Shaved Pear Salad with Peach Mango Goat Cheese, Fresh Mint, Purple Basil and a White Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

Shaved Pear Salad with Peach Mango Goat Cheese, Fresh Mint, Purple Basil and a White Balsamic Raspberry Vinaigrette

This is the perfect summer salad made up of sweet pears sliced paper thin, tangy peach and mango goat cheese, refreshing fresh herbs, and a slightly sweet, slightly tangy dressing of white balsamic and raspberries. To make the dressing, combine white balsamic raspberry blush vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon pepper sea salt seasoning and whisk. When shaving the pears, use a vegetable slicer at its 1/32″ setting for the perfect, paper thin slices. Julienne the mint and basil, add crumbled peach and mango goat cheese and drizzle the homemade dressing on top. Serve immediately.

Grilled Halloumi and Watermelon Salad with Fresh Mint and Lemon Pepper Sea Salt

SAM_4940Halloumi cheese is perfect for summer cookouts and BBQ’s because of it’s high melting point, making it the perfect cheese to throw on the grill. Halloumi is a very salty cheese that pairs perfectly with watermelon and mint. Rosemary and basil are also great herbs to use with this salad. Throw in a couple twists from the lemon pepper sea salt grinder and you have the perfect side for your cookout. Enjoy!

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Cucumber and Cashew Salad with Goat Cheese and Tomatoes

Sometimes less is more, as is the case with this salad. Made with sweet grape tomatoes, crunchy cashews, crisp and refreshing cucumbers, tangy honey goat cheese, fresh ground lemon pepper seasonings and a fig balsamic drizzle. You can use whatever balsamic vinegar you can get your hands on, but a sweeter, lighter balsamic works best for this salad. (Make it vegan by omitting the goat cheese!)

What you will need:
cucumber
grape or cherry tomatoes
honey goat cheese (or any type of goat cheese, really)
cashews
lemon pepper sea salt grinder
balsamic vinegar

Slice the cucumbers and quarter them. Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place both ingredients on a plate or in a bowl. Add crumbled goat cheese and cashews, give the lemon pepper grinder a few twists and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve outdoors on a humid summer’s day with an ice cold martini.

Juicing and Cleansing Part 2

Juicing and Cleansing Part 2

You might be wondering why there is a picture of a delicious chocolaty treat accompanying the title “Juicing and Cleaning Part 2″. The answer is simple. That chocolaty treat is a raw chocolate macaroon, and that’s what I broke my cleanse a day early with. My plan was to make it through a five day cleanse, and for it being my first cleanse ever, I’d say making it through four days is pretty damn good! Now, I know sweets are not the best thing to break a cleanse with, but at least it was raw! AND I followed it up with a big ol’ raw salad of kale, cabbage, and carrots with fresh squeezed lemon, apple cider vinegar, and Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids as the dressing (no oil!).

This juice cleanse was probably one of the best things I’ve done for my body in YEARS. It taught me a lot about myself. When I didn’t have food to focus on, my mind could focus on other things more clearly. I found that, usually, I’m not eating because I’m hungry, I’m eating because I’m actually thirsty. I know that I don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. Now I can see exactly how it effects me. I found out that I am, indeed, an emotional eater. And I definitely eat out of boredom and habit. After the first day, I felt more energy and less weighed down. I went to my first yoga class in months on the second day of my cleanse, and I noticed that after climbing up the five flights of stairs to the yoga studio, I wasn’t out of breath and drained like I normally am; I felt great and was barely winded at all! That was amazing to me. I’ve never been able to make it up those steps without feeling like death afterword.

The third day of my cleanse was when the headaches really started to kick in. You see, I’m a caffeine addict, and I can’t go a day without my coffee. So, I drank about half of a cup of coffee to try to curb my pain, a glass of water, and a bottle of juice, but nothing seemed to work. I was able to work through it, and, luckily, I didn’t have any other issues that day.

The forth day I was feeling absolutely AMAZING from my cleanse! But, I was also feeling emotional (totally unrelated to the cleanse) and started craving food because of it. I think that’s ultimately what led me to break my cleanse a day early. Either that, or I just wanted to taste something savory and crunchy. I don’t know for sure. Either way, I learned a lot about myself and my eating habits. I found that I’m a lot stronger than I think. I also need to drink more water and eat less dairy. I need to get back to putting more thought into my recipes and food. And I need to take better care of myself.

