recipes

Brussels Sprouts Bonanza

So last week I bought a bag of brussels sprouts from Costco. With two pounds of raw brussels sprouts on my hands, I was determined to try as many different variations as possible throughout the week. To start I cut them all in half and roasted them at 425 for about 35 minutes, flipping them about halfway through. Then throughout the week I added this base to different recipes that you’ll find below.

My Classic Recipe

This is my go to recipe – the perfect mix of savory, sweet, and spicy. Roast with the remaining ingredients to intensify the flavor or simply add in afterwards. 

Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Cinnamon and cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp maple syrup, optional

Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice, basil, rosemary, oregano, crushed red pepper
Drizzle of olive oil, optional

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with diced tomatoes and quinoa

Sriracha Lime Brussels Sprouts

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Ingredients
1 cup brussels sprouts
2 tbsp coconut aminos (or sub soy sauce)
Lime juice, sriracha, ginger, crushed red pepper, sesame seeds

Mix roasted brussel sprouts with remaining and ingredients. Shown here served with black rice, kale, peanuts, and a poached egg. For a perfect poached egg, simmer a pot of water, pour an egg in and gently swirl for 3-4 minutes as shown below.

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Brussels Sprouts “Hash”

This last recipe takes a spin on a classic breakfast side dish by using shredded brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kale, and avocado instead of white potato, sausage, and cheese. 

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Ingredients
1 cup shredded brussels sprouts (or roughly chop whole ones)
1/2 sweet potato, grated
1 tomato, diced
1 egg
Drizzle of olive oil or melted coconut oil
Thyme, cayenne pepper, rosemary, lemon pepper
1/4 avocado, optional

Pan fry all ingredients (except the egg) until softened. Add the egg in last and cook to your desired consistency. Top with avocado, if desired.

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Blueberry Lemon Compote

Last week a friend of mine showed me a recipe for blueberry lemon quinoa. At the same time I had been experimenting with different homemade jams with chia seeds. Chia seeds are great for creating a jam consistency because they expand to up to 10 times their size when combined with liquid. So long story short, I was just playing around in the kitchen one morning and ended up with this delicious compote that came together in just about 10 minutes!

Ingredients
1/4 cup blueberries
juice of one lemon
1/2 tbsp chia seeds
lemon zest or lemon oil (optional)

Directions
1. Mash ripe blueberries with the back of a fork.
2. Add lemon juice, chia seeds, and zest.
3. Stir well to combine and let sit for at least 10 minutes to let the chia seeds expand and thicken the compote.
4. Enjoy over oats, breakfast quinoa, toast, pancakes, or just with a spoon!

Notes
*This is just for about 1 serving, feel free to double or triple the recipe. It will keep for about 2 weeks in the fridge in an airtight container.
*If you’d like a smoother consistency, you can blend the lemon juice and blueberries before adding the chia seeds. Personally, I liked it chunkier.

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Monday Munchies: Frozen Acai Berry Purée

Acai bowls are a trendy LA treat, made from blending frozen acai berry purée with bananas, other berries, pineapple and the likes and then topped with additional fruit, shredded coconut, and granola. Acai berries are known for their high antioxidant and omega 3,6, and 9 content. While they are a dime a dozen out in LA, (dare I say they are the biscuits of the west coast?) it’s hard to find them in Nashville. Luckily, the brand Sambazon makes frozen acai berry purée packs. They have no added sugar and come individually wrapped in 4 portions – perfect for smoothies or bowls. Basically the only difference between a smoothie and a bowl is thickness, so if you can use less milk and more fruit and then add toppings you can eat it with a spoon much like a yogurt parfait. More often than not though, I’ve used these frozen packs in a smoothie for on the go convenience. My go to combo is acai purée, coconut water, and vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder. It pretty much works in place (or in addition to) any fruit in your favorite smoothie!

look how pretty the smoothie comes out!

