Some weeks are a struggle for me to find recipes that sound good. 99.9% of the time, these are the meals we’re eating for dinner too. Really, the only times I deviate is when we’re traveling. Finding recipes and reading them to figure out which ingredients I need, is how I grocery shop. I’m a big planner and list-follower. I will say that living back in the states makes it a little harder remain on script. I mean, if I didn’t improvise last week, I never would have picked the one bag of organic “Sour Patch Kids” that was marked for 50 cents. I know there was only one, because I dug through the rest in a ravenous mania. Annnnnnyway. This week, I am ready to eat all of these meals. I hope at least one peaks your interest.

Monday: Sweet and Salty Fall Harvest Salad–  Gluten free, easily made vegan. This salad is one of the greatest things I have ever eaten. It’s just so delicious. There are a couple of changes that I make to make it a lil bit healthier/easier….

1- Buy pre-cut butternut squash. Huge time saver. I used frozen last week, and that worked well too (boiled, drained, and then roasted in the oven).

2- Substitute the butter for coconut oil or ghee, and substitute the brown sugar for coconut palm sugar.

3- Use dried cranberries with no added sugar or oil, or (what I do) use chopped dates instead. Dates have no added sugar, and are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

4- Use goat cheese, or use a dairy free cheese to keep this vegan. I’m really loving Treeline Cheese, which I just found out is made in the city where my dad grew up. Huh. Small world.

Tuesday: Tuna Wasabi Ginger Burgers- This is a recipe I saw Gwyneth make back in the day. It’s a favorite of ours, and I hope you like it to.

Serves 4-ACTIVE PREPARATION TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL PREPARATION TIME: 15 Minutes plus at least 1 hour chilling
The patties can be pre-formed and refrigerated.

1 teaspoon wasabi powder (or prepared wasabi)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon water
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon coarse salt
1 Tbsp peeled and finely minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp peeled and finely minced garlic
1 ½ Tbsp oil, plus more for cooking
1 pound highest quality tuna, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4  buns
½ cup Soy & Sesame Mayo (recipe to follow)
Handful fresh arugula

 

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the wasabi, mustard, water,  pepper, salt, ginger, garlic, and oil in a food processor.

Pulse it all together to make a flavorful paste. Add the tuna and pulse just to combine—be careful not to overprocess the tuna as you want your burgers to have texture.
Form the mixture into 4 burgers and set in the refrigerator for at least an hour (up to overnight) to let the flavors really settle in.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet. Add the shallots and sauté for about 10 minutes, until they get soft and sweet and a little brown. Reserve.
Preheat your grill or grill pan over high heat. Rub the tuna burgers with a little oil and grill for 2 or 3 minutes a side, to desired doneness. Grill the buns alongside the burgers. Spread the buns with the mayo, pile on the sautéed shallots and a bit of arugula and tuck in the burgers. 

 
Soy and Sesame Mayo

INGREDIENTS:
½ cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

Wednesday: Low Carb Mexican Tamale Skillet Pie– Gluten free- You can really simplify this and use a store bought cornbread mix and enchilada sauce. Serve with a side salad and guac to bump up that veggie game.

Thursday: Spicy Shrimp with Cauliflower Mash and Kale– This just checks a lot of boxes for me. And finally, a cauliflower mash that doesn’t seem awful.

Friday: Pizza! What can I say? Those Domino’s commercials are really getting to me. For some reason, pizza and Friday just go together. So many options. Maybe have yourself a Joey special (Friends reference, anyone?). Have you tried Cappello’s pizza? You can order from their website, and can also find which stores close to you carry their products. They sell grain free pizza (paleo)…as well as pasta and cookie dough.

Saturday: Spicy Sushi Bowl– This is vegan, but you could easily add meat. You can also make the mayo using store-bought, by replacing the tofu with mayo and mixing in the rest of the ingredients. Add/take away whatever vegetables are fresh and look good to you.

Sunday: Homemades! Relax; it’s Sunday. Why not toss a bunch of stuff in the crock pot and call it good?

