Recently, the best place to find me would be standing in front of my refrigerator with a spoon in a jar of almond butter. This is new to me. I've officially crossed over to the dark side. Please tell me you've been there too.
This love for almond butter crept up on me slowly until it became a full-blown obsession. Now, my day is not complete without a scoop of almond or peanut butter in my mouth.
I've been trying to come up with different ways to feed my all my AB/PB cravings. I'll have a scoop of it over some banana after a workout, I smear it over some apples for a mid-day snack, I make it in a smoothie with cacao and mint and have it for breakfast, and I eat it straight out of the jar .... oh sorry, I've already mentioned that.
I've been trying to come up with another way that I can devour my favorite treat, and I decided I wanted something that incorporated not just almond butter, but my favorite things to eat with my almond butter.
I thought about dipping bananas into some sort of almond butter chocolate concoction, then I thought, sure that would be great, but how often am I going to make that. Then, the light bulb went off. I can just blend everything together and make fun little bite sized snack things. Simple. Easy. Yes!
You know what is awesome about these bites? I can eat them for breakfast and I pretend like I am being really bad, but actually I am being really really good. Give me one of these little bites over a muffin any day of the week. In fact, give me 7. These also make awesome snacks, as well as dessert that you can bring over to a friend's house. Loaded with vitamins and antioxidants, this could be one of the healthiest and tastiest little bites you will ever put in your mouth.
Be sure to adjust any ingredients depending on the amount that you are going to eat out of the jar/blender.
Today is the start of one of my favorite weekends of the whole year.
I'm a huge fan of summer and this weekend signifies the start of the summer for us here in the east coast. Although summer's official start date is not until late June, this is the weekend for us that the grill get uncovered, some new plants get planted, and the flip flops get dusted off.
One of my favorite things about summer is cooking and hanging out with friends. Grabbing vegetables straight from the garden or the nearby farm stand, and having people over for a causal meal is just the best.
Backyard BBQs, beach picnics, long leisurely brunches. That's what summer is all about.
I love to have nibbly bits around whenever we are entertaining, and guacamole is always a popular snack. Sure, you can buy gaucamole in the store, but it is so much better (and impressive) when you make it at home.
I love to fanci-fy otherwise simple foods. Adding peas and fava beans is a super easy way to make a regular guacamole a little fancier. Since it is not officially summer yet, this snack is a marriage of a few great spring vegetables that you can still find right now, and one of my favorite summertime snack foods.
I am keeping this short and sweet, because I am off to cook for a big girls dinner tonight. I am so excited to kick off the summer with a huge home-cooked meal celebrating friends.
I realize that I've been lacking in the breakfast department recently, and I promise I'll make up for it. You see, my lack of breakfast recipes recently is probably a reflection of my breakfast routine which, albeit (mostly) healthy, can get a little mundane.
You know that during the week, I don't get too creative with breakfast for myself. I usually just make a green smoothie and call it a morning.
There are some days that the smoothie holds me over until lunch, and there are some days I need a little something in-between. Those days, my stomach starts to growl at 10:45am on the dot. It usually happens when I am running around doing a million things, so I succumb to buying some sort of sugary pastry because it is the easiest and most accessible thing.
Don't get me wrong, I love a good pastry once in a while, but if I am going to indulge I want to be leisurely hanging out with the New York Times in one hand and a perfectly made latte in the other. Not rushing around with the pastry shoved in my purse sneaking bites every once in a while just to hold me over until lunch.
I really needed to chill out on the mid-morning purse pastry eating habit of mine so I decided to come up with something - on the healthier side - that I can make and keep around for a mid-morning snack. But not just something healthy, I wanted something I would really enjoy eating.
Granola was out. I am not a huge granola fan, I mean, I will eat it if it is the only thing around but I don't really enjoy it. I do love oatmeal, nuts, and berries, but if I needed something to grab on the go, the oatmeal would have to be baked in the oven instead of on the stove.
Baked oatmeal bars were the winner. An on the go type breakfast food, or a mid-morning snack. Heck, you can even eat these for dessert with some ice cream if you like.
