Category Archives: Recipes

Why Cafeteria Food was the Best

Has anyone else got a case of the Monday’s today?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m feeling like the biggest struggle-face in the world right now.  And it’s on days like today that I miss the good old college days of eating in the cafeteria <– never thought I’d say that.  Ha!

While cafeteria food was never all that delicious, it was hot and (usually) fresh, with the added bonus of requiring little to no brain power or physical energy to procure my evening meal.

The Beauty of the Caf

Even with my knees wrapped up in ice bags, after practice I could easily stumble the 100 yards from the training room, say hello to every Bruin’s favorite cashier on campus (Miss Tanya) as I swipe my meal card, grab a tray, and pray to God that they have chicken fingers tonight.

Ah yes….  That was the life….

Now though, life looks a little different.  Scratch that.  Life looks A LOT different.

A Wake Up Call

Once you leave college, that’s it.  No more cafeteria.  No more coddling.  You’re dropped into the real world where you have to do EVERYTHING for yourself now, and it can be a brutal fall from what you thought was reality.

One of those reality checks is doing all your own cooking, and if you’re like me, you’re the only one you’re cooking for – what I’m discovering to be both a blessing and a curse.

– A blessing because I don’t have to worry about other mouthes to feed.  Just mine.  And the cat’s.  But she doesn’t really count.

– A curse because when I’m tired and cranky and just want the day to END ALREADY (kinda like today), then fast food suddenly becomes the best idea ever!

But not really.  I know it isn’t a good idea, but my glucose deprived brain and general shitty mood try to convince the health-conscious part of me otherwise.

So how does a girl get herself home without stopping at the drive thru?  Well I have two methods that have worked pretty well for me recently.

Let Someone Else Do the Work 

One option – get your butt to the Whole Foods salad bar.  It’s like your college dorm’s cafeteria but way better (pretty sure WF people would be insulted if they read that but whatevs – you get the picture).

You have the option to create a delicious salad from the massive salad bar, or you can choose from their pre-prepared hot foods.  It’s a win no matter what you go with!

Make a “Semi-Homemade” Meal

My other option is to whip up something real quick at home with only a few ingredients.

[By the way, if you're cooking for a family, then this is probably the better option since the Whole Foods salad bar can get a bit pricey for more than 2 people.]

This chicken stuffed sweet potato is tweaked based on a few different recipes, so you may not find this exact version on the internet anywhere.  However, you’ll find similar stuff from Dr. Oz and PaleOMG.

It’s also perfect for a day where you’ve got a case of the Monday’s cause most of the main ingredients are ready to use (rotisserie chicken, pre-washed spinach, and you can even buy pre-chopped peppers!).

Simple.  Delicious.  Almost as easy as cafeteria food.  :)

<3 Lauren

Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, roughly the same size
  • 2 c shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 2 bags pre-washed spinach (can use 1 bunch instead)
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute, to taste
  • 1 bell pepper, any color & cut into thin strips
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the sweet potatoes in the microwave following these awesome directions.  Allow to cool, and cut each potato in half.

While potatoes are cooking, heat coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the peppers and saute for a few minutes until they soften.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted.  Season with salt and pepper.

Season the shredded chicken with TJ’s 21 Seasoning Salute and combine with the spinach and peppers mix.

Slightly mash the insides of each potato half and top with the chicken and veggie mixture.  Serve up immediately and enjoy!

Easy Peasy Chicken Fajitas

Can I just say that it is SO nice having a “big” kitchen again??

I’m not sure if I ever really posted a picture of my kitchen in NYC, but the only counter space I had was consumed by the microwave.

When I needed to use a cutting board, I had to place it over the kitchen sink because there wasn’t room for it anywhere else!  Lol!

In my new place here in AZ though, there is counter space galore!

All that room has me reenergized to cook again and spend more time in general in the kitchen trying out recipes.

This is always good news for you guys, because I’m no recipe scrooge.  When I find something I like, I LOVE to share it.  Which is what I’m doing here today!

**Side note: as part of my new program Carb Rehab (goes on sale next week) you’ll get several yummy recipes!  So keep an eye out for it!

Anyway, these fajitas were something I whipped up real quick one evening, and they made for a fast, filling, guilt-free dinner.  I’ll take that any day of the week, wouldn’t you??

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

easy peasy fajitas
(most of) The fajitas ingredients… the pepper and garlic were
thrown in at the spur of the moment.  I live on the edge like that.

