Friday, March 29, 2013

Halibut with Roasted Beets

When I first looked at the title and ingredients in this recipe, I was hesitant. Halibut? Good! Spinach? Good! Beets? Goooood! But together? I wasn't so sure. I've have never thought of beets and seafood going together. I persevered though, as I was determined to try every recipe in this cleanse, and I was having fun trying recipes that I normally would have passed over because they sounded boring, or were something that I knew Ron wouldn't eat. Luckily, this recipe proved to be a winner. The combination of the mild fish, the sweet beets, and the spinach proved to be a really tasty combination! I used cod in place of halibut due to price, but any similar fish would do. I served this over brown rice because I wanted my meal to be a little more substantial, but you could serve it without any accompaniment, or serve it with any other whole grain. I imagine it would go well with quinoa, or farro, or whatever whole grain you happen to have on hand.

Halibut with Roasted Beets
Serves 1

2 cups chopped spinach (or Kale or Swiss Chard)
1/2 cup roasted beets, diced*
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 5-oz skinless halibut filet (or similar fish such as cod, flounder, sole or tilapia)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a small baking dish, toss together the spinach, beets, olive oil, salt and pepper.
2. Whisk together the mustard and olive oil in a small bowl. Season the fish with salt and pepper, lay the fish on the beets and greens, and spread the mustard mixture on top of the fish. Cover with foil and bake 20-25 min until fish is cooked through.
3. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

*To roast beets, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets in foil. Then roast for about an hour, until tender. Let cool off, and then dice.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa

Another of my favorites from week 2 of the Whole Living Action Plan, these roasted vegetables were so filling and flavorful! Seriously guys, this dish was so good! I love butternut squash and Brussels sprouts already, and roasting them is definitely the way to go, but tossing them with smoked paprika gives the vegetables another amazing layer of flavor. Smoked paprika has to be one of my favorite spices ever, but I don't cook with it nearly enough. The sauce that is mixed with this dish, and then served on top is also a wonderful thing! Who would have thought the combination of tahini, apple cider vinegar and some herbs could be so wonderful. I love all those flavors separately, but I never would have thought to put them together. Definitely a winning dish!

Roasted Vegetables with Quinoa
Serves 2

3 cups butternut squash, diced
2 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 clove garlic
2 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup cooked Quinoa
2 1/2 cups baby spinach, divided

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and on the baking sheet toss together the butternut squash, olive oil or coconut oil, salt, pepper. and smoked paprika. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until cooked through and golden brown.
2. To make the sauce, add the garlic, tahini, vinegar, olive oil, water, chives, parsley and cilantro to a food processor. Pulse together until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Toss the roasted vegetables, Quinoa and 2 Tbsp of the sauce together in a large bowl.
4. To serve, toss each serving with 1 1/4 cups baby spinach. Drizzle with remaining sauce, to taste.

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

Smoked Paprika previously: Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Skewers with Smoky Paprika Glaze

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Black Bean-Brown Rice Patties

Happy weekend everyone! I hope spring has started well for you all.  It's still quite cold here in CT and it'll be a few weeks more before we actually start feeling any spring-like weather, but for now I'm enjoying the lengthening of days and searching for signs of buds and shoots pushing up from the earth. It looks like we possibly might have snow on Monday, and honesty, that doesn't bother me at all. That's just one of the things I expect from living in New England. The snow this winter has not burnt me out yet! 

These patties are a wonderful light, but hearty meal, that are one of my top contenders for my favorite recipe of the cleanse. I served mine with romaine lettuce drizzled with olive oil and lime juice, with some buttery avocado and cilantro on top. I didn't even miss having a bun for these patties. The only issue was that they were a bit dry, so maybe next time I'd add a little bit more oil, or possibly bake them a bit less.  Regardless of this though, they were fabulous!

Black Bean-Brown Rice Patties

Makes 6 Patties (Serves 2-3)

1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 3/4 cup cooked brown rice (For reference, 1/2 cup uncooked rice will yield about 1 1/2 cups cooked rice)
2 scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1 Tbsp flaxmeal
1 tsp ground cumin
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Coarse salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Add all ingredients to food processor, and pulse until combined. Season to taste with salt.
3. Form 6 patties, about 1-inch thick. Place patties on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake about 20-minutes, until the tops are crisp and golden.

You can serve these plain if you'd like, but they are fabulous with a few extras- some ideas: lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lime.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew

I wanted to share with you one more of my favorite meals from week 1 of the Whole Living 2013 Action Plan. This red lentil and sweet potato stew is so flavorful and exciting it is hard to believe that it is incredibly healthy for you. Full of fragrant spices, sweet peppers and sweet potatoes, and those wonderful red lentils, this is something I see myself making time and time again. It was one of my favorite meals of the whole cleanse. Speaking of- I completed it this past Saturday! It was a wonderful experience and something I could see myself doing once a year! That said, I did indulge in pretty much everything that was off-limits on Sunday. I probably should have eased back in to eating gluten, dairy, meat, sugar, and coffee, but I couldn't help myself!  I needed that large coffee, bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, and those chocolate stout cupcakes! I do plan on keeping up with the healthy eating most of the time however, with only occasional splurge meals.

I'll definitely be sharing a few more of my favorite meals from the Action Plan, so stay tuned!  And then, once I update you on those healthy recipes I want to share with you the recipe for the chocolate stout cupcakes I made for St. Patrick's Day (aka the BEST chocolate cupcakes in the world), and also a recipe for an awesome Buffalo Chicken Salad.

