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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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Slow Cooker, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Slowly Cooking This Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

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I LOVE this slow cooker method for making soup. I usually make this in a large soup pot, sauté the veggies in a little oil right there, add broth and let it simmer. By using a slow cooker, you skip the sautéing part and reduce the oil. I made a soup similar to this last fall, tossing whatever I had — apples, sweet potato, regular potatoes, carrots — into a big soup pot along with butternut squash; this time, I did the same thing in a slow cooker (way more fun). Enjoy as the main course or as a side, the result is a sweet, yet savory Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Soup that’s hands off minus the minimal prep of the produce in the beginning and puréeing at the end.

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"How To" Guides, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Side, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

How to Tackle That Butternut Squash

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Every once in a while, I’ll do a how to guide. This summer I wrote about pineapple and mango — two summer produce that are typically costly to buy prepped and cut up. Plus, I love using the two of these for smoothies, snacks or toppings for overnight oats. But summer is over and fall is upon us, so I’ve traded my fruit for squash. I’ve already tackled delicata squash and spaghetti squash, so why not turn to the most beloved of all squashes: butternut squash.  Usually I roast squash and peel away the skin after, but I think this technique of peeling first saves a bit more of the squash and is less messy. After learning How to Peel & Cut Butternut Squash, I made a creamy fall bisque (obviously recipe coming soon).

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Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

BAM! The Best [Beer] Bread

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This might be the best thing since sliced bread! (Sorry I’m not. I just had to 😂). I made this over winter break and just resurrected this recipe. This Beer Bread is great with chili, soups and stews — anything to sop up that juicy broth — or even as an easy side to hearten up a salad for a meal. It’s really fun to play with the flavors of beer. I tried a spiced winter stout, a pumpkin beer and an IPA. The bread doesn’t require any rising thanks to the yeast in the beer. I took this recipe from Gimme Some Oven and she melts butter over the top to give the bread both a golden appearance and a nice crunch. I still copied this, but with a different form cut back the total amount of butter added.

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Appetizer, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Lightened Up, One Pot Dish, Salad, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Exploring Greek Tzatziki

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This dip is light and refreshing. Originally a Greek yogurt dip, tzatziki is traditionally made with cucumbers, garlic, salt, olive oil, sometime lemon juice and fresh herbs like mint, dill, parsley or thyme. It can be used to top gyros, burgers, falafels, salads, “bowls” (see photo below) or a standalone dish. Clearly I took a non-traditional route, swapping avocado for yogurt as the base. I also used mint instead of dill and want to try this again with equal proportions to be more versatile. Even with the “lightened up” swaps, Avocado Tzatziki is still light, so fluffy and especially tasty. I’ve been dipping away with Kashi pita chips and 7 grain crackers, baby carrots and cucumber sticks.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Soup, Vegetarian

Coming in Hot with Hot & Sour Soup

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In the wise words of Flo Rida, “Oh, hot damn.” This is AMAZING(ly easy). I saw this recipe recently posted on Gimme Some Oven and was so excited to try this. I’ve always wanted to make this at home, but never quite new where to start. This soup is surprisingly simple and not too unhealthy for you if you overlook the sodium — hence why I try to use low sodium options and add soy sauce accordingly. I’m not a big fan of mushrooms so I chopped them into small pieces vs. keeping them in long slices; I didn’t want to skimp on these to keep the flavor authentic. This recipe lets you play around with how hot, sour or salty you like. I kept mine plenty sour and plenty spicy. Plus, I had a cold when I concocted this and it’s a sure way to clear the sinuses with the extra kick of sriracha. I love this. Can’t wait to add Hot & Sour Soup to my recipe arsenal.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

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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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Celebrate Summer with a Summer Quinoa Salad

IMG_2522.JPGSummer’s officially here! Sadly, my apartment lacks a grill, but I was inspired by a recipe in Cooking Light for a charred Brussels sprouts, radish and apple salad. Why not char some pineapples and peppers to give the feeling of grilled summer kabobs? It’s fresh, easy and simple — my kind of style. I went to Martha’s Vineyard to do a home visit for work since we visit participants in their homes for healthy aging and longevity research. As we killed time for our ferry back to Boston, we feasted on our lunches. How picturesque — eating Charred Bell Pepper & Pineapple Quinoa Salad by the water. Happy meatless Monday!

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving Cranberries & Applesauce

Cranberry Cinnamon Applesauce

I always associate applesauce with the kind in your elementary school lunch or when you’re sick. This is applesauce for grown-ups. If you haven’t noticed, I took pictures of the Cranberry Cinnamon Applesauce in tupperware — it was that hard not to immediately consume. Bursting with cinnamon, the combination of the sweet Gala apples and tart cranberries is truly decadent. To top it off, this version has no added sugar (thanks, Aloha), you literally chop the apples and dump them in a pot and your kitchen may or may not smell like a Yankee candle. So take a bite of this naturally sweet and insanely delicious applesauce.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Side, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving Miso Soup: A “Green” & Spicy Version

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Ever since I got a sore throat, I’ve been craving a bowl of miso soup. Sounds weird, but sometimes chicken noodle just doesn’t cut it for me. Miso soup is Japanese soup known for its tangy, salty and unique, yet powerful flavor. The miso paste comes from fermenting soy beans. The soup is minimal, quick and easy, and quite different. My Akron family has a knack for growing beautiful kale, and my parents swung by yesterday to check in and drop off some kale, which adds a hearty addition to an already minimal soup. Drizzle with some sriracha and you have a deliciously different take on traditional miso:  Spicy “Green” Miso Soup. Happy Meatless Monday!

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