Mar 292016
 

After a friend’s bachelorette party in Austin (read: bbq and booze) and a few too many chocolate Easter Eggs (OK, it was a lot of eggs), my body was desperate for something green. And it doesn’t get much greener than these Cucumber Sesame Noodles with Scallions, Asparagus, and Edamame.
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This dish makes the perfect side dish or vegetarian main. I personally think it’s easier than traditional sesame noodles since there’s no cooking/noodle boiling involved. The sauce is creamy, spicy, garlicy, slightly sweet, and seriously addictive. You can add any vegetables and/or protein you want to this dish, but I kept it light, simple, and springy with raw asparagus, scallions, and edamame.
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Nutritional Highlights: By replacing noodles with spiralized cucumber, this dish has far less calories than the the traditional version. Plus, it’s gluten free (if you replace the soy with tamari) and vegan! The creamy nut butter sauce (tahini, peanut butter, or almond butter all work) has protein and healthy fat to keep you full, plus the additional edamame adds extra protein. And although cucumber is super low cal due to the fact that it’s mostly water, it’s not necessarily the most nutrient packed vegetable, so I added asparagus which is packed with vitamin K, folate, copper and tons of other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that contribute to it’s antioxidant properties. If asparagus isn’t your thing, try some chopped broccoli, shredded carrots, snap peas, green beans, shaved brussel sprouts, diced avocado…really all vegetables are welcome here. Looking to bump up the protein? Serve with a piece of grilled salmon, tofu, a few grilled shrimp, or anything you like!
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Cucumber Sesame Noodles with Asparagus, Edamame, & Scallions
Serves 3-4 as a side, 2 as a meal
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What’s in it:
The sauce:
1 tablespoons sesame oil
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons tahini, creamy peanut or almond butter
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger (I use a microplane)
1 teaspoons finely minced or grated garlic (I use a microplane)
1 tablespoon sriracha (less if you’re not into spicy)

For the “noodles”
2 large English cucumbers, spiralized into thin noodles
4 scallions, diced (set a few aside for garnish)
1 1/2 cup one inch asparagus pieces*
1/2 cup edamame
1 tablespoon white and/or black sesame seeds

*If your asparagus is thin, simply cut into 1 inch pieces. If it’s thick, cut them lengthwise and then into 1 inch pieces since I used them raw. If you don’t like raw asparagus, substitute green beans, snap peas, grated carrots, small broccoli florets, or any other veggies.

How to make it:
1. In a bowl, whisk the sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, tahini/peanut or almond butter, honey, ginger, garlic and sriracha. Set aside.
2. Prepare all your veggies by spiralizing your cucumbers and chopping the other veggies.
3. In a large bowl, toss the “noodles” and vegetables with the sesame sauce.
4. Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions and enjoy!
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This will put your greasy take-out noodles to shame!
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Dec 132015
 

Growing up in a half-Jewish home, Hannukah meant a lot of things to me. It meant lighting the menorah (which sat on our mantle above our hanging stockings) every night and placing bets on which candle would last the longest. It also meant underwear night, which was the night that instead of cool gifts, we got new underwear (don’t ask). And of course, it meant good food with a great family–including latkes. With one night of Hannukah left, it’s not too late to get in your latke fill. This version has some extra veggies, extra color, and some upgraded toppings.
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This grown up version version is made with butternut squash and beets in addition to the standard potatoes and onions which make them healthier, tastier, and prettier all at once. The topping are just as important as the base, and I served mine with some homemade chunky apple sauce or with a yogurt-chive sauce and smoked salmon. I liked them, a lat…ke.
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The one issue I have had with latkes in the past is the pain of grating all the veggies. This year I enlisted my new spiralizer and spiralized all the veggies using the thinnest blade. Not only was this much easier, but it also made gorgeous spirals that added a cool shape to the latkes.
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Nutrition highlights: These latkes are way healthier than your average latkes with added phytochemicals, antioxdiants, and fiber from the beets and butternut squash. They also get a little protein from the eggs that bind them together. By making my own apple sauce, I could make sure it didn’t have too much added sugar, and instead of sour cream, I made a creamy sauce with fat free greek yogurt. Although I still pan friend mine, you could also bake these instead for a lower fat version.
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Beet, Butternut Squash & Potato Latkes
makes 15-20 small latkes
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What’s in them:
1 medium russet potato, peeled
2 medium beets, peeled
Approximately 1/3 butternut squash, peeled*
1 small or medium onion
2 large eggs, egg
1/3 cup whole wheat or regular flour
1 teaspoon salt, plus a little extra for sprinkling over the cooked latkes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil) for pan frying
Optional toppings:
– homemade or store bought apple sauce
– chive-yogurt sauce or low fat sour-cream with or without smoked salmon

