Saturday, June 9, 2012

Vegan Recovery Smoothie

Who doesn't love chocolate and banana together? I call this the recovery smoothie because it is perfect as an post workout snack. With about 20g of protein and plenty of vitamins - it's an ideal drink to help rebuild your body. 

I use Navitas Naturals raw cacao powder and Garden of Life raw protein powder. I have tried a lot of protein powders and find this one to be the best (and most natural). It's organic, raw and contains a lot of essential amino acids. Other protein powders contain a lot of chemicals and sugars that are of no use to the body. I don't use sweetener but if you'd like to add some honey or stevia, you are welcome to.

Recovery Smoothie

Cook Time: 0 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 1


  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 tsp of raw cacao powder
  • 1 scoop of protein powder
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Throw everything into a blender and blend until desired consistency. If you think it is too thick, add a little more almond milk. Serve in a tall glass - chilled.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Chimichurri Marinated Skirt Steak

Marinating meats is the easiest way to flavor it without much effort. I recommend marinating with something acidic to help break down the meat so it becomes more tender. Using homemade Argentinian Chimichurri is perfect! Salty, acidic and full of flavor. It makes this meat stellar. Whether you plan to grill, broil or pan fry - the marinade is the key to this meal. The meat is perfect as it is - no need for additional sauces. If you'd like to serve a little extra chimichurri on the side, that's fine. My husband likes the fresh chimichurri taste with the cooked. I personally just eat the meat as is. 

If you do not want to make your own chimichurri, you should be able to purchase some already made. But nothing beat fresh. Also make please make sure the meat you purchase is from a well known source. I can't stress enough the importance of grass-fed meats. They are  leaner, usually ethically treated and a lot healthier (more vitamins, minerals, and no hormones). Antibiotics are not a part of this recipes. Make sure when you eat, you are being conscience of what you eat and are eating the best. You deserve to eat only the highest quality of foods!

Chimichurri Marinated Skirt Steak

Cook Time: 15 minutes
Prep Time: 4-8 hours 
Serves: 3-4


  • 1 lb of grass fed skirt steak
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of chimichurri (self made or store bought)
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a glass bowl or some type of container, combine the skirt steak and the chimichurri until the meat is well coated. Cover the glass bowl and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight if you'd like. Turn at least once. 

Once marinated - Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer the meat from the bowl onto the hot skillet (salt and pepper both sides if you'd like) . Don't worry about shaking off the excess marinade.

Let the meat cook for about 7 minutes or until the one side is browned. Turn over and repeat with the other side. If you prefer a more well done steak, you may cook it longer. This amount of time should give you a slight pink center and crusty outside. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Triple Chocolate Brownies

By request from a friend, I made brownies. And what makes brownies so decadent and irresistible? Chocolate, a lot of chocolate (ladies need their chocolate)! My Triple Chocolate Brownies are made up of raw cacao, 70% melted dark chocolate and mini dark chocolate chips. How could these not be amazing? These are sweet, rich and not too dense. Box brownie mixes are to "boxy" for me. How do you describe a boxy taste? Beats me but I guess it is like cardboard with some sweetness. If you are going to treat yourself (and friends) to brownies, make the the best. 

I used Nutiva extra virgin coconut oil, Navitas Naturals raw cacao powder, and 70% dark chocolate was one I found at whole foods (it's from spain, sold in large chunks by the pound). When you go to melt the 70% dark chocolate, make sure you cut it into smaller pieces to help it melt quicker. Also by melting it with the coconut oil, it help prevent burning the chocolate. I add cinnamon because it gives the chocolate a rich flavor (as does adding coffee), but omitting it is just fine. 

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Serves: 12-16 brownies

Dry (sift all):

  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup raw cacao powder (or use cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup fine raw sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 oz 70% dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 8 x 8 baking dish with coconut oil. 

In a side bowl, sift all of the dry ingredients together. Set aside

In a large bowl, mix the sugars, vanilla and 1 egg at a time until well combined.

Place the dark chocolate and the coconut oil together in a microwave safe mug. Heat on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Heat again for another 30 or until the chocolate is completely melted. Stir well. 