 

my acai bowl in LA

my acai bowl inspiration in LA

Nut Butter 101

Basic Formula

2 cups nuts
+ optional add ins
*1 tsp+ coconut oil, or oil of choice
*1 tsp+ raw honey, maple syrup, agave, stevia, or other natural sweetener
*Chia, flax, or hemp seeds
*Protein powder
*Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, sea salt, etc.)
*Extracts (vanilla, almond, lemon, coconut, etc.)

Blend in a high powered food processor or blender (i.e. Vitamix)

My favorite combinations:

Sunbutter
2 cups sunflower seeds+1 tsp coconut oil+1 tsp raw honey

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Honey Roasted Almond Butter
1 cup honey roasted almond slices (Trader Joe’s brand or make your own by roasting plain almonds with honey drizzle in the oven at 350 until golden brown)
1 cup dry roasted unsalted or raw almonds
1 scoop vanilla protein powder

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Coconut Cashew Almond Butter
1 cup coconut cashews (Trader Joe’s brand or double raw cashews and 1/4 cup coconut flakes)
1/2 cup dry roasted or raw cashews
1/2 cup dry roasted unsalted or raw almonds
1 tsp coconut extract

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Pistachio Butter
2 cups shelled pistachios+1 tsp almond extract (optional, but gives it a sweeter, nuttier, more dessert like pistachio flavor – thanks Stacey!)

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Think outside the box – comment below with your creations!

Have Your (Carrot) Cake And Eat It Too

This is a really exciting post for me because it’s my first recipe entry using my new camera! Full disclosure, I may have spent an hour this morning alone taking pictures of my smoothie and various versions of homemade nut butters (stay tuned for that post!). I think I may be obsessed with this camera now…or maybe I just need my roommate to get back from winter break…

Anyway, maybe it’s because of my cinnamon addiction or having a pet bunny growing up rubbed off on me, but carrot cake is one of my favorite desserts. After much experimentation, I concocted a couple of healthy alternatives shared below – oatmeal muffins and a smoothie. Enjoy!

Carrot Almond Oatmeal Muffins

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makes 12 regular muffins or 24 minis

1.5 cups oats
1 cup shredded carrots
2 egg whites
1/4 cup almond butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional or sub 1 tsp coconut oil)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1/2 scoop protein powder (optional)
Sliced almonds for topping (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl until throughly mixed (it should look like the first picture below).
3. Spray or grease muffin tins (I used Trader Joe’s coconut oil spray – my fav), and fill each with 1-3 tbsp of batter depending on the size of your tins. Top with additional almond slices, if desired (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Roasted Almond Slices – another staple in my pantry).
4. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. They’re great with a drizzle of honey or almond butter as well!

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Carrot Cake Smoothie 

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1 cup almond or coconut milk
1 cup shredded carrots
1-2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract (optional or sub 1 tsp coconut oil)
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 date, pitted or half a banana
Ice cubes
1/4 cup oats to thicken, if desired
Optional boosts: 1-2 tbsp ground flax, protein powder, chia seeds, etc.

Directions:
Blend all ingredients until smooth.

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Thanksgiving Recap and Recipes for Leftovers

This year for thanksgiving, instead of flying back to New Jersey, my parents decided to take a trip to Nashville to spend the holiday here. When they booked this trip a couple months back, I’ll admit I immediately started searching for new recipes on Pinterest to try. I was so excited to cook my first thanksgiving meal and was determined to do it entirely from scratch. After spending (an amount I am far too embarrassed to disclosure) on groceries and unpacking 7 large bags from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods only to find that even the ingredients didn’t all fit in my tiny apartment kitchen, I started to get cold feet about the enormous task that lied ahead. However, despite accidentally freezing my fresh bags of spinach for the salad, overheating my Vitamix, and learning the hard way that oven mitts don’t protect you if they get wet, I would say overall my first thanksgiving was a culinary success.

Now on to the good part…the recipes! The meal was a conglomeration of variations of recipes on blogs I frequent, family traditions, and my own creations.

