Tangy Pistachio Herb Dressing

19 Nov img_3182-2

Instead of posting some traditional paleo-fied Thanksgiving week recipe, I am going to share a salad dressing that is TO DIE FOR.  Everyone asks me for this recipe. Put this on your menu and you’ll have the ultimate dressed greens.  And then make it again afterward, and slather it on all your post-holiday detox salads.  

If you have been following for a while, you may notice that it is similar to the Chimichurri recipe I shared a few years ago.  By similar, I mean exactly the same, but it’s updated with some adjusted amounts.  (The original chimichurri is pure divinity.  Can be paired with any meat…in fact, you could even make it to eat with your turkey this week, and your whole meal will be a home run.) img_3072

img_3082Before I give you the recipe, I want to talk about the kale, brussels sprouts, and broccoli slaw salad.  I buy the big one from Costco.  This is the best bagged salad that exists, IMO. Except that the poppy seed dressing included in the package is just too sweet for my preference.  This salad is so hearty, it satisfies as meal.  And making a salad with the same ingredients on your own would otherwise require so much chopping and slicing.  I am not in a position to spend a whole lot of my time with vegetables, and so, I have bought the CRAP out of this salad, thrown out the dressing, and used it as a base for so many meals for my family.  Huge win.  (Trump has ruined the word ‘huge’ for me.) 

 

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Look at all the goodness infused into this!

1 c olive oil
1/4 c white (or red) wine vinegar
juice of 2 limes
1 large shallot
1 garlic clove
2 seeded jalapenos 
1 1/2 c fresh cilantro (throw in stems)
1 1/2 c fresh italian parsley (don’t worry about stems)
1/4 c shelled pistachios (makes it creamy)
1 tsp kosher salt (I use more)

Place ingredients in a blender/food processor  in the order listed.  A Vitamix will make it velvety smooth…If you don’t have a Vitamix there will still be bits of unpulverized herbs, but it will still taste amazing!

 

It’s so verdant.  The flavors in this dressing are so rich and vibrant, the texture is so creamy.  I was licking the spatula clean before I did the dishes.  My kids love it too (I’ll spare you the picture proof) and even though it contains jalapenos, it’s not spicy.  There’s one last reason I love this recipe: I feel like a boss shopping for it at the farmers market.  :)  So, it’s a home run all around.  Yet again, I have to give a shout out to my long-lost friend Val for sharing her wealth of culinary knowledge with me, and allowing me to tell you all about it!

Enjoy!  
Leigh

p.s. For another kale salad and brussels sprouts recipe that is a wonderful crowd pleaser, check out this one.  

 

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Getting my body back vs. Getting enough gym-time

8 Nov

I love me some pregnancy and newborns.

But the three year game of pregnancy redlight-greenlight has trashed my fitness and body image.  Since the miscarriage of 2013, I  have had two more children.  I avoided super-high intensity training while pregnant, opting to keep it simple: walking, a few body weight movements and trying to eat sensibly.  But truthfully, my fitness is at zero, maybe even below zero.  I don’t really ever remember a time I’ve been at zero…I have never gone this long without devoting myself to physical activity and regular gym-time.

Here I am now.  Five kids.  Homeschooling.  Hubby working hours that nearly break us both.  House to manage, dinner to make.  Gym-time is pretty much at the bottom of my list of daily priorities.  Why?  Because even though the real me

(Pause.  The “REAL ME” is now a completely notional figure because I will never be the “real me” again…age is getting its way with me, kids are steadily increasing in needs, speed of life is red-lining.  Sounds like its time to renovate who the “REAL ME” is.)  

As I was saying.  The real-me would rather be having gym-time two hours a day, five days a week.  Actual-me is needed by kids and friends and husband (<–not in that order!).  My people.  They need me.  These relationships will suffer if I put gym-time above them.  

Missing out on the hallowed time in the gym/box/garage, causes a nagging grudge to form and grow.  It’s my favorite way to cash in my me-time.  I keep slipping into false thinking that hours of gym-time is the only way to “get my body back.”  

