Four-spice salmon with cranberry spinach salad + my new fall outfit

Fall is officially here in Texas. I was finally able to bust out my fall clothes, including my new hat and scarf. I had been eyeing them on some of my favorite bloggers and finally took the plunge and ordered them. They arrived just in time for the weekend!

I was also looking forward to Halloween weekend. We celebrated Halloween at work earlier in the week, where I dressed up with a few other girls as the Spice Girls. We even created a music video to get in the spirit. That might have been the highlight of my week!

But after a weekend of eating candy, I decided it was time to get back into the game and focus on eating healthy leading up to Thanksgiving. I saw the recipe for the salmon on New York Times Cooking, and knew I had to try it out because salmon is so easy, and I had been craving salmon for a while. And I love pan frying salmon with the skin because it gives it a nice crunchy taste. Some people don’t like the skin, and that’s fine, but I do! For the side, I decided to go for a simple salad. Also, I had a whole bag of dried cranberries and walnuts in my pantry, but you can pretty much toss together whatever you want.

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Salmon

  • 1 lb salmon fillets (preferably organic or wild caught Salmon)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds or ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon whole or ground cloves
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cumin seed or ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil, grape seed or other neutral oil, or clarified butter

Season fillets with all the spices salt and pepper and toss in a dish. Press some of the mixture onto the top of each fillet.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 2 or 3 minutes. Add the oil or butter and, when it sizzles, place the fillets, coated side down, in the pan. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the spice mixture forms a nicely browned crust. Turn the fillets and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until the salmon just slightly resists when pierced with a thin-bladed knife.

I was making the salmon for myself, so I cut up the salmon into serving portions and just cooked it when I was ready to eat it.

Salad

  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Toss all ingredients together and add your favorite dressing. I drizzled some olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the salad.

Products/What You’ll Need:

Fall outfit

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  • Scarf
  • Hat (this hat was literally named for me)
  • Shirt (similar)
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Raw mini coconut cream pies with chocolate crust

coconut cream pies

I’m one of those people who loves sweets. Think of how much you love chocolate, multiply it by ten, and that’s how much I love it. I could eat a whole pint (or more) of ice cream in one sitting. So for obvious reasons, I have had to learn to control my cravings and use smaller, controlled portions. So I went on a search to find delicious things that wouldn’t make me feel TOO guilty. And I have to admit that this recipe hit the spot.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Raw Cashews or Macadamia Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Plain Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
  • 2 Tbsp Agave
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa
  • Dash of Salt

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 Cup Coconut Cream (Refrigerated and skimmed from the top of a can)*
  • 1/2 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 3-4 Tbsp Agave
  • 1 Banana
  • Dash of Salt

*To get the coconut cream, take a can of coconut milk. Put it in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Open the can and skim off the thick, white coconut cream. That’s what you’ll use for the recipe.

Directions:

Place crust ingredients in your food processor and blend until smooth. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. Evenly press dough down into muffin tin.

Place all filling ingredients in a separate food processor bowl (or washed bowl) and blend until smooth. Evenly top crust with coconut cream filling. Place in the freezer and let set for 2-3 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer and and eat immediately!

Quinoa cakes with goat cheese and peppers

quinoa cheese cakes

I’ve made quinoa cakes before and they are some of the easiest things to make since I usually have quinoa on hand, so it’s really about adding whatever else I have in the fridge or want to go buy. I had some leftover cheeses from other recipes, so I used an assortment of goat, cheddar and parmesan cheeses. All I needed to get from the store were the fresh peppers and jalapenos. The cakes were a bit hot (which is how I like them) so you can definitely tone down the spice according to your taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup soft goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried quinoa
  • 1/3 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese (I also used a blend of cheddar cheese I had a little left of)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unbleached white flour
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, to taste
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions:

Cook the quinoa according to directions.

Mash the goat cheese with a fork in a large bowl. Then combine the quinoa, cheeses, 2 tablespoons of the flour, peppers, onions, spices, herbs, salt and pepper, and eggs and. Stir until well combined, adding more flour or oil as needed to achieve a fairly moist mixture that can be shaped into roughly 6-8 small patties.

