Thai Chopped Salad

Outlets.  I’m not talking about shopping ladies (although I do enjoy a lovely outlet adventure).  I am talking about your stress-relieving and creative outlets.  What do you do to let your inner artist escape or to take the edge off?!?!?

Thai Chopped Salad

Exercise.  My stress-relieving outlet.  Probably not that surprising since I’ve posted about hikes and marathon-training.  I learned early in my pharmacy residency that my relationship would not survive if I did not work out.  I am apparently a much friendlier version of myself when I sweat out the frustrations.  Let me be honest, I don’t get much out of running on a treadmill.  I either want a group training class where a trainer is pushing me to limits I didn’t know existed OR I want to be immersed in the outdoors, running/hiking/swimming/paddle-boarding.  My next activity to tackle is road biking, but let’s just say that one might take a bit of practice ahem train wheels ahem.  Andrew filmed me in the parking lot testing out a road bike and could not stop laughing because of how nervous I looked :/  I may have almost crashed into a trash…oops!  FYI marathon training = insatiable appetite.  I apologize to anyone that has suffered the wrath of hangry me.  My life is a Snickers bar commercial.

Thai Chopped Salad

Food.  My creative outlet.  Probably even less surprising.  I really love getting crafty in the kitchen.  I must bore everyone I hang out with.  If I’m not talking about food, I’m talking about groceries, restaurants, food blogs, or Teek (my adorable weimy).  Teek has nothing to do with food, but I am equally as obsessed with food and Teek.  I apologize to all the friends out there that get bombarded with pictures of food (or my dog) I am either creating or eating (I’m not eating the dog…).  My creative foodie is inspired by the farmer’s market, that amazing meal we ate out, Food Network in general (when we had cable, yes canceling cable was a travesty in our household), any my personal favorite…when I challenge myself to make a meal with what I have in my kitchen.  No extra grocery trips allowed!

Thai Chopped Salad

This thai chopped salad came to be from one of those kitchen challenges.  We hosted a fiesta a couple weeks ago and I might have made enough jasmine rice to feed a small country.  I got a little carried away with the fiesta and we had left over rice for days.   I needed a break from Mexican cuisine and decided, why not make a veggie-filled salad with the rice as an added bonus?  I mean, I usually eat veggies with my rice anyway…so why not throw it all together?  Seriously, there are certain combinations that are meant to be in the world: peanut butter and chocolate, milk and cookies, ranch and hot sauce, wine and cheese, hot cocoa and whipped cream…add to the list this salad and the coconut, peanut, sesame, ginger dressing.  Anyone can throw veggies together and even add rice or farro to the mix.  I’m not claiming that this was an ingenious idea of mine.  What ties it all together and brings it to ANOTHER LEVEL???  Well, that would be the dressing.

Creamy. Sweet. Citrusy. Spicy. Nutty. Salty. Savory. Easy.

One bowl. One whisk. Magic.

Thai Chopped Salad

This salad was so delicious.  I decided to make it again.  It’s really not an addiction, until you catch yourself licking the dressing bowl…guilty.  I used farro the second time because I needed a break from rice and wanted to see if the grain in the salad could easily be swapped out.  You can also adjust the veggies to what you have on hand.  The first time I made the salad I left out the carrots, subbed shredded brussels sprouts for the cabbage, and used toasted cashews instead of roasted peanuts.  I love recipes that lend themselves well to adaptation :)

Thai Chopped Salad

I’m curious, what are your outlets: stress-relieving or creative?

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes

The Players:

For the salad
8 oz uncooked farro (alternatively 1 C uncooked jasmine rice)
1 C julienned carrots
1 C cooked edamame
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 scallions
2 C broccoli florets
1 C purple cabbage, thinly sliced
1 C cilantro, chopped
1 C roasted peanuts

For the dressing
1/4 C coconut milk or cream
1/4 C peanut butter, creamy or crunchy
1/4 C light brown sugar
2 T toasted sesame oil
2 T fish sauce (alternatively reduced sodium soy sauce)
1 T chili paste (alternatively Sriracha or hot sauce)
1 lime, juiced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced

The Rules:

  1. Cook the farro according to package instructions. (Note:  I place equal parts water to farro in a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid for 10 minutes.)
  2. While the farro is cooking, prepare your vegetables:  dice the peppers, thinly slice the scallions, chop the broccoli, etc.  Place all the vegetables and the peanuts in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Drain any excess water from the farro and transfer the farro to your mixing bowl.
  4. Place all the dressing ingredients in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk to combine.  Pour over the salad and toss until veggies and farro are coated in dressing.  Serve immediately or store refrigerated.