For the chive-yogurt sauce:
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste
To make it: combine all the ingredients, stir, taste, and season to taste.

For the apple sauce:
2-3 apples, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar (more to taste)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
To make it: Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until apples are very soft. Taste and add additional sugar/spices to your tastes. For chunky sauce, just smush the apples a bit with your spoon as they cook. For a smooth sauce, run through the blender or food processor.

How to make them:
1. Shred all the vegetables using a box grater or thinnest spiralizer blade. If using a spiralizer, run a knife through the spiralized veggies a few times so the strands are not too long.
2. Wrap veggies in paper towels and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Careful with the beets…those guys stain like woah.
3. Combine the veggies, egg, flour, salt/pepper and stir until well combined. Note, everything will look pretty red at this point, that’s ok.
4. Heat a large non stick skillet over medium-high, once hot add 1 tablespoon of oil. Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons of mixture into the pan per latke, making sure you leave enough room for flipping. Flatten mounds slightly while they cook. After 2-3 minutes or when golden brown, flip the latkes and cook the reverse side for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Transfer cooked latkes to a paper-towel lined wire rack or plate to cool.
6. Add another tablespoon of oil per batch and continue until all your latkes are cooked.
7. Serve with your choice of toppings (I did half apple sauce, half chive-yogurt with smoked salmon). Enjoy!

*Note: you want to have approximately equal amounts of potato, beets, and butternut squash so you can adjust the amount you use of each based on the size of your veggies
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Nov 222015
 

When you’re assigned the task of making stuffing for friendsgiving, it is no joke. It is arguably the most important component of any thanksgiving feast, and the amount of recipes out there can be daunting. Corn bread or regular bread? Sausage or pancetta? Sweet or savory add-ins? But I’ve finally uncovered the secret to perfect stuffing–and it’s that there isn’t just one. The truth is that if you mix delicious bread, vegetables, herbs (and maybe some meat) and bake it all together, it’s going to be amazing. This version is a combo of all my favorite sweet and savory ingredients (corn bread + multigrain bread+ butternut squash + kale + cranberries + turkey sausage or mushrooms), and it might just be my favorite yet.
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Since there were a few vegetarians attending my friendsgiving, I made half of these babies with turkey italian sausage and half with roasted mushrooms as the “meaty” component. This stuffing is slightly more labor intensive than other recipes, since it has the added component of roasting vegetables, but they add the best flavor and texture to these muffins. I prefer stuffin muffins rather than baking a whole pan for both cuteness and crustiness factor, but you can make it either way. The only difference in the muffin form is that you add a few eggs in so they bind together (added bonus of extra protein woo!).
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Nutrition highlights: These stuffin muffins are definitely healthier than your average stuffing, but it’s still probably best to stick to just one muff. Although I used some cornbread (because, cornbread), the other half of the bread was a hearty and healthy multigrain loaf packed with fiber to fill you up. I also added more veggies than you normally see, including chopped kale, roasted butternut squash, and mushrooms (if you make the vegetarian version). If you are cooking for omnivores, that’s ok too–this recipe uses lean turkey italian sausage rather than it’s fattier pork friend.
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Butternut Squash-Kale Stuffin Muffins
Makes 12 muffins (double recipe for a big crowd!)
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What’s in it:
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 2-3 cups)
Prepared cornbread*, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
Multigrain bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 3-4 cups)
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 cups chopped kale
1 1/2-2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 fresh sage leaeves
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (or 1 tspn dried thyme)
Salt and pepper to taste
For vegetarian version: 2 cups roughly chopped portobello mushrooms
For non-vegetarian version: 3 lean turkey italian sausages