Autumn Salad

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1 roasted acorn squash, sliced into cubes
1 cup roasted grapes
Handful or more of goji berries
Handful or more of pumpkin seeds
1 standard bag spinach
1 standard bag arugula

Dressing: (ratio should be 2:1 vinegar to oil)
Apple cider vinegar
Olive Oil
Optional to taste: maple syrup or honey and salt/pepper

Directions:
Assemble all ingredients in a large bowl, toss and serve hot or cold with dressing.

Butternut Squash Soup with Maple Chickpea “Croutons”

adapted from Two Peas and Their PodIMG_8140

For the soup:
1 medium shallot, chopped
Handful baby carrots
1 apple (I used honeycrisp)
1 medium butternut squash (or 5 cups cubed)
28oz vegetable broth (aim for low sodium!)
To taste: cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, salt/pepper

For the “croutons”
1 can chickpeas
Coconut oil spray (or sub any nonstick spray or 1 tbsp oil)
1 tbsp coconut sugar (or sub brown sugar)
1 tbsp maple syrup
Lots of cinnamon

Directions:
1. Heat all soup ingredients until the carrots, squash, and apple are soft.
2. Blend until smooth.
3. Season to taste.
4. Heat oven to 350.
5. Rinse, drain, and roll out chickpeas on a paper towel to remove most of the outer layer.
6. Mix chickpeas, sugar, cinnamon, and maple syrup in a large bowl
7. Spread out on greased cookie sheet and bake for 35-40min, being sure to rotate/shake the tray every 15min or so.
8. Serve chickpeas over warm soup.

Sweet Potato Tempeh “Meatballs”

adapted from Laura Lea Balanced

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2 tbsp ground flax meal
12 oz tempeh (1.5 standard packages)
Cooking spray or olive oil for pan/baking sheet
1 shallot, chopped
1 baked sweet potato (no skin)
1/2 cup oats
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley
To taste: paprika, cumin, ginger salt/pepper

Directions:
1. Combine flax meal with 6 tablespoons of water and set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 375.
3. On a sprayed/oiled skillet, add crumbled tempeh and shallots and sauté for 5-6 minutes.
4. Add spices and heat for another 5 minutes or so (until tempeh is slightly browned).
5. Put the cooked tempeh and all remaining ingredients in a blender. Pulse until you are left with a sticky dough.
6. Scoop out approximately 1-2 tbsp at a time to form the “meatballs.” To prevent it from sticking to you, wet your hands with a bit of water.
7. Arrange the “meatballs” on a greased baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
8. Enjoy with gravy or cranberry sauce!

Green Beans Almondine

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1 package of green beans (or about 1lb)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Optional: shallots, lemon juice, salt/(lemon) pepper, olive oil

Directions:
1. Microwave green beans for a minute or two to soften.
2. Heat almonds in a large pan with oil to toast.
3. Add green beans and optional spices until the green beans are cooked to your likening (I like mine on the crunchier side!).

Apricot Carrots

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This was one of my favorite dishes my mom used to make growing up – our Thanksgiving feast would not have been complete without it!

1 package baby carrots
About 1/2 cup apricot preserves (opt for reduced sugar or sugar-free)
Juice of half an orange
To taste: honey, cinnamon, nutmeg

Directions:
1. Steam/boil baby carrots until soft but still slightly crunchy
2. Add cooked carrots, apricot preserves, orange juice, and spices to a large saucepan.
3. Cook with the lid off so that the liquid reduces and becomes more of a glaze over the carrots.

Roasted Vegetable Stuffing

adapted from Food52

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1lb butternut squash, cubed
1lb brussels sprouts, halved
1 apple, chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
10 thick slices of bread (I used challah #tbt to thanksgivingukkah)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried walnuts
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth (opt for low sodium)
To taste: fresh rosemary, thyme, sage, chopped (about 1-3 tsp each)

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 400.
2. Roast squash, brussels sprouts, apple, and 1 shallot until fork tender (about 40min).
3. Reduce oven 350.
4. In a large pot, sauté celery and other shallot for 5-7 min.
5. Cut bread slices into cubes and add to the pot until toasted.
6. Add roasted vegetables, cranberries, walnuts, and broth to the pot.
7. After the bread absorbs all the broth, transfer to a 9×13 pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Cauliflower Mash