Heat the remaining oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. When hot, fry a few patties at a time until golden brown — about 5 minutes each side. Remove and let drain on paper towels.

Super food bowl: sweet potato, broccoli, cauliflower, sprouts, bell peppers, avocado and egg

super food bowl

I’m glad this recipe turned out all right because I was inspired by three different other recipes I have seen and tried before. And you can’t really go wrong when you add egg to anything. I made it for my family in an effort to introduce some more healthful options, and they were really pleased with it. It left all of us feeling full and satisfied – but not weighed down by a ton of food.

You can add or take away anything from the dish based on your preference. But I love all of these super foods, and I loved the way I felt after eating them!

Ingredients:

  • one yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 bell peppers, chopped (any color, I used red and green)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, halved
  • 1 head broccoli, chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  • avocado
  • eggs
  • 1 package bean sprouts
  • olive oil, about 2 tablespoons
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the sweet potatoes until softened, about 45 minutes.

In a skillet, saute the onion and garlic until browned, or about two minutes, then add the bell peppers and cook for another 3-4 minutes. Then add the broccoli and cauliflower and continue to cook another 8-10 minutes.

In a separate pan, fry the egg in a little bit of oil.

When the sweet potatoes are ready, peel the potatoes and cut them into bite sized cubes.

When the egg is cooked and the veggies are softened, serve immediately by placing the sweet potato and skillet mixture in first, add the avocado and sprouts, and top with the egg.

You can add any additional spices or sauces like sriracha or kale pesto, etc. Enjoy!

Kale pesto

kale pesto

I loved the idea of using kale in my pesto when I was researching and thinking of recipes for the week. Kale can be tricky because it is so bitter so I was intrigued to test the recipe out, but it ended up tasting great! I used it in a couple of recipes already, and even use it to dip raw veggies in for a healthy snack. Pesto really is so easy to make, the hardest part is the cleanup. This time I used my immersion blender instead of a food processor and the cleanup was much easier!

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups kale
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

To make the pesto: pulse all in the ingredients in your food processor or blend with an immersion blender until it becomes pesto.

Turkey lettuce wraps

Turkey lettuce wraps

I love this meal when I’m looking for a light, filling meal. You can adjust based on your serving preferences, like ground beef instead of turkey. Also, if you’re cooking for a group you can also use taco shells for those who prefer it!

Ingredients:

  • 1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 tbsp bell pepper, minced
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 oz can tomato sauce
  • 8 large lettuce leaves from Iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar

Directions:

Brown turkey in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink add dry seasoning and mix well. Add the onion, pepper, water and tomato sauce and cover. Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

Wash and dry the lettuce. Divide the meat equally between the 8 leaves and place in the center of each leaf and top with your favorite taco toppings! I added some avocado and sriracha sauce…my faves!

Blackened chicken with Brussels sprouts

Chicken and brussels sprouts

I took last Thursday and Friday off to spend my mom’s birthday with her, and wanted to cook her delicious meal. The night of her actual birthday (Wednesday) my aunt cooked since I had to work and drive three hours that day. I made it just in time for my mom’s favorite, pork chops and potatoes. The next day I wanted to cook her other favorites so she wouldn’t have two meals of pork in a row. She also had a grill that I had been wanting to use. The meal was light and delicious, perfect for summer grilling!

Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 4 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed and sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Cook the bacon in a pan over medium heat and set aside. Add the onion and sweet potato to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the brussels sprouts, saute until tender, about 5 minutes, let sit until the bottoms start to caramelize, about 5 minutes, mix everything up, let sit for 5 minutes and mix it all up. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Blackened Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for grill
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves (2 1/2 pounds total)

Directions:

Set up a grill for indirect cooking over medium-high. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. In a bowl, combine paprika, ground pepper, salt, cayenne, oregano, thyme, garlic, and oil; rub on chicken.

Grill chicken, skin side down, directly over heat source until skin is browned, about 4 minutes. Flip chicken; move to cooler side of grill. Cover grill and cook chicken until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a platter and tent with foil. Let chicken rest 10 minutes.