How to make it:
1. Preheat oven to 325. Spread cubed bread on a baking sheet and toast for about 5-10 min until just beginning to toast (careful not to burn it!). Pour toasted bread cubes in a large bowl and set aside.
2. Increase oven to 425. Spread butternut squash cubes (and portobello mushrooms if making the vegetarian version) on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes until the veggies are beginning to brown. Add to the bowl with the bread cubes.
3. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chopped onion and cook for 5-7 minutes until soft. Add the sage and thyme, kale, and salt and pepper and saute for another 2 minutes until kale begins to soften. Pour the veggie mixture into the bowl with the bread cubes.
4. If making the turkey sausage version, remove sausage from casings and brown in the saute pan, breaking up into small pieces, until cooked through. Add sausage to the bread/veggie mixture.
5. Add dried cranberries to the bread mixture. Taste mixture and add additional salt/pepper as needed.
6. In a small bowl, whisk eggs with broth and pour over your stuffing mixture. Toss to combine everything, adding additional broth if it seems too dry. If able, let the mixture sit in the fridge for a few hours or even over night.
7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375. Spray a muffin tray with oil and fill each with a heaping spoonful of the stuffing mixture. Press each down into the tin so it holds together, then add a little more to the top so it has a nice rounded “non perfect” looking top. Bake for 15-20 minutes until muffins hold together and are browning on the top.
8. Enjoy!!

*Instead of buying a whole loaf of cornbread, I bought a few individual pieces from whole foods that the sell with the soups to avoid the danger of having leftover cornbread around!
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Individual portioned stuffin with lots of veggies = you are less stuffed = more room for pie. It’s just basic math, people.
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Sep 222015
 

I have some bad news, people. Prepare yourselves. Tomorrow is the first day of fall, which means right now, at 10:14 pm eastern standard time, there is only 1 hours and 46 minutes left of summer. So I’m going to spend those precious moments remembering one of the best parts of my summer–an amazing cooking class in Thailand on my honeymoon. Not only did I learn how to make this delicious green papaya salad (som tum), but I got to see my culinarily challenged husband cook for the first (and likely last) time ever. You think I’m exaggerating. I am not.
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Papaya is one of the fruits I don’t eat very often (except when I’m on my honeymoon in Thailand, of course) but I was excited to see it available in this little local asian market I like to call Trader Joe’s. Although it’s also delicious fully ripe, I for this recipe you want an underripe fruit to use in this savory dish. If you’ve never had papaya salad you should try it stat–it has that beautiful mix of salty, spicy, and a tad sweet, that makes Thai food so freaking good. Be warned, if you aren’t into spicy food, you may want to cut back on the garlic and red chiles. Or just man up.
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Nutrition Highlights: Papaya is packed with vitamin C, folate, fiber, carotenoids (vitamin A) and tons of other nutritional goodies. One cup of shredded green papaya only has 55 calories and 7 grams of sugar, but is very filling from all the fiber. The salad also has green beans, tomatoes, and peanuts, which make this a hearty meal or side.
And before I give you the recipe, here is photographic evidence proving both that Jeff has cooked exactly 1 time in his life, and that I still look ridiculous in a chef’s hat.
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Spicy Thai Green Papaya Salad (Som Tum)
Makes about 4 servings as a side
adapated from Baan Hongnual Cookery School in Chiang Mai (go there!!!)
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What’s in it:
1 large green papaya, peeled and shredded*
2 cloves garlic
3 small fresh or dried red chilies (less if you are spice-averse)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 cup green beans cut into 1 inch long pieces
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp sugar (technically palm sugar should be used but I didn’t have that)
2 Tbsp roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
(Optional:)
1 Tbsp dried shrimp (authenic versions use it but I omitted it since I didn’t want to buy it and I think you get that hint of fish flavor from the fish sauce).
Thai basil or cilantro for garnish

How to make it:
1. Using a mortar and pestle pound the garlic and chilies until well crushed. Alternately, finely mince.
2. Add fish sauce, lime juice and sugar and mix well.
3. Add green beans, green papaya, roasted peanuts, tomatoes (and dried shrimp if using) and toss well in the sauce. Enjoy!

