Healthy Cobb Salad.

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For those of you looking for a cleaner version of your good ol’ fashioned Cobb Salad, I’m here for you! Since January 1 I’ve been eating mostly Whole30 during the week and letting myself take a break from all the cooking and prep on the weekends (hello Friday night glass of vino) Needless to say I’ve been exploring different lunch options that are delicious and easy to make, and even though I’ve been at odds with salad for the past years of my life, I came up with this Healthy Cobb Salad recipe because I needed a salad that tasted a little bit more indulgent - and this does! The things that make this not-Whole30 are the dressing and the use of maple syrup in the bacon prep. But seriously, those two things make this taste so good! And it’s still using really clean ingredients so I feel verrrrry wonderful about it. Enjoy friends!

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- handful of spinach
- 4-5 grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 avocado, sliced lengthwise
- 2 hard boiled eggs, quartered (my favorite is Neli’s 7 minute method for hard boiled eggs)
- Honey maple turkey bacon (see mini prep steps for this below)
- Cucumber (I forgot to add it for these photos but it would have added a nice crunch)
- Primal Kitchen Ranch Dressing
- a bit of pepper

for the turkey bacon:
1. I simply mix up 2 tbsp. yellow mustard and 2 tbsp. maple syrup.
2. Lay 8-10 strips of turkey bacon on a baking sheet (with aluminum foil covering the sheet).
3. “Paint” the strips of bacon with the honey-maple mixture.
4. Bake for 8-10 minutes, and flip the strips of bacon.
5. Repeat on the other side, painting the bacon with the honey-maple mixture.
6. Cook for another 6-8 minutes (this varies oven-to-oven - you should be able to tell when the bacon is “done”).
7. I use a few strips of the bacon for this salad (chopped into 1/2 inch pieces) and store the rest in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
*This is the only way I will eat turkey bacon now because it is magnificent.

Salad Method:
1. Very simple. Combine everything and drizzle with dressing!

I hope you love and enjoy this one! Bon Appetit!

White Pork Chili (a Whole30 Meal!)

Taken and slightly adapted from Danielle Walker's  Against All Grain Cookbook

Taken and slightly adapted from Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Cookbook

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This is my favorite recipe discovery from the past year. My sis-in-law Katie made this White Pork Chili for our family when I had just had Daxton, and it was the BEST thing to have during that cold month and newborn life. So I definitely associate this meal with feeling super loved and nourished. However, I happen to have a penchant for stews. I love one-pot meals, because they're so easy to make, and I especially love a hot bowl of soup. The original, paleo version of this recipe can be found in Danielle Walker's book, Against All Grain, however, I've changed it up to make this particular version Whole30-friendly. Don't let the lengthy ingredient list scare you - this stew is SO WORTH making. I promise you will love it. Omg I think I'm going to have to make more this week after drooling over these photos while I edited them.

- 2 pork chops, grilled or oven-baked until medium done, cooled, and then diced
- 1 small jar tomatillo salsa
- 1/2 cup cashew butter
- 2 poblano peppers, deseeded and chopped
- 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
- 2 large zucchinni, diced
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp. garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. ground oregano
- 2 tsp. turmeric
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 bunch fresh parsley, roughly chopped

1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic together until soft and fragrant.
2. Add the peppers, sweet potatoes and all the spices and saute for another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are soft.
3. Pour in the chicken stock, then add the zucchini.
4. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cover the stockpot. Return every few minutes to stir, as the cashew butter will need to continuously mixed in.
5. Once the vegetables are soft and the pork is warmed all the way through, this is ready to eat!
6. Top each bowl with a handful of parsley and a fresh squeeze of lime.

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There you have it! This meal stand alone beautifully by itself. If you aren't doing Whole30, you can add a splash of white wine to the broth. You can also serve it with some delicious baked bread to sop up all the savory goodness. Oh gosh, this is SUCH a great winter stew, I hope you super love it! Let me know if you decide to make it! xx

Spinach Salad, 2 Ways.

I hate to say that I'm on a diet for two reasons. The first being that "diet" sounds so negative and restrictive and I just don't think it's a realistic way to live. I am not a person that thrives on deprivation. I don't find it cool, endearing or impressive. But the second reason is that the kind of diet I'm currently on isn't really a traditional diet - it's mostly about being extra mindful about the kinds of things I'm putting in my body. I am breastfeeding a little giant and I don't think "dieting" in the traditional sense of the word is very healthy or sustaining for my little person. So I am fumbling around, figuring how the best way to eat healthy & wholesome for him while still achieving the right amount of weight loss for me.

I knowwwww that it takes time to lose baby weight. But I also know it's not going to just fall off, especially after baby #2. And I would like to fit into my clothes one of these days, you guys. That would be fun. So I am doing my best, cutting sugar and alcohol (again, for the most part - I will allow it here and there if it's a special occasion.) I am trying to focus on what I can eat instead of what I can't. So while I am trying to have lots of fresh fruits and veggies and wholesome carbs and - I am allowing myself to eat these lactation cookies. They are really tasty, and the only sweet thing I'm having in my life right now. But they are doing the trick!

