National Insalata Day!

What what now?

Two posts in one day?

Totally not me.

I mean, why would you want to see a second post about food?

Why would you not want to?

It’s totally because I missed you for about nine hours and felt like we needed to catch up.

I’m totally lying.

Kind of. 🙂

I totally need to find another word for totally. Totally…

The truth is, tomorrow (today if you are reading this Wednesday) Tastespotting is celebrating National Salad Day and guess what? They are featuring salad recipes all day long.

Salad is my thing.

I have one at every meal…or with my meal. You can bet that I have given a waiter (or two) at restaurants the stank eye when they informed me that my roasted chicken didn’t come with a side salad, but instead, a measly pile of mashed potatoes with gravy (that probably came from a frozen bag).

Excuse me? I’ll pay $2.50 to have that side salad added to my meal…and you can keep those mashed potatoes…just please send out some hot, buttered bread and we will be bff’s for life.

High maintenance much? You bet.

Don’t mess with my insalata.

I will get rough.

This salad is a no fuss meal.

Let’s roast some veggies.

Spring veggies.

More specifically,

zucchini and asparagus.

IMG_1588

This salad is super duper green-ified.

IMG_1589

Could ya tell?

IMG_1601

You knew this was a salad with kale, right?

Stop! Let’s talk about this dressing situation.

This dressing seriously is the BEST dressing I have ever made.

I can’t even.

It starts w/ coconut milk yogurt.

IMG_1590

Ahhhh, my new bff.

Then we add some dijon, honey,

IMG_1591

and juice of a mandarin orange.

IMG_1593

Then…oh, then we add the ingredient that makes everything worth while…

toasted coconut.

IMG_1594

Hello, I’m down here…face-planted into this creamy, coconutty bowl of goodness.

IMG_1596

This salad is a bowl of spring and summer.

IMG_1598

Especially with that toasted coconut business.

IMG_1599

Oh, and the roasted asparagus and zucchini…well, you get it.

SUMMER-TIME!

IMG_1602

And the living is good 🙂

IMG_1603

I am not lying when I say this is THE BEST salad I have made all year.

I took the veggies right  out of the oven and poured them immediately over the kale,

IMG_1604

which slightly wilted the kale.

Then, I added the dressing, more toasted coconut, and  tossed everything together.

IMG_1605

Seriously…a bowl of heaven.

IMG_1606

I can’t even.

IMG_1607

I’m 100% sure that I was transported to the coast of Italy after one bite of this thing.

IMG_1608

I’m pretty sure there were chilled bottles of prosecco involved as well.

IMG_1609

Yes, prosecco…because we are in Italy.

IMG_1610

Now, if we were in Mexico…I’d suggest margaritas.

IMG_1611

But we can save that nonsense for Sunday.

IMG_1613

Caspisce?

IMG_1617

I mean there is always room for margaritas.

IMG_1614

Oh, and don’t forget

a few hot cabana guys to serve us those drinks.

IMG_1619

Is it Friday yet? 🙂

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Asparagus and Zucchini Kale Salad with Toasted Coconut Honey Mustard Dressing
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-4
 
Warm roasted asparagus and zucchini are tossed with fresh lacinato kale, toasted coconut, and a "creamy" toasted coconut honey mustard dressing for the perfect spring time salad. The dressing knocks this salad out of the park, using coconut milk yogurt as the base. Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Paleo!
Ingredients
  • For the salad:
  • ½ c. unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1 large zucchini squash, roughly chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 lb. of asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into 4ths
  • extra-virgin olive oil, as needed
  • fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 large bunch of lacinato kale, ribs removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  • For the dressing:
  • 6 oz. container of plain, coconut milk yogurt (I used So Delicious)
  • 2 T. Dijon mustard (can substitute maple syrup for strict vegan)
  • 1½ T. honey
  • juice of 1 small tangerine
  • 2 T. of toasted coconut (reserved from the coconut toasted for the salad)
Instructions
  1. For the coconut, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the coconut out evenly over the baking sheet. Bake for 3-5 minutes, or until the coconut is lightly golden. Pour the coconut into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Bump the temperature up to 400 degrees F.
  4. Place the veggies on the baking sheet and toss with the extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until lightly golden brown and sizzling.
  6. For the dressing, place all of the ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  7. Place the kale in a large mixing bowl, add the roasted veggies (you can cool them slightly if you want), the remaining toasted coconut, and 2 tablespoons of the dressing.
  8. Toss everything together until evenly coated.
  9. Serve.

