Monday, December 30, 2013

Mexican Meatballs

Heeey everyone! It's about time for a new post as I've been working pretty hard to improve my blog and get the word out during my break so far, and I want to keep the growth going! You can expect even more changes soon, especially as far as the layout and user-friendliness of the website :)

My back is finally feeling a little better, so I was excited when I went to the gym this morning and could actually bend over to touch my toes...it's crazy how the smallest things can feel like such an accomplishment! It really sucks being injured, but at the same time it also helps put things into perspective if you let yourself think positively. I have for the most part been doing what I can to make the most of it, and that is all I can ask of myself! That being said, I really can't wait to be able to lift weights again, because the elliptical is not really cutting it for me ;)

Anyways, I held off on posting this recipe over the holiday because it didn't seem very "Christmassy," but I'm so excited to share now! It is healthy and easy as always, and right up my alley because I LOVE Mexican food. I promise it will make the best New Year's appetizer or a nice addition to any salad...or even a main dish with a side of roasted veggies, sweet potato, or salsa and guacamole...the options are endless :) I had the best time taking pictures of these too, so sorry for the overload! Check it out:

Guacamole Meatballs

Mexican Meatballs
Makes about 24 meatballs

Ingredients
  • Approx. 2 lbs (32 oz) ground meat, turkey or beef
  • 1 onion
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 small tomatoes (I used roma)
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Finely chop your avocado, onion and tomatoes.
  3. Place ground meat in a large mixing bowl. add chopped veggies, flaxseed, spices, and mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. (Hands work best!)
  4. Grease a baking sheet or a muffin tin (genius right??) and roll mixure into 1 to 1.5 inch balls. 
  5. Place on sheet and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes. 
  6. That's it! Enjoy and store in the fridge...they are even delicious cold hehe ;)
Have a great week, and please remember to like and share on Facebook and Twitter! Let's spread the word about these amazing balls!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sweet Potato Green Onion Mash

I'm excited to share my first post after Christmas! I hope that everyone had a relaxing and enjoyable holiday...I know mine was! Since I've been home we have even been able to do some exploring in San Francisco and the North Bay, and the weather has been especially gorgeous and unusually warm for this time of year. Here are some of my favorite shots so far:

          

          

Of course my Christmas was full of delicious food too...Traditionally, we have pea soup, fried fish, potato salad, and Czech cookies as part of our Christmas Eve dinner, but this year I wanted to mix it up and add a dish since I'm not crazy about potato salad in the first place...and sweet potatoes were the first thing that came to mind! They turned out great and more importantly were so fast and easy to make ;) Definitely the perfect idea for a New Year's dish too, even as a dip!

Sweet Potato Green Onion Mash

Sweet Potato Green Onion Mash

Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 4 green onion stalks

Directions
  • Steam sweet potatoes on the stove (in a colander) for about 20 minutes, or use a crockpot. Cook until soft. Add a pinch of pepper if desired.
  • Meanwhile, finely chop onions, including their green stalks. I cut them in half lengthwise and then minced them entirely.
  • Transfer cooked sweet potatoes to a bowl and mash with a fork. The sweet potatoes should be soft enough for this to be easy.
  • Warm milk in the microwave until it is steaming hot, and pour into the bowl. Add onions and Parmesan cheese, and mix well until all ingredients are combined into a mash.
  •  Serve right away, or cover, refrigerate, and reheat when ready to serve. Enjoy! 

Have you ever been to Northern California? I'd love to hear about what you saw! And I also want to know what you had to eat on Christmas of course! Please share with me :)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Triple Coconut Surprise Cookies

I'm so excited to share that I have perfected my "triple coconut" cookie vision...they feature coconut, coconut flour, and coconut oil, and to be honest I am really proud of them! I had an idea on how to make the recipe even better during my trip back home, and was able to try it out yesterday with great success...I guess the 4th time is the charm with these :)

In other news, I have been thinking about my blog in regards to branding, direction and focus of content, and strategies for growth, especially since I have a lot more time to devote to making a plan for the future in the coming month. Do you have any suggestions, tips, or things you wish you had known when you were starting out as a blogger? I'd really love to hear and discuss them!

Meanwhile to help you think...please make and enjoy my new dreamchild of a clean and healthy and delicious coconut dessert! I am so glad my family is here to help me taste test because otherwise experimenting with these could have had some dangerous consequences...