Coconut Almond Granola

Wake up. Hungry. Work out. Hungry. Work. Hungry. Go to bed. Hungry.  This is what I have come to realize marathon training is…I am always hungry.  I literally eat something and am thinking about the next thing I want to eat.  I heard from multiple friends that have completed marathons that I should prepare for the hunger.  I had no idea what I was in for.  I have emergency snacks in my purse, at work, and I don’t leave the car without snacks.

Coconut Almond Granola

We went out to a brewery tour yesterday and Andy laughed at me as I packed snacks for the 30-minute car trip.  Oh yes, the fear is real.  Stopping at a gas station, grocery store, or you know getting food to eat while we were out did not cross my mind.  I needed to make sure that I had snacks just in case.

Coconut Almond Granola

One of my go-to snacks is granola.  Have you ever stopped to read the ingredients on a bag of granola.  I don’t know about you, but I do NOT want my granola to contain ingredients that I do not understand or cannot find readily available at a grocery store.  I want whole grains, real proteins, and natural sugar.  So this was my first experiment to create a simple granola recipe with ingredients I had in my kitchen.

Coconut Almond Granola

The aroma of toasted almonds, cinnamon, and vanilla throughout the house is an added perk of this recipe.  Andrew walked through the door after work and immediately asked what I was baking because it smelled amazing.  Talk about delicious?!?!  The first batch of granola lasted about 3 days.  Oops.  Honestly this is the perfect breakfast paired with fresh fruit and milk, an added treat to top your smoothie or yogurt, or the ideal snack for a girl (umm or man) on the go.  Not too sweet with just the right amount of crunch ;)  I can’t wait to explore with more flavors and fruit/nut combos.

Coconut Almond Granola

What’s your favorite snack?

As always,

Bon Appeteek

 Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Prepares ~4 cups of granola

The Players: 

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 C raw almonds
1 C unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 C coconut oil
1/4 C honey*
1/4 C agave*
1 T ground cinnamon
1 T pure vanilla bourbon extract

*Note: I used a mix of honey and agave syrup; however, you can use any mix of maple syrup, honey, or agave*

The Rules: 

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line baking sheet with silicone mat or wax paper.
  2. Place oatmeal and coconut in a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Roughly chop almonds and add to oatmeal-coconut mixture.
  4. In a microwave-safe dish combine coconut oil, honey, and agave (or sweetener of your choice.  Microwave for 30-45 seconds. Add cinnamon and vanilla extract to the honey mixture and whisk to combine ingredients.
  5. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and toss with spatula to coat.
  6. Transfer the granola to your baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.  Remove granola from the oven and allow to fully cool.  Store in an air-tight container.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Alright, I have a confession.  Are you guys ready for it?  I splurged…big time.  I purchased my first, official pair of running shoes!  I tried to play it cool and wear my Nike Outlet and Nordstrom Rack Nikes while training for my first marathon.  I tried to convince myself that I did not need to walk into the new Brooks store (conveniently located off the running path…hello marketing genius).  But this Sunday, after a trip to the Fremont Sunday Market and Fremont Brewery (oops) I did the deed.

And I do not regret my decision one bit!  The sales associate was awesome and analyzed my gait and provided me with a few options.  I am so excited to continue my marathon training with my new shoes.  Also, SHOUT OUT to all the Boston Marathon Participants out there.  You are my inspiration.  Don’t worry seasoned vets, I will test drive my new kicks before I run my 17 mile long run on Saturday.  Mentally already exhausted.  But I get such a thrill running, especially with all the PNW beauty, that my running days are my favorite work out days :)

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Another healthy obsession of mine is Thai food.  Seriously, Thai recipes seem overwhelming, but really they require you to have the same key spices/ingredients on hand and then it all comes down to the balance of flavors.  Spring rolls are a great recipe to have in your culinary tool box for entertaining, using up veggies, or quick meals.  Honestly, you can combine a variety of proteins or veggies and if you dip it in peanut sauce…it’s going to taste AMAZING.  Hello happy taste buds and belly.  I decided to use spinach and quinoa in this variation since I had both on hand in the fridge.  But next time who knows what I’ll find in the kitchen and in my spring roll.

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

Let me know what you love to put in your spring rolls and what your favorite running shoes are?!?!

