Some weeks I’m good about meal planning. Others, not so much. During those weeks when I haven’t planned out what we’re going to have for dinner each night, I inevitably find myself staring into the refrigerator, trying to come up with a wholesome, balanced meal with whatever food we have left. This was me last night. I’m sure others out there can relate! It can be tempting to order out in situations like this, and when we lived in NYC, we often did (more than I’d like to admit!), but now that we’re living in the suburbs and adhering to a tighter budget, I’m trying to cook at home the majority of the time. Fortunately, it’s usually not very difficult to piece a meal together since I keep lots of veggies and whole grains on hand at all times. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity! And it’s always worth it. Continue reading “Veggie Fajita Bowl (Vegan & Gluten Free)”
Good morning and happy Valentine’s Day! Are you doing anything special? Truthfully I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day and I don’t have any plans to celebrate this year, but in honor of the day, I’m sharing a recipe for a yummy heart-healthy smoothie. A smoothie is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Valentine’s Day, but there’s really no better way to show yourself or your family a little love than by making something delicious and nutritious that does the body good. Am I right? Continue reading “Heart-Healthy Raspberry Chia Smoothie (Vegan & Gluten Free)”
With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to share a recipe for a homemade sweet treat that you can give to loved ones or even enjoy yourself! I don’t know if you can even consider this a recipe because it’s so incredibly easy, but I figured it was worth sharing in case you’re still searching for Valentine’s Day gift ideas last minute. When it comes to Valentine’s Day gifts, chocolates are always hugely popular, but why buy a generic box when you can so easily make chocolate of your own? Chocolate bark is beyond simple and it’s so much more meaningful than boxed chocolates because you can personalize the bark however you want, depending on what the recipient likes. It looks so pretty too! Continue reading “Valentine’s Day Chocolate Bark”
So somehow it’s Friday again already. I’m not complaining because it’s my favorite day of the week (well maybe after Saturday). I’m just wondering where the days went! This week seemed to go by in a blur for some reason. Anyone else?
Anyway, I’m popping in today to share one of my favorite new-to-me recipes, courtesy of my mother-in-law, Carol. When Carol came to visit us shortly after we had Jackson (back in 2016), she made a pasta dish for dinner one night that completely knocked my socks off. It was essentially just pasta tossed with sauteed vegetables that were seasoned with olive oil, spices, and lemon juice. If it sounds super basic, that’s because it is, but don’t let that fool you! The flavor is fantastic. I was honestly surprised at how much I liked it because I’m typically much more of a tomato sauce person when it comes to pasta and never choose to order an olive oil-based dish when I go to restaurants. I liked it so much, though, that I’ve now added the recipe to my shortlist of standbys, and I request it every time Carol comes to stay with us! Continue reading “Lentil Pasta Primavera (Vegan & Gluten Free)”
I’ve been dealing with an annoying sinus infection for the past few days (oh the joys of pregnancy!) and, in addition to lots of tea and soup, I’ve been craving baked goods like crazy. Go figure. I had a few bananas that were on their last leg, so I decided to whip up some fresh muffins. To satisfy my desire for comfort food, I wanted to try a version that includes peanut butter. Peanut butter is one of my all-time favorite foods, so anything with peanut butter as a main ingredient is guaranteed to be a treat! Continue reading “Peanut Butter Banana Oat Muffins (Gluten & Dairy Free)”
It’s pizza Friday over here in our house, my fave day of the week! Anyone else share this tradition? It’s something I just recently started up because I’ve been craving pizza like crazy during my pregnancy, but I think it may just stick around. There was a time when I avoided pizza like the plague, but I love it so much and life’s too short, so it’s back in my life in regular rotation again. I choose to mostly make it myself now though because, for one, it’s actually pretty simple, and two, I like to have control over the ingredients that go into it. Otherwise I wind up feeling stuffed, bloated, and lethargic. Continue reading “Mushroom, Kale, & White Bean Pizza (Vegan)”
