Lox, Avocado & Goat Cheese Salad

The highly compatible combination of smoked salmon, avocado, goat cheese and spinach are perfect for a healthy and filling lunch on the run.

In about 3 minutes, you can toss pre-washed spinach in a bowl, add lox right from its package (cut if desired once it’s in the bowl), scoop in half an avocado, then drop in a pat of goat cheese and finish with olive oil. Slap on a lid and go!

Put an Egg on It: Pulled Pork Hash

Inspired by Pinterest browsing and brunch menus, I decided to try making an egg, pulled pork and veggie hash for dinner. The result was a satisfying and protein-packed meal that would be suitable for any time of day.

First prepare a batch of pulled pork. If you want to keep it super simple, just simmer a pork tenderloin in broth or water for a couple of hours on low, until desired tenderness.

Then, sauté shredded pork with olive oil, garlic, frozen peas and spinach. Crack some eggs over the top; cover and cook on low until set.

For extra omegas, serve with fresh avocado.

Crock Pot Pulled Pork & Quinoa

Part two of this week’s pre-made meal makeover was pulled pork in the crockpot, served twice (and counting!) with quinoa and veggies. It started with my recipe for taco-ready crock pot pulled pork, which basically consists of a pork tenderloin, a large can of diced tomatoes, frozen corn and taco seasoning in the crock pot.

I served mine two ways with quinoa as a base: accompanied by spinach and tomatoes on the first night…

On the second night, I melted a slice of pepper jack cheese over quinoa in the microwave, then topped it with leftover pork and sliced avocado…

And there is still plenty of leftover pork!

Good Things in Small Packages: Mushroom Quinoa

I’m always on the lookout for healthy ingredients that don’t require refrigeration, or at least have a long shelf life, especially for weeknight dinners. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a $5 bag of dried Maitake mushrooms at the non-frugal Ferry Building and a bag of ready-to-cook red quinoa at a nearby market. Bingo!

First, soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15-30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa according to instructions, and prep your ingredients of choice. I sautéed minced garlic with chopped green onions and carrots in olive oil, before stirring the mushrooms in. I added spinach directly to the pot of quinoa, and microwaved frozen peas, before pouring in the sauté mixture. For seasoning, I used a generous sprinkling of salt and a couple shakes of fish sauce.

Basically, use your imagination and enjoy guilt-free!

Spinach Breakfast Burrito

After indulging in some incredible NOLA cuisine, I needed a light Saturday breakfast that would bring me back to reality. Enter spinach. Specifically spinach that was set to expire that day. So I used it up in a healthy breakfast burrito…


Just sautée a batch of fresh, washed spinach in olive oil or butter and season with salt. Crack two eggs and cook on low until set to your preferred doneness; sprinkle with salt. Pour the mixture onto a tortilla and wrap like a burrito. I had mine with goat milk yogurt for dipping.

And in case you were wondering about the aforementioned New Orleans food adventures, here’s a peek:


Corned Pork & Colcannon in the Crock Pot

I love a good Irish meal, but don’t love picking over the leftover processed and packaged corned beef in the grocery aisle. So I decided to try seasoning pork tenderloin with the same flavors as the traditional St. Patty’s meal. With potatoes, carrots and broccoli near expiration, I was in a decent position to emulate Colcannon to round out the meal.


Here’s how:

Use a peppercorn grinder to coat all sides of each loin in the crock pot.

Make a paste of about 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard and garlic cloves (I used 2 cloves, but feel free to go big). Spread the paste on all sides of each loin. Cook on low for 4 hours.

Shred the pork in the crock pot. Then, add a layer of peeled potatoes, baby carrots and broccoli florets. Cook for 2+ hours on low (at 2 hours in, the potatoes and carrots were still somewhat firm). Separate and mash the potatoes, carrots and broccoli with 1 cube of melted butter and 1 cup of heated almond milk. Salt as desired.

This Irish girl was happy with the flavors of the dish, but my non-Irish husband added BBQ sauce. Slainte!

Pin Real Life: Barley & Baked Eggs Brunch

It’s Sacramento Beer Week, so what better time to celebrate barley? Actually, that wasn’t really the motivation for this. The real story is that we’re going to be drinking a lot of beer to celebrate a certain Beer, so a healthy and hearty brunch is in order.

I’ve been wondering what to do with the pearled barley I was inspired to purchase at some point. So naturally, Pinterest provided a solution, Skillet Barley with Kale & Eggs.

I swapped in green onions for shallots, spinach for kale, and chicken broth for vegetable broth, in this adaptation:

Add 2 sliced green onions to 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat; cook for 2 minutes.

Add 1 cup barley; stir to toast for 1 minute.

Add 3.5 cups broth (I used organic chicken broth) and bring to boil; adjust temperature as needed to maintain active boil for 15 minutes, and ultimately you want the barley to soak up all the liquid.

Turn on the broiler with the rack 6 inches below.

Stir in a bunch of spinach (I used half a bag) until wilted. Add another swirl of olive oil to help the process along.

Crack 4 eggs over the top; season with salt, and broil until egg whites are opaque. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

I was very happy with the results, because I like grains any time of day, and the dish had the right amount of flavor. David isn’t as convinced about the barley. But the eggs were perfectly runny at least!

Embarrassingly Easy Meatball Lasagna

One of my favorite things about the Sopranos was how they didn’t mess around when it came to food. Feisty Carmella always served up hearty pasta dishes for the family, even when she and Tony were on limited speaking terms. But I digress.

Tonight I was looking for something similarly no nonsense. So I pulled meatballs out of the fridge, and found marinara sauce and lasagna noodles in the cupboard. Bada boom! Basic ingredients for an easy Italian dinner.

The only curve ball was that I had 6 lasagna noodles. Hardly enough for a typical layered lasagna. So here’s what I did:

-Butter the pan; add three lasagna noodles.
-Pour a layer of marinara sauce, followed by pre-cooked meatballs and spinach leaves. Cover with sauce and a layer of shredded cheese.
-Ideally, here’s where you repeat another layer or two.
-Top with final layer of noodles, sauce and shredded cheese.
-Bake covered at 375 for 45 minutes, or until noodles are tender. Finish by baking uncovered until cheese is adequately melted.

David ate a Tony-size portion, so I’d say it was a success.

Beg, Borrow and Meal: Turkey Meatball and Spinach Scramble

Breakfast was a whole lot heartier this morning, with the addition of leftover turkey and banana meatballs from Thursday night and a 50/50 spinach and lettuce blend. There’s nothing like leftovers and expiration dates to inspire some creativity in the kitchen!


Bahn Mi Wannabe

The juxtaposition of savory protein and fresh greens elevates sandwiches to other worldly status in my opinion. The decadent Bahn Mi is case in point. I translated this concept for dinner two ways:

Pulled pork topped with cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh basil, spinach, salt and pepper

Ground turkey (seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper) with cheddar and cucumbers