Easy Peasy Chicken Fajitas
makes 2 servings

2 chicken breasts, cooked and sliced (here I used pre-cooked Trader Joe’s chicken breasts to save time)
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, halved &sliced
1 green bell pepper, halved & sliced
10 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned & sliced (here I used the pre-washed and sliced kind from Trader’s Joes)
1 Tbs ground cumin
1 Tbs chili powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes (less or more to taste)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 avocado, pitted & sliced
6-8 Romaine leaves, rinsed & patted dry
1/4 c black olives, chopped

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the onions and mushrooms to the skillet.  Saute until onions begin to soften, then add the pepper.  Continue to cook until mushrooms are browned, about 10-12 minutes total.

Throw in the cooked chicken and seasonings.  Stir to combine and leave pan on the burner that you just turned down to medium low until chicken is heated through.

Serve the fajitas with romaine leaves instead of tortillas as a low carb meal.  Top with avocado, salsa, and black olives.  Note:  If you opt for carbs/tortillas, omit the avocado and use corn tortillas (warm em up too!).

<3 Lauren

Who Else Wants Egg on their Plate?

I love breakfast (could you tell from this post?).

In fact I’ve never met a breakfast recipe that I won’t make at least once – even a kimchi omelet was surprisingly killer!

My appetite is also huge – a wimpy serving of cereal or coffee and a grapefruit just won’t cut it.  This girl needs PROTEIN and lots of it in the morning (veggies and some carbs like oatmeal/potatoes/fruit works for me too).  Otherwise I turn into a giant Cranky-Pants McGee by about 10:30am.

Ahhh!  That reminds me!   Remember the “My New Haircut” guy?!?!?!  My need for protein was once compared his, lol!  If you haven’t seen it, the video is below.  He gets to protein around the 1:40 mark…

(NOTE: if language offends you, don’t even click it and if you’re at work – HEADPHONES)


Anyway, this weekend I was playing with various frittata recipes, subtracting some ingredients, adding my own and playing with the ratio of filling to eggs and I ended up with this beauty.

It only seemed right to share the recipe and a few tempting photos.

So here you go.  You can thank me later between forkfuls of eggy deliciousness.

[Oh and unfortunately I don't remember who's recipe I saw that put thyme in their frittata but THANK YOU for doing it.  I think it's the key to an effing perfect frittata.]

photo (6)The frittata says, “You know you want me.  Tonight.  For dinner.”


Potato, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper Frittata

2 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
6 new potatoes, diced (can also use red potatoes)
1 can TJ’s fire roasted red peppers, diced (or just 2 roasted red peppers but I like the TJ’s flavor)
2 tsp fresh thyme
3 oz crumbled feta
8 eggs, beaten
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.

Heat oil over med to med high heat in oven-safe skillet (mine is a 10″ skillet). Saute onions until translucent.  Add potatoes to the skillet, season with S&P to taste, and saute until they’re cooked through and beginning to brown.

Toss the peppers and thyme into the mix, and saute 1-2 min.

photo (2)All the veggies happily cooking away.

Add eggs and stir mixture until eggs are evenly distributed throughout pan (you don’t want them chilling on top of the veggies.

Sprinkle feta over the top of the mix. Cook for about 5 min or less WITHOUT STIRRING until eggs are set on the bottom.

photo (3)Eggs just added and topped with feta.  Give
em a few minutes here to set on the bottom.

Put the pan in the oven carefully and let them finish (5-10 min) until eggs are cooked/set all the way through and it’s beginning to pull away from sides of pan.  Let it cool for several minutes, then dive in.

photo (4)
Waiting is the hardest part.

photo (5)Even though I was cooking for the week,
I had to enjoy a test slice :)

Enjoy it!  It’s the perfect weeknight meal, but it also would be great for a weekend breakfast/brunch or something to take with you to work for lunch with a green salad.

Leave a Y in the comments if you plan to make this sometime before 2013 ends (you really should… you’re doing yourself a disservice otherwise… just sayin… :) )

<3 Lauren

There are Two Kinds of People in the World – Which are You?

My PhD advisor was fan of corny jokes and witty statements.  Oh and whistling, too.

But sadly, his whistling wasn’t as awesome as he thought and neither were his jokes.  (don’t worry he knew they were bad)

The joke I’m about to share with you is one of his favorites.  He used to say it all the time in lectures and our group meetings.

