Changing for the better, one bite and (deep) breath at a time.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Company-ready Crusted Salmon

Whenever clients ask for a good salmon recipe, this is what I give them. It combines salmon with pecans and almonds (all great sources of healthy fat), plus a good helping of nutrient-rich spinach. Best of all, it's simple to make and tastes so fancy you can serve it at a dinner party...or a Tuesday night at home.

The recipe is adapted from a Taste of Home recipe I found a few years ago. It's a hit with everyone who tries it!

I use safflower mayonnaise because I'm not a fan of the soy and canola oil-based mayo. Soy and canola oil are highly genetically modified. Make sure to check the label to see what you're eating! I don't recommend the fat-free mayo that is in the original recipe.

Company-ready Crusted Salmon

2 packages (6 ounces each) fresh baby spinach
1 salmon fillet (1 1/2 lbs)
1 tsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. honey
3 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4 cup cornflakes (I omitted these - buy organic if you use them)
2 Tbsp. sliced almonds
2. Tbsp. chopped pecans
1/4 C safflower mayonnaise
Hot couscous, quinoa, or brown rice, optional


Assemble ingredients:

Place spinach in a 13x9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray; top with salmon. Drizzle oil over spinach:

Combine honey, mustard and mayo. Remove 2 Tbsp. mixture; brush over salmon. (Note: I usually double the sauce to spread more on the salmon.)

Place the cornflakes (if using), almonds and pecans in a small food
processor or blender; cover and process until ground:

Press onto salmon:

Refrigerate sauce until serving.

Bake, uncovered, at 450 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Drizzle with reserved sauce. Serve with couscous, quinoa, or brown rice if desired. I served it with roasted seasonal veggies.



Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chicken and Butternut Squash Millet Risotto and Clean Week 3

Clean Week 3 was perhaps the most difficult, yet most revealing week yet. I was traveling for work and under an incredible amount of stress. I managed to get the flu while in my hotel (not recommended) and was cooped up for a day in my room, sans room service. Despite all of this, I still stayed within the guidelines of the program and was able to get over the flu rather quickly. A wonderful coworker brought me ingredients to make chicken and rice soup in my room kitchen, and it certainly hit the spot when nothing else sounded good.

Stress is a bad thing. I carry stress in places like my throat and back, and I definitely attribute my contracting the flu to the fact that I put a lot of pressure on myself during the week. The Clean Program guidelines clearly state that detox should be a time of rest and relaxation, but it was quite the opposite for me. At the end of the 3 weeks, I felt like I had survived an emotional hurricane.

I'm still glad I did the Clean Program this time. It has re-set my taste preferences, and I crave vegetables and fruit. It feels weird eating later than 6 at night, and my allergies have definitely calmed down. I did learn that I need to relax - no, seriously - and that I can't survive with so much stress. It just doesn't work for me anymore.

I actually made the recipe below last night, post-cleanse. It is so good and yet is gluten- and dairy-free. I adapted it from the Clean Program recipe book (click on GOOP recipes), adding butternut squash instead of artichokes and including organic chicken for protein. My husband loves it and adds siracha for some spice. It's especially delicious paired with a big, fresh salad and homemade gluten-free bread with organic pasture butter (Whole Foods)!

Millet is an easily digestible, hypoallergenic whole grain that's a good source of B vitamins and fiber (5 grams!). It mimics rice in this risotto because it has a creamy, delicious consistency and doesn't even need cheese.

Chicken and Butternut Squash Millet Risotto


1 cup millet
6 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
3/4 cup red onion
1 cup mushrooms
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 butternut squash
4 cups organic low sodium chicken broth
1 lb. organic chicken breast or thighs
1/3 cup walnuts for garnish (optional)

Assemble your ingredients:

Wash the squash. Cut off the ends:

Peel the skin with a vegetable peeler:

Cut down the center and scoop the seeds out with an ice cream scoop:

Cut each half into bite-sized pieces:

Toss in a bowl with 2 T olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Spread evenly on a baking sheet:

When the squash is done, remove from the pan and set aside:

Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Toss with 1 T olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and rosemary. Roast at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the edges are slightly browned.

