Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

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Ok, guys. I have tweaked my back again and have shooting nerve pain constantly shooting down my leg. Ugh! I spent my entire weekend nursing my back. It is a itty, tiny bit better…I think. Ironically standing and moving around isn’t the most painful. Sitting down is. Work today is going to be torture I’ve decided (corporate job, sitting all day – you get the jest).

Anyways, I decided to make an antioxidant rich smoothie bowl this weekend with pitaya aka: dragon fruit. I figure the more antioxidants and super-foods I can get into my body the faster my body will heal. Speaking of my back again, you’ll never guess how I tweaked it! I was bending over to put my shoes on and then I sneezed. That’s it, that’s all I did. Crazy, right?! Granted, I already have had a bad back for the past 7yrs or so, but seriously… Sneezing can cause a strained muscle, which in turn then causes inflammation and presses on my sciatic nerve causing all this crazy pain. So the moral of this story is treat your back right while it’s still good. Do your yoga and core exercises regularly and lift heavy objects with your knees, not your back.

Ok, so back to this smoothie bowl. It’s delish, packed with antioxidants and as a bonus it’s pretty! Smoothie bowls seem more like a treat to me than a smoothie. Maybe it’s because I’m eating it with a spoon and it reminds me of a frozen treat.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup frozen mango
  • 1 frozen pitaya pouch
  • 1/4 Cup – 1/2 Cup boxed coconut milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 T honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • Toppings of choice (bee pollen, coconut flakes, chia seeds, nuts, sliced fruit, etc.)

Directions

  1. Place everything in your blender and blend well. If the mixture seems too thick add a bit more milk. If you prefer it to be sweeter add a bit more sweetener, blend again and taste to see if it is to your liking.
  2. The mixture should be thick enough to spoon it, a bit thicker than what a smoothie would be. Scrape out the smoothie into a bowl.
  3. Add whatever toppings you like. I sprinkled a bit of bee pollen, unsweetened coconut flakes and chia seeds on top of mine. Get creative and enjoy!

Ottolenghi’s Spinach, Date & Almond Salad

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Hi everyone! I’m sorry the blog went dark last week, but I had a good reason. I was on vacation! Like, just 2 adults and 0 kids vacation. I think prior to this it has been 6yrs or so since I’ve had an adult only vacation. It was nice, but I missed my big babies and my pups.

Now that I’m back to reality. It’s back to grocery shopping, cooking and meal prepping. This salad is one of my favorite salads. The flavor combinations in here are amazing! The texture is on point as well. Perhaps it’s the seasoning or the toasted pita bread that sets it off. I’m not sure, but it’s amazing!

For this recipe I slightly adapted it from Ottolenghi’s cookbook: Jerusalem, which I highly recommend if you are looking for veggie heavy, flavor packed recipes. There are meat and dessert recipes in the cookbook as well. So, far everything I have tried of his I absolutely love! Fair warning though – some of his recipes can be labor intensive, but the end results are always phenomenal.

This salad has a sweet, yet tangy flavor with a slight spiciness to it. The dates give it the sweet vibes and the quick pickled onions and dressing give it a bit of a bite. This is a match made in heaven to me. Top it off with the seasoning blend and I’m in salad heaven.

Ingredients

Salad Base:

  • 1 T white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 medium size red onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 Cup pitted Medjool dates, sliced into quarters lengthwise
  • 2 T unsalted butter or ghee
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 small pitas torn into roughly 1 to 1.5 inch pieces
  • 1/2 Cup sliced unsalted almonds
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 5oz baby spinach
  • 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp plus 2 pinches of salt, divided

Directions

  1. Put the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salt over the onions and dates and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain away any residual vinegar and discard. Onions should has softened up by this point.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter or ghee and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring the entire time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.
  3. When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, *the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt*. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

*Dressing alternative: The olive oil and lemon juice works great on this salad, but when in a pinch I use balsamic vinaigrette and it compliments the flavors very well.

Sweet Potato, Rice & Baby Spinach Salad

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It’s hot here in Texas this week. Like, it’s hovering around 108 degrees most every day this week! I like hot weather, but that’s just a bit much. When it’s that hot out I tend to gravitate towards light meals that don’t require a lot of cooking. Now, I’m sure you’ve been in the same boat of having salad burnout. Ya know, it’s when you have the same old boring salad over and over again and you can’t fathom having one more bite of cold greenery pass your lips. Sound familiar?

Well, fear not because I have a salad that is perfect to break your salad burnout. This salad has texture, depth, flavor! This isn’t your normal run of the mill boring salad.

This salad is fairly simple to throw together. The most time consuming part is waiting on the sweet taters to finish roasting. Yep, I just referred to potatoes as taters. That’s how I get down!