One more thing I wanted to share- my best friend (who I did this cleanse with, and whose Maid of Honor I'll be in her November wedding) just started her own blog, Living Life Brightly, and would love for you to check it out! She has a great write-up on her experience with the Whole Living Action Plan over there!

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Stew
Serves 4

2 Tbsp coconut or extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp curry powder
1 large onion, diced
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 1/2 cups red lentils, rinsed
6 cups cleansing broth or vegetable broth
Fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Over medium heat, heat oil in a large pot. Add cumin, turmeric and curry powder and cook about 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Add onion and a few pinches of salt, and cook about 6 minutes until tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic and ginger and cook about 2 minutes, until tender, stirring frequently. Add sweet potatoes and red bell peppers, and cook for a minute.
2. Add lentils and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20-25 minutes until lentils are tender.Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with cilantro.

Source: Whole Living Magazine, January/February 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Roasted Beets on Greens

My mom always says that when I was a baby I LOVED beets. I have to laugh when I think about how much of a mess I must have made trying to eat beets- the stains that must have resulted from that! Nowadays I still love beets, but it is so rare that I actually eat them.

Ron is so picky about vegetables that I pretty much stick to those he'll eat- lettuce, peppers, onions, cucumbers, mushrooms (I know- not technically a vegetable)... This is another reason that I've been enjoying this detox- I actually have a reason to buy vegetables I don't usually purchase, and it has also allowed me to make some things for myself that I wouldn't ordinarily have made, as I try to cook things that Ron will eat as well. This has allowed me to discover some really great recipes, and also has inspired me to seek out more variation in meals (such as lunch) that I am only cooking for myself.

These roasted beets on green were great! At first glance I did not think this recipe would satisfy me, but the amount of food is deceptive. I also was a little leery of using the fennel seeds and caraway seeds in the vinaigrette as they are not (or at least I thought they weren't) my favorite flavors, but I ended up loving the flavors in this. I had this as a lunch the first week of the detox, but it could also work as a side dish to a more substantial main dish if you cut down the portions.

Roasted Beets on Greens
Serves 4 (as a main)

2 bunches beets, trimmed
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tsp honey
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp caraway seeds
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups baby spinach, divided
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, divided
Thinly sliced red onion

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap beet in tinfoil, and roast for about an hour, until tender. Remove from oven, let cool, and then peel the beets and dice them.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, garlic, fennel, and caraway seeds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the beets to the bowl, and toss together.
3. To serve, toss each serving of beets with 1 cup of baby spinach and 1/4 cup of parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with slices of red onion.

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Cauliflower "Rice" Stir-Fry

Wow! I really didn't mean to go so long without posting! Time is speeding by, and I just can't keep up with it. How is it already March?!  Soon buds will be sprouting on the trees, flowers will be blooming, I'll be able to open the windows in my apartment, and I'll be able to go outside without a coat. It's insane how time is speeding by.

Anyway.... As I mentioned in one of my last posts, my best friend and I decided to do the Whole Living Cleanse as a healthy living challenge and we are currently about 2/3 into it! It's been hard at times (the beginning especially), but really good! I'm definitely feeling healthier and have even dropped a few pounds! The cleanse has you omit certain things from your diet- dairy, gluten, meat, processed foods, added sugar, alcohol and coffee. The things I'm struggling the most with are not drinking coffee, and my cravings for salty things and carbs. I really haven't been craving sugar at all, and I'm doing fine without the meat and dairy. This cleanse has made me realize just how much mindless snacking I do in my everyday life- I realize that I just reach for a handful of this here, and a handful of that there and it really adds up, so I think this cleanse has been great as it has made me be mindful of what enters my body. I can definitely see myself keeping up with this way of eating in some capacity when it is finished. Limiting my intake of processed foods and added sugars especially. I will definitely be getting a cup of coffee as soon as this is done however- I think the research on the benefits of coffee supports me on that too :)

So doing this cleanse has definitely been not quite as hard as it could be due to the mostly delicious recipes it has encompassed. I wanted to share some of my favorites here, but go to the website for the remainder!!  My favorite of the first week was this cauliflower "rice" stir-fry. I loved using the cauliflower as a rice substiiute! I've seen this done, but have never tried it myself. Of course it doesn't taste quite like rice, but it is super delicious and if you looking at lowering your carb intake, this is a great way to do it.

Cauliflower "Rice" Stir-Fry
Serves 2

2 cups cauliflower florets
2 Tbsp coconut or extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 sliced red onion, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
Coarse salt
1/4 cup cleansing broth, or vegetable broth
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1 small red chile, thinly sliced
2 cups broccoli florets
1 large carrot, julienned
1/2 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp shelled pumpkin seeds
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves

1. In a food processor pulse cauliflower florets until finely chopped.
2. In a large skillet, heat one Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Add half of the onion and half of the garlic, and cook about 6 minutes, until tender, stirring frequently. Add cauliflower. Season with salt. Add broth, and place cover on pan. Steam about 6 minutes until the cauliflower is tender, and the broth has evaporated. Remove to a bowl and cover to keep warm.
3. Wipe out pan, and add remaining oil. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add remaining onion, and cook about 5 minutes until tender. Add remaining garlic, ginger, and chile, and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccoli, carrot and red pepper, and cook about 5 minutes, until tender, stirring occasionally. Season to taste with salt.
4. Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
5. When serving, sprinkle pumpkin seeds and cilantro on top of the stir-fry.

Source: Whole Living, January/February 2013