Month: May 2014

Quinoa and Bean Sloppy Joes


Quinoa has been the latest rage lately! It has been everywhere, everywhere, everywhere!  Quinoa is pretty awesome if they think about it. It has the highest amount of protein of any grain and has no gluten! It is a great grain to incorporate into our diet in general, but is even more important if you have a gluten intolerance, are working out, or are just trying to watch what you are eating.


Quinoa is really easy to add into any recipe and I have seen a lot of them lately! Here’s the thing I haven’t seen, quinoa recipes that KIDS would love! So I present to you Quinoa and Bean Sloppy Joes! What kid do you know that doesn’t love sloppy joes?


These sloppy joes are a little different not just because they are meat-free, but also because they don’t just have the traditional tomato sauce flavor. These definitely have the tomato sauce, ketchup flavor, but they also have a nice smokey barbecue flavor. Your kids will love my sloppy joes because they are just as messy and fun as the traditional one, but better!!

IMG_1590 (1)

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!


Quinoa and Bean Sloppy Joes
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
Add a minimal amount of apple cider vinegar to start with and then increase as everything has been combined. Depending on what your barbecue tastes like you may not want to add the full 4 tablespoons.
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to directions on package
  • 1- 15 ounce can of black beans, drained but not rinsed
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (I used my homemade barbecue sauce–>
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2-4 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, depending on how tangy you want it (SEE NOTE)
  • 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 8 ounce package of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 stalks of green onion, chopped
  • 6 whole grain buns or lettuce to wrap them up
  1. In a large skillet melt the coconut oil
  2. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they are translucent, about 3 minutes
  3. Add the barbecue sauce, ketchup and tomato sauce and mix well
  4. Then add the apple cider vinegar, worcestershire sauce, coconut sugar and red chili flakes
  5. Allow the sauce to cook on low for 10 minutes
  6. Add the cooked quinoa and beans, combine well and cook on low for 5 minutes
  7. Lastly you will add in the tomato paste mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes
  8. If you want the sloppy joes thicker then you can add more tomato paste
  9. To assemble, top each bun with the sloppy joe mixture and then top with shredded cheddar cheese and green onions.


One Pot Enchilada Chili Mac


Happy Tuesday!


Wasn’t this just the best weekend! An extra day makes the weekend feel like the right amount of time. Two days isn’t really enough, right? Two days isn’t enough time to do much else but housework. It seems like we go, go, go all week long and then all we do is clean and cook on the weekends. Well, some people sleep. What is that like? Ah, to sleep all day long. Oh well, for now life is go, go, go. (more…)

Turkey Burger Madeira Wraps

You know when you have those meals you can not stop picking at when you are making it and then you aren’t hungry when the dinner is done. Well, that pretty much happened here! This was an idea my sister and I had. I wanted turkey burgers and she wanted chicken madeira. Why not combine them! This is exactly like chicken madeira, minus the chicken and of course mushrooms because, bleh, I hate mushrooms.


As I was editing these pictures I was literally salivating. Okay, I am still salivating. Even talking about this meal just makes me drool. Graeyson is drooling because he is teething and I am drooling because this is so stinking delicious! Every time I went to add a photo into Aperture I was just dying because I didn’t have any left to eat! They were SO gone. I mean gone gone, like I hardly saw them. That’s okay, that just means they were that good. I was planning on having one for lunch the next day, but no dice.


Burgers are the best part of summer! They really are just good on their own, but sometimes it can get boring! What if you wanted to make burgers, but thought that everyone was going to think you were lazy! With this it just LOOKS like you weren’t lazy. They still only take about 30 minutes, but they don’t need to know that.


These burgers are so gorgeous I can’t even stand it. Don’t you love how I snuck all the veggies in under the cheese! Although, these asparagus are amazing because they have that little char flavor going on. The Bibb lettuce gives the burger such a lovely texture and then the madeira sauce dripping everywhere, really seriously?! If this doesn’t get you excited then I don’t know what will! I wrapped mine in the bakery paper and tied it up to make it look extra fancy, like it even needs that! They are such show stoppers on their own.


