Tag Archives: eat your greens

#BetterGoodThings: Colorful Veggie Bars

20 Feb #BetterGoodThings- Colorful Veggie Bars

This month for Better Good Things (on the Third Thursday… because Evin loves alliteration!) Evin, the mama in charge at Food Good Laundry Bad, and I decided to tackle a recipe that makes its rounds pretty frequently on Pinterest and holds a place near and dear to my heart.  Sometimes it’s called “veggie pizza”… sometimes “veggie bars”… but it always shares some commonalities- ranch dressing, mayo, and icky supermarket crescent rolls.

When I was little, my mom used to make this as one of her go-to potluck appetizer recipes.  It was oh-so yummy and stands as a fabulous nostalgia food for me but- despite the veggie variety on top (my mama used to do stripes of diced carrot, cauliflower, on broccoli)- it’s been a no-no in our house given the traditionally super-processed base ingredients.  Which means this one was destined for a makeover…

At first glance, it probably seems like the first thing to go should be the canister of crescent roll dough- I know that is the first thing Evin axed on her end- and that was my plan as well (because homemade crescent roll dough does sound like a fun baking adventure) until I happened on a serendipitous discovery… my favorite “cheat” brand of ready to bake goods –Immaculate Baking– makes crescent roll dough.  The best part is that a roll of Immaculate crescent roll dough is only $4.95 at Whole Foods making it $0.05 less than the $5 cap for specialty ingredients that Evin and I set for Better Good Things.  The grocery gods are smiling upon me!

#BEtterGoodThings: Colorful Veggie Bars made with kale, purple cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, and tomatoes at gorunningmama.com

For the most part, the rolls of crescent roll dough you purchase at the supermarket contain soy (tons and TONS of soy), red 40 (which has suspected links to cancer, ADHD, and allergies/irritants), and tertiary butylhydroquinone- a form of butane used as a preservative with links to tinnitus, asthma, ADHD, nausea, stomach cancers, and interruption to estrogen levels in women.  No biggie, right?  My lovely friends at Immaculate Baking leave out all of those nasties!  And just to be clear, they’re not really my friends… they just make a great product that is a better choice for my family.  Which makes them feel like family!  Full disclosure… this product does contain canola oil which is not my favorite choice, but here and there I excuse it in the name of brief and infrequent convenience.  And because I had a stomach virus last week which morphed into a cold this week and I just can’t imagine having to work through the rise and rest periods for yeast dough at this moment!

But if you’re standing firm on no canola oil (because you probably should), check out Evin’s Real Food Veggie Pizza that totally boycotts dough-in-can…

#BetterGoodThings- Real Food Veggie Pizza

Regardless of your crust choice, jump on board with me for my ranch dressing better choice-  In place of the usual ranch dressing topping (soybean oil, phosphoric acid- lowers bone density, calcium disodium EDTA- can cause kidney damage…) I opted for a kale pesto-esque spread made with cream cheese.  Want to keep it vegan?  Forgo the cheese; up the kale content; and add some olive oil, nuts, nutritional yeast and a pinch of salt!

#BEtterGoodThings: Colorful Veggie Bars made with kale, purple cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, and tomatoes at gorunningmama.com

(Note: This images show a half portion of the recipe I below)

Instead of doing my mama’s standard veggie stripes so beloved from my childhood, I tossed the veggies together so that no one has to miss out on any goodness.  The purple cauliflower?  A total essential in our house!  Not only does it look simply gorgeous, but it is also a surefire way to get my little girly girl to down veggies on even the pickiest toddler days!  (Need a go to girly snack? Pink hummus dyed with beet juice served with purple cauliflower for the win!)

#BEtterGoodThings: Colorful Veggie Bars made with kale, purple cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, and tomatoes at gorunningmama.com

If you’re like me and have a fridge stuffed with veggie leftovers that constantly need using, having a roll of family friendly crescent roll dough on hand could help you create and easy meal out of those leftovers by customizing the toppings.  Even better- it’s one of those meals that feels like an art project for little hands which can be a huge lifesaver on fridge cleanup day.

Sometimes playing with your food is such a good decision!

#BetterGoodThings- Colorful Veggie Bars made with kale, purple cauliflower, broccoli, bell pepper, and tomatoes at gorunningmama.com

Colorful Veggie Bars

(In the pictures above, I reduced my recipe by half to make a manageable size for just us three… the recipe I’ve included here will make an entire jelly roll pan worth which is perfect for take along snacks for your next playdate or extended family game night… or just a bigger family in general!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 rolls of Immaculate Baking crescent rolls
  • 8 oz organic cream cheese
  • 6 oz parmesan cheese
  • about a half a bunch of kale, ribs removed and torn into small pieces
  • 2 tbs plain kefir
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 cup purple cauliflower florets
  • 1 1/2 cup broccoli slaw
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 yellow bell pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Roll the crescent roll dough out to cover the pan and press seams together.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from the oven to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the kale and garlic together they form a paste.   Add cream cheese, parmesan, and kefir and pulse to an even, spreadable consistency.  Spread kale mixture on the cooled crescent roll base.

