Salmon with Mango Salsa

Even though it’s not seasonal or local, mango is one of my all-time favorite fruits! It brings to mind sunny sandy beaches and steel drum music. When I found this recipe online here–  I had to try if for myself with a few slight modifications. It looked like a little more kitchen prep than I’m used to doing but with good music and a cold beverage, the chopping became a meditation. Peeling and slicing juicy mangoes made me want to go to an island right away!!

salsa ingredients

For the salsa-  Chop one half red onion and 2 garlic cloves. I’m going to tell you upfront the red onion was TOO overpowering for me. If you LOVE onion then use half, if you want it milder use about 1/4 of the onion.

red onion and garlic

Peel and dice 2 fresh ripe mangoes……yummmmmm

juicy mango

I substituted a half red pepper instead of using jalapeno. 1. Because I thought it would look pretty 2. I forgot to buy a jalapeno at the store which may have been subconsciously deliberate. Not a big fan, I’m a red pepper girl if anything at all.

red pepper

Add chopped fresh cilantro. As much as you’d like. Dash of white wine vinegar, olive oil and the juice of 1 lime.

cilantro

Stir well and let chill.

pretty salsa

Prepare fish by placing in a foil “envelope” and top with a drizzle of olive oil and seasonings of your choice. I sprinkled with cumin and set some fresh cilantro on top. Place in 350 oven for 25-30 minutes. The steam will keep it moist and soak up the flavors of the spices.

salmon with cilantro

Serve salsa over fish. I had a side of greens cooked in coconut oil for even more tropical flavor.

Mango Salsa

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Juice Love

When I gave my sweetie his Valentine’s cookies I included a card that listed the many things I admire in him. It included things like….he’s kind, compassionate, smart, loves my dogs, etc. But the one thing I’m really smitten with right now is his bad-ass 1980’s era juicer-ator. He brought it over and left it for me to use knowing how much I’ve been wanting to juice. This is no fancy pants, modern-day, slick juicer with celebrity endorsements.

This is a bad mamma-jamma that he has had for over 20 years and it’s still going strong. This was juicing before juicing was cool.  The name “Acme Supreme JUICErator” is enough to make it ultra-cool and reminds me of something from the old roadrunner-coyote cartoons.

The Juicerator in action!

The Juicerator in action!

Needless to say-I have been juicing like crazy every morning. It’s SO different than my thick, pulpy blender juices I used to make. Although I will still drink those occasionally.

green smoothie

My favorite right now is Beet/Carrot/Apple/Ginger

beet juice

This morning I didn’t have beets so I did Carrot/Apple/Celery/Ginger

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I always had a twist of lemon for some tartness and more Vitamin C.

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Ginger provides a nice spicy bite and is a natural anti-inflammatory that aids in digestion.

Who needs coffee with these fresh vitamins, phytonutrients,  and plant energy going directly into my bloodstream, bypassing any heavy digestive work?

I can’t wait to try more combinations like Pear/Pineapple/Basil and Spinach/Apple/Beet

I feel so in love with this big, sturdy, healthy machine and I can’t wait to see it every morning when I wake up! Oh yeah, I like the owner too……

Easy Quinoa Pilaf

Quinoa is a main staple of my diet. It’s actually a seed,  but is considered a whole grain. It also is a complete protein so it’s good for vegetarians.  I love it because it’s so versatile. Once you cook up a batch you can divide and use it in different ways. I usually make some for dinner and then save some for breakfast topped with honey, raisins and cinnamon. This is a good alternative if you are sensitive to oats.

Be sure to rinse the dried quinoa thoroughly before cooking to remove the natural residue that can be disruptive to some digestive systems. If you notice a bitter taste at all on your quinoa then you probably didn’t rinse it well enough. It is a naturally occurring coating so it’s not dangerous, just doesn’t taste good.

fluffy quinoa

I let my quinoa steam in a covered pot for about 20 minutes after bringing to a boil.

I added some spices, including tumeric, pepper, and dried garlic.

tumeric

I added a tblspn of nutritional yeast for a “cheesy” creamy flavor. Nutritional yeast is a source of B vitamins and good for vegetarians who may be lacking in that nutrient. Can’t wait to cook with this more often!

nutritional yeast

I put in  lentils and leftover roasted veggies that included onion, cauliflower, broccoli, and beets and topped with chopped walnuts. Try: tomatoes, corn, black beans and cumin for a mexican flavor. Or edamame, carrots, mushrooms and tamari for an asian flavor.

roasted veggies

lentils and quinoa

Stir well and bake for about 15 minutes to warm up and blend together.

I am going to come right out and say I used too much tumeric which is why it’s so YELLOW.  I got so excited about this healing spice I was overzealous in my sprinkling. Quinoa soaks up flavor like tofu, so go easy on whatever you add to it. Making small (or big) mistakes is part of intuitive, creative cooking- you learn as you go!

Check out my article on being brave in the kitchen and learning to trust your instincts here!

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100 posts- let’s celebrate!

This is the 100th post on CreateWholeHealth!

It feels like it should be special in some way to celebrate the significance. I thought about the following post ideas for this momentous occasion:

“100 things about Me”– too self-absorbed. I like to cook and do yoga. From there the list would go into meaningless details of my life like “I played Adrian in our 4th grade satire of the movie Rocky and I had a mad crush on the boy who played the lead so the final scene was very real to me”

“100 things I love”– too long and probably boring for most of you. Would include things like hello kitty stickers, the smell of magic markers, and puppies.  You may mistake me for a 7th grade girl after reading it.