If you’d like more information on the juice cleanse I just finished, go to annaintheraw.com :)

Juicing and Cleansing

Juicing and Cleansing

I like to keep this blog about recipes and not make it too personal, but I’m going to step away from that for just a moment. I recently started working for a raw food and juicing specialist, Anna Harouvis of Anna in the Raw (annaintheraw.com). It’s partially why it’s been two months since I’ve updated with new recipes. I’m blogging about this now because today I started day one of a five day juice cleanse, my first cleanse ever! I’m following Anna’s juice cleanse while also supplementing it with Nature’s Secret 5-Day Fast and Cleanse. It’s now the end of my first day of cleansing and I have to say, I feel pretty great. I’ve had some moments of feeling slightly tired and lethargic but I think that might have more to do with not getting enough sleep last night. I’ve had some food cravings, too, but they’ve passed quickly.

It’s good to give your digestive system a break every once in awhile to clean out built up toxins and let your body focus on things that need to be repaired. When your body isn’t constantly focusing on digestion, you allow it time to heal and repair. We eat nonstop- when we’re hungry, bored, sad, and we even mistake thirst for hunger, causing a lot of people to overeat. I haven’t truly felt hungry yet, but I’ve wanted to eat out of habit and boredom. So I’m going to bed tonight satisfied, not because my belly’s full, but because I know I’m doing something amazing for my health.

Creamy Tomato Basil Bisque

IMG_6589Fresh rosemary, basil, and parsley along with fresh stalks of celery, onion, and garlic make this bisque one of the freshest, most fragrant tomato bisque’s you’ll ever eat. No broth is used in this recipe, just fresh ingredients, heavy whipping cream, and mozzarella cheese. This bisque is best when made with local tomatoes that are in season. If possible, buy your tomatoes from a local farmers market, but if that isn’t an option, vine ripened tomatoes from the grocery store will give you the best flavor when tomatoes are out of season. Makes 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
butter (optional)
9-10 vine ripened tomatoes
3 celery stalks
1 red onion
5 garlic cloves
1 rosemary sprig
a handful of parsley
1 T Italian seasoning
1 T lemon pepper sea salt grinder
1 1/2 c chopped fresh basil
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 c mozzarella

Turn a large pot on low heat and start to melt the butter (you can leave the butter out if you want, but still turn the burner on to warm up the pot). In a food processor, combine 5-6 tomatoes, celery, onion, garlic cloves, fresh parsley, and fresh rosemary leaves and blend until smooth. Add to the pot. Meanwhile, chop the rest of the tomatoes into 1/2 inch chunks and add to the pot along with the Italian seasoning and lemon pepper seasoning and continue to cook on low heat for about 20 minutes. Then, add the fresh chopped basil, heavy whipping cream and mozzarella and continue to cook for another 15 minutes. Garnish with fresh scallions, croutons, or more cheese and serve.

Cream of Portobello Mushroom Soup

Cream of Portobello Mushroom Soup

This soup is a creamy mix of goat cheese, heavy cream, portobello mushrooms, onions, and garlic, with savory undertones from fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme. The mushrooms, onion, and garlic are reduced and slightly caramelized over low heat to release both the sweetness and savoriness of the vegetables. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
3 T butter
2 lbs portobello mushrooms
1/2 an onion
3 cloves of garlic
1-2 sprigs of rosemary
1-2 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of sage
1 c heavy whipping cream
4 oz goat cheese (Parmesan, Asiago, or Romano cheese would work great, too)
1 1/2 tsp apple wood smoked sea salt
1 1/2 T Italian seasoning

In a large sauce pan or cast iron skillet, melt the butter over low heat. Clean mushrooms and remove any part of the stem that is unusable. Set aside about 1/2 lb of the mushrooms and chop the remaining pound and a half into smaller pieces. Add to the food processor along with your onions and garlic. Pulse and then mince the mixture on the low setting for about 35 seconds, or until the mixture is even. You may have to do this in a couple of batches. Transfer to the pot and add your sprigs of rosemary, sage and thyme. Continue cooking on low heat for about 30-35 minutes, stirring every 4-5 minutes. Add your heavy whipping cream, turn up the heat just slightly, and continue to cook for 5 minutes. With a pair of tongs, remove the sprigs of rosemary, sage, and thyme. Add the goat cheese and stir continuously until it is completely mixed in (you may have to turn up the heat a little bit more). Add your smoked sea salt and Italian seasoning and serve!

