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

Cozy Up with Some Coconut Chia Pudding

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Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a little “dessert” to color your day. My parents and I went to First Watch for brunch whilst in Ohio, after such a favorable outing when we were in Florida last May. My mom ordered the AM Superfood Bowl, which consisted of a coconut milk chia pudding topped with bananas, berries and blackberry perseveres and homemade granola. It was delish — literally dessert for breakfast. I usually make chia pudding with almond milk, but full-fat coconut milk was a welcomed surprise. On a whim, I added a pinch of cardamom and the citrus flavor added some levity and brightness to the dish. Enjoy as a snack, topped with fruit and granola for breakfast or with some chocolate for dessert, Coconut Chia Pudding is just one of those things you’ll enjoy again and again.

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Asian, Better Than Takeout, Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, Vegan, Vegetarian

Pass That Peanut Tofu Stir Fry

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Happy Meatless Monday! I’ve been craving stir fry lately, and Peanut Tofu Stir Fry more than hit the spot. I keep making these impromptu meals with random leftovers, but hey, I’m not complaining. I originally bought some ginger, broccoli slaw, cilantro and zucchini to make Asian Peanut Zoodles, but instead of making stir fry, I used some of these ingredients for a take on Sesame Chicken “Noodle” Soup. My old roommate, Dee, is the queen of stir fry, and her steady stream of tantalizing stir fry snaps was enough to make me want in on the action. I tossed together leftover brown rice, the broccoli slaw, red pepper, edemame and tofu in an easy, yet flavorful peanut sauce.

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Entrée, Italian, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Vegetarian

Lounging Around with This Veggie Lasagna

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Mmmm, there’s something about a lasagna baking in the oven that brightens your day. I had a lot of fun making this, since it was a way to use up some produce in my fridge and make my own marinara sauce. Paired with no boil lasagna noodles from Trader Joe’s and my fridge produce, this Veggie Lasagna was delicious and super easy. Mixing veggies directly into the ricotta mixture and using less cheese lightens up this lasagna, while still keeping all of the flavors. I made the marinara sauce, while I sliced the zucchini and peppers, minced the cauliflower and mixed together the ricotta. Then you layer everything, bake it and anxiously wait for it to be done.

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

Quick & Easy Homemade Marinara Sauce

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Happy meal prep Sunday! Here’s a marinara sauce I made for a veggie lasagna (recipe coming soon!). I decided to make my own because it’s quick, delicious and budget-friendly. I never realized most tomato sauces have sugar as one of the first few ingredients, since sugar brings out the flavor in tomatoes; sometimes those sauces are just too sweet then. It’s hard to find a sauce without any added sugar (Whole Foods’ 365 brand does have a great one). This Basil Marinara Sauce is so easy and literally ready in 20 minutes — plus you get the satisfaction of it being homemade and making it from scratch. With only 5 ingredients, there’s no added sugar or salt, while still bursting with flavor.

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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Slow Cooker, Soup

Slowly Savoring This Easy Slow Cooker Chili

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This chili recipe isn’t what you’d traditionally think of as “buffalo chicken,” but the flavors are a welcomed change from your standard beef chili dishes. It’s spicy from the hot sauce and a little sweet from the potatoes, whilst still retaining all the typical chili flavors and spices. It simmered all day as I prepped my nursing work, and I had Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Buffalo Chicken Chili in a blink of an eye. I loved the addition of fresh cilantro to brighten the dish. You can gobble down a bowl and avoid feeling sluggish because its fresh ingredients come together so seamlessly. I had leftover frozen slow cooker buffalo chicken from my bowl recipe that I tossed in for literally the easiest chili ever. (In the market for a new slow cooker? Check out Reviews.com for The Best Slow Cooker.)

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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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Breakfast/Brunch, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Vegetarian

Passing 2017 with a Potato Thyme Quiche

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Have to close out 2017 with a bang, right? This Thyme Potato Crust Quiche was a winner. Remember my sweet potato crust quiche? Here’s a take on that. I love breakfast potatoes and hash browns for brunch. I’m not sure what it is about the starchy side, but I associate seasoned potatoes with breakfast. I made a potato crust for this eggy dish and added thyme to complement the sharpness of the parmesan and give flavor to the potatoes. For a quiche, it’s really filling from the potatoes, and adding a dash of hot sauce (or ketchup) does juuuust the trick.

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

Amazing Apple Pie for Breakfast

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I love oatmeal bake. Originally made by my cousin, Betsy, when I visited Chicago, I’ve lightened up the original and made it my own. Last fall, I kept making a pumpkin version. This fall, why not try an apple version? I added apple pie spices, fresh apple chunks and chopped walnuts. Drizzle with maple syrup (which you can’t even tell I added to the pics since it absorbed right in), add a spoonful of vanilla yogurt, and top with raisins and cinnamon sugar, and Apple Walnut Oatmeal Bake will make your kitchen smell heavenly and give your tastebuds a frenzy. Plus, it’s such an easy brunch idea or a meal prep for the week. Happy brunchin’!

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

Craving Some Curry Pumpkin Soup

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Happy meatless Monday! Here’s a fun “pumpkin” recipe that you’d never know there’s pumpkin in it: Curry Pumpkin Soup with Swiss Chard. Pumpkin purée is a great way to naturally thicken a soup, make it heartier and add a bit more nutrients to it. I’m a curry fan Red Swiss chard was on sale at Whole Foods and it just looked too pretty not to add. I only had less than a cup of arborio rice, which is normally used for risotto (from vegetable risotto), and I tossed it in; it makes the soup much thicker than traditional rice. Overall, this is quite filling and bursting with flavor. It’s one of those fun dump, stir and simmer recipes that’s easy to meal prep and enjoy during the week.

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