Finely dice the cauliflower, tomatoes, and bell pepper.  Toss with the broccoli slaw and sprinkle evenly across the kale spread, pressing lightly into the spread to keep in place.

Slice with a pizza slicer and serve immediately. Or store in refrigerator in layers separated by parchment.

#BetterGoodThings: Healthy Kale Heart Pops

16 Jan Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama! A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

So there is this blogger in the Austin area that I’ve been following for about two years now who writes Food Good, Laundry Bad.  Her name is Evin.  And obviously you know right off the bat that she is pretty solid because, yes, food is really really good and frankly laundry stinks!

Evin and I are opposites.  The kind of opposites that matter for some reason before you have kids and you actually spend time neatly packaging “the sort of person” you are into a neat box as though it somehow makes life easier.  She’s a country gal; I’m about as urban as a Southern hippie can get y’all.  She swears openly in posts; I swear in the closet.  She hates pumpkins; I think pumpkin flavored everything is one of the best parts of fall (Plus, it’s nature’s appetite suppressant… good to know if you’re ever bitten by a Copperhead, prescribed Prednisone to fight your reaction, and are consumed by an unrighteous desire to eat all the things made from carbs.  All of them.  Ever.)  I’ve seen her rail against the perky, the matchy-patchy, the tragically hip, both the over and under informed, and the awkwardly cute (who rightfully need railing against at times because… seriously) and as a former NFL cheerleader turned yogini foodie yupster I’m pretty sure I fall pretty squarely within one of those categories… or many… but I probably deserve some railing against as well in my Moonbeamesque Causehead moments (PCU reference, for the win!)

Basically, as Evin managed to so simply express it via email to me, she is the Duck Dynasty to my Portlandia.

Verrry different programing.

But a funny thing happens when you become a parent.  All of those things that don’t really matter about who you really are start to not really matter when evaluating who someone else is as well.  As a mom, I have plenty in common with Evin.  The most important things.  Compassion.  Love.  Family.

And we both like to prepare and eat really great food.

More than that, we both feel convicted to feed our families the best quality food our budgets allow in the manner that best suits their individual needs.  (So I guess we are both railing against the FDA and Monsanto.)

Evin is dairy free for part of her family and has banished artificial food dyes from her home.  Additionally, as someone who has lost 180 lbs since 2006 (that’s hero worthy stuff right there) she is focused on trying to keep things healthy and unprocessed without having to drive into Austin for unconventional ingredients that are prohibitively costly compared to mass market processed junk that is readily available.  If you don’t know my story, I’m a vegetarian turned carnivore turned raw vegan turned accidental omnivore turned struggling locavore.  Our house is soy, peanut, GMO, and HFC free. We go organic when financially viable, and dye free as much as possible.  We strive to support our local farmers and ranchers.  And we keep things nutrient dense (because I’m feeding a future olympian and a future CEO- you decide which is which).

Together we made a plan to take a kitchen adventure each month to “better up” something our families found to be desirably good things in ways that better meet their nutritional needs without having to spend more than $5 on ingredients we don’t normally stock in our own kitchens. With that, Better Good Things was born.  We’ll be sharing our experiences the Third Thursday of every month which will seriously challenge my inconsistent habit of writing on whim.

This month, with health vacuum of Valentine’s Day celebrations looming ominously in the coming month, we decided to tackle sweetheart treats to provide some better options for our little ones to snack on and share this holiday.  Evin went with this Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothie

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Smoothies- Better Good Things

and I created  Healthy Kale Heart Pops.

Pick your poison.

And enjoy!

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Here’s a little more about how I landed on making Healthy Kale Heart Pops…

About six months ago I discovered a cookbook filled with homemade energy bar recipes- Power Hungry by Camila Saulsbury. Camila also has a blog- by the same name- which is super awesome because fabulous food bloggers are really helping me to keep my cookbook purchasing in check by making their creations easily accessible online but when I find a cookbook that is really something special I like to own it to indulge in the cathartic experience of dogearring, thumbing, and page annotating.  And this one is certainly something special! It’s like someone followed my family around to see what we like doing and the sat down to make recipes that would specifically support our frequently snacking, high energy, healthy, on-to-go, gotta run tendencies with no complaints.