“You know, there are two types of people in the world:  Those that put everyone into two groups and those that do not.”

…[dramatic pause for effect]…

See?  Just the kind of joke a nerd would tell and that other nerds would laugh and roll their eyes at.  Clever but not all that hilarious :)

The point of telling you this painful “joke” is because I, like my advisor, believe that…there are two kinds of people in the world:

those that  love breakfast and those that do not.

I take after my mom in that I am a breakfast lover.  Majorly!!   It’s by far my favorite meal of the day, and I could seriously eat breakfast for all meals of the day.  It’s that exciting to me!

Plus, breakfast is a critical piece of your day when you’ve got “get in shape” goals like I do.

What you eat in the morning

  • dictates how hungry you feel later in the day
  • if you end up craving all sorts of junk later
  • breaks your overnight fast and can lower cortisol (depending on what you eat)


To this end, I’ve found the best combination of foodage on your plate in the morning is protein, fibrous veggies, and a few starchy carbs.

Even is you’re not a breakfast lover, it’s still important to get a food combo like this in the morning!


Which kind are you?

My guess is that I’m not the only one out there that loves a heaping plate of deliciousness in the morning, so I wanted to share a couple recipes that I thought you might like.  They keep me on track for my fitness goals…  they’re delicious… and most importantly they keep me full!!

So decide which kind of person you are then make the appropriate recipe below.  Or make them both cause they’re that damn delicious.  And because they’re both perfect for your on-the-go lifestyle.


For breakfast lovers…


Veggie Heaven Breakfast Quiche

  • 1 cup riced cauliflower
  • Several sprinkles of parm cheese
  • 2 12oz cartons egg whites (you won’t need it all)
  • 2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 oz button mushrooms, diced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 green pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a bowl, mix riced cauliflower with a couple of splashes of egg whites (enough to get the cauliflower a little sticky), a sprinkle of parm cheese, and a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.  Divide the riced cauliflower mixture evenly between wells in a large, greased muffin tin (6 muffins per tin).  Bake at 400F for 10-15 min or until cauliflower “crust” is lightly browned.  Allow to cool slightly.

Lower oven temp to 350F.  Heat olive oil over medium heat and saute mushrooms, yellow onions and green peppers until onions and peppers soften and mushrooms are brown.  Season with 1 tsp chili powder, S&P to taste, and then add garlic and green onions.   Cook until garlic is fragrant, and remove from stove top.

Divide vegetable mixture evenly between muffin cups.  Fill muffin cups with egg whites to the top of each cup.  Bake your personal quiches at 350F for 15-20 min or until eggs are set.  Allow quiches to set for 15 min before removing from tin.  Run a butter knife around the edges of each quiche to loosen before removing it from the tin.  Serve immediately with a side of oat bran or quinoa made with almond milk, or wrap in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Serves 6.  Or if you have a big appetite like I do, serves 3 :)

Note: you can make this in a regular muffin tin too, just keep a closer eye on the eggs as they bake.  They probably won’t need to go as long.


For everyone else (psh – for anyone really cause it’s friggin delicious)…

 Two Kinds of People - Shake

Apple Pie Smoothie

  • 1 1/2 scoops of Vega One All-in-One Shake, Vanilla Chai flavor
  • 8 oz almond milk
  • 1 Tbs acacia powder or other fiber supplement  (there are no veggies in this shake and fiber keeps me fuller longer – CAUTION: to avoid GI distress work up to 1 Tbs if you don’t typically take a fiber supp)
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • 2 Tbs almond butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • ~1/2 cup ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!  If you like a thicker smoothie, add more ice.


Now you have a job to do.  Let me know 2 things in the comments:

1.  What kind of person are you?

2.  Which recipe are you gonna make this week?

<3 Lauren


Recipe Time: Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken “Pasta”

I know many of you out there don’t just cook for yourself.  You’re cooking for significant others, family members, or roommates, too.

This can make it tough when you want to change up your diet on your quest to get back in shape.   Sometimes the others in the house are not willing to partake of all the food on your menu.  When this happens, what options do you have for dinnertime?

Well one option is to be sure you always have a lean protein and veggie somewhere in your meal.  Load up your plate with the veggies and the protein and pass on the starchy carbs like bread, potatoes, rice, or pasta.

Ahhh pasta.  How I miss it.  That and bread are the two starchy carbs that I really wish I ate more often.  Recently I’ve noticed my body isn’t a fan of flour based products (maybe a gluten issue), so I’ve been trying to avoid stuff that is made of flour.  Le sigh….

