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With temps reaching 80 degrees this past weekend, summer is definitely upon us.  So with those seasonal bods in mind, London and I decided to turn Sunday Funday into a grocery shop and meal prep kind of day (not without a little bit of rosé of course).

Trying to find inspo, we sorted through the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge (circa 2014) for recipes to make (and not necessarily switch up) for the week.  I am the type of person that can eat the same thing for days on end (I think 2 weeks is my max).  So for me, this creates 100% ease and complete use of groceries.  This week our goal with no dairy and no gluten.  See below —

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oats with Strawberries and Chia Seeds
Lunch – Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari Lime Vinaigrette
Snack 2 – Lemony avocado (see here)
Dinner – Shaved Asparagus Salad Saute with Fried Egg

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Overnight Oats with Strawberries and Chia Seeds
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 scoop vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except for strawberries) in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. Top with strawberries and refrigerate overnight.

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Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari Lime Vinaigrette
Inspired by Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 handful shredded green cabbage
1 handful shredded carrots
1 persian cucumber, sliced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of unsalted, roasted slivered almonds
1/4 rotiserrie chicken, shredded
3 tablespoons Big Batch Lime Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon tamari
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Layer spinach, cabbage, carrots, avocado, chicken and almonds.
  2. Combine vinaigrette and tamari in a mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.
  3. Add dressing to the salad when ready to serve.

This salad is made easily with pretty much pre-prepped ingredients at Trader Joes!

Big Batch Lime Vinaigrette
via Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge
Makes 1/3 cup
INGREDIENTS:
juice of 2 limes, strained (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine lime juice, salt, and honey.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while vigorously whisking the mixture with a small whisk.
  3. Whisk for an additional 30 seconds after all of the oil has been added.
  4. Vinaigrette will keep up to 5 days, refrigerated in an airtight container.

We originally came up with this idea for a savory breakfast option, but then decided it would be much easier to execute at night.  Inspiration came from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Kale and Quinoa Breakfast Bowl and this Buzzfeed Shaved Asparagus Salad with Fried Egg.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad Saute with Fried Egg
INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 bunch green asparagus (about 8 medium stalks)
2 cups arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
1 egg
Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Trim the asparagus.  Then, starting from the root end, use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons (should yield about a cup).*
  2. Head olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet.  Add mushrooms and cook until al dente.  Add asparagus ribbons and cook for around 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Transfer mushrooms and asparagus mixture to a medium mixing bowl.  Add arugula and lemon juice.
  4. In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Crack the egg into the pan and cook until the edges start to brown.
  5. Transfer the asparagus salad to a bowl and top with the fried egg.

Option to add cooked grain (quinoa, rice, farro, etc.) to increase the heartiness of this dish.

*I didn’t have the right vegetable peeler so I gave up on that and ended up just chopping the asaparagus into chunks.

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Before we left on our Jtree trip, I made a menu that tried to roll over ingredients from dinner to breakfast to condense our load and pantry.  No room for excess/full bottles of condiments and booze!

We made this for the ULTIMATE pre-hike, hearty, loungy Sunday camping brunch.  Basically…we killed the camp food game!  Honestly, if I had a restaurant I would serve this to you.  So give it a shot, camping or at home, and let me know what you think!

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Savory Breakfast Oats
Serves 2
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cup water
2 Italian sausages (pre-cooked)
1 container sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 avocado
1/4 cup feta cheese
2 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Boil water and add oats.  Cook until water is absorbed.
  2. Separately, simmer the mushrooms until cooked.
  3. Heat the sausages until internally warm.  Cut into slices.
  4. Cube avocado and crumble feta.
  5. When you’re almost ready to serve, cook eggs.  We tried to make these a little runny, but they kind of steamed all the way through.
  6. Evenly divide between two plates and layer oatmeal, mushrooms, sausages, avocado, cheese and egg.

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Who brings micro-greens camping? In our attempts to make our Malibu camping trip as gourmet as possible, London and I sought out to make our favorite Pandora’s Pizza (the Jupiter from Pandora’s Pizza in Leucadia) camp style. After doing some research and using this REI blog for inspiration, with some trial and error (and a lot of fire play), we ended up with the most delicious and well deserved pizza!

