The Most Refreshing Salad on Earth

Hi y’all! I hope you are well! I’ve been doing superb myself, though working a little too much. I’ll be striving for better personal-work balance from now on…and you know what that means! — More blogging! (It’s my personal way to unwind.)Image

Over the last week I have been craving salads of all sorts. I’ll post a few “unique” salad dishes for you to try, starting with this BERRY refreshing salad! (Points for being clever, right?!)

This salad is unique because it incorporates the refreshing taste of mint and the sweet, melt-in-your-mouth summery fruits. The flavors awaken your senses, the mint promotes a fast metabolism, and this salad is QUITE beautiful to look at!

Because it’s unique both in taste and in aesthetics, your guest (boyfriend? Husband? Wife?) will think you took a long time on it—when in reality it takes just a few moments to throw together. (I love easy!)

Ingredients (for a serving for 2):

½ cup blueberries, organic

½ cup strawberries, organic, halved

½ cup watermelon, cubed in 1-inch pieces

1 /2 tbsp. organic Stevia

1 tsp. honey or agave

1 tbsp. water

1/2 tsp. grated lemon or lime

½ tbsp. fresh, finely chopped mint leaves

Directions:

  1. Wash all fruit and set aside to dry.
  2. In a small bowl or dish, whisk together stevia, honey/agave, water, and lemon or lime zest. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, add in the finely chopped mint leaves.
  3. Put all fruit in a serving bowl; pour the mixture over the fruit and mix thoroughly.
  4. Let the fruit sit in the fridge, covered, for at least 30 minutes. (The natural sugars in the fruit are accentuated by the lemon and lime zest! This assures that the minty flavor is not too strong!)
  5. Enjoy!

Happy cooking, friends!

-Tiff

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Light & Filling (+ Delicious) Springtime Lime-Cilantro-Quinoa Salad (Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Heart-healthy)

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Quinoa has been dubbed the “Supergrain of the future” by nutritionists—and I totally agree. It was first discovered around 3,000 years ago by the Incas—who realized the seed (yes, it’s a seed) was safe for human consumption. So, though it seems relatively “new” to modern day Americans (many thanks to the pasta that has hogged the grocery shelves for so long), quinoa has ancient roots—and it is extremely healthy.

Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat, it contains nearly twice the fiber as other grains, it contains high iron, it’s rich in magnesium, and it’s high in Riboflavin (vitamin B2)—which improves energy and metabolism.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, as a runner with a big race coming up, it is crucial to “carb up”—and quinoa is one of the best carbs out there.

This recipe is light, fresh, and definitely one of my “go-to” meals before a big event. I’ll post more recipes with quinoa in the future (seriously, the seed is so versatile that it can be eaten as oatmeal or baked in a casserole—there are no limits to quinoa’s reach!).

 Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt
    2 cups halved cherry tomatoesImage
    ½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
  • 3 finely chopped geren onions
  • ½ cup chopped spinach
  • 2 teaspoons organic garlic powder

Directions:

  1. Boil quinoa as per directions (different brands very slightly on length of time). Drain quinoa after boiling, then set aside in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, mix extra-virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and lime juice. Once whisked, pour over quinoa and mix thoroughly. Image
  3. Combine finely chopped green onions, halved cherry tomatoes, cilantro, and chopped spinach. Mix with quinoa.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining ingredients on quinoa (cumin, salt, and garlic).
  5. Once quinoa is thoroughly mixed, serve and enjoy!

    Note: Though the Quinoa seed is gluten-free, it is sometimes processed in places that also process foods that contain gluten.

    Quinoa

Gluten Free, Healthier Version of Boston Cream Pie (Cupcakes!) (P.S. GO USA)

Tiffs Tips Boston

Like all of you, the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing chaos has struck a chord with me.

I am so thankful it is over—and I felt that this recipe would be an appropriate way to celebrate the FBI’s capture, while honoring the innocent victims and their families.

Sure, it isn’t the healthiest thing I’ve ever made, but sometimes life calls for a little bit of sugar.

This healthier version of Boston’s most famous dessert is dedicated to the people who were (and who are) affected by the marathon bombings, and to the people everywhere who pray for the condition of this country and this world.

The way I cope with grief is to pray, to run, and then to bake (in that order), and nothing seemed more fitting to bake than Boston’s most famous dessert.Boston Tiffs Tips

Tiffs Tips boston cream pie 2

Ingredients:
Cake:

  • 3 cups Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Cake Mix and the ingredients it calls for (3 eggs, veggie oil, and good ol’ H2O)

Better-Than-Store-bought Vanilla Pudding:

