No-Bake Raw Coconut Cashew Tahini Bars

The too good to be true healthy dessert

Health kicks or diets can get crazy. A lot of us have been there: you decide to gung-ho cut out a ton of food groups, maybe specifically sugar or dessert, and then realize it is all you can think about. As someone with a serious sweet tooth but also a secret side love affair for all things salty, I combined the two with my new obsession over tahini and made the perfect healthy-fied dessert. No-bake raw coconut cashew tahini bars. Pop these babies in your freezer and have on hand for when you just need that extra something.

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Kale Tahini Salad with Avocado, Pomegranate, and Walnuts

The quickest meal on this site

A few weeks ago I was in Florida with my family and, when I realized we had no lunch plans, I immediately raised my hand to create something delicious for everyone. However, as soon as my hand went up, the sun came out, and I immediately regretted my decision of volunteering to be inside the kitchen during the day (although, I must admit, the idea of driving a car to a nearby suburban Trader Joe’s with extremely wide aisles and a limited line is one of my ongoing daydreams). When I entered the store, I decided that I was going to make the easiest, quickest, and most crowd-pleasing lunch possible. That meant no oven, no stove-top, not even a microwave; this meal had to take me 5 minutes or less. I grabbed a bunch of random ingredients from the produce and pantry aisle and prayed for a successful pairing. I must have had the TJ gods on my side because I have been craving this salad ever since. It is SO easy, so refreshing, and surprisingly filling. A definite new weekday staple in my house.

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Filet Mignon with Roasted Vegetables

The perfect celebratory healthy meal

Nothing screams “fancy as f&#@k” as filet mignon. When it is time to celebrate in this apartment, filet is on the menu. It is also something that is so deceivingly easy to cook but for some reason intimidating to most and therefore seems impressive to whoever you are cooking for (hopefully they don’t read this post and continue to feel special and in awe when they come to your home). With this perfectly seared on the outside and medium rare on the inside steak, you can pair it with some crispy and somehow still soft roasted fall vegetables. Honestly, steak houses get a bad rep for being an unhealthy option. Yes, they throw in an unnecessary bottle of heavy cream to their creamed spinach and fry one too many sides, but, if you keep it simple with a great steak and some roasted vegetables this meal is not only delicious but also incredibly healthy. And, even better, if you are one of the brave souls enduring an either paleo or Whole30 January, then you are in luck! Because this entire meal is approved. People on cleanses/resets gotta celebrate too? Just pourthat extra glass of red wine for your friend who refuses to cut out the booze.

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Rack of Lamb with Crisped Kale, Sautéed Mushrooms, and Butternut Squash Puree

The perfect Christmas dinner

When I think Christmas dinner, I envision sitting at a table with everyone I love, large glasses of wine, laughter encompassing the entire room, and an incredible meal on the plate in front of me. Typically, that meal involves two main things: vegetables and some type of perfectly cooked, fancy, wonderful, meat. Typically, it is a filet mignon or a pot roast. However, I am proposing we all change it up a little bit; its time to give the limelight to one of my favorite meats of 2017: lamb. This year, lamb has been one of my top obsessions. Not that it was ever something I didn’t enjoy (trust me, there isn’t a lamb chop that leaves my plate with a scrap of meat left on the bone), but recently I have found myself craving it hard core. Because of the price, and the fact that most of us are trying to cook on a budget, it is not something that I indulge in weekly. However, it provides the perfect candidate for the most wonderful time of the year: Christmas day. So, if you’re heading into this weekend hosting the holidays without a menu planned, I am here to help. Your family will love you even more.

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@Lets.eat.yall’s Guide to the Seaport District

If there is ever a part of NYC that is so overlooked by the people of Manhattan, it is the South Street Seaport district. Coming from someone who, after living here for five years, has only visited it once, I find myself consistently daydreaming of that one perfect fall day I spent drinking and eating my way down the cobblestone streets. Why haven’t I been back since? Great freaking question. When I met my insta-turn-real-friend Emma of @lets.eat.yall (the ultimate #foodporn account behind a girl who is always in the know of the NYC restaurant scene) and she told me she was moving to this area, I immediately knew she had to be featured on Freckled Foodie & Friend’s Favorites. Not only will I now have a checklist of restaurants to go to in this dreamy secluded spot within our busy city that I have so carelessly ignored, but it will hopefully encourage all of you to also make your way alllll the way downtown. Check out all of Emma’s favorite picks below!

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Sausage & Vegetable Omelet Bake

Gluten and dairy free vegetable packed omelet bake

With every dish made, there is a spot it falls on the effort required / deliciousness graph; there are some that require hours of labor and are just kind of blah when the time comes to actually eat it and then there are ones that require very minimal effort and return insanely positive reactions. This, my friends, is the champion of this scale. This dish is the answer to any “breakfast / brunch for group” question you may have. This bake can be all prepped and ready to go the night prior, so that you aren’t waking up at the crack of dawn or cooking while your guests are enjoying themselves, and simply requires you to only place it in the oven the morning of. Without a doubt, if I am ever making breakfast for a group, this dish is the star of my menu. Especially for family brunches, such as on Christmas morning, there is no better option. Continue reading “Sausage & Vegetable Omelet Bake”

Chicken Vegetable Instant Pot Soup

Thanksgiving leftovers transformed to chicken & vegetable soup

If you’re like my family, as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over everyone immediately grabs a Tupperware and begins fitting as much food as possible into their dedicated “leftovers bin”; fighting for that last bite of stuffing or spoonful of sweet potato casserole. This year, I made it easy for the rest of my family, and took myself out of the fight declaring I only wanted to take one thing home, something that absolutely no one else was eyeing: the turkey carcass. Yep, that’s right, I wanted the bones. So much so, that I even traveled back to NYC with them in a Ziploc bag (I know, seriously a psycho move). BUT, the week prior I made turkey stock with all of the turkey bones leftover from my Friendsgiving meal and it truly was better than any bone broth I had ever tasted (fully tooting my own horn) and it was garlic & onion free. This is huge for all of my low FODMAP friends out there. So, instead of elbowing my sister over the white turkey meat, I grabbed my bones and headed back to my apartment where my instant pot resided. As expected, the turkey stock turned out magnificently. So tasty, in fact, that I may begin eating turkey instead of chicken just so I can store the bones for my next batch of broth. Either way, I had vats and vats of turkey stock to put to work; one can only fit so many mason jars in her refrigerator. As I felt a cold coming on, I knew what I was prepping for my weekday lunches: homemade chicken vegetable soup. It was insanely easy, cooked itself (not kidding), and is now officially going to be on my meal rotation all winter. Bless you, turkey, for giving me so much to love over the past two weeks.

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