I don’t know who I am these days. I was actually happy this past weekend that it wasn’t blazing hot. I am excited to decorate for Halloween. I want a caramel apple in a bad way. I’m tired of flashing my guns in tank tops. Is this growth? Have I been brainwashed? The rest of Americans love Autumn, so…I guess I’ll try to get on board. But, I’ll warn you: As soon as it’s below 50°F, I’m going to bitch and moan.

We’ve got some fall flavors poppin this week. I’m still trying to hold on with some of the recipes, though. Enjoy!

Monday: Baked Sushi Tofu Bowls– Gluten free and vegan, but feel free to use chicken or shrimp instead of the tofu. If you can’t find wasabi powder, I think wasabi paste would work just as well.

Tuesday: Salad Bar- Get ready to feel healthy AF. Now’s the time to bust out everything in the fridge. Just remember to keep it clean with homemade dressing, and go easy on the bacon and cheese.

Wednesday: Whole 30 Jerk Chicken and Mango Avocado Salsa– I think I’m going to cook the chicken (with the marinade) in a crock pot. I prefer the mouth-feel of shredded chicken, and whenever I try and cook chicken in a skillet I end up cutting into it to make sure it’s cooked.

Thursday: Low Carb Crab Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce– I think that about sums it up. If you don’t need to eat gluten free, you can use cracker crumbs, bread crumbs, or flour instead of the coconut flour. To keep this low carb, serve with a salad &/or cauliflower rice. Or, bust out a bun for a crab cake sandwich.

Friday: Pumpkin, Spinach, and Walnut Spaghetti– Vegan and gluten free. I’m seeing a lot of pre-cut squash at the grocery lately….this saves lots of time, fingers, and sanity. As you know, I think brown rice pasta is just fine to eat, but if you think pasta is the root of all evil, try substituting spaghetti squash.

Saturday: Honey Mustard Salmon and Rosemary– I bet the only thing you need to buy is the salmon! But, I think this recipe could easily be used with chicken.

Sunday: Homemades!!!! Today, I’ll be making a favorite….Garbage Free “Chik-Fil-A.”

This is kind of a strange time of year. It’s still hot, but doesn’t feel like summer. Fall is a little over a week away, but stews and pumpkins seem far off. I’ll try and come up with a balance for you.

Monday: Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce- The beauty of spring rolls is that you can put anything you have into them, and they’ll taste delicious. You can use any recipe for peanut sauce, or pre-made sauce, or use my recipe:

In a small saucepan combine  1/4 cup peanut butter (only peanuts as the ingredient), 3 tablespoons liquid aminos/coconut aminos/tamari/soy sauce, 3 tablespoons water, 2 tablespoons coconut or sesame oil, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 5-10 drops pure liquid stevia. Heat until everything is combined and slightly thickened,  stirring frequently. Makes about 2/3 cup.

Tuesday: Cilantro Sweet Corn Soup– Vegan and gluten free. Soup! I know. But this sounds good, so sue me. Feel free to add shredded chicken, black beans, use dairy milk…aka milk. I’m going to halve this recipe, because I can only eat soup one time. And, really, soup is a means to eat bread, so I’m going to try out this Gluten Free Cornbread Muffin recipe.

Wednesday: Sesame Seared Ahi Tuna Salad– Ahi can be expensive, so you can use chicken or salmon instead. Obviously with chicken, you can’t sear it and go on with your day. You can sear it with the sesame seeds, and then finish it off in the oven.

Thursday: Coconut Shrimp Laksa– Ok, this is kinda soupy too. But, there are noodles and spiciness and other excuses. You can definitely leave the shrimp out and use vegetable broth to make this vegan. I also add shredded carrots and thin strips of red bell peppers to increase the vegetables.

Friday: Steamed Butternut Squash over Quinoa with Southwestern Tahini Sauce– Gluten free and vegan. This is one of my favorite meals. The tahini sauce is so delicious. I have used sweet potatoes instead- like a charm. I also add carrots and peppers to this too. Whatever you have on hand to bulk it up with vegetables. I also put all of the vegetables on a pan and roast them together (instead of steaming the squash on it’s own.)

