Coconut Crusted Baked Chicken Tenders

Lately, I have been seeing chicken tenders everywhere on my feed and I finally caved and made some recently. In a lot of the recipes, the "dredge" that you dip the chicken in before the coconut contains eggs and I was thinking of how I can make this recipe WITHOUT using eggs. This motivation stemmed from paying good money for my eggs and I rather eat them versus use them as an ingredient. I get these amazing pasture-raised eggs added to my CSA every week and while my veggies are super affordable (full box for $30.00), my eggs are not ($7.50 for 12). I had some flax meal on hand which leads to how I made my "egg substitute". 

flaxeggcoconutcrustedchickentenders
Paleo, Gluten-free, and Dairy-free! 

Paleo, Gluten-free, and Dairy-free! 

So how did I make an egg substitute? I made it with flax meal! Also known as, "flax-egg" is a great egg replacement for vegetarians, vegans and meat eaters alike. It contains a good source of fiber and omega-2 fatty acids. Two things we all tend to need more of. 

How to make a "flax-egg". 

Making a flax-egg only take two steps and two ingredients. 

1. Per 1 egg equivalent, add 1 Tbsp. of ground flax meal and 3 Tbsp. of water. 

It is that easy! 

recipe (serves 3-4) 

Ingredients: 

For the chicken tenders: 

-1 lb. of boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs (I have done it with both and they both came out great!) 

-1 cup coconut flour

-1 tsp. garlic powder 

-1 Tbsp. oregano 

-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

-2 Tbsp. flax meal 

-6-8 Tbsp. of water 

-2 Tbsp. mustard 

-1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

For spicy aioli: 

-1/2 cup organic avocado mayo 

-1 Tbsp. lemon juice 

-1/2 tsp. black pepper

-1/2 tsp. smoked ghost pepper chilies (*Can sub in any peppers or hot sauce you like.) 

Directions: 

-Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. 

-Prep the chicken by cutting the chicken into about 2 inches by 2-inch pieces. I find that you do not need to be too exact but try to make them look like chicken tenders and easy to eat with two bites. 

-Start your "dredging station": Place the coconut flour, garlic powder, oregano, cayenne, in one bowl. 

-In another bowl, add 2 Tbsp. flax meal, 2 Tbsp. mustard and 6 Tbsp. of water. Let sit. If the mixture looks very thick, add about 2-4 more Tbsp. to thin out a bit. 

-Add 1 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes to the last bowl. 

-Start assembling the chicken, by adding 1 piece of chicken into the coconut flour mixture, then the dredge, and then the coconut flakes. Repeat until all the chicken is fully prepped. Add it to a foil-lined cookie sheet. 

-Set a timer for 30 minutes and place the chicken in the oven. Halfway at 15 minutes, take the chicken out and flip them over. 

-Once the chicken has baked for 30 minutes. Set the oven on "BROIL" and broil on each side for 2-3 minutes. Be extra cautious, this can brown to burn in 0 to 60. Once brown on both side, take it out. Try to eat within the next 30 minutes. 

-The last step, mix all of the aioli ingredients in a bowl and mix well. You can use this to dunk the chicken in for a little sauce. Spicy and delicious! 

coconutchickentenders.jpg
chickentenders.png

Turmeric Spiced Golden Beet and Tuna Tower (Easy & Inexpensive!)

Fish is gotta be hands down my favorite food! My favorite type of fish is sashimi but can get super pricey if I consume on the regular. One thing I do keep on hand is canned tuna in olive oil and it is a staple in my Tupperware lunches.  I was inspired to make a bright and colorful dish inspired my tuna tartare towers. What I came out with is golden beets dressed in almond butter turmeric dressing and layered with tuna salad with parsley. This dish was a nice and light lunch and only took about 10 minutes to whip up. Note: I use a Trader Joe's salad dressing in this recipe but this post is not sponsored. I just really enjoy them and recommend to my clients. 

Turmeric Spiced Golden Beet and Tuna Tower
Side view of the tuna layered with golden beets. 

Side view of the tuna layered with golden beets. 

