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Tofu Nicoise Salad

5 Sep

As I browse through my instagram, Facebook, food gawker, etc. I can’t help but notice the influx of spicy pumpkin recipes that have taken over the internet. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to crank on the oven and have a hot date with Libby but it seems like summer is just starting to show itself up here in Michigan. There’s something about pumpkin that doesn’t pair well with 85 degree temps and 80% humidity. I just can’t wrap my mind around it, no matter what month it is!

Until the temperatures cool and the overcast skies appear, I have this beautiful nicoise salad for you.


My friend gave me this great recipe for baked tofu and it made the perfect replacement for a hearty fish-less option on this salad.

Just check out the colors in this salad…


It screams nutrition! Each one of those colors packs a punch with a different disease-fighting phytochemical.

This salad is really versatile. Feel free to use whatever ingredients you have on hand to make it work for you.

Tofu Nicoise Salad

Makes 4 servings

Note: To drain the tofu, I slice the tofu into 8 equal pieces and place them on a few layers of paper towel for 30 minutes. Lightly pat the topside dry with paper towel. 

For the tofu:

1-14 ounce package of firm tofu, drained and cut into 8 equal pieces

3/4 cup broth

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons soy sauce

For the dressing:

1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons parsley, minced

1 /2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 cup olive oil

For the salad:

8 cups mixed greens

2 cups steamed green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces

12 olives, pitted and halved

2 cups roasted potatoes, quartered

20 cherry tomatoes, halved

4 hardboiled eggs, sliced

1. For the tofu: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk all ingredients except for the tofu in a small bowl. Place tofu on lined baking sheet and brush with half of the marinade. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Flip tofu over and brush with remaining marinade. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

2. For the dressing: Whisk together all ingredients except for the olive oil in a small bowl or pulse together in a food processor. Gradually whisk in olive oil or, with the food processor running, slowly pour olive oil in and process until combine.

3. In a large bowl, toss mixed greens with desired amount of dressing. Plate tossed greens on individual plates and divide remaining ingredients among each plate.



Tomato Tart for Two (or more)

28 Aug

I have been like a little kid in the candy store lately.


I literally cannot wait until Saturday mornings. My recent Saturday morning routine has been as follows:

I wake up at the crack of dawn (sans alarm) like a kid on Christmas morning. I sip on a cup of coffee while I map out my strategy for the farmer’s market (when you stop at the vendor with the plump juicy peaches and then continue on to the vendor with  your favorite 5 pound bag of potatoes which are placed on top of your peaches, you no longer have edible peaches…lesson learned the hard way). Next, I jump into the car as the butterflies build in my stomach…I’m almost there! As I make my way through the farmer’s market, my game face is on. I tend to do a once (or twice) over to figure out what I want to get. I begin drooling as I head from vendor to vendor looking at the fresh picked blueberries, the crisp red apples, the bountiful flowers, and the tomatoes! Oh, the tomatoes! I can’t take my eyes off of them! I giddily go up to each vendor, chat about the new crop, make my purchases, pick up some flowers with any cash leftover, and head home to unload the goods. I usually spend the better part of my weekend creating dreamy dishes with my #farmersmarketfinds.


I ended up with a surplus of tomatoes this past week. Surprisingly, I went through them all and I need to restock this Saturday. That’s in part because of this delicious tomato tart I made over the weekend. This tart is three things:

1. Easy on the eyes.

2. Simple.

3. D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S.




This tart is the perfect example of using good quality ingredients to get a tasty result.

Tomato Tart for Two (or more)

Adapted from Taste of Home

Note: the portions listed below are for a 4×4 casserole dish. You can easily fit this into an 8×8 dish or a 9×16 dish; just adjust the size of your sheets of phyllo and increase the amounts of other ingredients. The portion sizes in parenthesis are for a 9×16 pan. 

7 sheets of phyllo dough, cut to fit the size of your pan

2 tablespoons olive oil (1/3 cup)

3 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese (1/2 cup)

1/4 sweet onion, sliced very thin (1 onion)

3 small tomatoes, sliced thin (about 10 small tomatoes, or 4 larger tomatoes)

1 teaspoon fresh chives, minced (1 tablespoon)

1 teaspoon fresh basil, minced (1 tablespoon)

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, shredded (1/2 cup)

Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brush casserole dish with olive oil to prevent tart from sticking.

2. Begin layering the phyllo dough and goat cheese. Place one sheet of phyllo dough in the bottom of the pan, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with goat cheese. Keep remaining sheets of phyllo dough covered with a clean damp kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with the remaining sheets of phyllo dough.

3. Top final layer of phyllo dough with parmesan cheese, sliced onions, tomatoes, chives, basil, salt and pepper. Fold over any phyllo dough that is hanging over the edge of your dish.

4. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes, until tart is browned (baking time may be longer depending on the size of your tart).


Ginger Peanut Stir Fry with Tempeh

27 Mar

Do you have a loved one you are trying to convince to try tempeh or tofu? Do they wince at the mention of the word vegetarian? Would they starve before eating one of your plant-based creations?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you need to make this stir fry.



I was practically licking my plate clean each time I finished a helping of this dish.

I got so desperate for this stir fry one day that I made my husband meet me at work to swap tupperware containers when I grabbed the wrong container of leftovers one morning.

It’s that good.

Feel free to make it with tempeh, tofu, chicken, or sans protein. I chose to serve mine over quinoa for an added protein and fiber boost.