There are certain foods that I can’t ever seem to buy enough of. Hummus is one of them. We go through SO much hummus at my house and we always find ourselves running out before our next grocery run. I just find it to be so versatile. It’s great with veggies and crackers of course, but I also love it on a baked potato, on toast, as a sandwich spread–the list is endless! I could just load up on more at the store so that it lasts longer, but I’m trying really hard to stick to a specific grocery budget each week, and I don’t want to adjust it just to accommodate our apparent hummus obsession! I had a bad experience attempting to make hummus many years ago, and never really tried again since then…until this past weekend. I figured I may as well give it a shot because making my own is not only more economical, but also healthier. I’m pleased to report that I think this version is a winner! Continue reading “Smokey Sun-Dried Tomato Hummus (Vegan, No Oil)”
We’re sick with colds over here, AGAIN. That makes the second time in a month! I think we have daycare germs to thank for that. Normally a cold is no big deal, but when you’re pregnant and are so limited in what you can take to get relief, it can be pretty miserable. In my first pregnancy, I somehow didn’t get sick once, but so far in my second pregnancy, I’ve been sick a number of times and it’s not pleasant! I like to turn to natural remedies as much as possible even when I’m not expecting, but while pregnant, I don’t have much of a choice. Earlier in the week when I was feeling particularly lousy, I decided to make a batch of soup in an effort to relieve some of my congestion. There’s nothing better than a steaming bowl of homemade soup when you’re sick and stuffy! Although chicken soup gets all the glory, veggie-based soups are packed with immune-boosting ingredients to help get you well in a flash.
There’s nothing fancy about this veggie and soba noodle soup I’m sharing today, but sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. This soup contains onions, garlic, ginger, and turmeric, all warming ingredients that can help with immunity, plus carrots, kale and broccoli, which are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. It’s filling and satisfying without being heavy, and offers the comfort that comes with homemade soup.
One side note about garlic. I learned from my sister (who is a nutritionist) years ago that if you really want to get the most out of garlic when it comes to immunity, you need to eat it raw. I know this isn’t the most appetizing way to eat garlic, but there are ways to make it more palatable. After chopping a couple cloves into small pieces and letting it sit for about 15 minutes, which apparently boosts its healthy compounds, I like to mix it into some hummus and eat it on a few crackers. It’s pungent, for sure, but edible. Obviously when you’re already sick with something it’s not going to magically cure you, but if you eat some raw garlic at the first signs of illness, I think it can definitely help! I had some in addition to the cooked garlic in the soup for an extra boost. Bad-breath aside, it always seems to make me feel a little better. Anyway, I hope you’re managing to stay well this winter and if you decide to try this soup, be sure to let me know!
- 2 cups yellow onion, chopped (about two medium onions)
- 5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 2 cups carrots, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tbsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbsp low sodium tamari or soy sauce
- 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 8-oz. package soba noodles
- 2 cups frozen chopped kale (I used Whole Foods’ Organic Blue Curled Kale)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 cups frozen broccoli
- Add a couple tablespoons of vegetable broth to the bottom of a large pot to prevent sticking (or add a bit of olive oil) and toss in the chopped onions and garlic.
- Let the onions and garlic saute for a few minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally, and then add in the carrots, ginger, and turmeric. Continue cooking and stirring for about five more minutes and then add in the vegetable broth and tamari (or soy sauce).
- Bring broth to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and let cook until the carrots are tender, about 10-15 minutes.
- While the broth is cooking, prepare the soba noodles in a separate pot based on the package directions and set aside (I like to keep the broth and noodles separate so that the noodles don’t get mushy but you could cook the noodles in the soup if desired).
- Once the broth is about done, add in the frozen vegetables (kale, peas, and broccoli) and let cook for about 4-5 more minutes, until the vegetables are heated through.
- To serve, add soba noodles to the bowls and then top with broth.
