Category Archives: Dinner

Mediterranean Barley Stuffed Peppers

Hi friends!

How was your weekend? Did you celebrate St. Paddy’s Day? I was flying cross-country all day Friday on the actual holiday, but I had a chance to celebrate the Irish holiday yesterday with my parents. I’m in Jersey this week visiting family, and went to a winery yesterday with my parents that had a live Irish band playing. It made me want to be back in Ireland hanging out at pubs with my family!

So, let’s dive into the real topic at hand today: Mediterranean Barley Stuffed Peppers – an easy Meatless Monday dinner idea!

I’ve always been a fan of stuffed peppers, and for this recipe, I wanted to do something different in terms of grains. I usually will use brown rice for stuffed peppers, but this time I decided to try barley instead and loved it.

I like to make a nice sized pot of grains at the beginning of the week to use for a few different meals, so this time, I cooked up some barley and used some for this recipe, then some another night with veggie burgers and sautéed zucchini.

You can always swap out the barley for whatever other grain you feel like – such as farro, cous cous, or rice for a gluten free option.

These peppers take a Mediterranean twist with the inclusion of crumbled feta, red onion, artichoke hearts, avocado, red onion and portobello mushroom. I always love making meals Mediterranean-style because the ingredients commonly used in this type of fare are so healthy and flavorful!

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Healthier Fettuccine Alfredo with Spinach & Tomato

Hello strangers!

So, last week was probably the first full week that I did not post on this little corner of the internet of mine since I started this blog. Trust me, it wasn’t by choice!

I was pretty much in technology hell all week. My beloved computer had been running really slow, and I was troubleshooting and running back and forth to the Apple Store like my life depended on it – because well, it kind of does. I work on my computer every single day and depend on it as a publicist, blogger, freelance writer and health coach. So, you can imagine that I have a lot of stuff on this computer of mine!

To make a long story short, the good news is that my computer was salvaged and is now working fast. But what’s the bad news? Apple restored my computer without consulting me first, and wiped out many of my photos that I saved only on my computer + an external hard drive that randomly stopped working last week. And since my computer was running so poorly, I wasn’t able to successfully back up my photos. Believe me, I tried.

So yea, I’m majorly bummed about the photos being lost. I keep thinking of my travel photos, wedding shots, and captured family memories that I’ll probably never get to see again.

(Yes, my photos are now set up to automatically go to “the cloud” every day so that this never happens again.)

But on the bright side, I can recover some of them by looking at my past posts and social media, and saving them back one by one. Luckily I’ve posted a ton of photos on this blog of mine! And, I can resume working on my computer and it not take me 4x as long to do things. I know this sounds like such a first world problem, but with how much I rely on my Mac, the whole situation was very stressful. I’m thankful for yoga, baking and my bike trainer for keeping me sane when I wanted to rip my hair out!

So that’s that, but let’s get to the good stuff today… aka pasta.

Today’s recipe is one that I’ve been making for years. I first started making this dish after I had a craving for fettuccine alfredo, but when I ordered it out at a restaurant and ate half of the dish, I left feeling too full and kind of sick. That’s the thing about consistently eating healthy & light: When you eat heavier food once in awhile, your body does not like it! So, I did what any good food blogger would do: I came up with a lightened up recipe that leaves me feeling satisfied but not stuffed.

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Potato Black Bean Soup [vegan + gluten free]

Lately the weather in the San Diego area has been nuts. Rain, rain, and more rain for the past month! This is usually the “rainy” season – though I use that term loosely – but this has been more rain than I’ve seen in my 7+ years in California.

For the state, this is good news! California’s reservoirs are swelling for the first time in half a decade, and the drought we’ve been in for years might be over if Mother Nature keeps it up.

With all of the rain lately, a few things have been happening in my world.

For one, my dog has been super whiny and energetic. She literally does sprints around the house when it’s raining out, and cries at the door yet doesn’t want to go outside and get wet… not that I blame her, I’ve been missing our outdoor workouts too.

Secondly, my backyard has been getting a little out of control. A few of my trees were close to falling over last week due to flooded soil and strong winds, and we did our best to temporarily secure them. My pool looks like it may overflow with a few more big rain storms, and I have about an entire tree’s worth of leaves in there. There are also a ton of oranges that have fallen off my front yard tree and gotten smushed in my driveway. Now you guys know a few of the things on my to-do list to take care of this weekend! 

And third, I’ve been obsessed with eating soup. There’s nothing better on a chilly, rainy day than a big bowl of healthy, hearty soup with a hunk of fresh bread. Add a fire crackling + hit play on a good movie, and that’s my idea of a perfect night in.

I realized that I haven’t posted any soup recipes this winter yet, and knew that had to change this month.

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Cheesy Spinach & Pepper Twice Baked Potatoes [gluten free]

Hi friends!