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

1 large head of cauliflower
1/2 russet potato
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp earth balance
To taste: salt/pepper

Directions:
1. Steam or boil cauliflower and potato until fork tender
2. Use a potato masher (or back of a fork/spoon) to mash ingredients with milk and earth balance

Mushroom Gravy

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

1-10oz carton baby portobello mushrooms (or assorted)
1.5 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup red wine (any kind you like to drink)
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 tbsp flour (I used Bob Mills GF flour)
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage
1 tbsp earth balance
Salt/pepper

Directions:
1. With cooking spray or a little bit of olive oil, heat diced shallot and mushrooms until tender (about 5-7 minutes)
2. Add red wine and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated.
3. Puree this mixture and then return it to the pan.
4. Stir in vegetable broth, spices, earth balance, and flour, and whisk until well combined.
5. Bring to a boil and then simmer until thickened.

Cranberry Pomegranate Sauce

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

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2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup pomegrante seeds
1 large apple, diced
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 tbsp orange juice
Cinnamon/nutmeg to taste

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients except pom seeds and orange juice into a sauce pan and heat on high heat.
2. Once it is brought to a boil, cook for 5 minutes and then let simmer for another 15 minutes.
3. Once everything is soft and the sauce thickens, remove from heat.
4. Stir in orange juice and pom seeds.
5. Chill for several hours before serving.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

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For the crust:
1 cup almonds
1 cup oat flour (throw oats in a food processor until fine)
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
6 dates, pitted
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the filling:
1 cup pecans
1 egg white
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup coconut oil
7 dates, pitted
1 large sweet potato, baked and mashed without skin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. For the crust, in a high speed blender, grind almonds and hemp seeds.
3. Add oat flour, dates, coconut oil, and spices until combined in a sticky mixture.
4. In a greased pie dish, spread the crust and press it down to coat the bottom (I used a mini pie pan but a standard pie dish would work too!)
5. Bake for 5 minutes or until golden brown
6. For the filling, grind the pecans in a food processor or blender.
7. Add sweet potato, egg white, water, coconut oil, dates, and spices until thick, smooth, and creamy.
8. Fill the baked pie crusts with the filling and bake for 20-25 or until firm.

Raw Caramel Sauce

adapted from Nutrition Stripped

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1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup + 2 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 dates

Directions:
Blend until smooth and creamy. The mixture will be very thick. You will need to reheat the leftovers because if left in the fridge or room temperature the coconut oil will solidify.

This was by far my favorite thing I made!

Pumpkin (White) Chocolate Oat Bars

adapted from Tone it Up

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1 cup oats
1 cup pumpkin puree*
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 overripe banana
1/4 cup almond butter
1 scoop Perfect Fit Vanilla Protein
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp pumpkin spice
2 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp coconut sugar
Handful of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
1. In a food processor or blender, combine the pumpkin, applesauce, banana, almond butter, protein powder, sugar, and spices until smooth.
2. Stir creamed mixture with the oats in a large bowl.
3. If using the chocolate chips, stir them in now. I did half and half.
4. Bake for 35 min at 350.

*side note: If you have time to spare, making pumpkin puree is surprisingly easy. Roast a sugar pumpkin for 45 minutes and then scrap out the middle. Soooo much better than canned pumpkin!

Cranberry Pumpkin Seed Bites

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 3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup oats
1 scoop protein powder (I used vanilla Perfect Fit)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 dates
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (or pistachios)
1 tbsp maple syrup (optional to make it sweeter)

Directions:
1. In a blender, combine cashews, oats, protein powder, dates, and maple syrup until smooth.
2. Next, add in the cranberries and continue to blend.
3. Finally, fold in in the pumpkin seeds or pistachios in a large mixing bowl.
4. Roll into balls and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. And store the leftovers there as well in an airtight container.

