walnuts

Fig and Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing

Can you feel it? The air is getting slightly cooler, and there are already leaves on the bike path. Even though I love scarves and everything pumpkin, I'm not quite ready to let go of summer. Please Colorado, give me just two more weeks of warm hiking weather and fresh local produce. One of my favorite summer snacks this year has been fresh figs. I love the subtle sweet taste and slight crunch of the seeds.  My latest discovery is how delicious they taste in a fresh salad with goat cheese. After having takeout pizza for lunch yesterday, I was hankering for something more nutritious. So, I whipped up this Fig and Goat Cheese Salad with Lemon Pepper Dressing.

Not only are figs lovely on the taste buds, but also highly nutritious. 

  • Figs are rich in alkalinizing minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and manganese. 
  • Because of their high fiber and mineral content, figs are an excellent blood sugar balancer. Balancing blood sugar is essential for maintaining a healthy weight and balanced moods. 
  • 100 grams of figs contains about 3.3 g of protein (Murray, 2005.
  • The high potassium content in figs makes them an excellent support for healthy blood pressure.
  • They taste amazing with dark chocolate! (source: me.)

Fig and Goat Cheese Salad

Prep Time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients for salad: 

  • 2 cups dark leafy greens (I used a blend of baby spinach and baby kale)
  • 5 Figs, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup diced red onions
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup cucumbers

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed oil or olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of salt

Instructions:

  • Blend the dressing ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. It should be a bright yellow color.
  • Mix all the other ingredients and drizzle the dressing on top.

Notes

Even though flax oil offers some fantastic health benefits, not everyone enjoys its slightly bitter taste. Don't be afraid to sub olive oil or go half and half with the oils. IMPORTANT** If you choose to use flax oil, make sure it doesn't heat up in the food processor. Flax is a pretty unstable oil and doesn't do well with heat. Pulse the dressing lightly until blended, and store the extra in the fridge for up to a week.

I highly recommend adding some protein into your salad, such as grilled chicken or garbanzo beans! I happened to have it for breakfast today, hence the side of eggs!

Enjoy these last bits of summer!

Sources:

Michael T.Murray - Joseph E.Pizzorno - Lara Pizzorno - Atria Books - 2005

Superfood Energy Bites (Raw, Vegan, Paleo)

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I am very excited to be teaming up with Prana (Cherry Creek location) this summer to do various nutrition and fitness workshops. The first one is happening this weekend, and in preparation I was on the hunt for a delicious finger food to share.

You know how sometimes you need just a little something...something sweet, but salty, gooey and crunchy, and...chocolaty? And of course healthy, too. Well, these energy bites should satisfy on all accounts. 

This one was inspired by a recent post from one of my favorite food blogs, Detoxinista. These delicious little morsels are full of minerals, antioxidants, protein, omega 3's, and fiber. Not to mention naturally sweetened by only dates and cranberries. I made two variations as an experiment and both turned out great. (I don't know how it happened, but the Berries N' Chia kind of tastes like bubble gum, and I am not complaining.)

Btw, I've been trying out some different superfood powders. So far these are my two faves and are a key ingredient for the energy bites. 

Chocolate Walnut Energy Bites

Makes about 25-30 small chunks

Time: about 20 minutes

You'll Need:

  • 1 Cup pitted dates
  • 1.5 cups walnuts
  • 2 packets (1/8 Cup) Perfect Food brand Raw Green Super Food (chocolate flavor)
  • 1/8 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/8 tsp salt

In a food processor, blend the walnuts first for a few seconds. You don't want them too chunky otherwise the mixture won't hold together as well.

Add in the remaining ingredients and process for another 30 seconds or so. Ready? Stuff's about to get messy. Use your hands to roll the "dough" into balls of whatever size you choose.

Keep them as is, or roll them in a layer of cocoa.

Berries N' Chia Energy Bites

Makes about 25-30 small chunks

Prep Time: about 20 minutes

  • 1.5 cups pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 packet Amazing Grass brand "Amazing Meal" superfood mix, pomegranate flavor
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1/8 tsp salt

This one is just as delicious and even easier to make. Throw all the ingredients into the food processor and give it a whirl .

You can also use a rolling pin to flatten the "dough" out on a piece of parchment paper and cut into bars. Enjoy!

Bacon Wrapped Figs

The last couple months have been a whirlwind of change, leaving little time for me to cook, much less blog about it. I think I have eaten takeout more in the last month than I have this whole year so far, and I'm convinced that takeout was invented specifically for when people are in the process of moving! Now I am comfortably settled into my new apartment, but now I face a new challenge: how to cook and prep food in the world's smallest kitchen.

But I can handle the teeny kitchen with great views of Denver and the Rockies.

Several weeks ago I was at a birthday bbq for my gymnastics coach and one of the finger foods served there was bacon wrapped figs stuffed with blue cheese and walnuts. I knew as soon as I bit in that I HAD to make these for the blog. Sweet, gooey figs all snuggled inside a warm blanket of crispy, salty bacon. Want one yet??

I have never liked blue cheese in any form, so I modified mine a little bit. Feel free to put whatever you want in yours, and since there's bacon involved, you really can't go wrong. You could blindly reach for any given food item in your pantry, wrap it in bacon, and end up with a complete success!

Bacon Wrapped Figs

Prep Time:10 minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 minutes

Serves: I ate most of them myself, so...1?

You'll Need:

  • 10 Dried figs
  • 5 strips of bacon
  • Blue or goat cheese (for this batch I used a cranberry cinnamon goat cheese!)
  • Walnuts or pecans (optional)
  • toothpicks

Preheat oven to 400. Start by cutting the little stems off the figs.

 Then, open them up from the top to create a bowl shape. Now you can easily stuff them with nuts, cheese, or whatever you choose. I used the end of a chopstick to really pack it down in there. Cut bacon strips in half and wrap the half strips around your figs, securing them with a toothpick. Place on cookie sheet or glass baking pan.  

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until desired crispiness.

Devour unapologetically.

baconfigs