  Cranberry Coconut Surprise Cookies Coconut Surprise Cookies

Triple Coconut Surprise Cookies
(Makes about 12 1-inch balls)

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut 
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1-2 tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • Dried fruit/coconut for filling
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together coconut flour, almond flour, coconut shreds and baking powder.
  3. Separate your eggs, putting egg whites in a separate container and adding yolks to the bowl with your dry ingredients.
  4. Set egg whites aside, and add honey, milk, and coconut oil to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix thoroughly. The dough will be dense, so using your hands to make sure all ingredients mesh might work best.
  5. Using a hand or stand electric mixer, whisk egg whites until peaks form. Transfer the stiffened egg whites to the other bowl, and use a spatula to mix well until the egg whites are thoroughly combined with the dough. Dough should be wet and fluffy yet continue to keep shape well. 
  6. Form dough around your choice of dried fruit, coconut, or other nut into approximately 1-inch balls. Place on a greased baking sheet, and top with extra coconut, nuts, or cranberries if desired to make them look even better :)
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until they start to bronze, and let cool.
Enjoy and share with friends and family! These would even make great homemade gifts if you're really trying to let people know you like them ;)

   Coconut Surprise Cookies

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Sweet Potato Meatloaf

As much as I love New York I'm being reminded of how great California is. The people are great, the weather is great...and to top things off, I've been back for a day and was already so productive :) I'm making it a goal for myself to have a relaxing but proactive break. I joined a gym today as my back is slowly getting better, so I am hoping I will be able to get back to lifting and conditioning sometime in the next week, which is so exciting! Just doing steady state cardio is slowly killing me... but the living is still easy for now and I love it! The change of pace is definitely much needed.

Anyways, last week we had another one of our crazy potlucks at our apartment ("The Roost"). (Side note: does your apartment or house have a name or are we the only weird ones? Let's hear it!) The theme of our potluck was Christmas comfort, and we had the best assortment of foods such as chili and split pea soup and apple crumble and coconut cookies (recipe to come soon!)...and I made another meatloaf variation! I'd say it was well received, and more importantly all gone by the end of the night, so I thought I'd share it with you, so you can let me know what you think of it as well :) Here goes!

Sweet Potato Meatloaf


Sweet Potato Meatloaf

Ingredients
  • 1.5 lbs ground turkey, approx.
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 2 heaping tbsp Italian seasoning

Directions
  1. Roast or steam your sweet potato. It will soften up a lot faster if cut into small cubes. Feel free to leave the skin on, but you can also peel it off if it's not your thing.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mash sweet potato in a large bowl with a fork, and add turkey, onion, garlic, honey, egg, flaxseed, salt and spices. Mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined. (Hate to admit it, but using your hands works best!)
  4. Place your mixture in a greased meatloaf pan.
  5. Stick in the oven and bake for about 50-55 minutes. Cover with tinfoil if necessary to avoid burning the top.
  6. Serve with your favorite vegetables, mash, or saute, and as always, these can also be easily made into meatballs...just shape, stick in a muffin tin, and bake for about 25 minutes :)
Happy meatloafing!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Cranberry Sweet Potato Protein Muffins

I'm so happy it's Thursday! This means I'm free to make the most of the city and friends and food (and blogging of course) until my last exam on Monday morning. And I know I've mentioned this before, but after that I get to go home to California for the first time in a year! I really can't wait to just hang out with my parents and my sister and my grandma who successfully landed yesterday and is back in California after more than ten years. I hear it's been just as cold over there as it is here in New York though, but I guess you can't have it all ;)

So it's been longer than I had planned for another post, but I wanted to make sure I got this just right for you guys! I know these muffins have made my finals week and the pain from my sprained back a little more bearable, so hopefully they can brighten up your life too, not to mention give you the right energy to tackle whatever you are working on :) They are also the perfect alternative to all of these unhealthy temptations that seem to be floating around lately...

Cranberry Sweet Potato Protein Muffins

Cranberry Sweet Potato Protein Muffins

Ingredients
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup vanilla protein powder (I use Optimum whey protein, but any other kind would work as well!)
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 3/4 cup almond meal/flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp honey (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (or any other add-ins, optional)

Cranberry Sweet Potato Protein Muffins

Directions
  1. Wash and cut sweet potatoes into smaller cubes (so they cook faster). I left the skins on because they are delicious and packed with nutrients, but you can peel them if you absolutely can't stand them. Stick the cubes in a crockpot, add cranberries, and let cook for about 2 to 3 hours, or until the sweet potatoes are soft. You can also steam them on the stove for faster cooking.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Once soft, mash the sweet potatoes and cranberries (I just used a fork) until you get a nice mixture, and let cool. I did this right in the crockpot, but if you prefer, you can transfer the mash into a blender or a food processor for a smoother batter.
  4. Add protein powder, almond meal, baking powder, and cinnamon, and mix well. 
  5. Mix in egg whites, coconut oil, and honey (if desired) and continue to mix until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into greased muffin tins (or use cupcake liners).
  7. Bake for about 35 minutes or until firm, and let cool in the stove to prevent the muffins from falling. Refrigerate after a day to make sure they keep.
  8. Enjoy! These make a great breakfast or pre/post-workout snack, especially around this time of year!
Notes: 
  • In addition to making muffins, you could also make these into bars and bake in a pan! Just cut and serve when cooled
  • If you do not want to use protein powder, try substituting with 1/4 cup coconut flour, or just add about 1/3 cup more almond flour to the recipe.
Happy baking, and let me know how these babies turn out for you :)