I know that my busy, on the go friends appreciate breakfast recipes like this.
These bars are loaded with healthy goodies. They are gluten-free (as long as you use gluten-free oats) and they can be made vegan omitting the egg. Chia seeds, cinnamon, oats, blueberries and pomegranates are all super ingredients loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. A little bonus added into the morning routine.
I’ve been making and eating a lot of lettuce wraps recently. For lunch, for an appetizer, for no real reason at all. I know it might not sound very exciting, but trust me, I'm talking about some high-maintenance lettuce wraps here.
High-maintenance in the best way possible. Bear with me now...
Not the kind of high-maintenance that would scare you away. You know I don't like things to be too complicated around here. Just the kind of high-maintenance that takes something that needs a little fixing up and making it a little fancier.
It all started when I found the most beautiful head of butter lettuce at my local Whole Foods, that was grown here, locally in Brooklyn. Beautiful lettuce from Brooklyn? I was smitten. This lettuce was meant for big, beautiful, veggie-filled lettuce wraps.
I started with a basic lettuce wrap with lots of raw veggies and some pea pesto that I had made recently. They were delicious. The pea pesto really made the wrap, but I thought maybe it could use a little something else.
A few days later, Michael and I wanted a snack, and I had a little leftover butter lettuce so I decided to make some more lettuce wraps. This time I added some black beans for some protein and a dash of hot sauce for some spice. These lettuce wraps rocked our world.
Because they were so good, I had to make them again. This time for myself for lunch, but I went one step further and I decided to make my own hot sauce. I have been dying to make my own sriracha for quite some time and in browsing some favorite blogs of mine I found this great recipe to make a proper sriracha (one that would taste exactly like the original but without the added preservatives) however it requires days of fermentation. Something I will be tackling soon, but not today. I needed some hot sauce, pronto.
So I found a few other recipes, this one from Winnie of Healthy Green Kitchen, via this post from Sarah from Sprouted Kitchen. It looked super easy so I gave it a go. This hot sauce is awesome. Although it is not exactly like sriracha, it is close enough for me. I made a large batch and have been putting it on anything and everything.
I have a thing for hot sauce if you couldn't guess.
Now, of course, if you are not a hot sauce person, you can totally leave it out. The lettuce wraps are just as great without it. You can also make up any combination of veggies and beans that you like. White beans and red pepper, chickpeas and carrots. This is a fridge leftover kid of recipe.
What's also great about these is that they are like a reconfigured salad. So if you are bored with your salad routine, go make yourself some fancy, high-maintenance lettuce wraps for lunch.
About once a week, we order take-out from a little Japanese place around the corner. I always order the same few things, my favorite thing being the spicy, crunchy avocado roll. Spicy ... crunchy ... yes.
I am a huge fan of recreating things that I would normally be tempted to order in or eat out, like dumplings, and sushi. I just feel better knowing what types of ingredients I am using and that there is nothing fake or artificial hiding that I might not know about. And, this way I can add some extra yummy things like crunchy shallots (god only knows what those "crunchy" bits my take-out sushi are made from).
This version of a nori roll does not require any fancy sushi rolling, in case you're intimidated to roll your own sushi. Although, if you do feel comfortable and you want to roll this bad boy up, by all means go for it. If you're like me and you want to take the less ambitious route for this one, you can just pick this up and eat it like a taco. A yummy Japanese taco.
Nori is incredibly good for you and is such a great thing to incorporate into your diet on a regular basis. It contains a long list of vitamins, but most notably a high amount of B12, which is great for those who eat a mostly plant based diet. Another great benefit for plant based people (or anyone, really) is that nori contains a high amount of protein and amino acids. And when you make your own nori wraps, you know you are getting a good quality nori. It is easy to find in the grocery store since it is the most widely used seaweed, it's usually in the Asian food or Japanese section.
Once you make this and see how easy it is, I am sure that you are going to keep a pack of nori around for when want to have this for lunch or for a snack. You can mix up combinations based on what you have in the fridge, any raw vegetable combination would work and would probably take less time than waiting for one to be delivered.