The best vegan dessert I’ve ever had
This past Sunday I found myself cooking up a storm in my kitchen for majority of the day (putting all the finishing touches on my Whole30 5-day meal plan) and when it was all said and done and I sat down on the couch to unwind, I immediately began daydreaming of new dessert creations. With a few hours to spare before dinner and a running imagination that just wouldn’t sit still and relax, I got up, went back into my kitchen, and assessed what ingredients I had on hand. After realizing I had majority of my favorite things (banana, almond butter, tahini, and chocolate chips), I decided to combine them into the best vehicle possible: a skillet cookie. Being that I am currently dairy & gluten free and that eggs right now don’t seem to be working too well with my stomach, I slowly realized when I popped this baby in the oven that this recipe is actually vegan. While I spent a few minutes questioning who the heck I have become, none of that mattered once I took a bite of this baby. Plus, I happened to have just purchased a pint of Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream (chocolate and mint chip) so I knew I was just about to elevate this to the best (and first?) fully vegan dessert I probably have ever had.
Healthy turkey chili with a spicy kick
Personally, I’m a beef chili person, but when I had so many people ask me whether they could replace the beef with ground turkey in my meat chili recipe (which, yes, you can), I decided it was time to create a new chili recipe for this poultry lovers. In my mind, the a chili with beef deserves to be hearty and simple; hence the minimal ingredients and the doubled beans included in the recipe. However, I decided to amp up the flavor and ingredients for the turkey chili and decided to go a Mexican route, throwing in some canned corn and green chili peppers. Although the recipes may be differ, I promise you, it is still just as easy of a meal to make.
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The surprisingly healthy dessert
Sweet, spicy, and salty!? I don’t know if a better trifecta exists. Oh wait, and there is chocolate involved? Now we are freaking talking. This is one of my favorite desserts to serve at a dinner party because not only is it insanely quick and easy to make, but it also is shockingly healthy. Gluten free, dairy free, filled with healthy and beneficial ingredients (hello collagen and avocado), and sweetened simply by honey and cacao powder.
When it comes to snacking on Whole30, there are mixed opinions. Some believe the whole purpose of Whole30 is to break some of the unnecessary eating habits you have. However, if I’m hungry, I’m going to eat. This does not mean I’m snacking throughout the day, but by no means am I going to starve myself for a food plan (refuse to call it a diet) that I’ve decided to follow. That said, it is extremely difficult to find compliant Whole30 snacks other than fruits and vegetables. So as part of my Sunday meal prep, you better believe I’m also making some grab and go foods for the moments in between meals.
Gluten and Dairy Free Overnight Oats
There are two types of people: you are either one who eats breakfast or does not. Me? I have never in my entire life fallen into that latter category. Not only have I never gone a day without breakfast (truly), but I am also mind blown that there are people in this world who voluntarily skip this meal. What gives!? Maybe I am biased because I would be ready to eat my arm if I went sans food until lunch, but I truly believe that breakfast should be a staple of everyone’s morning. I get it, we’re all busy. We live in some odd world where “being busy” is something we weirdly brag about; “oh my gosh, I was so busy today I totally forgot to eat breakfast”. If you’re someone who’s uttered these words, I’m here to help. Firstly, I am truly curious, how do you forget about a meal!? Secondly, let’s talk meal prep. I believe that some of us are honestly too busy to make breakfast every morning, and that is a totally valid point. However, that by no means gives you an excuse to totally skip the most important meal of your day. My solution? Find a breakfast you enjoy, prep multiple servings of it on a Sunday or weeknight, and pop them in the fridge for the mornings to follow. This doesn’t mean that you’re scarfing down a bar while simultaneously trying to zip up your dress and wondering to yourself five minutes later, “did I eat that bar I just pulled out of the drawer or have I lost my mind?” I’ve been there; eaten something too quickly while distracted doing something else only to later question whether I really ate it or not. Instead, take some time – I’m talking 10 minutes – and enjoy your breakfast. Everyone’s mornings are busy but I strongly believe you can carve out this small amount of time to start your day off on the right track. Now, back to the food. When I prep my breakfasts, I have a few mandatory criteria the meal must meet: I must be excited to eat it in the morning, it must be filling and healthy, it must not take too long to prep (because, heck, we’re even busy on Sundays), and it most likely must include some of my favorite breakfast staples – banana and almond butter. Regarding the last point, what ingredient makes banana and almond butter the true holy trinity? Chocolate, duh. And since I’m not about to douse Hershey’s syrup all over my breakfast, in comes Aloha chocolate protein powder. The perfect ingredient to add in some extra protein to make this breakfast even more filling and to take that flavor profile up a notch. This gluten and dairy free chocolate banana almond butter overnight oat recipe is truly a weekly staple in my kitchen and I thoroughly believe it will be one in yours too!
A weeknight Whole30 staple
Let me start right off the bat by saying in no way, whatsoever, is this meal replacing a delicious bowl of gluten and cheese filled spaghetti and meat sauce from your favorite Italian restaurant. Also, before the naysayers come at me about how quickly this meat sauce is made, this is not your grandmother’s Sunday sauce; this is a quick meat marinara sauce that does not take much time but still tastes delicious. Now that we’re on the same page, let me show you how to make a delicious and fast Whole30 approved dinner that you can surprisingly pull together with some potential staples lying around your kitchen (or am I the only one who regularly has zucchini and sweet potatoes on hand and ground beef in my freezer?).
The perfect meal to batch cook
When people think of Whole30 they think of lame, boring, sad salads. I get it, I thought the same thing as first. Little do these said negative people know that eating Whole30 compliant meals can actually be pretty freaking delicious. Not only delicious, but easy. This meal is so simple, includes a wide variety of ingredients that are easily interchangeable, and is the perfect meal for a batch cooking session. Cook a huge skillet of this stir-fry on a Sunday night and I promise, your hungry Whole30-doing self will thank you every day afterwards. Whether enjoying at work, while your coworkers eye you with envy mid bite of their sad salad mentioned above, or at night, sans that glass of wine that you crave so badly (sorry, I can’t help you there), it will hit the spot.