cinco de mayo inspiration

When we were in Thailand (I know, I need to fill you in!) we fell into a consistent schedule of breakfast–>beach–>lunch–>pool–>snack–>sunset-at-beach bar–>shower–>dinner. Notice a theme there? Lots of food. It was totally my kind of vacation. And while I absolutely loved the fresh shrimp salads I ate on a daily basis (usually during the snack portion of the day) I was really craving/wanting avocados. Precisely chips and guacamole.

I was hardly in a place to complain, so I didn’t. (Ok, maybe like once.)

But when we came back to LA, I was allllll about the Mexican food. And avocados of course, but that’s standard. I’ve been researching chilaquiles, I’ve been researching burritos and I’ve been craving the old-school tortillas + refried beans + cheese that my old roommate and I used to eat all the time. Note: “researching” in my world means I’ve been eating a lot of the aforementioned foods and you’ll probably hear about them soon. 

So naturally, the combination of cinco de mayo recipes everywhere + my current food focus means I’ve been drooling over pretty much everything on the internet right now. I wanted to share some of my favorites – both light and… not-so-light.

Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sip: Any good cinco de mayo celebration includes margaritas and I love this one because it’s made with all fresh ingredients. It’s been deemed the “best margarita you’ll ever have” and bonus – it’s less than 200 calories per drink. ¡Salud! Recipe and image via Cookie & Kate.

Guacamole Bar | A Nutritionist Eats

Spread: Guacamole bar. This is a really old post (sorry!) of mine, but a really fun – and delicious – idea that allows everyone to personalize their own guacamole. And…bacon!

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Simple: Mollettes are SO simple, but satisfying and delicious nonetheless. Especially perfect if you’re feeding a crowd or picky people.

Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sea: Fish tacos are kind of mandatory in my book and these Spicy Fish Taco Bowls fit the criteria perfectly. (And I can pretty much guarantee this version will be much easier to eat.) Image and recipe via Pinch of Yum.

Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Splurge: Tijuana Fries don’t really need much of an explanation. Ok, I’ll give you the short version: chipotle carnitas + salsa + queso +avocado topped fries. It’s a lengthy recipe (everything is made from scratch) but I can bet that the results are worth the effort. (And the GIF is amazing!) Recipe and image via Half Baked Harvest.

Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Sweet: Finish off your celebration with light and flavorful Mango-Lime Ice. Churros are no doubt delicious, but this will hit the spot. Recipe and image via Epicurious.

Cinco de Mayo Inspiration | A Nutritionist Eats

Soooooo cute: these diy mini cactus piñatas make me want to have a party and do crafts. And I’m not even a crafty person. Image via Oh Happy Day

Are you celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year? I want to live vicariously through you…

 

quinoa & arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I came home from Thailand with some serious inspiration to start making big ol’ pots of grains and beans.

And that is precisely what I did. In a jet-lagged haze I made lentils, black beans (which I wayyyyyy overcooked) and quinoa. At five in the morning. :)

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

Does anyone else have trouble cooking beans? I don’t know why I find it so complicated, but they never turn out right. Maybe I just need some more practice, but I think I’m going to try cooking them in the crock pot, I’ve heard good things with that method!

Anyway…whenever I make quinoa, I’m reminded that I don’t really love plain quinoa. I need to put it in something or at least dress it well. When I made this big ol’ pot of quinoa, I knew I wanted to put it into a salad. I was craving something bright, fresh and flavorful to eat for lunch this week. Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is all of those things.

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I added lemon juice and zest to the vinaigrette to give it that light lemon flavor that I love in salads this time of year. I chose arugula instead of sautéed kale to keep it fresh.

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

I added chopped almonds for some extra staying power and a necessary crunch. (For even more staying power, I recommend topping it with some garbanzo beans, chopped hard boiled eggs or grilled chicken.)

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette | A Nutritionist Eats

This salad is all of the things I wanted it to be. It’s bright and light; nutritious and tasty. What more can you ask of a little seed and some greens?