Shrimp and Quinoa Spring Rolls

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Servings: 8 rolls

The Players: 

For the shrimp: 
24 large shrimp, peeled
1 t brown sugar
1 t chili paste
1 t sesame oil
1/2 t fish sauce

For the spring rolls: 
8 medium-size spring roll wrappers
1 C cooked red quinoa
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
2 C baby spinach
1/3 C fresh cilantro leaves (alternatively use thai basil)

For the peanut dipping sauce
1/4 C creamy peanut butter
1 T coconut cream (alternatively use 2 T light coconut milk in place of coconut cream and water)
2 T water
1 t brown sugar (if desiring sweeter sauce)
1 t fish sauce (alternatively use soy sauce)
2 t chili paste (use less if sensitive to spice)
1/2 t sesame oil

The Rules: 

  1. Place all ingredients for the shrimp marinade in a mixing bowl and coat shrimp.  Allow to marinade for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  2. While the shrimp is marinating, prepare the veggies, and cook quinoa according to package instructions.  Set veggies aside and allow quinoa to cool.  (Note: I prepare quinoa in a large batch for the week and keep it refrigerated for later use)
  3. In a microwave safe dish, combine ingredients for peanut dipping sauce and microwave for 30 seconds.  Whisk until well-incorporated.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Set aside. (Note: For a thicker dipping sauce, use 1 tbsp water; for a thinner sauce use 2 tbsp water)
  4. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and coat with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook shrimp 2 minutes per side, until pink.  Remove from heat.
  5. Pour simmering water into a large pan or bowl.  Place the spring roll wrapper in the water and rotate until moistened.  Lay the wrapper on a damp, clean work surface.
  6. In the center of the spring roll wrapper layer spinach, quinoa, carrots, red bell peppers, shrimp, and cilantro.  Roll up like a burrito, tucking ends in, and set aside.  Repeat step 5 and 6 for remaining 7 spring rolls.  (Note: I used 3 shrimp per spring roll)
  7. Serve spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.  Store extra spring rolls in an air tight container in the refrigerator.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Sushi, Indian, and Thai.  These are my favorite cuisines for eating out.  Mainly because I tend to be intimidated by these recipes.  There are so many ingredients, somewhat complicated steps, and patience.  Patience is a virtue…one I constantly work on.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Recently I decided I needed more yoga in my life, to a) clear my mind b) appreciate my body c) teach me breathing exercises  d) improve posture and flexibility e) increase that patience.  I bet we could all use a little yoga in our lives?!?  Since I had this revelation I have only made it to one yoga class, but thankfully Seattle has an abundance of yoga studios and most of them offer free classes for first-timers.  That means I can shop around for a little extra zen ;)

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Moving on to the star of this blog post.  Skinny Thai Meatballs.  I was inspired to create this dish by a recent date night adventure.  Andrew, my rock and number one fan, clearly knows the way to my heart.  For my birthday he surprised me with a gift certificate to Hipcooks in Seattle.  Hipcooks is this awesome twist on cooking classes.  The classes are small group, specific cuisine (from Moroccan to Sushi and everything in between), include an entire dinner menu, cook without measuring cups, and you enjoy the meals family style.  Then you get an email with all the recipes and where to shop for ingredients.  I know, I am one lucky girl :)

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Well my birthday was in errr November and we just went in March (things have been kind of crazy).  But I knew I wanted to go to the Thai Cooking Class from the start.  Spring rolls, coconut shrimp rice balls, pad thai, red and green curry, forbidden rice dessert…are you salivating yet?!?!  This class helped me overcome some of my Thai cooking fears.  The flavors are sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and savory.  Most of the ingredients you have on hand or at your local grocery store.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

Good food tastes even better, when you know it’s a bit healthier.  So inspiration from thai cooking class meet amateur food blogger who is always trying to prove that healthy tastes damn good too!  I decided to use ground turkey as the protein source, but you can always substitute ground chicken.  I also minimized the oil in the recipe, threw in some peanut butter (because I have a peanut butter addiction), and subbed light coconut milk for coconut cream or full fate coconut milk.  The trick is to buy light coconut milk and look at the ingredients.  The label should say coconut milk and water.  I buy my light coconut milk from Trader Joe’s.  If you can’t find the good stuff then use less regular coconut milk and thin it out with water.  You will get the creamy coconut flavor and your waist line will be thankful!

Skinny Thai Meatballs

You can serve these meatballs over quinoa, rice, cauliflower rice, spinach, lettuce, or just eat them plain.  The red coconut curry peanut sauce is AMAZING.  I might have scraped the pan clean with the spatula to make sure a drop of sauce was not wasted.