My internal dialogue keeps screaming YOU WILL NEVER REGAIN YOUR FITNESS!!  (Why does our internal dialogue lie so much?  I was born with a voice in my head that absolutely hates me.)  

Anyway, I have to answer it back with two things.
1.  Getting lean takes nothing more than an intuitive diet.
2.  Having zero gym-time doesn’t mean I can’t exercise.  

Every iteration of exercise (even as short as 4 minutes!)  is a deposit in my strength account.  Diet is what controls body comp.  Gym-time is not part of this formula.  What a mindsaver.  Diet and exercise have two different objectives and let’s not get them mixed up.
Diet is for leaning me out.
Exercise is for the 10 foundations of fitness.

I will eat for energy.
I will lift to be strong enough to help people move stuff.

I will eat to enjoy the experience of food. 
I will run so that I can play anything with my kids and grandchildren.

I will eat responsibly so that I look my best in formal dresses.  (Dang it anyway that I have to wear these dresses so often!!)
I will WOD with my man, because it’s our favorite way to spend our free time together.

I will eat if my stomach growls.
I will exercise because the endorphins are such a welcome respite.

I will not eat if I am not hungry.
I will do push-ups and pull-ups because it is the fastest way to tone my arms.  

I will eat to keep my mood in check. (NO HANGER!)
I will do sit-ups because my abs would like to permanently hang out at the 5-months pregnant position.

I will eat without hang ups about timing, amounts, or macros
I will jump rope to rehab my pelvic floor.  (Sorry dudes, this is what happens when your uterus is basically a clown car.)

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So even though gym-time is at an all-time low, my stress about it is also pretty much gone.  I train when I can, and I am getting incrementally physically stronger.  Eating mindfully will bring about the body comp changes I need to see.

I am mentally weary from chasing empty obsessions…and assigning impossible expectations on things that are circumstance-dependent, like getting enough gym-time.  Food is fuel.  Exercise is physical strength.  Period.

Faith and healthy relationships empower.  Faith and relationships award us with heart satiety.

Am I the only one who has been stuck in the wrong mindset in this area?  It only took me until I was 36 and 11 years into motherhood to be at peace about it.  

Thanks for reading,
Leigh

 

Guacbread Muffins

3 Nov img_2692

img_2786Okay, I think I am on to something here.  I have been in search of a savory staple muffin for a long time, but I just can’t do complicated recipes.

I have FOUR avocado trees in my yard, and over the course of my time in this house, they have given us more than a lifetime supply of guacamole.  This year I did not want to waste a morsel of the “meat” and so I got to thinking…how can I use up these avocados (and get my kids to eat them as well?!!)

If you are hesitant to go out on a limb and try these, let’s remember how healthful these ancient fruits really are.  I am not typing a bunch of sentences to convince you.  So, I will give you a few key words that may motivate you to grab some off the trees that you have in your yard, and get to baking: Superfood, Antioxidant, Potassium, Folate, Oleic Acid, Lutein, Satiety, Caloric Density, Not Eggs.

These taste like avocado, but I like that.  They are a great base for mix-ins: ground breakfast sausage, green onion, cheese, bacon, tomatoes (chopped & drained), even chocolate chips.  They are an awesome alternative to egg muffins… My kids think they are pretty good, but they liked them the most with chocolate chips.  We are going to call that a win when it comes to getting them to eat well.  :)

2 ripe avocados
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 cups nut flour
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder

OPTIONAL: 1 cup of mix-ins of your choice.  (I like cheddar/bacon the most, kids liked chocolate chips)

With a hand mixer, mix up the avocados, oil and water until smooth and shiny.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until you have a nice batter.  Stir in your mix-ins.  

Bake at 350 for 23-25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Enjoy real food!
Leigh

If you are looking for more breakfast ideas that are not just another egg concoction, try this casserole, these pumpkin muffins, and these bacon “biscuits”

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