Whenever I feel I haven’t spent ample time in my kitchen and just miss the warm welcoming flavors of a home cooked meal, this is what I whip up nine times out of ten. Whether it be a weeknight dinner or a lunch for guests staying with us over the weekend, it always hits the spot. Most likely because it includes just about all of my favorite foods, but also because it is such a comforting hearty meal that you forget how healthy it really is. No matter the reason, I will always crave it.
my Halloween inspired dinner
Since I was away majority of October, I feel like I missed out on not only all of the pumpkin flavored food, but also the hype surrounding Halloween. (True story, I didn’t really realize it was Halloween today until midway through the afternoon when I saw a kid in a costume while running an errand). So, safe to say, I am not a big Halloween gal in this stage of my life. That being said, I wanted to celebrate somehow – in addition to contradicting my food beliefs and handing out classic Snickers and M&M like candy to little kids. Obviously, my celebrating turned into creating a new recipe for dinner. Along with my desire to make a dish that featured pumpkin and the color orange, I also have felt this deep anger towards the fact that I haven’t been able to get my hands on any of the Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi since it was released (what feels like years ago). Combining all of these random thoughts I had during my yoga class this morning, it came to me: I was going to make my own god damn gnocchi for dinner and you better believe it was going to be orange! Hello, my favorite vegetable, sweet potato to the rescue. Not only did I feel really freaking important and chef-like while making this dinner, because I hate to admit I’ve never made homemade pasta before (sorry!), but it is also absolutely delicious. Fall flavored, cozy, rib warming, I want to take a nap in this bowl, kind of dinner. I’ll let you see for yourself! Plus, not like I follow all of these, but I’m just going to through it out there: this meal is vegan, gluten and dairy free, paleo, and Whole30 compliant…
The “I don’t feel like cooking or cleaning” dinner
As you know by now, I am all about easy, quick, healthy, and delicious dinners. When I was working in the corporate world and would get home after a day spent in the office, laboring over a dinner and then cleaning (what felt like a thousand) dishes was the last thing I wanted to do. While I no longer feel that way, I am here to help you. So, what is better than a dinner that only dirties one dish in the cooking process? I’d say just about nothing. But, to make this beauty even more incredible, she is filled with flavor and one of the lighter meals I’ve ever felt truly satisfied and full from. A triple win and your new go-to “I just got home from work but am having some girlfriends over from dinner and would rather eat McDonalds than have to spend time cooking in the kitchen” meal.
Once the sun begins to shine and it is officially summer, it is as if my body has a trigger response to immediately crave every dessert in site. So, in an attempt to not eat twenty pints of ice cream or store-bought cookies, I make an effort to personally cook the desserts I’m eating to try and fill them with healthier options than many purchased baked goods. These double chocolate chip muffins not only fill that post-dinner craving, but they free of a lot of ingredients that make up most of our desserts (i.e. gluten, dairy, and processed sugar). Behold, my new best friend. And also, my freezer’s newest tenant, because you better believe I have a couple batches of these in there for future night caps!
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A delicious breakfast on the go!
You all know by now that banana and almond butter is one of my all-time favorite combinations; something I am constantly looking to include in recipes as a vehicle for this delicious flavor bomb. As someone who also loves baked goods, but hates dealing with the “are these gluten free?” question and time spent trying to figure out what sugars have been added into them, I’ve pretty much cut them out of my breakfast routine. Instead of deciphering whether or not the local coffee shop is serving basically cake and calling it a breakfast muffin, I decided to get to my kitchen and make my own. These babies are gluten and dairy free and are only sweetened with a bit of maple syrup. They also can be made vegan by using a flax egg (don’t hate on this method til you try it!). My favorite way to enjoy them: nice and warm, cut in half, and filled with a layer of almond butter and some extra banana. BAM!
Your new go-to week day breakfast
One of my breakfast staples as of late, chia pudding. Honestly, it is one of the cheapest, quickest, and most versatile breakfasts out there. During the summer we are all jam-packed with incredibly fun weekends that not only pay a toll on our bodies, but also leave us with minimal time to prep. I’m not saying change your schedule; hell, load on more fun. But, at the same time, don’t let that excuse get in the way of you enjoying a healthy breakfast.
Innovative Gluten Free Breakfast
Sure, there are some good gluten free toasts out there, but let’s be honest, some are pretty disappointing. As a sweet potato addict (seriously, I think I have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner), I am always looking to find ways to include them in all of my meals. So, when I was at my parent’s house sans any good GF bread to toast for breakfast, in went the sweet potato slabs. Holy moly was I pleasantly surprised. Beginning to wonder what other life hacks I am missing out on…
Believe it or not, this was one of the first meals I cooked after my concussion. This whole roasted cauliflower, which is inspired by one of my favorite restaurants in NYC (ABCV), has been on my “recipe to-do list” for an incredibly long time. I was sitting on my couch with my mom when she mentioned her and my dad were going to stay over for dinner followed by her asking, “what should we order in?” As someone who loves to cook for those I love, and have always promised my dad for a home cooked meal after work one day before his commute home, I finally had the opportunity at my fingertips. It was finally time to cook my parents a delicious and impressive meal in my own kitchen. Although I had just suffered a pretty serious concussion and was still unable to turn on majority of the lights in my apartment, which also showed me how magnificently calming a dimly lit home can be, cooking was the one thing I was most definitely capable of.
Guaranteed easiest clean up
We have a general rule in our apartment that if one person cooks, the other cleans. Since I typically am doing the former, Joe is often times the person manning the sink after we finish up our meal. With the constant flow of recipe testing that goes down in our kitchen, I am often questioned how it is possible that I dirtied so many dishes. If you have ever tried to create a recipe, or you are like me and decide to somehow use every bowl, plate, or fork in your cabinets, you get what a shitshow your kitchen can look like after the fact. In order to avoid this situation, and really just make Joe a happier human, I started creating “one sheet pan” dinners. The main requirement of these meals: once done cooking, the only dirty dish (other than those you ate on) is the baking sheet. These recipes are proving to be delicious and, not surprisingly, incredibly easy. I now know what Joe is going to request for every dinner from here on out…
The foolproof way of eating cake for breakfast
I’m back on my muffin kick and I’m not mad about it! Every Easter (and now somehow almost every holiday) I am responsible for one thing in my family’s household: carrot cake. Each year I’ve slowly evolved it into a healthier and healthier version without anyone noticing a difference in taste. In fact, each year my sister becomes more and more obsessed. Since my family will be traveling for the first time on this year’s Easter, I needed to find a way to make this carrot cake breakfast approved so that my family (aka sister) could enjoy her favorite creation of mine throughout the week. My solution: carrot cake muffins. Oh yea, that just happen to be vegan, gluten/grain/dairy free, sweetened only by maple syrup, and BOMB DOT COM.