Today I’ve got a veggie-packed Meatless Monday dinner recipe to share with you…

spinach-pepper-potatoes-2

But before I dive into today’s recipe, I wanted to first invite you guys to subscribe to my health coaching newsletter if you haven’t already! It’s a free newsletter that’ll be delivered straight to your inbox once every month or two, and it contains recipe and workout ideas, healthy living tips, health coaching offers and more. I’ll be sending a new one out later this week, so sign up for it below if you’re interested.

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Getting back to food, it’s been awhile since I’ve shared a savory recipe (beginning of August to be exact). I figured it was time for a new dinner recipe, and this is a good one!

cheesy-spinach-pepper-baked-potatoes

When it comes to healthy eating, something that I hear from people a lot is that they “don’t have time” to cook nourishing food. Going from junky convenience food to meal prepping and planning is certainly a big change, but it is so worth it when you think about how much you’re doing for your health.

Food is the way that we fuel our bodies every single day, meal after meal, and just what food you choose on a consistent basis can determine a lot of things: the way you feel, the way you look, your risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many other illnesses, and much more.

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Portobello Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto [vegan + gluten free]

One great thing about having a food blog is that when I want to look up a favorite recipe or get meal planning inspiration, I often can just look it up on my blog (+ lots of my favorite food blogs!). I tend to put recipes that I constantly make on the blog. After all, this is a place where I share my passion of cooking and baking with all of you lovely people.

Every now and then, I realize that there’s a longtime favorite meal that I’ve never posted on here. This happened recently when my husband requested asparagus & mushroom risotto for dinner… and when I tried to look up the recipe, I realized it was yet to be shared.

risotto-3

I first started making asparagus & portobello mushroom risotto when I found it in the Skinny Bitch cookbook probably a good 5 years ago.

At the time I was learning to cook more vegan meals, and had little idea what things like nutritional yeast and Earth Balance were. Skinny Bitch includes a couple of recipes that I’ve often made over the years.

risotto-1 copy

I’ve adapted the risotto to my taste over the years, and today I wanted to share my version of it with you!

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My Favorite Cabo Dinner: Hacienda Cocina y Cantina {Travel Review}

Hello, hello!

In recapping my recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, so far I’ve shared a post about our resort as well as our awesome sailboating excursion. Today’s post is the last trip recap I’m sharing, and it’s about one of my favorite travel topics (well let’s be real, one of my favorite topics in general): the food! 

Cabo Trip Recap

Traveling internationally as a vegetarian can definitely be a challenge – especially because I’m kind of particular in that I like my food fresh and healthy. I had been to Mexico a couple of times before, and what I expected in the cuisine was to have at least a few options everywhere I went. I mean, how hard is it to make dishes just full of veggies, avocado, tortillas, and cheese?

CABO sign

Unfortunately, eating was a bit tougher than I anticipated. Meat, meat and more meat was the name of culinary game in Cabo. I understand that the vast majority of people eat meat, but it was disappointing that most of the places we checked out had almost nothing for me to eat.

In foreign countries, I’m hesitant to custom order things without meat. A language barrier coupled with a general ignorance of vegetarianism has led to a lot of confusion in my travels. Some people take “not eating meat” as just not eating red meat. It’s hard for some to grasp the concept, and after explaining that I don’t want any meat of any kind, I’ve then been given chicken and fish dishes. In Cabo, I actually ordered a menu item that had two options: a pork option, or just beans and cheese. I chose the latter, but when I cut into it…. there was pork.

La Cantina de Los Deseos dinner

I don’t think it’s hard to cater to plant-based eaters, I think it’s just that people are not used to getting that request. Luckily our resort was accommodating to my dietary needs, and I never had a problem finding something to eat for the meals that we ate there.  On our first night in Cabo, we dined at a resort restaurant called Los Riscos Grill. While they didn’t have any entrees that suited me, they did offer a salad bar. I went to town and ate tons of veggies, and I was perfectly fine with that.

My ginormous salad for dinner at Los Riscos Grill

My ginormous salad for dinner at Los Riscos Grill

At their more upscale restaurant, La Trajinera, the chef made me my own dish for dinner one night. Although the waiter initially seemed very confused at my request (“So miss, you’re saying you would like no meat at all in your meal tonight?”) it turned out pretty well.

Hacienda Encantada dinner

The one day we had breakfast at the resort, I enjoyed fresh green juice and fruit with toast. And for afternoon eats, we either ordered guacamole (always a winner in my book!) or veggie sandwiches at the pool bar.

Hacienda Encantada green juice

While all of that was good, on our third night in Cabo, I was itching for a really great dinner in town. I might be a healthy, picky, vegetarian foodie, but I’m still a foodie who adores a wonderful meal, especially when traveling. Beforehand, I had reached out to someone I know that often visits Cabo who had given me a few recommendations, and one of the places she mentioned was Hacienda Cocina y Cantina.