We really need to stop talking about this meal because I am going to want to make it again, right now! Enjoy your holiday weekend with your loved ones!



Turkey Burger Madeira Wraps
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
I didn’t use any oil in the skillet. Just put the patty’s straight onto the skillet. The thigh meat creates enough oil to cook the burgers. If you are using a really lean turkey or chicken then you may want to consider adding a little oil.
  • 2 pounds turkey thigh meat
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt (I used Santa Maria)
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, finely chopped
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups madeira
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 10 drops of liquid smoke
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 5 medium sized yukon gold potatoes (peeled, cubed and boiled)
  • 1/2 individual cup of plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond milk (rice or other)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices of Havarti cheese
  • 24 asparagus stalks, ends cut off
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 bunch of Bibb lettuce or any other that will wrap nicely, washed and leaves peeled off to make lettuce cups
  1. In a large bowl combine the turkey meat, seasoning salt, salt, shallots, garlic, thyme and pepper
  2. Knead it until everything has dispersed evenly
  3. Make 8 burger patty’s out of the meat and put them in a large skillet on medium high heat and cook them until there is no pink, about 3 minutes each side (SEE NOTE)
  4. While your burgers are cooking you can start the sauce
  5. In a medium sized saucepan add the madeira, beef stock, coconut sugar, liquid smoke, salt, and a couple good pinches of pepper.
  6. Once it has combined and the sugar has melted down add the arrowroot powder
  7. You will have to continue whisking like crazy to get the arrowroot broken down (chase it around the saucepan!)
  8. Cook the sauce for at least 10 minutes on medium heat until the sauce has thickened up
  9. Feel free to add more arrowroot powder if the sauce isn’t thick enough for you!
  10. The last thing you are going to cook up is the asparagus
  11. Everything is going to take about 10-15 minutes to cook so you can start everything at the same time and just switch from one thing to the next.
  12. Grab a cast iron grill pan and add your asparagus to it
  13. Pour the olive oil on top of the asparagus and turn the heat to medium high.
  14. You want to get a nice little char going on
  15. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the asparagus
  16. Mash the potatoes and add the greek yogurt, milk, pepper, salt and combine well. Set aside.
  17. Go to your skillet with the turkey burgers and a good scoop of mashed potatoes (flatten them down), add three slices of asparagus to the top of each burger with mashed potatoes and then top it with havarti cheese. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet to allow the cheese to melt. This should take just a couple of minutes.
  18. Once the cheese has melted place the patty’s on top of a lettuce cup, then add madeira sauce and top with another lettuce cup.
  19. Wrap them is desired!
  20. Serve immediately!


Green Apple Pork Chops


Happy Friday!



This Mother’s Day was my very first one, ever! Last year I missed it my a touch. One of my southern friends says, “touch.” So, I am going to start saying it because I love it! For Mother’s Day I got a brand new spanking camera! I am so in love with it.



My husband, and of course Graeyson, got me a Canon 70D! It is so gorgeous and the pictures are beyond clear, I can’t even stand it! Pre Mother’s Day I was either borrowing a camera from my father -in- law or I was using my husband’s 10 year old camera. I had such a hard time taking good quality pictures, until now! Now I have no excuse. I have a state of the art camera and I need to learn how to use it.


I brought my camera with me to San Diego last week and made these pork chops for my husband. They are so sweet, tart and really tender. I hate pork chops that are tough. I love getting bone- in pork chops because it really helps the meat from drying out. It adds extra flavor and I feel that the meat ends up being more tender. There was only one lame part about these pork chops. I had to leave them in San Diego! My husband got to enjoy them and I flew home with a 12 month old. Somehow that doesn’t seem right.


