Creamy Dijon-Dill Salmon with Spiralized Cucumber Salad

Let’s talk about how this is the first time I’ve cooked fish at home. I know, it’s about time! But I was nervous…that it would smell the place up, that I would cook it wrong, that I wouldn’t cook it enough, and what do I do with the skin?!…so many irrational fears. I found a recipe for salmon in Cooking Light that seemed super easy and sounded delicious. Too good to be true? NOPE! Simple, delicious, and easier to cook than most poultry or beef. The sauce was SO GOOD and the fish cooked so easily and quickly. Like walk in the door, have a meal ready to eat in 20 minutes quick – there’s nothing better than that!

Since I cook just for myself, I only cooked one fillet at a time. I usually make a meal and then eat leftovers all week, but I knew the fish wouldn’t reheat well. So I just made the sauce in a big bowl and kept the raw salmon in the fridge, and each night I cooked one fillet and smothered it in sauce. Easy and so yummy – my mouth is watering thinking of the sauce right now. I served the salmon with a spiralized cucumber salad, which is a great way to turn garden-fresh veggies into a nice, light side dish. Make this meal ASAP – you won’t be disappointed!

IMG_2547

IMG_2508

IMG_2509

IMG_2510

IMG_2512

IMG_2516

IMG_2534

IMG_2540

IMG_2541

IMG_2543

IMG_2544

IMG_2545

IMG_2546

Creamy Dijon-Dill Salmon

Adapted from: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp mayo
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 salmon fillets (mine were about 5 oz each)**

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 425 F. Separate or cut the salmon into 3 fillets.

2.) Combine first 8 ingredients in a small bowl. Place desired number of fillets, skin/skinned side down, on a foil-lined baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Spread yogurt mixture over salmon. Bake for 10 minutes or until desired degree of doneness.

** I decided to try the salmon both with the skin and skinned…I liked the taste of both, and both were very moist and delicious. Just keep in mind the skin adds more calories. So use whichever method you prefer!

Spiralized Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • Handful of grape tomatoes
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tbsp parsley or cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

1.) Use a veggie spiralizer to turn the cucumber into “noodles”. Chop them a bit in a small bowl to make them into smaller noodles. Cut grape tomatoes in half and add to cucumber.

2.) In a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Pour over the cucumber and tomatoes and mix together. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You may have noticed that I have stopped putting the calorie/nutrition information for my recipes. This is mainly just because I have stopped trying to track calories and nutrients since, for me, I end up getting too obsessive over this. I lose sight of the real reasons I like to cook healthy foods, which is to make me feel healthy and energized, and instead I start eating things just because they will help me fit my macros or hit my calorie goals. Like a Thin Mint is less calories than an apple, so if your focus is just calories, you pick the cookie. But the apple is obviously the way more nutritious choice! I’ve started listening to my body and eating what my body craves until I am full, which usually ends up being a smaller serving than I may have previously eaten. And if I want a cookie, I have a cookie, and if I want an apple, I have an apple! However, if you all think having the nutrition info is helpful, I can keep doing it. Let me know what you think!

Blueberry Almond Bran Muffins

 

My great-grandmother passed down the BEST bran muffin recipe. Moist and sweet with lots of yummy raisins…so delicious. My mom has now taken the responsibility of making these muffins and they are phenomenal; every time I visit her she gives me a bunch to take home. However, I decided to challenge myself to make them a little healthier, since they are traditionally made with lots of sugar and sour cream. So I substituted honey, whole-wheat flour, coconut oil, and plain Greek yogurt. I also used fresh blueberries because they are delicious and gooey when baked. I also decided to add Blue Diamond Blueberry almonds to the top of the muffins for an added crunch and extra flavor. While not exactly the same as my great-grandmother’s, these muffins are pretty darn delicious in their own right.

Also a big thank you to my Aunt Diane and Aunt Rita for supplying me with loads of new baking dishes and tools – I’m sure you’ll recognize many items in these pictures and in pictures to come! 🙂

IMG_2724

IMG_2688

 IMG_2685

IMG_2703

IMG_2690

IMG_2706

IMG_2719

IMG_2722

IMG_2720

IMG_2718

Blueberry Almond Bran Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups bran flakes
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup Blue Diamond Blueberry Almonds

Directions:

1.) Add boiling water to blueberries in a small bowl and set aside. Beat 1 egg in a medium sized mixing bowl and add honey, coconut oil, milk, and yogurt. Whisk together.

2.) Add in the dry ingredients and mix well. Finally, add in the blueberries with the water included. Cover mix and let stand in refrigerator overnight. Will keep for months (never tested this myself though!)