Just as any good home cook will do, I adapt even the finest tuned test kitchen recipe to better meet the specific taste of my family (oh the page annotations!) which is what I’ve don’t with the Crispy Kale Bars from Power Hungry that have morphed into my Healthy Kale Heart Pops.

One of the things I love about Power Hungry is that the recipes rely on ingredients that exist natively in my hippielala kitchen.  In sticking with mine and Evin’s pact, I knew I had to work with things I normally have on hand and spend $5 or under on special additions- I needed lollypop sticks ($1.50) and puffed millet  cereal (which I far prefer to puffed rice, $2.49)… $1.09 to spare!

Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Pretty basic stock ingredients for a yupster kitchen.

Now here’s the true true on this one… please don’t try to pass it off as a lollypop.  It just wont work.  These are totally delicious but they taste nothing like high fructose corn syrup laden bulk treats (thank goodness) and if you’re little one is used to that and you try to pass this off as “the same thing” then everyone is in for disappointment.  Healthy choices start with healthy conversations with honest and positive positioning!

Because, for goodness sake, they obviously contain a green veggie!  And that is a good thing.

Preparing the kale is one of the most important parts of getting this right.  You need to start with fresh, dry kale or else your kale chips end up wrinkled, wilted and sad.  I find that rinsing my kale the night before so it can dry thoroughly and then putting it in a vase the night before ensures it is properly hydrated and full- we’re going back to fourth grade biology, y’all… making sure those vacuoles are full so that the cell walls don’t collapse!

Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Kale is just gorgeous. In the background? Yep, those are my veggies that make up my “flower arrangements.”

Prepare the kale by cutting it off of the tough ribs and tear it into small pieces then arrange it on a baking sheet to dehydrate fully.  The baking/dehydrating is the second key kale step- you want it completely crisp but not terribly browned.  Kale chips are high art!  This method makes fool proof seasoned kale chips as well- just modify by adding the seasonings of your choice.

Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

While your amazingly perfect (seasoning free) kale chips are cooling, toast the grains and then mix with the dried sour cherries and millet cereal.  And here comes the fun part…

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

KALE HANDS!  It’s a great activity for the little ones if they aren’t running around in the nude banging cymbals and singing the Little Einsteins theme song.  Dehydrated kale basically crumbles into kale powder which allows you to easy pull out any remaining tough stems. Stir gently to combine.

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

After combining the liquid ingredients on the stove and mixing them with the dry, press them into a prepared baking pan and compact them very firmly.  Pop ’em in the fridge to set so that they hold their shape when you cut them.

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Remove from fridge and lift out of the pan, using the parchment liner, onto a cutting board.  Cutting the shapes with a cookie cutter uses some decent muscle if you’ve compressed the mixture well.  I like to place a small cutting board on top of my cookie cutter so I can really lay my weight on it without cutting hearts into my hands!

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Because the mixture is tightly compacted (as you’ll realize when you tackle the heart shapes), trying to insert  a lollypop stick would just cause it to crumble.  Using metal barbecue skewer gives you a solid starting point.

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

From that point, it’s super simple to add the lollypop sticks and wrap it all up!

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Et voila!  Eat your heart out, y’all!

 Better Good Things: Healthy Kale Heart Pops from Go Running, Mama!  A better Valentine's treat filled with kale, grains, and cherries!

Healthy Kale Heart Pops

Ingredients

  • 1 large bunch of curly leaf kale, stems removed and torn into small pieces
  • 1 tbs olive oil + more for pan
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw pepitas
  • 3 tbs flax seeds
  • 1 cup unsweetened puffed millet cereal
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (I used Justin’s Maple Almond)
  • 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 1/4 cup organic brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • generous 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Prepare the kale to bake. Rinse and dry very well. Cut leaves from stem and tear into small pieces.  Toss kale pieces with with olive oil and spread into a single layer across a baking sheet.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake the kale for 15 minutes.  Toss kale, rotate, and return to oven for 12 more minutes.  Check the kale for dehydrated crispness before removing from the oven.  Return from oven for one to two minutes if needed, watching carefully, to ensure they are crisp but not browned.  Gently remove to a bowl to cool completely.

Return oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Line an 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper covering the bottom and sides and treat with olive oil.

Spread the oats, pepitas, and flax seeds on the baking sheet lined with new parchment or foil and toast in the oven for 5 minutes, shaking halfway through, until fragrant.  Transfer to a large bowl and combine with the cereal and cherries.

Using your bare hands, crumble the cooled kale leaves into the bowl, picking to remove any fibrous stems that may have remained.  Gently stir to combine ingredients.