Given that my thanksgiving consisted of three people including myself and a dog, we had a ton of leftovers to say the least. Below are some of my favorites!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

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1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 frozen banana
1 scoop protein powder
1 cup almond milk
Pumpkin pie spice to taste

Directions:
Blend until smooth. Optionally, you can top it with the raw caramel sauce.

Cranberry Pomegranate Smoothie

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1/4 cup fresh cranberries
Spoonful of pom seeds
Spoonful or two of cranberry sauce
1 cup coconut water
Splash of orange juice
Ice

Directions:
Blend until smooth.

Green Beans Almondine Omelet

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Handful of leftover green beans almondine
2-3 egg whites or 1-2 whole eggs
Optional: avocado, lemon pepper, crushed red pepper

Directions:
Cook in a skillet until the eggs are set and browned. Top with avocado, lemon pepper, and crushed red pepper if desired.

Stuffed Sweet Potato

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I have an addiction to sweet potatoes and find any excuse to eat them for any meal of the day. So naturally, I took my leftovers and stuffed them into a baked sweet potato. For this one, I used my maple roasted chickpeas, butternut squash, and cranberry sauce. Trust me, it was delicious 🙂

Cranberry Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts

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Combine roasted brussels sprouts with cranberries, pomegranate seeds, and crushed pecans. Top with a squeeze of orange.

Some other things to try might be to add a poached egg to the stuffing like a “hash” type dish, a wrap with the sweet potato tempeh “meatballs” and either gravy or cranberry sauce, or a stew with all the leftover veggies! Post in the comments any other creative ways you’ve used your leftover Thanksgiving dishes or spare ingredients 🙂

Hope everyone had a relaxing and delicious holiday season! Happy 2015!

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Peach Gazpacho

With the summer quickly coming to a close, I thought it was only appropriate to share my absolute favorite recipe from this summer. It’s a refreshing spin on a classic dish, and the best part is that it’s surprisingly insanely easy to make. The secret ingredient: white peach balsamic vinegar replaces the traditional red wine vinegar. You may recognize the peach balsamic from other recipes I’ve posted, and it makes an excellent salad dressing or dip for veggies on its own. I originally bought it at a boutique near the beach I go to in New Jersey. I couldn’t find anything that even came remotely close to it here in Nashville so I order it from back up north 🙂

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Peach Gazpacho

Ingredients
1-2 cucumber(s)
3-4 large tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 white peach balsamic
1 tbsp olive oil
Optional toppings: chopped peaches, grape tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, fish
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Chop cucumber and large tomatoes and combine in a large bowl with cilantro, olive oil, and peach balsamic
2. Reserve 1/4 of the mixture for garnish and place the rest into a blender. Blend until smooth.
3. Taste and adjust seasonings.
4. Place in the fridge for at least 2 hours (the longer it sits the longer the flavors will be enhanced!)
5. Top with optional add-ins and serve!

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store the leftovers in a mason jar to maximize the shelf-life!

store the leftovers in a mason jar to maximize the shelf-life!

Snack Attack

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend and she wanted to know if I snack/what my favorite ones were. Personally, I survive on snacks. I feel like a majority of the time, I just snack throughout the day instead of having 3 larger meals. Below are a list of some of my staples – some may seem a little out there but give them a chance!

1. Quest bars

I honestly have at least one of these daily, whether it’s a quick breakfast on the go or post-workout snack, these are my lifelines. You can even try heating them up in the microwave for 5-7 seconds for a treat! My personal favorite flavors are Strawberry Cheesecake, Coconut Cashew, Lemon Creme Pie, Banana Nut Muffin, and Cinnamon Bun. For you chocolate lovers, they also have the super popular, Cookies and Cream. With no added sugar, 20g of protein, and less than 200 calories, you can’t go wrong.

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2. Cucumbers and Dijon Mustard

I add cucumbers to EVERYTHING – water, vodka, juices, etc. Cucumbers are just so refreshing, especially in this southern heat. The mustard adds tanginess without very few to no calories per serving. 

