Taco Shells

This creative way of using Ezekiel brand tortillas as taco shells was a great idea. Warning- they do make for some big tacos!

Just place the tortilla on oven rack as on the picture and heat 300 degrees for 5-10 mins. Keep an eye out as you want them as soon as they turn stiff but without burning. Enjoy!

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Watermelon Salad

Here’s a delicious and refreshing recipe for the hot summer days. Best part- it’s so easy to put together!

Ingredients

1 watermelon – cut in cubes
1/2 bunch of mint
1/2 red onion- diced or sliced
2- limes
Feta cheese
Optional: salt and pepper

Method

Toss everything together and serve! Enjoy.

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Save the leftovers and it was a nice snack paired with some hummus.

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Quinoa Casserole

Quinoa is a great complex carb to have but the taste is very plain. I stumbled upon a website called 86 lemons that has this great recipe for a quinoa casserole.

Check it out, it was pretty delicious!

I followed the recipe as is, with the only exception of using chickpeas instead of beans. I was also very excited of using fresh organic white corn (which I roasted in the oven first) and fresh parsley from my herb garden. This was a great side for any protein. Enjoy!

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DYI- Wood Pallet Herb Garden

I have been collecting little herb plants over the last several months as an experiment. I started with just two plants with the idea of having the herbs I use the most when cooking. Now that I have a better idea on how to take care of these herbs, I have ventured out for my first garden DYI. So exciting, how can I not share!!!!!!

On Pinterest I found many ideas on how to use a reclaimed wood pallet and make it sort of a herb rack for all my pots. I made decided to keep my herbs in pots as I can move them around as needed. I’ve read that herbs likes porous pots such as clay so I went with these simple clay pots.

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Next, I asked for a free wood pallet at a local nursery when buying a few supplies. Luckily, the very friendly and had a stack of them from me to choose from. I grabbed the best looking one and home I went. :-)

For this project I only bought two items. One, a fine/medium sand paper block and Rus-oleum primer spray paint.

I took out all nails and staples from the pallet making sure it was free of anything sharp. Sanded the pallet and gave it a quick clean with a brush to clean it from any dust from sanding. Once cleaned, I began to spray paint following directions on the can. Only one coat was necessary but it took two cans to cover the entire pallet.

Let it dry for an hour or so. I looked for anything I could use to secure the pots on each shelves. Found some leftover chicken wire and some yarn. Used nails to secure each side and that’s it!

This project cost less than $10 and now my herb plants have a nice home.

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And lastly, some tags with each name.:-)

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Cooking Green Chard

Here are some ideas for getting your greens intake. At home I have to cook collard greens, kale, chard or any other leafy vegetable in an appetizing way so everyone enjoys them. If you have a picky eater, this can be helpful.

Here is cooked green chard on a skillet with coconut oil and some prosciutto.

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This time I cooked green chard on a skillet with sliced mushrooms and apple chicken sausages with coconut oil.

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Feel free to experiment when cooking these leafy greens and get them in your diet. They’re so good for you!

Baked Plantain (Maduros)

Plantain has got to be one of my favorite foods. Unfortunately, it’s most commonly seen fried in dishes. I don’t cook it often but since I love it so much I like to have it from time to time. When ripe it is a great complex carb to compliment my eating plan.

Here’s a version of making it in baked slices or Maduros style.

Ingredients

Coconut oil -2 tablespoons per plantain
Plantain

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Method

Slice plantain about one inch thick and slightly diagonal.
Melt coconut oil in a bowl.
Dip each slice of plantain in the coconut oil and place it on baking sheet with parchment paper.
Baked at 325 for about 15-20 mins and flip once the bottom side is golden brown. Cook for another 15 mins.

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Makes a great side to any dish!!!

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Roasted Artichokes

I received these beautiful artichokes as part of my organic share this week and I was a bit taken back. I am sure the face I made when these were handed to me must have been pretty amusing. I always see them at the market, know what they are, know that I like them (at least in dip form) but somehow always just pass right by without hesitation. Artichokes were not a food I grew up eating or ever seen it being cooked by my family. So I had no idea what to do with these! Well… Thank God for Internet!!!!

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My recipe of choice was found on here on this wonderful blog. Thanks to Pinch My Salt I knew exactly what to do and they turned out AMAZING!! Good thing she also explains how to eat it because I didn’t know where to start.

Follow her instructions and I’m sure it will come out just as delicious as mine.

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Salad Dressing

In search of the perfect (or better) salad dressing that does not consist of sugar, high calories or processed ingredients, I have found my best option. You can never go wrong with making your own. Recently, I found this glass container at a Home Goods store and was immediately excited about all the different recipes I could try. This container came with recipes printed on it and they were great options. I did some research and decided to try my own. Here I’ll leave you with two I found online.

Garlic Vinaigrette

1/2 cup raw apple cider vinegar
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3 garlic cloves, minced
generous pinch of sea salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried (basil, oregano, chives, and thyme are all nice)
scant 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram (or oregano)
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a jar. Stir well with a fork.
Add olive oil, cover tightly, and shake well until combined. You can also use a blender and drizzle the oil in slowly while it is running.

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Quest bars

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Recently I posted a picture of my quest bar on IG and I got a few questions about, so I thought to share here as well.

Although I tend to stay away from these kinds of products, quest bars have been the exception. They have a decent list of ingredients making them my number one choice. Why have them?? I use them when I’m on the go and food may not be accessible. I never leave the house without one in my purse or bag. Hey, better than skipping a meal and ending up with junk food instead.

The other reason is this helps me when I’m craving something sweet and don’t want to have an actual cheat or treat. I have a quest bar instead. And after discovering the wonders of cooking these little bars, I’m hooked!

Downfall, well they have a lot of fiber. I’ve known some people who can not tolerate them, giving serious stomach cramps. I try not to have more than two a week at most and not every week either.

What to do? I bake them at 350 for 5 minutes and then broil for 1 minute. The outside gets crispy while the inside of the bar melts and becomes moist.

There are many flavors but my favorite are cookies and cream (the best), apple pie, cinnamon bun and cookie dough.

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Boring? I Think Not!!

Dressing up bland foods is important in my house hold. Not everyone can eat the same type of food without getting bored, and that is the case here. What to do? Think of different ingredients to make the same recipe with. For example, the other day in a rush I bought some already made quinoa. If you’ve had it before you know quinoa is bland and has no taste. Instead of eating it plain I thought to throw in some veggies I had in my fridge and make it more appetizing. It worked! You can do this with brown rice as well and it’s another way of getting your veggies in. All I did was sautéed some Lacinto Kale and orange or yellow peppers in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and add it to the pre-made quinoa.

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Another example is making a simple protein dish and making plenty of it to use for the week as different meals. I bought this bbq seasoning mix and used it to make chicken breasts. I cooked 9 chicken breasts in the crock pot for 4 hours on high using only this seasoning. When chicken was done, I took it out and shredded it. Placed it in a glass container, ready to be consumed throughout the week.

Take a look at a couple of meals I made with same shredded chicken.

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