When I was growing up my family’s weekends were always jam packed with soccer and lacrosse tournaments. No matter the season, we were packing up Friday morning, jamming in 8 plus games over the span of two days, and returning home late Sunday night only to do it all over again the next weekend. Fortunately for me and my sisters, we had parents who never questioned or complained about this absurdity, but instead got behind the wheel with a smile and a cooler packed with Gatorades and road snacks. Within the blink of an eye my sisters and I would quickly demolish this cooler that probably should have lasted us over 3 days. With full bladders and somehow still hungry stomachs, we would insistently beg our parents to pull over to the nearest rest stop. You’re probably wondering, “why the hell are you telling me about your ever too frequent visits to rest stops?” Because, my friends, no matter how many Nature Valley bars or boxes of Goldfish I had just devoured in our Suburban, as soon as I walked in to any of those rest stops that smell of cinnamon maple glaze hit me like a brick. Immediately, my stomach began growling and I ran as fast as I could to the CinnaBon that was no doubt overpowering all of the nasty scents I would have otherwise smelled. To me, no road trip was complete without CinnaBon. My obsession began at an early age and over time transformed to loving anything cinnamon filled. Now more aware of the ingredients in these things, I’m a bit grossed out by my childhood consumption, but still nonetheless in love. So in an effort to make the meal that a CinnaBon is somehow meant to serve (breakfast) without sending you into a sugar coma, I created these Cinnamon Bun overnight oats. Long story short, enjoy a trip down memory lane.
Ever since starting Freckled Foodie and continuously photographing my meals, I’ve noticed one stand out consistent meal: zucchini noodles and salmon. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good bowl of pasta. In no way am I going to tease you to believe that this will replace the hearty, comforting, nap induced bliss you feel after a bowl of hot pasta. However, what I can tell you, is that there are many of nights I actually prefer to have this meal instead (I know, blasphemy). I was always skeptical of “zoodles” for this exact reason. Refusing to accept them as a form of pasta, I changed my mindset to view them as simply another delicious option for a meal, which is exactly what they are. This meal’s pulling force that continues to suck me in on a weekly basis is the place it lands on the taste / effort scale. This meal is exceptionally easy to make, especially if you follow some of my prepping tips below, and requires minimal effort in the kitchen. It also is a refreshing, light, and delicious dinner or lunch option while seemingly impressive to dinner guests. Plus, these zoodles are simply aesthetically pleasing when they so perfectly resemble long ribbons.
To me, no meal is cozier than banana pancakes. Growing up, pancakes encompassed all things “weekend”. Family brunch? Pancakes. Slumber party with an insanely large amount of chatty pre-teen girls? Pancakes. Rainy Sunday morning? You better believe that calls for pancakes. Now that I am grown, no longer living with my parents, and responsible for making my own breakfasts (sigh, why can’t we be kids forever), pancakes bring back all of those warm feelings of home. They exemplify one of the reasons I love food so much: one simple meal is able to spark so many memories and emotions and, even if for just one second, transport you back to a happy past time. So excuse me while I take my plate of banana pancakes back up to bed, get under the covers, and devour this stack way you are supposed to.
Cinco de Mayo gave me the perfect excuse to try new recipes, throw a “build your own taco bar” dinner party, and chug kombucha filled margaritas. In an effort to maintain this gluten and grain free lifestyle, I have been a huge fan of the Siete tortillas and tortilla chips. Combining that love with my recent use of a Cauliflower Foods pizza crust, and curiosity, I set out on the goal to create my own cauliflower based taco shells. After setting an extremely low bar for myself, prepared to either be impressed or laugh at this epic fail, and a cabinet filled with back up options, I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. These shells were a lot easier to make than one would think and, I can guarantee from my experience, you will without a doubt impress your guests. Trust me, my bragging ability of these bad boys only got louder and stronger with every margarita I had. Note: while they can fold to form a true “taco shell” and maintain their shape, I actually enjoyed eating them as tostadas.
