A Popcorn to Die For

Today, I am here to admit something. I have a problem. Popcorn.

I’ve been addicted to popcorn since childhood. I can remember my Nana making popcorn balls at Christmastime and sneaking them at night. This crunchy treat is my weakness.

I love the salty, buttery, and crunchiness each bite rewards me with.

Now I’m craving a bit bowl of popcorn. Great. Be right back.

Alright, now that I’ve satisfied that craving I get to get to the good stuff. The recipe. This friday I want to share my favorite way of eating popcorn and how I make it…a tad healthier…for those movie nights and late night snacks in the house.

What makes it ‘healthier’?

Well, I add flaxseed. I know…weird. Not really though. You can’t taste it but what it adds to the popcorn makes all the difference.

What is flaxseed? Flaxseed has been around since Babylon and some call it one of the most powerful plant foods on the planet. It has a lot of evidence to back of the health claims. I’ve consumed flaxseed as a part of my clean eating for awhile. I’ve seen personal improvements in my skin, hair, and it has helped with the weight loss by keeping me fuller longer. Now…all that could also be a myriad other things but I have noticed some great benefits after I started taking it…so there’s that.

Essentially flax seed is, well a seed, and just one ounce contains Omega-3’s, fiber, protein, vitamin B1, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, selenium, and even a bit of copper. Everything our body benefits from having.

See…I told you this popcorn is healthy.

Alright, onto the recipe.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Popcorn
1 tsp Garlic Salt
1 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed

First things first, pour the oil and popcorn in a cold pan and place it over medium heat. (As you can tell from the pan…I made a few batches…FOR TESTING)

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Then cover that sucker up. And wait. Once you hear popping, shake the pan. Then shake it more. Shake it until the popping slows way down and pull it off the burner, shaking to keep the popcorn from burning.

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Sprinkle on the garlic salt. Shake.

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Sprinkle on the flaxseed. Shake.

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Then eat.

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It is a golden mix of gorgeous wonderful salty buttery HEALTHY popcorn. Just don’t eat too much. Popcorn is addicting. Ask me how I know.

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Asparagus and Shallot Frittata

I would like to subtitle this blog…”How to Make a Perfect Frittata”.

Okay, I don’t know if it is the perfect frittata but it is really…really…really good.

It includes some of our favorite ingredients in my kitchen. Mushrooms. Asparagus. Shallot. Garlic. Jalapeño. Eggs. Salt.

Why do we love these ingredients?

Well, it may be a bit obvious but they are all extremely healthy and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that make our body’s run at peak performance.

Of course, you can really mix and match any veg that you’d like, I just threw together a nice collection of ingredients that I had on hand and that tasted just amazing.

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Let’s start here…what is a frittata. When I first explained the concept to some students once I said it was like an egg cake made in a skillet. We cook the veg, add the egg, cook the bottom of our mixture, then throw it under the broiler to cook the top and give it some puffiness, and enjoy.

That’s it. The entire recipe takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and can even be made the day before and served slightly warmed up for brunch. This recipe is small and makes only two servings, however, just double the recipe and you’ll have enough to feed your family. Pair it with some healthy apple cinnamon chia waffles with a sprinkling of flax seed and you’ll have a weekend brunch that will feed your family and keep them full.

First, let’s prep.

Slice a jalapeño in half and remove the membrane/seeds. It’ll be almost unbearable hot if you decide to leave them in, then dice.

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Next, slice your shiitake mushrooms (make sure you clean them!).

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Mince your garlic.

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Slice your shallots.

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Cut your asparagus into 1″ segments.

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Throw all of these into a pan with a touch of extra virgin olive oil, that’s been heated on medium.

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Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are translucent.

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Add the asparagus.

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Cook for a further 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is tender and bright green. Next, crack your eggs, salt and pepper, whisk.

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Add to your skillet. Now don’t do anything for 3 minutes. Resist all urges to move the eggs around. Just say no. Once you see the edges start to set, throw it in the oven under the broiler.

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Let it sit there for 3 more minutes.

Now, pull it out of the oven. Your frittata should be golden brown, a bit puffy, and look super delish.

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Okay…last step…let it rest. Yup, just for 5 minutes. That’s it. Here’s the thing about frittata, they are meant to be eaten at room temp or lower. Me? Well I like ’em hot. I don’t eat food room temperature. It grosses me out.

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So, I serve myself after about 5 long long long minutes and enjoy!

You can serve these with a touch of homemade salsa, a sprinkling of parsley, or a few greens like a peppery arugula.

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Asparagus and Shallot Frittata

If you liked this recipe or any of the other recipes on the blog, take a moment to like this post, comment, and subscribe to get instant notifications anytime I upload a new recipe! Have a wonderful day y’all!