I love these chops because dinner is ready in under 30 minutes. How is that even possible? See you can make a great family meal quickly with hardly any ingredients! Thank goodness they were quick and easy because I had a lot of cooking to do. I left my husband with a fully stocked fridge that he is still working on finishing!




Green Apple Pork Chops
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 4 bone-in pork chops about 1.5 inch thick
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 granny smith apples cut into ½ inch cubes
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  1. Sprinkle pork chops with salt and pepper on both sides
  2. Press the chopped thyme into the pork chops on both sides
  3. Add 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil and brown each side of the pork chop for 2-3 minutes, then remove and set aside
  4. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil and the apple cider vinegar to the pan and add apples and onions, cook on medium heat for 5 minutes
  5. Add the pork chops back to the pan
  6. Cook for 2 minutes and turn the chops over and then cook an additional 3 minutes or until there is no longer any pink in the middle
  7. Remove from heat immediately


Mashed Potato Stuffed Meatloaf


Hello little muffin of yumminess! How cool is this meal? It is such a perfect little individual sized meal. Your kids and guests will go crazy for these! I know I always say this, but this tastes amazing! You have to make this!


This is so good, I can’t even tell you. Ok, I have to tell you! On the top there is delicious sauce with a combination of flavors of ketchup, barbecue sauce and hot sauce. Just below the sauce is the meatloaf and it is so juicy, moist and full of incredible flavor! As you bit into it further you hit the creamy mashed potatoes. To make these potatoes creamy and tangy I added greek yogurt! This gives it a nice extra punch of protein without many calories. As if this isn’t enough there is turkey bacon stuffed in the middle.



Like I said this is incredibly amazing!! The best way to do this is making the raw meatloaf and the mashed potatoes the night before because it does take up quite a bit of time. So in the future I am going to do half of the work the night before.


Mashed Potato Stuffed Meatloaf
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 slices sourdough bread, made into breadcrumbs (3 cups)
  • 1 cup- 3 cheese parmesan shreds
  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 slices turkey bacon, diced and cooked
  • 1 cup rice milk + 1/4 cup rice milk (or other milk)
  • 5 yukon gold potatoes; peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 container of plain greek yogurt (individual cup)
  • Chives, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup agave sweetened ketchup ( or unsweetened ketchup)
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 dashes hot sauce (I used Texas Peet’s)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, take the mashed potatoes and add the coconut oil, greek yogurt, and salt and pepper to taste
  3. In a large bowl mix together the ground beef, parsley, garlic, breadcrumbs, eggs, parmesan and 1 cup of rice milk until well combined
  4. In a medium sized pot heat the ketchup, coconut sugar and hot sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes
  5. Take your greased muffin baking dish and fill it up about 1/2 way with the meat mixture.
  6. Pat it down to the bottom and then start to push it out to the sides and up about halfway (like a pie, but only halfway up)
  7. Add a small dollop of the ketchup mixture on top of the meat mixture (about a teaspoon)
  8. Then add about 1 1/2 tablespoons mashed potatoes on top of that
  9. Add another small dollop of sauce
  10. Add a few crumbles of turkey bacon
  11. Add more meat mixture to the top
  12. Press it gently and seal it
  13. It should look formed like a muffin
  14. Coat the ketchup mixture over the top of the muffins
  15. Then top with bacon crumbles
  16. Bake for 25 minutes at 400 degrees
  17. Top with chopped chives
  18. Allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving


Broccolini, Sausage and Shells in Truffle Oil


Happy birthday to my favorite little goose!


Our little man Graeyson turned 1 year old today! I can’t believe how fast this year went by and now I don’t have a little baby anymore, I have a BIG boy. Well, a big boy who isn’t even walking yet. He is so lazy! I guess he is too busy to be learning how to walk.


This past year has taught me a lot about myself. There were a lot of things I gave up to have the best thing of all! My weight, my shape, my sleep, my schedule, my eating patterns, my boobs, my hygiene, the way I dress… yup it’s all out the window. Hopefully this year I learn how to get it back.