Anyway, every once in a while I get a massive craving for something that looks/feels like pasta.  While spaghetti squash is a great option for this, many days I don’t have time to cook the squash and whatever is going with it.  So for this meal, and many others in the past, I opted for these gems called shiritaki noodles.

Cut carbs with shiritaki noodles

These things are amazing.  Seriously.  If you’ve never heard of them you should visit the Miracle Noodle website (my fav brand) and read up on them.

Essentially, shiritaki noodles are made from a plant-based fiber, and they have no calories (no sugar, starch, gluten, protein, soy, etc.).  So they really are a guilt-free alternative to any sort of pasta, and they make the noodles into all different shapes and sizes.   ((my favorite are the angel hair and rice))

Oh, you can find shiritaki noodles online of course (cheaper option), but if you just want to try them real quick, you can find them at most health food stores.

Because they don’t really require any cooking (just VERY thorough rinsing then warming), you’re not dirtying any other pans to get them to your plate.  All you do is open the bag (don’t smell the water they’re packaged in please… it smells like funky fish, is just weird but normal and a good rinse takes all the funny smell away) and drain then rinse the noodles.  You can do this while the pasta for everyone else is boiling away and your sauce is simmering  :)

So on to the actual recipe.  It took me a little over 30 minutes to pull together the sauce and the chicken.  If you start the water boiling for the family’s pasta early, you won’t have an issue getting it ready to go in about 30.  Yay for easy and tasty meals!  And yay for a delicious, veggie based pasta sauce!  It’s one more way I like to sneak veggies into my meals.

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta

Pasta of your choice, enough for everyone else you’re cooking for
1 bag shiritaki noodles (it’s 1 bag per person that’s gonna eat them)

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil)
1 chicken breast per person you’re feeding
s&p OR Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute (<- delicious stuff!)

Sauce (makes 3-4 servings)
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cans roasted red peppers, peeled and roughly chopped
~1/2 c no/lo sodium chicken stock
10 basil leaves, torn or 1/2-1 tsp dried basil
s&p to taste

Preheat oven to 350F and get a pot of water heating for your pasta.  Heat the 2 Tbs olive oil over medium high heat, and season chicken on both sides with s&p or TJ’s 21 SS.  Sear chicken breasts on both sides then place on baking sheet in oven for 15-20 min or until internal temperature reaches 160F (aka until it’s done :) ).  Remove chicken from oven and transfer to plate to let meat rest.

Drop your pasta in the boiling water sometime around now.

To prep the sauce – to the pan that the chicken was cooked in, add an additional 2-3 Tbs olive oil and onions and saute over medium heat until soften.  Add garlic and saute an additional 2 minutes.  To the pan, add the chopped red peppers and heat through.  Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender (or use an immersion blender), and pulse the mix until you’ve got this beautiful red and still kinda lumpy looking sauce.  Put the sauce back in the skillet, add the chicken stock to loosen the sauce to the desired consistency.  Then toss in the basil and bring the mix to an easy simmer.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Slice chicken breasts and stir into sauce.

Drain the pasta.  Drain and thoroughly rinse the shiritaki noodles.  Put the pasta on the plates, top with the sauce/chicken combo.  Sit at table and savor the tasty stuff on your plate.  Smile.  Belch.  Oh, wait, don’t belch.  Or if you do, say excuse me at least.  We’re trying to be civilized here!  Anyway, I hope you like it :)

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Pasta

Quick hint:  boneless, skinless chicken breasts can easily dry out when you’re cooking them up. This method of searing first then finishing in the oven is one of the BEST ways I’ve found to keep the juices locked inside.  So cook em that way and the other peeps at dinner will marvel at how juicy the chicken is.  Trust me, they will…. :D

Hope you enjoy it!  Let me know in the comments how you get around the different tastes/food needs of the people in your house :)

<3, Lauren

Apple-icious Recipes that You’ve Gotta Make Today

The arrival of Labor Day typically signals the end of summer, and while I’m not happy to see the end of the season, I’m still pretty excited for the next one!

To me fall means many things – sweatshirts, back to school shopping (it’s the perfect time to go buy more pens!  –> if you don’t know this yet, I’m obsessed with ink-based writing utensils), the return of football season (GO COLTS!!), leaves changing colors, and Thanksgiving — which means all sorts of delicious foods!!

