Strawberries rock & Greek Burgers with Creamy Coleslaw roll!

Strawberry heaven is what we’ve been living in the past two weeks with our CSA (Lazy Eight Stock Farm).  We’ve eaten them straight from the containers, in smoothies, mixed into Greek yogurt, in oatmeal, etc.  Strawberry Banana Muffins were a hit too.  Not a lot of time to bake this week? No worries.  Make the No Bake Oatmeal Raisin Nut Butter Bites. Good luck getting them to last much longer than a few days!

My favorite dinner this week…Greek Turkey Burgers With Coleslaw.  An excellent alternative to regular ol’ burgers.  The mint leaves, while they may seem a bit odd, really do create another layer of deliciousness.  We use whole wheat pita pockets because we can load them up with toppings.  If you’re feeling daring, add some coleslaw to the pita pocket for some extra creaminess and crunch.  One Skillet Fajitas is an easy weekday meal that is ready in 30 minutes or less (with a few simple ingredients).  If you’ve been wanting to do something new with avocados, tryBaked Avocados with Baked Broccoli Bites. The avocados are stuffed with cheesy, garlicky, lemony goodness, and the broccoli bites are a fun, finger food option that might help convince a picky eater that broccoli is truly yummy.  If you didn’t try Quick Buttermilk Oat Soaked Pancakes last week, give them a try this week!  Breakfast for dinner is always a winner.

Hope something makes your belly smile!

Snacks

Strawberry Banana Muffins


Adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking

Dry Ingredients:
1 ¼ c. whole white wheat flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. ground nutmeg
¼ t. salt

Wet Ingredients:
1 T. coconut oil, melted (alternative: melted organic butter)
1 large organic egg
2 t. organic vanilla extract
1 banana, mashed
2 T. honey
¼ c. plain organic Greek yogurt
¾ c. organic strawberries, diced (about 10-11)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a muffin (I like coconut oil) or use silicone muffin cups (no need to grease).  In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (except the strawberries).  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Stir just until combined.  Gently fold in the strawberries.  Fill muffin holders 3/4 full.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes.  Enjoy!


Oatmeal Raisin Nut Butter Bites


Adapted from A Kitchen Addiction

½ c. creamy raw almond butter or peanut butter
¼ c. raw honey or maple syrup
1 t. vanilla extract
¼ c. coconut flour
3 T. quick oats
2 T. ground flax seed
¼ t. cinnamon
¼ t. sea salt
¼ c. organic raisins

Directions:  In a small bowl, whisk the nut butter, honey, and vanilla.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Use a heaping tablespoon to create individual servings. Roll in your hands to form balls.  Optional:  Create an oat coating by rolling individual balls in some loose oats.  Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes to firm them up a bit.  Enjoy!

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator.


Dinners

One Skillet Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 medium onion, sliced
2-3 large organic bell pepper, seeded/sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 (15 ounce) can organic fire roasted diced tomatoes OR (3-4 chopped medium, fresh tomatoes)
Note: if using fresh tomatoes, add ¼ c. of salsa
2 t. cumin
1 t. paprika
sea salt/pepper
whole wheat tortillas (idea: Ezekiel brand tortillas)
Optional Fajita Fillers:
canned organic black beans, drained & rinsed
organic shredded cheese
organic Greek yogurt or sour cream
salsa
avocado, sliced

Directions: Warm a non-stick skillet to medium heat. Season all sides of the chicken with salt, pepper, and paprika. To the skillet, add the olive oil and chicken. Cook until the chicken is browned on all slides (about 5-6 minutes). Add onions and green peers, cooking until the peppers are softened. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Immediately add all remaining ingredients. The tomatoes will sizzle in the skillet. Reduce heat to a simmer. Allow some liquid to cook out (about 10 minutes). Season with salt/pepper to taste. Serve fajita mixture with whole wheat tortillas and your favorite fajita fillers. Enjoy!


Baked Avocados with Broccoli Bites

adapted from Mele Cotte and Food Renegade

Tip: To time this meal just right, prepare the Broccoli Bites and set aside.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the Avocados.  Bake both at the same time.  While they are baking, make the honey mustard sauce.  Viola – a perfectly timed dinner.