Saturday: Bunless Grilled Chicken BLTs– Simple, but tasty. You could go super healthy and serve this next to quinoa or brown rice, or, enjoy life and serve with a side of pasta salad or roasted potatoes.

Sunday: Homemades! Enjoy your day!

 

 

Pour one out for our homie, Summer.

Metaphorical goodbye, Summer. Labor Day is quite possibly the cruelest of holidays for school-aged people. It’s a day off, but you know what comes after it. For someone who *horn toot* did well in school, I really hated it. School caused so much stress and anxiety for me. I gave myself a freaking ulcer when I was 15! Is there anything worse than learning math and science? I know how that sounds, but my brain can not handle those subjects. According to Lady Gaga, I was born that way. Anyway…if I could go back in time and teach myself some stress relieving tactics and some ways to deal with anxiety, perhaps the thought of Pre-Cal wouldn’t induce black outs and heart palpitations. If you find yourself stressed, or perhaps your children are struggling to make the back to school transition, try some of these easy stress relievers. While some may sound cheesy, shut up.

  1. Take a walk (alone or with the fam) to remove yourself from the situation and get some fresh air.
  2. Get in the kitchen. Make something you normally wouldn’t. Treat yourself.
  3. Do something you enjoy. Watch a favorite show or movie, read for a bit, have a cocktail, exercise…
  4. Deep breathing. This can actually work, and will lower your blood pressure. Close your eyes, and breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes.
  5. Talk/write out the issue. Chances are you may be blowing things up a bit. If you get to the root of your problem, your solution might become more clear.
  6. Be creative. Whether you dabble in a DIY project; writing; or playing an instrument, getting the creative juices flowing can be very therapeutic.
  7. Be present. How many times have you freaked thinking about all of the things that you have to do tomorrow, in a week, in a month? Take everything a step at a time. Make a list. It really helps.
  8. Ask for help. If you’re overwhelmed because you’ve spread yourself too thin, ask family and friends for help. That’s the beauty of people who love you….you’re not putting them out. But, just don’t get crazy with the favors.

As a person who lives a normal life and who graduated high school 16 years ago, I can honestly say that I have never used the FOIL method; had to solve for X; used a microscope to see an Endoplasmic Reticulum (I just always liked those words, so that’s all I remember from Bio); or balanced a chemical equation. So. Take that, ridiculous standards.

Monday: Burger Bar- Happy Labor Day! Bust out that grill.

Tuesday: Roasted Cauliflower Tacos– Vegan and gluten free. I plan to marinate the cauliflower in the milk mixture to really let the flavors get in there. You could also use the marinade mixture for shrimp or chicken.

Wednesday: Coconut Milk Chicken with Jalapeño Mango Chutney– Gluten free. You could use store-bought chutney, but it will more than likely be loaded with HFCS and other sugars. Just make it. I plan to use frozen mango, because that’s what I have on hand. I’ll just let it thaw first. Serve this chicken with rice or quinoa and a vegetable side.

Thursday: Brazilian Bowls– Vegetarian and gluten free…can be vegan if you use a dairy free “sour cream.” I love this recipe. I always serve this over plain rice instead of the rice the recipe provides.

***Soak 1cup of cashews for tomorrow’s dinner!***

Friday: Magic Mushroom Sauce and pasta- Vegan and gluten free. This sauce will come together so quickly. Serve over pasta for a creamy, satisfying meal.

Saturday: Moroccan Carrot and Chickpea Salad and your choice of protein- Gluten free; salad can be made vegan if you use non dairy, “feta.” If you use jarred chickpeas and pre-shredded carrots, this will take 5 minutes to make. Don’t like/have pistachios? Use cashews, almonds, or pumpkin seeds. This salad will taste great paired with a white fish seasoned with Ral el Hanout.

Sunday: Crabby Snacks and Homemades- From now until the end of football season, this is what you’ll see as the meal de jour for Sundays. Crabby Snacks and Homemades comes from Silver Linings Playbook, which is one of my favorite movies. The main character’s mom makes this every game day. To me, this is going to be comfort food. This is an opportunity to bust out the seasonal/family recipes, get in the kitchen as a family, and enjoy the last of the weekend.