Tag Archives: healthy recipes

The Best of 2016: Favorite Recipes, Workouts, Adventures & More

Happy New Year!

happy-2017

I hope that 2017 is off to a great start for you. I’m back in California after a week and a half on the east coast for holiday vacation, and ready to see what wonderful things this year has in store for me. Since I love to reflect on the positives of the year at the start of a new one, today we’re looking back at my 2016 favorites!

Recipes. When I think about favorite recipe posts, what pops into my mind are the recipes that I shared with loved ones, made numerous times and couldn’t get enough of! My top 5 recipes of 2016 that were popular on the blog are…

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Mini Pretzel Twists with Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce. I had a thing for soft pretzels in 2016! 

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Mediterranean Feta & Lemon Hummus Dip. After creating this dip for a health coaching event, I made it several more times throughout the year. I love Mediterranean ingredients like artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes & feta cheese! 

Moving onto the sweeter side of things, these were my favorite healthy snacks/desserts of the year (all vegan + gluten free!):

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Brown Rice Crispy Squares. I like to think of these as a more wholesome, adult version of those blue wrapper rice crispy treats we’re all familiar with!  

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No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cookies. Because the chocolate + peanut butter combo has my heart every year. 

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Peppermint Chocolate Chip Snack Bites. I‘ve been obsessed with all things peppermint this winter! 

Travel. I got to do some awesome traveling in 2016! Here are my favorite adventures of the year:

cliffs-of-moher

Visiting Ireland was definitely a check off of my bucket list, and it also marked the first time that I ever spent time in Europe with my family. I met them in Ireland and got to experience the country with my parents, sister, grandma, aunts, uncle, cousin, and brother during the whirlwind trip. I had the chance to visit the Cliffs of Moher, experience some awesome Irish pub nights, and ate lots of yummy vegetarian food.

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Italian Spaghetti Squash Casserole {gf}

Hi friends! How was your weekend?

Highlights of my days off were visiting Temecula wine country with my cousin on Saturday, who visited for the afternoon to spend some time with me…

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…and watching the NY Giants beat the Philadelphia Eagles (good for this Giants fan, and much to the dismay of my Eagles’ fan husband) + practicing some yoga on the beach on Sunday.

And I’m feeling very antsy about tomorrow’s election. During this election season, I thought I’d do a post about where each candidate stands when it comes to women’s + health issues, but it became so glaringly obvious to me which one should become president and which one is idiotic beyond belief, I decided there was little need to write that type of post.

It probably isn’t hard to guess which side I’m on in this bipartisan craziness we call the 2016 presidential race. After all, I’m an environmentally conscious woman living in California who strongly supports women’s and social rights, plus having people become president who actually have prior political experience.

In my little corner of the internet, I’d be remiss to not at least urge any of you who are on the fence with your vote to go with the person who actually believes in climate change; who has the temperament and patience of a professional, who does not feel the need to tweet nonsense at 3 AM; who has actually made positive differences in people’s lives throughout the course of their long career in public service; and who is extremely knowledgeable on many complex political topics without acting like an egotistical know-it-all.

For the love of America, don’t sit out just because you aren’t crazy about her. Get out there and vote! 

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That’s my two cents on the matter. Now onto the main topic of the day: a recipe that I’ve made more times than I can count!

spaghetti-squash-casserole

This spaghetti squash casserole is a favorite in my house. In fact, it’s one of my hubby’s top meal requests, and last weekend I made it for dinner one night to celebrate him finishing another one of his classes for his MBA with an A.

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Cinnamon Chai Banana Protein Shake {vegan, gf}

Being such an active person, one thing I’m constantly paying attention to is my nutrition. Food is the fuel that gives me energy for all of the hikes & bike rides I go on, strength training and yoga sessions I power through, daily long walks with my dog, and the list goes on & on!

My evening workout yesterday = a strength training workout + laps in the pool

My evening workout yesterday = a strength training workout + laps in the pool

Plant-based diets tend to be carb-heavy, and while eating complex carbohydrates is a very necessary part of fueling my healthy lifestyle, one thing I focus on is eating enough protein. Otherwise, I could just easily eat a big bowl of fruit for breakfast, a pb & banana sandwich for lunch, an apple and granola bar for snacks, and rice & veggies for dinner. Is that a healthy day of eating? Sure, but that doesn’t give me enough protein to properly refuel my muscles with all of the working out that I do.