Ginger Peanut Stir Fry with Tempeh

Makes 4 servings (if you can resist going back for seconds)

For the sauce:

3 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons natural creamy peanut butter

1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

2 1/4 teaspoon rice vinegar

2 1/4 teaspoon lime juice

3/4 teaspoon Asian chili-garlic saue

For the stir fry:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 ounces tempeh, cut into 1-inch chunks

3 cups sliced veggies (I used red bell peppers, snow peas, zucchini, carrots, and red onion)

Cilantro (optional)

1. In a small bowl, whisk together  all of the sauce ingredients until smooth and well combined. Set aside.

2.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 tablespoon oil over medium high heat. Add tempeh and cook until browned, about 5-7 minutes. Remove tempeh from pan onto a plate. Add remaining 1/2 tablespoon oil to pan. Add vegetables to pan and cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables cooked but still crisp,  about 3 to 5 minutes. Add tempeh back to pan along with sauce. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with cilantro if using. Serve over cooked quinoa.

Loaded Quinoa Cookies (vegan)

25 Mar


I’ve mentioned before that I love snacking…specifically the kind that makes you feel like you’re “splurging” but you’re really getting loads of good-for-you ingredients. I especially love that kind of snacking when it’s neatly packaged into a cookie.


These loaded quinoa cookies do just that.



The cooked quinoa adds satisfying protein that make these cookies great for an on-the-go breakfast or a tasty snack.

Feel free to add whatever mix-ins you have on hand. The first time I made these cookies, I used a jar of odds and ends mix-ins I had been collecting. The tablespoon of pistachios leftover from making granola, the 1/4 cup of shredded coconut leftover from making banana bread, and the handful of chocolate chips left from making cookies. I’ve made these cookies a few times and use a different combination each time. My favorite combination included pistachios, toasted coconut flakes, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, and chocolate chips.


Leave a comment below with the mix-ins you tried. Happy snacking 🙂

Loaded Quiona Cookies

Makes 18 cookies

1/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup agave nectar

2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 tablespoon vanilla

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

3/4 cup mix-ins (any type of nut, dried fruit, chocolate chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix until ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Add whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda and mix just until combined. Fold in quinoa and other mix-ins.

4. Roll dough into 2-inch balls and place on a lined cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Using you fingers, gently press dough balls until flattened. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Go-To Green Drink

17 Mar

Another one of my favorite things: starting my morning with a refreshing clean green smoothie.


Every now and then I decide to mix it up, but I have a new go-to smoothie that I can’t get enough of in the morning.


Going along with the “green theme” for St. Patty’s Day, I found it appropriate to post this recipe today. Also, you might appreciate this smoothie tomorrow morning in case you have one too many adult green beverages tonight!


Here’s the run down on the goods:

Almond milk: low calorie, flavorful source of calcium (as long as it’s fortified)

Banana: great source of potassium; perfect for getting rid of excess water weight from St. Patty’s Day!

Celery, Carrots, Cucumbers, Spinach: hydration, fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron

Mango: Fiber, potassium, vitamin C, vitamin A

Fresh ginger: may help relieve indigestion


Go-To Green Drink

Makes 2 servings (about 1 cup each)

1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1/2 banana, peeled

2 stalks celery, cut into 4 pieces

1 large carrot, cut into 4 pieces

1/2 cup cucumber, peeled and cut into large chunks (about 1/2 of a large cucumber)

2 cups spinach

1/2 cup frozen mango

1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger

Place ingredients into blender in the order listed. Turn blender on, increase speed to high and blend for about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until well blended. Add ice if desired.




Ginger Roasted Chickpeas

6 Mar

Confession: I am a chronic snacker.


What’s another one of my favorite things? Healthy snacks!

I used to think this was a bad thing. That was back in the day of mindlessly munching on nutritionally void “stuff”. I was guilty of a cupboard full of fat-free, sugar-free cardboard. It was low in calories but left me wanting more.

Now, I snack on things packed with nutrition. I feel much more satisfied and know that I will likely fill up on the good stuff before I can overeat it. Snacking helps me feel more satisfied throughout the day and less likely to overeat at mealtime.

These roasted chickpeas are a versatile staple you need in your pantry.

When they are fresh out of the oven, they are salty and crunchy and great right out of the bowl. A day later, they lose their crunch and make a great topping for a salad or pasta.





Ginger Roasted Chickpeas

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

Pinch of onion powder

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay rinsed chickpeas on a couple layers of paper towels and pat them dry.

2. In a small bowl, combine spices. In a medium bowl, toss chickpeas with olive oil. Add spices and toss to coat.

3. Place chickpeas in the oven for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan to move the chickpeas around every 10 minutes, until chickpeas are lightly browned and crisp. Keep in an airtight container for up 3-4 days. Chickpeas will lose their crispness after the first day.

Summer Corn Relish

8 Sep

I LOVE Saturday mornings. Saturday mornings mean waking up to a piping hot cup of coffee, a Miracle Greek Yogurt Breakfast, watching an episode of The Pioneer Woman, only to be totally inspired to head to my local farmer’s market to see what I can whip up with my weekly share.

Last weekend, this is what I came up with.


Summer Corn Relish

I used poblano pepper and a fair amount of cayenne because I like things on the spicy side. If you prefer things less spicy, cut back on the cayenne and poblano or substitute a red bell pepper for the poblano. I liked this best served over a bed of arugula with some cherry tomatoes. It would also be great as a topping on a burger or taco. Either way, you want this in your fridge!

3 ears of corn, kernels shaved from the cob

1 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 cup shallots, finely diced (about 2 small)

1/2 cup poblano pepper, finely diced (about 1/2 medium)

1 tablespoon lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a small bowl, combine corn kernels, cayenne pepper, and salt. Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add corn and cook until corn in tender, 4-5 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and agave nectar and cook for an additional minute.

2. In a medium bowl, combine corn mixture with shallots and poblano pepper. Add lime juice and salt and pepper to taste.

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