Is it fall yet? {2 Recipes to Get You in the Spirit}

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Is it fall yet?

Seriously, I’m so ready.

With this 90+ degree heat wave in Boston, I’ve been daydreaming about boots + leggings, pumpkin (everything) and crisp afternoon strolls in the park.

Unfortunately, my daydreaming isn’t making the season change any faster, so I decided to bring fall to me! Try these 2 pumpkin-themed recipes for a little taste of fall in your summer home.

Autumn Rosemary Pumpkin Hummus

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ c. pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
  • dash of maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Blend all ingredients except rosemary in food processor until smooth.
  2. Stir in the rosemary, and add any additional spices or salt to taste.

Serve with warm pita bread, apple or pear slices, crackers, carrots or other fave veggies!

Pumpkin Pie + Dark Chocolate Energy Balls

  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 c. raw pecans
  • 1/3 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened coconut flakes (+ another ¼ c. for rolling)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ c. chia seeds
  • dash of raw honey or maple syrup,
Read More!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers {Gluten Free}

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When it comes to dinner, we’re all about simplicity in this household. (Oh, and flavor of course!) These easy-to-make gluten free quinoa stuffed peppers did just the trick for our Monday night dinner this week. Hubby approved!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers {Gluten Free}

makes about 4 servings (2 peppers per person)

What ya need:

  • 8 medium bell peppers (mix of yellow, orange & red!)
  • 1 c. quinoa (rinsed)
  • 1 jar all-natural marinara sauce
  • 1 package ground turkey
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 Vidalia onion, chopped
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • about 2 c. shredded cheese (mozzarella, cheddar or monterey jack best!)
  • salt & pepper to taste

1. Rinse quinoa & add to pot with about 2 c. water. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and cover for about 15 minutes.

2. In the meantime, sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat until cooked through. Lower heat, add in crushed garlic, and stir for another minute. Set aside.

3. In same pan, cook the turkey burger on medium heat. Once cooked, add in the marinara sauce, lower heat and let simmer. Mix in cooked quinoa, onion & garlic, and can of black beans. Add salt & pepper to … Read More!

Lazy Ladies Banana Green Smoothie

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Lazy mornings are the best kind of mornings, aren’t they? There’s nothing like starting the day with some incense, journaling and self-care to really set your mindset for the day.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for buzzing mornings too — long runs, brunch with your girlfriends, a 45-minute spin sesh — but lazy mornings have a special place in my heart lately.

And on said mornings, my body really doesn’t feel like cooking one bit. Even the thought of turning on the stove and having to clean the dishes just makes me cringe. That’s where the Vitamix + green smoothies come in to save the day! I’m a “whatever is in the fridge” kind of girl when it comes to recipes, and this simplified banana smoothie did just the trick.

Lazy Ladies Banana Green Smoothie

What Ya Need:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • large handful leafy greens (kale or spinach — the more the merrier!)
  • ~ 3/4 c. almond milk; add more or less based on desired consistency
  • 1 scoop of all-natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp. raw cacao powder

Blend together in Vitamix or powerful blender, and enjoy chilled! (Note: If you do not have frozen bananas Read More!

Healthy Meals, Four Ways

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Since moving in with The Boy two weeks ago, we’ve quickly become much more…domestic (well, at least in the kitchen). While I do enjoy cooking homemade meals, when I lived with my sister I frequently settled for salads, signature pasta dishes or breakfast for dinner. Since our schedules were so different, I would often cook for myself and therefore resorted to something easy.

However, living with a man is a completely different beast. Soups, salad, and what I consider “leftovers” simply don’t suffice for a Real Meal. Men need hearty, wholesome, grandiose dishes and thus we’ve become quite familiar with our teeny tiny Cambridge kitchen.

Thankfully, we both like to cook and we both enjoy eating well. I lucked out that my guy doesn’t eat processed food, soda, take-out pizza or boxed meals, but rather enjoys organic meats, high-quality cooking oils and most importantly: real food.

Here’s what’s been on our dinner menu lately:

Homemade Gluten Free pizza with spinach, broccoli, ricotta, fresh mozzarella, mushroom, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning (crust mix from Bob’s Red Mill)

Mexican Stuffed Bell Peppers (inspired by Simply Life blog)

Green Quinoa & Rice Bowl (Inspired by Life Read More!

Organic Broccoli Feta Salad & Recipes Galore

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I am a huge fan of experimenting with new recipes, and I’ll try anything at least once. I remember when I was a young girl, I would love joining my grandmother in the kitchen, carefully watching her every move. I was fascinated (and still am fascinated) by how quick she was with her hands, and by the incredible meals she’d create solely with fresh, simple ingredients.

I also remember what a picky little girl I once was! As my grandma would hand me a “taste test” of whatever she was cooking, be it glazed carrots, celery soup, or venison, I’d always shout out with a disgusted face, “But I don’t like that!Her go-to response: “How do you know if you don’t like it if you don’t try it?” So I’d try it, and at least I’d learn if the taste suited me or not. And 99% of the time, guess what? I liked it.

That’s when I started to expand my taste buds, and experiment with food. My childhood years helped me overcome my fears of the “unknown” and programmed me to try everything…at least once. It transformed me into the woman I am today, and for … Read More!