Did you know that Trader Joe's came out with a new line of salad dressings? They are so good. They contain all natural ingredients, no binders, and are loaded with flavor and antioxidants. They two I keep on hand are the "Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing" and the "Carrot Ginger Miso" dressing. I have not only just used it for salads but also in my hot dishes such as sauteed baby bok choy. 

Don't feel like you always need to make homemade dressing. Though it is easy to do on your own, now there are some healthy options in your supermarket. 

I have to admit, I am not a HUGE fan of red beets. I think they are awesome with something spicy or tangy to offset their sweetness but I do love golden beets. I find they have much more subtle beet flavor and not overly earthy. I love to steam them for 10 minutes on high in my Instant Pot, but could also boil them and dunk them into a water bath to get them ready for the tower. 

I know I have a good amount of vegetarian or vegan readers so if you want to make this recipe vegan, swap in extra firm tofu instead of tuna and use veganaise instead of regular mayo. Should still be just as tasty! You can even add more turmeric or cumin to the tofu to spice it up. 

recipe (serves 2) 

Ingredients: 

For the beets:

-1 cup steamed or boiled golden beets (about 3 small beets) *I peel them after I steam them because it is way easier! 

-2 Tbsp. Trader Joe's almond butter turmeric dressing 

For the tuna:

-1 can tuna, packed in olive oil *If you want to decrease the fat, feel free to remove some of the oil but do not suggest removing all of it. 

-1 Tbsp. avocado oil mayo 

-1 Tbsp. roughly chopped parsley 

-1/2 tsp. black pepper

Directions: 

-To steam, place the beets in your InstantPot whole with 1 cup of water. Steam on high for 10 minutes and add to a ice water bath. You can then remove the skins with your hands and they will peel right off.  To boil the beets, place the beets in a large saucepan and add water to cover.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until tender, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place pot under running cold water and let rinse until beets can be handled. The skins can now be easily peeled off the beets as well. 

-Once the beets are cooked, cut the beets into small square pieces about 3/4 inch to 1 inch long. Then add the 2-3 Tbsp. of salad dressing and mix until fully coated. Set aside. 

-In another bowl, place 1 can of tuna in olive oil (do not remove oil), 1 Tbsp. avocado oil mayo, parsley, and black pepper. Mix until fully combined. 

-To make your tuna tower, grab a one cup dry ingredient measuring cup. Add 1 heaping tablespoon of beets and press down, then add another heaping tablespoon of tuna and press down. Do this 1 more round until it makes 1 cup of layered beets and tuna. Carefully, place the cup upside down on a plate (like you were making an upside down cake). Tidy up the side if needed. This recipe makes two towers. 

MACROBALANCED TIP: I like to add this to salad or eat with purple radish "chips" like in this photo for a light and low carb meal.  

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 259 calories, 9 grams carbohydrate, 18 grams fat, and 15 grams protein. 

Pin the recipe! 

tunatower.png

Easy and Healthy Holiday Cocktails

Let’s face it, most of us are going to drink when we celebrate this holiday season so let’s talk how to do that in a way that won’t nix all your hard work in the gym. Alcohol contains calories (7 calories per gram to specific) so when it comes to making cocktails, aim to add mixers that don’t have calories or very low in sugar. I have a list of some my favorite recipes that are fancy, but not full of calories! Thank you to BeMixed for a sample of all your zero calorie, natural cocktail mixers. Not only do I love the concept of the product, but the company is also owned by two strong females! Love it. 

Bourbon and Kombucha Cocktail

Low Sugar Cocktail Recipes

Spicy and Stormy

Short glass with 1 oz. light rum, 1 oz. fresh pressed ginger juice, and seltzer water. Add a piece of ginger to the short glass.

Booch N Bourbon

In a short glass, add 1.5 oz. bourbon, 4 oz. ginger kombucha and stir. Add a large ice cube. Garnish with candied ginger and an orange slice.  

Booch N Bourbon Cocktail! One of our favorites. 

Booch N Bourbon Cocktail! One of our favorites. 

Citrus Pomegranate Hard Iced Tea

In a highball glass, add 8 oz. of unsweetened pomegranate iced tea, 1 oz. fresh lime, ¼ cup pomegranate arils (seeds) and 1- 1.5 oz. vodka.

Green Tea Hot Toddy

In a pint glass, add 8 oz. hot brewed green tea, 1 oz. bourbon, and rosemary shrub. Optional to add 1-2 drops of stevia.

BeMixed Cilantro Skinny Margarita

In a short glass, add 4 oz. Be Mixed Margarita Mix and 1 oz. tequila and cilantro in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour over ice.  Garnish with a lime wedge or dip your glass in salt and cayenne pepper for a spicy kick with each sip.

BeMixed Skinny Cilantro Margarita 

BeMixed Skinny Cilantro Margarita 

topviewmargarita.jpg

So when you are choosing libations this holiday season, opt for these cocktail mixers and flavor enhancers instead. I am are sure you won’t be missing the sweet stuff and thank me later for a less intense hangover.

Happy Holidays, Gabriella xoxo

Energizing Sweet Potato Pie Protein Shake

It is day three post-Turkey Day, and I bet you have some sweet potatoes around that you don't know what to do with. Lucky you are reading this! I used some leftover steamed sweet potato to make this protein shake. Not only will this have you feeling energized post-workout, but you will also think you traveled back in time to Thursday celebrating Thanksgiving. 

upclosesweetpotatosmoothie.jpg
That drizzle though.. I added a honey drizzle to the top. 

That drizzle though.. I added a honey drizzle to the top. 

What gives this smoothie the energy? I added some maca (lepidium meyenii)  powder which comes from a herbaceous biennial plant of the crucer family native to the high Andes of Peru. Maca has been seen to help with fertility, hormone balance and energy levels. It is also an adaptogen, like ashwagandha, I have mentioned on this blog before. Right now, we are not sure how it actually increases energy but many people who consume it regularly report it. The possible theories include how it helps promote adrenal health and also help controls the hypothalamus. Nonetheless, this recipe is tasty and provides a great boost of energy from protein, and healthy carbs. 

Recipe: (serves 1)

Ingredients: 

-1/2 ripe banana 

-1/4 cup steamed sweet potato 

-1/2 Tbsp. bourbon maple syrup 

-1/2 Tbsp. maca powder 

-1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 

-splash of vanilla extract 

-3/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened vanilla

-1 scoop whey protein powder, vanilla (I used Thorne Pharmaceuticals) 

-1 handful of ice cubes

Directions:

-Place all of the ingredients above into a blender. 

-Blend until smooth and add to a cup. 

-Enjoy! 

MACROBALANCED TIP: Want to decrease the carb and add more fat? Remove the maple syrup and add in 1 Tbsp. of plain smooth almond butter. 

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 247 calories, 40 grams carb, 24 grams protein, and 1 gram fat

sweetpotatosmoothie.jpg
proteinsmoothie.png

Curried Quinoa Stuffed Honey Nut Squash

Real talk. When I first bought these little honey nut squashes, I called the baby butternut squash.  So if you want to call them that too, no problem. To be technically correct, they are honey nut squash and they taste like butternut but a little sweeter. They are also a lot easier to manage and breakdown. Double win. 

fulldishhoneynutsquash.jpg
topview.jpg

The thing I love about winter squash is that is can either go sweet or savory and be totally delicious. Add cinnamon, coconut oil and bake? Tastes like pumpkin pie. Add curry powder or garlic? Tastes Indian or Italian. So versatile! I played off both sweet, salty, and savory for this dish which I think you will love. 

Recipe: (serves 6)

Ingredients: 

-3 Honey Nut squash

-½ cup water

-1 Tbsp. avocado oil

-1 cup of onion, chopped

-¾ cup leeks, chopped

-1 small Fuji or Honeycrisp apple, diced

-1 tsp. curry powder

-1.5 tsp. cumin

-1.5  tsp. salt

-1 tsp. pepper

-1 bag of Trader Joe’s fully cooked microwave-in-bag quinoa (about 1 cup cooked)

-½ cup dried cherries

-⅓ cup pistachios shelled

-dash of red chili flake (optional)

-2 slices Swiss or cheddar cheese

Directions:

-Pre-roast/steam 3 honey nut squashes.

Two methods: Instant Pot: Poke holes and add to ½ cup water. Steam on high for 4-5 minutes. I put in whole and cut after steamed. Oven method: Cut each honey nut squash, clean out middle and remove seeds. Roast in a casserole dish at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

-Set aside partially roasted or steamed honey nut squashes cup in halves. Place them inside up in a casserole dish.

-Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F. while you prep the stuffing.

-To a non-stick pan that is placed on medium heat, add 1 Tbsp. avocado oil, 1 cup of onions, 3/4 cup leeks, 1 small apple (diced), 1 tsp. curry powder, 1.5 tsp. cumin, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook down until soft on medium heat for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

-For the quinoa, I use Trader Joe’s fully cooked quinoa which I microwaved for three and a half minutes and let sit in the the bag for two. Once the quinoa was cooked, I added it to a large bowl as well as the onion, leek and apple mixture. I mixed this and add 1/3 cup dried bing cherries and 1/3 cup shelled pistachios. Mix again until fully combined and add a final season of 1/2 tsp. Salt added a little red chili flake (optional).

-Once the mixture is combined fully,  add about 1/3 cup mixture to each half of the honey nut squash. Right in the middle that is hollowed out that looks like a compartment.

-Cut two slices of swiss or cheddar into long strips and place them on top of each half like a lattice.

-Bake at 375 degrees F for another 25 minutes. Remove and serve immediately.

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 266 calories, 39 grams carb (7 fiber), 10 grams fat, and 8 grams protein. 

MACROBALANCED TIP: Pair this with your lean turkey this Thanksgiving week for a healthy meal on the big day or leftovers night! 
upclosehoneynutsquash.jpg

Smoked Salmon Collard Green Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Smoked Salmon Collard Green Wraps with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce

Why choose collard greens? 

If you are looking to add a huge boost of nutrients, choose this recipe. The main component, collard greens, is packed with vitamins and minerals. It contains 250% of your daily value of vitamin A, 50% of your daily value of vitamin C, and also contains vitamin K and calcium. Vitamin A and C are great to consume during the falls because they are both powerful antioxidants that help with boosting immune health. Collard greens are also important for bone health by boosting calcium stores and vitamin K which act as a modifier of bone matrix protein and increases calcium absorption. 

Not only are collard greens high in vitamins, but they also are low in calories and high in fiber. One cup, boiled,  contains 62 calories, 11 grams of carb but 8 of them come from fiber. 

If all of this info has not encouraged you to try collard greens, I am not sure what will. 

Macrobalanced 5 Ingredient Pasta Bowl

Macrobalanced 5 Ingredient Pasta Bowl

I may be Italian but I actually quit eating pasta daily when I also ended my committed relationship with flare jeans. Yes, that long ago. Now thanks to companies using different flours to make their pasta, I have reintroduced it back. Many of these new flours take the ordinary pasta and give it a nutrition makeover by adding more vitamins, protein, and fiber. Making it truly more macrobalanced. For the recipe today, I used Banza chickpea pasta for their #BanzaPlus5 challenge to celebrate National Pasta Month.

Cauliflower and Nectarine Salad with Toasted Nuts and White Balsamic Dressing

Cauliflower and Nectarine Salad with Toasted Nuts and White Balsamic Dressing

It has been a while friends and I am so sorry for that! The last couple months were filled with craziness from going on vacation, studying for a test, wedding plans, and serving my clients best! My blogging came last to all of those, but don't worry! I see a lot more recipes and posts coming your way! 

Stress Reliever Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Stress Reliever Chocolate Protein Pancakes

Making your Sunday brunch, even more, chill with these protein pancakes. They contain ingredients that have been shown to decrease stress and anxiety so not only it is fun to eat pancakes but you can find zen doing so. This recipe uses Birch Benders Paleo pancake mix which I love! It contains limited ingredients, is high in fiber, and uses monk fruit for a small amount of sweetness! Can't get any better. (#notsponsoredjustlove)

High Fiber Cold Asian Noodle Salad

High Fiber Cold Asian Noodle Salad

I love noodles and although regular noodles tend to be low in fiber, these Healthy Noodles are full of it and are gluten free, dairy free, and fat-free. With just 25 calories and 4 grams of fiber. This is a  great option for those trying to boost fiber intake and perfect for lunch meal prep. 

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Almond and Date Protein Bars

No-Bake Chocolate Covered Almond and Date Protein Bars

Spending over two dollars on a protein bar no more! These homemade protein bars are easy and inexpensive to make. Bigger plus? You control the added ingredients and add in any ingredients you want. One last plus? These are NO BAKE! 

Macrobalanced Mexican Fiesta: Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad + Stone Fruit Salsa

Macrobalanced Mexican Fiesta: Fresh Corn and Black Bean Salad + Stone Fruit Salsa

These two recipes contain all of the best summer produce that California has to offer. Thanks to my CSA (community shared agriculture) both of these recipes were born. I get inspiration from all the organic produce that comes to my door every week and it makes it easy to show how amazing vegetables (and fruit) can be.  It may just be me, but fresh vegetables straight from a small farm are the best! If you subscribe to any CSA's in your area, comment below with which ones you use! The best way to support these CSA's is to spread the word and share with others. 

PB&J Bowl: Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Granola

PB&J Bowl: Strawberry Chia Seed Pudding with Peanut Butter Granola

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were one of my favorites growing up and to this day I have a huge obsession with peanut butter. Since we are at the height of berry season, I wanted to share something easy to make with strawberries. This recipe is also gluten free and dairy free. Super easy to make in advance for breakfast meal prep. 

Workout Wednesday: Summer Playlist + Free Home Workout

Workout Wednesday: Summer Playlist + Free Home Workout

So happy to post a new Workout Wednesday post because working out has been so much more fun the past couple weeks!  

One reason? A new playlist!

This playlist includes some of favorite jams for the summer and great tempo to run to. 

Another thing that I have been loving is using going outdoors for exercise during the week. I have been sporting tanks and t-shirts during my runs to get some sun, and on Thursday mornings JT, our EXOS coach, has been taking us outside to do our circuit training or sprints. Fresh air and sunshine make it so nice! 

Below check out what I did last week for my workouts and an Home Workout circuit that does not require weights. ENJOY! 

Poached Rockfish with Red Potato Pancakes and Lemony Kale

Poached Rockfish with Red Potato Pancakes and Lemony Kale

This meal is something I totally didn't plan but turned out great. Poaching is a technique I got more familiar with when I was hosting a cooking workshop recently at work. I never realized how easy it was to poach fish which ensures a moist, flaky product. I also used the residual poaching liquid to cook the kale. The residual liquid brought such a nice flavor to the kale. When it comes to fish, I find that I am mostly a salmon gal but I have been starting to try new kinds to broaden my horizons. Weekly, I hop over to my local Whole Foods and choose what wild fish they have on sale. This week it was rockfish which I was excited to try. Rockfish is a flaky white fish, similar to white cod. Whitefish provides many health benefits which I am happy to share.

Warm Golden Beet & Beet Green Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

Warm Golden Beet & Beet Green Salad with Blue Cheese Yogurt Dressing

One thing I love about blogging is having a platform to spread education. Today I want to educate you all on something very important for our earth and environment. There are many things we can do as humans in this world to prevent climate change (yes Trump this is a thing) and one thing I try to focus on is reducing food waste. I like to use all fresh foods (less packaging) and I like to utilize every part of the food given to me. This dish I think shows that concept. I received golden beets in my CSA box and where many people might throw away the greens, I see it as an opportunity to get more greens in my day. One less thing being put into the trash, and one less bag of greens I need to supplement my CSA with. To inspire you to reduce food waste, I have some tips on how to do it below. 

Crunchy Cabbage Apple Slaw with Yogurt Dill Dressing

Crunchy Cabbage Apple Slaw with Yogurt Dill Dressing

With Memorial Day coming up, this is a perfect side to bring to a BBQ. It is also perfect for summer meal prep. Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that can withhold marinating in a salad dressing without wilting and can actually get better with time. I had it three days in a row for lunch and it never got old. My favorite topping? Tuna! It was a perfect mix of lean protein, fiber, and healthy fats. 

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie + Macrobalanced Protein Smoothie Guide

Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie + Macrobalanced Protein Smoothie Guide

This week in the Bay Area has been a scorcher. Currently, a high of 92 degrees as I write this right now. When the weather starts to get warm, I immediately crave post-workout smoothies. There is a method to my madness when it comes to making a Macrobalanced protein smoothie which I will explain below.