Combine the almond butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla bean paste in a small saucepan and heat over medium low, stirring frequently.  Heat 5-8 minutes until sugar has dissolved and mixture begins to bubble.  Remove from heat and stir in almond extract.

Immediately pour into the oat mixture and mix with a spatula until well coated.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.  Press the mixture into the pan to spread into an even layer.  Flatten and firmly compact the mixture.

Refrigerate for at least an hour until firmly set.

Remove from fridge and lift out of the pan, using the parchment liner, onto a cutting board.  Using a 3-inch diameter heart cookie cutter, cut into heart shapes.

Using a metal barbecue skewer, poke a hole in the base of each heart.  Using the skewer hole as a guide, insert lollypop stick.

Makes approximately 15 heart pops.

Healthy Orzo Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

6 Jan Healthy Orzo Pasta with Broccoli Pesto- Go Running, Mama!

Healthy Orzo Pasta with Broccoli Pesto- Go Running, Mama!

It’s a new year and, as I focus on finalizing my goals for 2014 by adding quantifiable terms, I’m also focused on creating meals that are quick, cost-effective, and- most importantly- nutrient dense as The Hubs kicks it into gear for his racing streak.  This orzo dish is super simple and packs a serious nutrient punch from broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, kefir, and pine nuts.

There is the issue of the bacon.  It certainly doesn’t get the “healthy” label and totally isn’t necessary to the integrity of the completed dish.  But I add it.  Because The Hubs specifically asks for it.  And because bacon.

Whether you enjoy it sans-bacon or fully loaded, I’m sure you will enjoy it on a busy night where you are still crazing nutrient rich, homemade fare.  And you’ll continue to enjoy it the next day because it makes a stellar leftovers lunch as well.

Enjoy!

Healthy Orzo Pasta with Broccoli Pesto- Go Running, Mama!

Orzo Pasta with Broccoli Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices of bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 4 cups raw broccoli cut into small florets and stems
  • 1 cup cauliflower cut into small florets and stems
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2/3 cups pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil + more for pasta water
  • 1/4 cup plain kefir
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • sea salt

Directions: Spread bacon in a single layer in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until browned, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Prepare the orzo according to directions, adding a glug of olive oil to the water to help keep pasta from sticking together.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain well once more, removing to a separate bowl.

Add 3/4 cup water to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add a large pinch of salt to the water and stir in the broccoli and cauliflower.  Cover and cook for 1 minute to soften ever so slightly.  Quickly drain the veggies in a strainer and run under cold water to stop them from cooking.  Drain well.

Grate the zest of one lime and set aside.

Combine two cups of the cooked broccoli (avoid the cauliflower florets for texture reasons), the garlic, 1/3 cup of the pine nuts, the parm, 1/4 tsp sea salt, and 2 generous tbs of lime juice in the food processor.  Add the olive oil and kefir and pulse until smooth.

Toss the orzo, bacon, and remaining veggies.  Add the pesto and lime zest and toss to coat.  Fold in the avocado gently before serving.

Makes 6-8 adult dinner portions.

Top 13 in 2013

2 Jan My 5 Favorite Posts of 2013- Go Running, Mama!

This blog has been a new adventure for me and, even though it only covered the second half of the year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at my 13 most popular posts of 2013.

It’s been a lot of fun sharing, and I’m excited about another year with y’all!

Top 13 posts in 2013- Go Running, Mama!

13. Exhaustion, Smoothie Pick Me Ups, and a Virtual Half Marathon Comedy of Errors (September)- Forgetting water during a high altitude half marathon, finding out I had mono, and the smoothies that got me through the ordeal!

12. Carrot Top Tacos (July)- Spiced carrots and beans with carrot top chimichurri.  Never, ever waste your carrot tops again.

11. Maple Bacon Biscuits (September)-  Maple.  Bacon. Biscuit.  Trifecta.

10. Gifts from the Heart: Apple Cinnamon Ornaments (December)- An ultra non-toxic clay that makes heavenly scented ornaments or an amazing material for sensory play.

9.  #FirstontheFirst Spiced Pumpkin Cake with Penuche Frosting (October)- We were supposed to make candy, but I cheated and frosted a very yummy cake with this praline-esque frosting.

8. #FirstontheFirst Gateau Larsson (September)- My Scandinavian twist on a traditional Basque dessert.

7.  Gifts from the Heart: Baking Soda Clay Ornaments (December)- These smooth ornaments are an inexpensive (and toddler friendly) alternative to a trip to a ceramics studio.