Super-Stuffed Red Bell Peppers

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I went home to Connecticut for the day to celebrate my mom’s birthday. We headed to the grocery store after some fabulous apple-picking and what do you know: she was picking up ingredients to make one of my very own recipes. Wow I’m famous (or just let me think that for a day). My mom making one of my recipes? Wow, that feels good. Anyway, these stuffed peppers suffice for a meal on their own or can be served with a side salad or extra veggies. Enjoy…it’s definitely a fall favorite!

*serves 2

-2 red bell peppers

-6 oz. lean ground turkey

-1 c. cooked quinoa (may substitute brown rice)

-1/2 c. yellow onion, chopped

-1/2 c. black beans (optional)

-2 small Roma tomatoes, diced

-1 c. spinach

-1/2 c. organic Marinara sauce

-1 clove garlic, crushed

-1 tsp. basil

-1 tsp. parsley

-1/4 c fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

-2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for cooking)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat  a medium skillet with olive oil, and cook turkey burger until lightly browned. Add in your vegetables (aside from the peppers and black beans if you choose to use them), and cook on medium heat.

2. In … Read More!

You Asked for it: Homemade Eggplant “Lasagna”

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You asked for it, so here it is! I modified a fatty recipe my aunt had given me for eggplant lasagna, using eggplant instead of noodles. Nifty, huh? Anyway, after some big changes to the recipe (i.e. using tofu instead of ricotta cheese), this recipe turned out to be a winner! Note: it’s not the “prettiest” looking picture but boy does it taste amazing. Serve with a side salad. 

*serves 3-4 

-1 large eggplant, peeled and sliced very thin (think: substituting for lasagna noodles)

-8 oz. frozen organic spinach

-2 TB olive oil 

-2 cloves garlic, crushed

-1 egg, beaten

-1/2 block firm tofu, chopped and mashed

-4 to 6 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded

-1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

-2 TB dried basil

-1 c. of your favorite tomato sauce (with garlic and/or spices)

-salt and pepper to taste 

1. Prepare eggplant, cutting extremely thin slices. Lightly saute on medium heat for a few minutes in a large pan with olive oil. Remove and set aside.

2. Once removed, saute spinach and garlic in same pan in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Combine egg, cheeses, and bail and mix together until blended. Note: the tofu should crumble up … Read More!

Dinner for One, Please: Eating Healthy on a Budget

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As of this week, I have officially been living in Boston for one year. ONE YEAR! I can’t believe how fast the time has flown by. I also can’t believe that while living in the exciting city on a budget (let’s just say I won’t be rolling in the dough for quite some time), I’m still able to manage my money. People ask me all of the time how I survive in this expensive city. “Dinner out, cafes everywhere, pricy bars…how do you possibly do it?” 

While I talked about eating healthy on a budget in my interview with Lifestyler last fall here, I thought I’d share some new tricks of the trade now that I’m truly a savvy Bostonian (yay, I can finally call myself that, although I still don’t have the accent). Anyway, back to the point: now that I’ve lived in a city for more than a year and have been able to eat, live and sleep, I think I can offer some valuable advice to you fine folks looking to do the same. 

1. Cook the Perfect Amount: Don’t let food go to waste! I know for me, if I cook too much food, I’ll … Read More!

Tantalizing Thai Style Rice with Sesame Tofu

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Usually, I season my tofu with herbs and garlic, but last night I chose to change it up a bit. I just purchased some sesame seeds, sesame oil, and a brand new bottle of Agave syrup, so decided to experiment. Let’s just say my little experiment was a huge success. I hope you enjoy!

*makes 2 servings

-1 Package Trader Joe’s Thai-style Lime Rice* (or other brand of choice) *Next time I’m going to make my own!
-1/2 package extra firm tofu
-1/2 lime
-2 TB sesame oil
-2 TB agave syrup
-few shakes of garlic salt (according to taste)
-2 TB olive oil
-1 TB lemon juice
-2 TB sesame seeds
-1/2 TB nutmeg
-1 tsp. ginger
-s & p to taste

1. Preheat oven on 350. Blot the tofu with a paper towel to remove excess water, then chop into edible square pieces.
2. Add tofu into a zip lock bag with oils, herbs, spices and lemon juice (hold off on lime juice). Shake up thoroughly being sure to coat each piece of tofu.
3. Arrange tofu on a coated baking sheet (I like to line with tin foil) and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until … Read More!

Homemade Chive ‘n’ Herb Hummus

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A while back, one of my reader’s asked for a recipe for homemade hummus. To tell you the truth, I hadn’t attempted making it until last night. And boy did it turn out delicious…so delicious that I’m actually thinking of never buying store-bought hummus again (well unless I’m realllllyyy craving it and have no chickpeas on hand). Anyway, I used some of the basic hummus ingredients, with a little extra flare to spice it up. I enjoyed my hummus as a side with cucumbers, salad, and baked pita with feta!

-1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
-2 TB olive oil
-1 TB sesame seed oil (tahini)*
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-2 cloves garlic, crushed
-1 TB dried oregano
-1 TB dried parsley
-1 to 2 TB fresh chives, chopped
-salt and pepper to taste
*start with 1 TB and add more to taste

1. Drain the chickpeas and place into a large bowl. Mash up with a fork to soften.

2. Add chickpeas into a blender or Cuisinart and start to blend, slowly creating a hummus-like texture. Add in lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil and blend well.

3. Once mixture is well blended and smooth, add in the … Read More!

 
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