Even though there are a lot of things I have had to give up, there are also a lot of things that I have gained. I have gained a sense of self respect for myself, of sense of being and a sense of understanding what life is really about. Being a mother has taught me to be less selfish and to enjoy the little things in life. Being a mother is the best gift I have ever been given and I wouldn’t trade any sleep deprived night for it.


Okay, enough of the icky, sticky, mushy love talk!


I love these one pot meals where everything is mixed together in one big steaming pot of yumminess. Let’s just be honest, truffle oil makes everything better. White truffle oil tastes like buttery, garlicky, amazingness! Black truffle oil has more of the mushroom taste. The white truffle oil takes the traditional pasta dish to a whole new level!


This dish just has it going on!  Crunchy broccolini, rich sausage, tangy parmesan, spicy red pepper flakes, caramelized onion strings, garlic, lemon, with delicious truffle oil drizzled all over mixed in with perfectly cooked pasta shells. Hungry yet!? If not, look at the photo below. Hello money shot! Mmm mmm good!



Broccolini, Sausage and Shells in Truffle Oil
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
  • 12 ounces shell pasta, cooked (according to package), rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 pound mild Italian sausage, cooked and set aside (strain out the grease)
  • 1 large bunch of broccolini, florets cut off and stems cut into bite sized pieces (cooked to al dente, about 3 minutes, then shocked in an ice bath, drain and set aside)
  • Bowl of ice water (for broccolini)
  • 1 medium sized onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut sugar
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons white truffle oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • Black pepper and salt to taste
  1. Cook the shells (according to package) and sausage (until browned)
  2. While the shells and meat are cooking add the onions and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a skillet and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high heat
  3. Add the coconut sugar to the skillet and continue cooking for a few more minutes or until caramelized, then set aside
  4. Once the pasta and sausage are done cooking, drain both and set aside
  5. In a medium sized pot boil the broccolini for about 3 minutes until it is al dente
  6. With a slated spoon scoop out the broccolini and throw it in the ice bath to stop the cooking process, set aside
  7. In a large pot heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and add the garlic
  8. Cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until the garlic is lightly browned
  9. Turn the heat off and add the white truffle oil, thyme and lemon juice
  10. Mix in the broccolini, pasta, sausage, caramelized onions and parmesan cheese
  11. Add salt and pepper to taste
  12. Top with red pepper chili flakes
  13. Serve immediately with extra chili flakes, thyme and parmesan cheese


Chicken in White Wine Sauce


How many time have you tried to make chicken and it has come out flavorless and dry? Be honest! We have all been there. You are standing there with the chicken breast or thighs and think, “Well I guess I will just throw them in the pan.” A lot of people cook them completely dry with just some salt and pepper. Snooze button!




I have a lot of people constantly asking me how to make chicken or how to make a quick meal because they just don’t have the time. Let me say that making something that tastes and looks fancy doesn’t have to take 2 hours!


This is also perfect for a college student. They don’t have a lot of room for a bunch of ingredients or seasonings. I made this in my Aunt’s kitchen while I was watching her 3 dogs for 8 nights and she is not a cook at all and therefore has absolutely no kitchen stuff! Yes, this week I made this meal while watching her 3 dogs, my 2 dogs and a baby! It can be done people. This was a perfect meal because I just went to the store to pick up a few things and I was done! You can throw it over rice, pasta, quinoa, or some steamed veggie and you’re done!


Have you ever watched that many dogs? It’s crazy! There were dogs everywhere. I had no alone time, ever! I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without at least 3 dogs following me. Could I have just 2 minutes of privacy please! I finally found a baby gate to put up so that I could just have about a 2 foot bubble away from anything that was drooling or panting. Well, except Graeyson, he does drool at times.


This week we are in San Diego celebrating Mr. Graeyson’s first birthday! I will be anxious to get home after this. I have spent one night at home in three weeks. It has been a very busy few weeks for us! I can’t wait to get back in my own kitchen and whip out some goodness!