6. Creamy Garlic Kefir Pasta (July)- A probiotic packed easy meal.

5. Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars (August)- Lunchbox snacks don’t get much healthier.

4. Meeska… Mooska… Mouseka Cakes: Zucchini Quinoa Lunchbox Patties (August)- Healthy food tastes even better in Mickey Mouse form.

3. #FirstontheFirst Candy Canes for Cheaters (December)- Once again, we were supposed to make candy.  And I didn’t.  But I think you’ll forgive me when you taste these cookies.

2. Frosty the Cheese Man: Snowman Cheese Ball with Hand Cut Tortilla Chips (December)- The most adorable, toddler friendly appetizer you’ll ever bring to a gathering.

1. Gifts from the Heart: Homemade Ornaments– Salt dough ornaments are a classic go-to holiday activity.

Looking for even more fun?  Here are my five favorite posts you may have missed this year…

My 5 Favorite Posts of 2013- Go Running, Mama!

Kale and Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Kale Chips and Pine Nuts

10 Sep Go Running, Mama!: Kale Cauliflower Soup with Pine Nuts

There are three publications I wait for with bated breath- Martha Stewart Living, Nutrition Action Healthletter, and each and every Williams Sonoma catalogue. And, although the first two are completely amazing, my favorite is probably the Williams Sonoma Catalogue. There’s just something about paging through such a well curated and expertly styled selection of kitchen goods that is euphoria inducing. A hot bath, a quiet house, and a moment to daydream about how chic the agrarian trend of beekeeping could be? Oh Martha, wouldn’t you be proud of this stay-at-home-hot-mess if as I jarred my own honey and wrapped each one in a washcloth I knit with the Purl Soho kit and tied them off with a homemade Lifestyle Crafts letterpress tag. But alas… handicraft hobbies are pricey and Baby Bird’s schooling can’t be paid for in macrame tchotchkes, so those ambitious daydreams will continue to live tantalizingly on the pages of each William Sonoma book of temptation.

A few weeks ago we had a mail day that produced the trifecta- Martha, Nutrition, and WS… Hooray! After Baby Bird’s bedtime, I cozied into bed to scheme about what I can’t wait to make (Plums with Sparkling Wine, Black Pepper, and Tarragon), what steps I need to take to improve my health (looking over the US nutrition report card made me glad the plums topped my “to be cooked” list instead of the beautiful flourless chocolate espresso cake), and what kitchen goodie I’d love to get my hands on (obviously, I could be creating far superior pizzas if I had a pizza peel). As I devoured the pages of the WS catalogue, tucked onto a page with the new VitaMix blenders that are short and squat enough to fit under the cabinet on the countertop (right after I have a special pull out drawer made for my VitaMix during our kitchen remodel no less) was a recipe for Kale and Cauliflower Soup.

I’m a sucker for a nutritious, healthful soup and an absolute kale nut so it was immediately bumped above all the recipes from the September issue of Living on my “must Make” list. I made a few adjustments to suit our tastes at home- I eliminated the celery and doubled the kale along with cutting back on the vegetable stock to create a thicker soup. I also opted to season my kale chips with blood orange pepper- my newest spice obsession.

It was easy, yummy and nourishing. This is one we will definitely be revisiting as we start into Autumn and dream of crisp weather that we will never see here in Austin.

Go Running, Mama!: Kale Cauliflower Soup with Pine Nuts

Kale Cauliflower Soup with Crispy Kale Chips and Pine Nuts

  • 1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 bunches curly kale, stems removed, leaves chopped, keeping each bunch separate
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 1 c water
  • 1/3 c pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • butcher cut pepper
  • Maldon sea salt
  • blood orange pepper

Directions: Preheat over to 450 degrees F.

Toss cauliflower florets with 2 tbs olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally. Roast 20-25 minutes, until edges are golden and crisp.

Reduce oven to 300 degrees F.

Toss one bunch of kale with 1 tbs olive oil and season with salt and blood orange pepper. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Roast, rotating half way through and stirring several times, for about 25-30 minutes until kale is crisp.

Meanwhile, in a stock pot over medium heat, saute the onion in 2 tbs olive oil until tender. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cauliflower and broth and increase heat to medium-high to simmer.  Cover, reduce to medium-low and cook 10 minutes.  Stir in the remaining bunch of kale, increase heat to medium and cook uncovered for 10 minutes.

Puree soup in blender or using an immersion blender.  Top bowls of soup with kale chips and pine nuts.  Add kale chips immediately before serving as they will lose crispness once in the soup.

