Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Dressing Up Quinoa & Lentils

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Do you ever make something and you’re actually excited for your leftovers and to eat it again? That was this. I give you Cilantro Lentils & Quinoa with Raisins and Walnuts. This can be a side or a base to a meal. You can mix in feta or goat cheese. This would go quite well with roasted root veggies. Pair with grilled chicken. You literally can’t mess it up. I roasted potatoes, beets, and spinach and added some feta for a meal or kept it cold and mixed it into a spinach salad with a lemony vinaigrette. It works well with parsley instead of cilantro for all of you who are cilantro adverse, but fresh herbs with lemon juice and lemon zest keep this light and bright.

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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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Dairy-Free, Entrée, Gluten-Free, Meal Prep, Vegan, Vegetarian

Hearty Roasted Veggie Bowls for Winter

I love a good “bowl.” I think it’s easy to prep and to grab on-the-go. I like using produce that’s in season and rainbow carrots and sweet potatoes definitely fall into this category. Root veggies absorb the minerals from the soil around them. Given their colorful nature, they’re packed with fiber, vitamins like vitamin A, and antioxidants. If you can do three things at once, these Roasted Root Veggie Bowls with Cilantro Pesto are definitely worth it. Roast the veggies while the lentils and quinoa cook. At the end, you have a flavorful bowl served warmed to combat winter’s chill and topped with a fun, different pesto.

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

Toasted Coconut & Spiced Carrot Oatmeal For Breakfast

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Too many carrots from your garden? Have them for breakfast as a Coconut Carrot Oatmeal Bake. What can I say? I love cardamom and the citrusy flavor it gives to the cinnamon, ginger, carrots & apple. Like my other oatmeal bakes, this is lightened up with   applesauce instead of butter, coconut milk and egg whites. I love the crunch from the walnuts and carrots, and sweetness from the raisins and apple. Oatmeal bake is a great meal prep and if you can use your over in the summer, you can still enjoy the end result hot or cold. Add a little yogurt and maple syrup for a deliciously easy breakfast.

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Bread, Breakfast/Brunch, Dairy-Free, Lightened Up, Meal Prep, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Buzzing for This Honey Walnut Banana Bread

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Is there anything better than banana bread in the oven? I was debating if I should go the peanut butter and chocolate chip route or honey walnut, and I settled on the latter (which just means I’ll have to save some bananas to bake up a new kind!). I loved the crunch of the walnuts and floral notes that the honey added. Whilst best straight out of the oven, the loaf freezes well to be enjoyed at a later date, like when you’re skiing up in Vermont. Using Soul Bee powered honey, this Honey Walnut Banana Bread is a fun take on your standard loaf.

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Dairy-Free, Dessert, Gluten-Free, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegan, Vegetarian

Oh So Satisfying Cinnamon Bites

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It’s that time of year! Time to break out the meal prep and healthy snacks and maybe some indulgences for those New Year’s resolutions. These Cinnamon Almond Bites are perfect for a quick dessert or a taste to satisfying your sweet tooth. I think they’re fine energy bites, and if you choose to coat them in cocoa powder or cinnamon sugar, they become a bitter, dark indulgence or a sweet one. I make them instead of protein muffins and enjoy with some a cup of coffee or with fruit/extra carbs to balance them out. Either way, have fun with these bite-sized energy bites!

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

The Best Grain-Free Oatmeal & Porridge

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This is actually like porridge! I’ve been a little oatmeal’ed and overnight oats’ed out, but after all these brisk mornings, I wanted something with the same feel. You may be skeptical when mixing together flaxseed and chia seeds and nuts and coconut . . . but it is! Trust me. I was surprised too. I popped this concoction in the microwave thinking it wouldn’t absorb the milk and become fluffy quite like oatmeal does, but the result is like steel-cut oats or cream of wheat — just less gnarly and grainy; this Grain-Free Porridge with Fresh Figs has a much smoother and lighter finish. I had the last of my fresh figs left, so naturally I topped porridge with those and the some dried cranberries for a late summer, early fall feel.

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

A P-P-P-Peanut Buttery Banana Breakfast

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Happy Meal Prep Sunday! Here’s an overnight oats recipe that’s got me through 5 am wake ups for clinical and kept me feeling full (in a good way) until I could grab a snack after 10 am or sometimes not until after noon. Peanut Butter Banana Overnight Oats are a sure way to make it through your morning. Plus, they’re your classic peanut butter and banana flavors with some walnuts for a crunch and protein power to keep you full.

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Dessert, Lightened Up, Low Sugar, One Pot Dish, Snack, Vegetarian

Better (Butter-less) Greek Yogurt Brownies

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Confession: apparently I don’t have a square baking pan? I realize this every time I need one and never seem to remember to pick one up when I don’t. This explains as to why I baked my brownies in a pie pan and the pieces aren’t perfect squares . . . I made chocolate cookies using Greek yogurt before instead of butter and loved them. Like those, I made Greek Yogurt “Skinny” Brownies, which baked into dense, yummy brownies. These brownies are lower in sugar, low in fat (with the fat being healthier) and more nutrient packed if you use carob over cocoa powder. I tossed in some chopped walnuts and unsweetened coconut for texture. I was rationing my chocolate chips and would totally add more for next time! I’ve really wanted a true dessert versus just grabbing some dark chocolate pieces and/or some dates post dinner. I’ve been dreaming of some Halo Top ice cream on top of these brownies — stay tuned. It’s going to be amazing.

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