Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

New Twist on Pesto

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Happy Meatless Monday! I had too much cilantro and arugula hanging out in my fridge. It’s also in the 40’s today. (Um, what’s up, Mother Nature? It’s basically June.) I really wanted a dinner that’s hearty and warm. I whipped up an Arugula Cilantro Pesto to top some ravioli and sweet potato pasta to combat this chilly, rainy weather. The fun part about this recipe is that it’s really a place to start. You start with these basic proportions and add more cilantro and/or arugula as needed, some lime juice here or there and maybe parm; it’s all to taste. It’s the perfect meal prep and now I’ll add it to my freezer to use this summer!

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegan, Vegetarian

Crispy, Crunchy Coconut Tofu

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You know when you go out in the summer and all you see is coconut shrimp this and coconut shrimp that? Here’s a meatless Monday take on that — Crispy Coconut Tofu Bowls. I got this idea/recipe from Well Vegan and it definitely came from a plant-based protein roundup from either SELF or BuzzFeed. (Obviously I receive biweekly emails for meal, recipe ideas and cooking tips from both.) After coming back from Sanibel Island, I was still feeling the tropical vibes during this rainy weather and this recipe seemed like the perfect solution. I definitely cut down on all of Well Vegan‘s prep time, simplified the tofu process, lightened it up by baking instead of frying and skipped their added sauce. This recipe looks way more complicated than it is and just requires a little foresight to prep the tofu ahead of time. By swapping a can of full-drat coconut milk for So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk, the quinoa still turned out dense, yet fluffy with a very subtle coconut flavor. I must say the best part about this is the toasted coconut flakes and panic that result from the baking process — pure perfection.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Slow Cooker

Slowly Cooked to Perfection Coconut Curry Chicken

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I’m on a slow cooker kick, especially with these one bowl meals. (Well, this isn’t quite a one pot dinner, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t easy.) Mmmmm, delicious Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken. Especially with exams coming up, it’s so easy to let the chicken cook all day and then just whip up the bowls at night. I used frozen cauliflower and peppers for less chopping and to save time. It’s so easy to have frozen veggie on hand! I always have cauliflower stocked in my freezer. Let the rice cook while the coconut curry chicken warms and you can kick back and relax (or in my case study).

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Vegan, Vegetarian

Fresh Mules Just in Time for Happy Hour

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My friends over at Copper Mug wanted a healthy Moscow mule made with kombucha, just fresh juice or something all natural. (BTW, they have gorgeous copper ware like mugs, martini glasses, jigger — you name it.) I settled on trying to incorporate Kombucha Gingerade since it’s low in sugar, uses fresh ginger juice and packed with probiotics. The fresh ginger gives is an extra kick. Still want to sip on a cocktail post-holidays, but want a “detox?” Sip on this Kombucha Gingerade Moscow Mule — just in time for happy hour.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Salad

Bringing BBQ Salads Back

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I’m coming out of a hiatus! With my full-time job wrapped up and my fun-employment commencing, i.e. taking care of business for the month for August before my nursing program begins, I’m finally writing these joyful introductions for my blog posts — like this one for a BBQ Chicken Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing. After a trip home to Maine and a stop at Stonewall Kitchen in Portland, I picked up their Honey Sriracha Barbecue Sauce in anticipation of making a BBQ chicken salad. The BBQ sauce is packed with heat and subtly sweet. The dressing was inspired by a local Mexican restaurant and was the perfect combo of light and fresh to complement the BBQ flavor. Say hello to your new favorite summer salad.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Staying “Toasty” in the Snow

