Chocolate Covered Strawberry Almond Butter Cups

A glorified Valentine’s Day chocolate covered strawberry

Considering chocolate covered strawberries are basically only consumed on Valentine’s Day (okay, and maybe New Years, but that’s a bit of a stretch), I knew they had to be the hidden star of my V-day themed dessert. Instead of replicating the exact treat that I could purchase anywhere, I decided to get creative. As a girl who loves her layers, and thinks that almond butter is just about the perfect addition to any meal, snack, or dessert, my mind immediately led me here: chocolate covered strawberry almond butter cups. These three-layer treat are the perfectly creative dessert to cap off your meal with and the reinvented version of the oh so classic and (dare I say it?) kind of boring original. Make for your friends, loved one, or yourself – everyone will enjoy!

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Cauliflower Gnocchi with Ribeye Steak and Vegetables

Valentine’s Day Dinner on a Budget

Among many things, Valentine’s Day can be expensive – there is no getting around it. If you’re like me and you’ve already decided there is 0 chance you are spending money on a prefix menu just because its February 14th, I’m assuming you’re heading to your kitchen to whip something up. While we all (hopefully?) love to celebrate love, and want to spoil the person we are cooking for that night, whether it be a significant other, a friend, or hell, ourselves, a lot of us are on a serious budget. Who says you need to spend a ton of money for a delicious meal? Not I. For those of us who are watching our costs this Valentine’s Day, I’m here to help with a meal that costs less than $15 per person (assuming you already have the pantry staples). Hell, that’s comparable, and way more impressive, than Chipotle pickup. You’re welcome!

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Grainless Pistachio Coconut Granola

Dare I say better than the bagged options?

This weekend I found myself in a very unfamiliar situation: without any granola in the apartment. As someone who loves to add some type of crunch to all of my yogurt parfaits and needs that extra fuel, granola is something I rely on heavily. (That being said, I am especially pick about which ones I purchase and consume). Surprisingly enough, I have never attempted at making my own. Sure, I’ve heard it’s easy, and I know it’s delicious based on some of my friend’s creations that I’ve tried, but I’ve never been the one mixing the ingredients for a fresh new parfait topping. That is, until this past Sunday morning. Opening my fridge to tons of tasty yogurts and beautiful fruits and realizing I had nothing to top it with, I decided to get creative. Considering I always have a stocked pantry, it wasn’t too hard to whip up a combination I loved. I’ll still be purchasing a few of my favorite brands going forward, but, this one will definitely be added in to my rotation!

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Stove Top Oatmeal with Cinnamon Apples

A big old bowl of coziness

There is something incredibly warming and comforting about a nice big bowl of stovetop oatmeal. Between the ease of the cooking process, the smell that fills your kitchen, and the physical warmth that fills each bite, it makes me feel all sorts of cozy inside. Although primarily a cold weather dish, it is something I enjoy all year round. In theme with the heat of the oats, I love to top mine with fruits of the similar temperature – fresh off the sauté pan with all of my favorite spices. Sure, I can write home about my love for almond butter and banana as a topping for any type of bowl, but when I want to cuddle on the couch with a blanket and feel all sorts of “Sunday morning” vibes, there is no better combination for this stovetop oatmeal than stewed cinnamon apples. Truly, my heaven. Perfect for a lazy weekend morning with a book or netflix, or as a pre-prepped breakfast for the office. No matter where you’re eating it, the comfort will commence.

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Avocado & Smoked Salmon Cucumber “Boats/Toasts”

The new GF breakfast option you didn’t know you needed

As a gluten-free gal, I am constantly missing what I call the “crunch factor”. For me, this one craving is what I find hardest to fulfill when not enjoying all things gluten and, interestingly enough, it is most commonly missed with my breakfasts (hence the reason why I typically turn to all things granola). Never the less, I find myself missing all the glorious toast combinations that fill my IG page and breakfasts of my past. Reminiscing over the delighted feeling that came over me when I discovered the idea of sweet potato toasts, I realized that there are plenty of other vegetables that can not only replace this bread base, but also pack some serious crunch. One of my favorite toast/bagel combinations of avocado, smoked salmon, and cucumber immediately came to mind. Then, ding went the lightbulb. Welcome to the world, cucumber boats (or toasts… unsure what we’re going with yet). This breakfast, or snack, provides all the things my morning self is searching for. Plus, slab on some cream cheese (of which my kitchen was not stocked with), and now you’re really talking. The cucumber boat/toast is your easel and you are Picasso! Get painting.

