Monday, June 24, 2013

Herbed Couscous with Roasted Fennel and Asparagus

I have come to understand the importance of scheduling and time management more than ever before.

Time Management = the act or process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency or productivity (wik.)

As a Yoga Teacher in this huge city called Los Angeles, you may have heard of it before :), I find myself driving all over town to guide my lovely students through a 60-minute class. Do I love it? Of course I do! The teaching part that is, not the driving and sitting in traffic part - although it has taught me patience. Add in my nutrition clients - whom I adore, leading nutrition classes, recipe development, preparing and blogging, admin time and oh yeah, planning my wedding…whoa! Someone please throw me a calendar with loads of reminders :)

I am beyond grateful for the life that I am living, the career and business that I am building and for the support of my fiancé, friends and family. Through this journey I now realize how important it is to block off every commitment of my day to stay organized whether this be for teaching, counseling, exercising or relaxing. Let me tell you, I feel better already! Are you in the same boat? You should try it! It is all about prioritizing your time.

Okay, on to the recipe. Cooking a delicious healthy meal doesn’t have to take an abundance of your time. In fact, sometimes the tastiest meals take the shortest amount of time to prepare. Here, I have paired roasted fennel and asparagus with couscous for a simple, fresh and light summer dish.

Interested in learning more about the health benefits of fennel? Click here

Note, you could also use quinoa to keep it gluten-free.

* Serves 2 as a dinner entree

1 large fennel bulb sliced thin (I used my mandolin)
1 large bunch of asparagus, washed and ends trimmed
1 can of organic garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 cup of whole-wheat couscous
1 cup of vegetable stock (or water)
2 tablespoons of fresh chopped basil
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Sliced raw almonds
1 lemon
Sea salt

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Place the sliced fennel and asparagus on a pan and lightly drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Roast for approximately 8 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable stock (or water) and one tablespoon of olive oil to boil. Add the couscous, stir, cover and remove from heat. Let the couscous sit, covered, for approximately five minutes. Add basil, garbanzo beans and fluff with a fork.

Spoon the couscous onto a plate. Top with roasted fennel and asparagus. Squeeze with fresh lemon and top with sliced almonds just before serving.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Nectarine and Arugula Salad with Pistachio Puree and Citrus Vinaigrette

In case you aren't aware, I got engaged a little over one year ago and I am getting married in 7 weeks! I cannot believe it is almost here! It feels like just yesterday I was calling my friends and family back home to share our exciting news. Tomorrow morning I am leaving (on a jet plane ;) for my wedding shower back in Wisconsin – can you believe it?! I wanted to post an inspiring seasonal salad before checking out for a few days and this beautiful work of art is what I’ve created.

I’ve been extremely busy teaching yoga, leading nutrition classes and meeting with other wellness professionals in my community that my time in the kitchen has taken a back seat. I absolutely LOVE to cook and create new healthy delicious recipes and realized that I need to find time for this “therapy” in my crazy, somewhat chaotic world. I always tell my clients that if they enjoy something enough they will find a way to make it a priority. Today I listened to my own advice and made creative cooking a priority!

Arugula (a.k.a. rocket) is a leafy green, which is sometimes classified as an herb, with a spicy peppery flavor. The smaller leaves are generally milder in taste and less bitter. Arugula is high in antioxidants essential in reducing free radical activity in the body. The flavonoid compounds and Vitamin A in arugula may prevent certain forms of cancer such as skin, lung and oral. The sharp leafy green is rich in Vitamins A, K and C and is great at boosting the immune system and improving eye health. Unlike spinach, arugula is low in oxalates, which inhibit mineral absorption in the body, and is therefore a great alternative for people seeking greens high in calcium and other minerals.

Organic wild arugula (rinsed and dried)
Sliced white or yellow nectarines
1/2 cup of soaked pistachios (raw and unsalted)
1/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup of EVOO
1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup of fresh water
1 teaspoon of honey
Sea salt

Blend the pistachios, apple cider vinegar, water, honey and a dash of salt in a blender or food processor until you have a creamy puree. Set aside.

To make the vinaigrette, add the orange juice to a blender or glass bowl. Slowly begin to add the olive oil (at low speed if using a blender or whisk quickly) until the ingredients have emulsified and look opaque and thoroughly combined. Add sea salt to taste. Transfer to a small jar or bottle and set aside.
Spoon some of the pistachio puree to a plate. Top with arugula and nectarine slices. Drizzle with orange vinaigrette and add a few whole pistachios as a garnish (optional). Enjoy!

* Add cooked quinoa to the salad if you’re eating this salad as an entrée.