Bean and Greens Pizza with Purslane + Amaranth Greens and Aduki Beans

25 Jul Go Running, Mama!- Beans and Greens Pizza

We took a fabulous little min-vacation this past weekend to the Hyatt Hill Country Resort for a little resting, running, and relaxation which was a very welcome pick-me-up for my ultra-busy husband.  Knowing that we would be gone for the weekend, my grocery and CSA basket usage the past week was geared towards using up the most perishable local produce before we left and only shopping for healthy snack items that we could tote to the resort.

When we got home on Sunday, I pulled out the item in the fridge that needed to be used that night for dinner which happened to be a beautiful bunch of purslane and amaranth greens.  You see them in the photo?  With the heart around them?  Yeah, I kinna love purslane and amaranth greens.  Like… a bunch.  Holy salad awesomeness!

Go Running, Mama!- Beans and Greens Pizza

Our default meal on Sunday nights is homemade pizza.  It’s a great way to use up leftovers or unused produce and any leftover slices make an easy lunchbox meal that can be packed quickly on busy Monday mornings.  We’ve enjoyed greens on salads many times before, so I was excited to give it a go with some of my current favorite greens.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Go Running, Mama!- Beans and Greens Pizza

While I baked the pizza, hubs dry-hopped an IPA with citra hops and cardamom pods in his Randall Jr.  as his contribution to our relaxing Sunday dinner.  You see that- I’m not the only kitchen creative in this house!

The results were splendid- wilted greens, caramelized onions, and seasoned adzuki beans could have stood alone (as they do in the photo above) but we decided to up the comfort factor with a little cheese.  (Feel free to go sans-cheese to keep it vegan or dairy free.)

Pizza and beer make for a happy Sunday meal- especially when the pizza is topped with ingredients that are going to fuel you the right way on Monday morning.

Go Running, Mama!- Beans and Greens Pizza with Purslane, Amaranth, and Aduki Beans

Beans and Greens Pizza with Purslane + Amaranth Greens and Aduki Beans

For the crust:

  • 2 1/2 heaping cups of flour
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1 packet Rapid Rise yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • cornmeal

For pizza toppings:

  • 1 bunch purslane and amaranth greens mix, tough stems removed and roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly slices
  • 1 can aduki beans, rinsed and drained (Eden Organic uses BPS-free cans)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • olive oil
  • salt pepper

To make crust:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Whisk flour, undissolved yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Heat water to between 120-130 degrees F and add to dry ingredients.  Add olive oil and stir until well combined.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently until smooth and elastic and turn into a ball to rest.Cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rest 10 minutes.

Line a full sheet baking pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal.  Roll with a rolling pin or hand stretch to fit the capacity of the pan (this will make a rectangular pizza- use a pizza stone if you desire a round pizza).  Carefully pinch and turn up the edges all the way around the dough to form a slight lip on your pizza crust.

Bake for 10 minutes and then remove to top before continuing the baking process.

To make toppings for pizza:

Pour beans into a colander and rinse thoroughly.

While crust is rising and par-baking, coat a saute pan with olive oil and heat pan to medium/medium-high.  Add onions and season with 1/2 tsp salt.  Throughout preparation of crust cook onions, stirring occasionally.  Once onions begin to brown, reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

Coat the saute pan with olive oil once again and hear pan to medium-high heat.  Add beans, ume plum vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and oregano and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 3-5minutes until heated through and then add one clove of garlic, thinly sliced.  Saute for 2 minutes more before adding greens mix to pan.  Saute until wilted, stirring frequently, and then remove from heat.

To assemble pizza:

While par-baked pizza crust is still warm crush the second garlic clove, slice it in half and rub the crust with the cut portion of the clove.  Using a pastry brush, brush entire crust with olive oil.  Spread caramelized onion across crust evenly.  Add beans and greens mixture to pizza crust.  Sprinkle with cheeses.

Remove from baking pan and bake directly on the oven rack in the 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until cheese is bubbly and crust is crisp.  Remove to a cutting board.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes before cutting with a pizza wheel.

Serves 4 adults and one toddler.

Baked “Fried” RED Tomatoes

22 Jul Go Running, Mama!- Baked "Fried" Red Tomatoes

Thursday night is normally a pretty casual dinner around our house.  My husband incorporates two days of fasting into his nutrition routine, one of which is Thursday, so I normally use that as a leftover evening or graze of fruit and cheese with the little one while we enjoy a guitar serenade from fasting Daddy.

This Thursday I intended to cut up a plate of fruits and veggies to share with the Baby Bird and make myself a big salad in order to use up our more delicate local produce before we eft for a weekend mini-vacation.  Quick, easy, resourceful.