Baked Avocados
4-5 ripe avocados
1 c. whole wheat bread crumbs or almond meal
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 T. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. feta cheese, grated
2 T. fresh herbs, chopped (ideas: basil, cilantro, parsley)
2 T. lemon juice
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ c.  salsa (check labels – some have added sugar)

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a small bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, garlic, cheeses, herbs, lemon juice, and salt/pepper.  Halve the avocado and remove the seed with spoon.  Fill the avocado seed holes with the mixture.

Baked Broccoli Bites
adapted from Food Renegade
1 bunch. fresh broccoli, chopped (florets only)
1 c. organic cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
3 organic eggs
½ c. almond flour
½ c. whole wheat bread crumbs
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried garlic powder
Sea salt/pepper to taste

Directions: I used my Vitamix* to roughly chop the broccoli.  This method required me readjust it in the container every few seconds to chop, rather than puree.  Hand chopping works, but the Vitamix is faster than me.  In a large bowl add all ingredients and combine with your hands.  Use an ice cream scooper to measure out individual servings.  Use your hands to gently, but firmly, compact the balls.

Bake the avocado and broccoli at the same time for 20-25 minutes.  The broccoli is done when the edges are slightly golden.  Enjoy!

Serve the Broccoli Bites with a few dashes of hot sauce or homemade honey mustard.

Quick and Easy Honey Mustard
honey
mustard

Directions: To a small bowl, combine equal parts of honey and a mustard of your choosing. I like to use a spicy or Dijon mustard.  It gives things a slightly sweet kick.  Regular ol’ yellow mustard will make for a more traditional honey mustard.

*Tip: If you are in the market for a blender, I highly encourage you to consider a Vitamix.  I know, I know they aren’t cheap. However, a cheap blender is worthless.  Vitamix even offers refurbished blenders that still come with warranties.  Can your blender pulverize ice in seconds, create the smoothest smoothies (who wants a chunky smoothie?), make hot soup, turn nuts into nut butters or whole grains into flours, or chop an entire head of cabbage in seconds? Need I go on?  Trust me, a Vitamix will change your kitchen life.


 Greek Turkey Burgers with Creamy Coleslaw

 Adapted from Tablespoon

Burger:
4 T. jarred olive tapenade
1 lb. ground turkey
½ c. crumbled feta cheese, halved
sea salt/pepper, for seasoning

Tzatziki Sauce (optional):
1 (6-ounce container) organic plain Greek yogurt
1/2 c. organic cucumber, finely diced & divided
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 pinch each (coarse sea salt, freshly ground pepper)

Clean Eating Creamy Coleslaw
Adapted from Eat Clean Diet
4 c. shredded cabbage
1/2 c. shredded organic carrot
1/4 c. organic mayonnaise
1/4 c. organic plain Greek yogurt
1 T. honey
1 T. white vinegar (alternatives: red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar)
1 T. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 t. sea salt
fresh ground black pepper
100% whole wheat pita pockets
mint leaves, whole (optional, sandwich topping)
organic kale or other green (optional sandwich topping)
red onion, thinly slice (optional sandwich topping)

Directions:  In a small bowl, use your hands to mix the olive tapenade, ground turkey, ¼ c. feta cheese, and salt/pepper.  Form into four patties.  Pan sear on medium heat (approximately 6 minutes on each side).  After flipping the patties, top with the remaining feta cheese.  Allow to rest a few minutes after cooking to seal in the juices.  Serve with any or all of the above sandwich toppings. Remember, don’t forget to give the mint a shot.

Tip: Push a thumb print into one side of each patty before pan searing.  This will prevent them from rising too high.


