Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Bananas for These Trail Mix “Cookies”

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I can’t get enough of Banana Cookies. They’re simple — two ingredients simple, easy to make and the result is a tasty, yet satisfying treat. I was trying to find a way for a heartier snack that wasn’t celery and hummus or plain, ol’ raw almonds. I had bananas ripening on the counter, chopped nuts hanging out in the pantry and the idea to somehow incorporate a Kind Bar. Sounds promising, right? I tossed in chia seeds and dried cranberries and the Trail Mix Banana Cookies were born. I would have totally added dark chocolate chips, but I didn’t have any on hand. (Note to self, always have dark chocolate chips on hand. What was I thinking?) Sounds like I’ll just have to whip up batch numero duo and let you know how it goes.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free

Savory Sesame Soba Salad

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I can’t even get over this because IT WAS THAT GOOD. When I moved to Boston, I can honestly say I had never been to a Whole Foods before. The closest one in Maine was Portland and Ithaca was graced with Wegman’s. With a Whole Foods up the street from MGH and my apartment, I frequent it quite often and stop by their Prepared Food Bar, especially on nights when cooking just seems like an ordeal. I’ve had their sesame noodle salad before and decided to try my hand at my own version. I added beef, cucumber and bell pepper to mine. I served it cold like Whole Foods and it was just what I needed on a near 60°F day in Boston. (Yep, that’s right. Kicking off February with crazy warm weather.) This recipe for Sesame Beef Soba Noodle Salad is definitely here to stay.

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Appetizer, Entrée, Lightened Up, Mexican, Snack, Vegetarian

Craving Some Cheesy Quesadillas

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I’ve been craving quesadillas lately. I’m not entirely sure what spawned this craving, but I’m going to blame the nachos I had last week. (I personally blame Nacho Mama for posting all of her mouthwatering nacho finds around the Boston area.) This craving could also be contributed to the fact that I made an impromptu quesadilla while in St. Thomas, complete with pinto beans in the cheesy inside and topped with freshly chopped lettuce and salsa. Man, did that hit the spot. Instead, I give you Black Bean Spinach Quesadilla with a crunchy outsides (thanks, skillet) and a gooey inside full of refried black beans, spinach and cheese. They’re lightened up with plain Greek yogurt for sour cream and corn tortillas for flour. Happy Meatless Monday!

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

Blissfully Stuffed After Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers

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These Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers are when you want something satisfying without the sensation that you just swallowed a brick; they’re like a hearty salad that is way more fun.  I’ve seen these gracing the pages of Instagram and Pinterest, and turned to the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY for inspiration. (They’re dedicated to the vegetarian movement.) The resulting roasted bell peppers were quite tender and juicy. I topped with tomato sauce for some added flavor. I also made wayyyyy too much quinoa veggie filling and “recycled” it with chicken sausage and over sautéed baby spinach. I definitely want to try a carnivore version — ground turkey? BBQ chicken for the summer? Southwestern beef? I see a Thai version and a Mexican version being taste-tested in the near future.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Entrée, Lightened Up, Meal Prep

Nothing Cheesy About This Breakfast

"Lightened Up" Cheesy Egg Bake

This is my dad’s recipe. We had “Lightened Up” Cheesy Egg Bake for Christmas brunch along with our neighbor’s famous Christmas stollen (a German bread baked with dried fruit and nuts and then dusted with powdered sugar — it’s delicious) and fresh fruit. Cheesy Egg Bake is normally made with bread, full-fat pork breakfast sausage, heavy cream, eggs and cheese. We swapped bread for multigrain, cream for soy milk and pork sausage for the leaner turkey or chicken. It’s really quite easy to make and has many options to make your own. Toss in some veggies, swap eggs for egg whites, experiment with bread…the list goes on. Any way you try it, “Lightened Up” Cheesy Egg Bake is sure to please.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

Easy Peasy Hearty Minestrone Stew

Quinoa Minestrone Stew

This stew is brilliant. My cousin, Betsy, always shares healthy and hearty recipes with my mom. We made this stew last winter after Betsy’s suggestions. After all the holiday indulgences (and over-eating), we decided to resurrect this veggie, vegan, gluten-free stew. Although technically a soup, it’s loaded with beans, carrots, celery, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, kale . . . the list goes on and is so hearty I’d like to swap the name from soup to stew. While my mom did all the cooking, it’s delicious to share, especially right before the New Year. Hope you enjoy this fresh, packed fully of veggies, you-won’t-go-hungry Quinoa Minestrone Stew.

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

Paramount Pumpkin Pancakes

Pumpkin Banana Pancakes
Detox the day after Thanksgiving with some Pumpkin Banana Pancakes. A spin off of my Banana Oat Pancakes and my Chocolate Banana Pancakes, these are sure to delight. Unlike the other two versions, I used a blender (a food processor works as well) to seamlessly incorporate the pumpkin purée and effortlessly combine all the ingredients. The consistency resembles your more traditional pancakes, but is still packed with all the flavor you’d expect from a fall brunch.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée

Mmmmm, I Love Fall Dinners

Kale Apple Sausage Fall "Pasta"

I’m not sure what I just created for dinner tonight, but it was delicious. I’m not even sure how to aptly describe all of the flavors involved in this masterpiece; I already know I will not come close to doing this justice. I’m leaving for a gerontological conference tomorrow. Needless to say, my fridge required a creative way to utilize all the produce I still had and not let it go to waste. My aunt and uncle grew the gorgeous kale I used to make the Spicy “Green” Miso Soup. The kale was extremely tender and sautéed so well.  The pumpkin ravioli and apple chicken sausage are findings from Whole Foods. Summon some chopped pecans, spinach and spaghetti squash to have the ultimate fall dish: Kale Apple Sausage Fall “Pasta.” Plus, this is a one pot kind of dish so you’re welcome in advanced for easy clean up. More time to savor the meal!
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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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