 

Fast Friday: Cooking Sweet and Savory Quinoa

Today is the first of a series I’d like to call, Fast Friday. A collection of recipes/tips that will make your cooking experience a lot easier.

Today we are taking a look at Quinoa.

What is quinoa? Well, if you’ve been hiding in your closet for the last few years you’ve not heard of quinoa. It is a magical ingredient that can make your cooking and baking a lot healthier.

Quinoa is a gluten free grain that has become something of a celebrity in most diets. Why? It is a complete protein, simply put that means it contains all nine amino acids our body needs for optimal health and function. Our body can’t produce them, so having a single source that gives us all we need, is pretty awesome. Not to mention all the other great things it contains! This grain is a powerhouse and should be added to your diet straight away.

I eat quinoa nearly every day. It is a quick and fast fix for lunch. Here’s one problem. It tastes gross on its own (at least to me). I use the word ‘earthy’ when talking about plain ole quinoa. I’ve tried several ways to cook it but nothing makes me want to come back again and again like the following recipes.

Here I’ve included two different recipes for two types of quinoa. A savory quinoa that I love to have for lunch and a sweet quinoa perfect for breakfast. Of course, I choose which meal. Quinoa for both meals would be overkill, in my opinion.

The savory quinoa is made with our traditional quinoa. The quinoa you can find in most of your grocery stores and/or you’ve ate.

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Our sweet quinoa is made with red quinoa, which has a slightly different taste than the one you’re probably used to.

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Whether sweet or savory, try these two recipes and add quinoa to your diet!

Savory Quinoa

For our savory quinoa you’ll need the following:

1/2 cup Quinoa
1 cup Water
1 sprig Thyme
1/2 tsp Garlic Salt
1 crushed Garlic Clove

Gather all of your ingredients and throw them in a medium saucepan.

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Bring the mixture to a boil.

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Cover, and reduce the heat to low, cook without stirring for 15 minutes.

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Once all the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes.

Remove the garlic.

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Then the thyme.

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Then go ahead and fluff with a fork.

Serve up with a sprig of thyme on top to look pretty and enjoy! This will work perfectly with chicken, fish, or add in a few sautéed mushrooms to make a completely vegan meal.

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Sweet Quinoa

For our sweet quinoa you’ll need the following:

1/2 cup Red Quinoa
3/4 cup Almond Milk
1/4 cup Water
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Nutmeg or All Spice
Pinch of Salt

Gather all your ingredients and throw them in a medium saucepan.

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Bring the mixture to a boil.

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Cover, and reduce the heat to low, cook without stirring for 15 minutes.

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Once most of the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes.

Stir to combine. You can add another splash of Almond Milk and top with almonds to make a perfect breakfast porridge.

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Zucchini Quinoa Salad

So, here’s the thing. I love salad. In fact, I eat a salad for lunch each day. For many years I ate just iceberg lettuce with a bit of ranch. Which, let’s face it is boring. There are some benefits when it comes to your health…but come on…B-O-R-I-N-G.

In the first place, iceberg lettuce has very little nutritional value. Switch it out for romaine when you can.

In the second place, there isn’t any flavor. Sure you can add a bunch of stuff to it but then – what’s the point?

I need my salads to be tasty. I need them to be hearty. I want a salad that’s a meal. Plain and simple. I want to walk away feeling full and I want to stay full all afternoon until dinner.

This salad y’all. This salad right here? This salad will meet all your expectations…it does mine.

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It is a combination of bright refreshing lemon juice/zest with a whole bunch of zucchini, pumpkin seeds, and a hint of mint. What’s that do for your body?

Well, the zucchini is one of those fruits that makes you swoon with its subtle taste and buttery flesh (ew…that sounds gross…insides? Ew…anyway). The thing is, zucchini is great for weight loss, eye health, and is a great source of vitamin C. It also contains a whole bunch of potassium, folate, and vitamin A. What does that all mean? It is a super pack powerhouse of a super food.

Mint promotes digestion and can also help with things like indigestion and inflammation as well.

Lastly, our pumpkin seeds contain a variety of nutrients such as magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, zinc and even phytosterols (which can give your health an added boost).

Alright, let’s get this super salad started (ALLITERATION!!).

Remember what I said Monday? We have to prep first, that’ll make the cooking simple and easy and things will move along properly.

First things first, make some quinoa, you’ll need about a cup, but this will depend on how ‘quinoa-y’ you want your salad, if you like a whole lotta quinoa, double up. This recipe is meant to be fudged with. I chose a cup, which seemed like a good mix.

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Next, we need to get our veg together. Okay…zucchini isn’t a veg but we’re cooking it like one, so…there.

Slice your zucchini into thin 1/8″ slices, we need these to cook quick so the thinner the better. Psst…at this point you can use any squash you’d like such as butternut…just make sure it is cut small enough to cook pretty well.

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Mince you garlic to oblivion.

