recipes

Simple, Delicious Seared Ahi Tuna Salad

November 17, 2016

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As a busy mama with two little ones running around, “Me Time” doesn’t happen every day. So when it does happen, I’m all about keeping it low-maintenance and stress-free. Still, when it does come around, I want to enjoy that precious time and treat myself well.

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That’s why I’m always on the lookout for delicious ingredients that make me feel like I’m having a restaurant-quality meal in the comfort of my own home. I was recently invited to try out the new Bumble Bee SuperFresh® line. And it did not disappoint.

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After an exhausting day chasing toddlers, I had a few hours by myself to relax. I whipped up this delicious Seared Tuna Salad and paired it with a bottle of wine I’d been saving for a special occasion. It was so simple–less than 15 minutes to have everything ready to enjoy. Food, wine, and my favorite music playing in the background. This mama thought she’d died and went to heaven for a little while there. 😉

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Whether you’re enjoying some well-deserved “Me Time” or even entertaining guests, this simple, delicious salad is sure to impress.

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Here’s what you’ll need:

  • One package of Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna
  • A handful of Roma Tomatoes
  • A bowl of Spring Mix
  • A handful of Sliced Almonds
  • Your favorite Dressing (Ginger & Wasabi are both delicious with Tuna!)

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Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is so simple to prepare. Just remove from vacuum pack and place in refrigerator to thaw. Allow to thaw approximately 3 hours. Plate and serve. Et voilà! You’re ready to eat and enjoy.

Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Seared Ahi Tuna is the first ever sushi quality “Thaw and serve” packaged seafood product. It stays frozen during the processing and never fully defrosted or re-frozen during preparation, so Bumble Bee guarantees its quality is on par with what you expect from fine chefs who know how to source the best product for their restaurants.

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My favorite part about Bumble Bee SuperFresh® Ahi Tuna is that they are wild caught and harvested from sources that are managed to promote healthy fish stocks for generations. As a gal who absolutely loves sushi, but struggles with the ethics of eating certain fish species, this is music to my ears.

I hope that you enjoy this easy and healthy recipe as much as I did. ♥

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

6 (Sneaky!) Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat Vegetables

July 13, 2015

6 Sneaky ways to Give Kids Vegetables // livelovesimple.com

// image sources: pasta / toast / smoothie / ice pops / pizza / fritters //

Pasta, toast, smoothies, ice pops, pizza, and fritters! It doesn’t exactly sound like the healthiest bunch of food, does it? However, one thing that all of these dishes have in common is that my toddler loves them. But, like most moms, it’s really important to me that my kid’s food is not only delicious, but also nutritious. From the time that Roman started eating solids until about 1.5 years, he was a great eater and he pretty much ate whatever we put in front of him. Sometime before he turned two, that all changed. All of a sudden we had a very picky eater on our hands. He turned his nose up at anything that resembled a vegetable. That’s when we knew we had to get creative!

Over the past few months, I’ve come up with several awesome ways to sneak vegetables into Roman’s snacks & meals. Here are six of my favorites.


1. Pasta — One thing that my kid will never say no to is pasta. It’s been his meal of choice for as long as I can remember. We’ve found lots of simple ways to make pasta more healthy. One thing I like to do is make kale pesto pasta. (Click here to check out that recipe.) Another thing I’ll do is boil vegetables — like broccoli, carrots, or beets — blend or mash them up, and add them to whatever sauce I’m serving over our pasta. Occasionally I will stir fry some veggies and add them to the mix, but my picky boy tends to find those and eat around them! So blending them into the sauce works better for us.

2. Toast — Another thing that Roman loves is a great piece of bread. (I mean who doesn’t, right?) Occasionally we’ll have a loaf of fresh rye from the bakery or a yummy loaf of sourdough. Roman loves toast and spreading on a thick layer of blended vegetables is a good way to add a lot of nutrition to the mix. If I don’t have time to mash up some veggies, I like to use Beech-Nut baby food as a spread. They recently launched their new organic line and Roman loves them all. The mango, carrot & orange is his favorite.

3. Smoothies — I’ve never seen anyone down a smoothie the way that Roman does. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter what we put in it. We give him a smoothie and a straw and it’s gone within minutes! It’s amazing. We typically use almond milk & a banana as a base and after that we add whatever we have on hand into the blender. Favorite additions are kale, apple, carrots, cashews, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, and peanut butter.

4. Ice Pops — Recently, I picked up a pair of ice pop molds in the grocery store. Whenever we have leftover smoothie from breakfast we just put it in the molds and then pop them in the freezer. It makes for the perfect, delicious, nutritious playtime or after-dinner snack.

5. Pizza — There are lots of fun ways to get creative with pizza. You can load it up with shredded or sliced veggies, cover with cheese, and bake. Or, you can add boiled, mashed vegetables into your pizza sauce. Either way, I’ve never met a kid who doesn’t love pizza! It’s a great way to sneak a bunch of nutrition into a kid-friendly meal.

