Salmon Tacos in a Carmelized Agave Butter Sauce with Mango Salsa

The moment I realized I had all the ingredients I needed to make these tacos happen tonight, I got excited. Probably a little too excited.

Salmon tacos have been on my list of ultimate comfort food since I tried them for the first time a couple years ago at one of my favorite Mexican places called Taco Mesa in Costa Mesa. They serve this incredible salmon taco with a creamy butter sauce along with a mango relish that is to die for. But, at $4/taco I soon realized that I needed to recreate this in my kitchen and save some dough. This recipe is all-the-way-paleo if you just omit the tortilla (replace it with mixed greens!) There’s something so incredibly delicious about salmon with agave and butter as well.

Ingredients (makes 2 servings)

  • 2 pieces Wild Salmon
  • 2 tbsp butter (I use clarified butter, also called “ghee“)
  • 2 tbsp agave syrup
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 3/4 onion
  • handful of cilantro
  • 2 yellow mangos
  • 1 lime or 1/2 lemon (I like using lemon more and more in my salsas these days)
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • tortillas (for a treat I use flour tortillas, but tonight I used an Ezekiel flourless tortilla)

Recipe:

1. Chop up the onion, tomato, cilantro and mango and combine in a bowl to make the salsa. Add fresh lime or lemon juice and then salt and pepper to taste.

2. Heat up the grill (I just use a George Foreman) and add the salmon to the grill with the skin still on, face-down. Cook for about 3 minutes on one side, depending on the heat of the grill you’re using. Flip over and continue to cook. You can peel off the skin at this point (Fun fact: salmon skin really grosses me out for some reason… if my hand accidentally touches it I jump, squeal and get really skeeved)

3. Once the salmon has cooked for a few more minutes, I flip it over once more to cook for about a minute on the side that had the skin (so it gets those nice, even grill marks).

4. Meanwhile, I combine the agave syrup and ghee into a small saucepan or frying pan, and melt it together on low heat. I gradually turn up the heat while stirring, allowing the agave to bubble and caramelize.

5. Transfer the salmon to a plate and pour the butter sauce over the salmon.

6. Heat either two small tortillas per person, or one large tortilla. If you have a tortilla skillet, great! If not, you can use the grill or the toaster oven.

7. Add the salmon and salsa on the tortilla and eat!

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Sage & Butter Filet Mignon with Yam Fries and Asparagus

Wow this blog has gathered a lot of dust! 6 months worth of dust… my excuse has always been that I don’t have enough time, but I finally admitted to myself that since I spend hours watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (judge away) and staring vacantly at Facebook, I have no excuse. Since I last posted we moved to a (way better) apartment closer to L.A., I started grad school and the boyfriend and I traveled to Rome and Sicily in December (major food post to come). Things have definitely been on the up and up and I am now settling into 20 days of spring break (thus, the rekindling of this site!). I’m hoping to infuse this blog with some broader topics though as I move forward (because there is more to life than grub) so be on the lookout for posts on fitness, music, health, DIY, fashion and general rants. I’ll first start by posting an easy recipe from last week.

As some friends and family know, I’ve been slowly leaning towards eating more and more Paleo (a.k.a. “the caveman diet”) and for a solid two weeks I was following Whole30, which is an even stricter version of Paleo where you only eat high-quality meat & fish, vegetables, fruits and certain fats like olive oil, seeds and nuts for 30 days. Well, I didn’t make it to 30 days. I technically didn’t make it past four days, but I’m going to be delusional and not count a certain night of excessive drinking post-performance. It just didn’t happen, alright?

I nonetheless feel amazing while eating Paleo and the more I research, read and experiment the more it makes sense. For the first time in a LONG time a lot of my stomach issues disappeared and I am now 10 pounds away from weighing what I did in highschool. How do you like them egg rolls? My only complaint is that we (non-cavemen) have unfortunately been conditioned to have something called variety. So, I am trying to figure out how to eat paleo “most of the time” while being able to dip into my fav non-paleo meals without getting too cray-cray. I mean, a life without pasta and wine is not a life.

With that said, let’s talk about STEAK:

Filet mignon is seriously my favorite cut of beef and is one of the many perks of eating Paleo. It melts in your mouth, is tender and soft and is a super low-maintenance cut. All l I did was salt & pepper it and then seared it over high heat until rare. I took some fresh, chopped sage and simmered it on low heat with a couple teaspoons of clarified butter (also know as “ghee”). I chopped up some yam fries and sautéed some fresh asparagus with shallots and olive oil, and had dinner ready in 20 minutes.

[I always cut the ends off my herbs, stick them in some water and cover to keep them fresh throughout the week.]

Oh, this is making me nostalgic. Lately I’ve been indulging in a little too much sugar, and half and half in my coffee, and spaghetti, and Trader Joe’s appetizers, and bites of the boyfriend’s Del Taco quesadillas, etc…. and the result is, I don’t feel too snazzy. I’m planning to return to the “straight and narrow” starting on Monday. I’d start back up tomorrow but we are visiting the fam for brunch and while I am a strong woman, I don’t know if I can (or really want to) pass on my Dad’s amazing waffles. Before I head to sleep though, look! I bought some new Asics so I can look cool at the gym again. My old running shoes had holes in them (yes, plural) and they squeaked. I was getting some funny looks from the little old ladies at the YMCA. But now I’ll show them!

Maple Syrup & Brown Sugar Parfait

Label this under “fast, simple & decadent.”

