Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Poke bowl shops are popping up all over the country, but how nice would it be if you could make them even better at home?! These easy salmon poke bowls are packed with flavor and tons of fun toppings! This is a meal I crave so much whenever the temps start rising and i’m wanting something fun and fresh!

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

We got back from our anniversary trip from Palm Springs on Monday after spending four days in beautiful sunny California weather! Our days were filled with lounging by the pool, lathering a lot of sunscreen on this Oregon skin, and exploring and eating our way through the city together. Since it was our first wedding anniversary, we exchanged “paper” gifts on the last night - I made a scrapbook for him of all of our wedding and honeymoon photos, our vows, love notes, and little tidbits over the last year together, and he gave me a framed picture of our first dance song printed on a canvas. Sweetest gift ever. I of course boo-hooed like a baby, especially reading our vows back to each other. I’ll try and not get any more mushy gushy with you - but I highly recommend doing something in whatever way that fits your style to celebrate milestones! It creates such a great tradition and I’m looking so forward to all the anniversaries to come!

I absolutely loved Palm Springs. The people, the food, the weather, everything! I am making a full guide on how to spend a couples weekend in Palm Springs to share with you guys.

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

So now lets get down to business! These salmon poke bowls are somethin’ else and I can’t gettem off ma mind! Sorry, I just finished Where the Crawdads Sing in Palm Springs and I can’t stop talkin’ like a backwoods marsh gal! Ok i’ll stop.

But really, these are SO GOOD and super easy to make. Buying good fish can be expensive, however I have found that I can make a much bigger bowl and the exact way that I want it (topping overload) compared to the fancy poke places down the street. You can Google your local Japanese market or New Seasons/Whole Foods has great options as well!

These bowls are so customizable - if you prefer tuna over salmon, sushi rice vs. brown rice, ponzu or spicy mayo - the options are endless!

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls
Easy Salmon Poke Bowls
Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Easy Salmon Poke Bowls

Ingredients

Rice (brown rice or sushi rice)

Salmon
- 1 pound of sushi-grade salmon (cubed or thinly sliced)
- 1/2 cup of soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons sriracha

Cucumbers
I typically make a jar of picked cucumbers, so this recipe will give you extra after the recipe.
- 1 large English or hothouse cucumber thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar,
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon dried red chili flakes

Spicy Mayo
- equal parts sriracha and mayo/greek yogurt. You can make this as spicy as you want. I usually just do a big spoonful of both mayo and greek yogurt and then just stir in sriracha until it reaches the spiciness level I’m looking for!

Toppings
These are some of the toppings I love!
- Edamame, sliced radishes, avocado, fried garlic or shallots, everything bagel seasoning, sliced jalapeño, scallions, seaweed salad and pickled ginger. Use a combo of any of these!

What to do

  1. In a medium-sized bowl whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sriracha. Add in thinly sliced or cubed salmon, toss to coat, cover and place in the fridge until ready to use! I use the leftover marinade from the fish and drizzle a little over the rice in my bowl for extra flavor!

  2. Get your rice boiling and start on the cucumbers. Combine vinegar, water, honey, salt and chili flakes in a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling turn off heat, add cucumber slices and stir. Let them rest for 10 minutes, then transfer cucumber to a container.

  3. Make spicy mayo and prep other toppings.

  4. To build your bowl, use rice as your base and then add in the salmon and any toppings your heart desires!

Enjoy!

Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites

When 2 or 3pm strikes everyday I always get the midday munchies. Since I wake up around 6 everyday and then eat lunch usually around 11:30, I am ravenous in the afternoon! In my office, the only thing that is lying around most of the time is peanut butter pretzels and Jolly Ranchers, so my lack of will power is nonexistent when hunger strikes. I generally have a fairly healthy diet through out the week, besides the occasional work happy hour where that plate of chili cheese nachos calls my name? Typically my weekday meal plan consists of toast with almond butter and banana for breakfast, our leftovers from the night before for lunch, and usually a healthy veggie filled dinner. But it’s always that pesky afternoon craving that has me wanting to reach for something sweet and snacky.

Enter Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites!! These little bites satisfy all my cravings and are the perfect bite-size amount. Ever since reading a Cozy Kitchen’s recipe for Berry Crinkle Cookies, i’ve been dying to make a recipe with freeze dried raspberries! They have the coolest texture ever and since chocolate and raspberries go so well together I figured these bites would make the perfect vehicle! These guys are packed with energy boosting ingredients like cocoa powder, chia seeds, nut butter, and raw almonds - Plus they get all of their sweetness from dates which are packed with antioxidants and fiber. I love unsweetened coconut flakes to add a little texture on the outside as well!

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Not only am I reaching for these energy bites as an afternoon snack, but also before our morning workouts! We’ve started going to a 9:30am Orange Theory class on Saturdays and Sundays, and that time is just late enough that I’m starving before we leave. I love eating one or two of these now before working out and gives me enough energy until we get home! After which I will happily devour that stack of pancakes and bacon! Isn’t that the whole reason to workout after all? 😉

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Raspberry Cocoa Energy Bites

Ingredients

- 2 cups pitted medjool dates (16-17dates)
-1/2 cup raw almonds
- ½ cup freeze dried raspberries
-1/4 cup cocoa powder
-1 tablespoon chia seeds
-3 tablespoons unsalted nut butter (I used the mixed nut butter from TJ’s, but plain almond butter works well too)
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for rolling
- 2-3 tablespoons of warm water, if mixture is too dry.

What to do

  1. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until mixture is thick and incorporated.

  2. Take a small amount of mixture and pinch it between your fingers. If it sticks together easily and can roll into a ball, it's ready. If the mixture is too dry and crumbly, add 1 tablespoon of warm water at a time, pulsing in between, until mixture is sticky enough to hold its shape.

  3. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, then roll in shredded coconut if you’d like or you can leave them as is.  

  4. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. I prefer to keep them in the fridge so they are colder and more firm, but they can sit on your counter in an airtight container as well if you like them room temperature!

Happy snacking!

Our Go-to Açaí Bowls

During hectic weeks when Thomas and I get home and collapse on the couch, we look at each other and say “how the heck do people do this with kids?!” Even though we are still a couple years from having a baby, it’s definitely more in our minds when it comes to how much we work right now. Props to all of you busy working mama’s out there, because I don’t know how you do it - I’m guessing it’s some magical mama energy that you get!

As a recruiter I’m flipping between two computer screens, talking to candidates with the phone glued to my shoulder, conducting interviews in our office, and doing what seems like 10 things at once. And as a pilot, Thomas usually has back to back flights and definitely has to be alert and ‘on’ all day - So you can imagine how we both value the chance to ‘turn off’ at night and especially on the weekends. That’s why Saturday and Sunday mornings are simply the best. I’m sure that’s the same for most people though! Having a quiet morning reading, catching up on blog posts, sipping coffee, and eating a good breakfast is what I look forward to after a crazy work week. When we really want to recharge and start the morning off right, our go-to is an açaí bowl!

It’s refreshing and light but filling when you add granola, sliced banana, and peanut butter! It’s Thursday, so are you already day-dreaming about Saturday morning? You know this girl is. :)

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Açaí Bowl

Ingredients

- 1 (100g) packet frozen acai berry packet
- 1 banana frozen (the riper the better)
- ¼ cup almond milk
- honey (optional) if the banana isn’t sweet enough

toppings
- peanut butter - melt with a little coconut oil so you can drizzle it
- granola - we use our homemade granola
- more sliced banana. You can also add strawberries and blueberries
- hemp seeds
- cocoa nibs

what to do

  1. In a high-powered blender, combine the acai berry packet, frozen banana, 1/4 cup of almond milk, and extra honey if needed. Blend until completely smooth.

  2. Pour into a bowl and top drizzle with melted peanut butter, granola, sliced banana, hemp seeds, and cocoa nibs.

Simple Cobb Salad

Mondays are for hitting the reset button. We try and keep weekends as balanced as possible, but more often than not ice-cream gets consumed, bottles of wine get drank, and sometimes you just have to say eff-it and eat that bowl of pasta. "Sunday Scaries" may be a real thing, but I still get a satisfying feeling on Sunday nights when I pack my bag for Pure Barre on Monday morning at 6 AM, get a healthy lunch ready for the next day, and know that I am going to reset and get ready for the week! 

Keeping homemade dressing in the fridge is a lifesaver for work because I can throw a salad together quickly the night before. If you haven't made your own salad dressing before then I would definitely get on board! Have you looked at how much sugar and weird ingredients are on the back of those store bought salad dressing bottles?! Not only that, the taste will be SO much better as well. 

One of my favorite simple salads to make for lunch or dinner is a cobb. I know there's a lot of  argument as to what goes into a cobb but "our version" includes tomatoes, bacon, jammy eggs, blue cheese (if we have it on hand), and a good creamy homemade lemon parmesan dressing. I caught myself licking the spatula after making this dressing the other night...it's that good. I'm talking about being "healthy" but this dressing has mayo in it blah blah blah. #balance

ALSO, we just bought a salad spinner from IKEA for like 6 bucks and it is the BEST THING EVER. No more drying off lettuce with paper towels or watered down dressing!! I always thought it was a useless kitchen tool, but it's awesome! Plus you can use it as a crisper in the fridge for your lettuce!

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Simple Cobb Salad

Ingredients

- Butter lettuce or any lettuce that you like
- boiled eggs - I like 1 per person for this salad
- crispy bacon - 2-3 pieces for person
- Sliced cherry tomatoes - a handful per person
- Parmesan for topping
- Blue cheese or gorgonzola (if you have it on hand, if not it's great without as well!)

Creamy Lemon-Parmesan Dressing

- 1/2 cup of mayo
-  1 lemon - squeezed
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- milk to thin (add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get the consistency that you like)

What to do

  1. Heat a skillet on medium -hight heat and fry your bacon until crispy. Set on paper towels to drain. 

  2. while the bacon is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. Place eggs gently into boiling water and set timer to 6.5 minutes. We like our eggs with a jammy yolk but if you want yours hard boiled than set your timer for 8 minutes. 

  3. While the eggs are boiling, wash and spin dry your lettuce, and slice your tomatoes. 

  4. To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a blender or mason jar and blend (or shake vigorously). I usually make a double batch of this and store it in the fridge for throughout the week. 

Enjoy!

Mediterranean Falafel Pizza

We are back on American soil folks! After our final snowy morning in Norway on Wednesday, sipping coffee around the fire and having open-faced breakfast sandwiches around the table with family, Thomas and I packed our bags to head back to Portland. We didn't arrive in PDX until Thursday night, so we are finally happy to be home to say the least. BUTTT guess what I am doing on Wednesday? Heading back to Orlando to get on a cruise to the Bahamas for my Bachelorette party!! Seriously, so much happening right now that my brain is having a hard time processing it! I'm a little overwhelmed, but extremely excited nonetheless. I better funnel green juice and eat nothing but super foods for the next week because I see a lot of strong drinks with pink umbrellas in my future. 

So with the crazy week/month that we've had, I am SO DOWN for easy meals that we don't have to think to much about that are healthy and light. If your holidays were anything like ours, I think you are all totally onboard with this. Enter mediterranean falafel pizza! Has anything sounded so magnificent post holiday madness? This is such an easy recipe, and to make it even more simple you can just use store-bought hummus! I highly recommend making homemade hummus (I love Molly Yeh's recipe), but sometimes I get that 'ain't nobody got time for that'. 

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Mediterranean Falafel Pizza 

Ingredients:
For the Falafel Crust:
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 cup lightly packed cilantro
- 1 cup lightly packed parsley
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons tahini
- 2 tablespoons of flaxseed + 2 tablespoons of water
- 1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

Toppings: 
- homemade or store-bought hummus. I like a basic lemon-y version for this pizza. 
-Sundried tomato salad (one of my faves that we make almost weekly)
- Cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
- thinly sliced red onion
- feta cheese
- kalamata olives
- chopped parsley

What to do

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use a baking stone and set aside.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and water. Set aside to thicken.

  3. Add the onion, cilantro, parsley, and garlic into a food processor. Process until finely chopped. Add in the remaining ingredients, including the flax mixture, and process until the batter comes together and is incorporated.

  4. Scoop half of the batter onto one end of the baking dish or pizza stone. Shape it into a circle and smooth out the top so that it is an even 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining batter on the other side of the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes.

  5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. To finish, spread on a layer of hummus, then top with tomatoes, onions, olives, feta and parsley. 

Enjoy!

Tahini Brownies

WE LEAVE FOR NORWAY A WEEK FROM TODAY AND I'M SO FLIPPIN' EXCITED! My whole fam jam is flying from Orlando to Oslo and Thomas and I will be meeting them there. We have a direct flight from Portland to Iceland with a 20 hour layover in Reykjavík. The Blue Lagoon is only thing on my list so far to-do on our layover. Since we're going to have some time, do you guys have any suggestions on places to eat or drink in Reykjavík? 

I'm going to be good about bringing my camera around and documenting everywhere we go! On our itinerary is Oslo, Bergen, and Stavanger - So stay tuned!

On top of getting prepared to leave for Norway, we have our engagement pictures on the Oregon Coast this Thursday. So I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off doing errands, wedding planning, shopping, and BAKING. Not that baking has anything to do with me accomplishing things on my to-do list, but a girl's gotta do whatta girl's gotta do. 

Now, let's talk about these Tahini Brownies, shall we? I never knew this level of fudgy wonderment and admiration could exist...AND they are semi-healthy to boot! Healthy for a brownie at least and you would never know the difference. I have eaten a fair share of brownies in my day, and I would put these up as a contender with the best of em'.

No butter. No oil. No refined sugar. No flour. BAM!

The creamy tahini gives these a little bit of a nutty flavor, and the maple syrup and coconut sugar provides the sweetness. Thank you Ambitious Kitchen for bestowing me the best brownie recipe there ever was and giving me inspiration to make a whole bunch of other amazing treats where healthy ingredients are hiding. Maybe avocado brownies next? 

Also, please don't judge that I used a pie dish to make these brownies. You would think someone who likes to cook would own a 9x9 inch baking pan! 


Tahini Brownies - Recipe by Ambitious Kitchen 


Ingredients
- 1 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon coconut flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips

For the chocolate drizzle
- 2 tablespoons chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil

What to do
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl, combine the tahini, coconut sugar, maple syrup, vanilla extract and eggs until smooth and well combined. Gently fold in cocoa powder, coconut flour, salt and baking soda until batter is smooth. Fold in 1/3 cup chocolate chips into the batter. This batter should be rather thick.

3) Spread batter evenly in prepared baking pan. If it's giving you trouble to spread (because it's on the thicker side), spray a rubber spatula with nonstick cooking spray (trust me, it helps!). Bake for 22-30 minutes or until knife inserted into the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs attached. Don't overbake! 

4) After brownies have cooled a few minutes, prepared the chocolate drizzle: Place a small saucepan over low heat, add chocolate chips and coconut oil and stir frequently until melted and smooth. Generously drizzle over the brownies. Makes 16 brownies.

Honey Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Bowls

If you're anything like me than you have to really psych yourself up for Mondays. I had a moment this past weekend when my eyes popped open around 6:30 AM thinking it was Monday morning; BEST FEELING EVER realizing that it was only Sunday and I had the whole day ahead of me. I've tried to make my weekends as productive as possible lately since our wedding is only 9 months away now! That sounds like an eternity, but I am the queen of procrastination. I'm trying not to stress at all, but there are SO many little details that I would have never even thought to think about until they pop-up! But for now I am just chipping away at my checklist. One of my biggest goals is to get fitty fit before the wedding (says every bride ever). I just joined Pure Barre and it is kicking my booty! I seriously limped into work all last week, but I think I'm on the uptick now. 

Thomas and I are both trying to eat healthy during the week so we can splurge a little on the weekends. Wedding or not, there's no way we can give up taco or pizza nights. To kick start my Mondays on a healthy foot, I love eating a protein packed bowl for lunch. This Honey Chipotle Chicken Quinoa bowl is layered with lime-y quinoa, guacamole, arugula, and smoky & sweet chicken breast. This meal is so easy to prep over the weekend so you can have lunch for the week!


Honey Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Bowls - Recipe Adapted from Jessica Merchant

Ingredients
honey chipotle chicken
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons adobo sauce, from a can of chipotles in adobo
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 garlic cloves, minced

salad
6 cups spring greens (I use arugula)
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup torn fresh cilantro
4 green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon honey

lime quinoa
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1 cup low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock, or even water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 lime, juiced and zest freshly grated
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

What to do

1) Add the chicken breasts to a baking dish or ziplock bag and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, adobo, honey, mustard, cilantro and garlic. Pour the marinade over the chicken, covering it evenly. Place it in the fridge and marinate for at least 2 hours, or even overnight.
2) When you're ready to make the meal, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tiny bit of olive oil and add the chicken, then cover the skillet and cook until the chicken is deeply browned on both sides and cooked in the center, about 6 minutes per side.
3) To make the quinoa, add the quinoa and stock (or water) to a saucepan over high heat and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the coconut oil (you can swap butter), lime juice, zest, salt and pepper.
3) To make the salads, add the greens in a large bowl and toss them with a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Add the chicken on top along with the quinoa, cilantro, green onions and avocado. Drizzle the bowl with the lime juice, olive oil and honey. Serve!

 

Chicken Lettuce Wraps // Our First Date

Every single one of us have certain foods that spark nostalgia the second we take a bite. What comes to mind for me would be mint chocolate chip ice-cream, and how every time I take a spoonful I can picture sitting at my nana's table eating ice-cream for breakfast. Or how anytime I eat fried fish it brings back memories of walking down to the lake with my dad to go fishing and bringing our catch home for a fish fry. And  lettuce wraps of all things will always remind me of my first date with Thomas :)

Who would have thought that measly little lettuce wraps at the Cheesecake Factory could become such a monumental meal in our life?!  I'll never forget our first date, obviously. I guess it was kind of like a second date technically since we had already met on a cruise a few weeks prior. But this was our first date date. We met at the Cheesecake Factory at the Millennial Mall in Orlando and I can still remember what I was wearing! These shiny maroon leggings which sound god awful, which they probably are, but I thought they looked rockin' at the time! 

You could tell that we were both nervous, but a cute-giddy-first-date-kind-of-nervous; you know the kind. The damn Cheesecake Factory menu is so long that I just had to pick something quickly so I went with the lettuce wraps and then Thomas ordered the exact same thing! if you've ever had the lettuce wraps at CF then you know they're massive and one platter could feed an entire tribe. But there we were, with two huge platters of lettuce wraps and only a few bites taken here and there as a result of all the butterflies crowding our stomachs. We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening talking about anything and everything, and the rest is history! I've been hooked on Thomas and lettuce wraps ever since ;)

Now we make these bad boys at home all the time! I love doing different variations, but my favorite is Thai inspired with lots of garlic, ginger, peppers, lemongrass and cilantro. I love pairing them with avocado, marinated cucumbers, and a sweeter sauce to drizzle over the top. A healthy delicious meal that can be made in a jiffy. If you're anything like me you'll throw on those old maroon leggings while you're cooking. 


Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps 


Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
- 2 lemongrass stalks, thinly sliced (white parts only) 
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast, diced small
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
- 1 head of lettuce leaves, something easy for wrapping. Butter lettuce is great! 
- Chopped fresh cilantro
- Salt & Pepper to taste ( The soy sauce should give you enough sodium for your liking) 

What to do
1) In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and red pepper with a pinch of salt and sauté until starting to soften, about 5-10 minutes. 
2) While the onions and peppers are cooking, Remove the outer later of the lemon grass stalks. Cut off the lower bulb (the tip) of the stalk. Thinly slice the white parts and either discard the tops of the stalks or reserving for later to use to flavor soup. 
3) Once the onion and peppers have started to soften, add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass. Sauté until fragrant, another 2-3 minutes. 
4) Remove the mixture to a bowl. Wipe out the pan and then heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add diced chicken and cook until golden brown. Add the honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and rice vinegar and cook until the chicken is done, about 10-15 minutes. Add the onion and pepper mixture back in at the end and stir to incorporate. Serve the chicken mixture alongside a plate of lettuce leaves, marinated cucumber, sliced avocado, chopped cilantro, and any other toppings you desire. 

Marinated Cucumbers 
- 1 English Cucumber (or 2 Japanese cucumbers)
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1-2 Tbsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- pinch - 2 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes (depending on how much kick you want)

What to do
1) Wash and thinly slice the cucumber. Put the cucumber slices in a large bowl and sprinkle with
1-2 Tbsp salt, Just enough to cover each slice with a bit of salt.  Toss them to evenly coat. 
2) Let the cucumbers sit for about 10 minutes until they've absorbed a little salt.  Place them in a colander/strainer and rinse off the salt.  Rinse out the large bowl and make the sauce.  Add 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp sesame oil and 1 tsp sugar with a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you want them spicier!). Whisk together.  Add the cucumber back in the bowl with the sauce. Toss until evenly coated.
 

Cilantro Dipping Sauce
In a small stainless-steel saucepan, bring 5 tablespoons of rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to a simmer, stirring. Simmer for 2 minutes. Pour the liquid into a small glass or stainless-steel bowl and let cool. Add 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro, 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes. I added in another little squeeze of honey, a small pour of soy sauce, and a 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil to the mixture. Add whatever you want to this! It's fun to mix it up!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

In true Portland Fashion, some of the best pizza in the city is served up on gluten free/healthy-ish crusts. This is a fairly new concept for me and to be honest it took me a little while to be comfortable with the idea. You're talking to a girl who would have a personal pan pizza after school most days of the week, whose favorite lunchable was the mini pizza's, and whose first job was at Luigi's, the local pizza parlor. Point being, I'm obsessed with pizza. However now that I'm older and a little more health conscious I love that you can use alternative ingredients to make some of your favorite junk foods a little more healthy. 

The first time I went to Dove Vivi in NE Portland I was blown away. Not only did they have amazing toppings like house-made fennel sausage and roasted eggplant, but they also use stone ground cornmeal for the crust which leaves you feeling less bloated than normal crust made with bleached flour. It got my wheels turning on how we could make a healthy-ish pizza at home and that's how our cauliflower crust was born! I know there's a ton of different recipes floating around on the internet for cauliflower crust, but we wanted one that would be sturdy enough to be picked up just like a normal slice of pizza. Now we can indulge guilt free on a Friday night and feel a little better about grabbing that last beer out of the fridge. It's all about the balance ;)


Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Ingredients 
Crust
-1 large head of cauliflower
-1/2 cup almond meal
-1/2 cup gluten free all purpose flour
-1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper
(it would be great to add in herbs into the crust like fresh rosemary and thyme! we just kept it plain this time) 

Toppings
-Whatever your little heart desires! We did the first pizza with Ricotta, caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, topped with arugula and balsamic glaze. The second pizza had traditional pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, and basil, baked in the oven and then topped with thinly slice prosciutto, arugula, red onion, and freshly grated parmesan cheese. 

what to do
1) Heat oven to 350°F. Start with cleaning a head of cauliflower. Toss the florets into a blender and pulse to create cauliflower rice. You might have to work in batches for this. 
2) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the cauliflower until al dente, about 2 to 3 minutes. Line a strainer with a cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel and pour the cauliflower into the strainer. Rinse with cold water, then press out all of the water. Spin the cheesecloth or towel and hold tight just above the cauliflower. Make sure you squeeze all of the water out. This step is super important for a good crust.
3) In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower with the almond meal, flour, olive oil, salt, baking powder, and pepper mixing well with your hands to combine.
4) Spread the dough onto a cooking sheet lined with parchment paper. Form the crust with your fingers, shaping the dough. Then toss it in the oven and let it bake for about 20 minutes. Flip it over at the half-way mark that way you can get it crispy on both sides. 

-Pizza 1: Spread a layer of ricotta cheese on the top of the crust, top with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms and ricotta cheese. Pop in the oven to heat through and once it's out of the oven then top with arugula and drizzle with balsamic glaze. 
-Pizza 2: Spread a layer of pizza sauce on top of the crust, top with shredded mozzarella and fresh basil. Bake in the over until cheese is starting to brown and bubble. Top with arugula, thinly sliced prosciutto, red onion and parmesan cheese.