Simple, Spicy, Savory — the Sensational Shakshuka

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I went out to brunch with my friends, Ali and Sam, and naturally Saturday brunch means being basic and heading to Newbury Street. We settled on Stephanie’s, somehow all ordered a side of home fries (apparently sharing wasn’t an option) and sipped on their spicy house-made Bloody Mary’s. (I don’t even like Bloody Mary’s and I want to buy their mix, so I’ll just let that sink in.) We were looking for a savory kind of breakfast — something hearty and filling. I tested out their shakshuka and am so glad I did. So glad, in fact, that I decided to recreate it at home. This looks complicated, but I promise you it’s not. The chopping is a bit time consuming, but otherwise it’s a dump and step back while this cooks kind of recipe — my fave. I added in more finely chopped veggies for nutrients and depth, but the real flavors are the tomatoes and the spices. Any tomatoes work, but heirlooms are just so pretty and in season now. It would be so easy to serve as a brunch or dinner and you can tailor the poaching of the eggs to being over easy or soft/hard boiled. I’ve already stocked up on the ingredients to make Heirloom Tomato Shakshuka a second (and a third) time.

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Pure Perfection for this Fall Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake

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Happy first day of fall, y’all! Naturally I have to kick off fall with all things pumpkin. You knew it was coming — it’s that time of year. I tweaked my recipe for Oatmeal Bake and concocted this Pumpkin Oatmeal Bake as an easy breakfast and as an early celebration. Plus, it’s so easy to pop a square into a mason jar, add toppings and you have breakfast on the go. My posts may be a bit sporadic because I have my first med surg exam tomorrow and NP school is kicking into high gear. Nevertheless, I forget to keep the healthy recipes coming. Hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

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Tangy & Fresh Thai Salad

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To be totally honest, I never really measure salad dressings. I kind of dump, pour, mix and combine like a mad scientist concocting a new compound. The resulting Spicy Peanut Dressing was tangy and acidic from the vinegar and lime juice, but still savory and spicy, both of which I really enjoyed. The flavors complement the fresh herbs quite well. Sometimes, I think kale is really leafy and green, but when chopped, mixed with fresh herbs and topped with the right dressing, kale is pretty benign and makes for a great base. I also am a firm believer that everything tastes better bite-size and chopped. I used a plain rotisserie chicken from Whole Foods for a quick and easy meal. Plus, it beats firing up the oven or stove during the summer. Just chop and combine for this tasty Chopped Thai Chicken Salad.
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An Excuse for Pizza for Brekkie!!

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Remember I promised a sweet potato crust in the near future? Well, it happened. Better than expected actually. This is most definitely a keeper. Thanks to Popsugar Fitness, the crust is essentially two ingredients: mashed sweet potato and almond flour (and baking soda if we’re getting technical). Turkey bacon adds that amazing smoky, salty and savory flavor with less calories than traditional bacon. To be a true breakfast pizza, the eggs were baked to perfection. The only downside of this recipe is the double baking to cook the eggs, which caused the crust’s edge to just burn in some places. All in all, this sweet potato crust is still pure perfection. Combine this crust with wanting to make a breakfast pizza and you have the perfect storm for brunch. Now I have a winning brunch line up — my quiche * along side this Sweet Potato Crust Breakfast Pizza.

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Refreshingly Crisp Cucumber Salad

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This salad is perfectly refreshing. Light, crisp and just different. How many salads have you had that are just cucumber? Plus, spiralizing any vegetable automatically takes it up a notch. Maybe that’s just me, but it’s different a uniquely fun way to enjoy some veggies. Add the flavors of cilantro, fresh ginger and sesame and this Spiralized Asian Cucumber Salad is sure to cool you down. [Note: this is best consumed within 1-2 days of making, but I doubt that will be a problem because you won’t be able to get enough!]

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Can’t Get Enough of These “Stuffed” Sweet Potato Skins

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It’s only mid-August, so naturally I’m still on a BBQ kick. Remember that Stonewall Kitchen Honey Sriracha Barbecue Sauce that I picked up after a trip home to Maine? It’s baaaaaack. The sauce is packed with heat and subtly sweet — the perfect pairing with sweet potatoes, right? Sweet potato skins that is. Caramelized onions, tangy BBQ, fresh cilantro are all wrapped into BBQ Chicken Sweet Potato Skins. Like the Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats, I lightened up the recipe by adding cauliflower and baby spinach and reducing the cheese. I also have big plans for the scooped out inside of sweet potatoes — I think a sweet potato pizza crust may be in the future. . .

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Buffalo Chicken Boats FTW

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Need a way to consume all of that end-of-the-summer zucchini? These Buffalo Chicken Zucchini Boats will complete your life. I lightened these bad boys up with cauliflower, zucchini and celery to the buff chic mix and paired with my healthy (or at least healthier) Greek Yogurt Blue Cheese Dressing. Cut down on time and use the meat of a plain, roasted rotisserie chicken. It’s ok to indulge every once in a while, especially when it’s roasted chicken and veggies. So have one boats — or two!

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Bringing BBQ Salads Back

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I’m coming out of a hiatus! With my full-time job wrapped up and my fun-employment commencing, i.e. taking care of business for the month for August before my nursing program begins, I’m finally writing these joyful introductions for my blog posts — like this one for a BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing. After a trip home to Maine and a stop at Stonewall Kitchen in Portland, I picked up their Honey Sriracha Barbecue Sauce in anticipation of making a BBQ chicken salad. The BBQ sauce is packed with heat and subtly sweet. The dressing was inspired by a local Mexican restaurant and was the perfect combo of light and fresh to complement the BBQ flavor. Say hello to your new favorite summer salad.

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Loving this Lobstah Pastah

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Thank God for Maine lobstah — Lobster Tortellini with Sautéed Summer Veggies. I kept it simple with lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, red pepper and parmesan. This would also work well with some butter and/or fresh parsley. The heirloom tomatoes were bursting with flavor and color — the perfect addition and perfectly in season. Because the lobster was leftover from the Fourth of July and already steamed and picked clean, this dish was super easy to assemble.

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Sinfully Sweet & Savory Sweet Potato Hash

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Happy Meatless Monday! Here’s a breakfast to satisfy all of your cravings: Cilantro Sweet Potato Hash. Brunch might be my favorite meal; it can be sweet and savory, hearty or light, multi-dish or simplistically plated — there’s just so many possibilities. A few weeks ago, I had a sweet potato bison (yes, bison) hash for brunch in Boston. It was sweet and savory, but also totally decadent and fatty. I wanted to recreate a hash in a nontraditional and also a faster way. Microwaving the sweet potato is much faster than roasting in the oven and the sweet potato still ends up deliciously browned with the onions. Instead of  baking the egg directly in the hash, fry it separately and top the hash. All in all, you have a healthy, colorfully tasty and aesthetically pleasing breakfast that comes together in about 10 min. Enjoy!

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