This Summer Time Berry Salad has been my favorite ever since my aunt made it for me as a little girl! The combination of the zippy balsamic vinaigrette, creamy goat cheese, bright fruit and sweet pecans makes for the perfect salad. This recipe is simple but packs a big punch! It's a perfect seasonal summer dish to cool you down after a hot day.
This tortilla soup is better than any tortilla soup I've ever had and it's VEGAN! You know it's good when I didn't even realize it was vegan until after I made it. You won't miss the dairy because the tortilla strips and avocado give it a creamy texture, and it doesn't need meat because of the beans and avocado! It is hearty, flavorful and freakin easy!
WARNING: Once you make homemade granola you will NEVER be able to go back to the store bought kind. If you are not prepared to make your own from now on, turn away now! You might think I am exaggerating, but NO. This granola is perfect for snacking, topping on a smoothie bowl, or in a bowl with your milk of choice. It is sugar free and packed with superfoods! I noticed that even the majority of "healthy" granolas still packed their product with sugar, too much sweetener, and not enough nutrients. Granola is a perfect method to add whatever supplements you'd like because it blends all the flavor so well. I add flax seed, chia seed and hemp seed to mine for a little extra nutritional value in each bite. This granola is whole grain, made with coconut oil and sugar free.
This dressing is LIFE CHANGING! I am going to share with you my favorite dressing that has changed my salad game. I make this dressing in batches and use it on everything throughout the week! So many people have asked me to share this salad dressing because it is so versatile and works on every type of salad. This dressing is inspired by cookieandkate.com/ "Liquid Gold" recipe from her amazing vegetarian cook book "Love Real Food".
Today I wanted to talk about what my typical grocery haul looks like. I live over an hour away from the nearest Costco, Whole Foods and Target, so I do my grocery shopping once a month. This is the best way for me to save time and money, but requires a lot of meal planning. Since I am on a college budget I try to keep my grocery hauls within a reasonable price range and I try to use every last ingredient. Something that has helped me so much this year is joining a local produce co-op group! I pay $25 per produce box that is loaded with local and seasonal fruits and vegetables and I pick mine up every other week. I do my monthly Costco trip and purchase all my bulk and staple items, but really rely on my co-op to get my fruits and veggies.
I am not on any particular diet, but I try to eat whole foods in every meal. My diet consists of mainly fruit and vegetables, whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc), small portions of meat and minimal dairy. I have found that eating this way has helped with fat lose, muscle gain, mental clarity, and overall better health. My typical meal is mostly veggies, around 4 oz of meat and a starch (potatoes, rice, quinoa).
Obviously I do not need to buy some of these items every single month, but if I had absolutely zero food this is what I would stock my kitchen with.
Taco Tuesday is taken seriously around our house! We do not mess around when it comes to tacos. If there was only one type of food that I could eat for the rest of my life it would 100% be Mexican food! Not be sound dramatic, but if this meal was my last meal on earth I would not be mad for a second. For me, the flavor is allll in the salsa! If you have a crappy salsa, then your meal taste crappy. I like to season my meat minimally, then pack the flavor into the toppings! You can find my two favorite salsas here and here . I also love topping it with roasted peppers, my faviorite fajitas recipe is here.
This Greek Goodness bowl has ALL the goods! It's packed with homemade baked falafel, grilled lemon herb chicken, quinoa veggie tabbouleh, homemade tzatziki sauce and naan bread. Mediterranean food is one of my favorite types of cusines, but there are zero greek food options on the North Shore! I was craving it so bad that I decided to make my own bowl stuffed with healthy Greek flavors.
How is it already 2018?! This past year was a year of change and adventure, I can't wait to see what 2018 brings! One of the biggest changes I made was how I viewed my health. In the past I had made goals to be more active, run long distances, lose weight, etc. but I never followed through with them. I would go on a run then get discouraged that I had to take breaks, and I would stop running all together. I set unrealistic unrealistic standards for myself, and would get upset if I could not meet them. This past summer I made a goal to live a healthier lifestyle and finally stuck with it! I started small and eventually built off my progress. I started eating a clean diet and began to workout everyday. One of the things that helped was cutting out dairy from my diet. I LOVE dairy and thought this would be impossible for me, because it was something I grew up eating every day. I stopped buying it and found that if it wasn't in my house, then I didn't crave it. Now I buy small mounts of it , but use it purposefully. I began to workout every day, no matter how tired I was. I found that I actually really enjoyed it and it made me feel so much better when I did. These changes made me feel like a much more energetic person, and they eventually became habits. I am not perfect with my goals, but I am trying every day. I wanted my put my health goals out the world, partly to keep me accountable, but mostly so others could join in with me! I want to create a support system for those resolving to create a healthier life. Let's make 2018 our year!