MANGIA!!!

Cake on the Brain.

I’m pretty sure I had a “post-wedding festivities burnout” headache yesterday. The kind of headache that is throbbing and all you want to do is take an ibuprofin and hope you wake up before dinner. That’s exactly what I did. And it worked! I’m pretty sure the headache had something to do with the 3 fruity rum drinks I had with pop-rocks around the rim or maybe it was the non-stop MC Hammer dance moves trying to keep up with my mother on the dance floor.

She never ceases to amaze me. I’ll go with the latter 🙂

In other news, just when I think a Real Housewives season is over…another one pops up out of the blue.

Hello, Real Housewives of Orange County. Yes, I would love to drive a Bentley and take private jets to lunch in L.A.. K thanks.

On another another note…cake is the topic today.

Which is such a DRASTIC change from my weekly topics. Ha!

I’m putting vegetables in your cake today.

IMG_1074

Seriously…you will thank me when your Dr. gives you that clean bill of health.

IMG_1075

Really…these are super good and healthy for you!

IMG_1080

They are made w/ zero sugar! What…a cake with no sugar? Yep.

IMG_1083

These snack bars/cake are packed with zucchini and  protein.

IMG_1085

I would suggest eating one before or after a workout. I will be eating mine with breakfast.

IMG_1086

Just because cake is always better at breakfast.

IMG_1087

Don’t tell me you’ve never had cake for breakfast.

IMG_1088

I just might croak.

IMG_1089

I’m talking to you college sophomore who claims to be hanging out with friends for a late night study sesh which quickly turns into a late night bar-hopping sesh only to end up at a 24-hour diner at 5 a.m. where you nix the eggs and bacon and splurge on a short-stack of buttermilk pancakes and a slice of dark chocolate cake with a sinful ganache frosting.

IMG_1090

Oh, those college days.

IMG_1091

Where did I harbor all that food exactly?

IMG_1092

I’ve done it again…made health food look like you will gain 10 pounds after eating it!

IMG_1094

Not on this blog, people. 🙂

IMG_1095

You know it just wouldn’t be cake without a good ole’ glaze on top.

IMG_1096

The glaze has protein too…

IMG_1097

that’s like double the protein!

IMG_1099

Did I mention these are paleo?

BAM! Let’s get yoked!

IMG_1100

Zucchini Protein Snack Cake
Recipe type: Snack, Dessert,
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 9
 
Gluten-free/Grain-free/Paleo
Ingredients
  • For the cake:
  • ½ c. coconut flour
  • 2 T. flaxseed meal
  • 2 T. raw vanilla protein powder
  • ¼ t. fine sea salt
  • 1 t. gluten-free baking powder
  • 1 large egg white or ¼ c. egg white substitute
  • 1 T. unsweetened, apple sauce (I used a homemade unsweetened apple butter)
  • ¾ c. unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
  • 1 T. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 large zucchini, grated
  • 1 T. granulated stevia, optional
  • For the nut butter protein glaze:
  • 1 T. raw vanilla protein powder
  • 2 T. of your favorite nut butter (I used almond butter)
  • 2 T. +1 t. unsweetened, vanilla almond butter
Instructions
  1. For the cake:
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 in square cake pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate mixing bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients, including the zucchini.
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  6. Spread the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting into squares and glazing.
  8. For the glaze:
  9. Whisk together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth.
  10. Pour the glaze evenly over the cake squares.

Nutritional Facts (Serves: 9, Serving Size: per 1 cake square w/out protein frosting (will vary depending on nut butter used)):

Calories: 96.2 kcal Total Fat: 2.7g, Total Carb: 10.3g, Potassium: 87.2 mg, Sodium: 168.2 mg, Dietary Fiber: 6.2g, Protein: 7g

MANGIA!!!

Dream Recipes.

I’ve pretty much been staring at the screen for 5 minutes trying to decide what to chatter about.

It’s come down to this…I’m awake at 5:30 a.m. and my brain is not quite functioning yet due to lack of caffeine intake.