  • 1/3 cup organic granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons organic cornstarch
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk (or substitute for a Rice or Soy milk; I did not try this with Almond or Coconut milk, but if you do please post results!)
  • 3 large organic egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted grass fed butter, chopped into small pieces
  • 2 teaspoons organic vanilla extractGluten Free Cake Mix
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamonPaleo, Rich Chocolate Frosting
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or Enjoy Life dairy free chocolate chips
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon organic vanilla extractDirections:
  • Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  • Prepare the gluten free yellow cake mix according to the instructions. Spray and lightly flour cupcake tins, and pour cake batter evenly into tins (about 3/4 full, like you would for a cupcake). Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • While cupcakes are baking, prepare the pudding center:
    1. In heavy bottomed saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch, eggs and sugar. Boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Cook the pudding for about five minutes, until it firms some.
    2. Remove from heat; then, once mixture has cooled, add the butter, cinnamon and vanilla extract.
      Beat well until the butter melts. Set aside.
  • Clean your kitchen (mine is always a MESS mid-baking). Once the cupcakes are finished baking, take them out of the oven and place each cupcake on a wire rack to cool
  • While cupcakes are cooling, make the Paleo, Rich, Creamy Chocolate Frosting.
    1. Mix dark chocolate chips, coconut oil, and vanilla extract over low heat for 5-10 minutes or until chocolate chips are dissolved.
    2. Place the mixture in a refrigerator-safe bowl and let harden in the fridge for about 25 minutes, until cool but not hard.
    3. Using a handheld blender, mix frosting until it is light and frothy.
    4. While frosting is hardening, cut cupcakes in half width wise. Spread a layer of pudding on cupcakes and sandwich in between cupcakes.
    5. Top cupcakes with chocolate frosting.
    6. Serve to friends while watching the Red Sox play, eat, and then go for a run!
  • Show support, send prayers, and eat Boston Cream Pie. Oh, and one more thing before I post the recipe: God Bless America.
    Boston Cream Cupcakes Tiffs Tips

Drew’s Favorite Breakfast Burritos (Make Ahead, Gluten-Free, Heart-Healthy)

My handsome younger brother (Drew) is an athlete. And, like most teenage boys, he is constantly hungry. (Here he is…what a stud!)
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Anyway, even though I live in a different city, I do what I can to make sure he is indulging in healthy foods. The nutrition-health nut inside me just hates the thought of him filling up on fast food, cup of noodles, or other prepackaged garbage. Studies show that people who eat healthy, whole foods perform better on all fronts. In addition, people who eat breakfast have consistently healthier body-fat percentages than people who skip breakfast.

I began looking for the perfect breakfast burrito recipe a few months ago because who doesn’t like breakfast burritos?! I have played with ingredients to find a blend of healthy, simple, easy, and delicious flavors. You will see that this recipe is simple, because it is important to get ingredients that contain the same water content. (I learned, for instance, that if you try to heat a burrito with frozen potatoes and cheese, the cheese will burn by the time the frozen potatoes thaw.) So though this recipe is simple, it has been thought out (and it tastes delicious). (Note: Dr. Oz presented a “gluten free breakfast burrito” recipe that was simply eggs. This recipe follows similar guidelines, but includes lean protein.)

Ingredients:

  • La Tortilla All-Natural Gluten Free Teff Tortilla (or the healthy wrap of your choice)
  • 1/2 lb. ground turkey (organic)* find a brand that is gluten free (Google is your friend)
  • 1 tbsp. pure organic maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. sage
  • ¼ of a small onion, chopped
  • 1 dozen eggs
  • low-fat Mexican cheese blend

Directions:
1. Make the maple-flavored turkey sausage by mixing the turkey, maple syrup, pepper, sage, and chopped onion. Once thoroughly (albeit gently) mixed, cook on medium-low until thoroughly cooked. Once cooked, set aside.

2. Whisk eggs, then cook over medium heat.Image

3. Lay out 8 tortillas; sprinkle cheese on each tortilla, then add eggs and sausage. Once this has been done, wrap the burritos. Cover immediately with saran wrap.

4. If you plan on freezing all burritos (they will last up to two months in the freezer), cover each with an additional layer of protection by using foil over each burrito. Then, put burritos in gallon-size plastic bags.

5. Burritos can be enjoyed by being heated 2-3 minutes (1-1.5 minutes on each side) after being taken out of the freezer.

Note: This recipe makes about 8 breakfast burritos.

These are the perfect filling albeit lean breakfast! Plus, they are much healthier than store bought and fast food items (which can contain over half of the recommended cholesterol intake, and over a third of the recommended sodium intake).

Enjoy!
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Miracle Waffles (The Fluffiest, Tastiest Almond-Maple Waffles–Gluten Free, Paleo & Heart-Healthy)

Confession: nothing makes me happier than when my healthy kitchen creations are applauded as

being “better than the real thing.” And that kind of praise is exactly what these Waffles received!

They do not contain any butter, refined white flour or wheat flour, oil, or refined white sugar—and  yet, they are fluffy, tasty, and full of protein (from the almonds).GF Almond Maple Waffle

This Waffle recipe is perfect for kids (because what kid doesn’t like waffles?!) or for boyfriends, husbands, wives, friends, parents, second cousins, or anyone else you’re seeking to impress. (Note: by ‘impress’, I mean ‘feed’.) In addition to being perfectly fluffy and mouthwateringly delicious, this recipe is…(drumroll please) HEALTHY without tasting bland! (Would you expect anything less?!)