Note: This salad is best made ahead of time to let the flavors deepen, and it’s great the next day.

nutrition facts: 350 calories, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber

Quinoa & Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Keywords: entree salad side gluten-free high fiber high protein kosher vegan vegetarian spring summer

 

Ingredients (4 servings)

    For the Salad

    • 1 cup quinoa
    • 6-8 cups arugula
    • 1/2 cup almonds, roasted and chopped

    For the Vinaigrette

    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (about one lemon)
    • 1 Tbsp lemon zest
    • 3 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp honey (vegans, use maple syrup!)
    • 3 Tbsp minced shallots (about one)
    • salt & pepper

    Instructions

    For the Salad

    Prepare quinoa as directed.

    Let cool.

    Toss quinoa, arugula, almonds and dressing until combined.

    For the Vinaigrette

    Whisk together all ingredients.

    Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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    5 trader joe’s meals (5 ingredients or less!)

    5 Trader Joe's Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

    Deep question of the day: where do you guys grocery shop?

     5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

    I tend to shop based on proximity, but the store has to have the natural and organic selection of foods I’m looking for or it just won’t work. In my current neighborhood (West Hollywood!) there are quite a few options within walking distance. I tend to visit most of them (Whole Foods, Gelson’s and Bristol Farms) on a pretty regular basis to see what new foods are out there, but Trader Joe’s is, without a doubt, a weekly stop for me. I can find most of the things I need – and for a pretty reasonable price – but I’ve got to admit that I love the frozen and convenience foods that Trader Joe’s offers. (If you’re ever wondering how something is, just ask. I’ve probably tried it!)

    Recently, my friend Lynn and her husband came up with this super-clever buzzfeed video featuring Trader Joe’s mashups:

    I loved the video and the premise –  it’s absolutely what inspired this post!

    I started brainstorming some of my favorite trader joe’s combinations that fit the following criteria:

    1. under five ingredients (all but one are made with three ingredients)
    2. fairly healthy (all of them come in under or around 500 calories)
    3. include a vegetable (because every meal should!)
    4. delicious (again, because every meal should be!)

    Here are the 5 Trader Joe’s meals that I came up with:

    Classic Southern Dinner:

    5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

    Let’s start with an easy, classic meal: bbq chicken breast, mac & cheese and collard greens. Prepare the mac & cheese and bbq chicken as directed and lightly steam or saute the collard greens. *I really like their “reduced-guilt” mac & cheese, but have yet to try the gluten-free variety!

    Palak Paneer Eggs:

     5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

    Why have I not combined Indian food with eggs before? Ah-mazing. Top cooked palak paneer with a fried or poached egg and serve with hot naan. This will definitely become a regular in our meal rotation – perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Tortilla Pizza:

    5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats
    Tortilla pizzas are one of my favorite meals and considering that I’ve eaten them on  regular basis for years, it was a no-brainer. When topped with sauce, arugula, cheese and turkey meatballs, this is a particularly filling pizza. Simply bake the tortilla until crisp, top with sauce, cheese, arugula and warmed meatballs and bake until cheese has melted. (Brown rice and sprouted tortillas are my favorite to use.)

    Chimichurri Rice & Sausage:

     5 Trader Joe 's Meals (5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

    Chimichurri rice is a somewhat new item and I’m so glad I finally put it in my cart – it’s delicious (so is the kimchee rice!).  When it’s combined with chicken sausage and a vegetable, you’ve got a balanced dinner that comes together in minutes. Slice and saute the sausage and rice as directed while you roast the broccoli in the oven.

    Pasta with Mushrooms & Parmesan:

    5 Trader Joe' s Meals(5 ingredients or less!) | A Nutritionist Eats

    This vegetarian meal is delicious and simple. And absolutely OUTSTANDING if you add a drizzle of truffle oil or sprinkling of truffle salt. Simply prepare the pasta and mushrooms as directed and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Use your favorite pasta variety.

    Got any favorite quick meals to share? 

    P.S. I’m really sorry if you don’t have access to Trader Joe’s! Come visit and I’ll take you on a tour. :)

    whole-grain oat muffins

    (We just returned from Thailand and I can’t wait to tell you more about it – it was absolutely amazing!)

    Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

    Ok, I’m usually an anti-muffin person. Why? Because most of the time they run a fine line. They’re either essentially a cupcake or they’re so healthy that they don’t resemble anything close to an actual muffin. So if I’m going to eat a cupcake, I’m going to eat a cupcake – with lots of frosting. And if I’m going to eat a healthy breakfast, I’m going to…you get the point.

    But these muffins. Oh my. I don’t do a ton of baking but when the LA Times featured Clementine’s whole grain muffin with plump dried cherries, I knew it was a muffin I needed to try. Clementine is a bakery/cafe a few blocks from my office and I’m there a few times a month. Rarely do I get any of their baked goods though (even though their blondie is amazing), I usually stick with their deli salads and cold-brew coffee. (Other copycat Clementine recipes: lentil, beet & goat cheese salad and fall chicken salad)

    Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

    So here I had this recipe for a muffin that I figured had to be good, but I had never tried it. Research time! I picked up the muffin one afternoon and actually thought I would save it for breakfast the next morning. Um, nice idea in theory, but totally not realistic. After I finished my lunch, I dug into the muffin (a small portion!).

    It was so good and wholesome!

    Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

    These muffins are dense, and pretty short but I promise you that they taste more like the ‘cupcake muffins’ than the ‘healthy muffins.’ That’s all to say, they are delicious! I (again, lacking any sort of patience) dug into them right out of the oven was honestly a little surprised by how good they tasted. Richie (and my coworkers!) agreed.

    As you can see, they are packed full of oats, almond and flax meal and chia seeds. I love that the streusel topping gives it the ‘cupcake muffin’ feel without the typical white flour and sugar requirements of a ‘cupcake muffin.’ There are a few things that I think are worth discussing: 1) I decided to make the serving size two muffins. I felt it was a more realistic serving size. 2) These are calorie-dense. They are full of good-for-you ingredients that aren’t low in calories. Most of the time, I focus on ingredients rather than calories and this is a prime example.

    Whole-Grain Oat Muffins | A Nutritionist Eats

    Nutritionally, these muffins are pretty impressive. They are 100% whole-grain, gluten-free and have an impressive 10 grams of protein and 9 grams of fiber per serving. Yes, there is real sugar in these muffins (remember I wanted them to taste like a cupcake muffin?) and normally I’m the type of person who is anti-ANTI-sugar, but for comparisons sake, the 17 grams of sugar are similar to what you would find in a strawberry greek yogurt.

    nutrition facts (for two muffins): 405 calories, 25 grams of fat, 10 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fiber

    Whole-Grain Oat Muffins

    by

    Cook Time: 25 minutes

    Keywords: bake bread breakfast high fiber high protein vegetarian

     

    Ingredients (24 muffins (12 servings))

      For the Streusel Topping

      • 1/4 cup brown sugar
      • 1/4 cup soft butter
      • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats

      For the Muffins

      • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
      • 2 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
      • 1/3 cup coconut oil (liquid)
      • 2 eggs
      • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
      • 1 cup almond meal
      • 1 cup flax meal
      • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
      • 1/4 cup chia seeds
      • 1/2 cup brown sugar
      • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp salt

      Instructions

      For the Streusel Topping

      In a small bowl, stir together sugar and butter until smooth.

      Add oats and mix until combined.

      Spread onto a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer until hardened, about 10 minutes.

      For the Muffins

      Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

      In a medium bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and set aside.

      Beat together the oil, eggs and vanilla in a stand mixer with paddle or large bowl with a hand mixer.

      Whisk together the dry ingredients: almond meal, flax meal, sliced almonds, chia seeds, sugar, baking powder and soda.

      Add oat and buttermilk mixture to egg mixture and with the mixer running, slowly add in dry ingredients, 1 cup at a time.

      Spoon the batter into lined muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 of the way and sprinkling with streusel topping.

      Bake the muffins for 12 minutes, than rotate pan. Bake another 12- 14 minutes until golden brown.

      Cool slightly before removing them from pan.

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