*Papaya is ripe when the skin starts to turn from green to yellow. For this recipe, we WANT the unripe fruit, so choose a green firm fruit. You can shred it using a grater, spiralizer, or can slice into thin matchsticks instead.
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Jul 012015
 

After spending two weeks in Thailand for my honeymoon, I wasn’t so sure I was ready to come back to America. The beaches were beautiful, the were people friendly, you could have an AMAZING massage for approximately $4, and you can eat pad thai daily with no shame (ps, recipes coming soon!). But, alas, here I am back in the US and I’ve gotta say it’s not so bad here either. Between the supreme court decision last week, the perfect NYC weather, and the 4th of July coming up this weekend, I’m feeling pretty patriotic. Here are two amazing recipe ideas to spice up (literally and figuratively) your summer BBQs!
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Making delicious food in the summer is easy because the produce is so freaking good. Too many people miss this amazing opportunity at have a 4th of July cookout with some sad hot dogs, stale doritos, and maybe a lone slice of watermelon if you’re lucky. Add color and flavor to your bbq using lots of fresh fruits and veggies, in these dishes that look way more advanced than they are.
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This salad is a mix of chopped kale, cooked quinoa, cubed mango and avocado, toasted sunflower seeds, and cilantro. The amazing charred jalapeno vinaigrette adds the perfect punch to bring it all together.
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These kebabs may look like your standard chicken skewers, but looks can be deceiving. These are actually swordfish skewers, which are perfect for grilling due to its sturdy texture. The marinade is a spicy mix of ginger, garlic, soy, and dijon and they can be skewered along with any of your favorite veggies.
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Nutrition highlights: Both of these recipes are incredibly healthy. The kebabs use swordfish which is low in calories (150 per 3 oz serving), and high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids which is great for controlling inflammation in your body. A simple marinade and lots of veggies makes this a very healthy bbq option. The salad is great too, and on it’s own is completely gluten free and vegan. It’s high in protein from the quinoa and healthy fats from the avocado and sunflower seeds, and tons of vitamins (like C and A). It can stand alone as a meal or be the perfect side for your summer BBQ.
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Mango-Avocado Quinoa Salad with Charred Jalapeno Vinaigrette
Makes 3 servings as a main, 5-6 as a side
adapted from plated.com
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What’s in it:

For the salad-
3/4 cup quinoa
1 mango, cut into 1/2 in cubes
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1 large avocado, cut into 1/2 inch cubes (note, don’t cut avocado until right before use)
1 bunch kale (can sub other greens if you prefer), big stems discarded and thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds

For the dressing-
1 jalapeno
1 shallot, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey or agave nectar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste

How to make it:
1. Cook your quinoa. Combine 3/4 cup quinoa with 1 1/4 cups water, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 10-12 minutes or until water is evaporated. Remove from heat and allow to cool while you prepare the rest of the salad.
2. Heat a heavy skillet (I used a cast iron skillet) over high heat. Half the jalapeno and carefully remove the seeds (don’t touch your eyes or you will pay). When pan is just starting to smoke, place the jalapeno cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes, flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes, pressing down slightly so you get a nice char on the outside. If you are using raw sunflower seeds, you can toast them in this same pan for 2-3 minutes until lightly browned. If you’re using already roasted/toasted sunflower seeds you can skip this step.
3. Make the dressing by finely mincing the jalapeno and then adding the vinegar, lime juice, minced shallot, and honey. Whisk to combine. Slowly add olive oil while whisking the dressing. Taste the dressing and add salt and pepper. Set dressing aside.
4. Make the salad by combining the all of the cooled quinoa, thinly chopped kale, and 3/4 of the cilantro, avocado, mango, and sunflower seeds. Toss this with the dressing and add salt and pepper to taste. Top the salad with the remaining cilantro, avocado, mango, and sunflower seeds for presentation. Enjoy!

