Jan
05

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As you may know (or perhaps you don’t), I don’t eat beef. It’s actually a little weird to think about since growing up I was in love with cheeseburger happy meals from McDonald’s. My dad loved a good burger too, topped high with condiments and every fixin’ in the refrigerator. Burgers were essential year round in our house, yet during my high school years I converted to turkey burgers, and then throughout college veggie burgers filled my plate.

 

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Now there is no question that the tastes and textures between the three of them are completely different—juicy beef burgers, moist turkey burgers, and unbelievable flavored hearty vegetarian burgers. I actually prefer the satisfying flavor from veggies burgers — beans, fresh herbs, spices, and a delicious texture just can’t be surpassed.

Yesterday I was craving one of those veggie burgers made with good-for-you ingredients. Since I’m an Alexia Tastemaker, and have the honor of developing delicious recipes using Alexia products, I wanted to incorporate their new sweet potato rolls I knew they would be perfect with my veggie burgers, especially since they have sweet potatoes in them. Yum!

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Jan
02

Welcome to 2013! I hope you had a blast ringing in the New Year. I know I did!

Now that it’s January, I realize that most of us are now on some fitness or health mission. I really haven’t made any resolutions, other than to never let myself miss out on an experience that I find interesting or challenging. However, I do think that it’s finally time for me to get back into the swing of things health-wise. Today I finally made it to yoga after being sick for the past week; it felt wonderful to just be there. I’m also making an effort to get rid of all of the junk I ate last month — ugh, like enough with the cookies already! Yep, I just said that.

Even if I’m eating healthier, I just can’t find a reason why I would give up eating Mexican food. Why torture myself? We all know how that would end up — me with a plateful of nachos, a giant margarita, and a whole lot of guilt. Who gives up the things they love the most? Not this girl.

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Dec
12

I was just thinking about how much has changed this past year. I mean isn’t it a bit exhilarating how fast life happens? We’re learning tough truths, letting go of the things that are out of our control, and heck, we’re growing and changing!

Last year I was working on the east coast.  I barely had any time to blog and was struggling with what I wanted to do with my life. I referred to it as my early quarter life crisis. It was like when Felicity had to choose Ben or Noah, and decided to become an artist (seriously, go buy all the seasons of Felicity). Anyway, it wasn’t until I was completely lost did I discover my passion that I absolutely had to pursue. It was so obvious at that point: food is the recipe to my heart and happiness! I love creating it, photographing it, and eating it.

I know I talk a lot about following your dreams and living your passion, but that’s because I completely believe in it! Helping you, whether it’s in your kitchen or in your life is essentially apart of my success.

Today’s success comes in the form of soup. A soup that I’m completely in love with. Of course, I’m in love with a lot of things, but simple soup fills me up with contentment. Adding crispy lime and salt studded corn tortilla chips on top just makes it that much better.

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Dec
05

During my younger years, my Mom used to bring me along to grocery store while she went shopping. I was always excited to go on these weekly trips because I knew she would buy me the crispy wedge fries from the Deli counter. They were incredibly delicious and basically everything you need in your life at the age of four. Especially when you’ve got ketchup to dip them in.

I specifically remember the fries having this incredible crunchy golden brown coating on the outside with a hint of spice. But the inside? Pure bliss. An incredibly soft texture that I still remember to this day. We called them Joe-Joes; I’m still not really sure why.

Anyway there I’d be sitting and snacking delightfully on my little bag of Joe-Joes with a little (or A LOT) of ketchup all over my hands and face. I was probably grinning ear to ear.

Is it wrong that I kind of want to do that again? Probably. Well because adults don’t sit in shopping carts, nor do they have messy faces or hands.

Growing up is tough guys… especially when you grow out of eating joe-joes. However, I’ve realized that fries can be so much better with flavor combinations that could fill up an entire book and dipping sauces that are completely creative.