Happy Hump Day! Mike, Mike, Mike…


Chicken in White Wine Sauce
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon shallots, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely minced and 12 single sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 tablespoon and 1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder
  • 10 tiny drops of liquid smoke (optional for a slight hickory flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon of good balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes (you could also do mushrooms instead)
  • 2 cups dry white wine (preferably Italian)
  1. In a large skillet heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  2. Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides of the chicken thighs
  3. Arrange the chicken thighs in the skillet
  4. Cook the chicken thighs for about 4 minutes on each side
  5. Once the chicken has cooked through set them aside
  6. Add the shallots, garlic, and the chopped thyme (not the sprigs) to the remaining chicken juice in the skillet
  7. Cook for about 3 minutes until it starts to get bubbly
  8. Add in 2 cups of dry white wine
  9. Add in the arrowroot powder and allow it to dissolve before adding anything else (you may need to chase it around with a wooden spoon and break it down)
  10. Add in the balsamic vinegar, worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke
  11. Add in the thyme sprigs
  12. Allow the sauce to cook on medium/low heat for about 20-25 minutes
  13. Once the sauce has thickened give it a taste and add a couple dashes of salt and pepper if needed
  14. If the sauce is not thick enough for you add a little more arrowroot powder
  15. Add the chicken back in and smother it in the sauce
  16. Add your tomatoes or mushrooms (thinly sliced if using) and cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.
  17. Serve with quinoa, rice, potatoes, veggies, on top of pasta…


St. Louis Ribs with Homemade Rub and Sauce!

Nothing screams summertime more than a delicious rack of St. Louis ribs. I mean am I right or am I right? Here is the thing as much as I love to BBQ, there is nothing better than oven roasted ribs. They sit in their pretty little tray for hours and hours and get sticky, gooey and unbelievably tender.


Don’t you just love ribs that fall off the bone. You hardly even need to chew these! Babies could eat them. My brother used to say babies could eat things when food was amazing. He would tell people this at the farmers market when he would sell my Dad’s salsa. “This is great on eggs, cereal, oatmeal, even babies could eat it.” Yes, I am sure babies would love salsa. Children say the cutest things sometimes.

These ribs are like the filet mignon of ribs. They melt right in your mouth. The key to this is an amazing sauce, an flavorful rub and cooking them for hours on a really low heat. These ribs will take about 4 hours to bake, but let me just say that they they are worth every sticky second. Make these on a lazy weekend day when you are catching up on laundry and housework, which is like every weekend anyway (RIGHT?!).


Okay, lets talk sauce and rub. Yes, you need both. Trust me, its amazing! They are both really easy and quick to make! They give the ribs such great flavor and the rub helps the sauce stay on better. Everything from a bit of spice, to a sweetness and even a smokiness. What else could you want in ribs?


Yummy yummy in my tummy!

St. Louis Ribs with Homemade Rub and Sauce!
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 3 pounds St Louis style pork ribs
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried garlic (either granulated or powdered will work)
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon adobe chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • 1/3 cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 -1 tablespoon Himalayan salt (start with 1/2 and add more later if desired)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 10-15 small drops of Hickory Liquid Smoke
  • 3 tablespoons agave
  1. Preheat oven to 225 degrees
  2. Prepare a baking sheet by covering it with foil
  4. Add all ingredients to a medium sized bowl and mix well
  6. Grab a medium saucepan and add the oil, onion, salt and garlic
  7. Cook for a few minutes until the onions are translucent
  8. Add in everything else except the tomato paste, agave, and liquid smoke
  9. After about two minutes mix in your tomato paste and agave
  10. Allow for it to simmer for about ten minutes
  11. Add in the liquid smoke
  12. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes and give it a taste!
  13. Make any necessary adjustments (more salt, pepper, liquid smoke or agave)
  15. Slather both sides of the ribs with about 2 tablespoons each side. You want the ribs completely covered.
  16. Place the ribs on the baking sheet and completely wrap it with the foil (close it all up!)
  17. After 3 hours pull your ribs out of the oven
  18. Slather both sides with about 1/3 of the sauce
  19. Close the foil up and cook the ribs for another 30 minutes
  20. Pull the ribs back out of the oven and slather more sauce on both sides, leaving a thick layer on the top
  21. Stick it back in the oven for the last 30 minutes or until cooked, uncovered
  22. Leave it uncovered so that the sauce thickens right on the top!