Something else that fall brings is apple season, and guess what??  I went apple picking for the first time ever this weekend!!  Sooo much fun and definitely something worth doing again!

Anyway, after spending a few hours wandering the orchard, I ended up with more apples than I knew what to do with.  So into the kitchen I went!  I made some applesauce that can be used in all sorts of ways, apple chips (dried them in the oven), sautéed apples & onions,  strawberry jam and apple fries.  There was no way I could keep the tasty info to myself, so I thought I’d share it with you all.  The results, recipes and a few photos are below!  Try them and let me know what you think!


All Apple Applesauce  (SUPER versatile recipe!)

[Confession:  For many years after high school, I hated applesauce cause I had it in my lunch every day.  But I got over it when I made my own for the first time using this recipe].

What you’ll need:
Apples – any variety, up to ~5lbs

Put about an inch of water in a large pot and add a pinch of salt.  Core, peel (if you don’t have a food mill or you don’t like peel in your applesauce), and chop apples.  Place in pot, cover, and turn heat to medium.  When water is boiling, remove the lid and cook until apples are soft, about 30 minutes.  If you want a smooth applesauce, pass the mixture through a food mill; otherwise, mash the mix with a potato masher and let cool.


Random thoughts for you:
You can add so many things to this basic recipe to jazz it up a little – not that it needs anything cause it’s beautiful the way it is!  But if you want to try something a little different my favorites are roasted garlic and then use as a topping/sauce for your protein at dinner, or you can add dried chipotle powder for a little spicy/smoky/sweet deal.  And of course, cinnamon is always a classic addition.

My favorite way to store whatever I won’t use in the next few days?  Pour into ice cube trays and freeze solid.  This can be especially useful if you want the appley goodness in your protein smoothies.  Just substitute ice for applesauce cubes!  They’re also a great way to keep the A-sauce cold in your lunch box – toss a few into a container the night before and stick it in the fridge.  The next day you’ll have your delicious applesauce no longer in cube form. ;)

A couple of uses for this applesauce:
-Spread onto toast (if you eat toast)
-Mix into cottage cheese or yogurt for a quick breakfast/snack – a favorite of mine!
-Put into your protein shake
-Side dish at lunch or dinner (play with the flavors to match the meal)



Apple Chips

What you’ll need:
Apples – as many as you’d like
Lemon water (1:10 mix of lemon to water to keep apples from browning)

Preheat oven to 225F.  Core and cut the apples into thin, even slices using a mandolin if possible.  Toss the slices into lemon water while you lightly oil a baking sheet (I used coconut oil).  Remove the apples from the lemon water and pat dry.  Place slices on baking sheet and dry in the oven for 2-3 hours until crispy.  Turn the oven off/on to keep apple slices from browning.  Once completely dry, store apples in airtight container.

Apple Chips
Pshh, who needs a dehydrator??

Random thoughts for you:
Sooo this was less of a success than I’d hoped for for a couple reasons.  #1 – I didn’t use a mandolin, so some slices were done way before the others.  If you’ve got a mandolin, I’d take the time to use it.  #2 – I didn’t keep a close enough eye on them so they ended up way more brown than I’d like.  Thankfully though, they still taste great and the brown color doesn’t bother me.  So if you’ve got a dehydrator, I’d use it, but otherwise, the oven is a fine substitute.  Just watch the slices if you don’t want them brown.



Sautéed Apples and Onions

What you’ll need:
1 apple (any variety), cored and thinly sliced
1/2 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
~2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Add onions and cook for 5-7 min until translucent.  Add apples and cover, stirring every few minutes until apples are soft.  Remove from heat.  Use this sweet and tangy combo to top your favorite protein or salad.  Sooo good!!

Sauteed apples and onions

Random thoughts for you:
I’ve got nothing.  Just make it and eat it!



Apple Fries

What you’ll need:
2 apples, sliced into matchsticks or “fries”
1 c coconut flour, plus 1 c for dredging
1 tsp baking powder
Salt & pepper
1 egg
3/4 c sparkling water
Coconut oil for frying

In a bowl, combine 1 c coconut flour with the baking powder and S&P.  Whisk in the egg and sparkling water until the mixture resembles pancake batter, BUT DON’T OVERMIX (trust me on this one….)  Heat 2 inches of coconut oil to 350F.  Dredge apples in flour, then dip into batter and place in oil.  Be sure not to over-crowd the pan; you may need to work in batches.  Fry the apples for 2-3 minutes or until golden.  Remove from heat and drain on paper towels.  Season drained fries with a touch of S&P and serve immediately.

