Category Archives: recipes

Eggplant Apple & Kale Salad Recipe

While I spent hours on end being a yogi last weekend, he went to town in the kitchen. We had grabbed groceries together on Sunday morning, and by 6pm half of the veggies had been chopped and/or roasted to perfection. And in a new twist, so had one of the fruits.

Aside from the occasional banana-soft-serve treat, or summer-grilled peach, we rarely consume fruit any way but raw. If you’re more adventurous, you’ll already know this: heat the sugars out of any fruit and you’ll never again question that its nature’s candy. Apples included.

All of that to say, that to get this salad party started you do this:

Heat the oven to 350*.
– Chop 2 medium apples (of your choice) and 1/2 purple onion
– Toss with cinnamon on a baking sheet.
-Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on how tiny those chopped pieces are – less if they’re smaller, more if they’re big)

– Slice 1 eggplant into discs (about 1” thick)
– Drizzle with oil, sea salt & cumin (and/or cayenne pepper)
– Roast for 20-30 minutes, until softened

Both of these could be used for a lot of things, but my first thought was my lunch salad the next day. And sautéed kale, which seems to pair well with pretty much anything.

eggplant apple salad

Eggplant Apple & Kale Salad

~2/3 cup Chilled roasted apple-onion mix (see above)
2 roasted eggplant discs (reheated)
2 cups kale, sautéed in EVOO
1 Tbsp pumpkin seeds
(….if you’re like me: salt to taste.)

Because the veggies were roasted with seasonings, and the kale was shining in all of its oil-sauté glory, this needed no dressing or extras. And since everything was already roasted and ready, this came together in approximately 5 minutes.

Bon appetit!

Leave a Comment

Filed under food, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

Spicy Coconut Seafood Soup

Welcome to 2015! We’re settling back in after a 2-week holiday hiatus that started with a southwest venture for some family time, followed by a week on Hawaiian island time. Ringing in the new year without a hangover was a refreshing first (in at least 7 years); starting the first day of the year on top of O’ahu has got to stand for something, and I’m pretty pumped to find out whatever it may be.

One thing’s for sure: two weeks of vacation & holiday eats, treats and libations makes the comeback-to-reality a little startling on all systems.

This soup, however, did us a solid.

For our first meal back at home I scoured some simple recipes for something new. This Whole30 list popped up with some great ideas, but we had a few different things to work with – namely some Hatch Green Chile salsa that won’t last more than a week in my fridge. {THANKYOUTRADERJOSE!}

Spicy Coconut Seafood Soup
Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup heavy coconut cream
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, divided
1 bag Trader Joe’s frozen seafood mix
1 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup green chile salsa*
4 cups water
salt to taste

Heat the coconut oil over medium in a deep soup pan; add onions, garlic and 1/8 cup cilantro. Sauté until onions become translucent.

Add coconut cream, water, red pepper, seasonings and green chile. Mix well and bring to boil. Add seafood (thawed). Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until seafood is heated through (don’t go too long, or they’ll get all rubbery on you). Optional: mix in kale (I almost always do this with soup) and top with remaining fresh cilantro.

*any chunky salsa or even canned tomatoes works here – chef’s choice!

Coconut seafood soup 
If you want a creamier texture, alter the coconut cream: water ratio to your liking. If you want more spice, by all means, dump it in! Enjoy.


Leave a Comment

Filed under food, recipes

Salad Towers: Salmon, Squash, Seeds & Sesame Toppers

My brain and your eyes could probably take a break from all this incessant MCM talk. Today’s a mind-taper day, and a reminder that there’s another big aspect of training – well, life, in general – that has gone mostly unmentioned here. THE EATS.

Working from home allows for more flexibility with meals. If I were in the office, you’d still see a lot of pumped-up salads, they just wouldn’t be plated quite so nicely. And they wouldn’t be consumed in the backyard sunshine – my way of supplementing lunch with some Vitamin D. I choose a salad for lunch because it ensures a huge vegetable serving, is completely versatile for flavors and toppers, and gives me a high volume of healthy foods.

WIN, Win.

Let’s walk through a basic salad construction….

I don’t consume meat or poultry, but protein is always part of the salad equation here. I opt for one or more of the following: fish (usually leftover from the night before – baked/grilled), pumpkin seeds, chopped nuts, hard-boiled egg and/or avocado.

You don’t have to have “greens” to make it a salad, but I usually do. I buy the organic mixed greens from Trader Joe’s and may mix in some raw kale, arugula and/or spinach for extra nutrients. Then I pile on the rainbow! My goal is to have at least 3 colors in my salad, which may come from peppers, onion, carrots, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, dried/fresh fruits, avocado and/or leftover roasted veggies from last night’s dinner.

At the end, I go for a little flavor with a “dressing” of sorts. I never do a store-bought dressing, nor do I take the time to mix anything together. I keep it simple: fresh lemon squeeze, drizzle of EVOO or a drizzle of Sesame oil.

Here are a few salad towers I’ve created lately:

2014-10-20 13.09.51

The season hasn’t changed much here in California, but the display at Trader Joe’s suggests it may officially be fall. And therefore we have squash.

