Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegetarian

To Brownie or Not to Brownie?

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I didn’t want to call these brownies because I don’t think of these as a true brownies without chocolate chips, so I settled on bars. Plus, are brownies ever really healthy? Maybe, maybe not. (Deep, pondering life thoughts by Annie to be continued . . . .) Whatever I call them — Dark Chocolate Coconut Raspberry Bars — can be a dessert or double up for a snack. Made grain-free using cocoa powder and plant-based chocolate powder as the base, these bars came out darkly dense made tart with raspberries.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Meal Prep, Smoothie, Snack, Vegetarian

You Won’t Even Know There’s Cauliflower in This Smoothie

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Don’t hate it until you try it: Raspberry Açai Cauliflower Smoothie. I’m a sucker for trying new food items, especially when I see these unsweetened açai purée packets continually pop up on multiple nutritionist recommended grocery lists. Açai (“ah-sigh-EE” but don’t even ask me to correctly pronounce this; I still butcher the name) is chuck full of nutrients and antioxidants due to its deep purple color — similar to blueberries and blackberries. Look for unsweetened packets in the freezer section making them easy to store and easy to have on hand. You can find them at Trader Joe’s for $4.49 or Whole Foods for $6.99 (at least that’s what it’s going for in Boston proper aka Beacon Hill). Since the purée packets are unsweetened, I added banana and frozen pineapple for some natural sugar. Frozen cauliflower adds nutrients and texture, and you can’t even tell there’s cauliflower in this thing.

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

Berry Deliciously Spiced Overnight Oats

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I haven’t made overnight oats in a while and I must say, what a way to get back in the game. It’s (hopefully) getting warmer with spring officially trying to make its way into the New England weather and the daylight slowly growing longer.  Although I usually grab cinnamon and vanilla for breakfast items and/or smoothies, this was different. The combo of raspberries, cranberries, and spices were great. Served hot or cold — you choose just how to enjoy Cinnamon Vanilla Berry Overnight Oats.

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

Lusciously Refreshing Layered Smoothie

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Yesterday, Boston was 90ºF and muggy. Not in the mood for a hot, complicated breakfast? Neither was I. This take a little planning to make the chia pudding ahead of time, but all in all, it’s a quick, easy and definitely refreshing meal. Pineapple, raspberries and watermelon are all in season, so perfect timing to buying bulk and freeze. Packed with vitamin C, this thirst-quenching Layered Chia Smoothie refuels, cools and hits the spot.

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

Brilliant Smoothie Breakfast Bowls

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I thought it was strange to put ground cinnamon and vanilla extract in smoothie, but Real Simple must be doing something right. Sorry I ever doubted you, RS.  Both enhanced the natural tart sweetness of the raspberries. I tried this two ways: first, as a bowl (hence the Raspberry Kiwi Smoothie Bowl) and  secondly, as a smoothie. I followed the smoothie recipe twice more and added some protein powder for a heartier breakfast the next few mornings. Stored the pre-made smoothies in Mason jars and I have breakfast on the go. Not only tasty, but the color is gorgeous! The smoothie bowl was the perfect under-the-weather treat.

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Dessert, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Mmmm, Yummy Yogurt Bark

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I don’t even know where to begin. This yogurt bark was great and easy and fun to make. I see many variations cropping up in the near future, like peanut butter banana or strawberry mint or… Like I said, it’s so easy, I’m going to have to gobble up this batch so I can make another. I’ve been looking for something other than dark chocolate to satisfy my sweet teeth and stumbled upon the idea for yogurt bark. Tossed in everything but the kitchen sink, not so patiently waited for this to chill and voila! Vanilla Yogurt Bark. You’ll forget it’s not chocolate, but a delicious frozen treat.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Snack, Vegetarian

In Love with Simplistic Yogurt Bowls

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This may seem really simple and like a no brainer, but I still don’t know why I don’t make these Yogurt Bowls more often. I love yogurt. I love granola. I love fruit. Why not always put them together? I just discovered Siggi’s Icelandic-Style Skyr at Whole Foods. I really like that their yogurts are high in protein but low(ish) in sugar. They’re also very recycle friendly — plus! Siggis also uses few ingredients and ones I can actually pronounce. I’d say this Yogurt Bowl is a win-win.
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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Smoothie, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Creamiest & “Smoothiest” Smoothie

Creamy Avocado Raspberry Smoothie

Yummmm. Literally yum. That’s all I have. I made this when I was fighting off strep and it was beyond delicious. The vitamin C and antioxidants from the raspberries were just what I needed paired with some of Aloha‘s Daily Good Berry Blend for a superfood boost. You can’t beat the creamy, smooth consistency that the avocado (yes — avocado in a smoothie!!), bananas and unsweetened cashew milk offer. It’s like taking a sip of smoothie heaven. You’d think you’re sipping a heavy cream-based ice cream milkshake and not the superfood-dense Creamy Avocado Raspberry Smoothie.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, Low Sugar, Side, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

The Versatile Berries


Poached Berries

Poached Berries are great — so easy to make, full of flavor, and can be made ahead of time. Another recipe my mom showed me (thanks, Mom!). The berries are especially tasty because by poaching them, you remove the hassle of washing each serving and decrease the time fresh berries will perish; instead, everything’s done in one step and viola! fresh berry sauce for days. Based on my new obsession with chia seeds and breakfast bowls, poached berries paired with overnight oats and chia seeds seemed like a natural combination. Poached berries are perfect to top oatmeal for breakfast or Greek yogurt for a snack or dessert. Try this berry sauce for yourself and discover the enormous flavor behind poached berries!

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

I-Can’t-Believe-It’s-Not-Ice-Cream Kale & Raspberry Smoothie

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An unexpected yet tasty combo: raspberries and baby kale. So good blended with Silk Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk and Silk vanilla yogurt that you think you’re drinking raspberry vanilla ice cream instead of smoothie mixed with kale. It was the perfect MCAT study break, as well as a delicious treat for a mid-80s day in Ithaca yesterday. By using already frozen fruit, there’s no added pressure to use the fruit not when it’s ripe, but when you want and need to. The frozen raspberries and bananas add an icy consistency without throwing in ice cubes ( which are a pain to blend). Trust me — you’ll have no idea there’s kale in this!

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