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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Bread, 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, Bread, 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, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Meatless Veggie Bowls with Copycat Sweetgreen Dressing

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I’ve been looking for a good “bowl” lately. Maybe it’s generational that we’re the people who meal prep and pack lunches apart from sandwiches. I’m always looking for something that I can make, package and be done, or quickly assemble the night before or morning of. These Eggplant “Meatball” Bowls with Spicy Cashew Dressing do just that. As I’m always striving to copy Sweetgreen’s dressing–if you’ve had them, you totally know what I mean–and this bowl-salad fusion does just that. Roasted veggies, quinoa, and vegetarian meatballs combine for this hearty dish.

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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Delightfully Spicy Harissa Soup

Hearty veggie stew alert! If you haven’t figured out, I enjoy “cleaning out my fridge” and trying to use up every veggie–and sauce–possible. Harissa is a Northern African spicy chili pepper paste, consisting of mostly roasted red peppers. Depending on the style, some can be really mild or wildly spicy. If you use up any veggies in your fridge like onions, peppers, greens, and sweet potato with stuff in your pantry like a can of tomatoes or leftover grains and lentils, you can easily pull together a simple, hearty stew like Harissa Vegetable Soup. By using plant-based ingredients, it’s still high in protein. Plus, it’s a win-win for a deliciously health meal in exchange for cleaning out your fridge and pantry.

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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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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Smoothie, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Glowing Skin Recovery Mango Tahini Smoothie

I’ve been on a spin kick lately, going 2-3 times per week since after Christmas. I’ve enjoyed drinking a smoothie after this intense exercise since it’s hydrating and nourishing, especially when I’m not hungry or in the mood for “whole” food for a bit after that type of rigorous exercise. This Mango Tahini Smoothie has good-for-your-skin vitamins from mango, healthy fats from tahini, and antioxidants and vitamin C from the orange. I swapped cauliflower in for banana, since mangos are already sweet enough. Brightened with cardamom and cinnamon, this smoothie is a refreshingly cozy way to start your day and recover from some welcomed sweaty exercise. Continue reading “Glowing Skin Recovery Mango Tahini Smoothie”