Avocado Mango Salsa on Salmon and Coconut Rice

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Swap out 2 cups of water for a can of coconut milk next time you make rice. Oh my heavens, best thing ever. It’s such a nice compliment to the fish and sweet hot salsa. We ate the leftover rice with cinnamon and whole milk for breakfast the next day and it was wonderful then, too.

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This salsa was the result of a box of mangos I picked up from Costco. I made it twice in one week, it was such a hit. The first time, I used more avocado, the second, I added cilantro. It’s a flexible recipe. Play with it. I used it as a topping for a steak salad for lunch and ate some on corn chips. It’s a fresh burst of flavor and you’ll find yourself finding all sorts of ways to eat it. Leave the jalapeno out of some for the sensitive palates (ie 3 year olds) and you’ll keep everyone happy. I served it with a side of curry roasted carrots. Nom.

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The fish wasn’t anything special, but I needed the protein and this salmon had more flavor than tilapia or sole, though both of those would work well, too. I baked the fish in a bit of olive oil and lemon under foil at 350 for 12 minutes. Easy.

It’s a quick dinner, but certainly not boring. Perfect for summer, perfect for kids, perfect for patio dining.

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Avocado Mango Salsa
Adapted from Allrecipes here and here

Ingredients:
2 mangoes – peeled, seeded and diced
1 Tbs white sugar
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped (optional)
1 tsp salt

Instructions:
Mix together the mangoes, sugar, vinegar, cilantro, jalapeno and salt. Gently fold in the avocado and serve.

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Eggplant Lasagna

I ate this for dinner last night with Aurelia and a darling friend and had so much left over, I had it again tonight. Aurelia ate her serving up both nights and I couldn’t help but get seconds. It’s really wonderful, especially the second day. It’s somewhat like the Eggplant Towers, except with way more cheese and no goat heart. You can tell my diet has been falling below pretty and I’m doing my best to at least be posting as many savory recipes as sweet. It’s amazing how quickly I start slipping into my old sweet cravings and the effect it not only has on my waist, but my appetite the rest of the day.

I started a new running schedule and ran on Monday and Tuesday this week. I did weights on Wednesday and decided it had been far too long since I’d done heavy squats and lunges and proceeded to push myself down to the ground in double sets of 15 on both. Plus the rest of a full body strength day. It always feels great when you’re doing it and just done, right? It’s the last two mornings I haven’t been able to walk properly, let alone run again. Hmm. I feel like I have to drop the heavy weights if I’m going to run this often (and eat the carbs running for an hour+ affords), but I know that’s only the easy way out. I have to start lifting¬†more¬†and it will get easier as I get stronger. Meanwhile, I’ll wince on the stairs and wear slip on shoes I don’t have to pull or buckle.

This may seem like comfort food and feel downright indulgent, but it really is quite lean. I substituted eggplant for the lasagna noodles, cottage cheese for the ricotta, cut out the parmesean and used less mozzarella, and used turkey and tons of veg in the sauce for flavor, fiber, protein, and micronutrients. This is not your typical lasagna and I think you’ll love it more than any traditional version. Your body certainly will!

Eat your vegetables! Eat protein! Lift heavy things! Love the body you have and ask it to do more!

Eggplant Lasagna
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
2 eggplants, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds
6 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1.25 pounds ground turkey
1 Tbs dried oregano
1 Tbs dried basil
2 tsp dried marjoram
1 (10 ounce) package fresh spinach leaves
2 cups cottage cheese (16 oz container)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 egg
2 cups tomato or marinara sauce (preferably seasoned or roasted)
2 Tbs tomato paste
2 cups tomatoes, chopped (or one 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes)
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:
Soak the eggplant slices in a large bowl of heavily salted water. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Once the eggplant is done soaking, rinse the slices under fresh water and dry. Brush the slices with olive oil on both sides, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, flipping the slices over after 5 minutes.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and cook until it starts to brown, about 5 minutes. Add some salt and pepper, the spices, onion and garlic. Cook another 5 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it wilts. Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste and chopped tomatoes. Cook and stir for a few minutes until fragrant and perfectly saucy. Remove from heat.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, half of the mozzarella cheese, the egg, and some salt and pepper. Set aside.

Ready to assemble. Place a spoonful of sauce on the bottom of an oiled 9×13 baking dish. Add half of the eggplant slices. Spoon half of the cheese mixture over the eggplant and spread into a thin layer. Spoon half of the remaining sauce over the cheese layer. Do it all again with the last of the eggplant, cheese, and sauce. Bake for 45 minutes in the preheated oven.

Take the pan out, sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese over the top, and bake for another 15 minutes until golden and bubbly. Let cool for at least 15 minutes or so before slicing and serving.

Zucchini Brownies with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Frosting

This is such an odd recipe. If you give it a shot, you’ll be cursing my name as you put it in the oven, certain that it won’t turn out. But it does, I promise! I ate a piece warm and plain out of the oven and it was, eh, fine. I wasn’t going to give any away or post it here. But the chocolate was deep and I remembered that my very favorite chocolate cake (which I have yet to post here – how is that possible!?) really needs a night wrapped up in the refrigerator before it’s ready. It’s something about a dense, chocolate, butter based, rich, moist cake that really improves with some patience and a chilled night in plastic wrap. The super simple chocolate chip frosting was perfect because I still wanted to be able to wrap these up and give them away, so a sticky or fluffy frosting wouldn’t do. Chocolate chips, the darker the better, are easy to melt and smooth, and then will harden back when cooled. The combination of dense chocolatey brownie with the layer of serious chocolate makes these a real treat to eat and give to sweet people. And they are full of zucchini! Convinced yet?

Zucchini Brownies with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
Brownies
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups shredded zucchini
Frosting
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 inch baking pan. In a large bowl, mix together the butter, sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla until well blended. Into another bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt; stir into the butter mixture. Fold in the zucchini. The batter will be very, very dry! Spread evenly into the prepared pan. This will not pour. You’ll have to press the batter into the pan evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until brownies spring back when gently touched. To make the frosting, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave for 60-90 seconds, stirring every 30 seconds, until completely melted and smooth. Spread over cooled brownies. Wait an hour for the frosting to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least a few hours, if not overnight, before cutting into squares.

Zucchini Raisin Cookies

Delish.

Zucchini Raisin Cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup grated zucchini
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup raisins

Instructions:
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg then stir in the zucchini. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cloves, and cinnamon; stir into the zucchini mixture. Mix in raisins. Cover dough and chill for at least 1 hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until set. Don’t over bake! They should still look barely doughy. Allow cookies to cool slightly on the cookie sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Iced Sweet Potato Spice Cookies

Oh, hello there, fall. Here’s a lovely little cookie for you.

Iced Sweet Potato Spice Cookies
Adapted from Allrecipes

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pureed sweet potato
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1-2 Tbs milk
1 1/2 tsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars. Add the sweet potato puree, egg, and vanilla to the butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients just until incorporated. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls. Bake for 13-15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze on with a spoon.

To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, 1 tablespoon milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add more milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.