Friday, December 6, 2013

Grandma's Cabbage

Yesterday was my last day of classes for the semester! I also turned in a term paper, and the rest of my finals should be completely manageable...which means I'm almost home freeee :) I can't believe that it's already been a year since I've been back home in California. Now I can finally enjoy the weekend and my last days soaking up the holiday season in the city before I go home and see my family and my lovely grandma who is visiting from the Czech Republic this year!

To celebrate, I'd like to share with you one of my FAVORITE recipes that my grandma makes. It is so simple too...cabbage! It's a perfect side dish to any roasted meat AND cabbage has some pretty amazing health benefits as well. Maybe the nutritional value of it can balance out some of those inevitable treats that will be had during this amazing season ;)

On another note, I got a pretty big reminder today on the importance of listening to your body while training. I have been working out pretty hard all week in anticipation of the weekend, and I woke up today sore and tired...yet still made myself go to the gym for a lifting session, ignoring the fact that my back was still a little stiff after maxing out on hang-cleans on Wednesday. Well, I ended up getting a spasm in my back halfway through my workout and can't really sit or walk or bend over without pain. Hopefully it doesn't turn out to be a disc issue, but I have definitely learned another lesson. Have you ever tried pushing through something only to realize that it wasn't worth it? I'd love to hear your stories.

Moral of this one: REST and RECOVERY are just as important as a good workout.

Happy Friday everyone, and enjoy the recipe!

Grandma's Cabbage


Grandma's Cabbage

Ingredients
  • 1 medium head of cabbage
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (regular works too!)
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar (or any other sugar), or more to taste 
  • 2 tbsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional if using a crockpot)
Directions
  1. Cut cabbage in half, set face down on a cutting board, and finely chop into thin "shreds."
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, add cabbage, and cover. Stir occasionally and cook until cabbage softens, about half an hour or so. If the cabbage starts sticking to the bottom of the pot, feel free to add water as needed.
  3. If using a crockpot, throw in cabbage, turn on low or high setting, and let cook until steamed and softened. This may take 1-2 hours.
  4. When cabbage is steamed, add vinegar, caraway seeds, salt, and sugar, stir well, and cover. Let steam for another 5-10 minutes.
  5. Serve hot or cold, and enjoy! This is seriously one of my favorite side dishes.
  6. Side note: the flavors mesh even better after about a day in the fridge...try it out!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Coconut, Kale and Root Saute

It's kind of hard to face the reality of the week after such a great Thanksgiving weekend! On Friday we hunted for a Christmas tree and went shopping in the afternoon, which surprisingly wasn't that crowded. I broke down and got a new pair of black Lululemon leggings with a subtle floral print that I am obsessed with, and then had an amazing dinner and watched Elf! We got back from Massachusetts on Saturday to go to our school's football playoff game, which was such a crazy and fun blur. In short, we won, it was a ton of fun, and I'm so glad that we were able to be there for it!

Before I go on to my recipe (that I actually made for Friendsgiving last week), I'd like to share a couple of my favorite pictures from Thanksgiving in Massachusetts! It was so beautiful up there.



This recipe is perfect if you still have leftover veggies from Thanksgiving, or just want a quick and creative side dish! It might sound a little out there, but give it a shot and I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised :)

Coconut Kale and Root Saute


Coconut, Kale and Root Saute

Ingredients
  • 2 medium parsnips
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 cups chopped kale, packed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • approx. 1/2 tsp salt
Directions
  1. Cut parsnips and carrots lengthwise, and chop into half circles about 1/4 inch thick. Finely chop your onion as well.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a medium pan, and add onion. Cover, and stir occasionally until they start to caramelize.
  3. Add salt, parsnips and carrots (and/or any other root vegetables you'd like to mix in).
  4. Cover again and continue to saute over low to medium heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the vegetables start to soften. Stir occasionally, and lower heat and add a little bit of water if the vegetables start to stick.
  5. Add in kale and coconut shreds, and continue to saute until it is wilted. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve by itself or as a side to any kind of meat. I think that this would be especially good when accompanying fish such as tilapia or even salmon!
Coconut Kale and Root Saute

Try it and let me know how you enjoyed it! The subtle taste of coconut really makes the recipe in my opinion :)

That's all for now, and happy Monday! How was your weekend, and what are you looking forward to this week?

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