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Camp Pizza
INGREDIENTS:
Pre-made pizza dough
1/2 fresh mozzarella ball
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 fresh basil leaves
1 pinch microgreens
1/2 avocado
Olive oil
What you’ll also need:
Cast iron skillet
Lid
Wood burning fire

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start fire.
  2. Prep ingredients (slice mozzarella into rounds, halve cherry tomatoes, chop basil, cube avocado).
  3. Preheat pan and drizzle with olive oil.
  4. Layout pizza crust in pan and top with cheese, cherry tomatoes and basil.
  5. Cook for 10 minutes, then cover with lid and cook for another 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and top with microgreens and avocado, then serve.

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So far the deck is getting some good use on these Taco Tuesdays!

Last week my mom came over and brought with her some goodies from the Mexican Market I used to visit all the time (but live too far from now). Similar to the Ahi Tacos London and I made a couple weeks ago, we threw together these super simple ceviche tacos. I’d have to say, the pre-made ceviche filling makes this the easiest dinner ever.

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Ceviche Tacos
INGREDIENTS:
1 spinach tortilla
Handful of shredded green cabbage
Spoonful/helping of ceviche
Toppings: avocado, salsa fresca, etc.

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Warm up tortilla and top with cabbage, ceviche and any desired toppings.

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My biggest thing for Sunday was to cook carnitas…and to sit at the beach all the while it was happening 😛  I found this recipe via Pinch of Yum, and besides looking absolutely delicious, I had all of spices in my ever-expanding spice cupboard.  This meat is so flavorful and is the perfect dish to “meal prep” and use for the whole week!

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Easy Crockpot Carnitas
Slightly modified from Pinch of Yum
INGREDIENTS:
7-8 lbs. pork shoulder
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin, plus a little extra
1 teaspoon chili chipotle ground
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice of 2 limes
1/2 cup orange juice
12 ounces beer, I used Stone Go-To IPA
1/2 cup salsa, mild and chunky
Brown sugar, to taste

INGREDIENTS:

  1. Place the pork shoulder in the slow cooker. Rub the garlic on the meat.
  2. Sprinkle the meat with salt, cumin, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne. Rub seasonings onto the pork.
  3. Add lime juice, orange juice, beer, and salsa. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
  4. Remove the meat from the crockpot and shred with two forks.
  5. Preheat broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the shredded meat on the cooking sheet and pour a few spoonfuls of sauce over the top.
  6. Sprinkle with additional cumin and brown sugar to create a caramelized effect in the broiler.
  7. Broil for 5-10 minutes or until you get browned edges on the pork.
  8. Serve on tortillas with fresh cilantro, avocado, and lime juice.

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When I don’t bring my own lunch to work, I don’t run into the issue of making unhealthy options. I run into the issue of making healthy options and paying a fortune for them (#wholepaycheck).

I am definitely not as good as I used to be about meal prep, and basically make everything on a day-to-day basis, usually the morning-of.  I also run into the issue of not cooking as much as I used to, so I don’t like to buy groceries that will eventually just go to waste.

So, I’m starting to find things that are easy to throw together that are healthy and taste great. I used to not be into sandwiches, but now they’re one of my go-to lunch options. Paired with a simple spinach salad (dressed in blood orange EVOO – yum!), it’s always a great combo.

Here’s a recipe I’ve recently added to my arsenal. A healthy tuna fish salad sandwich using greek yogurt (yay) instead of mayo (ew).

Simple Tuna Fish Sandwich
via The Healthy Foodie
INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup 0% fat greek plain yogurt
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 Tbsp Old Style whole grain mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 celery rib, finely chopped
1 Tbsp Italian parsley
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 tsp lemon juice
1 can chunk light tuna fish, in water
2 slices whole grain bread of your choice
a handful of spinach
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add all the ingredients except tuna in a small mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Stir in drained tuna and mix well.
  2. Spread mixture onto one slice of bread. Garnish with spinach and top with second slice of bread.
  3. Serve immediately.