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Nov
29

Soup is one of my favorite things during the cold winter months. I literally dream about the days where I can sit with a good book, a cup of soup, and a slice of crusty bread to soak up  all that warm comfort left on the bottom of my bowl.

And of course in between eating pie for breakfast (there were leftovers!) and shoveling Christmas cookies in my mouth; my soul craves soup. Perhaps because it’s the only thing that isn’t made up of purely sugar and butter. Goodness, my body needs a break from that. And this soup? Well, it leaves me full, warm, and richly satisfied.

The butternut squash is roasted in the oven to bring out it’s natural sweetness. Meanwhile the apples, carrots and onions are sauteed with a bit of cinnamon. Lastly the maple and milk are added. The soup is easily pureed into a fairly thick and creamy delight which ends up being quite delicious paired with croutons, or a warm crusty bread for dipping.

It’s really quite perfect in between those overindulgent family get-togethers, cookies exchanges, and peppermint lattes.
Enjoy!

Nov
08

I was planning on giving you a recipe for hummus today, but after making these brownies I knew that I had to share them with you immediately! In fact after I ate half of the pan for dinner, I’m quite certain that these brownies are some of the best I’ve ever had.

I don’t even feel guilty about getting chocolate wasted with these bad boys.

I had heard about black bean brownies before, so I’ve been experimenting for a few weeks with various recipes and came up with this to surprise and delight you.

After baking these, I stood there smiling with chocolate all over my face because I had finally perfected a recipe for fudgy healthy brownies that taste AMAZING. Yeah, okay I know you’re doubting me right now. You might even think I’m super weird (which I totally am).

But can you just trust me on this one?

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Nov
02

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I always look forward to it, even if it’s just a bowl of cereal or a slice of peanut butter toast.  But the best breakfast? Pancakes. Obviously.

When I was little my Dad used to make me his famous pancakes; they were the size of a skillet pan, thin, and yet incredibly fluffy. I remember drenching them with rich maple syrup and devouring it in pure bliss. Every single bite would melt in my mouth. I loved waking up to those.

These days I eat breakfast for dinner about twice a week because really, who wouldn’t want to end their day with pancakes? Plus, I love to having fun with flavor combinations! Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa. Lemon Blueberry. Blueberry Chocolate Chip. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip. And now these.

Yeahhh pancakes… I’m just a teeny bit obsessed. 

Since I’m trying to eat healthy while still enjoying my favorite breakfast, I’d thought that I would create a pancake recipe that’s tastes just like banana bread… because in case you hadn’t noticed, smashing bananas in baked goods is kinda my jam.

And besides putting hearty amounts of love into this recipe, I wanted these to be good for you, without sacrificing that amazing pancake taste.

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Oct
30

There are certain things that we all take for granted. We easily forget how blessed we are to have caring people in our lives, to have good food on our plates, and to have opportunities in our future. Little things like a simple conversation with a friend or an embrace with a loved one may seem to always be there. We go through our day to day motions of buying overpriced cappuccinos and putting gas in our cars without a thought. We hardly ever think about how privileged we truly are.

There are days when we even take ourselves for granted. We forget what we love to do, those passions we all have, and get lost in the big world for a moment or two. Often, we put our dreams aside because we’re afraid to fail. We forget to say I love you to those who matter. And sometimes, we just forget to be ourselves. Our pursuit of happiness gets buried somewhere.

And so before we talk about super amazing things with bacon and maple syrup, I thought I’d write you a little inspirational post about how awesome you truly are. Because I think sometimes we all need a little reminder about the things we should never forget.

Never forget you’re beautiful and unique. You aren’t like anyone else on the planet, so don’t even try to be normal. Always, always be yourself. Embrace your quirks and weirdness. Be who you are and then you will find what you want.

Never forget to believe in yourself and those around you. This is life. We’re all just getting along on our journey; figuring it out and taking those uphill battles one day at a time. In some way, we’re all struggling, so offer compassion to those around you. Be encouraging to both yourself and others. Projecting kindness never feels bad.

