The Perfect Easter Meal

Whole rack of lamb, vegetable quinoa medley, and a kale salad

I’m a big fan of lamb no matter the day, but I specifically love that Easter provides a tradition, for many families, to roast a whole rack. Now, while this dish is, and always will be, the star of this meal, you can’t forget to dress it up with some delicious sides. While I was creating this recipe I realized that, about five years ago, Freckled Foodie was truly born on Easter weekend. My mother was traveling somewhere and we had somehow become responsible for hosting over 10 people for an Easter lunch. Instead of cancelling on everyone, I, not quite knowing what I was doing yet, decided to step in and run with the task at hand. That Easter was the first time I confidently prepared a meal for a large group of people; proving to myself that I was not only able to, but also that I loved it. This meal is the prime example of a pretty effortless and healthy Easter spread that will impress your guests, taste delicious, and not break the bank. With the lamb being the center of attention, you are able to pair it with some delicious, yet affordable and quick, sides. If you’re in charge of cooking, here is your answer!

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Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Banana Skillet Cake

My dream dessert

Like most people, one of my favorite food combinations is banana, chocolate, and almond butter. Truly, is there anything better? I’m always looking to get my fix in somehow and majority of the time that method is through dessert. As a lover of all things cake, this recipe seems like a no-brainer, so I am quite confused how it took me this long to create something like this. Nonetheless, I am excited to have this recipe in my back pocket for any dinner party to come. It is so easy to throw together and is the perfect dessert to toss in the oven while your crowd is enjoying dinner. Not only does it cook itself, but it leaves your apartment smelling like a delicious ball of heaven.

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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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Whole Roasted Chicken & Root Vegetables

The true definition of “home cooking”

People often ask me, “what is your favorite dish to make?”. As someone who know cooks at an extremely frequent rate, that is an extremely difficult choice to make. How the heck can I choose just one dish!? After spending some time debating and reassessing all of my favorite foods, there is one meal that I always come back to: whole roasted chicken with root vegetables. There is something so comforting, loving, and warming about this dish. To me, it feels like home, so it is the perfect way to welcome people in to mine. When I was making this dish for a Sunday night dinner in a few weeks ago, I was shocked to see I hadn’t posted a recipe on my site yet. How can I claim this is my favorite thing to make if I haven’t shared it with all of you yet!? Here is to hoping that you too enjoy this meal as much as I do and that it not only fills your home with delicious scents that I can only label as “cooking”, but also warms your soul.

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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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