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This week I’m trying a bunch of new recipes.  Actually, they’re all of the recipes that I prescribed for Gary’s meal plan this week.  And they aren’t half bad, if I do say so myself :)  This is a quick, healthy, and easy one I threw together Sunday night.  Since I don’t like onions or garlic, it eliminated a lot of the ingredients, haha.  Fortunately, this was still flavorful and delicious!

photo_22Turkey & Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb. lean ground turkey, Italian-seasoning
salt & pepper
1 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup baby spinach
4 bell pepper, with seeds and membranes removed
Shredded mozzarella cheese
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook quinoa according to directions.
  3. In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water with
  4. In a large pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add in the turkey and Italian seasoning, and cook until no longer pink. Stir in the tomato sauce and spinach.
  5. Combine the cooked quinoa and turkey mixture. Spoon into the 4 hollow pepper.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes until the peppers are tender.
  7. During the last 5 minutes, top each pepper with a pinch of mozzarella cheese.
  8. Remove from heat and enjoy!

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After a stroll through the Tuesday evening Pacific Beach Farmer’s Market, London and I found ourselves up the street for another round of Happy Hour Made Healthy, this time at The Duck Dive.

Duck Dive surprised us both on a culinary level. Located in PB in what can be more of a divey area, we were pleasantly surprised to find it to be quite a “foodie” spot. Committed to offering an elevated drinking and dining experience in a casual beach lounge atmosphere, we felt right at home kicking back and perusing the craft cocktail menu.

What brought us in this Tuesday was the “Neighborhood Tuesday” Farm to Dive special menu. Every week the chef throws together a special menu using ingredients sourced directly from the Farmer’s Market that day! We knew we were in for some fresh local fare, but the menu of the day was a surprise until we arrived.

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Drinks –

Farm To Dive Special: A Cocktail By Any Other Name- locally grown rose apples, rose water, fresh lemon, London dry gin, Pimm’s No.1, and Peychaud bitters. This was a uniquely crisp and refreshing cocktail; not overly floral. Our first time trying rose apples, the crunchy edible garnish was a bonus!

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Melon Mule – We don’t remember the exact ingredients for this one, but we do know that it went down easy. Tasted like candy, but the ginger beer cut the sweetness so the finish wasn’t too sweet. Reminiscent of white gummy bears!

Take Me to Mexico – Olmeca Los Altos 100% agave tequila, house infused with fresh watermelon, jalapeño, and basil. Shaken with fresh watermelon, agave nectar, and lemon juice. Spicy with the bite of jalapeno, it’s a drink that you will take your time sipping because of the added heat.

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Appetizers –

Scallop Ceviche – sea scallops marinated in lemon juice, cilantro, tomato, cucumber, avocado and chili oil. Served with house-made chips. A different take on typical ceviche, London could not get enough of the citrusy and thick scallop bits and crispy thin chips!

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Entrees –

Panko Crusted Avocado Taco – pickled carrots and spicy aioli on a corn tortilla. This taco was a filling meatless option. The pickled carrots cut the fattiness of the avocado, and the flavors and textures all came together nicely.

Duck Lettuce Wrap Taco – shredded duck, pico de gallo, butter lettuce. The lettuce wrap instead of tortilla offers a healthier way to enjoy Taco Tuesday! Fresh Pico De Gallo provides a low calorie but flavorful component.

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Farm To Dive Special: Colonel Beto’s Chicken – house breaded and fried chicken, biscuits, rainbow beet and honey mustard slaw. The chicken was somehow deliciously crunchy outside while maintaining a perfectly moist inside. The coleslaw was lightly dressed and plated with gorgeous rainbow beets!

The Duck Dive
4650 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
858-273-DUCK (3825)

Happy Hours:
Monday-Friday 3-6pm

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Don’t miss the: “Neighborhood Tuesday” Farm To Dive special menu, $5 craft cocktails, and $2.50 Taco Tuesdays!

Take-away tip: Look for restaurants that encourage local farmers and support local commerce.

Thank you to The Duck Dive for hosting this week’s Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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You ready for another Happy Hour Made Healthy?! We thought so.