Never forget to follow your dreams. Don’t be afraid of failure, because it leads to success. Having a passion is daring, but it makes you inspiring and remarkable. Remember that part of life is pursuing a happiness. Forget what others think or say, go after what’s in your heart. Life is short and moments are always passing.

Never settle. On love or in life. You deserve something amazing because you are amazing.

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Oct
25

Random cravings. I get them all the time. In fact, I go through these weird phases where I’ll eat the same thing for a month straight. Does that ever happen to you?

Throughout August I was in love with frozen yogurt topped with cacao nibs and those frosted animal crackers (pink ones, obviously). I also couldn’t get enough of this amazing honey crusted tilapia that I dreamt up and fed to my roommates. During the month of September I found myself digging into the Nutella jar, pouring Tabasco smoked chipotle sauce on everything, eating sushi whenever possible, and chowing down on pancakes every morning.

Now that it’s October, I’ve been obsessing over Trader Joe’s sprouted 7-grain bread (topped with roasted garlic hummus… OMG!), pumpkin muffins, greek yogurt with pumpkin butter, and of course, my favorite little grain: quinoa!

From pancakes to stir-frys, quinoa is a great gluten-free grain to throw into recipes. It’s full of protein and fiber, packs a delicious nutty flavor, and expands as it cooks — meaning that it will take on the flavor of the liquid you cook it in.

Another thing that’s wonderful? Quinoa cooks in only 15 minutes, which makes it perfect to store in the fridge and add to your weeknight dinner menu or toss in your lunch. Of course, making sure you know how to properly cook quinoa will make your meals that much better. Thus, I’ve created a photo collage with steps below to assist you in your quinoa cooking.

Oh, and I’ve also linked to some of my best quinoa recipes that you absolutely need to try! Ready?

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Oct
08

Happy Monday!

I thought it would be fun to start off the week with 10 random things. Ready?

1. You should rent the movie The Lucky One. I watched it this past weekend and decided that the plot was weird but that Zac Efron is probably one of the most good looking human beings on the planet and totally worth staring at for 1.5 hours. Do it.

2. WHAT THE FREAKING DELICIOUS… Hasselback sweet potatoes with oatmeal cookie crumble? I need to eat these every day for breakfast. Or dessert. I haven’t decided yet; all I know is that it was love at first sight.

3. Trader Joe’s makes Nonfat Pumpkin Greek Yogurt. It’s like a drug, so plan accordingly. Swirl that in your oatmeal in the morning, dip a pita chip in it, or put it in a smoothie. Addictive. Like really freaking addictive.

4. The 32 Best Things About Being an Adult. I can’t decide what my favorite one is. But probably unlimited access to Toaster Strudel? Yes, definitely.

5. Apparently Monica Lewinsky is writing a book. I really think it’ll be up for a Pulitzer Prize, don’t you?

6. Lemon poppyseed pancakes. Put that on your brunch list asap. With blueberry syrup of course.

7. Here’s a 100 calorie guide to your favorite Halloween candy. A bit depressing yet also very helpful as I think one year I ate like 10 mini Reese’s because they were… well, mini?

8. Check out A Cup of Jo; it’s a women’s lifestyle blog that I’ve fallen in love with. (Hint: you might see a recipe of mine over there if you dig around!)

9. Stay weird.

10. October is National Chili month. Let’s celebrate by eating this chili! It’s vegetarian, hearty, and amazing with a smoked chipotle greek yogurt sauce. Extra points if you serve it with cornbread.

 

I ate this chili all weekend. At first it’s slightly sweet, but has a tiny bit of kick from the chipotle tabasco sauce (a must have condiment in my opinion). It’s also full of a medley of spices including tumeric, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg. Ugh it was everything I wanted: sweet, savory, and perfect for a chilly fall day.

I swear you’ll fall in love with it. And it’s hearty enough to last you a couple of days. Or if you prefer, you can freeze half of it and take it out later during the winter when you need a big bowl of comfort.

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