Notes:
-You can make the vinaigrette and prepare the salad ingredients (except the avocado/mango) up to 2 days in advance. Just toss all of the ingredients before serving!
– If you’re making it for a main, feel free to add other ingredients like red bell peppers, black beans, or tomatoes. Be creative!
– Depending on how much heat you like, you can use more or less jalapeno in the dressing.
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Spicy Swordfish Skewers
Makes about 4 servings (6 smalls skewers or 4 large)
adapted from Ina Garten
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What’s in it:

3 Tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoon peanut or canola oil
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger root
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
1 Tablespoon dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/4- 1 1/2 lb swordfish steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
Salt, Pepper to taste
Vegetables for skewering: choose your favorites like zucchini, yellow squash, bell peppers, red onion, and mushrooms
6 bamboo skewers, soaked for 30 minutes in water

1. Make the marinade by combining the first 8 ingredients. Add the cubed swordfish and marinate in a plastic bag or sealed container for at least 1 hour (preferably 4-8).
2. Prepare the vegetables by cutting them into pieces as close as possible to size as the swordfish cubes.
3. Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium-high.
4. Make the skewers by alternating veggies and swordfish cubes. Brush the kebabs with some of the remaining marinade and season with salt and pepper as desired.
5. Grill the kebabs for about 2-3 minutes per side, until swordfish is just cooked through and veggies and fish are browned. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Mar 062015
 

1 month and 5 days. That’s how long it’s been since my last blog post. And my last good nights sleep, probably. And the last time I cooked myself a real meal. Why all the dramatic whining, you might be wondering? Well, it turns out dietetic internships are A LOT of work and it is NOT the best idea to continue working 2 other jobs simultaneously. Who knew? Still, I’m learning more than I ever thought possible, and I’m finally feel like I’m working toward the right career for me, and getting close(ish) to the finish line. So here is a quick recipe that I’m going to share with you quickly, so I can get back to my medical nutrition therapy.
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Cauliflower rice was a brilliant discovery. Simply pulse raw cauliflower in a food processor (not too much though or you’ll have cauliflower paste), and use in your favorite fried rice recipe. I mean it’s clearly not the same as real rice, don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t have the sticky starchiness that you would get from rice, but as a vehicle for delicious veggies, sauces, and spices, it’s perfect for me. This time I used carrots, edamame, scallions, pineapple, egg, and almonds. And sriracha, duh.
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Nutrition highlights: A cup of rice is 216 calories versus a cup of riced cauliflower for about 30. Another fun fact is a serving of rice is actually only 1/2 cup, which is just a rudely small amount that no person can restrict themselves to. Besides the calories, cauliflower will also give you way more nutrients, like vitamin C, K, folate, fiber, and on and on. The other fried rice ingredients make this even healthier, with more vitamins from the pineapple, protein from the egg and edamame, and healthy fat from the almonds. You can add chicken or shrimp to this recipe if that is your thing, and feel free to use any of your favorite veggies too!
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Pineapple-Edamame Cauliflower Fried Rice
makes about 2 servings as a meal
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What’s in it:
1 medium head of cauliflower, rinsed and dried well
1 T sesame oil, divided
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks (about 1/2 inch pieces)
1/3 cup frozen shelled edamame
1/3 cup diced carrots
5 scallions, diced (set aside 2 tablespoons for topping)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 whole egg plus 1 egg white
2 T soy sauce, more to taste
About 20 roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Optional: sriracha!

How to make it:
1. Remove the core of the cauliflower (save it to dip in hummus) and roughly chop the head into florets. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to do this in 2 batches. Place half of the florets in the food processor and pulse until the cauliflower resembles rice or couscous, being careful not to over process. Set aside
2. Heat a wok or large saute pan over medium-high heat. Let the pan get very hot, add half the sesame oil. Add the onions and garlic and saute for 30 seconds. Add the pineapple and the carrots, edamame, scallions (except 2 T). Saute for 3-5 minutes until vegetables and pineapple have softened slightly and have browned bits. Stirring less and higher heat will help them get a nice slight char in places. Set veggies aside.
3. Add remaining oil to the pan and add the egg, and scramble to break it up into little pieces.
4. Add the veggies and the “rice” to the egg and stir to combine. Add the soy sauce and cook for about 3-5 minutes until the rice is slightly tender and everything is hot.
5. Top with chopped almonds, remaining scallions, and sriracha!
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Enjoy!
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a