I’m listening to Annabelle snore away…oh, wait that was her who woke me up at 3 a.m.? Because who just needs to eat breakfast and go on a potty break…for 30 minutes!? At 3 a.m.!!!

That dog.

So, I went back to sleep for an hour and dreamt I was actually in school and had overslept and my entire morning schedule was thrown off and I was going to be super late for my computer class that I had a test in.

Oh Lawd, please send help.

haha.

Friday should be your “it’s Friday and any work that I had piled up on my desk can wait until Monday” day.

Friday should also be your “I had fruit and eggs for breakfast so I can definitely have 3 chocolate chip cookies for lunch and cake for dinner while watching re-runs of Dawson’s Creek on Netflix” day.

Friday should be your “omg I’m going to see my extended family two whole weekends in a row which gives me an excuse to drink an entire bottle of wine 24 hours before hand” day.

You obviously don’t know my family.

But I’m sure you have your drama.

Let’s see who actually shows up to this wedding without a B.S. excuse.

Should be interesting…

Let’s get back to dinner…or ummmmm lunch…or snacks?

We will just say this is a snack.

Eggplant is my b.f.f.

IMG_1054

That’s super Italian of me 🙂

IMG_1058

This is probably one of those dips that I will make over and over again.

IMG_1062

It’s also one of the dips I came up with in a dream…except I was eating a bowl of it with Ryan Reynolds. Now, don’t get any sick ideas I wasn’t cheating with him on Blake Lively. She’s my home girl.

IMG_1064

I was his personal chef. Duh.

IMG_1068

This dip is all about roasted veggies…eggplant and my sweet bell peppers…two of my fave things, got married.

IMG_1071

Speaking of marriage. Tomorrow night will be epic.

IMG_1079

So epic that I might* even sleep in late.

IMG_1080

Haha. Dare to dream.

IMG_1081

My goal is to be able to try and find my shoes by the end of the night.

IMG_1082

I intend to party rock on the dance floor…so hard.

IMG_1083

5.0 from 1 reviews
Roasted Eggplant and Sweet Bell Pepper Dip
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetizer, Dip, Spread, Snack
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean, Greek
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-12
 
Gluten-free/Vegan/Paleo/Vegetarian
Ingredients
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored and sliced into thin strips, lengthwise
  • 2 large orange bell peppers, cored and sliced into thin strips, lengthwise
  • 2 large eggplants, cut in half lengthwise
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1 T. tahini
  • ½ t. fine seal salt
  • ½ t. freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. On one baking sheet, toss the bell pepper strips with a good drizzle or two of extra-virgin olive oil, season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the peppers are lightly golden and caramelized.
  4. On the second baking sheet, place the egg plant halves cut side down. Poke holes in the eggplant using a fork.
  5. Bake the eggplant for 1 hour or until slightly charred on the inside.
  6. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant into a food processor.
  7. Add the roasted bell pepper, tahini, salt and pepper and process on high until smooth.
  8. Serve with fresh cut veggies, pita bread/chips, or crackers.

 

MANGIA!!!

Yes to the Dress.

People, people…I have a “little” anxiety right about now.

You see…my cousin’s wedding is this Saturday. My dress…that I ordered online hasn’t arrived yet.

Mind you it is coming from the U.K., and oh…they don’t offer tracking to U.S. customers.

Just peachy.

So, I sit and I wait and I hear the mailman thinking that it could be the U.P.S. guy coming to save my day, carrying that little brown box with my party dress.

All I want is to wear this dang dress. I didn’t choose for it to be 1948738743 miles away.

It just so happened that I stumbled across it and bam! That was my dress.

I have a “back-up” dress but it’s just not on the level that my “british” dress is.

Hah!

I think I will live if it doesn’t make it in time

I mean, I can pull off any thing right?

I sure hope so.

Let’s talk squash…of the spaghetti variety.

You know I don’t like real spaghetti (so not Italian of me) and I actually loathed spaghetti squash for quite some time.

That was…before I knew how to cook it.

I had always eaten spaghetti squash dishes that just so happened to be super bland and thus, I came to detest the sight of those babies.

Not anymore.

IMG_0987

Meet my new bff. Le spaghetti squash.

IMG_0988

It’s all in the roasting process people.

IMG_0990

Roasting produces the best results…a super buttery (but without actual butter) flavor and silky texture to this glorious squash.

