbage, pepper, carrots and then add in remaining dressing.
  4. Before serving, top with cilantro and cashews.  Add more Sriracha if you like more spice and enjoy!

Mine made four servings – perfect for dinner and lunch leftovers!

*Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but thanks to Swanson Health for providing some of the ingredients (quinoa, cashews, almond butter).  My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson. AND I’ll  be doing a giveaway so you can get some goodies too, soon 🙂

**I used all natural crunchy almond butter which is pretty oily – if you were using a less oily spread you may need to microwave the almond butter first or add in a little oil / more water to get your consistency to be dressing-like.

Asian Quinoa Cabbage Salad with Almond Dressing

Some questions for you:

  • Do you eat seasonal?
  • What’s your favorite hot sauce?

For more vegetarian posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below! I’m linking up with Sarah and Confessions of a Mother Runner.

Meatless Monday: Easy (and adaptable) Overnight Oats

It has been a while since I’ve written a Meatless Monday post – and I don’t know why! I’ve had a few meatfree meals lately, but I haven’t taken the time to truly capture them and write down a recipe and then post them.

So, today’s meatless post is a meal you can enjoy for breakfast. Overnight oats! I make these sometimes when I’m craving something other than my typical egg white and spinach and veggies for breakfast and have been asked how I make them. The answer? It’s always different. There are so many ways to make them. It depends on what ingredients I have. So here you go – a standard overnight oats recipe for you to enjoy and it’s adaptable so you can add or remove the toppings as you please!

Easy Overnight Oats - icrashedtheweb

Here’s what you need:

  • ½ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ⅓ cup yogurt (for this recipe, I used  plain Greek yogurt)
  • ½ cup milk (unsweetened vanilla almond milk is my favorite, but I didn’t have any on hand so I used regular milk)
  • 1-2 teaspoons your favorite nut butter (I love almond, peanut and sun butter!)
  • 1-2 teaspoons Chia seeds
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey
  • To top your oats (wait until you’re ready to eat to add these): fruit (I like 1/2 banana, blueberries, nuts and more nut butter)
overnight oats ingredients

basic overnight oats ingredients

 

Here’s what you do:
  1. Combine oats, yogurt, milk, nut butter, chia seeds and honey in a 10-12 ounce jar. Stir with a spoon or shake until everything is pretty combined.
  2. Let sit in fridge overnight or at least 7-8 hours. When ready do serve, add toppings! I love adding some freshly sliced banana, blueberries, a few nuts and even more nut butter.
  3. Enjoy a hearty and delicious breakfast. Or snack. Or dessert. I’m not judging!

20160203_094650

Isn’t that easy? Some modifications I’ve enjoyed include:

  • Adding more milk and less yogurt for a less tangy and less thick oatmeal.
  • Adding some diced banana to the oats in the overnight version and peanut butter. Then topping with more banana and more peanut butter for a peanut butter and banana oats.
  • Adding PB2 or another powdered peanut butter before mixing for a more peanut buttery flavor.
  • Adding dried fruit or coconut to the top when it’s ready to serve
  • Adding flax seed (1-2 teaspoons) for some extra fiber/grit/texture.
  • Topping my oats with more oats (meaning: homemade granola) or a few mini chocolate chips if you’re feeling ambitious.

That’s one of the things I love about overnight oats – in addition to being super easy and not at all time consuming, the possibilities really are endless!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like overnight oats? What’s your favorite combination?
  • What’s your go-to breakfast?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, some of the product (nut butter, oats) was  provided to me by Swanson Health. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of Swanson. AND I’ll likely be doing a giveaway so you can get some goodies too, soon 🙂

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below! I’m linking up with Sarah and Confessions of a Mother Runner .

 

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to fall meals, I crave comforting foods.

Foods that are easy to put together, but taste like they’ve been cooking all day.

You know  – spaghetti, baked ziti, lasagna, chili … all those delicious, hearty meals. Meals to curl up on the couch with, to watch a movie, read a good book or even for game day (go Browns!). I have also begun to enjoy the occasional meatless meal and find that if done right, vegetarian dishes can be great fall comfort meals. That’s why when Silk challenged me to join their Sideline Meat campaign and come up with a Meatless Monday meal, I was excited to participate. And challenged to find a meal that even B (as you know, he has a self-proclaimed “meat tooth”) would enjoy.

Introducing this eggplant “pasta” dish. It should be no surprise that I’m choosing a zucchini pasta dish. I’m a lover of my zoodler (aka spiralizer) and I love making zoodles. Plus, the Silk adds a somewhat creaminess to the sauce and served over zoodles, it’s nearly guilt-free. Enjoy!

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce-icrashedtheweb

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce 

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium eggplant, sliced into one-inch pieces
  • 1 medium shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 medium tomatoes, diced
  • Generous sprinkle of hot pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup almond milk – I used Silk Unsweetened Original Almond Milk
  • 2 zucchini, spiralized (this is the zoodler I use)
ingredients

ingredients

Directions

  1. Heat a medium to large size pan over medium high heat. When hot, add olive oil, and then add the chopped eggplant. Cook until brown, about 3-4 minutes, and then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes.
  2. Add add the shallot and garlic, and continue cooking until the eggplant and the onions are soft, about 3-6 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato and cook for another 3-4 minutes until it starts to get juicy. Add hot pepper flakes generously over the veggies. I like my food spicy so I added a lot – add as much as you feel comfortable with. Feel free to add salt at this time as well.
  4. Turn the heat down to medium and add the almond milk. Cook until the tomato sauce is a little thick. When everything looks about done, add in the zoodles. Cook for an additional 2 minutes or so, carefully so the zoodles don’t get soggy, and then plate.
  5. Enjoy!
sauce is looking good!

sauce is looking good!