*Adapted from Fork, Knife, Swoon’s Ginger Miso Soba Soup
During my last Trader Joe’s run I discovered an almond butter granola and couldn’t resist picking it up. In all honesty, I may have liked it a little too much because it didn’t last more than two days in my house! Oops. There are certain things that I have a hard time eating in moderation (like chips) and apparently granola is one of them. Rather than buy it again, I decided to try my hand at making my own, healthier version, which I won’t be as tempted to inhale in a few sittings (or at least if I do, I won’t feel so bad about it!). The batch I whipped up uses a short list of very basic ingredients and is super tasty, but it’s free of the excess sugar and fat that’s common in traditional granolas. Continue reading “Almond Butter Granola (Vegan & Gluten Free)”
When it’s freezing out and I’m not in the mood for soup, I often turn to a warm and filling bowl of some sort for nourishment. With grain or Buddha Bowls or whatever you want to call them, there are so many options you can throw together, and pretty much anything goes. They’re the perfect combo of easy, healthy, and delicious. You really can’t go wrong!
This version I threw together includes quinoa as the base, topped with chickpeas, garlic-seasoned cruciferous veggies, and a little bit of almond parsley pesto. I mainly chose this combination because I had the ingredients on hand and needed to use them, but I also think they go very nicely together, not to mention that they pack a serious nutritional punch!
The key to this bowl is to roast the veggies to ensure the best flavor and crunch. Roasting vegetables is almost always my preferred way to cook them; it really does make such a difference in how they taste. There’s nothing I love more than a crispy batch of Brussels sprouts fresh out of the oven! Anyone else with me? Growing up I never really ate them but now I am obsessed and I’m making up for lost time! Brussels sprouts, where have you been all my life?!
As for the pesto, it was a total impulse decision at the end and I definitely don’t think it’s necessary for the dish (I had parsley that I needed to use up), but I think it takes the flavor up a notch. Since I hadn’t planned on making any kind of pesto in advance, I had to use what I had available, and that’s why the ingredients may seem a bit random. Although it was a total shot in the dark, I think the parsley-garlic-lemon combo works. If that’s not your cup of tea though, you can skip the pesto and still enjoy a delicious and satisfying bowl.
I plan on experimenting with many more plant-based bowl combinations this winter, and I’ll be sure to post whatever I love. I’m always looking for inspiration, so if you have any favorite bowl-based meals, do share!
For the bowls
- 2 cups dry quinoa
- 8 cups broccoli florets
- 6 cups Brussels sprouts
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- salt & pepper to taste
For the almond parsley pesto
- 1/4 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup parsley
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tsp nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tsp water
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
For the bowls
- Preheat the oven to 415 degrees and line two baking sheets with tin foil.
- Chop the stems off the broccoli so that you’re left with florets. Make sure that the florets are about equal in size so that they cook evenly. Put the broccoli florets in a mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp of garlic powder, and ¼ tsp onion powder. Mix with your hands until all the florets are coated.
- Spread the broccoli florets out in a single layer on one of the baking sheets and set aside.
- Chop the Brussels sprouts into halves or even thirds or quarters if they are very large. As with the broccoli, you want the sprouts to be relatively equal in size.
Add the sprouts to a mixing bowl and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix with your hands until all the sprouts are coated.
- Spread the Brussels sprouts out in a single layer on the second baking sheet.
- Place both baking sheets in the oven and roast for about 25-30 minutes, until the veggies are tender but crisp. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- While the veggies are roasting, cook the quinoa. Add 4 cups of water to a pot along with 2 cups of dry quinoa (check the package to see if it needs to be rinsed first). Bring water to a boil and then cover the pot and reduce the temperature to low, letting the quinoa cook for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the water is fully absorbed.
For the almond parsley pesto
- Add almonds to a food processor and pulse until ground
- Add the lemon juice, water and olive oil, and pulse again until mixed.
- Add the parsley, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt, and pulse until evenly combined.