This (delicious) meal was inspired by two questions I found myself wondering this past week. One, what exactly makes a pesto a “pesto”. Is it the basil? Is it just a leaf blended with some type of nut and an oil? Is it simply something green that is a spreadable sauce? Two, why the heck is half of the fennel I just purchased all stems and fronds and what am I supposed to do with them (because I am mentally unable to throw away any type of food). Along with these questions, I found myself at my favorite local butcher shop looking through the glass case the same way I have a thousand times before but all of a sudden gravitating towards a different type of meat: lamb. Following my stomach (because how else should you live life), these thoughts, questions, and epiphanies, I was led me to one thing: fennel frond fucking pesto. Sorry, I know I have an extremely bad cursing habit and use the F word as an adjective too often, but it just rolled off the tongue so perfectly. So anyway, this triple F pesto sauce became the connection between all of my wondering thoughts and the base of a deliciously adventurous, and very different than my usual, weeknight dinner.
One of my goals during Whole 30 was to incorporate new dishes into my day instead of continuously rotating through the same ones like I usually do. Being unable to enjoy my usual kefir puddings, overnight oats, and fistfuls of granola (by the bag), breakfast has become seemingly difficult. Then I realized: who said vegetables can’t be the star of your breakfast. So with that mindset, and the success of finally finding Whole 30 compliant bacon, I created this new brunch superstar. Not only is this dish absolutely delicious, but it is aesthetically pleasing and will impress any brunch crowd you have invited to your kitchen. Plus, every once and awhile we all need to cut back on our morning overload of sugars, whether its natural or not, and include some more hearty vegetables.
Basically, the hangover cure. Don’t waste your money or time on a bodega sausage egg and cheese to cure that headache. Replace your usual order with these easily prepped omelet cups. Trust me, your stomach will thank me later. And if you’re not hungover? Well, firstly, kudos to you and your refreshed self. Secondly, this are still delicious.
Smoothies are such an interest breakfast phenomenon right now. While I love their ability to fill me up on an incredibly cheap and quick to prepare basis, I find it absolutely redonkulous that places are charging $12+ dollars for one. And the even worse part? That I have been that person on the other side of the register handing these money thieves my credit cards in return for a semi-decent, sugar packed, stupid expensive smoothie. Why? Because I didn’t know better and I was hungry. So, if you are one of these people, I am here to help rid you of this unnecessary habit. One of my main problems with store purchased smoothies is their ability to sneakily add in so much unnecessary sugar. Whether it be through the flavored and sweetened almond milk, the high fructose syrup concentrated juices, or even just an overload of fruit, some of these smoothies have a full day’s serving of sugar in them. While I love fruit just as much as the other person, I made an effort to create a less fruit-focused smoothie and challenged myself to add in some, potentially unusual, vegetables. This got me to thinking: what are some of my favorite foods that hide their high vegetable content? And then it came to me… carrot cake. To use the word love to describe my feelings about carrot cake is an understatement. This is what led me to create this carrot cake smoothie because, my friends, what is better than a breakfast that tastes like carrot cake in the form of an easy and cheap smoothie.
For some reason I constantly overlook blueberries. They are such an easy fruit to eat and match with different flavor profiles, and whenever they are in my fridge I devour them, but I never actively think to purchase them. When considering different fruit and flavor combinations, I came up with the odd pairing of blueberry, vanilla, and almond. While not one you see often, these three tastes compliment each other extremely well. Enjoy for a “not so normal” version of your everyday overnight oats.
There is something so comforting about a warm delicious stew on a cold winter day. While I mainly steer towards tomato based and meat filled versions, lately I have had a serious craving for all spices Indian. While trying to follow Whole 30 and also omit garlic & onion, Indian food is a cuisine that is nearly impossible to eat if not making it yourself. Indian takeout may be in my (very minimal) takeout rotation, but there is 0 chance I am going to be able to find a dish without so many ingredients. So instead of even attempting to explain everything over the phone to a delivery guy to then only be turned down, I decided to create my own version. Packed with flavor, protein, and some starch, this dish knocks Whole 30 Indian food out of the park.