Let me know if you make this salad and what personal spins you put on it! Tag me on Instagram @Undercovernoms or post it over on my Facebook page if you want to share your pics with me 🙂

Ingredients

Salad Base:

  • 1/2 Cup uncooked mix of brown rice and wild rice
  • 3 Cups peeled sweet potatoes, diced into bite sized chunks
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • Sprinkle of Himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • 3 Cups baby spinach
  • 1/2 Cup raw cashews, unsalted

Lemon Dressing:

  • Juice of 2 large lemons
  • Zest of 1 lemon*
  • 1/3 Cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp honey**
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt

Directions

  1. Cook your rice mix according to the directions on box/bag. While rice is cooking prepare the dressing by putting all ingredients into a food processor. Process until well combined. When the rice has finished cooking add a tablespoon of dressing and combine. Let the rice cool off to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take your peeled and diced bite sized pieces of sweet potatoes and put into a medium sized bowl. Toss with the extra virgin olive oil and the spices. Once mixed well place the potatoes onto a baking sheet. You can line with parchment paper to make clean up easier if you prefer. Roast for about 25mins stirring the potatoes a couple of times during the roasting process to prevent sticking and insure a even texture. Potatoes should be soft, but not mushy. Let cool a bit before serving.
  3. Toss the baby spinach with the rice mix. Add in the sweet potatoes and raw cashews. Top with the dressing. Toss to combine. Enjoy!

*Since we’re using the zest of a lemon it’s important to have an organic lemon if at all possible. Wash the lemon well before use.

**Use agave in place of honey for a vegan friendly option.

Roasted Veggies with Lemon Garlic Orzo

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Do you like vegetables? I’ve had a love/hate relationship with them for most of my life. It wasn’t until I was well into my 20’s before I realized you could make vegetables taste good based on how you prepared them. Except broccoli – broccoli is still my arch nemesis. That little crusty tree will not be be found in my house unless it is blended up and masked in a green smoothie that someone else has bottled and prepared for me! Bleh! Now, with that being said I think broccoli has awesome nutrients and is very beneficial for you. I just have to have mine hidden in a green smoothie of sorts 🙂

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Now, back to the yummy veggie talk! I like to season and roast vegetables or saute them. In this particular recipe I chop them all up and roast them with a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Another tid bit of info about me: I don’t like fresh tomatoes, but I like them prepared any other way. Roasted, cooked, stewed, sun dried, fried, you name it! Just not fresh. Weird, right?

Now to the good part. After the veggies have roasted you’re going to prepare some orzo. First, you are going to lightly toast the orzo in a pan with a bit of olive oil. Then you are going to add in some vegetable stock. Cover and simmer until the orzo is tender. Once tender remove from heat and set aside.

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While the orzo cooks you are going to prepare and simple dressing of olive oil, lemon and garlic.

After the orzo has finished cooking and the dressing has been prepared – take the roasted veggies and mix in with the orzo. Add in the dressing and feta and top with fresh basil. Easy Peas-y!

This dish works great as the main course or as a side dish. Personally I like to have it as it is for lunch or as a side at dinner with some baked fish.

Ingredients

For the Orzo and Veggies:

  • 1/3 Cup slivered or sliced almonds
  • 1.5 Cup button mushrooms sliced
  • 1 Cup mix of red, yellow and orange baby bell peppers, de-seeded and diced 
  • 12oz fresh green beans cut into 1 inch pieces 
  • 12oz cherry tomatoes cut in 1/2
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 Cup shallot, chopped
  • 3T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Cup orzo
  • 1.5 Cup vegetable broth 
  • 1/2 Cup feta, crumbled

For the Dressing:

For the Garnish:

  • 2-3T chopped fresh basil

Directions

Roast the Veggies:

  • Pre-heat oven to 425F. Line 1-2 two sheet pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Lightly spray or coat with extra virgin olive oil. Place the chopped and/or diced mushrooms, bell peppers, green beans, tomatoes and shallot on one pan. Sprinkle with 2 Tbs of olive oil and the 2 tsp of minced garlic. Using a spatula, mix all the veggies together with the olive oil and minced garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then stir again. Move half of the veggie mixture to the other sheet pan (if 2nd sheet pan is needed). Spread the veggies in one layer, making sure there’s no overlapping on both pans. Roast in oven at 425F for 35-40 minutes. Some possible charring is fine (and yummy). Rotate pans half way through roasting to ensure evenness. Keep an eye on the veggies – due to variants in ovens and how thick the veggies are chopped/diced – cooking times may vary.

Cook the Orzo:

  • In a large saute pan, heat 1T of extra virgin olive oil on medium heat until simmering. Add the orzo and stir, coating the orzo thoroughly. Stir occasionally for about 3 minutes or until the orzo is toasty and lightly golden. Add the vegetable broth. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat to low and cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Make the Dressing:

  • In a small bowl add the olive oil, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Whisk until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

Put it Together:

  • In the large pan that the orzo is in, add the roasted veggies, stir in the dressing, feta, and almonds. Garnish with basil. Serve immediately and enjoy! Leftovers keep well in an airtight container in the fridge.