That's A Keeper 6

I looked back at my last “That’s A Keeper” post and it was posted in January!   How did SO much time pass between me posting on some of my favorite recipes??  I’ll tell you how…life is busy!  Between training for my marathon, being crazy busy at work, and now the holidays, I’ve been trying to keep up with my blog every other week, but the truth is that hasn’t happened.  I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked to, but as I always keep repeating, I’ll post when I have time and when I have something to talk about.  Which leads me to a few of my favorite recipes, that is definitely something to talk about.  There are always going to be hits and misses with recipes that I try, and I definitely wish I could read a recipe and know just by reading how’d it turn out.  I just don’t have that gift.  Nor do I have the gift of being able to concoct my own recipes.  So kudos to the people that do recipe development.  But I do have one favor to ask, can you really only post successful recipes?  I made some “Lemon Pistachio Shortbread Cookies” this morning – they do NOT stick together.  

Sure they look good...but you didn't see how many times they crumbled and fell apart!

Sure they look good...but you didn't see how many times they crumbled and fell apart!

When the recipe tells me to use my hands to roll them I just have to laugh.  I barely salvaged them by using a cookie scoop to try and get them to somewhat stay together.  The recipe should’ve read, “Be prepared to have them fall apart, all over you.  They will never really stick together, fyi.”  The flavor is okay, but truth be told:  these will NEVER be made in this household again and what a waste of all my pistachios.  Again, I wish I could read a recipe and just know if it’ll make keeper status.  Until that time, I keep trying so you don’t have to!

BreakfastVanilla Chai Overnight Oatmeal

It is December 18th and it still feels like summer here in Miami.  I’m not complaining, I’m just stating the facts.  So having hot oatmeal in the mornings isn’t always my go to choice.  But I do love to have a breakfast that I can prep the night before and doesn’t take too much time in the morning.  This Vanilla Chai Oatmeal is full of flavor and just another way to put a spin on your normal oats.  The recipe calls for coconut milk – I’ve made it with both regular milk and coconut milk – and both turn out.  I used the regular milk for the extra protein.   Additionally I have cut out almost all added sugar in my diet (except for sweets like desserts!).  In this recipe it calls for between 3-4 tablespoons of maple syrup – I ended up eating this recipe 3 times, so in theory that’d be 1 tablespoon of maple syrup/serving – and that’s TOO much added sugar to start your day with.  Aim to start lowering the amount of sugar you’re using.  Your taste buds will adjust and get used to using less sugar.  Promise.  Other add-ons to this recipe – I always add nuts to my oatmeal to increase the protein content as well as increase my satiety from the healthy fats in nuts.  Get creative and switch up your flavors with your oatmeal.  This Vanilla Chai is delish! (no picture...all my overnight oats never look pretty!)

Salad: Pear, Parmesan, and Balsamic Salad

Whoever said eating their vegetables had to be boring was WRONG!  Dead wrong.  I think that sometimes people haven’t had a good experience with vegetables and therefore just write-off certain ones.  Or even worse, sometimes they haven’t even given the vegetable a try.  Salad is a good way to get your greens in – think spinach, kale, green leafy, red leafy, arugula, etc.  Not to mention add a few pieces of fruit and that always helps the vegetables taste better.  This salad combination uses pears and Parmesan.  I also added in walnuts.  I’m always switching around the nut, the fruit, and the cheese.  The combinations are almost endless!  I have a persimmon waiting in the kitchen for my next salad.   And my go to salad dressing is this balsamic vinaigrette by Williams Sonoma. (I didn’t use the dressing in the recipe for the salad…too much sugar!)

Sauce:  Chimichurri

What more can I say but that this sauce is EVERYTHING!  And I do mean everything!!  For lunch I tend to eat grain bowls – whether it’s quinoa, couscous, farro, barley – whatever the grain is that’s the base of my bowl.  Then I’ll roast veggies for the week.  I do an assortment and rotate the veggies throughout the week to help get a variety.  For my protein I’ll rotate a soft-boiled egg, tofu, beans, and/or some nut concoction I’ve done – think cashew cream, almond “feta”, etc.  And lastly I add the sauce – this is where all the flavors come together.  I’ve been trying to build a repertoire of sauces to have on hand.  This way I can utilize a different sauce throughout the week and even though the essence of the bowl is the same, the sauce will let me think it’s a whole different bowl.  Chimichurri can be used in so many ways – even though I’m a pescatarian, it marries well with many flavors, not just meat.  Make this and you can thank me later!

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Vegetarian – White Beans with Tomato, Spinach, and Rice

Leave it to Real Simple to create a quick weeknight meal.  Little did I know when I stumbled upon this recipe I’d learn how to make full-proof soft-boiled eggs.  Score a W in the win column.  I’ve said this before, but I’m not the best in the kitchen.  If I could have a Go Pro camera watching my every move it’d be one for the history books.  Epic fails – coconut macaroon crusts falling on the floor and crumbling before my eyes, burning my hand on many a pan, creaming butter and sugar and sugar flying everywhere, yeah there have been some fails in this here kitchen of mine.  I follow the recipes, I swear I do!  Needless to say I was pleased when Real Simple directed me to the perfect soft-boiled egg.  Oh yeah, and the rest of the recipe is a score for a keeper also.  Simple, yet so flavorful.  The only thing I’d improve upon is by adding even more tomatoes.  Delish!

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Seafood – Honey-Glazed Salmon

My tried and true go to salmon recipe.  While I’d love to experiment with others, this has been the one I keep using over and over.  I know I’m going to need a new one soon, but here are the many reasons why I love it – I can make the sauce up and use it throughout the week.  Two – I can leave the skin on the salmon when I get it from the seafood department at the store.  Three – Broiling the salmon makes for a QUICK weeknight meal (6 minutes on each side).  Four – training for the marathon has been challenging to ensure I’m getting enough protein (I spot check it occasionally and without the inclusion of the salmon I was eating WAY too much cheese).  I don’t love chicken, beef, turkey, pork, etc, but this salmon I can eat and enjoy.  I’ve been eating this three to four times/week to help ensure my protein on my run days.  Five – did I already say it’s a quick weeknight meal?  Well, that is if I remember to defrost the salmon the night ahead.  And don’t you worry, if that happens, it’s a breakfast for dinner kind of night!

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Dessert:  Raspberry Cheesecake Tartlets

I’ll start off by saying the picture doesn’t do these guys ANY justice.   I’m not exaggerating.  Not only am I a walking mess in the kitchen, I am also not the best photographer.  My skills have improved over the past few months, but this here photo was taken in my early days when I was just starting out.  The cheesecake in this recipe is a liquid cheesecake – it’s exactly what it sounds like – cheesecake, baked just enough for the batter to cook, but not enough for it to maintain its structure.  Essentially a no fuss cheesecake recipe.  Follow the step-by-step directions for the crust – at first you may doubt the process.  Don’t.  Hummingbird High gives THEE best directions.  I included a real dessert recipe here, not some of the paleo, low carb ones I’ve been trying as of recent.  It’s a week till Christmas.  It’s a holiday and holidays are meant to be enjoyed.  That includes desserts.  Just don’t get confused and think that every day is a holiday.  You know what I’m saying??

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So there you have it – a few more recipes that have recently made it into my “keepers”.  I hope you see a recipe or two that you might like to try.  My stack of “recipes to try” keeps growing.  I wish they ALL were keepers!