Note: the following recipe serves about 2 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Almond flour or Almond meal (you can make this yourself by putting almonds in the food processor; you want them grated as fine as possible)Almonds into Almond Meal Tiff's Tips
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup Almond milk or Coconut milk (organic, of course)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut powder (almond “flour” and almond meal tend to be more moist; coconut powder is a very dry powder, so I use it in moderation to assure the batter isn’t too oily; you cannot really taste the coconut)
  • ½ tablespoon raw, organic honey
  • 1 tablespoon raw, organic maple syrup (as pure as possible—just say no to Mrs. Butterworth!)
  • 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon organic almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/3 cup Enjoy Life Non-dairy Chocolate Chips
  • Optional: 1/3 cup Frozen or fresh blueberries
This was the first "test" waffle; this is actually SO tasty you do not even need syrup!

This was the first “test” waffle; this is actually SO tasty you do not even need syrup!

Directions:

1. Heat up the old waffle iron! (If yours has settings, I always prefer a medium-low setting because it seems to cook more evenly.)

2. Mix all wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Start with whisking eggs, and add the others (the fluffier the egg mixture—the fluffier the waffles!)

3. In a separate bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. (If you are choosing to add blueberries or chocolate chips, keep them out until step 5.)

4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet mixture, stirring while you pour.

5. Once batter is thoroughly mixed (you can do this with a blender on low, or with a simple stirring utensil), fold in blueberries or chocolate chips (if you are adding either).

6. Spray the waffle iron with a non-stick spray of your choosing. (Be generous with your spray.)

7. Pour batter, and flip (if your waffle iron has a flipping function). It should take a few minutes to cook thoroughly.

8. Remove the fluffy masterpiece. Take a bite to make sure it tastes fabulous, then serve with organic maple syrup (butter is not needed), sprinkle with powdered sugar (I mean SPRINKLE), OR top with a berry compote!

YUM!

Basil, Chicken, Lemon, Pesto Pasta (Gluten Free with Vegan Option) made with Spaghetti Squash

Whether you are gluten free because of a sensitivity or Celiac, or perhaps because of something else (like a child who has a learning disability—which many doctors say  going gluten-free can help with), or even if you are a pasta loving wheat-a-holic: this recipe is hands down, five stars (or five mason jars—because this is Tiff’s Tips and not the Oscars)!

It is so good, in fact, that if you do not tell your kids that this “pasta” comes from a vegetable, they will never know. (Now, I am not advocating lying because I think that’s immoral—but sometimes what they don’t know, won’t hurt ‘em)!
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Basil Pesto Lemon Chicken Spaghetti (Squash)
Note: the following ingredients make 2-4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Spaghetti Squash (these make a surprising amount of spaghetti)
  • Olive oil
  • Himalayan Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic Powder (organic, of course)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (or tomatoes of any kind)
  • 2 chicken breasts (ideally—organic, unprocessed, locally-sourced)* for vegan option, simply omit the chicken
  • Fresh chopped basil
  • Pine nuts
  • 2 lemons
  • Spinach

 

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 400° F

2. Very carefully (I mean very carefully, and with a large knife—or axe) cut the spaghetti squash in two. (This is the hardest part of the whole recipe…you can do it!). (Note: I was kidding about the axe.)Image

3. Once cut in half, brush both interior sides with olive oil (just a pinch), and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

4. Put the squash onto a cookie sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes (I would ere on the side of 40; the longer you bake it, the more squash it will make—just make sure the squash is not mushy when prodded with a fork).

5. While squash is cooking, make pesto with a food processor, Vitamix, or Blentec by combining 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1-2 squeezed lemons, garlic powder (I used about ½ tsp.), some pepper, a dash of salt, basil, and spinach. (Note: you can buy pesto if you’d like; I had difficulty finding Pesto without cheese, hence why I made it.) Play with the flavors until you like the taste! Set pesto aside.

6. Sauté chicken over stove; add in chopped tomatoes, and spoon in about half of your pesto mixture.

7. Once spaghetti is finished take sheet out and set aside; let cool for 3-5 minutes (until you can safely touch the squash without being harmed). With a fork, scrape out squash (length-wise).Image

7a. (Yes, I was a bit of a nerd growing up, so there is a ‘7a’.) Spaghetti will come out easily. Have a bowl ready to put spaghetti strings in. If clumps gather, separate them. Scrape the entire squash with your trustee fork.

8. Mix the remaining pesto with the pasta, any additional lemon juice, and chicken (if you’re going the chicken route); serve warm and enjoy!

 

 

Deceptively Healthy Dessert

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Behold: Frozen banana drizzled with warm Better N’Peanut Butter, organic Agave nector and sprinkled with nuts…

This tasty treat is roughly 160 calories, low in sodium, and the only sugar comes from Agave and the banana. Can you say YUM!?

The secret is in the Better N’Peanut Butter – an all natural miracle product that is less than half the calories of regular Peanut Butter. You can find this at Trader Joe’s (or Trader Darwin’s–depending on where you live)!

Enjoy nourishing your body AND tastebuds!