Gradually add the melted chocolate to the sugar mixture until well combined.

Then begin gradually adding the dry mixture to the wet mixture. Blend until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish and spread evenly. 

Transfer the baking dish to the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the middle is set.

Allow the brownies to cool before cutting. Cut into 12 or 16 pieces. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cheesy Herby Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits

Fresh drop biscuits remind me of Saturday mornings growing up - my parents would make sausage & gravy and fresh biscuits almost every weekend. Drop biscuits are fuss-free. No need to get a biscuit cutter out or flour a surface. Just grab some of the mixture and drop it on the cookie sheet. If you want to make them a bit more even, you can roll them into a ball. 

Instead of the usual drop biscuit, I decided to bump it up a bit. Adding cheese, seasonings and herb butter. To make these a bit heartier and healthier I used whole wheat flour (and reduced the amount of butter normally used). It makes the biscuit more dense and gives them that wheat flavor that I love. If you aren't a huge fan of using wheat, white flour works well in this recipe (that's how my mom would make them). 

I used Kerrygold Garlic and Herb Butter - which is my favorite!! It comes from grass fed cows and so flavorful. I add this butter to most recipes (mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, etc.). I highly recommend trying it. The cheese I used was a sharp sheep milk cheese that I bought locally. Any sharp cheese will do in this recipe. And as for the milk, I had 2% on hand, so that's what I used. Any milk will do, even milk substitutes (soy, almond, etc). I usually buy vanilla almond milk - but that didn't sound too appealing with all of the savory ingredients. 

Cheesy Herby Whole Wheat Drop Biscuits

Cook Time: 13-15 minutes @ 425F
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 10-12 biscuits


  • Oil spray

  • 2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp of dried parsley

  • 1/2 cup sharp cheese, grated
  • 4 Tbsp of herb butter, melted
  • 1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425F. Prep a cookie sheet with oil spray to prevent sticking.

In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients and the cheese. 

Pour the melted butter over top. Mix slightly by hand. Then gradually stir the mixture while adding some of the milk (about 1/4 cup at a time) until everything is well incorporated. The mixture should be slightly sticky.

Get about a 1/4 cup of the mixture and drop onto the cookie sheet. Make sure to place each biscuit about 1-2 inches apart.

Transfer the cookie sheet to the oven and bake for about 13-15 minutes or until the top is slightly brown and the inside is cooked (you can check this by inserting a toothpick).

Serve the biscuits warm.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Argentinian Chimichurri

Chimichurri is an excellent condiment or marinade to have on hand! Part of my family is Argentinian and Chimichurri is a house hold staple. They use it mostly to compliment meats, but I use it for everything - as a spread for sandwiches, to jazz up a simple bowl of chicken soup and toss it with cooked veggies. 

It is a salty, tart, oily condiment that can be customized according to what you like. If you want to reduce the amount of salt or vinegar - then do so. I like mine to be slightly salty and tart because it helps break down meats while marinading. Also it makes a little go a long way. As for the red pepper flakes, that can be omitted if you prefer. The 1/2 tsp used doesn't really make the mixture spicy, it gives it a balance. The mixture keeps well in the fridge for about a week in a well sealed container. 

Argentinian Chimichurri

Cook Time: 0 minutes
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: makes about 1 cup 


  • 2 cups fresh parsley leaves, packed
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano leaves
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/2 tsp of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup olive oil

In a food processor, add all of the ingredients except the oil. Pulse a few times. Then while still pulsing, gradually add the olive oil. Keep pulsing until desired consistency. Taste and check if you would like to add more seasoning. The mixture will be tart and salty. 

Place the mixture in the refrigerator for about 4 hours or longer to let the flavor develop. Serve at room temperature.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

My husband's favorite meals are Ribs, Meatloaf and Hamburgers (with anything on them). I make these especially for him. I'm not much of a ribs person, but these are actually very good. I'll usually nibble on 1 or 2 but the whole batch is his (and he doesn't mind). I love using my slower cooker for everything! It makes having dinner ready so easy. Since I let the ribs cook on low for so long, it allows the meat to breakdown and absorb the flavor of the sauce. These are smokey, juicy and definitely hearty. Totally Man Food! Plus what's says summer is starting more than ribs?