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3. Coconut Chia Fresca

As y’all may have read in my chia seed pudding post, chia seeds absorb ten times their weight creating a gel like consistency. Adding just a tablespoon of chia seeds to coconut water, and letting it chill in the fridge for 10-20 minutes, is the perfect mid-afternoon pick me up. Coconut water has a ton of electrolytes and is a great source of potassium, while the chia seeds add omega-3s, fiber, and protein.

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4. Carrots and Salsa

I’m a HUGE salsa fan. I add it to everything from omelets to salads. Of course, it’s most often enjoyed with tortilla chips, but whoever has just one serving of tortilla chips? That’s why I started eating it with carrots instead – bonus points if you get the chip shaped carrots to maximize the salsa to carrot ratio. Also goes great with cucumbers (obviously), bell peppers, and broccoli. 

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5. Almond Butter (with fruit, vegetables, or a spoon…)

So I kind of loveeeee almond butter, incase you didn’t catch that. I used to be an avid peanut butter lover, but now I can’t get enough of this stuff. It’s generally naturally sweeter than it’s peanut counterpart, and it contains more magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, and iron. You can generally substitute almond butter for anything you would ordinarily use peanut butter for. Some of my favorite snack options are apples, strawberries, frozen raspberries (the frozen ones hold up better for dipping), and bell peppers (think asian stir-fry). If you are really feeling adventurous, sunbutter (sunflower seed spread) is also a new favorite of mine.

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6. Lentil Chips and Hummus

No snack list would be complete without hummus. Lentil chips are a great alternative to pita chips because they are lower in calories and fat, and higher in fiber and protein. *bonus* The hummus pictured is the cucumber mint one from Hummus Chick – definitely my new fav! Tastes just like tzatziki sauce but much healthier!

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7. Avocado and Lemon Pepper

Few things beat a ripe avocado. Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper seasoning is the perfect addition to a plain avocado for a quick snack. Slice one in half, sprinkle on some seasoning, grab a fork, and enjoy! Also try adding a squeeze of lemon, sunflower seeds, or goat cheese.

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8. Chia Bars

This was a recent discovery at my new favorite spot, Turnip Truck. They are the perfect, portable, bite-sized treat and come in a wide variety of flavors. My personal favorite? Coconut or Banana Nut for sure. 

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9. Dried Chickpeas

These oven-baked legumes are perfect by the handful or with tomatoes and cucumbers for a light Mediterranean salad. They are great sub for croutons in salads and soups! Similarly, dried edamame are another option for a salty, crunchy, high protein snack. I also love mixing the edamame with some dried cranberries to add a touch of sweetness. 

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10. Coconut Cashews

Trader Joe’s makes coconut crusted cashews and they may or may not be the most addicting things on the planet. Proceed with caution! This is when it’s not smart to bring the whole bag to the couch with you… 

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11. Roasted Seaweed

 

Seaweed snacks are slightly crunchy, slightly chewy, mild tasting seaweed based snacks. They are super low in calories (just 25 calories a serving!) I suggest topping them with hummus, sriracha, or an asian salad dressing.

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12. Kale Chips

Homemade oven-baked kale chips are super quick and easy to make, not to mention have significantly less fat and calories than the store-bought kind. Spread out roughly cut kale pieces on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray (olive oil spray or coconut oil spray is perfect for this!). Season with salt and pepper or get creative with spices like curry! Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or less and voila!

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13. Baked Snap Peas

These snacks are super light and airy and taste great with a quick homemade peanut sauce (powdered PB with your favorite low cal asian dressing) or simply by the handful of course 🙂

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 14. Cold Press Juices

Adios froyo, juice is the new trendy snack in town. Juice bars are popping up everywhere – even Sweet CeCe’s in Hillsboro village added a juice bar (which is delicious by the way). Juice Nashville in the gulch is probably the one I frequent most due to its convenience. Make sure to stop by and try their summer flavors, which are my personal favorite! IMG_5961

 

