Greek Kale Salad

One of my dear friends from college came all the way from Boston to shoot engagement photos of my fiancé and me. She brought her dashing boyfriend with her, and they are the dream team of photographers.

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Katie used my camera to take photos, while he used hers, and I finally have the itch to really understand this camera. It’s intimidating. It’s big and it has a lot of buttons and features and words that I have no idea what they mean. However, it takes a mean and beautiful photo, so I am excited to give it a try.

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I’ve dabbled with auto focus and have had success, but the time has come for me to graduate to manual. I can do this. I can do this. Katie is an unbelievable inspiration with her photography, between taking photos of landscapes, people, and food. She also makes a mean mojito.

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So, with my inspiration shining bright, I decided to plunge back into blogging. I cooked for the fiancé, wrote down the recipe, and snapped a few pictures. I’m quite proud of myself, actually. Goal: two posts a week. What do ya say?

This greek kale salad is pretty amazing. If you’ve never massaged kale, you’ve clearly never lived. Raw kale is crunchy and tough and predominantly unappetizing. However, massaged kale is soft, tasty, and full of whatever flavor you rub into it. Add it to some tangy feta, salty kalamata olives, and juicy edamame, and you have a summer salad at its finest.

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Greek Kale Salad
Adapted slightly from Jeanette’s Healthy Living

4 stems of kale, leaves ripped off and washed
1/8 tsp garlic pepper
1/8 tsp lemon pepper
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/3 c kalamata olives, rinsed and sliced into thirds
1/3 c crumbled feta
1/4 c olives oil
1/4 c raw apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp dried thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1. In a medium sized bowl, massage 1 tbsp olive oil, garlic pepper, and lemon pepper into kale leaves until leaves turn dark and softer.
2. Add zucchini, kalamata olives, and feta to the bowl of massaged kale.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together 3 tbsp olive oil, 1/4 c apple cider vinegar, thyme, and oregano. Pour over kale salad and top with fresh parsley.

 

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Balsamic Pear, Avocado, and Portobello Salad

So I have been gluten-free for two weeks today. And dairy-free for… 10ish days. I really wanted some shrimp scampi from Costco, so I decided to see how dairy went. Plus, a lot of chocolate has dairy in it and this girl needs chocolate.

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This is my first gluten-free, dairy-free post, despite my dietary change for the past two weeks. If you want to see what my current speculation is on my stomach problems, you can read that at the end. For now, the best salad ever.  Continue reading

Asian Tofu, Fruit, and Quinoa Bowl

I am 100% diving into Tone It Up world. If you haven’t seen my recent Instagram posts, you may not know what Tone It Up is or how awesome it is.

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It’s basically these two crazy awesome women who started this program called Tone It Up. They have recipes, workouts, motivation tips, and there is a whole community involved in it. It keeps you motivated and you can do “check-ins” every day about what you’ve eaten or what you did for exercise that day. There’s also a 100 by Summer (or 150 by Summer) which means 100 miles by June 21. I am already at 13 miles and pretty proud of myself. It can be hard and time consuming since I can’t run (stinkin’ bulging disc) but it’s forcing me to put the time in and earn the miles, which is good. Also, one of my friends is doing it with me which makes me that much more accountable and it makes it that much more fun.

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Tone It Up is also motivating me to eat well. I even got a kid’s size at Coldstone! Half chocolate and half frozen yogurt! With cookie dough, but still. A kid’s. Normally I get a Like It of Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip with mint and chocolate cake batter yogurt but I refrained.

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And I made this delicious concoction. Sometimes things just come to me. I think about flavor combinations and I get inspired. Normally, I whip up a salad or something easy for dinner but last night I wanted to make something a little special since I was going to be writing papers half the night and I wasn’t working.

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Asian Tofu, Fruit, and Quinoa Bowl
Note: I made all the tofu but only used half in the recipe and saved the other half for later. You can either do what I did, half the tofu recipe, or use the tofu recipe and have a stronger sauce.

For tofu:
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 package tofu, cubed
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder

For sauce:
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce

For salad:
1 mango, chopped
1/2 c blueberries
1/2 of tofu
3/4 c quinoa

1. Set oven to 375°F.
2. Combine tofu ingredients, minus tofu.
3. In a bowl, combine tofu with ‘tofu’ ingredients, and stir. Allow to sit for a few minutes, stir again, and sit for a few more minutes.
4. Lay tofu out onto a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients.
6. Once the tofu is done, make the salad ingredients and pour the sauce over. Serve warm.

Homemade Salt and Garlic Pepper Tortilla Chips

Back when I lived at home, there were rare times when I was home alone. Being home alone is when your true personality comes out.

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My parents and I would go to church, and then they would go to Sunday School and I would come home. And I would do a workout that was on the Fitness Channel, usually in a sports bra, or I would take whip cream shots or take a spoon to the ice cream, or I would sing at the top of my lungs and blast the music. Or, I would do all of the above.

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I saw this Vine and HOLY MOLY this is so real life. It cracks me up every time because that was literally my life. I would hear the garage start to go up and I would run, put the spoon in the dishwasher, run up to my room, and throw on clothes and pretend like nothing had ever happened.

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On a food note, making your own tortilla chips is ridiculously easy. Like, What haven’t I been doing this for 10 years? easy. And there are so many flavor combinations but I am obsessed with garlic pepper, so naturally my first round had to have that.

Homemade Salt and Garlic Pepper Tortilla Chips

1 tortilla (corn for FODMAP-friendly)
Salt
Garlic pepper
Non-stick spray

1. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and set the oven for 350°F.
2. Cut the tortilla into triangles and place on pan.
3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake for about 3 minutes, flip, then bake for another 3 minutes.
4. Be sure to watch them carefully because they can burn in a second!

Avocado and Pea Quinoa Salad

They have a new pumpkin line out at Bath & Body Works and I am in love.

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Things like pumpkin cupcake and pumpkin caramel latte candles are sweeping the store, and I need them.

I am on the fence about fall, though. I’m ready for school, for structure and learning and a challenge and the road to being a dietitian. I am ready to smell these candles for the rest of my life (if they go on sale and I buy them..). I am not ready, however, for jeans and falling leaves and nippy air and being cold at night. I still want to wear dresses and sip mojitos and eat watermelon on my back porch.

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I am also not prepared for being a real person. While I am not in the real world, I am having to figure out how this whole electricity, gas, renters insurance, and internet thing works. Apparently you’re supposed to allow a two weeks heads-up at the electricity company, but because there is someone still living in my apartment, I can’t set up my internet.

So I was all willy nilly, hanging out, relaxing until the 1st of August to deal with these things and then holy mackerel it’s August 2nd and I need electricity sooner than two weeks or they won’t let me in if I don’t have it and now I want to crawl in a hole and cry because WHY DOES EVERYTHING HAVE TO BE SO DANG STRESSFUL?

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Let’s just hope this is one of those moments that is stressful in the moment and we laugh about later. Sound good? I thought so. Who wants feta + avocado + peas + quinoa? Cheese heals stress. Duh.

Avocado and Pea Quinoa Salad
Inspired by Two Peas & Their Pod

1 c quinoa, cooked
1/2 c peas
1/2 avocado, chopped
1/4 c feta
1/4 c pine nuts

For dressing:
1 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp tangerine olive oil (or plain)
2 tbsp lime juice
3 tbsp fresh cilantro (about 5-6 small leaves or 3-4 big ones)

1. Combine quinoa, peas, avocado, and feta.
2. Combine dressing ingredients in a mini food processor, and drizzle over quinoa salad.