I used Annie's Naturals Organic Hot Chipotle BBQ sauce. We love ours spicy! Using any BBQ sauce you like will work great with this - so use what you know you'll enjoy. As for the pork spare ribs, I get mine from meat counter and ask them to trim the membrane (if there is one) and cut into sections (about 4 bones long). Makes it easy to just put everything together.

Slow Cooker BBQ Spare Ribs

Cook Time: 8 hours, on low
Prep Time: < 5 minutes
Serves: 3-4

  • Olive oil spray
  • 2 lbs pork spare ribs, trimmed and cut to fit your slow cooker
  • 2 Tbsp bbq (your choice)
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp worcheshire sauce
  • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 tsp hot sauce (optional)

Spray the inside of your slow cooker with oil.

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the Sauce ingredients. The sauce should be tart and salty, maybe a bit of sweet if you used a sweet bbq sauce.

Place section of the ribs into slow cooker. With a basting brush, or your fingers, add a layer of sauce to the top of the ribs. Then place the next section of ribs on top and repeat. Once all of the ribs are in the slow cooker, drizzle whatever remaining sauce there is on top.

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. At about 4 hours in, flip the ribs. Do this by taking the section on the bottom and putting it on top, sauce side up.

You'll know they are done when the meat is practically falling off the bones.

Serve with additional bbq sauce or eat them as is. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Super Veg Lasagna

Who says lasagna isn't comfort food? Well in my house it is! Instead of a meat filled lasagna, I made it very veggie. Hearty mushrooms, kale and roasted peppers & onions are the stars in this dish. Plus with all of the layers it makes it a flavor explosion! My husband, who is a die-hard meat eater, LOVES this lasagna. This is definitely a slimmed down version of a traditional lasagna - less cheese, less oil and no meat. Figure friendly food. Sorry but the pictures don't do it justice. You have to make it for yourself - it's amazing!

If you don't want to make the Roasted Balsamic Peppers and Onions, you could saute the peppers and onions in the skillet before adding the mushrooms and kale. I just find the sweetness of the roasting process to be to die for. It really brings everything together. I boiled the kale a bit to help break it down a bit, but in the finished lasagna it still maintains a hearty bite (not soggy). As for the tomato sauce, I used Newman's Own Organic Tomato and Basil sauce (my go to sauce). If you prefer to make this a vegan lasagna, just omit the cottage cheese and cheese topping - the flavor from the veggies is more than enough. 

Super Veg Lasagna

Cook Time: 40 minutes
Prep Time: < 10 minutes
Serves: 4 


  • Roasted Balsamic Peppers and Onions (whole recipe)
  • 1 lb of organic kale, stem removed and chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tsp of olive oil 
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb of cremini mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 a jar of organic tomato sauce
  • 8 sheets of no boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese 
  • 1/2 cup of fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup of Parmigiano, grated
  • 1 tsp of Italian seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prep an 8x8 baking dish with olive oil spray. 

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chopped kale and swirl around. Let it cook for about 4 minutes or so. Drain the kale and set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic, mushrooms and kale. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for about 5 minutes. Set aside. 

Now it is time to assemble! Spread about 1/3 cup of tomato sauce on the surface of the baking dish. Then top with 2 lasagna noodles. Top the lasagna noodles with 1/2 of the kale mixture and 1/2 of the peppers and onions mixture. Place another 2 noodles on top of that. Spread 1 cup of cottage cheese and 2/3 cup of tomato sauces over the noodles. Top again with another 2 noodles. Spread the remaining kale and pepper/onion mixture over the noodles. Top with 2 more noodles. Spread 1/2-2/3cup of tomato sauce over the top (enough to cover the entire surface). 

Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sauce evenly. Sprinkle the top with the Italian seasoning.

Transfer the dish into the oven and bake for 30 minutes. 

Remove from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Cut into 4 pieces and serve.