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Slice your scallions (green onions) on a diagonal, thickness doesn’t matter, we aren’t cooking these so the larger they are the more onion taste your dish will have.

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Chop a whole bunch of mint. Literally, a whole bunch. You’ll probably get about 3/4 to 1 cups worth. That’s good. We want it minty fresh.

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Next, grab a medium (9 or 10″) saute pan and heat some extra virgin olive oil on medium.

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Toss in your zucchini.

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Cook zucchini until it is gorgeous and brown and tender and your house smells like heaven, about 8-10 minutes.

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Toss in the garlic and cook for exactly 45 seconds. DO NOT BURN THE GARLIC. DO NOT. DO NOT. DO NOT.

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Toss in your quinoa. Your quinoa is going to be like a sponge here, soaking up all those amazing flavors that you’ve added to the pan. Stir it around and let it cook for a few seconds. Add a dash of garlic salt and pepper. It’s important you season this really well, we’ve waited to do this up to this point because we didn’t want the salt to cook off. That sharp salty flavor is going to balance well with the earthiness in the quinoa.

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Next, plop your zucchini and quinoa in a bowl and start building your salad. First, add the scallions.

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Then the mint.

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Then the pumpkin seeds, lemon zest, olive oil and a bit of lemon juice.

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Mix it all together, gently, and pour into a big bowl.

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That’s it! Now, this could be a great main dish or side dish. If you are using it as a side dish may I recommend some poached chicken? This will make about four hefty size servings or eight smaller servings if using it as a side dish. Season with more salt and pepper…or if you are really adventurous…garlic salt!

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Overall, I love this dish and make it a few times a week. It is cheap, good, and takes just a few minutes to make. The best part? It is Vegan, Dairy-Free, and Gluten-Free. It fits into a clean eating diet wonderfully.

Zucchini and Quinoa Salad

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Southern Portobello and Kale Salad

In the south we all eat, what we call,

Greens

a.k.a

Collards

a.k.a

Collard Greens

Whatever you call them, usually the dish consists of smoked meat of some kind, salt, some kind of hot sauce, collard greens, and…of course…butter.

Yup. Greens and butter.

That’s why they taste so darn good.

Well, I needed another option to serve at family gatherings or something I could whip up in just 20 or 30 minutes on those nights where I’m just too busy. You know the ones. Where you’re too tired to get off the couch to cook a grand meal.

Thus the Southern Kale and Portobello Salad was born.

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It can be served as a side dish and hold up to any main dish you throw at it…or use it as an entire meal which makes it a great vegan, gluten free, dairy free, and nut free option.

One thing it does have plenty of? Flavor.

First things first, you need to gather your supplies. I know, I know. If you’re like me, you don’t measure out things first…you work as you go. However, everything in this recipe cooks so quickly, you need to have it ready to go.

Second, dice the mushrooms. If you don’t know how to prep portobellos mushrooms…it is as easy as making lemonade.

Never wash mushrooms, they’ll just absorb the water. Simply wipe the top of the mushrooms off with a damp towel. Invest in some good cloth towels. Stop using paper towel. Stop it.

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Then you’re going to slice the mushrooms.

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After which you need to slice off all the meaty brown parts. This is what gives the mushrooms their somewhat dirty and woodsy taste. Which I hate. If you like it, by all means keep them on.

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Next, dice the mushrooms.

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Slice a red onion by cutting it in half and then making thin slices about 1/8″ thick.

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Dice up a small red chili. If you want to discard the seeds, you can do so but I like to keep them in for heat.

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Mince 4 garlic cloves. Simple.

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You’re done! Now combine all those in a big bowl and get a sauté pan on the burner, over medium, and heat a few tbsp of extra virgin olive oil…you know…the good stuff.

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Plop (yup…profesh terms here) all of your prepared veggies in the pan. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes…or until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms are tender.

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Once they are tender, salt and pepper everything. Why now? We don’t want to draw too much water out of the mushrooms and so if we salt it now, we season instead of dehydrate.

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Next, throw in 3 cups of sliced kale. Sliced is the key word. Don’t leave these guys too big, kale can be a bit grainy if you’re cooking it and it is too large.

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Sautee, mixing, until the kale is thoroughly mixed in.

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Add in a splash of Red Wine Vinegar and cook until the kale is wilted and tender and bright green and it looks as yummy as can be.

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That’s it!

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This makes enough for one serving if you’re making it as a main dish, but if you are using it as a side dish…split it up between a 2-4 people. Make sure to provide plenty of salt and pepper. This salad needs it. Something about the salt really makes all the flavors pop.

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How easy was that? This is, hands down, my favorite way to serve kale, which is a tricky ingredient to win people over. Put a plate of this in front of anyone and they’ll be begging you for the recipe.

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Just click here to download a handy dandy printable for my Southern Kale and Portobello Salad.