Thursday evening, however, Daddy came home and let me know that he had adjusted his fasting days for the week and would be joining us for our evening meal.  Here is a little nugget about our relationship- my hubby is a gracious and reasonable man who would be perfectly happy eating our simple fasting night fruit and veggie plate with us, but he works so hard every day to provide and opportunity for me to stay home raising our daughter that I feel like he deserves a “real meal” for dinner.

I surveyed the items I had pulled from the fridge to utilize that evening- an arugula mix of salad greens from Animal Farm, peaches from Cooper Farms, and two beautiful tomatoes from Finca Pura Vida.  I couldn’t help but think that this would make a for an indulgent fried green tomato salad if my tomatoes weren’t so beautifully red.  But seriously, who laments juicy, red tomatoes!?

It might make me seem a bit petulant, but I couldn’t get the idea of fried green tomatoes out of my mind.  Plus, I had some beautiful breadcrumbs I had just made from the leftovers of a rosemary farmers’ loaf and a jar of roasted green pepper harissa in the fridge that would make an ideal condiment.  I also knew from previous experience that I can bake almost anything instead of frying- with equally crispy-delicious results.

Maybe, in theory, baking slices of red tomato in substitution for frying slices of green tomato is a sacrilege… especially for a Southern girl like myself.  But let me tell you, y’all… in practice it is anything but.  Those lovely red tomato slices came out fabulously crunchy and golden but without losing any of the slightly-firm-yet-juicy-deliciousness you get from a perfect, ripe tomato.  Bravo, Finca Pura Vida- y’all know what you’re doing over there on your vines!

Whisked up a quick dressing (Dressing in our house is a “little o’ this, little o’ that” affair created measurement free and on the fly.  For this salad it meant rice wine vinegar, olive oil, aioli, ume plum vinegar, and a dollop of garlic & onion jam being glugged together and seasoned with coarse salt and pepper.), drizzled it on, and tickled my arugula greens a la Jamie Oliver to dress them (love him or hate him, Jamie Oliver’s salad tickle fingers are the only respectful way to dress your salad).  Layer on sliced peaches, your baked red tomato slices, and a dollop of spiciness et voila!

Quick, easy, fresh.

Oh, and delicious!

Go Running, Mama!- Baked "Fried" Red Tomatoes

Baked “Fried” RED Tomatoes

  • 2 tomatoes, slicked thick
  • 1 1/2 c cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 c bread crumbs
  • 1 c plain kefir
  • 1 tbs fines herbes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a baking pan lined in foil with olive oil.  Set aside.

Sprinkle the cut sides of the tomato slices with salt and lay on a clean dish towel or paper towels.  Flip after 10 minutes.

Place cornmeal in a shallow dish and season with salt and pepper.  Add kefir to a second shallow dish.  Place bread crumbs in a third shallow dish and season with salt, pepper, and fines herbes.

Dip tomato slices in cornmeal, then kefir, then the breadcrumb mixture and spread on the baking pan.  Bake for 15 minutes then remove from oven and flip with an offset spatula.  Return to the oven for 15-20 more minutes until tomato slices are golden brown.

Serving suggestion: Serve on an arugula mix salad dressed lightly with an aioli-based dressing with sliced peaches and a dollop of roasted green pepper harissa.

Serves 2 adults and 1 toddler.

Carrot Top Tacos

11 Jul Go Running Mama- Carrot Top Tacos

I’m greens obsessed.  I’ve come to live for farmer’s market or CSA delivery days when I know I’ll discover an enticing mound of weedy little shoots or a  cache of seasonal yumminess with their green tops still intact.  It makes me simply giddy!

If time allows, which it normally does, I love experimenting and discovering new applications for seasonal greens but when time is of the essence and I’m afraid I wont make it to my precious, delicate greens in time my tried and true strategy is to either make pesto or chimichurri with them that I can either use soon thereafter or freeze in an ice cube tray to use later (or to eat it with a spoon, which I totally suggest if you ever whip up pesto with kale, spinach, sweet chard, and pecans- trust me on this).

Go Running Mama- Carrot Top Tacos

The one dissenter from my “save the greens” mentality has always been carrot tops.  I feel like whole carrots get wilty the very second they enter my home with their tops on, so I’ve always just chopped and discarded them immediately instead of allowing them to join the pile of beet greens and turnip greens neatly cropped and awaiting their creative use.  Several months ago, I ran across an interesting recipe for roasted carrot tacos dressed with carrot green chimichurri that piqued my interest in the possibility that carrot tops can be more than just compost fodder, so when my Greenling box arrived with green bell peppers, hot peppers, a sweet onion, and carrots with their tops intact this week I knew exactly how I wanted to adapt that recipe to encompass the goodness in my box- roasted carrot and green bell pepper tacos with black beans, caramelized onions, and carrot green chimichurri.

