My Favorite Healthy Recipes: Lillian from Bellingham, Washington

(Image credit: Christine Han)
(Image credit: Susanna Hopler)

Name: Lillian Perry
Location: Bellingham, WA
Age: 23
Occupation: Events Coordination Assistant
Number of people in household: Just me and my fluffy cat, Miss Charlotte.

What Does Healthy Mean to You?

For me, living a healthy lifestyle means a combination of outdoor physical activities and eating fresh, local foods that I love. I am lucky to live in one of the most beautiful places in this country, where I can easily hop on my bike and cruise along Bellingham’s waterfront boardwalk or go kayaking on the weekend with my family who lives nearby.

Growing up, food was without a doubt the most important part of my family life (a value that influences the way I cook for myself now). I have never been a dieter; instead I focus on cooking vibrant veggies, sustainably raised meats, and freshly baked bread. While this way of eating is often written off as too expensive, I find it quite affordable, as I am only feeding myself!

I often start my mornings with something simple like honey-flavored yogurt (my favorite brand is Zoi), and save my hearty meals for lunch and dinner. My typical grocery list always includes arugula, flatbreads, whatever veggies look the most appetizing, and some sort of splurge (wild sockeye salmon, local artisan cheese, air-chilled chicken). This way I can complement the meals I love the most (pasta and pizza; I never say no to carbs!) with light salads and roasted vegetables. Plus, all of these pair deliciously with a glass of full-bodied red wine.

When I come home after work and know my fridge holds the ingredients for a dinner that might one day live up to my mom’s, I am my happiest self. For me, eating is about maintaining a careful balance between heart-healthy ingredients and a little indulgence. After all, we have to eat three meals a day, so why not make them all something to look forward to?

What Are Your Favorite “Healthy” Recipes?

(Image credit: Rosemarried )

This recipe was one of my first adventures in cooking with my friends during college. The carrots liven up any plate with their gorgeous color and the combination of the bold spices with the fresh mint and creamy feta is a hit with everyone. I like to serve them alongside a simple roast chicken, as they demand the most attention on the plate.

As soon as I see fresh sockeye or king salmon on sale at my local grocery store, I head there immediately. The great thing is that I only need one fillet for myself, which usually comes out to around $6 or $7. This recipe lets the salmon shine through, while the mustard crust adds a nice tang. I like to finish the asparagus with a squeeze of lemon for some extra acidity. This is a meal I always look forward to devouring!

(Image credit: Ming)

I discovered this recipe while watching PBS with my mom and knew I had to try it. The cucumbers provide a fresh alternative to a much heavier peanut sauce I used to make, and it is the perfect chilled noodle dish for warm summer afternoons. I use smooth Skippy peanut butter, as that is what I grew up with.

4. Arroz con Pollo from Epicurious

One of my favorite comfort foods is a big skillet full of flavorful chicken and rice. As a former Spanish major, I am constantly looking to the cuisine of Spain for new versions of this dish. I find using chicken thighs works best, as it is nearly impossible to overcook them. The pop of color from the peas and green pepper adds a nice touch to the reddish-yellow hue the rest of the dish takes on from the saffron and tomato mixture. I like to enjoy this served in a big bowl alongside a glass of wine.

(Image credit: Love & Lemons)

5. Kale & White Bean Crostini from Love & Lemons

With a crusty baguette in one hand and a full bunch of kale in the other, I am ready to make my favorite crostini after a trip to the farmers market. This vegetarian dish is one of my personal indulgences, because I know my fiancé will never be happy to see kale on his plate once we move in together. I make sure to smash the white beans together a little so they adhere to the baguette, and I always add extra red pepper flakes for a stronger kick.

Thanks so much for sharing your favorite healthy recipes, Lillian! Want to share what healthy means to you? See how here.