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This is where things like protein powder and protein bars come in handy for me. There are plenty of those products on the market that contain lots of long ingredient lists and too much sugar, but I aim for the ones that are whole-foods based with real ingredients I’m familiar with. One type of protein powder that I’ve recently been using is Bob’s Red Mill Protein Powder Nutritional Boosters.

Bob's Red Mill protein powder package

I’ve been a longtime fan of Bob’s Red Mill products (they make 400+ of them!), and have used their ground flaxseed and flours for years. I was excited when they recently rolled out a protein powder line, and even more excited to work with them and try out all of their protein powder flavors.

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Bob’s Red Mill Protein Nutritional Booster line is made with a unique blend of pea protein powder, chicory root fiber, psyllium husk powder (great for digestion!), chia seeds and probiotics. The protein powders are vegan, gluten free, soy-free, sweetened with monk fruit, and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, iron and fiber… so pretty much everything I look for in a protein powder!

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Chunky Monkey Protein Bites [vegan, gf]

It’s Friday, and I feel like this Friday calls for a chocolatey recipe! Shall we dive into it?
Chunky Monkey Bites

I’ve often mentioned my love for on-the-go snacks on the blog. Even though I work from home most of the time, I seem to always be eating in my car bouncing around from place to place. I have the protein bar and smoothie stains on the seat of my car to prove it. Whoops. 

Chunky Monkey Protein Bites-3

I often whip up some type of bars or balls to have as snack options throughout the week, and today I have a new one to share that I’m loving: Chunky Monkey Protein Bites.   Chunky Monkey Protein Bites-1

We’ve got some rolled oats, chocolate protein powder, cocoa powder, and hemp hearts as our base. These ingredients get thrown into the food processor with some smooth peanut butter, maple syrup, and banana to hold them together well.

chunky monkey bites-batter

Pulse until it forms a dough, roll into balls, and they’re ready to go!

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Mediterranean Freekeh Salad + Giveaway

You know how people sometimes say that the little things are the big things? Well I’m a big believer that little things can make a huge difference when it comes to recipes.

Freekah salad

Take garlic for instance: Use too much of it and it totally kills the dish for me (and the entire 24 hours afterwards when I’m burping up garlic!), don’t use any and it might taste like it’s missing something. Another good example is herbs: Using fresh ones can make all the difference in the world, and you don’t even need to use a lot to make it pop in a dish, because herbs are fragrant and awesome in tiny quantities.

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My garden bed of herbs

Two of my favorite herbs are basil and mint. I use basil all the time because it’s fabulous in so many dishes, and mint is great for an extra flavor oomph when paired with the right ingredients.

The dish that I’m sharing today exemplifies just what I mean about the little things going a long way in recipes: a drizzle of high-quality olive oil, a bit of fresh lemon juice, just enough salt and pepper, and just a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint to give this salad lots of flavor.    
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When Fit Approach partnered with Freekeh Foods to collaborate with some bloggers like myself to come up with recipes incorporating freekeh, I was interested because I had never even heard of freekeh before. 

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Last weekend I put my creative food blogger hat on to cook freekeh for the first time and come up with a fun dish, which wound up being a healthy recipe with a Mediterranean flair: 

Mediterranean Freekeh Salad

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Protein Pops

Happy Wednesday friends!

I’m really excited because I’m leaving for the east coast tomorrow! I can’t wait to see my family and friends and enjoy some vacation time in my home state of New Jersey. I’m a little crazy this week trying to wrap up so many full-time work and freelance things, take care of house stuff before I leave, as well as get some blog posts set up for next week. I usually don’t schedule blog posts ahead of time, but next week I’m going to really try to take a break from my computer for a change. I’m going to be so busy hopping all over the state visiting everyone that I wouldn’t have much time for it anyways…but I’ll let you know how it goes!

Any who, onto today’s topic: ice pops!
Choc PB banana pops

One of the most common questions I hear when people find out I’m a vegetarian is, “Where do you get your protein from?” Despite common misconceptions, there is protein in lots of foods besides meat, poultry, and fish, and I make sure to get enough protein to feed my muscles – especially since I lead such an active lifestyle. One of the ways that I supplement my protein intake is to have a protein bar or protein smoothie on most days, and I also make sure to eat snacks that are a nice protein source – like a yogurt or a protein packed ice pop.
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At 90 calories and 8 grams of protein each, these little chocolate peanut butter banana pops make for a sweet little snack.

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The pops are made with just 5 ingredients, and I whipped them up as part of Almond Breeze‘s “Easy as Breeze” campaign to create summery recipes with few ingredients.

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Zoodles with Basil Cherry Tomato Sauce, Pine Nuts & Lemon Zest

Hi there!