Quick Buttermilk Oat Soaked Pancakes


2 c. homemade buttermilk (Mix 2 T. of white vinegar or lemon juice with organic milk. Allow mixture to sit 5 minutes.)
2 c. organic rolled oats
organic eggs (alternatives: 1 whole egg + 1 egg white OR flax eggs*)
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1 T. local honey, preferably raw
½ c. white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. sea salt
½ t. cinnamon (optional)

Directions: In a large bowl, add the homemade buttermilk.  Stir in the oats, eggs, vanilla, and honey.  Allow the batter sit at least 5 minutes to soften to oats.  In a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Gently stir to combine (do not over stir).  Lightly grease the skillet with a clean eating approved oil or organic butter (we like coconut oil).  Top with pure maple syrup or a thin layer of creamy almond butter.

Serve with uncured bacon or preservative free turkey bacon.

Note: Makes 10 pancakes using a 1/3 c. measuring scoop.

*Flax eggs are great substitutes to eggs if you’re vegan or you just prefer not to use eggs.  To make flax eggs, stir together 3 T. of water and 1 T. ground flax seed.  Allow to rest 5 minutes.  (When baking, I’ve found that substituting up to 3 flax eggs works great.  Using more than 3 flax eggs can result in disaster).

Advertisements

Fresh, Easy Spring Meals

The past two weeks have been absolutely beautiful weather wise.  So much so that I’ve really been craving fresh, springtime meals.

When strawberries are in abundance (which they were thanks to my CSA with Lazy Eight Stock Farm), making strawberry yogurt is a no brainer.  No need to buy store bought strawberry flavored yogurt with added sugar and other questionable ingredients when you can easily make your own Strawberry Greek Yogurt.

When spring veggies are easily accessible from your local farmer, fresh and easy meal are doable in about 20 minutes. This is particularly true when you add other quick ingredients like whole grains and cheese.  That’s exactly what you’ll get with the Couscous Lemon Salad with Spinach Feta and Asparagus.

Another meal that deserves some talk time is the Buttermilk Oat Soaked Pancakes.  These are consumed quite often on weekends at my house.  However, let us not forget that breakfast for dinner is always a good idea.  This go round, I substituted buttermilk for regular milk.  Buttermilk helps keep pancakes light and fluffy, and it adds a slight tang to the batter that goes great with pure maple syrup.

Hope Something Makes Your Belly Smile…


Snacks

Strawberry Greek Yogurt


½ c. organic Greek yogurt (alternative: organic plain yogurt)
4-5 organic strawberries
1 t. local honey (alternative: 2-3 drops of organic stevia)
A few drops of organic vanilla extract

Directions: To a single serving bowl, add the strawberries and mash them with a fork.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir.  Sweeten to taste with a bit more honey, if needed.  Enjoy!


Carrot Cake Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

 
Adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking

Dry Ingredients:
1 c. instant oats (measured correctly – good read to refresh your measuring skills)
¾ c. whole wheat white flour (measured correctly)
1 ½ t. baking powder
1 ½ t. cinnamon
1/4 t. sea salt

Wet Ingredients:
2 T. coconut oil (alternative: unsalted organic butter)
1 large organic egg, room temperature
1 t. organic vanilla extract
½ c. pure maple syrup
¾ c. organic carrots, super finely grated
¼ c. organic raisins

Directions: In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  In a larger bowl, stir together the wet ingredient.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring just until combined. Cool in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Scoop cookies into 15-16 rounded mounds on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone.  Bake for 12-15 minutes. Edges will be slightly browned.  Allow to cool before eating or they tend to fall apart.


Kale Egg and Rye Bread Bake 

(Don’t judge it with your eyes. Your taste buds will thank you.)

 

adapted from The Nutritionist Reviews

1/2 loaf whole wheat rye bread, cut into bite sized chunks
2 c. organic kale, roughly chopped or organic bagged kale (I have used organic baby kale too)
1 1/2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped OR 1 (14 oz.) can organic diced tomatoes, strained of excess juices
1 small yellow onion chopped or 2-3 chopped green onion or scallions (Carly: added)
5 eggs (Carly: 2 whole eggs plus 4 egg whites)
1/4 c. organic milk
1 c. organic plain Greek yogurt
1-2 cloves crushed garlic
1 t. dried dill
1/2 t black pepper
1/2 t garlic powder
1/3 c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Salsa, optional topping
hot sauce, optional topping
organic plain Greek yogurt, optional topping

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 9×12 baking dish, mix together the kale, tomatoes, onion, and bread.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, yogurt, garlic, dill, black pepper, and garlic powder.  Evenly pour the liquid over the kale mixture.  Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until the egg mixture has firmed up (it shouldn’t jiggle when you wiggle the pan).  Remove from the oven and evenly top with the Parmesan cheese.  You could eat it as is…or, you could add some salsa and/or a few dashes of hot sauce. If you’re feeling really adventurous, add a dollop of Greek yogurt along with the salsa and/or hot sauce.