Salmon Farfalle with White Wine Sauce

Fun fact of the day, did you know that farfalle (or better known as bow tie pasta), actually means “butterfly” in Italian? Well now that you had your little Jeopardy-ready lesson, time for the real fun to begin. While I rarely eat pasta, Barilla Plus is a great option because it’s packed with protein, fiber, and omega 3s. And hey, everything tastes better in cute shapes, am I right? (exhibit a: dino nuggets?! #tbt)

I was feeling kind of adventurous the other night, so I decided to experiment cooking with white wine. After much trial and error, I ended up with a lemon dill sauce with a white wine base. OBSESSED. Plus it was tons of fun to experiment adding different ingredients, so if dill isn’t your thing, try garlic, shallots, basil, or any other spice combo of your choice with the wine. And don’t forget to treat yourself with a glass of the good stuff afterwards (…or during – hey, it may help the creative juices flow!).

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Salmon Farfalle with White Wine Sauce

Ingredients
1 6oz salmon fillet
1 cup pasta cooked
1/2 cup peas
2-3 cups spinach
8-10 asparagus spears

sauce:
1/4 cup white wine
1-2 tsp vegan butter, melted
1 tsp olive oil
1-2 lemon(s)
spices: dill, pepper, salt

Directions
1. Combine all sauce ingredients and adjust to your taste preferences
2. Season salmon fillet with sauce spices and wrap in a foil pouch with half of the sauce and extra lemon slices if desired.
3. Broil on high for about 10-12 minutes or until cooked to your preference.
4. Heat vegetables on a skillet with remaining half of the sauce until slightly wilted.
5. Add pasta and salmon (with the sauce) to the skillet and stir until well combined.
6. Bon Appétit!

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Breakfast for Dinner

I don’t know about y’all, but breakfast is by far my favorite meal of the day. So why limit yourself to eating it in the mornings? Cooking breakfast for dinner is a great way to switch up your normal routine (and it’s generally cheaper!). This post is a bit of a throwback for me – I made this Breakfast for Dinner feast with my best friend, Stacey a few months back. She’s been galavanting around Europe for the past couple weeks, so I’ve been missing my partner in crime cuisine here in Nashville.

The following recipes are lighter versions of your typical carbo-loaded, sugary breakfast staples. They’re vegan and gluten-free friendly as well.

Chia Seed French Toast

adapted from the blog, Minimalist Baker

Ingredients
1 heaping tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tbsp agave nectar (or your choice sweetener)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your choice milk)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 slices bread (I went with a seeded whole grain loaf, but any bread or GF substitute would work)

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients except the bread in a large, shallow bowl. Place in the fridge to allow the chia seeds to thicken the batter.
2. Heat your choice butter or oil (I used coconut oil cooking spray from Trader Joe’s) in a pan or griddle over medium heat.
3. Dip each slice of bread in the batter until most (if not all) of the batter is absorbed into each side.
4. Place on pan or griddle and cook until golden brown on the underside. Carefully flip and cook until the other side is golden brown as well (approximately 3-5 minutes a side, depending on the thickness of the bread).

Vegan Snickerdoodle Pancakes

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adapted from the blog, Chocolate Covered Katie

Ingredients
1/2 cup flour (I used Bob’s all purpose GF mix)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp milk of choice (or more, for thinner pancakes)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Approximately 1/16 tsp salt (don’t omit)
*they suggested using 1 tbsp of sugar, but I omitted it and just drizzled mine with maple syrup afterwards

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.
2. Heat your choice butter or oil (I used coconut oil cooking spray from Trader Joe’s) in a pan or griddle over medium heat.
3. Cook each side until golden brown, timing depends on the size/thickness of your pancakes.

Foolproof Poached Eggs

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I struggled with poached eggs for weeks trying to perfect my own. The secret that I found worked best was to stir the simmering water to create a mini whirlpool before slowly dropping the egg into the pot. Cook for 3-4 minutes maximum for the ultimate yolk porn. 

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This is one of my favorite go-to meals: sweet potato and kale hash (topped with a poached egg of course) – definitely be sure to look out for that post coming soon! For now just look at that yolk and try not to drool.