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Celery Pulp Pizza Crust

A Waste-Free Celery Juice Movement

By now, if you are following any type of wellness / healthy food Instagram or blog, or happen to be looking to purchase celery and realizing that every store is oddly sold out of the organic product, you are aware of the celery juice movement that has taken those looking to detoxify by storm. Curious why so many people are drinking celery juice first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and swearing by it? It would be wrong to follow that question with anything other than acknowledgement of the Medical Medium and his belief’s. But, if you’re curious why I’ve been doing it for ~2 years now, check out my youtube video (below) that includes a tutorial on how I make my juice, why I drink it, and the benefits I’ve seen. Once you’re all caught up on that and potentially try juicing yourself, you’ll notice one specific thing that drives me crazy: you are suddenly left with an abundance of celery pulp. So, in the no-food-goes-to-waste mentality that is my life, I decided I needed to create something with this new form of vegetable. Since cauliflower pizza crust took the world by storm in a similar celery-juice style movement last year, I was inspired to use this pulp in a similar fashion. Alas, I present you with a celery pulp pizza crust. Is this going to replace your late-night craving for good old NY style pizza? Hell. No. I’m not even going to try to say they are comparable so don’t go in with those expectations! Similarly to my take on zucchini noodles: this is not a replacement of one of your favorite foods, but a different meal all together. Throw out the comparison, not the pulp!

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Vegetable Chickpea Curry

The fix to all my curry cravings

I’m assuming it’s the colder temperatures and the desire to feel grounded, but lately I have been craving all things curry. I’m not talking a once and awhile type thing. It’s been almost a daily calling for the past few weeks; a craving that I am on a constant search to fulfill. With the constant dreams of a delicious curry flavored stew, I figured I am probably not alone and needed to create something for all of us to get our fix in. This delicious, vegetarian (gasp), vegetable chickpea curry is truly one of the easier meals on here to prep and reheat for lunches or dinners during the workweek. Not only does it take minimal work, but I’m a believer that these types of dishes are actually better when eaten as leftovers. Enjoy!

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Shredded Pork Tacos

Inspired by a Family Staple with some Hawaiian Flare

Shredded pork has always been a staple in my household. Typically, it is served straight out of a slow cooker or sandwiched in a thick slider bun. A friend recently texted me, “does your mom know she’s still going strong as the pulled pork influencer?”. I mean it; whenever there is a Linville celebration, there is always pulled pork. (True statement I couldn’t eat it for like a year after college since we had it 2X/week at every lacrosse game tailgate for 4 years). So, while this recipe is very different than my mom’s glorious and infamous pulled pork, she was my inspiration. In an effort to continuously switch up our taco game to keep the tradition alive and interesting, I am always looking for ideas for new combos. After my mom recently brought in a pot full of pulled pork for my sister’s holiday party, I knew exactly what direction I was going to take this week’s spread in. With the shredded pork decided as my star, I took a little inspiration from Hawaii and decided to go a tropical route. Turns out, things I love lead me to more things I love. Who would’ve thought!?

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Meat Lasagna (with Dairy & Gluten Free Substitutions)

Yes, it is possible!!!

The other day the craving for lasagna hit me like a freaking mack truck. Even though I haven’t had it in forever, I suddenly couldn’t think about anything but lasagna. This meant one simple thing: lasagna was going to be on the menu for dinner. As someone who is currently avoiding gluten and dairy, I noticed the challenge that was ahead of me. How the F do you make a lasagna that does not include the two primary ingredients? Oh, also, throw in the fact that I am intolerant to garlic and onion. Maybe there was a reason I hadn’t had it in forever… All of that aside, I decided it was time to create something delicious. I wanted a rib warming dinner on this snowy night and lasagna was the vehicle to do so. With some oh-so-sneaky ingredients, and things I never in a million years thought I would purchase (hello dairy free cheese, I’m talking to you), I made a freaking incredible allergen free lasagna. Trust me, I wouldn’t encourage you to be seen purchasing vegan cheese unless I meant it. This thing is freaking delicious. Lasagna, oh how I’ve missed you. Welcome back into my life, beautiful.

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Pistachio Golden Raisin Gluten Free & Vegan Biscotti

The Outcome of my Obsession with British Bake Off

So, I have something to admit… I am absolutely 110% obsessed with the Great British Bake-Off show. I mean, obsessed. I cannot and will not be stopped. As someone who doesn’t consider themselves a baker (way to scientific for me, I prefer the “art” of cooking aka I cannot follow instructions), I was surprised at how much I loved this show. But between the British accents, the un-American way the participants actually help each other during the competition, and the incredible cakes, pies, breads, cookies, etc. that are created, I am in awe. I recently was watching an episode where they were baking biscotti and it made me realize that it had been far too long since I had one of my favorite treats. Ever since adapting this gluten free diet, my love affair with biscotti had been but on the side burner. So, feeling ever so adventurous and strapped with the misbelief that I too was a “star baker” (British bake-off joke, if you don’t get it then I suggest you watch), I set out to create my own recipe. Shockingly, they turned out pretty freaking delicious. Maybe I have a third career!? Kidding. I know very well I do not. Back to the TV I go!

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