Hacienda Cocina-1

Located in the absolutely beautiful and posh Hacienda Beach Club resort, I immediately loved this restaurant. It offers a spectacular view of the marina and a perfect background of the Arch of Cabo.

Hacienda Cocina view

The resort is located downtown, but it’s a bit off of the riffraff of the main strip. We actually had a bit of a hard time finding it at first, but I’m so glad we wound up making it there because it turned out to be my favorite dinner of the trip!

Hacienda Cocina view-3

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Portobello & Red Potato Arugula Pesto Grilled Naan Pizza [vegan]

Hi there!

How has the weather been by you guys? For much of May and the start of June, we saw a lot of San Diego’s notorious gloomy weather – we refer to it as May grey, June gloom (but no, I’m not complaining!) – but this week, we’ve been getting lots of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s.

Cloudy skies sunset-5.13.16

Cloudy sunset skies one evening last month

This weekend we’re supposed to hit 90 degrees for the first time this year… which means I’ll probably be having a pool and/or beach day. Time to cut up the watermelon & blow up my new pool float!

One thing I love to do during these late sunset days of spring and summer is eat dinner in my backyard. There’s something so relaxing about taking a few moments to decompress, take in the fresh, cooler air moving in for the night, and eat dinner with my hubby as we catch up about our days and watch our pup run around.

arugula pesto naan pizza-3

Naturally, we grill a lot in the summertime. We like to make all kinds of veggies and veggie burgers on the grill… and lately, I’ve been all about grilling pizza.

naan pizza ingredients

Sometimes I buy a ball of dough, roll it out, and grill it, or here and there I get all Suzy Homemaker and actually make the dough… but lately, I’ve been using naan flatbreads to make individual pizzas on the grill.

naan flatbreads

Naan is an oven-baked flatbread that originated in Asia. They’re perfect for built-in portion control when making pizza!

Note: While traditional naan contains yogurt and/or butter, you can find brands that make them vegan – including La Brea Bakery.

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White Broccoli Pizza Pockets

It’s Friday! This calls for a celebration in the form of a pizza party….
pizza pockets-3

….a pizza pocket party that is! Pizza pockets are like a cross between a slice of pizza and a calzone… except calzones are known to be humongous, and pockets have perfect built-in portion control. These guys are also more neat & tidy to bring to work as leftovers than pizza.

First, we take a precooked whole wheat pizza dough to rest on the counter coated in some flour. You can be an overachiever and make your own dough, but truth be told, I most often take the easy route and buy dough from the farmers’ market or my local grocer. pizza dough

Next, we chop and sauté some garlic, onion and broccoli. Once cooked, we combine the veggies with the mozz and ricotta cheeses, then add in some salt, pepper and lemon zest. The lemon is optional, but I find it to be a fun little unexpected flavor twist.

After rolling the dough out into six thin circles, we spoon the broccoli/cheese mixture evenly onto the center of each one.

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Ending a Fabulous Day with Outdoor Vino’s Rambling Red [Wine Review]

Saturday was a close to perfect day for me, full of some of my favorite things – including yoga, good food, the beach & wine.

Outdoor Vino Rambling Red Wine-4

More specifically, my morning began with a live music rock ‘n roll yoga class at Black Sheep Yoga. While it wasn’t a gentle practice and some parts really challenged my sore muscles, it was just what my body needed after doing high intensity workouts all week. Got to love kicking off the weekend with some invigorating yoga!

FitSnap-Yoga class

Next up, my friend Tiffany, who had joined me in class, also joined me for a trip to a nearby farmers’ market. We strolled around, tasted some fruit, and picked up some local produce and other eats (raw sage honey!) to take home.

Afterwards, I headed back home to take my dog for a walk and shower. My hubby got home from what he was doing around then, and we settled in the living room to watch golf and nap. I don’t nap often, but every now and then, it’s exactly what my body needs. It was glorious!

My favorite nearby hiking & walking spot

My favorite nearby hiking & walking spot

When I woke up from my siesta, I spent some time in the kitchen. I loosely followed this recipe for chocolate chip cookies (Thanks, Sarah!), and created and photographed a granola recipe (to come on the blog soon!).

blueberry almond granola

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Mediterranean Wedge Salad with Chickpea Vinaigrette

Ever heard of the phrase, “If you’re bored then you’re boring”?

For some reason I was thinking about this the other day in the context of food as I was photo editing this recipe. If you eat the same foods day in and day out and are just kind of blah about your meals, you’re most definitely a boring eater. And you’re probably bored with your diet.

Let’s talk about salads in this context. Numerous people have said to me, “I can’t eat a lot of salads because they just get boring.”
Wedge Salad-3
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