3.) When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 F. Chop almonds into small pieces. Pour batter into greased muffin tin – I filled the wells about 3/4 of the way; fill to the top if you want bigger muffins. Top with chopped almonds and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Salted Caramel Crunch Protein Bites

Once again, I’m making little dessert bites. I love portable, bite-sized snacks that you can eat anywhere or when you just need a little something sweet (see my recipes for other bite-sized treats here, here, and here). I’ve been really busy lately, so these will be perfect to take with me on long days so I don’t go hungry! I topped the bites with Blue Diamond Salted Caramel Almonds for a little crunch. The salted caramel flavor is so yummy and gives the bites a little added sweetness too. The bites will keep in the fridge and can probably be frozen too….although mine have never lasted that long. 🙂

IMG_2710

IMG_2691

IMG_2693

IMG_2695

IMG_2696

IMG_2711
IMG_2712

IMG_2713

IMG_2715

Salted Caramel Crunch Protein Bites

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick oats
  • 3/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • about 21 Blue Diamond Salted Caramel Almonds (1 per bite)

Directions:

1.) In a mixing bowl, add all ingredients except the almonds. Mix together until well blended. Put bowl in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to harden the “dough” (feel free to eat some, too).

2.) After 30 minutes, roll the dough into small, golf-ball sized balls. Put onto a plate or container with a lid. Top each bite with one salted caramel almond, refrigerate, and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.

Pumpkin Pecan Overnight Oats

I know it’s August and I probably shouldn’t be making anything pumpkin flavored yet, but I LOVE pumpkin and LOVE fall and couldn’t wait! I’ve been making overnight oats a lot lately because they allow me to wake up, get dressed, and grab my breakfast on my way out the door. No cooking, toasting, or microwaving required. Since I love pumpkin I figured it would be the perfect addition to my oats. I used pure pumpkin (canned) and a healthy dose of pumpkin pie spice to up the flavor. For sweetness, I used a mashed banana, a little pure maple syrup, and Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut Milk. No need to add sugar when you use these; they make the oats naturally sweet! I added some raw pecan pieces for some crunch, and then topped the oats in the morning with a few candied pecans – just to make it look all fancy 🙂 Enjoy an early taste of fall with this recipe!

IMG_2349

FullSizeRender (1)

IMG_2350

Pumpkin Pecan Overnight Oats

Ingredients:

  • 1 small banana
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (I use plain Greek)
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 1/3 cup pure pumpkin (canned or fresh)
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp pecan pieces

Directions:

1.) In a small bowl or Tupperware, mash the banana. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir, and cover. It will be slightly watery, don’t panic! Place in the refrigerator overnight.

2.) In the morning, uncover the bowl, grab a spoon, and enjoy! Top with candied/whole pecans if you want it to look extra snazzy!

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almond Milk.

Chicken, Couscous, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

So sometimes you have a meal that combines two delicious foods into one, leading you to believe it will be awesome and even better than eating each item on its own. For instance, the bacon cheeseburger pizza or chili cheese fries. However, sometimes this is an epic fail, and you wish you just had one of each item rather than both of them combined into one item that kind of sucks. For instance, the chili cheeseburger (way too messy) and taco pizza (lettuce on pizza never works). This recipe right here was one of those fails. I love stuffed peppers, as well as goat cheese and chicken anything, but the combo just didn’t work for me in this dish. I didn’t think the filling tasted good with the pepper (maybe it’s just me). However, there is good news! The stuffing for the peppers was SO GOOD, so I ended up taking it out of the pepper and plopping it on an arugula salad with some dried cranberries, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. YUM! I also think it might be good in some corn tortillas for a fancy taco or in little filo dough cups as an appetizer. So while I may not make these stuffed peppers again, I would definitely make the stuffing again for salads or a party! However, I will post the recipe as I made it in case you want to try the peppers – maybe I just was having an off day 🙂

PS: Don’t they look like little pumpkins? I love pumpkins. Sort of excited fall is on its way…but enjoying summer while I can!

IMG_2485

IMG_2468

IMG_2470

IMG_2472

IMG_2473

IMG_2476

IMG_2477

IMG_2478

IMG_2479

IMG_2480

IMG_2481

IMG_2482

IMG_2483

IMG_2484
IMG_2493

IMG_2494

Chicken, Couscous, and Goat Cheese Stuffed Peppers

Adapted from: Cooking Light magazine

Ingredients:

  • 4 large bell peppers (I used orange), tops cut off and set aside, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups couscous, cooked (about 5/8 cup dry)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 pound cooked chicken breast, shredded
  • 2.5 oz goat cheese, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

1.) Cook couscous according to package. I used chicken broth instead of water to add some extra flavor. I also made extra couscous and froze it!

2.) Place oven rack in top third of oven. Preheat broiler to high. Line a clear baking dish or cookie sheet with foil. Set peppers on their sides on the foil and coat with cooking spray. Broil 8 minutes, turning after 4 minutes, until slightly charred. Remove peppers from the oven, keeping it on broil (high). Stand the peppers, cut sides up, in the baking dish.

3.) Combine couscous, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice, honey, spices, and chicken in a bowl. Stir in about 2 oz. goat cheese. Spoon the mixture evenly into the 4 peppers. Top peppers with the tops and broil for about 3 minutes. Remove from oven, take tops off, and sprinkle the extra goat cheese on top. Enjoy!

Nutrition Info (Per serving, from My Fitness Pal):

Calories 313
Fat 9 g (3 g saturated)
Fiber 6 g
Carbs 34 g
Sodium 490 mg
Protein 22 g