Spread the chicken across the bottom of a small glass baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until the centers are no longer pink. Remove from the dish and set aside to be used when the millet is finished:

Note: I pop the squash and the chicken in the oven together and allow them to bake while I start the millet. Once the squash and chicken are done, I set them aside until the millet is done.

In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat the oil with the shallots and mushrooms, and cook, stirring frequently until softened (about 5 minutes):

Add cup of water, bring the heat to high, and add the millet:

Then lower heat to medium heat and start to add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring after each addition, every few minutes.

When the stock has been almost completely absorbed after each addition, keep adding more, so the mixture isn’t quite soup but stays very moist.

Keep doing this until millet is tender and has at least doubled in size (about 20 minutes).
Add herbs, squash, and chicken at the last few minutes of cooking and taste for texture.
Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle in walnuts (if using). Serve warm.

I could honestly eat this every week, it's that good! It takes a bit of time to prep, but it sits in our fridge all week and makes for a great warm lunch at work or quick dinner paired with veggies. I am so happy I came across this recipe!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Chocolate Walnut Clean Program Scones and Clean Week 2

I'm on week 2 of the Clean Program. It has been a rough week stress-wise, which made this detox a little bit more difficult than expected. It's amazing when we realize why we reach for food (or a glass of wine!). I don't consider myself much of an emotional eater anymore, but apparently I still have the "must-put-something-in-mouth" reflex when really stressed. While doing Clean, I'm forced to reevaluate why and how I'm eating. It's a great way to check in with what's going on in my head and how that affects how I'm eating.

Week 2 progress has included a dramatic decrease in cravings for sweets and a leveling out in my blood sugar. My skin has started to clear up, and my eyes are looking bright. My digestive tract is functioning much better too. I'm in Baltimore for week 3, so I have a lot of time alone to relax, de-stress, and watch movies after work (as opposed to running errands, cooking, cleaning, or hanging out with loved ones at home). Oh, and I'm supposed to work on that whole chill out thing...we'll see ;)

I wanted to make something baked and yummy that is both Greg-approved and Clean Program-worthy. This recipe comes from Clean Eats, a recipe book on the
Clean Program website (click on "GOOP Recipes"). The recipes in this booklet are not necessarily strict to the 21-day detox but are gluten-, dairy-, soy-, and added sugar-free. I'm a big fan of scones, but I don't often make them because it's hard to find a healthy alternative that actually tastes good, and I don't like the too-sweet scones found at coffee shops. Both Greg and I really enjoyed these and look forward to making them on a regular basis. Note: since I'm avoiding chocolate (made with sugar) on the program, I simply added about 1/4 cup shredded coconut.

Chocolate Walnut Scones Ingredients:
3/4 cup coconut oil + 1 tsp. for greasing the baking sheet

1/4 cup water

1/2 cup dates, pitted

1 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

2 cups gluten free all purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill) + 1 T for dusting (
the recipe calls for 1 cup, but per recommendations on the Clean website, I used 2 cups)
Pinch sea salt
2 oz organic dark chocolate (sugar/dairy free), coarsely chopped
(this is where I used shredded coconut instead)
1/2 cup raw, organic walnuts, coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash the dates until you have a thick paste and set aside.

Warm the coconut oil until it's liquid and add to date paste with vanilla and water.

Add the wet to the dry (I did dry to wet) and mix until combined. Dough should hold together. Stir in the walnuts and shredded coconut if using.

Form the dough into a round and place on a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Roll each half into another round. Cut one of the rounds in half and cut each half into thirds and repeat with the second round so you have 12 wedges.
Lightly grease a baking or cookie sheet with the coconut oil and place the wedges on the sheet in the oven for 16 minutes, turning at the 8 minute mark. Note: you can also make rustic drop scones by simply spooning the dough onto the sheet like giant cookies if you prefer that to the wedge shape.

When they come out, look how beautiful they are!

Don't these look good? Is your mouth watering yet?

I hope you give this recipe a shot and enjoy them as much as we did!