Apple Fries

Random thoughts for you:
This recipe was less of a success than I’d hoped it would be.  The batter didn’t cling to the apple slices very well, so I ended up with apples slices with a few specks of flour/batter on them and tons of batter in the oil.  The fries still tasted delicious but in the future I might forego the batter all together and do a coconut flour – egg wash – coconut flour  breading.  I think that might stick to the fries a little better.   Last thought – instead of S&P, you could always add a little xylitol to the coconut flour to sweeten it up and make them dessert fries instead of savory.  Now THAT sounds yummy!



No-Sugar Added Strawberry Jam

What you’ll need:
2 lbs fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/4 c grated apple (use biggest holes on a box grater)
1/4 c water

Heat the berries, apple, water and a pinch of salt in a wide, shallow skillet over medium heat.  Once the mixture boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture thickens (about 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Mash the mixture with a potato masher and continue to cook for another 10-15 min.  Remove from heat and let jam cool.  Mixture will thicken on standing.  Store in airtight container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Random thoughts for you:
Wanna know a cool thing about this recipe?  The pectin in the apple acts as the thickener for the jam!  That’s why there’s no need to add any powdered thickeners!  I’m all for using as few processed ingredients as possible, so when I got this recipe to work, I was pretty pumped!  Oh also, this recipe can be made with or without added sweetener.  I prefer to make it without but if you like it sweeter, I’d toss in a 1/4 c xylitol or other natural sweetener like stevia into the skillet at the beginning.  But I think the way it’s made is plenty sweet enough :)


Well that is all the deliciousness I have to share with you today.  I hope as summer turns into fall you can give one of these a try and let me know what you think!

<3, Lauren

Recipe of the Month: Happy Summer Salad

Oh man, I’m SO excited!  Memorial Day is finally here, which means we are on the cusp of a 3 day weekend!  Yayayayay!

For a lot of people this 3 day weekend means they will be cooking out, and this can present all sorts of challenges for folks trying to eat for fat loss.  There’s always so much tasty food at cookouts, and no one wants to feel deprived by not eating anything while you’re there.

I know my FAVORITE part of cook-outs are the hot dogs… and potato chips… OH and the beer!

One of my strategies for NOT stuffing my face with hot dogs, chips and beer till I’m full (which is what I really want to do) is to bring something that I know I can eat tons of.  Then I can have plenty of that and piece on the other stuff.

My mentor Jill Coleman (@jillfit – go follow her on Twitter cause she shares tons of good info!) likes to talk about playing “dessert defense” where she brings a fat loss friendly (and tasty) dessert to parties.  I think the principle can be applied to any food, and it works for me so I use it  :)

Today I give you a modified version of a favorite salad from my childhood.  I’m calling it a Happy Summer Salad because, well, my mom usually made it in the summer!  And it tastes good.  And makes my belly happy.  Therefore, Happy Summer Salad.

It makes 8-10 servings, if your portions are on the small side.  If you have dairy issues, use almond cheese (I personally like the Daiya brand) instead of the mozzarella.

Also, this recipe is for a salad as a side dish.  If you want to make it into a main dish, dice 3 cooked chicken breasts, increase the coconut milk to a full can, and now it’s a main dish!

Make it and enjoy!  Then let me know if/how you tweak it :)

Recipe for a Happy Summer Salad

Happy Summer Salad

-1 head cauliflower, grated with biggest holes on box grater
-1 large broccoli crown, diced (you want about a 50/50 mix of broccoli and cauliflower, so you may need a 2nd broccoli crown)
-1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
-1 cup mozzarella cheese or 1 cup Daiya almond cheese mozzarella flavor if you’re watching dairy
-3/4 of a 16oz can light coconut milk
-packet of Hidden Valley ranch dressing seasoning mix

Add the light coconut milk (start with 3/4 of the can) to a large mixing bowl, and stir in the entire packet of ranch seasoning.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

The mix should seem “damp” – I’m not using the word “moist” cause I know it freaks some people out… but oops, just said it :D .

Serve immediately, but it’s best if you stick it in the fridge for at least an hour to let the flavors really seep into the veggies :)

Happy Memorial Day!  And don’t forget to thank the men and women who serve our country – the reason for this season ;)

Remember, let me know how you like the Happy Summer Salad!
<3, Lauren