“100 ways to use honey”– Good idea but off the top of my head I can only think of 24 that make sense and aren’t too messy.

local honey

“100 ways to cook healthier”– hmmmm, that’s sort of what I’ve been doing this whole time, right? Hint: EAT YOUR VEGGIES!

Farmer's market

“100 places I’d like to visit”- super short list; the beach. Any beach. Done.

hawaiian-beaches

“100 yoga poses for your pet” I think they already do them all on their own?

Shivasana

Shivasana

“100 great books” I like this idea but I’m too lazy to go through all my bookshelves. Here’s a good one though:

I highly recommend this book!!!

I highly recommend this book!!!

“100 things I’m grateful for” This is actually something I did one year. I kept a Gratitude List and wrote in it almost every night what I was thankful for, whether it was something simple like “hot coffee” or big like “my family” The tricky part is to even be grateful for the annoying little things that teach us great lessons.

zen night

Thank YOU for joining me on this journey of my love for healthy, real food, fitness, yoga, inspirational living and pretty colorful photos of the stuff I cook! I can’t wait for the next 100!

Coconut Chocolate Crisp Bars

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day so I was definitely in a “sweet” mood. I made homemade cookies for my Valentine using real butter, eggs and sugar. Even though he usually eats really clean, I know he wanted this exact cookie without my usual “healthy” variations. I know this because of his reaction to my tahini cookies– which I dearly love!

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What a sweet gift, right?

They were Oatmeal-Raisin- Orange-Cranberry and fun to make. Luckily I don’t love raisins so I wasn’t tempted to eat them all- but when does one EVER grow out of eating raw cookie dough? I dodged the raisins and got in a couple good finger scoops of that.

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Then I experimented with some other ingredients in my kitchen for something a bit healthier. I came up with these rice crisp/oat/date/coconut/chocolate bars. Very little white sugar (just the small amount in the dark chocolate bar), no flour or dairy. WOW- They are incredible!!!!

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I didn’t take too many photos because it was more of an experiment and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out but I must share this recipe with you to try!

It is a variation of the rice crisp bars I posted here.  I was able to put my coconut manna to good use too.

Melt equal parts peanut butter and brown rice syrup over low heat until soft. Add in a dash of vanilla.

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Pour over rice crisp cereal.

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I used cocoa flavored rice cereal this time- Yum! Add in whole raw oats and mix well, pressing down firmly to form a crust.

Next, chop up 4-5 large pitted dates and place on top of crust

For topping melt about 1/3 cup of coconut manna and stir in some unsweetened coconut and quality dark chocolate. I used just 2 small squares from a trader joe’s bar and it was enough.

Sprend evenly over bars, place in fridge to cool.

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My kind of treat!

The coconut and chocolate form a nice “shell” and the dates give it some gooey texture while the cereal and peanut butter provide a substantial base for it all.

What did you enjoy SWEET for Valentine’s Day?

Coconut Cauliflower with Chickpeas

I was inspired to make this after a shopping trip led me to a cauliflower sale. I wanted something warming, grounding, and full of protein. I’ve been craving plant-based protein lately, not meat. I always follow my body’s signals without question and right now it’s not into chicken or beef for some reason.

I started out with this big crisp head of cauliflower, onion and garlic.

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I sauteed the onion/garlic in the slow-cooker with some coconut oil.

Then I added the chopped up cauliflower and sprinkled with  curry, tumeric and red pepper flakes

100_2114I poured in a can of coconut milk and let it cook on high for an hour while I went to the gym.

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When the cauliflower was softened, I added a can of garbanzo beans (chickpeas)

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I saw some baby carrots in the fridge so I tossed those in as well.  This was becoming a nice indian inspired vegetable stew

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It was a little thin so I added some split red lentils knowing they cook very fast and become mushy which creates a thickness to the broth

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I still wasn’t satisfied with the texture so I plopped in a spoonful of peanut butter to give it a nutty smooth flavor

100_2122I let the whole thing cook on high for about another hour.

Served over quinoa, it was the perfect meal for a winter night. I sauteed some kale on the side which went nicely with it.

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Coconut Yams

I have this jar of coconut manna that was given to me that I have not figured out how to use. I’ve read about it and get very inspired and then I forget about it again. I LOVE coconut anything and cook religiously with coconut oil. I drink coconut water in the summer and use coconut oil on my skin after a bath. So why was the coconut manna such a mystery to me?

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Everything I read about it said it’s “coconut butter”- the creamy “meat” part of the coconut. Some suggestions were to spread it on bread or a piece of dark chocolate. Others said to use as a butter when making desserts. Yet still it sat unopened in my kitchen.

Until I figured out this PERFECT use for it!

It happened accidentally one night after I came home late and hungry. I needed something sweet but I wanted it to be healthy and satisfying. My usual square of dark chocolate wouldn’t do.

I had a batch of baked sweet potatoes (orange yams) in the fridge. I usually bake 4 at a time and have them ready to eat all week.

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I took one out, smashed it up, and warmed it in the microwave. I topped with cinnamon and walnuts and then put a large spoonful of coconut manna on top. The manna is solid at room temp so place unopened jar in hot water or put open jar in the microwave to soften enough to stir and spread.

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The white shavings melted like butter and tiny slivers of coconut remained unseen but tasted.

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It was heavenly!! It has become my new favorite comfort food. It’s especially good to curb sugar cravings that sometimes happen late at night.

One more idea that I tried is to stuff the manna into a pitted date. Dates are a super versatile food that I’m beginning to grow extremely fond of. They are high in sugar so a little goes a long way.

My new favorite snack is peanut butter on a cinnamon rice cake topped with chopped dates!

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I would love to hear your suggestions for coconut manna and how you like to use dates. I am ready to try some new things with them!

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