Dec 222014
 

Anyone else feeling a little bit (figuratively and literally) sick of all the Christmas cookies and sweets? I have a very sweet these days, and even I am feeling a little bit overloaded by all of it. Here’s a recipe that proves that fruits and veggies can be just as festive as all those peppermint covered sugary chocolatey treats…well almost. Try this Winter Kale Salad which is as healthy as it is tasty and beautiful. To get on Santa’s nice list, serve it in a chip and dip platter so it looks like a wreath!
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There are so many different things you can put in this salad that would be amazing, but I decided on mostly red (roasted beets, pomegranate seeds) and green (chopped kale, granny smith apple, pistachios) with a little orange pop from some persimmons. The persimmons may have thrown off my red/green color scheme a tad, but I was intrigued by them so I bought a few. They are incredibly sweet and have a nice soft texture, kind of like a peach. If you can’t find persimmons, you can leave these out or just go with another winter fruit, like navel orange segments. A good dressing is key too, and this one is the perfect tart but slightly sweet mix, with lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, maple syrup, and olive oil.
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Nutritional highlights: We all know that holiday dining isn’t always a shining moment for healthful choices. This salad is a perfect addition to your holiday spread to solve that problem. Fill a big portion of your plate with this salad, and take it easy on the indulgences. There’s also some serious powerhouses in this salad. The kale, apple, and pomegranate seeds (and really all of the ingredients) have a ton of fiber that will keep you full…maybe even full enough to pass on dessert (but let’s be honest, probably not). The pistachios add healthy mono and poly unsaturated fats as well as B-6 vitamins and iron. Beets and persimmons are packed with antioxidants to help control inflammation in your body and ward of diseases. I served the salad with a little shredded pecorino on the side, but you can also mix it right in, as it adds a great saltiness that the salad needs. To keep the salad vegan you can leave it out.
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Winter Kale Salad with Persimmons, Beets, Apples, Pomegranate, and Pistachio
Makes 5-6 servings as a side (3 as a main)
*vegan* gluten free*
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What’s in it:

For the salad:
5 cups finely chopped kale
1 granny smith apple
4 red baby beets, cut into 1 inch pieces and roasted
3 fuyu persimmons, cut into wedges
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (from about ½ large pomegranate)
1/3 cup shelled roasted pistachios, roughly chopped
Optional: 1/3 cup shredded pecorino cheese (omit for vegan version)

For the dressing:
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (juice from one juicy lemon)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or another light vinegar like champagne vinegar, white wine vinegar)
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon salt
¼ freshly ground teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
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How to make it:

1.If you are roasting your own beets, preheat your oven to 425. Scrub and dry the outside of the beets but no need to peel. Cut off a tiny bit on the top and bottom end, and cut the beets into 1 inch chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast for about 40 minutes, until the beets are tender. Alternately, you can buy already steamed or roasted beets and skip this step.
2.Prepare the remaining ingredients. Seed you pomegranate, chop the nuts, dice the apple and cut the persimmon (no need to peel skin). Chop the kale so it is small chunks, almost like a slaw. This will help the leaves get very tender as they sit in the dressing.
3.Prepare the dressing by mixing the first 5 ingredients together and then whisking in the oil gradually. Taste the vinaigrette to see if it needs more of anything (too acidic? Add more oil or maple syrup. Too bland? Up the salt and pepper).
4. Toss together the kale, apple, persimmon, beets, and all but 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate, pistachios, and pecorino. Toss with the dressing, adding gradually and tasting until it is your desire of dressed-ness.
5. To serve as a wreath, pour the salad into a chip and dip tray and sprinkle with the remaining cheese, pom seeds, and pistachios. Enjoy this festive, flavorful, and nutritious salad!
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Leave the leftovers (if you have any) out of Santa this year instead of cookies and maybe he’ll be looking a little fitter in his suit next year!
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