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

Potato, Leek, and Kale Soup

This soup isn’t healthy in the least, and I make no apologies for it. The more butter, the merrier. And don’t forget the heavy whipping cream! This is an easy recipe to follow and can be on the table in about 35-40 minutes. Save it for those bitter cold winter days when all you want to do is snuggle up on the couch with a warm blanket. Makes about 6 servings.

What you will need:
3 large baking potatoes
lots and lots of butter. I didn’t measure here, so I’m assuming maybe 3 T? Maybe more??!
1 leek
1/2 a bunch of lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan or dinosaur kale)
1 c heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 packets of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Mushroom Soup Mix
3 1/2- 4 c water
1 c potato flakes

In a pot, bring water to a boil. Dice the potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and add them to the boiling water (cutting them into smaller pieces before boiling them cuts down on cooking time). Boil for about 15- 20 minutes, or until they are done. Meanwhile, in a separate large pot, melt butter over medium low heat. Chop the leeks and add them to the pot. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Chop the kale into 1/8 inch pieces. Once the potatoes are done, drain and add them to the pot with the leeks, along with the kale, heavy whipping cream, water, and the packets of Lipton onion mushroom soup mix. Turn the heat up to medium, add the potato flakes and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes. Serve garnished with scallions.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Bisque

This roasted red pepper bisque is made of fresh herbs and veggies, with a little bit of heavy whipping cream and delicious Asiago cheese and goat cheese- no need for veggie broth here. It’s best when slow cooked over low heat, letting all of the flavors infuse and come together. This bisque also works great as pasta sauce. Makes about 4-6 servings.

What you will need:
a food processor
4-5 large red peppers
1 celery stalk
1 carrot
1/2 of a red onion
a couple pinches of fresh parsley
a couple pinches of fresh rosemary
a pinch of fresh thyme
lots of fresh basil
1 large garlic clove
1 c heavy whipping cream
3 oz goat cheese
5 oz shredded asiago cheese
a dash of Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
a pinch of sea salt (if you don’t have Bragg’s, just add more salt according to taste)

Preheat oven on the broil setting. Cut the red peppers in half, remove the stem and seeds, and place directly on the top oven rack. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the peppers start to char. In a food processor, combine the celery, carrots, red onion, garlic, and fresh herbs along with all but one of the red peppers and blend until somewhat smooth. Transfer to a medium side pot and start to cook over low heat. In the food processor, take the last roasted red pepper and pulse it to a salsa consistency, being careful not to over blend it. Add it to the pot along with the heavy whipping cream, Bragg’s liquid amino acids, shredded asiago cheese and goat cheese and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Continue to cook over low heat for at least an hour and a half, letting all of the flavors combine and the veggies soften. Serve with crusty, toasted bread and shredded asiago cheese.

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

Thai Ginger Peanut Soup (Vegan!)

This slightly spicy soup is bursting with flavor from Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth, a hint of peanuts, almost 10 oz of mushrooms, chunks of tofu, and handfuls upon handfuls of spinach. And, it’s ridiculously easy to make! This soup is hearty and can be served as a main dish that’s ready in under 20 minutes! Makes about 6-8 servings.

What you will need:
oil for sauteing (I highly recommend coconut oil)
4 oz shittake mushrooms
32 oz carton of Swanson’s Thai Ginger Broth (kudos to Swanson for that one, by the way!)
3 well rounded spoonfuls of chunky peanut butter (not creamy!)
16 oz of Trader Joe’s super firm tofu (if you can find it. It goes above and beyond the calls of extra firm tofu. Trust me.)
3 oz enoki mushrooms
2 oz beech mushrooms
large handfuls of spinach (I used about 5)

In a medium or large pot, melt the coconut oil. Remove most of the stem from the shittake mushrooms and cut any of the larger mushrooms in half. Add them to the pot and saute for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, cut the tofu into small cubes and remove the woody ends of the enoki and beech mushrooms. Add the spoonfuls of peanut butter to the soup along with the tofu, enoki, and beech mushrooms. Then, start adding the handfuls of spinach, letting each handful wilt a little bit before adding the next, until you have your desired amount of spinach. Serve garnished with chopped peanuts or scallions.