Zoodles with Chunky Eggplant Sauce

ready to eat!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s your favorite fall comfort food?
  • Have you ever cooked with almond milk? What did you make?

Disclosure: While I was not compensated for this post, product was provided to me by Silk. My views and comments are solely my own and do not represent those of WhiteWave and/or Silk.

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkup below!

Meatless Monday: Thai Style Green Curry Stir Fry with Freekeh

I have a confession. I’ve been slacking off. Slacking off with meal planning. Slacking off with food prep. And eating some of the same meals over and over again (hint: one rhymes with Bibotle Churrito Coal). Work has been busy. Life has been busy. And I’ve been somewhat uninspired. Which is likely why it’s been a while since I shared a Meatless Monday post, and even longer since I shared a freekeh recipe (the last one was cajun shrimp freekeh) … That’s why when I cleaned out my pantry last weekend and saw the bag of freekeh AND cans of curry paste, I got excited. Inspired. I had one meal for the week planned out! Yes, I got excited over one meal … it’s the little things.

So here you go. Something easy. Quick. With leftovers! And something to hopefully inspire you for a delicious vegetarian meal!

thai style freekeh green curry stirfry icrashedtheweb

Thai Style Green Curry Stir Fry with Freekeh

Serves 2ish (Made two dinner portions plus a lunchtime portion for me for leftovers)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup cooked freekeh (I used Freekeh Foods brand)
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into thin pieces
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green beens, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon green curry paste (I used Maesri Green Curry Paste)

Here’s what you do:

  1. Prepare the freekeh according to package directions. I love the Freekeh Foods original because it’s cracked freekeh and easy to prepare and takes only 25 minutes to cook. If you get the whole freekeh (not cracked) it takes a loooot longer to cook. My mom did that once. Don’t make that mistake.
  2. Heat canola oil in a pan on medium heat. Add in garlic and cook for about a minute. Turn up heat to medium high and toss in sweet potatoes and carrot. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until starts to get soft. Add in rest of veggies – onion, pepper, green beans.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, prepare your sauce. In a separate sauce pan, heat up coconut milk with green curry paste. Whisk together or stir with a spoon until green curry is evenly distributed and mixture is thin and light green. If you’re a fan of more spice, you can probably add in some more green curry paste, to taste. A little goes a long way! (And alternatively, if you prefer less heat to your curry you can always add in less paste or more coconut milk)
  4. After veggies are nearly done, about 4-5 more minutes, add in the curry sauce and toss in the freekeh. Stir everything together so that it’s heated through and the sauce is throughout. Avoid overcooking your veggies – I like mine slightly crisp and not mushy – and serve immediately.

green curry over freekeh - icrashedtheweb

Some questions for you:

  1. Have you ever had freekeh before? How did you prepare it or have it cooked?
  2. What’s the best meatfree dish you’ve eaten recently?

For more Meatless Monday posts, check out some of my past recipes or visit the linkups below!

Meatless Monday!

Ladies Craft Beer Society Takes on Pickling (Weekend Update: How to Make Pickles)

This Saturday was our monthly Ladies Craft Beer Society. For those of you who need to catch up, each month I meet with a few lady friends for a few craft beer drinks, and a new craft. (B calls this my witchcraft society … ’nuff said) This month’s craft was pickling! I don’t know if it counts like a craft or not, but it was definitely something I was pumped for.

For you Portlandia fans, here’s what I was thinking about all week:

We had it at the lovely home of Cuoghi – she has a great kitchen and knows how to entertain. I wish I had taken a photo of all the glorious food she prepared – brown butter nectarine bars, two different quiches, homemade hummus, homemade ice cream sandwiches for dessert. So. Good. Oh, and some delicious frozen strawberry lemonades  made with the lemon vodka we’d made at a previous LCBS.

frozen vodka strawberry lemonades

ice cream sandwiches

all the igredientsWanna make some delicious pickles? Here’s what you do. First we all made the pickling spice, which was a combination of 1/2 cinnamon stick (crushed), 2 whole cloves (crushed),   2 dried bay leaves,  2 T mustard seeds, 2 T whole coriander seeds, 2 T black peppercorns, 2 t whole allspice,  2 t dill seeds, 2 t caraway seeds and 2 t chili flakes. Combine everything in a jar – easy peasy!

1

Then we made the pickles. She had prepared recipes for both dill and bread & butter, but the dill were more my kind. Here’s what we did:

2

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Here’s what you need:

  • 6-7  kirby or pickling cucumbers
  • 1 c white vinegar
  • 3/4 c water
  • 2 T kosher salt
  • 1 T pickling spices (above)
  • 3-4 fresh dill springs or 2 tsp dried
  • optional: 2-3 chopped garlic cloves, chile flakes, sliced jalapeño, you can add another teaspoon of dill seeds if you like them really dilly

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut up cucumbers and put in clean jar.
  2. Add optional items. I made one with garlic and sliced jalapeño and one regular.
  3. In a medium sauce pot, put everything else stir, bring to boil so that salt is dissolved, pour over cucumbers, seal jar.
  4. Let sit out for about an hour, then refrigerate.  They’ll be ready in about 24 hours! Enjoy 🙂
pickling

ladies pickling!

The finished product - spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

The finished product – spice, pickles and pickled jalapeños

And that’s it for my weekend update! Coming up next .. a race recap from the half marathon I ran on Sunday. Guess what – another PR!

Meatless Monday!

Some questions for you:

  • What’s something delicious you made or ate this weekend?
  • Have you ever made pickles?
  • What’s something fun you like that’s pickled?