Tower toppers: leftover roasted salmon (seasoned with chili powder), roasted kabocha squash (seasoned with cumin, salt/pepper), chopped cucumbers, red peppers and carrots, sunflower seeds. Dressing: sesame oil.

2014-10-15 12.37.26-2

If there’s only one thing you takeaway from this post: you cannot have too much avocado on your salad.

Toppers: tomatoes (still farm-fresh at the farmer’s market!), cucumbers, avocado, red pepper and sunflower seeds. Dressing: lemon squeeze, salt & pepper.

2014-10-14 12.07.38

I like to have my salads with a side of brain-puzzle, too.

Toppers: baked Mahi Mahi (seasoned with dried green chile powder), chopped carrots, cucumber and pistachios. Dressing: drizzle of EVOO.


What are some of your go-to weekday lunches?

Leave a Comment

Filed under health, Nutrition, recipes, training

{Paleo} Vegan Eggplant Pizzas

In my continued quest to befriend the eggplant, we went down a road that never fails a single taste-bud test: the pizza. We don’t cook according to any labels, but this recipe happens to be gluten-free, vegan- and Paleo-friendly.

Yes, even a  bacon-loving, 1/4-a-cow-in-the-freezer* dude eats “vegan” meals every once in a while. Veggies hold a high power in this house!

The trick with using an eggplant “crust” is this vegetable’s affinity for moisture. To avoid total mush, start by slicing your eggplant, placing the rounds (~1 inch thick) on a paper towel and salting. Let this sit for about 20-30 minutes. If you’re impatient and cook on a time budget like me, even 10-15 minutes will help.

Then, turn your oven on and hop to it!

Vegan Eggplant Pizzas

1 medium eggplant, sliced (1-inch thick rounds)
~3 Tbsp olive oil

Vegetables of choice!
We went with sautéed yellow squash and red onions.

1 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I usually go with Muir Glen)
Salt/Pepper, Thyme, Oregano – to taste
2 leaves fresh basil
1/2 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375*. Drizzle olive oil over the eggplant slices; roast for 15 minutes. During this time, prep and/or sauté your vegetables (if you like them cooked first – skip this step if you want them crispy). Combine all of the sauce ingredients in a food processor, or high-power blender, and blend/pulse until smooth.

Remove the eggplant slices and top with sauce + veggies. Cook for another 8-10 minutes. 

2014-09-04 18.36.20

As you can see, we got a bit distracted by the guac-master’s other creation of the night. So, that also happened.


As with any pizza, the options are endless and totally up to the season’s harvest, your taste and/or dietary preferences. But as mentioned above, this was a meat-free dinner for the meat-lover in our house, and I heard no complaints! You could even cut these into fourths and make them a party-pleasing appetizer. Either way, the eggplant wins, yet again.

Leave a Comment

Filed under dinners, gluten free, Nutrition, recipes, vegetarian

One-Dish Meal: Spicy Thai Basil Eggplant Recipe

If there’s one thing I’m confident with in the kitchen, it’s a one-dish meal. I’m all for efficiency, simplicity and easy clean-up! While I love home-cooked meals, and don’t mind cooking them myself, I steer clear of complicating things.

2014-08-10 19.04.52-1

Here’s the deal: I do not love eggplant. It doesn’t have a ton of flavor, it can be very tough on the jaw, and it dries out very quickly.

But every vegetable deserves a fair chance in this world! I DO love ordering the eggplant dish at Thai restaurants, and that just flat-out baffles me. How do they do it?! It’s always soft, and edible, and flavorful (read: spicy!), and delicious. I order it without reserve; I know they’ll nail it and I’ll want another plateful for leftovers (because no, there are no leftovers).

I’m growing basil plant #5 in the backyard and it was begging for an excuse to be harvested. I picked up an eggplant at Trader Joe’s and thought, “Okay, let’s do-si-do one more time…”

Spicy Thai Basil Eggplant
Makes ~4 servings, or 2 big ones

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic (~2 cloves)
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 eggplant, chopped into cubes
1 Tbsp sesame oil
Basil, to taste (~3/4 cup fresh leaves, chopped)
1 can(15 oz)  fire-roasted tomatoes
2-3 cups fresh greens: arugula, spinach OR kale (optional)
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
Red pepper flakes, to taste (if you really like that spice!)
Optional: top with sunflower, sesame and/or pumpkin seeds

Heat the coconut oil over medium in a large sauté pan (or wok). Add garlic, stirring for 1 minute. Add red onions; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add eggplant, tomatoes, sesame oil and seasonings (cayenne). Continue cooking this mix until the eggplant softens (8-10 minutes); add 1/8 – 1/4 cup water if it looks dry. Stir in the basil and greens; cook until softened.

Top with seeds for extra crunch, flavor and healthy fats!

2014-08-10 19.07.22Suggested summer pairing: Water + Watermelon Ale (not mixed together), to quench the spice and your thirst.

Eggplant, you’ve redeemed yourself! I think you have basil, spices and tomato juice to thank. But we’ll take it.


What’s your favorite one-dish meal?

1 Comment

Filed under dinners, food, Nutrition, recipes