Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

Garden Fresh Kale-Almond Pesto

I’m an Italian girl with Mediterranean taste buds so when summer rolls around pesto comes into the forefront of my culinary rotation. Pesto is so easy to make and can be played with endlessly. My little urban garden is currently overflowing with at least four varieties of heirloom kale and a gal can only eat so many kale chips, eat so many kale salads, and drink so many kale smoothies before she gets kale’d out. The solution to my kale fatigue? You guessed it, presto pesto! My kale pesto has the same umami goodness of a more traditional recipe, but with a little extra kick from the bittersweet taste profile of this blend of kale leaves. I used a mix of laccinato, curly, and a purple-stemmed kale whose name I don’t know but you can use whatever looks fresh and delicious. If you don’t have almonds, pine nuts or walnuts work well too. I quadrupled this recipe to make 4 quarts, which are now sitting frozen in my freezer for a crazy week when I don’t have the time to cook. These will stay fresh for up to 3 months when frozen, but I wouldn’t leave them sitting for more than a week in your refrigerator. Enjoy with eggs, grains like farro or quinoa, and of course on pasta. Green goodness in a jar – what more could you want from a summer haul!   Kale-Almond Pesto (yields one quart)   Ingredients: 6 heaping handfuls of kale (I used 22 leaves de-stemmed) Juice and zest of 2 lemons 2 cloves of garlic 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2...
Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles

We live in a world addicted to sugar, it’s true, but going cold turkey doesn’t always work out so well. Deprivation can lead to yo-yo eating patterns, which won’t help you sustain your long-term healthy eating goals. A better approach that I often help my wellness clients take is making healthier versions of your favorite meals. Dessert, while not the most essential of meals, is nonetheless an important food ritual many of us enjoy – and hey, life is best when enjoyed! One of my favorite challenges is finding ways to make sweets better for you without tasting like sawdust or bland ice. With that in mind, I recently experimented with  a Mango Coconut Popsicle recipe, spiced with ginger. Ginger is a superfood linked to relieving nausea, inflammation, pain and a whole host of digestive issues. I also threw some turmeric in there because, well, why not? It too has anti-inflammatory properties and might help your skin and joints look and feel their best. This fast and tasty recipe is guilt-free and impossible to mess up. Bonus: any leftovers that won’t fit in your molds can be enjoyed on the spot as a healthy smoothie. Enjoy!   Spicy Mango-Coconut Popsicles Servings: 6-8 popsicles   Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups frozen mango 1/2 very ripe banana 1” fresh ginger, peeled 1/2” fresh turmeric, scrubbed 1/2 cup whole fat plain yogurt 1/3 cup toasted coconut flakes 8 oz unsweetened almond milk   Directions: Blend ingredients in a high-speed blender for 1 minute or until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds leaving about a 1/4” at the top. Any leftovers can be consumed like a smoothie – yum!...
Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins

Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins

Breakfast just got a whole lot easier. If you’re on the go as much as I am, it always pays off to spend a little extra time over the weekend to prepare some grab-and-go meals that will keep your full and focused throughout the week no matter what calendar cluster-Fs may arise. For the past two weeks I’ve been making a big batch of healthy egg muffins on Sunday afternoosn, switching up the vegetables and accoutrements to keep things interesting. Below you’ll find my current favorite, but you can check my Instagram account for a recipe with asparagus, summer corn, and grape tomatoes. You can’t go wrong with either! Big Batch Breakfast (Part Deux): Healthy Veggie & Cheese Egg Muffins Makes 12 egg muffins, or 6 servings. Ingredients: Butter, coconut oil or nonstick cooking spray, to coat pans – or, use silicone baking cups 8 large eggs Splash of milk (can use nut milk if preferred) Generous pinch of sea salt and ground pepper 2 sprigs of fresh thyme, de-stemmed and minced 2 tsp olive oil 2 cups kale, cut into thin ribbons 1/2 cup sweet & spicy cherry peppers 1/2 large red onion, finely chopped 1 clove of garlic, minced 3/4 – 1 cup shredded parmesan Directions: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk with the milk, thyme, salt and pepper. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan as desired. Sauté red onion in olive oil for 5 minutes over medium-high heat with a pinch of salt. Add kale, sweet and spicy pepper, and garlic and sauté another 5-7 minutes. Divide veggie mixture and cheese between each muffin cup, then carefully pour eggs in...
Big Batch Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Big Batch Breakfast: Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal

Let’s face it, oatmeal can get pretty boring, but oats are so good for you – loaded with heart-healthy fiber and minerals. What to do?! Get baked. Err, get baking! My baked oatmeal is super easy, cost-effective, and since it’s a big batch recipe you’ll be set for breakfast all week. Convenience – check! Taste – check! Healthy – check! Even if you don’t typically dig oatmeal, give this method a try. It changes the texture and fuses the flavors so you might just feel like you’re eating dessert, all the while you’re fueling yourself with clean energy for an active day. And best of all, there’s no added sugar so there’s no guilt with this breakfast decadence. Go on, shake up your morning meal. It’s good to the last bite! Blueberry Coconut Baked Oatmeal Prep time: 10 mins Cook time: 40 mins Total time: 50 mins Serves: 8 servings Ingredients: 1/2 cup roasted, unsalted pecan pieces 1/2 cup toasted, unweetened coconut flakes 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds 1/4 cup chia seeds 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats 1 Tbs ground cinnamon A pinch of fine-grain sea salt 2 cups fresh blueberries (frozen will work too – just defrost and discard any liquid) 2 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk 2 large eggs 2 Tbs melted coconut oil 1 tsp vanilla extract Optional toppings for serving: plain yogurt, maple syrup or honey for drizzling, and/or more fresh fruit Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch rectangular baking dish with butter or coconut oil. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut flakes, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and salt. Whisk to combine. In a smaller mixing bowl,...
Rosewater Raspberry Gluten-Free Scones

Rosewater Raspberry Gluten-Free Scones

I highly recommend taking a long weekend with friends, yummy food, and outdoor walks in the sunshine; and without a computer or to do list. Like highly recommend it. I recently did just this up in NYC with some of my dearest girl friends with whom (is that proper grammar??) I studied abroad nearly 10 years ago. Damn, the years are flying by! Anyways…   We had a ball! Despite bopping around a bunch like an itinerant little gypsy, the weekend wasn’t stressful at all. Leaving my computer at home certainly helped, but mostly it was my lack of an agenda – something I struggle to let go of in my daily DC grind – that created space and time to do everything I needed and wanted with flexibility and a sense of ease.   Here are some highlights…   On Saturday, I went to the Union Square Famers Market (amazing) and gawked at peonies the size of my face and farm-fresh eggs that looked like the most beautiful golden nuggets I’ve ever seen. I would have stayed there the whole day if it weren’t for the sweltering heat and sweaty mess I had quickly become.     Sunday, was a day filled with jamm, which means “peace” in Wolof, Senegal’s native tongue. The girls and I throw that word around a lot when we’re together since Dakar was our study abroad destination and jamm was our main objective while there.   All day I was surrounded by these four mighty and magnificent women who inspire, nurture and love me to no end. How lucky am I? Together, we made a...
Sweet and Tangy Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Sweet and Tangy Tandoori Chicken Thighs

Need an easy weeknight dinner idea that won’t leave you wanting for flavor? This past week was a crazy one for me but it doesn’t mean a girl doesn’t still need something tasty, homemade and nutritious to restock the tank at the end of the day. For me, roasted chicken always hits the spot when I crave something cozy, satiating and convenient.   From start to finish, this easy recipe for chicken thighs takes under 30 minutes. It’s delicious served hot, but leftovers can be easily stored for lunch or dinner throughout the busy work week. Pair it with a side kale salad and roasted veggies for a filling, healthy and budget-friendly dinner perfect for a small gathering, family meal or broken down into several individual servings (batch-cooking style) for one.   Sweet and Tangy Tandoori Chicken Thighs (makes 4-5 servings of protein) Ingredients For the Chicken 4-5 chicken thighs, bone in and skin on 3-4 Tbs grapeseed oil Salt and pepper to taste   For the Marinade 1 Tbs Tandoori Seasoning Blend (Penzey’s) 1 Tbs Pomegranate Molasses 3 Tbs Grapeseed Oil 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar 1 Tbs Tomato Paste Pinch of Sea Salt   Directions For the Chicken Pre-heat over to 350 F. Heat an oven-safe sauté pan over high heat. Add 3-4 Tbs grapeseed oil. Bring chicken thighs to room temp. Pat dry. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Start chicken skin side down in pan. Cook untouched for 5 minutes. Flip and cook another 4 minutes. Pour marinade over chicken thighs, coating evenly. Transfer to oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let...