I try to eat a salad every day for lunch. I am mostly annoyed with salads because they are rabbit food, so they have to be goooood if I'm going to eat one every day. These are two recipes that I love having over and over again, and I thought it was high time that I share them with you. I can barely call it a recipe, because I mean, it's salad. But still - here are two that are so super duper tasty and wonderful.

Salmon + Caper Salad.
- spinach
- salmon*
- 2 tbsp. capers
- 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. shaved Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 an avocado, sliced lengthwise
- 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
- the juice of 1/2 a lemon
- olive oil + balsamic vinegar to taste

*I like to prepare my salmon by putting it in a glass pyrex dish, pouring some Italian dressing over the top and baking it at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. It's divine.

I start with a bed of lettuce, add the other ingredients, drizzle with the olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, and then chop up really good. I've realize that I enjoy salad way more if I chop it and mix it really well.

Strawberry & Goat Cheese Salad.
- spinach
- 1/2 chicken breast*
- 2 tbsp. sliced almonds
- 2 tbsp. crumbled goat cheese
- 1/4 cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup each: sliced strawberries, blueberries, blackberries
- olive oil + balsamic vinegar to taste.

* I prepare my chicken breast by boiling it for 20 minutes in a pot of salted hot water. Once the meat is cooked and white all the way through, I drain it and immediately shred. I usually prep this on Sundays and keep the chicken in a seal-fresh container, using it throughout the week for anything from salads to tacos. It's super helpful to have cooked protein on-hand at all times!

Start with a bed of spinach, layering the rest of the ingredients on top. I like to dress with the olive oil and balsamic, but if you have access to sweeter balsamic vinegars (like pomegranate, etc.), this is a great salad to use it on! :)

And there you have it! Any yummy salad combos you'd like to share with me? I'd love to hear!

Dragonfruit Smoothie Bowl.

This is officially the prettiest food I've ever assembled. I mean, look at that pink bowl of fruity goodness. Yum! And spoiler alert - it tastes as grand as it looks. I've been on the acai berry bowl kick for a while now, but since discovering another exotic pretty food - pitaya (also known as dragonfruit), I've been whipping these up in my Vitamix and it couldn't be a more delicious snack. Or breakfast. Or lunch. I really like food that can multitask for me, and this one is good any time of the day :)

- 1 serving Pitaya Smoothie packet (4-packs found in the freezer section of your grocery store, next to the frozen fruit, right next to the acai berry smoothie packs) - I like the Pitaya Plus brand
- 1/4 cup Almond Milk
- Fresh fruit of your choice - strawberries, blueberries, kiwi, bananas, sliced
- Toppings of your choice - I like granola, chia seeds, sliced almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut

1. Run 1 frozen packet of pitaya under cold water for about 20 seconds. Then add packet to a blender (I love my Vitamix), and combine with 1/4 cup almond milk. Blend until smooth.
2. Pour pitaya mix into two bowls.
3. Top with sliced fruit and all the yummy toppings.

Ta da! You're done! Eat aaaaaalll that goodness up now.

P.S. - This would make a lovely Valentine breakfast.
P.P.S. - My acai berry bowl recipe here, case you're like me and can't get enough of the smoothie bowl trend :)

Roasted Tomato Soup

I went to an afternoon class at Williams-Sonoma a few weeks ago with my dear friend Liz. We were learning how to use our high-powered blenders to make some autumn recipes. Side note - did you know that Williams-Sonoma offers free technique classes every Sunday at 1pm? I am overjoyed! You know where I will be on Sundays from now on. That store is my happy place. My Christmas list is already brimming with kitchen must-haves. Okay, enough crushing on WS. The point is, at the class I learned how to make a roasted tomato soup. Then I went home and played around with the recipe a bit. And I'm not going to say I'm happy - I'm thrilled. This soup is divine. Skip your way over to the grocery store and snatch up these ingredients. You are going to want to make this tonight.

- 3 lb. Roma tomatoes
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp. minced garlic
- 5 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 bunch of fresh thyme leaves
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
- salt & pepper to taste
- fresh grated Parmesan cheese, optional

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Slice the tomatoes in half and place in a large glass baking dish, insides facing up.
3. In a small bowl, combine 3 tbsp. olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and whisk together until well mixed.
4. Carefully drizzle the glaze over the open-faced tomatoes.
5. Place tomatoes in the oven and roast for 1 hour.

6. Heat a dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
7. Add the onion, saute for 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring so the onion doesn't burn.
8. Add 1 cup of the white wine and bring to a simmer.
9. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock to the dutch oven. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat.
10. In batches, puree the mixture until smooth. I used a Vitamix, but you can use any high-powered blender.
11. Return the pureed soup back to the dutch oven, heating over low. Add the parsley, making sure to mix well.
12. Ladle into bowls, top with a bit more parsley and Parmesan cheese, if desired, and serve immediately.

Seriously, this soupppppp. It's just so incredible and autumnal and just what the doctor ordered. And if you want to get fancy, this would be simply perfect if served with a side salad, grilled cheese or toast points. Bon Appetit, friends!