First off, a confession: Whatever the opposite of a chef is, I fall under that category.
I've made leaps and bounds in my lifestyle over the past 4 years, switching from strictly microwaveable + packaged processed foods to... y'know, real food. I stock up on greens. I experiment with super foods and I'm always looking up new ways to up the ante where my health it concerned. I whip up smoothies/ juices on the daily. I pay attention to what goes into my body, with nourishment being the overarching theme. But I'm not quite there yet.
Second confession? I still turn to food for comfort. I'm an emotional eater. I open up my cupboards when I'm feeling bored. Cooking/ meal planning still stresses me out. I've been struggling with digestive issues/ bloating/ lack of energy and it's been both frustrating and exhausting.
I've decided that enough is enough. Putting food into my body that is the opposite of nourishment is just not worth it. So, if you're game, I'd love you to come on this journey with me. You can bet that the recipes/ tricks/ tools that I share with you here are easy and 100% doable. I'm not a chef, I'm not a yogi, I'm not a body builder, a nutritionist, a holistic healer, hell - I'm not even vegetarian. I'm just a girl who wants to thrive.
Let's kick it off with these three amazing salad recipes. All three are 'regulars' in the Tymo Household. They won't disappoint!
MOZZ + PENNE SALAD
YOU'LL NEED (4 Servings):
1/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Parsley
1/2 cup Mayonnaise
1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar
3 cloves Garlic, finely minced
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 box Penne Pasta (we used gluten-free)
3 cups packed Baby Spinach
2 Red Peppers, roasted
4-6 ounces Mozzarella cheese, cubed (you can also used smoked mozzarella, or whatever cheese you'd like)
1. For the dressing, combine the Parmesan cheese, parsley, mayo, vinegar, garlic, cayenne and salt and pepper in a blender and process until the dressing is smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve. The dressing can be made up to two days ahead of time.
2. To prepare the salad, cook the pasta in a large pot of salted water until just tender, al dente. Drain the pasta and run cold water over it and drain well.
3. Chop the red peppers and roast on large skillet, with a bit of water.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, spinach, roasted red peppers and mozzarella.
At this point, the salad and dressing can be refrigerated for a couple of hours separately before serving. Toss the salad with the dressing right before serving.
(Recipe originally found via Mel's Kitchen and adjusted slightly.)
GOAT CHEESE + APRICOT SALAD
YOU'LL NEED (2 Servings):
Panko Bread Crumbs
1. Place desired amount of spring greens/ almonds onto two plates and set aside.
2. Cut up pear and cook either on a skillet or grill on the barbeque. If in a pan, sometimes I like to add a bit of water/ honey/ both which softens them nicely.
3. Chop up dried apricots and mix well with goat cheese, making little balls. Dip individually into egg batter, then cover each ball with panko crust. Cook in a pan with olive oil until golden. I like to cook them just over medium heat, to avoid the cheese being on the hot pan for too long, resulting in a melty mess. Continuously turn them every so often to avoid burning.
4. Arrange goat cheese balls and pear slices on the plates you've set side, add a little balsamic dressing, and voila!
QUINOA + CHICKPEA SALAD
YOU'LL NEED (3 Servings):
1 cup Quinoa
1 can Chickpeas
Spinach/ Spring Greens
2 Tbsp Chopped Parsley
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tsp Olive Oil
Chopped Red Onion
Chopped Red Pepper
1. To cook quinoa: Put rinsed quinoa into saucepan. For 1 cup raw quinoa, add 2 cups of water. (Ratio is 1:2 if you want to add more or less.) Toss in a dash of salt. Cover and bring to a boil. As soon as it starts to boil, bring to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
2. Add rinsed chickpeas, spinach (we used spring greens this time because it's what was on hand), parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, red onion, red pepper, and cooked quinoa in a bowl and mix. For the red onion/ red peppers, use your intuition for how much you'd like.
I originally posted this recipe on instagram, without the red onion + red pepper, and adding it makes a huge flavour difference. Add in other ingredients if you wish. Get creative! This is perfect to pack for a healthy and filling lunch.
BEFORE YOU GO... Do you struggle with healthy eating/ healthy lifestyle? What are your main concerns/ pitfalls? This is something that I'm really passionate about and would love to know what interests you/ what you'd like to know about! After all, this space is really for you.