Dairy-Free, Dessert, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Vegan, Vegetarian

A Spin on Lemonade & Piña Colada

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This may be my new summer drink, so much so that we made this twice in once weekend. Frozen Coconut Lemonade will be your new favorite drink to cool down and sip a decadent version of lemonade. I made this both as a cocktail and a mocktail. I’d suggest the full-fat coconut milk for a mocktail and using the proportions below for a cocktail. Either way is delicious. It’s sweet, tart, rich, and zesty.

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

Lemony Protein-Packed & Plant-Based Soup (Instant Pot)

I may be the only person enjoying April’s cold spell last month. It was a great time to meal prep lunch recipes for work and sample some hot soups. I quite enjoyed this take on a plant-based soup that with the addition of lentils, is packed with protein. Harissa adds a unique flavor and spice along with lemon, ginger, cumin, and turmeric. Using the Instant Pot, this Lemony Lentil & Butternut Squash Soup is rich and creamy without any added dairy and comes together quickly, easily cooking the carrots. squash, and lentils. It’s the soup you need when you’re looking forward to spring on a crisp day.

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

Veggie & Pesto Packed Primavera Pasta Salad

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The warm weather has finally rolled in, and it’s beginning to feel like summer. Verdant grass, trees, and flowers call for vibrant veggies to be used. I’ve been craving pasta and also pesto lately, so it only makes sense to use both for a pasta salad. In this Primavera Pasta Salad, your veggies can be a combination of fresh and frozen. I usually have frozen edamame and peas on hand in my freezer among some others (like cauliflower pieces and cauliflower rice). Fresh asparagus, peppers, and celery add a bite and a crunch. Add lemon juice, pesto, and spices for a summery and bright take on pasta salad.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Easy & Savory Roasted Veggie Farro Bowls for Meatless Monday

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This is a meatless meal prep recipe that I can’t believe I haven’t posted sooner, but midterms happened and life. . ., but this is one of those recipes that you’re bummed when your leftovers are gone. I love the chewiness and whole-grain nature of farro, and it’s quite easy to prepare. I had leftover rainbow carrots, haricot verts (think green bean’s skinnier cousin) and rainbow potatoes from slow cooker Italian sausage soup. Roasted in the oven with a little Salz und Pfeffer, rosemary, red pepper flakes and garlic was the right choice. Toss with farro, pistachios, dried cranberries and a quick “dressing” of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Then, you have the perfect Roasted Vegetable Farro Bowls with Cranberries and Pistachios. It’s tart and fresh with the vinaigrette, savory from the veggies and full of texture thanks to the farro, pistachios and dried cranberries.

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

A Summer Stew for Any Occasion

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This was a summer stew I made, but froze two servings to pull out when I needed a quick meal. I did just that on the 30th after traveling to Maine and Ohio for the holidays. I enjoyed a bowl sans toppings on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to stay warm during this arctic blast of weather. Since the stew was summer inspired and based, you can really taste the lemon juice and appreciate summer produce like kale and zucchini. The sweetness from the raisins and sweet potatoes balance the bitterness from the quinoa and kale and acidity of the lemon juice. I added almond milk for a splash of creaminess. I love that this has garlic, ginger and turmeric, which are anti-inflammatories and aid in digestion — just what we need post-holiday binge and indulgences. Serve hot and savor that bowl of Turmeric, White Bean & Quinoa Stew.

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Lemonade with a Kick

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My mom had a pitcher of this going when I was home in Maine last week. Naturally I came home with a cold and whipped up a batch of Cayenne Lemonade to clear the airways and stay hydrated. It’s also great mocktail, especially with a 1:1 ratio of lemonade and seltzer for a fizz. I realize that the recipe is completely subjective; my mom made hers sweeter and mine came out a bit more tart. Toss in some lemon slices and cucumber and you have the simplest drink to feel like every day is a spa day.

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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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