Skinny Thai Meatballs

As always,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Servings: 20-25 meatballs

The Players: 

For the meatballs
1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 C panko break crumbs
1 T fish sauce (alternatively substitute soy sauce)
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped (alternatively substitute thai basil)
1/3 C diced red onion (~1/4 of a large red onion, alternatively substitute scallion)
1/4 t red pepper flakes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced, divided
1 T toasted sesame oil
1 T peanut oil

For the curry sauce
2 t peanut oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
**Second half of ginger from meatball recipe
2 T red curry paste
14 oz can light coconut milk
2 T creamy natural peanut butter
1 T fish sauce
1-2 t sriracha (alternatively minced thai chiles)
1-2 T brown sugar

optional: lime wedges as garnish

The Rules: 

  1. Combine all the ingredients for meatballs, except for peanut and sesame oil, in a medium mixing bowl.  Mix, using your hands, until well incorporated.
  2. Shape into meatballs (~size of golf balls) and set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm the peanut and sesame oil ~1 minute.  Slowly add the meatballs to the hot pan.  Cook, rotating the meatballs until all sides are browned.  When all sides are browned, transfer the meatballs to a separate plate.  (Note: I used chopsticks to gently rotate the meatballs, cook time 6-8 minutes total)
  4. To your hot pan, add peanut oil, garlic, ginger and cook for 1 minute.  (Note: Do not burn the garlic, you want to infuse the oil)
  5. Add the remaining curry sauce ingredients, whisking until well-combined.  Taste and adjust to desired sweetness (brown sugar), saltiness (fish sauce), and spiciness (sriracha or thai chiles).
  6. Transfer the meatballs back to the pan containing curry sauce.  Reduce heat to low, cover pan with lid, and allow meatballs to simmer for ~10 minutes. (Note: The sauce will thicken as the meatballs cook)
  7. Serve the meatballs warm, with freshly squeeze lime juice, over rice or desired base.  Store meatballs in an airtight container refrigerated.

 

 

 

Shrimp Stir Fry with Sriracha-Peanut Sauce

Oh hey there March Madness.  Can I just say how nervous and excited I am about the Wisconsin Badgers playing tomorrow night?!?!? Proud lil alum here. Don’t get me wrong, I am no sports fanatic, but I am a BADGER FAN.  We are the number 1 seed and North Carolina is the number 4 seed.  It’s going to be a nail-biter and if they win (when they win), the subsequent game is going to be even more stressful.  It will be either Xavier or Arizona that we play if we advance.  Ahhhh the suspense is killing me.

Shrimp Stir Fry with Sriracha-Peanut Sauce

Moving on to something that I do know about… flavorful meals that are ready in a pinch.  I love peanut butter and I love sriracha.  Oh yes, I really love sriracha.  Why did I not think of combining the two into an awesome spicy, peanut sauce earlier?!?!  Man was I missing out before I whipped up this little number.

Shrimp Stir Fry with Sriracha-Peanut Sauce

I was really craving a stir fry tonight and of course it needed to be spicy.  Ta-da PERFECT spicy, peanut sauce meet yummy, veggie-filled stir fry.  I made a batch of roasted cauliflower rice as a base to this concoction.

Shrimp Stir Fry with Sriracha-Peanut Sauce

Seriously, this stir fry hit the spot in every single way.  I dare you not to eat a second-serving.

Shrimp Stir Fry with Sriracha-Peanut Sauce

As aways,

Bon Appeteek

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

The Players:

For the stir fry
1/2 red onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
3 C broccoli florets
15-20 large shrimp, peeled
3 garlic cloves, minced
non-stick coconut oil cooking spray

For the sriracha-peanut sauce 
1 T crunchy natural peanut butter, melted
2 T reduced sodium soy sauce
1 T honey
1 T rice vinegar
1 T siracha

optional toppings: chopped peanuts, fresh scallions

The Rules:

  1. Whisk ingredients for sauce in a small mixing bowl until well-combined, set aside.
  2. In a wok or large sauté pan coated with cooking spray, over medium-high heat, sweat onions and cook pepper for 3 minutes.
  3. Add rinsed broccoli florets to the pan and cook an additional 3-5 minutes.  Set veggies to one side of the pan.
  4. Coat pan with additional cooking spray if needed.  Place shrimp on other half of pan and cook for one minute per side until pink.
  5. Combine shrimp with veggies, add minced garlic, and drizzle with sriracha-peanut sauce.  Stir to combine, remove from heat and allow sauce to thicken 1-2 minutes.  Serve over desired grain or carb (Note: I used roasted cauliflower rice)