A Big (Sur) Birthday Weekend

Big Sur Coastline

Last week was…my birthday week! Yep, I’m one of those people that makes her family and friends to celebrate it for 7 days :) But hey, it’s better than the birthday-month-kind-of-people, right? Thanks to my favorite people, turning 31 wasn’t so bad when bundled with gorgeous flowers, sweet treats, kind messages, and even a night out at America’s Test Kitchen Live! (Fun fact: Did you know that ATK spends 6 weeks to perfect each recipe and spends $500,000 per year on just ingredients?!)

The birthday fun continued into the weekend as the bf whisked me away for a Big Sur birthday weekend. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with spending time outside the city. I’m usually pretty tolerable of city life, especially in SF, but lately the traffic, non-stop construction, and more have just been getting to me. Fortunately, I got the escape I was hoping! We camped, surfed, cooked and more. With no cell service and a real desire to disconnect, I barely had my phone out…well, unless I was taking pictures.

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Healthy Tuna Salad (+Barry’s Bootcamp Giveaway!)

Healthy Tuna Salad

So, I have a confession.

Last weekend, I reached total couch potato status. Between watching episodes of my new favorite show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and working on new projects for The Simple Fare, I basically didn’t leave my living room for most of the weekend. Was it productive? Absolutely. Healthy? Not so much…

And that brings me to today’s healthy tuna salad recipe. To keep my brain fueled while cranking away on my laptop, I turned to this recipe and within 20 minutes went from tired and hangry to recharged and energized!

This recipe is from the amazing Erica Stenz aka San Francisco’s hottest female trainer (it’s official!) You can find Erica at Barry’s Bootcamp teaching the most intense, calorie-burning classes. I mean, there’s a reason Barry’s is dubbed “the best workout in the world”. I’ve been going since July 2014, and let me tell you – it’s life-changing. The classes push you to your limit and the people you meet become your biggest fans inside and outside the studio. (Keep reading for the chance to win a free class!)

Erica calls this recipe her Healthiest Whole30 Approved Tuna Salad. She brought this epic salad to a #fitfam potluck a few months ago and I just had to get the recipe for The Simple Fare. Thanks to Erica, I can share this recipe with you all to make and enjoy for yourselves!

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Strawberry-Mint Shortcakes

Strawberry-Mint Shortcakes

Spring has sprung and we are officially into April, my favorite month of the year. Ok, full disclosure, my birthday is in April so perhaps I’m biased :) Selfish reasons aside, April is absolutely wonderful for cooking because it’s when some of my favorite fruits and vegetables make its way to the grocery store or market.

At the top of that list are strawberries. One of my favorite strawberry desserts is my Strawberry-Mint Shortcakes recipe (and these mini German pancakes too). Strawberry shortcake is a nice change from a traditional pie or normal cake, and is perfect for any spring brunch or dinner. Definitely consider this recipe if you’re looking to make something sweet for Easter this weekend!

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Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad

I love recipes that give you enough structure yet leave some room to be creative. This Roasted Vegetable Orzo Salad, by the lovely Ina Garten, is one of those perfect recipes. The salad is fairly simple – just cube up some vegetables, roast them, toss with the orzo and a lemon vinaigrette. Top with feta, green onions, and basil, and you’re done!

Don’t like eggplant or bell peppers? No worries. With this salad, you can include just about any vegetable you like that roasts well. I might try adding zucchini and squash next time, or asparagus since it’s in season. The vinaigrette is pretty neutral; it’s just lemon, olive oil and S&P, so consider this salad a blank canvas!

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Persian Herb Frittata: Kookoo Sabzi

Persian Herb Frittata - Kookoo Sabzi

Happy New Year, everyone!

I know what you’re thinking – I’m a few months too late, right? Well actually, there’s another New Year I like to celebrate: Persian New Year aka “Nowruz” (pronounced No-rooz). I highly recommend observing this holiday, especially if January 1st didn’t treat you too well and you need to hit restart!

What I love about Nowruz is that it always falls on the first day of spring, March 20th. It gives the holiday such great meaning as it’s symbolic of fresh starts and new beginnings. And recently, I discovered ALOHA, a nutrition and wellness startup that has a collection of healthy recipes. With springtime around the corner, I felt inspired to post one of my favorite light recipes too! With Nowruz just last week, I couldn’t help but think of my mother’s Kookoo Sabzi recipe – it’s like a Persian herb frittata. It’s one of the many traditional dishes served during the holiday, and it’s loaded with nutritious vegetables, herbs, nuts and more. It’s the perfect recipe to share with you all as we leave winter behind!

Persian Herb Frittata - Kookoo Sabzi

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