IMG_0992

Then we take the squash to a whole notha’ level.

IMG_0994

The comfort food level.

IMG_0999

A.K.A. the casserole.

IMG_0993

This casserole is everything I want the end of my winter and the beginning of my spring to be.

IMG_1002

Don’t you dare tell me that spaghetti squash is a winter squash.

IMG_1005

I’m having a moment and this casserole is freaking it!

IMG_1012

Oh and it’s very Italian-ish…onion, garlic, parsley, spinach…

IMG_1013

bada-bing!

IMG_1014

5.0 from 1 reviews
Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole
Author: 
Recipe type: Side dish, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Italian, American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 15-20
 
Gluten-Free, Paleo
Ingredients
  • 2 large spaghetti squash
  • 3 c. of fresh spinach
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley
  • ¼ c. low sodium chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
  • ¼ c. unsweetened, original flavor almond milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 T. granulated onion
  • 1 T. granulated garlic
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 415 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Place 1 spaghetti squash in a large mixing bowl, add ¼ c. of water, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  3. Place the bowl inside the microwave and microwave for 7-10 minutes, or until the spaghetti squash is tender on the exterior and can be pierced with a knife.
  4. Repeat with the 2nd spaghetti squash.
  5. Cut both squashes in half, lengthwise.
  6. Scoop out the seeds and discard.
  7. Sprinkle the insides of the squash halves with salt and pepper and place face down on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until golden brown on the inside.
  9. In the meantime, place the spinach in a large non-stick skillet over low heat. Cover the skillet with a lid and let the spinach wilt.
  10. Place the onion, garlic, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and process on high until finely chopped.
  11. Place the onion mixture into the pan with the spinach.
  12. Add the broth and almond milk and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  13. Lower the heat and mix in the egg.
  14. Once the squash is finished roasting, let cool completely.
  15. Scoop out the inside of the squash into a large mixing bowl.
  16. Place the spinach mixture into the mixing bowl with the squash.
  17. Add the spices, salt and pepper and check seasoning to your liking.
  18. Stir everything together to distribute evenly.
  19. Spread the squash mixture evenly into a 13x9 baking dish greased with cooking spray.
  20. Bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until golden around the edges.
  21. Let cool slightly before serving.

 

MANGIA!!!

No Noodles.

Let’s talk about noodles.
Ramen: count me out. Pho: gross. Beef Stroganoff: pass me the vomit bag. Chicken noodle soup: take those noodles away and you have a winner. Pasta: never been a fan. I know you are probably saying “whut the whuuuuuut” to yourself right now, especially to the last one. I know, I know I’m sure that I am sooooooo non-Italian for disliking pasta. I think it’s a texture thing I just can’t get over. Also, the fact that I’d rather have a bowl full of meatballs and tomato sauce piled high with Parmesan cheese needs no questioning. 
While I have an adversity to noodles, I can get behind the aesthetics of them. Especially, when you get to twirl those beautiful stringy ribbons around the tines of a fork. Luckily, seester surprised me with a veggie spiralizer on Sunday. To say I was excited is an understatement. 
Enter zucchini noodles. 

Let’s make a zingy, zesty dressing and 

toss the noodles in it. 

Capisce?

Now this, this is a noodle I can get behind. A noodle we can believe in. 

Seriously. 

So flavorful, soooooo melt in your mouth. 

This is perfect for lunch or dinner! 

Serve it with some Chicken Parmesan…now that’s Italian! haha!



Zucchini Noodles with Honey Tangerine Tahini Ginger Dressing (GF/V/P):

Ingredients:

For the noodles:
2 large zucchini, cut into spiral shapes using a spiralizer (you can also use a julienne peeler and peel the zucchini into strips)
salt and pepper, to taste

For the dressing:
juice of 1 honey tangerine
1 T. + 2 t. tahini
1 T. raw honey
1 t. pure maple syrup
1 t. freshly grated ginger
zest of 1 honey tangerine
salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:
1. Place the noodles in a large mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator while you prep the dressing.
2. Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking until smooth.
3. Pour about 3-4 tablespoons of the dressing onto the noodles. Gently toss the noodles.
4. Garnish with freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and basil.

Serves 2-4

MANGIA!!!