This time around, my colleague (lol jk) London and I headed to Hillcrest to scope out the healthy happy hour offerings over at Lotus Thai. The dimly lit but modern dining room set the theme for our entire experience- a fresh take on traditional Thai that kept us there wanting more! With happy hour this good, sometimes you just have to stay for dinner (and dessert) too 😛

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Drinks –

Silk Pearl (Han Soju vodka, peach puree, champagne) and Pink Lady (Han Soju vodka, lychee juice, pomegranate, and champagne). Both of these bubbly drinks feature Soju, an Asian spirit with less alcohol (and calories) than traditional vodkas. Fruity but not overly sweet, these drinks started the night off right.

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Rambutan Mojito – Native to Southeast Asia and most similar to tropical lychee, the rambutan fruit has a hydrating juicy flesh full of Vitamin C and copper, which help your body flush out toxins and free radicals. This subtly tart mojito was super refreshing.

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Appetizers –

Heaven Roll – Cool chilled rice paper rolls of tofu (omitted), shrimp, bean sprout and fresh basil leaves, served with a sweet vinaigrette sauce. These were tightly bundled and full of freshly crisp veggies and shrimp.

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Noodle Shrimp Tempura – Lightly fried shrimp wrapped with bacon and crispy egg noodle served with house plum sauce. This was our favorite! We loved the unique take on traditional tempura. Definitely not a date night dish though- this one got messy! We loved how “nouveau” this dish was.

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Green Papaya Salad – Shredded green papaya, carrots, tomato, and fresh green beans add spice from fresh Thai chili tossed with spicy lime sauce and sprinkled with ground peanuts. Definitely bright and fresh while cleansing on the palate.

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Entrees –

Tiger in Bangkok – Grilled sliced marinated tender sirloin steak, tossed with rice powder, onion, cucumber, cilantro in spicy lime dressing. This beef salad was absolutely delicious, but the coolest part was the rice powder- rice roasted and ground up into tiny, smokey crystals- offering another flavor dimension. It gave the seasoning of salt, without heavily adding sodium.

Shrimp & Clam Pineapple Curry – Sauteed shrimp and clam, fresh pineapple, kaffir lime leaves, bell peppers in red curry sauce. Always a favorite, this creamy tropical curry seems to taste even better in the summer with the freshest of pineapples! Full of flavor and fat, plump shrimp.

Ok, we might have stayed for dessert too…

Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango – This is a favorite for the gluten-free peeps. It was my first time experiencing the “warming effect” of sweet sticky rice (similar to the feeling you get when you eat bread-pudding). This dessert was creatively displayed, with the mango sliced magically thin and then formed into a heart!

Coconut Ice Cream – made in-house with young coconuts and fresh jackfruit. Topped with crushed nuts, mint, and a drizzle of chocolate, I could eat this every day!

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Lotus Thai
3761 6th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92103
619-299-8272

Happy Hours:
5pm-7pm everyday

Don’t miss the: Noodle tempura shrimp!

Take-away tip: Seek out a modern spin on traditional dishes, they tend to be fresher (and healthier!).

Thank you to Lotus Thai for hosting this week’s Happy Hour Made Healthy!

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For the past couple weeks I’ve been putting together meal plans for my run group BFF, Gary.  He was looking to shed some lb’s before his first full Ironman in November and so far he’s been really successful in doing so!  This is one of the dishes I had him make for a dinner, and I finally got around to making it myself.  Luckily, it was good :-)

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Soba Noodle Salad with Spinach, Sesame Seeds, Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Shrimp
Serves 2
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 package soba noodles, cooked
4 cups spinach
2 cup shaved Brussels sprouts
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. soy sauce
1 Tbsp. sesame seeds
24 medium shrimp
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Clean and devein shrimp. Cook over stove-top until cooked through.
  2. In the meantime, follow the instructions for the soba noodles. Drain and rinse with cool water. Refrigerate until chilled.
  3. In a medium bowl, toss the noodles with the spinach, Brussels sprouts, sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds and kale.
  4. Top with shrimp and serve.

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