Sweet Winter Kale Power Salad

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I have been making this yummy salad for lunch and I love it! Instead of beans, I also use rotisserie chicken breast. This salad is filling and hearty just like a salad should be. I love this because it is so clean, healthy, and every bite is packed with anti-oxidants. You can add your favorite salad toppers to this so there is no wrong way to make this. I also add feta or blue cheese to this occasionally for even more of a perfect salad!

Ingredients:
1 package of cut kale; pre-washed, ribs removed (about 5 cups)
2 tsp + 1 tsp olive oil
1 lemon
1/4 cup raisins
1 shallot; finely chopped
1/4 of your favorite nut mix (I used pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, and walnuts)
1 can of kidney beans
1 can of corn; drained
1 cucumber; peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
1. Place kale in a large bowl. Squeeze the juice of one lemon and add 2 tsp of olive oil. Massage kale )with your hands)  with olive oil and lemon until it feels tender. This is extremely important because it softens the kale so it is easier to eat. The color of the kale will also turn bright green and look very fresh. Continue to massage for about 3-5 minutes.

2. Bring a frying pan to medium heat. Add 1 tsp of olive oil and shallots. Sauté for 2 minutes and then add raisins. Sauté for another 2 minutes until shallots look cooked and raisins look plump. Pour mixture over kale and stir until combined.

3. Add your favorite nut mixture, beans, corn, cucumbers, cranberries, and season with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

****Another great alternative for a salad topper instead of beans, is rotisserie chicken.
*****This is great for make-ahead lunches, the longer the kale sits; the better!
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Lemon Kale Gem Salad

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I have been wanting to make this since the beginning of the year. My fiance and I went to San Francisco for New Years with some friends and we stopped at this little cafe on the way there. Everything they had looked delicious and so fresh, I just knew it was going to be great. I ordered their zesty kale salad and I couldn’t believe the powerful flavor it had. It was just a salad so I wasn’t expecting it to be anything special or anything..but I was wrong!  I couldn’t figure out how they made their dressing and how to make the kale leaves tender. Luckily I did some research, and added my own flare to this salad. Another healthy tip to remember is..the more color you eat, the better. Taste the rainbow!

Ingredients:
4 cups chopped kale; remove ribs
2 lemons
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup dried apricots; chopped
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted almonds
1 cup bell peppers; chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes; cut in half
1/4 cup feta cheese

Steps:
1. In a large bowl add kale, and squeeze the juice from 2 lemons (watch out for the seeds), then drizzle olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours. This will make the kale leaves softer and easier to eat…it also adds in all the zesty flavor!

2. Once the salad is ready to be topped, just start sprinkling your toppings! This can be fun, use your imagination and use the fresh ingredients you love. That’s why I called it a “gem” salad because I used all my favorite salad toppings. The possibilities are endless so be creative!

Pesto & Almond Crusted Salmon

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If you weren’t aware, today is National Almond Day so of course I had to make this dinner. My Dad is in the almond business so I am definitely a frequent almond eater and I love them! I always have a box or two in my pantry and they always seize to make the perfect snack. Not to mention all of there amazing health benefits! This recipe is out of this world and is so simple to make even though it looks fancy. I topped my salmon on a bed of fresh spinach and it goes well with just about any salad. Have fun and make your own fancy dinner at home,  to be honest I feel like making fancy or gourmet food can seem a little intimidating but I can promise you its not! Try this recipe and you will be amazed!

Yield: 2

Ingredients:
3 wild salmon fillets (6-7 ounces each)
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup Pesto (see my recipe to make it from scratch, don’t worry its easy!)
1/2 cup coarse chopped roasted almonds
1 fresh lemon

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a baking dish, sprinkle salmon fillets with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Make sure the skin is faced down.

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2. Place salmon in oven for 10 minutes. Then take salmon out and spread pesto on with a spoon. Top with coarse chopped almonds and bake for another 15 minutes. Once done top with freshly squeezed lemon juice and enjoy this simply hearty and healthy meal!image

Winter Power Salad with a Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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This light power salad is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins! This salad goes perfectly with just about any meal! The ingredients for this salad are endless!

Yield: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh romaine lettuce; chopped
2 cups fresh spring mix
3 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup pomegrantes; seeded
1 avocado; cut and cubed
1 cup sliced Italian fennel
I cup fresh beets; sliced
1/2 large lemon
1 Tbsp pomegrante juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps:
1. For the dressing, in a small bowl whisk the pomegrante juice, the squeeze of half a large lemon, olive oil, salt, and pepper.

2. In a serving bowl add salad ingredients and drizzle dressing. Toss and serve! You can also top with blue cheese or feta cheese!

Vanilla Maple Chia Seed Pudding

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If you love tapioca pudding and eating healthy you will love this! This tastes just like tapioca pudding except it has less than 200 calories per serving and is loaded with all kinds of essential nutrients your body needs such as fiber and omega-3 fatty acids. You can add all sorts of extra toppings such as chopped apples, bananas, berries, or even almonds! I usually just use what I have in my fridge. A dash of cinnamon also goes well with this healthy breakfast or snack treat!

Yield: 4

Ingredients:
1 cup unsweetend almond milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp pure maple syrup
1/2 cup vanilla nonfat greek yogurt
1/4 cup of chia seeds
1/4 cup fresh fruit topping (your choice)
*you can buy chia seeds at any nutrition store such as whole foods.

Steps:
1. In a bowl, whisk together almond milk, yogurt, vanilla, and maple syrup. Add chia seeds and and mix until combined.

2. Put in fridge for 45 minutes until mixture become thick like a pudding. Serve and top with cinnamon and fresh fruit or/and almonds! This is nutritious and delicious!

*You can even make this the night before for a quick breakfast!