Happy 4th of July weekend to all of my fellow Americans! I am certainly looking forward to a 3-day holiday weekend. Whose got fun plans for the 4th? I’ve got a beach yoga class and hanging out at a friend’s house on the agenda, and I’m hoping to catch some fireworks on Saturday night.

Today I’m sharing a new recipe that will probably become a go-to dinner in my kitchen. Packed with veggies and flavor, it’s a healthy meal that revolves around my recent favorite kitchen gadget: my spiralizer!
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I’ve seriously been a spiralizing maniac. My hubby and I have eaten zoodles so often in the last few months, he’s started joking around and putting the letter ‘z’ in words where it shouldn’t be.

For instance, we started saying ‘zauce’ instead of tomato sauce.

He told me I created a ‘zess’ after I made quite a mess making this meal. Get it, a zoodle mess?!

We also said I should start calling it a ‘zoodlizer’ instead of spiralizer because I have only been putting zucchini in my new favorite gadget lately. Note to self: Branch out and get more creative with my spiralizing ASAP. 

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But for right now, zoodles are my love. Speaking of things I love, a flavorful tomato sauce is on my list of things I’m forever obsessed with. I like to make my tomato sauce zoodle dishes really saucy so that I can dip pieces of fresh bread in, but you can conserve some of the tomato sauce for another occasion if you aren’t quite as obsessed with it as I am (no hard feelings).

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Red, White & Blue Pancakes [Vegan & Gluten Free]

Does anyone else feel like the month of June just flew by?!

I can’t believe that the 4th of July is already coming up at the end of this week! To celebrate Independence Day and get into a festive spirit, I came up with a red, white & blue recipe of one of my favorite meals… pancakes!

July 4th pancakes

I haven’t posted a pancake recipe in awhile, and trust me when I tell you that this one is deeeelicious. I’ve seen red, white & blue pancake commercials around for chain restaurants lately, and had the itch to come up with my own homemade version that’s gluten free, vegan, healthy and light.

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Apple Blueberry Oatmeal Ramekin Crisps

Like any good foodie, at any given time, I have a couple of foods, meals, grocery spots, and kitchen tools that I’m particularly loving.

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with a grocery store near me called Frazier Farms Market. They look like your typical big food store, but they carry a lot of specialty items that I can’t find elsewhere, and are actually reasonably priced. My favorite part about Frazier Farms? They’re not a chain store! I love supporting small business. They have 2 locations, both of which are nearby, and they carry a ton of locally made products, like cheese from farms in my county and honey from bee keepers located in the town next to me. Frazier Farms-Vista Honey

Naturally, I’ve been obsessed with the above pictured honey. I love honey in general, but locally made unfiltered honey is even better.

I said it in my last recipe post (which also included blueberries!), but I’ve also been obsessed with all the fruit lately. I usually am a fruit junkie, but lately it’s been in overdrive with all of the great fruit in season. I was telling my mother this yesterday, and to further prove my point I said, “No seriously, I just ate 2 kiwis, an apricot, blueberries, a mango and strawberries!” My love for fruit is no joke my friends.

apples & bluesToday’s recipe centers around two of my go-to fruits: apples and blueberries. I’m a year-round apple eater, and lately the farmer down the street keeps putting out apples the size of my head that I simply can’t refuse. But, for all intensive purposes, I used normal sized apples for this recipe… and I made these crisps in my current favorite dishware: ramekins!

ramekins

Ramekins are just so cute and little, and when you bake/cook meals or snacks in them, it’s built-in portion control. I’ve been using them every chance I get – like for these gluten free, naturally sweetened (with my local honey of course!) fruit crumbles.

Apple Blueberry Ramekin Crisps

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Avocado & Chickpea Salad Cups

Happy Friday!

I’m very much looking forward to the weekend, because later today my hubby and I are heading out on a little weekend getaway. It’s a place just a few hours away from home that we’ve never been to before….

Palm Springs

Palm Springs! Just a couple of days full of what will hopefully be fun: relaxation, hiking, good food and exploring a new area. But first, onto today’s recipe!

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This recipe will provide you with a good dose of produce. It’s vegan, gluten free, nutritious, and simple to throw together. Call me a nut, but it seems kind of fancy to me because it involves scooping the salad mixture back into the avocado skins. avocado cup ingredients

And speaking of nuts, recently Blue Diamond sent me a few boxes of their Almond Nut Thins to play around with. They’re gluten free nut & rice crackers, and for some reason I immediately thought of scooping avocado with them. Almond Nut-Thins

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