6. Fritters — Fritters are one of my all-time favorites. The healthiest ones are the ones that we load up with vegetables. A few of Roman’s favorites include shredded carrots, zucchini, eggplant, or sweet potatoes. We love to make dipping sauces for our fritters, too. It’s another great place to add some more veggies. A delicious dip idea is Greek yogurt blended with kale & garlic. Yummy!


Okay, writing this post has got me all kinds of hungry. I’m off to the kitchen to whip something up. I hope I’ve inspired you to sneak more vegetables into your kids’ (and your own!) meals.

What are some of your favorite ways to be sure that your family is eating enough vegetables? I’d love to hear in the comments!

Eating Clean + Egg Salad

May 12, 2015

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

We’ve been on a clean eating streak around here and it feels great. I’ve written out my thoughts on food in the past, but I want to take a few minutes to reflect, especially since we’ve been doing so well and I don’t want to lose this momentum.

What do I mean by “clean eating?” The term clean eating can be used to describe a lot of things, but when I use it, I’m mainly talking about a whole foods diet — eating only (or mostly, at least 90%) whole foods, foods that haven’t been processed or diluted in any way, foods that come as they are.

Note that you can process (chop, mash, cook, etc.) foods at home and they are still considered whole foods. The processing in the term “processed foods” refers to the chemical and mechanical processing that takes place in factories where foods are mass-produced.

Clean eating means eating fruits and vegetables straight from the earth and meats straight from the sea or the farm. Most whole foods will not come from a package or a box.

Processed foods are the opposite of whole foods. When you buy processed foods, you can look at the label on the package and you will see a whole list of ingredients that you don’t recognize. These ingredients are often nasty chemicals that are used to preserve, dye, and sweeten your food. When you buy a box of cereal, for example, you may think that you’re just eating the whole grain oats which are advertised on the box. However, if you inspect the ingredients, you’ll find a long list of chemicals, preservatives, and tons of added sugar. Whereas when you eat whole foods, you always know exactly what you are eating.

Eating a whole foods diet requires a bit more work than eating a processed foods diet. You’ll have to wash, peel, and chop your fruits & vegetables, instead of just popping them out of a package and into the microwave or pot. However, it’s worth the extra effort to avoid polluting your body with those “added ingredients” that are literally making you fat and sick. Speaking of fat…

It’s no secret that health & weight are big issues in my life. (If you’re new here, here’s the story of that time that I lost seventy pounds.) For a long time, I attributed my weight loss/health to my state of mind, but upon further reflection I realize that it’s also a result of how I eat. I don’t want to get too technical, but my point is that eating whole foods will make you healthy and keep you at a healthy body weight; while eating processed foods will make you unhealthy and keep you overweight.

Most of the products that are marketed as “low fat,” “low calorie,” “diet,” and so on — will actually make you fat & sick! If they have these words written on them, then they come in a package, and they are probably processed foods, loaded with added ingredients (preservatives, chemicals, and sugar). If you want to lose weight and be healthy — you must eat whole foods. Do not eat anything that has ingredients in it that you do not understand and cannot pronounce. Those ingredients will slowly kill you.

I don’t mean to sound “preachy” — this advice is as much for me as it is for my readers. At this point in my life, I am disgusted with the standard American food system and food marketing. Now that I am a mother, I think about these things more than ever. I spent the entire first half of my life unhealthy, overweight, and depressed — all because I was eating the Standard American Diet (SAD). I will never allow my children to go through what I went through.

Health is as simple as eating whole foods. Once we have this knowledge, it’s foolish and lazy to continue eating the Standard American Diet. It may sound harsh, but it’s the truth.

If any of the information that I’ve shared here is new or confusing to you, I highly recommend checking out some documentaries on these topics. A few that have literally changed my life are: Food Inc.; Food Matters; Forks Over Knives; Fat Sick & Nearly Dead. (Most of these are available on Netflix streaming.)


If you’re still here, thank you for bearing with me through my ranting. I thought that I would share one of my recent go-to meals — egg salad. I make lots of varieties of this recipe, substituting eggs with salmon, chick peas, etc. and adding different veggies, like carrots or onions. You will notice that I do use mayonnaise — which is a packaged food. However, the mayo that I use is Just Mayo and it’s healthy and contains only recognizable ingredients. (Learn more about Just Mayo here.) All packaged foods are not evil — but a lot are, so do your research and choose foods that are healthy and safe for your family.

For this simple egg salad I used hard-boiled cage-free, organic eggs; diced celery; halved grape tomatoes; mayonnaise; and a bit of dill, salt, and pepper. It’s delicious, nutritious, and easy.

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

eating clean / eggsalad // livelovesimple.com

P.S. We eat unhealthy, processed foods on occasion. I’m far from perfect. My main concern is that we don’t eat them often and that we don’t keep them in the house on a regular basis.