This was a very good meal indeed.  Carrot greens are redeemed.

Go Running Mama- Carrot Top Taco Recipe

Carrot Top Tacos

Ingredients for Carrot Green Chimichurri

  • greens from one bunch of carrots
  • one hot pepper, stems and seeds removed
  • two cloves of garlic
  • juice from half a lime
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for Tacos

  • about 3 cups of carrots sliced into 1/2 inch coins
  • 2 green bell peppers, sliced into strips
  • yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil plus more for pan
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • pinch of cayenne
  • one can of black beans (Eden Organic uses BPA free cans)
  • tortillas
  • lime wedges

To make the chimichurri:

Rinse and pick over the carrot greens and remove and tough or woody portions of stem.  Roughly chop the remaining greens to keep stems from getting wound in the food processor.  Add greens and remaining ingredients (olive oil last) to the food processor and pulse until well combined and desired consistency is reached.

To make tacos:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

While oven is preheating, coat a saute pan with olive oil and heat pan to medium/medium-high.  Add onions and season with 1/2 tsp salt.  Throughout preparation cook onions, stirring occasionally.  Once onions begin to brown, reduce heat and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are golden brown.

Drain and rinse beans.

Toss carrots and bell peppers with 1 tbsp olive oil and spices (1/2 tsp salt reserved for onions).  Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when veggies are fork tender.

As veggies roast, heat black beans on the stove in a small pan.

Using a skillet or dry saute pan toast each side of tortillas, using tongs to flip between sides.  Keep warm wrapped in a kitchen towel.

Assemble taco ingredients within a toasted tortilla and serve with a lime wedge.

Serves: 4 adults and 1 toddler

Adapted from Rosemarried: Roasted Carrot Tacos with Carrot Green Chimichurri

My Smoothie Plus Juice Revelation

10 Jul Go Running Mama- Routines

As the stay at home mama of a toddler (and a former classroom teacher), I’m a big fan of streamlined routines.  After all, any place I can save a little time and effort means even more time for family adventures or physical activity.

Go Running Mama- Routines

I make prep time count to save time- Cherries are pitted immediately; half are frozen for smoothies, the others make easy snacks!

Morning routine is one of those places where efficiency is a necessity- we have two adults who need to get in training runs and showers and a toddler to dress while I tackle lunches, snack boxes, and smoothies and juice to make before we usher Daddy out the door on the way to work and I snag the little to make it to the dance studio or park playtime.

Even a little tweak here and there, as insignificant as it may seem, gives us a happy cushion in our domestic rush hour, but finding these areas for adjustment is rare.  However this morning I experienced a happy accident that is destined to become a beautiful second saver in our morning routine… I was out of coconut water!

Coconut water is a staple in our household, so I’m still not exactly sure how this happened nor how I overlooked the gaping hole in our pantry normally filled by carton after carton of the good stuff.  I’d like to blame Daddy for drinking the last carton and not alerting me, but that would be ridiculous given that I reorganized the fridge and pantry less than 48 hours ago and failed to notice the lack of coconut water in both locations.  Regardless of how it happened, at 8 am this morning I found myself without a drop of coconut water.

I made our juice for the morning- a super fab mix of cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, spinach, and apple- and started pulling out our smoothie staples when I realized my predicament- plain kefir, raw oats, freshly pitted cherries frozen (an abomination to many, I realize, but freezing them means I don’t have to add ice to the smoothies to thicken them up), coconut oil, kelp flakes, macadamia nuts, grade B maple syrup, cinnamon… and no coconut water!

For a moment I was dumbfounded.  What’s a mama to do?  Without any liquid it would be too thick, water would make it taste watery, and I didn’t love the idea of adding more dairy.  But then it hit me… add the juice!  Woohoo!

I held my breath and gave it a try.  Not only were the texture and flavor fabulous, but combining the two will save me the time of gathering, cleaning, and prepping an extra Lifefactory glass bottle for each family on a daily basis which buys several delicious minutes every morning.  Plus, I have a great new smoothie to add to our repertoire!

Go Running Mama- Revelation Smoothie

Revelation Smoothie

  • 6 oz plain kefir
  • 10 oz fresh green juice
  • 1/2 cup raw old fashioned oats
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen cherries
  • 1/3 c macadamia nuts
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes
  • 1 tbsp grade B maple syrup
  • cinnamon to taste

Directions: Add ingredients to blender in the order listed.  Blend on high until smooth.

Serves: 2 adults and a toddler