Health Goals 2018:
Who else absolutely cannot wait for Christmas?! I have been feeling especially excited this year and reinventing some of my favorite holiday treats. One of my all time favorite dessert is peppermint bark, but I had never made it on my own before! I wanted to do a healthier version of the treat so I used cacoa power and coconut oil. I chose to top mine with white chocolate, candy canes, chocolate chips, almonds and sea salt. It was the perfect mix of salty and sweet.
Healthy Peppermint Bark
This year I wanted to challenge myself, so I volunteered to make two turkeys for our big Friends giving feast. I was so nervous because I had helped my mom make turkey in the past, but had never tried to conquer it on my own. I am happy to say that after calling several people, reading way to many articles and watching my fair share of youtube videos I made an AMAZING turkey! The skin was crisp and flavorful, while the meat was juicy and moist! I had several of my friends tell me that they had never liked turkey until they tried mine! I stuffed the cavity of the turkey with onions, lemons, carrots, lemongrass, celery and lathered it with herb butter!
This herb butter is what made the whole turkey! I definitely want to make this spread again to use with garlic bread. I combined 1- 1/2 sticks of butter with fresh parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme together and blended in the food processor for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
My tin did not have a rack, so to avoid a soggy bottom of the turkey, I used the carrots and celery to make a rack. I also stuffed a few inside the cavity of the turkey for extra flavor! Once the turkey is stuffed, it's time to apply the herb butter. Pick up the skin and rub the butter generously between the skin and the breast. This will make the actually turkey meat flavorful, not just the turkey skin. With the remaining butter later the top of the turkey and inside the cavity. Apply salt generously, due to the lack of brining.
Something I had never thought of prior to making my own turkey was the time it takes to thaw. My turkey was 12.5 pounds and i let it thaw for 3.5 days, and it was still partially frozen when I went to roast it. I set both of my turkeys in a water bath for 3 hours to allow them to fully defrost to get an more even cook time. There are still ways to make the turkey if you forget to defrost, it will just take a lot longer to cook.
Once the turkey fully defrosts, it is time to do the dirty work. There is a bag of gizzards in the turkey that you should remove before cooking as well as the turkey neck. Some people save the giblets and use them for other meals, but I personally opt to throw them away. The bag is typically found within the cavity of the turkey and the second is found in the neck. Once the giblets have been removed, wash the skin of the turkey with water and pat it dry. This is when the fun begins!
I stuffed the cavity with onion, celery, carrots, lemon and lemongrass. I also used the carrots and celery as a rack for the turkey to keep the bottom from getting soggy. Stuffing the cavity with vegetables adds some awesome flavorful and moisture to the meat! I poured around 2 cups of chicken broth in the skin to make a broth out of the juices. This part is optional but it makes amazing broth! I strained all the turkey juices and froze them in a ice cube tray to use in soup in the future.
Cooking the bird was the hardest part for me, but I figured out the time to make a perfect turkey! I did not have string to tie the wings and the legs back, but i wish I would have! The wings and legs are the first to cook and can become tuff, but by tying them back they stay moist! I set my oven to 450 degrees and roasted the bird for 30 minutes undiscovered. By doing this you will get a nice crispy skin! After 30 minutes I changed the oven temperature to 350 degrees and roasted the turkey for 2 hours and 45 minutes. My turkey was 12 pounds, add an extra 15 minutes for each pound. When I put the turkey back in the oven I made a "turkey hat" that I used to cover just the breast to prevent dryness. I folded the tinfoil into a triangle shape and placed it over the breast.
After the 2 hours and 45 minutes test your turkey with a meat thermometer! It is the most accurate way to tell if the bird is fully cooked and safe for consumption. The most accurate test is by sticking the thermometer under the wing into the thickest part of the breast. If the turkey's temperate is 165 degrees then it's done!
Let the turkey rest for 30 minutes to one hour for a perfectly juicy bird. Enjoy!
Herb Butter Roasted Turkey
*Recipe is for a 12-14 pound turkey. Adjust cooking time for larger birds*
To prepare turkey: