Sunday, September 22, 2013

Vegan, Quinoa Vegetable Salad

Though I am not a vegetarian or vegan myself, I do appreciate a clean, wholesome, meatless dish but I am so bored of the same old green salad: lettuce, bell pepper, cucumber, and dressing. While going through my pantry today I discovered two unopened bags of quinoa, one red and one white, and thought...why the heck not try cooking something new? And with that, I was off.

This recipe is inspired by my friend Tressa, and all other vegetarians (and vegans) out there. It truly is delicious, if I do say so myself. This is the perfect recipe to make at the beginning of the week and keep in your fridge for an easy grab-in-go lunch. I especially love this recipe because it can go many hours without being refrigerated because it doesn't have any meat or dairy products....BONUS!

I am incredibly pleased with this new recipe, it is super healthy and is sure to keep you full!

Veggies mixed with dressing

Add cooked quinoa to veggies

Stir, stir, stir

Package and store for the week

Veggie-packed quinoa:
yields 4-6 servings

- 1 cup quinoa

- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth

- 3 stalks celery

- 1 medium carrot

- 1/2 bell pepper

- 1 cup red cabbage

- 1 can diced tomatoes


- 1/3 cup olive oil

- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

- 2 tbls. dijon mustard

- ground pepper

- juice of 1/2 lemon

- 1-2 tabls. honey or packet of stevia (optional but encouraged) 


1. In a medium saucepan, bring to a boil 1 1/2 cups broth (or water, I just used broth for added flavor), 1/2 cup red quinoa, and 1/2 cup white quinoa. Once at boiling, reduce to simmer and cover for 15 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed liquid and expanded. 

2. While quinoa is cooking chop bell pepper, cabbage, carrots, and celery. 

3. Combine dressing ingredients. Add the vegetables above and drained diced tomatoes to dressing and mix together. 

4. Once quinoa has cooled to room temperature, add to the vegetable mixture and combine until dressing evenly coats all ingredients. 

5. Finally, transport to a container and refridgerate until ready to eat.

6. Enjoy! 

Fun Facts: Quinoa

1. High in protein -- its protein balance is similar to milk and has more protein compared to rice, millet or wheat.

2. A good source of riboflavin -- riboflavin helps reduce the frequency attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.

3. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America, making it a good antiseptic.

4. It's alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.

5. It only has 172 calories per ¼ cup dry quinoa.

6. Since it is not related to wheat or grain, it's gluten-free. Millions are discovering they feel better and lose weight when they reduce gluten grains or at least wheat products. 

7. It is a complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index. This is again good for weight management. 

Wishing you a healthy day, the Tori May way!
Until next time, 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Comfort Food: Round two!

Time for a hearty meal that will make the transition from summer to fall a breeze! As you will quickly discover, I love healthy food that tastes like comfort food! And that is exactly what this recipe and the one in my last post are all about!!! 

On today's menu: Stuffed Zucchini boats accompanied by a blue cheese, wedge salad. YUM! Healthy, easy, and delicious! The zucchini boat recipe was featured on my last blog and was a big hit, so I thought why not share the recipe with all of you! 

To start:
Fresh, crisp, and delicious ice-burg wedge

Main Course:

Chopped onion, green bell pepper, and minced garlic

Sauce: onions, bell pepper, garlic, ground turkey, spices, tomato sauce

Assembled in (beautifully) scooped out zucchini boats, topped with parmesan cheese

Final result, hot out of the oven...mmm

Recipe: Iceberg, blue cheese wedge:  
serves 4

- one iceberg lettuce head, quartered

- 3/4 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

- 1 avocado, chopped

- 4-6 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled

- chunky blue cheese dressing

- ground pepper (optional)

Place one-quarter of iceberg head on each plate, then simply assemble the other condiments around the lettuce. Finish it off by drizzling the blue cheese dressing, and ground some fresh pepper over the top.

Stuffed Zucchini:  
serves 6

- 6 zucchini

- 1 green bell pepper, chopped

- 1 yellow onion, chopped

- 3-5 cloves of garlic

- 1- 24 oz jar of your favorite tomato sauce

- 25-35 oz of ground turkey

- 1 tbsp. Italian seasonings

- 1 bay leaf

- salt and pepper (to taste)

- red pepper flakes (to taste)

- 1/2- 3/4 cup grated parmesan

1. Pre-heat oven 425 degrees

2. Saute bell pepper and onions in 2 tbsp. of olive oil for 3-5 minutes over medium-high heat, until vegetables begin to soften. Next add the minced garlic until it becomes aromatic, 30 sec- 1 min.

3. After that stir in the ground turkey, and saute unitl it is cooked through. When this is done, it is time to add the tomato sauce, italian seasonings, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and lastly the bayleaf.

4. Stir until everything is well combined, then cover and reduce to a simmer for (ideally) 1/2 hour to an hour, but if you're in a time crunch aim for at least 15 minutes.

5. Next scoop generous amounts of sauce into zucchini boats that have already been placed into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Finally, top the whole dish off with parmesan cheese and bake 25 minutes, or longer if softer zucchini is desired.

There it is! One very satisfying, delicious meal!

Wishing you a healthy day, the Tori May way!
Until next time, 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Healthy comfort food

With school starting up again the time to say goodbye to close friends has arrived. College is wonderful, but right now leaves us all feeling a little lonely. The obvious fix to this problem? COMFORT FOOD!

I raided our fridge for anything that tickled my fancy, as my grandpa would say, and with that was off! My experiment ended up including roasted vegetables and chicken that was topped with cheese, and lots of it, then baked to perfection....or pretty dang close at least;)

Here's what I did to create some healthy comfort food:

Chopped and roasted the veggies

Thinly sliced and caramelized the onions
Grated three different kinds of cheese

Cubed and browned chicken
Assembled veggies, chicken, and cheese in layers
Baked to near perfection:)

Chicken and Vegetable Comfort bake:
Serves 4

- 2 large zucchini

- 1 head cauliflower

- 1 pint cherry tomatoes

- 1 medium yellow onion

- 2 cups sliced mushrooms

- 4 chicken breasts

- 4 oz cheddar cheese

- 4 oz mozzarella cheese

- 2 oz Parmesan cheese

- 1 pint tomato sauce

- olive oil

- 1/8 cup chicken broth


1. Cut zucchini and cauliflower in small chunks and cut cherry tomatoes in half. Place on parchment lined baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes stirring half way through. After removing from the oven, reduce heat to 350.

2. While vegetables are roasting, heat 1 tbls. of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Once hot reduce heat to low and add thinly sliced onions. Cook until caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. In the same skillet as you cooked the onions, add 2 tbls. of olive oil and heat at medium high heat. Once hot, add the cubed chicken breasts and cook until cooked through and browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

4. In the same pan as you cooked the onions and chicken place 1 tbls. of olive oil and place sliced mushrooms and the chopped bell peppers. Toss in oil and cook for about 1-2 minutes then add a little bit of chicken broth to deglaze the pan, I used about 1/8 cup. This is where all the flavor comes out...ohh yeahhh!

5. Turn off heat and add browned chicken and roasted veggies to the pan with the bell pepper and mushrooms. Stir until well combined.

6. Time for assembly! Place 1/3 of veggie and chicken mixture on bottom of 9 x 13 inch greased baking dish, next top with a 1/3 of your favorite tomato sauce (I used a tomato basil from a local Kenwood Italian cafe called Cafe Citti), and then top with cheddar cheese. Continue this layering process, but the second layer put the mozzarella cheese and on the top place the Parmesan and caramelized onions.

7. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes until cheese is melted and top is golden.

8. Remove from oven, let cool, and enjoy!


One cup of zucchini has 36 calories and 10% of the RDA of dietary fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar and curbs overeating.

Lower Cholesterol
The dietary fiber in zucchini helps lower cholesterol by attaching itself to bile acids that the liver makes from cholesterol for digesting fat.

Cancer Prevention
The high amounts of fiber in zucchini help prevent carcinogenic toxins from settling in the colon. Moreover, the vitamins C and A, as well as folate, found in zucchini act as powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative stress that can lead to many different types of cancer.

Prostate Health
Studies show that the phytonutrients in zucchini aid in reducing the symptoms of benign
prostatic hypertrophy (BOH), a condition in which the prostate gland enlarges and leads
to complications with urination and sexual functions in men.

Heart Attack and Stroke Prevention
A one cup serving of zucchini contains over 10% of the RDA of magnesium, a mineral
proven to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke

Lower Blood Pressure
Along with magnesium, the potassium found in zucchini helps lower blood pressure.

High in Manganese
A trace mineral and essential nutrient, manganese provides many health benefits and contributes to a slew of normal physiological functions. One cup of zucchini contains 19% of the RDA of manganese, which helps the body metabolize protein and carbohydrates, participates in the production of sex hormones, and catalyzes the synthesis of fatty acids and cholesterol.

Wishing you a healthy day, the Tori May way!
Until next time, 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

It's a fruity kind of morning

With summer in full swing that means lots of fresh, sweet fruits headed our way! It seems that whenever I leave the house, I can't help but return with more fruit! Everywhere I turn, from fruit stands on the side of the road to farmers markets and fresh produce at our local markets there are so many delicious options to indulge in! I think it's safe to say, I HAVE A FRUIT ADDICTION!

Recently I took  a trip to visit some family in Monterey and on the way home just had to stop at my favorite fruit and vegetable stand. It's a spot I never miss, and a place I never leave without getting something! Today's breakfast uses some of the fruit I got at this fruit stand with a mix of organic fruits from whole foods.

Greek yogurt is a staple in my house from salad dressings to sauces for chicken it is constantly being used. But perhaps my favorite way to eat this thick and creamy yogurt is just plain layered with an array of fruits, much like I did for breakfast this morning! Here's what I did:

Core one peach

Cut the peach into slices

Mix greek yogurt to soften then dollop on top of peaches

Wash blueberries and cut half of a banana

Add blueberries and sliced bananas

Top with unsweetened coconut and ground flax seed

Fruity Breakfast Parfaits:
serves 2

-1 peach 

-1/2 cup blueberries 

-1/2 banana

-12-14 oz plain greek yogurt

-1 heaping teaspoon unsweetened shredded coconut

-1 tablespoon ground flax seed


1. Core one peach.

2. Cut each half into slices, making sure not to cut all the way through as to ensure a fan-like peach is created.

3. Place 6 oz of greek yogurt over each peach half.

4.  Add 1/4 cup of blueberries and 1/4 sliced banana over the greek yogurt.

5. Finally, top with one tablespoon of flax seed and one heaping teaspoon of unsweetened coconut.


Fun facts: Greek Yogurt


Greek yogurt has substantially more protein than standard American yogurt. Per ounce, Greek yogurt provides an additional gram of protein over typical non-fat yogurt. Additional protein can help you to feel full and satisfied.

Reduced Sugar

Greek yogurt is made by straining the whey off yogurt repeatedly to create its thick texture. Much of the natural sugar is removed during this process.  Greek yogurt has one-half the sugar of unsweetened, non-fat American-style yogurt. 


Greek yogurt is minimally processed and has not been heat-treated. This provides you with essential healthy bacteria, including acidophiles. Acidophiles and lactobacillus organisms can improve intestinal health.


Greek yogurt provides substantial amounts of calcium, and the calcium in yogurt is more easily absorbed due to live yogurt cultures. 

Wishing you a healthy day, the Tori May way!
Until next time, 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's all about color

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Veggies! Veggies! Veggies! YUM. This simple salad recipe is sure to be a family summertime favorite using bright and colorful veggies to attract the eye and fresh ingredients to excite the taste buds.

In eating salads almost everyday I was in need of something to make my basic garden salad into something new and exciting! My secret....FRUIT! What better way to eat your fruits and vegetables than tossed together and drizzled with some oil and vinegar. In essence, this salad is created with any and all veggies we have roaming around in our refrigerator and finished off with a fruit of your choice (my favorite are local Kenwood  strawberries or organic blueberries)

Firstly: Chop, chop, chop

Next: Add your leafy greens

Finally: Toss with Extra Virgin olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar and top with your favorite cheese and nuts or just leave plain

Refrigerator Salad recipe:
serves 2

-1/2 bell pepper (I used a yellow one)

-1 avocado 

-1/2 cucumber 

-4 green onions 

-1/2 cup cherry tomatoes 

-1/2 cup strawberries (or any other fruit that looks good to you) 

-3 cups leafy greens (I used kale and arugula) 

-Shaved Parmesan (optional)

-Roasted sunflower seeds (optional)

-Extra Virgin Olive Oil

-Balsamic Vinegar

1. Cut all of your veggies. 

2. Add a leafy green of your choice. The more creative you get with this the better results! Use different colors and textures to add variety to every salad!

3. Drizzle with good olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

4. Toss everything together ( I find that using my hands works best as to ensure that every piece of lettuce is coated...shh don't tell anyone;)

5. Finally, decorate!!! I shaved Parmesan and added some roasted sunflower seeds for some added flavor and (bonus) it makes the salad look pretty.

6. Crack pepper over the top. 

Fun Facts: KALE

Kale's Antioxidants
Kale is packed with antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Some research suggests kale helps reduce the risk of certain cancers.

Kale is a Nutritional Powerhouse

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

Vitamins in Kale
One cup of chopped raw kale provides more than 100% of the daily value of vitamins A, C, and K.

The Kale Family
Kale belongs to the same family as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and collards.

Colors of Kale
Types of kale are differentiated by color (green, white, purple, or bluish green) and leaf shape.

Kale and Lutein
Kale contains lutein, a type of carotenoid (Carotenoids and flavonoids antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits) responsible for the plant’s color and nutrients. Lutein helps keep eyes and vision healthy.

Wishing you a healthy day, the Tori May way!
Until next time,