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup nonfat, plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup (pure)
  • 1/4 cup cereal (I used raisin bran)
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • strawberries
  • blueberries

Take a clear glass and fill the bottom layer with 1/3 cup of organic, nonfat yogurt. Then top it with 2 tsp of pure, maple syrup. Crush 1/4 cup of cereal, or granola and sprinkle on top. Then add a layer of blueberries, followed by more yogurt, maple syrup, strawberries and then the brown sugar. Brûlée the brown sugar with a torch (I know… I’m obsessed with the torch. It makes everything 100 times more amazing though, I swear…)

This has 6 Weight Watchers points, and is a delicious snack or dessert.

Anyhow, life took over last month with grad auditions, lots of practicing and working on my eating habits. Met my 5% weight loss goal two weeks ago, which was no small feat since I have a lot of weight to lose. I neglected this blog all last month, but no more. Next up is a spinach quiche I made earlier in January that turned out amazing, as well as my first multi-tiered layered cake (and fondant!!) Excited to get back on the boat and dedicate more time to this.

Decadent, Creamy Chocolate Coconut Smoothie

Let me start by saying that I really wanted to make chocolate chip cookies instead of a smoothie for my post-lunch snack. I REALLY wanted to. While browsing Pintrest I found a recipe that looked amazing and different than my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. But then the angel on my right shoulder kicked in and told me not to. “Make yourself a healthy, filling and nutritious smoothie instead,” it whispered to me.

It wasn’t tough to change my mind. I walked 4 miles today and have been on-target all week with my points and nutrition. Why blow it the NIGHT before my weigh-in? The whole point of Weight Watchers in my eyes, is to learn how to make smarter choices. You don’t have to feel deprived, but it also doesn’t mean you should give in to every craving and whim on a weekday afternoon. So I’m saving the cookies for tomorrow night. 

Smoothies have a supernatural ability nonetheless, to convince my taste buds that what I am drinking is a dessert. So, it’s a win-win.

Here’s the recipe I made up, and I’ve included the Weight Watchers Points for those of you who might be on the plan. Most of you who know me know that I am a little coconut obsessed. If you don’t like coconut, you can replace it with regular milk, or even almond milk if you’re feeling snazzy. 

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk (3 points)
  • 1/3 cup low-fat milk (1 point)
  • 1 cup ice (0 points)
  • 1 banana (0 points)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (3 points)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (0 points)
  • 1 tsp shredded coconut (0 points) *optional*

Combine everything in the blender & sprinkle with shredded coconut. Total count: 7 points. It’s extremely filling, and makes 2 large cups worth. More importantly it provides real nutrients instead of butter, sugar, flour and chocolate chips.

Granted, the 2 tbsp of sugar is… not ideal, but it tasted too chalky with only 1 tbsp, and I don’t like Splenda or artificial chemical sweeteners. I’d rather have a little of the real thing and feel satiated. Hope you enjoy this.

So-Simple Berry Vanilla Smoothie

I don’t know about you, but there’s nothing that makes me happier about eating healthy than smoothies. They are refreshing, filling AND they satisfy my sweet tooth. But, smoothies can be extremely unhealthy, especially when loaded with preservatives, sorbet and sherbet or worse: ice cream. I’ve tried some of the low-calorie smoothies at places like Jamba Juice and Juice It Up but they taste like chalk, and leave me $4 poorer.

This has become my favorite smoothie of all time.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries or mixed berries
1 banana
1 cup 1% milk (you can use fat-free… but I just can’t do it… might as well use water)
1 tbsp vanilla

Blend them all in a blender until smooth & enjoy. It’s that simple. I probably drink this every other day in the morning or after a workout. It has 3 Weight Watcher Points because of the milk and it fills me up while helping me get in my dairy and 2-3 servings of fruit.

Let’s Get STEAMY

The New Year is a time for all of us to reflect on our lives, contemplate our achievements and failures, look into the future and pledge resolutions for making us better people, and to LOSE WEIGHT!

Just kidding! ( but not really…) On New Year’s Day the whole nation realizes that eating Halloween candy, stuffing, English toffee and buttered rums nonstop for three month’s causes some unflattering bulges and a serious case of lowered self-esteem due to ill-fitting pants. I personally did a decent job this Fall up until December 10th. Then, I just went crazy and ate star-shaped sugar cookies for breakfast. It was like Hansel and Gretel in my apartment for three weeks. But now the fairy tale is over, I’m 5 pounds heavier, and it’s time to shift back into a more veggie-centric eating plan.

This leads us to today’s dinner: “A boring, vegetable soup.”

At least, that’s what I thought as I lifelessly began chopping carrots. But, surprisingly enough, it wasn’t boring and turned out to be quite tasty and filling. Plus it is  worth 1 Weight Watcher’s point a cup.

To make a tasty soup, all you need to do is throw a mix of your favorite vegetables into a soup pot. I used broccoli, celery, spinach, carrots, zucchini, onion, garlic, red pepper and cauliflower. Pour in enough chicken stock so that the vegetables are covered and then bring it to a boil. Once it boils, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season with thyme, lemon juice, pepper and (lots of) sea salt. You can also add in some noodles or rice if you need your carb fix.

What is YOUR favorite low-calorie dinner? I’m taking suggestions for upcoming posts. In addition to the vegetables, I’m starting up Pilates again, which I’m really happy about! I’m so sore I can barely manage to do basic functions. No matter how much walking or running you do, nothing will leave you more sore than a Pilates class.

Now I’ll leave you with this hilarious, and kind of inappropriate, “morning warm-up” workout video. I had visions of myself making a video of me attempting this, but then I realized I would live a life of shame from then on… so I decided against it.