Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Gooey, “Buttery” White Chocolate Strawberry Blondies (Gluten-free!)

Do you ever make a recipe that you just want to eat and eat? That’s these White Chocolate Strawberry Blondies. They’re gooey, melt, rich, and sweet while using applesauce and almond butter for butter and also gluten-free. As I write about these blondies, I’m literally salivating thinking about eating one. They’re very tasty and the perfect spring or summer treat, packed with fresh strawberries and white chocolate chips.

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Dairy-Free, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Best No Knead Dutch Oven Bread

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This is just like my no-knead rosemary pumpkin bread; using a wet and sticky dough, there’s no kneading involved. Plus, if you use a Dutch oven, you have the crunchiest bread with such an even crust. I’ve been making this Dutch Oven Bread since last year, and feel like I finally have the proportions, timing, and variations down. Using all white flour, you get a light, airy, and fluffy bread–literally perfect for dunking in extra virgin olive oil with herbs or using for avocado toast. While whole wheat is still good, it’s a bit drier and denser than all white flour. I also enjoy the variation of olives or fresh herbs with minced garlic; the latter makes great bread for a grilled cheese with tomato soup.

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Entrée, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Salad, Vegetarian

Spring Buddha Bowls with Veggies & Farro

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Ted and I couldn’t get enough of these Spring Veggie, Marinated Chickpeas, & Farro Bowls. It’s the type of meal that you’re sad when you finish the leftovers. These grain bowls are savory yet bright with the dressing, chewy thanks to the farro, crunchy from the radishes and snap peas, and creamy because of the goat cheese and avocado. By marinating the chickpeas directly in the dressing, they absorb some of the flavor. We served this with a piece of crusty bread, channeling our inner sweetgreen during this pandemic. This salad is fun because you can change your veggies and toppings every time. We added pumpkin seeds one night, fresh basil and mint another, and Ted added cherry tomatoes on our third try. We did only spinach for one and mixed greens for another. Mix and match to make it your own!

 

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian

Fresh, Tart Citrus Margaritas

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This is the perfect margarita recipe when you’re feeling tequila, but you’re also feeling lazy. Like my four ingredient margarita, you just need fresh citrus, tequila, and sugar. For whatever reason, I’ve been craving some fresh citrus and tequila during this pandemic and social distancing. Maybe it’s because we had to simply enjoy Cinco de Mayo in the comfort (and safety) of our own apartment or because they just sounded that good with guac and enchiladas. I vacillate with whether I enjoy salt on mine–I do enjoy the modest amount, but not when the glass is dripping in salt that I feel like I’m sipping a tequila-infused ocean–, so I decided to leave this Lemon Grapefruit Margaritas unadorned. Feel free to add a salt or a sugar + zest rim to your marg or even triple sec. However, the beauty of these as that they’re no fuss and made with simple ingredients.

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Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Mexican

Enjoying These Easy Enchiladas

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Now that I’ve made homemade enchiladas, the filling and flavor combinations are endless. These Turkey, Spinach, & Black Bean Enchiladas are hearty, bursting with flavor, and easy to make. I’d consider these enchiladas to be a “lightened up” version since they’re full of lean animal and plant-based protein, use corn tortillas, and you make your own enchilada sauce from scratch in under 5 minutes. Full disclosure: Ted bought a large bunch of cilantro and we’re were purposefully trying to use it up. This recipe is very cilantro heavy since 1). it adds a burst of flavor quite effortlessly; and 2). waste not. If you’re not a cilantro fan, don’t worry! Just omit cilantro, but it do add a flavor like no other.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Instant Pot, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Slow Cooker

Comfort Food: Meatballs & Potatoes Edition (Instant Pot)

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I love this recipe for Italian Meatball Stew over Smashed Potatoes. I haven’t had it in a few years, but this is one that my mom made regularly in the slow cooker. I decided to switch things up and use meatballs instead of chicken Italian sausage after spotting meatballs when doing a last-ditch quarantine preparedness run at Wegman’s. (Let me just interject that their prepared beef meatballs are mini and cute and delicious.) I made the potatoes extra creamy using mascarpone instead of EVOO. Using an Instant Pot allows for a much faster simmer compared to a stovetop or a slow cooker. This is quite aromatic and your kitchen will smell amazing during while cooking this stew, only adding to its maximum comfort level during this crazy self-quarantining and social distancing time. If you’re feeling industrious, trying making bread to pair!

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Lightened Up, Snack, Vegetarian

Social Distancing with Cinnamon Walnut Quick Bread for Sunday Brunch

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You’ve been warned. I said I’d end up baking during these crazy pandemic times. After irrationally craving cinnamon rolls–it is a Sunday morning–, I settled on making a version of Joanna Gaines’ cinnamon swirl quick bread from her cookbook, Magnolia Table. As a Christmas present, I’ve looked through this cookbook, but haven’t had a time to tackle any recipes. Given my brunch cravings and the copious time on our hands, I settled on making Cinnamon Walnut Quick Bread, but a lightened up version of this classic. I still think it’s crazy that the original recipe for this bread was supposed to have 2½ c sugar and a third of a cup of oil. Here, we use just under three-fourths cup sugar, less than a tablespoon of oil, and mix coconut and raisins. It’s perfect right out of the oven, but I recommend it cooling longer than we did, since we were a bit too eager to slice it up, thus left with some crumbly pieces. Ted and I enjoyed this warm, served with a cup of coffee and a side of Greek yogurt and strawberries (see first photo after recipe!). It was the perfect stay-at-home Sunday brunch.

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Better Than Takeout, Breakfast/Brunch, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegetarian

Sweet Potato Bread for Breakfast

March has been a weird month. As a nurse practitioner, it’s the year of the nurse. However, with the coronavirus pandemic knocking on our door (or literally at our door), I wasn’t expecting the year of the nurse to be quite like this. I deal with stress by cooking and baking. You should maaaybeee expect some baking recipes to come. I started on this sweet potato bread recipe before the pandemic broke out, and man, this breakfast bread is good. After some tweaks, it’s finally ready to share. Oats and almond flour are the “flour” or grains and applesauce and Greek yogurt act as the butter and oil. Have you had Starbucks’ pumpkin loaf when it debuts each fall? This Sweet Potato Breakfast Bread is that good, but a little healthier for you. It’s spiced, just the right amount of sweet, and pairs oh-so-well with your bitter cup of coffee in the morning or a mug of tea.

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Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Meatless Eggplant “Meatballs”

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The idea for meatless meatballs has been in my head for some time. I keep circling back to ideas for eggplant or lentils, and settled on trying Eggplant “Meatballs” complete with cannellini beans. Just like you’d make regular meatballs, they have panko and Parmesan as breading and an egg to bind. By baking them, they stay moist in the center with a crispy outside. While I didn’t try them with sauce yet, I think the crispiness will hold its own. All I can do is envision these with some basil marinara sauce or simmering in a vegetable bolognese or turkey bolognese.

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Salad, Vegan, Vegetarian

Copycat Sweetgreen’s Spicy Cashew Dressing

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I keep trying to hack Sweetgreen’s dressing because everyone knows Sweetgreen’s dressings are the bomb; it’s what makes the salad. Here’s my take on their Spicy Cashew Dressing. It’s full of healthy fat thanks to the EVOO and raw cashews. It’s sweet, tangy, obviously spicy, and has a layer of umami to it. I can’t wait to add this to lots o’ salads and bowls because when you want to eat it with a spoon, it’s that good, right?

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