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Yesterday was a good day; a very solid assortment of food kind of day. Despite the blizzard pummeling the Northeast, Boston was graced with a couple inches to still have the feel of winter without being overwhelming. (Btw, thank GOD Boston was spared. We had enough snow last year to last a decade.) I went to the gym yesterday morning, but was saving my big meal for brunch to go with my roommate and one of my best friends from college. I needed something satisfying, savory and that would hold me until we commenced for brunch. Cue the Basil Sriracha Avocado Toast. We had a successful meal at The Tip Tap Room in Beacon Hill. We sipped on mimosas, Blood Maries (just Perin) & bourbon cocktails (see pictures below). We sampled the Everything Bagel Breakfast Sandwich, the Smoked Cheddar & Corn Griddle Cakes with Bacon Maple Syrup (they tasted like cornbread pancakes — delish) and the Tip Tap Signature Omelet packed with brie, asparagus and shiitake mushrooms (pictured below). Given it was snowing and we wanted to stay warm, I also concocted some Blizzard Sangria. Think a quick and easy cranberry and citrus sangria. To put the icing on the cake, toss in a slice of Ernesto’s Caprese pizza for dinner in the North End. Sounds like a good Saturday, right?

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Mexican

Not Your Typical Beans & (Cauliflower) “Rice”

Steak, Beans & "Rice" with a Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Real Simple hit the nail on the head. I saw this recipe and brilliant idea for an updated beans and rice and really wanted to try their take. Plus, I never had reasons to like steak and this seemed like it could be one. Steak, Beans & “Rice” with a Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. I swapped rice for cauliflower rice for a lighter take — super easy! Grab a mini food processor and you easy have salsa and cauliflower rice; two for one. (Quinoa would be a great substitute for rice as well.) I’ve never worked with tomatillos before let alone had one and now I can’t to have them again. The salsa is tart, light, but not too sour all in one. I added some cherry tomatoes to lighten the flavor and add some vibrancy. Grill the steak instead for a colorfully light summer dish. Pair with a Four Ingredient Margarita and you have a dinner sure to impress.

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Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Mexican, Vegan, Vegetarian

Magic Four Ingredient Margaritas

Four Ingredient Margaritas

I don’t know about you, but I like my drinks tart and not sickeningly sweet. Cider, margaritas, cocktails — the less sweet the better. My friend over at Insane for Drinks was kind enough to share Sauza 901 tequila. So good and smooth. None of that cheap stuff they give you for shots in your college dive bar (Salty, I’m looking at you). Plus, JT (i.e. Justin Timberlake) endorses this fine bottle, so obviously it must be good. (Don’t believe me? See here.) Toss in all fresh ingredients and some agave nectar to have a Four Ingredient Margaritas — a lighter take on the classic drink.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Local Finds, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Dangerously Delicious Daikon & Carrot Salad

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This Daikon & Carrot Salad is soooooo easy. Did I mention how simple this was? My dad and I decided to try this restaurant in Portland, ME on a whim for lunch — Pai Men Miyake. With my parents and family friends, we celebrated the end of the summer at the more upscale version of Miyake. Both have Japanese roots with French influences and use ingredients from both their own and local farms. My dad and I split this salad, and oh man — it was a race to the finish. The daikon and carrots were extremely fresh, crisp and crunchy. Daikon, as I have now discovered, is a member of the radish family and loaded with vitamin C and potassium. Another perfect addition to add to your sickness-fighting repertoire. Tossed in a Spicy Sesame Dressing, this Daikon & Carrot Salad will be sure to grace your table again and again.

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Asian, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free

Nothing Fishy About This Pad Thai

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I really like Pad Thai. There’s just something about fish sauce I can’t quite stomach, so that’s why I tried this No Fish Sauce Veggie & Chicken Pad Thai. If a dish is prepared for me with it, no problem. If I have to use it, I just can’t do it. Although the fish sauce does add that tanginess and a richer flavor to Thai dishes, I’d rather omit it. I kept the tanginess and acidity by adding soy sauce. For this vegan/vegetarian Pad Thai sauce, keep the whole dish meatless by substituting the chicken and egg for tofu as your protein, but either way, it’s gluten-free! I added more veggies than the traditional dish and kept it 50/50 with rice noodles and zoodles. The bean sprouts and chopped peanuts add a contrasting crunch to the soft noodles, while the cilantro contributes a whole new level of freshness. Toss in shredded carrots, snap peas and bean sprouts and this dish is packed with a little something extra.

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