Couscous Lemon Salad with Spinach Feta and Asparagus

 adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

1 c. Israeli Couscous (alternative: whole wheat orzo pasta)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. olive oil
8 asparagus spears, cut into 1 inch pieces
Sea salt/pepper, freshly ground
1 c. fresh organic spinach
1 large lemon, halved
1/3 c. feta cheese

Directions:  Cook couscous according to package directions in salted water.  Drain when done (reserve a cup of the cooking water).  While the couscous cooks, warm a skillet to near medium heat.  Add olive oil and garlic.  Cook until you can smell the garlic.  Add the asparagus and saute for 5 minutes before adding the spinach.  Stir until the spinach begins to wilt.  Squeeze the lemon over the top and toss the asparagus mixture.  To a large serving bowl, combine the cooked couscous, asparagus mixture and feta cheese.  Add 1/2 cup or more of the couscous cooking water and stir to create a bit of a sauce. Season with salt and pepper and give a final squeeze of lemon.  Serve immediately.


Quick Buttermilk Oat Soaked Pancakes


2 c. homemade buttermilk (add 2 T. of white vinegar or lemon juice to organic milk and allow to sit 5 minutes)
2 c. organic rolled oats
2 organic eggs (alternatives: 1 whole egg + 1 egg white OR flax eggs*)
1 t. organic vanilla extract
1 T. local honey, preferably raw
½ c. white whole wheat flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
½ t. sea salt
½ t. cinnamon (optional)

Directions: In a large bowl, add the homemade buttermilk.  Stir in the oats, eggs, vanilla, and honey.  Allow to sit at least 5 minutes.  In a smaller bowl, combine the dry ingredients.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Gently stir to combine, being careful not to over stir.  Lightly grease the skillet with an oil of your choosing (we like coconut oil or organic butter).  Top with pure maple syrup or a thin layer of creamy almond butter.

Serve with uncured bacon or preservative free turkey bacon.

Note: Makes 10 pancakes using a 1/3 c. measuring scoop)

*Flax eggs are great substitutes to eggs if you’re vegan or you just prefer not to use eggs.  To make flax eggs, stir together 3 T. of water and 1 T. ground flax seed.  Allow to rest 5 minutes.  (When baking, I’ve found that substituting up to 3 flax eggs works great.  Using more than 3 flax eggs can result in disaster).


Balsamic Watermelon Chicken Salad


Adapted from Pinch of Yum

1 c. balsamic vinegar
1 T. organic coconut palm sugar (alternative: 4-5 drops of organic stevia)
1 lb. organic boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 T. Trader Joe’s 21 Season Salute (alternative: other multi-season blend)
1 T. olive oil
4 c. organic baby spinach or other organic greens
2 c. cubed watermelon
½ c. blue cheese crumbles (alternative: Feta cheese)
¼ c. sliced or crushed almonds (alternative: pine nuts)

Directions: In a small saucepan, add the balsamic vinegar and coconut palm sugar.  Bring to a low boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Allow to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  It will reduce by about one-half and thicken to a maple syrup consistency.

Tip: Put the cut watermelon in a strainer while preparing the salad to drain some of the excess liquid.

While the vinegar is simmering, season both sides of the chicken with the dry seasoning.  Pan sear or grill until cooked thoroughly.  Remove the chicken from the heat.  Cover and allow to rest for at least 5 minutes.  Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces.

To a large serving bowl, layer the spinach, watermelon, chicken, cheese and nuts.  Drizzle with the balsamic reduction to taste.

Another tip: Double the recipe to serve 6-8 people.