Baked Dill Salmon

I hated fish my whole life, that is until I met a Norwegian. It is absolutely not allowed to hate fish because that is all they eat! So I really had no choice but to give in. The first bit of fish that I ever liked was a teriyaki glazed salmon that my Father-in-Law BBQ’d. I started eating it by taking tiny pieces. Over the years I managed to work up to eating an actually serving size of salmon. After that I started trying it cooked different ways and then finally moved into other realms of the seafood world!


As of today, my favorite way of enjoying salmon is baked with lemon and dill. Dill and salmon is like peanut butter and jelly, they belong together. They should just get married already. It gives the salmon this incredible buttery taste! Have I died and gone to heaven? Yum!


A lot of people are really scared to make salmon. It is really not hard at all! Just follow the instructions step by step and everyone will think you are a pro!


Baked Dill Salmon
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 1/4 pound Atlantic Salmon (get the body part which is thicker and has more fat, which will give you more flavor)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Santa Maria Seasoning (Purchased from Whole Foods)
  • 1 lemon, 4-6 slices
  • Fresh dill, finely chopped
  • Ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Grab a large piece of foil and put it on top of a cooking sheet or baking pan
  3. Set the salmon on the foil
  4. Sprinkle the seasonings or Himalayan salt on the fish, then fresh dill and lastly set the lemon slices on the very top
  5. Close up the foil all around the salmon completely
  6. Bake it in the oven for about 20 minutes (depending on the size and thickness)
  7. ** It is done when you are able to easily to flake the salmon off with a fork**


Pear Salad with Citrus Dressing


We are closely embarking on the long hot summer days! During the summer nobody wants to turn on their oven! So hot, right? I find that I make a lot of salads during the summer months. There is nothing like a nice crisp, refreshing salad!


Salads can become so boring! I think it is funny how the salads we make at home feel more like a chore to eat than anything. However, as soon as we go out to eat we can’t wait to get a side salad and want to be served the salad before our meal. Hmm, yes that makes sense, right?



Are restaurant salads really that much better than the ones we make at home? Most definitely! Salads at home are so boring. Here’s the good news. This salad is amazing! It is a total restaurant quality salad. Gorgeous spring mix with cranberries, tangy and creamy blue cheese, pears, grapes, all topped with crunchy toasted almonds and dressed with tangy citrus dressing. Lets see, the word you are searching for is “YUM!” If that doesn’t make you want to get off your butt to make a salad I don’t know what will!



Pear Salad with Citrus Dressing
Author: Nicole Nilsen
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-5
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 teaspoons total of zest (from tangelos and lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup tangelo juice
  • 1/4 lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons coconut sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Himalayan salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 12 -16 ounces spring mix salad
  • 1 pear, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of red grapes, halved
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
  • 1/3-1/2 pound of blue cheese, thinly sliced (I used IGOR from Whole Foods. You don’t want a really overpowering cheese. Try to choose something mild. Point Reyes is another good choice)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted almonds, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon Himalayan salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Add all of the ingredients to a ball jar or salad dressing shaker and shake well (Thats it!)
  4. SALAD:
  5. Put your almonds, salt and coconut oil on a baking sheet and bake them for about 8-10 minutes until the almonds are toasty brown.
  6. While you are waiting on the almonds put your salad together. Put the lettuce leaves on the bottom then layer with grapes, cranberries, slices of pear and blue cheese
  7. Top with almonds as soon as they are done toasting
  8. Serve with fresh ground pepper and your citrus dressing!