P.P.S. I’m proud to share that I’ve lost all of my “Marina” baby weight. I’ve still got thirty pounds to go until I reach my goal because I was holding onto some “Roman” baby weight and some “before Roman” weight, too. 😉

So what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts about processed vs. whole foods. I’d also love to hear your favourite whole food recipes if you have any!


Recipe: Chocolate Chip Muffins with Cashews & Amaz!n Prunes // Healthy Snacking with Sunsweet

January 27, 2015


Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

I didn’t talk a lot about resolutions when the year changed over. Resolutions are so easy to make but so difficult to maintain. Instead of making a bunch of promises to myself that I might never keep, this year I’ve simply resolved to: do better.

The truth is that I know where I fall short. I’ve made incredible lifestyle changes in my lifetime and positive change always comes from acknowledging my weaknesses and working hard to do better. In 2015, I aim to do better by:

  • focusing less on what I want and being more grateful for what I have;
  • making smarter snacking choices;
  • and being more active/getting outdoors every day that weather permits.

Today, I’m teaming up with Sunsweet to talk about one of our favourite healthy snack choices — prunes! Prunes have gotten such a bad rap over the years as being boring, but really they’re a deliciously tasty and uniquely nutritious fruit. Dried plums (prunes) contain so many heart-healthy and bone-healthy nutrients, like: vitamin K, potassium, copper and boron. And everybody knows that prunes contain a lot of fiber which is great for digestive health — so important for growing little ones and mamas, too!

We have a few favourite prune/plum snacks. I love to pour a big splash of PlumSmart Light Juice into our morning smoothies.

My go-to snacks when my sweet tooth kicks in are Amaz!n Prunes. They have a low glycemic index, which means they keep you feeling fuller longer — pretty much the best thing ever for my ever-hungry, pregnant self.

Roman loves the little Amaz!n Diced Prunes. They remind me of raisins, but sweeter and juicier. I toss them in cereal & salads. I also love to add them to my favourite recipes for added flavor & nutrition. Here is a quick & easy recipe for our family’s beloved chocolate chip muffins!

Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

Ingredients
19 ounce package of vanilla cake mix (I use this kind)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
small handful raw cashews
small handful semi-sweet chocolate chips
small handful Sunsweet Diced Plum Amaz!ns
12-18 cupcake liners

Directions
Add all of your ingredients to a mixing bowl and mix until everything is evenly blended. Line muffin tins with cupcake liners. Spoon mixture into cupcake liners, leaving about 1/2 an inch empty at the top of each one. Bake for 19-21 minutes. Remove from tin for cooling. Remove muffins from cupcake liners, serve & enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

Chocolate Chip Muffin // livelovesimple.com

These muffins are a perfect treat for a family snack. They’re super easy to make & I love that they incorporate some healthy elements like cashews & prunes. Thank you to Sunsweet for sponsoring this post and to you for supporting the sponsors that help to make my blog possible.


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Recipe: Pan-Seared Scallops with Bacon

January 19, 2015

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

I have always been a seafood lover. I could eat fish every day — salmon, cod, shrimp, mussels, mahi, every kind of sushi under the sun — you get the picture. Unfortunately, most of the affordable fish found in the supermarket today is farm-raised, imported crap. Gratefully, there are still a few places around here where you can get fresh, wild-caught goodness. Unfortunately (again), it comes with a price tag to match. That said, nutritious, organic food is one of the few indulgences that we cave to as often as we can afford.

Last week, I picked up these delicious jumbo scallops. They were out of this world. Scallops are a rare treat — I can count on two hands how many times I’ve prepared them in my lifetime. Since I’m not a scallop-expert I ventured to Pinterest in search of the perfect recipe. I found this one, which looked amazing, and just happened to have all of the necessary ingredients.

If I had to choose one word for this dish, I’d choose divine. It’s a bit light, so I served it with a heaping side of mushroom risotto, not pictured here.

Ingredients
3 bacon slices
1 1/2 pounds jumbo sea scallops (about 10-12)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, sliced
12 ounces fresh baby spinach

Directions
Cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from pan. Leave drippings in pan. Coarsely chop bacon, and set aside. Increase heat to high.

Pat scallops dry with paper towels. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to drippings in pan; cook two-and-a-half minutes on each side or until done. Transfer to a plate; keep warm. Reduce heat to medium-high.

Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add half of spinach; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Add remaining half of spinach; cook 2 minutes or just until wilted, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in remaining salt and pepper to taste.

Divide spinach mixture among plates; top each serving evenly with chopped bacon and scallops. Serve immediately.

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

Scallops with Bacon Recipe

If you like scallops, you’ve got to give this recipe a try. It’s really simple to make, but it looks & tastes gourmet. What about you, any favourite seafood dishes? I’d love to hear them.

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