Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish

A Risotto Recipe to Warm You Up

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I can’t believe I haven’t posted this yet! This risotto is so yummy and comforting now that it’s getting cold. I made this right after the NCLEX — the boards to become a registered nurse — and it was a welcome distraction. There’s something so therapeutic about making risotto with all the stirring and mixing. I had this idea for a pumpkin leek combination and something about it seemed like it needed some bacon. For a curve ball, I used a dry red wine (since that’s what I had), but I think it adds some depth of color to this fall dish. I should also admit I’m not sure if it made a true 7 or 8 cup batch between all my “tastings” oops. . . Here’s a recipe for Pumpkin Leek Risotto with Turkey Bacon to soothe your soul and warm you to your toes.

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Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Side, Vegetarian

The Low Carb Mashed “Potatoes”

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I’m not sure why I haven’t posted these yet. I love Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. They’re low carb, so much easier than normal mashed potatoes and taste like the real deal. I used  frozen riced cauliflower since that was the easiest for me, but any type will do. Just cook the cauliflower, mix in cottage cheese for creaminess and then garlic and EVOO for flavor. Blend them together and viola! Mashed “potatoes.”

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Lightened Up, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Piece of Cake Donuts: Only 2 Ingredients

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Happy Saturday! What’s a better way to celebrate the weekend than with freshly baked donuts? It went from summer weather (I ran in shorts and a t-shirt on Monday) to winter creeping in (I may have broken out the scarf and gloves later this week). These Two Ingredient Pumpkin Spice Donuts are surprisingly easy! You just need a donut pan, canned pumpkin and a boxed cake mix. I chose a spiced cake mix to complement the pumpkin spice theme, but you can use any cake mix. Although these donuts may be comparable in carbs and sugar, the fat content is reduced by baking them and using pumpkin to bind the dry ingredients together. They’re best hot out of the oven and with a cup of coffee! At least in my opinion, these donuts are a piece of cake — pun intended.

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Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Lightened Up, Salad

Chicken Caesar Wrap as a Tastyyyy Salad

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Deconstructed Chicken Caesar Wrap — what’s up? I made this late summer around the same time I went to Nantucket with my friends Leah and Steph. For some reason, it got lost in the potential blog post limbo. I saw Leah Saturday night and she was craving a Caesar salad for dinner, and I remembered this post was lost in limbo. This version of a Caesar “salad” is light, fresh and perfectly chopped. I love my salads chopped now after this is how they were prepped in college. This is totally optional, but so much more fun. I also looooooove this dressing I found a few years ago; it’s creamy because of the Greek yogurt, but still tastes just like Caesar dressing. Adding a little naan on the side makes this salad seem like a wrap without actually having the wrap.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Amazing Apple Pie for Breakfast

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I love oatmeal bake. Originally made by my cousin, Betsy, when I visited Chicago, I’ve lightened up the original and made it my own. Last fall, I kept making a pumpkin version. This fall, why not try an apple version? I added apple pie spices, fresh apple chunks and chopped walnuts. Drizzle with maple syrup (which you can’t even tell I added to the pics since it absorbed right in), add a spoonful of vanilla yogurt, and top with raisins and cinnamon sugar, and Apple Walnut Oatmeal Bake will make your kitchen smell heavenly and give your tastebuds a frenzy. Plus, it’s such an easy brunch idea or a meal prep for the week. Happy brunchin’!

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Poppin’ These Protein-Packed Pumpkin Spice Muffins

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This is my second batch of Pumpkin Spice Protein Muffins and they keep getting better. I’ve grabbed two before my first Soul Survivor spin class (it was 60 min) and thank God I did. For being kind of bite-size, they fill you up as a snack or a meal. This morning I had two fresh out of the oven along with some Siggi’s vanilla skyr yogurt. I like the crunch of the pecans and the chewiness from the raisins. The mashed banana and pumpkin make these muffins pretty dense, but in a good way. Pro tip — aka how I enjoy them — serve warm with a cup of cinnamon coffee. Happy weekend!

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Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up

Happy FriYAY with Low-Carb Pizzas

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It’s Friday, so I’m celebrating with a little quick and healthy ‘za. I feel like the weekend rolls around and we all think we’ve “earned” a little indulgence for the weekend. This Tortilla Pizza with Basil & Sausage is just the way to indulge without feeling gross. It requires ingredients you probably already have on hand like whole wheat tortillas, chicken sausage (I always store some in my freezer), tomato sauce and parmesan cheese — it’s that easy. You can obviously swap out the meat for veggies, but don’t make the pizzas too heavy. For a serving size of two tortilla pizzas, it’s just the right amount of pizza without feeling overly stuffed.

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

Sizzling Skillet Huevos Rancheros

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I haven’t posted a breakfast/brunch recipe in a while, and this one is worthy of a post on its own. Meaning “ranch eggs” or “rancher’s eggs,” Skillet Huevos Rancheros is a one pan meal that’s super easy to make and prep ahead of time. You can cook your eggs to however you like, but I like mine runny so they meld with the homemade rancheros sauce or salsa that you make, the refried beans and avocados. I had leftover spinach and zucchini so I tossed it in, but you can’t even tell. I also used a low-carb whole wheat tortilla from Trader Joe’s, but you can keep it authentic and gluten-free with corn ones. If you prep ahead of time, make the sauce, and store the ingredients separately, so you can easily assemble.

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Edible (& Kinda Healthy) Cookie Dough

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The first time I tried Chickpea Cookie Dough, I was like ehhh. The next few times I tried this, I made some changes like less peanut butter, swapping brown sugar for other sweeteners (gotta be more like Toll House, right?) and a bit more vanilla. The changes made me want to grab a spoon immediately; it’s a keeper. I personally think that it’s even better chilledddd. Serve it up on apple wedges, graham crackers or just eat it with a spoon. I personally like the good ol’ chocolate chip version, but play around with it to get your perfect edible cookie dough.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep

Killin’ It with These Korean Rice Bowls

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Happy meal prep with these popping flavors! The spiciness from the meat, the sesame from the spinach, the acidity of the kimchi . . . Although seemingly complicated, I really enjoyed the simplicity of this Korean Bibimbap Bowl. Bibimbap is a Korean rice dish served with seasonal fresh or sautéed vegetables, a red chili paste and an egg. Here’s a healthy (but definitely not authentic) twist using ground turkey, jasmine brown rice and fresh veggies. This is not your traditional bibimbap, since I swapped ground turkey for ground beef. I added a poached egg because I was lazy about cleaning another pan by frying an egg, and I’m trying to perfect my patching technique in the microwave. I found jarred kimchi at Trader Joe’s for quite cheap. Plus, you have it on hand and you’re not fussing about pickling napa cabbage and making something extra.

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